Friday, December 23, 2011

Thoughts from this Semester and What God is Showing Me

Some more friends:)
Well, my first semester of Elim is over. What a wide ride it has been! I've learned so much socially, spiritually,emotionally and academically. I knew that Elim was going to be awesome, but I didn't realize how awesome. I'm not sure what I would do without my new friends. They are so awesome and the best part is, they love Jesus as much as I do. I've been home for exactly a week now, and as much as I love being home with my family and friends here, I miss my Elim friends like crazy. I owe them a world of thanks for being there for me when I needed them. I don't think they know just how much I need them.

My Roomie and I :)
It's funny how when I first went to Elim, I had a different set of desires for my life than I do now. Some desires are the same, but some have changed significantly. I've found myself praying things like, "God, sent me to the dangerous places, where no one else wants to go." Or, "God please don't keep me in the wealth of this country, send me somewhere where people are truly starving and helpless." My own prayers are curious to me. These desires are not me but Jesus living in me. He's been changing and forming my heart to His own. "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). I can't explain and I can't understand all that God is doing, but I know my hunger for Him is growing. He's putting a urgency in my spirit to draw near to Him and to lay aside all distractions. The distractions aren't worth it. Many churches I've been to I see God stirring people up. He's making the church ready for something, for something big. But as He does this, distractions are rising up everywhere. The enemy is not liking whatever God is doing. God has been showing me that's why we need to fight even harder to seek His face. We NEED to. It's not an option. If we want to know God's heart we need to seek Him. God's been showing me that none of my distractions are worth giving up intimacy with Him. No way. He's so much better, so much sweeter than anything else I've ever known. How can we let little distractions get in the way of such a big God who is longing to be with us? We should be longing to be with Him because of His awesomeness, and power and great love, yet it's reversed. God longs for us and we can't fit the God of the universe in our schedules. How wrong is that? I'm preaching to me more than anyone. It sickens me to think of how many times I push God aside because I have "better" things to do. WHAT??!! This is the GOD of the UNIVERSE we're talking about! If we had any clue how awesome He truly is and how wonderful He is, we wouldn't give our distractions a second thought. I think the problem is, we don't know Him. We don't know who He is, so therefore, we don't care to give Him the time of day. We say we know Him, but if we are not compelled to be in His presence, that's a lie. Anyone who knows God even a little is compelled to spend more and more time with Him. If we aren't compelled like this, God is simply an acquaintance, and a last resort. Have you ever thought about it that way? God has been showing me just how much I really don't know Him. He's been compelling me to make Him a priority. Let me tell ya, when you try to put Him above all else, all Hell breaks loose, but you NEED to stand strong and fight it. He is worth it. He says we are worth Him giving up everything...but do we think He is worth giving up everything? He's worth so much more than us. How could I forget that? How could we forget that? Are we so consumed with our wealth and events in this country that somehow they've taken God's place? He is a jealous God. He is jealous for our relationship, because we are rightfully His. The more time I spend with Him, the more I realize that this world and all it's treasures are nothing. There's nothing this world could give me to take His place. He is everything. He is everything I want and need, I just didn't know it. "O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water" (Psalm 63:1).
In my Old Testament class I wrote my final paper on David: a man after God's own heart. I learned so much from this. I discovered what God means when he says someone is after His heart. As I studied David's life, I realized something: David's heart was not perfect, quite the opposite in fact. David wrote Psalm 51 after he was confronted about committing adultery with Bathsheba. After he committed adultery with her, God told him the child would die. Yet in this Psalm, we don't see David grieving the loss of his child, but rather grieving that he lost communion with God! What commitment and love! David remembers the days he used to live in God's presence and he grieves that he lost that. He pleads for those days back. He longs for God. He's also very honest with his weakness. All throughout this Psalm David pleads with God to create in him a pure heart, to sustain him so he can do right, and to uphold him. He knew that he wanted to please God, but he also knew he couldn't do that without God's help. He realized his need for God. David made mistakes, but his heart belonged to God all along. He loved God above all else. Even in the Old Testament, pleasing God wasn't about the works, or the sacrifices, it was about the heart. God still wanted a heart committed to Him, and a heart in love with Him. Studying the one God called a man after His own heart shows what is really important to God. But you know what amazes me even more than this? How much God honored David for his love for God. God promised David that his seed would reign forever from David's throne in Jerusalem. There are so many times in the Old Testament when God wants to destroy Israel because of their rebellion but He always says, "I won't because of the promise I made to David." God was so committed to His promise to David. God even goes beyond this. Not only does He promise David that the Messiah would come from his line, but when Jesus was on earth he quoted David's words. He quoted them his last few hours of life on this earth. He said, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" David said these very words is Psalm 22:1. And then later Jesus says, "Into Your hands I commit my spirit." Again He's quoting David in Psalm 31:5. So we see David is also a type of Christ. Can you imagine what an honor it is that Jesus quoted David with His last words? Don't you think that a person with a heart after God is precious to Him after knowing this? Look how far God goes to honor David! It blows my mind and I still can't wrap my mind around it. After writing this paper, my goal in life is to be someone after God's heart. I feel like my mind has been renewed and I'm realizing the most important thing in this world is that I truly know God.
So, this blog couldn't contain all I learned this semester, but these are the highlights. I hope that whoever reads this has an amazing Christmas. Don't let it be about the gifts or the traditions, find Jesus in Christmas this year, and find His love. He loves you so much. Ask Him to show you...He will. Merry Christmas everyone!

