Seeking God’s Mysterious Plan

“I want them to be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God’s mysterious plan, which is Christ Himself. In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Colossians 2:2-3

Many times I’ve heard that most of, if not all, of our troubles stem out of our desire for both intimacy and to belong. Of course, this refers to belonging in and with God and having intimacy with Him, not man.

I’ve also heard people go on and on about how they can’t wrap their head around God and understand the reason why He does what He does. They can’t comprehend Him, and they assume that’s okay, and don’t even try. Well, I am here to challenge that today.

Is not understanding God okay? Yes! How can you fully ever understand Him right now? I think the problem likes with not wanting to or trying to. Do you need to understand Him? No. But He wants us to seek Him!

It’s kind of like marrying someone, and then being just fine with not knowing anything about them after marriage. “Oh, I know the basics. You’re too complex for me to figure out and get to know.” See, it’s all about relationship. That would just be weird to say that to your spouse! And your spouse might even get a little offended. Well, good news. God isn’t offended!

God isn’t expecting us to understand everything about Him and all His wonderful mysteries, He just wants us to seek Him out.

So if we were made to belong, how do we do just that? Other than ignore all of the world’s unfulfilling things, including the trap of trying to belong with people, it’s simple. Belong in God’s great plan, and you will become a mystery to the world.

So how do you belong in God’s great and mysterious plan? Well, first, you have to understand it. If you understand this mystery, you will belong in it. The answer is simple. Jesus Christ. It says in the verse above that Jesus is God’s mysterious plan.

So wouldn’t it make sense that knowing Jesus Christ personally, in a real relationship mean we know God’s plan and if we are in Christ, that means we are in His plan! Because Jesus IS the plan. He is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6), and thus we will find the sense of belonging and intimacy we have been searching for, the ones we were created for.

Walking and living in our identity is a fruit of a relationship with Jesus, with knowing Him.

Does knowing Him mean I know everything about Him? Nope. I know my parents well, but there are things I still don’t know, and things I find out that are new all the time! And thus, He wants us to search Him out.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.” Proverbs 25:2

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

“Now devote your heart and soul to seeking the Lord your God.” 1 Chronicles 22:19′

“He did evil because he had not set his heart on seeking the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 12:14

“The Lord looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.”
Psalm 14:2, Psalm 53:2

I think a lot of people don’t realize how much of a real person God truly is. So many people believe that a relationship with God consists of “formal prayer” and on your knees begging for forgiveness, or even a wave of his presence where you fall down on the floor at church or some event or something. But He is so much more than this.

Do you know God is interested in everything you are interested in? That’s because you’re interested in it! You can talk about anything with Him.

Not just requests. Not just thanking or praising Him. Not just repenting. So much more. Treat Him like your best friend. Just try it for one day! Imagine you were hanging out with your closest friend or loved one, think about things you would say to them while you were with them. Why couldn’t (and in my opinion wouldn’t) you treat the Holy Spirit in the same manner? I’m not joking! I tell Him about the book I just read, something I just bought, whatever I’m excited about, the last episode of T.V. I watched, my school work, and so on. Sure, He knows all about those things, but it’s about the relationship. It’s like a parent who was watching their child participate in a play. The parent probably knows every line in the script from hearing their kid practice, watched them perform, saw the whole thing and knows all about it, heck, they’ve been there every step of the way! They probably know how the child was feeling all along, the excitement, the nerves, the fear, the hard work. But they still want to hear all about it from the child’s lips. God is the same way.

This is why He is so much better than a golden idol! Why do we treat Him like one? Not expecting replies unless it’s a booming voice about direction of where to go, but the gentle whisper of a loving parent, desiring to hear the heart of their child and growing close to them. Perhaps it’s not so much about letting God know stuff (how arrogant!) but it’s for us. He’s making sure we feel heard and loved and listened to. Like He cares about even the tiniest of details in our lives, because, surprise surprise, He actually does. We may not be worth His time and attention, but He still gives it to us freely because, through Jesus, He made us worthy.

He didn’t make Adam for Adam to do formal prayers and rituals and to every now and then get knocked down by His glory, and Adam sure didn’t get fulfilled by that. He didn’t make Adam to take care of the animals (you don’t think God could have done that Himself?), and Adam didn’t get fulfilled by that, either.

No, Adam was made to walk with God. To talk with Him. To be in relationship with Him. That’s what we were created for.

And that’s how we find belonging and true intimacy. In our everyday walk (and talk!) with God.

