There is no need to be afraid of growing up.

The fear that no one will understand or better yet will not agree.

Failing thus far at pleasing man…

The inner man shouting out in agony.

Now muffled cries

Hand over chest, the other in the air

Protesting this is what it shall be just for now

My brothers vineyards must I attend, I intend to appease.

Appease thee.

Falling to my knees, looking upon an unkempt garden regretfully.

Time spun into this web and here I am.

This is me.

Lord if you would, but set me free!

Time I shall no longer exchange for fear & apathy.

Turn down for what?

Turning upon this road heading down a lane no longer paved by the expectations or requirements of thee.

Not “Thee”, but those.

Not perfection, but those on a journey being perfected just as I am.

Do not mis-hear me! In wisdom there is strength and I look for wise counsel to veil me

But I will no longer be tormented by the boulders flung at me dashing away desires, dreams and creativity yet to even be explored.

Oh the power of the opinion.

Opinion

Maaaan let it be…

Here I go stepping out on this journey. I may change my mind a hundred and one times, but He is with me. As long as He is the prize reflected in my eyes, there is no need to worry. I am repenting can you see and he is restoring my creativity, yes, I am being set free. Now please

Let me on my way

For this here before me

Is my own great odyssey.

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This was inspired by a revelation I had this evening: “There is no need to be afraid of growing up”.

Sometimes it just feels like everyone is watching, approving or disapproving of what my life looks like. Everyone has an opinion as well as expectation of me. It’s overwhelming! That is when I let it become my ruler and the voice that dictates the choices I make. Easily persuaded by mans imperfect outlook running around trying to appease all. Which we all know is an impossibility, but still I try. God just has reminded me that He is a jealous lover and I allowed every other voice to overshadow His.

I’m in a process and He is with me. Daily I am growing and I won’t look the same in a day or a week. At least not to Him. It’s okay that my mindsets, opinions and etc. are changing. I am maturing and He is renewing my mind. He is the God of the micro & macro and that will be reflected in my life.

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Photo shoot with one of my best friends. She is truly one who stands out amongst popular opinion and I love her!

“Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different.”

-Martin Luther King

 

 

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Take Me Now – Life is not worth living…

Sometimes I feel like life is just not worth living.

Was that too transparent for you?

Now before you get caught up in a tizzy, no, I’m not suicidal. Secondly I KNOW that life is so worth living!

Still every now and then I have these moments (I say moments, because I’m careful to not linger in the thought, since it’s a hot lie!) where I feel like life isn’t worth living. I haven’t had these type of thoughts since before I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior, when I struggled with severe depression. Yet here I am encountering these thoughts once again for a full year & a half now. Every single time I have had the thought it has horrified me. Horrified that I was even thinking that… Horrified that in those moments I truly saw no real purpose to civilization… Horrified that the thought of no purpose to life made me doubt the life after this one… Yea I was just horrified!

I mean come on! Here I am 12 years a believer, knowing the trinity is true, filled with the Spirit of God and having attended one of the best ministry schools in the world just two years ago. However, God is shedding some light on the situation for me and you know what His input is: *DRUMROLL* I was right life is not worth living. At least not in the way I had been living it.

Two months ago I was in the DFW metroplex rounding the end of the hardest year of my life. I arrived in Texas full of uncertainty which turned to disappointment and instead of experiencing those emotions, being transparent, working through it with God, I stuffed them deep down with the other ones. This time though the disappointment acted as a seed having found fertile ground and it sprung up in the form of offense. There I was walking around offended at God, which is just silly if you know Him and I knew it was silly, but I didn’t know how not to be offended.

If ever one is in a conundrum as to if God is right or oneself is right: Hands down God is always right! He is perfect, knows everything (including the past, present & future) and desires the best for each person!

Now that is truth, but alas when your are hurt, sad, disappointed and a bit angry as I was, truth is easily blurred. So what did I do about this? Since I knew my offense against God was not warranted (because He is perfectly good in all His ways, remember) and I didn’t want to feel weak/ vulnerable  by processing through those emotions, I put up a wall. Yep, by not addressing the emotions I had stuffed away, I subconsciously built up a wall between myself and the only one who could help me.

