Thursday, September 6, 2012

1 thing then a 1000

If there's one thing I've learned these last few years, there's a thousand. It seems that each day I'm faced with yet another truth, another lesson, or another day of trusting. Is it easy? Surely not. I find I'm plagued with uncertainty of the future and constantly reminded of living here and now. I cannot change everything in life in a blink of an eye. And I'm my own person, uniquely created, with a specific calling and direction on my life.

I was just reading a dear friend of mine's blog. Her name is Callie and she's been a gem of a friend since I first met her back in High School. She loves Jesus like no other, she's honest, she's vulnerable, she's sweet and kind. She's one of those rare women with heart of gold and such compassion and grace. I love her to pieces. And one of the things I love most about her is her courage. That girl is a country wrangler, in the mountains in Colorado and is living her dream and passion day in and day out. Is it easy for her? Probably not. And like me, I'm sure she has those moments and days of "really Lord? What the heck?!" But I am so incredibly proud of her and all she's done.

Then there's my BFF, Jenny. This girl is a straight up Doctor now. Yup. She is legit like that! I have watched this woman work diligently and hard for her entire educational life. She is one of the most determined and focused women I know. She knew what she wanted to do at an early age and pursued her passions full speed ahead. I am so incredibly proud of her and her accomplishments. Unreal to think that nearly 10 years have passed since she started this journey. And I remember the times of exhaustion and frustration as she faced deadlines and internships. But here she is, a successful, PhD.

And there's my co-worker, Patty, who is the most hard working woman I've ever met. She is focused and reliable, trustworthy and diligent. She has a 10 month old baby, works full time, and yet still has a smile on her face each morning. I don't know how she does it, how she finds the strength to push through each day. But she does it, and she does it well. She is a remarkable person and a wonderful friend, mother and wife to all those she loves.

Why do I bring up all these women? Because I look at each of their lives and go "wow, they've got it made". But then I realize that we all have our own journey on this earth. And mine may not look like other's, and that's OK! I may not yet be the successful business woman that I once thought I'd be. I may be turning 27 in a month and not have that Condo of my own I always assumed I'd have by now. I may not have all my debt paid off and the funds to travel. But you know what? In the grand scheme of things it doesn't even matter. I'm given today, this hour, this moment. And for these things, I'm thankful. God has been good to me. And I often act like a spoiled little brat because my dreams aren't coming true. But if I'm truly honest with myself, those dreams have DRASTICALLY changed over my 20's. I no longer worry about a man or marriage or a family and children. It's not mine to worry about. God's got it, whom or what do I have to fear?

And an epiphony of sorts came to me last night I sat in my beastly hot house after a run, eating caprese salad and chocolate ice cream (I know, gross, but delicious on a hot day!). Why does life have to be this huge complicated thing? Why does my relationship with the Lord have to be this grandiose experience of visions and great things? What if He and I have one of those relationships you haev with your best friend, where it's just simple? I'm the simple girl, who lives on a simple plot of land somewhere there's seasons, with a front porch and rocking chair... and He's my Savior, the one my heart loves, who I just do life with. You know, loving others, being generous, giving shelter to those who need it, feeding those who are hungry, being the hands and feet of Him who first loved me. Is that crazy to desire?

Or maybe it's exactly how this whole relationship with the One and Only is supposed to be... a relationship. Plain and simple.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Do you see that beautiful woman in the photo? The brunette next to the blond? Well, that's the 57 year old version of me. AKA - my mama.

You want to know something? I'm one extremely blessed daughter to call that incredible woman mine. You know why? Because she shows me what the love of Jesus truly is. She is one of the most grace filled, forgiving women anyone will ever have the pleasure of meeting. She's generous and kind, even to those who have hurt her the most. She comes to anyone with open arms of love and tenderness that can't be matched by anyone else. She is one of the most diligent, determined, hard working people I have ever had the opportunity of knowing. She will fight for, defend and protect those dearest to her no matter what the cost. She's always been my advocate, my cheerleader, and my motivator. And the greatest part? She's also my best friend.

This woman has prayed over me. Pushed me. Fought with me. Cried with me. Held me in my moments of deepest pain. And she has never once stopped loving me along the way. Though we've both had rough go's at this thing called life, I know without a shadow of a doubt that this woman believes in me. She trusts me. And she knows my full potential.

To think that on numerous occasions throughout my life I nearly lost this remarkable woman is honestly, unbearable. Boy we get wake up calls throughout life, even as little as a year and a half ago when heard she was at risk for a brain aneurysm.

