Monday, April 30, 2012

Must-Tell Monday: Flashback Edition

One year ago today, I was the happiest I'd ever been. Looking back, I didn't even know what happiness was. One year ago, my best friend proposed to me. I could recount the entire story to you, but I've already written about it once, so you can just reread that!

Now, why would I say that I didn't even know what happiness was on that glorious spring day a year ago? Well, because I only thought I was happy when Robert proposed, but after nearly ten months of marriage I can tell you that I was just barely scratching the surface of true happiness. True happiness doesn't come in the form of a ring or a question. True happiness comes from the day to day, routine life things.

True happiness comes from waking up beside your best friend day after day. True happiness comes from knowing what a person is thinking simply by a glance or a squeeze of the hand. True happiness comes from the insight marriage gives you into the other person. True happiness is building a life together.

You see, true happiness isn't just the based on the happy, exciting times in your life. True happiness isn't about stringing together lots of wonderful memories and happy times. No, true happiness is going through the grime of life together, clawing your way through drama and craziness together, hand in hand. True happiness comes from the times that would be so hard to go through alone, but knowing you never have to again. True happiness is having your best friend there, always; in the good, the bad, the ugly, the terrible, and everything in between.

I'll be honest, it hasn't been 12 months of smooth-sailing. It has, however, been 12 months of growing closer together, leaning on one another, and loving each other more than we ever thought possible. Right now, a year later, I am telling you yet again that I am the happiest I've ever been. I cannot wait to see where another year with my best friend will take me. I look forward to whatever happiness is in my life a year from now. And with a heavenly Father like the one I have, I know that blessings will abound.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Better Not to Have Known

My heart has been aching lately for people who have turned their backs on God and on the salvation He offers through His Son. There are so many that I know or at least know of who, at one time, were saved through the knowledge of our Savior, who have now returned to their sinful lifestyles. Peter has this to say, in 2 Peter 2:20-21

"For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them."

These stern words from Peter give a warning to all of us who are faithful followers of Christ: should we choose to turn away, after knowing our Savior and His love and sacrifice for us, it will be a worse end than if we'd never even believed.

But what about those who have known, yet still walked away from God? How are we not warning those people? How are we not encouraging those people? Their end is worse than it would have been because they have willingly walked away and spat upon our Savior's sacrifice for them.

I have had the privilege this week of attending a gospel meeting that my husband was preaching. He talked about Calvary. He talked about the agony in the garden of Gethsemane, the excruciating pain of the cross, and the sacrifice Jesus gave simply by leaving heaven to come here for us. It was an intense, emotional journey, but one I am so thankful to have taken. It has made me even more aware of what my Savior has done for me, and what He has done for you. It has made me more aware of the suffering and agony that He faced so that we could live in a heavenly home free from those things. Who, knowing all of these things, could simply turn their backs on them (and on Him) for fleeting, earthly pleasures?

Robert's title for the week was "Lead Me to Calvary", and he walked through the lines to that beloved hymn, focusing especially on the chorus:

"Lest I forget Gethsemane, lest I forget Thine agony, lest I forget Thy love for me, lead me to Calvary." 

When people turn their back on Jesus, it must simply be that they have forgotten what He did for them. No trial or circumstance in this life trumps the pain and agony Christ endured for your salvation and for mine. No "love" for a person that isn't rightfully your spouse is greater than the love that held Jesus to the cross. Nothing that I could ever imagine is greater than the sacrifice Jesus made in leaving heaven to come to this sin-ridden world to be beaten, scourged, mocked, spat upon, tortured, and placed on a humiliating cross. There is nothing so great or so powerful that could separate me from the love of God and the love Jesus chose to extend to me by coming here.

So why do we let little things keep us away? Why do we let the harsh words by imperfect Christians keep us away from the cross? Why do we let our own desires for fleshly pleasure keep us away from the cross? Why do we let relationships that are not God-ordained keep us from the foot of the cross? Why do we even put ourselves into the equation when we think about the cross? When we become Christians, we die and are crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20). We are irrelevant, and Christ lives in us now. We have died to our old man, and in so doing we have placed Jesus' will into our hearts and His life and His will now takes over. That leaves no room for the things I want to do. Instead, it leaves me to walk by faith, knowing that Jesus Christ will give me the strength to make it through this life below until I can be with Him and My Father forever.

