Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cora's Story: Part 3

(Ten years later)

“Mama. Mama! Let me in. I have news!” I had been sound asleep, dreaming of something soft and peaceful when the loud knocking woke me. My daughter, Hannah, who was usually so calm, was shouting at the top of her lungs in the middle of the night. I groaned as I got out of bed, noticing keenly that I was not as young as I often believed I was.

“What is it Hannah? Is it the baby?” I asked, worried now. My Hannah had just given birth to a baby boy several weeks ago, and I wondered if it had taken sick. “No, Mama. It is much worse than that,” she said dismally.

What could be worse than a sick child, I wondered. “Well, Hannah? What in the world could be troubling you at this hour?” I asked, slightly annoyed that she had not left me to my sleep if it was not my grandchildren.

“It’s Jesus. He’s been arrested and taken to Pontius Pilate, and they are going to crucify him tomorrow,” Hannah said, tears sliding down her cheeks. Inwardly, I groaned. Not this again. My Hannah had devoted herself to serving Jesus ever since the day that he ‘healed’ Isaac. I still did not believe it was his doing, but Hannah had come to believe that Jesus was the Messiah as Mary had claimed.

What nonsense. My Hannah was fooled too easily.

“Hannah, don’t start with me. He’s not the Son of God, and maybe he did something to deserve crucifixion,” I said bitterly. I felt a twinge of guilt, and knew that I was lying. I had always taught my children that no one could do anything worth a death as horrible as being crucified, and here I was not even consoling my frightened daughter.

“You’re wrong, Mama. You’ll see one day,” Hannah said, real pain showing in her eyes. She got up and left, and I looked out the window and watched her walk down the street. I sighed heavily, knowing that I would be arguing with my daughter like this for days to come. I climbed back into bed, and Michael rolled over to look me in the eyes.

“I believe Jesus, Cora. Why don’t you?” he said, tears shimmering in his eyes. I looked at him in wide-eyed disbelief. He had never expressed any belief in this man, and I was shocked to see the faith he had showing passionately in the tears that slid down his face. “Michael! You can’t be serious!” I cried. He looked at me in sadness, and then rolled over again and went back to sleep. I tossed and turned that night, trying to make any sense of the crazy belief both my husband and daughter held with. They must be crazy!

Sleep did not come until the early hours of the morning, and when I finally woke up, it was past breakfast time. I opened my eyes and saw Michael leaning over me, trying to wake me up. “Cora, get up quickly. I need you to come with me,” he said gently. I figured he needed help with the chores and felt like a terrible wife for not getting up and making him breakfast. Quickly, I pulled on a warm dress, and pulled my shawl over my head for modesty. When my husband began to put on his shoes, I looked at him curiously. Where were we going? I was too tired to ask, however, and I made myself put my shoes on and follow him out the door.

“Michael?” I asked curiously. “Trust me, Cora,” was all he said. I yawned tiredly, and followed him along the road. We walked toward the center of the town, and I saw crowds lining the streets. Many of the people looked strained and some were even crying. I did not take long to wonder at this, though, since I was still befuddled from sleeping so late.

When we got up to the hill at the edge of town, however, I saw what was about to take place.

Michael had taken me to see the crucifixion of Jesus.

“Michael, no. I can’t watch this,” I said anxiously. No matter how much I disliked Jesus, I couldn’t watch him die!

“Cora, I need you here. You are my rock, and I need you to lean on. This is a dark day, and I, too, am afraid,” Michael said, his voice breaking. I looked at him in bewilderment. Never had I seen my husband show such emotion! Already, tears were coursing down his cheeks, and I had never seen him cry before. I resigned myself to the difficult day ahead, and allowed him to lead me closer to the front.


I heard metal hit metal, and I looked up ahead in horror. Mary’s son, the man called Jesus, was being nailed to the cross.


My stomach lurched, and I was grateful that I had not eaten anything that day. The noise was horrible, and I could barely stand still I was so agitated.


The third nail went through the man’s feet, and I looked at Jesus’ face. Agony and sadness crumpled the man’s face, and yet I could see his determination to not cry out. How could the man be so brave? It must have been excruciatingly painful, and yet he did not yell like the other men did.

For the first time in a long time, I saw something special about the man. Something that was not present in any man I had ever known.

Had I been wrong?

The soldiers hoisted the cross up, and Jesus hung limply from it, tears finally streaming down his cheeks. I looked to my right and saw Mary, my long-ago friend staring in horror at her song dying in such pain. Images flashed through my head, and I thought about how that could have been MY son. The pain inside my former friend was evident, and her face was streaked with tears, her chest heaving with sobs. I turned around, not wanting to watch Jesus die, and looked all around me.

There were more people than I had first realized. In fact, there were more there than I had ever seen gathered before. What hit me next was the looks on the faces of the people. Tears were evident on nearly every face, many were crying out to Jehovah for help. These people were followers of this Jesus, and I had never seen such a devotion to anyone before. It reminded me much of how my sweet Mary had been towards Jehovah before I had utterly abandoned her.

I turned around, and Jesus’ eyes met mine. In all of his pain, he still conveyed a compassion that broke my heart.

In that instant, I knew I had been wrong. Very wrong.

My knees buckled, and I fell to the ground on my face. Michael leaned down beside me, but I would not let him help me up. I sobbed, crying out to God to rescue me from my bitterness, and take my life instead of the life of the man on the cross. I cried for the years I had wasted and the people I had hurt, but most of all for the main barely breathing before me, who was being sacrificed for something he didn’t do.

“My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” Jesus cried, and the anguish in his voice made me sob all the harder. Was that not what I had felt when I had disbelieved Mary? That God had abandoned me? How wrong I had been!

“It is finished.” Those quiet words, made everyone in the crowd look up and see that Jesus was dead.

The man who had healed my heart, now left the world, and I had not apologized to him. My grief overwhelmed me, and once more I pressed my face to the earth.
A soft hand on my shoulder made me look up, and through my tears I saw Mary.
“I have waited for you to believe, Cora, and now you have!” Mary said with hope in her voice. I was overcome with the forgiveness she was able to show me though it was people like me who had caused her son to be hung on a cross...

“Oh, Mary! How horrible I have been to you. I don’t know how you will ever forgive me, and now your Jesus will not even have the chance to listen to my confession of guilt!” I cried mournfully.

“Cora. He has heard it, and you are forgiven,” Mary said. I looked in her face and saw the truth shining in her eyes. Jesus had seen my sins and that was why he had died. So that I, a poor, bitter, begrudging old woman could be forgiven.
The weight of sin lifted from me, and I cried for all that I wish I could have told Jesus, but then Mary’s soft hand cupped my chin.

“It’s not over, Cora. It’s not over,” she said softly.

I did not yet know what she meant, but I let her take my hand and together we walked home, grieving for our Lord but hopeful for what was yet to come.

(I hope you have enjoyed my Christmas series. I have enjoyed writing it, and have felt God take my faith somewhere that it is not always at during Christmas when I am often preoccupied. I hope my words have given you a new perspective for the season. Merry Christmas!)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Cora's Story: Part 2

(Continued from Part 1...)
(Thirty years later…)

“Hannah, come here. Quickly, now!” I yelled. I was weary, and could not bear to call for my child another time. My husband, Michael, was several towns away, looking for work to provide for our family. We were married twenty-five years ago, and have only two children. Hannah and Isaac are good children, though they are often disrespectful and rude. I was nearly past my child-bearing years, and I wished desperately that we had been able to have more children. But God must not have meant it to be so, and I tried to remain content.

