Friday, July 31, 2009

Quiet Strength

During my summer in the Springs, I talked with my roommate, Rachel, about God's way of demonstrating strength in His creation. The ocean or water to me shows God's ever-reaching, majestic power that can rage and destroy, or calm and soothe. I love to sit on the beach and just listen to the waves roll in and lap at the sand and shells on the beach. It is peaceful. The mountains are dangerous, strong in their very nature, steady, unmoving, unchanging. They point to Heaven and require strong, adapted animals and plant life to thrive. We hypothesized that the mountains are God's picture of masculine strength while the ocean represents a more gentle, feminine strength.

One night, five of us girls took a night hike to Mt. Cutler. The curse of being an English major is that I find an analogy in EVERYTHING, and God greatly teaches me through nature. I noticed a tree that was knarled and leaning over in the trail, yet it had corrected itself and was still standing straight. Its roots were clinging to the rock and though bent, it was standing tall and proud. It was strong! There was a time where it had bent under the elements, but as its roots gripped the rock and dug deep, it filled out and grew tall. It still bore evidence of its brokenness but it had been healed and revealed this quiet, steady strength.

I feel like this tree reflects my life. It has been bent, twisted by the harsh winds of life. It's roots are apparent yet they have burrowed deep. I have been broken, challenged, knocked over by the winds of life, I have succumbed to pressure and struggled to correct myself. But there is a promise in the very nature of God that we will bend but not break. His strength is sufficient and we will be mighty oaks of righteousness for the display of His splendor (Isaiah 61:1-3)! I am clinging to my Rock for strength and I pray that the broken and bent parts in my life pull my roots to the surface so people can see what I cling to in the harshness and have hope. I will grow tall and strong because I serve a mighty God who made the mountains. I pray that like that tree, my Maker gives me a quiet strength to withstand the strongest elements because my roots are clinging to my Rock.

In the One who is Mighty to Save,

Hos. 6:1 "Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn but He will heal; He has stricken, but He will bind us up."

Sunday, July 12, 2009


God continues to work on my heart and show me new things about myself and what He has called me to while I am here at Focus. One of the most popular questions here is "What is your story", and I swear it gets asked on a daily basis. I am ashamed to say that I have never thought to ask my friends back home this question. I am constantly amazed at the stories of others and that the same God bringing them out of a bad situation or shaping their circumstances is working to restore my heart and embolden me.

We did an activity the last few minutes of class one day this week. In the center of the board was written a huge I AM. We were asked to come and write down where we are in our story around the I AM. It was powerful and emotional. It hurt my heart to see the broken places that some of my friends are in, and it made me smile to see what God was doing in spite of it. I often have a hard time being open with others and I broke down actually verbalizing where I am at and knowing what I didn't want to write down. I pray that as you look at where you are at in your will see the mighty hand of our God. God is the I AM in the midst of our circumstance and He has called us to be vulnerable with His Body:

I AM daughter of the King of Kings. I AM a recent college grad with a calling. I AM attempting to be still and know that He is God. I AM in transition, and I AM scared to death about the next step.

But just like on the board, the Great I AM is in the middle of my circumstances, just as He is in the middle of yours.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Gladiator - A Call to Boldness

So far this summer, God has really been working on my heart in regards to being still and knowing who He is and understanding that He has called me to boldness. To be honest, that scares and excites me...I feel so unworthy and inadequate, but I feel He is calling me to stand up. One of the qualities I admire most about people is what I call "humble boldness." They are unashamed and bold about Christ but they do it in such a way that draws people to them; they are confident in who they are and who their Savior is and don't feel the need to be defensive.

The summer before my senior year of high school, I went on a leadership trip to Rome with a group of seniors and college students. There was a guy about to go into the marines that was on the trip with us. When we went to the Coliseum, we prayed over him, asking that God would make him a mighty warrior for Christ. It was surreal...we were commissioning a guy in a place where so many Christians have died because they refused to back away from their Savior! What an awesome testimony. And sometimes I wonder, will God call me to do that, too? If He does, I pray for strength, peace, and joy, and that it will ultimately glorify Him.

