grace

You Are Not The Hero(ine)

Contrary to what we've always been told, Esther was not the heroine of her own story, she wasn't even the main character.

Yeah, she had a book named after her and her husband, the king would do just about anything she asked of him which led to her saving an entire people however, I think she would agree with me when I say this but it wasn't her we should all be focusing on-

it's grace. 

No, there's no typo because I don't mean Grace the person but actual God-given, we-all-need-some-of-that-good-stuff, unrelenting, situation-changing grace!
Take grace away from this story and you're left with a girl living an ordinary (actually you're probably better off saying boring) life.

 

She wouldn't have been chosen to become queen.
She would not have found favor with the king.
She wouldn't have found the courage to go unsolicited before the high court and ask for help.
She would have lost her plea to save her people and maybe would have actually gotten a few people killed in the process.
Without grace there would be no 17th book in the Bible named Esther because as great and inspiring as she was she did none of those acts on her own.

 

So, what am I trying to get at here? I'm saying that we can be great in our own right if we realize that we and our capabilities are not the heroins or heroes of our story - grace is.

You don't need to have it all before you get it all. You don't need to measure up to any standard to be considered good enough because His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

We often go into or leave situations believing that we won't measure up or didn't do enough and we let that affect us in such a negative way. The truth is there will always be someone who you think is smarter, faster, bigger, stronger, and/or better than you but don't let that hinder the unique ray of light God wants to use in you.

 

Just like an artist turns broken shards of glass into beautiful mosaics, how a runner uses the hardest and probably ugliest of terrains to train on, how a potter never discards a piece of clay just because of its color and shape, and how God used the most average of girls to become queen and save a nation, so will you be in whatever situation you find yourself in.

 

Allow God's grace to take you where only your dreams can, and then some.

We  all uniquely fall short in a lot of things but when we leave those things to God and then allow Him to mix what we can do with that marvelous, better-than-the-putty-that-fits-into-every-crack-and-magically-fixes-everything grace,  we are bound for awesomeness.
So, what's your journey like? Where do you see yourself and trust in Him to take you? Wherever it is I hope it's nothing short of glorious!

Grace Works

tumblr_inline_n9jzh5Men31qe80vk The thing I love about grace is not only its ability to get you to the next point but also its ability to get you through the current one.

You’re probably thinking, duh, if God’s grace can get you to it can definitely get you through it. However, as obvious as that statement is I don’t think a lot of people knew that. If you did, then great! But if you didn’t don’t be too bummed, the present is always the perfect time to learn from the past.
I think over the course our lives we’ve become accustomed to looking forward to for the next big moment and in doing so we end up scrutinizing and regretting our current situation as if it’s a first draft on some essay.
"Lord, if you can just get me through to the next thing…"
"I messed this up but can you help me be better next time?" 
"God, help me to last so I can make it to another day."
or even,
"Give me the strength to endure what I’m doing."
They are all good and valid but why don’t we leave room for God to show off a little? Don’t wait for another chance to come along when He can make the best out of the one you’re in. Ask Him to make this time not only bearable but enjoyable. Seek out His help to make this season, this day, this moment the most awesome yet. Then you can see for yourself how He shows up in every way you could have never imagined.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0A6zyN37uw?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

"He’s not mad at you, He’s mad about you."

The world may forget your name, in fact, they may not even know it but God will never let go of it. He’s had it in His heart since the dawn of time. He loves you no matter what. Despite everything, He loves you - always has and always will.

_ _ _

I just encourage you to watch this video. It’s an awesome feeling to come away with KNOWING that you are loved and cared for. That no matter what we have done or the mistakes we will make, there is grace, mercy, love, and redemption at the cross on which Jesus died for us on. No other feeling will EVER compare nor will they ever. No other thing will ever come close to the level of truth in His love for us. Hear it, know it, feel it; Jesus loves you.

I take a look back at the life Christ died for, mine. Although He was always there I wasn’t always aware. I was lost but now I am found and f o r e v e r grateful. Not only did I gain an identity in Him but I also gained a purpose, love. I must love others the way He has relentlessly and undauntedly loved me. In that love I pray that the world will see Jesus and be drawn to His light, love, and grace.

I take a look back at the life Christ died for, mine. Although He was always there I wasn’t always aware. I was lost but now I am found and f o r e v e r grateful. Not only did I gain an identity in Him but I also gained a purpose, love. I must love others the way He has relentlessly and undauntedly loved me. In that love I pray that the world will see Jesus and be drawn to His light, love, and grace.

