What it Really Means to Live through Faith, Hope and Love

My Chalkboard

I made this chalk board out bark and chalk spray paint… I then wrote this as a reminder of what God spoke to me.

 “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

– 1 Corinthians 13:13

This verse and passage of scripture is perhaps the most used along with Jeremiah 29:11. Wall art was created, tattoos done, all surrounding the truth that only faith, hope and love will abide. We have fallen in love with this concept, literally bought the t-shirt and placed it on the walls of our homes and hearts. But have we really understood what it means for only faith, hope and love to abide? Do we really get what this looks like when it is lived out on a daily basis?

If I may be blunt, my answer to this question is a resounding, big fat, NO! A couple of nights ago, I was spending sometime in prayer with my guy and as we took a couple of moments in silence I heard that very phrase play in my mind; ” Only Faith, Hope and Love will remain”. Now let me be clear, we were not praying for our relationship, or love etc. At the moment that I heard that phrase, I was asking God to make us both more like Him. I was praying to be people who dwell in the river of life that He has provided for us. I was asking Him to help me, not focus on the bad things I experience, the opinions of others towards me, etc., and to see what He sees in all people ( this is a daily prayer of mine). And God’s response to me was ” Only Faith, Hope and Love will remain.”.

CTA button for Blog UGI sat on that for a moment and then it hit me like a wave. What God was saying to us in that moment was that in ALL of eternity the ONLY  things that will last are the things that come from a place of “Faith, Hope and Love”.  No word that is uttered, no work that is done, no opinion, no idea, absolutely nothing done outside of faith, hope and love will stand in the fire on that day that before our God. All else will be burned up like kindling at a bon fire, but everything that was/is rooted in these three things will stand the test of time.

We worry about a lot of things. I could spend the next two hours writing a list of things we worry about. BUT I won’t, so insert your own worries/anxieties here _______________. However most, if not all of the time, the things that we spend our time and mental capacities worrying about, are things that will mean nothing and become ashes to be soon blown away and forgotten in eternity.

So my question for you is: How much of what you allow to dictate your emotions and actions is influenced by faith, hope or love? How much of what you do, say, or seek finds its origin in one of those three things? If you answer is less than “everything” ( and you know it is because you probably feel awfully uncomfortable now), my friend something has to shift.

Now what does it look like to live from a place of faith, hope and love? Well I think the beginning portion of the 1 Corinthians 13 passage makes it pretty clear; with patience and kindness, with humility and grace, with forgiveness and mercy, with justice and joy, with lots and lots of do overs, with seeing the best and believing the best always and in growing in the maturity and love of Christ daily.

In the words of my dear friend Janet, “Jesus put the flesh and bones on this passage”. In the gospels we see a beautiful picture of what this complex love, radical faith and un-moving hope looks like.

May we people who live from a place of “Faith, Hope, and Love”!

Taking a Risk: Leaving the US to Serve in Brazil

planting

And also planted some flowers for our Easter service in good company! Photo Credit to @NyackChurch!

psf

Nyack College’s PSF class 2014 !

So much has happened since I last blogged; Lots of tears popped out of my eyes, anger was explored and roots of deception and bitterness in my life were finally uprooted. I Am now free from years of brokenness, internal struggles and dark secrets. I joined the healing prayer team for my church, Living Christ Church, and learned how to walk in my authority as a daughter of God. I witnessed a class of Nyack college students experience the freeing and the healing love of the Father. Then I began training the new admissions associate for the Alliance Theological Seminary as I prepared to transition. I accepted the position as Area Coordinator for Simpson Hall at Nyack College this Fall and said “See ya later” to my amazing roommate over a turkey bacon & egg breakfast (as we are both moving out of our shared space). I finally ended my 2nd year at seminary with a 4.0 GPA- this woman got Straight A’s.

These last few months have been incredibly difficult, transformational, and emotionally unnerving. But somehow I got through them all and I am now preparing for my next adventure; Spending 10 weeks this summer in Recife, Brazil working with Shores of Grace in their efforts to rescue women and children from sex slavery. I leave May 28th! woooohooo

off of the streets“In 2010 it is estimated that 40,000 sex workers were active during the World Cup in South Africa. Now four years later, the World Cup is on its way to Brazil, a country already known for its exploitation of sex workers…hundreds of thousands of women & children will be at risk for trafficking, violent sex crimes, disease, drug abuse and death. In the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to see 4 children pulled off of the streets of Brazil and placed in a home where they were given a safe environment to live in for the very first time. God broke my heart over the injustice and exploitation of Brazil’s women and children. So in the summer of 2014, just as the World Cup begins, I will head back to Brazil to be a part of God’s rescue mission for the vulnerable.”

