I have come to a conclusion as of late:

We confuse conveniences as necessities, and get so caught up in those conveniences that we lack the very things that are actually necessary. We have convinced ourselves that we need whatever is within our reach, whatever is available and accessible considering where we stand in relation to said “necessity.”

According to our tainted line of thought, we need to live ‘comfortably,’ with all the latest amenities. A hot shower, an expansive array of options to choose from for dinner, and easy internet access have become the bare essentials in our society. Our cabinets must be shelved with matching dishware, the hum of a washer and dryer must be purring in the background, and our closets must be stocked with at least enough pairs of shoes to coincide with our different types of attire, in order for us to be comfortably getting by.

This is by no means an attempt to incite feelings of guilt or shame for what we have. In fact, it’s really not about material possessions at all, whether you have a scarcity or surplus. I mean to open our eyes to what is really essential, what we actually need to live the life we were intended to live.

I believe that there are many things in this world, especially in the US, that making living more comfortable and even pleasant and God enjoys blessing his children with those things. However, we too easily fall into the deception that those blessings are necessary for our survival. Naturally, if I were to ask myself if I need my cell phone, laptop, bed, and wardrobe to survive I would say no without any hesitation. But how easily would I really be willing to part with those things? In my mind, I have developed a need for them, a need that should be reserved for whatever it is that I actually thrive on as a human being and as a child of God.

So what is it that we are over-looking, that we actually genuinely need to be who we were created to be?

We need a living relationship with our Creator.

We need love.

We need purpose.

We need grace.

We need fellowship and relationship.

We need joy.

We need rest.

We need passion.

We need growth.

Jesus, forgive us for living by the standards of this world and for not allowing you to give us complete nourishment through your Word. Open our eyes to see what we truly need, and help us to thirst for it.


Where I left my heart...

It occurred to me today that I don’t talk about Africa anymore.

I think that’s mostly due to the fact that I got so fed up with people bringing back pitiful stories of how the people were so desolate andhopeless, and as Americans it is our responsibility to feel sorry for them. My criticism of those ‘testimonies’ influenced my desire to share MY experience there, when it should have sparked an even stronger desire to speak of the people, the land, and the heart. I owe it to Joseph, Esther, Prossy, the Wolof people, Terah, Deborah, Barbara, Simon, Rose, Peace, Faith, Maureen, the hospital patients, the prisoners, and the churches. These precious people deserve to have their story told, and as I have the means to tell it, it is my responsibility to open my mouth. With me keeping silent, for my selfish, foolish reasons, I am discrediting who they are, and what God has done in me and shown me through them.
Father, forgive me.

Joseph-the most beautiful baby boy I have ever laid eyes on. When all the other children came rushing forward to mob us upon every arrival, this sweet one was left peeking around the doorway, too timid to assume any of my team would want to love on him. It was this bashful demeanor that drew me to him instantly. It just took one glance for me to fall in love with this boy, and after throwing my arms around him he grabbed my hand and didn’t let go for the next week and a half. As we explored the orphanage grounds, something about Joseph caught my attention: content and good natured as he was, he rarely ever had a smile on his dear little face. This troubled me, and I wondered what was going on behind the scenes to inflict such a somber personality in this innocent child. The true testament of the joy of the Lord played out as on one of the last days of our trip, I witnessed Joseph doubled over in sweet, untainted laughter as I discovered his most ticklish spot. Tears of joy rushed down his face until they met what I will always remember to be one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen: the most striking and gigantic smile a boy that size could muster.


God IS love.

Sometimes I wonder just how much I truly love God. Yes, I am immensely grateful for who he is and what he has done for me. Yes, I am aware that he created my very being, knows my every thought, and has perfectly ordained every minute of my future. Yes, I realize that he is the Mighty King and Ruler over all, is omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent...
But do I love him?
This leads me to reflect on who I know that I love: I love my family, my friends, each person I have met on the street, the people of Africa, children, and the elderly. This morning it hit me: what I love about those people is God in them. I love having intimacy and understanding with my family, which comes from a God who knows my very core and gave me a family I could relate to. I love having fun and fellowship with my friends, which comes from a God who loves to see me laugh and knows exactly when I need encouragement. I love restoring value and worth to the people I serve on the streets, which comes from a God who has instilled a burning passion within me to love the unloved. I love the pure and unpolluted joy of the African people, which comes from a God who is the source of a supernatural joy that outlasts any situation. I love the uninhibited curiosity and innocent heart of a child, which comes from a God who is pure of heart and untainted by the world. I love the wisdom and sincerity of the elderly, which comes from a God who is the Father of time, the Alpha and Omega.
1 John 4:7-8 Dear Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because
God is love.


