No Matter the Cost

As a college student, I tend to think alot about cost. You know? How much a tank of gas will cost. If eating the prison food in the caf is better than the cost of a decent meal. How much watching Teen Wolf instead of studying will cost my Financial Management grade. You get it. Everything costs something. There’s no free lunch. Even the “free gift” of salvation is not free. Jesus paid a cost, and instructed us to count the cost of following Him.

Recently, God has continuously put this whole concept of “cost” in my path. What will it cost for me to fully follow Him in order to bring Him glory? This leads straight into fear. The fear of what it will cost. Rejection? Failure? Pain? Ridicule? The list goes on and on.

God has given me a passion that I pray He will continue to cultivate into a holy obsession, an intoxication with His presence. I know that there is much, much more to His presence, to Him, than what we are currently content with. Look at Exodus 33: The people of Israel had the opportunity to meet with the Ancient of Days and they were content to stay outside. Moses ran in. The Living God met with Moses, spoke with him “as one speaks to a friend,” while the people were staying outside “worshipping.” If worship does not lead you into the presence of God, then why are you doing it? For the feel goods and glory chills? Worship should lead you into intimacy with the Father through Jesus with the power of the Holy Spirit.

Okay, back to the point of this. God has given me specific ways to follow Him. He has given me songs that need to be finished and recorded. He shows me steps along the way that I need to take. He has given me hopes and dreams for the future. All of which is scary. All of which will come at a cost. But the cost of not following Him is much greater. I think that’s where we get things all screwed up. We tend to look at the cost of following Jesus, but forget about the cost of not following Him. And really, if we gain Him, what have we lost?

Here’s the reality: we’re going to be rejected and feel pain at some point. We’re going to make mistakes and fail. People are going to make fun of us. The one person whose musical opinion means the most to you might tell you that the song you poured your heart, soul and spirit into isn’t good enough. You might try to hit a high note and it might sound like a dying cow in a hail storm. You might get so nervous that you don’t even know what you’re saying when you’re trying to share something God put on your heart. But if He gave you those things to do, trust Him. His glory is our aim. His grace is our victory. His love is our strength. He is our reward.

No longer will I be content with standing outside while someone else goes in to meet with my God. The cost of not going in is far too great. The cost of following Him is nothing compared to the reward.

No matter the cost, we will trust/ and we will follow You./ Do what it takes to receive/ the glory that You’re due.

Someone.

This morning as I was making my 7:45am trek across campus to the class from Satan himself, I decided to throw myself a little pity party. I’m the kind of person who cares deeply and will do almost anything for the people I love, and as I was slipping down the wet grass on a hill that maintenance conveniently forgets to cut, I convinced myself that no one cared about me in return. It gets even worse: I started imagining how much better my life would be if I had one person who actually cared about me the way I care about everyone else.

Thankfully, I have a God who likes to stop me in my self-righteousness and bring me back down to humility. He loving set my mind on Him. Not only do I have someone who cares about me the way I care about everyone else, but I have Someone who cares about me in ways I could never care for someone else. I have Someone who calls me beloved. Someone who values me so much that He came down and defeated death to rescue me in my hopelessness. Someone who, is not only sufficient, but is abundantly more than I could ever wish for. Someone who satisfies every facet of my heart and soul in more ways than any man could ever hope to. Someone whose companionship is fulfilling, constant, and never burdensome. Someone who unconditionally wants my hurts and joy, needs and desires, failures and successes. Someone who lavishes love, peace, hope, and freedom on me without considering the wrongs I’ve done against Him. Someone who perfectly displays the true meaning of a love that is not self-seeking. Someone who has blessed me with good friends and a loving family, who let me down sometimes, allowing me to see all the blessings that come with being a friend and child of the King.

I am not alone, I have people who care for and love me so much more than I show my love for them. But the thing is, even if I didn’t, I still could walk back up that wet hill with the annoyingly tall grass with joy and confidence in a Friend who stays closer than a brother, and a Lover who satisfies my soul to no end.

