Wednesday, March 13, 2013
"They say there is a young lady...who is beloved of that Great Being who made and rules the world. They say that He fills her mind with exceeding sweet delight, and that she hardly cares for anything except to meditate on Him. If you present the world to her, with the riches of its treasures, she disregards it. She is unmindful of any pain or affliction. She has a singular purity in her affections. You could not persuade her to compromise her true Love even if you would give her all the world. She possesses a wonderful sweetness, calmness, and kindness to those around her. She will sometimes go about from place to place, singing sweetly. She seems to be always full of joy and pleasure, and no one knows exactly why. She loves to be alone, walking in the fields and groves, and seems to have Someone invisible always conversing with her."
-Written of Sara Edwards by Jonathan Edwards, her future husband.
(from Marriage to a Difficult Man by Elizabeth Dudd)
Monday, March 4, 2013
“Only when self moves out of the way can His spectacular glory come cascading through your life. When Jesus is in His rightful place, all insecurity will fade away and His lasting loveliness will become the mark of your life.”
― Leslie Ludy, The Lost Art of True Beauty
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
So, it has been over a month since I wrote "Let's talk about boys pt.1". I have been meaning to write part 2 for sometime now, but I honestly don't really know how to start. All I know is, you better prepare yourself for some super omega honesty again. Probably even more so than the last one! So yeah, time for round two!
I have been here at IWU for almost two months now and in all honesty when it comes to boys, not nothing has changed. I still find my focus straying and my happiness decreasing, all the while feeling guilty for the way I am behaving. Have you ever felt that way? You know that the way you are thinking and feeling is wrong and not of God, yet you don't know how to fix it. It is almost like a battle going on inside you. The best way I can describe the way this battle feels is like Gollum off of Lord of the Rings; I often feel like I have split personalities. Part of me wants to focus on the things of this world (specifically boys....and how I don't have one) and to be unhappy, but the other part of me knows this is wrong and wants to only focus on the things that are of God and to be perfectly content in Him alone.
Not long after I posted the last "Let's talk about boys" (I think it was actually just two days later), I wrote the post "Being a martyr". Everything I wrote about that invitation at the end of the revival that night was totally true and not dramatized in the least. It was a night that I will never forget. I have to admit though that, although I knew that the decision to die to myself was a decision that would change my life forever and would be a life long process, I never imagined it would be this difficult. Being in this world but not of this world and being completely "set apart" is so incredibly hard. I can't even put into worlds how hard it truly is. I have been feeling like such a failure recently. The reason for that is, although I have given my life totally over to God and have died to myself, I really haven't seen much change in my life, my thoughts, my priorities, and my focus. I still find my thoughts drifting towards things I don't have, things I want, and things that this world says are important.........yet are not. I know I haven't really talked about boys much in this post (considering it is called "Let's talk about boys"), but boys fit right into this. For me, a boyfriend is something I don't have, something I want, and something this world says is important. But it is so much bigger than just boys. That "thing" could be success, friendship, influence, etc. The list could go on and on.
I know in part 1 I said that I would tell you how to change and how to deal with these thoughts, but in all honesty, I don't know if I have all the answers yet. All I know is this- God is working in my life in big ways. I can feel it. Though I feel like a failure and though I am still unhappy, God hasn't given up on me. Becoming "set apart" and completely dying to self doesn't happen overnight. It is a life long process that can only be done through the strength and power of Jesus Christ. As long as you realize this and your heart is in the right place, then you are on the right track.
Wednesday, February 6, 2013
"Nothing could ever matter to me again but the things that were eternal."
“It is a safe thing to trust Him to fulfill the desires which He creates”
"'Father, I'm not soaring today. Help me.'
'Daughter, soaring is not always flying high above the world. Sometimes one is soaring only two feet above the ground, just enough to keep you from getting tangled in the thorns and crashing against the rocks."'
"We are not here to be overcome; but to rise unvanquished after every knockout blow, and laugh the laugh of faith, not fear."
Monday, January 28, 2013
I am loving Ruth Myers' book "31 Days of Praise: Enjoying God Anew". It seems that when I open up the book and read the prayer of praise that is for that day, it always applies to how I am feeling or what I am going through. Each and every day of praise uses the perfect words to help you express just how grateful and thankful you are for what God has done and who He is.
