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)

Obey: Journey and Heart

I think this one is hitting home for the last #ThinkBackThursday this season. It’s now been a year; 52 posts of old material that G-d used to once again locate me and challenge me. This blog was birthed out of obedience, and while I didn’t want to be THAT Christian-Hillsong girl who writes a blog about my journey… I am. And I LOVE it because it’s what G-d has put on my heart and in my hand to do. So dang it – I’m going to do it well. I’m going to do it out of obedience and trust and I’m going to do it out of self-reflection and self-location because I’m going to want these things written; I’m going to want these stories that I get to live with others retold because I have enough faith to believe that Jesus will turn up in the midst of them.

The biggest THANK YOU to those of who you have read my blog faithfully, inconsistently, never read it but always intended to and to those who’ve stumbled upon it now.

THANK YOU for reading… not because it’s my blog but because I’m honoured that you somehow might believe in my story. Thank you because your time is valuable and spending 5-10 minutes, twice a week to catch up with me means heaps to me. You are so treasured.

I have such love for you all.


5 November 2008-

“G-d, I’m listening, and I don’t know what to do-
I’m doing my best to listen to what you tell me to.
Putting actions with my words has become the hardest thing
When I cannot speak anymore, LORD, you’ve taught me how to sing.”

All I’m hearing lately is “OBEY”; Even though I have NO idea the outcome or the process that He will lead me though. Sunday night G-d surprised me and just told me to obey… it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt (thus far), but I did. I have no idea when He will mend what he’s asked of me or how many days it will last. But, I’m learning that it’s not about me anymore.

G-d has something amazing in store for those who seek them, and He’s leading me beside the still waters so that I can.

I watched “Everything Is Spiritual” by Rob Bell, with our leadership core on Sunday afternoon, and throughout all of it what really stuck out to me is “Sitting on top of the mountain”.

*G-d called Moses to Obey… Exodus 3.11-14 ((EDITED))
(a)
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go ((Insert G-d’s resolution to a personal problem here))?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have ((Fixed your problem the way I TOLD you to)), you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go ((Oh, I dunno… OBEY, what then should I tell people?)), ‘The God of your fathers has sent me…’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am… ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

(Actual Verses Cited below)

Something that I couldn’t get out of my head is the thought that all He’s asked us to do is obey. Just to sit with Him, hear Him out and obey the words He has given to us. Moses was instructed by G-d to go up Mount Sinai and meet Him there.

(b) “The LORD descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain.”

Just to meet Him. Just to spend time with Him. Just to listen to Him.

I attend The University of Tulsa (Community College) ha… Ahem, anyway I have classes every Tuesday and Thursday from 8-9.20am, and then another class at 11am. I was given a book called “Practicing the Presence of God”, so I thought I would read it during break. There is a hallway at TCC that everyone refers to as the ‘breezeway’, because it is a hall of windows, and I suppose seeing the outside is just as good as being there nowadays? I sat in the breezeway staring out until a bench outside caught my eye. It was tucked away underneath two trees no taller than a one-story house and decently shaded, and still allowing enough light to keep whomever was underneath warm. I gave G-d a sarcastic look in my head and thought, “Why do you want me outside? I could just read in here and not have to move.” G-d has a funny way of returning my cheeky favors, so a little more clear and for no particular reason I get a nudge to get off my rear and go outside. I start down the breezeway when I realize that I’ll have to walk through the smoking area to get to my little picnic table that G-d wanted me at, and I begin to think “I don’t want to go through the smoking area, I hate the smell of smoke it’s bad for you.” As I make my way to the Library G-d pulls all the more hard telling me to go to table and reminding me that sometimes he takes you through something you don’t really want in order to get you alone with him.
I sat and read and didn’t really understand why I had to be there. But it’s not about me… G-d just told me to obey and I’m trying my hardest to do so.

(c) “Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.”

G-d, do you really think that of me? Am I really a treasured possession of YOURS just because I listen? That’s enough for me – it has to be enough for me.

So I’m stuck, at the top of the mountain waiting on the Lord to come find me. I can’t do this alone because I wasn’t created to be alone, and right now trusting in G-d is all I need to be leaning on.

Just some thoughts of a Follower of Christ trying to find whatever He needs of me.

“And I’ll praise you in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For you are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I’ve cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise you in this storm”

Exodus 3.11-14 (a)
11
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
12 And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”
13 Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”
14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

Exodus 19.20 (b)

Exodus 19.5 (c)

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

Aussie (Day 1- Jetlag)

In honour of my 1 year anniversary in Australia and Aussie Day I figured it was appropriate to post this #ThinkBackThursday to my first few days here. It’s been an incredible year and now I’ve had the privilege to welcome the new January intake students who will join in and add to our travels. What a beautiful year we have ahead of us!

