Mickey100's Blog

The inner workings of my mind

2016 Reflections – A Year of Trust

trust

Going into 2016, God gave me the word “trust,” telling me that I would be working on my trust in him. It turned out to be a year of a lot of unknowns and firsts, increasing my dependency upon him.

At the beginning of the year, I encountered troubles with my voice and had to get it checked out. For a while I was unsure of the possibility of nodes being on my vocal folds. Then when I finally was able to get in to see the specialist (six months later!), praise the Lord, I did not have nodes. But they did find some swelling and a small air leak possibly due to tension, so I did speech therapy for a couple of months to learn how to release the tension when speaking and singing. I have come a long way since then and I am still in the process of learning and healing and trusting God with the outcome.

In February, I moved out of my Grandma’s house and was very excited to live in a place of my own for the first time. Living there, I have been able to practice my music, learn how to adult, and work on developing who God has created me to be.

For a few months had my paleo pies sold at Tacoma Boys Market with Dr. Terry’s Pies. I was so grateful for such an opportunity and for all of my wonderful friends who supported this endeavor. I learned a lot about the business world and was able to use my creativity to come up with awesome recipes and reach out to many people that I never would have met otherwise!

In July, I traveled for the first time outside of this time zone to Nashville, Tennessee to do some singing and sight-seeing. My best friend was supposed to come along but ended up in the hospital shortly before leaving. We had come to the conclusion that she would be unable to join us. Then just at the last possible opportunity, she was released and able to come. It was the first I had seen her in two years. God provided us not only with a place to stay, but also warm friendship and hospitality the entire trip.

Awaiting my return from Nashville was a wonderful Godly man, David, who had learned about me through working at Tacoma Boys. He pursued me on one of my nightly walks at Chambers Bay and from then on started walking with me. At first I was unsure about letting him into my life after past disheartening experiences with potential relationships that never worked out. Actually, my previous post, The Risk, was a poem that I wrote when unable to sleep for worries of a possible heartbreak if it were to fall through. But, after getting some Godly counsel, I found peace about it and gave it a shot. It has turned out to have been one of the best decisions of my life and I look forward to doing a new year of life with him.

Through it all, I have seen God’s hand at work in the uncertainties. He never ceases to amaze me with his provision, love, comfort, and faithfulness. All praise to him. Here’s to another year of surrendering my cares to him and letting him mold my heart.

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The Risk

I’m up late at night

With thoughts wandering deep

My mind is so full

That I can’t fall asleep

 

The questions, the planning

The fear of the pain

The anticipation

Of sunshine or rain

 

I can sit here and dream

For the rest of my life

Or step out in faith

Attempting to fly

 

I might as well go

And step out on a limb

Lord, help me to trust you

As I follow this whim

 

The risk of it all

The investment it takes

Lord, only you know

The result it will make

 

But I know you are for me

You won’t let me go

For your plans exceed

Anything I could know

 

Even if it doesn’t

Turn out like I plan

You will always keep me

In the palm of your hand

 

Oh, most holy God

My thoughts are on you

You are faithful and patient

You are the real Truth

 

I’m risking it all

Investing above

In you, oh my Savior

In you, my True Love

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When the Battle is Too Big for You

little boy asking big man to play basketball . From my sport series.

Do you ever feel like there is a monstrous battle in front of you and there is no way you can take it head on; like there’s nothing you can do in your own power to make things better? Maybe it’s cancer, physical or emotional pain, a loved one far from Christ, a dream that seems impossible, an addiction, a strong desire tugging at your heart that is beyond your control, the list could go on and on.

Right now in my own life there are a lot of breakthroughs that I am believing God for. There are chains that need to be broken over myself and my family. There are dreams and desires on my heart that I am asking God for. But all of these battles that need to be fought and the architectures that I want to be built are too big for me to handle. So the question is, what do you do when the battle is too big for you?

2 Chronicles 20 lays out a great illustration of such a senario. In this story, King Jehoshaphat faced what seemed to be an inevitable fall for Judah after getting word that “a vast army” (v. 2)  was coming to attack his kingdom. This enemy army was made up of three different nations – the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites – and was much bigger than his own. We can look at this story and take note of the steps he took to deal with such a great opposition in a way that pleased the Lord, and apply it to our own lives.

