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: www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1f3Tt1yDk