Friday, December 2, 2011

Leadership Project 2011 from CO Greenville on Vimeo.

20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21and said:
   “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
   and naked I will depart.[c]
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
   may the name of the LORD be praised.”
 22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.

Job 1: 20-22

One of my girls and I studied Job 1 the other day, looking at the hard things that Job goes through, how he trusted in God's sovereignty throughout and was faithful to the Lord even through His trials. As we are experiencing hard things we are praying for the same faithful attitude that Job had. In addition, we watched a video about the Leadership Project. I am praying that this would be God's will for her this summer and that He would provide for her to go! I am so thankful that He has been working in her heart about her relationship with Him as well as the possibility of her summer plans being LP already! Praise Him!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Mysterious and Unattainable Girl

She hails from Boston
She hates the sound that goodbyes make
She loves Sundays and champagne
She can't stand the winter
She can't stand anything that she can't change, she can't change

She is whatever she wants to be
She is a little of everything
Mixed up so tough in a beautiful way
She's got the world at her fingertips
She makes beauty look effortless
And I want, everything she is, she is, she is
Well I want everything she is, she is

We talked for hours
But she wrote the book on hard to get
No it don't matter what I say
I could buy her flowers
But that's just too cliche to impress a girl like her
And you know I kinda like it that way


Oh she is, all I think about
And I can't do without
The good, the bad, the somewhere in between
Oh because I want everything

She is whoever she wants to be
She's a little of everything
Mixed up in a beautiful way


"She Is" by Ben Rector

Not to knock Ben Rector, totally love his music but I decided to write about this song too because I think this romantic song represents something so huge for girls, a lie we are constantly taught to believe. This song, and many others out there describe that perfect girl for a guy. He describes the things about her that he loves but at the same time it is so ambiguous, leaving a mysterious feeling and the listener wants to know more about this mysterious girl. So many things teach girls that there is such as thing as "the perfect girl". The only girl that gets the fairy tale ending with the guy. Basically we end up believing that this mysterious, perfect girl described in this song is the epitome of a woman and that we need to be more like her.

The idea that we should change ourselves to become someone else, we continue to "tell" ourselves that who we are isn't good enough, who we are isn't what guys want. We begin to believe that we are not beautiful exactly the way that God created us, we become insecure, and at the end of it all we believe we can actually become this ambiguous girl described in the song. We believe that the characteristics we have and were blessed with by the Lord are not what guys want, ultimately we then attempt to earn the temporal affections of a guy by being someone who we are not. As opposed to letting God bless us with a guy who enjoys the characteristics God has blessed us with. If we believe that we must earn a guys initial affection, we will spend a lifetime trying to continuously earn continual affection and ultimately waste our life trying to achieve the impossible. We miss out on the glorious things God has for us such as grace for our sin, experiencing eternal love in him, and experiencing the love of another through Christ and because of who God created us to be.

Friday, November 4, 2011

You Don't Need Jesus

Woke up this morning
And I heard the news
I know the pain of a heartbreak
I don’t have answers 
And neither do you
I know the pain of a heartbreak

This isn’t easy
This isn’t clear
And you don’t need Jesus
Til you’re here
Then confusion and the doubts you had
Up and walk away
They walk away
When a heart breaks

I heard the doctor
But what did he say
I knew I was fine about this time yesterday
I don’t need answers
I just need some peace
I just need someone who could help me get some sleep
Who could help me get some sleep

This isn’t easy
This isn’t clear
And you don’t need Jesus
Til you’re here
Then confusion and the doubts you had
Up and walk away
They walk away
When a heart breaks

This isn’t easy
This isn’t clear
And you don’t need Jesus
Til you’re here
Then confusion and the doubts you had
Up and walk away
They walk away
When a heart breaks

"When a Heart Breaks" Ben Rector

About a month or so ago, I went to a Ben Rector concert at Furman with my d-group. Ben sang a lot of songs that night, this song in particular being one of them. At the time the lyrics "you don't need Jesus" really struck me, but it wasn't until earlier today when I decided to put on some Ben Rector that I sat down to investigate just how and why these lyrics struck me. I think this song describes perfectly such a huge lie that is easy to believe and one that I find myself consistently living out in my life. During bible study with the girls on my hall last night, we discussed building our "house" on Jesus as the rock and leaning on him continuously through all things in life whether good things or hard things. A lot of times when I go through hard things I naturally turn to temporal things that I believe will make me feel better, or people that I think will love me the way I need and make me feel better. But last night when faced with something hard, God blessed me by giving me what I needed through not giving me what I wanted. I called a friend in hopes that something she would say would make everything better and make me feel better. I think I was hoping that she could say something that would confirm that the future held what I wanted. But we didn't get the chance to discuss what I called to talk about. And another friend I asked to talk to was busy. So right off I see that I ran to my friends to be my rock, to be my foundation, to help keep my house from crumbling during this storm. I believe the lie that I don't need Jesus because I don't see my own brokenness and just how much I desperately need him. But God didn't allow me to find what I needed in them. So instead I have continued to pray, express frustration, vent, and pray some more to God. While I'm not sure if He has answered my prayer yet, I know I have to claim that only He is always available when I need Him and only He can keep my house from crumbling during this storm.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bailey Bookworms!

