The Fluffy Christmas Christians

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

God gives many gifts in life. At this time in the year, we seem to be even more apt to discussing what gifts we most enjoy. With Thanksgiving almost a month behind us, and Christmas getting closer and closer on the calendar, gifts seem to be on the mind.

What am I getting for my grandma? Do I have a note written for that friend? 

It wouldn't be unusual for someone to ask you, "So what did you get for Christmas?"

How might this play out in conversation?

"I got an awesome new iPhone! It's the 10s!"
"Your parents really go all out, don't they?!"

"My best friend was so sweet and picked out a perfect new necklace for me. She knows me so well!"
"That is sweet. It's so great to get practical gifts that we can use all year round!"

"Well, I don't mean to brag, but I got all new appliances! Our house has been getting so worn and old looking lately, and these new appliances just spruce everything up."
"What a worthwhile investment! Think of how much more you'll be able to entertain now."

"The kids have just been begging, so we decided to get out of our comfort zones and adopt a cute little kitten from the animal shelter!"
"Pets make such a great gift for kids; they love them to death, and have to learn some responsibility!"

"Well, this year we had an unexpected surprise. We just found out that we're expecting again!"
"WHAT. You literally already have four kids; you two really need to be responsible!"
"Haven't you heard of birth control?"
"You're getting way too old to have kids; have any more and it would just be cruel. They'll probably end up with Down's Syndrome because of your advanced maternal age!"
"You know, I have a great OBGYN... After this one is born, shoot me a text and I'll get you his number. He tied my tubes a few years back, and it's the best decision we've ever made."
"What?! Why?"
"Sweetie, your mom might not have ever had this conversation with you, but you don't have to keep having kids till every room in your house is full!"

New iPhone: wow that's literally the coolest thing I've ever seen!
Expensive appliances: so worthwhile, and great to show off!

New baby: WHAT?

I know I'm not imagining these things. People think of the latest gadgets, and appliances, and even necklaces and pets as more worth one's money and time than a living human being, created in the image of God.

I'm not condemning iPhones, appliances, necklaces, or pets; I personally have most of those. However, you have to admit that there's something very off when we are knock-your-socks-off excited for things that have no eternal value, but then flustered at the idea of another human being coming into existence.

The Problem Under the Trendy Caution Tape

"Cassidy, you're not married, you don't have an kids, and you've never been pregnant; you have no reason what so ever to be pushing inappropriate conversations like this! It's none of your business."

It's kind of funny, in a not-so-giggly kind of way, how many people (most of whom are Christians) would like to avoid me or discredit me in some way because I value even a second-old embryo as much as I value anyone else.

The Bible does not list your iPhone as a gift; of course, we know it is. Phones give us lots of opportunities to communicate, and hopefully that communication is giving us more opportunities to share Jesus.

What's bazaar is the fact that something that the Word of God does call a blessing, many see as a total burden if they don't like His timing.

Speaking in the context of a home being built and protected by the Lord, the Psalmist says it clearly: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” (Psalm 127:3).

Oh Cassidy, not that verse again!

We live in a day and age where nearly every person sees children as a choice. In other words, if it's convenient for you and your spouse at this particular time in your life--financially, emotionally, physically, health-wise, based on what your doctor says, if your mother-in-law thinks it's a good idea--then you can, if you really want to, have kids. I challenge you: walk up to someone in the grocery store this week and ask them their thoughts on kids--are they a gift or a burden? You might be surprised how many people are convinced of the latter.

Even leading Christians have adopted this mentality. I am protestant, but have often admired my Catholic friend's unflinching stand against anything that could end the life of a child in the womb. Then the other day I saw a quote from one of the leading individuals in Catholicism who said the gist of:

"Yes, we should be fruitful and multiply, but we shouldn't be multiplying like rabbits!"


Protect life, see it as valuable, but don't go all out in this whole "be fruitful and multiply" thing. That's seriously old fashioned and extreme. The Bible's an old book; realize that we've got to reinterpret sometimes.

Most solid Christians I know with any kind of protestant background would never, ever, ever say that last phrase aloud.

However, are we saying it in our hearts?

Are we saying that the Word of God is wrong if it inconveniences us?

"Cassidy, you have to look at this from a more parent-minded perspective! Every child costs a ton of money. Hospital bills, toys, a crib, insurance, formula, clothes, and many other things. Not to mention the lack of sleep, physical labor, emotional drain, the way you can damage your body in pregnancy, and the overwhelming responsibility of taking care of a living, breathing child, and for eighteen plus years! You have no idea!!"