For some reason, however, I was always angry about something, and I could not do anything about the bitterness that I carried about within me. Deep inside, I knew that it stemmed from my jealousy of Mary. She had given birth to the “Savior” and he seemed like a perfectly normal child. There was nothing special about him. Although he is grown now, I have yet to see him save the world. Mary had gone on to have eight more children, and I was jealous of her ability to have such a wonderful family.

I have not talked to Mary since that fateful day when she told me of her pregnancy. I let myself stay angry at her, and, even now, I have no intention of forgiving her. What she did was just too wrong for me to let go of. Do I carry a grudge? Perhaps, but she deserves it.

Hannah finally came in from outside, her face red from the cold. She went straight to the fire and began warming her hands and cheeks. I watched my daughter and thought to myself how beautiful she was. Nearly twelve, she was nearing the age of womanhood, when she would think of marrying and leaving me. I tried not to think about it, but I did know that it was inevitable.

“Why were you calling me, Mama?” she asked. “I need you to find Isaac for me. I haven’t seen him all morning,” I said. Hannah nodded and went off in search of her brother. Isaac was forever getting into trouble, though it seemed that trouble usually found him. I sighed at the thought of bringing up such a rambunctious boy, but I knew that Michael was teaching Isaac how to be a man. Though he was only seven, he had a love for life that I admired.

When I watched Isaac laugh so joyously, it made me realize that something inside of me had died; the part that loved life and looked for the good in every situation. Bitterness and anger had become such a part of my routine, that I did not even try to change my ways.

“Mama!” came the cry from outside. I pulled a shawl over my shoulders and hurried outside to see what was the matter. Hannah was hunched over something in our field, and I ran over to see who it was.

It was Isaac. Nearly frozen, he lay collapsed on the ground huddled in a ball. I felt his forehead. It was a fever higher than I had ever felt before.

“No,” I breathed. It couldn’t be my Isaac. My beautiful, lively boy was laying there, closer to death than I had ever seen before. “Hannah! Run and fetch someone. The doctor. Someone!” I yelled. Hannah’s frightened face melted my heart, and I lay a hand on her shoulder to comfort her. As she ran off, I lifted my sweet boy into my arms and carried him inside. I wrapped him in blankets and tried to get him to drink water, but all he could do was moan and tremble.

My son was dying.

Hannah came running back with a man I had not seen in a long while.

It was Jesus. The man who I had come to loathe.

“What are you doing here?!” I screamed. Jesus looked at me calmly, taking my hand and leading me to a chair. I could not speak. Why was he being so kind to me? He went over to Isaac and sat on the pallet next to him. He took my son’s hand and looked at him with a tenderness I had never seen before. Part of me wanted to scream at him to stop touching my boy, but something inside of me stopped and I watched in wonder as he breathed words that I could not hear into Isaac’s ear. What seemed like only a moment later, a short gasp came from Isaac’s lips, and his eyes fluttered open. I hastened to his bedside, and looked into his face.

His fever had broken.

I looked at Jesus in bewilderment, and he looked back at me with eyes that told of something I had never seen before. I still do not know what it was, but I do know that it was something I had never seen in a man here on earth. I looked up to thank Jesus, but he had already gone, slowly shutting the door and leaving without expecting any thanks.

My bitter heart melted only slightly, and I realized that maybe I could be wrong. Months later, I had come to think of the miracle as only a coincidence. Jesus had only been there at the exact moment Isaac’s fever had broken. It wasn’t his doing. It was luck. Chance. Coincidence.

My heart hardened even further, and I thought that nothing could break through the wall I had built around my heart. Nothing could touch me and erase the bitterness encasing my ability to forgive.

Nothing could break me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cora's Story: Part 1

(Last year for Christmas I wrote a four-part story from Mary’s perspective about the birth of Jesus. This year, I am going to take a fictional perspective from a young lady named Cora, Mary’s best friend. No, she is not real, but I imagine that Mary must have had somebody like Cora in her life. So, without further ado, here is Cora’s story.)

It was unbearably hot. I could barely breathe from the oppressive heat, much less work inside my dirty, muggy house. I asked my mother if I could take a break and go visit Mary, my best friend. I was given permission, and so I began the five-minute trek to Mary’s home. While I walked I thought of all of the things Mary and I had done together. Since we were knee-high babies, we had played and laughed together. We were never separated for long, and I was grateful to have such a faithful, inspiring friend.

Mary was always sweet and kind, and I had rarely seen her become angry. I trusted Mary completely and knew that she was my faithful friend and confidante. Never had I had a reason to distrust her or doubt her words. After pondering all of this, I had finally reached Mary’s house. I knocked on the door, but no one answered. I could smell bread baking, and I knew that Mary or someone had to be home. I knocked louder, and upon hearing no response, I lightly pushed the door open. Peeking inside, I saw a strange sight.

There was Mary, on her knees in the middle of her family’s house, eyes scrunched shut and tears pouring down her face. I thought that surely something must have happened to her. Had someone hurt her?

“Mary. Mary!” I cried frantically. Her eyes flew open in surprise, and I saw something in her eyes that I had never seen before: wide-eyed wonder. “Mary, what has happened? Is it your family? Say something!” I pleaded. Her mouth opened and closed without uttering a word, and I was clueless as to what had happened to my poor, beautiful Mary.

“It’s all right, Cora. I’m fine. More than fine, actually. I’ve just seen an angel!” Mary said, glowing in a way I had never seen before.

“Mary, you must be feverish! Let me help you to your bed…” I soothed. “No, Cora. I am not feverish. I am with child,” Mary stated calmly. It was now my turn to open and close my mouth soundlessly. My Mary, my pure, honest Mary was pregnant. How? What had she done? Was it her fiancĂ©, Joseph’s fault? Who had done this to her.

She must have seen the thoughts racing through my head as she placed a hand on my shoulder and said, “Cora, I am a virgin still. This baby is born by the will of God. He is allowing me to be the mother of the son of God who will come to save the world from all of this sin and turmoil!”

Something inside of me snapped and I felt bitterness begin to flood my body. “How could you, Mary? How could you lie to my face like this! I may not be married, but I know of the way a child is conceived. That God gave this babe to you is a lie. A lie! How could you convince yourself of such nonsense? Do you really think that Joseph is going to believe that notion? Do you think he will be pleased with your news? I think not. Mary, how can you lie to my face?” I cried, real tears pouring down my face.

“Cora, please! I have not done what you say. I am a virgin!” Mary sobbed, pain and sorrow overshadowing her beautiful features. Anger rose up inside of me, and I shook Mary by the shoulders. “You lie to yourself, Mary. I cannot be friends with a hypocrite,” I said angrily.

Mary’s heart-wrenching sobs only doubled the pain in my heart, and I began to walk to the door. “Mary, I will not be back until you confess your sin and stop lying to yourself. I am no longer your friend,” I said coldly.
I put one foot outside the door and Mary said quietly, “One day, you will see, Cora. One day, you will know that I carry the Messiah.”

