Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Life's a Dance

One of the last few nights I was in Colorado we had a swing dance party in our student lounge. I grew up around very musical, very artsy, very talented friends both at school and at church, but had never learned to swing dance. To be honest, I was nervous. I learn better when I figure it out on my own and then apply it. I want to have the steps and the moves down before I am in the spotlight. In other words, I want to have an element of perfection and control. This is a huge problem for me. As I sat on the couches watching some of my friends dance and have a good time, one of my friends came over, pulled me up off the couch, and was determined to teach me. He recognized my fear and was determined I would get over it. He began to teach me the steps, reminding me to follow his lead and I wouldn't have to do anything. I would do well for a little while and then lose my focus, remember I wasn't in control, worry about missing the next step, and I would stop following his lead...and we would mess up.

As I thought about this later, I realized that it is such a perfect example once again of the stage of life I am in right now. English major, remember? Analogy in everything. But it is the simple, beautiful, stupid, seemingly meaningless areas of my life that God seems to teach me the most through. My life is a complicated dance, and right now, my Savior is reminding me to follow His lead. I get frustrated and want to know the next step! I don't want to mess up, I don't want to miss it. But when I try to take back control, I mess up and I am no longer allowing my Jesus to lead me and it hinders the beautiful, intricate steps He wants to bless my life with, if I would just allow him to teach me, lead me, and walk me through the steps.

He is once again teaching me surrender. I have started to wonder the last couple weeks if the idea of surrender is something that the church has made up or if it is really something that is Biblical. I found an example of God's call to us to surrender in Matthew 19:16-26. Jesus is teaching His disciples and a rich young man comes to Him and asks how he can have eternal life. Jesus tells him to first follow the commandments, and then sell everything he has, and come, follow Jesus. The man went away saddened because he wasn't willing to give it all up to follow Jesus. We may look at this story and see a very drastic example of surrender, but isn't that what God calls us to do? To be willing to give it all up, every aspect of our lives (because He gave it it to us and it all belongs to Him anyway), and follow Him? If we truly believe that He is sovereign (in control), and our provider, then shouldn't surrender be easy? Ha, no! We are selfish creatures that desire to do it on our own...when we realize that doing it on our own means falling flat on our face because we are simply not capable, then we run to our Savior.

Surrender means to give up, abandon, yield. None of those things are easy for us. When I realized that I had to follow my friend to have the most fun possible, I realized the freedom of just releasing control and dancing. My picture of surrender may be childish but here it is: I picture myself in a field of wild flowers with a blue sky overhead and all I want to do is open my arms, close my eyes, twirl around, and praise my Creator for the freedom that comes with giving it all to Him.

I have a new I AM (if you don't understand this then check out my I AM post from earlier in the summer). I have been sweetly broken and I AM wholly surrendering. I AM ready, Lord, send me.

Surrendering it all,

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Beautiful You

I was asked this summer to consider the question: "What breaks your heart and baffles your mind?" My number one heart breaker are girls that are hurting. We are fed so many lies in our culture today. My desire is for my girlfriends to know how loved they are. In the book Captivating (which I would highly recommend for you ladies who have never read it), the author says that because God created us, there is a place in His heart that only He can fill. When we allow Him to fill our hearts and realize that He is our true love, we see that He consumes us!

Ladies, God created us to desire love and security...the fact is that we allow guys to fill those places in our lives when the Lover of our souls is whispering in our ear sweet nothings about how beautiful we are to Him, how much He cherishes us, and how He promises to take care of us more than the flowers of the field and birds of the air. That is the heart of our God for us!! We are the bride of Christ! We are already cherished so much more than a man will ever be able to love us! Don't get me wrong...I have dreams of a white wedding, a man who is tall, dark, and handsome and loves me more than anything except His King. I am no feminist. But I also realize that that man will take the place of God in my life if I am depending on his love to be enough for me.

It broke my heart this summer that so many of the amazing girls I spent two months with had let a guy hurt them or steal their joy (me included). I can't wait to see the men God brings into their lives who will cherish them! Ladies, let's not settle! God has called men to love us as Christ loved the church! And what did Christ do for the church? He died for it! Is the guy in your life so in love with Jesus, that He recognizes his role is to lead you spiritually and love and cherish you so much that he would die for you? If he doesn't, HE IS NOT WORTH IT! That immediately eliminates a lot of men...which should make finding a good one easier. :) Guys were made to reflect God's strength and girls were made to reflect His beauty and glory. Guys, you need to learn how to submit to your Maker, because there is a reason that girls go for the "scumbags" and its because a lot of times they see no difference between you as a Christian man and them.

In the Bible, God's relationship with us goes from Potter to clay, sheep to Shepherd, Father to child, Best friends, and then Bridegroom! Do you notice that the level of intimacy with Him increases as our relationship with Him increases? I once made a list of everything I want in a guy and when I reread it, I found that God fulfills everything on there already because He already knows my heart so intimately! Know and rest in how much He can fill your heart and how passionately and tenderly He loves you.

Another lie we have bought into as girls is that we need to meet the standards of the world as far as beauty goes. I struggle here, too! I have definitely bought into the lie that I need to look a certain way, dress a certain way, act a certain way to be attractive or succeed. But in all reality, God says that man looks at our physical appearance while God looks at our hearts. What if we worked on dressing up our hearts for our Lord so that every time we talked to Him, He was pleased with our appearance? What if we learned to see the beauty of our character and personality and crazy perks that God has given us are actually a gift and not a curse? What if we realized that because we are created in our Savior's image, we are automatically the most beautiful thing that walked the planet and could win any fashion show? What if we realized the heart of our God for us to give us beauty for ashes and His desire to heal us and fill us with His love? What if we remembered that because we are daughters of the King we are clothed in His beauty, righteousness, and holiness? That should make us so excited and feel treasured!