"The LORD is good to all;
   he has compassion on all he has made.
 All your works praise you, LORD;
   your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
   and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
   and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
   and your dominion endures through all generations.  
The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
   and faithful in all he does" (Psalm 145:9-13).

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Burns

So it's hard to believe this semester is almost over!  It's been a wild ride to say the least. I don't even know where to start to be honest. God has turned my world upside down.  I feel like all the things I used to associate myself with have been stripped away so that I don't recognize who I am anymore.  The only thing I know is that I'm so swept away in who God is. He's showed me that His plan is way bigger than I could have imagined. I remember when it was hard to pray for an hour, but God has given me this passion so strongly that I crave Him like I crave food or water or sleep. It's so beyond what I understand, but I know that I wish I could just lock myself in a room with a piano and just play and sing to Him and never stop. What is this passion that I can't explain?  It's so unreasonable, crazy, and radical, but I know it's what I was born for. I was born to adore Him. I'm realizing for the first time how reasons to adore Him are endless.  I learn more every day of how worthy of adoration He is. His presence is all I want anymore. I'm tired of staying in the same old place. I want to be where God is. I know this is dangerous to say, but I want to go wherever He leads me. I know that He will be there with me. That's all that matters anymore. My prayer is that this passion can show in my lifestyle. I pray that I have the courage to go where everyone says is too dangerous or too crazy.  I want to live the dangerous life for Him. I'm tired of fear holding me back. God is on my side. Is there anyone greater than Him? Is there anyone greater to fear than Him? What has held me back all these years? I'm determined to be different. I'm determined to be that Christian that's just a little too crazy, a little too radical, a little too passionate, and a little to disruptive. I want to be all this and more for the glory of God. I can't do this without Him. He's given me this passion, so I'm trusting He'll give me the boldness to carry this out. I can't hold this passion in anymore. It's seeping out all over the place when I worship. I can't get enough of Him, yet my heart burns so much in His presence, sometimes I feel like I could die, but I don't even care! As long as I'm with Him, nothing else matters. Nothing else matters but His presence and all He is. I long to know the mystery of Him. Even as I type this, my heart is burning. It's burning so strong. I don't know what He's doing inside me but it's crazy and so wonderful. I'm new. I'm new. He's made me whole. No longer am I living in hurt and pain. He's set me free. Yes, I'm still messed up in so many ways, but I'm satisfied to be messed up my whole life as long as God walks me through it all. I know in time, I'll be everything He created me to be. For now, I'm happy to spend my whole life in this crazy love story, just discovering who my Jesus is. Who is this wonderful being who makes my heart burn and my eyes overflow with tears? My eyes overflow with tears out of longing to be closer to Him. I feel as though I'm going crazy. If I'm crazy, this is glorious insanity. I'm so full of joy. I've discovered the meaning of life and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I'm so in love with Jesus! He has made me new. He has set me free. I love Him more than all others!
So yeah things are going great!  Oh and on a side note..I should say that God has given me some of the greatest friends here who also share in my love for Him. I am so blessed. I can't wait to make a difference in this world with God as my only source of help. Life is good, so good. :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What God Sees

