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Come to the Inkwell

"And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye should never be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 2 Peter 1:5-8

Hello Again

I know it has been a while. Almost a year, to be exact. I suppose much of my readership has died off by now, but the urge to write has hit once more. I have meant to write in these past months, but I suppose I haven’t found the time. In the past year I have started charter school and college, a much different pace from my traditional homeschooling norm. My school load quickly went from a maximum of 3 hours to a minimum of 7. 12-14 hour days of school and homework became pretty normal pretty quick. I haven’t really had time to do anything I enjoy, I haven’t picked up my guitar in months (camp was the last time I played my guitar), I don’t knit or crochet or embroider anymore. I don’t read or write anything recreational anymore. I got a book for my birthday and I haven’t even opened it yet. Obviously my blog suffered. I used to have so much time to devote to my devotions, I could read and journal for at least an hour or two, I would have pages and pages of journaling. I love to journal. I love to write. But I simply don’t have the time anymore, and it took a long time for me to be okay with that. Even now, as I write this post I have homework that I could be doing. There is always homework I could be doing. But right now, I figured I would just write. It has been almost a year since I have just gotten to write, and so today, and hopefully more often, I will be posting.

I suppose this is just a quick update for now. Until next time,

Walk in His victory,

 

Mikaylea

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“Life is Life”

“Life is Life”

That is the saying of a friend of mine. And yes, it is true. Life is life. 

I haven’t posted in several months, and for that I apologize. But, my dear readers, life is life.

My world has drastically changed in the past few months. Pain and suffering have permeated my loved ones. Death has paid some visits. Life goes on.

In the midst of life, trials, tribulations, God offers fresh perspective. I know mine has changed much.

Tragedy has never really been super prevalent in my life. I have been blessed to have not dealt with as much grief as others have.

But I suppose I could not continue in that for long.

Background:

I have been blessed to have come to know a wonderful family in the past year. This family moved to town last year, next door to my aunt. (Check out Lane’s mom, Bethany’s blog at chargingthemountain.com) Shortly thereafter, they found out that their 3 year old daughter, Lane, had cancer. Rhabdomyosarcoma, to be specific. I began to be more involved with them, taking care of the other kids while she had treatments, etc. It was a long, hard thing. She is just 2 weeks older than my little sister. That hit pretty close to home. But we got through it. She’s a fighter. She won. Fast forward to March 2016.

It was back.

She had been cancer free for 3 months, and relapsed. Her December scans showed 3 little tumors.

There is no hope”

Ladies and gentleman, there is always hope.

Jesus is hope, let me tell you. He has opened and closed doors, He has brought people together, and He is with that sweet little 6 year old. He is good. Regardless of the outcome of all of this.

HE IS GOOD.

But it is still a hard thing for me. I cannot even imagine what it is like for all of them.

On top of this, my cousin lost her fight with cancer. I wasn’t super close with her, but seeing my family hurting was really difficult for me. And I still had memories of her, she was still my family. That was difficult.

Then my great aunt, both in relation and awesomeness, was diagnosed with diffused large B-cell lymphoma.

That was a huge blow. I am very close to her. She is an amazing godly woman, let me tell you. I have had the privilege and responsibility of taking care of her after her treatments. It has been a lot of work, and it is tiring, but I do so enjoy spending time with her. Helping her. Reading her old, tattered, marked-up NASB Bible to her. I will always treasure my time with her.

And then three days after her diagnosis, a little boy that my brother knew was killed. 8 years old, and he was riding his bike, and he was hit by a car. He died instantly.

That was the hardest funeral I have ever been to.

But you know what?

God is still good.

Even though sometimes it feels like life is crumbling around me, He is still good. Even when I can do nothing but cry myself to sleep while praying, crying out to Him, He is good. Where there is death, He is good. Where there is suffering, He is good.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” 

Read that underlined portion again.

