Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Isaiah 6

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. 2 Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. 3 And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."
4 At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty."

Verse 5. That's how I feel. I know that if you keep reading the seraph comes and touches a coal to Isaiah's lips and it removes all of his guilt and atones for his sin, in the same way that Jesus' sacrifice atones for our sin. But for some reason, I feel stuck on verse five. I wake up in the morning feeling as though I am unable to be in the presence of God because I am so overcome with the weight of my sin.
It's a feeling unlike any I've ever experienced. Sometimes I question the sufficiency of God's grace, but I go back to the word and I know that it is sufficient. But for some reason, this is different. I don't feel like my sin is too big for God to erase; I just feel so overwhelmed by the thought of it. I don't know if that makes any sense, but I guess the best way that I can articulate this feeling is that I am stuck on verse 5. I know in my heart that verse 6 comes next, and the verses after it... but for some reason, I feel like I'm in the "verse 5 rut."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Immeasurably More...

Laura Jo and I were talking after church today, and we always have the best conversations. Really. We talk about hard stuff, deep stuff, whatever. It's wonderful to have someone like that in my life, who I trust and love and enjoy discussing stuff with.

Today, we talked about InterVarsity some. I talked about how I see so much hurt and pain and brokenness in our chapter right now. And she acknowledged that she sees all of that too, but she reminded me not to discount all the ways in which God is moving in and growing our chapter, and the individuals in it. I've seen amazing growth in individuals this year, and a maturation of the community that exists within our chapter. It's really wonderful. God moves in ways I never thought possible.

I am not discounting the hurt that exists and the need for the body of Christ to surround and care for those who are hurting. But I do not want to ever again lose sight of the amazing ways God is working in our each of our lives, in our chapter, on our campus and in the community.

"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!" -Ephesians 3: 20-21

Immeasurably more than I can imagine! Wow. He is at work within us, around us, through us. How awesome is that?!

Saturday, December 01, 2007

To Write Love On Her Arms

So, Facebook has these things called "Causes." You can support a "cause," recruit people for your "cause," give money, etc etc etc blah blah blah. I resisted supporting a "causes" on facebook because I didn't want to support everything that people kept asking me to support. It's not that I am not worried about breast cancer (in fact, it's affected a lot of people in my life), it's not that I don't support the Deaf Community and Deaf Awareness (I do), but for some reason I felt it would look like I was kind of "halfway" supporting a bunch of different things. I wanted to make sure that if I said I supported something, then I truly did. And that it was something I felt passionate about.
So, when I got an invitation today to support a cause called "To Write Love On Her Arms," I looked at the facebook page, and then at the website, and I realized that this may not be a traditional "cause" but it is something I support and truly want to be a part of.

Here is something from the website:

I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly. We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love.
Take a broken girl...tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true. We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.

God has taught me a lot recently about two things: about what it looks like to both be the Body of Christ, but not think you can solve people's problems, and also just what the redemptive power of Christ can do in our lives. As Laura Jo constantly reminds me, we're all beggars showing other hungry people where to find the food. A huge part of being the body of Christ, I'm beginning to realize, isn't solving problems, it's getting messy and being willing to be broken hearted for people. God shows up all the time and He is constantly exceeding my expectations (which is good, because a lot of times I think I have pretty small expectations of such a BIG God... but that's another subject for another post). Anyway, I just really feel like we all go through times in our lives where we feel distant, alone, hopeless and unsure. And we are called to lead those people back, carrying them if necessary and to love them through it all. Because not one of us is worthy of the sacrifice on Calvary, but we are all worth a lot, because we are the precious children of the King.
So, check out the website if you feel so inclined. It's good.

Monday, November 05, 2007

"You Shall Take Delight In The Lord."

