Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Flowers and Chocolate

I was walking away from my Philosophy test (which I actually did ok on) this morning carrying flowers and chocolates and a sweet card from my dear friend Elle and I was thinking about how I don't deserve all the blessings that have been heaped on me this week. Seriously, all week people have been giving me flowers and chocolate and coffee and buying me lunches and dinners and just treating me like a Princess. There is no way that I am a good enough friend to deserve all of these things! I started thinking about all the ways in which I had failed to be a good friend, and was just so amazed that people still love me and wanted to bless me on my birthday. 

Then it dawned on me... "This is how I'm supposed to feel all the time!" I don't deserve eternal life, I didn't deserve the blood of Jesus and his unfailing love. In spite of who I am he gave it to me, and loves me fully. He cloaks me in righteousness and its because of who he is that I get to live life experiencing joy. Just like I didn't do anything to deserve gifts from my friends and family, but they chose to bless me anyways, I haven't done anything to deserve Jesus, and he did it anyways. Because I didn't do anything to earn his love, I can't do anything to lose his love. I've been walking around feeling like I'm just failing everyone and everything, and that people are disappointed in me... but the truth is, Jesus chose to cloak me in his unfailing love and he's not disappointed in me, in fact, he's proud of me. Everyday I should feel overwhelmed at the gifts that have been given to me. Everyday I should be filled with gratitude that Jesus loves me, and I should be filled with joy. I don't know why I ever fear that I won't have enough, that I won't be provided for... Not only does Jesus provide the meat and potatoes, the necessities of life, but he showers us with chocolate and wine and all the good gifts. He doesn't just give us the bare necessities to survive, he provides abundant life. 

I have been walking around with this mindset that "Jesus will give me what I need to get through this, he'll give me enough energy to get through this sickness, he'll give me the grades I need to go where he wants me to go, he'll provide the job I need..." and those things are true, he will provide all that I need, but he provides so much more than just what I "need." I don't need flowers and chocolate, but Jesus loves to give those things to me. He says to delight in him and he will give us the desires of our heart. He loves to bring us joy, he loves to provide so much beyond "enough," he gives us enough to share. He gives abundant gifts, gifts that we don't deserve, and he enjoys showering us with blessings. My mindset shouldn't be "Ok, God will give me enough to get me through this..." it should be "God has always and will continue to bless my life, and I never have to worry about the future, because the nature of God is to bless his children with every good and perfect gift." This week I have been given so much more than I could ever imagine, tea and a jembe, and cards and so many things... but so much more than that, I've been showered with every spiritual blessing. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Declarations

A lot of the depression that I experience is brought about by believing negative things about myself, or allowing myself to believe the lies that satan is telling me. One of the ways that I've been combatting that is by declaring truth over myself. Yesterday my friend talked to Phi Lamb about 2 Corinthians 12:9, which says: " My grace is sufficient in you, my power is made perfect in weakness."

Today I realized that I have no control over these situations. My agency is so very limited. But that God has it all in His hands, and I went boldly before the throne room, and asked him to be perfect in my weakness, and to take these things into His hands.

When I feel out of control, when I feel like my emotions are leading me, instead of me leading my emotions, I say these words over my life:

I have a covenant with God, and by the blood of Jesus I release my divine provision.
My angels are carrying out the Word of God on my behalf. (Psalm 103:20) I expect to have divine appointments today, to run into the right people and to be delivered from the wrong people.

Any adversity, attack, accidents and tragedies that were headed my way are diverted right now in Jesus' name.

I speak to the raging waters in my life; peace, be still. I say to my mind; peace be still. I say to my emotions; peace, be still. I say to my body; peace, be still. I say to my home; peace, be still. I say to my family; PEACE, be still.

Now I speak to every mountain of fear, every mountain of discouragement, every mountain of lack and insufficiency; and I say, "Be removed and cast into the sea in Jesus name!" (Mark 11:22-24)

And I speak to this day and I call you blessed. And I declare that I serve a mighty God who today will do exceedingly and abundantly beyond all that I can ask or thing. (Eph 3:20) I say you are a good God and I eagerly anticipate your goodness today.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Loved.

I got the royal treatment this week. I was so loved on by all my brothers. The Argosy boys cooked us dinner last night. And tonight the Hampton boys cooked us dinner and gave us awards and wrote us notes! It was awesome!

Also, we had our first pledge meeting and it was incredible. We got to talk to the girls about being satisfied in Christ, and how when we are fulfilled in him we are able to appreciate the gifts of others instead of desiring what God has gifted them with. And how we can choose joy, and walk in satisfaction.

It was such a great time and I'm so excited to be a part of their lives. We got to give them roses and a verse and pray purity and righteousness over them... so good!


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Stamp of Approval


Last night we took the pledges to Mount Bonell, while looking over the city of Austin we got to sing worship songs.