I challenge you to treat Him like your best friend for one week. Tell Him everything that means anything to you. Tell Him your pains, your struggles, your joys, your jokes. Even if you think it must be mundane to Him, it isn’t Because if it isn’t mundane to you, it’s not mundane to Him. If it’s important to you, you can bet it’s important to Him.

So tell Him everything, and seek Him with all your heart. How could you go wrong with that?

The Devil: The Truth Revealed

Dramatic title, right?!?! Right!

The world clearly displays the presence of Satan and his minions. It’s time we look at him and see him for who he really is, folks. He’s scary, right?

Nah, not really… I’ll explain more in a second.

Though the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), we must stand firm against him. We must realize that, although he comes to do such things, that doesn’t mean he is always instantly successful.

Recently I have started to image Satan in a different “light” (oh, the irony).

I started imagining him as a swindler.

Really skinny, dirt, smelly, quite short, and small, and he is working the streets. He tries to convince anyone who is walking by, including me, to buy something he is selling. He is getting anyone to listen, just a little, because his normal voice, which is high-pitched and whiny, has been replaced by a deep, rich, accented yet charming voice. If you open your ear for a single second, suddenly you are curious and listening some more. He tries to sell you things you never wanted or desired, and what he sells isn’t even the authentic version! As he tries to convince what a great deal is, how much you want and need this item, you have a decision to make.

You could listen and agree, buying his item, and when you do he’ll swipe the watch off your wrist. Then, he’ll start convincing you that that item alone isn’t enough, how you need more. Look at this fancy add-on item for just a little bit more! Soon, you are out of money and are left with only worthless and terribly-made items to show for it, and you never wanted them in the first place.

If you walk away, he is going to intimidate you. He is going to puff himself up to his fullest height possible, stick his chest out and growl lowly. And in this moment you can realize he is small and stupid and you know jiu-jitsu (which through Christ we do have spiritually!), or you can get scared and run, leaving all your valuables wide and he will chase you back to your home, and you’ll be forever haunted by the rodent until you stand up to him.

The point of this is to say, he honestly isn’t all that scary. Sure, he’ll try to scare you with a knife, but you have an atomic bomb.

Doesn’t the devil know you shouldn’t bring a knife to an atomic bomb fight? This is literally the spiritual war we are in.

The devil can’t win.

And In Christ, we can’t lose.

The only thing he can try to toy with is things in the physical, and anything we let him toy with. He is truly powerless against us, but often (myself included) don’t act like it.

The only power Satan has over us is the power we give him.

Everything the devil tries to sell us is just cheap rip-off of something that God created for good. He twists everything, and thus we need to know the authentic version very well to be able to tell the false ones.

Recently, I have made it my goal to watch what music I am listening to, what movies/shows I am watching, what I am reading, how I spend my time, and also trying to just be in the Bible more. It’s been amazing, after just a couple of days, how suddenly easy it was for me to write, to paint, to have more creative ideas, and to feel so encouraged, refreshed and inspired. Apparently the devil had been swiping this from me, right under my nose, and like a swindler slyly swipes that nice watch on your wrist, inspiration and motivation got taken from me. Yet I didn’t even know it or realize it was missing! This is not said to scare you, for as soon as I re-focused my life to point toward God, suddenly, like “magic”, they reappeared!

The devil is sneaky, yet instead of being fearful of him, we need to practice our spiritual jiu-jitsu on him and take him down.

It’s time to say no more, devil. No. More.

Today, Not Tomorrow. Not Yesterday.

There are many days I worry about my future. I worry about my post-high school life, I worry about money, I worry about marriage, I worry, worry, worry. There are other days I worry about my past. The mistakes I made, my regrets, stupid things I said, what people thought (and think) about me, things I could have done better, choices I’d wish I made, and so on. But there are other days, like today, I realize neither of those are healthy.

I’ve been reading this awesome book with my Mother called Loving God with All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. (I’ll put the link below to where you can buy this awesome book!) In this wonderful book, Elizabeth shares something God revealed to her. According to Philippians 4:8, we must think on things that are true, or real. Another way to look at this is: Don’t think about things that aren’t real or true. Guessing what someone thinks about you, or thinking the what ifs of your future and fearing the worst aren’t true realities, and according to this scripture, we shouldn’t be thinking of such things.

Another reason we shouldn’t meditate on the past or future is it takes away from the now.

We must live in the now. God, who is not bound by time, has called us to the present. We are here, in this exact moment, for a very good reason. In the past we see mistakes, sorrow, and old memories. The past has faded away.
The future only holds uncertainty, and the great unknown, which often causes fear in us. We are in the dark about what lies ahead, and that is frightening.

