Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kelsi Reich - Testimony Tuesday

It's neat to see how Christians can maintain their faith, despite being immersed and surrounded by a secular world that constantly whispers lies of who we should be and how we should live our lives. Kelsi shows that it is possible to be a cheerleader and a soldier of Christ. What better way to reach out and be a witness for our Lord! 

Kelsi Reich - Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader  

"My deepest desire is for you to know how much God loves you…

I want to start off by saying that my family is amazing; we may have had to deal with some issues like every other family, but we are closer now than ever before. I am so thankful that God blessed me with loving parents and a sister who is my best friend, and partner in prayers and adventures.

Throughout my younger years I was involved in dance outside school, then track, cheerleading, interact (philanthropy), student council, and senior class president. I was on homecoming court every year and got voted as queen my senior year.

I would say one of the first turning points in my relationship with God was when I lost my virginity at the age of 16. Right after it happened, I was filled with guilt, shame, and disgust. I went home and cried out to the Lord on my knees in my room.

From that moment on, I knew that I needed Jesus but I struggled with attacks from the enemy because I kept it a secret for so long. If I would have just to confessed my sin, it would have lost it’s power so much sooner; it took me 3 years to share the yuck in my heart.

Point of encouragement: Don’t live with the weight of your sins. Shame and guilt does not produce a healthy life, but a life that leads to death. Confess your troubles out loud to people that can pray over you and for you. Know that you are not trapped. You have been set free from sin and death by the blood of Jesus on the cross. You are to walk in newness of life and enjoy the freedom you have in Christ.

At the age of 17, I was competing at our nationals dance competition when my solo judge approached me during the award ceremony, she introduced herself as a recruiter for the “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders” and gave me a packet labeled “by-pass”, which meant I was eligible to skip the first round of auditions. Once she found out I was only 17, she told me to train for a year and she would give me another by-pass when I was old enough. I made the team and also auditioned for show group, which is the elite group that travels the world doing shows and appearances. Then came the question of, “Ok God, yay I made it!…now why do you have me here?

To those of you who question how I maintained my Christian faith as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, let me share with you…

Another girl and I happened to have our bibles in our bags, so we all started sharing our favorite verses. This conversation sparked a flare in one of the girls and that night she gave her life to Christ…I learned quickly that God had me in the NFL as a light and encourager.

I gave God the glory in all that I did. I even got in trouble for writing “God bless” on everything but that didn’t stop me for standing up in what I believed in. Many were offended by my faith, buy I rejoice because “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great.” Matthew 5:11-12

On Sunday mornings, I was privileged and thrilled to share devotionals before games. This brought encouragement and light to our team in the locker room before games, our team prayed together before we took the field.

God showed me that I needed to step away to retire from the Cheerleading team because the doors to the mission field flung wide open soon after…how amazing it is to have a platform that touches multiple thousands. My prayer is that I will continue using my platform to put Jesus on the pedestal.

During my five years in Dallas, there was more than just Cheerleading, there were amazing years spent at Dallas Baptist University, my favorite classes were all biblical. There was a point in time where my heart was tugging me to switch my major from Business Marketing to Biblical studies. Now I am a full time missionary promoting the goodness of Jesus, sharing His love to the world.

As I conclude sharing my testimony, I want you to know that your story is unique and remarkable! God designed you with such great purpose and everything in your life will line up just the way it should if you keep your heart set on Him.

As you can see, there were hard times and victorious times throughout my journey. As my heart and flesh may fail, God will never fail me. He will never disappoint. The same goes for you. He wants the best for you because He loves you so incredibly much!

When the enemy comes and tries to discourage you or make you stray from your faith, rebuke him in Jesus name. Satan has no place in your life. The victory is yours because Christ died for you! He already defeated the grave and won the battle.

Your sins were taken care of on the cross. You have the opportunity to walk in freedom and utmost joy! Grab it and don't let it go, it's yours!

My prayer is that you would not read this and see what I've done, but merely be encouraged because if I can do this then so can you.

My deepest desire is that His goodness would be known and that I would be a living example of how God can restore anyone out of their sins just by His amazing love. God we thank you and praise you for being the only one who can save us! You are so good; I love you Lord!"

All text © 2013 From the Ashes| All Images © 2013  From the Ashes

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Summer - Sketch Book Muses

With the temperatures being in the single digits, it's really making me wish summer were here already. 

All text © 2013 From the Ashes| All Images © 2013  From the Ashes

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

New Mexico, the Place I Love - Traveling for New Years

Some photos from my trip to New Mexico. Isn't it just beautiful?

Hiking up in the mountains behind my friend's (Alberson Family) home.

Yes, that's snow.

