Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From My Shelf: Graffiti

I picked up one of my oldie but goodie favorites today.

It is one of those books that you read a couple times then keep it around to grab when you need encouragement.

I needed it this morning.

For a long time I have struggled with body image. Some days are better than others and the last several months have been such freedom! God has given me the grace to trust in Him. To trust that if I eat that cake He will give me the strength to handle the consequences....

But lately I realized that I have started to slide down that old slope again. I rejoice because I have noticed it sooner than other sliding seasons but still I have been sliding.

I realize when I am putting myself down.....allowing lies to creep into my mind.

"you are fat"..."those thighs are huge! They should be smaller with all the running that you do....maybe you should take up weight training again".

"Should you really be eating those chips? Do you really need those calories?"

"I wish my belly was just a little bit smaller".

I have realized that these thoughts are coming into my head...I realized that I probably was dwelling on them to much. I prayed that God would release me from them. I know what can happen if I let these thoughts slide. They lead down a miserable slope. A horrible insecure slope that is very painful.  But sometimes praying is not enough in a spiritual battle. Prayer is wonderful but sometimes I find that I need a little ammo to shoot down those thoughts...

So I picked up this book.

Graffiti: Learning to See the Art in Ourselves
By Erin Davis
I have read it several times before but this time I couldn't resist pulling out a pink highlighter.

I only read one chapter but truths that I could use to fight lies were suddenly bursting off the page.

The first chapter is rather like an introduction. Davis admits that she would rather not tell about her struggle with body image. She writes, "It would be easier not to admit these weaknesses to you. I would prefer for you to think that I have it all together. But I feel compelled to give you a glimpse into the heart of my struggle. Why? Because I know you struggle too."

I read this and I was reminded that its ok that I don't have a perfect body. As I read I felt Jesus whispering into my heart. "You are flawed but I love you. I accept you with your flaws."
I felt loved by Jesus. He accepts my flaws. He makes me beautiful inspite of my flaws.

Here are some other places that I highlighted with my handy dandy pink highlighter.

"God's word is rich with words of affirmation of our beauty and our worth.."

"If you have ever doubted your beauty and worth, you have heard a lie. Freedom from the lie ----for you and me---is important, and yes you can find it!
    We fight side by side with a slippery snake. I know from experience that this is a battle not easily won. But I also know that victory comes when you turn your eyes upon Jesus."

"I want you to know that there is a mirror that does not mock. There is a place where we can look and be told that we are beautiful, lovely treasured. That mirror is Christ, and believe it or not, He has dedicated much of His word to exploring your beauty and affirming your worth."

"...your beauty is God-given and that you truly are His masterpiece."

These passages spoke to my heart. I probably will walk away from this blog post and struggle with body image in less than a minute..but now I have ammo.

I can think "I am flawed..but Christ has accepted those flaws..He loved me enough to dirty himself with my sins, my imperfections and because of him I am beautiful."

And may the Lord grant victory in my battles against this struggle to feel beautiful and I pray that you will find the same victory in your battles. If you struggle with an eating disorder or just find it a struggle to accept that you are truly beautiful pick up Graffiti...or better yet dig into God's word. God has planted many wonderful truths about how He loves you in there. We just have to crack open our Bibles to find them.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

And Endurance Produces Character.......

Tomorrow I am planning on going on a run.

A fifteen mile run.

I am going to suffer. It is going to hurt to to be out there for three hours fighting the elements. I might even have to run during a snow storm.

But like Paul who wrote in his letter to the Romans, I will rejoice in my suffering. I will rejoice when my whole body aches and creaks when I try to move. I will rejoice in the sweat that soaked my hair and clothes. I will rejoice in my pain.

More than that we rejoice in our suffering....

I rejoice because I know that this run gets me a little bit closer to be able to endure running a half and a full marathon. This run will build my endurance.

...knowing that suffering produces endurance.

Also this run will build character. It takes guts to say that you are going to run fifteen miles but it takes character to finish it. You can't run a marathon on just your body strength. I will get tired. I will have to talk myself through the last half of the race. I will want to quit, I will want to give up. Even tomorrow thoughts of quitting with flicker through my head. I know. They have come before.

...and endurance produces character...

Just like the passage I won't stop here...this run will produce hope. Hope that I will be able to run my best in the half in a couple weeks. Hope that I will finish those long grueling runs that are needed to finish a marathon. Hope that I will finish the Lincoln Marathon in May and that I will finish well.

..and character produces hope,

There is one last thing that this run will do....and all the other runs will do for me. They will give me hope that will not put me to shame. I won't line up at the starting line of these races and peter out after only a couple miles. The suffering that I endured, that produced endurance to run long miles every week, which in turn built the character in me to keep at it, to get up early several mornings a week and brave the cold. All this gives me hope that I know will not disapoint me. I know because of all I went through that I will finish the race. (Lord willing)

..and hope will not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.

