What do you fight for?

The last six months I’ve been fighting.
I’ve been fighting to keep my head above water.
It sounds like dead or life situations,
but it’s not really about dead or life.
It has felt that way, though.

What do you fight for

You see, something has been ”off” with my health, and I’ve been fighting against my health to manage everything at school, at home with my family, with relations, and being a mom. I haven’t been able to live up to anyone’s expectations or demands: others expectations, demands, and MY expectations and demands.

Why?

Because I’ve had this picture in my mind that if I don’t, everything will fall apart.

If I don't...Everything will fall apart

Witch is, in fact, an illusion. I’ve thought of this illusion as a truth, when it was not. I felt that I had no choice but to meet these expectations, demands.

I know it is wrong (and not just with my common sense and with my mind, but with all of me). I sought God for answers, a way out, healing so I can be better. I’ve cried out, I’ve been angry, I’ve been desperate, and I’ve been so tired that I thought I couldn’t even form words together in a prayer –I’ve just let myself be in the Lords presence. But still, I’ve felt that there’s been no answer from up above.

I’ve felt abandoned, less worthy and all –just because of an illusion that I’ve put my trust in. Where I saw huge Goliath’s raising one after another before me, it surely seemed impossible.Like I started this post with: “I fought against my health to manage everything.”

But…

…I believe that God gives us strength beyond human resources if we ask for it. I also believe that God doesn’t give us more than we can handle

…I believe that he never leaves our side, even though it may feel like it sometimes

…I also believe that God always listen to us, with no exceptions.

…I believe that He answers all prayers, but I also believe that the answer won’t always be yes –for our own good.

But I know God has not said it will always be easy. He has said that it sometimes will be hard, but he will also guide us through it.

Sometimes that means He won’t take the pain or the challenges away, but he will help us get through it, or He will learn us to make choices, so we learn to get through life.

If our Lord always take the challenges away or always tells us what’s the right thing to do, we will never learn to be confident. We will never learn to make the right choices, and perhaps we will never learn to listen to what God says, or to understand what way He has to show you and me.

God speaks in many different ways, and He also speaks differently to each and one of us. We won’t learn to stop, tune out all that is happening around us, realize we are totally dependent on God, and really listen to what he has to tell to us; to give Him the chance to reveal Himself to us.

My challenge isn’t gone in any way. But I have taken a decision, several actually:

1. I’ve decided to pause, tune out the world to listen to my God.

In my situation, that pause includes taking a leave of absence from school, because the last 4 months (at least) I’ve forgotten my priorities. I’ve put school in front of every other priority. I’ve prioritized school before God, before my health (which have been screaming to me for a long time now), before my marriage, before my family, and before absolutely everything. Which has resulted in a totally empty fuel tank.

2. I set my eyes on God, and not on the world anymore. It has to do with my attitude.

I can let myself drown in all the worlds complaint over me, MY complaints over what I can’t achieve, what “everyone else” seem to achieve, OR I can look at what God says about me, about the world and really focus on doing HIS will. That way I will be able to really listen to what His plans over my life is. Because there will be no better plan than that one, the one He has for me.

3. I’ve decided to treat myself as His temple,

which I haven’t at all in a long time. I am His bride, together with my sisters and brothers, and I need to prepare myself for that. To do that I have to start taking care of my self again. That way I will also be better able to nourish my marriage, take care for my family after God’s will, and other relations.

4. I want to get closer to God.

And of course there are lots of ways to do that, which I have described more in the “Are YOU in Christ”-series.

This is not any New Years resolution or  a list full of practical things to do to improve my life for myself or “Now I’m going to change that, and that and that, because THEN my life will be perfect”. The grass may always look greener on the other side, and it easy to never feel happy or grateful if one keeps thinking that way.

No, this is a change of attitude and a change of view that has already happened in me.

I saw the world with new eyes

I have set my eyes and trust to God (again), and stopped depending on myself.

It is not an attitude I will get, or will work on changing. It is something that has changed in me already, that I will work on keeping.

And when that changed, I saw the world with new eyes.

It is as different as night and day. I still have good days and bad days. I have plenty of days that I feel I can’t get out of bed, but somehow I still do (it just take a little more time).

I’ve welcomed God’s mercy. I can just be held.

I don’t have more energy than before, but I am using my little energy where it should be used. I’m released from my chains, I am preapproved, and I am happy! But with this new view, a lot of practical changes will follow. It’s only natural.

When a person ask Jesus into his or her life, it is impossible to do that without it being followed by many changes in that life.
It’s because The Holy Spirit lives in us and changes us every minute, every hour, every day of our lives.

 

It’s just not so easy to notice all of those changes when you’re in the middle of it ;)

 

I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker’s Five minute Friday,

and Jenifer Dukes Lee’s Tell His Story this week.

Click on the buttuns to find out more, or to join:

Five Minute Friday

When life GOES according to your plan(and God’s plan)…

…but you discover it is not what you wanted.

I have a plan.

A plan for my life.

I have a plan for my family and for my child.

I have plans for the future.

