Tuesday, December 11, 2012

the trek up the mountain

I can remember saying almost 6 months ago, "I cant wait to be done with college, start working, have money and not have to worry about school work anymore." The old saying, you always want what you cant have has proven to bite me in the rear these last few months. All I wanted in college was to be done, and to be an "adult." Believe it or not, I couldnt wait to have finances and bills. ANYTHING but school work always looked more promising in my eyes. Now that I am working 40 hours a week, that lax college schedule of attending maybe 2 classes a day, sleeping in, and having no responsibilities is looking a little more appealing now. So...we always want what we don't have, even if we once had it. To learn how to be content in this world FULL of stuff is a true challenge

How about time? When God created time and decided to only put 24 hours in 1 day, I question his thinking process of this. It seems like I never have enough time in 1 day. I go back to the "ohh if I just had 2 more hours, everything would be a lot smoother." Lets be honest, if we had more time would we actually utilize that time with the things that are most important our "to-do" list? Or would we sleep in later, go shopping, surf pinterest, and then say "If there were only two MORE hours in the day, everything would be better!" Correct me if I am wrong but one thing I did not learn in college was how to prioritize. Well, maybe I did but I chose my priorities in relation of importance to myself. (Whoops!) Once work takes up 80% of your time, my question is to the other full time working adults that have been doing this way longer than me, where do you find time for yourself? Or friendships? Your dog? Working out? I wont even bring up laundry. I find myself waking up every morning earlier and earlier, yet I am still running late. It would be nice to be on a consistent routine, with a 8-5 mon-fri salary job. I dream about that schedule. But then when I picture myself living that way, I think...where is all the fun? Sometimes living moment to moment is just what I need. Why have I clouded my vision with planning, instead of just waking up and waiting to see what God has in store for me that day? I so often put myself in front of what God has planned that day for me. I get so consumed in making sure I work out, do my hair, go tanning and a ton of other non important things that I am missing the big picture. HIM!! The purpose of living out his word, and living as a servant for the king believe it or not DOES include giving up your personal time, wants, and needs. Now, no one told me that in COLLEGE! It has taken me 4 months to finally realize I am not the most important thing in my life. My needs do not come before the Kings. It seems as if I found the antidote to keeping above water. Because really, don't some days feel like your barely making it above drowning? That's at-least how I have felt quite frequently since I embarked on the journey of adulthood. Wake up every morning, giving each day to him, and opening your hearts to the endless possibilities that he will enlighten you with. That my friends, is surviving.

I find it to be so much easier to give up my life to Jesus everyday, than to try and control the situation myself. When everything is in his control, we really don't have anything to worry about. But why do we allow ourselves to conform into that dark cloud of worry, fear, anxiety and stress? Someone wise once told me that once we turn the slightest bit away from God, satan has the sneakiest ability to maneuver his way right back into our lives and direct us towards all those dark places we hate to be in. Intentionally giving each day to God and being in consistent communication with him throughout my day is literally how I survive.  But I'm going to be honest, its not easy. The bottom line is once we try to control our own lives, finances, relationships, you fill in the blank, the second we control is the first step we take towards turning our backs to Jesus.

 Trusting him through the valley of hardships IS what real "adult life" is actually about. Its not about finally being able to afford all those things you couldn't in college, or landing that big job, or finally getting that boyfriend you've always dreamed of. Its not even about just barely making it. God wants us to walk through the valley (which is life on earth) so we can reach mountain tops and see the big picture he has handcrafted just for you. No one gets to the top of a mountain without having a rough and painful struggle on the way up. I am on the trek up the mountain, and the only provision that keeps me going is him, and his amazing love. Everything else is baggage that I am adding to my journey, get rid of the baggage that's weighing you down, and making life so incredibly hard! Seek him for provision, and nothing else.

Those are my thoughts for today. I hope everyone has a awesome day filled with opportunities to serve the King!

Friday, June 22, 2012

be spiritually full

“When you are full, you will refuse honey, but when you are hungry, even bitter food tastes sweet.”
Proverbs 27:7

Have you ever noticed that when your hungry everything looks amazing? I always tell myself to never to a restaurant starving. Everything on the menu seems appealing, including stuff you wouldn't normally like. But after you have ordered and taken a few bites, the edge has gone away and the truth sinks in. You will never be able to eat it all. You don't even want it. It doesn't taste as good as it sounded on the menu. It is not appealing anymore. Why?