guilty as charged

Our fingers are stained crimson from thousands of lives lost. Babies taken before they were given the chance to live, genocides wiping out staggering numbers of innocent men, women, and children who were people just like us, close friends pulling that fatal trigger after convincing themselves that no one cares, the list continues... But how are we the ones caught red-handed? We have a powerful tool at our disposal that is tragically under-utilized: a voice. We must speak out against the dark powers of this world-letting the overwhelming love of God flow through our very mouths, shedding light on the darkest secrets of mankind. We must use our voices to speak on behalf of those who have been told that their words have no value, of those who have a voice but have given up or forgotten how to use it. "With great power comes great responsibility." We have been given the power to proclaim victory over the schemes of the devil, to pour truth into the lives of the deceived, and to coat every cruel and vicious word with the redeeming love of Christ. With that power comes a pressing responsibility: Speak up. The ends of the earth should be echoing with our cries against injustice, our pleas for peace and our declarations of Truth. Esther 4:14 "For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?"


the song that never ends

It's been a few months since my last blog..which I have decided really isn't healthy-blogging is good for my soul.

Isn't it interesting how God works, teaching us the same lessons time and time again..its a wonder he doesn't get bored with his children sometimes--just another display of his affectionate love.
How absurd is it that in the few months since I have been back in Eugene, it seems I have almost completely lost sight of the life-changing revelations I shared in my last blog. Absurd, and absolutely aggravating. It makes me long to walk in the shoes of Paul, David, James...any of those who seemingly had it all together for at least a majority of the time. I just want to know HOW. How do I grasp these discoveries God reveals to me enough to implement them into my day to day life..so that when he wants to reveal to me something further, I am ready to receive it? God tells me to let go, and let Him. But how? Am I making things more complicated than need be? Knowing my over-analytical self, that's probably the case. :) But it is frustrating nonetheless.
Recently He has taken me to further depths of understanding my identity, in a more practical sense. Despite (or possibly because of it?) my lack of self-discipline in pursuing the identity he had been revealing to me, he apparently is taking a new approach. In the past month or so, the things I had previously found most of my self-worth and value in have been ripped out from beneath me. For the first time in my life, I am not considering an athlete. For the first time in my life, school doesn't come easy to me..and my grades are less than commendable. For the first time in my life, I have been really skeptical of my chances of the man to marry. Every pitiful thing offered by this world that I have been so desperately clinging to is being ripped from my white-knuckled fist.
What's left? Just me. Broken and naked-a crystal clear depiction of heart-wrenching humility.

But I guess that's right where God wants me, huh?


freedom in the rising sun

<- that would be the sunrise this morning. thanks for that Jesus :)
It is currently 7 am, and believe it or not, the past 9 or so hours were not spent under my covers. God decided to teach me a lesson or two that ended up lasting all night, and the aftermath is obviously still going strong as I am voluntarily awake right now, with no intention of going back to bed for a while. That in itself should be deemed quite attention-grabbing, as sleep happens to be one of my greatest delights.

So what was it that kept my eyes wide all hours of the night? God is slowly but surely walking me through the realization of my identity in Him-a concept that is fully understood by very few followers of Christ, despite its commonality in the 'Christianese' terminology. Coming to a fully understanding of our identity in Christ is an on-going process that will never be completely realized until we are living in the eternal presence of our mighty God in Heaven..and even then, I personally believe there will continue to be more that He desires to teach us concerning who He has created us to be. So lately I have been given brief glimpses that leave me wanting more and stir up an incredible supernatural hope in realizing who I truly am.

I am a regal princess.
I am His Beautiful One.
I am a Child of God.
I am His Beloved.
I am His Treasure.
I am His Favorite One.
I am made holy and pure in the glory of his grace.