I am so excited to be setting up a library for a local preschool! As an Early Childhood Education major I am working with a classroom of 4 year olds this semester at a local preschool! And I am really excited to be able to emphasize the importance of literacy with these 4 year olds by giving them a library in which they can experience books! Many people do not realize that literacy beings in infancy: reading out loud to children, letting them experience books, talking about what the book is about, talking about the pictures, etc. It is essential to do this with children to create the foundation and building blocks for reading and comprehension. I am so excited to be providing such a huge resource to these kids! Below is a picture of my work in progress!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What Would Jesus Do?

What would Jesus do? When a 4 year old little boy was curious about my bracelet last week, I let him touch it, ask about it and attempted to feed his curiosity about this new things that interested him so much. However, usually when people ask me about my bracelet, this bracelet that has WWJD written on it, I take that opportunity to tell them what it stands for and share Jesus with them - who He is and what He has done in my life. But it was at that moment that I realized I couldn't share about Jesus with this little boy because of our circumstances, because we were in a public school where I was held to the same standards as his teacher. It breaks my heart to think now that I didn't share Jesus with Him but even more because the rules said that I couldn't. I feel so conflicted about what I should have done. There are so many Christ followers that put their lives on the line each and every single moment because they dare to share Christ in places and contexts in which the rules say it is not ok. But does that same principle apply here? Was I to risk my future as an educator to share Jesus with this little boy? There are many public school teachers out there today who love Jesus and share the love of Christ with their students simply through helping them, encouraging them, serving them, and striving to love them unconditionally. I ask myself, what would Jesus do if a little boy asked Him this same question in the very same contexts? This has been on my heart a good bit since this occurrence and I know now that I must trust that God is showing this little boy Jesus through everything else about me if not through my words.

Monday, September 12, 2011

God's Doing Work!

An update on me bloggers: this year I am having the joy, the privilege and the challenge of being an RA on a freshmen hall. It is a privilege that God has called me to love these girls, serve these girls, and minister to these girls in the name of Christ. It is a privilege to see the work that God is choosing to do in these girls hearts and on this hall. I think the more I minister to these girls this year the more God shows me that He doesn't have to use me and that although He has called me to be an RA this year on this hall, He doesn't call me to minister more to them than anyone else. He has shown me already how He is and is not choosing to use me on this hall. He has shown me the passion some of these girls have come in with and the struggles some of these girls have come in with. I have to fight the mindset that every freshmen coming in is an unbeliever, know and claim the mindset that there are many unbelievers in general on campus, not just freshmen and not just upperclassmen.
But it is a joy to see how God is using me to spur on these girls: talking to them about how to share their faith, how to build a relationship with God, what it looks like to dig deeper in the word, the importance of community, and the benefits of community. And it is a joy to see how God is using me to show some of these girls a picture of what it looks like to worship the Lord and truly have a relationship with Him. However as I see that God chooses to use me in some of these girls' lives and not in some of the others, I also really saw tonight how at times I find joy and put faith in numbers. I am thankful and joyous that 8 girls went to Campus Outreach tonight and thankful and joyful that 10 came to bible study last week. However, I should be just as thankful if just 1 girls had come to each because it means that God is working on this hall. And although I am praying for these girls and praying that their lives would be radically turned upside down by the true image of God, He doesn't promise that He will use CO in these girls lives, even if they come to every meeting and every bible study session. He is definitely using it in some of these girls' lives already, but He doesn't promise that CO is what He will use. So I can rejoice in numbers but pray for true transformation of their hearts through whatever means!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Being a Camp Counselor vs. Being an RA - Who Knew They Were So Similar?

So after leaving Camp this summer, I knew that God would continue to teach me things about myself and Himself through my campers and through my experience. But these past 2 days as an RA, God has shown me so much how being a camp counselor prepared me for being an RA. Praise God because He is good and always knows what He is doing! He has truly shown me how much He will be using me this year to share Him with my girls whether just through loving on them or serving them in whatever ways necessary - in small ways and bigger ways! I am praying that God would do big things this year on my hall through me and that my girls see my love and devotion to the Lord and recognize it as something unlike anything they've ever seen!

Friday, August 19, 2011

It Has Come to an End...Sort Of - Camp La Vida 2011

So bloggers, the summer is over. Camp is done and I have moved back in to PC and am awaiting the start of the school year. But one thing God really revealed to me the very last day of camp that although the summer was over, in a way camp never comes to an end. For the entire summer I never really believed I was making an impact on these girls lives at all. I knew in my head that I was, but I just didn't believe it. And God finally revealed to me on the last day how much I really do make an impact on these girls lives, by simply doing my job. At the age I was working with, the impact was just loving them the best way I was able to and that is what it looked like to give all of myself to them. Loving them just meant swimming with them in the pool, dunking them in their favorite game of Colors during pool time every day for 45 minutes a day although I was feeling tired of the game, singing the same song over and over because they love it so much, giving them a hug when they are homesick and comforting them, etc. And hopefully God will bring them back to camp year after year because they had a ton of fun with me and He will use someone else at camp to spiritually impact them. And praise God if He does or if He doesn't because I have made a spiritual impact on these girls whether they know it or not, by showing them how much God loves them everyday for a week even if they never see it again. Praise God for the fact that God could continue to use that week at camp to work in their hearts for the rest of their lives and praise God that He will continue to teach me things through my summer at camp!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Encouragement Comes in All Forms!