I'm not implying for a moment that pregnancy or parenthood are easy things. From what I've heard, they are hard, and are supposed to be. Think about your life; the things that are easiest often (but not always) sanctify us the least.

If kids were easy to raise, how much do you think you would realize your desperate need for Jesus? Probably not very much in your role as a parent.

Our world is full of billboards, magazine articles, and books on how to stop more kids from coming into the world. A majority of well-meaning Christian pastors make sure to mention during pre-marital counseling, "Don't forget to talk about birth control. It's really important that you're on the same page about when you're having kids."

Does that say something about Christians of today?

I think so. Somehow, even while fully agreeing it is God who has created every life (Psalm 100:3, 139:13-16), we quietly whisper: "Don't worry, He's sovereign, so we can use birth control as much as we'd like since His purpose will prevail anyway."

Yep, God is on the throne no matter how much we refuse to bow to the Word, but I really think we should be cautious about saying we really love Jesus if we're not willing to obey everything the Word says.

There have been over 58,000,000 abortions. Is He still God? Absolutely and entirely.

However, using His character as an excuse for our own lack thereof isn't very stable ground to stand on.

If you really believe God is sovereign, why do we need birth control?

If you actually believe God is the creator of every life and that He alone has the say of when a life begins and ends, why are we still using birth control in the church of today?

If you actually mean it that you love Jesus, do you love all His creations, regardless of the convenience or inconvenience to you?

If you truly believe that your God has purpose and meaning with the way He plans your love story, then how can you not believe that He also has plans and purposes in the way He builds your family?

Questions of this nature whirl around in my head often. What kind of Christians are we becoming if we believe it's irresponsible to allow God to give baby number eight, while we throw giant baby showers for a first time mom?

Feel free to disagree with me as a person (most do when it comes to this conversation). However, I challenge you. Stop saying you believe God plans and creates each life, if you don't welcome them with open arms.

Why do people see anti-birth control views as radical, ridiculous and unnecessary? This is why.

Shhhhhhhhhhhhh! Don't ask that question.

I'm saying it out in the open anyway.

If God is truly the Giver of life, who are we as human beings to stand in His way? Who am I as a human being to say in the face of my perfect God that He may not give me children unless it's in my timing and my quantity?

You probably clicked the link to this post thinking you'd read a cute article on Christmas with a few reflective thoughts. Sorry.

Yet I cannot really apologize. Lives are being ended every day. And no matter how many Christians (Christians!) tell me to shut up on this topic, I cannot. I cannot while even one more child dies at the use of a synthetic hormone, or device.

We aren't living like women of the Word if we see life as something that is for us to decide yay or nay on.

Why is it that I would speak up on something that "doesn't involve me?"

Because. I don't want to be a fluffy Christian, tossed about by whatever anyone says. "Oh they're a popular Christian with a well known ministry, and they say birth control is fine, so it must be." Might want to check your hermeneutics if you live off of that phraseology.

I have been made aware that lives are ended by birth control, thus I have a responsibility to respond and do something in light of what I know. So do you.

This Christmas, I hope you do get to unwrap some nice gifts you can use practically, but let's not forget that our God has called us to be advocates. He wants to give us His love for kids; He made sure His Word describes people as made in His image, and a gift from Him. Do I live that way?

Jesus came as a baby, vulnerable, and small. He is God; He did not have to come as a baby! He could have chosen to show up in all His splendor and glory, but instead, our Emmanuel came as an infant. God with us. God among us.

Our Prince of Peace came to us, little enough to fit into a manger. This Wonderful Counselor is also the Creator of the world, and the Giver of every life. Surely He who paints the skies and puts the wings to a thousand butterflies knows also when to give life and when not to. Do we trust and believe that?

When You Just Don't Feel Like One Of Those Set Apart Girls

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

I sat in missions class, with my ankles crossed tightly. I was tense. With my journal out on my lap and a brightly colored pen in hand, I took extensive notes on reaching people of different backgrounds with the Gospel. As I sat in the beautiful chapel that warm summer day, one thought seemed to distract me again and again.

“You know you’re really not one of those set apart girls.”

I wanted to make some mental argument against the fact, but interactions with other ladies who seemed to be living poured-out lives made me wonder if there was something unspoken that disqualified me from being “one of them.” 

