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The picture above is me modeling my very first and oldest band tee. I grew up listening to a once popular Christian pop group called ZOEgirl from the time I was about twelve until they disband in late 2006. Most people today might not remember them, but this group and their songs carried me through great trials as a teenager. Their songs gave me hope and encouraged me to keep pressing on and to look to God in hard times. Their songs spoke to a teenage girls heart having to deal with relationships, peer pressure, and self esteem. Now being in my early 20’s, I know I will still carry this group and their positive influence with me for the rest of my life.

Just thinking about carrying good things from my past with me to my future, what about all the really bad and hurtful things that we as Christians carry with us through out our lives? Sometimes we don’t realize all the hurt we keep inside and hold on to. Sure we put a smile on our face and try to not think about the past, but letting it go and forgetting about it all is a whole different story. Then there is the getting through the hard and hurtful times and remembering what life was like before those things happened to us.

We all have different strong and weak points. Some people can get through hard times a lot faster and easier than others can. Then there are those who have a more difficult time. I’ve discovered that I am one hard egg. Getting over brokenness has not been an easy road for me. However, God deals with me with patience, love, understanding, listening, and Him feeling the pain with me has given me great comfort. I’ve been learning this about God through suffering. And it has been a great thing and causing me to have a more intimate relationship with him because of brokenness. Not only that, but brokenness increases compassion and being more sensitive to another’s need who I will meet later down the road. God has been showing me that through brokenness, I will take this more intimate relationship with me to the future instead of taking with me the memories of being hurt. Take with me to the future the insight of seeing more of who God is to me when I am broken and allow it to give me comfort, growth and peace for when another season of brokenness comes along. Take with me of how God changed my heart to love Him more, to let Him take care of the healing process, and to give love to others. All of the above, my heart has discovered because I spent more time in His Word where He reveals His heart to me. “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NASB.

In the heat of the moment, we see nothing but our hurt because we are flesh. It’s not a normal thing for a human being to step out of the flesh and be in tune with the Spirit ( 1 Corinthians 15:46 ). But as Christians, it is the only way we can ever see God because it is a choice, a step of faith, trust, and choosing to rely on God. It does take some practice. It takes a lot of getting up and falling down and getting up again. But every time we do the right thing, we are getting closer to who we are suppose to be and becoming more like Christ even when we don’t feel like it. Then we look back and see just how God was in each step we took in going right and realize we were never alone in it to begin with. What a great story to give to someone who is in need of hope, compassion, and love.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. ” 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NASB.

The Face Of Love

March 21, 2013

Yesterday I visited my grandma in the nursing home. I’m sad to say she is living her final days on this earth. She is 93 years old. I wasn’t close to my grandma. In fact the last time I saw her was about five or six years ago. She has for many years had a 96% blockage on both sides of her neck which causes her memory to slowly die away including her mental state.  It came to the point where she never wanted visitors, and when visitors did come she would tell them to leave her alone. It’s very upsetting for someone to get to this point, especially my grandma, because she has lived the 93 years of her life without Jesus Christ. And since her days are now numbered it concerns me more. You see she had a minor stroke earlier this week. What turned out to be minor became serious. It’s only a matter of days now.

Modern people today do not like religion being brought into the picture when it comes to life and death. The world may view Jesus as a religion, but no where in the Bible does it say He is. The Bible describes Jesus Christ as the face of love for a world who did not love Him back. A kind of love that to this very day still gets mocked and slapped in the face by every soul who lives. The face of love who physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually bore the sins of every person through His own blood. People call this religion. But tell me this: which other gods of many religions gave their life for the world? Is their god even still alive?

If we look deep down inside of us, there is a spirituality that is alive. Many of us toss it away and become unaware of it, but it’s there. When we are facing a hard time in our lives, something spiritual is happening. It’s called Hope. But we sometimes put our hope in things we can see and touch. Then it dies somewhere down the road and so we go looking for another thing we can see and touch. And we continue this cycle until when? We die? Is this the purpose of our lives? Then what is?

First, I want to say, that God chose each of us ( 1 Thes. 1:4 ). You know your journey. You know your stories and trials, but God knows them better. And He knew that there was no hope for us to survive on our own. Because of that, He sent His hope to us through Jesus Christ. We have tried to become good enough to be good enough for someone to like us, to get a job, to go to heaven one day, and so forth. But in Romans 3:10 is says,“…There is none righteous, not even one.”  The world has created the belief that the only bad thing a person can do is murder another. What other bad thing is there out there except maybe drugs? You tell me. But thats because it is by our standards. Nobody thinks about God’s standard, and His standard is a perfection nobody could ever try to become. God knows this, and so He made a way for us: through His Son Jesus Christ. ” For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” John 3:17 NASB. What it means “through Him” was through death. “For the wages of sin is death…” Even Jesus, the perfect one to ever be, became the wage of our past sins, present and future sins. ” but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 NASB. The gift is life. An eternal life. Our souls will live forever somewhere, but not on this earth. We do not see the importance of this because we are too busy living for ourselves. We live as if we are going to live forever. Or that we will live until we are 80 or 90 and believe that it’s so far away from now that we have all the time in the world. But how many people do you know who have not lived until old age, who died so young, some who didn’t even reach their 20’s? What makes us believe that we, ourselves, are the exception when the only one who holds the future is God Himself? You may not believe there is a God, but you have to admit, you do have faith to not believe. You see, you have something spiritual inside of you even if you don’t want it. Because faith is a God thing, not a flesh thing.

