In Love, Not Condemnation

At the cross
It all changed
At the cross
I found grace
His mercy washed over my soul
I could not resist
I could not say no
It drew me in like the shore to the sea
It pulled at my soul and overcame me
My eyes were opened
I realized my sin
But he revealed it in love
Not condemnation
Because of his love he gave me a glimpse
Of how I was stained with filth and contempt
Disgusted was I embarrassed and shamed
I felt so exposed see what I became
But instead of letting walk still in shame
He lifted me up
Then dusted me off
Imputed his grace
And called me his child

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In Love, Not Condemnation

At the cross
It all changed
At the cross
I found grace
His mercy washed over my soul
I could not resist
I could not say no
It drew me in like the shore to the sea
It pulled at my soul and overcame me
My eyes were opened
I realized my sin
But he revealed it in love
Not condemnation
Because of his love he gave me a glimpse
Of how I was stained with filth and contempt
Disgusted was I embarrassed and shamed
I felt so exposed see what I became
But instead of letting walk still in shame
He lifted me up
Then dusted me off
Imputed his grace
And called me his child

I’m Insignificant… And I Love It

I love the stars. I love staring at the night sky not only because it looks so magestic, but also because it makes me feel so small. Insignificant. Which is ironic because in any other situation, I hate that feeling. Like when I’m talking to someone and they start to ignore me, or when you can tell that someone just isn’t listening to anything you say. I don’t think anyone particularly likes to feel that way….but to me there’s that exception  of the stars. 
Psalm 8:3-4 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?

Whenever I look up it’s so fulfilling to feel insignificant. It’s refreshing. 

And I think it is because as christians, we get so focused on trying to “find ourselves in christ” that we neglect trying to find out about God in all His aspects.

On InstaGram I follow a lot of blogs and ministries. Every morning when I scroll through I’m flooded with quips and verses and sayings about how we are loved and significant and made in God’s image. But in reality, though all those things are virtually true, it still leaves me feeling hopeless and troubled. Because by focusing all on ourselves and our problems, we leave out the main focus, which is God himself. And without Him in the equation, it’s all meaningless. It doesn’t matter if someone tells me that I have been made by Him specifically if I don’t know who he is. If I read that I have the power to overcome through Christ it does me no good if I don’t know about Christ himself. 

The more I learn about who God is and how he operates, the smaller and more insignificant I feel. And it’s in those moments of awe towards God that I feel the most secure, loved, and treasured. 

Its in my insignificance that I feel significant to the creator of all. 

And that’s why I love the stars. They don’t lie or neglect part of the truth about God…That yes He loves and  cherishes me, but it is because God is vast and overwhelmingly gracious enough to look through my sins and scoop me up and still love me.

It is a beautiful thing to be insignificant.

Why I’m Finished Building Walls

The other day me and Tj were at home eating chips and salsa while sitting on the couch when we had some friends stop by. As they were sitting there visiting the only thing I could think of was, “How in the world can my house be so messy and I not notice it until now?”

I tried to remember the last time I cleaned the house really good besides a quick pick up at night.. it had been awhile. But honestly, I can’t keep my house clean like I would like, while working full time, while trying to be involved in church ministry, while balancing time between both sides of our family, while also spending time with Tj. It just doesn’t work out. I can plan and manuver things around to where I can fit everything into a week, but it also turns out by me doing things half-hearted. Something always gets pushed to the side. Sadly, it is normally my quiet time with God, or spending much needed time with my husband, and also laundry (which is honestly fine by me;).

It is like I am trying to build two brick walls, yet I don’t have enough bricks to finish each wall. It order to build one wall up, I had to tear the other down! It will never be completed because I am not building anything, I am just laboring in vain!

I know it is my pride that say I can do it all, and give my 100%. But I can’t.

I can’t give my 100% to my husband, my family, my job, my church family, and my responsibilities. I am an finite being, I have limitations and need a lot of caffeine to just wake up! I have to rely on the one who has no limitations, and who knows mine.