I was well aware that I had not by any means arrived to some perfected level in my walk with Jesus, but was there some expectation one had to meet, other than just being in Christ, to be considered a woman intentionally set apart for the King of kings? My experiences the previous few weeks made me wonder. I had somehow come to the conclusion that the term “set apart girl” must only apply to an elite group of Christian women who live astoundingly impressive lives. 

As days had gone by at school, I had taken note that there were certain ladies who avoided me. Something I was doing seemed to create discomfort among some people; just what it was had become a mystery to me. 

I’m too talkative. No, I need to try harder to start conversations they’ll enjoy. It’s probably my non-verbals. Don’t smile too much, but don’t frown. Stop being so energetic. Don’t speak encouragement too much, or it will be translated as flattery. Wear this. Get up at such-and-such a time each morning. Don’t be legalistic. Don’t lack discipline. You’re too pushy. Let them start the conversation. Be willing to help. Be confident. Not like that! Don’t hide, but don’t act like you have it all in the bag. 

I was trying to process everything; how do I best honor those around me? I felt extremely discouraged. It seemed like I hit a wall whenever I tried to live normally. “Maybe I just don’t fit the mold.” I would think to myself.

I’ve always been one to take too careful note of how people react. I often subconsciously study facial expressions and tones of voice. What did they truly mean by that?

According to my, probably flawed, observations, I was getting on a particular teacher’s nerves. Four ladies in leadership were made to feel less than comfortable, for whatever reason, around me. Some of my classmates looked down on me.

After a conversation with a friend I had looked up to, it had become apparent that I wasn’t quite reaching the bar. In an attempt to encourage this friend, I had caused discomfort and embarrassment. I was told that I was drawing attention to the individual instead of Jesus.

Oh, a set apart girl wouldn’t do that…. 

I looked out the chapel windows and thought, “Well, I’ll be out of their hair in just a few weeks.” It seemed like the only solution. Maybe I just needed another fresh start, since I had apparently blown this opportunity to live to the fullest.

The two months that followed were two of the darkest I have ever faced in my life. I thought through everything again and again. But it all seemed to say the same thing to my heart: you failed. 

My perspective was that I was too young, too loud, too strong in personality, too rough around the edges, too childish, and too broken for the title of “Set Apart Girl.” I had a past full of heartbreak, and it appeared that I wasn’t moving past it quickly enough. Each time I thought I was “sweeping up the broken pieces” I seemed to bump into someone else, someone more set-apart-girl-esque, and spill them all over again. 

Maybe set apart girls just don’t make these kinds of mistakes.

I felt much shame. Could I still call Amy Carmichael a hero of mine if I was so far off from her place in the endless pursuit of Jesus? Maybe I should stop saying Lillias Trotter is someone I aspire to being like since I am obviously failing at Titus 2 living. Perpetua was a much more impressive eighteen-year-old than I’ve ever been…

True Set-Apart Living

Even in the darkness of feeling unlovely and entirely wrong in nearly every facet, Jesus was present and at work in my heart. Where I had decided things were too broken in my life, after taking the nonverbal that I needed to get things together, I had given up at some level. I wouldn’t have been very likely to bring it up, but I was allowing my identity to be shaped by others’ perspective on my life. If someone I looked up to found issue with something I was doing, I immediately felt I was beyond grace. 

But it wasn’t true.

In the following months, Jesus was gently uncovering my issues and healing them. I had come to the conclusion in my heart and mind that if those in the “Set Apart Girl” ministry did not approve of me, then there was no way I was actually being shaped into a Christ-centered woman. (By the way, the ladies on the SAgirl team were kind to me!)

Jesus was exposing, however, that the only way to live a life that’s pleasing to Him was to get my eyes off of what everyone around me thought, and place my eyes on Him, and believe what He says about me. Am I living for the approval and applause of others, or do I only look to Jesus for security? 

As one writer has said, 

“I live before an audience of One. Before others I have nothing to gain, nothing to prove, and nothing to lose” (Henry Martyn). 

To truly live in a set-apart way means to live fully given to Jesus. It’s to be so taken with your heavenly Prince that all else loses its luster in comparison. I wouldn’t have had to feel insecure for even a moment if I had only seen my situation out of the lens of His Word. 

They don’t approve of me? When it comes down to it, in view of eternity, that doesn’t matter very much. The psalmist in Psalm 119 had this priority: “Thou art my portion, O Lord” (vs. 57). It’s not other Christians’ opinions of us that secure us before the Father; it’s only Jesus (Romans 5:1, 6-11, Ephesians 2:1-10). We’re not saved by someone we look up to telling us that we’re doing great or vice versa. My strength and security today comes only from the One who rescued my soul. He is the one who will keep me and sanctify me, therefore I have nothing to fear. He will not forsake me; He has begun a work within me, and our Jesus never forsakes or forgets the work of his hands.

