October 26, 2012

My Thoughts on being 16

     I turned 16 this week! On any special day I always like to make a few lists. I have folders full of little pieces of paper with lists scrawled on them. These lists usually include what I have learned, what I am thankful for, or what I want to remember for the special time that dictates the making of a list. When I write something out on paper; that makes it more than just a thought. It makes it something worth remembering, even if it just sits in a folder for a long time.
     I decided to get a little spiritual on my sweet sixteen. So I sat down and made a few lists: 16 things I'm thankful for, 16 of my favorite things I did this year, and 16 hopes I have for my future.

 16 Things I'm Thankful For 

  1. Growing closer to God.
  2. My God's love that is overwhelming and surpasses my entire understanding.
  3. My family that loves, accepts and appreciates me. 
  4. My church family. I'm so blessed to have a church family that I belong in. I've heard many teens don't feel like they belong at their church.
  5. All the friends God has blessed me with. They are all truly sisters in Christ, and they act like it. 
  6. That God got me through one year of being on my home school teen group's student council successfully.
  7. That my sister has a boyfriend that really treasures her. (Yes, those kind of good guys still existed.)
  8. That I went on a MISSION TRIP TO NICARAGUA!!!!! : ) 
  9. Cute kids who have a want to learn about God, and to learn about God from even me. I wonder if I get more of a blessing out of teaching them then they do. 
  10. Fun things to watch on tv and do on the computer that aren't too ungodly.
  11. My memory foam squish pillow!!!! I love that thing!! It got me through my mission trip (well it was one of the things.....).
  12. Spanish Class.
  13. School and a love of learning that God has given me. 
  14. God's Promises in Scripture.
  15. Beautiful Lake Nicaragua that I was able to gaze out on everyday during my mornings with God on my mission trip.
  16. That I have been able to see God working in different events in my life. 

16 of My Favorite Things I Did This Year

  2. My times with God in Nicaragua. 
  3. Girl's retreat 2011.
  4. Fellowship nights with my friends (COFFE!!!!).
  5. Summer Camp at Frontier Camp.
  6. Cruise to Bahamas and Key West in January 2012.
  7. <3 Mission Houston with my youth group <3 
  8. Writing my many poems.
  9. Posting on my blog.
  10. When I decided to never stop living for God- ever- no matter what happens. 
  11. Helping out at a kid's bible club. 
  12. Playing in a foam pit at church (in other words: acting like a kid in front of a lot of people).
  13. Finding out my love for ORANGE SODA. 
  14. Leading Alex Correo to the Lord (one of the kids in my AWANA class).
  15. Trying to lead a Bible study at home, and also co-leading that Bible study in Nicaragua. 
  16. Hearing God talk to me.

16 Hopes for My Future 
(no matter how fanciful they are)

  1. Survive being the President of my home school teen group's student council.
  2. Continue posting on my blog every week
  3. Help the kid's in my 3rd grade AWANA and Sunday School Class feel loved and truly understand more about God. 
  4. Have a fun Christmas party with my friends. 
  5. Loose weight.
  6. Be content with everything and joyful in everything.
  7. Hear God talking to me everyday.
  8. Truly live my life as a human sacrifice and die to myself everyday. 
  9. Show love to my family how they all deserve to be loved. 
  10. Be fluent in Spanish.
  11. Read all the books that I own and haven't read yet.
  12. Memorize lots of Bible verses. 
  13. To be able to apply scripture to everyday situations and temptations- as they happen.
  14. Find out what I'm gifted at, and find places to do those things. 
  15. Be a camp couselor. 
  16. Do longer mission work/trips. 

