Preparing for Prince Charming - An Upcoming Series

Part 1 (Surrendering your Love Story to God) is out! Read it by clicking here!
Part 2 (Modest is Hottest) is out! Read it by clicking here!

Note: This is created by a young lady, with young ladies in mind. In other words, if you're a guy, remember, it's not directed toward you. However, you could very easily morph it a bit to make it applicable.

The other night I was reading Proverbs. I came across Proverbs 12:4,

"A wife of noble character is her husband's crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones."
This is actually a picture of a fairly new married
couple who are youth leaders at my church. :)
Aren't they just adorable!?

I've certainly read this verse before, but suddenly it struck me as much more powerful. Obviously, I am not a wife, nor do I have a husband. Nevertheless, I do have somewhat of a desire to be married one day, if the Lord wills. Will I be a wife of noble character? Will I be my husband's CROWN? I sure hope so! I bet you would like to as well!

At one point I was in a relationship, which lasted for quite a while. I think I learned more from it after it ended rather than while it was happening. Consequently, my mind is constantly reflecting and revising where I went wrong, what I did right, and what I can do better. With the combination of my thoughts on Proverbs 12:4 and this as well, I've decided to share some of my experience through a series of blog posts over the next five or six weeks. Post will be all about guys and my opinion on waiting, guarding your heart, being treated with respect, purity and much more!

I really believe that guys (along with beauty) are at the top of the list when dealing with the most prominent issues girls deal with everyday. I'm excited to encourage, motivate, and ultimately challenge my fellow sisters in Christ to live a life more pleasing to God, especially in such an area as guys!

It can be difficult, and sometimes we would prefer to "be in control" of this area of our lives, but if we truly have given up our reign over our lives to Christ and desire to live for Him, then it includes this area as well. It takes trust and faith, but God is faithful - yesterday, today and tomorrow! It's something I am continually working on as well... so don't feel alone. :)

I will try to create a post once a week. I don't want it too often, as I want time to create a thoughtful and God pleasing post, as well as time for the reader to reflect and ponder the concept presented. This is just an introduction, so look forward to next week when I create the first actual post!

I'm excited! I hope you are too. :)
Do you have a topic you'd like me to write about in regards to this series? Or maybe you just have a question relating to guys? Feel free to leave a comment or email me at: beautifullyselfless@yahoo.com
I'd love to hear from you!


Dead End Streets Have Ceased

Aside from walking into a garbage dumpster lid, getting a bloody nose, losing a few tears and having a lovely red mark on my nose, my day at work went fairly well I'd say. :) I was doing a familiar routine outside of changing trash, and other little jobs, thinking about what wonderful thing I could write about on my blog.  Some profound truth of God's that could make at least one person's life more joyful.

I love epiphany's! I mean like when that great thought hits you and you feel brilliant. Yeah, you know what I mean. :)

See, I work at a place that sells gas, (but it's much more than a gas station), and so cars are constantly coming and going. As I did my work, an idea struck me.

Have you ever realized God is like a GPS? You know, a Global Positioning System. Those lovely little things in a person's car that directs them to so many places, and usually talks with an incredible British accent (or even better, a Darth Vader voice!).

To be more serious, how many of us have gone down the wrong road (symbolically)? Or perhaps made a mistake or "wrong turn"? I can definitely say I have, many times. Sometimes we feel like our turns (choices) were onto roads that turn into dead ends (mistakes), and we're stuck where we are. 
But as followers of Jesus, there really are no dead ends. Sure, there are roads that are dark and unwise to turn onto, but if we truly are filled with the Holy Spirit and know Jesus, eventually I believe we would come to a point of repentance and faith, where we would long to get off that path and onto one that is pleasing to Jesus.

Do you ever feel like you're at a dead end? Do you ever feel like you're stuck on a dark path, that you've lost your way and can't find your way back?

Well that's the great thing about GPS's. They can always recalculate a new route for you. You make a wrong turn, and they easily can fix it. When I thought about it, I realized God kind of does the same. 

Right now, our aim is to live a life pleasing to Jesus and to keep trekking along until our day of perfection, or when we die and are made new and are able to be with Jesus. That is our destination, and currently we are on a path towards it. 
Have you stumbled off on another tangent path? Let me remind you, as an encouragement, that your path can always be "recalculated" by God, so that, even though you went down a wrong path, you can be redirected towards the right one, and you can get back on track. Even if you make mistakes or poor choices, God can and will give you direction if your heart is fully seeking it.