I take a look back at the life Christ died for, mine. Although He was always there I wasn’t always aware. I was lost but now I am found and f o r e v e r grateful. Not only did I gain an identity in Him but I also gained a purpose, love. I must love others the way He has relentlessly and undauntedly loved me. In that love I pray that the world will see Jesus and be drawn to His light, love, and grace.

I take a look back at the life Christ died for, mine. Although He was always there I wasn’t always aware. I was lost but now I am found and f o r e v e r grateful. Not only did I gain an identity in Him but I also gained a purpose, love. I must love others the way He has relentlessly and undauntedly loved me. In that love I pray that the world will see Jesus and be drawn to His light, love, and grace.

Life is crazy. Learn to deal.

With November now officially in full swing I now can look back at the quick blur that was October. It brings to mind all of  the things that happened that month. Although no event in particular was anything for the history books even so, it was a “busy” month. Longs weeks filled with packing our house into boxes, preparing for finals, birthdays, working on projects, catching up with friends, organizing events for church - a basic jambalaya of sorts.

Although, it wasn’t all bad though, in the cray of it all I learned this: 

Life is crazy. It always has been and it always will be. Learn to deal. 

It took me quite a bit of time to realize there is no reason to miss the days when Saturday morning cartoons and nap time were our way of life when we can have that today. Well, not necessarily but at least we can have something similar. 

image

 

Whether you are 5, 10, 24, or 59+ all that is needed is a bit of grace and patience. Grace in the sense that we must know it is possible to do anything with God - small or grand. 

And patience to deal with the changes that come your way. In order to have a different life away from stress and fuss you’re gonna have to do things differently - a godly type of different.  Some days you’re going to think that your way is best and want to continue on that path but don’t. Stop and let God direct your steps no matter how crazy they seem. 

Which, if you ask me is the greatest news I’ve heard in a while. We don’t have to think for ourselves, that burden is now up to Him. 

So, while October flew in with a bevy of overwhelming plans, God reminded me that the same peace He gave me as a child is the same peace I can have now if I only believe in Him. Just because my circumstances and settings have now changed does not mean God has done the same.  

Think of it this way, the “little” amount of faith it takes you to trust in God to deliver the sun the next day is the same amount of faith it should take to trust in Him for deliverance of your student loans, the baby your hoping for, the job position you’ve been eying for the last few months. 

So stop stressing.  Stop making plans to do this on your own. Stop thinking that because you didn’t get what you want you never will. Stop fussing over the things God has already covered. Just stop. 

Life is crazy. It always had been and it always will be. The only way we can deal is to let God.

According to Plan

image

I didn’t read my bible today, oh no…not. More like big whoop.

Faced with getting into a new routine this morning I underestimated the time it would take for me to get a “its a school day so I want to look casual and still remain put together” look. Although I had a general idea of what I wanted to wear the night before I think that only added to my stress of actually getting dressed. Besides that plan - which failed - I had also mentally written out how my morning was going to go:

-530 Wake up and take a few minutes to grudgingly get out of bed
-540 Shower and the be dressed and ready by 630.
-630 I knew I had to be out of the house by 7 so that meant 30 good, solid minutes to spend in the word with the Big Guy upstairs.

Reality:
530 My alarm rings
545 Let’s see how many more times I can hit snooze today
550-605 Man, the warmth of that shower was too hard to depart
605 Five minutes behind schedule but I can make up for it because I know what I want to wear.
610 Outfit is on, now to hair and face. Wait a minute… ew. Who died and made me stylist of the year? This outfit is not cute. Safe to say that multiple shoe changes and shirt alterations later it is now 635 and I still have not done my hair or makeup.
640 Ahhhh God Im so sorry. Ill be with you in just a second. All I have to do is a simple ‘do and apply eyeliner. Ill be right there.
645 and that “right there moment” is finally here… Only to have my cousin tell me that we need to leave earlier than expected.

Long story story short, my day is a few moments away from being done and I have yet complete my daily devotionals.

If my situation sounds familiar it’s probably because you’ve been through something like it yourself. However the point of this is not to sit around and reminisce with each other on how we’ve failed to put God first but to remind us that mistakes happen but grace abounds.

We are humans, yes. We will make mistakes but don’t let that stop you from coming back to the heart of worship. God knows our hearts - each and every one of them personally. He knows that it’s not intentional when we slip up and fall down. With that said, come tomorrow and I will get right back at it and continue doing my daily devos.

This is how we should address every situation. It may be difficult to grasp because no other being has ever been -or will ever be- as forgiving as He is but once we understand God’s unyielding and unconditional love for us it also becomes a humbling experience. Just looking back on today I noticed how He was still with me in every single moment - bible study or not.

