Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oh Christmas

I've always wondered what it would be like to have a boyfriend during Christmastime. If you had talked to me about two and a half months ago, I was pretty certain I was going to be in a relationship at this time. I was excited about the sweet text messages I knew I'd get, the fun times we would have walking about in the cold weather, and just the sweetness of being "in love" during this jolly time of year.

Well, over the course of this semester, that plan did not fall into play the way I had imagined. My plan, as my plans usually do, unraveled in quite an ugly fashion. To make a very long and detailed story short and to the point, I am once again single during Christmastime. But this year, I'm so glad I'm single.

I look back on this semester and look at the various instances of where I could have been hurt so much more than what I was, but in those instances, the Lord protected me, that protection reaching far into the future. I had no idea that two months after that dreadful night where I heard and saw my plan unravel that the Lord would still be protecting me. But he is.

When I returned from camp earlier this summer, I told a lot of people that I learned a lot about trust. I feel like that is one thing the Lord has drilled into me over the station of many, many years. But I also feel like he has never drilled so precisely and so finely as he has this semester. And I know that this drilling will not soon be over.

When most people think about Christmas, they think of the words, "gifts," "wrapping paper," "money," "cookies," "Santa," "elves," and "tinsel." This year those words have floated through my brain as I've made some presents and had to buy the bags in which to put those presents, but other words have been bouncing around my brain, words like "thankful," "joy," "rejoice," "family," "friends," "love," "Jesus," "peace," and "praise." I know that because of this semester, this Christmas means more to me than it would have had none of these events taken place.

A part of me wanted to be able to be with this guy and talk with him and see him and spend time enjoying Christmas with him. Well, that was what I wanted back in October, not anymore. Now, I'm content with my present circumstances. No, I don't have a handsome man waiting for me back home to sweep me up in his arms and with whom I can enjoy Christmas. But I have two handsome men, my brother and Dad, who will be waiting to welcome me home with love and laughter, men who I know love me. I have a wonderful mother who I know I will enjoy laughing with so much more than almost anyone else.

The Lord has taught me so much this semester. He has taught me not to settle, in my standards for myself or for the man he has for me. He has taught me that he cares for ever single, minute detail of my life. And he has taught me to hope that however bleak my prospects may look, that he does indeed have a man that he has been preparing especially for me. And in the Lord's perfect timing, I will wait for that man.

I've never been so thankful for the Lord as I am right now. I've never seen or felt him so clearly in my life. During this break, I am going to enjoy all that I can and relish in still feeling like somewhat of a college student. I begin student-teaching in January, and after meeting my cooperating teacher on Tuesday and seeing the school, I'm a little overwhelmed. I know it will be good, but I also know that next semester holds a multitude of changes that I am nowhere ready for. Like I said, this trust drilling keeps digging deeper.

I love Christmas. I love what it means, and I love that over two thousand years ago a young, scared woman heard the call of God on her life and brought our Savior into the world. My king, my love, my protector was brought into this world as a tiny, helpless baby. However, in that moment, he was the most powerful being ever.

I am full of joy this Christmas, and I hope you are too.

Until next time,
God Bless

Friday, December 9, 2011

Drawing to an End

This semester is finally winding down. I can't believe that this time next week I'll have two finals left, and then I'll be done with the majority of my classes. I'll begin student-teaching in January, and then I'll start learning about what it means to be a grown-up, live a little in the real world without really being on my own yet.

This past week, I help put out the final edition of the student newspaper for the semester, my last issue ever. I served on staff for two and a half years, and now it's finally over. I have also volunteered at the crisis pregnancy center since my freshman year, and I served my last day on Wednesday. I went to what was probably my last chapel on Wednesday as well. I think the kicker was getting a notice that intent to graduate cards are due February 2012. Intent to graduate. I'm graduating in May 2012. Four years ago, that date sounded so far away, so far into the future that I had nothing about which to worry. I wish someone would have told me to enjoy my first three years of college and not wish them away. I had no idea these years would flash by so quickly. I graduate in five and a half months.

I am excited about what will come after graduation. I go back and forth between nervous and excited, but most days I'm excited. I know the Lord has a plan, and I find myself resting on that assurance daily. I told the Lord a long time ago I would go wherever he wanted me to go. I guess I'm just waiting for him to show me where that is and trusting that he will show me in his timing.

Next semester will hold adventures for me I have never experienced. It seems odd but wonderful that this is my last real finals week that I'm approaching. Next semester, I'll have finals in the middle of the semester and get done with them sooner.

I am happy to say that I figured out today that I won't really have to study very much for my finals. I have two written finals and one final where I'll just go and meet with the professor. The other two are exams, but in one I only need to score eleven points out of fifty to keep an A in the class, and in the other I need to make a 62% to keep an A in the class. Next week is going to be a breeze.

So, this is just a little update of what's been going on. About the last few entries I've posted, God has been wonderful to heal my heart and show me his goodness and sovereignty in all of this. Time has helped. I think about it less and less and find myself happier and more joyful. I can only credit that to God. He is so good to me, and I praise him for that.

So only about ten more days, and then I'll be home for break. It will be a shorter break than I'm used to, but then again nothing has been what I'm used to lately. Things are changing, and that's okay. Transition happens, and it will keep happening for the rest of my life. I might as well get used to it now.

Hopefully, I'll be able to post again before Christmas.

If I do not, I pray you have a wonderfully, merry Christmas and a stupendous New Year.

Until next time,
God Bless

P.S. As of December 4, I am now a licensed Zumba instructor. Yay!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Lord. Promises. Thankful.

Many moments happen in a life where one thinks he or she knows exactly what is going to come next. In the moment of whatever is happening, they know nothing can ruin it. Be that a prosperous job, an education, or a friendship, nothing could ever stop it. However, no one knows the absolute future except God. People can guess at what might happen or be even 99.9 percent sure, but no one ever without-a-doubt knows.

I'm learning this the hard way. About a month and a half ago, I was convinced that I would be in a relationship right now. I went on a couple of dates with a guy, and I was convinced that our week together would lead to more time spent time together. And then things changed. I found out a relationship between us was not going to happen. So I had to erase all the plans I had made for us. Yes, I planned things. Guilty. I'm a woman. Women do this.

I look back on the time we spent together and sometimes wonder, "Why?". I know God had a purpose for it, but I wonder why he allowed it to happen when, on this side of it, I've seen nothing good come from it. Yes, I was able to spend time with an awesome person, but I grew attached to that person for no reason. Maybe someday I'll see and understand that reason, but right now, I do not.

If I had seen the future of what would happen between that person and me before any of it happened, I probably would have never gone to coffee with him in the first place. Yes, I would have missed out on a week of fun, but I would have saved myself from about a month and a half of grief (not including what is to come).

I have all these "if's" that keep popping up in my mind. If I hadn't done this . . . If I hadn't said this . . . If I had only said this . . .

But for every "if," God gives me a promise. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." "The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still." "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart, I have overcome the world."

I have been resting on these promises and others to battle the lies and the "if's" the enemy keeps hurling my way. This has not been a fun month and a half, but I am thankful for my roommate and my family who have walked through this with me. All my tears, my ramblings, my questions, my complaints, my sighs, my frustration--they've dealt with it all.

