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.

“I turned around and God was right there…”

Your Story Rae

When looking back on your life and the trials that have been stepping stones in your faith it becomes clear that God has been preparing you for this all along. The things that may have been learned because of good times or even bad are all ultimately used by the Lord for His story. It’s funny that at the time of the trial or the “prep” for trial we don’t see how intricately the Lord weaves himself into our lives.

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When we finally open our eyes and catch a glimpse of what the Lord is doing we can’t help but be filled with adoration of a God who pursues us relentlessly.
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If you heard Rae’s story last night you can see how true this is in her story. However, if you did miss it I can give you a quick rundown. Rae shared three important things: the foundation of her faith, how that foundation helped through a trial in her life, and how God continually pursues. Rae accepted Christ in her life at a young age, but it wasn’t until the age of 13 that she actually understood what a relationship with Christ included.  She realized the first step to really get to know God was to dive into His word

God’s Character. How many of us can truly say we know much of who God is? I mean to be very transparent with you, I did not exactly spend a lot of time in the Word learning who God truly was. There is a reason why in my story I pushed God away, believing that He could not help me. I believed that because I did not truly understand how great He actually is. If you do not take the time to figure out the God who you are supposed to have this deep, intimate relationship with, how are you supposed to allow him to do what he needs to in your life?

At the age of 19 Rae had to watch her parent’s marriage crumble and ultimately end in divorce. She had to watch all of this from afar, and the advice she got from home was just to pray a little bit harder and hopefully things would get better. This helplessness and sadness lead to doubting if God really was who He said He was. However, the words that had been engrained on her  heart from the time spent in the Word resurfaced to remind her that God was there. A verse that she mentioned multiple times was Psalms 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Words that she had forgotten showed themselves again. The Lord was reminding her of His goodness.

As I mentioned before the lack of that foundation in my life caused disasters during trials that came. The Lord gave us in His Word the things to keep us going when everything around us is falling apart. So, those of you who are going through trials take heart, God has you. 

I think that last thought honestly comes from the idea that God pursues. The amount of times I have given up and just said, “To heck with it all” has been a lot. However, God continues to seek me out and remind me that, “He loves ME. He wants ME. He will help ME.” Rae was reminded of this when she went to Peru trying to run away from her problems, but God used the loss of her appendix to remind her that He was there and that He would chase after her because she was HIS. How beautiful is that? The love God has for us honestly makes me speechless and makes me want to sing and dance and do all sorts of things for HOURS. Honestly I cannot express to you how much I love God pursuing us so I am just going to leave it at that.

Actually I lied. I want to end on the thought of God pursuing us. God has given us a great tool to help us in our trials. That tool, the Bible, is sort of his pursuit manual. It explains how He is faithful and why we should feel free to just fall into His arms. God is not leaving you alone during your hard time. —> Even when you feel like you are all alone, and trust me I know that feeling firsthand, God is right behind you asking you to let Him in and be who He says He is.