Encountering God

Encountering God Pinterest

Encountering God 3

Encountering God is such a broad topic, so I want to narrow down what I mean by this: when I talk about encountering God, it’s about encountering Him in my heart. Recently, as you know, I’ve read Christa Black Gifford’s new book Heart Made Whole, and it’s kinda changing my life. I’m encountering God in so many new ways and He is healing me piece by piece. This is a really nice season to be in as I’m learning how to just rest in Him. So I wanted to tell you all about some ways that I’ve been encountering God, some things I do so that I can just be with Him in my heart. These are just suggestions, so if you encounter God in your heart in a different way, I would absolutely LOVE to hear about it in the comments!

Anyway, if you are looking to encounter God in a whole new way and have deeper intimacy with Jesus, these five things might help you to do that. Again, it is a personalized practice, so ask God to show you what encountering Him in your daily life looks like for you, and see where it goes.

Encountering God 4

Open Your Heart

This first one is crucial to the whole process. If you want to encounter God in your heart, you have to first be open to letting Him in. This seems obvious, but it’s actually not. Have you ever been in worship and wanted God to just rush in and break down your walls and set you free? Well, it doesn’t actually work that way. Since God is so good and such a kind God, He didn’t make your heart so that He could just bust into it whenever He liked.

That would be a violation, because then you don’t have free will, you are subject to Him busting in all the time. Because God loves us enough to give us a free will to choose Him, to experience real love through that choice and not just make us all into robots that automatically choose Him, He won’t violate that free will to come into your heart or your pain. Turns out the King of kings actually submits Himself to us, so that we have to be the ones who will let Him in, and we’re the ones who are in control of our hearts. The only thing we can control, in fact, is our hearts.

So in order for you to have an encounter with God in your heart, to have an experience with Love that is greater than your pain, you have to first let God in. Remember, He won’t violate you. He won’t come in unless you invite Him in. But He’s always waiting at the doorstep of your heart should you choose to let Him come in.

Encountering God 5

Practice BEing

A lot of times I think we mistake time with God to be work. And I don’t mean that reading our bibles or taking time to pray for our country is bad, I just mean that that isn’t always what it’s going to be like. One of the best things to remember, and one of the hardest things to practice, is that God just wants to be with you. Jesus just wants to practice being with you.

It’s kind of like that practice of doing nothing, He just wants you to rest in His Presence. Will He heal you? Yes, of course. And there’s a time for that. But He also just wants to be with you. One time in my heart, in the childlike part of my heart, Jesus and I just sat on the floor and I was painting a picture. He just watched me and said that it looked beautiful. That’s it. And it’s as simple as that.

It doesn’t always have to be this big thing. Sometimes I just lie on my bed and listen to music and just imagine a room in my heart and we just sit and listen to it together, me and God. Sometimes He sings to it, and I just laugh. It’s a nice thing, just being with Him.

Encountering God 6

Feel With God

What’s really cool about encountering God in my heart, is that I get to feel with Him. If I’m sad, He is sad with me. If I’m mad, He gets mad too. I’m never alone in my feelings. I always have Someone with me to feel them with.

You may be really confused right now. That’s okay, I was too. Feel with God? What? How?

It’s an interesting thing to explain, so I’ll give you an example:

One day, I learned about something that had happened to a loved one that never should have happened. I was angry, so so angry, because she is very close to me and I don’t want anything bad to happen to her. So I went into my heart, and I just said to God, “I’m angry right now, and I don’t know what to do about it.” So I went into this room of my heart with God, just an empty room in my imagination and Jesus was there. I was pacing back and forth, fists clenched. I just let it all out.

It was hard at first, because if you’ve read about my journey with emotions, then you know that I have not had the best relationship with them. I’ve pushed them down, I’ve denied them, I’ve thought that some were just wrong to feel, you name it. As I was pacing, I just said, “I’m so angry that this happened! This is wrong, it was never supposed to happen! This is stupid, and I wish it never happened!” And then, you know what? Jesus joined in.

He paced with me, and I saw His face sort of droop down in this sort of rage. He said, “I died so that this wouldn’t happen! This was never supposed to happen! She was never supposed to go through this pain!” We continued on for about forty minutes. It felt so good to finally get all of that out and feel the anger of it all. So that’s what I do when I feel these emotions.

I take them to Him, and we feel it together. I have a safe place to feel in Him, and you do too. He’ll catch your tears, bind up your wounds, get angry with you, and dance with you. He will help you to truly feel.

Encountering God

Getting Healed

Getting healed in your heart is one of the greatest ways to experience Jesus. As you let Him into your pain, you get to learn who He is all over again. It’s like His love is just lavished upon you. It is amazing.

For me, and this is just my way of encountering Him in my heart, when I notice that I am really upset about something and decide that it must be something greater, something that is hurting inside my heart, I like to picture it as a room inside my heart. For instance, a while ago, I experienced insecurity. So I got a picture of what room this would be in my heart, and I let Jesus in. Sometimes He heals me right away, and other times He holds me through the pain. It depends on how deep it is.

But I always get healed. For you, it might be different. Use your imagination and ask God to show you what He wants to do with that unhealed pain. You’ll be surprised what you find out.

Encountering God 7

Use Your Imagination

I suppose this goes for the whole practice. But it is something that we often overlook, the power of our imagination that is. We use it for all sorts of stuff. I’m particularly prone to use it to imagine worst-case scenarios and such. No matter what people say, even if you have the worst imagination in the world, everyone uses it for something.

Encountering the living God in your imagination is one of the best ways to use your mind. But how do you do that? For me it comes easy, because I use my imagination for so much every day: plot scenarios, stories, anxiety, etc. It’s all part of my programming. But for those who are not very visual, don’t worry.

