We Are All Achey Crybabies

Let’s all be honest now. Being sick is pretty awful. You have a virus inside of you this is throwing your body completely off balance. However, what is usually instantly attributed to illness if what is blatantly apparent to the senses: the symptoms.

I have been through a long season of various illnesses that seem to persist or come right after one another. Well, to be pretty honest, I have been ill more times during my last two and some years at university than I have during the entirety of High School and even some of Junior High. How is this so? Well, various things contribute. One thing is that for the first two years I lived in a dormitory, or a petri dish, where germs spread and grew at alarming rates. If someone got sick, like dominoes, all the rest would un-willfully succumb one after another to the trifling case of the flu. It seems inescapable no matter how hard you try! Every doorknob is surely the enemy.

Another reason is that while I lived in the dorms, we ate in the cafeteria which consisted mostly of sodium and dairy rich food concocted for the masses. Most of it was comfort food, with the nutritious veggies and fruits in a lower supply. If you wanted to be healthy, you could either scavenge the available food for what won’t make you feel bloated later, or eat a salad for every meal. Being the type that loves variety, I sacrificed eating healthy at many moments for the novelty of having all the varieties of food at my disposal. The lack of sufficient vitamins definitely contributed to the constant dripping nose, phlegm frog throat, and twice semester-ly flu. Okay, not to mentions the constant mental strain of classes and homework that left the body tired and opting out of physical activity for more sedentary ones.

meme a la Bethany

meme a la Bethany

Sure, a lot of these things were out of my control. However, some of the factors could have been reversed. When I was to the point where I felt like my body could collapse, and I experienced symptoms like a sore throat, cough, and sinus blockage it was eventually the Holy Spirit (usually via MOM- cause moms are that awesome) to whom I finally listened that I needed to take better care of myself or I would burn out. It was the symptoms that allowed me to see something greater through the whirring of my sinus headache.

Symptoms allow me to see there is a greater virus.

Before this virus, there was an internal problem that had hung around in my blind spot and now has my head wondering what in the world is wrong with me! Illness without symptoms is the most lethal.

I have had some more dire, and long lasting health issues arrive this year that had my crying in my pillow at night due to the pain and hopelessness and crying out to God to please help me. I realized that I could not remember the last time I had such a private, desperate plea to God. As the symptoms were wearing me down daily to the point of exhaustion, I heard God whisper to me, “Symptoms are my mercy and grace.” I sat and thought about that for awhile and a new characteristic of Almighty God began to be felt with every ache and pain.

Without symptoms, there would not be realization of a virus, and then there would never be a hope for a cure.

Not only has my physical illness revealed that there are deeper problems in my bodily health, but it has also led to symptoms of frustration, stubbornness and selfishness that have revealed a deeper mental and spiritual issue. God used these emotional and mental symptoms to get my attention and give me an option to turn the situation over to Him. It has changed my attitude on the reasons why I feel so disheveled when I do something that is contrary to the will of God. It is not just conviction, or even pitiful guilt, it is a symptom that reveals that what I have done has torn me away from my source of life and balance and harmony: Yahweh, my God the great I AM, and I have forgotten the saving grace of his son Jesus Christ.

This is why just as we should never neglect our physical health , so we should never forget to constantly lean on, remember, thrive on the redemptive power of Christ. It is when we forget about the sacrifice of Christ, forget the gift of a new identity as God’s redeemed children, and forget that we are nothing without it that we succumb to the virus of depravity and hopelessness.

Thank the Lord, God Almighty for symptoms.

Now here is a song from the esteemed MUTEMATH:

-Bethany Porter

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I See You

A deep, inherent desire exists inside of each of us. It crawls under our skin, wells up at moments where its undesired, and subconsciously dictates our behavior. This is the desire to be acknowledged. Not only in our existence, but also to be appreciated and needed.

All In Films & Photography

All In Films & Photography

“Acknowledgment” has been on my mind for quite a few days and has stirred up some unwanted feelings from the past. Those feelings of rejection that I had experienced in my teenage years have been seeping up through the cracks in my heart. It has dictated some of my behavior and converted my thoughts into to a distracted and self-conscious nature. “Acknowledgment” actually has been in my head for no reason relating to bible study, it is actually through a more nerdy means.

