Jesus

3 Effervescent Types of Love that You can Identify With

Rose - URLDid you know that there are different types of love? You already knew that, because you can feel it when you look into the eyes of your significant other and when you look into the swollen eyes of your pet goldfish. You love them both. But somewhere deep down you know it’s not the same kind of love. So what is the technical reasoning behind these strange and wonderful feelings?

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Happy New Year!

Did you know that the very first Times Square Ball was dropped on December 31, 1907 and it comes from the instrument ‘Time Ball’ which was created in England in 1829 to help ships keep time at sea. I won’t go into the details of how it works because quite frankly I don’t understand.

However, I do understand that things don’t always go as planned. The start of 2015 is no exception.

I’d spent the last two weeks of December preparing for the new year. I put together routines, schedules, agenda’s, for blogging, writing, exercising, and managing my time. I had it planned out to a ‘T’ and I was more than determined to stick to it.

On the 30th of December, my dad was admitted to the hospital when he started showing symptoms of a spider bite. He spent New Years Eve and New Years Day in there and was able to come home on Friday. It turns out that it wasn’t a poisonous spider bite, but only that he had an allergic reaction to the bite, which is common for ground crab spiders. We praise God for his health which is still strengthening with each day.

That being said, my New Years resolutions really fell through on this one. I was stressed, mentally exhausted, and didn’t get any sleep. We ate more fast food since no one was feeling up to cook, and I drank a Dr. Pepper on more than one occasion because–yes, I’ll admit it–I’m addicted. So my plans didn’t pan out. All that prepping, and things took a different turn, one that I didn’t see coming.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.” -Isaiah 55:8

As an average person, I might wonder what plans God has for me by putting my daddy in the hospital and watching him go through so much pain. But as a Christian, I don’t want to ask those questions. I don’t want to argue with God for answers I’m not going to understand. I do know this, though. That during those days when I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, I grew closer to God.

I’d made the decision to trust in Him no matter what, I refused to grow bitter towards Him. Because He is my God. I made that decision a long time ago, and nothing is going to change that. My love belongs to Him first and foremost.

Besides the fact that I would have taken away my daddy’s pain if I could, I wouldn’t change what I had to go through personally. I became humbled before my Savior in a way that I’ll cherish every day of 2015. It wasn’t the ideal way to start the year, but it was what was best for me. I discovered a deep, rich longing to grab hold of my Master’s robe and bow before His feet. And on the day I walk into Heaven, I pray I will be able to do that very thing.

I know people roll their eyes when someone mentions their ‘New Years Resolutions.’ You know, the New-Year-New-Me speech that most people lose sight off after a few days, if not a few hours. I’ve never been able to uphold a new years resolution. But this time around, I’m jumping headlong into my plans.

Here’s my list of things to accomplish in 2015.

  • Lose 20 pounds. Cliche, I know. Everybody wants to lose weight. But 2014 showed me exactly what I can accomplish if I put my mind to it. In 2014 I lost 10 pounds, went on a Mission Trip (out of my comfort zone, but definitely on my heart,) and attended my first writer’s conference…by myself, which turned out to be a wonderful experience.

    Either way, my weight-loss plans are to lose at least 5 pounds a month, finishing in April at my ideal weight, 140 pounds. And in May I’ll start workouts that target area’s of my body; arms, legs, back, stomach. I’ve never weighed less than 146 pounds (not since I was a child,) so I’m excited to discover this new me, and 2015 has the privilege of being the first year to see her.

  • Run a mile a day. I’ve always admired those people who could get up at dawn and run a few miles before they head off to work, like it’s nothing at all. So, using the C25K app (from Zen Labs) on my phone I should be able to run a 5K in 8 weeks…I’ll keep you updated.
  • Blog consistently. You guys who have been my faithful companions from the get-go probably know by now that I don’t post often here on my blog. That’s because I don’t always use discipline to sit down and write what’s on my mind. Procrastination-Princess over here has a bad habit of putting things off until it’s too late. I’ve got a dozen different blog-post drafts that are way past their due date.
  • Write consistently. Again, this Princess of Procrastination has a ton of stories and characters running around her head, waiting to leak out, but unless she’s knee-deep into a story it’s tough to be dedicated to a messy, pathetic first draft.
  • Get published. I’m not expecting to get published over night. Nor do I expect to get published in 2015, for that matter. But I do want to get noticed by some agents and editors who can guide me, give me experience, and help hone my craft to perfection.