Call me sentimental. Call me mushy. Call me that crazy emotional girl. But damn it, there's a few things I've learned in this life and one of them is to never, EVER let a day go by without telling someone you love them. Life is short. And the precious moments we get with one another are limited and priceless. You never know what an hour or a day may bring. A phone call can change everything. I don't ever want anyone I love and cherish to go through their lives not knowing how much I care. There are relationships in this life that are irreplaceable. And the bond between a mother and a daughter is one of them.

Mama, even though I may not be the most patient or the most understanding at times when you have your "mommy moments", I love you. And I love you more each and every day of my life. You have taught me so much and truly made me into the woman I am today. Yes, I'm kind of like your mini me (though I'm still in denial about it), and yes, I do stupid things sometimes. But you have stood by me every step of every path I've decided to pave my way down. Thank you for caring for me. Thank you for the sacrifices you've made to love me and make sure I'm taken care of. Nothing, not ONE of your actions ever goes unnoticed. Thank you for showing me through your grace and your actions what the true unmerited favor of our Father looks like.

I love you always and forever, no matter what. :-)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Give us this day our daily bread...

There's been new meaning in this age old phrase as of late. For some reason, my human self has gotten yet another "blown away" moment from the Lord. And it's as simple as His provision for my "daily bread".

As of June 1st, I started my own business. What kind of business, you may be wondering... the kind of business that allows me to work out of my strengths and giftings. One that I never would have thought possible until a friend told me he could see me doing it. And here I am, nearly a year after I became licensed and insured... a person trainer!

5 mornings a week I get up at the crack of dawn, drive to Newport, and train some of the most wonderful women I've come across since moving here. They have children, spouses, clubs, groups, and friends galore. They also have some of the best stories to share about life, love and everything in between. And I've learned much from them, the biggest being to take life one day at a time and savor every moment, every memory. Because before I know it I'll be their age telling the stories of youth.

As I sat in my car after bootcamp on Monday morning, I went "wow, Lord, you're incredible. Thank you for these women and I pray a blessing over each of them." Just then, one of the gals knocked on my window, smiling from ear to ear and with a check in her hand. It was for that days class. And it hit me... "Give us THIS day our daily bread." He literally provides for me each day, from the home I share with a dear friend, the car I drive, right on down to the lunch I get to eat while at work on any given afternoon.

I don't know why that smiling face and check rocked my world so much, but God is in the details of life. Yes, He's in the 'big" stuff, but He's just as much in the "small" parts of my everyday. He knows my needs even when I am completely unaware.

And it hit me... "taste and see that the Lord is GOOD". He's everywhere. In everything. In all of my comings and my goings. He's my constant companion. The one I can trust and rely on above all else. He's faithful. He's good. He gives His love and blessings to me despite my rebellion, my questions, my prioritizing other things above him. He's gracious. He's kind. He's merciful. And HE PROVIDES for me exceedingly, abundantly more than I could ever ask or imagine. He gives me THIS day my daily bread.

For all of this, I am astonished, blown away, and incredibly thankful.

Borrowed, but so good!

Today, I found this incredibly true, incredibly deep, and incredibly thought provoking post on Grace. God's grace. And how insane it can be sometimes. I just had to share...

"Grace is....

Grace is vulgar, offensive, and despicable. It is unfair. It shows no favorites, and respects no boundaries. It is by far the most hypocritical part of the Bible.

Grace is Samson, a man favored by God who slaughtered an army of 1000 men with a donkey’s jawbone and still (anointed as he was) gave into temptation and slept with that Siren, Delilah, who shaved his head and stole his strength. At the end of his life, disobedient to God, eyes gouged out, bald, and chained up in a dungeon, he called on God to be used one last time. And God answered.

Grace is Moses when he parts the Red Sea, leads his people out of Egypt, speaks directly to God, and personally delivers the Ten Commandments when in the first chapter of Exodus, he kills a man with his bare hands and buries him in the desert. And when he calls on God, God still answers.

Grace is the apostle Paul, previously known as Saul prior to preaching the gospel, a Biblical contracted killer hunting down and eliminating Christians for a living.

Grace is the woman at the well, and the prostitute who hid spies in her home,

Grace is me here and now, writing this, married and breathing after all the hearts I’ve bruised, the lies I’ve told, the brothers I’ve betrayed, the churches I’ve bashed, and the addictions I’ve let control me.

Grace is the Son of Man being nailed to a tree crying out, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

Grace is the thief on the cross who in the last moments of his life shouts to the Christ crucified along side him, “Don’t forget me.”

Grace is Christ’s reply to him: “On this day you will be with me in paradise.”

Praise God for His merciful kindness and His overwhelming Grace. He's taken the broken, the messed up, the 'failures" and looks at us and says: "My Grace is Sufficient.".


The rest of the article: Make it Made - Grace Is

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

As of late...

