Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ginosko ~ To Know Him

There's something sentimental about a new year. I don't know if it's the memories from the previous year or the expectations for a fresh, new one, but there is something exciting about New Year's Eve.

2014. What will the Lord do in the next twelve months?

At the beginning of each new year, I search the Scriptures and ask the Lord for a specific word or idea that He wants me to focus on in the next year. I've only done this for the past two years, but it's been so beautiful to see how He's used those words throughout that specific year. In 2012, it was His faithfulness. In 2013, it was His sufficiency. 

This year, it is ginosko. 

Ginosko is a Greek word in Scripture that means "to know." There are several other forms of the word "knowledge", but ginosko is the deepest, the most intimate. It is more than a simple head knowledge or mental assent; it is an experiential knowing of something or someone. 

About a month ago, I did a study for the word "know" throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament, the Israelites were given the privilege to know about God and to know that He was Lord. To a select few, it was given the greater privilege of actually knowing Him personally. When I reached the New Testament, there was a change. Instead of just knowing about God, Jesus claimed to "ginosko" Him. He then promised that each and every one of His followers would ginosko Him as well.

There's a huge difference between the two. To give an example, it's like knowing about my future husband and then actually knowing who he is. If I just know about him, I can have an understanding that he'll be a man of God, pray that he would be surrendered to the Lord, and look forward to someday meeting him. But once I meet my husband and know him, I can do the things I only dreamed about before: spending time with him, observing his love for the Lord, and together surrendering ourselves to Him. There's an incredible difference between the two, isn't there? One is theoretical possibility, the other is experiential fact.

The Lord has been challenging my "knowledge" of Him recently. How often have I been content to know about Him, to learn about His holiness, His majesty, His grace, His love? Yes, knowing about Him is the first step to knowing Him. But how often have I stopped there? How often do I truly seek Him, with the goal of finding and knowing Him intimately? Do I pray for Him with the passion that Hannah did, "Give me a child, or I die," or am I content to linger through life with the knowledge I have of Him right now?

For, as I've searched through Scripture, I've learned that knowing Him personally is the prerequisite to following Him, obeying Him, and loving Him. When we know this God intimately, no act of obedience will be a sacrifice. Every step after Him, no matter if it's through the rolling hills or sunken valleys, will be mere joy..because we get Him! 

Jesus. Is He worth everything to you? 

It's like the illustration I gave earlier. If you told me that I was supposed to go around and tell everyone about my future husband and how great he was, I would have a real difficult time. Yes, I'm sure my husband will be wonderful, but why would I tell everyone about him? I don't have anything to base my words off of. I don't know him yet.

In the same way, when we come across commands in Scripture like "Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations" or "Take up your cross daily and follow me," they seem burdensome and oppressive...unless we know Him. We could obey, but it wouldn't come from a joy-filled love of Him. It would simply be a duty. 

"...I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord...and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ...that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings.." (Philippians 3:8-10) Paul had caught a glimpse of the Treasure of Christ; He was willing to lose everything so that He might know and gain Him! 

As I look back at 2013, I'm ashamed at the times when I allowed obedience to be a duty, because I was too lazy to pursue Him. Lazy to pursue Him?! Think of it! We have been given the gift of knowing and loving Jesus, the Lord and Ruler of the Universe! How could I ever grow tired of that?

“So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.
His going forth is as certain as the dawn;
And He will come to us like the rain,
Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
Hosea 6:3

May we press on to ginosko Him this year, friends! May we not grow weary of such a blessed occupation! For truly, there is no greater joy!  

"All I once held dear, built my life upon
all this world reveres and wars to own,
all I once thought gain I have counted loss,
spent and worthless now compared to this.

Knowing You, Jesus, knowing You.
There is no greater thing.
You're my all, You're the best, You're my joy,
my righteousness; and I love You, Lord."

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Worth Waiting For

I absolutely love fall.

There's something about that "smell" in the air that is simply delightful!

Every time October rolls around and the leaves begin changing colors, everything becomes pumpkin-flavored, and the scarves come out of the closet, my heart leaps for joy at the new season!

holding hands,love,romances,together,bonds,people,tracks,railroadsThis year was no different. But for some reason, there was something else that changed this fall. Something else was in the air, besides that fall aroma. At least for everyone around me, it seemed like "love" was in the air.

