Wednesday, August 10, 2011

new blog...!

Monday, August 8, 2011

I Will Wait For You There

I will wait for You there
Down on my knees where I met You
Give You all of my cares
Find grace to hold onto now
I'm calling for You

I will wait for You there
Far from the world and its violence
It's left me broken and bare
I need to hear You in the silence now
I'm calling for You

And with outstretched arms
I will sing out melodies
And my beating heart
Will pour out a symphony
Hallelujahs in the morning
Hallelujahs in the night
I will wait for You as long as I live

I will wait for You there
Down on my knees where I met You
'Cause life is a war fought with tears
But You are the strength I hold onto now
I'm calling for You

Life is hard. It's hard for everybody. It doesn't matter who you are, where you came from, how you were brought up, what you're involved in, or what your plans are. Life happens.

What if the next time you faced a trial, you didn't plead and whine to God about how it's so unfair and ask Him when it will be lifted from your plate?
What if you trusted Him and believed Him for healing?

What if you looked over your life and your previous trials and recalled to mind that the Lord is faithful?
What if you got on your knees and waited for Him there? Life IS a war fought with tears...but God Himself is fighting for you. Exodus 14:14-The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.
Exodus 33:14-The Lord replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

He is so big...big enough to create like 350 billion galaxies or something to that effect...don't you believe He's big enough to hold your heart tonight?

I'm challenging myself to keep going when rough spots hit. To not stop everything and wonder when God is going to redeem the situation...

instead, I want to stand in His sweet, fragrant, intoxicating, overwhelming, beautiful, powerful presence and trust that He knows what He's doing and move on to further serve Him...because He's told me and showed me time and time again that He does know what He's doing and that He is so worth trusting.

Lord Jesus, save us from ourselves.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

august third.

Today's the third. There is nothing pleasant about this day. Not at all.

On this day exactly two years ago, in the early mom got a phone call. It was my cousin Vanessa telling her that my aunt and uncle died in a multiple-car accident because an 18-wheeler driver decided not to stop...

Before August 3rd, 2009, I didn't know anything about death, dying, the shock that accompanies death, or the grief process.

Before August 3rd, 2009, I hadn't gone through anything so tragic so fast...

Before August 3rd, 2009, I had never seen people absolutely, completely, utterly broken.

But after this day, two years ago today...

I remember falling on my kitchen floor after I got the news because I did not have the strength to stand up anymore.

I remember grabbing my big brother by the arm as he grabbed mine because we literally HAD TO hold each other up.

I remember my former youth pastor Kimberly driving me to Vanessa's and my silent prayer that our faith would not falter because of this...

I remember seeing Alicia and Shelby, doing the only thing I wanted to do...and hugging them tightly.

I remember laying down on the grass in Vanessa and Ryan's front yard because I could not breathe anymore in the house.

I remember looking up at the sky and wondering what was going on...and why Aunt Kim and Uncle Anthony weren't around.

I remember the next morning, after a terrible, restless night...going downstairs and not having anything to say, and not being able to feel anything...

I remember my mom coming in from a walk, telling us that she had asked God that morning how in the world the sun was still shining...

I remember that Friday morning, at the funeral, being doubled over in my seat during the slide show, seeing their smiling faces in every picture.

I remember.

On my part, the grief is not nearly as bad today. I do not cry every time I remember them anymore. I do not silently scream out to God, asking Him every now and then, I ask Him calmly why they just couldn't have stayed a little bit longer...I imagine what things would be like if they were still here...

God is on His throne. He knows. He knows just as much as He did on that day, two years ago.

I promised her the weekend before that I would come visit her more often.......

Sometimes, I look at people who go out to lunch and go hang out over at their aunt and uncles'...and I remember that's the way it's supposed to be...

There is a reason, and I am thankful I will see them again soon and very soon. But in the meantime, to the beautiful, caring woman and the godly, redneck teddy bear man that I had the privilege of spending so much of my childhood with...

I love you both. And I miss you with my whole heart. I'll cry enough for all of us at Shelby's wedding on Friday. Wish you were here, but know you are in a pain-free, worry-less, beautiful place with your Creator.

Praise be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ-who has sent His Spirit to be our Comforter and Guide, who has never left us or forsaken us, and has never been less than perfect. Praise God that He does not get tired of our complaining and our anger and bitterness in grief, and that He promises to carry us to completion. And praise Him for the lives of my precious aunt and uncle.


Monday, July 25, 2011


I got the amazing and so completely UNDESERVED opportunity to go to Valparaiso, Chile on a week-long mission trip about three weeks ago. I have never had a huge desire to visit other countries (I always thought that my brother's wanderer's spirit was ginormous enough for both of us!) but I knew this would a rare opportunity.