But what about now? Why are we here? There is work to be done right now. People who need love right now, even if it is your neighbor (1 John 4:7-8, Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 19:19, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:8, I could go on!), making someone feel loved is so crucial. We have Good News to give, too! If we are so caught up in the what ifs, could bes, and regrets of yesterday, how can we share about the GREAT news of Jesus Christ?!

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Focus on today. Yesterday is gone and you can only prepare for tomorrow via today. Why do we pester God with worries of tomorrow when He is already there, and has already seen it be finished?

“But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8

What can we do about yesterday? There is no changing the past. The only reason to look briefly back is to learn and put those lessons to use today. Let us not think of tomorrow when we have a voice today. Why plan so far in advance? Isn’t His way and thoughts higher and better? (Isaiah 55:9) How and why do we make all these plans when we don’t know the days ahead? Who are we to question God and tell Him our plans and opinions? Why would we even do that? It’s kind of stupid, don’t you think, to insist on our way over a God who knows-all and knows best, more than we could ever know? After all, doesn’t He already know our opinions, since He was the one who formed us in our Mother’s womb? Why do we act like God is in dire need of our advice? Of course, I’m talking to myself probably more than you. Most of this is actually from my own personal journal. I am preaching to myself here, too.

Living in the now does require bravery. It requires strength, as well as incredible faith. We must find our Peace in God and have a firm understanding of who He is. Our ears must be open and listening for His every word, and our feet must be ready to obey His command in the way we should go. Are you willing to take on this challenge and take the first leap with me? There’s no bridge on our journey. No, we’ll be soaring on Eagle’s Wings.

“Your own ears will hear him.
Right behind you a voice will say,
“This is the way you should go,”
whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

You can buy Elizabeth George’s book Loving God with all Your Mind here.

Mirror, Mirror, on the Wall, Who is the Most Cherished One Of All?

It was a Sunday Morning. I’m just chilling reading the Bible before church. And you know what? God showed me something pretty cool (He has a habit of doing that, you know). He showed me just how great declarations are (a lady had talked about it on Saturday at our woman’s brunch at church) and which ones are my favorite. The ones straight out of the Bible! I was reading in Isaiah, and He stopped me. He told me to put my name instead of Israel. And what I came up with was pretty amazing.

Isaiah 43:1-4, New Living Version

(Note that because we are under a new covenant, I am replacing Egypt, Ethiopia and Seba with Jesus, since he paid the price)

(1) But now, O (insert your name here), listen to the Lord who created you,
O (insert your name here), the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
(2) When you go through deep waters I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
(3)For I am the Lord, your God.
The Holy One of (insert your name here), your Savior.
I gave Jesus as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Jesus in your place.
(4)My Son was given in exchange for you.
I traded in His life for yours,
because you are precious to me
You are honored, and I love you.

Pretty powerful stuff I thought I would share. Yet this is not the only one.

Isaiah 42:1-4 New Living Version

(1) Look at my servant, whom I strengthen.
(insert your name here) is my chosen one, who pleases me,
I have put my spirit upon (he/she).
(He/She) will bring justice to the nations.
(2)(He/She) will not shout or raise (his/her) voice in public.
(3)(Insert your name here) will not crush the weakest reed
or put out a flickering candle.
(He/She) will bring justice to all who have been wronged.
(4)(insert name here) will not falter or lose heart until justice prevails throughout the earth.

Awesome and so encouraging.

Isaiah 60:1-3 New Living Version

(1) Arise, (insert name here)! Let your light shine for all to see.
For the glory of the Lord rises to shine on you.
(2) Darkness as black as night covers all the nations of the earth,
but the but the glory of the Lord rises and appears over you.
(3) All nations will come to your light;
mighty kings will come to see your radiance.

The Bible is full of encouraging words. Powerful declarations. Uplifting proclamations. We only have to listen to what He is saying about us.

I wrote some of these scriptures and some different ones up and taped them to my bathroom mirror. The only reason why the Evil Queen asked the mirror who was the fairest of them all was because she didn’t know that she was beautiful herself. She didn’t have any self-confidence. She needed to hear the compliment, and be able to truly believe it. If only someone had cherished her, loved her, cared for her, she would have felt beautiful, and not cared who was the “fairest” because she believed in herself because someone had believed in her. See, I think most of us look to a mirror for support and compliments, too, (myself included!) but we will never be satisfied, we will never find what we are seeking there. Unless you are me. Because now instead of looking at my reflection for my own security, I’m looking at these scriptures. The ones that tell me I am beautiful. I am cherished. I am precious. I am honored (see that ending of verse 4 in Isaiah 43! It actually says that! You are honored! As well as YOU ARE LOVED. BY GOD. That’s pretty fantastic. I don’t need to hear it from anyone else (not that isn’t nice, but still. I don’t need it. God tells me, no one can top that.) and we know we can trust and believe it. Both God and His Word are infallible, right? Then obviously He meant it when He said it. He made you. I have another note hanging up in my room that says God cannot make a mistake. And God made you. So it is impossible that you are a mistake.” Keep reminding yourself that you are His Child, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Take His Word to heart, it is meant for you. It really is. YOU are Israel, you have been grafted into the family (Romans 11).