Out of nowhere, many of my friends have started courting/dating, are in a serious relationship, or are engaged. Facebook has never been so full of relationship statuses. And for the first time, people younger than me are getting married. What happened?

Maybe it's just that I'm finally beginning to reach that "marriageable" age. Or maybe it's just that most of my friends have reached it. :) Either way, there's a great tendency to look around and become dissatisfied.

Why am I the only single person here? Sometimes, it just seems hard to wait. For those of you who are older than me and are still single, I understand that you probably think me naive...or hopelessly romantic. But truly. When I look around at many of my friends and see them with their "special someones", there's a yearning for someone to love, cherish, and grow old with.

I have been praying about this lately; praying that the Lord would allow me to rejoice with those who have been gifted with a relationship/fiance/spouse, but to remain satisfied and overjoyed in my Love. And oh friends, how He satisfies! I know I have said this before, but truly there is no one like Him!

The other day, the Lord put several questions to my soul. I had been pondering the joys and blessings of marriage in the lives of my parents and other godly men and women and how wonderful it would be to experience that unity.

But then, the Lord challenged my heart, "What is the purpose of marriage, dear one?"

"To bring You glory, by showing the world a picture of the selfless love and union between Christ and His Bride."

"So then," came another question, "are you willing to joyfully wait until I will be more glorified in your marriage than in your singleness?"

Joyfully wait. That's the hard part sometimes. It's easy to say the right thing. To answer the "relationship status question" with the fact that you're waiting on the Lord to bring along your spouse in His perfect timing. But am I living like I believe this? Or would I dare to argue that right now is His perfect timing, that He would certainly be more glorified if He just brought along my "someone" today.

I know we probably wouldn't admit to this form of thinking, but that's how we often act....or at least how I know I've acted in the past. Do I believe my God is able to bring my spouse and I together at the right time? Then, why would I give into temptation by worrying over it? More importantly, why would I give in to unbelief by living discontentedly? Yes, His timing will probably look different than mine. He could see fit to bring my husband and I together in 6 months or in 10 years. But am I willing to wait, joyfully and contentedly wait...so that He might be glorified?

arms outstretched,emotions,freedoms,happiness,joy,looking up,stretching,sun,women,peopleBecause truly, marriage is not the "end-all". He alone is worth living and dying for. So, whether or not He brings along a spouse is not the great concern. It is His glory and His name that is to be sought after and lifted high. Not marriage. Not a relationship. But Him. That's why I must be willing to let go of any dream or desire that is not in alignment with His will. Today, it is not His will for me to be in a relationship. Praise Jesus! I am blessed with Him and Him alone today! He satisfies more than any love story could. In Psalm 16:11 King David said, "You will make known to me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever."

One more thought. Am I willing to pray that He will not bring my spouse and I together until our relationship will cause us to seek and love Him more? That's a daring prayer. I have seen so many relationships, even "Christian" relationships, in which the young man and woman become so captivated by each other that they lose their zeal and passion for Jesus Christ. But I have seen a few, a select few, where their relationship causes them to fall in love with Jesus even more than they did before. And not only that, but their God-written love story causes others to seek, love, and adore Him more because of it.

That's what I desire in a relationship. And that's worth waiting for.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Rich Words from Spurgeon

The Shores of Lake Michigan
If you have read some of my blogposts in the past, you probably know that I have a fondness for Charles Spurgeon. The Lord has used his words to encourage, challenge, and convict me time and time again. Spurgeon's Morning & Evening devotionals for today were very thought-provoking. These are not the entire devotionals in full, but have been slightly shortened. I hope and pray that the following will be a challenge and encouragement to your soul tonight!

