Wednesday, July 6, 2011

woman at the well

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

happy plants

Sunflowers are my favorite flower. I'd love to tell you I picked it as my favorite because of some deep spiritual and thoughtful application, but truthfully, I always loved how happy it looks. They are always seen with a vibrant blue sky in the background. I have sweet memories of "working" in my family's sunflower garden that was in my backyard in Mississippi. I was probably 4 years old wearing overall shorts, mud on my face and mud covering my little bare feet, hot Mississippi sun beating down. My Papaw called me over and knelt down showing me the seed. He let me plant it in the ground, and I was amazed at how quickly it grew. and grew. and grew. Soon my brother and sister and I were running under the shade of the giant sunflowers. I'm sure they weren't as tall as I remember them, but in my mind they were towering over me. I felt like I was in "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." I still go back to those days whenever I see those bright yellow leaves and big black faces. Recently however, I've gained an entirely new appreciation for sunflowers. Most people know what I'm about to write, so don't get your hopes up too high. I suppose I knew it, but it never clicked I guess. Did you know sunflowers always turn to face the sun? Someone mentioned that to me in the breakfast line at camp the other day. As I let it roll around in my head for a little while, I realized that that makes perfect sense. Wouldn't you be happy if you kept your focus on your source of life? No wonder sunflowers are the happiest plant out there. I think you can see where I'm going here for the spiritual application. If only we kept our focus and our faces fixed on the Son. He is our life-giver and source of peace. Isaiah 26:3 puts it, "You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

1st sesh.

seriously, this place is unreal.
My beautiful girls on magazine makeover night.
52 minutes. That's how much time I've left myself for this post. 52 minutes until our nightly tribe staff meeting. Of course I've had all day that I could've written. After all, I've been off since 8 am this morning. I could tell you I've been just far too busy running errands, but that probably wouldn't be true. Truthfully I've had such a wonderfully un-busy day today. For those of you who don't know, I'm working WinShape camp for girls and am absolutely LOVING it. But... as my mom says "God knew what he was doing when he gave us a day of rest." How true that is. No matter how much you love your work, a little rest is always a good thing. What a wonder a few hours in a quiet coffee shop with just a mocha and my Bible can do. And then to have not 2 but 3 (so glad you surprised me K-dawg!!!) wonderful friends drive 2 hours with no exciting plans to lure them but just to spend the day with me.. how blessed I am. Now I have time to sit and reflect in these rare few moments of silence on all that God has entrusted to me. It's humbling and overwhelming, but my prayer is that I'll be a good steward of all of these blessings he's given me that I don't deserve. I'm just reminded every day of how good He is. All that to say, I'm so excited for what He's doing here at camp. I've grown so much and feel like I could type for days about all that He's taught me. I thought camp was to teach the campers.. nope, I'm learning so many lessons too. One less spiritual lesson I'm learning is that Justin Bieber is as close to an angel as any human specimen is going to get as far as my girls can tell. Grayson Chants and Cody Simpson are a distant 2 and 3 to the powerful Biebs. I also know that JB's birthday is March 1st. There is an entire week devoted to celebrating his birthday. His favorite color is purple, thus my campers are wearing a particularly violet hue these days. Also I learned about a thing I like to call Oreo Dream. There's no other name that will suffice. Picture the most delicious thing you've eaten and then go 10 steps further and there you have Oreo Dream. This one item on the camp menu is proof that even though the camp is called WinSHAPE, it does NOT get you INSHAPE. (You'd be surprised how many people think it's supposed to be a fat camp just judging by the name). A few more significant lessons I've learned are found in these simple statements. We call them 3AM statements because if you wake any of us up in the middle of the night, we should be able to talk about them.

1. I am something because Christ became nothing.
2. I'm ok because Christ rules the day.
3. I'm alive because Christ lives inside.
4. I'm capable because Christ's power is available.
5. I'm needed because Christ's plan isn't completed.