Romans 5:3-5

Friday, February 24, 2012

From My Book Shelf

I love books.

I have ever since I started reading at six. Much of my childhood was spent reading or listening to a book on tape. I grew up with the classics like Little House on the Prairie and Tom Sawyer.

Now that I have graduated from highschool and am an "adult"...I still don't feel like one even though I turn nineteen next week, I still try to keep reading.

Lately I have been reading these books.

A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter
by Miriam Huffman Rockness
Source: amazon.com via Jess on Pinterest

I picked this one up while at my church library. I love missionary biographies and I had never heard of Lilias Trotter before. I read on the back cover, "Lilias was an artist, proclaimed by art critic John Ruskin to be potentially one of the best artists of the nineteenth century. But Trotter left the art world behind to pioneer a mission work in Muslim North Africa".

"Wow", I thought..."I think I can relate to her...here she is giving up all she has to serve Jesus. I want to do that".

So I checked it out.

As I read the book I fell in love with Lilias. She was from a well to do family during the Victorian period. Living in England she wanted for nothing and could have pursued a career in art. But she loved her Lord more than earthly praise. She never married and gave up a career that could have made her famous. Instead she lived among Muslims in North Africa. Spending time and loving the people of Algeria she strove to serve the Lord whole heartedly and share His love with Muslims. Her life wasn't easy. She often worked harder than her health warranted but she endured and died in Algeria surrounded by the people she loved.

As I read the book many of her words stuck out to me.....here are some of the quotes I saved. (I almost wish I didn't have to return it!)

"Trained faith is a triumphant gladness in having nothing but God - no rest - no foothold - nothing but Himself - A triumphant gladness in swinging out into that abyss, rejoicing in a very fresh emergency that is going to prove Him true - the Lord along - that is trained faith"

"When God delays in fulfilling our little thoughts, it is to have Himself to work out His great ones"

"..it was a joy to think that God needed me: Now it is a deeper joy to feel and see that He does not need me - that He has it all in hand!"

Daughters of Islam: Building Bridges with Muslim Women
By Miriam Adeney

Source: amazon.com via Jess on Pinterest

I grabbed this book at the same time I grabbed, "A Passion for the Impossible". I hardly ever get an opportunity to interact with Muslims but I thought " I never know if God would have me serve in a Muslim country or bring Muslims into my path." So I picked it up. (I really am a big "buyer" when it comes to libraries..lately I have been picking up more books than I can read...not a fun problem)

I enjoyed this book immensely. Before I read this book I didn't really know much about Muslims other than the general knowledge that I had picked up from school, church and other reading. As I read the book I gained greater insight into the Muslim world and more importantly the world of a Muslim woman.

The author takes introduces you to many Muslim women who have fallen in love with Jesus and trusted in Him as their personal savior.  I read of how they grew to love Jesus not as a prophet who didn't even die on a cross but as God who loved us enough to lower himself and dirty himself with our sins and problems. As I saw Islam and Christianity contrasted I fell in love with Jesus all over again. Islam teaches that God is beautiful, great, powerful, loving....all the things that the Bible teaches about God. But Islam is missing something. It is missing a personal relationship with God. The God of the Bible is all those things, merciful, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness etc. but God wants to have a personal relationship with his people. "But God demonstrates His own love for us that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
Islam is missing that. God is impersonal to them, they have to say many prayers and be perfect..and maybe God will hear them. The God of the Bible isn't like that. He truly is a father. "As a father has compassion on his children so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him."

 I still don't know much about Islam. Reading one book doesn't make me a scholar on the subject but this book gave me an appetite to pray that God would bring Muslim women into my lives..and the next time I see a book at the library about Islam I think I might just pick it up.

I have other books that I have finished just recently and a larger stack of books to read...I plan on keeping you updated on them as fast as I can devour them.

The other books that I have read recently are....

'Silent Night' by Sue Thomas

'The Navigator' by Robert Foster Jr.

and here are a couple that are on my list to read.

"Borderland: A Journey through the History of Ukraine" by Anna Reid

"The Greatest Russian Stories of Crime and Suspense"

I will let you know how they turn out.

What have you been reading lately? I always love to add to my stack of  "need to read"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Have to Tell You Something!!!!

I found my library card!

Yeah I know what you are thinking "she is posting about how she found her library card?..she needs to get a life!!"

Yeah well maybe I do....but it was kinda an event for me this morning.

I had just finished my devotions and I decided that I wanted to put a hold on some books at the library....but for some reason my web browser hasn't saved my card number and I have to find my library card to even put a hold on something. Who memorizes their library card number anyway? (well my mom does...but she is the exception)

So I pull out my wallet and there is no library card.


