Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Thank You LORD for the opportunity to see You working in lives... Thank You for allowing those who seek You to play a part in it through praying, through going, through giving, through living... There is no greater thing than being in Your presence.

Here are some updates for what God is doing in Ocean City:

1. 2 weeks ago today, a 14-year-old named Carlos accepted Christ!! He has continued to contact us asking for Scripture, prayer and encouragement. I actually got the chance to talk to him for a while today--he is diligently reading more and more of Scripture, praise God! He really needs prayer in relationships with his family. They will need to see a change in him to understand what God has done in his life, but he gets easily discouraged. Pray that he continually goes to the Lord for his strength and learns to lean on Him and His Word alone.

Carlos' letter to the team... "Send me Scripture!!"
2. An international student from Kazakhstan accepted Christ last week! We've been praying for him all summer. He played in the praise band on Sunday nights and some of my team and some church members had built friendships with him. His favorite song to sing was "Oh Happy Day" but we were anticipating the moment when he would sing those words and know what they meant. This past Sunday we saw that--what a beautiful moment. He told the pastor of his decision on Friday night and "coincidentally" (thank You, Lord, for Your always perfect timing!) they were having a baptism service at the beach the next day. So he was baptized on Saturday :) Thank You God! Please continue to pray for him over the next few weeks as he tells his family of his decision.
3. I am so thankful to have had the chance to spend more time with Carmen over the past couple of weeks. We even got to spend time at the beach together yesterday! :) She came to church on Sunday night, so for two weeks in a row she heard the gospel message in the sermon. I was able to talk to her about the gospel and what it means to follow Jesus after Sunday night's message. She has always only known the Orthodox faith, so having a relationship with Jesus is a completely new concept to her. Please continue to pray for Carmen and her roommate, Lia, who is already a Christian. God has placed such a love and a burden for Carmen's soul in my heart, and I truly believe He is calling her to Him. Pray for Lia, too, that doors would be opened for further conversations.
4. One of the lifeguards that has been coming to Bible study this summer made the decision to be baptized this past Sunday during church. He has been a Christian for years but never made the public committment of believer's baptism. Praise the Lord!

Giving water to a rather parched lifeguard--haha!
5. The past several weeks in SEARCH Bible study have been incredible. The first couple of weeks we bounced around random questions, but as they've gotten more comfortable with us they come ready with lists of questions. I've written down some from the last couple weeks:
--What does the Jesus fish mean?
--Were people saved before Jesus if he came to save the world?
--Where does the Old Testament come from if the New Testament comes from Jesus' earliest followers?
--Jesus was Jewish, right?
--How did the religious leaders not recognize Jesus?
--Do animals go to heaven?
--Should you go to church every Sunday to be a good Christian?
--Does it matter what church you go to?
--Was Bin Laden's death something to be celebrated?
--Does God have to be involved in every good act? You make the choice to do something good. (We loved this discussion--a wonderful opportunity to explain to them why we have been serving here-that it's not of our "goodness" at all but because of the Spirit of God that lives in us. Thank You Lord!)
--What are the differing views on purgatory?
--What was Jesus like in His teenage years?
--If Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine, did he drink and is drinking a sin?
--Is it a contradiction when Jesus says, "My yoke is easy and My burden is light" but then says, "Take up your cross and follow Me?"
--If we found other intelligent life forms, would God's breath be in them?
It's been awesome. Please continue to pray for Adam and Zach, and others that are asking lots of questions--He is the answer.

Our lifeguard friends!
6. I got really attached to a 10 year old girl from Canada last week. We exchanged contact information and have been able to email back and forth a couple of times... I believe God will continue to love on her long after she's back at home and in normal life. Her name's Alyssa. On the last day of Surf and Sand clubs last week when she was headed home, I wrote her a note telling her about God's love for her and put John 3:16 at the bottom. That same day, our craft had the same verse on it. Pretty cool. :)

