Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sin Seen in Friendships

I have been so frustrated with myself lately. I am so sinful. This should not come as a surprise. I get riled up so easily. I am rather sensitive to teasing. I am argumentative. I get frustrated with others. My own well-being is often on the forefront of my mind instead of the gospel. I hate when I don't feel listened to because I "deserve" to be listened to. Really?! No, how self-serving I can be! I am selfish. My balance of truth and grace is not really a balance. I don't keep my word. I don't exhibit self-control. I am loud. Gentleness is often not something I exemplify or practice. I talk a lot and listen little. I am more concerned with earthly things than eternal things. I poorly balance my schoolwork. I procrastinate constantly. I do not make aggressive hospitality a lifestyle. I say a lot and do little. I hide from conflict and yet when I must, I deal with it poorly. This list doesn't even touch on many of the inward sins that only manifest themselves in subtle ways. And now, look at me, I'm throwing myself a pity party!

Some of my friendships [specifically within Navs] have afforded such comfortableness that I am much less concerned with being agreeable and not stepping on toes. We are comfortable with one another. This leads to less guard against those seemingly small sins that easily weasel their way into my daily activities. Thus, my sin is clearly visible. It is BLARING! From my viewpoint, it has sirens and is painted red. It is clear for all to see.

This is the most disgusting part of all of this. I do not hate this sin because it is disgusting and filthy to my God but because it shines a poor light on ME. I don't want these wonderfully encouraging friendships to end and the fear is that if too much sin is seen, there will not be sufficient grace on their part to cover all that they see so visibly. So silly am I.

Nonetheless, I pray that my sin becomes disgusting to me because it dishonors my God not because it dishonors my own name. I also am reminded to pursue excellence--righteousness--Christ so that I become more like Him.

I am so thankful for sanctification as painful as it might be.

#42

#42. Pray about who/what to faithfully support monthly.

This is a recent opportunity that was presented to me at the Navigators' Fall Conference. I wanted this to be something that was purposed toward the Great Commission. I wanted to be something that had some eternal value.

I went to Fall Conference and they spoke of the 10/40 Window as Christians often do. The Navigators Headquarters is sending a family from Cedar Falls, Iowa to Australia to minister there. There are a few reasons why.

1. The Navigator ministry in Australia is small yet faithful. There are few students throughout the entire continent present but those that are present are willing to labor. They have a passion and a drive to do so.

2. There are less negative feelings toward the Australians in comparison to those from the US. They are going to have more of an opportunity to build relationships with those abroad as there are less barriers to the friendship.

3. Since September 11, 2001, there are many countries that have begun sending their students elsewhere to learn English. That elsewhere being Australia. There is a huge population of international college students in Australia and thus not only will this new "plant" in Australia be one of sending but also one of ministering to students right there.

4. Australians are much more willing and likely to travel in comparison to those from the States. They are not afraid of being sent out. They are excited about being involved in such things.

I have chosen to give $10 a month to this family of six. I am excited for the opportunity to support this sweet family but also to be a part of ministering the gospel to those living in the 10/40 window.

Here's my 101 in 1001 list for reference.

#95

#95. Go to a concert.

Unfortunately there aren't any pictures from this event. Hillsong came to Albuquerque. Once my mom found out, she bought ten tickets assuming they would sell out quickly. She had planned on selling them to our friends and keeping what we needed for the family. All of the other sisters were out of town and so Mom and I were left to attend on August 2. That date might be off a bit.

It was a fun concert. Heidi, Chris, Mrs. Sharp, Chelsea, Garret, Johnathan, Carrie, Anie came with us. It ended up that Mom just gave the tickets as a gift to each of them.

I found that I'm not huge on concerts. They're loud and hot and I find them to be awkward. Do you sit or stand?! Nonetheless, I'm glad I went and completed my #95.

Here's my 101 in 1001 for reference.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

All-or-Nothing

It has been crazy around here lately. Sometimes I feel like life is falling apart. That feeling comes easily when I realize that I missed an online test or when I realize I missed a day of chores.

You see I'm an "all-or-nothing" type of girl. If I can't get it all done, well, I'm not even going to attempt or at least not put any effort into it. When I've been giving my "all" to something and then realize that I missed part of that "all," that "all" isn't an "all" anymore. If there's only two options, it must revert back to a "nothing" which means failure. That is not my goal so thus this reflects poorly on me and my work ethic, and hence the feeling of "falling apart." I hope that was follow-able.

When I got in the car today to come to Flying Star, I felt conquered, crushed, in despair, forsaken, destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:7-12). Yes, I am a girl and yes, I am highly emotional. Also, referencing the above paragraph, this is the feeling that come as a result of thinking I missed a psych test. I was doing so well. Had not missed one assignment and then I realized last night that I never took the chapter 6 test nor did I do the participation reports for three days. I got on WebCT today resolved to realize my slate was wiped clean. I preached the gospel to myself and rejoiced in the grace that is so freely given.

I got on today and by God's ever-present and never ending grace, it is fall break. This means that the chapter 6 test wasn't due on Thursday night but Monday night so I hadn't missed it. I love those little things that are so little but yet bring me much joy.

Ah, to preach the gospel to myself. So often I find myself living in my sin and wallowing in it. It is right to be disgusted by my sin. It is right to hate my sin. It is right to realize my sin. It is right to be mournful over my sin knowing that it is spitting on the face of the God; the God that chose me and pulled me from the depths of the miry pit. That is right. But if that's where the thought process ends, it is all in vain. There is more to the story than my sin. Christ died on the cross for ME. My sins are GONE. They are as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). Wallowing in my sins is not trusting my God that He has removed them from me. It is saying that my God is not big enough to do so. He is not big enough to make me clean. Christ's offering on the cross did not run deep enough to cover the extent that I have sinned. Oh, what a lie such things are! My God has saved me. He has wiped all dirt from me. He has cleaned me. He has made my white as snow. My heart is now one of flesh instead of one of stone. He has made me alive! Let us rejoice!

On the second note, I'm still going to sin until I die. Yes, I have not arrived. And please forgive me if I have ever acted or spoken as if I have. I do not rely on my Savior in the capacity that I need to thus sin abounds. Apart from Christ, it is impossible for me not to sin. Sanctification is a process (reference conversation with Anna at the end of Baylor camp). It will be ongoing and it will be painful. Sometimes it will pierce and sting. Sometimes it will pain me for longer than I think I can endure such things but my God knows much better.

So, in light of sanctification and justification, my attitude that I often succumb to, "all or nothing," has no place in my life. I am going to fail and I am going to fall. It is going to hurt but I will never be in despair, crushed, forsaken, destroyed because of Christ alone. I must live to His glory. I must give all that I have--as this is my reasonable service in response to the grace that I have been shown (Romans 12:1-2) but oftentimes I will fail in that and I must still go on. I must still press forth. I still must delight myself in the grace that is given to me minute by minute on this earth.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Paralyzed No More

As I opened my planner last night, my eyes focused in on the orange written on almost every day, the blue that signifies chores for the house, the pink and purple that I rarely see because all those classes ever have are tests, the black that accompanies every Friday and Monday and the red for which I have yet to even start understanding the material. In the largest sense of the word, I am overwhelmed.

I struggled with this all last year. My fall semester was marked by apathy and a general idea of procrastination brings the grade (it always worked during high school--my best papers were written at four am). My spring semester was one of inner conflict: the desire to do well and yet not desiring to work for it. My grades reflected all that was going on inside of me. I preferred to develop closer friendships with the believers on the leadership team for Navigators, providing a home in which we could experience true fellowship. Well, true fellowship was not had. Relationships did grow and I praise God for His grace in this area but my life was far from honoring to Him for my priorities were skewed and my pursuit of holiness thrown to the wayside.

As I write this, only now do I realize, last year was marked also by pride. This all was done to prove myself. I had new friends. They had to understand how I could serve and how holy I could look. Oh, how disgusting! Fear of inadequacy lay simmering deep below the surface.

(I do want to clarify that holiness was on a back burner somewhere; by His grace it had minor focus. There was some pursuit of Him that was not empty by His grace alone)

The first Navigator SALT team leadership meeting this year started off talking about a quote from a book, "Disciples are Made, Not Born." It pointedly said, "If you are at college for any other reason than to be a missionary for Jesus Christ, you are going for selfish, sinful reasons." My first reaction was, "WHAT?!? Excuse me. God has called me to school and that is what I am supposed to be doing. Yes, the Great Commission needs to be center but I am here to get a degree so that I can serve in the capacity to which God has called me in the future. I can't believe you could even accuse me of such things. That's not selfish."

After further discussion with an extremely helpful brother in Christ, missionary made much more sense to me. Missionary is someone who goes to live somewhere and immerses themselves in the culture in which they are now living. Without the cultural immersion (not including that which is unbiblical), one is not able to relate to the people. Applying this to college, if I were to pursue excellence in my studies, I am being a missionary. Studying is part of the college culture. It is a necessary part of the college culture in which I can blatantly bring glory to my King who gives me the ability to keep my eyes open and my brain processing. I cannot be a missionary unless I am pursuing excellence in this area.

