Archive for Love

Opening Up

I have a tendency to bottle things up inside. I am a partially introverted person, and if something is bothering me, I rarely let it show. I just thought this would be a post to really let out how frustrated I feel.

I love God with all my heart, and I always have since I have welcomed him into my life. But this life gets so unbearably difficult. Me and my friends go through so much. I deal with extreme depression sometimes, where it feels like everyone hates me, especially God.

Sometimes, I feel like he pushes me too hard, and he seems so scary sometimes. I feel like I don’t have control over my life and that I don’t know how to connect with him. I think these feelings just stem from my depression.

He really hurts me sometimes… or, I guess I shouldn’t say he hurts me, but that he lets me go on feeling hurt. When my heart is broken, I will pour out how I feel to him and he doesn’t stop the hurt. Sometimes, he does, but it takes a lot of patience.

I just find it hard to understand why he pushes me to the edge and forces me to be so patient all the time. I feel like I have to wait for him to move in everything. Letting him have that control isn’t a bad thing. But it’s hard being patient when you are in a lot of pain. Sometimes, I think about hurting myself, but I am sure that is part of my depression.

Anyway, the point of this post is because I wanted to stop feeling like I was hiding. I deal with problems, just like everyone else. It’s a very humbling feeling. Life can be fun, but it can be really difficult, too. The important
part about having faith in God is seeing beyond all the pain, beyond all the hurt, and understanding that no matter how bad it gets, He will give you strength to overcome the madness in the end.

It’s so easy to have faith when your world is perfect. It’s harder when your grandma passes away that you love so much; it’s harder when you deal with depression and suicide crosses your mind from time to time.

It’s hard when you watch your friends struggle and can’t seem to understand why they struggle. It’s hard when nothing in your world goes right, to still have faith in Christ. But it is necessary.

Think about it!

Jesus was perfect, He saved us all. But his life was certainly no walk in the park. People mocked him, beat him, spit on him, yelled at him, cursed him, they hurt the ones he loved. He only loved them with all his heart, and still, they plotted to kill him, and eventually succeeded.

With all of his horrible misfortunes, he could have looked at his life and screamed at the Father for putting him through it. He could have turned his back on us and ignored us because we are such a horrible people. But he didn’t. Think about the outcome of life, what it would be like, if he hadn’t suffered for us. He still had faith despite his misfortune.

People get the idea of faith wrong. Faith is not the absence of fear, but instead, it is choosing to trust in the midst of that fear. It’s realizing that life gets tough, but you don’t give up on God because of it, seeing how he did not give up on us.

Just because Jesus suffered didn’t mean that God didn’t have great plans for him. He was a most faithful servant and now he rules the world, the universe. God noticed when he tolerated all that pain for his sake, and he made him ruler over everything.

I know I feel broken down and left behind sometimes, but God notices when I suffer for him. He notices when I put on a brave face, despite my fears and stresses and problems, and still continue to love him.I get depressed, my life is a mess half of the time. I feel alienated and alone often. Some days, I wake up in so much pain I can’t even get out of bed. But I still find strength despite the madness, because I will be faithful to Jesus as he has been faithful to me.

Faith is not easy. That is why many people turn away from it. Trusting God in the midst of our problems is not easy, but still, it is necessary. I keep pushing on through my pain and discomfort because I have faith that God will see me through it in the end.

Don’t. give. up!

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A Prayer

We should be careful to make sure that our prayers to God are not just words to fill empty space. I read A Prayer by Gary Block. It talked about how people sometimes pray to God, just using repetitive prayer to ask God for things.

Usually, these prayers are part of tradition. Like for example, at my house, we have a dinner prayer that typically goes “God is great, God is good, let us thank Him for our food…” and you should already know the rest.

Sometimes the meanings get lost in all the repetition. We say the prayers because we feel like we should say them or just because we always say them before we eat. But we should say prayers for more than just that.

Why do you pray?

I pray to express my love for the Lord. To thank Him for blessing me with food, food that many others are not fortunate to have. I thank Him for my family and the relationships I have with my friends. I pray to express my joy of having His strength in my life.

When I pray, I take care to make sure that I am not just saying empty words. I pray as if I am His friend, and I am speaking to His heart, like a friend would speak to another friend.

Some people would argue that prayer doesn’t work. But I would say otherwise. I think the more we put our heart into it, the more we have faith that God will take care of us when we pray, the more intently He listens to our prayers.

