12.31.2013

Time for Adventure

Leaving your family is once thing that brings up mixed emotions. First comes relief from being out of a small house with a lotta people in it, but then a twinge of sadness because you know it will be a long time before you see them again.

As you get older, you begin to really know these people and appreciate the colors they are, how each displays a different facet of the family, but all together they represent the whole family. As I'm beginning to see this, I realize God's showing me how much he loves His people, how much He loves me, and how much I love these people.

My [many and very large] families have taught me a lot about adventure this year. Even those family members--the "daredevils" or whatnot. Despite the stupidity of their choices and the mistakes of others there's (even if they make some great stories) something to be said for their lifestyle. Life is an adventure, and life is meant to be lived. Now I feel like this is more than "Let's go bungee jumping off Mount Rushmore"--it's like everyday is an adventure. With everything I've been learning I'm being taught is prepared for this coming spring will be exciting and intense and adventurous. It's a daily thing sometimes...looking for the adventure that's already there in front of you. Especially when you're traveling with God--what's not an adventure then?

 
 
 
 

12.30.2013

Changed My LIfe

All these songs about how when you met someone and they changed your life...I feel that they're all true sometimes because when you meet Jesus, and really get to know Him, your life looks different.

Everything I had (I being the key word) planned about my future or could see for myself is starting to look a lot different. More gray and fuzzy around the edges, like a baby bird's down feathers. Only hints and shadows of what's to come.

I've never been this content--no, happy--not knowing details or outlines of my future.

 
"Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom for the future."
Proverbs 19:20

12.28.2013

Everyday Strength

It's an everyday strength that I ask for...that I need....sometimes it's just being able to wake up in the mornings and go on with my day even when my past may haunt me and I'm bearing the effects of it in my every day life. Come on though, I know I'm not the only one who does this. Most mornings are normal, but there are just days when it's hard to get up. It's then that I ask for a different kind of strength, one used to face who I am, what I've done, and remember the grace that I've been given. I have to have an outside power that allows me to still hold my head up when to me the days look like a smudged shade of gray. An every-day kind of strength is my prayer, a prayer I need.

 
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak."
Isaiah 40:29
 
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song.  The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one."
Psalm 28:7-8



12.25.2013

'Tis the Season, 'Tis the Day

 
This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!
 
Indeed the Lord has made this day. It's the day when we remember that if Jesus's birth, death and resurrection...everything He's done for us. He just loves so much...I can't even begin to thank Him for  everything that I have while I'm here on this earth.
 
I can't thank Him enough for holding me together.
 
 


12.24.2013

Pain to Praise

When you're at that point, the one where everything is falling apart, everything you knew now looks like a lie.

We've all been there.

That's when you look up, above the waves, above the things of this world, past yourself and into the light of someone elses glory. God's amazing character, His steadfast personality and overwhelming love. It seems to be highlighted against the backdrop of our own sufferings.

This breaking point is exactly the time to praise. I know, so maybe it sounds crazy. Sing when you are trying to hold yourself together? I'm kinda busy, you say. You're missing the point, He replies, it's the time in the middle of the chaos in which you look up, breathe and let go.

To start it begins with just a thought, then a word or two, a sentence, next a chorus, then it transforms to a song--something that's just being pulled up from your throat, a sound of your heart. It's the sound of you breaking, your humanness and the goodness of God all tangled up inside of you. The colors of a fragmented prism are the shades of emotions you feel, but the bright glory your heart sings about overshadows everything else.

This is praise. All of you being offered, all of you thankful, rejoicing. The more you do it, the more you want to. Doing this is essential to your every day life, perspective and walk of faith. You have a million reasons to sing. Don't be caught silent.

12.23.2013

No More Plastic Wrap

It has come to my attention that we are all covered in plastic wrap. In fact, we tend to wrap ourselves with it without knowing.

Plastic wrap is the stuff that you cover yourself with that lets people see who you are, but distorts what they see, all the while keeping people away from you--from getting in.

I feel like we sometimes do this subconsciously...it all stems from trying to please people. People, not God. When we do this, I feel like we all become like Peter when he took his eyes away from Jesus and instead rested them on the crashing, rolling waves. Since when have people become more important than God? If someone asked you that question, I'm sure that you'd say "No! Of course they aren't!" But it's not so cut and dry when you look at your life, now is it? Changing parts of you--outer and inner--exaggerating, stepping around the whole truth, flat out lying, ulterior motives, breaking your back for approval, building walls, taking the walls down prematurely, putting people on pedestals...

But this isn't how we are supposed to live. Who wants to live with those expectations of yourself for others anyway? It's no life! No life at all.
There's no freedom, no room to breathe.

No room to be yourself.

God did not create you to be somebody else! He takes what's there and transforms it. His unchanging grace and firm hand is more than enough to melt any solid heart, change any mindset, heal any hurt...He's so much bigger than people, so much bigger than you or who you think you are.

12.22.2013

All These Expectations

So you go away for awhile, and undergo all this change in such a short period of time, then you come back.

The problem: you don't fit where you used to.
The habitual old routine, the same role, the regular people, the normal activities...it just doesn't work. Your perspective is different, you are different. To come back and be swept away in all of what was normal...you have close your eyes and remember who you are now--who you've become.
I guess I never realized how simple it would be just to slip back into how things were....how tempting...because it's safe, you know it and what to expect, you can do it....
I do know if I allowed myself to do that wouldn't feel the same--things may be the same...you aren't the same.

Anymore, I'm not exactly sure of what I'm getting myself into...or what I'm doing with myself. Maybe that's a good thing...I have to allow God to use me, all of me.

I want to be one of those people who is unapologetically themselves.  I want to be confident in myself, me and my decisions. I want to be confident that God's grace covers all my weaknesses and my mistakes, my failures and my short comings. All those conversations that didn't go that well, those times when I realize that I should have done something different....I have to believe that God is bigger than any trouble I can cause...He has to help my unbelief.
 
