mountains among skyscrapers

 

Walking the streets of Santiago with the hustle and bustle of millions of people. The air heavy. Cigarette smoke lingers. Voices, music, cars sound all around. Eyes down, thoughts all over the place, I block it all out. I walk with purpose, on a mission to catch the metro to continue the mundane, until I’m stopped at the corner. I hear myself audibly gasp. A smile spreads and I laugh aloud as I look up, as I look before me.

There they are. The mountains. The Andes. They stand before me, peeking between skyscrapers and above buildings. There they are in all their glory just like usual, but this encounter is different. This encounter changes me.


As I stood on that street corner, the Holy Spirit spoke boldly. The lesson learned, pondered, taught, nearly forgotten, but recently remembered. Full circle you could say.

The lesson was simple: I AM WITH YOU. The picture was breathtaking: the mountains among skyscrapers. The importance was more than I could have known or understood in that moment.


With my eyes lifted, a goofy grin on my face, I knew the truth. The buildings stand tall, but the mountains stand taller. The skyscrapers loom, but the mountains are still present. My fear, my uncertainty, my inadequacy rise to the heights of the Costenera Center. Anxiety and unknowns grow until I can’t see anything else, until lifting my gaze above them is too much. But there they are, those mountains, waiting to be seen. Amidst the chaos of the city, the Andes stand firm, unchanging. Amidst my overwhelming thoughts, God stands. Just like the mountains, He stands unchanging. He stands with me.

Fear grows, but the Lord makes His presence known. Commitments take over, but He is unmoved. Unknowns remain unknown, but He makes Himself known. Uncertainty addicts, but He refuses to give us up. Life overwhelms, but He surrounds with provision and protection. Everything is too much, but His “with-ness” is enough.


“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.” Psalm 125:2

This verse and the picture of the mountains among the skyscrapers all scream this one truth to my forgetful soul: He is WITH me. He is Immanuel. He is GOD with us. It’s who He is.

As the Andes surround Santiago on every side, so does the Lord surround me, so does the Lord surround you.

There will be rooftops moments where the mountains clearly surround like the walls of Jerusalem and our souls rest, in unmistakably seeing their presence, and sometimes all we get is a glimpse of them between buildings. But no matter the moment, no matter the time, the mountains are there. They never change, never move. They’re constant. What changes is our posture. Are we looking up or down? Are we looking around, walking blindly by? To see the Andes around Santiago one has to look up. One has to choose a different posture, that of expectancy. We can always expect to see Him. We should always look up, ahead, between. It is only when we change our gaze to the steady, the unmoving, the Mountain in our midst, that the breakneck speed world turns slow and finally our souls can rest. For when we know the Presence before us, we know the One WITH us.


Despite seeing from the rooftop, I somehow forgot about the mountains, about their faithful presence despite the buildings in the way. I forgot about THE Mountain, the One that is bigger than all of my distractions and uncertainty. But a truth-telling friend reminded me, “When the distractions, the seemingly impossible tasks, the skyscrapers of life start to cloud our view, we are reminded of the mountains; never moving, never changing, never faltering. Just like those mountains, my God never leaves me, never changes, and is always WITH us. Remember THE Mountain, the Mountain forever WITH us.”

I’ll remind you and me now. Whether your view is from the rooftop or the streets below, your surroundings, the mountains, our God, remain the same.  We change. He does not. We move. He does not. We are easily distracted. He is always present. He dwells within and without. He is the Mountain among our skyscrapers. He is God WITH us.

 

 

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not the only but the best

When things seem hopeless, we pray. When life is out of control, we pray. When we feel helpless, we pray. When we’re thousands of miles away, physically separated and unable to do anything, we pray. When souls seem lost to us, we pray. When life and health are on the line, we pray. We pray because it’s the only thing we can do.

