Am I Hipster Yet?

My housemate Krysia and I have had coffee dates every semester since school started specifically to discuss what we are expecting for the semester coming. As well as the ‘pre-semester expectations’ that we set up we have follow up meetings to see how those expectations went. I’ve had ‘themes’ and sentences impressed on my heart for the semesters that have tied with different scriptures that have carried me through the very crazy seasons that emerge at Hillsong College.

At the end of last semester as I was thinking about what I wanted for this semester it wasn’t an opportunity or to even grow in a particular area of college or church leadership. I simply want to know G-d more this semester than I have in a while. I want to focus on the Word like I haven’t in a while and spend time learning about the Lord. The songwriting and lectures and learning curves will happen and somehow everything will get done this semester that needs to, but my desire is more Jesus and more of the Word in my heart. 

On a recent trip home for my brothers wedding I inherited my dads Nikon camera. Short of having another ‘Daddy teach me’ blog I will say that trying to figure out how to use it today has made me realise a few things:

  1. Learning new things, and more than that, learning ALL about new things involves more reaching out to people who know more than it does you trying to just guess. 
         By this I mean, I went ham on Youtube tutorials for this specific model of Nikon and watched all the things. I didn’t rely on and can’t rely on myself and my thoughts on how the camera should work in order to take the best pictures but I SHOULD research and see how people have used it and how they’ve best figured out to take those classic hipster shots that get so popular on Instagram (shameless plug). But really, learning is best done in community and I don’t see how that differs to learning about G-d. We should be discussing what passages mean to us and the best that we understand how it applies to whom it was addressed to and to us. We should be reading and researching what the scriptures are actually saying and we should be giving them a chance to say it. 
  2. Learning involves time – but the learning goes quicker if you focus your time. 
    I’m the QUEEN at multitasking… and by multitasking I mean today I did laundry, watched youtube, did make up on half my face, finished my laundry and then washed my face, straightened 1/3 of my hair before I realized I didn’t like the texture of my hair so I washed it then redid the whole thing and blogged. I also took one photo I was proud of but it was with my iPhone. I tend to get bored halfway through whatever I am doing so it sometimes takes me a while.In other, more related words, sometimes getting to know someone or something intimately involves time given up to focus JUST on that thing or person. This is more just a reminder for myself of what is required for my expectations
  3. I would love to have a number 3 because 3 points is good but I’ve really said what I wanted to.

Sometimes I don’t know why I post stuff on my blog that just belongs in my journal.

Thank you if you’ve read this – and if you will just pray that I focus and get what I’m expecting this semester. Love you all.

 

“Z Best Is Yet 2 Come”

So, I’ve been reading the Bible lately as previously stated in my last blog. I’ve finished Exodus and started reading all the introductory information on Leviticus (the avoided book) which is extremely helpful in creating expectation on a previously perceived “boring book”.

Exodus has been helpful in opening my eyes to more of the details of our story as Christians. For example, you have ‘The Exodus’ (the exit or leaving) of the children if Israel out of the land of Egypt and of slavery. THE PASSOVER – which I couldn’t write enough about – full of symbolism and justice that makes me cry when I think about it. The Israelites were to take a pure, spotless lamb once a year for their passover feast and slaughter it and place the blood of the lamb over their doorposts to be safe from the judgement of G-d. GUYS. Jesus, our pure and spotless lamb spilled his blood over that tree at Calvary to forever cover the price of our sins so that judgement would be replaced with mercy in our lives.
I cry. I weep. I write blogs about it. 

The Law was given to Moses at Mt. Sinai and then immediately broken (literally and literally) by the people sinning downstairs and when Moses threw the tablets to the ground in a hissy fit of justice-rage. But, Moses was given reminders of the covenant promise of G-d redeeming His people and Moses reminded G-d of His own promises as well. We see redemption over and over in this narrative.

The BEAUTIFUL and precise instructions were given to our main man Moses for the construction of the Tabernacle (The Holy meeting tent that the Lord decided to dwell in so that He could be with the children of Israel and that they could worship Him in). Peoples hearts were overwhelmed with gratitude and generosity and began to give to the building of the temple to where they had far more than they needed. The Lord showed his compassion to this group of people by sending His Spirit (end of chapter 35) to equip His people with SKILL to complete the building of the tabernacle.

I find it reassuring to know that the Lord doesn’t always EQUIP the CALLED but He equips those in the line of His COMMANDS. We find two men here in chapter 36, Bezalel and Oholiab, along with others in ‘whom the Lord put skill and intelligence to know how to do any work in the construction of the sanctuary… in accordance with all that the Lord has commanded’ (v.1 ish). We see no reference to the Lord speaking directly to them and telling them that they are ordained to build this sanctuary… We just see them in the path of a need that the Lord was going to accomplish. By being willing to help with whatever, they were equipped by the Holy Spirit to be useful.

