Friday, October 17, 2008

A Doubtful Mind

Whoever knew that the words we say to ourselves can determind how our future will end up being. I never use to believe that.
Ever find yourself saying sometimes things like, "Oh, I'll never do that." " I doubt it." "I'll probobly never get the guts to do that activity." Or as I believe to be, one of the most popular sayings, " I'll never get married." I've been caught saying that one over and over again. Why do we say these things? Do we really mean them? Or do we say them just so somebody will come back at us and say," Oh of course you will darling!?"
I remember when I was younger, my number one dream was to be in a band. I remember when I was five my parents taking me to a music store for the first time. And there I saw it. The most beautiful set of drums I have ever seen. I told my dad," I want to play that." But to me, it was only a dream. Drums are quite exspensive, and it cost to keep them up. Plus, like who is going to buy one of those for a five year old right? Kids that age don't at all know what they want. And I was one of them. But playing the drums was always stuck in my head, and if I ever got the chance to, that would be the instrument I would play.
I'll get back to that dream a little later. As I got into my older teens, it seemed that more dreams were coming my way, waiting to be thought about. A year after I was saved, I started to write my own lyrics. From that, it gave me the desire to become a songwriter. I wanted to learn how to write music, but had no clue where to start. But the thought remained there and developed into nothing but what it was, a thought.
My desire in music grew stronger, as I wanted to know more about it. Being that I come from a family with music history, it only seemed right to carry out what my parents had done. I decided that when I would graduate high school, that I was going to find a way into college, and set my career in music production. I was so very excited. I imagined that I would someday have my own recording studio where I can record peoples music. Bands such as Skillet, Hawk Nelson, or maybe even Reliant K. I was so ready to learn what I had to do, and I couldn't wait.
But thats when something began to happen. Something changed inside of me. I was looking into the schools where I could go at for music. One of the best schools was in Los Angeles. I was excited about actually leaving home away from my parents and living my own life, in the college world. Until something happen. I was having all these dreams about my life, that I forgot something. Where was I gonna get the money? After that, I required some thinking, sortof estimating how much a class would cost. And afterwards, I realized, I could never afford to go to any college. Because I simply couldn't do it. So from that, I let that dream slide into the back of my mind. And it hasn't moved since.
Being that I was homeschooled, we never kept up with my transcripts. So I don't have them all. That was another thing that was keeping me behind. While everybody else went back to school after the summer was over, I was living at home, doing nothing. I later met a man who was a piano player, and wrote his own music. I asked him how he learned to write, and from there we went into about an hour in a convo talking about how to write music where to learn it. This idea excited me. I thought now I could seriously learn what I've always wanted to do. So one day, me and my mom went down to a local college to see what we could find out about classes. The guy told me you could audit a class, and only pay for the classes you want instead of going for a degree or master. That made it so much more a dream coming true for me! Cause all I wanted to do was learn! So we were sitting in some person office, who was telling us all we needed to do to get into the college and stuff. I felt so excited, until she said it." You have to have your transcripts." I felt very numb. I felt even worse when she told me I had to take the SAT, which I was not at all planning on doing. So after that visit, I put that dream back behind my mind. Because I believed that it could never become anything but a thought.
So continueing, I got more and more into photography and video editing. But I let doubt come into my mind because I never thought I could ever be able to afford anything professional in my life! So again, another thought. I have always had a desire to do mission work. And I am so thankful that I have been able to go on two mission trips so far. From both of those experiences, it led me to want to do it even more. So I went online, talked with a friend who lives up north, and he encouraged me to check out Youth With A Mission. So I did. The cost was a very reasonable price. It was college classes, but transcripts. No SAT. It sounded perfect. I would be training for three months, then for two months go to another country. I was thrilled! I brought it up to my parents that I really wanted to do this, and I had been praying about it for a while. They liked it, except the part of going out of the country. They told me no, that I couldn't do it. So then again, I was back at square one.
Last but not least, the final straw. The last remark everybody seems to make. I will never get married. I have been saying that for my entire life. Not because I really didn't want to get married, but because I thought it just wasn't possible. Everyday I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered, "Who in this world would want to wake up next to this every morning?" I often compared myself to the other girls that walked by in my life. She and she seemed the kind of girl that all guys chase after, but I was told I'm not the type a boy would ever love. Peoples words do hurt a ton, and I'm the type that never lets them go.
I was carrying a lot of doubt in my heart. I thought I wasn't smart enough for college. Because I barely graduated highschool. Consider me lucky. I never thought I would succeed because simply I just wasn't smart enough. I let my dreams slide away from me.
So from there, I have always had a low self esteem. I didn't like who I was, because there has always been somebody who was better than me, smarter than me, richer than me, prettier than me, and somebody who always found the opportunites to knock on their door step. I really felt like I was just meant for nothing but to sit here and breathe.
