Thursday, August 26, 2010

Making A Difference

Two days ago, on the 24th, it was my 21st birthday. While most people would be concerned with getting their new license at the DMV or trying to decide what their first legal alcoholic beverage was going to be, I spent my day making the conscious decision to be appreciative and thankful to my family members. Throughout the years, they have put up with a lot from me. I’ve been the cause of anger and tears, sometimes intentional, some just bad programming within myself. I was always the person that knew how to push buttons, and boy did I. Most of the things that I have, came at a price to my mother, but she never complained. My grandmother taps into reserved money so that she can see the way her money is spent, on things that I am passionate about. My grandfather spends the small amounts of money that he has, wishing and hoping for a better life on my sister and I.

I’ve taken so much of my life for granted. I haven’t been appreciative, when all they hoped for was a thank you. Most of the time, I felt that I was owed something, when the opposite was true. I was given anything that I asked for, but it still wasn’t enough. And on top of that, I treated them cruelly.

But yesterday was different. I woke up with a new sense of life. I felt like God was telling me, ‘Everything is going to be different from now on.’

This year, it’s not going to be about me, because it never has been, no matter how much I believed that at one time. My life has always been part of God’s greater plan, and although I didn’t always understand what that meant, I now realize something: I’ve done a lot of talking the talk, but I wasn’t very good at walking the walk. I talked about how important it was to be saved by Christ so that we could have a relationship with God, but my actions never really mirrored that. I talked about how love was the greatest thing we could do, and that we should be kind and compassionate, but in that same breath, I could tear someone down. Looking back on the person that I was, I’m ashamed. I know that I can’t do anything to change the past, but I can make a difference in the lives of people from here on out. Whether that is being kind and showing mercy to the people in my family, or hearing out a friend who had a bad day, things can be different. It’s not always about the big things that we do; sometimes it’s the small, seemingly inconsequential things that mean the most. It’s not always about saying something to someone, sometimes it’s the things that we don’t say; it’s our actions that speak out.

Francis of Assisi said:
Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words.
For years, I never knew what that meant, but I finally understand. Everything that we do should be testifying the name of Christ and it’s not always about the words that we use. Anyone can stand up in front of a crowd and tell them about Jesus, but not many people preach the gospel within their daily lives. If nothing else, I think this is one of the most important things that we need to understand. Jesus didn’t preach and command everywhere He went. It was through His actions that He proved the love of His Father in heaven. This is what we should mirror. Using words, only when they are necessary.

Every day this year, I’m setting a challenge for myself. Each day on the sidebar (to the right), I will post what I’m challenging myself to do, whether it be a word of encouragement to someone, or giving a hug when it’s needed. If you’re interested in seeing what I’m up to, check it out. Everything that I do, I pray will be guided by the hand of God, so that people will see His light shining through me.

It’s important for me to make a difference in someone’s life, not only to discipline myself to be like Christ, but also for the benefit of those around me. Everyone needs a helping hand or a shoulder to cry on, and in being that person, the door is opened for Christ to enter in. We are called to be His hands and feet, and I want nothing more than to be His humbled servant.

As I make this commitment to live completely in the light of the Lord, I pray that my family will understand how much I love them. All those years of anger and hatred have now come to me at a price; I can’t take them back. I pray that through my actions, they will know that I appreciate them, more than they know. I know that everyone’s life has rough patches, but I’m blessed more than I could ever make known. I thank God for my family, and for the opportunity to be a part of their lives and stories. They have sacrificed so much for my sister and I, and it hurts me to know how badly I’ve hurt them in the past. They are such beautiful people, and I love them more than words can ever say; so now I will show them.

Jesus Christ made the biggest difference this world has ever, or will ever know; I want to make a difference, for Him.



Friday, August 13, 2010

All Worth the Wait

I've been thinking a lot about marriage lately. With it being the summer months, I have friends preparing for their weddings, or friends that just recently married. So now I wonder, out of curiosity, what my life holds?

I've never been in a relationship, and while many people find this strange, I think it it one of the most important qualities about myself. I have never felt the need to be in a relationship, and there are a few reasons for that. Growing up, I was so focused on school, that the idea never really crossed my mind. Sure, I had crushes like every other little girl, but it wasn't something that would develop into anything. As I got older, I found myself interested in people, but because of my relationship with God, there was always a voice telling me that it wasn't the right time.

Where I am right now, isn't far from where I was before. The idea of being courted, getting to know someone, and eventually marrying someone, is exciting, but I'm not going to lie, it's terrifying as well. The excitation comes from not knowing who he is going to be; who God has chosen. The terrifying part comes from not knowing if I'm messing things up by not giving people a chance.

I've never been the kind of person to rush things, and I value myself too much to be in a relationship with just anyone. People ask me how I'm going to know if someone is the right person, unless I date them. And my answer to this is simple: when the right person comes along, on God's timeline, there isn't going to be any question in my mind. Things are going to happen the way that they are supposed to.

Yesterday, for the first time, I read Song of Solomon, twice, and once again today. That is one part of the Bible that I never touched, partially because I never really understood it. There were parts in it that scared me, as well as parts that seemed too advanced for my 'childish' mind to accept.

After reading it, I discovered a few things. First, Song of Solomon is written not only as a perspective of how things should be in a relationship or marriage between a man and a woman, but also how Christ perceives His church. We are His bride, and He is our groom. The words and descriptions that Solomon use give us a glimpse of how Christ sees us. We are His prized possession, and He finds us beautiful. 
Song of Solomon 4:7 -- All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.
That love and relationship is more important to me than any relationship I could ever have with a man. My focus isn't on who my future husband will be, but on Christ. My relationship with Him can be viewed as a courtship. I'm growing and learning about Him, and I reveal more of myself to Him (regardless of the fact that He knows everything about me). One day, I, as well as you, will be His bride; His eternal love. When I finally came to understand this yesterday, it made me realize how I want a relationship to be.

