Wednesday, November 17, 2010

God is Love

My sister, Emily, is book worm and so is her boyfriend, Josh. She constantly gushes to me about how I need to read this book and that book. I find myself reading blogs, short exerpts of books online and online articles but to actually sit down in peace and quiet and read a book was pushing it. She sent a book anyways and I have to say I'm glad she did. Against all odds, I began to read.

The book is 'Crazy Love' by Francis Chan. I've tweeted a tad about it, but as I read along it truly speaks to me and the way I'm living my life. Don't get me wrong, I'm actively seeking God each and everyday but that doesn't justify my decisions. Do you ever feel guilted and pressured into loving God and seeking a relationship with him? I know I fall to that each and everyday. I try to convince myself that by doing something then I am making God happier; what a drag. Chan explains this as work, hard work that isn't need. When someone is in love with God, it isn't work, it's manifestation. Doing those deeds that used to seem like work suddenly become a part of life.

While I read, I wept. I knew he was speaking to me. This is my life, I do what I think I need to do to get to Heaven. Let me ask you something, do you ever have questions rolling around in your head like... "Will I still go to heaven if I get a divorce?" or "Will I still go to heaven even though I have sex with my girlfriend and we aren't married?" or "Will I still go to heaven even if I'm not baptized?", I know that I am consumed with questions similar to these but why? Chan says, "These questions are tragic because they reveal much about the state of our hearts. They demonstrate that our concern is more about going to heaven than loving the King." Wow, how powerful right?

I read this and then re-read this statement several times; I had to try to put it in perspective. From what I understand, if we LOVE God and have an active relationship with him, these questions shouldn't be a concern. "If you love me, you will obey my command" (John 14:15). God doesn't want us to just believe there is a God, but he wants us to know him, love him and seek him; even sinners believe.

In today's world and our modern society, we try to make being a 'Christian' seem easy. Whatever works best for our schedule, for our lifestyle, our ego and our pocketbook. Don't you agree? It has taken me to break down to nothing to truly understand this. There is nothing I can say to to justify my actions to the Lord. He knows me, how can I hide from the one who created me? Chan breaks it down plain and simple; either you are a Christian or you aren't. You may bulk yourself up in public to look like one, but do your actions equal this? He says, "I gave God leftovers and felt no shame, I took my eyes off of Scripture and compared myself to others." It is easy to fill our lives up with junk and give God the rest. A prayer before bed, a couple bucks given each week at church isn't enough.. is it?

As I laid in bed and read I was overwhelmed on how 'wrong' I was on being a Christian and how sorry I felt for the way I had been living my life. God wants us to want him, to love him and is readily available for us. Because we are a nice person, friendly to others and a good citizen doesn't make us a Christian. In fact, I know several people who are great people, but not Christians. We are sinners, we are human and through it all God's grace covers us. Where do you fall on this scale, are you a lukewarm Christian?

If you have time or even if you don't, think about these words and how Chan truly delivers an amazing message. As I reflect deeper into his book, I will blog more.

Make today a new day, start living your life for God. I love you!


Abby Marie

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Enough is Enough

Happy Wednesday!

Yesterday was election day.. yay, fun for me; although, I'm sure most of you hate it! I don't know what it is but I engulf myself into politics.. lately more than ever. I find myself googling terms, searching for articles and watching endless videos.. I constantly want to know more more more! I am firery, I have an opinion, I want to be heard and yet, I still feel like I don't know enough.

It bothers me more than anything when someone catorgizes me as not caring for the poor because I vote republican (red).. really? I work two jobs, am a recent college graduate with student loans up to my nose and most importantly I am a young mother. If anyone needs help, it's me! You will never see me with my hand out begging- it is my responsibility to take care of myself and my family. I am working 2, not one but 2 jobs currently and picked up a coaching job on top of that for Christmas money. I worked full-time through college and still didn't make enough to not take out loans.

I am most definitely NOT upset that I have to pay for healthcare, that I have to buy baby food and that I have to work to get money, why should I be? These days it is too easy to get assistance. Let me let you in on an incident that recently happened to me. When Braylon, my son, was born I was offered WIC. A program (wonderful might I add) offered to young mothers and their children for assistance with formula, food and nutritional items. I am not the type to let go of my pride and take free help but at the time, I was fresh out of college in a dead market and desperate to give my child the best of the best. I decided I would give WIC a try; we mainly used it for formula since Braylon was required to use a special brand that cost $21.50 a can.

When Braylon was 10 months old, I weened him off of formula and began feeding him regular milk and baby food. I set up a consultation with WIC and informed them I would no longer be needing their services but was grateful for their help. The woman who was on the other side of the desk looked at me confused... "Excuse me Mrs. Jefferson, you mean you don't want to continue with our services? Ma'am this service is available until your child is 5, it's free Ma'am." I insisted that I was through with their service but thanked them for helping me when I had nowhere else to turn.

The moral of this story is, assistance is there if you need it but don't take advantage of it. In fact, that service isn't free... you, as tax payers paid for my formula for 10 months and I thank you for that. As a citizen and tax payer myself, I knew that I had the option to feed off of the Government for the next 5 years but how fair is that? How considerate am I to do that when I am able to work myself to feed my own child- because in fact, it is my child not yours.

I believe in old school ways. You get what you work for. You are who you work to be. Having morals and proclaiming yourself a Christian (or whatever religion you practice) is normal.

So, yes, I am a Republican! I vote straight Republican ticket every time and will continue to do so. I believe in working hard and getting what you worked for. I do understand that there are circumstances where one may not be able to provide for their family; hence the assistance available; however, feeding off of our country for years and years is a shame. I do agree there needs to be change with our system; trust me, I am not getting paid nearly enough, but I'm doing what I need to do so my child is fed and has clothes on his back. I continue the search to understand our policies; I believe we can pull out of this mess we have gotten ourselves into. Our culture is so self-indulgent; we believe that we are owed everything at the cost of everyone else. It saddens me.

America, this is your responsiblity. Get educated; know the facts. We as the middle class are not the only ones who need tax breaks; small businesses who provide the majority of jobs for us need them too. Small businesses are the men and women who have worked day in and day out to provide jobs to others; they are the American way of doing things.

Our country is so clouded right now; what a shame. My prayers are with our President every single day... the people have spoken, are you listening?

"On the average day, we live caught up in ourselves. On the average day, we don't consider God very much. On the average day, we forget that our life truly is a vapor." -Francis Chan

Use your short time on this earth to make a difference.

ONE love,

Abby Marie