I worked with kids at a day camp for two summers and something that broke my heart was young girls listening and singing songs and performing dance moves to terrible lyrics. They had obviously been watching MTV (shame on their parents for that). One amazingly sweet, gorgeous Christian nine year old came to me hurting because she had refused to do some of those dance moves, talk in a certain way, and listen to some of those songs. I could relate. There were many times in high school when I felt uncomfortable around my girlfriends. I left sleep overs in the middle of the night because I did not want to discuss the subject matter or act or dress in a certain way. I discussed this with some of my guy friends and they voiced that they actually like and respect a girl more when she stands up for what is right, and dresses and acts in ways that not only respects them as Christian brothers but is also honoring to their Maker. John Randalls says that what you do to get a guy, you will have to do to keep him. If starving yourself, dressing inappropriately, or acting seductively hooks you a guy, run away fast! Chances are if you do get married you won't make it to your Golden Anniversary if that is all that attracted him to you. A relationship attracted by the beauty within will last much longer.

I am now done with my soap box... but know that you are so beautiful to God! Be secure in who you are as a daughter of the King of Kings. If you don't know my Jesus, know that accepting Him as your Lord and Savior and desiring to live for Him will introduce you to the most intimate, unconditional, forever love relationship of all time!

Your sis in Christ,

Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Prov. 31:30

Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price. So glorify God with your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20

"There could never be a more beautiful you. Don't buy the lies, disguises and hoops they make you jump through. You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do. So there could never be a more beautiful you." song by Jonny Diaz

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I often feel there is a war raging within me between the girl who wants to trust and lean on others and the girl who is independent, stubborn, and doesn't need anyone because she doesn't want to get hurt. The pendulum is constantly swinging back and forth between the two natures, desiring to find a happy medium and never quite figuring out how to rest in the middle. There is a good chance this will be a lifelong challenge for me, however, this summer I was introduced to the beauty in the Body that appears in our weakness.

Weakness unifies the Body because it allows God to be glorified and the Body to operate smoothly because others strengths are allowed to blossom. This song greatly encourages my heart as I remember my community from this summer, and remember that I don't have to be so independent and alone. There is hope in the journey down the mountain and beauty when people surround you, smother you, and walk down with you. My Savior has walked before me and I am following in His footsteps.

"Walk Down this Mountain" by Bebo Norman
It's a better place
standing high upon this mountain.
I've seen your face
full of the light that only this height can show.
Blistered hand is what you you've given
But you've been given all you'll ever need
to know.

So walk down this mountain
with your heart held high,
follow in the footsteps of your Maker.
With this love that's gone before you
and these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will taste the meaning of this life.

Well it's a common ground
and I see you're all still standing.
But just look around and you'll find
the very face of God.
He's walking down into the distance
He's walking down to where the masses are.

So walk down this mountain
with your heart held high,
follow in the footsteps of your Maker.
With this love that's gone before you
and these people at your side
If you offer up your broken cup
You will finally taste the meaning of this life.

We are standing in a place of peace
And this is how the world should be.

In Him,

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Diamond in the Rough

Well I have officially climbed up and down Pike's Peak. My goal has been accomplished. I have climbed a mountain and lived to tell the tale. My adventure on Pike's Peak was entertaining, challenging, humbling, and enlightening. We hiked up in the dark so I couldn't see anything but the flashlight illuminating the step in front of me. Coming down after we watched the most gorgeous sunrise, I was thankful that I couldn't see what I had hiked up in the night.
Seeing would have put me in the position to fear and be more eager to quit. Seeing only the step in front of me reminded me that each step, though difficult and often slippery, could be accomplished. Just reach the light and then continue to follow it up. I think this may be why God only gives us the next step in our great adventure. If we saw the big picture, we may want to quit, alter our route, or become reckless and miss the sunrise at the top. Giving us just the next step is God's way of saying, "I have designed each step. Let me show you how to conquer this one and we will tackle the next one together. I know the road ahead, and I'll help you up it one step at a time. Just trust me for the rest."
It was then that I realized in my desperate need for direction for grad school and my dreams and what city I will live in in the next year, that God is giving me just the next step and when I get up that one, He will show me the next one. That is the very nature of God...not giving us more than we can handle, knowing what we need even when we don't, loving us in spite of our stubbornness and independence. He helps us to temper those character qualities that He gave us to allow us to better reflect His image.

Now here's where nature comes in, touches my heart, and whispers sweet nothings about the very nature and character of my Maker. As we walked down, I could not get over the beautiful mountain flowers flourishing in the rocks along the path. They thrive with little water in the midst of rough terrain. They are strong! They are beautiful! And they live in spite of the elements! They are diamonds in the rough. As Christians, God never promises the road to be easy. In fact, I am sure it looks much like the path up Pike's Peak...steep and rocky. But he promises that in the midst of the difficulty we will thrive and grow. He promises Beauty in the hard spots of our life. God is the beauty in the midst of our circumstance. He is the diamond in the rough, bringing hope and life and strength.

I pray that this blesses your heart,

"The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in You, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17