My Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

The best chocolate chip cookies are:

  • Extra chocolate chippy
  • Extra soft
  • Not too crunchy

And I have a few secrets for achieving that:

  • Extra chocolate chips
  • Margarine instead of butter
  • Extra brown sugar

This morning after finishing packing to head to Winnipeg to visit my boyfriend for spring break, I made these cookies for my roommates and his (him too, I guess😉), and my breakfast may have been cookie dough as a result ;).

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup margarine

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 egg

1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. In small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

2. In separate bowl, cream together margarine with both sugars until thoroughly combined. Add vanilla and egg, and beat well. Stir in chocolate chips.

3. Fold flour mixture into sugar mixture, and mix well with wooden spoon until combined. Drop dough two inches apart in heaping spoonfuls on prepared baking sheet.

4. Bake in preheated oven 10-12 minutes, until edges are just golden brown and middle is set. Cool 1-2 minutes on tray before moving to wire rack to cool completely.

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I Have One Thirst

27624758_1791344877839046_652935520258848206_o“Isn’t it amazing the way God choreographs little meetings? He’s so intentional with us. And it’s all so that we would know that knowing Him is everything in this life.”

I had the privilege of attending a church I’d never been to before with my co-worker and sister-friend, Kayla, yesterday, called Jubilee.

There I was welcomed and ministered to, captivated by God’s presence in a manner that is beyond words and thus, as I’m learning, not worth trying to put to words. As an English major who inherently sees words, both written and spoken, as a way of life, I’m realizing just how much I tend to attempt to describe things. Everything. I’m also learning to listen, to the Lord, to those around me, and even to silence.

I met one of Kayla’s friends, who spoke to me about the way God so masterfully plans for His glory and our understanding. The master of the universe doesn’t “puppet” us and then stand back to watch. No He is so very much here, and where He is, there is such life.

I was so grateful for the encounter I had with God yesterday. He taught me some very personal things when I just sat in His presence, convicting and changing me– literally moving me to dance in His presence in my little kitchen on Uni Ave.

To last night, where the young adults ministry I serve at had a service like we’ve never had before, in which we just worshipped and prayed. Time seemed stuck but also to fly by as we gave Jesus the space; submitted to His plan. He filled me with peace about not being “on it,” but just listening.

Suddenly a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak. She said to herself, “If only I touch His cloak, I will be healed.” Jesus turned and saw her. “Take courage, daughter,” He said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was cured from that very hour.… Matthew 9:20-22

And He’s here. His robe, maybe not, but His presence just as vibrant. If we but stand in His presence in faith, we will be healed, changed…

Give me faith, God.

We stepped out in the faith in a collective way, for Jesus alone, and some beautiful things happened.

 

We had a moment of prayer groups in which one of the people I prayed with spoke about knowing He needed to give more prayer time to God, yearning to be devoted, but being so busy with school and studying. I prayed over his seeing and knowing Jesus as not just his Father but his Friend… that this was a trusting relationship like none other, and that life could actually be a constant conversation with Jesus.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

And God showing me MORE of Him, that His goodness and Truth and fervour exists always, putting this song on my heart… I yet had the Monday struggle this morning where routine and impending responsibilities tried to trump themselves as truth.

“The mundane isn’t even mundane,” God faithfully whispered, “There’s joy untold in it. Press on toward the Mark.”

Lord, may I live to serve you, expectant of Your MIRACLES and Your literally EARTH SHAKING presence, the laughter you bring in me dancing in the streets, awake. Always. In every circumstance might I give you the thanks and praise.

Blending vs. Standing Out

The world gives us two different messages simultaneously, portrayed in our faces in different ways every day.

Some encourage us to blend in:

American-Eagle-ad-we-the-people

Others, to stand out: 

Dare-To-Be-Different-Glenn-Prasetya-Marie-Claire-Indonesia-02

Ultimately, neither message comes from the root of any basis of Truth, but only the allure of temporary satisfaction in being accepted– for either one of two opposite behaviours: blending in, or standing out.

The issue in both of these worldly methods is the same: they are aimed in exalting oneself, focusing on oneself, and living for oneself. 

