Thursday, December 29, 2011


For every thing there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Seasons are inevitable. I'm not talking about summer and winter (though those are inevitable too). I'm talking about the good and sometimes bad times in our life that come, quietly and without notice, and become a way of living. Then we wake up a few months down the road and realize all we have of that time is just the memory, and just like that, those times, those seasons are gone, quietly and without notice- just like they came.

Like a Memphis spring, some seasons of life aren't too noticeable. But, like a Memphis summer, some seasons are full of memorable events, good and bad, and seem to last forever. Then, just when we get used to them or adjust to their pace, they are gone and we aren't sure how, or what to do in their wake.

Though my life has been full of these seasons, and I've taken something away from each one that I am thankful to have learned, there are three particular seasons that stick out to me.

The first one is summer of 2008. I had just gotten my mountain bike as a graduation present, and it was the best gift ever. My dad, brother, sister-in-law, and I would go and ride all the time. Maybe that's why I love MTB so much. That summer was hot, but we spent what seems like every weekend on our bikes. After that summer, I started working for Student Life so that was my only summer on the trails, but I still think about those days all the time, and I am thankful.

Even though those summer days faded, a new season came. It was the season of Starbucks. Every Tuesday afternoon, my mom and sister and I would meet at Starbucks. We would laugh and gossip and discuss things of importance, like Thanksgiving meals and sales at Target. This season lasted for a long time, but eventually school schedules and jobs got in the way. One day, I might live too far away to meet my sister and mom at the coffee shop, but I am so grateful for those Tuesday afternoons!

The season that has lasted longer than any other is the lunch club. When I was a freshman in college, my dad would eat lunch at the Subway across the street from school every Friday. So, for a free meal, I started joining him. Little did I know, 4 years later I would cherish those lunch dates. Sort of like religion, we follow the guidelines and meet every week; usually Subway, sometimes mexican, and lately, on Thursdays. The lunch club has gone through the days of the week, and occasionally we'll have honorary guests, but my Dad and I are the only true members. My sister tries but just can't stay faithful (which is understandable with a 4 year old at home), and Mom has a hard time sitting at lunch for an hour (because teachers only get 25 minutes for lunch), but is normally at work anyway. So, just me and Dad. It's my favorite and longest running season. When school starts back, we'll have to move Lunch club to Fridays, and then, in the summer, it might change again. I know one day I probably won't make it to lunch every week, but I sure have learned a lot during these meetings over the past four years, and I am so blessed to have that time with my Dad.

These seasons are the moments we'll cherish. These are the moments we'll remember, the conversations we learn from, the moments that define our relationships and our lives. These seasons are the ones that get us through each day and make the weeks go by. Be grateful, whatever season you're in, and take something away from each one.

Whatever the season, however long, be thankful.

Friday, December 23, 2011

2011 by month

My plans for myself have never worked out, thankfully. God cares too much for me to let my plans work out. 2010 was a big, hard year in my life, and 2011 was the aftermath. I have been thinking about it, how this year has changed me, or rather, how God has changed me throughout this year. Here are some of the highlights:

In January I started a new relationship for the first time since I ended my engagement.
In February I really, finally let go of an old relationship and let myself heal.
(In March, nothing memorable happened, but I'm sure God did something during this month, too.)
In April, I quit the job I'd had for 5 years and started a job that would lead me to one of the best friends I've had.
In May, I experienced Cinco De Mayo working in a Mexican Restaurant... no description necessary.
In June, I took my first family vacation since 6th grade. I realized that I was alone for the first time since I could remember- alone, just me and God. I also realized that I've never been more care and worry free than I was in that moment... and every moment since. God opened my eyes that week to his love in a way that I'd never seen before.
Then, in July, God brought me to a new place with my faith. For the first time, I've taken it and made it authentic. I am living MY faith, not my mothers. I don't know how He does it, but if you let Him, God will change your heart and mind in a way that makes you realize who you really are.
In August, I went to a wedding and saw, for the first time since our breakup, the boy I almost started a life with. God is so good- the way he opens our eyes and heals our hearts.
In September, I started a "real" job and the major that would rekindle my love for school. I also bought myself a car- a really nice car that doesn't break down and has a working cd player. I met my new niece and God showed me, again, the blessing of family.
In October, I realized why my dad told me never to have a car note, and what being an adult feels like. In November, I filed my intent to graduate and realized how far I've come over the course of three different majors and two different schools.
In December, my hard work at school paid off- I got my scholarship back. God used this to show me, yet again, His faithfulness and how he will always provide.

Maybe the details that shaped my year aren't really important. Maybe what's really important is that, some days throughout this year, I cried. I was heartbroken. I was lonely. I was mad. Some days throughout this year I was happy. I was excited. I was indestructible. But every day throughout this year, God was faithful. His love overwhelms the happiest memories of this year and the most painful. I have no idea what God has in store for 2012, but I will go confidently into the new year- no worries or cares- because I know whatever God has in mind, it's going to be greater than any plan I could have for myself.

Merry Christmas. Happy New Year.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Petition. For school.

For those of you who have as much as issue with school as I do, here's my petition:

Papers should actually really begin to write themselves after a certain amount of time spent staring at the blank document upon which they shall be written.

A strict "No Dieting/ healthy eating" policy will be enforced at all hours during a paper writing/ mid-term studying session. Cokes and chips are necessary for clear thinking.

Creative writing majors should not be forced to write research papers. It hinders our creativity, which is a problem, hence the name of our major. Nor should any other major be forced to write research papers, seeing as they are useless.

As long as a paper is for the grade and neither for sale nor public credit, no proof of originality shall be required.

Attendance should, in no circumstances, be mandatory, as long as the student maintains a grade that meets his or her personal criteria.

Group projects, to be done in class and not outside, should make up the majority of the weight of the grading scale.

No class should exceed the time limit of one hour. Limits above one hour force a student to choose between paying attention to the professor or wishing they were elsewhere, in which case, wishing they were elsewhere always prevails.

No professor shall assign reading over the length of 10 pages per class period, in order to prevent students' eyes from crossing, or closing, while trying to complete the reading assignment.

Textbooks shall never be paid for, only checked out when needed, especially at institutions in which tuition rises every semester.

Attendance to school sporting events, wearing school-spirited apparel, and participating in school events should count largely toward a student's gpa.

The amount of time between scheduled classes should allow for food breaks, printing breaks, nap breaks, and any other type of breaks that might enhance a student's learning abilities.

Classes that encourage physical activity and those most pertinent to one's major should be much more weighted than general education courses required by the university, as they will be much more pertinent to the student's future than those general education classes.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I forgot myself

Psalm 46:10 He says, "Be still and know that I am God...." 

I have forgotten myself. Or atleast that's what it feels like. And then I got sick.

In the past two or three months, I have been so busy with a new job and a new school semester and a new relationship and a new... I could literally go on and on with all the changes in my life the past few months. I am so thankful for every single one of them, but I'm sitting here tonight, and I've been sick since Friday, and now finally, on Wednesday, I have turned down plans and sat on the couch in hopes of getting better. But you know what, sitting here on this couch for the first time in... I can't remember... I've finally realized that in the midst of all the new and the busy, I have forgotten myself, and it seems the things I've forgotten are the really important things.

I have forgotten about this blog and all these silly words I write that bring me joy and relief. I have forgotten about reading my bible, and how much I love the scriptures, yeah as the Word of God, but also just as an amazing piece of literature. I have forgotten what it feels like to lay on my couch and be in bed before 11.

Life gets really, really busy. In fact, I think sometimes life gets so busy that God uses sickness to make us slow down. He allows us to get sick in order to force us to say no to plans and obligations, and to make us sit and stop and think about ourselves for a second. Lately, it seems like I've found myself making a list of all the things I want to do, but that list keeps getting longer and nothing is getting marked out. But here's my question: if I don't even make time in my own life for myself, how am I supposed to make time for God or anyone else?