“Moreover, I gave them my Sabbaths, as a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.” –Ezekiel 20:12

Funny how you can be so sure of something and yet it wasn't and isn't true. C-Team introduced to InterVarsity's leadership team the idea of "sabbath week." Basically, for a week, leadership team members are supposed to remove themselves from InterVarsity and the stress that can result from helping shepherd the body. For a week, we were supposed to not read/answer IV emails, not plan events, not attend Oasis or small group, but spend time enjoying God and being in His presence and renew our love for serving on leadership. That's my non-eloquent way of explaining it.
I am a go-go-go person. Like a lot of people nowadays, I want everything to get done, even if the volume of things to do should take me 27 hours, rather than the 24 we get each day. And I like to do everything myself. I don't like to allow people to help me, whether that's because of my inability to humble myself enough to admit that I cannot do it alone, or whether it is simply because I'm afraid to ask for help, or a combination. Being a student requires a lot of work. Being a CA requires a lot of work, but the harder thing is that I have to be "on" 24 hours a day. When that resident comes knocking on my door at 2am because she needs to talk, or when someone pulls the fire alarm and we are once again evacuated and then asked to do crowd-control, or when there's an incident on the floor at midnight and I have a major exam the next day, I have to be ready to deal with it.
When the idea of a sabbath week was first presented, it wasn't that I thought it was a bad idea. The problem for me was that, up until that point, I had been to one Oasis meeting in the two months we had been in school. And I had only gone to two small group meetings. Not for lack of wanting to be at either, but simply because I often ended up on-duty on those nights. (Which has been a blessing, because my focus has shifted from the ministry and the ministry only, to my relationship with God) But my first reaction was that it wasn't "fair." I didn't want to blindly sign up for a week when I didn't know what Mondays and Thursdays I would be on-duty. As luck (er... as God) would have it, the week I signed up for ended up being the week that I wasn't on duty either night. Boo. I kept telling people that IV didn't cause me stress. That IV brought me joy, helped challenge and grow me. That I loved IV.
My other frustration with the Sabbath week was that I couldn't take a sabbath from my job, though I've mentioned it to my supervisor... I don't think she totally understood. In the end, the stress in my life, I thought came from my job, not from IV. That my joy in serving with IV had not been lost in the stress or the hustle and bustle of planning events.

And so this week, I went reluctantly into my sabbath week. But I realized tonight, after being told in no uncertain terms, (but I am grateful for this) that I am denying God the opportunity to bless my richly with rest. To give me a week with one less thing on my calendar, with one less thing to have to attend, to have to be "on" for. And IV does cause me stress. And God loves me and us enough that He created an entire day for rest, so that we could be in His presence.

So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation. –Genesis 2:3

That verse. It stuck out to me. I am super-arrogant if I think that I do not need or cannot rest on the Sabbath. At some point I got it into my head that I was above needing the sabbath or that things would fall apart if I let everything go for a week. Funny, though, that the God of the universe, the Creator and Sanctifier could rest on the seventh day from all His work, and I believe that I cannot...

If you honor [the Sabbath], not going your own ways or seeking your own pleasure, or talking idly, then you shall take delight in the Lord.
–Isaiah 58:13,14

My prayer this week is that I would humble myself enough to enter God's rest and to delight in Him. To do nothing more occassionally, not only this week, but in my life, than sit at His feet and just "be." The world isn't going to fall apart. Things are not going to fall to pieces. God's got it and it's okay for me to rest. My prayer is that God would teach me, show me, and break me so that I can rest fully in Him, knowing that rest is not an obligation. It is a blessing. And that I would take joy in this.

He restores my soul. –Psalm 23:3a

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Distributing the Loaves and Fish

I was looking at the passage in Luke where Jesus feeds the five thousand. And something different about the passage struck me tonight. In Luke 9:16, it says that Jesus blesses the five loaves and two fish and then He gives "them to the disciples to set before the crowd." Here's my thing. This is Jesus we're talking about. You know, God's son. If He had wanted bread to rain down from Heaven for all the people to eat, that could have happened. He could have done many things to get the food to all the people, but He chose to use the disciples to distribute the food to the hungry masses.
I wonder if this task seemed overwhelming and yet mundane to the disciples... It doesn't say how it felt to them, but I think it would feel a little mundane or a little...I can't think of the word... Here's the thing, the miracle of making five loaves and two fish into enough for five thousand people has been done. The distributing is all that's left. And maybe to the disciples it seemed like it would be easier if God just "snapped his fingers" and put the bread in front of the hungry people. But He didn't. He chose to use the disciples to glorify Himself.
I think so often I get frustrated because I don't see how the little things are a part of furthering God's kingdom, but if God is trying to use me today to "distribute five loaves and two fishes" then maybe I ought to be honored to be used, instead of frustrated that what I am called to do doesn't seem important or "big" enough.
But at the same time, I think it's also imporant to remember that had it not been for Jesus' miracle, the disciples would not have had any food to pass out to the people. We are wholly and completely dependent on God but not vice versa. In other words, God doesn't have to use us. He chooses to. And without His perfect plan, without His help, without His guidance we would be unable to do the things we do. Casting Crowns has a song that says:
If You ask me to leap out of my boat onto crashing waves,
And if You ask me to go preach to a lost world that Jesus saves,
Well I'll go but I cannot go alone,
'Cause I know I'm nothing on my own,
But the power of Christ in me makes me strong. Makes me strong...
How refreshing to know You don't need me,
How amazing to find that You want me.
So I'll stand on Your truth and I'll fight with Your strength
Until You bring the victory, by the power of Christ in me.