As of late I can't really find the words to describe the state of my heart. So I find myself meditating on the promises of a Father who loves unconditionally, provides abundantly, cares deeply, and longs to shower His children with His undenyable grace and compassion. What an incredible God we have... a loving Father, a constant companion, and a loyal friend. Without Him I am nothing. And today I am reminded of everything HIM.

‎"Even if you turn away, I'll tell you still. Don't you know I've always loved you? And I always will." - third day

"Great is your faithfulness, True are your promises, You never change. You NEVER fail, oh God."

"The Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!" - Is. 30:18

"Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy. He who goes out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with him." - Ps. 126:6

"I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." -Job 42:2

"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." - Pro. 10:19

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." - Pro. 19:11

"Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that man gets justice" - Pro. 29:26

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
*a time to be born and a time to die
*a time to plant and a time to uproot
*a time to kill and a time to heal
*a time to tear down and a time to build
*a time to weep and a time to laugh
*a time t omourn and a time to dance
*a time to scatter and a time to gather
*a time to embrace and a time to refrain
*a time to search and a time to give up
*a time to keep and a time to throw away
*a time to tear and a time to mend
*a time to be silent and a time to speak
*a time to love and a time to hate
*a time for war and a time for peace" - Ecc. 3:1-8

"Rend your heart... return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in LOVE." -Joel 2:13

"If you could see the extent of destruction that is set in motion when you speak against one another, you would learn to hold your tongue. However, this is not a matter of words but of the condition of your heart and your willingness to say things about someone else that you would not want spoken about yourself. You will be held accountable for every word that you speak... be careful what you say!"

"The trials of life are sent to make us, not break us. Financial troubles may destroy a persons business but build up his character. And a direct blow to the outer person may be the greatest blessing possible to the inner person." -Malthie Babcock

"GOD deals with impossiblities. It's never too late for Him to so do..." - Streams in the Desert

"God is at work in the world today. He is working as a prayer answering God. That is one of His names." -Ps. 65:2

"God uses broken things. Those used for God's glory are those who have been broken in their finances, broken in their self-will, broken in their ambitions, broken in their lofty ideals, broken in their worldly reputation, broken in their desires, and often broken in their health. Yes, He uses those who seem totally hopeless and helpless." - Streams in the Desert

"Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being FULLY persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised." -Romans 4:20-21

"God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does He speak then not act? Does He promise then not fulfill?" - Numbers 23:19

"Difficulty is actually the atmosphere surrounding a miracle, or a miracle at it's initial stage. Yet if it is to be a great miracle, the surrounding condition will be not simply a difficulty but an utter impossibility. And it is the clinging hand of His child that makes a desperate situation a delight to God."

"When I am afraid, I will trust YOU. In God, who word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid."

Faith: the substance of what is Hoped for, the belief in what is unseen.

"... fully persuaded that God had the power to do what He had promised.... God is not merely able but abundantly able, bountifully and generously able, with an infitinte surplus of resources and eternally able to do just as He has promised. He is the God of limitless resources... and our thoughts and our prayers are too small, and our expectations are too low. God wants us to raise our vision to a higher level and calls us to have greater expectations."

"If your version of Christianity is one that causes you to not love certain people, then you've missed the whole point of grace. Jesus didn't have a "favorite people" list, He died for all of us. My sin, your sin, his sin, her sin, OUR sin, sent Him to the cross. Stop hating and start loving. When you love your brothers and your sisters, they don't see you, they see God." - Annaliese Marie Lawrence

‎"Your circumstances and your past do not reflect your value... You are God’s child. His heir. His princess. His beloved. His creation"

‎'Because the resurrection is an actual historical event, we can be forgiven, we can be reconciled with god, we can spend eternity with him, and we can trust jesus' teaching as being from god.' -ravi zacharias

‎'Human promises are often worthless; many broken promises have left broken hearts... But God has never broken a single promise to his children.'

Friday, May 25, 2012

The greatest of these is LOVE

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken" - C.S. Lewis

Risk. Love involves risk. It means laying your heart on the line. It means being vulnerable and open to another. It means showing the best parts of you and sharing the worst of you. It means facing the fear and anxiety that comes with sharing your life with another. It may mean love unrequited. But it also may be the the greatest gift of one's life. So I say better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

I wish it were that easy to open ourselves to the risk that love involves. I wish I could literally shake some people and tell them "you are loved. PERIOD". I wish my love could just permeate the hearts and souls of another with a simple touch. But all too often the walls of hurt, the walls of pride, the walls of bitterness, the walls of resentment seem to creep up and love is shattered before it ever even gets an opportunity to grow.