 (An excerpt from my support letter that perfectly articulates the need, & my heart to serve this summer.)

I am taking a huge risk; I resigned from my job, I am moving out of my apartment anbrokem by God's loved I bought an airline ticket believing that on the streets of Brazil loving those women and children is EXACTLY where I am meant to be. The center of God’s will for me this summer will be in a place of vulnerability to the unknown, of risk and of deep trust, as I count on Him to be everything I need to survive.

To say that I am excited is an understatement. This is a thrilling adventure into the unknown, may it be the first of many!!  In the moments of fear and discouragement (because they have come) I am holding on to those memories of last summer in Brazil, when God broke my heart and put his love in me for that beautiful nation and its people.

As a graduate student in Intercultural Studies, I have the opportunity to use this trip to fulfill degree requirements (2nd continent experience — required of ATS’ MA IC students), and put all I am learning in the classroom into practice, gain experience and hands on training in missions work to the poor, hurting, and marginalized. At the end of my trip I will put together a thesis that I will present to my Intercultural Studies professors.  How awesome it is to be a part of a seminary that sends its students out to do the work of the gospel!!!!!

 I cordially invite YOU into my adventure into the unknown. Please partner with me in this mission! I want to share my experiences, heart breaks, victories and day-to-day moments with you.

Throughout my time in Brazil I will blog weekly, so check-in to get the scoop of all that’s going down on the streets of Recife during the 2014 World Cup.

Also please, PRAY, PRAY, PRAY! I need prayers for courage, wisdom, and strength as I face these transitions.

 www.gofundme.com/MaddyBack2Brazil – If you have a heart for women & children in sex trafficking, but cannot physically go, you can still join in this mission by partnering with me. Your support will make a lasting impact in the life of someone who needs YOU.

rio

Thank you for partnering with me, believing in this mission and praying as I go into an “adventure into the unknown”.

 

 

 

Online Courses: An Insider Interview with Anna

anna

At Nyack’s Memorial Park

The following is an online interview I held with current Master of Arts in Biblical Literature student Anna Bailey Shuman. Anna is now in her second semester of her first year of study at the Alliance Theological Seminary. Having graduated from Nyack College May of 2013, Anna knew her next step would be to complete a seminary degree. However her busy schedule; coaching volleyball, playing softball for Nyack College and working in ministry prevented her from starting her degree within the classroom but that didn’t stop her… Read the interview below!

 

Q- Why did you choose to begin    softballseminary with online classes?
A- I chose to begin seminary with online classes because my schedule was too crazy to find an empty three hour block, but I didn’t want to put off my education.

Q-What was your online experience like?

annaanddave

Anna and her husband David(also a Nyack grad) at Nyack College’s chapel, in which she was given the opportunity to preach.

A-My first semester online experience was wonderful!  At first I was worried that I would feel disconnected from my classmates and professors, but that fear was proven false.  Everyone was super intentional about building a class community through the online discussions, email, and review sessions we held.  It was definitely interesting adjusting back into a physical classroom assignment this semester.   I grew accustomed to having time to research my responses to classmates questions or statements; a luxury I actually miss within the classroom.

Q-Are there any highlights you’d like to share?

A- I think my favorite part of the online courses was the structure and routine that accompanied it.  The level of organization made it easier for me to balance school, sports, work, and family at the same time.

Q-What is your advice for any prospective seminary students seeking to do an online program?
A-If anyone is considering partaking in an online program my advice is this:
1) Set a weekly schedule for yourself and adhere to it.  Find different sets of time to block off specifically for your class work and do not compromise.   It can be very easy to fall behind without the physical reminder of going to class.
2)  You will receive what you work for.  If you slack off and settle for doing only what is required of you, you will not have the best experience in the class.  Read the notes, do the entire reading assignment, ask the extra questions, and most importantly,  push your classmates towards excellence. pierparkPictured left to right: Amelia, Michelle and Anna.
Some of Nyack’s and ATS’ best at Memorial Park in Nyack.

         Thank you Anna! Great advice from someone who’s experienced both the classroom and online learning experience.  If you’re interested in pursuing a seminary degree, contact me (Madelyn.badillo@nyack.edu) and let’s see if perhaps an online program would work for you!

