Monday, July 13, 2015

Compelled By Love.

Here we are, less than one week away from our departure date. Three days until lift off at the airport, until we are flying into the country we have been called to. I fail immensely at posting, and half the time I rewind and delete a few posts due to feeling like they lack something ... However, if you read the handful of posts from last summer, you would have read about my love of Kisses From Katie and how my heart grew to crave a mission trip of my own. I prayed for this. I begged God for this; I asked Him to send me. Send me anywhere. Tell me where to go; open the door ... I will go. 
2015 came, and He made a way. He opened the door. And I said, "Okay."
 I am going to Honduras along with a dear group from Church, that potentially consists of more than 20 people, including myself and my dad.  
In April at one of our team meetings, I introduced myself to one of the girls going on the trip, and we were friends in five minutes. She was super sweet, and last week I found out she will be my roomie in Honduras – Literally couldn't get any better. I am so excited to bond stronger friendships with each teammate as we take on this journey, which feels completely out of my comfort zone. Fully relying and trusting God ... I have no idea what to expect or what we will encompass. But the one certain thing I know, is that my God is already there. 

For the past few months, I have had a little anxiety when deeply thinking about this trip. A new country,  new language, new people. Also the countless travel warnings all over google regarding where we are going. But then one night, as I lay there wide awake in my bed, dissecting each little part of what we will be doing and potentially those we will be meeting, I realized it:

These men and women and children we will meet, they are His children - just as you and me. They are His. He created them the same way He created me, and He loves them like He loves me. Like He loves you. And once I considered it in this way, the less anxiety I had. God is allowing me the chance to meet my other brothers and sisters in Christ, that without this opportunity, I may not have ever met. I know my God will provide throughout this journey, and I know He will protect us. I know He has a plan for our team in Honduras, and I am so excited to see it become unveiled to us. 

Please keep our team in your prayers ... There is still so much to do in these last two days to pack and prepare for. But I know with God all things are possible and with Him, we can do anything.

Let your faith be bigger than your fear. 

< Compelled By Love - Brad & Rebekah >  --- check out this song. It is beautiful.


Saturday, November 22, 2014

My Closet Collapsed

It was 4:45 in the morning when I heard the loudest crashing noise.  I was sleeping very hard and included it in my dream, when suddenly, I jumped up on my bed, panicking, "THAT WAS NOT IN MY DREAM. WHAT WAS THAT?"
The house was completely dark and I stretched my body over to reach my lamp, quickly, nervous of what was around me...
Everything looked normal.

I got up, and suddenly saw inside my closet - all of my shelves had collapsed. 

I opened my bedroom door to the dark hallway, finding my family with a flashlight - searching for a broken window. Who knew a closet falling could sound like a shattering window?

... We went back to bed immediately when I told them it was just a closet. Haha. 

Well. That was a few weeks ago. 

Today  - I finally have a day to fix my shelves. 
Life just gets REALLY. REALLY. BUSY.
Somehow, through the mess of an unorganized closet with everything piled on top of each other, I was able to manage all those weeks. 

But it's become overwhelming lately ... Because you have to dig for what you need, and the clothes you pull out - get left out - for there is no where to hang them.

Talk about stressful. I am not the most organized, so it's not that I'm OCD or anything. But after having to step over clothes for the umpteenth time this week, I was anxious to fix the problem. 
Okay. So I just pulled EVERYTHING out of my closet and piled it on my floor and atop my full size bed. 
There are old things, there are new things, and there are "what is this? How did I get this? Where did I get this? and Who gave me this?" questions coming left and right. 

Anyway - despite how they got here, they are here. And it's time for me to do something.

I really have my closet to thank, for crumbling. (Not for shredding my drywall in the process... But for falling, at least.)
I noticed just how many things I have kept, just for the sake of keeping them. The things I so honestly do not need, do not wear. The things another human being somewhere does need, would wear. 

Today is a beautiful day to make someone else feel like a Queen. Whether that be a child, a teen, or an adult - someone needs my things. Somewhere. And I can't wait to give it to them.

