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 
I woke up this morning with knots in my stomach. Instantly. Today, I feel it even more. It's so noticeable now, that I could nearly reach out to touch it; it's there. It's not my imagination anymore. God is tugging on my heart so much for another country; a country that I am not even sure of where right now. But I know, that somewhere, there are thousands of children that need hugs and love and food and to be told that Jesus loves them. Everywhere I look in my home, I see multiples of things; I see food; I see running water and as much of it as I want; I see cars and electricity ... I see shoes and clothes. Things I've never lived without. Things that are so common to me, I can't imagine not having them. Things that some children dream of. And here I have it and so much of it... And it makes my insides hurt; it makes me ache. Why was I so blessed with all of these things when other children, so deserving, have so little, and some, nothing at all.
When I see videos and pictures of other peoples' journeys to third-world countries, these sweet innocent children with not even half as much as I have, are the happiest children. Full of smiles and thanks to God for everything they do have.
It breaks my heart thinking back on my childhood; I was always concerned with wanting more... and what I wanted for Christmas. 
These children may have never even had a pair of shoes, and they are full of so much joy! I know, that had I been given a pair of shoes one Christmas, I would have questioned where my other gifts were ... And that just is not right. 
These material things we claim to love, is so worthless compared to loving Christ. 
 I am, do not hear me wrong, so thankful to have been so blessed with everything God has provided me with, and I only pray and hope I can give back to another child who is crying somewhere because they are cold, or hungry, or without a family to love them. 
God does not give us these desires for no reason at all - I know that He has a purpose for placing this on my heart, and so much, these past few weeks. 
Even if I lost everything today, I have Christ ...  I have everything I could ever need. 
I do not think I could have said that in the beginning of this year, nor a few short months ago. Even two months ago, or one. 
But I know, after having crying out for God to give me the desires of my heart (not my own will, not my personal desires for my heart, nothing in my own will; but what GOD made my heart FOR, what my HEART longs to do in His name, what His will for my life is) and I realize now ... It is to spread His light to others. Wherever that may be. I know that God is still writing my life ... And this life is not even my own; it is for the glory of God. With that, I am more than delighted to jump at His call in His perfect timing. 
He makes all things GOOD, and does all things GOOD.
Although I fail so often and fall so short with loving Him as I ought, I pray to love Him with a willing heart and with a willing mind. 

It is in Christ and Christ alone: I am forgiven. You are forgiven. 

Psalm 37:4 – Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

In His Love,

Friday, July 4, 2014

1, 2, 3, FOUR!

Beautiful readers,
I hope that each of you are having a splendidly sweet Fourth of July today with friends, family, and maybe fireworks, too!!

let freedom ring, let the white dove sing
let the whole world know that today
is a day of reckoning.
let the weak be strong, let the right be wrong
roll the stone away, let the guilty pay
it's independence day

- song by martina mcbride (independence day)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Be Still My Beating Heart...

Oh, where to even begin? Sometimes, like right now, there is no perfect place to begin, so I'll start from where I remember; when I realized God was changing me. 

Being raised in a Christian home, I always knew who God was and why I should love and serve Him. Why my parents love and serve Him, and family members and close friends; I would have even said I loved and served Him, too. But it wasn't real love; I realize it now. And it is not an easy pill to swallow. 

There was a time as a little child that I genuinely thought I was saved, but there was not a deep conviction or true repentance behind it; I was like most children, I was afraid of hell and living for Satan. But I still was not living for God either. It was still all for me. Another hard pill to swallow.

Wow ... The many times over the years I have clung to Christ, or did for a small time, and when I felt okay again, spiritually and physically, I just kinda ... Stopped. I took over. I also failed and was increasingly weak; I needed God. But I did not want to admit it. 

I've been having a deeply tough time with coming to truth, admitting I am weak and in need of God. Admitting my sin. Admitting my struggles. It's easier to hide your feelings with a smile, to shove them under the rug, to try and forget them. Bringing myself to the light, exposing myself to God ...  It was not easy, and it still is not easy. However, everything I say to Him, everything I feel and am going through - He already knows. He already knew. He knows everything about me. He cares to know everything about me. 
He loves me the same. There is no one like Him. There is no greater love like His.

God has grabbed my heart in the past few months and placed something deep onto my heart. The past year, if not longer, has been a staggering walk at looking at my future: What I want to do with my life; what is it that I am interested in? 
It's been a reoccurring conversation with my family and friends. Decisions are something I hate to make.  There are many things I am interested in - thankfully, I am not lacking with coming up with a thought... But narrowing down or prioritizing is not my best attribute.  I end up spinning in circles, waiting like "spin the wheel" for it to stop on the arrow, and to know the direction I'm to take.

Kisses From Katie has encouraged me beyond words, and I know deep in my heart there is a reason I found the book last week, bought it, and began it right away. There is a reason, out of my list of over 20 books, I chose that one first. 

My heart feels like it will explode to show and give love to those who have not been shown love. To care for those in need. And my prayer is that wherever, and whenever, and however, God will direct my path to complete the will He has set for my life. 

I must become less. He must become more.

And to you, reader, if you do not know, and if you have not heard: JESUS LOVES YOU! With a strong, powerful, sweet, gracious, love! He knows every hair on your head, He knows your deepest thought! He cares about you; He hears every cry; He listens to your prayers and needs; He provides for you; and He died to save you from your sins. 

I pray that if you do not know Him, that you will seek to know Him, love Him, and live for Him.

He stands waiting with His arms open wide for you.

In Christ,