Friday, May 27, 2011

all praises to You. :D

This past school year was very challenging. I grew and matured in Christ a lot, which makes me incredibly thankful for absolutely everything that happened.

It was most challenging to me because a lot of my friends were going through trials. Stuck in sins, anxiety, depression, etc. When other people are suffering, I often love them so much that I suffer a lot as well.

That was hard.

Also, God filled me with sorrow for the lost. For those who don't know Him. For all who are not filled with the joy and peace that come from knowing Him. This would sometimes make me cry, and I would sometimes feel depression like feelings. But I am very thankful for it, especially the times I struggled with anxiety or little bits of depressed feelings. All of the storms brought me to Jesus.

To trust in Him more deeply. To trust Him to work in other people's lives. Sometimes all I can do is plant seeds and pray. He is the only One who can change people's hearts. I need to have faith that He is working in His perfect timing.

Everything I and others went through really led me to prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

... And God really answered a lot of them!! I can see lots of results from the prayers I prayed in faith, and I know He is doing much more than I can't see.

Since March I have really chosen faith instead of fear. Especially about God working in other people's lives. I am also learning to not believe all the lies Satan fills me with. I am learning to forgive myself. To love myself. The way Christ does.

Because of all the answered prayers and because I am truly beginning to forgive and love myself, I have been less anxious than ever before. There has always been a deep peace, joy, and hope inside me that is indescribable, and it just keeps growing. It makes me smile no matter what I am faced with or going through.

I just want to say, "Thanks!!!"

Thank You LORD for answering my prayers.

For being my Rock.
My Stronghold.
And my Salvation!!!

For carrying me through. For opening the eyes and hearts of others.
For filling others with Your peace and joy.
For opening my own eyes, as they continually fail to see clearly.

For Your forgiveness. Love. And Grace.

I feel captivated by Your mercy.
It sets me free!!!
And fills me with peace and joy more than any drug ever could. :)

(I haven't taken any medication of any sort for over two years. I feel the best I ever have.)
I seriously feel like I am taking anxiety medication. I feel healthy!! Stronger than ever before. Eating enough and not too much. Not addicted to exercise or work! Not buried under my expectations! Not constantly worried about time! But most of all and most importantly, I am filled with Your faith, hope, and love.

Thank You LORD.
I trust You.

"Keep me safe, O God, for in You I take refuge. I said to the LORD, 'You are my Lord; apart from You I have no good thing.' ... I have set the LORD always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure."
-Psalm 16:1-2, 16:8-9

freed by Grace

Until last year I was caught. Trapped. Buried. Under my own chains.
Expectations. Work. Guilt. Shame. Hatred toward myself.

I knew it.
I knew I needed to let go of all my anxieties, fears, and desires for control.
I knew I was constantly trying to do too much. Taking on too much. Angry at myself for not being loving.

I was buried under all the millions of photos I still wanted to edit and hours I wanted to dance. I knew what I wanted most: to live for God. Share His Word. Love Him with my whole heart, mind, soul, and strength. And love others!!!

Time was always my enemy.

And I developed a bad anxiety disorder.

Anxiety filled me as I was always anxious to get things done and angry at myself for not loving.

For a few years I used exercise to help cope with anxiety. Exercise in moderation is a really good way to help fight anxiety. I love giving all the time I exercise to God! It is my time to pray and think about His love. But... there were years where I went overboard and was addicted to exercise. Being addicted to exercise just creates more anxiety and is not going to bring lasting satisfaction and peace the way only God can. I never want to be addicted to anything from this world.

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

22 The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."

-Matthew 6:19-24

I also went to counselors for anxiety. I never enjoyed that, and the ones I went to did not help me very much at all. They thought I had an eating disorder. The problem was really that I wanted to be a Christian dance teacher and felt extremely behind, wanting to practice during every minute I could. I was addicted to dancing and exercising. Out of wanting to please my parents and the counselors I ate as much fatty food as possible. Piece of cheesecake after piece of cheesecake... I was sick of people worrying about me, so I was determined to gain weight!!

Senior year was horrible. I put all of my devotion and energy into the yearbook as I was the editor-in-chief. I worked on it for close to 9 hours every day, at school and away from school. I was sad and anxious about the fact that this cut back on dance. And I was angry at myself for everything. I was angry at myself for not helping my family enough with chores or spending as much time with them as I wanted to. I was angry at myself for many things.

