I've Moved!

This little blog has moved over to the official AHeartSurrendered.com! Check it out; can't wait to see you there.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

a silver thread in the tapestry

I was about 13 years old when I gave myself completely over to Jesus; giving Him my life, giving Him my heart, my dreams, my everything.  What I hadn't fully comprehended was that those things weren't really ever mine in the first place...wait, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Everybody gets to a crossroads in life.  Whatever decisions this crossroads may present, it can be difficult to determine the Lord's will--especially if it seems to be a "neutral" situation in which either decision would be morally acceptable.  I've wrestled with more than one of these.  I've been confused, crying out to God, weighing out the pros and cons of both paths, trying to figure out which road would be the most profitable to trod.

A friend was recently relating to me about one such crossroads that he had come upon; he shared with me a thought that the Lord gave him that helped him to choose which road to take, that instead of asking, "What would be the best for me to glorify God?" taking into account his family, his talents, gifts, abilities, potential-- that he would ask, "What would be best for God?"

That was about a week ago. A couple days ago, my dad took me out for breakfast.  I had forgotten to even tell him about this, but it was brought to my remembrance when we were talking about the crossroads that I was looking down and he looked across the table from me, straight in the eyes, and said, "You need to ask yourself, 'What's best for God?'"

My perspective changed.

In my mind I saw my life--a tiny dot on the map as my perspective zoomed out until I saw the earth in it's entirety, suspended in seemingly eternal blackness and emptiness, yet bathed in a beam of golden radiance.  Rather than simply analyzing the few years that would span my life, I saw a glimpse of the Story of God that He's been writing before time began.

Instead of looking at how I can glorify God best in my life, ask how can God use this life that He has made to best glorify Himself?

In my past few years of "surrender" and "sacrifice", my perspective was off.

I thought that I was giving God my life, I thought I was surrendering my dreams to Him, my gifts--I failed to recognize that everything that I have was a gift from Him in the first place. Or if I did, I did not use it as the lens with which I viewed my future.  I thought it was my sacrifice, my act of worship.  I failed to realize, that it's my reasonable service of worship.

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

~Romans 11:33-36, 12:1-2

Do you see it?  Everything comes from God, every gift, every talent, every opportunity, every ounce of potential that you have in your being, every breath that passes through your lungs, every drop of blood coursing through your veins, it is a result of God's unfathomable mercy upon you--His gifts to you, all things come from Him.  When surrendering this next breath, this next step of life, I'm just giving it back to Him.  Instead of asking how I could be used best for His kingdom, as though I have something to give Him, instead I fall down at His throne of grace, hands high, quaking in awe that He might use me to bring about His glory on the earth, by any means that He decides.

My life is but a snapshot, a glimpse, a vapor that makes up a tiny fragment of God's greater masterpiece; His story.  It is a gift that He has so graciously given me the power to do with as I please.  But if I'm willing to give it back to Him, and obey, He has the perfect place for it.

It's the golden brushstroke to portray the radiance of the sun, or maybe it's the grey one that He wants to use in the shading.  It's the perfect rhyming word in His song, the next step in His dance, the silver thread in His royal tapestry--I am a piece of His artistry!  My part is small, my part could seem insignificant; but my part and your part, and every one else that is willing to surrender to Him--all of us together, supporting each other's pieces, following the direction of the Divine Artist, will make up an eternal and heavenly masterpiece, to which nothing could ever compare.

Can God do without me?  Yes.  He doesn't need me.  He could easily find someone else.  I'm nothing special.  But He wants me.  He wants me.  He wants me to take part in His heavenly painting, His dance, His tapestry--His story.

It's just reasonable!  It just makes sense!  It's not some great act, not some magnificent feat that I would "allow" God to use me--it's simply reasonable, expected!  He desires me and He wants me to desire Him. He gave me this gift that I might respond by placing it back in His hands.  Because I love Him.

I have nothing to give Him but that which He has given to me.  

Jesus, all I have to give You is what You have already given me. 
Here am I; I'm Yours.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Book Review: So Long, Insecurity {Teen Edition}

Hello, my dear readers!

I haven't reviewed any book recently, and when the opportunity to review this one came along I figured, "Why not?" I may be a little rusty, but I'll do my best!

So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition by Beth Moore is a magazine-style book filled with great tips, beautiful graphics, and ultimately the inspiring truth behind what makes a girl secure.  Each chapter contains a question with an answer by Beth based on various topics that relate to areas in which girls struggle with insecurity. Questions about fashion, guys, tough times, media, competition--Beth takes them head on, relating from her own experience and providing practical advice based on biblical principles.  Within each chapter there are statistics pertaining to how other girls feel, honest feedback from other girls about how they overcame their own struggles, a peek into a woman's life from the Bible that may have struggled in that area, and more.  There are also a couple of interviews from Kylie Bisutti (former Victoria's Secret model now sharing the truth of Jesus and encouraging girls in their inner beauty) and Tindell Baldwin (author of the book Popular: Boys, Booze, and Jesus).

I really enjoyed the strong, biblical foundation of the book in general.  Not only was the theme question of every chapter answered with scripture, but I also really liked the simple and concise practical application.  I also loved how sweet and relatable Beth's writing style was--her words felt like those of a big sister, wrapping her arm around you, whispering words of encouragement!  A great easy read with a sweet message of worth that every girl needs to hear.

I was a bit disappointed with some of the photos in the book, however--especially when discussing the topic of fashion.  At one point in the chapter, the book shows a picture of what not to wear, and what to wear instead.  These photos were not by any means pornographic or even extremely offensive, but it bothered me that there had to be photos there at all--why not just give a description?  And throughout the rest of the book there are small things like shorter skirts and some low shirts--nothing that I would worry about a young lady perusing through, but I wouldn't necessarily want my brother reading it. Another thing was there was a mild sense of coarseness in just a couple of words--nothing profane or outright offensive, but as I said, just a mild sense.  This book also mentions (in the profiles from woman of the Bible) topics that would be considered more for older young ladies (rape, etc.) when the book seems aimed more toward the younger teens (13-15), as well as topics that are more relatable for girls in the public schools.

All that to say, I still think that this was a fabulous book.  However, I do believe that it is written toward a specific audience of girls that are more out in the world by being in the public schools, or coming from non-Christian families, etc.  Girls that have been homeschooled for the majority of their lives and that have come from strong Christian families may have a harder time relating to some of the questions, stories, and topics that are discussed.

To conclude, I must say that I am so grateful for women like Beth Moore for taking on these issues that girls face on a day by day basis and reminding them of who they are in Christ--how that is where their security lies.  What a blessing to have those gone before!  I look forward to having So Long, Insecurity on my shelf to give to a young lady who can be blessed and encouraged; reminded that she is a daughter of the King!

Check out these links to find out more about So Long, Insecurity Teen Edition, or to see similar books:

I received a hard copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.