Welcome to my Boat

One of my best friends, Amanda, and I somehow end up having deep discussions about life in the car. No, not while we are driving together, but parked in a parking lot somewhere. These conversations always take place late at night. We are convinced that we will not only solve all of our own problems, but at some point the world’s problems too. The solution for world hunger will come out of one our late night car talks, mark my words.

It was in one of these talks that a phrase popped into my mind, “you cannot invite someone into your lifeboat, in hopes of saving them, if your lifeboat is full of holes.” Let me expand upon this idea a little more for you. Watching someone struggle with sin, addiction, or just life can be hard. It is common when you see someone struggling that you want to “save them,” especially, if you care about this person. I am someone who feels empathy deeply so it is really hard from me to not be able to fix everyone. However, if you are struggling with sin yourself and you are trying to pull someone out of sin the chances are you will both end up “sinking” into sin.

The Bible talks about this in Proverbs 12:26 “The godly give good advice to their friends; the wicked lead them astray.” (NLT) Most of the time this verse is used to convey the importance of having godly friends. But it can also emphasis that it should be necessary that we check ourselves before giving advice, so that we do not lead someone astray.  I do not ever want my sin to be a hazard of to someone else.

Set my heart on You. Give me tunnel vision for only You. Keep me from evil and help me not to cause others to fall because of me.

Recognize

One of the first things you will notice about me is that I am a momma’s girl. This is a key piece of information for my little story. I was sitting in the library between classes working on homework when suddenly my ears perked up. Out of my homework stupor I heard a sound that was familiar to me. A cough. Not just any cough but my momma’s. The following conversation took place:

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This library has three stories and many sections. I was not listening for my mom. I was not even thinking about her (Sorry Mommy). But I knew that sound well enough to recognize it. To know without a doubt that is was her.

When God speaks do you recognize His voice? The word Recognize is defined as: identify (someone or something) from having encountered them before; know again. The only way to recognize God’s voice is to have encountered Him. We cannot recognize what we have never known to begin with.

“Jesus answered, “I told you, but you don’t believe. Everything I have done has been authorized by my Father, actions that speak louder than words. You don’t believe because you’re not my sheep. My sheep recognize my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them real and eternal life. They are protected from the Destroyer for good. No one can steal them from out of my hand. The Father who put them under my care is so much greater than the Destroyer and Thief. No one could ever get them away from him. I and the Father are one heart and mind.” John 10:25-30 (MSG)

 

Speaking Voice

I ignore God.

Until I have to sound like a good Christian.

Then I drum something up.

I fail at basic Christian functions.

I never respected those who would try to “preach” to you,

be it from a pulpit or in a conversation,

if they were not living what they were advocating.

Yet, that’s what I do.

If you don’t speak to me, how can you be My voice?

We are called to be His voice in the world.

Everyone is broken. Everyone needs Him. Everyone needs to hear Him.

If I don’t have the words how can I show anyone Him.

I get my words from Him.

But if I don’t actually talk to Him where are they coming from?

Who are they coming from?

I let my busyness and brokenness come in between me and God.

“May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he’ll do it!” 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

22

Saturday on January 3, 2015 I turned 22. I was not excited about it at all. Why? Because I feel like I am in the middle of the ocean. I can’t see the land I left and I certainly cannot see the land I am heading to at all. This would be the part of the journey were sailors would start going insane. It is rather scary.

So here is the deal. I don’t know anything. I have no idea where the rest of my life is going. I am just out here in the ocean. All I have is people who love me and a promise.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Trust is hard. Really hard. Luckily, I am not the captain on this ship. I am just a passenger. I do not have to know where the ship is going or how to get there. I just need to enjoy the ride. It’s hard, but that is what you sign up for when you allow Christ to be your captain.

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.

Limb From Limb

This post is written by my sister, Hannah. I asked her to write it this evening while we were having dinner. She had just come from a class that had left her depressed, anger, and grieving and I felt like what she had to say should be shared. 

Why is college so tough? For most college students is a time of discovering what you believe in, who you want to be, and challenges to your Faith system. But today I had new experience as to why college is just so hard. I wasn’t challenged but I was confirmed in something I already knew I believed in. I am a third year biology major and am in a Human Sexuality Class.

We were going over the topic of Abortion. I already knew my thoughts and feelings on the subject. Abortion was bad, and any “good” Christian would agree. But as I sat in that classroom, pen in hand, taking notes it hit me. These statistics I was writing down were not mere numbers. These were completely, helpless humans whose lives were inconvenient to the mothers. Whose only crime was that of existing at the wrong moment in time.

At the end of class the professor said we had the option of leaving before she showed an example of a DNC type abortion. Allow me to expand on what a DNC is. DNC stands for Dilation and Curettage. The DNC is the most common type of second trimester abortion. During this procedure, the mother’s cervix must be dilated much more than in a first trimester abortion simply because her baby is now large. After dilation is accomplished, the DNC procedure starts by rupturing the amniotic sac which contains the unborn child.

The doctor then begins the process of dismembering the baby and pulling it out of the uterus in pieces. To do this, the abortionist uses suction as well as surgical forceps which basically act like a pair of pliers. He inserts this instrument into the uterus and starts to open and close it until a part of the baby or placenta is grasped. That piece is torn off and is pulled out. This process is repeated until the abortionist feels that the procedure has been completed.