"Take up the cross, and follow me." (Mark 10:21) "You have not the making of your own cross, although unbelief is a master carpenter at cross-making; neither are you permitted to choose your own cross, although self-will would fain be lord and master; but your cross is prepared and appointed for you by divine love, and you are cheerfully to accept it; you are to take up the cross as your chosen badge and burden, and not to stand cavilling at it. This night Jesus bids you submit your shoulder to his easy yoke. Jesus was a cross-bearer; he leads the way in the path of sorrow. Surely you could not desire a better guide! And if he carried a cross, what nobler burden would you desire? Take up your cross, and by the power of the Spirit of God you will soon be so in love with it, that like Moses, you would not exchange the reproach of Christ for all the treasures of Egypt. Remember that Jesus carried it, and it will smell sweetly; remember that it will soon be followed by the crown, and the thought of the coming weight of glory will greatly lighten the present heaviness of trouble.

Lift up now thine eyes to the north and to the south, to the east and to the west, for all this is thine. There is not a brook of living water of which thou mayst not drink. Be thou bold to believe, for he hath said, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."In this promise, God gives to His people everything. "I will never leave thee." Then no attribute of God can cease to be engaged for us. Is He mighty? He will show Himself strong on the behalf of them that trust Him. Is He love? Then with lovingkindness will He have mercy upon us. Whatever attributes may compose the character of Deity, every one of them to its fullest extent shall be engaged on our side. To put everything in one, there is nothing you can want, there is nothing you can ask for, there is nothing you can need in time or in eternity, there is nothing living, nothing dying, there is nothing in this world, nothing in the next world, there is nothing now, nothing at the resurrection-morning, nothing in heaven which is not contained in this text-"I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. "

~Charles Spurgeon

Monday, August 26, 2013

When Plans Fail

"The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

When I came back from Ellerslie in April, I longed to go back for the Advanced Ellerslie Training course. It was about 10 months long, which seemed like a perfect time. Still pretty long but not too long. The course sounded absolutely wonderful and I believed the Lord was leading me to pursue it for the Spring of 2014.

So, I began working as a part-time nanny and raising money for Advanced. I had my plans (which I truly thought were from the Lord), but all of that has suddenly changed.
I just found out recently that Ellerslie is changing their Advanced program. Because of all the changes (they're wonderful changes, just different than what my plans were), I don't know if the Lord is calling me to go back to Ellerslie. I don't know where the Lord has me next year (He certainly could lead me to Ellerslie), but essentially, I'm back to square one: the unknown.

business,businesswomen,confusion,figurines,metaphors,puzzled,question marks,symbolsIf you know my family's story (the Lord's leading in all of our moves), then you know how often we were faced with the unknown of where to live, what the future held, etc. And because the Lord had led us through those situations so often, there was a part of me that believed I had the whole "trusting in the Lord" lesson learned. Oh, how prideful! How foolish!

And praise Jesus, He has taken the blinders off my eyes! By removing all my former plans for next year, I was faced with the unknown again. With all my neat, little ideas gone, would I gladly trust and follow Him? What if He chose not to show me what next year holds...until next year?

These are questions the Lord has been bringing to the surface over the past couple days. And He has been so faithful to lead me back to Himself! Yes, is it easier to have the next year figured out, but there is such joy and beauty in learning to let go of "my desires and plans". For in the unknown, I am pushed to learn a greater dependence on Him. Praise the Lord for the precious, little ways that He continues to break us of ourself and turn our eyes to Him! 

I also love the timing of all of this. The Lord so perfectly chose to remove all of my plans, right before my family's vacation back to Michigan. Even though I hadn't blatantly said this, I was excited by the idea of knowing exactly what to say when all of my old friends and family ask me what my plans are. How self-reliant I still am! Jesus, save me from myself! I wanted to have a pretty "normal" answer to give to everyone, not the "I don't know, I'm just waiting on the Lord" answer that I've always had. But, why? Why would I want to remove the ability to proclaim my absolute need of and dependence on Him? To make myself look better? The Lord knows I need to be broken of that mindset as well! How gracious He is!

So friends, if any of you are wondering, I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing in the next year. And I am so excited about that! Today, I am looking to Jesus. In His perfect time, He will show me the next step. What a sweet Savior we have!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Lesson Re-Learned

Dependent: unable to subsist or to perform any thing, without the aid of

Isn't this the perfect definition of a Christian?

I know. This word, dependence, is the absolute opposite of everything that our culture seeks to attain. Independence is the cry of the American dream.

