Four Days

Not going to explain my title. You can just wonder your little heart out. It’s a mystery! (Oooh!)

I have spent more time devoted to pray in these last 3 1/2 days than I have in years. Also, I’ve spent more time in my bible per day than I ever have. I’ve done some reading during breakfast, while on lunch break, and right before bed. I’ve spent more time seeking counsel from people whom I trust to be solid believers that I have in…. literally forever.

And I have my answer. It’s firm, it’s supported by my mentors, my family, and most importantly, by scripture. My heart is a peace with this answer, totally. Every time I pray, every time I seek Him, every time I read (and I’m not selectively reading what I think will support my desires, trust me), I become more and more assured of what God wants for me. I’ve gone on walks and prayed out loud to God and been reassured. I’ve prayed in my head while I’m working up patients and been reassured. I’ve sang worship songs in the shower and been overwhelmingly reassured and comforted and wrapped up in God’s love.

I am not anxious, or worried, or fearful. I’ve never been so sure about something in my entire life.

However, I’m not the only human mind in this decision. So, I am restless. God has been so good to me, He has blessed me with frequent encouragers, kind coworkers, and good sleep (a very important gift!) as I have been fighting this restlessness. So ready for the conclusion. As encouraged and reassured as I have been about the outcome, I still won’t be totally at rest until I see it for myself. *sigh* Faith is hard. Leaning on God is hard. Not because of Him, but because of me. He’s proved me wrong in my worrying every single time in my life up until now, why I can’t just leap off the cliff and trust Him to catch me, I may never know… I guess thats a part of being human.

I’m running out of edge though. I’m slowly sliding off that cliff. He will catch me, but that doesn’t mean I won’t get an adrenaline rush on my way down.

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Lioness Arising

lioness

I’m in the process of reading a book titled “Lioness Arising” by Lisa Bevere. Very similar in feel to one of my favorite non-fiction books, “Captivating”, by John & Stasi Eldredge, it takes a deeper look at what makes a woman special, what her role in creation is, and what true femininity looks like through the eyes of God.

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Scripture is so rich with beautiful imagery, and just as C.S. Lewis portrays Jesus as a Great Lion (Aslan), so scripture calls Him “The Lion of the Tribe of Judah”.

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It also calls Him the Bridegroom, and we, the Bride of Christ. Lisa’s book takes the example given to us in creation of the dynamic of lions and shows us how to be the Lioness to the Lion of Judah. It’s so far been a wonderful read, I’ll be posting a full review of it to Goodreads once I’m finished with it. So far it has given me a fresh look at myself, reminded me that my power in Christ is far greater than I’m allowing it to be.

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As a child, my imagination was completely limitless. When arriving home from work, the very first thing my Dad would do was try to guess what animal I was that moment.

“Are you a horse? A puppy?”

“No Daddy today I’m a LION! RAWR!” 

It was a game I played constantly, changing animals several times a day. My grandmother (father’s side) fondly remembers my pretending to be a golden retriever named Goldy. (I said I had a good imagination, not that I was original.) She played along, and when she saw me climb on the couch, she snatched up a newspaper and declared that dogs are not allowed on the furniture!! She chased me up the stairs with the news paper, I ran (ON ALL FOURS, mind you) and dove under some potted plants to “hide”, laughing hysterically. Imagination has always been a huge part of my mental life. Even to this day I create elaborate stories in my head about people I see, conversations I’ve never had, or places I want to travel. Thus my love of fiction novels.

But this notion of being a mighty lioness, lead by the Almighty Lion of Judah into a mission of eternal importance is not just a fairytale, a childhood game of pretend, or a silly day dream. It’s real. 

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In my own strength, I’m far from fearless. But the more I learn to trust in the leadership of my Heavenly Father, the greater my courage becomes. It’s a thrilling feeling.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pictures I found while searching the web for some quotes to go along with this otherwise short post. I cannot yet recommend the book, as I haven’t finished reading it yet, but I couldn’t stop myself from sharing the those thoughts I’ve had so far. 🙂 Hope you enjoyed it.