Bitterness hardened my heart and I sent one last angry look at Mary before stepping outside and slamming the door. My sweet Mary was a hypocrite and I would never look at her again. Never.
To be continued…

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


I’ve been thinking an awful lot about how I am going to have to admit that I am growing up. I am a junior in high school this year, and all I can think about is how much I DON’T want to grow up. I suppose that I am sort of excited for college, but all I really want to do is stay home with my family forever and ever.

I guess what I want is Neverland.

I want to be able to dance forever, always learning and growing in my ability to praise and worship God through ballet and pointe. Knowing I will have to give it up in a year and a half is very difficult for me to swallow. It has been such a part of my life since I was three years old, that I simply can’t bear to think about it.

Maybe I could dance in Neverland.

I want to stay here with my brother and sisters and continue our special dates to get smoothies, books, and ice cream. I want to always be within earshot of them if they should need me. My little brother is about to turn thirteen, and I know there will be trials ahead of him. I only wish I could stay here forever with my wonderful
siblings, so that we could grow in our faith together.

In Neverland.

I have wonderful friends that I know will be going places other than here, and I can’t bear to see us get split up. My dear friend Haley and I have been friends since we met in the library in first grade, and she will be going to the other side of the world to do mission work. I can’t imagine what it will be like to be apart from her for so long. I want us to stay together forever.

Only in Neverland.

I’m afraid. Truly, I am. I don’t know exactly what God has in store for me, but I know that I will have to face many new challenges that I do not think I am ready for. Others tell me that I am ready, but I doubt myself so much. I want a place where I will be accepted readily and can be loved by everyone, a place where I can serve others and bless them as well.

In Neverland.

I suppose what I really want is a place where I don’t have to face my age or maturity. A place where I could sing and dance all day. A place with my friends and family that would always be there for me. A place where I would always be loved and accepted, never an outcast or a stranger. What I want will not exist until heaven, so i will grow up and take on responsibility. I will face the future eventually.

But for now, I can find it in Neverland.

“I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime – until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.” Isaiah 46:3-4

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

He Can

There are a lot of things that I am struggling with right now. Not necessarily huge things, but they are things that are challenging me all the same. Many times when I have confided in someone, they respond with the usual, “You can do it!” But guess what?

I can’t.

Nope, not at all. I’m not being negative here, I’m just stating the fact. I am a sixteen year old girl that can’t do anything. By myself, that is… Thankfully, God can do what I am unable to do, and I could not be more grateful to Him.

This week I really struggled with the classes I am taking at the college this year. I have been very intimidated by English and Sociology, mostly because I feel so YOUNG. I was confident that I could succeed in the classes – until I started them, anyway. When I began my sociology class, I began to see all the different and strange opinions that these college students have. Sure, some of them agree with mine, but the majority of the opinions differ greatly from my opinions on life, faith, and God. I cried several times over the fact that this class is HARD. I felt totally unprepared for the strange topics I was given to write about. My mom helped me figure the class out, and I spent a few hours working on it. Through those hours, I prayed on and off for God’s help in this class. “God, help me be a witness. God, please help me to get a good grade. God, don’t let them be mad at me!” – these were the prayers running through my head. And then I realized something.

I can’t do this by myself. I am UNABLE. But, God can. He can help me when I feel afraid, when my beliefs are attacked, and when I am downcast. I can’t do it on my own!

I can’t, but He can.

There was also a time this week when I had to defend my faith harder than I have ever had to before. I argued and rationalized and witnessed for several hours, not realizing that I was missing a very important element. I was trying to witness and get this person to realize how very real God is, and I was trying to do this all by myself.

And guess what? I can’t. It is not up to me to convince a person to believe in God. It is not up to me to make someone believe. That is what God can do. It is NOT MY JOB. I am a messenger, yes, and I am here to plant seeds, but ultimately God will have to change that person’s heart.

I can’t, but He can.

Sometimes I feel very alone. Very scared. Very confused. Yes, I have friends, but a lot of times I do not call on them, or they are busy. I huddle in my room and throw a pity party, not realizing something very important.

I can’t face the trials in my life alone. I can’t do it BY MYSELF. I will be lonely all my life if I do not turn to Jesus when I am afraid.

I can’t do it alone, but He can help me.

I am so thankful that I am not alone. I have no words to describe the wonderful feeling of trust, faith, and hope all wrapped up in my love for Jesus and His love for me. I am so glad that God is big enough to save me from my sins. To save ME, a helpless and incapable young girl from loneliness.

Thank you, Jesus.

I can’t, but You can.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

All the Right Things

Our world today has so many negative and false views of Christianity today, that it is hard for others to know what is really right and true about the life of a Christian. For instance, it is commonly believed that most Christians are hypocrites and do not really live the life that they claim to.

Is that statement true? Do the majority of Christians really use the “do as I say, not as I do” mentality?

Unfortunately, I think it is somewhat common among Believers. No, the majority is not lying about their faith, but the fact that there are still some that do not follow what they claim is truth. Because of these people, though, it taints the world’s view of Christianity.

We were driving to church the other day, and I began looking around at all the houses in my neighborhood. I made a comment to my mom that we did not even know half of the people living in the houses next to ours. I began thinking about how we did not know there stories and whether or not they knew Jesus.

We arrived at church, which is not even two minutes from our house, and I began thinking about all the opportunities I have to invite my neighbors to church. I get so wrapped up in my own bubble, my own life, that I forget to think about others and what I can do for them.

It is so easy as a Christian to say all the right things about your walk with God, while completely forgetting that there are millions of people all around you that need to find the love of Jesus! It is so sad that for so long, people have walked around doing and saying all the right things, yet forgetting to reach out to others!

I am trying to make that change in my own life. I want to love Jesus, do what is right, and reach out to people all at the same time. At work, home, church, and even the grocery store there are opportunities to touch someone’s life!

Instead of living in your own “Christian bubble”, we need to try and touch the people around us in a way that may plant a seed that will later blossom into a relationship with Christ. If this means praying with or without your family when you go to a restaurant, do it. If it means smiling and being kind to those around you, do it. If it means praying for someone who looks like they are in need, do it.

There are opportunities all around us, but if we only say the right things and yet do not live it, then all our efforts are worthless.

“He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' " Luke 10:27

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Captured Heart

This post is one I have started to write for two years. I know it needs to be said, but I am afraid of the comments I may get because of it. But God has put it on my heart that it is something that needs to be written. If you are reading this and are offended, please know that I am not posting this to be self-righteous or to make you feel bad. I post it out of love for you and for God. What I say here is not meant to make you angry or defensive… It is only to be thought-provoking and a small piece of advice.

Tomorrow, a movie comes out that many teens are extremely excited about. This movie is one that has been long awaited by many teens who have planned and waited for the midnight showing.

This movie (“Eclipse”) is the third in the Twilight series.

I have skirted around this topic for two years, because I know my view will not be popular. However, I know what it is like to be caught up in some guilty pleasure that I know is sin, yet cannot get away from.

