Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Though Chains Be of Gold, They Are Chains All The Same."

Well 2009, you have been quite the year.

This year has probably been the most the most difficult, humbling refining, and fulfilling year of my entire life.


When I say fulfilling, I do not actually mean I have been content or satisfied all year. In fact, there have been many seasons of discontent and constant hunger.

But somewhere, in all the failure, the searching and the discontent, I have been fulfilled because I sought. Everything I strived for was worth working toward even if I never saw it come to fruition like I thought it should. At least I put up a fight. And that fight has made me a stronger person whom I have never known before.

Yes, I grew up in a Christian home with godly parents, but...

I feel like I have finally started living this year.

My eyes have been opened to so many things, both good and bad. Many I have never had to face before but it has forced me to not just know my convictions, but to stand up on them in my actions as well.

Most significantly, God has begun to reveal just how significant we are as humans. He has given us an abundant source of magnificent power!! Yet there is such a scarcity of His followers that live life with this understanding on a daily basis! We have not truly lived! We do not fully know God if we do not know and see His power dominate our lives! YES, it will be tangible! Yes, it will change the way you live and every life you touch!

I feel like I've found a leak in a dam and the entire wall is about to break!

This discovery is so timely as I prepare to go on The World Race. Living in a tent for a year, on a mat, on $3 of food a day in poverty stricken countries where I am susceptible to all kinds of risky situations sounds illogical for a girl like me– the youngest child from a tight knit family living in a great neighborhood who likes her nice clothes and pretty accessories.

I have motivation to make something of myself... graduate school, entrepreneurship, and becoming a professor.

But I first have motivation to make something of myself: to be a woman of God (as He defines it), a servant, a life-changer; a sister, mother, and friend to those who live without. I want my hand to be the one an orphan holds. I want to embrace the prostitute who has forgotten her worth as she's sold every 30 minutes. I want them to know [they. are. loved.] because no one has ever told them so.

My wounds, healed by Christ, have made me strong enough to bring healing to those looking for the Healer.

My comfortable bed, nice clothes, and fine jewelry aren't worth keeping if it costs me the real life I was made for.

So here's to 2010: the year that dam finally breaks and God's power gushes out through my life. The year I joyfully walk away from the stuff I used to care about.

Though chains be of gold, they are chains all the same.

Friday, December 11, 2009

As a Matter of Fact, I DO Know What I'm Doing After College!

Many of you have heard about the calling God just recently placed in my life over the last couple weeks. In case you haven't, let me tell you now. I've just been accepted into the World Race July team with Adventures in Missions. Please read the press release about the January team below and ask God how you can walk alongside me in this next step of faith!


GAINESVILLE, Ga., Nov. 23 -- Over 100 men and women ages 21-35, compelled by issues of social justice and simple living, are leaving the comfort of their homes and possessions in January of 2010 to travel 11 to countries in 11 months, sharing the hope of Jesus Christ as they go.

The group is called the World Race and was first conceived by Seth Barnes, founder and executive director of Adventures In Missions, in 2006. He designed a trip that would remove young people from their comfortable lifestyles for a year--to see the developing world and be transformed by what they saw. The first team consisted of 14 people. Since then, AIM has sent 92 teams consisting of over 630 men and women on 12 different trips around the world and visiting over 64 countries.

"While I am excited to observe a medley of people this next year throughout the world, I am more excited to love, serve, and care for the people that God will place in my life," says Hannah Vitkus of Nashville, Tennessee, who is looking forward to leaving in January. "Be it an orphan, a prostitute, the homeless, a college student or an older family--with your help, I am able to do this--to be the hands and feet, to go, to love, to serve."

"I expect to be ripped from my comfort zone on this trip. I expect to see Christ move in unimaginable ways. I expect to have the experience of a lifetime. I expect to never be the same," says Jesse Walsh of Birmingham, Alabama who is also leaving in January. "But most of all, I expect to not have my expectations met and in turn, be given something I could have never even known to expect."

Each World Race team relies on the hospitality and generosity of strangers--whether this means living in a tent in a farmer's field, staying in an urban shanty or enjoying the rare comfort of a warm bed. Through their experiences, World Racers learn to depend on each other. They also learn to care more and live with less. It's a journey of self-discovery and worldview--a chance to explore life in a whole new way.

"I'm leaving behind the woman I thought I have always wanted to be, to become the woman God intended me to be... which is someone I never had the guts to be," shares Michelle Euperio from Mesquite, Texas, who is also a part of the World Race in January 2010.

