11/8/10

Wide, Open Spaces...

I once knew a girl who was bound up inside. Years of building walls had proved to do the exact opposite of what she had hoped for. Instead of offering protection, these walls served as the bars of a jail cell. She knew there was life available and willingly ready for her to step into, any day she chose. Yet the walls were strong. On one side, she was hemmed in by fear... fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of being hurt again. Another wall was titled pride. She thought to herself, "If I break through this wall, I'll have to admit that I don't have it all together..." What if people thought badly of her. Behind, a wall of unforgiveness taunted her. How could she move beyond what these people had done to her. Memories echoed loudly in her head. Abuse. Abandonment. They walked on her. They overlooked her. They held her back. She wasn't worth it to them.

However, all of these walls failed to compare with the wall that was in front of her. This wall had many names. Faithlessness. Disbelief. Mistrust. Doubt. Anger. These things had crept together to form a monster that she wasn't prepared to deal with. The worst part of this creature was that it was staking its flag on the plot of land called God. She was angry with God for bringing her to this point in her life. She had lost faith that he wanted to take care of her. She didn't believe that he had good things for her. She didn't trust him to heal her. She doubted that he even wanted to.

The girl had taken jewelry and makeup to decorate these walls, maybe they wouldn't look as ugly on the outside as they did on the inside. She hoped no one would notice.

Although the walls screamed at her everyday, pushing her down into deeper despair, something in her heart wouldn't let her go under. There was a dream in the depths of her heart that hoped that the small voice that whispered, "Come to Me", was indeed real and true. What was she supposed to do. Her hands couldn't fit between the jail bars, they were too close together. She wasn't strong enough the break them. She didn't have the authority to have them unlocked.
She had had enough. Quietly at first, but growing louder with each call, she cried out for help. "Help! Help!"

She was startled as a crack shot through the wall on her left. Crumbling to the ground, the wall began to disintegrate. The jail bars began to fall out of place, clanking loudly against the hard concrete ground. She yelled all the more loudly, calling out to be rescued. Fear of being buried in the rubbish overtook her as she fell to her knees, crying, wondering if she would make it out alive. Sounds of destruction and violence whirled around her like a tempest. She closed her eyes. And then, silence.

"We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand - out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise."
Romans 5:1-2


She had never seen such beauty.
She had never stood so tall.
She had never been so free.
She had never felt so loved.

Who is this Jesus? He is grace and acceptance, life and joy, forgiveness and hope.

I am so thankful this girl now knows new freedom.

Standing where I always hoped I would,
Elyxis


10/17/10

Jesus Is _________.

Well, where to start, that's the real question! I have lived here in Seattle for a little over a month and I am absolutely blown away by Jesus. Words cannot give justice to the way that God has loved me and how he's changed me and grown me... I am truly in awe of him! The week after I moved here The City Church started a series called Jesus Is____. In this series, we have been traveling through the book of Mathew to figure out what the Word of God says about Jesus. Lots of people have their own definition of who Jesus is, whether negative or positive. (visit jesus-is.org if you want to see what people all around the world have to say about Jesus). I believe that Jesus knew that I needed to know more of who he is when I moved here... which I do! :) Moving here has been one of the most challenging but rewarding steps that I've taken in my life so far. I've only been here a month and I'm already starting to see fruit that comes from obedience. Jesus has revealed himself in so many ways, and I have found myself falling more and more in love with him... it's exhilarating! This weekend, in our Jesus Is series, Pastor Judah preached a message called Jesus Is the All Powerful One. He shared the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000 in Mathew 14 and 15. I am constantly amazed as I read and learn more about this God-Man that came to earth to die for me. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. His name is so powerful. In chapter 14, the word says that the people were with Jesus till late in the day in a deserted place. In chapter 15, it says that the people followed Jesus for 3 days. Obviously, if you followed someone around for a whole day, let alone three whole days, you would probably be hungry and tired. It says that Jesus had compassion on them and when he saw that they were tired and fatigued, he asked his disciples to feed them. They brought the little they had and Jesus multiplied it. It says that ALL were fed and that there were even baskets of left-overs. Jesus did not turn the people away and tell them to go find food on their own... he understood that because of the time and place they were in, they were hungry. Jesus is powerful enough to overcome the time and place I'm in, and I am so thankful for that! God's love and the measure with which he cares is totally and completely out of control. I was challenged tonight as I heard this message... have I let time and circumstance be the preacher I hear? Have I allowed my past experiences, my present problems, and my current circumstances to convince me that they are more powerful than God?? No matter where I am or how long I've been there, Jesus is more powerful than anything I face. That's the truth of it. Jesus is working something wonderful together in my life, I just need to understand his position and my own. Jesus is the all powerful one.
Sometimes I wonder when I'll figure it out or if I ever will, but Jesus is so good to quiet me with his love. I have found that since moving here, if I don't make an active, conscious choice to let God's peace have rule over my heart, I become a crazy lady! There are so many things in the practical that I could be stressed about and so many things I see in myself that I want to change... but I have to wait on God. It's a day by day thing here. I can't get away with what I used to in Bend, and I like it that way. If I skip a day and don't center myself in Jesus, I feel it. (and the poor people in traffic have to deal with me too... I HATE traffic, and Lord help me when I get into traffic without my Jesus.) As the season is changing, I have a hope in God that I don't know that I've had before... It truly is amazing! I am so thankful for what God is doing and am so excited to see what he's gonna do with this new season!
Maybe sometime I'll actually take some pictures and eventually get them on here too :)