~TQG

Aslan

Home Sick

No, not sick for home, or sick of home, but literally sent home from work because I’m sick. Can’t be sneezing and sniffling when you’re supposed to be examining peoples eyes.

Not happy about missing 7 of my 8 hours, but it’s a welcome break all the same. Hopefully by tomorrow I’ll be feeling well, and not miss a second day.

It’s been a good thing though… I spent some time reading James, journaling, and dealing with some things I’ve had on my heart. I had a sudden paradigm shift this afternoon as I wrote in my prayer journal. For years, whenever I’ve struggled with something, I’ve prayed for God to removed the obstacle, or to give me the strength to overcome it. I’ll be very honest, when praying this way, I’ve never really had much success. Today as I sat there trying to understand why, I realized I’ve had the wrong motives. I could have just as easily said “God, make my life easy so I don’t have to struggle”, or “God, make me strong so I can figure things out on my own”. That may not have been what I said, but if I’m honest, it is most definitely what I was asking for. And when I asked with those motives, it was like talking to brick wall.

Today as I began to pray, I changed the emphasis: “Jesus, show me how to rely on Your strength, to rest in Your righteousness. Make my heart sensitive to Your heart, and Your desires, align it with Your plan. Embolden it with Your courage and confidence that only Your Spirit can supply. Be my strength when I am weak.” The power I felt as I wrote these words down in a letter to God was amazing. There is power in prayer! Amazing, beautiful, awe-inspiring power! Like feeling the Holy Spirit smile as if to say, “Ahh, there you go. Now you’re getting it.” 

Really refreshing and encouraging feeling.

In other news, I’ve redesigned this blog! It was in need of a serious upgrade. If you’re an email subscriber and don’t visit the actual blog, please do come check it out! I intend to continue to personalize it as I have the time. Hoping to find a header image that better reflects the theme of my posts. Feel free to send me ideas if you come across something.

I’ve now been at the clinic for 9 weeks! I’m enjoying my work there, and eager to continue learning more. Also, my Dad and I have been attending a new church and we’re really loving it. (If I’ve mentioned this before here, just ignore me, I’m sick and on lots of cold meds.) So I’m very excited about that. 🙂

Beyond that, I’ve got nothing new to report!

I’m gunna try and get over this nasty cold now! 😛 Go do something fun outside in my place! 🙂

~TQG

Flowers

“A wallflower in a world of social butterflies.”

The tagline for my blog has been the same since the day I started this blog, but I don’t believe I’ve ever truly explained it’s origin or it’s personal meaning to me. So I’ve decided that today is the day!

Dictionary.com defines “wallflower” as “a person who, because of shyness, unpopularity, or lack of a partner, remains at the side at a party or dance.” Though I do tend to be less myself in a group setting and thus mingle on the sidelines a lot, that isn’t my definition of wallflower.

A flower is simple, yet stunningly beautiful. Clothed in more splendor than Solomon!

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. ~Luke 12:27

A flower does not seek attention, nor crave it. Flowers are sought out because of their beauty and pleasant aroma, as a way of showing love, affection and good intentions to others. Sympathy, because they bring color and life, a peace offering, because they’re tender and gentle. Butterflies seek out flowers to sustain life, they come and visit the flower for a short time to refuel, and then travel on to the next flower, resting for a moment on the petals sometimes as they drink.

Maybe I’m reaching a bit, but aren’t we as Believers supposed to be like flowers in a world of lost butterflies? Letting them drink deep of Christ’s love through us if they so choose, and being available to them when they need us, but not fluttering about in their faces, trying to get them to come look at US and how pretty WE are and how amazing WE are. Allowing the aroma of Christ to draw them to us in a way that show’s His glory, not ours.

For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.” ~2 Corinthians 2:15

I see very few, if any, examples of Jesus trying to gain more followers. I see a lot of examples of Jesus being a pleasant aroma of love and forgiveness, letting people come to Him when they’ve finally decided their way wasn’t working so well. Jesus is attractive, in the sense that His character is welcoming, loving, but also strong, and a little bit wild.

Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

“He’s wild, you know. Not like a tame lion.”

~C.S. Lewis, Chronicles of Narnia

I see so much raw, wild beauty in being a follower of Christ. His aroma is on us, running through our veins. If we just take the time to tap into it and let it flow freely, people will notice. Like a single wildflower in a dried up prairie, the little lost butterflies will seek us out when they need something that can sustain them on their journey. And even when they fly away from us, the nourishment Christ provided through us will stay with them as a constant reminder.

How amazing is that? That is why I strive to be a wallflower in a world of social butterflies. Maybe one day I’ll be a wildflower, but then again, maybe there are butterflies who wouldn’t be able to find me if I were in the middle of the crowd. Ya never know. Either way, God is awesome, and His wild beauty is beyond words.

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Delight Yourself In The Lord

Trust in the Lord and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord;
trust in him and he will do this:
He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn,
your vindication like the noonday sun.
Be still before the Lord
and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when people succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

~Psalm 37:3-7

Today the church service I usually go to got canceled because of a church event, and I wasn’t feeling particularly social, at least not social enough to go to a church event, so my dad and I watched this service from Liberty University instead.

Such an encouraging message, exactly what I needed to hear today. Highly recommended. In a time when I’ve felt like I’m barely surviving work, this message reminded me that I don’t have to be serving as a missionary in some foreign country to glorify God. I am a missionary every time my fingers touch my keyboard, every time my feet leave my front yard, and especially when I clock in at Petsmart. And that is something I desperately needed to be refreshed on. “Trust in the Lord and do good”, it’s not complicated. Trust God, live in a way that honors Him. It’s not about how many people you lead to Christ or how many enemies of the faith you win arguments with, it’s about the way you live. The thing God wants from us more than anything is our love, and when we love Him, our lives will reflect His glory in a way that attracts people. It opens the door to tell people why you’re so different from the world around you. Doesn’t mean they will necessarily drop what they’re doing and follow Jesus, but they certainly won’t forget the light they saw in you. Maybe they’ll ignore it, or maybe they’ll seek out the same light for themselves one day, but that’s between them and God, you planted the seed. I don’t know about you, but that is exciting to me. 🙂

Anyway, it feels like an eternity since I’ve been really encouraged, so I just had to share it. I hope this message encourages you too.

~TQG

Food Network Christianity

Today a Facebook friend who I oddly enough have never met in person and rarely talk to had a really cool post that I want to share with you. (I asked his permission first! :D)

His name is Liam, I creepily stalk follow he and his girlfriend on twitter & Instagram because I think they are a cute, Godly couple. You can find them here: His, Hers. (Also both their names start with “L” which is also cute!)