G-d I want to be in line of your commands. I don’t have to be ‘called’ but I do need to be available and I trust that in my availability and being where You are that You’ll equip me for whatever YOU have commanded on the earth.

After all of this is said and done in Exodus it leaves me with such a reassured ease as I try and read Leviticus. You see, I know the end of the story and the completion of the prophecies in the New Testament. I know of the New Covenant and our immediate access to G-d and the lack of all animal sacrifices I’ve ever had to perform in my life. I can look at the Israelites wandering the desert and think, “The best is yet to come! Just hold on and keep believing!”

This all ended up rolling through my head as I made my way downstairs
to see our house sign say “Z Best Is Yet 2 Come”.

I think G-d often smiles at me, I feel it when I’m laughing at myself after ‘ah-ha’ moments come and I realise how blind I am without the guidance and revelation of the Spirit. I was reminded of the expectation I’m bringing to Hillsong Conference. I was reminded of MY story with Him and how much I’ve grown in the last 5 years. I was reminded of all the prayers that I’ve prayed and still pray and the ones I’ve forgotten that I asked for. I think G-d smiled at me and reminded ME that The BEST is YET to come…
I can look at the past all day and mentally help those people in hardship and tell them, “Wait, your story isn’t over” but in looking back and reflecting I can sometimes forget that the Lord is looking at me saying the same thing.

Moving into Hillsong Conference ISN’T same ol’ same ol’. Starting another semester with a whole flock of new students isn’t same ol’ same ol’. Each and every service and chapel isn’t the same… it’s progressively THE BEST.

Pastor Brian Houston coined that phrase for our church but I’m just starting to REALLY GET IT. It doesn’t matter if your last week was crap or the best thing ever. It doesn’t matter if you’re still sitting in emotional slavery waiting on deliverance or you were just given everything you’ve been asking and praying for. THE BEST is still to come.

Hillsong Conference is another opportunity that we as college students have to refresh and serve our hearts out – I pray that our expectation is heightened and that we follow where we feel the Spirit is leading. I pray that we end up in the path of the commands of G-d and even if we don’t feel called that we begin to accept the equipping of the Spirit and move forward knowing we have what it takes to change something. I pray that no matter how difficult it is, or how tired we become that we don’t lose sight of the BEST that is still coming. I pray that no matter how amazing and life-changing it is for us that we realise that there IS STILL more.

Many of those reading this aren’t college students here in Sydney, Australia and to those I pray that your jobs come through – I pray your children come back to Christ or find Him for the first time – I pray that you are set free from emotional bondage of an abusive partner – I pray that you see a little bit more hope in your situation but also that you know that even in the beautiful times, the birth of your children, the promotion at work, the marriage of your best friends… that there is STILL more.

Thank G-d for hindsight and THANK G-D that I don’t know everything.


The Exodus and Leviticus links you find in this blog are from guys called
‘The Bible Project’ – They summarise the books of the bible along with explaining other key topics in a comic sort of way that keeps us creative types entertained.
Check them out.

Just Cause

Amos 5:21-24
(NIV, emphasis mine)
“I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!”

One of my classes this last week focused on Worship and Justice. We looked at what these two have to do with another and what expectations have changed since scripture was written up. I was shocked to discover the call in the Old and New Testaments to the leaders and governments to keep justice in the courts – be fair to the widow, orphan and poor. We have to assume these warnings were written to 1) keep them on track and 2) clean out what was already bleeding through the culture of oppressing those who couldn’t support or even defend themselves.

We as students were given different portions of scripture to look at: what it meant to the people it was addressed to, what it means for us as a collective body of Christ and what it means to us individually. My group looked at Exodus 23. I’ll summarise it for you…

  • Don’t lie about people
  • Don’t pervert justice and lie in court
  • Be fair to poor people in court
  • Be kind to your enemies property
    • Not JUST to them but even their stuff
  • Don’t take from the poor just because they are poor
  • Don’t oppress a sojourner (don’t beat down, put down, dishearten, suppress a visitor, companion, inmate, visitor, lodger, different nationalities, different religions, refugees)

When we as a group looked at what it might have meant for the Israelites we assumed maybe they had corruption in the courts and were probably exposing heaps of poor people because they thought they could get away with it. We assumed there were crooked people who were so wrapped up in the culture of slavery that they had just been delivered from that they were treating others as slaves. Granted, that’s what they knew to do but it still wasn’t just or fair. We assumed they were treating people less than what they would want to be treated like and that they were disregarding taking care of people who didn’t belong to them.

Then we moved to a harder question – What does this text mean to us as the body of Christ?
How do we take on these scriptures in the Church?

 We talked about Public Justice (How society treats and manages others),
and Private Justice (How I treat others and manage myself to benefit others).

So the public justice level around this passage would look more like how many Christians are educating themselves on the elected ‘in-charge’ of our governments and nations. Are they contributing to who is in the courts and even becoming those who are in the judges in courts deciding what is fair for all? Are we as a local church involved and benefiting the community around us? Are we investing in families and defending those trapped in Domestic Violence? Are we doing all we can to find homes, clothes, food, and clean water* for refugees and flood victims alike?

