So Much More

Hello, dear readers. I might not know you. I might not be aware of the struggles you deal with and the trials in your life. But here’s what I do know … a whole lot of people are searching for purpose that they just can’t seem to grasp a hold of.

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I want to both challenge and encourage you today. Your life could be so much more than what it is – than what you’ve decided you’ll just have to accept. God beautifully made you for so much more. For your good, and their good. And all of this magnifies His glorious name. And it is good. It is life-changing.

Perhaps you’re like: “What is she even going on about?”

Purpose.

I’m talking about purpose. Listen, the world’s idea of success isn’t going to cut it. That great career. That nice house. That swoony guy. More stuff. More degrees. More Instagram likes and Facebook friends. A flawless body. The perfect wardrobe. Another exciting vacation. The coveted applause and idolized fame.

Do you know how many people who have “had it all” and found themselves as desperate as ever for more?

Think Marilyn Monroe. Most beautiful or sexiest woman, or whatever she was voted. She had the body all the women envied. She had the beauty. The guys. The fame. The money. The career. The dream. And yet, as I understand it, she ended her own life.

So if all of that can’t satisfy, fix, or fulfill us after all, what can?

What’s the more that we need?

Simple answer: Marilyn Monroe needed purpose. Identity. And lasting purpose and identity is found in Christ.

We need Jesus Christ. Not just for our eternal salvation, but for our everyday salvation.

Our Creator said that the enemy comes to “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy”. But that He has come so that we may have life more abundantly!

So …

1) You need your Creator. The one who created you in the first place. Without Jesus, you really have nothing. Give it some thought.

Colossians 1:16-18

All things were created through Him and for Him17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 18 And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

If you are a Christian, you need 2) to be actively pursuing the One whom you call Lord, and who He uniquely designed you to be.

So stop running headlong after all the world has to offer. Their definition of success and happiness hasn’t proven itself. Stop and ask God what He wants for you.

Colossians 3:17

17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

What gifts and talents has He given you? What passions and interests has He knitted into your heart? What doors is He opening for you to serve Him and mankind?

I think we can agree that the world can be a dark place. We are needing you to push back against that darkness. God has a specific role He is calling you to fill. A unique purpose. He has places and people and jobs that are perfect for you.

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

The question is, are you going to embrace your Lord and join in the kingdom work He gives His children, or are you going to follow yourself and remain as empty as ever?

Even if you are a Christian, living for yourself instead of God is going to only help spread the devastating darkness and hurt more people than you ever help.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in ChristI fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal?

As I enter the sanctuary of my church, or sit in a Sunday school or Bible study class, or as I see all my friends posting Bible verses and selfies, I sometimes wonder … How many of us self-proclaimed Christ-followers are actually following Christ and doing what He calls us to? Collectively and individually? And what would it look like – our churches, friend groups, homes, communities – if we did? What would the impact be? How much brokenness that we see now could be healed if we were actually doing what we are created for … living with purpose. Living for God.

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

I wonder, how many Christian boys and men aren’t stepping up and doing what God has put on their heart because of a secret struggle with pornography? How many girls and women are cowering in their own little bubble of life because of insecurity? And vice-versa.

Why have we, beloved children of God, let sin entangle us and lies define us so much so that we simply warm a seat on Sundays, quote a Bible verse every so often, and talk about our “past” like it’s not actually who we still are on the inside?

Brothers and sisters, Christ came to pave the way for not just change, but radical change! Not just life, but abundant life!

Are you really content with your life story reading: work, sleep, eat, 45-min. sermon on Sundays, and Netflix? Maybe an evening at the bar. Maybe some sensual music with lyrics that make your mind stray to places that you know dishonor God. Maybe a summer fling with that hot guy or girl. Maybe some movies with questionable content. Maybe many, many moments spent complaining, gossiping, saying hurtful things, and aimlessly scrolling on social media.

But it’s not like it’s that bad! You’re a good Christian and you won’t do the stuff you fill your eyes, ears, and mind with continually.

Maybe not. But neither will you do the things that you could have, should have, would have if you’d been pursuing the Christ you claim instead of the world.