The first nerdy means was when I went to a concert for my Music History class. It was a medieval vocal ensemble that was help at a Compline service at an Episcopal church in downtown Seattle. I had heard that people get extremely comfortable and even lay all over the altar with their blankets and simply take in the music. People even come “high” to the Compline to have their spiritual experience. In the moments leading up to the music starting, I sensed a very heavy atmosphere. It was not just the presence of God, it was as if I sensed the battle going on as spoken in spiritual realms. One one side, there was the feeling of lostness, seeped in darkness. One the other side, there is light and the hand of God reaching out to combat the darkness and to answer the question of spiritual hunger. Sadness mixed with compassion welled up in my body that I could not ignore. The people at the service had a deep desire to be acknowledged by something greater than themselves, something as beautiful as the music that gently coaxed their hearts into a state of peace as the ensemble sang in melismatic motion, “Into thy hands, I commit my spirit.”

The other nerdy avenue was through the Japanese anime Naruto. There is this kid named Naruto Uzamaki who is training to be a ninja; and, he is an orphan. He also embodies a curse and is socially excluded and his existence unacknowledged. His desire is to become the greatest ninja, and actually surpass the Hokage, the leader and most accomplished and skilled ninja, for the sole reason of finally being acknowledged by the rest of the village. I know that in Japanese culture, this idea of acknowledgment has shown up strongly in a lot of the movies I have seen. It is this idea of one “looking at you.” And that phrase is even in a lot of love songs. Again, human being have the deep inherent desire to be looked at, our existence and worth affirmed.

This idea has been churning in my head and it was not until yesterday at my University’s chapel that I found myself on my knees crying out to God to “see me” and to “use me” and to “speak to me.” I was brokenhearted, weary and had let feelings of rejection swallow me whole. I had also neglected spending time with God in prayer and reading and solitude which led to my distancing myself from God on my own accord. In that moment, I began to hear the truth resound loud and clear and shake my entire body. A truth that had already been planted in my head with the attraction to the word “acknowledgment.” This truth was that I was seeking acknowledgment, that which my whole being desired, first from others and not first from my God.

I had begun to resort to old habits of being overly concerned with what people were thinking of me (resulting in an impression management), I had also began to become overly focused on receiving attention from my attractive male friends, because I felt this deep desire to actually be acknowledged by one of them and be ascribed some worth. It was in that moment of crying out to God that he reminded me that I was alive, and that life and worth defined me. He saw me in my need, he saw me for who I was, and he affirmed my identity. He spoke to me even through my silence toward him and finally awoke my heart to his truth and acknowledging presence.

Who are you relying on to give you life and meaning? Are you seeking approval from someone other than the God who created you and is waiting for you to see Him and in that, you will find that he “sees” you.

Psalm 139:1-4 says it well:

“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.”

And now here is Ivoryline with a song that popped in my head as I was writing this blog post and spoke the words of my heart like a Psalm:

This Is Not My Home

I remember as a little kid, I always had this deep feeling on the inside, as I played next to our terrible 90s design living room couch, that I was not at home. This feeling and thought persisted and revealed itself at random times. I look back and think either I had repeated existential crisis, was oddly philosophical for my age, or God’s glory was bleeding through the fabric of my life and touching my heart as I played in solitude alone with my childish thoughts.

In the present, I find myself in a situation where I must pack up, move to a place and establish myself and just as the roots form I must rip them out and proceed to place them back in the soil where they were in the previous spot, and back and forth. I go back to my original home in the summer and then I must go back to my other home as the summer find its end. It has not been bad until this year when I really began to get reconnected in my hometown because of a personal family crisis. I began to feel the roots of my security growing and taking root in the old and familiar soil when in previous years visiting home I had not let them do so. Strings on my heart began to reattach more firmly to my family and friends (stri1148969_619378254823776_482543270_nngs tied from rib to rib) that I had known for years and I began to find it harder to leave. At the same time, I felt as if returning to my second home where I had attended college for two years would be just as refreshing as it was the first time that I returned after my first summer away from it.

It was not so when I returned.

Not only did I began to ache for the old place my roots had become attached to; but, I did not feel refreshed, or much excited about returning to that environment where I had begun to build my identity as an independent adult.  Instead, I am far removed from any place. It feels as if I am floating in some vacant space in my mind. Like an awkward tree floating in the air with its roots dangling and unattached and insecure (awkward visuals FTW). The point is, I did not feel satisfied at home or my second home.

