More to come…

23 Jun

ImageWhen you come back from a trip, especially a mission trip that people gave money to help send you on; everyone wants to hear all about it.  I never realized before how hard it can be to put into words a thought, feeling, or experience.  In some ways it can almost seem to lessen the experience when you try to explain it.  I have sat in front of my computer for probably the last 3 hours trying to write about the things that happened in this last week.  Writing is how I usually process things, but for now I think I just need to be still and not dive right into trying to figure it all out.  After 2 years, I made it back to El Salvador finally, only by the grace of God honestly, and it went so different than I ever could have imagined.  It was nothing short of amazing!  The things God did in me and through me, I never saw coming.  I thought I knew how this trip would go, and honestly I didn’t think I would be going back to El Salvador again.  However, God is showing me over and over at this time in my life the truth found in these verses… “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.  “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.   For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9  And for now that is enough.  ¡Dios te bendiga!

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He likes to be asked…

9 May

Lately, I have been struggling with trying to figure out plans for the future.  I just graduated college, and as of now have no idea where I will be working or living come August.  I keep repeating over and over to myself Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  This has always been my favorite Bible verse and one I hold onto dearly when the future seems uncertain.  Although I am stressed about what comes next, I keep saying all of the cliché lines, such as “God is in control.” and “Whatever is His will is what I want to follow.”  Now, I say these are cliché because they are often thrown out without any thought, but it does not mean that I think they are any less true.  I’ve been battling back and forth between trying to make plans myself and trying to give my plans up to God.

I just recently started reading The Chronicles of Narnia book series by C.S. Lewis, and this morning finished up the first book, The Magician’s Nephew.  Towards the end of the book, I read something that completely stopped me in my tracks.  Digory, a boy from London, has found himself in a new magical world that has just been created.  This world, Narnia, has been created by a Lion creature named Aslan, who is representative of God.  Aslan has sent Digory on a mission to retrieve something important with the help of a talking flying horse named Fledge.  Digory and Fledge are stopped for the night on their mission, and Digory is trying to figure out what to eat, when they have this conversation.  “Well, I do think someone might have arranged about our meals”, said Digory.  “I’m sure Aslan would have, if you’d asked him”, said Fledge.  “Wouldn’t he know without being asked?” said Polly.  “I’ve no doubt he would,” said the Horse (still with his mouth full). “But I’ve a sort of idea he likes to be asked.”  After reading these few lines, I immediately stopped and thought about how this relates to my own relationship with God.  So many times I assume that God is in control and will work everything out without actually putting in the effort to go to him in prayer about it, or simply to ask him to take care of it.  Even though God is in control and can work it all out, wouldn’t He like to be asked for help, rather than it just being assumed that he will take care of it?

I went back and looked at the Jeremiah 29:11 verse I love so much and read a little further.  Jeremiah 29:12-13 says, “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  I’ve just been assuming that God’s plans he has for me, to prosper me and not to harm me, and to give me hope and a future, will just magically work out on their own.  Instead, I need to call on God and pray to Him about my future, and He promises to listen to me.  I need to seek him with ALL my heart, and THEN I will find him, not while I sit around doing nothing to seek him or ask for His help.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”  These three little words seem so simple, that I think we often don’t do it, and just assume God knows what we are thinking and feeling.  Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”  The three main words in this verse (Ask, Seek, Knock), are all verbs, meaning action that needs to be taken on my part.  God wants to be sought after and appreciated.  He wants us to come to him with our needs and desires instead of just lazily sitting around and hoping He does all the work. 

This all seems so simple in theory, but I have been missing it completely.  After thinking through all of this, my mindset on what I am going through with plans for the future has completely changed.  I have been trying to plan things out that are out of my control to plan.  No matter how much I try to plan, I cannot control where I will get a job or where I will end up living.  I have been frustrated just sitting around doing nothing while I wait to see how it all turns out.  Now I realize that sitting around doing nothing is not what I should be doing either.  I have work to do that I have been miserably failing to do.  I need to be going to God, asking Him to work out all the details, and seeking Him with all I have and all that I am.  I am not called to sit around and just wait, but to pray without ceasing to God…to be asking, and seeking, and knocking. 

Yes, God knows without being asked, but I’ve a sort of idea that He likes to be asked.

