Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Hike Worth Trekking

A Hike Worth Trekking

It was a Saturday. We just had our dating anniversary on Thursday, Octover 30th. We’d celebrated the weekend before since our school schedule didn’t allow us to celebrate on our actual anniversary date. We’d been talking about getting married for a while, but I wasn’t exactly sure when it would happen. Actually, we’d been dating for 3 years already, but we knew we wanted to get married after a month of officially dating (we refer to our non-official dating dinners as “friend food nights”). We met at church and live at our parents’ houses still, so moving out didn’t seem like an affordable option yet. However, we still strive to uphold our Christian beliefs and staying pure until we are married. (He’s a great man!) So, when to get engaged? When will we be “ready?”

However, that special Saturday morning on Nov. 1st something very special happened! Zack (then boyfriend, now fiancé) asked me if I wanted to go on a hike. I figured, why not? But this was during choir practice at my church, so I wasn’t really dressed to go hiking. I ended up at the mall after church actually, and I had this funny feeling that maybe he would propose. Of course, I couldn’t go and get engaged unprepared, so I got thicker leggings (since it was a little chilly) and foundation done. I mean, even if I didn’t get engaged, I could look pretty while hiking, right?! I’m not normally one to wear makeup everyday – let alone a hike – but I just had this funny feeling …

After the mall, I headed to his house so we could drive together to Sunol Regional Wilderness in CA. Once we got to the park, we started hiking. Mind you, we are not super outdoorsy people. In fact, as we are hiking up, I told him, “Well, this is definitely a once in a lifetime hike. NEVER AGAIN.” To which he laughed, and later told me, “I laughed because I knew this wouldn’t be the only time we hike this trail!”

I had blisters on my feet and I was honestly exhausted, so I kept saying, “How about here? This is good, right? We’re basically at the top.” But at the same time I wanted to keep going. He wanted to get to the top, so I kept telling myself, “I NEED TO DO THIS. DON’T BE SUCH A WIMP!” At one point, we got to the top and it was just gorgeous.
 
 

We got to a mini part of the trail (see above) where we could see everything. However, there was a mini hill to the left, so we decided to keep going and sit down at a bench. (Below is a picture of my fiancé pre-proposal). My fiancé brought a backpack with our water bottles. As we were sitting down, he asked, “Do you want candy? I have Kit Kat, Twix, Snickers …” My heart began to beat a little faster because I thought, “Oh my gosh. This might be it. He’s going to pull the ring out right now. This is it.” So I just quickly said, “Kit Kat.” To which, shockingly, he gave me a Kit Kat!
 




As we’re sitting and enjoying the view, I told Zack, “You know, this would’ve been a really pretty place to propose.” Zack just kinda laughed and asked, “Would it?”

“Yeah …”

“Too bad I didn’t bring the ring.”

“Yeah, too bad!” I said. At this point, I’m thinking today is definitely not the day. However, I still loved hiking and it even rained at the top of the little hill, despite the lack of rain in CA. (This was before the “storm” hit CA back in October.)
 




We took one last look of the view, then he asked, “Should we get going?” I said yes since I had a family party planned. As we are leaving the bench area back to the main hiking trail, he pulls a white box with the ring out of his backpack and got down on one knee! I know this sounds terrible, but I honestly don’t remember much at all what he said in his proposal to me. I was just so happy that it was happening. I just remember “I’m gonna be his wife! I’m gonna be his WIFE!” I remember him saying, “You’re my best friend” and “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Otherwise, the rest went out the door as he put the ring on my finger. It felt so magical with the grey clouds overhead, winds howling, rain sprinkling, trees swaying, and grass blowing side to side. It was such a beautiful moment between just the two of us. I’m glad we didn’t have a photographer because it felt so private and away from the world.
 


 

I remember as we started the hike down, we were both like, “Well, this was cool. Now what?!” So we talked about if he was nervous, did I have any ideas, my thoughts on the Kit Kat scenario, etc. Having a best friend as a fiancé (and future husband!) is seriously such a blessing.

