John 8:36 - So if the Son makes you free, you will be truly free.

Galatians 5:1 - We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.


This is my journey.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Big Changes – A Move, An Internship, A New Life (ish)

Every day, it seems, I have to mentally pinch myself and remember that in 6 weeks, I will be moved to Phoenix, AZ and off on a completely new stage of my life. Away from my family, away from all of my childhood friends, away from life as I have known it up till now.

Moving away to help start a new church, Compel Church. Moving away to not only have more job and art opportunities, but to learn how to stretch myself and extend a hand of love to everyone I meet. I have never been good at easily connecting with people... I have never had a compelling reason to learn. I can be quite lazy at times. Here, I will not have the opportunity to be lazy, I will not be allowed laziness.  

This is about personal growth, and about touching hearts and lives.


Compel Church from Compel Church on Vimeo.

What is this internship to me?

The opportunity to mature as a person. The chance to, in a sense, grow up. I will be far from my family and friends, having to bond with a new family and friend group.  

The opportunity to build a church from the ground up, to put ministerial skills into practice. I am already working on getting certified as a minister, and getting licensed next year will be part of this program.

The opportunity to learn how to truly love others, especially those who may first be thought to be "unlovable." I will need to reach outside of myself and create friendships. I will need to learn how to strike up friendships rather than just making bad small talk.  

This is God's call on my life. 

 I am going to answer.

If you would like to join with me on this journey, you can Donate directly through Paypal. Thank you for reading!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Utopia Principle






I seem to be coming across this idea, this mindset, and it has been causing me to think and ponder. It is this thought that there is some sort of utopian circumstance, in which you live exactly as God intended and spelled out in the Bible, but that there are exceptions made to certain commands if one does not live within that utopian circumstance.








For example, all women should be stay at home mothers/homemaker – unless their life circumstance requires them to work outside the home, such as in the case of their husband leaving them, or dying, or being physically unable to work at all.

Or that a woman can NEVER teach a man... unless there are no men willing/worthy to do the teaching, THEN a woman can take up the duty. (The reason for this is cited as the story of the Israelite Judge, Deborah (Judges 4-5), though upon reading the passage, there is not even a hint of such an idea. I'd think it would be important enough to mention “there were no worthy men, so a woman was made judge.”) Much as we may want to, we can make no such inference into the text, the idea is simply not there.

The truth is... There is no 'utopia principle' of Christian life. The Bible never hints, much less states, that Christians should act one way in a certain situation, and a completely different way in a different situation. Where does it say a wife is to submit “except in sin”? And if the submission teaching is quite solid, and implies a wife ought to sin on behalf of her husband, then perhaps we ought to reexamine our interpretation of those verses.

The idea that Christians should act one way in a utopian situation and a different way in a third world/persecution situation or a “less than desirable” situation is completely false. Are we to be peaceful only when our “utopian” situation allows for it? Are women only allowed to lead men if they are within a less-than desirable situation? And if it is permissible for Deborah, why is it not permissible for me?

If our dogmatic ideas about a select few verses does not hold up against the rest of the Bible, or if there are certain “exceptions” made to them in the Bible, should we not examine those verses to make sure we are understanding them correctly?

“Thou shalt follow all of these rules... when in a utopian ideal situation, otherwise you'll have to ad lib.”

If it doesn't make sense for the commands to pray, love, witness, be truthful, faithfulness, and the myriad of other Biblical commands to be on a “utopia principle” basis, how can it make sense in the case of women teaching, working outside the home, never cutting their hair, men never growing their hair long, the man always being the breadwinner, etc?

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Kind Of Woman...

Do you want a woman with a mind, with wisdom and the power to reason? Or do you want a woman who will simply agree with whatever you say?

Do you want a woman of strength, a powerful person? Or do you want a woman who will bend to your every whim, regardless of whether she feels it is wrong or not?

Do you want a woman who will challenge you, who will keep you accountable as you keep her? Or do you want a woman who will never call you out and will simply allow you to continue down a wrong path?

Do you want a woman who will come alongside you, work with you, and carry you when you need it? Or do you want a woman who needs you to always be her strength, because she has none herself?

