Beauty from Ashes

“When your dreams turn into disappointments, learn to doubt your doubts. ” A lyric the Lord gave me just the other morning, as I cried my way through worship songs on the way to work, again!  I’m 28 years young–no where close to where I always thought I’d be at this point in my life. Still unmarried. Still without my own house. Still living pay check to pay check, waiting. Waiting to step into my ministry. Waiting to move forward to that next chapter. Waiting for My Mr. Wonderful.  Waiting to step into my calling and fulfill whatever it is that the Lord has placed on my life. And you know what? I’m tired of waiting. I’m tired of being lonely, and waiting for the next thing to come along and move me forward into my future. I’m done. Sick and tired of putting on a fake smile and faking peace as I wait, once again, upon the Lord to move this mountain of disappointment out of my way.  I’m tired of waiting on people to validate me. I’m tired of waiting on a marriage or even a ministry to give me significance. I’m tired of allowing the amount of money I make define how I view my success or value in the work force. Quite frankly, I’m tired of feeling like a chess piece, strategically trying to make moves to achieve victory in this game of life. I am so over feeling this way, So I’m done!

5 months ago, the Lord gave me a peace like I’ve never experienced before in my life. He literally broke my heart of the all the lies, all the rejection, all the fear that I’ve held onto for years. He restored a hope in me that He is able to meet all of my desires in a single moment, if I will just trust Him. I took one step, then another, then another, primarily based on faith, not feelings. I just walked. One decision at a time. One moment at a time. As I did this, He began to reveal to me areas of my life that I thought I had surrendered, which were still impacting how well I love people and how much I trust Him.  I’ve watched Him and followed Him into a new season. One where He is surrounding me with people who are willing to go deep with me; People who steward an atmosphere of such grace, that I am willing to be vulnerable and transparent, without the fear of rejection or insecurity. The Lord has placed me into a church that honors God and loves people without apology, a church that believes cover to cover Bible, and is steadfast in their vision for our generation and our culture.  He has put me in position to walk in authority while learning to dig deeper and press further into Him. I decided to trust again, like I have been so unwilling to do over the last several years. I’ve put myself out there, tried new things,  made so many new friends, drank more coffee than I have in my whole life (lol– but really), and even jumped out of an airplane. Y’all that’s huge, because I am (was) afraid of heights!  Then, out of no where, here it comes again– that “slap in the face,  gut wrenching– did I really hear from you Lord or did I completely miss it? What am I going to do now?” type of scenario. And here we are (I am) again, face to face with all of it. REJECTION. DISAPPOINTMENT. WORTHLESSNESS. FEAR. INSECURITY– Lie after lie after lie. Oh but here’s what the enemy failed to realize this time…

You see, what happened to me 5 months ago is that I began to see myself as something more than broken for the first time in 15 years.  I am fearfully and wonderfully made. A royal priesthood. A child of THE King. I KNOW that God has put something huge inside of me. I see it. I feel it. I sense it in the spiritual. I am a part of an anointing, powerful enough to change a generation for Christ.  God has placed something inside of me bigger than I can even understand–Something that the enemy wants so badly to destroy, that he will not relinquish his quest for my heart, my attention, or my mind. But he DOES. NOT. WIN. Do you hear me? Do you really hear me?!?!  SATAN DOES NOT GET ME, MY FUTURE, MY MINISTRY, MY DESTINY, MY MAN, OR MY PEACE! Period. I belong to God. I am HIS. And ALL authority on Heaven AND Earth belong to HIM. And while my thoughts aren’t His thoughts, I surrender my will and my life to HIM, and therefore my desires come from HIM and He will finish what He has started. I’m safe, because He’s faithful.  My peace isn’t found in how I feel, what I see, what others say, or even in my abilities. My peace is found in the one who calms the seas. If you notice, in that story about the storm, Jesus didn’t rebuke the sea. He spoke to the sea and rebuked the wind. Jesus rebuked the source of the storm, not the effects of it. The same is true in me. My circumstances, the storms surrounding my present self–those aren’t the real enemy.  It’s he who lies beneath those circumstances, the one who desires to steal, kill, and destroy. Satan wants nothing more than to steal your joy and your future, kill your vision/dreams, and destroy your impact in the kingdom realm. So I ask you brothers and sisters– Can we learn to walk in faith over fear? Can we learn to trust in who we belong to more that in how we feel? Can we learn to fight from a posture of standing still? Can we as a body begin to fight the real enemy with the real weapon?

