THE GIRL WHO FOUND HER OWN SONG

This is Sara, author and founder of The Girl Who Found Her Own Song.  This Tennessee-living, guitar-strumming young lady loves Jesus, writing songs, glam makeup, and mountains.  Her sweet spirit and hope-directed attitude makes you fall in love with her right away.  When I first met Sara, one of the first things i noticed about her was her gorgeous  Repunzel-length dark hair and sing-song laugh and smile.  She makes a beautiful bridesmaid and wonderful friend.  You can find a sample of her work by hovering over the drop down in the menu bar of The Girl Who Found Her Own Song and clicking Church + Sex.

Church + Sex

Dear Christians…

I wish we would stop talking about it so lightly.

Sex.

 

Virginity.

 

Sexual impurity.

I wish we would stop joking about it.

I also wish we would stop condemning it.
Offering no hope of forgiveness.
Showing no mercy.

I know I’m not the only one who has heard it…

That message from the pulpit.

That comment in the small group.

If you haven’t heard it, it’s probably because you aren’t listening for it.

It’s probably because you are a virgin.

It’s probably because you never had sex outside of marriage.

It’s probably because it doesn’t completely grip you in shame.

Here’s some things I have heard…

“You do it with someone other than your husband and you will never be fully satisfied ever again.”

“What good man wouldn’t want a virgin wife?”

“Have you heard about _________ ? She is off sleeping around again. She CLEARLY needs Jesus.”

“Hosea, he didn’t have it easy. The Lord had him marry a prostitute. And who would ever want that?! Hey, at least this awful thing happening in my life is not THAT awful!”

“I know that [sexual impurity] is a part of your story, but if you are going to staff at this Christian camp don’t tell your students that. I mean, think about if they go home and tell their parents your testimony? What kind of example is that? They might not let them come back.”
“You have disappointed me. Go read the Bible. I have nothing else to say.”

You feel it yet?

Let me help you.

It feels like being shrunk down to nothing.

Being engulfed in a shadow of shame.

But that sin, those memories, those nights, those men,

Are all blown up and it feels like everyone around you can see it.

You feel like you are hopeless.

“You are fooling yourself by saying you are a believer.”
“There’s no way you can ever belong in a church or a small group where everyone else is happily married and not unclean like you.” 
“Why are you still here?”
“Run.”
“Leave.”
“Don’t come back.”

Do you feel it now?

Are your bones shaking?

Is your heart racing?

Are you sweating?

Is your face red from embarrassment?

Is your face red from anger?

Anger that a people preaching Jesus,

Have forgotten who Jesus actually is?

Instead of throwing rocks, He forgave her.

Instead of casting her aside, He let her weep on his feet.

Instead of ostracizing her, He approached her kindly at the well to offer life.

I just wish the shaming would stop.

Married people, enjoying sex for all the beauty that it is…

Condemning someone for wanting to enjoy it as well…

(Just not in the righteous or obedient manner prescribed in the Bible).

So to the one’s cowering in shame or running out during a sermon.

To the one’s silent while the others laugh in small group.

Jesus does not shame you.

Jesus does not laugh at you.

He is a God of understanding and compassion.

And a whole lot of forgiveness.

And church.

I hope you stop laughing.

I hope you stop condemning.

I hope you start noticing those broken.

I hope you realize the difficulty they have coming to church and encourage and congratulate their efforts.

I hope you can come alongside them and say,

“This gospel, is for you as much as it is for me. Let’s learn about it together.”

Is that not what fellowship is about?

And please don’t hear me say sex outside of marriage is okay.
I just think people mess up.
I have messed up.
Others have messed up.
And I think church should be a safe place for messy people to come.
I think it should be welcomed.
I think it should be healing.

And maybe one day it will be.

. . . . .

All too often I hear verses quoted like these in 1 Corinthians 6…

9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  

And most often it stops there.
But PLEASE don’t stop there.
In just the next verse it says this….

11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you weresanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

There is no shame.
Only beautiful washing, sanctification, and justification.
Let that be our cry from the pulpit and our plea in the small group.
Let us beckon newness of life.
For what else should be flowing in our veins if not that life-giving mercy of our Savior?

Let’s love a little like Christ.
And let’s see a bit of that life shine through dark and desperate places.