  1. Seek

    Our first response to any situation should be to seek the Lord. Jehoshaphat did this by immediately proclaiming a fast. The entire nation then came together to pray to the Lord. They acknowledged that they were unable to face the opposition on their own strength and asked the Lord for help saying, “we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (v. 12) Here, Jehoshaphat humbled himself and admitted his fear and weakness to the Lord while looking to him for help.

    Regarding this example, we should seek the Lord in our own circumstances by declaring our dependence on him and asking for help. He will not be mad at you for asking! The Lord loves to hear the cries of his people. Psalm 51:17 says “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.” Here, David is crushed by the weight of sin and is crying out to God for mercy. He acknowledges that God will hear his cry and rescue him, even though he is broken. Therefore, do not ever think that you should have to take on your circumstances alone, or that your cry for help will be unnoticed; but be willing to humble yourself Lord and ask him for help.

  2. Trust 

    Once we cry out to God for help, we need to be prepared to trust the Lord for whatever happens next. After hearing the outcry of the nation of Judah, the Lord responded by saying “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” (v.17). With this being said the people had a choice to either keep living in fear or to trust that the Lord would actually fulfill the words he had spoken.

    Jehoshaphat chose to trust the Lord and told his army, “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” (v. 20) These words have great power to them. In our own lives, we can remind ourselves to keep trusting the Lord by remembering the promises he has made to us through his word. Here are just a few verses that can be used as reminders to trust such a faithful God:

    • “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does.” Psalm 145:13
    • “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Joel 2:32
    • “I, the Lord, do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed.” Malachi 3:6
    • “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” 1 Cor 10:13
    • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Rom. 8:28
    • “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are–yet he did not sin.” Hebrews 4:15
    • “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

    Through these verses and many others, we can remind ourselves of God’s promises to us. Our God is faithful; therefore we must not worry, but trust that the he will fulfill his promises.

  3. Worship

    Trusting him and reflecting on his faithfulness should naturally lead us to worship and revere such a great God, which is a powerful stance to take. Jehoshaphat demonstrated this by calling certain people to be at the head of the army to “sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness” (v. 21) What a crazy act! Here, Jehoshaphat chose to praise the Lord for what was only spoken to be accomplished, before any victory had taken place! Look how the Lord responded to their worship:

    “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.” (v. 22-24)

    What a victory! The Lord was faithful and the people of Judah did not even have to fight their enemies! In fact, we are told that “There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.” (v. 25) Only God could have orchestrated such a miraculous outcome.

    This isn’t the only account in the bible where praise and worship broke the chains of oppression. In the New Testament, Paul and Silas chose to worship the Lord while in prison. As a result, the earth shook and their chains fell off. (Acts 16:16-40) Thus, the Lord responded to their worship by giving them freedom.

    Looking at these events, it is evident that we don’t have to wait until we see the final results of a miracle to praise God. He deserves our worship twenty-four/seven because he is worthy. Our worship should never depend on our circumstances but should overflow from the gratitude of such a great salvation that we have been given.

Altogether, the story of Jehoshaphat shows that it is okay to be too weak to face opposition. We are not supposed to be strong enough; but GOD IS! That’s the whole point! He will help us fight the battles that we need to take on. Our job is to seek him, trust him, and worship him with our whole being, no matter what the circumstance. He will give us what we need to overcome in a way that only he can get the glory. We need not worry, for the battle is not ours, it is the Lord’s.

 

 

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You Have Permission…

You can be your own worst enemy or your own biggest motivation. This past week I have faced a couple of challenges which have left me fighting to get up off the floor. Through the difficulties, I have realized that in order to get up and press on, it helps to literally give myself permission to do so. Thus, I came up with this list of actions to allow myself to take. I hope it can be of help to you also.

I give myself permission to:

  • make mistakes
  • forgive myself
  • continue learning
  • be myself
  • embark on new adventures
  • step outside my comfort zone
  • change my course when necessary
  • cry
  • take risks
  • look stupid
  • work hard
  • face rejection
  • encounter ridicule
  • be misunderstood
  • find contentment where I am
  • try again
  • keep dreaming
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What Happened to the Dreams?