I hid away like a throwback of Adam & Eve, nakedness covered in leaves. At the sound of God’s voice before me, I did not come out from hiding as quickly as my ancestors did. Instead I retreated further, making my way eventually out of the garden telling myself as I ran that I must get away, this is the voice that allowed me to be hurt, to become disappointed, etc. and can not be trusted. You know what’s scary! I never agreed with any of these lies in a conscious way as to just outright say God cannot be trusted and so on. What I did was much more covert. I would doubt the leading of Holy Spirit, slowly brought my prayer life to a halt, not asking God questions because inside I felt I wouldn’t be able to trust any answer I got (uhhm seriously that was a big one, because it meant I no longer consulted him in making pivotal decisions either) and other small yet large things as such. I had so covertly tried to run away from God, subconsciously blocking off my hearing from the Lord.

I found myself consciously lost as well as distraught asking why He wasn’t speaking to me and why I could not feel His presence fully.

Side-Note: As silly as it is trying to find fault with God, is the concept of trying to run away from Him. I’m so thankful for my inability to outrun Him.

2nd Side-Note: I have heard someone say before that we Christians try and blame everything on the devil when we ourselves are our worst enemy. I believe there is so much truth in that.

Okay so half way into that year, outwardly I found myself beginning to live a lifestyle that looked no different from the average 24 year old’s lifestyle in today’s culture. Yet having entered into a covenant with God 12 years ago, this was a life full of conscious compromises one after another settling for counterfeits. I was bad! Not the good bad either :p My emotions I’d chosen not to deal with opened the door for lies, which led to compromises, that eroded the confidence in my identity as a child of God and directed me down the path of self destruction. Then the thought came:

Life is not worth living.

I struggled with depression trying to lay down roots in my life as it had once before and I just wanted God to take me.

I got to the place where I’d lay down every night ready to just not wake up and I’d be soooo disappointed the following day when I did. I was finishing a semester at a University living off of savings and I didn’t have extra money to go to a doctor to get on depression medication. Which would have ended up being a surface solution, masking the symptoms since my issues were spiritual. I was in a romantic relationship or maybe I should just say “dating” relationship, because there was nothing truly romantic about it. In fact it was one of the main tools I used to self-destruct. Even through this all, I continued to stuff down my increasing emotions that were now built up to a point where they seemed to be smothering me and I felt as though I could not call out to God.

I became so fearful at the state of mind I’d reached that I began leaking emotions to those around me. Trying to convey the fact that I felt incapable of making decisions for any forward movement in my life, since I was stuck as well as my desire to flee to anywhere safe for a little while where I could just be covered spiritually and in love. Yes for the entire year, I was unsuccessful at establishing any real community with strong believers. A lack of community greatly speeds up any downward spiral just FYI. At my attempts to share where I was at I was met with the response, “you just need to put on your big girl panties”, yea that one crushed my soul. *Stands on Soap Box* “Think before you speak children of God, use your discernment before giving advice and it’s fine to say nothing sometimes”. I had one close friend drop communication with me after I shared one of my failures and that kind of response surely makes one want to hide everything in the dark. I did have a couple of friends who were God-fearing and awesome and they kept me lifted up in prayer. I got a lot of, “you need to pray”, even my “I’m not sure what I believe right  now” boyfriend/friend/it was complicated said, “you should pray and read the bible”.

I’m going to get real reeeaaaal with you: I wanted to show all those people the back of my fist and middle finger.

*GASP* Any person reading this who knows me will be in shock, as I am the one who is the flower child, champion of purity and proponent of love. Well majority of those had been counted as lost in that season of my mind…

I mean gee willikers people up to that point I had been a whole hearted follower of Jesus Christ for 11 years! You think I don’t know I need to pray and read the word! I KNOW!!! I knew those people were coming from a place of love and concern, but I couldn’t pray or read at least that’s how I felt. At that point I was so bound up in lies, self destruction, shame & guilt that I felt literally incapable of approaching God in anyway. As good as God is He instead approached me.

I had a hand full (basically a small bottles worth) of sleeping pills as I lay in a bed that was not my own (Did your view of me forever become shattered in that moment? I apologize. I let myself down too.) and I pulled out my phone to google search whether it was possible to overdose from these pills. Then He stepped in…

People get angry at God for not intervening, preventing or making certain things happen, but He is no puppeteer! Freedom is truly found in Him and His spirit acts as that of a gentleman He will not force Himself on you. He will not force you to confess or force you through a process. He waits to be invited into the process with you. He looks for you to share your life with Him. However, He is a Father & a Jealous Lover: sometimes He intervenes and sometimes we listen.