Alyssa's craft :)
7. Last week we had an amazing mission group in. They were a youth group from a church in Maryland. They were so prepared for all of the ministries that it allowed us as summer missionaries to step back and see the work being done rather than being so involved in it ourselves. One of our weekly ministries is family night, where we go to the campgrounds and have activities for families. This group had a whole show planned, filled with funny skits and dances, trivia, and finally the "Total Eclipse of the Heart" skit that portrays the powerful message of Jesus. They ended with signing the Chris Tomlin song, "How Great is Our God." Both nights I saw it the ending was incredibly powerful. I couldn't help but be overwhelmed to the point of tears hearing the words, "How GREAT is our God" in the midst of seeing all of awesome stuff God is doing. At the time it had only been a week since Carlos accepted Christ and my heart was about to burst with thankfulness to God for being in that moment when Carlos made the decision. Add to that the love He's placed in my heart for Carmen and I could just burst with all the praise and love in my heart. Anyway, this group was SUCH a blessing and they are very missed, but while they were here they were more encouraging than I could express. Please pray for those kids--God has big plans for that group!

The Castaways group--Caroline, Wally, Becca, Kelly, Tim, Diane, and Michelle!
The summer is quickly winding down... On Sunday and into the next week there will only be 4 missionaries left. Please pray for those going home as they transition back into "normal life". Please also pray for the ministries here, that God would give us the strength to give one more week 100%, even with less hands than normal. We do have a mission team in helping us, thank God! Please pray especially for those we've built relationships with over the summer, particularly the ones I've mentioned here... God is far from finished! Pray as we leave that He would continue working in their lives, even after they are back home. He is faithful!

Our final staff lunch... bittersweet.

I have 10 days left in Ocean City and I'm praying to make the most of every opportunity!! Thank you for joining in God's work here through prayer! I miss you and love you all very much! I'll be home soon!


"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ..." -Colossians 4:2-3a

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Seek and you will find

And He said to them, "Which of you shall have a friend, and go to him at midnight and say to him, 'Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine has come to me on his journey, and I have nothing to set before him'; and he will answer from within and say, 'Do not trouble me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give to you'? I say to you, though he will not rise and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will rise and give him as many as he needs. So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened." -Luke 11:5-10

Sunday, June 26, 2011

"All nations shall call Him blessed"

"His name shall endure forever; His name shall continue as long as the sun. And men shall be blessed in Him; All nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things! And blessed be His glorious name forever! And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen." Psalm 72:17-19

THANK YOU for your continued prayers! They make all the difference! "And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Matthew 21:22

*Please pray also for missions in Africa (Brittany) and the Philippines (Phil)!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Ocean City, Week 2

My mom gave me a book of verses and quotes before I left home that has been wonderful to flip through and keep focused each day. Love this one:

"The place where God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet." -Frederick Buechner

I am loving being in Ocean City. Only 2 weeks in and I have already learned so much and had a lot of cool experiences. As I said last week, my team is amazing and we have quickly become like a family.

Since last week we've done a lot! It's been a great week.

We hold "Surf and Sand" clubs every weekday morning in the various campgrounds. Michelle and I averaged about 6 kids last week, and they were all precious. One day we were telling them the story of how Jesus healed Jarius' daughter and the bleeding woman. A little 4 year old girl, Julia, played Jesus (she wanted a turn because her older brother had played Jesus all week) and a little 5 year old girl, Sada, played the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' robe.

Mark 5:30 "And Jesus, immediately knowing in Himself that power had gone out of Him, turned around in the crowd and said, 'Who touched My clothes?'"

So we told Julia, "Say, 'Who touched me?'" and she turned around and said, "Sada did!" Priceless. Love them.

Every day we get a chance to share the gospel with these children through songs and Bible stories. One of their favorite songs is "The River of Life" (I'm sure a lot of you are familiar with it) which goes like this:

I've got a river of life flowin' out of me
It makes the lame to walk and the blind to see
Open up the doors; set the captives free
I've got a river of life flowin' out of me
Spring up a well (gush gush gush gush) in my soul!
Spring up a well (splish, splash) and make me whole
Spring up well and give to me that life abundantly

Even still, it has been challenging to me to know how to share these stories with the children in a way they can understand. My awesome teammate Michelle shared these verses with me:

"Give ear, O My people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might, and the wonders that He has done. He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose Spirit was not faithful to God." Psalm 78:1-8

These verses reminded me that we have a responsibility and a privelege to tell these children about the awesome God we serve! Jesus Himself said, "Let the little children come unto Me!"