I’ve been praying for a miracle for my grandma. I hate putting it like this, but her mental state is so far gone that she is now a vegetable. She’s not living, just existing. And she has no idea what’s going on around her or inside of her. She’s knows nothing. But this is why God sends hope through His Son Jesus. Just His name alone makes the forces of darkness flee even in the most impossible situations and circumstances. We may not see it, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Thats when faith comes in. In our fleshly minds, there is no hope of salvation for somebody like my grandma. But it says in Luke 1:37,” For nothing will be impossible with God.” NASB.  He is God. And it is His will for “all to come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9. As I looked at my grandma, not knowing who I was to her, kneeled down at her level and looked her in the eyes. I was about to leave, but I first said to her, “Goodbye grandma. Jesus loves you.” As I said those words, she looked right into my eyes. I wanted to say the name of Jesus to her, because I know the power and hope that is in His name. And I have no doubt that she heard every word I said to her.

John 14:6,”…I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” NASB. I ask that you pray with me for my grandma, despite her condition, will have understanding and gain knowledge of her need for Jesus even at the end of her long life, and to finally let Him into her heart.

A Lesson From DJ Tanner

March 14, 2013

imagesDid you know that you can learn very important life lessons that are spiritual from a TV sitcom? No way! Well, I’m sure you can name some TV shows that it’s just not possible. However, I do know of one.

The other day I was watching an episode of Full House. Through out the episode, DJ Tanner was doing various activities with her two younger sisters as well as spending more quality time with them. Her boyfriend, Scott, was not so happy that they weren’t spending as much time together as they once were( It didn’t help that he left to go to San Francisco for a week). There’s a scene where Scott is waiting for DJ at the kitchen table when she and her two sisters walk in from playing at the park ( they must have been gone a long time ). Scott was some what upset, and because I don’t remember the actual words spoken between the TV couple, I do remember the remainder lines. From Scott: “You don’t hang out with me as much anymore.” DJ replied,” Because my life is not centered around you.” My eyes opened a little bit wider when she said that.

Later in the episode, DJ goes on to tell Scott, “Since we’ve been apart and haven’t been spending as much time together, I’ve been using this extra time to do other things. And I’m beginning to find out more of who I am apart from you. I’m not sure if I want to stop now.” At the end of the episode, DJ and Scott did break up. That part maybe a little sad, but DJ made a very good point about finding herself away from something that she had always had. She was discovering something new, and she had every right to go forward with that.

This relates to me of what’s been happening in my life recently. In my last blog, I mentioned that I left an amazing ministry and a great friend behind. I fought to keep both in my life, but God wanted me to move forward without those two things. As time has gone by, the grasp of my fingers have slowly been letting go of these two great things because I’m learning what life is without them.

God does give, and He does take away. I don’t always know why He sometimes takes what was once good away, but it is truly for our good. During the past two years of my life, all my time had been around this one ministry and this one friend. It was rare that I did anything outside of these two things. I guess it’s because it was all I had at the time, or so I thought. I didn’t think to look outside of the box. I was so devoted to this ministry ( as a Christian should be ), that it took me a long time to find a better job because I wanted nothing to get in the way of my work in ministry. I narrowed my life into this really small box and I became very content about remaining in such a small place. I was very satisfied. I had one friend too, who I spent a lot of time with. I didn’t spend much time with many other people. And the more I grow, the more I am very much against centering life around one person.

As things were not working out as I hoped to, God was breaking me away from these things and I fought very hard, until I finally gave up. It took time, but I have started to learn more, like DJ, who I am away from the old things I once had. Because of taking hold a new road of life, new desire’s have started to form inside of me. There are newer things that I want to try out, like cake decorating! Could you see me doing that? My parents think it odd because I have never been one who likes spending hours in the kitchen. But thats the cool part! It’s like I have a new drive to try out new things. I feel I have no limits because I have removed those limits. Having this new way of thinking and doing has given me a new joy a freedom about life!

Can you see how my situation before-hand was not very godly? My desire to do God’s will was there, but was I actually doing it? Was I living life for me, or was it for God? I didn’t know who I was without these things in my life. And to now be without them, I’m discovering what I can do and who I am AND I’m starting to like myself more. Plus, I’m seeing more of the face of God because His face has become more important.