"Many people look at the World Race and get the wrong idea," says Barnes. "They think it's about young people seeing the world. The reality is that, while young people often sign up because of the adventures they know they'll have and the worldview that a year of global travel will give them, it's really an initiation experience. On the World Race you learn about what God is doing on the earth and how to join Him in it."

For more information on the World Race visit

World Race participants and staff are available for interviews and speaking engagements upon request.

Adventures In Missions (AIM) is an interdenominational missions organization that focuses on discipleship. They emphasize prayer and relationships in their work amongst the poor. Since being established in 1989, AIM has taken over 80,000 people into the mission field, some for as short as a week and others for as long as a year or longer. Through 14 bases around the world, AIM has year-round ministry to places where "the least of these" are found. AIM believes that by giving people the opportunity to hold orphans, bring hope to the hopeless, and pray for the sick, lives are transformed.

Original Article can be found at ChristianNewsWire.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Such a good reminder :)

I just love how this puts everything into a clear perspective...


"As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you." ~John 20:21

A missionary is one sent by Jesus Christ as He was sent by God. The great dominant note is not the needs of men, but the command of Jesus. The source of our inspiration in work for God is behind, not before. The tendency to-day is to put the inspiration ahead, to sweep everything in front of us and bring it all out to our conception of success. In the New Testament the inspiration is put behind us, the Lord Jesus. The ideal is to be true to Him, to carry out His enterprises.

Personal attachment to the Lord Jesus and His point of view is the one thing that must not be overlooked. In missionary enterprise the great danger is that God's call is effaced by the needs of the people until human sympathy absolutely overwhelms the meaning of being sent by Jesus. The needs are so enormous, the conditions so perplexing, that every power of mind falters and fails. We forget that the one great reason underneath all missionary enterprise is not first the elevation of the people, nor the education of the people, nor their needs; but first and foremost the command of Jesus Christ - "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations."

When looking back on the lives of men and women of God the tendency is to say - What wonderfully astute wisdom they had! How perfectly they understood all God wanted! The astute mind behind is the Mind of God, not human wisdom at all. We give credit to human wisdom when we should give credit to the Divine guidance of God through childlike people who were foolish enough to trust God's wisdom and the supernatural equipment of God.

(Taken from Oct. 26th reading of Oswald Chamber's My Utmost for His Highest)

We are all missionaries. I don't care where you are, where you are going, or where you are not going, it is the love of Christ which compels us to tell all people of every nation and every generation that He is Lord of all. Each day is our chance to live out love, not just in deeds or service (though they have equal significance), but in words as well. It is easy to forget the magnitude of what we say to each other. Let us be wise, cautious and intentional with our speech because they set so many things in motion, whether Truth or lies. (Col. 3:16-17)

Above every cause and every need that is crying out to be met, the message and display of His love will cure all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

An Oldie but a Goodie.

I just love this song... God's been using it a lot lately to just remind me of exactly who He is and what He is capable of! Take some time to just read each line and think about how far His characteristics go.

"I Am" ~Mark Schultz

I am the maker of the Heavens
I am the bright and morning star
I am the breath of all Creation
Who always was
And is to come

I am the One who walked on water
I am the One who calmed the seas
I am the miracles and wonders
So come and see
And follow me
You will know

I am the fount of living water
The risen Son of man
The healer of the broken
And when you cry
I am your savior and redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter
Beginning and the end
I am

I am the spirit deep inside you
I am the word upon your heart
I am the One who even knew you
Before your birth
Before you were


Before the Earth (I am)
The universe (I am)
In every heart (I am)
Oh, where you are (I am)
The Lord of love (I am)
The King of Kings (I am)
The Holy lamb (I am)
Above all things


Yes, I am almighty God your father
The risen son of man
The healer of the broken
And when you cry
I am your savior and redeemer
Who bore the sins of man
The author and perfecter
Beginning and the end
I am

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

The i Heart Revolution.

We need each other.

Watching that movie made me recognize what things need to happen in order for Christ to finally return and rebuild His kingdom on the earth. Missionaries, social entrepreneurs like me and advocates who promote natural human rights are going to usher our world into the return of Christ. If in fact we do end up with a worldwide currency that is so popularly predicted and already currently in the form of proposals by world leading countries, the economic condition of each individual nation must be leveled off equally to where it is economically possible to no longer have an exchange rate. For us to reach that level, we need to keep doing what we are doing: micro-financing and aid work to help bring people out of extreme poverty and disease. With the way our Christian culture is here in the U.S. it is easy to think about the “end times” and the return of Christ with negative connotation when in fact we should be anticipating it. Though it will be difficult at first, we know what the end result is and should be excited about the fact that our God is going to rebuild his kingdom on the earth He created so that it could be perfected and we can have life in eternity as we were meant to live.