Sometimes, the baby’s skull is too large to pull out of the uterus, so the abortionist must first crush it with the forceps. The abortionist will know that the child’s skull has been sufficiently collapsed when the baby’s brains flow out of the uterus. Among abortionists this is called the “calvaria sign” and it signals that the skull will then be much easier to remove. Throughout a DNC procedure, all of the extracted baby parts are placed on a tray where they are then reassembled. This is done to make certain that the entire baby is accounted for and that no parts are left behind.

I watched a little child literally being torn limb from limb and what impacted me most, was how tiny their hands and feet were. They were so small but oh so perfectly formed. So intentionally formed. So thoughtfully formed. Allow me to disturb you more with some facts.

 
-Most people say abortion is ok in cases of rape or incest. This is the typical go to defensive argument for Pro-”Choice” people. But less than 1% of all abortions are done because of the result of rape or incest.

-Only 12% of women claim a medical problem as a reason for seeking an abortion.

-¾ of all women who get an abortion claim “having the child would interfere” as their reason for abortion, 

And by age 45, ⅓ of all American women have had an abortion.

Now let me give you a mental picture. You are standing in the cereal aisle at Wal-Mart. As you look down the aisle, there are 9 women in it. One may be picking up frosted flakes, the other Fruit loops and the others maybe oatmeal, who knows. But 3 of those women, doing everyday things, has had an abortion. Has ended her child before she even knew it.

NOW for the part that makes me livid. Buckle up because it is time for a crash course in the Court System. Everybody knows the case Roe vs Wade as being the Supreme Court case that made abortions a “right”. Now, in Roe vs Wade there is no “right to an abortion” but what was used to justify Roe was the “right to privacy” found in the Bill of Rights. But what many do not realize is we, as a country, have NEVER voted on whether abortion should be legal or not. Roe vs. Wade was passed because 7 of the 9 Supreme Court Justices voted yes and said it was a “right”. 7 old, white men are responsible for the 1.21 million abortions that happen in America each year. 7 old, white men are responsible for the over 60 million abortions that have happened since 1973.

After learning all this, I walked out of my class having lost faith in humanity. I was perplexed at how Christians can simply say “Yes, abortions bad” but then have no righteous anger beyond that. I was mad at my generation for being so apathetic! So I would like to challenge you with Hosea 4:6

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children”.

Knowledge is Power. Knowledge is Freedom. And Knowledge can affect change !

Princess Anna

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I relate a lot to Anna. I am the type of person who would want to get married after a day of knowing someone, if it was true love of course. I also truthfully believe that talking to my sister will fix almost any problem in the world, well my world at least. She would and has stopped me from making bad decisions. Although she has never frozen a country she leans more towards Elsa and I tend to be more like Anna.

Princess Anna loses her parents and in a way her sister. (Spoiler Alert)She has no family, no friends, and like Hans says no one to love her. So naturally she does what most females in her position do, she finds a truly terrible man to give her what she thinks love is. This almost destroys her life and the life of several others. All because she is missing love in her life.

Now for the scary part. We live in a world of Princess Annas. People, not just women, are desperately searching for love. I do not mean romantic love although that is what it is mistaken for I mean real true, total acceptance, love. As a follower of Christ it is up to us to show the love to the world. Not just evangelizing, but actually caring about them. This means overlooking their sins and how they have wronged you and pouring out love and kindness constantly.

The best examples of this kind of love in my life are my mom, sister, and a few close friends (A&A). They love and support me unconditionally. But they reason that these strong women are able to give me the love I crave is because of the love of God in them. They let His love show thru them. Even when I am making hard for them, they still love me.

If no one has told you today. You are loved. You have value. You have a purpose. You have someone pursing you with all of His might. He knows where you are and you are not alone. You do have the strength to make it because He will give it to you. He loves you even if it feels like no one else does.

 

“For God is sheer beauty,

    all-generous in love,

    loyal always and ever.” Psalms 100:5 MSG

 

Beautiful Brokenness

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The picture above is lyrics from the song Brokenness Aside. These lyrics describe me so perfectly. I sin. I mess up. I do stuff I shouldn’t. But I am a sinner and until I get to heaven this is how life will be. Striving for perfection, and waiting till the day when I am made perfect in Him.

I am in a phase of my walk with God right now where I am starting to see the beauty in the brokenness that once filled my heart. Whereas before all I could see was pain. I now know God on a much deeper level and on such a personal level. Do I wish my life had played out differently? That I had been spared hurt and that the hurt had not lead to sin? Not really.

See in the pain and the moments of pure desperation are where you find God. It’s where He reaches down, hugs you, and shows you His love. It’s the crying and praying at 3 am when it’s just you and God that you see what He is made of. And He is good, and loving, and kind, a parent to the parentless, and protector of the ones who need to be kept safe. All my life, I knew these facts about God. I knew what these things meant. I thought I knew Him. But until I felt His love, until I was so desperate that He was all I had, I couldn’t really know what I didn’t know.

That is where the beauty comes from. Knowing more than facts about God, but actually experiencing what these things mean. I knew He loved me. But when I felt that love, at a time when I felt so alone and so very hurt, it changed our relationship. So let me be broken and let me be hurt. He will be there to put me back together and to heal me. And He will take my brokenness aside and make it beautiful.

“Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.

If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;

If you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

Disciples so often get into trouble;

Still, God is there every time.

 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;

Not even a finger gets broken.” Psalms 34:17-20 (MSG)