So it's the end of week four at Elim!  I can't believe I've been here that long already, but at the same time it seems like I've lived here my whole life. Everyone is so friendly and I feel like it's just a big family. I've made so many awesome friends who are as strange as me...which is a bonus for sure. Makes me feel somewhat normal. Well...maybe not normal. At least I feel like I fit in. I can't imagine not being with these awesome people. I've just grown to love them so much in such a short amount of time.
God has been working in me a lot too. He doesn't waste any time, that's for sure. I'm starting to realize my identity has not been in Christ, but in other people's opinions of me. God is starting to show me that ONLY His opinion matters. I can't get fulfillment out of other's praises. God says I'm beautiful and I don't know why. He's starting to teach me what He sees. When God looks at us, He sees perfection because Christ as cleansed us from all imperfection. He sees the finished project, not the flaws or mistakes. I've been praying that God will show me what He sees as I look in the mirror, not what I see. All I can see is imperfection and flaws. I need to see myself how God does, otherwise I will find that approval elsewhere. Since I've been here, I have been seeking approval from others. I only end up disappointed, hurt, and rejected. Only when I look to God can I be fulfilled and satisfied with who He has made me to be, and only then can I stop being so wrapped up in myself and help others.
I was in chapel last week and I was feeling so disappointed in myself. I just knew I didn't measure up to who I wanted to be or who God wanted me to be. I was broken. We sang this bridge in worship, "Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way." As we began to sing this to God, I had this vision of Jesus taking my hands in His and singing it to ME before I had a chance to sing it to Him. I was shocked. I was like, "No God, not me." But He kept singing it to me.
Be encouraged, when God looks at you, He sees beauty, perfection, and His glory. He doesn't see your flaws. He sees who He made you to be. Being yourself is actually an act of worship, because you're being who He created you to be.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I'm at the "Holy Hill" FINALLY!!!!

After sixs years of dreaming about being here, I'm finally here at Elim Bible Institute.  It all feels so unreal yet so unbelievably wonderful!  It's better than I imagined and harder than I imagined.  There's something so great about the atmosphere here.  I feel so free to be me and I don't feel like I'll be judge for being my crazy, strange, and weird self.  I don't think I've ever become so comfortable with people so fast.  I just love it.  Plus God is doing a lot of work in my heart already.  We have this class called "Marriage and Family," and that class brings up most of the heart issues with me.  I feel so unready for my future marriage.  I realize that before I even consider dating anyone, I need to get some major issues of my heart healed and restored.  I don't know what marriage means.  I don't understand it.  And quite frankly, relationships are so much more complicated and messy than I can deal with right now.  So what I'm getting at is I've finally come to the realization of how needy I am and that my heart is in a pathetic place.  God needs to be the only intimate romance I have for a long time...and somehow...I'm starting to be okay with that.  I don't know how long a long time is, but however long it takes it's going to be alright with me.  This place makes me so hungry for God and His Word.  I've never wanted such a understanding of the Bible until now.  I just want to understand everything and I want to know all I can about our amazing Creator!  I also want every weight that has been holding me back from Him to fall off.  I am ready to put away my personal agenda and seek His.  All I want is all of Him!!!  Anything God will let me learn and receive, I want to learn and receive.  I love you Jesus!
Oh and just to add some amazingness to the picture, there's some amazing musicians here, which is so cool.  We all played together on Saturday and I was amazed but the talent these kids have.  I hope I can learn from all of them and develop better musically.  They all are amazing. 
So to sum it all up, I'm so happy and full of joy and I LOVE my new Elim family!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why Wish for Something Different?