Some of the plans are of my own designs, some of the plans were made based on what I believe is God who has shown a tiny little brick of HIS plan for my life, which is the basis for deciding that plan. Not that I necessarily understand that tiny little brick of a plan…

And some plans are carefully planned with my husband and other close ones that has a say in my life.

This week, life went according to my plan.

And I sort of got confirmation that it for some reason was a part of God’s plan as well. Which is great!

This week, life went in favor of a plan that my husband and I take very seriously, because we’re thinking about the future. Which is great!

We just got married, I study full time and have a kid from an earlier relationship(before I met Jesus), and my husband has a need of change in the job situation because of physical health, the economic, and to finally be able to have the priorities God has recommended for us: God, family and THEN work.

I am really tired, he is really tired and we find ourselves struggling with getting the everyday-life to come around in a GOOD way… So for us, it is only natural to decide to wait a few(or more) years before starting expanding our family.

But…

Thing is, for a few weeks I have had more than five different signs that there might be family expansion on the way. To be honest, it really wouldn’t be a good thing right now because of the situation. And to be honest, I didn’t really think that the test would be positive. But, It is a little hard not to notice all of those signs, so we took a test to be sure(we took a blood sample to be 100% sure).

The test was negative. Which is great!

It’s just…

I don’t feel great.

I feel sad. I feel that I lost something, that wasn’t even there to begin with.

When life goes according to your plan(and God's plan)...But you discover it is not what you wanted.

When life goes according to your plan(and God’s plan)…But you discover it is not what you wanted.

Only for a moment I asked God “why?”, before I realized all the good reasons for why. I also realized that in our situation right now(and at least three years ahead), this is a blessing. But it doesn’t feel like a blessing. I feel sad. And for two days I haven’t been able to “shake off” my sadness. My comfort is (no matter how ridiculous this mourning of mine feels):

Blessed are they that mourn,

for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4

A lesson from Jesus

Someone have pointed out that Jesus said to his disciples before crossing a lake, “We’ll cross over”. During the crossing, the disciples get scared and are sure that the boat will go under. The point is that Jesus pointed out the heading, he never said it would be easy, but he didn’t say we’ll go under. He said:

We will cross over.

I also take comfort in that he said “we”. He is with us all the time, and he will make sure we won’t go under in our trials. Just like he were with the disciples and made sure they didn’t go under(DESPITE their lack of faith).

A blessing

I figure that I AM blessed to have confirmation that God’s plan matches mine, that I am blessed with less worries in this time when I feel overwhelmed by tiredness and all that has to be done for the everyday to come around, that Jesus is not only with me, but also WILL comfort me.

I am blessed that no matter how ridiculous my sorrows feels to me, there is nothing too small or too big for my savior Jesus Christ.

I am blessed to have a husband that understands my sorrow even though he doesn’t feel ready for bringing a baby to life just yet, blessed to have people around me to remind me of the scripture and show me new perspectives. I am blessed.

And it is okay for me to feel the sadness I feel for a while. It is okay to mourn, even for something that was never there.

It is okay to bring everything to Jesus.

He want’s us to.

 

I wrote this post months ago, but I was not ready to share it. However, I want to encorage those that mourn for something. It is okay to mourn(as long as we don’t get lost in the mourning process). It is also a great opportunity to share your thoughts with Jesus, invite Him in and let Him heal you.

You were never meant to carry anything alone.

With Love,

Ava Sophie

Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee where we share stories of how God has changed us.

Paint

Paint is a difficult word for me, because it’s impossible to choose WHAT to write about the topic in just five minutes(beware, it might take a little longer)…

I’m writing about this weeks one word prompt hosted weekly, every Friday by Lisa-Jo Baker, where lots of brave writers join in to write for five minutes flat, without editing or backtracking.

Go:

When I read the word paint it is like reading about me.

I am painted and I do paint.

It’s like reading about all my life, from an early age until this day. Because I do paint.

But most importantly I’m painted.

Last week, Kim over at Dappled Things shared a post from 5 of her friends, where Steph wrote about how we are a blank page in the book that is our lives, and how God writes our story. I thought it was a beautiful image, and it really made me think.

 

I see another image…

Where I am a canvas.

Where I am not a blank canvas, because I have my history.

In my history I’ve done stupid and bad things, and I’ve done good things.

After I met Jesus, got baptized and let He be the boss of my life, my canvas was made blank. Because when I was baptized, I died with Jesus, got a new life and a new identity in Christ.

But Jesus painted back those bits and pieces from my past that was me– the way he intended me to be.

avasophie.wordpress.com

avasophie.wordpress.com

He also keep painting new things on the canvas that is me. Sometimes He paint over something to make new, even more beautiful pieces of me. And all along the way, God sees me as perfect, because He sees me through my painter.

At the same time I am so highly loved that he can’t stop painting me until He has fulfilled His good work in me. It means I will be a painting with many layers.

(I, Paul, am)being confident of this very thing, that He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6.

 

YOU were beautifully painted too, you know.

Lets shout for joy to the Lord, burst into jubilant song with music!Psalm 98:4

To celebrate the beautiful picture He is making out of the Canvas that is us!

To celebrate the life He has given!