The weight of all the work was so heavy. Italic

There were also lots of good things though: I learned to let go of my exercise and dance addiction. I really really enjoyed taking photos and working on the yearbook. I really enjoyed helping teach dance classes!! I got involved with Bible studies. I was always being humbled to focus on others instead of myself. God was working in my heart. :)

But... with all the weight on my shoulders, in the midst of trying to gain weight I became addicted to food. I began emotional and stress eating really bad. I was caught in it!!! I would emotionally eat often, but even worse I would use food to get things done. I felt like I had to be crunching on food in order to do homework, edit photos, and get things done while I was anxious! I would eat bag after bag after bag of Doritos (even though I hated them), cereal, whatever I could find in the house. I was a monster.

I knew it. I was stuck. And I was buried in guilt and shame.

This would bring me to my knees day after day. I would lay down on the floor, praying

"God, HELP ME. I am sorry for turning to food again and again and again. I know You are what I need. You are my strength. Please help me God."

I was very stuck, but I was also filled with hope that I could learn to get out of it. Each day I would make new goals and try different ways to cope and get out of it. I was so stuck though. Stuck in binging while working on homework or photos and then purging later through exercise or fasting.

... I was so excited to go to college!! To get away from a lot of the stressors and start fresh! Going to college really helped a lot! I remember I would do so well during the week. I would eat extremely healthy and exercise a lot. But I would wear myself out to the point that when I came home on the weekends I would be sick and tired, my body starving. And I would usually mess up and binge again while working on stuff. Also, when midterms came around, I got really stuck in turning to food again every day. The stress of my photography job for the athletic department (I am sure I spent close to 40 hours a week working for them and editing photos), along with working on school work, taking photos for the school newspaper, dancing and assisting dance classes, and wanting to spend time with family and love others, was just way too much.

I would often get sick or have no energy. I often wondered if I always had mono because the symptoms seemed to never go away.

I am so incredibly thankful that my faith in God has been so strong my entire life. That He has been my rock. My strength through out it all. I know I couldn't have gotten through any of this with out letting Him carry me through. I knew that He was my source of Hope. I have always been so optimistic! So filled with Hope. Tomorrow is a new day! It will be better. I can get through this. God will help me. :) And... boy, did He ever help me!!!

I started swing dancing in November of last year and joined Swing Dance Club in January. That was so much fun!!! It gave me a chance to exercise off a lot of the food I was eating in a really fun and relaxing way. I also met many more awesome Christian friends through swing dancing, who I enjoyed talking with and hanging out with.

Then... in February I joined Lutheran Campus Ministry (LCM). :D Here I was welcomed in with open arms and shown God's grace and love like never before. The people there inspired me so much!! They were so relaxed about time. They were focused on living and loving instead of focused on getting the things of this world done. They put their energy into welcoming others, reaching out to others, asking others "How are you doing?," witnessing and sharing God's Word with others, talking about God together, celebrating together, just simply being with people to show them love. Everything about these people inspired me to make the changes I had always wanted to make. I kept praying hard about what I needed to let go of. I knew I was always taking on way too much work... And later God showed me, He didn't want me to weigh myself down with work of any sort anymore. And not by dance or photography jobs. I eventually realized after suffering from mono, continual breakdowns from stress, after almost dying in a car crash, and after continually praying, that I just want to help people.

A deep peace came over me. I knew God did not want me to dance anymore. I knew I should not continue my photography job the next year. I knew I should go into Psychology. I don't know exactly what God has in store for me, whether it be Christian counseling or working for a church or something like that in the future, but I don't even want to know! I feel called to just take everything a day, a minute at a time. To surrender my time to God to use as He wants to. Let Him lead. And just love. Give. Listen to people. Help them. Offer advice. Help those who are suffering from anxiety, addictions, who are stuck in sin. Share God's Word. Witness! Talk about God with others. Learn more about Him so that I can grow in faith and love.

This is what I feel called to do and what I am finally doing. And it feels AMAZING.

For once in my life, I am FREE.

Free from my expectations and chains. :D

I no longer feel ugly. After struggling with body image every day since grade school, I finally feel beautiful. Beautiful in His sight!!!

I know that He loves everything about me. Every part of me. He created me beautifully in His image. I am His beloved daughter, that He loves passionately, more than anything.

I have been freed by Grace!!!

I am learning to no longer be angry at myself!