Enjoy this look back and Happy Australia Day


It seems like these two days have flew by and also like I’ve been here a year. This isn’t the cleanest thing I’ve written because jet lag. But I know a lot of you are asking my parents questions they don’t know how to answer because communication has been limited. So for you now, a collection of my thoughts the last two days… Oh my gosh it’s only been two days.

It’s raining in Sydney, which I find awkwardly appropriate for starting a new adventure. It’s been said before that G-d is in the rain and in all of my limited life experience I would have to agree. Maybe its because I’m an Okie but storms are calming to me. They remind me of sitting on my front porch (like a good okie) and watching the lightning roll in with my dad. I wasn’t scared because I was with my dad.      

   It’s empowering when you all the sudden see yourself invencible just because of who you surround yourself with.

I have had a peace in this season of my life that is both unexplainable and incomprehensible- and only from walking with the Father. At first I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t even know what it was. I was walking in step and therefore in peace with my heavenly Father and I felt awkward.

G-d I can live calm and focused? This is what redemption feels like – this is hope and this is healing and it is what being with G-d feels like. Watching the storms fall in and realizing I’m covered. 

I’m with my Dad

How comforting. 


“He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.” – Daniel 3.25


 

I spent a good bit of time this morning wondering what the heck I was doing. With all the activities and gatherings that went on I realized an unfortunate truth about myself, I’m bad at people time. I didn’t realize how terrible I am at holding a conversation until I actually didn’t know what came next in my day and I had nothing to do. We were all crammed in a breakfast room to eat and I suppose probably chat and get to know people and I struggled with not being able to focus on the people around me because I wanted to know what I was supposed to be doing. Where was I supposed to be? Did I need to be preparing for something? We’re been in this room a long time did we all happen to miss a cue for going somewhere else? What if we are late to the thing that we don’t know we are supposed to be doing?

Just Be

Our Vice Principal (or someone else really important to our schooling) was speaking about letting this be a relaxing time. It ISN’T going to be like home here in the way we remember, but this place IS home. He challenged us to get used to things changing and maybe even running a minute late. He told us we needed to relax. He also told the Mexicans to not relax so much. It was exactly what I needed to hear and it was exactly where I needed to be. Reminding myself that my entire path coming here has been covered by a peace that I don’t understand and a favor that I’ve never let myself receive before. Laina, freaking chill out. BE THERE with the people who are with you now and calm down. Has G-d not had this the entire time? You didn’t even know what you needed and yet here you are.

Just Breathe

The crazy thing is that I am EXACTLY where I need to be. I’m hearing exactly what cuts my heart and I’m having the chance to express myself exactly the way the good Lord put it in my heart to be heard. I had a conversation with a friend before I left and he was simply asking me how I was doing. I was almost embarrassed to admit that this whole process has been a beautiful experience; but because I didn’t know how to live in beautiful experiences… I didn’t know what this feeling was of my heart being light and my spirit being free. I was so unfamiliar with the peace of G-d that I didn’t even recognize it when I was walking IN IT. Lord, Forgive me… I neglected to learn how to receive from you so many times before. You give good gifts, Abba, and I want all of them. IF this is what walking with You truly feels like then I must have been stumbling before.

Just Accept.

G-d, I’m blown away, absolutely speechless. I didn’t even know who I was and You called me Yours. I didn’t know what I needed and You provided an abundance. I didn’t know where I was going and You picked me up and walked me there. What the heck? How am I so blessed? Oh, how He loves us SO

Just Receive.

I Don’t Believe In Fear

 

Story Time With Laina at it’s finest.

Some tunes to read to

I’m on top of the world today, and by that I mean I swam under the world with giant sea turtles, massive stingrays and sharks ranging from 1-3 meters long. I couldn’t have been more excited unless you told me I had a dinosaur of my own.

We showed up and got (wet) suited up and were taken to a small pool where two turtles had already come by to say hello and make sure we were fully trained with our underwater breathing gear. We got in the pool and one by one were strapped in with an oxygen tank and handed a mouthpiece to start breathing through. I was given a mask that looked less than flattering on my partially Native American cheekbones and told it was time to start breathing underwater. We were told to put our faces under the water and keep our ears where we could hear them for the next bit of instructions.

Breathe Normally.