There is nothing on this earth that is worth losing heaven. No riches, no pleasures, no trials, no person. Jesus endured so much on that cross (not to mention all of the time leading up to that pivotal moment). The least, the very LEAST, we can do is to be faithful until death. In no way do we deserve a crown, but Jesus says we will get one if we endure. If we will simply follow His commandments (and they aren't burdensome), we can have a home in heaven. Tell me, friend, what on this temporary earth is worth that trade? What would it take for you to give up that crown? I pray that nothing will ever separate us, and if something has, I pray and I beg that you will rid your life of whatever it is keeping you from God. Through Christ, all things are possible, even the hardest things life can throw at us.

"Be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life." - Revelation 2:10

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


Blogger, you irritate me. Yesterday I had a post all lined up for you and it was pretty remarkable. It was the last two weeks of my life in Netflix summary mode. I know, you're so intrigued. Unfortunately, the new blogger decided to hide my post and make it impossible to retrieve. Yesterday, when I published my post from my phone, nothing showed up. So that was exciting in every way. Now I don't have enough time to recap my recap, so you basically get nothing. I know, super sad.

One thing I will mention is that this week is crazy, as my husband is in a gospel meeting and we're traveling back and forth every evening. That doesn't leave me too much time to blog, so again this week will be a bit off. I am really hoping to get back to the regularly scheduled programming soon.

Today, though, before I leave, I want to leave you with a passage that is so thought-provoking to me, especially with how much I use social media. I recently did a devotional for the ladies at my congregation about praise and our tongues, and this passage has been replaying in my mind ever since:

 "For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongueis a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?" James 3:2-11

So think about your speech/statuses/blogs/tweets. If you claim to be a Christian, and use your mouth to praise God, are you using that same opening to complain, criticize, cut down, or spread gossip? Are you promoting Christ and His message of love? Carefully consider the way you use your words. Jesus tells us that every idle word we speak will either justify us or condemn us. It is my prayer that my words will justify me, and I pray the same will be true for you. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Emily's Sunshine Playlist

I am a guest blogger over on Vanessa's blog today, so you should probably go check out her post with my Emily Sunshine playlist. If you like what you see/hear, let me know. I've got plenty more where that came from.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Must-Tell Monday: Best Friend Edition

Today is Monday. Since today is Monday, I must tell you something: I will probably be on a blogging hiatus (yes again) until next Tuesday (or let's be real--Thursday). Why? Well, I have a reallllllllly good, exciting reason. ALYSSA IS COMING!!!!

I cannot contain my excitement over this. The reason is threefold. 1: She is my best friend and who doesn't love spending time with their bff? 2: She lives in FL so I never, ever, ever get to see her and it's been nine months so I've been having serious withdrawals. 3: We have so many amazing things to do together that no one else really understands. That being said, Alyssa will be here starting tomorrow until the next Tuesday. That's right people: 7 full days with my bff. You should probably pray for Robert during this time, since he'll be overrun with girlness at the (2 bedroom) apartment.

In honor of Alyssa coming, I have decided to tell you a few things about her that I love more than anything. They are, in no particular order:

1: Our random texts that would make about zero sense to anyone else and yet perfectly describe us.

2: Our nearly daily FB messages chronicling the most random of things about our lives.

3: Our identical taste in music.

4: Our shared passion for things like Nutella, Paris, Diet Coke, Rosie's/Cruisers, OTH, Parenthood, tennis, and Rosi Golan.

5: Her ridiculously hilarious laugh.

6: The way she doesn't and hasn't ever judged me, regardless of knowing me/befriending me at some pretty low moments.

7: Every Europe memory we created together.

8: The way she knows everything about me and reads my blog anyway =P

9: How amazing of a person she is. Strong, resilient, inspirational, wonderful.

10: Everything else about her.

I don't need to tell you (again) how excited I am, but let's be honest, I can't stop. The next week is going to be incredibly amazing. So I'm not really sorry that I won't be blogging. Don't worry though, I'll be sure to update you on the next Must-Tell Monday (you know, two weeks from now).

