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Wearing Scanties in 20 Degree Weather

It dropped 30 degrees on my car ride home. Then the wind began to gust and snow began to drop… like crazy. I left Dallas in a T-Shirt I arrived in Kansas in my North Face and by Christmas Day, we were snowed in at our house. When the weather changes, clothing changes.  When seasons of life change…...

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What If I Really Had Influence?

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Purpose | Posted on 29-06-2011

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I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately… What if I lived my life as though I really did have influence? Here are four things that I think would be affected.

  1. I would probably watch what I said. I might think there was weight to the words I send out into the atmosphere.
  2. I would probably watch my actions.  I might take into serious consideration that everything that is permissible, may not be beneficial. If I believed I really had influence, I would probably err on the side of beneficial rather than just doing things because “I can”.
  3. I would honor people and their accomplishments. Rather than allowing my own insecurity to discredit and critique others accomplishments, I’d honor everything that I saw them do and encourage them to pursue their dreams.
  4. I wouldn’t gossip. The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that there is no safe place for negative words or stories.  I’m convinced that a negative word has no safe place, but the right place. Any other place can be damaging.

So, let’s live our lives as though we have influence… because we do.  Will you join me?

What other areas do you think would be affected if we lived our lives as though we had influence?

 

 

Looking Above the Clouds

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in faith, Musings | Posted on 26-05-2011

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Do you ever feel like you’re drowning? Like somehow while the world around you is basking in the beauty of a perfectly sunny day, you’re simply trying to find your way to the surface of the pool of water you seem to be suffocated in?  Like somehow fog, hail, rain and wind have joined forces and you are trapped underneath them all?  Thoughts scrambled, fears elevated, blood pressure heightened, faith shaking while you stare through the fog hoping it will end.  With your mind running in a million directions – you gasp for breath.

You and I may be quite alike.  As I sit here tapping on my keyboard, I am thinking of situations in life where there seems to be no answer, no firm resolve, just more questions.  The other day I was in such a moment. My mind was spinning and fearful “what if” thoughts were my company.  It was as though fear were my companion and his arms were draped around my shoulders daring me to dispute his convincing arguments.   Being the domestic goddess that I am after 3 months of marital bliss,  I was cleaning.  So, I put down my dusting rag and sat on my bedroom floor, looked to the heavens and begged God to make my mind stop.  Quietly as I sat there, I found myself asking to know what is True.  Slowly God began to give me some direction… and I’m finding what He is showing me to be an incredibly liberating act of spiritual warfare.  Because all good steps come in three, I do believe there are (at least) three steps that I am finding to be very effective in keeping the lateral noise (fear due to circumstances in life) from crippling my faith, weakening my joy, and making me walk in fear.

Pursue Confession – Sprinting to the loved one you trust most and confessing the fear, disbelief or obsessive questions seems to quickly disarm the torment.  It’s amazing what can happen the minute the real, God-honest thoughts come to light… They seem a little less true.

Get Out – Declaration is powerful.  A previous colleague of mine told me one time that declaration is different that stating.  When you state something, you’re talking about the natural. When you declare it you’re speaking into the supernatural. Declaration is active. Stating is passive. I’d advise you get out of the storm.  Find something you know is True and declare it.  Declare it like you’d declare your first, middle and last name to the judge.  If fear is your enemy and it’s been knocking on your door— Declare Truth. God is bigger than Fear.  God is bigger than the unknown. Declare it until you believe it. Declare it until it feels like you are looking at the fog, rain, hail and wind beneath you and no longer around you.  Once again, declaring Truth has a way of disarming lies.

Love Being Above – Storms are cyclical. One leaves, another one comes.  We’d all like to believe that we can have perfection on this earth, but it just isn’t going to happen. However, if we can learn to operate and live above the storm, then the joy and hope we will have in this life will exponentially increase.  Once you’ve gotten out you can get above. With the understanding that I may start sounding crazy spiritual I really believe that learning how to look at circumstances, declare Truth and stay above the storm is to stay in the Word.  Love having Godly perspective. Spend time uncovering new Truths from the Bible that you can stand on. Staying in the Word is so important to living a life of victory. And when you love being above the stormy circumstances in life, you’ll put forth the effort and will quickly find it to be effortless.  With an arsenal of God-breathed declarations, it’ll be easier to hold fast to joy and hope as you run to the Bible for solace.

Hebrews 10:23 (NIV)
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

By Faith…

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Musings | Posted on 26-01-2011

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Hebrews 11 (The Message)

Faith in What We Don’t See

 1-2The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.

 3By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see.

 4By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice.

 5-6By an act of faith, Enoch skipped death completely. “They looked all over and couldn’t find him because God had taken him.” We know on the basis of reliable testimony that before he was taken “he pleased God.” It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

 7By faith, Noah built a ship in the middle of dry land. He was warned about something he couldn’t see, and acted on what he was told. The result? His family was saved. His act of faith drew a sharp line between the evil of the unbelieving world and the rightness of the believing world. As a result, Noah became intimate with God.

