Sunday, March 31, 2013
Here I stand, in awe of the presence of Christ my King.
Oh Lord of Your sweet goodness I will forever sing.
For You have refreshed my soul in ways unexpected.
My heart You have stolen, shielded, protected.
In Your arms I find the safe haven for which I so long.
In Your embrace I find my peace - the home where I belong.
You alone are my shelter, my most beautiful saving grace.
No moment will compare to the moment I first saw Your face.
Oh the wonder of Your face, that has saved me from myself.
Oh the beauty of Your hands, so quick to catch me when I fell.
Always so quick to guide me as I stumbled through the night.
Always so willing to ease my fears whenever I put up a fight.
Yet fight, hate, envy no more, as I realize just who You are.
The end goal now being only love, as You guide me from afar.
You held my hand and guided me through a former path of destruction.
Giving me a new heart, not yet perfect, only beautifully under construction.
God, You gave me new eyes to see You in a world so dark.
With my head in Your hands You promised, "Never, my dear, will we part."
"Never will I leave you, or cast you to the side.
Never will I allow fear to consume you, to make you run and hide.
With our hands and hearts together, we'll create this life anew.
With the past behind us, let's do this together: now it's only Me and you.
See now, it's just the two of us, no one can tear us down.
For you've all the strength you'll ever need, as long as you have Me around.
Yes everything you could ever need, I have it in My hands.
So give Me your heart and take My hand, for you I have the most beautiful of plans."
Sunday, March 24, 2013
The only thing of which I am truly afraid in this life is a life without Christ. I cannot imagine anything more disappointing than a life without Him. Those of you who know me well know my personal story, and you know why I truly believe that if it wasn't for God, I wouldn't be where I am today. He gave me strength when I had nothing left inside of me - the strength I needed to let go of the person I wanted to be, instead becoming who He has created me to be.
I can't tell you how many people have approached me directly and said, "I'm not sure you understand what it feels like to struggle, so of course you believe in God. Your life is easy. It's easy to believe in God when your life is only filled with good things." Oh how I love to explain to these people how deeply mistaken they are. You see, the one who follows Christ is the one who realizes his own need for a savior. The Christian is the one who can clearly see his imperfections and wants to do something about them. A Christian is the exact opposite of a perfect person.
I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. I have fallen and failed miserably many, many times in my short life. Yet it is Christ who gives me the strength I need to continue the race of life. It is Christ who arms me with courage in the midst of the battlefield of my soul. I am a Christian because I am so deeply imperfect, and I am so deeply in love with the only One who is capable of turning my imperfections into something beautiful.
I know what you're thinking: You're crazy. Don't worry I've heard it all. From "You're wasting your time," to "You are so stupid to think this is real," I've heard all the critiques, and I don't mind them. Me, crazy? Well, if there is Someone out there who is capable of bringing light to the darkest parts of your life, why wouldn't you be crazy in love with that Someone? If there's a God who is just dying to give you the greatest, most joy-filled life possible, what else can you possibly do besides be crazy about Him? Call me crazy, but to me, the craziest thing one could ever possibly do is choose to live life without Christ.
So take a chance and fall in love with Him. It may just be the craziest thing you'll ever do, but it will be the best decision of your life...a life filled with joy for the morning, hope for the day, and light for the night.
Praying for each of your hearts this week, that you may be overwhelmed by His great love.
Worn by Tenth Avenue North
Worn by Tenth Avenue North
Saturday, March 16, 2013
Maybe I'll finally be happy when I go to college.
Maybe I'll finally feel satisfied when I get a boyfriend.
Maybe I'll finally experience freedom when I'm on my own.
We tell ourselves these things, hoping our predictions will one day come true. Maybe when I finally get that car, or that diploma, or become friends with that person, I will be happy. I will have everything I need. Yet when we finally reach that car, diploma, or friend, we find ourselves just as empty as we were before. There's always that lingering emptiness, no matter how noticeable or unnoticeable. It doesn't matter if you've found the most faithful husband on the face of this earth or if you have the best career in town. There may always be something missing.
For me, the only times I don't feel "something missing" are when I am with Jesus. When I am talking to my God in prayer, I feel complete. My former emptiness is filled with good things. I am whole again.
If you have no idea what I'm talking about and you truly believe that you don't have to have Jesus to feel completely satisfied, then you haven't experienced what it's like to be filled with the love of Christ. His love is all-consuming. His love is the only constant in a world of varying emotions, attitudes, and people. His love will take that emptiness you feel and turn it into a beautiful thing.
I've realized that the greatest evidence we have for the existence of God is the emptiness within each and every one of us. C.S. Lewis says, "If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world." We all know what it feels like to be empty. Yet I know for a fact that the only thing capable of filling our emptiness is the all-consuming love of Christ. Our emptiness shows that we were made for another world, Heaven. With a simple look into God's eyes and a glance at His heart, we are whole again.
If I could, I would sit every single atheist in the world down one-by-one and tell them face-to-face what Jesus has done for me, and what Jesus has helped me do for myself. It absolutely tears me apart to know that some people go their whole lives without ever even catching a glimpse at His all-consuming love. I cannot think of anything more unsatisfying than a life without Him.