C.S. Lewis goes on to say in The Four Loves, "if you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket/coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket -safe, dark, motionless, airless (alone) - it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

Oh my heart aches with that statement. How many hearts I've experienced with this very disease. This idea that if they just cut everyone off, then they'll be fine, they won't be hurt, they won't ache for someone to love and be loved - to be fully known and loved despite our shortcomings. And in the process of guarding themselves from love, they will lose all feeling... which is quite often the goal. And numbness sets in. These souls end up 'going through the motions' of life, never experiencing the incredibly beautiful, challenging, fulfilling bond that is love for another.

And that's the crazy part. The more you love, the more you are free, the more you grow, the more you LIVE. Life begins to fill with color, with joy, with... well, life. And suddenly the dark, solemn days of loneliness and hiding are gone. Freedom sets in. The chains of oppression, depression, independence, and loneliness are broken.

"Although vulnerability will often include pain, precluding vulnerability also leads to pain. And, unlike being vulnerable, turning in on yourself and shrouding yourself in protective armor cannot lead to happiness – only bitterness and more pain..."
Sheltering oneself from sharing their heart, their soul, their dreams, their passions, their life with another only causes pain, in the long run. We're made for relationship. It's innate within us. And to deny that fact is absurd and absolutely detrimental to our overall wellbeing. We were created to love God and to love one another. Period. That's our deepest need and our highest calling. Denying this need, this calling, is practically, denying one's very existence.
"Opening up doesn’t mean burdening someone with your struggles and problems. But, rather, it means not hiding the incredible beauty of your soul...  true love is found in listening to another person, and in turn opening up to them. Allowing yourself to share your heart with another broken human being." Please don't let the opportunity to love and be loved ever pass by. Because I can guarantee that the risk is worth it, everytime.

Dear readers, I leave you with this: You are cherished. You are genuinely cared for and pursued. You are valued. You are precious to the Most High (and to me). You are beautiful in your brokenness. You are remarkable despite the efforts to hide. You are wonderfully made and your vulnerability is the key to your freedom.
You, yes, YOU - are LOVED!
No strings attached. No proving needed. No striving necessary.

"I. Love. You."

Sunday, May 20, 2012

What do you stand for?

I did it. Finally. I made myself go into the hills, turn off my cell phone, and go on a date with the Lord. It'd been QUITE some time since I've had the opportunity to do so and man was it incredible. I left last Sunday morning somewhat expecting nothing to be resolved. Oh ye of little faith...

Needless to say, I answered the questions from my previous post and thought I'd share some of my musings.

What do you stand for/value?
Father. Son. Spirit.
Serving others.

What do you love?
Hosting parties.
Caring for others.
Road Tripping.
Coffee dates.
Good conversation.
Random drives.
Weekend getaways.
Meeting new people.
Deeply knowing those I love.
The Beach.
The Stars.

Who are you? 
I'm Brittany, but those who know me best know that Tany is a better descriptor of me. I'm a daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend. An adventurer, "health nut", risk taker, and a little girl at heart. I am introspective, yet extroverted. I love others. I value sharing life and communing with them. I love to laugh and smile; joy is the essence of my heart. I love nature and escaping from the busyness of the everyday. I am a planner who can go with the flow. I'm a creature of habit who loves to try new things. I am a dreamer, a goal setter and achiever. I am a thinker of ways I can invest in and love others better. I take note of the things those I love value and cherish. I am willing to do whatever it takes to let those I love know they're loved. I want to look back on my life and know that I loved my God and those He placed in my life well. I want to bless others in crazy ways both relationally and financially. My home will always be one with an "open door" policy where all are welcome and deeply cared for. I want to be remembered as a joy filled, love giving, generous, caring, patient, gentle, kind, compassionate woman of God. I want to walk out Proverbs 31 and leave a legacy for generations to come.

The best part of the day? Re-learning, or better yet, realizing once again that I am loved. Period. No strings attached. There is nothing I can do to change it. My sweet Jesus' loves me. I don't have to prove myself to Him. I don't have to go through man-made hoops to receive this love. It's unconditional. And nothing will ever change that. What a sweet gift to this undeserving girl.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Values, Passions, and Love

What do I value?
What do I stand for?
What makes me, me?
What do I love?
Why do I love it?
What's my passion?
What fits YOU best, not everyone else, but YOU?

A great question that I've been pondering as of late is: What are your beliefs and what are you friends/family's? I've found, far too often, that I'm put in the same camp of opinions and beliefs as my friends and family, when in reality, we are two very different people. Just because I may nod and say "yes" or "okay" doesn't mean I'm in agreement, it means I'm acknowleding your stance. It seems as I look at my life that I've become a bit of a chameleon to what everyone else thinks (and I've been struggling with this for years as my previous posts would suggest). The second I disagree with someone on something, suddenly I'm thrown into this self beating because "oh my gosh, if so and so knew you didn't value that, they'd hate you!". But then I sit back and go... "okay, who's voice is that?" A true friend will love me regardless of our differences and will respect and value the very things you value because you've taken a stand to value those very things. Thus it's VITAL to differentiate between what I believe and what are the opinions and voices of others speaking for me.