To celebrate The Lord, Jesus Christ

Blessings

-Ava Sophie
Five Minute Friday

Being a writer at heart

Today, I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and her Five Minute Friday group of brave writers that write for 5 minutes flat(more like 15 minutes for me) without editing.

Ava Sophie has always been a writer at heart.

But it is only lately she’s been brave enough to call herself that.

She bound herself with thoughts like, “How can you be a writer without having written a book?” and “How can you be a writer when you haven’t written for almost a year?”, or “How can you be a writer when you haven’t published anything?”. And perhaps the most “joy-killing” thought, “How can you be a writer when so many people out there write so much better than you?”.

Now, she is asking herself a different question, “Who?”

“Who is the creator of me?” God.

“Who created me a writer?” God.

“Who did He create me to be?” For now, Ava Sophie knows that He created her to be a girl, a woman, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a writer, an artist, a lover and a friend. But that doesn’t really answer the question. That answer describes roles Ava Sophie currently are playing, or juggling if you like.

God created Ava Sophie to be:

REDEEMED. LOVED. HOLY. SAVED from sin and death. DAUGHTER of the KING of kings. CHILD of GOD. HUMAN. IMPERFECT but PERFECTLY MADE. FREE. LED by the lamb. FORGIVEN.

The How-question returns: “How can she call herself a writer?”

Because God created her with an urge to write, to share her thoughts.

I knows who I am IN CHRIST.

I know there is nothing I can do to deserve His love and sacrifice, but nevertheless, I receives it.

I accept this love.

By accepting this love, she accept who she is.

Avasophie.wordpress.com

Avasophie.wordpress.com

She is free to do what He has called her to do –to write(amongst other things), to share her thoughts, to share her life, knowing that if only ONE person is encouraged, if only ONE persons life is changed by that writing, she can proudly call herself a writer. It doesn’t matter if anyone write better, because no one can write the way she does.

Ava Sophie is created unique.

And so are you.

Raise your voice!

Five Minute Friday

Belong

This post was supposed to be posted almost two weeks ago, with the Five Minute Friday writers at Lisa-Jo Bakers link up. Since it was already written(only forgot to post it, in the summer-haze), I couldn’t just not post it, though I know I am too late with the link up.

Go:

Did you know you can belong somewhere even though it feels so wrong? Did you know that sometimes that’s exactly when you know that you belong…when that’s the place you don’t want to be?

The devil wants to do everything in his power to get you off track. He will do everything in his power to spoil the plan God has for you, to confuse you, to make you listen to the wrong voices, etc. He has power, you know. But it is so limited power that all he can do is to scare you, convince you that you’re not made for this job, that you are not good enough, to break you down. That is all he can hope to do, because the Lord Jesus Christ has already won, and you and me have already won with him. So, if you don’t let him get to you he has no power whatsoever!

Sadly, Ava Sophie has a habit of letting the devil get to her. She struggles with a mission. A mission she doesn’t want to be on. Not because she doesn’t like the mission. She is convinced that she is not doing a good job, she can’t understand why she has been given this mission, because, surely someone else must be better fitted for the task. It is a mission where it is sort of unspeakable to talk about not wanting the task. In Society where it is not seen as a big deal to have this task, it is difficult to talk about feeling you’re not handling it well. There are so many people that make it seem simple, and there are so many people that see it as a blessing(and a blessing only it seems). Ava Sophie sees how it can be a blessing. But most of the time she can only see how she is failing. Not because she is a perfectionist, but simply because she cant handle causing those around her pain.

The mission Ava Sophie has been given is motherhood. It is a mission she doesn’t feel belongs to her. It is a mission she feels she is failing in. Which is why she wants to run from it. Even that thought gives her guilt that she has to carry on her shoulders. How is she supposed to handle any of this? Being a mother, carrying the guilt? The answer is: “she is not supposed to”.

This mission is given her, because she is the right person to raise her daughter. She is the right person to protect her daughter. She is the right person to handle the situations interacting with her daughter, whether it is about fear, love, passion, stubbornness, tantrums, etc. She is the right person to give this girl love, comfort and cheer her on in her life. Ava Sophie is the chosen one for the motherhood job given her. Sometimes being chosen is hard. Sometimes it comes easy. She bets that no chosen ones has ever gotten through what they’re chosen for without hard work, tears, and doubt (If so, please contact Ava Sophie…). But most definitely no chosen one can look back and not see happy moments where they wanted nothing else in those moments. Ava Sophie included.

God told her yesterday,

“I have chosen you for this. You are the only one for this job. But you don’t have to do this alone. You were never meant to. I am here to carry you when you are too tired to walk. I am here to take your burdens away from you. And I am here to tell you to put down that burden you are carrying. It doesn’t belong there. But, this task does belong to you. And you belong here, where I have led you. You belong here with the people I have placed you with. This is where you belong. And you WILL see what a blessing it is. Just around the time when you will let me help, and stop carrying it all on your own.”

Ava Sophie is not the type to surrender right away, she needs to think it over, test it, and be sure it is right, even when it is God speaking. She told God that if this really were from him, He needed to fill her with his peace. She slept on it. Peace woke her up and she once again let go of it all, giving it to God, embracing her “mission”.

