“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” - Isaiah 43:19
Have you ever thought about what you’d say to a younger you? Every year on my birthday I stop to reflect on the last year of life. This year, however, I went way back - 10 years back. I’ve recently been thinking what I’d say to my 19 year old self if i had the chance. What would I tell her that might possibly make her life any easier?
In all honesty, I don’t think I’d say anything. Sure, I could tell her to be a little more kind to her parents, to look to Jesus and not to relationships for fulfillment, to focus on the being and not so much the doing, to forgive more and screw up less. I could tell her those things. But would I want to?
The very fact that I went through all the struggle, the joys, the loneliness and depression, the breathtaking adventures and the painful heartache is what drew me further into my Heavenly Father’s arms. It’s what formed (is forming) me into the likeness of Jesus.
I can remember back to summer of 2007. I was 17, sitting in a banquet hall for my brother’s graduation from twentyfourseven Academy in CO Springs. The lights went off and their “end of the year” video recap started playing on a large screen. The video was good, but the lyrics to the song playing with it caught my attention more…
Welcome to the planet
Welcome to existence
Everybody’s watching you now
Everybody waits for you now
What happens next…?
I thought, “…what a weird song.” Then the chorus hit…
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
I dare you to lift yourself up off the floor
I dare you to move
I dare you to move
Like today never happened before
And like a rush of adrenaline, the blood started pumping faster through my veins. Tears started forming and I didn’t even know why. At that time in my life, I didn’t really know who the Holy Spirit was, but I know now that he was trying to speak to me in this moment.
As the video progressed, the song unfolded into more depth…
Welcome to the fallout
Welcome to resistance
The tension is here
The tension is here
Between who you are and who you could be
Between how it is and how it should be
Maybe redemption has stories to tell
Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
Where can you run to escape from yourself?
Where you gonna go?
Where you gonna go?
Salvation is here***
Every note piercing my heart, every word touching the very core of my soul. Something became clear to me then… this life was so much more than I even understood. And it’s STILL more than I understand now. My younger self couldn’t grasp the meaning of those words, because those words come with life lived. They come as God unfolds the pages of our story. They come with the highest of highs and lowest of lows. The darkest nights and brightest days. And I knew in that moment, sitting there as the music faded out, that my life was meant to be fully lived. I knew I didn’t want to waste anymore time. I wanted to start living as if it mattered. As if everything in this life was for a purpose. Even the hard things. And even though I had no idea what “hard” was at that age, the Lord marked that moment for me.
Two years later, at the age of 19, I fully surrendered my life to Jesus. Growing up in a christian family, going to church my whole life and even saying the sinner’s prayer didn’t make me a christian. But the day I finally decided to follow Jesus and give everything to him was also the day my life became difficult. The lyrics to the song started to become real.. Welcome to the resistance, the tension is here between who you are and who you could be, how it is and how it should be. And in the last 10 years I’ve seen more than my share of pain, not only in my life but also in the lives of people I love. Death, betrayal, brokenness, abuse, hate, unforgiveness. All things that never make sense and never should have been.
But now, and only by the Lords relentless mercy, can I look back and say that even though bad things happen, my God is still good. He is still in control. and He is making all things new again* - working ALL things together for the good of those who love him.** Maybe redemption has stories to tell, and forgiveness is right where you fell. Where can you run to escape from yourself? Salvation is here. There is still so much hope and so much beauty to be found in this life with him. I would not trade it for anything. Most definitely not the good and not even the bad.
I think it’s unreal to say we shouldn’t have regrets. Of course there are things I wish I could take back. But ultimately, God is using even those things to weave a beautiful tapestry of redemption. He is all about redeeming. That is why he came to this earth - to bring us back to him. To restore a broken relationship. One that he didn’t even break, we did.
But his love for us is SO great - he is compelled by it to make things right again. And again. and again. and again. He never stops redeeming, making beauty from ashes. Whatever the trial, whatever the sin, he’s making a way for his children. A surrendered life is a life he will make beautiful again. He’s constantly making all things new.
Somehow through the mess, the peace i have feels deeper, the joy I have looks brighter, and the love he gives tastes sweeter. I pray that regardless of what season you’re in, it’s one that you’re letting him have control over. Letting him make your life full of purpose, beauty and hope.
So If I were to say anything to 19 year old me, I guess it’d be something like, Embrace the tension and fully live. Life is hard, but with Jesus it’s also beautiful. It’s okay to have regrets. It’s ok to make mistakes. But when you do, don’t hold on to them. Let go and let them be used by God to make the old new and the broken beautiful. He’ll do it regardless, but if you don’t surrender, you’ll miss it all together. And believe me - that is something you don’t want to miss.
* “Behold, I am making all things new … these words are trustworthy and true.” Revelation 21:5
** “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
*** Dare You To Move - Jon Foreman [still one of my favorites]
Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. - Psalm 25:4-5
This past year was the hardest by far. Whether I wanted to believe it or not, some of my biggest fears came to life. And though I’m not able to share specifics yet, I at least want to pass along something the Lord revealed/is revealing to me through it all, and that is…
true does not equal truth.
If you believed everything you were ever told, about yourself, about the world, where do you think you’d be? WHO do you think you’d be? I think, honestly, most of us would say we’d be someone and somewhere so much worse.
