There is no cost

March 4, 2009

Warning: this is a late night blog. which means it isn’t eloquently written and contains tons of grammatical errors, so for all the grammar police out there, deal with it :p

I will waste my life, I’ll be tested and tried
With no regrets inside of me just to find I’m at Your feet

I’ll leave my father’s house and I’ll leave my mother
I’ll leave all I have known and I’ll have no other

I am in love with You There is no cost
I am in love with You There is no loss
I am in love with You I want to take Your name
I am in love with You I want to cling to You Jesus
Just let me cling to You Jesus

I’ll say goodbye to my father my mother
I’ll turn my back on every other love and
I’ll press on yes I’ll press on

 Okay, so this isn’t the best video but I do like it. This song “I Will Waste My Life” by Misty Edwards is such a beautiful depiction of a relationship with Jesus.

            I first heard this song at my friend Fallon’s concert and it brought me to tears. One, her voice is absolutely amazing and two, because of the simple yet extremely thought provoking lyrics.

At the time I heard this song, God, I felt like, had been calling me to a life of missions… whether it be local or overseas I wasn’t sure of at the time, but what I did know was that I was called to a life of full time ministry, which up until that point was just a fun thing to dream and talk about. Then God hit me with something, almost as soon as the words “I’ll leave my father’s house and I’ll leave my mother” reached my ears, He made it clear to me that this call wasn’t going to be easy. There is going to be heartache. To leave EVERYTHING I know would be much easier said than done. I began to envision the conversations I would have to have with my family members, telling them that I was leaving, and out of nowhere I began to cry. It occurred to me that eventually my call was going to lead me overseas, and this life of comfort would be gone. All goals and aspirations I had for myself would have to take a back seat in order for me to fully pursue Jesus and where He wanted to take me and He was beginning to prepare my heart for that. Then after the storm of tears came the overwhelming calm of knowing…it is completely worth it.

 

The song continued with this:

I am in love with You There is no cost
I am in love with You There is no loss
I am in love with You I want to take Your name
I am in love with You I want to cling to You Jesus
Just let me cling to You Jesus

 

I’m in love you see. And if I have to leave all I’ve known to chase after my Love I will. This Love makes all other things fade into the back to the point that leaving them isn’t even a loss.

 

But God has given me time to really lay some things down. In the video you my have noticed at one point, one of the background dancers gets on one knee, proposing to the main dancer. Now back tracking a little bit, one of those goals and aspirations that I mentioned would have to take a backseat to my calling, is my desire of a nice, stable life here in the U.S, with a nice marriage and nice kids living in a beautiful home with a white picket fence (kidding about the fence, but you get the point). In the video that is one of the temptations that could have potentially kept the girl from running after her Love and it truly is something that I had to ask God to make me okay with not having and to help me see past it in order to really see Him. I’ve come to realize that I want to take His name above any other that might come into my life. Now I’m not saying that because I’m chasing God I can’t get married and have kids, but it does mean I’ve had to ask God to make my heart feel okay if I don’t. It also means that if God does bless me with a family it most likely isn’t going to be the way I thought it would or in the time frame I initially hoped for (much later). It probably means that we may live overseas for a while, it may mean that our kids will be born somewhere other than the U.S, and it most definitely means I’m not going to just marry any guy that’ll pop the question, it means this guy will have to want to serve overseas and be okay if our lifestyles aren’t as comfortable as most. Actually, he has to be more than okay with it, he has to want that lifestyle because God has called him to live that way as well.

 

The song later intensifies with this:

I’ll say goodbye to my father my mother
I’ll turn my back on every other love and
I’ll press on yes I’ll press on

 

Basically, this is my promise to my Love.

 

 

 

 

oh technology

December 28, 2008

just wanted to see if I could post a blog from the itouch…turns out I can….what’s this world coming to???

