When we lean into God, we are able to do the things that He created us to do.

doms-story

Dominique’s Story

This week I was able to interview Dominique, the young Morgan Freeman. We had conversations ranging from theology, black culture, and everything in between. I left the interview inspired and once again hit by the truth that God is using all of our stories to bring us closer to Him, which in turn causes us to give Him praise.

Looking back to what we talked about, it is hard to know exactly what I should highlight about this interview. I mean, we talked about the whole identity struggle (it honestly keeps coming up) and we also talked about the difference between heart knowledge and head knowledge. To a Christian, these are both important topics because these are the things that people, including me, need to understand… so let’s get deeper into Dom’s story.

Dom was raised in a Christian home and is also a pastor’s kid. So, from the start he had a strong biblical background. He chose Christ to be the Lord of his life at the age of 5 and from then on his parents made him give a reason to believe why he believed the way he did. He was not able to say that his faith was because of his parents or his church. Instead, he believed because he had to think it through. Being constantly influenced by his parents and others that were spiritually sound, he began to think that the way to get to their level of faith would be through a head knowledge. While it isn’t terrible to learn about the Lord through other theological thinkers, it is important that you are also taking time to learn about the Lord through a heart knowledge.

Dom made the comment, “I was growing closer to knowledge and not to God.” The impact that statement had on me was significant. The thing that makes the Christian faith so special is the idea that we are able to get to know the Lord on a personal level. A relationship with God is what gives our faith such a special spark. God is known as our Abba, which means that He has a personal and loving relationship with us. We can learn all that we want about Him, but being a Christian is more than the trivia and head knowledge we know about God. An illustration that Dom and I used dealt with reading all about C.S. Lewis. You can read all about him through biographies and autobiographies, but that will never be anything like actually sitting with him and actually getting to know him on a personal level.

When you start to get to know God on a personal level you start to find out so much more about yourself because, as humans, we are made in His likeness (Genesis 1:27). Recently, Dom has started to better understand that God is able to take him to the next level, and he is digging deeper into that truth. Right now his mission is to learn to love others in a godlier way and do things that show God instead of himself. His way to do that is through honesty.

We ended the night getting to focus on that during #preach. This is when we talked more about our identities. Only when we have a healthy form of self-love that is rooted in the fact that God has created us in a unique way to further his kingdom, we are able to know that God did not make us lacking in anything. When we lean into God, that is when we are able to do the things that He created us to do. That is when we share the most love, positivity, and truth. That is when God is praised the best and that is how God reaches those that NEED him.

Finding Who We Are

alexs-story

Alex Paat’s Story

Upon the first impression of a person and we think we already have an idea of what their entire life is like. We think that we know everything about them, and we may even get to know some parts of their story and we feel like we can walk away with all we need. It is easy to think, “They have had a great life. They have a fantastic family. Their walk with the Lord is so beautiful. They have to have a story that is completely unrelatable to the mess that is my life.” Well, if we take the moment to actually stop we’ll realize that we have so much to learn from their stories.

Alex Paat is one of those kids that you meet and it is easy to believe that his story is one that has been told one too many times. However, if you get in that mindset you miss out on the way the Lord has worked in his life and you miss out on how that story can help you grow.After this interview, I walked out with a new sense of who Alex is and how important the Lord truly is.

Alex found the Lord during first grade when a pastor shared the truth of Christ’s sacrifice. However, at that young age he was not able to truly understand the importance of the GIFT Christ gave him. He went through the cycle of continuously praying in hopes that this prayer would do the trick. Many of us can probably sing a loud AMEN for the times that we thought that we were not actually taking the gift because we were not good enough or hadn’t said the right thing. However, it is a gift. There is nothing that we can do to deserve it. However, we do get to choose to receive this gift or hand it right back. Alex realized this truth through Romans 8:38-39.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing could take that gift away from him, but he had to make that decision to receive it. However, receiving the gift is not the only step. There is a heart change that comes along when you allow the Lord to become your number one. I can see the evidence of the Lord working in Alex’s life, but things weren’t always that easy.

You see, Alex had to struggle with what his identity was rooted in. He had to choose either to focus on man or God. One thing Alex said that really hit home was the question he had to ask himself: “I don’t even like these people, so why am I so focused on trying to impress them? Not everybody is going to like me, but that is okay.” When we finally let go of the desire to please other people, our world opens up to be fearlessly used by the Lord. 

I know I have talked about this plenty of times before,  because it has come up on other interviews. BUT, there is a reason it comes up…. because it needs to be said again!

When I look back to the importance of an identity rooted in Christ I realize that when we learn who God truly is, we get to find out who we are.

“Only God can satisfy everything, and I mean EVERYTHING…”

brookes-story

Brook’s Story

Only God can satisfy. How many times have I heard these words, but not allowed them to actually enter my heart? How many times have I run the other way searching for something to fill this “God-sized hole” because I could not quite understand that ONLY God can satisfy?

When you finally get it into your heart that ONLY GOD CAN SATISFY everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, your life changes.

I always find myself struggling to share what happens in the studio after an interview. I mean I want to share all that happened and all that impacted me, but that is nearly impossible. While in the studio I always feel as though I am being taught something and just being reminded of what God is trying to do in my life, and honestly, it may be a little bit selfish. This week’s Your Story interview was no different than the others. Brooke shared her testimony and about just how important it is to know that only God can satisfy.

The story of Brooke finding the Lord is a beautiful one, but I don’t exactly want to summarize it all. Instead I just want to mention three things that she said. 1) God whispered in her heart that, “you were wired for these longings, but you are looking for the answer in the wrong place. Only I can satisfy you.” 2.) She asked God to be her boyfriend. 3.) Only God can satisfy.

