Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Consent to treat

In first aid and CPR you learn the importance of three words that can mean life or death "Consent to treat." Consent to treat means that you cannot help an adult (even if they are dying) without their permission. If someone is choking and you say "Can I help you?" and they say no, you can call 911 but you cannot give care because they did not give you their permission.

As we think about the importance of Consent to treat physically, we need to realize the importance of consent to treat spiritually and emotionally.

Every day Christ, the Great physician, asks us for permission for treatment, for transformation, and for complete spiritual and emotional healing. Often when we are really struggling, it is easy for us to call out to our Father "heal me, heal me right now" but as Christ begins the healing process, we often say "Stop that hurts" or "Do I really need that treatment?" We say "I'm not ready" or "I like my life the way it is."

Because of Christ's love, He always, always offers us the gift of choice. God is not controlling. If we say stop, He stops. If we ask Him to slow down, He does. He is always gently asking us if He can help us. When we say He can't, He will wait until we are ready.

Often we think that spiritual transformation and emotional healing will be easy and quick. But even in medicine, overcoming diseases takes time and is a battle. Likewise, life transformation and healing sins and brokenness, overcoming scars- it's a process that takes time and can be painful.

Little by little, step by step, day by day, Christ asks us if He can heal us. He stitches our deep cuts and signs "It is finished" over our scars. He performs a blood transfusion showing us that we are no longer slaves under law but saved because of His perfect grace. He takes our bruises and paints over them "You're mine". He takes our hard heart and performs heart surgery putting in new hearts like His. He keeps surgically remaking us, so much so that we don't even look the same, and don't even act the same as our before "old" creation. Sometimes we look back in the mirror and stand amazed at His perfect healing work in our lives. He reminds us that His transformation is slow and that our new bodies- completely disease free- won't be complete until the day He comes again to take us home.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

What a loving God we serve- who is willing to heal us whenever we are ready!




Monday, April 27, 2015

what money means

Money means that I can go to an Adventist university
But my friend around the world can't finish high school

Money means that I get to choose a career and what I would like to study
While others get what they can take: working out in the fields, janitorial work, or fast food for life, barely earning the means for survival

Money means that in the states if you are disabled you still have hope
In other countries, being paralyzed is life termination because nobody has money for that kind of treatment

Money means power- power over your own life.
And sadly enough, power over many others'.

You may not think you are rich. But if you are reading this blog, then you are richer than 3/4ths of the world. You are the wealthy, the privileged, the people who live in "dreamy America". Because you have money (even though you may be a college student that thinks you are in debt) you have a responsibility for how you will use that money.

I want to tell you about one of my friends *Rachel. I met Rachel when I was living in an orphanage in Peru. She was funny and smart and full of life and dreams. She wanted to be a lawyer so she could help bring justice to her country. One day Rachel told me her story. She was born in a little ghetto in Peru and raised in a shack without lighting. When she was about five years old her mom and dad got divorced and her mom told the court that she didn't want anything to do with Rachel. Rachel was left with her dad who didn't care much about Rachel either. Rachel grew up with no food, living in the dark, she would walk outside and beg for a bite to eat or sugar. She would collect the rain from the sky for water and would mix in sugar for food. She was extremely malnourished. Somehow God provided a way for her to enter the local school but life still wasn't good at home. Rachel's dad began abusing her. One day he beat her hard on the face with a belt. Rachel had to go to school that day and everybody saw her scars and asked what happened. After that social services sent Rachel to the orphanage for a couple months but eventually because of lack of orphanage funding they had to send her back to her home with her abusive father.

Rachel messaged me today. Rachel is one of my best friends, one of my little girls. Rachel told me she doesn't have money for school anymore. She told me she wants to get a career and be able to be something in the world but that because she doesn't have 300 pesos ($100) she doesn't know if she can. Rachel asked me for money. She begs me to help her because she doesn't know who she will ask. With only $100 I can help Rachel go to school.

I am torn. I don't know what I should do.
I want to help Rachel go to school but it's not that simple.








Sunday, April 26, 2015

21 years

Yesterday was my birthday.
20 years of life complete.

As I look back in my life to 20 years?
I have to ask myself what matters?

What really matters in life?
What is the GOLD- the thing worth living for
Or is everything simply meaningless?

