Monday, August 30, 2010

And Then... A Dream

Once upon a time, I lived in a nightmare. Have you ever lived in one? Have you ever felt so out of reality... stuck in a dream... down in a hole where no one can help you get out? My nightmare, well I don't care to expand on. It was in Middle School, and now I am in college. The past is the past, and now I can look back praising God for teaching me, holding me, and talking me through those crappy years. Not only was He there, He blessed me with wonderful parents who helped me through those years and constantly pointed me back to Him.

The nightmare in my life during that time seemed impossible to wake up from. It seemed impossible to be able to lay down at night and fall asleep without an anxiety attack or worry of some sort. As you've probably already read.. if you've kept up with my blog lol, I was previously a Worry Wart! So naturally, you can probably understand when I say I had trouble falling asleep at night without having an anxiety attack. Worry leads to anxiety. At least for me, that is.

When I was experiencing all those sleepless nights, my mom would remind me, "Praise God for the day you stop having them." So at night, before I'd fall asleep, I'd pray thanking God for the night I'd be able to sleep again (worry free). You know that feeling you get when you feel like you are coming down with a cold... that feeling you just can't quite figure out how to prevent? That's like an anxiety attack; preventing it seems impossible. But I have wonderful news!! God is so good! After weeks of failed attempts trying to stop my anxiety attacks by reading my Bible, praying, going outside, etc... God blessed me with an answer!

One night, I had a dream. I was in a small room. Satan appeared and decided to make the walls of the room burst in flames. He began laughing at me. Then he set the door on fire, leaving me with no way out. Then all of a sudden, Jesus appeared. He looked at me with a smile and said, sing "Jesus Loves Me." So I did! And all of a sudden, the fire went out and Satan vanished.

The next night, I felt an attack coming on, I remembered my dream. So I began singing "Jesus Loves Me." And sure enough, my anxiety attack stopped before it started. As time passed, I learned how to keep my mind from even going into attack mode. I was able to focus and read my Bible, whereas before I was so concerned with my anxieties, I couldn't head them off in time enough. The more your attack progresses, the more difficult it is to stop them. But I am here today to say, God does not leave His children in the dark. And during that year, He taught me how to let go of myself. He grew me in my faith. He showed me how mighty He is. He cradled me during that nightmare. With every tear, with every sleepless night, He was right there. He has strengthened me. He has made me for greater things than I can imagine, just as He has made you. Living in a nightmare? Does it seem like there's no way out of that hole you've gotten yourself into? Call on Him, and I promise you, He will answer!

Bible says what?

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

"My flesh and my strength may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." -Psalm 73:26

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Stuck in a Sea of People (1 in 1 MILLION)

Once upon a time I entered a world of LOST people. Ever feel like you are one in a million... ONE Christian in a sea of nonbelievers?? I'm sitting here in a city... I'm alone... and yet, I am not. See, I believe God put me here for a reason. I am living down here to be a witness... no tears... no anger... this world is not our home. Everyone needs Jesus... and these people don't know what they are missing! God is my strength. So as I lay here in my room, I have Jesus here beside me telling me I can do ANYTHING through Him! Don't get me wrong, I've met some amazing people... but mostly... people that need prayer.
My mission... Pray for the lost souls.

So for all of you feeling alone in his world... remember, you are not if you have Christ in your heart! He is with you every step of the way! He loves you just as much as He loves me. Feeling like you need a BIG FAT hug?? Picture yourself in the arms of our Heavenly Father! Did you feel that?? Did you feel His mighty hands around you? Did you feel His firm grip on You... because He will NEVER let go once you've surrendered your life to Him! Have you ever thought of our Heavenly Father as our Daddy? I may not have my parents right here with me... but I have my Daddy with me always! He's protecting me! His angels are everywhere!! Just like when I had that vision of angels surrounding my house... I can still feel them... only now, they are surrounding my dorm.

I was walking the streets of Atlanta today, figuring out my way around on my own... and it was almost as if I had a shield of protection around me. I ate my gelato, walked confidently through the homeless park... and made it safely back to my dorm. (Mom and Dad, if you are reading this... breathe, I've got God on my side). So those of you that are experiencing problems with putting all of your trust in our Daddy, let go... depend on Him... He will provide in EVERY WAY. He is there... waiting... listening... and yearning for us.

So when you feel sad... let Him warm your heart and bring a smile upon your face.
When you are feeling alone... remember, you are not!! He is right there beside you!
Those times when you are tired and overwhelmed... rest in Him.
But most of all... remember He is ALWAY there. Remember He loves you more than you can imagine. And Remember, He cares.