I’m making someone feel uncomfortable? What if instead of panicking that I’ve ruined my relationship with that friend, I took the position of a servant, and sought out how I could better care for them? In the second chapter of Philippians, Paul exhorted the church at Philippi to serve others the way Jesus did:

 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (2:5-8).

Instead of hopelessly assuming the friendship is over, what if I was willing to pour out for this individual? Would I be willing to give them space if they need it, or help them out if they ask? 

Being a set apart woman is not about having it all together. It’s not about doing every single thing perfectly, never making a mistake, not having a personality, having every book of the Bible memorized, using fancier words, cooking like Martha Stewart, always being out of your bed by three o’clock in the morning, or being a carbon copy of an impressive Christian you know. 

It’s legalism to assume that we are somehow earning greater favor in Jesus’ eyes by having all our i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Jesus would not have had to die if we could gain acceptance on our own before God. I am safe and unshaken in my daily life, not because Cassidy is just looking oh-so-spiritual this morning, but because Jesus has taken my place. He is unchanging. No matter what happens to me, and no matter how many areas of my life still need greater sanctification, I will never ever, ever be abandoned. 

My identity is not in my mistakes and mishaps.

My identity is in Christ alone.

Since I am in Christ, I know that He has set me apart for Himself (Psalm 4:3). I did not receive this title of set apart by saving up my behavioral allowance; it is a gift to me from Jesus. He lived the set-apart life, and because my position is in Him, I am robed in His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10). I have grace, the power to live out the life He has called me to, only through Him. It’s not in my own pockets. 

If you, as a woman, believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, then you are a set-apart girl. All because of Jesus (and not because of you). 

“Let my soul be at rest again, for the Lord has been good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord’s presence as I live here on earth!” (Psalm 116:7-9).

Streamside Lessons

Monday, October 30, 2017

It was a beautiful fall evening. All four miles around the lake, vibrant shades of coral, red, pink, green, and brown caught my eye. It was all so breathtaking; the ground was covered with a layer of fallen leaves, each one declaring the majesty of their Maker. As I walked, I took notice of a stream. As first glance, between the strong movement of the large amount of water in a small space, it would have seemed as though someone was not keeping up their landscaping, but then I realized something.

I want my life to look just like that stream.

Such an abundance of life that it doesn’t fit in a small space. It can’t help but touch beyond the boundary of expectation, because it’s just so full. And floweth fuller every day… The dry ground, though it appears the same, a touch reveals it has been affected. The hard summer-scorched earth is muddy, and is being revived with every flow of the body of water. The narrow bridge will also be taken under too, if the stream flows over any more.

Can I say in truth that I am satisfied to overflowing in Jesus?

I want my life to be one that is so full of His living water that I can’t help but splash it on my neighbor. What if even the passer-by had to notice His fragrance from the words I had spoken, even if it was just about the happenings of the day? When needy people try to push buttons, imagine the impact one overflowing with the King of kings; Jesus is sufficient for even the most rude, insulting people.

He has the right words for the woman at the nursing home with the frustrated remarks, whom I was assigned to many a morning. He has the the word in season for the weary soul. Our Jesus gifts the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness. For the liberal woman, deemed by some as unreachable, as she advocates for abortion outside the Downtown clinic; He wants to speak words of hope and healing even to this one.

Am I content to sit here, comfortably in Christ while a world around me dies and passes into an eternity separated from their only Hope? I hope not. Just as the stream continued to fill beyond the brim, so He wants my soul to be. Discontented to be complacent. Unwilling that the dry ground be unwatered only to wither up and die. Defiant against the human tendency to abide at-ease in my personal bubble.

No, He is too worthy.

Today. That woman who pulled out in front of me too abruptly on the road. She is loved by the Lord of lords; how much am I loving her? Because, oh Cassidy, if you are in Christ, then all the grace necessary to treat her with kindness is available to you. It’s available to those who recognize that they’re not enough, and depend fully on the only One who could ever be enough. When memories of mistreatment from the past surface in my mind, whom is this about? Is it all about me and how I felt, or is it all about a Savior who is entirely sufficient in my greatest moments of trial, heartbreak, and sorrow?

