Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Years!!


I thought I'd share what my "New Year's Prayers" (Yeah, I decided to call them that :)) were for 2011.

1. Not wear makeup until May 5th, 2011 (my 16th birthday).
2. Ask God in concerns of modesty.
3. Spend the rest of my teen years, starting now, learning what GOD thinks about me, not what others think of me.
4. Seek how God wants to be glorified in the things that mean the most to me: riding, writing, and music.

Yep, that was it! I just wanted to seek His face love Him not let anything else dictate how I lived.  I'm so grateful for everything I've learned this year.  It wasn't easy. It wasn't particularly pleasant at times.  But it was worth it.

11 things I learned in 2011

1. It doesn't matter how something feels. It can feel right and be wrong...and vice versa.
2. There is never, NEVER a point when He isn't there for me any longer.
3. He will lift the heavy burden and give me rest.
4. Pride is the most addictive drug and the most painful living death.
5. Even when I begin to doubt the most fundamental of my beliefs, there is hope in a single cry, a single prayer.
6. When I find my happiness in something other than God, I become bitter. But in Him, not sin, is pure joy.
7. Emotions just plain stink.
8. I want to fall into the space in between me and God.
9. Worship is a way of living, not being on a stage.
10. You never know whose life you are reaching if you are simply living in love.
11.  Life comes down to the fact that God holds the future and we must trust Him.

Blog readers, I just want you to know that I love you... Let's make 2012 a new year. Let's live in new ways. Let's embrace a new chance to change the world for the people around us, through Him.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

My Poem :)

I'm working on a sestina poem for extra credit in my lit class (which I desperately need incase finals went poorly) and this is what I have so far! Critical comments welcome :). 

Time's Reflections

A little girl among the toys gazes
At herself upon a tiny play mirror.
Her toothy grin a gap reveals
And the fairy’s coming later for her.
This child innocent views a reflection
For purposes unselfish, joyous, free.

Time’s running; a decade has flown past free
From cares that hound she who now gazes
Once more within a glass at her reflection.
More value she longs for within the mirror,
Yet deep inside she knows it holds for her
Nothing better than what the surface reveals.

Years later, her scarred heart reveals
A longing from these addictions to be free.
As she views the tears, knowing they cost her,
She finds a hopeful thought while she gazes.
The expectations that glared from the mirror
Were shown not worth living for in reflection.

On a golden rosy day she catches the reflection,
In a shining pond, a face blissful from love reveals.
Her own and her prince’s together in the mirror
The image she cherishes within her heart, free
 That day, from past opinions or strict gazes
Of ghosts of older days--love has freed her.

Decades later, a viewer could find her
Taking a introspective look at her reflection
But not in vanity or in sorrow, she gazes
But rather in the happy memories it reveals.
Though her days grow short, her heart is free
Past behind, heaven ahead, smiles the mirror.

Creator above sees she who looks in the mirror
And His heart sings as He watches her
Because she is His alone, she is free
From sin, from death, from her reflection--
Those evil to her, as He to her reveals.
“Fearful, wonderful,” saying He gazes.

Now as her, press on in what He reveals.
Take care not to take long gazes in a mirror
But to rejoice, free from your reflection.

~Elissa Branum

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Anything there is to say about Christmas is summed up in this beautiful blog post. I would fully recommend you read it :).

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned...For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace (Isa 9:2,6). 
He is born to be our light, our hope, our everything. Oh come, let us adore Him!

Merry Christmas, bloggers!


Friday, December 23, 2011

Dark Staircase

Do you ever feel like you're walking down a dark stairway?

 Do you ever feel as if your life is a strangling, dark casm full of fear and doubt?

I have. Honestly, we probably all have. But what I've experienced this year has taught me this:

When you're traveling down a dark staircase, reach out and take hold of the rail.

When I am walking in the dark, I become confused. I begin to question what I believe. I get dizzy and uncertain.  But when I turn to Him--when I remember what God's Word has said...when I remember everything He's pulled me through... 

It's then I can press on, unseeing.


This brings to mind my favorite quote from the Oracles of Fire series by Bryan Davis:

"What you have learned in the light, my friend, never doubt when it is dark."

Please, don't ever let darkness cause you to doubt.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Future

2 Timothy 1:9 "[God] who has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace."

My awesome friend gave me the new Casting Crowns CD, and this song is very relevant to what's God been teaching me lately:

"You're already there, standing at the end of my life, waiting on the other side."

He knows what my future holds. A couple days ago, I was praying and worrying and wondering, and this was the question my heart was dying to answer--

"When is this going to make sense, Lord?"

And out of the stillness, suddenly the answer made me...laugh.  

"I hold the future, Elissa. I am the omnipresent and you don't ever need to worry because I hold your future."

That may not be earth-shaking to you, dear reader. But to me it was one of those axis-tilting, world-crashing, can-this-be-reality?, amazing moments when I believe I heard God's voice. Those moments are few and far between if you are like me and tend to let 1,000 other sounds block Him out. 
But I know I heard the truth.
And I'm going to allow Him to hold what is His alone.
My future.

what are you going to let Him hold?


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas breakkkk!!

I feel like this cat today.

Let's just say Microeconomics...not really my thing. Exams...not my thing either.


