Saturday, January 28, 2012

Failure is a blessing in disguise

Have you ever been in a situation where you work so hard for something, and then when it all comes together, everything falls apart? And you sit there and think, 'really? ALL that hard work and time and I just made a total fool of myself!'

You know, you're not a fool! You are HUMAN. I am human. I am not a robot. If I were a robot, then life would be perfect. There would be no mess ups, no failures to persevere, no encouragement, no grace, not even love. And thank the Lord we are human and make mistakes and fall.

Have you ever prayed, "God, as I go into this, just let me make you smile. I want to make you laugh."? He'll take you up on that. Trust me!

Last night I had another recital. For four months, I had been working on two songs: 'The Way I Am' by Ingrid Michaelson. And 'Sonata Pathetique op. 13. Second Mov.' for the piano. I just want to make one thing clear, I did not want to play that hideous piano song. Why did I choose it? Because I wanted something challenging and totally out of my realm. The point is, I worked extremely hard on that song and... I think Ill go burn the sheet music for it now. :P

So, after much practicing, memorizing, arranging and choreography, last night came like the wind and passed like the waters.
The show began and as Aaron and I sat there we both looked at each other and started praying over our performance. We asked God to help us to get up there and have fun, to make Him SMILE and LAUGH but most importantly to honor Him. And that we would have recollection of everything. ;)
Here is where I decided I am so happy I am human and that I have the blessing in making God laugh.
We started and everything was going well! But on the second verse of the song is where things went left and not right. I sat down on the chair and when I went to get up my lapel came off. Well, the sound guy turned off my lapel so that you wouldn't hear all the shuffling and my teacher thought it broke so she said to use a handheld. We restarted and to be honest, this was probably the best voice performance EVER. Why? Because we made the crowd laugh, we had a wonderful time, I was singing with the one I love, and we were able to glorify God in it.

A little bit later it was time for me to play my piano piece. You know what? Life is so beautiful. I just thank God so much.
I got up there, sat down, took a deep breath and began to play. About half way through the song I went blank and again, God took me up on that offer to make Him smile. I actually don't know where I went wrong. But I persevered. I tried and retried and just couldn't get it. A few what-it-seemed-like-forever minutes later, I turned to my teacher and asked for my music. The announcer came and gave me my music and said, 'Amanda, you're doing wonderful. Keep it up. You know what you're doing, I'm proud of you'.

I felt like running off that stage, saying 'forget this'! And curling up into a ball. But did I? Absolutely not! I am NOT a quitter! I completed my performance, bowed and didn't even sit back in my chair, I just went into the music room in the back. Of course Aaron followed me and by this time I was crying and cradled in his arms. I wasn't upset because I messed up, or because the crowd saw me. But because I worked so hard, all just to mess up.

God spoke to me and said 'Amanda, I want to show you something. I want to show you that you're human. And its okay to mess up.' And it is! And I am! The whole night the two verses that kept coming to mind were: 1 Corinthians 9:24 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." My prize last night was running for the King. And showing others that in all my work, I work for HIM. Not for self glorification.

And James 1:2-3 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance." And it does. Boy oh boy, it sure does. I do consider it joy.
I can't even count the amount of "you guys did such a wonderful job! You did so well, you persevered.'s that were given last night. I truly believe those were said sincerely, not out of pity.

So, I guess the bottom line is..I am so happy to be human. I make mistakes. Life is not perfect. But most of all, I GET TO MAKE GOD SMILE WITH HIS LOVE!!!! Can we all get up and dance now? Yes, please! When you mess up, don't get discouraged. What's done is done. Persevere! Make God smile! He loves us so much!!! Isn't it just so beautiful! Yes, yes it is.

Well, I'm done rambling now. I guess I just wanted to share my joy and let you all know that, 'hey, I messed up and I still have joy!' :) I pray that you all have a wonderful and blessed weekend radiating with the Kings love. (:

Random fact: Coconuts kill more people in the world than sharks do. Approximately 150 people are killed each year by coconuts.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

When Two Are Drawn Together

In past posts I have mentioned a young man named Aaron and that we're courting. Well, yes, we are! :)

Last year on Dec. 17th. God started His beautiful work of drawing two people together through multiple circumstances that only God could orchestrate. :) God blessed me with the most amazing, beautiful, sweet, tender, loving, caring, joyful, warm, thoughtful, respectful, poetically romantic(which absolutely melts my heart), Man of God I could ever dream of!

