All posts filed under: Faith

Quieted By Love

Over the woodlands brown and bare, Over the harvest-fields forsaken, Silent, and soft, and slow Descends the snow. -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow I have learned to appreciate a good snow fall. I grew up in the Bay Area of California, so my understanding of seasonal weather conditions is severely jaded. When my husband and I moved to Ohio for three years, my lack of experience with climate extremes became strikingly apparent. I was blissfully unaware that there were so many diverse forms water can take as it falls, that trees may get so encased with ice they fracture from the weight, or that every wintery blue moon, it gets so cold that a once-bustling city can give the impression that it has been frozen. A civilization covered in layers of white and stillness. Here, I find an earthly picture of the quiet spirit I long for. Instead of highways buzzing, to-do list conquering, and my mind racing, I hear God speak softly because all other voices have been swept away by winter’s kiss. When ice and snow blanket …

What No One Tells You About Going Into the Hospital

After two and a half decades on this earth, I found myself strapped to a stretcher, my legs pinned down to keep me from kicking the cute EMT.  Maybe an hour before that, I was in the emergency room, hurling my guts into a trashcan while precious Nurse Marco wrapped me in warm blankets and filled my IV with the medicine I so desperately need.  Maybe four hours after the stretcher incident, I awoke to find one of my oldest Florida friends right by my side, tagging in for another friend who had previous obligations.  For the first time in my life, I was admitted into a hospital. And my family was states away.  But in those hours that are all now blurred together, I came out on the other side, incredibly grateful for surprising things, things no one ever told me about being in the hospital.  1. Make sure your undergarments are comfy and breathable. I once heard you should always wear cute underwear because you never know when a firefighter will have to …

I’m Not Where I Thought I’d Be

I didn’t expect this.  Not the job, not the apartment, not the friendships, not the church. I didn’t expect the crippling depression that runs hand-in-hand with my growing faith. I didn’t expect to spend my nights crying out to God, desperate to feel His love in the midst of frigid isolation. But when you’ve been a Christian for two decades and run in circles that emphasize the Holy Spirit, your priorities get out of whack. Well, maybe I should say my priorities got out of whack. In the last six months, I’ve discovered just how fragile — and paradoxically, deep — my faith has become. It’s in this journey that I’m writing to you. When God gives you a gift, He expects you to pass it along. It’s doubtful most people think a major depressive disorder is a gift, but I’m learning that the emotions driving me can crack the most hardened of hearts because of empathy. As I grow closer to God, learn to follow Jesus and trust in the Holy Spirit to guide …

The Discipline of Forgiveness

“Tonight, I pray for those who have wronged me, used me, abused me — whether knowingly or unknowingly,” I wrote while a flood of emotions began to rise up within me as I came to a resolution. “I’ve decided that it’s between them and God.” *** I had just gotten home from our weekly Saturday night prayer meeting at my church. My heart weighed so heavy, I just had to pour out my every thought into my prayer journal as soon as I got home. You see, that night after prayer, my Bishop had challenged our church to do something I honestly feel we as Christians don’t do enough. He asked us to pray for our enemies. He referenced Job 42:10 where Job prayed for his friends and the Lord gave Job twice of what he had before. “We all know those ‘friends’ were really Job’s enemies,” Bishop Huntley continued, “The only thing keeping us from our double blessing is not praying for our enemies.” Then, he had us do something that changed the way I …

Biblical Womanhood: When You Feel Like You Don’t Fit the Mold

A few months ago, I went on a second date with a guy who called me “cool.” We sat in the dim lighting of a local restaurant and he said, “You’re the kind of girl my friends would love. You’re a pretty cool chick.” I smiled and laughed; after all, it was a compliment. Yet, I couldn’t help but mull this compliment over and I found myself obsessively dissecting it in my brain. Since becoming a Christian, I’ve often found myself struggling with my identity. “Sure, I’m cutting away at sin in my life, but am I biblical?” I ask. “Do I have a good reputation in my church family? Am I perceived as Godly?” In the world of evangelical Christianity, there is usually a mold. There is a prescription for what it means to be a woman in the church outlined in the biblical womanhood podcasts and Proverb 31 bible study workbooks. In many ways, I fit it. I’d consider myself to have very traditional values and interests. I love baking, I throw down in the kitchen, …

