merely but a vessel.

2 Timothy 2:20-22"Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness,faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart."

I am merely but a vessel, intricately crafted by my Creator with the purpose of holding and overflowing his love. This has only become clearly evident to me recently, as the chips and cracks inflicted upon my fragile clay body have penetrated all the way through: leaving me in broken shambles at the foot of my Creator. Over the course of my life I have been nicked and damaged, but my outer shell has withstood these blows so that I have not yet been shattered. I had learned to scrounge around my environment in search of pitiful improvisations with which to mend my imperfections: putty, toothpaste, glue..anything that might suffice in place of the genuine clay that Christ used when he first created me. Naturally, this didn't make for a vessel that could hold much of what I was intended to carry, at least not for any length of time. But at least I appeared whole to the naked eye, my audience didn't need to know the purpose I was originally crafted for.
But now I find myself having been broken. My pitiful attempts to cover my brokenness have entirely crumbled away, leaving a mess of jagged shards and ugly scraps of what was once an elegant masterpiece. How shocking and heartbreaking it must have been for my Creator when he first noticed t he utter destruction his handiwork had been subjected to.

But I do not sing a song of remorse and despair! For my creator has patience and hope that outlasts even the grimmest of situations.

He is taking the fragments of baked clay littered at the foot of His cross and gently yet precisely fusing them back together. The most beautiful part of it is that though faint lines can still be seen where the cracks once were, the vessel he is putting back together is seamless and completely sealed. Soon, I will be able to hold his Living Water inside of me without a single drop being able to escape.
As I am being delicately repaired, I am beginning to understand more and more of my purpose. I have a calling so much greater than that of being admired from a distance, as I was previously settling for. When my Beloved first sat at his pottery wheel and stared at the meager lump of clay in His hands, he dreamed of a child set apart: one who would bring Him glory and fall before Him, one who would reap His sacred harvest and be His hands and feet in this lost and broken world. I was created to be filled with His Living Water. I was called to one day be filled to overflowing with that life-giving Water, so others may drink of it as well. At this season in my life, I am still allowing Him to repair me so that I may be able to hold more of Him, and people in my life may come and take a sip from the rough rim of my jar. One day, in His sovereign timing, I will be fully r epaired and he will continue pouring into me, so that I will literally overflow with the Life he gives.

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare...Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." (Isaiah 55:1-2, 6)

My favorite part of being a vessel is that that is all I really am. It is HIS Living Water within me that brings life. It is He who created me, mends my broken pieces, and equips me to hold His water. It is He who pours abundance into me to others may partake.

He is the source. And a beautiful one at that.

"Sculpting every move, you compose a symphony."



"Sometimes we are called to come down from the hill where the light is and step into the fog. We go there to help those who don't know Him to interpret the light when it reaches them. Let God burn the clouds away while we reach to His people."One of the most treasured moments of my day is when I open the door to my warm, inviting apartment after my last class, pull on a pair of my dad's old sweats (which are always more comfortable than my own) and burrow down into my rocking love seat..topping it off with my Snuggie, of course. Nothing compares to being bundled up in multiple layers, a cup of tea in hand, and the stresses of the day disappearing into the distance; it's the epitome of comfort.
Now, shift gears:
My brother Seth and I always cringed at the question frequented by our dad during our childhood: "Hey kids, how about some 'bonding time' with dad this afternoon?" Don't get me wrong, I love my daddy and very much enjoy spending quality time with him...but that's not exactly what he was referring to. 'Bonding time' with dad usually consisted of pulling weeds in our beast of a garden, edging the lawn by hand, raking leaves, or something to that nature. These activities were never at the top of my list for how I preferred to spend my afternoon, and the clothing attire required was decidedly less comfortable than that of my snuggle-wear mentioned previously. In gearing up for yardwork, mom made sure I put on my "grubbies," and dad was always considerate in offering me a pair of his old work gloves, which never failed to be twice the size of my hands. I was undoubtedly a sight for sore eyes. Once again, the most rewarding the aspect of 'bonding time' (aside from actually spending time with dad, of course) was coming inside afterward and changing into my warm, comfortable sweats.
Recently I have been challenged in my faith at the realization that I have been inching back towards my precious and well-guarded comfort zone. God has turned my life upside down numerous times throughout the past 20 years, and brought me to a beautiful place OUTSIDE of my comfort zone where I was priveliged to fully rely on Him. He had called me to lay down my Snuggie, pull on some grubbies and get my hands dirty, often times even providing me with the work boots or oversized gloves. I am always welcome to come back inside and warm myself by the fire, maybe even slip on a sweatshirt or blanket, but never with the intent to stay inside.
1 Corinthians 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Christ has called and anointed us to be his body, and I am pretty certain that His body includes hands and feet. Though I know he calls us to dwell with Him in His Secret Place, wrapped up in our Snuggie with full view of the Light, He most definitely is also calling us to dress down and step down into the fog, to bring the illumination of his Truth to a generation that is wandering blindly.
'Bonding Time' with the Father is actually sounding fairly appealing now, ironically.


