Saturday, March 30, 2019

Humility is not Degrading

I'm very aware of my tendency to judge people. I'm aware of my tendency to think that I know best, and therefore, everyone else should listen to me and do what I say. I'm aware that I tend to get jealous when I think other people are getting the attention that I want.

But y'know what? I'm aware, and with God's help, I'm working on it. Because the Lord knows that I need a fresh dose of humility every day.

I used to think that in order to humble myself, I had to continually remind myself that I was wrong, that I needed to get over myself, that I was a horrible human being that needed to keep quiet so that I would stop doing things wrong. I was constantly degrading myself in my attempts to keep myself humble. I became depressed, and I began to be convinced that I really was a person that wasn't worth all the effort of being loved, because I constantly failed.

Jesus humbled Himself, "taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men." (Philippians 2:7b) Jesus was perfect, right? So since He was pure, blameless, He certainly didn't need to be humbled because of imperfections. So apparently, in order to be humble, you don't need to be doing wrong things. According to Jesus' example, humility doesn't come from doing wrong things, but from doing the right things.

My problem was that I was looking only at what I was doing wrong. Yes, we need to be aware. But being aware of our imperfections is what makes us ready for God's perfections to work in our lives. Yes, we mess up. Yes, we need to realize that we mess up. But we need to keep our eyes on the things above, because God, through His Son Jesus, is the only one that can take our imperfections and turn us into something beautiful. It's not us. It's all Him.

Humility isn't about your wrongs. It's about what God has made right. Humility is recognizing that you're a sinner, and that you mess up, but not dwelling on the fact. Concentrating on your wrongs is nearly as selfish as concentrating on what you're doing right. I believe that what we need to do for humility is not focus on ourselves at all. Focus on Jesus, and what He's done for us. Focus on God the Father, and His love for us. And focus on others, and God's love for them. You're no better than them, and no worse than them. We're all sinners, and we all mess up. But treat them as better than yourself, as Jesus did, when He came to earth as a bondservant. Because our job here on earth isn't to focus on our sins, but to strive to be holy, as Christ is holy, and to be ambassadors for the One who created us.

"Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." —James 4:10

Once you've accepted Jesus, you're God's priceless treasure, and nothing can separate you from Him. His Son's blood has cleansed you. All your sins have been washed away. Humble yourselves, y'all, and live like you're loved.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Family Diversity {feat. Kara}

GUYS SPRING IS FINALLY HERE. Kansas has been clinging to Winter for far too long, and I was beginning to thing that we'd skip Spring altogether and jump right to Summer! But joy of all joys, it's here and I'm so happy about it.

So yeah, after that random intro about Spring's arrival (YAY! Have I mentioned that I'm so glad it's here?!), I will now introduce my little sister, whom you might remember from the ridiculous post I did with her last. We're hopping in as a part of Brooklyne's Family Forever Month.

Heya, Squirt (nope, only I'm allowed to call her Squirt, 'kay? You, fabulous people, may call her Kara)!

Hello Kiki

...Wow, it's been awhile since that nickname has been used. And actually, that's a good transition to our topic today: family diversity. Every family is different and unique. Some families are tall, some are short, some like sports, some like sushi . . . but diversity within the families is what really makes things interesting. Like nicknames, for example.

Ohhh I get it, like your annoying and I'm perfect right? *Halo* ... Ok uhh... Don't answer that

. . . I never know what's going to come out of your mind. And no, that's not what I mean (does that even deserve a response?). Such as . . . you're Squirt and I'm, well, Kiki, as you said. Or, as Kordell likes to call me, Pugs (I don't even know why).
There's also other ways that we're different. Such as, even though we're twins, Kordell hates reading (except Hank the Cowdog, ugh) and loves pretty much any animal, whereas I love reading (never would've guessed, would ya?), yet I'm not as much of an animal person.