So my closet falling may have been a frustrating thing in the beginning, but it really turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I otherwise, may not be collecting out things that someone else will find special. They would still be tucked away in my closet, for no one. 

It is a glorious time to reach out to others and serve another. 

If you have items in your home that you like but don't love, have but don't need, someone somewhere would love them, and needs them. 

Together we can make a difference.

James 2:14-17 ESV 

What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Hebrews 13:16 ESV / 

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Philippians 2:4 ESV / 

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

1 John 3:17 ESV / 

But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?

Donate within your church or become involved at a local organization in your town!
Big or small, any donation is worthy. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Lead Me

Lead Me - Cover by Brooklyn DeShea

Hello, hello. 
I realized last night that some of my previous posts have been heavier topics, so I decided to lighten the mood with a new subject for the day! 


      I have filled my blog so far with everything except what it was created for. Ha. I initially started blogging to document my photography and music I've covered. I suppose I got carried away with writing posts. Hopefully you have enjoyed them, nonetheless.
     Without much further ado, here is a song I recently recorded. It is by Sanctus Real. He sings "Lead Me" from the perspective of a husband. 
"In picture frames, I see my beautiful wife, always smiling, but on the inside I can hear her saying:
Lead me, with strong hands,
Stand up, when I can't,
Don't leave me, hungry for love,
Chasing dreams, what about us:
Show me, you're willing to fight,
That i'm still the love of your life,
I know we call this our home,
But I still feel, alone." 

It's a very emotional song, the way Sanctus expresses himself. He sings about how he knows his family needs him to lead them ... he then breaks down towards the end, begging God to show him the way to do so ... He can't do it alone, and he needs His strength to be what his family needs him to be. 
   I love how rich the song is, coming to terms that as much as we want to be independent, strong, and a good leader, we need God. We need God to show us the way, for God to lead us. 
     I knew after hearing this song, and loving the story of it, it was one I needed to cover ... 
I hope you will enjoy my version and/or go purchase Sanctus's version on iTunes! 

Lead Me - Cover

Father give me the strength to be everything I'm called to be.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jesus, Use Me, I'm Yours

I bend my knee
This song my plea
Jesus, use me, I am yours.
My dreams, my plans
My heart, my hands
Jesus, use me, I am yours.

I am desperately wanting
To please you
With all that I am
And I know that you don't need me
But if you want me, I'm yours

My will, my voice
Each word, each choice
Jesus, use me, I am yours.
My blood, my breath,
My life, my death
Jesus, use me, I am yours

I am desperately wanting
To please you
With all that I am
And I know that you don't need me
But if you want me, I'm yours

If you would choose to use me my Savior
In spite of my fears and all of my failures
I'm not much to look at
But whatever I am, I'm yours

I am desperately wanting
To please you
With all that I am
And I know that you don't need me
But if you want me, I'm yours

...because you want me, I'm yours

Artist:  Jason Gray –– Song: "Jesus, Use Me, I'm Yours" 

Yesterday I had lunch with one of my sweetest friends God blessed me with a few years ago. MC. It was a wonderful visit, and it had been two months since we had seen each other. We have never gone that long without seeing each other face to face, and it was such a precious few hours to catch up! 

I met MC several years ago in school ... In fact, I knew her in the 7th grade, but we didn't become super close until the middle of 7th grade and we have been inseparable since then and from 8th grade forward. 

We have had conversations about The Lord in the past, but not raw and deep; mostly surfaced. I was never in this state; I was never clinging to God during those years and I was sinful, and the last thing I wanted to talk about was our walks with God. 
Until yesterday.
 Everything God has been changing me with this summer became very evident and our talk was so raw and real. There is nothing more encouraging than bringing Christ into our friendship and being open about our failures and weakness, and relying on God. And encouraging each other through God.