Sada and her sister Chamille were so sharp and it was very evident that they knew a lot about Jesus. Their mom even told us on the first day that they would love the Bible stories, and they did! Two others, Evan and Julia, loved to answer the questions about the Bible, too. Their mom gave us a donation for the ministry at the end of the week and told us how much she appreciated what the ministry was doing. Things like that are very encouraging!

When I think about the ministry we have with these precious kids I am reminded about my own life. Even as a small child (and before), God was already calling me by name. Through the teachings and examples of family members, teachers, Sunday School teachers, and others, He was leading me to where I am now, showing me who He was little by little so that I could understand. Being in Ocean City, we have the awesome opportunity to help lay a foundation of truth in these kids' lives: God loves them and wants them as His own! Please continue to pray for the Surf and Sand clubs. Pray for the children and their families, that through this ministry seeds could be planted and more would come to know Jesus as a result.

Wednesday night we had a dinner at the church and got to meet a lot of the members. It was a lot of fun--we played minute to win it challenges. They are great people, and we will be working alongside them some this summer. This chuch is a great location (right on the beach) to reach MANY people that come here during the summer.

Friday night was my favorite time here so far, and I think a lot of the team feels the same way. We held the international coffee house from 9pm-12am. Many international students come into the city for the summer to work, so we get the chance to get to know lots of awesome people! It's cool that even in the US we get to share the gospel with "the nations". It was slow enough that we got to hang out and talk with the students. I met Christina, Christina (2 of them), and Zamira from Russia and Simona from the Ukraine (I think). We played a game of Jenga and I got to know about their homes and their schools and how they like Ocean City so far. They plan to come back next week, and I'm already very excited about that! They were so sweet. I look forward to getting to know them better and I am praying for opportunities to talk to them about Jesus! Please join me in praying for all of the international students that come to the church for the Monday night dinners and Friday night coffee house. Pray that God would open doors for the gospel to be shared--many of them get taken advantage of while they are here (sadly) but that means the church has a great opportunity to be a safe haven for them in many ways.

Playing Jenga at coffee house :)

Sunday we had campground worship in the different campgrounds. Last week at Castaways we had 9; this week we had 18! A couple, Ray and Judy, are here at the end of their vacation serving with us for a few days. Ray did the message Sunday on the parable of the lost coin and the lost sheep. We have thoroughly enjoyed having them here! They remind me a lot of my Mema and Pepa at home :)

My teammates doing worship at another campground came back with an awesome story. They met this guy, Mike, who is biking across the country with the goal of increasing his faith and the faith of others. You can follow his blog and even read his account of Sunday morning here:

Last night we had international dinner and parents' night out. Tonight is the lifeguard dinner followed by the SEARCH Bible study where they can ask any questions they want to. Please pray for open hearts and for the wisdom to respond with truth and grace!

"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." -Hebrews 4:12

Tomorrow we have family night, which is when we put on a program for parents and children to participate in together. At the end of the program Taylor will give a testimony as to why she is serving here, which is a great time for her to present the gospel to these families that we are already serving through the surf and sand clubs! We also have a family night on Sundays at Castaways campground that I am in charge of, but it was rained out on Sunday. I will get another chance next week :)

Thank you for your continued prayers for the various ministries going on here in Ocean City!

Love ya'll,

"For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen." Ephesians 3:14-21

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ocean City, MD, Week 1

Just a few updates on what has been going on in Ocean City since the team arrived on Wednesday.

After a long day of travelling on Wednesday, we had orientation from Wednesday night through Friday morning. A lot of it was going over rules and expectations for the summer, but we also had times of prayer and asking God to prepare us for the work we will be doing. We met our team that is working with Ocean City Baptist Church and the travelling team that will be going around the area doing VBS in various churches throughout the summer. Our team consists of 6 girls and 2 guys, mostly from TN, NC, GA, MS, and one from the UK.

Wednesday afternoon we had some time to go out to the beach for a while and see the Ocean City boardwalk (only a block from the church)--incredible! There is so much beach here, much different from Tybee where there isn't much beach room at high tide. There are also a TON of seagulls. Seriously. The boardwalk is a three mile strip of shops, arcades, and food shops with ice cream, popcorn, french fries, you name it.

Ocean City Baptist Church. --

Thursday morning we split into groups and walked along the boardwalk praying over the city, over the people we saw, over the teams, over our ministries, and just over our time here, that the Lord would prepare us to do His work and that He would open hearts to receive Him here in this city.

