Sunday, June 02, 2013

Psalm 46:10

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

Confession of a Social Networker

January 1st, 2013, 4:53 AM: 

Hayley Rowena Rhodes, my beautiful daughter, was born.

January 1st, 2013, 4:59 AM:

The first calls, texts, and Facebook updates announcing her arrival, were posted.

My original Facebook post:

"Hayley Rowena Rhodes, 8lb 5oz, 19 &1/2", born at 4:53 am after 4 &1/2 hours of labor and one good push . Happy New Year!!!!?"


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I was so excited for the birth of my second child, all I wanted to do was shout it from the rooftops! But lacking a convenient high and central location, I decided that Facebook would suffice. Her eyes were barely open before the news of her arrival flooded the social network walls of every friend and relative I had. Soon everyone was able to share the joy that I was feeling! Or at least I thought I was feeling...

When my first child, Luke, was born, things were a little different. I hadn't prepacked all of my networking equipment, nor had I checked to make sure that I had the hospital wifi password, so that I could access the internet quickly. Nope, his birth was spread more by word-of-mouth. Parents told family; family told friends; friends told friends of friends; and slowly the world became aware of  the new and precious arrival. A slow trickle of loved ones swept in and out of our hospital room, and I had plenty of time to rest and marvel at the child that God had blessed me with.

But with Hayley, the word was out! That morning I did not get any sleep...I was too busy taking pictures and posting updates, calling family and worrying about who I had forgotten to tell. When visiting hours rolled around I was exhausted, Hayley hadn't slept all night and I had to entertain the many guests that I had invited to, "COME SEE!!"

At the time I didn't feel like I was doing anything wrong, but as the weeks passed I knew that I did not feel as close to my little girl  as I had with her brother. There was a distance there, a barrier that I couldn't, at first, put my finger on. It wasn't until I turned to God and asked, "Why?" that the answer dawned on me; Facebook.

Don't get me wrong, I love my Facebook, I spend quite a bit of time on there, but that was exactly the problem! I had been so concerned with updating my status that I had missed many of the moments that are needed to build a relationship. Instead of reveling in the experience as Hayley first snuggled into the warmth of my arms, I was busy trying to find a good angle to take a picture of her on my phone.

I was guilty of this, and many more injustices, due to my attempts to capture the moment, but not live in the moment. When I learned this, I was dismayed, but I was even more upset when I realized that it was more than that single relationship that was affected. If I had done this terrible thing to my daughter, who else had I done it to? The heartbreaking answer was everyone, and most importantly, God.
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The knowledge of this has been heavy on my heart lately. I am just coming to  recognize how I have used tasks, updates, and posts as an excuse to fill my time and not pay attention to the work that God asks of me. Even now, the words, "Be still and know that I am God," ring longingly in my ears and I am aware that though my body may be still, poised in front of a computer screen, my mind is not.

I think that this might be a growing problem for my generation; the concept of "plug-in and tune out". We are so wrapped up in our texting, tweets, FB updates, IM's and phone conversations that we are missing out on life! It is hard, as young believers to shut off the loud and needy technology that dictates our lives and tune into the soft whispers that God speaks to our hearts. I don't know about you, but I actually feel guilty for "being still" most of the time.

Imagine this though: you are sitting at a table with a friend and you are trying desperately to have a quiet and deep conversion with them, but they aren't paying attention. You get the "uh huh" nod every once in a while, but their eyes and fingers are perpetually locked on their phone screen. It turns out that they are having another conversation on the side about their cute lab partner in chem class. How would you feel? There you are, sharing our heart with them and they are ignoring you to chat with someone who isn't even there!

Let's turn that situation around. Do we do this to God? I know I do...

"Heather I want to talk to you today."

"Uh huh"

"I am so excited about the plans that I have for you and your family!"

"Cool"

"I want to tell you about how much I love you!"

"Neat-o"

"I want to tell you about your purpose; your potential; the woman I created you to be!"

