Awesome.

This is a fantastic poem written by a 14 year old girl. She has some amazing talents. I might even be a tad jealous.

scott hamilton art

My daughter wrote a poem for a school project yesterday. She based it on a newspaper article about elderly couples who find themselves becoming separated by age and illness, and the inability to find nursing homes that will house them together, ending with inevitable heartbreak. The article outlines one organization which is trying to fill this societal gap, and one couple’s experience with their struggle. You can view the article here.

My girl is 14.

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~

THANK GOD WE FOUND THIS PLACE

Mika Hamilton

 

 Opening your arms

in gesture of mending

hearts. Looking into your

eyes; burning timber

gleaming,

with which to light a

new fire.

 

Like root and stalk,

lust and strife, key

and lock. You carry

the spark to my flame,

 

you are the knees to my

legs and the spine to my

head. “My love, abide

with me, set our troubled

hearts…

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Acts chapter 8.

I was reading through the book of Acts today. Quite honestly, I found it boring the first couple times I tried to read it. I would get three chapters in, then stop. I’d pick it up again and start all over, only to do the same thing again. But after coming back to it again and again, I finally got to a point where I couldn’t put it down. Suddenly, I am completely enthralled by this book of the Bible. God does that sometimes. Funny, isn’t it?

I just wanted to share some of my favorite parts.

“11 And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. 12 But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.” -Acts 8:11-12

I will just stop there for a minute. To give some background, the apostles were facing huge persecution during this time. Stephen had just been stoned to death for preaching in the name of Jesus after being told by the Sadducees that he needed to stop. Christians were being thrown in prison by Saul. Every single one of the disciples had been told to stop teaching about Jesus, and the church was scattered. This stuns me, personally, because I really don’t know if I could go on that way. These were some incredible men of faith. In this passage, Philip is in Samaria. He is baptizing and teaching Samaritans. Even with all of the persecution that the church is facing, he’s continuing to teach, and the Samaritans love him. They are being baptized, they are being saved. Is God fantastic or what? He is faithful, even when things are looking absolutely bleak for His church. He takes care of His children.

I am going to skip ahead a bit to my other favorite part in chapter 8. Trust me, it’s awesome. Peter and John are sent down to Samaria when they hear about Philip, and they begin praying over the newly baptized Christians to receive the Holy Spirit.

“18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”

Look at what Peter’s response is:

“20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.

Talk about a burn. Dang. Peter is angry with Simon, but notice that he tells Simon to repent of his wickedness and pray. His reaction is a godly one. He is discipling his brother in Christ with scriptural truth. We all need people like this, but most of us don’t want someone to tell us these things. Guess what? That’s sin. What would we do if someone responded to our sin this way, and told us straight up that we’re being sinners, that we’re wicked, that our heart isn’t right before God, and that we need to repent, like, right now? We’d probably flip out and tell them to shove it, right? Well look at Simon’s response:

“24 And Simon answered, ‘PRAY FOR ME TO THE LORD, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me.”

Simon’s response is, “Hey, man, you’re right. Pray for me. I need it.” Simon is much more humble than I am. I know that if someone had responded to me that way, I would probably just stop talking to them. (At least for a while, you know, until God said, “Hey, they were right. I need to work on your heart.”)

I just find this incredible, and I’d strongly recommend the book of Acts if you’re looking for something to read. Read slowly, read carefully, and pray before opening your Bible.

Children are awesome.

I just wanted to share something that made me smile today.

I have some friends from church, and I’ve come to babysit their kids a few times after school. The youngest one is four years old, and she’s absolutely adorable. Usually I carry a purse with me. Although, it’s not really a “purse,” it’s more of a knitted/crocheted (not sure which) small shoulder bag, and I always had it with me when I came over to babysit. Today I found out that this little girl, Amy, and her family went “picking” at Goodwill, and she found a purse. Her mom posted a picture of Amy with the purse to my Facebook wall, with the caption, “Amy HAD to get this purse ‘because it’s like Alena’s.'”

Completely made my day. It also made me realize how impressionable small children are, and the role that we grown-ups play in their small lives. My pastor often talks about leadership, and he’s mentioned a few times that leadership really comes down to just one thing: influence. When you have influence over someone, you’re leading them. Whether you like it, whether you want to, or whether you know it. You’re a leader. And you always have influence over someone, no matter your age. You are always leading someone. I honestly never thought about the impact I had in Amy’s life, because I don’t spend tons of time with her. But obviously, she remembers me and I’ve made an impression on her, because now she is seeking to imitate me. Keep in mind that someone, somewhere, will imitate you and the things you do. They will remember things about you that you may not even have known you did. It’s important to be conscious of what we’re doing, especially in the eyes of children, because older people are who they imitate.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” –1 Timothy 4:12

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity,dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. Bondservants are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.” –Titus 2:7-10

The Gift of Time

I love you more
than the sand on the beaches,
and you can never run farther
than My reach is.
Your life may be short,
but in Me it’s eternal.
You make plans, but can’t thwart
the ones I have for you.

You keep looking for love
over and over again,
as if My Word isn’t enough
to reassure you of My promises,
of the inseparability of My love
from you.
Even when you reject Me,
a prodigal would-be,
I love you just the same.
It’s not Me who moves,
but you
who walks away.