Tonight I was talking with a friend and he shared a beautiful revelation with me: the difference between condemnation and conviction. Condemnation tells us that we are defined by our actions ( ie. I drank alcohol, therefore I am an alcoholic). Primarily, it says that we sin, therefore we are sinners. Conviction tells us that we are called to be holy in Christ. When we stumble, it tells us that we are way too awesome to be acting like that, and we are called to a higher Way. Such a common mistake that I know I am guilty of is living a life of condemnation. The truth is that we were sinners who have been made pure by sanctification in Christ. He has redeemed us, therefore we are no longer sinners. Of course we still sin, but we find freedom in His grace so that our sin does not define who we are.
How incredibly beautiful.
By choosing to live in that condemnation, we are refusing God's astounding gift of love...which is not showing a whole lot of gratitude in my opinion. If we are truly thankful for the love of God that surpasses all understanding, all shame, all sin, then why aren't we fully receiving it?
Receive. -> another puzzle piece in discovering my identity. God is teaching me to release and receive. I must release my old self in order to receive the new creation he is offering me.

Release deceit. Receive Truth.
Release fear. Receive Power.
Release doubt. Receive Faith.
and so on..

Obviously, there is a lot left for God to work on in my life until I reach a point of implementing my identity into a lifestyle...but the glimmer of light that he is shedding on my life is exciting and enticing. I am on an incredible journey with the Most High God, which is allowing me to discover what truly defines Britni Clarice Steiling.


the genius of keith green

My son, My son, why are you striving
You can't add one thing to what's been done for you
I did it all while I was dying
Rest in your faith, my peace will come to you
For when I hear the praises start
I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child and you know me
To Me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do for Me
My child, My child, why are you weeping
You will not have to wait forever
That day and that hour is in My keeping
The day I'll bring you into Heaven
For when I hear the praises start
My child, I want to rain upon you
Blessing that will fill your heart I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child and you know me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done remains
Only what you do in Me
My precious bride, the day is nearing
When I'll take you in My arms and hold you
I know there are so many things that you've been hearing
But you just hold on to what I have told you
For when I hear the praises start
My bride, I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are My child, and you know Me
To me you're only holy
Nothing that you've done will remain
Only what you do for me


in the eye of the beholder

What is beauty?
The world defines it as a woman with the "perfect" figure, luxurious furnishings, exquisite diamonds, and anything else associated with glitz and glamor. All things that will eventually fade away, which in my opinion disqualifies them as possessing true beauty.
In order to be genuinely beautiful, something must be able to supersede time itself. True beauty can weather stress, age, and destruction without losing an ounce of its appeal. Who but our Father in heaven could be the source of such a thing? But how beautiful is our Lord? It seems impossible to wrap my mind around the fact that he created every beautiful thing I have ever seen. Which means He even surpasses their beauty. Our precious Savior has more beauty than a waterfall interrupting a lush rain forest, a sunset on the African horizon, a couple growing old together in love, the birth of a perfect new baby, the timid bloom of the first rose of spring, and the dazzling glow of thousands of stars stretching across the night sky. I can't quite fathom how a being could possibly be more beautiful than all of the beauty in the world combined...but however that works, I want more of it in my life! I long to bask the in the presence of the Lord and literally soak up His beauty, so that I may be a vessel that shares it with those around me. Our Father so desperately desires for us to experience the gifts he created for us. Every person on this earth has been made worthy of getting a glimpse of His genuine beauty, and I aim to share it with as many people as He enables me to.
Psalm 27:4 One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.


All in a day's work...

Just as the monotony of scanning one grocery item after another was about to push me over the edge, I was left dumbstruck by a customer’s comment that was far more profound than the average small talk exchanged within the confines of the Grocery Outlet.

I scanned this precious man’s last grocery item, and then proceeded to complete the transaction as he pulled out his EBT (food stamps) card. While we both patiently waited for the information to process, he glanced down at the screen and then back at me and casually said “Man, I’ve been waiting for approval my whole life.” He was obviously referring to getting his card approved, but looking in his eyes revealed how loaded his statement truly was. Being my awkward, oblivious self I brushed it off with an uncertain chuckle and sent him on his way.

Minutes later, a lull in my check stand line gave me time to reflect on what he had said. I was blown away that this humble man had fully realized and admitted a struggle that is common to almost all of mankind…seeking approval from one another. We are on an endless quest to receive a sense of approval from everyone we come in contact with, whether it is making a good first impression, pleasing our parents, or impressing a certain someone, we do not give up until we feel accepted and adequate.