twitterpated and in love with Jesus,
Elyxis

8/28/10

"But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The Steadfast Love of the Lord never ceases; His Mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning; Great is Your Faithfulness. 'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I will hope in Him.'"
Lamentations3:21-24

I don't know how ok I am with how fast my last month in Bend is going by! It's been so good as I have (tried my best to) put on the mind of Christ about moving away from everyone and everything I love and am comfortable with and find security in. God has been so faithful to give me peace knowing that he is in control. He knows me more than I know myself. This summer has truly been a summer of hiding myself in the Word of God... with all the stuff (and by stuff, I mean crap) going on in my life, I have no idea where I would be if I had choose anything else. I have had quite the time of it, trying to think differently than I ever have before... When you have your life defined by certain things, for practically your whole life, and you think about it being different, it kinda takes you for a whirl. I have absolutely NO idea what life will look like up in Seattle, but this I call to mind: God's love never ends, his mercies are forever and are new every morning, his faithfulness is above measure, and he alone is my portion... therefore I have this great hope. I cannot wait to see what he does! I love him so much! SO MUCH!!!!

"No shuffling or stumbling around for this one, but a sterling and solid and lasting reputation. Unfazed by rumor or gossip, heart ready, trusting in God, Spirit firm, unperturbed, ever blessed, relaxed among enemies... an honored life! A beautiful life!"
Ps.112:7-8(the Message)

These scriptures are where I choose to stake my flag.

Standing on the Rock,
Elyxis

8/5/10

Moving on Up... or Down... or All Around... Who knows? God knows.

Holy guacamole!!! I haven't been so good about keeping this thing updated! This summer has flown by at unappreciated speed and I've bumped into one of the biggest decisions I have ever had to make. I am so excited about what God's doing in my life and how is using me and how he will use me! I am moving up to Seattle! :) I absolutely cannot wait, I'm crawling out of my skin with excitement! Back in March, God gave me a word out of Deuteronomy 1... at the time, I was looking into maybe checking out San Fran and moving down there. It's really cool how when you are willing to take steps, God will begin to direct them. I once was told that God cannot steer someone who's not moving. So after looking into that and having those doors closed, I wondered what God would have for me to do this next fall. Shortly after God gave me the word, I went up to Seattle for the Generation Church Conference, and God did something in me that I cannot explain... He reminded me of several prophetic words that I had received in the past and totally, radically changed my perspective of him and of myself. Oh man! It was great! I came home and went about the rest of my 2nd year of CLC, totally forgetting about the word that God had given me before my trip up to Seattle. So, what was the word you might ask??? God reminded me this morning, out of no where... it just popped into my head. And it rocked my world, again.

"You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey... See I have set the land before you, go in and take possession of the land... 'Where are we going up? Our brothers have made our hearts melt, saying, The people are greater and taller than we. The cities are great and fortified up to heaven. And besides, we have seen the sons of Anakim (giants) there.' Then I said to you, 'Do not be in dread or afraid of them. The LORD your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way you went until you came to this place... who went before you in the way to seek you out a place to pitch your tents, in fire by night and in the cloud by day, to show you by what way you should go."