And yet, as a follower of Jesus Christ, I know my own inadequacy. I'll shout from the rooftops that I am a miserable wretch without the grace of God. I see in my own life how selfish and utterly sinful I am without Him.

babies,children,feet,kids,men,peopleSo, why do I need to keep learning this lesson, this lesson of dependence?

Why do I so quickly forget what it means to be dependent on Him, to know that I can do absolutely nothing good on my own? (John 15)

Over the past couple weeks, my main prayer has been, "Lord, make me like Jesus!" 

Over the past couple days, He's begun answering my prayer in a way I hadn't expected.

He's been showing me my sin. A neglect in abiding. A lack of love-induced obedience. My failure to completely depend upon Him. 

I've been so caught up in the busyness of life lately, that I've failed to give Him the first priority. Instead of allowing Him to wake me up in the middle of the night to pray or early in the morning to spend time with Him, I determined the amount of sleep I needed. Instead of giving Him the best hours of the day, I decided what I wanted to do.

And I wondered why I had been struggling to sense His presence? To be obedient? To know the Spirit's leading?

Oh friends, I have to keep learning this lesson...over and over again!

When will I learn? When will this finally sink into my thick skull? 

Oh, He is worthy; He deserves so much more than my half-hearted love and obedience! And praise Him, praise Him, praise Him that He is so patient with His children! Through it all: every failure to abide, every negligence to depend, every time self reigns, He is faithful and His love has never changed! He is making me more like Himself by revealing my inability. He shows me out of love, so that I am led to depend upon Him afresh.

What more do I need to invoke me to worship, to joyful obedience? I have a Beloved like no other! No other Lover would bear with my weaknesses, love me through every failure, and graciously draw me back to His forgiving arms again.  And to think, He took my countless transgressions and gave me His spotless perfection! The God of the Universe sees me as righteous! Oh, what love! What glorious grace has been shed upon me, the chief of sinners!

"Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die."
Rock of Ages, Augustus Toplady

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pistikos Nardos - A Poem

Oh Jesus Christ, my Savior
bring Your fire, bring Your rain.
Burn away the dross of self-life,
'til Your life alone remains.

I want nothing more, oh Jesus
than to have a single eye.
Looking always for Your smile;
Your desire, my delight.

But how oft I am distracted;
pulled away by worthless things.
I grieve and spit upon the face
that bled and died for me!

So captivate me Jesus!
Make me ever, only Yours!
I am nothing on my own, Lord
come and take Your rightful throne.

I surrender all to Thee, O Christ;
my life is not my own.
My eyes, my mouth, my hands, my feet
are now, oh Jesus, Yours!

Burden me, Beloved King
to feel Your anguished heart.
Cleave my hand to the spiritual sword
for the voiceless one in dark.

Ever, onward, upward
soldier, will you now repine?
Your loving Savior grants you
grace sufficient for the fight.

May the cross be e'er before me,
leaving all to follow Thee.
For the Lamb alone is worthy!
May the world see Him in me.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Fullness of Christ

Did any of you read yesterday's morning devotion from Charles Spurgeon? Oh, it was such a blessing to my soul! I hope it's an encouragement to you as well. It summarizes a lot of what I wrote about in my last post, so I guess this is somewhat of a Part 2. :)

"In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him." 
Colossians 2:9

"All the attributes of Christ, as God and man, are at our disposal. All the fullness of the Godhead, whatever that marvelous term may comprehend, is ours to make us complete. His omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, immutability and infallibility, are all combined for our defense. 

Arise, believer, and behold the Lord Jesus yoking the whole of His divine Godhead to the chariot of salvation. The fathomless love of the Savior's heart is every drop of it ours; every sinew in the arm of might, every jewel in the crown of majesty, the immensity of divine knowledge, and the sternness of divine justice, all are ours, and shall be employed for us. His wisdom is our direction, His knowledge our surety, His love our comfort, His mercy our solace, and His immutability our trust. 

He makes no reserve, but opens the recesses of the Mount of God and bids us dig in its mines for the hidden treasures. 'All, all, all are yours,' saith He, 'be ye satisfied with favour and full of the goodness of the Lord.' Oh! how sweet thus to behold Jesus, and to call upon Him with the certain confidence that in seeking the interposition of His love or power, we are but asking for that which He has already faithfully promised."