My question is WHY? Why do we work so hard, why do we compromise ourselves, why do we strive with no end in sight, all for the measly approval of a mere human being who in fact is no greater than ourselves? That in itself seems ridiculous to me, but then you add in the factor of God’s love and it becomes downright absurd. While we are occupied with the tedious task of gaining one another’s approval, God is ready to lavish us with his love, blessing, and adoration that completely surpasses any sanction from man. And what does he require in order to earn that love? All that He asks is that we simply be with Him. He longs for us to bask in His presence, and revel in the person that He made us to be.

So why waste our time and energy yearning for the approval of men, when we could instead be exploring the depths of God’s infinite love for us as He pours it out upon us…I know what I would prefer. :)



I have been choosing to live a life unsatisfied. I have been choosing to drink vinegar over water, choosing sorrow over joy, choosing tears over smiles.

Christ desires to transform me, mold me into a new creation. He has given me the opportunity to shed the old me and put on the brilliant covering of renewal.

I know that feelings of guilt and shame are not from the Lord, but how can I feel anything other than remorse and frustration when I observe how I have been foolishly living? The most disheartening part of it all, is the monotony of being stuck in this rut, and not understanding how to get out.

I see the treachery that accompanies the path I am travelling- a lackluster life will dulled relationships, cloudy skies, and further retraction into the person I was instead of growth into the person I can become.

At the same time, I see how following the path of my Savior brings about the purest form of joy, satisfaction, fulfillment. I was created for the sole purpose of chasing after Him and learning how to glorify his name. Naturally, filling this purpose will bring about the pleasure of living in His presence, following His will.

I have no desire to live my life of old…yet I struggle to get sure-footing on the path of righteousness that leads to me as a new creation.

I must be freed of who I am, so that I may pursue who I am to become.

The beauty of it all, is that Christ desires for me to be released even more than I do. And it is in the process of being freed that I gain a full understanding of His grace, and a better acceptance of His love.

So Jesus, come and set me free.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18

But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.


Desires of a 19 year old girl

I want to live happily ever after.

I want to impact the world.

I want to be good at singing.

I want to meet him, and to know it’s him.

I want him to want me.

I want to travel the world.

I want to eat as many cream puffs as I can, without facing any consequences.

I want to look like her.

I want my grandma back.

I want friendships to be like they used to be.

I want no one to go hungry, and everyone to have a roof over their head.

I want to play in a basketball game where there is no such thing as getting fouled out.

I want to adopt a baby from Africa, Asia, South America, and India.

I want a Persian kitty named Gus.

I want to be able to live a life of ministering on the streets without worrying about making a living for myself.

I want to play the piano.

I want to be confident.

I want to be serenaded by Jim Sturgess.

I want to enrich the lives of others.

I want to make a difference.

How is it so easy, so second-nature, for me to want these things, and yet such a struggle for me be in a constant state of want and desire for more of Jesus? Comparing a Persian cat to the Creator of the Universe..it doesn’t seem to be a difficult decision in choosing what I would desire more, but the answer is sometimes shocking.

Looking at how I live my life, what is it that I am yearning for? My fruit would show that often times it’s not more of Jesus, but rather the temporal things of this world such as romance and appearance. I find my thoughts revolving around these things, and my happiness is often dependent on whether or not they are within reach. Meanwhile, Christ is standing by hoping that I will wake up and realize that He is the only thing worth longing for. He would love nothing more than for me to simply WANT HIM.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

I want to, want to want You.

I want to want you, Jesus.

I want to, want to want You.

I want to want to, Jesus.

You have shown your Truth,

I confessed my sins.

Teach me to repent and believe.

Lived a broken life,

You can heal my heart.

Lord your grace is all that I need.

I need to, need to need You.

I need to need you, Jesus.

I need to, need to need You.

I need to need you, Jesus.

You have shown your Truth,

I confessed my sins.

Teach me to repent and believe.

Lived a broken life,

You can heal my heart.

Lord your grace is all that I need. –Confessions, Casey Hurt




Stir crazy






Take a step outside and look around you. What do you see? People hurting, searching, crying out for somebody to love them. A world full of poverty, heartache and ugliness. Girls selling themselves on the corner, people slaving themselves away for next to nothing in attempt to support their family, and babies not even being given a chance to start their lives.