Man, you sure are talking a lot for the quiet one of the family... talking is my job. But I get your point... Like I'm super extraverted and you super introverted. So much for introverts not talking a lot *Smirks deviously*

Hey, this is my blog. Of course I'm gonna talk a lot. I'm supposed to talk a lot. Besides, like I said in my post about introverts, just because I'm an introvert doesn't mean I don't like to talk. It just means that I generally don't talk a lot around people I don't know very well. Besides, you still talk twice as much as me. Ask our family.
But, I mean, talking online is a whole different ball game.

Hey hey hey, as I said earlier that's my job. And wait a minute I just realized, all those times you say, "I have nothing to say to that." or "I'm speechless." it's not because you're an introvert?! WOW!

Oh heavens no. Usually you just do render me speechless, regardless of my personality.

I tend to have that effect on people... I just take their breath away! 

Yeah, something like that. Anyway, moving on . . .
You and I both love reading. That's one thing we have in common. I, however, loved reading as soon as I learned how, and I love intense books or feelsy books (yeah . . . two different extremes, I suppose. Depends on my mood). It took me years, though, to get you into reading, and now all you want to read about is horses.

That's because not much else is worth reading *halo* and it wasn't you that got me into reading, it was myself. 

Those . . . those be fightin' words. And yes, I most certainly did! But I'll let it slide . . . for now.

We are also alike in that we like writing, but you like killing characters. on the other hand, like resurrecting them

WHAT! I do not kill them! I only maim them . . . a little . . . but I've only killed one or two out of dozens, maybe even hundreds!

Yeah I guess... BUT STILL I only almost kill them, you make sure you get the job done

Again, I've only killed one or two. And that was yearssss ago. I'm nice to my characters now. So far.

Maybe, but I can see it in your eye, your planning another assassination 

. . . all you see in my eyes are pupils.

Actually I see some pond scum color in the center, a really cold almost white icy blue in the middle, actually it's almost a grayish color, then on the outside you have kind of almost a metallic looking deep grayish dark blue

Wow, I've never heard my eyes described in such detail. And I've never been quite so . . . creeped out by a person studying my eye from an inch away.

Author is as author does... Sometimes you need to get up close to what your doing research about (no I am not officially an author, sorry I know you were all wanting my autograph)

Good grief, Squirt, I think we need to start talking about something else.
Music! That's a good topic. We tend to have very different tastes in music. I love bluegrass (I looooove instrumentals), I don't really like country music (yeah, I know, a farmer's daughter in the country that doesn't actually like country music . . . ), and my favorite singing group is The Ball Brothers. But, I mean, I love Celtic music as well (bagpipes, y'all!), and gospel (Gaithers, anyone??), and . . . yeah. I kinda love music. A lot.

I mostly go for worded music. Andy Leftwich, 2CELLOS, and the Piano Guys [epiiiiic choices, though you should really add Craig Duncan in there . . . ] are about the only instrumentalist I really like, (although non worded soundtracks [YES LIKE MOVIE SOUNDTRACKSSSS] are amazing) Country music (specifically Country Christian) is AMAZING!!!! And I really like a lot of modern Christian music, and a lot of doo-wop. Some of my favorite bands (I have most likely only heard a few from each band) are Home Free, The Gaithers, For King and Country, Crowder, Alan Jackson, Steven Curtis Chapman, Danny Gokey, Aaron Watson, Alabama, MercyMe, Josh Turner, Rescue, and some TobyMac, the Flying W. Wranglers, and the Statler Brothers. *Currently dancing to Home Free*

. . . good grief. You have a lot of favorites. I mean, I do too, but still. I'll leave my list alone on the about me page, thanks.

Sadly, you don't have an about me page for me... so I have to say them all on here, isn't that right peeps?