You see, when Lane relapsed, when my cousin Michelle died, when my aunt Linda was diagnosed, when little Phillip died, God was there. And it is suffering. It hurts. But that isn’t even worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us. It isn’t even worthy of comparison. There is nothing so bad in this world, in this life, that God does not have glory that goes beyond it. His will is perfect. His ways are perfect. He is glorious.

Regardless of any pain or suffering, He is good. I know how cliché that probably sounds, but I am serious. He is good.

He is sovereign. Whether He takes life or gives it, that is His prerogative, and I trust Him in that. If there is life, He is to be praised. If there is death, He is to be praised. Through pain and darkness, praise the name of Jesus Christ, God Almighty, the Lord of all creation.

He’s been changing my perspective in all of this. He’s shown me His goodness, yes. But I want you to ponder this, really ponder it:

Life is Short.

Read it again. Think about it. Ponder it.

Life is Short.

It is so short. It really is. As the Bible says in the book of James, it is but a vapor.

Life is too short to live in restraint.

Let me explain what I mean by that.

I don’t mean run around and do whatever you want, living like a heathen.

But live. Love. Laugh. 

Don’t worry about what people are going to think about you. They probably think you’re weird already, you might as well be weird for the right reasons. Be a “Jesus Splasher”, as a friend of mine says. Splash some Jesus wherever you go. Shine His light. Proclaim the Gospel with your life, and with your words. Live in the will of the very one who conceived you. He created you, He holds your life in His hands. Daniel 5 says He holds your very breath in His hands. Live like it. Seek His face. Don’t seek His hand and what He can give. Don’t pray a shopping list. Seek the face of God. Listen.

Don’t fear. Life is too short to live in fear. Give it to Jesus.

If you love someone, tell them. Show them. There may not be a tomorrow to do so. Yesterday is over, don’t live in it. Tomorrow isn’t promised. Carpe diem. Seize the day. Live in the now. Hug your loved ones a little tighter and a little more. Tell them you love them. Don’t worry about petty disagreements. Move on. Love without abandon.

Take some time to laugh. Life can be serious, but come on. Laugh a little. Find someone that makes you laugh. Laughter is good medicine. For reals. There is very little that is better than being in the company of one that lights up your life with laughter. Treasure that.

 

Life isn’t about you. We are selfish, or at least, I am. But you know what? Life is not about me. Life is about 2 things: God, and others. Live like it. It is not all about you. Selfishness hurts you just as much as it hurts others. Get over yourself.

I have been blessed to have made a new friend through all of this, and I have grown closer to my loved ones.

Life really is short. And I want to spend every second that I have to the best of my ability. I want to glorify God. I want to demonstrate love. I want to serve others. God help me.

My perspective has definitely been molded in the past few months.

It is good to be alive. 

God is good. All the time. 

Life is Short. 

 

Walk in His Victory,

Mikaylea

Seasons of Life

I haven’t written in a while, and I hope you all will forgive me. In the past 6 weeks, we have moved out of our apartment, moved to my Grandma’s basement, and moved back into our apartment.

Our apartment complex is undergoing a rehab, a remodel, so we had to move out and move back in. They will be remodeling our complex for the next few months.

For those of you who don’t know me, there are 8 kids in my family. Only 6 of us live at home still, but we live in a 3 bedroom, 900 sq. foot apartment. We have lived here 11 years.

That many people accumulate a lot of stuff over 11 years! I had no idea how much stuff we had until we had to pack it all up, and move it.

We have finally moved back into our apartment, and will be settling in for the time being.

Through all of this, God has definitely been stretching me in many ways. Throughout the year, I attend a Bible study that is a discipleship program known as Youth Leadership. This is what enables me to work at Cocolalla Lake Bible Camp. Youth Leadership is an incredible thing that God has used in my life to work tremendously.

There have been so many changes, and they’re hard. Youth Leadership is different, and I don’t know what all the changes will entail. A few of my friends graduated, so now I am the 2nd oldest. I have moved into more of a leadership/mentor-ship position.