Freedom From Religion

I don’t think it will come as a surprise to many of you that I really haven’t enjoyed my college experience. This is due mainly to the fact that I hate where I am. My heart is freedom. I love freedom, I hate being controlled, constricted, tied-down, or told what to do, think, or believe. God has allowed me to experience so much freedom in my life, especially in areas like worship, that any time I experience any type of oppression, I immediately reject it and want to get away.

2 Corinithians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” I’m at a school where “Christ Makes the Difference” so why is it so hard to experience freedom here, a place where the Lord makes the difference? Shouldn’t there be freedom in a place where the presence of a Holy God makes the difference?

But there isn’t. The Spirit of the Lord dwells in me, so there is freedom in me, but I have experienced more oppression at this place than possibly anywhere else. I whole-heartedly believe that is due to the spirit of religion. (If you have problems with the concept of the spirit of religion, then I would strongly encourage you to stop reading this, and research and pray over it, because I’m going to go on the assumption that we’re on the same page.)

Ephesians 6:12 says, “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.”

The spirit of religion brings oppression, fear, legalism, false appearances, and a need to perform. The Spirit of the Lord brings freedom, power, grace, authenticity, and unconditional love. The spirit of religion has you focus on how much you’ve done for God. The Spirit of the Lord has you focus on how much He’s done for you. I hate the spirit of religion. I hate what it has done to me and my family. I hate what it is doing to this place, to my professors, my friends, my peers.

Today, we had the best chapel I’ve ever experienced here, in my opinion. The speaker did nothing spectacular whatsoever, which was a stark contrast from the shows we usually see put on. What he did bring, though, was an honest and transparent heart. He spoke right through the spirit of religion, shamed it out for what it did to his life, and declared the power of the Almighty God that we claim makes a difference here. Did I like the music he chose? Absolutely not. But he didn’t set out to cater to our musical preferences. He didn’t set out to make us think he was cool. He set out to do what God had for him to do. I believe God wants to bring freedom to this campus. I believe God wants to set us free from this stupid religious system that the enemy has convinced us into setting up to somehow please God.

We can play all the wonderful music we want, we can have the most charismatic speakers, we can hide all of our sin and shame and put on a perfect show for the whole world, but what good would that do? What the world needs are people who will stand up and say, “Yeah, I’m messed up, I struggle with lust, and I cuss way too much, and I can’t stand this Christian school I’m at, but I am loved by a faithful God who looks at me in the same way that He looks at His Son. He is loving me through all of my problems and has set me free in ways that I should not be free. I have the same power living in me that raised Christ from the grave, and I have found favor in Him. So, I don’t have to put on a good performance for you to show that He’s real and you need Him, I’ll leave that up to Him. All I have to do is show you what He has done and is constantly doing for and in me.” People who live their lives like that are the people that can get up in front of thousands of college students and close with singing “Bless the Broken Road” without caring what they’ll think about the song choice.

It’s not about the songs, it’s about the Spirit. And if you don’t get that, then I’m sorry, I love you, but you probably have a religious spirit. Good news is, the Spirit of the Lord wants to set you free from that.

Oh yeah, and by the way, I got more chills during that song than I have during any other worship set here.

I Will Wait For You

To be completely honest, the past two months have been rough for me. It’s really hard when you pour your life into something that means so much to you and your family, then end up completely disappointed. God has not provided in ways that I expected, and while I know who He is and how good and faithful He is, sometimes I lose sight of that and fail to trust Him. I’ve allowed the enemy to use circumstances in my life and the lives of those around me to doubt the Lord’s sovereignty, and I’ve become weary and felt like “waiting” on whatever God has for me isn’t worth it. I know that taking things into my own hands will only lead to more disappointment, but I’ve failed to walk in that knowledge. This week, God gently reminded me of this video that He’s used time and time again to give me some perspective on my life and to remind me to wait on Him.