Don’t be a puddle! Be a stream, turning into a lake, that can’t help but outdo the ocean simply because Jesus is limitless. He hasn’t drawn the line in that relationship with the awkward older lady at the grocery store. Thus, if the vessel will surrender and obey, Living Water will be poured over her--she will be given an impression of who Jesus is, even as I set the produce on the checkout counter. Is Jesus impatient, snappy, not oh-so-present, and drifting off, thinking of other things? Or is He the one who serves, forgetting Himself and saving the sinner?

He wants to grow this Water in my heart; I haven’t exhausted His Word, nor His ability to reach those deemed impossible. It all starts with Him. And it all starts with today. Let His perspective infect and correct your tinted view of others.

How they are loved, desired, and wanted by Him.

Yet somehow I sometimes allow myself to get by with a quick little prayer of, “Well, if it’s your will for that person to come to know you as their personal Savior, then I ask that they would.”


My eyes do not capture His grand vision for redemption if I am willing to be tossed about as a wave of the sea. “It’s not good timing to share the Gospel. They’re busy”, “I am tired. Plus I am the wrong person to share Jesus with them; this patient doesn’t even like me and keeps complaining about everything I do!”, “This woman needs me to talk with her about her options as a teen mom, not about Him. If I don’t share the right resources with her, she could end up walking into the clinic and having an abortion.”

Do I live on my justifications or excuses, or am I so excited about Jesus that I can’t help but share Him with every person before me. If I’m as in love with Him as I keep saying, then there ought to be a different response to sharing Him. What if I couldn’t help it but show them Him--in the way I took care of the dog this morning, with handling well the rough situations that come in working in healthcare, in the circumstances of life that would translate despair to most people--am I showing the sufficiency of my Living Waters (Jesus)?

I don’t want to be a dead sea. Ever receiving His fullness, yet passively overlooking the opportunity to pour out.

Give up your raindrop of refreshment, and watch your Jesus turn it to a puddle as you give. See Him take your puddle and splash it all over those who have always bothered you, in the most refreshing rain they have experienced, as your small spot of Water takes up more ground, morphing into a stream. The lake isn’t far. His ocean of love knocks. Are you willing to give it up? Will I say goodbye to what I deem my comfort so that, in His worthiness, the Prince of peace might reign in more hearts?

On the last day, the climax of the festival, Jesus stood and shouted to the crowds, “Anyone who is thirsty may come to me! Anyone who believes in me may come and drink! For the Scriptures declare, ‘Rivers of living water will flow from His heart.’” (When He said “living water,” He was speaking of the Spirit, who would be given to everyone believing in Him….) // John 7:37-39

The Truth About Our Father

Monday, October 9, 2017

“But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice. Sing unto God, sing praises to His name: extol Him that rideth upon the heavens by His name JAH, and rejoice before Him. A Father to the fatherless, and a judge of the widows, is God in His holy habitation. God setteth the solitary in families: He bringeth out those which are bound with chains.”
Psalm 68:3-6b

A Father.

What comes to your mind when you hear that term?

Some of us smile immediately, thinking of the growing up years, sitting in dad’s lap, reading a book. While others of us would feel better if such a name did not apply to our God, as flashbacks and pain swell up within.  No matter what you have thought of fatherhood in the past, I fully guarantee that you have not plumbed the depths of this awe striking part of the nature of our God.

David had an insight on who our Heavenly Father is:
“Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said: ‘Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all’” (1 Chronicles 29:10-11).

Look at all the things this passage tells us our Father has sway over: the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, the majesty, all things in heaven and on earth, and the Kingdom. We know that we are never neglected, forgotten, left, over-corrected, abused, or hammered over the head by our Father.

Not only did He skillfully create us for Himself, purposefully guiding and protecting our lives from the womb, but He also pursued us when spat in His face and lived in rebellion to Him. We were that prodigal child that brought the tears, the aches, and the pain to a Father who had always been just and loving--never once doing us wrong. Having broken every single law of our Father’s and falling altogether short of His glory, yet He pursued us. In our entirely ugly, miry-clay covered lives, He had a plan of redemption. A plan to restore us unto Himself.

He drew us out of many waters, and brought us near at the greatest possible price--the price of His very own Son. Dying what is thought to be the most brutal death possible, Jesus stayed at that barbaric cross until the work was entirely finished.

Let us not forget that our Father has never forsaken us, and today He bids us come and die. He is worthy--He has seen us unto the second birth, a birth in Christ--and He desires all to be His children.