God has been so faithful to me... When I made the decision in the beginning of June to move to Seattle, the enemy was right there to come in and put fear and anxiety into my heart and mind. I began to think like the people of Israel had in this scripture... the city is so big, I am so small, what can I possibly do to make a difference up there? He caused me to doubt the gifts God had put in me, he caused me to doubt that God had called and anointed me, he caused me to doubt that I was worthy and loved by God, and he caused me to doubt that God could even use me. The scripture in John 10 that says the enemy has come to kill, steal, and destroy has never been so real to me before. Sure I've been through hard things, but I have never come under an attack so close and personal to my heart and my identity in Christ. This is the day that I say no more! God has been revealing to me over the past few days just how much I have let this fear infect all my decisions and my emotions. It was literally killing me. I love this scripture because God first releases them to go and reminds them that he is the one who is giving them the land. Then he addresses the immediate reaction (that every human that's ever lived deals with), the fear. He declares all of these victorious things over Israel, "I go before you, I will fight for you, I will carry you, I will show you which way to go...". The part the really got my heart was how it said, "The LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son..." I don't think I'm the only one who has ever struggled with this, but trying to understand God as my Father, it's really hard for me. God has been a father to me, but only to the extent that I have let him. I want so badly to let him in more. I want to let him carry me into this next season. I will not waste God's plan for my life trying to make it work on my own. I just won't. I want to learn so much and grow so much closer to God than I ever have before. I am so expectant that God will do something drastic in me that will change how I live out the rest of my life. I don't want to be a lazy, comfortable, apathetic christian girl who is ineffective in the Kingdom of God. I want to be someone who walks so closely with the Holy Spirit that others feel the presence of God. I want to be someone who makes the enemy scared. I want to be the woman that God has created me to be. I want to be a fighter. I know that God is faithful. This one thing I know to be true more than I know that the sky is blue: God is faithful. God will show me the way to go.

This is scary and exciting and totally outrageous all at the same time, but I am so excited to see what God does in the next year of my life. I will miss my family and my wonderful friends so, so much... but I know it's what I need to do. I really love Jesus, like a whole stinking lot :)

The "almost city girl",
Elyxis
:)

6/15/10

The Best of the Best!

So, for some reason unknown to me, these picture decided to upload in miniature size.
I haven't posted pictures in FOREVER, so I have quite a bit of catch up to do!
Here's when we went to Idaho!

We took these during our 45 minute long detour (aka we went the wrong way for a long time!)

Seattle!!!!
The Crew.

CLC representing!




CLC Graduation, 2010!!!








CLC Picture Day!



For some reason, this picture's normal size, so that's awesome.
:)




Beard and Mustache competition!



redonculous.

Beach Trip with Stacia!
(All these are big too?)
Oh well!






So that's the past 3 months in a nutshell!
Wooo Hoooo!

Incredibly Excited About Summer!
Elyxis!

5/26/10

.:The Winds Are About To Change:.

So it comes down to this. Tomorrow is my last day of CLC. Holy Cow. There are so many emotions flowing through my veins right now! I am inexpressibly excited to enter into a new season and to enter in to all the fullness that God has for me. I am overjoyed by the things that God has done in my life over the past two years. I am overwhelmed when I think of how he's blessed me with such amazing friends. I am also sad. Not a sadness from regret or mistake, but a heightened awareness of the fact that this amazing season of my life is coming to a close. God has been so faithful to give me peace and joy over the past few weeks. I for sure will miss this time of my life... it's been awesome! I value all that he's done. I value the people he's brought me so close to. I value Jay and Bo so much. I value his word more than I ever have. I value my time with him so much more. I value my own life more. I value obedience. I value relationship. I value the Holy Spirit. But one thing I am especially thankful for is the fact that this is also the beginning of something incredibly beautiful and precious to the Lord, in not only my life, but my friends' lives too. I absolutely cannot wait to see where God takes us all. I have such a sense of hope and excitement. I know that God will take us on different paths and towards different goals... but this I also know: He has allowed us to cross paths for the past two years, and because of that, I have been blessed and have learned and have been healed of past hurts and have loved deeper... for that I am truly grateful. I know that throughout our lives God will bring us to intersections where we will cross paths again. This is not the end, but the beginning. I'm trying not to get all sappy and emotional about this, but I can't help it! There is a tension in my spirit as God teaches me to cherish and treasure, but also live a life with open hands... open to receive and open to let go. It's hard, I'll get it someday. But for now, here I am.

"His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles." Psalm 97.

We are his lightnings, and he's going to send us out... I cannot wait to see what he does!

This song has been playing through my head for the past week or so, so here it is!




Oh Happiness!
Elyxis

5/16/10

Beauty

Just thought I would share this super cool picture I took last weekend!
God is pretty rad.

Also:
I graduate two weeks from this Wednesday. This is also a beautiful thing.