"Awesome....Hey how do you spell 'pomegranate'? "
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I did not make the time to soak in the miracle of my daughter's birth; I do not make the time to absorb the wonder of God's love and the awe of His grace. This is something that I am struggling hard with, but because I am now aware of the battle that I am fighting, I can already see results. Every time I stop staring at the screen and stare into Hayley's eyes, every time I let go of the computer mouse and grab my Bible,  I am winning.

I feel for those of you who are having a hard time with this as well. I pray that we stop cheating ourselves. Social networking is good to have, but we must not use it in replacement of life, love, and faith.

Posted with love and conviction,
Heather

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Metamorphosis

Hello!!
     First of all I would like to say sorry for my absence for the past few weeks. My life has been chaotic, from adventures to different countries to graduating from high school. God has done so much in my life these past few weeks. Changing my heart and showing me what He has for my future.
     I'm at a point in my life where change is everywhere It is a lot to take in and at times it can be overwhelming. I graduated from high school the other night and I couldn't help but reminisce on the past four years of my life. It has changed in so many ways. I have grown from a quiet girl who wanted to appease people to a woman who is confident in where her God is leading her. I have had the best of times and the worst of times. But through every single part of it God has been constant.
     I want to share how God has changed me in the past four years and let you see how God has been constant in my life. When I entered high school I was a very quiet girl and not sure of myself. I was friends with people who were not the best influences on me but God was slowly taking my heart and I was falling in love with Him. He took my on an adventure to San Francisco and now looking back I can see through that trip I was transforming into someone who loved Jesus and wanted to do anything and everything for Him. My sophomore year I went through a lot of hard things like friendships ending and feeling abandoned. During that time I can see how I could have turned away from God and been angry with Him for everything going on around me. But He had my heart and helped me remain focused on Him, trusting that everything would be okay. My junior year of high school I took a few stumbling steps in my walk with God. It became hard for me to trust Him. But even through the times of doubting, He was constant and always was there to help lead me back to Him. As I started to fall back in love with God after that hard year I was becoming more mature and understanding. My senior year came and I was so excited for life and graduating and going to college. Well did God rock my world this past year. My plans were not working out as I would have liked them to. I went through frustrations of not having the resources to pay for the college of my dreams. But again God was constant. Confusion and anxiety struck me but I remained close to God waiting for His direction. Then a few weeks ago, God took me on a trip that changed my life. While I was in another country serving people, loving and building relationships God spoke SO clearly to my heart at what His plans were for my life and why things were not working out the way I had planned them. And when He spoke I was ready to follow.
     Looking back I can see a metamorphosis occurring in my life. And I genuinely think that life will have metamorphosis' throughout it. And God will ALWAYS be constant. I think about a butterfly. We are all butterflies to God, He is slowly shaping us from caterpillars into beautiful butterflies that reflect Him.
 Have a blessed week,
                      Michaela

Psalm 107:1

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Matthew 13:5-9

"Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred,sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

Edjumacate Yerselves

Hello lovelies.

I only have 31 minutes left of Monday. My mom often asks me why I procrastinate so often, and I usually just say "Meh, I like living on the edge."

Not really. I'm just scatter-brained.

As some of you may know (but most of you may not) I am one of the adult leaders for HDC's ABS program. ABS stands for Area Bible Study, and it consists of several houses set up through out the desert, which allow kids to show up at a nearby location and get plugged in to High Desert Church (which has an enormously large congregation) and study scripture on Wednesday nights. But I've really never felt like ABS is about studying scripture, it's more about building relationships and seeing how God uses one another in each other's lives. It's pretty cool, really.

Well, I just attended our last *official* meeting of the year, where we threw a big party with ice cream sundays and the lot. But we also took a chance to honor our seniors, first with the guys, and then the girls. All the leaders were given the opportunity to tell them something. Some spoke up, some didn't. It is in my nature, of course, to speak up when I have the chance. But I wasn't just talking for talking's sake. I really did feel like there was something I needed to share with my kids.