"Immediately the father of the child cried out, I believe! Help my unbelief!"
Mark 9:24

12.21.2013

The Question to Ask

What does God want from me?

This is the question I asked myself while waiting at a stoplight the other day.
Hold on.
Wait just a minute.
That's not the right question to ask.

Don't I know that God wants all of me?

He did not sacrifice His only son just to have me ask such a question. Or give Him only certain parts of my life. I can not give Him just the money and school parts of our lives, but keep the dating, marriage and sports parts for ourselves and our control.

You see, I'm called to be all His. He made me, I am His child. His precious, precious child. Now I have to live like it.

"See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are."
1 John 3:1

"Again Jesus spoke to them saying, "I am the light f the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.'"
John 8:12

"I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord."
Philippians 3:8

12.20.2013

19 Years

Nineteen years isn't that long, but it's long enough to realize that I can't do anything on my own. Where would I be without the one who saved me? Where would I be without His love? I look back on all the sticky situations I've been in and He's been there--and God's been taking care of me the whole time. I've never seen anyone so BIG handle me with so much care and deliberateness. He works for the good of those who love Him, those called according to HIS purpose. With all that I am immeasurably blessed with, I can't even begin to say how much more important He is to me than anything else.


The Grace I'm Given

In this day and age, there are so many conflicting messages we are on the receiving end of. You are too much but not enough, be yourself--but not that version, you have to look this way but if you do this to get there, then you have problems. Statements like these cause some of the tear and wear that we experience through our daily lives, but believing them is when the real destruction comes.
 
It's times like these that you begin to understand the importance of really, truly, being yourself--the person God created you to be. You see, a lot of the time we don't understand how specific our purpose is, how we are one piece of a body working together for the Lord.
 
The more I begin to understand my faith, the more I begin to see how EPIC salvation really is and how much we really need the overflowing grace He gives. Looking back now, I had no idea what was in store for me when I said yes to Jesus. No idea. I mean, it just blows me away! My life seems to be a personification of transformation, if you know what I mean. Never before have seen someone so BIG work so gently on me. The care He takes as He breaks me, breaks me for Him...oh how much love! How much care! How much of Him.
 
 
"By the grace of God, I am what I am, his grace towards me has not been in vain."
1 Corinthians 15:10
 
 
If there was no such thing as grace, there would be no such thing as
ME.
 
 
 
 

12.19.2013

My Grace is Sufficient #1

"...but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in your weakness.' So I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak I am strong." 
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
 
This is one of my favorite verses, so much so in fact I painted it on my wall. The thing is though, it's been popping up everywhere it seems like....even overseas. Since this verse gets around, I decided to investigate its meaning when personally applied to peoples lives.
 
Don't read the rest of this if you don't have time to sit down, read, think and reflect. It'll actually be a series of posts because I have been asking so many people for responses. Take some time out of your day to really read them and examine your heart about this issue. After reading them, I hope you can identify with some of the responses and can draw up an answer of your own. Let me know what you think if you want, or have an answer too.


"Your weaknesses and hardships make you stronger, which gives you a greater insight of God's love and why you need him your life. I have realized this based on personal experience because at times I have felt so alone because of my flaws, but then I realized God was all I needed, and the rest is sure to come."
Katie


"It means that we can rejoice when we are weak! It frees me from complaining about my weaknesses and my problems and gives me something to rejoice about. We can rejoice because we know Jesus is using our weaknesses to draw us closer to Him, and that is definitely cause for rejoicing! So every day when I am walking through life and somebody says something rude to me, or I'm having difficulty with school, or I get sick, I know that through those trials and problems, Jesus is drawing me closer to Himself. He turns my complaints into songs of joy!"
Hannah



"He uses our weakness that we might not boast in ourselves. If it were out strength, then glory would be credited to the person. But it's our weakness, so the credit goes to God. Take Moses for instance--he stuttered and he himself claimed that as his weakness. He argued with God, saying there was no way the people would follow him because of that. But people did follow--obviously it wasn't due to Moses' great speaking abilities, so Moses cannot boast in his ability to gain a large following. This has been a rock for me with my hearing impairment/vision loss--God has used those very weaknesses to bring him glory and he is the only explanation for the things I've been able to do."
Jeff


"I've had a lot of times where I've been weak in these past few months. Or perhaps I was always weak, but I just didn't see it. God is stripping me of my pride and all the masks that I wore (though I still have a lot of pride that needs more of me dying to myself) and making me nothing. I guess that we can only be something once we've been made weak and almost nothing at all. It's terrible but it takes hardships and sufferings to lead me fully to the God of the universe. And even then I don't follow Him fully. Sufferings and hardships make my sinful flesh scream in pain and in terror. But my heart runs to Jesus and in Him, even during those times of suffering, I find that His grace IS sufficient  and that He IS enough. In fact He's more than enough. My flesh might be rejecting the hardships but my soul welcomes them. Because even in insults, in my weakness, in calamities and in times where everything is spinning out of control I can find that He is more than I could ever want or imagine." 
Kendra


"It means to me that I don't have to be perfect. I don't have to strive for my standards or anyone else's. Just God's. He even goes further than that--He transforms my weaknesses into good things for Him through His grace. I am getting more and more to the point to where I can say 'Thank you Lord, for I am weak and can't do this alone. you know and hold my purpose, you are the one who makes me beautiful despite my flaws.'"
Rachel



12.18.2013

Idleness

Idleness. This is what I was thinking about while reading Proverbs 6. It may not have been exactly what it was talking about, at all really, but I just couldn't get the thought out of my head. Since it's break, my days of sleeping in and doing nothing are over. I've got to get up and get stuff done. A lot of this is prepping me for the next phase of my life--teaching. I don't know where it come from, but these last few months I've been learning so much, I just have a burden for teaching it now--one step further than just telling people about it. Normally I would say that this is weird, but because my life looks so different now, it kinda fits in with the rest of it. Everything looks different now--being home and suddenly being taken out of an environment you just got used to. Back at school so much was going on it was an easier to be in a mindset of trusting God on a daily basis, and now I'm still busy but my routine is basically nonexistent. The whole thing  really is so confusing.  So I guess my blog posts may be changing, just like me, just like they always have been....just like me.