5/6/10

Crossroads: prt2

Do you ever feel like you're in that place where you know God is speaking and directing you, but it's just kind of fuzzy? Gosh, I know that feeling all too well right now! I know that I'm about to enter into a season of my life where the decisions I make, whether they seem small or big, will set the pace for how I walk out these next few years after CLC, and maybe even how I walk out the rest of my life. I think every young adult comes to the point where they realize the call of God on their life and that it's for real, it's not a game. My choices, out of obedience to Christ or not, will determine the outcome of my life. I don't want to be a sleepy, ineffective, passive Christian... I just don't want to! I've contemplated much what I will do after June 2nd, 2010. I am graduating. I can't even remember what life outside of CLC looks like! I for sure have never experienced "grown up life" (if you could call it that) outside of CLC. I was 17 when I started, and now I'm almost 20. My affection and love for God has gotten so deep in my heart over the past two and a half years. I look at all he has done in my life, and am constantly blown away by his grace and swept away by his love. So what will I do after I graduate... God knows. I don't need to know this exact second...
One of the greatest truths I have come to really own over the past two years is that God really is the only one who can satisfy me, the only one. When you are alone enough, and go through hard things enough, and after looking to as many other things as you can for long enough, you come to realize this very thing...Jesus is enough. There are dreams and desires in my heart that I cannot wait for God to fulfill! I see a lot of people my age, more particularly girls my age, who live their lives out of a place of desperation (not for God), fear, anxiety, worry, stress, and who try so hard to be who they think their friends or the world or their parents want them to be. I'll be the first to admit it... I live out of that place way too often. God is showing me that he doesn't want another _______ (fill in the name), he wants me, just as I am. Last week, I was worshiping in a large group of people and my mind started to wander just a tad bit, and I felt God speak to me so clearly. It was as if he was grabbing my face and holding it and shouting above all the chaos and noise, simply saying, "Right now, I want you... forget about all these other people... I want you." I know that God cared about those other people in the room and that he was ministering to them and all that (cuz he's God) but it was just this intimate moment where I knew it was just him and I... and that's how it should be. Sometimes you just need God to remind you that he's in love with you!
I once heard a man say this:
I have never lacked any good thing, I don't lack any good thing, and I don't suspect I ever will.

Living satisfied in Jesus is for sure a choice, that I know! But the reality and beautiful truth of it all is that the creator of the whole freaking universe chose me, and passionately loves me, and is eternally committed to growing in relationship with me. When I live like I actually believe that, being satisfied in Jesus is like breathing air... sure, sometimes there are complications, but you can't help but breath.... breathing deep and long. I want to live in satisfaction like that!


Learning and living to choose Jesus,
Elyxis

4/30/10

At The Feet of Jesus

I was thinking the other day, about the feet of Jesus. What is the significance of someone who lives their life at the feet of Jesus? What are they doing at the feet of Jesus? Why are they there? So many questions! What is it about the feet of my Savior that is so enthralling? I'm not really talking about his actual feet, cuz lets face it people, feet are kinda gross... especially then, when everyone walked everywhere, in stinky sandals, with sweaty dirt stained feet. I'm talking about what being at someone's feet actually means... what do you have to give up to be at someone's feet? Throughout Jesus' life time, there were many people who chose to rest or fall or just simply be at his feet. There are four different occasions that I want to look at where people decided to go to his feet:

The first three occasions are with Mary (Martha and Lazarus' sister)
There are three different portions of scripture that I feel really tell Mary's story.

The first is in Luke 10:38-42. Here we have the well known story, where Martha is working and running around like a chicken with its head cut off, while Mary decides to sit at Jesus' feet and listen. Jesus says of Mary, "She has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

The second story is found in John 11 where we come across Mary in a seemingly hopeless situation. Her brother Lazarus is dead. Martha and Mary had sent for Jesus, to come and heal their brother, but he didn't show up... he appeared on the scene a little to late. Jesus waited outside the town, and Mary, hearing he had finally come, ran to him. Verse 32, "Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet saying, 'Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.'"

The third story is found one chapter later, in John 12. 12:3 says, "Mary therefore took a pound of of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair." Mary was there to worship. I would be in the same place if Jesus rose my brother from the dead!

These are three very different reasons to be at Jesus' feet, the first is an active choice to listen, the second seems an outcry of desperation, and the third is in response to the goodness of Jesus. In the first story, Mary understood the importance of listening to Jesus, in the second story, she was driven to the feet of Jesus because of a circumstance that seemed grim and hopeless, and in the third story she was going to a place of sacrifice and intimate worship that was understood by her and Jesus alone (we see this in the next verse as Judas criticizes her for her decision).

The fourth occasion that I want to look at is when Jesus was delivered up and crucified on the cross. Here we see a group of people who kneel at Jesus' feet out of ignorance, selfishness, and sin.