Seeing my house in disarray that night has made me reevaluate my priorities. That I need to sacrifice some things in my life. For me its less hours at work, which means less money. It means less cutting back on internet and spending it with my husband. It means getting to bed at a decent time so I won’t be half asleep during every single church service. 

I have to sacrifice some things in my life so I can enjoy the things God has blessed me with.

Jesus sacrificed His life so I could have life in Him. I can only live my life to the fullest if I sacrifice and live for Him.

I am through building walls with the same bricks and laboring in vain.

I pray that God will give me humility to accept that I can’t do my best at anything unless I rely on Him. I pray that He will give me discernment about what to commit to, and what to skip out on. I pray He gives me energy and eagerness for my church, my job, my responsibilities (maybe even laundry), my family, my marriage,and most importantly….. my walk with God.

Ecclesiastes 9:10a    “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”

Proverbs 3: 6-8     “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.”

I absolutely love that last verse. Healing and refreshment are exactly what I need and it all begins with humility.

 

Why I Am Done Struggling With My Sin

I’m not going to lie, this past month I have been completely discouraged in my walk with God. I feel like I have “overcome” the same sin so many times only to struggle with it again. I find myself feeling like I should be past this in my walk with God, like I already checked this off my “overcome list” so why is it back again? Being discouraged, it has been extremely difficult to write a blog post. Actually I kept telling myself that once I stop struggling with this, then I will write another post. 

But the other day I was talking to Tj about  overcoming sin and he said something that really opened my eyes. 

God doesn’t expect me to overcome my sins, He just expects me to obey Him. 

By my own will power, I can’t overcome sin. Actually apart from Christ in me, there would be no reason for  me to want to overcome my sin. I  can do nothing to overcome  my sin, because I am by nature nothing but sinful. Only Christ can. 

Hello Bryonna, that is the whole point of the cross!?? How could I have not of seen this? It’s funny how pride can cloud our vision…

It isn’t that God is asking me everyday to sacrifice my fleshly and sinful desires, but that everyday He is asking  me to obey Him. 

1 Samuel 15:22 “….to obey is better than sacrifice..”

So I will probably struggle with the same stuff I always have. I may never overcome anything, but Jesus has overcome sin and when we wants to deliver me then He will. 

I am done struggling with my sins, fighting the same fight. I have decided to focus on obeying God, then overcoming sin will come in due time.

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

When You Can’t Pray It Away

“Prayers go up Blessings come down.”

I saw that on a church sign the other week and I kind of cringed. Not because it isn’t true, but because it is misleading. Instead, they should have put “Prayers go up Answers come down.”

Not always what we want. Not always when we want. Sometimes, it seems like nothing comes down at all. Like God left and didn’t even leave a recording telling us to leave a message so He can get back to us later.

John 11:1-6 “Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.”

Did you catch that? I never did until a Bible study I recently finished pointed it out. When Jesus heard that Lazarus (whom he loved) was ill, He didn’t get up and rush out to go heal him and comfort his sisters. Instead, he stayed where He was at for two more days.

After Jesus arrives, Mary falls at His feet and says “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” The Jews questioned Him, if he could heal the blind shouldn’t he be able to heal the dying? (Verses 32-37)

But Jesus had greater plans than to just heal a dying Lazarus. He wanted to bring to life a dead Lazarus! A dead Lazarus who had been buried for 4 days (verse 39). Jesus’ timing is perfect. There is always a reason. It may not seem like a good reason to us, but it is a reason that works out for our own good. No, Jesus didn’t heal Lazarus. But he did raise him from the dead.

Whenever Lazarus had died, and Jesus had still not shown up to heal him, I am sure Mary was heartbroken. Her hope was in Jesus, and He had seemingly, at the time, let her down. There are a lot of times I feel like Mary felt whenever her brother died, and Jesus never showed.

There are times when I will pray, about things that I know I can’t “pray away”. Or times I will pray about things and they just don’t go away.

When I can’t pray away the death in my family

When I can’t pray away the mistakes I have made in the past

When you can’t pray away the rejection from you job, friends, family…

When you can’t pray away the person you used to be

When you can’t pray away the test results from the doctor

There is one thing I know to do when I can’t pray it away… Pray anyways.