Normally when I lose things (and I really don't have a deadline for it..like a library book due date) I just think "eh it will turn up sometime"...I really don't want to spend the time or energy or thought power to look for it.

One time I lost my glasses for a month and I thought..."eh..they will turn up sometime" and "I can wear my old ones"

It took my mom to actually decide to start looking for them before I actually found them...and they were in the most obvious place...ugh....

So this morning when I found that my library card was missing I decided to look for it....besides..it had to be here somewhere..and you never know..I use my computer a lot when I am sitting on my bed..and my sheets need to be changed anyway..it couldn't hurt.

Twenty minutes later I still couldn't find my library card. But my sheets were in the wash..and my room was slightly (very slightly) cleaner.

I felt like the woman Jesus told about in the Bible who lost her money and wouldn't stop searching for it until she found it. (Luke 15:8-10)

This parable came to mind as I dumped out my purse, pulled stuff out from under my bed and checked the pockets of my pants.

I knew a library card wasn't very important but I prayed anyway.."God please help me find it!"

And I found it! :D (it was in my purse....I found it on the second dumping)

Never did that bright yellow card look so good to me.

I was so relieved that had found it and I was so glad that I didn't have to look for it anymore.

God feels like that when a sinner repents.

"...there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.." Luke 15:7

"There is more joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents" Luke 15: 10

Compared to God we are as insignificant as the library card I was searching for.

But he loves us anyway.

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him;...for he knows our frame, he remembers that we are dust"
Psalm 103: 11,14

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Love of Christ


 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine,
or nakedness or sword?
As it is written, "for your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."

No in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers,
nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation,
will be able to separate us form the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:35-38

Friday, February 17, 2012

Why I Run

I run because it makes me feel good.
 I run because it makes me feel powerful.
 I run because I know something good always comes from pain.
 I run because I can't stop myself.
I run because I am a runner.

Thursday, February 16, 2012


It's spring time!!!

Can't you tell?

Yeah I know it's still the middle of February but I can totally sense spring in the air.

When out on a run the scenery brings back memories of springtime.

I can hear birds...springtime birds... and the frost on the ground just adds to the illusion

Maybe I am just tired of winter...and maybe Minnesota's lack of snow is totally adding to the effect..but...but...it totally feels like springtime!

Can you blame me?

Love is Dangerous

"Of all arguments against love none makes so strong an appeal to my nature as “Careful! This might lead you to suffering.”

To my nature, my temperament, yes. Not to my conscience. When I respond to that appeal I seem to myself to be a thousand miles away from Christ. If I am sure of anything I am sure that his teaching was never meant to confirm my congenital preference for safe investments and limited liabilities.…

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness.

But in that casket — safe, dark, motionless, airless — it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell."

I love this quote by C.S. Lewis from his book "Four Loves".

It encourages me to love without restraint and to trust God when it hurts.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gas Station Obedience

I want to set the world on fire.

Until it's burning bright for you..

It's everything that I desire.

Can I be the one you use?

The words to Brit Nicole's song "Set the World on Fire"  were runnin' through my head as I pulled into the gas station after my dad.

He had pulled me away from working on my previous blog post to fill up my car with gas.

I grumbled inside..wishing he would just give me the money to fill it.

But as I sat waiting for my car to fill up with gas and for my dad to go inside to pay, I started praying for everyone that I could visibly see in the gas station parking lot. I asked for their salvation..that they would know God's love..and realize their sinfulness.

First it was the teenage boy straight ahead getting into his car.....then the lady to my far right just filling up...then my prayers turned to a man with a red truck just across from me, who just arrived.

As soon as I started praying for him I felt God say to me, "Get out and talk to him"

My mind jolted from my prayer....I was scared to get out and talk to that man..he looked like a nice man to be sure but...but..I was at a gas station at night...aren't those supposed to be dangerous places?

"God can I just pray for the guy?" I asked..but my mind couldn't focus on my prayers...all I could think about was getting out and talking to that man....what if he really needed to hear about Christ? What if God really wanted me to talk to him?

I had no idea what I was going to say to him if I got out..but as time went on I felt myself taking off my seat belt....

Then it was to late..He went inside....but aah..I had tracks in my purse. A gift from my dad before I went on a mission trip to Thailand..I am ashamed to say that I had never used one...until now.

As soon as the man got inside the gas station, I opened my car door and scurried across the aisle and placed the track right on the windshield.

It was pefect timing..for as soon as I had closed my car door back inside my car the man came back.

He walked right to his truck and got inside totally missing the tract I had placed on the window.

I prayed "God please let him see the tract"

He then seemed to see it..and got out of the truck....and picked it up, got back inside and drove off....

I breathed a sigh of relief..I prayed that he would read the tract....and really wished that I had gotten out to talk with him.

