Saturday, August 3, 2013


I am really good at showing a strong, put together, unfrazzled face. I have perfected the way it looks to be on top of the game, get through things and do so while looking as if it were easy, attainable and not difficult. However, that's a lie. I am such a screw up... I sin (often and daily), I am self-righteous (meaning I am VERY aware of other's sins--especially those who sin against me-- but have blinders on when it comes to observing my own sin), I am self-reliant (I seldom go humbly before the Lord and lay at His feet begging for grace, help or love... I get in my routine and zip through quiet times and rarely sit uninterrupted and still before my Beloved), I am a people pleaser to the core (I want people to like me... whether that is think I am attractive, funny, intelligent, athletic or even Godly-- yes spiritual things can become tainted as well) and above all else I am busy.

Now I know what you're thinking.... busy? Stephanie... that's not a sin. It wasn't on the Ten Commandments. Uhhh check that again. What does number one say?

It says, "YOU SHALL HAVE NO OTHER GODS BEFORE ME".  I can hear you now... "right Stephanie. I don't have other Gods in my life." I believe in Jesus and go to church. I serve and pray to Him. I don't believe in Allah or Mohammed or a golden statue. Yes, but do you spend large amounts of time in front of the mirror or at the gym? Then you are serving a god, which is approval of man. Do you turn to food instead of seeking Jesus in difficult times? Then you are serving the god of glutton. Do you work non-stop to get to that next level, to get that position, to get a bigger raise or to get recognition? Do you see a pattern here? When we were told to have "no other Gods".... that meant man made things included. Some of these things are good/needed things. I am not saying you should not shower or take care of your body so you don't develop an idol of approval. I am not saying you should not eat and quit your job to make sure you stay right with the Lord. I am just saying we have to be very careful with what we place our worth, time and energy in.

Jimmy Needham has a song out right now that I love. The bridge says, "Anything I put, before my God, is an IDOL. Anything I want, with all my heart, is an IDOL. Anything I can't stop thinking of is an IDOL. Anything I give, all my love, is an IDOL."

My prayer in this entry is not to condemn, judge or make you feel bad. My charge in this word is to edify, encourage, spur on, sanctify and refine. Refinement is a hard process. It's just like when you find a diamond. It starts out as a piece of coal. It has to go through enormous amounts of pressure and uncomfortable circumstances for it to become something so beautiful.

My youth girls and I are in the process of memorizing James 1:2-4 which says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Let perseverance finish it's work so that you may become mature and complete, not lacking anything."

 This is the same thing... we need to consider it pure joy when we go through trials-- or times of sanctification and refinement-- because it is developing perseverance in us. This doesn't mean we have to be happy (happy and joyful are two different things) but it does mean we should count it has joy that the Lord is taking the time to take something dirty and ugly and worthless (a piece of coal) and fashioning it into something beautiful and timeless (a diamond). So I will rejoice in these trials and let the Lord sift these "gods" out of my life to allow a deeper relationship with Him.

Check out Jimmy's song that I mention earlier called "Clear the Stage"... you will be blessed by this man and His Gospel filled lyrics.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Proverbs 22:6

There are many things I am passionate about. If you have ever read my blog you know that one of those things is Africa... obviously. haha Another thing is camp ministry... I worked as a summer staffer at a camp from 16-22 years old. Half of that time was at Camp Copass in Denton and the other part was at Pine Cove Christian Camps in Tyler. Both allowed me to love on people and share Jesus with them. So that kinda of threw me into this next thing that the Lord has really laid on my heart.... teenage girls. I love pouring into this age. They are so impressionable and so eager to know and learn and grow. When I was in college I would work D-Now's and loved getting to meet new girls, hear their stories and encourage and help lead them. When I moved back to Midlo to student teach I lived at home and went to church with my family. Because there wasn't anyone really my age at my parent's church, I began working with the youth. I taught Sunday school and lead worship on Wednesday nights. I loved it... I was able to hang out with and encourage these girls who were only a few years younger than me, but looked up to me. I eventually started a Junior/Senior bible study and invited these girls over weekly to do life with them. I looooved it. This grew my heart for not only high school girls.... but the ones getting ready to move on to a new season of life.

Flash forward a few years and I am back working with youth. More specifically, Junior/Senior girls. It is just such an incredible blessing. These girls love Jesus and want to know Him more. They want to know what they need to do to experience Him fully and deeply. They long to know His word and breathe it. They see need around them and are in tune with the solution only resulting in Jesus. They yearn to love well and like their Savior. I am blown away by their desire to be captivated wholly by their Beloved.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."    -Proverbs 22:6

::Lord, let me love well. Break my heart for what breaks Yours and in doing so radiate Your goodness in everything I say and do. Allow me to be a vessel that leads others to You. Let my actions and speech be edifying and let my girls know that I love like You... without judgement or stipulations. God... my girls are so important to me. Use me to lead them to Your throne and let me be humbled and sanctified while doing so. ::