The Big News

Do you ever make a decision without thinking about it? Like, taking something "off the table" with little consideration?
Well, things like traveling to South Asia to spread the Word of the Lord often find themselves back on the table.
It's safe to say that I am really glad God uses good friends to encourage me to rethink what I (key word: I ) have already decided. I'll tell the full story in another post along with more of my thoughts/thought process regarding the trip to South Asia, but for now, I just wanted to mention my Next Step.
I'll go this winter, and will be gone for two weeks.
Two weeks is a really long time. 
But at the end of the day, we are called to go (Matt 28:18-20).
I am called to go. And so are you. It might even look closer to home.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I am back to blogging, and will keep you all posted on future trip progress. BE excited!


It's Easter!

It's Easter! 

In my opinion, it's the best holiday ever! It seems like a calmer, simpler holiday (after you get past the many egg hunts and such), where people get together with family and celebrate spring--not too much of anything else. 

However, we can't get past the fact that it's a whole day dedicated to the gospel. No amount of consumeristic American culture can bury that because the gospel is true every day, and for believers, every day is like Easter, because we wake up covered in His Grace. 

Romans 15:13, John 1:16

Jesus paid it all, 
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, 
He washed it white as snow.

And when before the throne 
I stand in Him complete,
Jesus died my soul to save,
my lips shall still repeat

Jesus paid it all, 
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain, 
He washed it white as snow
Sin had left a crimson stain, 
He washed it white as snow

O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead
O Praise the one who paid my debt
And raised this life up from the dead


When You Get THAT News...

Everybody's had "those talks", the ones where news has to be delivered....sometimes it's the elephant in the room, or maybe it is something new entirely. 

Several times I've gotten news like this and my reaction has been different every time. It usually was the phrase "We're moving". 

Those days have long since passed. Since I'm in school now and my home has transitioned to there, where I've been most, it hasn't been a worry. I go to school and come home occasionally, all the while stumbling through the growing up process wherever I find myself.

However, thinking you're outta the clear is probably one of the most dangerous things in life. So what happened? The news this time wasn't "We're moving" as in us as a family, it was my parents saying "We are moving to Florida..."

Far, far away Florida. 

At the time of this news and even now, I understand that when God calls you somewhere, you must obey. That is why we have been blessed the other times we've moved--we've obeyed without hesitation when we feel the call is from the Lord. 

Still, when I think about it words like separation, leaving, loss, isolation, gone, parted and asunder all come to mind. 

I'm reminded that salvation cost a perfect life, so moving and uprooting your life is certainly pale in comparison. Even though this is truth, it's taken awhile to get past the icky feelings of pride and entitlement and feeling like the whole thing is an injustice. 

 While we may be called to a certain place, here or overseas, the part that doesn't change is that we as Christ-followers are called to pick up our cross and follow Jesus every single day. Matthew 16:24-26.

Picking up your cross can look impossible. It can look scary and hard and unfamiliar. It can look sunny and warm and full of unknowns as plentiful as the sand everywhere. Or it can look like staying behind and making the place you go to school your official home and seeing family a lot less. 

"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
 They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness."

Lamentations 3:22-23

I write this as new paint is being applied to the house and boxes and packing paper are starting to appear. Furniture is disappearing and the walls have become bare. 

It's happening soon.

My Five Favorite Things About Being Home...

The company kept...

My not-so-little companion...

The copious amounts of sweet tea...

Home-cooked food...

My other companion...

Parts of My March

So, I know it's now April, but this post is about the happenings of March:

1) Stress 
I've learned that it takes a lot of stress over a short period of time to help make me unstressed--as in me realizing that right in the middle of the stress that it is fine--it's not really the end of the world like I usually find myself believing.

2) Racial Reconciliation 
Racial Reconciliation is a real issue. It's a product of the gospel, which is all-inclusive. This reconciliation among believers and the church has to be intentional.

3) Lies 
I used to believe a lot of lies about myself, expectations, how much I need to do and how I am supposed to react to things that happen. Now, those are coming to light--not only the fact of them, but the simple fact that they are lies.

4) The Ten Commandments
Lying, stealing and coveting are things that we think we don't really do, we just see. But in fact, that is a false premonition if I ever heard one. You can lie and steal and covet time, joy and words.

5) Sometimes Less is More.
Wouldn't you say?

6) Church
I went to my first members meeting at Christ Fellowship Church in BG. Now a member, all on my own, I went to my first meeting and was reminded of the importance of commitment, support and furthering the gospel in our community. 

7) Life is great when you don't have to depend on coffee.
For real, try it.

8) She Reads Truth 
This is my new favorite website. Click here to go to the sight and check it out! It's a group of women who simply love reading the Word. Plus, the website is one of the prettiest thing's I think I've ever seen. Super appealing to those visual-oriented people such as myself.

