Be ever so salty.

Hey y'all! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas! Today I want to share with you a word of truth. Matthew 5:13. This is a short one, but honestly those are my favorite kind of posts.


Matthew 5:13 "You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost it's taste, how shall it's saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet."


Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that say, "be salty"? Cause I've seen quuuiitee a few. I knew it had some biblical reference but honestly I never sure of the exact verse or meaning. I knew it was about being a light in the midst of darkness. Only, salt, instead of light. So, wouldn't that make pepper like darkness? 'Cause that's what I'm going with.

And if that's the case, we live in a very peppery world.

So much pepper that, sometimes, it's hard to taste the salt.

So be salty.

Be salty in a very peppery world.

To be salt is to be a light. To reflect Christ in a world that rejects him. When everything is consumed by ungodliness and darkness, dare to stand out. We must stand boldly, though. If we stand on a shaky faith, the pepper will start to mix in with our salt. The darkness will start to overcome us.

It's scary, too. We are sheep among wolves (Matthew 10:6). We are pure, holy, and innocent sheep among dark, worldly, blood-thirsty wolves. If we aren't strong in our faith, we won't be able to weather the storm. We won't be able to hold out against the darkness.

Then our saltiness is peppery and what do we do with that? It's no longer salty..our faith is no longer alive...it is worth nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet. Arm yourselves continually with God's word. Don't let pepper take away the taste of your salt. Be salty in a very peppery world, my friends.

Faith


I'm really fine. Really.

It's been almost two months since I last posted. If I knew then, when I wrote that last one, where I'd be right now, I probably would not believe it. A lot has changed. A new "About Me" describes it all in more detail.

I guess a lot of folks care about me. Cause I can't leave the house without three thousand people asking me how I'm feeling. (Slight exaggeration there.) Don't get me wrong, I so very appreciate that people do care. Sometimes I just don't know how to answer, and I know that they want more than just "I'm fine, thanks". Don't take me the wrong way, I want to talk, just not about that. Really, I just want to feel like everything's normal without having to explain all that's going on. Or perhaps if nobody said anything at all, I'd feel like no one cares. See how confusing this is?

But, really, I am fine.

Really.

Things are getting better. The future looks good. And I'm hopeful.

We're figuring all of this out, and mostly we're recovering from everything that's happened in the past few years. Sometimes we aren't ready to talk about it. It can stir up a lot of emotions. And that's normal. That's okay.

The amount of formula that I was getting fed every night was too high, I got sick. We reduced it and are continually adjusting it to find what works best. Like I said, we're figuring all of this out. So when I was asked how things were going, I really wasn't prepared to explain all of this. "I'm fine, thanks" seemed to sum it up pretty well in my opinion. If I started going into detail..well, your head tilts, your eyebrows rise, I can tell you are filled with confusion because I'm just not able to talk about it in an efficient way. My emotions get mixed in, I get confused, then I just want to leave. But, really, I do appreciate that you love me and care about me.

I'm trying to figure out what comes next. In a way...I don't know how to be normal. I'm so very used to being sick. I'm ready for things to change, but I'm worried I won't know what to do. I have so many dreams and plans that I can finally pursue. It scares me. It's a good scary. A new one.

If you have questions, ask me. But there's a different way to go about asking it. If you want to know about the feeding tube, ask me. You won't offend me. If you want to know how we're adjusting to a new routine, just ask. I'll tell you. I don't know how to respond to vague questions like "How are you feeling?". If you just want to talk, tell me. I'll talk, I'll tell you what you'd like to know. Maybe I'd even enjoy that.

See, when I'm trying to answer these questions, I don't know what you're asking for. I'm feeling good, that's always going to be the answer. If you want to know if I've gotten sick, ask me. Ask me if we're seeing improvement, ask me if there's any complications, ask me how things are going with the doctors, ask me about my plans for the future, once I'm healed. Ask me how my family is doing, if there's any restrictions with the tube, if it makes life easier or more difficult, ask me what the future plans are for my care, whatever you want to know, ask me.

If you ask me if there's anything I need, or anything you can do for me...most of the time, there isn't. Maybe because I don't always know what you're asking about. I'm not in the hospital, so we're good on meals, I don't need any materialistic things either. Whatever you think I might need, ask me. If you want to talk with me, seriously, ask me. If you just want to hang out, maybe cause I haven't been super social lately, tell me. If you want to hug me or tell me something, don't be afraid. I like hugs (Most of the time). And if you really want to do something, and find out what's been going on at the same time, ask me if there's anything you can pray for. There probably is something. But if there's not, that's okay too. That shows me more than anything that you care.

Thanks for reading friends. Have a wonderful Christmas.

