Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Letter to an Addict

*This past Sunday and Monday The Navigators hosted a Sexual Health and Wholeness Conference out in Colorado. Unfortunately, I didn't get to attend in person, but I did watch a good portion of the live streaming. Ironically, the Lord has been placing quite a few young ladies in my life recently dealing with lust, sexual immorality, and the like (pornography, masturbation, same-sex attraction, etc). It seems like this happens in seasons, where God just dumps a bunch in my lap all at once, and I'm not going to lie, I kind of love it (the fact they all pop out of the woodwork at once, not the fact that they are struggling). And it just so happens that with God's perfect timing, after listening to Michael Cusick (counselor, author, speaker, and president of Restoring the Soul Ministry) talk about his story and give lots of helpful advice on how to deal with sexual addiction, I received an e-mail from one such lady, and what follows came mostly from my reply to her.

Dear child of the King,

Jesus loves you. He sees you in your deepest, darkest hour, but yet He still chooses you. He knows the worst about you, but sees the best in you. There is hope. Jesus meets you in the broken places and brings resurrection, hope, freedom, and joy. This is the first step in a journey with many steps. You're not just changing a behavior... you're becoming a new creation! You are holy, blameless, forgiven, adopted, chosen, loved, victorious, clean, reconciled, blessed, and NEW in Christ (Check out Ephesians 1)! When you begin to see who you really are in Christ, you can begin to live the life that He has for you.

Imagine a year from now, five years from now. What do you imagine it would look like if you were whole; if you were free? What would it look like for Jesus to be using your story, your struggles, to bring healing and freedom to others?

Go deeper than the behavior when thinking about how to combat this sin. Yes, you are acting out. But WHY? Triggers and circumstances can be a good place to start, but they aren't the end goal. WHY, deep down, are you acting out these behaviors? As humans we are always asking: “How can I get to a place where it is well with my soul?” Every idol promises that it will make it well with my soul... that's really what this sin is... an idol. Satan is lying to you and telling you that it will make it well with your soul, and so you run after it. Satan wins when he can get us distracted from God by worshipping other idols. And then he wins again when he can get us to feel shame about it. But GOD WINS when we turn to Him and make Him central in our lives. He wins when we can stand naked and unashamed before Him and allow Him to sing over us, to call us beloved. He wins when we repent from worshiping idols and turn the other way- “Jesus please forgive me for worshipping that idol.” And He DOES! He forgives us the first time we ask! Beating ourselves up is offensive to God because He already beat up his son for us. So believe that you are forgiven, believe that you are loved, and start walking in the other direction! 

Some questions to think, journal, and pray through:
  • Right now God feels _____________ toward me or with me. (Why do you think that?)
  • How do I feel about myself in regards to this struggle?
  • How's my heart? My inner being? My soul?
  • How am I trying to make it "well with my soul" when I am going to this behavior?
  • What might God be doing in me through this struggle?
  • What makes my heart come alive?
  • What do I need right now?
  • What are my deepest desires, and how does this behavior relate to them? Does it fulfill those desires?
  • What are my triggers? 
  • What are the lies I believe when I am by myself?

  •     To get you started- here are 4 core lies that addicts often believe- 
    1.  I am basically a bad or unworthy person ( I don't measure up, I’m not good enough)
    2. No one would love me as I am
    3. My needs won’t be met by depending on others
    4. ______________ is my most important need (fill in blank with sin or addiction)

Remember: it's all about a relationship... and it is a spiritual war for your soul. God wants you to be wholehearted for Him and satan will do whatever he can to get you to be half-hearted. 

Suit up! Since this is a war, you need to be properly protected and prepared. Go through the armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-18 and pray through each specific piece of armor - "Lord, I am putting on the belt of truth today. Give me the strength to believe your truth and not the lies of the enemy. Help me realize when I am given lies and protect me from believing them." etc. 

Jesus specializes in redemption. His heart beats for you to be made clean and new. He yearns for you to come to Him just as you are. Run to Him. HE LOVES YOU!

From one redeemed child to another,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Guest Post: Created by the Creator of Beauty

Editor's Note: I know Caitlin Elmore from EDGE Corps... we met out in Colorado at training back in May and have definitely been "social media" friends since- inspired by each others blogs, instagrams, etc! She serves at the University of Akron. (That's in Ohio... don't worry, I had to google it too) and has something like a bajillion siblings. Caitlin blogs over at  Engraved. Her blog is deep, silly, snarky, and filled with DIY, music, and life. She recently asked me to do a "10 Things I am Loving Right Now" post for her... make sure and check it out (after reading her post of course)! Without further ado, I am SO excited for you all to read this... it's a real gem! - HB


So when I was asked to write this I panicked a little bit. In a good way. I just could not figure out what to write on...a lot of things make me tick! Gold glitter, Beyonce, knitting, kittens, infinity scarves...

