The Thrill

I firmly believe that life in God and pursuing relationship with Him is meant to be thrilling. 

 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

He’s spoken to me about what humbly serving Him looks like in a lot of ways today. He’s met me in my physical exhaustion, convicted my heart, and walked with me. And living alongside Him, He does the same in all lives.

This morning I was able to sleep in after our beautiful “Galentines Day” last night with the roomies. We ate chocolate raspberry cake and lots of candy and wrote love letters to each other and it was so so special. I am so in awe of the very fact that I get to do life with these precious humans.

28124904_1603381353071507_956047209_o.jpgTruly not allowing myself to take these precious day of living with such God-centred, selfless, funny, compassionate women who have taught me so much. Sharing that love last night was such a special and intentional time together.

Waking up from vivid dreams– probably from all the delicious right-before-bed sugar– I spent the morning packing and getting ready for my trip tomorrow, to Winnipeg, seeing Johnny in his home of over a year for the first time, meeting his friends and getting to finally be in the place and with the people the love of my life has been living. I am so beyond excited to be with him.

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After class that for whatever reason I was nodding off in, I headed to meet lovely Semara, who graciously drove me to Youth with her sister Amber as well. I’ve been getting much closer with these beautiful ladies and can truly say they are two of the most bubbly, vibrant pockets of joy in my life.

Youth tonight was so wonderful, and when Pastor Nat brought our attention to the above verse in 1 Corinthians 3, I was so immediately convicted in a number of ways I spent my time that didn’t reflect, glorify, or align with God– the Only Eternal One/Thing. Rather than feeling guilty, God spoke His love and grace over me, and drew me into Him, stirring my heart about some of the things in my life right now.

Today being the beginning of the season of Lent, I am giving up scrolling on Instagram, potentially for good, among a few other things God has convicted me of, knowing that putting them at the feet of Jesus can only be good. I’m excited for what He has in store and for what more time in prayer– and or with PEOPLE– He will use for His glory in my life.

As I think about the adventure ahead for my trip to Winnipeg, and the adventure ahead of my LIFE in Christ, I am only joyful, knowing that the glimpses I’ve gotten of the LOVE and THRILL and PASSION of our Ruler’s heart and sovereignty are perfect. He desires such fruitful living on this earth, that His Kingdom would come, and that is something to SMILE AND SHOUT FOR JOY ABOUT.

 

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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.

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Hey friends! Today’s recipe inventing involved the most flavourful salad I’ve ever put together– involving mixing two homemade salad dressings and topping with these dairy-free pizza chips I found at the grocery store (it’s a miracle I had any left the past few days cuz they’re just amazingly delicious), and, this morning, a new and improved version of my pancake recipe.

I couldn’t decide which one to share with y’all, but I devoured the salad before I could snap a pretty picture. So, I’ll share these pancakes with ya:img_8791-3

Peanut butter banana ones, to be specific. Here’s what they look like when they’ve been all cut up and topped with my favourite things:img_8782

Still gorgeous, if you ask me. 😉

Now, these are pretty plain, in my opinion. I love to top them with chocolate melted with peanut butter, plus the other half of the banana that goes in the recipe, and berries. You could definitely throw chocolate chips in the batter, too. But if you’re a plain eater, good ol’ Aunt Jemima on top will do ya just fine.

Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes

Ingredients

1/3 cup whole wheat or buckwheat or other flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 banana, mashed well

1 tsp peanut butter

1/4 cup vanilla almond milk or regular milk

Method

  1. In small mixing bowl, combine flour with baking powder and mix thoroughly.
  2. In seepage bowl, cream mashed banana with peanut butter, ensuring there are no clumps. This will give your pancakes incredible fluff. Add almond milk, and mix until combined.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry, and mix well.
  4. Heat a bit of oil over medium high heat on a medium-size skillet. When pan is hot, add a big spoonful of batter, spreading with the back of a spoon into a circular shape on the skillet. Cook until the bottom is golden-brown, so your spatula can slide right underneath, about 3-5 minutes; flip with spatula, and cook until the next side is golden brown.
  5. Repeat with the rest of the batter, oiling pan as necessary. You should get about 5 pancakes!
  6. Top as desired– I love adding the rest of the banana, sliced; peanut butter drizzle melted with chocolate chips; and maple syrup!