My guilty pleasure is the show “Dancing with the Stars”. It pains me to admit it, and I do not want to, but I have watched the last couple of seasons, and I have watched it go from slightly unclean to extremely raunchy. I have been praying about this pleasure, and God has made it clear to me that it is a waste of time. Not only does it go against many of the Bible’s teachings, but it is filled with sexual tension and immodesty. It is not easy to give up, but I believe it is something evil that should be avoided by everyone.

It is the same way with Twilight. Girls have become so enamored with the idea of vampires, werewolves, and average humans that they have forgotten what reality truly is. They have become so caught up in the books that they overlook the sexual references, the detailed make-out scenes, and the explicit descriptions of body contact, and only think about the “good” aspects of it.

Whether or not you want to believe it, Twilight is emotional PORNOGRAPHY. It is something that draws you in, captures your heart, and makes you forget about the Bible’s teachings. I know many girls who have read the books countless times, and each time they talk about it, they speak of it like it an addiction and obsession. Like drugs or alcohol, these books draw the reader in and make them long for more.

It is sad to watch teenagers, even the Christian ones, become so enamored with something so fake. Vampires are not real, people, so why should you desire them? Vampires have long been associated with the Occult, so why should Christians make-believe that they are harmless? Perhaps they are not real, but they can still be extremely harmful to the hearts and minds of humans.

If Jesus came to your house, do you think he would approve of the Twilight books on your shelves, CD’s in your stereo, and movies in your home? I highly doubt it. If Jesus would go to the movies today do you think he would go to Eclipse?

All you have to do is look at the cover of the first book and see the evil that is inside. The apple on the cover should remind you of the fruit that Satan gave to Eve who gave it to Adam. This fruit is what allowed sin to enter the world. It was a temptation for both Adam and Eve, just like Twilight is a temptation for young men and women.

Matthew 26:41 says, "Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." This verse accurately describes the feelings of teens toward Twilight. They do not want to do what is wrong, yet there is something so enticing about these books that they choose them over what is right. They seem harmless at the beginning, yet they become something so addicting, that they become more real to the teens than the Bible itself.

If you have gotten this far, and you have felt a conviction in your heart, then please choose to give up these books. Please do not let them enter your mind and corrupt it. I am not saying that it will be easy for you to give up these books, but it something that God asks everyone to do – Acts 3:19, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Ask the Lord to help you make it through your Twilight “detox” and to give you a time of refreshing and cleansing of your mind and heart.

After choosing to get rid of this area in your life, find something wholesome to replace it. Such as reading all the verses in the Bible about moral filth and immorality, or some good Christian fiction (if you need some suggestions, I can give you some good ones! I read a lot…)

Do not let your heart be captured by the evils presented by the world… Allow your heart to be captured by Jesus, who washes away your sins and allows you to begin anew.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

To Save the Children

I have always loved staying in hotels, whether on a vacation or other reason. Recently, I took a trip to Denver with my family, and we stayed in a hotel for two nights. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the bathroom was a sign hanging from the towels. Being a very visual person, I picked it up and read it. The sign talked about how this particular hotel was committed to reducing the amount of water, energy, and waste and that, if I wanted to help them in this plan, I could hang my towel up on the rack signaling the maid that I did not wish for my towel to be washed that day. I did not think much of this sign, until I went out to the bedroom and saw a similar sign lying on the sheets of the bed. For some reason, the signs turned me off. It was not until later that night that I realized why.

This hotel (along with many other places) was so consumed with the fact of saving the amount of energy used and protecting the rain forest, that they were missing something very important. I am not saying that what they are doing is wrong at all…
In fact, I agree that we should be stewards of the things God has given us and not waste the blessings that we have been granted. I think the rainforest is one of the most beautiful things ever created and, while it should be protected, should NOT be at the top of the priority list. What should be of utmost importance? I’m glad you

The answer would be this: Children.

Why are these people so concerned with the environment, and not the four-thousand babies that are aborted EACH DAY only in America? In my point of view, I feel like we have missed something that should have been placed first on America’s agenda.

Yes, saving water and other resources is a good idea… But it has become more important than saving the children.

50,000,000. That is the number of babies aborted every year here in America. Fifty million babies that were never given a chance to live, to breathe, to cry. Wake up, America! If you must leave behind the project of saving the environment so as to save the lives of unborn babies, than do it! If we use up all our energy, water, and other resources, then so be it! The lives of helpless, beautiful babies are far more important than whether or not to wash a towel after only one use. If America (and other countries) could only direct these projects toward saving children, not the number of sheets washed everyday in the hotels, the silent cry of the babies would be comforted. Abortions are rampant in America, and it is very difficult to watch a place with over 850 hotels worldwide direct their efforts to something with so little meaning.

“The project will support the employment, education and healthcare for the approximately 2,500 people who live there…” This is a quote directly from this hotel’s website, and it is speaking about a rainforest in Brazil. Perhaps we are providing employment, education, and healthcare for people in Brazil, but we are extinguishing the lives of fifty million babies a year.

The unborn children are crying out to you. Will you answer?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Labors of Love

Next year I will be a Junior in high school, and I have begun to think about college, where I want to go, what I want to do, and if I even am going to go to college. There are a lot of decisions ahead of me, and I have been thinking and praying over them a lot.

However, the subject of college and graduating is not what has been first and foremost on my mind. Strangely enough, I have been thinking a lot about motherhood.

As my family celebrated Mother’s Day this last Sunday, I watched my mom and realized how much she does for her family. In truth, mothers should be celebrated every day, not only once a year! My mom is so amazing and wonderful, and I hope that one day I can be a mother just like her.

As I watched her converse and play with my siblings, I began thinking about the days ahead when I would be a mother to my own children.

Honestly, I cannot wait.

In a world where motherhood is sometimes dreaded and considered a burden, I look forward to staying home with my children, homeschooling them, and teaching them about the everlasting love of Jesus. I love children of all ages, and I simply cannot stop thinking with excitement about my future.

Several weeks ago, we had some dear friends come up who have two young girls (“E”, age 4, and “S”, age 2). The youngest latched on to me immediately, and I was able to carry her around, playing with her all day long. She was so sweet, and when I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, she looked up at me with her big green/brown eyes and said, “My favorite part was makin’ cookies wif you, Miss Mowwy!” It melted my heart, and made me wonder if one day my own child would say that to me. That night, S couldn’t go to sleep, so I took her in my arms and began singing hymns softly in her ear, stroking her hair, and whispering words of comfort until she finally drifted off to sleep. That was such a tender experience, that it made me think about the many nights where I will sing my own children to sleep with words from soft, happy hymns that my mom always sang to me when I was scared.

Last week, my mom was very sick, and had to stay in bed. My dad was at work, so I was helping my siblings with school and making dinner. At first, I dreaded it, but then realized that my mom does it every day without complaining while juggling whatever other problems we currently had. Cooking, cleaning, and teaching are all labors of love that my mom so sweetly goes about doing every day without a single word of protest or selfishness. So, as I made quiche and muffins, I remembered that every step of mothering is a labor of love.

Even the most unpleasant things, like changing diapers, working through sickness, and cooking when tired are small sacrifices that are made all in the name of motherhood. Somehow, my mom has taught me to look forward to every chore, without complaining, and they become enjoyable. Motherhood is something I look forward to every day, whether it is doing the dishes or rocking a fussy baby to sleep.

