I hate unfinished projects.
That's why this blog has been bothering me for the past year.
A blog that hasn't been posted on for over a year? Not cool.
Then why haven't I posted? Have I abandoned ship? Have I given up on the road towards loving the Lord more fully?
No, I have embarked on a journey that has revealed a new life - a new love - a new fire. I will not - I cannot - go back. With God's strength, His life in me, I will continue on this road the rest of my life. It has only just started.
Blogging has slowly sunk towards the bottom of my to-do list. But my resolve to love Him more has slowly risen higher.
This post is a wrap-up. A closure. A friendly goodbye. <Not that anybody was missing the posts anyway> :) But for my own peace of mind, I am writing this one final post, to know that I left my little blog in a tidy package with a bow on top.
And for any lonely traveler who drifts through cyber space and happens to land on my little corner of the blogging world, here are my parting words.
I just finished saying that my resolve for God has slowly risen higher. This is true, but the journey has not been without its valleys. The past several months have found me confused, frustrated, and spiritually "stuck." I struggled, I persisted, I prayed, I journaled. I read Christian books. I read Christian magazines. I read the Bible. I cried. My motivation was gone. My love was standing on shaky legs. In its place was a scary, lukewarm, sickening lethargy. Others can live a half-hearted life and still "love God." They look good. Why can't I?
I desperately wanted my love and passion back. I was determined not to give up. I didn't want to settle for throwing God my left-overs. But it just seemed that I had nothing left to give Him.
Where had I gone wrong?
As of 2 weeks ago, I found the answer. And amazingly, it was the exact same answer I had found nearly 4 years ago - and somehow lost along the way. It set me free then, and it has set me free once again.
A friend recommended I read a book called "My Life is Not My Own" by Dr. Bill Bright. I love to read. So I hopped on Amazon that day and bought it.
The book rocked my world. As I began to make my way through its pages, I was reminded of the lessons I had learned 4 years ago when I surrendered my life wholly and completely to the Lord. Somehow, along this ride called life, I reached out to take hold of "the reigns" once again. I took back my life. I lost sight of what it meant to be owned by the Lord Jesus. And the spiritual freedom and passion that had been free to grow once I had surrendered my life to the Lord had slowly slipped away as my submission slipped as well.
Hear me now! I have been with the Lord. I have gotten down on my knees. I have opened hands and my heart to the Lord once again. I have chosen to become His slave. Once again.
Everything I am or ever will be - everything I own - every opinion, ambition, plan, and schedule - I willingly have lain at His feet. From this day forward, I am a joyful slave. My life is not my own. I hold nothing back.
Let us hear the conclusion of the matter. Life is vain if lived for anything other than the One Who gave His life for me. To die is to live. Every day that I live, I will seek to become lower, so that in His eyes, I may become greater.
These are not just words. This is a daily motto. The foundation my life is being built on.
I love my Lord. Join me in seeking to love Him more.
Saturday, June 1, 2013
I came home from church a few weeks ago, plopped down on my bed, and grabbed my journal. In bold letters, I wrote across the top of the page -
I AM DONE.
DONE with self-focus.
DONE with insecurity.
DONE with coming home disappointed and let down.....why? Because the world didn't give their all to make me happy today.
It's the truth - the brutal truth. But I'm selfish. I'm self-focused. And because I'm self-focused, I'm insecure. The 2 always go hand in hand. Always.
It's something I've struggled with ever since I can remember. For years and years, insecurity has been a constant shadow. I've been unhappy with myself, unsure of myself, and painfully aware of myself. I hate it! I despise it. And I'm tired of it.
And so I came home from church, disappointed and disgruntled, and I drew a line in the sand.
I AM DONE WITH SELF-FOCUS. I refuse to live this way any longer.
But the question hung over me like a heavy rain cloud.......
How? How to change? How to live out a new lifestyle when I've known only one way?
I've always heard the nice pat answer.....
"Just think about other people. Get your focus on them. Always be thinking about how you can make them happy."
Great advice. And I tried. I really did. I mustered up all the strength I had (not much, by the way) and gave this others'-focus thing my best shot.
Let's just say it didn't amount to much.
I'm not strong enough yet to keep my focus on other people. I'm not strong enough yet to go into a room of people and think only of them and how to bless them. I wish I was. I believe I will be one day. But I'm not there yet.
So what was I to do?? Discouraged, I bowed my head and turned my heart to the Lord.
And in my hunger for an answer, I believe the Lord spoke.
No, I may not be strong enough yet to live my life with a constant others'-focus.
But I can cling to the Lord. Like a drowning man, groping towards the raft that will hold him afloat. Holding on with every last bit of strength. I can do that.
I can run to Him.....pursue Him......crawl to Him - whatever the day may bring.
I can fix my eyes on Him, as the runner fixes his eyes on the finish line.