Raised to Walk in Newness of Life

13 Oct

I was baptized this past Sunday afternoon, and it may sound crazy (it sounds crazy to me as I hear myself say it), but this was actually the 4th time I have been baptized.  As a young child, I said the “Sinner’s Prayer”, asking God to come into my heart and save me, and was baptized afterword.  I said this prayer as a ticket out of Hell, because all my friends were, and because I was constantly told that this is what you are “supposed” to do, but not because I believed in God or wanted a relationship with Him.  I always heard that once you become a Christian your life changes and you no longer live the same way you did before getting saved.  So when nothing changed in my life and I didn’t feel any differently, I began to doubt my salvation.  I got “re-saved” several times throughout my childhood and early adolescence, just to make sure I wouldn’t go to Hell when I died.  I was re-baptized each time without question.

God continued to mean nothing to me, and I figured if there was a God I didn’t want anything to do with Him because of the things He had let happen in my life.  I spent many, many years searching for happiness in the temptations of the world.  (For more details on this time in my life, check out my blog posting “A Past With A Purpose”)

When I went off to college, my entire perspective changed as God put people in my life that were really living out a relationship with Him.  I saw what these people had with God, and I was jealous, wishing I could have this myself.  I went through a long, hard, slow, emotional process to get to a point to accept God into my life and allow Him to change me.  I learned the hard way that behavior change doesn’t automatically happen once you accept Christ, but that it’s a never-ending process of becoming more like Him.

I didn’t consider getting re-baptized for quite a long time. Baptism wasn’t something I considered very important, and in my mind I had lumped it in with religious rituals that don’t mean anything, so I felt no need to do it again.  I began thinking seriously about baptism a couple months ago, as I was going through a personal situation that re-surfaced shame and regret over things I had done before entering into a relationship with Christ.  I realized that I had been given God’s grace, but wasn’t living as if I believed in his forgiveness of sins.  I was holding on to the past, and believed God was as well.  Romans 6:3-7 (NIV) really struck a chord with me: “Don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.  If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been freed from sin.”  These verses really hit me hard, and made me realize that I wasn’t fully identifying with the whole picture of Christ, especially His resurrection from death, or, in our case, sin.

First and foremost, I decided to get baptized out of obedience to Christ.  Jesus was baptized himself, and, in turn, commands us to do the same.  But secondly, baptism for me was personally accepting that my old life and past sins have been put to death, and moving forward in my new life with Christ.

The actual baptism was an amazing experience for me.  I was baptized in a pond, on a gorgeous day, surrounded by beautiful fall-colored trees, and white billowy clouds in the sky above me.  The person that baptized me is someone that has greatly influenced me spiritually.  Many people were there that have been key in leading me to Christ and helping me grow in Him.  Others came that don’t even believe in God, but just wanted to be there to support me.  This has opened the door for me to share with them what God has done in my life and what He means to me.

Several days later, I was asked to share what baptism has meant to me with the Christian Campus House community that I am a part of.  As I am scared to get up and talk in front of people, this idea petrified me.  I spent hours trying to come up with the right words to say, and at the last moment I almost backed out due to fear.  However, I felt God telling me that what He has done in my life, the story He has given me, needs to be shared with others to glorify His name.  I would not be where I am now without God, and my hope is that, as I pull strength from Christ to share my story, others would come to God through this and grow closer to Him.  Baptism is a new beginning for me, as I continue on the journey of building God’s kingdom here on Earth.

Head in the Clouds

13 Aug

I drove from home to school today, a 45 minute drive that I have made probably a hundred times or more over the last 2 years. But, something was different about today’s drive. I happened to look up in the sky and notice how beautiful the clouds looked. I was so entranced that I spent the better part of this drive just staring up at the clouds. (Disclaimer: I can’t advocate for the safeness of driving 45 minutes while staring up at the sky, but praise the Lord, He got me there safely.) As I looked at the clouds, I noticed how unique and perfect they all were. Like snowflakes, I didn’t see any two that looked exactly alike. The clouds came in all shapes and sizes, and were made up of colors ranging from white to blue to gray. They had this puffy and billowing look to them that reminded me of cotton. There were rays of sunlight shining through some of them that made me think of what Heaven might be like. The first thought that came to my mind was “How can you look at the clouds, and not believe in God?” It was like God’s perfect creation in pure form to me.

