A story of redemption

You have committed crimes.

Not just one.  But many.

You have been sentenced to death.

A cruel and slow torture, in which your body will feel excruciating pain.  You will suffer for all the wrongs you have done, the laws you have broken, and the acts of disobedience.

You may know you are guilty, but you don’t really care.  “So what?” you say out loud, to no one in particular.  There’s nobody to hear you, no matter how loud you scream.  You’re in a dark dungeon.  Absolutely zero light.  You haven’t eaten in days.  Life has been miserable, but...so what?  You have one life and it’s going to end soon anyway.

You hear a key being turned in the lock of your cell door.  You clutch your chest as the hinges turn and make your teeth grind with the noise of rusty metal against metal.

A faint light begins to appear as you are escorted down a long tunnel, two heavily armed men on either side of you.  You drag your feet, knowing that your time is coming.  And even though, seconds before, you could have cared less, the reality of your situation has begun to sink in.  

You are going to die.

You squint your eyes as the daylight approaches with every step you take towards the end of the tunnel.  You don’t know the last time you’ve seen the sun.  But before you can step out into its light, a voice speaks:  “Let this one go.”

“But he has been sentence to death as punishment for great crimes,” one of the guards cries out.  “Someone has to die!”

“Then let it be Me.”

Silence reigns for a few seconds.  You squint your eyes trying to look at the Man who had spoken these words, but the more you try to focus on His face, the harder it was to see.  The light seemed to be coming from His very being.

“Very well,” the guard replies, and you suddenly feel the chains being loosed from your wrists and ankles.  You fall heavily to the ground, as the chains scatter around you.  Your face is on the ground, at eye level with everyone’s feet.  There is a pair that looks misplaced among the grimy, muddy feet of everyone - including your own.  They are clean, beautiful feet.  And they slowly step towards you.  Your eyes close as the light becomes brighter.  And then you feel a touch.  Not on your hand, or your face, but on your chest, above your heart.

“I love you, even though you may not love Me.  I am taking your place, and dying so that you might live.  You are Mine.”

These words were not said audibly, but yet you heard them.  In your head.

And with that, the beautiful feet walk away, the gentle hand is removed from your chest, yet the touch lingers.  Warm and powerful against your beating heart.  You draw in a deep breath, your lungs gasping for air as if you have been underwater for long minutes on end.  

It’s as if you have come alive...


I can be so pitiful sometimes

I can be so pitiful sometimes.

I crave affection.  And attention too.  I compare myself to other girls.  My life to the lives of others.  I wish I could have that style of hair.  Or I wish that I could be that good with words.  I wish I had better style.  I wish I had more Instagram followers.  Or I wish that my life could be 1% as perfect and beautiful as random people I come across.

I don’t know why I’m writing this post exactly.  I think I just needed to get this out of my head and onto paper (well, my computer...a word document...whatever) because it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep.

Why must I feel so emotional and become so wordy this late at night?  Why must my thoughts become stars I cannot fathom into constellations?  Why can’t I orchestrate words as poetically and perfect as John Green does?

Why must I compare myself to others and wish I had a different life when, in reality, the life God has given me is...beautiful...  It’s so beautiful.  Yet why am I so restless?  Why am I not thankful?  Well, I am thankful for it...but I’m not as satisfied as I should be.  

I don’t like being like this.  I don’t like it when my insecurities well up in my heart and spill out of my eyes in tears.

Why do I feel like this?

...I think I know why.

Because I am alive.

God has given me the power to think, to feel, to sense, to see, to taste.  But putting all of those into perspective is where finding joy in life truly lies.  He has touched my lips with the coal of burning passion to proclaim His Word.  My words may not be beautiful, but His forever will be.  I am slowly being transformed into the image of Jesus Himself.  And what greater life to live than the exact one He has blessed me with?

‘Jesus didn’t die for those who could become perfect overnight.’
- Michael Gustin


Your Word Have I Hidden In My Heart

We are all at fault for not committing more Bible verses to memory.  Myself included.  I will readily admit that I have (numerous times) started a weekly memorization schedule that just ended up being pushed to the back of my mind.  And I’m very annoyed at myself for doing this.

Scripture memorization is one of the biggest tools in fighting everyday sins.  First off, it’s the ‘two-edged sword’ that is talked about in Hebrews 4:12:

“For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

And also, we have the greatest example of fighting temptations WITH Scripture in the Gospel according to Luke - by Jesus Himself.  

When Jesus was in the wilderness, fasting for forty days and forty nights, satan came to Him and tempted Him.  Only three of the temptations are recorded, but in verse 13, it states that, “When the devil had finished EVERY temptation, he left Him...”  But with every temptation that satan hurled at Him, Jesus said nothing else than what? A verse.

