The Gospel is the Answer to Addiction

I first truly encountered Jesus in 2012.

Before I encountered Jesus, my life was ruled by fear and anxiety.
I thought I wasn’t “good enough”. I was afraid to try in school out of fear of rejection if I did try. I was a listener and a follower. I drank too much. I started doing drugs. I came close to having to go to juvie.

I was going to church. I was involved in youth group.
Yet, I was living for myself.

In 2012, I went on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic with my church. It was then where I finally realized that I had been enslaved by drugs, alcohol, and sex. I was a prisoner to these things.

It wasn’t until Jesus when I was finally set free.

Here’s the thing though.

So many people are still enslaved to their addictions. They’ve tried admitting they need help. They’ve tried going to support groups. They’ve been in and out of treatment facilities, only to end up relapsing.

They want to be set free of the addictions that are holding them down.

It took me years to finally be set free of my addictions – especially drugs. I didn’t realize how dependent and enslaved I had been.

To treat addictions, you have to go beyond the surface level recovery and behavioral modification programs.

Those are just temporary solutions.

You need to offer the addict hope, joy, and forgiveness.

You need to present them with the Gospel.

The Gospel offers up complete and absolute acceptance.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute forgiveness.
The Gospel offers up complete and absolute grace and mercy.

The Gospel provides us with hope and joy that can only be found in Christ.

The Gospel presents us with the unconditional love of Christ.

Accepting Jesus and asking Him into your life isn’t a one time thing after a really emotional worship song at Bible camp. It’s a lifelong relationship with Christ, where you understand your need for Jesus. Where you have been forgiven no matter how badly you’ve messed up, how far you’ve run, or what you’ve said. The guilt, shame, fear, doubt and anger that you carry around, you can let go and drop that at the cross. In Jesus, you are filled with His peace, His joy, and His love.

In Jesus you are forgiven and set free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You don’t need to buy God’s love.

By now you’re probably familiar with the college admissions scandal. Earlier in the week several people were charged with bribery in order to get their children into elite colleges like Yale University, and the University of Southern California and several others.

Such bribes included paying money to forge SAT and ACT scores and paying others to take them and paying coaches large sums of money in order to tell the college office that their kid was an athlete – when they weren’t.

It’s not really a surprise to me. I sort of figured this sort of thing happened all the time in Hollywood anyway.

In general, people think they can throw money at a problem and it’ll go away. People think that they can buy their way into things. Because as much as we want to admit, money factors into a lot of things. Having money is a necessity in life.

I digress.

There is one thing that you can’t buy.

God’s love. 

Ephesians 2:8-8 tells us For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.

No matter what we do.
No matter how we act.
No matter what we say.
No matter how many times we attend Sunday services.
No matter how many times we’ve volunteered and donated to charity.

We can’t earn our salvation.
We can’t buy our way into Heaven.

It is by the grace of God that we have been forgiven.
Salvation is a gift from God – freely given to us by the grace of God.

Why try to earn something when it’s already been given to you freely? 

We think we have to earn God’s love because we are flawed and we fall short of the glory of God daily.

We mess up and think that we need to earn back God’s love.

Romans 8:38-39 tells us, For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD.

You don’t ever have to earn God’s love because it’s already been given to you freely. No matter how many times you’ve messed up, and no matter how many times you’re going to mess up again.

God’s love is unconditional and never changing.

Peeling That Band-Aid Off

You fall down and scrape your knee or elbow and end up with a wound.

What do you do next?

Disinfect the wound and slap a band-aid over it to prevent anymore dirt from getting inside.

When people or situations hurt you and leave you feeling wounded, how do you respond?

How do you let go? How do you forgive those who have hurt you?

Do you just slap a band – aid over the wound and call it a day?

Or do you actually clean out the wound so that you can truly start the healing process?

In past I’ve always just sort of taken the, “slap a band – aid over it” approach. When my ex-boyfriend cheated, I forgave him and slapped a band – aid over the wound. When a friend hurt me, I forgave and slapped a band – aid over the wound.