There are many more things the Church COULD be doing but there are loads of things that fall more on the individuals that make up the Church that we should probably be looking at.

Private Justice –
The hardest and most confronting question of all that we addressed is how this all applies to me? How do I treat others?

This was the hardest one to speak out loud.

I grew up in a westernised, bible belt, mostly white’ish people culture. But I also grew up with the news… I knew what areas of Tulsa (and now Sydney) to avoid if I was alone and I rarely ever walk in a park without looking over my shoulder. I grew up with a fear of homeless people because at no point do you know if they’re going to rape you, if they’re mentally unstable, if they’re in a very real sense ‘battling their own demons’ or how they would react to a conversation. But my fear grew out of judgments that began when I didn’t take the time to look them in the eyes as I walk by them on busy Sydney streets. My very judgments dehumanised someone with a story. I wasn’t being fair – I wasn’t being just – I wasn’t being anyone who remotely resembled my Saviour. Jesus, who took the time to look a naked woman in the face and tell her that He held no sins against her. Jesus, who when Himself was oppressed by the government didn’t fight back with entitlement or ‘rights’ but instead STILL SHOWED LOVE to all. I know much this last paragraph makes me seem like an ignorant… dirtyword… but this was my honest heart condition.
My ignorance turned into judgments that disguised itself as fear so that I could neatly sweep it all away as, “I’m just protecting myself”.

Am I saying single girls should stop at every homeless person and strike up conversation? No, that’s not what I’m getting at… But maybe just get involved and start to add humanity back to those around us. Maybe just start to learn the faces and names of those we equate with statistics and numbers.

My thought is that we are already a pretty passionate generation – I think that there are specific desires that are unique to individuals. Where our Private Justice comes in is EDUCATING ourselves on the issues of our hearts and GETTING ACTIVE in those areas.

Some of your hearts are absolutely wrenched for the homeless, some want to take care of the elderly, some have a resolve of adopting, some are desperate to help stop domestic violence, some of you can’t sleep at night because you’re broken over those still enslaved in sex-trafficking.

Great, I hope something breaks your heart – I hope you let yourself cry sometimes while praying over these neglecting issues that Christians love to talk about but sometimes never DO anything about.
But, OUR G-D… the one who CREATED JUSTICE calls us also to be just

The Lords desire is more for justice and fairness than for one more ‘Christian’ to write Him one more song, or worship Him one more time for all they have. He wants us to give to and restore those who DON’T have.

So after you forgive me for being a little too honest again, find one of the links throughout this blog and research, get involved, be the just cause… just because.

Life Update

“We’ll smile at the sound of silence”
Staple, Sound of Silence – Of Truth and Reconciliation ’05
((one of the few bands I cried about when they broke up))

I wish I could link that song for you all but unfortunately you’re only option is to find the full album on YouTube and skip to the song… or listen to the entire album which may do you just fine.

I didn’t mean to carry on posting fortnightly and I can assure you this isn’t the new norm- Last week was the final push to get to and through songwriting performances for this semester. They went well if you ask me. I wrote a song about a prostitute (Gomer – Hosea’s wife… from the Bible) and much enjoyed my typical minor chord fashion.

This week has been wonderful! It’s school break so everyone has been posting pictures of their travels and adventures and I’ve enjoyed minimal going out, minimal make up, and minimal stressing about what is coming next. I got a random road trip to the Blue Mountains —blue.JPGand I purchased a bucket of apples for $10. I found out a few tidbits about myself I think I forgot

  1. Nostalgia is refreshing – The group I went to the mountains with all listened to Underoath in their lives and so we had a good throwback to our teenage years and listened to heaps of screamo songs.
    1. A. Apple sauce smells like fall to me and will always remind me of my family, even when I didn’t actually grow up going with them when they could go apple picking.
  2. Clean laundry and clean hair ALWAYS make me feel better. Nuff said.
  3. Quiet and empty places creep me out and I also love them.

Now, can I change topics and remain pretty honest? I’ve put off writing my book this entire break because I’m a big scaredy cat. I LOVE going alone to cafés and sitting for ages but the thought of sitting alone with my thoughts to work towards my book (which my goal is to have written and ready for editing by July) sounds like an awful experience.

I’m really good at boundaries and I tend to say ‘no’ when I need to for things and social events but I’m stinking at setting a boundary to write every day. Even when and especially when I don’t feel like it or think I have anything to say. But you can’t edit what isn’t there.

Also, I don’t like random blogs or abrupt endings, unless they are done well.

We GET to Make 45 Fruit Platters

Colour Conference 2016 is more than halfway over for our Australian gatherings and has 5 more conferences to go worldwide. Please pray for the growth, development and empowering of women across the globe as our team continues to minister and carry this cause. Everything about serving the women at these conferences changes some bit of you and also shows you just how much you have to change still.