Faith


Let's all be positive

Hey y’all! It’s been a while (Over a month, to be exact), I know. Things have been crazy for me. One day I feel great, almost normal, and the next day I’m confined to my bed for I’m in so much pain. Crohn’s Disease is a vicious thing, my friends. I covet your prayers during this time.

Also, as you can see, in all faithfulness has yet another new look. I’m trying to change things around to include more topics (As you can see in all the little tabs above.) and I just cannot figure out a look to go with it. I’m not sure how much I like this whole navy chevron design, so don’t be surprised if it changes again. I’m open to comments and suggestions.

Moving on, I haven’t been sure what to write about. I wanted to write something related to what I’ve been going through recently, but I just got stuck. Sometimes I feel like when I write these, I’m writing to myself more than anything. And I love that I have the opportunity to share my words with others, so that they might be encouraged as well.

Today, however, I want to talk about something that helps me in all aspects of my life. In some ways I have to be thankful for Crohn’s, for it has opened my eyes to so much that I would have never even dealt with before. Positive thinking, for example.

Okay, okay, so I’ve known for a very long time the significance of positive thinking and how our attitudes greatly affect the outcome of our lives. But...well, it hasn’t been until just recently that I actually decided to start using this power, I always thought it was weird and honestly it all kind of annoyed me. The mind is an incredible tool, capable of so much more than we realize. Just look at the thoughts of someone who is, let’s say, depressed. They consume themselves in “doom & gloom” type of thoughts, always negative and hardly optimistic. Then compare this to someone who tries to stick to an attitude of “everything will be okay”, “This will all work out”, and they consume their thoughts with positivity and build up around themselves a stress-free and calm environment. People like to look to them and say “Well, everything just works out for you.” When, really, it could be the same for us all. The mind has the power to build up or destruct the body. And as I am desperately searching for the road to healing, I constantly remind myself “The mind can heal the body”. And, now I really do believe it. The mind can heal the body. It’s all through perspective, attitude, and (no matter how cliché it sounds), the power of positive thinking.

I’m currently reading a book, “Don’t give up, don’t give in” by Louis Zamperini. He is a great inspiration to me, especially as I read about what great trials he endured, but all the while still came out on top. He talks a lot in his book about positive thinking. While talking about his grandfather he says, “He taught me that by holding on to anger and bitterness, I would only hurt myself. He often told me that the most important thing I should remember was to “have a cheerful countenance at all times.” No matter how grim your situation is, whether you’re lost at sea, or just having a bad day, keeping a positive, cheerful attitude is the key to your own survival.”

To add to that, Proverbs 17:22 says “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” And I love this verse because it paints a vivid picture of a joyful, positive spirit, in contrast to a crushed, negative one.

A positive attitude all-in-all helps us cope with every day scenarios in a much less stressful way. And, seriously, I could go on and on in little details, or I could be blunt and tell you that keeping a positive outlook will pretty much make your life a lot better. It’s easier to tackle each day, easier to seek God in the midst of it all, and don’t even get me started on how your attitude affects those around you.

Oh, wait, it’s too late. Now I’m already getting started on the topic. But, seriously, we all know what it’s like to be around that “Bah humbug” personality. It starts to seep its way into your mindset, too. Grumbling, complaining, worries, fear, stress, anxiety, anger, depression, need I go on? However; can’t we all agree that a positive attitude is highly contagious? Maybe I’m the only one who finds great joy from being around those with an optimistic outlook. It lifts my spirit, whereas negativity only weighs it down. Dries up my bones.

It’s a hard habit to get in to, positive thinking. But once you start – it’s addicting. That sounds weird, I know... but it can transform your life. Sometimes things are so dire that all we want to do is cry and curl up in a little ball and wish the world to go away. Changing your way of thinking can change the circumstances around you. Or at least change the way you feel about them. And sometimes that can make all the difference.

I can’t wrap my mind around God’s creation. The mind and body are just so complex...I can’t even begin to fathom it. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the mind is more powerful than we ever realize. No matter your circumstances, there is always hope to turn things around. The mind is an incredible tool.

Thanks for reading along,
Faith

Fall DIY: Paper mache pumpkin tutorial

Hey y'all!

Is it just me, or has this year gone by wayyy faster than usual? Sure feels like it. Summer is drawing to a close and autumn is pretty much here. So, I thought I'd get a head start on some fall decorations!

I love seasonal decorating. Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, you name it. But I also don't like to spend a whole lot. By this, I mean I'm just plain cheap and if I can't find it at the dollar store I'd rather just say forget it.

I was working on a little project for my brother - a bridge for his NASCAR stop motion races. (Check them out here) And it ended up turning into multiple projects. You can see the pictures of the bridge at the end of this post, along with a little mini-tutorial.