Isn't that absolutely beautiful?! And yet, how many times do I live as if these truths were simply nice poetry? No, it is a promise! Do you see it?

Again, Colossians 2:9 says, "For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete." Paul states this inconceivable truth as a simple reality, not even a promise to be wished for. Oh, how I struggle with unbelief in this area. I look at myself: my sin, feelings, emotions and get discouraged at the lack of His life being lived in me. 

But, how has the Lord called us to accept His Word? With the faith of a child. Mark 10:15 says, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." 

Like a child. How does a child receive something? With simplicity, gratefulness, and eagerness. How do they believe that which has only been promised them? With expectant confidence and complete assurance that what has been promised will be accomplished. They don't measure the probability or weigh the promise against their past experience. They simply trust and receive the promise with joy, knowing that it will be done.

Furthermore, what's the relationship of a child to his/her parents? It is one of utter trust and dependence; without their parents, the child will have nothing. It is only the goodness of the parents that provide the needs of the child. And yet, the child is not plagued with worry or anxiety, continually wringing their hands in questioning the parent's provision. No, there is complete peace and rest, because the child knows the love of their parents. Their parents have always provided for them in the past; why doubt them to do otherwise now?

Oh friends, may we not do our Father such a disservice as doubting His Word. Has He ever proved Himself unfaithful? What ground do you have to doubt Him then? Like I stated in the last post, your God has promised and He will fulfill His Word. 

So, do you believe that the Lord has made the fullness of the Godhead available to you in Christ? If so, is it simply head knowledge or have you reckoned it for yourself, taking that promise and making it your own? Do you believe, as the little child, that the Lord has made you complete in Himself? Have you presented and yielded your life over to Him, so that He might reign as Lord and come fill you, the empty vessel? He is worthy of it, friend.

 May you trust Him as a little child, looking into your Father's face with joy at who He is and what He is doing in you. Remember...don't look inward at your sin, your inabilities, and past failures. We have been clothed in the righteousness of Christ; look unto Him, where there is all perfection and loveliness. Praise the Lord...we are being transformed into His precious likeness! Look unto Him and praise Him for the fullness that has been given us in Him! For when you walk in joyful trust and obedience, you will begin seeing His life being radiated through you more and more! How precious is His work of sanctification!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Home Again!

Sunrise at Ellerslie
Hello again, friends! How have you all been over the past three months?

It feels strange to be posting on my blog, after such a long time away. I'm excited to begin writing on a regular basis again, and look forward to what the Lord has planned for this little blog. He is so worthy!

Ah, my dear reader, how do I begin to explain my time at Ellerslie? I've been home for nearly a month now (which is incredibly hard to believe!) and still find it difficult to answer people who ask about it.

The hardest question of all is probably, "So, what did you learn?" What did I learn in nine weeks? How am I supposed to answer that in a couple sentences? I'm still trying to figure that out...  =)

But, for now, this would be my answer.

I am absolutely overwhelmed by everything the Lord convicted me of, uncovered, and taught me during my nine weeks at Ellerslie. Like Ephesians 3:20 talks about, my precious Savior did so much more than I had asked or imagined. Being surrounded by men and women seeking hard after Jesus Christ and immersed in the Truth of His Word day in and day out were both such incredible blessings! It was truly a piece of heaven on earth.

But, the thing that was the most precious of all was time spent alone with my Savior. Being able to bask in His presence without interruption. Learning to wait upon Him and walk with Him throughout the day. Understanding that my life is nothing, but His is everything. Beginning to grasp the reality of what it means to be "in Christ". Sitting at His feet and gazing on my Beloved's face! Oh, words cannot describe what a remarkable blessing those nine weeks were...what a remarkable blessing they were because of the One who was there. Words simply fall short.

Though there were many truths the Lord implanted into my heart, the main, over-arching theme of those nine weeks was His All-Sufficiency. It seems simple, doesn't it? But do you understand how inclusive the word all is? I didn't until the Lord began opening my eyes to this. Even though the Lord had given 2 Corinthians 12:9 as my theme verse for the year, He truly impressed those four powerful words upon my soul, as He started teaching me what it means to depend upon Him for everything.

"My grace is sufficient.."