But in all seriousness, I feel pretty passionate about a lot of things and I was having trouble deciding what to write this precious guest post on. And then, I was scrolling through Hellogiggles this morning and one of the headlines stuck out: Creating the “Perfect” Man. What? This seemed out of character for their site. I had to know.

So I click on it and there is this hilarious picture of Viggo Mortensen with all these photoshopped body parts and such. Ah, I’ll just show you: here. The picture was in response to an article from Men’s Health magazine. Based on the passion stirring up in my heart, I knew I had to write about this.

I am about to tell you a dumb story about high school.  It’s 2005 and I am 15 years old. Every year in marching band we would have silly awards for our class. That year I won “Best Butt”... which some of the guys in my class took as an open door to make comments.  They never said anything mean... they were honestly trying to flatter me. But I was 15, growing into a new body, and very uncomfortable with the attention my body was getting. I was born into a family of women with child-bearing hips. I am what magazines called “Pear shaped.” When puberty hit and things started changing, I noticed, but now I knew that other people did too.

I was also a dancer at the time which meant that I was in a leotard and tights three to four days a week. Standing in front of a giant mirror. With ten other girls and their unique body types. It was then that I became an active player of what I like to call “The Comparison Game.” And now, with the comments the guys were making at school, all I could look at during ballet class was my giant butt (I wore a 4...) and how wrong my body was.

This is not the first time I struggled with body image. And this was definitely not the first thing to put the idea in my head that I had to look a certain way, but it’s a very vivid, awkward, and sometimes painful reminder that like most women, this is a deep issue in my heart that goes way back.
Honestly, I can’t handle that Men’s Health article. And I really can’t handle the picture that accompanied it. But I will say, I was encouraged to see comments from men saying the article was inappropriate, offensive to women, and offensive to MEN. So kudos guys. You rock.

Who has seen the Dove beauty campaign ads? While the campaign itself could be controversial based on conflicting messages from Dove and their media team, I do really enjoy the ads. This one in particular:

Ok so the “he” in the video is this young man who apparently has a crush on Amy. But what if Amy is us (because she is, isn’t she? Quick: name twelve things wrong with your appearance.) and “he” is God.

So, I’m not going to talk about how we need to show more “average girls” on tv or how “curvy is beautiful.” Yeah those things are true, BUT if I am going to claim to be a daughter of the King, then I am not going to tell you that you are beautiful because you have “real” curves, but because YOU ARE ALSO A DAUGHTER (or son) OF THE KING. We are beautiful because we were created, beautifully and wonderfully, by the creator of beauty.

To our Father’s sorrow, we chose to redefine beauty. And we’ve kind of gotten to a point where those redrawn definitions of beauty and perfection are just accepted, even among Christian women.

I would look better if I lost 10 pounds. My skin is too white. I have cellulite on my thighs. My hair doesn’t ever look right. These are all lies. And they aren’t limited to appearance. I am too loud. I am too quiet. No one thinks I’m funny. No one wants to be around me. If I were just more gentle. If I were just more bold.

Stop. Breathe.
What does God say?

“All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” - Song of Songs 4:7

“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your Lord.” - Psalm 45:11

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” - Ecclesiastes 3:11

“God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” - Genesis 1:31

Honestly, this is just scratching the surface of why we are perfect in Christ. We are beautiful (men and women included) and we are worth SO MUCH MORE than society has led us to believe.

Because I believe strongly in applications, I will leave you with a list of things that you can do to start to reverse the effects lies about beauty have had on your heart.

  1. Stop filling your mind with junk. You be the judge of what is “junk” and what is harmful for your heart, but here are some quick examples. Beauty and women’s interest magazines, music videos, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show, The Bachelor, A LOT of movies. I am not saying that you are bad for watching movies and tv shows, but if you are really struggling and want to be really serious about focusing your heart on truth, get rid of the junk that feeds the lies.
  2.  Fight with truth. Write down every lie you are believing and everything that is “wrong” with you. Now get out your Bible and do some serious reading (and some serious praying). For every lie your wrote down, find a truth that proves it wrong.
  3. Take care of yourself. I don’t mean counting calories, and dieting and exercising excessively. I mean finding clothing that is modest and makes you feel beautiful in the right way. Also, staying active in any capacity that will give you energy, keep you healthy, and give you a more positive outlook.
  4. Find a network of encouragement. Are you interacting with a group of people who tear you down or build you up in things other than truth? Get out of there. Solid Christian community will build you up in the right ways. Also, seek accountability. Find a woman (or if you are a man, a man) who you can tell everything to and (this is key) who will speak to you truthfully.
  5. Incorporate some cheesiness into your life. Leave a love letter from God next to your mirror. Let Scripture remind you who you really are in Christ.
  6. Most importantly, spend time with your Father. Who better to remind you of your worth than the one who deemed you worthy enough to come into existence? Focus on your identity in Christ. Focus on what is true and good.

