4.19.2014

He came to bring us life

He came to bring us life.

But how many times have I thought He was here to try and destroy it? Or that in the waiting, in the pain, there was no hope. How I had forgotten the power of Him and His resurrection. How numb I have been to it.

But I woke up with renewed hope. A reminder that His mercies are new every morning. That my sin is not greater than my Savior and that, yes, the Savior died, but He didn't stay dead.

Even death couldn't contain Him.

So on this Saturday we wait. We wait for Sunday. We wait for the celebration of His resurrection. We wait for Him. We've been waiting for hope and Hope has a name and a face and He died for you and for me. Thank You, Jesus!

Sometimes that waiting is longer than a day and sometimes we (I) can't see why He doesn't just show up already but in everything He has a plan.

He died to give you life. He died to make a relationship with you possible. He died to make our sinful state one of waiting and not permanence. Because we won't stay this way forever.

We can say hallelujah together. Amen? 

"But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ..." - Philippians 3:20

4.18.2014

The faithfulness of our God

I'm listening to Kari Jobe, crossing the street, and out of no where a car hits me.

You think I'm kidding?

Nope.

Instantly, my mind goes crazy. Shock ensues.

I just got hit by a car. Oh my gosh! God, please help me.

I'm on the road. I'm looking at the back tire of the car that hasn't stopped yet and I hear, "Roll." So I did. I rolled out of the way.

I stand up and then the driver of the car hops out to ask if I'm okay. I say yes and they ask if they can give me a ride home. Um, no thanks. You just hit me, so I think I'll walk.

I make my way to the side of the road where I can examine myself to see what injuries I may have. A messed up ankle and a pretty nice looking scrape to my leg.

But that was all.

Compared to what could have happened, broken bone(s), broken face, head injuries, or death... I couldn't help but say thank You, Lord over and over. Because of His goodness and faithfulness and grace I lived. Hallelujah!

As this holy week continues I've had more gratitude in my heart than I've had in a long time. My Sunday school teacher told my class to read Psalm 136 every day this week. I didn't just read it, though. I was blessed enough to live it. Thank You, Father!!

"Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good. His love endures forever." - Psalm 136:1

4.17.2014

Girl at the end of the world - book review

Girl at the end of the world by Elizabeth Esther is a book where the author, Elizabeth, is
telling her story of how she was raised in what almost sounds like a cult and how she found redemption from it.

I got half way through the book and stopped. I was disappointed by various things but I felt like many of the stories included in this book are not very appropriate. In the context of a conversation at the beginning of the book there is a use of God's name in vain that I thought the publisher should not have included.

Many people have said that this book is hard to put down, but I would have to disagree. This is someones story, I know that, and it will be told from an honest perspective, and I understand that. However, I think some of the stories included were a bit too much in regards to information and some sexual context.

I wouldn't recommend this book to anybody under the age of 18 just because I think it's a very adult subject matter. Maybe this book was just a little too much for me. Some people need to hear the very blunt, honest stories with nothing left to the imagination, but I'm just not one of those people.


Note: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

4.16.2014

Raw Faith - book review

What if you are a Christian and get cancer. You know what God's Word says about giving thanks in all circumstances but right now you're just not okay. What then?

Raw Faith written by Kasey Van Norman tells you her story and what happened to her.

Kasey gets the call that she has cancer and that really rocks her world (but not in a good way, obviously). She then embarks on a journey of brokenness, pain, and triumphs. She begins looking at her faith and wondering what makes it real. She begins to ask the reader to take this journey of "raw faith" with her and invites the reader to be honest and open to the Lord as they go through the process.

Kasey feels kind of like a good friend who is there to pat you on the back and let you know, "It's okay to not be okay." I really was blessed by what I read on each page.

Her honesty, heart, and writing style make this book a must-read for all women and I would dare to say many men. Pick up a copy if you haven't already. You won't regret it.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. All views expressed are mine.

4.15.2014

Light flickering in the dark

Four walls and darkness surround. You huddle in this space, scared to breathe, bracing yourself for the panic, the fear, and the pain that you've come to know for so long. 

But then something happens.

There is that little corner you're huddled in a light begins to flicker. First, it's just a little flick and then gone. But you let yourself relax a little, hoping against hope that maybe this time it'll come back- and stay.

As you continue straining those beautiful eyes in the darkness the light flickers again... and again... and again.

Faith and hope turn on and you start to breathe a little easier. 

His presence seems a little stronger and then fear seems a little weaker and you praise- for the first time in a long time- real, true, authentic praise to this God of light, though your voice be strained from the weeks of sobbing and the prayers that seemed unending. 

Because what looks hopeless and faithless and dark and scary, might be for a season, but keep the faith even when it's hard because one day His Light will shine brighter than ever before and you can sing the thanks loud and clear. 

"Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD." 
- Psalm 27:14

4.08.2014

In due time...

Do you ever feel like you're stuck on a merry-go-round that is just messy and not always so fun and the name of it is called 'life'?

Yeah. And I've told people that and written it in my journal and prayed it and sobbed over it and been angry about it.

