A Saturday Story//Genevieve//CNU

“I will trust in your unfailing love;
I will rejoice because you have rescued me.”
-Psalm 13:5
I mumbled the words over and over, willing my mind to make the connection between letters and meaning. My gut told me this verse was important, but my overly-fatigued mind couldn’t grasp it. I squeezed my eyes shut.

‘Rough week’ didn’t begin to cover the amount of stress currently entrenched between my shoulder blades. Earlier that morning, I’d been scurrying along the path between the library and Forbes, when I caught up to a group of girls walking shoulder-to-shoulder in front of me. They laughed as they made lunch plans, completely oblivious to the road block they posed to those behind them.

“Oh, to be so carefree,” I thought bitterly. I stepped onto the Great Lawn, sacrificing the comfort of my dry shoes, at the exact moment they stopped blocking the whole sidewalk.

I grunted in annoyance. Christianly? No. Proud of myself? Not particularly. 

You tell yourself to take one day at a time, that God won’t give you more than you can handle. But let’s face it, there’s a difference between saying God is in control and actually relinquishing your burdens to Him. And I’d been carrying the weight of my worries alone. The squeezing pressure of graduation 2 months away grew heavier every day, and I was no closer to discerning God’s will for the next step of my life. I’d never felt so directionless.

“But seek first his kingdom and his
 righteousness, and all these things will be given
 to you as well.” -Matthew 6:33
As I opened my eyes to refocus on scripture, I realized that Jesus IS my direction. When I feel lost, I need only to communicate with Him to regain my focal point. As I bowed my head to pray, I tried to focus on opening my heart to fully trusting the Lord- His word, His promises, His wisdom, and His unfailing love. Because God provides more support and resources than we could ever need.

So smile as you lean into him today. He has got you.

A Saturday Story//{a glorious calling}//Grace, ODU

“So how was Japan?”

 I’ve answered this question more than any other questions in the past month. It’s been the most frequently asked question and the hardest one to answer. As the question echoes in my head I can’t help but think — how in the world am I suppose to answer this? My heart desires to pour out everything I saw, felt, touched, heard, and experienced during my time in Japan.  How am I suppose to communicate all of this and explain all that God showed me? I became so overwhelmed by the enormity of God’s grace that all answers and explanations fell frustratingly short.
So the answers: “It was great.” “I learned so much!” “I loved it!” seemed to flow from my mouth. But these answers only downplayed Gods goodness and sovereignty.  These answers didn’t even begin so touch the surface of Gods glory and excellence that I had the opportunity to witness during my time serving in Japan. It was as if the moment I stepped off the plane, back in Virginia, I entered right back into my comfortable christian life without even knowing it. I don’t need God here like I did in Japan. Most people at least know of Jesus, so I don’t need to share the Gospel with others like I did when I was in Japan. I know the language here, so I don’t need to rely on Jesus for every word that comes out of my mouth.
I used so many excuses as to why it was okay to go back to living in a comfortable world where I only share the Gospel when its convenient. I stopped relying on God and I stopped seeing the need to share Him with others in every situation. But, oh my, how I was wrong…
My heart became so heavy and all I could think was,  “How is my life here, a reflection of all that God has (and is doing) done for me and what is stopping me from sharing that with everyone!? Then the question never rang louder
Do I truly believe that the Gospel is the most important thing in my life and the only thing worth sharing with others? And if I do, then some things in my life need some major adjusting. The Gospel isn’t just shared on mission trips or in church — it’s for everyday use!!
Christ has invited each of us to be apart of a grand global mission! He invites all of us because He loves us, and more than that, He did all this because His heart delights to reveal His goodness and glory through broken people just like us. And the beauty of it, is that it looks different for each and every one of us.  But wherever we are in our life  — we are called to make disciples and live a life worthy of the Gospel just like Paul talks about in Philippians chapter 1. Don’t get me wrong here, this is not easy to do.
It takes complete and utter dependence on God. It means relying so much on Jesus that we have to die to our self and allow for His desires to become our own desires. It means trusting that God truly delights in us.  It means resting in the grace of God for when we fall short.
I love what Paul  writes in Romans 10…
14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written,“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” Romans 10:14-15
So dear friends, believing this together, lets go run with those beautiful feet in our jobs, on our campuses, with our friends and families and the person sitting beside us in Starbucks. 😉
Much love! 