worth sharing.

"Cross over, My children,
From all you have known, seen and tasted of My presence.

For all that has passed before you on the journey of worship
Has been to bring you to this place.

For I am taking the heart of stone
Out of the lives of My people
To free them from selfish restraint and self-preoccupation
That they may behold Me.

In these days, I will be your reward as you worship.
You will enter into that place of adoration
That the angels occupy around My throne.

For it shall be on earth, even as it is in heaven.
Worship from the earth shall ascend and meet
Worship descending from heaven.
When the first heaven meets the third heaven
In adoration,
All that is demonic in the second heaven
Shall be displaced by the weight of glory.

For I shall come down into that place of adoration
As you seat me on the throne of your passion.
When I come, all things will change.
I will adorn My bride with My beauty
And make her ready for My intimate embrace.

Cross over, My children,
Set your heart to cross over
Into a new land of worship.

Press in, press in,
Learn to stand in joy and admiration.
Receive the stamina, the discipline, the will
To push your heart forward.

Give yourself, do not withhold,
But push, push on, push through.
Give birth to a new song
That will captivate your heart as it captivates Mine.

This song will fill the earth.
It will fill My house.
It will fill My temple
Even as it fills your heart.

A new land awaits you.
Go in and possess your possessions.

In worship, in adoration,
Receive My longing for you.
Let My aching heart refresh you,
Replenish you, restore you."

(Drawing Close by Graham Cooke)



I'm no longer my own I'm Your garden.

My thumb doesn't have even the slightest green tint to it. I have always admired those who find solace in their gardens, those who could waste their days away merely pulling weeds, planting bulbs, and pruning limbs..but alas, I fall more in the category of someone who finds a way to kill even the plastic indoor plants.
Thankfully, this has in no way deferred the diligent work of the Ultimate Gardener in my life. God let me in on a brilliant revelation the other day: I am his garden. It makes so much sense, in so many ways..it's a wonder I didn't catch on sooner! We serve a clever God indeed. :)

As my own personal Gardener, my Beloved cares for me tenderly and delicately. He takes note of my sweet and gentle petals, and faithfully protects every baby green shoot that ventures to poke its head out of the soil. He waters me daily, taking care to not drown my fragile roots, and is sure to add some fertilizer on those days that are especially dry. His rays of sunlight stimulate my growth and coax me to let my petals bloom. When weeds sprout up in attempt of choking my roots and stealing my nourishment, he plucks them out..and being the meticulous Gardener that he is, my Beloved makes a point to get those weeds out at the root-none of that surface business. He is even teaching me to recognize those weeds that disguise themselves as flowers, so I can learn to not let them take root in the first place. One of my favorite things about having my Beloved as my Gardener is how he loves to admire my beauty. He takes time to sit and smell the fragrance of my flowers, and simply take in the simple elegance of my vibrant colors and textures. Though it's not all about aesthetics; gardens require upkeep as well. In his love for me, my Gardener gently prunes and discards those branches that detract from my beauty, and those flowers that I have allowed to wilt and die. Pruning can be a long and painful process, but is necessary in order to achieve my ultimate purpose as a garden: a harvest. All of his dedication in tending to and caring for me is essentially so that I may bear fruit for him to enjoy. I sit in precious anticipation for the day of the full harvest..but until that day I am enjoying this period of growth and new life!

Isaiah 58:11
The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Song of Solomon 4:12 You are a garden locked up, my sister, my bride; you are a spring enclosed, a sealed fountain.