There were a lot of times over my childhood, that people I was around would just "say the right thing"... Where it seemed everyone around you was speaking the same lingo. Genuinely, everyone saying the same thing.
As if they had a word book for that Church. And it frustrated me so much. It made me feel so upset that everyone kept their failures "hush hush" and no one let anyone see them make a mistake. Everyone made their goodness shown. 
- Don't read this wrong, I think it is fine, and wonderful, to encourage each others' successes ... But we are human. And we make mistakes; every one of us, no matter how much we love The Lord. We can not live perfectly. And I am not a fan for acting and putting up fronts:
I want raw. 
I want real. 
I want struggles. 
I want heartbreak. 
I want clinging to God. 
I want a fellowship with friends of encouragement. 
I want people who have gone through it too, and who lead you to The Lord through the struggles. 
I didn't have that before. For a long time. I always felt that I needed to hold myself a certain way, say what they were saying ..... I couldn't be real. And I was lost. ... 

I have had a lot of rocky times, but I thank God that He put me through them because along the way, it led me here. To who I am today. His Daughter. 
I have grown so much, and had I never been at those churches growing up, it is hard to know who I would be right now; The Lord brought me here. And I am glad to have a God that is so good to His children. God has surrounded me with girls that love Him so passionately;  it is real. raw. encouragement. 

I dedicate a thank you to those in my youth group: the leaders, Thorn, Chris, Will, Haley, Stacy, Amanda, Emily ... And to my precious friends, too: Lilly, Olivia, Haley, Stacy, Amanda. (I know I am forgetting a few names here, but I remember you and thank you, too!)
You have all been such a blessing to me, and I can not imagine having never met. I thank you for all the countless times of loving me and leading me to God, and teaching me things I never knew before ... You each will forever hold a special place in my heart. Love you guys. 

I have never had such a close relationship with God. I have never been changed, the way He is changing me. I have never had the desire to include Him in every conversation, the way I do now. 
I love raw.
I love real.
I love hearing people's struggles to encourage through them, in Jesus.
I love clinging to God. 
I love fellowship with friends full of love for Jesus and full of encouragement.
I love genuine.

Truth is harder than a lie and the darkness seems safer than the light. But I fail, too, and if we both can be honest together, we can grow and strengthen each other with the love of Jesus. 

Nothing is sweeter to me. 

Jesus, use me to love others as You love, to forgive as You forgave me, to encourage others through You. Use me, God.
I am Yours.

Raw and Real,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Peace Like A River

Wow. Where to even begin... Again.
I see my flaws more every day; my mistakes; my sins. It's a battle. It's a daily battle. No. I am not perfect. I wasn't made to be perfect, thankfully, because I fail all the time. Thankfully, though, my God is perfect, and I do not need to be perfect. He does not ask me to be perfection.
My heart sometimes feels like it's playing tug of war with my emotions: follow The Lord, wait, back up, I want that, okay now follow The Lord ... and then it calls back to myself again. 
I feel weak when I choose myself. I feel down. I feel like I should stop asking The Lord for forgiveness, but that is not what He asks us to do, He asks us to repent and seek Him. 
So I keep repenting and I keep seeking. And God lets me know that He is still listening to my prayers and harking to my calls. 
We fail. We make mistakes and we mess up. We are sinful by our nature; our fallen race. Our fallen world. But God loves us through out mistakes and our flaws. He reaches for us. He protects us. He is our Father.

Last night I layed in bed begging God to hear my prayer:

"God I beg you. God remove my heart, wring it out of all my sin, beat it until I'm pure in Love. God stomp on it and make it new. Show me my sin, and help me change - to be more like You.
God make my new heart and place it inside me. God, shape it and mold it like it's raw hamburger meat: pat it down, form it to your perfection, soften it,  and God... Season it with your Love, with wisdom, and grace, with humbleness and a diligent heart that pleases You.  Make it new and God, make it forever Yours."