This song exemplifies a few things.
1) A willingness to serve, follow and obey.
2) An acknowledgement that without Jesus we are incapable, inadequate
3) An acknowledgement that with Jesus, we are strong, capable, etc.
4) A reiteration of the fact that God does not need us for His will to be done, but He chooses to use us
5) A declaration of the fact that even with willingness, we must rely on God in everything we do.

So even in the mundane, God is at work. God can and will use me if I am willing and I humble myself enough to realize that the little things I do are important and that God is moving in and through me. I like that, even if it's hard to live out sometimes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Macaroni Soup

It's hard for me sometimes to not get bogged down in the mundane. Life just feels kind of empty, and yet I run myself ragged on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong. I'm happy. I'm just... devoid of something.

I look around my room tonight and wonder...
-Why it's midnight and I still haven't eaten dinner...
-When I'll have time to do laundry
-When my room got to be such a mess
-Why I still have homework to do
-Why I don't see my friends as often as I'd like
-Why I feel so... empty.

And I realize that today was a busy day. I went to both services at church and then spent an hour after the second service talking to people and waiting to chat with the pastor and ask him the hundred burning questions I had. And then a few of us went to lunch. And that was nice. And then Laura Jo and I sat in the grass on-campus and talked... about everything... about nothing. And that was WONDERFUL. And then I took a forty-five minute nap... a much-needed nap. And then there was the CA mandatory meeting (it's called an in-service). And then I did do homework, I did, but by this time it was 7:15pm. And at 8:30 I had a leadership meeting for InterVarsity. And then I had stuff come up on my hall that needed to be dealt with. Maybe I need a 28 hour day... but probably, I would fill that up too. Probably, there would still be things that went unaddressed.

And yet for all the running around I do, for all the work that I am able to complete in a day, a week, a month, I still feel like I'm not doing anything significant. I guess I want to make a difference. I want to do something. I want to affect change. I want to fulfill my purpose in life. I want to be able to look back on my life and be happy with who I was, what I tried to accomplish.
So tonight, I made "macaroni soup" (easy mac with a little too much water); I worked on homework, talked to friends online, and realized (again) that God is in the mundane. He works in us and through us regardless of what we are doing in life, whether it's being a CA or being a friend, whether it's when we're having a cup of coffee with someone or whether we're babysitting; whatever we do, we do unto Him. And I guess I need to be more willing to be used even in the places I don't feel like God can use me.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

What if...?

-What if, just one night, I could come back to my room in the wee hours of the morning and have someone there waiting for me, willing to talk or to listen, or to just sit with me while I try to decompress?
-What if feeling overly busy and useful went hand in hand? That is to say, what if whenever I feel busy beyond belief (which is all the time), it meant that I also felt useful, needed?
-What if the world could stop so I could catch my breath and readjust before continuing onto whatever is waiting to be done?
-What if you automatically felt appreciated?
-What if 24 hours was enough to hang out with your friends, work, go to school, have alone time, and sleep? Oh wait, I forgot about meals... and homework... and cleaning... and showering... and laundry... and other miscellaneous items that demand attention...
-What if when you tried your best to hold all the pieces of yours and everyone else's life together, you could succeed?
-What if the best you could do at the time was always good enough?

It's hard to like the fact that those things aren't guaranteed or don't happen, because it means I'm fallible. It means I'm human. It means I am dependent on someone other than myself to make things happen. It reminds me that I need God. Need Him. So when it feels hard, or impossible, that's when I'm so sure that I cannot do this alone, that's when I feel Him pulling me closer.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


I've been reading a book called The Cost of Committment. Sammie Jo wanted me to give it a try, so we could discuss it during our discipleship meetings. I gave it a try and I'll be honest, I couldn't put it down.

