Archive for the ‘Focus’ Category

Guest Post!

April 4, 2008

I finally got my dear friend Erin to write a guest post! She loves Christ dearly and has a heart for purity. Erin is a big writer, and I’m sure we’ll see more work of her’s on the web! I met her a few years ago on a forum, where I quickly saw that she was different from many of the others there. Erin is a sweet girl living for somthing greater. I’m so thankful to have her talk to us about some of the real issues we face every day.

Note: This post does contain some mature content, so younger readers should not view this. As always, read with discernement. :)

Today I went to get my hair cut. I saw Cosmo magazine sitting on a table on the side glaring back at me with
topics written on the cover that caught my eye. Since it was going to be a while before my head would go under
the scissors, I picked up the magazine to pass the time. No harm in looking at a popular magazine with
Hayden Panettiere on the cover. I don’t usually read what is being put in these fad magazines, just look
at the pictures. Plus I was bored.

Flipping through the pages, I see a lot of things I wish I had. Gazing at the perfect girls with long beautiful legs,
not near afraid to show them off. The perfect tan and the perfect smile. I know its all fake. With the technology
there is today, they can make anybody look perfect on paper. I would just think how shameful it is that so
many people who spend money on this actually believe its true. I have yet to meet someone who is perfect.
So after all that, then I move on and look at the celebrities. Paris Hilton bought a new tank top. Look at
Miley Cyrus and Hilary Duff: they bought the same hand bag. Compare Anne Hathaway’s dress to a desperate
housewives star.

I move on from that section, into another section that I wasn’t quite prepared for. Since I never read these type of
magazines I was surprised. Knowing I shouldn’t be cause its a common fad to believe everything a popular magazine
tells you to do, since the stars in Hollywood seem to do it all the time. There were sections such as “What men think
of sexy,” “How to keep your man,” “What He really wants in a girlfriend.” Knowing me, I would skip over these sort of
articles cause I have no use for them. I don’t have to become like a girl in a magazine in order to be something. So who
cares anyway? I got curious and decided to see what men are supposed to “really” think about these topics.
As I started to read, I saw how everything always led to sex. That’s nothing new. But it was all I saw written
in black. “We Like girls that do this, dress like that, treat us like hero’s. It catches us on fire.” Then afterwards,
from the writers own words, give the solutions as to what a girl is to do next. Here it provides a certain type of
outfit. This and that colors go well, these don’t.

I saw a problem with this, and it made me feel funny. I know to never look at myself and compare to these solutions
and women. Never to look at a magazine full of trash for answers. But for once, I felt like I was nothing. Here I was,
a single girl who in the past struggled with being single. Who has gotten back on her feet and has made God her
number one priority instead of boys. Who has finally begun her one girl revolution. Now I feel like I’m not worthy.
You mean to tell me, I have to be all these things, act a certain way and dress a certain way, in order to make it
in the world? I have to step out of my comfort zone to please people, who could careless about who I am as a person?
When I started to think this in my mind I hurried up and shut the magazine and put it back on the table. I started
to feel ashamed of myself. I saw I started to see that I wasn’t good enough. I’m not good enough to please a guy
out there, if I am not these things these other men say I should do and be. It gave me an insecure feeling. And
I realized, what a waste of cut down trees to produce a stupid piece of paper full of lies!

My thoughts went unfocused. Sex sells. Hollywood says so. I have come to the conclusion that celebrities aren’t
real people. They are one thing only, Idols. Idols are perfect. They don’t have issue’s such as severe acne, warts,
unshaved legs or even a stretch mark. Their bust is in perfect shape and perfect size with no bra to make them
that way. They don’t struggle cause they have money. They are our idols. Any fashion magazine will tell you,
they are perfect.

Sometimes this makes me doubt. You hardly see a normal teenage girl get a boyfriend who is actually good!
I never see an imperfect girl actually become somebody. The only people I see getting anything good in life are
those who go beyond themselves to please other people. They smile, they wave. It comes so easily. But no
one, not even a magazine, ever says that it comes with a price to pay. I have often thought that if I were to
become one of these girls then I would get my fulfillment. To step out away from my morals, to go against
everything I believed in. Maybe, just maybe, I could get there.