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The Unoffended Heart

The cross

At Keswick Retreat Center dozens of young people left their burdens at the cross. #Freedom

“Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him…” – Job 13:15

These past two months have been the most trying months in the recent history of my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have experienced and participated in some wonderful things, but in the midst of the wonder and the work of the Lord; I have been dealt some serious pain and testing. I ended up in the hospital for a few days shortly after my return from Haiti with Dengue fever. After a quick recovery, I believe because of the prayers of my elders, family and friends; I faced some serious slander and verbal persecution and lost a friend to a misunderstanding. And in the heat of the pressure cooker; all of the dirt, all of the fears, all of the hidden chains that held be trapped in a cage, were exposed.

These past few weeks I have laid bare, naked, exposed before God and before man. The good, the bad and the ugly, hanging all out for all to see. Pain searing the depths of my soul, in ways words cannot describe. Yet the freedom and the eternally valuable lessons I have learned are worth all of the vulnerability, the tears, the loneliness, the fear, and the flesh I have been forced to tackle head on.

 As I lay in my new hospital room, filled with fear because the doctor told me, my kidneys and liver were not functioning, I cried out to Jesus. I asked him to make himself known to me in the room, I asked him to speak to me and I declared with the little bit of strength I had; ” Though you slay me, still will I trust in you… though you slay me, still will I say yes to you God.” Instantly the peace of God filled my worrying heart, and I knew he was right there, next to me, in that hospital bed. And I learned in that instance, that no matter what comes my way, I must have a resolution in my soul, to say yes to God, to trust him with my present and my future. Because he IS GOOD.

 I struggled my entire life with people pleasing, and with the bondage of perfectionism. With the NEED to be liked, accepted and loved by all. I was my toughest critic. I was not allowed to make mistakes. It was not okay for me to disappoint ANYONE. I had to cross every t and dot every i, PERFECTLY. And I felt the need to control what everyone felt and thought about me… Yet these past few weeks, in which I faced all sorts of slander, accusations and arguments, I recognized that even when the ugliest parts of me are exposed before God and man: I AM a LOVED, ACCEPTED, BEAUTIFUL BEING.

But the greatest lesson I have learned is that, in order to live continuously walking in freedom before the Lord,  I must live with an un-offended heart. A heart that does not become bitter or angry with God and man. A heart that  let’s go of the pain and decides to love, to trust, to forgive, to move on, to believe the truth and remain optimistic, even when the world around seems grim.

Having an un-offended heart, is having a heart that chooses to  ” love those who hate you… bless those who curse you and pray for those who persecute you” ( Matt 5:44; Luke 6:28).
 This is by no means an easy task. It can only come when you take all of your junk, offenses and pain to the presence of the living God and hand it to him, like a gift you’d give your best friend.  I have learned that even when I spill out garbage, God is so GOOD and faithful, to clean me up and make me new again. He loves when I trust him with my pain, and my insecurities! AND  He looks beyond my imperfections and He sees what a continual relationship with Him will create in me. And because everyday he makes me new and every day his mercies and grace are available for me to start fresh; I can forgive others, renew my relationships and live with HOPE and FAITH that sees beyond my present situations.
Keswick TeamAn un-offended heart is what enabled me to stand in front of 200 young people at the beginning of the month at Keswick Retreat Center for the Midwinder Advance with a team of Nyack College students, to declare the truth, love and freedom of the Lord over them.  Many accepted Christ and many more leave their burdens at the foot of the cross and walked away with true freedom. An un-offended heart is the reason I can smile, genuinely, at someone who wants nothing to do with me. An un-offended heart, is the reason I can admittedly say, I am not perfect, I will make mistakes, and that is perfectly OKAY!
( The Keswick Dream Team left-right; Esther, Jamie, Boris, Momoko, Eddie, Aaron, Wilkenson, Me, Tyler and Jennifer)
Being an un-offended child of God breathes a freedom in you to be who you are, with no chains of performance or expectations (from yourself and others) holding you down.
The un-offended heart, trusts in the Lord and has faith in HIS WORDS… ( not the condemning, anxiety, accusing, fear filled words of satan)
Unity

May we all with unoffended hearts; “attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13

Why I <3 ATS!

 

  There are many reasons I love the Alliance Theological Seminary! But you’ve already heard my input on the matter through my post ” Why ATS?!”.  I think it’s time you hear from others what makes ATS the place they love! Enjoy =)!

If you are thinking about seminary, IT IS NOT TOO LATE! There is still time to apply and enroll before the end of our Add/Drop period.