 8-10By an act of faith, Abraham said yes to God’s call to travel to an unknown place that would become his home. When he left he had no idea where he was going. By an act of faith he lived in the country promised him, lived as a stranger camping in tents. Isaac and Jacob did the same, living under the same promise. Abraham did it by keeping his eye on an unseen city with real, eternal foundations—the City designed and built by God.

 11-12By faith, barren Sarah was able to become pregnant, old woman as she was at the time, because she believed the One who made a promise would do what he said. That’s how it happened that from one man’s dead and shriveled loins there are now people numbering into the millions.

 13-16Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.

 17-19By faith, Abraham, at the time of testing, offered Isaac back to God. Acting in faith, he was as ready to return the promised son, his only son, as he had been to receive him—and this after he had already been told, “Your descendants shall come from Isaac.” Abraham figured that if God wanted to, he could raise the dead. In a sense, that’s what happened when he received Isaac back, alive from off the altar.

 20By an act of faith, Isaac reached into the future as he blessed Jacob and Esau.

 21By an act of faith, Jacob on his deathbed blessed each of Joseph’s sons in turn, blessing them with God’s blessing, not his own—as he bowed worshipfully upon his staff.

 22By an act of faith, Joseph, while dying, prophesied the exodus of Israel, and made arrangements for his own burial.

 23By an act of faith, Moses’ parents hid him away for three months after his birth. They saw the child’s beauty, and they braved the king’s decree.

 24-28By faith, Moses, when grown, refused the privileges of the Egyptian royal house. He chose a hard life with God’s people rather than an opportunistic soft life of sin with the oppressors. He valued suffering in the Messiah’s camp far greater than Egyptian wealth because he was looking ahead, anticipating the payoff. By an act of faith, he turned his heel on Egypt, indifferent to the king’s blind rage. He had his eye on the One no eye can see, and kept right on going. By an act of faith, he kept the Passover Feast and sprinkled Passover blood on each house so that the destroyer of the firstborn wouldn’t touch them.

 29By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. The Egyptians tried it and drowned.

 30By faith, the Israelites marched around the walls of Jericho for seven days, and the walls fell flat.

 31By an act of faith, Rahab, the Jericho harlot, welcomed the spies and escaped the destruction that came on those who refused to trust God.

 32-38I could go on and on, but I’ve run out of time. There are so many more— Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets….Through acts of faith, they toppled kingdoms, made justice work, took the promises for themselves. They were protected from lions, fires, and sword thrusts, turned disadvantage to advantage, won battles, routed alien armies. Women received their loved ones back from the dead. There were those who, under torture, refused to give in and go free, preferring something better: resurrection. Others braved abuse and whips, and, yes, chains and dungeons. We have stories of those who were stoned, sawed in two, murdered in cold blood; stories of vagrants wandering the earth in animal skins, homeless, friendless, powerless—the world didn’t deserve them!—making their way as best they could on the cruel edges of the world.

 39-40Not one of these people, even though their lives of faith were exemplary, got their hands on what was promised. God had a better plan for us: that their faith and our faith would come together to make one completed whole, their lives of faith not complete apart from ours.

And then we got engaged…

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Relationship Success | Posted on 04-11-2010

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December 23, 2009 I drove home in tears. Six days preceding my 30th birthday and my future as an old maid seemed to be sealed.  Talking to God through tears, I left my heart in his hands and visited my family.

December 26, 2009 as I retraced my road back to Dallas one name came into my head and remained there for an hour… Johan Etsebeth.

December 29, 2009 I turned 30. (eek!)

January 3, 2010 I met up with my long-time friend, Johan, and everything changed.

February 21, 2010 We went on our first date.

… and then … we fell in love… Great love.

October 21, 2010 My South African man of my dreams with a heart for the nations, a passion for Jesus, a compassionate heart and a deep love for me… Asked me to marry him. :)

On February 11, 2011 we are getting married and I will get to be the wife to my best friend, my favorite person.

How can I possibly convey all that God is doing in my heart? How can I attempt to explain all of the tears I’ve prayed, questions I’ve asked and frustrations I’ve proclaimed prior to my 30th birthday?  How can I ever list out all of the ways that God has completely overwhelmed me with his goodness, grace, faithfulness and steadfastness throughout my time of waiting?  How can I ever explain to you the perfect package that God gave me when He gave me Johan?  How can I explain to you how my heart feels? How my Spirit feels? How my soul feels?

It’s simple. I cannot.  All I can say is that our God is faithful. He hears us when we call to Him. And, He answers.

And we– we simply stand amazed.

Something in the Water

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Relationships | Posted on 19-10-2010

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Love this song!!

- Something in the Water, Brooke Fraser

Who I was. Who I am. Who I want to be.

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Musings | Posted on 24-09-2010

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Some know us for who we were.

They leave their view of us in the past, assuming that despite 10-20-30 years of maturity, the “real us” is somehow found in an immature form.