The grades I've made, the awards I've received- meaningless
All A's, salutatorian, leadership positions- meaningless
The fun I've had, the places I've visited- meaningless
The things I so often strive for and worry about- meaningless

Yet the relationships God has built
the love He has given me
The ways Christ has lead me
These are priceless

I'm a very type A, always running around, spontaneous, goal driven person and I think something I'm learning about God is that He doesn't care about our accomplishments. He doesn't want us to always be busy and working so much that we don't have time for Him and for relationships. Our life isn't about what we do or what dreams we accomplish. Our life is about relationships between God and with others.I think for me personally, I want to learn to be quieter, to be more still, to be more calm, and to take time to reach out to other people.

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. Psalm 27:4

This verse is so simple but it is so difficult so often to stop living life in the chaos and confusion of this world, and to simply glorify God by dwelling in His house and by worshiping Him. I think for me, this is my prayer for my life: that God would help me to seek His face and to dwell in His house that I may be best friends with my Father.

Fit not fat

When I was younger, I was super athletic. I played varsity volleyball, basketball, and baseball (on a guys baseball team) and swam miles in the pool. Playing sports was so easy for me and it was always so easy to stay in shape.

A year ago in Peru, my best friend and I were at some of the lowest parts of our lives. We were depressed, lonely, and struggling with a binge-eating disorder. We were struggling with so much emotionally (grief of a lost friend, some of the kids heart breaking stories, missing our families) that we often gave in to letting emotions control our diets and forgetting to exercise. It was a terrible cycle of food and then shame and then trying to exercise but failing. We felt so disgusting and we hated ourselves for it.

So we decided to write our own program: FNF: Fit Not Fat. Oh my goodness, it was a total fail. But we tried to make ourselves swim and run and do Insanity. We tried to do pull ups and push ups in the hot summer sun and run in the humidity. But we would never reach our goals. The parasites that we developed that grew in our stomachs made us look even fatter and people at church would literally call us out in front of everyone and share how we were no longer "flackitas" (skinny girls) but now "gorditas"(fat girls). We gave up. We still tried to exercise occasionally but it was extremely difficult in Peru and eating white rice and loads of beans didn't help us out either. When we came back to the states, we had both gained over fifteen pounds. We were so mad and we felt so self-conscious and we had no idea how to lose the weight we had gained.

I started to understand the emotional roller coaster many people go through. They get depressed, eat terribly, and then finally don't want to work out. And I began to feel so bad for people with obesity because often they don't feel comfortable going into a gym because they don't know how to lift weights or what to do and they may look around and feel so discouraged when they see all the skinnier or more buff people. It's so easy to compare our bodies to other peoples but the thing is so much of what makes up a person (whether they are tall/ short/ built/ little) is determined by genetic influence. Anyways I decided that I would love to help people learn to exercise and feel better about their bodies and so I thought it would be super cool if I could become a personal trainer.

But I never thought I could!

So the past four months have been pretty interesting because God has shown me that He can help me do a lot more things than I thought I could do as I've been learning so much about exercise and the body and have been teaching boot camp which has actually turned out to be pretty fun. And today I went to take my ACE personal trainer exam and I was so freaked out because I didn't feel like I knew the materials well enough to pass. Yesterday was my birthday and I seriously prayed to God.. like that would be the best birthday present ever but I know I can't do it on my own. And somehow, He helped me pass! I'm so thankful.

Since being back in the states, I've lost about half the weight I gained in Peru and I know I still have a lot of things to improve on fitness-wise myself. But I think the thing I'm most excited about now that I'm a personal trainer is being able to help people now who are really out of shape and struggling with their identity to help them learn how they can lose weight and feel more confident. I empathize with people who are obese or who are struggling with emotional baggage or eating disorders, and I pray that God can use me as a personal trainer to help show people His love.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Beauty

 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7

Beauty

It for sure isn't everything but it definitely is something. Just ask any girl how she feels about it. She will for sure have some deep thoughts about the matter whether or not she admits it or not. And then ask the guys. Despite what the nice ones care to say "I would rather date an ugly girl with a pretty hard then a pretty girl with an ugly one any day", just look at their faces when they see beauty. There's something beautiful about God, something about beauty that makes us humans long for more, and something beautiful about being a daughter of Christ that we can all learn to embrace.