Can you as an individual learn to doubt your doubts?

Because that’s where the waiting becomes “worth it.” As we long for God to move. As we long for Him to fulfill the desires of our hearts. As we learn to trust Him more than how we feel. As we begin to put our confidence and our dreams in His hands. As we learn to fully surrender all of ourselves, that’s where warriors are formed. That’s where victory happens. That’s the place where we learn to expect the supernatural, and we live in the promises and the freedom that Jesus died to give us. It’s in those seasons of waiting, that we are refined and transformed. I don’t want a mediocre life. I don’t want a mediocre marriage, ministry, or church. I want to learn to love people to death; Death of their fears, death of their diseases, death of their heartbreaks, and death of their selfishness. I want to learn to love them to life; the abundant life that God has promised all of His children.

So here I am, 28 years young, no where close to where I thought I would be in my life plan, But so much further along in my spiritual walk than I was 5 months ago. Unmarried, but preparing myself for a kingdom shaking marriage (babe– just know you are covered in prayer and we are going after God with everything we’ve got). Without my own house, but still with a roof over my head, snuggled up in my bed, getting excited about the fact that the home the Lord has for me will be one of such peace and freedom.  Living pay check to pay check,  trusting that the Lord is teaching me to be a good steward with little, so that He can bless me with much. Choosing to live everyday in ministry to people. Learning to read each page of this chapter with care, so that I can learn and grow and prepare for when (not if) the Lord does move me into my next chapter. Because He will not leave me here, and His Word promises me that no weapon formed against will prosper. Not one. So adjust your focus friends. Change your posture. Don’t beg God. Ask Him and trust Him with your disappointments. Rise up, you who long to be warriors of Christ. Stand in your identity. Position Yourself. Stand Still, And Watch God fight for you, with you and through you. Your story isn’t over!

Oh, and Satan… Checkmate. You LOSE!

Won’t He do it…

Well actually, I should say, “Aint He done it!”  Let me just start by saying, THANK YOU! For those who have been praying for me and encouraging me over the last several months, thank you so much. The Lord has moved so mightily in my life, I can hardly contain it. My heart has been so overwhelmed by the spirit of God, and I know that is because so many of you have been praying for me so fervently. So thank you!

My last post was a culmination of several years worth of hurts and frustrations finally coming to the surface all at once, and an event forcing me to really come to terms with myself, my priorities, my desires, and my emotional/spiritual/physical self. Notice, I said “my” a lot.  You see, I’ve been so focused on what I don’t have, that I’ve struggled walking in confidence that God has a plan and a purpose for my life, far greater than anything I could ever think or imagine.  More than I could ever hope for. Better than I could ever dream possible. Bigger than my imagination. Wow. What a beautiful and powerful God I serve. I am His daughter. I am LOVED beyond measure. I am worthy. I am accepted. I am wanted by THE GOD of the universe. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. There is a plan and a purpose for me that I, and I alone, have been created to fulfill, so, I AM SIGNIFICANT.  Knowing this in your mind is one thing, but accepting this as a truth and learning to walk in it is not easy if your focus is on anything other than the source.  My source is my Abba Father. The one who created me. The one who has sustained me. The one who shows up in the darkness whispering the truth of life. The one who can breathe life into any situation, any stronghold, any fear, any insecurity. My God, My dad, my sustainer, the fulfiller of all of my dreams– HE is my source. He is where my strength, my validation, my affirmation, and my identity is rooted. This world does not define success for me. It will not give me significance. Only God can do that. People cannot validate my faithfulness, only He can do that. My job does not make me significant. God does. I don’t have to be anything more that what I am. I am a child of God, which means, I’ve already overcome this world. By the grace of Jesus. By his stripes. By his mercy. By His strength.  YALL– there is so much freedom in this truth. SO MUCH FREEDOM! I could scream it to the world. There’s so much power in the name of Jesus. I AM FREE and who Jesus sets free, He is free INDEED.  Storms of life will come, but my foundation is the cornerstone. I am firmly rooted in the hand of my Father, and this world, people, or situations will not break my foundation.  The gates of Hell will not prevail against anything God has spoken. I refuse to give Satan power in my life. God has already spoken. He has already healed us. He has already given us victory and freedom. We need only to learn to live in rest; knowing that God has already given us EVERY SINGLE thing we need to not only live, but to live life abundantly.  Walk in that truth. Receive it. Believe it. Walk in it.