“…this is what I’ve learned, emotional attachment is really not a threat when I’m simply not concerned…”

-Relient K

 

            So confession time, yes I am very loud, yes I have a tendency to talk to much, and yes I am very “people oriented”. But for a while now I have really been fighting the urge to stray away from community and almost completely disengage myself from others. I’ve had to force myself to spend time with people, especially my family. The strange part of it all is how these temptations just sort of crept up on me. I can go weeks without realizing what’s happening, it took my staff workers from IVCF and some of my sisters from church to get me to notice. Unfortunately I unintentionally tend to wear my heart on my sleeve…or maybe I should say fortunately. I know God has not designed me to seclude myself from others, so why is it so hard for me lately to want to be around people? Why can’t I seem to get out of this funk? And this negative desire I have to drift from community has seemed to have a dominoe affect on a lot of my attitudes. I find myself being really cynical, skeptical, and sometimes plain apathetic towards things, situations, and worse, people. This isn’t how I want to be. This isn’t who I am, I know it. So what’s the problem? Why does my heart feel so heavy lately? I know God is already working on this. He has to be. I know He desires for me to love, and for my heart to be fully engaged in whatever He has me doing. So that’s why I have to fight, I can’t get sucked into this pessimistic way of living, not again. God has brought me to far to revert back to my old ways. There is a silver lining to all of this though, knowing I need to battle these feelings forces me to engage and interact with God, because the truth of the matter is, I can’t fight these things, I know I can’t, so He offers me His hand, His strong, gentle, caring, amazing, beautiful, encouraging, challenging helpful hand, to pull me out so He can fight for me, and what’s beautiful is all I have to do is reach out and ask. But sometimes that is so much harder than it sounds

       Well that’s what has been on my heart lately. God is funny, He knows that I have been wanting to get away from people for a while so what does He do? Send me on a retreat, on an island, where I’m forced to be around people! Ha. Gotta love Him eh?

Lay it all out

September 11, 2008

I’ll let you guys in on a secret, whenever I’m alone in an elevator I start to sing…. it’s got great acoustics : )

 

I’m attempting to be interesting here, so bare with me folks. Today something marvelous happened… I had a slight confrontation with a friend. I know that sounds crazy but I promise it’s definitely good.

You see, in the past I’ve always kept quite about certain things (if you can believe that) all for the sake of avoiding potential conflict. For those of you who know me it may not seem like it, but behind all the “sassiness” I really am a people pleaser. I don’t like to risk my status of likeability from my friends, family, peers, so in turn I tend to tell people what they want to hear, I agree with whoever is in front of me at the time, I nod and sigh at the appropriate times and comply to the needs of the individual before me. It’s really quite unhealthy. However, lately I’ve been noticing that the closeness of the current friendships in my life have helped catapult my confidence in such a way that I actually feel comfortable enough expressing my thoughts regardless if they agreed with or not. These wonderful people always make me feel that there is mutual love and respect present at all times between us, so much that mere disagreements have no power of changing that. That to me is true authentic friendship. So today when one of my closest, most dearest of friends and I had somewhat of an “argument” (or maybe disagreement is a better word) pertaining to a certain “situation” (yes, I realize the vagueness) I was nervous that they would hate me (my heart tends to make my mind exaggerate), but at the same time I knew I had to say how I felt about “it”. I won’t go into detail all that was said, but I will say, by the end of our conversation, I felt that our friendship was so much stronger than I realized, I came out of it feeling that through this “conflict” God matured our relationship, and even drew us closer to Him. Like I said, it really was a good thing : )

So I urge you folks, when your friendships seem to hit hard times, don’t be discouraged, see it as an opportunity to make them that much stronger.

 

 

Peace and Love.

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Unrequited love?

September 3, 2008

            Well kids, as I’m sure you can very well tell, I am home safe and sound from Forest Home (Briefing ’08). It was filled with a lot of laughter, tears, new friendships, meaningful conversation, and deep realizations. It produced the kind of memories that have a tendency to make their undeviating marks on one’s heart. To sum it up, God was present, whether or not I felt it at the time. Which brings me to my next topic, or struggle rather.

            I have been feeling a bit disconnected lately. Not from people, not from family, not from friends…but from God. How can I feel that, who I believe to be, an omnipresent God could be so absent? How can I think that the very heart of my own heart is not with me? It just doesn’t make sense right? Nonetheless that’s been, and somewhat still is, the current state of my spiritual life, as painful as that is for me to admit, not just to you readers but to myself as well it has to be said (I’m practicing the fine art of honesty these days). I’m tired and utterly sick of being fake (or feeling that way anyway). I no longer want to let people in on only the half-truth of my life, it’s all or nothing now.