But I'm thankful for my Lord. Even though he allowed this to come into my life and even though I've lost sleep over it and wasted many tears over it, I know--and I've said it once, and I'll say it again--he let it happen for a reason. I may not discover that reason for many months or years, but I'll keep trusting my Lord until I do. I will also keep trusting him to be my first love, to fill me and satisfy me before anyone or anything else.

So yes, I am thankful. I may not be dancing on the rooftop or writing a message in the sky, but in my heart, I am thankful.

Until next time,
God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Trusting Him with the Intangible

About a month ago, I went through something I had never experienced. It didn't last very long, and I wasn't emotionally scarred; nothing detrimental happened. It was just one of those bumps that happen in the road, and I had to learn how to deal with it.

Over the last month, I've been discovering what that looks like. It hasn't been the most fun. From that experience, dozens of emotions have bubbled to the surface, and I'm here wondering from where they came. They are not familiar, and I don't want them, but they are still there.

I've been hashing this out with my roommate, asking her why I still feel certain things when I don't want to feel them. Why, when I ask God to take away certain feelings, do they still persist?

Her answer was that maybe God still lets me feel certain things so I will trust him more. "How else will you learn from this?" she asks me.

I know she's right. It's hard, but I know it's true.

Which leads me to my next question: how do I trust the Lord with something that I can't physically touch or see or will never touch or see? How do I trust the Lord with something that is inside of me? And all those Biblical scholars say, "Well, come on silly, if you can trust an intangible God, why can't you entrust intangible things to him?"

My answer would be, "Well, because I'm human."

So many times I trust the Lord with circumstances outside me: school, the future, car problems, money, job, friends, and the like. And yes from time to time, things in my heart bring me to the Lord, but I've never had this inner turmoil, if you will, that I do now. It's like one minute, I'll be fine, and then the next minute, I'm in tears.

And I keep praying that the Lord would take away these feelings if I'm not supposed to have them. But they're still here. Even after a month, they're still here. My roommate says it's just going to take time, that I need to patient. And I know that's true.

God could take away these feelings in an instant, and that would be so easy and so convenient. But where does the Bible say our journey is supposed to be easy and convenient? If you find that, let me know. I know the Bible does say, "Cast your cares upon him," and "His burden is easy and his yolk is light," but the Lord is doing the carrying for us. And sometimes even with the Lord carrying our burdens and giving us rest, hardship still comes.

This is something new for me. And maybe it's taken me this long and will take longer to be done with these feelings because it's the first time this has happened. But I know my sweet roommate is right. How is God going to grow me and make me stronger except by making me trust him with this, something totally new and different?

So I'm learning to trust him in a new way, again. I'm trusting him with something I can't touch or will never see. It is inside of me, buried away where only he can get to it, guard it, and then someday hopefully, someday soon, remove it.

It's hard, and sometimes crying is the only thing I can do to relieve my frustration and impatience, that and praying. But I know I am not alone.

Earlier in the semester, I was worried about a lot of things, and then one day I was in the bathroom getting ready, and these four words came to me: "No worry. Only hope." My roommate and I keep dry erase markers in our room, and we frequently write scripture and encouraging sayings on the mirror in the bathroom because we see that mirror a lot. I wrote those four words on our bathroom mirror, and they are a constant reminder to me of the truth and goodness of God. I know those four words came from the Lord, and they have been such a constant for me this semester. And so they are now as well.

All of these musings have been in my head for the past couple of weeks. I guess I've only recently been able to put into words what all these musings mean, and I know I don't understand things completely. But someday, I'll look back on this beautiful mess and see the purpose behind it.

No worry. Only hope.

Until next time,
God Bless

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Crazy, Stupid, Love"

My roommate and I saw the movie "Crazy, Stupid, Love" last Friday night in a little theater that shows movies after they've already hit the big screen for the first time. We decided to see it on a whim, and I don't think either of us had read any reviews on the movie. We had both just heard it was funny. So we settled into the theater and waited for it to begin.

Before I begin with giving my thoughts about the movie, I will tell you this may contain some spoilers. The movie begins with a husband and wife sitting down to eat dinner in a restaurant. They both look uncomfortable as they try to order what they want. The husband asks the wife what she wants, and she looks up at her husband and says she wants a divorce. The husband is shell-shocked, not expecting that confession, especially in a public restaurant. The scene then flashes to a bar/night club when a very handsome, well-to-do twenty-something man approaches two young ladies sitting at a table in the club. The man comes on to one of the women, but wisely, she says she has to go and leaves the club.

What made me a little upset about the movie was when it started to devalue marriage. The man, whose name is Hal, shows up at work and his coworkers hear him crying in the bathroom. They think he might have cancer, but when they find out why he was crying, they all breathe a sigh of relief that "it's just a divorce." This upset me because many people in this society believe that marriage does not mean anything anymore. Movies like this are a prime example of why marriage does not mean as much in the eyes of the world as it should. Marriage is a union set up by God to be a reflection of Christ and the church. Movies like "Crazy, Stupid, Love" tell the audience that divorce is not that big of a deal when really divorce is one of the ugliest things known to man. It tears up families, friendships, love, relationships, and God hates it.

Throughout this movie, themes of infidelity, adultery, lust, and promiscuity echo in almost every scene. Some of this can be looked at for the audience to "learn a lesson" from. But why do these lessons have to be indirect, basically saying, "Don't do what you see in this movie." Why can't movies be made that are still funny but encourage moral themes? We wonder why society as a whole is going down the drain. Look at what we're watching and spending out time putting inside our brains.

What also makes this movie sad is that, of course, Hollywood has to make it funny. I will admit, I laughed quite a bit in the movie. The whole audience laughed a lot. And I hate leaving a movie thinking, "Well, that was funny, but it was horrible." And I think the topper on the cake that made the movie horrible was something that happened in the last scene. In the movie, a seventeen-year-old girl takes pictures of herself in the nude for a reason I will not name. But at the end of the movie, she gives the pictures to a thirteen-year-old boy who has a crush on her. Peachy, right? I was livid when I saw this. Right now, in this nation and around the world, pornography is a sickness in the lives of so many men, women too, but mainly men. Pornography wrecks the lives of so many individuals, families, homes, marriages, and men who are supposed to be leaders but who are brought down by this awful addiction.

And what did this crazy, stupid movie do? It practically encouraged it, condoned it. It basically told anyone watching, "Well, this thirteen-year-old boy can't date this seventeen-year-old girl yet, but she can give him pictures of herself in the nude for him to enjoy until he is old enough to date her." What the movie doesn't show was how horribly corrupt this boy will be before he is even old enough to date her.

So, yeah, if you're looking for a movie that will counter every moral belief you've ever held dear, this is the movie for you. Yes, in a way, it kind of has a happy ending, but overall, I would never recommend this movie to anyone. I know plenty of movies that are good, clean, and funny and still uphold what I believe. But if you're looking for a movie that will upset you and frustrate you as it has me, leaving you angry with Hollywood, then yep, this is the crazy, stupid movie that will do it.

I hope love never becomes crazy and stupid. I hope love always remains holy and pure as God intended it to be, something not to be corrupted, especially by Hollywood's cheap attempts. Lessons learned: 1. read reviews before watching a movie and 2. God created love in a way that is sacred, and it only comes from him. Thank goodness, because the love that was portrayed in that movie is nothing I want.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Still Thankful

Just a week ago I posted "Seasons." I mentioned in that post that God has put me in this particular season for a reason. Little did I know how quickly I would come to understand and feel the full weight of those words.