Hebrews 5:12-14

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is,those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

At the end of your life … minutes away from meeting Jesus … do you think that kind of life story is going to give you a good feeling?

And do you really think it’s going to satisfy you now?

Dear soul, you are made for so much more than Netflix, your smart phone, and flirting with sin!

Look, try something new. What do you have to lose? Really. In light of eternity, what do you have to lose?

Proverbs 19:21

21 There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.

Try surrendering and falling into Jesus’ arms.

Try making much of His name.

Try serving others.

Want to talk about purpose? Satisfaction? Joy? Delight?

Yes. This.

An intimate relationship with your Creator God is a divine sweetness you won’t find elsewhere. A close-knit community of believers is joy overflowing. Serving and loving others with your gifts is satisfaction and hope that fills deeply.

Ephesians 2:8-10

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

What do you love to do? Write, dance, sing, play an instrument, paint, travel? Do you have a heart for women? Teens? Children? Sick individuals? Orphans? Confused Christians? Third-world countries? Try opening your hands and saying, “Lord, use these. Use me.” Do it to make much of God’s name. Use the things you love to love on others.

Romans 12:6-8

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

1 Corinthians 12:24-26

But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.

I look around my Sunday school class … what if each of us single adults reached out to a younger brother or sister in faith?

Y’all, we all need someone to disciple us, guide us, and show us how to mature in and follow the Lord.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

I see siblings and cousins and young people in my community who have so much potential and are in desperate need of a big brother or sister in Christ to come alongside them! To show them that they care. To guide them.

But how can we guide them if we don’t even know where we’re going in life? If we don’t have grown-up faith yet? If we are bogged down with the same old sin and insecurities that we’ve had since we were kids?

And the generation before mine … your work isn’t done yet. We need you.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

So, listen. There is kingdom work to be done. Purpose can be found. Look up and find yourself in Christ. And then look around and find all the unique, exciting roles that He’s calling you to!

Some of the roles I’ve been called to are … SISTER. My eyes are being opened to all the opportunities for thoughtful conversations, honest confession, good example, speaking life, and showing love to the precious people that God has placed smack-dab in my life in this season of life.

DISCIPLE-MAKER. I’ve long had a heart to minister to women and girls. And I’m passionate about God’s design for womanhood, manhood, marriage, and the like. God has opened doors for me to start a book study on “Girl Defined” by Kristen Clark & Bethany Baird with some young ladies and it has brought me such purpose and joy already!

EXAMPLE. Regardless of my age or whatever, I am to shine light. At times, I realize that I’m called to be a Christ-like example to those older than me … or in situations where it seems like they should be teaching me. It can be tempting to step back in fear or insecurity. But what is my Lord calling me to do? Walk in purity, maturity, holiness, and love so that they might see Him.

1 Timothy 4:12-16

12 Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity13 Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

FRIEND. Love. Encourage. Uplift. Sharpen. Spur on. Praise Jesus, some of my most painful experiences can now be used to help precious friends who He puts in my life. (Suffering is not in vain. Ask God how He can use it in a way that will make beauty bloom out of ashes.) It’s very good to do life together. Spend quality time with brothers & sisters in Christ. Laugh together. Pray together. Pursue God together. Serve together. Have fun together.

So what purpose-filled roles might be waiting for you to step into them?

So much more!

Beloved reader, if you are struggling with passivity, hopelessness, or meaninglessness, know that I am believing in faith for you that God is leading you to so much more!

Romans 8:28-34

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Fall into His waiting arms. Let His hand guide you. I know you might be afraid, but you can do it by the power of the Holy Spirit. Only in His strength.

There is so much more.

There is so much more for you.

Step out.

Jeremiah 29:11-13

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

Church a Light?

What is the use of a lamp-stand if there is no light to shine from it?

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In the book of Revelation, the churches are referred to somewhere as lamp-stands, and it got me thinking … Do our churches in this day and age lift up Christ high and shine a light for miles in every direction?

Or are they glorified, but empty, lamp-stands; taking in ideas and thoughts, but not spreading the Message outward into the world?

I’ve heard some Christian speakers say: “The Church in America is more influenced by the Culture than the Culture is by the Church.”