Again, if you're thinking, "Nope, Haley, I've got all the happiness I need. I'm satisfied without God," that's because you haven't truly experienced the love of Christ. And if you haven't experienced the love of Christ, it's because you haven't put forth the effort to get to know Him. It's just like any other relationship in life: it takes effort. Have you talked to Him in prayer? Have you visited Him in Church? Have you read His words in the Bible? Have you seen His love through other Christians or Catholics? Start surrounding yourself with a community of believers. Start putting forth the effort required to develop a relationship with Him. It's not always easy. It takes time - a whole lifetime. Remember, be patient. And in time, I promise that with Him you will be whole again.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
Song of the Week:
P.S. Shoutout to the University of Texas Kappa Delta Bible study. Thank you for reading (especially you, Kat Pressler)!
Saturday, March 2, 2013
"All thinking men are atheists." (Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms)
At first glance, the idea of religion appears immensely foolish. It seems ridiculous to believe in an imaginary friend in the clouds, ready to help you with your worldly struggles - is it not? Would not every "thinking man" agree that the idea of a "savior" is so clearly and laughably false?
I like to think of myself as a thinking man (in this case, woman). Contrary to Hemingway's conclusion, it is not an atheist outlook that contributes to my ability to think. Rather, the fact that I am a Christian directly proves that I am constantly thinking and constantly seeking truth each moment of my existence.
Yet how could I - one who indeed believes in that so-called "imaginary friend in the clouds ready to help [me] with [my] worldly struggles" - be considered one who thinks?
However, the more I think about Hemingway's argument, the more I see the invalidity of his conclusion. I do not believe that all thinking men are atheists. Yet at the same time, I do not believe that all thinking men are Christians. The definition of a "thinking man" is not an atheist or a Christian, but it is one who has taken the time to reflect on what he or she believes to be true.
Those last words are crucial: what he or she believes to be true. When it comes down to it, I do not care if you are atheist; I do not care if you are Christian. All I ask is that you take the time to think.
Once I was speaking with my friend about his atheism. Out of curiosity, I asked him if he could pinpoint the cause of his lack of religion. It amazed me to hear that he was atheist just because - just because it made sense to him. It seemed to me that he had taken very little time to actually reflect on his decision to become atheist, and instead had simply chosen this route because his father was atheist.
Now before any atheists reading this get too fired up, allow me to offer further commentary. An atheist who does not take the time to think about why he believes as he does is equally as ignorant as a Christian who does not take the time to think about why he believes as he does.
You cannot simply say that you are atheist or you are Christian because your parents are or your friends are. Few things on this planet are more frustrating to me than the individual who so easily believes what others tell him or her to believe. Do not be that frustrating individual. Take time to reflect, to wonder, to reason, to imagine, to question, to argue.
At first glance, I am positive that many of you see me as such a "frustrating individual," one who believes in the goodness of God simply because that is what she has been told all her life. Yet those of you who have been reading my blog each Sunday or who know me on a deeper level would (I hope) declare that I am indeed a thinking woman.
Here's the deal: I neither believe nor agree with everything the Church tells me to. I am the kind of person who questions everything. I am extremely analytical. Even when it comes to Scripture, my favorite kind of passages are not the rather simple and fluffy ones, like John's words that "God is love." Rather, my favorites are those that truly require me to think, urging me to discover what I believe (not what someone else tells me to believe) to be true. I reflect; I wonder; I reason; I imagine; I argue. I am a Christian, and I am a thinking woman.
And when I truly take a moment to think about this life, the single conclusion I continually reach at the end of each exhausting day is the conclusion that God must exist. Because when I look at this world, I see Jesus. No, I do not believe that the world was created in seven days, that the world began with two humans Adam and Eve, or that Noah lead animals two-by-two into an ark that saved them from a disastrous flood. I have done my thinking, and simply because the Bible tells me to believe these things does not mean I believe them. Yes, I do believe in evolution. I have thought, and thought, and realized that this is true - that clearly we evolved from bacteria and clearly our time as human beings is unbelievably trivial in the big scheme of the history of life. But how can I believe in the existence of God if nature seems to have so naturally developed on its own? How can I believe in the need for a Divine Developer if nature serves as its own master?
Yet the more I think, the more I realize God must be real.
Enough of my ranting. I am not going to sit here and explain to you why I believe God is real. I believe God is real because I have thought, because I am constantly thinking. And the reason I believe God is real may be quite different than the reason as to why you believe He is real. Further, the reason I believe in His existence may be the exact reason you fail to accept His existence.
If you take away anything from this post, take this ~ To me, it is more important to analyze and argue and ultimately reject what someone tells you to believe than to not analyze nor argue and accept without hesitation what someone tells you to believe. We have all been given a beautiful brain to reflect, to wonder, to reason, to imagine, to argue. Use it wisely. I would much rather you be an atheist who knows what he believes and why he believes it than a Christian who only believes in Jesus because everyone else around him wants him to. Make your religion your own. Make your life your own. Read every book you can. Listen to every wise man you encounter. Search for what you believe to be true.
And never, ever stop questioning.
Song of the Week:
One of my favorite songs - a completely instrumental song that always makes me think.