I think some of the things I’m learning this week have been balancing trusting in the Lord for strength and waiting while you’re working your feet numb.

My schedule the last 8 days consisted of a few 12 hour days of serving, early mornings, having to look fresh 8 days in a row, an overnight film shoot for our Easter production as a college and about 45 fruit platters (I wish I was kidding).

Only about 17% of me telling you that was humble bragging and 25% of that was me reflecting, wondering what the hell was I thinking saying yes to all of that – the rest (58% for those who will be bothered by it not equaling 100%) was a reminder to myself that I prayed for this. I had to remind myself of that today.

I flipped back in my journal to a marked page at the beginning of February that read,
“You asked for this, you prayed for this – REST in the midst of giving your all. I asked to grow and be challenged. I asked to be challenged and to need to rely on my Saviour. I asked YOU to teach me faithfulness and allow me to tarry with You. Lord, I want to spend my time praising You in the waiting.”

I asked G-d at the beginning of this year to have a year that I look at and wonder how I’m going to do it all, and then get to the end of the year knowing I couldn’t have done it all except by G-d’s grace, provision, wisdom and favour.

And let me tell you, He hardly let me finish my sentence before giving me more of a year than I was expecting.

I ASKED for it but I still needed to work on my EXPECTATION.

So, let’s break this down – 17% Humble Brag

I was proud I made it through this haha, there were legitimate moments I was thinking I was going to drop (asleep) and moments where my brain would tell my body to do something and it just wasn’t having it. I grew my capacity beyond what I thought was possible and I firmly believe G-d carried me through a busy week. And I don’t feel bad for being proud that I drank enough water and said ‘no’ to other things so that I didn’t get sick halfway through.

25% reflection –

I pondered if I did the journey well… I wondered if I should have had more moments with Christ (the answer is yes) and if I should have had a better hold of my attitude (the answer is yes). I remember early into coming to Australia, one of the Team nights was led by Autumn Hardman and she spoke about preparing for the season. Her point was taking notice of what was coming and making sure that even if it’s a crazy season, you can make it if you know what’s coming. Thankfully with Colour they gave me dates to serve so I knew what was coming. I knew Easter was RIGHT after and that we’d be cramming to get everything done. I think I prepared ok, but after reflecting I could have done a few more things to ensure I ended better than I started.

(or I suppose I still could because I have three more full on days until breach (break on the beach))

58% – I prayed for this, and now I GET to do this.

I had a beautiful and short conversation with a friend over these last few days about the phrase, “We GET to do this”. It’s helped reform my thoughts on a lot of serving days where the work load doesn’t seem fair, the attitudes are off the wall, and on the days when it all seems a little bit ‘not my thing’.

We GET to do this.

We GET to serve.

I GET to be a part of Sisterhood and Colour Conference and Hillsong Church. I get to learn from people that I respect and love more each and every class I sit in with them. I get to be a part of a college that is literally training some of the future leaders of the world. Who the heck am I and how did I get here? How was I blessed enough to learn about Jesus from a young age and kept close enough to Him that even when life went sour I still heard Him loud enough to want to return?

I used to LOVE Philippians – I thought it was one of the kindest, most encouraging books in the Bible. I just re-read it and pray over my friends, classmates, ministers that I know so that they are covered with longevity and that they walk always with Christ. I love Philippians so much that I straight ignored Colossians. Haha. Dumb. I know.

In Colossians the other day I was wrecked again by what Christ has done for me,

“G-d made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, what was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross… Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of G-d. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in G-d. When Christ, who IS YOUR LIFE, appears, then you will also appear with him in glory.”
Colossians 2:13b-14; 3:1-4 (NIV)

GLORY

I GET TO DO THIS

I get to be a part of His plan and share in His glory.

Read Colossians in the Message version… it talks about letting your prayers overflow with thankfulness – which is firmly where I’ve landed at the end of this very busy week. I’m overwhelmed with my schedule and all the more with HIS GRACE.

I’ll end with this, because it’s beautiful and true. You should read this out loud and literally FOR THE LOVE OF G-D don’t skip it just because it’s a large portion of scripture attached to a blog.

((I’ve been there… I’ve done it… No judgments but READ IT))