Lord,

Give us knowledge to know the magnitude of your love for us, and that you accomplished everything we could ever need on that cross. Help us know that you are our source. You are THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. You are faithful. For those you have called, you have qualified, equipped, and justified. You are all knowing, all powerful, and ever present.  You are sufficient. Your grace is enough. Your love is enough. Your WORD is enough. Help us all realize who you have created us to be. Thank you for your revelation. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for the fulfillment of the desires of my heart. I choose to walk in that victory, even now, while waiting on the manifestation of what you have already spoken. You are such a good God. Move your children into truth and victory in every area. It’s in your powerful and holy name I pray.

Peace to all of you,

Britt

Living in Darkness

“In the darkness, even your shadow leaves you.”  I saw this today, and it struck a nerve within me. A deep ache in my heart came pushing back up to the surface with the reminder that depression is a battle that exist deep within my soul– one that at times controls me.  A counselor once told me that depression is when the past superimposes on your present, and anxiety is when your future superimposes on your present, both leaving you unable to just be in the present.

Let me start by saying, I am a Bible believing, holy ghost believing, miracles still happen today kind of Christian, BUT I AM struggling to hold my head above water most days. I’m not sure if it’s just a long extended season, or if God is just trying to teach me something, or if I have allowed Satan a part of my mind that I don’t know how to get back. To be honest, it’s probably a combination of all three.  People frustrate me with their “words of encouragement.” I’m so sick of hearing those cliche phrases that are meant to uplift me, but actually leave me feeling more discouraged. The truth is, unless you’ve ever battled the spirit of depression, you do not understand what someone is feeling or how to help them out of it. The reality is, we don’t know how to feel better. I have prayed. I go to counseling. I stay in my Word. I involve myself in serving others. I attend a women’s Bible Study. I try to eat right and be healthy. I try to ignore the urge of isolation and surround myself with people that love me. I denounce the lies of Satan whenever I feel them seize my mind, and yet… Here I am. Still depressed.  Fears that keep me insecure during the day, keep me up at night. I even know the primary source of my depression- Rejection.

People who struggle with rejection are their own worst critic. We see every flaw within ourselves, and when someone chooses to not be a part of our lives, for whatever reason, somehow, it’s something wrong with us. Thus the battle of comparison and the downward cycle of placing other people’s opinions over what the creator says about us to be true begins.  I never feel good enough, or worthy enough, or like I’m valuable. I’m at a point now where I almost expect failure in relationships before they even begin. You see, when you are where I am emotionally and mentally, people wanting to be in relationship with me becomes difficult, because they are unable convince me that I’m anything more than what I think of myself. And the worst part about it is that I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know how to change my opinion of me. I don’t know how to break the cycle. I’ve done all that I know to do. So I wait. I choose to get up. I choose to go to work. I choose to keep doing all that I know to do. I’m waiting. I’m desperately waiting on God to move in me and change my heart, because I know that only He can.  I don’t need more self help books, or another half thought out cliche to try and pick myself up out of this. I need a divine encounter with the one who created me, one to remind me of who I am in Him. I need the holy spirit to speak so deep within my soul as to rewire the fabric of what I’ve become. I need people in my life, who see my heart, who know my gifts, who understand my intentions, and who will fervently pray for me. Pray for my broken heart, because this is the most broken it has ever felt. Pray for my contrite spirit. Pray for my wounded perception of God’s view of me. Pray for me to find joy in the little things. Pray that God’s truth will speak louder than the lies of satan. Pray for a miracle. Don’t tell me I need to get better or I deserve better. Pray for me and ask God to move. Ask Him to do whatever it takes to break this curse in my life so that I can be made whole again.  Pray objectively for me, when I can’t.