We both got invited to our friend, Tiffany's birthday. I almost didn't go, but mom and dad were pressing that I go to her party.(which, in fact is not normal seeing as at the time, they really didn't press anything we didn't want to do) .
We both showed up to the party being the very first ones.. (we both were half an hour early. :P) So Tiffany introduced us and that was pretty much that. after awhile other guests started to show up and boy, he knew just about every single one of them! *side note* Aaron went to Ironwood High-school and participated in the drama club. But also made it a point to know almost everyone on campus.*side note noted*. I wasn't too surprised though. ;) The evening went on and throughout it I noticed that he kept starring at me, but I completely ignored it because well, what do you do? haha
Later that evening my friends, Emily, Karlie and I were sitting on the couch. The order being Emily, Karlie and me. And sitting on the right of me was Aaron. To the right of him was his friends Eddy and Liz. So we're sitting there and he's just starring at me. I finally turned to him and said "Uhm..I don't mean to be rude, but..could you please stop starring at me? Its making me feel really uncomfortable." His response "Oh, I am so sorry! Its have such beautiful eyes and I can't stop starring at you."
The night ended with him waving his hand over the fence and saying 'good-bye' to me.
The next day I added him on Facebook and gosh..I almost didn't do that either!
Over the course of the next few months, things just started unraveling. In Feb. we both started sending each other daily bible verses to encourage each other in our walk. And at the end of the week we both asked how we were doing, physically, emotionally and Spiritually. We were also running into each other all over the place!

The first time we ran into each other was at the bowling ally. I spotted him, walked right past him and while walking by said, 'hey Aaron!', but, I kept walking.. he turned around, only to see no one. When I came back from the restroom(where I walkted to) he picked me up and spun me around and when he finally put me down by force, he says 'Amanda! Amanda Lindley!!'. Why yes, it was me. He introduced me to his friends, I introduced him to mine(and my brothers). After that night we all went bowling 3 more times. The 4th time we had planned to go bowling, just my brothers went and I stayed home to prepare for my trip to Cali..

This is the 2nd time we ran into each other. On a Sunday we ran into each other at Avila beach. His mom gave him permission to hang out with my friends and I. That day...was so beautiful! He and I walked the beach, looked at art, went in all the little stores, took our time..gosh, I will never forget that day. He made sure I wasn't ever out of his sight. Kept me safe.
When we got back from Cali. we went bowling one last time.

Our first game had just ended and I was goofing off with everyone and I noticed that Aaron was just sitting at the game table and looking very nervous and spacey. So I sat down and said 'Aaron, you doing okay?' He then asked if we could talk privately. Without even thinking we both got up and went outside, and sat on a bench next to all the dying smokers. He proceeded to tell me how much he enjoyed getting to know me over the summer and when he ended his precious speech, he turned to me and said 'Amanda, I-I..I like you. A lot.' My heart stopped for just a moment. I then realized that gosh, I liked him too! So in return I said, 'Aaron, I like you too...a lot!'. He is so precious. Over the summer he took note of my favorite piano cover artist and bought several of his songs and made a CD for me and even printed off piano music and gave those to me as a gift that night.

After several days of prayer, I finally told my mom what happened that night. Then, a week later on August 5th, I went to his house to visit him and his mom. This is also the first time both our moms met. They clicked right away! The #1 thing I was nervous about. really ;) Mom left an hour later and at this point, Aaron, his mom and I sat down to play a game of dutch blitz. Fun game! After that Aaron and I sat down to cover some things. Answer some of the questions both of us had on our hearts.
This is a picture of both of us on that day :)

The next day he left for college. That whole first week was such a struggle for me. Because it wasn't until then that I realized, I don't 'like' him, I LOVE him. I just continued to pray and ask God to protect him and his heart. A few weeks later he invited me to go to church with him. I went 2 more times after that. The 3rd time I went, was on September 18th.
That day we made a commitment of courtship. God's timing is so perfect. That very special Sunday every moment leading up to us saying 'I love you' was being stalled. First, we got held up with talking to other church members, then we helped some ladies carry their groceries half way to their house, then we couldn't find a place to sit. Finally, we sat outside the library..again, by the dying smokers. A few days before this he wrote me a letter telling me how much he adores me and doesn't want any foxes in our garden. So, I wrote him back and handed him my letter..he sat there and read it, every once in a while his smile would get even bigger. Then he finally grabbed my hand and we both sat in silence. But it wasn't a dead silence. The presence of God was upon us and we just prayed to ourselves and finally, he said to me 'Amanda, I love our garden. I love all that God is doing. I love it!...No, I don't love *it*... I love you Amanda, I love YOU!' After this...(I'm giggling right now).. After that we sang a song together. Our voices harmonized perfectly as we sang 'You and Me' by lifehouse. And yes, the whole time, everyone around us was watching and we didn't care a single bit!