This is the one I read today. It pretty much pulled the thoughts and feelings straight from my heart and put them into words.
"I choose to thank You for my weaknesses, my infirmities, my inadequacies (physical, mental, emotional, relational)......for the ways I fall short of what people view as ideal...for my feelings of helplessness and inferiority, and even my pain and distresses. What a comfort it is to know that You understand the feeling of my weaknesses!....and that in Your infinite wisdom You have allowed these in my life so that they may contribute to Your high purposes for me.
Thank You that many a time my weaknesses cut through my pride and help me walk humbly with You...and then, as You've promised, You give me more grace- You help and bless and strengthen me. Thank You for all the ways I'm inadequate for they prod me to trust in You and not in myself....and I'm grateful that my adequacy comes form You, the all-sufficient God who is enough!
Thank You that I can trust You to remove or change any of my weaknesses and handicaps and shortcomings the moment they are no longer needed for Your glory, and for my good, and for the good of other people....and that in the meantime, Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your strength is made perfect in my weakness. Amen."
Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:10
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Hello friends! How has life been treating you this week? It's been rather crazy for me. The semester is definitely in full swing now and I am officially overwhelmed with homework and such. I have so much drawing I am supposed to do this week for both my Drawing I and Design I classes! I'm pretty sure I'm just gonna have to draw all weekend, and do nothing but! But hey, it beats writing papers right?
Here is a picture of the first drawing project I did. Yay for circles! haha
It has been crazy cold up here in Northern Indiana, and it is sooooo windy! All the time! It also seems to snow every other day, which is pretty, but it gets kind of old.
This is what I woke up to yesterday morning.
In other news, my sister is headed to Haiti again! She and a group of people from our church and a few other local churches arrived there yesterday. So if you could remember to say a prayer for them, that would be terrific.
Here is a picture of my sister and two of the best guys I know wearing their Haiti T-shirts. I hope they have a wonderful time and that they are shining lights for all to see.
I don't know about you, but I am super glad it is the weekend. Yay for sleeping in, getting homework done, and just hanging out with friends.
Last night a few roommates and I decided to take a last minute excursion to Ivanhoe's for some ice cream and to do some shopping. I love doing spontaneous things. :)
Beth Ann showed me this music video the other day and I must say, it one of the best ones I've seen for quite some time. I love all the special effects used that give it a whimsical look, I love how both of their voices sound together, and I am pretty sure I am going to love that movie "Safe Haven".
Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and I promise "Let's Talk About Boys part 2" will be up soon.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Picture this. After an amazing revival, an invitation is held. Down at the front, at the altar, lays a long piece of cloth. On this cloth, those who are convicted to do so, are to draw a cross and then sign their name next to it. As you can see, this is not a normal invitation. Not normal at all. Signing your name has consequences. Accepting this invitation will change your life forever. This is an invitation to lay down your life. This is an invitation to give yourself completely over to God: mind, soul, and body. This is an invitation to die to yourself. The room is completely silent. No music, no singing, no whispering. You are sitting there with your head bowed, knowing what should be done, but realizing the consequences. Tears flood your eyes, your hands clench together, a sob escapes your lips. You know what you have to do. You stand up abruptly and squeeze past everyone else in your row, not really caring who is in your way. You have a mission to accomplish. The aisles are full of fellow students who have made the same decision as you tonight. Some truly mean it, some don't, but that doesn't matter to you. It is between them and God. The room is completely dark except for three lights shining down on the altar and the sacred item that is hanging above it. As you slowly make your way down the aisle to the altar, you are focusing only on that special item. The cross. Suddenly drums begin to play. Low bass drums that are so loud, it rumbles deep inside you. The steady beat reminds you of an execution. All of a sudden it gets real, really real. You are becoming a martyr. You really are going to your death. There is no turning back. As you slowly walk onward, the band begins to sing the words
"Hallelujah, You have won the victory. Hallelujah, You have won it all for me.
Death could not hold You down. You are the risen King.
Seated in Majesty. You are the risen King."