It was then I realized that I cannot find any security or comfort or even a sustained excitement for any one situation or circumstance. My place to live in is only temporary and I cannot get too comfortable in any place nor can I expect security based on my situation. I felt like I had a better grasp on this concept as a kid. As children, we are definitely innocent, but also we are new in the world. When everything that we see next is new, and we are fascinated at every turn, restlessness and mediocrity don’t really have any place. However, as we get older, and get comfortable and things are not new anymore, mediocrity creeps in. As does lack of wonder. We get comfortable where we are, and began to take root where we are and define ourselves by our circumstances.

Growing up in the same city my whole life and then uprooting to my now second home, I had never really experienced the torn feeling of having two places where I had grown roots and where I had left parts of me. I also did not realize the restlessness that it would bring. When I came back this semester I was hit not with the excited feeling of coming to my second home, but instead I was hit with disappointment. No longer did I feel a sense of wonder of excitement or fulfillment from this newer home. I then began to hear the Lord speak to me as I felt a sense of restlessness rack my being.

I heard him say, “Your home is in me. Your identity and security is in Me.”

This is not my home. How many times do I need to be reminded of this?  I expected fulfillment from an earthly home.

I have been looking into the book of Ephesians lately and in chapter 2, there is talk about following along with the desires and cravings of this world. I know when I read this, I always think about obvious sexual or materialistic desires. But isn’t another pattern of this world trying to make one’s self as comfortable as possible so the path to death would be smoother? In verse 5 and 6 of chapter 2 it says that we were made ALIVE in Christ and that our place is with him in heavenly realms.

It is easy to forget God when you are comfortable. It is harder to live without God when you cannot feel completely secure wherever you live. The overwhelming sense of dissatisfaction I got with my circumstance brought me back to the feet of my Savior in repentance for finding security and comfort in something other than him. I cannot hold on tightly to anything or any place other than holding on to Jesus and knowing my place in his Kingdom in eternity.

-Bethany Porter

Love is Painful

WARNING: Brain bucket spillage ahead.

I would be lying if I did not struggle with the age old question that begs for divine intervention:

“If God exists and loves me, why is their pain and suffering?”

It is those two words in the same sentence that bring discomfort “love” and “pain”. Not only in the same sentence, but being used in an analogical way. I know the basic truth to the answer that every good Christian does, in that there is pain and suffering because we live in a world of imperfect people that hurt one another. However, this only avoids the deeper question that remains as the Hydrogen Peroxide to the already gaping wound in the human soul:

“Why would God create us then if he knew we were to fail? What is the purpose?”

There are another two words that do not seem to belong in the same sentence, “create” and “fail”. I read an article recently talking about how a Christian cannot believe in Evolution, and this article made good points but seemed to be to be poignantly bitter towards the idea of a Creator God. The point that article made at the end was how human biology and other creatures have obvious weaknesses in their design that prove that if there was a Creator God then he was either incompetent or malicious. Basically, this author believed that a Creator God would have failed in his creating us in a decent way. Honestly, this is an attitude that is easy to fall into and the belief that God made a mistake in making us.

Although this leads to a dead end in both directions, I thought of the third option which is that he is merciful. I began to think however, and totally see how someone could logically come to those conclusions. Why did he make his creation, humans and creatures alike, to be so fragile and weak. My immediate answer is that so we would realize our weakness and turn to God. Any look at the Bible would answer that question. “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 There still remains the question of why God would want us to want him, and why he would create us in a way where we constantly fall and are constantly reaching out to him?

God’s purpose of making the glory of God evident is accomplished through our being weak and fragile. This does make the thoughts pop up in my head such as, “How rude! How tormenting!” There is the question of why would someone put through those he loves through all of this torment? I will first turn to the first point which is about our FREE WILL as created beings.

As created beings, we can only do things that reflect our Creator. We can love others as Christ loved others, however we can never be pure love. God is love. This begs a questions of how can love be so tormenting. First of all, that is not the best word in this situation. I will use a more general word in its place: painful. Here is a reality check:

LOVE IS PAINFUL.

Why is it painful? Let us look at how the Bible uses love.

