Time for Something New

Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.

-Mandy Hale

If you ever followed my blog closely, you may be wondering why I’ve been dormant the last several months. 

No, I haven’t stopped writing, it was simply time for a change. This blog carried me through high school and the remainder of my teen years, but around early summer, I realized I just didn’t fit it anymore. It was like pulling on the pair of jeans you’ve owned for years, and for the first time it stopped at your hips and that was that. I struggled to force myself in with a few last scattered posts, but the time came and I moved on. 
I’ve actually been writing in my new blog for a while, but I decided not to publicize it until I grew more comfortable with it. 

A lot has changed for me. I used to write this blog “Thoughts From Hazel” in a sort of ambiguous way, detaching myself from most of the writing for effect. However, I have developed a much more direct way of writing, and I’m enjoying it. My new blog is much more personal, it has deeper roots in my adventures as well as my emotions and I’m excited about it. This old blog got me through a lot throughout the last several years. However, another story is starting and has already begun.

During this time, I co-led a campus ministry on Cerritos college for a while and now I’m involved in a “marketplace ministry” at the Long Beach Town Center until I finish raising support to go to the Philippines as a long term missionary. I started dating and incredible man of God and have walked with wonderful women of the same heart and purpose.

If you are interested in following my writing from here on, this is the link to my new blog:

Tortles.wordpress.com
And if you are interested and able to help support my venture to the Philippines, here is that link:

Gofundme.com/toriphilippines
Thank you for all of your support through the last several years, and especially if you continue to hold to that. It has been quite the adventure so far. 

We’re not falling down

We are stronger now

Dreaming out loud

Breathe easy now

-Breathe Easy ~Mree

 
Here’s to the journey.

-Tori Lynn

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What is Most Important to You?

What is it, then?

What will change your mind?

What will hold you back?

What will drive on on?

Is it relationships; to keep people around, to never be alone and always have another human to turn to?

Is it stability; to not have to think about your next meal or where your head will rest each night?

Is it power; to continue growing larger in an area, surpassing others and proving them wrong?

Is it rebellion; standing against the flow, moving simply to be different and refusing to submit?

I’ve asked myself such a question, and I intend to everyday.
Checking motives keeps me growing, keeps pride out of the way.
It’s easy to say “I’m following God,” or “In this place I’ll stay.”
The truth is, though, I haven’t always, which honesty must say.

What is it then, what drives you on?
What will make you change your way?
Is it feelings, opinions, or a certain someone?
What do you live for everyday?

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,

~Tori Lynn

Something

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I can’t quite explain freedom

or how hope feels in your bones,

but I know how it feels to be trapped,

and remember what it feels to be alone.

However, I do know that the absence

is something much more insane,

something beyond this captured scene,

of the sweetest calling of your name.

You’ll see other horizons, I’m sure.

Just don’t lose sight of what you came for.

~Tori Lynn

Flux & Flow

Flux: Continuous change

Change.  The ultimate shifts that cause us to become different.  However, do things ever really stop changing?  I’ve come to discover that change is simply part of the flow of things.  Without change, we become stagnate, annoying and essentially purposeless.

Psalm 66:10 For you, God, tested us; you refined us like silver.

It is by this ever-moving process of change that we are refined.  Through the intensity of heat in these moments, we find our sins being drawn the the surface and melting off.  Never will running from the fire produce this kind of repentance.  In it, though, there’s this element of unknown.  I’ve oft found the next step to be fuzzy when I didn’t see this one coming, but I’m learning that it’s no excuse.

Flow: a steady, continuous stream of something

Never-ending.  The calling to move onward against any and all odds.  Not to be stopped by obstacles or confusion, but pushing forward without ceasing.  But in this flow, do things really stay the same?  As a stream flows down a mountain, the land changes, the wildflowers are different, it has to bend around the land to continue, as do we.

James 1:2-3 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

In this ever-changing process of movement, we grow.  Through these trails we become who we were made to be.  The elements of trials and opposition are much like the pain it takes to build muscle.  As we run against the waves, they don’t seem so large and intimidating anymore.  Though, as you push on towards deeper waters, the waves will still get taller.  Take heart, though, for we are also growing stronger as we continue to push through.

Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember in all of this is the reason behind it.  If we begin to fight the waves or stand through the fire for our own personal gain, we will lose sight and we will sink.

~Tori Lynn

When It Changes by Brielle

Sometimes, things change. Scratch that– things will change. You don’t have a choice. It’s the way you handle things that shows who you are.

Think back to when you were younger, when your face lit up when you saw fireflies. When Play-Doh was the coolest treat. When the outdoors was where your creativity lived. The only thing that hurt you was your best friend wouldn’t share. Better go tell mom.

Then you got a little bit older, and things changed . Picking friends was harder and your trust got broken. You thought you were all grown up; you were just a kid. You made your name and you figured out what you liked to do, a very important decision might I add.

Five more years, life really changed . Your friends are different, though you still watch Veggie Tales. You’re more careful about who you tell things. You’re more hesitant about making friends. People will change. Bad things will happen. You will lose people you care most about. And as depressing as it is, it will happen.

