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.