There have been some moments when I drifted away from God's path for me. I went down roads that I shouldn't have. I made choices that I wish I hadn't. But in the end, God never left me and in fact, was there all along, pleading to my heart to turn to Him and follow His way instead. With time, He has "redirected" me to a greater path, one that I enjoy much better than any other ones I ventured onto. Though I may have felt guilt and unforgiving to myself, I have found forgiveness and love in my Savior's name. You can too. :)

I encourage you to search your heart and see what path you're currently walking on. Is it pleasing to Jesus? Are you truly following Him as you might say? If not, I highly encourage you to seek Him out and reconsider your current path. If your plea is genuine and honest, there is no doubt that God will work it out and direct you to His path, which may still be difficult but will be so much more fulfilling and joyful! The path you're on, if wrong, can always be "recalculated" by the power of Jesus!

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9
"Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea."
Micah 7:18-19


Are you taking advantage of where God has put you?

"Bloom where God plants you."

I heard this quote from when I went and saw Rebecca St. James on Friday evening.
It struck a chord.
How many of us are looking to the future so often and so much that we forget to appreciate where we're at now? 

I have a dear friend of mine, who was planning to go to a certain school. She was incredibly excited and I mean, EXCITED! As the time for leaving has come closer, she realized that she had been so focused on her future, that she forgot to tend to the present time. Consequently, she has pushed back the date for when she leaves to go to school. This way she may spend some time that she lost by taking advantage of the opportunities she has at home.

That is just one simple example of how often we get so caught up in our future that we often miss out and lose opportunities. Sometimes we even begin to dislike or not care for the spot we're currently in, and we lose appreciation for what we have now. 

Let this be a reminder that God has you in whatever spot you're in, right now, for a reason.
Don't get so caught up in the future, or even perhaps the past, that you're missing incredible opportunities because of your lack of patience and contentment.

"Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches."
1 Corinthians 7:17

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."
Philippians 4:11

So my friends, bloom where God plants you! :)
I just thought it was a cool picture... Now I want some cake!


Some bloopers/outtakes...

Yeah, so. It took me quite a bit of time to make my video. (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE ORIGINAL!)
I'm really, honestly, not a perfectionist, but I have a habit of practicing a lot... though most of what I said is improv. Every video I took I added something.. and then just added all the good parts together for the final, woop woop.

Side note: The last clip was actually one of the first ones I took. So, it wasn't a set-up... though I thought it was pretty epic... :P

Other side note: Don't mind the 50 outfit changes, they were taken over a course of 2-3 days.

Yet another side note: THIS IS FOR YOU EMILY <3

ANOTHER FLIPPIN' SIDE NOTE: The song is These Things Take Time by Sanctus Real
Note of the side: Yes, this is about as real as I get, so if you find me semi-weird, might as well get used to it. :) Besides, I prefer to think of myself as.... special! :D



Was my title dramatic and appealing?

Yeah well, the whole reason I made it that was because I really, truly, could die happy right now!
Why you ask?
Let me just tell you, it was amazing. She signed my shirt, and two books and I even got a picture -squeals like a 12 year old girl-

Picture will be arriving shortly.... :)
My dumb camera decided to die. So I got some random, yet wonderful lady, to take a picture for me.
Now pray she doesn't lose my email!

Okay I think I'm done raving. Please don't be too jealous now.... ;)

The Kindness of a Stranger (Vlog post!)

Due to recent encouragement regarding videos, I decided to make a vlog post - aka video post. Enjoy. :)

P.S. I know I said 5 minutes in the video, but it's a little bit longer than that. Sorry, I tend to talk a little longer than I should. ;)

Click here for a video with bloopers/outtakes!


Keep Your Head Up High

Something happened in my life some time ago, where my heart broke and sunk so deep.
Only by God's grace, have I sustained and pushed through.
The pain though - it's a feeling like no other.
It's so hopeless, it's terrifying. How am I ever going to get out of feeling like this?
It feels like there may never be a way out, that you may be stuck there forever.
I will say that I've made a promise to myself to never get into a spot where I may end up feeling this pain again.

