Boston

My heart is broken over the events that took place in Boston today.

tumblr_mlbeumD6ju1qi126lo1_500_large

Our nation we have paused and gathered together to pray for Boston. The events surrounding the bombing are still unclear, but right now, that doesn’t matter. What matters is we as Christians stepping up and showing the world Christ’s love.

Many people have questions right now and are asking the question, “Why?” Beloved, we have an opportunity to shine Christ’s love to a broken and shattered world. Hearts are ready for Christ. Will you join me in spreading His love? No, we don’t have all the answers as to why suffering occurs, but we can use these tragedies as an opportunity to spread the Gospel?

Remember, one day things will be redeemed and restored!

Pray_Banner1

Advertisements

Love and Other Things – My thoughts on Dating

Ohhhh love….

e99d464f729f35b062450e80567763e9

Good ‘ole Valentines Day is next week…

3srt2v

So I figured it would be a good time to share my personal thoughts on dating/relationships! Please keep in mind that these are merely my opinions! :)

I’m not currently in a relationship, and I’m going to be completely honest. Sometimes it is hard. I am 22 years old, and when I entered college, I thought I would be the girl who met her husband first or second year, got engaged, and would be getting married right out of college. That is not how my life has played out, and clearly the Lord had different plans for my life.

But…

I can’t tell you how incredibly grateful I am that the Lord is in complete control of every area of my life, my dating relationship included! He has spared me much heartache over the past years, and for that, I am very grateful! Please know that the thoughts on dating I’m sharing are my opinions. I know alot of people that disagree with me or have different views, but that’s okay!

Here we go…

1. I have a very traditional view on relationships/the roles of men and women in relationships.

Yeah, I’m an old school girl when it comes to relationships! I personally wouldn’t ask a guy out, or pursue a guy for a relationship. I think that the man should be the initiator of a relationship, and should be the one to pursue a woman. Obviously, there has to be interest on both sides, and the woman can definitely let the man know how she feels, but the man should be the leader of the relationship! Think about it this way, if I (as a woman) were to pursue a guy, and we ended up dating, I would always think

“Does he really like me, or is he just dating me because I pursued him?”

When I date and eventually marry someone, I want to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they want me. The way this happens is when a man takes charge and leads the relationship by pursuing a woman!!

879498242d3f5f30f49be842999f167b

2. Find someone who loves the Lord more than they will ever love you!

It might sound “romantic” to hear someone tell you that you are their world, or you are their everything. If someone tells you this…RUN as fast as you can in the other direction! I hate to break it to you, but you can’t be someone’s everything. That is a completely unrealistic expectation to place on yourself or on someone else. You will fail. They will be disappointed. Both parties will end up discontent. Seriously, if you don’t hear anything else I say, please hear me when I say this…

** Find someone who doesn’t make God a part of their lives, find someone who God is their live!! **

8c1ebbcd8b10e855aa39ebb1d0d70f7b

3. If you’re single right now, spend time growing your relationship with the Lord, your character, your hobbies, your interests, your passions, etc.!

There is a lot of freedom in being single, because you have more time to spend on growing! Find something that you would like to pursue and go do it!!! I’m passionate about running, reading books, drinking coffee, and writing. When I’m not busy with classes, senior class president stuff, ra, or my other relationships, I have time to pursue my hobbies! Also, find an area that you would like to improve, and work on developing that area! I am probably the world’s worst cook, but when I have time, I practice my cooking so that one day, I will be a decent cook!

4dbe3fb235f9b858510aa646e1915ed4

4. Trust in the Lord!

I’m not trying to be super spiritual, but keep in mind that the Lord is in ultimate control of your life! He knows you so intimately and personally.

Trust Him!

Trust that He isn’t going to leave or forsake you! Trust that He will direct your life in the ways that He sees fit!!

I hope this has encouraged you and sparked some thought on how you feel about dating/relationships!! I would love to hear feedback, so let me know your thoughts!!

Monday Musings…Things that are making me smile!!

It is (almost) finished!!

I’m finished with all of my residential finals!! Praise the Lord!! However, I’m taking a philosophy class online and that doesn’t finish until next Monday. You better believe I will be finishing up all of that work before I go home on Friday!! Last night was pretty brutal, I was up super late, and back up at 5:30 am…all in the name of studying for my hardest exam. American Foreign Policy! I suppose you know you’ve studied well when you dreamt that you are a diplomat on your way to Russian and China to talk them out of communism!

I wanted to share a lighter post today, mainly because my brain is exhausted and anything deeper I tried to write wouldn’t come out how I want.

So…here are some things that are making me smile this week!!