We might have been freezing our hineys off, but it was so worth it! I'm really excited for this new semester. That was the very best way we could have started it off. So blessed to get to spend every Wednesday with beautiful, godly women! But even as I got to pray for them, I still felt like God was calling me out, and I just wasn't sure what exactly He was trying to say. But then today happened...


Today has been one of those why do you do what you do kind of days. Like God shining the brightest light and using the best magnifying glass and saying, "my beautiful little girl, there are still smudges on you, and I love you, so I want you to shine bright as new." One of my friends has been telling me about his new revelation, this idea that we have already been renewed, and we can walk sinless lives, because Jesus said the old is gone and the new has come. And I mean when you say it, it sounds really awesome. But man, to live that way just sounds impossible! But if its possible to live a life without sin... I want it! I want my every motivation to be Christ. I don't want to do anything out of a desire for approval. I think as a woman, in women's ministry, its pretty easy to get caught up in wanting women to approve! But Jesus has called me lovely and worthy. And he approved me!

I've come to realize what an intense need I have to work to make God love me. I realized that I didn't think I was good enough just as I am for anyone to like me. When someone just enjoys me, I often wonder, "whats wrong with them?" Seriously, satan has so twisted my mind into believing I am unworthy of God's love that I've transferred those thoughts to all of humanity. But the thing is, God's love is free. In The Father Heart of God, he talks about bringing his wife flowers, and he says if he brought them to her and she went to her wallet to pay for them, he would be so hurt, all he wants is for her to accept his love and love him back. So often with God I try to pay him back for His love. But He is showering me with flowers, because He loves me, and He doesn't want anything in return, He is just romancing me.

On a lighter note... Earlier I was blessed enough to go on an adventure with my Hampton Family and why yes, I did chase after a Dodge Ram on foot. The gang and I were pulling into P Terry's parking lot and witnessed this bad ass truck run into a little Honda Civic. Obviously we all expected him to stop and find the owner... but he didn't! So I chased him down and wrote down his license plate number to give to the Honda's owner. I'm sure it was a rather amusing sight :p On our way back home we had a dance party to Pocahontas Dub Step, curtesy of Robert. I have the weirdest/best friends ever.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I have been blessed. I am blessed. I will continue to be blessed.

I have spent many years in trials. I struggled with depression and anorexia. I spent my senior year with my hair falling out, on an emotional Grave's Disease roller coaster losing my memory and sleeping. Coming home from England was a season of loneliness and my first year of college I got Celiac's and fibromyalgia. Pain is something that has become ordinary for me. I have become accustomed to learning about who God is through trial. I see each new set of hurtles as a time of refinement. But God has given me a beautiful word. He said "Shirelle, this is a season of blessings!"

So I'm claiming the blessings. I recently watched a movie called "Thank you, More Please." Now the acting in the movie was sub-par and the plot was just so-so, but there is a scene in it, in which the girl describes the moment when her life changed, when she learned to thank someone for blessing them, and then to ask for more. And I don't know how that works with the rest of the world, but what I do know, is that is exactly how God wants me to respond to his gracious gifts. So Jesus, Thank you, more please!

I'm ready to learn about who Jesus is in this new context. I believe I will have greater revelation of Jesus than in any other season of my life. I have been refined in pain, and now I will be refined in blessings!

Just this week I have been so blessed! My friend Liz sent me an iphone and now I can actually talk to my family! My sister gave me 5 new bags of clothes on a day when I was not feeling pretty, and i've gotten to wear new clothes every day, and bless my roommates with clothes. Multiple friends have let me drive their cars, paid for coffee, made me food and loved on me through my crazy test week.

I am a beloved daughter of the most high king. And I'm so very grateful to all those who are walking through this season with me. I pray that each of you would more fully know who Jesus is because of the revelations and blessings he gives you this year!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Austin: the next step of my journey.


I just want to be adored: the words someone wrote on the bathroom stall of Spider House. How many girls walk in and out of that bathroom, stare into that mirror, and long to be adored. Long to be wanted. I longed to find a pen and say on top of it, Jesus adores you. Because he so adores that girl that wrote it. That girl who is desperate enough that she wrote it on a bathroom wall. So lonely, so without someone to talk to, that she resorted to the secrets that some other girl will read and identify with. If only she knew how adored she is. If only she knew the things Jesus says about her, how He gushes over her and is so excited about her. If only she knew that he longs to walk with her and romance her and just be her best friend. If only she knew.

The city of Austin needs to know the love of Jesus. There is a hunger here. People are longing for something to satisfy them. And man, how cool it is to watch people come to know him! Over these past few months at university I've gotten to see the Lord move in such mighty ways. I feel like I'm in the midst of revival. And it is such an incredible place to be. School is hard, and life is stressful, but man the peace of the Lord that resides here is so beautiful. I wouldn't trade going to UT for anything. Because people come here open, and hungry, and broken, and then God meets them. I don't think UT knows how prayed over it is. But my goodness, it is soaked in Jesus!