My motivation for my studies has returned this semester. It is nowhere near the battle that I had with my flesh last semester (that I lost more than daily). I have been enjoying my schoolwork and find all that I'm studying extremely interesting.

As I look over my planner and the twenty quizzes, six tests, and three assignments that are all due before this month ends, I am worried not over the amount of work but over my inadequacy. The work will happen; there are several other students that have done it in the past and are doing it presently. Six science classes in one semester has been done before, I think. I worry that I am inadequate to do such things though. This paralyzes me. This causes me to desire to throw myself into social interaction or cooking or cleaning. Those are things that I can do but all of that work. I am incapable.

This is a reality check and a reminder. My feelings of inadequacy are based in truth. I am correct--I CANNOT do it. I am totally and completely incapable. Praise God for overwhelming amounts of work knowing that it serves as a reminder of my human frailty. Also I turn my attention to John 15. He makes me clean. I was not qualified but in Him I am. It is Him working through me, not me. May He bring glory unto Himself by working through me. May His name be proclaimed in the most brutally practical way possible: by pursuing excellence in my schoolwork even when it means not sleeping eight hours every night. May He be my strength and my song. May my delight be found in Him.

I needed to be reminded.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Marriage

I went to Craig and Brett's wedding this evening. It was beautiful. Their smiles, when looking at each other, explained it all: an unexplained or grasped joy for what God has truly brought together. I loved seeing one of my childhood friends marry a man that loved her so much. I remember teasing her about being married especially young when we were respectively thirteen and sixteen. She would always retort with the FACT that she would not marry until she was older--twenty eight or thirty--if she got married at all. Here she is, five years too early for her liking, married and I am rejoicing for them this evening.

Weddings turn my heart upon my own singleness. Previously, new marriage would direct my heart toward my own relationship status in a very sinful and idolizing way. I would imagine what my dress and the day would look like and how perfect my husband would be. I idolized marriage, forsaking the very sanctifying nature of such an institution. I had my marriage all lined out: 4000 square foot house, 8.72 children, husband who worked 9-5 only and came home happy every single day, perfect dinners, perfect discipline, weedless garden, etc. The Lord was so good to cause me to realize how ridiculous my presumptions were about my future through talking with older women in the church. I can now say, in God's grace, that whatever my husband is called to do, I will partner with him in his ministry so as to be a helpmeet. If that means living in a canvas tent in the middle of the Sahara, God's grace is sufficient as is His joy.

My heart longs for marriage. This longing is different than that previously experienced. I long for a husband for the extremely practical side of things: mowing the lawn, killing the cockroaches, packing the car. There is a deeper longing though. It is found in my desire for challenging fellowship. It is found in my desire to have a very present spiritual leader in my life. This is the aspect of marriage that I am most excited about presently. I love the challenge I experience when around one who is more mature in Christ and yet can lead with patience and tenderness. The fellowship I desire can be touched upon in relationships outside of marriage but God designed marriage to exemplify one of the deepest forms of fellowship while on this earth. Oh how I am excited for such things! In His timing, may such things happen--I desire nothing more than this. For now, challenge will come in my friendships and in my relationship with the Lord alone.

The Lord was teaching me much about marriage this past spring and my heart has been dwelling on it once again. May it not become an idol again. The Lord's grace is sufficient to provide patience in this waiting period. And if I am called to singleness, with great rejoicing I will accept such a call, knowing that it would be to your glory and purpose.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Paul Washer Sermon

If Jesus is not enough to motivate you to godly living, you don't know Jesus.

Let's keep it simple, Christ and Christ alone. I have need for nothing else.

It is to put your life at His disposable.

You only have one struggle and it's the one thing that I struggle with too: Are you going to put your life at Christ's disposal? What do You want me to do today? Here I am Lord.

Oh Lord I want to be so active that you have no time to tell me what to do. This is our attitude in the church today.

God will honor a heart that makes any kind of attempt to be at His disposal.

There's one thing my hard head can't pound through: the love of Christ--it knocks me to my knees.

He was poor, many times was tired, many times had anguish but He was never empty because He was putting His life at the will of His Father, at His Father's disposal.

You feel empty. Let a little red flag go up. You need a vacation? You put yourself at the disposal of God and you won't be empty any longer.

He might want you to draw near unto Him and cut half your activities. Ephesians 5:2

If you say you have nothing to give, you're saying God gave you nothing! It's better to say what He hath given me, I shall return.

False humility is a great destroyer of many things.

The times in which I have died to self have been the happiest points in my life. When I put myself before everyone else, those times are the most miserable times in my life.

The thing about it is: DIE.

It's all about Jesus Christ being first, second, third, fourth, and fifth. What I'm trying to say is Jesus Christ is EVERYTHING.

Die to yourself that you might have life.

I have never given anything away that I have felt sorry for. I have never been self-sacrificing and looked back and regretted such things.

Does being theologically correct mean anything if we don't die first?

Are you empty, then die? Are you miserable, then die? Are you feeling icky inside, then die?

In the kingdom, its about going down the ladder not going up it.

It has been a long time since I've listened to a Paul Washer sermon. Oh my, how I had forgotten what I had been missing! These previous notes are from his sermon on Die to Self, Surrender to Him on SermonAudio.com.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just a Few Things I Like...

Dance parties in the car.

Challenging discussions about the person of God and how that plays out in this world with my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Having joy that only comes from the Lord, joy that directs my heart and mind back to the gospel.

The realization that the gospel is the only motivation I need in serving Him in whatever capacity it might be whether it be waking up or talking to the person next to me about the great sacrifice made for me on the cross.

Talking to new people.

Finishing a good book.

Finishing a project.

Hearing my sister sing.

Waking up early.

Running [slowly in comparison to most of the running population].

Accomplishing something I didn't think I would be able to do.

Hand-written notes from others where their love for me is obvious.

Writing notes for others because in such circumstances, my focus cannot be on myself.

Biting into a juicy strawberry, plump blackberry, firm raspberry or gigantic blueberry.

Having fresh flowers on my desk or at my kitchen table.

Decorating my home and scheming about what project to start next.

Receiving snail mail.

Adventures.

Stars on a very black night. In the grass.

Sewing. Feeling fabric in my hands.

Seeing a rose blossom over a period of days.

Hardwood floors. For dancing.

Baking bread. In an apron.

Getting muddy.

Talking to brothers and sisters in Christ with whom it is extremely easy to carry on a conversation for hours.

Walking outside at night.

Weeding when I get the entire root.

These things previous are just a few things that I like in this life. The list could go on for quite awhile. May I be thankful in the fact that the Lord has enabled me to enjoy this life. Everything in my life should draw my heart back to the gospel.

This summer, during the C.S. Lewis Transposition talk in Tennessee, we talked about how this earth is a shadow of heaven. Dell discussed church and how many of the things that we do in church are shadows of what we do daily (communion, dinner). Communion and dinner can even be broken down further. Dinner and communion parallel one another: a call to worship (call to dinner), confession (eek...should have taken better notes but I think within the dinner context this was talking about one's day), consecration (prayer for the meal), communion (eating). What I'm trying to get at is the things that I enjoy and the things that I participate in daily should draw me back to the Lord. Dell used the example of a shower. The purpose of a shower is to clean oneself of the dirt, body odor, sweat from the day: a daily shadow of salvation. What if for the fifteen or twenty minutes I spend in the shower, I were to remind myself of my salvation, of how I am justified. I have been made clean by the Only One who can truly clean.

Maybe I'm making too big of a leap but the things that I enjoy should bring me back to Christ and His work in my life because the things that fill our day (i.e. meals, cleaning oneself, work, talking to others) are often shadows of the Lord's work in our life, what He has done on the cross and continues to do in our sanctification. I don't know if I'm making a lot of sense. I am only starting to grasp this in my small mind and so I do not expect any one reading this to be able to make any sense of such things.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Glory of God is Man Fully Alive

The following dialog is a discussion that the staff had during a lecture in Florida. I remember sitting out on the dock that morning with ten to twelve other staff. It was hot. It was humid. I was so excited to be there and yet I had no idea what to expect. As we began discussing the quote "The glory of God is man fully alive," I felt very challenged. Honestly, discussions like this are a commodity at home. I've maybe delved this deep with other believers five or six times before. I came from that conversation extremely contemplative. I came from that conversation challenged to work toward creating such an environment within Albuquerque with Navigators or simply other believers in general. I experienced one of the truest forms of fellowship (as true as this world can be as it is still tainted by sin) that morning and it was wonderful. It was wonderful to be challenged by the Body. Thank you Lord for such an experience. May Your gospel by my motivation in all that I do.

Glory of God is man fully alive:

Anna: Man fully alive is man fully dead to self.

Micah: Was God not glorified before man was created? God seems dependent on man.

Dayne: God is glorified through his sacrifice that made man alive. So glory still originates with God. No dependence on man.

Anna: Before the Fall was man fully alive?

Justin: What does it mean to be fully alive in a Fallen World?

Hannah: Dell's definition of life was something about pouring out and receiving in.

Jared: Fully alive is Christ and those in heaven. No hint of death. Christ was the only person fully alive.