Mathew 27:28-29, "And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'"

Mark 15:16-19, "They (the soldiers) called together a whole battalion (which, by the way is about 600 men). And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' And they were striking him and kneeling down in homage to him."

John 19:23-24, "When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, 'Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.' This was to fulfill the scripture which says, 'They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.' So the soldiers did these things."

These soldiers sat at the foot of the cross dividing up Jesus' clothing. They were there to take.

As I have read through these different accounts of people going to Jesus' feet, God has asked me one question: Why and when do YOU come to my feet?

I know that more often than not I find myself at Jesus' feet for selfish reasons. I can kneel before him to listen, to be comforted, to worship, or I can come in, mocking his power, and take.

More than anything, I want to be a Mary. I don't want to be the Roman Soldiers, no way! At the beginning, I asked a question: What is the significance of someone who lives their life at the feet of Jesus. Maybe the question should be this: What is the significance of the life of someone who lives their life at the feet of Jesus. On my own, I am not significant. "Someone's" aren't significant. Thinking about the whole world, and thinking about my little life, I feel just that... little. Living my life at the feet of Jesus won't make me, as a person, significant but it will make the life that Christ lives through me significant.

Galations 2:20 (the Message)
"What actually took place is this: I tried keeping rules and working my head off to please God, and it didn't work. So I quit being a "law man" so that I could be God's man. Christ's life showed me how, and enabled me to do it. I identified myself completely with him. Indeed, I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion, and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not "mine," but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that."

The life I now live is in Christ, it is Christ living in and through me! He simply asks me to come to his feet, for anything and at anytime (in fact, that's the place where I should live!)

A life lived at the feet of Jesus allows a channel through which God can pour, in a way that I believe cannot be achieved by any other means. A life lived at the feet of Jesus is an effective, infective, fruit-bearing, radical life... this kind of life can change the world!

There is so many facets to God's grace and I love discovering things that I have never seen before... His grace astounds me!

Choosing feet :)
Elyxis

4/12/10

Crossroads

7 weeks from now I will be graduating my second year of Cascade Life Commission. Um, what?! I think time is playing tricks on me! I can hardly believe that it's come and gone so quickly...
...oh my goodness...
God has done so much in my life over the past 2 years.
I am indeed at a Crossroad.

Two weekends ago, I went to the Generation Church Conference up in Seattle... it was awesome! God spoke to me in such a personal way, He gave me a bit of direction, and He reignited passion in my heart! Jesus Rocks!

He's been taking me to a place everyday in my devotions of just discovering more and more of his presence and showing me who he really is...
I think everyone has certain ways that they view God or connect with him or whatever. These are good things when they are inspired by the Holy Spirit. But when the way we view God is solely influenced by our own experiences, we can get terribly off track, quickly.

God has been so faithful to reveal the wrong mindsets that have been setting up camp in my brain for many many years... not only that, but He's been faithful to show my how to get rid of them too :)
Today He showed me this, from 2 Corinthians 12:14-15
"Here for the third time I am ready to come to you. And I will not be a burden, for I seek not what is yours but you. For children are not obligated to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?"

I read this like a little note from a father to his daughter.

I have never thought of a father who would spend and be spent for his daughter.
Today God showed me that I cannot put my mindsets about my earthly father on Him, because he is not like that. God is my Father. He's saving up for me. He will stop at nothing to see me become who he created me to be and to know Him like He knows me.
This is why I love Him!

He's different then I expected and everything I hoped for and far beyond anything I could have ever dreamed and nothing I deserve and all that I want!

I love Him a whole lot!

After CLC, I have no real definite plan of what I'm gonna do with my life, but I know that as I enter into this Crossroad in my life, this intersection of potential and opportunity and God's purpose, something beautiful and adventurous will happen! I'm so excited, I'm pretty sure I have no words to really describe to you just how excited I am to enter into a new season and to enter into all that Jesus has for me! It's gonna be freaking awesome!

I am madly in love with a wonderful, gracious, caring, loving savior.
Who knew life with Christ could be like this?!
...Oh Jesus...
!!!

So Madly in Love!,
Elyxis

3/17/10

.:The Hero:.

