Friday, October 14, 2011

READ THIS. Sex trafficking fundraiser.

I just posted this on Facebook. I figured I'd post it here too!

Here's the deal people. You know how passionate I am about seeing domestic sex trafficking abolished. Destroyed. Annihilated.
According to Benjamin Perrin, author of (the most amazing book on trafficking in Canada) Invisible Chains, Ontario has the most international victims of human trafficking within it's borders. Unfortunately, Ontario is also one of the least equipped provinces in dealing with this atrocious crime.
A courageous woman, Timea Eva Nagy, who happens to be a survivor of sex trafficking here in Ontario herself, created an organization called Walk With Me. Timea speaks to law enforcement and partners with them when they're dealing with women who have been rescued from the grips of their traffickers here in Ontario.
Walk With Me also operates a safe house (I'm pretty sure it's the only one in Ontario at the moment, but don't quote me on that one) that takes in these victims of sex trafficking. As I'm sure you can imagine, it takes a lot of work to keep these girls safe and literally walk with them on their journey to freedom.
That being said, a survivor of sex trafficking that has been involved with Walk With Me has organized a fundraiser for them. The goal of this fundraiser is to raise enough money to keep the safe house open for another year, and possibly even raise enough money to begin to pay some of the staff. (Have I mentioned that pretty much everyone who works day and night to rescue these girls and walk with them are volunteers?!)
Before I mention the cost of the ticket, I want you to keep in mind everything that I just said.
The cost of the ticket is $50. The event involves a four-course meal, a silent auction, many stories of survivors of trafficking, and entertainment provided by many fine, Canadian artists. As well, Francois Mulder is premiering a song based on a true story.
The ultimate goal of this fundraiser is to raise $20 000. They're hoping to sell at least 500 tickets because even if people didn't donate on top of that, they'd still have enough to cover the expenses.
The event is being held at Carmen's Banquet Centre on Sunday, November 13, 2011 starting at 4:30pm.
This is my appeal to you. Please come to this event. Don't think of it as just a fun night out. Think of it as an investment. An investment in the lives of these women. An investment in the future.

I do understand that many of you are students, or have a limited income...or maybe you don't even live in the area. If you honestly can't get the money together for the ticket, there are other ways you can support Walk With Me as well. They are always looking for gift cards to places like Tim Hortons, Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart, Zellers, etc. Also, a great thing to donate would be gas cards for when the volunteers are driving to the next place that there is a girl who needs to be rescued.

The website for the fundraiser:
Journey to Freedom

The website for Walk With Me:

Sunday, October 9, 2011


I have an issue with something.

That something is gossip, rumors, and backstabbing.

About a week ago, a close friend of mine told me some other people that we both know...people who I used to call friends...sisters even...have decided that my freedom is a lie. These individuals hadn't even talked to me in months, yet here they were telling this person to be careful because I am a liar and I'll just bring her down.

I was really angry at first. To the point where I wanted to travel to the city that they live in and have some serious words with them. Words that are not Christ-like in the least. I took some time...and some deep breaths...and I managed to calm down about it all.

It's been a few weeks since I found out, and just now, I saw someone post a status about how great of a friend one of the people is. It got me really upset again. I feel extremely hurt because I counted this specific individual as my big sister. I looked up to her, and I valued her opinion in my life.

All that being said, I think now is a perfect opportunity for me to use the life hurt tool that we used at Mercy. That, and forgiveness. I need to work on that one too.

No, I'm not perfect and yes, I still struggle some days. But that does not mean I'm a fraud or that my freedom is a lie.

I refuse to let what these people have said about me define me or control my life. Because quite frankly, they're the liars and the hypocrites...not me.

Friday, September 16, 2011

2nd Annual Walk for Freedom

I'm writing with a heavy heart tonight.

On Sunday. I am participating in the 2nd Annual Walk for Freedom in Toronto. I've been praying about this event for a few weeks now, and the time is fast approaching. I'm so excited about it and am looking forward to meeting some fellow abolitionists, so please don't get me wrong when I say that it makes me really sad to have to do this.

I started college last week. I'm taking the Assaulted Women's and Children's Counsellor/Advocate Program. We're learning all about the blatant human rights violations that women are encountering today, and we're learning about the different ways that violence is perpetrated against the ones most vulnerable.

It is exactly those people that I am walking for. I'm walking for the ones who are so stuck in the cycle of violence that they see no way of escape - no hope for a brighter future. When I think about what I'm learning, and I put it together with the faces of all the girls and women that I've encountered in my life who are dealing with these things, my heart literally hurts.

I think of the little girl that I dreamed about when I was at Mercy. I think of one of my closest friends. I think of the women in my program who have been abused in ways similar to this. It makes me feel so small.

Sometimes I wonder how I, a young almost 19 year old girl, could make any sort of difference regarding trafficking and abuse. What can I do that will have maximum impact? But then I remember that it's not about me saving the's about God moving in the lives of individuals through me.

As I walk on Sunday, my hearts cry is that God would speak through me. That I would been a voice of change. A voice of love. A voice of hope. A voice of freedom.

Also, I know it's last minute, but if you see this and you feel like you want to donate towards the cause, pleace check out the link that I'm going to post and feel free to donate. All your money goes towards setting these women and children free.

"We join together to raise our voices on their behalf, we join together to stand for freedom and justice, and we join together to say that human trafficking is slavery and that it needs to stop!"

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Faith in the Midst of the Unknown

Can you believe it's September already? I can't. I'm sorry it's been so long since I posted a blog, but we didn't have internet all summer, and I was just taking some time to process and think about what is ahead. Our internet was reconnected though, so here I am!

Where to start...where to start?

Well, I'm going to George Brown College this fall. I start on Tuesday. The program I'm doing is very specific...very intense. It's called the Assaulted Women's and Children's Counsellor/Advocate Program. I applied for two programs three weeks ago with this one as my top choice. However, I just found out that I was accepted this past Tuesday...after I had already confirmed at Mohawk and spent the day there for the Smart Start sessions.

I'm kind of nervous about going to college. George Brown is in downtown Toronto, and I live in the suburbs of I'm definitely going to be commuting. Basically, what that means is that I have to wake up at 5am to get ready at catch the GO bus at 6:20am in the days that I have 8am classes. Please allow me to inform you just how NOT excited I am about that...but hopefully I'll be able to organize it so that in the remaining semesters (it's a two year program) I won't have any early morning classes.