We need to stop allowing ourselves to feel useless and worthless. It only keeps us from recognizing that I alone can accomplish a certain task given specifically to me by God. I have to put my own plans and goals aside in order to experience the purpose God had in mind for me since the day I was born. He did not have to give me these tasks. I am useless without Him. ALL I AM NOT, HE IS. [And I am nothing.]

I have to stop looking in the mirror and thinking that everything I am worth comes from the feautres I can see about myself- my skills, my looks, my possessions; my achievements. My value was nailed to a cross. My value was raised to life. I need to come to grips with the fact that He is what defines and solidifies my worth. If I keep searching for treasures on this earth or something to gratify my longings on this earth I will be chasing the wind for the rest of my life. It would also be a chase after the wind if I find my value in outdoing someone else in my successes. "By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:35). That’s what I want to push myself in. That’s what I need to push myself to compete against others in with all of my life and for the rest of my life. If I can’t love my sisters or my brothers, I cannot possibly love God. I can’t accomplish anything without others alongside me. I can’t keep living like I’m the only one that needs to save the world. It is not just my responsibility, or even the responsibility of my nation. It is the responsibility of every individual that calls themselves a follower of Christ. If we are called followers, why are we constantly trying to pave our own road instead of following the trail Christ has already left for us? Why is it that we are just now grasping His calling on our lives to meet the needs of people around us when it is constantly mentioned in the word? How much of his voice have we ignored?

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.”
(Mother Teresa)

Lord, you’ve given us a mind, logic, hands, feet, and a voice so that we could be practical in our worship. Show us how to really live. Let your love transform us so deeply that we see our fellow man with your eyes. We have such universal needs and desires. We cannot pretend like we are separated by culture anymore.

When you sent your son to this earth, his desires were your same desires. He was willing. He said, "I will go for their sake. I will go for them!"

In a speech he gave in 1965 at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, then Senator Bobby Kennedy talked about how the world was changing, and said the following:
"Everywhere [that] new technology and communications bring men and nations closer together, the concerns of one inevitably become the concerns of all. And our new closeness is stripping away the false masks, the illusion of differences which is at the root of injustice and hate and war. Only earthbound man still clings to the dark and poisoning superstition that his world is bound by the nearest hill, his universe ends at river's shore, his common humanity is enclosed in the tight circle of those who share his town or his views and the color of his skin."
He went on to say to a group of students: "It is your job, the task of the young people in this world to strip the last remnants of that ancient cruel belief from the civilization of man."

We need each other. We need to love each other.

((fight for it.))

Friday, May 01, 2009

No Kidding, You Should Read This.

"The Christians should have continued this missionary work among all peoples. They would then have met worthwile hazards of physical hardships and social persecution. They would have been compelled to pray without ceasing a prayer of sincerity and importunity. As they traveled, educating the world, every day they would have received fresh strength from the King of their hearts and souls who takes especial care of his soldiers on the firing line and the outposts of his kingdom. True it is that many Christians did teach this way. Suppose thousands of spiritually and mentally strong teachers had continued the work and had persistently taught true Christianity, the best Greek science and philosophy, arts and crafts, the Dark Ages might never have come upon the Western world and civilization might now be advanced to a point beyond imagining.
The teachers who might have been went into monastic cells. They substituted contemplation for service...While they gazed into the skies searching for God, the barbarians stormed through..."

~Alber & Emily Vail, Transforming Light: The Living Heritage of World Religions

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

>>Punk Rock<< Did I say that out loud?

I never realized how long it has taken me to fully come back to who I am since coming down south 3 years ago...

Among other things, I am currently listening to the category "Jimmy Eat World Music" on Jimmy Eat World, Sugarcult, Dashboard Confessional, and Snow Patrol have been playing some good 'ol love songs and ya know what? I am enjoying it. I feel like the music scene at Belmont can make me feel like I have to be some sophisticated music snob (no offense) when, in reality, I just want to listen to music because it's fun to listen (thanks to Chris for pointing that out to me over Spring Break). Granted, I like how much exposure I have received from being in the midst of people who are so knowledgeable, though sometimes even Belmont can have a consistent sound throughout different bands... I just want to be comfortable with what my taste in music is first. It has surprised me to see how self-conscious I get when other people are listening to my iTunes or my iPod is playing in the car. Obviously I am not going to keep myself stuck on one genre and one only cuz I enjoy pretty much every type of music so long as my mood will accept it.