I have a friend right now, who listens to these so call love experts. I have known her for a long time, and we get along great. I love her for who she is. She is an awesome person to be around. But there is one place we don’t agree with. And
that’s our status. I have come to a place in my life that I am okay with being single. I don’t have to be anybody but who
I am. I don’t have to have a guy in my life to complete me cause a guy is not to be my number one goal in life. God is.
I know God is the ONLY one that can ever complete me. It has taken time, but I have accepted that life doesn’t
begin after I get married. It starts now, and it starts with God. With my friend…well that’s a different story. My friend
Stacie has never really felt loved before. Though she knows God loves her and she has accepted Jesus as her Savior,
she is not willing to wait on His timing when it comes to love. Her number one priority isn’t to serve God while she is
single, but to find the love she is looking for from the charms of a man.

Stacie picks up magazines of the latest news of how to get a guy. What personality she is to have to catch his attention.
And even though she never talks about it, I know that at the end of every day, she feels like she still hasn’t accomplished her goal. Because my friend, at the end of every chase, there is still work that needs to be done. It is never finished.
The only girls I ever see to receive love, are those who are willing to do anything to get it. Step out with insecurity. Because
if they don’t, they may not get the love that Cosmo magazine calls love. Men want only one thing and that’s sex from you.
That is what the men in Cosmo magazine say anyway. So sex must be love right? These are the common lies, that I see
everywhere I go, deceiving young girls into giving away themselves as toys instead of prized possessions.
And this is love? I have to do this, because its love? No, I don’t have to. I won’t let a guy tell me who I am to be. He CANNOT define who I am. I don’t have to act a certain way. I don’t have to flirt. I don’t have to let my chest hang out, get the tan and wear the high heals with the black mini skirt and matching bra. The only person I have to be is the girl that God made me to be and to grow into the woman He is creating me to become! My number one reason to live is not to please a man. I am here to grow in Christ, to serve others, to serve Jesus my Savior. My life starts now. And the only love in this world that will never leave me is from the Love of God!

Girls, we have to realize that true love doesn’t start with a kiss. It starts when we realize how small we are and how big God is. It starts when we allow ourselves to transform into the women God is creating in us. He is making us beautiful! A guy can say you are pretty, but will he say that when you are fifty? Most likely not. Cause looks do not last. Guys will come and go. But the word of God lives forever.

I’ve said before, life doesn’t start after you get married. We don’t have to have a boyfriend to make us whole. And until you accept that, you are never gonna be happy.

The guys in Cosmo magazine, they are full of crap. They aren’t real men. If they were real mean, they wouldn’t be reading Cosmo magazine. They would be living their lives according to what Gods Word says to live.(Romans 12:2, 1 John 2:15-17) Why would I want love from them anyway? All they do is tell me how I need to be to please them. Dude, I am not here for that reason.

So guess what? I am not a girl who reads Cosmo Magazine. I am not a girl who dresses to please. I am not a girl who laughs with flirtations and seductive gestures of a fool. These girls may get published in the media and get publicity, but they are nothing. I am somebody in secret. I am being created to a woman after God’s own heart. And once we all get to Heaven, is Paris Hilton gonna get honors? No. The way I lived my life, and How I Please Jesus, is what will be praised for. I shall not dwell on the things on earth, but on things above.

Erin is so right. As daughters of our King, we have so much more to look forward to than romance or marriage. We have eternity with our King to live for! There so much we can do even now for Him. Are you using your talents, dreams, and resources to glorify Him?

New Mercies

January 1, 2008

Last night as I awaited the dropping of the ball in New York City, a verse came to mind about the new days ahead:

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning;great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

His mercies are new every morning. As we begin this new year, let us begin it with the reminder that His mercies, His love–they never come to an end. they are new every morning.

I don’t know what the Lord will do this year. But waking up today is, in a way, like taking  a leap of faith. It’s putting our trust in Him and saying, “OK, Lord. I don’t know what you’re going to do. But I’m gonna trust that you’ll take care of me and glory will be brought to You. That’s all that matters.” Let us take comfort and hope in this truth and begin His new year with thankfulness.