Because you were being driven by your appetite. Our soul should be well satisfied in every aspect of life so that we make wise choices on what we allow into our hearts. Otherwise, we find ourselves hungry for love and looking for it in all the wrong places. Whether its obsessions with food, material possessions, accomplishments or just bad men, the root it he same - HUNGER. Hunger for a natural desire that God has placed in our hearts. However, because we have failed to eat what He has already given us, we find ourselves starving for attention and doing all the wrong things to get it. Small wonder He tells us to stop filling up on things that will never be able to satisfy us eternally.

Be spiritually full
. Have a full life. Be satisfied from the inside out. When satan comes offering us tasty food - unsaved men, premarital sex, inappropriate fondling, food, too many sweets, overindulgence of any sort, the wrong types of entertainment, compensatory addictions, like shopping...you name it, whatever it is he’s offering to sedate your senses - don't settle for his deceptive menu. He knows that if you partake in enough of them, you will be open for anything. No, girlfriends, you and I have come too far and waited too long to fill up on empty calories. You know the type....we all do. They taste good going down, but they don't digest well, and they are fattening. In short, they don't do anything good for our bodies or our souls. No, no, no. Push them away and hold out for the main course.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I feel foreign to it

I have been thinking about writing this blog for quite sometime. But I think the idea of being so extremely transparent is what has steered me away from it. Sometimes as humans, we have all of these intense, intricate and life-changing thoughts that pop into our heads (I personally reference that as the holy spirit). Some of us choose to share it with our friends, spouse, siblings, co-worker, etc. But the idea of sharing what is on my heart, seems like I am giving away the answer-key to all my insecurities. A wise person once told me, "Listen with your mind, speak from your heart." Ever since I heard that saying, it has stuck with me.

So what is the mysterious subject? Well, in a nut-shell it contains beauty, love, lust, affection, desires, and how in the world to differ right from wrong. I know what your thinking, I just opened an invitation for controversy, and sentiment. First of all, I am speaking from my own heart. My misfortunes, my wounds and my insecurities are always going to be different from everyone else's point of view. So, I speak from my own experiences and my own dialectic past. 


 A year ago, I would have described beauty as: Skinny, Curvacious, Blonde, Tan, Blue eyes, Perfect teeth, Busty, Perfect complexion, Fashionable etc. Right off the bat (to whomever is reading this) I am sure there is at-least one characteristic you disagree with, or maybe you disagree with all of them. What is the common theme? 1) All of these attributes are physical 2) This IS reality, no matter which direction you try to place your argument on. My question that has been a probing challenge in my journey of life is: "Where did this idea come from?" Why do I feel like I have to establish and be all of the above? Am I forgetting an important conversation I had with the "queen of beauty" in which she shared these secrets with me?

Here is a bigger question: Who makes us as women feel beautiful? Who makes us feel like we somehow convey the porcelain image of beauty mentioned above? The most common responses could be: My boyfriend, My husband, My friends, My mirror (haha), etc. 

So what happens if you've never "had" that "ideal" beauty? Does that mean your not beautiful? Does that mean the man you are dating or married too will always or eventually lust over that girl walking down the street that does have those traits? And then....will he secretly think she is more beautiful than you? I know I may be spitting fire here. But lets be honest...those phrases are all ones most of us can fall victim too. Or maybe I am alone, who knows.

Lets get down to the point here. Why?

Here is my personal conclusion. 
Women, no matter where you are at in life, are or have been broken in someway shape or form. Take a minute and stem back to the first encounter you had with a man. How did he make you feel? Did he make you feel fat? Did he make you feel pretty? Did he make you feel stupid? Most of our first encounters with men, are with our fathers. But what about the women that have never met their father? Or the women with views of their father being very abusive? Well lets go with the best case scenario to "lighten" the mood a bit. Lets say best case scenario you have a pretty good father figure. He tells you your doing well in school, maybe he tells you a dozen times he is proud of you, maybe he tells you at a high school dance that you look stunning. Ok so far the first man you encountered with has treated you, pretty well. But then, as a part of life we move past that - and onto the next man; which is usually our first boyfriend. Or maybe for some, the first guy you genuinely loved.

