Salt & Light

I often wonder what being a Christian looks like to outsiders, and I guess that opinion can vary depending on who the person has been exposed to.

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So many variables play into the way a person sees anything really. If you’ve had daddy issues or been in an abusive relationship, you’re more likely to not trust men in general. But then again, you may have a strong desire for male approval. Depending on how you were raised, you may prefer to be in control or be led. No matter the case, each person responds in their own way, with their own expectations, triggered by past experiences. Your personality type, gender and priorities factor greatly into how you react or respond to life’s journey.

I became a Christian when I was 9 years old. When I say I became a Christian, I mean that I “asked God into my heart”. To me, this means that I suddenly realized that I was a sinner (as much of a sinner as a 9 year old can be), and I accepted the gift of Christ dying on the cross in my place because I was a sinner. Did I understand what that meant? Sure. I understood salvation. I understood that the only way to get to heaven was through Jesus, and that without Him, I was lost. I got saved one night after a “Heaven’s gates, Hell’s Flame’s” play. If you don’t know what that is, don’t YouTube it because it will scare the Hell out of you- literally. I was afraid of going to Hell. In fact, I prayed many times that God “save” me when I was young because I was afraid that maybe I didn’t do it the right way. I mean God forbid that I die suddenly by falling off the jungle gym and go straight to hell because I didn’t pray the right way!

I became a Christ follower much later in life. What’s the difference, you ask? Allow me to explain this first hand. You become a Christ follower when you SEE God. No, I’m not explaining a supernatural experience, nor have I drunk any Kool-Aid lately. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be that your eyes are OPENED to God, and what He’s about. When you feel His grace and you “Let go and let God”, you free yourself of YOU, and there’s more room for Him. See, when your life is committed to God, you are aligned with His plan, and His plan is perfect. Always. As Christians, we seem to make it more about what we’re supposed to do, when He has already done what needed to be done. By doing this, we are limiting Christianity and God’s vision.

We also limit ourselves. I had a moment with God the other day. One of those “eye-opening” moments. I was praying to God about a person whom my heart was hurting for- An atheist, who had openly shared with me their views on their existence. Someone who politely listened to my viewpoints, and even politely responded that it was ok that I believed the way I did. I was particularly praying because I KNEW God had put this person in my life for a reason, but I was scared. Scared of saying the wrong thing and jeopardizing the slightest chance of them considering kicking the tires of Christianity. I was scared of the consequences I would face for confronting this person about their beliefs. Now a days, you never know what will happen when standing up for Christianity. But God calmed my fears and helped me understand (through prayer) that the consequences of this world are not His consequences.

Even going to Hell is not His consequence- it’s your choice. Consequences existed the moment a choice was made. When Adam and Eve deliberately sinned in the garden, they created consequences for actions. From that point on, we had a choice.

The point of this post, and what God has laid on my heart, is that we can’t just become a Christian for a “Get out of Hell free” pass. We also cannot become a Christian because we seek comfort- that’s essentially worshipping an idol. Being a Christian isn’t rainbows and roses. You will go through hardship, and you will be burned. The difference is- you can count on being a part of God’s plan and know that He will not harm you (Jeremiah 29:11).

I heard the most remarkable statement from my Pastor Sunday, and I will never let myself forget it. It fits perfectly into this story:

“If the only purpose to being a Christian was to go to heaven, then God would take our lives the moment we became one”.

I’m challenging myself this year to actively minister to at least my little world. I can’t be a perfect example of a Christian, but I can point you to a God who is perfect and wants you to be a part of His story. If you want to join me in this “Salt and Light” challenge, please let me know and I will personally pray for you.
Please, please, PLEASE pray for my friend, the atheist. Pray that God tugs at their heart. I don’t feel led to pursue them, but I truly believe God will open another window for me to share with them. I’m thankful to have planted the seed that I did, but it’s going to take more. It’s going to take God.