His Faithfulness Endures

As many of you know, I’m trying to get out of school as quickly as possible. I’m one of those people who does well in school, but pretty much hates it. That being said, this has been a particularly hard semester for me.

A couple of weeks into the semester, I was driving back to school, and it had been storming pretty badly. I stopped at Starbucks to meet my friend, Kayla, and we spent hours talking about God and life and struggles, and I was driving back feeling encouraged and ready for the week. When I got about a mile from school, I lost control of my vehicle. I was going around a curve and I couldn’t get my foot off of the gas. Now you can blame that on whoever you want, but normally I’m a pretty good driver. I swerved off the road, then back on, then back off, ran completely over a tree and ended up in the middle of a field. The whole time saying “Jesus” over and over. Which is good, because there’s plenty of less holy words I could have used.

So I had my first wreck, and I was without a car at all for that first week (and without my car for about a month). Every one of my friends can attest to how hard that was for me. I drive everywhere, because I like driving and I like being in control. That week I had no control over my life whatsoever. My roommate, Ivie, was having a hard time and thinking about leaving school. I had some friend drama that I won’t even get into. And I had the worst test experience of my college career thus far.

That Thursday I went in to take my first marketing exam not as prepared as I should have been. Normally I study like 30 minutes for a test and I’ll remember everything. I thought I could do that for this test. When I got in there, a guy on my marketing team told me he heard some people dropped this major because these tests were so hard. Enter anxiety. I got my test and did not know one single thing on it, so naturally, I broke out in hives as I continued to look at questions and know I’m failing the test. I got halfway through and decided to skip to the extra credit. There was no extra credit. Turns out I had the wrong test, and I didn’t do much better on the right test. After all that had happened that week, my mind wasn’t in the right place, and I got a 77. Now listen, I’m trying to graduate with a 3.9 so I can get that fancy title thing, and a 77 isn’t gonna work for me. Of course, my professor didn’t offer any way to pull that up besides doing better on the other exams.

So that’s what I did. With God’s grace, I studied for hours on the next three exams, which is next to impossible for me. Before two of the tests, my professor called on me to pray, so I prayed for peace and grace. God delivered both, I got a 107 (highest in the class), 97, and 109 (highest in the class) on the next 3 tests, enough to pull up my 77 to an A. How good is God? That’s not it, though. As I mentioned earlier, we have teams in this class. The first weeks into the class, my team was in last place,  but by the end we got enough points on our tests, review games, projects, etc. to not only win, but beat all the other teams by over 75 points! The reward? We don’t have to take the final, don’t have to come to the last classes, and we all get guaranteed A’s in the class. How GOOD is God?

Now, you might say that’s because of hard work and dedication, but it’s not. It’s grace. First of all, I should not have been able to do that well anyways, but I wouldn’t have been able to actually study and do well without God’s grace. I would not have been placed on that team without God’s provision. I do not believe in coincidences, only divine appointments. I know what good there is in me, there’s none, and I’m surprised every time I do well, because I shouldn’t be able to, wouldn’t be able to without God’s grace.

This is something seemingly small, but it shows God’s faithfulness and goodness to me in an incredible way. Without that stressful week and 77, I wouldn’t have seen that God is working in my life in even the small things. My grades will not really amount to anything in the long-run, but it’s something that means a great deal to me. You think God doesn’t know that? There is plenty that is unsure in my future and my family’s future; there have been plenty of hard times for us. But this was a reminder today that God has been faithful, and He will be faithful. When you look for it, you see His faithfulness in ways you never would have expected.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts, and I am helped;
my heart exults,
and with my song I give thanks to him.”
Psalm 28:7

“In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah”
Psalm 44:8

 

Eight more days.

So this upcoming election (my dad is running for Chester County Sheriff) has pretty much consumed my life for the past few months, and that combined with school has kept me pretty busy and is really all I have been up too. 

