Your Esther Moment

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I’m not very brave. I lost sleep recently because I watched the trailer for the new scary movie “Lights Out” (and yes, I slept with my lights on a few nights in a row, ok?). I’ll run from the bathroom to my room whenever I turn the lights off in my living room. I’m just not a courageous person, by any means. Imagine how this carries over into my regular life. I’m scared of so many things, like disappointing others, sticking up for myself, or rejection. I’m basically Scooby-Doo. I’ll put on a tough front, but in the end, I end up running away and eating a sandwich somewhere.

A couple days ago, I began to journey through the book of Esther again. Talk about a book that shouts bravery. This book is full of examples of being brave and being patiently obedient (something else I struggle with).

You can honestly read through Esther quickly. It’s a short book, and it’s easy to breeze through it during your devotion time. But boy, is it so rich?! I’ve read through it for three days now, piece by piece allowing the Lord to speak to me. He’s talking loud and clear, too. So as your friend (yeah, I think of you as my friend. Someone start playing that song from Toy Story right now), I want to share my heart. I want to show you what I’ve been learning these past few days. Maybe you’ll relate or know someone who can relate right now. But let’s talk a bit.

1.Approach each situation with bravery like Esther

I think this is what Esther is most known for: her courage. This girl freaking goes before the King, which could result in her losing her life, to save her people, the Jews. But she is bold and goes.We should be admiring and replicating this every single day.

You might not be in a situation where you’re married to a king and you could be killed for going to him (or maybe you are, I won’t jump to conclusions), but we will all have an Esther moment or two or three or four. You get the picture. A moment of complete and crazy bravery where we are so passionate about something, we cannot help but stand up.

We should look at every mountain in our life and say, “this could be my Esther moment.”

Esther was willing to risk her life. She was so passionate about something that she said, “to me, this is worth it.”

Are you passionate enough about something to say the same thing?

Have you ever heard this quote? “You have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved.” I love this. As you’re having your Esther moment of completely ridiculous bravery, others get to witness. They get to experience your strength and your courage, but most importantly, they get to experience your God.

A moment of bravery, like Esther had, is not just for yourself. It’s also to showcase what a powerful and strong God we serve. 

Esther 4:14 is a killer verse. It wrecks me so much. Mordecai is telling Esther about slimeball Haman’s plot to destroy the Jews. He looks at her and says, “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.” Wow. Wow. Wow.

You have been given a purpose in this very moment to be brave like Esther. Your Creator knows you by name and knows what you were created to do. Approach every trial and situation with this mindset and with the armor of Christ, and you’ll be able to move mountains.

2. Learn to have patient obedience

This is hard for me. If I don’t get my way right then and there, I’m annoyed. Some might call me spoiled, and I would say they’re absolutely right. I’m not a patient person. Esther demonstrates the complete opposite action I usually take.

Esther approaches the King (remember that whole brave thing? That’s this part of the story.). Instead of immediately revealing the plot to kill her people, she asks the King and Haman to dinner. Okay, Esther. Wait. You had an opportunity. Why didn’t you take it? She was patient and knew the timing wasn’t right.

So she brings them to her feast, and he asks for her request once more. She tells them to come back another night for another feast. Are you kidding me, Esther? Another shot, ruined.

If I was in this story, I would have done it quick. Ripped the band-aid off. Get it over with. Don’t draw it out. Remember when I said I struggle with patience? Or to be honest, I would have struggled with doing anything at all. I don’t like confrontation, especially when my life is on the line (that’s yet to happen to me, but I assume I won’t like it).

But Esther waits for the time to be right, and then takes action.

What are you impatient about? Mine is finding a guy. I’m one of those girls. I see everyone dating and getting married and I binge watch Netflix in my pajamas. I’m waiting. I’m waiting. And I’m still waiting.

