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!

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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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Shining Light vs. Adding to the Noisee

Do you ever feel like there’s a common theme of a lesson throughout your day? Or is that just me?

Maybe it’s because I’m an English major and look for theses and themes on a daily basis in literature, but I think it’s something God has really taught me, and a way He speaks to me. Convicting me, teaching me, loving me, making me better for Him.

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 1 CORINTHIANS 2:1

I’ve been reminded a lot recently about the importance of allowing God to work, rather than trying to speak on His behalf. He is a much better, more patient lover than I ever could imagine being.

I woke up this morning still feeling a little bit queasy, as I went to bed last night with a weird and sudden stomachache. I felt stressed about the potential of missing school, or work, at first wanting automatically to worry.

Lord, protect me in Your way and keep my mind from worrying and fixed on You!

After some time reading, I got out of bed, made breakfast, and spent the morning just chatting in the living room with my roommates, truly being still and, as Jesus has been teaching me, present with my loved ones.

After breakfast, I was excited to go meet a friend, Courtney, at one of my favourite coffee shops, Settlement.

Courtney and I met in a really cool way. A Starbucks barista at the store down the street from my house, Courtney has made such an effort to get to know me, and to brighten my day every single time I enter that store. She is the epitome of selfless, others-focused, and an inspiration, as I watch her give the same, valued, and considerate service to every single customer.

One day a few weeks ago, Courtney and I said to each other, essentially, “Why haven’t we hung out? I feel like we should have each others’ numbers.” We swapped contact info, and finally made a plan to go for coffee this afternoon.

Over dark roasts and pastries, Courtney and I got to know each other, talking about all sorts of things, leading to talking about our faith. Our conversation surrounded the amazing things that God does and that are in His plan, and how unfortunate it is that some churches/people portray worship as part of a performance, or that Christians need to meet a certain standard, or that Christianity is about following certain rules.

Consequently, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what was impossible for the law, in that it was weak through the flesh, God didRomans 8:1-3

We also talked about how it’s Jesus Himself that reminds us that only He is perfect, and that churches aren’t. We just continue to love Him, allow Him to work in our lives and convict our hearts, expectant of His revelation and greatness.

The conversation reminded me of a similar one I’d just had with my older sister, and another one with one of my best friends Bethany, and again with Johnny. And reminded me that one’s relationship with God and the way He works in lives is not dependant on my humanity in any way. Rather, my humanity is so weak, and thank God He is so strong! It’s too amazing.

I headed to class with such a happy heart, and thinking about just how amazing our God is, the perfection that is His plan.

After one English midterm that went really well, I headed to one of my favourite English classes this semester, in which we discussed a book called The Stone Angel. At the end of this book, the main character, an old and stubborn woman, is finally opened up after a preacher first tries to talk to her, but her prideful walls only rebuke him. The pastor takes a deep breath, and just sings a hymn instead. The old woman experiences revelation from God. It was clear that the pastor realized he had been trying too hard; forcing “religion” down the woman’s throat. He sat back, and trusted God to work instead. And work God did.
I smiled as I took notes in this class. Thank-you, Lord, for reminding me it’s not up to me. I can trust You. 

After class, I headed home. I decided against going to Youth tonight, as I’ve been sick and with so much homework. Making peace with that, I made a delicious dinner, and sat to do homework.

I also messaged my amazing dance teacher about how much her dance class has changed my life and been such a part of bringing back my passion for dancing, healing the places it had been toxic in my life. Her response was so kind, and her amazing presence in my life another reminder of God’s perfect timing.

Throughout this period of home working tonight, I’ve felt little periods of anxiety. Voices of lies… telling me I wasn’t doing enough for ___ person or ___ area of my own life. Making me feel angry and bitter.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

He equipped me not to stress and to make time to just hang out, watch videos with, and talk with my amazing roommates tonight. Asking for His strength gave me the perseverance to push through homework.

I could do it without Him, but I wouldn’t want to. I’ve always known God as my Father, but He’s teaching me just how much He is my friend, too.

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And I want to live this; for Him to be light through me, without “using lofty words” or “talking about Him all the time.”

As I talked with Maddie tonight, both of us “rambling” to each other, as we often do, about various things… we talked about just how much we can trust Him. How He’s using every season to teach us for His glory… and I trust His plan. I trust His timing. He is so much bigger than me.

He wants you to have peace in Him. And on a day like today, #BellLetsTalk day, I know and have experienced firsthand what absence of peace through mental illness can be like. Mental illness is real and it is debilitating… but I have truly experienced healing and joy and understanding in Jesus.

If you have questions about this part of my life, and how faith has informed such healing, please feel free to reach out to me in any capacity. Freedom from chains is more than possible.

Attention Laurier Students: Vote Adina

Hi, fellow Golden Hawks!

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Today I want to direct your attention to an important voting system within our school– for student leaders within various bachelor groups. My bachelor is in the Arts, and I am urging you, if you are an Arts undergrad at Laurier, to vote Adina for the Arts internal president.

Here are her promises, taken directly from her website:

– I will get AUS to expand and be much more diverse with the students that volunteer their time. This means students from different arts programs. I believe this will help enhance their experience at Laurier while also helps unite the arts programs together.

– I want film studies students and artists of all kinds a part of AUS more, along with other arts programs that feel less represented. I believe these programs can contribute creatively. AUS needs creativity in order to inspire and prepare arts students for the future! 

– I will bring more events which means more social time for arts students. This will help students enhance their social lives and make friends on campus. I want to also provide the arts student body with opportunities to do academically better such as workshops and guests that can empower students.