~~Bethany

It Is Well With My Soul part 1

December 20, 2007

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Horatio Spafford

If you can read this, then you’re old enough to know that in life, we face trial upon trial. From small (but actually sort of big) trials such as controlling one’s temper to facing the loss of a loved one (literally or figuratively), trials are inevitable. Speaking from both experience and observation, it is so easy to become bitter and angry towards not only those around us, but towards God too. Whether, you’re currently facing a trial or not, let’s talk about how to glorify and honor God through the choices we make in our situations.

First, always look to God. Look to him to depend on, to trust in, to hope in. He alone is where we will find our joy. He is never-ending, never-failing, never-forsaking. From before the beginning, He has been there. He will continue to be there for all of eternity and longer. When we face trials, it’s so easy to never look past the fog in our eyes.

Remember who He is. This is difficult when we feel like pitying ourselves and become self-centered. James 1 tells us to “count it all joy… whenever you are faced with trials of many kinds.” This is so difficult to do, but through God who is powerful and full of strength, we can count it as joy.

‘ Till next time,

Bethany

Simple Hard Things that Aren’t Simple

December 20, 2007

I began writing this post yesterday when I should have been doing school work. Feeling convicted three sentences into this post, I turned off my com puter to finish what I could before I had to leave the house. Now, having a few moments between lunch and more school, (it takes me weeks to write a single post usually, so only taking a few minutes to write is normal, no worries!) I will begin with a clearer conscience.

Those who know me know that I am one of the laziest people on earth. Ask my family, my close friends–they all know it. Everyday I see more and more how stinking lazy I really am. And now it’s coming back to get me (can you say, “Behind 15 days in biology”?). If I had just done what was required of me, not what I required of myself, I feel certain that I would not be behind.

Which brings me to my point: simple hard things are not always so simple. It takes motivation, dedication, and a deep love for God to truly do hard things. Hard things like this include: waking up forty-five minutes earlier to have my quiet times, focusing my mind on school as opposed to daydreaming, and applying myself in biology (can you tell which is my least favorite subject?). Hard things also may include putting away dishes, not replying to a snood remark, or doing laundry. I’ve learned this: doing great things for God begins with doing little hard things for God. I sometimes remind myself of this: Mozart didn’t begin with a symphony. He began with a piano, learning one note at a time.

It’s easy to feel discouraged when one realizes they have failed at a hard thing (0r many, in my case). It is so, entirely easy. But here’s the thing: if we spend all of our time moping about, are we serving Him with love or pitying ourselves with, well, pity? As I sit here with my peppermint mocha coffee (oh, for the love of Starbucks!) I think about how simple it is to get discouraged when doing “simple” hard things. I would love to be so much more involved in The Rebelution, in doing hard things for God’s glory. But it’s easier said than done.

I think of my three year old sister. She is a very smart, intelligent little girl (not to mention the cutest little thing you will ever see in your life) yet when we tell her to go look for her baby-doll (which is often in plain sight) she cries, “I can’t! I can’t! Come on.” This reminds me of myself. The things that should be simple for me often seem to great a task for me and for my great, big God seem far to difficult and I give up. This is a wrong reaction. Instead, I should be seeking His will, His strength, and His joy above all things.

So to those of you out there who are nodding your heads in agreement, keep on keeping on. You are not alone.

Bethany

“My Dearest Daughter…”

December 19, 2007

I’m just now realizing that one reason why I love posting here is that these are all things I wish my daughters to one day know. So many times I have thought that some years would have been so much easier, had I had an older woman more involved in my life. Things were rought for me, and although I thought I was, I may not have even been a Christian during those years. I’m still not sure about that.

I never want my daughters to face what I do. There are so many things I do not wish for them, so many dreams greater than mine were that I have for them. For my daughters, I want them  to have so much more than I. It’s not that I lead such a horrid life, really. But I would never wish upon them the trials that I have faced. Had I had more involvement of my mother or another wise woman in my life, I am certain that my heart would not have been so led astray for so long. Her wisdom would have guided me, even if my heart was not right. At least I would not have faced those things. Perhaps these are mere presumptions. Perhaps not. I will never know. I am just thankful that God has been soooo gracious and merciful to me.

So often we girls think too much about our future husbands- what he will look like, be like, what he’ll enjoy doing, how he spends his time, that sort of thing. But do we ever think aboput our children that Lord willing we will one day have? Do we think about the principles we want to teach them, the preventable circumstances we can help them avoid? I am not encouraging you to dwell on the future. But simply take a moment and think about the legacy you’re creating for them.

