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Showing posts from 2012

A Skate on the Ice.

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Laced-up skates. Smooth ice. Laughter...and a fall or two.  

Last Friday, my floor—Walther 2nd North—went ice skating at Mediacom Ice Park. Because it was Open Skate Night, we only had to pay $3. With fun Christmas music playing in the background, we flew round and round the rink. Holding hands to help keep each other balanced, we attempted to keep our feet on the ground. Some girls were more advanced, able to skate backward and do some spins; others of us did our best to skate forward. Regardless of our level, we helped each other have the best skating experience possible.

I truly enjoy floor events. And I love the girls on my floor. We have had many bonding experiences so far:  a weekend retreat, dinner at IHOP, frozen custard at Andy's, weekly devos, Christmas decorating, “Secret Sisters,” hide-and-seek in the dark, pranks, and other fun activities. We've laughed, cried, and had deep discussions about how God is moving in our lives. We're able to be open with each other--…

Growth.

I was blessed to go home for Thanksgiving break last week. I can't describe the emotions I felt as, at the end of an eight-hour-long car ride journey, I started to spot familiar street signs and places. Sentimentality filled my heart, and I began to reflect on simple memories that have built me to who I am now. As I was lost in my ponderings, we finally pulled up to my pumpkin-colored home in the suburbs of Chicago. Normalcy. The life I've known for so long. As I trudged with my luggage into the front door, I could hardly contain my joy. I drank in the scent of my home. Home. As I gave my mom, dad, and brother big hugs, I felt wonderful.

After thirteen weeks of being away at school, I worried that I wouldn't be able to adjust to being back at home for a short weekend. Would I long to stay at home? Would my mind be filled with thoughts of school? Would I be fully present as I caught up with family and friends? My worries melted away as I asked the Lord to help me live "…

His Promises are Pure.

"The LORD's promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over." ~Psalm 12:6

A Sweet Family Visit.

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When I came to Evangel this past August as a freshman, I realized that I would be met with new opportunities: pursuing my passion of psychology, meeting peers with similar passions, growing in Christ, and gaining an independence to make my own decisions from choosing where to go for dinner to finding a new church home. When I said good-bye to my family in the South Side parking lot, I recognized that these new opportunities would also be faced with a few challenges, including not seeing my family for several weeks at a time.

I've attempted to cope with this distance in several ways--from texts, to Skype sessions, to Facebook, to phone calls. I'm thankful for how technology has sometimes made 500 miles almost non-existent. However, these modern conveniences could not begin to account for the warm hugs from my family and the feeling of being in their company.

That's why I was overjoyed when my family traveled the eight hours from Chicago to come visit this new corner of the wo…

Three Who Have Impacted Me.

This morning, as I was reading out of the Psalms, the Lord reminded me of His unending faithfulness. In reflecting on His faithfulness through all seasons of life, I began to dwell on some of the individuals He placed in my life over the years who have spoken words of encouragement, wisdom, and passion into me. Because of these women of God, I have been FOREVER changed.

1. Mrs. Christine Darnell

Mrs. Darnell was not only my 6th grade teacher, but she was one of the most honorable, humble, and loving women I have ever met. Her heart constantly meditated on Scripture, and she spoke those Scriptures over me throughout my life. Out of the joy in her heart, her actions reflected her love for the Lord. I knew that if I ever needed prayer for myself or for my family, Mrs. Darnell would always be there to intercede and truly seek God's face for my needs. She was a woman of faith. In my 6th grade class, we prayed everyday for needs my classmates had. Mrs. Darnell always made sure to offer G…

Concert Choir.

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Photo by Woodie Moore.

           I just got back from Concert Choir’s Fall Tour across Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska—and let me say, I had such a blessed experience touring with my fellow 40 choir members. As a “newbie” to the choir, I did not know what to expect as I loaded the tour bus for a five-day-long, adventurous trek across the Midwest. However, it didn’t take long for me to realize that my trip would be one of bonding with my Concert Choir family through laughs, meals, hugs, stories, and our ministry of singing together. During our time on the road, we visited four different churches and a high school. Traveling to and singing at these places broadened my perspective to how God is powerfully working throughout the United States. Before singing on each occasion, our choir had a time of prayer and intercession for our hearts to be open and for those in the audience to be ministered to by our worship to God. When the time came to take the stage, we sang lively pieces such as th…

Step by Step.

