Saturday, December 31, 2011

{.goodbye 2011, hello new beginning!}

So 2011 has finally reached its end. Can you believe it?! Now let me tell you from the start...I don't have one of those exciting play by plays to share with you to sum up my year. This year was probably the weirdest, craziest year I've had so far...and by far it taught me the most! I definitely had lots of new experiences. I spent the first eight months of the year working as a nanny for the first time. Instead of waking up and going to classes like I was used to, I got up early every morning and took care of three adorable little girls. That job wasn't always easy, but it taught me a lot and was very rewarding in the end.




Sitting out a semester of college brought a lot of challenges, but also new opportunities. It opened my eyes to things I wouldn't have been able to see otherwise. Something else good that came out of staying at home was that I was able to earn enough money to go on a two week missions trip to New York City. I helped teach a two week summer school program for a group of beyond precious kids. That trip happened right during a challenging time in my life and going on it was exactly what I needed. It helped me take my focus off myself and instead use my energy to love those kids, show them how much God loves them, and give them all I could in my time there. I was also able to grow closer to my good friend Lydia and meet a lot of new friends there! New York brought many fun new experiences, including seeing the 4th of July fireworks in Manhattan, seeing Wicked on Broadway, hanging out in Manhattan with new friends, and so much more!



A few days after I got home from New York, I started thinking about school again. I was planning on transferring to a school closer to home, but after New York I felt I should return to the same Christian school I had been going to. This decision wasn't easy, but by the end of the summer I knew it was what I needed to do. These past several months have been the biggest spiritual growth period I've been through so far and I am so thankful for it. It took me a while to truly be thankful, but right now I can honestly say I am. I was able to see things for what they were and in the process God revealed Himself to me in such a real and personal way. It was far from easy, but throughout the rest of the year God continued to use people and circumstances to draw me closer to Him. He took away things I loved, He took away friends, but in return He gave me something much greater...I got to know my God better. I learned more about Him and His love for me. That is something I'd choose any day over relationships or friends or anything else of this world.

So I guess I said in the beginning I didn't have an exciting year...but I suppose I did. Maybe not by the world's definition of exciting, but it has definitely been one crazy year. Many times a roller coaster, but where would anyone get in life if they didn't take a few twists and turns and ups and downs? It's part of this crazy, challenging, beautiful, scary, wonderful, confusing thing called life! So with that said...I hope you all have a great New Year's Eve and strive for a great year in 2012! I've been thinking of some resolutions I want to stick with this year and this is what I came up with:

-Spend more time in God's Word and seek to know Him more.
-Learn to play my new guitar! Something I said I would do months ago and I'm finally doing it!
-Exercise daily...even if its just for 10 minutes!
-Lay off the sweets...we'll see how long this one lasts. =P
-Be a better sister, daughter, and friend.
-Read more.
-Smile more. =)

I'm sure I'll be adding more to this list as time goes on...why is it that we only make resolutions at the beginning of the year...shouldn't we be striving to do better and make new goals for ourselves year round? Just a thought. =)

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND GOD BLESS!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

.ordinary.

Today I woke up just like any other ordinary day. I brushed my teeth, brushed my hair, put on jeans and a sweatshirt, ate some cheerios, and went on my merry way. Well...when I say I went on my merry way, I really mean that I hung around at home all day. Oh, except for my Walmart run...highlight of the day right there! I can't help but think that today was meant to be so much more. Not to be spent hiding inside these walls, but rather living to the fullest doing things I've never done before. Today I felt...I don't know exactly. Burdened with memories, burdened with tomorrows, burdened with walking alone. Last night (technically early this morning) as I was driving home from my friend's house, a song came on the radio that I heard for the first time. The song was "Carry Me To The Cross" by Kutless. Some of the lyrics in this song that I was focusing on are "I'm not alone" and "You carry me every day." I focused on those words all day today. Even though I feel like I could be doing so much more with my life right now, even though I feel like I'm walking alone...I can remember that God has me at this place in life right now for a reason. All things are within HIS timing, and He walks with us through each phase of our lives.