Deeper thoughts came to my mind as I continued thinking about how perfect each cloud was. I started thinking about how God took just as much care to create each of us humans (if not more) than what He took with creating the clouds in the sky. How much must it break God’s heart that we spend so much time criticizing one of God’s most precious creations….ourselves? I know personally when I look into the mirror, admiring myself and how God made me is not often, or perhaps ever, what takes place. Instead, I find myself picking apart everything that I think is wrong with me or that I don’t like. Why can’t I accept that like God made each cloud to look different, yet equally beautiful, He had the same intention with us? I felt guilty realizing that I never take the time to recognize and thank God for how he has made me. Instead of being discouraged when I can’t get my hair to look exactly like I want it, have I ever stopped in awe at the fact that God created each and every hair that comes out of my head? Or when I start to feel bad about my weight when I look at someone else that I think is more beautiful than me, have I ever thought about how amazing it is that God created humans to look so unique and different from each other? I spend so much more time criticizing God’s creation than praising and admiring it. In Genesis 1:31, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good”, so why do I question whether I, as one of his creations, is good or not?

My eyes wandered downward from the clouds as I continued my drive, and I began to notice all the things around me that are interrupting and taking away from the beauty of God’s creation. Power lines cut through the sky the entire way down the highway; the road cut through what must have been at one time more beautiful trees, green grass, hills, and valleys; billboards were scattered all along the way advertising the multitude of things that we humans think of as so important; and then on this particular drive there was not only one, but two, strip clubs. It seems like humans have done nothing but destroy God’s creation with things that they think they need or that they think will make them happy.

Since I had previously compared the clouds with humans, I did the same thing when thinking about the destruction of God’s creation. I began to think about how from the time of Adam and Eve with the fall of man, we as humans have done nothing but destroy and tear apart what God originally intended us to be. We continue to sin and turn away from God and what he wanted for us in this life. The things of this world are continuously put above God in our lives. Even our bodies that are meant to be the temples of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) have been physically destroyed with everything from food to drugs to tanning, among many other things. What must God think as He looks at each of His children, and knows what great things He intended for them, and sees how much they have destroyed it? I want to stop criticizing the person that God has created me to be, but at the same time recognize the things within myself that are not as God intended and rid myself of them as I strive to grow closer to God and more like Him each day.

I realized that I rarely take the time to admire everything around us that God has created and to praise Him for it. How can I talk about how great God is and not even consider the majesty of His creation? So often in my own life it takes something going wrong for me to realize what I have. It has recently been that way with my hearing. I have been having hearing problems for about the last year or so, and for the first time I am realizing what a blessing God has given us with the ability to hear. I don’t want to have to lose everything that God has created and given us for me to appreciate it. I want to take the time away from my busy life (that is only busy because of the worldly things I have made important), to sit and admire and be thankful to God for all He has given me. I think if I actually took the time to do this that I would have a hard time getting off my face from praising and worshipping God, because I would be in such awe of Him.

Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to go now…

2 Jun

I spent my whole childhood growing up in church and hearing everything there was to hear about Hell and everything that would send me there.  Hell was used as a scare tactic to get you to say a prayer and be “saved”.  I got saved over and over because of my fear of going to Hell.  Basically, I didn’t really care much about going to Heaven when I died, but I sure didn’t want to go to Hell.  I didn’t really care about Jesus or having a relationship with Him, but wanted to do what I had to to stay out of Hell.  I assume I’m not alone here, because there seem to be many “Christians” using Jesus as their ticket out of Hell and thinking that’s all He’s good for.

The picture that was painted for me of Heaven consisted of streets of gold, pearly gates, your own personal mansion, fruit trees galore, crowns awarded for the good works you did on earth, and eternity spent singing to God.  Now, maybe it’s just me, but this picture of Heaven never seemed all that appealing to me.  I mean it sounded nice and everything, but I don’t really care a lot about riches, and I’m not much of a singer.  I was also told you wouldn’t recognize anyone you knew on Earth when you get to Heaven.  This devastated me since I am a person that puts so much into my relationships with people.  I can’t imagine sitting right next to someone in Heaven that I cared about so much on Earth, like my sister or significant other, and having no idea who they are.  I was taught to believe that Heaven was the greatest thing EVER, but really never understood what was so great about it.