Beautiful sunset behind some buildings seen from the boardwalk.

Thursday afternoon we passed out fliers to the international student workers advertising free meals at local churches. The international students come from all over--Ireland, Russia, Scotland, Lithuania, Moldova, etc. to work for the summer. There is an incredible opportunity to reach out to them through the ministry of the church with events like free meals and coffee hour, which will happen on Friday evenings.

Friday afternoon we went around to the 4 campgrounds in the area and Friday night we were assigned to which campground we will be working in for the duration of the summer. Saturday we cleaned up at the church and prepared for campground worship the next morning. We had time to visit the beach and enjoy the boardwalk again, so that was nice.

Sunday morning we split up at our various campgrounds and helped with worship. We do a brief 45 minute service for the campers with a couple of songs, a time of prayer, and a time of reading through the Word and discussing it. My partner, Chrissy, and I were grateful to have a local pastor lead the music and the preaching, so we were just there as support and help and to remind the campers of the kids' programs we would be leading during the week. After the service was done Chrissy and I went to OCBC to help with the nursery and then attended the 10:00 service in the morning. Great time of worship there, and a very welcoming group of people at the church. Sunday night the team attended the 7:00 service--again, a great time of worship and fellowship.

Also on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings we went to meet the greyhound bus at the station bringing in international students for the work program. We greet them and give them a welcome gift from the city and invite them to the international dinners at OCBC on Monday nights.

This morning (Monday) we were at our various campgrounds again. Michelle and I had 6 kids at Castaways campground. ( We did a program much like VBS, only the curriculum is more flexible and less planned out in advance with videos like VBS is. We did crafts, music, snacks, games, and a Bible story with the kids and I think they had a good time. We are expecting the numbers to increase as word gets around. As more kids come, we can invite the parents to the other ministries that will begin next week, including parents' night out (Monday nights--the parents can leave the children at the church for a minimum fee from 6-10pm and have a free night) and family night (Sunday nights for Castaways campground--fun for the whole family!).

We had time to relax today before the international dinner began at 6. In 2 hours 165 students came through for a free meal. I was very touched by this event tonight. The numbers last year started around 80 on the first night and by the end of the summer they were serving 400-500 students on average. We invite the students to come back on Friday evenings for coffee hour, when we can have more time to talk with them and build relationships that way. I had the privilege of meeting 2 students from Kazakhstan and one student from Russia who is a Christian. We had good conversations. The rest of the time I was serving drinks, but I was very burdened by all of the students coming through. Lately I've been reading an autobiography of George Muller (thanks, Debbi) and his words encourage me greatly regarding prayer... Already the Lord is drawing me closer to Him, and teaching me to lean on Him in every moment, believing that He is good and all powerful to answer prayers in a mighty way as we seek His will. Standing in line I began to pray for each student that grabbed a drink, asking God to use the ministry in some way to show His love to them. I asked Him to open their hearts to Him and to understand the joy of knowing who He is. It is amazing what can happen when we pray and let God do the work instead of going into a situation with our own agenda already planned out... Thank You Lord for being patient with me when I am so slow to learn these things!

Yesterday was a hard day for me... homesick and wondering how we are ever going to keep this pace all summer. I thank God for creating unity in this team and encouraging us through each other as we seek Him for our strength. I have been blessed with a wonderful group to work alongside this summer. I am also extremely thankful for those at home that send me encouraging words and let me know they are praying. I mean it when I say I can feel those prayers--reading the Muller biography makes me more aware of the power of prayer and 1)makes me appreciate those prayers all the more and 2) encourages me to pray more often and will more faith than before. Praise the Lord, and thank you all for every prayer on behalf of the team here and the work being done in Ocean City. The Lord is great!

It's going to be a busy and tough summer at times, but it's also going to be great. I'm excited about what God is going to teach me and about what He will accomplish through this team of amazing people who just want to love and follow Him. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be here.

Thanks for praying. Love ya'll.


p.s. Due to past experiences and safety of children and international students, we are not allowed to post any pictures of anyone other than our team. So that is why I've posted these pictures here. Enjoy!
On the beach Saturday afternoon.

Ashley and I acting touristy on the boardwalk.
Cooking together builds team unity--and good memories! :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Whatever it Takes?

I want your opinions. I want your insight. I'm asking for it. Please help me out? I really don't know what to think on this one...