This is the first blog I've posted since September 7th. That makes me so sad. This is the first night I have sat and actually read my bible, not just to look up a certain verse in passing, in quite a while. This is the first night I've thought about where I am now and how I got here. This is the first night I've remembered myself and who I am and who I want people to know me as.

So here's my thought: Make time for yourself. Because if you aren't making time for yourself, you're probably not making time for God or anyone else either.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A love story

And we sat there, on my parents' couch, whispering into each other's ears and laughing to ourselves; filling each other's heads with promises that we, or I at-least, knew would never be fulfilled. But when you're young and life is still black and white, heavy promises seem easy to make, and thought of breaking them is never a real concern.

We'd stay up late and ignore wondering parents, and we'd reminisce about days past and dream of what we thought was to come. We'd plan it all out and swear to make it happen, even though, secretly but mutually, we knew with each passing day, those plans would be less and less a possibility. Kind of like a favorite song that makes you want to live out the words, we made big plans to a great tune that was only going to sound good for a while.

And we'd continue on in a youthful bliss with only a small, lingering thought that with each new season came another lost promise; holding tightly to each other's hand because soon, we knew, would be the last time we'd reach out for one another. We'd play the part and it was sweet, but things changed a little every day, and then we noticed that the way our hands fit together changed, too.

Then finally, one autumn when all the leaves were falling and the warmth of the sun had fallen short and so had the days, we realized we weren't the starry-eyed kids on our parents' couches. We started feeling the weight of those promises that had seemed so light and easy before, and the way our hands had changed became too noticeable to hold on to, so we let go. One before the other, but simultaneously in thought.

We sat for a while, discussing the inevitable and laughing about the days when life was simple and making the promise was the hardest part. Then the night came, colder and darker than the nights before, and finally he turned to leave with a bag of his things and the memory of young love. As I watched him walk away, I studied his familiar sway and the way he looked so strong, even though I knew, on the inside he was broken and weak, and I felt a twinge of regret and a  longing for the days when I knew his walking away just meant it would only be a few hours until I saw him again. But then I looked at my hand, and at myself in the mirror, and I knew in the morning I would be a new girl and he, a new boy, and we would understand why a little more every day.

And then I carried on with the realization that, in time though unsure of when, I would eventually make those heavy promises again after I fully understood their weight, and I would take the hand of a boy, and that over time our hands would grow and change, but the changes would make them fit tighter. And I knew that those heavy promises would never be broken, but fulfilled and made good. But I knew also, that one day I'd come back to the starry-eyed boy and the girl I was once.

I knew I'd have to come back to those two, and though I would know that we were just kids, I'd have to smile at the simplicity of being young and in love. I knew I'd come back to that time after seeing him on the street, and the life he would make for himself might always somehow be connected with mine, but it might also be different and set far apart.

I know, though, that I'll always want the best for him, and though the love I once had for him and shared with him faded away with the fall leaves of school days, I'll always feel the space in my heart that a first love leaves, and I'll always wonder if he is okay, and I'll always want him to be.

And though I'll give my heart away to a boy whose hand will always fit in mine no matter how they change, I'll smile at the memories and share stories of those starry-eyed days, and I'll always be thankful to the boy who showed me a little bit of what life would hold and a lot of what I didn't really know.

And I know, then, I'll go home to this new boy and I'll see him smiling, oblivious to the girl I was all those years ago, but so in love with the girl I've come to be, and I'll stand in the door and smile back at him. I'll be aware for the first time that I haven't a clue about the boy he used to be or the promises he once made with a girl whose hand had changed. At that moment, I'll fall even more into the freedom of forever. Then I'll take my spot next to him, more thankful now than ever for the boy and the girl that shaped our hearts and left a space, because without them, we would not be us. And it will be our couch where we sit, holding hands that fit perfectly together, whispering into each other's ears, making promises that we know will be fulfilled in only a moment's time, each of us, secretly but together, feeling an excitement that only comes from the real promise of a forever love.

And I'll know I am finally the woman I'm supposed to be, and I'll finally have found the man to make my life beside. The man who I'll live out the promises with- thankful so and understanding why it could never work out with those who came before.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Two or three things I know for sure.

One of those two or three things I know for sure, is that there isn't much I know for sure.
One of those things is that, the older I get the less I know.
The more I am aware of, the less I know.
The more I learn, the more I grow, the less I know,
And this is something I know for sure.

But surely there's more than two or three things I know for sure.
I know a car salesman is never going to give you a "real steal,"
And I know that even fat-free food is not good for you.
There are two things I know for sure.

But surely there's more I know for sure,
Like the strength found in numbers whether you're dealing with poker or friends.
I know for sure about always cooking with a secret ingredient,
And not talking bad about your boss at work.

Surely I know for sure about speaking at just the right time,
whether for comic relief or to prevent a fight.
I know for sure about laughing at yourself,
And I know for sure about deeper things, too.

Surely I know about love and forgiveness.
I know about being proud of who  you are and where you've been.
I know about real love and it's rarity,
And I know about confidence in uncertainty.

So surely, of all the things I know for sure,
And the many things I do not,
They can all be summed up by two or three
Of love, forgiveness and hope.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You... and I...

You've got these blue eyes, and a look that gets me every time-
I hope it never fades.

I say it's hard to trust, I can't just give it out-
You take the doubt away.

You've got a funny laugh and sometimes you talk too fast-
I love the way you sound.

I need a restart, sometimes life gets too hard-
You talk to me and it fades away.

You're not close to me, but your face is all I see-
I want to be where you are.

I've never told you, I can't say how much you mean-
You say the way I look at you says everything.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Give God a month and he'll teach you...

I can't believe a month has gone by since I last posted. I hadn't even noticed until a really great someone said, "When are you going to write a new blog?" I've got a lot of catching up to do- it feels like an entire summer has gone by since my last one, but I don't even know where to begin.

I guess I could start here: God is amazing. How anyone could not believe him blows my mind. I just get tired thinking about trying to deny his existence, simply because evidence of his love and greatness are literally everywhere around me. I feel like not a day goes by that he does something new in my life, and the past month, it seems like every day has been filled with HUGE things. He's taught me a lot this summer, and it hasn't just been the easy stuff.

He's taught me about faith. I thought I already knew a little about faith, but it took a little heartache and too much pride to get me to Boaz, Alabama. God put someone into my life that week that would be instrumental in every aspect of what He was planning for me, and faith is what made it possible.

Let me tell you this: If you can have enough faith to lose control of your life, God will step in immediately and take control. This is the best thing you could ever do for yourself. That doesn't mean it's easy- just worth it.

He's taught me about perseverance. I went on a two-week long interview. It was stressful and long and awesome. At the end of those two weeks, I was prepared for God to change my plans, yet again, for the future. He did. I got the job. Two weeks doesn't sound like a long time, but when it comes down to it, I was set in my way of life and had finally accepted the past year, and God decided it was time for another change. This isn't easy to accept, but like I said, God never promised easy.

Let me tell you this: If God puts something in your path, don't decide whether you will or you won't take it. You pray and let Him decide that. Our life is not our own. Persevere through moments of uncertainty because there is nothing more certain than the joy that comes from living in His will.

He's taught me about patience. You know what's more stressful than a two- week long interview? Waiting to hear whether or not you got the job. You know what's more stressful than waiting? Trying to figure out what to do about school and your current job in the mean-time. You know what makes all of this worth it? When God rewards you for your patience, and every. single. thing. falls perfectly into place.

Let me tell you this: Patience is one of the hardest lessons God teaches, and the process will be hard, but the payoff is far worth the pain of learning.

All of these things barely even touch on the last month of my life, but I'm back in school now, and I start my new (big girl) job tomorrow. I'm currently searching for a car (yuck), and I broke another iphone. There were 13 girls in the girls' bible study tonight, and I had a Starbucks date with a really great friend.

Let me tell you this: Sometimes, life is hard, but always God is faithful. Always.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Being an adult. ?