Now that that's off my chest...I hope you all had a great Christmas! I know I sure did! I was able to spend some time with my lovely family and I got some fun presents. God has been good with all He has blessed me with!

Here is a video to "Carry Me To The Cross" in case any of you are interested in hearing it. =)


Monday, December 19, 2011

{.the ultimate purpose.}

Ever feel like you might as well be invisible? Think again...

"For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

Sometimes I forget where my identity is found. Once in a while I forget that my worth is not based on man's view of me. My identity and my worth is found in Christ. In Christ alone. I am His MASTERPIECE. He has a plan for me and He has a plan for you. He has a purpose for each and every one of us. Whether man wants to give us the time of day or not...we do not live for mankind. Yes, we are to treat everyone in a Christ like manner, but we do not live to bring them glory or to receive their attention or praise. It is something I must remind myself of day after day...

My life has purpose.
That purpose is to bring God glory and to give Him my full attention.
Not to live for all the attention I can get.
I need to take every opportunity to fulfill my purpose!

Today is where it starts.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

{.diy christmas button ornament.}

Hello readers! I just wanted to share with you a quick and easy DIY ornament! My good friend Lindsey made this as a Christmas present and I thought it turned out really cute! What you'll need: 

*hot glue gun
*scissors
*fabric
*buttons
*ribbon
*stryofoam ball

1. Cut out strips of fabric and hot glue onto styrofoam ball. The buttons will cover up the fabric so it's okay if there are some wrinkles in the fabric.
2. Completely cover the ball with buttons by applying a dab of hot glue to each one.
3. Cut a piece of ribbon and tie it in a bow. (The length can be adjusted to how big or small you want the bow.) Apply a dab of hot glue to the center and attach the bow to the top of the ornament.
4. Cut a piece of ribbon and hot glue each end directly above the bow to form a loop. (Once again, the length can be adjusted depending on how long you want your ornament to hang down from the tree.)

When you're done, your ornament should look something like this...


There are so many different buttons and ribbons the possibilities are endless. I definitely want to make a few of these this week! I think they would make great gifts!

Have a great Sunday everyone! Only ONE more week until Christmas!!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

{to be happy.}


Happiness is a choice.
Don't listen to the voice
That tells you you're not good enough.

You can choose to blame
Others for your shame
Or you can decide to forgive them {yourself.}

TAKE HEART.

So today I have been thinking of all the reasons I have to be happy...
and I recommend you do the same!

How do you define happiness? Based on circumstances? Based on what you have? As for me, I base my happiness on the joy I have in the Lord. Life will never be perfect but I can always smile when I remember that my God has my life in His hands and He has blessed me in SO many ways!

"So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord!" Psalm 31:24
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." Philippians 4:8

IF YOU WANT TO BE HAPPY, THEN BE! {what's stopping you?!}


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

{Jenalyn.}

As I sit hear working on homework, I'm sipping on hot chocolate, listening to Christmas music, and thinking about how much I can't wait to go home...so I can see my sister. Yes, I'm excited for winter break for many reasons, but tonight my baby sister is on my heart and I'm anxious to get home to hang out with her.


Reason why I love her #1... She's always willing to do random silly things with me. =)

Reason why I love her #2... She makes me smile. =)

Reason why I love her #3... She is a really good model for when I'm in those picture-taking moods. =)

Reason why I love her #4... She's a cutie pie...always has been, always will be. =)

Okay so just to clarify, there are way more than four reasons I love this girl. She is sweet, caring, sometimes drives me crazy...but I know I do the same to her. No matter what, she will always be my sister. Sometimes I take her for granted, but I truly do know that God has blessed me with placing her in my life. Less than ten days now girlfriend...get ready to for some fun times ahead! Love you, Jennifer Lynn! =)



Saturday, November 26, 2011

{.strange familiar.}

It's easy for a heart to wander when the strange becomes familiar and the familiar becomes strange. / An escape becomes the desire of this wandering heart.  / It turns to move forward. To find a new path. But the strange becomes familiar as the past makes its presence known. / It turns to its refuge; its place of security. But strangeness has taken over as the eerie silence of what was once there is no longer. / It questions where to turn. When every direction holds a strange familiar how does one escape?

