Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ramblings, Filthy Rags, and Lemonade

As the semester begins I find myself being overwhelmed and constantly busy. I love being busy and having full days, scratch that, productive days I mean. I may be a geek with analogies, but I like to think of my days as lemons and at the end of the day I'd like to say I squeezed all the juice out of my lemon and made some pretty darn good lemonade. (The lemonade being the product resulting from hard work and my hard work being the squeezing). 

Naturally, meaning by my sinful nature, I have a prideful, confident spirit and I'm prone to building and putting my confidence, worth and pride in what I do or accomplish. It's all too easy to pat myself on the back at the end of the day and say "YOU did it Lindsey" or "Wow, YOU did all of that in one day? Great job!" But thankfully, I recognize by the Grace of God that I didn't do it all, and not only did I not do it ALL, I also didn't do it by myself. What I mean by this is that my abilities or gifts are God-given and my strength is God-given. To return to my analogy, God gave me the lemon, the ability to squeeze it, and I'm making my lemonade for Him and Him alone. 
But wait, God doesn't need my lemonade. And actually, to God, my lemonade is as good as filthy rags. 
All of us have become like one who is unclean, 
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, 
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
Isaiah 64:6
I love that the Bible is full of analogies. However, I'll let you figure out what Isaiah means by "filthy rags" or rather, ask your mother...

He doesn't love me any more or any less depending on how good or bad my lemonade is. So, why do I strive so hard to make the best glass of lemonade for my Lord? 
Also, God doesn't need me. He is powerful enough on His own to do whatever he finds pleasing in His sight. He can accomplish His purposes and fulfill His will without Lindsey. God only chooses to use broken and flawed people like me to accomplish His purposes. 
It is so very important to know that God does want me. I am a child of God, relentlessly loved and pursued and wanted by Him every day. God has shown light in my life and my heart and overpowered darkness. (2 Corinthians 4:6) Because of this, I now have a God given desire to please Him and do work for Him, for His Glory, to make Him known and spread this light that so graciously was given to me. I aim to please God, not with the intention of winning favor with Him or to be recognized in anyway, but I desire to please Him because He loved me first (Romans 5:8, 1 John 4:19) and made the ultimate sacrifice for me. I am not paying God back, I never could even if I tried my hardest. (Romans 3:23) I'm always going to fall short of pleasing God. I'm going to fail at it every day. Running back to my analogy, my recipe for lemonade will never be perfected. Most days it's actually gonna taste pretty horrible. 

Discouragement, Grace, Endurance, Discipline, Worship
My constant failures shouldn't deter me or slow me down, but it is inevitable, I will get discouraged, but I will also be rescued by His unchanging grace. Hebrews 12 is a favorite of mine. It talks about not growing weary, but instead enduring discipline and looking to Christ. A few verses stick out to me in this section:
For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,
Hebrews 12:11-12
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
Hebrews 12:28-29
At the end of my day, I am prone to find my worth in what I have done, rather than Who allowed me to do it. But, no matter how discouraging, productive, horrible, or awesome my day was I thank God for His unfailing, overflowing grace. I ask for endurance, strength and discipline to do it better the next day. I thank Him for choosing me and wanting me. And I offer what I have to Him with what He has given me. How great it is that God doesn't need my lemonade! Even greater than that, He loves me the same today, yesterday and tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

My experience at Summer Beach Project 2012

Where do I even start?

The past eight weeks have been indescribable in many ways, but I’ll attempt to tell of my experience I had while at the Summer Beach Project in Myrtle Beach, SC.

Coming in to project I was looking to deepen my relationship with God, develop a more outward focus, rather than an inward/self-centered focus (in other words: gaining more of a servant’s heart), and show others the Love of Christ, not only by living out the Gospel, but also by sharing the Gospel, boldly and with full faith (evangelism).  It was my experience that the goals I had set for myself were far less than what God wanted to do in my heart.

While I looked to develop a better lifestyle and sought after behavior change, God looked to my heart and started there. The stubborn child in me thought, “Do we have to start there?” That’s just what I realized I was (and still am), a child of God. An amazing part of my summer that seemed to be a theme to me is that God revealed His character in new and dear ways to me. I experienced God as not only healer of my heart, but as a tender-loving Father in the way he mended and renewed my heart. Not only as Creator of all things, but as Creator who cares for His created. I also experienced God as Protector and Guider as He enabled me to reflect back on my school year and see how He prepared my heart for so many of the things I was to experience at Beach Project.

Going in to project I had no idea what to expect, but the neat thing was that God had prepared my heart for what I was about to encounter. How sweet this was to be able to reflect and see God’s work in my life. To see evidence of God’s hand in situations and decisions leading up to this summer experience, regardless of the fact that I was not whole-heartedly following Him, that I was picking and choosing when I wanted to be Godly and when I wanted to be worldly.

I also experienced for the first time Jesus as the true Lord of all in my life.

I knew Him to be Savior, and loved this part of the story, as it says in 2 Corinthians 5:14-15
"For the love of Christ Controls us, because we have concluded this: that One has died for all…"
This was the part of these verses I accepted and really liked, but there was more to these verses that for so long I had swept under the rug…
“…therefore all have died; and He died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for Him who for their sake died and was raised.”

‘No longer living for myself, but instead living for Him…’ This was something I had talked myself into thinking that I did. You could have asked me before project: “Lindsey, who do you live for?” I would have responded and said “Christ”. You see, I knew the whole verse and I knew all the right answers, but knowing, believing and doing are three completely different things, because if you were to examine my life and shadow me for even just two days, you wouldn’t have seen a servant living for and running to the reward that Moses was looking to in Hebrews 11:26. What you actually would have seen was a girl, sugarcoating her brokenness with layers of crap consisting of cute outfits, forced smiles, and a whole lot of good works she was hoping to get recognized for. 

My identity was found in what I could do, what I looked like and this blog I’m currently defacing with this off the wall blog post. I was aiming for the three C’s: Classy, Cute and Conservative, but I was missing out on the biggest “C” of all, Christ. For the most part, Jesus was Lord, but God doesn’t want us for the most part, He wants all of us. This is going to sound stupid and obvious, but Jesus did not “half die on the cross” and he did not make a half-hearted sacrifice. Yet, I had only half-heartedly given myself over to Him. I had accepted Him and made a lot of decisions with Him in mind and with Him as my reason, but He wasn’t spread over all of my life, only the areas I ‘allowed’ Him to be a part of. No Lord reigns over only part of His servant’s life, but rather, a Lord reigns over all things.

This summer, the love of Christ compelled me to make Him Lord of all. While this means
e v e r y t h i n g,
let me sum it up for you:
1. He’s Lord over my wardrobe, my wallet, my work, my wants and everything else in between.
2. He is my reason, my center, my motivation, and my model.  
3. He is what I find my worth/value/significance/purpose in now.  (How sweet this is: He who is worthy is what I find my worth in.)


This is only a small taste of what God did this summer, but it will have to suffice for now. 
Stay tuned for more to come and also a blog-remodel!

In Christ,

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Little Vacay and How to 'Get My Look'

Nails: Essie Turquoise and Caicos 
Sunnies: Ralph Lauren
Similar here: Sunglass Hut & Zappos
Earrings: Anchor pave earrings from a cute little boutique in downtown Wilmington
Similar here: Claires
Top:  Banana Republic non-iron fitted sateen shirt
Banana Republic
Drink: Iced Caramel Macchiato 
(The secret is getting one less pump of vanilla---it's perfect that way)
Always hair up & windows down

Anchors Away!

My cute momma!
Nothing prettier than that Carolina sky...
Oh, and the beach...of course!