STOP.

So, have you figured out where YOU belong? Are you running away from it like Ava Sophie, or embracing it? Either way, God is there with you, waiting for you to take your next step. Have you gone through a similar process? Would you like to share your story with me? I would love to listen!

(Sort of) joining Lisa-Jo baker for her five minute Friday link up, writing for only 40 minutes this time… I guess that is progress(please help cheering me on) ;)

Five Minute Friday

Present

I told my husband last Saturday what to write in this post. I had it all figured out…I thought. I had figured something out in my mind, that I thought I had accomplished into practical living. I thought…I hadn’t. I couldn’t write this post until today, because I wasn’t finished with the lesson God had for me.

Go:

I once was at a depression course. A course, not to learn to be depressed or facts about depression, but a course about freeing yourself from a depression. One of the things I learned at the course was to live in the present. We heard the saying:

“learn from yesterday,

Live for today

and hope for tomorrow”

-Albert Einstein

The point was to only look back on the past to avoid making the same mistakes. The past is over. There is nothing more you can do with the past except from preventing history to repeat itself. So don’t dwell on the past. Move on, and keep your eyes on today. Today is the day that matters, because today is the only thing you’ve got. Today is the only day you can make a difference, whether it is in your life, in your family, with friends, in your country or even the world. We hope for tomorrow to be able to dream big, to be able to do more for today, to have a goal and something to stretch towards. BUT, if we start living for tomorrow, we have lost something mayor. The present. Today.

I would say I understood what I was taught about this. But maybe because I wasn’t saved at the time I learned this, or maybe because this teaching didn’t have anything to do with God’s word, anyway, it wasn’t  until God showed me this week I fully understand about living in the present. What I was taught at that course was to live in the present for my own good, at that’s something. It is good to take care of myself. but at the course it was a focus about the individual that was not the healthiest. And quite frankly, it helped me, but it couldn’t free me from the past, and it didn’t prevent me from living for tomorrow. And believe me when I say so: it wasn’t because I didn’t work hard enough with my thoughts, focus, or attitude.

It was because what I was taught was missing something crucial. 1st of all, I can’t do anything on my own. I believe I can, I can see progress, but I won’t get anywhere on my own. As I see back to that time when I tried to fight the depression on my own(with help from the course), I see that there is a huge progress. I also see God where I was blinded before. I see that God worked with me, walked with me, and helped me along the way. I see the consequences of God’s interference when I see the progress now.

If you are not a christian and don’t believe in God, this may seem like bullshit to you, or you may think that “that girl manage to see God everywhere, just because she has decided to see him. Faith is just a mind trick on yourself.” At least that is what I thought about some of the sayings that came from one of my christian friends many years ago. Well, I wish I could see God everywhere. But I don’t, because I am only a human and there is so much I don’t know yet, there is too many times I fail to see God just because I forget to look up when I am down. Because I can’t see the real present. All right, I have a habit of writing long posts, so I’ll get to the point now.

The point is, we can’t really escape the past and only look at the past to learn…before God has forgiven our past.

We can’t only hope for tomorrow and dream big without living for tomorrow… before we’ve accepted Gods gift of eternal life.

We can’t live completely in the present… unless we live it with God. Unless we live the present for God.

Part of the last week, I’ve sort of hidden myself away. I didn’t want to speak to anyone, I just wanted to rest or watch a movie or something that could distract me. I had many really swollen mosquito bites all over my body, in addition to quite intense pain in all of my stomach. I was sick, most of the time I was sure that I would throw up( I didn’t, but it felt like it), at the same time It was especially hurtful when I moved my body. Every time I ate, it was like my body wanted to punish me. I’m not sure what was going on, either I had a food poisoning or a stomach virus.

Anyway, when I don’t feel well, I like to hide. I don’t want anyone to see me that way, I don’t want anyone to speak to me, because I am afraid I wont be polite to them, and I also feel I don’t deserve any comfort, compassion or help when I am like this. I don’t have all the answers to “why?”  on this one, but I know there is a bad habit in all of that, that needs to be changed ASAP: God is love, through and through. He is compassion, He is comfort and He WANTS to have my permission to help me. Since I feel I don’t deserve this, I shut out God as well as anyone else. Luckily I have the most wonderful husband that don’t take no for an answer and make sure I eat, drink water, give me comfort and encouragement no matter how much I try to shut him out. And I am convinced(though I know my husband is a wonderful man), that God use my husband to give me the comfort and care that I need, by giving my husband a patience that amazes me, and grace to keep being good to me when I shut him out. But even though God cares for me through my husband when I shut him out, and my husband keep caring for me when I shut him out as well, it is bad. As long as I shut out God, I cannot live in the present, and my present feels bad, because I don’t let God be as close as He should be,(and wants to be). PS! It is not good to shut my husband out either, or anybody else for that matter, but I got to start the change with God first.