I am now leading worship, leading a prayer group, and mentoring several girls. I will admit, I am scared. I can’t do this on my own, and I know that. Oh do I know that. It is a scary thing to be responsible. But by God’s grace, His will shall be accomplished. I pray that He uses me to lead others in worship through song, in prayer in His name, and to mentor my girls in His Word.

All of this has been a bit of a rough transition for me. But I will tell you this; God is gracious. He definitely gives more grace! I am a faulty human being, but I have been made anew by His grace. In His son, I am a new creature. So though I am faulty, He still works in my life!

Can you believe the marvelous grace of God?

Though I am a sinner, the chiefest of such, a wretched being, He still gives me grace. He has never given up on me. Though I have given up on Him at times, He has never given up on me. I know He who has called me by name is faithful, and I am so thankful.

I can’t even begin to explain to you the thankfulness I hold for my Savior. To know that He would save me by His excruciating death and Resurrection, and then give me all that He has? Wow. I cannot begin to fathom the grace of God. It is so true, what Paul says in 1 Corinthians, that the “Foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men… But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the wise things of the world to confound the mighty.”

For this I am thankful. He is so awesome, isn’t He?

On a different note, I have decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. That month is November. The challenge is to write a manuscript of 50,000 words in a month.

I have taken the challenge, and I am currently outlining my novel that I plan to write. Pray for me that God would give me the words, the discipline, and the grace to share His greatness.

Well that is it for my update… So for now,

Walk in HIS Victory!

Mikaylea O’Brien

Warrior

Warrior

 

A.W. Tozer once said this: “Prayer is not in itself meritorious. It lays God under no obligation, nor puts Him in debt to any. He hears prayer simply because He is good, and for no other reason. “

What is prayer, really? 

The Webster’s dictionary defines prayer as “the act or practice of addressing a divinity”. But how do we pray? Do we truly recognize that we are addressing THE divine God of the universe? Do we really recognize who we are praying to?

I don’t think we do. 

Modern Christianity has reduced prayer to little more than a bedtime “now I lay me down to sleep,” or a quick ‘blessing’ over a meal. When did we lose sight of true prayer? When did we lose sight of an intimate communion with God?

Unfortunately, we have lost sight of prayer. When we do ‘pray’, We do not pray, we petition; and that is all. We make demands of God, we lose sight of the fact that He is God, the divine Lord of all. He is not ‘the man upstairs’, or a bigger version of us in the sky; He is God. He is justice and mercy, love and compassion, wrath and holiness; He is God.

We forget that we do not pray to change God, for God never changes. Prayer is not to change God, it is to change us.

I love the hymn, Sweet Hour of Prayer. What would it be like, if an hour of prayer was normal? These days, if you pray for more than 10 minutes, you must be some crazy fanatic. If you pray for an hour, you must be insane. How could you pray for an hour?

I pose this question:

How is it different from talking to your best friend for an hour? You will talk to your friends for hours, but you will not give God 10 minutes. Why?

I’m not innocent, by the way. I don’t pray nearly as much as I should. Yes, I pray constantly through the day, but there is a difference between just praying, and completely devoting a chunk of time to praying. 

It’s hard to ‘find’ time to devote solely to God. Honestly, it is. Why? Because we are prideful. We don’t make the time, because it isn’t truly the number one priority. You make time for what is important to you. When you say you don’t have time, you are lying to yourself. You do, you just want to use it for something else; something less important. When something is not of the number 1 importance, you do not find time, you find an excuse.

Where are the prayer warriors? Who will be the ones to pray, and pray with fervor; with purpose? Why do we find it awkward to pray aloud, or for lengthened periods of time? How have we come from the days of Paul the apostle, who prayed always, and with fervor; how have we come from that, to ‘bless the bunch as we crunch the lunch amen’?