Begin by filling out an online application here: http://www.nyack.edu/content/ATSOnlineApp

The Struggle

Learning how to walk in freedomI have learned throughout my years here at Nyack and ATS, that we all struggle. We all have issues with sin, at some point or another. We all have fears, insecurities, doubts, anxieties, wounds and the list goes on. Whether we admit them or not we are all familiar with “The Struggle”; those things that seemingly kick our behinds at times. And if you say that you don’t have any areas of weakness, if you dare say you don’t struggle, I’d dare say you are not being honest with yourself and those around you.

And so I am about to be very real with all of you about “The Struggle”. That one thing in my life, that kicked my butt for years. This isn’t easy by any means. It’s not easy to share ones struggles with friends, nevertheless sharing it with the world-wide web, where millions of people will have access to it, forever. But with this being a growing, prevalent, and perhaps the most unspoken of issues within the Body of Christ, I will share with you all, my journey with “The Struggle”.

I became a Christian in 2008, and within the first month, of making my decision to follow Jesus Christ; I stopped smoking weed and cigarettes. I left a very bad relationship, and I abandoned mostly everything that connected me, with my previous lifestyle. Except for this one thing, an addiction to sexual sin. Now before you find yourself outraged with my confession; remember you, and if not you, someone you know, also has and/or does struggle with the very same thing.

I learned from a very young age, that if I wanted to be loved and accepted, than sex was the way to go. Sexual abuse taught me where and how to find comfort, approval, acceptance, love. And so I found myself as a Christian, dealing with my issues of loneliness, rejection, pain, etc. in the way I knew how;  by giving myself the self-gratification that I thought would ease my pain.

But I quickly discovered how different it is to engage in such things as a Christian. I would turn to this sin and immediately after feel ashamed, disgusted at myself and my behavior and completely disconnected from God. I would spend days depressed and angry at myself for committing such a horrible act. It took me years to understand that truly NOTHING could separate me from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus ( Romans 8).  That even though, I messed up yet again, there is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. That God still sees me as His beloved daughter and that His grace was TRULY sufficient for me (2 Corinthians 12:9).  I learned this through my amazing leaders, friends and mentors while in Nyack College.

I learned to run to God the Father when I fellwomen who've helped keep me accountable, rather than run away from Him. But this wasn’t enough. Eventually I became SICK and TIRED of falling and running and I just longed for REAL freedom. I recognized I needed accountability in order for that to happen. And so I began to confess my sins. I started to open up to my close friends and mentors about my struggle. I gave them permission to ask me the tough questions and be in my face about it. But that still wasn’t enough. Because no matter how many times I confessed and how many times they prayed for me, I still fell. And even though it was something that happened maybe once or twice a month, it happened enough for me to recognize something was seriously wrong in my heart. 

And so through a class at Nyack, I learned how to begin to deal with the junk in my heart that was leading me to turn to that sort of comfort. I dealt with mommy issues, daddy issues, abandonment issues, rejection issues, abuse issues, fears, insecurities. I was as messed up as they come. I discovered that the more I dealt with my stuff, the less I struggled. But the struggle was still there.

So I went for a deliverance session, and dealt with some spiritual (demonic) influences that fueled the addiction, and that was amazing. I found myself walking in levels of freedom I’ve never known. Until I felt alone again, and fell again. And I realized then, that the only thing that would ever satisfy this longing heart was love, God’s love. So now I am learning how to spend time, daily, with the God who loves me. Allowing His love to wash over me, and fill every fracture in my soul. The more time I spend with Him, the less I crave  a false sense of satisfaction and the more freedom I know.

We all have “The Struggle”.  And after much trial and error, here are a few tips that have helped me walk in freedom:

  1.  Be real, admit there is an issue. Walk in the light. As long as you keep things hidden or pretend you’re not struggling, you will never find freedom. (1 John 1)

  2. Run to God, not from Him. He loves you. He longs to pour out his love and grace over you and over those areas that you struggle with. He is not angry with you or shocked by your sin. He understands, He gets it and He longs to walk through this WITH YOU.  (Hebrews 4:14-16)CTA button for Blog ATS

  3. Confess, share your struggle with a leader, friend, minister, a person you could trust, who will give you sound counsel, love on you and help pray you through; no matter how long it takes. (James 5:16)

  4. Deal with the underlying issues. Allow God to expose the holes in your soul and walk you through healing. It sucks, it hurts, but it is WORTH it. (Luke 6:46)

  5. Set up different levels of accountabilityScreenshotblocks on your internet, friends who will ask you the tough questions and keep you accountable for your decisions and actions.