“The Lord Jehovah does not delay His promises as people consider delay, but He is patient for your sakes, and because He is not willing that any person would perish, but that every person would come to conversion” (2 Peter 3:9 ABPE).

This devotional was written for Ellerslie Discipleship Training's Always Be Ready Night. It was also featured in the devotional book "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."

18 Things I'm Thankful for on this Birthday

Monday, August 14, 2017

This morning I awoke to 7 silhouette figures standing in my dorm room before the break of day. Still feeling a bit unaware of what was going on, I suddenly realized these unknown figures were singing something. "Happy birthday!!!" Their enthusiasm woke me up all the way! I looked at the clock and found that I only had a few minutes before morning prayer: my alarm had not gone off. Soon enough, I found myself walking next to my friend Briana, who was born on the same day I was. She had something incredibly encouraging to share:
"Isn't it exciting to think we can live 100% for Jesus every day of 18?!"
I needed this reminder, being the type to feel like a birthday was just another day on the calendar.

Today I am officially no longer a child. Hum. It's quite exciting! There are so many things to be thankful for as 18 rolls around. So here are 18 things I am overwhelmingly grateful for this year:

1. Jesus
His faithfulness, His greatness, and His sufficiency. He has held me fast through every storm and tempest; through every sunrise and sunset. He has been so faithful to draw me nearer to Himself.
2.  My Family
Jesus has used them greatly in my life, and I love them more than words can say!
3.  The amazing opportunity to serve as a nursing assistant
4. Kiddos
Their smiles, giggles, and sweetness.
5. The many people who have mentored me and pushed me toward Jesus
A few of them being: Eric and Leslie Ludy, everyone else at Ellerslie, Nicole Botrouff, my wonderful mother, Elisabeth Elliot, Amy Carmichael, Sarah Guthrie, and Vibia Perpetua,
6. The book of Isaiah
7. Rain: sprinklings, downpours, and monsoons, all of it!
8. Jesus' brilliant and breathtaking design of this world and the people in it, and the honor of capturing some of it on camera
9. Biology, Anatomy & Physiology, Dissection, and Intro to Nursing--four of my favorite classes ever!
10. "Set-Apart Femininity" By Leslie Ludy, "Tramp for the Lord" By Corrie ten Boom, "The Pursuit of God" By A.W. Tozer, "A Chance to Die" By Elisabeth Elliot and other spectacular books that have lifted my eyes to the One who is worthy.
11. The jobs I have had the privilege of being stretched and uplifted in: Nannying, Daycare, Tutoring amazing kiddos, and Assisted Living.
12. Color
God could have made a world with only black and white tones, but He didn't! Just peek out the window! Everything is exploding with color!
13. The 50mm lens
This lens gave me an entirely different perspective on capturing moments, and changed much of the way I see the world (the little things, and sweet moments), and how I do sessions.
14. A Novissionary season of life!
15. "A Missionary's Expectation" By Elisabeth Elliot, "The Storehouse" (as I call it) By Gladys Aylward, "The Amen Life"  and "The Auschwitz Within" By Eric Ludy
16. Jesus' perfect constancy, unshakableness, and faithfulness through the hardest and most painful times of life.
17. The incredible honor of attending Ellerslie Discipleship Training--I wish this semester never had to end!
18. Music! What an amazing avenue to worship our worthy King! He invented every note and every key!

The Surprising Solution to Emptiness

Sunday, August 6, 2017

It was a regular Thursday morning; my alarm clock was going off and Chemistry class was just around the corner. As my eyes glossed over the ceiling, I pondered how empty life had seemed at that time. No matter what I did, it seemed impossible to get out of the rut; I knew Jesus had more for me than just scraping by, day in and day out. Bu there was a continual pang in my heart; life was not going at all how I had expected it to. And here was one more day of pain ahead. How could I become free from all the struggling and emptiness that seemed to be a mark of my life?

Lord, please make me feel better.

I asked, not entirely sure if my circumstances would ever improve--with some family things going on, and a situation with the church I attended. Life felt like one long cycle of doing so well for a bit, then issues coming up that seemed to strip me of all strength.

"Why do I feel empty? Why doesn't life seem amazing like it used to?" These thoughts swirled in my head.

I didn't know it at the time, but God had already answered my questions. He is so kind; He gives us all we need for life and godliness. The more I dwelt on my circumstances and the issue at hand, the more my life seemed meaningless. But when I lifted my eyes to the One who died for me, and trust that He does work all things together for my good and His glory, the perspective can be altogether different. When life goes downhill, our Savior does not. He is unshaken, no matter the storm or tempest.