I find something comical. However we are raised, we really are all the same. We seek the attention of feeling beautiful. Out of the chaotic and diverse world we live in, we can probably agree on one thing and one thing only. Our hearts biggest desire; which is to be delighted in, and to feel beautiful in the eyes of a man we admire.

Here is my second question: Right now, this day in age, how do men portray to a woman that he thinks she is beautiful? I will be short and sweet (Since that's typically how the relationships go)

1) Guy (or in some cases the girl) picks out girl/guy out of crowd, acknowledges him/her
2) They find common ground on a conversation topic, find something in common (Girl may or may not already be planning wedding, JK) 
3) Guy or girl asks to go home with them
4) You know what happens next.... Lets just say they aren't going home to play Monopoly, kids.

I guess in the misconstrue blunt phrase I get from a guy asking me to go home with him is "Prove to me that your beautiful with the way you can pleasure me physically." And the sad part, I took the bait.

In recent months, I have found myself uncomfortable with the guys I have encountered with at church, and at young-life events. I get nervous, and I haven't figured out why. It was until a recent conversations, and processing those ideas that literally took me by surprise. 

Conversation 1
"I don't like it when girls wear yoga pants." -Guy
"Hmmm. Why?" - Me
"Because its like you can see the form of their butt. Its like an outline of their butt with black paint over it." -Guy
"Because it grosses you out? (Typical me response...jumping to the conclusion that we all have to have a perfect butt)" - Me
"No, because its a temptation." - Guy 

Conversation 2 
(Conversing about a bible verse relating our physical desires to the person we are dating) 
"Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

"But I feel like I would want to kiss the guy I am dating." - Me
"Yeah because that's what the world has persuaded you to believe." - Guy
"So your saying you could date a girl, and create a boundary of no physical interaction, no kissing, no holding hands?" -Me
"Yes." - Guy
"But how would the girl know you are an affectionate guy, if that is something she desired in a spouse? And how would a women feel like you thought she was beautiful over every other woman if you never grabbed her hand, or kissed her when she looked pretty for you?"
"Because there are other ways to show a woman you love and adore her besides groping and kissing her. There are other ways to show a woman she is beautiful and that you delight in her than expecting her to take her clothes off and prove it." 
"(speechless)" - Me 

Ok what just happened? Honestly, even after he called me out and left me speechless, I still didn't believe him. Then I was driving home, and these conversations just kept my mind going in circles. Then, I had my Jesus "Ah Ha!" moment.

All this time of feeling awkward around guys at church and at young-life meetings wasn't because I am weird, or ugly, or not good enough (which is what I have led myself to believe). I realized that I have only been treated disrespectfully by men, so when a man respects me, I feel foreign to it. 

Let me repeat that...

I have only been treated disrespectfully by men, so when a man respects me, I feel foreign to it.

To be honest, I never ever believed that men like this even existed. What have I been doing with the past 23 years of my life? And more importantly, who have I wasted those years with? In so many relationships women get to the point of settlement, and feel like "this is the best I can do." Being a victim myself, I have settled with a lot of guys. So I began developing this distorted image of how men treat women. But really, at the time I didn't categorize it as "distorted" I viewed it as normalcy. I can specifically remember my first "falling in love" experience and later thinking "Really? Is this it? Is this what everyone is ranting and raving about? Those movies are bogus because I definitely don't feel fireworks." Its literally amazing how I had this distorted image of men in 1 category: schmucks. They only care about what you look like, and all they want at the end of the day is your body, and what you have to offer them. And I was always first in line at the ticket booth. Wow. Even writing that breaks my heart all over again.

But here is the catch: My wounds, and my past of regretful behavior are MY fault, not his. I chose to be treated this way. I took the bait, and adapted to that lifestyle. Once I removed myself from it, it was like I was placed in a different country. It made me realize how broken I was, and how far down in the pit I went. When you become so indulged in something, it becomes a lifestyle, and you know no other alternative. It becomes your ideal, and your reality. But by the Grace of Jesus himself, he saved me. He showed me a whole different perspective on beauty, love, lust, affection, and desires. He showed me a world full of men that aren't just schmucks out to get your goodies. A world where men chase after my heart, not my body. A world where I don't have to be 100 pounds, proportionately curvy, Blonde, Tan, Blue eyes, Perfect teeth, Busty, Perfect complexion, and fashionable. 