Um, sure. But anyway, I'm not a huge fan of any of your favorite bands, Josh Turner (one of the very few country singers [and the best bass ever, along with Tim Foust from Home Free] that I like), the Gaithers, and Rescue being exceptions. If only you liked The Ball Brothers. *sigh*

So, all this to say . . . diversity within families can run rampant. But you know what? God made us that way. Pretty genius, huh? I mean, imagine if we both loved TobyMac! *makes face* I'll take my Ball Brothers playlist, thanks. So we praise God that He made us different, and we try to get along in the meantime. ;)

Eeek, you can have your Ball Brothers, they're too jazzy for me they only have two songs I like. (one's their only countryish song of course!) But yes God made us all unique, just ask my siblings, I'm living proof of that! ;D

Mhmm. Definitely. So, to borrow VeggieTales' words . . . God made you special, and He loves you very much. G'byyyyyye!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Your Whole Heart {a Flash Fiction Story}

A few months ago, I wrote a flash fiction story entitled Your Whole Heart about something that God's been teaching me. I hope it blesses you. <3

“It hurts!” I scream at the sky. I pinch my lips together tightly, as if in an attempt to hold in the anguish threatening to explode. A lump grows in my throat until I can’t even swallow around it, and my next words come out as only a squeak. “It hurts.”
The raindrops splatter on my face to mingle with the tears that finally flow down my face. The tears that I’ve held back for so, so long.
The tears that I won’t let anyone see.
I collapse to my knees, the moisture that soaks through my jeans going unheeded. My entire body racks with the sobs that I can no longer control.
I scream, digging my fingers into the soil and uprooting blades of grass as if my life depends on it, and yet I can’t keep my heart from feeling as if it’s being ripped in two. I’ve been told that a ‘good cry’, letting everything out, makes a person feel better. But no, it deepens the pain and and hones the emptiness inside. A bottomless pit of hopelessness and despair.
Be still, and know that I am God.
Hopelessness and despair.
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.
Hopelessness and despair?
I give power to the weak, and to those who have no might I increase strength.
My sobs intensify. “God, where have you been?
You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart.
“I looked for You, Father.” My voice wavers, then drops to a whisper. “I tried, I tried so hard.”
With your whole heart.
My whole heart? Of course I did.
Didn’t I?
“I needed You, God.” My voice is hardly more than a whimper. “I needed You, but I couldn’t find You. You weren’t there when I needed you. What’s changed?”
I am the same yesterday, today and forever.
It hits me like a lightning bolt. He’s not the one who has changed. I am.
Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. I give power to the weak, and to those who have no might I increase strength. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with your whole heart.
Your whole heart.
My whole heart. “It hurts, God.” I slowly shove to my feet. “It hurts too bad. It hurts too bad to trust.”
Your whole heart.
“It hurts!” My voice rises to a shout. “Do you hear me? It hurts!” My face collapses in a mess of tears. All my life I’ve listened to the lies whispered in my ear. To let go, to step out in faith, to give all my burdens to God . . . it sounds so easy. But oh, it hurts. It hurts to think that all that is familiar to me, even the loneliest mentality, will be taken away, and I’ll be left stripped bare of all that I know.
My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.
“I . . . I can’t. I’m not strong enough.”
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
I’m not strong enough. Not strong enough. I’m weak, I’m worthless.
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
More value?
The very hairs of your head are numbered.
But can I really believe it? Can I believe that I really am worthy?
I so loved the world that I gave My Son.
My quick intake of breath catches in my throat. The simple words that I’ve known since I was four years old take on new form. He gave His Son . . . to die . . . for me. For me?
For you.
I drop to my knees again, touching my forehead to the soggy earth, hands clasped above my head. My body rocks back and forth, my eyes squeezed shut, yet a few tears leak out anyway. “I’m so sorry, God.” My breath comes in gasps. “So, so sorry.”
I lift my face to the sky. “Forgive me, God. Forgive me for not seeking You with my whole heart. I’m sorry . . . I’m not worth it.” I finally give voice to the whispers inside my head that have plagued me for so long. “I’m not worth anything. Every time I try to do better, I seem to make things worse. I’m awkward, I don’t think before I speak, I’m judgmental.” Once I begin to label my faults, the list just grows longer and longer and I can’t stop myself before I say them out loud. “I’m jealous, I’m possessive of things—and people—that I really have no right to hold back. I’m sensitive, I have a quick temper, and I’m constantly having pity parties. Father, I want to change.”
Nothing is impossible with Me.
“God . . . okay.” I take a deep breath, letting it out slowly and wiping my eyes with shaking hands. “Okay. I want You to use me, God. I want people to be able to watch me and say, ‘she’s got Jesus.’ I want to be so on fire for You that all else fades in the background. I want faith like Noah, courage like David, and humility like John the Baptist. Mold me, God, into who You created me to be.”
I swallow and finally eke out the words that took so long to come to my lips.
“I am Yours, wholly and completely.”