In those moments, sometimes I doubted God. I doubted His promises. I doubted that He would really, truly, pull me through. I doubted that He would bring joy back to my life. It's so scary to think that maybe God really doesn't care about you. Because, honestly, I feel that without God, there is no point to life. What would be the point of my life if God wasn't there or didn't care?

It has taken time, but I will say that God is so faithful. God does keep His promises, 100% of the time. God DID pull me through. God DID bring joy back into my life. God really does love and care about me. I let myself think that my pain was bigger than my God, and how wrong I was. So, so very wrong.

Even though the pain was so unbearable at times, ultimately it has drawn me so much closer to Jesus. My life is so much more different now than before the trial God presented me with. My viewpoint in life has dramatically changed. Now, I can't get enough of Jesus (Psalm 42:1-2). I would say that I love Jesus more now than I ever did before. Now I know what true and genuine joy is! I know Jesus is in my life and that He will never leave me. :) I like to think of myself climbing a "spiritual ladder" and ascending greatly now!

My heart breaks though, for those who may not see this or understand it. But if you're hurting, if you doubt God and if He's really there. Let me tell you, HE IS! God is so incredible and wonderful and loving and you can trust Him! You just have to hang on, and He will bring through whatever you're facing. I'm a living example of this! And in the end, it has only made me stronger, it has only made me more in love with Jesus. You will see this too, but you have to keep hanging in there. God will give you the strength that you cannot find in yourself!

"But the needy will not always be forgotten, nor the hope of the afflicted ever perish."
Psalms 9:18

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a]have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."
Romans 5:1-5

"But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him."
Jeremiah 17:7


A Slight Change... :)

I decided to change the name of my blog from "Beautifully Selfless" to "Less of me, More of You". If you haven't understood it yet, it is a reference to John 3:30, where John the Baptist says how he must decrease so that Christ may increase.

I feel this becoming greater and greater in my life, that people may not simply see Rachel, but rather they would see Jesus. :) I think "Beautifully Selfless" still greatly plays into this idea and concept, as it requires a form of selflessness for me to decrease and Jesus to increase. Because of this, I think (at least for now) I'll be keeping my blog URL the same. Not to mention, I don't want that to cause any sort of confusion for people in regards to finding my blog. 

And I encourage you all as well: May you decrease so that Christ may increase in your life! :)


Love Isn't Always on Time

Today while I was finishing up my work shift, the song "Hold the Line" by Toto (oldies but goodies, represent!) came on. The chorus goes a little something like this..

"Hold the line,
Love isn't always on time."

After thinking about it a little, I realized that love really isn't always on time! According to us, at least.
Whether it be love or anything else you're waiting for, sometimes it really feels that it's "not on time". 

Waiting, waiting and waiting... Yeah, it gets tiring, doesn't it?

In today's world, I would say the majority of us are used to getting things when we want them, or at least in a speedy manner. Part of being devoted to Christ, is waiting and having patience:

"Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him..."
Psalm 37:7a

"It is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD."
Lamentations 3:26

More importantly, God is in control of all things and while you may think that something isn't on time, God is definitely on time! It's really us, who aren't on time. "Hold the line", referring back to the song, is actually a phrase which means keeping constant, or even persevering in some senses. When certain things in your life feel as if  they "aren't on time", that's when you need to "hold the line" and remember that God does not work according to our watches. 

God always has His reasons for why or when He does or doesn't do something. Have faith my fellow Christians, that God is good and all things come through His PERFECT will and timing! :) 

Side note: I know this song has a meaning a bit different than what my post is about, but it was merely for an example and a good song! :P


I'm just not Good Enough

There's a specific area in my life which didn't work out so well and when reflecting on it, it makes me feel nearly valueless, worthless, or simply not good enough. "Where did I go wrong?" or "Where did I not measure up?" are typically the thoughts that run through my head. It hurts, let me just tell you, it really hurts.
It's funny how a single little failure or blemish can block out any previous success or joy.

Recently, I've found myself interacting with various people who have made similar comments, about how they find themselves feeling "not good enough". This feeling can spawn from a variety of things. For a girl it could be her body, or a guy it could be something he was unsuccessful in. It could be from relationships, school, your relationship with your parents or even siblings. The possibilities are endless! 

When I think about the way it makes me feel, the feeling of not good enough, at the same time there is something within me that says, "You don't have to feel this way". It makes me think about who or what I'm trying to measure up to. 