Not only is the bible a great company in every season, but it can also help you encounter God in your imagination. Those descriptions of the throne room in Isaiah 6 and Revelation 4 are great starter scriptures. Because you are seated in heavenly places, you can imagine yourself at the right hand of Jesus, sitting beside Him because you are His child. So get creative with this. Don’t limit yourself. Ask God if there’s anything He wants you to visualize, and ask Him to help you if you have trouble with that. You’ll find that it is a beautiful way to experience Him.


So that’s my way of encountering God. Please note that a lot of this was inspired by Christa Black Gifford’s newest book, and a lot of these ideas are in there. So totally check it out, because I didn’t come up with this by myself and she is AMAZING. I wanted to share these with you guys so that you would have a better understanding of what it means to encounter God and how exactly you can do that. If you want more tips on that, then check out her book because it has changed my life and I think it’ll change yours too!

Hoping you have a deeper intimacy with God and are drawn near to Him today!

 

Continue Reading

For Women Who Think They’re Fat

4 Truths For Women Who Think They're Fat Pinterest

4 Truths Women Who Think They're Fat Need To Remember Instagram

I know, ladies. The calorie-counting, weight-watching, the insecurity. I’ve been around that more times than I can count, and one of my family members is actually obsessed with it. I know some people who have boycotted foods because they thought, “If I eat this, I’ll get fat.” I have insecurity of my own about weight, though I try not to let it bother me.

It’s a never-ending cycle, isn’t it? Whether the world tells you or you tell yourself, or both, we all struggle with it. Insecurity about weight. The need to look this way or that, the feeling of gratification when the numbers on the scale are “just right”, the guilty feeling you have when you feel like you’ve eaten too much ‘junk’ and not enough greens. Then there’s the word ‘fat’, which I think in and of itself is a truly horrible word (except when talking about it health-wise, like the fat inside foods), and it can conjure up all sorts of feelings.

This is my love letter to the ladies who think they’re fat, because we all need to hear this as women who are constantly objectified and continually judged by the pound. Whatever weight you are at, I just want you to know that you are loved not because of your size but because you are a Child of God, and a beautiful one at that. Maybe you’re struggling with insecurity about your weight, or a health issue, or even an eating disorder. And if this is you, or even if you are comfortable with your weight, I think we all need to hear this as women and as children of the One True King. Here are four truths to sing to your heart for women who think they’re fat:

4 truths for women who think they're fat 4

You Are Beautiful

Whatever weight you are at, I want you to know that you are beautiful. Truly, you are gorgeous. No matter what the scale says, or anybody else for that matter, you are absolutely shining with beauty. Because God’s beauty is inside you, and it shines through you. He created you to be a reflection of Himself, and that includes His Beauty. So when you look in the mirror, don’t automatically list all of the things that are wrong with you. Don’t you dare.

You stop. Breathe. Look into your own hand-fashioned, drop-dead gorgeous eyes, and say, “You, missy, are the most beautiful thing I’ve seen all day. You are full of God’s love and that love shines through you. You shine as bright as a star because of the God of the universe. You reflect Him, darling. So don’t you dare be afraid that you are not beautiful, because the light that shines in you is greater than any supermodel in the whole world.”

Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world.

~ASV 1 John 4:4

4 truths for women who think they're fat 6

God Wants You Healthy

God never said He wanted you to be thin. He never said anything about being a supermodel. You know why? Because that’s an obsession friends. You want to lose ten pounds, but when you get there it becomes twenty, then thirty. It is a never-ending cycle if you want perfection. But if you want to be healthy, pursuing health for the Lord, you don’t have to worry about perfectionism.

So make your goal to be healthy, not to be the next top model. Health is way better than chasing after a facade of thinness. After all, many photos you see in magazines are photoshopped anyway, that isn’t the real person. Pursuing health and being real with yourself is the best thing you can do for your body. If you truly have a weight problem, get some help from a doctor and/or a nutritionist. But always always always pursue your health.

Don’t run after the newest trend or look to the newest diet. Look in the mirror and love yourself and your body. Take care of yourself. Do what’s right for you. Go to a doctor for a professional opinion if you think you may have a problem. Your weight may be different than other peoples’, but you remember that God created you unique. Your body shape is your own, and it is beautiful no matter what it is. God wants you to be healthy, not chasing after fleeting fads and numbers. He wants you to practice wellness, because that is what will actually make you happiest with your weight, when you can look in the mirror and know that you are healthy and that that is all that matters.

4 truths for women who think they're fat 7

Your Heart Has A Healer

You may think your insecurity about your weight has to do with self-esteem or even your weight itself. And though your self-esteem may have to do with it, your insecurity (and even in fact your issues with self-esteem) have to do with your heart. As I am reading Heart Made Whole by Christa Black Gifford, I am continually reminded of how many issues my heart has and how I am living out those issues in my everyday life. One of those issues is insecurity, and I don’t get insecure about my weight often, but today I did. Truthfully, I can tell you: It is not about the weight, it is something deeper.

For me, today, I was insecure because I thought there was something wrong with me. A doctor pointed out that I had gained some weight due to one of my medications, and I immediately thought, “Uh oh. Here we go again. There’s something wrong with me.” I took it personally. Really, I am still very healthy in my weight and I am starting to exercise more regularly, and she was just bringing that to my attention because she is a doctor and wants to keep me healthy. I took it to mean that there was something wrong with me, and my mind set a goal to work on this to make myself the most perfect version I can be of myself.

As I went inward, asking the Holy Spirit to guide me to see which wound this was, I found that it was at the root of my perfectionism. It was about the lie that I was not good enough. So I went inward with Jesus, and He healed my wounds, speaking kind words to me, saying, “My beautiful daughter, I love you just as you are. You don’t have anything to prove to me. I am not ashamed of you You don’t need to hide from me. I’m in love with you. I love you just as you are, messy and all. You’re my daughter no matter what!”

So you see, ladies, it isn’t about the weight. It is about a lie that we’ve believed about ourselves. For me it was, “You’re not good enough.” That encompassed a lot of areas, friends. What is your lie? Share it in the comments, bring it into the light. I can pray for you. Invite the Holy Spirit in to clarify you on what wound in your heart is operating this, then just picture it in your mind and picture Jesus healing it; you can even ask the Holy Spirit to show you how Jesus can heal that wound.