In short, my question is this: should we really have a "whatever it takes" approach to sharing the gospel? Do we really believe that it's worth risking everything, even our lives, for? Before you say a quick "yes," consider this: What about when our decisions seem wreckless and even stupid? Should we proceed anyway for the sake of an opportunity to tell someone about Jesus?

Foreign missionaries are praised for going into dangerous territories and risking their very lives for the name of Jesus. Here in America, it is not illegal or necessarily dangerous to profess to be a Christian or to tell people about Him. I can't say I've encountered many situations where I had to decide between safety and sharing Jesus. Even when I went to Brazil and we were in rough parts of town, I don't think I was in any immediate danger.

But what about situations that are potentially very dangerous even here in America? These days it's hard to trust anyone: anything can happen. Should we stay away from rough neighborhoods because of the possible danger? Should we refuse to give the homeless man a ride because we have no clue about his sincerity? Is it our job to ask ourselves that or do we leave it up to God to do what He wants with the situation. I've been taught all my life that doing such a thing is completely unsafe, wreckless, and stupid. Don't do it. But how do we match that with whatever it takes?

I am sincerely asking here. I don't mean to sound arrogant with my questions. I realize that there are "smart" ways to go about those situations, like taking people with you. But what if that's not an option, or what if numbers don't really matter all that much as far as safety goes? Do we turn away or run head first into it, trusting along the way that God is sovereign?

Is it not His will for us to put ourselves in dangerous situations? I am convinced He wants above all else for His fame to be spread, that more people would know the saving name of Jesus. If that means risking our lives for that, then so be it. What's the balance? I really would like to hear different perspectives on this... especially regarding Scripture references that could point me in the right direction...

Thanks in advance. Love you guys!
--Here is one perspective I've looked at...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Brazil 2011... "Wonders Among Us" Joshua 3:5

I'd like to take some time to tell you all not about what we did on Spring Break 2011, but what God did through my life and how it has changed me. I want to share many things, but I'll share my favorite story first.

Someone said something during our brief stay in Brazil that really stuck with me: "There's not a whole lot that's done on a mission trip that can't be done back at home." With this being my first "mission" trip, there's so much I could talk about regarding what I saw, experienced, and learned. But the concept of "missions" truly being wherever you are and whatever you're doing is my biggest take away from this trip. I've heard before that missions are here at home, too, but I still had the concept in my mind that it meant painting a house or going door-to-door. Those things are still great; I just mean to say that it's the image I had in my head when I thought about missions. I could not have been more mistaken.
My favorite and most cherished part of the trip was the night ministry, which Eric (the missionary we worked with) does once or twice a week. We joined him in prayer walking through the areas where prostitutes and transvestites work at night. We talked with them, looked them in the eyes, asked their names, prayed with them, gave them gospels of John, and hugged them. Even as I write this I know there is no way to express what that experience was like.
On Friday night Brooke and I were able to go back out with Eric again. On Wednesday (the first time) there weren't many people out, but on Friday, there were women at almost every bus stop. One woman in particular continues to be on my heart. Her name is Vanessa, and she was wearing only jeans and a bra when we stopped to speak with her. It was easy to see she was shocked that we obviously weren't there as customers. When Brooke gave her the John gospel she said in Portuguese, "This is the Word of God." (Sidenote: isn't God AWESOME?? We didn't even speak the same language, but that doesn't stop Him from working...) She knew what she held in her hands. She began to walk away but Eric asked if we could pray with her, so she turned around. I placed my hand on her shoulder and Brooke placed her hand on mine. Vanessa stood stiffly as I prayed (in English) but before I knew it she had lifted her hands to form a circle with me and Brooke. I started to cry as I was praying because I so desperately wanted her to be safe both physically and spiritually from the bondage Satan has her so entangled in. I did not see a prostitute in front of me; I saw my Brazilian friends from camp, my friends from back home, and even myself. We've ALL been entangled insin before we open ourselves to the grace offered to us.

