I cannot deny Your faithfulness

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve sat down to type. Honestly, it feels a little weird.

You see, coming back to school this semester, I was not ready for the avalanche that was about to hit me. What avalanche, you may ask? I did not hear about any avalanches in Lynchburg this year? Well this avalanche was not a physical one, but an emotional and spiritual one that tore me to bits over my pride and sent me wandering from the Lord.

Guys, I am going to be honest.  Last semester may have just been another semester in college for some people, but it was another chapter in life that I would rather not look back on. I confess that I was a prideful jerk who hurt people for the sake of my pride and my supposed “spiritual well-being.” I thought that I had grown enough in my walk with the Lord and did not need to learn anymore. I hurt a dear friend because I was hurting, and did it in the name of Christ. Calling it for what it was, I wandered from the path of life. I wandered from the throne of my Father to bask in the throne of my own pride.

This is the part of the story where the audience interjects with a loud and extended, “nooooooooooo!!!!!!”

Yes, that was a no-no. The worst part about it was that I walked into this second semester with the same attitude. I was wrong.

You see, I still held the attitude that I did not need to learn anything anymore. I was content with where I was with Christ and I was content with leaving that friendship I had lost in the past. I would say I was lonely and misunderstood, when in reality, I pushed everyone away so that no one could even get close. I pushed God away because I thought He had brought me far enough. I idolized my loneliness, and dug my own pit.

It wasn’t until one night, when a friend came to my dorm to work on a class assignment with me, that something changed.  We talked.  I asked her questions about an opportunity that had presented itself and that facade I had built up so well over the past semester fell apart right in front of her.

I was exposed.  It was the sweet, but convicting words she had spoken that crushed me and led me to surrender. I could no longer hide my sin, and I could no longer call it maturity. I could barely stand to look at myself or into myself any longer. The more inwardly I looked, the more I got lost in the pit of my sin. When people asked me how I was, I couldn’t say I was “good,” because I wasn’t “good.” I was a wreck and a monster.

But, and but being the key word here, God said something totally different. He did not deny the depravity of my wretched heart, and He most certainly did not dismiss it for one second. He did do one thing though. He said, “repent, and you shall be forgiven on account of My Holy name.”

Let me tell you, in repentance and surrender I found the greatest joy in laying my sin and life down. I found Him.

You see, God did not just brush my sin to the side and say, “Daughter, it’s okay that you’ve sinned, I still delight in you and call you mine.” No, He instead said, “Daughter, your sin lays before me, for you have sinned against Me and Me alone, but ‘your sins have been forgiven on account of His name’ (1 John 2:12b); ‘go now and leave your life of sin.’ (John 8:11b).” As the loving father He is, He did not just let me go freely, He disciplined me, but His discipline was out of love.

In His love, I found myself at the foot of His cross once again, the place where I should have been all last semester. In His love as well, I look back over the past couple semesters and see His faithfulness all throughout my time of wandering.

I now see that all last semester and the beginning of this semester, even as I was running from Him, He did not stop pursuing me. As I sat in my pride, He did not stop speaking. As I tried so hard to get that friend out of my life, she is the very one that God used to show me His grace and kindness. As I kept running, He ran even faster, and as I hid, He kept searching. He did not stop loving me, even when my heart loved other things above Him. He did not stop being who He is just because I was being who I should not have been.

In 2 Timothy 2:13, Paul writes, “If we are faithless, He remains faithful–for He cannot deny Himself.” My friends, our gracious Lord remains true to His Word. As I was unfaithful to Him last semester and the beginning of this semester, He remained faithful.

Just because I wandered from His throne, He did not stop being who He has claimed Himself to be. My wandering did not pose a threat to His majesty. It did not make Him run away from me.

Instead, He pursued me even harder. He remained faithful even when I was faithless. And my friends, this is the Lord whom we serve. We serve a Holy and gracious God, and this is the Lord whom I love.

Now, with all of that being said, I want to ask you a question. Have you wandered from the throne of grace? Has your heart sought things above His? Have you been faithless?

Whether your answer is yes or no, know this one thing: even if you are faithless, even if you are unfaithful to Him, even if you wander from His throne, HE REMAINS FAITHFUL.

Your sin does not scare Him, and it never did. He sent His one and only Son to die for you in the pit of your sin, so what do you think would scare Him away from you and your sin? He has seen the dark depravity of your heart and loves you the same. He remains faithful in His pursuit of you throughout all of your life.

So run to the arms of the One who remains faithful throughout eternity. He is calling you. Come to the altar and fall into the arms of the One who will look you and your sin in the eye and say, “‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.'” (John 8:11b) He is faithful to love you just as much when you wander as when you are faithful.  Go to Him.