I first stumbled upon this idea on Pinterest. I read a few little tutorials but ultimately just did my own thing as I went along.

Here's the finished product:





This is a fairly quick project, but can become time-consuming and most definitely can get a little messy. But it isn't difficult, and can be done with both kids and adults of all ages!
The paper mache might take a while to dry, some even say that it takes all day. Mine was dry in a couple hours, but I set it outside. (It was dry, humid, and sunny, so that made for perfect pumpkin-drying weather).

Supplies:
•Plastic bags
•Newspaper
•Paper mache paste (Mix 1 cup water, 1/4 cup flour, & a dash of salt)
•Paint & paint brush (I used simple craft paint, but you can use outdoor paint, spray paint, glitter, or whatever you desire.)


Get started by making the pumpkin form. I used a small plastic bag that had a couple other bags stuffed inside, but you can also use shredded paper or other scraps. Get creative! Tie off the top of the bag, and this will be your stem. I folded mine down in half. Then take some string, yarn, (or even duct tape, whatever you have on hand) and measure it around the pumpkin, leaving a couple inches extra. Cut the yarn and wrap it around, tying it tightly around your stem. Repeat this until you have as many sections as you desire. I cut 3 pieces of yarn so I had 6 sections.

I used some of the excess yarn from wrapping around the pumpkin to tie around the stem. It definitely helped it hold it's shape better. It looks a little tacky, yes, but it's functional.


Now it's time to start with the paper mache! Have your bowl of paste and a stash of shredded papers set out. Take a shred of paper and run it through the paste. Just one side is good, you want the paper to be wet but not so much that it's soaked and soggy. The shreds should be the right size so that it wraps from just under the stem to the bottom of the pumpkin. I found this size of paper to work best - I tried using longer strips, but they wouldn't wrap around very well. 


Continue working around the pumpkin, smoothing it out and adding more strips where needed. 




When it came to the stem I found that using smaller pieces worked better. 


Yay! Here's the covered pumpkin. Set it someplace to dry. I put mine outside, and it dried really quick. The flies were heavily attracted to it, however. 

Make sure it's 100% dry before you get ready to paint. 


I went with a traditional orange color for my pumpkin. I actually mixed it with a little bit of gold, since I didn't want it to be super bright. It made for a really nice color! (It's darker in person)


Depending on what kind of paint you use, you'll probably need several coats. The more coats - the better. You don't want any newspaper showing. (Like mine turned out..... Don't look too close! Lol) 


Almost done, just need to paint the stem. I used a bit of brown and gold mixed together. It wasn't quite the color I was going for, but close enough. 


Just let the paint dry and you're all done! I tied some twine around the stem and it makes a lovely little decoration piece! 







For the bridge, I took some thin cardboard pieces that I had on hand (But you can use any kind of cardboard, cereal box, poster board, or whatever you can find.) and simply used scissors to cut out the shape of the bridge. Make sure you measure first to get the right size and shape that you're looking for. Then lay the first cut out piece on top of the other piece of cardboard and trace around it, to ensure that they're identical.

I recommend holding the two pieces together, (or have someone hold them for you), and wrap a piece of duct tape or string around it. This will hold the bridge in place while you paper mache around it. This is a very important step!

Unfortunately I don't have any pictures of the bridge before I paper mached it.

To paper mache the bridge:
Smaller pieces work better. Using bigger strips of paper didn't work since it was such an uneven shape that I was wrapping them around. There is no specific or definite technique to use, so just try what works best for you!



Once you set it aside to dry, it's time to paint it! I used the same type of craft paint that I did for the pumpkin, only in different colors. I used a very, very small paintbrush to do the lettering, but you could also use a paint pen or even a sharpie.





 Thanks for reading along! I hope y'all have fun making your pumpkins! Let me know if you like these craft tutorials and what other ones you might like me to do in the future!
 

~Faith




"War Room" movie review



Most of you have probably seen the trailers and advertisements for the new Christian-based movie, War Room. I had the privilege to go see it this past weekend, and with *hopefully* no spoilers, a review awaits.

 
Now I don’t want to go into a lot of detail about the movie itself, for believe me, I’d give it all away. Overall I found the moral of the story to be quite compelling. It’s really something that could be applied to so many different lives and circumstances, and that’s a really great quality for a film to have. I was expecting it to be like every other film, a vague topic fluffed with drama, purely for entertainment with no real purpose. But I was pleasantly surprised. The movie really didn’t drift from the point; it stayed on topic and had real purpose. And it was easy to follow. It all flowed nicely and hit so, so many valuable key points along the way. The kind that stick with you even after you leave the theater, the kind that you keep thinking about for days and weeks and months. It’s the kind of movie that inspires people to actually get up and do something. And I admire that greatly.