9) God's Character
The root of the problem that you may be experiencing is often a flawed view of God's character. It's not enough to say that God is sometimes faithful, or mostly faithful, He is always faithful. 

10) Summer and Spring
I forgot how much I love them both!


Why Working Things Out Can Look Like a Fight

The more I grow up and become more aware of thinking about bigger things and the bigger picture, the more things separate. They are starting to have more contrast. Granted, I am a black and white kinda person. "Yes or no answers are best", "I don't have time for miss-communications" and "Just tell me what you actually mean are common things that run through my head".

How does this relate to my spiritual life? I have all of a sudden been made aware of the separateness of my sinful flesh and the Spirit filled part of me. It's like realizing why you want to do something and seeing that that desire is not coming from the good, and while it may not be all together bad, it certainly doesn't look like the flip side--the feeling of purity that is of the Spirit that often looks like the harder choice, not to mention super counter-cultural.

With me being able see this difference more clearly--now it is almost overwhelming--I have a new perspective. I see that flesh-denial in your life is more often than not God-revival in your life. I see that some choices are more biblical, and that compromising is when we start to tread into gray areas. When you don't have the ability to separate those two very different things, no wonder life looks so confusing!

Even if you do begin to understand what I'm talking about it doesn't always make things easy. In fact, it's almost harder--you have to say no to your flesh-desires. If we are all being honest, this is where our pride and stubbornness come out. For me, I know it's the heart I have when feelings of entitlement emerge. Making the right choice anyway takes strength, strength that I don't always have. That is why so much of life is an internal struggle and why working things out can often look like a fight, or even an all out out war going on inside of us. It takes fighting that fight and wrestling with God to be able to really make the choice that reflects what we know and believe and to stay on the narrow path.

 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me."

Galatians 2:19-20


So Much in One Week...

Here's a video of the excitement that a beach reach team had about pancakes...they totally got us pumped in the early morning hours after our late night.

Here's a few other things that I learned....

We are already equipped with your individual personal story, the God breathed Word, Jesus's greatness, faith and our family of faith.

People have to have practice to become better leaders. Let them practice. 

Always take your camera with you. If you don't have time to take pictures, make time.

It takes effort to serve.

Sometimes people don't want to talk to you, even if you are trying to tell them something important. And sometimes, there is only so much you can do about it.  

I could not go on a trip like this, as intense as it is, if I had not had mentors in my life that fostered the love of God and reaching people in me. 

Sometimes less is more. Your task and work is to reach out, but you have to be aware that there are other things that you may need to do first.

Understanding your own personal sin is key to getting to your next step in your walk of faith and having a more accurate understanding of God's great Grace. Who knew understanding the bad could help you so much? Usually we simply focus all on the good, whether it be ours or God's.

Sometimes it is simply your job to focus on being a friend with the right intentions.

You have to be able to communicate your genuineness for people to truly listen.

My prayer is often more "I believe, sweet Jesus, help my unbelief!". 

All in all, it was a trip where many souls were saved, and mine was in a way too--for I have been saved from myself and my selfish heart with the glorious protection of Christ Jesus my Lord!


So What Happens When You Get There...

When you are somewhere you don't really want to be, I've learned that its a necessity to check your heart--not just check it, but seriously keep tabs on it. Like, follow it like you follow your favorite person to follow on twitter or instagram. If you're not careful, you will find your own self creeping into the center of your universe, thinking that somehow this ministry that you are doing all depends on you...

But guess what?
Once again, it's not about you. It's not about me. 

It's not even about how much you can get done, how much ground I can cover in the shortest distance. Obviously that doesn't really translate to when you're directly dealing with people, but sometimes I get so obsessed with growth and measuring things and just simply being productive that I once again forget that I can't do everything, and I can't do everything at once. It's not even feasible, and it's certainly not very fun.

But guess what?
Sometimes less is so, so much more. 

And then the trip reached the point that brought forth the big question that God really brought to my mind. I was asked if I really believed that He was faithful. My answer? Well, let's just say it's not quite aligned with what the Bible (and the very good Lord himself!) deems as divine consistency.

But guess what?
It's okay to be in that place...sometimes you have to be there before you get to be somewhere else.

Although I am no longer in Panama, I may still be in that place. I'm not out of it yet. I still doubt and protest, feel selfishly entitled and can't seem to sit still to just listen, much less focus my attention on the things on the Spirit.

But guess what?
This new awareness of my sin increases my desire to be closer to the Lord, to know the truth of His Word and to truly experience His Greatness and the Grace that is for me and for you. All the time. Every day. Even now. For even you....

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, 
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness."

Lamentations 3:22-23


The Beach Reach Post

So. The beach.

Guess what?

I don't really like the beach.

Don't get me wrong, the beach is not a bad place to be. Sometimes you do need to hear the waves and recharge your vitamin D levels, but I consider the heat unbearable, sand annoying and the salt in the ocean just plain gross.