The only solution I can come up with is simple. You can't. Maybe God made things this way to point this heart to Him. {Proverbs 18:10...The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.} He is the only direction in which all things stay the same...in which familiarity and strangeness are never intertwined. Reality is cold sometimes, but you can only hide under the covers for so long. Seek Him. Trust Him. Run to Him.

{God, be my escape.}




Monday, November 7, 2011

{one life to live.}

We have ONE life to live.

Lately I've been convicted with how I've been living mine. I've been burdened with the thought of who I've been living for all this time. I've been living for myself more than I've been living for God. Taking a glance at my life I realize how often I seek things that will make me happy but have no eternal value. I let so many things upset me and even worse, I never take those burdens to God. I always run to my friends with the latest news in my life in hopes that they will make everything better, but how often do I run to God? 100 years after I'm gone from this world, what will matter? Those silly little fights with friends, whether I'm in a relationship or not, whether or not I get my way? No, none of it will. What WILL matter is how I handle those situations. Will I let my selfishness get in the way of serving my God? I don't want to keep going on like this. For too long I've been chasing happiness. Looking to friends and relationships to fill the emptiness inside. It's taken me a long time to realize it, but nothing and no one can make me complete. No one...not even the ones we think love us the most can fix things. People can encourage us, they can help us when we fall, but they can't complete us. God sometimes sends storms to make this known...whether it be in the form of taking something away, allowing sickness in us or a loved one, honestly there are probably over a million different forms a storm can come to shake things up...to get our attention.

But even when storms come...please don't give up. Use it as a motive to push harder. I'm talking to myself here too. I know it's easier to curl up in bed and ignore the chaos. I know it's easier to take things into your own hands. I know it's hard to let something go when you've held on for so long. Remember why you're here. Are you here to live for what makes you happy or are you here because God placed you here to bring Him glory? I'm not saying God wants us to be miserable, but rather we are to desire Him so much that nothing else matters. It is only then that we can find complete joy. Nothing else satisfies other than to live for God and God alone. Things and people may make you happy for a short time, but only joy in the Lord lasts an eternity.

I have joy...not based on circumstances by any means, but because my burdens have been handed over to an almighty God. I want to live with eternity as my focus. I want to live for what brings glory to God and furthers His kingdom...not what makes me "happy." It feels good knowing that I don't have to work so hard to make my life work...God has that in control. Such a burden lifted! My job in life is to live for my God and bring Him glory in all that I do. So much more fulfilling than living for myself. Don't you agree? =) God bless!


Monday, October 31, 2011

...still learning...

Happy Halloween everyone! =P I've been trying to blog for the past couple weeks, but nothing I've wrote in that time seemed to be right. God has been doing so much in my life lately that I've been having a hard time trying to figure out how to put it all into words. I don't think I will ever be able to sum it all up in a single blog, but today I'm here to say this...

I am ready to stop fighting. Fighting God, fighting people, fighting life. It's time let go of control.

~I'm learning to surrender my life to God.
"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21

~I'm learning to be a better friend.
"If one falls down, his friend can help him out. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"
Ecclesiastes 4:10

~I'm learning to love even when its hard.
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love."  1 John 4:18

~I'm learning to rejoice always.
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice." Philippians 4::8

~I'm learning to always forgive.
"Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?" Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Matthew 18:21-22

~I'm learning to laugh more.
"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones." Proverbs 17:22

~I'm learning to trust God...for real.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5

~I'm learning to put others needs before my own.
"...Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than this..." Mark 12:31

These are only a few of the many things I'm learning. Present tense---learning. It's a daily process, but I'm trying and God has been faithful so far and I know He always will be!