I’m here eternally,
since before the existence of Time.
The seconds are my heartbeat
made tangible for you
to understand what you’re part of.
But instead, humanity
has made it
into an impending doom.
In reality,
it’s a gift from Me to you.
Understand that because
you are part of it,
you are also part of Me,
and are fully loved
even when you don’t believe.

Author’s note: Please give credit where credit is due if you plan to use this in any way (including on social networking sites), even brief quotations. This work is (c) Alena Crepea.

Real issues…

This is a poem I wrote a little while ago. It’s not perfect, and actually isn’t even finished, but I felt the need to share. And really, why not?

You say the issues are homosexuality and abortion,

but the underlying issue is sin and the distortion

of God’s word by the world we live in.

We’re trading regeneration for a decision

made when we’re not even comprehending

the scope and the vision of this mission that we’re on.

People say that living for Christ is to limit your life,

but when did we start taking sinners’ advice?

They say that God’s just a way to get your life to be fulfilling,

then as soon as it’s there you just ditch your King.

Like orthopedic shoes, you

only wear it long enough to fix your issues,

then it gets removed, your heart wasn’t moved, you

are disillusioned with the false ideas they’re feeding us

about decisionism versus regeneration,

about God’s love for us and our love for Him.

You think you’re disillusioned with God,

but He’s not the problem. It’s us, and our thoughts.

Author’s note: Please give credit where credit is due if you plan to use this in any way (including on social networking sites), even brief quotations. This work is (c) Alena Crepea.

Something else…

It seems that lately I just keep being reminded of all of the struggles I have. Over and over, I keep being reminded that I am not perfect, and for the first time I am recognizing certain things as legitimate problems. After reading a blog post from The Reformed Libertarian (C.Jay Engle) where he quoted from his wife’s blog (Anna Engle, found here), I realized how much I’ve made body image an idol. The origins of this being a problem in my life were not necessarily caused by me, but it is a problem I’m having. Sometimes I don’t eat because I feel fat. I’ve gone several days eating only one sandwich (and not finishing it), I tend not to initiate going out to dinner with my boyfriend, and I don’t usually suggest having meals. When someone asks if I’m hungry, I usually have to be convinced that I should eat (even if I really am hungry and have not eaten all day). I go on one meal per day usually when left on my own regarding food. I have woken up in the night because of hunger pains. Gaining weight and getting fat are two of the scariest things in the world for me. That says a lot about me and sin doesn’t it? I’m so afraid of weighing more than 150 pounds, and currently, I do. Having an anxiety disorder does not help the issue, and actually, I believe that the anxiety disorder is partially to blame.

In my family, body image has always been emphasized, and I have picked up on that. My mom complains about being fat. My dad is strict about eating. My mom constantly tells me how skinny I look (but in my mind I need to be skinnier). “Skinny” is tied to being “pretty.” Overweight people are criticized by my family members. So are “ugly” people (people who don’t fit the world’s definition of beauty). I see so many people that I think are beautiful but I’ve never thought that I am pretty myself. No matter how many people tell me I am beautiful, I still see myself and can only pick out flaws in my face, my body, and my personality. I still have remnants of acne despite being nearly 20 years old (I was always under the impression that it went away by this time); I have stretch marks from my pregnancy and my stomach is not flat like it used to be; I have scars on my back where two potentially pre-cancerous spots were removed; I have more body fat now than I did before my pregnancy; my eyes are too close together; my pores are too big. I am only now realizing how much my identity is tied into how I look. Even having gone over this recently in my church’s current sermon series “Image Is Everything” regarding image (which is now almost over), I did not realize how much my identity was not in Christ.

For a long time, my identity has been wrapped up in my feminine sexuality and sex-appeal. Even at the age of fourteen, I knew that I could use my body to my “advantage” and I did. By the time I was sixteen, I was pregnant. Then my identity became muddled and confused, especially after placing my son for adoption. My identity was neither that of a mother, nor that of a normal teenage girl. Now I have stretch marks and wider hips than I did before my pregnancy. I was always afraid that no man would want me if I look this way, and especially if I have a baby. I tried to get rid of the scars, and I tried to lose the weight. Even now I am exercising and trying to eat less, eat better, trying to make my body fit someone else’s image of beauty. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to be healthy. But my thoughts about my body are entirely unhealthy. I know that even if I were ten pounds lighter, without stretch marks or acne, I’d still hate the way I look for some other reason. My hips are too small; my shoulders are too wide; my legs aren’t thin enough. Something would cause me to hate it. And not because I’m ugly, but because my identity is currently found in something other than Jesus Christ.

It’s an incredibly difficult thing to realize that so much of what I thought was perfectly okay is actually an idol, and that I really do need to be praying that God changes my heart. He created me for a purpose that only I can serve. I have tried to wrap my identity up in other things too: artist; nerd; bookworm; birth-mother; blonde; childless; empty; single; unmarried; in a relationship; girlfriend; depressed; anxiety-ridden; teenager; individuality; unique. But never was it Jesus. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. This world is not perfect, and neither am I, but God created me just as I am so that I could bring glory to Him through illustrating His redemptive power, even for someone like me.

One of the most helpful things for me was finding out that I’m not the only one who struggles with this. In fact, even men struggle with it. Think about it, if the girls on the covers of magazines can make me feel insecure, then those guys who spend seven hours a day in the gym must make men feel insecure. So if you’re struggling with body image, know that you’re not alone, not just in regards to other people, but God isn’t leaving you alone in this struggle either.