My husband and I figured out we needed to start the day by having a one-to-one time with God by ourselves first, and then spending time with God together as a couple(as ONE), to better the way we treat ourselves, each others and people we meet during the day. But most importantly to give everything over to God, to give God the permission to interfere in our lives, so the day and our life will be the best possible. To give ourselves(and the control) over to God. To release the pain we’re feeling(either it is physical or mental) by giving it to God.

THEN, and only then, we can live in the present, like God intended us to.

I must admit that yesterday my prayer to God was not surrendering to God. My prayer wasn’t wholehearted. It went something like this: “Oh God! I don’t like this, I don’t like the pain, I don’t like feeling this way, I don’t like to be this way or act this way. I really want to be led by you and to do what you say, but today I also want to just watch movies so I can distract myself. I don’t have the strength or will today, to give up watching the movies. Please help me to choose you and give myself over to you, lord, because today I am selfish, and I can’t(“or won’t?” a whisper in my head replied) do it by myself…”

Today, my mind was set on giving praise and time to God right after I had eaten breakfast. And I did. I don’t know how long I sat there with God, I’m guessing it might have been 45 minutes or so. My plan was only to sit there at least 15 minutes, and really focus on God, go all in, wholeheartedly. And I did. It was a little hard, and wonderful and all at once. God showed me how the last days were sinful against Him and My husband. Not because it is sinful to watch a bunch of movies while being sick, and not because not being polite all the time or expressing the pain is sinful, or even feeling sorry for myself is sinful. It was sinful because I didn’t let God in, and because I showed with all of me, my actions, my attitude, my priorities, that God was not the most important to me these days.

A few weeks ago I saw a movie that illustrated how spending time with or prioritize God(or your husband/wife) shows that you love Him/them, as well as not spending time with or prioritize them shows that they are not the 1st love in your life. At the end of the movie, after having “experienced” this in action, we got the conclusion loud and clear: what you spend your time on, reflect the priorities and the love of the heart.

This time, as well, I really thought I understood what I was “taught”. Yet I did the same mistake only a few weeks later-this week. So it was a little hard to realize this in my conversation with God, but also wonderful because God forgives, and he gave me the courage to confess and ask my husband to forgive me. It was wonderful, because being in god’s presence always is uplifting and He showed me some other tools in the bible how to keep close to Him and how to prevent these sort of things in the future.

The Better mom‘s post about 5 mid summer energy boosters, gave inspiration to better priorities to make it a better day for me and my priorities to God.

And Holley Gerth’s post about God not being done with you, really gave me a change of perspective to the better.

Also, I need to remember that Jesus said:

“The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

– Luke 4:18-19(*Isaiah 49:8-9, 61:1-2)

‘Cause today he preached the gospel to me, he healed my broken heart, my deceptiveness was delivered, he opened my eyes and he gave me mercy.

With Love

Ava Sophie

PS!
I really am getting worse on keeping it down to five minute writing…well, I’ve heard that practice makes the master, or something like that…;)

Five Minute Friday

When God is trying to tell you something…

…You’ll notice if you open your eyes

Lord Jesus, this is my prayer for you:

Two months ago she hadn’t slept a whole night through for two months straight. Some nights, it was because her child woke several times at night, other nights it was all about nightmares. Note: it was not her kid having nightmares, nope, it’s her own nightmares. She felt really silly about it, but Ava Sophie seriously woke up at night, feeling all alone, scared to fall asleep again, but too exhausted to stay awake. When she finally fell asleep it was on with another nightmare. When the morning came she was grateful that there was light outside, no more nightmare time, yet it was unbearable to think about the whole day she was supposed to go through without any sleep. To think about functioning normally in her everyday tasks, being a mama, being a loving, caring and respectful fiancee´, being a loving and encouraging daughter, to be a sister to be counted on for her siblings.  Nope. Ava Sophie totally fell short on all of what’s mentioned above. Thinking about this in the hectic morning she felt discouraged because she knew she couldn’t possibly fulfill all of these roles when she’s had little, to no sleep.

Ava Sophie tried to cope with everything in her own limited power, yet without realizing how limited it is. It resulted in disappointment every time. She’s the one she was disappointed with. She kept disappointing herself, and it was REALLY tiring. What’s even worse, she felt she kept disappointing people around her, and the absolute worst part of all is that Ava Sophie felt she kept disappointing God. Which is kind of ridiculous. It’s silly, really. Despite that, to her it was deadly serious.

A few months ago, she finally decided to order some books from Holley Gerth. I’ve followed her blog since January and not once has she written a post where I have not been encouraged and feeling more lighthearted. She has written several books, but Ava Sophie ordered ‘You’re made for a God sized dream‘, and ‘You’re Already Amazing‘. She figured she needed both, and was looking forward to reading both, but then realized she was immediately in need of figuring out that she is already amazing. Just reading the title bring tears to her eyes. Simply because she don’t believe in it herself. Ava Sophie just can’t believe that she is amazing, and when she reads those words, it actually hurts because she’s thinking: ‘No, I’m sorry, you’ve got it wrong. You must have mistaken me for someone else. I wish you were right, but I am afraid it’s not me you’re talking about.’