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11

I cannot believe it is (almost) August. It's crazy the way this summer went by so fast. Actually, it's crazy the way this year went by so fast! I think of this time last year. I can almost remember the exact day where I was, what I was doing, and where I thought I would be right now. Oh, the way plans change!

I am thankful for this past year, and all the things I've come to know. I feel like I have grown more this past year, than in many of my few years combined. It's funny to me- the way we like to call ourselves adults, and then the way it feels when you actually start making adult-like decisions.

When I was younger, sometimes I would feel this enormous weight to figure out exactly what I was going to be and do when I finished school. I felt like I needed to have this plan, to have it all figured out, and I felt like that's what made me an "adult." I felt like having a plan is what made the difference in an adult and a child. That's not true though.

Over the past year, I've been through a lot, and needless to say, a lot of my plans have fallen through. No wait, all of my plans have fallen through. So, I have dealt with losing sight of what I was going to do or  be, but I am much closer now to being an "adult" than I've ever been before, and for the first time, I have no plans, no ideas, about what I am going to do or be. I, for the first time, have no clue about my future, but also for the first time, I have no worries.

So, this is what I've come to realize- being an adult has nothing to do with your plans or knowing what you are going to do or be. Being an adult is not an age or certain time or year in life.

 Being an adult is a point in your life when you are able to let go of your own plans and worries. It's a point when you realize what's important, where your priorities should be, and where they really are.  Being an adult is a point when you can be content with who you are, what God has given you, and what he's chosen to keep from you. Being an adult is when you can finally be okay with not having all the answers, and not being able to figure everything out. It's when you don't have it all together, and that's okay. It's when you realize there's really not much you have to complain about, a lot you have to be grateful for, and a lot you have left to learn.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I hope you realize...

I hope you realize that we must first face ourselves before we can change. We have to admit to pain before we can heal, and we have to feel weakness before we can grow strong. I hope you realize that even Spiderman needed help, and even Jesus let a man carry the cross for Him. I hope you realize that sometimes, knowing you don’t have it together means you have it a lot more together than most people. 

I hope you realize there is a lot more you can make with lemons than just lemonade, and you’ll never be able to appreciate people if you’re always comparing them to others. I hope you realize sometimes it’s going to rain, but the sun is always just behind the clouds. I hope you realize your parents are smarter than you think, and sometimes your friends know you better than you know yourself. I hope you realize it’s hard to be happy while you are complaining, and it’s hard to cry if you’re smiling.

I hope you realize that air- conditioning is a blessing and homework is necessary. I hope you realize a good thing when you see it and a bad thing, too. I hope you realize what you spend your time talking about is what holds your heart, and contrary to what Miranda Lambert sings, Jesus does not understand when we settle for this world. I hope you realize it’s more important to show how you care than to show what you know, and little kids learn to treat people by watching how you treat them.

 I hope you realize Santa Claus is not real, but it’s still a good concept. I hope you realize Memphis is a dangerous city, but we do have the best water and Barbeque. I hope you realize life is not easy, and grace makes life unfair, but thankfully so. I hope you realize that sometimes faith is blind, but really, it is much more evident than we choose to see.  I hope you realize that most of the time, people aren’t worried about getting the right answers, they are just looking for any answers at all.

I hope you realize that there is always more to realize .

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Sister Somalia. A Thousand Sisters. A glimmer of Hope.

A Thousand Sisters
The passion and desire to change the world is not just a child's dream. It is a real and attainable desire. Here's how:

Somalia is listed as one of the worst places in the world for women. Daily, the women of Somalia face rape, murder, torture, repression. Daily, the fight for their lives and the lives of their children, and daily, they wonder if there is anything more out there. The worst part is, Somalia is also a place that most aid relief groups won't dare to go. The militia and radical groups of Somalia have not only taken the hope of their people, they've taken the interest and desire of support groups around the world and replaced it with fear and abandonment.

A Thousand Sisters and Sister Somalia want the women of Somalia to know that there is more out there. They want them to know that their sisters around the world are fighting for them, and that no militia or radical group can take away their desire and fight. Now, we can be a part of that fight, too.

Sister Somalia is an incredible opportunity of ministry, hope, and change. It is giving hope to women who have never known such a thing, and telling them there is a better life. 

Ten dollars will buy you a movie ticket, a meal at an average restaurant, or it will change the life of women who need you. Join the fight for women who can't fight for themselves.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Never Forget...

Never Forget...

Never forget….
You can never own too many colors of nail polish.
The summer heat is definitely a legitimate excuse to not work out.
Waiters only make 2.13 an hour.
Pizza and grilled chicken are equally as delicious right out of the fridge.
You do not have to have it all together, or even mostly together. Sometimes, you just gotta get by.
As a girl, you might not ever think any boy equals up to your dad or brother. This is okay.
You should never be embarrassed over someone else’s actions.
Sometimes people will stare at you. Smile back.
It’s okay to laugh a little too loud.

Never forget...

Summer break is for sleeping. That’s why it’s called a break.
The Notebook is true, and it can happen.
Channing Tatum is married.
Your plans will never be as good as God’s.
Tim Tebow is still single.
Black is very slimming, and always an appropriate color of dress. (Except on Easter.)
Linen shorts stretch. Most shoes do not.
Frozen yogurt is (mostly) health(ier anyway.) Eat up!
Life is too short to be worried.
Sometimes, a little rain is a good thing.

And never forget, no matter how hard today was, it will be over tomorrow. : )

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

In the bitter-sweetness of life...

In the bitter-sweetness of life...

Be thankful for friends, but be your own biggest motivator.
Find peace in hardships and blessings in happiness.
See the world for what it is, but be optimistic in life.
Guard your heart, but don't be afraid to love.

Believe the boy when he says you are too good, and make sure he always remembers that.
Remember that, sometimes, pride will be the most important thing you have.
And other times, humility will be the most virtuous attribute.
Be a fearless leader, and know that the best leaders are also great followers.

Know what your own beliefs are, and stand firm in them.
Don't let others look down on you, and make sure you are not looking down on them.
Learn to laugh at yourself and correct your mistakes. Take time to breathe, think, and relax.
Remind yourselves that people are only mean because they are trying to cover hurt.

Take time to pray for those who bring you down, and try your best to lift them up.
Always eat dessert, and treat yourself every now and then.
Splurge on something expensive, but know the importance of saving.
Tell the people you love how you feel, and keep it to yourself when you feel the opposite.

Know that, in order to make someone else happy, you have to first be happy yourself.
Understand that true forgiveness doesn't require an apology, but realize the impact of a sincere apology.
Surround yourself with people you love, and spend plenty of time alone.
Be aware that loss is inevitable, and how you grieve is what will make the difference.

Be grateful for a God who is bigger than us, who loves us, who likes us.
Do what you love, and don't settle for what you can live with.
Take time to be a part of something that is different than you are. Let your mind wander and grow.
Smile. Eat cake. Appreciate the little things, but remember it's the big things that count.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Life and the ocean.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve become unavoidably aware of how much my life has changed, I’ve changed, over the past year, and how, for the first time, I don’t have any idea what to expect for my future. As I stood on the beach, staring out into the ocean and thinking about how much I have ahead of me, I let the tide wash over me and realized something.

The ocean, in all its vastness, can be lonesome and depressing, or it can be encouraging and promising. Life is just the same.

Life, just like the ocean, is always changing. It’s always moving on; no second the same as the last.

Life, just like the ocean, is often scary and dangerous; widely unpredictable, and sometimes it’s easier to just stand back and admire it from a distance than to jump in and brave the waters.

Life, just like the ocean, is often missed and taken for granted- often because we are too scared to jump in and enjoy it.

Life, just like the ocean, can be refreshing. Maybe sometimes you don’t want to take part in what it offers, but sometimes, there’s nothing more you want than to be a part of what it’s giving you. 

Life, just like the ocean, can hurt you. You can get lost in it. It seems impossible to see through to the other side, but just as often as you get lost in it, it will carry you back to where you are supposed to be.