So I have had some very interesting conversations over the past week about the differences between guys and girls... and I've come to the conclusion that we are total opposites, but each make one half of a whole. Before I explain myself further, I would like to put this disclaimer out there: someone else does not make us whole, Jesus Christ makes us whole, and completes and fulfills us, in a way that no other human can. With that said though, God was so intelligent in his design of men and women... he did make us each a part of one whole. God made man and women in his image. I was having a conversation with an awesome guy friend of mine the other day, and he said something that I had never thought of before. He said that females show him more of who God is whenever he's around them (some, on the other hand he said, show him satan....but those aren't the ones we're talking about here, haha!). Women, especially the ones who love Jesus, are intriguing... there's beauty and mystery, gentleness and kindness, love and grace. It really took me aback as he talked about it. So often you hear guys, well the immature ones at least, complain about women... that they're too emotional, too hard to understand, not worth the effort, too this, not enough of this, and so on. It's funny how mindsets set in so readily and easily. I totally realized that even though I am a girl, I had started to buy in to these lies. I found myself questioning myself. Maybe I am too much, maybe I think too much, or maybe I even feel to much. WHAT?! That's such a load of crap! I am made in God's freaking image! You know, God is fierce, strong, brave, courageous, vengeful, jealous, wrathful, and He's a warrior. So true. And I'm thankful that he's the pursuer and that he is all of these things. I wouldn't want him any other way, no thank you to wimpy-ness! But people!, God is loving and kind, his mercies are new every morning, every morning! He is slow to anger. He weeps for us. He feels the things that I feel. He is beauty. He is mystery. God is the author of these things, he's the author of me...
Another thing that's been on my mind is just knowing God, REALLY knowing God, as my most intimate friend and even, dare I say it, my most intimate lover. Risque, I know! Men in general want to be the hero, they want to save the day and solve the puzzle. They want to succeed. They want to be "MAN!" {little side note: you can insert the word Man or simply the letter "M" into any sentence, word, or phrase and it instantly becomes more manly, i.e. "mable" (man table), man class (vs. our "women's issues"), man dates, man nights, man tights (ok, yeah I made that one up...), you get the moint (man point)} Anyways... wow, WAY off track! (ok, serious time) Jesus was fully God and fully man. Anytime that I've ever thought of him dying on the cross for me, I've known it was all for love... but I guess I've never thought about what kind of love... it was more than the love you have for your favorite pop tart or chick-flick, and certainly more than just someone he had to love. I can't even wrap my little brain around it! On the cross, he was my hero... he was taking my shame and my guilt and the total of my failures, and he completely accepted them as his own, so that I could know his Father. He was a real Man, to the fullest degree and extent. I think a stereo-type that society has put on men is that they can't fail, mess up, or be wrong and still be a real man... after those screw-up's, they become some sort of version of half a man, or not one at all. Can I just say how much this is so untrue! By all outward appearances, Jesus had failed as a man. I can only wonder what was going on in his heart and in his spirit as he hung on that cross, for me. Did he see beauty and mystery in me, did he see something in me that was worth dying for? This goes for both men and women... what did he see in us?!

So much to take in! It's made me stop and look at 3 things in myself:
  1. Am I portraying the image of God that he has placed inside of me, as a woman after his own heart?
  2. Have I let Jesus have my heart, as my hero and rescuer and most intimate lover?
  3. What can I do to invite the Men of God around me to reveal more of the image that God has placed inside of them, as men?
Like I was talking about at the beginning of this ridiculously long thing, God has made us two parts of one whole. We are so opposite in some areas, and scarily more similar in ways we didn't know we were in other areas. God made us to compliment each other. Sure, compliments about clothing or biceps are nice, but that's not what I'm talking about... what I'm proposing here is that together we can most accurately portray the very image and character of the Living God. That's a big statement, if I've ever heard one!
Take a sec to think about what that actually means....

This "little" revelation is simply blowing my mind... why have I never thought about this before? This whole thing is probably old news to most people... haha :)


How to end this blog escapes me.
This process of understanding God and men and all matters in life is so much fun...
I love Jesus :)

In the arms of my hero,
Elyxis

2/5/10

Removing Locks from my Heart...