You may remember my blisters from earlier, which were KILLING me. Thankfully my adrenaline was still high from not only hiking, but getting ENGAGED! Since he only had one band-aid in his backpack, we used the Kit Kat wrapper on my other heel to act as my “band-aid.” Haha. I love our engagement story. It was so us and so private and perfect, down to the little rain sprinkles. In short, nobody is “ready.” Marriage is something you can’t prepare for. It’s like a roller coaster: Once you’re on the ride, you’re committed to it until the end. Thanks for letting me share our story; I love sharing it with others!

P.S. Here is a silly video of me dumb right before my phone died on the hike and his proposal! I honestly don't even know what I was trying to say. It's certainly not English. Hahaha ...

video
 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Why I Would Die with Dignity

Dignity:
1. bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2. nobility or elevation of character; worthiness:
dignity of sentiments.
3. elevated rank, office, station, etc.
4. relative standing; rank.
5. a sign or token of respect

It's been a year and two days since I last posted. However, someone asked what my thoughts were on Brittany Maynard's decision on dying with dignity, so this is my response. I've also been feeling led to pick up blogging again, so I'm going to try to be more consistent and not wait a year ... Anyways, this is obviously a very controversial and sensitive subject matter, so I tried to be as gracious as I could be while relaying my honest thoughts.

Many people have heard of Brittany Maynard's case. If not you can read it here: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/death-638692-oregon-assisted.html. To summarize, she has stage 4 cancer glioblastoma. She was informed that she only has 6 months to live, so she moved to Oregon to take advantage of the Death with Dignity Law. Essentially, she plans on ending her life on November 1st by a doctor's prescription.
People can debate all day whether abortion is right or wrong. The baby isn't born yet, so it's not a baby, right? That makes sense ...
People can also debate all day whether prescribed death is right or wrong. It's doctor prescribed and her personal choice, so it's fine to die on purpose, right? That makes sense ...
You're probably wondering about my title. Why would I die with dignity? Am I saying I'd actually take a drug to end my life?
The answer is yes.

But only if I wasn't a Christian.
Yes, yes, you can all breathe a sigh of relief because I'm not going to do that. I can't speak from experience, since I have never had cancer, but I don't think I would choose to die. Life is full of imperfections and chances to die. Some situations are just more obvious. For example, cancer. Unlike being in a car accident and dying, cancer allows people to say goodbye. Brittany alludes to this herself when she says, "Unless my condition improves dramatically, I will look to pass soon thereafter ... When my suffering becomes too great, I can say to all those I love, ‘I love you; come be by my side, and come say goodbye as I pass into whatever’s next.’" Her poetic words sound nice, but her family will watch her drink her life away and end her life shortly. As hard as it is to watch a loved one go, she denies herself time with loved ones. In turn, she denies her loved ones important lessons that can be learned. More than that, she denies them precious moments in her last days. I've never had to go through chemo therapy, but I've experienced pain. Some of the most beautiful moments can burst through those dark times. It's incredible. You find out who is really there for you. You discover strength you didn't know existed. You find hope in the midst of tragedy. Although without hope in Christ, there isn't any real, lasting hope. I think that's what makes her story so heart wrenching.

Another important note to consider is that this is NOT a new argument. People have talked about euthanizing humans for literally centuries. (See here: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000022) I highly, highly, highly encourage you to click on that link and read about the history. It truly gives perspective on today's argument. You see, it's not just about Brittany Maynard, and I think people know that. The real issue is whether it's okay to die when a doctor says, "Your life will be over in 6 months, so here, take this if you so please?" Isn't that just suicide with a doctor's note? Nevertheless, I think the following historical passage sheds some light and perspective:

"When the 1940s dawned, many in the euthanasia movement believed it was only a matter of time before euthanasia became legal in the United States ... But euthanasia advocates were in for a surprise ... World War II broke out, and as Hitler's war machine Marched eastward across Europe ... news of Nazi atrocities against mental patients and handicapped children filtered back to America ... As word spread in the late 1940s, the euthanasia movement found itself increasingly on the defensive, scrambling to deny that the form of euthanasia it supported was the same as Nazi murder."
Furthermore, Marilyn Golden, a senior policy analyst at the Berkeley-based Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund states, "When you combine assisted suicide with a profit-driven health system, that’s a deadly mix." You see, in the United States, we let things like abortion happen because it is the norm. Most people now won't even deny that a fetus is actually a living being. However, we let it happen. Similarly, most people don't deny that Brittany Maynard is ending her own life. However, we let it happen because ... Well, it's her life and her decision. I don't deny that, but we have to take a step back and examine what she's choosing. We don't like to call it suicide, but suicide by definition is "the action of killing oneself intentionally." We already allow babies to die. Will we let Brittany prescribe her own death?