For anyone who is here with me, no matter where you are, please hear me when I say, You are not alone. Even when you feel like you are. You aren’t. There has to be a reason for you to keep going. Don’t quit.  You do matter. Hold on. One moment. One day. One week at a time. Please hold on. We are all walking through something. Coming from one crushed heart to another. We have to keep going. I choose to believe, as I hope you do, that there is a light in this dark season. His name is Jesus and unlike our shadow, He is still with us in the silent, scary, misunderstand darkness. And I AM NOT ALONE! My heart is shattered, but I am not alone. I feel rejected, but I am not alone. I don’t know how or when this is going to get better, but I am not alone. I am so frustrated, but I am not alone. I am tired and worn out, but I am not alone. I’m afraid, but I’m not alone. NEITHER ARE YOU!

 

Father,

I pray that you heal the brokenness in my heart. You know my weakness. You know my fears. You know my desires. You know the state of my mind. I pray that you hold me. I pray that you hold close any person that can relate to the battle expressed above. I pray that you speak truth in the midst of the lies of satan. Be close to anyone who is losing this battle. Remind us that you are God. You are in control. Not us. Remind us that you are good, that you are faithful. Help us find joy  in the daily things. Help us be forever thankful. Help me trust you in the midst of the deepest parts of my heart and mind. I pray for victory. I pray for a miracle, for anyone who has prayed this prayer.

Amen!

Can we please stop doing church and become the church?!?!

I was 14 the first time I was introduced to the poison that is causing Christianity as a whole to become weak in America.  I believe that it is flooding and killing our churches. “You can’t hang out with her, she wears pants, and she’s worldly” is how I remember hearing it. I was a 14 year old little girl, who had been in church her entire life (but was not saved yet), completely naive to this concept of “worldliness” and “legalism.” Too young to understand the condemning spirit that exists within people who claim to be the hands, the feet, and the mouths of Jesus; and to be able to separate it from how Jesus actually sees me. I was so oblivious to the battle that would rage on within me for years to come. And if I’m being honest, probably the largest struggle I face within myself on a day to day basis to date.

Let me preface this by saying, legalism and conviction are not the same thing. I know some dear, God fearing people, that have loved me well and have likely prayed for me more than any other human being on this planet; who live very strict, very conservative lifestyles–but they are the exception, not the rule. They are the ones who can welcome the “sinner” into their homes without making them feel judged or unloved, because they don’t live the same way. These are the people who will sit in an alter and pray with you for hours on end, just to hear from God, because they love you and believe in the power of prayer. They are the ones you can call at 3 am when you are battling Satan in a way that the average “everyday Christian” won’t understand. For these people I am eternally grateful.

But… For everything God ordains, there is a counterfeit. Legalism is the counterfeit to conviction. I’ve spent the majority of my saved life (10, almost 11 years) in constant comparison to someone. I’ve lived my life wanting to be someone else, because I was not ever good enough. In my mind, it didn’t matter what I did, I was/am still that worldly little girl that “real christians” shouldn’t hang out with. I’ve spent 10 years begging God to tell me to do a, b, or c, just so that I could fit in somewhere, just so I could be like these people. I have longed so deeply to be a part of these certain groups of people only to be left feeling condemned or unworthy. What is really bothersome to me though, is that I don’t believe most people intentionally make others feel this way. At least I hope they don’t. I believe legalism takes root in the mind and eventually penetrates the heart, and a person becomes so bound by this chain of legalism that they genuinely believe their doing good for a lost world.  It’s been within the last year or so that God has began drawing a line in the sand between conviction and legalism, so I’m still learning.