  6. Seek deliverance, often times addictions are influenced by critters. This doesn’t mean you’re not a child of God, it just means that we live in a world where there are spirit beings who seek to influence and rule our lives. And none of us want that.

  7. Soak in God’s presence and love every day. Ultimately we turn to other things to satisfy a need that only God could satisfy. So let Him quench your thirst, and ease your hunger, with the richness of His love.

“God doesn’t Heal…”

“…Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they praying for healing in Biblical Theologyshall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away…” 1 Corinthians 13: 8 

( Our Biblical Theology class praying for the healing of one our classmates on 10/1/13 led by Dr. Chan—>)

 Throughout my career as an undergraduate student at Nyack College, I heard many arguments for and against the move of the Holy Spirit to heal humans beings physically. I listened to professors I respect greatly, use the verse above, amongst others, to explain why the move of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit, such as healing, are no longer in function within the Body of Christ today. But I also heard stories of faith from many others who witnessed physical healings, and/or strongly believed on a Biblical basis for the gift of healing today. 

I shared in one of my posts God used words to create…so be careful with ’em.” ,  my personal experience with the gift of physical healing. As I, last September experienced a complete healing from rheumatoid arthritis, after a time of praying during my “Divine Healing” class here at ATS.  That moment changed my spiritual walk, forever. 

 You see, like many of you, I’d struggled for a long time with the thought that “God doesn’t heal…” and even if He did, He certainly wasn’t going to use me to do it.  After all, I was just a little Christian college student, who was still fairly new to the faith and still struggling and working through a lot. During my time at Nyack college, I’d seen pockets of the move of God, but not much in the area of healing. And so while outwardly I looked confident and sure, inwardly I was just as insecure as a person receiving their first swimming lesson, after almost drowning a couple of weeks before. 

I’d prayed for healing for people, even though I didn’t believe much in it and for a long period of time I saw… NOTHING… Confession time!! While I do recall the several occasions during the small group “The Fire” (which I led my junior and senior years) seeing moments of healing and restoration, my faith was still small and filled with doubt. The constant reminder that God does not and could not use someone like me, kept my eyes off of Christ’s ability to heal, and on my limitations as a person.

CTA button for Blog UGUp until that point I believed that God didn’t heal others, when I prayed, because of me and who I was. Yet all along His healing touch was and is completely dependent on Him and who He is.

As a good friend reminded me of yesterday; “God’s miracles are not contingent on my belief in them.” –Darren Wilson in “Furious Love” (paraphrase)

That evening in class, when I encountered the God who heals, I recognized that it brings God nothing but pleasure to heal the wounds, diseases, sicknesses of His people. I encountered a God who delights in making His kingdom tangible in our bodies. A God who desires to display His authority over sickness, death and sin, by the complete removal of anything that manifests its effects. And a God who works through broken, hurting, disobedient, faithless people to display just HOW faithful, good and LOVING, HE is. 

I went on a journey as I took the Divine Healing Class offered at ATS, praying for the healing of several others. And I saw TEN people who that semester were HEALED; physically and emotionally. 

My favorite one was when my friend Matt was healed. Matt had severe pain in his foot, his foot was swollen and it was difficult for Matt to walk and stand (both of which he did all day) at work. My friend Bill and I decided to pray and pray we did. We began by asking Matt about his pain, the nature of his injury and so on. We then spent some time welcoming God into the moment. Bill led out in prayer, praying some specific blessings over Matt. As Bill prayed, my right hand felt like it was on fire, I immediately put my hand on his foot and I prayed. Long story short, by the time we stopped praying there was NO swelling, and NO pain and Matt stood up and literally ran around the house. We began rejoicing in the Lord so loudly, we woke up Bill’s mom, who also then praised God for the healing as well. GO JESUS!

Here is the cool thing about that story, Matt was not a Christian, He didn’t necessarily believe in God… but that encounter THAT night, led him to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! 

So here is where I challenge YOU. If you believe God cannot, and does not heal; if you’ve never experienced the move of the Spirit of God in healing, whether personally, or seeing it in someone else; give God a chance to BLOW your theology out of the water and go after healing! 

It would please the spirit of God to reveal to you the mysteries of God (Ephesians 3) in healing. 

I bless you to “seek, ask, and knock” and see that truly the “fervent prayer of the righteous availeth much.” 

                           love through hugs

                           (and sometimes the healing we need is in our hearts….) 