For the guys, I reminded them of what a large role it is to be the leader of one's household, and that they are loving their wife and children better now (before they even exist) by cultivating their relationship with God before they even meet their future life partner. Men struggle, so much. I see it. And I GET it! Being the leader is so difficult! It's a high calling that God has given to all men, and few rise to the occasion. But many more are capable of doing so, if only they remembered that every moment of their youth counted towards something bigger, especially in terms of their relationship with God, and that high calling of leadership could only be fulfilled if they let God take the reigns now, before they even have anyone to lead.

For my girls, I said much more, but there were two main things that I emphasized: give up every old AND new-found insecurity to God. Never hold it within yourself. Give it to Him, and allow Him to HELP you through it so that it can merely be a stumbling block to overcome, not a road block that halts all passage.

And then this: Don't ever let someone make you feel inferior. Don't ever let someone make you feel unintelligent. Don't ever let someone belittle you for your faith.

I say all these things to them, and I say them all to you now, with EXTRA emphasis on the last bit. In this last semester I had taken two classes that severely challenged my faith using very intelligent antagonists coming from respectable places such as Harvard and M.I.T. And they also placed a lot of "facts" that we now "know" based on interpreted evidence that all scientists, sociologists, and archeologists have. The only problem was, the material was so ridiculously biased, it made it difficult to take it all seriously. But nonetheless, it wasn't just a bunch of crap. These very secular, atheistic opinions aren't coming from idiots- they're coming from very intelligent people.

That's why I encourage you all- no matter what walk of life you are currently in- to educate yourselves. Don't feel like you're being unfaithful to God by asking questions. You MUST ask questions in order to ever supply yourself with any answers when others poke and prod you. And that has been one things I have seen a great deal- people who are intent on proving that there is no God will poke and prod you like there's no tomorrow. Many secular debaters act as if they are completely unbiased, with no motive or agenda. But this is simply untrue- their agenda is to prove that this world is Godless, just as much as our agenda is to prove that this world is a product of God.

Both sides have their faults in the arguments- many secularists are very belittling, hostile, and downright arrogant. BUT, many theists are very ignorant, impatient, judgmental, and exclusive.

Your job is to be neither. Your job is to be educated. Your job is to challenge yourself, and find a solid faith- not just believe whatever it is your church tells you is true.

I hope this has challenged some of you this week. I'd love to hear your thoughts and what you believe is a wise way to go about educating ourselves as Christians.

God bless, lovelies.

- Christina Lynn

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Trust Me; I'm a Professional

I thought I'd share with you a little excerpt from Henry Cloud's talk at the 2008 Woman of Faith conference in Billings. I found this very helpful, because I am one of those people who tends to labor any willing ear with the weight of my deepest troubles:

" When we are walking outside and a man comes up to us wearing a mask and holding a knife; and he proceeds to  cut us open, take our money, and leave us laying there unconscious, we call that a mugging and it is a terrible and scary thing.

When we walk into a hospital and a doctor comes up to us wearing a mask and holding a knife; and he proceeds to cut us open, take our money, and leave us laying there unconscious, we call that a surgery and we thank our doctor for healing us.

Why do we fear one and thank another? Because the doctor is a professional! He knows what he is doing and he is going to take care of us and provide a safe and healing place for us to recover. The mugger just inflicts pain and makes everything worse."


The moral? There are times when we need a professional or knowledgeable person to help us with the problems in our lives that leave us vulnerable. If you are dealing with a hardship, don't run to a dysfunctional friend or family member to help you solve your problem, because they will probably give you bad advice and make things worse. 


 Lay your heart in the hands of someone who knows what they are doing with it. If your marriage is in trouble, talk to your pastor, a loving and experienced couple, or a marriage councilor; not to Freddy at the bar who has been married 4 times. When you are dealing with a past of pain or abuse, call upon people who know what you are going through, reach out to your spouse who knows you best, or to a support group; not to aunt Martha who's greatest tragedy was the day she missed the blowout sale at JC Penny's. 

See what I mean?

Posted with love,
Heather