What happened to the dreams, whimsical and wispy, imagined without a care in the world?
The little girl once had no worries or doubts, when the world was open and free and there were no obstacles in her way.
The path she walked on had no bumps or potholes. It followed a beautiful brook which sparkled as the sun kissed the blue water.
The meadows were open and filled with daisies, and the wildflowers bloomed with the desires and passions of the heart.
Life was a song to sing and dance to. Life was a stage from which to show the world the joy of the arts.
What happened to the dreams, whimsical and wispy, imagined without a care in the world?

But now the thorns of fear and insecurity spring up and choke the life of the wildflower, wringing out the stored up dreams and crushing the seeds of new visions. The path, once smooth, veers away from the crystal river and turns to a sharp, rocky, narrow path on an uphill climb.
What happened to the dreams, whimsical and wispy, imagined without a care in the world?

Where am I?
What do I want?
What am I doing?
What do I find joy in anymore?
These questions have been tainted by the fears, insecurities, and obstacles rising up through life.

A more relevant question though, is ‘Who am I?’.
Because no matter what I do or where I am, the who will always remain the same.
I am a child of the almighty God.
I am a daughter of the King of Kings.
I am fearfully and wonderfully made by my Creator.
I am loved and forgiven by the man who paid the full price for me.
I am saved by the ultimate hero.

“For even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me; Your rod and your staff they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

Therefore, I find strength from the one who gives me life. He cleans out the impurities, allowing me to see beyond the obstacles that lie on the rocky path.
And although not all the questions are answered, this is for sure: He is God, he is faithful, and he holds me in the palm of his hand.

Dream on, child of God. Dream on.

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Life in College: The Freshman Adventure

My first year in college is complete, with the next year lying just around the bend. The past twelve months have been filled with many new experiences and challenges that have pushed me and helped me grow. One of those new experiences was having voice lessons for the first time. Now, music in general has always been something I enjoy and I aspire to use it to encourage people. My mission statement is “dream, create, and perform to bring hope and inspiration into the lives of others.” In order to reach these goals of connecting with people through music, I had decided before the school year started that I wanted to major in vocal performance. Little did I know the adventures that this decision held around the corner for me.

It may seem that because I have grown up in in a musical home and been surrounded by music my whole life, I would be an expert musician and singer; but the truth is, any professional music training I have had  (meaning private lessons), has been limited to violin lessons from my mom. This is not to say that I am incompetent in these areas. On the contrary, I believe that I have been given these talents in order to impact people and glorify God. The point I am making is that there are times when I feel like there is much more in me that has never been touched. In the past, I have wanted voice, guitar, and piano lessons, but have never been able to afford them. Around sophomore year in high school, I started teaching myself piano and guitar, but I found singing to be more difficult to learn without an instructor. So while I learned a few vocal techniques on my own, I have always just sung how I knew to sing.

Upon beginning college, I was able to take voice lessons for the first time.  However, I ended up spending most of the time breaking incorrect self-taught habits and relearning how to sing from scratch. Starting at square one, I felt massively overwhelmed and intimidated. There were times when I almost lost confidence in myself and found the pursuit of majoring in vocal performance to be a ridiculous fantasy. Yet somehow, despite what seemed like impossibilities, I kept pressing on.

A couple months before the end of this first year, my academic advisor asked me if I wanted to declare my major. I decided to step out in faith and go for it. He told me that to do so, I needed to pass an entrance audition. (How that works is they make your jury, which is your semester final for voice lessons, your audition.) I then talked with my voice teacher about it and we concluded that, even though I had come a long way in such a short amount of time, I probably wasn’t vocally ready yet, but I would probably be ready at the end of the coming fall semester, so we decided to wait and do my audition then. However, what I didn’t realize was that my academic advisor had already worked everything out to make the spring jury my entrance audition.

On the day of juries, my jury ended up being crammed between two other finals. It was 10:00 in the morning, I had no time to warm up, I was rushed to get in there, and my nerves were high. As Dr. Brown was telling me to come in quickly, he exclaimed “So this is your entrance audition?” I paused. “I was going to wait until next semester,” I told him. He responded with, “Well, this is what the music office gave me.” Right then my nerves shot up from building-height to skyscraper-height. As I sang, my heart was racing and I didn’t have good breath support, causing the sounds that resonated from my voice to be poor quality. I finished my two songs and then they asked me questions, the first of which was “What do you want to major in?” After my less-than-dazzling performance, the last thing I wanted to respond with was “voice performance,” but after rambling a sentence or two, I finally did. Then they asked me how long I had been taking lessons, and if I played any other instruments. I told them “just this year”, and then told them my history of violin, flute, piano and guitar. Then they asked why I wanted to major in voice. I said something along the lines of, “I really want to know how to sing well and develop my skills as a singer.” They thanked me and then sent me off and I went and took my next final.