Even though God didn’t take away my difficult circumstances, I still pray. Even though I miscarried and I can’t pray away that it ever happened, I can still pray.

And praying has become my number one comfort. Because He is my only hope.

Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, I will hope in Him.”

 

It’s Okay Not To Be Okay

A couple weeks ago I wrote a blog post on how I can hope in a God who hurts me.
I had no idea after writing that post that I would miscarriage. 

How Can I Hope In A God Who Hurts Me

But even through this,  which has been the most heartbreaking thing I have ever been through, I can still look back and read that post and say I do still hope in God. 

Everyone has been telling me that God has a plan, He wants the best for me, He knows what He is doing… And it is true. And I am grateful for everyone who loves me, reminding me of His love for me. But through this I have learned that even though I do have a hope, that I do know God is still good, that I will one day see my baby, I have learned that it is still okay for me to be sad. I’m not okay, and it is fine. 

I cry because I am heartbroken but at the same time I know that God has the best in mind for me and Tj, that He loves me with a love I can’t wrap my mind around. I know this, I believe this with all my heart and I am still sad.

I cry because God took away my baby, but at the same time, My hope lies in Him alone.

Job 13:15 “Though he slay me, I will hope in him.”

Maybe you haven’t experienced what I have, maybe you lost a loved one, maybe you have a prodigal child, maybe you lost your job, whatever it is, you can trust in God 100% and still be sad. And for me, that has been one of the most comforting things.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;”

It’s okay to not be okay. Sometimes there are no words that can make your situation better. Sometimes all you can do is cry, and that’s okay. 

If Satan Stops Eating

Last week me and my family were sitting around the kitchen talking about pets. Someone started to tell a story that literally gave me chill bumps.

Apparently, a girl who had a pet boa constrictor took him to the vet because he had stopped eating a couple weeks ago. So she was worried about him.

The vet asked her if recently it had started stretching out next to her when she was laying down. And she said yes, that whenever she would lay down in bed, he would stretch his body out besides hers.

The vet then told her that nothing was wrong with her pet snake. In fact, the reason he had stopped eating a couple weeks ago, is because he is making room for when he plans on eating her. And that whenever he stretches out beside her on the bed, he is measuring her to determine how much room he will need to eat her.

Creepy right? 

Little do we realize that as Christians, we get just as close and naive towards our sin and Satan, who is someone much more deadlier than a boa constrictor.

A couple months ago I wrote a blog post about how sin can slither into your life seemingly right under your nose.Just like how that girl got comfortable around her deadly pet, I start to get comfortable around my sin. I start to let it get closer and closer, until suddenly its right up next to me and I am perfectly fine with it. 

Sin so easily slithers up next to us because by nature we are sinful beings. We are born comfortable around it.
Whenever I wrote my blog post about sin slithering in, I figured that I was through with that battle. I got past it, God delivered me from it, and I grew from it. But how easily it crept back into my life, stretching itself out right next to me. And I didn’t even bat an eye. 

Matthew 26:41 “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

So, if you’re like me, pray that God will open your eyes to see when Satan stops eating. To see when he tries to stretch himself out beside you and devour you. Pray that you stay on guard, watchful. Because there are times when I wake up and see how close I let him get to me, and wonder how in the world I didn’t realize the danger I was in. 

How Can I Hope In A God Who Hurts Me

Job 2:9 “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”
Whenever I first read what Job’s wife said to him I couldn’t believe such a faithful man was married to someone like her. God had alllowed Satan to take away everything from Job, his family, his livestock, his servants, his health even. And of course Job was upset, but he never sinned against God. 

Ever since we got back from our honeymoon me and Tj have been serving God and following Him without question. We have sacrificed alot especially for a newly wed couple. Now, two years later, the loan for the house we wanted fell through, we have had marriage problems that I wasn’t sure how we were going to work out, tax season did not come out in our favor, and a loved one is about to pass away. 

When all of this started happening, my first reaction was anger. Why would God not bless us when we have sacrificed for Him? He is able to heal my grandma, so why isn’t He? Why is He putting something in our marriage that seems like its tearing us apart? 