So now, 3months later, our garden continues to grow and flourish and everyday we continue to give what the Lord has given us up to Him. Everyday is a blessing. Its so amazing! Our families get along perfectly and its all just so wonderful. There have been many times when we both have even been able to use our testimony and tell others about it and they have all been very encouraged, because every single bit of our relationship is the Lords. He has given us an indescribable love for each other and we both wouldn't have it any other way!

This right here, is the most recent picture of us.

So, that is as detailed as I will go with our story right now. ;)
It's time for me to go now, getting ready for a News Years Eve party tonight!

God Bless,

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Life is a gift. Not a given. :)

Do you have any fears?
Maybe, you're afraid of heights? Flying, snakes, spiders, the evil that lurks...afraid of being alone. The list goes on. For me, my greatest fear is getting into a car accident. (Yes, that is a confession that I think anyone can relate to:))

Yesterday that fear became a reality for me.
Mom and I had errands to run yesterday before a photo shoot with Aaron (the wonderful young man I am courting :) and when we finally went to go get him all the way over at ASU in Tempe, mom said to me, "Amanda, I think you should drive. You need more practice on the freeway". So I did. (I had been driving all day but really didn't want to drive on the freeway ..)
We were in the Kia, so not a big vehicle at all. Merging onto the freeway went fine. Changing lanes, fine. But the whole time I was driving on the freeway, I just had this weird feeling. Like, I should not have been driving. I felt in my heart, 'today, we're going to get into an accident'.

So, we're driving along. Going the speed limit ;) and all of the sudden this guy in his 'Fancy-shmancy-car' cut me off. Didn't turn his blinker on or anything. He just merged right on over causing me to swerve into the other lane....right into a semi. Yes, an 18wheeler. . I had no other choice but to swerve. If I had even slowed down just a bit, the guy would have hit the front of the car causing our car to glide over hitting still the semi which would have hit the rear of the car forcing us to more than likely fishtail and causing a bigger mess than what it was....From the time that we made contact with the semi to the time that the officer approached my window, I wasn't there. I don't know where I was. But, I wasn't there. I remember stopping after our car popped off the semi and coming to a complete stop in the middle lane. But how I made it over to the gore area and making it over there without smashing into any other cars...don't remember that. Its as if God was literally moving the car and stopped any other cars from coming. I just remember trembling uncontrollably and calling Aaron to let him know that we would not be coming. Then dad called me. (All this time mom was on the phone). All I could say was "I'm so sorry dad! I ruined your car!" And of course, he says its fine and that he doesn't care about the car, only that mom and I are okay. Which only made me sob even more because that shows the undeniable love my daddy has for his girls. :)

As I sat there and felt God's calming hand, I realized that He spared our lives. And everyone around us. Which made me cry again because that's when you come to that knowing of "God spared our lives. We're alive." We have absolutely no injuries. Which is another miracle because the doors are totally torn.

Thankfully the cop didn't ticket anyone nor did he sight anyone. They also say its my fault (which, ramming into the semi is, but the reason I had to swerve..not so much). He just gave me a warning.

The truck driver didn't even know what happened but once I told him he was totally irate that the drive the cut me off did that..but all the same saying that he's just glad we're okay. ;)

Aaron's mom did drive all the way over to ASU to bring him over (as planned) but, only because she knew that he would not be at peace until he saw mom and I. So, we just spent the evening together. Which was nice. :)

So this Thanksgiving..I'm thankful for life! Anything you can be thankful for, the good, the bad, matter what, I'm thankful for it!

I do hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving and a beautiful weekend!
God Bless,

'O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endures for ever.'
Psalm 136:1 :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Be filled and encouraged! :)

Hey, everyone!

How are you all doing? I hope everyone's fall season has been blessed so far.
I'd really like to write a post and share what God has been doing in my life lately and kinda just update a bit, but for right now, I would mostly like to just share this sermon that my best friend wrote up. It is kind of lengthy, so please, if you're going to read it, read with willing time so that you can fully take it in. It's really good and I pray that as you read, you are encouraged and blessed!