I believe a large potion of us does not enjoy life as it is meant to be enjoyed because we are too satisfied. To be a God follower, it requires us not being comfortable. It requires a lot of moving because God has more than one plan for our lives. Thats why we have new chapters, open and closed doors, endings and beginnings. Many Christians are too afraid and scared of change and so they fight to stay put. Often times they win and they never know anything new and exciting outside of what they already know and miss out on amazing God opportunities. Change hurts, and we want to do everything in our power to avoid getting hurt. I know, cause I’ve been there many times. But who am I really living for? Am I living for myself, or for Jesus Christ? And if I’m living for Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Father, shouldn’t I trust that He has something better for me each time a new change comes? And since my life is not about me, then shouldn’t I be obedient to whatever the Father says? ” For whoever wishes to save his life will loose it; but whoever looses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25 NASB

 I am always learning, that true living comes when we yield to God’s way of living. And there is great joy and happiness in allowing the change to take place in this life. “Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11 NASB

The Job Factor

March 9, 2013

This blog might start out a little sad, but it does get better! I’ve discovered that when a person gives their life to Christ, that is the beginning of many lessons and stories to come!  Not all stories start out positive, but when God is the author He always turns it around for good!

Grieving. We link this word in with the lost of a loved one. We don’t only grieve over death, but also over things and changes we don’t understand. Recently, I left a ministry I was very passionate about. There were a lot of spiritual strongholds that occurred in my life and the only way to deal with those strongholds head on was for me to step down. My grieving began, as I left behind the passions, love, and people who I cared deeply about. This was not the only grieving I had to experience. Through leaving this ministry, I also lost a friend. Not to death, but friendship. My true mourning entered my heart as I had to also leave this friend behind and out of my life. This is one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. During my mourning, I had a hard time thinking of other things besides my hurt from leaving the ministry and hurt from a friend. Countless times I cried it all out to God.

Before this time, a few other doors closed in my life as well. I started to feel like I was becoming more alone and being by myself than I wanted to. So many people had walked out of my life, and I felt I had nobody. I didn’t understand where God was going with all this. The past months and the future weeks that lay ahead have tested my endurance. I prayed for healing for my heart, only to find God didn’t give it to me instantly. He takes His time. And His time is not my time because His is perfect.

When in mourning, Satan doesn’t help matters. He likes to smudge in my face the hurt and remind me of my pain. I realize that even though I may not know why this storm occurred or why it began, it was God drawing me to be alone for a reason: to place Him first in all things.

Through the closed doors, God has drawn me to seek His face, peace, comfort, joy, heart, love, contentment, and complete surrender to His love for me period. He purposely allowed these doors to close forcing me to run to Him to show me how people will leave me but He never will, as it says in Hebrews 13:5 NASB, “…I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you”. While the words and thoughts of people change daily, the words and thoughts God has toward me do not.

I would ask God this, “Why would You bring me something good, only to take it away from me?” I don’t know why hurtful things happen sometimes, but I do know that God allowed this to happen so that I would place my relationship with Him above all others. I had no choice but to throw myself at Him through this storm because it came to where He was all I had left. By doing this, it allowed Him to change me to look more like Him and to take myself out of the picture frame and put Him in my place in this crazy adventure called life. John 3:30

Recently, God led me to read the book of Job. And what He had to show me through Job’s amazing story gave me passion and a new drive. Job 27:3-5 NASB says,” For as long as life is in me, And the breath of God is in my nostrils, My lips certainly will not speak unjustly, Nor will my tongue mutter deceit. Far be it from me that I should declare you right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.” Through all Job had been through up until this time ( loosing livestock, home, children, and having discouraging friends and a discouraging wife, boils, disease, etc ) Job would not curse God and turn away even though God never gave Job a reason as to why he was suffering. Job, (a real human who felt hurt, pain, loneness, depression, discouragement and desperation) still kept running and crying to God. In time God blessed Job ever so greatly and he lived a long happy life with a new family, servants, and friends. You know when we are suffering through a trial we often want to blame and put hurt on someone else because we are hurting too. We don’t want to be the only one in pain. Through this current storm in my life you don’t know how much I have wanted to complain to someone about how, “So and so hurt me like this, she makes me feel like that. He needs to fess up and and apologize and blah blah blah.” Yes, I wanted to find the stick in someone else’s eye instead of removing the stick in my own eye. My flesh wanted to place hurt on others through words and actions, but the Spirit inside of me did otherwise. Instead, I took it to Jesus. He listened and allowed me to vent. And then He spoke to me love when I became ready. As I gave in more to that love, I was choosing the Spirit above my flesh. The whole time God understood my pain. He feels it along with me. That was all I needed the whole time from somebody. That somebody was Jesus Christ.

Within time, much healing has come. I still have some roads to walk as I continue to heal. I hope that in the storm you might be facing: your answer to “why” is Jesus. Sometimes God takes away everything to show us that He is the only one will remain standing…because He is all we need.

To Start With…

March 8, 2013

Hello, my name is Erin. Welcome to my first blog! Why have a blog? Because I desire to share with you what God is doing in my life. I hope to encourage you, inspire you, and show off His beauty through writing and photography…since I am a photographer it kinda goes with it! Very soon I will be starting a new website with a new name and a new vision to be revealed in the later months of 2013. I desire to be real, and recently in my life its been kinda hard to do that. But its amazing how God breaks apart the strong holds in our lives when he allow Him to. And to no longer care about what other people may think about us. Instead, we only see what God see’s: His perfect unconditional love that goes beyond out imaginations.

I cannot wait to share with you the things God has placed on my heart. This is the beginning.

With Heart,

Erin