God bless. =)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

{.to love is to be vulnerable.}



I have been focusing on this thought all day. It's so applicable to what I've been dealing with. This blog is going to be very honest, so bear with me! I've been fighting bitterness this past week. I've been hurt and instead of letting the hurt go, I've been trying to fix things. The more I've tried to fix things, the worse situations got. The hurt in my heart has become so deep that I'm ashamed to admit it, but I began to shut people out. I was so scared of getting hurt again I figured the safest thing to do was to just stop caring about anyone. And for those of you who don't know me, that's not like me at all. I usually love making new friends and being there for them. I didn't realize how deep this bitterness was cutting until the other day as I was talking to my mom. I actually said to her that I didn't want any new friends. I didn't want to get close to anyone else because I have learned that even the nicest people end up hurting you in the end. Can you say pessimist to the max?! ahh I'm ashamed to even admit those words came out of my mouth. God commands me to love others as He loves, and here I am shutting out everyone around me because I'm afraid of getting hurt. All week I've been trying to figure out how to make things right. Well today I came across this thought from C.S.  Lewis. He is describing exactly what I've been doing...locking up my heart so no one dares break it. But then he says that even thought locking up my heart will keep it from being broken, it will change me in a different way. I'm not sure I want my heart to become "impenetrable" or "irredeemable." A friend told me once that I can't allow what others do to me steal away my sweetness. I don't want a heart of stone.God calls us to love as He loves. How many times have I broken God's heart? Too many to count. As long as God loves me with that amazing selfless love, I will strive to love others the same. God doesn't call us to love in order to get anything in return, but to love selflessly. People will always fail us...that's to be expected. But I refuse to stop loving because of my own selfishness. If friendships don't work out, then I will choose to give it to the Lord. But I promise as a friend that I will always be there for those I care about. Whether you choose to be a decent friend and be there for me or not is your choice. But this bitterness and selfishness in my heart will not remain and will no longer control me! "To love is to be vulnerable." I have to go out there and take the risk of loving. No matter what the outcome might be! God commands it!


Ok, maybe now I will be able to focus and get some studying done. Love you all and God bless. =)

Monday, October 10, 2011

{.JOY.}


Where is your joy found? I have been dwelling on this question for the past few days. I have found great encouragement in searching God's Word. One of the passages I've been reading over and over is Philippians 4.

In verses four though nine it speaks of being full of joy. It says how we are not to worry, how we are to take all things to God in prayer, think on things which are worthy of praise and then put all these things into practice. It is only then that we are able to experience the amazing, indescribable peace of God. I think I read this over at least a million and two times today. Lately I've been really trying to keep my joy dependent on God alone. I was praying to God asking Him to point me in the right direction and I think this passage was the direction He was pointing. =) It was a much needed reminder that true joy can only be found in the peace of God and the peace of God can only be found in keeping Him first and seeking to serve Him, love Him, and obey Him more and more each day. 

No matter the situation, no matter the circumstance, no matter what...we can always find peace and joy in our heavenly Father when we are living according to Him...and for that reason, this smile will be on my face for awhile. =)

GOD BLESS and have a great week! Monday is just about over! =)

Saturday, October 8, 2011

{.Letting Go.}

No matter how much you struggle against the wind,
a time will come when you have to learn to let go.
Sometimes its hard letting go of something
that's become a part of you.

But that's how seasons go.
Change has to happen in order to
keep things moving,
keep things growing.

The seasons WILL change.
There's no stopping it.
Let go and open your eyes to
the beauty that lies ahead...



Monday, October 3, 2011

(.scatterbrained.)

I feel like there are a million things I want to say, but the words won't come. Or rather I know the words, but I feel like they are safer kept in the confines of my mind. I've heard it said it's better to say too much than never say what you need to say. I'm not sure how I feel about that statement. I mean honestly...how do you know when it's better to speak up and when it's better to keep silent? You don't want to miss an opportunity, but you don't want to destroy it either. And sometimes it's not even in your hands to decide.

I'm feeling a little numb and scatterbrained today, but there is one thing I do know...God is definitely teaching me patience. Every minute of every day.


Friday, September 30, 2011

{.the beautiful unknown.}

A fragile matter…
this journey we call life.

Laughter turns to silence,
silence turns to smiles,
smiles turn upside down,
and frowns turn into
this thing we call strength.