12.16.2013

What I Want

Steadfast--something unwavering, dutifully firm.

What I want now is a steadfast heart. Something that clings to His light and walks towards my Lord and embraces my God-designed purpose. My prayer now is Psalms 51:10: "Create in me a clean heart O God, and put a new and steadfast spirit within me," and my reason, Psalms 63:3: "Because your steadfast love is better than life".

Look at Psalms 136. Read it all. You see the format? Well, take out a piece of paper and number it one to ten.  On the odds, write down those looming uncertainties. Something about you, or about your life--just whatever you're going through right now. Or maybe a piece of your past that's scary to recall. I know one of mine is that I worry I don't listen enough. On all the even number lines, write "for His steadfast love endures forever". Reread this list until it becomes real to you. Until you get it through your head that His love overshadows ever problem and prayer on your list and how much He loves you.

Now, I know some of you don't have  piece of paper in your hand right now because you are too much like me--read what they want you to write and then say to yourself "Well I don't have to do it because I understand the concept." No. That doesn't fly. GO get some paper. Even I got some paper. And a pen. Don't forget a pen.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIdvtRcPGBg
How He Loves
David Crowder


12.15.2013

Never Once

Never once did we ever walk alone, never once did he leave us on our own.

I think we forget this way too often. We get so immediately consumed and swallowed by our troubles it becomes hard to keep our eyes above the crashing waves.

Throughout this semester, through all the transition, all the roommates, all the change and the hurt and the regression, the fear, the tears and pain, the having nothing, the uncertainty, and the crushed hopes.....

The thing is, God was there with me. He was there even before move-in day (1 Corinthians 10:13, Psalms 18:6, 2 Corinthians 7:24) and He was already standing by my side as the next few days would change my life completely....never once would He ever let us walk on our own (I mean, we all know how that turns out, right?). He was steadfast and faithful, standing next to me, holding my hand while I began to look to Him during a time filled with tall shadows.

Away from everything I had once again, I began to see what it was like to really need. To need something that this world couldn't give me. Something bigger, a daily issue of the soul and heart.

The results of finding (how sweet a word!) after seeking so desperately? Uncontainable joy, and this peace that is an undercurrent in all things. It's something that causes you to keep your head up when your heart feels lost.

With these tangible realizations, I began to see how much it is a choice to surrender, and how much faith it takes. But when you give God yourself, oh the victory He makes of it (2 Corinthians 2:14)! The victory that He gives us is His power in us (2 Cor. 12:9-10). Sure the cost is high, it may even cost you irreplaceable things that have so much value to you. But you see, God is not a God of replacing, He is a God of completely transforming. He uses you as you are.

Everyone is talking and recapping about tests, friends, the end of semester and break and such but how many people can say that they fell completely in love with God this semester? I mean, head over heals (Psalms 63:1). Overall, God has changed my heart and renewed my soul so that I am a burning fire just for Him (Psalms 18:1, 34: 4-6, 51:10-12, 63:3, 73:25-26, 105:31-32). This rekindled love for Him is my favorite part about waking up in the mornings, and now Psalms 73:25-26 is my praise and prayer. I realize now I'm not (and never was) my own, I belong to Him alone (1 Corinthians 6:19). The thing is, I finally know what it is to hate everything else compared to how much you love your Lord (Luke 14:26).


My only hope is that my desire and love for my Lord is multiplied TEN TIMES every year, every semester, every month and every day after that.


My Friend Lauren



 

 
 
Lauren and I have been best friends since fifth grade. That long. We've been through the awkward stages of life, joys and loud laughs, multiple moves, changing people and families, times of complete despair, hoping and praying, a few moments of fear, and ultimately a growing faith. I cannot even begin to articulate how much Lauren means to me, she's probably one of the few people that know me best, the one person who I feel really understands the depths of me when I don't even feel like I know myself. I even feel like I know her better than she does sometimes.

We've had good time and bad times and we are so close, awkward moments only happen occasionally. That's pretty close. It's been amazing to see how our friendship has survived moving multiple hours away multiple times, families changing and now going to different schools but existing in the same town and still just being able to pick up where we left off. That is a work of God.

 Her growing faith is the prettiest thing about her, along with her laugh. I am so thankful that she's there for me and cares for so many things that she does. I love her, I love her family and I love our friendship.

Thank you Lauren.






12.11.2013

Anything Else

Looking at what my life has become, and with winter break coming up, I realize that I don't want to miss anything else. Or what I really mean is that I don't want to miss parts of people's lives. I can't afford to miss that--life is too short, wayyyy too short. I know I'm going to miss the people, the community, how easy it is to go over and see someone and how when you say "living life together" actually means seeing them in the bathroom several times a day.

But breaks come for a reason, for you to rest and restore. The thought of break comes a bit of fear, but so much more excitement and zeal for life and the Lord. With all the new things that I've learned and experienced, I get to put them into practice. And continue praying with a right and steadfast heart. Now's the time to learn how to live with and love people, your community and most of all, Christ.


As much as I hate to say it, it's actually a good thing I won't have so much access to coffee too.
 
 

12.10.2013

Satisfy

Satisfy. That's what I'm learning that He does and all I ever need is His love.

Your love is all I need to live

Satisfy me, Lord, oh
Satisfy me, Lord, oh
Yeah I'm begging You to help me see
You're all I want, You're what I need
Oh satisfy me, Lord


Satisfy
Tenth Avenue North


It may seem like some of my blog posts are slightly bipolar, which they kind of are. I think I've said mentioned that before. But anyway, I've been doing some thinking and working through things and I just am realizing that God is changing my priorities. I never realized that they could be so specific to each person, or that I ever had them in the wrong order. Or how much He would change them. I'm also starting to see how your priorities are lined up has a lot to do with your purpose in life, your you and your future.