I know I will fail and sin every day. I hate that fact. But I also know that He looks at me with love. So much more love than I have ever looked at myself with. And when I tell Him "I'm sorry," He replies, "I have already forgiven you. I love you. You are so beautiful to Me."

His forgiveness frees me! It fills me with joy!

And knowing of His forgiveness is the only way I am able to change. Letting Him be my strength, letting the joy I am filled with over His love and forgiveness be my strength, is the only way I ever do change and find freedom from sins I am stuck in. I can't do anything through my own strength, but I can do anything through Christ who strengthens me!!

Last year was when I first began to understand grace. Yes, I read the Bible over and over when I was younger, and I went to church and Bible studies. But spring break of last year is around the time when it finally hit me!! I asked my friends James and Jeremy to have a Bible study, and we went through the entire book of Romans. In Romans 3, I learned again that no one is righteous.

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”
13 “Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is on their lips.”
14 “Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
-Romans 3:10-18

And it says,
"This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." -Romans 3:22

Throughout my whole life I had made false rules in my head. I had believed that if I had any sins I hadn't confessed to God before I died I would go to hell. I was always angry at myself for being so sinful. Always praying and telling God I am sorry.

I am thankful that I learned at an early age to stay in constant prayer and communication with God and to repent. I am thankful that this mindset kept me from many different kinds of sins of the body and mind. But I am not thankful that this mindset filled me with so much anger at myself. Anger, guilt, shame, and hatred toward myself. It also made salvation about works instead of grace.

But as I began to realize more and more that God's forgiveness covers me! Covers all my sins even though I keep messing up daily, that it is about believing in Him and having faith, that it is all about His grace and love and not about anything we can do to earn it, I became filled with joy!

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."
-Romans 10:9

"Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
7 “Blessed are those
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
8 Blessed is the one
whose sin the Lord will never count against them.

13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to all those who have the faith.

Abraham did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

1 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation"

-Romans 4 and 5

Yes, these truths are the simple truths of the Bible, but I still often forget them!! I often get mixed up. I often make it about me. About works. And I need to constantly be reminded and humbled. It's not about works, it's about Grace. :)

Realizing all of this frees me!!! When I am filled with guilt and shame and anger at myself, it is easy to remain caught in sin. It was easy to continue emotional and stress eating! It was easy to be selfish.

But realizing His great love and forgiveness fills me with joy and peace again and again. It gives me the ability to love Him. To love others. To know that that is what truly matters. It lets me rest in Him. In His grace and love.

And when I am filled with that joy and peace, I am able to rely on His strength. To say, "No!" to temptation, anxiety, lies, and fears.

The part in Romans that I related to most as we read it over Spring break was this...

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

21 So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Reading this filled me with so much joy and hope!! I was like "Wow!!! This is exactly how I feel caught in my horrible sinful emotional eating. I hate it. I don't want to be doing it. But I am stuck." ... And I learned that even when I was so stuck, God still had compassion on me. Still loved me. Still forgave me.

This gave me hope. It made me realize I need to forgive myself the way God forgives me. I knew I was stuck, but I was filled with faith that God would pull me out!!!

Every day I kept getting better and better, turning to food less and less. I was blessed with my friend Kelsey who I could talk to, who could keep me accountable for this sin. And at the beginning of May of last year, through God's strength, I stopped turning to food!!!

Yes, I was still tempted every day. And yes, I did give in sometimes (and I wrote about most of those time in here), but I was finally free from doing it every single day. I was finally eating when I was hungry and able to enjoy eating again!!

During the summer while it was still hardest, Matt helped me A LOT with this struggle, asking me to get to the root of why I was doing it. He also, even to today, keeps me accountable for it every day.

I still struggle with emotional eating a little bit. I am still tempted, but the temptation is rare, and giving in is even more rare. I still need to be careful every day. And tell Matt and Kelsey and others when I am tempted or when I have given in. This is what helps me not do it again!!!

There were some times this year where I messed up badly. Until December I messed up badly (and binged) about once a month. Now, I haven't binged for months. I still have occasionally used fruit or vegetables to get things done, and that is not good!! But, through God's strength I am freed from the horrible addiction and all the guilt, shame, and anger it caused.

What keeps me from doing it is knowing how much God loves me. Knowing how much my sins hurt Him horribly. Wanting so badly to love Him and not sin because of how much He loves and forgives me. Knowing of His grace is what fills me with such a strong strong desire to not do anything against Him. I also don't want to hurt my friends and family. I hate the sin so much so, that I refuse to give in. I could still use prayers. I am continually tempted, and do occasionally give in. But overall, I am SO THANKFUL for the freedom from this horrible sin I was stuck in I have found in Him.