To answer my initial question. Where does it come from? It comes from the choices we make. It starts with the respect you have for yourself, and the respect you want for your future. Don't fall short of your hopes, dreams, and desires. There are millions of men that will respect our hearts, and our beauty. It might take a bit longer to find him, but from what I have heard, its worth the wait.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

awful, horrible, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, unfortunate event.

How to begin writing something so awful, and so sad. Yesterday was just a normal ordinary day. I woke up, drove home to Corvallis, went for a run, took Brody to the park, went to class, made dinner, and watched the news.

"Police conducting death investigation at sorority house in Corvallis."

I am naive, and have always thought nothing like this would actually happen to a woman I know, let alone someone I consider a sister. At times we often wonder why such horrible things like this happen to such wonderful people. When people have asked me that same question, I have always responded: "With every death, a miracle is born."

Lauren was a beautiful charismatic young woman. She cared for her friends, she cared for her family, she cared about her sorority and she cared about her future. Being able to witness such a passionate heart, and beautiful soul has truly been a blessing. I am so thankful for the support of my sisters of Alpha Chi Omega. I am so thankful for the support of the Greek Community at Oregon State University. I am so thankful for the support of the campus students at Oregon State University. I am so thankful for the support around the world that are just as hurt by this event as I am.  It is such a beautiful thing to watch all of us come together, and support one another in love and unity. After all, that's what sisters are for.


To find the words to say is tough enough. Although you were adopted into a family of angels, you were a true angel to begin with. "Wherever you fly, this isn't goodbye. Our love will follow you, stay with you, you're never alone." Thank you for your kind heart. Thank you for your compassionate love. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for your spirit. We may have lost one of our sisters, but this world has gained a true angel. You will forever be in our hearts, and I am so incredibly proud to have had the chance to get to know such a wonderful and amazing human being. May God spoil you with his love, and may you rest in peace beautiful girl. You are and will forever be missed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gluten-Free Potato Broccoli Soup

As many of you know, I found out a few weeks ago I have Psoriasis. Without going into extreme detail, I have a family history of celiac disease. Having Psoriasis is a pre-symptom to having celiac disease. Turns out I do not have celiac, but my doctor thinks I may have a gluten-intolerance. She suggested that I go gluten-free for 3 months to establish the results. So....I am on a mission to create delicious, mouth watering gluten-free dishes. I have been taking many ideas from my mom, friends and of course pinterest. This week I created a broccoli and potato soup, that was SO delicious that I had to share it with you guys!

Gluten Free Broccoli Baked Potato Soup:

You will need...

-3 heads of Broccoli (5 cups, if I had to guess)
-7-ish small/med potatoes
-1/4 cup earth balance (or butter, whatever)
-1 onion, diced
-3 or 4 cloves of garlic
-3/4 cup broth or water
-1 carton of unsweetened soy milk (or regular milk works too)
-1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
-1 alfredo sauce packet
-1 Tbsp chives
-2 palms of salt (about 2 tablespoons), a little more or a little less, depending on your own personal taste
-pepper to taste
-parsley to taste

Preheat your oven to 375. Wash and poke your potatoes with a fork. Line a baking sheet with foil, place your uncooked potatoes into the oven when its ready, set the timer for an hour, and then move onto working with your broccoli.

Chop up your broccoli, if you're using fresh. You can also used frozen broccoli, it must yield 5 cups.

Pile your freshly cut heap of greens into the steamer, and steam it until you can smell it. You don't want it too cooked, but it needs to be a bright green color, still stiff to the touch of a fork. Once that's done, remove it from the heat and set it aside.

When your baked potatoes are finished, take them out of the oven and set them aside to cool. When you know you're not going to burn yourself (you'd be surprised), peel them. I like to peel them right there on the foil, and then just wrap up the peelings and toss it into the garbage, no mess. Now, dice them up. I liked making difference size chunks, because you know you love it when every once in awhile you get an extra big piece on your spoon. That's kind of the best part about potato soup, I think.

Scoop your butter into a pot, turn the heat up to medium, chop up your onion and garlic (we use crushed garlic in a jar, we're lazy), and then cook that until your onions are translucent (you know the drill). Once the onions are finished, add in your potato pieces, and your broccoli.