We often have a hard time grasping the equilibrium on the spectrum- or God's thoughts on the matter. Are we supposed to wear dirty clothes, pony tails, and forget to shower? Or what about spending hours doing our hair and putting on layers of foundation so we can be flawless. Does God care about our looks or does he only look within?

Covered in dirt, grime, and sweat was how I spent every day in Peru, some grosser than others. I woke up, rolled out of bed, put my hair in a high pony tail and served God. By ten o clock I smelled and my face was covered in acne. By evening time, I was a muddy mess of crusted dirt, too many awful smells, and clothes that reiked. We were all total messes.

I remember on the plane ride to Peru sitting by one of my guy friends and he asked me "What are you girls gonna do?" And I was like well what do you mean by that? He specified are you gonna wear makeup, did you bring straightners and curling irons, what about mirrors? I laughed. I didn't bring my straightener I said and we won't wear makeup, secretly thinking to myself, I was glad I brought a little foundation. I glanced over to another girl who was going on the trip, embarking looking like jungle barbie 101. She definitely brought her makeup. How is she going to survive? I wondered.

How was I going to survive? What would people treat me like being raw naked me, nothing to look better?What would it be like? Secretly I feared. What would living in the same house as a bunch of guys be like? Would we really all get along and become friends or would we click up like most other co-gender groups do? What would they think of me without makeup, smelly, and dirty. Would I even have any friends? I was gonna look so ugly... oh my.. I thought-

Yet something amazing happened in Peru called we forgot to bring our mirrors. I praise the Lord for that fact- that it was three months into our journey- before a girl had a small four by six mirror mailed to us all the way in the jungle. When we forgot our mirrors us girls made a silent truce, if we all don't do our hair and makeup- we'll all rock this jungle look together. And rock it we did. Bandanas, crazy clothes that didn't match, crazy braids, high buns, multi colored and snowman scrubs, we wore whatever we wanted too and didn't give a second glance about our appearances. And honestly something amazing started to happen. We remembered to be ourselves and we started to shine from the insides instead of the outside.

Freedom was experienced like never before. Especially for one of my best friends I made in Peru, who had always wore makeup back in the states because she felt pressured too. She loved being herself in Peru and not having to worry about who she had to look like or impress. Honestly, we all did. And we began to see ourselves differently too as well as the people around us. I began to see the hearts of love in the girls that accompanied me to Peru and honestly as I saw Jesus in them their faces and bodies became more and more beautiful to me.

The guys- now your probably wondering what they thought. Especially when some of us girls conveniently "forgot" to shave our legs multiple months at a time- I know I know it's disgusting. But when in Peru do what the jungle girls do. But honestly, the guys were awesome helpers to our insecurities and taught us to be ourselves. They encouraged us that we were beautiful even when we felt like sweaty messes and they challenged us to find our true identity in Christ.

BEAUTIFUL- The word brings many images to my mind. Pictures of girls who are anorexic and bullemic yet always seem to be looking perfect- that perfect I fear I can never achieve. Or images of girls with straightened hair, pink lip gloss, and scarves who never leave home without their bubblegum. Yet it also reminds me of children so precious and innocent- little girls who know their worth is not skin deep and their eyes radiate joy like a wildfire. Beautiful makes me think about salads, working out, running, spending time putting on makeup, straightening or curling my hair. When I say the word beautiful I find my eyes looking around the room to that girl that just seems to have it all together. I wonder how she keeps up that show.

In Peru we went on town trips a couple times a week and once in a while we would stop at a place in town that had really big mirrors. And like conceited missionary Americans we would run to the mirrors like they were lollipops and look ourselves up and down. It never made us feel any better. Instead we groaned and cried.. Oh my skin, oh my stomach, on my hair- why didn't you tell me I looked this terrible?

And I think we all looked at each other with understanding hearts and said "Would it have made a difference?" Our beauty was being real with one another, our beauty came from laughter, and hugging orphans, and giving Bible studies until the sweat was dripping down our faces and our smiles were contagious. The kind of beauty that Christ asks us to manifest first comes from within first and is manifested to the outside.