He's also reminded me that He's bigger than my circumstances. I know we say this a lot, but it's true. He's consistent when we ourselves along with our world are not. I mean, He's got such a bigger picture and plan in mind......it doesn't matter what we go through........He gave His son for us, nothing we can do really even compares. He satisfies.





12.09.2013

Strength

I don't have any more strength.


                                                       And that's exactly where He wants me.


All these trials, all these events....maybe that's exactly why I'm going through them, and so many others...to be exactly where He wants me to be. It's moments like these, in the midst of understanding--again--how many times I just don't work. I'm reminded that I can look at my Savior's face and feel like the most beautiful person in the world just because He's in me!

Sometimes it's so hard though, to draw up that courage, that strength to even get through your day. Especially when it's long, oh so long...and you are faced with the same problem over and over and over and you ask God "What are you doing?" and you don't know. You don't know. At all. And it's been happening a lot. Why? What for? What am I missing? I just want what He wants for me....I guess it's just getting there. But I'm so tired. My heart feels sick sometimes from it all. I want to just be able so lean back in His embrace and just release the tension and anger and bad attitude that shake me so much. The thing is, I know in my heart and my head that He's doing something amazing. When you surrender our life and let Him be your king, this is part of what's coming. It's not easy, just worth it. I can not wait until I am already on the other side of this trial to find the joy on His face, to be so far gone, to be lost in Him.


"For this slight and momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory that is beyond measure."
2 Corinthians 4:17

12.08.2013

Reminder

One of my favorite things is when God does something that reminds you the He’s bigger than ANYTHING. In the midst of all the sadness, there’s always something moving, something going on…you just have to pray and watch. Pray, watch, wait, believe and expect.

12.06.2013

Identiy Crisis

I want God to show me what it looks like to have my identity in Him.


I want to see what it looks like. I see it in certain people, but it looks different for everyone. Even more than seeing, I want to be like what it is to have my identity in Him.

I feel like I'm re-learning everything, things like this. I didn't know what having all of who you are could look like until I was/am in a situation where I have nothing left that is truly me.

The thing is, not knowing my identity isn't a crisis. It's really not. It's an opportunity for God to work in me and recreate me to be who He's made me to be so I can full fill His purpose.


"There is nothing on earth I desire other than you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."
Psalms 73:25-26


But I want to love You more
I need You God
But I want to need You more

I'm lost without
Your creative spark in me
I'm dead inside
Unless Your resurrection sings

I'm desperate for a desperate heart
I'm reaching out, I'm reaching

All that I am is dry bones
Without You Lord, a desert soul
I am broken but running
Towards You God, You make me whole

You are exactly what we need
Only You can satisfy


12.04.2013

Everything

It's kinda funny to see how every thing comes together some days. How way back in the beginning of the day you ask for something--you pray, you realize, you think. By the time the night falls all the things you've forgotten throughout the day you get to see come to life. Prayers answered. Life lived. And so many blessings bestowed, you can't help but praise the King. Sometimes things just circle around, and it's so neat to see how God has His hand in so many things, everything. His glory is boundless.

"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds, your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your judgments are like the great deep; you save humans and animals alike."
Psalms 36:5-6

"In you O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me. Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress, to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress."
Psalm 71:1-3


12.03.2013

All of Me, All of Him

Sometimes I just get SO mad. Why? Because there is too much of myself in me. Too much. All the time. All over the place.

Where's God? Why can't I seem to scoot over and let Him reign?

I. Just. Can't. Do it sometimes. It's a control issue. And it drives. Me. Nuts.

Here's all this progress, here's all this struggle, then for what? Me to get distracted and worry about everyone else, and how they view me? Is my transformation so easily destroyed? I thought it was supposed to stay!

And it doesn't even matter about the progress sometimes--just that I cling to God. I just get in my way all of the time! How am I supposed to go about ridding me of myself, my sinful flesh? It tears and bites and comes back toward me every time I push it away. The more I realize my need for God, the more I see the destruction my flesh causes, how it's not good for me or other people, much less pleasing and glorifying to God. It's almost like the way I see things now is in high contrast mode. The only reason I appear a cleansing white is because I have the Spirit in me. The more I begin to see the bigger picture, the more it seems to all come back to salvation.

"I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead."
Philippians 3:10

"...for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and work for his good pleasure." Philippians 2:13

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves."
Philippians 2:3

"Christ...emptied himself, taking the form of a slave...humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death--even death on a cross."
Philippians 2:6-8

12.02.2013

What NOT to do at Christmas

RACHEL'S LIST OF THINGS TO
NEVER EVER
DO DURRING THE HOLIDAY SEASON



1. GIVE PEOPLE SWEETS.
Truth: Nobody wants them. They really don't want them. Really. There are too many and people are trying to loose weight anyway. So forget it and get them an ornament, gift card or candle! Most people anymore just want some of your time, not any last minute gifts.

2. STRESS
NO ONE should hate you if you don't get them a gift. So stop worrying, relax and actually have fun at the Christmas parties you go to. Practice your time management BEFORE Christmas comes around. Please. It's just common sense. I really have to eat my words on this one.

3. FEEL OBLIGED TO GIVE SOMEONE A GIFT
No. If you really loved them, you'd get them a Christmas gift in July just because. The obliged feeling just creates stress for you, which the other person wouldn't want you to go through. And guys, it's just a gift, not the only thing your friendship depends on.

4. LEAVE A THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION TO GO BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING
I'm not saying that all people who go Black Friday shopping are ungrateful, but it makes me wonder if you leave your family early. Then again, knowing some families....ah, never mind...

Some people will point out the "giving" in Thanksgiving, but giving a part of yourself, investing in others, and giving your time is more precious than ANYTHING ELSE you can give.
Too bad I posted this after Thanksgiving....