While I don't know where her heart is, her actions determine how she feels. What's the point of all that suffering? Why not take this pill and cut the casualties? This may seem slightly off topic, but in The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, the main character with cancer, Hazel, says that. "I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?” This is perfectly normal. Anyone who knows they are dying and will be in pain can say that. But ... Aren't we all going to die and be in pain at some point in our lives?
 
If you're a Christian like me, imagine you're not. This life is all you have. Nothing matters in the end because you go to your grave and take everything you've ever had with you. The good, the bad, the great, and the terrible. Puppies, cuddles, vacations, coffee in the morning, walks with loved ones, rain, surfing, birds outside your window, cancer ... Everything ends. It means nothing at all. There is no purpose to life, and as a result, no purpose in death. It's logical.

Even Solomon (whom most scholars believe wrote it) in the Bible says, "I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless -- like chasing the wind" (Ecc. 1:14). A lot of people don't like Ecclesiastes because it's depressing. In a way, it is. The book reiterates that life is "meaningless" over and over. No matter what happens, it doesn't mater. So yes, that's kind of just a little bit depressing. But the preacher/teacher who writes says the only true, lasting happiness is found in God. Everything else is futile.

So, in this sense, life to Brittany probably looks like Ecclesiastes without God: bleak, futureless, meaningless, and filled with pain. I get it. I would want to die with dignity, too. If I was Brittany, I would be afraid of the pain. I'd be afraid of the long days in the hospitals. I'd be afraid of sleepless nights. I'd be afraid of looking at someone very close to me and thinking, "I'm leaving you behind." I'd be afraid to look at them and think how much harder it is on them than it is on me. I'd be afraid of leaving my family and friends to suffer. I'd be afraid of adding bills upon bills to maybe get better and then have my family go into debt, even though I know they would think it's worth it. I'd be afraid of entering the unknown. I'd be afraid of meeting fellow cancer patients who might die before me. I'd be afraid of chemo therapy. I'd be afraid of being too exhausted to see people. I'd be afraid to be treated differently. I'd be afraid to be too weak to enjoy life. I'd be afraid of living, but not really "living." I'd be afraid.
If I had a life without Christ, I would want to die with dignity. After all, dignity is dying with self-respect. But as I test my beliefs with Brittany's decision, I just can't agree. My life is defined by Christ's death and resurrection, not my own life. Again, I've never had cancer. But if I had it, I know it would be for His glory. True, the words "glory" and "cancer" seem like polar opposites. But I think Kara, who actually has been battling cancer for 2 years, would agree with me. The grisly horns of life break open the most beautiful of moments. Nobody wants to suffer, but the most growth can happen in those times. If you want to read Kara's response to Brittany, see here: http://www.aholyexperience.com/2014/10/dear-brittany-why-we-dont-have-to-be-so-afraid-of-dying-suffering-that-we-choose-suicide/
In many ways, we are unaware of what God has in store for His loved ones. We are promised life will be harder by choosing Christ, but we'd choose it again in a heartbeat because we are so in love with Him. At least, we hope so when the trials come our way. God has so much happening beyond our individual lives. As John Piper says, "God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them." Cancer is a trial, and in Kara's case, maybe she sees Brittany's situation as one of the ways God is using her in this life. Cancer is a horrible. I would never wish it on my worst enemy. However, I think God has shown His power in the lives -- and deaths -- of those with cancer. Also, I want to make a point that I'm not discounting our individual lives. I mean, Christ died on a cross for us so we don't have to. Even if I was the only person He had to die for, He'd do it a thousand times just because He loves me. Why wouldn't I account for that as a believer in Christ?
I wish Kara and Brittany didn't have to suffer. Suffering sucks. (That's my eloquence as a 21 year old showing.) Unlike Kara, Brittany is choosing to skip suffering and just die. I'm not deeming Kara as better and mightier and holier, but maybe that she sees a bigger picture because she is a believing woman.