It seems that life is at yet another crossroads. Seems they come all too often. But choices need to be made, values addressed, and a new path made to walk down. As I sit each day pondering the options, I find myself overwhelmed with everyone else's voice BUT my Father's. A Sabatical is needed... time out and away from the "busyness" that is this life. Technology distracts me and takes my time far too often. People too, though I LOVE my time with them. And I need to get away and be swept away by the One and Only so that I can clearly, freely, navigate all these questions with Him. And it starts this weekend!

I'm finding myself motivated by a phrase I've seen circulating as of late: "This is your life. Do what you love and do it often. If you don't like something, change it. Start doing things you love. Stop over analyzing. Open your mind, arms and heart to new things and people. Share your dreams. Travel often. Some opportunities only come once - SEIZE THEM. Live your dreams and wear your passion."

This could also go right alongside the encouragement of the Lord to find my identity in Him and Him alone. Taking the risks and walking in courage and boldness as He leads me through each trial, blessing, difficulty, and joy in my life.

What a gift His grace is. What a blessing His peace. And Lord, have mercy, give insight, lead me in the direction. May I have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand as I embark on answering these questions. Meet me in the desert... speak to me there. Let's finally get some clarity on all these questions. Make me the woman you want me to be, though I may come across counter-cultural. Let me finally see me and be fully free to be me.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Good vs. evil and how God is good. Period

As of late, I've had some great conversations with friends on all things God, good vs. evil, and how God could be 'good'. The following I wrote in response...

Why would a 'Good' God can allow such chaos, hurt, and tortures happen in this world? This is a great question. And I stand by my statement that God is good, infinitely good, and cannot do bad or evil. He's the epitome, the perfect "good".

Now, let's dive into this a bit... The questions of: why doesn't God stop evil/the bad? Why doesn't God care or help? Are very valid given the atrocities that plague our world today and in generations past. We can look at the horrors of the Holocaust and say, 'surely there is no God, or if there is, he doesn't care'. Same with all that goes on in the middle east and countries at war in africa of today.

Augustine once said 'if there is no God, why is there so much good in the world? If there is a God, why is there so much evil?'

Touche. We can't really have good and evil sans God. We can't have right and wrong. We can't have ethics and morals. The very basis of our cultures and how we interact with one another are based on something or someone laying down the 'guidelines' of life, if you will. You know... Don't murder. Be kind to one another. Etc. If you do don't follow those inherant 'standards' that nearly every human on the planet has, then remorse, regret, guilt, shame, etc rise to the surface. Even down to our emotional responses to things point back to some type of God head that made the response in the 1st place.

If we assume there's evil, bad, horrors in the world, by recognizing that it exists we're assuming there's an objective standard on which it's based. Otherwise every one of us can do whatever they see fit and thus there's no need for order, law, government, leadership, or even corporate hierarchy. If there's no standard for evil, there's no standard for any order in the universe.

Riddle me this (and I'm going on a bit of a tangent here), but if there is no creator, no moment of creation, and everything is straight up evolution and we've been around for so many billions of years, shouldn't there have been enough time gone by now for everything to be made perfect and for evil to have disappeared? I mean, think about that for a second. Shouldn't we be constantly becoming better based on survival of the fittest? But history tells us otherwise. And even the chaos of the world today tells us we're certainly not getting closer to perfection or lacking in the 'bad', I'd dare to say we're getting worse...
And free will? Once God chose to create human beings with free will, it was up to them (up to us), rather than God, as to whether there was sin or not (and thus evil being introduced into the world via sin). That's what free will means. The source of evil is not God's power, but mankind's freedom. We're, unfortunately, the one's who messed up. The overwhelming majority of the pain in the world is caused by our choices to kill, to slander, to be selfish, to break our promises, to stray from truth, or to be reckless. To prevent all evil you must remove all freedom and reduce people to puppets, which means they would lack the ability to freely choose love. Or hate for that matter.

I think I'll wrap this up with this idea: God the Father. Consider for a moment how parents work. A good parent won't always do everything for their child. They won't do their child's homework. They won't tie their kids shoes. They won't do their laundry when they get to a certain age. Are all of these to somehow punish the child or be mean? No. I would say these are signs of a loving parent. If we coddle our children for our whole lives they'll grow up not knowing how to be responsible, or they won't learn in the process. Is it hard not to do everything for your kids? Absolutely. But it would be detrimental to their own good if we did. So it is with God. Does He like suffering? Does He want His children to hurt? Surely not. But if He didn't let us live our lives and learn through and grow through the sufferings, we may very well not be able to fully function at our full, God given, potential. God doesn't allow suffering to punish us or hurt us, he allows suffering to train us and equip us to be better humans. Suffering produces perseverance, hope, trust.... And honestly, if our heart is open to it, the suffering and humility that comes within us produces a unexplainable love and care. We learn from our mistakes. We learn from our sufferings and difficulties.