For all my teen years, I have felt this way. Just because. I remember praying to God the night I was saved to use me. I wanted to be used. But why was all this happening? Doesn't God want to use people who want to be used? I was right here waiting and nothing was happening. But, everything was happening to everybody else and half of those people weren't even Christians. Seemed just fair right?
Then one day, something new came into the picture. I was talking to a good friend of mine. He's a music producer, and I was telling him that I always wanted to learn production and do my own thing. And hoping that someday I could have my own recording studio. As I was sharing with him my vision, he simply told me, "Stop dreaming, and go do something." But I flat out told him that I can't do anything. I don't have the money, the brains, a car, the right recourses. I was complaining how I could never do any of it until he , being as Blunt as he is, told me, "You're right. You will never do it." Don't ask why, but I was shocked he said that to me. I wasn't expecting that answer. I was expecting an answer like, "Oh sure you will. You can do it." Well, heh, I have to say that he was absolutely right. I said I will never do, so then, I shall "never" do.
After our interesting convo, I couldn't get his words out of my mind. They were flying about like bats hitting me inside the head. What did he mean by that, why did he say it? Then it made me think back a bit. I started to see that a long time ago, the word never became my favorite word. I would never do this, I would never do that. Then I remember what the Bible says in Matthew 21:22," if you ask, believing, you will recieve." Well the whole entire time I was asking. I got that part down right. I'm a pro at asking for things. But I simply didn't believe. Oh I said I believed. Anybody can say that, but to actually do it is another thing.
I realized what I have done. I was doubting God. I was doubting the power of the one true God in heaven! I was saying to Him, "God you aren't doing it right. God you aren't strong enough to get me where I needed to be. God you don't love me." I was simply saying that God cannot do the impossible in my life. But how could He AT ALL do the impossible, if I wouldn't allow Him to?
I immediantly prayed for God's forgiveness. I asked that God forget all my doubtful words, all the times I ever said anything negative, every time I said the word "Never," and I asked for a clean start. Then, I told God my dreams. I told him I wanted to learn music theory but didn't know how. I told God I wanted to learn production, and do my own mixes with my own music. I told God I was deeply interested in photography and I wanted to learn film. I told God I wanted to do missions and go all over the place, travel the world. And last but not least, I told God that I wanted to get married someday. I want to wear white on my wedding day. And I want to marry THE ONE that God HIMSELF has chosen for me, and see his face when God says its time for us to meet. With all this being said, I gave all these dreams back to God. I gave them over, surrendered them, giving them up and letting God do whatever He wanted with them. And I simply prayed, " God use me. Don't let me doubt you again. Just like I prayed for the first time in my life when I was saved, I will say it again...God use me."
I was sixteen when I saw the group Barlow Girl for the first time, the same concert where I saw Toby Mac for the first time too. Before that day, I had tried to play a few other instruments. At 13, tried the saxophone. Didn't work, quit at 14. 15, attempted to play eletric guitar, but good luck with that. I tried harmonica and flute. It got me nowhere. I still had the dream to play the drums, but again never thought it could possibly happen. So here I was, in this giant mosh pit, resting my arms on the stage, I could almost touch Alyssa Barlows piano. The whole entire time I had my eyes on the drummer. She was the only person I was watching the whole entire time. After seeing her play, I was in awe. I told myself, " I want to be just like her!" After watching them play that night, I was deeply inspired to get serious about the drums. So I started praying about it.
Eight months later, I get my first kit for my 17th birthday. In three months I learned my first song, which was a Barlow Girl song because they have inspired me in my music so much as well as spiritually. I taught myself how to play. Two years later, at the current age of 19, I have officially started to play in church. No its not a band, but I am playing music, with other people, getting in some experience, as well setting the tone for the service. Because music does move people, it moves people deeper into Christ. And thats the whole point of playing.
Just recently, I have started to get into youth ministries. I gave that dream to God as well. And now I am starting to get somewhere. Very soon we will start doing drama's within the church. I have had many inspirations to do drama's to songs, and I'm creating new stories each week.
One other thing that I always use to think, was that opportunity will eventually fall into my lap, without me having to give an enegry in the process. I highly recommend you...DON'T DO THIS! You are just asking for nothing "again" to happen. My friend was right, "stop dreaming and go do something." God will do His part, but you also have to do yours. And it takes work. Time studying, time organizing, time getting places, time saving money. But isn't it better to work for something and earn it, istead of it being given to you on a silver platter? Who would want to be lazy anyway? Yep, being lazy sure defines your poor character.
You see, waiting on God could probobly top on the list of the hardest things to do in life. But when it comes to waiting, we also have to trust. Through out this entire blog I did not put my trust in God as I should have done. Because I did not believe He could do the impossible. Good and big things always happen to other people, but not to me. I was accepting that thats how I should live and think. Its the truth, you say you will never do something in life, you really will "NEVER DO IT." Because you are enliminating God from actually working in your life! Don't you know how miserable that is for a person?! Its like....torture! You are miserable because you CHOOSE to be miserable. You feel sorry for yourself because you CHOOSE to feel sorry for yourself. You are unhappy that nothing great is happening in your life because you CHOOSE to doubt what God can do! It is a choice. What will be yours?!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Room