You and everyone around you repeat it over and over again, each time getting louder and more powerful. As you stare ahead at the cross, realizing what signing your name means, knowing there is no turning back, and singing those powerful words, the tears begin to flow once again. Before you know it, the altar is before you and a pen is thrusted into your hand. This is it. The time has come. With bold, slow strokes, you draw the precious cross. When the cross is complete and your hand moves to begin writing your name, you pause. You close your eyes, take a deep breath, whisper one final prayer, and without any more hesitation, you sign your name. It is done. As if in a daze, you turn around and begin to make your way back up the aisle to your seat. You slowly sit down, pondering what just happened. That night in bed, it hits you all over again. "I died tonight. I now know what it it is like to die a martyr's death for Christ. I laid down my life. I am changed forever. There is no turning back. Hallelujah, You have won the victory. Hallelujah, You have won it all for me."
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Throughout my life, I have never really been around many boys. I have no brothers, no boy cousins that live close by, and not many guy friends. I blame part of my lack of male interaction on me being homeschooled, but that excuse does not really work because many of my homeschool friends had guy friends (and boyfriends). Another aspect of my life that I sometimes blame is the very tiny amount of young guys at my church. Sure there are some, but they are either a lot older/ younger than me. That excuse is rather lame too though. Ok so, now that I think about it, I really can't put my finger on why I have not had much interaction with the opposite sex. I really don't know! I used to think it was because I was shy, but I am not any more. I used to think it was because I was boring and blended in with everyone surrounding me, but dressing and acting different didn't help either. I also used to think it was because I had so many attractive girlfriends and was just never noticed when I was around them, but I really don't think that is the answer either. So as you can see, I am kind of clueless.
Not knowing "what was wrong with me" used to bother me quite a bit when throughout my middle school years and most of my highschool years. Not being able to get any guy's attention caused many years of intense insecurity, unnecessary worries and anxieties, depression, and a very poor self image. As I entered my senior year of highschool and began looking towards and exploring all of the possibilities there were for my academic future, I began to worry less and less about being around, getting to know, and obtaining attention from guys. So for the past two or three years, I haven't really thought much about boys. Seriously, I haven't. The other day I was asked by a friend if I had a crush on anybody and I didn't even have to think about it. The answer was no and as I got to thinking, I realized that I haven't had a crush on anybody in six years! What is that about?!?
Since I'm being so honest, I am also going to say that since I have transferred to IWU and have begun living on campus, ignoring boys is not as easy as it once was. Even though the ratio of girls vs. boys here is 3 to 1, there still seems to be boys everywhere! As I have mentioned above, I am not used to that! I find my thoughts straying from the "academic focus" and wandering towards the "I want guys to notice me focus". It doesn't help that seriously everyone around here seems to be in a relationship. I knew coming in that with me living on campus, this would probably happen, but I thought I was strong enough for it not to effect me. After all, I haven't struggled with these kind of thoughts for three years now! Well, apparently that is not so and I have noticed those sneaky, discouraging, and anxious thoughts creeping back into my mind ...............and I have only been here a little over a week!
Some of you may be thinking, "Oh, but Ashley! Those thoughts are only natural for a single girl of 20 to be thinking! Why are you making it such a big deal?" I'll tell you why. Ready? Here it is. Because my mind is on me, myself, and I and not on the Lord Jesus Christ. Yup, that about sums it up right there. I am more worried about MY singleness, MY feelings, MY loneliness, MY unhappiness, MY dreams, MY situation, and what I don't have rather than God. How do I change? How do I deal with these thoughts and worries? That my friend, will be in part 2.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
May the glory of the Lord endure forever;
may the Lord rejoice in His works.
He looks at the earth, and it trembles;
He touches the mountains, and they pour out smoke.
I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God while I live.
May my mediation be pleasing to Him;
I will rejoice in the Lord.
May sinners vanish from the earth
and the wicked be no more.
My soul, praise the Lord!
Have you praised our great God today? Have you meditated on Him? Just sit for a minute and ponder on just how powerful, almighty, and great our God is.
Sunday, January 6, 2013
If you are ever not able to go to church one Sunday morning, I recommend you check out Eric Ludy's sermons. Very powerful.
Saturday, January 5, 2013
I am excited about finally being able to take some art classes this semester! I am taking drawing I, design I, and a Art History course............along with some other General Studies courses.
This whole living on a college campus thing is going to be very different, but I know that God wants me here at IWU and that He has some great things planned for me here. :)