Life, just like the ocean, should be taken as it is. It won’t ever be perfect. It will be too harsh or too calm, but we have to appreciate it for what it is in this moment.

Life, just like the ocean, will knock you over if you’re not standing firm, and sometimes, even if you are standing firm. You just have to find your feet and stand up again.

Life, just like the ocean, is much more enjoyable when you allow others to take part with you.

Life, just like the ocean, is full of ups and downs. Find a way to stay afloat, and try not to get in too deep. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Knowing and Believing.

So this is my struggle- Taking what I know in my head to be right and true and believing it in my heart to be what’s real. Knowing and believing have never been so different- It’s like a fact that I know and can share a hundred times, but I’ve yet to convince my heart to believe anything but lies. I know the facts, and I never question them, but when I look at my life I wonder if I’m an exception?

There are no exceptions to the Truth, you just have to be patient. God always proves Himself faithful, but can you say the same thing? It’s like I can give him everything BUT… There should be no BUT in what I bring to the King.

I want to believe, really I do, but I find myself struggling, dealing with this truth. And it’s not about faith, or what I know to be True, it’s about having strength to seek You- to seek You above all else and all this world offers.

You see, the thing is, your voice is the still small one- always in my head, but this world can be so loud, and when loneliness is yelling, the world seems like the only way out. It’s offers are so tempting, and appetizing they seem, but tempting is only a few letters short of temporary, and I’m searching for the real thing.
So God, take my heart off this string; don’t let me be tempted by what the world brings.

I’m a smart girl, and more importantly, I know the Truth of You and what that means. Convince my heart, Oh God, and let me see, the power of love brought from the King.

I’m over this world and all it’s misleading- make my heart Yours with the rest of me. Put this world to shame, and shine your light on my destiny.  

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Remind yourself that...

This is for Camellia Jones, who is very good at reminding me most of these things on a weekly basis .

Remind yourself that ...

Exercising most certainly permits you to eat whatever you want throughout the day .
You are allowed to eat all the fruit flavored candy you want ... it's fruit, right? Duh .
It's not about how long you exercise, just that you do, in fact, exercise .

You are allowed to complain about having to work, as long as you are thankful for the job by the end of the day .
There's nothing wrong with avoiding certain coworkers . It's normal .
Your countdown to the weekend can most certainly begin each Monday . It gives you something to look forward to every day !

A phone call with a best friend can cure just about any problem .
It's okay to ask your friends to tell you that you're prettier than your ex's new girlfriend .
There's nothing wrong with needing your best friend to delete his number from your phone . We've all been there .

And remind yourself that ...

It's perfectly okay to stay in bed until the early afternoon . It's summer . Duh .
Sometimes, you just need a really great dramatic cry . About nothing .
There is nothing wrong with being at the coffee shop as much as you are at home . We all need a place we can go relax .. this does not make you a coffee addict .. at all .

Some times, your grandma might not agree with what you wear . This doesn't make you immodest . It makes her your grandma .
Your dad will always (even when you are married with 3 kids) say that you are "too young" and wonder "why you are rushing it?"
Your brother will always want to know "where the second half of that dress went?" Again, that does not make your dress inappropriate . That makes him your big brother .

Road trips with best friends really are the best memories to be made .
Sometimes doing nothing is what you need to do . There is nothing wrong with just being for a while .
It's okay if you are afraid of babies right now . This fear will most likely dissolve before you have one of your own . Hopefully .

Remind yourself that , no matter what happened today, night is coming to wash it away . Tomorrow will have a new beginning , and new adventures of its own . Happy Thursday, you all .

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dear Girl,

Dear Girl,

Stand up, girl. You are beautiful. You are strong, and you are worthy. Do not call him; do not let his ignorance be the measure of your standards. Stand up, girl. Do not settle for that. Do not settle. Do not compromise His desires for you for his desires of you. Do not overlook the little details. Stand up, girl.

Be bold. Be fierce. Know what you want, and wait for that. Wait for it. Wait for him. Wait for Him to bring him to you. Do not look for him because you will not find him. What you will find is a watered-down version, a less perfect illustration of what you know He has for you. Be bold.  Remind yourself daily that you are a prize, not a pattern. Remind yourself that there is better for you than what this world offers. Remind yourself that there is someone who knows how to treat you; someone who will do those things you are hoping for; someone who knows what he has in you. Be bold.

Hold your head high, and stand in confidence. Stand in confidence of God's grace, and what he has blessed you with. Embrace Him, do not embrace them. Embrace Him, and let Him do a work in you. Let Him use you and lead you and guide you... eventually to him. Hold your head high, and stand in confidence. Do not wish away this time in your life. Do not rush through the days, ready for the next. Take in each minute, living in it, preparing for the next.

You are beautiful. Tell yourself that. Remind yourself of that. Daily. Let Him fill you up. Let Him measure your worth. Let Him be the standard for what you deserve. Do not settle. Stand up, girl.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

About my Dad.

My father is a quiet man. If you know me, chances are you still don't know him. He works hard and does what he can for those he loves. He says what needs to be said and leaves the rest for small talkers. He's up early with the sun, and I remember the days he wouldn't be done working until after dark. He can be mean or stubborn or encouraging or gentle- whatever the need might be. He's got curly hair, thinning from age, but it's enough to make you wonder how he might have been at 22. Although he doesn't say much, you can tell he probably has a couple stories worth sharing. He grew up in the cold, learned from his brother's mistakes, and worked for what he had. He headed down South at 21, and except for his family that brings him back every now and then, he never returned to Illinois.

He was a runner. He ran miles and miles, and maybe from more than just the pavement, but he'd never say for sure. It was running that brought him to Alabama, and ultimately into the life of my mother. He always was an honest man, and he gave her all he could: a pair of earrings, her first car, all the love and stability a home could hold. Whatever it took, my father did.

He was a carpenter by trade, a humble but noble career. His works were beautiful, perfectly crafted into a sturdy home, a place a family could rest and be. In his creations, children were raised and houses became homes. In his creations, people came to life and memories were made, and in his creations, we were able to have our own family, our own home, our own life and memories made.

He would bring home animals he found in giant paint buckets, and together we'd nurse them to health and watch them fly or crawl or slither back to life. He'd pull bicycles out of his truck on our birthdays, and one day, when he opened the door, two puppies hopped out. He'd take trips to the store for ice cream or donuts, or crackers on those sick days. He'd carry us where we needed to go, and watch us as we walked away. To school and practice and spend the nights we'd go, and there he was when we got home.

If he's taught me anything, it's to work hard, save a lot, and take time to do what you love. If he's showed me anything, it's to know when to speak and when to listen, and how to love with all you have. If he's helped me in any way, it was to believe in myself and figure out how to do what needs to be done; it's how to become someone I want to be, and how to wait for what I deserve.

Tough love has no more perfect picture as my father, and I know no better man. I am so grateful, more and more as the time goes on, for who he is. I am so grateful, more and more as time goes on, for all the times he's told me no, and the stubbornness I got from him that leads me into my own, sometimes with his head shaking, and sometimes with a smile on his face as he watches me go.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I'll praise you in this storm.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and our strength. And ever-present help in times of trouble.

I am overwhelmed right now by what's on the news- It seems like hurt and loss have come to everyone I know, like pain is felt by everyone in this world, and like it continues to rain in so many ways on this life and this place.

I hear of these storms, see the pictures of people who have lost all, of all who have lost people, and I hear stories of girls struggling to know how precious they are in the eyes of the maker. I hear stories of heartbreak and of families torn apart by war, and I think to myself, "why do I have it so good, and why do I complain when it gets hard for me?"

I know that God is in control, and to him be the glory, but sometimes I do wonder "Why, God?", and I feel silly because who am I to ask the creator of this universe "why?", or to even think for a second that nothing good can come of what's happened and what's to come.

