Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Love So Loud.

     I had this whole series in mind for the next few blogs, but last night I was talking to my Grams and she inspired me to write this one. It doesn't have a title, because I honestly don't know what to call it, but I'm inspired, and I'm passionate, and I'm ready for you all to hear what I have to say.
     Have you all seen that commercial, and I can't quote it word for word, but I'm pretty sure it's about NCAA athletes. And in each different screen shot, there is a different sport. For example, the one about baseball is a guy sliding into home..and the words say "this is not the last inning." and it goes on and on with things like "this is not the last field goal" and "this is not the last shot." That probably wasn't a very good description, and if I can find the video I'll post it. But, I think it is completely appropriate to apply this to our lives..and this isn't just for all of the athletes. It's for each and every one of us who struggle because we thought we lost the once in a life time chance. It's for the girl who is in tears over the boy who slipped through her fingers. It's for the boy who didn't get the scholarship to play Division 1 basketball. It's for the person reading this, the person that is full of regret because whatever opportunity they had, they let it go. But the more I dwell on it, the more I realize that this isn't the last. In fact, this isn't the last anything. 
     I used to be the type of person that hated "lasts". And I made that very clear to a few of my close friends. I hated the last day of high school school, I hated knowing it would be the last time I ever got to see someone, If you're Taylor Swift (or a girl in general lol) you hate the last kiss. I despised things that I knew would never happen again. But honestly, every last usually becomes a new first
     We have all heard the saying "one door opens when another door shuts." but we let it go in one ear and out the other because it doesn't really apply to our lives because it is about doors. But let's think about this in a way that we can all relate to. Every bad day is followed by a good one, a chance to make it better. Even the people who have been heartbroken beyond repair have found their true love- or no one would be married. The kids who didn't get in to their college- they got in somewhere, and I'm willing to bet they found their happiness. That star athlete who didn't go Division 1, is now the star at a small school and wouldn't trade it for anything else. And some where, the kid who couldn't bare the the thought of a last kiss with an ex, just got their last first kiss with someone who couldn't care the thought of letting them go. See? Every last, is followed by a first. Every end, holds a new beginning.
     I'm big on "everything happens for a reason" but I don't think that reason is coincidence, in my opinion it is God at work. In 1 Corinthians 14:33 we are reminded that Our God is not a God of confusion, but a God of peace. What I'm trying to say is, stop dwelling on the last. Stop looking for the answer. God doesn't want to confuse you, He will give you the peace you need to look forward to a new beginning, to a better first. Like I've said before, when God takes something, anything, away from you..It's usually to give you something much better. He turns each and every single one of our tragedies, into triumph. 

Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. -Isaiah 43:18

Challenge: Stop dwelling on the Last.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Love So Loud- Anger.

     The next few posts are gonna be kind of different than the first few ones. I feel like it is important that you all know where the inspiration for these come from though, and I'm not ashamed to tell you. When things happen in my life, big or small, I really try to search my heart and try to find the flaw in it. Because let's be honest, every single person reading this has a flawed heart, somehow, some way. Let me go back and say that God does love you for your flaws because He loves you exactly how you are, but in my opinion if we live in a way that does nothing to better ourselves because "God loves us anyways" we're not being all that we can be.
     As a human, it is an honest struggle to examine yourself- to see yourself as the world sees you. And i'm sure most of you haven't even thought about it because you might be ashamed of what you conclude..But I know that there are so many times I have walked in a room full of people I don't know, or met someone for the first time, and left wondering what they thought of me. But the point of these next few posts isn't for the struggle on the outside- it's for the struggle on the inside..the struggle to fix our busted hearts
     Think of the thing that you hate the most in the world. And yes, I know we were brought up to say that we should never hate anything, but think of something that you truly dislike. It's easy for that look of disgust to cross your face, it's easy for words of despise to slip through your lips, and let's be honest- if looks could kill, whatever this person, or object, or event would be dead
     That's anger- and I struggle more with being angry than I do with anything else. No, I am not an angry person. No, I do not get angry very often. But when I do, it is an emotion that I have little control over. I'm sure my family could tell you that I'm almost a completely different person when i'm mad, and I am not proud of that. But, I am not perfect. As I have grown up though, I have been able to control that anger a little more. I've taught myself to stay calm even in times that make me furious.
     We have to examine our hearts in a proactive way. We have to find the flaw, fix the flaw, and be better people- and that's hard to do. It was easy for me to say to myself, "Hey kid, you get pretty angry, pretty fast." It was hard for me to accept that I needed to change, because I didn't really think there was anything wrong. But anger is one of those emotions kind of like worry..the kind that consumes your life. It makes you bitter, it's what drives us to do awful things that most of the time we don't mean. Our anger hurts people, our anger drives people to the point of tears. And the truth is, whatever is making you angry right now, probably won't matter in a week, tomorrow, or in a few months. Let go of that anger, set yourself free..and remember this-

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret--it only leads to evil. -Psalm 37:8

Challenge: Do the best you can to try to control your anger before it gets out of control.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Love So Loud- Worry.