This past week has kind of been a whirlwind for me, a whirlwind of emotions and experiences, some good, some not so good. I know, though, beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord was with me and protected me through every moment of it. Sometimes the Lord puts things in our paths that grow us and make us stronger, even if that means letting us experience a little bit of pain. We don't know why these things happen, but they do.

But already, I have learned so much through this past week. I've learned, even though I already knew, how much the Lord really does love me and cares for every aspect of my life, even the things that I wouldn't think he cares about. I've learned how much my family, especially my dad, loves me. I could not ask for a better Dad. I know I've taken him for granted, and this past week showed me that. My dad had the opportunity to throw something in my face and say, "I told you so," but he didn't. He was gracious and loving as usual. I've also learned that I have the best friends a girl could ask for. Friends that have been with me through the thick and thin and who listen to me spill my life, even when it's not pretty. And this weekend, it wasn't pretty. I'm so glad I experienced this now with the people who are around me in this season. I don't why I had to experience it, but I know that I could've been hurt so much more. I know that the Lord had me in his hands the entire time, and my heart was his. I am ever so grateful for that.

Satan would love for me to bottle up and grow bitter and weary. I also know that is a lie. I've said it on this blog quite a few times, and I'll say it again, "My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever" (Psalm 73:26). Forever. Not just when I want him to be or on the good days but forever. That does not mean any of this is easier. But it does mean that I know it happened for a reason and that someday the Lord will redeem that, and I'll be able to see that. I trust him. I trusted him before this happened, and he took care of me. He proved himself faithful once again. If this happened to draw me closer to him and build my trust in him, then so be it. I learned that lesson, just one of the many I know I have yet to learn.

So yes, I am still thankful for this season. The Lord is good. He has ordained this season. May my focus be on his kingdom and his glory, not myself.

Until next time,
God Bless

Monday, October 3, 2011


I love autumn. I think the more I am at college and experience this season here, the more I love it. I know I've written about this in the past, but I love watching the leaves change colors. I love knowing that next year those leaves will return and will be made new again, with their striking colors and taunts for the eye.

I'm grateful for this season, this season of fall but also this season of life the Lord has me in. The Lord has a way of humbling me and making me eat my words so many times. He has quite the sense of humor. The Lord has shown me recently just how much he cares about every aspect of my life, whether I thought he did or not. He calls me to trust him with every aspect of my life, so he can prove himself faithful. And he always proves faithful.

Lately, I've been reading through the book of Jeremiah. The book is not one I read often, but I've been reading it since I returned from camp. Over and over again, the Lord sends out Jeremiah to tell the Israelites to turn away from their false gods and destructive ways of living or the Lord will destroy them. Jeremiah goes where the Lord asks him and says what the Lord tells him, although not always without complaint or danger. Jeremiah's life is threatened along the way. But the Lord is always there with him. So many wonderful truths are brought to life in the book of Jeremiah. "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jer. 31:3). "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future'" (Jer. 29:11). Along with Jeremiah, I've been reading a certain amount of Psalms that have been so ever true in my life. Psalms 57, 62, and 73 have been so true and profound in my life really since the beginning of the summer.

I know the Lord has me in this season for a reason. It's not exactly what I had planned, but the Lord never has the same plans I have, and thank goodness. Just like Jeremiah, I am called to trust, to love, and to go, wherever that may be. The Lord has sweetly surprised me and blessed me in ways I can't recount. He has let my relationship with my roommate blossom, let my relationship with my housemates also grow, and brought a new friendship into my life. It's humbling; I don't deserve this, but I thank him for it.

Well, hopefully soon, I'll be able to update more.

Happy fall.

Until next time,
God Bless

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Room is Done . . . For Now

Well, this last Monday my roommate and I worked all day on our room, and I must it looks pretty good. Pictures don't do it justice, but here you go.

Before: Funky paintings on the wall I did my sophomore year.

Cluttered bookshelf.

Funky weird colors. Poor Audrey had to go, but I still have one poster of her up.

And after: it's so different. The letters of "LOVE" are pasted with pictures of camps and mission trips I've been to. This is something I wrote at camp this summer that my roommate inspired me to paint. So I did.

A little more organized bookshelf and painted with distressing! I love it.
Found this little wall decoration at a flea market. It's a little small to just hang on a wall, but we'll find something to accompany it.
So that's my room now. I kept to my budget pretty well. I might have gone over by five or so dollars, but not too badly. I still would like to get a few more throw pillows and maybe change the comforter, but those will just have to be as I go things, and when I'm able to save.

I wish you could see it in person. It's so much more fun.

Until next time,
God Bless

Monday, August 29, 2011

Time for a Change

My roommate and I were talking last night, and we were discussing how we'd like to be crafty and do some fun things this upcoming weekend as it is Labor Day. I will go home on Friday, but I'll come back Sunday because I'm helping out with my church's youth group, and they meet on Sunday nights. But I don't have school on Monday and neither does my roommate, so we're going to spend the day being crafty.

I was first inspired to start all these crafty projects from Pinterest, a fun little website full of pinboards that you can add and save to and organize so that if you're surfing the web and find something you like, you can just pin it. Well, I've pinned quite a few things lately, and many of them are crafty do-it-yourself projects.

But I've also realized more than just wanting to be crafty is that I'm ready for a change in my room decorations too. See the room I'm in now resembles the leftovers of a freshman girl's college dorm room. Not that anything would be wrong with that . . . if I were still 18, but I'm not. I'll be 22 in less than two months. I want a room that says, "Yes, I'm in college, but not for long." Not that I'm ready to be done with college, I just don't like the colors or style of what I have right now.

So, my roommate and I are going to spend Monday not resting but redecorating our room. And I'm going to try to get all of the things I need for $100 or less. I have about that much from camp that I put back waiting for something that I would need it for. When I go home this weekend, I'll be going to some flea markets and other places to discover what treasures I can find.

Here's my list of things I want to do:
  • get rid of all colors preceded by the word "hot" (hot pink, hot orange, etc.)
  • take down some paintings from my sophomore year of college and replace with something new
  • paint a wall decoration with something I wrote at camp this summer (I'll show a picture later.)
  • Recover a couple of pillows
  • find a new lamp
  • paint and distress my bookshelf and nightstand
  • maybe take some lace and hang over my bed
  • focus accent colors on mustards, creams, browns, and hints of green with whatever earthiness I can find
  • reorganize and throw away stuff I don't need
  • take clothes I don't wear to a consignment shop
  • And if we have time, my roommate and I want to make some crafty stuff to wear as well.
So my project this week is to take out $100 and try to find a good majority of these things for under that much. I know where I can get some cheap fabric and some cheap wood/particle board. Distressing the bookshelf and nightstand will not be expensive. If I get lucky, I can find a lamp at a flea market here or my hometown. I had some old brightly colored fake flowers in my room, but I know I can find something cheap to replace those.