Something I’m learning is to say “no” because I know I deserve better. My worth doesn’t lie in the fact that I’m very single. It lies in my Maker’s hands. But I’m just rambling now. The point is, sometimes we have to not only be obedient, but we have to be patient and obedient. Two of the hardest things, rolled into one. Oh, goody.

My roommate said this to me while I ranted about a boy and I think about it so much: “The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.”

Would the story have been different if Esther just straight up told the King? Maybe, I don’t know that for sure so I won’t make any claims. But I will say that God was so evident in this story, you cannot ignore the idea that He had His timing in place, and Esther was obedient enough to wait until the time was right.

In my journal last week, I wrote “His time, not mine” probably 25 times. I wrote until I believed it. I wrote and declared that I would be patient enough to say this only once with full confidence. But for now, my voice shakes when I do. We must grow stronger in the waiting process. Whether you’re waiting for a guy or a job or any opportunity. Patience, patience, patience.

Friends, let’s pray for two things today (and every day really):

  1. For ridiculous bravery, that mimics Esther’s and relies solely on the Lord’s strength
  2. For the ability to not only be obedient, but to also be patient as the time arises

The book of Esther was not written by mistake. Allow yourself to see the clear fingerprints of God across every word. And please please please do not forget: “Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”

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Mirror, mirror, on the wall.

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I’m 100% one of those girls that spends way too much time in front of the mirror. I’m picking out every insecurity, I’m judging my outfit, I’m mentally complaining about how I sometimes have multiple chins (it’s a gift really). But one thing is always the same: The minute I walk away from the mirror, those things I’ve picked out, those insecurities I can’t shake end up sticking with me the entire day. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one like this. We dwell on those things that drive us crazy or that we want to change.

I promise this has a point. Let’s jump right into this, I want you to read James 1:21-25 below, then let’s have a conversation about it.

21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
James 1:21-25 ESV

I was studying this passage the other day and it completely wrecked me. James is talking about being hearers versus being doers. Just merely hearing vs actually going and taking action. James compares reading the Word of God to a guy looking in the mirror (told you it would make sense), seeing things, and forgetting them the moment he walks away.

I found a study Steve Cole did on this passage, and it was absolutely incredible. Go check it out here because he writes this better than I ever could. Take a quick look at what he says regarding this:

“James uses the illustration of a man (the Greek word stipulates a man, as distinguished from a woman) who looks at his natural face in the mirror, rushes out the door, and forgets what he saw. Maybe he had a couple of days of stubble on his face, or he slept wrong on his hair, and it stuck up in an unruly manner. But, he’s late for work, and he’s really not all that concerned about his appearance, so he quickly tries to smooth it out and rushes out the door, even though he looks like he just got out of bed. The mirror showed him the problems, but he didn’t do anything to fix them.” -Steve Cole

I loved this illustration. When we approach Scripture, we do this more than we probably want to admit. We read and the Spirit convicts us and we see the issues, the flaws, the messiness, the sin. Then we walk away and forget everything. I am so incredibly guilty of this. When I look at the mirror in life, I remember the flaws all day, they eat away at me, they bug me. Yet sometimes when I look at the mirror of the Word, I walk away as if I saw nothing wrong.

Do you see the issue with this?

We should have a heart that breaks when we see sin devouring us. We should be bothered by the fact that we make mistakes. We should be overwhelmed all day with knowing that there are issues that need to be taken care of.

So what does it mean to be a hearer and a doer?

It is someone that is active. Someone who sees the issue and wants to fix it. Someone who looks in the mirror of the Word and says, “this is an issue,” closes her Bible, and does something about it.

I don’t want to become content with being a messy Christian that looks like they’ve just rolled out of bed. I want my heart to ache when I notice something that is breaking the heart of the Lord. I want to lose sleep over a sin in my life. I want to weep at the feet of Jesus saying, “Okay, I see it. Tell me what to do next so I can change.” I want the mirror of the Word to actually change me.