– I will introduce more blogging, more social media posts and more contests so that students feel they are gaining from AUS, whether it be knowledge or a short break from studies.

– I will reach out to incoming Laurier students so that they feel less disoriented and feel much more welcomed. I believe incoming students are the future just as much as students in their senior years but this does not mean I will forget about senior year students! I want to be able to share opportunities with incoming students so they feel they are building their future! 

– I will manage the budget fairly so that all clubs under AUS and including AUS feel that their needs are met.

– I will get the name out about AUS effectively so that AUS grows each year rather than getting forgotten about!

Vote Creative, Vote Adina

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Honestly, I have never, since being in university, voted within any student elections. But I know and have experienced that every vote counts, and I urge you to put the time and effort into your degree and school and cast a vote for a genuine, humble leader who cares deeply about this school and her program!

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Check your Laurier email and click “click here to vote” on the email from the Students’ Union to vote now!

Photos by Ashlie Reid

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.

Chocolate Peanut Butter French Toast

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Today, I’m sharing one of the recipes from my little breakfast cookbook.

In case you didn’t know, I’m all about flavour when it comes to cooking. With this cookbook, I subverted typical breakfast recipes for flavour-packed, trendy new takes. So if you’re a plain-French-toast-with-table-syrup, plain-oatmeal-with-brown-sugar, scrambled-eggs-with-just-salt-and-pepper kind of person, my cookbook may not be for you.

Although, if that’s the case, I would encourage you to try something new. 😉 I love this French toast, in that it’s so full of flavour, and so sweet! You can easily leave out the maca powder, and sub the protein powder for cocoa powder or even hot chocolate powder, or melted chocolate chips. Feel free to play with the flavours, too; peanut flour would add a nice, nutty flavour.

I also recommend eating this sweet goodness right alongside your favourite coffee!

Ingredients

2 slices whole grain bread, or 2 slices sourdough bread

1 egg

1/3 cup unsweetened vanilla coconut milk, or other milk 

1/2 tsp maca powder

1/2 tsp maple syrup

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder (can use more, but the texture may be “gummy;” I recommend Vega vanilla protein powder)

spoonful peanut butter

spoonful chocolate protein powder

spoonful goat’s milk yogurt (or other full-fat yogurt)

small banana, sliced

large handful mixed frozen berries

extra cinnamon, maple syrup, and powdered sugar, for topping

Method

1. In medium bowl, beat egg well. Whisk in milk, maca powder, maple syrup, cinnamon, salt, and protein powder.

2. In medium skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Dip both sides of each piece of bread in egg mixture. Allow to soak for 5-10 minutes for maximum flavour!

3. Place bread on heated skillet. After 3-5 minutes, flip French toast with spatula; cook 2-3 minutes more, or until golden brown on both sides. Resist the urge to push toast down with spatula, as this dilutes flavour!

4. Serve hot with desired toppings, such as fruit, peanut butter, melted berries, yogurt, maple syrup, and powdered sugar.

 

 

Classes, Community, Comprising

On Wednesdays, I sleep in.

These days, Wednesdays are the only day of the week I don’t set an alarm. I don’t have class until 2:30, so unless I book a meeting or plan to hang out with friends in the morning, I use the late start to the day as an opportunity to catch up on sleep.

This morning, when I woke, I cleaned my room, caught up on emails, and spent some time in the Word and with Jesus before I got up and made peanut butter banana pancakes for breakfast. Probably my all time favourite breakfast, by the way. Only thing that could improve it would be chocolate chips.

I had those with my coffee and lots of chocolate almond milk alongside reading and studying until lunch, and then off to campus.

Starting the day at 11:30ish, and then being on campus from 2:30-5:30 (so, at this time of year, until nighttime) makes for a very short-feeling day! I had two great classes in which I received some good marks back on assignments, which definitely gave me the confidence I needed going forward this semester. It is certainly the most difficult term of school I’m had yet, but, also in terms of coursework, most exciting and engaging.

After school, I ate a quick packed dinner and headed straight to meet my wonderful friends, Ani and Semara, to head to Youth.

Ani and Semara are some of the greatest blessings of my job at Creekside church. Two girls a year older than me, we have so much in common and hit it off immediately when we met. There are a total of seven leaders at high school youth that are in university, and so, as part of my job, something I’ve been praying about has been integrating an outside-of-church hangout group for those leaders, so that we’re able to bond and to get to know each other, and breathe life into each other’s endeavours as youth leaders and in making breakthroughs with the kids. I’m so excited about getting to know these fellow leaders better, and their walks with God!

Pastor Nat spoke in his sermon about what a particular book of the Bible, Revelation, might mean for us now. And he talked a lot about our motives, in and through the way we’re living, sharing an anecdote from his own life in which the Lord spoke to him about how he’d been living for his own reputation, and not for Jesus’. What things are we compromising for living as Jesus would have us? “It’s better to die for God than to live for anything/anyone else.”

God spoke such a clear word to me during this message, and I have been praying about it since. It was one of the first revelations I’ve had of God so tenderly meeting me in just what I needed to hear, but maybe thought I was afraid to hear. He made something that yesterday might have seemed scary, seem like such obvious Truth. Thank-you, LORD JESUS! May I not be unchanged, but turn to You in this revelation to serve You! 

Home and exhausted, I am reminded by my Father of the importance of expectancy of His work, His personhood, and His goodness each and every day; prayer that HE is the only voice I concern myself with.