Every Thursday night we have Hampton prayer over at the CHOP. And we've had some awesome times, like every time has been really beautiful. But last night there was breakthrough. Last night God spoke truth over our community. We asked God for words, and He provided. He is soaking Hampton in Jesus. I am so excited to see where He takes this house. To see how He blesses it with His presence and redeems the people who live here. Community is a rough place to live. There is no escape here, and when you live with this many people, there is a constant mirror being shoved in your face. A mirror of your faults and strengths, when you live with people it brings all the gunk to the surface. But man how cool is it to live with people who allow you to be so genuine and allow you to work through the pain. I am so grateful for being allowed to work through the issues.
Some of my Hamptonites in our kitchen

I was freaking out about life and issues and stress today and I looked up and saw this beautiful blonde woman, who had lost her left leg. And I cried. I cried and cried and cried. She lost her leg and now she's begging on the street. I don't know what misfortune brought her to this place. But I realized how broken she must be. She is so beautiful, her smile so warm, I don't understand why God allowed her to be in such a broken place. But ,I know sometimes God lets us be broken so that we hold onto him.

Austin is city with broken people, lonely people, tired people, but Austin is a city where Jesus is being glorified.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Nostalgia

So I looked back and read my old posts, life seemed so enthused then. I feel like coming back to America was like coming back to the mundane. I guess I'm supposed to spend the rest of my life here... but being here feels like someone put a cloud over emotion. Like emotional novocain. I feel numb, bitter, worn out. Part of me feels angry at God for making me come home, because life feels so pointless here. And everyone says there is a point to this. But I stare into the mirror and all I feel is loneliness. All I know is I wish I wasn't here. People say to learn from this time. But whats to learn? I'm stuck. I want to feel the love of Christ and I can't. I know I can't rely on feelings. I know that emotions are deceptive. I know this time will end. But knowing things in your head is so hard when you can't feel that its true.

I'm in neutral and I'm coasting through a fog so thick the end is nowhere near. They say the darkest hour is just before dawn...I could really use dawn right about now. Philippians says to Rejoice... what does rejoicing mean? How can you rejoice when you can't feel? Is it just a state of being, constantly rejoicing in what Christ did for us, with our minds, even when our emotions can't feel joy...?

Life is so complicated, so overwhelming. I'm just holding onto what I know to be true. Knowing that when i look back on this time i'll be grateful for it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

2 Corinthians 5:17


2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

I was so exhausted on Wednesday night, but something was drawing me to pray. So when I got back from my Kerby date with Seth, I went in to the prayer room. Tired and without expectancy I started to cry because it felt like I was just slipping right back, right back to where I was before, back into all the same patterns with all the same friends and I couldn't conquer it. And then I looked up at the wall. And I saw a list of things that I am in Christ, and the first one I saw was that I am a "New Creation" and that burden of trying to make myself behave disappeared. I don't have to worry and more, because I am a new creation! And God whispered down to me, you are already free from it in me. Don't you worry little girl.

I used to be a caterpillar and now I'm a butterfly, I'm still the same person, but God has transformed every bit of me. A butterfly could not survive if it still though it was a caterpillar, and likewise we cannot survive if we do not claim our new freedom in Christ.

So all you reading this, be blessed and know that YOU are a NEW CREATION. The old is actually gone! And when you feel it creeping back in, you can proclaim freedom in Christ.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Moving On

Well guys, my time here in the UK is coming to a close. It was a shorter period of time than I had originally thought, but it was so worthwhile. I have fallen in love with this place, with these people and leaving will be so hard, but I truly am excited for what's next. I didn't want to tell you guys until I knew for sure what I would be doing, but it looks like come March 12th(ish) I will be living in Kansas City, Missouri. I gave this year to be a year where I served, and I want to continue that when I come back to America. So I asked around, where people though I should go next, and it seemed like everyone I asked said, Kansas City, so for the last couple of months, I've been looking into, and I've had the most incredible support from 24-7 leaders. Finally, Thursday, I got an e-mail confirming that I can come to KCBR for three months. Woohoo! When Anna e-mailed me, she asked me a few tough questions, what makes me burn, what drives me, what do I want to learn... it took me a while to come up with an answer, but here is what I said:

Hurting women break my heart, and the social cycle that causes women to think less of themselves, sell themselves short and then have kids who are born into a dysfunctional home and carry on the routine: that makes me want to see change. Here in Corringham, there are a lot of broken people. There are a lot of people who have been told for so long that “they’re nothing but an Essex kid,” and now they believe it. I’ve been spending the last six months loving the girls. They are hard on the outside, but o so insecure right underneath. Some of them push away love, because they don’t know what to do with it. Some of them hold tightly to you, because they so desperately want to be wanted. Some of them stare at you quietly judging from the corner, if this I safe or not. But nevertheless, I've sought over these past months, to show these girls what love is. Its not that they’re homeless or anything, it’s the fact that while most of them have houses to fall asleep in at night, most of them don’t have homes, and people to care for them every day. Their parents really do love them, but they work two jobs to stay afloat and go to the pub late to drink away the past. Most of their dads are out of the picture, and the girls don’t know what a relationship with a guy is supposed to look like.

