Current Sentiments of my Heart

It’s difficult, you know? This life. Trying to live up to people’s standards and expectations while also trying to be your own you. Regardless of who you are, people will always expect something of you – whether to succeed or screw up; pass or fail- or have standards that you should follow. Because of what people know about you – a little or a lot – they already have a life planned, and set out for you in their minds. “She’s so sweet. She’s gonna be a teacher or a nurse or something.” “He is a horrible person. He’s gonna end up in jail somewhere.” Some folks get these comments to the face, to the heart. Other people don’t even know what is being said about them…until later in life usually. It’s pressure. So much pressure placed on one human person to “do well” according to other people’s standards. Then, when you decide to act out of the bubble that people tried to fit you in, things change. Good and bad. You find a freedom that you’ve never had. You get so many discouraging comments from people you know and don’t. You second guess your decision(s). You feel wonderful about the direction your life is going in. You feel lost. Confused, even. Almost hopeless. Then, you pull yourself up. Your dreams keep you strong. Your hard work keeps you standing. Your passion keeps you afloat. I’ve felt these things and more. I’ve fallen and picked myself up. I’ve been so utterly confused about life and my specialized path that I wanted to give up.

Forget about all the work I put in

Forget about what I’m passionate about

Forget about getting fired up for what’s right

Forget about social justice

Forget about all of it…

 

I couldn’t bring myself to continue to think this way. It hurt. It bothered me. It caused disharmony in my heart. What do I do? I don’t feel like doing anything about it. I want things handed to me. I want privilege because my life would be better then. (Sigh) “Jazmin, have you forgotten who your Father is??” I had.

When I decided to follow Christ with my whole heart and my entire life, it required exactly that: giving Him my whole heart and my entire life. I once believed that following Jesus meant going to church every Sunday, getting involved in somebody’s bible study, and praying and reading the bible sometimes. Though none of these things should be excluded, I failed to understand that it required more. Following Jesus isn’t about the works that you accomplish for Him or how good you’ve been since the last time you “messed up.” Following this Majestic King involves falling madly in love with Him and trusting His love for you. Following Jesus Christ is saying,

“Lord, all that I am is in You. I give to You my life, my will, my desires, my passions, my plans, my dreams. I trust only You with my heart- my most prized possession- oh, Lover of my soul. I will trust that in everything, You are there and You love me. I am precious to You. I am Your child and You take care of Your children.”

 

Trusting in this invisible, Holy, indescribable God is a tough thing to do, but worth it.

 

My college career took a dramatic turn when I felt lead to change my major during my senior year. It didn’t make sense to me. I had a solid plan for my life all mapped out. I was confident that I would always have the resources I needed and in my abilities to do what I was planning on doing. Then God tested me. It took approximately two years of prayer and contemplation before I changed my major. I knew that by doing this…

I would no longer have a plan

I would face some difficult times

I would be forced to trust Jesus like never before

I would have to accept God’s will for me and not my own

I would look absolutely crazy to lots of people (family, friends, and professors)

 

Heavy. But, I’ll do it. I say I trust You and now it’s time to test that I guess.

 

Little did I know that this meant lots of praying, and not praying- a product of worry and frustration-, lots of crying, lots of envy, lots of struggle, lots of second guessing. The list is very long. I felt like I was so close to hitting rock bottom. In this difficult time, I had to learn to trust the Lord of my life, Lover of my soul, and Commander of my heart. Not just trust Him with my words but my actions too. When things were really crappy, instead of complaining, I had to learn to pray. I had to learn to find comfort in His Word…His complete Word. Not just scriptures that fit my situation. I had to learn how to rest and abide in Him, for He is my hope, my Sky, my Source of Life. ❤

 