1) If you haven’t heard of this website, you are going to fall in love with it. I get on every now and then, and spend an hour or so just listening to, and downloading music!

noisetrade

NoiseTrade is a completely free and legal website where artists upload their music for our listening pleasure!! There is some incredibly good stuff. If you need recommendations, feel free to comment and I can give you lots!!

2) I was recently on NoiseTrade and discovered that Ben Rector has a Christmas album!!!

jingle and bells

Yes, the Christmas season just got 10 times happier thanks to the wonderful tunes from Mr. Rector. You can go download this album here!

If you’ve never heard of Ben Rector, stop reading this and go look him up…your ears will thank you! I had the pleasure of hearing him in concert with Need To Breathe last year! Here’s a link to his website, and here’s one of my favorites by him!

ben

3) One of my favorite things about finals week is that no body judges the amount of coffee that I drink, because suddenly it becomes socially acceptable for everyone to drink 5-6 cups of it! Little does the world know, that is my normal daily intake!

73253931409129946_LmPuL0if_b

4) This Friday, precisely at noon, my little ole self will be in a car, headed to my favorite place in the world…home!

244179611016017713_QmS2Yl7b_b

Since I don’t have a car at school, my Daddy always comes to pick me up! We’ve had a tradition ever since Freshmen year. Whenever he comes to get me, we always stop and get a cup of coffee for the drive home.

IMG_0110

Then, I’ll either yap the entire way home or sleep because I am so exhausted!

5) These ladies!!

I have the incredible privilege of working and serving with the most incredible ladies at Liberty University! They bless me more than they will ever know!

IMG_0852

IMG_0859

What is making you smile this week??

147915168981858844_1UqexrLz_b

Engraved on His hands…

I should be writing a paper…
I should be studying for a test….
I should be cleaning….
I should be doing a million different things….

But…

I have the entire room to myself, and I have decided to take advantage of it and take some time to myself. As much as I absolutely adore being around people, I also enjoy the rare moments that I can escape and be alone. I’ve made myself a cup of tea, slipped on my favorite sweat pants and have spent time with my Lord. It’s been delicious and refreshed my soul more than I can say.

Every morning I read from Charles Spurgeon daily devotions entitled, “Morning by Morning”. I cannot overstate how much I enjoy His writing. Yesterday, the devotion touched me deeply, and I wanted to share! I hope it encouraged you as well!

Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

Isaiah 49:16

No doubt part of the wonder that is concentrated in the world “Behold” is on account of the contrast with the unbelieving lament of the preceding sentence. Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me; my LORD has forgotten me.” How amazed the divine mind seems to be at this wicked unbelief! What can be more astounding than the unfounded doubts and fears of God’s favored people? The Lord’s loving word of rebuke should make us blush. He cried, “How can I have forgotten you, when I have engraved you on the palms of My hands? How dare you doubt My constant remembrance when the memorial is carved upon My own flesh?” O unbelief, what a strange marvel you are! We do not know what to wonder at most – the faithfulness of God or the unbelief os His people. He keeps His promise a thousand times, and yet the next trial makes us doubt Him. He never fails; His is never a dry well; He is never as a setting sun, a passing meteor, or a melting vapor; and yet we are as continually troubled with anxieties, molested with suspicions, and disturbed with fears as if our God were a mirage of the desert. “Behold” is a word intended to stir our admiration. Here, indeed, we have a theme for marveling. Heaven and earth may well be astonished that rebels should obtain such a closeness to the heart of infinite love as to be written on the palms of His hands. “I have engraved you.” It does not say, “your name.” The name is there, but that is not all: “I have engraved you.” Consider the depth of this! “I have engraved your person, your image, your circumstances, your sins, your temptations, your weaknesses, your wants, your works; I have engraved you, everything about you, all that concerns you; I have put all of this together here.” Will you ever say again that your God has forsaken you when He has engraved you on his own palms?

Romance my soul….

As I sit here and type this, my Beloved is painting the sky with vibrant purples and pinks, and is wooing my heart closer to Him. When my eyes behold all of the glories of creation, my heart can’t but help behold the majesty of God at the same time.

My God is stunning.

My God is creative.

Oh how I love Him! There are times when my heart grows cold, and I don’t enjoy Him like I want to, but the beauty of the Gospel is that God pursues me! He is the great and divine Romancer of my soul. He is the one who woos me closer into His heart. I can never earn His love or favor; I can never do anything to make myself “lovely” to Him. But He sees me as spotless because of the finished work of Christ on the cross.