   I was talking to an old friend the other night, and we were saying that both of us struggle with wanting something different than what we have all the time.  For example, when you're home, wanting to be in school, but once you get to school, wanting to go back home.  You get the picture.  I think it's interesting that we seem to want to be everywhere EXCEPT where God has put us.  It's sad really, because I've realized how much I've missed as I'm wanting to be elsewhere.  I'm going off to Elim Bible Institute this fall, and in the beginning of this summer, I wanted summer to fly by so I could just get there.  I felt so ready to be out of here.  So ready to grow up and move on in life.  But as I think about it now, it seems so silly.  Life is so much sweeter when you savor every moment.  Even the little things can be great things if I take time to notice them.  Instead of looking ahead to my future all the time, I'm learning to just enjoy being who I am, where I am, right now.  After all, God put me here.  Doesn't that mean it's the best place for me and also the place I will be blessed the most?  Why would I ever trade that?  So as this summer is flying by, I'm learning to enjoy the little things.  I'm realizing what  beautiful place I live in, what a great family I have, what I great church I go to, and what great friends I have right where I am.  There's no better place for me to be.

   There's been so many "little" blessings this summer.  It's funny how God cares about the little things.  Lately I feel like He wants me to get involved in more hardcore outdoorsy things, like surfing, hiking, running, biking, and maybe some rock climbing.  It just makes me smile that He wants me to do the things I enjoy, even if it seems unimportant to me.  So as I've decided to pursue some of these things, my cousin (the one on the left in the picture) came to visit this weekend and brought me a brand new pair of running sneakers! Ironic?  God never ceases to make me laugh or smile!  Part of His little blessings was my cousin visiting me.  It's so nice to have someone my age in the family who loves the Lord like I do.  I feel like it gives me a boost spiritually.  We just had such an amazing weekend together, and I feel like I learned a bit more about who God is through her.  She also made me appreciate what I have here more.  She kept saying how beautiful it is here.  As she kept saying it I found myself thinking, "Wow, she's so right.  I live in an amazing place!"  Sometimes it's good to see things from a person on the outside looking in.  We forget how much we have!  I've added some pictures of places near me.

    I just encourage whoever may read this to not feel as though you're "waiting for life to begin."  That's not how it should be.  God puts us wherever we are for a reason and He has a plan for us there.  Don't wish for something other than what God has given you.  There's a reason He didn't give you what you want.  Even if you have a hard time seeing His blessings, they are there.  Ask Him to show Himself to you in the little things.  He will.  He is faithful.  He also knows how important His encouragement is.  Enjoy every moment.  Savor it.  Hold unto every moment and blessing as long as you can until it's time to let go of it.  Take in as many blessings as you can in this life.  There's no better place for you than where you are right now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Feeling Young Again.

