Where My Girls At? What I learned through problems with friends

I asked all the girls in my small group once, who is currently having issues with their friends that are girls. Much to my surprise, nearly EVERYONE raised their hands. I was shocked. I thought I was the only one. 

How many of you readers out there have problems with your girl friends? Am I not alone again? It seems that deep wounds and bitterness are quite popular amongst girls than love and joy. Lord, what is Your definition of a friend? 

I’ve been asking the Lord this question for awhile now. Though there are many verses that include the word “friend,” only one verse stands out to me: 

“A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17 

I once had a dream where a woman who was mentoring me at the time came to me and told me to not live with a friend because she was not kind. I woke up confused because to me, I felt that she was super fun and considerate. But a few weeks later, our friendship started to crumble right before my eyes. I was so confused. 

As I look at the Lord, my relationship with Dustin, Scriptures and my own mistakes, these are my thoughts regarding finding and keeping quality friends:

1. Have the right vision: relationships are doorways into encountering God’s goodness and also to grow in Christlikeness and Christ laid down His life for His friends (John 15:13). Holiness or Christlikeness leads us to true happiness, not someone who will comfort us, encourage us and be there for us. Although these qualities are very important to look for in a friend, oftentimes I find myself looking for and valuing those qualities above having God’s vision and purpose for friendships.

2. Communicate: Are we willing to lay down our pride, our own righteousness to be honest with our friends when they hurt us, and also receive rebuke when we have hurt them? I was too afraid in the past to lose friends so I did not speak the truth. This led to built up bitterness, pain and eventually anger for both parties. This is a big huge NO NO for me especially. I’m asking the Lord and walking in increasing courage to speak up when necessary. Most likely, our friends don’t want to hurt us but when we do not communicate, it gives the Devil room to whisper lies into our hearts and for seeds of bitterness to take root. Yes, we need to walk in discernment and not confront our friends about everything she did that hurt us, but we can’t just take everything to the Lord all the time either (speaking from experience). It is through conflict and resolution that relationships mature and blossom not through a conflict free environments. (“Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Proverbs 27:6) 

3. Accept that relationships change: I hate change. Hate it! But we live in an ever changing world with a God who takes us through unpredictable seasons. People move and change. It’s difficult to live an ocean away from a friend, trying to figure out how often it’s ok to contact that person, but it’s a part of life. It’s difficult and painful many times but the Lord loves to comfort us and heal our wounded hearts. 

4. Jesus is your best friend: He has said that to me so many times, “I am your best friend” when I’m crying about my struggles with my friends. At first I thought it was so cliché. (Haha…imagine me telling Jesus that He’s cliché. I actually didn’t I just mumbled it inside my mind but it’s the same as saying it out loud to Him. Haha.) This year greater meaning filled those few words He would say to me so often in seasons past. The Holy Spirit revealed to me that only He can comfort my heart in the way that I need to be comforted, not just trite words or a hug, but to really love me at all times and be with me through all my adversities (Prov. 17:17). He is my best friend and it’s not just an answer the Lord gave me to shut me up but to comfort me that He has not abandoned me. He will always be there for me. He will speak truth and heal me. 

 

You are What You Believe: does your background define you or does the power of the Lord?

In this psychoanalytical world where we’ve grown accustomed to define nearly every action of ours, whether that be good or bad, by what happened to us as a child. But how often do we look to God to define and transform us? 

I used to feel bound by my background, environment and the effects relationships had on me. I used to look with envy at “normal,” “healthy” Christian kids who grew up loved and led by believing parents. I felt that they were able to draw closer to God because they did not have as warped of a view of the Heavenly Father as I did. 

When we allow our circumstances, background and weaknesses to define God, we diminish Him to someone who is merely human. But this is not who the Lord is! By us simply gazing at Him, we become transformed into His likeness! Just by looking at Him (2 Cor. 3:18)! He is more powerful than our weaknesses, our insecurities and our family backgrounds. He created all things in heaven and on earth, the One who is holding it all together is the one who is holding my heart and yours (Rev. 2:1). 

Though it hasn’t been easy, the Lord has drew me near, sat me on His lap and transform my paradigm of who He is year by year. I now see His arms extended to me, His eyes swelling with love and pride and His patience clearer than I did just a year ago. 