Sitting here in my comfortable bed, with a full tummy and a carefree week on the horizon, there are times when I get a little bit frustrated. I am very content with where God has placed me, and where He directs my life-in plenty OR in want; however, I am not okay with the lack of impact my lifestyle makes. I want to lead a life that makes a difference, be it big or small. I feel that because God has blessed me with the freedom of this country and the excess materials I have been given, I have a responsibility to love and serve those around me, especially those who have less. Skimming over what I just wrote, it comes across as me wanting a life of recognition and legacy-but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. So to clarify: I simply want to live for others. I want every day to be spent helping those in need and truly loving on them. This is where I sometimes get aggravated. I feel like those who are the most in need aren’t always in reach. The starving babies in Africa, the homeless on the street... I have BEEN there, I know how desperate they are and how easy it is to love them-but Africa is half way around the world and going to talk to homeless people by myself? According to society I would be crazy to do that as a single, young female.

I end up throwing out the either lame excuses or practical thoughts (I have yet to decide what they are) of me being too busy working, going to school and resting to truly dedicate my life to serving others.

But what really matters? I could die any day, and what will I have done? There are people that ARE dying each day without ever having been loved by a fellow human being. There are people that are suffering miserably in illness, poverty, hunger, and despair...is it really necessary for me to reach “success” in this world before I can go out and help them?? I think that growing up in America has given me that mindset: first I need to ensure my own personal security and comfort, and THEN I will go out and help those who need it. Meanwhile, people are out there hanging on to their lives by a thread.

We have it so backwards. Ignore the cliché, but we are all in this together. Every human being is equally in need of our Savior, of His love, and of one another’s love. I just need to figure out the best way to show it.

“I wonder how so many can be in pain, while others don’t feel a thing?

In a world of suffering, why should I be so blessed?” –Brett Dennen, So Much More

“There ain’t no reason things are this way, its how they always been and they intend to stay.

I can’t explain why we live this way, we do it everyday.” –Brett Dennen, Ain’t No Reason


the point of breaking

Where do you turn when the only constant in your life is distant? How do you look to the future when your past is marred with regrets and shame? What do you do when every one of your actions contradicts what you know is right?

Lead me beside the water so still

Let me catch my breath

Let me drink my fill

Let me lie in fields of green

Where only gentle breezes blow

I’ll reach out my empty hands

For the cup that over flows

Restore my soul, Restore my soul

I’ve stood too long here in these shadows

These valley walls are all I see

I need the skilled eyes of my Shepherd

Now my vision’s failing me

Then I will run and not be weary

I will walk and not faint

I will soar with wings of eagles

In God alone is my strength

Surely goodness and mercy

Will find their way to me

And I will live with them forever

I will have no more need

The Lord is my Shepherd

He is my God

I will live with Him forever

I shall not want -Sherri Youngward


Meet me in The Garden

"The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place. The few books she had read and liked had been fairy-story books, and she had read of secret gardens in some of the stories. Sometimes people went to sleep in them for a hundred years, which she had thought must be rather stupid. She had no intention of going to sleep, and, in fact, she was becoming wider awake every day which passed" -The Secret Garden

This past weekend God led me to read Song of Solomon...not a book that I would expect to hold much relevance to the life of a single, 19 year old girl without any male prospects on the horizon :) I was pleasantly surprised as the Master of Romance began to woo me, saying all the right things, but with utmost sincerity. I basked in the feeling of being His treasured one, as He called me His Darling, His Beloved, His Lily among thorns. After I was successfully wrapped around His finger, He beckoned me to join Him in The Garden. It is there, in a beautiful sanctuary of blooming blossoms, where we can experience true intimacy. Something beyond even the most romantic experience that the earth can offer. Pure intimacy with Christ is more than something sensual or erotic, it is spiritual and thirst-quenching. It explores the innermost parts of ourselves that we don't even dare reveal, and affirms that we are beautiful beings, down to our very core. The most astonishing thing is, this incredible satisfaction and fulfillment is available to us whenever we desire it, at any time of day. God longs for us to join Him in His Garden and drink of His Spirit. We give into our flesh and try to quench that thirst with the temporary crap that the world offers, while God waits for us in the Garden, calling to us so that He may lavish His love upon our aching souls.


a recovering addict...

