Sunday, December 20, 2015

2:19 ~Mary

God gave me this poem the other day while I thinking of Christmas and all that it means. I truly love this time of year but a few years ago, I lost sight of what Christmas is really about and got caught up in chasing a feeling. Since then, God has helped me realize that chasing that elusive "Christmas feeling" is what causes it to be lost. Christmas can only be found when I quit thinking of ME and how Christmas makes ME feel and I focus on my Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord, the God of all creation becoming part of that creation, in order to redeem, to save, to challenge, to change us.
I hope you allow Jesus to invade you, this Christmas and every day.

 2:19 ~Mary

by Victoria Marse
Little baby, oh so small
Lying in the manger stall
He'll grow up to be our king
That's what everyone is thinking
But somehow in this quiet still
My heart feels heavy and I know
Nothing is quite how it appears
And God's son, my son, our Salvation
Won't meet every expectation
The way he came - to me - the least
Yet God sent wise men from the east
No wealth but love have I to give
This baby Jesus come to live
God's mercy shown to all the world
Will soon pierce me like a sword
I attempt not to understand
Simply to ponder and delight
In this precious gift, my Light
Little baby, oh so small
God has blessed me above all
I'm so grateful
I'm so glad
Tonight, I hold Emmanuel
~

"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."
~Luke 2:19
KJV

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

18 Struggles of Having a Quiet ENFP Personality

The other day, I came across an article on 18 Struggles Of Having An Outgoing Personality But Actually Being Shy And Introverted. Reading it, I realized that almost the exact opposite of everything the author said applied to me. So, I decided to make my own list.
I’ve always thought I was a shy person, but as I got older, I realized I wasn’t. I love talking to people and meeting new people. Then, I took the Myers-Briggs test and every single time came out with an ENFP result. The only thing is most ENFPs seem a lot “louder” than I am. Therefore, I’ve titled this list 18 Struggles of Having a Quiet ENFP Personality. I used the points from the above mentioned article as a starting point and went from there. I left points 12 and 15 basically the same because they apply - just in the opposite way from what the author of the original page meant.

Now, without further ado:

18 Struggles of Having a Quiet ENFP Personality


  1. You love listening to people talk. Seriously, you could listen to them all day. Yeah, you have opinions, advice, and stories on what they say and you may voice them if you feel like you’ll be well received, but you don’t HAVE to say anything.

  1. You feel like everyone has the potential to be a great friend - but you worry you might come off as too needy/clingy if you talk/text/ask to hang out with them too much.

  1. Regardless of the reason, a party is a party! And you get to see people!

  1. You enjoy the anticipation of a night out almost as much if not more than the actual night out.

  1. You then have the almost-as-enjoyable pleasure of reliving the night out over and over until the next fun event arises.

  1. You go out of your way to let people know how much you love and appreciate them for just existing.

  1. Relationships are weird because when you’re with someone, you are totally with them. But if, while y’all are apart, they don’t contact you, you wonder if they really don’t like you and you’re just putting your eagerness to have a great relationship on them, when that’s not really what they want.

  1. You’re often accused of being flirty when you’re really just being friendly.

  1. You don’t really use social media as a way to express yourself, you prefer a real conversation (but you love to read about other people’s lives).

  1. Social media does come in handy when you want people to come read your latest blog post or a really cool article you found (and debated for two hours whether or not to share).

  1. In social situations, you vacillate between letting your outgoing side express itself and sticking to the status quo.

  1. You’ve never really understood the whole “introvert vs. extrovert” dichotomy, because you’re… both… (And, the whole “ambivert” thing just annoys you to no end.)

  1. When it comes down to it, as long as the rest of the group is okay with it, you like stepping up and being the one to present or give the speech (after you get over the initial shock of breaking out of your “quiet” shell).

  1. Being noticed and praised for hard work makes you feel so fulfilled and successful, until you realize you have absolutely no clue how to respond to the notice and praise.

  1. The entirety of your being is a conundrum; so needless to say, indecisiveness is your Achilles’ Heel.

  1. You’re at your happiest in places like coffee shops and caf├ęs: surrounded by people, able to watch and listen to them and imagine what it’s like to be them, where they’re going, what they’re doing, and how they would respond if you walked up to them and told them what you know about them just from observation. Then, you realize that you sound like a total stalker and go back to your book.

  1. You LOVE to travel. Alone or with others doesn’t matter as long as you can have/hear good conversations.

  1. It’s taken you years to figure out that you’re actually an extrovert. And when you tell people that you’re “actually an extrovert” they inevitably say, “But you’re so quiet!”


I totally love it this way and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m so glad God made me the kind of person He did! :)


~ToriLynn

Monday, February 23, 2015

He’s A-Workin’ On Me

So, God spoke to me today while I was cleaning up the parking lot at work. The corners near the curb collect a lot of debris, especially after it rains like it did this weekend. In order to get most of the trash and to make the corner cleaner, I used my grabber to transfer most of the pile onto the mulch. As I began to pick through it and pull out the trash, starting with the bigger, more obvious pieces and then digging through for the smaller bits, I was struck by how this is exactly what God does with us.