Breathe in and out of your mouth. I know that sounds simple for some of you obnoxious mouth breathers currently walking around the earth, but for me, trusting that I wouldn’t die if I tried to breathe in through my nose accidently was terrifying. I actually was given to a second instructor to walk me through one on one and talk through everything. She assured me of the facts that I already knew; that the mask wouldn’t fall off, that the oxygen tank had more than enough for our dive, that my natural survival instincts will take over and in the aquarium tank I wouldn’t even think about how I was breathing but my body in fact, would breathe.

Take deep breaths… 1, 2, 3, in… 1, 2, 3, out

The instructors made their way through the little manhole from the pool to the aquarium with the fish, turtles, rays and sharks and the other 3 people I was diving with went through. Right before the person in front of me swam into a 30-minute adventure – I got on my knees and tried to practice not dying underwater. I instantly wanted to give up. Then realizing everyone was already through my only option was to leave alone or fight fear.

Fun fact about me… I LOVE SHARKS.

For me, getting in a tank with jagged-toothed, 10.5 foot, and 350 lbs. beauties was easy. But trusting in what I was given to get there was hard. Sometimes fear comes not from what is ahead but from the equipment you have to move ahead. Sometimes I have issues trusting what I’ve been given to be enough for the journey.

You can sometimes see what is coming, we are diagnosed with cancer and told we will go through treatment, it will be hard but there are facts about what we can expect. We are dealing with the loss of a loved one and we are told to see grief coming but not to worry – there are steps that are known and trained help to get you through. We prepare for our university exams that will make or break our career choices and can see it coming by the date the teachers have set. We get a birthday gift to swim with sharks and research the breed to a make sure how tightly you can hug it before it gets irritated and tries to hug you back… with it’s teeth.

What is coming isn’t often as scary because we know it’s coming. But trusting that YOU have enough inside of you to make it becomes a risk. Are you strong enough to fight after chemo leaves you weak? Are you brave enough to plan a funeral and still let you emotions breathe and not shove them into hiding? Are we intelligent enough for exams or do we need to get a day job? Will the oxygen in the tank run out?

Are we equipped?

Do we have enough for the journey?

G-d, is Your Word REALLY enough?

I’ve recently decided that I don’t believe in fear anymore; not to say it doesn’t exist, but I’ve tried to redirect the emotions that I might have once called fear and accept them as something else. Am I really afraid? Or am I nervously excited? Can I call this something else so that one word doesn’t take a hold of what I am and how I function?

When you put your BELIEF into something you feed it. It gets bigger and bigger until it paralyses you from doing what you want or need to do.

I refuse to get there; I don’t have time to believe in something so strongly that it won’t help anyone. I don’t have time to be too afraid to move when the adventure is forward, and when the things ahead are prepared for. I can’t fall back simply because I don’t think I have enough.

I can’t fall back simply because I don’t think YOU have enough, Lord. I trust that what You’ve equipped me with is more than enough to carry me through. I KNOW there will be bumps along the way but I know that you will sustain me. My tank wont run out. You have me. 

 

Dear Children,

#ThinkBackThursday… jumping back to New Years 2009 which would have just made me 19. I remember thinking how blessed I was to have the authority of Jesus speaking in my defense for all of the sins I had, have, and possibly will commit. What a beautiful thing that is. So, I suppose since it’s Thanksgiving in the USA I’ll take this time to say:

Thank You, G-d.


I write this to you so that you will not sin . But if anybody does sin (which I know you do, and will) we have one who speaks to the Father IN OUR DEFENSE — Jesus Christ, the Righteous (Right Living) One.”

G-d, I’ll never understand why on earth you love us so. You KNEW we would be a wicked and sinful man, that we would make horrible decisions on our own, that we would repent only to forget where we came from and have to get on our knees again. And yet, you let your only son come and be our voice of defense. We don’t deserve this… In any way, shape, or form.

“HE IS the atoning sacrifice for OUR SINS(?), and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”

(?) It’s not fair that YOU, YHVH, should have to take all of my sins. But I know G-d, that I wouldn’t be able to handle it. The only thing I could think to do is lighten my burden  on Your Heart by living as purely as I can for you.

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, G-d’s love is truly made complete in him . This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

((G-d I want to KNOW you. Completely.

The New Year always reminds me to look back on the past year and reflect on all that has happened. It just so happens that I was reading 1 John about the PURE, AMAZING, and HOLY LOVE of G-d. The New Year is a chance to start again, to read so that I might not sin, and when I do… to come before the broken lamb of G-d and repent. Not because I want a clean slate before I go back into the world, but so that I might seek His heart and find what exactly His plan for me is. I don’t want even the smallest desire to continue a mundane life stuck here in the earthly realm of things.