One day, my dreams will come true, and I look forward to that day already, even though I am only sixteen.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

True to the Faith

(The following is an essay I wrote long ago on how to treat immorality.)

Hollywood, California has become a place full of evil and immorality. The media has also become infected with this terrible secular culture, and most movies and television shows are no longer appropriate for any age. And yet even the Christians still watch these types of movies, filled with sex, drugs, violence, and sin. Many actors and actresses in the media live lifestyles that go completely against the Bible and Christianity, but most Christians do not think about these things. Christians have become comfortable with watching, breathing, and living sin, and no longer reject the evil that permeates these films and ideas. Should Christians support such media? Is it right to watch and enjoy movies with actors and actresses that live their lives completely against what God has said and commanded in the Bible?

Whether it is buying and watching movies or going to the movie theater, Christians must think about their choices. Instead of going to the store and picking out a movie that looks good, they must research it first and find out about the actors and actresses in it, deciding for themselves whether or not the movie is completely free from evil. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” God wants us to stay separate from all forms of evil, whether they seem harmless or not.

Christians can be easily dragged into the evils of the media without ever thinking of the sin that is so rampant in it. Satan has molded the media to fit his standards rather than God’s, and has made it look harmless and entertaining in the meantime. This kind of deception is perhaps the most dangerous, because it is the hardest to detect. Christians must always be on their guard for such sin, making sure that they are not ensnared by evil.

Although there are many actors and actresses that live moral and upright lives, the majority has fallen into sin and live immoral, financially ruined lives. Lindsay Lohan, a young actress is an example of this sort of ruin. Starting out as a beautiful child actress and model, her career took off, but soon crashed when she was only eighteen. Lohan was arrested for several DUI’s, cocaine incidents, and car accidents, and yet every time she was released she went back to her old lifestyle. To this day, she is still ruining her life, never breaking out of the cycle of sin that she is trapped inside. On the other hand, she is a wonderful actress and beautiful girl. It is easy for Christians to see the good side of her and ignore the bad, but she is truly a messed up young woman.

Should Christians support people like Lohan? The answer is no, they should avoid all evil. Yet they should not cut sinful people off completely, for these people may never find Christ’s love if they are never told of it. Simply, Christians should show them love and compassion, but not support their choices and lifestyles. Instead, they can show them the love of God, and they may one day be brought to the everlasting love of Jesus and the Father.

It is difficult for Christians to make this kind of decision, because the media is so entertaining and enjoyable. To cut off this kind of connection is hard and a sacrifice, but at the same time they are following God’s will. Mark 14:38 says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." This verse says that Christians must pray that they will be able to flee the evil that is so prominent and always follow what God desires.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


This past week I read the book “1984” by George Orwell. If you have ever read it, you know about the ‘telescreens’. These television-like objects see into the homes of the owners and plays only government propaganda. I thought the telescreens were quite an interesting object in the story, considering it was written in the early
1900’s, and began reflecting on what that would be like in today’s world.

Well, I hate to say it, but we actually have propaganda spewed into our homes every time we turn on our modern-day televisions.

Think back to the commercials and shows that you have watched this past week. My family does not make a habit of watching TV, except to watch a game show every now and then. Although those shows are not harmful in and of themselves, the commercials we see in between contain enough sex, drugs, and lies to indoctrinate us immediately. (This is why my family is constantly talking about the humanist and evil influence on today’s world. We HAVE to be able to recognize it when we hear it!) Have the shows you’ve seen had a lot of immorality and humanist ideas?

At first you might say no, but if you take a closer look, I can guarantee that you have seen something that is a lie. It might be that a character in your drama was immoral with several different men. This allows the watcher to think that it is okay, and that sex should not be saved only for marriage. Or maybe a character committed suicide, allowing the watcher to think that life is not a precious gift. Or maybe a husband and wife got a divorce shortly after getting married, conveying that marriage is not meant to be forever.

These ideas are not displayed only through the shows but in the commercials, as well. You absolutely MUST be on your guard at all times so that you are not brainwashed into thinking that these things are okay. Not only should you make sure to recognize the untruths displayed on television, but you should seriously consider which shows you watch and which are simply too inappropriate or humanistic to waste your time on.

99% of American homes own a television. I don’t know if this statistic shocks you, but to me it seemed unbelievable. If all Christians got rid of their televisions and watched only what was appropriate and praiseworthy, imagine the effect it would make.

I’m not saying everyone should simply throw their TV’s out the window, but it is something to seriously consider. A lot of evil and humanistic thought comes from the influence of television, and I’m not sure that the pros outweigh the cons (are there any pro’s?).

Please consider what you are watching…because you never know what might slip into your brain when you are not paying attention to what God wants you to hear, think, and see.

“Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway.” Proverbs 8:34.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Risen Indeed!

(This is continued from Friday’s post on the death and crucifixion of Jesus. It is still from Mary’s perspective. Have a very Happy Easter, and remember that CHRIST IS RISEN!)

I walked around as if I had died, too. When my son gave up his spirit on the cruel, ugly cross, something perished within me. I cried out to God all day long, but was beginning to feel numb to His whispers. How could God have killed His only son? Surely there was no plan in this horrible deed!

He was dead for three days before I finally decided to visit the tomb. I simply could not bear the pain and suffering it would bring. My friend Mary Magdalene let me lean on her on the way there. She, also, was a follower of Jesus, and was much grieved by his death.

We finally got to the tomb, and I fell on my knees in despair. The ground began shaking, and I was sure it was punishment for being angry with God. However, Mary Magdalene felt it, too, her eyes wide with fear. I tried to stand up, but was knocked back down. What could this be? And earthquake, perhaps?

And then the stone that covered the tomb of my beloved son rolled away. Mary Magdalene and I both shrieked in confusion and burst through the small opening into my son’s grave room.

It was empty.

I cried out in despair, thinking that someone must have taken his body. Who could be so callous as to do something so cruel? And then I heard a voice that was quietly calling my name.

“DO NOT BE AFRAID!” the man, an angel of God, boomed. Those words brought a flood of memories back to me. Those were the first words I heard from an angel when he told me that I would bear the son of God.

Immediately, my trembling stopped. I knew that this brightly shining man was from God and had brought us good news!


Excitement and hope, two feelings I had not felt for three days, began beating within my heart. My friend and I took one last look at the tomb, then began running toward the town, our feet nearly flying.

Before we got there, however, a man stepped out into the path, blocking our way. We skidded to a halt, and soon realized that the man was Jesus, my son! Joy sang from my heart, and I ran to hug him. He took me in his arms, and reassured me that all would be well. Then he said, “Go. Spread the news to all the earth!” Mary Magdalene and I heeded his words and once again began our journey of joy.

“He is RISEN! He is RISEN! Jesus is ALIVE!” I cried. The people in the street all stopped to stare, and many of them joined me on my delivery of the greatest news ever to be known to people. Shouting, dancing, and singing began, making the atmosphere seem almost like a party or holiday of some kind. People all around began clapping and shouting for joy, just as I had upon seeing my son.

Forty days passed in which I could not stop smiling and singing for joy. But on that fortieth day, I woke up knowing that something bittersweet was about to happen. I walked out of my house, and headed for the place where I knew Jesus would be meeting his disciples.