I’m so thankful that He stepped in and for the first time in some months a haze cleared in my mind and I had clarity!!! I knew that the life I was currently leading was not worth living, but the life I’d established over the years abiding in God was worth everything! I also knew that I had been unsuccessful in finding a strong group of believers to be apart of and in breaking off my turned toxic dating relationship. If I had a fighting chance of repairing my relationship with God, I needed to leave and be somewhere safe to heal. I quickly made the decision that I would leave and in a matter of a few weeks after my final exams at University, having just enough money for gas, I moved back to my hometown.

As I have been here I have been working with God on rebuilding trust, releasing emotions, being transparent with Him, taking down the wall I subconsciously put up, making sure I’ve truly repented and soooo much more. Even though I’ve just been going through this process a little over a month. I’ve already rotated through some of these areas multiple times, because there are so many layers. Just like any relationship it will take time to re-establish trust, a strong connection and etc. What’s nice though is with a perfect loving God it’s much easier and faster than earthly relationships hahaha. So mainly it’s just God being patient with me, correcting that which needs to be corrected and walking through this process of wholeness with Him.

He is merciful and kind. Do not discount the amount of unconditional & unfailing love He has for you each day of your life… It is powerful!

I would like to say thank you if you’ve made it this far. For those of you who are reading this and are a close friend of mine and/or are from my hometown and I have spoken with you then you have probably heard something along these lines from me: Texas was the worst year of my life. I’m in a season a season of rest/ healing. No, I’m not sure how long I’m going to be here….Well now you know where that is coming from :) What I’ve gone through and how I got to those last few months is much more in depth, but I wanted to hit the main points for the sake of providing a testimony.

I wasn’t sure how I would be sharing this “testimony in the making” with people. My best friends and some family have known, but I knew there would be a point where God would put it on my heart to share on a larger scale. Tonight, I felt this leading and my heart became burdened for the prodigals who have found themselves in a place they never thought they’d be and aren’t entirely sure how they ended up there. Also, I feel Gods attention towards His children who are still stuffing their feelings and feel they can’t be transparent with God in everything. If you are one of those people I hope my “testimony in the making” encourages you and if you know someone in a similar place please feel free to share this post if you think it’d encourage them.

God in our weakness you are strong! You use what the enemy means to destroy us with for our good! Your love is unconditional and it never fails! I ask that my testimony of deliverance out of a time of brokenness that was meant to destroy me would bring glory to your name and set many currently captured by lies/unbelief free. AMEN! (Do It Again God!)

 

There are a couple of different comments I’d like to make about what I’ve just shared for people in this situation & people who know those in this situation:

 

PEOPLE IN THE SITUATION:

1. God is good and you need to remember that. He is good and He is good always.

2. You have to start releasing those emotions. Even if you only begin by telling Him how hard it is for you to release those emotions. Talk to Him. If you are angry at Him tell Him! Remember shepherd turned king, David, take from his examples on being transparent with God. He was called a friend of God, yet he fell greatly and many times (not a license to keep failing), but he was real with God. He repented quickly, not just I’m sorry, but he worked to stop doing what he had been and changed direction… You know how one of the markers for your closest friends is their level of realness with you. You expect they will tell you how they feel whether you like it or not and that they have your best interest at heart. Well friendship with God is the same! He isn’t looking for you to smile in His face when secretly you’re holding on to offense or you’re battling something in life, but pretending you’re not.

3. Fight for Community! If you’re in it fight to stay in it. If you need more accountability that’s going to require you to open up and ask for it. Accountability is a two way street. Ask God to point out to you who would be safe to walk through this season of your life with. If you have no community around find some! Do not stop until you find some and don’t pick people who are in the same boat as you. If certain people can’t see past your gifts or anointing seek out other community where people will invest in you.

4. Ask people to pray for you. If you don’t feel safe or like you don’t need to explain. Just say I’m having a hard time in life right now could you keep me in your prayers. Let people pray for you! Even if you don’t feel any different, know that God’s word doesn’t come back void and He is doing a work in you.