I have a very big G-d, Oh! And He’s ALWAYS by my side

1 John 2.1-6 (NIV)
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

You’re Doing It Wrong

 

My Puerto Rican J-Lo (Jen Nieves) and I are Pastoral-Creatives. It’s that mix of people who care too much about people to leave them alone but still like to play with finger paints. Or if you want, you can join me in viewing our personalities as hippies. Love music. Love art. Love people.

Always.

At one point or another we (at the very least I) tried to run away from this very odd inner draw to help the A.D.D. Christians still love G-d. But it is who we are and there is no escape.

But G-d couldn’t just leave me alone with the desire to write music, sing and preach and teach… He also allowed my life to become introverted (I need to recharge without people) NOT shy (I’m too full of myself and my insecurities to carry on a conversation)((pride)).

Thanks G.

Oilvia [my sweet as drummer friend (I’m totally name dropping today)] and I were talking yesterday about the conclusion of our first year at Hillsong College. We were discussing what was difficult for us the first year that we still haven’t ‘dealt’ with… What are we still working on?

For me: which I’m assuming you want to know because you are still reading – this was community. I explained my thoughts on how I walked through my first year and how at the end of it, if I’m being as overly honest as I always tend to be, I feel like not that many people know me. Now – the KNOWING ME isn’t the important part, the GIVING MYSELF, my time, my energy, my investments, my open heart, my very unique part of the body of Christ is important. It IS important because I am also shy. I dealt this last year with being so concerned with myself and insecure that I didn’t give all I felt I could have.

Now, I’ve recently written about this so I don’t want to get too much into what I already wrote about… But I will reiterate the importance of being in community. We are better together and we were never meant to do this alone. If I could just encourage, challenge, tell you to, force you to READ the Bible… that would be awesome, but for the sad fact that the majority of you struggle to get a daily time to sit and process with G-d I’ll chop some up here for you.

Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching”

Hebrews 10:SomewhereBetween24-25 (MSG)

Guys and Gals, I have NO idea how to encourage someone that I’m not around. Nor do I know how to encourage if I’m only concerned for how bold I feel that day or how crazy I think my hair is partying that day.

“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone, you are only fooling yourself. You are not that important.

Galatians 6:1-3 (NLT)

Ewww… Pride isn’t pretty on ANYONE, especially shy-pride.

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NLT)

 

//Changed and changing still//

Thank G-d I’m not the same that I was and thank G-d that I will not remain the same that I am.

I’m verbally and electronically committed to community – I’m committed to lunches and coffee dates. I’m committed to my housemates and practicum team. I’m committed to showing up, being there and giving me. And if the Lord is willing all of that will be useful.

G-d, as always, you have my permission to make me look more like you and less like myself. You have my permission to make me look more AT you and less AT myself. You have my time, my energy, my investments, my open heart, and my very unique part of Your kingdom. Here’s to all the people time I need next year.


*Random PSA I found online – if you feed the toilet paper to the back of the roll and not the front you’re an ignorant, inconsiderate person and you need to grow up.

 

This Week The Trend…

Purely for your listening enjoyment whilst reading: Good Tunes

Probably Some Better Tunes

I have never heard this song before

What’s on my mind Facebook?

What’s going on Twitter?

It’s time to blog WordPress?

#100daycreativechallenge needs an Instagram picture?

If I’m being 100% honest there is more on my mind now that assessments are done and I’m out of the thick of college. I’m thinking about provision, I’m meditating on promises that I firmly believe G-d spoke to me. I’m already heartbroken for the ‘goodbyes’ I’ll have to say before making my way to a very joyous reunion with my family members. I’m thinking about already having to do another “see you later” with them after a very short 5 weeks fly by. I’m thinking about all the dreams I have and wondering if I’ve somehow changed enough to qualify achieving them even though I know full well that it is ABSOLUTELY by G-d’s grace that I’m even here. However, I’m still thinking about all the things I want and wondering how on earth they will all come to pass.

None of G-d’s promises make sense to me in the middle of waiting on them to happen. Maybe they make sense to you, in which case I’m so happy for you. But I’m in the waiting… and lately it’s just enough time to terrify me.

I’m not the only one though, I’ve realized that trusting is hard for more people than just me. We collectively miss what it means to operate in the peace of G-d and end up thinking about the tomorrow’s that may never come. I’m thinking about my story in coming here as I had the opportunity to tell it again today. I was brought to tears recounting the confirmation I received that I was supposed to come here. I remember telling G-d that if it was His will for me to be here it was going to have to be His bill in keeping me. I remember thinking my prayers to G-d on finding a perfect job when I felt it was time to get one. I remember an overwhelming peace that He heard all those prayers and that He sees what is best and gives it to me.

