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October 2014

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Reevaluating Who We Are

If you have not watched this inspirational speech I strongly encourage you to do so. This speech has touched me and I am so blown away by the eloquence of her words. I, as a young woman, look around at the world I live in today and am shocked at the view of women. At times it seems that we have come so far from where we have been, Emma Watson’s speech is truly incredible, she finally defines what a feminist is. We are not “men haters” we are just simply people, men or women, who want gender equality. I am so incredibly thankful to have grown up in a family where both my mother and father have encouraged me to do whatever I want and let me know that I can accomplish anything. However, I know many women are not born into such a supportive environment. Many people continue to put women into a box, the world constantly telling them what they can or cannot do. Women are being objectified they are looked at as things not beings with their own minds and thoughts. I see what the media tells women to be and am horrified of the images that are projected. Young girls are being raised to think that the only way to be loved and valued is to be pretty and dumb. But then I see things like Ms. Watson’s speech that offer a gleam of hope; Disney movies have progressively introduced strong independent Princesses for young girls to look up to. But I get discouraged when I see music videos like Nicki Manaj’s Anaconda where a female is objectifying herself to get views. We are so much more than this. I think we have forgotten our value as human beings. To God that is what we are, human beings.

Galatians 4:28

There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.

We humans have made this division we are all one in God’s eyes. God loves us all, for exactly who we are. This is where we get into the issue of self worth and our value. I think that that is what is such an issue in today’s world we forget that we all have value and are greatly loved by God.

Luke 12:6-7

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight But even the hairs of your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.

The birds are important to God, how can we ever think that we are not important. For all of you out there who think or who have thought that you are enough- remember this, you are. For all of you who think that you hold no value-you are far more valuable that you can even begin to imagine.

Romans 5:8

But God proves his love for is in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

Please do not fall into the objectivity that the media and society spread. No matter your gender or race, you can do whatever you set your mind to. You can be more than what society tells you to be. You can be anyone you want to be.

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God’s Sense of Humor

I know you are probably wondering what that heading means…well I am telling you that God definitely has a sense of humor. I think God laughs quite often actually. I am sure you want to know what has led me to this conclusion, no worries I am going to share.

The start of the weekend was not the best for me and then despite an incredible weekend, I found myself feeling exhausted and empty this afternoon. Once my family left to return home, I found myself in a place that I have not seen in a long time, and this place is not a good place at all. It is the place that I feel empty, hopeless, lost, confused, sad, and dark. Doesn’t sound pleasant, and I can assure you it isn’t. But do you know what I realized? I realized I have not turn to the one person that can make me feel full, hopeful, safe, sure, happy, and bright-God. I looked at myself and realized that I have been trying, yet again, to control things and do everything myself. But as I have said often and always forget-I have to let go and let God. So I did something I have not done in a very long time, I sat down and journaled and suddenly that heavy heart was light as a feather and full of God’s love.

Don’t worry it gets better…I have an incredible devotional Jesus Calling; I have not picked up this devotional in a very long time and after I finished my journal entry I opened up to today’s date, October 26, and hit myself in the head. I just HAD to giggle because I know God gets a kick out of me. Today’s devotional’s opening lines were:

Come to me when you are hurting, and I will soothe your pain. Come to me when you are joyful, and I will share your joy, multiplying it many times over. I am all you need, just when you need it. Your deepest desires find fulfillment in me alone. (Jesus Calling 313- Sarah Young)

Now do you see where I am coming from? I know God personally had a hand in that and got a good laugh out of my shock and foolish worrying. After reading this I ran around the library showing about three more people and they all had the same reaction. God provides and we often forget this. I forget to turn to God with my pain and worries, but once I do I am filled with a joy that I can find no where else.

Romans 5: 3-5

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

Jeremiah 29: 11-13

For surely, I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. Then when you cal upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.

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Wow! What an amazing fall break! This fall break was one of the best I have ever had-I did nothing. After constantly studying, stressing, and working I was able to relax and do nothing. Imagine that, for once in my life I ate, slept, and relaxed, and if anyone knows me they know that I do not relax. I am a stressed out person by nature and to be able to relax for once was an incredibly rare and wonderful gift. I was so fortunate to spend my weekend with my two best friends. Women who are kind and giving and so supportive. These women are both incredible blessings in my life and I thank God everyday for them. They remind me to have fun, let me be silly and stupid, build me up, and support me. It is rare to find such wonderful people in your life, and I am so thankful that I did! I spent the break eating, drinking, resting, and giggling. What could be better than that?

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What to Say?

So this week I have been struggling with what I want to say, I have opened up a blank new post sheet at least three times-but haven’t found the words I want to say. There is so much going on in the world around me: I see people grieving for lost ones, people struggling with a sick family member, and people who do not feel valuable and are lost. Maybe I am just growing up and the veil of innocence is now being ripped away, but all I seem to hear is sad news. The beginning of this school year was very rough, a very dear family lost someone in their family link. After this tragic news it seemed that I continually only heard bad news. Often I have wondered why bad things happen, especially to good people. But as I look at this family I am overcome with how strong their faith is, it completely blows my mind. Though they have been hit hard they continue to live their lives full of faith in God. I have learned, from them and my own experiences, that it is best to turn towards God and God’s guidance during hardships, without God I wouldn’t make it through.

1 Corinthians 10:13 is a good reminder that God is with us at all times and no matter how hard things are God will bring us through it.

No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.

Despite the unfairness of the situation, God will be faithful to this family, and to all who believe and trust in the Lord. This passage is a beautiful reminder that the God does not ever give us more than we can handle, and will be with us through every test and trial. God is constantly faithful to us, just as we should be faithful to God.

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I am a high stress person, constantly living in a world of stress, worry, and anxiety. My mom gave me a pep talk yesterday, informing me that I needed to get my sleep and exercise. So I am going to be planning time for these activities, because my health needs to be a main priority. But not just my physical health but also my mental health, my brain can only take so much-sometimes I need a break. As I was working on a midterm for my religion class I stumbled across this passage and realized I needed to rethink some things.

Philippians 4: 4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known  to God. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and you minds in Christ Jesus.

I like to control things, and one thing I keep learning is that no matter how much I worry or stress-I am not in control. However, I do know the One in control, God. When worry begins to build I need to remember the blessings God has bestowed upon me and thank God and take my concerns to him in prayer. And what a beautiful thought-God is constantly guarding our hearts and minds. My high stress and control freak self needs to remember that God is with me at all times and that there is no reason to worry.

So my challenge to myself (and to you) is to take a breath and remember “The Lord is Near.”

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If God is For Us, Who is Against Us?

So I have the hardest time making sure I rest enough and sleep enough. But today I went to Bible study and we talked about keeping the Sabbath. How God wants us to rest in Him. I try to work really hard, I live in the library and am incredibly dedicated to my schoolwork. But this week I have really been thinking about how I should prioritize. I often do not commit enough time to my relationship with God, I also do not take enough time to rest, and often I do not take the time with my relationship with others. Yes, school is important but I need to find a healthy balance of relaxation and school work. My life cannot just be school, this is an incredible life and there is so much I have to be thankful for. How can I fail if I place my trust in God? God wants his children to rest and trust in him. Romans 8:31-39 has become one of my favorite Bible verses, I think I forget that God can do anything and everything. If God is for us, [then who/what could ever] be against us?

Romans 8:31-39

What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not withhold hi own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written,

“For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.