Don’t allow room for your slip-ups to continually slip you up. Know that He has already forgiven you. All He wants you to do with your mistakes is to grow from them.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

    Funny how no one really reads the old testament but if they did they would notice how much the stories of Moses, Samson, Rebecca, or Ruth actually relate to our lives. I remember this time last year -well I think it was around this time last year- when I had finally realized who my core group of friends were. I remember that day because I cried during church service. That moment of realization had been a long time coming. However, it was not long after that moment did I then realize that I would soon be moving half way around the world without my friends for school - it hit me hard. Here I was, the end of a 4-year wait for great friends only to start another wait all over again. 
  

   Fast forward to a few Sundays later and Pastor Wes was preaching on Abram. 
Now for those of you who don’t know the story of the first Good Ole Abe, it goes a little something like this: 
                                    

  Abram was a wealthy and well-known man in his town. He had land, money, family and friends - all one could need and more. However a day came when God told him to leave all that behind and travel to a distant land called Canaan. At that point Abram was like ‘Okay, God. That’s really funny but you I don’t think that’s gonna happen.’ (Who could blame him, that’s 500 miles of nothing but walking). Despite Abram’s disapproval God told Abram to trust Him and know that He would never do Abe wrong. With that Abram took his family along with some belongings and set foot for Canaan. Like God always has done, He followed through on His promise and  safely delivered Abe to a new land - the land of many promises.
    I too have to thank God for doing the same. God uprooted me from Oregon to live here in Sydney. You’re probably reading this and thinking, big deal, it’s Australia not social exile. Nonetheless, it was not the destination that was the problem for me. I was apprehensive at first because He was taking me away from everything I had ever known- I would still feel the same about moving to Washington. Fortunately, I have a God who provides no matter where I go and that is what He did. So if you took away all the good things that people love about Sydney at the end of the day I would still I feel extremely and utterly blessed to call this place my new home. I left Oregon not to let go of old but to gain a new - friends, memories, experience, and to follow the calling He has put before me.

To any of you who read this, I want you all to know that our God will never take you out to leave you. Trust in Him when He calls you because He’s calling you for greater. No doubt the transition will be a little difficult but that does not make it any less worth it.

blessed to be broken

magazines won’t do it. merits won’t connect you. even your friends and family won’t fulfill you. it’s that connection. in that grace it’s Him connecting with you! saying hey! i’m here no matter what you’ve done -no matter what you are doing. you push me away but I sent my Son to die on that cross that connects you to me. connect with me. identify with me. allow yourself to be with me. it’s the most natural thing to do.

so blessed to be broken and yet I still get to be a part of amazing things like this!!! Yes Lord.

I need you so much closer...

In these past two weeks my life has become a messy puzzle of spontaneous meetings, never-ending projects, poorly-planned itineraries and things of the sort. All that withstanding, I do not think I would have it any other way. In all of it I have learned to turn to God in everything - and I mean everything. When it was me who procrastinated on an assignment and had one hour to get it together, God was there to give me the ideas to execute it; because I chose to take the later bus I missed my connecting train, but God was there to help me find an alternative and shorter route to class. There were just so many little things that turned into bigger problems but He was there to guide me through it all.  It’s amazing when and how grace abounds.

Oh how He loves us. Through all that self-inflicted stress He was still there to remove it all for me. It’s love like that that makes me need and want Him all the more. It’s love like that that makes it so incredibly difficult to wrap my head around.

So, with that said, I just want to share this with you all:

"The trouble they cause recoils on them; their violence comes down on their own heads" Psalm 7:16.

However, Psalm 8: 4-6 later says, "What is mankind that you are mindful of them? Human beings that you care for them?"

Oh how He loves.

I just got "home" from two months at home.

It’s safe to say that I one of the worst feelings in the world for me is missing a noun. I get attached to certain persons, places, or things quite easily. It’s been a day short of a week since I left Nigeria and man do I miss it something fierce. While my stay only last two -what seemed like extremely short- months, the experiences I gained through this trip will last me a lifetime.

Stupidly enough, I only brought one more-than-half-full journal with me even though I just bought a new one right before the trip. To conserve the little writing space I had left I tried to limit my entries but I found myself writing at least once a day. Mostly letters to God on how fortunate I felt to be on this journey of a lifetime but also my recordings on everything I went through.

I won’t bore you with all the daily written sentiments but I still want you all to experience a little of what I did. Here a few more photos I took during the remainder of my stay in Nigeria.