Who am I to say that all this world feels is pain, and the truth is, we live in a broken world, so sometimes that's just it- the world is just broken.

But to God be the glory and I mean that whole-heartedly. In our trials, in our pain, God is glorified most high, and if it takes pain and loss and destruction and other high costs for us to raise our hands and fall to our knees and finally realize the detrimental need for a Heavenly Father, then shame on us for not realizing sooner. Shame on us for waiting for loss, for only saying our prayers when it seems to be dark. Shame on me for questioning "why?" when the answer to why is quite clearly me.

I am why it takes so much pain and so much hurt for God to be called on, glorified and searched. And I ask him, God search my heart, but he already has and this is what it took. So here I am God, and I'm sorry. I'm sorry for doubting and certainly sorry for shouting "WHY?" when I know why, and it doesn't even matter. There's still so much to be thankful for, and you- perfect and worthy- are so merciful that you lift me up when my heart is hurting.

So God, no longer will I ask "why?" and drop my head in ignorance. I'll say to you and this world that I live in, "To God be the glory, and in all things lost, God has a reason, even at such a high cost. His plan is so perfect and his timing is too, he is merciful and just and makes all things new."

I'll glorify you and I'll praise you in this storm. I'll thank you for the cross and the cost that's already been paid, and I'll realize today, that you reign over all, and to you be all praise.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Just a quick note on heavy burdens.

Here's where I'm at right now:

I have a 7 page study guide in front of me for the hardest exam/ class I have to take.
On the same day of the hardest exam, I also have my second hardest exam.
I am currently working 2 jobs.
I have the WORST allergies EVER.
I am physically and mentally exhausted.
I could go on, but for your sake, I won't.

SO this is the moral of the story:

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. " Matthew 11:28. 

Sometimes, there is so much thrown our way, it literally makes us tired to think about it all.
Sometimes, we don't understand what God is trying to teach us, or why he is letting us face so many trials.

It doesn't matter.

God doesn't need our permission or our understanding to teach us. He doesn't need our approval to give us something we need to face. He will give us what we need when His timing says we need it. That's it. His timing is perfect. So is His plan. So basically, whatever he is letting us face, no matter how big or small, is a perfect teaching tool. It might not always be enjoyable, in fact it might be painful, but it will grow us, teach us, mold us, and it is to make us who HE wants us to be. So when your burden is heavy, remember His is light, and it's His we should be carrying anyway. Remember that.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Don't settle for the storm.

God loves you. He loves you. He has big BIG plans for your life. YOUR life. He has been preparing a way for you since before time. You are a prince, a princess, a child of the King. THE King. You are precious, beautiful, perfect in his sight. He does not need you. He wants you, which is better than being needed. 

He will give you the desires of your heart. He will GIVE them to you. Gift. Give. He has a plan for you, and if you LOVE him, if you SEEK him, HIS desires will become yours and he will GIVE those desires to you. He WANTS you to be happy. He longs for you to feel joyful, but he will allow you to feel pain, sadness, heartbreak, despair- whatever it takes to bring GLORY to him. Unfortunately, the human condition says that we should only come to him when we need him, or worse: that we don't need him. Just so you know, we ALWAYS NEED HIM. Always. Always.

Because of his great love for us, because of our purpose to bring HIM glory, He will remove from our lives anything that gets in the way of HIS perfect plan. Thankfully so, but most of the time we are blinded by our OWN plans, desires, wants. We cry out, "why?!" only to be answered with "learn." LEARNING has never been easy. LISTENING is never easy. LOSING is never easy, but God didn't promise us easy. He PROMISED us worthwhile. 

So next time you lose, you cry, you hurt, you don't understand, don't ask "WHY?" ask "WHAT?" Ask "What God? What do you want me to learn?" 

He doesn't take from us to hurt us. He takes from us to teach us a guide us back to where we belong, back to where any CHILD of the KING belongs- in His presence. In His will. In His love.

Stay in His love. Find your way back to him. Don't settle for the storm. Find the rainbow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's perfectly acceptable to...

It is perfectly acceptable to...
Call Paul from American Idol your boyfriend.
To blame your relationship issues on Pia from American Idol.
Believe the characters in the movie can hear you when you yell/cry at them because they CAN hear you, can't they?
Think every song is the best song in the world AND written about YOUR life.

And it's perfectly acceptable to...
Drink a whole can of (Insert your soft drink of choice here. Tonight, I'm a Sun Drop) in a matter of minutes.
Only run when the weather is nice.
Watch your favorite TV show instead of doing homework, as long as your homework is open in front of you. Hey- you tried.
Not have a clue in the world what you're going to do in the future. I mean, obviously it'll be figured out by the time it's actually the future.

And it's perfectly acceptable to...
Make a really great batch of cookie dough and then eat it... as cookie dough... instead of cookies.
Think the characters from One Tree Hill or Lost are real. Because they are.
Oh, and to know how to do things because you once saw it done on One Tree Hill or Lost.
Talk about all the creative things you'd love to do, even though you have no intention of actually doing them.

And it's perfectly acceptable to...
Spend hours on the phone with really great friends.
Stay up waayyy too late when you have to wake up waayyy too early.
Paint your nails every other day... or every day. (I can't stress this one enough. Totally normal.)

And it's perfectly acceptable to...
Make a list of all the things you'll buy- as soon as you get money.
Talk to yourself, out loud, if no one else is around... or if other people are around. It doesn't really matter.
Close the curtains and turn on the rain machine (at 2 p.m. on a sunny, warm day) and take a really great nap.

Happy Friday, you all. :)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The thing about relationships from someone who needs to learn the thing about relationships.

Here's the thing about relationships: (At least that I've found, but I'm certainly no expert.)

They are not perfect. They require a lot of work. The relationship you have with one person is in no way the relationship you will have with the next, or the one before. You can't be with someone and expect them to be like someone else. You have to start new and fresh with each person, accepting them for who they are, not who you want them to be. You have to understand that loving a person does not make them perfect, and that love is a choice you make despite the imperfections.

Here's the thing about relationships:

They require compromise- lots of it. They require effort and energy. They need a lot of attention and affirmation. And it's really important to know the person you are in a relationship with. You have to know them- how they work and operate, how they view things and how they see the world. You have to know their heart, not just their emotions. You have to know that sometimes things are rough, and there will be kinks to work out.You have to know that even the best relationships have their hard moments, and that you can't just give up when it gets tough.

Here's the thing about relationships:

You have to know that fairy tales and movies are not real life. You have to know that butterflies fade away, and then you are left with the person you are in a relationship with. That needs to be a person you can stand to be with; a person that makes you happy and encourages you and supports and respects you. You have to know that you can't expect them to be perfect. You can't expect them to fit into your mold, to fit into the cut- out you've designed in your head.

Here's the thing about relationships:

Sometimes they start and then they end. Sometimes they start and they don't ever end. Sometimes they start and you tough it out for a while, and then they end against your will, against your wants. But the thing about relationships, is that your heart has to be right. Your desire for that relationship has to be right, and it has to match the other person's desire for the relationship. It has to be centered on more than just yourselves. It has to be about more than just the two of you; about more than just the moment you're living in right now.

Here's the thing about relationships: They only work out when the timing is right, when hearts are right, and when both people are willing to see them through. The thing about relationships, is that they are messy and unpredictable. They are relationships because you can't make them work on your own.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happiness is...

A cheerful heart is good medicine.... -Proverbs 17:22

Sometimes happiness is...

A song that makes you smile or chocolate chip cookies. Sometimes, it might be clean sheets and a really good book, or a movie that you can quote from beginning to end. Sometimes it's an inside joke, a funny face, or a memory that makes you laugh every time you remember. Sometimes, happiness is your best friend, your mom, or that boy who makes any moment better.

Sometimes happiness is a good cry, a long nap, or bright toe nail polish. Sometimes, it's a Coke over ice, or a fish on your hook. It might be the 6 mile loop you think about running, or the extra- technical mountain bike trail. Sometimes, happiness is a s'more made in the microwave, or really greasy french fries.

