Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Reason for my Hope


This past weekend I had a great conversation with a close friend who is confused and struggling with her faith. She had all kinds of awesome questions and the reasons behind her doubts were really heartfelt. I love having talks like that when the person is really interested and invested in the conversation. But it really puts my knowledge, passion, and faith to the test! I tried my best to address her concerns and share my point of view, but for days later my mind was reeling with more things I could have said and new ways to explain things. I thought about writing her a follow-up email or something, but didn't really want to be like...okay, here is my dissertation on all things theological from the life experiences and Bible studies of Christy Curley. I'm sure people would jump at the chance to read that, but alas, I didn't think it was the best idea.

It can be tricky sharing your faith with others, at least it is for me. Some people say it's the most natural thing you can do if you have a real relationship with Jesus. Granted, it certainly is easier if you have a genuine relationship, but I don't think it's super natural for everyone. I always want to be careful to be as accurate as possible. There are too many people running around proclaiming Christianity and just stating whatever beliefs sound nice to them. I want to make sure the beliefs I share align with what the Bible teaches. And I want to make sure I approach everything in a way that is honest and not watered down, but also kind, respectful, and not legalistic. I want to keep it simple, but make sure I convey the full magnitude of it all. And even if I did my very best and discussed every single thing I could about the subject, I would still not come close to explaining the full majesty and wonder of God.

This conversation and my lingering feeling of inadequacy afterwards reminded me of this important scripture... But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect - 1 Peter 3:15

We all need to be prepared to explain to the fullest of our abilities, the source of our hope and faith. We need to understand the Gospel so we can tell those who may have heard the basic story line, but never fully grasped the depth and truth and the concept. We aren't perfect and we will always leave the conversation with something more to say. Even our well-versed testimonies have a way of losing something fundamental over the years. So it's important for us, for me, to stay connected to the Lord, to meet with Him regularly and study His word and fully experience life with Him so that when I have these conversations that are important and potentially life changing, I can convey my passion, the truth, and the reason for my hope in a way that will resonate with my loved ones. Anyone can read an article or the cliff's notes version of the Gospel and get the gist of it, but it's with our passion and our personal experiences, combined with study and wisdom, that we can really make an impact.

I'm grateful for that conversation, and hope to one day soon have an opportunity to fill in the blanks that I somehow left out. And I hope with all my heart that what I did manage to say was enough to plant a seed that God can work with! :)

In Christ,

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Putting it to Practice!

Last week I finished the book of Ruth (yes, I jump around a lot with my Bible reading!) and I was thinking how awesome it was that everyone in that book gave all the glory, credit, and thanks to God. Ruth was in a terrible, tragic situation, but God pulled her through and turned it into blessings. AND Ruth ended up being in the lineage of David and Jesus. The thing is, so much of what happened to her could be casually credited to chance or luck or fate or even just her own strength and resourcefulness. I loved reading how everyone gave all the thanks to God, though. It is true, He works out our circumstances and is in control. Even things that seem insignificant might have a Godly purpose behind them.

I feel like in today's world it would be more common to not give the credit to God for these types of situations. That's why it's so important for believers to proclaim God's work in our lives! We have to tell the world that our blessings are from the Lord, and not just from our own strength or intelligence (even though we play a part...those abilities come from God, too!). If we aren't going to do it, then who will?

So, instead of writing a lengthy post all about this idea...I decided I should put it into practice! I want to take a few minutes to brag on all the awesome things God has done in my life lately. :)