"The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds." -2 Cor. 2:14

Upon coming home, I realize that it is not only prostitutes or those caught in sexual sin that need to be shown the love of Jesus. Every person I meet is NOT defined as a liar, a thief, or any other sin. They are God's precious creations, so desperately in need of grace, as we all are. I may not be able to talk to prostitutes in Macon, GA (but then again, who knows) but I can look people in the eye, ask them their name, and tell them God loves them. I can allow God to show Himself rather than me. It is not by my power that I can see people as He sees them, it is His grace that allows me to be a vessel of His love to others. He allows me to see each person as someone in need of love and grace. I can carry this truth with me every moment of every day. Joshua 3:5 says, "Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you." I read this at the very beginning of the trip and I was very excited at what God was about to do through the team. Now that I am back at home, though, I realize that every tomorrow turns into today. Every day is an opportunity to sanctify ourselves from our flesh and allow God to do wonders among us. Amen!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Playlist of my life. :)

Music is powerful. You can hear a song and be taken back in time. I was making a playlist the other day and realized how many experiences I've had have been shaped by music. I'd like to share just some of the songs that take me back, make me happy, or just "fit". :)

"Jesus Loves Me" I accepted Christ early in life. In my elementary understanding, I knew He loved me and I wanted to love Him back!
"Livin' in a Moment" by Ty Herndon. All my mom ever listened to and still listens to is country. I remember being a little kid and being able to recite every word of this song.
"Love Liberty Disco" by the Newsboys. My cousins and I made up a dance to this song. We had some good times back then. :)
"Watch the Lamb" by Ray Boltz. The video made me cry when I was younger. Time hasn't changed it!
"Survivor" by Destiny's Child. For some reason I distinctly remember this being played when we had a DJ at my elementary school for beach day. It was my 5th grade year so it was the last time I enjoyed "beach day" for the last day of school.
"Lady Marmalade" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack. I watched this at a sleepover for Alexa's birthday party one year. Now THAT was super fun. I think we went to see Hitch the next day...that could have been a different year, but the timing is right. We had some fun times together!
"Your Man" by Josh Turner. First slow dance song. Self explanatory.
"Love Song for a Savior" by Jars of Clay. "I want to fall in love with You..." I remember feeling like I was falling in love with Jesus for the first time when I was about 14. Because I was. My understanding up to that point was so minimal! I was a "good girl" but I never realized that God loved me enough to have a plan for my life that fit into His purpose. Incredible.
"Getting into You" by Relient K. "I'm getting into you, because you got to me, in a way words can't describe...I'm gonna love you with my life."
"Whatever You're Doing" by Sanctus Real. In high school, I remember feeling like I was about to burst for wanting to do something more than what I was doing. I felt like there was chaos inside me because I didn't know what to do with all that He was showing me at the time. Little did I know He was only beginning! :)
"Forever and for Always" by Shania Twain. Well, that didn't happen. Had some good times but in the end I learned a lot about myself. I was so dumb. Lol.
"Stand in the Rain" by Superchick. This was my anthem in a time when I made a tough decision in high school. I would blast it on the way to school some mornings!
"Laughed Until We Cried" by Jason Aldean. South Effingham High School class of '09 graduation song. :)
"Undo it" by Carrie Underwood. This one played a lot in my dorm room last semester! Haha.
"How He Loves" by David Crowder Band. Who doesn't relate to this song? Specifically, though, it was the theme song for Georgia Mountain Vida Nueva #31, where I had the opportunity to love on some beautiful girls to show them how much they are loved. :) It was an awesome experience, as was my own VN in March of 2010. God is so good!
"God of this City" by Bluetree. I want to GO places to carry the name of Jesus. How blessed I am that He's shown me just a piece of how big His plans are for me! Brazil and Maryland all in one year!
"Beautiful Somehow" by Joy Williams. This one could have been anywhere from high school till now. It's my happy, feel good song. :) "Well I've never been a fashion queen, I wear dresses, I wear jeans. I've even been known to wear my heart on my sleeve..."
The whole Passion 2011 CD, not even out yet! Talk about an awakening... I could go on and on about this. 2011 has been the best year so far in my life, and it started with Passion. God has drawn me near to Him and has opened my eyes to the joy of knowing Him more and more everyday. He's given me passions that are unique to His plan for me, and is giving me the freedom to enjoy them! He is SO GOOD!
"The First Cut is the Deepest" by Sheryl Crow. The lyrics are self explanatory. It's been a process of letting go of the past and looking forward, but Jesus continues to surround me with His perfect love. He is my satisfaction, my everything. I believe and I know that He frees me from past mistakes and gives me the freedom to look forward to whatever He has for me. He is my everything!
"Sing My Love" by Jesus Culture. This is another happy song for me. I love to sing it at the top of my lungs, just to shout how much I love Him! With all that He has done in my life thus far this year, I cannot help but praise. He is like breathing to me...He is life, He is everything! 