Honestly I feel that I should leave it there and allow you to go with it however you please, but then again I don’t think that is what I am supposed to do. You see, I am realizing how God continues to weave each of these stories together and how they all seem to be linking together under one common theme: Contentment.

With Kenton and Sarah they dealt with identity in the Lord. Then with Sarah and Carly they both had to learn to lean on God alone with their problems. Then here comes Brooke’s story talking about feeling broken and empty because she was not allowing herself to be fully content in the Lord.

The beauty within Brooke’s story is the way the Lord became King in her life. It started with knowledge followed with her own choice and then ended with a heart change and diving straight into living out the idea that only God can satisfy. Knowing that ONLY God can satisfy is not at all the same as living it out.

I have come to realize that satisfaction in the Lord also is shown in how much we trust him with our future and how little we seek to make the world and those around us our number one… So the question I leave you with is: How satisfied are you in the Lord?

“We are ever growing”

sarahs-story

I say this time and time again, I become so humbled by the fact of how real people will get on the radio. They become so willing to share these deep, honest times of life just to encourage others. This is why I love testimonies and Your Story. This week was no different, and Sarah’s story was one that just caused me to just stop and listen. I honestly don’t know how to wrap her’s into a neat little box because it is one that the Lord is still working through.

That is probably why I loved talking with her so much. Her story is a reminder that our lives aren’t always going to fit in that cute little Christian box with the beautiful bow that we share with no issues. Many times it is a hot mess that is still being worked on and we are tossing the pieces still trying to see how God was able to show himself good in those moments. Life isn’t always pretty even though it seems like it on the outside. 

Sarah’s story was one that continued to hit me more and more and more as we continued to talk about it. Things started to connect in different ways the more that we talked about it. To even try and summarize was already a struggle on air, but I am going to try right now. She grew up in a Christian home that allowed her to have a good foundation, but it was through camp that she was able to have that consistency in her faith. However, in junior high that all changed when her dad’s pornography addiction came to light. Even though they weren’t close him as a constant in her life was gone. This allowed the enemy to lay lies in her life that she needed to second guess everything from the way that she talked to the way that she walked. However, through love and the grace of the Lord she was able to forgive and her dad is free from that sin and her parents are still married.

The biggest things that we kept coming back to that night were the insecurities she wrestled with because that is the thing that the enemy really used to try and tear her apart. The reason it sticks out to me probably has to do that it is something that I wrestle with constantly. Thinking about how I am not good enough; I am not qualified; and I am never going to amount to anything because of this, that, and the other. Talking with Sarah reminded me that this is something that many Christian’s deal with and I think it goes back to the idea of whether “God is enough”. It is easy to allow our uncertainty on what is going on in the minds of those around us to cause us to question everything about who we are. However, my focus should not be on the fear of man, but instead it should be focused on the fear of the Lord. When I do finally focus on the fact that God’s thoughts about me is enough that is when I do my best anything. That is when a more authentic form of Mojade comes out and I can actually see how God has been working in my life. That is when I finally see that I am good enough, qualified, and will amount to something because my job is to worship a God that is MORE than good enough and I can do that the way that I am.

I worship a God that will use my quirks and mistakes to do some awesome work for his glory, and that is a beautiful thing.

So, I want to end with the idea that we are ever growing. At times we are going to be content in who we are and where we are because we know that God looks at us with love and we don’t need to focus on those around us. Other times we are going to be so caught up on other’s thoughts about us. However, Sarah said a beautiful thing that I want you to hold onto, “This is who God created me to be”.

He created you to be unique and pretty dang spectacular, spend your days worshiping him through those unique qualities!

“Going to God first…”

Carly's Story

I have come to realize that it is easy to give up certain information about yourself that only gives others a small glimpse into who you really are. You put a mask on and make it seem like your life is pretty normal and that you only deal with the minor stresses in life. However, when you start to open up you find out that you and so many others are actually dealing with the same pains and struggles. The beauty through all the pain is the fact that the body of Christ is meant to encourage each other through those struggles.

I got to delve into that process with Carly. To be honest I believed that she had a story that was going to be very vanilla. However, as I started to listen I realized that the Lord has been working through some pretty big trials in her life. 

Quick summary of what Carly and I talked about: her mom has a very strong walk with the Lord and her dad does not. This may shock some people, but so many people here at Cedarville with that. We make our families look so good on the outside, but if you look just a bit closer you will start to notice how shattered and broken we really are. As Christians we want to let people in, but we only want them to see the good. When in reality, when we open up and expose our brokenness and how God is working through it, our stories become so much more impactful.

The thing that really keeps coming to mind is the idea of going to God first. I can wrap up Carly’s whole story with going to the Lord and actually setting your desires at his feet. I mean so many times in the Bible we hear that God wants us to just ask! In all honesty, we often don’t even have time to ask because we are so busying complaining to our friends and trying and do things on our own. By the time we finally get to the Lord we are so discouraged we no longer believe he can actually help and so we don’t even bother asking for his help.

So, let me get a bit honest with you. I am in the same boat as Carly, longing for salvation of people I love. However, instead of staring at a wall trying to figure out what to say or do, why am I not going to the Lord first.

Why am I not asking and expecting that the Lord will be faithful to his Word; seeking and knowing that I will find; knocking and believing that the door will be opened to me (Matthew 7:7).

Ultimately my problem is that I do not trust that the Lord is good and that he will do as he says he will. I am filled with doubt and fear on what is next. I am so caught up in my own anger, exhaustion, and frustration that I am not allowing the Lord to step in and open my eyes to see how he is working. I need to get on my knees and start praying for the people I love and believe that God is going to show me some miraculous things.

I understand, it’s easy to try and unload all of your problems on those around you and not go to God first. But remember, God is the ONLY one who can handle all your problems, and turn your pain into something beautiful.