5. JUST SAY MERRY CHRISTMAS
It's No. Big. Deal. It is what it is. Christmas. Nobody can stop that just by not saying it.









Home for Now

It's really good to be back. I never considered the fact that God would give me another home. With as much moving as I've done, a house is a house and home is where you feel comfortable. I have many home-away-from-homes, and WKU is one of them. In the beginning, I never ever really thought that I would understand the college version of this concept. Another realization that is added onto the list of ways God takes care of me and uses bad circumstances for His glory.

And the thing about homes is that you may have different ones at different times--they move and change and develop almost as much as you do. Which is okay, it's fine. Especially when you know that it's all about God's timing.

11.29.2013

Only So Far Along

The more I begin to think I've made so much progress, the more things happen to show me that I'm not nearly as far along as I thought. I look back and see how far I've come, then look at my current life and see the amount of questions I still have....a slightly humbling experience.

But after the initial shock, I've learned to be thankful for it.

**I pause as I look over at the washing machine (of course all my great ideas happen in ordinary places) as it makes a sound that is like any other....scares me every time.....**

Anyway, I am thankful for every humbling experience because it reminds me how small I am compared to God, and how my ideas don't even compare. And of course, it humbles me, as much as it takes my pride and all these things that are "puffed up", throws them on the ground and stomps on them.

But I guess in the end, it matters that I'm making progress more towards who God designed me to be, even if it means looking back and reflecting a lot.



 

11.28.2013

Time

I’m worried it’s all going to be over before I know it. Ever have that feeling that something is slipping from your hands? Sure I have a few more years, which I am really excited about, but sometimes I just want things to stop. Then other times I want them to speed up. It just feels like things are slipping away faster than I can hold on.  

This is one of those times that I have to trust God's timing, because he sees the bigger picture. I do not. 

The thing is, He’s enough. All the time. I don’t have to be.



And again, I can't stop here. Ending it here would make a great blog post, but then there's the real honesty--I have to deal with that.

I still feel this blockage. This resistance that comes from me.

I want to be lost in Him, so far gone...so far gone that nothing else will ever do...

I have to take the next step. If I even claim to love Him as much as I do, calling Him "better than life", I have nothing else to do but take that step, as hard and as scary and as challenging as it may be. I remind myself that I will be safe as long as I'm in His will, I just have to get this through to my mind.

My Lord makes my life worth living,
why not tell others?

But then sometimes I look at my short comings and my non-talents and feel so inadequate. How can I go to speak up or draw up these conversations? I don't even deserve what I have--this grace--why am I called to this? If I am? I guess this is putting into play 2 Corinthians 12:9-10....living it. I really hope Christ can overcome and use my weaknesses, because I feel like He's working with a lot of broken pieces, and with someone who often feels like she's drowning in herself because that's so much of her left, instead of Christ.
 

Thankful Me

I am the most THANKFUL person in the WORLD.
 
I have the most AMAZING BRILLIANT BEAUTIFUL God. 
There are AMAZING, unique people in my life that LIGHT UP my days. 
 I have a safe place to sleep and stay and eat and live.
And so many other blessings, I could never write posts about them all.
 
Sometimes I wonder if I can be blessed anymore than I already am.
 
But most of all,
I am LOVED. 
There's nothing I can do to stop my God form loving me (Romans 8:38),
from always being there for me (Deuteronomy 31:6, Hebrews 13:5).
I have the amazing GRACE that I so don't deserve.

What else can I have?



11.26.2013

I Need You, I Have You

I wonder how I'm going to get through today. It's not so much that I'm lacking sleep (no more than usual...) but I still forget to rest. I pause and take time to spend with my God, which is my priority, but taking care of myself...sometimes I just caught up in all I'm doing and everything I can spontaneously do. But all of what you're doing catches up with you eventually. I woke up this morning and realized how much I wanted to go home. Maybe the coffee is adding to the emotional side of it, but seriously, I'm tired and worn and so blessed in the middle of it all. So, so blessed. These two days here before break have been such a blessing, and they remind me of what I have, and how much God still continues to take care of me.

I know some of you may think that I'm just describing the college life, which is some what true, but being able to manage all of this is a real life lesson that I'm living. Out of this lesson I also get to see me as having a heart of thanksgiving, one that realizes that just simply having these opportunities is amazing in itself.

Every hour we still need Him, and I'm okay with that. We face my days together.

 


 

 

11.25.2013

More

Our God is so much more than we can ever imagine. Than we ever think. And our circumstances? Nothing. Nothing. When you wake up every morning with so much of the grace that you don't deserve, what else can you say?

Yes times can be hard and they can hurt because they are so challenging, especially when you're already so worn. This just calls us to lean, to rely on Him all the more.

It's like rain. Grass depends on the rain for growth, and although it can be overwhelming at times, it's ultimately the cause of the grasses' growth. And after the rain, isn't the grass even healthier and look even brighter?



11.24.2013

DNOW

The first thing I think of when I wake up, and the last thing I think of as fall asleep.

 My Lord and my God.

 The one who constantly takes care of me, no matter where I am or what I’m doing.
I was reminded of this truth this past weekend. I had the opportunity to help lead a DNOW (discipleship now, like a church camp without the camps and activity after activity, it's more of a weekend of slowing down and learning) with another leader for a bunch of high school girls. Now, I didn't really anyone very well--or at all. I was scared at first at this challenge, but I  took a deep breath and had to consciously give myself to God--I had to trust all of this, all of me, to Him.
How richly He blessed us, our time, our weekend, our lives....He touched us all, straight in the heart. Challenging us, encouraging us, leading us....His spirit was there, it was present...

What else do we expect?

I feel like I have a tendency to seek out those people. The ones who are in the "first chair", or the people whose faith is active and alive and apparent. I also got to do this this weekend--one of my favorite things. Seeking out those who are serious about being seriously on fire for their Lord. I love having those people to look up to, the beautiful reflections that they are. And being able to emulate that for others, showing them how great it is to be consumed with this passion--how awesome is that. 
 And in the middle of it all, I have to learn to really pause. To stop. Take a deep breath and remember to live my day surrounded by His presence.
 I just want to be able to get to know Him. Without me getting in the way because so many times I just stop myself. But is takes that step, that twenty seconds of courage to fall into His abandon more completely. I can't hesitate anymore.
 


