Friday, January 21, 2011


New and exciting things are beginning! =) I now have the opportunity to become a part of a ministry called "Circles" at Rock Harbor Church. One of the requirements while I am involved in this ministry is to write a blog post once a week. You will see myself and my fellow "Circles" members commenting and discussing things that have been written. Please feel free to jump in with us and allow us to hear your thoughts. We are all here to grow together and learn from each other. At the bottom of this post I will be introducing myself so that those who are in "Circles" can get to know a little about who I am as we start this journey together. For those of you who normally follow my blog you probably already know this stuff about me...but maybe you'll learn something new =) And in case you are interested...a brief explanation of the heart and purpose behind "Circles" goes something like this.

Why the name Circles? It refers to a group with shared goals, interests, and expectations. The goal is that us participants will come to see that all the various circles that we are involved, careers, sports, church, family, friends, relationships, etc...are actually encircled by the priorities of discipleship. Every thought, word, deed, and attitude has equal value as potential glory for God. Jesus is the center and every aspect of our lives is equally close to his heart, and capable of advancing His agenda.
The Sheepdog Analogy: Much of this program will involve circling around our lives and the lives of one another to keep us focused and purposefully on track. Much like a sheepdog circling a flock, the leadership will circle the lives of us participants as a way to direct us. And we in turn will circle each other in accountability, and ourselves in order to keep every aspect of our lives directed.
Spiritual growth is a cycle. As a growing believer we will never “arrive” at perfection until Christ Himself perfects us. In the meantime, discipleship is a constant cycle of Listening, Thinking, Creating, Acting, Evaluating, Making Adjustments, and then starting the whole process over again. This circle of constant growth is a mark of the healthy disciple. The Biblical model of discipleship involves a constant cycle of receiving wisdom, direction, and love from an older disciple and then replicating that to a disciple younger than you. This cycle perpetuates discipleship into future generations, and is a responsibility not an option. This Circle of Mentorship is what we are here to accomplish and apply to our everyday lives!!!

I am looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you who are gonna be a part of "Circles" for the next 8 months. A little bit about myself. I'm 27yrs old, originally from Ohio, but since graduating high school I've lived anywhere from Arizona, to Florida, to moving here to Cali 4yrs ago. I love my family with all of my heart, and have been very fortunate to be raised in a loving, Christian environment. My sister is 3yrs younger than me and lives in Nashville, TN. I love her dearly. She is quite possibly one of the most talented people I know, and with God's guidance and her allowance for Him to move within her, I believe her opportunities are endless. My dad has worked in ministry as a Pastor, Worship Leader, you name it, for my entire life, so church has become like a second home to me. He has set a great example of what leadership looks like in my life. My mother is a walking testimony of what it means to be a Proverbs 31 woman, and she is the most unselfish person I know. My parents will celebrate their 30th anniversary of marriage this year, an example that I will strive to follow whenever God begins that phase of my life.
My life over the last 10yrs since graduating high school has been full of many twists and turns. Some people are afraid of change, but in my life it has proven to be worthwhile. I don't like to limit myself to only what I'm familiar with. I spent about 5yrs immediately after high school being a part of a ministry program/bible school called Master's Commission. Although I've pretty much been a Christian my whole life, that is when I really began to grow into my own relationship with Christ. There are plenty of stories to tell about that experience, so if you are interested feel free to ask. I've never attended a typical 4yr college, never felt like that was the path that God intended for me to go down. After finishing bible school I felt like God was moving me here to California. At the time my parents were living out here, so I moved in with them while figuring out what was next for me. Long story short, I went through a couple years where I was testing out the "business world" so to speak. Worked a office job, sales job, accounting job, made pretty decent money and was living really comfortably for a single girl in Southern California. But it didn't take very long for me to realize that that satisfaction would only last for a season. I love people, working with them, being a part of their lives, etc...and sitting behind a desk everyday doing accounting was NOT where I was meant to be. When you aren't doing what you love to do, and aren't using the gifts that God has given you, you're left feeling unfulfilled. There are two things that I have always had a love and passion for. One is being creative with music, and the other is being creative with hair. So I decided to stop working jobs that I had absolutely no interest in...and pursue a dream of mine. I began Cosmetology school full time last March, and in November, 8 and 1/2 months later I graduated. I took my test with the state of California at the beginning of this month and I am now officially licensed to be a hairstylist! It's amazing when God opens doors and you begin to step into your destiny =)
Apart from school and work I spend my time doing a wide array of things. I am currently a youth leader at Saddleback Church Irvine campus. I have a passion for high school students and love being a listening ear and letting God use me to be a positive voice in their lives. I work along side a couple people overseeing the Worship Band of that youth ministry as well. Like I mentioned earlier, music is a huge passion of mine, and there is nothing greater in my eyes than using music and lyrics in order to worship our Heavenly Father. We were created to love and worship Him! As far as hobbies go I love going to hear live music, the beach, surfing, hiking, snowboarding, pretty much any outdoor activity, game nights, watching a good movie, crocheting(yes I'm aware that's kinda grandma-ish. I'm ok with that!). I'm a pretty positive person in general. You will rarely see me without a smile on my face. I just don't find very many things in life that are worth taking away my joy.

The most important part of my life is my relationship with God. He is the reason I'm here on this earth and I live every day in an attempt to pursue His will and purpose for my life. I decided to join "Circles" because I believe so strongly in these values that it enforces.
Holiness – Being set apart and devoted to God’s purposes, because He is Holy. (1 Peter 1:3-16)
Honesty – Real transformation cannot occur apart from truth. (Psalms 15)
Honor – We were created to worship. God’s glory is the ONLY goal. (Matthew 5:13-16)
Help – The life of a disciple is the life of a servant. (Matthew 25:31-46/ 1 John 3:17)
I'm looking forward to getting to know each and every one of you and am excited to walk this journey with you guys over the next 8 months!! I believe God has amazing things in store for us as we focus on keeping Him our priority!!

