I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says the Lord Almighty.
- 2 Corinthians 6:18

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Y'all... It's New Year's Eve..

  And to kickstart 2014, Compassion International has challenged their sponsors, bloggers, or anyone who wants to participate to choose just one word to embody the upcoming year. It's more than a New Year's resolution. It's a gift. Whatever word God lays on your heart will lift you and encourage you throughout the year. I learned about this practice through Compassion's blog several weeks ago, and have been praying and thinking about what my word for 2014 would be. And trust me, I tried choosing one word.. But that's just not possible. So, I have two words.

Anchor. Strength. Comfort. Support. Protection. Stability. Security.
      Looking back at this past year, I realize how desperately I need an anchor in my life. I realize that I've been tossed and uprooted in the storms beyond belief sometimes. Lost in the raging sea, I don't know where to turn, I'm unsure, afraid. And then, in the middle of my mess, an anchor is dropped down, steadying me, assuring me that even in the midst of the storm, I don't have to battle it alone. I can breathe, I can rest, because something stronger than myself is there. An anchor would not be needed if the waters did not churn. I will be tossed in the waves. I will be pulled out to sea. I need stability, something I can lean on, even in the storms. So I want my Lord to be my constant Anchor. I want to be anchored in Him. He alone can provide that pillar of stability in my crazy life. This year, I'm excited to hold onto that promise and see where God leads me in 2014.

     We have this hope as an anchor for our lives, both safe and secure. - Hebrews 6:19, HCSB

     You know... I was so sure I had found "my word" until this little eight-letter word kept popping up in the weirdest places. I felt it being pressed upon my heart but I ignored it, certain that "anchor" was mine. Until, finally, I caved. I had a little "Okay God, I get it. I'll pick this one, for You" moment. But since then I realized, I didn't pick it just because I felt a tug to do so. God placed it in my hands, for me to treasure. He picked it for me. And ya know what's funny? He picked me, too. Redeemed, boiled down, simply means bought back, repurchased. God Himself has redeemed me. We all belonged to Him in the beginning, but our sin has separated us from Him. So the Holy One, the Creator of the universe came down, and paid the price to draw me back to Him. The truth of that is so liberating. I am set free, but not only set free. I was bought with a price. God sent His son to die a painful death He did nothing to deserve, just so we could be with Him once more. That statement keeps me going. I was redeemed by my Creator, bought back to be with Him. He took a great move to bring me back, so the least I can do is live for Him, set free by the blood that flowed down Calvary's hill, redeeming His people. I want to live in the freedom of this truth this year. I am redeemed from my sin, redeemed from my pain and regret, and set free by the blood of my King. I am redeemed.

The Holy One of Israel is our Redeemer; Yahweh of Hosts is His name. - Isaiah 47:4, HCSB

You will lead the people You have redeemed with Your faithful love; You will guide them to Your holy dwelling with Your strength. - Exodus 15:13, HCSB

   If you want to join me in picking a word (or two!) for 2014, do it! I'm already so excited to see where this will go. I pray for all of you reading this blog, and I pray that 2014 will bring each of you closer to Christ. Happy New Year everyone.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Christmas post I have been meaning to write since December 26th..

Hi all, like stated above, I've been meaning to finish this post since the day after Christmas. This topic has been safely, snugly tucked away in my journal, waiting to be completed (yes, I'm a teenage girl who both blogs and journals, don't judge). But hey, one can never have enough Christmas, right? So, here is my delayed blog on the birth of Christ Jesus..

  As the craziness and busyness of the Christmas season fades, as you start to put away the gifts you'll never use and enjoy the rest, one thing that has been on my mind this season is the aspect real. This year, I've been dwelling on the reality of Jesus' birth. It is so much more than just a story, any other story. It's real. It's hope. It's love in it's purest form. Imagine..

 A young girl, being informed of news that would change the world, yet cause her to be shunned by friends, family, and neighbors alike, possibly even stoned. Not with little pebbles either, but with big, heavy, hard rocks.

 The shock of hearing that news as a virgin.

 The responsibility of caring for the little child inside of her.

 The disbelief that the child she's carrying, he's actually the Holy Son of the God she follows. And because of her desire to earnestly follow Him, the submission she had to His plan.

 In the months to follow, she probably doubted, and she most likely worried. Her emotions were probably crazy. Joy and peace, insanity and insecurity. And then, towards the end, she actually had to take the trip to Bethlehem with Joseph.