We should be worried about our appearance. Now when I say appearance, I hope you aren’t thinking in a physical sense. I’m speaking about a heart issue. We should worry about the appearance of our heart. What is buried in it? What is overwhelming it? It could be lots of things; lust, anxiety, anger, addiction, you name it. But is it buried and rooted in Christ?

If you look back a few verses in James 1, James writes, “Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21 ESV). The implanted word. Implanted. The Word of God should be so rooted in your heart that it takes over. That it motivates you not just to hear, but to do.

What are you hearing the Spirit and the Word tell you? Are you changing it? Are you doing it? Or are you walking away and forgetting? Be challenged, friends. Let’s go out, remember what we’re hearing and seeing, and do something about it.

In Christ,
Carrie

“but…my dress is torn.”

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About a month ago, I got the opportunity to speak to a group of middle and high school girls and share with them what being a godly woman looks like. It was seriously the coolest experience and wow, do I want to do it again! In the middle of the night, God (and the lack of AC in the cabin) woke me up and wouldn’t let me rest. I pulled out my phone and He began to give me this illustration that He was wanting me to share. The Lord has been reminding me of it lately, and I feel like it’s a reminder we all need to hear every now and then.

You’ve seen Cinderella, right? If you haven’t, get off my blog now, I am greatly offended. We all know the story. We know about the prince (side note: is it weird to be attracted to a cartoon character? Because that Prince Charming got little Carrie’s heart skippin’ beats in elementary school). We know about the evil step mother and ugly step sisters. We know it all like the back of our hand. And nothing pissed us off (sorry for the harshness but it’s true) more than the scene where Cinderella’s dress gets torn to pieces. If I were Cindy, I’d fight them, straight up.

She cried in a torn dress, and we cried with her (or maybe just I did). She stood in total humiliation in a dress that was dirty and in pieces and not presentable in the slightest. And when the fairy godmother gets her ready to go to the ball, Cinderella says, “but…my dress is torn.”

Okay, let’s pause.

I’m a screw up. You’re a screw up. Honestly, we all fail daily. We fail a ridiculous amount. We have a sinful nature.

But we also have a perfect God.

I’ve said this before, but I totally dwell on things, especially my mistakes. I’d rather you yell at me then tell me, “I’m disappointed in you,” because I swear I will remember it for the rest of my life. I can tell you every single time anyone has said they were disappointed in me, and I could cry just thinking about it.

I dwell in shame. That’s what it really comes down to. I forget about the powerful forgiveness of the Lord, and I look at myself and I think, “Well God, this is WAY too shameful to saved. Do yourself a favor and give up on me.”

I feel like God laughs at me all the time, and I do really think I’m the one person He probably looks at and thinks, “wow, you’re stupid.” He has to remind me of His grace daily, because I feel too humiliated to do anything. I just want to cry on a bench outside like my girl, Cinderella, did, but that sounds a little dramatic.

I’m the girl standing in the torn dress.

My sin has torn my life to pieces. My failures have ripped it apart. And now I’m standing there, completely humiliated. And I’m looking at the King saying, “I’m a total mess and I’m not worthy of love at all. My dress is torn.”

In Genesis 3, God calls Adam and Eve out of hiding, and they’re standing there totally naked. But here’s the thing: God still called them. Sure, they messed up, but He was still desiring them, wanting them, calling them. I love how in verse 9, God asks, “Where are you?” He knows they’ve messed up. He calls them anyway.

I too often stand in the trees, clothed in a torn dress and hiding my face from God. I too often view my humiliation as something so much greater than the grace of God. And I hope it’s not just me. I know we all have the tendency to think this way.

Here is my promise to you: You will never have your dress so torn that God will not call you. Your sin and your past do not disqualify you from your calling to be a powerful vessel for the Lord.

If you would have told me a few years ago that I would be on leadership at my school, in ministry, getting chances to speak at camps to students, or any of this craziness that is happening in my life, I would have laughed. How could a girl who used to cut, used to struggle with depression, or used to doubt God’s love possibly have a ministry?