And now, looking back on it and even more so when I was walking on the coast of Vina del Mar in the 40 degree weather and huffin' and puffin' up the hill we adopted with new friends...I can't wait to go back someday, Lord willin'.

Our nine-member team from FBC Hurst left on the ten-hour plane flight late Tuesday night and made it generally in one piece-I did get sick and definitely tossed my cookies about
eight hours into the trip...BUT all in all, that wasn't too bad-considering I've been on a plane probably less than six times in my life-none longer than three or four hours. As one girl pointed out, I had about "six mamas on the trip" with needless to say, I got my dose of some good ol' First Hurst lovin'!

It was so amazing to be with my family again. I have been so blessed to have TWO church families currently...and I love Edge Park with all of my heart and hold those precious people so close to my heart, but I am so glad that I got to spend time with the people that have helped raise me and have taught me so much about the Lord over the years. I became a Christian at First Hurst, was blessed by the children's ministry and the youth ministry and have met so many people on the 10-15 mission trips I have been on with them! :) I am forever indebted to these great men and women of God.

Our team consisted of two men and seven women, and all were over the age of 44 (WHICH IS NOT OLD!!) except me...which was interesting after our second night of having ice cream for dinner... I never thought I would be on a trip full of adults and have dessert for dinner multiple times, Laura would say...hey, what are you gonna do?! :)

My prayer for this trip was simply that God would reign. That I would not hinder what He is doing in this beautiful country. That He would speak through us, and that not a sound would escape our lips that was not from Him. He is so big...I wanted to help His power and His Spirit move and not be a hindrance to His work at all. Something awesome that happened was the awesome youth pastor I work for prayed over me at Edge Park twice before I left, and his prayer matched exactly what my heart was crying out for.

George, our translator and Kimberly's faithful summer intern, did the devotion
al booklet for the team and the main focus of the devotional was being on-purpose. Each day, we had a challenge about being ON-purpose for God. I personally loved that!!! So many of my friends are so frustrated and upset about the way their life is going, or so concerned because they don't feel a certain call in any direction in this point of our lives...and
all I have to say is...BLOOM WHERE THE LORD HAS PLANTED YOU, PEOPLE!!! As my best friend would say, "God will let you know on a need-to-know basis." Wherever He has planted you right now,whether you like it or not, whether you will be here for the rest of your life or if it's just a short season, be on purpose for Him. Be intentional in your words and actions and time spent.

But to stay on topic before I go on that rant...

A friend at Edge Park asked me what my favorite part of the trip was, and I think the thing that stood out to me the most was the morning we got to visit the boys' home. It has been on my heart since starting at DBU that I would absolutely LOVE to work in an orphanage someday. So when I found out we were getting to do that, I was so excited!!! At first, they said only a few people could go in, and that they wanted a man to go in since it was a boys home, a translator, and church members from I hung back, knowing that my presence wasn't exactly needed...but then the boys all came out to the park across the street from the orphanage and my heart just melted! These boys are SO PRECIOUS!

The pastor's wife, Gabriela, did a GREAT job with telling the boys a story and singing songs in Spanish with them. They loved it and then Alex, the pastor, asked me to pray with one of the
boys, Samuel, who wanted to receive Christ!!! Seeds were planted in these precious boys' hearts.

To explain further...our church has a partnership with a church there, Jesus Esperan
za Viva, and they do home visitations on Cerro hill with 50,000 people on it..and that's one hill-out of 41 total hills in the city. We also have a partnership with a school there called Escuela Mixta de Paraguay.

As for the church members...they are rock-solid, faithful, giving, compassionate, blow-you-away AMAZING! They overcome so much to walk the steep hill every single week to share the gospel
unashamed and to build relationships with these people who so desperately need a Savior! The pastor has a church-planting heart and they are praying for someone to start a church on the hill, because their church, Jesus Esperanza Viva, is a one-hour bus ride from the hill. Yet they faithfully come visit these people on this beautiful hill every single week to build relationships, to love on them as Christ loved all of us... What blows us away is that we throw every excuse possible to not share the gospel...and America is suffering for it, y'all...

The school is great. The school tries to emphasize moral lessons and after-school programs, so we brought supplies to paint sheets for a drama, brought biblical time clothing and some modern day props for the drama (a reenacting of the Good Samaritan), and puppets. Most of our team were busy at work and I couldn't find anything to make myself useful doing, so I hung around and got to know some of the kids... :)

The people of Chile are so precious. They are sweet-hearted and wonderful. Their hearts are full of love and compassion and are so giving. On Sunday night (when I was missing my youth group kids something FIERCE!!!!..and everybody from Hurst thought I was crazy for missing my teenagers...they obviously just have not met Fusion Student Ministries!) during a church service that we are convinced was a glimpse of what Heaven will be like, they announced each of us from First Hurst by name and called us up and gave us a piece of chocolate! It was insane. I felt like we were on vacation instead of mission trip! I'm pretty sure they blessed us WAY more than we blessed them.