Finding Peace Amongst the Chaos

I’ve had the opportunity to visit New York City several times and I am amazed each time. The towering buildings, bustling streets and endless nightlife make the city very unique. I love to watch the people who appear to be locals and wonder what it must be like to live or work in such a busy city. I marvel at the beautiful women walking quickly on 5th Avenue in their high  heels and wonder if their feet hurt. I watch the men in business suits hustling from cabs into buildings and wonder how they keep the pace. The noise and lights of Times Square is exhilarating to the senses. Restaurants, shops and entertainment line the streets of this “city that never sleeps.” It’s full of so many distractions, I wonder how anyone gets anything accomplished! But nothing amazes me as much as Central Park. An oasis in the middle of a concrete jungle, it offers green grass, water, and peace to those who visit. Each time I visit I wonder how often the people who …

The Humility of Godliness

“Does God really move mountains?” She asked me these words in Russian, looking up at me from my lap where she lay her head as I read to her from the scriptures. My mind raced. I knew that our God COULD move mountains, yet I thought I’d yet to see Him do it in my lifetime. I looked down at her face, ivory-colored framed by blonde ringlets, and whispered to her the truth that rang deep within my heart where it fed my hope. “Yes, He does move mountains,” my eyes held hers and I smiled, “But He rarely moves a mountain all at once and all in one piece. Usually, He moves it one stone at a time, one faithful follower’s hands at a time.” Even after she was in bed, those words I poured into her stayed with me, vibrating in the background. *** Our Jesus gave and gave to us, all while knowing that we would never be able to repay Him. He was a God who became a man. He had heaven and …

Redeemed Weekend – May 21, 2016

A few nights ago, a friend asked me, “So, how do you get all of your ideas?” The truth is that almost every idea I’ve ever gotten has hit me suddenly, manifesting out of nothing. My mind is always running, so it makes sense. The idea for Redeemed Weekend came about in the exact same way – suddenly – and I immediately sent our Head Editor, Kristina, a message about it. Every Saturday morning, we will prepare a devotional and quiet time playlist for you. Our prayer is that we will bless your weekend and your walk with the Lord. Please enjoy the first Redeemed Weekend. Nina xo *** Devotional: Anxious For Nothing “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6, 7 NKJV (emphasis added) This passage has become a part of my daily walk in recent months. As someone who has …

When the Past Is Holding Onto You

It’s me Lord. I’ve been hurt. This sincere, six-worded phrase is one that I find myself speaking in prayer over and over again. I have learned over the course of my life that in order to get through a situation, I must confront it. By confronting my situation, I mean bringing it to the feet of Jesus and letting Him take care of it. It’s not because I am easily offended, but this prayer is an overflow of feelings that emerge due to my past. Growing up, we experience situations and learn many lessons that cultivate us into the adults that we are. However, one very important lesson that we miss is the one about forgiving the past and letting go. We are frail human beings compelled by circumstances we have no control over and cannot change. Sadly, our future actions are governed by the hurts of our past, and we miss out on growing to the potential God has set for us. God never intended for us to be burdened by the things of …

Home is a “Who”, Not a “Where”

“You haven’t held me in ages, but I still know what you feel like,” my conviction stood tall and strong; it was unshakable. He threw back a flirtatious challenge in response, “Oh, really? So tell me. Leave nothing out.” I could imagine his smile through the phone and it made think of those repressed schoolboys. I took a deep breath, “You feel like all of the best things. You’re Rilke poetry, glasses of chilled vodka (the good brand, of course), Etsy candles, and ruby-red borscht simmering away on the stove. You feel like love letters sent through air mail and wooden floorboards that feel familiar to bare feet and the very last slice of my favorite pie,” I paused and then concluded, “You feel like home.” *** At the age of eighteen, I stuffed my favorite possessions into bleached-white boxes and started the drive up North to a small women’s college in the suburbs of Philly. I moved into a small dorm room and the light filtered through the window-panes into the diamond-shaped cube of …