“And the devil said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread.’  And Jesus answered him, ‘It is written: Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” (Luke 4:3-4)

“And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.  Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’  Jesus answered him, ‘It is written: You shall worship the LORD Your God and serve Him only.’ ” (Luke 4:5-8)

“And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here; for it is written, ‘He will command His angels concerning You to guard You’ and ‘On their hands they will bear You up, so that You will not strike Your foot against a stone.’  And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It is said: You shall not put the LORD your God to the test.’ ” (Luke 4:9-11)  

Notice that for the third temptation, satan used none other than Jesus’ only weapon to ‘tempt’ Him.  Kinda smart, yet kinda stupid at the same time.  While trying to use the Son of God’s own strategy against Him, he is also digging himself a deeper hole because nobody can ‘beat’ Jesus, right?  Nobody can outsmart God - as we so often try to do ourselves.

And finally, satan gave up.  Verse 13 says, “When the devil had finished every temptation...”.  The power of knowing Scripture and having it at the tip of your tongue is proven in that small phrase.  Every temptation bounced off of the shield of faith.  Faith in the Word of God, faith in God Himself.  And I think this goes hand in hand with this verse in James 4:7-8a:

“Submit therefore to God.  RESIST the devil and he will FLEE from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

And also Proverbs 30:5:

“Every word of God is tested; He is a SHIELD to those who take refuge in Him.”

We have the Word of God so that we can be ready for anything, any time, anywhere.  They are His words to us.

“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 

And lastly, Deuteronomy 6:4-9:

“Hear, O Israel!  The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

Scripture is the living and breathing Word of God.  And we must remember to treat it as such.  We should carry our Bibles around with us as frequently as our phones.  But what better way to have it as readily available as in your mind and on your tongue? 

I’m sure, like me, you have more of your favorite song lyrics filed in your brain than your favorite Bible verses.  If that’s not just me, than I certainly applaud you.  I am very guilty of this.  No, music isn’t more important to me than the Bible, but am I proving that by not having as many verses memorized as song lyrics?  Now that’s a humbling thought...

One of the biggest helps I’ve had in memorizing Scripture (and sticking to it), is to have an accountability partner.  One of my best friends and I pick three verses at the beginning of the week, and every day, we ask each other ‘Hey, have you worked on your verses?’ or ‘Hey, get off your phone and do your Bible memorization’.  Gentle reminders like that, you know?  Honestly, though, it’s been a big help to me, so I would suggest and encourage you to do the same.  Find someone who will keep you on your toes about memorizing Scripture, and who would be just as excited as you are TO memorize Scripture.

Learning things takes practice.  Memorization takes recitation.  But what better thing to learn and memorize than the words God spoke to and for us?


A Christian Guy or a Man of God?

I ran across a title somewhere a while back that was similar to this.  I think it was a tumblr conversation or something.  Anyway, the phrase stuck with me and I was rolling it around today.  Now here I am, trying to gather my thoughts and figure out just how to write this post.

So many girls are taken with the idea of ‘if he’s a Christian guy, then that’s all that matters’.  But what of all the other people who call themselves Christians and only live it on the outside?  How do you know that this "Christian guy" isn’t just another one of those professing believers?  How do you know if he’s a true man of God?  And what exactly IS a man of God?

Well, first of all, there’s a huge difference between the two.  

A guy who says he’s a Christian can also say a lot of other things.  Such as ‘I love you’ or ‘I would never compromise your purity’.  Saying these are easy, but living them is a totally different matter.  A man of God is one who is living for God because He lives in him.  He is only able to pursue a woman’s heart because God has already captured his.  A man of God is devoted to the LORD and His commands.  And thus, everything he says, he is ready and willing to live out.  He may very well say ‘I love you’ too, but you will know he means it because he will love God more than he loves you.  And by being a man of God, he would truly be able to understand the meaning of love, because he knows the love with which the Father has loved him (1 John 3:16).  And a man who is faithful to God will be faithful to you.

Secondly, a guy who says he’s a Christian won’t be able to withstand the two-edged sword that you wield when you confront him (Proverbs 27:17).  

As a man, he should be willing to be challenged.  He should be able to defend his beliefs and his faith.  And most importantly, he should be able to encourage you in your walk with Christ.  A Christian guy could very easily text you Bible verses, go to church with you on Sundays, seem very touched by the sermon and worship music, but a man of God will live out those verses, will love sermons and music all throughout the week.  He will have a firm and rooted knowledge of God’s Word, and know that his very existence on this earth is to bring glory to God.  He will love to be challenged and encouraged by you in his walk with the LORD, and likewise, his faith will challenge and encourage - not only you, but everyone around him.  The fruit of the Spirit should be evident in his life.  Not just since you met him, but before that.  And it should be continually seen, as you get to know him.

Thirdly, a guy who says he’s a Christian may make you feel beautiful and valued and safe, but a man of God will see to it that you know your value to God AND to him.  