When I got there, a large crowd was gathered and was walking behind Jesus, who was leading them to Bethany. I did not know exactly what was happening, so I followed.
I somehow worked my way up beside Jesus, and he gave me one last loving look that I would not forget for the rest of my life. I smiled at him, and let myself fall back into the crowd once more.

When we reached Bethany, Jesus raised his hands and began blessing the crowd. A silence had fallen over the crowd, and I was able to hear every word Jesus spoke. Then the crowd began worshiping my son with song and dance, and Jesus began rising up into the air.

He was ascending into heaven to be with his Heavenly Father.

As my son began to disappear into the clouds, my heart did not become burdened, but happy, for I knew that no one could hurt my Jesus any longer.

For he was in heaven with his Father who truly did have a plan for the crucifixion.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Sacrifice

(In remembrance of Good Friday, I wrote this post from Mary’s perspective as she is gazing on the cross. Most of it is embellished from how I think she must have felt, but it is the true story of God’s only son’s crucifixion.)

I was taking a walk in the beautiful sunshine when I heard it. The cry came from not one person, but many! A steady wailing came from several streets over, and I ran to see what could have happened. Thoughts flashed through my head faster than I could interpret them: Had someone died? Was there a stoning going on? Neither events were uncommon, but I was afraid all the same.

“Mary! Have you not heard? Were you not there?” my friend Ada asked. I looked at her in puzzlement and her eyes got wide and fearful. “Oh, Mary…it’s Jesus. He’s been arrested,” Ada cried.

Those words alone were enough to knock me to my knees. I had known something would happen to my son, the only son of God, but I had prayed that nothing would. From the crowd’s murmurings, I gathered that Jesus had already been tried before the Sanhedrin, and they had passed him off to Pontius Pilate, the governor.

I followed the crowd, not knowing if I was walking or running, my heart beating wildly. I caught a glimpse of my son, and saw that he was heavily burdened and in pain. My heart broke for him, wondering if he knew exactly what was going to happen. We got to the place where Pilate was, and Jesus was put before him. My heart beat in time to the words, “Please, God. Please, God,” and I could think of nothing else.

“Are the things these people say about you true? Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked. Jesus replied that he was and Pilate looked at him in bewilderment. Then Pilate shouted, “It is Passover, the time where I release one prisoner. Which do you want? Jesus or the murderous Barabbas? Who shall I turn over to you?”

The crowd thundered and screamed, “WE WANT BARABBAS!” My heart sank to my knees. I knew what would come. Surely my son would be thrown in prison for life.

“And what should I do with this man called Christ?” Pilate asked, looking fearful of their answer. “CRUCIFY HIM!” the crowd shouted.

Time seemed to slow to a stop all around me. A crucifixion? They wanted to crucify my son, God’s son? No! That could not be what they said…they were only going to throw him in prison, right? The sound became deafening in my ears, and I realized that the crowd was serious about my son’s crucifixion. Did they not see that he was the son of God?

Pilate brought out a bowl of water and washed his hands, signifying that he had nothing to do with Jesus’ death. I couldn’t believe how cowardly he was being! Perhaps he had no power over the raucous crowd, but to kill an innocent man? That was too far!

Jesus was then made to walk to the place where he would pick up his cross. The soldiers beat and mocked him, leaving scars on his face and back. My perfect child was being brutally mocked, and the crowd was letting him? Except for the few hundred people who were sobbing over the coming death of Jesus, the rest of the city was allowing the only Son of God to be killed.

My son was so weak he could not carry his cross. A friend had to help him, and I was eternally grateful for the burden of it being taken from my son. Every step he took was determined, but sad. I could see in his eyes the great pain he was bearing, and not from any physical source.

Every step I took led me closer to the cross. Every breath brought me one step closer to seeing my son die. I could not take it anymore. I had to talk to my son. I ran ahead of the crowd, pushing and shoving my way through. I got up to where Jesus was, although a few feet away, and I cried, “Jesus!”

He looked at me, and somehow seeing his determination brought me a peace and calm that transcended my soul. He nodded at me that he was not doing something against his will, and I breathed the words, “I love you,” in his direction. A small smile lifted his lips, but it came from sorrow rather than happiness.

Once more, the crowd swept me away, bringing me closer to the moment I dreaded most. Nothing could compare to seeing my son die…nothing at all. Not the moment when I found out I was pregnant by an angel, not the moment when I told my fiancĂ© and parents, not the moment when I gave birth to the Christ-child.

The nails were driven into his hands and feet with three resounding pounds. My heart broke with each one as I watched tears flow down my son’s cheeks. “God,” I whispered, “I do not know what you are doing!” Anger and pain flowed over me, but a whisper came from the God I loved: “I am with you, daughter.” The anger eased, though the pain tripled, as my son was hoisted above the ground.

A mocking sign over my son’s head read, “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Oh, how I wanted to rip it down and stomp on it! They did not believe it, it was only sarcasm. Then a cry came from my son.

“My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” Jesus cried.

I began sobbing at those words. The hopeless, confused words of the son of God. The one who was being crucified unfairly by people who had no idea who he was.

Then Jesus cried, “It is finished!” and let his head drop one last time. He was gone.

I stayed many hours at the foot of the cross, crying and asking God why this had happened. My heart was full of misery and sorrow, and I knew I would never forget the day that the son of God died on a cross.

Did God have a plan? Was He even there? Once more whispers in my heart soothed my spirit, and I knew for certain that God had a plan.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


(I realize that this blog is more rambling than usual, but it something I had to write. Please bear with me as I pour out my thoughts…)

I am a people-pleaser by nature. I always have been. When I was little, if I was corrected by my Sunday school teacher or got scolded for talking I would be devastated. I want so badly to please the people that I respect, yet I still want to stand up for my beliefs.

It is very hard for me to take criticism, simply because I think that when I do something wrong that I have let that person down. While this may be true, most criticism comes out of love and a want for me to improve in my spiritual life. I have come a long way in listening to others thoughts about me, but I still stumble.
When criticism is given unjustly, my heart is broken. When a person judges me unfairly, I weep inside. Sometimes it is hard to know that someone dislikes me or doesn’t care for the REAL me, and I often wonder if I have done something wrong.

But I must stand strong. I cannot let others run all over me simply because they don’t like me or have listened to gossip about my life. I must learn to look to God for my self-worth, not the world’s view of my life.


I didn’t know I struggled with this until the last few months. I thought I knew who I was, and was prepared to always defend my beliefs and my identity. But it has been severely tested, and I wonder sometimes if standing up for myself is worth the pain and the trouble.

But God has told me again and again to look to Him for my value. I am a sinful human, and sometimes I am so overcome with my wrongs and troubles that I forget to look to the One who created me to be beautiful on the inside. The song “Mirror” by BarlowGirl has helped me remember that although the world may see a strange, crazy girl, God sees my heart that has been washed clean by the blood of Jesus.

Luke 16:15 says, “He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God's sight.” It is so easy to justify myself in the eyes of the world, but I remember that God knows my heart and loves me unconditionally.

When I am beaten down by those who do not respect me, I must remember that God knows my innermost being. 1 John 3:20, “…whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything.” My heart may condemn me, but God is greater than my sin and my sadness.

