Sitting in church yesterday I learned that God can speak through whoever and whatever He wants to use. The pastor was preaching on foreign missions and somehow God used it to teach me a life lesson... or, let me rephrase that, to re-teach me a life lesson (it seems I don't listen too well sometimes :)
That's what caught my attention during the sermon. The pastor said it and, while I had been listening, this sentence seemed to jump out and grab at my wandering thoughts. It was like God was saying "stop it! Stop obsessing about what you can't change. I have way better plans than you do and I can't wait to show them to you."
A few months ago I was listening to a guy speak about Abram and Sarai. I had always thought that Abram was not such a smart guy, I mean who needs to pretend that he's his wife's brother so that he feels secure?!? What in the world. But this speaker made Abram's story sound exactly like mine in a way. Too often I think that I can help God along in His plan for me. Just like Abram said "I know that you called me to have descendants that numbered the stars, so I'm going to help you out by not getting myself killed in this situation," I was basically saying to God: "I know You're good and mighty but I'm going to help You help me." As if. God isn't in the business of letting us have the glory for His works.
In Matthew 6 it says: "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you" (v. 33). Before this Matthew is talking about how people worry about what they will eat, what they will wear, what they will drink... maybe it's even who they will end up with, what job they will get, what university they'll get into... And God tells us to seek Him first and then these things will be added to you. Somehow we've gotten it the other way. Somehow we've turned God's plan into something that is secondary to what we want. We need to go to Him first and then He will point us in the direction He wants us to go.
Later in the book of Matthew, he writes: "Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened" (Matt. 7: 7-8).
We need to stop trying to figure it out all by ourselves for God and start seeking Him first. He doesn't need our help, in fact most of the time our "help" just gets us into unnecessary messes. He just wants you and then He's big enough to figure out the rest.
Challenge of the Week:
"It is true that God may have called you to be exactly where you are. But, it is absolutely vital to grasp that He didn't call you there so you could settle in and live your life in comfort and superficial peace."
Don't get comfortable. God calls us to bring people towards Him and to not conform to the ways of the world.
We had the highest of highs, walking on sunshine, when all of a sudden the clouds moved in. The mood changed from sunny yellow to sullen grey in seconds. There are moments that you never expect in life and this was one of them. The words of one of my favourite worship songs came to mind:
"And I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm"
(Praise You in this Storm, Casting Crowns)
Sometimes we get caught up in what is going on that we forget that God knows why these things are going on. Sometimes we need to take a step forward into His open arms so that we can be comforted in the confusion. Sometimes we aren't going to know the answers and we need to be willing to trust Him anyways.
When answers are scarce that's when faith comes into play. We need to take the focus off ourselves and our role in our story and look at God's role in our story because, in the end, it's not really our story at all... it's His.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9, NIV).
"For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love. For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone" (Lamentations 3:31-33, NIV).
I was thinking today as I looked down at my outfit. Dark wash, straight leg jeans, an blue t-shirt with white stitching, a military-ish gray sweater and light green flats. Green and blue. That's colour blocking! (this is what was going on in my mind... don't judge!)
And so I realized. I had been colour blocking with this outfit before it was cool. Sure it wasn't as obvious a color block as some are but it was pairing colors that aren't usually paired together.
What point am I trying to make here? I think that it's fun to get into fashion and to get into trends and be all up-to-date, but at the same time uniqueness is a gift that God has given us. Maybe this means that we take trends and put our own spin on it (or we are flaunting these trends before they are trendy... woah there hipsters!). Maybe this means that we don't follow trends at all and that we kinda think that they might be ugly.
At the end of the day, God created us to be us... not anyone else. If He wanted a copy or if He had wanted us to all follow the trends of the day He would have programed us that way. He didn't. So, if you don't understand what I've been saying up to this point try and understand this: don't base your wardrobe off of trends. Don't base your wardrobe off of what is cool today and will be uncool tomorrow. Base it off of what makes you feel as confident as possible. God has given us these gorgeous bodies, let's flaunt them ladies but let's flaunt them in a way that gives Him the glory rather than giving it to us.
Over the past few weeks I've touched on a few tips and trends to do with Fall. Lately, I've been challenged with crisp Fall mornings and warm summer-like afternoons so I thought I'd share a few of my tips for surviving these days fashion wise!
