Sunday, October 18, 2015

different kind of woman.

“The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman."

That's a zinger to read. For me, it was. The above quote was spoken by Elisabeth Elliot, one of my all time favorite women in the history of forever. She was a pioneer for the Bible and she was madly in love with the Creator of the world. She knew her worth was found in God and she walked in that.

I went to an ultra conservative, small, private CHRISTIAN school my entire life. All 12 years. And I adored it. I still talk to my middle school and high school Bible teachers because they made such an impact on my life. I made it my mission, so to speak, to be the girl who loved Jesus. I wanted people to love Jesus, too. Almost to a (worldly) fault. It cost me a lot of friends walking away from me. I was never invited anywhere because everyone knew I didn't drink or smoke or participate in whatever they were participating in. The most adventurous thing I did every year was go to the smokey mountains on a youth retreat. And I don't regret a moment of living that way. I've written about it a lot--my testimony. That I simply don't have a big one. I've just always loved the Lord. I've always been really good at telling others that they are worthy and beautiful and amazing in the eyes of the Lord. It's so much easier to tell other people these truths than it is to stand in your bathroom every morning and fight with the person you see looking back at you because for whatever reason you don't feel worthy enough.

So, what do we do? Even as women of God? We hold back. We play small. We pass by opportunities because someone more worthy, someone more beautiful, someone more appealing is behind us and they deserve those opportunities. I've lived this way many times. But, I don't want to. Because regardless of the hateful comments on social media, regardless of the ugly faces people can make at me, regardless of the denial and rejection I face as a person, I DO know that the Lord cherishes my heart and my time just as much as I think he treasures the next girl. It's time to really accept that we are different kind of women because of our maker. We know WHO we are because of WHOSE we are and we need to claim that more, and live that way more. It's crazy exciting how much fulfillment and how much peace comes when you surrender to the will of the Lord. 100% surrender. I thought I had surrendered when I wanted to make Nashville my permanent place of residence. I wanted to march right into the music world and show people you can love God and music. And, while that is absolutely possible, that wasn't the calling placed on my life. Going to Hawaii and learning how to fully surrender and experience the call on my life has been the most freeing and the most rewarding season of my life. I fell in love with Jesus all over and He started really telling me the type of woman He's called me to be. To share His name more. To show people His love more. To respect myself more so that I'll be more confident to share with others what He's done in my life.

Another quote from Elisabeth is the following: "I have one desire now - to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it."

It's that simple. That's my desire. That's my mission, that's my calling. I use to measure my desires by the type of man I wanted to marry, the city I wanted to live in and the kids I wanted to dress in monogrammed outfits. Those are all lovely desires and they have a place in my heart but they've all taken the backseat. Jesus calls us to be interested in so much more than a relationship or city or car. He calls us to go and love people like He did. I've gotten so many emails from sweet girls saying how brave I am for moving away again for six more months and how they could never do that because their boyfriend or best friend or whatever wouldn't allow them. And, my heart breaks for these souls. It's my prayer that if being a missionary is your calling that you wouldn't let anything stop you.

I've made decisions before based on an imaginary outcome of situations that have only left me hopeless. People change their minds. People leave. People hurt you. Life isn't a grand fairy tale. Not to be depressing but we have to place our joy and our hope FIRST in the Lord. Then, He will always lead you to the people who you need in your life.

I've tried to make "my" calling the calling that God had for me. And, while my mission to help people wasn't a bad mission, it wasn't the Lord's mission for me. I remember one night in Hawaii listening to a speaker that had literally given EVERYTHING for the name of the Lord, been in jail, survived bombings while at church because of her faith, etc. and I remember thinking-- wow. and I thought sitting in an office was my calling. I'm not saying that everyone's calling is to go to Nepal or Iraq or wherever and share the love of the Lord but I am saying it was that moment I knew it was mine.

And back to the emails about being brave, etc. I am not a brave soul. I am terrified. There's a possibility that I'll die. But, at the same time, there's a possibility every day of my life that I may die. That cannot be the deciding factor of ignoring the calling the Lord places on my life. I am working on being more brave and more confident because I feel like a lot of people are waiting to unveil their true calling but maybe they're scared. And I don't want you to be scared. I want you to be brave.

There's a Jimmy Needham song that is called "Hurricane." Some of the lyrics are: need You like a hurricane, thunder crashing, wind and rain, to tear my walls down, I'm only Yours now. I feel like I need more of a hurricane encounter with the Lord. I've put up walls where people have hurt me. I've put up all these walls when I fail at something because I don't want to experience defeat again. I build walls instead of stepping out in faith, I cower down in fear because I'm doing the right things but I'm too afraid to just stand up and be vocal about it. Another line of the song says "I don't want to be safe tonight." And, that's where I am. I want to be a recklessly in love, devoted woman of God. I want to be different. I want the Lord to use me and call me to the ends of the earth. I want you to be brave too. There's nothing exciting about being safe.

