**Most of this blog is for girls only! Any boys, please only read the posts linked to in the "For Boys" page on the sidebar. Thank you.**

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Pray-a-thon for MAF

Hello! I know I don't usually do this, but this post is actually about something awesome some of my friends are doing, and which they would love your prayers for.

 About two years ago, these friends moved to PNG. They are living at the Kompiam Hosptial in Enga Province, one of the less remote medical posts. From this post, they have the opportunity to observe first-hand the incredible work that is done by the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF). When patients are too ill or wounded to make the gruelling trek from other parts of the province to Kompiam, MAF flies them out. In PNG, as well as in thousands of other locations around the world, MAF provides the only way to service the remote rural populations.

 But MAF can't do their work alone. They need support. And so my friends have decided to do something to raise awareness for MAF. It's pretty simple:

They run a marathon, we pray a marathon.

 Over the month of November, they are going to run up and down the Kompiam airstrip 26 times - that adds up to be one marathon. While they do that, they get everyone they can to pray. For them, but mostly for MAF. And tell everyone we can about what they're doing (that's where this blog post comes in). Will you join me in praying?

 You can go to http://mafmarathon.blogspot.com.au/ for more info and weekly prayer points.

Thanks guys!
Cassie xoxoxo

Saturday, 25 October 2014

A Converstation and Subsequent Clarification

{Photo credit to Ethan Lofton and Flickr Creative Commons. Fade effect added,} 

I was D&Ming with one of my dear friends yesterday, and I brought up another chat I'd had with a different friend about choices. I'd told this second friend that no matter what she did or how I felt about it, I wouldn't judge her. And then my first friend asked me a hard question.

"OK, but think about it hard, really hard: DO you judge?"

 Quite a question. Basically why she asked me was because she had felt a bit of judgement about crushes and such through my blog posts. She told me that while I might be able to 'turn off' a crush, she couldn't, and was left feeling judged because of that. She also said that while she agreed with many, even most of the things I said, because she just can't 'turn off' a crush, she saw crushes as something to walk through hand-in-hand with God, because He is with us and sovereign in every circumstance. When she had said all this in tough honesty and love, I realised that I have obviously not been clear enough about some things that I think, resulting in misconceptions and hurt. While I've cleared it up with this specific friend, I wanted to say some things here to clarify what I truly believe, and hopefully to alleviate any feelings of judgement I may have given to any readers.
  • Let me define what I mean when I say 'crush' or 'liking.' I've said it in this post, but it won't hurt to say it again here. I define a 'crush' or 'liking a guy' as basically idolising that boy. He consumes you, to some degree. You probably think about him all the time, and act out of your 'crush' feelings. A crush indulges your current feelings and fantasies. This is what I mean by 'a crush' (unless the context clearly shows otherwise). That is what I exhort against in my blog posts about crushes, that is what I believe is not wise, that is what I post 'how to fight off liking a guy' posts about.
     On the other hand, I'm 'fighting off a crush' when I acknowledge my feelings, but refuse to get caught up and indulge them, but instead choose to focus on God through them, and walk through it with Him (more on this is a second).
  • I cannot 'turn off' a crush. Not on your life!! No way can I just choose to 'flick the switch' on crushes or whatever. True, I've had a LOT of practice at journeying through my feelings and learning how to not give in to a crush but instead focus on God. By the grace of God, I can say that because of that I've never had another crush as I just defined it. But it is not in my power to 'shut down' my feelings that want to turn into a crush! Every now and again, God chooses to intervene and take away those desires for a guy, but rare is that occasion! I wish you could see my journal! It's full of entries of the "Help, God, I'm struggling with these feelings for a guy! Help me focus on You instead, and not give in!" kind. I'm no superhuman!
  • I, too, agree that desires for a guy are something to walk through hand-in-hand with God. In fact, I can't possibly agree more! Once you know what I mean by 'crush' and that (while I can choose not to let them develop into a crush) I can't just switch off my feelings, the need to walk through these desires with God is kinda obvious! It's a gruelling journey. My feelings are real. They're there. So are yours. You can't deny them, you can't flick a switch to make them go away. But you CAN limit (through God's power) how those desires affect you. You CAN pray, you CAN choose not to indulge them, you CAN choose to focus on God, you CAN choose to take His hand, and let Him gently guide you through this whole process, this season, these feelings, this struggle. He is sovereign. He has something to teach us every time this happens. He does not hate what you feel. Nor do I.
 Before I move onto my next point, I thought I'd give you a bit of an example and illustration of how these things have played out in my life recently.