Attitude and Altitude: What Is Filling Me Up?

Today I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. My head and heart and spirit have been whirring and I’ve been praying and Jesus granted me lots of awesome people to talk with and engage these thoughts with throughout the day which is cool, but I’ve been itching to blog too.

Today began slow and beautiful for me. Wednesdays are sleep-in day. It’s the one day in the week– besides the occasional Saturday– that no alarm is set. Wednesday mornings, because I don’t have class until 2:30, I’ve been allowing myself to sleep until whenever my body desires.

This morning that was until 11am. Glorious. 

When I did finally awake at this oh-so-almost-afternoon hour, I answered texts and emails, and then spent my time in the Word.

When I finished my last personal Bible study, I prayed about what to study next. And God was really putting on my heart that it wasn’t going to be a “routine,” all organized, laid out plan of a Bible study. I’ve tended to idolize and obsess over routine and structure in the past, and I’ve learned that focusing on the structure can prevent from my attention to the Holy Spirit. This can turn Bible Study into a thing to check off the to-do list. Not okay.

Rather, Bible study is where I do my most important and everlasting growing; the Bible is the first place to get Truth and instruction and guidance.

So, I settled on my Bible study being just reading the Bible with Jesus. From beginning to end. No expectations. This has led to searching some commentaries; to lots of prayer; to referencing other studies and versions. I’m just over a month in and now 10 chapters into Exodus, reading about the plagues God sends over the Egyptians as Moses is working according to God to free his people from slavery. I know this story well from watching The Prince of Egypt probably a dozen times as a kid, but reading the Word of God is a whole different story.

Moses replied, “It will be as you say, so that you may know there is no one like the Lord our God. EXODUS 7:10

What a reminder from Moses, in the midst of the Lord performing miraculous signs for the sake of his people knowing He is their God– there is no one like our God, nothing satisfying as His Truth; nothing else True.

And so the second I turn to my phone, opening myself up to whatever might be on Facebook; the second I go into the world, opening myself up to whatever other messages might try to impose themselves as “True;” I ask Jesus to guard my heart. To direct me in HIS Truth, and to make me more like Him.

I’m thinking about that when I head out of my room to make my favourite breakfast– a giant chocolate peanut butter smoothie on top of oatmeal, of course with coffee. Mary is doing homework, and we decide to watch the new This is Us episode. And I cry, again.

I get to see Maddie, too, before heading to school, and am overwhelmed in so much joy and gratitude in the fact that I get to live with these amazing, Jesus-loving girls. I express it to Maddie and we’re laughing and talking about our days before I head to class.

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Johnny and I are texting about seeing each other soon, too, and just about how “done” we are with distance. In one of those moments of struggling. Where I just want to sit in my missing him and be sad about it.

But Jesus reminds me how much He’s growing us, strengthening us and our communication, and making us more like Him.

Classes are good, and I’m drawn by a conviction about the pursuit of human connection. In this age of social interaction being so much done in front of screens, allowing ourselves to be susceptible to any sort of notion of truth; to opportunities to compare one’s body to images of bodies that are all photoshopped; to compare one’s life to other lives that are all idealized snapshots that don’t represent even the truth of one’s life let alone truth PERIOD… all of this was going on in my head, and I just looked for opportunities to talk to the people around me. And God gave them to me with some fellow students, which was so cool.

My paper for one of the classes featured a thesis that was literally about the way our expectancy can have such an impact on the outcome of a situation. If we’re expectant of goodness, of success whether it looks like what we picture it will or not, we experience joy and trust in God. He grants this expectancy, and just asks us to have faith.

And so, at Youth tonight, when I had amazing conversations with my co-leaders about what we’re exposing ourselves to and guarding our hearts from social media, perseverance in our time in the Word, and when the message was on advice/mentorship/where we are getting leadership from, I thanked the Lord that He spoke so clearly to me through these conversations, changing me for the better, and hopefully preparing me to work through me to help others, too.