This is a girl who doesn’t have much time in her everyday life to read, but that might have been the best after all. She started to prioritize reading from the book in the fifteen minutes it would take for the bus to get her to where she was supposed to go every morning. The fifteen minutes each morning was enough, because half of that time, she would be sitting silently crying on the bus, having hard time continuing reading the words Holley wrote to her. The words God used Holley to tell her. The words He has tried to tell Ava Sophie for a long time, through close friends, boyfriend, mother, spiritual mentor, well, let’s just say he has used many people to try to make her believe in it. The thing is that Ava Sophie can easily believe that God loves the people she knows. She can also believe that God loves the people she doesn’t know. She can even understand that God loves the people she really doesn’t like, because she’s been given the gift(though it sometimes doesn’t feel that way) to see the good in people. If she can see something good in them, she knows that God sees so much more!

Somehow she just can’t see why God loves her. She can’t even explain it, really, because she knows there is some good in herself, and knows that when she sees it, God sees so much more. This girl just doesn’t see how He can love her. And for her to read that she is truly amazing, that is even more difficult to believe than that God loves her.

Holley Gerth writes:

‘I clear my throat, lean back, look you in the eyes and say: “It’s time you knew you’re amazing.”

You smile, laugh awkwardly, glance at the ceiling. “I know, I know,” you reply. “So kind of you to say.” I respond, looking at you more intently. ” I mean it’s time you really knew. An there’s more:

  • You’re not only amazing.
  • You’re enough
  • You’re beautiful
  • You’re wanted
  • You’re chosen
  • You’re called
  • You’ve got what it takes…not just to survive, but to change the world.”

By this time, your fingers are wrapped around your cup. You stare down at the bottom of it, focused at the emptiness, wondering why these words are so hard to hear.

Finally you ask, “Who told you that?”

And I respond, “The only One who really knows–Someone who loves you.“‘

These simple sentences made tears flow down the cheeks of a sore young woman. It was so hurtful to hear, because all her life she’s heard opposite statements about herself, and believed them. She’s been so convinced that she could not be a good(or good enough) person, that when Ava Sophie read these words, it was all she’s ever longed for. But it wasn’t enough just to hear it from loved ones. As a visual person with a better understanding of the written word than the oral language, she needed to see it black on white. And when she did, it spoke directly to her heart. Ava Sophie accepted the words. She still need to be reminded of it, though -preferably all the time.

This quote is from one of the first pages of the book, ‘You’re Already Amazing’, and she’s now read 1/4 of the book. Ava Sophie recommended this book from the bottom of her heart.  She’s made some changes to her everyday life now(not without “fallback”),  starting the day with a prayer, amongst other things. She’s even praying more during the day. Before this, when she got reminded of something to pray about, she used to think, “I have to remember to pray for this later”, and used to forget about it. The idea behind was that she didn’t always have time for a long prayer when she was reminded of a prayer-subject. Again, it’s about not being good enough. Now this young woman knows(at least most days) that she is good enough, and a little prayer when she gets reminded to pray is good enough. Ava Sophie now understands that God doesn’t set rules for people like: “I only answer those who pray at least half an hour for every subject”.

She also started caring for herself physically, by eating healthier, more often, you know the deal, exercising. Sometimes she goes to a gym, other times she settles for a short walk or a few minutes dancing “with” herself on the living room floor. She’s learned relaxation methods, and often combines them with a prayer. Something that really makes her cheeks glow and her shoulders relax is singing, surprisingly enough. She knew she liked the singing part, but it’s not until now she noticed the effect it has on her. What really gives her energy and peace is to spend time with people in the congregation, read inspiring Christian blogs, and just lately she’s learned to answer the negative thoughts with God’s word instead of discussing with those thoughts. If Ava Sophie is struggling to accept love, or to feel good about herself, she talks and listens to those around her who have close relationship with God, ask them to describe her as a person, and be honest about what she feels. That way she finds out that she’s not alone feeling that way, meanwhile it encourages others to speak their mind as well. That group is really great at encouraging each others and the way Ava Sophie see it, every one of them leaves the group feeling more blessed at the end of the day.

One of the chapters in “You’re Already Amazing” describes the difference between “strengths” and “skills”…Strengths are a part of our personality, a part of us. They are something that we are, that there are different ways to express. Strengths are what God gave you when you were “wonderfully and fearfully made”(Psalms 139:14). When you express a strength, you express it with a “skill”. A skill is something that on some level is easy for you to do, something you are good at, a talent maybe, but in general something you can learn. Let’s use Ava Sophie as an example:  one of her strengths is encouraging. She can express encouragingly, she can create something encouraging, she can write something encouraging, she can support encouragingly. Her main skill is writing.  Thing is, if I something happened to her, that make her unable to write, God would strengthen one of her other skills to perform her strength of encouraging. This way she can’t be stopped from performing her strength, even though she’s unable to use a skill.  Still, strengths can go both ways, used wrongly. Encouragingly can become discouraging performed wrongly. If we are really tired a day, and not observant, we may be discouraging others instead of encouraging them. To Ava Sophie it was revolutionary to learn the difference between skills and strengths, because she realized it is not the way she does things that describe her as a person, it is her strengths, her personality, and what she does, that describe her personality. She realized that it is not necessarily by writing she can do God’s work, but by using her strengths, in this case encourage, she does God’s work. She can give her strengths to God, so He can use her strengths to do His work, the way He intended when He gave her the strengths in the first place…This song describes her feelings and new perspective after this realization…

Ava Sophie opened her eyes, and saw some things God has been trying to show her:

On her blog post ‘You Have More to Offer than You Realize‘, Holley Gerth writes:

“…I thought of how our hearts are much like those maples. There’s so much to offer inside. And yet we become impatient. We tell ourselves that we should be able to produce something extraordinary instantly. But that’s not how it works. Instead we have to see the potential, go through the process, be patient with what God wants to bring to the world through us.