My Child, Do Not Be Afraid. I Love You (part 1)

For those of you who have read my note on Exodus 1, we see the roots of slavery beginning with fear. Insecurity clouds us and brings upon a selfish vibe from our hearts. Damage is done in the extreme reaction of fear and different forms of slavery and abuse are built up. We see this in Exodus 1, but let's go even farther back. I want to look at fear from even the beginning of the bible. You see, the same enemy has existed forever, he just looks different nowadays. He was also there in the beginning. Prayer first before we start ;)

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank you for this day and this time to be able to sit down and project the messages You have given me. Speak through me, Lord. Bless me with Your knowledge and wisdom. I pray that as others take these in that they are filled with the Holy Spirit and peace. I pray that as we dive into Your word that we come humbly to receive whatever it is You wish to give. Come and be Yourself within our hearts. You are free to be You and move as you wish in our lives and Your will be done. If we don't exactly know how to open our hearts right now, Lord, You are our home and our freedom. You are saviour and You can overcome all the fakeness within us. We believe this. All we want is You. We receive Your grace and live forgiven TODAY! :)

In Jesus' name, Amen.

Genesis 3... the fall of man... God is FEARLESS here. You can see the might and desire for His kids here in this scene. He's walking through the garden "looking" for them, knowing where they are but giving them the opportunity to reveal themselves to Him. The fact that God was looking for them, shows the kind of relationship He desires with us. It's an open one where we are allowed to mess up and He doesn't just fix everything, but we can work through it WITH Him. He talks with us and respects how He's created us. He's very conscious of this.

3:8-13 -

"Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man, “Where are you?”

He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”

And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.”

Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” "

They hide from God! No, "okay, we messed up, but we're His children. He loves us and we need to apologize." Fear is selfish. . . It considers no one but yourself. They didn't give God the consideration for who He is. "He is our Father. We know Him. We've skipped in the gardens, danced, and named things all with Him." This is a problem we face. We have difficulty as people to consider others and give people the chance to show and be free with who they are when we fear them (or consequences of what is going to happen. Or even what people might think. You ever fear that? What people think of you? When you do, you disregard them and label yourself). When we fear them OR fear what they'll think or say or how they'll react, out of this we try to control... We don't go for forgiveness in our fallen nature. We go to shelter and isolation. It's the best we can do to hide ourselves. As human beings, that's the best defense we have when we do not live in the Lord.

Adam says he was "naked" so he hid. When we are transparent, we don't want others to know. Fear gives birth to more fear. Fear that God will know what they have done led to fear of them being exposed in general. So they hid COMPLETELY. Even their own bodies that God Himself made for them. Yes, they did become aware of their nakedness because of the fruit, but does not God know us naked? Had He not been seeing them the whole time?

Here, Adam is being shameful about his design. "God, I'm naked. I didn't want you to see me." "I MADE YOU!!!! YOU ARE MY SON! I SEE YOU AND I FALL IN LOVE! Do you really not know me?"

Or for us... "God, don't look upon my weakness. I am bare and unable to stand and I feel like a failure. I haven't been sharing the gospel, reading my bible as much, or to church very often. I lied to my mother too... So I haven't spoken to You in a while. I just can't keep up with life and it's breaking me down..." "I am the Lord! MY STRENGTH IS MADE COMPLETE IN YOUR WEAKNESS!!! (2Corinthians 12:9) YOU WEREN'T MEANT TO STAND ON YOUR OWN BECAUSE I DID NOT CREATE YOU TO BE ALONE!! (Matthew 28:20) YOU'RE BROKEN AND I CHOSE YOU!! You are my temple and I love you. (1Corinthians 6:19-20) I am with you, who can be against you? (Romans 8:31) Nothing can separate my love from you. My affection is towards you. You are the apple of my eye. (Psalm 17, Zechariah 2:8)"

Fear separates us from God because it is the opposite of faith. And then, you see Adam continues on in defense of himself. Insecurity sets in and he ends up even blaming God. "The woman YOU put me here with!" Think about this for a second. How many times do we find ourselves defending ourselves and what we become through insecurity in the moment?

It's the worst thing we can do, really, because if we don't accept the problem, then we can't change. God won't take away our free will, and so He won't MAKE us change. We refuse the state our heart's in and then we build and build on the walls that we set up... some become secret, and some linger for years. Our sin can damage us in ways we can't even imagine. But the Lord can take this away! Do NOT defend. You must break so you can be molded and your heart can be tender for love and mercy and live free in God's truth. In fear, we lie, and lie, and lie, and lie... death.

Fear breeds slavery. . .

Adam tries to CONTROL the direction of blame and in his pride, the entire time passes by and yet, no "I'm sorry." Not once did he even try to apologize (neither of them did). Thus, Adam and Eve fade into the submission of sin's grasp. They become slaves by their own actions.

I wonder how things would be different if we accepted transparency in our lives. If we did not fear the consequences and actually lived freely from fear and control. What if we actually accepted the position God has claimed for us as His children and we didn't shy away. We didn't hide our lives with fig leaves and run into the bushes at the sound of the Lord's footsteps. We all fail, but that doesn't mean we need to hide. We are His children and He has the ability to love in incomprehensible ways!! Philippians 4:7-8 - "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. DO NOT BE ANXIOUS about ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which TRANSCENDS ALL UNDERSTANDING, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." How can His love NOT cover us? How can His grace NOT be sufficient? What if we stopped lying in fear and started telling ourselves the TRUTH?