Photo Credit: Megan Russo
Thougths for the blog credit: Megan Russo

“David’s Praise
 I lift you high in praise, my God, O my King!
and I’ll bless your name into eternity.
I’ll bless you every day,
and keep it up from now to eternity.
God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough.
There are no boundaries to his greatness.
Generation after generation stands in awe of your work;
each one tells stories of your mighty acts.
Your beauty and splendor have everyone talking;
I compose songs on your wonders.
Your marvelous doings are headline news;
I could write a book full of the details of your greatness.
The fame of your goodness spreads across the country;
your righteousness is on everyone’s lips.
God is all mercy and grace—
not quick to anger, is rich in love.
God is good to one and all;
everything he does is suffused with grace.
10-11 Creation and creatures applaud you, God;
your holy people bless you.
They talk about the glories of your rule,
they exclaim over your splendor,
12 Letting the world know of your power for good,
the lavish splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is a kingdom eternal;
you never get voted out of office.
God always does what he says,
and is gracious in everything he does.
14 God gives a hand to those down on their luck,
gives a fresh start to those ready to quit.
15 All eyes are on you, expectant;
you give them their meals on time.
16 Generous to a fault,
you lavish your favor on all creatures.
17 Everything God does is right—
the trademark on all his works is love.
18 God’s there, listening for all who pray,
for all who pray and mean it.
19 He does what’s best for those who fear him—
hears them call out, and saves them.
20 God sticks by all who love him,
but it’s all over for those who don’t.
21 My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
Let everything living bless him,
bless his holy name from now to eternity!”
Psalms 145 (MSG)

Scrabit Valentines

Please enjoy this #ThinkBackThursday, it’s long enough 🙂


I had the opportunity of learning how to co-write a song with a 2nd semester student the other day. It was awesome (for lack of a better word, I used all my good ones in the song). One of the lines we came up with being, “The hardest place to be is on an empty page”; which for any artist: If you’re a writer, a painter, a dancer or a songwriter, this is one of the truest statements that there is. Unless you and G-d have some ridiculous thing worked out and you just flow 24/7 in the gifts of creativity. To you I say, I’m way jealousI’m working on that.

All of that to say, I’ve been here for about three weeks and written every day, but sharing has gotten significantly harder. The first week was full of temporary housing, moving, getting settled in, and not having WiFi. So that was legitimately part of it, however, another large part is that G-d is uprooting crap that I don’t WANT to share. If I admit it out loud (or on paper, or at the internet) to you all then it becomes a real issue with real accountability that I have to address. What sucks is that G-d has laid it on my heart to share my story. Be real with people, open up and love people as I accept unconditional love that I used to not allow myself to feel. I’ve been taught in public speaking, and singing, and even conversations to not preface or disclaim things and I try really hard to keep to that. But I clearly didn’t listen this time. Lets add that to the list of things I’m working on.

It’s Valentines Day here in Aussie Land, which in all reality doesn’t matter at all. I plan on finding a beach today and getting golden brown and piddling around the city. The only significance of today is that I just finished a book on Prophecy and a heavy portion of the book spoke on LOVE. So today I woke up and read 1 Corinthians 12-14 as the book suggested doing for every day of the rest of your life and I began to realize just how poorly I love. A large struggle here at Hillsong [so far (for me)] has been my wonderful insecurity and issue of comparison. Hillsong College doesn’t cultivate or feed this insecurity, in fact I think I’ve heard something in every sermon, chapel, lecture, and conversation about how we need to NOT be comparing ourselves.

We are the BODY OF CHRIST and to each of us has been given the ‘manifestation of the Spirit for the common good’.

G-d puts us in the places HE willed us to be in, with the talents HE set in us, and the understanding HE taught us, with the stories HE will use if we let Him. And sometimes all of that sucks (this is a fragment sentence because I have nothing else to say about it). When you lean on your understanding and your view it’s rough to believe you’re a significant person in the kingdom. You might be a finger in the body, but fingers are pretty boring until you attach them to the hand and link them to the heart and the brain, and then through them all working together create a melody on the piano, or a letter to an old friend, or a story that will change someone’s life.

“But in fact G-d has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.”
1 Corinthians 12:18

– I don’t have to try and convince myself that I’m supposed to be here, now, with the level of talent or anointing I have – G-d has placed me where He willed me to be. I’m not a mistake; I’m not out of place. No one else here can be me. His Word tells me so. Even on the days I don’t believe in myself, I have to believe His Word is true or I really have nothing and no reason to be here.

Hmmm, so love.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a; 4:13

Can we go real talk without you getting uncomfortable? No? Probably not, that’s fine you don’t have to ‘like’ this post. Do you have any idea how long I’ve avoided and not liked this portion of scripture? My divorce was final August 2012 so… probably about 4 months BEFORE that. I have let there be a hold over my heart and life because I have accepted the ties around portions of scripture and what was promised to me, and broken. G-d didn’t do that. HE didn’t abandon me, He always hoped in me, He ALWAYS persisted after me. He is good, He is G-d, He is Holy. Having said that I realized that through all this mess and all the ties I let hold me I was killing my ability to ACCEPT love… How the heck do I expect to give love if I can’t accept it? I am a BAD lover. I have the biggest issue in the world with rejoicing in truth, I need to work on rejoicing over people who are ahead of me in life. I need to stop being intimidated by them and thinking I will never be like them. Chances are, I WONT BE LIKE THEM BECAUSE G-D CREATED ME TO BE ME.