Think about it! If we respect Him and love Him enough to pray sincerely, it makes sense that He would return that love back to us. Why would He listen to a prayer from an insincere heart? Why should He listen to an apathetic voice? Voices that seem distant in their love and attitude?

If I had a friend and they were insincere and fake, I would not waste my time on them. But if they really cared about me and took time to really talk to me, I would return the favor.

When I go to bed at night, I try to make sure my prayers are not mundane mantras that I say over and over again to no avail. I want to let God know what’s on my mind, on my heart. I ask Him for what I need and try to remain humble and ask for what others need, too.

That’s another important part of prayer: humility. Realizing that the needs of others sometimes should be put above our own needs. Instead of praying for more money or clothes, I might pray that my friend stops feeling sick or that my sister stops fighting with dad, or that someone in poverty might receive some grace from God and have their physical and emotional needs met.

It can be a battle, I know. But we must fight against meaningless prayers and be sure we are sincere with our words. Because I can assure you, God will return that sincerity. He may answer your prayers in big ways, or small ways that are barely noticeable, but that still make a difference. He could answer it soon after you ask, or months or even years after you ask. He could answer it in a way that you don’t expect Him to answer it, which is typically how He answers my prayers. However, one thing always remains the same: He is always willing to listen to a loving and caring heart.

Depression part 3- Words of Encouragement

“I will give them a crown to replace their ashes, and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow, and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness, trees planted by the Lord to show his greatness.” Isaiah 61:3

This verse says that the Lord ultimately will take all of our sadness and suffering away. We will go through difficult times, but the Lord knows how to take care of the people he loves. I always try to remember that god is a good father, and that we are his precious children. That helps me realize that he doesn’t like to see us hurting or frustrated. He wants to take care of us, but we have to learn to trust him so he can share that love with us.

“But the people who trust the Lord will become strong again. They will rise up as an eagle in the sky; they will run and not need rest; they will walk and not become tired.” Isaiah 40:31

Again, trusting that the Lord will lead you and take care of you is crucial. When I trust him, it makes the hard times more bearable. Because then, I am not resting in my strength, but in the strength of God. We can accomplish more, endure more, love more, and be more when we trust in his strength.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort. He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

God is a loving God, full of mercy. Now, it certainly doesn’t always seem that way, whenever we ask for his help and he doesn’t seem to help, and we pray certain prayers and they don’t ever get answered. But God is a father who knows what is best for his children. Sometimes we want things that we think are best for us, but they are not necessarily what is best for us. The same is true in regular life: children want things they think are good, but the parent knows it’s not necessarily best for the child. They want to eat candy for dinner, and even though it would taste good for awhile, the parent knows that is really a dumb idea.

We only see the current road we are on in life, while God sees all the roads in the map of our life. We have to allow him to lead us and guide us to the right places, and let him bless us how he wishes to bless us. At the end of it, we will see that God knew what we needed far better than we knew what we needed. Trust him when life is easy, and definitely when it gets very hard.

This verse also talks about how God comforts us so that we can comfort others with that same kind of love. That is how we spread Christ’s love through the world. We take the love he gives us and spread it to others, and then those who are not saved will look at Christianity and see the compassion in us, and know us by our love. God invests time and energy in us so that we become more like Christ, and we need to invest time and energy in others in the same manner.

New Song- “Released”, Updates!

Yay! I keep wondering how my love for Jesus will reflect in my actions, reflect in my music. I have written and recorded another song, called ‘Released’. It’s almost of good enough quality to post on YouTube! Lol just kidding.

Download & Listen

These are the lyrics:

High school memories
Remembering the times past
Always went unseen
An outcast to outcasts
They looked right by me
As I stood in back
My movie
Fades to black

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

Oh yeah!

Eat or be eaten
Find your own way home
But he is leading
Me to where I belong
Heart bruised and bent
All full of holes
But his fingerprints
Are on my soul
Warmth melts cold resent
As love takes its toll

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

He stood by me
When the world turned its back
His light shines bright
While the world goes black

Something is released
Deep within me
For all the world to see
It’s overcoming
All the bitter feelings
Of being left alone here
What sets me free?
Separating from the fear?
What helps me start healing?
His presence is so near

Oh yeah!
Oh yeah!
Oh yeah!

copyright Jennifer Clayton

Another thing! I am looking for a band to sing and play guitar in. I found this website where I can put up my information and my music and look for a band and bands can look for me. I am going to start talking to people, and get this dream on the road.

