Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Abundant Grace

“A wretched, poor, and helpless worm, On Thy kind arms I fall.” These are the words found on the tomb of William Corey, brought to my attention by John Piper. As I read up on Corey I found that he is considered the father of modern missions. He was a poor man of poor health, in an era that decidedly didn’t believe in evangelism. Something changed in him though, a fire in his bones that made him want to be different, it made him passionate for telling others about Jesus. People thought he was mad, surly there were points where he thought he was going mad. Amazingly, it was his literal blood, sweat, and rivers of tears that forced open the gate of evangelism in India. He is one of my hero’s.
At first his epitaph horrified me, then it challenged me, finally it comforted me. I found that it is part of Hymn 2:90 by Isaac Watts. More importantly though, I spent an entire worship service bawling in absolute joy and gratitude, that I too; a wretched, poor and helpless worm, am able to fall with complete peace into the kind arms of my Lord. Even to death, when this life is over, and what little worthless rags I had I have offered to my God, He will wrap me in his arms and say “Well done, good and faithful servant”(Matt 25:21). What part of me is good? What part faithful? However, in Him I am covered in the blood of Christ, through Him I am good. May he never stop making, shaping, and changing me. May I never find myself at a lack of grateful love for His abiding goodness and mercy! Thank you Lord

More on Corey: 

Friday, November 16, 2012


It is amazing what God can teach us through little everyday ordeals. Today I found myself standing, frustrated, and staring condescendingly at a small glass perfume container. The large gemstone that usually sat proudly on top, no longer furnished its sheik exterior. Furthermore, once found, it adamantly refused to be put back in its place. I lingered there, looking at the bottle with grim dissatisfaction. Luckily (before I decided to waste my time attempting to superglue it back on) I realized that the gaudy plastic stone meant absolutely nothing to me. Surprise! It was a sudden fit of clarity that reminded me how little the stone mattered in comparison to what was inside the bottle. I had hardly bought the perfume for its container, or the ornaments on it. I had, in fact, purchased if for the sweet smelling contents.
I smiled at my own foolishness as I threw the rock out. How often do I judge even myself on my outside appearance, or my presentation of myself? I am so careful to make good impressions; to be considerate and not to insult anyone. Why do I care so much what people think? If people are around me I hope it is for my inner sweetness, and the light of Christ in me, pouring out when it is needed. That they find pleasure in who I am, under all the pretense on the outside. Not to say I don’t need an outside, any more than my perfume doesn’t need a container, but it is useless if what is inside isn’t sweet and of far less importance.
This led me to another thought, if I could no longer access the perfume inside; should the mechanism break, the entire thing would be no use to me. If the sweetness inside is no longer accessible to me in any way (no matter how pretty the exterior), I would have no further use for it. It would still be perfume; however it would be making no more difference than undrinkable water in a jar. This idea is mirrored in many places in the Bible (ex. Matt 5:13-14, 23, John 15:2). This is something we need to be wary of in our own lives! We need to remain in God, and Him in us (John 15:4) and let our life shine as a light for others (Matt 5:16).

God forgive me, I know how often I sit before you showing you that same presence I show others, like some silly useless plastic rock, when all you desire is the sweet fragrance of my praise when I finally open up to you! May my life be like the perfume Mary poured on your feet, giving all as a sweet fragrance to you!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Life, Worth, and Something Like the Art of Being Busy

I’m good at busy, unfortunately. I can fill my schedule like a pro, right to the brink of insanity. It started when I got into college at sixteen. Being home-schooled I felt like maybe I owed life a little extra work, and I wanted to succeed, so I learned quickly. Chicago-land is a good place to learn the art of busy, everyone knows the gig, and those too slow get left behind. Somehow my life seemed to feel so successful being busy. School, study, working out, Bible study, friends, cleaning, housekeeping/cooking (with mom working/in school), reading, church, volunteering, and in my (non-esixtant) spare time nanny-ing (from 3:30-8am for a while). Somewhere in all of that apparently I started finding or defining my self-worth with my accomplishments. My merit went up and down with my productivity.
Suddenly... I am graduated. Here I am, looking for a job, finding myself at a bit of a loss. What do I do? Doesn't matter, and I'll tell you why: It struck me, or rather God struck me, with a word about my worth. He told me I am worth something to Him; that in Him and through Him, I am beautiful and worthwhile. Furthermore, even if I couldn’t walk, or talk, or do anything “useful,” I am still worthwhile. It makes sense, sort of, and I know that it is true. Judging my own worth by my works is a habit well worth kicking. The Bible says in Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags.” Compared to God, even what we accomplish is worth nothing, however, in and through Him all that we are is worthwhile. What we “do” is just the practice of our faith and carrying out of His plan for us, it isn’t “proving” our worth to the world.
The point is, I am going to stop judging me by what I get done. I can’t make other people see my innate worth, but that is ok. I don’t have to prove myself to men, I don’t have to validate my continued attendance on this planet. God will give me what work He desires me to do, at the right time. Until then, I will do what He has asked me in this space of time, even if it seems menial to me. Pressure off. See? Learning to be Weird, thanks Craig Groechel.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Self- Esteem and God