People of all kinds persecuted for all things. We pray. Loved ones living in darkness, us helpless to reach their hearts. So we pray. People fighting injustice, being the voice, for those who can’t. We pray. Friends grapple with dangerous inner demons. And we pray. Families experience loss and heartache. We pray. The news plays and we feel small, unable to curb the violence and hate. We pray. Strangers across the globe are being bombed out of existence, forced into a rubble grave. And we pray.

Prayer is often viewed as a last resort, a back up plan, what we turn to when all else fails.

In many cases prayer is the only option we have, but what if it’s more than that?

What if prayer was not only the only thing you could do, but also the BEST thing you could do?

That’s exactly what prayer is – the very best thing you could ever do. All that has to happen is a shift in focus, a healthy dose of humility, a realigning with His heart, a surrender to stillness, a commitment to stop doing and start listening.

If we find ourselves busy on our feet more than still on our knees, then fear and doubt have overtaken. If we try everything in our own power before tapping into His, then we have our priorities all wrong. If prayer is not our first response, then pride must be. If prayer has become a back up, then we have become our very own god, we have taken a place we can never fill.

So let’s step down from that place we were never meant to hold. Let’s kneel still and long. Let’s lift voices to Him in desperation, in helplessness, in humility, in praise. Let’s reach hands towards His throne of grace, the place that allows us to both give and receive that very same grace. Let’s pray and expect His presence, His undivided attention. Let’s pray for when we pray we enter that thin place where heaven meets earth and we truly see. Let’s open our hands, our hearts, to so much more of Him.

Because here’s the truth – prayer is not the only thing we can do. It is the BEST thing we can do. Prayer is not a last resort, but our weapon of choice. Prayer is not the back up plan, but our go to. Prayer is our defense against lies and our line of communication with our Father. Prayer is the oldest, most underrated trick in the book. Prayer is powerful, never changing. Constant as the sun rise. Prayer brings us back to humble communion, equips us to keep living and loving. Prayer prepares us to change the world in His name.

Let’s stop doing and humble ourselves to pray. Because when we pray, we not only do the only thing, we actually do the very BEST thing.

 

lessons about us from the view

I imagine God forever in His heavenly workroom with a table covered in clay, a potters wheel, tools, every color of paint and brushes strewn about in joyful disarray. He’s singing, dancing, having a party while creating every piece of earth. He’s carving mountains and painting sunsets. He’s flattening some parts and making other parts rise to heights that leave you breathless. He’s shaping lagoons and sand dunes. He’s coloring the sea every shade of blue. He’s a creative genius at work.

With that image in mind, here’s the thing I thought as I stood exhausted, makeup less with bed head and dirty clothes before a beautiful lagoon surrounded by volcanoes.

God does this just for fun. He does this just because He can. He creates because He’s good and beautiful. And I am part of that good and beautiful. He says I am His masterpiece. He whispers that not even this before me is created in His image like I am. 

Standing before some of the most beautiful views I have ever been privy to and that was what I thought. I have now hiked the Andes, swam in saltier than the Dead Sea lakes, been surrounded by volcanoes, watched too many yet never enough sunsets and seen water too blue for words. Yet every single view has left me speechless, in a flurry of thoughts.

You see, there I was awestruck at His creation, His creativity and glory and I realized something. I am seen as more beautiful than all of this. In that moment the Lord challenged meHow can I declare beauty in everything around me, yet be hesitant to declare the beauty in myself? How quick am I to marvel at the mountains, but how slow to marvel at my own skin? How easily do I gaze at oceans and foliage in wonder and then question my own design?

The thing is, what I marvel at is God’s leftover. He colors rainbows with His leftover paint and fills lagoons with salt water, because why not? But when He makes humans, when He makes you and & I, He plans every detail beforehand to reflect Himself. He takes the most delight in hand crafting each of us with unique characteristics that mimic His. He molds us on the wheel, carving every detail of our being. He laughs when he paints our freckles & birthmarks because they’re part of his creativity. He gets messy with every paint color when He comes up with never before seen eyes & hair. He takes joy in forming our arms & legs because He knows exactly who they’ll hold, serve & the lands they’ll travel. He paints the sky & carves the mountains with the leftovers from His real masterpieces, us. His real creativity & joy comes out in the dreaming up of every man.