I think as girls we are faced with many temptations and pressures from the media and society as to how we should look all the time. When we begin to look at our appearances too often, we become self-absorbed. On the other side of the spectrum, God created us all beautiful in different ways and I believe as girls we should try to radiate that beauty from Him. Being beautiful is going to look and feel different for different people but we should pray that our beauty can reflect our King and our heavenly Creator.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Chivalry is courage

Just a few more thoughts about chivalry ;)

Chivalry is more than opening doors and letting a girl go first. Chivalry is deciding to be a leader in a relationship. Chivalry is to stop playing around with girls hearts and flirting with every other girl you see. Chivalry is choosing to be intentional about relationships. Chivalry is being a man of God.

Growing up as a Christian girl, I was taught to wait on guys to lead and not push them or manipulate them to do things they didn't want to do. Now at college, I often hear guys telling me, that if I like a guy, I should go flirt with them or invite them to hang out. I really have a problem with this. If a guy likes me and wants to date me, then he needs to have the courage to tell me or ask me out. Not by texting me at random times during the day or making weird excuses, but ultimately I would think that He would pray about it and if He felt peace in His heart then He could start getting to know me better or tell me.

If I start a relationship by being a manipulative girl, flirting, or trying to get a guy's attention then wouldn't I be the leader of the relationship? I don't believe that as a girl, it is my job to set myself up with potential guys. If I like a guy, I pray that if God wants me to like Him, He would give Him the courage to be a leader and that if God doesn't want the relationship to develop that He would remove the desire from my heart.

And if a guy does ask you out, I believe it's a girls job to respond with gentleness and honesty. If you don't like a guy, don't lead him on. Don't lavish in his attention even though you know you are not interested. Be aware that flirting is messing with a guys' heart if he really likes you.

I think chivalry is cool- chivalry is great- if it comes from the heart. Sure it can be a little embarrassing for us girls, but we appreciate it inside. But please don't fake it if you don't mean it. I've seen guys hold doors for girls and let go of them before she finishes walking through because he is in a hurry- awkward and unappreciated. Don't pretend to be someone your not- be real with us.

-- cool cool. That's just some scribble scrabble, random thoughts to add on to this chivalry discussion ;)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Seeing the Light

"Pure appreciation for His presence emerges from the daily walk perhaps in the mundane more than the miraculous"- Beth Moore

Lord according to Your Word if my eyes are bad, my whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within me is darkness how great is that darkness. Matthew 6:23

"Lord this verse tells me that the focus of my gaze, where my eyes are fixed, has a monumental impact on whether light or darkness will be prevalent in my life" (Moore)

God change my eyes, change my perspective so that I can see things the way you want me too and not through my eyes of sin.

We each see things differently because we see as we are. 
But Lord I am sinful and my sight is blind, so give me new eyes so I see people the way you see them and situations with your wisdom.
Help me see your light even when it seems there's only darkness all around me.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Stop comparing

Your probably your hardest critic. You may beat yourself up for things that aren't your fault and you may feel pressured to constantly do better. When you look around, it's easy to see all the good things everyone else is doing and to wish sometimes that you had the talents or callings of them. You don't know their life and you won't ever understand it. God created you differently with your own shape, size, attitude, character strengths, spiritual gifts, weaknesses, and stories.-- Be patient and trust God that He created you and has a plan for you.

Jacob: I will not let you go until you bless me.
Man: What is your name?
Jacob: "Jacob"
Man: But no longer. Your name is no longer Jacob. From now on it's Israel (God-wrestler); you've wrestled with God and you've came through."
Jacob: What is your name?
Man: Why do you want to know my name? And then right there he blessed him.
Genesis 32: 28-29

How much of our pain comes from not knowing who we really are? Not claiming our name- given to us by God. In Biblical times, names were very important. They defined a person's destiny and identity.

We'll never embrace our true self if we keep comparing ourselves to others. There's always going to be a prettier girl or buffer guy. There's always going to be someone more talented than us or richer than us. If you live your life trying to be the better than everyone else, your not going to be happy. If you live your life trying to make the best out of what God gives you- you can be a blessing to others.