But where did I end up for spring break?

.......the beach.

Panama City nonetheless. Our BCM went and joined other college campuses with the intent of giving rides to the college students down there (most of them were drunk to some degree.....), feeding them and ultimately sharing the gospel story with them. I have to say, there is so much to tell that I will be breaking this up into several posts.

First things first though, one of the things that this trip reiterated for me was the importance of obeying the Lord. Signing up for this trip was a bit easier when it was so far away and I was sure that God wanted me to go. This assurance, even thought doubts came, still stayed the same. You see, God knows that I don't like the beach, that the sleep deprived schedule we had is not something I work well with and that talking to drunk college kids is not  my choice of ministry, or even something that I'm good at. He just knows these things.

Yet He asks me to do them anyway.


How humbling is that? Let me tell you, I had to pray through for real a lot of bitterness weeks before we even left.

I came though, I obeyed. Because why? Because I know that He is bigger than me, that He probably had something up His sleeve, that He wanted to teach me things and that He can work in spite of me even when I simply don't believe He can.

Because He's just. that. good.

"Praise the LORD.
How good it is to sing praises to our God,
    how pleasant and fitting to praise him!
The LORD builds up Jerusalem; 
   he gathers the exiles of Israel. 
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds.
He determines the number of the stars
    and calls them each by name.
Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
    his understanding has no limit.
 The LORD sustains the humble
    but casts the wicked to the ground....
He covers the heavens with clouds, 
prepares the rain for the earth, 
makes grass grow on the hills...
the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him, 
in those who hope in his steadfast love."

Psalms 147:1-6,8 &11


When You Feel Entitled....

Lately I've realized that I've been experiencing this certain feeling....it's called entitlement. Entitlement is where you believe yourself to be inherently deserving of something. It's an icky thing, a thing that is sin. We are inherently a bad and deserve living in Hell over and over again. Thanks to Jesus and His gift of grace (getting something we don't deserve ), that's not the way it is anymore.

Entitlement is something that is rooted in pride. I don't know about you, but prides is a struggle for me. It's funny because sometimes I even think to myself "Wow, that is a thought that is just so far from the truth!" yet they come anyway. From this, I've realized the importance of being aware....aware of your struggles and strengths and sins and just how you are. This is good to realize, but what comes after--your next step of action--is important too.

I'm not writing to give you answers, or reference sites and things that can help you do this or that.....too many times we expect solutions or "step-by-steps" to be handed to us. At some point, you just gotta do it. You may not have a plan, organized thoughts or anything else except for the will, but when it comes to combating sin  and temptation, you just have to do it.

It's a hard, long learning process, but once you start to see your sin more, that harder you are certainly motivated to work.

"Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more in my absence, work out your own faith in fear and trembling,for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and work for his good pleasure."
Philippians 12:2


The Moment You Realize WHY You Are Doing Something

With the snow is starting to melt and above negative temperatures, one thing that has been on my mind is spring break. Anyone having scary flash backs yet? This year with my spring break, I'm going to Panama City Beach, FL on a mission trip to give crazy college kids pancakes and tell them about Jesus. I love Jesus, but I pretty much hate the beach. Sure it's beautiful, but the sun, sand and salt really bother me on so many levels. Anyway, because of the sand, heat, the most horrendous schedule for a morning-person-who-REALLY-really-needs-her-at-least-eight-hours-why-is-she-even-a-college-student-in-the-first-place, and simply the fact that I flat out don't like Florida right now, well....it's looking like a struggle. A big one. Actually, the thought of it has been SO big, it's caused a lot of unnecessary worry and frustration and too much bitterness to be experiencing at once, especially with everything else that is going on in my life.

When you experience this many frustrations, it causes you to question your mindset, the state of your heart and what motives you had in the first place. Working through this is something that you just have to work out with God--sometimes it looks like a struggle. Sometimes it looks like a fight.

On this journey of working through this though, I was asked a question, "Why are you even going to do this anyway?". Right then, without a doubt I had my answer. Telling people about Jesus, this relationship I have with Him, the Grace I experience on a daily basis, and the fact that they can have this to (independent of their works) is SO much more important than my discomfort. This puts it all into perspective--it is something that I'm simply called to do--regardless of anything else. Jesus calls us to go, but doesn't promise that we will come back to anywhere but our home in Heaven.

I don't post this to brag, or draw attention to what I will be doing soon, but instead remind you all and myself that doing things that seem like they may possibly kill you in a slow aching, painful way might actually help kill your flesh, highlight God's great Grace and gain many Salvations. It's all apart of the cost of following Him.