The only thing about memories is that they are only good for a moment and then you need more. 

G-d, I trust have enough but I need more. 

I guess I found out that I’m a little stressed and a lot in need of Him…

http://www.gofundme.com/storytimewithlaina

((If you feel in your heart to give I’d appreciate it; If you can pray that will mean even more.

Fun-Size Forgetfulness

As of late, I feel like my friends as a whole are in need of more strength than they have. I feel like I’m in that boat as well, I need more faith, I need more courage, I need more compassion, I need more grace and in general I need more of Christ in my life.

I find myself in the mornings waking up and instinctively realizing how badly I need him and almost even to the first second of consciousness calling out for Him to help me. With this, though I tend to forget what I said because I’m not fully awake. But thank G-d that He remembers and hears me and follows through with the requests we need more than the ones we ask for.

Please enjoy this short blog from 2012!


17.09.2012

Sometimes I forget that I can ask G-d for stuff like strength; I don’t forget when I need it – but I forget to ask BEFORE I need it. This morning I thought to ask G-d for strength for my day and it’s the first time in a while that I did before junk took it’s place in my day. What I am so grateful for is that He answers my prayers, in His time and wisdom and as He sees fit.

“Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer.” – Psalms 6.8-9

Back up off Satan, G-d hears me. He accepts my cries for help and He is close to me. Giving His child refuge and strength. He restores me even while He is defending me cause He is all-powerful.

LORD, this morning I ask You for strength. I ask You for favor and blessing. G-d, I beg You for a new heart and a right mind that meditates on Your Word and promises. And here and now, before trials come I ask You to help in only a way You can. Mostly, G-d, help me stand out of the way. 

You Aren’t Original – And It’s Ok

We are all just walking projections of everything we have ever learned, all the hurts we’ve ever experienced, whatever innocence we were born with that was protected and the built in human moral that at least half of you will believe in. There is in fact NOTHING original under the sun. Though you’d love to think that you were the first to create, write, paint, build, engineer, you actually developed those ideas off of things that you already knew. It’s like a load of those little Lego pieces all over the ground. They serve one purpose in linking together, but the combinations of the pieces snapped together that you ‘come up’ with have actually been done before.

But you are still beautiful.

You are beautiful and the way you create is unique and wonderful.

Though you are repeating news there is a new way to say the information that you have, there is another way to tell your story. People need to hear what you have to say with the tint of your perspective. The way you compile your information and regurgitate it in a personal way is what will speak to others. I think something I have figured out (or at least pretend to have figured out) is that, it’s not about what you’re saying; it’s about if you’re speaking to people.

G-d put this thought on my heart a while back and if you keep up with my Facebook author page you would have seen me say:

This was that project… To challenge you all to firstly –

  • Get over yourself.

But once you have that out of the way and realize where you get the resources you’re using to create –

  • TO CREATE

Your life and knowledge bears repeating, don’t forget that.

I asked my good friend Dalton Smith to help me out with a logo for this project, for you to share and use and challenge people in your world to share and use.

((See what I did there?))

You people inspire me!

I have a few confessions:

  1. Jaclyn Hill is a make up artist on Youtube and I follow her religiously. But only wear make up a handful of times a year
  2. I follow more blogs than I have time to read
    1. http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/
    2. http://maddiefantillo.wix.com/life-to-the-full
    3. and many many more
  3. Songwriting is the best stream in the world and I could watch people play their songs ALL day
    1. But all the chords are the same

Why do I watch YouTube videos? Why do I read? Because your story might be borrowed concepts but people with humble beginnings who love what they do is what it’s all about.

Publish – Produce – Share

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 9.09.55 AM

How beautifully convenient was it that last nights #Teamnight was all about creating and showing your work? Let me tell you. This has been on my heart for a while, do what you love to do and share! Get it out. Post your blogs, Instagram your paintings, dance and teach others your moves, use the skills you learned to teach someone else how to apply a winged eye-liner. I’m obsessed with people who love their art and share their art.

I’m challenging you to share, rip off my logo and get the people in your world to become obsessed with creating. Let’s bring our stories (that sometimes have the same message) but douse it in our language.

You aren’t original and it’s ok –

I think we create such a difficult life when we try to be the only ones who’ve thought up the next big thing.

Be creative, be you, give credit and steal.