John 15:1 "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.

It's You and me alone God You and me alone Here it's You and me alone God You and me alone

You've hedged me in with skin all around me I'm a garden enclosed a locked garden Life takes place behind the face.

So come into Your garden Come into Your garden.

Here O Lord! Have I prepared a place for You!

I'm no longer my own I'm Your garden.



I think the heart is much more fragile than we realize. But, we must cherish that delicacy, not squander it.
Jesus showed me a picture the other day of how we can best take care of our tender hearts.

He started by showing me an image of his royal sword pinning my heart into the ground, holding it stable--he chose me. A strong wind then proceeded blow all of my heart away, leaving only the tiny piece that was held down by the sword. I picked up that remaining fragment of my heart, and timidly held it up to my Lord. My demeanor was similar to that of a young girl holding up her somewhat pitiful stick-figure drawing to her mom or dad. Though my offering was meager, battered and bruised, my Jesus looked upon it with pride and absolute bliss. He told me gently that it was very important for me to keep my arm extended towards him, and to keep my hand open and unclenched. Times might become seemingly volatile, but I needed to trust him with this precious cargo. Soon enough, a violent storm raged about me, and it appeared that my heart could go flying out of my hand at any moment. But I obeyed what he asked, and left my fingers open and my heart exposed. He rewarded my trust as his gentle hands slowly enclosed my small hand, protecting my heart in his delicate grasp.
And now he tells me, "My child, I have created your heart to be sweet and delicate with the purpose that you would need me to guard it and cherish it. Leave it in my hands and I will gladly keep it safe from harm, and restore it in fullness."

Psalm 119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.
Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.



Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7

As Jesus followers, we have an incredible force at our finger tips that, I have realized as of late, is extremely taken for granted. We have personal access to the one who dictates our very breath, found in the (slightly "Christian-esed ") power if prayer. A reoccurring lesson that God was helping me understand on my recent trip to South Africa is that of me having this overwhelming tool in my very own arsenal, yet hardly using it.

He revealed to me that when I was stuck on the sidelines while my Parable teammates were performing dramas, I should have been praying. He healed me from my illness, and blessed me in that healing by bringing our team in South Africa and my loved ones back home together for unity in prayer. He informed me that though Satan sometimes has access to our flesh and our environment, he can never intervene in our ability to pray.

Since I have been home, I have been facing various decision-making opportunities that we often come across living in the world but not of the world. I have been desperately seeking his peace, and striving to follow his guidance, though I haven't had an enormous amount of success with either of these endeavors. Among a few glimpses of his peace, I have been bombarded by anxiety and fear. As of tonight, I have realized WHY I seem to have fallen short in my pursuit for absolute peace. He tells me: "Do not be anxious, my child. Come to me, thank me for my goodness, and ask me for the yearnings of your heart. I will protect your heart and ease your mind. This anxiety and worry is not a burden you must bear. Rejoice! Take part of my overwhelming joy!"

I have been asking to rest in his peace, I just hadn't quite figured out how to find it yet :) Now it is a matter of seizing the power of prayer, and allowing his peace to come! Join me?



sacrifice: "surrender of something highly valued for the sake of one considered to have a greater value or claim"

gift: "to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation"

A gift is different than a sacrifice. A simple and somewhat obvious conclusion, yes, but is it one that we take the time to really and fully grasp? A gift is a voluntary act of merely handing something over to the other party involved, while a SACRIFICE includes letting go of something highly valued for the sake of that other person. I've recently come to understand the somewhat painful reve
lation that I have been giving my life to the Lord, but not sacrificing it to him. In only offering my life as a gift, I was able to 'secretly' hold onto the parts of it that I valued the most. In the gentle, yet firm way that only the Father can, he pulled back the veil and revealed how I had been deceiving myself and refusing to enter into the fullness of life that he has for me.