Commence messing around reading pointless articles, spending time on social networking sites, reading books I actually like, watching TV, and procrastinating on 2 (count them! 2!! and one is a poem. I have to write a poem...) extra credit lit projects and 2 (count those!!) required biology projects. Fun stuff :) 
Oooh and my grandparents are coming!!!! Double yay!!!

What are you doing for Christmas break? (not begging...comments, cough, comments XD)


To actually be serious, I'm reading 1 Peter now (the first chapter is where I got my blog name!). It's extremely convicting...did you know God calls us to be STRANGERS in this world? That's a pretty strong connotation of "in but not of."  We should not have fellowship with darkness. I really need to work on that! My heart prefers the ease of the world. It need not be that way. I find joy in the Lord.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My 2nd devotional for True Beauty Devotionals

I'm so excited! 

"Striving for perfection
by Elissa Branum
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.
~1 John 4:18a
Have you ever felt afraid or unsure?
I'm almost sure that almost everyone one has.  One major reason I feel afraid is actually because I fear failure. I feel like I'll never be "perfect."
We strive for perfection.  It's like we are hard-wired to want the very best...yet we always fall short. Why is it so integrated in our psyche to admire and to desire perfection? Why do we envy those people who seem so "put together," like everything is great in their lives? Why do we point out the loveliest houses, cars, and other belongings?
Maybe we were meant to live for Someone capable of the perfection we fall short of. Maybe our hearts are tuned to the One who is perfect. Perhaps we are inwardly seeking and longing for His purest, closest, most right embrace. Jesus is the reason for our adoration of perfection.
Do you fear imperfection?

Application Step:
Maybe you, as I do, need to let go of your fear of falling short. Realize that God paid the price for our sins, and there is nothing we can do to earn that salvation.  Talk to a godly adult if you are unsure, and fall into the arms of a perfect God.

Thank You, Lord, for being a perfect God. What more could we long for? Who else could fill us and take away our emptiness?  I was made for you, Lord.  Help me to believe that you are the only perfect One.  I love you, Lord!

To purchase a print copy of these devotionals click here:
For more help finding your true beauty in Christ, visit:"
--All ownership to True Beauty Devotionals.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


1. Reading these books

boring cover is WAY better than the gross covers....

I love CS Lewis. I can't say that enough.

Reading this still/again. Still beyond amazing.

that's all I'm reading...are you shocked??

2. Watched these movies last night (yup, all of them):

the latter two had me crying legit the whole time :'P

3. Loving Christmas music:

What are you doing lately?


Friday, December 9, 2011

What if we were real?

(disclaimer: I know there is a cd by that name, which I still want to get, as it sounds awesome-sauce)
(disclaimer 2: I may become personal/mushy/ridiculous in this post...tired...)

What if I stopped trying to be "the perfect Christian" and just admitted that at times, things in the Christian life don't make sense?

What if I told you that waiting is the hardest thing for me and I tend to have this attitude toward God?

Me: "This doesn't make sense anymore, Lord. You showed me the Way last month (or last year, or yesterday, or at that camp, or at that revival, or in that book), but I just don't get it anymore."

God: "Wait on Me."

Me: "But God, I don't think You heard me. I said 'this doesn't make sense to me right now'. Why can't You make it make sense?"

God: "Wait on My timing."

Me: "But Lord, that is NOT what feels good to me. My emotions say I should throw reason to the wind and ignore You. *goes on my own way, struggling*"

God: "I'll lead you if you will wait on Me."

Me: "*not listening* God, I can't hear You! Are You even there?"

God: "*softly, through the chaos* just wait on Me."

Me: "*breaking down in tears now* God, I've tried everything. I waited until all else failed, but now I'm going to listen to You, what should I do?"

God: "Trust Me."


That may not be the most spiritual prayer ever, but that's been how God's spoken to me lately. I'm really learning that tuning Him out is so easy to do, and such a bad idea.  He's there...I just need to listen.

What have your conversations with God been like lately? (Remember, if you're like me, it's hard to say that you've "heard God speak." But anything--from a Christian lyric to a hard-hitting verse can be His voice reaching you in love.)


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

While I'm Waiting

I watched Fireproof for like the second time ever yesterday (what a horrible homeschooler I am).

And, yup, it's an amazing movie. 

And it had this song in it.

And God is totally using those words in my life, right now.

Why did it never connect with me that sometimes the "big things" God will call me to do will just be waiting on Him? Simply obeying Him when He says "Not now. I have something better."
Simply worshiping when I feel like crying in frustration.
Simply adoring my loving God when all human relationships are driving me insane.
Simply letting go of this fear that held me back.
Simply waiting.

And prayerful decision making. That, I'm telling ya, is tough stuff for me. I can't tell you how many times I've prayed "God, please tell me what to do right now" and felt like there was no answer. I'm gonna bare my soul and admit that I've completely given in to the lie that He can't, or won't speak to me.

But I can "barely hear You whisper through the rain". And faith is acting on that tiny little voice...
He gives us the choice to listen. The choice to act. The choice to trust. 
It's called free will. I sometimes wish that He hadn't given me free will, because I mess it up so much.
But that wouldn't have been love.

What are you afraid to ask Him about? What have you been praying for without hearing an answer?
Keep praying. I know that doesn't sound very helpful, but that's all you can do! & the answer may not be what you expect, or want. 

Still, worship, even while you're waiting.