Who or what are you trying to measure up to? How's that working out for ya? Not too good, I presume?

The truth is, there will always be something or someone who you are "not good enough" to. But that's okay. 
The only opinion we should truly be concerned about is God's.

As followers of Christ, we know we're pathetic, weak and pretty much nothing in comparison to God. 
The world tells us that we must continually be changing the way we talk, act, dress, etc in order to be good enough. Or, to be more personal, the result of the failure in my life seemed to come out as that there was some area that I wasn't good enough in. No matter where your struggle is, there is always this certain expectation felt, that if it isn't met, then it must mean you fell short and/or aren't worth much.

It's a lie.

When you are saved by God, your identity is with Him. He gives you value. He gives you worth.
We need to let go of building our own "self-esteem" and rather, build something called a "God-esteem".

As followers of Christ, we are called to die to self, and live for Christ. 
We cannot do that when we're depending on ourselves, others, or the world for our value or contentment. The only thing we will find then is more unsatisfactory.

If today you feel not good enough, or that you aren't measuring up, then let this be a reminder that in Christ, you don't have to try to perform to be good enough. Don't let the world, others, or even yourself try to tell you that you're not good enough.
Zephaniah 3:17

When of Christ, we can rest assured that our value is found in Him! It makes me feel comforted to know that I don't have to be concerned about anyone else's measurements or expectations, but rather that as long as I am loving and serving my Jesus, my value is found with Him. And what a value that is! :)


Can't Get Away

Whether you're Moses demanding to God that you're not capable of speaking well enough(Exodus 6:28-7:5),
Or you're Jonah running away from preaching the truth to a city(Jonah 1: 1-3),
Or even if you're Balaam, and God has to make a donkey talk to you in order for you to see the truth(Numbers 22:21-41),
You can't get away from Him.

Each of these men, in their own ways, were going against what God had called them to do.
But the funny thing is, with God, you can't get away. You may try to hide, or run, or deny the truth, but God won't let you get around it.

Quite honestly, I am so glad that we can't get away from Him. We can always be found by Him.
There definitely have been some times when I wish it didn't have to be God 's way, but that's only because I didn't understand what He was doing, and because I thought my way was better. I'm learning that in the end, it's me who's wrong, not God. God's plan always turns out better than mine!

Is there something in your life that you've been running away from? Is there something you've been called to do but have been putting it off because of fear? Lack of trust in God? Simply because you disagree?

Well, my friend, let me just tell you, you can't get away from Him... so stop trying. :)

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails."
Proverbs 19:21


That green paper sure does go fast!

Today I got my monthly letter from the bank, showing my deposits, deductions and balance.
To say the least, I was blown away at how much money I spent in the past month. I thought I was going to be sick!

Now, while I feel guilty, I do have some good excuses, including my passport, which was over $100, along with plane tickets for my mission trip which were over $300 as well. But still, there was definitely a good chunk 'o change that I could have saved if I had been wiser with my money. 

Consequently, I created a budget for myself with the help of a book my Dad bought me when I was younger. It had a basic plan for creating a budget as follows:

Tithing 10%
Spending 25%
Long Term Savings 10%
Short Term Savings 25%
Taxes 5%
Expenses 25%

I took taxes, expenses, along with both saving categories and combined them, considering I don't really worry too much about taxes, nor do I really have any "expenses" (yet). 

Hopefully this plan I've devised will be beneficial and allow me to spend less and save more!

Here's my challenge to you: Are you wise about your spending/saving habits? Are you frugal or do you blow your money 'like nobody's business'? I've heard before that you can tell a lot about a person simply by what they spend their money on. What does your spending habit/purchases show about you?
"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:21

"The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty."
Proverbs 21:5


What is He doing?

Often I wonder what God is doing with my future.
Something just says it must be exciting and unique.

Currently, I can say that I have no idea what I want to do with my life after I graduate high school in three months. I've had ideas and thoughts. There's the typical suggestion of college.

But recently, I've been discovering that I am ridiculously picky. Nothing typical interests me.
And I mean nothing. I'm honestly disappointed and dissatisfied at the idea of anything typical.
It makes me wonder if something is wrong with me! I keep wondering when I'm going to found out my "passion" is, what I was made to do.