Loving Him,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Forgive Me

Sometimes the harsh reality hits us that we are ALL imperfect humans. We will hurt, disappoint, and let each other down multiple times throughout this life. And we not only do this to each other but to our heavenly Father as well. All of this is caused by sin, giving in to our own desires, and our unwillingness to completely submit to God in every area of our lives.

This song called "Forgive Me" hit me like a wall of bricks when I heard it this week. It tells the story of a man and the role he plays as a father, a husband, and a child of God. A man with imperfections, who makes mistakes daily, yet he doesn't give up. He continues to seek God, ask for forgiveness and do what it takes to become a better man each day.

A Message For The Fathers & Mothers
"Oh, my son, look at what I've done". This man looks at his child in disbelief about something that he has or hasn't done. Maybe he wasn't there for his son the way that he should've been as a father. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, whatever the case may be, he feels somewhat like he has failed. I am not a parent...but I can imagine that these feelings are pretty common for those out there who are. Raising a child is not an easy task, I have no doubt about that. We have no reason to expect someone to be perfect and without fault in this area. What we can expect however, is the perseverance of a parent to continue growing in that role. He says to his son, "but I am learning still....know that I am learning still". He admitted to not knowing everything, but also to the fact that he wasn't giving up. It's not the falling that causes you to fail, but rather the choice to stay down. We cannot continue losing our will to fight for our families!! God will lead us, love us, and continue to forgive us if we just put our own weaknesses aside and allow him to work through us. Are we as men, women, mothers, and fathers fighting the fight to become what God has called us to be?? Or are we defeating ourselves by taking things into our own hands, losing focus, and letting our emotions rule our choices?

A Message For The Husbands & Wives
Through times of difficulty, struggles, hardships, loneliness, and all the ups and downs of a relationship, he says to her, "Oh, my wife, you are my life." This is a man who understands and believes in the commitment of marriage and what God truly intended for it to be. It truly boggles my mind the lack of importance that people put on marriage vows these days. And especially those of us who claim to know and follow Christ. I'm not naive, and I do understand that certain circumstances call for drastic measures. I'm not here to judge anyone. But my heart breaks entirely for those who will give up so easily under the circumstances of "lost feelings" or "falling out of love". Seriously?!? I admire the man who chooses to live life like the man in this song. Through all the imperfections he is still a man of honor. Realizing that what God has joined together...He will prove faithful to restore if we submit it to His hands. Even when the light from the flame may be dim...he says "I'm burning still...know that I am burning for you still". At times our circumstances can cause loneliness, emptiness, and feelings will change towards the one that we love...but in the long run it's your choice what happens to that flame. Feelings come and go, but love is a choice. You can choose to go your own way, walk away, break your vow and put out that flame. Or, you can take responsibility for the choice that you made to love and cherish til death do us part, honor your vows that you made before God, and allow Him to re-ignite, revive, and renew your relationship like only He can do. There are so many broken marriages because we as humans have chosen not to submit to God in this area. We don't trust Him to be able to do the work that He says He will do. And therefore we make a huge mess of things. I don't want to be a part of the mess. I want to be a witness to what can happen when through thick and thin, I submit every part of my life to God and his intentions for me. I need his guidance!

A Message For All Of God's Children
This life is filled with things that tempt us every day here on this earth. He cries out "Oh, my God, how you make it hard, not to pick the apple". From the beginning of time, we as humans have not been very good at resisting temptations. It all started with Adam and Eve in the garden with an apple. We were weak then, and we are weak now. It's a constant battle of satisfying our flesh versus our spirit. What is your apple? Will you let it continue to control you, or will you admit to your weakness and learn how to deny your flesh and strengthen your spirit? Like the song says, Satan knows when you are on "shaky land" and when you are "lost and unsure". He knows just the right time to deceive in order for us to actually start considering his options. Don't believe the lies...we have to stop believing him! What looks good only lasts for a small amount of time, and then we are left with the enormous consequences that come from his world. It always leads to regret and somewhere down the road we are crying out to God saying, "Lord I long to give it back". The apple is never worth it! Thankfully we serve a God and have a heavenly Father who is full of compassion and mercy, who's love is never ending and will never fail us. We can run back to him always knowing that he will be there. Because he loves us that much.

This is a bit of a harsh reality of the things we struggle with from day to day. But, it's time to stop sugar coating things. We NEED our heavenly Father. We are a MESS without Him, and we need His forgiveness and guidance. We cannot resist Satan and his desire to destroy our lives if we are not fully submitted to God. The bottom line is this. The man realizes that the only way to live is by humbling himself. Before God, his wife, and also his son. Understanding his priorities, where they lie, and asking for forgiveness. "All, all, all of my light is for you. Home, home's anywhere you are too. So take this one fallen man on his knees...saying please...Forgive Me". Nothing we do is too much for God's forgiveness. He can restore anything to life if we let Him!
James 4:7-10 "So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world. Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be Sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up."

This is my anthem. Lord hear my heart. Humble me. Guide me. Lead me to your truth.
Psalm 25
"O Lord, I give my life to you. I trust in You, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in You will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others. Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for You are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in You. Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love, which you have shown from long ages past. Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth. Remember me in the light of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord. The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in doing right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness and who keep his covenant and obey his demands. For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the land. The Lord is a friend to those who fear him. He teaches them his covenant. My eyes are always on the Lord, for he rescues me from the traps of my enemies. Turn to me and have mercy, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from the all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. See how many enemies I have and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not be disgraced, for in you I take refuge. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you."