Hello again!  So I decided to share what's been happening in my life lately.  For those of you who don't know, about three months ago I broke up with my boyfriend of two years.  Not because he was a bad boyfriend, but simply because God was calling us in different directions.  This has probably been the most hard, painful, confusing, wonderful, exciting time of my life.  At first it was difficult, but God was faithful to surround me with friends who were there when I needed them.  It seemed like God was taking care of everything and I finally felt as though I was moving on.  It was still hard at times of course because not only was my boyfriend a great boyfriend, he has become one of the best friends I ever had.  So not being able to talk to him was, at times, very painful.  But still, everything was going the way I expected it to.  I was soaring in my relationship with God, I had made a ton of new friends, and life was good.  Then God threw me for a loop I was not expecting.  My ex boyfriend and a close friend of mine starting dating.  Let me say first of all that my friend had been talking to me about this for awhile and was very sensitive and loving through it all.  I don't want anyone thinking I have a jerky friend cause it's not true at all.  Anyways...letting go of him as a boyfriend was one thing, but realizing he was with someone I knew was quite another.  I struggled with anger and hurt and it just wasn't a good time.  As I talked to God about it, I realized that He was allowing this.  I was angry at Him that He was, but He was!  I couldn't believe that God would ask me to let go of someone I cared so much about, and then expect me to watch him with my friend and be okay with it.  As I prayed and prayed about this, God showed me that if I had an issue with this, I hadn't truly let go.  I hadn't totally given Him the situation.  And I also realized my friend was extremely sensitive and careful around me about mentioning it.  I'm so grateful to her.  She has been so sensitive to put herself in my shoes and make sure she's not hurting me.  God had blessed me with a great friend and I realized it wasn't worth it to be angry.  I had no right to be angry.  I let him go.  I gave the situation to God.  I also realized I hadn't forgiven myself for hurting the him.  Even though I did the right thing, I held myself accountable for all the hurt I caused him.  I knew that I crushed him, and there's nothing worse than knowing you can't comfort someone you love because you're the one who hurt him.  So recently I have given all this to God and I've had such a freedom!  I feel like a child again.  I don't care what anyone thinks and I'm so happy being single right now.  Sure, I want to be pursued every now and then, but God is teaching me to let Him be the pursuer.  I'm learning to love God in a whole new way.  It's crazy how different I am now.  I really feel like a little kid again.  I just feel like I can run and play and sing and dance and not care what anyone thinks.  I'm no longer trying to impress anyone because my future husband is going to love who I am and will think I'm the most beautiful thing even if my hair is all messy and I have dirt on my feet and I'm not wearing makeup.  I want him to love me just as I am, and I'm not going to settle for someone who wants to change me.  Thinking like this is so so soooo freeing.  If there are any girls reading this, please know that if you have to change yourself for a guy to love you or approve of you, he's not the right one for you.  God matches us perfectly, and a relationship shouldn't be a constant uphill battle.  This is probably one of the biggest lessons I've learned through all of this.  If you're dating someone and you're both pulling at each other constantly, and have to fight to keep the relationship alive, it's most likely not meant to be.  Maybe I'm wrong, but if you're in God's will, it shouldn't feel like you're straining all the time.  God says "My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  That doesn't mean there won't be hard times, but there should be rest in the midst of it all.  I have found that rest.  I'm sure I'm going to get hit with really really hard times, but as long as God is my refuge, I know I'll be just than fine.  My life is an adventure and I can't wait to see what's around the next bend.  I can't wait to see what God has in store.  I know that it's gonna be wild.  I'm just so happy with life right now.  Just know that whatever you're going through, God can and will work it out for good if you give it to Him.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To Blog or Not to Blog

So I don't have that much time this morning and I was going to hold off on writing my first blog, but I was a little over anxious.  I'm not quite sure if I have much to share with you.  I really hope that this new blog is not boring or dull in any way.  I wanted a place I could share my adventures with God with other people.  I feel like He has taught me a lot over the years, and I would like to share it with you. 
I should probably tell you a bit about myself before I share anything else.  I'm Kelsey.  Over the years I've fallen more in love with God every day.  He has been the closest friend to me when I felt I had none.  He has saved me from so much fear and anxiety and worry.  There is no one I love more.  I feel a call on my heart to go into ministry.  I believe worship leading is one ministry, but I also know I have a heart for the nations and for street evangelism.  For a very long time God has stirred a desire in my heart not to be like a "normal" Christian, but a fool for Christ.  I don't want to just be known for being a really nice person, I want to be known for not caring what anyone thinks, except God.  I want to be radical, and I hope everyday I am getting closer to that.  It is hard for me because I am unsure of myself and I'm shy and quite often socially awkward, but one thing I'm sure of more every day is the strength Christ holds within me.  I think even though I'm a small, insignificant person, God can use me, and all of us.  I can make a difference.  I'm just learning how to. 
So I am hoping to share with you my experiences, my failures and my growing experience with God, and I hope and pray that it can be an encouragement to you.  I will post again soon.  Sorry this is so short.  Thank you for reading!