As Hazel says, Brittany might believe she's a grenade, waiting to explode, so she wants to cut the casualties. But is that what Brittany's family wants? Are they just respecting Brittany's decision? If I were her, would my family want that? Would I want that? What would I be teaching people who look up to me? At best, doctors believe Brittany only has 6 months to live. But why not allow that time for family and friends to celebrate her life with her here a little longer? Why not allow herself to be loved in a way she's never been loved before?Where is the room for miracles?

In many ways, I'm probably overstepping my boundaries since I've never had a terminal illness. But I like to think that I would give my family and friends time to cope. Whether or not I'm sick, I want God to take me in His timing. Whether that's tomorrow or 70 years from now. Of course I don't want to miss out on things. Like Brittany, I'd love to have kids someday. But if that isn't His plan, so be it. Can't I have dignity dying in His time? I just wish Brittany had this assurance.

I guess the point of this is to just ... PRAY.

In the end, we can argue about if it's right or wrong, but it is ultimately Brittany's decision. I pray God can reveal Himself to her and that she would be willing to recognize His grace. Miracles can and do happen, and when they don't, at least she can say she gave it a good fight. At least she has assurance. At best, at least she had 6 months to love and be loved in an unfathomable way.
Cancer in itself isn't a bad guy, according to John Green's book, but it's simply just trying to live. Sometimes, cancer wins, even if it's always cheating the host. I think when we don't give life a proper chance, we cut short God's plan for us. He makes everything beautiful in His timing (Ecc. 3:11). Will we cut short His eternal plan for us? I know as a Christian, most of this won't make sense to those who don't believe. I get that. I'm okay with that. I also know my words may come across insensitive since I've never had a disease that I know is terminal and filled with excruciating pain. I know that and I can only imagine what that's like. But I do think we need to ask ourselves, regardless of religion, whether Brittany truly is dying with dignity: Am I dying with self-respect? Am I worthy or noble of character to choose my own death? Furthermore, if you're a Christian, does this elevate my status? Am I showing people Christ is truly first in my life, above my own? Is this a sign or token of respect, as the definition of dignity states, to others or to Christ?

I'll leave this hefty, long, and winding thoughts with the following verses (and references). Just ponder the reality of Brittany's situation and really wrestle with it. As Christians, we can cling to the words of Jesus:

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).

"I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him" (Ecc. 3:10-14).


"There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

    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 to mourn and a time to dance,
    a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
    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).
Dictionary Definition: "dignity." Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 17 Oct. 2014. <Dictionary.com http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/dignity>.

Google Definition of "suicide": https://www.google.com/search?q=suicide+definition&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-Address&ie=&oe=&gws_rd=ssl

History of Euthanasia: http://euthanasia.procon.org/view.timeline.php?timelineID=000022

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

We Are ONE

"He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?" --Micah 6:8

"Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one." --1 Thess. 4:9-12



"The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance." --2 Peter 3:9


"For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall." --2 Peter 1:5-10


Do justice, love kindness, walk humbly with Him and towards others. Work hard, mind your own business, have knowledge, control, steadfastness, godliness, brother affection, and love. He is not slow to fulfill his promises.


This is hard to do, isn't it? Sometimes we like to keep to ourselves and not rely on anyone. However, God designed us to be able to lean on each other in the good and bad times.


In fact, 1 Cor. 12 explains exactly what I've been thinking lately, specifically verses 11-31 which you can read here: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Cor.%2012&version=ESV. Unfortunately, I think the American church is far off from Paul's message; we've lost heart. The heart of church is failing; if it were working, we'd be loving. If we were loving, we'd be aspiring to help each other out more! But I digress ... 1 Cor. 6:7-8 says it better than me: 


"To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!"


Yet, we don't even seem to care. We just enjoy living lives in our comfortable little bubble called "our life." We hurt each other, take offense, and leave the body or make bad choices. As 1 Cor. 6:15-17 says, 


"Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, 'The two will become one flesh.' But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him."


The real problem lies in ourselves. Individually, we are selfish by nature. If we weren't, we'd be actively serving with the gifts God has given. Who knows the limits of the church except God, if we actually did something?


"I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ's gift ...

