Monday, May 28, 2012

We Have to Remember

There is a man from America who, when recently asked about his view on Memorial Day, said he is "uncomfortable" with calling fallen soldiers our HEROES. What?! He apparently has never considered the fact that without the sacrifices made by the men and women of this country, he might not be where he is today. It was God's grace shed on him. Shed on us. THAT is the reason we are here today, having obtained the liberties we still hold today. And though those liberties are being crammed and thinned through a socialist strainer with communist highlights, I'm going to simply and ask you to all remember today those who love America for who she was and who she will always be. The America I know is free and full of fighters who believe in freedom of EVERYTHING.

Our heroes are sent out all over the world, and they are from here, my home. Thank you all for giving of your dreams and plans for ours. Thank you for your service and laying your life on the line. Thank you to those who have lost their lives for our freedom.

Never forget them. Thank God for them every day. We should never think, in all time, that they do not deserve to be called heroes. They are nothing less than heroes. They are the legs that America stands on, God and His Word being the foundation.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

I'm a Little Person

Parents Who Share

There are sooooo many benefits to living at home as a young woman until you get married. Of course I understand some girls go on long mission trips, move to bigger towns for good paying jobs, some go to college, and some just want to travel. No big deal, just wanted to share what I love about being here while I'm here!

I still live with my parents...sweetness. Free food, free water supply, free place to sleep at night, they let me use the master bathroom half the time because the family bathroom has no shower (!!!)....yes, life is sweet. I am blessed. I am loved and welcomed in this home. My parents share with me and don't pressure me to go to college and get a job RIGHT NOW like everyone else. And it's wonderful. I'm more emotionally, physically, and mentally stable than most people my age because of my amazing parents who support me and love me, even if my room isn't clean six out seven days.
My Mom shares like...EVERYTHING with me! There's a wedding I'm playing the piano for this weekend. First time I've ever done this! I didn't really have anything to wear for a wedding and was not going to go buy a dress just for that. Mom is letting me wear her new dress from Kohl's. She happens to be about one inch taller than me but is two shoe sizes smaller (blah) so we are always borrowing clothes from each other. People think that a girl wearing her mom's clothes is weird. It's sad that we can no longer borrow each other's shoes. I love sharing with my Mom. She has a great sense of style and is just a beautiful person! Her and Dad keep each other young. They share their love. They give and do not take in their relationship. They laugh and are always flirting. They share the sight of an almost-perfect marriage with their kids. They are always together - I mean always! Sharing their love out loud is a great example to me of how amazing being married can be.
My Dad shares with us the lessons he's learned in life. He has MS and through this, has learned many things about trusting God, surrendering everything to God, listening to God's voice and much more. He's a humble and meek man, and yet is so strong and wise. He shares that wisdom with us. Shares his time. Shares his income. You don't see many dads who do that these days. My Dad is NOT selfish. He works on my car when there's something wrong with it and buys me movies, clothes, flowers and candy. He teases me and hugs me when I walk up to him. He is interested in me and shares his life with me.
My Mom shares her time too. Time is probably my Mom's love language, she just likes "being together". Every morning, after Dad leaves for work, she and I sit and talk for about an hour before the other kids wake up. She doesn't like to work out, and I do. It's kind of a hobby. Even though she doesn't like it, she still works out with me. She likes to pull weeds...and I don't. But since she takes time to do the things I like, and share my passions, it makes me want to share hers as well.
My parents share with their kids. While growing up, they gave me privileges I never thought I'd have. I guess you don't need so many rules when you have a great relationship with your kids. You don't have to worry about them doing something wrong when they are best friends with their parents.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:6

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Come and Learn With Me

I learned a valuable lesson this morning.......DO NOT eat Mrs. Baird's chocolate frosted mini-donuts for breakfast before working out, especially after skipping a few days. That was probably the trigger. Nausea will replace the burning sensation that happens when your muscles are reaching their limit while exercising. It's not worth it - just say no. lol, say no to Mrs. Baird's donuts.

The next thing I'm about to tell you is going to be very VERY hard for me to share. An epiphany I had this morning, and it will reveal my ugly, old self - the self I fight every day. But since I'm not the only one, I feel like I need to. It started with my camera, when I was snapping shots of my little sister this morning before she woke up. It's just a regular digital camera, but with diligence, the pictures have gotten better and better. I've heard of three main keys to photography: Good eye, good camera, steady hand. And I'm convinced that with all the free editing websites you can find, pretty close to anyone can be a photographer.
But what I would tell you is: Just take pictures.
So I love photography. I love capturing the moment. There have been moments in time I wish would have just stood still. For the whole world to slow into a stupendous still-motion and leave me there to melt. That's when a camera comes in handy. It's true when you hear, "Take a picture, it'll last longer."