I love some very important people; we all do. I know one in particular who’s leaving me soon. Someone who ones this account … I love her dearly. And she’s growing up. It saddens me immensely, but I can’t do anything about it. I remember meeting her …

I thought she had made my sister into a teenager and I hated her. My sister wasn’t acting like my best friend I’ve grown up with for years. But as time went by, I got older too. This girl I’d met had a lot of similarities with me and we complemented each other perfectly. We’ve had the funniest times together. And I have to trust that she’ll never leave me; she’ll never replace me. She became one of the best friends I could ever hope for. She’s beautiful, intelligent, hilarious, and a second big sister. She understands me and she never judges me. I love Tori Lynn Wallace with all my heart. I’ll never forget her and even though she’s growing up and moving on as we all do, there’s a friendship of ours that will never change. And no one is as blessed as me, for I found the most real friends. They are treasures. Tori Lynn– your sense of humor, your compassion, your dreams, don’t ever change .

Once a Sergeant
Always a Sergeant

-Tamama (Brielle)

Great Sorrow, Greater Joy.

A gentle breeze stirs in the air, a chill sets in and the leaves are changing colors, preparing to fall, the change of the season. Reflecting, it’s been an absolutely crazy year thus far, but the leaves still change as well as the seasons.

Great sorrow, greater joy.

I’ve learned many a thing this year, growing ever closer to Papi, my loving God and Creator, strengthening and changing friendships, even losing a couple, it’s been quite the adventure. All this combined with it being my last year of high school and one of the most unusual futures I could have imagined awaiting me, it leaves my heart pounding. There is so much sorrow in the world, the lost and confused, so much pain, the choices that are made… My heart breaks every day, and there is deep sorrow. I would not rid myself of it, though, for there is a much greater joy. A joy that surpasses my imagination and ability to grasp it, the joy of my God, the hope in love and faith.. There is so much more.

I can’t help but smile at the sunset, the moonlit night, the waves of the ocean or stillness of a lake, the smile of a child, the warmth of a heart, the embrace of a loved one, the unspoken words in your eyes, every single moment I spend in worship and His word, a grand story, the recounting of an adventure, a glimpse of a heart, those words that mean everything…

Great sorrow, greater joy.

The leaves will turn and fall, but new ones will grow, and as they change, they are beautiful, breath-taking. There is beauty among all this, we just have to open our eyes and trust Him.

There is so much I could hope to share with you all, but today as I was reading 2 Corinthians 7, I came to an even deeper understanding of this concept. Oh, and certainly the Psalms as well.. Ha, I cannot stop reading His word and each time is so wonderful.

I must admit, writing a story is difficult, writing many stories is insane. Your characters begin to beg and plead with you to write their story, they interrupt your everyday thoughts, they influence how you act, their struggles often cause you trouble, their mannerisms show up randomly in conversation, but it is certainly worth every moment of that. They’re like children in a way, you cry in their pain, rejoice in their gladness of heart, learn through their adventures and grow in their trials. Bittersweet isn’t quite the right word, for these certain sorrows are not even entirely bitter, but challenging.

What is now is nothing compared to what is to come, and nothing can ever begin to compare to the glorious Ending of it all, what awaits those who truly love Him…

~Tori Lynn

From Here

At this moment, I have a question for you, while there are many things I could ask, and the other questions are perhaps of equal importance, at this very moment I wish to ask you this. Perhaps you need it,, I know I have needed it -continue to need it every day..

What is it you want God to do in you…?

Not for you, not through you, *in* you.

I ask myself this question fairly often now, to keep the planks out of my own eyes, to let Him work out whatever kinks I come across, when He brings them to light. It would seem that every time He brings me through one struggle, a little bit stronger, a new one awaits me.

Sometimes it’s like one of those *really* good video games, each time you beat the next level or boss, once you’ve gotten stronger, you’re presented with another challenge. I love it. Sometimes when I talk to God, when things get confusing, I can almost feel Him smiling, because He knows that I love living for Him, following Him. There are so many wonderful things ahead, even if they can be confusing, He knows best, and as long as I have faith to follow His lead without thinking twice or looking back it will all work out. As a dear friend reminded me, there is no way it could go wrong in those circumstances.

Sometimes I find myself melting into peals of laughter from sheer joy and wonder at how amazing He is.. This past weekend was Acquire the Fire (aka ATF) and I must say it was an astounding event.. Sure, there were fakers, there almost always are, but they were a minority at this event. Thousands of teenagers worshiping God wholeheartedly.. It was something I could not explain in words, I learned many things, but I will not simply lay them out for you, instead I will live them, or “be the mission”. Normal is not enough, that was the theme, as some would call it. I’m not normal, never will be. Little pieces will probably work their way into my thoughts and my speech over time, instead of simply summing it up, I will be what I’ve learned. This is where we go from here. Only a small handful of those I know were there, none of them experienced what I did, I didn’t experience what they did. Part of my experience was seeing them reach out to God, the ones I knew as well as the ones you could call strangers. Regardless if you’d call them a stranger or not, I knew them, because in worship, we were together, because we love our God and we want to praise Him, because we want to follow Him wherever He leads.

We are called to be freaks in this world…

“Sit enthroned upon my heart with everything You are come live Your life in me, reign supremely I’m not just giving You my sin but everything within come take control and make me holy” -Sit Enthroned ~School of Worship

~Tori