Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Everyone Deserves To Be Happy"

"Well if they're happy then it's okay."

"As long as it makes them happy, I don't care"

"Everyone deserves to be happy."

A few months ago while Skyping with my best friend, and we got into a deep, warm and fuzzy, but also admitting our faults conversation, and Kaitlyn said something that I've not been able to let go of.  "This whole 'As long as they're happy they can do what they want' thing is dangerous." and if you actually think about it...She's right.   It's not always the right thing to do just because it makes us happy.  Using the "Well it makes me happy." is almost like trying to justify why, or convince yourself that it's okay just because you're happy.  But that is not the case.

It's so easy to fall into sin, and the majority of the time it feels good to sin.  We as humans, we crave the feeling we get while sinning, which is why the Bible tells us that daily we are going to have to fight the ways of the world, the temptations, and not give in.  Luke 9:23 tells us "And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me." What does it mean to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily?  When Jesus took the cross and dragged it up the hill on His back, while wearing a crown of thorns, he hung there on that cross and paid for every wrong thing we will ever do.  So when we are told that in order to follow Jesus, we must take up our cross and deny ourselves, we are being asked to repent, to ask for forgiveness, and to recognize that we are nothing with out Christ.

There is a quote that I happened upon the other day that says "I refuse to entertain myself with the things that my God went to the cross for." it speaks so loudly, and has such a deep and true meaning behind it.  We often entertain ourselves with sinful choices, or actions, and we think nothing more than "Well it makes me happy."  but, what about God?  What about the man who wore that crown of thorns, hung on a cross, and still managed to say "Father forgive them." as He paid the price for MY sin.  What about that?

Happiness is important, but if your happiness if coming from things that break God's heart is it really worth it?


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mexico Trip | March 14th-20th, 2014 | Trip Of The Year

I'm ready to go back.  I enjoy being home, but I could literally pack, drive 6 hours,and do it all again.

These past few months the concept of love has been at the forefront of my mind.  What is love?  What does it mean to truly love someone?  How do you show love accurately?  A small, four letter word, that has such a large and important meaning.

But really, what does it mean to love? Unconditionally, without boundaries, expectations.  The college Bible study that I'm part of just finished going through a series by Andy Stanley, the main subject of the series was love.  Jesus gave us a *new* commandment right before He left earth "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12 ESV)  To love as Jesus loved, is probably one of the most challenging tasks that we have been given.  He loved/loves unconditionally. Without boundaries. Without expectations.

As my understanding of love, and what it means to love, grows it was only fitting that I would venture to Mexico.  I've never experienced a truer form of love than what I experience when I spend time in Mexico.  Between the lives that we get to be a part of while we're down there, and the lives the we bring with us, the love of Christ is apparent, it's real, and it's tested, and pushed to it's limits daily.  Being able to maintain an attitude of love, compassion, and patience, while pouring concrete, shoveling rock, lifting bucks, hauling wheel barrows, and working the mixer, in the scorching heat isn't easy.  You are pushed to your limits, you're hot, sweaty, hungry, and tired, and honestly not in the mood to be *nice*.  Though the entire time we were at the work site doing those challenging tasks, I never once saw someone with an attitude of anything other than love.

Though the love didn't stop at the work site, it was spread through out the days, whether we were preparing for VBS, loading or unloading a trailer, hanging out, or even rooming with someone who wasn't the easiest to handle, love was there.

I know quite a few of the days that we were in Hermosillo, I wasn't feeling well I was taking medicine every four hours, and it wasn't helping as much as I wished it would have, and it was difficult for me to keep a loving attitude.   I found myself stopping to pray, and asking God to change my heart towards others, and reminding myself that I was there to serve.   Without fail, God changed my heart, and gave me the little boost I needed to keep my loving attitude going.

You would think that love would be easy on a missions trip, because after all you're going down to share God, and God is love.  But when you're waking up super early, and living out long days where bed time isn't till 11:00 and you only get 5 or 6 hours of sleep, for 4 days straight, it's not easy.  Not to mention traveling with a group of 51 people, things get tough, people bump shoulders, things don't always go as planned, and going somewhere takes 3 times as long as it should.

This was the biggest Youth/College Mexico Trip yet.  51 people, tons of new teenagers getting to see what a life changing, heart breaking, relationship growing, limit testing, best trip you could ever be a part of experience is like.  I have heard many of those people say that this was the best trip yet, and I'd have to agree.  I built new friendships, grew ones I already had, and was able to repair old friendships that had been broken for some time.  Mexico is great for that.  Building, growing, and fixing friendships.  What better atmosphere to do those things, than the Jesus loving atmosphere of  the Mexico trip.

With limited to no internet access, I had a lot of time to think.  Lots of things to work through in my mind, without the everyday distractions of life that was easy to do.  At times it got hard, and I wanted to come home, but pushing through and sticking it out was one of my better decisions.

So many inside jokes, and funny stories are now able to be told because of this trip.  I honestly (and people never believe me when I say this.) love the long car rides.  I would much rather ride in a car for hours on end, than ride in a plane for hours on end.  I love that riding in a car for 6+ hours forces you to talk to, and build friendships with the people in your vehicle.  I was able to build tons of friendships, create inside jokes, and just laugh at things that probably wouldn't be funny now, but were funny at the time cause we were tired.

I'm probably forgetting things, and there will probably be a part two of this post.  There was just so much that happened, and so many things that changed my heart.  Mexico trips are my favorite, and I look forward to going every year.  Mexico changes your heart, grows your heart, and ultimately captures your heart.  I know a large piece of me, and who I am is in Mexico.  I'm forever grateful for the adults who put together this trip, and are willing to work extra hours, stay up a little later at night, just to plan this trip, so our lives can be changed.  The adults who planned this trip, drove the vans, and just kept an eye on us, are one of the biggest blessings in my life.   I'm so lucky that these people were placed in my life, and I will be forever thankful for these trips.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Funded.

I'm taking a big breath and letting it out in a sigh of relief!  Because of wonderful people (a.k.a you lovely people!)  I am fully funded for my Mexico Missions Trip!    I am so thankful for generous hearts, and lovely people, who want to help me be where God has put my heart.   You don't realize how much your generosity and prayers mean to me, but there is no true way for me to put my thankfulness into words!

In 15 days I will climb into a van with my youth group, and ride along for the 6 hours drive, until we arrive in Hermosillo, Mexico.  Let me tell you, that thought excites my heart beyond measure!  I am so ready, so, so, ready for this trip, for the fellowship, for the time spent with God, I am ready!  

Thank you, for blessing be, for encouraging my heart, for allowing me to include you in my journey with God.  Thank you.

With love,
Alyssa