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.