Not to mention in the midst of all this, - the movie was hilarious. And that’s coming from me (It takes a lot in a movie to make me dub it as hilarious.). There may have been some pretty sappy and corny parts in there as well, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Except in the scenes that I found the acting to be...as much as I hate to have to say this, and I’m not quite sure how to put it, fake and forced. There were just a few scenes that were far too predictable, at least for my taste. The casting was overall wonderful, don’t get me wrong. It just wasn’t the most convincing at times. But that’s certainly nothing to get caught up on.
 In conclusion, this movie had a motive to inspire and change, and they surely achieved it. Personally I can say that I walked away highly impacted. Impacted to change my walk with the Lord and more specifically change my prayer life. Strengthen my prayer life, revive my prayer life. And I only hope it would do the same for you. This is an incredible movie that I’d recommend to anyone. That’s what I love about it – like I said earlier, it has something to be applied to so many different lives and circumstances. For children, for teens, adults, couples, groups, families, I could go on. So if you’re still debating about going to see it or not, I’d highly encourage you to go! I’d definitely label it a must-see.

 
Faith


Some Favorites.

Hey y'all! ❤ As you can see, In All Faithfulness has a new look - again. I'm still working on editing it and designing it, so it may be a bit inconsistent for a little while. Thanks for your patience! I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas. Contact me through the little box at the bottom of the page if you'd like.
Anyway, back to the post.
~~~~~~~~~~
Tonight I just wanted to take the time to share with you several of my favorite pieces of Scripture.

Scripture is pretty incredible. I mean, it's God speaking to His people. Too often we take that for granted. The God of the universe gave us His holy word to read at our own will...who doesn't have time for that? But now I'm getting off topic. The point is, scripture is to be cherished greatly and shared among fellow believers.

 As many of you know, I was hospitalized just this past week for many days, and scripture was a sole source of strength for me during those times. When things were silent and I was left alone with only the thoughts in my head...I was reminded that I need only be still, the Lord would fight for me(Exodus 14:14). When things were panicked and I feared the future...I was reassured that He was already there, for I know He goes before me (Deuteronomy 31:8).

There will come a time in every one of our lives where we may not have access to a Bible...and all of a sudden your memory is the only resource you have. I once heard about people in China who have no access to Scripture...I heard about how they will weep together if they can even get a glimpse of God's word. Not even just a couple tears but from the depths of their souls they will weep and cry out for their God.

And I've never forgotten that...because it reminds me of how much I take the privilege of having His Word at my fingertips for granted.
I hope that you, too, will find some encouragement in these verses. I made them all myself, so feel free to copy and share them as you'd like.
 

                          
 
 
I'd love to know some of your favorite verses as well! Leave some feedback in the comments below. ❤
~Faith
 
 
 
Photos from Unsplash free stock images.

Why I don't want to be happy...



Well, to be honest, I'm afraid to be happy.


Because when I'm happy, it comes with a great disobedience to God.




I never really realized it until a short while ago...but when we consider ourselves happy, we are only fooling ourselves by living in the desires of our sin nature.

For example, I am tempted everyday by pure laziness. All I really want to do is lounge around in my pajamas watching house hunters and mindlessly checking Facebook every five minutes.. Because that makes me happy. But those are the days that I ignore my relationship with God the most. I get so caught up in the pleasure of my desires that I feel, although only temporary, happy.



I started learning about the differences between being happy, and being joyful. And I'd like to share with you some of the ones that, to me, are most important to remember.





Happiness is something the world offers, however JOY can only come from the Lord.


Just think for a minute and come up with a few things that define being happy, and things that make people happy. Then compare that to what the Bible says about joy. One of my favorite verses is John 15:10-11, "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.". Yeah, that's right, obeying God actually does fill your heart with JOY. Not just a little bit of joy, but that your joy may be full. I mean, c'mon, that's pretty cool. People travel the whole world in search for happiness - What a privilege it is to know where real joy comes from.  




Happiness is temporary, JOY lasts eternity.


While there are things that make you happy, and some may even last for a lifetime I suppose, there will come a day when it all passes away, and we realize then that none of these things that we saw as important even mattered. Revelation tells us, "...for the former things have passed away". All these things that we see as valuable and important here on Earth...quite frankly are worthless. 
Even Paul talked about how he considers all things worthless for Christ. What he once saw as valuable, now means nothing compared to what Christ has given him. The things that make us happy...there will come a day when we realize that it served no real purpose at all. But a true JOY that comes from the Lord..it's fulfilling. It lasts not only does it last a lifetime here on Earth, but it serves an eternal purpose. That joy that's hidden in your heart...it lasts an eternity there. 
 