You are loved!

Blue Hair Because I Care

Yep. That title is for real. And Yep, I’m really going to be talking about that.

I have blue hair now. Blue hair is cool.

Anyways, now that I’ve gotten that Doctor Who reference out of my system, I actually do have blue hair! I got the ends of my hair dyed this past week. Pretty exciting. It kinda fades from my blonde into the blue, and I love it.

And you know what else is great about it? It makes me crack up. Why? Because the way people react when they see it is hilarious. The way their eyes go wide. Their face looks shocked. How they try to act all polite and tell me it’s “cool” (which it TOTALLY is, for the record. And some people actually do think it’s cool. And they tell me. And I love it. But I just don’t think all people who tell me actually think so)

I find it hilarious how some people think it’s such a big deal. They seem to act like it will last for the rest of my life, when in reality it will probably last only for a couple months. I laugh at how they almost assume I did it without my parent’s consent, when my Father is the one who actually dyed it. I find it hilarious how they act like it was out of rebellion, when it totally wasn’t. Otherwise my parent’s wouldn’t have bought the dye for me.

So, yeah. I care. I care about myself. I care about myself enough to express myself. I’m quiet on the outside. When you first meet me, I may not talk much to you. It’s just how God made me. But once you get to know me, I can be quite talkative. I feel as though putting my favorite color in my hair tells you, “there’s more to me than I let on”, and I enjoy that. I like how every time I look in the mirror now I think, “my hair looks AWESOME!” and then I go on with my life. It’s part of my style. You could say it’s part of who I am. And to call it “just a phase”, is really belittling my personality and how I express myself.

One lady actually told me, “don’t worry, my daughter put blue in her hair, too. It was just phase. She grew out of it. So no worries, you will too! It’s just a phase! No offense to you.” I was dumbfounded. I was in shock and didn’t know how to reply. So I guess I really didn’t. A friend of mine (who happens to be in her early thirties with two kids) has purple in her hair. A nose-piercing. Plans for a large, second tattoo. And you know what? If it’s “just a phase”, then that is a really long one for her. For her, it’s just how she expresses herself. She uses it as a conversation starter. To seem more down-to-earth. She is a wonderful Christian lady who loves God, a lot. Who has devoted herself and her family to living for God full-force in a pretty difficult way. She doesn’t think it’s that hard, but I know it is. It has nothing to do with her age or her spiritual life. It has everything to do with her style. She likes it. She thinks it looks good. So it may not be dying your hair. Or getting a tattoo or a piercing. Maybe you have some really other funky way of expressing yourself. Maybe it’s music. Poetry. Painting. Math. Running. Talking. Fixing things. Wearing plaid. I don’t know. But do it, and forget what people say about it. You need to care about yourself enough to express who you are, and your style. And you need to care enough about other people to just ignore what they say and inspire them to just be themselves.

Why Receiving Thick Skin Is Really Painful.

So this past few months, as I’ve been writing my second book, God has been doing a new thing in me. He’s been giving me thick skin. And it has sucked. Really. It’s been hard, painful, really, and I’m not ashamed that I have cried a few tears over it. My gosh, it is hard to be like Jesus, I have found! To be unoffendable. (Or rather try to be).

This entire time I’ve been writing this second book (which has been an awesome experience, by the way, can’t wait for you all to read it), God has been preparing me. Abi, listen, there are people who aren’t going to like it. Why God? I ask. Because the enemy doesn’t like what you’re saying, it’s the hard truth, so people will oppose it. There are always people who oppose what I am doing. It’s how you know you are on the right track. And, I’ve always known that, but now I am truly learning it. The path truly is narrow.

It’s like when I decided I probably wasn’t (okay I say probably but really…I’m really not. God is like come on Abi, you know you aren’t! I also say “decided”, but let’s be honest, the only thing I decided was to agree to God.) going to go to college, people went wide-eyed when I told them, gave me a polite smile and said “that’s nice, but never say never! Don’t say no! You might still go!” To which I just smile and politely nod and say “uh huh”, when I know better. I know people think I’m crazy. The American way is to finish High School (don’t worry Mom, I’m still going to do that, I think God knows what you can and can’t handle. ;)), go to college, get a job, meet a guy along the way, get married, have kids, and bam. Life accomplished. And I’m sitting here thinking “That sounds boring.”