He rescues us; pulls us out of the world (where we don’t belong anyway) and places us in His kingdom (where we were created to belong). Then, He begins to work on clearing all the trash out of our souls. He starts with the biggest issues (and what’s “big” varies from person to person) and then He begins to dig deeper and remove the “smaller” offences from our lives.

It is so easy for me to think I have to be perfect before I run to Jesus. When I become aware of a sin in my life, I am often guilty of trying to fix it on my own. I always feel like I need to clean myself up at least a little bit before I bring my problems to Him. But today He showed me, through a pile of leaves and litter, that He simply wants me to let Him work. I don’t have to somehow be good enough to run to Him, I just have to run to Him and be willing to let Him take out whatever needs to go, even if it’s something I’d rather hang onto. Yes, once He points out the sin, I must choose to follow His way not my own, but I don’t have to do it on my own. In fact, I cannot do it under my own steam. I need the Holy Spirit to be able to live a holy life. That’s the reason He was sent - to be our Parakletos (one who comes alongside to help, advise, and advocate for).

God knew what kind of mess He was getting when He called me. My job is to respond to the call and let Him have His way; because God’s way is always the best way. As the saying goes, “God’s will is what you would choose for yourself if you had sense enough to choose it.”


 “We please Him most, not by frantically trying to make ourselves good, but by throwing ourselves into His arms with all our imperfections and believing that he understands everything - and still loves us.”
~ A. W. Tozer

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Character Connections ~ Millie Keith

I’m rereading one of my favorite childhood novels. It is called Millie’s Unsettled Season and it’s an adaption based off of several of Martha Finley’s novels. Although Millie’s story is set in the 1830’s, I have always felt a kinship with her. I even remember a childhood prayer where I prayed to “live a life of faith like Millie Keith.”
This first book in the series that I am reading has Millie’s family moving away from the home where Millie grew up to the frontier. Nothing in Pleasant Plains, Indiana is anything like the life Millie knew in Lansdale, Ohio; the place seems empty and barren and definitely devoid of everything familiar and, at first, Millie responds with a temper tantrum.
Sadly, I did the exact same thing four years ago when we moved from everything familiar to me in Greensboro, North Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was years removed from having read Millie’s books and rereading now has me wondering if maybe I would have been better off if I’d reread this book as we prepared to move.
One thing that has me especially humbled is the fact that Millie was thirteen in her book. I was eighteen when we moved. You would think I’d have been much more mature than I was.
I’m sorry to think of the pain I probably caused to so many, and I’m sure being so bitter about the move didn’t help me to make any quick friends once we did move.
God has matured and used me in so many ways here in Louisiana that I never would have let Him in North Carolina. (And of course I never would have encountered the same people there that live here!) It is humbling to see how much more God cares about the person I can become -the person He created me to be- and the people He wants me to touch than He does about my personal preferences at any given moment.
I’m so glad that God is so good and so willing to use me and shape my character even when I am so stubborn about it!

“God is more concerned with making us like Him, with making us holy, than with making us happy.”
~Janette Oke

“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
~ Romans 12:2

“…until Christ is formed in you.”
~ Galatians 4:19

Do you have a fictional character you feel connected to in a special way?
Have you ever seen in hindsight how the undesirable things that have happened to you were God’s hand at work?
Please share your stories in the comments! I love hearing them. It can be so encouraging to know one is not alone on this pilgrimage of life.

Be blessed, friends. :)


~ToriLynn

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Jesus Saved Me!

The Testimony of My Salvation
 
I don’t remember much about that day. I was only two years old. Now, you may think that this is too young for anyone to make such a drastic decision about their life – but, for me, it wasn’t.

I’m not sure what it was exactly that caused me to realize I needed a relationship with God –  when I think back I almost think I remember a bedtime prayer when I didn’t feel as though God was hearing me because I had not asked Jesus into my heart.  Like I said, though, that part is not quite clear. What I do remember is waking up one morning, I’m pretty sure it was a Sunday, and deciding I wanted to give my life to God and I wanted both of my parents to be there when I did.

As a child, I thought – I guess from stories I had heard – that someone was led to salvation by being shown Bible verses and told that they were a sinner, why they needed a Savior, what Jesus had done, and how to pray. I also, figured Mom and Dad would ask me questions about why I wanted to make this choice and so I spent some time determining my answer.

I waited until evening, just before bed. And this is where my memory becomes quite clear. I went into my room and got my little, green New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. With it clutched in my hand, I walked into the living room where Mom and Dad sat talking. I told them that I had decided I wanted to give my life to the Lord and asked if they would pray with me.

My parents, thinking that I was too young and that this was just a passing fancy of the moment, told me I could go ahead and pray my own words and they would listen. I remember being disappointed that they hadn’t shown me any verses. But I knelt in front of the sofa, hands folded, eyes closed and prayed anyway. No one but God remembers what I said. My parents have told me that they remember looking at each other in astonishment over how much my prayer showed I understood – that, after that, they didn’t doubt my sincerity. All I remember is that in that moment I knew that God heard my prayer. I knew that I could talk to Him now and not have to worry if He heard. I knew I belonged to Him now and He would always be there, always be listening, always be watching over me. It was the best day of my life.