 

We no longer understand true fellowship with God. We do not pray, we petition. There is nothing wrong with petitioning God; but we need to do more than just talk. We need to listen. 

Prayer is more than talking to God, it is listening to God. We do not listen to God! We know what He has to say, and we ignore it. We seek out truth because it makes us look good, but we do nothing with that truth. It goes right over our heads. We ignore God. We talk to Him, but we ignore Him when He talks to us.

How can we treat God this way? He has done so much for us. He who holds our very breath in His hands, He is the one we ignore. Why?

Pride. 

Pride is a very powerful thing. It is the premise for all false doctrine, it is the root of sin.

How can you tell when something is wrong? Where does the pride lie? Does God hold the glory, or does man?

Where will we place our affections? Will we ask God to enable us to be more wholly devoted to Him, or will we continue in our own selfish pride?

Will we ask Him, Lord, teach us to pray?

 

Walk in HIS Victory, 

Mikaylea O’Brien

A Loving Motivation

A loving motivation

 

I am going to come right out and say it: I hate swimming. 

I’m not joking. I absolutely despise being wet. Swimming is (usually) in no way fun for me. Now when I was a kid, I loved water. I was always in the water, my parents called me a fish, I went to swim camps, swam on a  ‘team’, etc. I loved to swim. I don’t really know what happened, but about a year ago, I lost the joy I had in swimming. I don’t like it, and I avoid it as much as possible now.

But there is something that motivates you to do things you do not like.

Love motivates you to sacrifice your happiness for someone else’s. 

My best friend loves to swim. I mean, he absolutely loves it. And you know what? During summer camp, I had zero intentions of swimming. ZERO. You couldn’t catch me in that nasty lake if I was dead. Like, literally, if I was dead, I would’ve fought you. There was not a chance on the earth that I was going to get in that water above my ankles.

But love motivates you to do things that make you uncomfortable for someone else’s happiness. 

But when your best friend wants to go swimming, and you have nothing better to do, and you both just want to hang out, and your best friend can beg like nobody’s business; by golly, you’re going swimming.

At first I denied it, I would only get my feet wet. But he was ecstatic that I was even going down to the lake.  As soon as we got there (there were 7 of us), I was quickly ensued into going a little deeper. Before I knew it, I was up to my knees.

Then my waist.

Then my chest.

I just won’t get my hair wet.” I told myself. Yeah right.

After numerous threats of dunking me under, I finally decided to just surface dive. I was swimming. 

I didn’t necessarily enjoy the swimming itself, but I enjoyed being silly with my best friend. A few other friends were there, and we all had a good time. We had water fights, and we practically acted like maniacs; but we had a good time. I had fun, not because I was swimming, but because people I loved were having fun. 

Then my best friend called my mom and asked if our family would come to their lake property for a day. I was excited that we would hang out, but again, I really hate swimming. 2 other families came up as well, and we had a blast. We went swimming for hours, we went tubing, boating, water-skiing, and knee-boarding. It was actually a lot of fun!

Sometimes having fun does not pertain to the activity you are participating in, but to the people you are participating with. 

All in all, I learned that when I see my best friend smile over something, or another friend get excited, it makes me happy. Not because I particularly enjoy the activity, but because I enjoy them, and their company.

Love is making sacrifices. Sure, this is just a small example; perhaps even a childish one. But I know this:

I had the opportunity to make myself extremely uncomfortable in order to bring my best friend joy, and I took it. I was not comfortable, at all, but it enabled me to participate in my friends’ happiness and excitement.

Love is about sacrifices. Not all sacrifices are big. Love is about the sacrifice itself, not the size of it. Yes, it was a simple and small sacrifice in comparison to others, but that’s okay. It’s a start isn’t it?

In a previous post I spoke of teenagers and love. I think this is a good example. I know that I love my friends, I truly love them. Yes, my sacrifices are smaller than that of an adult; but they are still sacrifices. They are still demonstrations of love.