I have so much room to grow in this area. I have so much I need to start believing about me so that I can in turn pour it out into believing in others. What is terrible is that it’s all grown out of fear, pride and insecurity. Those are ugly, I want to be pretty inside and out. Momma always said I was… I want to believe I am. But dang, I need G-d’s help. Only He knows how stubborn I am and how far down He is going to have to dig to get it all out. And I have been praying since I got here that He would take it all out. G-d, teach me how to love. Show me the moments when I am very wrong. Guide me in what You need me to do and above all – change my heart to beat more in line with Yours. “Get rid of it all G-d, make my heart true. Get rid of it all G-d and make me more like You. Just take it all Lord, bind me to You. With one glance of my heart G-d, I’m falling in love with You.”

I could write a ton more about all this but I’m trying to keep it as short as your attention span. It might not ever be perfect but I DO love you all with all I know how, I am praying that it becomes more pure and closer to what it love really looks like. I am expecting a lot of miracles and heart changes for the women I live with and the people I’m going to school with, and me. I could use prayer. You all are wonderful.

“Write your heart out”… seriously, get the mess that is inside of you out. There is healing, there is encouragement, there is truth to be spoken over you, there is accountability you (I) desperately need. You don’t have to fight thoughts alone.

 Happy Valentines Day

Out Of The Context: Christmas

Welcome to my #ThinkBackThursday this week, I wrote it shortly after my 19th birthday around Christmas time (totally on Christmas day). It’s more of just a prayer and not entirely a Jesus sermon, but it is where I’ve found my heart lately, in full surrender and hopeful request that G-d would be G-d and allow me to be me and hopefully use me everyday along the way. It’s all I really know how to do is lay my requests before G-d and wait on Him; and even with that I am terrible. G-d help me even now, 5 years later and a little bit farther into the path with you. Grow my heart towards You and let there be even more of a willingness to serve Your people and fill me to overflowing with grace. I am needy, but You think about me. Thank You.


For what it’s worth, I give you all I have.

I’m sorry it isn’t pretty, or all that much in the long run.

But I’m willing and ready to change if you want or need me to.


I give you a moldable me. I give you who I am in hopes that You’ll make me better. I give you me, praying that You’ll make me more like you. I let go of fears to give honor and awe to you. I let go of distractions so that You might have my full attention, not out of obligation but out of the LEAST I could give you. Starting now and going into the rest of my life I give it to You. May I never take lightly my service to You and help me to see and re-define who I should be for You.

I love you G-d and I know you love me too.

-Laina

Christmas always reminds me how ridiculously, and undeserving-ly blessed I am. I like all the gifts I got today and somehow I usually sit wishing I had more money or saved better so that this year I could give more. I’m always left with a few people to give presents to AFTER Christmas is over. I don’t see much wrong with that, I just wonder sometimes who stopped today to offer what they could to Jesus? It is after all – – About Him.

Blah blah blah… I’m not about to get on a Christmas lecture on how He is the reason we celebrate, if you don’t know that by now then you’ve been driving with your eyes shut and listening without ears for the months that led up to today. But, for what it’s worth, what have you offered to Him? Not because it’s Christmas, but because He deserves it? Daily. Ha <I can’t believe I started a sentence with a laugh. 8APR2015>, honestly take a look at yourself (I’m looking at my life thus far and the future promise I know I can hold onto) what can you legitimately offer to make the space you’ve taken up worth it? Nothing… Yet somehow when we mix who we are with who G-d wants us to be, HE makes us worth something. But He won’t force himself on you or change you without your allowance. You have to GIVE Him the gift of yourself. Which is almost comical when I think of my life ever being a gift I’d want to present to anyone.

((It’s ALMOST embarrassing))

I don’t understand why G-d chose to love me. All I know is that He did.

I don’t understand why I would somehow make an acceptable gift for the Creator. But somehow He sees it in me.

I don’t understand how G-d orchestrates all of our lives into a beautiful array of hope and progress. But oh, He does.

All I can do is be thankful that I live FREE, with a family that loves me, with friends that miss me when I leave, with jobs that are teaching me how to become who I’m supposed to be.
And despite how messy it is, I have a Creator who is constantly changing the image of who I am into who He is and what He wants me to be.

Jesus, I’m not much and I don’t understand what you see in me, but here I am.

My whole heart for You… Happy Birthday (ish)

Learning To Love To Watch The Paint Dry

We are given the same allotment of space each day to choose to fill. It becomes valuable when it is spent and becomes more when there is less. We have the same amount each week but some weeks we take the time to pay attention to those sections of space, we focus on the moments and the opportunities and we focus on the time we literally can’t do anything except for be. There is no other thing more valuable and more exchangeable than this. So I suppose I’ll continue my pondering from thinking back to timing and thinking this week on waiting. I appreciate what G-d has given me an opportunity to do and what He will allow me to do while I spent my days with Him. Enjoy.


“Wait for the LORD; be strong and //take heart// and wait for the LORD.”