In Christ I am set free.

Free from worrying about time.

Free from all my expectations.

Free from my anxieties, doubts, and fears.

Free from beating myself up and from anger at myself for not being loving toward others!!

It is about grace. Not anything I do. And with these realizations, I am finally able to spread and show His great love and grace with others!!

I am free from worrying about food.

Free from worrying about how I look! I am beautiful to Him no matter what I wear or weigh!!

Free from worrying what others think! He is looking at me with love and compassion. And it is what He thinks that matters.

Free from my addiction to exercise!! That is not what is most important to me at all.

I am free to run!

To dance!

To sing!

To live for Him!!!


Talk about the Bible with others! :D

Share His Word!

Spend time with people!!!


Enjoy food again!

Free from sin and death.

Free from hell.

Free from God's anger.

Free from my own anger.

Free to rest in His loving arms of grace.

Thanks God. Thank You that I am finally able to live for You and love others the way I have always wanted. I am thankful for every Bible study. For every time I get to spend loving, helping, and listening to others. For all the times I get to spend alone with You. Reading Your Word, singing, praising! For all I am learning! That I am finally out witnessing! That I am able to enjoy time with my family and friends!!!

It feels glorious.

I want to live for You always.

To live like I am dying.

To be bold and loving.

Filled with Your love and grace for others.

Because I am FREE!!!!!!

I will never forget, as we closed those Bible studies of Romans, the huge smile that came over me and the peace that came over me. Every day, as I think about His grace again and again, and relearn and read about it, the peace I feel inside grows stronger.

I remember smiling as this song came on. One of my favorite songs at the time...

I'm forgiven. :)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just in time.

I found this beautiful song and EVEN MORE beautiful video. Time to share it with you... :)

It is the song "Just in Time" by Misty Edwards.

"Like a rushing river am I
Like a raging torrent inside
I find that I’m full of knowing nothing
I find that I’m hungry for the fullness of Christ

Like a rushing river am I
Like a raging torrent inside
I find that I’m free falling again
I'm letting go of the mountain view,
Letting go, but what into

I've been crucified with Christ,
Crucified with Christ,
I’ve been crucified with Christ
Yet not I, for one thing I know
You make ALL things beautiful
Just in time.

What is the length, what is the width, what is the depth, what is the height?
Who come comprehend? Who can enter in?
What is the length, what is the width, what is the depth, what is the height?
From glory to glory,
From death to life, life to death again.
From strength to strength
Deep calls out to deep,
Deep calls out to deep,
Deep calls out to deep
As I press on!"

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sleeping Beauty

On April 30th I went to Messiah Dance Theatre's production of Sleeping Beauty.

I had started that day off by reading my friend Kaitlyn's blog entry, "He is coming" and listening to her playlists.
(If you go to the link above the five links on the right side of the page starting with "I Will Praise Your Name" are her playlists.)

Starting off the day thinking about Him coming for His bride (me), thinking about being with Him in Heaven, and thinking about His GREAT love, mercy, and tenderness toward me even though I am so sinful, filled me with joy and peace.

Then at the show the song lyrics filled me with SO much joy. Especially the song "Here In This Moment."

When Joni came out, reading from the Bible and sharing her poem, I was overwhelmed. The symbolism of Christ and the Church from Sleeping Beauty is something I've never thought about before. It is beautiful. And so true.

Though this world may fill us with pain and sorrow, one day in Heaven Jesus will awaken us with a kiss. Our life here on earth will only be like a dream. A tiny part of a much much bigger picture. We will be fully awakened to His deep deep love for us. Love that is beyond our earthly understanding. And we will finally live happily ever after with Jesus.

This fills me with so much joy and peace when I think about it. I am overwhelmed by the Beauty of it all. And by His love. :)

Joni also talked about how God wants to awaken our hearts right now to His love. Though we can't fully understand how much He loves us and we can't fully feel the peace and joy until we reach Heaven, He desperately wants to awaken us right now. To open our eyes to Him.

To awaken those who are sleeping. Lost. Afraid. Or living without Him.

And for all of us who do know Him, He wants to awaken our hearts to something deeper every day. He wants to awaken us to live for Him. Powerfully and boldly. Defeating Satan. Sharing His Word with others. Being One with Christ by allowing ourselves to walk with the Spirit in all we do.