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In "Praise and Worship" Chapel last week, the worship team sang the chorus from the song "Sometimes By Step." This song is a declarative creed from us to the Lord that He is our God, and we will ever praise Him and follow Him as long as we live.

Hearing the lyrics to this song while I worshiped in Chapel brought back to me a memory I had many years ago when I was five years old.

My memory of going to church on Sundays and Wednesday nights with my family is so clear. I remember sitting in the back seat of my family's minivan, listening to a Rich Mullins' cassette tape. "Sometimes By Step" was my favorite song because it was the song when I could do something very special when the chorus came around. When "And step by step, You'll lead me" started to play, my sister Katie (who sat in the front seat) and I would sing the line out loud and stomp our feet on the floor of the car. Although, because I was too short to reach the floor at tha…

God is Faithful.

“Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you your heart’s desires.” –Psalm 37:4
            During my early pre-teen years, I dreamt about the day when I could come to Evangel. Ever since I’d heard individuals from church speak about it so highly as a place to grow academically and spiritually, I longed to be a part of this college community. For my thirteenth birthday, I gleefully received a maroon Evangel t-shirt from a friend—and I wore it proudly. My heart’s desire was to become a counselor one day, and I knew that Evangel would be the perfect place for me to grow in my faith as well as get a fantastic education. I enjoyed frequently browsing through the school’s website, looking at the classes I could one day take.             However, as I progressed through high school, and started filling out college applications, I realized that college was a significant financial investment. I was confused and anxious, not knowing if my dream of coming to Evangel would be realized. Through …

SEE.

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We may not be able to see the reason behind the season we are going through--but we will taste and see that the Lord is good. Steven Curtis Chapman carries across this message so beautifully in this song...


Something More.

Sometimes I wish I had something more tangible--
Like an embrace, like your laugh, like your smell.
I wish I could reach beyond paper.
Though photos have good intentions, they mask
The true dimension of who you were--who you are.
Your bottle of old perfume sits pretty,
Its expectancy in vain.
The guitar you used to play sits idle.
How I wish I could hear you strum.
I loved 'our' movies.
This brings back emotions--
Fresh ones.
I remember your favorites. And how we said
That we were going to watch them in the summer.
But summer never came.
Dusty tapes.
Winter.
It seemed to always be winter.
Yet, day by day. Moment by moment. I've grown.
I've learned.
You are as present as I make you.
Your life replays through my memories.
As I think about you, you reappear.
I cannot touch you, but you're here.
Thank you.
You're here when I sing, when I think.
When I write.
And right now, this is who you are to me.
For eternity, you will be so much more.
We will forever be there.…

A Good Friend.

"The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense...As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend."
--Proverbs 27:9,17

It really is so important to surround ourselves with solid friendships--people who help us grow in our relationship with God, not only in times of plenty, but also during difficult days. We should seek a friend who isn't afraid to correct us if we need correction, but also one who encourages us when we are walking in God's purpose for our lives.

Accountability is major. And a good friend gives accountability.

"He's Been Faithful"

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I sang this song by Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at Alan B. Shepard High School's "Senior Farewell Concert." I just wanted to share how faithful the Lord has been in my life not only the past four years--but as I look back at my past eighteen. I am so thankful for God's faithfulness--and He has been, is, and will always be faithful.

Our Testimony.

This really inspired me as I read this today from the Pentecostal Evangel:

"A testimony is like a doorknob. It is a very small device that can open a sanctuary, and by the power of God remodel its interior. It enters the secret alcoves of the heart, awakening the desire for God. A written testimony is a legacy that may be shared among a thousand people without being divided. It will go where we cannot, work while we sleep, and continue to bear fruit after we're gone."