God is so powerful, guys.

I dream of being married someday (please pray for the poor guy who chooses to marry me), and when I say dream, I really dream. I have it all planned out. I have songs picked out, my dream venue picked out, and my dream dress chosen. I would never even imagine walking down the aisle to my future groom in a dirty dress that is falling apart. I dream of it being a a-line gown with a keyhole back and lace, lots of lace. I dream of it being absolutely perfect.

When you walk towards Jesus, such as you will your groom one day, you’re a mess. You are far from perfect. But He doesn’t require your dress to be perfectly white, or intricately designed. He just requires your feet to be moving towards Him. He’s going to reach for your hand, no matter how tattered your dress may be. He’s going to clothe you and make you new again. Your mess doesn’t matter.

If I could tell you one thing, it would be this: You are loved, no matter the sin you faced yesterday or the sin you face today. Your mistakes may tear your dress to pieces, but the Lord looks past that. He looks at your face, and He says, “she’s mine.”

You are capable. You are worthy. You are forgiven. And you are so loved, friends. 

In Christ,
Carrie


“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD; my soul shall exult in my God, for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation; He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah 61:10

(im)patiently waiting.

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“Whoever is patient has great understanding; but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
-Proverbs 14:29 NIV

“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.”
Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”
Robert H. Schuller


How do you feel about waiting? Does is make you anxious? Excited? It drives me mad. I hate waiting. For anything (especially food). I try to take things into my own hands. I try to create my own “destiny” by leaving behind the promise of the Lord and creating my own.

We’re studying through Galatians at Campus Community at my school (basically Wednesday night Bible study on steroids at Liberty). Recently, we were looking at Galatians 4:21-31, which is a reference to Genesis 16, and at first, I couldn’t pay attention. I was distracted by anything and everything. But as soon as I tuned in, I became thankful that I did. This has been on my heart a lot lately, and even weeks later the Lord is revealing areas where I’m impatient.

I won’t post that passage here, but I’ll reference the story it’s talking about a couple times in this post. It’s the story of Abraham and his wife, Sarah (or Abram and Sarai at the time of the story), and you can read it here. They wanted a child, and grew impatient in the Lord’s timing. They were sick of waiting. So they took matters into their own hands; Abraham/Abram (let’s just call him Abraham for the remainder of the post) has a baby with another woman, Hagar.

You’re probably thinking, “I’m not that bad. I might be impatient, but that’s just weird.” Maybe you aren’t jumping into having a child with someone else because your wife can’t. In fact, that’s probably not the case. But maybe you’re impatiently waiting out a job opportunity. Or a relationship. Or a financial situation.

Maybe you’re too caught up in being impatient, and you’re missing out on the beauty of the waiting.

But Carrie, waiting sucks. Yes. It does.

I’m in a stage of my life where all of my friends are in relationships or engaged or married, and let me tell you, it’s not fun. As silly as this sounds, I immediately blame myself, thinking, “I’m probably not pretty enough,” or, “I probably need to lose some weight for a guy to like me.” In vulnerability, I rarely think, “maybe the Lord is molding my heart before I can give it away.” This summer, I was quick to jump into a relationship that left me feeling empty, used, and pretty worthless. But I was sick of being lonely, sick of being the single girl, sick of being patient in God’s timing. So I took matters into my own hands and was left feeling even emptier than before.

Sometimes the waiting isn’t as annoying as it is painful. Sometimes in being impatient, the Lord has to break us so we have no choice but to wait before Him. But I’ve known this to be true; “The Lord will be faithful in provision when we are faithful in waiting.” He’ll see how you are in the waiting. He’ll see how your heart is. He’ll see how faithful you are willing to be and He’ll ask us to wait it out, because He’s got something bigger planned.

If the Lord decides He wants a guy to come into my life, He’ll do it when I am content and faithful in waiting for it. And I mean completely content and faithful. It’s one thing to say to say, “I’m faithful, God! Reward me!” It’s another to say, “it is just You right now, Jesus.”