As always, please know that no matter who you are, you are loved and prayed for. Our team is here for you. If you need prayers, or just someone to talk to you can message us on our Facebook page, find us on Instagram & Twitter at ( _woventogether), or email us at woventogetherministries@gmail.com. We would love to hear from you.

 

well, I’m outtie.

 

-Aleks B.

Picture found from pexels.com

Finding Rest

Rest.

This is a concept, that I as a college student would say I do not get a lot of. I remember fondly the years of living at home, and having a set bed time at nine or ten… in Middle School..( a little extreme to go to bed that early…its casual.) I feel like I was very well rested earlier in life, and as I got to college, it seemed like the concept of getting rest was a joke. I mean seriously, how is someone who is taking classes full time supposed to go to class, study, eat healthy, hang out, volunteer, and sleep seven hours a night?  Some days I forget to even smile at people while trying to do all of those things. Rest is a term that a lot of people automatically associate with physical needs. Yes, we need rest to function, but what about spiritually? Do we not need rest to function in our spiritual walk?

I served as a Spiritual Life Coach on my hall at Liberty University my Sophomore year. For those of you reading this that do not go to Liberty, I basically became the “fun Aunt” to girls on my hall by giving Godly advice and mentoring girls other girls in leadership on my hall. When I started Spiritual Life Coaching, (SLC) for short, I was super excited about it.

For those of you that do not know me, I’m a hyper person.  I also like to think I’m pretty funny but sometimes I’m not sure if people are laughing at me or with me… and that is totally different story. I was so hyper and so energetic when I became an SLC that I was ready to just share the gospel and love of Jesus with every girl on my hall. I started out the school year trying to do spend as much time as possible with my hall and friends outside the hall, attempting to do my homework, and making an effort to still be available for whatever else was going on. I was constantly going. The word rest did not exist in my vocabulary.

Around the third month of school, this constant going caught up to me and I started to get really sick. I was sick for the following three months. It was like a mystery to me, but God is good because by some miracle of the Lord, I was healed. It wasn’t until I first got sick with the flu that I realized God was trying to slow me down.

So many times, we get run down physically, but we also get run down spiritually. When I reached the point of getting sick again my third month into school, I was worn down physically and spiritually. I had been going at high speed nonstop. I felt as if I had to prove myself to be this Godly superwoman to the girls on my hall, always having it all together. I was WRONG. I did not need to prove myself to anybody, especially when it was a smokescreen. I felt like I could do it on my own. I was going constantly, and because of this I had put time with God on a back burner. I thought I was fine… I mean I was doing stuff for God so I was totally fine to spend only 5 mins of my day with Him, right? Wrong again…

I learned my lesson from those few little months of craziness and sickness. I did not learn them overnight, but have continually learned to rest in God since. A lot of times we get caught up in what we feel like others will think of us, or what we need to do to earn God’s love. We start to try doing extra “good things”, thinking if we do all the right things God will love us a little more.

The truth is, God does not need us to prove anything to Him. God wants to be our source of joy, love, peace, contentment, etc. He wants to be the center of our lives and in order for that to happen, we must rest in God. Resting in God means not doing life on our own. The truth is, everyday we should wake up admitting that we can not do life on our own, but that God has our day already in His plan.

Our lives may seem chaotic. You may be in a season of wondering why you are where you are, or you wondering if God has forgotten you. God has placed each of us right where we are now to trust Him and to grow in Him. He wants us to learn how to rest in Him daily. Life can be a struggle, it can be overwhelming, but God does not want us to fight, He wants us to learn how to rest.

A verse that comes to mind when I think about letting God take control of our lives is from Psalm 44. In Psalm 44, Canaan and Israel were in a battle over the land allotted them. Verse 2 reads, “It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory; it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them.” Did you get the last part of this verse? Israel won the battle because God loved Israel, and his grace was lavished on them. They were His chosen people and He wanted to show them just how much He loved them so He took the reins and showed them how it was not by their power but His that they won.

God does the same thing with us. God loves each of us no matter where we are, what we have done, what we have said, thought, or did not do.  God loves us the same. He wants to show us His power. He wants to take charge of your life so that He can give you a life greater than anything we could create on our own.

John 10:10 says, “The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows.] Abundant life does not mean that tomorrow we will wake up and have the perfect job, hair, body, money, or life, but it means that whatever happens we will have Christ and because of Him dying on the cross for us, we now have abundant life because we are not chained down to sin.