With that said, my camera is my treasure. I'm a very territorial person. I don't like you getting in my space or using my things. I do not cooperate well with control-freaks, probably because I'm border-line......okay, I am a control-freak. At least, when it comes to what is mine (which has the potential to be a good thing, but that's a completely different discussion). Many people will comment on how much patience I have. It's by the grace of God! If only they saw my battle of self-control boiling under the surface at times. Proverbs 16:32!
I hate that about myself - that is such an ugly sin. Sometimes I have to shut the door, look in the mirror, and say, "JUST. LET. GO." Keep breathing, relax, nobody's okay if the little ones want to take your camera around the backyard and snap a few...*big sigh*
The little butterfly I talked about yesterday is my mini-me. She loves my camera. She sees the pictures I take and wants to do the same thing. When my camera is missing, it's likely to be in her hands...or where ever she left it! When I download pictures into the file on this computer, there are always random or blurry photos that come up in between the ones I've taken. Most likely, they're my baby sister's work.
She watches me and adopts my likes and dislike, my habits, my style. She follows me, watches me until I am completely absent from the room...she's most of the time at my heels. She cries and it kills me, laughs and my heart fills, screams and I'm there in a heart beat. She can be sassy sometimes and win an argument with ease - just like me. We got it from our Mother.
Mom is the queen of words, knows how to use them wisely and effectively, and I must add, is the best Mom in the world!
OK, back to the main subject (I can get side-tracked so easily!). Like I said, I'm very territorial. When my little butterfly uses my camera, reorganizes my bedroom, and sticks her little fingers in the rolls that I set out to rise while the oven is heating, it becomes my business.
Now, my hands have stopped moving and are hanging over the keyboard, and I'm about to get in some deep confession time. How do I say this...?
Since I'm selfish, I don't want to share. Since I'm prideful, I don't want my project to be added to by anyone else. And since I am sinful (like all human beings), I lose self-control when my pride is stepped on or my selfishness is not gratified. It's when I lose control. That's when I lose it. Does that make sense?
And I guess I'm really not ready to be a mother. I'm not as grown up as I think. Because if I feel that my territory is so important as to lose it when little, sweet hands borrow what belongs to her hero, how can I share a life with the ones who will be my own? What worth do dreams have if they can't be shared with the ones we raise? Where will their dreams come from? Where would the impact that daily changes us into His image come from? What is it about the word MINE that is so monumental? We learn it when we're in diapers. We often carry it into adulthood. Today I learned, TODAY I'm letting this change me.

The life I live is not about ME.

If we can't share our lives, our hobbies, our attributes, our love, our time... If we can't share that with our children, what worth does it all have? I don't want my kids someday to live off another person's dreams simply because I won't share mine with them. I want to teach them, to grow them, to help them start their stories with a loving and encouraging hand. I want to be an open door to my kids. To be an "open-door" mom, not a "closed-door" mom. God gave me a little sister to help me learn that. And I'm running with it. I can take her with me when there's a picture to shoot and let her take a few, show her the ropes. I can suffer one dinner roll to lose it's puffiness and teach her why the dough reacts that way, the science of cooking. It's so simple, it's almost funny. But it's really not funny. This is important.

I know a woman who is a "closed-door" mom. She doesn't share with her oldest daughter, who is a toddler. She loses it when her daughter picks up her purse or moves her husband's shoes out of the closet. That kid is allowed little-to-no curiosity. If there is one thing I don't want to be as a mother, it is exactly that.

Do you share your life with your kids? Do you let them cook and clean with you, create and dream with you? Don't see them as being in the way. They want to see things through your eyes, to know what you know, to do what you do. It's the way God made them. It's why God allowed you to be a parent. And for every single ounce of time God has given you with them, that you don't use, someone else - or something - will gladly use it for you. I don't think I need to address the parents and older siblings out there who let the little people in life control them - there's too many out there who are controlling their kids. Be an open door. This journey will have many more lessons for me to learn, so I'm gonna learn this one right now before the next one comes knocking on the door! Come and learn with me.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why Live?

What are you living for?
Why get out of bed in the morning?
I had to think and think...trying to find an epiphany of an answer. But the answer didn't come until a couple hours later. It's so simple.