I always knew that I needed to forgive like God forgives us.

I slapped band – aids over my wounds and never truly allowed healing to begin. Over the years these wounds would fester and eat away at me and consume me.

In order to heal wounds we need to peel that band – aid back and allow it to breathe.

It’s okay to acknowledge the hurt you were left with. Sometimes it helps to acknowledge that pain and to understand that we’re all sinners in need of grace.

Ignoring the wound that’s there doesn’t help. It’ll only grow and fester.

Whatever wounds you currently have, peel that band – aid back and allow healing to happen.

A Letter to Those Hurt by Christians

To all those who have been hurt  by Christians,

I get why you don’t want to believe in God.
I get why you stopped believing in God.
I get why you may be weary to enter a church building.
I get why you may be weary to approach Christians.
I get it.
I really do.
I was there.

You’ve seen Christians on street corners who are screaming their heads off about people going to hell.
You’ve seen Christians turn a blind eye and “okay” some sins while calling out others for other sins.
You’ve seen Christians not even bothering to pray for others in their time of need.
You’ve seen Christians in church sit there texting and talking all throughout the sermon.
You’ve seen Christians in church act like a clique, not even bothering to greet the new people.
You’ve had Christians treat you and your salvation just like another, number to them that they will soon forget about.

I get it.
I’ve seen it all too.
For awhile it even made me want to leave the church, and I did for some time.

Here’s the thing though:
Christians aren’t Christ.

we are all sinners – in need of the grace and forgiveness of Christ. 

Christians mess up.
We aren’t perfect.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they may be reflecting Christ.
Sometimes, you’ll look at Christians and they won’t be reflecting Christ.

Are you following Christ or Christians?

We go on Twitter and see people tweeting great and inspirational tweets about Christ.
We go on Instagram and see people posting cool photos with the newest filters about an inspirational Bible story and something they’ve learned that day.
We see Christians outside of church and see them smoking, or drinking or cursing and think, “That must be okay”.

We start to compare ourselves to other christians and want to be, just like them. Forgetting though that they too are – sinners. Imperfect. We all fall short of the glory of God.

I’m sorry.
I’m sorry if you’ve been deeply hurt by a Christian.
I’m sorry if you’ve seen Christian after Christian be a bad witness.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever felt unwelcome in a church.
I’m sorry if you’ve ever been treated unfairly by a Christian.
I’m sorry.

God isn’t us though.
God doesn’t play favorites.
God doesn’t misrepresent himself.
God doesn’t mess up.
God doesn’t make mistakes.
God doesn’t say the wrong thing.
God never leaves or forsakes you.
God will never hurt you.
God will never be too busy to listen to your fears, hurts, cries, joy,etc.

Love is found at the Cross

Friends,
I don’t know where you are at right now. Maybe you’re happily married, engaged or just started dating the greatest person. Or maybe you are on the other side of the spectrum and Valentines day is not the greatest day for you this year. Or you could be in the middle, you could be single or in a relationship and just feel that Valentines Day is way too commercialized(you aren’t alone!). 
I want you guys to know that for years Valentines day was super hard for me. I either had memories of an abusive boyfriend or of a boyfriend who wouldn’t celebrate it because he thought it was way too, “sexual” and instead would lecture me on it. 
I get it. 
This post is for you guys.
I just want you to know that Valentines day isn’t what defines love. 
You are loved & known. You are seen & and heard. 

 
Valentines Day!
It’s right around the corner….

For months supermarkets have had aisles stocked with teddy bears of all sizes holding hearts that say, “I love you” along with heart shaped boxes containing candy of all flavors and sizes.
Flower shops are quickly gathering orders together, and preparing for the Valentines Day rush of loved ones sending flowers to one another. Restaurants are also bracing themselves for the crowd of people preparing to descend upon them on Valentines Day evening.

So, ladies and gentlemen, what exactly is love?

Is love when your significant other brings home flowers to you?
Is love when your significant other brings you chocolate?
Is love when you have sex?
Is love when your significant other brings home a teddy bear bigger than Mars with a heart that says, “Love”?
Is  love when you get up early to cook breakfast for your loved one?