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love." {emphasis added}

In the above verses (Eph. 4:1-7; 11-16), it specifically states we are one

Today, we need to start encouraging, building, loving, working, and trying for the church. We do NOT sit back. We step UP to the plate and the challenges God has brought into our lives and come with open hands to be molded into what He needs.

If becoming one with the body starts with us, it means we need to get rid of the bad in us. More living like Jesus, less selfish living like myself. I believe God created each and every one of us uniquely and for a different purpose. However, He wants us to purge ourselves of the bad and then flourish in the good He's graciously given us. However, with all the good in ourselves (which isn't much, might I add), we can only accomplish so much. Thus, the reason for the body of Christ.


In Matthew 11:28, Jesus promises, "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."


When we are too tired, WE are to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Ephesians says so. When Jesus says "come to me, " He means to go to Him, as well as rely on the body of Christ.


We wonder why so many people leave their faith, yet at the same time, we know exactly why. So today is the day to make a change and make an eternal impact. Find out your strengths and your weaknesses OR just get involved SOMEWHERE in the church, and you'll quickly find you aren't a superhero and will have many weaknesses. However, you will bring a freshness and audacity with whatever strengths you didn't even realize you had. So start on your knees asking Him what He needs from you. Then, get involved somewhere, have a little faith, jump in with a few seconds of courage, and He'll be ready to set you up.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Time to Thrive, Ladies & Gents

So, obviously I'm not writing everyday. I'm just enjoying some self time at Barnes and Noble and realized for the millionth time that life is so precious.

I'm not sure why, but numerous times throughout my day I've been realizing that the smallest things are meant to be enjoyed and cherished so that it may flourish in our lives. I'm only 20, but as each day passes, I'm finding myself realize just how short and wonderful life truly is, and what a gift it is to be alive! Like the lyrics to "Every Good Thing" by The Afters, the chorus says this:

"You're the reason for every good thing, every heartbeat,
Every day we get to breathe.
You're the reason for anything that lasts, every second chance,
Every laugh. Life is so sweet. You're the reason for every good thing, every good thing ...

It's our family, it's our friends, it's the feeling that I get when I see my children smile.
You're the reason for this life, everything we love, it's YOU alive in us.
You're alive in us ...

You are here in every moment!"

I recently read this article, called, "Thriving In Your Twenties" by a magazine called Darling. Darling is a magazine devoted to edify, inspire, respect yourself and others, and live life fully. It isn't too well known yet and has a lot of character. Anyways, the article can be found here: http://darlingmagazine.org/thriving-in-your-twenties/

I've found in our society, we keep delaying everything. We delay schooling, marriage, jobs ... You name it, and we are found meandering around, directionless, and unfocused. In fact, we're kind of like chickens running around with their heads off, except in slow motion. Basically, chickens are winning. Twenties are such an exciting time. The article goes on to say we need to stop wasting our time. For example, I'm going to burst a major bubble for many of you: There is NO SUCH THING as "the one." Honestly, if there was such a thing, it would be Zack for me because we are two peas and a pod. However, nobody except Jesus is perfect, so how would someone be "perfect" for you? In the garden, the equation isn't 1/2 a person (Adam) + 1/2 a person (Eve) = completion. God's math is 1 person (Adam) + 1 person (Eve) = 1 person. God has His hand over everything and loves being by your side. So basically be the #1 version of yourself and work on being a Godly person and you have the freedom to choose any other Godly guy/gal out there. Twenties are also a lot of HARD work, the article states. You can't except your dream job right away like the tv shows, you have to work your way up there! There are a lot of decisions to be made, but I honestly believe we put it off because we don't want to answer them. Or if we do want those questions answered, we find ourselves unable to find the answer, so we give up. Then we are back to wandering in slow motion like we're stuck in some time continuum without a map ... God did NOT leave us stranded. He gives us a brain and He gives us a map (the Bible). So, why are we so lost?