I feel like there is still so much more to share, and hopefully I can share with all of you at some point. I beg you, brothers and sisters, to pray for these people, the kids, the church members, the people on Cerro Placeres...

All in all, I am so excited that we are starting a partnership with these beautiful people. I doubt they will ever know the impact they have had on us. I am praying for a chance to go changed my life, and I am forever blessed by the ministry of Jesus Esperanza Viva and the work that the Lord is doing there.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Sorry it's been a while...especially to the sweet ladies in my dad's office who like to read my blog posts! :) Yall make my day...keep him in line! :) I babysit around 30 hours a week, wait tables every Saturday, and also have a youth internship which takes up the only remaining day-Sunday-and some random evenings after jobs one and two. So, needless to say...I don't get on the computer much.

Something the Lord has been showing me all summer long after putting it on my heart during the last few months of the school year is GRACE. I have always thought "Grace" was a great name for a daughter because to me, the best definition of grace is God giving you something you don't deserve.

Think about it...a boss may have grace on you when you make a mistake. I know my bosses do in the 2 1/2 years I've been a waitress...I've made a lot of mistakes, but they've been very forgiving! People often associate "graceful" with "elegant," perhaps to describe a person. Grace is a beautiful thing. People beg for grace to be extended to them. The Methodist church says there's 3 types of it: prevenient, justifying, and sanctifying.

I have a hard time believing that people love me. I am super hard on myself and so unforgiving when I mess up. I am always trying to buy and earn peoples' love...even people who I should know will always love me, like God and my mom and people who have been in my life unfailingly.

But, God gets me every time.

One of my favorite things about Him is that He loves me when I don't love myself. On the nights where I have nothing to offer Him but my tears, He takes them and turns them into healing and growth. When I am so ashamed and don't want to talk to anyone, don't even want to speak the circumstance or what I've done aloud...the Lord lovingly comes in, smooths my ruffled feathers, and reminds me time and time again that I don't have to be anything on my own. My competency comes from Him (2 Corinthians 3:5).

THIS is what gets me. I don't have to be anything on my own. It sounds so trivial, so have been a Christian for 9 1/2 years, to have gone to church and lived in a Christian home for 19 1/2 years, to even work in a church and still struggle with the constant striving that is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY!

But it's hard for me to peel away all the layers of being obsessed with perfection, my constant thought that I have to hold everything together, that I have to be the one to hold it all together, the huge lie that I don't need anyone's help-be it God or anyone else.

Every time, God grabs my heart and reminds me again that I am His. Jesus paid the price. I don't have to live a life filled with religious practices and legalism. I am called to follow Him and to live the best life I can in order to bring people to His Name.

I am not called to be perfect.

May I extend grace to myself and to others just as the Lord has extended so very much of His awesome grace to me.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Strength Through The Storm

I will not waste your pain, my Beloved.

I will use every tear you have cried to put a passion in your heart to do something great for My Kingdom.

You can find comfort in your darkest hour by praising Me through the painful place you're in.

Soon you will see that, through it all, I carved something in your character to that will draw you and others closer to Me.

You are MY precious princess, and I WILL shake the earth if that is what it takes to see your chains fall to the ground.

The Lord Who Feels Your Pain

Saturday, April 30, 2011


When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
-John 19:30

It's thought-provoking...

After 30 years of life and 3 years of intensive ministry, after rejection and beating, the final words of Christ while hanging on the cross are "it is finished."

This seems so...despondent, so fatal, so final.

in the Greek, these three words are a single word,
a single cry of VICTORY!


These are not three little words.
They are one huge exclamation of joy!

My New Testament professor wrote this for one of our online sessions a few weeks ago. I love it! Jesus wasn't giving up, he wasn't giving in, this wasn't the end. It is finished...Christ won over all :)

By His wounds we are healed.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Swimming the English Channel

Yesterday in my Christian Leadership class, the professor told us a story that I loved:

56 people have successfully swam the English Channel, though THOUSANDS of people have tried it. If you try to swim the channel and "register" your swim (which is the only way to get credit if you make it), then you are supplied with a small boat just in case you get tired, can't go on anymore, and give up.

The reason it's so hard to swim the English Channel is because the water is extremely cold and it's not the cleanest, but more than that- there is a point where the current is very strong, where you might have to just swim against the current for two or three hours just to not be thrown backwards.

Knowing this...

Imagine that everyone on Earth were in the ocean. That means that Olympic swimmers AND people who can barely even dog-paddle in the shallow end of a swimming pool are both there. The goal is to swim from California to Hawaii. Because there's so many people in the ocean, there are no small boats to pick people up for when they can't go on any longer. It's all on you-every man for himself.

