Tuesday, January 14, 2014

All You Need Is Love

Phillip Ellen

9 out of 10 people (maybe 10 out of 10) will recognize the name in Etowah County
and surrounding areas.  
Last week, "Brother Phillip" was laid to rest. 
After a battle with cancer, he went home to be with The Lord. 

How do I know Phillip Ellen? 

Well, this man had a heart for the outcasts.  
He loved the unlovable. 
He pursued drug addicts and alcoholics because he knew the only true hope that could be offered
is the person of Jesus Christ. 
Brother Phillip started New Life for Women, the treatment center I was in for 8 months. 
In short, Brother Phillip's heart and vision is a huge reason why I am sober and
walking with The Lord today. 
I did not have a close relationship with him. I am pretty sure he never really learned that my name was Katy, but he knew who I was and called me "the girl with the million dollar smile". 
I also knew that he loved me. 
Because he told me. 
Every single time that I saw him.
And I will never forget that.
At the most unlovable time in my life, he loved me! 
It is proof that to impact the world, all you need is a love for God and a love for people. 
Although there were numerous people at his funeral, we will NEVER know the depths of the impact this man of God had on the kingdom.   

His funeral was a true celebration. 
As it should have been. 
This man literally impacted the nations. 
I get chills just thinking about it. 
He left a legacy. 
He stored up his treasures in Heaven and his joy is now complete
as he is in the presence of the Almighty Jesus. 

It made me start thinking of what treasures I am storing up. 
It made me wonder if my life is truly having an eternal impact. 
Do I live for this world or am I truly living as a sojourner and an exile on this Earth,
anticipating the kingdom? 
What really matters to me?  Is it my appearance?  My reputation? My comfort? 
If I am honest, it is a resounding "yes".   
The law of God is summed up in 2 commands:  Love God.  Love people. 
It isn't to be innovative and pioneering. 
It is to love. 
The love that we show others could (and will) affect generations to come.  It is simple obedience. 
My family (who will never meet him) will be different because of the love that
Brother Phillip has shown. 
Because he loved with the love of Christ. 
I hope to love with the same love.     
It is amazing to see how, even though Brother Phillip's life on this earth is over,
he is STILL impacting the nations. 
Even this girl. 
This girl that he barely knew, but loved. 
"God is good all the time.  All the time, God is good."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Hurts So Good

I know what is coming.  Tomorrow, something is going to be drastically different about my life.  I can't sleep, but I don't want to take anything to make me sleep because that is exactly what has gotten me to this point.  AND THEY KNOW IT.  I am pretty sure I can't hide any longer.  They are on to me. 

These are the thoughts going through my mind on this night two years ago.  
My life was in a million pieces, across two states.  
The next morning when I would wake up, and walk into my best friends house,
 my life would change forever.  
It was the hardest, best day of my entire life.  
January 9 was when my friends and pastor sat me down and called me out of darkness and sin and into the glorious light of Christ.  
It wasn't many days later that I surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.  
I traded my millions-of-pieces-of-a-life for his promise to make me whole.  
And he is staying true to his promise.  

I didn't wake up one day and decide I wanted to sell my soul to pills, trust me.  It was a slow fade.  And subtly and before I knew it, I was bowing down to this little "g" god.  
It became the most important thing in my life.  
I organized my life around it.  
It changed me.  
It controlled how I spent my time.  
It affected my relationships.  
It absolutely consumed me.  
And it got me to the darkest place of my life.  
I was ready to end my life.  
I was pursuing death, but at the very same time, perfect love was pursing me.  
God's irresistible love was chasing me down.  

Exposure:  it hurts so good.  

The freedom I felt when I knew I was exposed and I didn't have to live in darkness anymore is the most freeing place I have ever been.
When the light of God's truth started shining into my life, 
I could finally live.  

I look back on the past two years...and believe that God truly makes all things new.  
I am not the same. 
His word has cut the core of who I am and demanded a change.  
And this change isn't about me, at all. It is not so that people will look at me and think what a wonderful person I am.  
This is a story to show the greatness of our God. 
Now, this new love relationship I have with Christ has become
 the most important thing in my life.  
I now organize my life around him.  
He is changing me.  
And it has brought me to the most joyful days of my life.  

To God be the glory, great things he has done!

"This God-- his way is perfect.  
The Word of the Lord proves true.  
He is a shield for all who take refuge in him"
Psalm 18:30