Anna: Do we experience moments of being fully alive? Glimpses of heaven?

Dayne: we aren't fully alive until heaven when sanctification is complete.

Justin: When does the fully alive process begin? Salvation. So there must be some fruit now.

Sarah: One sounds like a byproduct and one sounds like a manifestation. The act of glorifying becomes glory.

Ian: Glory is in how God perceives us, which is different before and after the Fall. He treats us differently.

Jared: God's glory is independent of man.

Dayne: We aren't adding glory. God is glorified through us.

Justin: But we are told to glorify God.

Jared: But God isn't dependent on man.

Micah: We live to manifest God's glory. We can't add to it.

Lizzie: We glorify God, but God gave us the ability to do that.

Micah: The pagan doesn't intentional glorify God.

Ian: But the pagan at least creates opposed to a stupid Christian that doesn't do anything.

Micah: A Christian composer writes to glorify God.

Justin: Man's fully alive is the radiance of God's glory. And God is glorified in man fully alive.

Dayne: The harlot in Hosea pursued God's blessing a partfrom God. The more knowledge we have of God, the less
tempted we are to playthe harlot. The less tempted we are by the world.

Sarah: God needs rational creatures to contemplate his glory.

Justin: Can God glorify something beside himself in order to receive more glory?

Ian: The nature of glory is that you can't shine it on yourself.

Sarah: The Bible talks about how we will be glorified. The'weight of glory.'

Anna: Let's put this in the context of parent and child...

Justin: Could it be that the most glorifying thing God coulddo is to glorify another?

Dayne: God glorified himself by redeeming something outsideof himself.

Justin: What do you think of when thinking of man fully alive?

Bethany: Living how God intended? That's too easy.

Hannah: The concept is easy. When we have joy in God's work that is a big part of being fully alive.

Lizzie: With the atheist, his art is alive but spiritually dead. To be alive is to be alive in all faculties.

Micah: The exercise of everything that it means to be human.Relationships. Mind .Talent.

Dayne: Man fully reflecting the image of God.

Justin: Is man fully alive a process or an end goal?

Dayne: Is the process the product?

Justin: The journey is the goal.

Micah: The glory of God is man becoming like God. God's greatest glory is many fully alive.

Sarah: Or is God's greatest glory Himself?

Lizzie: 1 Corinthians 11:7

Just as a man takes delight in his wife so the Lord takes glory in the church.

Justin: Our very being is the glory of God.

Every action God does is glorious.

Sarah: We have to get away from the idea that glory is quantitative. It isn't in math.

Justin: Just as Sarah wants to get away from glory as quantitative, also get away from it being competitive. He doesn't lose glory by giving it to us.

Jared: You can't add anything to infinity.

Ian: Infinity isn't a number, but a concept.

Lizzie. What is our glory doing if we aren't adding to anything?

We're the vehicle, not the source.

Bethany: Then why would He create us if he didn't need us?

Hannah: We give Him pleasure.

Sarah: A painter manifests his talent in art. But he doesn't gain talent or glory. God desires creative expression.

We are the creation. The artist still has the glory; we simply manifest it.

Justin: The glory isn't an addition from the outside. Still flowing from the author.

Micah: So God glorifies himself by working in us.

Jared: Do you need the painting to bring glory to the painter?

Sarah: A child is covered in mud and looks nothing like the parent. Glory is sanctification; having God remove the mud of
sin.

Then that parent gets to watch the child grow.

Justin: We not only give glory to God but we are the glory of God.

Micah: Interesting that the parent is the one to clean the child..

Sarah was so sweet to take all these notes so that this conversation could be shared among the staff. I took some notes and have added them (italicized) where I think they probably were said.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Reflections on the Summer

It is time for me to write again. I have been home for a week and a couple days.

This summer was amazing. It was full of joy, laughter, sorrow, tears, hugs, vulnerability, fruit, grace, frustration, patience and endurance. I spent eight weeks in the Deep South: Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. For seven of those weeks, I was entrusted with 4-12 girls ages 13-18 years old. I had some weeks in which fruit in my girls was extremely evident and so encouraging. I had some weeks where fruit wasn't visible and thus I had to trust in Him to preserve and grow my girls after they left camp.

I loved having one-on-ones with girls. Small talk and making conversation is extremely difficult for me but I thrived when I was able to sit down with one girl at a time and delve deeper into who they were and what their relationship with our Lord and Savior looked like.

At the beginning of the summer, Randy Sims said, "These [concerning the staff] are going to be some of your best friends after this summer is over; they'll be some of the people in your wedding and some of the first that you will call when your children are born." I turned my nose up at such a statement knowing I had plenty of those people at home. By the end of the summer, I was proved wrong. The staff this summer were such blessings. With eight weeks together, there isn't room to dilly-dawdle with friendships. You either jump in and swim or you just sit there. Vulnerability cannot be avoided. The staff is your local Body for the summer and if you don't rely on them, struggles, trials and triumphs are going to be miserable.

Coming home was extremely difficult. I cried all day Saturday as I got on the plane, landed in Phoenix, waited for the next plane, got on my Albuquerque flight and arrived home. I was a fountain that day. I think that Saturday finally allowed me time to process the summer. Not only was I leaving my Worldview family but I was expressing my overflowing emotional tank for every week of camp that I went through: the joys and sorrows at that point were extremely real and could not be held back any longer.

I learned so many things this summer. A couple things that really stuck with me without my having to look over my journal entries from the summer are dying to self and the Body of Christ. Being on staff with Worldview is a dying to self all the time. While I was with my students during the week my time was not my own. From 1:30 pm on Sunday to 3:30 pm on Friday, I was at camp. I was my students'. I belonged to them. By His grace, I was continually engaging them, asking them questions, finding out what they are passionate about. I was not allowed to talk of myself. There is a paragraph in our Staff Playbook that talks about dying to self. It says, "When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works or itch for commendations, when you can truly love to be unknown, that is dying to self." The paragraph talks of many more ways in which dying to self is exemplified but this was the most applicable and memorable point for my summer. I love talking about myself and this summer did not allow for such things to be present. It was so good. It was difficult and frustrating and awkward at times but the call and reward of dying to self, seeing Him glorified, was so much greater than seeing myself glorified at the end of the week. If I gave my students me, they would come home with worthless knowledge and insight. If I gave my students Christ working through me, they would have nothing more priceless.

The second thing that God was so good to reveal to me this summer was concerning the Body of Christ. Oftentimes at home, I feel part of a Body but a small part of me wants more. I never was able to pinpoint why I was discontent in that and why "more" was always on my mind. I spent this summer with 20 or so brothers and sisters in Christ. As I said previously, vulnerability came quickly and the Lord bonded us together in unity in ways that are not normal. It was obviously His doing and not ours. By the end of the summer, one of the staff guys, in answer to a question related to a recent move by his family, said, "I've learned home is where your family is." I never felt displaced this summer with all our travelling and being in and out of dorms and hotels. I never wished that we would just settle down somewhere. I was content in our transient lifestyle. I find my contentment rooted in the fact that my home this summer was where my family was and I was always with my WVA family and thus I was always home.

This summer included conversations about suffering and comfort, about glory, about love and joy. I loved breaking down Scripture and getting to the root of those simple words. This is where true fellowship lies. As I returned home, my heart broke for I had to leave people that I experienced more love for in a short amount of time than anyone else prior. I longed to be where they were. I longed to serve alongside them again. Knowing there most likely will never be a time that we will all be back together again on this earth, I long for heaven when we can rejoice at His great work for the rest of eternity.

I remember sitting in a magnolia tree in Georgia with Lizzie and MK our last week of camp after Monday night staff prayer meeting. We were talking about the guy staff and how parting ways that coming Saturday wouldn't change our relationships with our sisters but the relationships that we developed with our brothers at camp would not be maintained in quite the same way as they were all summer. Marriage and the desire for such things was mentioned. I realized, because of the fellowship experienced with my sisters and brothers this summer, that my desire to be married was much less at that moment. How to explain? I realized that our emotional desire for marriage is fueled out of a longing to be in an intimate relationship with another person. God has been so good to give us the institution of marriage to answer our desire to be in intimate relationships (which I would argue is God-given to begin with but that's a different path). I had always wondered how if I long for marriage in such ways now, how I would not desire such things in heaven. I knew that I wouldn't because discontentment is not something we will be struggling with but how that worked, I could not comprehend. This summer gave me a small peek into the glorious fellowship that we shall experience after this life. I did not desire marriage this summer because intimacy was existent with my brothers and sisters; it was not present in a physical sense but in an emotional sense, it was very present. Marriage, in a way, if a shadow of the intimacy that we should experience with Christ and all believers once in heaven. After that conversation, I found myself longing for heaven more than marriage because in heaven, we are able to have perfect relationships with our sisters and brothers in Christ and with Christ, Glory Himself.

From all of these previous paragraphs concerning the staff this summer, my point is this: there is more to the Body of Christ than that which I had experienced before camp on this earth. I did not know that I could have such deep love for my brothers and sisters and yet this summer gave me a glimpse of that and a hope of that as I return to a new church body here at home. I was so excited to be at church on Sunday, more excited than I ever have been to go to be with the Body.