To reach Hawaii, you would have to swim 2506 miles. No break, no stopping, no food or drink stops to revive yourself on the way. Now, Michael Phelps might last two or three more hours than the average person, but eventually he won't be able to swim anymore either. All these people need a Rescuer.

Now, can you imagine if a man on a boat came over and told you that he is here to save you, to give you rest from your long journey, to help carry you over to the other side...can you just imagine if you told him,

"No, thanks. I got this. I can do it on my own."

It's absolutely ridiculous! But how often do we do this to our Savior?

He is waiting for you. If He feels far away, try taking a step towards Him.

"He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there, He is pleased even with their stumbles."
-C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

Even more so, how many times does the Lord ask you to take a step out of the boat onto the water with Him, and you tell Him right back, "No, Lord, I'm comfortable where I am, I don't need to go walk on water or do anything else because I'm scared about what You have for me next. Don't take me away from my security blanket, my comfort zone."

Get out of the boat. Reach for Him. He's waiting and can't wait for you to come back.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Jesus Cracks Me UP!

I am sitting here literally GIGGLING. I'm listening to a podcast by Francis Chan, my favorite speaker, and he is teaching on a story about Peter, John, and Jesus. Here's the biblical text:

John 21

(Jesus said to Peter)... 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!”

20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

22 Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

Here, Jesus is trying to get Peter to mature, to grow up, to open his ears to what Jesus was about to reveal to Him, and what does Peter say?

"Well if that's how I'm gonna die, how is John gonna go?"

Then Jesus says, "Peter...honey, worry about yourself. You are responsible for you and how YOU follow me."

This cracks me UP!!! Here is three men who are probably in their thirties... And Peter looks to "the disciple whom Jesus loved" and totally misses the point that Jesus was trying to make. I laugh because I babysit and work with kids a lot and I see this so often. Sometimes I just have to tell the tattletale to take care of themselves and not to pay attention to what the other kids are doing. But how often do we do this?

I'm a girl, obviously. I play the comparison game. I wish I could look like a certain person. I wonder if people would treat me differently if I had a better personality or better looks or have more intelligence or common sense or people skills... I think girls do this so much that it just becomes natural. It's automatic thinking.

But I think we do it spiritually, too. We say: well, God is doing a lot in their life, so I wonder what I'm doing wrong. Why didn't He call ME to this certain ministry? Why does everyone and their mother know exactly their purpose in this life while it feels like I just have light for this one step that I'm on?

It doesn't matter. You are responsible for YOU. Jesus, our heavenly babysitter and children's ministry volunteer, cares about what YOU do for Him, how YOU react to His call, and what YOU do with what He gives to YOU.

It's not all about you. But you need to quit worrying about what everyone else is called to, is doing with their life, and what they look like. There's a purpose in it all, and He always redeems it. :) It's between you and the Lord.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Lord You Are Good and Your Mercy Endureth Forever!

The Lord is wildly pursuing my heart and totally refining me! I've been asking Him to do so for so long and it is so awesome that in His timing, He is teaching me so much. It's not the easiest thing in the world to have the dark corners of my heart exposed, but I am loving it because He is at work. I love the way C.S. Lewis talks about this:

"If you let Me, I'll make you perfect. The moment you put yourself in My hands, that's what you're in for. Nothing less or other than that. You have free will, and if you choose, you can push Me away. But if you don't, understand that I'm going to see this job through. Whatever suffering it may cost you in your earthly life, whatever inconceivable purification it may cost you after death, whatever it costs Me, I will never rest, nor let you rest until you are literally perfect. This I do and will do. But I will not do anything less."

When we FINALLY give ourselves completely over to the Lord, He is ready with huge hands to scrape out all the dross from our hearts. It's not easy to let go of control because it's one of the things we hold on to the most. It's not easy to see all the ugliness of ourselves. But when all the ugliness is removed, there is that much more room for the beauty of what the Lord has for us next :) He is SO good.

Monday, March 28, 2011


"Our Heavenly Father never gives us too much to do.

Men will.

We assign ourselves an overload, but never the Lord. He knows what He wants from each of us, and there is plenty of time in His day for things essential to His plan. We do Him a grave injustice when we fall into the habit of compulsive overwork. We sin when we pressure out His wishes for assignments that have not been filtered through divine judgment." -Charles Shedd

Today in Christian Leadership we talked about how we are so bad at adding things to our schedules. My professor does a lot of conferences and seminars, and he said many people go into time management sessions or seminars with the thought that the speaker will help them learn how to juggle sixteen balls in the air, as opposed to the twelve they have going on BEFORE the conference. However, this is not what happens. No one can have "good time management" if they keep adding to their plate. Then he said: "If you really want to be effective, you need to FOCUS." Focus on ONE thing, not sixteen.