            I went to Briefing with the expectations of God breaking His silence. I thought maybe I’d have an epiphany or two (greedy much?) but no, nothing. So needless to say my heart was shattered. By Saturday I just felt completely abandoned by One who promised to never leave. While we all went around the table sharing about whatever experiences or encounters we had with God so far during the retreat my heart sank lower and lower. As I sat and listened to all the wonderful stories my group had to share, I found myself experiencing many different emotions, none of which were from God. Jealousy, anger, depression, doubt all flooded into my heart at once, so much so that I thought that it would burst open right then and there exposing all these shameful feelings to the “good Christians” who God thought was worthy of His presence, so I tried to hold it in, stupid I know. Finally the group session ended and I sat there, just in a daze, with thoughts racing through my head (again, not of God). Voices screaming comments and questions at me such as, “you obviously aren’t doing something right, clearly He doesn’t think you should feel His love, give up, why do you even sing in worship or pray in church if you can’t even feel Him?…you’re fake…a fraud!…”  Now apparently I’m the type of person that most people can tell when something is wrong. I unknowingly tend to wear my heart on my sleeve, so when Farah, being the amazing friend that she is, noticed that something was wrong she immediately rushed to my side, and despite my best efforts to fight them, the tears came pouring out. At this point Matt and Alyssa also noticed my distress and came to me offering comfort, so I let it all out. I explained to them that I felt disconnected with God and I let them in on all that had been going on in my heart and head that night ( remember those screaming voices?). I told them that I just was feeling heart broken because I wasn’t feeling God’s love, and confessed doubting if I ever truly have…thankfully God works through community and they were there to tell me that NONE of that was true, that they were all lies from you know who. Yet still, sorrow overwhelmed me. That whole night I was in a funk, and contemplated what my next move should be. I thought, do I give up, walk away? Then quickly realized I could never do that, I’m to in love with Him, so I felt stuck. Would I sink into a state of deep depression? Do I just settle with the attitude of apathy towards my Savior? None of these options left me with warm and fuzzy feelings so I just sat. Later, I began seeking further council from my sisters and brothers in Christ. One told me that it was testing of my faith, another said when I don’t feel God is when I should be praying to Him and praising Him the most, and others simply said, He loves you, whether you feel it or not. But Brian Kiley mentioned something to me that seemed to hit hard. He quoted something from C.S Lewis’s book The Screwtape Letters (an amazing book, it’s a fictional collection of letters from a senior demon. Screwtape, mentoring his nephew, a Jr. demon, Wormwood on how to keep “the subject” from growing in God):

 

“Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s [God’s] will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”

 

I guess that’s where I am. Still intending to do God’s will and obey Him. He is after all the Love of my life. I will fight for Him the way He has fought for me. Another friend of mine helped me realize that I’m actually in a great place to be, a place of hunger, longing, and desire for God. A place that urges me to pursue God with all I have. Besides, His word is His promise and His word says in Luke 6:21:

Blessed are you who hunger now,

for you will be satisfied.

Blessed are you who weep now,

for you will laugh.

 

I find great hope in that.

Let my yes be yes…

August 28, 2008

I did something today that I don’t particularly like doing. I made a promise….dangerous territory I tell you. So here it is Courtney darling, the blog I promised you, ha.

So school has started back up, and I gladly report to you that I have successfully survived the first half of this week. Kudos to me. Now I’m not going to lie, I have a bittersweet, love hate relationship with school. On one hand I love the environment, the opportunities it provides for not only the future but for the present as well, and of course who can for get that food huh (ha!). But on the other hand, there’s,
-having to walk out to Africa just to get to my Horticulture class
-homework
-and the thing that haunts me in my sleep, math (never been to keen on the subject to say the least).
Now, since I’ve found joy in the Lord there are really only three things I struggle with being cynical about: math, homework and love. I’ll address that last one for a later entry (probably not). Anyhoo, math might as well be Chinese to me, I’ve never fully gotten it (if at all) and more than likely never will (how’s that for optimism), maybe it’s not so much math in general but algebra…sadly I just have nothing positive to say about it. 99% of the time produces in me a frustration so intense I want to cry (yes, that bad). As for homework, well, like I said, for the most part I enjoy school, when I’m at school, but for goodness sake I don’t want to take it home with me! (how dare they expect me to work harder than I want to, sheesh) and that’s all there really is to that. So I guess I should take this time to apologize in advance for the moans and groans about school I’ll more than likely feel compelled to share with you in the future, due to the afore mentioned reasons above. Besides, what good is it having a blog if you can’t use it as a source to vent out your frustrations on? (it’s way cheaper than therapy).