It's so surreal though. I mean, I was reading back over some of my last blogs and I remember that at the time, college in Canada wasn't even a possibility. I was going to Trevecca. I was moving to Nashville and that's all there was to it. Clearly, however, that didn't happen. I didn't get the money in time to get my student I had to defer enrollment. It is still an option for next year, but we'll take that as it comes.

This summer has honestly been one of tremendous personal and spiritual growth for me. God has taken me on the journey of a lifetime that has included forgiveness and truly surrendering my will to Him. This summer, I learned what it means to trust God in the fullest. To trust that He has better plans for my life than I do. To trust that He will provide financially. To trust that He will open the right doors and close the wrong ones.

I've had some really hard, discouraging experiences this summer...but in that, God revealed His faithfulness ever more. As soon as I stopped fighting God every step of the way, He made it easier to get through each day. I had to die to myself every time my fleshly desire to control everything crept in...which was like...every minute. I'm not going to lie and say that I'm perfect now, because I'm not...but I do know that I have experienced true growth this summer. I can't control every aspect of my life, and I'm beginning to be okay with that.

The closer that it gets to Tuesday, the more my anxiety keeps going up. It's a constant battle for me to allow peace to reign in my life. I have this crazy intense fear of the unknown, so I like to prepare as much as possible. I like to have advance notice for any drastic change or transition that is taking place in my life. And by advance...I'm talking 3-6 months notice so I can meet people who've been where I'm going and research the place to the point where I haven't even been there yet and I could answer all the questions for people thinking about going. I make myself into an expert and that alleviates most of the anxiety surrounding the situation.

I had done that with Trevecca. I had done that with Gordon. I had not, however, done that with George Brown. I only applied three weeks ago. I was accepted less than a week ago. I haven't even had a month to plan. I don't know all there is to know. I've never talked to anyone doing this program. I only know what I could read on the website. It's a whole new level of...I don't even know. Life, I guess?

One thing I do know for sure though is that if I hadn't gone through everything that I have this summer, I wouldn't be handling this nearly as well as I am. I'm not having panic attacks, because every time I start to feel my heart beating faster and my thoughts start racing, I take the anxieties to the foot of the cross. No, I don't feel ready for this...but clearly, God opened this door. I know that because it's not something that I ever would have done on my own. Never in a million years.

Because I'm so confident that it is God who led me down this unknown path, I have faith that He will go before me and prepare a way for me. It's going to be hard. A huge adjustment is going to take place, but I know that I'll get through it...and I'll grow even more because of it.

So as I wait in nervous anticipation for 34 hours and 42 minutes to pass, I'm going to praise God for working behind the scenes to make everything come together at just the right time. I know that He will continue to work behind the scenes as long as I live, and I am so, so grateful for that.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wisdom Living

Yesterday was a day that is worthy of two blog posts today.

The first one is my response to Pastor Sheila's message last night. It was actually amazing...and really got me thinking about wisdom.

Wisdom - being skillful and successful in the art of living.
What is the art of living? It's modeling wisdom.

Pastor Sheila made the statement that the church, in general, should stand head and shoulders above the rest of the world.

"Why," you may ask?

Well, let's go back to the basics.

God is wisdom.
The Trinity has three parts. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
When we got saved, the Holy Spirit came and took up residence in our heart.
Holy Spirit = God.
God = wisdom.
Holy Spirit living in us = built-in wisdom.

If you take all that into consideration, it makes sense that Christians should be recognized for the wisdom that exudes off of them. However, that rarely seems to happen.

In the past, I've been so wrapped up in knowing the right things to say and sounding smart that I neglect to examine my behaviour. You know the saying "actions speak louder than words"? Well, that's perfectly applicable in this situation.

I was saying all the right things at all the right times, but my life was in shambles. It's no wonder I wasn't seeing any fruit when I tried to reach out to people. I was so intent on telling my friends what would happen if they got saved...that they would experience true joy and freedom, etc. The thing is, I was clearly living in bondage. I can just imagine the thoughts running through their mind...

"If that's what Christianity is, I want no part of it."
"She's worse off than me! Why would I want to be like her?!"

In wisdom living, our actions should have the same weight (if not more) than our words. People should notice a difference in the way we live before we even open our mouths to tell them about God and what He can do for them.

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5

In this passage, Paul is talking to the Corinthian church when they were young in their faith. He's talking about how he didn't approach them with big, churchy words. He just went in with the raw honesty of what Jesus did in him...and for them. He didn't go in their with a "holier than thou" attitude. He didn't take credit for his awesomeness.

In fact, he says that he came to them in weakness. To me, that shows that he wasn't afraid to be human...and to let them know that he was just like them, but his message was so full of power. Not because he used big words, but because of the work of the Holy Spirit in his life. He went to them in such a way that he would get none of the glory and honour, but God would get it all.

I want so badly for my life to be a demonstration of the Spirit's power! I don't want to take any glory for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. It all belongs to Him.

Pastor Sheila shared another scripture that really got me thinking as well.
Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding."

Daniel 2:20-21 (NKJV)

"God gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding?! What the heck is the point of that?!" That was my response when she first shared that scripture, but as she began to unpack started to make more sense to me.

"The wise get more wisdom added to their life because they are smart enough to seek God fervently. To contend and not give up."
~ Pastor Sheila

How many times have I approached God in my prayer times to ask for wisdom regarding a certain situation only to give up a short while later because there was no response? I got so discouraged because nothing was happening. I was no closer to having any more knowledge of what to do in the I just decided to try to figure it out on my own.

When I think about that, it makes sense to me. God desires me to diligently seek Him...not just go to Him for wisdom on a one-time basis. He wants me to be flat on my face before Him, desperately seeking after Him. He wants to know that I know that whatever wisdom I receive is not just coming from my own brain. He wants to know that I will give Him the glory for the results of the situation...because without Him, I would be stuck in the same place that I was before.
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.
Hebrews 11:6
The whole purpose of wisdom is that it would glorify it makes sense that He's not going to give foolish people wisdom, because they'd take all the glory for something that wasn't even their own in the first place.