So join with me and pray!! Pray for the lost. Pray that God will reveal Himself to them. Pray that each and every person that hears of our Heavenly Father yearns for Him... that they will fall in love with our Heavenly Father... and that they will be lifted up as a child of God.

Bible time!!

"I am happy to see your good lives and your strong faith in Christ. As you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live in Him. Keep your roots deep in Him and have your lives built on Him. Be strong in the faith, just as you were taught, and always be thankful." -Colossians 2:5-7

"I am coming soon." -Revelation 22:20

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Starting A New Chapter

Once upon a time, I was a small city girl. I could run to the grocery store and see people I know. I could go out to lunch with my mom whenever I wanted. I could turn the TV to Little Bear, Little Bill, or Berenstain Bears.... and no one would care. It was my happy world... it is my happy world. And now... I am in college... now it's different. It's the BIG CITY life for me!!! It's different... and free. HOWEVER.... FREE has its stipulations. I'm free from parents... (to an extent)... I'm free from High School.... and people in my past.... I'm on my own... I'm spreading my wings... and now it's time to FLY.

But with this freedom comes its cons... it's challenges to overcome.

Let me start by saying, Praise the Lord for my parents! I love them so very much! Praise the Lord for my brother, he's my very best friend! Praise the Lord for my godparents! They are such a blessing to my family!
Now then, with that said: With college... comes temptation. Don't go telling yourself you won't experience it. You will. Don't think you are able to turn away until you have been put in the situation where your perseverance is tested. If it weren't for my parents, brother, and godparents... I don't know where I'd be. They've been such a good influence in my life! And in these first 48 hours of college... I can see God working more and more in my life with every minute. I've been in many different situations where I've already had to say no... but thankfully these people seem to respect my decisions so far... (of course there's been times where they seem so persistent in wanting me to do something or try something...) but with Christ in the center of my life, he gives me the strength to overcome and stick to my beliefs. I love my life... good times, challenging times, sad times, and wonderful in every way times. I'm a family girl... so I do miss the 6 people I hold dear to my heart... and I know these people know who they are... they're have already been mentioned lol.

But this year is another new chapter in my book with no end. I want to be the light God has called me to be. I want to be God's hands and feet. A legacy... is what I want to leave.


"Make me to know your ways, oh Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth, and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all day long." -Psalm 25:4-5

Monday, August 16, 2010

Freed From Worry Warts!!

Once upon a time, I was a worry-wart. YES! ME!! It was so bad... one of my childhood friend's mother gave me that nick name. She would remind me quite often... "There's no need to worry!!!" Now looking back... she was ABSOLUTELY right!! But can you honestly say that you don't struggle with worry? I certainly still do... I'm just not as bad as I used to be. (As in, that nick name finally disappeared)! Isn't it funny how easy it is to worry? And yet God makes it very clear in the Bible that we aren't suppose to!! But being human, it's almost like it's ingrained in us. It's a tactic Satan feasts on. And yet, although we know how worry makes us feel, we still can't pull away from it. (HOWEVER, If you ARE one of those people who can completely flush worry out of your system, I CONGRATULATE you)!

*Here's a hiccup in my story.. I was looking for the verse I'm about to tell you... and in looking, John MacArthur popped up! If you have not heard of him, you should google him. Here's the verse coming from the 4 part sermon he taught on The Elements Of Joy:
"Your adversary, the devil prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." - 1 Peter 5:8

Well, if you already don't know this.. which I hope you do... It Is So Very Hard To Keep That Jerk From Trying To Steal Your Joy!! And yet, when it all comes down to it, whose decision is it whether or not our joy is robbed and replaced by worry, anger, sadness, or fear? It is ours! It is our decision. The thing I can't understand is... I know how hard it is to keep from worrying... I know how hard it was for me to lose that nick name... and how hard it is for me to maintain this "less" worry life I'm trying to live, but how can someone NOT ever struggle with worry? We are God's children, imperfect in every way. But because Christ died for us, we are cleansed from sin. We are cleansed from worry, anxiety, and fear. We may struggle with it, but God knows His children, He knows their struggles, and yet He reminds us He is in control. We are to give up our struggles and hand them over to Him.

Joy is having accepted Christ into your heart. Joy is developing a relationship with our loving Father through Christ. Joy is knowing we can come to God for anything; we can give up all our troubles and struggles; we can trust Him and put all our Faith in Him alone. So when worry enters my young mind, I am reminded, God is in control. Technically the question to be asking here is: Are you willing to accept that God is in control? If you are, then maintaining a "less worry" life shouldn't be as difficult. On the other hand, if you struggle with accepting this fact, pray. What is holding you back? What is keeping you from putting all your Faith, Hope, and Trust in your Creator, your Heavenly Father?