A few years back, a friend told me that God has not called us to be so busy FOR Him that we don't have time for Him. He doesn't want us to be exhausted all the time and have no energy for the thing He's called us to do and is trying to CALL us to do.

I am TERRIBLE at this. I want to be everything to everybody. I want to make everybody and their mother happy. I want to get everything done and dapple in a plethora of things because life is short and I have to get everything done in the "perfect" way I am always striving for. But God has not called me to be "busy," though in our society today it seems like being constantly BUSY gives us worth. Instead, He's called me to be effective and excellent in the things that I do. He's called me to do everything in His name and for His glory.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of the time, because th days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Thursday, March 24, 2011


"If there are any two things more incompatible than oil and water, they are TRUST and WORRY. Would you call it trust if you asked a friend to do something for you, and then spent your time worrying about whether the matter would be properly handled? And can you call it trust, when you have given to the Lord the saving and keeping of your soul, and are STILL spending day after day, night after night in anxiety and doubt? When a person REALLY trusts a matter to someone else, he ceases to worry about it. If he continues to worry, it is clear that he doesn't trust."

I am the world's worst about this. I keep everything bottled up OR I talk to other people about it, instead of talking to the Lord first... and then when I finally get around to telling Jesus about it, I tell Him that He can have it, all of it, all of me...then start talking to someone and talk about how worried I am about it OR usually...lay in bed at night, restless, because I have so much bubbling up inside of me. OBVIOUSLY...I am not trusting.

Trusting is hard. It's hard to surrender. But it is so worth it. And you would think that I have learned this lesson by now. As Beth Moore says, don't be satisfied with the puddle just because it comes to you before the lake. Don't compromise what the Lord has promised you. Hold out for what He has for you! Listen to His voice-He'll blow you away.

Wait for the Lord. Be strong, take heart, and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

"What does it mean to trust someone to do a piece of work for you? It means letting that person do it, and feeling no need to do it yourself. Every one of us has trusted very important tasks to other people in this way. If we had confidence in those people, we felt perfectly safe in doing so. Mothers trust their precious babies to the care of relatives or baby-sitters without any great anxiety. All of us trust our health and our lives every day to cooks, bus drivers, mechanics, and all sorts of workmen who could ill us or ruin our lives in an instant, either deliberately or by a moment's carelessness. We never feel that we are doing anything in the least remarkable when we put ourselves at the mercy of people whom we know only slightly, it at all. You yourself could not live on this earth and go through the routine of a single day if you couldn't trust your fellow men. It never enters your head to say you cannot. Yet you do not hesitate to say, continually, that you cannot trust your God!"

You are the strength that keeps my walking.
You are the hope that keeps me trusting.
You are the light to my soul.
You are my purpose, You're everything.

So how can I stand here with You and not be moved by You?
Would You tell me how could it be any better than this?

'Cause You're ALL I want, ALL I need, You're EVERYTHING.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Peter and Jesus

In the youth group last Sunday, we talked about friendships. We modeled what our friendships should look like after Peter's friendship with Jesus. I don't know about the kids, but I sure got a lot out of our discussion.

In Matthew 16:18, Jesus calls Peter "blessed" and that he is Peter, and "on this rock I will build My church."

As the crucifixion was drawing near, Jesus told His disciples that the day was drawing near, and that they all would fall away on His account. But Peter quickly tells Jesus that no matter what happens, he will always be there for Him, no matter what the rest of the crowd does.

"Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."

Even when Jesus looks at Peter and tells Him that he will indeed stray from Jesus and even disown Him, Peter assures Jesus that he would DIE before he would disown Him.

We all know how this one ends. A little while later, the rooster crows right after Peter told person number three that he doesn't even KNOW Jesus.

On Sunday, the youth pastor asked the youth group: How would YOU feel if your "best friend" not only treated you badly, but claimed that he didn't even know you?!

I have never thought about this story in these terms. I have had and am having such issues with friends right now. I don't know whether to walk away or whether to hold on to the friendships that I have. Do I say something when I feel mistreated? Or do I just let it go? Do I move on or do I drop everything to be there for the people who I thought would be my friends forever, even when they treat me badly?

I find a little bit of comfort (no matter how weird that sounds) that Jesus went through the same thing. Hebrews says He was tempted in every way and that He can sympathize with our weaknesses. Though I'm going through nothing like Jesus did, He sure had issues with His friends, even the one everyone thought of as the beloved disciple.

I have friends that told me they'd be there for me forever, and now they're not around. Just like Peter told Jesus. I have friends who said they would be there for me forever and now have turned away because I talk to them about the bad choices that they're making. Just like Peter...Jesus tried to warn him, but he was indignant that he would never be unfaithful to Jesus. And he made terrible mistakes. Three of them, in fact.

