Wednesday, April 24, 2013

An Eternal Lifetime

        What must I do to prepare for eternity?
This question has been on my mind a lot the last few weeks. We are eternal beings; our lives have a beginning, but no end. Whether you want to or not, you will live forever. We can’t even begin to wrap our minds around what that really means. When I try, I find myself filled with fear and awe. Forever is a long time.
You’ve probably heard someone say that our lives on earth are “just the beginning” of real life; and despite how cliché that may sound, it’s so true. Compared to eternity, our lives on earth are miniscule – and yet, what we do in that short time determines our eternal destiny.
We can live for God or we can live for Satan; purely good, or purely evil. You can’t serve two masters – especially ones that are polar opposites. You can strive for a righteous life devoted to God, or you can succumb to the temptations of the world and live in sin.
Last year I posted on a writers forum, encouraging people to not waste their lives, as it would count for eternity. The majority of the people who replied were not Christians, and I got a variety of responses. As I read through all their comments, I became sad. I was grieved for these people who were so lost in darkness.
I’ll share a few of their comments with you.

        As teens and atheists, we are going to choose how to spend our lives based on our own needs and wants. 
       Personally I'm going to eat as much delicious food as I can, have as much sex as I can with as many beautiful wonderful people as I can, express my affections freely, and drink myself silly and wondrous on a routine basis. Oh, also love and cherish my family, work hard to achieve my academic goals, volunteer to better the world, and fight for human rights through feminism. 
       Because that's the way I roll.

       The fact that we're derived of stardust, and we will go on to nourish life on a smaller scale with our own dust, is one of the most beautiful aspects of reality.

        With this short time, I am going to spend as much of it as I can experiencing the world. I want to have as many different experiences as I can. I want to meet as many people as I can. I want to eat as many different foods as I can. I want to see as many places, and do as many things, as this single, short life of mine allows. In short, it is because I am convinced that this is my only life, that I am determined to truly live.
        If I were to die tomorrow, and was a given a choice: eternal paradise or annihilation, I would turn heaven down. Eternity? Thanks, but no thanks. I'd rather live once, a brief flash, than let it get dull. Because no matter what, forever would get boring after the first couple of eons. Best not to bother, if you ask me.

         In my opinion, life only has meaning if it's finite, and not wasting it means making sure you spend your finite number of moments in the best way possible (which for some of them can still very well be "chilling on the couch having a Firefly marathon).

        Wow. If that’s what they call living, then what’s the point?
         Life means something. Our creation was not an accident; we don’t come from star dust, or monkeys, or anything else. We come from the hand of God, and that fact alone gives us enormous value.
The first thing we must do to prepare for eternity is make a choice – the choice to give your life to God, or to believe Satan’s lies and follow him to destruction. After that, the rest is pretty straightforward.
If you love God, then obey His commandments. Live like Jesus lived. Love, give, serve, bless, encourage, witness, admonish, exhort, and pray for others. Deny the desires of your flesh; follow the Spirit’s call. Live with selflessness, love, and passion. It won’t be easy, but in the end, it will be so worth it. This life really is a preparation for the next. If we persevere to the end, then God will reward us far beyond anything that we can possibly imagine.
If you choose to deny God and live for yourself, then make the most of it. Do anything and everything that you think will bring you pleasure. Because in the end, your life will mean nothing.


Sunday, April 21, 2013

April Blessings

All my life, I’ve loved horses. Their beauty captivated me. As a girl, I drew pictures of horses, collected Breyer models, played horse, and watched Spirit on a weekly basis (if not daily). My most-hoped-for dream was to have my own horse.
Yesterday, that dream came true.
Two weeks ago, we heard that Raquel Duarte, a friend and fellow blogger, was selling her Arabian gelding. After emailing back and forth for a while, we decided to get him. It was a big step for us, but watching the pieces fall into place, and we truly felt like this was from God.
Knight came home Saturday evening. As it was dark, we weren't able to get any good pictures, but here are some that we got this afternoon. I was entering the pen after doing something for my dad, and Knight was there to greet me.

After getting home from church today, Tianna and I armed ourselves with cookies, books, and cameras and made our way to Knight's field. We spread out a blanket and spent the entire afternoon with him. It was like a dream. While we were reading, Knight would sometimes come up and nuzzle us - or walk across the blanket. He seemed to enjoy our company, and was interested in what we were doing.

          Even in just one afternoon, I've already learned so much about Knight's personality. He is such a sweet, loving horse, and so perfect for me. Someday, I know that we will be great friends. :)

        Thank you so much, Raquel, for giving me your horse. He is such a sweet boy, and I love him like crazy already. Your generosity has blessed us tremendously. Thank you so much. <3
The other exciting news is that my mom is going to have a baby! We're all so excited.
God has been so good to us. These past two weeks, I’ve been happy – truly happy. Which I haven’t been for some time. It feels good.
Thank You, Lord, for these April blessings.