We can rest in God knowing that our sin is gone from us once we have made Him our Savior. We can rest knowing that no matter how many times we mess up, no matter how hard we try, no matter how much we do not try, that God will still love us the same and will still fight for us because He loves us. Satan will try and tell us God does not love us, and some days we may not feel His love but have to remember the truth of God’s word. God is faithful and He never fails.

Take heart my friends, that each one of us can truly rest in God every day. We can allow Him to guide us through our lives, helping us through each problem, being our comfort in the hard times, and rejoicing with us in the good. We may feel as if we are losing the battle, but if God is on our side then the battle is already won. Today, stop trying so hard to make God love you when He has loved you since the beginning of time. He will take you as you are and make you into someone even better because He is perfect and His ways are perfect.

As always, we want to be here for you at Woven Together. If you would like to contact us for prayer, encouragement, advice, or just someone to talk to, you can reach us on our Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. You can also email us at woventogetherministries@gmail.com . We love each of you, and are praying for you!

Thanks for reading, much love to ya!

-Haley

His peace conquers fear

We live in a world that is full of fear. Fear is something every single one of us has felt at some point in our lives. While some people may be afraid of one thing or another, others struggle every day with living in constant fear.  It can be a fear of snakes, fear of water, fear of an upcoming test, fear of the future, fear of losing someone you love and so on.
How do we respond when we fear? How do we overcome it?

Fear stops us from doing many great things that life has to offer. Fear has impacted my life in so many negative ways. When I was younger, I was always scared to leave my parents because I thought they would die. I used to be petrified of thunderstorms and I’m terrified of heights. I grew up watching one of my sisters get abused by her husband, the man that was supposed to love her and take care of her.  Because of that, I find myself fearful around men. These fears caused me to run and hide. They kept me from doing things that life offered me.

While those fears still impact me, the more I rely and trust in God, the more my fears diminish. One of my biggest fears is flying. Flying is something I did not want to do, ever. Just the thought of it fills me with anxiety. I have flown before, but I also claimed I would never fly again. One of my dreams was to see the Eiffel Tower and because of my fear of flying I told myself it would never happen. I was letting fear control me instead of letting God calm me. Today, I not only made my dream come true but I have conquered my fear of flying six other times. God made that possible.

As I am writing this blog I am filled with fear.  I am afraid that it wont be good enough or that it won’t help anyone. I am also filled with fear that I won’t truly open up to people or share deep thoughts that go through my head.  This is something I struggle with, but I know is something I know I need to do. These fears make me want to quit and say, “Sorry guys but I can’t do it. Find someone else to take my place”.

Quitting would be the easy thing to do, but that would let fear win. It would let Satan win. Satan doesn’t want me to help anyone.  He doesn’t want this blog to help anyone or bring them closer to God so he attacks our weaknesses.  We serve such an amazing and powerful God who is with us always. He has His hands on us. He wants us to trust in His protection and rely on His peace. Peace will replace fear if we trust in God. He wants us to know He’s there and that we can live a life free of fear.

In the Bible, He reminds us 365 times not to be afraid. That is one reminder for each day of the year. God knew we would struggle with fear in our lives and He has given us the encouragement we need for every day.  He has given us everything we need to not be fearful and trust Him. I don’t know about you, but that is such an encouragement to me. God’s got our backs. He has a plan for all of us.  One of my favorite songs is one from Twenty One Pilots.  It has some powerful lyrics in it that I keep with me all the time. The lyrics say, “Peace will win, fear will lose”. If we have God by our side and if we trust in Him through our fears then His peace will win.

If you have something that scares you or if you have a fear of something whether it be an assignment in school, grades, a loved one, or fear about your future, He’s got you.  Whatever fear you have, whatever fear you are facing, God can wipe it away.

Choose to release the fear. Claim God’s peace. Do not let fear take over your life. You have the strength, with God, to overcome anything regardless of how scary it is. God is with you and God is for you. Trust in Him. Remember, God never leaves you no matter where you are at, even on an airplane.  Don’t let your fear keep you from God and His word.
Let His peace win!

Here are some verses that have helped me whenever I am facing something that is fearful. I hope they will be an encouragement to you also.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you” –Psalms 56:3
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” –Joshua 1:9
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” – Jeremiah 29:11
“I will never leave you or forsake you” – Hebrews 13:5
“Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Don’t tremble with fear. I am your God. I will make you strong, as I protect you with my arm and give you victories” – Isaiah 41:10

If you have found the peace that I have, we would love to hear from you in the comments section below or in a message.  You never know who may read your testimony and be encouraged through it.  If you are still living in a crippling fear, however, and have not yet found this peace that comes only from Jesus, please message us and we would love to pray for you and walk alongside you.  His peace will always conquer fear.