A Saturday Story//Goodbye Insecurity// Hannah, ODU

As I walked along the beach one afternoon I was happily looking around at all the families, friends and couples strewn along the beach. At first I was filled with joy for all these people who were out there having fun with their families and friends, but as I took a deeper, longer look at these people and myself I saw a pointlessness to life. I saw people gathered together and on the outside they seem perfectly content and happy, but I could see the occasional glace of a woman to another women wishing her body looked the same way. I watched as husbands looked at women other than their wives, parents looking at other families and wishing their family would just get along that way, or I saw discontentment in the lives of these people. And in my own life I know that the comparison thief has taken control of my mind and robbed me of joy countless times. We are all victims of comparison and discontentment with who we are.

Here recently, my insecurities and weaknesses have made a prominent appearance in my thoughts. When I allow my insecurities to creep in, I become unsatisfied with who I am and that creates a stagnant heart. Another thing I tend to do is allow other people’s opinions of me to define me. Regardless of the positivity of the opinion, I still tend to allow others opinions of me to matter more and define me more than the Lord.  I often become lost in wishing I was someone else or some way else and I forget to move. I don’t accomplish nearly as much and I am not nearly as satisfied with life. I become stagnant or stuck in a rut (or however you want to refer to it).

I know that everyone has been a victim of this syndrome before and many are currently experiencing self-doubt and facing some serious insecurities. The Lord has reminded me of some amazing promises and truths about who he is and who I am in him that have helped me in this battle so I’ll share them with you in hopes that you feel encouraged.

Galatians 4:9 “But now that you have come to know God, or rather be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

Our worth and value is not derived from anything of this world. We are defined by the fact that God so loved us that he sent his Son to die for us so that we can have a relationship with him. Because of the cross of Christ we can know God but more than that he knows us. He loves us so incredibly much and he doesn’t want us to be weighed down by all the worldly things and worldly mind sets. He came so that we could be set free from those and live life for him. We no longer have to be defined by the world because our true identity rests in the fact that we are known and loved by God. We are adopted as sons and daughters (Romans 8:15-17).

Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

Sometimes when I am feeling insecure and not confident in who I am I feel like I can’t accomplish anything. I feel like there is nothing I could do that would be of any use. But because of this verse I can no longer say that. We are created with purpose and we all have specific tasks every day that God has laid before us to accomplish for his glory. We can be confident that our lives will paint a beautiful picture because God says they will.

1 Corinthians 12:4-7 “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the sameLord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.”

è God has uniquely designed you (Psalm 139:14-15) and he has uniquely gifted you in order that you may serve him and do good for the kingdom of God. Something I’ve recently struggled with is being confident in my passions, my gifts, my personality, and myself in general. I’ve had a thoughts like this, “If I was just ______ I could accomplish so much more for the Lord.” Or, “I am not enough of ______ so I can’t do this or that. Only a certain kind of person can do that.” But here we see that God has created each of us and gifted each of us according to his perfect will so for us to say that the way he’s designed us isn’t good enough is that say that God is imperfect. It’s to say that we know a better way which clearly we do not. We should be confident in the unique way God designed us. It is no mistake we have the personality we have, or the passions we have. Each part of us has a purpose and was put in us intentionally by God.

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

This verse is so awesome because it turns all responsibility off of us and puts it on God. When we accepted Jesus to be our Savior, our lives were no longer about us. It is now Christ who lives in us and the Holy Spirit that accomplishes things, not us. We are just loved so much by God that he allows us to be a part of his plan even though he doesn’t need us to accomplish anything. So we can rest easy knowing that the life we are to live is not about us and how confident or insecure we may be but it is about surrendering who we are at the feet of Jesus so that he can use our lives for his glory. Our lives are in no way about us and that is an extremely comforting truth.

There are so many more verses that talk about this subject but obviously I cannot list them here. I’ve probably actually written more than I was supposed to but thanks for bearing with me. My final thoughts are this: If we all laid aside our insecurities, and I mean really surrendered them to the Lord in a way where they don’t plague us anymore, then I believe we (the body of Christ) have to potential to change the world. If we all come to grips with the fact that life is ultimately not about us and we allow the Holy Spirit to bring transformation to our hearts and if we step confidentlyinto the gifts the Lord has given us then we will change the world. There is no way the world could be the same. Let’s not walk through life with a pointlessness but embrace the purpose the Lord has given us. Let’s all be brave and say goodbye to our insecurities and pursue the Lord will all our hearts. Let’s do this together.