The Bible tells us that once we become a Christian and accept Christ as our Lord and Savior that God will begin to transform our heart which then transforms our lives on the outside. We submit to our Lord, His Word, ultimate will and we attempt to live a Christlike life the way it is written out for us by the Word. The Bible calls us to consider Christ the most important thing in our lives, at the center of everything, holding His place on the throne of our lives. As sinners, it is so easy for us to fall so far from glory and mess this up. It seems so simple and yet it is so hard because our hearts are deceitful above all things. So often I place myself on my throne and my actions or words come from a place of selfishness and pride. But not all of the time. Lately I have been thinking about how much joy I gain from encouraging people in their walk with Christ. A few of my good friends have often told me that I encourage them so much which is so encouraging to me! I love to think that I can help someone along in their walk with the Lord. The Bible calls us to encourage each other in all ways however, often we forget that if Christ is to be at the center of our personal lives that He is also to be at the center of each relationship we share. The past two years in college I have learned a lot about what this actually looks like. I was mistaken in my previous thinking that if two people are Christians, than naturally God would be at the center of their relationship. WRONG! It is so easy to put each other in this place or even the relationship in and of itself in this place where God belongs. A true relationship that is centered on Christ means that the most important thing to each party in the relationship is their own personal relationship with Christ and secondly the other persons relationship with Christ. The friendship is not the most important thing, someone's feelings is not the most important thing; it is each persons relationship with the Lord. Often my encouragement may be sharing a personal struggle with someone who may be facing a similar struggle, sharing what I'm learning in the Word, sharing a great sermon I have heard, sharing wisdom I have gained from others, etc. But sometimes encouragement is hard. God did not promise that our Christian life would be easy, He guaranteed it to be hard. But he provided scripture to guide us.
15 “If your brother or sister[a] sins,[b] go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’[c] 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector." Matthew 18:15-17
Sometimes encouragement comes in the form of lovingly pointing out a brother or sisters sin in the hopes that they would run from their sin because their greatest desire should be to become more Christlike. A lesson I have recently learned is that God even still does not promise that this brother or sister will agree or be able to objectively identify the sin that you have pointed out as well. At times we may allow our pride to get in the way of identifying this sin. Last summer a wonderful woman of God came to me a few times with sin that she recognized in an attempt to encourage me towards fighting this sin and seeing God sanctify me. This was hard for me to hear and I let my pride get in the way of accepting what she had to say. I failed to see what her intentions were in this situation, that she had come to me out of love and out of a desire to see me work out my salvation and become more like Christ as opposed to more like the world. A similar situation came about earlier this summer: another staffer recognized a sin in my life that I did not and it was brought to my attention. This was a hard thing to swallow because it meant that this sin had affected other people around me: my campers, my roommate, my co-cabin leader and possibly others on staff. It is not fun for other people to point out my sin but the Lord uses them to humble me and I have realized that it is needed because my greatest desire is to know more of Christ and I am thankful and praise God that there are people around me that desire this for me as well even if it comes in hard ways. So let us not consider God on the throne of our life BUT let us claim it, desire it, pray earnestly for it, and ask others how me might become more Christlike in our words, actions, thoughts, and everyday life. This is my personal goal and this is my personal prayer for all of my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What Is Love?

What is love? No I am not referring to the 90s dance song with the same title! Before I left for camp this summer, my intention for ministry with my girls was to just love on them the best way I knew how and pray hard that through my love they would catch just a small glimpse of how much they are loved and cherished by their Savior. But love comes in various forms, expressions and feelings. For a while I struggled with whether or not I truly loved my girls because of expressions I did not portray or feelings I did not have. Had I truly loved these girls all week long if I did not feel a sadness laid on my heart when they left me at the end of the week? Did I truly love these girls to the best of my ability if at the end of the week I am not expressing tears over the separation? I feel almost as if I am cheating these girls because they give so much of themselves to me and I wonder how much of myself I am giving to them? How can I love these girls better? Am I truly loving them in the utmost, Christ-like way? I don't think I will ever be able to answer that last question with a solid yes because of who I am. I am a sinner. I continue to fall far from glory daily, hourly; every 5 minutes I fall far from glory. And I see so much of my faults with these girls, so much of my sin. And yet I do not turn around and praise God, shout "Thank You Lord!" Thank you Lord for revealing my sin to me, showing me how much more I could be loving these girls and allowing you to use me to help them understand how much You love them and how You have called them precious and chosen! But how? How do I give more of myself to these girls? How do I love them more? How do I allow myself to be used more by you?

My decision: prayer. I find so much peace and comfort during prayer with the Lord. An intimate time between me and my Savior. And at times it becomes a task, not a precious moment spent together. I don't know the answers to these questions but my God does. And I think its just time I begin daily prayer - practicing thankfulness for the blessings He has given me, practicing thankfulness for each of my girls, practicing thankfulness for the opportunity to pour out love on these girls, and practicing trust; trust that my Lord has a perfect will and plan for these girls that extends far beyond me and far beyond Camp La Vida and that He will make Himself known through me if He chooses to these girls.
I am laying my burden down at the feet of my Savior, for my shoulders are not meant to carry the burden of these questions I am not meant to know the answer to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Summertime's Calling Me - Again!