Periodically, I feel the need to write a long post of thoughts I had throughout the day. This is one of those, so brace yourself haha. Also, not all my thoughts are complete and it’s kind of a quickly-typed up mess, so please bear with me. I hope the point gets across.
I came across a verse today that I glance over reasonably often. It’s the kind of verse that people frame and hang on the walls of their home, or a verse that gets slapped onto the bumpers of cars, or one that you see put on mugs.
This basically means that it’s the kind of verse that I look over and ignore. It’s heard so often that it means nothing to me. But when I heard it today, I felt particularly drawn to it. It’s Psalm 34:8:
“Taste and see that the LORD is good”.
Here’s why it stuck out to me today. I think that too many Christians are similar to people who like to watch the Food Network channel. In other words, we watch people make/eat delicious food, but if you’re like me, you’ll never actually make it for yourself haha. You know that the food is probably awesome, but you never actually taste it. You just assume that it’s good.
This transposes to what I’m talking about, because I find myself talking about the goodness of God, knowing that he is good, and having faith that he is good in spite of the bad things I go through, but never truly tasting the goodness of God and feeling it’s benefits. When that’s all we do, we become like the person watching the Food Network. We know that the stuff they’re making must be good, but we never actually taste it. If anything, this verse makes one thing abundantly clear:
God wants us to taste his goodness.
Knowing that God is good is great, and I would never discourage having faith in the goodness of God. But unless you taste and see his goodness, then how can it actually help you? I’m sorry, but watching somebody eat food on TV never once satisfied my hunger haha. And I think that most people are hungry for the goodness of God in their lives.
This then begs the question: how can we taste and see the goodness of God? Well, I think that the answer to this question is actually found in the same chapter, in verses 18-19:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous person may have many troubles,
but the Lord delivers him from them all;”
If you’re looking to taste of God’s goodness by experiencing a pain and trouble-free life, then I’m sorry, but you’re looking in the wrong place. In this verse alone, David uses words like “brokenhearted”, “crushed in spirit”, and “many troubles” to describe the righteous person. Christianity doesn’t promise that you will never experience hardship, but here’s what it does promise: We can taste the goodness of God and find comfort in him *through* our hardships. God will be close to us when we are broken hearted. He will save us when we feel crushed. He will deliver us when we have many troubles.
Taste the goodness of God when you are brokenhearted by knowing and feeling that he is close to you. Build your relationship with him. Encounter Him in your prayers, because he is close to you.
Taste the goodness of God when you are crushed in spirit by knowing and believing that God crushed His own Son so you could experience healing: “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). This is more than just head knowledge — this is something that can radically change us. God offers you spiritual healing through the sacrifice that Jesus gave, and this is something he makes readily available. I don’t think there is any better way to taste the goodness of God than when we grab onto the truths of the cross.
Taste the goodness of God when you have many troubles by stepping out in faith and believing that God will deliver you from those things and sustain you. Christ did more than just die. He rose and he is living to act on our behalf by interceding for us. He has also given us His Spirit, which will strengthen us in times of conflict. Again, this can be so much more than head knowledge. These are truths we can experience.
I would encourage you to stop trying to see the goodness of God in *spite* of your bad circumstances. Ignoring the bad things and looking at the happy things won’t always fix the problem. This isn’t to say that we can’t taste the goodness of God in the happy things of life, because I think we most definitely can and should. But this passage takes us so much deeper than that. According to these verses, we can taste and see the goodness of God *through* our *bad* circumstances. Even the bad things of life are conduits through which the goodness of God can be conducted — that’s the God that we serve.
Taste of His goodness. Don’t be a Food Network watcher.

– @leeman729 (Twitter)

 

A Taste Of Adventure

So I’ve been back from Oklahoma for a few days now, been back to work, back in my own bed, back to the daily grind. (Does no one else think of coffee when you hear that phrase? It makes me want coffee…)

My second day back was kinda crazy, my mom came into my room and woke me up with the words “Moriah, I need your help, there’s blood all over the kitchen floor.” As it turned out, my rambunctious and prey driven dog Camo, an Akita/Labrador cross, took off so hard that he ripped open his claw horizontally, all the way into the toe. Looked like a crime scene. I took him to the vet who sedated him, cut off the dangling portion of claw, cleaned it with a saline wash and squirted superglue into the open part of the claw to prevent bleeding. After a day of being high on drugs, he was still whimpering from pain and his toe very swollen, so the vet gave him three pills to take daily, a pain reliever, an anti-inflammatory and an antibiotic. Now he seems much more comfortable and much happier, though still limping some. Silly pup.