It's pretty hard to rejoice with all that fear ya know :P Letting go can be hard, but we need to be the people who choose to do the hard thing because it's right. We have reason to rejoice because our Lord loves us and will take us in and if we go to Him for mercy rather than hiding, then we will be shown mercy and gentleness. We can then show others gentleness that we have learned from Him. And we don't fear, not even being anxious about anything. his peace transcends all understanding! How much more His love!

But, as seen in Genesis, we have an apparent identity problem that can be picked out from observing the insecurities. If they KNEW who they were to the Lord, do you think they'd EVER hide? I don't think so. If we really KNEW who we were in and TO Jesus, would we run from Him? Answer that yourself... Would you? And if you're unsure, do YOU know who you are? And even more importantly, do you know who GOD is?

This identity problem gives us a deep insight to our fear. We don’t know who we are and, I am sorry to say, this has spread to even the believers. Some of the body's parts are crippled with fear and therein it becomes hard to move and love for Jesus wholeheartedly and with arms wide open. EXPOSED. Moving with passion and purpose. This isn't boasting and saying, "we're God's children so we're better" because we're not, but as God's children we know that Jesus is. God's children do not boast. God's children love and walk with Jesus, meeting needs and serving; fearlessly living in truth.

Now, some might say it's easy to be God because you KNOW you're okay and you KNOW what will work out, but is that really true? I feel like we look over the fact that as a society, we have actually become more prone to worry through KNOWING and being used to specific outcomes in which we "control". For example, we "know" we're safe in our homes, but the more security we have, it seems the more we have to worry about our systems working or failing. Much more people nowadays actually suffer from anxiety than ever before in recorded American history. "Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older (18% of U.S. population)." -

In this list, social anxiety is one of the largest sections. "Oh, well if you have problems like that, just stick to texting. No WORRIES!" Yeah RIGHT!! We defend our fears and just because it becomes a normal part of society to do so doesn't mean that it's right. This is just the percentage of people with anxiety DISORDERS. This doesn't even count the people who probably don't want to admit it or just have a lot of anxiety in general. The more we know and have control over does NOT mean the less we have to worry about. That's not how we as people work.

With more set up to protect us, the more we tend to worry about stuff. Everything is just a distraction.

God doesn't worry. He's perfect and He knows He is. "I Am" is what He calls Himself. He knows who He is. He identifies Himself in so many different places in the bible. Adam and Eve lied. They didn't live like they were children of God. They acted as though they were fatherless.


Recognize in your own life that fear can separate you from God. He takes our fears very seriously. The bible is about Him, yet in so many places He wishes to show us who WE are to Him. Here are just a few:

John 1:12 - "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God"

Romans 5:1 - "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"

1 Corinthians 6:17 - "But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit."

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body."

1 Corinthians 12:27 - "Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it."

Colossians 2:9-10 - "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority."

Pray over these verses and read the sections and ask the Lord to speak to your heart (read some more even if you felt led to). Take time in Jesus and ask that you may receive His truth in His word for the glory of His name. And to know even more about who you are to God, read the bible! If you aren't reading daily, start. Learn about who God is. He wants you to know Him because He knows all about you. (Psalm 139)

Journey through the bible in search of God's narrative! In His story, we might find our own. :) And that's the thing! God doesn't want us to be like Adam and Eve and have fear in our hearts. He is a RELATIONAL God!! He asks us questions, gives us chances to come to Him, goes through your life WITH you as an adventure rather than spoiling every surprise for you. Know that you are His child. Walk through life holding His hand.

Reading the bible gives us a HUGE insight into who we are. I find myself in Christ and honestly, I can't imagine life without Him. I hold His hand when I walk places! When I read the bible, I don't only learn about God, but He teaches me about me as well :) You see, that's what it does. Your own book is always out in front of you. If you want to find yourself, don't go looking in the world. The world is dark and I don't know about you guys, but it's hard for me to read in the black of night :P I need at least a lamp or a flashlight. And that's exactly what the bible can do for you! Psalm 119:105 - "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path."

So fear not! Why do you think the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom? (Proverbs 1:7) It's because He's stronger than everything and anything and if you are His child then you are in His love. Live like you're His child and do not run or hide from Him.