 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. PHIL 3:8-10

I remember, in middle school, wanting my own uniqueness to shine so badly. I thought trends were dumb. I wanted to be different, to stand out from the crowd. So, in seventh grade, I would wear my dance costumes to school– right down to the candy man striped dress from a tap dance. Yuuuppp.

A few years later, I started to care a lot more what people thought of the way I looked and dressed. So I changed my whole wardrobe, wearing what was in style, rather than what I felt comfortable in a lot of the time.

I definitely personally preferred those clothes. I hadn’t even liked the “style” I had been trying to pull off in middle school, but rather wearing those clothes was all about standing out.

Still, for a while in high school, I could say I wore what I wore so that I would fit in.

I enjoy clothes, and have a passion for fashion. I like getting dressed up, and I love coordinating outfits and my wardrobe. But no longer that I would be seen, but simply as a hobby, and out of care for myself.

The more I look to Christ, knowing that HE is my all in all, the more I know that I don’t want to blend in this world… or stand out in this world… I want to fade into the background, Jesus to be this whole world, and know that it’s when I’m found in Him that my life is more than dust. 

He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for my sake shall find it.

Matthew 10:39

Furthermore, Lord, help me never to attempt to “blend You” into my selfish existence, for I know this is a laughable thought. You are in control, and so the only way to live my life is in giving it entirely to You. Use me. 

He is teaching me what life looks like when He is my head, my centre, and my best friend. The God of the universe is pretty good at teaching, and at loving me even when I fail.

Be in me, Lord! Love through me, Lord!

It’s Been A Year Since…

THIS happened. And I wrote more about it here.

A year ago, I received a phone call from my friend Josee that changed my life– or rather, God changed my life through that phone call. It was a conversation and then prayer that led me to literally rip up stringent rules about food and eating that I’d lived a fearful slave to for years.

And since then, I have not looked back. Food has faded into the background of a very full, vibrant life that I aim to live in submission to Jesus for His glory alone.

It is because I know that HIS WORD and HIS SPIRIT prove food to be so small, such a minor part of life in terms of filling up my thoughts, that I knew that this would be good.

Back then, though, taking the leap didn’t feel easy. I get it. In fact, while it seems as if one phone call changed everything in and instant, God had been readying my heart for years beforehand. To receive and to know that HE is my reward, ALL I want to live for.

This year has proven that my physical health is still in need of repair. While food has been such a small focus, and mentally that has been fantastic, my body has proven that it isn’t ready to live normally yet– it still has damage to repair, which requires extra nourishment. To learn why those recovering from restriction need lots more food, check out this wonderful resource.

This whole past year, eating “intuitively” hasn’t felt like a big question or thought or focus. It has just BEEN, reminiscent of when I was a child before any disordered eating. Reminiscent of the position food is meant to have in one’s thoughts.

And while that has meant a lot of food and a big appetite, it hasn’t led to necessary weight gain because… well… “normal people” eat a lot of food, and their bodies don’t turn it into loads of extra weight. Bodies use food.

Ie., freedom eating doesn’t equal weight gain. Now knowing that I need some more weight on my body, the Lord has given me rested assurance in focusing on eating more to repair my organs, my reproductive system, etc…. and that has been an amazing growing period, too.

A year since such an important surrender that is only for the cause of Christ– and yet I am unfinished until the day I am face to face with my perfect Saviour, my Holy Concellor. Lord, make me more like You.

And oh, as I listen, He directs, He informs, He imposes. Even when I try to close my ears or temporarily chase something else, His Spirit, forever sealed within me (Ephesians 1:13), doesn’t let me.

Today, a year later, I was at the gym stretching my splits after a rejuvenated morning class, after coming into the gym and seeing the “free food” table (yessss) and snackin’ before stretching (plus loading up for later, cuz, food), when the kind voice of a girl next to me piped up, “Excuse me.”

I turned to her, and smiled in way of answer.

“I was just wondering… do you have any diet advice for me? Like… do you diet?”

I stammered for a moment. I opened my mouth to say, “No, I don’t ‘diet’ at all. Food is ‘so small.'” But before I did, I said a silent prayer to the Lord. Asked Him to help me love and see this girl the way He did.

He made me calm, and gave me peace.