In the first and second commands to the Israelites, God communicates to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” and “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Already, it is obvious that there is pain involved in love, that pain is choosing to put aside of one’s desires to help another and that pain is choosing to redirect every thought, desire, passion and movement to be for love of God and not love of self. It is the selflessness involved in love that hurts.

Fast forward to the letters of Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 with the much used and overly quoted passage about love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” Once again we are seeing that love is the complete denial of one’s own stubborn selfish will and doing everything one can to love another person. Love is also painful because it chooses to set aside offense and chooses to forgive despite the inherent desire for making the other person feel the pain you experienced.

You may be thinking duh, I already know that love requires sacrifice, but what does that have to do exactly with what we are talking about?

Well, humans are definitely familiar with the pain involved in the giving and receiving of love. And if God is Love itself, pure and wonderful, how does he even take part in the pain that love causes? Here is where we forget, Christ was THE act of painful love. He was able to experience the pain of loving so much (such as the moment he looked at Jerusalem and wept bitterly because they were unaware of their sin that was separating them from the Heavenly Father’s love) to the point of death. His death was the act he did of painful love, so that we could now approach the Father blameless in Jesus’ name and know him and his love more fully. This fullness comes from knowing that God chose to endure pain and take on our sin, forgive our trespasses against him and love us anyways despite our being deserving.

Why did God give us the FREE WILL knowing that we would screw it up? It all comes down to the fact the love is a conscious CHOICE. If we were forced into perfect union and love with God, than as created beings it would not be love at all. It would be manipulation and infatuation, which are cheap and immature versions of love. God does not manipulate us to love him. Adam and Eve were in that union with God in the Garden of Eden, and were able to be intimate with him on a deeper level because of their innocence. Even so, how much greater did Adam and Eve know the love of God when they experienced his MERCY for the first time after sinning? This love was humbling and was even greater than imagined.

Here are the basic questions again and I will try to summarize:

Why does a loving God allow suffering?

Why did he create us weak and with free will to fail?

Love is not all butterflies and cornfields, it is a mixture of pain and redemption. Thus is life, God gave us choice so that we would know his love in a fuller way. We choose to sin and God knew that no matter how much we sinned, that his love is relentless and is evident throughout the Bible as working to redeem us back through Messiah.

I am going to stop now before my brain explodes. I have been reeling at this for a few hours.

“And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.” Ephesians 3:18

-Bethany

Surefire Plans

My time here is short.

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This summer did not turn out the way that I had planned. More like, I was on my intended road heading westward towards the ocean. Then comes the rain, the lightning and the thunder. Trees fall all along the path I am going, blocking north, west and south. The only way to go is in the opposite direction. Still, all is well, I already had a plan B if east had to be the way to go. Next, I head east away from the ocean inland towards the valley. However, right as I reach the valley, I realize that the way I had gone has only led to a dead end. I take another route and I keep reaching dead end after dead end. By this time, I find myself back on the path westward towards the ocean, however the path is still altered.

I was bold enough near the end of this past semester to say to God in the face of a decision to “Make clear the way to go” even by completely closing one of the ways. Plan A was to stay in Washington, keep two jobs that were already lined up, get a taste of independence while paying my own rent and buying groceries and such, and hang out with my friends and church family. Suddenly, I found out that my Father was having cardiac bypass surgery. It was then that I was on my way in the opposite direction. To my comfort, I had prepared for the possibility of going back to California for the summer.

I would get a job, get involved in a music ministry, and be able to help around the house during my Dad’s recovery from surgery. This plan was shattered to bits when I tried many times over to get a job. Also, the churches that had proposed me to serve in the ministry never kept up contact with me, even though I had. I also had two other jobs that were believed to be secured but ended up falling through. I almost did not write this blog post awhile ago because I thought I was about to start a full-time job in a few days. Then that fell through unexpectedly.

Awhile ago, while a friend was praying for me, she perceptively prayed that I would take this time that I have with my family as preparation for the future. It was then that I realized fully that I may never have the opportunity to spend this much time with my parents again. My life was going forward, I was growing older, becoming more and more independent of my parents and of my life at home in the town I was born and raised. I was trying to rush to the future, to take extra measures to become independent even quicker. However, God was communicating to me that I did not need to live so much in the future. Instead, in this time, I needed my family and my family needed me. I needed to live in the moment and experience everything life threw my way. I also have learned that I did not lose anything from taking those opportunities to get jobs and serve for they only pointed me in the right direction despite their failures. I should take every opportunity as it comes and let failure be a lesson, success be an indication, and the Holy Spirit be my guide.