My book of poetry for Jesus, named ‘Atypical Jesus’, is well under way. I have been writing and editing and moving and changing and adding and reading and everything. I really am writing this book. I can’t wait to post some of the book on this blog. I can’t wait to get it published. I’M HYPER EXCITED!! 😀

Remember, living for God means dedicating your life to him, making him your priority, and making sure that what you are doing is for him. I am incorporating my love of music and poetry and blessing him, the way he has blessed me. Utilise your talents for him, and see what a difference you can make. Share your love of God with others! 🙂

Anger and Bitterness part 5- Suffering in the World

A lot of people are bitter with God because of the suffering in the world. “How could a loving God be so cruel?” They might say. They have good reason to wonder. But I feel many people are misguided in the conclusions they come to.

It doesn’t mean God is a horrible father- but you only understand my point of view when you begin to understand why people suffer in the world in the first place.

Well, some countries really prosper, while others struggle. In some countries, like in my country, the US, people have jobs (for the most part), have nice houses, cars, money, and they can live the life they want (again, for the most part). If someone wants to go to school, they can go to school. We don’t worry about racism and prejudices nearly as much as we used to, we have a government that listens to the voice of people, and tries to treat everyone fairly.

In other countries, children starve to death, families suffer from diseases, don’t have homes, and embrace absolute poverty. There is danger all around, and people really don’t know what to do.

This is where some people get angry, hating God because of the suffering. Well, as sinful creatures, we are naturally selfish. We want what is best for us, even if it costs others. It’s not that we don’t actually want to help, but more so the fact that we get so wrapped up in our own busy lives, we forget to notice how much we already have, and how little others have.

As Christians, God gives us the awesome responsibility to reach the world. In a world that can often lack sympathy and love, we are supposed to share sympathy and love. We are called to shine brighter than the world, and draw people in with our integrity and our genuine care for the well-beings of others. This is so they will look at God and see the love in him. What we do and how we live reflects on God. Yes, we are supposed to speak God’s word, but we are also actively supposed to live out those truths: giving to the poor, helping those in need, offering a heart to someone who is feeling empty, offer a shoulder to cry on, offer hope to someone with no hope or joy.

Ultimately, it is our job as Christians to take on the hurt in the world. Yes, that is a huge responsibility, but we can start off small, just by merely paying more attention to others, being kinder, etc. And then we start to do more and more for the Lord.

My point, people, is this. When people want to act like God is the blame for everything, when they want to act like he is unloving and uncaring- this is all a big fat lie! God is a father, and we are all his children. A father can’t stand when there child is lost or suffering, so as a father, he loves us very, very much, and cares for our needs. The problems is that his people are slacking off, and not doing their job completely. God changes the world through his people, and if his people are too greedy and selfish to care for others, it will look as though God is heartless. We have to be very careful what we do, because like I said, what we do reflects on God, and we really, really don’t want to give others the wrong impression.

We can get rid of the bitterness in some people’s hearts and give them more faith in God if we live the lives we are supposed to live. As the quote goes, we have to be the change we want to see in the world. So be the change! Be the hope! Be the love! There is so much anger and bitterness we can erase.

*Poetry Corner- “Shoot for the Moon”

Shoot for the Moon

I shoot for the moon
Working long and hard
Though I have failed to reach it,
It never breaks my heart
Because I shoot for the moon
And always land on stars

I strive for excellence, perfection
Going for the gold
Why am I prevented from achieving it?
My scarred, imperfect human soul
I aim to get closer and closer to it
Constantly and consistently improving, bit by bit

In achieving all my dreams,
In everything I do
Lord, you are my standard
I always look to you
Because you shoot for the moon
And always make it that far
I will shoot for your moon
And always land on your stars
When I aim, I’m never so far aff
That I fall so far down
That I make it all the way
Back to the cold, lifeless ground

Because for you, I aim for excellence
Working long and hard
I cannot reach the moon like you
My sins keep us distant, far apart
But I’m pulled closer and made stronger
By knowing your heart
So when I shoot for the moon,
At least I always land on stars

-Jennifer Clayton

—————-
I wrote this poem because I work hard to tell people about Christ, and to improve as a Christian on the daily basis. It says that I strive for perfection in the things I do, but I never quite reach it; only Jesus can do that. I strive to not sin, but of course, I will sin; I strive to be faithful, but of course, I fall short.