Growing up with a wonderful family and stable home, I was never really exposed to a sacrifice visible to the naked eye. I had what I needed and didn't need to make any sacrifices to 'get by.' The closest I got to knowing sacrifice was giving up the name brand shoes for a similar pair that was half the price, due to my ever frugal mother. :) I would read Matthew 16:24-25 (Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.) but I never truly comprehended the extent of what Jesus meant. Sure, I would give up my life to follow my Savior, but sacrifice everything? There must be some fine print at the bottom allowing us to keep a hold of the things we really cherished... As ridiculous as that sounds, it is exactly how I was choosing to live my life for the last 20 years. I was managing just fine too, until God tried a different approach (apparently his blatant statement in Matthew wasn't quite direct enough hah). He recently has asked me to surrender my heart fully to him. That includes everyone I love on this earth, in other words-those I hold dearest, and what I attribute the highest value to in my life. Prying my white-knuckled fingers off the edges of my heart was no easy task, and the pain that accompanied this endeavor was just short of excruciating. Even with my gentle and loving Father walking beside me, encouraging me to continue through this painful process, it was still 20 years of holding tightly that I was trying to release. But He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world..these things that I treasured so dearly, are still of this world and do not hold the eternal value of his salvation. Relationships and fellow children of the King are beautiful gifts that we should cherish throughout our lifetime, but they should never come before our Creator in our hearts!

It made sense that God was asking me to surrender my heart. He doesn't ask us for just the parts of us that are easy to toss aside, he wants what means most to us because it means the most to him as well. When we sacrifice, it is releasing those things that we deeply value, not what we could easily live without. The beauty of it all, is that once we have surrendered and made the sacrifice that he asks of it, we are wonderfully rewarded for it. Though a sacrifice is made with no motivation of compensation, our Father rejoices in being able to bless his children.

Sacrifice brings deeper intimacy, new levels of beauty, and a further knowledge of the love and grace of our God. Nothing on this earth, even those we hold the most dear, can compare to an increase in our growth with Jesus.



Wrestling with God is not something I would recommend; he tends to win with flying colors, every time. A recent revelation showed me that the past few years I have been adamantly attempting to defy the calling the God has on my life. Silly me.

As I look over my teenage career, I have wondered numerous times what kept me from straying down the path of "rebellion" that so many of my peers chose. Odds were against me as a majority of teenagers these days dabble (those last 4 words make me sound 3 times my age...) in something that disagrees with the morals their parents ingrained within them throughout their childhood-such as partying, drugs, sex, etc. But not me, I was dubbed the "Goody-Two-Shoes" at an early age and most definitely lived up to my name. Taking it even a step further, those times that I did drastically "slip-up" caused me a seemingly great deal more conviction and agony than that of my friends if they were to make the same mistake. Why? There were certainly times that I wanted to break out of the stereotype that I had been confined to, but the opportunity never seemed to fully present itself. Obviously, I can see now that God was protecting me, saving my innocence and preserving my purity. I assumed that He would incorporate that into my testimony to be used further down the road, possibly in giving hope to young girls that it is possible to refrain from giving into peer pressure or something along those lines. I figured He knew what He was doing and I should leave it at that.

Recently God decided to give me a little insight, and to show me that I didn't exactly have it right. I learned that he has placed upon me a calling of integrity. Which explains much of why I felt pressure through the years to live above the standard; those in authority recognized that calling and did their part in obedience to help me steward it. But oh the irony-I am one who has always struggled with living a performance oriented life, and have only recently come to understand that God's grace, love and faithfulness towards me is NOT dependent on my abilities. Isn't it just like Him to anoint me with a calling of integrity, something that could so easily shift into a measurement of performance? But he has intended for it to be pure and holy, and nothing of my own works. It is more of a smack in Satan's face, as He turns a weakness of mine into a beautiful strength.

Now I am learning not to fight what he has ordained me for. Yes, it comes with greater expectations and higher standards, but also a greater portion of his strength. He abundantly makes up for our lacking. All he asks is trust. I trust that He knows me, and the path that he has paved for me is in perfect concordance with who He created me to be.

Psalm 37:3-7

3 Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. 4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

5 Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. 6 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

7 Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.


"Good News for the Oppressed"

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.

4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins,
repairing cities destroyed long ago.
They will revive them,
though they have been deserted for many generations.
5 Foreigners will be your servants.
They will feed your flocks
and plow your fields
and tend your vineyards.
6 You will be called priests of the Lord,
ministers of our God.
You will feed on the treasures of the nations
and boast in their riches.
7 Instead of shame and dishonor,
you will enjoy a double share of honor.
You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.