So bloggers, or non bloggers, or whoever, it's that time again - summertime. Last summer I had an amazing experience in Myrtle Beach at the Leadership Project. This summer I'm going down a slightly different direction and heading to Winnsboro, SC. Where is that? It is right outside Columbia in the White Oak area. I'm going to be living in a Cabin leading about 12 girls each week who are there to have fun, go swimming, do arts and crafts,  go on a hike, shoot archery, and learn about Jesus! I'm going to be a Cabin Leader (Counselor) at Camp La Vida! I went there several times growing up and absolutely loved it. Now I am so excited to go back and share my life and Jesus with these girls!
But I've been realizing lately that my attitude about camp has been really...selfish. I've just been sort of nonchalant about it. I am excited about it but at the same time I'm not. I have just sort of had the attitude of "I'll go to camp, I'll take care of some girls, We'll all have a lot of fun and then the summer will be over". I haven't felt motivated to pray for the summer, to pray for God to burden me for these girls, to pray about my guidance and my leadership position for the summer, or about desiring to lead this girls to Christ. If I am consumed with myself, I cannot lead this girls towards Christ because I am not reflecting Him, because I am not fixed on Him.
I need to start committing to praying for these girls daily and continuing to pray for them even while at camp. So pray for me and for my girls as I pray for me and for my girls. Pray that I would fight daily to fix my eyes on Him and pray that the Lord would guide me in all my decisions, that they would be glorifying to Him and that ultimately these girls would see Christ in me and everything I do!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Learning Thankfulness - Eucharisteo pt. 2

In "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are", Ann tells of grasping how to find joy in Christ in her life. She examines the word eucharisteo meaning "to give thanks". The root word of this charis meaning grace and the word chara meaning deep joy. And so, Ann comes to find that an attitude of continual thankfulness allows her to realize the small gifts of God, allows her to experience so much more grace which in turn results in grasping so much more joy in the Lord! But she came to realize that being thankful for the hard things: divorce, death, cancer, it doesn't come easy. How do you have an attitude of thankfulness during these hard things? She determined that thankfulness was learned as Paul indicated. Building a foundation of being thankful for the small things, an attitude of thankfulness, allows for a truly thankful heart during the hard things.

I'm thankful for:
the morning sun shining through my bedroom window
the smell of pages in a new book
being reminded of a song i haven't heard since elementary school
bursting out into song loudly and happily
making my roommate laugh by singing random songs into my hairbrush/conditioner/hair dryer/curling iron
chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven
hugs from friends
laughing until your stomach hurts and tears are streaming down your face
11 pm ice cream sundae McDonalds runs
getting to McDonalds at 11pm to discover they've already closed and shut off the ice cream machine
Sonic happy hour - 88 cent medium coke!
learning more of God through friends!
twilight - the temperature is just right and the sky is just shy of getting dark

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eucharisteo - "He Gave Thanks"

So bloggers, with all of my spare time now that school is out I am currently reading a book called "One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are" by Ann Voskamp. This book is about experiencing God's grace and how the author came to a realization of what it means to experience grace. I am only through chapter 2 but already something has struck a huge chord with me: when the author begins to examine the word eucharisteo.
The author examined several passages in which thanks is being and breaks down the meaning of this word eucharisteo. First there's the aspect of Jesus giving thanks:
   'While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body." ' - Matthew 26:26

So at first look, this tells me that Jesus was blessing the bread, he gave thanks to God for providing them with bread to eat. But at second glance I have a few questions. First, the disciples were already eating, therefore wouldn't a blessing over the food have already been given? Why did Jesus feel the need to bless the bread separately and specifically? Second, he says "take and eat; this is my body". This sparked a familiarity with me as usually this is what the pastor says when we take communion - an act of thanksgiving. The bread a symbol of Jesus' body broken for us on the cross, and the wine a symbol of Jesus' blood shed on the cross for our sins. So what this passage actually means to me is that Jesus was giving thanks for the sacrifice that was to come. Jesus was giving thanks to God for his crucifixion, for his death.  I don't know about you  but I surely don't feel in a thanksgiving mood when death occurs and certainly not if it was supposed to be my own. This is just it. Jesus counted everything as a loss for the sake of the Lord's will. I am not thankful for death because it means suffering, pain, loss, and ultimately treasuring the world more than treasuring the Lord. But Jesus knew God's ultimate plan was for something greater, and so He gave thanks to God for His plan, for His gift, and for the sacrifice of His life.
Another thing, the people of this time ate bread and wine probably every day, I mean wasn't that a part of their everyday diet? I always think of the act of thanking God for Jesus' sacrifice physically through communion. But I think in actuality it was meant as a symbol to give thanks daily for the sacrifice of Jesus, for His body broken on the cross for my sin, and for His blood shed in order that I might receive the gift of grace.
   ' 20Then Jesus began to denounce the cities in which most of his miracles had been performed, because they did not repent. 21“Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths.d If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day. 24But I tell you that it will be more bearable for Sodom on the day of judgment than for you.”
25At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. 26Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure." ' Matthew 11:20-26
Jesus performed miracles in all of these cities specifically to show them the power of the Lord, to show them that He was the Messiah and the Savior and yet here it is revealed that they did not repent of their sins. So it seems that Jesus had failed. And yet it says "At that time Jesus said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth," Jesus gave thanks. Jesus gave thanks even in the face of seeming failure. He gave thanks to God because He clinged to the truth that God is sovereign and He knew that although at that point it seemed the miracles were a waste, that God would work all things for the good of those who called on Him.
"On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it." 1 Corinthians 11:23-24 (emphasis added)
Again, Jesus gave thanks to God. He gave thanks to God for the betrayal. He gave thanks to God because He trusted in Gods will, He knew Gods will, and He knew that ultimately God was going to use that sin for the good of those who have called on Him.