When God Has Better Timing

God has better timing than me. 
That guys, is a fact. 
And you know what? 
That's okay. 
Actually, it's wayyy better than okay. 
Because God knows me, He knows when to give me things and when to take them away.
Granted, often we over spiritualism almost everything, but sometimes I just know that God
  intentionally brings good out of what can be considered bad. 
A lot of this I feel is His concern for my lack of focus--specifically my lack of focus on Him.
Even if my focus is on something good.
He's making known to me so much of my sin and so much of my idolatry. 
My lack of trust is revealed, and trust is something I need. 
I'm learning that there is a deeper part of trust--the kind that penetrates all parts of you, your insides and your outsides.
These revelations happen when yet again you are reminded that your role is apart of something bigger, 

and for The One Who Is Great. 

Deuteronomy 6:5
Proverbs 3:5-8 
Psalm 55:22
Romans 8:28
Isaiah 26:3


Snowed In

I am officially snowed in. I don't have classes allllll week. Which is good--everyone needs a break, but I also don't have a lot of homework. So what do I do?

I go and scrape the snow off my car. My poor car. So much snow. Normally, it just takes a ice scraper and a pair of gloves. This time though, I have those things and a broom accompanying me.

Taking the time to do this gave me some time to think, as well as work off a bit of frustration.

God has asked me to do some hard things this weekend. There's a lot going on at once.
Thoughts like "How can He--a good God--ask me to do so much?" ran through my head.
Of course, that one voice in my head reminds me that there is a cost to following Christ, and sometimes it gets bigger than you've ever experienced before. It also reminds me of the sacrifice Christ made--this weekend is really the least I can do because of the Grace that I have.

Hopefully, the snow can help put things into perspective for you, because now I'm realizing that's probably one of the reasons snow exists. It makes you ask yourself what's really important.


Stepping Back...Once Again

How many times in life do I have to step back and reevaluate what the heck is going on? Well, it would help if I did it more than I do.

These past three weeks have come at me faster than a bullet out of a gun--it only takes putting one foot in the current before you are all of a sudden in way over your head. Going at that speed without natural speed bumps in place, well, lets just say you don't end up where you need to.

That was just a lot of metaphors at once. Sorry.

Now though I am beginning to see exactly what trips me up, why I get the way I do as well as why I am where I am. A lot of it has to do with connecting with God. Am I doing that? Am I doing that intentionally? Why is pausing so important? I say to myself, "Don't you understand--the stress, worry and even the lack of sleep all come from missing, passing, going on without the One Who is Bigger Than You!

It sometimes takes stepping back. It sometimes takes leaving. It sometimes takes loosing. Specificlly, loosing your right mind

to realize who we are,
what we are doing,
and where we belong...

and that our story is bigger than us. All the time.


Back...Next to the Track

I have a break between classes right now, which is currently being used for a time of reflection. This past week has been hard. A different type of hard than the week before, or the one before that. My week in a word? Overwhelmed. This spring time around is one in which I have the hardest classes I've had yet and a greater awareness of the responsibility and role that I have than ever before. Some days it just hits you. After moments like those, the day becomes more of a battle. The [very] small conscious part of your mind that is always sane is reminding you that it is a choice (your choice nonetheless) to become bigger and rise above than your not-so-great attitude and frustrating feelings. However much this may have been  going on (Still current? Probably...), God has shown up. He's spoken through groups of people, through the answered prayers of me asking for divine understanding of Hebrew (which I now know is the only way to really ever understand it), divine appointments with special people, surprising conversations and even the fact that sometimes He literally schedules things for me. I'm not even kidding. 

I really want to cry tears of joy for the simple fact that it's the weekend and that I made sure that although I have a few things to do, this weekend will be about resting, preparing and rebuilding. 

I still feel like that person who has no idea what the heck she's doing, but I'm starting to think that that may be something that doesn't change. Some of you may protest at this (because maybe sometimes I appear to look like I know what I'm doing), but this statement is reinforced that by the fact that I was late to one of my classes on the very first day (Why Rachel Who is Rarely Late But Is Late This Time Story #295). This semester has already been a lot about discovering that the me I thought I was going to be is a lot different than reality. It is like realizing that in the past you were on track, but now your path may be one that is not on it, but next to it.

Anyway, it's Friday and I will be happily doing homework in the library because I know that I have nothing else planned tonight. Maybe, just maybe, I'll remember to stop and relax to breathe and know that my God fights for me even when I am silent. 

"When we take that next right step, 
our one part of courage is met with a thousand parts of God's grace."
~Leeana Tankersley


Past Few Days to Now

These past few days have been exciting. I have seen a herd of Zebras as well as a million dollars. I've had some goofy but good late night conversations as well as some really eye opening ones. They've been just really, really good days. You need those every once in awhile. I think I forget their importance sometimes.

However, this morning I was looking at various school paraphernalia and really just didn't (read: don't) ....want to do it. It's a lot. 

Here is a test before school even begins, a next step and a chance to once again choose believe in Grace.