Christ alone possesses the power to change a human heart. He promised to take us from glory to glory, He is and will continue to do what He said He would do. He will not let us down.

I love how the Bible is full of broken people who encountered the goodness and the power of Almighty God. Look at Jacob or King David. They had pretty messy lives and pretty broken families. But God changed Jacob’s name, he worshipped God even upon His death and David is remembered in the Bible as a man after God’s own heart who was fulfilled everything the Lord called him to (Heb. 11:21, Acts 13:23,26). 

Thank You Abba, that You are so faithful to lead us onto the path of life. Draw us even closer to You, help us not limit Your power. Amen. 

MarriageMondays: reliving my honeymoon

I had so much fun at my wedding and on our honeymoon that I can’t help but want to relive it again. I told one of my friends that I wish I can do it all over again! The wedding that is but not the preparation beforehand. 

So despite the fact that this may be boring to you (or not…hopefully) I’m going to slowly post pictures of all the delicious food we ate in Taiwan and also interesting places we stayed at. Perhaps one day you too will get to visit Taiwan yourself if you’ve yet to visit this fantastic island. 

We’re off to a fantastic start already! Look at how completely exhausted I am the morning of our departure. This is only the beginning of the 24 hour travel to Taiwan. We stayed in Kansas City for nearly three days after our wedding before we left for Taiwan just so we wouldn’t be completely incoherent. 

One of the first things I HAD to eat when I recovered from the day long travel, was hotpot! If you’ve never had it, it’s comparable to fondue. Instead of dipping bread and veggies into cheese, you dip and cook it in broth. I love how the fact that you can get your own personal hotpot and order the type of meat you want to cook in it. I always go with lamb. I just love Jesus that much. 

The following morning, Dustin and I stopped at Starbucks in Taipei 101’s 35th floor. The small cafe overlooked Taipei’s governmental and shopping galore district. 

It was so nice to just chill and do our quiet time there. I started reading the book pictured above during our honeymoon. One of Dustin’s friends gave it to us as a wedding gift. It’s written by Tullian Tchividjian, a pastor who is a part of the new reformed movement. He is very articulate on the subject of grace of God which is what the book is about. It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for material on this subject. 

We facetimed Dustin’s dad while at Starbucks. Yeah for technology!

I bought Dustin a stylus. Been meaning for a couple months already for this birthday. But at the time, all the Apple stores ran out of styluses. : P But I’m glad I found a uber cool one in Taiwan’s Apple store for him. 

-more to come next week! 

God is that You or the Devil?

As Christians one of the weapons the Lord has given us is the power to discern spirits. Growing in confidence in knowing God’s voice from the Devil’s is an imperative weapon we need to grow and wield.

Having a good understanding of the voice of God from the voice of the Devil is not as difficult as we make it out to be. You can actually just ask yourself a few questions when you hear things being spoken to you in your heart or mind. 

Despite what you may think, every Christian can learn and grow in discerning between the spirits. 

I used to assume what the Enemy was saying was either what I thought about myself or what God thinks about me. I allowed what the Enemy says to me tear me down and rob me of my joy until I could not stand it anymore. During the time where I did not fight back (because I didn’t really know how to) when the Enemy would accuse and condemn me, I began to isolate myself, spend less time with others, have less relational commitments and close my heart due to fear, condemnation and shame. I was living in agreement with the Enemy’s lies and the incubator for his lies, is isolation. 

His lies and accusations towards me consisted of, but are not limited to: no one likes you, you’re bad at relationships, you dress so weird, people don’t want you around, you’re stupid, you’re talking too much, you’re mean etc. It all boils down to two lies that he’s been using on humans since he was condemned, God doesn’t love you and you’re not His child. 

I received a prophetic word about eight years ago, that I was a broken winged bird, but the Lord is going to heal my wings and I’m going to fly, thus the title of my blog, wings to fly. I didn’t see much activity in my life that pertained to this prophetic word until the last few years where God began to go deep and heal me with His love and truth. This is why I’m so passionate about being honest, vulnerable and sharing what He has done in me. I don’t want to see another Child of God being pushed around by the Devil! 