Why do we think we are supposed to be like the people around us? Don't we realize that different is  beautiful? So much of America wants to fit in. We want to look like the models plastered on tv screens and magazines. We want to have a classy wedding, wear a name brand dress, get a ring just like the diamond ones on tv. We want to be smart and we are constantly getting ranked and compared to the students in our classes. But we have it wrong- it's not a competition. Life is not a fight with our brothers and sisters in Christ- it's a battle against things in the heavenly places and spiritual things.

How much life do we lose when were endlessly comparing and measuring ourselves to others or when we are jealous of what someone else has or even who someone else is. The struggle of Jacob is the struggle of all of us. We're asked "What is your name" and were really being asked "Who are you?"

It's easy to look around and say Why can't I be like them? But to discover our true identity in Christ we have to embrace our story and our testimony- the good, the bad, and the ugly parts in our lives- We each have our own path, set apart by God. We have our own limits. We can't expect to be as good as other people at certain things. We have undergone certain struggles in our lives for different reasons. We each have different strengths according to our needs and our histories.

What a tragedy it is to live your whole life according to the expectations of others. Many people live as if their is a script already written for their life that they can just follow. Or they give up their own dreams for someone else's and God's will and dreams for them are crushed.

Mark 12:31 says "Love your neighbor as yourself" and I've heard many explanations and translations of this verse. How can I ever love and embrace someone else when I've never came to embrace myself for who I am and who I am not? I am a child of Christ. I am a sinner. I am desperately in need of Jesus.

This man asked Jacob what is your name? He's struggled and he's been broken. Jacob is done pretending he's someone else. He's ready to be himself. He's ok with the life God has given him. It's then that God pulls him into his divine destiny as father of the nation and renames him "Israel".

Stop comparing yourself to other people. Stop chasing other people's dreams. Learn about yourself and your identity as a child of Christ. Hang out with the people who accept that identity for you- who help you see yourself as God would. Stop looking around and stop pretending. God loves you. He wants you to be you- the way he created you to be.

Attitude and school

One of my best friends introduced me to my favorite quote while I was in Peru..
Attitude is the difference between an adventure and an ordeal.
I think this quote is super important and practical right now as we are approaching the last 3 weeks of school. If you are like me, you are burnt out with studying and your head is all bout that summer camp, swimming, camping, family life, whatever and it can be easy to whine, grumble, and make excuses to why your life suddenly is terrible and why you deserve to have a bad day.

This passage in Romans (message) really speaks to me.

"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life
your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life- and place
it before God as an offering. 


Embracing what God does for you is the best thing
you can do for him. Don't become so well adjusted to your culture that
you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention of God. You'll be 
changed from the inside out."


Wow, you see I am always waiting for big opportunities to help people or change the world or make a difference but so often God wants us to glorify Him in the small things. And sometimes I get frustrated when life seems too mundane and when schoolwork is piling on, but God asks us to glorify Him with what He puts in front of us and what He entrusts to us at that time. God works step by step and as He sees our faithfulness in the small things He will give us more opportunities to work for Him in the big things.

We can do this end of school thing- not because we are smart- but because Christ is enough to fill our every need until the end and He promises to finish the work He started in us this semester.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sometimes things work out..

This morning God totally worked out a concern I had with who would be my roommate next semester. I was praying about it this morning during prayer group and then I finished praying and the whole group got silent.. and I heard this girl who I know named Christine saying really loudly that she didn't have a roommate. And so I look up from prayer and look at my friend praying next to me smile and then continue praying. At the end of the prayer, I felt like I should go talk to her about being room mates and through the day we decided that we would enjoy rooming together. I'm really excited because I know she really loves God, and orphans, and is doing nursing just like me so I think we already have alot in common. And I feel like the whole thing was totally meant to be--

Something I've been learning lately is that sometimes God works out things better than we could have ever dreamed or imagined...
But sometimes He doesn't work things out the way we would like.

Sometimes God heals people when we pray to Him and other times a beloved member of our family may die.

Sometimes God intervenes and helps us to overcome situations leading to great glory for His name and joy in our hearts and other times God asks us to endure difficult and even unfair situations.

Somewhere around the world right now there's a child who is crying because of hunger and for some reason God allows them to suffer and die.

Meanwhile, I'm here living a rich (you are rich too- you have a computer) life here in America and God is blessing my life.