So true. Our personal story of what God has done in our lives is so powerful. Our testimony cannot be refuted because it is what God has undoubtedly done in our lives. It is tangible. We are walking examples of what God has done and what God can do.

This Present Season.

All of my life I've heard that there is a time and a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3)--I remember the first time I read that chapter in the Bible was in third grade when my hamster Brownie was dying. I cried and cried because I realized that I had to live with the sad reality that it was Brownie's time to die and my time to weep. I read the passage at his home-made funeral service while playing "Amazing Grace" on my keyboard.

Over the years, I have had to go through many seasons--much more challenging than my hamster's perishing. I remember in the years 2006-2007, I felt like I was surrounded by a season where so many people I loved were dying. I questioned to God, "Why?" It seemed that wakes and funerals were part of my life's routine. However, it was a season God brought me through. A season where I mourned, others around me mourned, and we wept together. Yet, Ecclesiastes 3:11 says, "He has made everything beautiful in its time..."…
1 Corinthians 1:26-29

"Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthywhen God called you.Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God."

I love this set of verses. How amazing that God can use you and me--with our weaknesses, our insecurities, and our humanness--to work with Him to show others His glory.

College.

God is faithful. Oh so faithful.

So, I haven't blogged in awhile, but I have an update on college! I have decided to go to Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri, this fall. It's amazing how God has orchestrated my going to school there--He has already provided so greatly. I just feel such great peace about this decision.

Now, I expect college to be a major transition. I've never been away from home ever longer than 10 days (when CREW went to Honduras)--so I know that being at college for months at a time will be different. But I'm thankful for modern conveniences such as Skype or Facebook or picture messaging and even cell phones to be able to communicate with my family while I'm eight hours away!

I feel it's normal to feel a bit insecure about change--I mean in the past, change has taken major adjustment--however, what I love is how I can feel God's deep peace transcending my surface-y worries and feelings of being uncomfortable. I know this is in Hi…
"Faith does not operate in the realm of the possible. There is no glory for God in that which is humanly possible. Faith begins where man's power ends."   --George Mueller

Waiting.

When push comes to shove, a lot of our life is spent waiting. Waiting for the next step. Waiting for the next breakthrough. Waiting for answers.

Waiting isn't the easiest action. In fact, it seems like the opposite of action; we feel helpless and out of control. We want God to intervene in our situation--the sooner the better. I know my deepest desire is to depend on something--someone--greater than myself; yet, when I am put in the situation of having to wait, I long to have control over the situation.

My earliest experience with having to wait was when I ordered my first CD online. I wanted that Scott Krippayne CD so badly. My 3rd grade self could not process the idea that shipping took multiple days, and I had to wait on UPS to do their job so I could listen to my new tunes. I checked the mail frequently to no avail. Yet, after those 5-7 business days, my package came. I appreciated my CD all the more because it had taken time to arrive.

Flash forward to today, I deal with wait…

Remembering.

March 28. 6 years ago. Not exactly a date I enjoy remembering. There was a lot of pain, a lot of heartache, a lot I didn't understand. But there was a purpose--a deep purpose I did not understand as I sat on my living room couch that night crying into my blanket. I wanted an answer, but the answer was, "You'll see."

It's not the wish of every 12-year-old that their life be suddenly turned upside down by tragedy, by the loss of their big sister. However, this happened to me. And I had to deal with the grief of it--sorting through the memories with her, knowing I wouldn't have any new ones to make with her on earth. I had to somehow develop beyond my young mind, to process the hugeness and reality of such a situation. I had to grow up quicker and experience emotions I had never felt before. I had to rely on others--their comforting hugs and prayers helped me more than I could ever imagine. I had to fully rely on God. I needed Him to help me sleep at night, to d…
God, may I have a heart of worship--one that seeks only You. One who seeks what I can do for You to further Your Kingdom, exalt Your Name, and spread Your perfect love. May I not be drawn to notability, but rather have a humble heart. May I want You more today than yesterday. More tomorrow than today. May my love for You ever increase and my faith in You grow exponentially. May I go Your way all my days. May I shine like the stars and quench out darkness. May my heart be soft, my prayers pure, and my purpose found solely in You.