Also, the reason I said Thursday instead of next Tuesday is because I am now doing a devotional at East Hill that Thursday night so I won't have any time to blog because I'll be studying. In which case, see you in a couple of weeks!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Seeing God in the Darkness

Have you had a dark time in your life? Maybe you're there right now. As someone who has not only had a dark time, but come out on the other side, I am here to offer some help--some clarity--some light.

My senior year in high school and the summer that followed were a dark time for me. As the year progressed, I drifted away from God and inched closer to Satan. There was a boy (isn't there always?), and I gave him my heart. I shouldn't have, and even then I knew that. Nevertheless, it happened. My heart belonged to him, and so did my thoughts. Every second I spent dwelling on our "what could be's" were seconds I wasn't devoting to my God. Those seconds turned into minutes, minutes into hours, and those hours turned into my entire senior year of high school. Before I knew it, my senior year was over, and I was left in a puddle of graduation regalia and heartbreak.

The story is too long to tell, the details too insignificant at this point. What matters is this: I was away from God. He hadn't moved, but I had defiantly marched away from Him somewhere between August and May. I spent the first few weeks of summer in a ball on my bed, shedding tears over a boy I used to love and a person I used to be. One day, as I sat at my lonely office at my first real job (aka not McDonalds), I had a breakdown. It was storming outside, a perfect reflection of my inner self, and I lost it. After regaining my composure (was there a choice? I was at the front desk!), I softly started to sing:

"Over every thought, over every word. May my life reflect the beauty of my Lord. 'Cause you mean more to me than any earthly thing. So won't you reign in me again."

That song--those words--hit me like a ton of bricks. I still don't know why the song popped into my head, or what made me start singing it, but it changed the course of my life. From that moment on, I started praying. Regularly. I started begging God to heal my heart. I read the Psalms over and over again, emphatically nodding along with David's sentiments.

I hadn't been in a place so dark before. There was hatred and bitterness in my heart like I'd never experienced. There was disgust and regret and envy and all other sorts of wickedness pruning in my heart. And then, there was a soft song--a whisper of the person I could be. I don't remember the exact moment that it all changed; that the sun came out and the clouds rolled away. I don't remember climbing and clawing my way out of the darkness. I just know that the day I stepped onto Freed-Hardeman's campus, I was different, and I was better for the journey.

Still, I had more darkness to overcome. My freshman year at Freed isn't a time that I'm especially proud of, mostly because my newly healed heart was shattered too soon by yet another boy I shouldn't have given it to. But, once again, I asked God to heal me. I asked God to mold me. I asked God to make my heart stronger--too strong for a boy or even Satan himself to crush.

I want to share with you a verse about God that I love. 1 John 1:5 says, "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you-that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."

Do you know why I love that so much? Because in God there is not one ounce of darkness. There is no evil. There is no pain. No darkness. At all.

To me, that says that God is bigger than the darkness that envelopes me at times. God is able to deliver me from that darkness. He loves me so much that He dispels the darkness around me when I ask Him.

I am God's daughter (2 Cor. 6:18). Because I am His daughter, He gives to me all things that I ask (Matt. 7:7). When you are in the midst of a dark time, ask yourself this question: am I God's child? If the answer is yes, ask Him to dispel the darkness. Psalm 34:18 tells us, "God is near to those who have a broken heart and saves such as have a contrite spirit." Trust God and know that He is bigger than whatever darkness you are facing. He is there, and is a "very present help" in your time of need (Psalm 46:1).

If you are not a child of God's, know that He wants you to be. He wants to save you (2 Pet. 3:9). Submit to His terms, and the blood of Jesus will wash away that darkness and all of the sin in your life.

We cannot conquer the darkness on our own. We must let God have control. He is willing, and He desires to do it for you. We just have to draw near to Him. When we do, He will give us all things (James 4:7-8, 1:5-7).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tough Stuff Tuesday: Abortion

Last week I attended a lectureship entitled "In God We Trust". Throughout the week, I heard powerful lessons about the state of our nation and how Christians should act in our present time. One lesson in particular hit home--but probably in a different way than the speaker intended.

He was talking about the Declaration of Independence, and how our nation was in fact founded on Christian beliefs. He went through different phrases of the Declaration and picked out words such as "Creator" and "God" and "Divine Providence". However, I was stuck on one sentence in particular. I'd like to share it with you now:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Immediately, I thought of the state of our nation. The way groups such as the Freedom from Religion Foundation are fighting to take God out of every single part of our public lives. The way television promotes atheism and mocks God. The way our homes are destroyed by divorce and same-sex relationships. And especially the way our nation is plagued with an infanticide problem.