The Lord has me in a season of singleness right now, and He has lead my soul into a place of “loneliness”. If I’m extremely honest, I’m fighting with everything in me to choose joy and contentment. I know that contentment is a heart issue, and I am choosing moment by moment that I will be content with where the Lord has placed me right now.

“Every song you love, every memory you cherish, every moment that has moved you to holy tears has been given to your from the One who has been pursuing you from your first breath in order to win your heart. God’s version of flowers and chocolates and candlelight dinners comes in the form of sunsets and falling stars, moonlight on lakes and cricket symphonies; warm wind, swaying trees, lush gardens, and fierce devotion.”

Dear one, something that my heart longs for is to be romanced. I want someone to get to learn me and know why I am the way I am. Recently I was bearing my soul to the Lord about this matter, and He spoke to me and said…

Daughter, I am the One who is and always will romance you. I know you better than any man on this earth every could. I know what makes you smile. I know what makes your heart break. I see you. I think you are lovely. I think you are beautiful. I gave my life so that I could be with you.

If you are desperate for love, run straight to the Father’s arms. He will hold you and remind you of His love for you!

God delights in you….(Spurgeon)

I wanted to share a devotion from one of my favorite writers and preachers of all times…Charles Spurgeon. If you have never read any of his works, I highly encourage you to read some of his sermons; they will bring your heart to the throne of God. This morning, I read this and it literally brought me to tears, the words of Spurgeon were so timely in my life and in my heart and I pray that they will be the same for you!!

I will rejoice in doing them good.”
Jeremiah 32:41

How heartwarming to the believer is the delight that God takes in His saints! We cannot see any reason in ourselves why the Lord should take pleasure in us; we do not even take delight in ourselves, for we often have to groan, being burdened, conscious of our sinfulness and deploring our unfaithfulness. We are fearful that God’s people cannot take much encouragement from us, for they surely can see our many imperfections and our follies, and so be caused to lament our infirmities rather than admire our graces. But we love to dwell upon this transcendent truth, this glorious mystery: As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so the Lord rejoices over us. We do not read anywhere that God delights in the cloud-capped mountains or the sparkling stars, but we do read that He delights in the habitable parts of the earth, and that His delights are with the sons of men. We do not even find it written that angels gave His soul delight; no does He say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, “Thou shalt be called Hephzibah…for the LORD delighted in thee.” But He does say that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves – debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified by His grace. In what strong language He expresses His delight in His people! Who could have conceived of the Eternal One bursting into a song? Yet it is written, “He will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17). As He looked upon the world He had made, He said, “It is very good”; but when He looked on those who are the purchased of Jesus’ blood, His own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy. Should we not utter our grateful response to such a marvelous declaration of His love and sing, “I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation?”

The steadfast love of God

My favorite author of all times is Charles Spurgeon; I use his morning and evening devotions every day. To be very candid, the past few days have been difficult trying to find the balance between hurting over circumstances out of my control, but still doing my job well as an RA. This morning I read this devotion from Spurgeon and it encouraged my heart. I pray that you can find encouragement in the steadfast love of our wonderful Savior!

The steadfast love of God

Meditate a little on this steadfast love of the Lord. It is tender love. With gentle, loving touch, He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He is as gracious in the manner of His steadfast love as in the matter of it. It is great steadfast love. There is nothing little in God; His steadfast love is like Himself – it is infinite. You cannot measure it. His mercy is so great that it forgives great sins to great sinners after great lengths of time and then gives great favors and great privileges and raises us up to great enjoyments in the great heaven of the great God. It is undeserved steadfast love, as indeed all true mercy must be, for deserved mercy is only a misnomer for justice. There was no right on the sinner’s part to the kind consideration of the Most High; had the rebel been doomed at once to eternal fire he would have richly merited the doom, and if delivered from wrath, sovereign love alone has found a cause, for there was none in the sinner himself. It is rich steadfast love. Some things are great but have little efficacy in in them, but this steadfast love is a tonic to your drooping spirits, a golden ointment to your bleeding wounds, a heavenly bandage to your broken bones, a royal chariot for your weary feet, a bosom of love for your trembling heart. It is manifold steadfast love. As Bunyan says, “All the flowers in God’s garden are double.” There is no single steadfast love. You may think you have only one steadfast love, but you will find it to be a while cluster of mercies. It is abounding steadfast love. Millions have received it, but far from its being exhausted, it is as fresh, as full, and as free as ever. It is unfailing steadfast love. It will never leave you. If mercy is your friend, mercy will be with you in temptation to keep you from yielding, with you in trouble to prevent you from sinking, with you in living to be the light and life of your countenance, and with you in dying to be the joy of your soul when earthly comfort is ebbing fast.