Him

He looks at me everyday thinking that I’m enough for him, but, no, it’s not true, I know this
No one listens to me, they only see what they want to see, however, they see right through
There’s a difference between what he wants and what he needs
I eat what he feeds me, and it never seems to satisfy what’s starving
My whole life, all day, all night, I’m keeping quiet hoping someone will hear me
I don’t say much and he doesn’t hear me screaming
I forget the goal sometimes
They come into my life so I can clean them up and move them along the straight path and off my crooked line
I’m struggling on my own, though, with my thoughts and arrows of doubts
I’m looking for answers and I’m hoping he has them stored in his heart
He probably does, he just doesn’t notice what’s wrong in order to apply it
I keep pushing him off like it’s fine and he buys it like it rhymes
It doesn’t make sense to me
How could he want somebody that’s so lonely
We all say we’re okay but never learn how to change
We want the love but we don’t want the pain
Let the pen stay in my hand, I could die any moment
Death will want to know what I lived for
Sometimes I forget the goal
I let fear destroy the truth that I know
I say the same things all the time, they’re just reworded
He looks at me everyday
I clean up nice so he doesn’t see the other side of me
I’m hoping he doesn’t go behind the scenes
You don’t want to know
I don’t smile, I’m so lonely
I’m struggling on my own, though, with thoughts of doubt and arrows that carry no hope
He looks at me everyday thinking that I’m enough for him, but, no, it’s not true, I know this
I said goodbye to the old me a long time ago
No one listens to me, they only see what they want to see, however, they see right through
I cut myself open just to see if I still bleed
When I die, I want to know that I lived for reason
I want to know that I had worth, especially to him

Compassion International

What is Compassion?

Compassion means “to suffer with” and is an emotional response of sympathy. But it’s not just a feeling. The feeling is combined with a desire to help. Because we have compassion, we want to take action and help the person who is suffering.Notice the last word of the definition above — “with.” We are called to suffer with someone, to suffer together. This is what differentiates compassion from empathy.

 

Who is Compassion International?

Compassion International is a child-advocacy ministry that pairs compassionate people with those who are suffering from poverty. The ministry releases children from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. The goal is for each child to become a responsible and fulfilled adult.

Compassion’s work has grown from modest beginnings in South Korea in 1952 when American evangelist Rev. Everett Swanson felt compelled to help 35 children orphaned by the Korean conflict. Today it is a worldwide ministry where millions of children are now reaping the benefits of one man’s clear, God-given vision.

Compassion. A movement. A calling. A cause. A people.
Compassion is global, reflecting the beautiful diversity of God’s kingdom.
We are collaborative, depending on teamwork and partnership.
We are inclusive and accepting of others.
We are honest. We say what we mean, and we do what we say.
We are respectful, protecting the divine character in everyone.
We strive to always be grace filled, kind, forgiving and merciful.
We are loving. God’s love fuels us, and we unabashedly love one another.
We are passionate, against injustice and for our cause.
Compassion is authentic, facing hard realities with an adventuresome spirit.
We are totally focused on our our mission. Single-minded in our pursuit.
Our ministry is contextual, customized and culturally relevant. It is effective, proven and outcome driven.
Our creative spirit drives innovative solutions to the challenges and opportunities before us.
Compassion is professional. We do our work with excellence but without pretension.
Our faith in God and in His promises empowers us to be confident. In the face of evil raging around us, we remain hopeful and lift one another’s spirits as we go about our mission of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.
We are Compassion.

 

Compassion International is a separate and distinct organization apart from Brookashli.  Brookashli is not a paid sponsor of Compassion International.

Your Love

Here today and gone tomorrow
Pressured into doing things that were really foul
Keeping it to myself, almost in denial
Have you ever passed a blade along your wrist before?
Walls are closing in and can’t see my way anymore
Love is euphoria that lasts a few moments
Fooled myself into really thinking I was worth it
Would anyone blame me if I stopped believing?
My ship is sinking and the shore is far away
Can You keep me from going under?
Am I alone out here forever?