(written by Hope Trossen)

Casting my Anxiety on Him

About 3.1% of the U.S population live with generalized anxiety. I am part of that 3.1%. I am going to be honest and vulnerable with you.  I have dealt with this for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school, we took these big tests each spring to see how we were developing. I would get so anxious that I’d constantly be licking my lips, and then they would get chapped. I wouldn’t be able to sleep the night before.  My anxiety had always held me back, whether it was going to hang out with friends or taking a test.

I ask myself a million questions. Was I too awkward during the conversation yesterday? Does my makeup look okay? Why are those people looking at me?  Was I nice enough to that customer? Did someone take offense to my sass?  I would make up excuses not to hang out with my friends or go out because of my anxiety. I’d stay up late at night, worrying about every word I said and every move I made.

I moved away to college and during my first semester, my anxiety escalated. I was afraid to leave my dorm or sit next to new people in class. In fact, most of the friends I did make were from my hall or were because of assigned seating, which was a major BLESSING to me (and I appreciate all of those friends SO much). I questioned what I was doing in college. Am I good enough? Am I doing this right? I remember thinking this ALL the time.

My anxiety is a constant everyday struggle, but I don’t let it define me. In fact, most people don’t know I struggle with this expect for a handful of my family and friends. I am not afraid to admit it now because I know that my Lord and Savior is in control.

I could not tell you why I always felt anxious. On the outside I tend to be a very outspoken, carefree, and confident. What many people don’t see is my heart beating rapidly during a conversation, my hand getting clammy, or butterflies in my stomach during a normal conversation (not even a “cute boy talking to me” conversation). What many people don’t know and I tend not to share is the trembling, uncontrolled crying, shortness of breath and anxiety attacks I get every so often over major things, which can be horrific sometimes.

What helps me in my everyday life is knowing I’m not alone.  Yes, I have my mom and closest friends to talk to and my Father in heaven is the who knows what goes on in my head and places His hand on my shoulder and leads the way. I am reminded of grandmother’s favorite hymn “In the Garden”.

“And He walks with me, and He talks with me,

And He tells me I am His own,

And the joy we share as we tarry there,

None other has ever known.”

I find myself singing this constantly; it’s a great reminder that He is always with me. There is no other relationship that I have that is like ours.  There are also plenty of other verses in the Bible that come to mind when dealing with anxiety.

“Cast all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”     1 Peter 5:7

Isn’t that AMAZING? When I think of this, I think of fishing at the lake. When you physically cast out your rod and (fingers crossed) catch a fish. When we cast our anxieties to God, He will send back peace within us. We can seriously put all our doubts and worries on Him because He loves us so much. He will listen to us all day every day if we allow Him to and pray that He will guide us.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

This is a perfect verse for those late night thoughts running through your head. 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7  

God will listen to you and help you through it all. He will put his hands over you and guide to the right place.  These are 3 major verses that help me get through the day living with anxiety. There are probably a lot more, but these are the ones that have been helpful to me.

Turning to God and praying should always be our first choice, but there are more that can help. Find a happy place, whether it’s in your bed curled up or out with friends at a concert. My happy place is on my beach house’s back dock after a day at the beach getting some sun, wearing a sweatshirt and shorts. It seriously gives me so much relief just to THINK about it.  Talking is a major key to getting through anxiety. Whether it is with Jesus, friends, a therapist, or your dog, talking helps. If you have any other ways to encourage others dealing with anxiety, please share!

My prayer for you, the reader, is that if you also deal with anxiety that you find hope, wisdom and peace in God. That you will turn to Him in your trials and worries, I pray that you find comfort in your heart knowing you are loved and you are priceless. I pray for this post that it reaches many women, letting them know that they are not alone in this world. I pray for the 3.1%. I pray that they all will find peace in their thoughts.

PLEASE, if you also struggle with anxiety, we would love to pray for you and walk with you in any way we can! Please contact us through facebook, so we can know how best to be there for you.   

Love,

Jodie Lynn

 

Broken Blessings

Life has its way of dragging us through highs and lows. Some days are so wonderful that we take snapshots in our minds or pictures on our phones to remember them as vividly as possible. It may be a day that a prayer was answered or someone special finally came home. Maybe it was a wedding day or just precious time spent with loved ones. It is easy in those times to smile and say, “Thank you God, You are so good.” If only all days were so lovely.

We have all been there. A loved one passes away. Someone once thought to be “the one” breaks our heart. Everything that could possibly go wrong does and we are left feeling frustrated and worthless. Days like these are the ones we desperately wish we could just fast forward through and forget forever. Is God still good then?