Strength, courage, wisdom…
all things we gain from
the uncertainties we face.
The uncertainties that scare us.
The uncertainties that can consume us,
but in the end we learn to dominate.

We dominate not by our own power,
but by that of a Savior.
By that of friends.
Friends that last a lifetime…
and friends that change our life.

The unknown is always there waiting.
Its something that grows us
more and more every single day.
Something beautiful.
Not something to be afraid of.

If it weren’t for the unknown,
where would our faith be?
trust?
adventure?
patience?
curiosity?
wonder?
reliance on God?
meekness?
perseverance?
The list goes on forever…

You see, these things don’t just come to us.
But rather they sneak into who we are
when we don’t even realize it.
When we’re in the middle of the unknown,
God is building our character.
Building who we are…
who He wants us to be.

Don’t lose heart.
Though the days are long,
God is changing us.
growing us.
teaching us.

We can’t always see it,
But it is a beautiful thing
the way He chips away and
molds us into who He wants us to be.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

{.silence speaks louder.}

I feel like silence is often louder than words. I feel like it would be easier if things could just go on as they were. But then again, maybe silence is sometimes for the best. I don't understand how or why, but its something I've had to come to terms with a lot lately. Nothing hurts me worse than having someone walk away...but its been something I've had to deal with every morning when I wake up. I have to constantly remind myself to change my perspective and stop caring so much. I feel really silly sometimes caring about things when I know I'm the only person in the world who cares. So why can I not stop thinking about it? I shouldn't care. (but I do.) End of story.

...well, not quite yet. I do want to say that I am very thankful for a loving God who will never walk away. When I am burdened by the loss of friends, I know I can always look to God and He will be there. AND I still have a lot of friends and family here for me and I know I am blessed.

God STILL knows what He is doing. I really started to believe that about a month ago when God used circumstances and certain friends to show me that. If I believed that God knew what He was doing a month ago, I have no reason not to believe it today. Be my friend or don't...God knows what I need when I need it and I have no reason to let it bother me. That's all folks.

Goodnight, and God bless. =)

"So do not fear, for I am with you..." Isaiah 41:10

Sunday, September 25, 2011

{.a fine line.}


how do I find balance?

do I {forget}

or do I {hope}

it's a [fine] line...

and I'm not sure

on          which          side

I'm supposed to stand...


Friday, September 23, 2011

{.all consuming.}

WHAT CONSUMES ME?
That is the question I've been dwelling on this past week.


Last weekend I was reading through a book I've been going through along with my devotions. It talked about how God should be consuming our entire being. It's so easy for us to replace God in our hearts and in our thoughts. Even a really good thing can become a sin if we put it in front of Christ. Reading this was very convicting because often times I find myself caring about something so much that I begin looking at it without God in the picture. Loving something or caring about something is by no means a bad thing...but it should never consume us so much that it begins to replace our awesome God!


This past week we had Will Galkin here for Heart Conference. Every day he spoke on something that I was able to relate to my question, "what consumes me?" One day he even made the statement, "even a good thing can become a bad thing when it becomes a ruling thing." Umm pretty much exactly what I read a few short days before. Another one of those moments where I think, okay God, I get it! I need to completely change my thinking. I need to get my focus off of ME and get it on GOD. I wrote the following prayer down during one of the sermons...it's personal, but I want to share it so you can see the work God is doing.


"God, You are worth more than I can imagine. To not give you my entire self would be beyond selfish. I want to give YOU my whole heart. I so easily give pieces of my heart to things of this world. Things and people who can NEVER satisfy. I want YOU to consume me. Please change me from the inside out. I need a new perspective to get my thoughts and desires off of this world, but to desire You more and more every day of my life. I want to bring You glory in my thoughts and actions ALWAYS. It is for you ALONE that I live. It is for You that I should do each task of every day. Help me to be changed into a woman of God who lives for You!"


So basically I'm taking baby steps to get to where I need to be, but by the grace of God I pray I will get there. I went on a "facebook fast" this week which I highly recommend to do if you ever need to get refocused on what really matters. God has been teaching me so much this week and I wish I had the time to share everything. All I can say is that God is so good and I am truly wanting to be changed from the inside out and to be completely consumed by Him. I am on this earth to live for God, not to live for me. He deserves all of me, not just bits and pieces. Simple. as. that.