What if when life got hard or seemed empty, instead of  dwelling on everything we would change if we could, we instead lived knowing of His worthiness. "Yes this is hard, but you, my Lord, are able!" When the storms of life come, they have a great way of exposing where we are standing. If I am standing on the Rock (Jesus), then no matter the difficulty, I may remain unshaken. Not because I am strong, but because He is!

"The LORD is my defense; and my God is the Rock of my refuge" (Psalm 94:22).

A sense of emptiness ought to remind us that our purpose on earth isn't to have a nice, predictable life, where everything goes just how we hoped. It should drive us to the foot of the Cross; reminding us of our desperate need for Jesus. If we're trying to live life on our own strength, there will be no victory. Victory comes in full surrender to Jesus Christ and dependence upon Him. It's grasping that I'm just a branch. I need to lean into the Vine for all the sustenance I have need of; He knows my needs better than anyone else, and at His feet is where every desire is satisfied.

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me // John 15:4

Sometimes we feel empty because we have been turning inward. Unlike the message of the culture today, which tells us to preserve our strength for a time of our own need, God calls us to pour out all we are for His glory, honor, and praise. In Isaiah, we find a secret to being released from a sense of meaninglessness: "If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the LORD will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail” (Isaiah 58:10-11).

Often we feel empty when we are living in a way that does not honor Him. Have I laid down my own agenda and dreams at the foot of the cross today? This day Jesus Christ is worthy of my life, and if I am living in that way, then the things that burden His heart will also burden mine.

Today I am in Christ, and today old Cassidy is crucified with Him. For me to live is Christ.

The Subtle Indoctrination of the 21st Century's Birth Control Culture

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Today we will hear from guest writer Sarah Lofgren, a dear friend of mine from missions school. The issue of birth control, and what hangs in the balance--little lives--is one we seek to speak up about here at Let My Life Be a Light. Not because we think it's fun to jump into the raging waters of controversial issues, but because Jesus is worthy of every life He has created, and because He longs for these littles to be protected. May we be the people who stand for those who are dying even when most other individuals in our culture choose to sit.

Let’s play Guess Who! See if you know who these people are:

Person #1: I am know as the deceiver; I steal away good things. I love to provoke, cause confusion, discord, frustration, disunity, and brokenness. I love death, murder, assassination, execution, slaughter, and massacre. I am known as the fallen angel, but I think fallen is a rather extreme term considering the fact that I definitely know better than God and am wiser than Him.

A lot of people in the world thought I was quite powerful (as I [suppose] I am) at the fall, on 911, the Titanic, and during World War II--some people even credited me with puppeteering Hitler.   

Who am I? Satan.

Here’s our next Person: All my ways are good. I am the Way the Truth, and the Life. Although people are shaken, I remain unshaken and unchanged. What I say, I do; I have never once altered, nor will I ever. Everything in my Book is True to this day, and all the Deceiver's lies flea away at the entrance of my Light.

Who am I? The I AM!

As Christians, we strongly desire to be Jesus’ hands and feet to this generation, we fervently pray for life to be protected, interceding on their behalf. If you knew a mom in need, who didn’t feel prepared for parenthood, I’m confident, as you seek to share Christ’s love with her, you would do whatever you could to help her. Maybe even adopt her child. But did you know there is a side to this discussion on life that is considered inappropriate to discuss? According to one statistic, 90% of Christians unite on this view. [1]

It is a topic highly controversial, this may even prick some of you, sending a tickle up your spine as you read. The controversy over this subject is astounding.

As I studied this subject, my goal was to find what the Bible truly has to say about this. Since this issue isn’t directly named in the Word, we have to look at the nature of God and see if it aligns with his nature. We just dove into a small refresher on who He is, during our Guess Who? game… Let’s explore what’s ahead with that lens!

  The beginning of the popularization of this view was in 1919 and it became legalized in 1960.  One of the main activists to push this controversial thing into being available to anyone, was a woman named Margaret Sanger. An atheist, advocate of eugenics and the founder of Planned Parenthood.  She got behind this movement financially and strongly endorsed it politically.

So what was this? Abortion? It was the very beginning of abortion: birth control.