The answer to all of these is no.
These are all things that you do for someone because you want to show them love or appreciate them.
They are actions that show people that you love them.

But, they aren’t love necessarily.

In John 3:16 the Bible tells us,  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

How many of us would give up our children for the world?
How many of us would give up our loved ones for the world?

For God so loved…..

You.
Your sister.
Your brother.
Your parents.
Your aunt and uncle.
Your cousins.
Your best friend.
Your husband/wife.
Your boyfriend/girlfriend.
Your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend.
Your teacher.
Your mailman.
The waiter/waitress at your favorite restaurant.
The politicians in D.C.
The Olympic athletes.
The world.

God gave us His one and only son. That whosoever may believe in Jesus, may have eternal life.
The God who created us, who knows our thoughts even before we speak them. Who knows not just the good about us, but the bad too.
He gave up his one and only son.
Jesus died on the cross for the entire worlds sins.

Society has commercialized love to mean that it comes in a “heart” or that love somehow goes with a certain day.

True love is found on the cross and is found daily.

Happy Valentines Day guys!

Elizabeth Louise

Side Note: Ever since I went to see The Greatest Showman I can’t stop listening to the soundtrack on Spotify. So I decided to buy it to listen to it in my car as well. Anyone else addicted to the soundtrack?

Who would you be?

Hey you,

Close your eyes gently.
inhale through your nose and exhale through the mouth.
Do this a couple times.

WHO would you be….

Without the weight of legalism and religion weighing you down?
If you didn’t have to run and hide?
If you embraced the freedom you had?
If you were more certain about your identity in Christ?
If you saw the beauty that God sees in you.
If you knew your worth and believed it.
If you knew that God has already reserved a space for you at the table.
If you knew there was no judgement.
If you knew how much God loves you.
If you didn’t let the weight of all the hate and anger in the world in.

BE THAT PERSON. ❤️❤️❤️

10 Not So Tiny  Truths

1. You are worthy of being loved. and you are loved.

2. Jesus never regrets saving you.

3. It’s okay to stop watering the dead things in your life.

4. You are allowed to change and grow.

5. Truth often divides before it may bind.

6. God seeks what has been lost and driven away.

7. It’s okay to pray with tears instead of words. God understands them just as well.

8. It’s okay to need help and support. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. even Jesus needed help carrying His cross.

9. Sometimes a cozy blanket, your favorite drink, and a friend will go a long way in the process of healing.

10. You are not what happened to you. you are not the tragedy, or situation or circumstance that happened.
Sometimes when life is difficult and rough, we all just need a little encouragement to cling to to get us through the day, week, month, year. 

remember these tiny but immensely powerful truths. guard them in your heart. write them down. share it with a friend. save the link. maybe find some more simple, tiny but powerful truths. 

but in times of fear, in doubt, in times of insecurity and loneliness, through the good and bad and tears and laughter remember them. 

maybe share them with someone in need.

Keep positive friends.

– Elizabeth Louise

Purity is way more than abstinence.

Hey friends!

Today I’m going to be tackling the topic of purity. It’s a topic that holds a lot of meaning to me, and it’s been on my mind for awhile. Hang tight with me as I dive in and tackle this topic.

Purity-Rings

 

The Christian church today has capitalized off of this whole idea that purity has to do with abstinence. You must buy this book, buy this purity ring, attend this conference, etc. I can’t tell you the amount of friends that I’ve had that have bought the purity rings, and devotional books dedicated to the topic of abstinence. For years even I thought that in order for me to be sexually pure, or abstain from sex until marriage that it was “required” that I wear one of these. “If I don’t wear a purity ring, how will people know I’m striving to live a life devoted to purity?” I would often think to myself……

We’ve turned purity into a checklist that we need to follow.