Several years ago, I found myself so displeased with the mediocre Christians that I was surrounded by. They are described as only giving certain parts of their life to God, rather than all of it. They aren't really interested in living a complete set-apart life but rather just abiding by only the things they find interest in. It made me upset, and scared for my own spiritual walk. I distinctly remember that night, crying out to God, that He would make sure my life was nothing like that. I wanted to have a life that was noticeably different, that was "all out" for Him. 

Nearly finishing up high school now, I'm wondering where God is going to take me. I don't believe I was made for anything ordinary, but rather something incredible. I'm scared for the challenge, but at the same time I want it. I want to be pushed in ways I've never been pushed before.

So for now I will sit in wonder at what God is doing. 
Sit in wonder and excitement. :)

And to anyone else that's as clueless as me:
Keep waiting. :)

My Dad has recently reminded me that if we are continually seeking God and living our lives fully for Him, then we can't really go wrong in this area. God will provide direction and open doors to what we were called to do.

"Trust in the LORD and do good;
         Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.
    4Delight yourself in the LORD;
         And He will give you the desires of your heart.
    5Commit your way to the LORD,
         Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
    6He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
         And your judgment as the noonday."
Psalm 37: 3-6


Like a Boomerang

Currently, I am a student leader for my youth group. Every other week, our team, including adult leaders as well, along with my youth pastor, have a meeting. This year my youth pastor switched it up a bit and it is now more of a time of discipleship (which I absolutely love!). Right now my youth pastor is going over what it means to be a leader and also, the Gospel.

And then it hit me.

The Gospel isn't just this one time thing. Often times we think of the Gospel as a saving tool, which it is really, but from the Gospel, the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, is where all things flow. It's because of this that we are free, it's because of this that we can have victory, it's because of this we can have joy. The reasons are countless!

The Gospel is the beginning point for all who come to know Christ, it's because of the Gospel and through Jesus and the work of God that a person is saved. But after that, it's almost like it's forgotten about, and in some sense, becomes an old story that we've heard countless times.

But the Gospel is incredible, and so powerful. It's life changing and encouraging. It's the reason that we are no longer slaves to sin, but free in Christ. Shouldn't it be something we know the most about?

We take the Gospel as just useful for when we first come to Christ, and then after that we move onto all sorts of other topics and issues, which is good but at the same time, the Gospel is so much more than just "Oh I learned that when I was first saved."

If it weren't for the Gospel, we wouldn't understand how truly Holy and Perfect God is. We wouldn't understand why we so desperately need Him. We wouldn't understand why man is so sinful and in need of a Savior. The better you know the Gospel, the more you understand all these things and why man is in such need of God and His mercy, grace and forgiveness. The Gospel is important every day of our lives, not just the day we come to know Christ. 

After hearing my youth pastor discuss the Gospel, I realized how much I don't know about it. Knowing the Gospel full well can be SO freeing and SO encouraging. Not only can it help you in sharing your faith, but it also is the foundation of your faith. It's the starting block, which holds it all together. It all goes back to the Gospel. I know now, that I definitely need to put in more studying time, which I look forward to! Nothing is more encouraging than knowing what Jesus did for me. :) 

By studying the Gospel, the greater your appreciation will be for what Jesus did for you, the greater your understanding will be of how Holy God is, and the greater your understanding will be of the freedom you are able to have through Christ's conquering of the grave.

So how well do you know the Gospel? I mean, how well do you really know it? 

Random, not related side note: I reached over 1,000 views. :) Thanks to all my wonderful viewers, if only I knew who you all are! I hope my posts have been encouraging and a blessing to you. :)


Operation: Sanctuary

WOW. This post has taken forever for me to get to. Operation Sanctuary actually began back in late November. My wonderful and beautiful friend, Miss Laura K, shared the idea with me. Operation Sanctuary began as a way to make your space in which you spent your time with God, which was our bedrooms, obviously, more organized and pleasing to God. The idea was to make your quiet place more enjoyable, and a place you WANT to go to spend time with God. It took me a while to get the project started, considering I wanted to paint my room. I had to wait until Christmas Break to start. It now being mid-March, I'm pretty much done with everything I wanted to do (Took long enough, huh? :P)

Let the pictures begin!


