September 26, 2014

On the Edge | Compassion Prayer Walk

This is so easy. So so easy. Today I'm hopping over to Compassion's website, trying something new.
It's like a prayer walk, but online. 
In my own house. 
If you've got even two minutes, you can join me! Compassion has pictures of needy children waiting for a sponsor all over their website. I'm going to click a few sweet faces and pray over their lives. I'll beg God for a sponsor to help each one. I'll pray over their health, families, and for their salvation.

See? This is one of those easy baby steps towards the edge that actually, for real, makes a difference. 
Because I believe in the power of prayer. 
Join me, will you? I'll be over here!

September 22, 2014

It's not a Balance Thing

I'm not an easy-going person. If I had to describe myself as either "laid back" or "up tight" it would definitely be the latter. Which means I'm very punctual, precise, self-motivated, and driven. My energy is either directed 100% towards a cause... or not at all.
So I've always struggled with this balance thing. 
See, I've read a lot of words and heard a lot of talks
that I've walked away from thinking that a "good Christian life" is a balance. 

The area that's on my heart right now is that of health, eating, and exercise. I believe many people are caught in idolatry - myself included - in this area. We either obsess over health and being fit - or throw our health out the window and obsess over eating. And remember how I said I'm an all-out driven person? So I find myself parked in either of these idol camps way, way, too often. Seeing as these two temples are located at opposite ends of the spectrum, it would seem that a healthy God-honoring place is in the middle. In the balance. 

But guess what. God talked to me. I was begging Him to be a good father to me because I'm such a lost little girl sometimes. I'll have to beg more often in the future, because He left me silly-stunned, blessed by Him.Thankfully I had my journal handy. This, my friends, is what I wrote. Raw from my journal, a shard of my heart.
I've been trying to find a balance between obsessing over food and obsessing over health/skinniness, but God just told me something. What if it's not a balance at all, but an all-out feast on God? What if the key is not controlling my actions/desires, but letting myself be controlled by Him? 
BAM! Mind blown. 

Because of course God isn't in the middle of this spectrum of idol camps. He's God, for goodness sake! And God's not in the same dimension as idols. He's got nothing in common with them. 

I refuse to believe that God is in the middle of a row of idols. 

If that thought weren't horrifying enough, I've found that I wasn't created to stand steady in the balance-middle-tightrope place. God made me with a drive to run somewhere far, and the legs to get me there. Remember my 100% or nothing tendency?
It's really that simple. Huh. 
Not money....God.
Not food.....God.
Not appearances.....God.
Not health......God.
Not friends....God.

But all those other things? God's word says they will be given to us after we seek God (His "kingdom and his righteousness") in Matthew 6:25-34. So we get to feast on God and get our physical human needs fulfilled. 

This anti-balance principle is written all over the Bible, now that my mind has been sufficiently blown. Take Colossians 2:21- 3:4, where Paul admonishes the Colossians for sticking to the dimension of this world, following it's rules, self-imposed worship, and harsh treatment of the body. He goes on to tell the Colossians to set their hearts - their want-to and motivation - on a different dimension. The dimension above this world, where Christ is. 
Guys, I'm sick and tired of this balance thing. I'm on a mission, 100%. An all-out feast. 
Towards God. 
Want to join me? It's gonna be a wild ride!

September 19, 2014

On the Edge | Hope in a Bag

Many times I feel like I should be doing something "worthwhile" with my life. You know, feeding starving children on the streets or starting a bakery that sold only products made with fair trade ingredients. 
In my heart I know these are noble things and that they would be powerful tools to grow God's kingdom. 
But I also know they aren't realistic for me. Right now. 
And that makes me feel a bit guilty and un-motivated as I step glibly through my little life, sitting for hours reading or spending my time and sweat on an awesome workout. 
But what if I could do something worthwhile with my life? Not that reading or working out or having fun or holding down a job aren't worthwhile; on the contrary, the Bible says that everything - eating, drinking, talking, working - should be done to the glory of God. And I believe that God works mightily through everyday moments. 
But somewhere inside I have a desire to do something more. To not only live these everyday moments for Christ, but to also stretch my little life and step closer to the edge. Where I can see the view of God's power sweeping over the earth. 
And I believe that God has given me opportunities to do just that. I just need to take a step forward and take them!

The first opportunity I've decided to grab onto is "Hope in a bag." It addresses the problem of homeless or begging people who are needy for food, items for everyday life, and - most of all - Jesus. This project takes all these things and packages them in a ziplock, ready to change a person's life at a moment's notice. 