I am super excited for this. I haven't redecorated anything since my freshman year of college, and I'm ready. My roommate and I have similar tastes, and we both have projects we want to tackle. Part of me wanted to stay and work on stuff all weekend long, but this Friday is my brother's last first home game at high school in the band. I want to be there. Plus, my dad and I will have fun antiquing/thrifting when I go home this weekend. But I can't go over budget. That's the key. I'll also be on the hunt this week when I have any spare time in between classes. This town is loaded with thrift stores/flea markets.

I will post before pictures soon, and then you'll be able to anticipate the after pictures. (Well, I don't know if you'll anticipate them or not, but I will!) I'm excited for this week. It will be fun. I wish I could clone myself and the clone could go to my classes, but I could go exploring. How fun would that be?

Until next time,
God Bless

Friday, August 26, 2011

Just a little lonely

All summer I was surrounded by people. Be that campers, staffers, chaperones from churches, or the campground staff we worked with. I was almost constantly doing something with a bunch of people. I grew very close with the staff, especially. They were my family.

Now, I'm back at school figuring out how to go through my day without a group of thirty high-schoolers at my back or a team of staffers around me.

I realize today as I sit in this quiet newspaper office in this cubicle that I am lonely. I guess it took me almost three weeks of not being at camp to realize that. Most of what I do during the day at school I do on my own. Not because I don't want to be sociable but because not everyone has to do what I need to do, much unlike camp.

So if you think about it, lift up a prayer for me that I might find my company and my comfort in the Lord. And that maybe he would send some company my way on the earth as well. I know I'm not lonely because I have the Lord. And the Lord was with me in California. But he's the only thing I had in California that I still have here. Everything else that I had is gone.

Until next time,
God Bless

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Last First Day of School

So tomorrow is my last first day of school. That's so weird, at least it's the last first day of school where I am a student. If I land a teaching job after graduation, I'll have first days of school, but it will be from a whole new perspective.

I was able to work Welcome Week this year, what out university does to welcome in the new freshman. It was great for me to interact with them and get to know them before classes started. We had a bunch of freshman and new students over to our house tonight, and we played games and had a lot of fun. This year's freshmen are great. They're very chill and very fun.

I remember the first day of my freshman year of college. I was so nervous, and I felt so awkward. I even remember what I wore. Isn't that weird? I think back to my freshman year, and I praise the Lord that He changed me and made me a new person.

Being a senior feels so weird. It's just one of those things that I never thought would arrive in my life, and here it is. But what's so cool is that everywhere I've turned during Welcome Week, Jeremiah 29:11 has been right there. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. 'Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.'" I've heard this verse my whole life. Sometimes I feel quoting it or studying it becomes cliche or old-school. But it's the word of God. It's truth. It will never be cliche or old-school; it is powerful and from the mouth of God. Who am I to doubt it or turn my back on it?

Thus far in my life, God has proven that verse to be true. Who am I to say he's going to change now? What comforts me most about this verse is that the Lord knows the plans he has for me, not plans that I have for me, plans he has for me. Throughout this summer, I had to tell myself that this day, this week, this month, this life is not about me. God is my everything, and he wants me to trust him to do everything for me. I am not to live this life on my own.

So yes, tomorrow is my last first day of school, but I know I am living the plan God purposed for my life. I know I am living in his plan because it's happening, and what he plans happens. God is good, and if he's taught me anything in the past three years, it's that I can trust him, completely, unashamedly, wholeheartedly. I love him. So incredibly much, I love him.

He has a plan for me, to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future.

Until next time,
God Bless

Friday, August 12, 2011


This summer has kind of gone by like a whirlwind. One minute, I was packing my things to head to camp for the summer, and as I turn around, I find myself ready to pack my things to head back for my senior year of college.

God has taught me so much my first three years of college. He definitely taught me so much this summer as well. I know this last year of college will not be any different. But to be very honest, I am a little nervous. Maybe it's a healthy kind of nervous.

Despite my fear or my uneasiness about entering this last year of school, I know where my trust lies, with the Lord. He has proven himself worthy of my trust time and time again, and I know he will never fail me.

So often in my walk with the Lord, and even right now looking ahead, I just don't know what to expect or what will come. But just like I told my students all summer long, as Christians we wear proverbial blindfolds. We can't see what's coming next. Only the Lord sees our futures. We are called to simply trust. Now it's time for me to accept that in my life as well. The Lord always shows me how to trust in one thing and then asks me take a bigger step and trust in him even more, which makes sense. Sometimes it's just tough.

This summer, the Psalms were a great comfort for me. This portion of Psalm 73 has spoken and continues to speak so much truth into my life.

v. 23-28: "Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. It doesn't matter what happens this year or what God calls me to. He is my portion. Without him, I am nothing. His burden is easy and his yolk is light; I am called to trust. I pray these verses are true in my own life.

So yes, I am slightly anxious for the upcoming year. Saying I wasn't would be a lie. But I am also hopeful. God will do great things.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I don't know what I mentioned before my last few posts, but I have been working at a camp this summer. This camp is called CentriFuge. It's a child company/camp of the company LifeWay. In the past, I've gone to summer camps as a camper and as a sponsor, but never have I been on this side of camp. I'm on staff at this camp, and I've been leading Bible studies for the past six weeks and teaching track times. Track times are little classes/tracks offered in the afternoons. I've been teaching For Girls Only and Creative Painting.

I've never been so blessed and so humbled in all my life. I've been to South Asia twice, and I've seen that heartache and brokenness, physically and spiritually. But never have I seen such heartache and brokenness here in the United States. I've seen campers with broken homes, broken lives, hopelessness, lostness, and so much more. I've been raised in a solid, Christian home my entire life. My parents have been married for over 29 years. Every member of my immediate family is a Christian. I've never been abused, deeply hurt, forgotten, abandoned or anything. And then I come here, in the same country I've lived in my whole life, and encounter students who have no idea who Jesus is and have never been told that Jesus loves them. These students have faced obstacles and challenges that I will never face. I have been truly humbled and blessed to work with this camp this summer.

I signed up for this last fall thinking it would just be a job that would get me through the summer. I had no idea my life would be so changed and so shaken up. After this summer, I can't imagine my life without some sort of ministry being a part of it. I don't know what that looks like, but I know in the Lord's timing that he will show me. If I've learned anything this summer, it's that I can trust the Lord with everything, absolutely everything.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

God-The Ultimate Wedding Planner

I'm in a wedding today. Not my own, but one of my childhood/long-time friend's wedding. We've been doing wedding preparation and decoration since Thursday, and last night was the rehearsal dinner. Everything has gone well so far except for a little frustration from the bride on Thursday night due to being tired . . . which is totally normal.

Yesterday, I was helping the bride get ready for the rehearsal dinner, and we were talking about the ceremony and bride's being stressed and the like. She was talking about so many things with the wedding had fallen through but how God was always right there to pick them back up and make them better. She was praising God for his goodness, and I was glad to see that despite how stressed she is sometimes, God is in control.

I then proceeded to say something along the lines of, "Wouldn't it be funny to be God and look down from heaven and see all the brides that stress out while preparing for their wedding and on their wedding day? God's probably saying, 'You know if you would just trust me and let me handle this, this would go a lot more smoothly. I have done weddings before.' He probably just laughs at brides and their uptight, stressful states before their weddings."