I feel like I did a poor job explaining my thoughts and feelings toward this summer but as I continue to process and work things out in my head maybe I can make more sense of such things in words.

P.S. Concerning my post on the book I was reading by Francine Rivers and the main characters' headstrong ways: I have since gotten much farther in said book and have found that the main character does not know how to love her enemies. She stands for her own will and desire continually and encourages rebellion within her children. Yes there is a balance, but the main character in said book is a very poor example of such things.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Worldview.

I leave tomorrow for Worldview. Tomorrow at 9:30 am. Crazy. Time has flown by.

I will try to update while I'm on the road but no promises. If I don't get update, I'll see you in a couple months with lots of pictures and stories of God's great goodness from this summer.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grievous Changes

Off to have some time with the Lord.

Crazy changes in life constitute my need for extended time spent in prayer and His Word. I've experienced some grievous changes in life and now any change is approached with a little anxiety. Daddy dying, moving to New Mexico, and Mom remarrying were all event initially caked in grief and pain. Since then, changes have all been really hard. Each year, coming back from Ecuador was extremely difficult. Leaving SMR last summer was extremely rough; I was upset for the entirety of the last two weeks we were there. Em and Kate graduated this evening and I feel like life is a little unstable even though it's just as stable as before we walked into Calvary Chapel to celebrate their graduation. A time of a lack of stability causes me to run to my Lord. Oh, how joyous it is that the Lord has enabled me to seek Him instead of this world when I feel like things are crashing down. He is so good to grow us. Anyway, my world is stable no matter what joyous or grievous changes I endure because He is in charge. My God is bigger than anything I can think up or imagine. Good thing because my brain is small. Good night.

P.S. Go seek our God; He is waiting to meet with you if you are His child. Ch

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Birthday Commentary

Oh it has been so very long.

I'm going to try to make this quick; although, quick doesn't have the same definition for me as it does for most everyone else.

Today was my birthday. It was a wonderful day. One of my favorite birthdays I must say. I thought this birthday would come and go and not really be paid attention to as we are working on two graduation parties, finishing two scrapbooks, celebrating Sarah's birthday and scouring the house in preparation for the entourage of 75 people who are coming over on Friday.

I spent the night at Mom and Dad's last night. I woke up earlier than I had expected due to my stuffy nose as a result of the fearsome scrapbooking cold but this was good. Mom made Grace, Sarah and me pancakes for breakfast. She also had me order a pink Benchmade pocket knife for my Daddy birthday gift. :) Then I got to scrapbooking again. I wrote Em's blessing for her book and this concluded my responsibilities for the scrapbook. I couldn't have been more pleased with how it turned out and that I am DONE with it! I then made Dutch almond bars and shortbread for the party on Friday. I still need to make cheesecake, salsa, guacomole, rye bread, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, and maybe the list goes on, maybe it doesn't. After that, Em and I went out to Flying Star for a birthday/good bye celebration with all my friends. It was good to see everyone. It's hard to mesh friend groups though. Attempting to do such things always makes me feel insufficient because I can't give every group my attention even though I invited them all. Em and I went shopping for shorts for this summer. Now, I'm blogging.

A few points of interest:

I was able to serve on my birthday. In previous years, I have always insisted that I do exactly what I want to do on my birthday. Mom often neglects to ask me to do things in such circumstances because often my willingness is very much impaired and the answer is a solid no. First off, the Lord has grown me in this last year so that my desire is to serve but also He has made me more willing to consider and submit to other's desires and needs. Oh how obvious growth in my life is such an encouragement. God is so good.

Also, when I don't expect gifts they are that much more special. AlMom surprised me by telling me to order my knife this morning. I had no idea that I would get a Daddy gift this year (Daddy gift: A second gift from my parents because the 3 stepsisters get gifts from their mother and we get the "daddy gift" because Dad died, kind of in honor of him, also our parents way of making things more fair). Hannah also got me a gift and that was SO EXCITING. I always feel bad when people get me gifts (I have a hard time allowing others to serve me) but what a joy it is to recieve when it is unexpected.

Also aside from my birthday commentary, I am praying for compassion in my attitude and in my life. Oftentimes, I can be bold and carry truth but it isn't laced with compassion. My sister is a wonderful example of lacing boldness and truth with compassion. I am a poor example. Lord, grow me so that I may exhibit compassion toward my fellow brother and sister knowing that I am a sinner just as they are. Oh how it goes back to pride--that pride. The Lord is working on it again with me.

I leave in 5 days for Worldview Academy. I am getting more and more excited. Nervousness is still present but my realizing that that nervousness is rooted in sin is causing me to submit it to the Lord and trust Him. I'm nervous because I am worried about what my teammates will think of me: fear of man. As long as I am seeking to live a holy life before my King, what does it matter what others think (this is not an excuse to not heed rebuke, correction, instruction, etc). Also I realized I am nervous because I really am just as new as my campers. I don't know (at this point--thank you Lord for staff training and the bit of preparation it will bring) any more than they do. This puts me in a place of asking A LOT of questions. Oh, what a strike to my pride. So, nervousness is rooted in ugly sin and thus is purposeless. Lord thank you for causing me to realize my sin and shortcomings. May I trust You with how I will be stretched and grown this summer. You are always good--through every trial and tribulation, through every period of rejoicing and good day that I experience--You are always good.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Oh, Balance

Oh how thoughts are whirling inside my head as I sit at this beveled-edged table in the cafe at Borders. I am supposed to be studying for psychology but I am simply pooped and thus have not started. The time is winding down and I'll start soon enough.

I began reading Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers. She is one of my favorite writers. She has a way of weaving words together to make a perfect picture in my mind, causing me to feel every emotion in the scene. Oh, how I enjoy reading. I picked up this book at one of the most inopportune times--right before finals. Oops.

The main character in the book is an extremely headstrong girl who will not simply settle for what her father has for her. She has ambitions and goals. She has a will and will demand that for which she has worked. I love her.

This book resonates more with me even in the first 100 pages I have read more than other Francine Rivers' books (this is probably an unfair proposition as I have not read another Rivers' book in a couple months and am in the middle of this one but nonetheless I digress). The character speaks to me and who I used to be.

It leaves me questioning if I've truly changed from the person I used to be or just suppressed (oh, how psychology is influencing me; Lord, guard my heart against this world) who I was as I grew up. A few years ago, as I became involved in reformed theology and delved deeper into Scripture, I very quickly developed my opinions concerning women, their leadership roles and purposes and what demeanor they should carry. I learned from I Peter that I am to carry a gentle and quiet spirit. I learned from Proverbs that I am to be clothed in strength and honor. I learned that I am to love and respect my husband all the days of my life; this includes the time before I meet him. I learned that I am to be a servant. I learned that I was made from man and for man as his helpmeet. I learned that purity is not something to be forsaken once I am married. I learned that I am called and commanded to submit to my husband just as the church is commanded to submit to Christ. I learned that a virtuous wife works hard, is generous and speaks with grace, humility and wisdom. I learned that beauty is God-given but is passing and thus the inward character is of much more value. Looking at all of these things, I realized two things as a junior in high school. First, I realized that these things are far from what the world preaches for women of today. What a surprise! (That was sarcasm) Second, I realized, as a woman seeking to please my God and to be readied as a virtuous wife, that I failed in so many areas I couldn't count them all on all of my fingers and toes.

After realizing all of these things, I set to work at making myself into the woman that Scripture describes. I failed often, obviously. The Lord must remind very very often that my sanctification isn't a result of anything that I do and is only of Him. Anyway, He reminded me and I would pray that He would grow me into a virtuous wife displaying the qualities that His Word describes. He did grow me. Then I would go back to growing myself. In the midst of this, I saw many of my actions as sinful and not glorifying to my Savior and tried to eradicate myself of them as quickly as possible.

I saw my leadership-oriented personality and tried to get rid of it because I was made for man; he is to be the leader. I saw my loud enthusiasm and excitement and rid myself of it because I was supposed to have a gentle and quiet spirit. I saw my ever-moving tongue and tried, and failed greatly, to be wise with my mouth as Proverbs calls a virtuous wife to do. I saw my ambitions, dreams and goals and decided to set them aside so that I could get married as soon as possible. Some of these qualities that I saw in myself were sin and I should commit them to prayer, in repentance and trust in my God that He will grow me out of them.

Concerning the others, I think I had this picture of the perfect wife. She was meek, always quiet, always following without question, really didn't have much of a mind, didn't have any interests outside of that of the care of the home and children. She definitely didn't laugh as loud as I do or at as many things as I find humor in. She definitely didn't exhibit a thought process or even a college degree. She definitely didn't talk all that much except to say encouraging words to the woman beside her in the pew. She definitely didn't struggle with sin in the least because she was perfect. She didn't have desires outside of the home or her husband. She agreed with everything her husband said and did.

Well, we all know if that was the picture of a Biblical wife, I would and have failed miserably already. I laugh too much, am too expressive, have spent too much time developing interests in things other than cooking and laundry, am way too argumentative, talk way too much (I do pray the Lord grows me in this; it allows me to be extra-narcissistic), struggle with sin A LOT, and have too many desires to finish school and achieve my Master's degree. Well. Thank you Lord that you have not limited the Biblical wife to those qualities.