I started out a pretty good guy, but situations changed me
I was bullied and life isn’t what I thought it would be
Felt like no one cared and self infliction made me ugly
Time has taken its toll, I’m scared of letting go
I don’t know what the future holds, but I don’t think I want to know anymore

Lord I need Your love, it’s like no one’s
I’ve been through so much, Your grace is a reservoir
I haven’t been praying daily and I’m going crazy
I keep Your Word open on the table but I’m hardly reading
I’m still struggling
It’s killing me
I’m concealing it but it’s not easy
I’m a passive disaster, subtracting what matters
Hanging on by a thread, no, I’m not prepared
Nobody knows the battle I face, nobody can see into my soul
I don’t know where else to go
Lord, I need Your love, it’s like no one’s

I feel thorns in my side, but Yours was pierced for mine
Standing on the runway outside watching everyone else fly by feeling left behind, feeling tears in my eyes
I don’t have it all figured it out
In fact, I know nothing at all, so I’m closing my mouth
I started out good but decayed in the wrong environment
Thought I was bullet proof until I ended up in ashes, so foolish
Standing in my ruins, so used to losing
Lord, I need Your love, it’s like no one’s

Lord I need Your love, it’s like no one’s
I’ve been through so much, Your grace is an ocean
I’ve cried enough for everyone in the world thinking that it’s over
I don’t know where else to go
Lord, I need Your love, it’s like no one’s
Without You, I fall apart
Engulfed in darkness You’re all that I want
Is there still hope for my ever-wandering heart?

Witnessing to a Lost Culture

When I talked with you or preached, I didn’t try to prove anything by sounding wise. I simply let God’s Spirit show his power. That way you would have faith because of God’s power and not because of human wisdom.
1 Corinthians 2:4-5

Before speaking with someone about God, don’t prep with your own wisdom. In other words, you don’t MAKE the Gospel powerful, because it already is. You don’t PROVE the Gospel is powerful because it already is. To tell someone about God, it is not necessary to speak with long paragraphs of persuasive words; having countless degrees as an expert in the Law is not necessary either. If you’re just starting out in the realm of sharing your new-found faith, be encouraged by Peter and John who were bold, yet “unschooled and ordinary” men. People were “astonished” by the pair because they realized Peter and John had experienced Jesus, like just you.

“People will not find hope in your opinions.” – Pastor Andrew Evans

By examining any other religion, you’ll find a crucial difference between them and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which, in Pastor Ken Whitten’s words, is “Any other religion or philosophy wants you to believe because of rhetoric or logic – except Christianity. If you can talk someone into it, someone else can talk them out of it.” People are converted by the power of God, which oftentimes defies logic to those who still remain of the world. If Person A could convert Person B to Christianity, then the glory would go to Person A, however, that is not the case because God shares His glory with no one.

* * * * *

Telling others about Christ can be an intimidating task to take on, so I’ve listed below some questions and answers that are common in this approach.

Frequently Asked Questions About Witnessing

I don’t know enough. What if they ask a question I can’t answer?

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. (John 14:26.) The Holy Spirit will fill in the necessary gaps in your conversation. Don’t be so focused on saying so much that He can’t get a word in edge wise. Be calm and patient and it will always work out.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. (1 Pet. 3:15) Don’t slack on your studies. Just as you would want to know the likes and dislikes of your friends or family, God wants you to know Him, too. Lastly, be encouraged, as 1 Corinthians 4:20 says, God’s kingdom isn’t just a bunch of words. It is power. The power that this verse is speaking of is what raised Jesus Christ from the dead (Romans 8:11.)

What if I say something wrong?

Answer what you know for sure. Don’t assume or speculate on what you’re not sure about. What you say can and will be used against you so make sure what you’re proclaiming is the honest truth. It is humble to admit when you don’t know something and a lie to say that you do when it is not actually the case.

What if they don’t listen to me?

Move on. Your job is to spread the Message, not to make people listen. Matthew 10:14 says, if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

What if they reject me or laugh at me?

They rejected and laughed at Jesus. Are you better than Jesus to not receive it? If the world hates you, keep in mind they hated me first. John 15:18. Expect rejection and ridicule, but remember who your audience is as well. They are children of darkness being exposed to the light of the Gospel. Not everyone will have open arms to receive it.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers. (Psalm 1.1) There is a difference between a seeker who asks questions and a mocker whose purpose is to…well, mock God. Stay away from mockers.

People in the Bible DIED because of their faith and I don’t want to die!