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Corinthians 13 (KJV)

I love that the King James Version uses the word ‘charity’, because it demonstrates that love must be an action carried out, and it is not something we necessarily feel. I tell my siblings, “I may not always like you, but I will always love you.” It’s true. Love does not have to do with liking someone. I get irritated, or angry, but that does not change the fact that I love them, and I always will.

If Jesus loved us how modern day people think of love, we would be in a boatload of trouble. 

Seriously. If He had anything but the sacrificial, perfect love that He has for us, we wouldn’t have salvation. Where would the sacrifice come from? God requires a perfect sacrifice, and if Jesus had nothing but ooey gooey ‘love’, He would not have died. If He had not truly loved us, we would’ve had no chance at salvation.

Instead, God demonstrated His love toward us. He demonstrated it. It was an action He took, not something He felt. It wasn’t even for someone who was perfect, deserving of His love. No, it was for wretched sinners.

“For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person, one would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7 ESV)

But He died for sinners. Dirty, wretched, evil, sinners. He came to save the lost and undone. He sacrificed His life, He left heaven to come down to earth, to die for sinners. 

But He didn’t just die; that’s the amazing part. He arose from the dead. He endured immense suffering and ridicule, just so we (those who are saved by His amazing sacrifice) could love and serve Him. He died so we would be made free from sin and death, and move into His glory.

So you know what? This is where my favorite verse comes into play.

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (KJV)

Our sacrifices, our sufferings, though they seem awful now, are not even worthy to be compared to the glory we will soon see. Wow. The extent of our worst sufferings are not even worthy to be compared with His glory. Wow.

What an incredible truth. I am so blessed to be His bond-servant.

Walk in HIS Victory,

Mikaylea O’Brien

A Mediocre Faith

A mediocre faith

This blog post is dedicated to all of my amazing friends who continually uplift me in my relationship with Christ Jesus. I thank you for your friendship, wisdom, and love for Him. I love you all so very much. 

Today, I really realized how much I miss the depth of working at camp. I miss diving into the Word of God with my close friends, I miss their love for Him and His Word… I miss seeing the depth of their faith.

It is a bittersweet thing, the rarity of their character. While it is sweet because it is a precious gift from God, it is also bitter because few others share it. Mediocre Christianity is not something I want, but it is something I am around. In churches today, there are very few who have more than mediocre faith. I do not understand how these people can get by without being close to God. I’m not perfect. I have my ups and downs, and sometimes, I have very little faith. But I cannot climb the mountains of life without Christ. Sure, it may seem easy to walk through the easy times, but honestly, without Christ, there is no such thing as an easy time.

I see these people in the world, claiming to be Christians, and I cannot help but wonder; How do they do it? How can they get through life with such a low dependence on God?

There are a few different things about faith. There is no faith, little faith, and great faith. I aspire to have great faith. I pray that God would grant me such faith, that in His sovereignty He would allow me to truly know Him. What would it be like to truly be close to God?

I mean, so close to Him, and so sensitive to His Spirit that you are used in ways you cannot fathom, and you KNOW He has done these great works.

I miss the depth of my friends. The preciousness they hold for Jesus, and the things of God will always encourage me. These people love Jesus, And you know it.  When I am around them, I know God uses them in great ways to grow me. I miss that growth, that closeness, that full dependence on God. I miss our Bible study times! Even when we were so tired we could barely read the words on the page, God still used that to teach us something. Well, He taught me something. I don’t know about everyone else, but God used those little times, those few hours a day when we would study together, to grow me in ways I didn’t know were possible.

God is so good. He has allowed me to have so much, not just in the respect of friends, but He has given me such grace and peace. God is so good to me. I do not deserve even breath, Daniel 5 says that “He is the one who holds your breath in His hands.” He has the power over my very breath, my essence of life, and yet He allows me to live.