Death First

“Death first” was a statement made by Dr. Rob Reimer jokingly deeper lifeas he spoke at the Nyack College Deeper Life session on Tuesday night. And while the context in which he made the statement is different from the way I am about to use it, ” Death First” perfectly articulates what God has been doing in my life.

Since Brazil, and in the midst of the craziness that is new student orientation, plus the add/drop period for Nyack College and Alliance Theological Seminary, God has been talking to me consuming fireabout death. Yes, you read right, death. God is calling me to die, to deny myself and my pick up my cross and follow him daily ( Luke 9:23). He is challenging me to learn how to live my life as a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1-2); To be one who offers up her life to the Lord wholly, so that His will would be done in my life, here on earth, as it is in heaven. 

As I tried to process and explain to my friends what God was doing in me, I was having real difficulty, until Dr. Reimer spoke on it during chapel at ATS.He helped me understand that what God was asking of me was completely normal and necessary.

 Truth is, Jesus very much meant what He said when He called us to die to ourselves. And most of us live under the false assumption that we already do this. We think that because we stopped doing the things we use to, or have dealt with some of the heart issues in our lives, that we have learned to die.

But death to self goes deeper still. It is a realm of self-denial that forces us to love our enemies as ourselves. It is living in a place where, truly, it is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me (Galatians 2:20). It is surrendering ALL that we are, ALL that we have and allowing God to do whatever, however, whenever, with ALL of our lives. It is living a life that says, “God this is what I want, this is what I have, this is who I am, take all of it, consume it, and do with it all, what you will.” It is no longer making decisions and asking God to bless them, but truly asking; “God what is it that you want?” and walking under His leading.

And I have come to realize that unless we learn to live “Death Surrendered at the AGSM retreatFirst”, we are going to miss out on truly seeing God and His move here on this earth. Dr. Reimer touched on this while he spoke in our chapel. He mentioned that unless we live in this level of Holiness, we will not see God (Hebrews 12:14). We pray and plead with God for revival yet we are still the masters of our lives. We still live with division amongst us. We still live being offended and angry with one another. We still control our decisions and the things we do. We want to see God, without living wholly, Holy lives and that my friends will not work. 

CTA button for Blog ATSYou want to see God?  Choose ” Death first”. Choose to surrender all that you have and all that you are and let God have His perfect will done in you, as it is in heaven. 

“We desire that God would give us the death-stroke; but we long to die without pain; we would die to our own will by the power of the will itself; we want to lose all and still hold all. Ah! what agony, what distress, when God has brought us to the end of our strength! We faint like a patient under a painful surgical operation. But the comparison is nought, for the object of the surgeon is to give us life — that of God to make us die.” François FénelonSpiritual Progress 

¡Wait?!

Traffic in Brazil

Waiting in traffic in Brazil.

There is no four letter word I  dislike more than the word “WAIT”. Now before you think me a little crazy, my issue isn’t with the word itself but rather the verb, the action of “waiting”. I dislike waiting on lines at stores, I particularly loathe waiting in traffic ( I think EVERY HUMAN DOES). I don’t like waiting at drive thru’s  I mean come on, it’s a drive thru, there should be no waiting involved!. And I really, really don’t enjoy being told to “wait”.

Yet the last couple of weeks all I keep hearing is “WAIT”.

“… but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14

As a college and now seminary student, one of my biggest struggles has been waiting. Waiting on God to fulfill His promises. Waiting on Him to complete His work in me. Waiting on Him on to bring the right person into my life. Waiting on Him to open up the right doors for ministry.

Waiting is not something I do well. Mostly because we’re told to hustle and make things happen. Yet sometimes all God wants us to do is WAIT, on HIM.
He can make things happen A LOT better than you and I, ever could.

I have recently realized that waiting means letting go of all control, truly surrendering and trusting that God will piece it all together in the end, just like He said He would. My issues with waiting go beyond, waiting. It is an issue of trust. It is much harder to wait, when you don’t trust that the one you are waiting on will actually come through.

And that’s just it. I will either choose to believe that God is absolutely good and has good things in store for me as His daughter ( as one of my amazing ATS friends/co-workers reminded me). Or I will continue to buy into the costly lies that He won’t come through for me as He says He would. Both time and testing has proven, even over the course of the last two months, that HE ALWAYS comes through for His children. I have no reason to fear, no reason to doubt, no reason to think that if I wait, it will not end well for me.