Waiting makes us enjoy the provision even more. How much more do we enjoy a meal when we’ve waited for it? How much more do we enjoy a friendship when we’ve waited for it? How much more do we enjoy a job when we’ve waited for it?

We have to be careful. Because we can take things into our own hands when we’re sick of waiting it out, but the thing is, God lets us. He let me enter into the relationship that tore me down. He’ll let you enter into a job that leaves you exhausted in the worst way. He’ll let you make decisions that suck. But He’ll also let you come back into the waiting, He’ll let you sit and learn to be patient. He’ll let you enjoy the provision after you’ve waited and after He says you’re ready.

When the Lord says, “it’s time,” it will be time. It is not in our own definition of readiness.It is in Jesus alone. Wait it out. Be still. Do not give up. Jesus is with you in the waiting. He’s with you in the provision. Take the ending He has planned.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
-Galatians 6:9 NIV

Freedom From Expectations

I’m a perfectionist. When I do something, I feel like I have to do it perfectly, otherwise I fail. And when I do “fail” at something, I beat myself up about it for days. I dwell on mistakes. It’s just how my mind works (anyone else?).

You can imagine the impact this has on my walk with the Lord. “Nope. God. I made a mistake. I am sorry. You probably hate me now. I’m a mistake. Way to go, Carrie.” I dwell on negatives rather than positives, failures rather than successes. Every mistake I make feels like the end of the world, every sin feels too big to be forgiven, and every disappointment feels incurable.

For some reason, we set ridiculous expectations for ourselves. The standard to have everything down perfectly. No sin, no mistakes. Just perfection. The standards are too many and too high. And when we don’t meet them, we declare ourselves failures.

In my women’s ministries class on Monday, my professor said this phrase: Freedom from expectations. And I immediately knew this is what I needed. Freedom. I need to let go of the silly standards I’ve set for myself and I needed to take hold of my freedom in Christ. When I mess up, it’s not the end of the world, it’s not going to define me for the rest of my life.

How beautiful is the thought that it’s not about my mistakes. It’s about Christ’s holiness.

Justification is such a churchy word, isn’t it? I usually hate churchy words, because they’re often misunderstood and used out of context and people who don’t understand it usually neglect to search for a good and true understanding. Justification can be defined as follows: making righteous in the sight of God.

In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”
Ephesians 3:12

You will make mistakes. I will make mistakes. We will make mistakes. But we get to approach Christ with freedom, with boldness, and with confidence because we are free from expectations. We are free from our expectations to have it all together.

Does this mean we can do whatever we want? No, definitely not. The Lord delights in an obedient heart. But it does give us the security then when we slip (yes, when. Not if.), we still have our sweet Jesus on our side.

I let God down daily. The other morning, I was journaling thoughts that were coming to my head as I was just quiet with the Lord, and I wrote to Him, “I will fail you today. I will fail you tomorrow. I will fail you next week, and even next year. But thank you for not failing me.” To be able to boldly speak that truth, to be able to rest in that, to be able to mess up and still have that promise is incredible to me.

Your worth is not in what you do. It is in the righteousness of Christ. You are free from expectations. 

I need water.

Before we begin:
“Carrie! This isn’t reborn & rooted!” You’re right! With new finances coming up (aka I bought a car oops) and also a heart check (which you’ll read about here), I had to discontinue paying for the website because the way I went about it was a bit too much for me. However, I will be rebooting a site soon as the time comes. But for now, here we are again!


I never knew what it meant to be truly “watered.” That sounds so odd, but it was never made real to me. This past summer, I had little desire to pick up my Bible, to journal, to pray, or anything, and when I did, I viewed it as routine. This summer was full of anger, rejection, hurt, and confusion. I felt lifeless, empty, and completely dry.