Psalms 27:14

“The LORD gives strength to His people; the LORD //blesses His people with peace.//”

Psalms 29:11


Several times in this adventure of living with 7 beautiful women we have all, or a majority of us have had to be leaving our house at the same time. When this is the case, it’s unspoken and understood that we are going to try to walk together – but, as I’ve stated, I live with 7 other women so getting ready together and on time is doable but not always achieved.

No bother though, when someone isn’t ready to walk out the door, we wait. In our waiting what we are doing is showing that we have the courtesy to remain in their presence until they say ‘go’. What I find interesting is that even when we (I) claim that we are (I am); we (I) hardly have the same consideration in waiting on the LORD.

We sometimes lack the respect to show G-d our patience of remaining in His presence until He says ‘go’.

And beyond that, we are given the command to wait, It’s not just a suggestion we are told once and reminded once in the same scripture to wait.

“I’m not good at waiting”

Good, if we are relying on your strength we’d of given up years ago. What still baffles me about scripture is that we are given commands AND ALSO everything we need to carry out those commands. ‘The LORD gives strength to his people, the LORD blesses us with peace

We have all we need, given by G-d – to OBEY G-d.

To ‘take heart’ we are to take up encouragement, it is to be comforted or to buck up. WAIT for the LORD – sit in His presence and be encouraged, be lifted as you spend time with Him until He says, “Ok, we’re ready” And, wait for the LORD.

G-d is not redundant; there is meaning behind His words and His expression to us. G-d is repetitive and not because He wants to say it twice but because maybe we need to hear it twice. He alone enables us with the peace to sit; it’s your choice to be there long enough to receive whatever He is offering to give.

“Be strong” – What a paradox, I know of no other situation than in G-d’s word where you become stronger by sitting. Again, we see a command that personally doesn’t make sense until we skip forward to the blessing of Jesus being our LORD. “The LORD gives strength to his people”. We don’t have enough on our own but He has it for us. May He always be enough…

((Calm down kid, He has this))

He hasn’t left us with this daunting calling that we will never in our lifetime see completed. He isn’t holding our promise over our heads, He is inviting us to take our load to Him and to receive every blessing from His hands that He wants to give us. He is just asking us to wait for Him, and to wait WITH him, and while we are waiting to allow the supernatural creator to give us what we need for today. He isn’t trying to turn us into the Hulk, He’s just trying to bless us and give us our strength for today.

And may peace surround you, even now, even as you sit in your home, a coffee shop, church, your car, school may the peace of Christ which passes all understanding guard your heart. Our hearts take the worst beatings of all and there has been no other way I’ve known comfort to this level other than when I cried out to G-d. I pray that peace floods in and that you are encouraged, that you’re uplifted, that you are strengthened and revived to your best.

G-d knows what He is doing and He doesn’t want you to miss out. Wait on Him.

Even when you’re uncomfortable and feel silence deeper than you hear the truth.

The fact is that it IS STILL the truth. Allow the Words of G-d to sit with you. He has good for you. He is good TO YOU. Find the beauty in obedience as it comes to being with the Savior. And I pray that in His perfect timing you’d begin to ‘go’ WITH Him.

He’s getting something ready for you. 

 

But, What Do I Do With My Hands?

I suppose sometimes the task is really just to continue. 

As per usual, I’m preaching to myself and praying that someone gets something out of it as well.

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

Psalms 23

Lately, I’ve admitted to others and heard from friends as well, that we have no idea what we are doing. We know G-d has a special plan and intent for our lives and at this season we are sure we are where we need to be. But It seems all the sudden as if G-d has gone silent. Maybe we are bad at listening? Maybe, we don’t lie well in green pastures? Maybe we feel awkward around still waters? Maybe we really just aren’t sure what to do with our hands?

I’m bad at this

You tell me in your word that you LEAD me by quiet waters… I, in my own person and self and thoughts and decisions LOVE the beach and love to be by the beach and take a nap in the sun listening to the crashing waves. But, when JESUS tries to lead me there in that place of resting with Him and sitting in the season I’m in – I tend to freak out. I feel left out or forgotten even though I know what the Bible tells me about Him never leaving or forsaking me. Why the heck do I do this? I imagine like most things it is a lack of awareness of what G-d just might be trying to do. A few days ago I finally found a settlement in my spirit that it’s time to sit here. I’m where I belong so its time to BE HERE. Not exactly new news but its for sure something I needed to remember. It’s ok to sit in the silent seasons with G-d, sometimes He actually wants to restore us.

I’m well aware that G-d knows my heart better than I do so the trusting is pretty easy, the feelings sometimes suck though.

“But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.” Psalms 13:5-6

G-d, you’ve BEEN and you will be. Your love has never given up on me. Your salvation is final and such a gift. I will sing praise to You. You’ve been so good. I’m going to learn how to teach my spirit to praise you no matter what I feel and trust You hear me. “I call on you, O G-d, for you answer me.” Psalms 17:6

What I DO know is that G-d is faithful.

So may I find myself with my hands where they belong, in surrender of all the things that stress me out, giving up the things that are hard for me to look past. May I be found with my hands on my heart, sitting with the father and knowing that He has me sitting this season for a purpose. 