God seems to have a hiddenness (word?) about Him. There are clues we can follow to find Him or experience Him. Maybe those little nudges we feel deep down within that make us go, 'maybe. No. It can't be... But maybe....' Are one of those very 'clues' that God gives us along the way. If God were to give us constant, absolute proof that He exists then we could no more deny God than we could deny the sun is in the sky. However, God, being the gracious God He is isn't in the business of coercing people into believing in Him. No, He gives us our choice, our free will, to do with the evidence or the clues, what we'd like. But He does say 'seek and you shall find'. He's not far away and unapproachable. He's very near. And given the pursuit of Him, in that, He reveals Himself to the one seeking.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I Believe

As of late, I've been challenged greatly to think about why I believe and value the things that I do. Why I hold so closely my relationship with the Lord and my Christian Faith. Well... to many, it's not going to make much sense. I may be seen as "weird" or 'crazy" for believing in something that I cannot physically see or tangibly touch, but I still experience just the same. So here we go...

I believe in God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The trinity. The 3 in 1. That each is made uniquely, yet knit togetherin 1. Each with their own role in the lives of God's children.

I believe that Jesus Christ was God made flesh to walk this earth and experience life as we experience it. I believe that He died for our sins, that we may be forgiven and given life forever with Him. I believe He's our comforter in times of need and our strength in times of weakness.

I believe in the power of prayer to change circumstances.

I believe words are powerful and we should choose them wisely; with them we have the ability to build up or condemn.

I believe in the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who accept Christ. I believe that the Spirit goes to work for us, intercedes for us, challenges us, convicts us, and gives direction and clarity in life.

I believe the Bible is the inspired, infallable Word of God that has not only backing from the history of 2 other religions (except for the New Testament), but also historical confirmation of the happenings recorded as true.

I believe in the Peace of God that transcends all understanding. A peace that cannot be described, which makes what I once worried about seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

I believe that everything in life happens for a reason. Whether it's meeting someone for 5 minutes and never seeing them again, or choosing a different route home only to find you're spared from some horrific scene. There are no coincidences...

I believe I have the power to change things in life by prayer and petition. I believe that if I ask, I will receive and be met in my deepest times of need.

I believe in a God who looks at the "impossibilities" of life and goes "It's possible".

I believe in a miracle performing, life giving Creator who loves deeply.

I believe love is the answer to everything. Love God. Love others. And the rest falls into place.

I believe God's hand has been a constant in my life. Whether it was in the midst of the chaos of my dad's accident and recovery, my brother's disappearing, my mom's life threatening health problems, or in my own heartaches and loneliness.

I believe my faith has turned to a relationship with the One and Only. Not just a belief system, but a personal, tangible 2-way relationship where I chat with Him and He speaks ever so gently to me. His reminders, His love, His provision is found in the simplicity of the everyday, the beauty of a sunset, or the promise He gave with silly pink flower.

I believe He loves us. Oh how HE loves US! With such gusto, with such grace, with such mercy and gentleness. I know His presence, I know the comfort of His arms, I know the peace that is only found in Him. And it's unexplainably wonderful, wrecklessly abandoned, undeservingly sweet.

And why do I believe in all of this? Because it's been proven to me over and over in my own life. Because I've had tangible, real experiences that have proven to me the credibility and reality of it all. Because I've met with the One and Only in a way not many experience... and His grace is sufficient. Because I've been a witness to His miracles; His hand has turned around many devastating moments in my life. Because I've seen the healing He brings not only to the weary soul or the broken heart, but even to the physical body. I've seen, I've heard, my heart has understood Him in His works. His unseen glory is where my faith and trust kick in... trusting the promptings of my spirit and His spirit at work in me to speak and bring truth in my life.

I guess what all of this boils down to is this: I'm in love with my Savior, my sweet Jesus. And to the outside world I may look a fool. I may seem ridiculous. But the beauty of His majesty has invaded my soul and taken me from the insecurity of this world to His unfailing arms. When all else fails, He remains. When everything is a mess around me, He's the only clarity I have. When circumstances and people disappoint, He is my strength and my fortress, my God in whom I trust.

He's made me who I am today. And without him I would be nothing. I don't even know if I'd be here today if it weren't for His loving kindness and His merciful grace that sees beyond the mess to the heart of a woman who wants nothing more than Him.