 
DNOW 2013
 
 

11.22.2013

Love

Love. Love. Love. Loved. Loved. Loved.

This is what I get to wake up to in the mornings. No matter how scared I am of this week, next week, and all the other things that are happening I know that my God is bigger than me and my worry.

Now to just put this into action.

 I just can't help but notice the change in my mindset here lately. When you trust God, you're trusting that He's already won. Each thing you do for Him is a victory He's already claimed--there is no failure when you're with Him. So going into things with a mindset like that, wow. There goes the worry. Because really, in all reality, what is there to worry about? When you rest in God and understand that He has you, there's a safety found, there's a desire that grows in you to do His will and the knoweldge that it's going to be okay.

 

 
 


11.21.2013

Forward Motion

Forward motion. Getting somewhere. This is the one thing that I want to encourage you all to strive for. It's a struggle and sometimes it feels like you're spinning your wheels in a giant mud puddle.

But moving so much closer to God, how beautiful is that?

We spend so many nights, trying to get it all right. The things is, God is that one person who believes in us, because He is in us. That's why we can make it. So next time you feel like turning around, or stumble and fall when you're on your way to Him, remember what God's done for you, and why you're here. You're here for Him.


11.20.2013

He is Faithful

It takes that one step. That moment of surrender. That swallowing of pride. The decreasing of you.

You may wonder how you can be yourself when you are giving up you, but in fact, you are more of yourself that you've ever been because you are becoming who God made you to be.

And when you consciously give yourself to Him, oh the victory that He makes! All because of His power in you. We still forget that He's SO much bigger than anything else we could ever do. Trusting Him is the only logical choice--don't you want to trust someone bigger than yourself? That can handle who you are?

And the guarantee that He will always be there, and has already won in the end....wow. Transforming power and strength He gives those who love Him.

So take that step, have that moment of surrender...and see what comes next.


"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually."
Psalms 105:4

"Because of your great power your enemies cringe beore you."
Psalms 66:3

"Because your steadfast love is better than life..."
Psalms 63:3

"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us."
Psalms 62:8

11.19.2013

Our Everything

We don't get to be picky when we trust God.

We just don't. We are called to give God our everything. That means we don't get to pick and choose what we worry about. There's no double standard. God calls us to give Him our all, all of us  (see Matthew 16:24-26). As much as it hurts to say this, it's true. I know I need to re-examine what I give God and what I still hold back (and why I do), but what about you? What are you saying to God, "I can do this--let me worry about it. I don't want to take the deep risk of surrendering completely to you"? As extreme as this may sound, it really is what you're saying, isn't it?

This thing called trust gets especially harder when you know something's coming or the time of the event draws nearer...we look at the future so many times a day, I can't believe that we don't drive ourselves crazy. Why can't we just enjoy the present? We speak so much in past and future tenses that we forget to enjoy. Just take the days one day at a time! Don't forget when you live, and trust God in the presnt and the future.

"To you O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust."
Psalms 25:1-2


11.18.2013

What I Want


"The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
Psalms 54:17
 
This is where I'm at. I'm just at this point. I've been broken down so many times in these past weeks I feel like there's only so much of me left. This allows for God to be able to do His good works in me, through me. This is what I want. I don't even want to be myself. I want more of Him in me. And the ability to keep me at a minimum and His presence in me to grow. Just that focus of the heart--I want it to stay and I want it to come natural to me. Like thinking of someone you love all of the time. Like that--constant thoughts. Because I just realize more and more how broken and small and little we are, and how worn that we are even before anything even happens. If we are worried about the stuff before it even happens, what does that say about us? How weak we are? How we fail at life. So these verses in Psalm 54 are my new prayer, all of them, for I need someone bigger than myself to sustain me.
 
"Restore me to the joy of your salvation and sustain me in a willing spirit."
Psalm 54:12
 
"create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me."
Psalm 54:10


 


 
 

11.17.2013

Underestimate

Underestimate: To estimate something to be less important as it is.

How. Many. Times. Do. We. Do. This. To. Our. God?

Way too many is the answer. Wayyyyyy too many times.

He's so big. He's so steady. He's so calm. Our God just is.

We are so little, so small. We slip through the cracks.

We so forget how strong His love for us is. He wants us.

The older I get the more I see how undeserving we are.

I'm so glad He still wants me. Us.

How can we still hesitate to run to Him, with all this that we know?


 
"Through him, then, let us continually offer a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that confess his name. Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God."
 
Hebrews 13:15-16



 How can we underestimate this?

11.16.2013

Seeking Identity


But I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours


There is no more waiting. None. We have no time for it, don't you see? Waiting on more day--will it ever happen if you put it off? We have to give all of ourselves to God now. There's no holding back. There's no other time. It's when we stray or take just one step away that we end up looking to other people for our identity instead of our Maker. 

I feel like sometimes we don't realize how bad this is when we are in the situation, even if the    person(s) we look to people of faith. It just doesn't seem as bad when your in it until you can see the ramifications and damage (stopping growth is sometimes more damaging then taking a step backwards, I think). Any time you do step away, it may be little things such as a lack of continuous joy (because when God's the center of your life, there is joy like nothing else) or everything seems bigger and more overwhelming.

But when you actively seek God with your heart, your you....it's a whole other story.

My Lord is my all, and I want to keep it that way .

 

 
 


 

11.14.2013

Blown Away

Ever have one of those days where you think you know what's going to happen then BAM! something ten times more wonderful does? Why should we even be surprised? This is the God we serve. Why worry or wonder about anything else?

I was praying really hard the other day just to have energy to face the day. You see, I thought I knew exactly how the day was going to go. I really thought I knew. And that's where I was wrong. Not only did I have enough energy to face the day, but I was blessed the whole entire time. Seriously, I had a great day. This is just one of the millionth times where God has blessed me abundantly and has had a good-humored laugh when He sees me trying to do things myself.