If you have ever had trouble comparing yourself to others or have wanted to be something that you know you are not, please listen. It is hard to overcome our minds which deceive and torture us with thoughts on our sin and our incapability to do anything, but God allows us to focus only on Him, ignoring the people who jeer and laugh at us for our beliefs. God is in front of us, and if we look at Him, we will never stumble.

Jesus was laughed, beaten, and jeered at in a much more horrible manner. Yet He endured it. We must follow His example of loving kindness even in times of trouble.

Job 11:15, “…then you will lift up your face without shame; you will stand firm and without fear.”

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Moving the Line

Imagine with me that a man is about to start a race in which he has to run a short distance. His opponent is formidable, and he knows there is no way to win. So, he goes to where he is supposed to finish and picks up the paper line that marks the finish of the race and moves it three feet backwards.

What is my point in this silly story? Well, I relate it to our present society, and how easy it is to let our standards slide.

Imagine that you have made a promise not kiss a man outside of marriage. You start dating someone who does not have that same standard, and you fall deeply in love with this person. You know what you have decided in your heart, but somehow, an excuse works its way into your mind. Then one day, you kiss this person. In this situation, you have just moved your “line of conviction” back three steps. If you have no problem with moving it, then you will certainly move it again. Pretty soon you will be doing things that you told yourself you never would do outside of marriage.

Another example would be drugs and alcohol. You tell yourself that no one can tempt you, that no one can cause you to drink or do drugs. And then someone you know hands you a drink or a packet of drugs. You look at that person and think, “Well, they don’t look drunk or stupid. I guess it is okay.” Then you start going to parties, getting drunk on the weekends, and spending your savings on the drugs that you desire so much. This is another example of moving the line backwards. Although you had a standard set in your heart, it only took Satan’s excuses to set you on a road of addiction and pain.

Then there is the example of a person who does not know where their line stands. They try out dating without any real standards and experiment with drinking and drugs without firmly deciding that they are wrong. These people’s lines move constantly, going through spurts and phases. Although this person may eventually find the path of Life, they will make many mistakes in the process.

YOU MUST KNOW WHERE YOUR STANDARDS LIE. I cannot stress this enough! If you do not have specific convictions and a determination to keep them, then Satan will run all over you and your life will become something you never imagined.

Deuteronomy 8:11 says, “Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.” This verse stresses the fact that we must not forget God while we live our lives! Excuses can ruin even the best of men, making them believe that “just this once” is a worthy defense.

Standards must be set and carried out if you are to remain strong and unwavering in your faith. Moving the line is easy and must be avoided at all costs. Though it is hard, we must fight. Though excuses pervade our thoughts, we must ignore them and keep pressing forward in our Heavenly Father’s light.

Keep your standards where they are or move them forward, but never let them slide back to a place where you have ruined your life.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be back soon!

I am taking the next two weeks off for prayer, so that I can come back to you with more blogs... I am truly out of blog topics right now, and need a little vacation. Thank you for being faithful readers!

See you March 2nd...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thoughts on Dating

As Valentine’s Day approaches, it seems that more and more people are pairing off. As I looked back at my blog one day, I realized that I haven’t really said what I think about dating, marriage, etc. Please do not be offended…these are my personal views, and you have the right to agree or disagree with it.

1. Dating/Courtship

I am not going to date until college. This may seem crazy or impossible, but all I see in young relationships is heartbreak and impurity. I know there are some that are beautiful and pure, but I do not want to make a mistake so young. Also, it takes away from my thoughts on school and I just don’t think it is necessary to date at an age where you can’t get married. What’s the point?! The purpose of dating/courting is to lead up to marriage, and I will not date until I reach the age that I could (legally) get married. I also will date for several years, so that I do not rush into anything in blind love. Marriage is tested by the trials of courting, so that is why I will not date any less than a year.

When I do start dating, I will never be alone with him in an apartment, house, or dorm. This simply leads to a temptation that I want to avoid like the plague. It is a prudent choice that will help keep me from the sin of pre-marital sex. I also will not date a non-believer. I do not want to fall in love with a man that will not share my faith, and could drag me away from my God.

2. Marriage

I am saving my first kiss for my wedding day. Most people look at me in a surprised manner when I say this, but it is true. In my lifetime, I want to only kiss the one man I marry. I simply don’t want my lips tainted with the kisses of other men, but want my husband to know that I held out completely for him. This promise also holds that I will be pure as well. This choice comes from Hebrews 13:4 which commands all people to remain pure until marriage.

I am writing letters in a book, having started when I was fourteen, and I plan to make this part of the wedding ceremony. I will present it to my husband, showing him the inner depths of my heart and the many times in my life that I have prayed for him, whether I knew his name or not.

These are my thoughts on dating, and they may be slightly extreme, but I know that holding out for the man I will marry will forever be special and pure, causing no past issues with immorality to come between us. I do not know who God has in mind for me to marry, but I know that I can’t wait to meet him.

(I urge you to make your own outline of what your standards are for dating, so that you are not confronted with a question or problem that you are not prepared to accept or reject. Being prepared is always a good thing!)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Several people have told me or my parents that I am brainwashed by my parents’ views. This really makes me mad. Although I have been greatly influenced by my parents’ choices and decisions, I really CAN think for myself.

No, really.

My views are not copied from the same page that holds the views made by my parents. I have shaped and formed them through the fires of trial and mistakes. Yes they are similar, but I can think for myself, thank you very much.

My modesty standards are different than my mother’s. There is nothing wrong with hers, but I have decided for myself what I will and won’t wear, and she respects my decisions. Hers are neither higher nor lower than mine, simply different.

My thoughts on dating are also different than my mom and dad’s view used to be.
Although I have not gone into this view (just wait until next week…) I can promise you that it started out as something much different than it is now. God has opened my eyes to many things throughout the years, and I have changed with every lesson from Him.

Although several have said that I am not old enough to think and make decisions for myself, I can assure you that I am and I can. They may not always be the right decisions, but they are ones I can make all the same. I don’t understand how someone can say that I am not old enough to think for myself now (at sixteen), and yet the day I graduate I will somehow be old enough to make my own decisions. What magical transformation makes me more capable overnight?! If I don’t start trying out my beliefs before I turn eighteen, how will I ever be ready for the real world? The mistakes I can make now to learn a lesson will have consequences that are far less great than those I can make when I am older.

“I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw,” says Proverbs 24:32. I am not brainwashed, I simply have a very similar Christian worldview compared to that of my parents. I am not perfect by far, but neither am I stupid nor helpless. I lean on God for my worldview and my answers, and since my parents do as well, they become very similar.

I am not brainwashed. I am a student of Christ and a follower of my Lord.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

In the Desert

I often feel like I go through spurts in my Christianity. It might be through a time of intense prayer or closeness to God or the complete opposite.

This summer I went through a worshipful spurt. Every time the radio turned on or I went to church, I would close my eyes and feel like it was just me and God. I loved this phase…it grew my spirit immensely and allowed me to take steps toward God that I never could have imagined possible.

In October, I was greatly convicted that I needed to pray intensely about everything, no matter what it was. I would pray on my knees, head bowed every night before bed. Usually I prayed for a wide array of things, but sometimes I focused on one person or issue. I think my greatest weakness is my prayer life, and this time was a great lesson in the power and trust involved in prayer.