Fast forward to now.  Now, I have a personal relationship with God, and have been saved by His grace.  My life is completely different, and God has brought me through so many things to get me to the place I am now.  I no longer view Him as just a ticket out of Hell.  But, despite all this, I still have struggled with understanding the excitement and significance of Heaven.

I’ve heard a lot of talk lately about the “end times”.  To be quite honest, this is a topic I usually try to avoid.  The thought of my time on Earth ending prematurely scares me.  Part of it is the fear of the unknown.  Another part of it is not really understanding what Heaven is or what’s so great about it.  And then there’s me not wanting my time on Earth to end early.  There are so many life experiences I look forward to having and place great importance on.  Many of these are the “normal” events of one’s life…graduating college, getting married, having kids, etc…  I can’t imagine leaving Earth without ever getting the chance to experience these things.  I’m starting to realize, however, that maybe I’ve been looking at these life experiences in the wrong light.  When it’s all said and done, it probably won’t matter what “worldly” things I was able to experience, but what will matter is how I spent my life growing closer to the Lord and living for him.  I’m learning that I need to re-evaluate what my time on Earth is about, instead of continuing to sit back and live selfishly.

I had a conversation with someone recently, about all the confusion I was having in regards to Heaven.  What he said was so simple and made complete sense, but really just rocked my world.  He explained Heaven to me not in regards to riches and wealth, but instead in a relational sense.  All of my time on Earth is spent trying to become closer and closer to God, but once you are in Heaven you will finally have a perfect and complete relationship with God.  All of God’s followers will finally be in perfect community with each other and one with God.  This thought completely changed my idea of Heaven.  Being a person that puts more worth in relationships than riches, this definitely makes me more excited about Heaven.

As often happens, once I start wrestling in my head about something with God, I end up receiving input from all directions.  A few days after having the above conversation, I read the following excerpt out of the book The Journey of Desire by John Eldredge: “Eternal life – we tend to think of it in terms of existence that never comes to an end.  And the existence it seems to imply – a sort of religious experience in the sky – leaves us wondering if we would want it to go on forever.  But Jesus is quite clear that when he speaks of eternal life, what he means is life that is absolutely wonderful and can never be diminished or stolen from you.  He says ‘I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full’ (John 10:10 NIV) … Eternal life is not primarily duration but quality of life, ‘life to the limit’.  It cannot be stolen from us, and so it does go on.  But the focus is on the life itself.”

I finally feel like I have a better idea of what Heaven is about, and why I should be so excited (Disclaimer: I do realize that any image I have of Heaven probably isn’t completely accurate and doesn’t come close to doing it justice).  As I strive to become closer to God here on Earth, I can rejoice in knowing one day that relationship will be perfect and complete.  And there’s no need for me to fear my time on Earth being “cut short” because every experience here should be focused around God anyways and I know whenever I leave here there is something better waiting!

A Past With A Purpose

23 Apr
Recently, I was asked to write out my “testimony” of faith.  The very idea of this scared me because I knew there were so many things I was going to have to face in the process of putting in to words where I have been and where God has brought me.  My life has been a crazy journey that has gotten me to the place I am now, and if it weren’t for God’s grace I don’t know where I would be.  For a long time now, I have wanted to forget the past, and just move on with life in my relationship with God.  But, I’m starting to think God has different plans…plans to use my past for his purpose.  As it says in The Purpose Driven Life, “The very experiences that you have resented or regretted most in life – the ones you’ve wanted to hide and forget – are the experiences God wants to use to help others.”  I have decided that I don’t want to let everything I went through go to waste if there’s any chance of me helping others realize the love God has for them.
I want to use this blog as a way to put in to words what God has done and continues to do in my life.  Right now I am getting put into situations that will have me sharing my faith out loud with others, which is something I have not been comfortable with up to this point.  But, I feel like the more I am willing to put myself out there with others, the more God will be able to use me.  I want others to know you can come to God as you are…that you don’t have to have it all together first.  Lord knows I didn’t and still don’t! So I have included my “testimony” below for you to read, and I’m sure there will be many more detailed stories to come of where I have been and how God is currently using me, as well as probably a lot of rambling thoughts that I’m trying to work through in my head.