  • I graduated with my M.ED in Counseling in Student Services in Higher Ed! Not only did that require all the strength and dedication from God to make it through the program, but it was through his divine guidance that I even started this program. It was never my plan. But I've learned time and again that His plan is always so much better!
  • We're going through all the seasons and holidays and "firsts" in our new house! Sometimes I just sit back in awe of it all. I never would have guessed this would be my life. But all the little details, while they are not things I would have anticipated for my life, are what make it so perfect. 
  • I'm applying for full-time jobs in my field. I've already received my first "Dear John" letter. Yes it's early, and my hope and optimism could dwindle over time, but right now I'm not sad or even really disappointed. Yes, I would have loved to at least get an interview, but I just look at it as an exciting mystery. I don't know what job I will end up getting, but I know God has it figured out and it's going to be better than anything I could put together on my own. I just look forward to seeing it all unfold! 
  • My husband and I are happier and more in love now than we ever have been. I'm pretty sure I loved my husband from the moment we started talking 5 1/2 years ago, but with each new life phase and as we grow more mature spiritually, emotionally, and in our relationship with each other, our love seems to only intensify. I can't imagine a better partner in life! 
  • This is probably the most exciting one to me...some of my family members seem to be moving closer to God! This is especially true of my sister. She had a really rough time this past year and has suffered from depression for some time now. She asked for a Bible for Christmas and she recently told me that she's been reading it every night and even highlighting and taking notes/journaling! :) My heart couldn't be happier!! I pray that one day I can share my passion and love for the Lord with all my friends and family!
  • I came very close to losing two family members this past year...both way too soon...and they are both alive now and seem like they are doing well. It can be easy to look at situations like that and see only the sadness and think of it as injustice. But I see that things are getting better and they are alive and I see that as a blessing! I hope that I can always see the blessings, even in the hard times. 
I could go on and on, but these are just a few. What are the major blessings in your life right now? I would love to hear!


Thursday, January 17, 2013

God Wastes Nothing

As I finished reading Acts, I took some time to reflect on Paul's life. He suffered some less than ideal circumstances, huh? Imprisoned for many years of his life, beaten, never knowing when he might be executed, constantly being attacked and persecuted for the simple act of sharing the truth and love of Jesus! But that was not all experienced in vain. God used everything that happened to Paul to bring forth His glory and spread the message of salvation. Think of all the people that Paul directly impacted in his lifetime! And now his story and his letters make up almost half of the Bible! And think of all the people who have been impacted from reading those words! Imagine if Paul had felt so defeated by his circumstances that he stopped trying, stopped writing, and simply gave up all hope. Thankfully God gave him the strength to persevere through those circumstances and use them to show the glory of God.

I know I've talked several times about this idea of God using bad situations to bring about good results. But I think it's worth writing about again. I think I could probably write about this every single day and I would still manage to forget. I would still slip into disbelief, doubt, and fear. I have to remind myself of God's control and His goodness every day, multiple times a day. Because when you're right in the middle of life, dealing with whatever you're going through, or even getting lost in the routine obligations of the day, it's easy to forget. It's easy to look from my limited point of view and feel frustrated because I don't see anything good coming from it. I can only imagine the days that Paul may not have directly seen his impact. When he was imprisoned with limited contact with others, did he wonder what was the point of it all? Even if he did, I'm glad he remembered the truth and pressed forward.

My "salvation verse," which is the verse I read when God opened my eyes to the truth and I finally understood the true concept of salvation, is Ephesians 1:4-5. "For He chose us in him, before the creation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will." Paul wrote those words. I believe that they came from God's Holy Spirit living within Paul, but Paul is the one who physically wrote those words and sent them in a letter to the Ephesians. And because God used Paul to write those words, I was able to realize and accept my salvation. I wonder if Paul had any idea that those words would save someone almost 2,000 years later?

As I marvel in all of this mind-boggling wonderment, I feel encouraged. I am encouraged that no matter what happens in my life, God is going to use it. Even in the worse circumstances, when nothing seems to be going right, God is going to use it. I may never see it first-hand, but He will use it! I bet that really pisses off the devil! :)

I saw a Facebook status today that related to this message. I know a guy who had a rough past. He was involved in a lot of bad things and spent some time in prison. Now he is saved and part of several ministries, one of which is his own music ministry. He is a rapper and he raps about Jesus. Someone sent him a message that he shared on FB, and part of it said, "The tattoos and rap are meant to be a part of your ministry or GOD wouldn't have allowed you to have them.. He had a plan for you long before you did!" So true! That's how it is with everything. All the bad things that happen...they may one day be part of your ministry! So take heart when times get rough, and know that God will use your struggles to make a difference!