You guys, we are beautiful. We are so beautiful. God calls us lovely. He calls us his beloved. He did not intend for us to operate out of these lies of unworthiness. “Finally, brothers [and sisters] whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable –if anything is excellent or praiseworthy– think about such things.” - Philippians 4:8

I wish I had pages and pages to talk further on this issue. This post doesn’t even begin to go deep enough, but I hope it was at least an encouragement to you. You are in no way alone in your struggle with body and self image.

I will leave you with this song. What a powerful message of truth! 

Live Loved (because that’s what they say here and I think it’s super awesome),

Friday, February 22, 2013

Children Drop Your Chains and Sing

Last night Tenth Avenue North came to town, and although they have great music, they have even better teaching! Mike Donehey, the lead singer is basically a traveling preacher, with all his concert-goers being his church. This man speaks truth with such passion, you can't help but let it change you. He even got down into the crowd and stood on the chairs at one point [as shown below]. So naturally, at a concert, I took notes! :)

Mike challenged us to have at least one relationship in which we are getting nothing back- one relationship where we are doing all the pouring out, and there's no way the person can or will repay us. He argued that this is how others will know we are followers of Jesus... by loving with no return on our love. People will see our love and it will point them to Jesus, who first loved us. They will say 'You're not getting anything out of this exchange' and then we can say 'Yeah, I know. It's what Jesus did for me and I can't help myself.'

100% of Christian action is simply reaction.

Mike also talked a lot about the gospel- how it allows neither sniveling or swagger- "When you really believe the gospel, it robs you of your right to be miserable and it robs you of your right to think more highly of yourself than other. When we really believe God's love for us, we can't think highly of ourselves or low of ourselves... we just think of ourselves less."

Mike ended with talking about his story- how he broke his back in high school in a car accident and that's when he started to learn how to play guitar- when he was on his back for 2 months. It was so cool to hear him talk about pain and struggle and our circumstances. One line that really caught my ear was this- "the pain between the pictures." He was talking about how although he could have albums filled with hundreds of pictures of happy smiling memories, it was the events that happened between all those photographical moments that really shaped him and that he is really grateful for today- the pain between the pictures. He talked about how often we pray for the hard times to go away, for everything to be easy. But God responds- "It's not your circumstances that need to change, it's you."

I'd like to end with a few lines from their song, The Struggle:
We are free to struggle
We're not struggling to be free
Your blood bought and makes us children
So children drop your chains and sing

P.S. If you haven't read yet about how Tenth Avenue North inspired the "live loved" sign-off, you can check it out here. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Weekend Wrap-Up

It's been awhile since I've done a Weekend Wrap-Up... and it feels good to be back! :) Hope you lovelies all had a wonderful weekend... what better way to end it by enjoying some tunes, inspiration, craftiness, and a sweet reminder about who's really in charge... as well as a yummy, easy treat!




1. Buy Bulletin Board
2. Buy cute scrapbook paper at a craft store [I got mine at Michaels]
3. Paint the border of your board so it's not that cheap wood look
4. Arrange your paper, and staple!


Check out this portion from "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young on January 31st:
I am your strength and shield. I plan out each day and have it ready for you, long before you arise from bed. I also provide the strength you need each step of the way. Instead of assessing your energy level and wondering about what's on the road ahead, concentrate on staying in touch with Me. My Power flows freely into you through our open communication. Refuse to waste energy worrying, and you will have strength to spare.


[image here]

You must try this delicious appetizer! I made it for New Years, as well as for a little get together with some friends a couple weeks ago. Click here for the recipe! It's super simple and has been a hit!

There's still a bit of time left in the weekend... go out there and make it count!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Guest Post: If God is Love, I think Jesus is Justice

Editor's Note: I'm so excited to introduce our very first guest post! Let's begin the journey to see what makes people tick! Today's post is by Laura Turner. She will be graduating from UWEC this summer with an Organizational Communication degree and a self-made minor in Community Development. Laura's main passions are discipleship/Bible teaching and social justice. Before she came to college she went to a one year Bible school program through Torchbearers in Germany and will be returning for two years come fall to be the female RA to encourage the students and build Godly community. She's a dreamer and sharing about those dreams is her favorite hobby. - HB

If God is Love, I think Jesus is Justice

Why we cannot re-define Justice to our own understanding (and must be aware of falling prey to our relativity-obsessed society) and the crucial significance of our knowledge of Christ shaping what we do, never the other way around.