Over a week ago, I was thinking about the blogs I have written. For those who read them, you can clearly see what it is I am passionate about and not afraid to share. You have seen a part of me without actually being around me in physical sense or talking to me face to face. For the most part, you know how I live my life, because I write about it. I look back at all of the blogs and I am so thankful that God has given me the ability to take words from His own mouth and type them for the internet world to see. But I find, there was one thing I hardly ever talked about to people. I may talk about purity, how important it is. I may talk about suicide, about how hurtful it can be. I may talk about porn, how terribly betraying and addicting it is. But there is one thing I hardly every talk about to people online, and in person. And that is the meaning of Salvation.

When I was talking to God about His Word, I know I am to preach the gospel to every creature. And being how the current Election is turning out, I know it won’t be very long before Jesus will be coming back. It made me think, what am I doing to reach out to non-believers? A non believer can read about purity and take it in and use it for something good. Anybody can do that. But the talk about salvation is a topic which almost the whole world wants to not talk about. That gives me more reason to talk about it right?

It always seems I have an easier time telling someone about purity rather than talking to someone about salvation. To the few people that I have talked with about God, is was very very difficult. Because I saw the importance in it. Someone’s life is at stake. And so I was always afraid I’d mess up and say something wrong, which I have done countless times already. I guess you would say its a fear. But when I would tell somebody about why I wear a purity ring on my left hand, it comes naturally. I see a problem in this.

I prayed about it to God only once. I know I need to be doing more to reach out to people, and I haven’t been doing it. I haven’t made it a priority in my life to talk to somebody about Jesus. Since actual speaking to someone has always been a huge problem with me, I didn’t exactly know how I could reach out to others. The only thing I could think of was writing because its what I’m good at. So I said to God, "If there is a possible way I can talk about Christ’s love to people, help me to write it." Because to tell you the truth I don’t even know how to write it! Does that sound confusing? I would use fear as an excuse, and I didn’t see it.

I can say I am having a little help with writing this. A few days ago I bought my own copy of Joshua Harris’s "I Kissed Dating Good-bye." Yes, its another purity book. I was reading a chapter just a few minutes ago with the title "The Room." After reading it, I decided to post it here for you to read. It made me look at my life in a whole different way. And I hope it will do the same for you.