Every time my parents boast to me of the 'diverse' congregation at their church, I can't help but get a little irked. It seems like every Sunday brings yet another recovering addict, and they tell me that approximately a third of the church is made up of "those people" who were once alcoholics, drug addicts, convicts, etc. My sweet mom and dad rejoice in enthusiasm with each person who chooses our church to help distance themselves from their despicable past, and rightly so-there is nothing more beautiful than helping someone find redemption in Christ's blood. What I really have a hard time with however, is the line we draw between ourselves and others according to our past and current struggles. Who is to say one sin is necessarily "worse" than another? The fact is, every single member of that congregation, as well people everywhere-Christians and non-Christians alike-are recovering addicts. Because of this flesh that makes up our body, we are all addicted to sin. Granted, some sins may cause more drastic or immediate consequences, but either way it is not in our authority to deem our sins and struggles as better or worse than someone else's. It is hard for me to practically relate this concept to something in everyday life as I can't think of anything i have necessarily been addicted to..but it is a plain and simple fact that sin is an addiction of mankind. Temptation lures us in time and time again and we easily fall back into the vicious cycle of addiction. The beautiful thing is, we simply need to make the decision to start down the path of recovery and Christ is there with open arms to help make us whole again. Luke 15:32 "But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." And you know what else? We are all in this together-each and everyone of us is striving to recover from whatever sins we are addicted to. Chances are we will slip up, which is why we are still labeled as recovering, not recovered. Knowing that we are all going through the same ..we need stop the judgment and learn to love.


Choose Life

Close your eyes, and imagine yourself stranded in a desolate, barren desert. The only thing in your possession is a compass and the clothes on your back, and with every second that ticks by, the scorching heat is intensifying your unbearable thirst. It is that unending thirst that fuels you to set out in search of water. You have been told that there is a rushing river to the north, so with your compass as your guide you head off in that direction. After only a few small steps your body tells you to slow down and take it easy, so you stop to sit and regain the meager amount of strength that you still have. While resting, you glance around and something catches your eye. You do a double take and realize that in the opposite direction of your destination there was a small pond and cluster of greenery in the far off distance. Could it be? Would you finally be able to wet your tongue with the sweet, sweet water of life? With a sudden burst of energy you jump up and head toward the beautiful source of satisfaction that awaits you. But in your haste you had momentarily forgotten what you had been warned of: sometimes in the desperation of thirst and exhaustion, the desert can play tricks with your mind and convince you that something is real when in actuality nothing is there. It is called a mirage, and it proves to be one of the hardest challenges to overcome when one is trying to survive in the desert. What if this paradise that appeared up ahead actually turned out to be just a further extension of this dreadful desert? If that is the case, then you would have wasted a large amount of your limited supply of energy, and would be that much farther from the real source of water. Now you stand at the crossroads of a life or death decision: do you continue heading south, away from where you were told to find water, in hopes that this possible mirage turns out to be real? Or do you turn and continue to be guided north by your compass, with the intent of reaching the promised fulfillment of clear, sanctifying water? Do you continue seeking after the ways of this world, which appear to offer a much more tangible satisfaction? Or do you continue on the straight and narrow path that leads to eternal joy and fulfillment, even when it sometimes seems out of reach?
-> Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)


The Taste of Sin

So I came up with an analogy the other day, I am actually pretty impressed with it :) Picture your all time favorite candy bar (for me it is a Milky Way, King Size of course) sitting in front of you, just within arm's reach. You haven't eaten all day and have been craving chocolate like none other. Naturally, you grab the candy bar and devour it, letting it's creamy texture melt away in your mouth. Delicious. In the back of your mind you know that eating the candy bar probably wasn't the healthiest decision, but the taste that is overwhelming your senses quickly dismisses any negative thoughts of what consequences might await you. You polish off every last mouthwatering bite and then soon forget about your little treat as you go about the rest of the day. But, surprise! It shows up about a week later-in the form of a 4th love-handle! Regrets flood your mind as the all of strenuous hours you put into working out are ruined by this fateful candy bar.
So the candy bar represents sin..tempting, conniving, revolting sin. Sin that appears so appetizing and harmless, but never fails to eventually come back and bite you in the butt.
Why do the desires of my flesh seem so overpowering, so irresistible? Sometimes I feel that there is no point in even trying to deny them, because I am bound to fall right back into that pit of failure in no time. There are times when I don't even have the desire to say no, the delectable taste of that candy bar is just overwhelming. So I end up here, stuck in this rut where I struggle with even having the desire to escape..