     As I'm typing this, and as you're reading this- you are losing time from your life that you will never get back, is forever gone. Your existence continues, but that time has already taken it's breath and fulfilled it's purpose. That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach if you let that sink in- that's called worry. This post has been on my mind a lot lately with the events that have unraveled around me, and maybe the events in my life have affected yours, too. But through these events, I have come to the conclusion that as human beings, the most lingering emotion, the emotion that comes for the most frequent visit, is worry. We all know how it feels- worry takes hold of your brain, of your heart, and of your life, and squeezes what it can out of you until you are left feeling exhausted, beat up and let down
    We all go through struggles of our my life, I worry about my family and their well-being, I worry about my closest friends, and even those I do not know. I worry if I will ever be completely healthy like I used to be. I worry if I'll ever meet the man that I will one day call my husband. I worry that I'm not doing enough, or maybe I'm doing too much. I worry about my grades. I worry that I'm not making anyone proud. And I know these are tiny struggles compared to what some of you may be worrying about..but the real question is, why do we worry? We live for a Creator who knows what will happen before it is ever spoken to be, who knows our moves before we make them, who knows how many breaths we have left to breathe before we take our last one. Matthew 6:27 says, "Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" We can't, so why let worry consume us any longer?
     I was talking to my Mom this morning over text, and we got on the topic about what I'm going to end up doing with my life. The honest truth is, I don't know what I'm going to do, who I'll end up with, or where I will be when I wake up tomorrow morning, but in my short 19 years of life, I know now that there is no point in worrying about it. We spend so much of our time worrying about our future and what it will be like that we miss out on what's right in front of us. We live in a time where if you aren't on the move, you're considered stagnant, or old fashioned. In my opinion, if you don't take the time to take THIS moment in, you'll come to the end of your life and wonder where the whole thing went
    Make it an effort this week to live every day as if it is one twenty-four hour period, as if tomorrow really might not come. Look outside, no matter the weather, and find the beauty in it. Do the right thing because it's right. Stand up for something because it's what YOU believe in. Enjoy the little things, because the more you worry about the things that haven't happened yet, the more you miss out on all of the beauty that surrounds you.

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:34

Challenge: Take life 24 hours at a time and find your happiness.

Friday, March 9, 2012

A Love So Loud- Why THIS IS Important.

     First of all, I wanna say I'm sorry that it's been so long since I last posted. The good news is- I have a lot of really great ideas for future posts. The bad news is- I may be a little rusty. :) Anyways, looking back through all the posts I've written, I've realized that I left out something vital to the blog- Why I was taking the time to write these..Why, whoever you are, why you continue to click on these links, Why you share what I have to say- Why this is important.
     Before I go on, I want to reiterate to everyone that my goal for this blog isn't so you all think I'm a holier than thou..I am NO WHERE near perfect. I'm a sinner. I sin often. I make so many mistakes and I'm so thankful that I have a God that looks past those mistakes. I do, however, sincerely believe that God is working in my heart. I believe that He lives within me and urges me to share His unending mercy and grace with you- so that you may feel what I feel one day, if you don't already.
     How many of you reading this, know someone who doesn't truly know Jesus? Most of us know a handful of people who go to church to say they went on a Sunday morning, they feel like it's a chore..not a blessing. Those same people are the ones who live life routinely, missing out on the small and most intricate beauties of our lives and this world. Missing out on miracles that happen every single day, like the birth of a child. Now lets pause and reflect on that for a moment, if that's you..I'd like for you to sincerely work on yourself and build yourself to be the person that God created you to be. If you feel like that isn't you, I'd like to propose a challenge. I heard about this challenge a few years ago through my best friend, Kristen, at her church. She said that their goal was to find just one person and introduce them to Jesus. Not the Jesus that society knows, the Jesus that lives and breathes inside of His believers. The Jesus that loves you exactly where you are and how you are. The Jesus that died, that hung on the cross so that sinners like us don't have to carry the weight of who we are.
     I recently started the one challenge, without realizing I had, with one of my teammates and one of my closest friends. Because I was not attending St. Catharine at the time- I had heard that she was going through what most of us would call being me, she had hit rock bottom. After many late night heart to hearts, we agreed to take on the 40 day challenge in the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I promised that if she wouldn't stop, I would try my best to answer all of the questions she could throw at me, even though I wouldn't always have the best answer. It took about two weeks for us to get out of The Purpose Driven Life routine until the questions got more serious..something that only the Bible could hold the answers to. Now, a month and a half later, the kid who hit rock on fire for Jesus Christ. Making a public commitment to be faithful and just in her love for Jesus and soon setting a date for Baptism. I have never felt like I was a part of something greater than I have by leading someone that I truly care for, to a life of eternity. I was so extremely blessed she had such an open and honest heart when learning, and sincerely caring in what Jesus has in store for her.
     I NEED you to know that it won't always be that easy, in might not ever be that easy. The task that this post presents is by no means a walk in the park. There will be questions you do not know the answer to, there will be days that you feel like you're on to something amazing and there will be times when you want to give up- don't. Hang on, pray that God will give you the strength to win their heart for Him.
     I could go on and on about why this is important-but I know a book that makes it all pretty darn clear. Let's start in one of my favorite books, James. James 5:19-20 says,

"My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring them back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the way of error will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins."

And here comes that big bang..

Proverbs 8:35-36 says,

 "For those who find me, find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me, harm themselves; all who hate me, love death."

Take this challenge. Learn that the easiest way to bring people to Christ is through being an example, showing loving-kindness and patience. Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (James 1:19). We all say we wanna change the world, but we have to take it day by day. One at a time. Don't miss this.