Surrendered Dreams

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Three years ago, I cried before the Lord as I hung up my ballet shoes for what I thought would be the last time. Tears streamed down my face as I proclaimed, “You give and take away. Blessed be your name.”

It seemed as though all my hopes and dreams were being ripped from my heart and shattered before my eyes. However, the Lord had a greater plan and purpose in that pain. Sometimes God crushes dreams only to build them up into something altogether more different and beautiful.

The art of pottery requires a breaking down and rebuilding of the clay. A potter will pound, smash, and knead the clay, all while aiming to create a masterpiece. In the same way, God may crush our dreams, passions and desires in order to rebuild them into a masterpiece yielded to God’s perfect plan.

“Woe to those who quarrel with their Maker, those who are nothing but potsherds among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you making?’ Does your work say, ‘The potter has no hands’?” (Isaiah 45:9)

In the same way, God has done a very similar thing in my own life. For years, I thought that dance was gone from me. However, in His great desire to bless us each, He has provided and enabled me to be teaching dance at two different studios.

To be clear, not every object that is surrendered to God will be returned. However, if He does take something out of your life, it is for your own good. His actions, though painful at times, are done through a heart of love.

Friends, live a life of surrender. A life of an hand open to Heaven, ready for blessing, but surrendered to the taking of the Father.

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Guest Post~ Trusting God

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The cold water lapped at my feet as I stood gazing into the deep and murky water of our local swimming pool.

The blazing hot July sun beat down fiercely on my five-year-old body as I shook with fear. However, as my eyes glanced away from the deepness of the swimming pool and into the steady blue eyes of my father, my timidness was calmed. His calloused hands were raised upward as he called, “Jump, Eliza. I promise that I will catch you.”

Assured by his encouragement, I took five steps backwards, and with a running start, cannonballed into the cool water. A squeal of laughter escaped my mouth as I was lifted high into the air by the strong arms of my father. “Again Daddy, again,” I chanted as I climbed up the ladder, which hung on the ledge of the pool.

As a child, trust was an effortless part of my life.

A child easily trusts and believes whatever they are told. Perhaps this is why Jesus calls Christians to become like the little children. (Matt. 18:3) Yet there comes a point where we must face the “whys?” and “hows?” of our lives.

Trust is something that is extremely hard to embrace. Yet as believers, it is essential for us to trust. We are called to trust in a God who promises to save us. A God who promises to be faithful and good. He promises to be with us even in the dark times.

How can a Christian practically build their trust in God? Here are three easy ways to trust God more.

To read the remaining portions of this article, please go to…

https://equippinggodlywomen.com/faith/easy-ways-trust-god-more/

I am Finished with Writing…

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Today I don’t feel like writing. I feel like throwing in the towel and never writing another sentence in my life. Today I shared a personal writing and experienced the sting of it being bashed to pieces. I am half tempted to retreat into the safety of remaining unknown and hidden from sight.

As a writer, I have purposefully forced myself to be 100% honest in my writing. I have purposed in my soul not to show myself to be a perfect individual, but to share my journey towards perfection with anyone who cares to listen. With this honesty, comes the cost of being rejected as a writer.

We all hate rejection. Whether you are a girl, putting on makeup in the morning, or a man at the gym. We all long to fit in and to be accepted. Many, if not all of us, have faced not satisfying someone’s standers. It is the individuals who purpose to go against expected actions, who are rejected. However, it is the same people who push against the rejection that become overcomers. How can you overcome something if there is nothing for you to overcome?

I am not a perfect writer. I am still learning and growing in my craft. I am going to continue writing. Why? Because this pen is God’s. I write for Him and for His standard of truth. If God has burdened me with His truth, how dare I stop speaking, simply because someone does not approve. I am finished with writing for other’s approval.

Reader, you too have a calling on your life as well. Continue living according to the plans God has created for you, no matter what people say.

 

Learning to First Crawl, then Walk

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Lenea’s soft, blond curls bounced as she attempted to steady her wobbling legs. With a deep breath, she took one step forward, followed by another and then she stumbled face first into our tan carpet.

Her blue eyes looked up into mine, as she pushed herself back on her feet. “Come on, Lenea,” I encouraged as she took another set of feeble shuffles towards me. With each practice, her smile grew larger with pride, and her distance continued to expand.

Walking is a learned skill that each of us at one time or another have acquired. Just like a child takes time to learn how to walk, the Christian walk is one where we must learn and grow.

I  often find myself growing frustrated with my times of failure. “Eliza, you shouldn’t be getting frustrated with your sibling. Eliza, how can you be a Christian?” Criticism often echoes through my mind at each fall.

However, a Christian will fall. We are not promised an instant purification, nor are we promised that the Christian life will be a seamless experience, without failing and learning.

The Bible lays out that the Christian life is a process of maturing through the taking off and putting on.

The Removal of Flesh

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceithypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:1-3)

If we long to grow as Christians, we must put off the traits of the enemy. Satan is the father of lies and death, and we must purpose in our souls to remove such behavior.

The Practical Behaviors to Add to Your Life

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patientbearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace...

So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ…

 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” (Portions of Eph. 4:1-15)

It is through the daily application of speaking the truth in love, being humble, loving, and showing the fruits of the Spirit, that we will grow.