As I walk into this next season (I'm still trying to determine exactly what it's going to look like...), I really need to be seeking God diligently. He is the only one who has a clear enough vision of my future to show me what steps I need to take. As I spend more time with Him and develop a more intimate relationship with Him, He will give me revelation about the steps that I am to take that will lead me down a path of success.

All in all, I want to be a safe person for God to share His wisdom with. I want Him to be able to trust me to handle the wisdom in a responsible manner.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Decidophobia - The Fear of Making Decisions

Here I am again! It's 3:45am, and I am just starting to write a blog. For some odd reason, I think my deepest thoughts and have the most self-realization at night. Gosh, I love the way my body is so mixed up! [/sarcasm]

Just once, I'd love to realize something major during the day...

So, for the past few hours, I've been sitting here on my bed trolling the internet for whatever I can find. Tonight, that "whatever" happened to be Liberty University's website. Liberty then turned into UCLA which turned into Biola. (No, I don't understand the different progression of schools. It just...happened. :P)

I've been looking at different schools in different states (none in Canada of course...). Different undergraduate degrees, Masters degrees, and even doctoral programs. Each different school, different degree, and different state could lead to a whole different life for me.

I know that I've been accepted at Trevecca and have decided to go there in the fall, but the money hasn't come in yet. I'm starting to wonder whether it will come in at all. The money isn't really where I'm going with this blog though - well, it kind of is, but not entirely.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I kind of don't want the money to come in for Trevecca. It's not that I don't want to go there, because I do. I want to go to university. I want to get on with my life. The thing is...

I'm scared.

My whole life, I've bounced from one city to another, one school to another, one life to another. I don't like the idea of settling down...of committing to something long term.

Some of you might think that four years in one place is not that long. I, however, beg to differ.

This week coming up will be four years of my family living in Ontario. It's the longest length of time my family has stayed anywhere in my whole life. Even in these four years, I've been out of the country a few times on trips (which isn't highly unusual but my main motivation for the trips was the need to get out of here...not for pleasure, but to preserve my own sanity), spent 8 months last year in Nashville, and tried to live in Toronto for a few weeks.

In the past four years I have attended 6 different schools. Been at four different churches for an extended period of time. Gone through many, many peer groups. Seen a bunch of different therapists and doctors.

With all that in mind, four years in one place seems like a hell of a long time. I don't know if I can do it. I don't know if I can commit to staying in one place for so long.

Throughout my life, there has only been one thing that I have been able to stick to through everything. That has been my eating disorder. It has been what I fell back on in every situation. When something went wrong, I could always resort to my distorted thoughts and behaviours regarding food. It was my safety net. If my life was chaotic, I would use the eating disorder to bring stability. If my life was too stable, I'd use it to shake things up a bit.

Going into this next season, I don't have that safety net anymore. It's not even an option for me if I go to university. I'm going to be paying top dollar to receive my education, and I'm not going to throw it away because I'm too busy counting calories to write papers.

That being said, I'm afraid to commit to anything in regards to my education because I know that the eating disorder is not an option. If I fail, I'm not going to have an excuse.

Part of me thinks that it would be easier to just not go to school because I won't have to deal with the disappointment of letting myself down. I won't have to feel weighted down by commitments because I won't make any long term decisions.

The thing is...I'm letting the present hang in the balance right now. I'm not making concrete long term plans, but I'm not making any plans in the present either because I don't know if I'm going to make any long term decisions. It's a catch-22. I can't make the decisions that I need to right now if I refuse to make the decisions that I need to for my future and vice versa.

At the rate I'm going, my life is going to be spent right here where I am right now. Sitting on my bed in my parents house, staring at my computer screen. Not doing anything besides dreaming about an amazing future but knowing that it will never happen because I'm too afraid to get out of my comfort zone and actually DO something.

I have a very avoidant personality when it comes to things like this. I avoid making big decisions because I'm afraid of failure, but I avoid making small decisions because...well...eventually small decisions aren't enough and I'll be forced to make a big decision. So I don't make any decisions besides the one not to make decisions.

I don't really know how to get over that, other than to just do it. But...when I do go to "just do it", I become paralyzed with fear and trepidation. I over think things...and I just get myself into a big mess.

It's so easy for me to have all these big dreams of things that I would love to accomplish one day and to plan things far down the road because in the back of my mind, I am convinced that I will never achieve them. As far as I can tell, that's an issue that I probably need to work on.

So...what does that mean in the present? I guess that means I need to mail off the OSAP papers and stop trying to self-sabotage my feeble attempt to overcome that paralyzing fear of actually committing myself to something and sticking with it.

On a completely unrelated note...does anyone know why we capitalize both the 'h' and the 'b' in Happy Birthday?

Friday, June 24, 2011


Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NLT)

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (MSG)

Lately, I've been learning to love. More specifically, I'm learning to love even when it hurts like hell.

Love? Pain? Really? Yes, really. For those of you who haven't learned this yet, love hurts. Sometimes it hurts to the point of physical pain. It hurts because you can't control the other person's actions. You can't make everything better. When they hurt, you hurt. When they push you away, it feels like they're stabbing you in the chest repeatedly. When they're happy, you're happy. The list could go on...

For me, part of learning to love has been learning to let go. To let go of trying to control someone. To let go of trying to fix them, and to place the person in God's hands.

Something I'm learning is that letting go and giving up are not equivalent. I'm letting go of her, but I'm not giving up. I still hold on to hope. I still stand in faith that one day, she will see the truth. I'm believing that when that time comes, she'll come back. And if she doesn't come back to me, then I'm believing that there will be someone there who can guide her back to the Cross.

I refuse to give up. I'm not a quitter, and I'm not quitting on her.

But I am letting go.

"Learning to love even in the pain is far harder than coming out of your own pain."
~ Shandi Bleiken

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Pointless Blog that I Wrote Out of Pure Enjoyment of Life

I'm taking a break from reading the TNU Student Handbook for the gazillionth time to write this blog. For some reason, I just clicked out of the Handbook and came directly here. I'm not exactly sure what I want to write about, but I feel like that's how a lot of my blogs come about.

I talked to my roommate today. She's also one of my closest friends. She's also a current Mercy resident. We decided to be roommates because we know that we live together well. I wish we had more time to talk...instead of fifteen freaking minutes a week. That's not nearly enough time to cover all the roommate basics. Who's bringing what? What kind of study habits do we each have? Lights on or off at night? What's the theme of our dorm room going to be? Are we lofting our beds for more space?