Again, this is in no way all inclusive of every song that means something to me. But it was fun! What are some songs that have shaped your life? :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Passing on some words of wisdom...

I don't have anything in particular to say today, but I wanted to share some wisdom from a book that has taught me a lot. It's called A Woman And Her God. The insight of the authors has given me wisdom in several areas of my life, so I thought maybe someone else could benefit from it as well.

"If we don't find satisfaction with God, we will look for it somewhere else...Consider the word subsistence. One definition of the helpless is that they are poor and needy, 'subsisting on the alms of others.' The picture painted here is a beggar. If we subsist on the alms of others, our heart is just a vaccuum; we're needy people because we were created that way. We need to be loved. We need to be affirmed. Those are not weaknesses. We were created with those needs, and we are like beggars when our soul is not satisfied by God. It's like we walk around all day with an empty cup, asking people to fill it up. We may [ask people], "Can you fill my cup?" The problem is that we go to them seeking what only Christ was meant to provide. We can affirm one another, even fulfill one another, but it was God's design right from the beginning that He alone would satisfy our soul's desire. We were meant to thrive on the riches of His love. We were never meant for subsistence living." -Beth Moore, p.9-10
"Long before my family wakes up in my house and before I expect them to meet a need I might have, God has taught me to go to Him...One thing that is so incredible about allowing our Father to meet our needs first thing in the day is that if [anyone] showers us with love later on, our cup overflows. But it's not their job to initially meet the needs of our soul. Therefore, they enjoy the delight (and so do we) of causing this wonderful overflow. And what a difference that makes!" -Beth Moore, p.12,15

I've made the mistake many days of looking for others to fill my cup. It leaves me miserable and feeling unloved, neither of which is productive or necessary! I love the picture here of a cup full to the brim with Jesus, and later on, anything else causes overflow. :)

After Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, his disciples told him to eat something. "How frustrated He must have been with the disciples! For that matter, how frustrated He must be with us when we can't take our focus off lunch. Our vision is so limited. The problem is, if we become comfortable in our faith, we tend to become self-satisfied and then we don't even care if the world's gone to hell in a handbasket. We have no vision and certainly no passion... If you have a vision for the lost, you tend to lose your appetite, because your vision leads to passion. Suddenly your stomach becomes tied in knots. Let me ask you something: When was the last time your stomach ached over a lost soul? Take a good look at the people around you. Just as it was in biblical times, the fields are ripe. It's harvest time!" -Jill Briscoe, p.34-35

The fullness of His love that He gives is meant to be spread, not kept within us! He draws us in to Him by His love in order that we might delight in Him... and that delight cannot be hidden! The lost world around us NEEDS to know. May we never have more of an appetite for the things of the world than we do for seeing God's kingdom here on earth.

"Experiencing the reality that God loves you personally will have a profound healing effect on every area of your personality. [It will] involve a secure sense of being unworthy but not worthless, with a consistent focus on God's adequacy rather than our own inadequacy. Notice the balance. Yes, we are unworthy of this eternal love relationship, but we are not worthless. The worth of something is determined by the price someone is willing to pay for it. Look at the price that was paid to allow us to enter into this eternally secure love relationship with God. How awesome!" -Sandra D. Wilson, p.60

"Once we become convinced of His love, we must be willing to receive it. Our mind may acknowledge, Yes, God loves me, but we don't receive it; we don't truly allow God to love us. Romans 5:5 says, 'God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.' Our response should be, 'I receive Your love, Lord.'" -Kathleen Hart, p.69

"Second Corinthians 5:9 says, 'We make it our goal to please the Lord.' Our goal should be to please the Lord. Clear your grandstand of all other people. The only one who should be there is Jesus. He's the one who loves you unconditionally. He's the one you should love with all your heart. He's the one giving you direction in your life." -Kathleen Hart, p.86

"Take responsibility for who you are, for your behavior, and for your actions and attitudes. We have to do that at every stage of our life. Otherwise, we'll continue to react to life, to circumstances, and to people, and our life will become miserable." -Kathleen Hart, p.88
I think this goes right back to where we get our satisfaction... Any other source but Jesus will not fulfill and we will be miserable.