This past week truly has been amazing! In my last post I was talking about the wilderness. I have been in the wilderness, for sure. I made the decision to face the wilderness and stop trying to run away from it and was pleasantly surprised! There are still things that I need to deal with (as always) but I feel like at one level or another, I have started to break through a major wall in my life... a wall called doubt. I doubt my ability, my calling, the gifts the Lord has given me. I doubt whether or not Jesus wants to work in and through me and whether he even can. I doubt in so many things and if it's not one thing, it's the other. I'm always doubting and second guessing. I need to stop it! More particularly when it comes to worship. Worship is something that has always captivated me, pulled on my heart, but it is something that I have to fight hard for. I know that God wants to use it in a powerful way in my life, so consequently the enemy is bent on stealing it from me... and if he can't do that, he'll try to get me to misuse it. I feel like God has begun to recenter me in the area. Praise God! Jay's friend Mark Thorton came to speak to CLC this week. He said a few things that I believe was really the Lord speaking to me for the time that I'm in right now:
  • My job as a worshiper (or worship leader) is not to usher others into the presence of God, but to open the eyes of others so that they can encounter his presence.
  • The presence of the Lord is the subject of reality. The glory of the Lord is the object of reality.
  • Don't be guilty of not entering in because of other people.
  • Opportunities of a lifetime must be seized in the lifetime of the opportunity.
  • I have as much of God as I want.
  • The source is always more important than the resource.
  • It's more important that Jesus receives my praise than it is for me to give praise.
He asked us these questions:
  • Should God's presence be my whole pursuit?
  • What is preventing me from encountering God?
  • When I say I want more of God, does my life reflect that desire?
  • Am at a point where if God never does anything else for me, I will still serve him and give him everything I am?
  • What am I excepting from the enemy?
These questions and many others from the Holy Spirit have been mulling around in my brain this whole week as I really look inwardly and ask for change. The first half of CLC I think was kind of a desert season for most of us, but as the first week of our second semester has rolled on through, I really believe that God wants to take us all to a new place, individually and as a group.

"But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as [one combined] loss for Christ's sake. Yes, furthermore, I count everything as loss compared to the possession of the priceless privilege (the overwhelming preciousness, the surpassing worth, and supreme advantage) of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord and of progressively becoming more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him [of perceiving and recognizing and understanding Him more fully and clearly]. For His sake I have lost everything and consider it all to be mere rubbish, in order that I may win (gain) Christ (the Anointed One), And that I may [actually] be found and known as in Him, not having any [self-achieved] righteousness that can be called my own, based on my obedience to the Law's demands (ritualistic uprightness and supposed right standing with God thus acquired), but possessing that [genuine righteousness] which comes through faith in Christ (the Anointed One), the [truly] right standing with God, which comes from God by [saving] faith. [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope] That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body]. Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own. I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward."

Philippians 4:7-14 (AMP)



Climbing Walls,

Elyxis

1/29/10

Project: Wilderness


"Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: 'Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians'? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness."
Exodus14:12

Am I so scared of the wilderness that I stay willing to serve the enemy's purpose for my life?

When you leave a place of familiarity, even when that's a place of captivity, you feel alone. When you're stuck in a wrong mindset and break free from it, you feel like you've got nothing left. You feel free in Christ, but at the same time you're not exactly sure what to with yourself or how to react to some of the same situations you faced before. You know you have to walk in freedom or you won't truly be free.

"Take away the dross from the silver and the smith has material for a vessel."
proverbs25:4

"Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart. There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [troubling] to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt. And I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy.I will even betroth you to Me in stability and in faithfulness, and you shall know (recognize, be acquainted with, appreciate, give heed to, and cherish) the Lord."
hosea2:14,15,19,20

It seems to me that with the wilderness always comes refining and seemingly less desired circumstances. The Israelites were always complaining about being in the wilderness. Honestly they sounded like little kids, "We're hungry, we're tired, are we there yet?"! Seriously people! I laugh about it and easily think that I am way better than that. But I'm the same! So sad! Because of their complaining, the people who experienced freedom never experienced the promise. Only Caleb and Joshua, who trusted God, entered the Promised Land.

The wilderness all throughout the bible is the place in between prophetic vision and the fulfillment of God's promise. King David, Joseph, the people of Israel, Jesus, John the Baptist, Abraham... all of these people spent some time in the wilderness (and by some time, I mean SOME GOOD AMOUNT OF TIME) whether that was the actual physical wilderness or spiritual wilderness. And they encountered these seasons more than once in their lives.

The Wilderness is not a bad place.

"The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the rose and the autumn crocus. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of [Mount] Carmel and [the plain] of Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty and splendor and excellency of our God. Strengthen the weak hands and make firm the feeble and tottering knees. Say to those who are of a fearful and hasty heart, Be strong, fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance; with the recompense of God He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap like a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. And the burning sand and the mirage shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lay resting, shall be grass with reeds and rushes. And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yes, the simple ones and fools, shall not err in it and lose their way. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk on it. And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away."
isaiah35

The wilderness looks scary and unpredictable. That statement is so true!

In my own life, the wilderness has been a place that I have dreaded and I think for that very reason, God has had me there for a very long time. When I read that verse from Exodus, it hit home I think for the very first time. Would I rather serve the enemy in Egypt or be with Jesus in the wilderness?


