Stronger

“Beloved friends, if life gets extremely difficult, with many tests,[a] don’t be bewildered as though something strange were overwhelming you.[b] Instead, continue to rejoice, for you, in a measure, have shared in the sufferings of the Anointed One so that you can share in the revelation of his glory and celebrate with even greater gladness!” – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (TPT). 

Strength. It is a virtue that is valued and prized by our culture. It is a word that you see on the front of tee shirts in stores or on people that we encounter every day. It is something that many of us strive for, and something that very few of us think we have. However, as Christians, we don’t have to fall into the trap of trying to be strong. We don’t have to approach the trials and temptations that we face from the well of our own strength.

Because, we have a God who is strong, even when we’re weak. 

Over the past couple of months, this is something that God has been teaching me, in particular. By nature, I have a tendency to want to appear strong. To want to appear ‘OK‘ even when I’m not. To want to approach life with a smile when I’m having a legit breakdown on the inside. But lately, God has been showing me (even if I already knew it on some level) that it’s OK to come to Him broken in prayer. It’s OK to still have questions—and not know the end of the story. I don’t always have to be strong and I don’t always have to be brave because I serve a God who is strong enough for both of us (yes, I know I practically quoted a Matthew West song there).

So often as Christians we are told that when we are praying, we’re going into war. That we’re warriors, raging against the powers of darkness. But that is not all that prayer is. It is also going to your Heavenly Father and your friend. It’s telling Him the things that are really on your heart. It is being totally honest and real with a God who loves us! It doesn’t always have to be super-spiritual and it doesn’t always have to sound pretty and Christian-ese.

God doesn’t only care about the spiritual matters of our life—He cares about every matter of our life! The things that matter to us also matter to Him. That girl who is tormenting you at school. That person that you can’t quite get out of your mind. That test that you’re super freaked out about. God cares about all of these things and more because He cares about you!

And the times that we face temptation? We don’t have to fight those battles alone! Ephesians 6:10-18 says below. 

“Now my beloved ones, I have saved these most important truths for last: Be supernaturally infused with strength through your life-union with the Lord Jesus. Stand victorious with the force[a] of his explosive power flowing in and through you.

11 Put on God’s complete set of armor[b] provided for us, so that you will be protected as you fight against the evil strategies of the accuser![c]12 Your hand-to-hand combat is not with human beings, but with the highest principalities and authorities operating in rebellion under the heavenly realms.[d] For they are a powerful class of demon-gods[e] and evil spirits that hold[f] this dark world in bondage. 13 Because of this, you must wear all the armor that God provides so you’re protected as you confront the slanderer,[g] for you are destined for all things[h] and will rise victorious.

14 Put on truth as a belt to strengthen you to stand in triumph. Put on holiness as the protective armor that covers your heart. 15 Stand on your feet alert, then you’ll always be ready to share the blessings of peace.

16 In every battle, take faith as your wrap-around shield, for it is able to extinguish the blazing arrows coming at you from the Evil One![i]17–18 Embrace the power of salvation’s full deliverance, like a helmet to protect your thoughts from lies. And take the mighty razor-sharp Spirit-sword[j] of the spoken Word of God.

Pray passionately[k] in the Spirit, as you constantly intercede with every form of prayer at all times. Pray the blessings of God upon all his believers.” – Ephesians 6:10-18 (TPT).

We do not have to fight our battles alone. We do not have to rely on our own strength or our own ‘godliness’ to fight the enemy’s arrows in our minds when they start coming our way, because we have the strength of God living in us, always available to us when we need it.

We don’t have to rely on ourselves when we face situations that seem too great to handle, because we have someone greater and more powerful walking with us through every season of our life.

We don’t have to listen to voices of insecurity or self-doubt because we can choose every day to speak what God says about us over ourselves and choose to listen to His truth over the enemy’s lies.

This week I want to challenge you to fully press into God’s strength. To go to Him and just pour your heart out to Him. To resist the temptation to be strong and allow yourself the grace to be completely honest before God. To come to Him as a Father—and cry out to Him in the times that you face trials and temptations. 

There’s a song by Laura Story that I believe perfectly captures what I am trying to say in this post. Hopefully, it speaks to somebody today.🙂

“God, you’re such a safe and powerful place to find refuge! You’re a proven help in time of trouble—more than enough and always available whenever I need you. So we will never fear even if every structure of support[b] were to crumble away. We will not fear even when the earth quakes and shakes, moving mountains and casting them into the sea. For the raging roar of stormy winds and crashing waves cannot erode our faith in you.” – Psalm 46:1-3.