So how can we hate on ourselves while admiring the majesty around us? How can we feel insecure when we are created in the image of a God who made THESE masterpieces?  These pieces of creation are stunning and they aren’t even made in God’s image. They’re just made for His glory & our enjoyment. We are the ones made in his image. We are the ones who display the breathtaking beauty and awe of God himself. We are the ones worth dying for. We are the ones molded around His character. We are not His leftover, but His dazzling design. We are not an afterthought, but His forever first thought. What joy & rest we can find in the TRUTH that we are His masterpieces more loved & treasured than the most breathtaking view in all the world. I dare you to believe it.

The Comparison Trap

Guest writer: Audrey Davis

Comparison is something knit into our sin nature, but through the power of the Spirit we can gain FREEDOM. My dear friend Audrey learned an awful lot about comparison in her summer of some serious boldness and she has thankfully agreed to share what the Lord has taught her. It’s such an honor and privilege to have heard these lessons on comparison (and many more) from Audrey and I’m grateful you get to learn from her too! 

Comparison. We’ve all experienced it. If you’re anything like me, you’re very familiar with it. It happens in the blink of an eye. It’s ever so subtle, so that at first we don’t even realize we’re doing it.  Then before we know it comparison has consumed our thoughts.

The Lord has surely done a number in my heart this summer. He has humbled me, revealed himself to me, brought me near to him, and shown me little glimpses of what He intended life to be like. But of all things he has taught me this summer, the one that stands out among the rest is a lesson in comparison.

Comparison is:

  1. A lie from the enemy.

Satan is a liar. When comparison fills your thoughts, it tends to cloud things, making it hard to see the truth. When you compare yourself to others, know that it is not from God. Jesus is a truth-teller. Jesus is life giving. Comparison is NOT life giving. I think Satan has us convinced that life is a zero-sum game. That if someone else experiences a win, then it must mean that I have experienced a loss. That if someone else is praised, then it must mean that I have failed. That if someone else receives a compliment, then it must mean that I am not good enough. My friends, this is a lie. There is no room for this in the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is a positive-sum game. When my brother or sister in Christ experiences a win, I also win.

  1. A thief of joy.

I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before, but it’s 100% true. Comparison can diminish joy in an instant. One moment you can be confident in who you are, and the next you can be listing off all the ways in which you don’t measure up. We’re left sitting in a puddle of insecurity and doubt. So we try to change ourselves to be more like celebrities, our classmates, or our friends. And what for? So that we can be less than God created us to be? He didn’t make a mistake when He made you. Don’t settle for being a second-rate version of someone else when you can be a first-rate version of yourself.

  1. A choice.

Satan is a tempter. He tempts you and I every day. He even tempted Jesus. Whenever Satan tempts you to compare yourself to others and see how you stack up, it takes a deliberate, conscious decision to say no to that. But the good news is that YOU get to choose which voice is going to be louder. You get to choose if you’re going to believe lies or truth. You get to silence those lies by calling on the name of Jesus (whether that looks like worship, prayer, opening your Bible, or simply loving on a person). The choice ultimately is yours. Don’t let Satan tell you differently.

  1. Centered around me, and not around Christ.

Comparison often stems from a place of low self-esteem.

It comes from the belief that “I am not good enough.”

This lie manifests itself in many different ways.

Maybe for you it sounds like this:

“I am not smart enough to be a doctor/teacher/minister.”

“I am not pretty/attractive enough.”

“I am not spiritual enough.”

“I am not thin enough.”

And do you know what those statements lead to? They lead to a nasty trail of jealousy and comparison. Those statements turn into this (fill in the blank):

“I am not as smart as _________________.”

“I am not as pretty/attractive as _________________.”