That’s why we have Christian couples living together before marriage, and no one calls them out. That’s why pornography is rampant among Christian men. That’s why you hear so many Christians saying, “Well … I don’t know if the homosexual lifestyle is really a sin. The Bible doesn’t say anything about it …”. That’s why divorce is widely accepted in Christian circles and the Bible verses condemning it ignored. That’s why we have Christian women dressing in very sensual and provocative ways. That’s why we have Christians doling out verbal or emotional abuse and thinking nothing of it. That’s why we have Christians spewing out foul language, idolizing ungodly celebrities, getting drunk, speaking hatefully, and just generally living self-consumed, materialistic, entertainment-crammed lives.

I can’t help but wonder if we’ve gotten church wrong, and that’s why we find ourselves where we are today.

2 Timothy 4:2-5

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Maybe church is less about checking a box, and more about doing life with fellow believers who are passionate about Christ.

Maybe church is less about numbers, and more about close relationships within the Body.

Colossians 3:12-17

12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

See, we have these huge churches and are constantly pulling people in. We call people to the altar, but offer no discipleship. And soon, our church building is packed full of people we know nothing about. Are they living Christ-like lives? Is there a habitual sin that needs to be addressed in someone’s life? Is someone suffering abuse at the hands of a faithful church-goer? Is someone drowning in anxiety and depression, but just pastes on a smile every Sunday? Are half of our members even Christians at all?

We don’t know.

There is no longer deep fellowship in many churches today. There is no keeping people accountable. There is no meeting the church people’s needs together. There is no discipleship and spurring one another on toward good deeds in their personal, day-to-day life.

Hebrews 10:19-25

19 Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

I think we’ve lost the ministry of calling people out, rebuking, and reconciliation. We’ve lost personal, deep, hard, beautiful relationships with our fellow church-goers. And this is a deep loss, indeed.

Matthew 18:20

20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Church has become more about great music and an inspirational, 45-minute sermon. And then you slip out of the building and back into your life without anyone any the wiser about you, your presence, your life, your pain, your confusion, your sin. Anything.

As a result, we have Christian singles, couples, and families who are isolated and deeply struggling.

And we have churches watering down the gospel and adopting unBiblical doctrine, either because they think Truth is too radical and not bringing enough people in, or the church is already filled with a bunch of half-hearted Christians who don’t know their Bible and, ultimately, aren’t submitting to Jesus Christ as Lord.

James 1:22

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

Many churches aren’t teaching their members what it means to follow Christ. Not really. They aren’t teaching people to live a passionate, set-apart life out of an unashamed love for Christ Jesus. They aren’t teaching people to have a deep, committed love for each other, the bride of their beloved Lord.

John 13:34-35

34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

What can we do to change?

We need to get serious about fellowship and community. We need to sincerely seek God, as individuals, and then share what He’s teaching us with others. We need to ruthlessly kill sin, and relentlessly pursue love. We need to pray for our pastors, Sunday school leaders, and Bible study teachers. We need to challenge and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ to live in response to a higher Calling. We need to get involved in churches and live boldly for Christ within them. We need young men to rise up and become bold but compassionate shepherds who are passionate about leading a church full of people closer to God and each other.

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.

So, please, join the conversation. What do you think the is the Biblical mold for churches? How could we do better to unify and work together as the Body of Christ? To love Him. To love each other. To love unbelievers.

What can we do to shine a light, like from within a tall lamp-stand, to illuminate the world for the glory of Christ?

Acts 2:42-47

42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.

46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

My Testimony

Those who read my blogs know that I am a Christian. I don’t attend churches only of a certain denomination, so therefore I do not associate myself with a certain denomination.

My parents grew up going to Apostolic Lutheran churches. I was moved around a lot during my childhood, and my family attended a lot of different churches. I went to Apostolic Lutheran churches for some periods of my life. I went to Baptist churches. Evangelical Free churches. And churches that described themselves as non-denominational, Bible-believing churches. Today I attend a non-denominational-church, but I believe it has Baptist roots.

Regardless of what church I go to, I prefer to call myself simply a Christ-follower. 🙂 Jesus Christ is my Savior, I am free in Him, and I’m on a journey each day of understanding more what it means to love and serve Him and others. My life is a love story with Him. I am certainly not perfect, and people may not always see my efforts and the heart behind them. But I feel it in my soul, the way He gently woos me and teaches me.

