I think we are sometimes under the impression that we need to clean ourselves up before we come to God. That we have to get our act together before God will take us in. But that isn't right. God takes us as we are. He loves the very fact that we are coming to Him, and in His eyes we are holy and blameless when we have accepted Christ (Ephesians 1:4).
One of my favorite C.S. Lewis quotes says: " He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away his hand; and if only the will to walk is there, he is pleased, even with their stumbles."
See that? He wants them to learn to walk. He doesn't need us to already know everything; He doesn't need us to already be perfect. That is impossible outside of Him. He's not concerned with our good deeds or our good works or our perfect, put-together lives - because anything we do outside of Him is useless and unclean. We should seek God first. Why try to clean up the surface when Jesus has already made us clean in His sight?
Something I have been pondering on over the weekend, is the fact that I can love someone soooo much, yet God loves them infinitely more. When my little heart feels so full of love for someone that it feels like it's going to burst, God's love stretches even wider and further for that person. That's why it is such an amazing thing that we can surrender our friends into His hands. He knows them even better than we think we do. His heart is so large, we can't even comprehend it with our little, human minds.
John 3:16 famously tells us that God loved us so much that He sent His only Son down to die. Often, we hear that verse and giggle a little because it's such a "Sunday school answer" to everything. I think that it's sad that we have that point of view. That beautiful verse gives us a glimpse at God's heart for His creation. And as John 3 continues, it elaborates on His love:
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him" (John 3:17, emphasis added). When God could have destroyed us for our evilness; when He could have cast us off in our sin; when He could have turned His back on us, He instead sent His Son to take our place. It's something that I don't think we will be able to understand to the fullest while we live here on Earth, but the picture that it paints is an amazing one. When we feel like we are at the end of our rope with a friend; when our hearts break as we watch what our friends are going through, we can remember that God's heart breaks even more for them, and that He has a perfect love for them. He will bring them through it.
There have been a lot of posts flying around the internet lately on being a single Christian (some of my favorites can be found here and here) so I thought I'd add my two cents from a single young Christian women's point of view.
I think that our society, and our Christian society especially, has come to see singleness as some kind of curse. I've definitely felt that way before, and at times I still do. It's easy to get caught up into thinking that you need to be with someone, or interested in someone, or flirting with someone, in order to be the person that your friends see you as or even the person that you see yourself as. Even as I write this, I'm listening to some country music which is a genre that is focused as much on relationships as it is with beer sometimes. Sure, you hear songs about guys and girls, and flirting, and dancing, and all of that good stuff, but who has ever heard of a song for singles? Yeah, I don't think that would sell well. Of course, there are songs in every genre talking about when you meet the right girl/guy (a favorite of mine is this one), but that's just it... the songs always focus on a relationship coming around. But what if it never does? What if you never end up with anyone?
For YEARS I struggled with this. I knew that God calls us to be content in every situation and to trust that He has a perfect plan for my life, but how could life be good without a husband?
This is where I think that we as a Church have failed. Instead of teaching contentment, we are taught to pray about our future relationships and to think about what we want in a future mate. Don't get me wrong, these are extremely important things, but when they become the focus of someone who is single - when looking into the future to a time when the right guy/girl might come along is our focus - then it blurs our vision to the plans that God has for us right now. Because, who knows? Maybe the perfect plan that God has for you does mean that you'll end up with someone and maybe it doesn't, but that should affect how we live out our relationship with God in this moment right now.
I joke about being "single for life" a lot these days but what I really mean by that is that I am content with being single in this moment. Sure, a great guy might come along, but that isn't my focus. It's a possibility but not a driving force as I walk through each day. So when I say "single for life" that could mean that I'm single for another four months, four years or for the rest of my life, but what I mean is that I'm going to try and not get caught up in the relationship craze that happens so easily these days and try and focus on the one relationship that will last for a lifetime and beyond - my relationship with God.
Here's a list of 10 of favorite songs that will be on repeat this Christmas season! I love looking for new Christmas songs - songs that incorporate faith and the Christmas story in a unique way - but I also love twists on old classics!
1. Light of the World - Lauren Daigle
2. The Night Before Christmas - Brandon Heath
3. Come Now Our King - Chris August
4. Christmas Must Be Something More - Taylor Swift (I have to say - I was super surprised by this one!)
5. The First Noel - Lauren Daigle
6. Joy to the World - Jeremy Camp
7. Winter Snow - Audrey Assad & Chris Tomlin
8. O Holy Night - Scotty McCreery
9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing - Carrie Underwood
10. God With Us - Jeremy Camp
** these are in no particular order, but the first one has been on serious repeat since I found it! I love that she's not super well known (she does a killer cover of Love Alone is Worth the Fight by Switchfoot) and that it's definitely a Christmas song, but it can be played all year just because it's such a phenomenal message! Needless to say, I am a Lauren Daigle fan and I can't wait for more stuff from her (she just got signed!)
Two Winter Trends
1. Winter Lace - - pair a summery lace dress or tunic with thick grey tights, boots, and a colourful cardigan to keep it in season.
2. Equestrian Boots - - these type of boots are popping up everywhere. Try them out with a pair of dark wash jeans and a bright winter sweater for a pulled together but cozy look.
One Winter Outfit
This season its all about juxtaposition (also known as pairing two things together than don't normally go). Like lace and winter, girly and tough, sparkles and tweed. Here's an example of a girly and tough outfit. A rockin' leather jacket can take you far, especially when paired with a cute skirt and a kicking pair of leopard flats.
I've had the huge privilege this year to walk along side an awesome team of talented, Christ-loving volleyball players. As with all highly competitive teams, their goal is to win the championship, but along side this goal they have a motto: "But if not."
We play to win, but if not we will still give God the glory.
We want to win, but if not life will go on and God will still be good.
Every time this quote is brought up, I am reminded of how powerful this outlook can be in my own life. I may have plans, but if they don't work out, God is still God and He still has a wonderful plan for my life. As David wrote: "In your heart you plan your life.But the Lord decides where your steps will take you" (Proverbs 16:9). So let us live with this outlook. That God is in control no matter what and His love is better than anything else. Let's live for His glory, not our own.