In the past couple weeks, something began to weigh heavy on my heart in very real way. I am not someone who necessarily “hears from God” on a daily basis, but that Sunday night I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that He was asking me to do something terrifying. He was asking me to trust him and do something that not only scared me but would also hurt someone I cared about deeply. He was asking for my obedience.

“If you love me, keep my commands,” These words from John 14:15 resonated with me that night. It is easy to love God when He showers blessings or opens doors of opportunity. It is, however, much harder to take that a step farther in the face of fear and pain. I wish I could tell you that this was the first time I’ve felt this way and that I chose right away to obey with a happy heart. I wish I could tell you the easier story. Alas, that is not the story I have come to tell.

So often, especially in our culture in today, we somehow think that showing our pain or struggling is weakness. Strength is not a measure of how well we can “go it alone”. That, my dear, is pride. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is to be open and share the truth of what we are living. We were made to need each other and live in dependency on the One who made us. Sometimes it’s okay to not be okay.

The week that followed for me was difficult to say the least. I felt like I was self-destructing, falling apart at the seams. I got to the point that my prayers in the morning consisted of one simple phrase, “God I need you today.” I knew I had to obey, but it seemed like an impossible request.

I learned something beautiful in that week of being so vulnerable and fragile. I needed God. Being in that place every morning of realizing that I knew I wouldn’t make it through the day unless I had His strength, brought me to a new place of dependency on Him. I knew I couldn’t make it on my own. Then it struck me: isn’t this how it’s supposed to be?

Living in my pride, I had taught myself that I could make it, for the most part, on my own. Sometimes if I really needed God, I could call to Him for safe travel, lost luggage, healing… you know the drill. Never before had I been in such a raw place of knowing I could not take a single breath without His help. Personally, I never want to go back to a place of thinking I don’t need Him ever again.

There is such a beauty in being so dependent on Him. He is the only one who will always be there (Deut 31:6). He our refuge (Ps 46:1-3). He is there when our heart is breaking (Ps 34:18) and He is faithful to do as He’s promised (Ps 33:4). In Him, we will always have hope (Ps 71:14-15). Being at my lowest, I learned what it meant to be made whole in Him.

Ultimately, I did obey. I stepped out on the water, trusting that He was going to work it all out. I wish I could sit here and tell you how it wasn’t painful and all went great, but that isn’t how my story went. It was painful. It was terrifying. My heart broke. But I had peace. In the midst of one the most difficult things I have ever had to do, I had total perfect peace. I had done what I was asked to do, and I knew He was with me.

It’s okay to not be okay. Living in complete dependency on Him has been the most beautiful thing, and I would have never ended up here had He not shaken my life up a little. Sometimes the greatest blessings come out of brokenness.

“Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Ps 116:7

~Gabriella

Who am I?

You make it to the end of a long, hard day. You shower. You change into comfortable clothes. You wipe off your makeup. Then, while you’re brushing your teeth, you look up into the mirror and realize you don’t recognize the person you see there. Have you ever had a that moment, when you stare into your reflection and wonder how you became the person that you are today?

Who am I?

It seems like a simple question, but sometimes, it’s tough to answer. On the first day of my Psychology of Personality class, my professor had us list ten words in answer to that question: “who are you?” As my classmates began to write, I sat in my chair at the back of the classroom, wondering how I should answer. Should I define myself by my physical qualities: a girl with long brown hair and glasses? Should I define myself by my character traits: compassionate, quiet, and sensitive? Or should I define myself by my roles in life: student, sister, daughter, and friend?

I didn’t realize it until I was sitting in that class with a blank sheet of paper on my desk, but I’ve always struggled with the answer to that question.

Who am I?

There are plenty of things that we could use to define ourselves: our grades, the way we look, our relationship status, the accomplishments on our resumes, the number of likes on our latest Instagram posts, or the amount of money sitting in our bank accounts.

But here’s the problem with defining ourselves by these worldly things: they’re temporary.  So how should we define ourselves? How do we answer the question? Who are we? Let’s turn to the Word of God that does not, and will not, change (Isaiah 40:8).

We are children of God, carefully designed and wholly loved.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139: 13-14).

God, creator of the universe and painter of the sunsets, formed every part of us. He knows our thoughts. He knows our hurts. He knows our next steps, even when we don’t know them ourselves.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

You probably memorized John 3:16 in Sunday school, but when was the last time you really thought about it? God loves us so much that he gave up his Son for us. More than that, he let Jesus die a painful death and experience separation from God, so that we could be forgiven for our sins. That’s a real sacrifice, and that’s the truest love that there has ever been.

That brings me to my next point. We may be handcrafted and loved by God, but we are sinners.

It’s a hard truth to swallow. We want to feel good about ourselves. We want people to recognize that we’re trying our hardest to be good people and to do the right things. Still, we fail.