Later that day in the library (and still on a nervous-energy high), I was talking with God and I said, “Whatever happens, may it be for your honor and glory. And I don’t think I made it in, so I am going to try again next semester.” I wrote something similar in my notebook the next morning: “Whatever happens, I pray that you are glorified by it and that I can use it as a story to tell people how great you are.”

Now let me tell you: God is great! Four days later, I got a letter in the mail saying that not only was I accepted, but every single judge passed me. That is the grace, glory, and power of God. Through this, the words of the Lord ring true: “My power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9) He took my weakness and manifest his power through it. We must always remember, despite any feelings of inadequacy, that God is faithful and has everything under control. He calls us to go into the world with what he has already placed in our hands. It is easy to respond to this challenge with, “I don’t have what it takes” or “First I need to get this one thing, then I’ll go.” Where do we, as humans, draw the line for “what it takes?” If we measure our readiness based on our own standards and feelings, we will never move. We could always say, “I need that before I go” or “It would turn out better if I had that, so I will wait.” But the truth is that God has already equipped us with what we need to accomplish his will.

The bible accounts many stories of this nature. All Moses had was a meager staff, yet through God’s help, he performed miraculous wonders with it. (Ex. 4) The poor widow that was with Elisha had only a little oil. Yet through God’s miracle, it filled jar, after jar, after jar, which she was then able to sell to provide for her family. (2 Kings 4:1-7) These are only two of the many instances throughout the bible when God has taken someone’s “little” and displayed His glory through it. We don’t have to be “good enough,” “smart enough,” or “talented enough,” (in the earthly sense of those phrases) because God has already supplied us with what we need to make his will come to pass. He is God Almighty, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End, the I AM; if he wants something done, he will get it done. He is strong enough to perform miraculous wonders, yet intimate enough to comfort us. Praise to God for his great power and love!

 

I am proud to say that yesterday, Friday the 26th of August, I met with my academic advisor and filled out the paperwork; I am now officially declared as majoring in vocal performance.

Now for round two…

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I Challenge You

You were created with an infinite capacity to learn and grow. God has called you to make a difference. This is my challenge to you:

  • Live outside of your comfort zone
  • Do hard things
  • Multiply the gifts God has given to you
  • Smile at everyone you pass by
  • Introduce yourself to somebody new
  • Give to someone in need
  • Study your bible
  • Pray for someone else
  • Tithe
  • Forgive anyone who has wronged you 
  • Encourage those around you
  • Listen more than you speak
  • Continuously learn new things, then apply them
  • Give up something in order to help someone else
  • Continue when things get hard
  • Dream crazy, ridiculous, humongous dreams
  • Add to this list and make it your own

Ready, set, GO!

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1 Timothy 4:12

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

Age is nothing but a number that we, as humans, attatch to someone/thing in order to have a classification for it. The concept of age gives our mortal minds a foothold. But God is timeless- He created time. He specifically placed each person on this planet at the exact time He wanted each person to be here. We are all here for a purpose. We all have the ability to grow in wisdom and understanding. When we gain an understanding, we need to live it out. True, some people have had more life experience than others, but wisdom and understanding come from God, not experience. No person has wisdom in the same exact areas as another, and it is our job to share what we have learned with others. The wisdom and understanding we gain must be put to action in our words, lifestyle, love for others, willingness to step out and trust God, and discernment to live pure lives. By this, we can be a light to others and teach our brothers and sisters in Christ what God has taught us.

God created everyone different. Those differences should not be an impediment to fulfilling our purpose to love God and love others. Those differences are the beauty of who God is; they show his creativity, wonder, and love. In our flesh, it is not possible to completely overlook differences, such as age, one-hundered percent of the time. We must examine ourselves from time to time to determine if we are looking down on others; we might even be doing it subconsciously. We also need to examine ourselves in this area to make sure that we haven’t let society tell us (again, it could be subconsciously) that what is expected of us is determined by the number we have attatched to ourselves according to our length of existence on earth. Our time on earth is a grain of sand compared to the vast eternity we will spend with our Father in Heaven. It is our job to make the most of every minute, every second, and do so by living our lives in the wisdom and understanding of our Lord.