If you feel like you are running from Him, avoiding Him, trying to defend something that you do or have become, are not being completely open and honest in prayer, feel motionless or anything like that, then I STRONGLY ENCOURAGE YOU TO CHANGE THAT RIGHT NOW! Don't wait! Ask God to reveal to you fears that are keeping you from Him. Are you allowing yourself to be tricked into thinking you can't go to Him? Take this seriously because God thinks this is VERY serious.

Read part 2 tomorrow or after even a longer time if need be so you can maybe think about some of this stuff. I don’t want to throw everything at you at once because quality is of greater value than quantity in this situation. And reading these messages are not about what I’m writing to you, but about what God wants to tell you. If God speaks more into your heart, great :) listen to Him for all knowledge and wisdom about the bible come from Him. I am a servant of the Lord. Listen to Christ above all. This is between you and Him.

And begin thinking about this: “Who am I to Christ?” Psalm 144:3- “O Lord, what is man that You care for him, the son of man that you think of Him?”

“Why does this matter so much?”

And then ask yourself and be HONEST!: “Am I afraid of movement in my life? Am I afraid to live? Am I afraid to reach out to others about the gospel and share my faith? Am I afraid that I won't be able to? Am I afraid of being told "no"? Am I afraid of doing this for myself? AM I AFRAID!!?? Am I afraid of inviting people to church? Do I have any fear at ALL?” And take this seriously. This is a good heart check. We need to ask ourselves these questions.

I pray that your identity in Christ is firm in your heart and that you practice going to Him for ALL things and desires and giving them up to Him and that you LIVE as His child (Philippians 4:6 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."). Do you have a guilty conscience when going to God for things? If you do, then give it up. You are His. Why can't you go to Him? Let Him be who He is in your heart... accept Him for who He is; Father God :)

God, let Your will be done in our hearts and don't let our flesh get in the way of knowing Your grace and who we are in Your heart. Let it not turn to entitlement either, but God, forgiveness is the lifestyle we want to live in. Let us go into the world and light it up with Your forgiveness and grace daily, not holding on to anything, and showing others that there is nothing to fear. Our God is here, amen :)

And remember, let go. This has nothing to do with your efforts, but what Christ can do. I hope you all continue to read on to the next notes and spend actual time with Jesus and not just read this to KNOW, but read this to glorify Him in your life and as encouragement in the fight against fear! Take heart and take it seriously! Christ is here, and He takes our fears seriously. He loves us so much :)

Have a blessed day!!


I do pray that that was an encouragement. It really opened my eyes a bit and I have just been really feeling led to share it. (Of course, with his given permission :) )

Gotta go!

God Bless,

Mandie :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Getting One With Nature

Yes, I realize its been a month and a half since I last wrote. But truth be told...I had nothing exciting to write about. Well, nothing exciting that could be used to thrill you and to have knowledge of. ;) But I'm here. Writing a post. I'll make it brief. :)

Getting one with nature. As many of you know, last weekend was family camp! It was a huge blessing, the speakers, being able to escape the city life and just enjoy God's beautiful creation!

We didn't leave on Fri. when we wanted to, but we got to camp at a reasonable time nonetheless:) Set up, went to dinner and then went to chapel.

You know, sometimes you have it set in your head that you're going to do things one way while on a trip...but then when you try to attempt those things, it just doesn't happen! God is good, tho!

Saturday. Woke up, we all got ready and went to breakfast. Chapel. Then free time. Since I am sure many of the tug-of-war pictures and other group activity pictures resemble each other well, I will share the pictures I took on the nature walk my la famiglia and I went on:) (By the way, field games were awesome for those of you who are wondering! :))

MercyAnne :)

This. This is a squirrel eating an apple! Ain't it cute? :D


Dad, with a sunflower in the side of his glasses ;)

A leaf from our nature walk:)

Joah and his 'pioneer toilet paper' And yes, he is placing it in his back-pack! ;)

Mommy with her bouquet of flowers:)

The over sized pond:P

La Famigila pic!

God certainly is good! This past weekend was definitely a good time to just relax, visit with the family(which, isn't a promised thing during the week), admire God's beauty and just...have a wonderful time! Overall, the messages and time away was a wonderful blessing:) After church on Sunday we didn't waste any time messing around. We packed up and left. Not because we were so ready to get out of there, we were just exhausted! lol

Well, it is passed my bedtime and I must be going!
Good Night and God Bless!


Thursday, August 18, 2011

When Satan Attacks

Sometimes when things are going fine and dandy, and that nothing better could come our way- Satan attacks our spirits with doubt and fear.

Yesterday, I experienced that exact feeling. The day started out great! Woke up just when I wanted to, had my quiet time with God, and even got a few things done before having to get the little ones up.