October 19, 2012

More about Prayer

     Prayer has been a big part of my life in this spiritual season. I know I've written a bit about prayer in my past posts, but I just have to write more.
     Even before going to Nicaragua I had to step out in prayer. I had to choose between going to Guatemala or Nicaragua. Adventures in Missions had a 1 month trip to either one. I knew God was calling me to Latin America, but I had no clue where. I prayed for about one week. I went back and forth between each one. Whenever I resolved I would sign up for Guatemala, I kept on thinking what would happen if Nica is where I should go? Whenever I resolved to sign up for Nica, I had peace. It was awesome. God answered my prayer! Looking back I can't imagine having gone to Guatemala instead. I needed team Nicaragua. I needed the leaders. I needed the place. I needed the ministry. It was perfect for me. God is so good!
     After I had chosen to go to Nicaragua I still had a lot of prayer to do. I was so nervous about every aspect of the trip: money raising, if I would be ready spiritually, if I would be ready physically, if I could handle being away from my family for a month, and if it was really what I was suppose to be doing. Everyday at my quiet time I would pray about these things. Later on when it was time to send out my prayer cards, I prayed for those things too. I prayed for safety, team unity, fluency in speaking Spanish, the ability to show God's love, and opportunities to make a difference. These were the things that God laid on my conscience that I just really desired for my team and for the people of Nicaragua.
     Again, looking back, I see God answered my prayers, and the prayers of those who were praying along with me. My team was united ever since we met. We just... meshed. It was amazing to watch. We were all very, very different, but we all loved each other, cared for each other, and appreciated each other. I don't know if it was the worship, our leaders, testimony time, or just prayer, but God worked mightily in giving us team unity. As I wrote in an earlier post, our living conditions were not healthy. God protected me from getting sick, and protected all of us from getting anything serious.God fixed up the whole fluency in speaking Spanish thing in a way that blessed all of us. He gave us the best translator ever, Maricela. She was part of our team. She hung out with us, shared her testimony with us, and was so good at her job. I sometimes think she didn't even need us. Yes, when I prayed for fluency I meant it for myself, but I think things worked out for the better.
     As to showing God's love and opportunities to make a difference: GOD IS AMAZING. My team was able to pay for a wedding for a couple. I'm sure that spoke volumes of love into the lives of the whole community. We also made a difference in that community by leading 7 people to the Lord. We even gave them Bibles, and some of them we were able to do Bible studies with. Those studies were some of my opportunities that God gave me.
      Then, when the mission trip was going on, prayer came alive. About a week before leaving day our newly met on Facebook leader, Jessie, suggested that we all bring a new book or two to read on the trip. I had no new books at the time, so off to Barns and Noble I went. After skimming the Christian isle, picking up books, putting books back, almost deciding on a book, and then putting the book back again (it's such a big decision to pick out a book for a mission trip) I decided on buying the newest book by Ted Dekker (to read when I got home) and then Praying God's Word by Beth Moore.
     I'm looking at that book right now. It's well used. In Nica I never knew what to pray. Even whenever we would pray healing over the elderly women Socorra, I had no idea what to pray- until I started reading my book. That book has gotten wet, is totally grimy, has bat poop stains on it, water stains, smells, and been underlined to almost the point of death. Praying God's Word is powerful. I recommend that everyone read it. Sometimes you know verses that are so triumphant and so powerful, but you just don't know how to get them into prayer, and sometimes you can't find the verse to fit your need. The book does all that for you. The topics cover depression, idolatry, bitterness, battling the enemy, and lots of others. Even after coming home that book has been put to good use.
    Another good book about prayer showed up into my life the day I left my Nicaragua team and went home. We were all hanging out in the Atalanta airport after having debriefed at a hotel the night before. All of us were dreading the inevitable good-bye time. We were joyful. Yes, of course we were sad and crying, but we were joyful. For what we knew was the last time we worshiped God together (yes, we did that in the airport), we prayed together, we hugged- a lot, and we said our final words of encouragement to each other. Maybe we looked different from everyone else in the usual Saturday in the summer crowd at an airport or something, but the airport chaplain came over and asked if he could pray with us. He had never seen a group of young people praying in the airport before. He then gave us some books. The book he gave to each of us was a book called Psalm 91 God's shield of Protection: Military Edition, it was military edition because the Atlanta airport is the one soldiers deploy from. That book is amazing. I read that thing the entire time during my 2 hour plane trip going home. It explains how we can reap God's provision when we pray for things, and those things are listed in Psalm 91. It also gives numerous stories recounting God's faithfulness in saving people's life when they called out to Him to save them. One of them is about an American airman in world War II, Captain Eward W. Rickenbacker, who was stranded, near death, in the South Pacific for 24 days. He is forever thankful to have called out to God for deliverance. He, and the seven other men with him, experienced numerous miracles. The first one was that their four motor engine plane crash landed in the ocean without serious injuries. Another was when, eight days into it, a gull landed on Captain Rickenbacker's head, right after they held their prayer service, and stayed there long enough to get caught. Before this they had been surviving on 2 oranges. After they ate the bird they were able to use the innards as bait and catch 2 fish. They were also sent a rainstorm by God so that they could catch drinking water (they had not been able to rescue any drinking water from the sinking plane). 
     All this is because of the power of payer. It's the power of crying out to the God who is in control of every little thing that goes on. It's a lot of power to tap into, and prayer is that tap. As Psalm 91:14-16 says:

Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; 
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him. 
With long life I will satisfy him 
and show him my salvation.”

There is also one last verse I just have to share as well, Isaiah 63:9:
In all their (speaking of those He gives Salvation to) distress he too was distressed,
and the angel of his presence saved them.
In his love and mercy he redeemed them;
he lifted them up and carried them
all the days of old.