There are tons of options to stock your bag with, but here are some ideas. This is not an extensive list! Just think about what you'd need if you suddenly found yourself out of a home, job or food... mostly it's cheap, everyday things I already have around my house. 
Grab a gallon ziplock bag and pick about ten of the following: (you're stepping forward with me, right?)

  • Bar soap
  • Small stick deodorant
  • Hand warmers 
  • Pen
  • Small pad of paper
  • Comb
  • Pair of new socks 
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Small pack of tissues
  • Chapstick 
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix 
  • Nuts/seeds 
  • Bottle of water
  • Small Bible/New Testament

Use your imagination - I bet you won't even have to step outside your house to fill a gallon bag! You will need to devote some prayer and thought into the most important item in that bag, though. Write a short note that offers encouragement and an invitation to accept God's love and salvation, and stick it in there. 
Hope in a Bag is meant too be kept in your car, and whenever you pass a homeless person or someone who is begging, you will have something powerful to give to them. 
Because I believe there is power in that note you wrote. 
I believe that God honors even the little ways we shine with His love.
Congratulations, you have just stepped with me onto the edge... where we'll be stretched and vulnerable... but where the view of God's power is so, so worth it!

September 15, 2014

Five Minute Peanut Butter Soft Serve

Once and a while I'll come across a healthy dessert recipe that is easy and that actually tastes good. On an even rarer occasion, I'll find a recipe that I love with a passion and that is healthy enough to eat for breakfast. Like, every day. And recipes like that are worth sharing! Thus, I present to you my Five Minute Peanut Butter Soft Serve!
This peanut butter ice cream is so rich and creamy I often have to give myself a little pep-talk: it's just like eating peanut butter and a banana with a glass of milk! Relax, and enjoy your ice cream! Because it's seriously that good. Mom and little brother approved. ;) I use a Magic Bullet, which is probably why this recipe takes just five minutes, but it would probably turn out in a blender as well.

Five Minute Peanut Butter Soft Serve

Serves 1

  • 1 frozen banana, in chunks
  • 1/2 c. milk or cream (raw if possible; cream makes it so so much richer but milk is still delicious)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I use the natural stuff you have to stir up - the less processed, the better)
  • Pinch salt 
  • Dash vanilla

Dump everything in a Magic Bullet or similar blender and blend until smooth. I usually have to stop the blending and shake it up a few times to get everything moving around. If the banana chunks won't go away, add a bit more milk/cream. 

Variations: The salt and vanilla are optional. Try adding cocoa powder for a chocolate peanut butter version! I have also added chia seeds or powdered herbs.
I often eat this for breakfast after my workout (actually it's more like every day...), because it's important to replenish your body's carbohydrates (banana) and protein (peanut butter and milk) after working out! I also love peanut butter with a passion, so I will take almost any opportunity to enjoy it! Let me know what you think, or if you try it in a traditional blender... or come up with fantastic new variations!

September 2, 2014

How to Turn This Shaking Life into Something Crazy-Beautiful

Sometimes my life seems to hang by a thread. This life - the one life I've been entrusted with - grows thin and shaky. Devoid of the fullness Christ died to give me. I struggle through my days, hoping circumstances will change. Because then my life will be robust and full. If things were different, I'd be happy. If things were better, my life would be worth so much more. 

Sometimes I look down and tell God that this thread I'm dangling from isn't enough. That it won't hold me, this fragile leaf of a life. 
Sometimes I squeeze my eyes tight closed when the wind spins me in crazy circles and I wish for calm. 

But in those moments of fear, I don't see the kolidescope of colors flashing around as I twirl dizzy. With eyes closed and wishing, I forget that Christ is holding me. I forget that this life, it's Christ. And Christ isn't a spiderweb that is likely to snap. 
I gave my life to Him, and now He's asking me to throw open my arms and laugh along with the winds that spin me to see God's grace all around. He's asking me to forget how thin my thread of a life looks and to remember that Christ gives me abundant life - because He is life Himself - and all I need to do is open my eyes clenched tight and see it. To forget my fear and live with abandon. Right now. 

I have to remind myself that abundant life can't be found in tomorrow. Abundant life wouldn't be life if it was in the yesterday, dead and gone. So somehow, I need to keep finding Christ's life - abundant, vibrant, giddy with joy life - in the now. 
Because this life...
is beautiful.