Conviction is powerful thing. It permeates your soul, your thoughts, your heart, your spirit. Conviction will bring forth change if we’re seeking the holy spirit. It will light the path to Heaven. There is no denying it’s source. You see, if the God of the universe is powerful enough to open a sinner’s eyes to the fact that we need a savior, HE is certainly powerful enough to bring conviction into a person’s like to make them more like HIM.

Legalism puts God in a box, where we, as HIS children, are unable to relate to or love completely those who are different from us. It isolates us from the rest of the world. Granted, we are called to be in this world, but not of it,  but,  we are also called to be the salt of the earth and the city on a hill. God’s Word does not contradict itself. It is inspired, holy, pure, unadulturated truth. Here is where people like to argue the whole “we don’t have the original bible in its language, we have man’s interpretation of it.” I agree with this to a point, BUT, God’s word is truth. All of it. God is sovereign enough to give us the parts we need to make it to Eternity– through Jesus.  Either you believe the Bible in it’s entirety or you don’t. We cannot pick through which parts we want to apply to us and which we do not. To do so, would be to cheapen the gospel and weaken it’s foundation. We must read it and try to understand the significance of what we do have and how to apply it to winning souls to Jesus.

Now back to my point, God does not need me to try and fix the sinners I come in contact with, mainly because I am one of them. He does not need me to point out their many failures or struggles. He does not need me to explain to them how to dress like Jesus, talk like Jesus, walk like Jesus, and smell like Jesus. When did loving Jesus become about a list of rules? When did it become about what I can do in my power to be different. The pharisees looked at scripture that way. As did the sadducees. The disciples, however, did not. Collossians 2 talks about how we as Christians do not have the strength to will ourselves to righteousness (trust me, I’ve tried). Instead, we must be led by the Holy Spirit.  The New Testament is full of truths about grace and mercy. It’s the story of the bridge God created for us to Eternity. It’s beautiful, and it’s simple.  The gospel is so simple.

>>Jesus came and lived a perfect life. Fully God. Fully man. We were/are/will always be sinners and could not make it Heaven. So He DIED for us- a propitiation for our sins. He took our punishment. He took our debt, our death, and He DEFEATED IT.  Why? Because He loves you. He loves me. He loves all of us. EVERY. LAST. ONE. of us! He died so that we can live, but only if we accept HIM as our savior and CHOOSE to have a relationship with HIM. <<

Relationships require sacrifice. They require change. When you get saved, things should be different. The way you dress should be modest. The way you speak should be upright, pure, and gentle. The way you behave, should be proof of a heart change. To be alive in Christ is to die to ourselves. When we become saved, we become a new creation- one that yearns to be like Jesus and to live for HIM– but that can look different for different people. We are all called to reach someone, somewhere, in some stage of life. Who are we to decide, what “rules” our brother or sister should be following, when we truly have no idea what  or where the Lord is leading them? When did we stop trusting God to be God and change his people? He changed me, and if you’re reading this, I hope He’s changed you. If you’re truly saved, then you’ve seen, felt, and tasted the power of God, so why do forget that HE is still able to change hearts, and trust Him to do so? Maybe we should just focus on loving each other. Honor the standards that God has set forth in His word for your life. Ask God to convict you in the areas where you may be falling short or legalistic, and let us, as the Church, just preach the Gospel. We focus so much on our doctrines and our perception of scripture, that people are dying and going to Hell, because they feel they’ll never measure up to the standards that many are shouting in the name of Jesus. Hold each other accountable to God, but instead of focusing on all of the outward, Let’s start shouting to the world that JESUS LOVES YOU. YOU ARE WORTHY. YOU ARE UNDERSTOOD. YOU ARE WELCOME HERE. WE LOVE YOU! If we can “catch em’, God can clean em’.” I am still convinced that love will always defeat hatred. Right will always defeat wrong. Light will Always defeat darkness, and GOD WILL ALWAYS DEFEAT SATAN.