So you may or may not be wondering why in the world I’m not going to college. Well, let’s just say God has decided He wants to take more of an…Adventurous route with me. (Which I’m mostly fine with, notice the mostly) He’s telling me that college will be a waste of time, money, and resources for me. He’s decided I’m better suited if I’m off in some foreign country working with orphans.

And you know what the best part is? I’m not actually joking. It’s been pretty awesome, the journey He has sent me on just in discovering that was His plan. But needless to say, it’s been just a journey for me getting over that whole college thing (My poor Mother, too. I guess my Dad is pretty cool with me being a dork forever), because I’ve always told myself I was going to college (I never wanted to be a failure) and just because I knew people would judge me. (Which also just happens to be what the second book of mine is about. How lucky! Not.)

I actually came to a place this past week that I actually started to believe it wasn’t meant to be, that I was just making the whole thing up, about me serving overseas (for the record I’m pretty sure it’s somewhere in Eastern Europe), only because of what strong opposition I felt like I was receiving. I felt like I was being foolish, reckless, even. So during a “quiet time”, when I felt God’s presence strongly, I asked Him. Now, He’s pretty cool about answering questions (or at least mine!), so He did answer.

He told me that I’ve been reading in Isaiah 6, where Isaiah had a vision about the throne room of God, and the angel touching his lips with a coal and him being cleansed, and I would read verse 8 and 9 and offer the same to God.

“Then I heard the Lord asking, ‘Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?’
I said, ‘Here I am. Send me.’

One of my favorite songs, God of the Impossible by Everfound, even has that scripture strongly used in it. For years now I’ve been reading that and told him that. Here I am! Send me God! Use me! Well, I thought that that just meant me reading His Word and following Him and maybe every now and again encouraging someone or something…But boy I was wrong! He reminded me of that and asked, “You said this to me, right?” And me, already seeing where this is going, sighed and said yes. “Did you change your mind?” He asked. (Isn’t it cool that He gave me opportunity to do that?!) I told Him no. He said “Okay, then. I will send you. I am sending you. My Children need you. Will you go to them for me?” (And of course how could I say no to that, at this point I could totally see Jesus and He was totally crying about His Children and their need…) Of course I said yes, and that settled that.

But I have to have thick skin. To make sure those words just bounce off when people tell me I should still go to college. When they say it’s dangerous. When they question if it’s really God. I just let it roll off my shoulders and keep my eyes on Him and Him alone. To only listen to His words. To keep saying, “Here I am. Send me.”

With this second book, I sit here wondering, “how will people react? Will they not like it? Will they tell me I’m wrong? Will they post bad things about it?” And God chuckles and says “What will they learn from it? How will it change them? Impact them? How will I use it to accomplish my will in ways you could have never imagined?” And I go, “Oh yeah. Guess so. It’ll be worth it because you say it will be worth it.”

What will people say when I refuse to go to college? Will they judge me? Criticize me? But what will they learn from it? Who will be benefited from it? Who may I inspire from it? Isn’t it good, I’m not following the world’s systems. And that’s all it is. I’m still smart. I’m not a failure or a loser. That’s what people always said when I was growing up, people who didn’t go to college were losers. Well I’m here to say to those people that they are wrong. How can I lose when God is on my side? If God is for me, who can be against me? How can I fail when nothing is impossible with God? I can’t. College doesn’t define me. Having a job doesn’t define me. GOD defines me. And He certainly is.

Why I Almost Didn’t Write My Book

In the Spring of 2014, I started on a journey that I didn’t even know I was starting. Writing my very first book, and starting my career. But here’s the thing…

I didn’t want to start on that journey.

Is that a surprise? Well, maybe, maybe not. Back then, in 9th grade, I liked writing a lot, but I didn’t think it would go anywhere, and I wasn’t even considering it for a career choice. I didn’t even know that it was a passion yet! And I honestly fought not to start this book. But I wasn’t even fighting God, no, I didn’t know what He had planned at all. I was actually fighting my parents.

It all started when in my Creative Writing book (remember I am homeschooled) it called for us to do an outline for a short story. I had never done an outline before, and I loathe short stories (not reading, just writing them,) so when my Mom (and my teacher) said I had to do it I was frustrated and quite upset. I tried to convince her that it was stupid and pointless. That I wouldn’t do well with an outline. That it would go no where. And I’m sure a ton of other excuses.