“I am not as spiritual as __________________.”

“I am not as thin as _______________.”

The problem with each of these statements? They all start with “I.” They automatically put the focus on myself and not on God. They find every little thing that is wrong with me and magnify it by ten. The equation is simple, really:

Low self-esteem = High self-focus

My mind was blown when a dear friend and mentor shared this statement with me. For the first time in my life, I realized that my low self-esteem was directly correlated to a level of self-centeredness. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Amidst my tears and struggles in that moment, she assured me that God, when he humbles us, does so ever so gently. He does not condemn us, but rather he in his great love invites us into his grace. She also assured me that one could be healed from this disease called pride. All you have to do is simply turn your gaze heavenward. Stop dwelling on all the ways in which you think that you are not enough, and look at all the ways in that He IS enough. Take a moment to stop focusing on self and instead focus on the One deserving of your attention. When you do this, you are free from worry and you are free to listen.  And if you listen, and I mean truly listen, I think we can hear God saying this back to us:

My Dearest _________________,

Why do you compare yourself to others? Why do you wear yourself out trying to see how you stack up to everyone else? Don’t you know that I made you to be YOU? Why are you letting jealousy take root?
Your value does not lie in your abilities. It doesn’t lie in what kind of grades you get. It doesn’t lie in how many likes you get on Instagram. It doesn’t lie in others opinion of you. It doesn’t lie in how many times you’ve failed. And it doesn’t lie in how many times you go to church.

Your value lies in the Jesus in you.

So do not worry so much. You are good enough. You are adequate enough. And when you fail, I am there. Where you lack, I will give you strength. I will get glory, even in your weaknesses. Trust me.

Know this:

You are fully loved.

You are mine.

You are valuable & incomparable to me.

I would do anything for you.

 Because that’s who I AM.  A good, good Father. The world doesn’t get that, and you are going to be constantly tempted to compare yourself, my child. But remember, your value doesn’t lie in your abilities. It doesn’t lie in your beauty (which is immeasurable, by the way). It doesn’t lie in who the world tells you you are.

Your value lies in who I say you are.

And I say this:

You are fully loved.

You are mine.  

You are valuable & incomparable to me.

I would do anything for you.

Love,

Your Heavenly Father

_________________________________________________________________

One of my close friends pointed out to me that I’m really good at preaching this message to others, but I’m not so good at believing this about myself. It’s easy for me to see others for who they are in Christ, and not what they believe about themselves or who the world tells them they are. I decided it was time to start practicing what I preach. And do you know what I found?

Freedom.

Freedom from my fears of not being enough. Free from my fears of being disliked. Free from all the lies that the enemy tries to convince me of. Free from the lie that if people knew me fully, then they couldn’t possibly love me. Free from the self-condemnation that comes along with comparison. Free from being so focused on myself. Once I was free from these things, I became free to believe other things.  Free to like myself for the way God created me. Free to trust that he made me on purpose and for purpose. Free to rest in his unending truths. Free to focus less on myself and more on Him. Free to be both fully known and fully loved. Free to see myself the way that he sees me.

My prayer for you today is that you would have the strength and courage to say YES to freedom and begin to see yourself the way God sees you.

A letter to my brothers…

To my brothers by blood and my brothers in Christ,

You might be wondering right about now, why on earth I’m writing to guys when my blog name is clearly brave GIRL living. But girls aren’t the only ones who need encouragement and truth. Nor are guys the only ones that need to read this article. The reality is we, girls and guys alike, live in the same world and have the same sin and the same Savior. Sin manifests itself differently in everyone, but there are fundamentals that we all need to hear. With that being said, I want to tell you a few things I believe are very important and I hope you listen.

You were made for more.

