Sunday, June 26, 2011


I am about to take one of the biggest risks and face the biggest challenges that I have ever taken thus far. To some, it may not be as big of a risk as it seems to be for me.. but I am intentionally facing a lot of my fears so its going to be a challenge! Although nervous, I am also excited. God has lead me to do a lot of things, but this one I think has felt the most God inspired.

Before coming to the point where I am clinging to God and praying so much about this, I was in a pretty bad state! I was so nervous and truly felt that I would not be able to do well and that I am walking into a 'whirlwind' that I won't be able to steer through. I felt terrified!

But God spoke to me through His followers and through some specific bible verses, as well as a book, and now I feel confident in God's ability to work through me and use me by His Spirit and grace!

These are the verses that God specifically spoke to me (and to be honest, I have never had the experience of God speaking so directly through scripture, and its so amazing and humbling!) Here they are (there is quite a few!):

Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your Teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.
Whether you turn to the right or the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Then you will defile your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, "Away with you!" He will also send rain for the seed you sow in the ground and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. [that part specifically encouraged me] Isaiah 30: 20-23

Those who hope in me will not be disappointed - Isaiah 44:23

"and anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple" - Luke 14:27

"No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me," declared the Lord. - Isaiah 54: 8-13

For nothing is impossible with God - Luke 1:37

"Blessed is she who believes that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished" - Luke 1:45

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" - Luke 8:15

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the Kingdom" - Luke 12:32

His way is in the whirlwind and the storm...
Nahum 1:2

7 “The poor and needy search for water,
but there is none;
their tongues are parched with thirst.
But I the LORD will answer them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights,
and springs within the valleys.
I will turn the desert into pools of water,
and the parched ground into springs.
19 I will put in the desert
the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive.
I will set junipers in the wasteland,
the fir and the cypress together,
20 so that people may see and know,
may consider and understand,
that the hand of the LORD has done this,
that the Holy One of Israel has created it.
- Isaiah 41: 17-20

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
that will endure forever.”
- Isaiah 55: 8-13

I also picked up a book called The Cross and the Switchblade by Pastor David Wilkerson...and this book was really life-changing, encouraging, challenging, and tear-inducing! The book is about how David Wilkerson was lead to start his street ministry in New York City with gang members, prostitutes, drug and alcohol addicted youth, and troubled and homeless youth, a ministry called Teen Challenge. His story of trusting the Holy Spirit by faith in so many miraculous situations is incredible! Here is a brief blurb about the book, I really recommend it:

Teen Challenge was launched in 1958 from a small office in Staten Island, New York. Pastor Wilkerson conducted street rallies on "gang turf," meetings through which many gang leaders and members were converted. Through this program, many street-hardened young men and women came to Christ, allowing God's Spirit to transform their lives.

In 1960, the Teen Challenge headquarters relocated to a large Georgian house at 416 Clinton Avenue in Brooklyn. The residence provided protection for drug addicts and gang members, as well as beds and shelter for troubled and homeless youth.

In 1958, many people thought David Wilkerson was crazy to try taking the gospel to drug-addicted teens in New York City. Today, few of those critics are willing to question the success of the Teen Challenge ministry.

Teen Challenge has grown to include 173 residential programs and numerous evangelism outreach centers in the United States, and 241 centers in 77 other countries. The program's cure rate of 86% has been recognized and substantiated by the U.S. Government's National Institute on Drug Abuse. All Teen Challenge centers operate autonomously.

Teen Challenge graduates include former drug addicts, alcoholics, gang members, prostitutes and others with life-controlling habits. Today, many graduates serve as ministers and missionaries throughout the world.