Don’t be Discouraged

Reader, I encourage you to continually pursue Christ and righteousness. Don’t grow frustrated with yourself when you fall short of perfection. You will fall at times and must learn the basic foundations of Christianity before ever achieving advanced knowledge. Continue to take your feeble steps towards Christ. With each step and fall, He will continue to strengthen and perfect you if you seek Him.

“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.” (Prov. 24:16)

Just as a child must learn to crawl before they walk and walk before they run, you are also on a journey of maturity. Be patient and know that His love does not change due to your perfection or shortcomings.

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a Perfectionist

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Note from the Author: This is an extremely honest look at pride, specifically within my own life. I am not in any way shaming hard labor or attempting to glorify God with our whole being, but simply examining the pride that has risen within due to my perfectionism. 

The wind whipped across my face as I rushed up the hill towards my college’s science center. Frustration from my inner critic slowly built itself deeper and deeper with each determined push of my wheelchair.  “Eliza, you could have worked harder on that essay. How come you received a 92%? Seriously girl, you could have done so much better on that paper.”

My problem? I am a perfectionist. The type of perfectionist that refuses to labor hours on end to complete a project to perfection. It is a level of work that is drenched in pride. A way that I view my work and how it compares to others. To be perfectly honest, my flesh loves this aspect of myself. I love the congratulations, the hard labor, the early mornings, and the accomplishments. Yet the Lord has been graciously stripping this away from me. I am in no way a finished project, but I know that this characteristic of my personality must be reigned in and ruled by the King of my life.

Not only has this pride affected by personal work style and level that I called myself to, but it has also greatly influenced my view of God’s level of perfectionism. For many years I have battled the guilty shame that drenches my soul. This shame and condemnation often comes knocking at my door during moments of my greatest weakness. “Eliza,” the looming voice billows, “How can you call yourself a Christian? You are in no way perfect. You might as well surrender and stop this nonsense of attempting to achieve a holy life. You will never accomplish this.”

Though these voices of guilt and condemnation call out to me, the good Shepherd will whisper His sweet assurance to my soul.

“His pleasure is not in the strength of the horse, nor his delight in the legs of the warrior;
 the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” (Psalm 107:10-11) It is not my strength or holiness that causes my Father’s face to shine on me. But it is within the seeking of him, despite my failures, that I learn of his unfailing love for me.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Dear friend, many times I fear approaching God. I tremble because I fear that my level of perfection would not satisfy Him. Yet this is not so; it is within our weakness, that He is glorified. His precious blood is more than enough to satisfy the need for justice, and within that fact I can rest.

For when I lose my way, He is still mighty to save.

When I am unable, He is still able.

When I am weak, He is still strong.

When I am faithless, He is still faithful.

Approach the throne of God knowing that it is His perfection, not ours, that sustains us.



In Sickness and in Health

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Silence filled the beautiful chapel on a bright summer afternoon as a bride  walked softly down the aisle. Her hair was gently twisted back as she presented herself to her beloved, clothed in a simple, yet elegant, gown. We all took our seats and listened in anticipation as the bride and groom exchanged vows to one another.

“I take thee to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance.”

These words have often been repeated at weddings, and with the repetition I often fail to remember the meaning and importance of these vows. Yet during this summer day, Jesus began to whisper to my soul as I witnessed my friend’s wedding. “Eliza, do you not know that I have the very same vow for you?”

Puzzled, I asked, “How Lord?”

“Eliza… I will never leave you. In the best days and worst, I am there with you. During sickness and health, I never leave. I will always love and cherish you until death when we meet.”

We serve a God who is faithful unto death.

A God who whispers in our weakness. “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5)

Yet just as at a wedding, the bride also has a set of vows to state, a set of promises to keep, we, too, have a commitment to the Lord.

The bride of Christ, the church, has the commitment to be faithful. We are called to not leave our first love. (Rev. 2:4)

We are called to trust His faithfulness, even in darkness, when we don’t understand. In wealth, and poverty, we are to cling. In sickness and in health, we are to trust His faithful hand. In the good and bad times, we are to be faithful to seek Him. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him!” (Job 13:15)

May we, the bride of Christ, always be ready for His coming.

“Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.” (Rev 19:7)



Community… A Need?

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“I don’t need anyone’s help,” I thought to myself as I contemplated attending church one morning. Being an introvert, I find it much easier to hide from crowds and to simply keep to myself. It is safer, in my mind, to not risk being hurt or betrayed by friends or companions. Perhaps you are like me and prefer the silence found within a simple walk in a meadow. Perhaps you would much rather have a mug of steaming coffee by yourself, compared to having a lively conversation with a group of friends.

Yet God did not create us to live this life alone. During the creation of the world, God declared, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) The Creator went out of His way to state that us humans were not meant for a lonely life. We were created to have communion with others.

Thousands of years later, God showcased this need for communion by creating the Church body. “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ, we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.” (Romans 12:4-5)

Not only does our community with God’s people strengthen and build up each other, but it also allows God’s presence to be evident. “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20) Yes, we can have communion with Christ on an individual basis. However, there is a special aspect found within the Body of Christ.

I leave you with this verse, as both an encouragement and conviction. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10: 24-25).

Dear friend, how are you going to practically build community within your life? I would love to hear your thoughts.