I also had two “mentor-like” conversations with two of my amazing co-leaders about long distance dating– one who is currently in a long-distance relationship and who felt my struggle but also admonished the opportunity it is to have a Christ-centered long distance relationship; and one who has been happily married for seven years, now with a child, who did long distance for four years with his wife while they were dating, and spoke about its beautiful ripple effect in their marriage now.

Thank-you, Lord Jesus, for meeting me where I’m at in order to serve You better. Make me more patient; eager to expose myself to what is of You and of service to You; eager to help others. Amen.

Day-To-Day Habits

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Good morning!
I was reflecting this morning on the way I live, and what I choose to spend my time doing.

I remember when I was a little girl, so much of what my mom would do would confuse me. Why are you so stressed about cleaning? I would say, It doesn’t matter. It’s just gonna get dirty again.

Now living in a student house, I totally understand my mom’s “need” to clean, for routine, and organization. I think living in the society we do, we can all agree that growing up involves building routines, learning to plan and strategize.

There’s merit to organization, certainly. But I don’t want these routines to be the basis of my life.

When we multitask our way through the sweetest parts of life, we miss the tiniest joys hidden in the moments between the grand accomplishments. It can feel like we’re all bustling around as busy bees, waiting for someone to tell us it’s okay to sit down. So here it is: free your hands. Lock your phone in a drawer (Emily Ley, Grace Not Perfection).

Here are some things I do a lot of that could be done less of to make room for more “Kingdom” things.

Writing agendas. I love lists, and I love being organized on paper. I’ll spend hours writing out plans, but more often than not, won’t glance at my agenda unless I’m writing in it.

Instead… When I choose to fill out a planner, I will pray in the midst, knowing my God knows my steps and is right with me. Also, spending more time focusing on others’ agendas and lives, and the way I can be of true service that does not involve my own plans.

Scrolling on social media. Recently so aware of this very activity being the most ultra waste of time, I’m catching myself each time I mindlessly scrolling through photos… or even across my phone’s home screen…

Instead… I will put my phone down and be alert in whatever I am ACTUALLY doing, which is always something better– even if it’s sitting silently, that means a perfect opportunity to talk to Jesus. I don’t want to get in a habit of numbing “boredom” with my thumb.

Sparknoting. I have Sparknoted the plot and theme details of more novels in university than I’ve completed entirely– and that’s just the necessity in being an English student.

Instead… whenever I truly do have time and I’m spending it Sparknoting, I’m going to spend as much of that time as possible actually reading first.

What do you do a lot of that you’re comfortable in that is actually stealing joy from your learning, your ability to love others, or your health? Your relationship with God? If nothing comes to mind, try praying about it, and trust God to lead you.

Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

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:

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Others, to stand out: 

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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!

Cranberry Apple Breakfast Pie (Ice Cream Optional)

Good morning friends!

I love inventing new baking recipes. Being in the kitchen with the freedom to create is most definitely one of my happiest places.

This morning, I looked in the cupboard, say apples, oranges, cranberries, all-purpose bread flour… thought about the dairy-free ice cream in my freezer (ice cream for breakfast is fine, right? 😉 ), and created an apple tart that was the most delicious breakfast. This would definitely be suitable for dessert, and you could easily quadruple the recipe to serve four!

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Cranberry Apple Breakfast Pie
Ingredients
2 T dried cranberries, divided

1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped

1/2 mandarin orange, juiced

pinch ground nutmeg

1/3 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1 T peanut butter

3 T almond milk (or regular milk)

vanilla bean ice cream

Method

  1. In small saucepan over low heat, cook apples, 1 T of the cranberries, the orange juice, and the nutmeg, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender. Spread in a baking dish.

  2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, remaining cranberries, and salt. Cut in peanut butter. Add almond milk, stirring to create a soft, sticky dough.

  3. Roll out dough on lightly flour surface. Cut out six or seven flat rounds of dough. Place rounds in a circle on top of fruit mixture in baking dish.

  4. Bake at 425 degrees 12-15 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.

  5. Serve warm with ice cream!

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