I read a book recently called, "Just Do Something" by Kevin DeYoung. GREAT read. Not everyone will agree with Kevin, but I found myself nodding yes the entire book. In short, Kevin tells his readers to just DO something with your life! Don't sit around waiting and waiting for a sign to strike you from above. That barely happens in the movies, let's be real! God gives us a brain to be creative and be used in whatever you do. Yes, some people feel led to certain callings and we are called to do hard things. He is also full of grace, mercy, understanding, and knows you better than anyone in the world. Of course He knows your desires, do you think he doesn't know that? He created you ...! In other words, life is SHORT, fleeting, yet full of treasures and adventures. Live in the freedom He has given you by saving you, follow His commands, and lead a Godly life. You can make an impact anywhere, no matter how significant.

Anyways, the time is now for lifting souls. The time is now for letting go ... Let His light and love fill your life. Take a stand, do something, start by putting your hands in Greater Hands. Let heaven's grace set you free, and who knows where life will lead you?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Stop Paralyzing Yourself

Personally, I struggle with finding His direction.

I suddenly pray all the time, pop open the Bible whenever I can, and when I think I've found the answer, my Bible suddenly is less important and my prayer life slowly dwindles.

Sound familiar? You aren't the only one.

I'm guilty of doing this a lot. Maybe this is just me, but I feel like I'm not the only one ... Don't get me wrong, sometimes I'm in His word and soaking it up like a hot day by the poolside. However, more often than not, I find myself with the first scenario. So how do I get out of this cycle?

Well, first things first: Be a real Christian. Not to call myself a fake Christian, but Christians are supposed to live everyday for HIM. Unfortunately, I find myself constantly stressing, focusing on finals next week, making sure I have a plan for my life before it changes within the next 5 minutes, etc. But one thing Christians seem to water down is ...

FAITH. Sure, we read Matthew 17:14-20 and think, "Well why can't I move mountains? That's ridiculous." But the disciples said the same thing! We are supposed to have faith in everything we do. Faith to rid of us of our worries, to move the demons we face daily, to accept He is who He is and will do as He wills!

I love knowing the game plan. So I often hope that I'll just have a revelation and BAM I'll know the plan and I can go on living my life. But faith is required to truly live with Him. A lot of times we complain ... "I don't understand why God can't just write in the sky MAJOR IN THIS and do this and that in your life, and I shall be content with you." First off, Jesus is what makes Him content with us. We have no right to think we're ever going to be in the perfect spot. We always have to squirm or work our way to where He wants us; it's an eternal struggle between who gets the seat: you or God. Second, if he really did reveal to you in a dream, how could you know it was really Him? Thirdly, we paralyze ourselves by not moving and just sitting around waiting for Him to answer. This is a big one ...

DON'T PARALYZE YOURSELF! Seriously, don't do it. You're not sure what God's will is? Have you been reading the scripture regularly and praying? Good, that's a great start. Now get off your lazy butt! As Proverbs 6:9 says, "How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep?"
Now you need to make sure it's not immoral. This requires being in His word so you're continually cleansing your mind of your own thoughts. There is no special technique to approaching this.

For example, if there are tons of dots all over a blank page, we usually attempt to go for one little dot out of the many because we believe God wants us there. However, if we look to Adam and Eve, they did WHATEVER they wanted, so long as they didn't eat from the ONE tree God commanded them not to eat from. Essentially, we have it backwards ... So don't be afraid to make decisions, because that is lacking trust in God. We need to be with Him so often that He truly is your best friend. Your best friend can finish your sentences or read your thoughts before you even voice them. This is the sort of relationship we need with God. We have to be so in tune with Him that we become like Him. Obviously we need to accept advice and consider it, as well as work out the plan. We just have to be ready for a change. In the Bible, nobody prays, gets a revelation, then acts upon it. Instead, they are living within God's commands, making plans, carrying them out and THEN God changes the plan. Don't worry, He has it under control!

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:5-6). Proverbs, chapters 16 and 21 is also super applicable ... Just don't forget to test that it's His way, not yours or anyone/anything else (1 John 4)!

Also, don't worry, I'm totally the preacher talking to herself right now. I'm very guilty of always trying to plan my life until I'm 80 years old. Yeah, that's gonna work ... But seriously it will because I've told myself enough that it fits perfectly ;)

Anyways ... Stepping off the pedestal now ... I'm just a college kid trying to figure life out. No amount of education can prepare me for that. However, it's really nice to know you're not alone. Other kids have the same problems and God has it under control ... I just have to remember that.