But, thankfully, my Mom persisted. She insisted that I do it and I grumbled, but then complied. And my goodness, I am so glad I did.

That outline I did ended up becoming a dream of mine. After doing it I thought “Hey, this isn’t a half bad story! I could actually do this!” Now, I might not have used the entire outline, but I used quite a bit of it, and I am now convinced I could not have done it without the outline. I now write all my stories with a part of the outline from that project I did.

Sometimes we don’t see the big picture. We don’t think that the things God tells us to do with help us. Maybe we think they will bore us. Be futile. Maybe even hurt us. But in the end, God sees it all, and He knows what He is doing. Obedience is key. Sometimes we can’t take that leap of faith for Him to use us if we don’t just trust Him first. The thing is, God could have said “Forget it, I’m not going to let you and your book prosper since you grumbled, complained, and argued!” But He didn’t. He still used me, and He taught me a lesson through all of it, that obeying your parents really does give you a blessing, and it pleases God! (Colossians 3:20, Ephesians 6:1)

Honestly, I didn’t deserve to be blessed and rewarded. I wasn’t trusting, I didn’t want to do it, but God taught me that sometimes that biggest reaping you can get is if you sow the seeds you don’t want to plant, but trust Him enough to do it anyways, even though you don’t feel like it. If we go based on feelings, we will never get anything done. I never feel like doing work. Moses didn’t feel like going to Egypt. And surely Jonah didn’t feel or want to go to Nineveh, and look at him! He resisted, didn’t trust and obey God, and look how he ended up.

God often blesses us and rewards us even though we may not deserve it. Although we grumble and complain. It reminds me of the story of Sarah in Genesis, when God comes to Abraham and Sarah, and tells them that they will have a child. In Genesis 18:12 it says that Sarah actually laughed at that, not believing it since she and her husband were so old and “worn out”. God very well could have said “Forget it, I will not give you a child because of your unbelief.” But he didn’t. He still gave her Isaac, as promised.

So, obey your parents, especially your heavenly Father, and trust them. Trust God in your parents, that would be my advice for all the young adults/teenagers reading this. For adults, trust God, and follow and obey Him earnestly. And realize that sometimes, even though you don’t feel like it, doing the hard thing is the most rewarding thing.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

Pain is Not an Excuse

I’m a teenager, but you probably already know that. Most teenagers have parents. But I’m pretty sure you know that, too. A lot of teenagers and parents now-a-days do not have a good relationship. And still, that’s pretty common knowledge. Now I’m not saying every parent has a bad relationship with their teenager, or their child of any age, for that matter. I happen to have an amazing relationship with both of my parents. One which I know I can go to them in a time of need, I can come to them with my hurts and concerns, one that I know they are always there for me, and we even take it a step further. We are like the three musketeers. We are best friends, the three of us. Our friendships are each individually different. Obviously I do not have the same relationship with my Father as he does with my Mom.

Now I’m not saying our relationship is perfect, because I’ve never actually heard of a real relationship that is perfect. (except of that of maybe God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit…But…Well, their God. And we’re not. Kind of unfair to compare.)Because we have our ups and downs, just like everybody else. That happens sometimes with parents. Parents sometimes can get annoying. And not just mine. But hey, don’t we all have those moments? I know I can get annoying. I’ve got my own faults. But one thing I have learned about parents, it’s that, although us kids sometimes can’t believe it (until you become a parent, too, perhaps), they’re human, too. And humans are imperfect beings who make mistakes. Isn’t that astounding? I mean, seriously, as a kid I thought of my Mom as a superhero. I imagined her so tall, so strong. I looked up to her. Which, don’t get me wrong, I still do. But things change. Now being quite a few inches taller than her, it’s hard to see her so…Big. As a kid, being so small, seeing someone so tall sometimes can be quite intimidating, but with my Mom, I always felt it sort of a comfort. I remember crawling up into both of my parent’s laps and snuggling, feeling so secure because, honestly, who can hurt you when you are in the arms of your parents? Yesterday I tried to snuggle up in my Dad’s lap like I use to. It didn’t go so well. It can be discouraging, facing adulthood and the fact that I can’t sit in my parent’s laps anymore. Not without seriously hurting them, anyways. But you know what I found comfort in? That I still have a Daddy in who’s lap I can climb into when I feel down or sad and He can hold me and sing to me and not let anything bad happen to me. Because I feel that same security I use to feel when my parents use to hold me, but amplified by 1,000. Because seriously, who wants to mess with Him? He’s the Creator of the whole entire world. I can almost hear Him laughing now, yelling down to the devil, “Come at me, little man! You think you so big and bad, huh? I defeated you before, you don’t think I will and can again? You ain’t gonna mess with my little girl! Uh uh! No way!”