One little boy I know grows up as we speak wanting nothing more than to be a dad someday, because his five-year-old self sees that as the most honorable of tasks. And you too once had big dreams honor and glory. You grew up believing you would one day fight dragons and save lives. You watched battle scenes on TV and tried to recreate them, to be as fast and courageous as the cowboy and the pirate. You read stories of men who did brave things and saved countries. You heard about people who made discoveries that changed the course of history and you wanted to be like them. You read about great adventures and you dreamed up some of your own. You grew up wanting to be a policeman or firefighter or soldier or cowboy or even president. And you really believed you would be any or all of those things someday, because you believed the truth that you were made for more.

So what happened?

You were made for more than peer pressure and fickle friendships. You were made for more than nights in a bar and mornings with a hangover. You were made for more than cussing and crude jokes. More than your “coolness” factor and your friend group. You were made for more than sex and physical pleasure. More than parties and make out sessions and hookups. You were made for more than lusting for what you cannot or should not have. You were made for more than power and control. More than money and a title to fame. More than the sports you play or the weight you can lift.

You were made for more, because you are more. You are made in the image of the epitome of More. You are not just capable of more, but you were created, hand crafted and set aside for more. But not more money, pleasure and power. No, instead for more Jesus, more of the Holy Spirit, more of your Creator.

You were really made for more courage and kindness. More generosity and gentleness. More patience and perseverance. More respect and faithfulness. More determination to do hard things. You were made for more, but a different kind of more than the world advertises.

We live in a world, where casual sex looks like fun and lust looks like love, but you were made for real love. The all in, no matter the consequences, faithful through thick and thin, Jesus kind of love. The kind of love that fights for what is true, good and beautiful. The real kind of love that is forever and therefore is messy and hard. You were made for more than the typical definition of love, which says love is conditional and based on feeling.You were made for more than that kind of love. You were made for His love.

And yes, I know, His love is not the “cool” kind. It probably won’t win you any points by the world, but it’ll win you the most lasting reward you could dream of.

We live in a world where you are under constant pressure. Girls aren’t the only ones who are trying to be good enough. You feel it too. You feel the pressure to perform, the need to be good-looking and strong and popular and smart and successful and wealthy and accepted. So you drink and you cuss and you party and sleep around and in your vulnerability you take advantage of ours. You seek answers in all the wrong places and all the wrong people. You strive to be enough any way you can, because the world tells you, just like it tells us, that you are not enough as you are. And you eventually get stuck in a rut and feel hopeless and start believing that this is all you were made for.

But the world is the worst kind of wrong about you. 

You were made for more than all of that. When you were little thinking you would fight battles someday, you were right. You are fighting a battle right now. A battle for Christ and the Kingdom to take back what the enemy has stolen. A battle to reclaim your inheritance as a child of God. A battle to reclaim who you are and what you were made for. You’re fighting the real battle. The battle we all fight, men and women, young and old. The battle between the bad guys and the God guys. You were made to fight you just have to decide which team you’re fighting for.

I pray, dear God I pray, you choose the God guy. 

And once you choose the God guy, I pray you choose Him everyday for the rest of your life, because He’s chosen you everyday from the beginning of time. He chose you on the cross and at the resurrection. He declares you a chosen man set aside as His own possession, so that you may proclaim the glory of Him who called you out of darkness, out of the world, into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9). The God guy chose you, adopted you as His very own son, and desires you to be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4-5). He has created you like Himself and wants you to walk out of that identity.

Your identity is more.

Your identity is more humility and less pride. More grace and less judgement. More grit and less timidity. More hard Jesus things and less comfort. More friendship and less rivalry. More sacrifice and less self. More Jesus and less world. Your identity is in Jesus. Let that be enough.

Brothers, you were made for more than the world lets on. So get up and fight for the God guy.

Sincerely, your sister in Christ

 

 

 

 

searching for a savior

Some days the world just really hits us in the gut. Every picture, every news title, every thing media related. It all screams of anger, greed, judgement and injustice. It’s all coated in depravity and sin. And it’s everywhere. You cannot escape it. You cannot hide from it. It’s everywhere. We live in a fallen world. We live in a world that is depraved, because it’s desperate. It’s desperate for a savior.

