10.17.2014

Even the broken

I've really missed blogging.  I've been in Pennsylvania for 9 days now (going home tomorrow... Oregon is calling me!!), so I will try to catch up a bit on posting.  It's been a good getaway time for me, though.  And I'm very thankful to have friends in other states who are willing to let me come stay with them for a while:)

Emily and I started an in-depth study through Philippians this week.  And as I sat here, making scribbly notes in my devotions journal, I felt prompted by the LORD to share an excerpt of it.  I pray it blesses you.

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'...for I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayers and the provision of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.'
- Philippians 1:19-20

Events that happen in our life may seem to us as curses.  But the beauty of knowing, serving, and trusting a sovereign God is the fact that - even amidst the most trying moments in our lives, when we feel the least brave, when we are acutely reminded of our weakness as humans...then, even then, we can hold our broken hearts up to Him and say 'Here, LORD, heal my crushed spirit.  And even now, I will still praise You.  Glorify Yourself in me.  I come to the Healer because I am a hurt and messed up individual. But I know You can, and will, use all things for Your glory.  So, Father, if there is any part of me left that You can use...take it and make it Yours.'

And He will.

10.06.2014

Realize the opportunities


I hate it when people say they are bored.  It’s one of my greatest pet peeves.

Whenever someone tells me that they’re bored or I overhear it or read it on their social medias, I feel like yelling, “Well then get off your butts and do something!”

I feel that sometimes my peers have no idea the opportunities they have/can do and what they are capable of accomplishing because of what they have available at their fingertips.  No one sets goals anymore, either.  Have you noticed that?  It’s like everyday is just a run-of-the-mill.  And that’s where, I think, many of us go wrong - because we just don’t realize this:

As single people, living in one of the most educated and technological countries in the world, so much is at our fingertips.  We can take advantage of so much equipment, so many classes, etc.  But no.  More often than not, you hear of how ‘bored’ people are.  How they party so often and hang out with friends.  Make stupid choices.  Get drunk.  Get pregnant.  Don’t have jobs.  And it’s like...really?  There are so many people your age who would do anything to be able to trade places with you so they could have the advantages that you do.  I have met some of these people personally, and it humbled me to know the reality of just how blessed and fortunate I am. 

It’s so stupid and sad to see people waste opportunities and huge life experiences for something pleasurable that will only last a few minutes.  And also, I’ve noticed that if they DO try for something extraordinary, they get dejected at the first bump in the road.  The first rough spot they hit.  And they give up.  

Life is never going to be easy.  And the best things in this life usually come with a price.

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“The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
- Steve Jobs

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P.S. Big news!  I am going to be starting some online college courses.  Pretty darn excited.

10.02.2014

Write about...



I’m tired of writing what I think you want to hear
Instead I want to write and tell you how I feel
A man I once knew told me a secret -
The secret to writing isn’t about the words
It’s about the meaning behind them
It’s about the emotion
The raw vulnerability
The passion to make a point
Even if you know you’ll be rejected from all sides
It doesn’t matter what the crowd passes as the verdict
What matters is that you say what’s on your heart
What’s on your mind
And if that alone touches just one person
You will have succeeded.
Writing is life
And life has pain
Life has sorrow
Joy
Calamity
Hope
Death
Fight
Passion
Loss
Love
It’s all those things
And those are all the minute details that you must write about
And write them freely
Write them with raw emotion
Write them with the intention
Of touching at least one person
And when someone lashes out at you
When they read your thoughts and feelings
And they seem to judge your every letter
Remember this:
To hate is to feel strongly against someone
But to love is to feel strongly for someone
And when someone hates your work
Be stronger than them
By loving them back
Write to them
Write for them
The world is full of people who hate
Why?
Because they’ve been hurt
Because they’re scared
Because they hide behind their shield of judgement
Always wanting to find the wrong in others
Write about that
Write about reality
Write about life.


9.29.2014

Sovereign God


“I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.”
- 2 Corinthians 7:4

“...but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within.  But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us...”
- 2 Corinthians 7:5-6

Believing in a sovereign God is not easy.  Many times it’s so testing on my finite mind that I must remind myself: Raquel, you believe He is sovereign because He is God.  Because if He is God, but wasn’t sovereign...we’re gonna have big problems.

Trusting God’s sovereignty is applicable in every aspect of life.  But when difficulties hit us, when rough times slap us across the face, when storms of life lay us flat on the ground, believe His sovereignty is easy to question.

Why would God allow something like this to happen?
Does He want to hurt us?
Does He want us to get knocked down?

“But He is a loving God!” some will say.  “He would never intentionally afflict us.”

Oh but wait.  Look at this passage of Scripture in Hosea 6:1-2.

“Come, let us return to the LORD.  For He has torn us, but He will heal us.  He has wounded us, but He will bandage us up.  He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, that we may live before Him.”

We may never know why He ordained certain things to happen in our lives.  But a trusty, and often-quoted verse is one that I am sure you’re familiar with.

“And we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” 
- Romans 8:28

With the comfort of that promise, we can REST in the assurance and peace that no matter what great trials cross our paths, He is bigger than it.  He has a purpose for it.  And He is never far from our grasp.  He is a God of comfort.

How could Paul be so joyful in his afflictions?  Because he is comforted by this sovereign God.

“He comforts the depressed...”

The LORD will never abandon us.  He won’t see us going through the storm He designed, without holding our hand and walking with us against the wind and sleet.  He is ever-present, ever-sovereign, never-changing.

Trust the sovereign God who tears, so He will heal.  Who wounds, so He will bandage.  Look for and pray about the lesson He is teaching you amidst these.  And remember the comfort He offers amidst it all.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison.”
- 2 Corinthians 4:17