And on the days that I am weak, and my will power is trembling, I can call on Him - cry out to Him - knowing that I will hear an answer.
And here the beautiful realization dawned on me. As I let Him fill me, He can love others through me. He can give to others through me. It has nothing to do with me......but everything to do with Him. It's called abiding (John 15). It's called allowing His life to flow through me. It's forsaking my own strength, and falling before Him - empty and ready to be filled.
It's the secret to the victorious Christian life.
It's been a huge lesson. A life-change.
The Lord's answers are my victory.
How thankful I am that we serve a Lord Who answers our cries. He answers the obvious questions. The calls of the sincere. The petitions of the weak. He stoops to hear. But He doesn't stop there. He answers.
It's a precious truth. I serve a Lord Who answers.
Monday, April 29, 2013
It is hard to believe that the filming for the Scripture Talk DVD is now completed!!
It’s a weird mix of emotions…..total relief and excitement, mixed with the inevitable “let down” that comes from having poured your life into one avenue for 6 long months.
Yet there is joy in seeing how very much the Lord accomplished during these past 2 weeks, as we lived nearly every waking moment in our church building (a.k.a. film studio).
Below are several pictures to show a few highlights of our time with filmmaker Alex Lerma and his crew, along with 50 children and several teachers.
The natural question now is “what next??” We’re actually asking the same question over here :), but here is what we know so far.
The next few months will find us in frequent contact with our filmmaker as he systematically works through the hours of footage that he recorded, and sends it over to us for our suggestions and advice in the editing process. There will most likely be 3 drafts of edits completed before the product is finished. The estimated date that the DVD will be ready for printing and distribution is July or August.
Our family has much work to be done on our end as we research the options available to us for distributing the DVD. We would appreciate your prayers as we move into this next step with a whole lot more questions than answers! :)
To God be the glory! He has done great things!
We had all ages of children involved in quoting Scripture for the filming.....the youngest was 2 years, and the oldest was 17 years!
Getting ready for filming......
......And after filming.....relief and elation! :)
Those present at the "film studio" could watch everything that happened on a large screen as footage was being recorded. Sometimes, the kiddos on the screen were so cute that taking a picture was inevitable..... :)
Each Scripture passage had a teaching segment that went with it, explaining how the children could apply it to their lives. Here, the twin team teaches together on 1 Corinthians 13! :)
Yup. We're ready!
Great helpers and friends!
We had an incredible filmmaker and crew....Alex Lerma (middle), along with his assistants Amelia and Micah (second from left, and far right). Working with strong Christians who believed in our project was a huge blessing!
Children of all ages memorizing God's Word - hiding living power in their hearts and minds. What can be more exciting than that??
The Lord has done much work in my heart over this whole process, and I have many thoughts to share.....hopefully these thoughts will make it onto my blog in the not-so-distant future! :)
We serve a good God! What a privilege that we can hide His Word in our hearts and be transformed by His truth!
Friday, March 15, 2013
I have too many thoughts for words today.
Yet I feel it is only by words that I can sort through these thoughts.
This morning, I have been overwhelmed by the same lesson I have learned many times before. Yet each time I learn the lesson, I find that there is another aspect that shines a little more brightly. I internalize that lesson a little more deeply, and process it a little more clearly.
That's why I keep talking about it, and writing about it. There's always more to say. Always more to learn.
This life? It's not my life.
And I say it flippantly at times, almost carelessly. We're all Christians. We all know the pat answers. We know the right things to say, and the right way to say them.
Yet I face myself today, stripping away the lofty words and mindsets. And I admit. I want to run my life. I want it my way. I want to make my own decisions, say my own words, pursue my own dreams.
And I can do that. Any time I want, I can grab those reigns and run away down the path of self-will. I've done it many times before. I've done it recently.
I don't want to live this way. But here's my problem. This "self-resurrection" - it can take a million different forms. That must be why it keeps popping up in my life. It sneaks in before I even recognize it. And I wake up 2 weeks later to find that I am firmly entrenched in the self-willed life once again - yet again.
And yet I do not hesitate to admit. The self-willed life is a miserable life.
This morning, I am proclaiming once again. Here is Christianity. Our Savior died for us. And in return, we die for Him.
And it is here, in this death, that I believe is the only way to victory in Christianity.
Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives. ~ Andrew Murray
The greatness of a man's power is the measure of his surrender. ~ William Booth
The man or woman who is wholly or joyously surrendered to Christ can't make a wrong choice - any choice will be the right one. ~ A.W. Tozer
You become stronger only when you become weaker. When you surrender your will to God, you discover the resources to do what God requires. ~Erwin Lutzer
We do not segment our lives, giving some time to God, some to our business or schooling, while keeping parts to ourselves. The idea is to give all of our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honor and glory of God. That is what the Christian life is all about. ~ RC Sproul
This is becoming the theme of my life. My battle cry. My motto.