He's my one true love. I get lost in His presence. I find peace and rest in Him. I meet him in the great outdoors and even in the everyday chores. He whispers in the wind. He reveals His care in the love of dear friends. He knows my needs and provides in miraculous ways that can only come from Him. He romances me with his goodness and beckons me to His side. He's my everything....


Lots of them.

All because Grace has found me... and His love quenches the deep thirst of the soul to be known and loved.

True Love:

Come close listen to the story

About a love more faithful than the morning
The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt the Fathers Broken Heart
Tears were filling Heaven's Eyes
The day that True Love died, the day that True Love died

When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died

Search your heart you know you can't deny it
Come on, lose your life just so you can find it
The Father gave His only Son just to save us

The Earth was shaking in the dark
All creation felt The Fathers broken heart
Tears were filling Heaven's Eyes
The day that True Love died, the day that True Love died

When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died
Now, Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive
Jesus is alive

Oh, He is alive
He rose again
When blood and water hit the ground
Walls we couldn't move came crashing down
We were free and made alive
The day that True Love died, The day that True Love died

Come close listen to the story

True Love - Phil Wickham

Friday, February 10, 2012

Instead of a Show

I hate all your show and pretense
the hypocrisy of your praise
the hypocrisy of your festivals
I hate all your show

Away with your noisy worship
Away with your noisy hymns
I stop up my ears when your
singing ‘em
I hate all your show

Instead let there be a flood
of justice
An endless procession of righteous
living, living
Instead let there be a flood of justice
Instead of a show

your eyes are closed when you’re praying
you sing right along with the band
you shine up your shoes for services
but there’s blood on your hands

you turned your back on the homeless
and the ones that don’t fit in your plans
quit playing religion games
there’s blood on your hands

Ah! let’s argue this out
if your sins are blood red
let’s argue this out
you’ll be white as the clouds
let’s argue this out
quit fooling around

give love to the ones who can’t love at all
give hope to the ones who got no hope at all
stand up for the ones who can’t stand up at all
instead of a show
I hate all your show

Now that's one heavy song! But SO true!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Songs of the moment....

There's just something about this song that gets my heart everytime... give it a listen. LOVE Michael Ketterer. Oh. My. Word. GOOD stuff!

Dusty Road

And this one too...

Grace like Rain

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I've learned

I've learned that I can never make everybody happy. Someone will be hurt, disappointed, frustrated, confused in any given situation of life. The people pleaser in me would say otherwise. But I know now, maybe even for the first time, that no matter what I do to "appease" the masses, it's impossible to please everyone, every time.

I've learned that true friends are a rareity in this world. You know, the ones that stick by you regardless of what you say or do. Regardless of circumstances. Regardless of distance. Regardless of time. Those friends, who pursue and love in everything are a gift.

I've learned that risks are hard and being the "bigger person" is a lot easier said that done. I've learned that persecution happens, and sadly, it's found the most within 'christian' community.

I've learned that life is too short to go through the motions of the everday.

I've learned that mistakes are just little reminders to stay humble and moldable by Him.

I've learned that guilt and shame are 2 very big vices that the enemy uses to suck the life out of us on our earthly journey.

I've learned that loving is easy, losing is difficult, and starting over is scary.

I've learned that Christ's love is sometimes hard to accept, but it's life changing and refreshing when you finally do.

I've learned that friends will disappoint, family will hurt, and people that barely know you will judge you in the worst of ways. But I've learned to love them regardless.

I've learned that I don't think things through very well sometimes. I don't pause to wait on the Lord. No, I get too impatient and too hurried to rest in His answers.

I've learned that it's better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all.

I've learned that His grace is sufficient, in every situation, even the one's I seriously mess up.
I've learned that He is the provider of everything I need. The protector and defender of my heart.
I've learned to see beyond the walls of those brought into my life and into their hearts. Seeing their true selves, though outwardly they'd try and convince me otherwise.
I've learned
His peace
His grace
His love
is for anyone.
And I've learned that the "greatest of these is love" and "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, and soul and to love other's as yourself."
Love wins. Everytime. Period.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


As of late I'm asked more and more if I'm the "religious" type. Something in me always seems to cringe whenever I hear that word... "religious". It just sounds so antagonistic, so harsh, so... judgmental.

And that's the hardest part. Outsiders looking into the world of a Christ follower only see the "rules", the "lifestyle", the "religion" of it. But the fact of the matter is that to the true Christian life is not about being religious or rules. No, it's about a relationship with the One and Only. And relationship is VERY different  than religion...

Religion says you're bad

Relationship says you're forgiven

Religion says do this to earn your goodness

Relationship says my grace is sufficient. Period.

Religion says look at how much better you are than him/her/them

Relationship says lay your life down for your fellow man. Love the unloveable.