What a view!

Bobby and I, Bobby's two siblings and the Alberson's posing for the camera in front of the Oregon Mountains!

White Sand's National Park

Playing a game of wiffle ball at White Sands. :)

Bobby and I after Hiking to the top of a huge mountain. :) Just look at that view!

My best friend Carrie, my sister-in-law Anna and I on our way to go shooting!

Driving through.

Stay tuned for more photos. :)

All text © 2013 From the Ashes| All Images © 2013 Above and Beyond Imaging and  From the Ashes 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A New Year, a New Day and a New Way of Living

I can't believe it is 2014 already! Seems just like yesterday that I was looking forward to the summer of 2013. As we enter into the new year, it is completely normal to set goals or to want to see changes in not only your life, but others as well. 

What sort of objectives will be on your new years resolution for 2014?

Making a list is a great way to start, be sure to add anything from a small habit you wish to drop or pick up to completing a marathon or buying a house. At the end of your list, try concluding it with a simple prayer giving it all to God, it's not like we can complete these tasks on our own. As the year progresses, continue to give your 2014 resolution to God, also keep track of the tasks you've completed or the ones that need more work. 

This year for me I have decided to organize my list into categories. This year I have decided to organize my list into categories, such as the ones below which are followed by a few of my goals.

·         Spiritual Goals:
o   Read through the entire Bible
·         Fitness/Health Goals:
o   Run a half marathon
o   Lose 15lbs.
·         Academic Goals:
o   Complete an internship
o   Apply to at least 5 scholarships
o   Read 50 new books
·         MISC. Goals:
o   Buy a house
o   Move to Massachusetts

Those are just some of my goals, but as you can see they range from small tasks to large ones. I may not get them all done, I may only do half, but with God’s help I can achieve them all! So I will try my hardest at each one. Making a New Years resolution is important to me because it helps remind me that I can forget pas mistakes an regrets and start anew. 2013 is far behind me and whatever difficulties and struggles I had, I am putting them behind me and starting 2014 with a new slate. 

I know this year will not be easy; there are going to be many changes and difficulties, but I know that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me! (Philippians 4:13) I can wait to see what adventures this year holds!

All text © 2013 From the Ashes| All Images © 2013  From the Ashes

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Failure Does not Define Who I am.

Self esteem is something I have to constantly battle each and everyday. A simple or tiny mistake and I am calling my self a failure. However, those "failures" I have in my life do not define who I am as a person. Instead I should be taking those mistakes to help better shape the person I am becoming. 

In an article I was reading today from my school newsletter, a professor summed up the answer to the question, “How can I stay positive when I've had a lot of failures?” perfectly in just a couple paragraphs.
 Thomas Edison once said with regard to his attempts to build a light bulb, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
 Each time you try something new in your life, there is the possibility that you may not succeed at it in the ways you’d initially expected. We tend to perceive something as a “failure” when the end result of our actions doesn't meet the expectations that we (or someone else) had. But even if the outcome isn't’t what we may have aimed for, it doesn't mean the effort was a waste or that we’re failures. 
Trying many new endeavors is an important element of life, and doing so takes courage and patience. It might help you to reconsider how you define success. One definition I like is, “The ability to embrace failure.” I encourage you to see every aspect of your college experience as an opportunity to learn something new about yourself and the world around you. This means being able and willing to see that having missteps or making mistakes is essential to your growth as a person. A failure is an opportunity —the teacher, if you will—to discover something new and extraordinary about yourself. 
 Mistakes are also good for helping you learn how to do things differently, as well as what you really enjoy.
Like Edison, here’s another way to think about them: “Negative results are just as valuable as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.” 

Are you struggling with feeling like a failure? Looking at your life and seeing just one big mistake? 

You are not alone; I have struggled and continue to struggle with these feelings each and everyday. It is a constant fight against the flesh and against Satan who seeks to destroy us. Yet we are more than conquerors, and with Christ on our side we can take a stand and fight these everyday battles.

"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." -Ephesians 6:10-13

So let us stand firm, fight our sinful flesh and Satan's lies, taking every thought captive. We are Christ's children and He is our wonderful creator who made us in His image. We are not failures, we are His!

Below are some ideas to help you keep mistakes in perspective:
  • Spend time with family and friends who embrace their mistakes. 
  • Stay engaged in projects that you enjoy, even if they’re challenging. 
  • Think about people you admire who've come back strong after missteps. 
  • Celebrate the wonderful life God has given you! 
  • Devote some time to helping someone else.
  • Think about what you've learned as a result of setbacks. 

What are some way you help keep mistakes in perspective in your life?

All text © 2013 From the Ashes| All Images © 2013  From the Ashes