At first I was a little skeptical, mostly, I think, because of the title. I guess I've heard over and over again that in order to follow Jesus, we pay a price. It is a price that is more than worth it; the price of rejection, ridicule, pain, or whatever else is worth it, in the end... because, in reality, the greatest price was paid on the cross two thousand years ago.

But beyond all that, the title harkened back to the two parables in the Bible... the one about the Treasure in the field and the one about the Pearl of Great Price. The treasure in the field story is where a man finds buried treasure in a field. Overcome with excitement at this discovery, he buries the treasure again in a field, and sells everything he owns in order to buy the field. I was always kind of awe-struck by this. I value many things in my life, sure, but I guess the only way I ever saw this story as being applicable was to give up everything I have in life to follow Jesus. But, the author of The Cost of Committment writes that it's not so much about renouncing everything you have but rather, re-evaluating everything you have, and understanding what you think your priorities are and what they ought to be.

I liked that. I liked that following Jesus didn't necessarily have to be about renouncing all my worldly possessions, but it's about committing everything to Him and taking up my cross daily.

I guess that's what I've been thinking about lately... what it truly means to follow. The other thing that stuck out to me, although I'm only half way through the book, so I'm sure there will be more later, is when he talked about a Muslim man's conversion to Christianity, how he is shunned and rejected and almost hated by his family. But, the author says, this man's heart still breaks and he still weeps everytime he leaves his family. He is not angry or bitter or frustrated, but heartbroken because they do not know the joy that comes from the freedom we have in Jesus Christ. I have come to the realization that my heart may never stop breaking for my family and friends who do not know Jesus. That I am much less angry. I am just sad. Because Jesus has brought me unspeakable joy and incredible peace, even in the midst of suffering. And I cannot tell you what I wouldn't give so that those I love and even those I don't know could know the immeasurable joy and love that I experience with Christ. I think that's how God feels about each of His children... He desires a relationship with each of them, so to ever think that we should cease to feel heartbroken seems inconsistent with a personable, loving God who pursues us even when we don't deserve it.

Objects of mercy, who should have known wrath.
We're filled with unspeakable joy
Riches of wisdom, unsearchable wealth
And the wonder of knowing Your voice
You are our treasure and our great reward,
Our hope and our glorious King.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I-House Staff

Here we are... matching shirts and all.

Left to right: Jess, Deryle, Amanda, Me and Anna

We're quite the crazy staff...

I'm Slacking Off in the Blogging Department

...and cranking it up in every other department. Life's just been super-hectic, what can I say? CA training has kept me busy for the past week and a half, but I've really enjoyed getting to know the staff in my residence hall and also getting to know the professional staff. Today, the majority of my residents moved in, which is very exciting. I vaguely remember what move-in day was like last year, though I think I was pretty zoned out the entire time.

Classes start on Monday which seems entirely too soon to restart a year of school, but at the same time that I feel that particular way, I also am thoroughly excited to be on a regular schedule and be challenged intellectually and mentally (those aren't synonymous, right!?) Anyways, Mondays and Wednesdays I have four classes (Spanish Composition, Statistics, Islam and Sociology). On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have just two classes (Tues: Psychology-Theories of Personality and Social Work; and Thurs: Psychology-Theories of Personality and Biology Lab). And on Fridays, I only have three classes (Span. Comp., Stats, and Sociology).

Jess, my immediate supervisor and live-in ACRL for my residence hall gave me a bookmark she found leftover in the office. It has a quote on it and I really like it, so I thought I would share it, and a couple other quotes with you, oh Reader:

"Happiness is not a destination. It is a method of life." -Burton Hills

"Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose..."

"Life could take on any number of shapes while you were busy fighting your own demons. But if you were changing at the same rate as the person beside you, nothing else really mattered. You became each other's constant." -Jodi Picoult

"A level of a house, his father has told him, is called a STORY. Nathaniel likes that. It makes him feel like maybe he is living between the covers of a book himself. Like maybe everyone in every home is sure to get a happy ending." -Jodi Picoult, Pefect Match

That's all for now. I'm exhausted. I'm going to try to be better and more diligent about blogging.

Monday, July 23, 2007


So, in an attempt to figure out the whole foot thing, we're going to try accupuncture... and needless to say, I'm slightly freaked out.