Religion lays down judgment and condemnation.

Relationship says Love wins. Always.

Religion says do this or that to earn your eternal home.

Relationship says: choose Me, love Me and your future is forever.

Religion points the finger at the faults of others

Relationship says there is freedom in love.

A religion tells you what to do, promotes shame, encourages judgment, and lays blame on others, while puffing itself up. It's selfish. It's hurtful. It's demanding. And dare I say, it's draining!

Whereas a relationship with Christ is exactly that... a relationship. It's a love relationship with someone who forgives freely, convicts gently, and loves openly. And something incredible that I've realized as of late is that Jesus is fun. He's adventurous. He goes against the grain of religion. He is daring and bold. He's open and honest. He's a lover of the lost. A friend to the friendless. He literally chose to spend His time on earth walking with the "unclean", the "heathen", the "drunkards", and the "prostitutes". He chose the lowly in order that He may bring the truth in love. Christ came for ALL. Period. End of story. He didn't come for the riches and the fame, He didn't come to be glorified and exalted on earth, He came to die for our brokenness, our sins. He paid our every debt. And I bet if He were to come and walk amongst us again today He wouldn't set foot in the churches of today, but would go to the local coffee shop, the beach, even the bars and start building relationship with those inside. His desire is to seek and save the lost... to be the forever friend of those that don't yet know Him.

And I know...

There is no fear in Christ.
There is no shame.
There is no regret.
There is no looking back.

Freedom, Grace, Love, and Mercy are what you find in this relationship. And as with every other relationship, because we love Him, we shouldn't plot to hurt Him, but respect Him and love Him in return.

What once were Pharasee's and Saducee's are now Denominations and Religious. They're one in the same... just a few centuries down the road than those of Christ's day.

Relationship. I choose relationship.

I choose to dance, to sing, to go out and share a meal with others, to walk alongside the lost. I too may be seen as Christ once was, as a "glutton and a drunkard". But who cares? In the grand scheme of things, my loving on the lost is exactly what I'm called to do. Sharing a meal with them, having a glass of wine, sitting at the table of the 'tax collectors" of the land is what I will do everytime if it means I get to share Christ's freely given love to someone. Because I want everyone to experience the freedom and the peace that surpasses all understanding, that only comes from RELATIONSHIP with Him.

P.S. - check out this awesome video that prompted today's blog: Jesus, not religion

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bye bye 2011, Hello 2012

Honestly, I don't have much to say, no wise words, nothing stupendous to share on all things 2011. As with every other year, I sit here on January 1st and look back at the last year. And this year, I find myself looking back and going "what the heck??"

2011 started with a party at some friends house and the first part of the year was filled with similar things. Getting together with friends, and buliding relationships with people whom I thought were like family to me. Funny how I sit at the end of 2011 without those very people I treasured most in my life... funny how quickly things change.

In February my mom had brain surgery and I just about went bonkers with all the logistics. We went from  signing last will's and testaments right down to passwords for bank accounts and last wishes. NOT an enjoyable season of life, to say the least.

In the summer, I dated a boy for the first time in a long time. Though nothing was ever made 'official", I very much valued the times and the memories we shared. And something hit me a bit funny as I recalled my dating history in the past few years. I haven't been in a serious relationship in 3+ years. Sure I've dated people here and there, but nothing serious, nothing steady for over 3 years now. And I sit here at the ripe age of 26 going, "okay Lord, maybe it's just not in the cards for me." And I'm reminded that just because he says "not yet" doesn't mean He's said "no" altogether. In the past year, I've come to understand and appreciate that my story with the man I'll someday be with is going to be anything but ordinary. Don't ask me why I feel that way, I just get this sense that it will be.

In August I got my Crossfit Certification and started training people in November. It's been such a blessing to learn from and come under friends who encouraged me to go after this dream and get it done.

November started with me joining a leadership team at a church in Orange. I'm the person who makes sure all the logistics of every Sunday go according to plan. It's been an eye opening experience, to say the least.

I guess what last year, 2011, boiled down to was another series of stripping down to be rebuilt. I lost friends, I lost a community, a possibly relationship, and so much more, but I've gained so much. Where I've lost "Christian" friends, I've met non-Christians who really challenge me and my beliefs. I've had some of the best conversations to date with some awesome people. With that, God has brought little gifts, little reminders of His love and provision. A new home being one of them, complete with a washer/dryer, gas stove, and a balcony. All things a girl appreciates in life. This year has been nothing short of amazing and challenging. It's been a true blessing to me. And by His grace, I've made it through, hopefully a bit more mature, a bit less selfish, and a lot more loving and caring towards others.

So 2012 - here we come! May you be a year of Jubilee!