So I’ve told you all that I am a Christian. Now I want to share a little of my testimony.

my testimony

I grew up in a Christian home, attending church every Sunday. I had a good childhood, and remember my mom telling me often that Jesus loved me, and that she would love me always, no matter what.

Just as I trusted that she would always love me no matter what … even if I did something bad … I believed that God was, indeed, God and He loved me. I trusted that Jesus had died on a cross which took away my sins and because of that, I would live in heaven one day with Him.

I had a simple childlike belief. And no, I don’t remember a day when I prayed a prayer to become saved. But I do know that even back then as a little girl I was a saved child of God, because I believed.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Romans 10:11-13

11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

(Fun fact: I started reading through the Bible, from Genesis, when I was eight or nine-years-old. I finally finished it at fifteen!)

When I was still pretty young, my mom did a Bible study on the book of Proverbs and wisdom with us kids. During that study, I prayed that God would give me wisdom. I wasn’t exactly sure what that would mean – or even the big deal about wisdom – but I prayed for it because the Bible said to get wisdom, to seek knowledge! And King Solomon, as a young person, had prayed for wisdom.

Proverbs 4:5-9

Get wisdom! Get understanding!
Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth.
Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you;
Love her, and she will keep you.
Wisdom is the principal thing;
Therefore get wisdom.
And in all your getting, get understanding.
Exalt her, and she will promote you;
She will bring you honor, when you embrace her.
She will place on your head an ornament of grace;
A crown of glory she will deliver to you.”

1 Kings 3:9

Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil.

As I grew older, that simple message of Jesus’ love for me got twisted into something like: God is displeased with you and you need to earn Jesus’ love.

Around twelve-years-old, I remember having some questions about the Christian faith and such. Because of this doubt, I became very afraid and cried myself to sleep many nights because I was afraid that the world would end before I worked through my doubts and I wouldn’t go to heaven.

I guess I had somewhere along the line lost hold of that truth of Jesus Christ’s love for me that I had simply believed as a child.

Romans 8:34

34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

I struggled for a few years. One day I confessed these doubts and fears to my mom, and she grabbed my hand and held it tightly while speaking truth to me.

I think a few different thing made this struggle so hard for me. I was homeschooled all my life and sheltered from a lot, but I still heard other worldviews. And I think because I’ve always been such a deep thinker and feeler, I went through that sort of journey of figuring out what you believe for yourself a lot younger than some people.

I was just entering my teenage years, and becoming very insecure at that point. I didn’t share a lot with other people, which kept me isolated inside my own little world of overwhelming fears and doubts. (When you don’t share some things with others, they can become magnified and instead of fighting and finding help, you retreat further into yourself and only deepen the struggle.) And I was a people-pleaser and it wounded me a lot when people got upset with me. I questioned if my presence was wanted in many places. I questioned if I was loved.

Now, I still knew my mom loved me. But we have different personalities and we kind of clashed during some of my teenage years. I wondered sometimes if she cared about things I was going through – though she did! I just didn’t know very well how to communicate with her (or probably anyone else, for that matter.)

So if I was questioning if I was loved and wanted by the people around me and closest to me, it’s not a huge wonder that I was questioning things about my faith. I think at the root of it all was a question: Am I lovable to God?

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Can I trust Him with my heart and my soul and my life and my everything … or am I going to have to figure something else out?

And what was that “something else” that I was going to have to figure out??

It was a process. Sometimes during church, I would feel like the preacher (once it was my uncle 🙂 ) was speaking directly to me. But I was too scared to hope that it was God pursuing me.

But He did pursue me.

One night, when I was fourteen or fifteen (probably), I was sitting on my bed reading my Bible. I don’t remember what I was reading, but I started to cry. I just knew in that moment that God was there and it was going to be okay.

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I got baptized at fifteen-years-old. I was still struggling at that point, but I knew the Bible talked about getting baptized and I wanted to be obedient to the Lord in that. Even though I was struggling, I knew what course I was going to pursue. I was going to follow God.