The world and everyone in it is on a perpetual search for something to save them. I see it everyday. I see it in myself, my friends and family and every human on this planet. We search and search for something to fulfill us. We turn to fame and power to make us feel loved, alive, in control. We turn to money as the answer to all of our problems. We look to drugs as the magic pill and alcohol as the only means to having fun. We sleep around in search of someone who will fulfill us intimately, someone who will save us. We look to food and exercise to numb, to cope, to fit in. We search for a savior in friends and partying, in more clothes, newer technology, a bigger house, nicer stuff, a better job, thinner legs, more likes. And when this search inevitably leads us nowhere we, the world, get more desperate.

The world is both desperate enough and lost enough in it’s search for a savior that it has turned to heartbreaking crimes against each other, against all things good and beautiful, against God Himself. The world is desperate enough to sell young girls for sex. Desperate enough to sell tiny babies as nothing more than “parts.” It’s desperate enough to kill people simply because they’re a different color. Desperate enough to bomb buildings and murder thousands. It’s desperate enough to defile sex into a perverted, demeaning, relationship-killing industry. Desperate enough in it’s search for a savior to worship all that is evil and the evil one himself. The world is desperate indeed. Desperate enough to participate in these kinds of things, yet not quite desperate enough, and far too stubborn, to turn to the Savior that already came.

It’s easy to be depressed by the state of the world, the state of man, the state of ourselves, but as Christians we cannot afford to live paralyzed by sin. We cannot afford to cease hoping, cease living like Jesus. We cannot afford to stop praying for His Kingdom to come. We cannot afford to forget that He has already won, He has already crushed the head of the serpent with His heel. He has already overcome the world and all of the desperate actions it has taken and will take.

So we don’t lose hope. Instead we choose to pray that man would continue to search. That he would search to the ends of the earth if he has to until he discovers that the Savior has been here all along. We pray that he would search the world until he realizes that there is nothing of this world that can save him, for Christ is not of this world. We do not pray that the world’s desperation would cease, but instead that it would become more desperate. We need to pray that the world would become desperate enough to stop the violence and choose to love. Desperate enough to quit pornography and pre-marital sex and commit to God honoring marriage. Desperate enough to choose love over hate and mercy over judgement. Desperate enough to make the hard choices that go against the grain. Desperate enough to turn from evil and cling to the One who is good.

I pray that our desperation would lead us to Christ, instead of away. I pray that our search for a savior would reveal the truth that only Jesus Christ, the Savior of all the world, can save us. He is the Savior that the world is searching for.


I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.  John 16:33

Craving Connection

Hey you. We might know each other. We might not. But, regardless, there are 5 things that I know for sure about you. You want to be seen. You want to be heard. You want to be known & understood. You want to be loved.

And you and I are very similar, we want the same things. We both want to be seen, heard, known, understood and loved. Everyone wants the same thing. Everyone is searching, seeking out and craving the same thing. We are all craving connection.

This craving unites us. You can look at anyone and know that at your cores you both desire the same things. You know why? Because you were made to crave these things. You were made to crave connection. But you were made to crave The Connection. It’s only under this ultimate connection that our craving is satisfied.

You want to be seen. You want people to notice when you walk in the room. You want people to smile at you when they pass by. You want people to give hugs and high fives. You want people to notice when you fix your hair or get new glasses. You just want to be seen. We all just want to be seen.

You want to be heard. You want friends to listen to your rambling stories and stupid jokes. You want family to listen while you relay the events of your day in great detail. You want your opinions and ideas to be heard and considered by those around you. You want to have a say in things concerning you. You really want to be heard. We all really want to be heard.

You want to be known & understood. You want to be known by those around you. You want close relationships that mean you can talk without words and laugh without retelling the inside joke. You want loved ones to know you so well that they can tell how you’re doing before you speak. You want your story to be known, so that you can be understood better. You want people to “get” you. That’s what we all want, to be known & understood.