So while taking a break from reading the Student Handbook, I decided to take a break from this blog to go get some orange sherbert. I seem to be taking breaks from everything today!

I'm in a very random mood today. Consistency is boring to me. I have to be doing many things at once to feel as though I'm not bored out of my mind. I guess that's where this blog comes in. There's no real purpose for it. I just felt like writing here, so yay! I am!

A random fact about me:
I love to cut things up. Specifically magazines. I love cutting up magazines to make collages with. Typically, I cut out words, but sometimes pictures too. I would be able to write a very eloquent ransom note using words that I cut out of magazines.

Okay - I'm really strange. I'm not hyper on the outside, like bouncing off balls or anything like that. In fact, if you were to look at me, you'd think that I was rather chill right now, but inside I have so much energy!!!

I should go for a mental run. Or maybe participate in a Spelling Bee. That would give me a wonderful outlet for all my internal energy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

I Want to Write a Book

Hey everyone.

Just so you know, I'm doing so much better than I was last time I posted. I had some serious time with God, and I'm working it out. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed with life, and well, that is the result.

What brings me here today [other than the fact that it IS my blog] is the conclusion that I have recently come to that I want to write a book. I have the opportunity to sort a book right now which I think is really cool, but I want to write a book all on my own - and just see where it goes.

The way I see it...I write a lot. Not just on here, but elsewhere. I have important things to say. I have learned many valuable lessons. Why not put it all down on paper? I mean, I can't guarantee that it would be published or anything, but I love the idea of writing a book for writing's sake.

I've done some research about writing a book, and I learned that the average paperback has about 250 words per page. At that rate, some of my blogs could be entire chapters...or more. :P

With that all being said, I am going to sit down and start typing. We'll see where that leads me!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Real Talk

Okay, I started this blog with the intention of being real.

So, here's some real talk.

I feel like I can't breathe. I feel like I'm sinking.

I'm so sick of getting my hopes up only for them to be crushed again and again. I'm so tired of putting myself out there and allowing myself to bare my heart and lay it all out there only to find out that it was all an act. That no one actually cares.

The thing is, no matter how much I want to go back to the way I used to be, I can't. I've tasted success. I've walked in freedom. I've gained a voice.

I can't just throw it all away.

Real life is hard. It sucks sometimes...sometimes more than others. I'm scared of having to face it on my own. [And before you go telling me that I'm not me, I know that.] When I say on my own, I mean...that I have to make the toughest choices of my life for myself. I have to go through life...and try not to screw it up too terribly.

My emotions are all over the place. I'm angry, scared, lonely, disappointed, expectant, joyful, confused. I go from being on top of the world one minute, thinking I've got everything under control, to flat on my face ready to throw in the towel the next.

I have zero security. No stability. And I desperately want that. Desperately.

I know that God is the only way for me to achieve that - but no matter how much time I spend with Him, I have yet to find that lasting stability and security that I crave so desperately.

I know that I can't allow my emotions to dictate my life...but I felt the need to get it out. I feel like blogging is possibly one of the most healthy ways that I could express my thoughts without imploding.

I say implode, because I don't explode. I take all my pent up frustration and anxiety and emotion and take it out on myself. I can't do that anymore though. I just can't. So I blogged.

Is that real enough for you?

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Only Thing that's Good in Me is Jesus

The Only Thing - Ronnie Freeman

I heard someone say the other day
They'd seen in me true love displayed
Blessed by something I had done for them

No sooner did they speak those words
I found myself somehow disturbed
Uneasy as I took their compliment

Because I know the heart inside this man
And I know the truth of who I am

The only thing that's good in me is Jesus
The only thing that's good in me is Jesus
I've lived long enough to know no matter what this life may show
The only thing that's good in me is Jesus

If you could walk the hallways of my heart
And see things as they really are
I wonder if you might be surprised

Seeing faded walls of pride and fear
Rooms I've filled with faithless tears
And corners where I've stood in compromise

Oh but you'd see the work his grace has done
And you'd know just how far I've come

The only thing that's good in me is Jesus
The only thing that's good in me is Jesus
I've lived long enough to know that no matter what this life may show
The only thing that's good in me is Jesus

And in a thousand years
When the dust of this world clears
And I look back on my life and see in perfect light

Yeah, yeah, the only thing that's good in me is You, Lord
The only thing that's good in me is Jesus
I know me well enough to know yeah

The only thing that's good in me yeah
The only thing that's good in me yeah
I know me well enough to know no matter what this life may show
The only thing that's good in me is Jesus

It's You.
It's You.
It's You.
It's You.
It's Jesus.

A friend posted this song on her facebook about an hour ago, and I listened to it for the first time. Ever since then, it's been on repeat.

(There's this great website that actually works called Youtube Repeat. All you do is type in repeat after 'youtube' but before '.com' so it looks like It repeats whatever song/video you are listening to over and over without you having to click restart. Fantastic invention if you ask me.)

Well, I suppose I'll tell you why this song has hit me so hard tonight. After all, it has been a while since I let you into my head.

Lately it feels as though I have been inundated with people telling me how I radiate hope, joy, love, peace, etc. They tell me how different I am now. They tell me that they look up to my strength for overcoming so much. And to be honest, I feel really awkward when they tell me those things - because I really don't feel like I have changed that much. I don't see the joy, hope, or strength that apparently radiates off of me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm really happy that they see those things because that is evidence of the fact that God has changed my life so radically. People don't see death when they look at me anymore. That's huge. But the thing is, I almost feel like people are idolizing my ability to overcome - rather than look towards the Redeemer, the Deliverer...the One who has transformed my life.

It's really hard for me to sit there and hear them say these things about me because I know my faults. I know my struggles. I live with my flaws everyday.

Sometimes, I think that if people knew what I was really like, they wouldn't say those things - rather, they would run away in fear. I feel like I have these expectations that I have to live up to now...that I have to always be happy and strong. I know those are self-imposed expectations though.

What I really want people to see when they look at me is Jesus. He is the only reason I am alive. He is the One who set me free from the depression, the suicidal tendencies, the self injury, and the eating disorder.