These 5 statements are contrite, but they are actually deep and powerful sentences that we're doing our best to explain to 90 7th and 8th grade girls over the next couple months. When I'm feeling inadequate over this staggering task, I can just turn back to number 4. I'm capable because Christ's power if available. Thanks be to God that I don't have to teach this on my own. He's given a powerful camp pastor and He's given me His spirit to communicate with these girls who so badly need to hear truth. To block out the noise of the rest of the world, the media, their friends, boys, their ideals. All the while I'm "teaching" I'm learning. Learning a lot. We're halfway through the first session and it's been such an experience. I've been here 3 weeks and He has done such a work in me already. I can't wait to see what He does in these girls' lives by the end of this thing. Keep us all in your prayers. You're in mine.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

senses of me

here are some things i realized instead of studying for my biology final thats in 44 minutes.

my favorite smell is honeysuckles.
my favorite sound is thunder.
my favorite sight is the appalachian mountains.
my favorite feeling is my bed after a long day.
my favorite taste is dark chocolate.

there's no point to this blog at all. but it thundered and i stole some of kelsey's dove dark chocolate and my mind wanted to think about anything but photophosphorylation and heterozygote advantages.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

on the 1st of May

ok this one might be controversial.. but that's alright. It's true so I'm puttin it out there. Disclaimer: I love America. I love our troops. k here we go. Tonight we got news that Osama bin Laden was killed in Pakistan. He wasn't hiding out in the hills like everyone thought. No. He was in a million dollar mansion, living in the lap of luxury possibly planning and scheming for more attacks on this country I love. It makes me cringe. By the average American's standards, Osama was a horrible person who deserved nothing less than the death he got. He caused so much pain to our country and to so many people 10 years ago. No doubt, he's done some truly despicable things, but here's something I got to thinking about as I saw the hate tweets roll in.. He is definitely in hell right now. I just saw a tweet that said by now Osama has stood before the Creator of the universe that he so adamantly resisted and has proclaimed him Lord of all. It's true and wonderful to think that the Lord is being known throughout this, but it gave me a wakeup call. Without Jesus, I'm in no better standing than Osama bin Laden. He is an absolutely horrible sinner by the world's standards, but the truth is every person is a sinner by the only standards that matter. Everyone deserves death. Romans 3:10 says "There is no one righteous. No not one." The difference lies in whether you choose to follow Jesus Christ is spite of your sinful self or not.

Monday, April 11, 2011

If You Want Me To

I love this. and I feel like it can apply to many people out there. it's called "If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens.

The pathway is broken 
And The signs are unclear 
And I don't know the reason why You brought me here 
But just because You love me the way that You do 
I'm gonna walk through the valley 
If You want me to 

Cause I'm not who I was 
When I took my first step 
And I'm clinging to the promise You're not through with me yet 
so if all of these trials bring me closer to you 
Then I will walk through the fire 
If You want me to 

It may not be the way I would have chosen 
When you lead me through a world that's not my home 
But You never said it would be easy 
You only said I'd never go alone 

So When the whole world turns against me 
And I'm all by myself 
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help 
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through 
And I will go through the valley If You want me to 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

He uses even this

hmm... where's this post gonna go? I really don't know. I'm writing from a place of confusion right now about some stuff. Many times when I write I can throw all my words on a screen in hopes that some sense will come of it and tell my crazy heart and head what they're thinking. Okay I'll start with this.. Have you ever thought, if only I could go back to this one time and do it differently? Lately I've found myself longing to go back and change my actions or my words thinking it would save me from the pain that I'm going through. I've messed up so many times in one or another, and every time I'm amazed with myself at how I can know full and well what my Savior did for me. He died for everyone of my screw-ups. So how then can I consciously sin? It seems like such a slap in the face of the Lord. It's so frustrating and it's enough to make you hate yourself.

I've got some good news though. Recently I read Genesis 25 about when Isaac was very old and blind and about to die and he called Esau in to bless him. Esau had already been short-sighted enough to trade his birthright to his brother Jacob for a silly bowl of soup so he was really looking forward to the blessing he deserved from his father for being firstborn. Isaac told him to go kill an animal and make dinner for him and then he would bless him. Little did Isaac or Esau know, but Rebekah was listening the whole time and when Esau went out to hunt, she told Jacob (her favorite) what was going on. She sent him to kill one of their goats and she cooked a wonderful meal for Isaac. She covered his smooth arms in the goat hair so they would be as hairy as Esau's and she gave him Esau's cloak so he would smell like him. When Jacob went in to his father with the food, he lied saying he was Esau. Isaac was skeptical at first but convinced by the hairy arms and smell of Esau. He blessed Jacob with all that he could.