The sunrise.
The thought of cinnamon rolls or waffles and orange juice.
My Mom will be sitting at the computer researching MS or reading the news, and wanting to talk and laugh with me early in the morning before anyone else wakes up.
The thought of working out and feeling that wonderful

There are things I have to do.
Questions I have to answer.
People I need to see.
People who NEED me: my little sister, my Mom, the kids at RU.
There's a life I need to live and a purpose that still needs to be fulfilled.
There's an adventure waiting just around the bend.
There's a Bible waiting for me to open it and gain wisdom and knowledge.
There are people who need my prayers - need me to get out of bed and get on my knees.
There's a reason for everything, so there must be a reason I'm here, and I don't want to miss it.
There is God, who wants me to follow Him. Because no one has the same journey as me that He has mapped out Himself and made me for.

It's funny because...these are all things that I'm thankful for. The reason I get out of bed each morning... The reason I'm LIVING. And since I'm still young and healthy and (as far as I know) not anywhere close to dying, I need to ask myself "What are you living for?" instead of "What would you die for?". How can we die for something when we live for nothing?
There are people I'm living for as well. I mentioned my sister. God gave her to be my little baby sister. She's like a butterfly. Imaginative, energetic, sensitive and very VERY smart. Wise beyond her years. She has taught me how to not be selfish (I'm still learning that one), taught me what it means to always be there for someone, taught me how to laugh instead of get angry, taught me why it is so important to always speak with love coming out of my heart, taught me that kids are just as smart as adults (just not as mature and not as knowledgeable about the world), and she has taught me much more. And now you may be thinking, "Well, you need her!". God knew that I needed her to teach me things. But she needs me to be there for her. She needs me to believe in her and support her all the time. She needs to see Jesus in me and to see what a best friend really looks like. There are things that only I can help her with as a sister. I started praying for a little sister when I was ten. There was me and my two brothers at the time. Mom got pregnant a couple months before I turned eleven - and lost the baby. We're not sure if it was a girl or not - but we call her Lauren (Sorry buddy, if you're a boy! We'll find out someday in heaven). Dad said they were done after that. But God wasn't through :) Not long after that, Mom was pregnant again and now we have our little butterfly. She looks so much like me, everyone thinks she's my daughter. And she needs me. She's a follower - she listens to other people's opinions about her and those opinions affect her habits and her character. I am the opposite - I'm a leader type and very observant. She needs me to guide her as her sister and show her who she is in Christ, and that that's all that really matters.
God placed me here for several reasons. I'm not just a loose feather floating in the air. I have reasons to get out of bed each morning.  Reasons to look at the sunrise and smile and hope.
Some people can't get out of bed each morning. Some people are sick, maybe dying. You may feel that your life no longer has a purpose. But if you are still alive, believe me - you are here for a purpose. Don't give up on it. Don't give up on God. I've been bedridden before - feeling totally helpless, in constant pain. I know. But I also know what faith in God can do when it is unwavering, no matter our circumstances. You may be lying on your back, crying into the pillow that is thrown over your head, gritting your teeth, trying with everything that is in you to praise God instead of curse Him. Even there, He IS there. And He will use you, in a mighty way, if you will let Him.
We who can get out of bed should do it simply because we can. And be thankful.

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15

Saturday, May 19, 2012


"It is poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish."
-Mother Teresa

America must be the poorest nation on Earth.


Continued... Read My Journal!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