I am proven wrong so much by Him anymore. Honestly, I'm so glad. I'm tired of trying to do it on my own and live up to these expectations that aren't His. He's the only thing I need to face my day.
 
 
"Extol the glory of our God, and worship at his holy mountain; for the Lord our God is holy."
Psalms 99:9
 
 "Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness so that we may receive mercy and find grace in time of need."
Hebrews 4:16

"So we can say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can anyone do to me?"
Hebrews 13:6



11.13.2013

Finished Victory

A simple song lyric started this post. I don't even remember what song it was, to be honest.

But as the song played, the word victory came up and a realization hit me--that God has victory over me. My selfish ways, my sinful heart...He's already won. He's fought for me, pursued me. I am His! How great of a thing it is to be able to say.

A second song lyric that I heard was it is finished. Hearing this I realized that it IS finished. God has already won--all the things we do, no matter how many times we fail and will fail (oh, how many is that?), it's finished. He's won. There's nothing we can do to mess that up or undo what Jesus did for us. How freeing is that? That our Lord is the perfect sacrifice and our God will catch us when we fall. This mercy and grace that He has for us is of a divine nature, because I know that's the only way I can ever be saved.


 

 

11.12.2013

Lost It

"Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually."
Psalms 105:4

Some days I feel like the post Fire. Some days, I feel as if I 've completely lost it. But reading this verse, I figured it out (as in, it spoke to me really). Seek means to actively search, not just to find. So when the waves are big and look mighty and tall, it's time to just look away from those things and set your heart on finding the Lord. We already know He never leaves us, and that He's always there. Just because we feel one way or another doesn't mean that that's how it is. So push aside your finicky feelings and take a step closer to your Savior, your God. The one whom you love because He first loved you.

At the end of the day, you really just get to see what matters. What truly matters. In the grand scheme of things, we are so little and He is so BIG. His plans for us are made of love.





11.11.2013

Fire

I don't know if any of you have read Fresh Wind Fresh Fire, but you've got to pick it up. I started it on one of those quiet Saturday nights where everyone else is gone, either at home or at work. So I pick up the book, start reading and don't stop for two hours.

The one thing that I really take away from this book was the expiation that the more you realize your need for God, the more you pray. The more you pray, the more you desire to pray.

This is so relevant to my life because each and every single day I realize this need a little bit more. With this need, I have seen things change in my life--it's all about seeking Him. I never really knew how to go about that, but once you taste His goodness, you can't really even get away from this never-satisfied desire to know Him, talk to Him, reach out to God. He grows closer to us when we take these steps. I know recently, I have begun to understand what having a heart for His word means and what real prayer actually entails. My eyes and heart have been opened to receive all this information and teaching and mentoring that I have been blessed with the oppertunity to have acess to. With all this I need to apply, He guides me with a gentle hand and tells me that He's bigger than everything in my life.

Part  of me wonders why no one ever told me about how exciting this part of faith is where you get to learn and see God guide you and shape you before your eyes. Maybe I'm just seeing it in a really plain way, because I know it's different for everyone. I think that people might refute this by saying "It's just a stage of your faith that you go through" but really, when you think about this, how can you not be excited about God all of the time? When does this go away? Since when does the striving for growth stop? So maybe God's been ironing out some kinks and cutting out the parts of my life that are immature and so self centered. Yes, I had them and yes, I still do. So much. But I get to grow and change and realize that everyday I get to have the love of Jesus on my side, next to me, close to me.


I lay me down I'm not my own,
I belong to you alone,

Lay me down, lay me down

Hand on my heart this much is true,
Theres no life apart from you

Lay me down
Chris Tomlin
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1N2SbY3dJuM

11.10.2013

Bred for Something Different

The more I think about it, the more it seems that I'm being bred for something different.

A path that's especially different from everyone else's. I could go on and on and on with specific examples and such, but it's becoming plainer and plainer every day. I can't even believe some of the things that have happened to me lately--whether good or bad...its all got to be for something. Something BIG. Because God is a BIG God, He has BIG plans. And I'm right smack dab in the middle of them. This also means I'm not sure of what's going on all the time (aka never....) and am somewhat perpetually confused. But that's okay. It's not up to me to figure out the answers to life's biggest questions, just pursue God's will in everything I do, every aspect of my life, and all the while giving glory to Him. This is the purpose of my life.




 

11.09.2013

Continuous Joy

"Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you so not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:9
 
Joy. In the middle of all circumstances. This is what I want, this is what I strive for. I have been learning that when you're with God, there is a continuous joy. Something that is like a river--an undercurrent in everyday things. Even the boring things. It's almost hard to explain...and I'm still learning how to have more of it, letting it seep into everything I do. I finally get what Paul talks about--how can he be joyful in prison (because He's there for the millionth time)? Isn't that a bit discouraging? But yet he talks about joy, the beautiful joy that he has in his Lord.

This is what I've tasted, and I. Want. More.
 

 
 
 

11.08.2013

Practice Patience

Oh the random conversations I overhear.

Right now, this is the funniest thing I've ever overheard. I am seriously holding back giggles. But I'm not even going to tell you all what it's about. Sorry. Dang, I seriously want to laugh. Anyway, I haven't been thinking about much lately. I've just been trying to survive. And get better at time management. And try to balance all of the spontaneous impromptu things that I randomly decide to do. Which may or may not be in my best academic interest. But I'm learning. And trying not to slack just because it's the end of the semester. *Sigh.* Oh my.

I just want you all to know that the reason I have such great pictures on my blog is because I am THAT person who has her phone out and is stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, is randomly rearranging something, or is bent over in a weird position trying to get the right angle. So realize the labor of love I go through by taking beautiful pictures of campus and the great outdoors (honestly it doesn't bother me being that person, I don't really care. What does make me upset is when everyone looks a bit grumpy because they miss the beautiful world around us on their way to class, but that's just me).