And now an examination of our thanks:
'Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then He said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."' Luke 17:17-19 (the story of the healing of ten lepers)
Only one leper returned to thank Jesus for what He had done for Him. Just one. But Voskamp provides a closer look at this passage. Jesus tells the foreigner "your faith has made you well." But why? Jesus has already healed him completely before? Why is it that Jesus says that now the leper's faith has made him well? Voskamp examines the Greek word for the translation of "well" which is sozo and means "to save" or salvation. The leper's faith was rewarded with spiritual salvation and the evidence of His faith was in His thanksgiving. The evidence of accepting grace is thanksgiving.
"Our salvation in Christ is real, yet the completeness of that salvation is not fully realized in a life until the life realizes the need to give thanks." - Ann Voskamp
So ultimately I must cling to the truth of Gods sovereignty and His ultimate will and power and in all things give thanks as thanksgiving is the evidence of my faith, of my salvation. Thanksgiving is the outpour of truly clinging to who God tells us He is even through suffering.

Monday, April 25, 2011

It Is Well With My Soul!

1. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
 when sorrows like sea billows roll; 
 whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 
 It is well, it is well with my soul. 
 It is well with my soul, 
 it is well, it is well with my soul. 

2. Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, 
 let this blest assurance control, 
 that Christ has regarded my helpless estate, 
 and hath shed his own blood for my soul. 

3. My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! 
 My sin, not in part but the whole, 
 is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, 
 praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! 

4. And, Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, 
 the clouds be rolled back as a scroll; 
 the trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, 
 even so, it is well with my soul. 

claiming this hymn right now!

Sunday, April 24, 2011


- made by Jessica @ Two Shades of Pink

Today, we stop and praise the One who went his Son to be crucified on a cross. We praise the One who shed his blood for our transgressions, for our sins. It is my sin that held Him there - every time I don't feel like worshiping the One gave it all for me so that I might have life. He died, and was resurrected from the dead. He is risen and He is alive! And we are blessed to have the privilege of the opportunity to be in relationship with Him!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fix My Eyes Upon Jesus

So bloggers, I feel a little disconnected. Maybe it hasn't been that long since my last blog post but it feels like forever. Or at least forever since I had something I was really motivated to share. But now I have something worthy of a blog post! So bloggers, many of you may not know this but the Bible and God call us to suffering to an extent. Shocker? not really. Jesus never says that following Him would be easy. He says we would endure hardships and but that we must consider everything a loss for the sake of knowing more of Him. Whether that be good things, bad things, family, friends, in comparison to a relationship with Jesus and seeking Him, they pale. Now this does not mean that we are to give up on the role He has called us to, it just tells us where our priorities must lie when we are consistently seeking His face.
So suffering - it is an aspect of everyone's life in ways: deaths, breakups, bad grades, whatever it is, it happens. But God says that we will be persecuted for knowing Him but ultimately we have to trust, claim and know that He is completely sovereign, that everything that happens is totally and completely in His control and ordained by Him. And ultimately He works all things for the good of those who have called upon Him. Now what God considers "good" and what we consider "good" may differ but ultimately we must claim, know, trust and then have it revealed to us that God's good is so much better than anything we could ever dream of.
So this semester I have not been claiming this at all, I have been ignoring the truth that His word tells me and running to...I don't know what but it hasn't been to God. I have been experiencing some difficult suffering this semester but I haven't been seeking God's purpose through it. I've been feeling trapped in a tunnel, like I can't get out and I can't see the end. I still can't see the light at the end of the tunnel. Until I realized that this was where I was fixing my eyes - on the end of the tunnel. I was fixing my eyes on an end that may never become realistic, an end I may never see. Where is the hope in wishing for the end of a dark tunnel? No where. Because the hope is in the light right in front of my face that is trying to guide me through the tunnel. But I've been stubborn and attempting to guide myself through the tunnel quickly and go back to when things were better and I could easily say "thank you for all you have blessed me with God!" There is no hope in the end of the tunnel, especially because I'm not meant to know when the end of the tunnel may come - that's God's role. If I knew, then I'd be God. But I'm not. By fixing my eyes on a attempting to glimpse the end of the tunnel, I've been missing out on God's purpose for this suffering and missing out on what I could be learning and seeing through this suffering. God works all things for good by allowing us to know more of Him and see more of Him before, during, and after good times and bad times.

So pray for me as I fix my eyes upon Jesus, seek His face consistently, and pray for my girls this summer. I must consistently be seeking His face before I can even dream of leading these girls well and reflecting Christ while doing it. My prayer is that in everything I say and do, I would do it prayerfully and that it would point back towards Christ, but I cannot lead well if I am not consistently spending time with Him. If He is not constantly filling me up, then I will have nothing to pour out for these girls.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The A21 Campaign - Maria's Story

The A21 Campaign is striving to end human trafficking all over the world and abolish it within the 21st century. Human trafficking has long since been made illegal but the law has not stopped this injustice from continuing. Until recently victims of sexual trafficking were penalized by the law, facing charges of prostitution and criminal punishment for illegal activities they committed by force from their pimps while those trafficking them walked away with simply a misdemeanor. Georgia passed a law just a few days ago that changed this, increasing the punishment for anyone and everyone assisting in the trafficking of humans for non consensual sexual acts and other areas around the world are following suit. Read about how you can make a difference by volunteering, donating, praying for specific things, or even sponsoring a child.