This trip wasn't easy, or quick. It took many days and many cold, uncomfortable nights. The road was long and weary, and the path bumpy and dusty ridden on the back of a donkey. The donkey was probably a pain to ride on, being dirty and dusty itself. Loaded down with supplies and food, travel was probably slow.

 Finally, at last, they reached the little town. But when they got there and entered the city, they likely had to wait in long lines, full of people, crowded with animals, and everyone tired and cranky, making Mary and Joseph that much more tired.

 Wearily walking to the center of town, to the inns, they quietly knocked on the doors. But at each place, they were turned away. Each and every time. How discouraging would that be? Trudging by now, they found the a stable full, but not completely packed with animals. That stable was smelly, and humid, and dirty, and loud. Everything a barn now would be. They were crowded, in the dirty, prickly hay as God's gift came into the world. Into those ugly, messy circumstances, Someone holy was born, a baby, crying in the cold night air.
 And in that moment, everything that Mary had endured, everything that Joseph had endured, everything that the world has endured was made worth it. As Mary looked into the face of God's Son she was breathless, awestruck by the reality of it, yet it was still so unfathomable.  In her arms was the babe that she had endured pain and persecution for, the baby that God so freely gave to all of us, in the middle of our mess. He was the baby that is now changing the hearts of so many around the world. That is the reality of Christmas. A gift, freely given, into our brokenness, to save this fallen world.

 Christmas is so much more than a season, a story, presents, and trees. It's not about gifts, but about the Gift, a holy One, given to us. The miracle of that is alive and pulsing through this season and through the year. You can experience the reality of this gift, too, if you only believe. Just believe in the life of Christ Jesus who came into this world humbly, as a baby, born in a stable.

This a song by Brandon Heath, and I think it captures what I'm trying to express here. The reality of His birth. Enjoy. :)

  Much love to you all. I hope you all had a merry Christmas, in awe of the Baby who was born, for us, so many years ago.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shh.. I have a secret

It is something that I have slowly come to the realization of over the course of the past few months. I refused to admit it for a period of time because I figured if I didn't believe it, then it wasn't true, right? Stubborn me. Ignoring it doesn't make it any less true, believe me. It might possibly just make you miserable. My secret is this:

  I am inadequate. Not capable. Unqualified. Broken. Insufficient. Messy. Whatever you want to call it. I've found out that sometimes, I just can't do it.

 And that's hard to admit, for a girl who likes to be in control. I like to fix things. I hate it when someone has a problem or is hurting and I can't do anything about it. I'm a doer. Much of the time, I try to do things on my own. I get this mindset that it relies on me, and if I fail, I'm failing the person I'm trying to help. And heaven forbid failure. So I try to do all I can for a situation on my own, and it ends up leaving very little space for anything else. I pour my energy into fixing things so much so that I don't have time for myself. This lifestyle of trying to be in control leaves me very drained. Fixing things on my own becomes a burden; it becomes a weight on my shoulders. And serving others should never be a burden. But still, for me to say that I can't fix things is painful.

 Here's the thing though- God doesn't want that for me. I wasn't created to be in control. I'm not wired to be able to do life on my own. When I put my reliance on myself, God, in love, is saying to me, "Self-reliance isn't how I created you."  You see, heaven did not forbid failure. Even the greatest apostles failed sometimes. Instead, God wants me to learn from failure. He shows me that failure is not final. When I rely on my own strength to fix things, I will fail. Which is why Paul says in Ephesians 6, "Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength" I'm made to rely on His strength. It is His strength that's perfected when I'm weak, when I fall.

 I have learned that it is okay for me to admit I can't do it. It's okay to be weak. And, I think it's okay to try to do it on my own some of the time, because sometimes I have to be at the end of myself before I look up. When I look up and let go, that's when God can really step in and work through me. It's then that His power shines through. I can't do it sometimes, but that's okay, because God can. He will come in and say, "My child, let Me handle it. Just step back and let Me take charge of this. I won't fail you. You can't do it alone, for that's not how I made you. I made you to rely on Me. Let me hold you. Let go, and trust Me." 

 So, that's what I'm trying to do each day. It's not easy, because sometimes I still get in the way and do it myself. But God always gently draws me back to reliance on Him and His strength.
 And for me, His insufficient child, trusting Him fulfills me far more than going my way ever could. So I'm just going to keep on trusting, embrace my inadequacy, and let God shine through the all cracks in my life. I am unqualified, but God is fully able. And, I think, He likes to use the broken and weak like me to accomplish His will.