Do you want a woman who reads and studies the Bible herself in order to be a workman who is not ashamed and rightly divides the Word of truth? Or do you want a woman who simply stands with your interpretation because she doesn't have any need or desire to study herself?

Do you want a woman who will fight for you, emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually? Or do you want a woman who cannot fight because she is leaning on you for all her strength?

Do you want a woman who cultivates her mind and intelligence? Or do you want a woman who has no desire for further education because she won't need it?

Do you want a woman who can engage you in deep and riveting debates and conversations? Or do you want a woman who cannot disagree or debate with you because she puts aside her own thoughts in order to agree with you in everything?

You said you wanted a woman like me. You said you loved my spirit, my strength, my power, my passion. And yet... you wanted to remove those same things from me in the name of 'biblical gender roles.' The woman you imagine you want to marry is not the same sort of woman you fell in love with, and in fact you will never meet such a woman; one who could magically meld together two completely opposing personalities.

What you loved about me is directly opposed to what you believe is the ideal 'biblical' woman. Don't you know that if I'd become that woman, I would have had to change all the reasons you were interested in me in the first place?

So, then, what kind of a woman do you really want?

Monday, March 25, 2013

Once Upon A Summer...

We disagreed.

We knew that from day 4. Yet, something kept us from giving up, something compelled us to at least try... try to change each other's mind.

I didn't post only for you, though, I didn't share my mind and beliefs so openly simply for your benefit. I was sharing long before that, and will continue sharing long after you are merely a distant memory of a past friendship.

You drove me, you pushed me to really THINK about what I believed, to really research and solidify the WHY. You debated with me, giving me a reason to work out what I really thought through speech and writing.

We never managed to change each other's mind. I know, for my part, I only became more firm in my stance, more solid in my beliefs, seeing more truth in them than ever before.

To the man I loved: Thank you, for making me stronger. Thank you for being the vehicle that really drove me to examining and reassessing my stance. Thank you for loving me back.

Once upon a summer.

Friday, March 15, 2013

To Truly Love

'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.' The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

So often, we are so focused on not condoning (or appearing to condone) sin, that we've lost the real message of Jesus. A message of reaching out and loving others. A message of hope and peace to the broken and lost.

Even Jesus himself was accused of being a sinner, a glutton, a drunkard, and many other things simply because of the fact that he kept company with “that sort of person”. Many were horrified that he let a prostitute wash his feet.



Jesus was not worried about false labels, he was concerned with reaching the hearts of those around Him, and touching their lives with His love and salvation. It seems we as Christians are so afraid of being labeled wrongly, that we go out of our way not to associate with the very people we are called to reach out to. Or we strive to explain our interactions with them so much that they end up not wanting anything to do with US.

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” When Jesus was asked “who is my neighbor?” he told the story of what we call the Good Samaritan. The ending moral being, our neighbor is not only the person we live next to in our physical house, or the people we go to church with, or the nice cashier we like to chat with. Our neighbor is every person we come in contact with, even if they are an enemy. It would have been acceptable for the Samaritan to leave the man where he laid in the dirt, for the cultural divide was fierce. Instead, he chose to show love for his “neighbor,” in the same way he would care for his family or his own self.

[Jesus asked] “So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:36-37

It is not our job to be the condemnation of God to those around us, but rather to have mercy on them. Certainly, do not change the gospel, but even Jesus did not come into the world to condemn it, but to bring salvation. How can anyone believe in the love of God if they aren't seeing it in me, who claims to be His child?

Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.

When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” Luke 19:1-7

Imagine if Jesus had said, “Zacchaeus, come down from there, I am going to your house. But first I want you to know that I absolutely am against the terrible way you have been stealing from everyone and the wicked way you've been living.”

Stating such a thing would have started off on an antagonistic foot, and probably would have angered Zacchaeus. Jesus never would have even reached the point of being able to touch Zacchaeus' heart. But he made no such declaration. Surely making some such statement would have appeased the minds of those so concerned about his being “the guest of a sinner,” but Jesus did not seem the slightest bit worried about such accusations.