Adjustments needed to be made in my life so that my choice to remain pure for God and my future husband wasn't made in vain.

In April of this year, I placed a purity ring on my finger.

Back story: When I was 5 years old, I received this ring from my grandmother, but after bending it out of shape, it remained in a jewelery box. After 2010 had begun, I was looking for something that 'announced' who I was and what I believed. This is the year that I will be turning 21. I thought about what the best gift I could give, not only to myself, but to God and my future husband as well. Over the Easter holiday, that answer came. I found my little ring in the jewelery box, waiting there after all those years, and I knew that this is what I needed. I took it to the jewelers, had the band reshaped and polished.

Now on my finger, sits a small, gold ring. In the middle, sits a cross with a small diamond in its center, surrounded by a heart made of two intertwined ropes.

It's perfect.

I never knew that 15 years ago this ring would help me to make a promise.

This promise I've made encompasses a few things: 1) It's not only a promise to myself, but also a promise to God that I will keep my body pure. 2) I will remain pure for my future husband and 3) I will above all else, keep my heart guarded and protected against the temptations of this world, so that when my day of marriage comes, I can give myself completely to my husband.

The lyrics below are from a song called, 'From Here' by Big Daddy Weave. It's the song that speaks so perfectly about what has been on my heart. Jesus Christ is sitting in heaven, waiting for that special day when He will wed His church, but until then, He is watching our relationships between each other develop.

My child, I’ve hoped and I’ve prayed for this very day
Since you were just a little one
And oh how my heart swells with pride
As I watch the man that you’ve become
But this life offers no guarantees
And though my time on this earth had to end
I’m sure that your heart would know peace
If you could just see where I am

From here, the race has been run and love’s already won
I see clearly the end and the start
From here, I’m cheering you on
So live out each breath with all that you’ve got
And know until I hold you close
I’ll be holding you dear in my heart
From here

I’ve seen your tears as you’ve waited alone
Longing for that special one
And now all the waiting is done
As you gaze into her eyes
Seeing the reflection of love
Life’s road may seem rough up ahead
And for now you see only in part
So hold onto each other and know
That there is an end to the dark

Heaven is calling and my heart keeps longing
Looking so forward to the day
When we’ll be together forever in eternity
Just you wait and see

To me, marriage is not only a bond between two people, but a bond between those two people and God. A husband is supposed to not only the leader of the home, but a spiritual leader as well. As a woman, and future wife, my role is/will be to support, encourage, listen and honor. Wives are called to submit to their husbands, and husbands are called to respect and cherish their wives. A husband should be strong in his faith, and seek God in all that he does. A wife should be meek and humble, surrendering her life to God.

I'm not being slow about my choice..because it's not my choice. My future husband has already been hand picked by God, and the day when he is revealed to me, is something I look forward to.

"There is a man that God has, waiting for me out there. It's not always fun waiting & wondering who he is, but using this time to get to know my Creator, makes it all worth the wait."  ♥



Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Cancer Inside is Stealing My Sleep

This is going to be a short post, and a prayer request more than anything.

The title of this post is from the song 'Undo' by FFH.

Why these specific words?

Well, a few months ago a really good friend and co-worker of my mother found out that her cancer had returned. After 3 years of being in remission from breast cancer, she found out that not only had it come back, it had returned so much stronger than the first time. This time, it's not her breasts that are affected. It's her lungs and her spine, and more recently, her pelvis.

Throughout this whole ordeal, she has found it easier to turn away from God and try to battle this on her own.

This cancer has taken over her body, and the prognosis isn't good. She has a 16 year old son who would be left behind, and I think, more than anything, her emotions stem from not being able to have enough time left with him. He's a very strong person, but it's not easy to lose a parent, under any circumstances.

With that being said, I'm asking any and all people to pray for her; to pray these things:

- That she would let God back into her life and allow His will to be done in her life

- That she would surrender her life, instead of putting up walls and shutting people out

- That she would feel the peace of God wash over her, while she battles this cancer that is stealing her sleep

- That her pain would subside and that she can enjoy her son & the moments that they have

- If it be the will of God that she is taken from us too soon, that in the process she would know that God is watching over & protecting her

It's never easy to discuss death, and it's even harder to talk about when we are the ones dying. But the reality is, we are all dying. We all just die at different times, different speeds, different walks of life. I've learned through this woman that life is too short to be angry at people. Too short to be angry at God for the circumstances and cards that we were dealt in life. It's too short to do anything but love with our whole heart and glorify the name of the Lord for even THINKING of creating such a race as humankind.

And for those of us who are dealing, not with a physical form of cancer, but a spiritual form of cancer (sin coursing through our veins), I pray that each of us would be aware of the fact that although we feel like we are stuck with no way out, and when we feel like we are at an end that's approaching too fast - that we would remember this:

The cancerous sin that has invaded our lives has already been removed from our bodies; gone from our skin, eyes, ears, lungs, hearts, mind and soul.
  • So that we can touch those with our hands & heal them as Christ did.
  • So that we can see them for the person that they are and love them regardless.
  • So that we can hear not only the worship of those around us, but also the cries and pain of those in suffering.
  • So that we can shout out praise to our heavenly Father with lungs that are filled with love.
  • So that our hearts would break for those who are less here on earth.
  • So that our minds would be fixed on Christ and honor Him by keeping His commands.
  • And finally, so that at the end of the age, we can rest assured that our souls are safe in the righteous hand of our Lord and Savior.
My heart is breaking for this woman. I will leave her anonymous out of respect.

Please keep her in your prayers, and all of those who find it easier to dismiss God in their times of suffering rather than seek Him and call on His Holy Name.