I wrote this because it has been on my heart the last few days. I know how relevant it is and how many people (including myself) struggle with it. I am always trying to build people up, and having these thoughts combined and synthesized was helpful for me. The truth is, I did six years of college so that I would have the chance to encourage, build up, and help people draw closer to the living God. I hope this is helpful to anyone who chances to stumble across this. :) 


Not only do most people deal with self-esteem issues, it is especially a hard area for young people.  Self-esteem often plays a role in issues like depression, substance use, aggression, and anxiety. The company Dove did some research on woman and self-esteem, and found some surprising facts.
-Only 4% of woman ages 18-29 (much lower if you broaden the age range), worldwide consider themselves beautiful
-Also, it was largely found, that especially for woman, how one is treated and feels loved has an impact on how beautiful they feel (being loved was 88% of 100%)
-Their respondents felt that despite how harshly they judged themselves, that internal beauty was more important, and that there are many kinds of beauty.

I found very little research on self-esteem and boys, and I am sorry for that. It seems to be must harder to research, however, from what I did find, and have personally seen, self-esteem is definitely an issue for guys as well. While guys seem to joke a lot, there is a definite stigma and an expectation that guys feel they have to be met to be respected and worth while.
We, as Christians, believe that every person is a unique and beautiful creation of God. Everyone is worth loving and has something to give to the world. This is something we need to be communicating with those around us.

So here are four things to think about and use when helping others with self-esteem:
-First, use the Bible: There are tons of great bible verses on how much God loves us. More than that, the whole Bible really is telling a story about how God so loved each and every one of us. If God loved us enough to die to save us, we are worth Jesus own life to God, we are precious. Here are some verses you can give to a person struggling with self-esteem:
    -Psalm 139
    -Isaiah 64:8
    -1 Jn 3:1-2
    -1 Cor 6:20
These are SO important because they will help combat those things a person tells themself. Each person has beliefs and thoughts about themselves, who they are, and what they are worth, these “automatic thoughts” are constantly coming. These thoughts can be constructive or destructive. If the thoughts are constantly degrading, having scriptures ready to combat the thoughts will be instrumental in changing a person’s attitude about themself.

-Second, start with yourself. It will be hard to help someone else do something you have no done. We all have areas of ourselves that we feel weak in, but we need to give these to God. The Bible says that in our weakness, he is strong, so it is through our own lack that God can work (2 Cor. 12:9). Take some time this week to sit and think about your own self-esteem. What areas would you like to change? Can you/do you love yourself anyway? Do you believe Jesus really loves you just the way you are? Can you love yourself the way Jesus loves you? Think about what sort of images you saw as a child and thought were perfection. How do you measure up to those? Remember, self-esteem is not a one-time thing. Situations all week will lead us to question our worth, keep going back to God and letting those concerns go to Him. Ask him to help you build your self-esteem; your feelings of self-worth.

-Also, encourage health. Again, this will start with you. People who act and feel healthy tend to have much better self-esteem. Encourage being active, eating healthy, and having quality relationships with the people around them.

-Lastly, when you are talking with a person, be ready to take them the way they are. You can’t force someone to see their own worth, but they will start to see it through how you see them. Encourage them, more than just what they wear or what they do, but for who they are and the unique talents they have. If they tell you that they play basketball pretty well, be ready to compliment them as a person for being skilled, dedicated, or athletic. If they look nice, say they are a very stylish person, opposed to just telling them having a nice outfit. If they are helpful, thank them, and tell them what a cool person they are.