Don't mind the Christmas decorations. ;)

AHHH, IT'S SO AMAZINGLY GREEN. It was called Lime-ade. :)
Wall numero uno, complete.
Yeah. Don't mind my occasion boredom during this tedious project of trimming. :P
I guess my boredom wasn't so bad huh. :)
Wall numero dos, complete.
Wall numero tres, complete.
Thank you K-Love, for keeping me such good company. :)
I used the whole gallon of paint and had to buy another... AND SOME SWEDISH FISH! Mmm!
Wall number quatro, complete!
After a total of eight coats of paints, I FINISHED YAY!
Curtains > Blinds
My lovely, wonderful, amazing, little corner. :)

The end! :) 

Operation Sanctuary was awesome, I love my room way more than I did before. It definitely encourages me to spend more time there, especially in regards to my quiet time with God. Maybe your changes won't be as drastic as mine, but I definitely encourage you to try it out sometime! :)


The Definition of my Life

I desperately want to make a blog post but other priorities are in the way of that so I am not able to yet! In the mean time, check out this awesome song. :)

It's pretty much my life goal/heart's desire, put into lyrics and music. :) I hope it is encouraging to you and that you pursue this goal as well!

The Threat

From the profound mind of Laura Kindness...

"Rachel, if you go on there, I am going to come and blow up your computer, and then you won't be able to do your schoolwork. And then you won't be able to graduate, and then you'll probably hate me, but it was for your own good."

I love my friends.
And three hour phone conversations at 2am.


Are you settling for less?

"Those who cling to worthless idols
  turn away from God’s love for them."

Jonah 2:8

This verse has been sticking with me a lot lately. It makes me think of what "worthless idols" I may be clinging to, and what love or grace from God that I could be missing out on.

It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by E.M. Forester, who once said:
"We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."

Which leads me to the question: What am I missing out on? What are YOU missing out on? If we could stop for a moment and let go of all our human desires and plans, what could we do for God? Where could He take us? What lengths could we go? 

If, for a moment, we could say no to our flesh and say a resounding yes to God and His will, what would He do with me? What would He do with you?

Often times I find myself seeing Point A (where I'm at) and Point B (where I would like to be at) and am lost in between and wonder how I'll ever get there. But what if I let go of that unbelief, what if I just let go of all I held onto, and instead, gripped firmly upon my loving, merciful, hopeful and everlasting Savior Jesus? 

What places could I go?

Sometimes we may see faithful followers of Jesus and admire their lifestyle and incredible faithfulness to God, and say to ourselves, "I'm not capable of being that faithful" or "Is that really possible?" All the while, we remain holding onto our own wants and desires, we refuse to let go of our "worthless idols" and miss out on God's incredible grace.

I don't know about you, but living a life enslaved to worthless idols is not a life I want to live.
I want to be free from which that holds me captive, and rather, I want to be surrounded and captivated by God's love and grace.
I want to be transformed to be more like Jesus - because I know and believe it's possible.
I want to let go of myself, and hold onto Jesus, because He's all that truly matters and because He creates purpose for my life.
I don't want to settle for any less than what Jesus could make of my life, what He could use my life for.

What could I be if I gave it all up to Him?
What could you be if you gave it all up to Him?

“Everything is possible for one who believes."
Mark 9:23


Lent anyone?

So technically, I don't really participate in lent (I'm not a Catholic), but I like the idea of giving something up for an extended period of time for the sake of Christ and my relationship with Him, that it may grow and flourish. 

A few days ago I made a post about giving up television/movies for a month, which you can read about here.
Typically, for lent, it's a 40-day period of time which runs from tomorrow (Wednesday the 9th) until around Easter, and is done as a remembrance of Christ and His death on the cross for us (AKA He made a sacrifice for us, so lent is us making a sacrifice for Him). 

After talking with some people and thinking about it, I've decided that I'm going to give up television/movies until then, as well as limiting my Facebook (such an addictive habit!) time to only once a week on Friday's for around two hours max. 
On top of that, there is also the idea of ADDING something, rather than taking away, so while I'm taking away these things, I'm going to add 40 days of prayer. 