Phew. Glad I got that out there. It's about time I said that "out loud."

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Don't L00k At Me Like That.

The pulsation of my heart has been pumping harder lately; as though it has been bench pressing and someone just added a few more weights on.

I am tired of the things this world says.

Forgive me if I am about to be to blatant out loud, but maybe we have all just been much to PC to get up the nerves to say anything about it.


I hope that raised a curious, questioning brow or two.

I am not out to offend or argue with the homosexual community if that's where your mind is leading you. Although I do not agree with that lifestyle I love that community more than people probably realize.

What I am trying to say is that I am so tired of the confusion and need for control between men and women. It's like someone erased the defining line between what makes me a woman and what makes a man, a man.

My heart longs to fully know what God was thinking when he designed Eve; why He decided on what characteristics to design her with and for what purpose He hoped (and still hopes) to fulfill through women.

But even above that, my heart has been tearing down the center for the men in my life and all the confusion and bombardment of lies they have to beat their way through in order to reach the surface and into the sunshine of God's design for their gender. I realize that I am incapable of understanding all of God's thoughts and purposes in things, but I am so certain that men were not created with such masculinity for the sake of outdoing one another in tolerance for ungodly things whether it be in thoughts, actions, or entertainment. Give me a man who wants nothing more than to yank the kingdom of heaven into earth through his goodness, servant's heart, wisdom, and courage to go against the grain of his peers or even his pride.

I could not care less how imperfect your (men's) life has been: His mercies are new EVERY morning and so should ours (women's or visa versa).
That's something that sent a slight jab into my heart this past weekend: a guest speaker came to my college service and he brought up the blessing that his wife was and was boasting about how she was a virgin at the time they married (and praise God for that!). Seriously, I am happy for him it's just that I could not help but wonder if those who could not boast virginity about their lives received any sting of guilt or were struck with the fact that they could not identify with keeping that gift until marriage.

As a virgin I dare say give me a godly man who has had an imperfect past and I will tell you I am beholding a miracle. For though he went astray, the Lord left ninety-nine to find him and bring him home again. My Father makes ALL things new. The old has gone; the new has come - and that is something to live by.

More than anything, I am sick and tired of being put into the box of women stereotypes. As a matter of fact, I would like to submit to you men; if I am going to take your job and be paid as well as you it better be because I am capable and qualified not because affirmative action says so. And NO I do not like to be bossy. As a woman, it is important to me to accomplish things that are important and will insist on getting it moving if the other party is not. Ultimately, I wish the other party at least gave input other than, "you make the call." Though this may be the case for some women, that does not give me some heavy duty power trip: it makes me tired. It wears me down because I was not meant to take on the world by myself. God made me to be a partner, a helper, a supporter and encourager. The greatest privilege on this earth for me would be to help one man accomplish the unimaginable quest that God has laid before him: a unique plan tailor made for one of His sons and I.

I realize that there are people out there who could read this and call me a hypocrite because I have not lived up to all of these things. But everyone can be called a hypocrite at some point in their lives so can we just move on?

As women, we have not made men's lives easy. We are indecisive, insecure control freaks who convince ourselves to believe that sweet talking and dressing in inappropriate ways will finally lure in the perfect man and seal the deal when really it welcomes all the wrong attention and encourages men to see us with perverted vision.

Don't look at me like that!

I am calling out to all the men: PLEASE!! Restore me! Tell me what I am supposed to be not what the world says I am. Step into God's definition of masculinity and if you don't know what that definition is then ask Him to tell you. Pray that I understand what God's definition of femininity is. How I can encourage you? Hold me accountable to walking (and talking) in truth and purity.

Personally, I really like how different men are from women and women from men. Together in our true light, we cover all grounds.

Please... let's do something different than this world has been teaching us.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." -Hebrews 12:1

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why I Love This Girl. :)

God has truly blessed my life with family and friends who have and continue to challenge me and push me to reach out for more and more of what the Lord wants to do through my life.

One of those people- a best friend and sister from childhood- is Sarah Barlow. God has used her to be a great example of faith in her everyday life. We had a wonderful conversation the other day about stepping out in faith, but doing so without keeping one hand in the situation. And then I came across this blog post of hers that I really want to pass along to all of you.

The power and capability we have is LIMITLESS through Christ Jesus our Lord!! We need to stop selling ourselves short!