And sometimes I wonder WHY..
Why does God intervene for some and not for others?
Some may call God unloving but I know with all my heart  that this is not the reason. That is a horrible lie of the Devil and only because of him and sin does suffering exis. God has done everything in His power to prove to us His love and one day we will see with new light why things have occurred the way they have...

I don't think we will ever fully understand the ways of God. But we must trust Him because we know His character and that His ways are justice and His love is neverfailing.

**I think it's an illusion in the Christian faith that God will work things out according to the way we want. Like when we truly follow God and surrender to Him, we are gonna find that perfect boyfriend or girlfriend and our prayers are going to overcome our illnesses or we aren't going to struggle anymore with sins. We think that when we go into the mission field, God will automatically protect us and that if we tithe, God will make us rich. I think these are faulty beliefs and we have no right to think we deserve these things. Sometimes God doesn't desire for us to have these things of the world.





Classified

Every day we're all classified.
And in turn we classify the people around us
Writing labels in front of their faces.. Reputations to their names
From small situations we often draw big conclusions.
"LIKE" "DISLIKE" "ATHLETE" "SMART" "CHRISTIAN" "JERK" "RUDE" "SELFISH" "COOL" "Conservate" "Liberal" "Pretty" "Ugly" "Unpopular" "Popular"
And from these conclusions we decide if we would like to get to know a person and if we trust or respect them.

As a Christian, names have a special significance to us because we bear representation of the Holy one: Jesus Christ. When He mercifully writes his signature of blood, over our lives we began to live as a testimony of His love.
Unfortunately though, Satan works hard to destroy that mark, to confuse us with the rest of the world, and erase God's name and write his own name on our hearts and minds replacing service with selfishness.

One of my good friends is an atheist and she constantly shares with me that she doesn't see Jesus in the "Christians" around her. She doesn't find love. She doesn't find joy. She doesn't see peace. In fact she recently told me she believes she could be a more "spiritual" leader than the rest of them.

I think this is terribly sad and unfortunate but probably one of the biggest reasons people turn from their faith or decide not to pursue Christianity (because they see hypocrisy in the church).
Thus as Christians, the way people see us is important because they look at us and often decide if they want to get to know the God we serve based on the way we act.

The third tenth commandment asks us not to take the Lord's name in vain. This goes beyond simply not swearing or saying OMG to realizing that we are witnesses for Christ and people are watching us. This is a high responsibility to bear the name of Jesus- not something that we deserve to bear- nor can ever demonstrate on our own but only by the grace of God.

I know for me, I have misrepresented Jesus many times. In fact,we have all hurt His name. And we may have hindered relationships that could be heavenly and risked lives for the kingdom. Yet because of God's mercy, I have also led many friends and campers to accept Christ into their life and to receive peace in times of need. Only by Christ's mercy may people see the light of life and love that has transformed our hearts.

Sometimes we will be misclassified by the world and sometimes even other Christian's may label us wrongly. Ultimately we must remember that we are striving to please God not man.
Classifications are shallow. Names can be changed.
But the forgiveness of Christ is everlasting.
May we stop judging others before we get to know them.
May we stop choosing our friend group and who we will reach out too and may we start loving the people around us.
In God's classification system, we are all sinners and we are all his beloved children who He wants to save because of His grace.











Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Redeemed

Have you ever read Redeeming Love by Francine Riveras or the book of Hosea in the Bible? Does it make sense to you or does it astonish you, frustrate you, sadden you, anger you? If you've never read these books I do highly recommend them for perspective.

Hosea is asked by God to marry a harlot- someone he knew would become unfaithful. Imagine God asking you to marry someone when you know they won't love you as much as you will love them. In fact, they will hate you, they will leave you, they will betray you and you will be left alone, only to shamefully run after them even though you were right in the beginning.

Hosea married Gomer and loved her and bore children with her. 
Yet Gomer left and was deceitful breaking the covenant marriage despite the love they had shared and the sacrifices Hosea had made for her. 
Gomer became a poor, shamed woman. 
Yet Hosea instead of harvesting bitterness, searched day and night for Gomer, his beloved lost, and would secretly help provide food and clothing for her protecting her in any way he could. 
Hosea never stopped loving her even though Gomer never came back and ultimately was sold into slavery.