4 truths for women who think they're fat 5

You Are Loved

I know that when we struggle with insecurities, we can believe the lie that we are not loved. You may think that because of your weight you cannot be loved. For me, love was a conditional thing. Because I’ve struggled (and am still getting through) feelings of not being good enough, love was an if and when thing. If I was perfect by this measure, or when I got here, or if I got that, then I could be loved for who I really was.

Ladies, let’s just put that down, can we? We don’t have to perform to be loved. We certainly do not have to earn it. Jesus came down for you and died not because He had to, but because He wanted to. He loved us no matter what, and He has always pursued us. It wasn’t an obligation, it was a desire. He pursues us because He wants us. He wants you. He wants me.

No matter what size or shape you are, He loves you. His love does not hinge on numbers or pounds or if‘s or when‘s. His love is freely given just because He loves you. There is nothing you could possibly do to earn it or to make it go away. It is always there, no matter where you are.

You are so loved, my friend. So live into that love. Let it be the thing you always chase after. Let the love of God fill your heart. Don’t go chasing after a number, don’t go chasing after a certain weight. Look to Him, friends. Live to be loved by God, not to be thin or pretty or trendy. You already are beautiful, and God has declared that you are His princess. So live like you are, because you are.


Thank you friends. I hope you have a great day. You can leave any opinions in the comments. If you feel like you have truths that keep you in a healthy place and you would like to share them, just leave them in the comments. If you would like to share your story, you can leave that in the comments too. I’d love to hear your stories of victory and healing, or even if you are in the thick of it, I’d just love to hear from you. You’re not alone in this, I promise.

Thanks again, and have a great day,

Continue Reading

What Got Me Back Into Yoga

How I Got Back Into Yoga Pinterest

How I Got Back Into Yoga Instagram

If you’ve been with me for a couple of months, you may have noticed that in one of my posts I talk about the practice of yoga, and I haven’t got the best outlook on it. So, you may have been surprised when I talked about getting back into yoga in my last post. It was pretty much set in stone: I would never do yoga again. Even though I thought this was good, I confess that I did miss it a lot. It’s one of my favorite forms of exercise and it is one of the easiest ones for me to do; most of the poses are easy for me.

Giving it up was a challenge for me, and I learned a lot about sacrifice, about giving up things for God. There was a lot of good brought out of this. But ultimately, God knew that I would come back to it for one reason: Him.

The Reason I Came Back

It’s Him. It is always Him. I found out about Holy Yoga one day as I was searching youtube, and from the first sight I was intrigued and I felt an excitement awake in my heart. Because, truly, I have missed yoga in these past few months, and the prospect of getting back into it and having it be with God was incredibly beautiful. The first Christian Yogi I discovered was Caroline Williams, and the video above is actually the first video I ever watched about this style of yoga.

If you’ve watched it, then you know that it is a style of yoga that is infused with Christ. I was a bit skeptical at first, and so I decided to check out both sides of the story, and try it out for myself. I read part of an article about how this style of yoga was bad, and then I skipped to the comments just to see what other people had to say (it was an opinion blog, so only one woman spoke about it). What I found there was people who had said it had drawn them closer to Christ, and that God met them on their mats. It was beautiful to read, even though I was still a bit skeptical about it.

When I asked God about it, I felt like He said to just try it and see if it draws me closer to Him, and if not then I could just stop doing it. So that’s what I did. At first I didn’t really see much being done, but I decided not to give up. After all, it may take a little while to see any results.

What I Found

As I explored more about this type of yoga, I saw story after story about how it had enriched people’s lives and drew them closer to Christ. And so I thought, if so many people are being drawn closer to Christ, maybe this is something that would draw me to Christ too. Then I discovered Morgan Day Cecil (in the videos above), and everything I thought about yoga changed. These videos are just the beginning. If you search for her on the internet (which I did, because I wanted to learn more about her and this style of yoga), you’ll find so much. She seems so in tune with the Holy Spirit, and she has inspired me to get closer to God through prayer (which I will post about later), meditation, and yoga.

I’ve been thanking God for her everyday, because she just inspires me to get closer to Christ. I pray a lot more now than I did before I started this, and I feel like my heart has been so much more open to whatever God has for me in my everyday since I have been doing this. Every day this week, I’ve done sun salutation A with the Lord’s Prayer (which she talks about in the video above, and she has a video for it here). I can honestly say that I’ve experienced a deeper relationship with the Lord because of this, and I feel more peace throughout my day, like His Presence is just all around me. It’s beautiful, what the Lord has done through this.How I Got Back Into Yoga 2

What God Did Through This-And Is Still Doing

I’ve been more awake to what God is doing in my season and how He is constantly with me. I’ve been more awake to who I am as His daughter. I’ve been praying to see more of Him and see more like how He sees. I have been less overwhelmed, and I’ve sensed His Presence more than I ever have before. My eyes have been opened to just how beautiful this season is, even if it is a dry season. I have been looking to Him for fulfillment, and I’ve been able to rest in my identity as His Child rather than as someone who feels shameful.

This style of yoga has brought me closer to the Trinity, and I cannot deny it. So if you’re skeptical, I invite you to try it. If it doesn’t do anything for you, you don’t have to continue doing it. But try it, be open to it. Because I believe that God is doing so much through this. I believe that this is a way to draw us into a deeper intimacy with Him, and I love the things that He is doing in it and through it.


What is your opinion on Holy Yoga? Are you going to try it? Have you been practicing it and found it’s drawn you into deeper intimacy with Christ? I’d love to hear your stories in the comments.

I hope that you will try it and get into a deeper relationship with Christ,

Continue Reading

Light

light
light 2

light 2

So many things have happened in the past week. I can’t begin to even recollect everything. I’ve been reading Christa Black Gifford’s new book, Heart Made Whole, and it is changing my world. It’s teaching me about my Savior like never before, letting me know that I can take my wounded heart to Him and He can heal even the darkest places in my heart. He can get past the walls that I’ve put up, if I let Him.