Happiness pleases your desires, while JOY satisfies the soul.


None of us want to admit it, but it's true, we see in Genesis that each of us has a sin nature. A natural desire, as humans, that leads us to sin. Now, I don't know about you, but sometimes what I believe to be something that just makes me happy, is actually something that leads me right into sin and disobedience. But for the momentary time that I'm happy, my sin-nature desires are quite pleased. Not satisfied, but merely pleased. However JOY, that truly satisfies the soul. It lives within you. And eventually, although it's rather difficult at times, you no longer feel such a pull to those desires as you did before. 
 


Happiness comes from external things, JOY comes from within your heart.

This one is rather self-explanitory. Nothing that the world offers can bring the same joy to your heart as the Lord can. And when you have turned to Him, you no longer need happiness from the world. To sum it up, happiness comes from the world (world = bad), and joy comes from God (God = good). Pretty simple, right? 
 


Then why is it so hard to choose joy over happiness?


That sin nature. That's why.


You have to desire and choose good over evil in order to gain joy. The first step, at least to me, is to establish what in your life is pleasing your desires, and what is satisfying your heart and serving a kingdom purpose. And lastly, remind yourself constantly of the differences between happiness and joy. Personally, I have to ask myself what purpose I'm serving - the Lord, or am I putting my happiness above Him?


Thanks for reading along, folks. 


Faith

For Glory



     There are so many topics I could write about. And someday I hope that maybe I’ll get to them all. And maybe I’ll actually make a difference in someone’s life. That something I said could actually truly mean something to someone else. But that really isn’t the purpose of what I’m doing. I write because I want to share the things that God lays on my heart, I write because I can’t just keep all my thoughts to myself, even if no one actually ever read this...I guess I write because it’s just a part of me. God gave me this love for writing, so how could I not use that in anything but an attempt to glorify Him?


   This post is a little different. I’m inviting you into a time of personal reflection and growth.  Basically it’s just a weird conversation with myself that, as it's going on, is recorded on paper that I’m sharing with a public audience. It’s kind of a “writer” thing.


  My first post. I wrote about 1 Timothy 4:12. “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young. But set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.”
 Now, I still treasure this verse. If you asked for a sentence or verse that describes my life right now, that’s what I’d give you. For some reason I just strive to be an example. A role-model. Someone who is trustworthy, reliable, pure, accountable, and stands firm in their faith. 
And as I look at my life I see that I’m so far off from where I want to be. I’m so far off from that verse. But it’s still what I strive for. It’s still what I desire.


I look at this world and I see how broken it is. But what can one person do? What can I do? Nothing. That’s what the world tells me. But God tells me something different. Something bigger.


I suppose I have high expectations for my life. Yeah, there’s your typical stuff like a future college or career and that kind of stuff. Which don’t get me wrong, that’s important and all, but I expect something far greater. So many times I have called upon God surrendering my life to Him. Begging to be used to bring glory to His kingdom.


And it isn’t ridiculous, like many will say.


In fact, it’s quite reasonable. God wants each and every one of His children to prosper. And that kind of achievement can only come from God. He is the one who promises to prosper us, after all.


Every day I rejoice in the knowing that my Savior has plans for me. He doesn’t just say “Okay, well, now that I’ve given you salvation you’re on your own and where your life goes from here is completely up to you.” None of us could handle that. None of us should. God has plans for us. Not just the types of plans that society teaches us, like plans to “Be a doctor, or lawyer, or other fancy business things like that.” But plans to bring glory to His kingdom.


Isn’t that magnificent?


But it isn’t always what we could call “joyful”. Glorifying the Father can come through a great deal of pain and suffering. Things significant and insignificant alike.


Look at Christians who are experiencing persecution in the Middle East. They flee their homes in hopes that they might escape in time before they’re faced with torture, imprisonment, and death. Sounds....promising, right? But they’re fleeing because they will not worship another God – they will not confess to any other name than that of Jesus.


Even when there is nothing left. Everything they had was gone. Fear filled every part of their lives. They didn’t deny their Father.


I can’t think of a more dire and dreadful circumstance – yet even when it looks so dark and hopeless we see that in the midst of it all our God is honored. What an amazing testimony.


I want my life to glorify God in such ways. But it doesn’t always have to be like that. God is honored and glorified when I share the gospel with my neighbor, or welcome new kids at church. When I memorize scripture, when I read my Bible every morning, when I show Christ-like behaviors, when I’m slow to anger, when I’m humble, etc. etc. God is glorified in all of it!


And I can only hope that others may see that in me.


That when I walk in a room the light of Christ shines and would be seen by everyone.


Because this life is not my own. I have been saved and born again. I am no longer here to please my own desires but I am here for something greater. For I know that this life here is only temporary – and Heaven is the real destination. But while I’m here, where the Father has placed me, my life shall be to honor Him.