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” - 2 Corinthians 12:9, HCSB

Friday, December 13, 2013

Voice of Love

"This is My servant; I strengthen Him,
this is My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him; 
He will bring justice to the nations.
He will not cry or shout out 
or make His voice heard in the streets.
He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.
He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth. 
The islands will wait for His instruction."
This is what God, Yahweh, says- 
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread the earth and what comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it
and gives life to those who walk on it-
"I, Yahweh, have called You for a righteous purpose,
and I will hold You by Your hand.
I will keep You and appoint You
to be a covenant for the people
and a light to the nations,
in order to open blind eyes,
to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
and those sitting in darkness in from the prison house." 
- Isaiah 42.1-7, HCSB (Emphasis mine)

  The heart of God is spoken so clearly in the above passage. His desire for Jesus to "loose the chains of injustice, and set the oppressed free" {see Isaiah 58} is so clear. And aren't we, as Christians, called to be like Christ? Jesus' last command on this earth was for us to go and make disciples of all nations.
   He didn't come just for the "good" people. He came for the broken. For the lost. For the poor and the weak and the enslaved. He loved them with an unconditional love, a love that isn't based on what they did, or what circumstances they were in. He loved them because God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit made them. He loved because He is love. 
 So, if we're called to imitate Christ, shouldn't we be loving like Christ? Not a love like you love ice-cream (and I do enjoy ice-cream!), but a love that  hung broken and bleeding on a cross for us. It's a deep, pure, sacrificial kind of love. A love that breaks you, moves you, and calls you to do something, to do more. A love that is uncomfortable being comfortable. A love with a servant's heart and a prayerful spirit. Christ's love for us is that and so, so much more. His love for us should move us and commission us to give that love to those who might not know it. To give it to the little girl from Kenya on compassion.com, or that family down the street from you, or the little boy that loves basketball whom you meet in North Carolina on a mission trip. All of them are made in His image, and all of us are called to help show them that.
 I know, it's a daunting task sometimes. I'm just one person. How can I change the world? That's just it. You can't. But God can, through you. Katie Davis, author of Kisses from Katie, says it this way: "I can not change the world. Jesus will do that. I can, however, change the world of one person." 
 When we do that, we are loving like Christ. We are entering the world of the least of these with the love only Christ can provide. How you do that might be sponsoring a child in a third world country (best $38 a month ever spent!), volunteering at your local food bank, talking with the little boy in your neighborhood who always seems a little lonely, or going on a mission trip. I don't know what it might look like for you. I do know that you have to be all in for the cause of Christ and His love. You will be broken, and you might be asked to do things you'd rather not do. But He doesn't leave us to do it by ourselves. He gives us a promise. Read the end of Matthew 28 with me, please. "Surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age." The Creator of the world is always with us. That is so powerful. He chooses us, He delights in us, He strengthens us, and He is with us, even to the end of the age.

 Hi all! Abigail here. I'm new to the blogging world, so bear with me as I figure this thing out. Fair warning, the look of my blog may change several times over the next few weeks. Haha :) I live in the southeastern United States where we have hot summers and 60 degrees is considered cold. I have an amazing family, amazing church, and serve an amazing God.
 I would tell you the purpose of this blog, but the truth is, I'm not exactly sure myself. I've had a small desire to start a blog for a little while now, but never took the initiative to actually do it. But recently, the greater desire to do something for children in poverty won out, and "Sons and Daughters" was formed. There! That's it. That's the underlying purpose for this blog. To be a voice for the voiceless.
 This blog is honestly more for me than anything. Writing, whether I'm good at it or not, is my therapy. I will most likely pour out my heart as I'm typing on these keys. So about what is my heart?
 Good question. The holder of my heart is Jesus Christ. My heart is also in the hands of about a million children around the world. God has placed a very clear, direct calling on my heart for Compassion International and the children whose lives they are changing. So I'll probably be talking quite a bit about them, too. I want to raise awareness for the children across the world who are made in the image of God- who need someone to show them that. And maybe, hopefully, help place a love for those children in the heart of someone reading this blog.
 My prayer for anyone reading this is that you are somehow touched by something I say, drawn closer to God by reading about my heart, and moved to do something for children in poverty- even the ones right outside your own door.