I was actually presented with this idea last year around lent, but never actually followed through unfortunately. I still have the sheet and since I can't seem to find a link to it on the internet, I will write the days and such below for you to check out and possibly do as well! :)

I actually really love giving up certain things - it is unbelievably freeing! It can be such an awesome way to deepen your walk with Christ! :) Several months ago, I gave up Facebook for an entire week and IT WAS AMAZING. I had so much more free time and I felt so free from the constant habit of having to go on. I really encourage you to try it out and see for yourself. :) You won't know until you try though, so I encourage you to think about it and see if maybe there is something that is possibly taking up a little too much time in your schedule, and cutting down if not cutting it out completely for a time. If you happen to decide on adding or cutting something out, let me know! I would love to hear about it. :) Also, I do have other friends doing these with me, so that is going to be a big and encouraging help. If you do decide on something, it would probably be highly beneficial to ask around and find someone(s) that is interested in doing it with you! Not only can you encourage each other, but also keep each other accountable. :)

If you are interested in doing the 40 Days of Prayer, here is the list for it!

40 Days of Prayer:

Day 1. Share with God why you wanted to do this, ask Him what He wants to show you during this time.

Day 2. Praise God for making you His own, ask him how to better live in a manner worthy of His Name.

Day 3. Praise God for his faithfulness, ask him to show you how to be faithful like he is.

Day 4. Praise God for His love, ask him how you can possess Christ-like love.

Day 5. Praise God for His understanding and patience with you, ask him to soften your heart towards others.

Day 6. Praise God for knowing you completely, ask to know Him better.

Day 7. Praise God for his justice, ask that you might accept his sovereignty in all things.

Day 8. Praise God for his grace and compassion to save, remember all that Jesus washed away.

Day 9. Praise God for his forgiveness, ask for strength to forgive others without holding on.

Day 10. Praise God for the gifts he has given, ask how best to use them at this time.

Day 11. Praise God for his protection, dwell on what he has given you to protect.

Day 12. Prasie God for laughter and joy, consider all He has given you.

Day 13. Praise God for giving you opportunity to serve him, ask how you can more where you are.

Day 14. Praise God for our hope and blessed assurance, ask him to remind you daily of that hope.

Day 15. Focus on your family, start with your parents

Day 16. Respect and honor, where do these fit in your relationship with your family and with God.

Day 17. Pray for any unsaved family members.

Day 18. How do others observe your relationship with Christ, is your family involved in your walk?

Day 19. Pick a family member you would like to grow closer with, pray for them.

Day 20. Pray over another family member and then another, be specific - dig deep.

Day 21. You are a son, daughter, brother or a sister... how can you better contribute to your family?

Day 22. What have you been holding onto that needs to be let go.. so you can let God?

Day 23. Past sins can fester, time to repent. (Try Gods standard of purity, forget about your own).

Day 24. Habits are hard to break, habitual sins distance us from God.. they stunt our growth.

Day 25. Are you generous the way God is generous, is there something you covet?

Day 26. Do you find at times you judge others? Don't. It's not your place.

Day 27. Does your standard mirror God's?

Day 28. Do you hate sin? Do you want to? Pray for a Godly hatred for the things God hates.

Day 29. Ministry time, how have you made yourself available to God?

Day 30. Do you have a mentor? Pray for Godly mentors in your life, Praise God for those who have mentored you.

Day 31. Consider you church, are you doing your part to contribute to the body of Christ?

Day 32. The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, all that you have is not yours but His.

Day 33. Are there any needs you could fill in your home church? Is there something holding you back?

Day 34. Are there any biblical concepts you are unclear on? Pray for motivation to pursue understanding.

Day 35. Do you have anyone you are mentoring, or keeping accountable? If so, pray for them. If not, why not?

Day 36. Praise God for the blessing of His Word, praise Him for this time of prayer.

Day 37. Search your heart; express your love for God.

Day 38. Think of your favorite praise song or hymn, reflect on the lyrics.

Day 39. Explore your dreams and desires, are they Christ centered?

Day 40. Today this part of your journey is complete, pray for what God has next in store for you. Trust Him.


One of my favorites.. :)

God is so good. :)

An Ecuador Update :)

So, it's been nearly a month since I was accepted to go on the mission trip to Ecuador! Here's a little update on my progress. :) I decided to make this just a picture blog post... with as few words as possible, so enjoy the pictures! :)


32 to be exact. :)

Oh, how I love letters and mailing letters. :)
...So I got a little hungry... which leads to my next pictures.. :)

And as I put all these wonderful letters together I enjoyed a few of my favorite things... :)

Nomnomnom :)
Ohhhh.. so delicious! <3

 And on top of all of that wonderfulness, just a few days ago I received my passport in the mail! Only took about 3 weeks - woohoo government, you're really on the ball this time! ;)



Some things you just have to give up...