I’m currently in the heart of those difficulties mentioned above, but it is well. I do believe that. God is here and He is good, no matter what circumstance I am in. Some days I just want to cry, but on those same days God will use my roommates, my boyfriend, or His raw Word to pour His Truth into my heart, my mind. God is good. He is. He really is. God answers prayers, even the “little” ones. Believe me on this. Trust Him and let go. Give your worries to Him. He wants it all. Find rest and peace in Him, for He is the only One who can satisfy. His name is Perfect Love for a reason……… ❤  🙂

 

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A Thought or Two…

Suffering is a tough concept to grasp for a lot of Christians. Maybe because of the prosperity gospel…you know, the one that promises financial blessings and increase, nice cars and homes, more money if you pay your tithes, even more money if you bless the preacher with a financial gift, and of course a comfortable life. Many pastors/preachers today are feeding the congregation some washed up, wannabe gospel full of empty promises and false hope instead of preaching Christ crucified.

I’m not at all saying that I am against paying tithes, having nice things, or giving financial gifts to people but what I am saying is that we need to stop feeding each other these empty promises. They’re empty because the Lord DID NOT promise financial increase and blessings to every single person who surrenders their life to Christ. Jesus DID NOT promise that our lives would be easy and comfortable once we decided to follow Him. There is NO guarantee that someone will be blessed with a huge financial blessing if they triple their tithe payment for the week. God didn’t guarantee that we will be wealthy and make a lot of money, but He does guarantee that He will take care of us.

Matthew 6:25-34 reads:

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

How perfect is our Lord? He willingly takes care of us. He gives us all that we need and then some, even in the mist of our sufferings. While we suffer, it can be very easy to lose faith or to consider throwing in the towel but is God not worthy enough to be glorified through the good and bad things we experience? We have to learn to get up when we get knocked down. Better yet, we NEED to learn to give God the glory He deserves. He is enough!

I’m sorry

“I really wanted you to be the one for me…” Those words lingered in my head after I saw them in the text message.

That text didn’t convince me and I’m almost sure you weren’t convinced by it either. I couldn’t be what you yearned for. I couldn’t give you what you desired more than anything. I couldn’t be the one for you because I wasn’t the one for you. I’m sorry that I allowed myself to spend half of my college career trying to be what you needed. I tried to please you with everything within me but I couldn’t. I couldn’t understand why it was so hard to be what you needed until He revealed the reason.

We try to force love sometimes…especially when our hearts and minds are consumed with the thought of being with or finding The One. Some of us lose ourselves trying to be what another desires. We then become miserable people pleasers, trying to fill the void in our lives with ways to please the one we “love” and not the One who loved us first. I left Him behind to try to be someone I couldn’t. I couldn’t be what you wanted without forsaking my first Love. I couldn’t give you my all because all of me belongs to Christ. Because I had forsaken my Lord, I became confused. Lost. I felt empty. I’m sorry that I put you before my Lord and therefore knew nothing about loving another person unconditionally. I’m sorry that I placed your opinions of me over what my God, my Creator thinks of me. He adores me and I felt burdened. He cares for me and I felt filthy. He thinks I am beautiful and I felt inadequate. I’m sorry that I got lost in the idea of being with the perfect man when I had Him all along. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be what you hoped for. I’m sorry that I didn’t put my Lord before you.

To my Lord…
I’m sorry, Lord, for forgetting that in You I have my very being. I’m sorry, Lord, for thinking that having You was not enough. Lord, I’m sorry for ignoring You when all you wanted to do was protect me. You’ve always covered me…even in my rebellion, and I thank You. I’m sorry, Lord, for taking my eggs from You and putting them in someone else’s basket… But I thank You for sneaking one and keeping it…only to show me later that You had me all along. Thank You for Your everlasting love that carried me through it all. I owe You everything! I’m sorry for forgetting my worth and value when I KNOW that I have been wonderfully crafted by the Almighty King. I’m sorry for placing my confidence in something that I was never promised. I’m sorry I relied on temporary things for happiness. Only You, God, can fill all of me with all that I need. I know this. I knew this…and I’m sorry. I’ll never forget it.