Recently, I picked up Jim Goll’s book The Seer which came highly recommended by Shelley Hundley (Vice President of training and teacher at IHOPU). In it, Goll gives some great questions you can ask yourself to help you discern between the spirits:

Examine its content (test the ideas: 1 John 4:5)

Satan: Is it negative, destructive, pushy, fearful, and accusative? Is it a violation of the nature of God? Does it violate the Word of God? Is the image “afraid to be tested?” 

God: Is it instructive, uplifting, and comforting? Does it accept testing? Does it encourage me to continue in my walk with God? 

Check its fruit: (test the fruit; Matt. 7:16) 

Satan: Am I fearful, compulsive, in bondage, anxious, confused, or possessing an inflated ego as a result of the encounter? 

God: Do I sense quickened faith, power, peace, good fruit, enlightenment, knowledge, or humility? (Goll 75-76)

Usually, if it is the Enemy, he will be defensive and pushy making you feel like you can’t question what he’s saying to you and/or you can’t talk to God about it. If it’s God, He is patient, kind even when He is rebuking you. He allows you to draw near Him and ask Him questions rather than push you away and reject you. 

The most powerful thing you can invest your time in to build your discernment is to continually cultivate your relationship with the Lord through prayer, Bible study and worship. Knowing and growing in understanding of who He is and what is like is our greatest weapon. 

I hope that gives you more confidence in discerning the spirits. Let me know how the Lord has led you to discern the spirits and your experience! 

-Blessings!

Why Vision is More Important Than Strategy

Why Vision is More Important Than Strategy

website Wednesdays: ACNE studios

I discovered ACNE through a magazine I purchased in Taiwan this winter. The people interviewed in the magazine kept referring to ACNE so I had to find out what it is!

Founded in Stockholm, ACNE is simple but stylish. Famous first for its jeans, it has now developed into a full fledge collection. Its unique shapes and colors featured in their design can spice up any outfit. The only downside of ACNE? Of course…again it’s the prices. Even on sale, a shirt costs $100+. Sigh* But it’s fun to look at and get ideas from…: )

Few pieces I liked:

this is their Mallory dress. I love the loose, feminine draping

Wham Merino knit, currently on sale. It looks so comfy and easy to throw on over a pair of jeans or leggings

Spin AW wedge ankle bootie. Simply beautiful 

Getting on the Right Train

So you’ve got your mind map all filled out, beautiful and ready to go. Let’s cast the vision and make some goals for this year! 

I just have to say one thing before we go on. A year ago, things like this did NOT excite me. I didn’t really even understand what the word productivity meant never mind what Getting Things Done, Pomodoro technique and Omnifocus were. I’ve been making goals most of my life without much noticeable results. So I kinda had a defeatist mentality when it comes to things like this. 

The Lord stepped in last year and began to show me that I’m not a failure! He picked me up and helped me take my eyes off of my own insufficiencies and stare at what’s available to me and who I am instead: His power, glory and love. On top of that, He brought an administrative man into my life, equipping me not only with encouragement but also with practical tools : ) 

Now, take a good look at your mind map. Here’s what I came up with when I did mine:

I hope the process excited your heart concerning this upcoming year. If not, maybe you haven’t really seen what the Lord has planned for you yet. It may be worthwhile to take some more time to pray and seek the Lord about what He’s called you to and who You are in His eyes. 

Now list out your goals for each category of your life that either stands out to you, is important to you or that you feel the Lord is highlighting. For example, since I just got married, I really want to continue to grow in my relationship with Dustin therefore one my goals is to spend time growing in revelation of who I am as the Bride of Christ in order to mature as Dustin’s bride. 

Write down goals that excite you, dream BIG with the Lord generously believing in what He has spoken over you rather than just looking at what you can do and have been doing. 

Feel free to set general goals for now we’ll write down your action plan or how you will go about achieving these goals specifically later. 

After you have done that, look at what the Lord is highlighting for this next season (the next six months). For me, I believe the Lord is highlighting growing in the prophetic and using my creativity through painting. Then write these focuses or goals down on a place that you will see everyday. It can be taped to your mirror, dashboard or saved on your computer. But just somewhere that’s easily accessible for you. Take ten minutes every morning to look at these goals. This will help refresh your mind and help you focus on why you’re doing what you’re doing throughout the day, motivating you the whole day through. 

I feel really excited this year! I hope you feel the same about what God has planned for you. It’s important that we set goals first rather than just look at what we did wrong last year or look at the practical steps. It frees our hearts to dream with God.