But it wasn't until I left for an outing with a friend that Satan took charge. . . .
In more than one way.

See, I was supposed to meet with a friend at 1, and then at last minute plans got changed to 2. I ended up having to cancel this outing with my friend and venture out with my mom to a doctor appt. with the grandparents. At first, knowing that my friend would be understanding I had no doubt in canceling. Then after I got off the phone with this friend, is when he attacked! My friend has a severe sin addiction that I will not mention, here or ever- and when I hung up I had this sudden fear and feeling that my friend was going to fall into this foot hold that she's been so hard trying to get away from. All that said, I prayed, and had this peace come over me that everything would be okay! And I believe it is.

Later that day, after getting back to my grandparents house from their appt., Satan attacked me again!

As I was sitting on the couch at my grandparents house satan was working on me. I was fine. The day was already going well again. And then BAM! It happened. I was attacked with doubt, envy, fear and roller coaster emotions. I became weary of the unknown. As we got in the car to head back home mom and I started discussing these feelings and understand why I was having them.
When you have in your heart a certain desire, and that desire is not in your hands, or at arms length, you begin to have this doubt.

I was in this spiritual warfare the whole way home! Thoughts of, 'its going to be okay', then thoughts of, 'gosh! Its going all wrong!' Back to peace in my heart, then back to the storm. I couldn't just let God win!

I think sometimes God allows us to have this feeling of urgency in our hearts so that we call out to Him. He doesn't want us to have doubt or fear, and He wouldn't place that feeling within us.- But when our eyes aren't on Him, Satan will get you.

Matt. 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

I didn't even take refuge in this bible verse. I didn't even think to call out to God until really late at night. Why? Because Satan had me!

Romans 12:21 "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

Again! All I could do was think on the things that were burdening my heart. I did not overcome the evil with the good of God and calling His name. Because, truth be told, I think sometimes we just don't want to. We(and Satan) WANT to meditate on the things that get us down. We don't have the DESIRE or WANT to take refuge in Gods hands. Its a battle.

Galatians 5:16-17 So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.

Uhm, yeah...WOW! I wasn't living by the spirit. I was living in the sinful nature and gratifying the flesh. After you get over yourself you realize and KNOW that what you want is to just let it go, and to give it to God, but you couldn't do that because the evil one was working on your heart.

Satan doesn't want us to be praising God. He doesn't want us to be in peace. He doesn't want us to have the JOY of the LORD in our HEARTS. Because HE wants our hearts! He want's US! The very moment we feel him taking over is when we need to stop, and say 'be gone with you satan! You have no room in my heart.' If we don't, we begin to meditate on these things and you start to have this sappy heart and joy is not present. I know this because I've been there! I've been down that road!

Sometimes people think that because things are going all fine they don't need to call on the name of the Lord as much. That praying over meals and before bed is enough. Well. Its not. We should have our eyes on God all the time, and be meditating on Him always. When things are going well is when we need to be calling out to Him the most. We're not growing in Him when we're in trial. We're growing in Him when we think its enough. The thing is, its never enough. But, Gods grace is enough. Don't let yourself get to that point that God has to bring on a trial just so that you call out His name.

James 1:12-15 "Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death"

James 4:7-8 "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded."

Let God lead you. Let Him be the door keeper of your heart.
Rise above the evil one.

It is not easy for me to say this to myself all the time(easier said than done, right?) but I try. Is God the leader of my life? Absolutely. Is He the door keeper of my hear? You bet!

May we, even in our spiritual warfare trials, shine for Jesus!
I pray that each and every one of you have a very blessed weekend!

God Bless,

"..All the way my savior leads me.."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Aloe vera anyone?

Hey, everyone!

Well, I got back from my trip on the 20th...are you guys ready for this? I have lots of pictures and much to tell, but I will try and keep it short and sweet! ;)

The 13th. The day I left for SLO, Cali.
We set off for the airport, and arrived an hour before scheduled to board flight. I checked in and then my family bade me goodbye for the forthcoming week. It was so precious- I never dreamed of such a reaction from my siblings. Madison, not knowing that I would be back in a week, started bawling her eyes out, Joah, was so very concerned that I deliver his note to Stephen asap! And I'm not even sure the others knew fully what was going on. SO!
Security run went very smoothly. And I must say that I feel very blessed with this being my first time flying. I met some nice people and the flight itself was not too shabby.
We exited the plane and all I gotta say is....the weather was uhm..BEAUTIFUL! The high that day was only 68! The keiths picked me up and we then took the scenic drive through slo. Beautiful part of California! We arrived at their summer location and I got all settled in and we then had dinner, and after dinner we hiked the dunes. And called it a night.