And not only does He allow me to live, but He allows me such fullness and joy. I am so blessed of God. He has given me such peace, and He has been teaching me so much about joy. God is so gracious to not have only allowed me life, but He gave me salvation. Wow. He saved me from a bottomless ocean of death, He breathed life into my lungs, and He gave me salvation. Not of works that I had done, but by His mercy and grace. But He didn’t stop there either. No, He gave me a family, of both friends and family, to walk through this life with. People to encourage me, and for me to do the same. He didn’t leave me here alone, He gave me so much. How dare I not be thankful. God is so good. 

He died so that I could love and serve Him with a fiery passion. How dare I not? How can I live in the ‘lukewarm’ Christianity today? How is that passionate thankfulness?

After all that He has done, how can I do anything but wholly devote myself to Him? I am His bond-servant. A bond-servant is someone who was a slave, but was freed. Yet instead of taking off and going his own way, a bond-servant makes themselves a slave of their master out of a joyous love and thankfulness.

Jesus Christ set me free from being a slave to sin and death. I now have the privilege of being His bond-servant, forever connected to Him in devotion and service. I am not slaved to Him because I must be, but because I am allowed to be.

I don’t have it all figured out. I don’t know everything. In fact, I know very little. But I do know this: God is good.  

Walk in HIS victory,

Mikaylea O’Brien

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. Naught be all else to me, save that thou art. Thou my best thought, by day or by night, waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.

Be thou my wisdom, and thou my true word. I ever with thee, and thou with me Lord. Thou my great father, and I thy true son, thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise. Thou mine inheritance, now, and always. Thou and thou only, the first in my heart, High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.

High King of heaven, my victories won; may I reach heaven’s joys, oh bright heaven’s son? Heart of my own heart, whatever befall; still be my vision, oh ruler of all. 

Another Year

Birfday

Today, August 1st, 2015, marks the 15th year of my life. God has allowed me to live another year, and I am absolutely thrilled with all that He is doing in my life.

Though there have been trials and pain, I am so blessed of God for the opportunities He has given me, the relationships He has cultivated, and the joy He has given me.

This has been an incredible year! God has given me so, so much. Not only has He allowed me to grow in friendships, but He has cultivated new friendships. God is doing incredible things in my life, and I am so thankful for what He has done in my life.

Not only did He save me, but He has blessed me in so many ways. He didn’t just save me and leave me here alone, but He gave me wonderful relationships in life; I am truly grateful.

I have seen many people saved by His grace this summer, I have seen relationships begin, and relationships grow. I have seen Him draw me, and my friends closer to Him. God is so incredible! I do not deserve anything He has given me. Daniel 5:23 says that He is the one who holds our very breath in His hands… He has all the control in my life, and He has decided to bless me with so much.

He gave me a wonderful secondary family, brothers and sisters in Him, whom I cherish with all that I am. He has given me new friends, and He is cultivating things that may progress.

I don’t know God’s plan right now, but I know He is good, He is faithful, He is just, and He is merciful. His plans are not for my harm, but for His glory. How wonderful it is to rest in His sovereignty! God is so good.

He really has been working on me in the respect of giving everything to Him. It has been really hard for me to give camp and my ‘family’ to Him. I know that I cannot get through this life without them, but more importantly, I cannot get through this life without Him. I have to surrender my loves to Him; I have to rest in His power. I am not in control (thank you Jesus for that), and I am learning to be perfectly okay with that.

God is good. He is so good to me. I am 15 years old, and He is definitely growing me. I know He is preparing me for my journey into adulthood in the coming years, and honestly, no longer am I afraid of the future, but I am excited. God is in control, not me.

Not to say that I don’t have my moments, because I do. I am not perfect by any stretch of the imagination; there are always days where I do not fully trust Him, and I become anxious. But guys, God is in control! I can rest, and be at peace knowing He is absolutely sovereign and nothing I ever do will change that.

I am so excited for what God will do in my life in the coming year. This year will bring a lot, and there are some things in the works in which the next two years are crucial. But God is good, and I am so thankful for that.