I just want to be an example. I want my life to mean more than our earthly standards. I want younger generations to look up to me. I want to be obedient to Christ in every aspect of my life. I want to be a reflection of His love. I don’t want to be easily overtaken by worldly desires. I want my life to be something greater. No so that I will be recognized for it or even applauded – but because there is nothing else that I desire. Nothing else that I long for.


Thanks for reading along.


Faith

The one on perseverance

   Last week I was with my church at our lake baptism. Although I wasn’t there to be baptized, I was just there to enjoy a time of fellowship and support those who were being baptized. And even though I chose not to swim in the lake, I did find myself enjoying messing with the sand. (I would say playing with the sand, which in all honesty is what I was doing, but I was looking for a more “mature” word.) Anyway, as the water would occasionally wash up upon the shore, I enjoyed sinking my feet into the soft, damp sand before watching my small footprints wash away. There was nothing quite like the joy from the feeling that there was nothing else going on, just me, the beautiful weather, and the peacefulness of my feet in the sand, with the tide that would nicely brush my ankles. I honestly wanted nothing else in that moment except what I had - which, c’mon, doesn’t happen much in the selfish, demanding world we sometimes surround ourselves in. But, even if only for a few moments, it was wonderful.

Eventually I found myself kneeling in the sand, pushing the sand into clumps that would form a cross. The tide managed to stay a few inches back, so it didn’t wash away. It wasn’t anything extravagant now, just a small cross. I smoothed the edges, I leveled the top, and there it was - my little cross in the sand. I was quite proud of it, even if it was short lived. Shortly, as if on cue, the water from the lake started pushing its way further. It brushed the edge of my cross, causing it to soften and crumble. I pushed some more sand back onto the cross, and all was well again. I’m sure you can manage to assume what happened next. The waters came further, harder, faster, and stronger. My little cross in the sand was nothing but a soupy glob that kept washing away, and getting smaller, and smaller. I tried desperately to fix it, but to no avail. Yeah, okay, so most people would look at it under the impression that it’s merely a little cross built in the sand. It was destined to wash away, anyway, and surely I must have known that.

Then it reminded me of something.

And all of a sudden I saw that little cross in the sand as a newly-placed faith in Jesus Christ. As if, when I sculpted that cross...that was like a new believer taking the first steps to committing their lives, and all the faith they have, to God. And when they step back and look at what has been done, what has been sculpted in their life...it’s...well, like that small moment of joy I experienced on the beach - Even if only for a moment...wonderful.

Then the waves come.

Then, the world comes.

As if the water sensed a symbol of surrender, a symbol of hope, in that little cross in the sand...and, of course, came rushing upon it. No matter what you do to try fix it, salvage it, or re-build it...the waters just keep coming. Determined to wash it away – like how the world seems to be determined to bring anyone who calls themselves a Christian to destruction.

So what’s best to do? Keep sitting there, pushing the sand back onto the cross in soupy globs, hoping it will keep its form? Or shield it completely from the waters that are coming. Perhaps let the waters destroy it and go build another one elsewhere?   Or...wait...maybe this is all a trick question. Like, “Hey, what’s my cross doing in the sand anyway? Wasn’t I supposed to go build it on a rock or somethin’?” And that’s the key. Don’t focus on the world. Focus on the cross. Build your relationship firm in Christ from the beginning, and let the waves come. No matter how hard they come at you...your faith is built on a rock, which cannot wash away. Let the world see that no matter what it can throw against us, we will persevere.

Perfectly Flawed



 I’d like to start by quickly apologizing for the fact that I haven’t posted much. As you can see - In All Faithfulness has new look! Also, if you scroll down a bit, you'll see on the sidebar a new little box where you can send me feedback, ideas, prayer requests, questions, and suggestions for what to write about. Thanks!



     It’s pretty hard to disagree with the fact that almost every single woman, of any age, struggles with the way they look. We look in the mirror every day and see nothing but imperfection and flaws. We see the opposite of what society says we should look like. We start to allow what people say about us slowly sink in and break us apart. And every day, the lies we tell ourselves start to become a part of us. And we allow it.

     People don’t realize how young girls are when we start to feed them these lies. And as they grow up they learn that the world sets standards for the way women should look. They teach us that we have to fit these standards in order to be accepted or even presentable to society. And the more they start to grow up the more they start to realize they can never achieve those standards. And I can’t even begin to explain how haywire it gets from there. And what’s it all for, anyway? For men? Some might say that. Because women need to have confidence? I hear that one a lot. But people don’t seem to realize that our confidence, and our beauty, comes from a very different source. And today I’m going to share what that is. Even though most of you already are very aware of it, I want to go in depth with it. I want you to leave this blog with a new frame of mind. Maybe that’s wishful thinking, or maybe it’s simply impossible, but we’ll see.