In that place between wakefulness and dreams, I found myself in the room. There were no distinguishing features save for the one wall covered with small index-card files.

They were like the ones in libraries that list titles by author or subject in alphabetical order. But these files, which stretched from floor to ceiling and seemingly endlessly in either direction, had very different headings. As I drew near the wall of files, the first to catch my attention was one that read, "Girls I Have Liked." I opened it and began flipping through the cards. I quickly shut it, shocked to relize that I recognized the names written on each one.

And there without being told, I knew exactly where I was. This lifeless room with its small files was a crude catalog system for my life. Here were written the actions of my every moment, big and small, in a detail my memory couldn’t match.

A sense of wonder and curiosity, coupled with horror. stirred within me as I began randomly opening files and exploring their contents. Some brought joy and sweet memories; others a sense of shame and regret so intense that I would look over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching. A file named "Friends" was next to one marked " Friends I Have Betrayed."

The titles ranged from the mundane to the outright werd: "Books I Have Read," "Lies I Have Told," "Comfort I Have Given," "Jokes I Have Laughed At." Some were the almost hilarious in their exactness: "Things I’ve Yelled at My Brothers." Others I couldn’t laugh at: "Things I Have Done in Anger," "Things I Have Muttered under My Breath At My Parents." I never ceased to be suprised by the contents. Often there were many more cards than I expected. Sometimes there were fewer than I hoped.

I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of the life I had lived. Could it be possible that I had the time in my twenty years to write each of these thousands, possibly millions, of cards? But each card confirmed this truth. Each was written in my own handwriting. Each signed with my signature.

When I pulled out the file marked "Songs I Have Listened To," I relized the files grew to contain their contents. The cards were packed tightly, and yet after two or three yards, I hadn’t found the end of the file. I shut it, shamed, not so much by the quality of music, but more by the vast amount of time I knew that file represented.

When I came to a file marked "Lustful Thoughts," I felt a chill run through my body. I pulled the file out only and inch, not willing to test its size, and drew out a card. I shuddered at its detailed contents. I felt sick to think that such a moment had been recorded.

Suddenly I felt an almost animal rage. One thought dominated my mind: "No one must ever see these cards! No one must ever see this room! I have to destroy them!" In an insane frenzy I yanked the file out. Its size didn’t matter now. I had to empty it and burn the cards. But as I took the file at one end and began pounding it on the floor, I could not dislodge a single card. I became desperate and pulled ou a card, only to find it as strong as steel when I tried to tear it.

Defeated and utterly helpless, I returned the file to its slot. Leaning my forhead against the wall, I let out a long self-pitying sigh. And then I saw it. The title bore " People I Have Shared the Gospel With." The handle was brighter than those around it, newer, almost unused. I pulled on its handle and a small box not more than three inches long fell into my hands. I could count the cards it contained on one hand.

And then the tears came. I began to weep. Sobs so deep that the hurt started in my stomach and shook through me. I fell on my knees and cried. I cried out of shame, from the overwhelming shame of it all. The rows of file shelves swirled in my tear-filled eyes. No one must ever, ever know of this room. I must lock it up and hide the key.

But then as I pushed away the tears, I saw Him. No please, not Him. Not here. Oh, anyone but Jesus.

I watched helplessly as He began to open the files and read the cards. I couldn’t bear to watch His response. And in the moments I could bring myself to look at His face. I saw a sorrow deeper than my own. He seemed to intuitively go to the worst boxes. Why did He have to read everyone?

Finally He turned and looked at me from across the room. He looked at me with pity in His eyes. But this was a pity that didn’t anger me. I dropped my head, covered my face with my hands, and began to cry again. He walked over and put His arm around me. He could have said so many things. But He didn’t say a word. He just cried with me.

Then He got up and walked back to the wall of files. Starting at one end of the room, He took out a file and, one by one, began to sign His name over mine on each card.