What if he really needed to hear about Jesus' love that night?

But a couple weeks ago, I wouldn't have looked at this gas station visit as an opportunity to share the gospel..and I sure wouldn't have gotten out and put that tract on a man's truck.

I rejoice at this little step of faith God granted me and pray that God would grant me the grace to step out in faith in larger ways. Praying that God would grant me a love for the lost. Praying that He would help me overcome my fear of man.  Praying in every opportunity in which I might meet people that God would grant conversations and openings to share the gospel.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Steadfast Love

"I will sing of the steadfast love of the Lord forever;
        with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations"

This is what I saw when I opened my Bible last night to spend time with God.

I was struggling.

I couldn't get it out of my head.

"Tomorrow is Valentine's day and you don't have a date.....AGAIN!"

I was feeling worse and worse. The thoughts were closing in on me and I couldn't shake them off no matter how often I tried to give them to God.

But then I opened my Bible.

I didn't try to open it to any place special. Just to the place where I was scheduled to read

 As I read.....

God bowled me over with promises of love and faithfulness

              "...steadfast love and faithfulness go before you"

                              "My faithfulness and my steadfast love shall be with him...."

                                             "My steadfast love I will keep for him forever....."
                                                         " ...I will not remove from him my steadfast love
                                                                  or be false to my faithfulness"
                                                                         "Lord, where is your steadfast love of old,
                                                                               which by your faithfulness you swore"
As I read, these phrases stuck out to me..I didn't really pay much attention to the rest of the Psalm...part of me wishes that I had, but another part wonders if I just needed to hear these specific words. I just needed to be reminded that God loves me....and it's more than just love...it's steadfast love.....love that will never go away or crumble. He doesn't just love me....He is faithful....He will always be faithful to me even when I reject Him for other things.

As I finished that chapter my heavy heart felt lightened. I was reasured that God's love satisfies, that He will always love me."

I didn't dread Valentine's day anymore.

I was ready to hit the day head on....caus' I had a love better than any other human love on earth.



I was just cutting fabric, doing what I normally do at work. Serving the customer by answering their every beck and call. This doesn't just mean that I just cut fabric and run errands. I give hugs. I ask questions. I listen.

This particular customer had several projects she needed help with. She was going on a retreat this weekend and wanted to stock up on projects for the three days of non stop quilting.

One of the projects was several pieces of fabric all the same sizes for pillowcases.

She told me that she got them at her quilt group meeting. All of the women in the group had brought in three quarters of a yard of fabric and drew names for the whole pile. She had won this time after a day that was particularly hard at her work place. It really made her day she said.

When I heard that I said, "I love it when God does that!"

She agreed with me with a simple "yeah".

When I heard her reply I wondered if I had should have said that.

What if she didn't believe in God? Did I offend her?

On the drive home God brought the incident to mind.

As I thought about the short encounter, I realized that maybe I had said the right thing.

I should not be afraid of praising God.

Even though I had said such a simple thing, I shouldn't let my fear of man stop me from praising God.

God didn't promise that Christians will have an easy life of this earth.

Am I willing to pick up my cross and sacrifice all my life for Christ?

I don't want to live this life like the lukewarm Church, Jesus rebukes in Revelation. (Revelation 3:14-22)

I want to be instead hot for God.

"Please Lord, make it so"


Monday, February 13, 2012

A Verse on My Heart

"Weeping may tarry for the night
but joy comes with the morning."
Psalm 30:5b


Honestly I don't know why I created this blog....

doesn't that sound awful?

I have another blog.

I haven't been very faithful with that one either.......besides I started it with the motive to devote it just to quilting. It didn't work very well for me. I have so many other things in my life besides my love of quilting....the most important of which is God's amazing show of love in my life.

So today I was posting a letter about Valentine's day on my other blog and I thought, "this blog is not the right place for this letter".

Somehow..I have no idea how..I ended up creating another blog.

I had been thinking about starting another blog but when I tried the name I wanted just didn't fit.

So I gave up and just kept writing on my other blog albeit unfaithfully.

For some reason I opened up blogger and just started creating a blog..I don't know why..I just did.

This time when I tried to figure out a name I decided to open up my Bible.

It fell open at John 15. I skipped over all the places where I had highlighted about Jesus being the vine and we are the branches and I came to the middle of the chapter and my eye fell on this verse, "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)

So I went with it the first two words and surprisingly it was an open blog! :D God must have had something to do with it. :D

So I published the blog under that name and as I went through the normal process of setting up a blog, picking a template....and so on, I thought "wow..I am really going to fail at this if I am going to write about how I am loving others".....but then God brought to my mind...and I figured it out...this blog isn't for showing how well I love but how well God loves.

I am always going to fail at loving, but God's love never ends. There is no limit to His love.

That is what I hope this blog represents.

Thanks for reading