So I have chosen as I start my second year at the Alliance Theological Seminary to practice the discipline of waiting. To genuinely STOP trying to figure things out. Or stop trying to make things happen and TRUST that my Daddy, will DO everything He said He would for me.  Even if the picture isn’t painted with the colors I’d like them to be. Or the brush strokes don’t happen as fast as I would like them to. Or the picture as a whole is completely different from what I hoped for, I choose to wait, I choose to trust.

Because it’s in the waiting, it’s in the trusting that I am coming to truly believe that His WILL is perfect. It’s not just something that sounds pretty in scripture. This is absolute truth. HIS WILL IS PERFECT. SO if HIS will is perfect, then when I wait on HIM, and He is in control, the outcome of my life will be EXACTLY what it’s suppose to be. And it will be perfect for me.

I know a lot of you reading this have perhaps struggled with this very same issue, or are struggling with it now. I encourage you, find comfort, as I have, in knowing that really, He is a good father, who gives GOOD gifts to His children. He has not forgotten you, you have not been overlooked. He sees, He knows, He hears your prayers. And in due time every single word, every single promise He’s ever made to you, will unfold in your life.

I am a witness that those who wait upon the Lord, renew their strength and WILL rise up on wings like eagles…

In the clouds
…Or a plane… My view as I arrived at Rio de Janeiro.

” No one who waits for you will ever be put to shame, no one who waits for you will ever regret it!”

 

Pierced by Love


knowing I am lovedA couple of nights ago I was laying on the floor, on my face at Resting Place House of Prayer in New Jersey ( lots of Nyack College students and ATS students visit this place). And I was crying. I was crying over the fact that God is a high and lofty God. He is unapproachable light. His power could crush the universe. I was saddened by this amazing truth, because I realized that this same unapproachable God, is my Father and as much as I would want to approach Him, hug Him, run and sit on His lap in the throne room one day, I can’t.

It’s safe to say that my sentiment moved God’s heart. And instantly I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of love and longing, which were not my own. I felt the affections of this powerful God towards me. I felt a love that saw all of my dirt, all of my sin, all of my mistakes, all of my past, present and future failures but loved me the same. I felt this love wrap around me like a tight, strong, passion-filled hug.

And what I saw next has changed the depths of my being.  I saw a man clothed in white garments, He had a gold belt around His waist, and hanging off of His belt was a sword. He pulled the sword from its holster and carved as holes into the sword was the word ” LOVE”.  This man turned and the piercing light coming from His eyes kept me from being able to see His face. I tried hard to see what He looked like, but I couldn’t. And this man took His sword and pierced me with it. It was not an act of violence or hatred, but of penetrating truth. Seconds later Ali, one of the leaders at Resting Place says while praying: ” He wants to (Jesus does) pierce you with His Holy love…”

CTA button for Blog ATS

Needless to say, I was undone. I wept and wept, because I got a glimpse that night of the length, the depth, the height, the width, of God’s love. A love that knows no bounds, that holds no records of wrongs, a love filled with grace and compassion. A love that is not only for me, but for all of mankind.

I have been reading a book by one of my professors at ATS called “Pathways to the King”. In chapter 2 Dr. Reimer talks about our pursuit of God… After reading this chapter, I took on the challenge of pursuing God. I recognized that, throughout my career as a college student in Nyack and even in my first year at ATS, God has always been in pursuit of me. But I have never really been in pursuit of Him. So for nearly a month now, I have been sacrificing; time, money, hanging out, etc. to seek the face of God. 

And in seeking, asking and knocking as hard as I can; I have been pierced by the transforming love of God.  The penetrating truth of His love, is not something for me to soak up and then continue living life, business as usual. His love calls me into action. It calls me to serve, to care and to hunger and to thirst for more and not just for myself, but for all those around me. It is a truth that has ever so gently forced a change in me. 

 His love is a love that has challenged me to view others, even love actsthose who hate me, as people who are also worthy of grace and redemption. It is a love that has moved me to sacrifice, not just for God, but for the sake of a sister who was in need.  It is a love that is truly not envious. It is a love that seeks the well-being of others.  Love that is marked not by word but by deed.  Love that has been teaching me, what it looks like to die to myself, pick up my cross and truly follow Him.

We read passages like 1 Corinthians 13 and we make great Hallmark cards out of them. We quote them, pray them, long for them. But yet never take the time to; A) find that piercing love and if we do we, B) don’t allow it to do the work it is meant to do in us and through us. 