(…)There’s no such thing as an ordinary heart.

On her blog post ‘Comparisons will kick you in the teeth and hijack your dreams every time‘, Lisa-Jo Baker writes:

“Comparison drives up to take that dream we love, that calling we’re following, that friendship we cherish and wrench it away from us and grind it up into so much dirt and speckled gravel under irreverent tires.

(…) But if we were to look down, look away from what we wish we had. If we would glance back at where we are, we might see in order to have rubbernecked so hard and so far we’ve been standing with high heels ground down on top of the hand painted, one-of-a-kind life art crafted for us.”

In her daily prayer for marriages, The unveiled wife writes to the Lord:

“I pray for time to devote to reading your Word daily, to meditate on it and to memorize it. I desire to seek after you Lord, that you would fill me with your peace and strength. I know I need to lean on you more. Help me! Help me to trust in you.”

Ava Sophie’s prayer for the rest of her life with the Lord:

“Yes, Lord, You do raise me up. Whenever I am down, you raise me up. You raise me up, you open my eyes, you show me your thoughts, wishes, and plans for me, and that all of the above is ‘to give me a hope and a future'(Jeremiah 29:). You raise my view so I can see what you have laid down in me, what I am made of and what you have made in me. I give myself to you, Lord, knowing that only I do so, I can find myself. Because only when I give myself to you, I can embrace my identity. Because my true Identity is in you, and that is the only place I can truly find myself. Oh, Lord Jesus. You are so wonderful, and I am so thankful that you never give me up, despite that I often have to learn the same things over and over again! You never give me up, because you know me, and you have faith in me. Of all the people that could have faith in me, You are the one believing in me. GOD is believing in me. Jesus is my cheerleader! I thank you for taking a share in my life, and for giving me the opportunity to share my life with you.  I’m so thankful that you gave me a choice, the choice, to not only have you in my life, but giving me the life, and that I could give my life to you. Thank you for giving me faith that in you I’m not only enough, that I’m unique and already amazing. Our God is an awesome God!”

Five minute Friday: Beautiful

Linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker and her FMF writers on this weeks prompt: beautiful.

Go:

The word beautiful can mean so many things. Watching people in a cafe´, I might sometimes see a person that stuns me with his or her natural beauty. I don’t even know the person. It’s not just about their looks, It’s about their appearance as well. It may be this person’s attitude, grace, the way he/she walks, their hair, face, body, etc. It doesn’t have to be the kind of beauty the television wants us to look at, but sometimes it may be so. I admit I get affected by the media sometimes(which is why I try to limit the media around me -to be conscious about what I watch or hear, how often and for how long).

Anyway, that’s one kind of beautiful. Then I have these people around me that just blow me away with their beauty. The sort of beauty that has nothing to do with looks. It is the sort of beauty that can only be found on the inside. These people make my heart jump, warm my heart when I think of them, they make a huge difference in other peoples lives, including mine. These people care so much about others and make a difference in the world, just by being themselves.

There is the beauty in the love a mother feel watching her child, either when the child crawls up in the bed to mom in the early morning, cuddling as close as possible, awake, but not yet ready to start the day. Or when this child has tears flowing down their cheeks, seeking comfort from mom for a hurt somewhere. Or even when the child is tomato red in the face, wet all over with tears, stamping their feet on the floor, frustrated and furious that he or she didn’t get his or her own way. I’m talking about the unconditional love here, the unconditional love between a child and a parent. The love God has given us, which reflects His unconditional love for us.

There’s more. There is the love between a man and a woman. One of the most beautiful things between a man and a woman is when they promise each other their commitment, trust, love, loyalty and invite God into their relationship. That is truly a beautiful act, a beautiful scene, and a beautiful way of practising love. That’s what God witnessed Ava Sophie and her husband giving each others last week…

Stop

Five Minute Friday

Free Fallin’

Today she realized she’s falling. She has been for a while now.

She is and has been falling in different ways. She’s been falling in faith, and not the good type of falling where you leave everything to God and fall, in faith that God will catch you. No, It’s the kind of falling in faith, where you distance yourself from God, and you feel your faith is not as strong as it used to be. She has also been falling in the self respect area. She’s constantly trying to manage something her body is not capable of. Things that really have to be done, but her body can’t live up to it. Her body has way past reserve tank on fuel. Her body finally hit the famous wall. She began to loathe her self –because she was not able to do all that she had her mind set on. She had not been able to do what was expected of her elsewhere. She forgot most of her appointments, and those she didn’t forget, she was late for. She was annoyed, could only see all that was negative. Even worse- she started yelling and arguing for no reason, especially with her fiancee and her daughter. She didn’t like who she was becoming, and definitely couldn’t say she loved herself.