It is the nature of who we are: fallen, broken, imperfect. And that is what Christ is for. By accepting him as my Lord and Saviour, asking him to come into my life and lead, trusting him in my heart, he made me flawless through himself. He is perfect, and I am not perfect, but I am made perfect through him. Only through him.

The goals I could not reach on my own, he helped me reach them. The strength I could never muster up on my own, he mustered it up for me. The courage I never had, he gave it to me. The love I never had, he shared his with me. Yes, the list goes on and on. He shoots for the moon and always lands on it. I shoot for the moon, fall short, but that is okay.

He forgives me for not being good enough, for falling short sooooo very often! Whenever I stumble, I am caught in his grace. His mercy is why it is okay for us not to be perfect. By dying on the cross and rising up 3 days later, he paid for our sins, all of our various imperfections. So I know it is okay to be imperfect, so long as I have in my heart. 😀 He is perfect where we can’t be, so we learn to depend on him. It truly is okay.

Jesus is your: Friend!

“Some friends may ruin you, but a real friend will be more loyal than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

This is soooo true! We must be careful with whom we become friends. A friend can either bring you down, or help you up, allowing you to become a better person in the end. A bad friend can get you into all kinds of trouble, get into bad habits (such as drugs, smoking, sex). They can actually cause you despair and ruin opportunities for you. These people get so close to you that you don’t even realize how much they are bringing you down. You have to step back and away from them to see how they really aren’t good for you.

But then, there are good friends, who help make you wiser, stronger, and they encourage you and give you all kinds of love. They try to lead you in the right direction, they are really there to help you. I want friends such as these, I want to be a good friend like this to somebody.

While in this world, we have to be very careful in making friends and deciding who is good or who isn’t good for us to be around, Jesus is always a good friend. Always a great friend! He is never afraid to be honest with us, tell us where we are messing up. He holds us accountable for the things we do. He guides us and makes us stronger by what we suffer.

He teaches and disciplines us… he also loves us, gives us peace at times, wants what is best for us, and actually knows what is best for us. He leads us to very uncomfortable places when we follow him, but these experiences ultimately help to build us up. When we can’t depend on others, we can depend on him. Strong, courageous, genuine, AWESOME!!

I pray that you surround yourselves with good friends, and be a good friend to others. More than anything, I pray that you discover what an incredible friend Jesus is.

Jesus is your: Love! Con’t

“And from far away the Lord appeared to his people and said, ‘I love you people with a love that will last forever. That is why I have continued showing you kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3

Often times, we forsake God’s heart. He shows us love, blesses us with gifts, and then we forget him. What I love is that even though we forget and forsake him, and turn away from him, he is ever faithful. He never turns away from us. He truly loves us with a love that lasts forever.

Why do you think we are the ones always falling short in faith? It is never God who falls short. And even when there are circumstances where he does leave his people, it is because of our stubborn, hard, unwilling hearts. He leaves if we disobey him time after time, but he is always willing to gives us second chances. And he will push and push to try and help us before he leaves us.

Jesus is your: Love!

“But God shows his great love for us in this way: Christ died for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8

I looove this verse! This to me shows so, so, so much love. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. So he gave us everything- true hope, love, freedom, strength- by dying for us on the cross, while we were all still his enemies. He didn’t say, “well, y’all suck. You never listen to me, you are heartless and rude to each other. You are so selfish! I am perfect, I don’t have to do anything for you.”

No. He didn’t take one look at us, roll his eyes, and go back to heaven and have the easy way out. He loved us when it was difficult, when we were anything but easy to love. He died for us, longing to forgive us, despite our many flaws and shortcomings. Despite our nature to be greedy and selfish and only want what benefits us the most, regardless of if it crushes other people.

He never sinned, he deserved happiness and peace, not to suffer. But he didn’t take the easy way out. He chose death on a cross to peace and comfort, because that was the only way to rescue us from ourselves.

This is true love, loving one another, even when it is difficult. Being there for each other, through thick and thin. I felt some conviction when I understood this.

There are many periods in my life where I feel God isn’t there for me in the way I want him to be. I get lonely and desperate and that pain fuels my anger. Then I find myself beginning to push away from God. I think, “he doesn’t deserve me if he is going to make me suffer all alone.”