This is how the conversation went:
- I don't know about this whole accupuncture thing.
-It'll be fine.
-But, I really don't like needles. They always hurt...
-But they're really small needles.
-No, but I don't like needles.
-They're really small.
-But they're still needles.
-Yeah, well...
-No, they're needles... and just like shots, it'll hurt.
-It won't hurt. Accupuncture doesn't hurt.
-Oh, so you've had it done?
-Well, no.
-Then how do you know about it?
-I've read about it.
Oh yeah, 'cause clearly the pain jumps right off the page.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Be A David...

I've been studying some about the story of David and Goliath from the Book of 1 Samuel. When I was in Jacksonville with Amanda Coale a couple weekends ago, I had the privilege of attending her home church, which is very different from the one I went to during middle and high school. Her pastor gave a sermon on David and Goliath. He talked about the way that our battles are not something we should shrink from; he also mentioned that often the giants in our life may not look all that big to an onlooker, but to us they might just be enormous. One of the things that struck me most is the fact that David carried five stones with him, not because he thought he would need all five for Goliath, but because Goliath had brothers. David didn't go into fight one "demon" and allow the subsequent ones to defeat him. He went prepared and never backed down. David did not go into battle alone, but with complete confidence in the strength of the Lord.
One thing that I thought about was that I don't always fight my battle with that unfailing confidence. David looked at the giant and said, "You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the LORD Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the LORD will hand you over to me, and I'll strike you down and cut off your head. Today I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds of the air and the beasts of the earth, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the LORD saves; for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give all of you into our hands." (1 Samuel 17:45-47) Today, I think confidence in the power of the Lord looks slightly different. To me, it means believing completely that my salvation was secured two thousand years ago, and no battle I fight, no struggle I endure, no sin I commit can undo what was accomplished on the cross. And that's really beautiful, even when the battle is rough and the struggles are messy, because victory was claimed for me. Truly, truly I cannot lose.

I adapted this from an FCA email:
1. Be a David . . . Courageously defend your flock against the lionsand bears of the world.
2. Be a David . . . Be willing to fight the Goliaths in life, one stone at a time.
3. Be a David . . . Be a loyal friend no matter what the situation.
4. Be a David . . . Be ready to lead, regardless of your age or status.
5. Be a David . . . Face your failures and own up to them.
6. Be a David . . . Never take forgiveness lightly or take a blessing for granted.
7. Be a David . . . Learn from your mistakes.
8. Be a David . . . Strive to develop trust and faith in your brothers and sisters in Christ, because in the battles you cannot fight on your own, they'll have your back.
9. Be a David . . . Create an unchangeable belief in God's faithfulness.
10. Be a David . . . Chase success, but pursue God's heart.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's Been A While...

It's been wayyyy too long since I last posted. Life's been hectic and crazy (maybe that was redundant). I have tons that I could write about but I'm not sure I have the energy to try to make it suscinct and understandable.

Here's the quickest version of life in Lindsay-land recently:

-trip to San Francisco with my mom and sister...
-got an internship for five or six weeks with the NC Academy of Trial Lawyers, where I am helping draft a practical manual on the rules of evidence for courtroom attorneys...uhh... I don't know what that means; all I know is I sit at my desk and type for eight or nine hours a day.
-I have plantar fasciitis, a condition where you tear some ligament or tendon that runs from your heel to your big toe; the problem is that when you tear it, there is no bruising or swelling or any real pain, just maybe some tenderness. But your body still responds as though there is an injury (which, there is...it just doesn't have symptoms we tend to notice) and so a few weeks or months later, you start not being able to put weight on your heel...why? because there are little pockets of blood clustering around your heel and causing inflamation. You can treat it through stuff like icing it, staying off of it, wearing a splint/brace at night, wearing orthodics in your shoes, etc. But for six months, there's still going to be pain, pain that is present whether you are sitting down, lying down, standing up, walking or whatever.
-CA training at school starts August 7.
-I have changed my major-- again. This time to social work, with a double minor (that could become a double major with one minor) in psychology and Spanish.
-My schedule for next semester looks like this:

10-10:50am SPA 315, Spanish Composition
11-11:50am STA 108, Statistics
12-12:50pm PSY 230, Biological Psychology
1-1:50pm SOC 101, Sociology