It's His life. I live for Him. I live in Him. I live to Him.
I love Him, because He owns my life.
Saturday, March 9, 2013
The Bridges family's latest project!!
The Lord has given us the idea of producing a DVD to help children memorize Scripture with hand motions, and after a year or more of dreaming and planning and praying, we are moving forward!
We've already filmed a small portion of the DVD (a pilot project over the first weekend in February - see pictures below), and the rest of the filming will happen in April.
Interested to learn more? Hop on over HERE to see a 4-minute promotional video, and view more details about the project.
Excited? Great! Help us spread the word!
And most importantly, we covet your prayers as we move forward into this all-encompassing, sometimes-overwhelming, but always exciting! world of film making We are trusting the Lord for His wisdom, and we know that He has given us the mind of Christ.
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." ~ Jer 29:11
Friday, February 22, 2013
If I told you that my experience with an educational online writing community was spiritually impactful and life-changing, would you believe me? Would you ever have guessed that I would walk away from such an experience strengthened in my walk with the Lord?
Yeah, I didn't think so.
Yet when I chose to participate in this writing community last month,** I often found myself faced with daily writing prompts that must have been dropped right out of heaven, straight from the throne of God.
Take prompt #4, for example.
Share one of your favorite quotes. Tell the reader why it is significant, important, or meaningful.
And here is what I wrote. No, not a dutiful writing assignment. Not an educational experience. But a cry, straight from my heart.
I'll admit it. I've gotten tired lately.
I've gotten tired of being different. Tired of trying to answer impossible questions. Tired of standing out, of being stared at, questioned and misunderstood.
This is hard, this being different. I hated it as a child and as a teenager, and that is what led to my rebellion. Deep, dark, mostly hidden - yet still very real. I'm a pleaser. I'll do anything - anything - to make someone else approve of me. But very few did, because we were (are) weird and radical and counter-cultural. So I lived in defiance against my lifestyle for four long years. If things had continued, I would have left home. I am sure of it.
But things did not continue, because there is a God, and He answers prayer, and He has mercy on those who do not deserve it. I surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus Christ, and chose Him as my Master. I turned my back on the world, and opened my arms wide to Him.
I gave Him my all.
But this is a daily decision, not a one time act. And I forgot. I have wavered. I am ashamed to say that my heart has gone back to wanting to please the world. Ditch this being different! Who says I can't fit in??
And then comes prompt - - my favorite quote??
"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." ~Jim Elliot
And my heart is touched as I see so clearly what my eyes, as of late, have been blinded to.
I have tried to keep - to save - my life. He who saves his life shall lose it. I knew that! How could I have forgotten?? I can choose to give what I cannot keep: my life. Or I can attempt to save it, only to find that one day, I will have lost it.
The choice is obvious. There really isn't a choice at all. It has been clearly laid before me - I have chosen once, and I will choose again.
I lay down my life. I die. I pick up my cross. And I follow Him.
Yes, I chose that day. And I choose this day. Each day. I will serve the Lord.
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." ~Luke 9:23-24
**Want more info about the writing community I participated in? Awesome! Go to: http://gentlemanadventurer.org/30-days-of-writing-prompts/
Sunday, February 17, 2013
It occurred to me recently that I have a blog.
It also occurred to me that it has been nearly a year since I have touched my blog.
I then had a brilliant idea.What if I took a few moments to update this neglected blog?
So here I am again. And while I have probably lost every reader that ever happened to be interested in what I had to say.....and while I have no guarantee that I will be more faithful in writing posts this year......I'm glad to be back. I truly have missed writing my "reasons" - although I have never stopped thinking about them or finding them in day-to-day life.
Today's reason is #29. I love my Lord because His faithfulness is GREAT.
It seems like a simple thing. Maybe an obvious fact.
Yet there have been many mornings that I wake up and literally dread my quiet time with the Lord. Because once again - yet again - I have fallen. I have been unfaithful to my Savior. And I am afraid that I have fallen one too many times. That I have somehow reached the limit of His patience and mercy.
It was on one of these mornings that I happened to stumble across Lamentations 3:22-23. How many times had I read this verse before? Yet the words were new - all new - written just for me, and their reality brought instant tears to my eyes.
" It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning:
GREAT is thy faithfulness."
Every morning. I wake up, and His compassion is completely renewed. The supply is full once again. And it will never, never run dry.
How could I ever fully understand the reality of this statement? In a world filled with limits and limitations and limited supply and limited time......
Here is one thing that will never know any limit whatsoever.
I am overwhelmed once again by the fact that my God is deeper than my thoughts could ever grasp. My God is greater than my words could ever describe. And my God is bigger than my words could ever contain.
Yet I am glad to be in this place, once again, struggling to describe an indescribable God. Grappling with a way to thank Him for His goodness and beauty and love.
I love my Lord because His faithfulness is GREAT.