Left to my own devices, I would be restricting like crazy, giving in to the temptation that arises to hurt myself, consumed by depression, and wanting to die. I know that, because every time I allow myself to start doing things on my own, that's where I end up. Every time I take a step away from God, I resort back to old behaviours.

I don't want to set those expectations for myself of being strong, whole, and healthy own my own. I can't do it.

I want to decrease to the point that the only good thing that people see when they look at me is Jesus.

P.S. here's the link to the audio version of the song that I posted above.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Learning is a Gift

Funny story.

Four years ago today, I started a blog that started with those same two words. Four years ago, I was here in Ontario. We hadn't moved yet, but we were looking at houses, trying to decide where to move. Four years ago today, I was an absolute wreck.

The blog from May 20, 2007 - which will be four years ago tomorrow consists of this:

Failure - definition: "a person or thing that proves unsuccessful" That sums me up right there.

And on May 21, 2007, I wrote this:

Is it terrible to want to be loved? To crave it with the deepest part of me? Affection is something I need. Please. Someone. Anyone. Take a look at me. Look me in the eyes and tell me that I am genuinely happy. I dare you. I bet you it is impossible. My eyes are cold and hard. My deepest desire is overshadowed by the fear of rejection that clouds over anything good that ever existed. I. Need. You. To. Love. Me.

I was fourteen years old. Seriously depressed. I wanted to die, but I was excellent at fooling people. I convinced my doctors and therapists that I was fine. I was a master manipulator. But oh man, I was lonely.

I had friends, but no one knew the real me. I didn't feel like I could trust anyone enough to let them in to the extent that I wanted to, especially because I would be moving so soon.

Looking back, and comparing my issues then to the things I am dealing with now - they are very similar. No, I don't want to die; but I have been lonely. I've come to the conclusion that sometimes, it seems to be easier to be lonely than to risk being hurt in relationship. When I am in control of my relationships, I can always push people away or block them out when I start feeling uncomfortable.

I say that my issues today are similar to the ones that I dealt with back then, but I have changed so much in the past four years. I hit rock bottom, and God has begun the rebuilding process. I'm nowhere near finished...which is so evident today as I reflect on where I have come from and where I am going, but I see so much growth. The fact that I can even recognize my tendency to isolate and keep people at arms length is huge. I see that I have people around me who are safe. I'm working on learning how to be in relationship with them in the real world.

As cheesy as this sounds, I'm learning that failure is simply a stepping stone to success. I don't need to settle for failure, but when I do fall, when I do mess up...I learn from it. I see what doesn't work, and I see what I need to change in order to be successful the next time I come up against that challenge.

I am so grateful for this journey that I am on. I'm in a season of learning, and I love it. I love to learn, even when it hurts.

I can say in all honesty that I never want to cease to be a student. I want to be a student of God and His Word first and foremost, but I also want to be a student of people, of life, and of myself.

"The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live."
~Mortimer Adler

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Human Trafficking

A little girl is chained to a bed in a cold, damp, concrete room. All she's wearing is a tattered silver negligee. She hears footsteps coming down the stairs and she tries to hide in the corner. The door to the room opens and she knows what comes next. This is the twelfth time that she's been forced to have sex today, and it won't be the last.

Sadly, this is the reality of so many children throughout the world.

It is human trafficking.

For those of you who don't know what human trafficking is, I will share a little bit about what it is, and after that, I will tell you a little bit about how it captured my heart.

According to the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, human trafficking is defined as "the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs."

Many people assume that trafficking only occurs in third world countries, but that is not true. Many people are trafficked into North America annually. Not only are people trafficked into the country, but they are also trafficked within the country.

In the US, it is estimated that approximately 200,000 children are at risk of being trafficked for sexual purposes each year.

A report from Canada's Criminal Intelligence Service estimates that domestic traffickers earn an average of $280,000 annually from each victim that they possess. The sex trade is proving to be more profitable than the drug trade with much less risk attached. Human trafficking wasn't even considered a crime in Canada until 2005.

I don't know about you, but I consider this issue to be an absolute atrocity. The victims of this horrific crime against humanity are people just like you and me. The only difference is that they are modern day slaves, and we are free.

It breaks my heart to hear the overwhelming statistics regarding sex trafficking specifically. The abuse that these people endure is unimaginable. Some of the stories I have heard make me want to vomit.

And so I ask myself, "What can I do about this? How can I make a difference?"

I believe the answer to this question is best described in an essay I wrote for a scholarship. So I'm going to include it in this post.

(Although it talks about Williamson Christian College, it really is about how I feel like God is going to use me to impact lives.)

"“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion – to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.”
Isaiah 61:1-4

When I was a child, I dreamed a dream. Simply put, my dream was to make an impact on this world. For years, whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my response was always, “I want to be a pediatrician.” To me, that seemed like
the most realistic way to change the world.

One life at a time.

As the years passed though, the dream in my heart grew more and more dim. Eventually, it seemed that the dream had disappeared. No longer did I wake up in the morning looking for the way that I could impact someone’s life. Instead, I went to bed each night begging God to let me die. I believed the lies of the enemy that I would never amount to anything.

My behaviour reflected the hopelessness that had taken root inside of me. I was struggling with a severe eating disorder, self harm, and major depression. I attempted suicide more times than I care to count. I dropped out of high school, and was not expected to live to see my eighteenth birthday. Thankfully, God had other plans.

Last year, I applied to a program called Mercy Ministries as a last-ditch attempt at life. While I was there, the Lord reawakened the dream that I once had. I learned that that dream was actually placed in my heart by Him, and that He would help me to achieve it. I learned that I had not disqualified myself from a life of impacting others. Since then, God has lead me down a path of discovering my true identity in Christ. As I seek Him, I find myself more and more.

I met a girl while I was at Mercy who quickly became one of my closest friends. She is a victim of domestic sex trafficking. I had heard of human trafficking before, although I knew next to nothing about it. I thought it was some faraway issue that didn’t affect me here in North America at all. When I met this girl though, everything changed. God moved in my heart and I found myself interceding for the people who are affected by this atrocity here in North America on a nightly basis. I spent countless hours on my floor sobbing because words could not describe the ache in my heart for these young women. While I was at Mercy, there was nothing I could do other than pray – and that is just what I did.