Matthew 8:23-26 “And when he got nto the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was fast asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing.” And He said to them, “Why are you afraid , O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.”

The disciples were about to die, and Jesus was just sleeping. Why is He sleeping during what feels like the time I need him most?  To test my faith? 

The very next verse after He calms the storm is what really spoke to me.

“And the men marveled, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?”

He is the Son of God, who does have the power to heal (Matthew 8:16), in fact He had just got through healing many and casting out demons before He got on the boat. He can provide when there is nothing to provide with (Matthew 14:13-21). 

But, even if He didn’t calm the storm, if He didn’t heal the sick, if He didn’t feed the 5,000, He is still God.

Even though He decided not to give us that house, and make us pay in taxes, and decides not to heal my grandma, He is still God.

And that alone is more than enough reason for me to praise Him, and remain faithful in trusting that He desires good for me (Jeremiah 29:11). 

And also that He weeps with me. John 11:33 “When Jesus saw her weeping , and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” verse 35 “Jesus wept.”

That doesn’t mean I won’t be upset or sad or disappointed. The book of Job is nothing but sorrow. 

But the last part of 2:10 is the key, “…in all this Job did not sin with his lips.”

But it gets even better! Job’s response to God’s hand of destruction was so beautiful. 

Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.”

Yesterday I was in the car driving, just listening to music and thinking about the story of Job when this song came on Spotify. Here are some of the lyrics..

“I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt, would all go away if You just say the word, but even if You don’t, my hope is You alone”

https://youtu.be/B6fA35Ved-Y (Mercy Me Even If)
If that isn’t perfect timing then I don’t know what is. 

So, when it comes down to it I do have a little (maybe more than I want to admit) of Job’s wife in me. My first reaction is anger towards God. Just curse Him and die! But I’m glad that He has mercy on me enough to work on my heart and turn it into something more like Job’s. 

I Don’t Want The Crumbs

In my grandma’s house, on top of her piano, are old black and white pictures of her grandparents, great grandparents, cousins, etc… She has told me their names before and how I’m related to them but honestly, I couldn’t tell you if I was paid to (Sorry Nanny).
I do remember though, that whenever she talks about the people in the pictures, I can tell that they mean alot to her. Because she knew them personally, for herself, firsthand. The difference between my relationship with them, and my grandma’s reationship with them is that she knew them personally, while I just know second-hand acounts, stories, and basically just a brief overview of who they are. 


When I was first saved, I wouldn’t study the Bible for myself. My spiritual life was barely surviving on devotionals sent to my email each morning, seeing a verse against a pretty background on Instagram, and reading a cheesy, cliche, christian quote on Facebook. While those things can be good, they can’t sustain me a healthy relationship with God. 

I love to listening to John Piper’s Ask Pastor John videos on Youtube. They are short, thought provoking, and are filled with good Biblical principles that I can apply to my life. But I have noticed that instead of going and reading the Bible for myself to see what God has to show me, I will scrolll through Youtube and find a John Piper message that I feel like applies to me for that day. 

Going to church and listening to sermons is a good thing, but when you start to depend on the preacher to be your only line of communication between you and God, it isn’t so much a good thing anymore.

Whenever I tell people about Jesus, I want to speak of him like my grandma does with the pictures on her piano. I want to have a genuine care and relationship. A first hand account of my relationship with Him, not John Piper’s relationship with Him, or my pastor’s relationship with him, or even what a devotional says about my relationship with Him. I want a first hand account, personal relationship with Him. 

Psalm 119:103 “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”

Yes, reading daily devotions, listening to sermons, reading clever christian quotes can be a good thing. They can feed my spiritual life and sustain me. But in comparison for actually reading and studying the Bible for myself, those are just the crumbs. I don’t want to live off of the crumbs from the Bread of Life!

John 6:35 “Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.”

So whenever I tell an unbeliever about Jesus Christ, I want them to hear it in my voice that I know Him. Not just second-hand stories, but personally know Him like my grandma knew the people in the pictures on her piano. Why settle for just the crumbs when I can open up the Bible and read what God has to say to me for the day:)