I'm thankful that Jesus understands. And that I have a Savior who cares.

He doesn't need us, but He wants us. And I am so grateful!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

It's March! :)

I've had a lot of people talk to me about college lately. High school junior and seniors, adults, different types of people. I do my best to be real about it-encouraging AND truthful. Truth is...moving to college was one of the hardest things I've ever done...but it is also one of my greatest blessings.

It's hard because almost all of my relationships have changed. That doesn't really have to do with college, but I guess it's just a a part of growing up. The people whom I thought would never leave...I rarely talk to anymore. Their interests have changed, and mine have too. Even the people at DBU whom I spent every waking minute with last semester aren't around much anymore.

But life is good...because this is only a season! New relationships will form and old ones will be strengthened. God is faithful.

I'm learning that you have to trust God and step out in blind-as-a-bat faith. Even if that means giving Him your deepest, darkest secrets...your most special memories...your most painful prayer request...your best friends, closest relatives, and the people you love the most. Giving Him your hopes, your dreams, your gifts is the best thing you can do. He is the Man worth giving your heart to! We don't have to worry about Him shattering our hearts. He is Jehovah Rapha-God the Healer.

"Partial surrender is no surrender at all."

Surrender your heart and mind to Him...He is so worth trusting.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chain Reaction

I'm taking this from a homework assignment for my Christian Leadership class:

In 1858, a Sunday school teacher, a Mr. Campbell, led a Boston shoe clerk to give his life to Christ.

The clerk, Dwight L. Moody, became an evangelist and in England in 1879 awakened evangelistic zeal in the heart of Frederick B. Meyer, a pastor of a small church.

F.B. Meyer, preaching on an American campus, brought a student to Christ named J. Wilbur Chapman.

Chapman engaged in YMCA work and employed a former baseball player, Billy Sunday, to do evangelistic work.

Sunday held a revival in Charlotte, NC.

A group of local men were so enthusiastic afterwards that they planned another evangelistic campaign, bringing Mordecai Hamm to town to preach.

In the revival, a young man named Billy Graham heard the gospel and yielded his life to Christ...

and the story goes on.

We never know who we are influencing by what we say, the way we act, and the things we fill our time with. Be INTENTIONAL about the way you live your life and the way you interact with people. You just never know!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

We Will Never Be The Same!

At the start, He was there
He was there.
In the end, He'll be there
He'll be there.
After all our hands have wrought, He forgives!

Oh, the glory of it all is He came here for the rescue of us all
that we may live for the glory of it all.

All is lost...find Him there!
Find Him there.
After night, dawn is here!
Dawn is here.
After all falls apart, He repairs.

He is here for redemption from the fall
that we may live for the glory of it all!

After night comes the light. Dawn is here.
Dawn is here!
It's a new day.
Things will NEVER be the same...WE will NEVER be the same!

The glory of it all is YOU CAME HERE
for the RESCUE of US ALL for the glory of it all.
You are here for redemption for us all,
that we may LIVE for the glory of it all!

I have listened to this beautiful David Crowder song probably five times in the last two days. It is so powerful! We used to sing it in youth group all the time, but each time I listen to it, a new light is shed on these words.

He has been here from the start, and He'll be here til the end.
He forgives us and burns away the dross.
He came to RESCUE us from such a deadly peril!
When all is lost, when all is dark, HE IS THERE. No matter how dark it gets.
When everything falls apart, He repairs. He repairs.
And we will NEVER be the same.

Whatever is on your plate, whatever has been on your plate, whatever is going to be on your plate... the Lord is faithful. He will not tempt you beyond what you can bear, and even when it feels like you can't go on anymore, He promises to be our strength and our song, our Ultimate Comforter, and our hope. He commands us to come to Him if we are tired and weary, and He WILL give us REST. He commands us to cast ALL our anxiety on Him because He cares for us AND He will never let the righteous fall.

Look over what you've been through in your life. Has God ever NOT been faithful? You're here, aren't you? He has such a big purpose for you! You were NEVER made to just take up space. You were NOT created to simply try to survive instead of living. He came that we may have life and have it ABUNDANTLY. He is a big God, and He has big plans for his beloved sons and precious daughters. You do NOT serve a mediocre God.

Whether it is a physical ailment, terminal disease, two steps away from an emotional breakdown, a broken heart, a bitter spirit, overwhelming loneliness, or anything else...

And He is faithful.

The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you.
He will quiet you with His love and rejoice over you with singing.
Zephaniah 3:17 :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sweetheart, I'll Wait For You

Today I went to my third funeral. It was different today in that I didn't know the person whose life was being celebrated. I went to support two sweet, precious kids from the youth group I serve in. They lost their grandmother, their aunt, uncle, and dad lost their sweet mama, and a man lost his best friend and the love of his life. Life is precious, and life is beautiful.

