May
27

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1 Year in LA

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When I look back on my journal entries from the last year, I see confusion, fear, panic, stress and I see the very voice of God saying “you don’t have to figure it out Lindsay, I am God, you are not”

This little phrase was first coined (in my life anyway) by my precious friend Katherine Wolf. This girl and her family welcomed me into their home when I first moved here to LA, they provided a stable start to my unstable soul.

I honestly could not have asked for a more Biblically sound family to be near while I was really struggling with every single thing I believed.

They maybe did or didn’t know my deep struggle, but God did and He knew they were just the right people to put close to me in those days.

Although fear tried to overtake me like I had never experienced, God continued to provide people, places and experiences that didn’t necessarily take the fear or doubt away but made me press into Him more and more. It doesn’t sound fun and to be honest it wasn’t, but at the same time I knew that I knew that I had done the right thing. I had NO idea why I was here in LA, but I had no doubt that He had called me this way.

1 year later, I can tell you that I still don’t exactly know why I am here, I miss my people (Ohio, Atlanta, Texas) like crazy, but I know for now that this is where I am supposed to be and I am going to make the very best of it because He is God, and I am not!

Living every moment turning to Him and asking “what now Lord” is a true gift. A living God who loves us so much. It’s almost insane, that is why people often think we are insane for believing what we believe.

But that is ok, God is also teaching me about people pleasing. I can’t please the people, I can only pray for them, that they will one day understand the crazy unbelievable LOVE that the Father has for them. I still pray this for myself. I think it is a life long lesson, His love is so vast. A God who loves us and chooses to call Himself Father, to those who BELIEVE. A God who created us for relationship WITH HIM, it’s insane. A God that knew a generation (every generation) would need a Father, no matter who your father is on earth, no such one is perfect, so He set it up that He would be a Perfect Father to any who would receive this gift (of salvation in Jesus Christ)

It’s insane.

It’s God.

It’s still a mystery to me most days, but my heart is beyond thankful that after 9 months of true struggle in this city, problem after problem, fear after fear, by His grace (ONLY) I just kept pushing through, praying, crying (a lot). I just kept going (even if I was tip toeing around all my fears) and things finally changed. Peace came to my soul. And that is my message for you today, JUST KEEP GOING. He IS with YOU!

Jesus Christ is the PRINCE OF PEACE, so as we live IN HIM. We get to live in PEACE.

Peace that truly does surpass all understanding. Philippines 4:7

I don’t understand it, I don’t think anyone else really does either (that is why it says a peace that surpasses ALL understanding).

All I know is that I lived without peace most of my 38 years, but as we seek Jesus, He is peace. I don’t have it figured out (and thanks be to God, I don’t have too) but I just try to stick to the simple truth of He is Peace and I need Peace, so I need Him every moment of every day!

Peace be with you Jesus would say, so I say that to YOU!
Peace be with YOU!

May
21

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God even redeems: Mascara Stained Pillowcases

Rowena Rodriguez

I love stories of God’s tangible presence, His real love and His adventures in surrender. A moment by moment surrender!

Today I want you to meet my friend Rowena and hear her story!

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Hi there, Rowena here. I know you were expecting Lindsay’s words of fierce authenticity and soothing balm of encouragement, but fear not! She’ll be back next week with a word that will water your soul afresh.


My name is Rowena Rodriguez, and I’m so honored to share my Putting The Pencil Down story. Like Lindsay, I love stories- both hearing and telling them. Mine begins when I met God following a season of mascara stained pillow cases.

I grew up in Northern California in a traditional Catholic Filipino family. All I wanted to be growing up was a Fashion Designer. It was the only thing I felt I could be good at. 

I also had a knack for having long-term relationships with men and experienced two major heartbreaks after college. Both left me feeling alone and unwanted. The last one, I thought was “the one”, but I was wrong. I was dumped OVER THE PHONE, and that began the mascara stains on my pillow cases. It took me nearly a year to recover from that heartbreak. I didn’t know it then, but I was depressed and barely functioning emotionally. And just when I felt the dark cloud lift and a new day dawning, I got a call from my sister choking back tears as she told me that she had been trying to reach me all night, and that she saw his face on the evening news reporting that he had been shot and killed.