Walk in HIS  victory,

Mikaylea O’Brien

Music

Guitar

Music. I love music! God has really used music in my life to speak to me, music is my language. I absolutely love it.

God has given me some musical talent. I’m not very good, but I try my best to use the talents He gave me for His glory. He gifted me with a desire for music, and use that desire I shall. It just can’t ever take the place of God in my life. Music can never exceed my love for Christ.

But back to my love for music, I honestly love just about everything. Anything from Christian rap (Lecrae, Trip Lee, Andy Mineo, Shai Linne, etc. ) to heavier things such as Disciple or Of Mice & Men. I love artists like Steven Curtis Chapman and Casting Crowns. I love hymns. I love quiet Indie style such as Sleeping at Last, but I also love electro and classical such as The Piano Guys, Swedish Revolution, and Lindsey Stirling. I just love music. But I require more than just good sound, though that is important to me; I love deep, good, serious, real lyrics.

I can’t stand most contemporary music. I just can’t. There is no depth, no life, no soul; most contemporary ‘christian’ artists have no life in their lyrics, there is no soul in their songs. It saddens me. Music is a way to express everything, but you usually need more than 7 words, 11 times to create a good song. Now there are a few, such as You Make Beautiful Things, (the artist escapes me, but it is a great song about how God creates in us a beautiful thing which was once ugly dust. Great song) or How He Loves, but speaking in broad terms, the contemporary scene lacks just about everything needed for a good song.

These ‘christian’ artists lack boldness in Christ. They are not bold about the hard things. They beat around the bush most of the time, and this irritates me. Now I am speaking broadly, there are some that I quite enjoy.

This is what I enjoy about Christian rap. These artists really have change in their lives, and they are some of the boldest people I have ever heard.

Rap and hip hop has always been known for its culture of always pushing the limits, going against everything in society: Christian rap is the same way, but in the opposite direction. Unlike secular rappers, these people are pushing the limits of Christianity, unashamed, and unafraid for Christ instead of the typical drugs, sex, and alcohol of mainstream rap.

These artists are bold about their faith, bold about things the rest of the christian scene is afraid of. I truly enjoy their boldness.

The same goes for certain other artists. I love Disciple. They have incredibly deep, real lyrics. Sure, they aren’t for everyone, just as rap isn’t for everyone. But the boldness they display is incredibly fulfilling for me personally.

Casting Crowns did a CD of hymns, and they are amazing! Hymns are absolutely beautiful, and so rich in doctrine and truth.

How far we have strayed from deepness and meaning. Sadly, today, most music is about few things; sex and drugs. The only secular music I have heard that actually has some meaning is metal, and some indie and classical styles.

Now, there is something I will address. Music is not christian. The only thing ‘christian’ is people. Music itself is not christian. People who are christian’s can write and create music, but that music is not christian, they are.

But the genre considered ‘christian’ is in great need of help. Most of these artists need a good dose of real life into their lyrics. Life happens. It isn’t always pleasant, but we seem to forget that. Life doesn’t automatically become easy when you receive salvation, in fact, often times, it can get harder. Life isn’t all about ‘fluffy’ ‘vanilla’ feelings; sometimes it hurts. And that’s okay.

We need to get back to boldness; the music scene is dominated by pain and suffering, drugs and alcohol, promiscuity and violence; we have to bring the hope of Jesus back into our music.

Not that fun music is wrong, because I love me some ‘fun’ music sometimes. There are days you just want something that really doesn’t have a point to it, you just want to have a good time and dance around your room (maybe I am the only one that does that). But we still need to have real lyrics sometimes.

And when we sing of pain and suffering, we can’t just leave it at that. We have to show where the redemption comes from. Jesus sets us free, its time we started living, acting, and singing like it.