I feel that our nation is coming to a crossroads. We claim to be tolerant, but really tolerance includes everyone but Christians or conservatives. Is this fair? No, but the fact is that up until now we have had a relatively easy time, and as a result, our nation is drifting from God. China, under the rule of a dictator who kills Christians, has one of the biggest and healthiest Christian bodies in the world. What if in the face of mounting persecution and intolerance against Christians, God is trying to wake American Christians up to see who will follow Him?

I recently had a dream that I was back home in Texas and my family and I were scrambling around the house trying to pack because people had heard we were Christians and were coming to take us somewhere where we wouldn't be able to tell others about Him anymore. A few nights later, I had a similar dream that I was rushing to pack and load cars with my friends here at Focus because people had heard they were training Christian leaders for the next generation and they wanted to stop us. I in no way claim that these are prophetic. On both occasions, I woke up anxious and scared. But I prayed that God would give us a boldness to preach Christ unashamedly. I have not been called to sit on the bench. I have no idea what that means exactly but if God is preparing me to stand up for Him then I trust He will give me the strength and peace to do so.

As I continue to pray that God will equip me and empower me to be bold for His glory I go to these verses. I hope they encourage your heart and help you to realize that God called us to a life of boldness for Him! It's time for us to take a stand and share the love of our Savior...there is power in His name!

"Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident." Psalm 23:7
"And now, Lord, look on their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your Holy Servant, Jesus." Acts 4:29-30

God is still working...may we make His name known!

In the One who is Mighty to Save,

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Healing Rain

Let me just say up front that God did not design my body to hike up mountains. I am terrible at it...but I absolutely love taking the trail up slow and looking at everything that God has made. Last Thursday, a few of our Focus crew took a hike up the Columbine Trail. It was super steep and I hated it...until I dropped back with a few girls from my group and just enjoyed the walk. As we wound up the trail, the clouds moved in and it began to rain. We turned to head back down the mountain, slightly worried about the thunder and lightening. Our leader came barreling down the mountain, shouting at us to get off the mountain as quickly as possible all the while praying that no one got struck by lightening or hurt on the way down. I ran. The trail was steep, slippery, tiny streams were forming and cutting their way through the dirt and down the mountain, racing my feet. I was getting soaked and all I could do was smile and laugh. I was like a little kid basking in the rain of my Father, and it was exhilarating.

I realized as I was running down that my life as of late is a lot like this trail. Sometimes God has to push us up a mountain, and we are so caught up in the midst of a painful situation that we forget that He is walking with us. We are too busy focusing on breathing and keeping our feet moving that we forget the One that made us is walking with us, promising to help. But once we get to the top, it is like the journey up never happened, because we can bask in the glory and joy of making it through and seeing the beauty around us. Then we have the run down to a valley and small time of peace before God brings us the next mountain, and on that run down He rejuvenates us with His healing rain.

Growing up, my parents called me a fish out of water. I love the feel of the water on my skin and the lightness and grace of my body as it submerges! Lately, I have been fascinated with the idea of water and looked it up in my quiet times to see what it represents in God's Word! I was shocked and elated...check out what I found:

Water penetrates, it conforms to the condition of our hearts. What we do saturates us: Psalms 109:18
It grows, revives, and restores that which was broken or decaying: Job 14:8-9,
Hosea 14:4-6
It cleanses, purifies, marks us as God's, almost like anointing, cleansing our filth so God can give us a new heart : Ezekiel 5:26
It is used as a source of miracles - turned into blood, into wine, brought from a Rock(our Rock is the source of living water) brought from what is dead (brought from the jawbone of a donkey) : Exodus. 7:17, 20, John 2:7-9, Exodus. 17:6,
Numbers 20:11
It represents the voice of Christ: Rev.1:15
It represents the knowledge of God: Isaiah. 11:9, Habakkuk 2:14
Represents wisdom we should have in Christ: Proverbs 18:4, 20:5
It denotes stillness: Psalm 23:2

My favorite passage that has gone a long way toward showing me the heart of God through rain and water this week was Hosea 6:1-3. I hope you find it equally encouraging and see the heart of God and His amazing love for you! We serve the God who is Living Water, and through it, He desires to heal, restore, bring peace, cleanse, and show Himself more powerful so that we are conformed to His likeness. Our God gets the ultimate glory!

"Come and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up. After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight. Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth." Hosea 6:1-3