October 11, 2012

I'm Not Who You Think I Am

     A couple months ago something that a close friend said to me once, that hurt me, resurfaced again. Because of what she said, I felt completely worthless as a follower of God, I felt that I was unable to do anything of worth and would never make any difference. My point? Words hurt.
     I don't know if it is because I am a writer, but words just stick with me. There is some way that words just never go away from me. I'll always be battleing with words that hurt, and I wonder if you are like me too.
     I decided to write a letter to the person that hurt me. Even though I was not able to give the letter to my friend, it helped me to defeat those words, or should I call it that curse? Words have more power than one might think. With the 20,000 words a day that we say each day, it's likely if we don't walk with the knowledge that words are powerful, we might hurt someone. Here's what God says about the power of words:

 The tongue has the power of life and death,
    and those who love it will eat its fruit.
-Proverbs 18:21

 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
    but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
-Provers 12:18

 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
 -Ephesians 4:29

I hope my letter to Anonymous will help you in your own battle against the words of others. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Dear Anonymous, 

     I will not succumb. I cannot be beat by your thoughts that you thoughtlessly said aloud, and which hurt me. They hurt me. Yes, they did hurt me, and they still do. Did you think they wouldn't? 
     There is a heart beneath my cheerfulness; there is a knowledge in the dreaminess. To you, I view life to be all made up of elves, fairies, and rainbows. It is not. Witches exist in life too. I may dream, and I may look like I have no care- but I do. How dare you hurt me. I am not naive- just pure. As I dream I observe the serious things of life.
     Those fairies die too. They are not mortal. Through stories I learn of life and death. I also learn of hurt and I learn of truth. I know of good and how it ultimately will win over wickedness. Why else have I chosen to follow the Lord God Almighty? 
     Yes, good wins over evil. That is why you won't beat me. I will rise up past your words- and I will be victorious. As I sit here in despair because of my wounds- I look forward to when my God wins. I will be all my God wants of me, so that He will say well done when He is the world's Victor. Will He say that to you?
     I know of what effect evil has on this world. What you don't know is that good has more effect than evil. Little goods can effect big evils. Why else would authors make little fairies win against witches? My heart can effect the power of your judgement. My pen can beat evil. 
     You say my talent for poetry is finally something that makes me worth something? I say it is a culmination of who I am. I say I had it all along, only getting more added to it so that I can impact God's Kingdom with my talent.
     Who I am is not bound by your words. Who I am is not bound by anyone's words. I am someone who can vanquish evil. Actually, I am someone who has done that from the time I received Christ as my Savior from sin.

Forever His,

PS. I forgive you. You didn't know what you did.

October 3, 2012

A Fall Poem

   Lately I've been really attacked by Satan. This poem kind of explains how I have been feeling and the spiritual walk I've been going on ever since I came home from Nicaragua. As of right now, I am good. I am not depressed. Who knows when that gust of wind called Satan's Discouragement will come around. 

     I've been talking to a friend today and I have been watching some Beth Moore videos. I am out of my pit for right now but I am teetering on the edge. I learned that it is possible to get out of where I am. No matter how I perceive it. God's word is truth- and He says He will get me out. I just need to be brave. I need to declare that it is for freedom that I have been set free. I need to rebuke Satan and tell him to go away. That is what I will do. 
By Brooke Budewig  

Tears fall down my face, as leaves fall off a tree. 
That gust of wind comes - always without warning.
Yesterday all was well, as in the summertime. 
Today, I am just a brown, shriveled-up leaf. 

What was it You said about well-planted trees?
What was that about? And that peace in Your Presence?
I don't feel it now, as I cry by myself. 
I desire it now. Don't let me down, Lord. 

Though I desire, too, to wallow in it-
I know I must get out; there is something wrong. 
All this is not normal- I need spring to come. 
Why won't it come now- when I need it most?

So I wait, and slowly, my hope falls away. 
One by one, as the tears fall, my hope falls too. 
Defeat, after failure, after anxiousness. 
When will this sad story have its tragic end? 

This cannot be all I get from my toils;
There has to be more to life then this rejection.
My pit has frozen over in hopelessness. 
I don't want to be like this; how can I stop?

Slightly- there is a change. I feel a warming. 
Maybe life was not as hopeless as my tears. 
My God wants to help me out of my despair.
It is time for me to feel no rejection. 

I feel again that you can regain my trust.
You can change in me how I have been feeling. 
Thus, with a hint of hope, I renew my trust.
From the depths of my icy pit- I call You. 

"Give me a new heart of flesh, my Lord, my God. 
Remove this hopeless one of pending defeat."
My Lord and Savior hears me and lifts me up. 
I will not see defeat- He is on my side.