I realize I am afraid all the time, things I have no control over. But I laugh and shake my head, because my God, who loves me and protects me, has control over EVERYTHING. And why would I and why should I live fearfully? We are not made to live in fear. We are made to trust God and to love. 
  1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
    When sorrows like sea billows roll;
    Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
    It is well, it is well with my soul.
    • Refrain:
      It is well with my soul,
      It is well, it is well with my soul.
  2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
    Let this blest assurance control,
    That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
    And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
  3. My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
    My sin, not in part but the whole,
    Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
    Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
  4. For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
    If Jordan above me shall roll,
    No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
    Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
  5. But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
    The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
    Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
    Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
  6. And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
    The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
    The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
    Even so, it is well with my soul.

God hears us. And He answers us. And that, itself, is more than I deserve.

My sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. 
Praise The Lord! Praise The Lord! Oh, my soul.

Blesséd Hope. Blesséd Rest of my Soul,


Monday, July 14, 2014

Our God is an Awesome God!

I think it is amazing how God puts us in the places we are meant to be, and He never fails at placing us there at the perfect moment. 

I went to the Atlanta Market last week for our store. On the second to last day, I wandered away from my group to browse through a showroom, hoping to find something we had never seen that week.  Well, as of late,  I have liked the headbands that seem to be so popular and many girls are wearing. Our group had just bought quite a few at another show room earlier that morning, but as I walked by this little set-up, resting on an eye-catching turnable display, I was admiring the beauty of these headbands. I was completely oblivious to the brand as well as the massive photos on the lower half of the display, all that was noticed was just the patterns stitched on the bands.  Instead of twisting it around, I walked to the other side of the display to look at more, and when I glanced down at the photo covering the display, was a photo of Katie Davis with a precious orphan in Uganda.  If you have been keeping up with this little blog, you will know she is the author of my favorite book, Kisses From Katie; the book I have been reading all summer.  She was looking at this darling little girl, and they were laughing. 
Like the social person I am, I walked over to the girls taking the orders and struck up a conversation, asking how she was connected to the bands. I explained I had been reading the book, as had they, and the three of us instantly became friends.
We talked about chapters and favorite paragraphs, and all of the sweet words within Katie's book. We talked about her inspiration and braveness, but most of all, her fearless and strong love for Jesus. 
It felt like I was in a haze. Almost in a dream. I had been hoping to find someone else who had read her book and was changed from it, and in this place, I did.   I know, without a doubt, that Jesus led me into that showroom and directly to that display. I was fighting back tears as we talked about her book and how the headbands contributed to the ministry Katie established. Amazima. The bands were created to support her ministry but also, each headband sold would provide an orphan in Uganda with three free meals. Nothing could hold me back from bringing Banded Headbands to our store. Nothing. 
 I left and found my group and proceeded to lead them over while explaining it to them as we walked towards the bands. My mom already knew my love for Kisses From Katie, as she had heard me discuss it with her in almost every conversation for the past month or so. It was daily, "Hey Mom ... I read this in Katie's book. It's short, but can I read it to you?" She always said yes and always loved what she had to say. 
We picked out nearly every band, along with several of her books, and set the delivery date to ASAP. 

The rest of the day, no matter how many other showrooms we visited, nor other products and brands we purchased, none of them matched Banded or the sweet conversation surrounding it. 


On the trip, I must have seen over one thousand people. All of them doing something different than the next, saying something, thinking something different.
That was just in one place. Imagine further, all over the world. Different countries, big cities, little towns ... Millions of people. Each one saying and thinking and doing something different.

I don't know about you, but when I go to a crowded place, I can not understand everyone. I can only hear the person talking next to me or to me, not across the room, or the person down the hall.

But Jesus can hear them all, separately and together, and He watches over each one, protects each one, and has a personal plan for every one.

And all I could do was say, "Our God is an awesome God." and watch in amazement.

Brooklyn DeShea

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Second post of the day! This is new!

 A quote by C.S. Lewis just popped up on my Pinterest newsfeed. It was too good not to share with you.

"...The great thing to remember is that, 
though our feelings come and go, 
His love for us does not. 
It is not wearied by our sins, 
or our indifference; and therefore, 
it is quite relentless in its determination 
that we shall be cured of those sins, 
at whatever cost to us, 
at whatever cost to Him." 

Book: Mere Christianity