Friday, September 16, 2011

they are precious in His sight...

So tonight I was watching the guys' kick some butt in their soccer game when I had the delight of meeting a new friend. First of all I would like to mention that my new friend is 9 years old. =)


I cherish opportunities like these. These friendships are usually just temporary, but they are so beyond precious to me. Well...this little girl's name is Katie and when she asked if she could sit with me of course I said yes! We talked for a good hour about anything that came to mind. She told me about school, soccer, how she loves to make up songs, how she wants to come to Northland some day, how she wants to be a mom when she grows up, and how she loves to braid hair...as soon as she said she loved to braid hair I offered to let her practice on mine, which I believe made her day. =) {...I find that just about every little girl I meet LOVES braiding hair.} Well an hour came and went...I gave her a hug and went on my way.


God seems to give me opportunities like this often and I am so thankful He does! Meeting Katie tonight reminded me of the time in New York this summer as I was waiting for the Fourth of July fireworks to start. I happened to sit by a precious little girl named Leah and we talked for about an hour. She introduced me to her mom and it felt like I knew this little girl my whole life although we had just met.


These moments make me all the more excited to be a mom someday. Whether that be by having one of my own...or by being a foster mom and/or adopting...FINGERS CROSSED AND LORD WILLING! For as long as I can remember God has put it on my heart to adopt and take in children in foster care. I am getting very impatient for the time to come when I am finally able to fulfill this calling!!! And even if God doesn't allow for it to happen right away, I am hoping to someday work in the social work field with adoption or foster care and I am very excited to do this as well. I have such a burden for kids and I love doing whatever I can to make an impact in their lives for Jesus Christ. There are so many children out there who need to know His love!


I am so thankful God has given me so many opportunities to work with kids. I was lucky enough to be a nanny for three beautiful girls the last eight months (whom I miss dearly!), I have been blessed with several young cousins, and I am often blessed with opportunities like the ones mentioned above! Little children are so precious to me and such a beautiful blessing from God. They never cease to make my heart melt time and time again. =)


"And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me."
Matthew 18:5



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

all things work together for good...

I've always been one to ponder the "what-ifs" in life. (I think wayyy too much sometimes.)

Last night I took a stroll to go check my mail and as I was walking back I couldn't stop watching the flashes of lightning up above. The combination of lightning, stars, and the moon shining through the clouds looked so awesome. I couldn't help it...I laid down in the grass and just watched for awhile. The whole time I was just thinking about how powerful God is. He is the creator and is in control of everything we see and experience...from the annoying little bats who eventually began to disrupt my pondering, to the magnificent flashes of lightning filling sky. It was just another reminder to me that if He can control things like that, He can control all of the "what-ifs" in my life. One of the biggest things I've been learning lately is to let go, and let God take care of things. I am finally getting to a place where I don't need to worry about every little thing that happens. I'm realizing that if I am truly trusting in God and doing what He asks of me, He will give me exactly what I need. Maybe not always what I want, but ALWAYS what I need.


So basically, no more dwelling on "what-ifs." If God takes things away, if God wants me to wait, if God makes things harder than I feel they need to be...I'll just go with it. Everything will fall into place perfectly if I let go and put it in God's hands. He wants me to love Him, obey Him, and serve Him while I'm waiting...and that's exactly what I plan on doing.

"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God." ...Romans 8:28.


Sunday, September 11, 2011

weekend of spontaneity.

This weekend was...well...exactly what I needed. =)


Once upon a time I traveled to Green Bay with some darling friends for a much needed girls' day out...
I got to make a pit stop to see my wonderful sister. I miss her a lot...and she gives great hugs. =)
We then spent the afternoon shopping...which included playing dress up in the mall. I don't know about you, but I am definitely a kid at heart...and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. We filled our bellies at Red Robin and then made our way back to the woodlands...of course we stopped to take pictures...and to get fraps...but we eventually made our way back! It helped to have Jamie girl sitting by my side screaming along to Taylor Swift's crazy, but somewhat relatable ideas about life...
So that concludes day one.
DAY TWO.