A man of God will guard you - not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.  He will strive to show you your worth as God would have you know it.  He will be attracted, not only to your outward appearance but to your heart - just as you should be to him.  ‘For from the heart flow the wellsprings of life...’ (Proverbs 4:23)  His duty as a man (protector) and a true believer (your brother in Christ) should be to push you closer to the LORD - in all things.  Whether that be by guarding you, encouraging you, challenging you, admonishing you, or praying for you.  These are all qualities and characteristics of a man who is not ashamed of his faith and who lives it out, rather than just states that he "is a Christian".  And through them all, he will give glory to God.

Lastly, a guy who says he’s a Christian may be daunted and annoyed by your high standards, but a man of God will respect and admire them because he sees that you won’t settle for less.  

Be done with the players and the "Christian" boys.  Wait for a godly man to come forward and accept the challenge of winning your heart because he knows he can truly care for it with God’s help.  As a daughter of God, only a man of God should be fit to meet your standards.  A woman with high standards attracts the men who have high standards for themselves.  And when two people don’t settle for less, and have God as the center of their respective lives, their two lives together can shine God’s light.  

Don’t settle for the "Christian guy".  Long for and work at being a woman that the man of God would be attracted to.  


‘Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness with lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For we are the temple of the living God.’
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-16


Everyday Blessings // 24

>> photographing the wedding of two of my friends (that's them above ^)
>> eating ice cream right out of the container
>> being able to talk with a best friend who was recently deployed
>> helping coordinate a friend's wedding
>> catching my second wedding bouquet
>> purchasing a plane ticket
>> having three weddings to attend in August, one in September, and two in October
>> baking chocolate chip cookies with my sisters
>> The Fault In Our Stars soundtrack
>> a new movie poster (yes, The Fault In Our Stars)
>> fixing a zipper on a new dress
>> my Peruvian flag
>> a random cool, rainy and beautiful day amidst a week of eighty degree weather
>> late movie nights with friends
>> reading my Spanish Bible
>> being told that I am missed
>> that moment when one of your favorite songs comes on shuffle... (yes, that just happened)

How has your August been so far?  What have you been up to?

P.S.  Add me on snapchat | froyogalrzd



Embrace the moment

Yes, that title is so cliche.  But really.  It’s an incredible reminder.  And one that God really taught and showed me the truth of while I was in Kusi...

Before I left for Peru, I spent a lot of time praying for specific requests that I had for my time spent there.  One of my petitions was that He will help me to not be distracted by minute details, to not be too homesick, and that I would learn to live in each of the moments He presented to me.  

I’ve had a bad habit of worrying about the future.  I’d be having a really fun time doing something, but if for just one second, I started thinking about the next minute, I would get worried, or even anxious, about what that next minute would entail.  And it ruined the current moment I was in.

We’re all guilty of either worrying about what’s to come, or being too anxious about moving forward more quickly.  But there is absolutely no need to.  It’s not like by doing either of these, we make the future moments better.  Yet we never remind ourselves of this.

The best moment you are living is the one you’re breathing in right now.  Even though it may not feel like it.  Even though it’s really tough to live it.  Even though you don’t understand what is happening.  You’re living it for a reason.  God’s got you in that moment to teach you something, to bless you in some way, to show you a new piece to the puzzle.  When you focus fully on the moment at hand, you can enjoy it so much more because you’re not letting the past or future distract you.  Whatever moment you’re in, LIVE it.  Give yourself fully to whatever second He has placed you in.  And by doing so, you’ll be able to look back on those precious times and not have any regrets.

Don’t worry about the future.  God has it taken care of.  Your job is to be joyful where He has you currently.  And to embrace it.



I’ve been doing a deep study through the book of Philippians.  I have discovered so many nuggets of gold amidst my readings.  I feel as though I am on a scavenger hunt and whenever I stumble upon a verse that just makes me go ‘wow!’,  I feel like I’m on the right path, the right trail.

One of the first verses that I had to read over a few times (because of the sheer awe I was in when I first read it) was:

‘For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.’
- Philippians 1:6

Being ‘confident’ is to know, to be sure of something with absolutely no doubt present in your mind of its truth.  And what is Paul so confident of?  That [God] will never leave us - or anything - incomplete.

What a blessed thought!  He is not done with us yet.  We are not perfected in His sight yet.  He is still molding us.

This verse has comforted me so much these last few days.  Life has been rough, overwhelming, stressful...but through it all, I have held fast to His promises.  One of them being this:  He’s not finished with me yet.  Every chink, every groove, every bump in the road that I feel is just Him at work.  I am on the road to completion.  It’s hard.  It really is.  But what waits for me at the end of this road is so, so worth it.  And I am confident, 100% sure, completely at peace in the knowledge that He has begun a good work in me, and will not leave it unfinished.  He will keep tearing me, breaking me, reconstructing me, showing me my short-comings, until one day, I will be complete and perfect in His sight.  

God is not in the business of leaving His pottery unfinished.  He is a God of completion.


There is hope for me yet
Because God won't forget
All the plans He's made for me
I have to wait and see
He's not finished with me yet.’
Wait and See / Brandon Heath