Instead, my summer has looked like a lot of time at home with my family. It has been space in my mind to be able to deal with personal issues that always seem to come up after a long hard semester where they are overlooked. It has been heart ache and it has been moments of pure joy. I am writing again, after I had been on  a bumpy hiatus for a couple of years. Even songs are finding their way into my notebook. Weaknesses are being realized as well as strengths. Old friends have been a soothing balm, and new friends an iron chisel. God has given me this summer as a gift, despite its difficulties.

I am not writing this post to complain. I actually am content in all of these plans foiling because it has been God very carefully directing my path just in the way that I had asked. It was not at all in the way that I had planned, for a lot of my plans were with the future in mind. I thought that my plans were good. However, God’s plans are always better. The path that God set out will always be the most challenging, yet the most peaceful. God’s plan will always shape your character the most, yet in that you will secure your identity. God’s plans may humble you the most, but God will be all the more glorified.

Laus Deo Semper,

-Bethany

Here is a song I thoroughly enjoy by a band that will always be a love of mine:

and this one from the same band:

Balance is Tough

As much as I would like to keep up on my blog posts, I find it very hard. I think it has to do with the fact that I am and always have been a sporadic writer. My diary entries are sometimes three months a part, sometimes a day a part. I think it might have to do with the fact that I feel as if everything that I write out needs to be a brilliant idea. This post right here, however, it completely random and pointless at the moment. Who knows, maybe it will work itself out to be something with a purpose. I realized as I logged on to my WordPress that I had not updated my blog in two years. It is not only in my blog where there has been lack of inspiration. I have also not written many decent songs, poems or short works in two years. I am so preoccupied with my academics, social life and my own issues that I see this blog mostly as effort in which I hadn’t any time to spare. At the same time, I miss it because it gave a sense of purpose to me being a writer because people were reading it! Even if it was only 5 people, the words I said and the inspiration that I had were reaching others instead of staying private in my numerous journals. Well, now numerous empty or half-filled journals.

I always struggle to keep balance in my own pursuits that don’t have a pressing deadline or a ready critic. This is probably why writing has been so hard for me. I thrive with that pressure from others or deadlines. For the Meyer’s Briggs personality test, I am a Judging type who needs that rules and structure. Not to say I am neat… I am an artist! At least that is what I would tell my mom every time she would pass my room and see piles of papers and clothes and cringe. She is a judging (likes order and hates clutter) type with a capital “J”. I struggle to keep consistent with my own pursuits when there is no ready reward, or response. This definitely will not work in the real world where personal dreams and pursuits are only begun on a blank piece of  paper in a dark room with a single desk lamp, and grow only with persistence and risk-taking. I think this slack is also due to the attitude that I have developed in years past that I really do not have anything good to say and that my unique ways of saying things are just too different.

I will not say that I am not self-motivated. I have been told that I am a hard-worker, and a determined person. However, I will be the first to admit that I am great at starting things but lack in the finishing. I am the kind of person that is overflowing with ideas and am a great initiator. If I do not see results or get distracted by another idea, many times I will leave behind that idea. Or, if I do not have instant feedback or even just someone looking over my shoulder, I may lose motivation. This is slowly changing as I am handed more responsibility without my hand being held.

I think that my main problem is living an overly complicated life. I should strive for more simplicity. I will never forget one late night in my dorm when I was avoiding studying, I came across an Einstein biographical documentary. What stuck with me is the fact that this genius lived a life of simplicity. He narrowed his life’s pursuits to three things: his research, sailing, and the violin. It was in that simplicity that he was content in persisting in these pursuits and pleasures.

In other words, I want to try more from now on to write on my blog when I want to write about anything. And not always making a sermon out of every post. I realized that some of my most popular posts were when they were about my own life and the small lessons that God taught me throughout. So, I hope to visit this space more often. I am heading back to the dark room with a single desk lamp to not only write this blog but to persist in my other pursuits.

-Bethany

Reach Out In Fullness!