We need to get over ourselves and learn to put our personal convictions in their rightful place (HONOR YOUR CONVICTIONS ALWAYS, but do so while loving others), and figure out a way to love a lost, hopeless world to Jesus.  If we can’t do that, we must reexamine those convictions and find the foundation of them, because it we are professing Christians, then that foundation should be God, which according to scripture, is the definition and meaning of LOVE.

Stop Letting what’s BEHIND you keep you from what’s in FRONT of you!

As I was driving home today, through what I would imagine a monsoon to be like, the Lord got my attention. I didn’t hear some miraculous voice giving me some theological insight into philisophical things; just a soft tug on my heart–One that said, “pay attention, there’s something you need to hear.”

I was on my way home from Women’s Study.  Tonight, we had the privilege of going to visit a lady’s house who recently got put on hospice. This lady and her late husband were pillars at my home church. Never in my life have I witnessed such a love for the Lord, each other, and other people than what was shown by this couple.  I could literally spend days talking about this sweet lady and how her life has impacted me. I asked her what advice she would give all of us about learning to love the Lord. Her response? Simple– “love Him with ALL of your heart, ALL of your mind, and ALL of your soul.” With ALL of yourself– Love God.

With everything that I am, I am to love God.  Man…. that’s a big thought.  Well, if you’re like me, you have to process stuff (Trust me, I overthink A LOT).  So I was doing just that– thinking about what loving God with all of myself looks like. I’ve tried so hard to make sure that I love God with all of who I am. I’ve been to the altar so many times, trying to surrender my dreams, my desires, my fears, my insecurities to the Lord. And yet, I still struggle sometimes–A lot here lately actually (since I’m being honest). I struggle with doubt and/or frustration when God doesn’t show up like I want or expect Him to. I struggle with loneliness and the desire to have both close God focused friends, and a spouse to do life with. I struggle with not knowing what the next step I’m supposed to take looks like. I struggle with poor self esteem or problems feeling worthy or lovable. I love the Lord the best I know how, but I’m still very much human.

Any who, as my mind was racing in a million directions (which is as exhausting as it sounds) I happened to look in my rearview mirror. Behind me the sky was dark and looked very angry– you know, a little greenish, streak lightning-ish, and a little armageddonish (lots of “ish-es,” but the English language is failing me with an appropriate description). But in front of me, the sun was breaking through the clouds, and it was breathtakingly beautiful.  I felt the Lord whisper, “Stop letting what’s behind you, keep you from what’s right in front of you.”  Stop allowing your sins or failures to define you. Stop allowing the lies of Satan whisper to you your worth or value. Stop letting past heartbreaks keep you from being vulnerable. Stop allowing your brokenness as an excuse to not move forward. Stop allowing your hurts to control you.

I am not bound to my past failures or sins. Jesus freed me from that. I am no longer defined by other people’s opinions of me. I am covered by the blood of  Jesus. I don’t have to be controlled by loneliness, because God will never leave me or forsake me. I am NOT perfect, but I am not the same person I was 10 years ago. Praise God for that! I have spent years standing still, emotionally and physically, because I didn’t allow myself to heal from past hurts. I have stayed in season after season of alone-ness because I wouldn’t let anyone in.  I have allowed fear to stop me from going after what has been right in front of me all along. I have refused to allow myself to believe that maybe, just maybe, God wants for me the same thing that I want for me, and if I’ll just be patient, He will give it to me.  But, I will never allow Him to move in the situation until I stop living in my past and start looking towards what’s in front of me. I am a NEW creation. I have a NEW heart. I have a NEW mind. I speak differently than I did 10 years ago. I dress differently. I respond to conflict and anger differently. I pray differently. I’m just different. I am a changed person. Change can be a good thing. We should embrace newness. Embrace change. Embrace second chances. Look forward to what’s ahead of you.  Stop looking back. It’s hard to love God with all of yourself, when you’re too busy looking behind you instead of looking ahead of you. God will lead you every step of the way. He is before you and beside you. The past is the past. Let it stay there. Quit allowing the past to interfere with your present and keep you from your future.