Jaz
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No Attachments

When I first decided to give my life to Christ at age 16, I was completely ‘souled’ out for Him for a good year or so. There were plenty of things I had not yet understood or known but I did understand that my life belonged to this amazing God who loved me so much that He gave His Son to be slain so that I may be saved by His grace and have life more abundantly (John 3:16, John 10:10, Romans 14:7-9, Ephesians 2:8). I knew that God had loved me and that no one else could ever love me like The Messiah does. I also knew that I had a mission; that mission was (and still is) to share The Gospel so that all may know of this pure, everlasting, unshakable love that our holy Savior freely gives.

I had like-minded friends who encouraged me as I encouraged them to thoroughly enjoy this beautiful journey with Christ through life on earth. I was a radical 16 year old when it came to being about my Father’s business. I could not be shaken…so I thought.

Within the next four years of my life, I slowly, but surely, began to compromise…especially in my relationships (friends and boyfriends). In compromising, I lost sight of what and Who was important. I continued to attend church services and bible study groups but at one point, I felt like I was only doing it because I thought I should. My actions became aimless and my life became purposeless.

Soon, I idolized my future career goals, my hair, boys, and so many other things. I can’t even imagine how insulted God must have felt when He looked at me to only see the amount of idols I had accumulated over a short period of time.

My prayer life became weak and I stopped reading God’s Word. I was lost and I eventually felt like I hit a point of no return. I was so broken and ready to call a quits on life and my relationship with God. I would often say to myself, “How could I pray to Him? He probably doesn’t even want to hear from me. I’ve neglected my Lord completely.” Through the doubt, pain, and suffering that I was going through, I then experienced God’s faithfulness and truth in His Word.

Psalm 34:18 reads,

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit.”

I had read this scripture before but reading it during my time of suffering meant the world to me. It gave me something to hold on to. It helped me to remember God’s love for us.

I then began to share my struggles with my friends, because I couldn’t keep it in any longer, and the Lord used them to so elegantly help me to get back to Him. I decided that, with God’s grace and my effort, I would not make any idols for myself anymore. I needed to honor my holy and faithful Lord with all of me!!! Even if it took all of my energy and breath!

God gave me strength to be diligent and I finally got back to reading God’s Word. One day, I stumbled across the book of Ecclesiastes. I realized I had never read it all the way through so I decided to do it. The revelation God gave me was mind blowing.

Ecclesiastes is believed to have been written by Solomon, who was the richest and wisest man who lived during that time. Throughout the book, Solomon talks about how everything is meaningless without God. He paints a picture of the riches he had, what he achieved, and how he could have whatever and whoever he wanted. He was, what people in our generation would call today, “The Man.” Solomon had it all but He soon realized that none of it meant anything. Solomon made it clear that nothing will ever completely satisfy us unless it is our Lord. His conclusion was to fear God and keep His commandments (Ecc 12:13).

I immediately gained a new perspective on life.

I read Ecclesiastes a second time, soon after I finished it the first time, and I then decided that I wanted to live a life with no attachments to this world. We hold on so tight to things and goals and people and it is so distracting to what is truly important. If God wants us to have something, He’ll give it to us, and if He doesn’t, we need to let Him take it away. He knows best and I know this to be completely true.

Having no attachments to this world doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy life and the people therein, but it means that if I was ever in a Job situation (the blameless man who had EVERYTHING taken away from him), I would know that God is enough for me and will always be, and no matter what is going on in my life or in the world, God will FOREVER deserve to be worshiped and praised solely because of who He is…period!

I challenge you all to read Ecclesiastes and meditate on the things that Solomon is saying. God’s Word is sooooo awesome and I can’t get enough.

Feel free to share your thoughts or questions and if you have any prayer requests let me know. May God bless you with peace and assurance in Him. Love you all.

Thanks for reading!!