“If you can quit, then quit. If you can’t quit, you’re a writer.” -R.A. Salvatore

I do have a bunch of little carry-over resolutions. You know, resolutions that carry over from year to year because I didn’t do them last year. Like learning how to play the $300 dollar guitar sitting in my room. Learning French from the college textbook on my bookshelf. Or read a hundred books like I said I would on Goodreads.

Until Thursday, my friends, I leave you with a prayer.

Father, I ask that You would watch over the person reading this. I ask that You would draw them close to Your heart during the start of this new year. I know You have plans waiting for my dear friend and I believe in those plans. I trust that You have magnificent things waiting in 2015. Lord, I ask for good health, financial stability, unconditional love, and a place to call home. May Your mercy abound in their life, in all that they do. For grace, peace, and joy, we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Tell me about your new years resolutions or what your hopes are for 2015. I’d love to hear them. πŸ™‚

Being Still

Things have slowed down a lot in the past week. A lot.

I’m not a very patient person. Sure, I have patience with just about anybody. I don’t mind counting the days until Christmas or my birthday or beloved Valentines day. I don’t mind waiting for my husband, and marriage, and a family.

But there are some cases when I can get antsy. Like now.

Nanowrimo is over for me. Like I said before, if I can’t get it right to begin with, then I usually give up. I did great on the first two days but I kind of got sidetracked with a past novel, and of course with my daily routine and prior engagements, I really didn’t have time to write 50k words in one month. It’s no excuse, I realize. But there it is. I’m still writing, but just not for Nanowrimo.

Either way, in the past week, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. And praying to go along with that thinking. And I know that there’s a lot more praying in my very near future.

I get this way sometimes. It’s one of those chapters in my life where I feel God putting on the brakes. Things get slow for me. Terribly slow. Like almost snails-pace slow. My mind starts to ask questions…you know. Who am I? Where am I going? What is God doing in my life right now? I usually know the answers, and even if I don’t, then that’s where I do my praying.

I know that God is taking me somewhere right now, right here in my waiting. I get antsy when I can’t get to that special place on my time. Those are ugly words paired together. ‘My time’ usually doesn’t mean anything. Because, after all, ‘my time’ isn’t His time.

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. –Isaiah 55:8-9

I love those verses. They’re like music to my ears. To me, this passage goes hand-in-hand with the one in Jeremiah.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. –Jeremiah 29:11

I’m the kind of person who has to have a purpose. In everything that I do. I have to be doing it with a purpose. I can’t just lug myself to some random place and do something just to do it. Which is why I’ve never handled a nine to five job very well. I like purpose. Even if that means volunteering my services somewhere, I want to be getting something done.

So you’ll understand when I say I get antsy when the Lord mentions the word ‘wait.’

Not that I don’t take delight in waiting. I do. Very much so. It’s like a mini vacation. But it goes back to this; waiting is like being quiet and being still–at least in my spiritual life–and when I’m quiet and still, I don’t see progress and I don’t see purpose.

But…

We have to keep in mind, that just because we’re in the waiting doesn’t mean God isn’t at work.

Be still, and know that I am God. –Psalms 46:10

There’s going to be plenty of time for the storms and the trials. There’s going to come a time that I’ll need to call out to God in total faith and desperation. But right now is not that time.

Right now is the time for me to sit back. To listen. To admire Him in the reign of His glory and grace. To observe Him and learn from Him. Like a student in the middle of class, I need not ask questions, I need only to watch and attend to His words. I’ll cherish these simple moments and hold tight to them during the fiery tribulations.

These moments where I can just love Him for who He is. Where I can praise Him and worship Him in the abundance of His truth.

He’s moving me. I can feel it. Physically and spiritually. He’s at work.

It’s like being on an elevator.

You step inside and the doors close. The only sign that you’re moving is the gentle jolt that your heart does when you move in any one solid direction. It’s quiet. It’s calm. There’s no outside world staring you in the face (usually.) It’s just you in the moving box. And the only evidence that you’ve moved is when the doors open wide and you’re suddenly in an unfamiliar place.