   ....And what do I get for all my sin in the end? Heaven.
Heaven in my soul, heaven when I die. With streets of gold and calm waters beside green and soft pastures. With God of the ages, the Perfect, the Pure. The Everlasting Righteousness. The Way, the Truth, and the Life...Jesus Christ. The one and only. I get to spend eternity with HIM! I get to kneel before Him for all eternity, in the splendor of His holiness, and praise Him. I will be before Him, clothed in purity, cleansed from all the sin and filth that has plagued my soul since birth. I'm saved. When I called upon the name of the Lord...he did not stay, or wait, He came to me! He saved me, in all my sin, saved me from hell, my punishment. And when God the Father looks at me, he doesn't see the sins I still sin. He doesn't see my mistakes, He doesn't see my ugliness. He sees nail scarred hands, a blistered brow, and perfect blood running through my veins. He sees the everlasting covenant covering me. He sees His Son Jesus. And according to 2 Corinthians 5:21, I am the righteousness of God. It's hurts, I'm not worthy. So very very unacceptable. I should be rejected, but He took that. I should be beaten, but He bore my wounds. I should be crucified for the liar and thief that I am. He carried my cross. Anything good about me is of Him, and by myself, I am unlovable. But He loved me. He loved me for me. Hell should be mine. He fought hell for me. And He arose from out of the grave. Death could not keep Him, Jesus my Savior. He pardoned my iniquity on Calvary's hill. But to bring me the victory, He had to rise. Nothing held Him back from reaching me. Not even the mistakes He knew I'd make after my soul was sealed with his redemption. Nothing - no one - stopped my Jesus.
Jesus loves me. He loves me like no one can. He took me in my most undesirable state. He drew me out of many waters...Psalm 18. He is my strength. My shield. My buckler and the horn of my salvation. I will call upon the LORD, so shall I be saved from my enemies.
He is worthy to be praised.
And when I think of this, and how Jesus loves me, nothing else really matters. Except, I want to be like Him now. Never ever ever again to be like Erica. I want the whole world and every breathing person walking it to know Him too. Not just to hear the story of Jesus. To know Him, like I know Him! I want to grow in the Lord. I don't want to sin anymore! If I don't change every day, in some small way (if all it is is a small change) then I'll be held back. And one thing I HATE is to be held back from something I know is good.
When I want something, I do not give up. Jesus never gave up on me, and He never will. He never gives up on anyone. He never gives up on His will. Nothing will stop the will of God...
Except the choices we make.
Lord, I need you! I want your will in my life.
 I feel like there's so many times I have made mistakes and still - God makes a way! Can it ever end, his deliverance? Is it ever too late? No. Where ever repentance is found, I believe there is always a second chance. When we cry for help, Jesus will always come for us. He's done all this...He DOES all this. Don't we owe him everything?
   I love someone. With all my heart, with all my soul, with everything I have in me.
But if I don't love Jesus more, I'm cheating the One who loved me in spite of myself, before anyone would have chose me the way He did - the way Jesus did.
We can love with a true love, agape love. But it is only in the power of Jesus that we can do so. He is everything to me, whether I realize it or not. I want to KNOW Him. I want to live on this earth like I am dying. No time for hatred or fear. No room for pride or selfishness. The more I know Him, the more I'll be like Him. That is my desire.
That is my life goal.
Thank You Jesus, for helping me get lost in your love. Thank you for reminding me - no one loves me as much as you do.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Read My Journal!

Don't you just love being able to see what some people are REALLY thinking inside? Well, at least I do. haha... This was a loooooooooong entry in my journal so it's gonna be two posts long. This post is about who my old self is - the old self I fight EVERY SINGLE DAY. But the sequel to this journal entry is about my new self, who I am in Christ.

From my journal:
      Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Perfect - I am NOT. Thank You, Father God, that I am not perfect. Thank You even more for showing me!
Oh heaven, it's almost heaven. Showing someone exactly who I am, the sinner I am, and them loving me still. Wanting me still.
Agape love.
I am a fearful little thing. Scared of losing good things in my life, because I've lost so much. Scared of simply MOVING at times, because I've made so many wrong moves, wrong choices. My fears hold me back from giving of myself, even when I think of myself as a good giver. Me, thinking I'm anything at all, ever thinking of myself, it's pride. I can't stand it when I get slammed, when I'm dead-wrong and someone lets me know. Especially when I come to some awesome person to let them know that he's done wrong and he ends up correcting me! I hold everything in. And I mean everything. Try to work problems out on my own and don't open up at all...until it's too much for me anymore and then you'll see me run to my closest confidant (Mother!) and drench her with my pitiful stories of life's troubles. She listens every time and has been known to give me a much needed "slap" in the face when my thoughts and feelings and female emotions had gone too far. A poker face can be used for very few good things - and I use it to cover up what I'm feeling. I am stubborn and very independent. I try to figure things out on my own, leading back up to pride. That pride hinders my walk with Christ, my loving Jesus. My foolish pride will keep me from reading His Word. Pride never did help anyone...
I can nag the shoe off a horse's foot. You hold something from me, I will drag it out of you. There's only one rightful synonym for nag, and that is contention. I am Delilah! Manipulative, contentious Delilah. And I'm not proud...when will I learn?! I would rather be honest, like Esther, not subtle. I'd rather be humble, like Ruth. Straight-forward and blunt. I am to be wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove. I see the serpent in me, but there's no dove. I'm so weak sometimes. I won't always stand my ground when I know I should. I let people use me...all the while seeing myself as some sort of martyr that will be rescued soon enough. And if I do stand up for myself, I fear disappointment from them. I want to be LOVED by them. To be loved by the world. Now THAT is sin. God help me. God teach me to desire the world's hate. Help me to rejoice when I am looked at and judged, when I am treated with that condescending air.
I am a plotter and a schemer. A liar and a cheat. A good actress, sort of. A prideful, starving beggar at heart. Needy, yet prideful, and unwilling to reach out for help. Selfish and stubborn. Fleshly, lustful, sinful. Oh, wrecthed woman that I am! (Romans 7:24)
But I am washed. So what do I get for all my sin in the end? Heaven...