Contemplating the Wilderness,
and Joy,
and Peace,
and Mystery,
and a "butt load" of other things,
Elyxis


1/24/10

Ah Memories!

Look what I found! Don't worry, I cried too...
video

It's amazing to see where we were and where we are now!



Tears of Joy!
Elyxis

1/22/10

New Beginnings


What is it about coming to a point in your life where disappointments and struggles bring you to a moment of complete surrender to God? It seems that life calls for situations to tear you down and rip you apart in order for the one who knows, how you're supposed to be put together, to fix you up right. I find myself in that situation right now. Looking around, I see one set of foot prints in the sand... my own. They are foot prints that have carried (more like drug) my heart around into territory it should never have entered into. Territory that I've seen others walk through that leave them alone and broken and completely hopeless. Why did I think it would be any different for me? One thing I've come to realize this day is that the enemy will trip me up in any way he can find... any sneaky, low, completely crappy way he can. The battle for my joy and peace have never been so real to me before. It's my heart that is on the line here. A war is raging for my affection and attention and devotion. I want to declare that today is day 1 in New Beginnings. My goal is to discover something new about God and myself every single day. That's one thing I love about God, he is the creator of New Beginnings. We have started going to the woman's bible study called Breaking Free by Beth Moore. I know that God has brought me into this season for such a time as this. I'm committing to breaking free and starting over. No longer will the thoughts, words or actions of other people stand between God and I. That's no way to live. It's taken a lot of tough situations for me to realize this. For too long I've let certain things stand between me and the promises and calling of God for my life. NO MORE, I SAY!!!! I spent some time today reflecting on my journal entries from this past summer and fall. I would love to say that I've seen some growth from that time and that I'm not dealing with the same issues anymore, but the truth is that I feel the same. Why? When it comes down to it, it's because I have kept the only one who deserves my heart at an arms distance away. Today I'm putting my arms down. I read this in my journal from July 26, it comes from Isaiah 49:2-7:

"He made my life like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver. He said to me, 'You are my servant, Elyxis, in whom I will display my splendor.' But I said, 'I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing. Yet what is due me is in the Lord's hand, and my reward is with God.' And now the LORD says - he who formed me in the womb to be his servant to bring Jacob back to him and gather Israel for himself, for I am honored in the eyes of the LORD, and my God has become my strength - he says, 'It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light to the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.' This is what the LORD says - the redeemer and holy one of Israel - to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servants of the rulers: 'Kings will see you and rise up, princes will see and bow down, because of the LORD, who is faithful, the holy one of Israel, who has chosen you.' "

I love Jesus.
I trust Him.
My heart is His.

-and I am confident of this:
that he who began a good work in me will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus -

Relying on Grace,
Elyxis

1/15/10

Winter Part5 ! episode: Ice Skating (again!)

This becoming quite the tradition! And I love it! Hope and I headed up to the inn and enjoyed yet another day of fabulous ice skating!


































So Adorable!






















Probably one of my favorite pictures, ever. :)

Hope has quite the talent when it comes to ice skating! She's teaching me how to NOT fall down :)































































A few videos from the day!









~Elyxis~

1/4/10

Winter Part4 !

So, you can pretty much bake cookies at any time during the year... but we did in winter, so I'm just gonna call it a "winter activity"!
The thing that really made the night was the 3D glasses and this funky apron... lets just say we had a little too much fun.





Stacia singing to David Crowder (you obviously cant hear her, but believe me, she was!)


We will call this one "Stacia looking special." :) ha ha! I love you Stacia!!!


And here I am in the glasses and apron...yeah.


A few thoughts from today:

Today was our first day back to CLC after 2 weeks off for break. Can I just say, G.L.O.R.I.O.U.S. I definitely needed the break! I've been a season of questioning and evaluating myself and where I am. It's almost halfway through my second year of CLC! I would say some evaluating is in order :) God has shown me a lot about my character in the past two weeks that I know I need to change, and I'm thankful that He's revealed it to me. Today during prayer, Jay was talking about God's promises, as we've just read about in Genesis. He was talking about how rainbows can't appear unless there are clouds. It's often in those times when there are storms blowing through our lives that God reminds us of his faithfulness and of his promises. It's in those times that we grow the most and become more like Christ. I have to learn the art of surrender, in some way or another. If that's by the storms, then so be it. Though there are many things about myself I know I need to change, Jay reminded me today of the importance of allowing God to love me and show me myself through His eyes. I am very thankful for Jay :) I'm super tired right now, so I don't know if this really made sense but, oh well :) That's really all for now friends!

Loving Christ and his Freedom,
Elyxis!