Here’s some good news: “God shows his love for us in this: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God’s love for us is stronger than our sin.

If we accept the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross, we are free from sin. We are forgiven.

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free…” (Galatians 5:13).

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).

Isn’t that great news? If you’ve accepted the gift that Jesus gave you, you’re not defined by your sin. If you haven’t accepted Jesus as your savior, you have the power to receive Jesus’s sacrifice as payment for your sins and to begin walking in freedom.

I’ve learned a few things since that professor asked me who I was. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember when I get distracted by this world, but I know who I am.

Who am I?

I am not defined by the number of people I sit with at lunch. I am not defined by the size of the clothes I wear. I am not defined by my family. I am not defined by my grades. I am not defined by my past. I am not defined by my occupation. I am not defined by the amount of money I make. I am not defined by things of this world.

I am a child of God. I am designed by God’s own hands. I am more deeply loved than I can fathom. I am saved by Jesus Christ. I am forgiven, and I am free.

If you have any questions about Jesus, or how to accept his gift of salvation, please feel free to reach out any of our Woven Together team members, or message us on one of our Facebook or Instagram accounts! We would love to hear from you!

With love,

Faith Brooks

 

Photography credit: Noelle Brooks

 

Give It All To God

“You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.”

I have never liked the thought of growing up, but who does, call me Peter Pan! Yet here I am, 22, trying to figure out what I’m REALLY supposed to be doing with my life.

I decided not to go to college, no matter how much I tried to talk myself into it, it just was not going to happen. So, at 17 I started working at a café full time. For four years I worked like crazy. I had no life except for work and the friends I had (and still have to this day) all in the same building. Actually, the friends at work turned out to be three of my best friends in the whole world, two of them Woven Together blog writers! Four years went by and it was time for me to say goodbye to the cafe. Time to move on because I quickly realized that the world was moving fast and I was missing it! I had spent little time with my family, my brothers were growing up, and I do want to get married and have a family of my own at some point!

Long story short, three months have gone by and I am happy! Happier then I have been in a long time. I had no other job lined up for when I left but knew I had a take that step of faith to keep my life moving and trust that God would take care of me like He has promised.

I am telling you half of my life story to get to this, something I came across in a devotion one night shortly after I had left my job, starting to doubt why I had left in the first place! One of the passages I was reading was Psalm 90:12, which says, “Teach us to number our days, that we my gain a heart of wisdom.” I love that verse! We don’t know how long we’re really going to be on this beautiful earth. So when you hear the Spirit saying move, then MOVE. Whether that’s for a job, a house, or from a guy who just isn’t right for you, etc. No matter what everyone else may think about it. God wants you to enjoy life and He will always have your best interest at heart!

The devotion I was reading is called “Live, Love, Lead” by Brian Houston. He had a great statement that says, “Make the decision to embrace your unique grace and shake off the limitations of living up to others expectations.” This was so perfect for me to hear at that moment! I was feeling so out of sync with not having a job, telling people I don’t have a job anymore, plus having to say I didn’t go to college either.

I now see things coming together piece by piece and it’s all God’s movement! Take this blog as an example! I had been praying for an opportunity to be involved in some sort of ministry and then my friend, Haley Martin, contacted me about writing for a blog. I freaked out a little, not going to lie, because I am not a writer by any means. But as I talked about it to my family and told other friends about it, God opened my heart saying, “You can do this! Why are you so nervous? Isn’t this what you’ve been asking for?”
Don’t be afraid to run after what you feel is right! “God made you special and He loves you very much.” -Veggie Tales
I am so excited to be writing and sharing with you all and hope that these posts that the girls and I write help you in ways you did not think you needed.

Also, we would love to hear from you, whether that’s prayer requests or just need someone to listen! Hit us up on Facebook or our email that’s in the contact drop bar!

Thank you guys SO much for taking time to read some of my life. I encourage and pray that you will live the life God gave you! Live in your unique grace!