To be continued



Thursday, May 17, 2012

Don't Write My Story

 Life is precious. Every life is valuable and every life is a story just waiting to be written. Even the weakest person you know has a place in this world. And their story is not meant to be written on by YOU or anyone else. We hear all the time, "If you don't write your story, someone else will write it for you." Well we've heard enough of that.

Today, I'm saying this: "Don't write in someone else's book."

You wouldn't like it if someone walked up to you while there was a good book in your hands, grabbed it, and marked across the page with a thick Sharpie. I have never been very agreeable with someone who tried to map out my life for me. I am independent and strong-willed. Stubborn.....yes, it can lead to rebellion. And sometimes I have gone astray from the Lord, the one who would have gladly led me by still waters and through green pastures. He has never given up on me and is still working on me. Some times God will put certain people on our path to guide us in the ways of the Lord and to encourage us to stay on that narrow path. They can be very "black-and-white" and rebuke us sharply, or they can have a quiet spirit and be understanding. God knows when we need an angel in disguise. But that is just as often as I said - some times. Other times there may be someone come up in our lives who would try to lead us in the way they thought right for us. They may love us, want what's best for us, and we may just love them back. But ultimately, they teach us the wrong ways. They may be people who just want to make a buck off of us. We need to be, as the Bible says, wise as serpents and harmless as doves; and kindly decline their advice.

This situation is part of my story. So many people I love dearly want me to pursue their dreams and their plans for me. But not God's.

"You need to go to college."
"You need to get a well-paying job and start taking some classes so you can get some experience!"
"You'll never be ready to face the real world without any practice. You've got to start somewhere!"

What these people do not realize is that I started at Calvary and my story is just as important as the greatest preacher or war hero's story. These suggestions on how to live life are thoughtful, considerate, and helpful, until they become aggressive and condescending.

"You don't know anything about the real world...yet."
"Life's a lot tougher than you thought it would be, huh?"
"You are selfish and take advantage of your family by staying at home, mooching off their living."

Have you ever said this to a young person who was genuinely seeking God's will for their life? Lay off. This is plain spite. As Christians, we are taught by Christ to encourage and admonish one another, rebuke when sin is a problem, and PRAY constantly, without ceasing. We are not taught to belittle or degrade the confidence or self-esteem of our family. We are to be patient and kind - something I struggle with. There are young people in this world who need counsellors and older friends who will guide them in the ways of the Lord, but not lead them down a personal path that they created for the young person. I am still very young and am sick and tired of people trying to write on the pages of my book with their words and their actions. I am not a puppet and I will not be taken advantage of. I am a servant of the Lord and a daughter of the King of kings and I expect to be treated as such. So many young people, from junior high into their early twenties are respectful and sacrificial people, taught by their parents to love the Lord. What is so wrong about a sold-out teenager? It's like the public expects us to be rebellious and world-seeking and thinks there is something WRONG with us when we aren't. They see us, joyful, content and victorious and when we smile, they make it their mission to shut us down. Well that won't work with me.
Don't write my story, it's not yours. It's God's. And I decided a long time ago that I wanted Him to write it because He is the only one who can make anything good out of it. He is doing wonderful things in my life and doesn't need your help. Teachers, college professors, government workers and politicians, Hollywood stars and control-freaks, this is for you: Let go and let God.

Leave me alone, and leave the Christ-seeking young people in this world alone. We seek God's truth, not your opinion. How much do you trust God? Enough to release everything to His will?

There are men and women in this country who are pushing abortion rights, gay-marriage rights, and who are trying to abolish Biblical parental authority in the area of discipline. They are trying to change the content of our stories. Men and women in this country advocate pornography and liberated use of drugs and alcohol. Lie upon lie upon lie, as kids are still taught evolution, and worse things, at school. But like I said, you could be just one single person out of this whole world, writing on someone else's pages by accusing those who are genuine, degrading those who live joyful lives opposed to your troubled and discontent life, and belittling those with child-like faith. If you don't like the victory that some people are experiencing in their Christian lives, then why don't you try getting some experience in yourself? Maybe you need to get saved. I was very heated about this topic today, more than usual. I'm tried of seeing young Christans discouraged by those who are meant to hold us up but instead tear us down. Thank you to all who believe in the potential God put in us as human beings and guiding us with firm but gentle hands down the straight and narrow path. You are vessels of mercy in a world of hate.

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. Mark 9:42

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22