Love and other things…thoughts on Magic Mike!

I wasn’t originally planning on writing a blog on the movie, “Magic Mike” for two reasons: 1) I haven’t even seen the movie. 2) I didn’t feel extremely comfortable discussing this movie because of the content. But I felt like I couldn’t keep silent on this subject. It breaks my heart that this is the kind of movies that Hollywood is putting out and we actually pay money for this trash.

For those of you that don’t know what Magic Mike is, here’s an accurate description…

“A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.”

The movie features Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey (both extremely attractive men) but the story follows them and the career of male stripping. Magic Mike was released tonight, but prior to the release girls everywhere were going nuts and making absolute fools of themselves over this movie. I am embarrassed for some of the things I’ve seen on facebook and twitter from girls that claim Christ as their Savior. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not questioning their salvation by any means, but I do want to speak some encouragement into their lives and share my thoughts on this movie.

Ladies,

  • Please examine your hearts and think before you speak. I encourage you to watch your language when discussing guys. Yes, I know that both of the leads of the movie are good looking, but that doesn’t mean that you get to speak in any manner you wish. We get angry when guys talk degradingly about girls, yet we think it’s okay for us to speak in a manner that doesn’t honor men.
  • Remember that we are commanded to honor the Lord with our words and our thoughts. I don’t think that watching a man prance around with hardly any clothes on will do much to promote Godly thoughts. (Just something to chew over!)
  • This movie (and others like it) should NOT be your example of what to look for in a future husband. (Duhhh!!!) It might sound simple to say it, but for many of us, watching movies like this don’t give us a realistic expectation of men. You should be looking for a man who will love one woman for the rest of his life and commit to marrying and spending the rest of his life with that one woman. (One of the God given benefits of a marriage is sex!) You should not be looking for someone who doesn’t respect you enough to commit every part of himself to you!!

 

I hope that encourages you to stay the course!! Don’t ever settle and wait on the very best that the Lord has to offer you!

Love and other things…decisions, decisions, decisions!!

I’m in the process of making a major life decision right now. (Details to come.) While this decision is exciting beyond belief, it would literally change my entire life. This decision would include devoting 2 years of my life specifically, moving across the world and giving up a lot of my comforts. I can’t share what the decision is right now, but if I am extremely vulnerable, I’m kind of scared! My heart beats faster at the possibilities that lie ahead if I say “yes” to this decision, yet there are so many questions in my mind.

I’ve grown up in the Christian community and currently go to a Christian university (which I’m more than grateful for), but growing up in that kind of environment has placed a certain stereotype in my head of how “life” is supposed to go.

Go to college → meet a guy/girl → fall in love → get engaged → tie the knot → baby on the way → live a comfortable life →live happily ever after

While there’s nothing wrong with this, I believe there’s so much more to live than simply looking out for yourself. What makes me happy? What is going to bring me the maximum fulfillment? How can I make more money? How can I become more successful? The focus is on me, me me! I’ve been so tempted when looking at my future to make decisions based only upon what I want. Oh, how I want my life to count for more than just myself. Impacting people for my Jesus is my life’s ambition, and I strive each day to bring as much glory to His name as possible.

I’ve discussed vaguely on my blog that I went through a season of pretty intense suffering/testing a couple of years ago. My trial hasn’t disappeared (nor will it ever fully go away!) but the pain has subsided, my heart has healed some, and I’ve learned how to live life with the trial the Lord has entrusted me with. As a result of that trial, my perspective has changed! I can’t go into great detail with the specific trial, but my outlook on a “normal life” was changed because some of the things offered with a “normal” life weren’t going to be easily accessible. The Lord began to reveal to me that He has great things for my life, even if my life doesn’t look like the cookie cutter life described above.

There is always a small voice in my head that whispers….

What if no man will ever love you?

My dear readers, that is a LIE straight from the pits of hell!! Life is so much bigger than worrying about whether one person will choose to love me. I have the unconditional love and acceptance of the Father and that is more than enough for me. So, I’m going to hit my knees and be praying about this big decision I have to make, knowing that the Lord will direct my path and abundantly supply for me every step of the journey.

 

 

Love and other things…Ian and Larissa!

One of the websites I visit fairly often is Desiring God. It’s an awesome website/blog started by John Piper and features articles that can help one grow in their walks with the Lord. Recently, I was on there and stumbled upon a video of a married couple. I don’t want to give the entire video away, but as I watched, tears were streaming down my cheeks. This couple exemplifies what unconditional and sacrificial love is, and models Christ to the world. I highly encourage you to watch this and share it with your friends and family!!