I woke up this morning with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, knowing that today was the day I would be attending this funeral. I went to be there for my kids. I went to show them that I love them and I'm here for them always, through the fun times when we're playing games and watching the Superbowl and acting stupid on Sunday nights AND ALSO through the darkest days of their teenage years, when they have nothing to offer but their tears and their brokenness. When they don't understand...when they feel like God is only giving them enough light for the step that they're on in that very moment. When life is so wonderful that you just have to stop and close your eyes and thank Jesus that life is truly beautiful and so worthwhile. When they are ashamed, burdened, weeping, broken, hurt, and lost. The Lord led me to Edge Park for "such a time as this..." in every season that they encounter.

Though I would have done anything to be there for them today and I'm so glad I got to go and just be there with them and show my support and love for them, it was extremely draining. The last time I woke up and got ready for a funeral was August 7th, 2009-the day we celebrated and grieved the short lives of my aunt and uncle. Everything about today brought me back to that day, almost a year and a half ago.

It's hard to be a good friend to friends who are grieving if you've never experienced grief. It's hard to be a good friend to friends who are grieving if you HAVE experienced grief. I've never lost a grandparent. I don't know what they are feeling or what they're going through. I just know that it's got to be painful, that grieving is really hard, and that healing is a process.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in ANY trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I attended a few sessions of a grief and loss group at my church a few months after my aunt and uncle died, and I found these verses from 2 Corinthians as a result. I love that the God who created me is abounding in love. I love that the Maker of the Stars hears my breaking heart. I love that the God who knows how many hairs on my head is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort! He KNEW that grieving would be terrible, and it would hurt, and it would weigh our hearts down. But He gave grieving to us as a beautiful gift, because (like my sweet mama says) if we had to deal with all the emotions that death brings all at once, we would not survive. He gave us the grieving process so that we could let out our hurt, anger, sadness, and bitterness a little at a time. Though it hurts, and sometimes it feels like a huge weight is on our hearts because we miss them so very extremely much, the Lord uses that. He redeems it for His glory!

I am thankful that the Lord uses the hurt in my past to help others. He gave me a heart to love on other people with everything that I have, and to be there for them. Even though it's not fair that my aunt and uncle didn't get to see their 5oth birthdays, even though it makes no sense that they were taken so stinkin' early, though I would do anything to hear one of his stories or get one of her hugs or help him clean house on another Saturday morning or hear her laugh...He uses my pain so that when other people are drowning in their own sorrow, I can say to them: I don't know how you feel, but I know that it hurts. And I'm here for you, and I can show compassion to you because the Lord held me at my weakest point, when I was so angry at Him because my aunt and uncle, the people who half-raised me, the people who my mom told me years before would take me in if anything ever happened to her, the people who wiped away my tears and doctored my cuts and scrapes, the people who took me in as their fourth daughter, didn't get to see me turn eighteen, graduate from high school, or even get accepted to the college of my dreams. Because HE is the God of all comfort, I can be there for other people. I can serve because of what He's done in my life. He gives us strength when we have absolutely nothing to give.

Life is hard. But it is beautiful.
God is good. And He is so worth trusting.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Lord Is My Strength and My Song

I feel the need to update...

Second semester is going pretty well. It's already hard but I know it's going to turn out alright. I'm taking Intro to Computers, Spanish, Christian Leadership, History, New Testament, Geology, and best of all...a three-hour Geology Lab every Wednesday.

I don't like my history professor, but I've heard he's easy. I love Spanish and the professor is great. The computer class isn't too bad so far, and the professor is very funny and bold about his faith. I am in love with everything about my Christian Leadership class. The Lord is already teaching me so much through the book we are assigned to read and by the professor's lectures. I also live on the same hall as the professor's daughter, and she's one of those people that has Jesus exploding out of her pores, so it's awesome to see that as great as this professor is, he's also real, as evidenced through his sweet and godly daughter. New Testament should be okay, it's not awesome right now because we're just studying the Intertestamental Period and background to the New Testament and stuff like that, but soon hopefully we will dive in to the actual books. I signed up for the same professor as Old Testament, so I already am used to the way his tests and projects are. I'm taking New Testament and Spanish with my roommate, so I have an automatic study buddy and project partner. Geology, however is going to punch me in the face until I'm black and blue, no exaggeration. There is an hour lecture on Mondays, an hour lecture on Wednesdays, then a three hour lab on Wednesdays as well. The professor is nice and is very smart, but I hate science, all sciences, am absolutely terrible at thinking scientifically, and it's college so it's a level up than what I'm used to as it is. Needless to say, I have my work cut out for me. But I know I will survive.