“No, I don’t diet. I eat a lot, actually, right now, cuz I’m wanting to gain some weight! I also definitely wouldn’t advise dieting.” Not that the girl’s body would influence my telling her that I wouldn’t advise dieting, but I noticed her very slender frame. She was a stunning girl.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “I was just looking over at you and like… you’re so skinny and that’s all I want. I would give anything to look like you.”

I blushed. I felt so much sadness in my heart. Recalling, as if in a cave in the deep-down parts of me, a time when I felt that way with every part of my flesh. Felt such intense desire to get smaller and smaller. This sick and twisted mindset that I now see exactly for what it is. An idol that removes me from my only purpose in life: allowing my Father to live through me.

I gestured briefly to my tattoo. It was rare for me to speak outwardly about it, but I knew this was a moment for it. “I understand,” I said, “I used to be really sick. But I’m better, and I don’t think about food like that anymore. There is so much more to life, and food is truly so small. I eat whatever I want, and don’t think about it other than enjoying it. And I love cooking, and nourishing my body. I eat so much more than I used to, and my body knows what to do with it. Our bodies are incredibly smart.”

I felt sad as I saw the girl’s empty eyes. She wasn’t receiving what I was saying. She had been hoping for a secret recipe of “the perfect way of eating” to fulfill her. The illness had warped her mind so that she believed that a certain diet was the secret to happiness. She– Ana, I learned– opened up to me about the eating disorder she was struggling with.

Ana kept asked me about my advice; how my weight had changed, the speed of my metabolism, how often I worked out– and I kept answering her in saying that those things were “so small.” She wasn’t getting what she was looking for.

“I’m really happy you’re better,” she said finally, “You look great.”

There was a time that I would have felt jealous of her sickness while I had found health. But now, I felt nothing but anguish, deep sadness for her situation, prayerful that she would receive the love God was already showering on her.

But I know it’s not easy.

I also know it can’t be shoved down someone’s throat, especially when they’re in a physically and mentally starved state. Everything is warped.

A relationship with God is an intimate one. It’s not based on the notions of others, though they help. It can’t be built upon or stored up in facts and knowledge, or in conversations about Him with others. It is a responsive, vibrant relationship.

My beautiful friend, Kayla, shared the testimony of God’s work in her life at church last night. In a conversation with her afterwards, she talked about that intimate relationship with God. “If we’re relying on His Spirit, He’ll prompt within us to other people, and that’ll be a seed within their relationship with Him. But He’s on a journey with all of us.”

When I talked to God, I knew He was calling me to seed through His Spirit in my conversation with Ana.

“You’re built for more than this,” I told her finally, “In fact, you’re not built for this illness at all. I promise you… a beautiful, purposeful life without this illness is possible, and I have confidence that you’ll know it.”

I got Ana’s contact info before leaving the gym, and I’ve been praying for her.

It’s amazing what our Father will do to chase us down. I know He’s chasing her down.

tumblr_o13xnub1KU1qkml81o1_500A year since the Lord set me free from an ill way of living.

Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. PHILIPPIANS 3:8-10

Lord, use me.

Joy or Happiness: Is There a Difference?

…Both are good things, right?

Are they the same thing?

If someone says “I am so joyful,” is that essentially saying, “I am so happy”?

Romans 15:13 
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Happiness is certainly an outpour of experiencing His joy. And how is that joy attained?

Maybe the issue isn’t in the difference between joy and happiness, but in the goal being for our own contentment or pleasure.

Isaiah 43:7

Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.

Our purpose, our very creation is for the glory of the Creator. Sinful humanity has, since the first humans, strayed from this core-shaking Truth.

My purpose isn’t to reap joy, contentment, or pleasure for myself. It is to glorify another Name entirely. 

Ephesians 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

If my purpose is to glorify Him, and He calls me to good works, glorifying Him must be good. 

^This “goodness” is fact, and relational, not the purpose.

THIS GOODNESS, this Joy, is a result of His gift– a gift that in my sinful nature, I do not deserve.

Matthew 16:24 
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”

We are not promised happiness, or personal fulfillment in this life. Rather, we are told that following the Creator means humbling ourSELVES and looking to HIM.

And here’s a Truth:

When I whittle about in my own plans, my own efforts, and attempting to satisfy selfish desires, I am convicted, tired, and miserable.