But think about how true that is. God probably oversees a wedding close to every day of the week. And not only that, but he's planning a wedding celebration and feast that will trump every wedding to date and after. God is the ultimate wedding planner, and although he doesn't appear in the church on the night before the wedding and tell everyone where to sit and where to stand, he is there. God gives the bride peace when she's nervous. He gives the father of the bride assurance that he's giving away his daughter to the right man. God gives calmness to the four children under the age of 10 who are walking down the aisle with the bridal party.

I'm not looking to plan a wedding any time soon, but I give anyone who reads this post full right to remind me of this when I do start to plan a wedding. God should be in control. The day really isn't about the bride anyway. The wedding is just a small picture of Christ and the church.

So yes, I'm in a wedding today, but it will be beautiful and God-directed and joyful.

Until next time,
God Bless

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Fallen Film

On March 11, 2011, the movie "Jane Eyre" hit a select amount of big screens around the nation. As an avid lover of the book Jane Eyre, I was very much upset when the movie did not come to a theater near where I live. I really wanted to see the movie.

Well, tonight I found out it was playing in a town around thirty minutes from here, so a friend and I went and saw it.

Before I tell you more about the movie, let me give you a taste of what my expectations were before I entered the theater.

I had watched the trailers for the movie multiple times; I had found scenes and watch those as well; I read the book when I was in high school and fell in love with every word Charlotte Bronte scripted to bring the story together. This is my all-time favorite fiction book, even more than Jane Austen's books. The story, the plot line, of Jane Eyre is just so amazing and intriguing. I went into this movie expecting to have my breath taken away.

Well, that's not exactly what happened.

The movie began in a different way than I imagined, but I thought it was clever and understood what the director was trying to do. I liked the progression through the first part of the story because if you've read the book, you know the first part is kind of the slowest. But when Jane arrived at Thornfield, I expected more from the movie. From then on, I kept waiting for more and more, but it never came. When the screen went black at the very end, I kept saying, "No, no. Don't tell me this. No." And then it ended. My friend even mentioned to me one of the most significant details of the book that they just totally overlooked, and the last and probably most important chapters of the book are left out completely. I was so mad. I'm still a little heated if you can't tell.

But my anger at the failure of this movie does not stop here. No, I have a few people I need to address.

First, I must address Cary Fukunaga, director of "Jane Eyre."

Mr. Fukunaga,

What were you thinking? Did you think readers of this book would appreciate such a weak attempt to capture the essence of Jane Eyre? Did you think we wanted to be teased with each scene as it came so close to diving deep beneath the surface? No, we wanted to sink in the emotion and grief of the characters. Instead of my breath being taken away, I released it in huffs of frustration. Why would you even spend time attempting to make something that won't even come close to embodying what the book really says?

Next, I must address Charlotte Bronte, author of Jane Eyre. (Yes, I know she's dead.)

Dear Miss Bronte,

I'm extremely sorry for the poor attempt Focus Features and Cary Fukunaga made of this rendition of your wonderful classic. I'm sorry I paid the money I did to watch it. But I will tell you, this failure on the screen accounts for the fact that your work is so good that nothing can match it. I wish you could have been here to talk to the people who obviously needed help in making this movie.

Dear Reader of Jane Eyre,

You may have not read Jane Eyre, but whether you have read the book or constantly read the book all the time, I am sorry you had to endure this version of the book. Let me just tell you, RedBox it. Don't wast money seeing it in theaters. Many good scenes take place in the play, but the lack of enough details defeats any hope of a good moment in the movie.

If you have not read the book, let me just tell you this. You will enjoy the movie more if you have not read the book. But at this point, I would just suggest to get a copy of the book and read it. The book is so much more phenomenal and carries the plot so wonderfully. The depth of emotion and feeling does not reveal itself in the movie as it does in the book.

Yes, this is my review of "Jane Eyre." I don't recommend it, especially if you've read the book.

It just made me sad.

Until Next time,
God Bless

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Almost a Senior, Almost

So on my last post I said that I would be uncovering some misleading truths in some books I have read. I didn't realize, however, that I would not have the time to do this during the summer as I am working at a camp. So, this endeavoring with all the many books I would like to re-read may not happen for awhile. But when I decide to begin this project, I will let you know.

Today I took my last final. I still have one more reflection to write tomorrow that counts as a final, but it's not actually a test, so I kind of consider myself done with finals. Finishing my finals is always so weird for me. Throughout the entire semester, I study for ridiculous amounts of time and carry this weight of anxiety around on my shoulder for the all the work I have to do in all these classes. And then, suddenly with the turning-in of one test, it all comes to an end. I look back on the semester and wonder why I worried. But I also know that weight of anxiety also serves as motivation sometimes. It's kind of a catch 22 situation.

But yes, I am done. I'm not officially a senior yet. I won't count myself as one until after graduation, when all the seniors who are still here are gone. I'm excited to be a senior, but I also know that starting in the fall will be my last year of protection, if you will, from the real world. Not that I'm scared of the real world, but I've never lived in the real world on my own. I'm so glad my graduation is a year from this Saturday instead of four days away. I know/hope that when the time comes I won't be as scared as I am now, but only time will tell.

On a brighter note, I am excited for the camp I will be on staff with this summer. The camp is CentriFuge sponsored by LifeWay. I've never attended the camp as a camper, but I've heard wonderful things about it.

I'm also just excited to have some free time next week before training starts for camp. I'm bringing a friend home with me after school get out, and we're just going to chill and take it easy for about five days, five days of much needed rest.

So, yes, almost a senior, almost with 100 hours under my belt. (That doesn't seem possible.)

Hope you have a great summer. I try to post as often as I can.

Until next time,
God Bless

Friday, May 6, 2011

Dispelling the Lies

The idea for this post spurs from a conversation had at my house last night with my roommates. The conversation is the spring board of this post. As the post continues, the focus may shift to something bigger or more broad. We'll see.

The conversation centered around my roommate and this guy she knows from the YMCA. Well, they've been friends for awhile, and he has dropped hints that he would like to hang out with her more, but he has never followed through. One of our other roommates jumped in on the conversation because she's married and has a little more experience with guys. (Yes, I live with a married couple and then another roommate, in case you're wondering.)

My roommate was talking about how she doesn't want to text this guy or call him because that's what the guy is supposed to do. Well, L, the other roommate, jumps in and says that it is okay for M, my roommate to text the guy and give a little encouragement. For the record, this was the first time I have ever heard this. So we talked a little more about what M should say to this guy. She could say that it would be nice to hang out with him sometime or that they should go get coffee or go for a walk. But neither M or me had ever heard this before. All my life, and all of M's life, we've been told, don't pursue guys, don't text them, don't call them, let them pursue you.

Let's sit back and think about that for a second. Why is a guy supposed to know he should pursue a girl if she gives him no indicator that she likes him or wants to hang out with him? You may say, because he likes her. But how does he know he likes her if she gives him no encouragement? Many a guy has probably realized he doesn't like a girl because she gives him nothing to go off of. Someone drew a fine line between encouragement and pursuing, and I must've missed that epic event. Every book I've read, every Bible study I've been a part of, and every girls conference I've been too said, "Let the guy chase you."