I’m already halfway through, and I’m finding such joy in being a work in progress. As you know, I am not always very nice to myself. I’ve had a hard time retiring from the ring, and it has been a long road. When I wrote the post, The Holy Art Of Being Done, I barely knew how to get out of the ring, and I still don’t. With Christa’s help, I’ve been able to realize that my thoughts, actions, and emotions are all from my heart, and that many times I’m in conflict with my heart. I tell it to shut up, and I lock it away like it’s a monster.

But with the help of my Savior, I’m looking to change all of that.

light 3

Letting The Light In

In Heart Made Whole, Christa talks about our hearts being real estate (the house of our heart), Jesus being the light, and that in our wounded hearts we have not turned the light on. We haven’t let Christ into those places, which is why they’re hurting so much and why we still struggle with old pain. There are places in our hearts where we’ve named the property off-limits, and until we invite Christ in we will not be able to fully heal from those old wounds. Without meaning to, we’ve exiled Christ from certain places in our hearts out of anger or shame. We’ve exiled the solution thinking we were protecting our heart.

But we aren’t, because the pain is only going to get worse without a healer. I’ve done this in my heart with shame and fear. I’ve done it in anger and sadness. I actually wrote a short story about it, and it was pretty sad. I thought to myself, “This is my heart? This is what the house of my heart looks like? Is this really it?” And it was.

It still kind of is. But in that sadness, God gave me a vision.

The New House

I was sitting in my apartment with my legs against the wall (I’ve gotten back into yoga, which I will write about later), listening to one of my new favorite songs Let There Be Light, when I just started to imagine this little girl. I had seen her before, carrying white flags in both hands, running through my imagination in a white dress, just gliding through my mind as a representation of surrender. Anyway, I got a clear picture of the house of my heart in my imagination when I wrote that short story. I am a writer, so imagination comes very easily to me.

She started running through that house, floor by floor, with those beautiful white flags rippling in the air as she went through the halls. And with every step she took the lights came on. The people in those halls looked up as they saw her pass, and Jesus was there. By the time she was done, the house was blazing with light, and it shined through the windows as bright as the stars in the sky. It was amazing.

She stood on the porch, next to Jesus, watching as the light shined all around them. These dark figures were walking away from the house, carrying their suitcases with them. They got smaller and smaller. It was beautiful. And I believe that’s how God wants the house of my heart to look like, full of light, in His possession.

light 4

Handing It All Over

As you know, I have been working on step 3 for a long time. It’s part of my program for Emotions Anonymous. I thought I had handed everything over many times, only to take it back. So I’ve learned, surrender is not a one-time or even one-hundred-time thing. It’s a part of my everyday life, and surrender includes my heart. Christa says she hands over the master keys to her heart everyday, giving Christ permission to go wherever and do whatever He pleases. I decided to do that as well.

So everyday when I wake up, for the past week, I’ve prayed to God that He would have the master keys of my heart to do with whatever He pleases. It’s whatever He wants. I feel like, at least for me, this surrender of my whole heart has really been the ultimate act of surrender. Step 3, for me, isn’t just about surrendering my will and my life but also my heart. Because that’s the most important thing for me, and it’s something I hope to do the rest of my life.

I make it my prayer everyday, and it’s been sweet to wake up with Him already on my heart.

light 5

Work In Progress

As I said before, surrender is a daily thing for me. I continually give everything I have to Him. It’s also true that He works on my heart bit by bit. It’s a daily thing of letting my heart be open to Him and His healing. As I show Him more of my heart, He heals more of it. But it isn’t always a fast process.

For some parts of my heart, that may be the case. He may just come in and heal me. But for others, I know that it will be a long, slow process. And I’m okay with that. Because Christa says in her book that this isn’t going to be a project, this isn’t going to be something you can just do and get done. This is a lifelong thing, this healing. It’s about learning how to be with Christ even in the midst of your pain, and becoming more open to Him.

So I am a work in progress, and I am ok with that. My heart is becoming whole as I let Christ in more and more. The trinity is filling my heart, and it is so wonderful to let Him in again. I’m never going to be done on this earth, but with each passing day I will be getting closer to a heart fully mended. I will be getting closer to Him and His healing.

I am always going to be a work in progress.

Grace and peace,

Continue Reading

Things I Learned: June 2016

Things I Learned- June 2016 7

Things I Learned-June 2016

June was a lazy month for me. But I learned a lot in spite of my laziness. I read a few books, started self-hosting this website, and I marathoned Will & Grace. So, here are the things I learned:

Things I Learned-June 2016 5

Infrastructure Is Complicated, But Interesting

This month I read a book by Scott Huler (a local author) called On The Grid. It’s all about my city’s infrastructure, and to be honest, it wasn’t a choice read. I mean, I had to read this book, otherwise I would have never picked it up. But it was actually interesting. I realized that I didn’t know as much about the world as I thought, and I was living in ignorance.

I mean, learning about the sewer system or about how railroads came to be wouldn’t be my first topic of conversation, but it actually ended up teaching me a great deal. I tried to look at it from a perspective of stewardship rather than a scientific view. Scott looked at it with curiosity, which I could look at it with for some points, others I didn’t really care to be curious about. Although this book wouldn’t be my first choice of reading, it did teach me a lot about God and life. I think I might do a post about it next month.

One thing I learned is that knowing about these things is important, because not only do you know how everything works, but you also get a heart for it. Workers in these fields pour out a lot of their lives to keep these systems running, and often have to stop vacations early just to check on the system. Also, there is a lack of funding for these things (in my city, buses seem to be one of those issues), and if we want to keep these systems running we have to take the care to fund them. No one likes higher taxes, but in the long run if it’ll keep the world running, I think it might be worth it.