Since graduating from Mercy in September, I have not stopped talking about this issue. God has taught me that I have a voice, and that my voice matters! My words can change lives! With that in mind, I speak. I speak out against domestic sex trafficking and human trafficking as a whole. I refuse to be silent about an issue that people seem to brush under the rug. I realize that it is not a pretty thing to talk about, but if everyone stays silent, nothing will be done to abolish this horrific act against humanity.

However, my dream does not end with my voice. It carries on into the lives of the thousands of people affected by this issue each year. This is where Williamson Christian College comes in. In order to move forward in the call of God on my life, I need to be better equipped. My ultimate goal is to open a residential facility for young women who have been rescued out of the grip of their traffickers to come and have their lives transformed from the inside out. I believe that these girls deserve the best, and I want them to have the best God has to offer.

I believe that by receiving my education from Williamson Christian College, God will equip me with many of the resources that I need in order to provide for these girls. I plan to get my degree in non-profit management which will teach me the in’s and out’s of facilitating a program that will best allow God to move in these young lives. The electives that are offered at Williamson will also assist me in my journey by helping me to get a well-rounded education and educate me as to how to address the mental and emotional aspects of their care.

After I graduate from Williamson Christian College, my plan is to go on to graduate school to obtain my Masters degree in counseling or something of that nature, but who knows where God will take me by the time these next four years have passed.

In reference to the scripture that I shared at the beginning of this essay, I truly believe that God has called me to preach the good news of freedom and redemption to those who have been in very real, tangible bondage. I believe that as I embark on this path of education that I will see lives transformed by the Holy Spirit wherever I go. I believe that the work that God has done in my life will be a catalyst in the lives of others.

I am honoured that God has chosen me to be the vessel that He will use to transform many lives – and I am confident that Williamson Christian College is the place that will equip me to accomplish my childhood dream.

To change the world – one life at a time."

All in all, I am believing for the complete abolition of human trafficking, both domestically and internationally. I am believing that everyone who is held captive will be released. I am believing for transformed lives all around.

I'm sure this is not the last time you will hear about trafficking from me, considering it is my hearts' cry to see it come to an end. If you have any questions or want more info on the topic, let me know and I will do what I can to answer you.

I am Blessed.

Tonight feels like a good night to write. About what, you may ask? Well, I guess we'll both find out together.

My heart is rather heavy. I suppose that there are many contributing factors tonight. I keep hearing story after story of people who have lost everything. From the fires raging in Northern Alberta to the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Japan; from the earthquake in Haiti last year to the children sold into slavery by their families; from a life ravaged by terminal illness to the person who was hurt so badly that they shut everyone out.

I can't help but think...that could so easily be me. I could be that person who shut everyone out. I could be the one who is completely and utterly alone in the world, but by the grace of God, I am not.

Tonight I count myself blessed to lead the life I do - but how often do I take my blessings for granted? I am alive. I have a family who loves me. I have food to eat. I can go to church and worship God freely. I have people who care about my well-being.

All too often though, I get so caught up in wanting more that I neglect to look around and see what I already have. The constant wanting for more is so exhausting. It takes up so much of my time and energy that I don't stop to look around.

It's on nights like these, when God stops me in my tracks and makes me look around, that I realize just how blessed I am.

I don't want to take advantage of this blessing. I don't want to take advantage of my freedom.

What I do want to do, though, is bring my blessing to other people. I want to share the blessings that God has so graciously poured out on my life with others.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

He Who Promised Is Faithful

I've really been struggling to write...because I just haven't really had words.
I still don't really...but I'm writing this blog to remind me of what I know to be truth.

While I was at Mercy, God birthed a dream within me. That dream requires an education. I know that I'm going to be in school for a long time...because, well...1) it was prophesied over me by Jane Hamon and 2) I love to learn and have big goals for myself educationally.

Until recently, I didn't know what that education was going to look like though. Since December, I have been accepted to three different schools. Two in Nashville, and one just outside of Boston.

Up until a month ago, I was struggling to make my choice about which school to attend. The struggle really wasn't about the schools though, because either way I would get a great education. I had to decide which city to live in - and I had so many people telling me all different things. Most said Boston, some said Nashville. God said that He'd bless me either way, but He wanted me to make the choice. Man, did that ever frustrate me. I have always been very indecisive, and I much prefer it when other people make my tough choices for me. However, I'm a "grown up" now. I have to learn to make my own decisions for my life.

So I chose Nashville.

I chose Nashville for many reasons. The main one being that I know myself. I know my tendency to isolate, and I know how easy it would be for me to get caught up in that if I were to move to a place where no one knows me. Nashville, I have people who know me...people who I trust. I see potential for me to build incredible relationships with people. Healthy friendships.

[I've never had a truly healthy friendship before, so this is a whole new ball game for me. I think it'll be really cool to have friends outside of the "eating disorder" and "treatment" circle. Not that there's anything wrong with that...but sometimes there is.]

The funny thing is, as soon as I made the decision, another door opened up. Things fell together so quickly, and I ended up getting accepted to yet another Franklin. This time though, the possibility arose for me to be awarded a full scholarship.

So I wrote the essay, and the President of the College voted yes. He thinks that I should get the full scholarship. There are only three people on the committee, so the likelihood of that happening is very high. comes the part that is causing me so many issues right now...

In order for the school to officially accept me and issue my I-20 (which I need in order to get my student visa), I have to have an official bank statement showing that I can pay for the cost of one year's tuition plus living expenses.

That's a problem. I've been consistently unemployed since I graduated. I have no money. How on earth am I supposed to get a bank statement that says I have thousands of dollars? So I tried to come up with a solution, but that solution hasn't worked yet either.

Did I mention that this all needs to happen really soon? I'm supposed to start class in July.

Oh yeah, and I need to find a place to live. That's proving to be quite the challenge as well...because I don't want to live with just anyone.

...and now I'm back to square one. If I can't get this bank statement, then I can't go to school in the States. I can't be accepted to any school in Canada due to the...erm...frustrating fact that they didn't grant me equivalent credits for all the work I did at Mercy.

My pre-Mercy grades were not good at all...but they didn't reflect my ability in the least. But I mean, how could they? I basically dropped out of school halfway into the first semester of 11th grade. I spent more time at the hospital than anywhere else, and I didn't even want to be alive. I guarantee you school was not high on my priority list.