Poetry (Part Two)

Hey guys,

As a writer I am firm believer that words, thoughts, and ideas can be expressed in a variety of ways, ranging from blog posts, to stories, to poetry, and since I got such an incredible response on my last poetry post, I have decided to do another one!

I wrote about a couple of different themes that God has been speaking to me about and that I thought might be relevant to some of you all. Hopefully they inspire you today!

One In Ninety-Nine 

You say that you reach down from Heaven 

For the prodigal in the swine

You tell us that You’re the good shepherd

Who chases the one in the ninety-nine 

But what about the one left standing

Here at the end of the line? 

 

Surrounded by rags and by riches

Trying to reach far above

Trying to offer something

Unaware they are already loved? 

 

The one who is weary and battered 

Spinning her wheels so hard

The one who is worn out and exhausted

Needing rest in the Father’s arms

 

He whispers to her “My Child

You have always been cherished and loved

I thought of you on the cross

When I came down from Heaven above 

 

You have never needed to earn it 

Chasing after perfection so hard

Even though you don’t deserve it 

You have always been all that I want” 

 

Yes, I am the one in the many 

The lost sheep who wandered alone

The one running out from the pasture

Trying to do it alone 

 

Yes, we are all that lost sheep 

Until we are finally home

 

Worship 

Holy hands lifted high 

Hearts of God’s people touch the sky

In the house of God we may find

A glimpse of Heaven in our eyes 

 

But even alone in our rooms

When we are the only ones 

We are never separated from His presence

We are never separated from His Son 

 

He is with us in the car ride

When we turn up the radio loud

When we run through our days 

At high speed pace

Yes, God’s presence still abounds 

 

When it’s late at work and you want to go home

He is still with you 

And Heaven knows

When you’re talking to your friend on the phone 

Letting her know that she’s not alone 

 

When you’re weary in all of the madness

Of school and life’s daily tasks 

You can still rest in God’s presence

You still find rest in Him at last 

 

Yes, God is with us in all these times 

In the seasons of day and night 

He is our constant, our Holy Light

When all is wrong 

And when all is right 

 

So we can find peace and joy 

In knowing this truth truth abounds 

In the quiet and every day places

God’s presence is still clearly found

 

Reflection 

We are the lights

A billion stars 

Soaring, shining from where we are

We are the moon that reflects the sun

To shine His glory to everyone

 

We are the smallest leaves upon a tree 

Yet, still He sees and loves you and me

We are the acorns on a warm summer day 

Yet, still He says we are wonderfully made

 

We are the wind in the midst of our fears

We have the chance to change the atmosphere 

We are the trees on a cool summer night

Swaying and dancing in His sight 

 

We are the snowflakes that fall swiftly by day 

Unique and different in every way

Yet God is our Father who created us all

And into His presence we can freely fall

 

Each one of us was made to be

Someone who reflects His majesty

 

@ Courtney Whitaker, 2019

 

 

Poetry

Hey everyone,

It’s been a bit of a crazy week for me. I’ve had a lot going on and admittedly, I haven’t had a lot of time to plan this week’s post.

So, rather than the usual, I decided to post some poems that I’ve been working on. I hope you like them – and depending on the response that I get from this, I might decide to post more in the future!

So without further ado, here are the poems!

 

Through It All 

I still remember the moment

I was still so young and frail

When I first heard the Gospel message

When I surrendered to His will 

 

A girl, only nine years old 

Praying for a broken home 

A girl, only nine years old

That was when I learned that I’m not alone 

 

There I was alone in my room 

Praying for change to come 

There I was sitting in darkness 

Praying for God’s will to be done

 

Two years later, my prayers came to pass

And there I was, standing in church with my family at last 

For the first time ever, I knew the power of God, so clearly I could feel

That Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, really was truly real 

 

Through my teenage years 

And all of my fears 

And growing and living life 

Through the ups and downs 

My life turned around 

Because He showed me His love and light 

 

Through finding my voice 

And all of the noise 

And times I wouldn’t want relive

Through every high and low 

Through the midnight snow 

He has always been my friend 

 

So this is the tale that I live to tell 

A story of triumph over pain 

Of my God above who rescued me with love

All to bring glory to His name 

 

Life 

Life is a funny thing

The way that we come and go 

It’s an adventure waiting to happen

And a journey to behold 

 