8 “For I, the Lord, love justice.
I hate robbery and wrongdoing.
I will faithfully reward my people for their suffering
and make an everlasting covenant with them.
9 Their descendants will be recognized
and honored among the nations.
Everyone will realize that they are a people
the Lord has blessed.”

10 I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit
or a bride with her jewels.
11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world.
Everyone will praise him!
His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring,
with plants springing up everywhere.

Lately I have been coming before the Lord, asking him to reveal my calling, my giftings, my purpose.
He has already shared the burdens of his heart for the poor with me, but I am aching to know specifically how he wants to use me. What has he molded into me, Britni Steiling, that will be used to further his glory, his love and his Kingdom? I long to know the power that is resting within me, that accompanies his Spirit residing in me. I want to see action, I want to know purpose, I want to get out there and GO! (One thing is for sure, patience is not a virtue that he has given me in abundance hah). My mind is bombarded with questions of potential gifts that I may have but am not acting on. Healing? Prophecy? Faith?

His answer demonstrates his constant, solid character: "Quiet, my child. Rest, my child." Then the passage above, Isaiah 61, came to mind. I have read these verses time and time again, and everytime I do, they resonate so strongly. Oh Jesus, he is so very patient with his children. Here is my calling, here is what my heart is burning to do! I have been called to fight justice. Because of the grace and redemption he has shown me, I will comfort the brokenhearted, proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. I will bring joyous news that gives reason to dance. I will share a Savior who leases those into torment to run into freedom! I will plant gardens, establish roots, and watch flowers bloom!

So, it may not be found in the lists of 'Spiritual Gifts' found in Ephesians or Corinthians or Romans...but God has called me to bring Justice, and with the power of his Holy Spirit moving before, behind, and through me, justice will be brought! Whoever said God was conventional anyway? This is what I know that I have been created to do in the here and now, so let's see some action :)



It's a common understanding that one cannot possibly walk with one foot in the world and one on the path of the Lord. Christ himself tells us this very blatantly throughout his Word. However, God has been illustrating this to me in an even clearer way, through visuals. He has known all along how he has created me, but I am just catching onto the fact that I am a very visual person. It mus seem a little humorous to him to observe his children discover 'new and exciting' things about themselves that have in actuality been within them since the first day they entered the world. :) Anyways, here is what he has shown me.

We cannot walk in the direction of the world AND in the direction at the same time, plain and simple. But why? It seems easy enough to have one foot on each path..a little precarious at times but nothing outside of our ability. Well, He explained to me that the paths are going in complete and total opposite directions. Therefore, if we try to follow both, we will end up going absolutely NOWHERE. The feeling of seemingly going nowhere is familiar to all of us at some point through out our lives, but in this scenario, we are literally not moving. What a waste! And as long as we continue to settle for even putting a pinky toe in the wrong direction, we will continue to gain absolutely no distance.

Now, I found myself with a quite a few toes straying in the direction of the world (interesting mental image..hah) and I asked my Jesus how to begin traveling his path. I want to not only be following the direction my Lord has laid out for me, I want to be sprinting in that direction! But how do I get turned around? His answer was simple (our God is truly not one of confusion!)
Ezekiel 18:31-32 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!

The path of the world inevitably leads to death, but the beautiful journey with the Lord is one of life, and its result is that of life eternal! Yes, please :)

The Lord also recently gave me a vision of him chasing after us, his children. He pursues us, passionately, and never tires of running. He longs to hold us in His arms and SHOW us how much he truly cherishes every ounce of us. However, it's a little awkward to hug someone from behind. Granted, it's pretty cute when boyfriends or husbands walk up and give their girls a little surprise squeeze from behind, but what God has in mind is more like a big, giant bear-hug. In order to fully encounter him, fall in his arms and be enveloped by his grace, we have to turn around. He will continue chasing us, but he asks the littlest effort in return, turning around! In doing so, we will find ourselves instantly captured in his warm and consuming embracing.

Getting practical again, what does turning around consist of? REPENTANCE! He doesn't make it too difficult, all he requires is an obedient and willing heart of repentance.