Do you see Him, friends? Do you realize that at every moment of the day, in every temptation, every difficult moment, every trial, He is sufficient? It's easy to say, but it's another thing to live by.

We live in a culture with a cure for everything. Are you tired? Try caffeine. Weighed down with the cares of life? Go relax with a movie. Struggling to get out of bed in the morning? Take anti-depressants.

Is this the way we've been called to live, as followers of Jesus Christ? Are we to look to Jesus just during devotions in the morning, but then depend upon something else for everything you need during the rest of the day? If He is the Sufficient One, shouldn't He be the One we lean on for...everything?

Now, I'm not saying that caffeine, movies, or medicine is bad in itself. But, what is your first turn? Is it to the natural, earthly realm or the All-Sufficient One?

Friends, this is something that I am learning and struggling through daily. The Lord is constantly opening my eyes to different areas of my life where I haven't been depending on Him fully.

A question that was posed at Ellerslie was this: If Jesus Christ were removed, how much of your life would stay the same? Are you so dependent upon Him that your life would completely fall apart...or...would your life look exactly the same?

You see, the fully dependent life is the life of Christ. In John 5:19, Jesus says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." And again, several verses later, "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me." (John 5:30)

Jesus did nothing of Himself; He was completely dependent upon His Father. And if that's the case, why do we (as sinful human beings) think that we can spiritually survive by spending 15 minutes with Him in the morning? Oh my friends, may He teach us to walk in a state of utter dependence upon Him! He is our only source of life; without Him, we perish. And remember, we know that when we trust in Him, He will not fail us. He has promised and cannot lie. Therefore, have complete confidence in your God, knowing that the One you depend upon is the Faithful, All-Powerful Creator and Sustainer of the Universe! What a precious Savior we have!

“Are you resting and trusting in the sufficiency of Christ? Is Christ everything to you? If so, thank Him for his fullness. If not, perhaps you’ve been trusting in failing, deceptive, inept human wisdom; meaningless religious rituals; or some kind of mystical experience formed in your own mind and unrelated to reality. Maybe you’ve been thinking that your own self-denial or self-imposed pain will somehow gain favor with God. If that’s the case, put it all aside and in simple childlike faith embrace the risen Christ as your Lord and Savior. He will give you complete salvation, complete forgiveness, and complete victory. All you need in the spiritual dimension for time and eternity is found in Him. Repent of your sin and submit your life to Him.”
- John MacArthur

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Up and Away...Almost

“We are here on this earth to know God intimately, fully, correctly, and contagiously; to house His holy person in our very bodies, allowing Him to showcase to the world around us His loving nature, His attitude, His thoughts, His emotions, and His actions through the way we live every moment of our lives.” 
~Eric Ludy

Two days, my friends...two days 'til I head off for Colorado!!!

Oh, there are so many emotions whirling around in me right now. In the months since I've known I was going to Ellerslie, I haven't been nervous at all until the past couple days. How do you pack for nine weeks away from home?! Well, I've been tackling this over the past week and finished today. It feels so good to be done. And yet, I feel like I'm forgetting something! Ah! I guess I'll figure it out when I get there. :) 

Because I've never been gone from home for so long, a part of me feels like I'm going away forever. During the past month or so, I've been trying to make special memories with each member of my family. It's been so good and my family and friends have blessed me in so many ways! It's going to (and has already been) SO hard to say goodbye to each of my precious friends and family members! 

Here are some pictures...

Dear, dear friends...no, honorary sisters! I'm going to miss them more than I can say!

Last weekend, Ari and I took my mom for a girls' night out. We went antique shopping and then watched a theater production in Sumner. So much fun! ♥

Love these kiddos! 

Ari and I always loved ice-skating, growing up. We hadn't been in years though, so it was so much fun to experience that again! Wonderful sister date!

Me and my little man! ♥

Another theater production (this time it was The Music Man) that I took Ari to. The actors and actresses were wonderful!

Yes, this was while I was packing. I think he wants to go too... ;-)

Well, my friends, I don't know when I'll be able to post again. In light of this, I want to leave you all with a song that's been an incredible blessing in my life recently. You know when you find a song that just seems to capture everything you want to say, but don't know how to say it? Maybe that description didn't make sense, but this song is my heart's cry bottled up into 5 1/2 minutes. It's so beautiful!