I am going to trust God radically and put my faith in the Holy Spirit this summer!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I will not forsake you

Recently, in light of things going on at home, I have been, as I mentioned in my last post, feeling really overwhelmed and down. This past week was particularly exhausting in every way, so when it came time to attend One Roof (a weekend camping trip/church celebration), I really didn't want to go. I almost didn't, except I realized I had been  going with out any christian community for a month at least, and that maybe that was what I needed. While on the trip, I shared what I was going through with multiple people, and had them pray for me. A lot of their encouragement gave me insight into why I was feeling so sad, with the main theme being that I feel responsible to protect everyone, but obviously I'm unable to do that, and that I am really sensitive. I am really glad that I went to One Roof since I was able to see everyone, have a great time, and unload what I had been carrying around with me. Things at home are still not good, but they are slightly better - my parents are now sleeping in the same room again and they are talking.. yay!! haha. Another somewhat encouraging thing happened today as well. We are selling our house, and we had to clean today to prepare for some realtors to come and evaluate it. At one point, my step-dad asked my step-brother to carry some things to the basement that included some light bulbs. My step-bro accidentally broke one of the light bulbs, and my step-dad freaked. He yelled and told him he had to walk to the store to buy a new one and was in general condescending. It made me really upset because its hard for me to handle when someone is treated unfairly and oppressively. I went to my mom and told her what happened and how it made me upset that he was being punished for an accident. Sadly, my mother didn't support me in the way I viewed the situation, but my mother has to deal with a lot and I know that she is also feeling overwhelmed about things and doesn't want to have to deal with anything more. I got upset at my mom for that though, but I felt bad and apologized after because I knew that wasn't the way I should have let out my frustration. The last words I said in the convo were, "If something is wrong that I have to stand up against it, and a child shouldn't be punished for an accident." I didn't realize that my step-dad was standing behind me in the door though, and I guess he heard what I said. But the thing that amazed me though is that normally he would get angry at me for saying something like that, but instead he didn't say anything, didn't make my step-brother go get the light bulbs, told him he should be more careful, and then went and got them himself. It was just one situation, but I felt proud of my step-father and a bit encouraged. The thing is though, I don't know how i am supposed to respond when I see things like that go on in my home, things I believe are wrong and hurtful. It frustrates me and I don't know if its my place to tell my parents what I'm feeling, but I don't know what else to do. I am praying for my family and for myself (for discernment, wisdom, and strength), because I don't want to make things worse in my home, I want to love my family and help make things better. Cause sometimes I am part of the problem, and I don't want to be anymore. I can't do it on my own because my initial reaction is to be upset and defensive, but I have to be humble, loving, and patient, but still bold (somehow..haha) through Christ. I know I can't fix everything, and that it isn't my responsibility to do so, but I can love my family and try to be an example of Christ's love and forgiveness in the time I have left living here (I'm leaving for university in Sept.). Although I say this, these past weeks have made me start to doubt that God can or will make things better in my family, and will save my family. I have felt that its hopeless, and angry because I have prayed for my family for years (though not as often as I should!), and instead of things getting better...things got worse. BUT, through the encouragement of my christian friends, I am trying to trust that my family is in God's hands. Its hard to see people you love so bitter and unhappy, and so hard-hearted. I sometimes wish God would just intervene in a miraculous way to open my families eyes and hearts to the truth of His love and mercy and heal their hearts. But often, its hard for me to see how God is moving in my family and so its hard for me to let go of the believe that I have to protect everyone when I don't see God protecting the members of my family from further pain.  But, today I read some things that really encouraged and convicted me of my doubts.

"if we are obsessed by God, nothing else can get into our lives - not concerns, not tribulation, nor worries. And now we understand why our Lord so emphasized the sin of worrying. How can we dare to be so unbelieving when God totally surrounds us? To be obsessed by God is to have an effective barricade against all the assaults of the enemy...What line of thinking do my thoughts take? Do I turn to what God says, or to my own fears? Am I simply repeating what God says, or am I learning to truly hear Him and then to respond  after I have heard what he says? "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: 'The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?' In other words, I will not be obsessed with apprehension. This does not mean that I will not be tempted to fear, but I will remember God's words of assurance...The only way to remove the fear from our lives is to listen to God's assurance to us. What are you fearing? Whatever it may be, you are not a coward about it - you are determined to face it,  yet you still have a feeling of fear. When it seems that there is nothing and no one to help you, say to yourself, "But ' The Lord is my helper' this very moment, even in my present circumstance." ...Take hold of the Father's assurance, and then say with strong courage, "I will not fear." It does not matter what evil or wrong may be in our way, because "He himself has said, 'I will never leave you.."  Are we continually filled with enough courage to say, "The Lord is my helper," or are we yielding to fear?"  (Oswald Chambers, Utmost for His Highest).