 About this time last year, I began struggling with feelings for a certain guy. Had I just 'let it go,' they would have developed into a crush. But instead of indulging my fantasies and feelings, I chose to bring everything God has taught me over years of fighting off crushes into play. The result: I deliberately didn't think of him all the time, my feelings did not rule my actions (most of the time), I brought it to God daily, hourly, minute-ly, and he guided me through it and taught me things, but my feelings were still there. It wasn't till around March this year that I finally felt release from those desires. Attraction still remains, but it is no longer a battle to see this boy as a friend and hold him as such in my heart, well below God.

 So you can see here my definition of 'crush' (what I had was NOT a crush), how I cannot 'switch off' my desires, and how I had to work through my feelings with God. Now, to continue...
  • My desire is never to condemn, but to exhort, warn, encourage, and help. I know I've judged in the past. I've lectured instead of loving. Many times. And I am truly sorry for those times. Even Christ did not come to condemn, but to save (John 3:17). While I will no doubt slip up again in the future, it is never, ever my desire to judge through my posts. I will not shy away from exhortation or even gentle warnings against something I think to be wrong (i.e. tearing down others with your words) or unwise (i.e. crushes). I will encourage towards something I believe is right and wise. I will offer practical help for things I find hard. But I never mean to pinpoint something and say, "That, there - if you do that you are a bad Christian, or inferior, or weak."
     Your choices are between you and God. My intent is to urge you towards Christ and what I believe is in accordance with His word and His heart. But I cannot force you do something. You have to decide. If you choose something I believe is unwise, may I never condemn you for that! That is not my position. I will feel sad, because I know that unwise decisions are called 'unwise' for a reason: you will get hurt, or at least not be abiding in God through it, which is a painful place to be, whether you realise it or not. But again, it's your choice.

 Dear readers, if any of your have felt judged or offended or hurt in any way by anything on my blog, please know that I am so very, very sorry. If after this post there is still something you feel hurt by, please send me an email or comment, and hopefully I can clear up any misunderstandings and reassure you. If any of you feel that there is something in a specific post that could hurt someone or that I could say better in order to avoid misunderstandings, please let me know.

Blessings in Christ,
Cassie xoxoxo

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Last Hours of the Thief

{Photo credit to Waiting for the Word and Flickr Creative Commons}

 So I was at my youth group last night, and (long story short) someone was talking about the thief on the cross who repented, and that yes of course he was saved even though it was his last hours, because his heart truly realised what he'd done and was genuinely sorry, etc.

 And suddenly, sitting there on the floor, it hit me out of nowhere.

 What must have been going on in the thief's heart as he strained through his last hours on the cross, until the soldiers finally came and broke his legs.

 What a paradox those hours must have been!! Here he was, in the worst hours of his entire life, in excruciating pain, suffering for all the wrong he'd done. I can't imagine how dreadful that would be! And yet, it was also the best few hours of his life. He had been forgiven. Completely cleansed. He had been promised by the Messiah an eternity in heaven. What joy flooded his heart? What unexplainable relief and peace washed over him as he found what he had been longing for all his life?What revelations did he have as his entire life was put in perspective, as the history he had surely been taught suddenly make sense? What discoveries did he make about the character of God, who's very Son lay gasping a few feet away for having done nothing wrong? 

 Of course, I can only speculate. But it was just so cool to think of what must have been going on for that thief who Jesus forgave because he humbly repented. I'm looking forward to getting to heaven and asking him about it!