In case you missed it, those storm clouds that were in my rearview mirror are representative of the past storms of life–those things that have caused you pain. The sun breaking through those clouds, represents the promise of a future and a hope with Jesus.  Drive onward towards the Son (<– yes I did that on purpose).

Moving forward with Jesus,

BrittIMG_2206

For “Those Days….”

“Every day is a good day, Some are just better than others.” It’s a phrase that I try to live by, because there is a lot of truth in that statement. EVERY day is truly a blessing from a good and Holy God–one that should be cherished and not wasted. We should all seek to live everyday like it’s our last, because it potentially could be. But what about those “not better” days? How can we as Christians seek to glorify God, when it takes every bit of strength we can muster up, to put our feet on the floor? What about “those days” when hiding from the world seems more appealing? What do we do on those days? How do we move forward on those days? How do we grow closer to the Lord and push others towards Jesus on those days? The answer is simple, not easy, but simple. You get up and you do it. You face head on whatever it is that is standing in your way.  Why? Because we have to.

The truth is– Life is hard! Things don’t always work out the way we want them to or in our timing. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try or what you do, things don’t go your way. Work will frustrate you. People will hurt you (intentionally or unintentionally). Unforeseen and uncontrollable tragedy will come. Schedules become too hectic. Financial crises will come. Anger and/or disappointment will come. These are the times that we must learn to be patient and try to trust God with broken hearts, missed opportunities, or unmet expectations.  This isn’t easy. But it’s a requirement of faith. Remember– “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb. 11:1

Today has been a really hard day. One where I’ve wanted to cry much more than I’ve wanted to smile. One where I’ve struggled to see God’s plan or feel His presence. Trust me, today, I wanted to stay in my bed, in  my PJs, and sleep– because when I can actually sleep (which is not near as often as I would like), I have peace. I can’t feel when I’m asleep. It’s hard to hurt when I’m asleep. Reality doesn’t exist in those moments of unconsciousness. It’s not until I wake up that I’m reminded of the overwhelming sense of “how am I gonna get through this day without people knowing something is wrong.” You see, I’m  a pretty prideful person, and I don’t like for people to see me broken. Don’t throw rocks at me– I know, I know– I should be transparent and honest with myself. I am only human after all. It’s okay for me to have bad days right? Well sort of. But I’m more than human, I’m a child of God. And I don’t want to misrepresent my Father or what He has done for me in any way. I don’t want to seem ungrateful for the day, because I know it’s a gift. So I’m cautious in how I deal with “those days.”

So here is what I did. I got up. I went to work. I even managed to do my hair and put make up on– that in itself is a miracle– just ask my coworkers. 🙂   And yes, I cried some today. I had bad moments. But The Lord  still showed up. He still reminded me that I’m loved. He even allowed me to spend some time with a dear friend of mine– a lady involved in the Bible Study that I have the privilege of leading.  This friend reminded me that God has a plan and a purpose for my life and my hurts. She reminded me that she sees Jesus in me everyday, even on “those days.” She reminded me that it’s okay to hurt, because God can use our heartbreaks, our questions, our fears, our failures, and our disappointments for our good and His glory, if we will allow Him to. We as children of God don’t have to be afraid of “those days” because Our God, our Father, Our Friend is bigger than any circumstance that comes our way today or tomorrow. And He’s already working them for your good. So let me encourage you today. Be like David– run towards your Goliath– knowing that Your God is bigger than any weapon formed against you. Trust God to hold you and guide you. Be patient and wait on God to deliver your victory. Because it’s already promised, confirmed, and signed in blood. It was finished on the cross.  And trust God. You don’t know how He’s going to take the circumstance you’re facing and make it work out better than you could ever imagine. Maybe, just maybe, He’ll give you exactly what you want. But sometimes, it just takes time. His word says that He will give you the desires of Your heart if you will delight in Him. So let’s go– feet on the floor, armor of Christ on, and slingshot in your hand. Life is a series of moments.. Take one step at a time. One moment at a time. One prayer at a time. One day at a time. One breath at a time. Finish the race! Finish this day!