Your friend, Olivia 🙂

The Key to Abundant Life

My dog likes to prance around with her favorite toy. She takes it everywhere, including outside where she drags it through dirt, grime, and other smells that I’m glad to not know. It’s her absolute favorite, even though it is grungy and the squeaker barely works.
She plays this game where she’ll bring it to you, place it in your hands, and wait.
She did this the other day and this thought hit me.
God asks us to give Him our life. But what kinds of things do we hold on to that, when compared to God, are just as grungy and stinky?
I provide for my dog. I feed her, shelter her, love her, etc. But when her toy is in the picture, she’ll always choose it over me. God showed me that this is exactly how we treat Him. He provides for us, shelters us (from things seen and unseen), loves us, etc. We give Him our attention until our favorite things are in the picture with Him. This could look like anything from normal time consumers to hidden fixations. We tell God that He can have our everything and we say He is Lord over our life. Yet there are things that we haven’t given to Him that seem small but actually hinder our whole relationship with God. My dog’s fascination with her small grungy torn-to-pieces toy completely uproots our relationship because it matters more to her in that moment than I do. The same thing can be said for things in our life. We don’t realize it but those things could look like our children, our money, our future, and our secret addictions. These can look normal, but to live a life totally committed to God it requires trust.
Many of us, when it comes down to it, have trust issues with God. These are some of the thoughts that I know I’ve had before:
Is He really good?
Will He really satisfy me like His Word says He will?
If I give everything to Him I will just have an empty life that is boring and the world will leave me behind.
I have to compromise to have fun or to have experience.
There is a statement found several times in the Bible I have found to hold a magnitude of importance. It can be found in several passages such as Hosea 6:6, Hebrews 10:8 , and Matthew 9.
These references all say the same thing yet there is still one more reference that I’ve held close to my heart for years.

Psalm 51:16-17 says:
“You do not want a sacrifice, or I would give it;
You are not pleased with a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice pleasing to God is a broken spirit.
God, You will not despise a broken and humbled heart.”

The Lord wants every part of our heart and life. He is our creator and therefore knows every single one of us fully. He knows our wants, our needs, how to protect us, and how to give us live more abundantly than we can ourselves.

John 10:10b says:
“I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”

He promises us that when we give Him our life fully, there won’t be a void left. Rather it will be a life overflowing with more than we could imagine. He fills us not just to the brim but so much that we overflow with His presence and His attributes such as joy strength and peace.
I have told God several times that He is my all and He can take the lead in my life. But over the last two years I’ve come to realize that I had more of a grip on it than I thought. I would tell Him that He was my everything but in reality, my grades and future came first. They were my security and my hope for money and prestige. I kept coming to God, all excited like my dog does to me, but I came with my hope in something else and couldn’t let it go.
I have since realized God’s hand on my life and have learned to give those areas of my life to Him. The amount of peace I have is like none other I’ve ever felt before too. I thought I knew peace, but when I gave these final areas up to God I had this greater peace come over me. I have concrete knowledge and faith that He will protect me and hold me up. I do not have to fear my future and wonder where my needs will come from. When you give everything (literally everything) up to God, the promises He gives us become sweeter and more filling. They’re not just an added bonus, they are the tenacious gifts of our hope.
I pray that God will reveal to you what areas you may have in your life that need to fully given to Him. Trust is the hardest thing for people to do, but once you get past it there is rest like none other that comes from the Father. We can trust Him. Let go of the grungy dog toys and see the Master, God, who sees you and loves you just for who you are.

 

Picture from: ohpioneer.com

Work of Art

When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t like what I see. My hair isn’t wavy enough, my makeup isn’t right, and I just feel like I could lose a few pounds. I may look like I have it together, but I don’t. I’ve got insecurities like you wouldn’t believe. My husband reminds me every day that I’m gorgeous and that makes me smile.

Why am I so hard on myself? Maybe it is all the magazines I see in the checkout line with “HOW TO LOSE 12 LBS” in large print. It could be all the fad diets I hear about. All these things I see and hear have underlying messages (i.e. too fat, too small, too wide, and too tall). These things aren’t from God.

This is what God says:

  • So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” –Genesis 1:27, ESV
    • God made us how He wanted to; He created us and that’s enough.
  • For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” –Ephesians 2:10, NLT
    • So, I’m a work of art?? Yes! I am God’s masterpiece and I am one of a kind; I don’t need to change a thing. I struggle with wanting to change so much about myself that I forget Who made me.
  • For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.” –Psalm 139:13-16, ESV
    • God formed every single part of me. He shaped me and put me together. This is me.

Even with all of my insecurities, God loves me just the way I am. It is hard to believe, but it’s true. I’m a work of art just like the sunrise and sunset. I am loved and I have purpose.

I’ve got a husband that adores me and two dogs that give me sweet kisses when I get home. Why would I change because of some article in a magazine? I am enough.

Much Love,

Meagan

*Picture found from Google

It’s 2017, so here’s a new thing!