Sometimes, happiness is learning something new, or perfecting something you've always known. Sometimes happiness is a good conversation, or a letter in the mail. Sometimes, it's an old photograph that makes you laugh when you remember the day it was taken, or your dog who seems to always know when you need a peppy face.

Sometimes, happiness is being a little bit sad. Sometimes it's hearing of pain and heartache and realizing how blessed you are. Sometimes happiness stings a little, and makes us feel a little guilty. Sometimes, it's something we don't really understand, or something we wish we could give to someone else. Sometimes it takes a hard lesson or a few tears to make us realize it's there, and sometimes it's been there all along, we've just been too distracted to see it.

Sometimes happiness is in the little things, and sometimes it's in the biggest moments. Sometimes, it involves other people, and sometimes happiness is private and personal- something we only share with ourselves. Sometimes it's written all over our faces, and sometimes, it's simply a warmth that comes over our hearts and a peace that fills our minds.

Sometimes happiness is all around us, and sometimes it seems we're the only ones who can feel it. Sometimes it's there. Sometimes, it's not. It might be momentary. It might last a long time, and it rarely looks the same. Sometimes you have to search for happiness, and sometimes it seems to fall into your lap.

Sometimes you feel it, sometimes you don't. The key though, the key to happiness, is that there is no key to happiness. The key is joy. To live with a joyous heart, and learn to enjoy the happiness. That way, you'll be thankful for it when it comes, and hopeful for it's return when it seems to be absent.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

One more thing...

Not returning to Student Life is bittersweet, but I am excited about the summer ahead.

I am going to sleep late, ride my bike, take classes, celebrate the birth of my brother's first baby and my best friend's first baby, too. I am going to celebrate the marriage of my very dear friend, and spend time with my nephews. I am going to visit family and go to the beach. I am going to spend time with people I love and make new memories.

And I am going to pray for Student Life. I am going to pray that God would build relationships, change hearts, impact lives, and make Himself famous. I am going to pray for the strength of all 100- something summer staffers, the countless student-staffers, and all the staff back at Birmingham. I am going to pray for the worship leaders and the speakers. I am going to pray for the family of the staff members, the campers, and the youth leaders.

I am going to pray for strength, patience, wisdom, guidance, clarity, rest, energy, safety, and peace. I am going to pray that each and every single person who experiences SL will not go home the same, and that God would use their time at SL to change them forever.

So for all of you who are going back, you are loved, missed, prayed for, and maybe a little envied. :) I love you guys and hope you have a GREAT summer!!

DO WORK!!!!!!!!!! (that's for you, Alex.)

What I'll miss about Student Life

Alex Garcia asked me what I would miss most about Student Life. Alex has always asked difficult questions, but this one has me stumped.

If you've never worked for Student Life, it's hard to explain what it's like. You work a lot and don't sleep too much. It's hot and the days are long. You're away from home for the entire summer, and sometimes homesickness gets the best of you.

But you also work day-in and day-out with 25 people that change your life. You witness God move and change hundreds of lives every day. You experience what it is like to serve beyond your own strength and what it means to truly worship. You see amazing places and make wonderful memories.

I spent two summers with Student Life, and more than my summers were impacted. I made life-long friendships. I grew up and matured a lot during those two summers. I experienced true worship for the first time, and how it felt to fully rely on God to get you through the day. I learned more about myself, and who I am supposed to be. I learned what it means to be a leader and to be a follower. I understood for the first time, what it meant to be a part of a team. What it meant to really be a part of something greater than myself.

So, what will I miss most? I don't think there is any way to say what I will miss most. There is nothing about working for Student Life that I will miss less than anything else.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The big picture.

"...In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Life doesn't ask us if we are ready or not. It doesn't ask us how much we can handle at one time. It just throws itself at us, and it's up to us to decide how we handle it.

This morning my mom told me I was looking at life like an 8th grader. She was right, I know this. The older I get, the smarter my mom gets. Funny how that works. 

The reason she said this is because I don't like school. AT ALL. In fact, I don't like school more now than I have ever not liked it in my life. I think this is in great part to my major, and the fact that I am ready to graduate. But mostly thanks to my major that I don't like. Anyway, the point is, it doesn't matter how much I don't like school. It's something I have to do because the big picture that is my life, will be much more beautiful if I finish school. 

It's hard to look at the big picture sometimes, especially when it's one you don't want to see, or when you aren't sure how to get it all in view, but life doesn't ask us if we want to look at the big picture. It just gives us the big picture, and it's up to us to see how much of it we want. 

So the lesson for the day is this: There is a big picture behind every 4x6. If you want to just look at the 4x6, then that's your choice, but life isn't going to just give you a 4x6. It's going to give you a big picture; a mural. Be careful of what you miss when you just look at what's right in front of you. It's a beautiful life; or maybe you disagree, but however beautiful or not it is, there is much too much of it to only look at what's right in front of you. Step back, take it in. All of it. Today will guide tomorrow. Of that, I am sure. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Heartbreak and recovery?

So what's left after the pain? Haven't we all felt pain? Haven't we all recovered, at least a little bit, from the pain we've felt? So what's left after that? What's left after the storm? What's left after your heart is done breaking? What's left when you're alone, and people have stopped calling and you're truly alone. It's so quiet you can hear your tears hit the ground. Where do you go from there?

Heartache is something we are all familiar with. Maybe not from a relationship, and more power to you if that's the case, but from sickness or loss or the millions of other things that break our hearts and leave us a little less full, a little more scared. There are songs and books and movies about healing and getting on with life, but I think everyone finds, once they are the ones faced with pain and heartache, all those movies and songs and books don't do justice to the way we are actually hurting. Nothing can prepare you for heartbreak. Nothing can prepare you for the way it will feel when you are crying and looking at what just happened and the only thought in your head is that there's no way you'll ever be okay again. This is a lie, of course, but to feel that way- it seems like the only truth in the world.

After heartache comes the questions. So now you're alone, heartbroken, and "why?" keeps coming through your mind. All the things you should have done, could have done, would change if you could go back- it all keeps running through your mind. The truth is though, there's nothing you could have done because, although you are in pain, you did not cause the pain. Someone else did. Whether it was a breakup or some other kind of loss, you were perfectly happy and content, or even if you weren't happy you were atleast okay, comfortable, but the seal of comfort was ripped away and the truth is, there was nothing you could have done. Ouch.

So what do you do, and why isn't anyone telling you how to move on? Maybe the truth, the real truth, is that no one can tell you what to do. No one can tell you how to move on or get over it or be okay again. No one's hurt is the same as yours, and even though we might experience similar situations that cause pain, our pain is different than anyone else's. Maybe some people don't need to heal. They just put the pain in the back of their mind and bury it with millions of other memories. Maybe some people cry and wallow in self-pity, and then one day, the get up, put their best clothes on and smile, and join the world again. Maybe some people never really heal at all. Maybe they just carry the pain around with them. A small part of their heart stays broken or missing forever, and they never really get past what happened. They cope and carry on, but whenever they are alone, they feel the sting of that pain.

I don't think anyone in the world can really say how to be okay again. I don't think anyone can really tell a person how to move on and recover, but I know that every person can recover for themselves. It takes time; a very long time. The process might be grueling and leave you breathless and battered at times, but you'll be stronger for it in the end. Whether it's with the grace of a lady that you hold your head high and stop the tears, or the strength of a man, you'll find a way. It might take a while, but you'll figure it out. As certain as heartbreak is, so is recovery.

The good thing about falling tears is that once they hit the ground, they can't fall anymore.