 Keep on keeping on.

Bethany

100 Thoughts on Staying At Home

December 13, 2007

As you know, last night Natasha and I watche Return of the Daughters. It would be the most though provoking movie I’ve ever seen and worth watching. Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin produced and directed it I think. I’m not sure, but i know they had a huge hand in it.  Staying home isn’t for everyone. But I think it should be at least considered to be considered. :)

 I wrote this because it’s the only way I can logically work out my thoughts on college/career/ministry vs. sahd. For the reader’s sanity, I got rid of my horrid typos. Forgive the lack of complete thoughts, punctuation, etc. I wrote this as I thought. Pretty much word for word. I did come to a conclusion for now. God may change it, but what I came to is something I think I could truly serve the Lord with. I went back and forth on this. I hope it’s a little profitable to you, as it shows the inner battle some of us do face when thinking about these types of things. Please pray that no matter what I do, I’d do it for His glory and trust Him to guide me and lead me.  Perhaps my logic is wrong. Perhaps I’m wrong. I trust that if I am, God will show me the truth. I’m gfrateful that He knows even when I don’t. I am so human it’s not even funny. Feel free to laugh at me or think I’m wrong. I do it all the time! Just be nice.

100 Thoughts On Staying at Home

1.       I don’t want a career during marriage…

2.       If so, why during single years?

3.       My dad doesn’t have a ministry

4.       I’d go insane living my family. We just don’t get along

5.       I could start my own ministry my sisters could be involved in when they’re older under the wisdom and direction of my parents

6.       I want to go to college

7.       Why do I want to go to college?

8.       College is expected of me

9.       I’d get to hear a sermon and go to a worship service 3 to 4 times a week, maybe more if I was involved with the youth group

10.   I’d still live near my family and consult my parents if needed

11.   I don’t even know what I want to do if anything at all

12.   I suppose there are some things my mom needs help with

13.   If I want to run my home efficiently some day, how will I learn how to do it?

14.   I could learn here, creating it into some what of a home I’d like to have

15.   I don’t have to not get along with my family. It’s called love. Remember 1 Corinthians 13?

16.   Yes but… I dunno.

17.   I don’t have enough resources to learn how to be a sahd

18.   I guess I do

19.   I could always take classes and things

20.   I do want to make money

21.   What would I spend it on besides gas money and personal money? What would I be saving for?

22.   I don’t even know if I’ll get married. What could I possibly do?

23.   I don’t want to live with my family for the rest of my life

24.   The word “career” sounds so snobby. I don’t wanna wear business suits and go to meeting. I don’t actually desire a career.

25.   I would like to be like those girls on Return of the Daughters but my family wouldn’t support it.

26.   They’d say I could do so much more

27.   I love the environment of Masters. I don’t want to miss out.

28.   I love my family because they’re my family. But they’ve never been there for me. But that was my own fault I guess. I don’t feel like I could confide in them like those girls did.

29.   If I did get a job, what would I do?

30.   Teach?

31.   Teach what?

32.   It’s not like there’s a business I could start. Really, I have no mad skills.

33.   I could be a party planner or something. Or interior decorator. Both of those things are somewhat simple to accomplish

34.   But I don’t want to spend the rest of my life having a career. What and empty life!

35.   I could do what Miss Mary does. She lives with elderly Christian ladies and helps them out. She learns lots from them. But she has a job too. She works for mercury insurance.

36.   I don’t know.

37.   I don’t want to me a missionary.

38.   I don’t think foreign mission work is suited to me. I’m not bold or brave or flexible. I don’t do well under stress either.

39.   I just want to get married and have kids.

40.   If only I could play the piano or something. I could teach piano or become the next August Rush. J

41.   What are my dreams?

42.   I should have a life dream bigger than marriage

43.   College isn’t evil, especially master’s

44.   If I got married, I’d dunno the career thing and take care of my home. If I had kids I’d take care of them too.

45.   Am I realistic or silly?

46.   Why do I want to serve in a ministry?

47.   If I went to masters, it’s still not perfect. Some things I could pick out and remember that they’re not biblical, but other things I’d need to ask my parents. Would they be readily available?