Literally, you’re going to die anyway. I’m sorry if that is not the most comforting truth on the planet, but it’s a reality that ten out of ten people face at one point or another. No one lives forever (unless you‘re saved by the blood of Jesus Christ.)
Are you committed to God unto the finished job or unto inconvenience? When you accept the salvation that Jesus Christ offers, your calling is immediately clear – go and make disciples (Matthew 28:19). Jesus never said that going about this plan would be easy, but He did say that He would fight for you (Ex. 14.14), He would strengthen and empower you (Is. 40:29, 31), He would help you in dangerous rivers and through fire (Is. 43:2), and lastly, Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord who has compassion on you. (Is. 54:10)

I don’t feel like a good enough Christian to tell someone else that they should be a Christian.

Be careful not to miss the point of Christianity, which is not to make bad people good, but to make dead people alive. It is not your place to boast in your strengths and accomplishments when telling someone about Jesus. If it was not for God coming through in the first place, we’d all be destined for eternal Hell fire because none of us are good enough to go to heaven on our own, and that is your testimony.

I don’t have enough time to stop and talk…

Actually, you aren’t the author of your own time. No one is promised tomorrow, according to Proverbs 27:1. Make time for others‘ eternity, please, not just your own.

I don’t have enough patience to stop and talk…

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up, says Galatians 6:9.  Ask God to renew your heart and give you the love for people that He has. You will then see this depraved and God-less culture in a new light. Your mission isn’t to debate people until they change their mind or to absorb every insult they fling your way. It is to tell them about Christ and what He’s done, if you’re able to. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12:18.

I don’t have the courage to stop and talk…

“Are you going to let your fear be the cause of someone else’s
eternal damnation?”
– Mark Hale

Is your comfort the only thing on the line here? A famous atheist, Penn Jillette, said, “How much do you have to hate someone to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?” I will give you one of the 365 verses listed in the Bible that tells you to fear not: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

I don’t exactly want to see that same person in heaven, so I won’t tell them the life-saving Gospel.

“As a true Christian, you are not above the obligations of forgiveness.”
– Timoujin Everidge, Jr.

Know that you are not better or lesser than anyone else and that Jesus was crucified for all. The plain truth is that none of us deserve to go to heaven because all have sinned. Someone may be your enemy, but remember that you were God’s enemy first, yet He still forgave you. Forfeiting your enemy the news of the Gospel does not mean he won’t end up there eventually anyway. It does, however, give an indication of your immaturity in Christ (1 Corinthians 13:11).
2 Peter 3:18, But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
What is grace?
“Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.” B.B. Warfield
“Grace is love that cares and stoops and rescues.” John Scott
[Grace] is God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him.” Jerry Bridges
“Grace is unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it.” Paul Zahl
“Favor in the eyes of the Lord…” Genesis 6:8

I don’t want to risk termination of the friendship (or marriage, employment, etc).
If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sister – yes, even their own life – such a person cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:26.) This verse does not translate to being that person on the news who’s out for revenge and killed their whole family and all their friends, including the dog.
In this chapter of Luke, Jesus does not leave this statement left for open interpretation. There is a cost to follow Christ, just like there is a cost for anything else that is worth is a high price, obviously. Suppose a king wants to go to war but does not sit down to deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet the enemy who comes against him with twenty thousand. An arbitrary and careless decision could ruin his whole kingdom if he is not wise to consider the cost. The same metaphor applies to a commitment to Jesus Christ. When you make the decision to follow Christ whole-heartedly for whatever reason but later “lose your saltiness” (v. 34), or, in other words, refuse to stand out against those who are enhancing the kingdom of this world in order to build God’s kingdom, you aren’t a hater of the world but rather a lover of it and acting as an enemy of God.
The good news is that in Matthew 19:29, Jesus says, And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. If you are totally committed to God in your marriage, your employment, or any circumstance through which you find yourself in and you lose it because of Christ‘s namesake, God will reward you with much more than you previously had.

Blue Eyes

I’ll point you to the sky
I’ll teach you fly
I’ll show you the narrow path
I am your biggest fan, I hope you know I am
Slow down, be easy, please
Don’t go too fast, don’t awaken love while she is sleeping
You’ve shown me the beauty when the beauty was absent
You never stop praying, you never stop believing even for a minute
In one moment you can give me all the strength and confidence
I’ve seen you fight to keep it together
I’ve seen you sacrifice for others
That ever present smile on your beautiful face, but you know the struggle often
Nothing hurts more than trying your best and still not being good enough
Guard your words, hold my hand, and remember you’re worth the Cross, you’re worth it all
You’re the light in the darkness, you know
You’re a beating heart when there is no hope
So hold on, please, and don’t let go
Remember, please, that you’re never alone
You’ve pointed me to the sky, it matches your stunning blue eyes
You taught me how to fly, the life in your words still carry me so high
You’ve encouraged me and made me alive
But why did you leave…
You never even said goodbye…