He’s doing a new thing but He is also remembering to wake the sun up each morning and tuck it away each night. He is calling His kids home but He is also sending them out to preach Jesus. He is telling you to keep moving forward with what you started so that He might finish and complete the work in you that He intended you to live out.

Scrabit: Posture

The fun thing about writers block is: deadlines. The only way to get unstuck while telling your story is to continue living.

I have been moved through various stances or postures over the last few years in my walk with Jesus and I’ve take them on as apart of my calling. I felt this was appropriate since it was G-d who was teaching them to me. The fall of 2013 was difficult for me, I was fearful to the brim and that began leaking into my relationships and life. Until one day G-d spoke to me, He began to push me ever so slightly in an invitation to move.

I found out quickly that the only way to walk past the fears that I had was literally to walk PAST them.

I was afraid of ministry, men and my calling. So He called me to jump. It was as if there was a ledge of opportunity in each area and all He wanted me to do was posture myself with my arms in the air in surrender; in a free fall straight into the things He had for me. I was challenged to jump to see if I could fly. I was curious if He would catch me. I signed up for our college worship team, I told a boy I liked him, I began again to sing. I literally felt like I was living my life in surrender, arms wide and high in the air and no way of getting back to where I was. I was to become more of who I was created to be:

a child of the King in full surrender. A kid who just wanted her Dad’s will.

Fast forward to moving back in with my parents. I was quite literally called ‘home’ by G-d. I looked for a place of my own and felt no peace about any of the beautiful apartments I was walking in – none of these were going to be my next place to grow. I had a calling on my heart to grow my relationship with my parents, which I thought was weird because I already had a relationship with them, but it was supposed to be more. G-d began taking me on this daily journey of being their daughter. He wanted me to learn how to lean on them and ask them for help. He wanted me to learn how to place myself sitting crisscross with my arms resting palms up on my legs.

The Lord was teaching me how to receive.

I had developed a lot of pride in my work growing up because I worked ALL THE TIME. I invested who I was and all of my days into what I was DOING. I had no room to allow my heart the ability to ASK. Receiving was awkward for me because I didn’t think I needed anything. If I needed something I would have just worked and got it myself but I stunted my growth in being a good daughter in this way. I didn’t know how to allow my parents the joy of being a parent… and I didn’t know how to be G-d’s kid.

“Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:9-11 (NIV)

G-d needed me to learn how to be a child so that I could learn how to receive from HIM. It works both ways and I firmly feel He has been posturing me in this last season to receive.

And let me tell you, His goodness is great.


More recently; I’ll admit this has only been about two weeks – The Lord spoke to me about getting on my knees. It was during worship at Elevate, He whispered quietly and reminded me how holy and worthy He is and how much He deserves this honor. For lack of a better word I felt He demanded honor and who was I to not respect that? So we carried on with service while Cass Langton was speaking about what wears on our hearts and what burdens us. As she was speaking I began to realize that I too had a weight on me that I hadn’t noticed because I thought I was good. At the end of service she had us get on our knees and allow G-d to refresh us. There is something about getting on your knees that helps you really hear G-d. There is something honorable about seeking Him out while you position yourself to remember how holy He is. ((And dang, He is Holy.))

“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord G-d Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come… Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him…” Revelation 4

I’m a writer; I’m ALSO a songwriter; I’m ALSO a people, so lyrics speak to me and get stuck in my head… Seryn puts this concept beautifully of what we find when we get on our knees:

On my knees I can see / where my heart needs to be

/ when this life gets to me / I’ll be found on my knees /

Lord, may I be found in your presence on my knees

 Now, if I may propose one last position – this is a position of BOLDNESS. Boldness is a position because a stance is a movement. Boldness moves you forward, boldness sticks you out and boldness is a noticeable posture amongst a crowd of followers. We are the leaders of many in the next generation and the only way we will show the light of the King is by a mark of confidence that can only come from G-d. I want to position myself to always be bold, I want to live in the position that if G-d doesn’t turn up, then I’m done.

I want to live out faith even when I can’t understand, love even when I’m struggling to do it well, hope even when there isn’t a way I can see. I want to live out fearlessness because my victor is a King.

I want to live out who I KNOW I am being called to be. My stance is active because in a world where you have something to say you will always have something speak against you. We become a moving target when we are sitting deep in the message of Christ. We are the beginning of open season for the attacks the devil might have for us but greater is He that dwells inside of me than who the devil even thinks he is.

I’m still learning how to live out all of these positions but G-d has and is calling me to physically MOVE myself into these postures so that I might feel the full surrender, learn to accept all the wonderful things G-d wants to impart on me. He wants me to seek and find him sitting in respect for Him as HE refreshes me and He is calling me to do all of this boldly before the throne with a confidence…

that HE HEARS ME.

HE SEES ME,

And HE LOVES ME.

Thank you Jesus.

Sometimes you just gotta move.