Friday, March 25, 2011

"A Woman Who Fears the Lord,"

the Journey

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is fleeting, 
but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." 
Proverbs 31:30

For the few of you who may read my blog, I did not want to keep this my dirty little secret any longer. Katie at the Journey is a laborer, a mother, a follower of Christ, a lover of God and all of this creations, a prayer warrior, a woman who is running hard after the Lord and fears Him daily. I would love to say that I know her personally but I actually have never even made contact with her. Katie writes all of her blog posts from a place that just pours her heart out on the page, she shares her life, her struggles, her tears, her joys, her praises, when she is fearing the Lord as He has called her to do and when God allows her to see her sinful heart. Her blog is so many things all wrapped into one package for me but I'd be lying if I didn't say that convicting was at the top of my list. Although she shares probably a mere fraction of who she is completely on her blog, her heartfelt and compassionate words are always challenging me to run harder and be more of the woman God created me to be. 
Katie has truly embraced the great commission and God's call to the full extent. She is currently living in Uganda and pouring out the new heart God has given her full of His love onto 14 girls who call her Mommy. She writes of the joy this gives her, the compassion she cannot help but to have for these girls, and of course the frustrations that sometimes come with attempting to calm our sinful hearts and be patient in God's plan and God's will, even when we're not quite sure exactly what that is. So check her out, leave her some love, a donation if you want and experience the life of a woman who is deeply loved by her Savior and in turn she worships Him in fear and in loving devotion.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I am so blessed that the Lord has continued to burden my heart for girls involved in human trafficking. I have such a deep compassion and sympathy for girls who have experienced such terrible things and I pray that they would one day know the love that their Savior knows for them; that they would know what love truly looks like from Him and not from these men who are not devoted to the Lord. I pray that one day the Lord would heal them enough for them to experience a glimpse of the love between a man and a woman the way the Lord intended it to look like, the love from a man who desires to serve her in a way glorifying to the Lord, cherish her the way the Lord does, love her the way the Lord does and push her to know more of the love her Savior has for her.
To read more about this and find out how you can help, here are some helpful websites of programs.

P.I.N.K. - Prostitution Is Not Kool

StreetGRACE: Help End Childhood Sexual Exploitation

the HOME foundation

End Sex Trafficking

Friday, March 4, 2011

Georgia On My Mind

Specifically, Atlanta. So, the Lord did not call me to go to Atlanta with FCA this week but the city has not left my mind. If you read my blog regularly, or maybe even semi-regularly, you may remember that this year the Lord has been developing a new found burden in my heart for girls involved in sexual violence such as sex trafficking, prostitution, etc. And during my research I was astounded to discover that this is such a huge problem in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Although I have never actually been to this city, it still blows my mind how I live in my own world oblivious to the violence going on around me. Just a few hours from where I walk the streets of my own town, whether at home or at school, unafraid for my life; with no thoughts of gangs, or violence, or without any knowledge or ability to fathom what some people are experiencing at that same moment. 
And lately I've been thinking about the age old question asked to college students, "What do you want to do after graduation?" And as an education major, I know that if God placed me in the classroom that that specific profession would bring me so much joy. But there's something else that brings me much joy I would not have much opportunity to do within the public school setting - sharing the gospel. Now yes, I could invite other teachers into my life and invest in them, but I would not truly be able to invest a lot in the children. And what about my burden and compassion for girls who experience violence in their every day life?
So, I'm beginning to pray that God would place me in Atlanta after graduation, with a teaching job, with community, but also....gulp....with the calling to labor for teen girls involved in gangs and sexual violence. 
oh. crap. 
This thought brings me so much excitement for the possibilities that could extend from that and the possibility of being involved in and supported in something I am so passionate about and compassionate for. BUT, there's always that other part of me, the part that wants to slap myself back into reality. The part that brings a million, legitimate questions to my mind: "What about my safety?" "What if I have to live in a neighborhood that sees a lot of this?" "Would I be able to reach girls involved in this lifestyle if I don't live in their neighborhood?" "My mother would worry herself to death" "What am I getting myself into?" "What if the school district I have to teach in that would provide me this opportunity doesn't pay that well?" 
All of these are legitimate questions which cause me to semi freak out a little. But all of these questions make me realize that yeah, it is OK to have these questions but it is also OK to not know the answer to them. But at the same time, that is not my role in this situation. That's God's role. It is his place, his role to answer those questions for me. In HIS time. And the reason He doesn't always answer these questions right away is because our response should be trust, worship, faith. I have a hard time trusting in God's characteristics at times. If God's response to my questions is that I should wait to know the answer to them, my response should be to trust in His sovereignty. My response should be that everything is God's intended plan and that His word promises me that He works everything for the good of those who call upon Him. My trust in His characteristics should lead to worship. The effect of trusting in His characteristics is worshiping Him because of His characteristics and worshiping Him for who He tells me He is and that He gives me the ability to trust in Him through the grace that He gave me and through the evidence of past covenants. God's word shows me that He keeps every covenant He makes with His people, in my own life God has kept every covenant, every promise He has made with me and therefore I am able to trust that He will continue to keep those promises and I am able to worship Him because I have seen that He is faithful. And all of this, leads to an increase in faith. The result of this is knowing more of God and who He is, furthering our relationship, and increasing my faith in a faithful God. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"The Gift of Singleness" by Ben Stuart

My friend Mel shared this sermon with me and it was so encouraging! After listening to it was just stunned. I went back to my room and downloaded it from iTunes. So, if you are also struggling with singleness or maybe you just want to listen to it, it's available for free on iTunes podcasts from Breakaway Ministries. After you listen to it, if you do listen to it, leave me a comment and tell me what you think and what really stuck with you. Do you consider singleness a gift from God or a curse from God? Something to ask yourself as you listen to it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lara Logan of CBS News Was Attacked and Sexually Assaulted in Egypt

Lara Logan of CBS News Was Attacked and Sexually Assaulted in Egypt

The sin and hatred in this world just breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to think people every day fear for their life and that injustice such as this is continuing every day. Yet we only hear about it when someone famous such as this is assaulted. Each day, each moment there are unheard voices experiencing this torment and they do not have soldiers to rescue them.