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Why We’re Not Married

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“When are y’all gonna get married?”

That’s obviously the most frequently asked question to me and my boyfriend of 8 1/2 years. I can understand why though. In today’s day and age, it’s not typical to have a non-marital relationship that lasts longer than the average marriage in the United States (which is 7.5-8 years). However, those that are in the same boat usually are because they feel their dynamic is better that way.

That’s not the case for us.

We definitely want to get married, no offense to them. Marriage is just very important to Ryan and I. We believe in the whole “first comes love, then comes marriage, then….”, well ya know the rest. Call us old fashioned, or pin it on “religion”, but you’ll understand our perspective by the end of this post.

I won’t lie and say I’ve never had a moment where I thought… It’s never going to happen for us or what’s wrong with me? 8 and a half years can make a girl question herself. And I’ve definitely been impatient sometimes. There’s been moments were I thought I should just give up on my dreams, or quit living for the future. But time and time again, God has revealed His plan for us and confirmed that our future is beautiful.

Society puts so much pressure on marrying quickly. And while some short-term dating marriages can last forever, that doesn’t mean it will for everyone. As the popular statement goes, “How you gonna tell me what’s best for me?”.

But, just to clarify, we’re not withholding marriage to prove a point. Honestly, we just don’t have a timeline planned out for when we will take that next step. Yes, I WANT to be married. So does Ryan. But our relationship doesn’t hang in the balance of WHEN.

 

NO THERE’S NOT A “RING ON IT”


But I respect him as if there were. It’s almost as if we have a hybrid dating/courtship relationship. Most dating couples are together for companionship, but aren’t prepared to marry eachother until they are engaged. Ryan and I have a totally different dynamic… In fact, I think the only thing a ring will do is give me a “wedding planning” card. We believe in marriage as God united two people together, but we don’t wait for God to be a part of our relationship until then. We date each other in preparation FOR marriage. We consult with eachother, make decisions together, serve God together, and so much more. No we didn’t save our first kiss for marriage, but we do refrain from you-know-what (Yes, I’m a dork and can’t say it.. hee hee).

I truly believe that Ryan and I met when we did for a reason. It was not God’s intention for us to marry right away, after all, we were YOUNG and had a LOT to learn before jumping into something blindly. But, the small window of opportunity when we met could have passed so quickly, and I can’t think of any other way we would have been brought together years later. I honestly think we may have went two totally directions in life, had we not crossed paths at that time. But God’s plan was for us to grow together physically, mentally, and spiritually.

DATING TO ME


My outlook on a lot of things has changed tremendously in my 20’s, but my vision of marriage has been the most drastic. Five years ago, I could not have understood nor appreciated what promising myself to a husband through God meant. And while, I’m the LAST person on earth capable of giving marriage advice (being so ill experienced and all), I may be an expert at dating- for girls at least! Heck, maybe God is leading me to mentor women in dating relationships.

Anyway, here are a few truths I have found about dating a man spiritually. I believe these are things I had to learn before I could commit my life to Ryan. A lot of them are painful realizations, but they’ve given me a better vision of a Godly marriage (what we’re working towards, NOT just a wedding) and for that, I am grateful.

  1. Un-equally yoked mates will never work out. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. I DON’T CARE HOW CUTE HE IS! Yes, he can “become” saved, and you might even win him to Christ. But how can you follow him if he is following you?
  2. Pray daily for and about them. It’s not a bad idea to do that BEFORE you are in a relationship. Anytime you think of something you hope for in your future spouse, pray about it. “God, help him be more patient”, “Help him to humble himself”. Here’s a tip: Sometimes prayer works better than nagging. 😉
  3. I believe in only dating someone with the intention of marriage. Period. No reason to divulge further.
  4. I am a believer in the husband being the spiritual leader. I think part of why women are advocating independance and equal rights is because there are not enough strong spiritual men in the world. I don’t have ONE fear of getting behind a man who is led by God. Not one. You’re probably wondering why this last one is about a husband instead of boyfriend. Well, in my opinion, which is just that-MY opinion, I feel that you have to have some idea of HOW he is going to lead your relationship and family. I would have a hard time marrying someone without first discovering his approach through “pre-requisite” marrital leadership. However, I will add that this suggestion should be taken with caution and should be discussed openly with eachother. You should both agree on responsibilities and delegations before marrying one another. hat do you expect from him? What does he expect from you?