Cassie xoxoxo

P.S. See Luke 23:26-46 for the full story.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

How to fight off liking a guy // Part 3

The Specifics // Part 2

  1. Be willing to listen and learn from God. Trust me on this one: God has something to teach you every time you fight off liking a guy. I literally have a list on my iPod titled "Things God has taught me through my boy struggles." Items include 'that I need to give those thoughts to God,' 'God has such an amazing man in store for me,' 'telling parents helps so much,' 'I must treat and encourage all the Body equally' and 'friends is best and [sometimes] hardest.' There is a lesson with ever struggle. I've learnt to keep my ears open to God when I'm faced with trying not to like a guy. They're such growing seasons, no matter how hard and frustrating. Be willing to listen and learn from God.
  2. Be willing to listen and learn from others. My mum reminds me that I'm too young to think about a life partner (yeh, I know, duh. But a good kick of blatant logic does help sometimes). My friend reminds me of the importance of Scripture in our daily battle. And if you have a friend who you know thinks the same way about this stuff, and maybe has more experience to boot, go ask for help!*
  3. Choose to focus on others. When you focus on others and serve them, that's letting God work through you to be a blessing. It's forcing your mind away from your wants, your desires, you yearnings, you obsessions. Seek out ways to encourage others. Give of yourself. Treat others like you feel like treating that boy. Looking actively for how to bless others is a powerful weapon against obsession! 
  4. Look for the big picture. The here and now isn't everything! What will you think looking back on this in ten years time? What happens when you slowly (or suddenly) come to realise that he's actually not that like-worthy? Looking at the big picture relieves some of the pressure of the right-now. It puts things into perspective.
  5. Don't give up! I've fought off liking guys for a few weeks. I've fought off liking guys for a few months. There are guys I've been attracted to for years and still have to wrestle my mind off sometimes. Sometimes I do feel like giving up (that happened recently). But in the end, the fight to glorify God instead of boys in your life is worth it. You learn things. You grow. You become the person you will be next month, next year. You realise afresh how great our God is, and why His is worthy of our whole heart and mind. And be encouraged: when God started teaching me this stuff, it took years for me to get a hang of. But now, more than 5 years later, I find it way, WAY easier to identify and combat a potential crush. When God started teaching me this stuff, I could go minutes before catching myself thinking romantic thoughts. Now, I mostly catch a thought like that almost before it fully forms, and certainly within a few seconds. When God started teaching me this stuff, I wouldn't realise I was attracted until I was deep in. Now, I can identify any out-of-the-ordinary emotions very quickly, keep tabs on them and be ready to swing my defences into action if I realise it's getting beyond the realm of attraction or admiration. So don't give up! Keep relying on God for everything, and you'll get there, whether it be in a few days or a few months.

I hope these posts show you some helpful things. Please comment and let me know what you think, or what tips you have!

Cassie xoxoxo

*And hey, if you want to shoot me an email and ask me, go ahead!

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

How to fight off liking a guy // Part 2

The Specifics // Part 1

  1. Swap the thoughts you catch yourself thinking for prayer, scripture, or truth. I think I've said this before: we can't just push out bad thoughts, we must exchange them for good thoughts. When you catch your mind wandering, dreaming over a guy, try praying, quoting scripture or reminding yourself of truth (i.e. God is more than enough for me).
  2. Be aware of Satan's tactics. Unfortunately, this one comes mostly by experience. But let me just say, Satan has many tactics to tap us off the course. It may be outright, or it may be subtle. Keep your eyes open, and claim God's truth over you.
  3. Tell someone you trust. This one is so helpful! I can't say I tell my mum or one of my best friends every little thing I'm struggling with in this area, but when it's bigger, or when it's been going on for a while, one of the biggest reliefs is telling someone you trust. It removes the secrecy aspect, brings things into the light (in some cases, just doing that breaks it's power), and most often yields in helpful advice or accountability. It is unbelievably helpful (even while somewhat uncomfortable) to have someone saying, "so, how are things going with so-and-so?"
  4. Avoid things that stir up those thoughts (don't spur it on). OK, this is big. When fighting off a crush, we must not do things to stir it up! That may mean any manner of things. Maybe it's taking his photo off your phone lock screen, or not listening to that so that so reminds you of him, or not Internet-stalking him. ;P For me, it's meant any manner of things, from choosing not to seek him out at a gathering, to not going along to drop my brother at his place where I might just, maybe see him. It's meant not chatting to him online all the time, not playing memories over and over (you with me here?!), not sitting right next to him, not holding his gaze a split second too long, nor too deeply. If you've purposed to fight this fire, FIGHT IT, don't fan it!

{Please comment and let me know what you think, or any ideas you have!!}