Last Wednesday a letter I wrote to the editor about my dad was published in The News & Reporter.
If you didn’t get a chance to read it and you’re an online subscriber you can read it here.
If you didn’t get a chance to read it and you’re not, I’m going to just post it here:

To the Editor:

I would like to tell the citizens of Chester County why I am voting for Robert Cauthen for our next sheriff. I am his daughter, which gives me a bias, but if you want to know who Robert Cauthen is, you should listen to me. I live in his house, obey his rules, and know his heart.

However, if being his daughter were the deciding factor for me, I might not vote for him. Why would I want my dad to be a cop and politician? Not only will I never get away with anything, it is demanding and stressful. If I were looking for an easy life, I would not vote for him. Another reason is not because I “like” him most, even though I do. I like Richard and Alex; they are fun to be around and always nice to me. But since when does charisma make a good leader? Sure, it makes someone popular, but it does not make someone right for the job.

I am voting for Robert Cauthen because of his heart. You cannot talk with him for ten minutes and not see his passion for law enforcement in Chester. God has placed a deep desire within his heart to improve law enforcement here. He brings that passion to our family. I cannot tell you how many times my dad has stopped to help someone, whether it was changing their tire, giving them a ride, or buying their lunch. He loves people; He loves to serve people. He is not running for sheriff to gain power or money; he is running because he wants to see Chester County change, and wants to do that by serving people in the field he is most passionate about. I believe when you look at his knowledge, training, credentials and experience alone, he stands out from the others. When you mix that with his servant heart and passion for Chester, I honestly cannot see how you could choose to vote for anyone else.  My dad is an honest man; you will not get him to waiver from what he believes, and he is true to his word. If you elect this man as your next sheriff, I can guarantee that he will serve you and make law enforcement better in Chester County.  He will not accept the mentality of just getting by. There are always ways to improve and he is always looking for those ways. Law enforcement exists to serve and protect the people. This is my dad’s heart. What God has placed in him is what this county needs as a sheriff.

I think everyone can see that Chester County needs to change. The way I see it, I have done enough complaining about Chester. It is time for me to act. I do not have the position to do much, but one thing I can do is vote for the person who truly will make a change for the better in this county. Will you join me in voting, not based on popularity, but based on who has a heart for making this county the best it can be? If you vote based on that, Robert Cauthen will be your next sheriff.

Thank you for your time,

Briana Horne
Fort Lawn

Hopefully if you haven’t already made up your mind, this will help. Please share with your friends and family! We only have a week of campaigning left and I would greatly appreciate it!

I guess it’s about that time.

I know you all are just dying to know what has been going on in my life in the past three months (hah) unless you follow me on twitter, then you’re probably tired of me. 

Well to start from where I left off on my last post, that job interview got cancelled.

However, I started volunteering at church as an intern, and that alone has proved to be one of the best things that has happened to me thus far in life. I’ve stressed out, I’ve pretended like I knew how to do things I didn’t, I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve changed, I’m honestly a different Briana. I won’t give you boring details, but let me just say that everyone who laughed at me for interning with Steve (my pastor) didn’t know what they were laughing at, because this has been so good for me.

In the midst of that, the other job interview actually came, and I got the job! I haven’t worked as much as I would have liked, but I have gotten so much experience in! I should have a few more events to plan before I go back to college, too. I’m so grateful God opened this door for me.

I also got the opportunity to direct my first wedding. (yay Rachel Cotten Adams!) I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, I’m sure I wasn’t even that much help, but I had a blast! She was gorgeous, it was a beautiful wedding. I love weddings, I want to do weddings! 

AND on top of that, I’ve gotten so many opportunities to participate in leading worship over the summer. It’s truly been a blessing. 

God has provided amazing opportunities that have been tailored perfectly for me. There is no denying His hand in it. As if that alone wasn’t great, He has also showed me more of Him, taught me more of who I am in Him, and He continues to present opportunities to grow and practice what He’s given me. 