"You keep bringing me sacrifices to ease your mind but it's your heart that I want." -Kristene Mueller - "Mercy"



I'm back to square one yet again. These walls closing in look all too familiar. Shame is clawing to regain its grip on my heart, with the stench of its bitterness breathing down my neck. I must only be digging myself deeper in this rut, as I return to the same footholds that I have frequented countless times. Welcome back.

But this is not a message of despair.

No matter how many times we stumble, despite our most fervent efforts to return, there is one who is greater. There is one who smiles at his beloved, and beckons me to remain in Him. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love. No matter how dark our pit may be, he can shed light. He is the author of light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me," even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you. And he has called us to step into that light--we have no reason nor purpose in remaining in the darkness, in the destitution of the bowels of this world. He is calling us to step into his glory and remain in his redeeming love. But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who CALLED YOU OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS WONDERFUL LIGHT.

Hurting the heart of our tender and precious Savior is the most excruciating pain we can endure, living as his children. But that pain can be transformed into motivation to not repeat our transgressions. It should NOT be used as a tool for Satan to manipulate our minds into believing we are scum. Why did Christ die but to redeem us from our flesh and clothe us in righteousness? Believing Satan's lies of condemnation and shame completely negates the power of the cross in our own lives-by our own choice. We must fight back, not of our own meager attempt but of the power of the LIVING AND ALMIGHTY GOD. You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

We must counter every one of Satan's attempts to pull us back with the truth of new life that is within us.

He says we are ugly, worthless, and dirty. We proclaim that by the blessed grace of God we are beautiful, precious, and pure.

He adds one more failure to our list. We rest in the glorious fact that God has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west.

He tells us that we are no longer able to take part in furthering the Kingdom of God. We step out in obedience to God's command to share his love and his truth.

Alone, we are broken, helpless, and pitiful. Remaining in his love and clothing ourselves in his glory, we are whole, we are powerful, we have purpose.

You have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Bold



We are each called to a destiny that is far greater than we could ever imagine. That truth is becoming strikingly more evident to me every day.
Lately I have been learning the significance of grace, and how truly essential it is to survival. Grace is more than just a 'Christianese' term sprinkled throughout the Word, and it's more than just a flowery characteristic of our God. It is a crucial part of the very essence of following Christ, as it enables us to love and receive love, and to step into the magnificent destiny our Father has called us to. Without receiving the grace that was offered to us on Calvary, we are shackled by the bondage of shame, which prevents us from being who God intended us to be. When living in shame, we are stuck in a rutof believing that we will never be enough, which results in not loving ourselves and not fully being able to love others because we don't feel worthy. Our minds get stuck in the gutter of guilt, condemnation, and disrespect for ourselves. That definitely doesn't line up with the position of royalty that we claim as sons and daughters of the most high King!
God connected the dots for me recently when he revealed that the "life to the full" that is promised in John 10:10 ("The
thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.") is only truly available to those who have shed their dead skin of guilt and clothed themselves in grace. By the power of his grace, we ARE enough, it is just a matter of believing that and stepping into it.

Thank you to those who have challenged me and encouraged me to step into the woman that God has made me to be, by fully receiving his grace. You are true depictions of the love of God, and have shed light into the darkest areas of my life.


"the eyes are the mirror of the soul"

This past weekend I read a newspaper article written by an atheist about the need for God in the African nations. Ironic? I thought so. Anyway, one thing he wrote that specifically resonated with me was his observation of the distinct difference seen in the eyes of those who had been set free. Growing up in Africa and returning for an extensive visit, this man spent enough time with the native people to be able to recognize a follower of Christ by the literal light beheld in their eyes. It only took me 3 weeks to observe exactly what he was referring to.

By traveling to two different nations in Africa, I have had the unique opportunity to compare and contrast my experiences. Considering the fact that Senegal is primarily a Muslim nation and Uganda is a Christian nation..the differences were numerous and blatant. But despite the prevalence of diversity between the two, one differentiation stands out to me clearer than all the rest: their eyes.

When you look into the eyes of a Senegalese child who has yet to be set free from the shackles of tradition and religion, you see a startling absence of anything. There is nothing there-a complete lack of hope, ambition, purpose, and future. The first time I gazed into the eyes of one of these precious babies, it took my breath away. The desperation and longing for anything with which to fill their hearts is overpowering. It was the most lucid portrayal of someone who is truly lost that I have have ever seen. Heartbreaking.