So here goes:

I grew up in a “Christian” home and attended an “Independent, Fundamentalist, Bible-believing” church that also served as my school.  I had Bible class every day and Chapel once a week, attended church on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, and passed out tracts in the neighborhood 1-2 evenings a week.  My entire life was focused on “God” and yet I didn’t have a relationship with Him whatsoever.  My church preached “fire and brimstone” at every service.  I was made to feel guilty over wearing pants because I was a girl, listening to music that wasn’t “Christian”, watching movies, not praying and reading my Bible every day, and not getting enough of my friends “saved”, among other things.  I was first “saved” when I was about 4 years old, after reading a book about angels and Heaven and being told that I couldn’t get there unless I asked God into my heart.  Well, Heaven sure seemed a lot better than Hell, and those angels seemed pretty cool, so saying a little prayer and getting baptized didn’t seem like a bad trade.  I was told that if I was really saved my heart wouldn’t be full of sin anymore.  Every time I sinned, I felt like I must not really have God’s salvation so I spent countless nights re-saying the prayer to ask God to come into my heart.  I got “saved” probably 4 or 5 times in front of my church, at summer tent revivals where 100 year old men could make anyone feel like they were going to Hell.  My pastor re-baptized me every single time without questioning what was going on with me.  I was taught that Baptists were the only people going to Heaven, and was brainwashed with a judgmental, hate-filled view of those that believed differently than us.  “Those” people were projects to be saved, just by getting them to say the “Sinner’s Prayer”.  I was told kids in public school were “devil-worshippers” and Catholics were the worst of the worst (this upset me since my grandma that I love greatly is Catholic).   

God wasn’t someone I viewed as loving me…maybe others, but not me.  How could he when I was doing all those things wrong that they talked about all the time in church?  My home life also didn’t give me a good view of love.  My parent’s marriage was in shambles and had been since the day I was born.  My dad was rarely ever home.  It wasn’t unusual for me to go days without seeing him, and when he was home my parents only fought.  I was 11 and had a 2 year old sister when my parents divorced.  My mom fell apart emotionally, and my dad didn’t know much about taking care of a little kid, so I played “mommy” at both houses.  My family was looked down upon at church because of the divorce, and I wasn’t very well accepted anymore with missing church every other weekend because of staying with my dad.  My mom blamed me for the divorce, and screaming and yelling became the usual form of communication in my house.    

Because of money issues, I had to start going to public school in the 8th grade.  I was scared to death to have to go to school with those “devil-worshippers”.  It took me quite awhile to adapt to my new environment, but eventually I began to make a few friends and they didn’t seem anywhere near as bad as I had been told they all were.  I began to think that if my church was wrong about this, maybe they were wrong about other things as well, including what was right and wrong.  I stopped going to church, and decided if there was a God out there He didn’t care about me and I didn’t care about Him.  By the time I was 17 years old, I was staying away from home as much as possible, sleeping on whoever’s couch was available each night.  My life became a downward slope of looking for acceptance and love wherever I could find it, and not caring what morals I threw out the window in the process.  Whenever I got hurt or taken advantage of, I chalked it up to being exactly what I deserved. 

By the time I had my first real boyfriend, I believed I was worthless and didn’t deserve love or to be treated well, so I accepted any tidbit of caring I could get.  He did, however, have a very close family that seemed perfect to me, and accepted me into their home with open arms.  They were Catholic, and went to mass every Sunday.  I started attending with them, more for the feeling of being part of a family than anything else.  I memorized all the prayers and rituals, said what I was supposed to say when I was supposed to say it, kneeled when I was supposed to kneel, and then went on with life as usual until the next Sunday.  The Catholic religion gave me a checklist of things to do to be “good” with God, and didn’t cramp my style too much, and I got to feel like I had a “real” family at the same time.  I thought I was doing A-ok.   

Three years later, I found myself left with nothing.  In the midst of my final breakup with my boyfriend, I lost not only him, but all my friends, and the people I now considered my family.  At the same time, my dad took my sister to live out of the country for 6 months.  I was so completely broken, and didn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.  I felt completely alone, and like no one cared about me.  I wanted to die…it was what I wanted more than anything, so I wouldn’t feel the pain anymore.  I had it all planned out, but at the last second I couldn’t do it.  I knew that no matter what pain I was feeling, I could not do that to my little sister.  I needed to stick around for her.  In a moment of desperation, I cried out to God, asking him “Why me?” “What do you want from me?” and “Where do I go from here?”