Joshua 24:16-18

16 So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; 17 for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. 18 And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God.”

I think it was around that time that I started developing friendships with some great Christian people and got more involved in youth group, was a co-counselor at a youth camp, went on an inner-city mission trip, and eventually joined the young adult/singles Bible study that really, really impacted me.

The people in this Bible study were some of the few people that made me feel absolutely welcome. Like I was wanted there. Like I was part of them. Like I was accepted and even liked and cherished. They are beautiful people and truly touched the lives of my older brother and I.

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1 John 4:15-16

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.

I was growing and learning and enjoying time with my friends. I read some books by Eric & Leslie Ludy and the like that really touched me.

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There were days I felt amazing passion, joy, and peace as I sought the Lord. I was serious about my walk with Him. I started a prayer journal and tried to read my Bible more often.

So even though there was still struggles, a deep desire had been born inside me. I want to know God more.

After graduating at seventeen and moving with my family to another state, my anxiety got pretty bad.

See, I had grown a lot in my faith, but I was still struggling with trusting God with absolutely everything. And I do believe, in my case, this is pretty deeply rooted in insecurity and not feeling wanted.

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So my life went. Faith blossomed, and faith waned. I struggled and I fought. I fretted and I feared.

But my deepest heart’s desire stayed the same through it all, I believe. I want Jesus.

And somewhere deep down I was started to truly believe. He wasn’t going to give up on me. He wasn’t going to let me wallow in this fear and anxiety and lack of trust for the rest of my days. He had begun a work in me and He is going to finish it. Because He cares.

Philippians 1:3-6

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 5:6-7

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

It was last year that I started praying out loud. Going on long prayer walks. Pouring out my heart to the Lord. Though sometimes I felt very aware of my small voice all alone in the big world, I also felt close to God during these prayer walks. I felt such peace. I felt fearlessness. I felt hope. I felt a true delight in Him awakening in me.

Psalm 63:3-4

Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
My lips shall praise You.
Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name.

I started being more intentional about reading my Bible everyday. Starting my morning with a devotional and with my thoughts on the Lord.

The end of last year/beginning of this year I finally actually faced how truly insecure I was. I’ve mentioned this before in some posts. And I realized, I need to claim God’s love for me. I need to believe that I am His cherished daughter. I need to find my security in Him. I need to stop comparing my spiritual journey with other people’s. I need to fight dark lies with prayer, the Word, and Jesus Christ’s powerful name. I need to take hold of His promises and step into His love.

Enough trying so hard to serve Him while still wondering if I’m truly wanted and delighted in, and therefore withholding some of my trust.

Enough hiding from my fears – stuffing them deep inside and not addressing them.

Time to get honest.

Lord, I’m afraid. I don’t understand. Please help my unbelief.

Time to speak truth over myself.

You, Shantelle, are a beloved daughter of God. And nothing can snatch you from His hand. Don’t you see? You never earned His favor, He just wanted you and chose you and now you belong to Him forever because of Jesus’ blood.

He sees me. He won’t give up on me. He won’t let anything take me from His loving grip. And I will fight all the darkness and strive to keep my eyes on Him.

John 10:27-30

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.”

I’ve watched my faith grow amazingly. I’ve felt myself hunger for God’s Word. My passion for prayer and belief of its power has deepened. I feel the assurance of His love fill my lonely heart. I’ve watched myself change by His work in me – little by little. My desire to live my life for His glory and honor has only grown through the years!

And my eyes have been opened to the reality that I am not alone and my life can be a love story with Him. In a world that can be so uncertain and unstable and harsh, He is constant and no one can take Him from me.

Dear reader, I am not perfect, but my God is.

And if you are struggling, I want you to know that your life can be a love story with Him too! He has more than enough room for you to be His cherished daughter (or son) too! You can have a personal relationship with God and truly experience His genuine, forgiving, redeeming, beautiful, all-encompassing love.

Seek Him with all that you are!

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.

God is faithful and holy and pure and love.

May He bless you and wrap you in His love.

❤ Lady Grace

His Word is Truth

Good morning, fellow mortals!

How is life going for you? I’m glad you stopped by my blog and pray you are encouraged and challenged—especially by this post.