Temple of the Holy Spirit

When, by His grace, I reckon the Truth that I am nothing without Jesus, that I am His and not my own, that my plans are withering more quickly than I can ever comprehend, that a life of fulfilling temporary pleasures is an imagined life– I am more joyful, slower to anger, better all for Him– than I could ever imagine being without Him.

That JOYOUS LIVING is a result of, as Jesus says in the book of Matthew, denying ourSELVES and following HIM.

So the question of “my joy” is nowhere in my concern or purpose, but only am I concerned with Jesus’ renown. This is the living I was created for, and when I respond to His voice and understand that the joy is a gift I don’t deserve, I can’t for a moment deny that I was created for Him alone. I am nothing.

And what does following Jesus look like? What is His example?

Philippians 2:3-8

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

I don’t want happiness. Jesus didn’t create me “to be happy for the blink of an eye on a planet of dust.” That very thought is laughable!

I want Jesus all in all. 

Jesus, make us more like You, now. Not with the premise of “going to Heaven” or any other selfish motives that humanity has tried to teach us. Breathe the understanding that our createdness, our most joyful place, is actually when “we” are out of the picture. 

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Missing the Mark… By a Landslide

Have you ever paused and taken a moment and factored in your own suckishness?

You know what I mean.

Like, I’ve made so many mistakes. I can be selfish, and cranky, and this, and that. Caught in a reel of just feeling like you miss the mark. 

I had one of those days yesterday.

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It was Mac and Cheese night at “Vivid,” the university-age worship and teaching night at the church I’m interning at. My lovely, amazingly selfless friend and co-worker Allie went out in the early afternoon to get all the ingredients for the meal, but with no one to help her make it. I was excited to help, to spend time with Allie, and, honestly, to have an afternoon in the kitchen.

Confident in my Mac-and-cheese making skills, we set to work, boiling pasta, sprinkling cheese, saucin’. Preparing food for 100 people is always a new experience, and the only thing out of my element was the fact that I was working with 40 cups of milk and 60 cups of cheese. Not only am I deathly allergic to these ingredients and so don’t cook with them too often, when I do, they’re in much smaller portions. Allie and I figured using a massive soup pot and making all the sauce at once was the most time-saving and consistent strategy, so we put on the sauce. It was taking forever to boil and thicken, though, but I watched it like a hawk, and never allowed the heat to be above medium.

By the time the sauce did thicken, though, and we had 4 massive trays of macaroni and cheese ready to be sauced, we didn’t yet notice the slightly burning smell, or the blackened bottom of the massive pot, and proceeded to pour the sauce over the pasta. Once we got to the bottom, though, we noticed– and the off-taste reportedly carried now through each macaroni dish.

As other leaders arrived early to help serve, some tasted the pasta and told me it was decent, and others said it “tasted like tobacco.” Some had three or four plates of it, and others had to spit out their first bite. It was honestly entertainingly hilarious, and we had some good laughs– mostly, though, I was stressed out, defeated, and feeling utterly guilty. I was known here for my food skills. How could I make such a dumb mistake and ruin something for so many people? 

Most people were saying the food was decent enough to serve, but I refused to serve it. A lovely volunteer went out to get some extra food, and everything was fine– Mac and cheese hadn’t been advertised, so it really didn’t matter. Everything was taken care of– except the ginormous, yucky ball of guilt and stupidity I felt. Dumb, dumb, dumb. 

I was continually told how hard on myself I was being, but nothing anyone said brought me out of my cloudiness. Until we were huddled as a team to pray over the night before people arrived, and I opened in prayer and finally did what I should have been doing all afternoon– talked to Jesus.

Lord, the words flowed from my spirit, this night has nothing to do with Mac and cheese, and everything to do with what You are going to fulfill in people’s souls by Your Word and for YOUR purpose! Forgive my pride and strip it; forgive my idolizing; forgive my hope placed wrongly in my own performance or skill. We are nothing without You, and this night is Yours. Lord, by Your Spirit alone, humble us to welcoming every person that enters this place as You would have us. I pray that each soul encounters You, Lord Jesus. 