My trip was great! Getting to travel alone was very confidence boosting. Nice to know that I can as a matter of fact, make it on my own. Be independent. The wedding was great, I met lots of interesting, fun people, and I had a lot of spontaneous fun, both solo and with my cousins friends. I swam in a saltwater pool every day at the hotel, went to a free concert downtown with a group of people, walked to little cafe’s and diners alone downtown several times, and experienced the fear/rush of having to find my departure gate in the Atlanta airport. Which ended up being a long walk, train ride, and two escalators away from my arrival gate. It was such a liberating time. I actually felt like an adult, not in the “back to work to earn money because I’m an adult” way that I normally do, but in the “I can make decisions for myself and find my own way without help because I’m an adult” way. Normally, because I live with my parents, if I get invited to something or want to go somewhere, I have to ask them first and can’t really be “spontaneous”. But while I was there, no one was really “responsible” for me, my grandparents sort of were, but not to the same degree as my parents would be. So when I was invited somewhere or decided I wanted to walk to a cafe and get lunch, I just went. Maybe told them I was leaving before I went, but didn’t “ask permission” to go. It was awesome. It made me wish I could afford a small apartment of my own nearby, so I could have that sort of freedom at home. But, sadly, a part time Pet Care Associate at Petsmart does not make enough to pay rent or water or electric bills. Unless you want to go without food. Then it might be possible!

The month after next I’ll be turning 21. If you follow my blog and read it much I’m sure you’ll correctly assume that they’ll be no “partying” or getting drunk for my 21st, but there WILL be alcohol. Not much, just some. There’s an apple ale that I’ve wanted to try for a long time, so I’m thinking of buying just one bottle (beer bottle sized bottle) of it to try. It’ll probably be nasty, but that’s okay. If I’ve never made it clear before, I don’t have an issue with drinking, I have an issue with getting drunk. So, if you can’t have just one glass of wine or just one beer, don’t drink. If that’s not a temptation for you, by all means, enjoy your one glass. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol and probably should not drink, so if that’s you, don’t. Some people have alcoholism in their family history and thus wish to avoid it altogether, and I highly respect and honor that decision, and if it bothers them to have others drink around them, I would definitely never drink while with them. If I married a man who felt that way, it would be my pleasure to honor him by never drinking again. But, as that is not the case for my birthday, I’m going to have my one small drink. Funny enough, I love margaritas, but only when there isn’t any tequila in them. I like just the crushed ice and the fruit flavored mix, so it’s like a slushy. Tequila is so sharp, it ruins it completely. Which amused my father when he made me an alcohol-free margarita a while back. ^_^ I think they call that a “virgin” margarita, but I have an issue with using the word virgin to describe anything other than what the bible uses it for. Just a personal preference, I like to keep certain important words holy.

I think that’s one of the ways our culture has degraded itself, using meaningful words flippantly so many times that they no longer have weight when used. Much like the word “awesome”, which should mean “inspires awe”, but we use it to describe everything. I’m guilty of this too, but after trying for like a month to stop using it, I never managed to prevent it from slipping out. So I gave up. 😛 I don’t think God minds, or at least he hasn’t seen fit to press upon me the need to change that verbal habit. And he does with other things regularly. Such as “suck”, as in “that sucks” which I feel very convicted about not using, “screwed up”, “pissed off” or using “god” as an expression of anything other than speaking about God himself. Though the first three of those are not “bad words” per se, I feel that the use of them is tacky, degrading, and does not conform to any of the biblical standards of what our speech should be as holy children of God. And the bible makes it extremely clear that God’s name is holy and not to be misused, so it’s important to me to honor that.

For those of my non-Christian followers who look at Christianity as a list of do’s and don’ts, I hope you realize that I don’t put these parameters on myself because I think God won’t love me if I don’t or because I think it’s what I have to do, I do it because God died for me so I can have eternal life, and I want to honor him in anyway I possibly can. I do it because I want to. Because by doing it, I set a better example of the purity of Christ, so others will be less distracted by me and more attracted to Him. My personality, my appearance, are works of art that he created, drawing some attention to myself in the right way is fine, but distracting people with crass speech or unkind words is not. Or immodest clothing, actually. Immodest clothes distract the minds of both men and women and takes their thoughts off of what is pure and right and tempts them into either lustful thoughts or criticizing thoughts, whereas attractive, modest clothing causes appreciation of the excellent design and beauty God created. Which I think it pretty awesome.

Anyway, I’m kind of wasting my day off by sitting on the couch in gym cloths. I will actually go to the gym…. Eventually…

An Egg

It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad.

~C. S. Lewis