He has made us with personalities and interests so that we can truly make up a Body. The fact that He has given me a leadership-oriented mindset isn't wrong. It must be balanced with submission to Him and my father and when the time comes, my husband. The fact that He has given me a heart that is easily joy-filled is a beautiful thing and as long as I express this under right circumstances, it is good. It's ok to have interests outside the home because it opens up teaching opportunities for my kids and evangelism opportunities as an insider. The Lord has given me a brain so that I can use it. It is not to be stored on a dusty shelf in my closet. It is to be used to bring glory to Him. And being a wife is not the only thing I have to prepare for in life. I should use this time to learn and grow and gain knowledge. Who knows how long it will be before God brings my husband and I together! It could be forty years. Maybe my good and sovereign Lord has other plans.

The key in all of this is balance. I am going to study what a gentle and quiet spirit truly means. This post is not to explain that I do not need any growth; oh so far from such things. I need growth more than ever in my life as the Lord is good to reveal sin after sin. It is simply a recognition of a lack of cookie-cutter wife in the Bible. It is an acknowledgement that He has made me with a personality. I'll be stronger in some areas than others. This is something to cherish, be thankful for and utilize for His glory. Where I lack is to be for prayer and growth and see the Lord working in my life. Weakness is good to humble me too. Sometimes I think I'm super woman. I really am not. Just think it.

Some things that people tease me about that I don't want to change are as follows:

1. My lack of sass: Sometimes I'm really sassy. It doesn't bring me joy to be sassy to my sisters and brothers. I feel like there is an acceptable amount of sass. It's a hard balance to hold but some people I know do it well. Cameron is one of these. He is sassy to me but he is also caring and respectful. I know he loves me as a sister. When I am sassy, oh my, I can be mean. I do not bring glory to my Lord. I'm just mean without knowing it and then have to apologize later. Several people have encouraged me to cultivate sass so that I can sass back to those that sass at me. I do desire that this doesn't happen. I don't balance things all that well and this one thing that I would balance very poorly. I don't want to be sassy.

2.I think the best of people most of the time until they have offended me or have proved me wrong (I do pray that this is something the Lord grows me in). Some people think it is wrong of me to give people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe so; it has caused me to end up in some precarious situations. I don't know. There's a balance in this too. Where it is? I do not know.

Balance.

Balance. So much of the Christian life depends on. It is easy to swing one way or the other but to have balance is something I struggle with so much. This year the Lord has been teaching me so much about balance. I feel like it is my theme right now. Unfortunately, I try to achieve balance on my own too much. It can only be done in the Lord. May I relinquish and He control.

This was supposed to much more organized than it was. Oops.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Losing a Friend

I sent a letter to a friend saying we needed to change how we interacted.

I explained my reasoning. The Lord has called me to such things no doubt.

I said that a relationship could still be maintained just with boundaries as all friendships should have.

This person disagreed. This person said that either it has to be the "normal" way we interact or no friendship at all.

Well, so, relationship went bye-bye.

It's hard. I appreciated this person as a friend.

The Lord is working and in Him, I will find comfort. This lack of friendship will be good. Growth. Reliance on my Lord. Going to my Lord before any one else. May it be so. May this be a time of growth and not regression.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sarah B.

I heard a doorbell. I went to get it because I thought it was Emily.

I opened the door and there stood a girl in a pink shirt and khaki pants. I was confused.

"Can I use your phone?"
"Uh...sure, let me get it for you. Come on in."

My mind immediately fixated on what I read earlier about discipleship and multiplication.

This mysterious girl walked into my living room as I walked back to my room to get my phone.

I handed the phone to her and stood against the door jamb leading to the kitchen. She called her friend. She sounded lost. She sounded like her friend wasn't really her friend.

My mind immediately fixated on how much this girl needed the Gospel.

"Can I call my Mom?"
"Oh yeah, totally fine. Go ahead."

Her conversation with her mom was steeped in rebellion and disrespect. It reminded me of me before I knew the Lord. It reminded me of me on so many regretful occasions with my mom after I knew my Savior.

My mind immediately fixated on how I know the Gospel and the Lord commands me to share it with the world. The Great Commission is for all believers. "Go and make disciples."

"Can I call my friend? She tried to call me while I was on the phone with my mom."
"Sure."

Her conversation was one of despair and lack of a true friendship.

I tried to pay attention whilst praying, "Lord, allow this door to be open. Allow me to connect with her."

I found out she lives in the Virginia apartments right up the street. She is in 7th grade and yet is supposed to be in 9th grade. Her name is Sarah B. and she does not like her last name.

"Do you have a phone charger?"
"Yeah, let me go get it...I don't know if it'll fit your phone....but we can try...what kind of phone do you have?....um, let's plug it in here...."

I muttered all this on the way to my room and back to the living room. [Yes, I talk a lot, and oftentimes it is very purposeless] The charger fit. She turned on her phone.

"So I don't know if you would like to hang out sometime or something...uh, I'm glad you stopped by. Maybe we can exchange numbers and get together and talk sometime."
"Yeah, that sounds good. I have a lot of college friends so yeah, we should do that. What's your number?"

We exchanged numbers.

My joy about this possible friendship grew at this willingness.

"Could I borrow this for awhile? I can bring it back when I come over to Josh's house to play. He lives right next door." She said while pointing to the phone charger.
"Um, well um, yeah if I can have your number."

I got her number. I invited her to the spaghetti dinner on Friday. Maybe she'll be able to go. Maybe I'll be able to share the Gospel with her. If I never hear from her again, all it will cost me is my phone charger. A small risk to take for the opportunity to have some relational evangelism.


To My Children

Dear Children,

I love you even now. I pray for you often. I do not know who your father is yet nor do I know if the Lord wills for me to be blessed with you. In all the uncertainty of the future, I still love you.

I pray that it is the Lord's will that you be saved. I pray that by God's grace, your father and I can raise you up to be men and women who love our great and precious Lord. I pray that you will be men and women who love to serve Him and delight in His glory. May you know the joy that your father and I know through the sacrifice of the cross. May you be satisfied in Him so that He will be most glorified in you.

Oh, how I delight, even now, thinking upon having the opportunity to see you grow and mature physically and emotionally but especially spiritually. I look forward to the great joy that it will be to see you discover new things and learn about this beautiful planet that the Creator so graciously set us upon. He is so good to us.

I look forward to rocking you to sleep at nap time, watching you take your first steps, running around our yard with you, seeing the delight you will find when we plant our garden and little green shoots pop up from the ground. I look forward to playing with you and having, yet again, another peek into the mind of a child which I was not so long ago.

As I am turning twenty this year, our God is teaching my small heart so many things. He is teaching me to be fully satisfied in Him. He is teaching me the importance of discipleship. He is teaching me the importance of simplicity in my life and where priorities should lie. He is teaching me contentment.

In all of His teaching, I find myself not to be the best student. Often His teaching does not make sense to my little mind and thus I prefer to take my own path. He is good as a gentle Shepherd to lead me back unto His flock each and every time I stray. I write this to you, now, to say, "Yes, I was once twenty." I once did have to deal with the same temptation of sin you will most likely be dealing with at the age of twenty. I pray even now, when the time comes for you to face temptation that you flee. I pray that you cling unceasingly to our Savior, Protector and Father. He is teaching me these things right now. Precious children, He is worth much more than this world will ever offer you. His sacrifice on the cross is far above the value of rubies and diamonds.

Beloved children, our life might not be easy. It might be marked by pain, suffering and loss and yet, our God is good in the midst of all things. He is our ultimate Source and Joy. From Him, comes life for without Him we are dead. In the midst of pain and loss and suffering, cling to Him who is sovereign over all things knowing that He has a plan.

Our life might not be marked by money. Your father and I will provide for your needs but your wants may go unfulfilled. It is not your happiness that we seek; we desire to see the Lord built up in you and this will happen, by His grace and sovereignty, with or without the presence of money in our lives.

Children, I think upon the days that I will first know you exist inside of me, the day that I first hear your heartbeat, the day that I will be able to first hold and kiss you. These days will come soon enough for life is but a vapor and it passes oh so quickly. I am content in what the Lord has laid before me now. He has much for me to do before I am married or before I devote my time to teaching and serving you. I delight in this time knowing the Lord is preparing me so that I can better serve you and your father for His glory alone.

May His glory be my delight and my purpose. I love you.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

#97

#97. Curl my hair randomly for school.

Elissa braided little braids into my hair on Monday night and I decided it was time to accomplish another of my 101 in 1001's. So I curled my hair Tuesday morning. It was fun. It brought me back to the days that I curled my hair every day for school my sophomore year of high school. So fun. I love having curly hair; it simply takes a lot of time. Now that I have long hair it looks a little weird for it to be all curly. I enjoyed Tuesday nonetheless.

#70


#70 Make a successful wheat bread loaf.

Behold, I give you BREAD!