I'm not saying this approach is flawed. For some, this might work. Obviously, for me, it hasn't work, speaking from 21 1/2 years of never having a boyfriend. I know I think sometimes that guys are judgmental and constantly ridiculing girls and their every move, even though they could probably care less. For me, someone who does not have the longest list of guy friends or male "hang-out" buddies, anytime a guy talks to me or shows more than a little interest in me, I think that he likes me. I'm getting better with this, but it's hard. I think the hardest stage for a guy and a girl for a girl to understand is the friend stage. I forget that yes, I can be friends with guys, and that's okay. I can talk to them and them not think I'm crazy. They are people too. Their only existence is not to be boyfriends.

That said, I feel like all those books I read and all those Bible studies I went to made me a little paranoid and scared of boys. Yes, I admit it. I'm a little scared of them at times. But to hear someone who I think very sound in her faith say that it is okay to give guys a little encouragement where encouragement is needed was wonderful. Not chasing after them, just encouraging them. I wish I would've known that a long time ago. I wish I would've known that just asking a guy to go get coffee as friends is okay. I wish I would've known that just talking to guys is okay.

This brings me to part two of my post. As a journalist, I like to investigate things, especially things that are wrong. So over the next however many months, I'm going to read all those books I read when I was 14, 15, 16 and dispel the lies with scripture because I know the lies are there. And yes, I know it says in scripture that a woman is to have a gentle and quiet heart, but I also know that women like Esther, Ruth, Mary, and Hannah probably didn't sit around pining for someone to marry. Esther sure didn't. Ruth was even encouraged by Naomi to go to her man.

I know this may not seem like the biggest priority compared to the gospel, but it's something I've struggled with for as long as I can remember. I don't function well in the company of guys because my brain analyzes their every word and action around me. It's bad, really bad. And I do not think this is healthy. I don't think God wants me to be scared of my brothers-in-Christ. I'm not scared of my actual brother, so why should I be scared of them? This will require going against every habit I formed when I was younger, but I think God will teach me a huge lesson on the other side. I don't want to become a flirt. That's not what this is about. This is about learning how to interact with guys in a healthy way and just be friends.

I may not get through a ton of books this summer as I have a job lined out, but we'll see what happens. Stay tuned.

Until next time,
God Bless

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stress-free . . . and okay with it

Life has been so crazy lately. If I don't have homework or an impending task at hand for one class, then I have it for something else. The good news is that I only have two and a half weeks of classes left, a week of finals, and then I'm done, for this semester anyway. And I only have two finals, so that is wonderful.

I've come to the point in the semester when I still care about my work, papers, and tests and everything else I have to do, but I've lost that sense of urgency and motivation that I had at the beginning of the semester. I just get burnt out and don't want to do any of the work anymore. But I think God understands this too. For example, I'm in a Shakespeare class this semester, and every day our professor starts the class with a quiz over the assigned reading. Well, today she surprised us. We celebrated Shakespeare's birthday, although a little late, and she told us the quiz was cancelled. That just made my day because I had read the material, but I didn't read it as thoroughly as I should have. I wanted to read it, but I simply did not have the time. And I know the party, however of a simple, silly thing it was, was a blessing from God.

I still have quite a bit to do this semester. I have a test tomorrow in Victorian Literature; I'm taking cupcakes to my field experience classrooms tomorrow and Thursday morning; I have the Praxis on Saturday; I have a poem I'm presenting next Wednesday, which requires a lot of research; I have a paper due in Shakespeare before the final, and I also have a paper due in Victorian Literature before the final as well. Oh, and did I mention I have to grade seven essays before next Thursday and finish all of my education paperwork? Yeah, I have to do that too.

But I'm not stressed. I don't think God wants to be stressed. I'm tired of being stressed. This does not mean I will not get my work done or slack off. It's just that maybe, if I don't kill myself trying to study for tests or beat myself up if I don't prepare enough, it will be okay. Twenty years from now, no one will care about how I do on the test I will take tomorrow. Now, of course, I care right now, and that's what makes it hard. It's all about balance.

So yes, this is my life right now. Crazy, crazy, busy, busy. But I know in about three and a half weeks, I'll get a break, a much needed and deserved break, if I do say so myself. Then I will work at camp over the summer, experience God do amazing things, and come back for my senior year of college and my last semester of actual classes. Yay!

So yes, life is good.

Hope you are enjoying the rain or sun or whatever weather you are blessed with.

Until next time,
God Bless

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eating My Words

In the past two and a half years, I've learned a lot, but in the past two and a half months, I think I've learned even more.

I've made some judgments and told people some things that I thought I meant, and I think I really did mean them at the time. But in the past couple of weeks, God has allowed me to eat my words. God changed my perspective on quite a few things and humbled me, greatly humbled me.

I had a conversation with my dad a couple of weeks ago that was a good awakening moment. He reminded me why I'm in college and that this time in my life is supposed to be fun, not filled with confusion and grief. I had been looking for the bad in a lot of things when really, a lot of good could be found in those things.

I sometimes get so focused on what I have to do that I forget that college is more than just grades and if I studied enough for this test or that. This should be one of the most fun times of my life, building relationships and spending time with people who will matter. I've overlooked so many important things in the past two and a half months, things I'm honestly ashamed that I've done.

But I know God has given me a chance to fix things and make things better. Even in the past two weeks my attitude has changed, and I'm just more joyful about life, which I think if one is a follower of Christ, joy is a good thing to have.

I think God has taken this time to jar me a little, to show me that I have a year left of college, and I should make it count.

Speaking of some fun I've been having, last Saturday, my roommate and I went to the school where she did her student teaching and we helped work a carnival. It was a lot of fun, and it confirmed the fact that I'm not supposed to each at the elementary level. I love little kids, but I would never want to teach them.

Here's a picture of Mel and myself before we left for the carnival. It was a warm day, so we thought we'd wear cute spring dresses.

So, yes, I've been eating my words. But you know what? They kind of taste good.