Hopefully this brought greater understanding to you like it did me when I was first told this. :)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Unanswered prayer: God has something good or better in store.

Read this post today and really liked it: http://livingbyfaithblog.com/2012/07/30/what-about-unanswered-prayer/ That is my post for the day! I found it quite appropriate because I have hit some road blocks and re-directions in my life recently with college ... Decisions, decisions; they are the worst 90% of my life! Haha. Anyways, I like this post because there are always 3 voices: God's, yours, or the devil's. God's voice isn't the easiest to hear, and sometimes -- if He so chooses -- He doesn't say anything. I know that if I'm following His commands that He is happy with me, but shouldn't I do something that pleases Him? Life is so confusing sometimes. Anyways, READ it (you won't regret it!) and I hope you have a wonderful rest of the day!

Also, should I start blogging daily? I'm trying to decide if I should or not. We'll see.

P.S. Nothing related to Jesus, but (1) I talked with cows today and (2) the last Office episode EVER is airing tonight. The end of the Office era is here ... I'm in denial :(

Okay I'm done. Live long and prosper ;)

Monday, April 29, 2013

God is Jealous and Ready to Dim the Lights -- FOR YOU

Hey loves,

It's me. I know, I'm alive still I just don't take the time to write as much as I should! Okay, blogging business: Today I heard a lot of suffering from friends and my friends' friends ... Then there was me complaining about classes. Oh, which, FOR THE RECORD is something I'm blessed with and take for granted and complain about way, way too often. The suffering that others are experiencing, such as this girl who found out she has cancer and her response is that "Cancer Doesn't Scare God" (that is faith for you!). You can read her blog here: http://kaylanicole42.blogspot.com/2013/04/cancer-doesnt-scare-god.html?showComment=1367298721501#c3588273405938604299

Not only that, but I have known a lot in my own life that are suffering. Life is tough and life is rough. A lot of times we are told, "Just think, people out there have it way worse than you!" which is more than likely to be true. But even then, what if you really did have the worst life on earth with everything evil thrown at you? What then? Job from the Bible simply trusted in Him. I think in America we get so caught up in the mundane things that we let life fly past us before we even have a chance to blink. Today, I told myself I would enjoy every moment and make the most of every opportunity. I failed. Haha. I guess I shouldn't laugh because it's not really that funny. I let stupid classes at Las Positas get in the way of a good day! Life is what you let Christ make it! We like to think of ourselves as first. We are number one. We are so high and mighty and have every right to be entitled to everything (cozy home, wealth, laughter, health, friends, etc. you name it) but this is exactly when the "reality check" should go off in your head. Everyone feels they are worthy and deserve "it" -- whatever it may be -- just because they worked hard, prayed hard, lived hard. That's HUMAN. But that isn't realistic, is it? Just because you did all the dishes doesn't mean you get a big thank you and chocolates and a standing ovation, does it? When life is going all wrong, we can't snap our fingers and make it perfect, can we? Oh, that's right, because we aren't GOD. Yeah, our mistake ... We are not number one. We are not high and mighty. We don't deserve it. You think jealousy is a bad trait? Well, Christ has every right to be jealous because He yearns for us to give up our identity and find it in Him. Stop whining and being jealous about something that's not even yours! God deserves all the glory yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

The reality is that struggles make us tougher and His love make us stronger. Let that light shine, ladies and gentlemen. This show isn't for you. Your life isn't for you; it's for God. Life has always been about Him. Let's get over ourselves and our problems that seem so terrible. If God brought you to it, He will bring you through it. By "through it," I'm not even saying you will like the answer. In fact, you could quite possibly hate it. One day, though, we will see His glory and all of it will fade away. The unpaid bills, the oil that needs to be changed in your car, the Starbucks drink that was messed up, being late for work, finding out terrible news ... LEAVE IT at the CROSS. Do it. I dare you to actually leave it behind and give it up to Him. Stop worrying and start thanking.

Anyways, just some thoughts. Sometimes, God dims the light in our lives to make Himself brighter. Not because He needs to, but because we have our sunglasses on all the time that prevent us from seeing the big picture. New post is coming soon hopefully, I have been wanting to write about it lately. Let me know your thoughts and thanks for reading. See ya next time (except not really ;)