“An Idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, – ‘ If I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.” Tim Keller

I wonder if soon I am headed to a point where I would ditch Jesus for “justice”. “Justice” in quotes because, really what is justice without Jesus? I am so angered by the sex industry: Apathy of the church in taking a stand and the fact that there are millions of girls around the world that are servicing (the nice way to put it) 20 men a night. Every night. They have no love, no home and seemingly no hope. What do I do as I feel this pain so deeply? It makes the most sense to just go out and end it at any cost! I’m tempted to ignore prayer and searching the scriptures because of my urgency to end the problem! At any cost. But I praise You that I’m so intertwined, Your love is so written on my heart that truly, somehow I know there is no justice without Jesus. Justice. True justice. It’s what only God can bring. It is justice that causes freedom for all involved, not just the ones I deem to be oppressed.

Oh how He loves us. That “WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS (hostile, evil, haters of God, haters of good, desirous of death) CHRIST DIED FOR US.” Romans 5:8. The Lord in His divine love that is solely of Him, saves the trafficker and the trafficked in the exact same way. He saves them from the oppression of sin and death. What death to the soul, spirit, mind, heart and body have the traffickers experienced? They have not lived. They have not experienced God or at least they have not let themselves experience hope of His love. But, Oh How He loves us. Seeing the plight of each man without comparing one to another, without counting his own sin that he did to others and to God against him, but saves him, cradles him, rescues him, redeems him, changes him, washes him clean and carries him home all the same. What weeping in joy and praise there will be from the trafficker who comes to know love that covers all- “Amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now am found, was blind, but now I see.”*

Praise Our Great God. I still pray that He saves the girls tortured and living in death in sex slavery, and most of me wishes evil upon the oppressors. But by Christ He has opened my eyes so I can see my sin in His light.

Lord, forgive me. Heal my heart. May I never choose “justice” over you, because I don’t believe your goodness, your power, your proactivity in redeeming the world. For you are much more active than me, You are the only one who can stop evil and redeem what was broken and dead. You go farther than me in redeeming the oppressor as well as the oppressed. My heart is so much smaller than yours. “For your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are My ways you ways,” declares the LORD, “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so are My ways above your ways, and My thoughts above your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

This is one tiny fraction of what the LORD is doing in this world to further His kingdom and His love. He is gracious to deal with each of us as we need. There is much more to the story God is writing on my heart as well. Thanks for reading.

For more information on sex trafficking, visit exoduscry.com

* (John Newton wrote these words to Amazing Grace-after he gave his life to Christ and left his job as a slave-ship captain)

Friday, February 8, 2013

Interior Inspiration: Collections

I've been feeling rather inspired lately in the realm of interior decor. I'm loving all these bright colors against plain walls... it really makes all the fun pieces in the room pop! Collected rooms are so much more fun than decorated ones! 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

'Tis the Season for Change

Like clockwork, around the new year I always get antsy to start new things, change things up, take risks, and lay it all out there. However, I usually reign myself in because ideas haven't been thoroughly processed, people consulted, or questions asked. So it just so happens, that about a month or two later I actually start doing all those thoughts that were rolling around in the old noggin as the ball dropped weeks earlier.

All that being said, you may have noticed some changes around here at "The Things That Make Us Tick." KC will be dipping out and I [HB] will be the main writer. The vision of the blog is changing too, and I hope that you will not only come along with me on this adventure, but that you will bring your friends too!

I'm going to be inviting guest bloggers to write about the things that make them tick... whether it be adoption or weddings, organization or music. So keep your eyes open for lots of inspiration, passion, and love!  I'll be opening the floor for submissions in a bit... I have some lovelys in mind that will be starting us off. As of yet, not much has been implemented, but I hope to be slowly weeding things out and adding things in over the weeks and months to come. If you have any sweet ideas, drop me a line.

I'll still be chronicling my journey with EDGE Corps, as well as using this as a personal, lifestyle blog. SO... join me? :)

A little bit of passion inspiration to get things rolling:

Monday, February 4, 2013

Wing it

So naturally, I'm a planner. Every and any personality test I've taken has told me that. I will tell you that. You'd better believe that my staff team will tell you that. But sometimes it's nice to wing it.

The extremely cheesy, cliche, oh-so-terribly-teen saying, YOLO [you only live once] actually has some truth to it. Besides the fact that you do only live once on this earth, in this body, it also speaks to how preciously short life is. Now please don't hear me saying I think we should all go out and party it up while we still can. No. Just that life is short, and so why not take risks? Why not go for it? I feel like Jesus was a risk-taker. He knew how short this life is, and that you only get one shot at it. [Well... unless you are Him]. But He was willing to go out of His way, willing to disrupt any "schedule" that He may have had, in order to love people better.

So, if you are a type-A planner like I am, why not wing it sometimes? Why not take a risk today, this week? Do something out of the ordinary, go out of your way to love. Disrupt your schedule, get out of your comfort zone. Wing it.

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