The more I write though, the more I think about patience. I'm learning what that looks like. And I'm also remembering how hard it is. Sometimes you have to wait a long time for something. There may be a million reasons why, and sometimes I feel as if it's because I'm not ready yet. Or this impatient version of suffering is meant to increase my endurance. I realize this, and that they are good for me. They help me grow. It's just a bit harder to put into practice. In the end though, you finally understand why you waited so long. Why you endured what you did. It also allows you to appreciate how special something or someone is. And how much more fruitful you can be in a certain position if you just wait until you're ready.


 

11.07.2013

Care

Care.

Oh the strength of that word. One part of God that I learned (really, re-discovered, but I'm still learning it) is the fact that he cares for us when we are at our weakest and most vulnerable. When we have been fighting the good fight and have been on the journey to get us to that point, we are weary. Tired. Worn. Drained. But God still provides. Whatever it is that He knows you need--food, rest, a conversation, a hug, a smile, a person. God is a good God who comes and protects us when we are at this point. He is the guard and the caretaker for our spent souls all at once. He is an all-consuming fire that engulfs those who try to lay a hand on us. This is the God we work for, labor for. The one who loves, fights and passionately pursues us. That's why I love Him.





Falling into Place

Sometimes I feel like everything is falling into place. I know that's God, just the same as when everything else is falling apart. It's a breath of fresh air when you can just focus on the present and not have to worry about the things that happened in your past. This is the focus, the focus on living, breathing. Breathing Him in.

Then again, it still takes a lot of prayer and seeking to iron out all the grey parts. Do they ever go away? Not really. But they don't matter when you look to God for your purpose (Romans 8:28).

 

11.06.2013

Seized

All those times when you are seized by those moments of stress, I have to remember who I put my trust in “…for I know the one whom I have put my trust in…” (2 Timothy 1:12). We know don’t we? He is the one we serve, the one who we give every aspect of our lives and who we relinquished our control to.

The stress, worry, fear, and uncertainties that constrict you heart like two pythons squeezes out your confidence, shaking your submission and dependence. These are the times when we may struggle to keep the bigger picture in mind, when we fight to keep our gaze on things above and refuse to shake with fear at how tremendously huge the waves are. The noise, the wind, the distractions….oh how much we needd His embrace. How nothing even compares. Nothing.

But it doesn’t stop there. He pursues us when we push Him away, holds us when we can’t seem to let go and just be in His embrace. How thankful I am for that. So thankful. Anybody else would have just dropped me on the street and left me on my own. Especially by now. It seems that the more I realize that I have this indescribable need for Him, the more sick I seem, the more haunted and plagued by things of this world, things of Satan and of my own self. How horribly sick I am! And yet He still pursues.

You are good, You are good
When there's nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy
, You are joy
You're the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I'm running to Your arms,
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I'm made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I'm letting go


Oh, I'm running to Your arms,
I'm running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

Forever Reign
  

11.05.2013

Charged

Sometimes my days are so charged with emotion and so many ups and downs I can't even begin to tell you what my day has even been like. I never really knew that so much could happen in a day, or that it could go so fast and slow at the same time.

With all the things that I'm learning and what I need do to make sure I really learn it, it's a lot. All at once. These people, places, things that are coming up...I'm slightly tired and not exactly sure how to handle all of this. And sometimes even the good things are not always good. There are bright spots, usually moments spent talking to God, or learning some truth/realization or talking with certain people. Then I look at tomorrow. And sometimes that frightens me. How will I keep my eyes on God and things above when I know the business that threatens to consume me when it's not even that day yet? How is that going to work? I think instead of drilling the focus, focus, focus (which is a bit more about me, what I can to do make things better and to focus on Him...that's the problem, the "I" and "me", even if I have good intentions) like I have been for sometime, I need to relax into His presence more and more. And just breathe.

I came across Psalms 19:7. "The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul..." and saw that I need to let that happen. However that may be. I think it's different for every person, but there is a common thread of letting Him be in control of your life, not you. So this brings up the question: What do you need to do to let God revive your soul? The truth is, now matter what condition you're in, you need this. You need Him. Read Psalms 19 if you don't have a place to start.

11.04.2013

Reminder

Do you know how good it is to be on your own bed with your cat laying down against the length of your back?

I forgot how good it was to come home.

I seems in the middle of everything, all this busyness, this chaos, these distractions, the stress, I have forgotten how to rest. Coming home reminds me that at the speed I am going (which is very fast) I have to make it a priority to refuel.

When I come home, apaart of me is scared that everything I have at school is just a dream, and will disappear when I'm gone. I never want to loose it, and never in a million years did I ever think that I would have the quality (not necessarily the quantity, but that too) of things that I have here.

It's hard sometimes to tell which is my real life (home or school), when I guess they both are...I just feel more grounded at school because there is routine, stuff to do and classes and homework to focus on. But it's nice to pet my puppy sitting at my feet while I type this. :)

And you know, everything else, when you learn to live only half a room and a mini fridge and no toaster for your bagels or Poptarts (trust me, microwaved Poptarts are just not the same), the things like TV and all these expensive entertainment luxuries just don't matter. There is no appeal anymore. I just want to talk with people. Talk. Spend time with them, get to know (and re-know) them and just catch up. This happened when my brother and I sat up the night I came home and talked until two in the morning. So much for extra sleep.

Even though, sometimes I am SO convinced I am the most BLESSED person in the WORLD. I have so much. And yes, Jesus loves me. He gave Himself for me and for you.

11.03.2013

Pumpkins Galore

So maybe I have a seasonal obsession. It's not dressing up. Not trick or treating. It's pumpkin carving. I'm not sure why, but I think it's one of the most fun things you can do to celebrate fall. Especially if it's with your family. These are just some pictures of all the pumpkins that have come and gone in my fall. 


 
 
 
  
 
 





 
 
 
 
 
 
The Google Translate version of "My Lord" in Hebrew
 
And then there's this one....