That’s where I am right now. I’m just in a moving box, dangling over nothing but air, and no idea what floor I’m going to arrive at. But I’m in His hands and I have the utmost faith in His plan. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want what He has to give me, no matter how small or how grand it is. If He wants to bring me to a strange and scary place, then I’ll go. And if He wants me to wait quietly right where I’m at, then I’ll do that too.

I’m at His mercy. I wouldn’t change that for the world.

For Thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by Thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all those that trust in Him. –Psalms 28:18-30

God, Football, Writing, and Love

What do these things have in common?

Well, me. This is a short post on the things I love and why I love them. Maybe you can relate.

Now, I can’t say that’s the order in which those things are prioritized in my life. God of course comes first and foremost. But after that it’s a three way tie between football, writing, and love.

I was not born into a family of Christians. My parents knew God but they weren’t living for Him. When they finally decided to make that commitment, I was still very young and those moments were pressed upon my heart. I was baptized at the age of eight, on my own volition. I’ve loved Him and lived for Him ever since. I’ve had my ups and downs. My highs and lows. I’ve been overwhelmed by His glory and grace, and I’ve ignored His calling when it wasn’t convenient for me. I’ve doubted Him, I’ve questioned Him, and I’ve blamed Him.

But somehow, someway He has always waited on me. He has forgiven me and poured mercy over me when I least deserved it. He has smiled when I returned to Him, even after the shortest amount of time or a matter of months. He has never denied me when I questioned His existence, even when He had a right to. He never punished me when I blamed Him for the direction my life was taking based on my own mistakes. I don’t know how, and I’m not sure why, but He has always, always loved me. A love so passionate and gracious that I will never be able to make sense of it. I’ve tried, and I can continue to try. Or I can stop trying and just simply love Him back.

Which brings me to my next interest: love.

I’m not sure why, I assume it’s just the way He made me, but I’ve always been a hopeless romantic. I started reading Christian romance novels from a young age. Bittersweet, by Cathy Marie Hake, was the first romance novel I read at fourteen. It was then that I made some very important decisions about my future that I have never regretted. But, needless to say, I was hooked. I’ve been reading Christian romance novels ever since, and the Lord has taught me amazing things about love, and romance, and purity, that I’d never even considered.

I’m an emotional person who tries to cover up the heart on her sleeve, but my sappy side can’t help but show when it comes to romance. Whether it be a movie, or a book, or a talk show, or the conclusion to October Baby, I’m giddy for a sweet story. Something gentle. Something innocent. And the less it has to do with physical intimacy, the more I enjoy it. That’s just the way I’m built.

And of course, that’s part of the reason why I write.

I do write romance. Lots of it. And my characters are a little different from other normal characters you might read. But I can’t help but toss a little bit of love into whatever story I’m writing. Whether it be an all out conflicting romance or just something subtle that you don’t realize until the end, if it has my name on it, love will probably be there.

I’m your typical author. I’ve been writing stories ever since I received my first notebook. I’ve been telling tall tales since I could talk. Long before I knew what plots, and climaxes, and scenes were, I was putting them together in a not-so-organized fashion. My love for words has bloomed over the past ten years or so, and I’m beginning to dream of the day I’ll become published. I’ve tried to stop writing at different times, but I just can’t stay away for long. I always come back. I think I always will.

But then there’s football, of which I’m crazy about. Where does that fit in? It just does.

I didn’t grow up watching football. Had never paid any attention to it, whatsoever. And for some odd reason, I think it was 2009, my dad flipped over to a college game. Florida verses somebody. Can you guess who the quarterback was? Yep, it was ole Tebow. I think the fact that he was wearing John 3:16 on his eyeblack made me look at football differently than I had before. Somehow I got sucked into it from there. We kept up with it every weekend and then waited patiently during the offseason.

Now I’m all about the NFL, and I’m not so patient during the offseason. I would rather the spring fly by and summer hurry itself up so I can at the very least watch the preseason. I’m an avid Green Bay Packers fan and I vow to go wherever Aaron Rodgers goes. I know more about the game than most girls and although I’m still all woman, through-and-through, I’m not ashamed to say I scream at the TV when someone misses a catch. There’s nothing like it. I can’t explain where I developed this love for football, but somehow it was awakened in me and I can’t seem to make it stop.