The more I think about it, the more I start to doubt. The more I doubt, the more distraught I become.

I finally feel like my life is getting started. I'm moving out. Getting a car. Going to college. Doing internships. Making a difference. But I feel like it could so easily just end again. If I am not able to work out the details to get my student visa, then I'm stuck here. Going nowhere.

Here's the part where I state the truth:

God is not a man that He should lie! God promised that He would bless me for making that decision, and He has. He opened up the door for me to go to Williamson Christian College (for free?) starting in July. That is a major answer to prayer - because I just want to get there and get started.

For the past few days, whenever I think about this issue, the same phrase pops into my head.

"He who promised is faithful."

I knew that it was from the Bible somewhere, and it just so happens to be from Hebrews 10:23. It says, "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful." {Fun fact: I memorized that verse back in 6th grade when I first started Bible Quizzing!}

"He who promised is faithful."

He is faithful. He keeps His word. He hasn't brought me this far just to completely abandon me.

"He who promised is faithful."

I will hold UNSWERVINGLY to the hope that I profess, because He who promised is faithful.

I'm going to be in Nashville for the start of classes in July. God has opened all the doors so far, and I will trust Him to work out the intricate details of the visa process.

Although, if you wouldn't mind praying for me in this process, I would really appreciate it.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Beautiful Things

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! (NIV)

What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons. They are not the same anymore, for the old life is gone. A new life has begun! (NLT)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV)

Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life burgeons (buds/blossoms)! Look at it! (MSG)

The above are four different versions of the same scripture - 2 Corinthians 5:17.

Whenever I hear this verse, it always brings me back to my days at Mercy and how I had to die to self when I was there. I had to let God rid me of that old life and make me new. Please hear me when I say that that is definitely an amazing process! The whole idea that God is able to make all things new - everything...even the most broken life...and mold it into something that reflects His image - is truly mind-boggling.

I have heard this particular verse more times than I can even count. It has, in fact, just become another verse that I can quote when it is appropriate, but it lost it's value to me...that is, until cell tonight.

Sometimes, when I read this verse, I actually feel horrible about myself. I look at my life, and I look at the standard that seems to be set by this verse and I think that I failed. I find myself thinking thoughts along the lines of 'What new? All I see is old.' and 'Clearly I'm not a good enough Christian because my life isn't reflecting this. I'm not 'new'. Maybe I never will be?'

My cell leader, Chrissi, was having a conversation with a friend about this very thing recently. She shared it with us tonight, and what she shared really hit me. I'm still digesting everything, but I decided to blog about it to help process the truth. She focused on the concept of "newness".

When something is new to you, it doesn't necessarily make a whole lot of sense. It's confusing. You make mistakes along the way while you're learning how to master the new thing. But that's give yourself grace because the whole concept of doing whatever it is that you are doing is new.

For example, when someone first gets their drivers license, they don't automatically get behind the wheel and do everything properly. No, they have to learn how to drive. It's a process.

So why is it that when the Lord reveals to us something that we need to work on, we feel so horrible when we don't get it right the first time? God gives us grace because He expects us to mess up. He doesn't expect us to get everything right on the first try. But somehow, we've gotten it into our heads that that is exactly what needs to happen.

Another thing we talked about is how maturity directly correlates to ability and responsibility. When we are babies, we are not mature enough to cut the lawn. I mean, think about how absurd it would be if we expected a 10 month old infant to cut the grass? Eventually, we will be expected to cut the lawn, however before that is to happen, we have other key skills that we need to develop. First we have to learn to crawl, then to stand up on our own, then to walk, run, and jump. We have to learn how to do all these key motor skills before we can even begin to learn how to cut grass. Once we get to the point where we have mastered these skills, then we are ready to begin learning how to mow the lawn.

The same goes for us as Christians. When we first become a Christian, our whole world changes. Everything is new! It's overwhelming when you look at the mountain of new things you have to learn and eventually conquer. Everything from your old life becomes something that you have to change. You have to change the way you think, the way you speak, and the way you act. Essentially, you have to change your whole life.

What I love about God though, is that He recognizes that it is all new to us! He sees the big picture, and He knows what we need to work on first. When you look at everything together, it seems like an impossible task, but when you are walking in relationship with God, it's possible! He starts to show us little things that need to be dealt with - one thing at a time. When He reveals an issue, the process to overcome it is all new to us! We have to learn!

For example, God shows us a lie that we've been believing, we are not automatically going to stop believing that lie. It probably doesn't even seem like a lie. For me, one of the lies that I believed for years is, "I am ugly." When I was first learning to defeat that lie, I didn't even think it was a lie! The concept that I was beautiful was brand new to me. I didn't believe it...and I never really understood it. So when it came to changing my beliefs about my appearance, God took me down a path of discovering the truth about myself. Now though, when I look in the mirror and the first thought that comes to mind is, "I'm so ugly!!", I am able to combat that lie and I don't even give it a place in my mind! The process of overcoming that lie is not "new" anymore.

God keeps revealing new things to us as we mature in our relationship with Him. Right now, He's teaching me about my tendency to seek approval from others instead of Him. The process of going to God for approval first is definitely "new". It's hard. I struggle with it everyday. But one day, it won't be new. I'll find all the approval that I could ever get with God. (Not to say that I won't LOVE receiving compliments ;) but it just won't define me.) There will be something new that I have to learn.

I'm so excited about this concept of newness because it is really teaching me to extend so much more grace to myself! It's okay for me to struggle with the new concepts and new things that I'm learning!

I am constantly being made new. I am always learning new things. I'm excited for the new things that I get to experience and the new life that I get to live!

It's so beautiful!


Saturday, April 30, 2011

Redemption Comes in Strange Places

I'm heading into a new season of my life now, and it has caused a lot of reflection and self-examination. I've had many revelations about the way my mind works - and I'm not going to lie, I don't like it. It is a truly humbling experience to realize that I'm not perfect and that contrary to popular belief, I don't have it all together.

So, I'm a graduate of Mercy Ministries. I graduated on September 21, 2010. While I was in the program, God truly transformed my life. He breathed His life into me, and I was made new. Old things passed away, and all things became new. I'm so grateful that I had the opportunity to spend eight months of my life in the program.