Things I Learned-June 2016 4

Self-hosting Is The Way To Go

Alright, so I don’t want to be a bully to those hosted with WordPress.com or Blogger, but I do think that self-hosting is awesome, at least for me. I love the control I have over my site, and the freedom I have in plugins (perhaps that’s just WordPress.org). My site looks beautiful and I couldn’t be thankful enough to have this space to write my life and thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I love WordPress.com, but there’s just nothing like self-hosting. I feel so empowered to write and design.

That’s one of the things I love about WordPress.org (though WordPress.com also has good design). I can customize my site and it looks amazing (can you tell I like a pretty site?).  At the end of the day, I wouldn’t want to go back*. Here is a post chronicling the transition.

*Again, I wanted to thank you all for waiting so patiently while I got this site up and running, and for viewing my site to begin with.

Things I Learned-June 2016 3

Shopstyle Collective

Recently, I got into affiliate marketing. If you guys have been watching me on Pinterest, or have noticed the items in the sidebar then you know what I’m talking about. I’m very new to the field, so I’m still figuring out how it works and what it’s all about. But Shopstyle Collective, though being my first one, seems like the best. It is very easy to use and has a wide variety of products to choose from. For the blog, I tried to choose products that go with the site, although a few unconventional ones are in there. For my Pinterest I’ve been adding multiple products with different purposes and backgrounds, so there are a lot of new things in there.

I love the fact that I can give people access to products that I love and send out the message of Jesus along with that. Also, Shopstyle has announced that the products they help to sell will also help the world as well. They are trying to be more conscious. So that’s encouraging as well.

It operates on a pay-per-click basis, so all someone has to do is click on a link or product image and I’ve earned a few cents. It’s easy, free, and fun. I’m discovering some of my favorite shops and even a few I’ve never heard of. For instance, Minted is a beautiful online store of artists committed to bringing you quality products. You can click on one of their products in the sidebar to check out their site. I hope you’ll enjoy!

Things I Learned-June 2016 2

 Hiding Images In Your Post

This is kind of an old tip, so bear with me you expert bloggers. Now, if you’re not self-hosted I don’t think you can do this, so just skip past this if you want. If you want to know how to do it for the future, or are a newbie at self-hosting or blogging and want to know, this tip is for you.

So, everyone knows Pinterest. Well, have you ever read a blog and then click the “pin it” button at the top of the post and seen a compiled image basically advertising the post that wasn’t in the blog post itself? That is called a hidden image, and to hide it you just need a little bit of code. When I heard the word ‘code’ I kind of freaked out, but it isn’t as complicated as it sounds (I’m not exactly a techie, but I do know my way around a computer). I am not a coder, nor do I really want to be, but this is actually really simple. In fact, I’m doing this right now. Go ahead and click the ‘pin it’ button and find out for yourself.

You go to the ‘text’ part of your post if you’re in WordPress and you paste some code before and after that collage image and you’re done. Now, this is a little bit hard to remember and if you’re really a newbie you might need a tutorial to show you the works, so here is the link to the page I learned this from. This coding is so simple once someone explains it to you, and Lindsay is very straightforward about it. She even includes a video if you need some specifics on how and where to put the code.

Things I Learned-June 2016 1

I Love Blogs

Ok, so I kind of already knew this. I have about twenty four blogs I follow on Bloglovin’. That seems like a lot, but for me it’s just my nature. I love to read, and I especially love getting invested in other people’s lives from my electronic device. There’s something special about sharing things online and having a community of people to share it with. Plus I’m an extreme introvert, so it’s like the closest thing I have to extrovertment, other than socializing person-to-person of course, but that tuckers me out way quicker than reading online ever will.

But this month I actually created a page of the blogs I love and support. Though I still have many to add, the highlights are out and they are truly amazing blogs by some wonderful women. I would invite you to check it out. It’s called Beautiful Blogs, and you can click here or in the above top bar to take a quick look at it.

God Is Doing So Much

You know, through this month I have seen God at work in so many ways. It kind of dawned on me today as I was sitting thinking about movements like Outcry and Mosaic. In my life, to be honest, I kind of forgot God was moving, and I’ll probably write more about that later. But I just forgot. I wasn’t seeing Him move, although I wasn’t looking very hard if I’m honest, and I was kind of stuck in a rut. But when I saw the recap from the Spring Outcry Tour 2016 I remembered and something woke up in me again.

I remembered that I have a God who can move mountains. I remembered that I am not so busy that God cannot reach me. And I remembered what life is all about. I’ve been waiting for God to move for something in my life and slowly, He is. But since it was so slow, and still is, sometimes it’s hard to remember that God is still moving no matter what is going on in my life. Outcry and Mosaic (especially last Sunday’s sermon) remind me of the presence of God in my life, and that whatever His timing may be, it is always perfect.

God is doing so much in this world, and I am continually reminded that I am not alone. I love the fact that God moves on our behalf, and that no matter how much time it takes, He always delivers on His promises. He is faithful, Emmanuel. And beautifully full of goodness.


These are the things I learned in June. I hope you’ll join me next month for Things I Learned in July!

Hope to see you soon!

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

For When You Are Hurting

5 Things To Know When You Are Hurting

Recently, I’ve been hurting about my past. As you may know, I had some emotional pain in my childhood, and lately it has been more pronounced. I’ve gotten sad more often, I’ve flown into a rage inside (though I tried not to express it outwardly, which actually may have done more harm than good) for no reason, and I’ve just been really moody. Life hasn’t been the same.

I think it’s the summer season. With school out and everything a bit more mellow, I have much more time to focus on past hurts and to actually process it, since I am way more occupied during the school year.  I’m trying to get a move on, to stop looking into my past and start healing my wounds, but while I’m doing that I wanted to share five things that I try to remember when I’m hurting and one bonus thing that has helped me to feel my way through this process.