Walk in HIS victory,

Mikaylea O’Brien

My True Love

love

Yes, I have a true love. He is the most amazing thing you can imagine, multiplied by infinity, and still greater yet. His name is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ rescued me from a life of shame, pain, suffering, and death. He suffered more than I, and only so I could love Him. He chose me from before the foundations of the world, and He chose to save me. He picked me up out of the muck and the mire, and from the hole of death in which I resided; and He saved me.

Out of anyone in the world, He saved me. He didn’t have to, you see, I owed Him nothing, nor did He owe me. He was not obligated to give me anything, and I had done nothing to deserve it. But He saved me. He didn’t have to, but He did. And now I have the greatest privilege of loving Him with all that I am. I  have surrendered who I was, for who He is.

Sure there are earthly people I love, genuinely, truly love. People falsely believe teenagers do not understand love, and that they cannot love anyone truly until they are an adult. This is the absolute opposite of the truth. 

While teenagers do not always understand a mature love, I believe it is quite easy for teenagers to love people. It is quite easy for teenagers to be in love, and to love people. But on the other hand, that love isn’t always mature.

To the people who say I am to young to love, I propose this question.

Do you believe your children love you? Do they tell you they love you? 

It isn’t any different. You expect your children to love you, but then you turn around and you tell them they don’t know or understand or have the ability to really love.

I understand love. I know what it is to sacrifice who you are, for someone else. When you say you are my friend, you have signed up for a lot more than a buddy.

I would die for any of my friends at any given moment. I would do anything for them. I would die, give them the clothes off my back, take care of them; I love them. 

I understand what it is to care, and to take care of someone. This is part of love, but it is not love. Love is demonstrating sacrifice, making yourself uncomfortable for someone else. Love is an action carried out, not necessarily an emotion. 1 Corinthians 13 paints a picture of this, it tells us what love truly is. Galatians 5:22 explains what this looks like in action. I heard it said like this.

The fruit of the Spirit is Love:  Joy is love exalted. Peace is love at rest. Longsuffering is love under trial. Gentleness is love’s expression. Goodness is love in demonstration. Faith is love focused. Temperance is love under control.” 

Christ perfectly demonstrated this when He came to earth to die for us. He is perfect, and love is a part of who He is. Love is perfect, but the ‘love’ we humans manage is far from it. God is perfection, as is His love. I hope one day I can love someone in more than a friendship capacity. But maybe that isn’t God’s plan. I don’t know; He does. All I can do is pray, and nothing I pray will change Him. His perfect will is always accomplished.

I pray one day God will allow me to demonstrate this love to someone. I once heard that marriage is a picture of the gospel, and every Christian must make sure they are correct in the way they display it. When we as Christian’s treat our marriages as dirt, nothing of importance, we are really displaying that we believe the things God creates, the things He institutes, are not important to us. While we certainly cannot be supporting the ordeal of same-sex marriage that is circling our country at the moment, we also need to be concerned about other things that continue to destroy the ideas of love and marriage in our world and our churches.

Homosexuality is a sin. But so is divorce. 

Same-sex marriage is wrong, but so is promiscuity. 

We place so much stock in the hype at the moment, we forget to display our convictions in love. We aren’t to be hateful, though we are certainly called to stand.  But homosexuality isn’t the biggest threat to marriage and love; sin in general is. This includes divorce, sex outside of marriage, etc. We cannot be caught up in the world guys. We cannot say we believe the Bible, and then only hold true when it is convenient for us.

We have to get back to being devoted to our Savior. We have to get back to His justice, mercy, righteousness, and love. True love guys, is what Christ displayed on the cross when He died for sinful man.

So for right now, love looks different in my life than it will in a year, or even tomorrow. My love is completely devoted to Christ. Yes, I love my family, and my ‘extended’ but true family. But right now, the only one who holds my heart is Jesus. No man has that privilege right now, and maybe ever. Maybe one day, if it is His will, I will love a man for the rest of my life. I don’t know. But right now, I love Jesus. And I have no intention of ever stopping.

Walk in His victory,

Mikaylea O’Brien

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