     I’m sure you’ve heard about or read this verse before – 1 Peter 3:3-4. {pictured}. But we’re going to go in depth of what this verse really means. Let’s start at, “Do not let your adorning be external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear - ...” Now this was written way back in AD 62-63...yet we can see that women adorned themselves in all the same ways. They would attempt to beautify themselves in order to be accepted, liked, and admired. Maybe even sometimes you, yes, I’m talking to you, don’t even feel comfortable leaving the house without makeup covering your face? You can’t let society see your blemishes, right? And I can’t be the only one who spends sometimes hours picking out what to wear because nothing is “just right”. I want people to think highly of me, and I’m sure you do too. But stop and think with me here – in what ways have our methods of beautification gotten in the way of who God created us to be? Let’s look further into the verse, “But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,” What Peter is saying in the first part of this verse, is let your beauty come from “the hidden person of the heart.” Or, you. Too often girls get caught up in trying to be somebody else. God created you with a purpose in mind – don’t let your desire to be as perfect as those photo shopped women on magazine covers get in the way of living out God’s grand design for your life. The Godly woman hidden inside you...that is more beautiful than any makeup or clothing can give you. Which leads us to “...with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit,...” This is something we see in the characteristics and attributes of a Godly woman at heart. Close your eyes and think about a “gentle and quiet spirit.”... Seriously, close your eyes and picture it. Why do I get the feeling you still haven’t done it? Just take a couple seconds and think about it. Then picture those attributes in yourself. Does it match up with the way your spirit is now? Probably not. I know mine doesn’t. To be gentle and quiet is someone who focuses on God before anything else in the world can come between them. Their relationship with the Lord is intimate and highly cherished. They do not take delight in evil, instead the live out their lives peacefully in the Lord. This is the hidden person of the heart, don’t you see? With that, take a look at the very last part of the verse... “...Which is God’s sight is very precious.” Isn’t that beautiful? That God would look unto us, His children, and see us as precious. God. Like, creator of the universe, ya know? And He sees me as precious? That’s pretty incredible.


So, if there’s one thing I hope you leave here with. It’s this...
When you start hating on yourself, maybe it’s your body size, your complexion, or anything that you just dislike, or even hate, about yourself...remind yourself of 1 Peter 3:3-4. If you can, write it on your bedroom/bathroom mirror, or write it on a note card and stick it someplace where you will see it every day. Eventually you will memorize it and you will carry that peace of knowing that your beauty comes from a more magnificent source. Don’t let the influences of this world impact your idea of beauty. The maker of the universe created you to be just the way you are – everything about you reflects your Father, for He doesn’t make mistakes, and His creations are flawless and perfect. Rejoice in that, and share it with others.

~Faith

Bold is Beautiful


Hey there everyone! Okay, so I may not have posted in almost three weeks... #oops. Today's post is actually a very important topic to me, it's something I've personally struggled through and that I really want to share with others. I feel like most everybody has a hard time with being bold. Quite frankly, we don't know how to be "bold"...I feel like we're taught, somehow, that being bold is a bad thing. I look around and all I see, from people of all ages, is that we don't stray far from our own little circles (Some may call them cliques). We don't welcome new people, talk to the new kids, or do anything away from the friends we're comfortable with. And to be honest, sometimes it angers me a bit. Especially because I know that I'm one of them. You see, being bold isn't something to hide or be afraid of! Yes, sometimes it can create slightly awkward situations (Which everyone seems to spend their whole lives avoiding at all costs), but in the end, as I like to say, bold is beautiful.

 I'd like to bring up a piece of scripture that I've kind of based this post off of. Acts 28:31. (Pictured) We'll start by breaking down what the verse means, and then we will work on applying it to our lives.  Now, I'll talk more a little bit further down about what boldness looks like in all aspects of our lives, but more specifically in this verse it talks about boldness in proclaiming the kingdom of God. What does that mean? It's quite simple, telling everybody, everywhere, in all ways possible, who God is and what He's done. But not just that, no, because it goes on to tell us to teach about the Lord Jesus Christ. So, now we see that we aren't just talking about God, but we're teaching of Him too. See the difference? It's like going around all day proclaiming "Jesus is life!", or "God is love!". That's great and all...but people that don't know Jesus won't know what, or who, you're talking about. Unless you actually sit down and teach them about the life that Jesus gave us by bearing the weight of our sins on the cross. Or you actually tell them how unfathomable God's love for us is - that he would send His one and only Son to be crucified so that we could have a relationship with Him. You see the difference now?
But wait, we aren't at the end of the verse yet. It ends on "With all boldness and without hindrance."
