Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Character Building

It has been forever since I've blogged, but I am feeling the itch again to get back into it. Since starting my new job as a Kindergarten teacher, I feel like my job has somewhat taken over my life. For me, writing is an outlet, and right now I'm thinking some outlets would be helpful!

I hope to mostly post about my spiritual journey...what God is teaching me, how I am being challenged, what I am learning, etc.

Right now I am learning that God really cares about our character, and I know he is doing a mighty work on mine. On Sunday two of my youth girls got baptized. It was so inspiring to hear them talk about what God has done in their lives. Kevin got to baptize them which was so awesome. Our pastor talked about how if we want to do mighty things for God, we have to start with the small things. This is something I've been convicted about before, but I'm realizing the importance of it....the truth of it. God notices the small things....those little things we do... that we often think don't mean all that much. As a Kindergarten teacher, this is especially encouraging. It is easy to get discouraged and begin thinking that all those little things you do throughout the day go unnoticed...but God SEES. This summer I learned some of the Names of God (A Study by Kay Arthur)...one of His names is El Roi- The God Who Sees.

Lately I've been feeling pretty overwhelmed and pretty discouraged at times. What I've been sensing though is that God is trying to mold me and shape my character. I really feel that he is challenging me to be filled with the Spirit so I can bear the Fruit of the Spirit, especially that of PATIENCE and SELF-CONTROL. I can't imagine trying to do this on my own. God actually gives me the ability to display patience, self-control, and other fruits of the Spirit such as love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. This is one of those verses you hear a lot if you grew up in a Christian home or going to church. But to be honest, I don't feel that it really hits you until you are challenged to bear these fruits in your daily life. God doesn't just want us to be patient when we're waiting in a line-up....He desires patience in the deepest part of our hearts...Patience for those things we feel we've been waiting years for...or patience in the smallest of things that we may feel it's okay to feel 'impatient' about.

I am working on focusing on what God is doing in my heart...what He is doing in me that counts for eternity, not just here and now. It's so easy to focus on our momentary troubles...but they are "achieving for us an eternal glory that FAR OUTWEIGHS them ALL!" 2 Corinthians 4:17. Praise God. I pray that I will be able to keep an eternal perspective, rather than a wordly, momentary one. Because greater things are yet to come...and He wants me to be ready!

Romans 5:3-5 "We can rejoice too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love."

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

A Beautiful Picture...

Good Morning! I have been looking at this picture all week on my desktop background. I forget how I even came across it but the moment I saw it it resonated with me. It's by a woman named Esther Havens. The colours are gorgeous and the mystery of all of the women in the photo is captivating. But what I love the most is the beautiful woman riding the bike....

I've been wondering all week, Who is this woman? What is she thinking? What does she feel about herself? What does her daily life look like? Who does she love? What does she care about? What does she believe? What brought that smile to her face?

I love the fact that woman are complex. We are "fearfully and wonderfully made." I think it's important to pay attention to these kinds of questions when we're around other women, but also to remember to ask ourselves these questions. What makes me smile? What do I love and care about? How do I feel about myself? How am I using the time that has been given to me today? God has created us each so uniquely. As women, we tend to get jealous of one another or to wish we had 'this' or 'that'... then life would be better. I'm continually to seek to find my fulfillment and satisfaction in Christ. It is He who has made me the way that I am and it is also He who gives me the desires, hopes, and dreams that are planted deeply in my heart.

Beauty is a funny thing... we think we know what it is but have we let our Creator Himself define it for us? He tells us in His Word: "What matters is not your outer appearance....but your inner disposition." (I love this next part...) "Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in." -1 Peter 3:3-4. I think the reason this picture struck me as so unique and moving is because its as if I can see into this woman's inner beauty...her gentle and gracious spirit, which is so valuable to God.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Longing For More!

Well I have finally decided I really want to get into this blogging thing. I had a blog but I found this blogger template which is a lot more user friendly! I'm looking forward to sharing my heart with you. I hope you will feel free to comment and share your thoughts and heart with me as well.

I want to start off this blog with a little synopsis of a book I just finished reading. I got it when we were in Chicago at the Simply Youth Ministry Conference. This woman named Ruth Haley Barton spoke one night...so I bought one of her books. It's called "Longing for More: A Woman's Path to Transformation in Christ". VERY GOOD! Seriously girls, just let me know if you want to burrow it, or I'm sure you could get it on amazon for a good deal. Here's a picture of the cover:

The books divided into 11 chapters, a few of which I want to discuss here. The chapter that most effected me was called "Saying Yes to God's Purposes"- I read it twice!

One question she asks, which I'll paraphrase is "What gifts, experiences, passions, opportunities, and burdens is God blending together in my life to make me of special use to him?" hmmm.. good question!! I've been thinking about it for a while now. One other thing she said that really resonated with me was: "This is the place to dream the dreams that God is whispering to our hearts- even the ones that seems so far-fetched we're almost afraid to put them into words." Finally, I'll quote one more statement that really spoke to me:

"God is putting together a package in each of our lives, preparing us to make a unique contribution to His Kingdom. We need to ask ourselves, 'What have I come to the Kingdom for? Why has God brought me to this particular time and place?'" 

This is not an easy question to answer, but I think it is one worth deeply pondering and praying over. I am so thankful that God has a unique purpose and plan our lives. Do I always clearly see and understand why am I on the specific path that I am? No. Sometimes. But I DO know that His plan is perfect and that I don't need to fear. A verse that really struck me recently, as though I was seeing and understanding it fully for the first time is 1 John 4:18 "Such love has no fear, for perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment. And this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love." Because of Christ's perfect love for me, I never need to fear. I need to be reminded of this constantly!

As I work through some of the questions posed to me in this book, I'm praying that God will give me a spirit of confidence in Him- in the fact that the experiences, gifts, passions, opportunities, and burdens he has put in my life are there for a very specific reason and purpose!