On Wednesday, 4/21, I made 8 loaves of wheat bread. I gave one to the Sharp family. I took three for myself and left four at my parents' house. My parents kept the rosemary Parmesan garlic loaf, one of the cinnamon raisin loaves, the lemon orange loaf, and the cinnamon pull aparts (on the far left). I took the three plain wheat loaves and one of the cinnamon raisin loaves. I love making bread. It is so cool the more I learn about yeast, salt, sugar and their relation in making bread and how that relates back to Scripture.


Update on 101 in 1001

Here' my 101 in 1001 List for your reference.

I've been working on #34 (Read through the Bible) which is going well. It's been a blessing to allow myself (hence escape from legalism) to read through it in a longer time period than a year. I am still in Romans. It is good. God is teaching me and causing my desire for the Word to grow daily.

I've also been working on #58 (Don't eat sugar for an entire year). This I have broken a couple of times. I am ok with that. The time that I did break it my stomach hurt so bad for the entire day after eating this sugar and fat loaded dessert something or another that I have not had the desire to pick up sugar anymore. It is no longer a temptation. I will reevaluate this in December and decide then if it counts or if I should do it for another year.

I'm also working on #44 (take math 181). This is not the class I thought it would be. It covers a little bit of differential equations, goes a little bit into calculus II, and focuses heavily on applied probability within the context of biological life processes. It's a good class but if I had known these things, I would have NEVER taken it.

I tried #5 (exercise for 21 days straight) and #39 (find and disciple a young lady) and failed. That's ok. It's a good learning experience to experience rejection and failure. I will get back up and try again. My God is good.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Grocery Shopping

I have not been to the grocery store in 28 days. There are a few reasons for this.

  1. I have not had the need to do so.
  2. I have no means of getting there other than my own two feet.
  3. Walking to the grocery store takes time that I simply do not have.
  4. My bike tires are flat.
  5. I haven't had time to walk my bike to the gas station to pump up the tires.
  6. Nor do I know how to do so (time for me to become more handy, as a single and independent lady!)
  7. I have not had the desire to do so.
I have been eating plenty of food. No starvation here. I am only now starting to get into my bean stash.

Let me tell you this time of not going into the grocery store or other shopping avenues has been so GOOD! Discontentment flourishes when I shop frequently. I think, "Oh, I need that, and that and that and oh that too." Before I know it, my shopping bill is more than I had planned to spend. I have so enjoyed living frugally over the last 28 days. It has rid me of much discontentment and made me aware of how easy it is fall prey to discontentment unknowingly in my life.

Years ago, I met up with my ballet instructor after she returned from IHOP in Kansas City. She told me that before she would go to Wal-Mart, Smith's or Albertson's to go grocery shopping, her husband and she would sit down and pray that the Lord would guard against discontentment as she entered into an environment full of enticing advertisements and food choices. At the time, I don't think I fully understood what she meant. I thought it was a good idea but I didn't really see the purpose of it and thought it was a little extreme.

Well now that I have been without my car for a month and a half and thus had to stay home a lot more often, I have realized how much discontentment I was allowing to breed in my life. No more. When my car returns, I am going to have to be very careful of falling into the easy trap of going to Flying Star for dinner, Satellite for coffee or Le Peep for breakfast. I am going to have to commit my heart to the Lord so that it doesn't go crazy when I reenter the normal world of weekly grocery shopping.

Side note: I rocked Sarah to sleep this morning for her nap. That is one of the many joys of my job. Having a baby cuddle up on your lap, lay against your heart and fall asleep brings me so much joy. I look forward to the day that the Lord chooses to bless my husband and me with children that we can rock to sleep. For right now, my sister will do because I am very content. There is much the Lord has for me to do before I am married and responsible for helping not only my husband but caring for little ones.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Changes

I was looking over some pictures from two-ish years ago on facebook just a minute ago.

So many things have changed--relationships, people, personalities, interests, activities, marriages and children.

It has been two years since we graduated. This boggles my mind because these past two years have gone by SO QUICKLY.

I feel like what the old[er] people say all the time about time passing so fast is so true. Time does not drag on--we are only vapors.

The changes that some people have undergone bring me joy and encouragement. Other changes are really difficult to stomach especially when they are obviously becoming very lukewarm in their walks with the Lord or have completely disregarded Him.

This is expected to happen. You go to a Christian school and everyone is a Christian especially when retreats are so emotional and it's cool to disciple someone. Then, that influence is gone and something else is "cool" so paths turn mighty quickly.

I can take delight in the fact that the Lord is sovereign and that if they were truly His they will return by His grace.

It sorrows my heart to see changes that are steeped in sin! Oh, it was so much easier to live in that Hope "bubble" thinking that no one was sexually active, doing drugs or walking the wide road. Although that wasn't realistic. The truth had to be exposed.

It is just sorrowful sometimes.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Sister

Can I brag on my sister for a moment?

She's so cool. She is probably one of my very favorite people in this world if not my favorite. I used to beat her up so much but we've grown to love each other. I love her.

Here's a text from her that I got this morning:

"Sometimes I wish you were still at Hope. Especially on days like these where we go to the zoo and have fun all day. I miss the times here you would tell the boys to stay away from me. I miss seeing you at school and being able to give you a big hug and call you my seester. I miss the times that we would ride in the car together and Katie and I would stick our heads out the windows until we were completely wind blown. And I miss growing up with you--when we were still little enough to play house together and have our infamous talent shows. Where did our childhood go? It went too fast. Sometimes I wish we were kids again."

Oh my goodness. Just made my day.

My response:

"In three weeks we can be kids again and have talent shows all the time. We'll schedule one at least every other day. I'll be telling the boys to stay away from you all the time--you'll get so tired of it--but you're too beautiful for me not too. You can run up to me on UNM campus and give me a big hug and call me seester. We'll go to the zoo every other weekend until we've seen the gorillas eat as much poop as we can handle. We'll drive in the car again and us the window as a blow dryer. Yes, childhood went too fast."

I can't wait to live with her. Yes, we'll have our tiffs and our arguments but I'm so excited. She is one of my very best friends and I get to live with her!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Childbirth

So yesterday Matt and I saw Kris and Iris's new baby boy, Aaron Kristopher Ramos, just hours after he was born. Oh so precious! Iris did great during her labor. She pushed for half an hour, had no tears (as in rips not water coming out of the eyes), and no epidural. Kris and Matt talked for a awhile afterwards and one thing that specifically stuck with me in what he said was, "Iris did great. She was so godly through the entire thing."

I watched a video of Sarah during one of her labors a few months ago. She was in the middle of a contraction and was downstairs with her children. Her husband was videotaping. It was a 2 minute double peaking contraction. She wanted to throw Claire off her lap because she was pinning her to the floor and trying to bounce off her belly when she really needed her belly to have room to expand and contract. Despite how long those two minutes must have seemed and the amount of pain she must have been in, she was completely composed during the entire contraction.

I am in awe of these women who maintain their "cool" during labor. Iris must have been a witness to the nurses and the midwife assisting her. What a time to be representing Christ! Sarah was loving towards her children despite how uncomfortable she was. Again what a time to be representing Christ to her children! Lord grow in me SELF CONTROL. In every aspect of my life. Lord, I beg You to cultivate this in me now for I feel like I am so insufficient.

Lord when it is time for me to be married and be pregnant, may You grow in me self control so that I can represent You in even that very vulnerable moment of my life. Thank you for women in my life that represent You even during times that are hard and strenuous. May my husband be able to see Christ in me as I am giving birth to our children. Lord, You are so good to grow me. Thank you.

Un-Motivated

I am making a list. I like lists. It is not a specific list nor does it have a huge purpose other than organizing my writing as much as it can be organized.

  1. I am un-motivated. I have A LOT of schoolwork to do and we have five more weeks (YIKES!). This week I'm gonna pump a lot of material into my head and hopefully be caught up within these next two weeks.
  2. Balance when I am focused on catching up in school is so HARD. I can swing one way and spend every minute of the day in the Word and it is WONDERFUL or I can swing to the complete opposite and not spend any time in the Word and spend every minute with my nose in my schoolbooks. No good. Balance is key. It is important in every aspect of my life--as I move into the working world, as I move into being a wife, as I move into being a mother and everywhere in between.
  3. I really want to write in my husband journal. I go through some times when my heart simply longs for the intimacy (emotional, physical, spiritual even mental) that marriage offers with another person. This is one of those times. Still, God's resounding answer is, "Wait." And I will listen.
  4. I am making whole wheat blueberry pancakes for dinner tonight.
  5. I know what I want in a husband but what I should really be seeking is what the Lord wants for me. He knows better who I need. Even marriage is an issue of wants over needs. Needs are always more pertinent. I do want to clarify--as my heart is drawn closer and closer to the Lord, my needs that He already knows will become wants in my heart.
  6. Sometimes I make no sense.
  7. Worldview is getting closer and closer. So excited!
  8. I want to go running.
  9. I need to finish chapter 1 in biology first.
  10. My sister has the most beautiful voice I've ever heard. I'm not the most keen on women's voices, I simply prefer men's voices (for vocal performance) but I would listen to my sister any day over a guy. She's gorgeous. I love her.
  11. Hmmmm.....God is teaching me about forgiveness right now and what that word truly means in its definition but also in my life. How does it apply? Yes, God is teaching me about that and it is good.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sulky

Yes I wrote about half an hour ago. Yes I am writing again.