I'm Coming Your Way.

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Winter Retreat 2012.

I truly went into Winter Retreat this past weekend with little to no expectations. I found myself bogged down with homework, college planning, and ultimate busyness. Too much busyness. God knew that He needed to still my heart this weekend. And He did just that. He calmed my fears, my worries, my uncertainties. Sure, I may not be exactly certain about where He is going to place me for the college years; but I am certain about His purpose for me, His everyday calling. He wants me (and all of us) to seek Him with all we have everyday of our lives. He wants to fill us up so He can pour us out--our lives a sweet fragrance to those around us. God requires faith of us, and our faith is stretched and increased by our obedience to Him. He stretches our faith as we open up to opportunities He presents us with every day if we are open to them. He increases our faith as we witness the small things He does through us that result in greater and greater things. He longs for us to exercise our spiri…

Perfect Peace.

"For God is not a God of confusion but of peace." --1 Corinthians 14:33a

This is EXACTLY what I needed to read today. Thank you, Lord, for reassuring me of who You are.

Stay Amazed.

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Chosen.

1 Peter 2:9b-10

"...for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 'Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.'"

God can use our testimonies--what He has done through us--in order to show His goodness to others. We are His--royal, important, beautiful.
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A great encouragement for today.

He is For You.

Romans 8:31-34

"What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us?Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us."
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Some great stuff right there.

Closed Doors.

"When the Lord closes a door, somewhere He opens a window." ~a quote from one of my favorite movies, The Sound of Music

Something I've realized lately is that closed doors are as much blessings as open windows. We usually expect a wide variety of doors to choose from (or at least I do!). However, when a door is seemingly shut in our face, we feel confused and ask God, "Why?" However, God has a purpose for every closed door. He opens a window. He shows us a better plan, slowly but surely.

I can think of a great example in the Bible of someone who had a door shut in his face. Joseph was a pretty easygoing guy who had it all going for him. However, one fateful day when he was sold by his brothers into slavery, his whole life changed. Bondage. Uncertainty. During his time as a slave in Egypt, he started to gain notoriety by his master, Potiphar. However, his master's wife got Joseph thrown into prison by his unwillingness to have a romantic relationship with he…

Nothing.

Romans 8:38,39

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Nothing can separate us from God's love. Not our broken hearts. Not our broken dreams. Not our broken pasts. Absolutely nothing.

Wow.

I was reading some old blog posts and I am always amazed when I go back and read this entry from November of 2008 entitled "Imagine."
"Last night at CREW, Pastor Erik talked about imagining everything that we want for our future. He mentioned that when we were little, our dreams and future expectations were virtually endless; and now that we are older, we think that those dreams are impossible because of how the world is with certain standards and what not.

During worship time, I really asked God to put a dream into my heart. It didn't come last night, but I felt that I was predestined to do something in my life that would stretch me and change others for the good.


This morning, I had a half day at school, and my dad took me out to lunch at Lone Star. Pretty much out of nowhere he mentioned that a lady at his church that has the gift of prophecy walked up to him and started praying and prophesying over him and my family.

My family recently started a ministry …
Right now is such an interesting time in my life. It seems like I am between two stages of life. While I am still in high school, I am not planning for next year's high school course load like previous years. While I am not seeing a future next year at my high school, I am planning my next move--focusing on finding the right college--where God wants me. I am finishing one chapter of life and moving to the next.

It's funny how chapters close. Seasons end. However, new chapters begin. Another season comes. And I can feel this chapter in high school coming to an end. While that could stop me from trying, my hope and prayer is that the few weeks I have left in my high school's walls will allow me to leave an impact on individuals around me. I want that urgency of a chapter closing to cause me to not give up on making somebody's day brighter, caring for the ones who feel uncared for--loving like Jesus loves. May I be reminded each day as I walk through the crowded hallways t…