God Is With You

I know this might sound unfeeling or cliche, but I’ve found that it helps to reinforce this idea daily. As I’ve been going through this, feeling the presence of God has helped me to realize that I am not alone in my pain. God knows what it feels like and deeply understands what I’m going through, and He will sit with me when the going gets tough. He isn’t going to say to any of us that our hurt is not valid or that we should just be happy already, because I think that we say that enough to ourselves and because He didn’t design us to always feel happy.

It’s helped me to have Him there, just to remind me that He’s there for me whenever I need Him, to say that He is freeing me from this hurt that has ended up hurting me the more I’ve held on to it, to repeat that He will always love me even when I lash out at Him because I don’t want to feel this hurt right now.

To be honest, I’ve snapped at Him a lot, and you know what? He’s still there. Even when I push Him away, even when I try to avoid feeling all of this, even when I reject the love that He’s given me. He remains faithful, and He has never once given up on me or walked away. I’m never too much for Him to handle, and neither are you. So He is with you too, my sister/brother, and He will never leave your side. He will comfort you, and He will do great things even in the midst of this hurt you’re experiencing.

You Are Not Alone

I know we kind of just talked about this, but I want you to know that you are not alone with humans either. In the midst of my pain, I often isolate myself and try to hide the fact that I am hurting. I mean, I can’t hide it from God, but He’s about the only One I actually talk to about it. And I’ve learned a lesson from that. Not that God isn’t capable of being a great Counselor, but actually talking to other humans about it is helpful, even if you’re the isolator type like me. In our private talks about my pain, God has actually been urging me to talk about it more to other people. And of course, He was right.

When I finally talked about it with my therapist (I can be very stubborn, as you can probably tell), I felt so comforted in the fact that: a) I felt less crazy and b) somebody knew how I felt and actually understood it. I mean, sure, she may not understand completely, but she can relate and that’s comforting. To talk about it with other people-to tell them and not have to hold it in-is so very freeing. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

If you feel like you need to tell somebody about how you are feeling, and this isn’t too personal of a request, feel free to share it in the comments. Whatever it is, know that you’re not alone, and even though we may not be in your shoes, we can all relate to a hurting soul.  Mind you, there really is no substitute for therapists, and if you feel like you just need someone to talk to that can offer kind advice, therapy is a great route to go as well.

You Are Allowed To Hurt

For me, it is hard to allow myself to feel the pain. I want to push it away. I want to pretend everything is okay. And while it’s easier to put on a happy face and a fake smile, that isn’t the way to heal a soul. But everything inside screams pretend, doesn’t it? At least, I find that it does for me.

The voices inside my head, Soul Bullies if you will, tell me that I should be happy and merry. They tell me to go and be a joyful Christian. They tell me that I am not allowed to feel the pain. They tell me it isn’t legitimate. They don’t give me the permission, in fact, they deny me validation.

But that isn’t the way it is supposed to be. We live in a world that tries to make pain disappear, that tries to pretend like it doesn’t exist and wants to numb us out of our hurt. Except I don’t think God would want that. Why else would He create us with such a beautiful, wide range of emotions? I mean, without our pain, how could we feel empathy? And without our anger at injustice, how could we feel compassion?

You know, I used to think certain emotions were bad. That you weren’t a good person if you were an angry, sad, hurting person. But since it turns out that that’s all of us, myself included, that cannot be true. Besides, the only real good person ever on this earth was Jesus, and even He got mad sometimes.  As it says in the Emotions Anonymous Book Today, “Emotions are neither good nor bad.” They were meant to be felt and experienced, I think because it helps us relate better to other people.

Also, when we get the hurt out, we begin to feel a new space within. There is more space for new, healthier things to come into your life. There is more space for the things that God wants to do in your life. It all starts by giving yourself permission.

This Too Shall Pass

It’s one of the slogans of EA, and I think that it is important to remember through all seasons of life. To appreciate the good things, and to know that there are more good things coming. God has not given up on you, and this is not your final destination. Though the hurt may feel overwhelming, it will not engulf you.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.

Isaiah 43:2 ESV

I often find myself forgetting that this too shall pass. That it will be okay in the end, no matter when that comes. No matter what the future holds, I know that God has planned something great in my future, and maybe this is an important part of that. Maybe He is setting me up to be a more compassionate, kind, loving woman by having me go through this. The point is, though this season is overwhelming, Jesus will get me through this. We can do this together.

Though this season might be full of pain, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. This is not the end of your story. God has many plans for you, and He will be with you through it all. He wants to prosper you, and this is a part of that. He is your Healer, and He always will be. So remember that though you walk through deep waters today, this is not the end of your story. Don’t give up hope.

Our God still moves mountains.

He Makes All Things Beautiful In Their Time

God isn’t just putting you through this for no reason. This is purposeful, and you will become a better person because of it. I believe that pain is sort of like a flower in disguise. Once you begin to address it, pull out the weeds and replant it in healthy soil, it begins to grow up into a beautiful flower. You begin to cherish your scars instead of hide them. Not because it was easy, or that time in your life was something you like to think about. But because in spite of the pain, God made something great out of it, and that something is a part of you.

When you are making something beautiful, you start out with something not as you’d like. You start out with something that is scarred and broken, living out of its pain. And you remake it. You use the broken pieces, and you repurpose them for something wonderful. Then you have this thing, recreated, made whole, that has been repurposed and brought into a new reality.

It’s kind of like what salvation has done for us, and its work is not finished. God can repurpose your pain, and turn it into something wonderful. For the person who was hurt as a child, they may one day become an advocate for the rights of children. For the person who was horribly wronged, they may one day become an important part of the justice system, working to make right what is wrong in our world. For someone like me, who was emotionally hurt, they may one day become a trusted friend who people turn to for support.

Because of our pain, we have learned a new way to be, and it is better than before. Now, because I know the impact words have on a soul, I can use my words to encourage and build up rather than tear down. Because of the way that I was hurt, I might be a better mother to my children than I might have been if I hadn’t gone through the pain I did. Because of the way I was treated, I can be more sensitive to other people. So even though I was hurt badly, I can see the ways in which God is pulling goodness out of my situation, making me into a better person because of it.