Until next time,
God Bless

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Call to Trust

Sometimes, our purpose in life and the method of how and why we do the things we do just makes sense. Other times, they don't make sense. Today was one of those days for me. I feel as though today was a whirlwind. It just kind of came and went, and it was hard for me to grasp anything in it. But now that it has past, I can feel its effects. Right now, I am a junior in college. If all goes as it should, I am set to graduate in May 2012. As of this moment, I don't know what God has in store for me or what I will do when they hand me my diploma. I have a ton of options, but my desire is to pursue the right one, the one God has for me. One option I have is, of course, to pursue what I have been building up to these past two and three quarter years: teaching. It just kind of makes sense to apply at high schools and begin my teaching career. This is definitely an appealing option. I could settle down, get involved with teaching and whatever local church I find, and just begin to live life as an independent adult. Another option I have, which would probably come after a few years of teaching, is to pursue my passion for writing. If you do not know, I have written a full-length novel and have been told that it is publishable material by a very reputable company. The only drawback to that at this point in time is that this company wanted me to put down the funds to publish the book. With my monthly salary being as slight as it is, this just wasn't going to happen, especially for the sum they wanted. But just knowing that my work is worth publishing gives me hope that maybe someday it could happen. The final option I have considered for quite some while not actually telling many people is to go overseas and serve for two years. The International Mission Board has a program called Journeyman. I won't go to into every detail here, but this program sends out college graduates up to the age of twenty-six who the company feels is well-equipped to serve overseas in a cooperating country for two years. I have been to South Asia twice, and on my first trip, our team worked with two Journeymen who were working under the leadership of long-term missionaries there on the field. So seeing them in action with us on the field really sparked an interest in me. I haven't been able to let that go since then, and it's almost been a year since my first trip. This past trip I took just reinforced all those reasons of why I should pursue Journeyman. Many pros and cons exist with this option, as they do for all the other options. But this has been the option, the "what-if," that has been the most difficult to get out of my head. I know God allowed me to go to South Asia for a reason. I don't want to pass up an opportunity to go and share the love of God with people who need it all over the world. But I also know I can do that here as well. So tonight, all of this kind of came crashing down on me at once. I felt myself tensing up and getting stressed out about it. I ended up working out for about an hour and a half tonight, and after I was done, I had a different look at the whole thing, a look I should've had from the beginning (thank you, endorphins). These options I'm mulling over, this so-called "plan" I think I have for my life is nothing compared to what God has for me. God doesn't call me to know right now. His word doesn't say I have to know what I'll be doing in two years. His word says I need to trust. When I think about that, about trusting and knowing God is in control, it takes such a burden off me. I'm no longer pressured to figure all this out. God will do that for me. If Journeyman is something God has purposed for my life, then He'll equip me and move my heart toward that. If I'm supposed to get a job and teach and impact students here, then He will move my heart to that as well. When we quiet our busy minds and remember the great reaches of God's control and power, we receive that nice dose of humility, knowing that nothing we do is good enough and that we can do nothing on our own. So maybe whirlwind days aren't so bad after all. God can take a day that didn't seem to make sense in the midst of it, but then show us how every minute of that day was for His glory. Well, enjoy the rest of your week. Until next time, God Bless.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Contentedly Single

*This is a really long post.

It's been awhile. I know. There's really no excuse for why I haven't blogged recently. I think part of it stems from having to write two to three articles per week for the school paper and being in five classes that require writing. Once I begin to write all the time, I wouldn't say I become burn-out, but I just need a break.

But, today is the last day of school before spring break starts. I will leave school at three o'clock and head for home. I also enrolled for my first semester of my senior year yesterday. That is so weird to think about. But my schedule is great. It's the same times of classes that I had last fall, and I loved that schedule. No, not the same classes, but the same times of classes.

I'm so ready to go home. My schedule this semester is absolutely crazy, and I feel like I haven't had time to breathe lately. I had a kidney infection two weeks ago, which I didn't have to miss any classes for, so that was good. Although, it did set me a little behind with studying for some tests that I had that week. But I got my tests back this week, and I got A's on both tests. All I can say is, "Thank you, God." It was all him.

Right now I'm praying through a few different things that God has put on my heart. I'm looking forward to going home for break, so I can have more time to spend with God and get away from being so busy.

One thing that God has really pressed on my heart in the past few weeks is how blessed I am to be single. For who knows how long, (you do know if you've read my blog), I've been praying about the man God has for me and what that looks like and how much longer I'll have to wait. For awhile, I put up a front saying that I didn't want a boyfriend and that Christ was my only desire, but I think I was only just saying that to disguise my want for a boyfriend.

But I'm in a different living arrangement this semester, and God has shown me so much though it. He's shown me what marriage, a young marriage, looks like on a daily in-and-out schedule. He's also shown me what having kids looks like and how that impacts one's marriage. For a long time, I thought marriage was just a romantic idea for two people who have fallen in love to be together. But God kind of wiped that idea from my mind. Marriage can be messy. It can be hard. And there's no getting out of it. None of those things are bad, but marriage is not something and should not be something one enters into on a whim. Not when marriage is something that requires so much commitment. I had never thought of marriage in that way before. I knew it involved all those things, but I had never seen people so close to my age who were married live that out on a daily basis.

All that to say: I'm not ready to be married. And not only that, I don't want to be married right now. I look at all the responsibilities that come with being married, and I don't want them at 21 years of age. I still have one more year of school ahead of me. I still have to graduate and figure out where God wants me to teach. And I love being free. I love the independence that comes with being single. If I were in a relationship or married, I would constantly have to be aware of that other person, which isn't bad, if you're ready for it. This is just one of those areas that is going to take some time to mature. And that's okay. I would much rather be single for the next however many years and be ready for marriage, or as ready as I can be, when that comes along, than get married now and hate being married.

For a long time now, I've had this vision of myself after college living in an apartment by myself with a dog or maybe a cat. I don't know. But I have this dream, if you will, of being independent. I think as young women, especially in this culture and especially in the Bible belt, we think that to be complete and have a prosperous life, we need to get married. Everyone expects it. Parents, friends, family, church members; everyone. But why? Because that's what everyone has done for the past however many years?

And don't hear me saying that I'm against the institution of marriage. I'M NOT. I'm very for a man and a woman getting married if that is God's will and if they are both ready--financially, spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc. Believe me, if God blesses me with a husband some day, I'm not going to turn that down. But I'm not ready right now. I enjoy being able to come and go as I please. And not that I have any potential suitors, but this also means I don't want to be in a relationship because at this age in one's life, a serious relationship usually leads to marriage. I also don't want this to sound like I am selfish and can think only about myself. But right now, in the hustle and craziness of college, I do okay to make sure I have everything in line where it should be. I can't imagine having to take care of someone else at the same time. And I know that if I get married when I am teaching, my schedule will still be busy and crazy. But I'll be more mature, and by then, I will have had those years to enjoy being single.

I heard a young lady say a few weeks ago that she felt God brought her a husband to have someone to enjoy God with. I liked that. To her, getting married wasn't about the ooey, gooey romantic feelings and "falling in love." Marriage was about a union set out by God to glorify God. And if I'm not going to glorify God in my marriage by not being mature enough or prepared, then I don't want to be married.

Isaiah 54:5 says that your maker is your husband. When I look at Jesus as my husband and begin to focus on my relationship with him, everything else falls away. He is what matters. Not what might happen someday or what might not happen. Only Jesus.

So, this is what God has been pouring into my life. And let me just tell you, it is so freeing. I don't worry about what guys think of me as much as I used to. I'm not constantly looking for a guy. I'm so content. And I owe all of this revelation and understanding to God. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am today.

Well, enjoy the spring weather.
Until next time,
God Bless

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I almost feel that anything I want to write about Valentine's Day would be a cliche. You name it, it's been written.

But I'm going to write something anyway.

I feel as though most people take one of three stances when it comes to Valentine's Day. They either do something special for that special someone, complain and grovel in bitterness because they are so lonely (single), or they proudly proclaim that they are perfectly fine with being single.

Well, what if we look at Valentine's Day from another light? Does the focus of Valentine's Day just have to be on the love shared between a man and a woman? Can't I celebrate the love I have for a friend on Valentine's Day?

In the Bible, Christ commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. Most of you know, I now live off campus. The family with whom I live usually does their own thing for Valentine's Day. The husband and wife go off on their date, and they find a sitter for the kids. Well, tonight, we're doing something different. We're celebrating Valentine's Day as a family, celebrating the love we have for one another.

Americans spend countless amounts of money on cards, flowers, and chocolates for this day that for some reason happens to be different from every other day of the year because the calendar has two words written in the February 14th slot: "Valentine's Day." I think it would be really neat if we celebrated the love we have for our friends and family every day. No, I don't recommend buying a dozen roses every day, but just telling those important people in your life how much you love and treasure them more than just one or two days a year.