Undone

She was my queen
She called me her prince
I gave her my all cause she was worth all of me
How did it end like this
This wasn’t the plan how did I fall like this
I’m so deep the demons can hear me weap
I can’t stand the pain I’ve caused
The pain is too deep I can’t even live with myself
I see the blood on my hands from a broken heart
I feel like the witch cause it won’t come off
Lord this guilt is too heavy I need Someone to save me
I get down on my knees but I wonder if You left me
Can’t blame You if You did cause I’d leave me too
But how could I look at myself when I see the pain I’ve caused
Lord take it away and put it on me
They say time heals all wounds but Lord this one needs You
Only You could bind up her broken heart and heal her wound from the pain I’ve inflicted
Lord I give up I can’t do this cause You’re the only One that could see through this
If You give me control I know I’m only bound to fall Lord I’d loose it all
Lord I called her princess but she’s always been Yours cause I know she’s made in You
And true, I love her but Lord all my love, it comes from You
Why’d it have to end like this?
I always thought it would end in bliss
I never thought I would crush the one I love
Now all I can do is fall on my face Lord I need to see Your grace
I need to fall back but Lord, is it too late?
Lord I see it now, I’m trusting that You know my best
Lord here I am, take what’s left of me
I’m not looking for that warm embrace and no I’m not looking for that midnight kiss
I know I’ve messed up but I’m just looking for my friend back so we can do life
I take no credit for writing this poem

Spoken word (honestly, I just don’t have a title again haha)

I make a way when there is no way, I call that a miracle
I’m supernatural, the only life Giver in the spiritual
Just step back and give Me all you know
Some will cry to Me, “Lord, Lord” but I don’t know
Hold on, I’ve got you and I’m holding you close
Don’t doubt Me when you don’t even know about Me
You’re in the bedroom crying, but I hold in My hand eternity
My thoughts are above yours, don’t question Me
I do what I see fit in My eyes
Just be obedient and you’ll always hear My voice
The answer is above the stars, so stop praying to them
These trials won’t last forever, my friend
It’s your ignorance that makes you sick until my glory goes and reverses it
I promise to be with you until the end
Remember you’re a slave to Me, not to your own victory
Stop trying to find the gold when I’m all you need
I’m more than just money or things
I’m all you need
Just trust Me
Just believe in Me
I’ve been through Hell and back, listen to what I say
I did it for you, I claim the victory, and I claim you
Wow, you’re so beautiful and I made you with purpose
I want to give you life because I know you’re worth it
The power of the Gospel is not dependent on you or what you can do
You do not make the Gospel powerful because it’s already true
I change hearts daily and I choose to do it through you
Take one day at a time, don’t worry about the next
My grace will satisfy until your last breath
So don’t doubt me when you don’t even know about Me
I’m more than just prosperity or blessings
I’m all you need if you just trust Me
Just believe in Me
If only you’ll believe in Me

Stay

My heart has taken a beating but it’s still beating even though it’s weakening
God is sustaining me when I’ve slid to the edge sure that I’m slipping and soon to be falling
God don’t forget Your promises, don’t stop loving me
Don’t leave me reckless
I keep turning back to the wrong way, stubborn and unrepentant
Don’t write me off, but You should’ve done it a long time ago
My Bible is in the closet, unread and all alone
My heart is beating in my chest, undiscovered and abandoned
The blind leads the blind and that’s why lies are so prone to injure the wounded
I can’t push You to stay
I don’t know where You’re at, but I need You today
My back is against the wall, thinking I’m against friends who are strong until I look down and saw the holes in my chest from all the false love
Lord Jesus, I’m still alive, but how much longer do You have me down here?
My heart has taken a beating but it’s still beating even though it’s dying
I don’t want to do anything premature, I understand You’re on the throne
I understand You’re in control and not everything is for me to know
You didn’t let me go
You hung for me a long time ago
You were thinking of me when others weren’t, and there for me when others disappeared
Lord Jesus, I’m still alive, so I hit my knees as long as you have me down here

Brooke

2 Corinthians 4.7-18