You want to be loved. You do. You want to be loved for your flaws, your mistakes, your insecurities and weird quirks. You want to be loved even though you’re no good at sports and you laugh too loud (maybe even snort!) at the worst possible times. You want to be loved because you’re a good listener and a great story-teller. You want to be loved for your adventurous side and your book reading side. You want to be loved for everything you are and everything you are not. We all want to be loved for these reasons plus a million more.

Don’t think these desires make you weak or needy. You were designed this way. You were designed to want and need other people. “It is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). But we weren’t just made to be physically present with other people, we were made to connect deeply and honestly with other people. We were made to laugh and cry with others. “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together” (1 Corinthians 12:26). “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). We were made to share our lives with others, to encourage & speak Truth to those around us. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). We are supposed to live in connected community as the body of Christ. That’s what we were made for. That’s why we crave it.

If we were made for deep connection with others, then why do relationships with man, even the very best ones, not satisfy us?

Because while we were made for connection with man, we were first made for intimate connection with God (hello, Garden of Eden!). He is who our hearts ultimately crave. Connection to other people is good, beautiful, even necessary, but connection to God is irreplaceable.

“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1)

“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, my God” (Psalm 42:1)

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” (Psalm 107:9)

Only Jesus parches our thirst and satisfies our craving for connection, because He is the Living Water and the deep relationship that we were made for. In John chapter 4 Jesus responds to the Samaritan woman at the well and says, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again (will not be satisfied); but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst (because the Living Water satisfies our craving); but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:13-14). Jesus is what who we crave. He is the connection we desire. He is the one who will always listen, always see us. He is the only one who will ever fully know and understand us. He is the one who loves us unconditionally. And it is out of this deeply connected, satisfying relationship with Him, that all else should flow.

So you over there on the other side of the screen. Three things to take away from this:

  1. You were made to crave connection. You are not weak or needy or less than. You are human, made in the image of God who is the epitome of connection.
  2. Other people will never satisfy your craving for connection. You will never be heard enough, seen enough, loved enough, or understood enough by people. Similarly, you will never listen enough, love enough, understand enough or know enough. 
  3. God will always satisfy your craving for connection. Always. I promise.

You are seen, known, heard, and desperately loved forever and always by the One who really matters. Rest in that.

 

The Cross & The Tomb

If I’m being honest this semester has been hard. So good, but hard. It’s led me to be amazed by Jesus, but also appalled by own sin. But God remains faithful. He sent just what I needed through a simple text that held two questions that have wrecked my narrow, self-centered mind and brought me back to my knees.

What has the Cross set you free from? And what has the empty tomb set you free to do?

That’s it. Two short, self-explanatory questions. But they hold so much meaning. So much freedom when taken to heart.

These questions were asked for the specific purpose of video to be shown at a Good Friday service on campus, but they have meant so much more to me. I’ve thought about them all week long and I hope I never stop asking myself these questions, because they point straight to the Gospel and to the heart of Jesus.

The answer to these questions is the point of Jesus death and resurrection. He didn’t die to make a big scene or rise again to freak people out. He didn’t go through Hell (literally) and experience the crushing weight of every single human beings sin just so we would throw parties every spring. No, he died and rose again to set you and me free. That’s all. That was His purpose. That was the will of the Father, to set his children free of sin by the death and resurrection of his most beloved Son.

God looked at you in your brokenness and said, “You are worth my most beloved Son.” Jesus accepted the will of His Father because He thinks, “You are worth Him dying the most shameful, excruciating death imaginable.” Your freedom is worth that much. Do you understand? You are worth that much! If you had been the only person on earth, Christ still would have died for you, because you’re worth it. I’m worth it. We are worth it.

And now by the power of His blood we walk in freedom. But let us not be a people that take the Cross and the freedom it gave us for granted. Let us not be complacent with our freedom. Let us not remain in our jail cell, in our sin and shame, when Jesus has unlocked the door and invited us to walk out of the darkness into the Light with Him.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Here are my declarations of Freedom and I encourage you to write your own!