"No!" I shouted, rushing to Him. All I could find to say was "No, no," as I pulled the card from Him. His name shouldn’t be on these cards. But there it was, written in red so rich, so dark, so alive. The name of Jesus covered mine. It was written with His blood.

He gently took the card back. He smiled a sad smile and continued to sign the cards. I don’t think I’ll ever understand how He did it so quickly, but the next instant it seemed I heard Him close the last file and walk back to my side. He placed His hand on my shoulder and said, "It is finished."

I stood up, and He led me out of the room. There was no lock on its door. There were still cards to be written.

There was a man who worked near a rail road. His job was to turn the train tracks back and forth for what ever train was going either way. Him and his son worked together everyday. Part of the train track, was a bridge. The father told his son not to go near the bridge because you can easily slip and fall. "Okay father." the young boy replied.

Part of the train track was broken. The father took the whole day to fix it with his son. But his son became distracted, and went towards the bridge. He wanted to show his father that he was brave, strong, and tough to be near the bridge. He walked out on the bridge, laughing with jollyness. But his foot then slipped, he fell and was now holding on to the train track with his two little hands. He screamed for his father." Daddy help me!" His father dropped his tools and started to run to save his son. But he then heard a train coming. It was coming this way.

The father looked at the broken train track. It wasn’t fixed. If the next train came across it, it wouldn’t stay on the track. Thousands of people were going to die! But his son, his only son, was left holding on the hard train track calling for help. What is he to do? What is he to do?

He had to make a quick decission. It took him everything he had. He decided to save the thousands of people inside the train cars. He went to the track, switched the tracks. He pulled with all the strength he had before the train came close to him. He switched it just in time for the train to cross the bridge. The same bridge his son was barely holding on to.

The father watched the train go by. He watched the people inside. There was a boy sitting with his mother sucking on an ice cream cone. There was a tall business man smoking a pipe and reading a newspaper. There was a prositute sitting next to her pimp. There was a man holding a bottle of liquor. None of them knew what had just happened.

As soon as the train passed through the father ran towards his son, who was no longer holding on to the train tracks. He looked down from the bridge and saw a limp body floating in the deep water below.

The father ran down to the bottom. Jumped in the water and swam towards his son, and took him to shore. He held his small body in his arms. Felt his pulse. He was dead.

I was very little when I was told this story in church. The father let his son die so the people who were traveling on the train would live. He risked his sons life for others. What would happen in you were in his place? Would you sacrifice your child for the sake of others? I would believe everybody would say no way! You might even call the father a bad parent to let his son die, for not paying more attention to where his sons where-abouts. Its easy to judge him for this. But look at the situation. His son to die, or thousands of people to die. In spiritual matters, God sacrificed His only Son, One Life, for every single life that is walking on this planet! And just like the people in the train car, we could careless, or even see what The Father did so we could live.

Religion is nothing. It can’t save you. Doing good works doesn’t make up for all your sins. And all the other things people in the world do will never save you. This isn’t something I am trying to preach or force on you. There are too many people who do preach and it scares people away. You may think this is just another holly-roller blogger posting how you are doing this wrong and doing that wrong. No. Thats not what I am doing. What I am saying, is that you could die at this very moment. We will never know if we will be alive tomorrow, our next event, our next words, or even our next breath.

For a man to come from heaven, to be born into flesh, to grow up as we grew up, to walk in our footsteps, to understanding who we are, to having communication with us, to healing the wounded, to showing His love by letting the world kill Him on a tree. Would anyone you know die so you could live? Would anybody put themselves on a cross? I don’t think so. They would try to find a second opinion if they could! But Jesus didn’t seek a second opinoin. He went through it with no questions asked. He gave His life for me! He gave His life for you! He put all of our sins, OUR SINS, on His body. He took it from us so we wouldn’t have to die a spiritual death, a death that leads to distruction.

I can still see the scenes I saw at the Heaven and Hell House Drama I went to when I was 13. I remember being told the same thing that I just told you. I remember feeling God touch at my heart. He was calling me. I felt HIM! He is calling you! He wants a personal relationship with you. Because the relationships we have in this world will never last, but His words will never end! They go on even after the end of time! His love is never ending!