Praying that the Lord would do this work in my heart while at Ellerslie and continue it when I come home...

Only You, only You
All I need, let nothing stand
In between, make me Yours
Consuming fire

Only You, only You
All I need, let nothing stand
In between, make me Yours
Consuming fire

Burn away
Everything that breaks Your heart
Everything that is not love
Purify my every thought
Take away
Everything that comes between us
Everything that is untrue
Jesus make me more like You
Burn away

You are love, You are love
Blazing light, holy flame
Fierce and wild, have Your way
Consuming fire

Yes You are love, You are love
Blazing light, holy flame
Fierce and wild, have Your way
Consuming fire

Burn away
Everything that breaks Your heart
Everything that is not love
Purify my every thought
Take away
Everything that comes between us
Everything that is untrue
Jesus make me more like You

Make me holy, as You are holy
Refine me in your fire, oh God
Make me holy, as You are holy
In my life be glorified

Goodbye, dear friends! May the Lord be with you!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Patient Father

May this be an encouragement to your soul today...

babies,beginnings,bonding,connections,families,father fingers,gripping,guidance,holding hands,iStockphoto,offspring,reaching,supporting,toddlers

"In some sense, the path to heaven is very safe, but in other respects there is no road so dangerous. In the best roads we soon falter, in the smoothest paths we quickly stumble. These feeble knees of ours can scarcely support our tottering weight. A straw may throw us and a pebble may wound us; we are mere children tremblingly taking our first steps in the walk of faith. Our Heavenly Father holds us by the arms or we should soon be down. Oh, if we are kept from falling, how must we bless the patient power which watches over us day by day! Think, how prone we are to sin, how apt to choose danger, how strong our tendency to cast ourselves down, and these reflections will make us sing more sweetly than we've ever done, 'Glory be to Him, who is able to keep us from falling!'"
~Charles Spurgeon

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Announcement: Upcoming Adventure

I'm sorry to those of you who have already heard all of this from me. I know many of you already know, but I wanted to post an official "blog" announcement for those who haven't heard.

In February, I'll be attending Ellerslie's Basic Leadership Training.

What is Ellerslie?

Hmm...that's a difficult question to answer. It's unlike anything I've found elsewhere, so it's hard to relate it to something. Ellerslie is a set-apart place (school) to go and seek the Lord, dive into His Word, and be challenged to live a life of abandonment and surrender to Jesus Christ.

Below is a video from Ellerslie describing what they do and who they are, if you want to know more about it. It will make much more sense to hear it from them. :)

Ellerslie has been a dream of mine for the past several years. I've longed to go and prayed that the Lord would show me if that was His will. The Lord is so gracious and opened up the door for me to attend Ellerslie's Winter/Spring Semester this February. He has made my dream a reality; I can't believe that after all this waiting, wondering, and praying I'll be leaving in a month. How great is His love!

*Happy Sigh*

I am SO excited for my two months at Ellerslie. Two months to devote specifically to my Beloved. Two months to seek His face, draw closer to His heart, and fall more in love with Him and His Word!

Oh friends, I still see so much selfishness, pride, and inconsistency in my heart. There are so many things that distract me from my Lord! I am praying that my time at Ellerslie will be a season of great breaking and that it won't just be a season, but the beginning of a deeper surrender and more intimate relationship with my King! May He increase, as I decrease!

"How sweet all at once it was for me to be rid of those fruitless joys which I had once feared to lose! …YOU drove them from me, YOU Who are the True, the Sovereign Joy drove them from me and took their place! …O Lord, my God, my Light, my Wealth, and my Salvation!"
–St. Augustine

Oh, that He would strip away all those "fruitless joys" from my life; that I would always see my Beloved as the Pearl of Great Price and Treasure of my heart. Praise Him that I can be assured He will finish what He has started in me! His grace is sufficient!

I hope and pray that these next several months will be a time of great growth, surrender, and joy in Christ for all of us! May we seek Him with everything that we are, whether at home or away, cleaning the house or reading the Word! He is worthy of everything we are and do!

Praise His matchless name!