Ok, I’m going to wrap it up before I step on any more toes. I hope this post enlightened you to our unique situation. And for goodness sake, stop asking when we’re getting married! 😛

j/k it’s more awkward for you than us anyway! Haha!

God Bless,

Kaila

December Five Favorites

It’s that time again! More like it’s about time I post something because it’s been almost 2 weeks… My bad!

So this month I had to put a lot of thought into what my five favorite items were. Mainly because it was Christmas time and I really didn’t buy anything new for myself. Since I’ve only had a week to play with my Christmas “toys”, I’ll have to wait until February to feature some of them in my “Favorite Five”.

Before I get started, I want to talk about a few blog topics coming up soon that I am SUPER DUPER (I need to start reminding myself that I’m in my 20’s before using terms like that) excited about!

  1. January Clothes Challenge!- I am attempting to go on a clothing purchase hiatus for all of January… Not only that, but I have planned out several outfits without repeating a single item, and I’m going to show YOU how to do it!
  2. One of my bestest friends recently got a curling wand with 5 interchangeable rods from Bombay Hair, and has agreed to write a review for me! I’m so tickled and can’t wait to see what all she does with this fabulous tool!

Ok, so the first item I am currently obsessed with is the new Chapstick Hydration Lock. My lips would be suffering tremendously, as cold and windy as it has been lately, without this wonderful goodness. Most chapsticks I’ve used leave a wax layer on my lips. And even if my lips miraculously absorb it, it’s gone within 30 minutes. Hear me when I say this stuff LASTS. You can dab, lick, or purse your lips, and it’s still there. Here’s a short description of how it works from the Chapstick site:

  • Clinically proven to moisturize lips, with a lightweight feel
  • 8 hours of advanced moisturization revitalizes and visibly improves the appearance of lips
  • Enriched with antioxidant CoQ10 and hyaluronic filling spheres

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The next item that I think you’ll love is by….wait for it… SUAVE. It’s their dry shampoo spray, and it’s only $2.50 at Walmart! I don’t really use it as a dry shampoo, but more as a texturizer for my roots. It’s great  to use if you back tease your hair!

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Number 3 is not so much a brand as it is an item. Fleece lined leggings are a trend this winter- and for a good reason! Not only are they cute, but they are WARM! I’m talking warmer than my jeans warm!(Guilty confession- I’ve been wearing them under my jeans sometimes…Don’t judge!) I say grab these in every possible color you can find!

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Alrighty, number 4…. Oh dear #4, what would I do without you? I have VERY sensitive skin (particularly on my face) and it seems to only be getting worse with age. But I wear makeup. And water just doesn’t do the trick. I came across these little babies one day and decided to try them, and was very impressed! They have some sort of oil balancing effect which is good for my combo skin, but they also take of water proof mascara (which the package doesn’t say, but I’ve tried it). The brand is called simple and I found them at Walmart. (duh…)

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And for the final “fav”. It’s the beginning of a new year, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and commit to a daily devotional. This is one I’ve actually had for awhile (Mom gave it to me for my birthday a couple of years back),  so I’ve read some of it. But, I want to let my OCD take control and start with Jan 1. This one is by Max Lucado, who I really enjoy reading. It’s called “Grace for the Moment”. It has a morning devotional and a night devotional!

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Hope you enjoyed reading this week! And don’t forget to check back for the upcoming posts I was talking about earlier!

God Bless,

Kaila