The thing is...I graduated the program with unrealistic expectations of what life would be like "on the outside". I was convinced that as a Mercy graduate, I shouldn't struggle. I shouldn't have issues. I shouldn't need help. Now, keep in mind that that is not at all what we are taught as we are preparing to graduate. Quite the opposite actually. We are told that we have not seen our last problem. We are told that staying in community with others is essential, and that accountability is crucial.

Unfortunately (or fortunately...depending on how you look at it...), as I grew nearer to my graduation date I began to believe the lies that the enemy was speaking to me about how I can't mess up when I graduate or I'll be letting people down. I had overcome perfectionism when it came to the eating disorder when I was at Mercy. I realized that it was okay to struggle, and to admit that I wasn't all powerful. It was okay to not be okay - when I was at Mercy. Outside of Mercy though, I had to be in control at all times. That's what I believed.

Upon graduation, I was in for the biggest shock of my life. My aftercare plans completely disintegrated very shortly after I returned to Canada, and I quickly felt like my life was spinning out of control again. The thing is, I was so filled with shame that I wouldn't allow myself to be real with anyone. I HAD to be strong...I had to be stable, otherwise I was a failure and Mercy didn't work.

Those false beliefs kept me in bondage for about six months after graduation. I was so ashamed that I was struggling with eating and unhealthy thought patterns, but because I felt that I should have it all together, I had to keep it all a secret. I said all the right things, because I knew how to do that. I did that for years before I went to Mercy. I even believed most of the things I was saying - which was a major difference from before and after Mercy. I believed that God loved me, and I believed that I was beautiful. I believed that God had a great plan for my life, and I actually had an idea about what He was calling me to - yet there I was...believing the lie that I had to be perfect because I was a "Mercy grad".

I was desperate for someone who I could just be completely honest with, but I didn't feel comfortable letting my guard down even for a minute! I had all these people coming up to me and telling me how proud they were of me for overcoming my issues and facing them head on, but I felt like a complete hypocrite because I felt like I hadn't really overcome anything. I was active in the eating disorder behaviours again - to the point where my doctor was very concerned once again.

About a month ago, I took a trip down to Nashville. That trip was JUST what I needed. It felt so great to be back in the city where the Lord set me free. I took the Greyhound bus, and as we were driving into downtown Nashville, and I saw all these places that I recognized, I remembered the freedom that I received while I was there. Sitting there on that bus, I decided that for the entire time I was in Nashville, I was going to walk in that freedom again. It didn't matter what happened when I went home, but I wanted to have a glimpse of that freedom once again. Little did I know...God had other plans.

I was at a conference that the woman who's house I was staying at had organized, and I was just watching all these young teenage girls having fun with their friends, and up until that point, I had done really well in terms of walking in "freedom". (I'd only been in town for 12 hours.) As I was watching them though, my heart broke. The loneliness that I had been feeling for the past six months all came flooding to the surface, and I was overwhelmed with suicidal thoughts. I was literally being bombarded with shame and condemnation for everything that I had done, and thoughts that no one wanted me around. It wouldn't matter if I just...dropped off the face of the earth. I was terrified of the thoughts that were running through my mind, and I felt like I was on the verge of a breakdown.

I was so tempted to just stay silent about everything and figure it out on my own, because I didn't want to admit that I wasn't okay. However, I knew that if I wanted to make it through the weekend with any sort of sanity left, I needed to open up. I needed to tell someone what was going on inside my head. So I had a conversation with this woman who I was staying with. I wasn't planning on telling her everything - but it all just kind of spilled out. Once I started talking, it was like word vomit.

That conversation was the turning point for me. She pointed out how many lies I had been believing, and she reminded me that it was NOT all about me. I realized during that conversation how I had allowed pride to take over my entire life. Really, the root of everything that I had been dealing with for the past six months was pride. I was so prideful that I thought that I could take care of myself better than God could. I could meet my needs better than Him. I could do everything on my own, completely independent from God.

In case you didn't already know, those are LIES from the pit of Hell! I am not above God. I am not more powerful than God. Nope. As much as I hate to admit it, I am only human. I make mistakes. I am flawed. Thankfully, God's strength is made perfect in my weakness.

"Human wisdom is so tiny, so impotent, next to the seeming absurdity of God. Human strength can't begin to compete with God's "weakness."" (MSG)
"This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength." (NLT)
1 Corinthians 1:25

I've come to the conclusion it's time to lay down my pride and get real. When I try to do things on my own, I fail miserably. I need people around me who will call me out on my crap. I need people who aren't afraid to speak the truth, but I also need people who just love me for who I am and where I'm at at this very moment.

I recently dusted off my truth cards* and I'm starting to go through them again on a daily basis. Romans 12:2 says that we have to renew our minds to the truth of God's word, and I was obsessed with that at Mercy. I carried around my truth cards everywhere and I was reading them out loud everywhere I went. Part of the reason that I stopped when I graduated was the pride. I thought that I was done. I was good. But, I'm not...and I know that. Renewing my mind is going to be a lifelong process. It's not something that I can just stop because I think I'm good...

I'm beginning to allow God to search my heart and reveal those things that I need to deal with. It hurts. I'm not going to lie. It's not an easy, comfortable process, but in order for me to be made into His image, it's a necessary evil. I'm willing to undergo that temporary discomfort in order to achieve eternal glory. I want to be a living, breathing image of Jesus Christ to the people who don't know Him. That means that I have to die to myself on a daily basis.

I am so thankful that I'm learning - or rather, re-learning these essential truths. I'm thankful that we serve a God of grace...because He loves me even though I mess up.

I'm a work in progress, and I'm not afraid to admit that anymore.

There is no shame in that.

* For those of you who do not know what truth cards are:
Basically they consist of scriptures written on index cards. These are scriptures that combat lies that you have believed, scriptures that hold a lot of meaning for you, or scriptures that the Lord is speaking to you through. While I was at Mercy, I created about 250 of these cards. I carried them with me wherever I went, and committed to reading through them out loud twice per day. The Word of God is the sword of the Spirit, so every time you speak scripture out of your mouth, you are literally attacking the devil. (As I like to say, you are chopping him up, putting him in a blender, and feeding him to the polar bears!) If you have any questions about truth cards and what they are, please leave a comment and I'll be sure to respond as soon as possible!
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