~Jaz

In Him I Have My Being

Belgium

Although I’ve been back from The Netherlands for exactly one month and one day now, I often think about the rich experiences God allowed me to have while I was over in Europe. I think about the children and adults I met…both Christian and non-Christian and I think about their lives and personalities. I think about my life’s purpose and why God allowed me to study abroad. What do I share when I return home? How does this trip help with what my purpose is on this earth? Aside from these thoughts, I also think about the Great Commission given to Jesus’ disciples from Christ Himself:

Matthew 28:18-20

18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 [a]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [b]always, even to the end of the age.”

After Jesus’ disciples received these instructions from The Lord, they didn’t waste anytime being about their Savior’s business. He commanded and they acted. The book of Acts shows just how radical Jesus’ disciples were and how literally they took His Word. They traveled, they obeyed God, they spread God’s Word to wherever the Lord commanded them to go, they baptized people, and Christ was with them. Many suffered terribly for Christ’s sake. Suffering isn’t fun, nor is it comfortable, but we’ve been called to suffer for Christ’s sake:

Philippians 1:29-30

29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30 experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.

…and what a privilege it is to suffer for Christ’s sake!! Christ, who was slain for the salvation of the people that God so loved….US! Christ, our Savior and our hope! It is in Him that we move and have our very being (Acts 17:28). Christ, who is one with God (John 10:30), died for us. He carried our sins. He took on God’s wrath so that we wouldn’t have to endure it….

How unworthy we are to even face such a King as He but God has so graciously allowed us access to Him through Christ.

I want to be completely surrendered to God and His will. I want my life to reflect His holy Son and His majesty. My plans, my dreams…I leave them in God’s hands. I want to be a radical disciple like Paul and Peter were. I want to glorify God with my life…what’s stopping me?

What’s stopping you?

I pray that God continues to reveal Himself to us and His will.

I pray that we are strengthened daily by God.

I pray that we recognize the distractions in our lives and what is keeping us from the Father and ask Him to take them away.

I pray that God gives us a heart after Him, and Him alone. He deserves everything! He deserves our lives.

I pray that we can be diligent in seeking and serving the Lord and doing all that He asks of us.

I pray that God reveals to us what matters and what doesn’t…what is foolish and what is True.

Pray for the body of Christ. Intercede for our brothers and sisters. Pray for salvation and understanding. Read God’s Word and pray continually.

God loves you!

 

My Life is Christ’s

My Life is Christ's

I haven’t lived very long but I’ve lived long enough to have had experiences that caused me to think more deeply about life. Life. What is it? Who is it lived for? What is my purpose? Those answers can be summed up into one word, or name I should say: JESUS!

I’ve lived long enough to realize that nothing else matters except Jesus and pleasing Him! Not pleasing some unworthy man in this earth that can only satisfy temporarily; not indulging in some career that will eventually end, either in death, retirement, or termination; and definitely not serving other gods! I want to be God’s Ride-or-Die!! Yep, I said it!!! To live is Christ and to die is gain anyway (Philippians 1:21) so what else matters? I want to take up my cross and suffer for the Lord! I want to do God’s will on this Earth and spread His word all over the Earth! I want to forsake all for Christ!! Am I ready? Am I prepared? Probably not but I’ve had some recent experiences that have showed me that only God can give me joy!

God is the ONLY person who is perfect and has kept me in perfect peace while I went through the motions! God is faithful and I see that more and more everyday. God forgives when we repent! I can testify to that! I turned my back on God for two years and He still welcomed me back, yet again, WITH open arms. He loves us more than we can imagine…LITERALLY!!! I am tired of having one foot in the world and one foot in God’s will when I know a God who is better than life itself! God is better than the air I breath!!! Jesus is worthy of my life and I have decided that I will live for Him. No more compromising, no more disobedience, and no more hiding who I am in Christ!

I thank God for His love, grace, mercy, peace, and joy! Happiness can’t hold a candle to God’s joy that He gives!!!! I am so thankful and I will strive to be the woman that God wants me to be. My life is Christ’s and I will strive to be perfect (Spiritually), because my heavenly Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48)