God awakening those who are lost or struggling to His love is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. It relates to what I wrote about in my post "Prayer Warrior part one; Not dead, merely asleep." As the show continued I was thinking hard about one of my greatest desires: for all to know the beautiful peace and joy that comes from knowing Christ's love and promise of Heaven. I just want everyone to be saved so badly. It brought tears to my eyes, making me want to cry.

Joni's poem:

Sleeping Beauty

I am Sleeping Beauty, I was hidden in the earth
I knew not my calling, nor the purpose of my birth
Awaken me, awaken me to thy Divine Love
Let my thoughts be lifted up to that which is above
To know that destination for which I was born
To be by Your side, for this Your heart was torn
My passage on this earth may be brutal at times
full of sadness and sorrow
But when You awaken me with Your kiss in Eternity,
I will know it was only a dream

My prayer is that right now we can find our peace in His grace. In His love and forgiveness for us even though we sin and fail Him day after day. I pray that His compassion, mercy, and His daily rescue and saving grace can fill us with joy! And make us want to share His grace and love with others. I pray that the promise of Heaven, even when this life is horrible, hard, ugly, and unfair, fills us with hope as we walk through our days.

If you could pray for me about the following I would greatly appreciate it: I want to allow Him to awaken my heart daily. To more and more of Him. To what He has for me right here and now! I want to live for Him. Stop making excuses. Stop getting stuck in my ruts or pulled down by my anxiety and fear. I'm awake and alive with Him!! Now I want to start living like it. Letting Him work and love through me.

I'm at war with the world
And they try to pull me into the dark
I struggle to find my faith
As I'm slipping from Your arms

It's getting harder to stay awake
And my strength is fading fast
You breathe into me at last

I'm awake, I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life

(Here, right now)
Right here, right now
Stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake, and I'm alive

I'm at war with the world
'Cause I ain't never gonna sell my soul
I've already made up my mind
No matter what, I can't be bought or sold

When my faith is getting weak
And I feel like giving in
You breathe into me again

I'm awake, I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life

(Here, right now)
Right here, right now
Stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake, and I'm alive

Waking up, waking up
Waking up, waking up
Waking up, waking up
Waking up, waking up in the dark

I can feel You in my sleep
In Your arms, I feel You breathe into me
Forever hold this heart that I will give to you
Forever I will live for You

I'm awake, I'm alive
Now I know what I believe inside
Now it's my time
I'll do what I want 'cause this is my life

(Here, right now)
Right here, right now
Stand my ground and never back down
I know what I believe inside
I'm awake, and I'm alive

Waking up, waking up
Waking up, waking up
Waking up, waking up
Waking up, waking up

So here I am ready to have all of You
So here I am waiting for You and

Nothing can change the way
I feel when I’m with You
You give me a peace
That surpasses all understanding
And no one can tell me
There's a better place than with You
You give love everlasting

Oh, here You come
Arms open wide (come fill me)
Oh, cause You are the one
Who fulfills all my desires

You are love, You are life
You're the air that I breathe
You're my day and my night
You’re my joy, You’re my peace
You're the wings for my flight
And vision to my sight
You are truth, You are power
You gave me faith to believe
Brought me straight to my knees
Now I'm standing
Here in this moment, with You
There's nowhere I'd rather be

There's only One who can truly satisfy me
Only You can give me everything that I need
And as high as the heavens are above the earth
You’ve shown me Your love so unconditionally

Oh, here You come
With Your arms open wide (come fill me)
Oh cause You are the one
Who can fill me with this fire

There's nothing that I can do without You
I know life only because of Your love
I just can't breathe without You
I'm so crazy about You
And I know love only because of Your life
Oh You overwhelm me with Your love
Oh You overwhelm me, You overwhelm me

Sleeping Beauty and the prince; Christ and the Church

Marriage here on earth is a beautiful illustration of Christ's relationship with us (the church.)

"22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband"
-Ephesians 5:22-33

In Messiah Dance Theatre's production of Sleeping Beauty, the way Aurora was awakened from her sleep by the prince and taken into his arms so that the two could dance together filled with love and passion for each other was beautiful. It gives us a picture of what God wants to do in our hearts. On earth, and even more so in Heaven. He wants to awaken us from our fear, from turning to this world, so that He can dance with us. He wants us to walk with and dance with Him, making us one with Him. He is filled with love, passion, care, and grace for us. ... Wow. :D

This also paints a picture of what marriage should look like if it is doing what God made it to do: symbolize Christ and the church. ... And this is a beautiful picture!