Turn the heat up to high, add in your broth and milk. Once that gets a good steam going and starts to bubble, turn the heat down to a low or low/medium. Add in your yeast, and then the secret ingredient, the alfredo sauce packet. We use Simply Organic (as seen in the picture above), and dang, its good.

Stir in the remaining seasonings (salt, pepper, parsley, chives, anything else that might want to toss in), turn the heat down to low, and let simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.

Top off individual servings with a little bit of sour cream, maybe some shredded cheese, and sit back, relax, and enjoy your delicious home cooked meal.

Monday, February 20, 2012



Brown undertone with Blonde high-lights


or Blonde?
Its that time again. About every 5 months I get an itch to drastically change my hair. But I cant choose which one I like best this time. Any thoughts?

weekend activities

Pink Nails. A much needed Manicure.

Fresh Air.
Ghost Pines Cab, MY FAV
 My weekend was peaceful and relaxing which was MUCH needed. On Friday I had to give blood which was kind of a bummer, but I find out my gluten intolerance results any-day now. Friday night was wonderful. Typical wine and Pizza night at the Gillihan residence. Something about being around family, at home, and pizza makes my heart feel so peaceful. 

Saturday was oh so busy with my MAMA. I got to sleep in (YAY), then hopped out of bed and took the three doggies up to the school soccer field and let them get some energy out. Later that afternoon my mom took me to my favorite restaurant Red Robin! YUM. Manicures and a movie afterwards. We saw "This means War" which I thought was a good movie. It was action/romantic and Reese Witherspoone is the main actress in the movie and I just think she is adorable. Saturday night my mom made a delicious gluten-free light pasta dish that was absolutely delicious! 

Sunday the family and I went to church, loved John Marks sermon. He is just always so spot on with his messages. After church I forced myself to buckle down and get some homework done. Later in the afternoon, my mom and I took the dogs on a hike through the forest behind our house, they had a BALL. I love watching those pups run and run. It bring such a smile to my face. And before you know it, 5:00 was there and our in-laws were over for a Sunday night Pot Roast dinner. Having the Johnson's over is always a good time. Good food, laughter, wine, and family. 

All in all, it was a fun and relaxing weekend. What did you do this weekend?

Friday, February 10, 2012


This is my son; fun loving, carpet eating, peeing machine, barking fanatic, peanut butter loving, awesome cuddler, insane licking of a pup. And I love him more than words can describe. Enjoy the pictures!


Jesus talks to a Woman at the Well

When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said said to her "Will you give me a drink?" The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink? (For Jews did not associate with Samaritans)" Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." "Sir," the woman said, "you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?"

Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water so that I wont get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water."

He told her, "Go, call your husband and come back."

"I have no husband," she replied. 

Jesus said to her, "You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true."

This story can fit into almost anyone's life, whether you are a man or a woman. I find this story so beautiful. Most would find it embarrassing for the woman, that Jesus himself is calling her out on being a promiscuous woman. This story resembles mine, in a way:

I have always been the type of girl to have boyfriends, or men in my life consistently. I have always found interest in seeking out men, rather than woman. I have always thought this to be normal, up until this morning when I felt God reveal something so precious to me, just like Jesus did to the woman at the well. 

Once I gave my life over to Christ in 2011, I began the journey of following Jesus. As many of you know my story; some of you may not. Long story short, I hit a point in my life where I felt worthless, and I felt that my life had no depth to it. After going through a rough patch in my life, I realized I had nothing else to gain, accept for Christ. From that day on I have been eager to learn more and more about the word of God, and the life he has planned for me. 

For a few months, I have felt this feeling of missing the old life I used to live. I found myself wanting to indulge in the idolistic things I used to call "fun." Going out and drinking way too much, dressing provocatively, flirting with guys, etc. I hadn't had this urge in almost a year (since I committed my life to Christ), and so I began to panic that my old habits were going to eek back into my life. I was aware of these desires, and I didnt know why they were put into my heart again. I prayed about it, and opened up to a small number of people about this new temptation that was lerking through my mind and heart. 