So, with all that said and with all my complaints about the clouds I’ll be encountering these next few months out of the way (I’m sure there’ll be more), I absolutely must elaborate on the silver linings of my week.

            For one, InterVarsity, I love it! Or rather I love what God is doing with it. I can already see Him shaping and transforming the leaders, the staff, and even the new members of our community/fellowship (we are NOT a club) into what He needs us to be to better serve the campus and love other at MiraCosta with all we have. Even today I was blessed enough to bare witness to what I consider to be one of the most beautiful things in life. A lovely young woman decided she liked what she heard about Jesus, and fell in love with Him enough to make the decision to follow Him with her life, again I say, beautiful. If her life is the only one God uses us to help transform this semester then it was already worth it to be on campus this year.

Secondly, this semester I fought off that innate behavior I tend to have when it comes to signing up for classes, I didn’t procrastinate, and actually signed up for them early and finally was able to enroll in an English class (my favorite subject, aside from math of course….blah). Anyway, not only do I get to take English this semester, but also the professor I’m taking it with seems to be neat-O swell (that’s a very high compliment in my book). So needless to say I am pretty excited about the time I’m going to be spending in this class this semester. Woot.

And lastly, this week I was able to finally see some of my most favorite people whom I fell out of contact with over the summer, and not only that but I got the chance to meet some new friends as well.

            So all in all, the good far outweighs the bad, and on that note I’ll end with this, this week was a blessed one… well actually every week is a blessed week (every day for that matter), unfortunately I a lot of the time get so caught up in all the, for lack of a better term (it is 1am after all), crap in my life that I fail to see the beauty God places all around me, I can even sometimes miss the small little miracles that give me so much hope when I am paying attention to them. Praise God for His Grace, Love, and Patience with weary sinners like me eh.

 

Peace and love readers.

 

 

p.s

For all you grammar and punctuation police out there I intentionally capitalized Grace, Love and Patience for a reason (I’m sure you could find way more, but it’s a blog for crying out loud). I started reading a book called Every Thought Captive and the author wrote something that made a lot of sense:

 

“ You’ll notice I sometimes miscapitalize words. This is to communicate that God is present in words that we often think of as things. Christ doesn’t dole out love or hope as resources to be used up. He inhabits Love and Hope. He doesn’t mete out mercy or grace. He incarnates Mercy and Grace. He doesn’t define truth. He is Truth. Love isn’t merely a thing. It is the presence of God indwelling in us, pouring Himself into and through us. Peace is not a thing that God gives but a serene abiding in Him. We rest in assurance of things because He is Hope. We know grace because the Spirit of Grace dwells within us.”

 

 

 

 

 

Relentless

August 11, 2008

“…You won’t relent until You have it all, my heart is Yours…”
– Misty Edwards
(You Won’t Relent)

This was a line from a song that was sung at Seven24. Something about it really stuck out to me. At first I figured it was just the catchy tune that came along with it, but I found the more I contemplated the words of this beautiful song, the more of an emotional pull it began to have on me. 