And may I just remind you, that this same love led Jesus to hang on a tree, bearing the weight of sin for all mankind for all time, as He swallowed the wrath of a powerful God, and tore the veil of eternal separation from God we truly all deserve, once and for all. 

I challenge my seminary and my Nyack college fireworksfriends, and everyone else reading this blog- Seek, Ask, Knock. Go on a real pursuit of God. Let Him pierce you with His Holy love, so that you can go out into the world and pierce others with His Holy love, in you. 

 

 

God is the MASTER of Blowing Minds

Missions trip fund

An envelope I received through Nyack/ATS campus mail! Giving $205 towards my missions to Brazil!

These past few weeks have been nothing short of inexplicable. I could come up with a ton of fancy words and phrases to describe the moments, encounters, prayers and day by day occurrences, but none could capture my thoughts quite like ” God is the Master of Blowing minds…”

Worship @ LCC

Holy Spirit Weekend @ Living Christ Church; Worship: Andrew Meher, Julie Hodson,  Matt Ellenberger and yours truly!

 

From seeing someone completely healed from a spinal injury (amongst the many who were physically, emotionally and spiritually healed during Holy Spirit weekend at my church, Living Christ church in Nyack), to watching financial provision pour in through my community to support the missions trip to Brazil,to my amazing ATS and NYACK friends who put together a wonderful last-minute Birthday party for me, God has not once stopped to amaze me recently.

CTA button for Blog ATSYes, even after the car accident (yeahhh… I crashed my car into the back of cab on the FDR…), I saw Gods incredible purpose, when I was able to share His love with my tow truck driver. Who afterwards told me, that usually Christians get angry and argue with him when he shares his beliefs and he couldn’t believe how nice I was… I mean come on; only God could put something together like that.

Fancy  Pants

My co-workers at ATS admissions showed me love on my Birthday… By writing ALL over my windows haha

God is a ninja, a master at blowing minds.

He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. He knows how to deliver, how to captivate our hearts and how go above and beyond what we could ever ask, think of, or imagine. And that’s just it, GOD DESIRES to blow our minds. He desires to do the inexplicable. He seeks for every opportunity to display His glory in our lives. He gets a thrill out of working ALLLLLLL things together for our good ( Romans 8:28). And He thoroughly enjoys putting a smile on one of His kid’s faces.

God, is a good God. Nothing, no circumstance, mishap, disease, trouble, violence, natural disaster could ever negate that truth. And truly it is up to us, to see HIM for who He is and seek HIM for what he wants to offer us; His mind-blowing presence in every corner of our lives.

Bday party

These people made my birthday a special and blessed one!

The reason my mind is being blown so much lately is because I finally understand that God wants to do the incredible and give us the incredible, because HE is the incredible one. And He wants to give us HIMSELF.

I can seek God for finances, a spouse, provisions for my job, (insert any other need here)… But friends there is something so much greater to seek God for and that’s HIM!

Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying to not pray for anything you need, I am a firm believer in the effectiveness of our prayers for all and in all things.

BUT I AM saying; SEEK HIM FIRST. You’ve heard it before, “seek first the kingdom and all its righteousness and everything else will be added onto you.” Matt 6:33

God is not a means to an end my friends. HE IS THE END. HE IS beyond anything we could ever ask for, think of, or imagine…( Ephesians 3:20)

And so my ninja God, who has so masterfully exploded my mind lately, longs to do the same for you! Because he’s a master at blowing minds and He loves to do so! =)

intentionally diverse

Me+friends from ATS/Nyack= Intentionally Diverse

 

The Word- Spoken Word Piece

CTA button for Blog ATS

The Word- Spoke Word piece written by yours truly.

Watch and listen first before reading below! ( hahaha, no seriously!!)

This piece was inspired after a time of prayer two years ago in my dorm room in Simpson Hall at Nyack college. I remember exactly how my though progression took place;  As I was praying, and using several scriptures to pray, I remembered that “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”. And then I thought about John 1:1 which describes Jesus as the Word. And suddenly it ocurred to me; God used words to create, and the word He used was Jesus and Jesus came out of the abundance of God’s heart.

In other words, JESUS is the revelation of GOD the Father’s heart. INCREDIBLE. So if we know Jesus, we know the heart of the Father. WE know the very things that move him, that cause him to smile, that make him cry…  If we want to truly have God’s vision, we need to first know his heart and the revelation of His Heart is: Jesus.

I pray this piece and revelation blesses you as much as it blessed me.

~Are you interested in ministry?  Discuss how you can serve God and others at the Alliance Theological Seminary. Ask us! 

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