Valentine's Day

So something that I fail to talk about a lot on here for various reasons are my struggles, which is such an important part of my walk with Christ as I have noted in a previous blog post. But here's something I can share with you all. So throughout my teenage years just like any other teenage girl I had a few crushes in high school and such but for the most part, and there have been one or two exceptions, but for the most part I have been sincerely content in singleness. And since coming to college and coming to faith, this has not been something I have struggled with a lot. I have been content in where the Lord has me right now - being single. I saw friends of mine struggle with this and sympathized with them but to an extent I did not know what it was like to truly struggle with singleness especially now. Lately, this is an area I have begun to struggle in. It has been so much harder now because I am fighting to be patient and wait in the Lord's timing, allow the Lord to lead the right guy to me, allow the right guy to initiate and step in to his role as the leader. It has been hard to fight my motives and initiatives and old methods of wanting to pursue the guy. So of course, today being Valentine's Day and meant to celebrate love, I found it a little hard. But today I saw myself just wallowing in the fact that I am single with no potential prospects even in sights and now that I think about it, this is so convicting! An entire day meant to celebrate love and I did not spend it with the my true love, where I find my true joy and the "person" that loves me to no end and so much more than I could ever know - Jesus. Because of other struggles my time with Him has been affected and I am realizing that it just makes things harder. I know I cannot deal with my struggles on my own and yet I attempt to anyway. I do not allow myself or Jesus the joy of running to Him and allowing Him to comfort me and take my yoke. Rather than running to Jesus in prayer about His love for me, being content in His love for me and my struggles with singleness, I wasted the day thinking about the fact that I do not have a guy in my life. Wow, so I have just told Jesus that His love for me is not good enough, that I need love from an earthly guy, that I need an earthly guy to tell me I'm beautiful, to cherish me. So basically I spent the whole day slapping Jesus in the face over and over again. Wow, again I see how sinful I am and even more so how my heart is deceitful above all things. (Jer 17:9)

Sunday, February 6, 2011


Not sure about a title for this one, I just feel like it's been a while since my last blog post. So, a couple of things I've learned lately, or rather the other day. This semester I've begun to experience some hard things in my life and pretty much the first time I've really had suffering in my life since I became a Christian. They always say that whatever you run to in times of trouble, that is what you worship. When I have strife, I retreat; I run to myself, I don't spend time with God, and I tell my friends sometimes out of need but other times out of a feeling of obligation. I claim that I cannot get through my time of trouble without God but then I retreat from Him. I think I just haven't been sure as to how to handle this. It's easy for me to continue on in life as if nothing is the matter, but at the same time I know I cannot let this consume me. So, the other day I knew and felt like I really needed to spend time with God. I know I cannot handle this on my own and I just needed to run to Him. So my time with Him was just listening to praise music on Pandora and writing in my prayer journal. The Lord truly reveals a lot to me through writing in my prayer journal; He reveals sin in my life, He reveals struggles, He reveals lies, He tells me truth. And I learned that I never truly believed God could comfort me because He is not, in a sense, tangible. I believed I could find comfort from myself or from my friends, but of course they could not give me the comfort I truly needed. I had been looking at my situation as hopeless, I could not see the light at the end of the tunnel, I just haven't been able to see how God could glorify Himself in a situation that His word speaks against. Until God reminded me of Romans 8:28, where He tells me that He works all things for the good of those who He has called upon. God uses our sin for His glory and allows us to know more of Him through our sin sometimes. OF COURSE He could use this for His glory and He will because He is sovereign and completely in control of the situation, and although it is sinful He WILL use it for His glory. He revealed to me that this is my hope. I'm not always going to see the kind of light at the end of the tunnel I want, it is not my place or role to know the ending of some situations and this is just one of those times. He revealed to me that although I do not know what the outcome is, my hope is not in the outcome but in Him! So comforting!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Another Note

If any of you regularly read my blog you may have noticed this fancy new little gadget in the right column. Also, if you read my blog regularly you know that the Lord really burdened my heart last semester for kids involved in sex trafficking and prostitution. This burden has also translated into other areas where kids are living on the streets without homes, without parents, without food or shelter, kids involved in gang life, or kids that experience traumatic foster care situations. It would be such a blessing and is a dream of mine to own a safe home for kids off the street, kids wanting to get away from the gang life, from prostitution, from wherever that place may be. To create a loving environment where they can be nurtured for once and shown what is the love of their Creator, the One who knows them and loves them best. And so I found this great little gadget deal that donates money to the Los Angeles Youth Network to provide shelter for homeless youth in Los Angeles. All YOU have to do is click on it and do a couple of activities. This is such a neat way to use common technology, something we come in to contact with every day to support kids who are not geographically within our reach, and also such a great way those of us broke college students can serve kids without having to spend our much needed gas money, although on a side note we are privileged to be supported by our parents or even by ourselves and so lucky that we have enough money for gas!