11-12:15pm PSY 265, Theories of Personality
1-3:50pm SWK 215, Intro to Social Work

10-10:50am SPA 315, Spanish Composition
11-11:50am STA 108, Statistics
12-12:50pm PSY 230, Biological Psychology
1-1:50pm SOC 101, Sociology

11-12:15pm PSY 265, Theories of Personality
12:30-3:20pm BIO 105L, Biology lab

10-10:50am SPA 315, Spanish Composition
11-11:50am STA 108, Statistics
12-12:50pm PSY 230, Biological Psychology
1-1:50pm SOC 101, Sociology

I guess that's all the stuff that I can jot down really quickly. I'll try to be more diligent about posting...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We Pray for the Students

I wrote this poem, loosely based off of the format for "We Pray for the Children" in response to the tragedy on the campus of Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007.

We Pray for the Students

We pray for the students
whose tears are on our tv screens
who are afraid to be on campus
whose worst nightmare became a reality

We pray for the students
Whose cries are heard by God
Whose courage saved the lives of others
Whose hope gives strength to us

We pray for the students
Whose families were worried
Who close their eyes and can’t fall asleep
Who lost a best friend
Who will be scarred forever

We pray for the students
Who will find forgiveness
And for those who won’t
For those who will turn to faith
And for those who will never stop feeling the loss

We pray for the students
Whose hearts are broken
Whose lives are shattered
Who are existing only in fear

We pray for the students
Who didn’t get a second chance
And for those who will live in the shadow of the memory of those who died
And for those who will feel guilty for being survivors
And for those who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel
And for those who can and are clinging to the hope that it provides

We pray for the students
Whose wounds are open and raw
Whose emotions are overwhelming
Whose hearts are broken and hurting
Whose minds are racing, raging, reliving
Whose lives were shattered
Whose future will never be the same

We pray for the students
Whose faces break our hearts
Whose loss makes us count our blessings
Whose strength provides an example

We pray for the students
Who will walk the campus again
Who will sit at desks again
Who will attend lectures again
Who will live in dorms again
Who will look one another in the eye again
Who will believe in their future again
Who will find hope in the promise of tomorrow.

We pray for the students.

Monday, April 16, 2007

The Same God

I got in Karen's car today around 1:30pm, and she greeted me and then asked if I had heard what happened. Uh...I wanted to say...that's kinda vague. At Virginia Tech, she continued. Nope, I still didn't know. I wondered for a moment, though, because her fiance lives and works at VT. It's not as though I'm an uninformed person. MSNBC news is my homepage, and I read world and US news daily, but as of the time I left my room this morning, there was nothing particularly newsworthy regarding VT. Karen then told me what had happened.

I wanted to cry but the tears never came. But my eyes got swollen and puffy just the same. And I wanted to cry out and ask God why this happened, how He could allow this to happen...and why so many people that I loved and cared about, though not killed, were still emotionally scarred from this. The rest of the day, I wrestled with how it could be that my campus was safe and secure, that I was out of harm's way, that I had been spared when it could so easily have been our campus. And I wrestled with how the same God that ordained snow in Virginia this morning could allow this to happen. And that's when God opened my heart to try to understand... that the same God who ordained snow may have let this happen, but He is also the same God who will be glorified in this, who never left those classrooms when one individual was wreaking havoc on so many innocent lives; yes, the same God who overcame sin on the cross is precisely the same God who was present on the campus on Viriginia Tech today amid the horror, and He is the same God who cries with His people and who will hear their sorrow and will heal them.

And no, I don't understand why it happened. But I understand that God doesn't ever change. And God also doesn't disappear in the "dark" places, where evil is present. And so amidst my sadness for my friends at VT and for the loss of life and for the loss on innocence on that campus, amid the fear and the anger, and the confusion, I found comfort. I found comfort in the Comforter. I found peace in the Prince of Peace. And I found hope in the Almighty.

My soul thirsts for God,
for the living God...
My tears have been my food,
day and night,
while they say to me continually,
"Where is your God?"
These things I remember,
as I pour out my soul...
Hope in God; for I shall again praise
By day the Lord commands His steadfast
and at night His song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?"
Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,
my salvation and my God.