~Photo credit to my wonderful sister Tianna.

Monday, April 15, 2013

I Am A Writer

I am a writer.
Now, you probably think that you understand what that sentence means. For goodness sake, it’s composed of four simple little words. How difficult could it possibly be?
If the word “simple” did happen to cross your mind, erase it. Wad it up and throw it in the trash. There is no such thing as “simple” when it comes to writing.
I am a writer are four words that ought to be spoken with pride and heard with respect. To be a writer is to put life into ink and reality onto pages; to be the creator of a world.
To be a writer is to be the bearer of a story. And that is something honorable.
  To the born writer, writing comes naturally; but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Sometimes, you hit a rough patch, and your characters clam up and ignore you. You reach a point where everything seems to come to a standstill, and you have no idea what to do next. This is what most people call Writer’s Block; something dreaded by all writers.
This is where I’ve been for the last few months. And it stinks.
After May 5th, writing suddenly became more difficult. I felt like my writing lost its life and had become boring and dry. I was daunted by the seemingly impossible task of conveying true emotion in these people I had created. How could these feelings be put into words?
Stories continued bouncing around in my head. Characters begged to be brought to life. The urge to write never left me. But when I sat down at my computer and put my fingers to the keys, I had no idea where to begin. How to write what I saw in my mind. How to voice what I felt in my heart. Everything was bottled up inside me, but I didn’t know how to let it out. So I let myself stop writing.
Which was a huge mistake.
I never consciously decided to stop writing. In fact, I had no intention of stopping. But I let myself get discouraged because my work wasn’t what I thought it should be, so I didn’t put in the effort. I didn’t realize how far I’d fallen until a friend of mine brought it up. She encouraged me to keep writing, even if I didn’t think it was good. You can’t let yourself give up.
       I want to encourage you fellow writers out there. Even if you get discouraged, even if you think you’re no good, keep writing. You will never get better if you don’t try. If writing is in your blood, revel in it. Don’t deny who you are because you aren’t perfect.
I am a writer. And I love it with a passion.

Some encouragement for my writer friends...


Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Blog!

          I just wanted to let all you lovely people know that I have started another blog! This blog is for sharing my pictures, artwork, and anything else that I want to show the world. :)
         Here's the link. You can also go to it by clicking the "Photography Blog" button at the top.
         I'm still working on getting this blog set up just right, so it will be going through some changes over the next week or so. But hopefully you will enjoy seeing my photographic endeavors.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

God Is Light

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, 
what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, 
concerning the Word of Life— and the life was manifested, 
and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, 
which was with the Father and was manifested to us— what we have seen and heard 
we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed 
our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 
These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.
This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, 
and in Him there is no darkness at all. 
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, 
we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, 
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us 
our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 
If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.

~1 John 1


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Story Worth Telling

When I was young, I wanted a life of adventure. I devoured books about kids who lived exciting lives and did exotic things. Getting kidnapped, living through a war, flying an airplane blind, being trapped in a cave, persevering through pain, unearthing a mystery, running from Al Capone… Just reading about it gave me a thrill like no other, and I longed to have a life like that.
To have that broken piece of pottery in the backyard mean something. To actually find another world in the wardrobe. To be in a life-threatening situation and just drink in the excitement of it.
Compared to the lives of these heroic kids, my life was absolutely dull and uninteresting. I’d never done anything like them; I felt like I’d never been given the chance. Sure, these were fictitious stories – but I still wanted them to come true for me. I wanted to have a story worth telling.
But looking back on my life, I would say that it has been exciting – just not in the way that I wanted.
We adopted three children when I was nine years old. That alone changed my life far more than I could ever have imagined. Shortly before the adoption was finalized, my mom had a baby; our family doubled in size in just one year.
When I was almost thirteen, we moved to Southern Oregon which required a lot of adjustment. I was awkward and shy, and didn’t know how to make new friends. I kept trying to “fit in” and be someone I wasn’t.
When I was fourteen, I was struggling a lot spiritually. I knew that I didn’t love God like I should, but I didn’t know how to love Him out of my heart and not out of obligation.
Ten days before I turned fifteen, my brother drowned, and my world was shattered. I was lost; alone in a swirling sea of depression and grief. I was angry; I wanted to hurt myself. I spent countless nights crying out to God, begging Him for some kind of release.
And He gave it.
Like pure water in a parched land, God revealed Himself to me and refreshed my soul. He drew me into His embrace and filled me with His love. He has given me peace that surpasses all understanding.
My life may not make a great children’s adventure book, but for an ordinary person, I would say that it’s been pretty interesting. And it isn’t even over yet.
Whether or not our lives are filled with thrilling adventures or dangerous missions, our goal should be to glorify Christ in all that we do. If we live the way that God tells us to, then our lives will be a story worth telling.