When you think about abortion, what do you think about? I think about all of the women's rights group that tell us that women have a right to "choose" the kind of life they want to live. Well I completely agree. I agree that women, like men, should be able to choose for themselves the kinds of lives they want. However, when you CHOOSE to have sexual relations outside of marriage, you're kind of choosing to deal with the consequences, aren't you? When you go to the doctor only to find out that you have contracted a sexually transmitted disease, do you get to tell the doctor that you CHOOSE to not have that? No. You made the choice when you chose to participate in such activities. How then do we, as a nation, sit idly by when people kill their unborn babies?? Yes, you have a right to choose. You have a right to choose not to go to bed with someone that isn't your spouse.

It is no wonder that our society is engaged in so many 'instant gratification' crimes. If we allow people to 'get rid of' the consequences of their actions when it comes to the life or death of their baby, why are we surprised when people kill other human beings because that person tried to stand in their way when they wanted to take something out of the other person's home? Why are we surprised that there are so many DUIs and people killed by drunk drivers? Do they not have the right to choose not to accept the consequences of their actions, or are women the only ones who get to escape the consequences?

OUR DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE states that we are CREATED. We have a CREATOR. That same CREATOR gave us rights that cannot be taken away--rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Tell me, which of those rights are the unborn babies getting? Oh that's right--none of them.

We snuff out that innocent child's life and subsequently take away their chance of liberty from their mother's womb and their right to pursue happiness. Our nation has decided that we are the ones who give the rights of life, liberty and happiness. WE are the ones. You see the problem with that? When our nation was started, our founders acknowledged that it was GOD who gave those rights. Today, our nation needs to realize that yet again. Because if we acknowledged that God was the one who gave those rights, there's no way we'd think that we could be the ones to take them away.

There are so many inconsistencies in our country, but why are we surprised? Nearly every day I see statuses and statements about our country and how evil it is. I see the statements of alarm and surprise and shock. But why? Why are we shocked that a nation that has abandoned God is practicing evil deeds? The Bible tells us over and over again that Christians are to be different than the world. America is the world. America is the culture we are to be opposing and keeping out of our churches and our hearts. Don't be surprised that people who are without Christ are acting so foolishly. It is our job to teach them. The Christians at Corinth weren't always Christians. We know that some of them were homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators and the like before they were washed with the blood of Jesus. Christians are sent to change the world, not stand by in awe that the world can be such an ugly place. A world without God IS ugly, and we're seeing that first hand. Now what are we doing to change that?

America needs God. The world needs God. If America and the world are going to be helped, God is the answer. Christians must stand up and take His message to those lost and dying people, otherwise nothing will ever change.

The Hiatus Review

Sorry for my weeklong absence! It is a crazy time in the Hatfield household.

I must tell you about my favorite things from the last week and a half, though. So bear with me through today's Must Tell Monday* post.

1: I loved getting to spend time with my husband on the road. Road trips provide great conversations and memories that I will cherish forever.

2: I loved getting to spend time with fellow Christians. We spent 3 days at the MSOP lectures, surrounded by people who want to get to heaven. It is amazing how different the atmosphere is at lectureships verses day to day life. I long for heaven, when we can all be together and be with our God and our Savior.

3: I loved getting together with ladies from East Hill and studying God's Word. It is always a blessing to hear God's Word opened from a heart that has been studying. I especially love to hear ladies talk about the love of God; it's such a unique perspective.

4: I loved getting to spend time with my mom and my sister. Moving away cultivates an even greater relationship, I think. So, now that I'm a little over an hour away from my entire family, the times I get to see them are so precious. Now if I could just get a hold of those two nieces of mine we'd be in business...

5: I loved the weather. While I didn't like that both my husband and my sister were traveling during the tornado warnings, I did love seeing God's power in the storms. It is so comforting to know that regardless of what happens, my God is bigger than whatever can come my way in this life. Storms, temptations, trials, pain--God is bigger than all of it.

*I did write this on Monday. Who knows why it didn't want to post?