Yes, I am single on this Valentine's Day as I have been for the past 20 Valentine's Days of my life. But I'm okay with that. I'm not bitter or proudly announcing how satisfied I am with being single; I'm just enjoying being in love with Christ and knowing that no love, whether I had a man or not, could compete with the love of Christ.

So, Happy Valentine's Day. I hope it's a great day for you.

Until next time,
God Bless.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Love-Hate Relationship

So we've received about 24 inches of snow in the past 36 hours, and I must say it is beautiful. Eight people have been cooped up in our house for the last day just trying to stay warm and keep company. It's been a lot of fun. Monday night right before the storm hit, my school cancelled classes, and we stayed up until 4 o'clock in the morning. It was great.

But I've also decided that I have a love-hate relationship with snow. I think it is beautiful, and I love watching it snow. I love being inside when the snow is in fact falling from the sky. What I do not like is the next day when it is done snowing and all that snow remains lurking about. You can't go anywhere, and you can't do anything and because the snow is shining, it just makes one want to go out and be in the beautiful weather . . . well, the sunny weather.

What also stinks is that I had just gotten myself back into the groove of reading for class and getting on the ball for school work and getting motivated, and then class gets cancelled two days in a row. Lovely. Now, if we have class tomorrow, I have to get my lazy self motivated, again, and get back to reading. Fun fun.

Another thing I don't really care for is that you can't really be physically active, like intense exercise, especially when there are eight people in your house. I mean, I could go out and run in the snow, but I would only last like five minutes, and it's really, really cold. And I don't like that once you go out, spend some time in the snow and come back in, the snow gets everywhere. Yeah, it's fun to play in, which we did today, but it just gets everything wet and cold.

The last thing I really hate about this snow is the fact that I-44 west is closed, or at least part of it is. I haven't been home since January 5. I've been on a mission trip, and now we're in our second week of classes. I just want to go home. But if they don't open I-44 west by this weekend, I'll be stuck here for another week, which wouldn't be horrible, but I would still like to go home. My family really wants to see me, and I really want to see them.

So, yeah, I love the snow as it's falling and sparkling in the moonlight. It just makes one want to sit by the fire, sip hot cocoa, and read a good book. But when you are cooped up for two days and have nothing to do, it gets old.

Yes, I thank God for the beauty of it, but I just really wish I could go home.

There. I've said my peace.
Here are some pictures of our lovely Snow Apocalypse of 2011.

Hope everyone enjoyed their snow.
Until next time. God Bless.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Yes...I'm still alive.

I know it's been forever since I've last posted, but it's not because I've forgotten about you. Oh no.

For my first two weeks over break, I was home but did not have ready Internet access, so I did not post. And then for the last three-ish weeks, I've been in South Asia on a mission trip with my church that I attend here at college.

(A little girl I had the privilege of getting to hold while we were in someone's home. I could've taken her home with me.)
Let me just say that this past trip to South Asia was so amazing, and God taught me so much through it. The church planter we were able to work alongside is one of the most humble men I've ever known. He welcomed us into his home every night, and his wife made our team dinner although she wouldn't let us call it that. Then one night she made us "real dinner" which was more food than we could handle. We walked through the book of Galatians in five nights with our church planter and our team growing because of it. And we also played badmitton every night because our church planter's son loves badmitton and stinkin' amazing. And our team leader and I make a pretty good badmitton team too if I do say so.

(This was a family who owns one of the schools where we visited. The guy in the dark orange shirt asked for my phone number. I just told him I lived in America, and it was too far. It was so funny.)
We were able to visit the churches the planter has planted. He's done this in less than a year and already has two more locations and people groups ready to start two more churches. We visited a widow's colony that blew me away. It's funded by the government, so the facility is very nice, and the lady's there have a way to take part in a trade and make stuff so they just don't sit and do nothing.

(This is what is known as a henna tattoo. It's a temporary tattoo that some women get when they get married, but the girls on our team got it just because it's cool. It wears off in like two weeks. They apply this mud-type substance that has a weird spice to it and makes your hands stink, but it also stains your skin. You leave the mud substance on and let it dry for like two hours. Then we washed it off, and it leaves a kind of orange-ish brown tint on your skin the same design as the mud was. The picture above is of the mud still on before I washed it off. It's so much prettier than the tattoos people get in the states because it's brown and not that yucky -black-ish blue color.)
We did some prayer-walking, which I'm going to try to start doing more of here in the states because it's needed more than just in South Asia. We went to a couple of schools, but we didn't get to preach or teach English. However, the guy who runs both of the schools is letting our church planter meet in one of them, so for us not to visit would be kind of rude and discouraging.

One afternoon, we went to one of the locations to preach where one of the next two churches will be planted. When we arrived, the owners of the home took us to the roof of the house, and thirty children and mothers already waited for us. Within five minutes, that number doubled, and I was praying the roof wasn't going to cave in. Our leader asked the other guy on the team to preach, and I was asked to share my testimony. And I did.

(This was that roof I was telling you about. And I didn't even get the whole roof in the picture.)
I've shared my testimony before, but never before was it as nerve-wracking and terrifying as it was in that moment, and those people didn't even understand me. I did have a translater, but just the fact of standing in front of sixty people didn't help my nerves at all. And I think having the team behind me, as small as we were, didn't help. But right before I stood to speak, I just told the Lord to let them be His words and not mine. That helped my nerves a little. But it made me a little ashamed of myself. I should never be that nervous to share what God has done in my life. I should be able to talk about it backwards and forwards because it's the best thing that's ever happened to me. I should never be nervous.

As we left that home, all the kids who had been on the roof and all the other kids who had seen us from the other roofs followed us back to our van. All I could hear was laughing and the pitter-patter of little feet following us. When we reached our van, they were climbing on and trying to climb in--all in smiles and laughter. It was one of the most fulfilling and joyful moments of my life. I wish I could've stayed.

(I took this picture from the van, and I wasn't zoomed in. That's how close they were to the van. They're so beautiful.)
We also did some sight-seeing and just had an awesome time as a team. God ordained this team from the start, and it was awesome to see us bond and connect so quickly.
On our way back to the States, we had an overnight layover in London, and it was AMAZING!!!! I'm pretty sure I will be going back to London, somehow, someway, someday. I love London. It's so beautiful. And even though it was late, and we were tired and cold, it was still so awesome. We saw Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, the Parliament Building, the River Thames, and we saw the footbridge that blows up on the sixth Harry Potter movie--that's just a freeby. I also rode on a subway system for the first time. They call it the "tube" in London, but it's virtually the same thing.

We arrived home this past Friday very early in the morning, and I slept very late that afternoon. It was wonderful. I didn't sleep well Friday night, but every night since then I've been sleeping great.

I'm all settled in at my new place which actually isn't mine, but it kind of is. I started classes on Monday, and I know I will have a busy schedule, but it will be good. I will have lots of reading, but that's expected when one is an English major. I'm taking Shakespeare this semester, and I've heard I will have to read quite a bit for that class. But how awesome is it that I get to study the works of one of the most amazing playwrights/authors in all of history for a whole semester? I'm pretty pumped.

I'm still processing a lot from the trip, and I know I'll think about more things as time goes along, but I just wanted to fill you in on what's been happening lately. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Until next time,
God Bless