When my future seems to be going as I would like it (i.e. how I have it planned in my head) but then that "next step" takes longer than expected to actually happen, then I get discouraged and sad and panic sometimes ensues.

I was reading 1 Samuel 1 this morning and was greatly encouraged by the story of Hannah. One verse really stood out,

"So in the course of time Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Samuel, saying, “Because I asked the Lord for him.” (emphasis mine)

ESV says, "in due time". Hannah prayed, she sought the Lord, she begged for a child and then in due time she received it. I'm not saying God always grants our requests this way because sometimes He says no, but I was so encouraged to know that not only are our prayers heard, but God answers them... just not always in an instant (as I, and probably you, would prefer).

I don't know what you're praying for or waiting for but there is hope. Draw near, be patient, and wait, for in due time, if the Lord wills, you will receive... a job, or joy. A child, or a friend becoming His child. An opportunity, or a laugh.

Thank You, Lord, for hearing our prayers and answering them. Help us to be patient and wait, and hope, and endure. Amen.

3.31.2014

Wait...

I'm a go-getter, don't wait kind of girl.

I've been that way since I was young. I like to get done what I can get done and do as much as possible in the shortest amount of time.

Wait is not a word I like to hear. Wait takes me back to my childhood and temper tantrums and tears and anger.

Oddly enough, I still cry, throw a pity-party, and get mad when I'm told I have to wait. (In case you're wondering, I had me a moment today. Yep, Christians fail. Thank God for Jesus and grace!)

I read this today and was absolutely blessed by these words,

"My motto tends to be why wait when you can do it now…. Like right now. However sometimes we are simply called to wait, wait in the unknown and trust that we will be taken care of."

Yes.

Trusting God will take care of you when school is overwhelming, your job stinks, you're tired, your life isn't as "awesome" as you'd like it to be... trust.

Trusting that when you're crying, He cares. Trusting that when you're happy, He cares. Trusting that when all around you is falling apart, He cares. He cares enough to walk with us through the pain.

Stand tall, little heart, or bow low. Either way, take some time to rest tonight in the fact that no matter what you're going through, God will take care of you. Amen.

3.29.2014

Spoken For - Book review

Spoken For is a book written by two fearfully and wonderfully made ladies who seek to share the truth with other girls.

Alyssa Bethke and Robin Jones Gunn speak to the heart of every woman in embracing the truth about who they are in the Lord. Definitely not an easy read for anybody. Each chapter takes on a different area in our lives that the Lord claims and how He views us/it. Some of the topics include knowing we are loved, pursued, valued, set free, and of course, spoken for.

I've found myself nodding along, fighting back tears, and hoping as I've read through the pages of this book.

I'd encourage any woman to pick up a copy when it releases on April 15th. I'd especially recommend this book for pre-teens and teen girls as it's always good to set the foundation of understanding your identity in the Lord early on.

*Note: I received a complimentary advanced readers copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing. All opinions and views expressed are mine and do not reflect that of the publisher. 

3.28.2014

He came for those days too...

My soul can become so weary. All the work, the little amount of rest, the fight for peace and holiness that leaves me bone-dry and facing up to the fact that holiness and peace and perfection are impossible for me.

Jesus came for me on those days.

Not just the days where His promises are like chocolate cake to me- oh so sweet. But also for the days when He seems distant and maybe not as nice as I thought He was. On the days where I don't understand and the panic attacks come from worries and over-analyzing life and when I'm reading the blogs, the books, and thinking, hmm... why are they this joyful?

He came for us when we look at ourselves and hate what we see and yet don't know how to change it or don't even know how to hope for change... or hope itself. He came to give rest to the weary and burdened.

He came for the sick. He came for the bleeding woman, and the prostitute, and the thief on the cross, and for us.

Maybe what we really need is to stop and be still. No working, no analyzing, no book reading, movie watching, etc. Just. be. still.

God holds us even when we just can't dare to believe that.

Lord Jesus, Salvador, help us overcome our unbelief. 

3.26.2014

At Peace in the Storm - Book review

"3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (emphasis mine)

If there has ever been a book that verse 4 could be posted on every page, it's At Peace in the Storm  by Ken Gire.

I got this book because I've felt the tug of war from the world and the Devil and life's daily struggles and the lack of peace that has followed my heart for a year. I wasn't one bit disappointed by reading it. Every page felt like a cool drink on a hot day. I felt understood... and the hopelessness that has been my un-wanted friend for a while started to dissipate and was replaced by the hope that is found in Christ.

Ken shares some of his experiences in life that have threatened to steal his peace (and how some did) and then shares how the Lord gave him comfort in many different things- worship music, Bible reading, hugs from friends, etc.

If you're going through a hard time, you won't experience condemnation while you read this book. It reads like a good friend who desires to help you. The chapters are short enough that if you wanted to you could read it like a devotional for a couple weeks. No matter what you do, I encourage everyone who has ever felt the pull of life and the fight for peace to pick it up and read it.

*Note: I received a free copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All views and opinions expressed are mine.