In the Security of His Love

Hello!  It’s sooooo good to be back and writing again 🙂  I’ve missed y’all so much!  Thanks for still checking in here and there during my absence, and I look forward to writing again more…

Over the past many weeks that I have been away, the Lord has been gracious.   The past few weeks, even months, were a time in which I temporarily gave up writing and the blog in order to better pursue my graduate studies and other relationships.  It has been hard, but this just is an affirmation of the truth that obedience to what God calls us to do is not always easy.  Sometimes we may not see a tangible result of our action or “reap what we sow.”  Sometimes, we may even wonder if we are actually hearing the words of God or something/someone else trying to distract us from Him.  Every time though, obedience to God requires sacrifice…

In those moments of realizing what God desires for us to do, there can be tension, right?  After all, what about our desires?  What about the plans that we have made?  But as the RUF minister at Mississippi State asked in his sermon the other night—“When was the last time that God’s love brought you more security than the plan you have made, the relationship you’re in, a title you’ve earned, your outward appearance, etc.?”

For the type-A personality like me—organized, driven, and purposeful even to a fault—that question opened my eyes, heart, AND mind to a reality that I had pushed away.  Maybe I had felt it here and there, but I pushed it away not wanting to pay the price of obedience and admit that the plan that I had made for my life was fallible and based on limited, human understanding.  But the Lord had other plans.  He wanted to bring me back into the safety that is ONLY found in the overwhelming presence of His love, and I’m so grateful that He did.

Sometimes following the will of God can cause temporary pain, but remember that He disciplines His children as a father would—with love and with purposes for their good.  Always though, living in obedience to God brings more security, peace, and joy than we could ever experience elsewhere.  After all, when resting in the warm embrace of His presence, what do we have to fear and what could we possibly lose?

So now, I ask you the very same question: When was the last time that God’s love made you feel more secure than anything else in your life?  What act of sacrifice and obedience would it take to draw closer to Him and to the security of His love?

Glorifying God even over spilled detergent

“Commencing countdown…3…2…”  Even though I was not in NASA’s headquarters and there was no rocket in my backyard, I was certainly about it experience a lift-off.  Our washer that sits on an uneven, tile floor was about to go into the spin cycle.  For all of us Hollingers, we know what that means…one whole end of our house was about to rattle to the vibrations of our washer, and we would hear and feel it for the next couple of minutes.

When I finally counted down to one in my head, the loud rattle began as usual.  What wasn’t usual, though, was a loud “Boom!” that followed.  Something had gone wrong during lift-off, so I went to the laundry room to go see…

A brand new container of Gain detergent had been, keyword= had been, sitting on top of the washer but had been bucked off in the washer’s violent shaking.  Detergent was spewing out, and most of the floor had already been covered by the time I reached the spill.  I was finally able to turn to detergent right-side up despite the slimy exterior.

Sometimes I think that whenever we believe that God is going to work in our life, He is going to do it in a huge way.  We search for our own version of a burning bush or cloud that we can follow just like Moses and the people of Israel in order to know where to go.  But while on all fours, scooping detergent into a cup with my hand and then pouring it into a bucket, I realized that God had given me just as great of an opportunity to see Him in the midst of my problem. Even something as simple and frustrating as cleaning up a gallon of detergent with my hands and an 8-ounce cup can became a lesson of patience through God-given peace

Romans 12:1 in the Message translation says, “Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering.”

God is glorified through offerings.  The question now is, are you willing to glorify Him through giving every part of your life and daily living over to Him?  The next time that you get a flat tire, have to work late, or find yourself in rush-hour traffic, will you choose to get mad or will you use that as an opportunity to learn what it means to live fully by and fully for God no matter the circumstance?

Redefining Beauty

What does it mean to be beautiful?  We use this word so often to talk about a girl wearing a new outfit, McDreamy’s eyes, or a picturesque sunset.  I have struggled a lot with this issue, but God has been teaching me about what it means to be beautiful in His eyes.  Here’s the definition that we came up with:

Beauty is the value held for an object of Creation demonstrated through sacrifice.

Imagine a table that you sit at.  Before you came to know the table, it was a bunch of crude materials–wood, metal, etc.  Someone came along, though, and planed that wood.  Someone else operated the machine to make those screws that holds it together.  Before you were even able to use that table, people had to sacrifice their time, their health, and their own desires in order to make a table for  you to sit at, to use, and to enjoy.  That table, then, became beautiful the moment that someone sacrificed his own self in order to make it.  That sacrifice proved its value and worth, and that sacrifice made it beautiful.

Now think about your own self.  Not only did God sacrifice His time and His resources to create you, but God sacrificed Himself when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us.  There is no greater sacrifice in all of creation than this!  God allowed for part of His own self to come to this earth and be hated, mocked, spit on, crucified, and even separated from Him all for the sake that WE could have the hope of living with Him in Heaven.  If this–God sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on a cross and be separated from God’s presence so that we could have the hope of eternity with Him–if this does not make us beautiful, I’m certain that nothing does.

We will only become aware of our true beauty when we when believe Him when He says, “You are Mine, and You are My treasure.  You are precious and valuable to Me.”  We are beautiful because of God’s love for us, and this beauty is guaranteed and demonstrated by the sacrifice of His Son.  We are beautiful because we are His valued treasure.

It’s time to look in the mirror and to see your true beauty, maybe for even the first time.

It’s time to redefine beauty.

picture: mirror that says “Be a woman of true beauty”