I wanted to take some time to address a crucially important topic today.

2 Timothy 2:22-26

22 Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23 But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife. 24 And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, 25 in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, 26 and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.

His Word

God’s Word.

Truth.

Who is the lord of your life?

As Christians, who do we follow?

What defines right and wrong for us?

What shapes our ideals and convictions more—the culture or the Bible?

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Dear friends, I’d like to present a question: Are you a fan of Jesus Christ? Or a follower of Jesus Christ?

1 John 2:5

But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.

Fan or follower?

Let’s face a hard truth. You cannot be enraptured by the world, believing their “truths” and living their lies, and walking the way you feel is right … and still know God. Even if you’re a big fan of Jesus.

Christians are followers of Christ.

So, are you a Christian? Do you know what it means to follow someone? This doesn’t mean listening to the Christian radio, raising your hands in church, and wearing an “I love Jesus” T-shirt (though those aren’t bad things!) … it means imitating Jesus Christ. Walking in the ways He showed us.

Letting Him live through us.

Galatians 2:20

20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

John 13:13-17

13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. 16 Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. 17 If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.

Ephesians 5:2

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.

John 14:21

21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

How do you know how Jesus lived? You read His Word. Read your Bible. Immerse yourself in its truths.

Who do you think knows better? Your college professor or the Creator of the universe? Hollywood or the Author of love? The culture or the Maker? Media or the God of justice? That brilliant author you’re reading by or the Beginning and the End? You or the Lord of Lords?

1 Timothy 6:3-5

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself.

If you truly believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and your Savior, then you must believe that the Bible is absolute truth! You cannot take away or add to the Word of God without mocking, discrediting, disbelieving, or making God out to be a liar.

1 Timothy 6:20-21

20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge— 21 by professing it some have strayed concerning the faith.

If we want to love God, we need to obey His Word! We need to be reading the Bible regularly and dwelling on its words. The Bible needs to be our road map. Our instruction manual. Our guide. Our absolute. Our truth.

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

We can’t rely on our feelings, our media, or our family and friends to determine truth for us. We must go to God and His Word which He gave us!

2 Timothy 3:13-15

13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

There are people and resources in this world that can help us understand or recognize truth, but we must always have the Bible as our foundation and line everything up against what it says.

John 14:23

23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

Listen. It is by grace that we are saved, through faith in Jesus Christ! Trusting that He is God’s Son and that His blood sacrifice paid our debt is what brings us into right standing with God and promises us eternal life.

Ephesians 2:8-9

 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Romans 10:9-13

that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

But don’t cry out to God and then just go on with your old way of life. There is an Enemy prowling out there who seeks to kill and destroy. You need to know God and obey His Word. Because it is all too easy to get sucked into Satan’s lies.

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

John 10:10

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

Examine your heart. Do you follow Jesus Christ? Do you believe His Word is truth?

If you do believe that the Bible is truth, do you spend more time immersing yourself in truth or in lies?

What do you spend more time listening to? Christian songs that have truth in their lyrics? Or secular music that feeds you lies, mocks God’s design, and glorifies sin and self?

What about what you read?

What you watch?

Philippians 4:7-9

the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.

What kind of people do you hang out with most?

1 Corinthians 15:33

33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

What kind of talk do you engage in?

Ephesians 4:29

29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

You’re only making it harder on yourself when you love loving the world instead of drawing nearer to God by surrounding yourself with His words, His truth, His people, His beauty.

Not everything is beneficial. Do yourself a favor and throw off some weights that are hindering you from running the race effectively.

1 Corinthians 10:23

23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

Hebrews 12:1-2

let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Going back to the main point … His Word is truth. If you believe in Him, you must believe this. And then you must fight for it. Put your faith in Him for He is worthy of your trust.

Isaiah 55:6-9

Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Be serious about this. Be serious about your claims of Christianity, and faith, and truth. GOD IS LOVE, but HE IS ALSO HOLY. He is gracious, compassionate, and full of tender mercies. But, just the same, He will not be mocked.

Proverbs 1:20-23

20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

He is God. You are not.

This is a beautiful thing when you place your heart in the hands of the one true King and let Him lead you. ❤

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.