Right now is such a time of growth, hardship, excitement, joy, frustration, delight, realization. The Lord is teaching and growing me in so many ways thus explains much of the constant writing lately. Add this to my quiet time journal and it probably looks like I'm not doing anything but writing.

My car is in the shop. It is very broken. Something (I have no idea what) was fixed for $355.80. This fixed the first check engine light. There was a second check engine light having to do with a misfire in cylinder 2. Apparently it was not the spark plugs, nor the coil. There is low compression (?) in the cylinder. They don't know what to do to fix it. I am WORRIED with how much it is going to cost me.

Mario (my service clerk at Quality GMC--where my car is being fixed) called earlier today and said "Oh, its the spark plugs! We'll fix it. You'll probably have it back today." I was so excited! I rejoiced for the moment that my God saved me again. He pulled me out of the miry pit of despair (and expensive car problems). Then I got the call that it was not the spark plugs and it was something else. My heart sunk. My first reaction was questioning God and His goodness.

By God's grace, this did not last long. He snapped me out of my very enjoyable pity party pretty quickly graciously revealing my gross sin to me. I realized that so often I praise Him openly when things are good, when I've been saved, when He did something in my life miraculous. Well, He revealed this to me. He caused me to remember my salvation and His unending grace towards me. He is faithful even when I am so faithless. So the question remains how could I ever respond to circumstances instead of the unchanging grace and salvation of my God? Well, because I'm sinful. Despite the fact that my car is very broken, my God is still good. My God is still steadfast. My God is still sovereign.

I didn't have my quiet time this morning. I'm pretty sure this has been very influential in that I am not relying on my Lord in my daily interactions. I have walked around for the last hour sulking about my car and yet, I know the God of the universe. Yet, I know that He created me. Yes, and I sulk. No more. To His word I go for it is my Living Water. He is my sustenance. To Him I will go.

Not Mine, Yours

I feel so overwhelmed.
This is not normal.
It is a struggle I used to suffer from A LOT!
The Lord has grown me in trust.
Stress isn't as worrisome any longer.
God's control and sovereignty is much more real in my life.

I have stressed over all the work I have to do while I was sleeping the last few nights.
Now, I'm almost paralyzed by it.
My head hurts because of it.
Like an explosive device waiting for a spark.
Or a room with walls closing in on itself.

Lord, You are my strength and sustenance.
May I fear You alone for You are the only thing worthy of my fear.
You sustain me all of my days.
You lead me where I am to go.
You know that I have trig test tonight.
You know that I have yet to study for it because life has been too busy.

Lord, I beg You to cause me to rely on You.
Lord, I beg You to cause me to trust on You.
Lord, I beg You to make my mind capable of absorbing everything it needs to know.
Lord, I beg You to sustain me.
Lord, I beg You to make Your power and might known and obvious in my life once again.

May Your name be praised. Yours alone, Lord. Not mine, Yours.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Fruit

Sometimes, I feel this overwhelming need to write. Sometimes, I listen to it. Sometimes, I don't. Last night, I wanted to write but my bed was calling my name and because we are on spring break, I went to bed. Ah, sleeping felt so good but as a new day has begun and is very much in full swing, I wish that I had written down everything I was feeling last night.

I have been Daniel fasting since March 7. I want to be careful whom I tell for I am not doing this for the appeasement or attention of man but to seek my God on behalf of this nation. I don't think a whole lot of people read my blog, if any, so I feel safe sharing such information here. 40 Days for Life is fasting as well as many people across this nation who are fasting for the purpose of the universities and colleges. I started a week late but also didn't hear about these things until March 4. I prayed about it for three days finally deciding to begin it all on Sunday, March 7. This has been a huge time of growth for me personally. I'll make a list of the things the Lord is teaching me.
  • I was skeptical of Daniel fasting to begin with. I have been taught that during Biblical times, it took hours to prepare a meal. The purpose of fasting then was to set aside that time and use it solely for prayer. With Daniel fasting, I didn't feel like the purpose was the same. I was still cooking. It has been good though. My God is drawing me nearer unto Himself as well as building the fire within me.
  • This has been a huge time of growth in prayer. The Lord is teaching me faith for the big things. This past summer, they had suggested making a "impossible list" of things that you really needed and faithfully praying for them. I looked back a couple nights ago at my impossible list from over the summer. Almost everything had been answered. My God is so good. He is teaching me that if I am praying for my campus, He will work (This is not to underestimate His will and sovereignty); I just might see it. My faithfulness to prayer shouldn't be based on if I can see the results or not. I think that has held me back from praying for the nations or for my campus for so long. No longer. The Lord has grown my faith in Him.
  • My time in the Word has been so productive. Oh my! Romans is teaching me so many things. I love it. I love getting up every morning and spending the first hour of my day with the One who loves me the most. Oh what a delight, that He would desire to meet with me!
  • He has also taught me that while I'm single and when I'm married, my God will be more faithful than any man ever will. My husband will be human and will make mistakes but my God is my God and He is always faithful. I have always known this in my head but it never pricked my heart. It has now.
  • Sprouting from that last lesson, God is teaching me the true meaning of the quote, "A woman should be so close to God that a man has to seek Him to find her." Why would I want it any other way? The Lord has loved since before time existed and yet I tend to spend more time thinking about a guy than I do my first Husband. This humbles me. At Ryan's (female team leader from this past summer) leading, I have begun praying this quote for myself. I find my perspective changed. My contentment is much more real. My joy in my God is much more real. My relationship with the One who gave His all to have me is much more real. If that guy that seems so great right now leaves and marries someone else, I will not be shaken because that must not have been the one that God desired for me to be with in the beginning. God will put me with someone who is seeking Him at the same pace that I am seeking Him. At the rate I was going, woo-wee! I want someone who is sprinting after our God. That takes me sprinting after my God. It also doesn't happen because I am "seeking" my God because I want a husband. Priorities must be correct.
  • Oh and last but not least, the Lord is teaching me to trust Him in a very real way. I will have to explain the rest of this on Saturday for it is linked to something that I am not allowed to share with everyone right now. My God is good to teach and to humble. Right now, He is doing it so gently. Thank you Lord for giving me a receptive heart so that You don't have to bring tragedy so that I might finally understand what You are trying to teach me.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Moses

I feel like I stumble over my words and thoughts so very often. This is so frustrating to me and often I say, "If only I could explain it to you in a math problem, it would make perfect sense!" Unfortunately this world cannot be explained in a math problem. Nor can the Gospel. Or at least understood by others using a math problem. By God's grace, I do indeed feel like my expression of myself using words has improved although I am far from English major status. This "issue" has been made extremely clear to me in the last couple days:

I got my sign test back today. 93.5! Woot-woot! Anyway, our professor had some of the students read their essay questions to explain to the class what she was expected to get full credit. I received full credit on these essays but I was not asked to read. I was amazed by how eloquently written and explanatory their answers were. My answers fit the bill, per say but wow, the other students could write. I was humbled.

Yesterday, I had my Worldview interview. I was so nervous despite my constant praying over the last week that my words simply be His words. He will open doors He wants opened. Anyway, I felt like I stumbled over every answer I gave. I didn't express myself well. All the things that she had asked made/make complete sense in my head but when I try to explain them to someone, especially someone who is interviewing/testing/critiquing me, they do not come out clearly. I was humbled and frustrated.

Also, I just wrote an email to someone at the Ronald McDonald House to set up a time to lead a group to cook dinner for their residents in April. After writing and rereading my email, I was struck by the fact that it was very scatter-brained and was not written well. After reading it again, I couldn't find another way to rephrase it. I left it as is because my point was made clear although it was not expressed well or in beautiful wording.

I think the Lord is using all of this to humble me and teach me to again rely on Him alone. Last week, I was wading through some pride which has been a lot more rare since last summer. The Lord has truly given me an understanding of my sin and is good to remind me of it often. This is for my benefit and this is to cause me to rely on Him more and more. Last week was a different story though. I was definitely prideful and was having a hard time remembering and truly allowing the gospel to pierce my heart as it does daily.

I am reminded of Moses. Moses complained that the Lord was sending him because he had a speech impediment. I am complaining but the Lord has called me not to complain. Instead, I will be humbled by the fact that I cannot word things properly in and of myself. I will be thankful for the Lord deciding to teach me in this way and not another. He could have chosen to smash this uprising of pride from last week in a much more painful way. I will also be thankful that He has caused my heart to be sensitive to His teaching that I might learn quickly to return to Him. Rely on Him. Trust in Him as my source alone. My God is great and greatly to be praised.