I started off by going to church. I'm thinking about trying a new church this semester...so far I'm loving it.
The message this morning was awesome, to say the least. We went through Deuteronomy 8 and discussed how God puts us through adversities so we can grow closer to Him in a whole new way. Here are a few scattered thoughts I wrote down during the message...
~We are to change our perspective...stop looking at the storm you're in, stop looking at the shore ahead, and start looking at GOD.
~We are to humble ourselves and let God do His work HIS way!
~If we truly want to know Him, we will stick with Him and never give up.
~The path He brings us on is not coincidental...it's God's way of teaching us what He wants us to learn.
~God changes us today so we can be used for His glory tomorrow.
~Love Him so all else in the world dims.
~When God puts you through adversities will you still love Him? Trust Him? Obey Him?

I would totally write down my entire page and a half of notes but, well...it's a page and half. =)
God definitely spoke through Pastor Phillips today and I know He spoke to others I know as well!
God is good. Enough said.

Well after church, us girls decided to take a million pictures on a random train stopped near school. Is it illegal to climb on trains? Hmm...I really don't know...haha
We then had a picnic at Reflection Lake which turned into 3 lovely hours of just relaxing...and lots and lots of laughs. P.S. I love sitting by the lake with my feet in the water and just watching the clouds roll by...love it love it love it.
To end the day, we sang my beautiful Irish roommate, Leah, happy birthday as she made a wish and blew out the candles. The day is now over and me and Lindsey are sitting here attempting to get some work done...while finding other fun things to do to keep us from going crazy. =)  Honestly, this weekend was so awesome that I kind of forgot I was in school and had homework to do. Oops!
Well goodnight all! God bless!!! =)



Tuesday, September 6, 2011

to be selfless.

I have about a million note cards up on my wall with different verses and quotes, and this afternoon one in particular got me thinking.

"Love demands that I learn how to focus my attention on the needs of those I love." -John Powell

Right away I thought it over and all I could come up with was pretty much exactly what it said...basically loving my friends and family means I not only need to say that I love them, but I actually need to focus on their needs. Easy enough, right? But then I thought about it again and it hit me. I need to focus on THEIR needs...more than I focus on MY OWN. I realized I really need to learn what selfless love means. So being the geek I am, I looked it up. =P

self-less [self-lis]
adjective
having little or no concern for oneself, especially with regard to fame, position, money, etc.; unselfish

love [luhv]
noun
unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

I can't count the times I have been selfish in my friendships and relationships. I wish I could go back and change all the times I didn't care for others enough to put their needs in front of my own. It's so easy to see what I'm not getting out of a friendship or relationship (whether with a friend or with a family member) and get upset...because sometimes I forget the world doesn't revolve around me. I don't always think I'm doing anything wrong, but when I look back I realize just how selfish I was being.

I want to love by Christ's example. Of course He wants us to love Him in return, but the point is, He loves us no matter what. No matter how many times we hurt Him, no matter how many mistakes we make...He gives us more than we could ever ask for and cares for us day in and day out, whether He's getting anything out of it or not.

Can I love like that? Can I put my needs aside and care for others in whichever way is best for THEM? That's what I want. I don't want my selfishness to ruin the relationships God blesses me with. I can't promise I will succeed, but that's my goal.

TO BE SELFLESS.

"Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves." -Romans 12:9-10





Sunday, September 4, 2011

His love is forever...

I find abundant comfort in knowing that I will never be God's second choice.
Ever feel like you're just not good enough? I'm sure we all have at one point.

It's easy to rely on people.
God gives us each other for a reason.
He gives us relationships and friendships to make us better...to make us stronger.
But how easy it is to rely on the people God brings into our life!
Sometimes God chooses to put people in our life for a short time.
               
                  Ecclesiastes 3:1 "For everything there is a season, and a time for every
                  matter under heaven."

People won't always be around...but luckily, God will.