So, time-wise, this is what has been keeping me busy. I might post more later on just how I’ve changed over the summer, but I want to allow time for God to do much more before doing so. 

Now, I’m going to go mature, adult things like watch Scooby-Doo. I’m such a child.

Summer Plans

God is so incredible in the way that He continues to pour out provisions on my life.

Since my summer break starts in less than a month, I’ve been praying and thinking about what to do with my time away from school. I really want to get some valuable experience that will help my career, and I want to make some money.

Andddddd…

I have a job interview!!

Tomorrow at 11!!

It’s to be an event coordinator at a preschool. They need someone to plan parties and field trips and special events like that! This is such a great opportunity, it’d look great on my resume, and I’d have spending money for the summer. I really, really, really hope this works out!

I also need lots of prayers, because this is the first job I’ve had to interview for and I’m a little nervous. So pray that I won’t be nervous or awkward tomorrow and that, if this is what God has for me, it’d all work out smoothly.

God is so, so good.

So, I blog now.

And here’s where God has been taking my life:

19 years, 315 days ago, I walked out of my mother’s womb looking for my future husband. Okay, maybe I wasn’t quite looking for him then, but from the time I’ve had functional girly hormones, I’ve been set on looking for him. It’s just honestly by the grace of God that I’ve not only had the desire to wait for him, but I’ve also had minimal distractions in the form of boys. In general, boys don’t like me, never have. I used to get so frustrated and upset at this, but I now see it as an abundantly grace-filled blessing from my Father. All of my life He’s been preparing me for my future husband, having me wait, having me hope, having me know that there is so much more out there than frivolous relationships and giving pieces of my heart away to different guys. So this is the part of my monologue where I tell you that I’ve found my future husband, right? Wrong. This is the part where I point out that for as long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with marriage. I love it. I love the stories. I love the love.

My senior year of high school I discovered Nora Roberts’ Bridal Quartet Series. Which, I must admit, I haven’t finished reading the last book. That’s not the point. The point is, I realized for the first time that marriage, or weddings rather, was actually an industry. I stored this fun fact in my head, began planning my wedding, and went off to college. I majored in Music, then in Christian Studies, then in Education, but none of these fit. Recently, I was sitting at my computer looking at wedding blogs for the 5th (ish) hour straight, and I realized that’s what I want to do with my life. I want to have everything to do with weddings and love and marriage. I think it’s the most beautiful picture of Christ’s love for the church, and I want to be completely surrounded by it. This scared me so much though, it’s the most unreliable out of all the career choices I’ve considered. Next to Jesus, though, it’s the thing I’m most passionate about. So, I spent time praying over it and thinking about it, and considering whether I needed to dropout, transfer, change majors, or what.

God put a lot of things in my life to guide me toward this and I still don’t know if it’s where He’s gonna put me permanently, but I’m fully confident that it is where He wants me right now.

Last week, I was really struggling with whether or not I could use this as a ministry, and I was sitting in Spanish class and this girl started talking in the middle of class about how God was calling her to start her own business as a wedding photographer, because there weren’t that many Christians in the wedding business and she wanted to serve in that area. I almost fell out of my seat; I’m so grateful for that confirmation.

And this is where God has led me: to stay right here at North Greenville and change my major to Interdisciplinary Studies: Marketing and Business, which is now official. I register for classes tomorrow and I couldn’t be happier right now.

And as further confirmation, tonight, at Resonate, Chris said “You might know that you are called to be a wedding planner…” and then later said “Some of you are saying ‘That’s good, because I’ve changed my major three times’…”

Now you might think that’s coincidence, but I just find that it’s God. He’s wonderful, and He does cool things like that when you look for it.

So yeah, my future is completely placed in God’s hands in all literal ways possible. Without Him, there’s absolutely no way I can do this, but He already has it planned out, and I’m so ready to see how He provides.