More to come tomorrow!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11

If you’re interested in getting more information on productivity, leadership and time management please check out these two websites: 

What are your goals for this year? 

Mind Map Your Life

Good morning readers and say hello to mind-mapping! No, it’s not some New Age phenomenon that I’m dragging you into. Mind mapping is Dustin’s latest obsession.

He’s my connection to the tech world. I’m not very highly motivated to do research on advancing myself technically, but praise God, He sent me someone to do it for me mwhahahaaahahahaa! Praise You Jesus. 

Apparently mind mapping actually works more in tune with the way our minds think and process ideas. This tool is helpful in that you can make connections and see overlaps to help you arrive at a decision.

You can use it to process thoughts, dilemmas and even to take notes. It can’t talk to you though. You have Siri for that. 

Dustin actually created the mind map pictured above to help both of us process and plan out this year’s focus with the Lord. It helped me out so much that I wanted to share this little gem with all my lovely readers. 

All you have to do to access it is to click here to download the file. Then download a mind map app or software.  Click on the software below that is compatible with your operating system. (yes, I can speak geek sometimes when I have to). 

For Macs: MindNode 

For PCs: FreeMind

Then, after you’ve downloaded the software, open the mind map document Dustin created, titled “aids for creating goals.” Sit down with a nice cup of coffee and plan away.

If you don’t want to do all of that, you can also download the document in PDF format, print it out and write it by hand. Don’t forget your colorful markers and pens if you want to do it by hand. Markers always makes things more fun. 

You’ll notice, after you begin to write your list under each category, you’ll get an urge to make connections between categories because naturally, our prophetic words, goals, plans etc. overlap. 

Next, take a moment to see which gifting is emphasized. Don’t forget to ask the Lord to help you open your eyes to see what He wants you to focus on this year as well. Then begin brainstorm opportunities you already have or can potentially have to utilize and practice those gifts of yours. Et voila! 

Hope that helps decrease your stress and how overwhelmed you feel when you hear the words, “New Year’s resolutions” or goals. Goal setting can be fun!

What apps or tools do you use to help you plan out your year? Did you find this helpful? 

More fun and exciting tools to follow tomorrow! Yeah! 

Believers, do you believe?

What separates us from an unbeliever? It is our faith you say. But do you believe in Jesus and His resurrected power? Do you believe He can save you, heal you, redeem you, forgive you, wash you white as snow?

You see, I believe that most of us believers are actually walking in unbelief, trying to put on an act that we do believe.

Now before you click away to another page that is more uplifting, before condemnation seeps into your skin…wait just a second cause it’s not my intention to condemn you.

Let Me!

God said two simple words to me last week that showed me how much I still don’t believe in who He says He is. He said to me, “let me.” 

With those two little words, He spoke profoundly into my heart. Though I heard only those two words, my heart heard much more. 

God was saying, let me help you, save you, redeem you, heal you, fight for you, speak up for you, love you, be there for you. He saw how I’ve been doing most of it by myself and it has worn me out. I’ve failed at being God in my life because that’s not my responsibility nor ability. 

God, will you let me down too? 

I began to see that I was afraid that by believing in His truth, God would let me down. If I actually believed that He’s just, if I let go of that individual’s wrongs, He would forget about it and not do anything despite what the Word commands and promises,“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). 

If I gave in and gave thanks in all things through prayer and petition made my needs known, then God would forget my sorrows when it says, “Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll—are they not in your record?” (Psalm 56:8)

I was afraid that God would be like man, be like me. I had bought into a lie about His character, but He has come to give me grace to believe and hold fast to the truth. 

Sometimes we can train ourselves to act so Christian we even fool ourselves into believing where we’re at with the Lord. But the Lord permits life to expose each and every unbelief, because He wants His truth to set us free from every single bondage. He wants His words of life to take root and He’s faithful to make it happen. 

Lord, let Your Word run swiftly and let it be glorified in our lives. Catch all the little foxes. I let You be God in my life. Help me. -Amen 

(If you feel led, please pray for me. Been feeling accused by the enemy about my blog posts. I know what he says is not true, so I’m fighting. Thanks so much!)

Message me and let me know how the Lord’s been speaking to you! : )