This story is pretty cool to me for several reasons. First off, the Lord chooses Jacob, the skinny mama's boy instead of the big and masculine Esau. I guess this shows that the Lord does not pick people how we would. He obviously had an incredible plan through Jacob. The main thing we can learn here though is that Jacob and Rebekah lied and cheated. They sinned. Blatantly. But the Lord already knew that would happen. He named him Jacob, which in Hebrew means "he who grabs the heel" or "he who cheats." The Lord used even their sins for his glory. How beautiful is this! This is not to discount the gravity of sin. It is utterly horrible and disgusting in the Lord's eyes and nothing will change that, but I just find it so neat that he uses even the thing he hates the most to his glory. He already has it factored into his beautiful plan.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Break Every Chain

There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus
There is power in the name of Jesus

To break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

All sufficient sacrifice
So freely given
Such a price
For our redemption,
Heaven's gates swing wide

There's an army rising up
There's an army rising up
There's an army rising up
There's an army rising up

To break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain
Break every chain

There's power in the name, Jesus.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I Just Don't Know

"I don't know." That's been my anthem for the past few weeks. I've been a planner for awhile now, but in college that part of my brain has really become overactive. I've always had my perfect life planned out. I'll spare the details, but know that my plan was ridiculously detailed. God saw all my elaborate plans I had in my head, and He's recently been teaching me that my plans aren't necessarily His. As easy as this is to say, it's a whole lot tougher to really learn. It's easy to just say "I know it'll all work out." I do know that, but let's be real. Learning isn't always without pain. I truly believe the Lord wants us to call out to Him in our anguish and pain. Psalm 120:1 says "I call on the Lord in my distress and he answers me." It's okay to be honest with the Lord and with others when things are tough and when you're frustrated or confused. Lately, as I said earlier, I've been wearing out the phrase "I don't know." What will my major be? I don't know. When will this trial pass? I don't know. What will my summer be like? I don't know. Where will I live when I graduate? I don't know. What will I be doing when I graduate? I don't know. When is everything going to be good again? I just don't know. But what I do know for a fact is that the Lord has a plan for me and for everyone else too. Someone told me recently that what we're seeing is like the threads of the bottom of a rug. We can only see the immediate. Meanwhile, God is seeing this beautiful tapestry from above. He sees where we are in a tangled mess, but He also sees the final product, and it is beautiful.

"The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."
Proverbs 16:9

Hopefully this is encouraging to some of you out there.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Bucket List

1. sit on a billboard
2. go to every state
3. backpack through Europe
4. be an extra in a movie
5. ride an elephant
6. run the half
7. base jump
8. sky dive
9. eat a whole pizza by myself
10. have a conversation with a famous person
11. go to Haiti on a mission trip
12. learn to play the banjo
13. go black water rafting
14. go to Ireland, Rome, Venice, New Zealand...
15. learn to knit!
16. read the whole Bible through
17. live in the mountains
18. own a coffee shop in the mountain
19. get married
20. adopt a kid

theres sooo much more. but i'm tired of thinking of stuff

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Amplify His Name

So.. I just got back from Amplify. It's a spring break trip my church does, where we drive a few hours and minister to the people of Port St. Joe, Florida. I'm trying to organize my thoughts on this blog, because right now everything is so fresh on my mind, it's hard to categorize it and make sense on a screen. So, that's my disclaimer if you get through this whole thing and are completely confused. Well, here's the thing: I've been on more church mission trips than I can probably count. My family has always been that family that was involved in everything at the church, so I would like to think I kinda have it figured out how these things work. Here's a list of just a few things I've noticed over the years.
1. it's always a mad dash to see who can get the back of the bus
2. pack all your junk food you're not normally allowed to eat
3. stay up ridiculously late
3. there's always some sort of boy/girl drama
4. forget something crucial
5. bring 398584758 signed and notarized permission slips
6. have a great time with your friends and don't venture too far out of that "group"
7. when someone says "prayer walk," really they just mean walk around a neighborhood and talk to the people in your group
I'm sure I could think of plenty more later, but I think you get the point. In retrospect, I'm realizing that when I went on those trips before, the focus was still on me. Don't get me wrong, I've always loved to serve, but it was because I wanted to be that girl that all the kids knew my name. I played with them and had a great time, but the underlying root of it was all about glory for me and to make me happy.  During this trip, I realized just how dumb that whole thought process is. How selfish of me to take something as beautiful and God-ordained as serving His precious children into something that is self and pride-glorifying! The Lord loves people. He commands us to love people. Not for our namesake but for His and His alone. I love because He first loved.