 

Years passed. When I was seven, my Sunday School teacher asked if anyone wanted to pray and ask Jesus into their heart. She did this every week and rarely did anyone take her up on it. I always felt sorry for her when no one did. This particular week one of my friends raised her hand and said that she had already gotten saved, but asked if she could pray again, just in case. The teacher agreed saying it was a good idea to “be sure you are saved.” When she said that, it made me wonder if maybe I had been too young the first time and I decided I should pray again, “just in case.” So, I did. That week. The next month. Almost every time I was in a church service and there was an altar call. I would get up and “get saved again, just in case.” I lived constantly wondering if I really did belong to the Lord or not. Wondering if maybe, on the last day, I would be one of the ones on the left, wondering where I went wrong. (Matthew 25: 41-46)

I never told my parents of my uncertainty; it took several years for me to finally realize that all the insecurity and doubt was keeping me from growing in my relationship with God. The Holy Spirit used a lot of things to help me realize that spiritual growth and development occurs only after one is born again. He showed me that I needed to leave my salvation up to Him and quit worrying about the final state of my soul. I needed to begin to focus on the present state of my soul and start growing spiritually. Not long after I started doing this, I received the gift of baptism in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongues. That experience convinced me that God had chosen me as His own and sealed me with His Spirit. (John 14:16-18, 26; Acts 2)

There is so much more I have to learn, but I am so grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity of dedicating my life to the Lord so young and to have been kept from a lot of the bad situations and influences that many others have had to face.

God loves us. He sent His Son to die for us. And He did not send Him to keep us wondering if we were good enough or not. Jesus came for one reason alone – to save our souls. (John 3:16 -17)

You may not have had the opportunity that I did. But if you haven’t, there is great news: you can do that right now! Just like I learned, it’s not what you say, or who says what to you. You just have to be sincere and know that God is calling you. He will give you the words to say if you just listen. Then you will never have to be alone, and you will also have the assurance of knowing that He will hear your every prayer from this moment on. Jesus will seal you for eternity; you will be in Heaven with Him and everyone else who has given their lives to His service. (2 Chronicles 7:14; John 6:40)

 

See you there!

 

~ToriLynn

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Prayer for Today, May 9, 2013


The Lord is my strength and shield. My ever present help in time of need. He is always with me; how can I not be happy, joyful, all the time? I have had an incredible day. I am so blessed.

 

Why so often do I long for more? Why do I not remember to revel in the little things that mean so much to my heart? A stranger’s smile, a friendly conversation, a rainstorm, a ray of sunshine… Why does my rebellious heart so often wish for more than the innumerable blessings it already holds?

 

Oh, dear Lord! That my heart would always be content with You and not caught up in the things of this world! Oh, that I would love and follow and serve You all of the time and not just when the mood strikes. Lord, make me a light in the darkness, a city on a hill, one who cannot and will not be silenced by the world, one whose sole focus is You and You alone. Lord, please, MAKE ME into the person You want me to be. I am not content to be discontent. I want to be satisfied by You. I know there is so much more to You than I can taste right now. And I want all of it. Everything good is from You, is IN You. “You are all I want. You are all I need. Everything my heart could hope for. I am longing for the Glory of You, Lord. ’Cause I know there’s so much more.”

 

“You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

Psalm 16:11(NIV)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Promise of Words


If words could do justice to what I feel right now, there would be no need for pictures that stir the soul. But I need pictures, and I need words, to express my deep emotions. A word, a photo, a song, a poem. This is what I use to express the deep of who I am. I am more than simply words, more than just a picture. The real heart of a person is found, not in faces, clothes, or mere, flat words. We exist in soul. We are found in words that express heartfelt emotion; in soul-stirring photos that mean more than proper lighting and placement. We are found by expressing who we are beneath the surface to others who respond in kind. We begin to understand one another by sharing our hearts.

 


 

Picture the pastel glow of early sun-rising. Light breaking over pale gray mountains as purple fog slowly drifts and begins to fade over the valley of long, wild grass undulating in the soft wind. Picture the thrill of being able to stand on a pinnacle a look around at this breath-taking beauty. This beauty of a fresh day.

 


 

A day of hope, with the promise of happiness.

 


 

 

A day of foreboding, with the promise of heart-break.

 


 

Anything could happen today.

 

Anything is possible.

 

Look at all this and tell me life is surface. I dare you. Tell me life has no meaning. That we evolved from nothing, from meaningless matter. Look at the emotion one paragraph, one photograph can make you feel, and tell me that there is not a God. I dare you.

 

God created beauty. God created life. “Without him nothing was made that has been made.” Acknowledge Him. Give Him glory for the promise of words; the promise of the Word. For “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1-5

NIV

 


 

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalm 118:24

ESV