There was nothing left for me in my hometown, and all I wanted was to escape.  So I decided to go off to college and finally get my degree so I could hopefully make something of myself.  I came to college dragging all the emotional baggage and bad habits with me.  I was the same person as before, just in a new location.  I started to make friends, and unintentionally, the majority of them were Christians.  But, they weren’t the Christians I was used to.  God wasn’t this person in the sky shouting down rules to them.  He was someone that they loved and felt like He loved them in return.  Several people took me under their wing that first year in college, and slowly I began to open up to them about my hurt and pain, and where I had been in life.  They shared the stories of their relationships with God, and we began praying and reading the Bible together.  I still didn’t personally have a relationship with God, but the more I learned about Him, the more I wanted desperately to feel his love.  For the first time, I had friends that seemed to genuinely care about and love me, with all my flaws and all.  They listened and gave me guidance, and had the patience of saints as I continued to make the same mistakes despite my desire not to.  I started reading the Bible a lot on my own and trying to figure out just what God was all about, and what He had that could help me, because even though things were getting better in my life, I still felt completely empty inside.  I didn’t feel good enough to deserve God’s love.  I had made so many mistakes…how could he love someone like me?  Then I came across Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-9 “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions-it is by grace you have been saved…through faith-and this not from yourselves it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast.”  At the same time I was listening to a Christian radio station and heard the song “More Beautiful You” by Jonny Diaz.  A section of the lyrics jumped out at me, and when I heard them I couldn’t hold my emotions in any longer.  The song said, “Turn around, you’re not too far to back away, be who you are, to change your path, go another way.  It’s not too late, you can be saved.  If you feel depressed with past regrets, the shameful nights hope to forget, can disappear, they can all be washed away, by the one who’s strong, can right your wrongs, can rid your fears, dry all your tears, and change the way you look at this big world.  He will take your dark distorted view, and with His light He will show you truth, and again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl.”  For the first time, I realized that I didn’t have to have it all figured out to come to God.  That I could come to God a complete mess and he would wrap me in His arms and love me anyway.  I realized that being a Christian doesn’t mean you no longer sin or that you have it all together.  I cried out to God to save me from not only my sins, but also myself.  I told God I couldn’t do it without him anymore.  My way just wasn’t working.  I asked God to fill up my empty heart with his love.  Most people go off to college to get a degree so they can get a job, and end up finding themselves.  I went off to college to run away, and ended up finding God. 

God’s grace means so much to me.  When I think about where I have been and what I have done, and that if I was the only person on this entire earth God STILL would have sent his son Jesus to die for my sins, it makes me want to cry.  I spent so long searching for love, and I have found it in God.  Nowadays, I have better people in my life that love me and care about me, and it’s great, but there is still nothing that even comes close or compares to the love God shows me.  The empty place in my heart I was always trying to fill can only be filled by God.  I want to grow closer to Him daily, and live my life glorifying Him.  I believe in God’s promise in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” 

Today, the pastor, from the “Independent, Fundamentalist, Bible-believing” church I grew up in, sits in jail on trial for murdering one of his parishioners.  People have asked me what it did to my faith when I found out, and to be honest, if anything it only strengthened it.  My faith is in God, not man, and unfortunately we are flawed and incomplete humans.  But the God I put my faith in is perfect and complete, so I know that though humans may let me down, God will ALWAYS be there for me.

When I first started building a relationship with God, I never thought God could use me to further His kingdom.  With my past, I wasn’t exactly the most squeaky-clean Christian, and couldn’t imagine that I had anything to contribute.  In a way, this thinking let me off the hook from having much responsibility.  However, God has started pressing on my heart in certain situations that he can use me, and it has been amazing to follow what I feel the Spirit is leading me to do and see the results that come from it.  I don’t know where God will lead me in life, but I’m trying to believe in his word, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11) What I do know is that I have a passion to share God’s love with those who are hurting.  I want others to know what it feels like to have the empty place inside of you be filled to capacity and bursting with the love God has for each and every one of us.  I’m not proud of where I’ve come from in life, but I do know that God has a plan to use my past for His purpose and I can’t wait to see what that plan is!”

Hello world!

10 Apr

My name is Melissa DeVault, and this is my new blog. More info and updates to come…=)