I believe this is true for you too, and I believe that God will work wonders with whatever situation you happen to be in.

Bonus: The Poetry of Nikita Gills

Yesterday, as I was allowing myself to feel my pain, I found some beautiful poetry on Pinterest by Nikita Wells. It spoke to me because I felt like somebody finally knew what I was going through, and I felt less alone. It was like she knew exactly what my situation was and knew exactly what to say. And while I may not agree with all of her work, I agree with her message, and I love the fact that she is encouraging other recovering people. Though it is mostly targeted towards women, I believe it is also helpful to men.

I think she is a trauma survivor, and her work is wonderful. It doesn’t all end on a happy note, but the raw emotion it evokes is wonderful. Her voice screams that it is okay to be broken and that you can learn to live gracefully as a result of it. Honestly, it is beautiful, riveting, and totally worth checking out.

Here is her tumblr blog. This is her book, especially written for people recovering from trauma. Here is an article containing different bits of her poetry and a little bit about her writing history.


Thanks so much for joining me, and I hope that whatever season you are in, you know that good things are ahead!

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

It’s Finally Here!

theonewhocalls is now Self-Hosted! In this post, I give my thoughts on self-hosting and what that looks like for me. Come and see it for yourself, and post your opinions in the comments.

Alright, this is it!

We’re here. The website is now being self-hosted! After some mix-ups and a little bit of a bumpy road, it is finally here. You can leave any opinions in the comments!

Design

So, as you can see, I have redesigned the site with the Olsen Light theme. It feels more organized and definitely more bloggery. I’ve always been a sucker for white backgrounds, as you could probably tell before I switched to self-hosting. When I saw this one in the demo, I knew that it was the one for this blog. I especially love the little author box in the sidebar.

How about you? What do you think?

WordPress.org

I love using wordpress.org to run my blog. I know I just got it, so this may be a bit premature, but still. I’m loving all of the plugins and the experimenting I get to do with them. So far, everything has set up just fine, everything is running as it should be. I mean, I had a little trouble with importing my content over to this new site, but in the end my content is here and I’m happy with it. If you’ve had any experience with WordPress.org, or currently have it, I’d love to hear your take on things in the comments.

ASO Review

A Small Orange is my current hosting provider, and I love em’. They’re great with customer service and even though it took longer than expected to get this site up and running, I still think they’re the best. Really, a lot of the things that slowed down the process were things I didn’t know I had to do. This just goes to show that I’m not very experienced in the self-hosting arena. If you were ever with A Small Orange, or you are currently, feel free to share your take on the company in the comments.


So, overall the transition has been great. It was a little longer than expected, but that’s okay. I’m just happy that it’s here now and I’m excited to get started. I hope to write to you all again soon.

Continue Reading

A Prayer For Orlando

Oh Lord,

I don’t know what to say,

I don’t know what to do,

all I know to do is pray, pray for your children.

For the lives affected by this terrible terror,

I pray for your peace to be lavished upon them.

May they be flooded with serenity,

the peace that passes all understanding,

the peace that only you can give.

For the families of the victims,

I pray you bring justice,

I pray that you be with them in their mourning,

may you comfort them Lord.

For the victims still in the hospital,

I pray you provide them counseling,

for you are the Great Counselor.

May you provide for them,

give them the medical attention that they need,

give them the therapy that they need.

Thank you Lord,

for being the Prince of Peace,

I pray that you flood them with it,

may you give them rivers of peace,

may you meet them exactly where they are,

may you hold them in your arms, Lord.

Thank you for teaching us that Love is greater than hate,

that darkness never prevails,

that even death is defeated by You.

May everyone affected by this attack know your Love, Lord,

May their hearts be flooded with your Love,

May they know that your Love is stronger than anything that could ever come their way.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.


Personally, I wish I could pray for everyone affected by this attack. I wish I could go to them and hold their hands, tell them that the Lord is with them in their mourning. But since I am not able to do that, I just wanted to send a prayer their way. May the Lord be with you, Orlando. May you overflow with Love and Peace.

-Abbey

Continue Reading

Together

Together

Recently, I’ve been in a bit of a rut. School is over now. *Exams* were long, but easy. And to top it all off, I’ve even got summer work to be doing, only one part of which is to watch and take notes on 3 hours worth of videos. Now that’s what I call fun!

So, I am a bit overwhelmed, and I am most definitely tired. I only got five hours of sleep last night, so I was kind of exhausted today. And I’ve been struggling with my mind, with getting a hold on crazy thinking patterns, and basically thinking like a normal human being. Trying to hold it together, frankly, is driving me crazy. Step one came in handy today when I was totally pooped from four hours of testing and just generally being exhausted.

If you aren’t familiar with twelve step programs, or haven’t read my post about working step 3, then I’ll fill you in: Step 1 is admitting that you are powerless over something in your life, whether that be drinking, drugging, your emotions, or (in my case) your thoughts. Step 2 is believing a power greater than yourself (Jesus, for me) can restore you to sanity. Finally, step 3 (the one I am currently working on; you can read all the twelve steps here) is surrendering your will and your life to this power greater than yourself (Jesus).

I knew my life had become a mess. It really had. It still (sort of) is. I was walking around like a drone, always in the future, never taking notice of the present moment. My mind was obsessed with work and ‘when this was due’s and ‘how would I do that’s. Today, I had my breaking point. I decided that summer is on the way, and that next year, I won’t let my mind or spirit or body get so cluttered to the point of breaking down.

So now I come to this great rebuilding. I realized that I’ve actually been broken down for a long time, and that my relationship with God has actually gotten to be less of a relationship and more of a list of to-dos and ‘I’ll get to you later’s. I haven’t really had a deep conversation with the Lord in a while, and to be honest, I sort of don’t want to. I think it is just the rebound effect. If I don’t have a conversation with God in a long time, then I feel guilty, and that guilt just builds and builds to the point where I feel like I can’t even approach Him. Honestly, it’s just the enemy, and though I shouldn’t listen to these feelings, I still give into them a lot.