48.   We’re not poor. I could afford college with a job

49.   I don’t want a boring job like working in an office all day.

50.   I don’t have a vivacious love for blood, so being a nurse wouldn’t work.

51.   I guess I think marriage is the chief end of all things

52.   There’s no such thing as fairytales

53.   If I really wanted to get married at like 19 then I’d have to marry someone several years older than me. I dunno how realistic that is.

54.   I don’t have much talent.

55.   What in the world could I do, sahd or college girl?

56.   I don’t like the way things are run at my house

57.   Problems are put aside not handled

58.   I could write text books- hah!

59.   It’s not like I wanna be a CEO or something.

60.   When I say ministry, what do I mean?

61.   I do like photography.

62.   I could be a wedding photographer. Well paying, enjoyable, creative, and requires no degree, although it’d be nice to get a BA at COC or something. It’d look a little better on my resume.

63.   I could be a magazine photographer.

64.   I love photography. There are many options.

65.   I could be any kind of photographer. Nature, magazine, wedding, baby, family, portrait, wow. Possibilities are endless.

66.   I do have somewhat a skill for photography, but that’s something that is developed.

67.   I could even take photography classes at COC.

68.   This has potential.

69.   It would be a nice balance between staying at home and having a job/career/ministry.

70.   I know what looks good, if I do say so myself.

71.   With a part time job I could afford college classes and camera equipment.

72.   I wonder…

73.   Do I have enough skill?

74.   I’m not perfect

75.   No one is

76.   I do love photography

77.   I could still learn how to care for a home through the tutelage of my mom and other women in my church

78.   I wish I knew where I would be in three years

79.   Photography is a skill I can develop here and now

80.   It’s not necessary to have a degree or go to college

81.   It would allow me to be creative with something I love

82.   It’s an ambition that is realistic, I think.

83.   I wonder how I would get photography jobs?

84.   I could always offer to people

85.   Through word of mouth, word of type, and the WWW, plus ads and things, anything is really accomplishable in this realm

86.   Hm

87.   The time is majorly flexible

88.   It’s not something difficult to learn about

89.   As long as I had a camera and transportation, it’s doable.

90.   I do love weddings and other events

91.   Would anyone hire me?

92.   Don’t rely on what ifs. Your god is big enough to do anything.

93.   How could I develop skills now?

94.   Take all the opportunities you have to take pictures.

95.   You have a bike right? Ride down to the light house, to the mall. It’s good exercise and healthy and enjoyable and easy

96.   It would be flexible with ministry opportunities

97.   It would be a ministry to people.

98.   I could tell them what other photographers pay and allow clients to choose how much they’d like to pay me. I’d be happy with 5 bucks. That could by me a roll or two of film!

99.   I could do my own editing- I have some skills in that area, if I do say so myself. However, there is ALWAYS much to be learned and improved

100.                        To God be the glory forever and ever, amen.

The Focus of it All

December 8, 2007

Focus: concentration, determination, core, center, fix, attraction. These are just a few of many definitions and synonyms for the word focus. Today in our bakery, I would like to ask you this:

  1. What is your focus?
    -What do you spend your time doing and why?
    -Who do you spend your time with and why?
    -What grabs your attention?
  2. What, or rather, who should our focus always be on? God and the things of God!Colossians 3:1-4} Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.Hebrews 12:1-3} Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 I daily strive and struggle to make Him my ultimate, complete focus. It is such a difficult task, one that is mostly unenjoyable. But at the end of the day as I lie in bed, thinking and praying and talking with God, I know that it will be worht it all. I know I can do all things throuhg His strength- afterall, the joy of the Lord is my strength. That is a verse I say to myself often as I face painful situations, heartache, and circumstances that hurt.

Just today I felt hurt by another person’s comment. It was nothing personal, nothing I should have even worried about. It was so silly and I knew it had little chance of being true, but the fact that it could be true was painful.. When I took a moment to get away from it all, the comforting thought that the joy of the Lord is my strength reset my focus upon Him and improved the remainder or my day. This is not normal for me- to remember things like that and find motivation to make an effort to be more like Him. But God was very gracious to me in that and I am so thankful to Him for that reason.

In the hardest, most painful moments of my day, I have a hope in Christ. Focusing on Him reminds me not to pity myself, to do things for attention, and to truly just imitate Him. Praise God!

Keep on Keeping On,

Bethany