Gomer did not deserve Hosea's love and mercy. Neither do we deserve Christ's sacrifice on the cross.
Mercy and grace are gifts that we never deserve. Though they are free to the receiver they are expensive to the giver. Love is never free. It is a risk and a sacrifice of the utmost value: the most precious parts of the heart. Proverbs 4:23 says we must guard our hearts for everything else we do will flow from it.

God is the only giver of a perfect love. God asks us to be His brides and to share a deep love together. We are all prostitues, whores, sinful selfish wretches yet God continues to love us day by day. He asks us to accept His love so that His love may transform our lives.

Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—

By grace we have been saved. And may this grace fill our hearts with peace and may we learn to extend mercy to our brothers and sisters who have hurt us the most.. as a response to God's uncomprehending sacrifice for us. Father, create in me a clean heart and help me accept the love you want to lavish upon me that your love may transform my life.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Grace abound

"My hands are dirty...
I dare not lift them up to the Holy One

I've been hiding afraid I let you down..
Inside I doubt
that you could love me
But in your eyes there's only grace abound"

Mercy- this song really speaks to my heart
No matter how we fall, how deep we fall, or where we fall
God's arms are reaching out to us and He's whispering
Can I hold you?

Satan wants us to feel afraid, ashamed, unworthy
He wants us to feel weak and overcome by sin
But Jesus calls on us to have faith

"You need not feel like a new creation in order to step out in faith and believe Christ has made you a new creature"- GYCSE

Perfection is the process of growing towards God. May we not look back or fall weary,.. but may we trust God's hands to grip us and carry us through....

This year for me I have felt so far away from God. Coming back from the mission field- I had been feeling God's presence so alive- and when I returned back to the states I felt like I was drowning. I know God never failed me but at times it felt like I didn't know who He was or if we had a relationship anymore. This semester God has brought new friends in my life that have helped carry me through points of spiritual weakness and inspire me to have real faith again. Praying with them in the mornings, studying the Bible with them, and starting to give Bible studies again has been such a blessing. This last weekend I got the opportunity to go to GYC-SE and actually share my mission story their too. I felt like God was specifically speaking to me. Our relationship with Christ isn't based on feelings. He will never run out of grace for us. His love is so amazing!





Friday, April 3, 2015

CROSS- does it change your life?

I've heard the crucifixion story countless times. I've seen the movies, the plays and the pageants, sometimes even helping play the roels. Sometimes it seems we have replayed the movie so many times that when we hear it we are simply going through the motions in our head.

We must stop. Daily we must contemplate the cross- not just a story that happened in the past- but as an event that gives us freedom and victory each and everyday. We must stop simply replaying the story, but we must arise boldly and boast in our testimonies how the cross has changed our life. When we live out our stories of how Christ's redemptive power transformed our life, we glorify God and help others to realize Jesus' death is real and He is alive.

What does the cross really mean? What does it mean for you? Has it really changed your life? Or is it just another story lying in a dusty book on the shelf? Does it change you? Does it define you? Or did it just happen?
I challenge you to take 10 minutes and think about the cross and what it means for you.

For me, the cross means that I can be spiritual director at summer camp. It means that despite my enormous flaws, shortages, and insecurities Christ still desires to use me in beautiful ways. The cross means that I can have the hope of being a missionary someday- that I can tell others that Jesus loves them- that I can smile and dance. Without the cross, I would be depressed, hurting, and alone but because of the cross I have second chances, hope, and freedom. The cross means that every day I have a reason to live because I have the hope of living with Jesus in heaven. The cross means that I am healed.

What does the cross mean for you? What does it mean for you today? And what hope does the cross offer you? I challenge you to share your story and encourage someone else to realize the power of the cross.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Body, mind, and spirit- unbalanced

Body, Mind, and spirit- Each are beautifully intertwined in creating a child of God at heart.

Your body: You may very well know exactly how your health is doing and how you feel about it. Most likely you are on one extreme or the other: you are constantly loving your body or you are constantly criticizing your body. You probably know that you need to work out more, eat healthier, and the check list continues... or maybe you are a gym rat and know exactly what size and weight you, as well as your waist measurements and resting heart rate. We take care of our body by developing patterns of healthy nutrition, exercise, and sleep and when our bodies are messed up we quickly see and feel the results. We are irritable, in pain, angry, disorganized, slacking in class, gaining weight.. the list could continue. We can visibly see the effects of our body and measure how we are doing. Without good health, it may be difficult to maintain focus in school, develop good relationships, and even sustain a close walk with the Lord. A few ways Satan tries to attack our body is with sugar, disease, laziness, eating disorders, low self-esteem, gluttony.