But today, when I practiced the twelve steps (well, three of them), I remembered how close our relationship had been in those early days. It was because of a great sin I had that I couldn’t seem to get over, and I thought He hated me for it. As I began to explore God, I found that He didn’t actually hate me, though I still doubted that He loved me. Then, as I went deeper and deeper, I began to actually experience more of His love for me, and I heard His voice speak to me in ways that I’d never heard before. We were a team, of sorts, and I understood that He was on my side, that He remembered me and that we could get through the days together. He was my strength, and all I had to do was remember that He was on my side and abide in Him, trusting that He loved me in spite of my proneness to make mistakes.

I trusted that He would remain faithful, even when I was not. I opened my heart. I took off all of the masks. I began to experience a deep intimacy with the Lord, and the days were like bliss because I had Him at my side. I used to just lie on the floor and look up at the ceiling and talk to Him. Sometimes it was just because, just so that I could hear His voice. Sometimes He called me, and I answered quickly, because nothing was more important than He was (at least in most times that I can remember).

I realize that I’ve forgotten that. I’ve forgotten that we’re a team, and I’ve forgotten that we are together rather than separate. He is not sitting on a pedestal looking down at me, but He is right where I am, holding my hand through it all. I’ve forgotten about His endless mercy and His unfailing love. I’ve forgotten about who He is, and instead traded Him in for this man-made god that is full of biblical rules and silent time requirements. I’ve forgotten who He is, and instead replaced Him with a god who is totally opposite.

And today, when I remembered the good old days, the good old times I’ve had with God, I heard Him whisper, “It can still be that way. I’ve never left you. I’ve never left your side all along. I am here, and we can be a team together again, we can do life together one day at a time.”

I’ll be honest, though that was enough to make me realize that it’s possible to revive that in my heart again, I am still doubting. I still don’t know if He’ll take me back. I still don’t know if my heart can ever be the same as it was then. I’m not sure about how the future will go. I’m not sure if I can do it, if He can do it.

I mean, I know He is the Lord of lords and the conqueror of the dead, but the real question is, “Will He do that for me? Am I insignificant? Should I just be given up on?”

I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. But I know I can’t do it on my own. I remember recounting that I can’t do it by myself while reading about a concept of EA. The concept was talking about asking God for help, that we need to be dependant and recognize our dependence on God, and also believe that He is loving and wants to be on our side, that we can conquer the world if we just ask Him for help.

The truth is, as much as I’d like to pretend that I am self-sustaining and self-sufficient, I am not, nor will I ever be. Humans just weren’t made for it. That means me as well. I need God. I need Him just to get through my days, let alone survive in this hectic world.

All I know is: we need to be a team again, because I can’t do this on my own.

What about you? Are you in a rut like me? Or are you just getting out of one? Do you need to be a team again with God, or are you already?

 

Continue Reading

Things I Learned: May

Things I Learned- May 2016

For the month of May, I learned a lot of important things and I’m certainly glad that summer is coming! I am definitely ready for it! So, here are the things I learned:

  • A Little About Self-Hosting

So, I just wanted to mention this because I talked a lot about this in my last post, and I thought I knew what was going to happen….but I did not. I thought that once I got everything setup right it would just switch over to A Small Orange. Well, this just shows how much I know about self-hosting (as you can see, I am clearly a beginner). It actually can take up to ten days for the domain to transfer, and I am sorry that I wasn’t informed enough about this to tell you earlier. I hope you are not disappointed, but it will be up and running soon, that I can promise you. There are only about eight days (max) left, so just hang tight, because it will be switching over soon!

  • Powerpoint Certification

This month I got certified in Powerpoint, which was very exciting! I learned a lot about how it works and even some less-known secrets of the software. I’m excited about this because now I have two certifications (I also have Word) and next fall I will get my other two  (Microsoft Access and Excel). My goal is to get all four and then maybe to dabble a little in Adobe software.

  • Emotions Anonymous

This month, I read a book called Breathing Room by Leeana Tankersley, and it really opened up my eyes to how I treat myself and how my emotions affect me. I saw some great quotes in there from Emotions Anonymous, and so I decided to pick up the book. Well, this is the best decision I have ever made! I’ve started to attend meetings and I have already begun to work a few of the steps (here is a post about my journey with Step 3). It’s really helped me to begin to accept myself, others, and begin to go into an even deeper relationship with God. If you want to check out the book, you can go here. If you want to check out Emotions Anonymous as a whole, you can check out their website here.

  • God’s Love

Recently, I read a book by a famous Christian writer named Brennan Manning. It’s called The Ragamuffin Gospel, and it is amazing! Even that is an understatement. As I read this book, I felt my heart slowly opening to this amazing, mysterious, wondrous love that is the love of God. It wasn’t as if I never experienced it before, but this book invited me to engage in it even deeper, to dare to live into it more than I ever could imagine. I would invite every Christian to read it, as it has been a beautiful, life-changing book for me to read, and it is even on Sarah Bessey’s 10 books that changed my faith list. They also made a movie out of it, which can be seen here.

  • Leeana Tankersley is One of My Favorite Writers

This is something I learned towards the beginning of the month. I was just starting to read Breathing Room and I became very engrossed in it. I realized that a lot of the things Leeana talked about were things that I wanted to talk about, things that I could definitely relate to and it was a joy to read about someone who had crossed the other side and found her breathing room. I felt like I need that spacious place as well, and decided to pursue it. I’m still pursuing it today, and I feel like I am slowly finding it. I hope to continue it and to learn more about God in the process. If you would like to check out the book, you can do so here.

That’s what I learned this month! You can share anything that you’ve learned this month in the comments. Feel free to join me in the comments! Thanks for joining me and I hope to see you next time!

 

Continue Reading
1 2 3 8