Sweet dreams and Prayers for Hope,

Britt

Love is a Battlefield…

SO if you are anything like me (you know approaching late 20s, female, who likes the occasional chick flick), then a scene from the movie “13 Going on 30,” in which you see a bunch of preteen girls dancing around on the bed in their PJs, singing along to the one and only Pat Benatar’s ‘Love is a battlefield’ may come to mind. In my twenty something years on this Earth, I’ve discovered just how true that statement is.  All week, I’ve been wondering what to title a blog about the single most talked about “thing” on earth– and that would be—du du du dddduuuummmm– LOVE!

Now before you allow your jaded, beat up heart to click off this page to avoid reading a fellow jaded sister’s thoughts on love, let me ask you to pause and hear (read) me out. This isn’t your post on what to do or what not to do in your romantic relationships. I don’t have any new God given prophecy on how to overcome that broken heart or on how to know that “he/she is the one.” I would, however, like to write about this thing that we all desire so deeply– this idea that gives our lives so much purpose, motivation, and hope. LOVE! And yes, we will discuss the fact that it– LOVE– is indeed a battlefield.

To understand our desire for love, we must first understand it’s origin. Care to guess what that would be? You guessed it, Love was created and made perfect in God. So much so that the Bible defines the relationship  between the two with the statement  “God is Love” (1 John 4:8) If the definition is tied directly to the presence of God, then I think it would be wise to look to His word on the ins and outs of this thing called love.

Love covers a vast array of human emotion. I hold the belief that for everything God has for you, Satan has a counterfeit. Personally, I believe that this is true when it comes to love as well. Most everyone who professes to know Christ is familiar with the love chapter of the Bible. For those of you who may not know, go read 1 Corinthians 13, Verses 4-7 specifically. It’s good. Challenging. But Good! So if that’s Godly love, then what does the counterfeit look like? Well for starters, a counterfeit doesn’t blatantly look counterfeit. If it did it would be easy to recognize it as such. Instead it usually posseses partial truths. Sometimes counterfeit is hard to recognize. Whether it is disguised by lust or an overwhelming emotion, it is often motivated with an intention other than selflessness.

Selflessness- my, oh my, what a strong word– the  very best word I can come up with to define the word “love.” IF you can learn to love people selflessly, then you truly understand what love is. I am convinced that true love is the most powerful force in the universe. It has the power to erase prejudices. It possesses the grace to forgive the most heinous acts. It has the ability to overcome every boundary that the human race can set before it. It can erase all fear, restore all hope, and establish peace. Just as darkness can’t exist in the presence of light, hate is unable to exist in the presence of love. So choose to love. Love hard. Love patiently. Love kindly. Love with forgiveness, grace, and mercy. Love fearlessly. Love completely. Love Selflessly.  Be brave. Allow your heart to love so hard that it can be hurt. Love people in a way that you hurt with them and for them. Love passionately. Because it’s worth it, and because it’s how you desire to be loved. God loves us that way–through a lens of forgiveness, through a lens of hope. And if you dare to love in such a way as this, I promise you, You WILL change the world. Yes, it’s scary. But it’s a beautiful kind of scary. Sure you can have your heart broken, but it can teach you to love deeper. No, not everyone will love you back, but choose to be different.  Take the risk. Make that new friend. Go on a new adventure. Listen to people. Learn their hearts. Change the world. Love is battlefield. Life is a battlefield. That battle is for our souls. Eternity is at stake for those who don’t know the love of Christ. BE that love. Point them to Jesus with your fearless pursuit of love! God is ALWAYS bigger than Satan. Love will ALWAYS be stronger than Hatred. And if you know Christ, You will NEVER walk alone! You will never go unloved. You are known and loved without reserve by GOD! Learn to be loved and learn to love well!

With LOVE, hope, and prayers,

Britt