How bad do you want it??
I've had some pretty amazing conversations this week, that for me is probably one of my most favorite things about life...long DEEP conversations about just everything! There's just something about it.
Yesterday, my incredible friend, Amy and I got together for lunch to catch up...after talking for awhile we realized that one of the things that BOTH of us were majorly dealing with was passivity... knowing exactly what we are supposed to do but just NOT wanting to do it!
I've come to realize that I have chosen where I am today...I could if I wanted to... have been a multi-millionaire with a huge business, giving millions into the gospel by now and saving kids over in Africa. It's truly been my choice... I feel like I've been putting out about 30% of my potential into what I undertake...which I've accomplished a lot so far... but...that's right there's been sooo many buts!

I spend the day on Facebook instead of getting what I need to do done. I watch that movie rather than working out. I go hang out with friends instead of spending time with God. And I go shopping instead of doing my taxes. Not that ANY of these are wrong..if you aren't doing these then there is something wrong there too...but it's doing these things mainly and the other things when I muster up the feeling to do it!
Really what I've realized is it's the flesh and right now it is MUCH stronger than my conscience... denying yourself things in fasting is a WONDERFUL way of putting that flesh under and rising above it! I've realized that the times that I've gotten THE most done is when I've lived a fasted that doesn't constantly succumb to every whim that my flesh wants! It's saying no FIERCELY to those things for awhile and realizing how much time we are wasting just sitting around waiting for something amazing to happen! We are the amazing thing that is about to happen to this world but only if we get off our buts-butts and GET MOVING! I think we will be surprised in heaven when God shows us HOW MUCH we were able to accomplish compared to what we actually did because of us letting that flesh get in the way! As my desktop background says...THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR YOU!!! Let's PRESS IN! Not lean back!!

Posted by Sarah Barlow at 1:13 PM 6 comments
Labels: Thoughts

Thursday, March 12, 2009

[.Insert Blog Title Here.]

I'm not sure what to write here.

So much has been invading my mind these last two weeks... a refreshing change to my thoughtlessness over the past few months.

I wish so many things right now...
But I know that all I really need is to trust in one Heavenly Father-
Who knows who I really am though I haven't always been true in front of other people,
Him who makes me worthy of something greater and beyond my faults though I don't deserve a second, third, fifty millionth chance at doing things right.

He is someone who loves me to no end even though my understanding of love has been tarnished by this world and I struggle to receive His affection.

I want to be free in the understanding that He is God and I am not.
I want to trust Him with all of me because He actually knows my days: past, present, and future.
As if I actually understand what he has laid out in front of me in the coming days/months/years...
Letting go of control makes me feel light as a feather,
Yet my hands are aching to clench something I long for.

If we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

I have no direction for my life except that scripture above and this one below:

Let love and faithfulness never leave you.

God use me to pour into the beautiful people you have surrounded my life with... don't let me take time for granted for we are but a mist, here today gone tomorrow.
May I remain in your Spirit so that I might be a blessing to others.
I don't want to waste my life by witholding Your love in my life from other people.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, February 23, 2009

This Should Not Have Taken So Long!

At last, an update from my India Trip. For more, check out:

Oh man. I do not know how I will ever be able to communicate how much this trip has impacted me.
I would probably have to label it as the most meaningful trip I have ever taken.

And it was nothing like we had anticipated.

I think this trip was a very individual journey for each team member.
At this point I can only speak for myself, but hopefully everyone will have their stories up here too.

This journey was much more difficult and emotional than I prepared for.
For the first time I saw my late grandmother's entire ministry and even slept in her old bed located in the same room.
I finally grieved her death since she passed about 5 years ago.
But I got to see how alive her faith was and just how much its fruit exceeds a lifetime.

I met cousins, aunts, uncles, even my grand uncle and grand auntie... my grandmother's last brother and wife.
It was he, my tambi tatha, who exemplified the meaning of family to me.
He gave me so much love and affection it was unbelievable. I could barely hold my tears in when we said goodbye.

Don't let the picture fool you, he sat next to me and held my hand through pretty much the entire time my dad and I visited with them. :)

In short, I have been amazed to see how lasting of an impact this trip has made on my life. Even up to now, it is impossible to shake the images and experiences of India: the sights, smells, the people...

Although it was the hardest trip I have ever taken, I look back on it with the strongest degree of affection than the others.
God started and is still teaching me what it means to really pursue him. That nothing else, not even my own efforts can bring me any closer to God. I simply need to seek and rely on him alone. That is when fruit really starts to grow from my life.

I love you all. Thank you so much for your unconditional support, love and trust that all this would pull through.

Glory to God, He deserves all the credit...