It was until this morning that God revealed something precious, beautiful, and so very true into my heart. All of these years of dating men, and going to bars and parties to flirt, and boyfriends, God pointed out what I was missing, what I had been searching for in the 21 years of my life, and that vacant thing was HIM. Now most of you are thinking, DUH. But see, it wasn't apparent to me that this concept of going to God to find fulfillment, and beauty was the little secret the world was keeping from me. 

After being in a relationship for 2 years, it came to an end about a year ago. I have found myself going down the road of questioning myself, and why I wasn't worth fighting for in that relationship. The one dominant answer I concluded in my mind (and many other women's minds that are and were in the same boat as I was) was that I wasn't worth his time, and I wasn't found beautiful to him. Now, how coincidental this comes up. I heard a man by the name of Craig Inglesby speak this week about gender roles, and how as followers of Christ men and women need to entertain one another in the world we live in. One of the things he mentioned and wanted to make so clear to the women was: Don't let men take the place of making you feel beautiful, that's God place, and his place only. Hearing this, yes it makes sense, and it was definitely something I have been a victim too. It stayed and lingered in my mind.

Coming to my point...

This morning I was at coffee with my AMAZING friend Molly Kidd. We struck up a conversation about relationships, and how women are always just so eager to get married. But why? Why do we have the need of a man to complete our lives? She gave me such wise advice; once your in a marriage, everything is not sparkles and glitter as most people perceive it to be. In fact, once you get married you realize theres not much difference between dating and marriage, except that you are just living under the same roof. So in a way, many women get married in the hopes of finding their true identity in their husband, and having their fairytale "happily ever after" but find themselves lonely, and unhappy. 

It was then, God revealed my weakness to me. It was so clear.  I realized I have been going to men to find my fullfillment in life. I go to men to feel beautiful. I go to men to have that "high" of feeling lusted for, and worth something.  I have put all of my efforts and hopes towards my future with a man, and how he will make me so incredibly happy. But God revealed to me, that no man on earth will ever be able to make me feel that way. I am just going to find myself on this continuous heartbreak, disappointing Ferris Wheel, and never find a way off. 

Immediately I could see the lost puzzle pieces of questions and confusion from the past 5 years of my life just come together. I have gone to men to find my identity. I have used the infatuation men have towards and upon me to fill up my bucket at the well. And the one puzzle piece that I am so thankful for God showing me is that, none of those men were EVER going to full-fill my bucket eternally. Sooner or later, those men were going to fall out of lust with me, and move on to another woman. Which, is exactly what happened. Now think of a heroin addict, when you take away their drugs (their addiction) and they have nothing to get high off of anymore, what happens? They panic. They go into detox, and they endure a lot of pain. But eventually they come out of the blurred vision of drugs consuming their life, and come up for fresh air. They see a different purpose to life, they see that they don't need those drugs to feel full-filled anymore. When my relationship ended a year ago, and I was so used to being full-filled by one man for so long, and now I wasn't getting my fulfillment at all anymore, it was awful. It was like I was going through detox. It hurt, it was painful, and I didn't like any second of it. In fact, how I felt I wouldn't even wish upon my worst enemy. BUT (here comes the climax) that was the beginning of God showing me the beauty HE sees in ME, and how he has the everlasting water to fill up my bucket.

Who and what are you finding your beauty in?

Friday, January 20, 2012


First I should apologize, I haven't posted a blog in quite sometime. The truth is, I have been distracted by the demands of my everyday life. Sitting down and writing out my true emotions and feelings have been knocked down to the bottom of my list.....I guess. But today I have something important to share with you. Today I just cant bottle up what I have learned in the past two days. Today I am going to talk about Religion. 

Religion. Wow. Where do I start? How about how it has started wars? Or how about its the one subject you don't bring up in a group conversation? Why has religion become a wet blanket over our backs?  How about, why does the guilt of missing church lurk in our minds on Sunday afternoons? Why are we asked what religion status we identify ourselves with on Facebook? Is that even something that a person looks at while they are creeping on your page? Why does religion build huge churches, but not feed the poor?

See, I always saw religion as a way to identify where I stood in my beliefs. Right? I dont even know what the term religion means exactly. Except that it seems to be a love hate relationship. Well this was until I read from Romans 2. 

"Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn't so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you've done." Romans 2: 3-4

"If you sin without knowing what your doing, God takes that into account. But if you sin knowing full well what your doing, that's a different story entirely. Merely hearing Gods law is a waste of your time if you don't do what he commands. Doing, not hearing is what makes the difference with God."
Romans 2: 12-14

Religion Cant Save You 
"If your brought up Jewish, don't assume that you can lean back in the arms of your religion and take it easy, feeling smug because you're an insider to Gods revelation, a connoisseur of the best things of God, informed on the latest doctrines! I have a special word of caution for you who are sure that you have it all together yourselves and, because you know Gods revealed word inside and out, feel qualified to guide others, who is going to guide you? I am quite serious. While preaching "Don't steal!" are you going to rob people blind? Who would suspect you? The same with adultery. The same with idolatry. You can get by with almost anything if you front it with eloquent talk about God and his law." Romans 2: 17-22

Lets talk about circumcision (getting to my point...)
"Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with Gods law. But if you don't, its worse than not being circumcised at all. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who follow God are as good as the circumcised - in fact, better. Better to keep Gods law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don't you see: Its not the cut of a knife that makes you a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. Its the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on our skin, that makes you a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics." Romans 2: 25-29

Wow. Heres some food for thought:
-Everytime you critize someone, your CONDEMNING yourself. 
-God sees right through all of us, and will hold us to what we have done. 
-Every refusal and avoidance of Gods commands, just adds fuel to the fire you will have to tame yourself on your judgement day. 
-Embrace the way God does things, there are wonderful payoffs- without regard to where you are from, or how you were raised. Example: Don't use the excuse of "I wasn't raised religiously, my parents and family aren't religious so I can act out however I want because I have that excuse."
-God pays no attention to what others think or say about you, he cares about where your heart is. Example: God doesnt care if everyone on your facebook can see you are a Christian. He cares if your heart says that. Does it?
-Sinning without knowing what your doing is one thing, but sinning KNOWING full well what your doing...God sees. (yikes)
-Hearing the word of God, going through the motions but still sinning and not doing what God commands is a waste of your time. Example: Going to church every sunday, but then having sexual intercourse with your boyfriend or girlfriend the next day. Why even go to church? Are you going because its the "religious" thing to do? God wants all of your heart and dedication, not just 50% of it. 
-We can try to hide things from one another with lies, and masks but God sees right through those.

So here is where the plot thickens. I am just the interpreter. I didn't make up any of the above up. That came straight from the word of God. Now at first glance, this was so incredibly convicting for myself. It was like God sitting down and calling me out. Which was hard. But then I began thinking. Am I attending my own party? In other words, being a follower of Christ am I judging others? Am I committed to idols other than God? Going to church, wearing WWJD, going to girls group doesnt make me a follower of Christ. Committing my heart and living for God every single day is MY religion. In fact, that isn't even religion. It's called a relationship. Religion never gets to the core. Its just a behavior modification like a long list of chores.

"So God said, in effect, "If thats what you want, that's what you get." It wasnt long before they were living in a pigpen, smeared with filfth, filthy inside and out." Romans 1:24

God is saying, if you want to live in sin, than live in sin! There is no point going to church on Sunday, and then go home to watch pornography afterwards. Stop wasting your time with covering your sin to look like a follower, when the only opinion that truly matters is Gods, whom can see right through it all. I lived a life where I enjoyed living in the dark, I am not going to lie. Drinking, partying, sex, idolatry, all of it. But there did come a point where I came out of this allusion and realized I was filthy. I was covered in sin. Living in a dark tunnel, I searched for a way out. And then I found a light, and I will give you one guess who was there waiting.

Here is the Happy Part:
See when I was Gods enemy, living in sin, he looked down at me and said "I want that woman." When Jesus was nailed to the cross, he yelled out "Father forgive them, they know now not what they do." He took what we all deserved, and put it to an end. Because when he was dangling on the cross, he was thinking of me, and he was thinking of you. There is no sin big enough that Jesus cant forgive. That's why he is so awesome. He was nailed to the cross, so when it came to the day when you realized you were covered in filth, and felt shame, he would look down at you and say "you are forgiven." Now that I know Jesus, I boast in my weakness. The church is not a museum for good people, it is a hospital for the broken. That means I don't have to hide my failures, I don't have to hide my sins. 

Religion says do, Jesus says done.