But I am so wrong! He loved us and gave his
entire heart to us, even when we forsook him for the pleasures of the world. He loved me when I was mean to people, when I lied, when I stole. He didn’t say “forget you, you’re horrible!!” He said:

“The Father gives me the people who are mine. Every one of them will come to me, and I will always accept them.”
John 6:37

He loved me when I was difficult and did nothing but sin. He loves you whenever you do nothing but sin. So I was convicted because I knew I had no right to forsake him when he made my life difficult, because I certainly made his life difficult (and continually do!).

I complicated his world. But he was okay with that! He didn’t give up on me, he showed me love. So I am learning that I can’t give up on him, and I show him love.This is true for the people in our lives, too. Yes, they may cause us drama and stress and constantly complicate our lives. But we should still love them, because Christ loved us. We shouldn’t give up on each other.

*Poetry Corner- “Ego”, greed

Ego

If there’s not time today
There will never be time

How come we’re the richest
Acting like we’re poorest?
Our egos are the biggest
And the sorest

Won’t open up our wallets
Because we are afraid
Having EVERYTHING is not enough
To make a change

How come we’re the richest
Acting like we’re poorest?
Our egos are the biggest
And the sorest

And the acidic greed inside our hearts
Burns away at our souls
Devouring everything it sees, it feeds
Until all that’s left are holes

Some people have what’s very small
Some have nothing at all
Very few are filthy rich like us
Have EVERYTHING and not enough
People suffer
And we wanna see change
But we ourselves are the problem
Standing in the way!

Making the world feel small
We have to have it all
And the bigger we are
The harder we fall
Why is the world
Callous and unfair?
‘Cause we don’t see greed in the mirror
But that doesn’t mean it isn’t there

If times are hard today,
They will never be easy
If there’s no money today
There will never be enough money

Can’t set broken hearts free
Starving and empty
While our endless greed
Only feeds and feeds
Can’t look them in the eyes
And see all their pain
If we keep living only for us
Then there will never be change

How come we’re the richest
Acting like w’re poorest?
Our egos are the biggest
And the sorest

-Jennifer Clayton
—————————-
I get so frustrated with countries like America. It’s not just us, but we definitely are super guilty of this. We hit hard times, like when the economy is going crazy and we’re afraid we will lose our jobs and houses and everything. But even at our worse, we are so much better off than other countries. Billions of people around the world live off less than $2 a day. And we are upset? I guarantee those people would take living in our difficult economy any day over living the way they live. At our worse, we are living better than most of the world. Our worse is better than their best.

Perry Noble once said that “only in America can you be obese and poor at the same time.” And he’s so right! People act like they broke, but they still have means of getting the things they need. I recognize that even when times are hard here, it doesn’t change the fact that we are born with silver spoons in our mouths. Perry also was talking about how we have storage houses for our cars. People in other countries could live with their whole family in one of our car garages. We have houses and then houses for our cars.

Only in America will we complain about how hard times are getting, and then you still see all these commercials about getting your dogs the best food and grooming them and treating them like they are just like people. It’s like, “yeah, these are hard times, but we still somehow have money for this stuff” It’s ridiculous! We’re struggling but we can take care of ourselves and our pets… when people in others places don’t have anything to feed their families, and they wouldn’t even think about pets!

We get so blinded by how much stuff we have. The poem is saying that we have big and sore egos. They are big because we constantly want more and more stuff, and sore because we sit and complain about everything we don’t have, even though we have everything. “If there’s no money today, there will never be enough money” means that if we have so much stuff, but still can’t find it in our hearts to give, because we feel that we don’t have enough, then we will never find it in our hearts to give.

There won’t be enough for everyone if we only want more. There will only ever be enough for everyone if we realize that we do have everything, and others desperately need our help and our generosity, so that they can survive, too.

This is why we need humility. Why Christ calls us to be humble and to give to the poor.

“But God gives us even more grace, as the Scripture says, ‘God is against the proud, but he gives grace to the humble.'” James 4:6

“Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’” Matthew 19:21

Humility and serving others gets rid of our blindness, pushes away our greed. And this is what we need. Loving people like this by giving and serving shows the world that Christ is real, because acts such as these truly show how he loves. When we are greedy, nobody can see Christ in us. People think we are liars and fake. Don’t put on an act. Get out there and do your job, show genuine love, and I guarantee people will change, and ultimately the world will change.

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