I have so many prayers and thoughts concerning all of this. We are living in a broken and fallen world where marriages and relationships rarely paint a good picture of Christ and the church. It is also so easy for us to idolize marriage and relationships. To try to find our main source of satisfaction from them instead of from the only relationship where true joy, hope, peace, and love is found: our relationship with Christ. I pray that we romance Him, grow in love for Him, and spend time with Him, more than we do with any person, even our husbands or wives.

For all the marriages or relationships that are already broken, I pray for forgiveness and healing. I also pray for all to turn to Christ's love and the hope of being with Him in Heaven to get them through. I pray that our eyes will be opened to see that Christ covers all of our brokenness, weakness, and pain perfectly like no one else ever can. I pray that all the struggles and trials bring us to Him. To the cross. And to the hope we have of dancing with Him in Eternity.

For those who are single, who want to be in a relationship somday, I pray for patience. That they can really enjoy this time, using it to grow closer to and romance the Lord. That they wait for the one person God has for them. It will be worth it!!! And that they find enough hope and love in Christ to fill them with peace and joy during any hard times.

I pray that girls would not be afraid to sing and live by these lyrics:

"So what I'm not your average girl
I don't meet the standards of this world
Chasing after boys is not my thing
See I'm waiting for a wedding ring

No more dating
I'm just waiting
Like sleeping beauty
My prince will come for me
No more dating I'm just waiting
'Cause God is writing my love story

Boys are bad that's certainly not true
'Cause God's preparing one for you
If you get tired waiting till he comes
God's arms are the perfect place to run

Sleep that's the only thing
For me 'cause when I sleep God's
Preparing one for me"

-"Average Girl" Barlow Girl

For all relationships, I pray that they would be filled with Christ's love, care, and forgiveness. That they would show the world a picture of Christ and the church. I pray relationships would be used to bring those in them and others closer to God. That both good and bad times would lead us to romance, grow closer to, and find hope in our eternal Lover, Jesus.

Monday, May 16, 2011

the Bridegroom

About two month ago when I was at a prayer meeting, other brothers and sisters of Christ where sharing visions and prophecies from God.

One person shared a vision of Christ (the Bridegroom) and His bride (you.) Here is what I wrote down from the beautiful vision...

"The bride is waiting at the door. This time the Bridegroom doesn't wait for her at the alter. He meets her at the door, to walk her all the way down the aisle. Once the Bridegroom touches her hand her garments are illuminated. (meaning illuminated by light. they can now be seen.) Rags. Filth! Rags clinging to her body. Covering her. Clinging to her.

It isn't until she touches His hand that these rags and filth covering her become visible. But once He touches her they are illuminated for all to see. For her family to see! All of her [disgusting sin] is exposed before those closer to her. Before her family's eyes!"
(I don't know if I remember the rest of the vision right, but I think) As the Bridegroom walks her down the aisle the rags and filth start falling, peeling off, falling to the floor.

... This vision reminds me of my friend James's dream. He told me about it awhile ago, and I asked him to send me a facebook message describing it...

"I remember being in a building and wondering around. It was a party of sorts, the mood was one of mixing with people - a good feeling. I didn't really have a purpose for being there per se, but I was engaged in moving around at the time. Anyway, eventually I came through a door standing in the middle of the room that people were passing through and moving on to another section of the building. I didn't know why I was passing through it but as soon as I did, I realized I had lots of dusty spider webs hanging on me and I was suddenly aware that I was very bent over. I straitened up and dusted off the webs with disgust. The dream was a description of death and the release of disgusting sin. I'm so looking forward to when I'll finally get all of this sin off me!! I can't even feel all the disgustingness of it while I'm alive either. For Christians, death means FREEDOM FROM SIN! I just want to be with my Jesus forever and not have to deal with anything that takes me away from Him. Praise God because He deserves it!"

When he first described the dream to me it was a picture of light illuminating the darkness. He described it also as when he touched Jesus's hand as he entered Heaven that he finally realized how incredibly bent over under filth he was. And that only by touching Jesus's hand was the filth able to fall off.

... what beautiful visions for us to look forward to as we await the coming of our Bridegroom. I can't wait to get all this disgusting FILTH and sin off me either!!!