I remember my senior year we were coming home from a basketball game, which I include we won that night. All of us, the boys and the girl teams were piled into a small van. There was a reck on the high way which led to us waiting in a traffic jam for a bit.

We were a Christian group. A Homeschool group. I’ve known these people for over seven years. We were of all different denominations, and religions. But for the most part, I thought we all agreed on one thing. That salvation is the only way to heaven. Boy was I wrong.

I don’t know how the topic started. I had my head phones over my ears listening to Kutless, then I heard someone say outload," You don’t believe in salvation?" This made me shut off my music and listen. It started out as an argument as to there is no such thing as hell, that God wouldn’t send people to hell. My friend Danielle was talking to my friends and asked for my input. I spoke," Its not God who sends us to hell. Its us who choose that path because we reject Christ love and His Gift of eternal life." I left it at that. For some reason, I felt God was telling me to be silent. So I didn’t speak aftet that, but only spoke when I was asked to, or if I felt I needed to say something.

When we stopped to take a break and stretch out legs, Danielle grabed me and another friend and we talked. We were so disappointed to find out our friends were not saved. I was shocked to think, that if we got in a car crash that night and we all died, only three of us had out names written in God’s book. Disappointment just filled my mind and I couldn’t get it out.

Its the truth. Christ doesn’t send people to hell. Why would He want to? Its us who choose to go there when we die. Its us who reject His offer of eternal life. Its us who decide to follow in our selfishly ordered paths that lead to distruction.

I remember listening to a cd by ZOEgirl. And at the end of one of their songs Chrissy (one of the singers), said something that many people use.

A: Admit that you are a sinner, and that you need a Savior

B: Believe that Jesus Christ is the Lord.

C: Confess your sins, and commit your life to Him

D: Don’t wait until tomorrow

What does all this mean you may ask? By accepting God’s gift you are giving your life to Him, to be put in His hands. We must admit we are sinners. Confess our sins. Ask for forgiveness. We musn’t wait, because it can be too late. And we don’t get second chances at life. We must repent. Casting out cares upon Him. Giving away our hearts to the one true love.

I’m sorry if this must seem a little too long. I didn’t plan it that way. I just wanted to put the story from Joshua Harris’s book and maybe say a small something at the end about and its done. But as I was writing all this I felt more and more come to my head to type down. For those who do not know Christ as their Savior, I pray that you will relize you need Him in your life. You need him like air to live. For those who are Christians, I pray you will get off the couch and do whatever you can to reach to non-believers. Do Whatever It Takes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

We Need Your Help: American Airlines Not Filtering Porn!

I recieved this email this morning by Tiffany who's with Girls Against Porn. Please read!

Hi Erin,

Just wanted to alert you, you may have heard already, that American Airlines is choosing not to filter their new in flight Internet service, they've already been sued for masterbation incidents on flights, we are trying to get everyone to e-mail the Corporate Communications division and bombard them with e-mails, to get them to apply filters, to protect children on flights & those who don't want to be exposed to others who choose to view porn. Their flight attendants have already expressed concern, because American wants them to monitor people, making sure that they aren't viewing porn, but the flight attendants have told American that they can't do that, with the rest of their responsibilities. We need to support them, and tell American to do the right thing, and apply filters.

Please spread the word to all of your contacts, friends, distribution lists, etc. We really need to bombard American Airlines right now with e-mails & calls to apply filters. Their e-mail & phone contact info, is in this press release we just released, and is below too. Any organizations who you know, can sign on to our letter, that we are sending to American in a couple of weeks, asking them to filter their Internet. Just have their leadership contact us at:

Here is the press release link:

http://www. christiannewswire. com/news/157807918. html

Contact American:
American Corporate Communications:
American HQ Phone #: 817-963-1234, press 0 for operator

Thank you friend, for passing this initiative on in advance, we would really appreciate your help to protect passengers/children from being exposed!

Girls Against Porn
www. girlsagainstporn. com
www. myspace. com/girlsagainstporn