      Hey there to whoever is reading this! My name is Haley Martin and I guess you would call me the founder of this ministry! God laid a vision on my heart to reach women in every part of the world and gave me a call to help unite women no matter what walk of life they come from. Anywhere you go in this world, you’ll find there is a ton of division especially among women and I know I have found myself causing division towards those around me. I have found that no matter what age, each of us women still have insecurities, struggle with comparison, and do not find our identity in Christ. The mission of the ministry is so that each of us writers will grow in each of those areas, and hopefully help you grow too! We are passionate about people and want to be real with each of you. The purpose of this blog ministry is not so that people can see us, but rather, so that people can see Jesus working in and through us. We want this to be a place where women can come to learn about Jesus and grow in Him. We want to allow ourselves to be vulnerable with you, come along beside you, and walk through this wonderful journey we call life together.

          I do not feel as if I am a qualified writer, but I know I have a passion in my heart along with the other girls on my team to share the gospel. I know Jesus has moved radically in my life and has changed me. Even though I accepted Christ at a young age (at 8 years old in my third grade classroom! Those were my glory days and I’m blessed for that…), I did not fully start to understand Christ until the past few years of my life while attending Liberty University (Go flames…it’s lit. Wow that was a funny. This is your turn to laugh. Thanks.) All of my life I kind of put Christ as this side figure in my life that could help me in times of trouble, and give me a few miracles here and there.

         Throughout the past two and a half years I’ve realized that I am a mess, an actual literal hot mess. Some days, I compare myself to jello. I’m just kind of all over the place, bouncing around and pretending I’ve got it all together. But if we’re being real, we all are like that sometimes. I always thought I had it together on my own and that Jesus just made me look better. I’ve learned that without Christ I am nothing. That I cannot find my identity in anyone or anything. The only one who can fully satisfy my soul is Jesus!

         I’ve learned that through Him, I can choose to love. Being a lover is sometimes a lot harder than being a hater. I’ve learned that I can choose to not compare myself to my friends but rather empower them, and find my identity in Christ. I’ve learned that I do not give myself purpose, my future career does not give me purpose, my friends and family do not give me purpose, and my future spouse will not give me purpose.

      I want to do this ministry/blog for God, for you, and for me. I want to learn through this, and I want to show other women  what I’m learning. The women that will be writing on this blog are some of my closest friends. Some days, I end up comparing myself to them. Some days, I have divisions with them. But instead of acting out as myself in comparison, I decide to act how Christ would and love them.

          The name “Woven Together” comes from Colossians 2:2-4 (MSG), which says, “I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery.” All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we’ve been shown the mystery! I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries or secrets that promise the world.”

         I love this verse. It ties together our whole mission for this blog. Throughout my life I have found myself not confident nor not finding rest because in my mind I was not putting my life into Christ’s hand. I, at first, did not understand the mystery of Christ. I believed Christ loved me, but I didn’t fully think about just how much Christ loves me. I would look for affection from other people, instead of Christ, and honestly some days I still try to do that. I would feel like my life was spinning out of control because I was being led off by the world on what success is in the worlds standards. I would always try to be better, to be skinnier, be with the latest trend, focus on my image, focus on social media, and in the end I’m distracted by the world completely. Some days I still struggle with all of these things, but I have to preach the truth of God’s word to myself. I believe this verse shows exactly what the writers of this blog want you to know. That women all around the world can be woven into a tapestry of love by allowing Christ’s love to reign in our lives. That we can look to Jesus for our fulfillment, our hope, and our affection. We can choose to live with purpose, the very purpose that God created us for. That we do not have to run around aimlessly, that we do not have to follow everything the world does, instead we can follow God and be content in Him through the good times and the hard times.

         I truly believe that each person reading this has a unique story. I pray that throughout reading the blogs posted on this site that you and I both will be able to allow God to demolish sinful strongholds in our lives, to find our God-given purpose, to not allow comparison, anger, cattiness, etc. to ruin our relationships with one another but instead allow us to stand strong in the love of Jesus and reach the lost together. I pray that this blog also encourages you, that no matter what the world says, you don’t have to have it altogether. Christ died for you for a reason, and that is so that you can look to Him for your perfection and all your needs. He dies to give you a perfect relationship with the Father so that you can find wholeness in Him and lay your burdens at His feet.

      Throughout the next year, as each girl from this team writes about what they believe God wants them to, we pray you will be encouraged, challenged and strengthened through it. We pray that some of the topics we write about are the exact things you will need in that very moment. We were not made to stand alone in this world, instead to rally together, and grow with each other daily. With that being said, we hope you’ll grab your coffee, tea, Dr. Pepper.. what ever you have to drink to wake up in the morning and you’ll join us every Monday morning for a new word of encouragement to help you get through your week.

    Here’s the last thing… we want you to be involved in this ministry. We want to be there for each of you to answer any questions, pray for you, encourage you, and walk with you. You can contact us anytime through commenting on a blog, messaging us on our Facebook or Instagram page, or also emailing us at woventogetherministries@gmail.com.