5. You are not forgotten nor forsaken. He is speaking to you, but your ears may be clogged and your eyes blindfolded. Don’t stop asking for eyes to see and ears to hear.

6. Know that if you feel like your life isn’t worth living it may be conviction about the life you’re leading, do not confuse this with you being alive. YOU ARE WORTH BEING ALIVE! You are also worth living a life fully free abiding in God, knowing your identity in Him and that you are loved!

If you are coming out of this type of season, but still struggle with feeling like life may not be worth it, know that you are in a process, as you give up the desire to self destruct and abide in God you will see life as worth it! I was reading a blog today that captured so well a battle I was working to win recently:

I wanted to go back to everything that would destroy and ruin me. I wanted to go and enjoy all the things in the world that would eventually lead me to destruction. I wanted to enjoy the things of the world that would cause me to feel empty and worthless. I wanted to leave the security of commitment and love to run back to uncertainty and lust.”

Here’s the site to the full post: http://thebookofcornelius.blogspot.com/2014/06/why-i-was-afraid-to-be-husband-and.html

 

PEOPLE WHO KNOW SOMEONE IN THIS TYPE OF SITUATION:

1. Firstly if you’re in someone’s life in a similar situation as I, then pray for them. I could literally feel when people would be praying for me. Sometimes I’d just have a better day or a moment of clarity and I just knew someone was praying for me.

2. Tell people you are praying for them! Edify them by asking God how they see them and then tell them – Preferably in written form too, so they can stumble on to it later once they’ve forgotten or it’s overshadowed by more lies they are choosing to believe!

3. No, I was not saying it is horrible to tell someone they need to pray/read the word, but sometimes they are literally bound and they just can’t! I know it sounds really odd, because I’d never experienced anything like it before. In different seasons of my 12 years with the Lord I have had dry seasons and/or times I just was less motivated. What I felt was way past a lack of motivation. It was like being bound. It was evil and crippling. So they just might not be able to find the strength to bring themselves to the water. A great thing to do is come alongside them and pray with them as much as they will let you. They might not have words to offer, but just ask if you can pray for them and then go to town (Edifying & Truth town not Shame & Condemnation City)! If you think they need to hear some truth from the bible, ask them if you can read with them for a little bit and then start declaring God’s truth from the scriptures. All of this can be done in person annnnnnnd over the phone. Don’t expect them to automatically shout for joy or wail out loud, but do know that His word does not come back void and everything you are releasing is going to work on the inside of that person. It’s like dispatching relief workers into a natural disaster zone. Release as many as they will let you! Clean up, clean up, everybody do your share…

4. Do not turn your back on people when they fall. I do understand that it grieves you when someone close to you, that you’ve looked up to and etc. big time fails. Especially since that big time fail could have been avoided, but because of their own pride, weakness and whatever else, they have fallen. If you need to go through your own grieving process or you feel like you can’t be as close to that person at that time, that is completely fine, but tell them that. Don’t just turn your back on someone, but explain okay this effecting me greatly and I really feel like I need to spend time processing this on my own with God, I also don’t know if I can give you the type of support you need in this season… Make sure you keep your love on towards them though.

5. Just because someone fails doesn’t mean they are disqualified and their gifts are revoked and/or they are no longer anointed. They are still a child of God. They possess kingdom rights. Yes their gifts still work and they’re still anointed. God doesn’t disown His kids, because they failed. He corrects where they’ve went wrong and gets them back to where they need to be.

6. If someone says they’re in a season of rest and/or healing: respect it. :) Also just because someone is in a season of rest, doesn’t mean they’ve taken a vow of silence. They are still a child of God. God still speaks to them and they will still be entrusted with pieces of the puzzle to offer. They have kingdom rights. They may share insight or an idea with you, don’t be off-put by this. If you need a better understanding of what their season of rest or healing entails then just communicate and ask them what that season looks like for them.

Communication. Selah.

 

God is GOOD

The last piece of artwork i did in Texas two weeks before leaving. I felt it captured my time there...

Blue Texas (Acrylic, Charcoal, Chalk Pastel): The last piece of artwork i did in Texas two weeks before leaving. I felt it captured my time there…

 

 

 

To Forgive or Not To Forgive? *Book Review*

There is only one right answer to that question…

I’m reading The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness by Kris & Jason Valotton. I’m nearing the end of chapter two and I am floored!