If I believed everything I had ever heard or been told, by anything or anyone, I can almost guarantee my life would be worse off. I’d be living a very sheltered life, no doubt highly insecure, bitter, depressed, afraid of being controlled and therefore trying to control everyone. I would be miserable. And the worst thing is I probably wouldn’t even know why.
I know what the world is telling us. And I know that the world’s voice is strongest in our lives generally because it’s the one we’ve grown up hearing constantly. But I also know it doesn’t have to be.
I wrestled with this concept over and over in my life. What’s true versus what’s truth. We’re tricked into thinking what’s true is actual truth, but it’s a lie. It’s true that I have tendencies toward control, but it’s not truth. TRUTH is that I am set free, able to walk in freedom and trust God with every single aspect of my life. It’s true that I gravitate toward depressive and destructive patterns, but the TRUTH is that I have joy and life in the Spirit. I can claim HIS joy even when I don’t feel joyful. It’s true that I may feel lonely, but TRUTH is that not for a second have I been alone. Jesus has never left my side and He never will. It’s true that I may feel insignificant, but the TRUTH is I am a child of the KING and heir to His kingdom. I am loved by my Father and the apple of His eye. I can walk in confidence of my calling, because he’s called me to it.
We’ve unknowingly made a habit of listening to the world, thinking that this is our reality. But Gods word is truth. And just because we can’t always see or feel it, what God says is more real than anything. He is constantly speaking truth over us. We must become better at hearing him and knowing his voice over anyone else’s. This can only happen by knowing him, spending time and cultivating a relationship with him. “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27.
It’s impossible to ignore the lies we’ve been told forever. We may for awhile, but they’ll always be there. The real victory comes when we exchange what’s true for what’s truth.
We can choose to believe in the life-giving promises of God rather than the false reality of a broken world. “For if you embrace the truth, it will release true freedom into your lives.” John 8:32
That’s a promise. Gods truth releases true freedom. So embrace it. Cling to it. Don’t ever let it go. His promises will never fail you. You can trust him. “Not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” Joshua 23:14. I know I couldn’t have made it through this last year without his truth and the promise of his unfailing love to hold on to.
Thank you, JESUS, for rescuing me from darkness and all the lies of the enemy! For showing us that the things this world has to say are incomplete and incomparable to what YOU say. What you say is TRUTH. If it’s not from you, it’s not truth. This is how we know what truth is.
I implore you this new year, let go of what you think is true and instead replace it with the truth of what Jesus says. Gods word. A good place to start is in Isaiah 61. The Spirit of the Lord has come to give us “a crown of beauty, instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair … Instead of your shame you will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace you will rejoice in your inheritance … and everlasting joy will be yours.” Key word being INSTEAD. It’s about replacing a false reality with HIS truth. We can still feel things, in fact we should, but we don’t have to stay there and dwell in it. He gives us something greater in its place every time - Beauty for ashes. Joy for mourning. Praise for our despair.
This is our KINGDOM INHERITANCE. It’s time to start living into what he has already promised.
- John 8:31-36 ”…Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free…”
- John 16:12-14 ”…But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth … He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you…”
- John 17:15-19 ”…My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth…”
If you don’t know who Jesus is and/or you want to know more about what he says about YOU then PLEASE message me so we can sit and I can tell you all about him. Really. He’s too wonderful to not know, and what he thinks about you will blow your mind.
I’ve wanted to start this blog for so long that it feels like I should have something profound to say by now. I don’t. If you’re reading this thinking you would see a lot of funny anecdotes or gain some nuggets of wisdom, you may. But that’s seriously not why I’m beginning to write again. I used to write a lot. I was a journalism major in college before I was a design major. Needless to say, it was a while ago and my writing is a little rusty.
Honestly my hope is that in this small amount of space and time I can relay the truth of who God is to me and who I believe he can be for you. To that end, what you read from me will be raw and vulnerable. I will not hold back what I believe or how I feel. I believe God can use our feelings to drive home deeper truths about himself. You’ll hear me talk on themes from art and music, to poems and travel, to Jesus, to wild dogs and sleeping in mango trees, to Jesus, to suffering, faith and back to Jesus. It just all comes back around to him eventually.
I can’t guarantee my words will be pretty. Most of them will be hard to write and I realize hard to hear for some. However, if God’s taught me anything about my story and experiences in life it’s that they’re not mine to keep. They’re His to share and to receive glory from. That’s why I write.
I don’t have a lot to offer in way of money, fame, or status. But I’ve been given a great inheritance by my Father in heaven and he has given me plenty to write about and proclaim. So I will praise the Lord all my days! I’m encouraged by Psalm 71 as David is pouring his heart out to the Lord. He cannot keep silent because of what the Lord has done. and neither can I. So I will leave you with those words below. Can’t wait to share more and see how God will move. Till then my friends - Ellane
14 As for me, I will always have hope;
I will praise you more and more.
15 My mouth will tell of your righteous deeds,
of your saving acts all day long—
though I know not how to relate them all.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord;
I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.
17 Since my youth, God, you have taught me,
and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.
18 Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, my God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your mighty acts to all who are to come.
19 Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
you who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?