“…You won’t relent until You have it all…”

To me that is such a big concept to grasp. God is fighting for me to give Him my ALL. I guess maybe the reason I find this so big is because I’m not really sure what my all is yet…but my Creator does. He knows what I can give Him and pushes me to do so. He challenges me on a daily basis to  give Him everything I have, granted I often fail, and I’m so glad that there is grace, but at the same time I’ve come to notice that the more I am challenged the more I realize what God has given me. but I think what gets me most with that line is God wants me, not so that I can just be one more subject under His rule, but because He genuinely loves and cares about me. My Jesus knows that only He can truley give me what I need and He will fight to have me. Man, talk about feeling loved! this is going to sound incredibly cheesy, lame, Corney, whatever, but realizing this makes me feel like the damsel in distress, who is captured by some enemy, then all of the sudden this prince comes in to fight dragons, cut through dark forests and climb the highest tower to save me just so He can love me. Now to me, that’s love. So in response, 

“…my heart is Yours…”

and that’s all there is to it, this thing beating in my chest is His. I feel that the music worship leader of Seven24, Brett Caudill, put it best when he placed this line in one of the songs he wrote and shared with us: 

“…what do you do with a love like that, but answer back with all you have…”

So there is my struggle, answering God’s love with all I have. Like I said, I’m not entirely sure what that is yet, but because I gave this life to Him I know He’ll reveal more and more things about myself that I didn’t even realize I had to offer.

Solitude.

July 6, 2008

        Solitude is hard for me. I never realized to what extent until just recently. About a week ago at Seven24 (the college group at New Song Community Church) Sandy Flores spoke about how to connect with God, and more specifically, spiritual discipline. Now I’m not going to lie, that particular word doesn’t rest well with me so, sorry to say, I was tempted to tune her out at that very moment. But, for some reason, I resisted the opportunity to slip into a slight comatose state of mind, sit up in my seat and listen. 
        In Sandy’s message she went on about the spiritual disciplines that might help us in connecting with God such as, reading scripture (lexio divina), fasting, secrecy etc. but the one that hit me was solitude….the very word sends a shiver down my spine.
        Anyway, back tracking a little bit, for the past month or so I’ve been struggling with this question of “why can’t I hear God? what exactly is this voice everyone around me seems to hear? is it something you really “hear” or is it more of a feeling, a hunch, a pull? or is it that its just different for everybody?” and so because I felt that I was somehow being deprived of God’s voice, I found it very hard to connect with Him. 
        Okay, now back to my point, solitude. Sandy went on to say something to the extent that when we practice solitude it forces us to face off with ourselves, to face the things that are so easily ignored when surrounded by various noises we fill our lives with. It also forces us to find value in God and God alone. Without the affirmation that our loved ones give us we feel like nothing, insignificant, expendable, easily replaced, so on and so on … well at least for me that’s what it feels like. So as a consequence of ALWAYS filling the silence in my life with some kind of noise, I realized, with the help of  Sandy’s message of course, that it’s I that has cheated myself out of hearing God. I’m the one who hasn’t even given God the chance to tell me how much He loves me, how precious I am to Him etc, thus leading me to find my value in Him and only Him.
Here is a quote from Sandy that really hit me:

        “I don’t think God yells very much to get our attention. I think God tends to be a whisperer. I think He whispers because He isn’t trying to compete. He doesn’t want to bring Himself down to the level of t.v, video games, or movies. He doesn’t want to feed into our already busy lives or just be another thing to add on to our busyness. He wants to meet us in the rest, the quite, a place outside of the world we live in, because He knows for our well being we need to slow down. He’s not going to try and yell  over our noise. Maybe the noise is something we need to sacrifice in order to hear Him…” 

       So  for the past week or so I’ve been fasting myspace and facebook, because, and I hang my head in shame and slight embarrassment as I type this, that those things have been taking up so much of my time, time that I could be spending with God. So in the mornig I’ve been going to the beach, after dropping my step-brother off at summer school, to  just sit and be with God, by myself. Now I’m not going to say that all of the sudden I began to hear God and that I no longer feel disconnected in the least bit, because to be quite frank that would be a lie. However I do feel somewhat closer, because at least now I’m in pursuit of God again, and I am learning how to sit and appreciate alone time with my Savior. I understand that discipline takes time and effort, and the fruits of it aren’t going to appear overnight. so with that said, I’ll continue to chase after God and pray that when He see fit, I’ll hear His voice.

 Oh, and I feel compelled to share with you something my friend Matt B. reminded me about at small group while discussing all of this:
God’s voice wasn’t found in the roar of the earthquake or the thunder of the storm or in the fury of a fire … but in the whisper.
(reference 1 Kings 19:12)