1. Leather Jackets
I think that leather jackets should be a staple piece in every girls' wardrobe. They are great pieces that add enough warmth to get through a cold morning without going overboard during a warm afternoon. This morning I paired my dusty rose coloured jacket with an animal print long sleeved tee and jeans and went out like that. I find that mine adds just enough warmth for a cold morning and when it gets hot out I can easily slip it into my bag and carry it around because it's not as bulky as some of my sweaters. 2. Scarves
These little accessories are awesome for awkward-temperature days! They are easy to add to any outfit and are easy to slip into a bag later in the day if it gets too warm. The one pictured above is especially on trend because it's animal print. They are great for adding colour, pattern and texture to an outfit while being very practical. 3. Loafers
On Fall days like these I tend to shy away from wearing boots (leather or suede) because they are not as easy to wear during hot afternoons. Instead I go for my ballet flats or my Toms. A great new trend for this fall is loafers which add a different twist to the flat styles of old. I can see these transition throughout a fall day without being too far on the hot or cold side of things. They are comfy and cute and right on style! A few more quick tips: Add light-weight tights to a skirt or shorts outfit for extra warmth. Go for sweaters and layering pieces that are easy to carry on your arm or in a bag later when it gets warm. Pull out some of your favourite winter pieces (like long sleeved tees) and start pairing them with your summer favourites (like shorts - with tights of course - or patterned tanks) to get more out of your clothes and to keep you at a nice temperature all day long!
It was a long day yesterday, so it's a Tuesday article instead :)
Yesterday was Canadian Thanksgiving. 50 days ago, my friend challenged me and some other friends to be thankful for (at least) one thing every day until Thanksgiving. I loved how some days it was a challenge to even find one good thing in a day and other days I couldn't narrow it down to one or even two!
A quote that has been on my mind for the past few months is "what if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday?"
I love how blunt it is.
If that was the case, what would you have today?
I'm betting that a lot of people wouldn't have very much. For some reason we get caught up asking God for stuff that we aren't thankful for all the things that He has given us like His love, health and family.
My challenge for you - whether you just had Thanksgiving, or you have it next month or you don't celebrate it at all - is to write down one thing a day that you are thankful. Keep it going as you can remember. Write them down in your journal or on a spare piece of paper. Don't limit it to one thing! Some days all you are going to be thankful for is a nice bed to sleep in, but don't worry about it. God loves hearing from us and all good things come from Him!
Have fun with it but use it to remind yourself of what really matters on those days where you just want to curl up in a ball in the dark and cry. I think that it will give you a different outlook on life. And sometimes that's all we need... a new perspective.
"As bad as it was, as bad as it hurt, I thank God I didn’t get what I thought that I deserved. Sometimes life leads you down a different road when you’re holding on to someone that you gotta let go. Someday you’ll see the reason why. Sometimes, yeah, sometimes, there’s good in goodbye."
- Good in Goodbye performed by Carrie Underwood
God has great plans for you. That might mean that the people that you are surrounded with right now won't be there in the future. You just need to trust that God knows what He's doing.
At church yesterday the pastor brought up one of my favourite stories in the Bible. The best part about it, he taught me a different way of looking at it and I wanted to share it with you!
About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church.2 He killed James the brother of John with the sword,3 and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.4 And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.5 So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. 6 Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison.7 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands.8 And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”9 And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision.10 When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him. -- Acts 12
Peter was put in jail for teaching people about God. During the day his friend James had been put to death for this same thing and Herod was planning on killing Peter the next day because he had seen how happy the people were with it. Instead of being killed right away Peter was put in jail with four squads of soldiers guarding him, that's 16 soldiers. That's a lot of guys for one man to take on. So what did Peter do? Well, he slept. "What?!? He slept?!?" You might be asking. He sure did. Why? Because he was at the end of it all. He couldn't do anything more and so he went to sleep trusting that God knew what was best. When we are at the end of ourselves, when we can't do anything more, that's when God does some of His best work. What happened next... well, the angel appeared and Peter's chains fell off. They walked out of the prison and the door opened by itself. When you feel like you physically have no strength to carry on and you mentally can't go forward, that's when trusting in God because infinitely important. God knows what's best for you and He has way better plans for us than we can ever make for ourselves. It may be a different answer to our prayers than we were expecting, but like I've been talking about these last few Mondays, we have to put our faith in Him and He will do the rest. So, when you feel like you can't go on... take a moment to still your heart, trust in Him and keep taking one step at a time. God is faithful and He will never leave you nor forsake you. You're in good hands.