"As we consider how Jesus cared for women, we know that one ofthe primary ways was by listening, talking to, and interacting with them. His actions and words always revealed this statement: 'You matter to Me; you're important to Me.'" -David Hager, M.D., p.106-107

"Listening requires a great deal of humility, because by saying less when you could have said more allows God to do everything." -David Hager
This jumped out at me. It's a perspective I've never considered on something I really need to work on!

"Jesus' example sets the course for all men with respect to caring for women. This is how men are to treat women... No human relationship can satisfy the deep soul-need you have. A relationship with a man cannot match it, no matter how hard you try. No husband can meet that kind of need for his wife; only Jesus can do that. And that's the way He wants it." -David Hager, p.114-115

Thank You Jesus!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Then and Now

It's interesting that I named this blog "Time." Time has always been a big deal in my life. With divorced parents, thinking about time has consumed many holidays and summer breaks and whose time is it and how am I going to split it and so on...
Now that I'm older I have come to value time probably more than anything else. When I have an hour to spend on the phone with a friend, I hang up feeling energized and refreshed because someone cared enough to give me a little piece of their life. It's also one of the things I need to work on the most because I constantly procrastinate. =/ I also stretch myself too thin, not knowing when to say no when someone needs some of my time. I'm working on it.
Needless to say, I think a lot about time. When I first started I posted about Ecclesiastes 3, which talks about God's timing for all things...
What brought that about was looking at relationships around me (some I was involved in and some that I was just a bystander to) and how there is a time to make it work and a time to wish them the best and move on. We are free in Christ, and yet sometimes we let other people become chains that hold us down. It can either be by their own doing or our own choice to be chained (or both). A chain for me growing up was trying to please people. I constantly felt torn or guilty about where I was or who I was spending time with because I couldn't be in two places at once. When I started driving, I could make my own choices, do my own thing. I eventually started spending less and less time at either home just so I could avoid the whole thing. I let myself become so wrapped up in one person that I put chains on myself by letting my life be consumed around them...
That brings me to what I wanted to do in this post. I just want to show what God has done in the past 6 or 7 months of my life. It's just a beginning, but my God is SO big and I'm beyond grateful that He picked me up from where I was and let me be free and completely satisfied in Him. I'm so excited to see what more He has in store for me.

Then: Stingy and scared to give when I had so many "needs" of my own.
Now: Learning that giving TRULY is better than receiving. It is all His anyway, and He can do much more with it than I can!

Then: Always feeling guilty about where I was and who I was spending my time with.
Now: Trusting that no matter where I am, I am carrying Jesus with me and opportunities surround me to share Him with others.

Then: Timid and rarely sharing my faith.
Now: Praying for the chance to daily show Jesus to whoever He puts in my path, even my own family.

Then: Terrified to leave the comforts of home.
Now: Loving being at college, meeting new people, experiencing new things, and embracing the opportunity to leave the country to share Jesus with another part of the world!

Then: Stressed all the time about things that don't matter in the end.
Now: Life happens, but my Jesus sustains and satisfies me through any circumstance. Circumstances can't hold me down.

Then: Settling for something that was far from God's best for me.
Now: Trusting that even when I don't understand, I can trust God to bring the best things along in His time. Knowing that I deserve more than I settled for.

Then: Missing out on so many great things because I thought something else was worth it.
Now: Traded it in for having a ton of fun, meeting a lot of wonderful people, and most of all, opening my hands up to whatever God may have for me!

Then: Conforming into someone that wasn't me, afraid to be honest because of what I might "lose".
Now: Free to be myself, knowing that my Jesus is the only One I really need to please, and also knowing that He fulfills my heart's desires! He knows me better even than I do.

Then: Doing things my way, always wanting control. 
Now: Learning to trust Him and not wanting things in my control (because my way will always fail!) 

Then: Watered down Christianity.
Now: Living for Jesus. Still learning (a LOT) but giving all that I am and all that I have for Him to do what He will with it...

To GOD be the glory, great things He has done! Praise Him for choosing to save us, when we can't even see that we need saving! Praise Him for never giving up on us. Praise Him for choosing to use us. Praise Him for He is SO good.