Some know us for who we are.

They see the present, not taking into account the things of our past, both positive and negative.

Some know us for who we are to become.

They see our past. They see our present. And somehow they can see the inner-workings of both to make a future that is fully developed and hopeful.

***

I believe in the hope of the future. I believe that although our past shapes us, that God can work anything out for our good. I believe that God works the present circumstances strategically and that nothing goes beyond His sight.

Overall, I believe in the hope of freedom of heart and the sovereignty of a good God.  I believe that despite all the circumstances of life, that God is good and His ultimate goal is to bless us beyond our wildest imaginations.

With a heart and a life surrendered to His will, I choose to embrace the past, enjoy the present, and have faith for the future.

Tuesday Afternoon Moment

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Freedom of Heart | Posted on 27-07-2010

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The winds of the Kansas plains in our hair.

God is faithful.  Life is Bliss.

“Put your life in the hands of the Lord; have faith in him and he will do it.”
- Psalm 37:5

Fighting for Innocence.

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Musings | Posted on 21-06-2010

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Innocence just doesn’t seem to get fought for much in today’s cultures.

I was pulling up to a stop light on a residential road where I saw a kid who looked to be about 7 walking with his mom. Having just had his hair cut at the neighborhood barber, he kept rubbing his hand up the back of his head with a smug smirk on his face. He was proud of his hair cut.   But the thing that struck me wasn’t the hair (although the spikes on top were perfectly formed).  It was the look on his face, that was pure and simple… innocent.  I looked at him and his mom and thought… “He has a good mom. You can tell that. He’s a good kid. You can tell that. His face is innocent and he is loved.”

Will that innocence disappear from his face too?  How long until his innocence is gone?  When will the pure naivety leave his face? And when innocence leaves, where does it go?  Who takes it?  How can it be stopped?

Innocence seems to disappear so quickly…

This past week I have become keenly aware of the innocence of children everywhere and have found myself wondering when the exact time is that the innocence from the face of a child begins to fade.

Currently, my man is in Africa.  While there he’s met many orphans and has seen a country laden with beautiful people and also deep sorrow… much like the rest of the world, just manifesting itself differently.  When he talks about children growing up too fast in Uganda, he doesn’t reference wearing makeup too early, but he said that 50% of the children are having sex by the time they are 15 years old.  50%. Shocking.

Children are growing up too fast all over the world.  However, it seems like our culture actually encourages it.  I believe that innocence is beautiful. We should fight for the innocence of our children… always.

I really am curious what your thoughts are on this as my questions are sincere. How do we protect the innocence of our children? How do we keep our children from growing up to fast, and what is too fast?

**Photo Credit**

I believe in Great Love.

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Musings | Posted on 15-06-2010

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I believe in Great love.

I believe Great love is uncommon.

I believe Great love is unnatural.

I believe Great love has to be fought for.

I believe Great love is rarely reciprocated but always rewarded.

I believe Great Love is the one thing that can set a Soul free.

I believe that in order to discover Great love, you have to choose it.

I believe Great love is found through unwarranted sacrifice, uncommon consideration, and unreasonable circumstances.

Great love sees the good that could be, despite what is reality.

Great love will sometimes walk away, but Great love will often embrace.

Great love isn’t afraid to get dirty, broken or hurt.

Those with Great love find their own restoration in the Greatest Love of a God that is always Bigger.

I think many people have love. This is not rare.  But many of us do not have Great love... Great love is worth searching out and fighting to own and to possess.

I choose Great love.  Great Love chose me.

***

Photo Credit

Dignity Is Overrated

Posted by Hannah Etsebeth | Posted in Musings | Posted on 07-05-2010

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I lost my dignity once. Somewhere in between the main floor and the basement of a Colorado vacation spot my dignity took a U-turn.  I’ll spare you the details at an attempt to retain some of the feelings of femininity I like to possess.  But to put it simply, my loss of dignity involved three things: Altitude sickness, my forehead… and a toilet seat. No doubt a recipe for disaster.

The Encounter with the Toilet Seat

It went something like this. I felt a bit sick… really sick. I went to the bathroom to take care of that.  Through an unfortunate incident… the toilet seat hit me in the forehead leaving a rather large and very conspicuous gash right in between my eyes… followed by two black eyes.

I lost my dignity that day… and the day after… and the day after that.  War wounds of that nature beckon explanation.  Bye-bye dignity.

What I really think about dignity.

I think it’s overrated.  The loss of dignity provides a chance for a reminder of our humanity and a balanced view of the world around us.  We hold fast to our dignity, but perhaps that is one of the greatest deterrents to doing something great. I’m not saying that random stories that happen during a ski vacation really have much to do with the overall theme of making a difference.  But if one day I get to make a choice to be a bit undignified in order to impact the greater good, then I hope to choose to look like a fool and have a foolish story to tell. I will gladly lose my dignity for those in need.

“I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.” – 2 Samuel 6:22

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