The multitudes of heaven worship you

Creative Worship. Just recently, God introduced this new concept to me. He not only desires our constant adoration and praise, but He wants us to express to Him personally. As his beloved children, we have obviously each been created unique and set apart from one another. But God is not a God of ambiguity-He formed us this way with reason. Ranging from those who thrive off of completing an intricate math problem in under 30 seconds, to those who are invigorated by taking a nature walk to satisfy their aesthetic eye...we all are inspired by different things. I am learning that it is these driving forces and passions that are our God-given avenues of relating to Him. God is the epitome of passion: he is stirred by every different kind of inspiration. It doesn't matter where we find our energy and zest in this life, He created it and consumes it. That means that we having the blessing of creative worship-praising him through our talents and relating to him in our own private and precious way. Nothing brings Him more joy than watching His children, His creation, His beloved, fulfilling the purpose that he put time and effort into specifically planning for them. And isn't it our greatest longing to please him? It almost seems too simple: discover whatever it is that gives us purpose here on earth, something that we enjoy doing and are talented at, and then go at it 100%. This is all it takes to bring a smile to the face of our precious Lord and King. Nehemiah 9:5-6 "Stand up and praise the LORD your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you."


What's your story?

I had a revelation the other day. Walking between classes, i was throwing myself a little pity party as i dwelt on those i missed back home. No one here truly knows my story, my past, and how i have come to be who i am today. I love and appreciate the new friends i have made this year, but there is something set apart about the people in one's life who have seen you at your lowest low and highest high, and all the crazy times in between. Thankfully I was able to console myself with the reassurance that these people i miss are only an hour away, and i can fellowship with them soon. But what of those who have no one that knows their story? No one can fully understand where they once were, and why they are who they are today. I have learned that personally, i take the irreplaceable validation and fulfillment that comes from loved ones for granted. Where would i be without the people who have watched me grow and helped to shape and mold me? I would be lonely and aimless, much like those i come across on the streets. I think the foremost hardship that they face, one that overpowers the lack of shelter, lack of food, and lack of clothing, is a simple lack of love. If my life was void of every person who i know for certain loves me, it would seem absolutely meaningless. Who would i live for? What is the point? There would be no one who cares, and no one who truly knows me. The validation that we gain from loved ones is what keeps us sane in this perverse environment we call home. The most heartwrenching part of this alarming concept is that each and every human being has the ability to love, that is almost 7 billion people who are capable of loving on their fellow humans, and yet so many slip by unloved. The bottom line? All we need is love. Talking to Rae, we realized that the most cliche things generally turn out to be the most true..so as cliche as that sounds, all we need is love. 1 John 4:16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.


San Fran 07

(written 04/07) As soon as I laid eyes on his weathered, wrinkly skin, small stature, and sad eyes, I was instantly drawn to him. This was a man who was longing for something more, but didn't know where to find it. After engaging in a simple and somewhat shallow conversation, I dove a little deeper and was given the opportunity to minister to this sweet man, sharing with him the hope that I have found in my life. Everywhere we went to do ministry, we were met with a sea of faces: the curious, the broken, the indifferent, and the desperate. Many people we approached, such as the sweet man I spoke with, were open to conversing and pleased that someone would even bother to talk with someone such as them. It was humbling to see that even something as simple as learning their name and shaking their hand was enough to brighten someone's day. Having somewhat of a shy personality proved to be quite a challenge as I was encouraged to go up and initiate conversations with complete strangers, but it proved to be a tremendous personal growing experience. Even though we were blessed by many of these people and their willingness to engage, not every spectator had a pleasant response to our ministry. Our team faced various forms of discrimination and mockery, but we took it in stride, knowing that it confirmed the fact that people were taking notice of what we were doing. But whether the people were receptive or not, they all shared one thing in common. Every individual shared the universal desire for something more, something to fill the void in their life. This unquenchable thirst is precisely the reason our ministry team exists. We have found what these people are so desperately searching for, and long for everyone to grasp the hope that we rest in. Not only do we get the chance to share the joy that we have grabbed a hold of in our own life, we get the pleasure of establishing personal relationships with many of the people we speak with.

I love my best friend

My name is Britni Steiling....and i have a best friend. Where do i even begin, Raechel Wendel.....what a woman. We both have decided to venture off on this blogging journey together... so here we go... sharing our hopes, dreams, and fears with the world. Hope you enjoy......