Jesus told [the Samaritan woman], “Go, call your husband and come back.”

I have no husband,” she replied.

Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” John 4:16-20

Again, imagine if Jesus had condemned her for her sins. Rather than stating even his opinion on her life, he simply told the truth of what she'd done. Condemnation toward her would only have turned her away, just as it now turns people away.

Certainly, there is a time and a place for taking a hard line against sinful behavior, but too often, we heap condemnation on others for the benefit of our reputation and call it “telling the truth in love.”

How can I reach out to the lost around me if I am too afraid of being labeled “one of them”? How can I love others if I have to explain every interaction with drawing a line against their life decisions?

How can I show Christ to a dying world when I am petrified at the opinions of my fellow Christians?

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Comfort Zones

I don't think often about my comfort zone, and even less about moving out of it. I don't often wonder how I would deal with such a situation, as I am rarely presented with one.

Being in my comfort zone has been my way of life for as long as I can remember, and it has been very nice. The time has come, however, in which I need to move past my comfort, step out of where I know everything and move into perhaps a situation I can't handle on my own.

In the face of potentially moving completely out of my comfort zone, I'm finding myself alternately excited and worried.

I desire to change my situation, my surroundings. How else can I grow if I am never stretched?

It is frightening as well. What if I hate it? What if I don't adjust well to the harsh change?

So yes, I am a little frightened at the thought of the jump from completely comfortable to a situation that is totally new to me in every way.

But even more than that...

I am excited. Bring it on!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Secondarily A Christ Follower?

Teen Challenge from Tucson.

The service this morning held an interesting question for me. Teen Challenge of Tucson came down and sang a couple songs, and the leader had a short sermon prepared as well. Anyways, one particular statement really struck me.

Is your identity based in your talents/possessions/relationships or in Christ?

Which led me to another line of thought... Am I a Christ-follower first and artist second? Or vice versa? If I am being honest, it is usually first an artist and second a Christ-follower.

I have a lot of confidence in my abilities. I know what I can do, and I know I can do it well. I don't think this is always a bad thing, but I do certainly think it can become a bad thing.

Oftentimes, I want God to show me what I can do for Him, how I can serve through the things I know, how I can use my abilities to touch lives. I want the game plan so I can get it done, because I know I have the ability to.

And that is just the problem. Where is God at work if I already am able to accomplish it all on my own? When do I learn to trust if I can handle all of my situations with ease? How do I learn to step out in faith if I can just do what I set out to do solely by my own willpower?

It's a comfort zone of mine. I know my talents and abilities, and I do believe God gave them to me for a reason... but I have a tendency to lean only on the things I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I cannot fail at. I want to serve God... my way.



I need to be pushed out of my comfort zone. It's comfortable to sit in my home painting a picture for someone. I cannot fail at that. But God wants me for more than just doing good things in my own power. He wants me to perform miracles, to change lives. He wants me to speak his word, to make an impact. Perhaps a part of that will come through art, I don't doubt that it will... But a larger part of me fears that I will be taken from where I'm comfortable and thrown into a situation I can't handle on my own, be called to pray for things that are impossible, asked to accomplish tasks that must be divinely orchestrated in order to succeed.

I need to step out into living by faith, and leaning on God's power rather than my own strength. Instead of focusing on how great I am, looking to Jesus for my validation and strength. I am not sure yet how this will play out, but I can feel a change is coming in some form. I only pray that I will be ready when my comfort zone is gone and I can do nothing but lean on Jesus.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Perceptions and Dreams

Reading through some old poetry... this from 2010. Even truer now than when I wrote it.

***

Weird how our heart plays tricks on our mind
What we thought that we wanted changed over time

The one that you liked not too long ago
Turned out not to be the one that you know

Strange when we think we know what we want
Turns to something different, brought to the front

The one that you thought you could not like at all
Turns out to be the best one of all

What really is important to me?
Finding the answer, that is the key

What I think I want may not be on God's mind
I find my preferences change over time

Perceptions and daydreams shattered by truth
It doesn't hurt quite as much as I had assumed

How can it be what I wanted so bad
Seems not so important as previously had?




Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Goals

Goal: Make this dress.

video


Next: Find a man.

Then: Learn to dance. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

An Amazing Man

I had something of an epiphany the other day. It shouldn't have been so surprising to me, but it was.

If you want to marry an amazing Christian man, BE an amazing Christian woman.



The thought hit me in the gut, and though I wanted to ignore it, it pushed itself into my mind until I consented to consider it. There are many qualities I desire for my hypothetical future husband, but less often do I consider whether I truly seek those same qualities out in myself. Am I the sort of Christian that I hope to marry?

I want to marry a man who never settles for mediocrity, who always seeks out new ways to grow in Christ, to reach out, and to minister to others. Do I settle for mediocrity, or do I always seek out new ways to grow in Christ, to reach out, and to minister to others?

I want to marry a man willing to sacrifice for others. Am I willing to sacrifice for others?

I want to marry a man who always thinks of others, and is compassionate toward all. Do I always think of others and am I compassionate toward all?

I want to marry a man who is dedicated to daily scripture reading/study and prayer. Am I dedicated to daily scripture reading and prayer?

I want to marry a man with a heart burning for the lost and broken in the world. Does my heart burn for the lost and broken of the world?

I want to marry a man willing to give up everything to follow the call of God. Am I willing to give up everything to follow the call of God?

I want to marry a man who is helpful, giving, and loves everyone. Am I helpful, giving, and loving toward everyone?

I want to marry a man who will shun the lusts of the flesh and instead cling to God for strength in weakness. Do I shun the lusts of the flesh and instead cling to God for strength in weakness?

This is less of a lesson in “who do I want to marry” and more a lesson of “am I settling for just plateauing in my Christian life, or am I constantly pushing for greater heights?” Too often, I get comfortable in my flat plane of life. I slack off a little here, a little there.

It's no big deal.

But isn't it? Certainly, I believe that constantly growing in Christ is the goal, the ideal... but how often do I really take it to heart and make it a personal goal? How often do I desire in my own life the things I so desire to see in the life of a future spouse? Unfortunately, far less than I should.

If you want to marry an amazing Christian man, BE an amazing Christian woman.

If you never marry, BE an amazing Christian woman.

If you do nothing else in life, BE an amazing Christian woman!

That is the goal. 
That is my goal.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Tell Me

Tell me, tell me
I whisper to the sun
Tell me your secrets
Of happiness, of fun



Give me your heart
Your love for the day
Show me how to love
How to care, a way

Whisper your sweetness
Into my heart
Show me your dreams
Make me a part

Tell me, tell me
Again I cry
Give me your wings
Help me to fly

I fall so fast
Down to the ground
Crazy, as I
Keep spinning around

Hope of tomorrow
Ever before
Perhaps I will be
All I dream and more

Tell me, tell me
Once more I plead
How to grow happiness
Where is the seed?

Is it afar
A journey apart?
Or is it within
Deep in my heart?

Perhaps you shall find it
The sun whispers back
If only you'll search for
The strength that you lack

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Uncontrollable

I hate not having control. I hate having to sit back and watch others make decisions and live destructively, and there is nothing I can do about it.

I hate the feeling of helplessness, of desperately wanting to make the situation right again, but there is nothing... nothing that can be done.

I hate watching the impending reaping of wrong decisions, waiting for the blow that will take the situation beyond anyone's control.

I hate seeing those I love be hurt, especially the ones too young and innocent to do anything. They have no voice. I have no voice.

It's situations like this when I'm reminded how necessary, how needed prayer is. There is nothing I CAN do, but pray.

Lord, help me to be strong in prayer, when there is nothing else I can be.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hair!

So... I decided to bleach my hair! Well, part of it. I was just getting bored with the solid brown, but I did NOT want to cut it, because I absolutely love the length. So I decided to do some bleach, and get some fabulous contrast. So here are some pictures!
 
Up in braids. I love this!



Up in a "Katniss braid", except a french braid rather than dutch.

Black and white.

I looooove it! :D And I have been keeping a very close watch on the moisture levels, making sure the bleached part doesn't get too dry. It's been pretty awesome so far!