The 14th. We...what did we do..Oh yes! I remember. We went to one of the nearby beaches and walked around the pier and went to dinner and just kinda explored a bit! now, this day was very windy and not very good for wearing a flowing dress...I think you guys can fathom as to what happened. Luckily, Jenna had all her clothes in the back of her trunk and so kindly allowed me to wear some of her pants. We went and stood on the pier for awhile freezing and just listened and watched all that was going on around us. Then, after that we went to the Farmers Market! I didn't really get any pictures of the market itself, but it was huge! Just, way cool! But, I do have a picture OF.....

That's right...the gum wall. Just delicious looking right? Well, get this...

;P Okay,...anyways. That was that for that day!

The 15th. Well, that day..Jenna, Cameron, Hannah, Stephen and I went to Pismo beach and you will never guess what we did....we ate....SCORPION'S! Yes, we did! We were walking down the pier and they had (freeze dried) them out on the stand. Cameron went first...

Yes, he really is eating it! Crunch, crunch yum!
I didn't get any pictures of Jenna because I was holding little hands, but watching jenna eat a scorpion was...quite the show! ;)
Then, it was my turn!

yes,...thats, right? ;)

In all honesty, it really wasn't that bad! It didn't even really have a taste..I mean, that after taste was, different, but we washed it down with yogurt! Then, later that night we went to a church bonn fire, and that was fun! And that was all that went on that day.

The 16th we went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium... Gods sea life creation is just AMAZING!

this is a crab!

They had a area where you could touch and feel, and this is a starfish! really neat, and its texture was...rough I guess!?

Jellyfish! It was SO amazing! They had super baby ones, like..micro baby, they pretty much had stages for all the jellyfish process! It was, just so wonderful!

Fin...Noggin...Duuuude! :P
That day overall was so awesome! It took 2hrs to get to Monterey bay, and 3hrs to get home. So, we didn't get home till 12am. We were so tired we just came in, and went to bed. No getting in pj's or anything.

The 17th we, well we didn't truly wake up till about 11. So, we missed church, but we DID have a devotion! Then we got ready and because Mrs. Keith was still very tired she stayed home with all the littles while Jenna, Cameron, Delaine, Stephen, hannah and I went to Avila beach. This beach, according to everyone there is always sunny and warm, and boy was it warm! (compared to the rest of the beaches). So, we got there, found a parking spot and ran into my friend Aaron and his family that just so happened to be there the same day! So, we hung out with them for awhile as well...but first we went under the pier, and I found this little crab...

It was really cool! West(one of the keiths friends) took his frisbee and it was just really fun to watch! It went all ninja on him! haha

This is a sand turtle we made! The end masterpiece was just...amazing! ;)

The 18th...That day we went to Cambria and that little town is kinda like..a dutch village. So cute!

We ordered pizza from a really good pizza and sub shop and then went to Morro Bay and ate in the car..and this is what visited us...

It really was THAT close. Then it wouldn't leave us alone but, I wasn't bothered by it. :P
Then we went and saw the Elephant Seals..

Then that night we went..wait for it...SWING DANCING! haha I didn't get any pictures..but..okay, so we got there and I really didn't want to go dancing, but the keiths friend, Ron, asked, more like dragged me out on the floor and as soon as I got used to the steps and got the hang of it, he started swinging and twirling and..I was all over the place! haha but it was really fun! I also danced with one of the owners, Cameron and some random guy that I really REALLY did not want to dance with...after that we went and got coffee(actually, just Jenna, Cam and Delaine..) and then we went to the pismo pier and just listened to the waves and we even saw a seal! It was a baby and so cute!

Just us..having a good time! ;)

Gosh, I love these girls SO much! :)

Then...the 20th..the last day! We went shopping to find some little souvenir's. And then had lunch at a place called Hoggies. Pretty good! I finally got 'fish and chips' that day..really REALLY good!
Then Mrs. Keith drove Cam and I to the airport and we waited an hour and a half before our flight came in (delayed)..and then we were finally able to go through all the process and everything and finally boarded!

the reason Cam flew back is because he needs to go job hunting.
So, that was my trip. I really did leave a lot out, but I didn't want it to be any longer than it already is!
I was so homesick...getting HOME! The next day mom had errands to run that I was required to go on, and broke down crying while we were out because I was just so home deprived and yeah..but I really did enjoy my trip and am so grateful for the keiths and everything they did for me!

I should really be going now. Its late!

Verse.. ~ Titus 3:9 "But avoid foolish controversies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless."

Fact~ I'm so sunburned! So, Aloe vera anyone? ;)

God Bless,