 I remember in worship one night in college a song played called "by your side." And that's been my anthem for the past few weeks. The lyrics are powerful. I've been using it as a prayer and Jesus has been wrecking me with the song. A powerful section says "why are you looking for love, why are you searching as if I'm not enough?" Okay. Woah. The truest form of love is God. He will lead us to the right people. Lord, I'm so sorry for forgetting sometimes that true LOVE comes from you. Another line says "please don't fight these hands that are holding you, my hands are holding you." So, this (as all my posts are) is an all over the place post. But, I've been fighting the hands that are holding me. I've not surrendered 100% that going back to Hawaii for discipleship school is what I'm going to do. I know that is where I'm suppose to be but I'm fighting it. Because it's far away from Montevallo. Because my family is here. Because my nieces will grow up while I'm gone and everyone will change and everything is scary and uncertain. But, in the midst of all the doubting, God whispers "I love you, I'll never let you go. All of this will be here when you come back. Trust me." Trust him, friends. It's beautifully and exhilarating and passionate when we do.


Several of you have been asking how you can donate to my schooling and 3 month outreach trip so my sister helped me set up a gofundme that I'll link below. If you are reading this and feel called to share or donate, please know that I'm SO thankful. Also, more than anything, please pray for me. For the strength to leave comfort for 6 months to be uncomfortable for the best reason possible. If you've been on a journey like this before and have fundraising/partnering tips, please share them with me, too! Happy Sunday Friends!


Sunday, October 4, 2015

stand your ground.

Happy Sunday friends :) 

I hope everyone has had a great week and that you were able to have a relaxing weekend. I started a new job this week and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm also so excited and thankful to the overwhelming response from so many of you about my decision and opportunity to move back to Hawaii. I never knew how many precious souls were rallying around me and for that, I could never say thank you enough!!

I've gotten out of a groove of writing. I use to enjoy it a lot more to be honest. I had a little bit more passion with a fire lit under me to want to just talk and talk. I went through a significant season of learning where the Lord taught me sometimes it's ok (and healthy!!) to just sit in his presence and soak him up and recharge. The past few months have definitely been that recharging season for me and I'm so thankful for all the Lord has taught me and all he is continuing to teach me. 

My heart is to go where the Lord calls me. It's always been a big part of me. I've always adored traveling and meeting new people. Another piece of my heart is significantly encased with telling girls how worthy and significant they are to Jesus. He's so in love with us and it's so hard to accept a lot of the times (for me, anyways!!). I've never been the super pretty model girl or had all the boys lining up to ask me on dates. I went through a great deal of just having crappy friends leave me and really hurt me in high school and in college because I stood up for loving Jesus. I've learned a lot about myself because I was alone a lot, too. Ive also had a great, GREAT deal of negative comments through social media and emailing in the past two years. I've never called it "bullying" or anything like that because I do try to take everything with a grain of salt and not take the comments to heart. 

I've been incredibly blessed with some amazing opportunities over the past few years to work with, interview and get to know some really neat people in country music and in other genres as well. I've also received a lot of black lash from cowards behind keyboards. It hurts, I'm not going to lie. Like I said, I was taught from a young age that I belong to Jesus and that I was worthy. But words are still words -- and they hurt. I had a season of no harsh emails and really just positive encouragement. Then, in the past two weeks I've received about 7 emails from young girls who are going through difficult situations at school or on social media in relation to bullying. And then, I received several really degrading and hateful emails myself. So, I figured Jesus wanted me to talk about this issue again. 

No, I don't get wasted at shows or in everyday life. I've actually never been drunk in my entire life-- and my life is super fun. I don't sleep around with guys because my identity and my value cannot be given to me by an earthly man. God is where I find my worth. My happiness and joy is not found in people because they let me down--everyday. I'm not the prettiest girl by the world's standards but my Jesus loves me. He looks past the frizzy hair and big ears and he wraps me in his love everyday. I believe whole heartedly that people are good or at least I want to believe that about people. I know that it seems crazy to non believers when they meet me because I honestly do not need the approval of man. I'm praying for the people like the man who sent me that email because he needs Jesus desperately.

Girls, if anyone is bullying you or being mean to you, I will always 100% of the time be glad to pray for you. I've read several verses that really encourage me to press on when I receive hateful emails. I wish every mean email came to me and to none of you because you are a worthy princess of God and he is so in love with you. There is nothing you could do to make him love you any less. Regardless of what people throw at you with words, you are WORTHY. WONDERFUL. CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD. And, the creator of the universe is fighting for YOUR heart everyday. Please don't listen to the negativity. Please know you're worthy and that you are better than a string of letters on a piece of paper. :)