The Cross has set me free from fear. From the fear of failure and the fear of not being enough for anyone or anything. The empty tomb has set me free to share peace with others and let them know just how ENOUGH they are because of Whose they are.

The Cross has set me free from the shame of my sin, my past. And the tomb has set me free to walk confidently in the forgiveness and redemption that is graciously given to me everyday.

The Cross has set me free from the bondage of expectations. I no longer have to strive to live up to my own and others expectations in order to be loved. And the tomb has set me free to give myself and others grace when we fail.

The Cross has set me free from the need to be perfect. Because the Son of Man chose to become flesh and blood in order to die for my imperfections, I can live an imperfect life while being loved by a perfect God. And the tomb has set me free to do just that.

The Cross has set me free from the bondage to lies about who I am and whose I am. The tomb has set me free to walk in complete freedom trusting that I was made for such a time as this, by a God whose plans know no bounds.

The Cross has set me free from a life of timidity and fear of man. And the tomb has set me free to live a BOLD and BRAVE life for Him, sharing the Gospel without fear of man.

Verses to read: Romans 8:16, Isaiah 61:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, John 16:33

Let’s Lead A Rebellion

Ladies, enough is enough. It’s time to call it quits. It’s time to put your foot down. It’s time to say, “NO.” It’s time for a rebellion.

Rebellion: refusal to obey or accept normal standards; resisting convention

Now, if you know me, you know that I am one of the least rebellious beings on this earth. I am a people-pleaser. I will do everything in my power to not rock the boat or cause confrontation. I was the person that would cry if I thought someone was disappointed in me, the kid that was afraid to order food or go shopping in case what I picked wasn’t “right.” I was the person that would lay down and invite you to walk all over me for fear of causing a problem.

I am not rebellious. I am not someone to call for a rebellion, which is the very reason that a rebellion is desperately needed.

I know that I am not the only girl that has felt like she’s too much and not enough. I know I’m not the only one who has felt unworthy. Unworthy life, of being seen, known & loved. I know that my sins are not unique to me. I know that the lies I believe(d) do not stop with me. I know that feeling ugly or (dare I say) fat is not something that only I have faced. I know that I’m not the only one who said nothing when they wanted to scream or followed along when they wanted to lead. I know I’m not alone in this. You’ve probably experienced the same.

Friends, let’s lead a rebellion. Let’s start a revolution.

Revolution: a sudden, complete and radical change

It’s been a long time coming. But the time is now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month or year. NOW.

Let’s lead a rebellion against lies. Against shame. Against fear, anxiety and depression. Against evil. Ultimately, against Satan himself.

Let’s be defiant. Let’s resist and rebel against the standard of perfection that sucks the life out of us. Let’s revolt against the idea that we have to show everything to be worth anything. Let’s stop the comparing game and start saying, “good for her, not for me.” Let’s be people that stand strong underneath the pressure to gossip, be exclusive, and form cliques. Let’s fight the arrows (lies) that fly with our shield of faith and breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:10-18). Let’s declare over our lives, and the lives of those around us, “I am enough.” Let’s declare worthiness over every soul and every story.

Because you see, the battle is not with each other. We are allies, not enemies. The battle is against Satan, the thief who came to steal, kill and destroy all joy, hope and godly relationships (John 10:10). So, let’s join together and fight for Truth.

Let’s be the people who stop the cycle, put an end to it all. Let’s not settle for bondage, but fight for freedom (Galatians 5:1). Let’s be a generation of women too overtaken by our Jesus to care about anything else. Let’s rise up and be bold enough to ask hard questions and have real conversations. Let’s look at each other and the world in light of God’s grace and glory.

It’s time for a rebellion and it starts with you and me.

*This posts theme courtesy of the ever lovely and insightful, Caroline Morris. Thank you for spurring this rebellion on*