Death is always so surreal isn’t it? I mourned the loss of that relationship for a year and now everyone was mourning the loss of his life. It was three more months of mascara stains when I felt the dark cloud again approaching fast. My inside screamed, 

“No you don’t!” 

I sat up in bed, pumped my fist at God and cried out gritting my teeth in hopelessness and desperation, 

“If you are, who you say you are! DO SOMETHING!” 

I cried myself into a frenzy that night and fell asleep in exhaustion. The following morning I awoke, but before I could open my eyes I heard a man’s voice say, “Go to L.A.” I thought I was dreaming, except I was awake. Then I heard the voice again. It seemed to fill the room. It was familiar, loving and firm, “Go to L.A.” And before I could dismiss the idea, I suddenly remembered what I said to God the night before. I was overwhelmed with His presence in my room. My clouded mind became clear and the sorrow was gone! Before my feet touched the floor, I determined to “Go to L.A.” and within 30 days, I moved to Los Angeles. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have friends there. I had heard God’s voice! HE WAS REAL! This was the beginning of my God journey and most epic love story of my life.

I often joke that there are only two reasons why people move to Los Angeles – to be famous, or because God told you to. I convinced my family and friends that I moved to L.A. for the fashion industry- which was partially true. But the honest truth is God told me to; and that was after I pumped my first at Him to “do something” with my life. By the way, it’s NEVER a good idea to pump your first at God, but it was honestly the first time I had spoken to Him directly with affection. I didn’t even expect that He would answer! Or be real.

The Lord spoke to me in various ways in those early years that were new, but I seemed to be fluent in all of them. (It sounds so funny to say that. Duh, of course God can speak to me, He made me.) It’s like He had always been there. Like we were meant to be. (Ugh, so cliché. Sorry.) But, one of the ways He speaks is at the speed of thought and emotions. Before I would finish a thought, He would finish it and inevitably would lead me on a certain way to think, feel or do. And just like “Go to L.A.” He speaks clearly every time, and hasn’t used a single “Thou shalt” or any form of King James Bible vernacular.

I’ve lived in Los Angeles for 15 years now, and in that time He’s spoken other things that radically changed my life. Things like “No dating.” Even though that sounds like cruel and unusual punishment for a young single person, it turned into what I now lovingly refer to as my “Man-fast.” What looked like “no dating” to me, the Lord turned into an intergenerational Ministry of Purity. I retired my fashion career and now speak on the topic of sexual integrity and relationships. All the mascara stains are gone. The cure, WATERPROOF! Now I’d love to tell you more of those stories, but there’s one thing I’d like to impart to you. Above are links to videos that share those testimonies, so you’re welcome to visit them after this last thought.

My pastor says, “God created places before He created people. Places are important.” The bible is full of people that God told to go to a specific placeDid you know that the safest place to be on the planet is at the center of God’s will? Where is He calling you to go? It could be to the phone to call a loved one. Maybe it’s to church, or down the street to apologize. It could be cross-country, or on the other side of the world. Where ever it is, your blessing is in your “Yes” to God. 

For more dating and relationship topics, check out Rowena’s website and her upcoming MARRIAGE PLANNER Workshop!

May
13

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From Religion to Redemption

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I love stories of “Putting the Pencil Down” and letting God lead us through life. I could not be more excited to introduce you to my dear sweet friend Hakan. The first time I met him I knew I needed to hear his story. Now I am thrilled to share it with you!

World meet Hakan.

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I want to begin by saying Thank you to my new and dear friend Lindsay for giving me the opportunity to share on her blog!! Lindsay, your love for God and people has been an inspiration to many of us and we are blessed to have you here in LA!