Sanger claimed that birth control would stop lower class woman from having unsafe abortions and promote women’s health.  What she wrote in her books and spoke openly of shows she had a completely different motive, though--she wanted population control. She said: “Birth control itself, often denounced as a violation of natural law, is nothing more or less than the facilitation of the process of weeding out the unfit, of preventing the birth of defectives or of those who will become defectives.” [2]

  Sanger called the various methods of population control, including abortion, “defending the unborn against their own disabilities.” [3] She states that “The results desired are obviously selective births. War, famine, poverty and oppression of the workers will continue while women makes life cheap. They will cease only when she limits her reproductivity and human life is no longer a thing to be wasted.”   She thinks that by limiting the number of children born and only allowing select women from high classes to have those babies, we could have the perfect society. Sanger considered anyone with special needs--such as Down Syndrome, Autism, or Paraplegia--or individuals any race besides Caucasian, as one who needed to be permanently eliminated from the planet. She also wanted to wipe out criminals and the poor.

This is clearly a unbiblical view because it does not align with God’s character.

Acts 10:34 says: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, “Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”
  Beyond the terrible motives and ideas behind birth control, it is also very harmful to a woman's health. According to Dr. Angela Lanfranchi, a surgeon and clinical assistant professor of surgery at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, “Women that use birth control are placing themselves at greater risk for cancer, blood clots, and heart attacks.” And the International Agency on Research on Cancer recorded in their report “Monograph 91” that the very popular estrogen-progesterone form of birth control was a group 1 carcinogen for breast, cervical, and liver cancer. This is the highest danger rating. [4]
Birth control is also able to cause abortion. The synthetic hormones used in birth control change the lining of a woman’s uterus making it almost impossible for fertilized eggs to implant. Therefore, the 7 to 14 day-old embryo becomes a  forced miscarriage since it is unable to implant into the uterus and get the sustenance it needs.
 Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m never having more than two kids!” Or “we just had baby number 5 and we can’t imagine adding another to our family!”?

If God is the giver of life then why do we think we need to take control of if and when children come into existence?

  Psalm 139:13-16 says: “You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Verse 16 says His eyes saw your substance, being yet unformed. In Greek this refers to an embryo or fetus. If God sees an embryo being yet unformed, and plans out and writes their days in his book, He see’s that embryo as a living being.

The pill has reworked the modern view of children to being optional accessories. I believe that Christians have picked up on this general attitude.

As Christians have we determined whether our view on birth control is shaped by the culture or by the Bible?


  1. “Woman and the New Race,” 1920, Chapter 18: The Goal
  2. “A Plan for Peace,” Birth Control Review, April 1932, pages 107-108
  3. Find More on Monograph 91 and the risks of birth control here:

The First Week of Ellerslie

Thursday, June 8, 2017

It's kind of crazy that I've been here at Ellerslie for five days already! A lot has happened! On June 3rd I arrived at the Denver Airport, and was greeted by two of the sweet staff members: Kimberly and Sarah. I was so excited; it all felt so surreal! I had prayed and dreamed of this place for years, and at long last, it was happening! That morning, I rode the shuttle from the airport to Windsor; our drive included many beautiful mountain views! Not something I see in Michigan every day!! When we got to the campus, I was taken into my dorm room where I met my roommates: Sarah, Janetta, and later Heather. I am so thankful for each of these sweet ladies I have the privilege of living with! Sarah is a Practicum D2 student (which, in case you don't know, is one of the other, higher up, programs they have at Ellerslie). She's radiant, so thoughtful, and made me feel beyond welcome when I came in. Janetta is from Kansas, and loves Jesus so much. She has been such an inspiration to me; during almost every free time she can be found in His Word! And Heather is pretty wonderful too!! She has a sweet, quiet personality, and deeply, deeply cares for each person around her; she has encouraged me so much!

Jesus has really been drawing me closer to Himself through this time here. I can't completely describe it.... But one little song has a fragment into it:

"My heart responds with Holy, Holy!"

The first evening we had a picnic on the lawn by the dorms:

On Tuesday, they told us about the schedule of how we would be reading through the New Testament 2 times in these three months, and the other exciting assignments to be done!

It's seriously beautiful around here....

Just to confuse you, we'll jump backwards. On Sunday we had our campus tour:

My tour group :)

Then we had our ID photos taken:

Here are a few common sights for the Ellerslie student:

Banquet night was so wonderful! We got to meet all our teachers and hear more about the vision behind Ellerslie:

Coffee House 29 is a GREAT place to go, if you're ever in Windsor. I've already been there twice!

[I know right about now you're thinking how you should come to Ellerslie too! You should click here and totally go yourself....]