We start as small children, young and anxious to explore 

We wind up eventually with a new beginning

Knocking at our door 

 

But it’s the time in between that we remember 

Filled with choices, love, and hope

It’s the time in between that we remember

As we change, and learn, and grow 

 

Where our life touches another, and it creates a ripple effect

Where our lives touch each other 

None of us are autonomous 

 

Because we are all a tapestry

Created for something more 

We are all woven together 

Created for our Savior and Lord 

 

This is life

This is our story 

We cannot do it alone 

 

This is living—and it means giving

Of our heart and of our soul 

 

In this moment, we are alive 

 

In this moment, we are breathing 

 

May we never never waste it

 

Instead, let us always choose to embrace it

 

Freefall 

People say that life is many things 

They say that it’s short and fleeting 

That it’s a box of chocolates, or that it’s simply contemplating 

 

They say it’s a dream, a journey, and hope

Others think it means just holding on to the end of your rope 

 

But sometimes, it can be neither, sometimes it can be all 

Sometimes, when you’re living, and walking this pilgrimage, life is a free-fall 

You think you’re going one way, and than suddenly your life turns around 

Sometimes, this is what it means when you’re following the Spirit’s sound

 

The crazy moments beyond belief 

That are completely out of your control 

The joys and heartaches that we face, both the young and the old 

 

But to live is Christ 

The Author of it all

That is why we call it the freefall 

 

Because you’re falling, faster, harder

In the greatest, possible way 

You’re falling harder upward 

Into our Father’s embrace 

 

Living life isn’t safe 

It was never want to be 

But sometimes, it can still be wonderful

In the midst of an unexpected sea 

 

So here I finish my philosophical muse

About life, and death, and between 

The joys, the laughter, the beauty of it all 

When we dare to live in the freefall 

 

Stars 

Do you see the stars, rising high above, lighting up the night

That shine down on us, to give a warming light 

Do you see the galaxies, up there, resting high above?

The painting, the masterpiece, of our Creator’s love?

 

They sit in the sky as reminders 

To shine brightly in the dark

And they sparkle down as a reminder  

That they’re always the same no matter where we are 

 

They connect every heart 

Under the same big sky 

Telling us that there’s a way home

For the one and ninety-nine

 

Because they point back to what’s real 

What exists in Heaven above 

They point us towards something greater 

To an everlasting love 

 

But there is one that is greater

Than every star up above 

The One who Created them all 

And He’s someone we can speak to 

In every valley and behind every wall 

 

So next time you see them remember 

To send up a prayer above

Not to the stars, but to their Creator 

Who loves us with a perfect love. 

 

If you have any suggestions for future poetry topics or a future post feel free to post them in the comments section below! I always love hearing your input! 

Thirty Day Blogging Challenge #2: Day Thirty

blog-challenge

Last Day: My Goals For The Next Thirty Days 

We made it y’all! Today is the last day of the challenge! Admittedly, I didn’t exactly go in order, and I sort of turbo blogged over the last couple of days (Due to two special edition Valentines Day posts on the horizon!) but I hope you enjoyed reading through this challenge as much as I enjoyed writing it! I believe it was a good way to kick off 2017 and I may do another one of these someday in the future.

Nonetheless, today I’m going to share some of my goals for the next thirty days—particularly related to blogging. 

1. Get on a schedule – As I mentioned in my New Years Resolutions post, I’d like to get on a consistent schedule for 2017. In the past, I’ve always posted rather sporadically, due to the fact that I often didn’t know when I’d get a chance to blog with my school schedule. But, as I’m entering into the new stage of life with college, I have more flexibility, which means that I’ll be able to blog on a scheduled basis. Thus, my new days are going to be Thursdays and Sundays. The rest of the week, I’ll spend my blogging-time preparing for those posts.

2. Be more active in my blogging community – For a while, I used to be pretty good about checking in on fellow bloggers and commenting, but lately, I’ve been sort of terrible about that. This is something I’d like to change over the course of the next thirty days.

3. Work more on my novel – This one isn’t about blogging per say, but it’s still writing, and I’d love for you all to read it someday—something that can’t happen unless I continue to actively work on it.  

How about you guys? Do you have any goals for the near future? If so, feel free to share in the comments section! 

Also, be sure to check out Emily’s blog from Fearfully Wonderfully Me! She just posted an awesome Valentine’s Day post that I’d highly recommend!