I Feel Like I Do A Lot of Blog Posts About Prayer...

However, that is not exactly a reflection of my prayer life!

Last night after FCA, a group of us got together to pray about a Spring Break trip to San Diego where we will be sharing the gospel with the students of San Diego State University. Some of us are still considering the trip, some have definitely committed. But it was such a great opportunity for the whole team, or rather part of the team, to come together and get on the same page with each other! The verse I studied yesterday morning was Philippians 2:1-2 which says,
    "Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind."

This was an opportunity for us to share in the the Spirit together, to be like-minded in our goals for this trip, to be of one mind and labor together through prayer towards furthering the kingdom of God on campus at San Diego State University. Anyways, meetings like this usually go as follows: someone will step into the leadership position, sort of make a general statement about why we are there, what we all want to be praying for, etc. Then we break up into small groups of about 2-3 people and pray out loud for the things previously stated and whatever else our hearts may be burdened for concerning the circumstances. As I listened to my own prayers and then to the prayers of the two freshmen girls on either side of me I realized something: we don't always come into prayer with a pure heart intent to be with God in this way, intent on sharing with God what's going on in our lives and what our goals for whatever the circumstance is. I feel like this is a continuation of what the Lord revealed to me last year when I wrote my blog post "So Here's the Story". But we especially don't always come into prayer with a pure heart when it involves praying out loud in a situation where others will be listening. Last year this was a huge pride struggle for me! I felt my prayers needed to be deep and meaningful and that pauses or stutters in my prayers were a huge no no and resulting in my own mortification when this did happen. Because of this my prayers were always rushed and hurried by my feelings of needing to fill in the silence. But, when we come in to prayer with a pure heart, not prideful, and we simply say whatever is on our hearts at the time, whether that may result in a long prayer or a simple short prayer, our time in solace can be sweet and revealing. I truly believe that listening to the prayers of others when they come before the Lord with a humble heart reveals so much about their relationship with Him: what God has burdened them for, what they are struggling with or are fearful of struggling with, their goals, their desires, etc. And I noticed that the longer someone has been walking with God, the more intimate their prayers become, resulting in, at least for me, a much sweeter time spent with Him. Observing someone's prayers is almost as if you are peering into someone's soul, because you catch a glimpse of what their whole life is about, generally and specifically. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Matthew 28:19-20

"Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20 "The Great Commission"

So bloggers, a review of Christmas break:

Long breaks at home are enjoyed; I enjoy seeing my family and spending time with them however it also tends to be hard at times. My community at PC is so great, I am constantly surrounded by believers who love me, encourage me, keep me accountable, pray for me, fight with me, rejoice with me, and constantly show me why the Lord calls us to live in community, reassuring that His plans are so much greater than mine and coming to PC was such a huge blessing. But at home I really don't have any solid believers to provide any sense of community which makes it a hard environment to be in.
While cleaning up my room over break I stumbled across a postcard I had written to myself from last year's New Years Conference with Campus Outreach with a few things I had learned written on it. Our Campus Director has us write ourselves postcards and then places them in our mailbox at a later time during the semester. On my postcard, one thing I had written was "Christian contentment comes from Christ, not from circumstances." At home, I was wallowing in the fact that it is hard for me to be there and not continually fueling myself with Christ. I was discontent in my circumstances versus seeking contentment in Christ. Talk about convicting. But then on the bus ride home from this year's New Years Conference, I was talking with my friend Mel and another thought occurred to me. It was easy for me to see that at home I sought contentment in my circumstances instead of Christ, but what about at school? The Lord has been so good to bless me with such a wonderful community through Campus Outreach at PC but at school am I finding my contentment in my circumstances and the fact it is so easy to be at school? Or am I finding my contentment in Christ? Talk about convicting times two.

So after this years AL!VE conference, I thought about all the talks I heard. This year's conference was mission focused for me. In everything I really saw that the Lord was putting it on my heart to share the gospel. This summer it was easier for me to share, I had no fear about striking up a spiritual conversation with my coworkers. There was some sense of nervousness each time but I found so much joy in sharing what I was learning, sharing the gospel, and feeling burdened for my coworkers. Last semester I was so confused as to what my target was, I was hardly fueling myself with spending time with the Lord. I was like a little child who loves to get presents from their parents but are bored with just sitting on their lap and talking to them. They want to go play with their new toy, the object of their fascination and satisfaction for a short period of time until they need a new toy. My relationship with the Lord was like that of a small child with their parents. I wanted things from Him, prayers answered. That's what I wanted, not time with Him, not to enjoy Him for who He is.

So, I enter the new semester remembering the advice of a friend who graduated last year: Duty, Desire, Delight. Spending time with the Lord may feel like a duty at first but it is a duty we are called to take part in. But the more we obey our duty, the more we will desire to spend time with the Lord. And the more we desire to spend time with the Lord, the more we will delight in Him. And I also enter the new semester mission minded, with a desire to engage others in spiritual conversations, share with them through more than just this blog, remembering the joy I feel when I share with those I am burdened for about my personal relationship with the Lord and the love and joy they too could experience. I enter the new semester with a mission opportunity for Spring Break, and desiring to become a prayer warrior for a target ministry, for next year's target ministry, summer plans, and everything else on my long prayer list. My prayer journal needs a lot of love!