Wow. Just take a moment with me and think about "With all boldness." Every ounce of boldness and courage that we have should be put to use. All that we have. So that we would, without a trace of doubt whatsoever, jump on every opportunity with the boldness of a lion (And lions are quite bold if I do say so myself). "And without hindrance" - without any obstacles in our way, and without any doubts or fears. There would be no stopping us, for we are God's children, His chosen people, proclaiming the good news of our Savior without worrying about the things we do now, like "what will people think about me.". We would all be solely concerned with God's commandments, God's purpose, and we'd be driven by the fear of the Lord. Wouldn't that be pretty cool if we were all like that? We're supposed to be. Instead it feels like we all take our faith, we take what Jesus has done, and we go like crawl under a rock or something. We don't show it to anyone, we don't rejoice over this amazing grace that we've been given, no. It's like we just don't care. When we should be living out the opposite! Chew on that for a while.
Okay, you may be wondering, how much "bold" is too bold? Well, your boldness must be driven by the right amount of kindness. Being bold doesn't mean shoving the Gospel down people's throats, no, no. What I mean by it is that, with love, patience, gentleness, and kindness we should share with people the love that God has shown us. Being bold just means that we aren't afraid or ashamed in any way of His word. True boldness in a person is a rare and beautiful find, but it's one that once you share it, it keeps on going like a chain reaction. People follow, you set an example, and that's pretty cool.
"what does boldness look like in an everyday life?"
   Boldness in an everyday life, especially that of a student, is when you aren't afraid to venture outside that little circle we talked about earlier and maybe talk to that kid that's sitting in the corner all alone. Invite them to sit with you and get to know them. That's boldness, and kindness, that you just exhibited right there. Being bold in your everyday life can even be speaking up when some kids are talking about, or doing, something that you know is wrong. It takes boldness to speak up and show them God's love. Or maybe you have a friend who's wavering in their faith...a lot of times we just remain quiet because...well, sometimes I don't even know why, but we do. And we shouldn't. Be the friend that helps point them back to the Lord, be the girl (or guy) who is constantly talking about God, be the one who isn't afraid of what people think of you, be courageous, be kind, be bold. Bold is beautiful, my friends.

Check Your Connection

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     Does something else in your life ever come between you and your relationship with God? Is He always your main focus? Most likely, He's not always. Because we're humans and the desires of our corrupt nature seem to grab our attention away from Him. It's a daily battle just to keep Christ at the center of our lives. And I, personally, do not always win that battle.
  
     But you see, when Christ really is the center of everything in our lives, all that seemed to be such a struggle before...well, it just falls into place. I remember one Sunday school lesson from a little while ago that has really stuck with me. One of my Sunday morning small group leaders was talking about things that come in the way of our relationship with God. She explained it kind of like this, think of your relationship with God as a cell phone. If something is blocking the signal to your phone, then you can't reach anyone. It's like when you go under a bridge or  in a tunnel - you can't get reception until the thing that is blocking it is removed. But sometimes it can be hard to know what is distracting you the most, and it's even harder when you love that thing so much that you can't pull yourself away. Do you ever hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you at times? And you feel God telling you to spend time in His word, but you just push those thoughts away and away until you become so calloused that you can't even hear Him anymore. I want to admit it just as much as you do, but that's what we do. Our distractions get the better of us...So, in class, we proceeded to make a list on the white board of some of the biggest distractions in our lives. The number one thing was, you guessed it, phones. That and excuses ("I'll do it later", when later never comes) seemed to be the biggest competitors for our attention. As I reflected on this I could see all of the things that are keeping me away from God. I have tried to let go of the distractions and put more of my focus and attention on God...which hasn't been the easiest thing ever, let's just say. In other words, it's just plain hard to let go of these things that please our worldly desires. And yes, it has gotten easier over time, but like I said before, it's a daily battle. But it is most certainly a battle worth fighting! To truly focus on God before anything else...that's our (or one of our many) goals. Because, then, all those obstacles that we used to face in our daily lives...they're simple. Because we put God's commandments first, and we put His will above our own.

        You may think "It's not that simple to just drop all of our worldly distractions." Yeah, I know, I know. And it takes time, but it's worth it in the end. Start by listing a few of your biggest distractions.


  • Phones
  • Excuses ("I'll do it later.")
  • Sports
  • School
  • T.V (Netflix is a big one..)
  • etc. etc.
      Now when you hear God telling you to spend time in His word, instead of ignoring it until you no longer can notice it...listen to Him. When you start to feel like you're drifting away, check your connection. Find what's blocking the signal and make it a priority to drop whatever it is. I know a lot of my friends are reading this right now, so I challenge each and every one of you (myself included) to check your connection this week. Just like you can't call someone from a tunnel, you can't keep Christ as your main focus with too many distractions in your way.


Faith