This last month has been extremely trying and I have fallen ill twice just in that period of time. The reasons for this include that such as me getting a job, then realizing how poor my time management skills were, then leading to exhausting my body to major debilitation and as a result launching myself on a turbulent emotional downward spiral. Sounds rough doesn’t it? Well, yes, it was. However, I have learned so much in the last month not just about my poor time management skills but also my poor self-management skills. I know this idea is extremely vague but I will elaborate.

Oh, it is not emphasized how important “self” is, and how taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually is what first enables one to be able to pour out love selflessly into others. We are to be full, not empty when reaching out to others in our life. I received a wake-up call when one week I found myself piling on the responsibility and having two meltdowns that week that were not tipped off necessarily from the schedule itself but from social situations. I was feeling burned out and hoped that I would be completely satisfied by relying on friends to fill me up again. So after the last two crazy weeks, the Lord suddenly placed a sort of Proverb in my mind and I wrote it on my hand to remind myself. Here is what I wrote:

“Reach out in fullness, not out of emptiness.”

This little proverb has proved to challenge me in every area of my life, in all of my relationships, positions and obligations that I encounter or seek. This initially applied to a more intimate matter, and I will be vague but honest. I fancied someone and was seeking to have a friendship with this person… after much frustration and blowing things out of proportion I ended up becoming emotionally wounded. Not really because of the person, but because of how I approached the friendship. Even though on the outside I might have seemed casual and mild, in reality in my own heart (something not realized until I wrote that little proverb on my hand) I was acting ou of desperation, and out of emptiness as I fought for this person’s attention and affection. I expected some sort of fulfillment friendship, even if I was blind to the prospects of their returning any inkling of care or affection. That person’s indifference caused an emotional breakdown and many tears were shed. I had been reaching out to that person to fill a void I had in my own heart for perfect love, instead of our friendship and fellowship simply being an outpouring of Christ’s love that was already full inside of me. So, in the week seceding I said to myself constantly, “Reach out in fullness, not out of emptiness.”

The other aspect of my life that this principle became more revealed to was in my obligations and responsibilities. My crazy week from Hell (excuse the language) a few weeks ago put me over the edge and its insurmountable stress was not made sense of until a week later. I wanted to try all of these different things, and volunteer in multiple areas and I was running around all day not to get back to my dorm until nine or ten at night where I proceeded to study with half a brain until two or three in the morning for over a week straight. I was physically drained which led to my distorting many social situations and causing an influx of emotional turbulence. I was extremely sensitive, easily offended and hurt during this week. I reflected days later why I had gotten myself so involved and entangled in many social and serving obligations and even more why I felt like I had to be so involved. I realized, once again, that I was reaching out in emptiness. When I wanted to get involved in something I was reaching out hoping that being involved in this one thing would finally stabilize and deepen my spiritual life. Do not get me wrong, it is great to serve others… however I began to question my own motives. Was I serving others out of the fullness Christ’s love within me? Or was I serving others because I felt that this activity would bring me peace in my spirit?

As I realized this truth I began to receive wisdom through the things that I heard in the days following. First, what was uncovered was that there was a tug-of-war going on inside of me where I wanted to do the will of God but at the same time my own will was tugging at me. That old mindset that I had before I committed my heart to God – that lie – that human affection could somehow give my yearning heart peace was tugging me in the opposite direction and driving my to make decisions that would overall hurt me and make my focus on God foggy. As a response I listed out things that I desire, whether it be a healthy desire or simply a desire that burns within me and then put what it is I know God wants for me.

The other thing is that I was looking at ministry in the wrong way. I went about ministry (or serving others) as a method of filling myself. I went about it with an empty hearted attitude and expected to get filled. I should have been walking in the fullness of Christ and been pouring into others. That’s what ministry is about: pouring into others.

No matter how much we may deny it, we reach out to others -friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends – with an expectation that they will completely fill the desire we have in our hearts for perfect love made complete and tangible. God definitely intended for us to have relationships and commune with one another; however, I believe that he created us to only be completely satisfied in Him and Him alone. The fact that we still sin, separates us from ever fully experiencing with every sense the love of Christ completely consuming us until we walk through those pearly gates and into God’s everlasting arms in eternity. This love that we feel and experience through Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit while in our earthly bodies is but a foretaste of how it will be in heaven. This is our hope, that we will be united in complete love with Christ.

…more to be added…

-Bethany