Your mind: Your mind has to do with self- talk, emotions, feelings, facts, and processing experiences. How do you handle stress? How often are you depressed vs being joyful? How do you view yourself and other people? Do you smile or laugh during a day? Are you content with your life? How do you do in school or in challenging situations? Satan often tries to attack our minds by using the "little lie tactic". He teaches us small lies that we believe as young children and begin to base our lives upon. Lies like "I'm not good enough. I'm not pretty enough. I won't ever be able too. I can't do that. I'm not skilled in that area.." The result is depression, anxiety, unfriendliness, judgement, egoism, shame, despair, suicidal thoughts...


Your spirit: How is your relationship with God? How connected are you to the Father? How are the Fruits of the Spirit manifested in your life? Are you spiritually strong or spiritually struggling. Do people see Jesus in you? Do you spend time in daily prayer and scripture reading or do you struggle with the desire to read your Bible? Satan attacks our spirit by making us feel lonely, unloved by others and God, by distracting us and making us too busy to spend time with Christ, and by putting temptations and sin in front of our faces in order to make us struggle.

"One step at a time my child"... If you have just read through this article judging yourself and feeling like you are letting God down in one or more of these areas in your life, I encourage you to stop for a moment and let God tell you.

"I love you with an everlasting love. Nothing you do or fail to do can ever make me love you more or less."- God

Now that we hear God's voice, I think God wants to teach us something important about our body, mind, and spirit. Our spirit comes first. Our mind comes second and finally a healthy body will follow. This is a sinful world, and we will struggle and we will all fail in some way or another if we strive to do this life on our own. But when we give God the reigns to our life in it's entirety (our lonely or selfish spirits, our doubtful and self-conscious minds, our eating disorders, fatness, or disease.)

This won't be easy. This is in contrast to our natural desires. We want to fix our own bodies. We look at the mirrors and hire personal trainers, we binge and starve ourselves, we go to doctors for cosmetic surgeries, and worst of all we cry and plead for healing from devastating diseases on our bodies. Yet the more we strive without Christ at the center, the more selfish, un-Christ-like, discouraged, and ultimately Satanic we will become.

I'm speaking to you from personal experience. I've struggled with an eating disorder and depression and I've tried to fix it by counseling or by diet or exercise. But these things (which are not bad in of them selves) can not replace our need for Jesus. Jesus wants to fill our hearts and as His love overflows I believe His wisdom and healing will flow out of our hearts and into our minds and bodies.

If you are spiritually struggling, you are not alone. I am too. I have been fighting with God and trying to fix my life's problems with other things. Yet I encourage you to not give up on Christ and to know that you are not alone. We are all going to have weaknesses in one thing or another but if we stop looking at Christ, Satan will make us feel like our weaknesses have overcame us. They haven't. Christ is stronger. Christ wants your spirit, your mind, and your body to serve Him forever, May God bless =)

nursing

I have happy news for you guys.

I have gotten accepted to the nursing program for next fall and winter =) This will be the beginning of another huge journey with me and God. Nursing is something so special for me.

It's something I NEVER would have imagined myself doing. Something I never wanted to do and never thought I could do. But ever since Peru, when God helped me overcome some of my medical fears (little by little) (I am still a (big) little afraid). He showed me the gift of compassion and my love for helping people, especially little children.

I am excited to start the nursing program and I am hopeful that soon and I can learn to help terminally ill children or serve in an orphanage in another country taking care of the children's medical needs.. OR maybe not- who knows what God has planned for me.

But guys let me tell you.. when you truly surrender everything to God.
He is going to do CRAZY things in your life.
All the time I find myself questioning Who am I? Who am I now? Because I find myself acting like less and less of me and more and more like the character of Christ..
It's a slow process but God's grace is more than enough to cover you.
And His story that He's writing will be beautifully perfect for your heart.