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Now is the Time

A little over a year ago I was reading a Dr. Seuss book and was inspired to write a poem of my own. Thank you Dr. Seuss; you taught me my ABC’s and inspired me to put them together to form words and sentences. This is the result of that inspiration:

Now is the Time

Now is the time
The time is at hand
Time for me to act
Time to take a stand

I can deal with the apathy
that’s in me no longer
If I don’t go and fight
how can I get stronger?

I could end up falling
and crash to my knees
but if this is the only
way to be free…

I say let me at it!
Don’t hold me back!
Don’t let me hear the lie
“There’s courage you lack”

For failure itself
is not falling down
But rather refusing
to get up off the ground

I’ll keep pressing onward
I’ll make it, I will
And I’ll embrace that
“I can do anything” thrill

And then in the end
when I’ve finished my work
I’ll take a step back
and I’ll look, and I’ll look

I see some parts are awesome
and full of great wonder
Other spots, I see,
look like I made a big blunder

But when I look at it all
together as a whole,
I gaze in amazement…
It’s all so beautiful.

Then I sit back and wonder
“Now what do I do?”
Then I realize: It’s time;
There’s a bigger mountain to move.

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The Determination to Serve

THE DETERMINATION TO SERVE by Oswald Chambers  
” ‘The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.’ Matthew 20:28 Paul’s idea of service is the same as Our Lord’s: ‘I am among you as He that serveth;’ ‘ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.’ We have the idea that a man called to the ministry is called to be a different kind of being from other men. According to Jesus Christ, he is called to be the ‘door-mat’ of other men; their spiritual leader, but never their superior. ‘I know how to be abased,’ says Paul. This is Paul’s idea of service – ‘I will spend myself to the last ebb for you; you may give me praise or give me blame, it will make no difference.’ So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does. The mainspring of Paul’s service is not love for men, but love for Jesus Christ. If we are devoted to the cause of humanity, we shall soon be crushed and broken-hearted, for we shall often meet with more ingratitude from men than we would from a dog; but if our motive is love to God, no ingratitude can hinder us from serving our fellow men.

Paul’s realization of how Jesus Christ had dealt with him is the secret of his determination to serve others. ‘I was before a perjurer, a blasphemer, an injurious person’ – no matter how men may treat me, they will never treat me with the spite and hatred with which I treated Jesus Christ. When we realize that Jesus Christ has served us to the end of our meanness, our selfishness, and sin, nothing that we meet with from others can exhaust our determination to serve men for His sake.”

 

What an incredible devotional! This passage, by Oswald Chambers, puts into clearer perspective how we should treat everyone around us. It fires me up and makes me want to go out into the world to serve and show love to everyone I meet. I have been on a mission trip to Las Vegas twice. Each time was different in its own way, yet each time I was given the opportunity to serve others. But I don’t have to go to Las Vegas or any other place that requires airfare to get to in order to serve people. The smallest act-smiling at someone, giving a compliment- is a way to serve others on an everyday basis.

I love the line, “So long as there is a human being who does not know Jesus Christ, I am his debtor to serve him until he does.” I have never thought of myself as being a debtor to someone who isn’t saved. That is a new perspective of looking at it. Think about it. Christ came into the world to offer himself up for us. His last words to his disciples before he ascended to heaven were “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20) We are called by Christ himself to serve everyone who does not know him.

The other line in this devotional that caught my attention is the last sentence. Read it again. We are unworthy of God’s kindness, mercy, patience, and unending love, yet he gives it to us anyway. This is how we are to show love to others. As servants of Christ, and in our pursuit to immitate his love, it is our resposibility to show love, kindness, and mercy to everyone- NO MATTER WHAT. This is an area I have been growing in recently. I have learned that the times when I want to argue with someone, get annoyed, and blow up, are the times when it is most important to show love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)  I have been reading the book “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, and it gave me a new way to look at this verse. Go back through it and replace the word “love” with your name every time it appears in the verse. This should be our goal. We will never be perfect at it, but it is our duty to think on this regularly and put it into practice. Go out into the world and serve!

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