Friday, March 4, 2011


Praying for rain in the thunderstorm,
Praying for love that's old and worn.
Praying for blue skies and a rainbow,
Praying for peace and a strong hand to hold.
Praying for strength when I'm at my end,
praying for encouragement of a close friend.
Praying for the lost and broken hearted,
Praying for a way to get revival started.
Praying for this angry dark world,
Praying for healthy baby boy or girl.
Praying for friends and family,
Praying for strangers and the enemy.
Praying for our president and this land,
Praying for our church and Christ to stand.
Praying for guidance and wisdom each day,
Praying that you might join in this way.
Praying without ceasing, with hands held high,
Praying for greater things to be seen through the night.

Monday, February 28, 2011

I wanted to remind you...

I wanted to remind you that...

There is really no such thing as "normal." What does that even mean?
It's perfectly acceptable to talk about eating healthy and then go eat a cheeseburger. Talking about eating healthy is just as good as doing it, right?
Sleeping with a stuffed animal is absolutely okay, no matter how old you are.
Most people are afraid of the dark; you are not alone in this.
Wearing high heels around the house to tone your legs is probably a much better work-out than actually going to the gym and toning your legs. Not to mention, it's efficient and environmentally friendly.
Most conversations are much more enjoyable when participants talk in some sort of accent.
Even Jesus needed time to just be by himself to just chill out.
It's not so much about finding someone to live out your crazy dreams with as it is about finding someone who will dream crazy dreams with you.
Not having all the answers can actually be quite relaxing. There's never an explanation that has to follow "I don't know."
The person you are with should be someone you want to be seen with... and associated with... and everything else with... duh.
It's okay to not want to stay alone at home, even if you're "grown." Who wants to stay alone? Where's the fun in that?
Rich people do not have it all.
It's never too late to make a change.
Your job is something you should be thankful for. It should also be something you don't hate doing... at-least not more than you like doing it.

And that...
Math is not a necessary skill... unless you're going to be some kind of math person.. which I don't advise.
People used to live without cell phones and internet... successfully.
What really matters is in no way material.
Unassuming is always better than expecting.
Google Chrome is the best internet browser.
Some things just cannot be explained.. and that's okay.
A pretty pair of shoes is absolutely necessary, even if they just sit on your shelf, even if your significant other cannot understand why.
A good purse is much like a good man.

And that...
Life is too short to be anything but happy. It is exhausting to be angry or sad or stressed, so give yourself a rest every now and then. Tomorrow is for taking care of things you don't want to do today.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Modern Day Disciples?

Here's a thought for you: What would the disciples of the Bible (John, Peter, James, Matthew, etc.) be like today?

If you took these great followers of Christ, and even Jesus himself, and put them in today's world, what would they be like? Would they travel by plane? Bus? Train? 15 passenger van? What kind of clothes would they wear? Would they dress from Target, or Wal-Mart, or the mall? Would they were Buckle jeans and converse and gel their hair? Would they have long hair and wear flip flops and be "green?"

Would the disciples of the Bible belong to a church? would they belong to a denomination? Which ones? Would they be missionaries? Domestic or International? What would they think of today's "Christians?"

Do you think they'd go to college? What would they major in? Would they go to a Christian college? Would they join fraternities? Where would they live? Would they be modern-day nomads?

Would they tweet? Would they have Facebook? Would they announce their next destinations? Would they have followers? Would Jesus watch cable television and listen to the radio? What would they think of us and our lifestyles?

And what would we think of them? What would we think of their miracles and their teachings? What would we think about Jesus' sermons and his words? What would we think about their lifestyles? Would we call them "losers" or would we be jealous of them?

Would we love Jesus the same if He lived in our world? Would we love Him the same if He were here, today, now? Or would we be like the people of the bible- the ones who turned against him? Would we doubt Him, or would we follow Him the same?

How would he live? How would we live? How would He love? How would we love? Would things be different, or the same? Tell me what you think. I'm fascinated by this.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Compassion. Matthew 14

Matthew 14:11-14 :

"...His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother. John's disciples came and took his body and buried it. They then went and told Jesus. When Jesus heard about what happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick..."

Jesus had just lost John the Baptist. I cannot fathom the grief, or sorrow. I cannot imagine the weight of losing such a person in such a way. Jesus withdrew from everyone. He wanted to be alone. 

The people heard, and they wanted to be with Jesus. They followed him, on foot, to where he went. They were devoted to his cause, and wanted to hear him, see him, be near him. They needed him to heal them.

When Jesus saw the crowd, after he had gone to be by himself, he felt compassion for them. Through his own pain, he felt compassion and the need to reach out and heal these others. 

How comforting to know that we serve a God who, even through his own anguish, has compassion for us and wants to heal and comfort us. It is so exciting to think that even in the midst of tragedy, our savior will heal and provide. He will never leave and never forsake us, never. Not even in his own grief and hurting would he pull away from us.

How do we show compassion? When we are mad and hurting, are we able to look on others with compassion? Are we able to put aside our own grief and sorrow for the benefit of others? To live compassionately is not to give to the hurting in our time of strength, but to give to the hurting in our time of grief. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Rants about when.

Matthew 5:40 (message) 
"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.

"...Greater things are yet to come, greater things are still to be done in this city..."-God of this city 

This world amazes me. The hatred, the anger, the hurt that is everywhere, the despair that people wear around their necks- it pains me to see. You can look into a person's face, and even through their smile, their hurt comes out. It's like there is no hope. People are living for this world, but how? How do they not know that this world is temporary, as temporary as a passing day? How can a person wake up each morning if they are living for nothing more than this world? How can they fight death, sickness, loss, brokenness, stress, how can they fight anything without the hope of something greater? 

How can we as Christians live in this world without a broken heart for these people, for this world? How can we drive so happily to our schools and our jobs, how can we laugh so loudly and so heartily and live so freely when our neighbors, our brothers, our friends are desperate and drowning? 

I know how. I know hope. I know joy. I know that we can laugh and live and be free because hope and joy are in the Lord which cannot be changed or moved, but how can we watch without screaming out, without running to them, without grabbing their shoulders and crying for them? How can watch a world be so broken and lost and angry and sit in our churches and read our bibles without doing more? How can we think that we are doing our part by going every Sunday to OUR church, hoping that maybe someone new will come through OUR doors, but being content in ourselves, even if they don't come through our doors because at-least WE were there? 

How? Why? When will we wake up?

When will we realize that we are NOT the church; that we have become a building that wants to sit and wait for people to come through our doors so we can hand them a pamphlet and shake their hand and watch them leave, without even really learning their name. We feel good about ourselves because THEY came through OUR doors and we smiled at them. We feel like we've done our job when this happens. We feel like we are the church when this happens. We are NOT the church.

The church, the CHURCH went to THEM. The church didn't have doors. It didn't have a building. It had people. It had people who WENT to ALL NATIONS who reached OUT, who cried and begged and pleaded and gave their LIVES to bring the kingdom to the lost world. The church was not content with their membership. The church was not about a STEADY congregation. They were about a LOST congregation. They were about winning outsiders, not coddling insiders. They were about hearts broken with those hearts of the broken. They were about not being comfortable WITHOUT strangers. They were about OUTREACH. We say we are about outreach, but a hand shake is NOT outreach. A text message, a friend request are NOT outreach. Being comfortable with OURSELVES, IGNORING the strangers is NOT outreach. It is not what Jesus had in mind when he told us to GO to ALL nations. 

OUR church is no church at all. Our church is an establishment that claims to advance the kingdom. I love our church. But when will we become THE CHURCH? When will we want more? When will we become uncomfortable? When will we GRAB the LOST? When will our hearts TRULY break for them? When will we be hurt for THEM who are hurting? When will we GET it? When will we get UP? When will we GO? When will WE become THE CHURCH?

Just wondering. My own convictions. 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

What counts?

Words, promises, what or who you claim to be, only go so far. What counts is not what you say. What counts is what you do. It's what you stand behind, and what  you spend your time fighting for. What counts is where your priorities lie, what you make a priority, what gets your money, your attention, your time. What counts is where your investment lies, in people or in things? What counts is, if you live for this world or more? If you are trying to fit in, or trying to be yourself, or if you are trying to be something else. What counts is what your goals are, what you want from life, what's important to you.