My heart breaks, because although they’re living in this cycle, they don’t know it exists. I want so badly to influence these girls enough that they will break free. To tell them they are worthwhile, to tell them that they can do what they’re dreaming. I want this work that I’ve done with them to carry on once I’ve gone, because people saw girls changing, and were overwhelmed, so they couldn't help but continue to love them. Yesterday I sat with ten of the girls that hang about in town center until midnight every day, the ones that get drunk any chance they can get. We sat in my living room, ate pizza and cookies, danced, laughed, and chatted. Then they made me sing a song, and I decided to be brave. After I sang Hallelujah to them, I read them the poem that I had written two months before. I read them a poem of what God sees when He looks at them. And the room went silent. I told them that God sees them when they’re hurting, when no one else does, when life is rubbish. And not only does God see them, but he cares. This is what I said:

“Little girl, with the harsh I don’t give a shit exterior, I see you. I see you when the walls come down. I see you when your alone, broken and beaten. I see you fighting with your parents, I see you slam your door, I saw your daddy walk away, I was there when he OD. I see the pain little girl. I see you when the door is shut and the tears stream down. I see you in the park acting so cool when inside you’re shaking; scared someone might see through the fa├žade. And guess what little girl, I love you. I call you beautiful. You can keep running, but I’ll be there, holding out my hands, waiting for you to run to me. O little girl, you have no hope, but I am THE hope. You think you got it all figured out, laugh it off, drink it away, push it out, and it won’t exist, right? WRONG. You know it, I know it, but its what you do, its what you’ve always done. Don’t you see, I made you. I chose you. You’re not an accident. I picked you. I want you. Come to me little girl, and I will set you free.”

Then we prayed for them. Each one. Individually. The air felt thick, like the Holy Spirit was right there with us. And then I was shocked, then, they prayed for me. They said they didn't know how to pray, but they prayed beautiful prayers. They say they don't want to believe, but man they prayed! And I was blessed...



My heart breaks for a lot of things, but in the end, this is what it comes down to: Jesus. His heart breaks for the lost, and hurting and broken, and so does mine. And I pray everyday that God will break my heart for what breaks his. Some days I do a good job, other days my heart isn’t so compassionate. But that’s the great thing about being young, I still have a lot of years to learn what true compassion is. I hope that more I’m around people who love people well, who love people like Jesus loved, the more I’m around those people, the more I will learn how to do it.

I don’t have any grandiose things I want to learn from being in Kansas City, I want to learn by doing, by serving next to other people that love Jesus. I am willing to serve wherever you need me, whether that’s doing the dishes or leading prayers and teaching younger girls, I’m up for it. Pray about it and see where you think God wants me, and know that wherever it is, I feel like this is where God wants me, so I know he will grow me from it.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beautiful Junk

Every Friday night we prayer walk around this town: Corringham. Those moments where we spread blessing over the town are some of my favorite, some of the most inspiring and challenging. Its incredible to think up ways to spread more blessing over the town, and the other day walking down to 217 from Transit Towers, I was inspired. I passed so much junk on my walk, and I just had this desire to start picking it up. I just wanted this town to be rid of the rubbish that fills it. And then I thought how cool it would be if after picking up all the junk, we made something out of it: a symbolic statement over the town. A statement that says "not only can God pick up the rubbish, but he can make it beautiful." Because the truth is if enough people tell you that your trash, you'll believe it, and the people of Corringham, have been continually told that they're no good. The kids that come to my house everyday, they wanna drop out of school, and their teachers think they should, their parents are the ones that get drunk in the pub every night, and have no faith that life can get better. These people believe that there is no hope. We wanted them to know that they are not worthless, but valuable. And maybe right now things are looking awful, and they don't see the beauty, but when we look at them, and when God looks at them we see what they were created to be, the value that God places on their lives.


We wanted to make something beautiful out of the towns junk, so that they could see that nothing is hopeless, everything can be made beautiful again. Friday: we did it. We went out into the town and picked up the cans, and wrappers, and broken bottles, we picked up the nasty bits that people drop onto the ground because they no longer have a purpose. We picked them up, took them home, and cleaned them. And then we made art out of that litter.

It was beautiful. To see that junk made into art was so beautiful. And now we're putting it back into the town. So that when people see that junk made beautiful, they can know someone cares about them.