In contrast, there are the children in Uganda who have met and fallen in love with Jesus. It is in their eyes where you can see the joy, vibrancy, and light that so many visitors have credited to the African people. Simply making eye contact with one of these children that have joined the kingdom can spark an inspiration that is truly divine.I have been privileged enough to see firsthand that freedom is not seen in only unshackled hands, the signing of the Declaration of Independence, or the release of a prisoner, but in the very eyes of these beautiful African children.

Upon returning to the states, I realized that though it may not be as blatant as in the African children, we too have eyes that mirror our souls. Because our identities have been so skewed by our society, we as Americans tend to veil our vulnerability when we interact with those around us, which includes replacing the transparency of our eyes with opaqueness. Nevertheless, with intent scrutiny one can see past that shield and pure into the very soul of a person. In my interaction with the homeless population of our nation I have seen that same desperation and voidness that plagues the Senegalese children. Among the same people I have joyously recognized the light that I saw in Uganda as well.

I personally think God has given us a peek into the depths of those around us, to maybe get a glimpse of what he sees when he looks at his precious children. It gives the concept of asking to see what God sees a whole new (and more practical) meaning. So it is our responsibility as followers of Christ to seek out those who are broken, hopeless, and empty, and shed God's light into their lives. That means looking past their outer appearance, whether it's that off dirt and rags or a three-piece suit, and searching out their souls through the peephole that God has allowed us.

Ask God to open your eyes.


What's so wrong with a smile?

A random memory came to mind today. It was one of those thoughts that literally pops into your head, and is completely unrelated to your surroundings..and it was a funny one, so it made me chuckle out loud, which led to that awkward feeling you have when you are sitting completely alone, just laughing to yourself. You know what I'm referring to, we've all done it. Anyways..the memory:

hen I was about 8 years old, my aunt asked me to be a flower girl in her wedding. Naturally, I was ecstatic-what little girl doesn't dream of being a part of a seemingly magical and surreal event like a wedding? Plus, she promised me a gift of stick-on earrings, and I got the pleasure of gloating to my brother about the fact that I was actually in the wedding procession, while he got stuck with "helping" with the sound system. What's not to love? As I was getting dressed in my frilly, green dress, that my darling mother had so painstakingly sewn, I had to admit that I had never looked quite so beautiful. I'm pretty positive that I actually convinced myself I was even comparable to the bride herself (humility was a fairly unfamiliar concept to 8-year Britni)! Finally, the time came to strut my stuff down that aisle. I stepped into line and put my game face on. However, as soon as I took in the fact that I would literally have the eyes of seemingly thousands of strange people all on me, I panicked. To my dismay,during my entire 2 minutes of fame I was making the most distorted faces that I could muster. The only thought running through my scattered mind was "whatever you do Britni, DON'T smile!" I puffed out my cheeks, frowned, bit my lip..anything to prevent even the slightest grin from escaping. Looking back at this mess of a performance, I have to wonder what on earth my reasoning could have been. Even later during the ceremony, the realization of what I had done sunk in. To this day, I don't know what could have accounted for the sudden imitation of a puffer fish that appeared on my face, other than some crazy antic of an 8 year old girl.

But remembering this incident got me thinking...why don't we let our beauty show? Now there are the obvious reasons such as the influence of our society on the perception of female "beauty," which deters women from exposing any beauty that doesn't align with the "standard." But I have to conclude that it runs deeper than that. There is beauty in kindness, in compassion, and in reaching out to others..but I sometimes find myself actually afraid of acting out those virtues. During a conversation I had with a couple friends this past month, we laughed (with some shame) at the fact that we were actually nervous to give a stranger a compliment. When really the probable response would be one of gratitude, and we could possibly be brightening their day on top of that. Why do we hesitate? I have to wonder if that is one of Satan's trickiest ploys, in his attempt to squelch the love of God. When we mask our beauty with coldness, humor, emotion, or whatever else, we are in a sense preventing a further sharing of God's love.
So, why?
Unfortunately, I don't have the answer. I am obviously just as guilty as the next person. But, I encourage you to ask the Lord to unveil your beauty, and be obedient in allowing him to do so. I guarantee most people in this world would much rather see your smile than your best imitation of a sea creature. :)