We’ve gone and told young girls and boys that in order to stay “pure” they must abstain from sex. We’ve gone and told them that their “reward” for being “sexually clean” is to find that perfect spouse that God has planned out for them. Because of this way of thinking, we have men and women out there who remain sexually pure because they think that in doing so they are going to be rewarded one day with a spouse.

I’ve sat with many women who through tears and sobbing have asked me, “What am I doing wrong? Why am I not married yet?”. And honestly, at some point or another I’ve been one of those women who have cried and sobbed my heart out on some other persons shoulder, asking the same old question. “I’m waiting, I’m trying to do everything right. How come nothing’s going right? Where’s my reward?”.

What are we supposed to say to these people who have been sexually pure for their whole lives and watched friends and family who have only been pure for a few days, weeks, months or years and are already getting married?

………hold on here for a second………

I think we may be missing something…
What about Jesus Christ?

I can be as “sexually pure” as I want, and practice abstinence until marriage and buy the purity ring and follow all the correct steps, but at the same time, I can be so dirt stained from my sin unless I have put my faith in Jesus Christ and been transformed and renewed by the gospel. 

All abstinence is is a habit that we have simply attached to mean purity.
Purity is a lifestyle.
It is living our lives in such a way that God originally had planned out for us.

Don’t get me wrong guys……
We are absolutely called to sexual abstinence, but that’s not what defines our purity.

When we put our faith in Jesus Christ and allow the gospel to transform and renew us, we allow God to create in us a pure heart and cleanse us.

Let’s stop telling people that purity is the key to marriage and start telling them that it’s a lifestyle.
Let’s stop telling people that being, “sexually clean” is the answer to purity and let’s start pointing people to Jesus as an example of what purity looks like.

 

 

 

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Shhh! Don’t say the “S” word

submission.

This word carries a lot of baggage with it.
often the weight of the word makes it scary and seem like it’s towering over us ready to pounce

as a teenager when I first started attending youth groups and Bible studies within the church, I would often hear that women were to submit themselves to men.

and honestly? It made me shiver. More so because of the context of how I was viewing submission.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary submission can be defined as:

  1. To yield oneself to the authority or will of another.
  2. To permit oneself to be subjected to something 

When you are submitting yourself to another person you are basically allowing them to have authority over you.

For the longest time I viewed submission as letting men control me or I saw it as giving up my voice and making myself weak. how wrong I was.

 Nonetheless it’s scary, right? To give someone that much power in your life….

Let’s look at Ephesians 5:22-24

Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

Notice that last part friend, “as you do to the Lord“.

We are to submit ourselves to our husbands as we do to the Lord. We submit ourselves to God’s will daily. We ask Him to have His will be done in our lives. 

Let’s take a look at Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 

Yes, we are called to submit to our husbands out of love and respect for them, but husbands are called to love their wives as Christ does. 

Submission is not a reason to allow someone to ever abuse you or hurt you. Submission doesn’t mean you are any less valued or treasured. 

For the longest time I was really scared and I didn’t like the thought of having to submit myself to men. It made me feel inferior or like I had no worth. So dear friend, I understand if you are struggling with that.

My prayer for you is that you see submission not in negative light but as something that you do out of love and respect for that person. I pray that most of all we learn to submit ourselves to Christ daily so that His will may be done in our lives.

-Elizabeth Louise 

In Jesus we have a safe place

whether you are feeling alone, scared, struggling to find worth, hopeless and worn out, dealing with depression or anxiety.

I want to remind you. Jesus is for you.

He is standing on the sideline even when you’ve given up. He is your biggest fan encouraging you to not give up. He is your biggest fan even when you make mistakes. 

there will be times when you face trials and moments that will try and tear you down. there will be people that you come across that will be against you.

Jesus is with us through it all. Never leaving our side even when we leave His

Continue to look to Jesus for direction and comfort. In Jesus we will always find a safe place. In Jesus we find hope for our weary souls. In Jesus there is peace. In Jesus, all of our fears are washed away.

The next time you become overwhelmed by guilt, fear, hopelessness, worry, and  loneliness, etc 

breathe.

and remember these truths. Remember to cling to Jesus.