I feel very excited and thankful to be able to share…

My name is Hakan Emden and incase you are wondering I’m from Turkey:) I have been called many different names including ‘how come’ and ‘chaka khan” ….Haha

I love sharing what God has done in my life…I can write about this forever….Here is my life story in short!

I grew up in Turkey with a loving family and I thank them for raising me, I am so grateful.

At the same time we all have issues that we carry from our past and childhood and so did I.  I personally dealt with situations that were tough and I ended up with a lot of fear as a child. I was raised in an Islamic culture and I practiced the Muslim faith. Occasionally fasted, prayed, had a deep respect for God (I can still recite some of the Islamic prayers) and followed as best as I could.

After my dream of being a professional soccer player was over with an injury, in 2001 I found myself in United States…Pursuing and feeling that something special was going to happen here!

What does one ultimately want out of life? Why do we live?  I asked myself.

I was certain that if I pursued and accomplished my dreams and desires I would be happy and fulfilled!  At the end of the day I was certain that a good career, owning a house and a car and ultimately a relationship (marriage and having kids) would be the climax of life!  So I went on…I was so motivated to make it in this life…lets do this!! I have worked at many different jobs (six flags, gas station, coaching soccer, modeling, personal training) and eventually things have gotten much better. There was period of 3 years in my life, where I had gotten involved with many relationships and hurt many people, trying to make more money, partying pretty hard!

In 2009 everything seemed like it was falling in place, I pretty much had everything I wanted and life was moving forward but in that same year…something started happening to my heart! I started thinking “what is the purpose of my life?”  “When is it going to be enough?”…it is always the next job, bigger house, more money, better car, that dream relationship…but there had to be something more in life than this??? Seemed like my happiness was depending on my circumstance….I always believed in the existence of a God and I said; God there has to more to this life…what if I gain the whole world tomorrow, one day I’m  going to die and they bury me under that ground and IT’S OVER!!!!!!! 

I knew at that point in my heart that what I was looking for was Eternal…there was a gap in my heart that needed to be filled…and nothing in this world was able to!

So I began searching intensely and with an open heart…I picked up a Quran and a Bible and said ; God show me the way…and the Bible spoke to my heart like no other book did!  I remember the very first scripture that spoke to me, I opened my Bible randomly and I read …what is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)….I was astonished!  These words not only spoke to my mind but penetrated into my heart!  Than Jesus spoke to my life…. Love your enemies (Matthew 5:44)   Jesus said;  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friend (John 15:13)..and soon I realized that Jesus has laid down His life for me, demonstrating the greatest love anybody can encounter! I became a Christian 5 years ago at the age of 33:) and it has completely changed my life, my heart…I feel this eternal sense of Love now, I found so much Joy and healing through God and ultimately unfailing love that no one can give you!

I can write about this forever….You see all of my life I viewed God and religion as bunch of rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts…And I came to discover that it is a beautiful relationship…The Bible is the most romantic Love story you will ever read that is written for you and I!  I’m in Love with God now and I want to share this love with the world! 

If I can finish with a thought about my heart…and where my life is today…This scripture will summarize it well…

Matthew 13:44

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, when a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field”

Thank you for reading, I love you all, I bless you all and Joy Joy Joy:)

If you want to talk more email me at hakanemden@gmail.com or comment below to keep others in the conversation.

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1 Year in LA

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When I look back on my journal entries from the last year, I see confusion, fear, panic, stress and I see the very voice of God saying “you…

Rowena Rodriguez

God even redeems: Mascara Stained Pillowcases

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I love stories of God’s tangible presence, His real love and His adventures in surrender. A moment by moment surrender! Today I want you to meet my friend…

image

From Religion to Redemption

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

I love stories of “Putting the Pencil Down” and letting God lead us through life. I could not be more excited to introduce you to my dear sweet…

When you wake up discouraged

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

I woke up this morning thinking so many things depended on me. The burden of confusion was so heavy, my heart was hurting as I thought about all…