What counts is not what you tell people. It's not the show you put on. It's not the face you let people see. What counts is who you are behind a closed door, at home when no one's watching you. What counts is how you treat people, how you love, how you give, and how you show your love, your giving, your respect. What counts are your motives. It's not your intentions that count. It's your follow through, your direction, not the path you should take, but the path you do take.

What counts is what you back up. It's what you, not only hope for, but what you gain, not what you plan, but what you carry out, not what you want, but what you do. 

What counts is not what you want to be known as, but who people know you as.

What really counts though, is what lies behind what counts to you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I said Ass. (Don't tell my mom.)

ASSUMING makes an "ass" out of "u" and "me." (Excuse my language.)

Know (verb: to know)- To have established in the mind or memory; to understand from experience or attainment; to have knowledge or clear and certain perception.  

Think about how many people you know. How many people do you have established in your mind or memory? How many people do you understand from experience, do you have a certain perception about?

How many people do you know?

I think this term is terrifyingly (is that a word?) overused. To know someone takes years and years of investment. Best friends spend their whole lives getting to know each other, marriages never get old because husbands and wives are constantly learning about one another. 

I think to say we know our 1,000 Facebook friends or the 200 people listed in our phone, or the girl sitting at the table behind us in the restaurant, is a severe OVERstatement. 

This has been my conviction lately because of the way we, especially (and unfortunately), followers of Christ consider ourselves so much "holier than thou," and judge those who are different or strangers, is unsettling to me. The way we can walk into a place and pass judgement almost instantly on the first people we see (whether we admit it or not) is exactly the way opposite of what God called us to do. 

Not to mention that we never, ever know what someone is going through or what they have been through or what they have to go home to every night. We never know what demons they are fighting, or what thoughts they are trying to quiet. So not only do we know very few people, we judge many people, and we think we "know" complete strangers. I think I know we've got our stuff messed up.

SO, as a challenge to my own convictions and my brothers and sisters in Christ, before you laugh at someone, turn your nose at them, look away when they stare at you, or assume you've got them typed and figured out, remind yourself that 1. you are not holier than thou, 2. you have NO idea what that person deals with, and 3. you could probably learn a lot from them. Try smiling and maybe even saying hello. It's amazing the way God can use such a small act for a huge impact. 

P.S.- I'd love to hear of the verses that come to mind when you read this. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

God's plan for your life?

Jeremiah 29:13 
You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart.

Tonight Grant, the pastor, said people come into his office to talk. These people don't know what God's will is for their life. They don't know where God wants them; they can't figure out their purpose. He said he always asks these people what they do for their quiet time. He asks what scripture they are currently reading. He asks what their prayer life is like. He said their answer is all too often some excuse about how they are too busy for any of this. Their answer to these questions is that they don't have a quiet time, and they aren't reading any scripture. They don't have a prayer life. Then he quoted Martin Luther saying, "I have so much to do, I cannot afford to NOT spend  three hours a day in prayer."

Here is my total and complete, ice-cold-water-in-the-face conviction:

We go to class because if we don't, we will never learn anything. We have to show up, pay attention, study, listen, and practice the material. Without doing all of this, we never really learn anything, and we never really figure out what it is we should do with our lives.

It's no different with God's will for our life. If we want God to teach us, to reveal his plan and purpose and will for our lives, we have to show up. We have to meet with him daily. We have to study his word; pay attention to what it teaches us. We have to sit and listen to him; we have to talk to him. We have to practice living as he calls us to live. We can no more expect God to give us his good and perfect will without earnestly seeking it, as we can expect our Spanish teacher to give us a 100 on the test without genuinely earning it.

 I know when I fail at something, as much as it hurts me to fail, it hurts my father even more to watch me fail because he knows if I had just listened to him, I would have succeeded. God has a plan and a purpose for all of us, but as much as he wants us to seek him so he can give us the true desires of our hearts and fill us up, he allows us to choose for ourselves what voices we will listen to and what path we will learn from and follow.

Monday, January 17, 2011

In honor of Martin.

In honor of MLK (Martin Luther King for those of you who don't know...shame.), I feel like I should tell you...

I once had 3 fish. They were named Martin, Luther, and King. This is a true story.
I also own and have read multiple biographies on Rosa Parks and Michael Jordan... and the Holocaust... as a child. Hmm.
I once wrote a story called "My Friend Martin" about MLK. Maybe I should post that as well.
I am completely grossed out by teeth brushing. Not the act of brushing your teeth, just the act of brushing in front of other people. Ew.
I used to collect and number the comics from the Sunday paper.
I once had a dog named Herman.
I also, at one point, had a fish that I named Jessie, after myself of course.
I have always been an introvert. When I was little, I would tell my mom that my life was "too crowded" and proceed to play by myself for several hours. Always did the trick.
I do believe if I went to Hollywood, I could become a famous actress. Seriously. I know I could. For real. No joke.
I am a compulsive list maker. I have several notebooks for all my lists.
I also have a notebook in which I write letters to myself. This might seem weird. It actually helps put things into perspective. I feel like it's no different than talking to yourself... which I also do.
I LOVE to sing. Unfortunately a good singing voice is not one of my gifts.
It has just occurred to me that this post really has nothing to do with MLK, except for the first sentence.
I still dream about being some kind of pro athlete. Unfortunately, I have not been a part of a sports team since 8th grade.
I love to paint fingernails, and not just my own. I just love to paint them.
For that matter, I love to paint anything. Not like portraits though, like walls and bookshelves and fingernails.

That's all for now. Don't feel so weird about your quirks now. They make you.. YOU. :)  <3

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Someone Like You

Someone Like You.

You are everything I always thought I wanted,
and even the way you say my name is perfect.
You're careful and smart, but daring and a charmer
and all I can say is I've waited for someone like you to come along.

You'll dance with me in my living room, or fly with me to the stars,
you'll take me anywhere I want to go, or even nowhere at all.
With you, the world is mine, all you want is the thought,
and all I can say is I've waited for someone like you to come along.

I told you how I am, that I'm difficult and complicated.
I warned you that I'm hard to please and often harsh it seems, but
You told me you already know and you thought quite the contrary,
and all I can say is I've waited for someone like you to come along.

I even told you I don't know what I want, or where I'm going or why.
I even told you I didn't know if I would never say goodbye,
but you told me I was worth the risk and confidence is key,
and all I can say is I've waited for someone like you to come along.

So in all my difficulty and reasons I've given you to doubt,
and in all your patience and confidence and faith that it will work out,
you don't waiver and your strength stays strong,
and all I can say is I've waited for someone like you to come along.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Friendly Reminder.

Don't forget....

Sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself.
Sometimes what you really need is a good cry; a mouth open, wailing, alligator tears cry.
That wall we all hit at one point or another is really just to remind you how strong you are.
Money is NOT everything.
School is a priority, but it shouldn't consume you.
To love.
To live.
that you are only human. All humans need to be forgiven sometimes. Even if it means forgiving ourselves.
Sometimes you just need to buy a pair of sparkly shoes.
Sometimes a Diet Coke over ice IS the cure.
Starbucks should not be considered a luxury, but a necessity when budgeting.
Mean people have feelings too.
You never really know what another person is going through.
Work is work. It is a must.
God will get your attention, and sometimes it hurts, but it is always worth it in the end.
Smiling at yourself in the mirror will usually stop tears.
If smiling at yourself doesn't work, any movie with Steve Carell will.
Friends really are miracle workers, healers, and therapists.
Not knowing the future is actually a blessing.
Don't hold too tightly to temporary things.
Dancing is GREAT exercise.
It's good to gain weight in the winter... especially after the holidays...especially after eating A LOT of baked goods... It helps you stay warm.
It's totally fine to let the cute neighbor boys work on your car. That's what they are for, right?
Pizza is a vegetable. TOMATO sauce.. hello!

It's a New Year. It's time for new ideas, new inspiration, new plans. Make the most of it.