 Movies and television have basically become a must-have in the American life, and probably even outside of America as well. But we're practically grown up thinking that movies/television are some of the only ways that we can be entertained. Do you know how much time is wasted from watching movies and television?

Listen to this fact: "According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week, or 2 months of nonstop TV-watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube."

Did you see that?! 9 YEARS?!
Okay, there's something seriously wrong with that picture. (Pun not intended).

Now, don't get me wrong. There are some really cool movies out there (Inception, anyone?) but at the same time, let me remind you that the Christian life is a life of sacrifice. If the desire in your heart is that you truly want to love and focus on Christ, you should be willing to give up things for Him.

I mean, when I think about it, how many movies have I watched that Christ would have been so displeased with? But we tell ourselves that it's mere entertainment and no biggie because we wouldn't cuss like that, or be violent like that, or have sex like that, etc. But is it really even building us up? Or in fact, is it making us desensitized in the sense that we think it's okay? How much stronger of a Christian would you be if you spent your movie/TV watching time reading your Bible or praying?
I know for sure, that I would definitely be farther ahead and stronger in my walk with Christ.

But I've believed a lie that movies can give me some form of satisfaction greater than that of God. Maybe you're stuck believing that lie too.
And so, to test out this idea that Christ satisfies more than entertainment does, I'm giving it up for a month.

Would you like to go on this endeavor with me?

It means giving up any television or movie watching you normally do for an entire month (that includes all you Netflix users!) I firmly believe that doing this will open my eyes to how much time I've wasted watching movies and TV, and will enable me to have better control over my movie/television-watching habits. 

Either way, please keep me in your prayers during this! :) 
"But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ"
Philippians 3:7-8


Hearts like the Tabernacle

Not too long ago I finished reading Exodus, and if you've ever read Exodus, you should know that there is an extensive amount of chapters about the Tabernacle (15 to be exact, beginning at Exodus chapter 25 and ending at the last chapter (40) of Exodus).

The Tabernacle (in Hebrew it is translated as "residence" or "dwelling place") was originally built to be a place where God could dwell among His people, the Israelites, as they journeyed through the desert. During the day it would be covered by a cloud, and by night there was a fire in it to show God's presence and protection.

However, this post isn't to discuss those aspects of the Tabernacle, but rather to discuss a comparison.

Previously I mentioned how the Tabernacle was designed as a place where God could dwell among His people. In scripture, God commanded the Israelites to create it in a specific way, with specific objects, such as different elements like silver, gold, and bronze, along with various linens, etc. Just read through some of the chapters in Exodus and you'll see how extensive the details were! He did not just let the Israelites throw together some simple hut and assume God would want to dwell in it. No, rather, He told them the exact measurements and items to use for its creation.

We know, through scripture, that when we are saved by God, and become followers of Jesus, the Holy Spirit automatically and instantly is within us. 

"Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?"
1 Corinthians 3:16

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?"
1 Corinthians 6:19 

What if I said your heart is almost like a tabernacle for the dwelling of the Holy Spirit? 
Would you say that you've tried to create a little, shabby hut for the Holy Spirit? 
Or are you allowing and asking God to transform your heart to make it more like the Tabernacle, a place that is beautiful and constantly seeking to be holy and blameless before God?

My Challenge to you: Whether your heart is on the shabby side, or on the more tabernacle-like side, remember to constantly be seeking for God to work in your heart to make it more pleasing to Him and a dwelling place worthy of the Holy Spirit. Ultimately, it is NOT our own doing that transforms our heart, but always, always the Lord's. Depend on Him to transform your heart, not yourself. Maybe if certain rooms of your "tabernacle heart" are in need of a spring cleaning then pray about it, seek God! Ask Him to help you work on those areas to make them more pleasing to Him!

Note: Just to clarify, the Holy Spirit will not leave you if your heart isn't "good enough" or if you have areas to work on. Once you become saved by God, you are always saved. My main point was to encourage and motivate followers of Christ to continually be working on making their heart and mind more pleasing to Christ.

P.S. Wouldn't that be a sweet band name (Hearts like the Tabernacle)? Just my opinion... ;)