Sorry, but sometimes you just gotta imagine God as an extremely protective yet sassy Mother bear protecting her cub.

Okay, now that I’ve rabbit trailed about 5 times….Oh well. Some things need to be said.

I’m going to go back to the part about parents being imperfect humans….There’s something that needs to be said there. I’m going to be honest with you for a moment. We all get hurt by our parents. Honestly, it’s impossible to avoid. Unfortunately parents sin, too. And sin hurts. But you know what? I don’t hold a grudge toward my parents. I’ve seen so many people, including my own brother, blame their parents for their own problems. And honestly I’m quite sick and fed up with it. Now, I’m not saying you didn’t get hurt by your parents. What did I just say, oh, about two minutes ago? We all get hurt by our parents. Yeah, that is still in the same paragraph as this sentence, you know…So we do get hurt. We get hurt by a lot of people in a lot of different ways. But what we do with that hurt is what matters. So many people use it as an excuse. An excuse to sin and say “oh, I can’t help it. I’m just trying to cope with the hurt (put in whatever person you’d like. Parent. Spouse. Family member. Friend. Pastor. Don’t worry, I know there’s plenty to choose from.) caused me.” Now, I was just thinking as I wrote that, “oh but some people use it as an excuse to go about their lives moping and feeling bad for themselves and being full of self-pity.” But then I was like, hey, that’s a sin, too, right? I mean, how can you be the salt and light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16) if you are so focused on your painful past and the inward hurt? Now I’m not saying ignore the pain, no, that will only make things worse. Deal with the pain now so you can move on! Quit using it as an excuse, for whatever reason in whatever way, and let healing happen. (Wow that sounds like a good blog title. Maybe I’ll use it in the future.)

Other people don’t use it as an excuse. They indeed do move on, yet, healing has not yet taken place. Pain is still there, festering just below the surface. Yes, I am speaking of the dreadful bitterness. Allowing bitterness into your heart and life is like smoking. But instead of turning your lungs black and gross, it turns your heart black and gross. And if your heart is black and gross, your life will fall apart eventually. The only difference is that smoking takes longer to kill you than bitterness. Bitterness is fast-acting, you just don’t know that it has killed you yet until it’s too late. And by then, you’ve given into it and you simply don’t care anymore, because you have become bitter. There is another similarity with smoking and bitterness. Second-hand smoke. Look at this scripture: “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” Hebrews 12:15 Bitterness, especially once it’s taken root in your heart and life, is extremely hard to get rid of. Nearly, if not, impossible. Thankfully for us, we have a God of the Impossible. (Sorry, one of my favorite songs is called that, had to say it.) Or, as so many scriptures say, (try Matthew 19:26, Mark 10:27, Luke 18:27, Zechariah 8:6) what is impossible for man, is possible with God. But, since it’s so hard to get rid of, sadly, most people don’t get rid of it for a long, long time, if at all. And in the meantime, people get hurt from the bitterness. Their children, spouses, grandchildren, siblings, parents, and so on. Which can easily bring up more bitterness. Sin is quite a cruel cycle. Galations 6:8 says that you reap what you sow. But what you don’t realize is that your “harvest” can be a harvest of bad things, and this harvest may not just be reaped by you. If you sow seeds of bitterness into your life, it is very likely your children and grandchildren may reap and abounding amount of bitterness. It’s all about generational sin, too (which is a topic for an entire blog post itself), so do you really want to start the generational sin line of bitterness for your children? What if your parents or grandparents had just broken that dreadful curse that was ravaging your ancestors? You would be deciding to abandon all of their hard work and dooming your offspring to a life of bitterness, as well. So often we think “oh, I can handle the reaping of this.” But are you so selfish you don’t consider your children apart of that reaping, as well? Pain is no excuse for sin, which includes bitterness, by the way. An easy excuse now so you can wallow in your pain and self-pity is no excuse for the heartache and pain you will cause to the people around you, and your future offspring.

The answer is simple. Release it. Release the bitterness and anger you have toward someone else, and you may be thinking you are releasing that person, but in truth, that person isn’t being hurt by you holding anger against them. The true person you will be releasing is you. How much time and energy have you wasted on being angry and bitter against that person? Is it worth it? Are they worth that time and energy? But the more important question is, are you worth it to release yourself from the person of unforgiveness? I believe you are. And God does, too. Obviously, as he died so you could be set free. (Psalm 146:7, Isaiah 58:6, Isaiah 51:14, He did it for the crippled woman in Luke 13, why would He not do it for you, too? Also see: John 8:36, Acts 13:39, Romans 6:18, Romans 6:22, Romans 8:2, do I really need to go on? Because I still can. You get the point. There is a lot of scripture for this.)