I can't wait for freedom.
And to dance with the Bridegroom.
My Jesus. :)

"They came to John and said to him, 'Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.' To this John replied, 'A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.'"
-John 3:26-30

(Paul writes:) "I hope you will put up with me in a little foolishness. Yes, please put up with me! I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough"
-2 Corinthians 11:1-4

"Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her to sanctify her by cleansing her with the washing of the water by the Word, so that He may present the church t Himself as glorious--not having a stain or wrinkle, or any such blemish, but holy and blameless."
-Ephesians 5:25-27

'"Let us rejoice and be glad
and give him glory!
For the wedding of the Lamb has come,
and his bride has made herself ready.
Fine linen, bright and clean,
was given her to wear.'

(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)

Then the angel said to me, 'Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!' And he added, 'These are the true words of God.'

At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, 'Don’t do that! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers and sisters who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For it is the Spirit of prophecy who bears testimony to Jesus.'”

-Revelation 19:7-10

Friday, May 13, 2011

Cry out.

To everyone who's lost someone they love
Long before it was their time
You feel like the days you had were not enough
when you said goodbye

And to all of the people with burdens and pains

Keeping you back from your life
You believe that there's nothing and there is no one
Who can make it right

There is hope for the helpless

Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus

For the marriage that's struggling just to hang on
They lost all of their faith in love
They've done all they can to make it right again
Still it's not enough

For the ones who can't break the addictions and chains
You try to give up but you come back again
Just remember that you're not alone in your shame
And your suffering

When your lonely
And it feels like the whole world is falling on you
You just reach out, you just cry out to Jesus
Cry to Jesus

To the widow who suffers from being alone
Wiping the tears from her eyes
For the children around the world without a home
Say a prayer tonight

The beauty of these lyrics overwhelms me.
I have friends in all of these places.
I myself am in many of these places right now and often.

It is my desperate plea, that all would cry out to Jesus.

Even though it is so hard,
though we are too stubborn.
We don't want to let go.
We want to hold onto our pain,
our anxiety,
our ruts.
We don't want to let Love in.
But He still looks at us with compassion.
Even when we refuse Him, His arms remain open wide.

Mercy, Hope, Healing, and Love.
So hard to accept,
yet so freely and abundantly poured out by Him when we surrender.

He wants us to break down. To cry out from our weakness.
He wants to cover us. In Love. Forgiveness. His Blood.

There is Freedom in the release. Freedom and Life.
He just wants to hear our desperate cries.

The price is so very great, yet tiny at the same time.
The reward is Peace.

A day at a time.

I have so much trouble with this.
I desperately want control.
I want to plan.

I have trouble trusting.
Trusting that He will lead me.
Trusting that He will and already has placed people there.

I want to do MORE.
More for Him.
Love others more.

So I sit still and plan...

How stupid is this??!!!
Beyond stupid.

He wants me to let go.
Though it is harder than anything.
Though the anxiety fills me,

He wants release.

A day at a time.
He will work.
He will love.
Once I let His Peace in.

Once I cast all of this stupid anxiety on Him,
I will be free.

But instead I cling to my desire.
Desire for control.
I am scared.
Scared to step out.

Scared to not get all that I want accomplished.
Scared to leave my comfort zone.
Scared of wasting time.
Scared of the unknown.

I'm leaving.
Leaving this place.
Leaving my fear behind.

Leaving my lists unfinished.
Putting my foot down.
Saying "No" to anxiety.

I'm choosing that plea instead of my fear.

It's time to embrace.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:6-7

"Listen, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.' Why, you don't even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You're a mist that appears for a little while and vanishes. Instead, you should say, 'If it's the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.' As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil."
-James 4:13-16

"Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring."
-Proverbs 27:1


His way is so much better than mine.
And because of His rescue I will rejoice!

"They swarmed around me like bees,
but they were consumed as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them down.
I was pushed back and about to fall,
but the LORD helped me.
The LORD is my strength and my defense;
he has become my salvation.

Shouts of joy and victory
resound in the tents of the righteous:
'The LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!
The LORD’s right hand is lifted high;
the LORD’s right hand has done mighty things!'
I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
Open for me the gates of the righteous;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.

The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.
The LORD has done it this very day;
let us rejoice today and be glad.

LORD, save us!
LORD, grant us success!

Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.
The LORD is God,
and he has made his light shine on us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession
up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, and I will praise you;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

-Psalm 118:12-29