God loved us yesterday. God loves us today. God will love us tomorrow...and every day after that.
And what's best is that He loves us all the same. We never have to worry about being better than anyone else.
Sure we should strive to be the best we can be, but God won't love us less if we fail now and then.

I know that it hurts when it feels like people are ripped away.
To be ignored by the ones we care about.
To not be their first choice.

But I continue to look to Christ.
Even when I feel like I will never be good enough...like there is always someone who is one step ahead of me.
I belong to Christ. He wants me for all eternity. And He will never turn His face from me.
He loves each of us as if we were the only person in the world.
The God I serve is an unfailing, loving God and He is the only one we can ever fully rely on in this crazy life.

"How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings." Psalm 36:7








Friday, September 2, 2011

A Heavy Heart...

So today I've had a heavy heart.

I wish I had all the answers. I wish I could fix everything. ...That's just me.

Unfortunately, God hasn't given any of us the ability to fix everything. That's HIS job.

Today my heart is honestly just...I don't know...sad I guess.

I'm happy, I really am. I promise. My heart is just a little sore from the roller coaster it's been on.

I think God keeps us on a never ending roller coaster...just to keep life interesting. =P

I feel like important things...and people...just keep being taken away. And it's really not fun.

I hate knowing when something is for the best, but it's definitely not the way you want it to happen.

You can have all the peace in the world about it...but it can still be so hard.

I'm so glad I have my God on this roller coaster with me...holding my hand through the craziest parts.

I have faith that God has amazing things in store for my life if I continue to trust Him and walk with Him.

But one thing I need to remember is that i AM human...and I can't always pretend like everything is okay.

Today has been a hard day...I already admitted that. But I'm trying to remember this...and if you ever have a hard day you should remember it too. =)

God wants us to GO TO HIM when we are feeling helpless. Not just keep it locked inside.

We can't always have it all together. So go ahead...cry, scream, do whatever you need to do...

Give your heavy heart over to God...don't try to carry it alone.

My prayer for anyone reading this is that you seek God for strength each day. Don't try to pretend like you have it all together. I find myself doing that sometimes and eventually it gets to be too much to hold it all inside. Life is crazy...I don't think anyone needs to be told that! It's full of heartache, disappointments, complications, etc. Part of me wishes we didn't have to go through all that, but then I think of all the things God teaches me through trials and it makes it so worth it. My heart is still sad, but I know God is taking care of it and I'll be okay. If your heart is heavy, give it to God. He will take precious care of it as well...no doubt. =)

1 Peter 5:7...Give ALL your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

God bless... =)









Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A New Adventure...

Well tomorrow is the day. I said goodbye to my good friends and I'm attempting to finish all my packing...last minute of course. =) Even though I've gone through this before, I feel like this is a whole new chapter of my life and a big adventure lies ahead of me. God has been teaching me so much this summer and I know He will continue to do so every day from now on. I'm really nervous about starting this adventure. That's when I try and remind myself of verses like Deuteronomy 31:6..."So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you." Reading about this truth that God will NEVER leave me or fail me is so comforting. Even the people I love the most will sometimes disappoint me and make me feel alone. But wow, to think that the God of the universe is always one step in front of me and watching out for me is amazing. It makes me a lot more excited about going to school tomorrow. I get nervous when I think about all the hard things that may be ahead of me...but when i think about how much all the trials this summer have helped me grow I can't stop thinking, "bring it on, God!" I am hungry and I want to grow. Even if that means walking through valleys in this life...it's honestly so worth it if I know God is working at my heart meanwhile.

So...tomorrow I drive 233 miles to Northland by myself...well myself and God. =) And even though I'm crazy nervous, I'm even more crazy excited to see how God will work. I'm going into all this on faith alone and I am determined to make it a good semester no matter what, or who, tries to get in the way. God has put some amazing, godly friends into my life this summer and I know that I have them and my family behind me. And more importantly I have a God who is walking with me the whole time, no matter what.

Please be praying for me this semester and also for everyone else who will be starting school! I pray that God will continue working on my heart and give me the strength to be the godly woman He wants me to be every day from now on.

God bless... =)