Let me back up and say I purchased this book along with some others about a year ago to refresh my personal library. Since I’ve become quite the vagabond I neglected to check the address selected on Amazon and didn’t find out until a past housemate informed me it had arrived on the other side of the U.S. to their house. As I thought I would be heading out that way for a visit soon and knowing she is quite the book-worm herself I said she could just open up the box to read anything she would like. Needless to say the visit never happened, but I ended up moving back for a time period and have been reunited with my not so new, new purchases!

Okay back to the book!!! While being enrolled at BSSM, Jason had shared bits & pieces of his journey of forgiveness with us, but his book is like an intimate sit down across a bistro coffee table as he opens his chest so you can closely inspect his heart. It is raw, real, intimate and impacting.

I hope your brain, heart & soul are salivating for a peek into this book.

I shall oblige here are some of my favorite excerpts thus far:

“I was completely engulfed in the serenity of that moment. Someone like me – the someone whom I have wanted more than any other someone.”

“You can pray a thousand prayers, but it seems like the one the Lord decides to answer is the one you should have never prayed.”

“Through a mouth full of tears, she began to say, “I have never been in love with you, I don’t have any vision for our future and I don’t feel like you have any passion. I feel like I am dying in this relationship.” As she continued to speak, I just looked at her, wondering what she was even talking about. How does a person come to a conclusion after nine years of marriage and three kids that there has never been a spark in their relationship?”

Soooo that’s enough for now. I’ll review the whole book once I’m done, but I was so excited by how good it’s been so far that I just had to share a little.

 

Reading is FUN kids!

 

 

 

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He is so Faithful!!!

Yes He is! I love how faithful and true God is to speak to His children. Whether we are able to hear Him or not He is always speaking beckoning us to draw closer. He amazes me…

Lately, He has totally been blowing revelation off the pages of 1Peter and Psalms 27! I’ll expand upon that later on this week.

As for now taste and see His goodness:

1 Peter 2

New International Version (NIV)

2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house[a] to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
    a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
    will never be put to shame.”[b]

Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

“The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone,”[c]

and,

“A stone that causes people to stumble
    and a rock that makes them fall.”[d]

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

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Thoughts today…

This week I’d been thinking about Cain’s offering being unacceptable to God and why. Cain did not give his offering by faith.

“Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see… And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”

What was Abel’s motive behind his offering and what was Cains’?

When you continue further in Hebrews chapter eleven it speaks of the faith that men and women had which was directly tied to eternity. To have faith in God and His desire to reward those who have sought Him we must have an eternal vision.

I think some thing Cain lacked was a vision for eternity.

Sometimes it’s tough to think beyond our present circumstances and our faith in God is relegated to how He will come through or reward us in our near future. I think it’s an easy  limitation to become comfortable with allowing it to stunt our growth. We must apprehend an eternal vision and allow it to shape how we live.

What if from now on we lived as though we were going to receive no earthly rewards, but all rewards would come later?

Hmm let’s look at it through an extreme 401k.

What if you chose from now on to work and receive only enough pay to take care of the very bare necessities (food, clothing & shelter) and put all of the rest into the 401k.

Both of those examples require extreme faith! Let’s continue using the 401k example: It takes faith to live minimally putting basically all of ones wealth into a plan with a company. Having faith the company will protect your hard earned money you’re investing and doesn’t do anything illegal. Having faith that you’ll live long enough to actually retire. Having faith that you’ll actually enjoy the retirement time.

Thoughts.

 

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Take A Second

I thought this post would be a great follow-up to the Core Value post I did:

This is an amazing true story I got off of Dawn’s Facebook page:
A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that 1,100 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Sometimes we forget and that’s okay. When you do remember just actually take the time to stop and stick your face in the rose. Don’t just smell it. Feel it. Taste it. Inhale it. Experience it.

Three minutes went by, and a middle-aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace, and stopped for a few seconds, and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping, and continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3-year-old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried, but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally, the mother pushed hard, and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money, but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the most talented musicians in the world. He had just played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, on a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste, and priorities of people.

The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?”

~Post from Kris Vallotton’s FB Page

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