I kept asking God…
“Where are You?”
“Why don’t I feel You?”
“Why can’t I hear You?”

But why would I hear Him if I wasn’t in tune with Him? Why would I hear him if I wasn’t listening?

I wasn’t being watered.

My roots had been growing, and then they had stopped. I wasn’t nourishing my walk with the Lord. I wasn’t rooted myself deeper. I had just stopped.

We do this too often. We have a great start. We go to a camp, or to a Christian college (me), or to a conference, or a really good sermon. We spend time in His Word, immersing ourselves in grace and His truth. We reflect, we grow, we root ourselves. We are being watered.

But then we’re surprised that we die out when the watering stops.

The past few weeks, the Lord has whispered these words into my ear; “you need water.” I need devotion, I need prayer, I need Jesus. The Living Water.

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37-38

“Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14

In order to grow our roots deeper in Christ, we must be watered with the Living Water, the truth of God, Jesus Himself. Time with Him so important, because it’s the time we are watered by Jesus. It is the time we allow Jesus to come in and immense us in truth. Without time with Him, we aren’t allowing any watering to take place.

We would never go weeks without water. First of all, we can’t. But we wouldn’t want to anyway. Then why do we allow our walk with the Lord to go unwatered for this long?

Are you dry? Are your spirit and roots yearning for watering?

I saw a blog post that used the phrase “well-watered women,” and I fell in love with it (check out livelifebeautifully, y’all). It was exactly what the Spirit was convicting me of; not being a well-watered woman. I pray that we become this. I pray that we truly live this out in every way.

May we be watered in the Word of God.
May we be watered in prayer.
May we be watered in grace.
May we be watered in Christ.

You never realize how thirsty you are until you take the first sip. Jesus is the Living Water.

“I’m sorry to inform you that you have been rejected…”

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Never the words you want to hear. In any situation.I’m pretty sure those words alone cause a lot of  unneeded anxiety. But sadly, sometimes we read or hear those horrendous words in our life.

Many of you know, I’m an education major. At the school I attend, Liberty University, education majors must get through certain gates in order to enroll in their next education courses. After months of hard work, I submitted my application. Then I received the email. “I’m sorry to inform you that you have been rejected…” My heart shattered. I cried for hours. Seriously. Hours. I felt like I had let everyone down. I felt like a failure. I felt worthless.

I called my mom that morning, and I sobbed into the phone. I didn’t know what to do. This would push my graduation back by a semester or two. Of course, being the amazing mother she is, she calmed me down and encouraged me. And she ended up texting me this: maybe this is the time for your writing to blossom.

What? Mom? I was caught off-guard. But at the same time, my heart began to flutter. My dream for a while has been to do something with writing. But I also had a dream of being a teacher. That dream is still very much present. But over the past two years, my heart has been drawn to ministry. I never knew exactly how, but I started to dream up this idea of writing more, teaching more within ministry, and opening up new doors.

The Lord closed a window for a while, but this is the Lord opening a door for me.

The day I was rejected, I enrolled in two ministry classes, one of which specifically being for women. In the class, I got to share my heart with my professor, who is an incredible woman. In class, I learned she had a heart for ministry, but also for education. She has a degree in elementary education (go figure), and also ministry.

It’s funny seeing how God places certain people, certain classes, and even certain rejections in our lives for His purpose. Delaying education classes another semester was the Lord whispering, “not yet. I have something else you need to do.”

I would have never added a women’s ministries minor if I wouldn’t have been rejected. But the Lord has fantastic timing. Just gonna learn to trust His timing, and not my own.

So to conclude this blog post, I’m officially announcing that soon, I will be purchasing my own domain. I will be beginning a new ministry through writing. I will also be writing much more, at least once a week (I’m a full time student and I work a lot, okay? I’ll try).

God has placed so many awesome things on my heart, and I’m so excited to see them come to life all for His glory.

Reminder: Sometimes, rejection is better than acceptance.

In Christ,
Carrie