For me this trip was challenging in several ways. One most prominent was when our community groups were told to just walk into the neighborhood and share with whoever you see about the Lord. When I heard this, I tried to keep face, but I felt my stomach drop. It's not that I'm afraid to share the Gospel. I'm really not afraid of the response, but I know that the devil was using self-doubt against me, because I had an immediate feeling of inadequacy. My struggle has always been finding a way to jump from regular small talk to the meat of it all, the Gospel. I don't have this gift, but one thing that was especially stressed this week is that we have not been given a spirit of timidity, but of power (2 Timothy 1:7). The same God who created the vast ocean we served by and parted the Red Sea lives in me. There's literally nothing or no one more powerful, and He lives in me. Satan tried to trick me, but how could my fear of not having the right words ever conquer the omnipotent Creator? just crazy. So I finally worked up the courage and found that people everywhere are hurting. They need the Lord and He wants them too. These people just have to hear about him (Romans 10:15).

One last thing then I'll shut up I promise..
A common thread throughout nearly all of the conversations I had this past week was the idea of a works-based salvation. How sad and hopeless that must feel! I know for a fact I'm not good enough and could never be good enough to get to heaven. No one else could either. This completely denies Ephesians 2:8. This might seem easier because it doesn't really require any faith. It puts you in the driver seat, but it always ensures a wreck at the end. I'm so thankful for the few believers that are living in Port St. Joe; they're in my prayers for sure. I'm also so thankful that the Lord has called a few people to be down there this summer to continue building relationships with the people of the community. I'm so excited to see what the Lord does. I know He's working there. It's a confused place right now, but I'm praying diligently for there to be peace in the Lord.

Okay I'm done now I promise. (Sorry that was so long, you're a trooper if you kept reading)

Friday, March 11, 2011

infinite yet intimate

So I'm sure most of you have heard about the devastating earthquake and tsunamis in Japan and maybe in other Pacific areas. It's awful awful stuff. The statistics and numbers are completely overwhelming. I heard about the earthquake like any normal uninformed college student- twitter. So many people across the globe at least said they were praying for Japan. Of course as selfish as I am, I read about all of this chaos while I was thinking about my own issues that in comparison seem SO insignificant. I know where all my relatives are. My house isn't flooded. My way of life hasn't been completely altered. Sure the past few weeks have been less than ideal, but it's nothing compared to what these people are going through. I started thinking, how could God care about me individually and my own selfish issues when they are millions of people hurting across the world? There are so many bigger problems out there. The answer is that He is God and I am not. Thank goodness. I get stressed trying to pick out which kind of cereal I want for breakfast. He isn't overwhelmed or surprised in the least about any of these so-called natural disasters. He is sovereign and big- infinitely big. He is above time, space, and dimensions, but here's the catch. He still cares about each of us individually. He has an intimate relationship with His children. Infinite yet intimate. Who else can say that? just sayin...


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Well.. Here we go

Okay, so I'm new at this whole blogging thing, but you gotta start somewhere. I'm not promising this blog will be entertaining or enlightening, but you're reading it so it can't be THAT bad so far.. I was reading during theatre (because what else are you gonna do in theatre?) and I was just inspired to start one of these things myself. Her most recent entry (if that's what you call it, I'm new at this remember?) was about an old African woman who had been through some horrible horrible stuff. She had just buried her last son, and she was sick, but still she was caring for others. These are things I can't imagine going through. After going through all of these ridiculously difficult trials, she just says “What ever He wants." That kind of strength and faith is astounding to me. I certainly don't think I would act with the same grace and perspective. Actually I know I wouldn't act that way. I've had a tough past 2 weeks filled with lots of tears and giving up of so many of my "perfect plans" for life. The Lord asked for me to give up something very important and for a few days, I just felt sorry for myself... But then I realized that's just pathetic. God didn't ask us to be tough and not cry, but He also never promised life would be easy. Although we shouldn't have to be miserable to seek the Lord, it definitely makes you turn to Him when you're really at the end of your rope. One thing I've learned so far is that our God is a jealous God. He doesn't say "I want all of you, but you can keep that one thing you really want." No, He wants all of our heart. He specifically says we should have no other gods before Him. These "gods" can be in the form of a person, or of a plan, or of success, goals, and so much more. Fundamentally good things can weasel their way into being number one in our hearts without us even noticing it. I'm learning to evaluate my heart and see where I put my true worth and treasure. My favorite verse is Matthew 6:21 "Where the treasure is, there the heart will be also." Well, that's all I've got for now. I hope it can be some encouragement for someone out there.