One of the verses that God has spoken to me the most thus far my freshman year is Exodus 15:2. "The Lord is my strength and my song, and He has become my salvation." Exodus is my favorite book of the Bible, but that's not the only reason why this verse is my constant. I love that the Lord is my strength. When I am weak, He is strong. When I have nothing to offer Him but my tears, He holds me in His sweet embrace until I return to sanity. When I am exhausted, sick, defeated, sad, and lonely, HE IS MY STRENGTH. I don't have to be anything to earn this...this is part of His natural instinct, His natural character. He wants to help me, He wants to love on me, He wants to carry my burden. Cast all your anxiety on the Lord, for He cares for you. Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you. When anxiety was great within me, Your love brought joy to my soul. My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Come to Me and find rest for your souls. Over and over again, He tells us that He cares so much about us that He WANTS to help us. He is so worth trusting.

I love the next part just as much: He is my song. I love singing, music, listening to the musically inclined, all genres, at any time. I believe that He speaks through music and that He talents certain people with it. When I think of the Lord being my song, I think of Him lifting my head up and renewing me. He fills me with joy. Not happiness, which is temporary, a simple feeling that comes and goes as human nature changes, but JOY. Joy that comes from God alone. Zephaniah 3:17 says He will rejoice over us with singing and quiet us with His love. That is so beautiful to me! He is so beautiful. He is my strength and He is my song. I delight in Him. I am HIS.

The last part however might be the best of all: He has become my salvation. I have always thought, up until last semester, that "salvation" was a term to describe December 16th, 2001: the day I told Jesus that I would be His and follow Him wholeheartedly. Salvation is so much more than asking Him into your life. It literally means the act of saving or being protected from harm. Theologically, the dictionary says it is the deliverance of the act and penalty of sin, or redemption. Redemption is one of my favorite words because redeem means to buy or pay off; to obtain the release and restoration of something. He literally bought us, exchanged Himself for our sake, just so that we could live with Him forever in a beautiful and finally perfect place. He is my SALVATION. He is my Savior, my Redeemer, and my Deliverer. He rescued my life from the pit. But it didn't stop that Sunday morning when my nine-year-old heart accepted Jesus-He continues to save me. He saves me from myself, my flesh, my desires, my insecurities, my fears, my doubts, my pain, my sin, my weaknesses, my imperfections. I am thankful that I love and serve the God that knows me better than I know myself, even the things about myself I hate the most, and yet He loves me anyway. He chose me anyway. He knew what I would struggle with when He has nails drove into his skin and a crown of thorns pushed down hard on his head. The Lord is my salvation. He delivered me.

All that said, I serve a BIG GOD! He is so wonderful. He is the Maker of the Stars, yet He holds my breaking heart. He created the universes ex nihilo, out of nothing, and yet He cares about my stupid drama with friends. I cannot get over the fact that He loves us so.

Praise be to God, the Lover of my Soul, my Rescuer and Redeemer, and my best friend...You are indescribable.

Please keep praying for me as I do my best in school. It's hard but it is so worth it, and I know I'm in the right place. God is good.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Guess What Daddy? I Updated My Blog!

Good morning, Daddy. I hope you are happy I updated my blog, since you talk to me about it at least once a week ;) Just kidding I love you!

On my heart recently...

Conviction is a lost issue, it seems. We tiptoe around certain people, we lie to our friends, we forsake the tugging on our heart from the Lord...We live in the society of the feel-good and love-everybody Christianity, which, sorry to say, y'all...will leave you empty and incomplete. The Joel Osteen approach to life will only take you so far. He's a great guy and all, but as you get older in your faith, the Word says we need meat, not spiritual milk.

I know most of the time I would rather just deal with issues on my own rather than hash them out with people or lay them all in the open. I can blame this on my non-confrontational nature, but in my heart I know that God calls us to speak the truth in love. When you love someone, you aren't going to stay concerned with them and not say anything about it. Yes, people get upset and mad and hurt...but if the Lord gives you a truth to share, you better let it out! Speaking from experience, I know that when God tells me to do something and I don't do it, it's NOT GOOD! I totally miss out on something awesome that God has for me.

All that to say...if you are concerned about someone, pray about it. Ask for wisdom and peace and patience and the right words to say to help them. And if the Lord prompts you to go to that person, talk to them. Talk to them in love, but get your (really, His) point across.

Don't get swept away by this unconvicting, happy-go-lucky Christianity. Jesus turned over tables and told people what for. Yes, He did it in love. But He laid it all down because He knew it would help them. Following Jesus means taking up your cross daily, dying to yourself, and living loud for Him. He deserves so much more than what we have to offer, but we need to do at least this much for Him.

Ask God to knock you off your feet. Ask Him to refine you, mold you, transform you, whatever terminology creates the best picture for you. Ask Him to show you areas of your life that need changing. It hurts, but it is so worth it.

He is SO worth it.