Now for a few laughs, MY WORRIES:

1) I was afraid to raise my hand in class in elementary school because my middle finger is taller than the rest (like everyone else's is) and I was afraid that I was telling God that I hated Him. NOT TRUE!!

2) I was afraid if I had a "perfectly" good day that that meant I was going to die or the world was going to come to an end the very next day.

3) I went through a phase where I was afraid Jesus was not in my heart because I couldn't feel Him. (So I asked Him in every night for several weeks).

4) I was afraid I'd die in a car wreck at 16, so I postponed getting my learner's permit and license.

5) I was worried that saying sorry to my parents (when I was much younger) was never good enough whenever I had done something wrong, so I'd bring them my piggy bank in repentance.

*Note to my parents: these worries were of no reflection on ya'll. These just identify the odd struggles I'd somehow developed along the way as I know you both remember having to help me surpass these pointless anxieties.

Now if that didn't make ya'll laugh.. well... I just hope it did!

And as usual... the Bible verses for today are (drum roll please)...

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." -Philippians 4:6

"My heart exalts in the Lord; My horn is exalted in the Lord, my mouth speaks boldly against my enemies, because I rejoice in Thy salvation. There is no one holy like the Lord, indeed there is no one besides Thee, not is there any rock like our God." -1 Samuel 2:1-2

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Resurrection Sunday Dance, Budapest, Hungary

Once upon I time, I thought about how wonderful it would be when Jesus comes back. I thought about the family of Christ celebrating His arrival! Imagine.. thousands of people singing praise and rejoicing together. How Great Is Our God?! This video is amazing! To think this group of people is only a fraction of those who will be there in the Kingdom of Heaven come that glorious day! I spent a couple days in Budapest, Hungary. I actually walked in Hero Square and had a picture taken with a Hungarian violinist. So you can only imagine how exciting this was for me to watch...

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." -Psalm 118:24

A World of Blessings

Once upon a time, I went on a mission trip to Romania. Before you go on a mission trip, those who have gone before you tend to say that it will be a life changing experience. As you board that plane, you can only hope and pray that you witness one. I believe most everyone does in some way or another, even if they don't recognize it at first. But let me just explain through a few examples.

A. I know many Americans who stress over money. I do every now and then. What is it though... this seems to be the only country whose government supports the lazy people that refuse to work. And then you have those who are working and paying taxes that are again... going to the lazy people our government is supporting. And those who have money... think they are constantly going broke. Oh but then let's not forget those who have so much money they do not know what to do with it. Those are people that need prayed for...
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 19:23

But to all of those working, to those sitting on their lazy butts, and to those who have enormous amounts of money... go on a mission trip to a poverty stricken country! Then count your blessings. You'll see just how blessed we are to be an American.

B. How easy is it to go and speak the Truth to friends, family, and even acquaintances? On a mission trip, that may be the only thing you want to do, spread the Word. Language barriers... no problem... your determination kicks in and the Holy Spirit takes over. But how easy is it when you're not with a group of people evangelizing? How easy is it when you're on your own... waiting for a calling to share the love of Christ... especially when it seems you're the only believer in a handful of lost people? It's difficult. But then think of those who die for their faith, those who face consequences for sharing the Gospel... for believing. Answering the call to witness doesn't seem so difficult when you're not having to undergo persecution.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his One and Only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

For Christ suffered the ultimate death so that we may have a chance to know, love, and honor our Heavenly Father in an eternity spent with Him.

C. Look around; what do you see? What do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? Is your heart filled with contentment? Can you sit back and love the life you're living? Are you living your passion? After you've answered these questions, are you dissatisfied.... if so, HURRY... get up, spin around 3 times, make yourself smile for 3 minutes straight, and then pray!! Ask God how you can start enjoying life! After my trip to Romania, I am now able to answer positively to all of the above! How... I witnessed a "life changing" experience. I saw children laughing, smiling, and playing in a village where they lived in huts and walked barefoot through garbage; where they ran around climbing on rusty gates and floors with rebar sticking up. Most of the children were sick with Strep throat, terrible colds, and thin ripped clothing in 25 (degrees F) of snowy weather. They didn't know how to keep good hygiene either. And yet they were as happy as could be! Happiness is a choice. Witnessing these children live... need I say, another "life changing" experience! I shouldn't take this life God has given me for granted!!

So to keep this story going and keep the blessings spreading... and all those "life changing" experiences witnessed... here's a verse:

"Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done." Nehemiah 105:1