Be encouraged,

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


I've been reading through Acts lately. In Acts 27, Paul is being sailed to Rome to appeal to Caesar for his accused crimes from sharing the gospel of Jesus. On the way, they encounter a terrible storm of hurricane force. They were forced to throw all their cargo and tackle overboard and their ship wrecked. Paul heard from God in a dream that He would spare the lives of all who were sailing, but their ship would be destroyed. Paul shared this with everyone and was confident that they would all live through the ordeal, even though their ship was going to be destroyed in the process.

This made me think of the other storms in the Bible, particularly the one the disciples faced with Jesus on the boat. Jesus was sleeping through the storm and he even rebuked the disciples for being afraid of the storm. He assured them that He would protect them from the storm.


It seems to me that God is in the business of protecting us from storms. Because storms are inevitable, aren't they? No matter where we live, we are guaranteed to get some rough weather along the way. I mean, that's just science. And I think the same is true for our personal lives. No matter how perfectly things seem to be going, eventually we will all face personal storms. Those storms may be broken and hurting relationships, financial burdens, job loss or not feeling fulfilled at work, the stress of everyday obligations, a series of bad decisions, and even the death of loved ones. Some storms are worse than others. Some are of hurricane force and some are just afternoon thunder showers. We're likely to get a mix of everything in our lives.

But despite that fact, there is GOOD news! God promises to see us through the storms. Just like he literally saw Paul and the disciples through their storms, He will see us through our proverbial storms as well. That's not to say there won't be devastation. The ship Paul was on lost everything but their lives...all their belongings and even the ship itself. Basically, they barely got out alive. So, don't lose faith when things seem to be falling apart around you. Don't let doubt set in. God is there with you. He is walking you through the storm. Even if He chooses to not pull you from it immediately, He will see you through it.

And even if we do lose our lives now...we have the amazing gift of eternal life with Jesus in Heaven waiting for us on the other side. So, it's not much of a loss at all.

This is so easy to preach when things are good. It's so hard to say and believe and trust when you're right in the middle of the storm. I get that. I've been there. But I hope this can serve as a reminder to you that God is with you and He will not let you be destroyed. You may be hard pressed on all sides, but not crushed! (2 Corinthians 4:8) And that is something worth proclaiming!

With His love,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Updates and a Declaration!

I've been conflicted about the blog lately. I don't have time to devote to it the way that many other bloggers do. I honestly just don't feel like making a fancy page, getting sponsors, creating tabs, and having a blog that's worthy of hundreds of followers. But when I try to participate in this blogging world, I feel pressured to do those things. I get jealous of the bloggers I follow. I feel like I need to be traveling to fabulous places, wearing the most trendy outfits, and snapping breathtaking pictures with an outrageously expensive camera. But that's not my life. And I don't want to feel bad about my life because the fact life is pretty darn wonderful as it is!! I am blessed beyond words. So I don't want to get caught up in something that makes me feel otherwise. And it's no one's fault but my own.

I will probably still read blogs of all types, and I'm not saying I won't EVER post a fluff piece, but I am going to rededicate my blog to God. That may seem strange, but that was the original intent of this blog. I wanted to share what God had been doing in my life and all the lessons I was learning through my time with Him. And I've gotten so far away from that. So now it's time for me to declare that I am going back to the basics. You will be seeing a lot more of what I meant for this blog to be about. Probably still some other things every now and then, but not as a majority. If you quit reading, I understand. But I hope you don't. Because I hope that you can be inspired or learn or grow with me in this journey.

Now...I feel like I can't move forward without at least doing a quick update from where I left off back in December. So, here it pictures! Enjoy the recap, and check back tomorrow for the beginning of my posts of substance! Thanks, friends! :)

I turned 27, and Scott bought me these cute boots and a Joyce Meyer devotional :)

Pictures of all the pretty things around my yard...

We decorated for Christmas

I graduated with my Master's! Whoop!

We celebrated Christmas...this is my niece Kyli and her mom.

My other niece Keirra

Me and my sister in our new PJ's! 

Me and my Daddy

We redecorated our master paint, light fixture, shower curtain, mats, soap dispensers, waste basket, tooth brush holder, and towels! 

And we painted our master bedroom...more work still to be done in this room!

Happy Tuesday!

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