The only excuse you have using the excuse of pain is the excuse to receive healing and comfort. (See Matthew 5:4)

The Wisdom of a Teenager

A few years ago, I started this blog. I remember the day the idea came to me. I was about 12, I think. “Dad! Dad! I have an idea!” I remember running into his office. “I should start a blog!” Why I wanted to, I don’t exactly know. Perhaps it was from God! Or perhaps I wanted to “show off” and be all fancy with my supreme blogyness. But one thing is for certain, I think. I got a lot of encouragement from it. I gained a lot from doing it, in the end. I saw my Dad smile and say “okay, I think that can be arranged.” I saw him work hard creating this amazing site for me (which I doubt is that hard, seeing that he is a computer genius!), and be proud of me. Now reading back at the blog posts I put, they were actually quite silly at times. But goodness, there were certainly times I read back now and am amazed by myself, and I realize I learned so much from just sharing my thoughts.

Thus the point of this blog, for me, isn’t as much as getting to others with my observations and thoughts and prayers. (Goodness, if I based it off of that, no one would read it! I wouldn’t even read it myself!) It’s about what I can get from writing my thoughts and what God is telling me through His amazing Word. And if someone gets something from it, then, hey! Great! But if not, then that’s okay, too. Because I’llbe getting something from it, and that’s pretty grand news.

You know, I’ve come to the realization these past few years since I started this blog. I really don’t know everything. Thankfully, I’ve got a Father in heaven who does. And He gave me these flipping awesome parents to give me wisdom and knowledge and advice.

Yeah, I know some stuff. I know quite a bit about God and His amazing ways and how He loves me and such and so forth, I know how to do stuff in math that I’ll probably never use in the real world, and I know some math that I already do use in the real world. But do I know everything? Have I eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Hmmmm. Um, I don’t recall that. Do I want to know everything? My flesh screams “yes!” (of course, stupid flabbery flesh! Yes, I did just say “flabbery”, and no, I don’t think that is a real word.) but do I really? Do I really want to see all of the death and pain that us humans often inflict upon ourselves as God does? And besides, what’s the fun in life if there is absolutely no mystery about anything? Does that mean I’m going to throw my hands up in the air and refuse to open my history book because ignorance is bliss? No! Because, as George Santayana wisely said it, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it”.

So I’ve come to the point in my life where I have decided that it’s honestly a gift to not know everything. You know something else I’ve learned? Learning can be actually quite fun. And you loose that factor when you know everything. But still, it requires a fine balance between striving to learn and striving to remain humble and accepting the fact that we will never learn everything, and that we don’t want learn everything. We want to strive to learn as much as God allows, but never beyond that. Because where’s the fun in life if we don’t rely on faith and trust in at least a few things?

And I think it’s obviously true that a lot of teenagers fall into the trap that they know everything, I know I have. But I think adults sometimes do, too. It just looks different and isn’t so direct. Actually, I think this is something we struggle with as a whole as the human race. Perhaps the temptation of that awful fruit from that awful tree (you know which one I’m referring to, the one I mentioned up above. Ick.) is still within us. Well, the curse is still with us, isn’t it? All the women who have had babies cry “heck yeah!”. So yeah, there’s still a part of me that feels like I know a lot, even as much as my parents. But that’s when the Holy Spirit inside of me says “shh. Listen. Just listen to them.” And I’m amazed at the wisdom that pours out as they speak. And honestly, that’s when I feel sorry for all those kids out there who use their parents as an excuse and think they are “too cool” to “hang” with “old people who happen to have birthed me”. I listen to the solid advice they give me. To the silly and funny stories they share with me. To their experiences in life. I learn from the mistakes they made as young adults, so I don’t have to make the same ones. Because the “history” part in “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” refers to more than just things that happened over 50 years ago. It refers to 5 years ago. It refers to 3 weeks ago. It refers to yesterday! So maybe I can share wisdom beyond my years with you. That is only because I listen to my elders, as they share their wisdom with me, and the wisdom they learned from their parents, and their grandparents, and their great-grandparents, and so on. So yeah, I’m going to be “uncool”. Yeah! I’m gonna sit here a soak up all of this history like a sponge and I’m going to learn from it. If learning from history and not repeating it means being “uncool”, then heck yeah. Bring on all the uncoolness baby.

Abigail Ford's Thoughts About God's Word & the Beauty of Living Everyday with God