So there you go. Just a few things about me that make me who I am.

What are your four favorite things that make you who you are?

Why Sin is Like Walking Down Stairs

None of us are perfect, if we’re honest.

I know not a day goes by that I don’t sin. Even when I do nothing but sit on the couch watching movies all day, I still sin, hard as it may be to believe. It usually ends with gluttony, idleness, and a rise my flesh, which of course has a domino-effect that leads to anger, selfishness, more gluttony, and dodging my responsibilities.

Even when I’m out and about in my day, I say the wrong thing. I make the wrong decision. I put someone down, or tell an inappropriate joke. Not all in one day, of course. Usually through the week. The Bible tells us that we’re going to be a little less than perfect.

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. –Romans 3:23

It’s not a reason to allow ourselves to sin. Not at all. But it takes the shock out of our reaction when we do find ourselves making a mistake.

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. –1 John 2:1

And then there’s our hero. He’s already paid the price, so we don’t have to make a sacrifice for our sin. As Christians, we only have to accept forgiveness for our sin, repent, and keep on trucking.

Which brings me to…

Why Sin is Like Walking Down Stairs

This is an analogy of course, so don’t expect something deep here. πŸ™‚

Imagine this…

You’re walking down a set of stairs, long stairs that stretch from the second story of a house down to the first. You may be trotting down them or walking leisurely. Let’s say this symbolizes life.

Then there’s always that one stair. It may be the first or second. It may be somewhere in the middle. Or the one right before you meet the first floor. Either way, it catches your foot, makes you stumble a little bit. You might even find yourself flat on your face with a bruised jaw and a busted lip. This step–though other people may conquer it brilliantly–just seems to be out to get you. Or in fact, it may not be the same step. It may be a different step each time you walk down. Either way, the step represents sin.

Here’s what matters when you stumble or fall: you right yourself, turn and look at the step (sin), and quickly make a mental note to be more careful when it comes to that step. We’ll call this repentance and forgiveness.

You probably won’t stop and turn around and stare at the step. You’re not going to fall down on your knees in front of the step and say “why? why doth thou tempt me so?” That would be insane. And you’re definitely not going to lay on the floor, looking at your feet and telling your legs that because they failed you they’re unworthy to ever walk again. If I walked into the room at this time and saw you saying this to yourself, then I’d probably turn around and walk out.

So why do we do the same thing when we sin? Why do we get so hung up on our failures that we can’t seem to move forward? Why do we let our mistakes paralyze us? Why do we reject and ignore the honest truth of God’s mercy and choose to dwell on our sins–past or present–instead? Most of us deem ourselves unworthy before we’ll pick up the Word of God and figure out that Jesus has already made us worthy.

By the which will, we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. –Hebrews 10:10

He never expected us to be perfect. If we were capable of that, then Jesus wouldn’t shine so brightly in His perfection. We wouldn’t need a Savior if we were capable of doing what He has done for us.

Some believe that it’s okay to sin because they know that Jesus will forgive them later. Referring back to the stairs, if you’re descending, you look down at the next step, and decide to trip over it, resulting in a horrible fall, then let’s just say that’s a serious psychological issue. If you’re honestly going to jump head first into sin and take His mercy for granted, then you’re walk isn’t genuine. There’s no sustenance in your relationship to allow you to grow in Christ. You’re like the seeds that fell upon the stones.

Some [seeds] fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. –Matthew 13:5-6

And then there are those who are brave and ambitious about their love for God. When they stumble down those stairs, and they spare a quick glance over their shoulder to find that the offending stair has a loose board–something that goes out of its way to hinder your walk–those brave, ambitious people are the ones who roll up their sleeves, grab a hammer, and destroy the step that made them stumble.

Those are the people who get out of bed every morning with the mindset that they aren’t going to let anything stop them. Not temptation, or guilt, and certainly not sin. Despite that we all fall, the ones that will rise again are those who are truly passionate about their love for Jesus Christ.

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. –2 Timothy 2:19

Cure for a Weary Heart

Sometimes I just get tired.

Tired of life in general. Tired of walking and talking and trying. Tired of smiling and striving for success. Tired of the bad news. Tired of the competition. Not really ‘done with it.’ Just…tired.