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Things to Understand About Introverts

Sometimes, introverts come across as rude or condescending. Sometimes even boring or stuck up. But the truth? Well . . . let's explore some things, shall we? Being an introvert myself, I can assure you that sometimes even just the thought of talking to people can make introverts shake in their boots.

So first of all, when we stare at the floor or keep quiet during a group's conversation, there's probably one of four things going through our heads: 1) we don't feel like we have anything intelligent to add to the conversation and we just feel stupid if we open our mouths, 2) we feel rude if we butt into the conversation, 3) we don't want attention, or 4) we're tired and want to go home.

If an introvert acts like they want to go home, do not take it personally. It's not that they don't like you—it's just because introverts get utterly exhausted by people, and in order to keep from becoming grumpy and trollish, we have to go home and sit in silence for about 18028 hours (sliiiight exaggeration, I guess. Maybe.) to recharge and be ready to face the world once more. Again, it's not personal. Sometimes we even get tired of ourselves.

If an introvert stiffens when you give them a hug, again, do not take it personally. Well, I mean, if they just don't like you, that could be the case, but sometimes introverts just really, really like their personal space, and they don't like it invaded. I personally love hugs (not sure if I'm in the minority here), but some people don't. And getting hug after hug from someone I don't know well? Ehh . . .

If you meet an introvert online before you meet them in person, you may be kinda shocked at how quiet they can be in person as opposed to online. Do they have two personalities? No! Now, I can't speak for all introverts, obviously, but in my personal experience, if an introvert acts like an extrovert online, it's because we really feel more comfortable being ourselves when people aren't right there staring at us.

*gasp* Introverts are bubbly on the inside?

Actually, sometimes, yes. It's just a lot harder for us to open up and be ourselves face-to-face with real people. So when we act bubbly online as opposed to in person, it's often because we feel so much more confident when people can't actually see us. If that even makes sense.

So, sometimes when we seem to be super stuck-up or condescending, it's not because we actually are (I mean, sometimes, maybe, I guess, but everyone has their moments . . . ). We just feel really uncomfortable and out of our comfort zones, and don't know what to say, do or act. We feel conspicuous just by sneezing in a crowd. So next time you spend time with an introvert . . . be patient, 'kay?
Well, I hope that gave you a bit of insight into why we introverts are the way we are. Introverts: can you relate? Extroverts: does this help you understand us a bit more? ;)

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Never Compromise

You know that thing that you feel guilty about? That habit, or hobby that you sometimes think you should probably cut back on, but you like it too much? That little thing in your life that you think maybe God wouldn't approve of, but you keep justifying it because it really does have good things in it?

Give it up. Eventually, it'll lead to more and more compromise. This isn't what a relationship with God is meant to be like, friends. Don't let your relationship with Him become strained and distant because your priorities have become defined by what you enjoy, and not what He wills.

Obedience isn't pick-and-choose. You either obey or you don't. Never compromise, y'all. This is something that I struggle with so much. We don't get to pick and choose what morals we want to keep or throw away. Is there a book that you love and reread, but sometimes it puts the wrong thoughts in your head? A TV show that has negative scenes? A catchy song that has bad language? Even if they do have good parts, it's the bad parts that tend to stick in your mind. Be careful, y'all. It's the littlest things for which we need to watch out.

The Bible warns us about the devil sneaking into our homes. If he came through the front door, we'd recognize it. But no, he sneaks in and takes advantage of the weak ones. And the funny thing about weak people? They don't realize that they're weak until they're put to the test. Don't let a little giving in weaken your defense, y'all.

Never compromise.