She has been falling in sin -the “you shall not have other Gods than me” sort of sin. Somewhere along the last month, where her body was so tired she couldn’t manage what she was  supposed to be getting done, but didn’t feel she could rest with a good conscience. Sometime during that month, she started watching Gossip Girl. And believe me, I’m not here to write about whether or not Gossip girl is a bad TV-show. But she became addicted to watching Gossip Girl, because it was easy to just watch something. She prioritized Gossip girl before God, and other things. When she’d watch the TV-show rather than be with her family, Ava Sophie realized that she was giving all her attention away to the wrong things. She wants to put God first. She wants to put her health next, and then there should be family. She wants to set her priorities straight. From this moment on…

Ava Sophie listened to a speech on a CD today. A woman was talking about how it’s easy to have the excuse” Oh, I’m so busy. I’ve got a home, I’ve got family, I’ve got a kid, a husband, a car, and friends(not necessarily in that order), so I can’t find the time for serving God at this point in my life…” The woman on the CD used these words: “you have no idea what is going to happen in your house, in your family, with your kids and your friends. You don’t wait until tomorrow, you start today! You have a heart, and you have a mouth! Have you got any idea how much a heartfelt prayer from you could do to your family, kids, friends or Society? And no one would even know it is you! You can raise your kids as disciples, and you have no idea what impact that could do to Society, to your city, your country or the world in the future. You have the responsibility to keep your heart clean, pure and guarded. And when you give your heart to God, you will find the time to listen to God and to do his work, whatever he tells you to. He will do great things in your home, with your family, friends, and he will do it through you. If you start today…”

“Okay, okay, okay. I’m starting today!” Ava Sophie said. “God, Please do use me as your tool in all relations. Please remind me to ask you every day for what task you have for me today, for what your plans are for me this day, for how I can serve you today!” I’m sorry lord, that you even need to remind me, but still I am here, humble, with an aching wish to serve you and to keep my eyes and focus on you! ‘Cause Lord, I am miserable when I’m not close to you. I need you in my life. I get all my strength from you and without you I’m helpless. But in you, Lord, when I’m on your team, following your plans for me, and doing your will, nobody can stop us. Because the power is yours. All power on earth is yours, and I am fooling myself when I keep my distance from you. Thank you, my Lord, thank you for wanting to be my friend, my father, my guide, my counselor and best friend. Thank you for wanting the best for me, my welfare, my health, my happiness. Thank you for wanting to communicate with me, for wanting to show how much you love me, how much you care for me and thank you for wishing me and creating me for a purpose. I am so thankful to you, Lord, and I am so sorry I drifted apart from you. Will you forgive me? Thank you so much for your forgiveness, thank you so much for your acceptance of those lost souls that comes back to you. And thank you for leading me back onto your path.”

Ava Sophie finally feels comfortable again, free falling in faith, filled with God’s peace, finally accepting God’s love for her. Could anything be better than resting in peace and just feeling oneself get filled with a love so great that you can’t describe it? knowing that you’re wished for, longed for, planned, wanted, accepted, and loved unconditionally?

….

Do you have any thing going on in your life leading you away from God? Have you ever experienced yourself blocking God? Is there anything in your life you have yet to give to the Lord? What do you have to be thankful for in your life? What has God done for you in your life? Please share your thoughts and your story with me if you like. I would love to listen.

Five minute Friday: view

GO:

A few days ago, Ava Sophie discovered something. She knows she doesn’t have a good opinion about herself, that she is having a hard time accepting  love, and that she is working on that part with all her might. With huge rearranging  of her thoughts. And it takes a lot. But what she didn’t knew is how easy it could be. If she would only let it be easy.  The other day, God showed her something great.

Her fiancee has always told her good things, he has always told her how great she is. She didn’t think the same of herself, but appreciated him feeling that way. This day, he said something that really got her attention. She had asked him why he wanted to marry her, and his answer was: ” There are plenty of reasons, but one of them is that God told me you would make an amazing wife for me. When I already think so, and God has my back on this one, there’s no reason not to marry you”

This statement told her many things. It matters to him what God thinks. God is his counselor in all things. He think she will be an amazing wife. But most importantly: He saw her with God’s eyes. He saw through his invisible glasses, which gave him God’s point of view. And seeing her through God’s eyes, apparently, Ava Sophie is pretty amazing. She realized she also needed to put on those invisible glasses and see herself as God does. Suddenly she could see a different picture. Every time she forgets to put on those invisible glasses, she remembers how her fiancee looks at her, and then remembers to put on God’s point of view.

STOP

In God’s view, Ava Sophie is….

…loved

…accepted

…chosen

…daughter of God

…princess

…royal

…holy

…wise

… creative

…encouraging

If you put on the invisible glasses, what do you see about yourself from God’s point of view?

linking up with Lisa Jo Baker

Five Minute Friday