You say I should probably get some sleep. And, yes, that will likely help a ton. Sleep always helps.

But I’ve discovered a better remedy. Something that is abundantly more satisfying than sleep. I have to remind myself of it often, but there are still many, many days that I forget it.

Grace.

That’s right. Grace is the best remedy for a tired heart. Because after a long day of just striving to please Him–and usually failing miserably–I have to remind myself that God doesn’t need me. He wants me.

Yes, the Bible tells us to run the race and put on the armor of God. But it also says to rest in Jesus.

Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. –Matthew 11:28

I need to stop trying so hard to be the best at life that I can possibly be. Because it’s not about being the best or doing the best. It’s about being His. It’s about choosing to be His. It’s about simplicity, and humility, and love. He’s already done the hard work. He’s already paved the path. All we have to do is pick up our cross and follow in the shadow of His glory.

Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light. –Matthew 11:29-30

My Passion

I’ve been a dreamer all of my life.

Since I was a little girl. My parents often tell me about the time when I had just learned to talk and I told this story about a bicycle that went into the clouds. During the span of the story, I went off on some rabbit trail, told this entirely different story, but ended the whole thing with the bike coming out of the clouds. They didn’t even realize I was still telling the same story until the conclusion.

So I guess you could say I’ve been telling tales for over twenty years. And as soon as I learned how to write, I filled up notebooks with silly stories that make me cringe when I look back on them today. However, it always astounds me when I catch a glimpse of how far I’ve come.

I even found a “contract” that I wrote to myself when I was fourteen. I vowed to be a published author by my sixteenth birthday. I even dated and signed it. I guess I’m going to have to be lenient and give myself a few more years.

I started writing down my daydreams in Jr. High. By the time I was in high school I was fleshing out characters with no idea what a plot was or how to keep one in mind. I got serious about outlining when I was a senior and started keeping a jump drive of all my story ideas. 45 to be exact. And counting.

When I was in college I began writing seriously. The desperate desire to design plots, create characters, and tie words together became a hobby that stole away my weekends when all of my friends were out shopping and going to the movies. However, I didn’t pursue writing in college because something inside of me said writing wasn’t a good enough career. I needed to go big or go home. So I chose a monster career focus called Art Therapy with a double major in French, and needless to say I came home.

When I decided to focus on writing as a real career, the Lord pulled me aside immediately and spoke directly to my heart. Quietly, mind you, but directly. I felt the need to stop writing for a few months, between January of 2012 until about March, and focus on Him and what He was saying.

I felt Him teaching me about purity and romance the way He views it as opposed to the world’s definition. He touched my heart in a way that I didn’t expect, in a way that I can’t actually explain. He changed the way I looked at romance and love. He changed the way I write.

I completed my first manuscript February of 2013. Despite that I’m still unpublished, I’ve already started my next novel. I’m more serious about this one than I was about the first one, and I’m learning more about writing and the industry every day. It’s not easy, but it’s a joy that I can’t walk away from. I’ve tried. I always find myself back at my laptop with a new idea that I just have to jot down.

I’m here to say that the Lord is faithful. He has been gentle in our walk over the years, guiding me tenderly toward His plan. He’s never pulled me to a screeching halt, sent me into a tailspin, and told me I’m wrong. No, He’s gracious and merciful. I’ve never loved anything in all of existence as much as I love Him.

And I don’t mean the typical, convenient, end-of-a-phone-call “love you”. I mean I am passionately, deeply, fervently in love with Him. A quiet, simple kind of love that can be called forward by just closing my eyes and looking into His. I’m honestly not capable of this kind of love. But He is. That’s why it’s possible for me to call Him Lord.

We love Him, because He first loved us. -1 John 4:19

In the midst of this love I’ve found that He doesn’t just have our best interests in mind, He’s also got our dreams in mind.

Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart. -Psalms 37:4

And He’s a King of His Word.

He [Abraham] staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. -Romans 4:20-21

Because of Him, I start with this passion. Not writing, loved as it is by me. But my passion for the Lord and His grace. I live for Him alone. I surrender to Him in everything that I am and everything that I’ll ever be.

He’s mine, and I am called His.

For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. -Romans 14:8