What stage am I in now, you ask? I currently am struggling a lot, not necessarily with any particular issues, but this time of year always gets me down. The holidays are over, and I am settled in for a long Colorado winter, where spring feels so far off. I am in the desert of my Christianity, and I must work hard to get out.

I am not clinically depressed, just sad and longing for warmth and light. My problem is that I don’t look to the light, but simply resign myself to the fact that it is gloomy winter instead of face the light.

What light? The light from Jesus’ face that radiates through all the seasons of my life. Not just the ones that are easy. God still loves me, even if I feel like He is so far away.

I think the song, “Tunnel” by Third Day truly sums up what I am living for:

“There's a light at the end of this tunnel
There's a light at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you
There's a light at the end of this tunnel
Shinin' bright at the end of this tunnel
For you, for you
So keep holdin' on

You've got your disappointments and sorrows
You ought to share the weight of that load with me
Then you will find that the light of tomorrow
Brings a new life for your eyes to see

So remember what I've told you
There's so much you're living for”

When I am going through a time of struggle or sadness, I always look to this song. When I am in the desert, God speaks to me through it and helps me to see that I will not always be where I am if I trust Him and work to leave my desert of loneliness.

God is at the end of my tunnel, and I am always going to strive to reach the light. 2 Chronicles 7:16 says, “I have chosen and consecrated this temple so that my Name may be there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.” God is always there, and He has chosen me.

That is what I will hang on to during my time in the desert. I am making my journey across it, however, and will soon be out of my struggle, because God’s light is at the end of my tunnel.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Just Think!

Last week I got on Facebook and was utterly confused at what I saw. Most of my female friends had posted a status simply listing a one or two word color (for instance all the status would say was “pink”). I emailed a friend, asking what was going on, and she wrote back and told me that everyone was posting the color of their bra to promote breast cancer awareness.

My first reaction was to laugh, but the more I thought about it, the more it mortified me. I realized what these women and girls were doing was not right at all! I’m sure they did not mean any harm by it, but I was not at all pleased with what was going on.

What did they think all those men and boys were thinking about? All it was causing them to do was picture many (even Christian) women in their bras! How can this possibly be appropriate? Not only was it awkward and inappropriate, but it did absolutely nothing for breast cancer awareness! It did not donate money or anything toward trying to find a cure for cancer. It was a pointless, immature game to get women to reveal a personal secret.

And what about the married women? Did they think that their husbands wouldn’t care that something only they should know about was posted on the internet? How do you think that made them feel?

As you can probably see, I was furious. Instead of getting women out to do something about breast cancer, the creators of this game caused them to take part in something that could ultimately make men stumble. Men are visual creatures that cannot always help the thoughts that race through their heads when they see immodesty. The women that posted their bra colors were causing Christian men to stumble into a trap that could ultimately consume them. The path to pornography is easily followed, and much harder to escape.

1 Corinthians 10:32 says, “Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God.” This silly “game” meant to promote breast cancer awareness only caused millions of men to picture Christian women and teens in their bras. Instead of getting women to donate or share their experiences with cancer, they did nothing but speak of their bras in a public forum. I cannot believe what the men had to do to stay away from temptation and keep their thoughts pure.

Please, before you post, say, or wear anything in front of men, think about what the ramifications could ultimately be. Think about if it could lead men into sin, whether physical or mental.

Please, just think.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"But I don't..."

It is always nice to have a reputation that people recognize. Especially when it is regarding something good about you. One must be careful, though, that you don’t get a bad reputation. Most people would define a bad reputation as one that is full of immorality or a bad attitude. I, however, am not immoral and do not have a bad
attitude (well, only sometimes…), and yet I have a bad reputation.

What is it you ask? I have a reputation for all of the things that I don’t do.
Although this is not a bad thing in and of itself, I would much rather be known for the things that I do. I hear all the time about the things that I don’t do such as go to parties, date, have a boyfriend, read Twilight, watch (many) movies, complain about my parents, and talk about boys. I would rather people thought of me as a good babysitter, dancer, writer, worker, and Christian.

How do you get out of this kind of bad reputation, though? Perhaps you must actually do something! As I sit on the couch writing this, I wonder what would happen if I actually lived it. It is so easy to write what I want people to hear, but not listen to it myself. Easy to say, not so easy to do. I want to practice what I preach and get out there and do something amazing! I do not want to do it for me and my reputation, but for God. My generation has the chance to change the way people feel about teenagers. When the word “teen” is brought up, it is usually accompanied with groans and knowing looks. That is not the way I want to be thought of! I don’t want the word teen to taint my reputation just because I’m sixteen years old.

So, I’m on a mission to change the world. Yes, you might think I’m an overachiever, and perhaps I am. But I don’t care. I want to be known because of the things I do for God! Not the things that I DON’T do because I am a Christian! 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I can set an example by the things I do!

It is hard for me not to get this reputation because there are so many things I don’t do, but I want to be known most of all for being a follower of Jesus. It does not matter to me what else I am known for as long as my love for Jesus outshines it all.

1 Corinthians 8:3 says, “But the man who loves God is known by God.” It is not at all important that I am known for things on this earth as long as I am known by God. So, instead of changing my image on earth, I will change my image in God’s eyes. Ultimately, all that matters is where my trust lays, and mine is with Jesus Christ. I still want to do great things and change the world, but I am not worried about what others think about me.

What does God think about you and your reputation?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Richly Blessed

Today is my 16th birthday. Over the past week, I have had more surprises and loving gifts than I have ever had before.

On New Year’s Eve, we were over at a friend’s house, playing games, eating food, and just hanging out. My dear cousin Hana called me on the phone and we began catching up on each other’s lives. I heard the door open behind me, and there stood my cousin. My parents knew that she was what I wanted to have more than any present for my birthday. We ran and hugged each other and I (of course) started bawling.

I am richly blessed.

January 2nd, I prepared to go to work. I didn’t want to go, because I wanted to stay with Hana, but I knew I had no choice. Little did I know how clueless I was! Dad picked me up from work, rushing me a little because we were “going to a movie”. I got home and walked in the door, almost throwing my iced tea, when 45 of my dearest friends and family shouted “Surprise!” My house was decorated in a Hawaiian theme (my favorite) and a beautiful cake with butter-cream frosting lay waiting to be eaten. My parents had planned a huge blessing party for me filled with prayer, love, and friendship.

I am richly blessed.

After my heart stopped racing from the surprise and love that filled the room, my dad led me to a seat in the center of the room. Then, my family and friends gave me verses, memories, and thanks for being myself, my personality, and my trust in God. I could hardly keep from crying at the overwhelming love that I felt.

I am richly blessed.

Then on Monday, I had to leave Hana at the airport, because it was time for her to go. I was absolutely sobbing when she left, and had a hard time keeping myself calm (I failed miserably). I was crying so much, that a security guard stopped me and asked if I was okay and then proceeded to make jokes to try and cheer me up. I realized that Hana’s and my friendship is so deep and so full of love that it could only have come from God. I am so glad to be her friend.

I am richly blessed.

So through all these blessings and surprises, I have learned to not take for granted the fact that I have many friends who love and appreciate me for who I am. Through all this I have said:

I am richly blessed.