Lord send me. I trust in You. Work through me that Your love would be evident in me. When people see me, may they see You alone. Cause me to decrease and you to increase.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

His Glory

I read in Romans this morning and the one thing that was fully apparent through the seven verses that I spent my forty five minute quiet time on was the gospel. The gospel is needed and necessary. It is God's power. His power is displayed when He saves people. So again, everything is centered around HIS GLORY! May He be known. May His power be seen. May His name be proclaimed for He is God and worthy of exaltation.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Heading Out

Tomorrow, I am headed to Colorado with nineteen other students for the Laborers' Conference. I am excited to see my team from this past summer and catch up with them. I also am excited for the road trip. Woot-woot! I love road trips. They are so fun because it allows for you to see so many different aspects of a person. Who sleeps? Who talks and likes getting into deep, involved conversation? Who is a reader? Who is a homework-doer? What do people eat? Who watches movies? So fun. Its a great way to get to know another person. I tend to sleep, read, and talk on road trips. Sleep mostly. I prefer fruit on road trips. Peanut M&M's if I am falling asleep and need some sugar in my system. I'll probably get a chai tomorrow.

Some things I need to do before tomorrow morning:

  • Go to Wal-Mart [Need fruit, gum, and a toiletry bag (My last one had shampoo all over it and it was more beneficial to throw it away versus cleaning it for hours)]
  • Fill out applications for the summer
  • PACK
  • SLEEP
  • Run tomorrow morning
At that, I'm gonna get to going because I've got to get on this. Love road trips, looking forward to tomorrow.

My Brain

My brain works...did you know that?

And I am ever thankful for this. My God has blessed me abundantly.

I take advantage of the fact that I don't have to try real hard at school too much though.

Can I please be rid of my procrastination?

Please. Please. Please.

Lord grow me in a desire to serve You by getting my homework, no matter how small or big, done in a timely manner. A manner that eliminates stress and worry because neither of those are from you. Lord grow me. Lord make me like Your Son that I might serve you with all of my being. That I would delight in who You are and who You see me as because of Your Son's covering of my sins. Thank you for being my Father. I'm sorry I have ever doubted your providing for my needs.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Run Away?

Right now, I just want to drive somewhere and not stop. I don't want to have a sign test tomorrow. I don't want to have a psychology test tomorrow, and one due online tonight. I don't want to have two applications for the summer due this week nor a case study in bio due on Monday. I...well...am complaining.

I think a run will help. A good long run sounds so pleasant right now. Although, what is the temperature outside? I don't want to run in my sweat pants.

These are the times that I'm really looking forward to graduate school, when I'll have the opportunity to leave and start over.

Although I must remember: running away from responsibilities, struggles, decisions does NOT help anything. They will follow. They will need to be dealt with. It is not right of me to run from them.

We are commanded to run from temptation and sin not from struggles or situations that the Lord is good to put us in. I am here right now because the Lord is sovereign and chose for me to face the things I am facing. I will take comfort in that and trust in that because my God is good to me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Seven Out of Twelve

Well. I got seven of the twelve points available on my trigonometry exam. That's kind of hard to stomach especially since this was supposed to be my easy class this semester.

As much as I don't want to be upset right now, I kind of am. I'm really disappointed with myself. I should have done better. I am capable of doing better

How did I do so poorly?
  • 1 point missed for a missing negative sign
  • 2 points missed for not knowing what the depression angle was
  • 1 point missed for not getting the period right
  • 1 point missed for not labeling my point of inflection in my graph of the tangent
Ugh. Three of those points could have been avoided with more studying and two of those points would have been avoided if I was more careful. Well, may this be a lesson learned.

On the bright side, I got a 95% on my Calc 2 Test. I guess I can be happy about that.

I will work harder in the future. I will remain on top. I will get an A in all of my classes this semester. It is possible. It will happen.

Just Another Day

I have been rather contemplative lately. I wonder why. Maybe its because everything has settled down just a little bit so I have more time to devote to thinking on different things.

Just another day....THAT THE LORD HAS MADE! I walk around a lot thinking, "Here we go again, another day of business, sinning, work, homework, stress, etc." Why would I do that? My God sent His Son to this earth to die for my sins. I am His daughter. He is my King. He is my Lord. He is my Redeemer. I have been set free from sin and death and am now graciously bound to the One who seeks me above all others and yet I can still walk around most days mopey about life because its just too busy. Oh boo hoo! My God is bigger than today; He's bigger than my life. He's bigger than UNM who tries to shove evolutionary doctrine down our throats. He is bigger than the QSA people who meet across the hall from the Navigators.

My God is big and He is rightly to be praised. My my heart, mind and soul remember this today. For it is not just another day....it is one that my God has made for me to live for Him. How blessed I am to be allowed to see these things. Oh my God is good to me.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dating

What is it with all the dating lately? Goodness me! Everyone seems to be finding a guy/gal. I try very hard not to push my dating beliefs on anyone who announces to me their latest plan of action in their romantic life but if you know me, you probably know how I feel about dating. Maybe I'll post something about that later. We'll see. Golly gee whiz, it seems like everyone is dating someone, there must be something about springtime!

Can I ask someone to make it stop? Please stop dating. Please.

For some weird reason, I don't feel like that plea will be answered in the way I want it to be answered.

I'll still express my beliefs on dating and exhort my brothers and sisters to search Scripture on the topic but when it comes down to it....I can not make it stop. That is in the Lord's hands.

On the other hand, all the dating is nice for one reason. It is a selfish reason at that but when no one was dating or moving toward dating, we [the entirety of everybody] was hanging out all the time. Now that people are moving in the dating direction, they tend to spend Friday nights out together which gives me more time to do homework. This is the only reason this is a good thing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wedding Bells Are Ringing!

Rachel and Brandon are getting married at the end of March. I have had the opportunity to make the groom's cake for the wedding and the possibility of my constructing the normal wedding cake is still up in the air. I haven't made a cake in so long and I am truly looking forward to his opportunity. You can't just make cakes to make them because they never get eaten!

I love weddings. I love the dress and the ceremony and all the special touches that each bride and groom choose to put into to. It is a beautiful joining of two to become one. Oh I long for the day when I will be the bride in such a ceremony. Although, there is much growth that I must see in my life before even entering into a courting relationship.

Every once in awhile, I think about what my wedding will be like. I used to think about this A LOT! I had every detail planned and ready to go. If you read my blogs from years ago, I wrote as if I was getting married the next day. This was insanely ridiculous because at the age of sixteen, eighteen, and even now, I am so far from being ready to get married. The Lord has grown in me some contentment towards the whole situation by His grace. He is so good to me. Although, I do not cultivate or submit to this contentment as much as I should. Anyway that leads me to what I was going to write about...

I had Texas chili and cornbread for breakfast. I think a casual country wedding would be so fun. (Disclaimer: I like thinking about weddings. This is just a fun idea. I'm an events kinda gal and thus like to plan what to do for what. This is just one of my events.) I would have it in my parents' backyard or in a field of some sort. I would have guests sit on bails of hay with quilts covering them. I would be wearing a casual dress (most likely with pockets). Maybe even some cowboy boots. We'd have square dancing and line dancing later under the stars. There would be lanterns everywhere with little candles. We could have Texas chili and cornbread. The day would be so relaxed and comfortable. Slow. A hoe-down wedding.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Great Day

Today was a great day. I had a really rough day yesterday and honestly to just keep going, I needed a great day. Side note: We should always see our days as great because of the gospel. I pray that the Lord grows me in this because oftentimes the status of my day is based on the productivity, emotions and encouragement involved in it.

I had an amazing quiet time this morning. The Lord is so good to give me a fervor for His Word again. Oh what a blessing to not have to fight as hard to get myself out of bed in the morning.

I then got help with all my calculus that I have a test over on Thursday. I understand more now. I still need to study but what a relief to understand more.

Then I had the opportunity to meet with my sign language buddy face to face. This was so helpful. Its sometimes hard to read her signs on skype because they aren't super clear so this was fun. Lord-willing, my life lived before her is shining His light and I pray for an opportunity to share the Gospel with her. Maybe in sign.

I then had class. I didn't fall asleep in Psychology. YAY. That means I got a decent amount of sleep last night. What a blessing. Sign language was good too. I enjoy that class as challenging as it may be.

Then I went running. Oh my! Oh how it felt good. I don't think I realized how out of shape I was but I ran the whole time. So fun. My knees are bothering me now. I need to icy hot and wrap them. Blisters on my feet too, one on each arch, each an inch long. All worth it.

Then I went to Wal-greens for some deodorant because I didn't put any in my sports bag. Problem solved now. I have one for inside and one for outside.

Then on my way to trig, I found Ben from church. We exchanged which class we were going to/coming from and he said "oh well than you could probably help me." For sure. I LOVE MATH! I love helping people with it too. What a blessing to be able to help a brother in Christ. I'll go over to their house on Sunday afternoon.

Trig was good. My teacher is crazy. Sometimes I think he might be on drugs because of the way he acts and then I realize he's just that enthusiastic! He definitely keeps everyone awake.

Now I'm here. Blogging. Blessings, blessings, blessings.

My God is good to me on these days. My God is good to me on the bad days. I find myself in mud and slowly but surely He pulls me out only giving me that which I can handle at the time. He grows me in the tough days and I pray that my heart realizes this and is thankful for it on the easy days. My God is good. He is the great I Am. He has saved me, chosen me, separated me for the gospel. Oh how good is my God!