We prayed over Pastor Nat and the Word God would deliver through him; over the worship team, and every heart that would enter the building. And God did as He does; He was so faithful, in a night that was not about show, nor my “Marthaness,” nor my food, nor me, but all about Him and His goodness.

Lord, remove any ritualistic “Martha”-striving, and make me more like You. 

 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feetlistening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” LUKE 10:38-42

It was okay to be upset that I could have done a better job cooking, and I knew it. It was okay to want to improve. Preparing quality food is a way I feel called to serve the Lord. But that drive to improve for Him is separate and different from the guilt and weight I was putting on the mistake. I let it go, and by His grace was able to give it to Him, and He changed me through Nat’s message last night, too.

A message that says that because of the Holy Spirit, we ARE new; not confined in our sin.

That because of the Holy Spirit, we get to walk with Jesus, with each other, and what an honour.

That because of the Holy Spirit, we are granted the knowledge that our lives are for nothing but the cause of Christ. 

I missed the mark on the Mac and Cheese. Big time.

But that mark is a standard in my head. The only real, tangible mark is Jesus Christ Himself, and He doesn’t have a care to put a mark on macaroni, or even on me but to say, Let me do it. Let me help you. Give me your burdens; stop trying to do it yourself; I want to carry you. Let me. 

Where Do I Turn When I’m…

Bored?

Anxious?

Excited?

Scared?

Stressed?

Sad?

I want the answer always to be to Jesus, that I turn to Jesus.

Yesterday, I had the honour of leading a Bible study and coffee tasting as part of a girls’ group through Creekside, the church I’m interning at. In the study, we looked a sermon by Pastor Eric Ludy called “The Most Unlikely Heroes.”

The sermon talked about the downfalls and sin of generations before our own, and then the spiritual lethargy of our own. We have, as a generation, more knowledge deficits than ever. We depend on our cell phones more throughout the day than we depend on our Creator. We are lazy in reading and in learning.

This isn’t to dumb down or insult, and it definitely is a generalization427d9d2f8db7d0679dfb0d3a59e716f2--christian-life-christian-quotes

But it is convicting to our souls in the sense that we know our purpose is not in monotonously scrolling our thumb through an Instagram feed.

 

The Lord said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.”

The Lord answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive.” JUDGES 6:11-12

There is a human answer, a worldly answer, for everything. And Gideon, here in his conversation with the Lord about saving Israel from the impending Midianites, knew that he was too weak on his own, and was confused at how the Lord could possibly have chosen him. But the Lord tells Gideon that HE will be with him. God’s own strength will go before Gideon.

We can seek counsel in the weak and sinful. We can turn to YouTubers and bloggers for our wisdom. We can seek out solace in Netflix. We can run to our boyfriend/girlfriend/friend when we feel accomplished, seeking attention and adoration. We can Google all the solutions to medical problems tirelessly. We can look for peace in new clothes, or furniture, or gadgets.

Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.

Proverbs 11:14

Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Proverbs 15:22

Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 19:20-21

Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.

Or we can seek counsel in the mighty, EVERLASTING, and perfect One. Who doesn’t condemn us when we seek it elsewhere first, but is rather patient, steadfast, and loving. We can turn to HIS Word, the Bible, for wisdom and advice. We can pray and talk to Him for direction. When we turn to Him, we begin to desire His glory and will, and joy ensues. We can entrust Him with our medical conditions, going to our blessings of doctors with peace that God is in control. We can know peace and comfort are in Him and His FOREVER substance.

Why would God choose us, sinful, mistaken, and broken, as “Heroes?” What is our calling?

Watch what I do in weakness. –God

Jesus is a God who meets us where we’re at, and transforms lives through is. All He asks of us is faith, continued faith and therefore engaged relationship with Him, trust that He will be each day exactly who He says He is. He wasn’t asking Gideon to destroy the Midianites on his own, and He will never ask you to fight your own battles. He’s just asking you to trust Him, and that can start right now.

Lord Jesus, help us to trust You and Your Word in such a way that we live in expectancy of Your voice, Your touch, and Your Spirit’s revelations. May Your words be our words, and your direction be our steps. Lord, I pray that You would nudge and guide anyone reading this who is stirred up to look to You for the first time, or again, that they would look to Your perfect face and find their Father. Lord, many we know that You are our All in All. Amen.