(Parts of Psalm 42)

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I am posting so infrequently. There's a lot on my mind, from school to family, to friends, to God, etc. I applied for leadership with IV and was offered a position, but I'm still in the process of praying about whether or not to accept it. Karen has graciously understood this and told me not to worry about making a decision and to simply listen to God. I got chosen as an alternate for a CA/RA position, which is good and bad I suppose. School work is stressing me out. In fact, I'm stressed about a lot of things and I think sometimes I am easy to hold myself to the world's standards, especially the standards of my family and friends, rather than allow myself grace. It's so very difficult to learn to do this. I am really working on putting my identity in Christ and not in people.

I found this song by Bethany Dillon that I think pretty much sums up how I feel...

I was so unique
Now I feel skin deep
I count on the make-up to cover it all
Crying myself to sleep
'cause I cannot keep their attention

I thought I could be strong
But it's killing me

Does someone hear my cry?
I'm dying for new life

I want to be beautiful
Make You stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed
I want to hear You say
who I am is quite enough
Just want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

I want to be beautiful
Make You stand in awe
Look inside my heart,
and be amazed
I want to hear You say
who I am is quite enoughJust want to be worthy of love
And beautiful

Sometimes I wish I was someone other than me
Fighting to make the mirror happy
Trying to find whatever is missing
Won't you help me back to glory

You make me beautiful
You make me stand in awe
You step inside my heart,
and I am amazed
I love to hear You say
who I am is quite enough
You make me worthy of love
and beautiful

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I go constantly. I know I do. There isn't any denying it or pretending that it doesn't happen. From the time I get out of bed in the morning until my head hits the pillow, I am usually going about 100 miles an hour. And even when I am sitting down, like in class or at a meal, my thoughts, at least, are still racing and usually I am fidgeting and antsy until I can move around again. But mostly it's not the physical moving around and busy days, it's the emotional and mental craziness that is my life.

I got a pamphlet thingy from the IV office entitled Silence and Solitude. The title alone was enough to "scare" me. I don't like to think about my life minus the craziness or what it would look like to give myself a break. Robert Howe came to IV last week and talked about the Sabbath. I have a really hard time with the Sabbath because the way it was first presented to me was as a list of rules (this was not Robert's talk, however), and rules, although I like the structure they bring, are very stressful because rules get broken and that equals disorder and chaos and a failure to live up to something. The other problem with the Sabbath is that I have this notion that the world will inevitably stop turning and things will fall apart if I am not holding everything together every second of every day. That's not true, and somewhere I know that it's not...but I also like the idea, however false it may be, that I have some control over whether or not things fall apart.

Anyway, Robert talked about how the Sabbath is a celebration. In Ezekiel it also says: "Moreover, I gave them My Sabbaths, as a sign between Me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them." -Ezekiel 20:12

Hebrews says this:
"The promise of entering His rest still stands...let us therefore strive to enter that rest." -Hebrews 1,11

I realized that by assuming that I needed to be busy every day of the week in order that nothing would fall apart, I was saying to God that I didn't believe He was sovereign and powerful, almighty and perfect. I was basically saying that He needed me to help Him out. Learning to rest is hard. Learning to rest is humbling. Learning to rest is renewing. Learning to rest is something we are called to do.

Psalm 23:3 says: "He restores my soul." It doesn't say I can restore my own soul. It doesn't say that my soul will restore itself; it doesn't say that things of this world will restore my soul. God will. God is faithful and merciful and He calls us to sit at His feet and celebrate the gift He gives us of rest for our crazy lives.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We Pray for the Children

This has been my favorite poem since I was in fourth grade. It's been on my heart a lot lately, and I decided to post it.

We pray for the children:
who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
who like to be tickled,
who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak popsicles before supper,
who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those:
who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who can't bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers,
who have never had crayons to count,
who are born in places where we wouldn't be caught dead,
who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for the children:
who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury the goldfish,
who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money,
who cover themselves in Band-Aids and sing off-key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink,
who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those:
who never get dessert,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind them,
who watch their parents watch them die,
who can't find any bread to steal,
who don't have any rooms to clean up,
whose pictures aren't on anybody's dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children:
who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,
who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed,
who never rinse the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy,
who don't like to be kissed in front of the carpool,
who squirm in church and scream in the phone,
who tears we sometimes laugh at,
and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those:
whose nightmares come in the daytime,
who will eat anything,
who have never seen a dentist,
who aren't spoiled by anybody,
who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children:
who want to be carried and for those who must,
who we never give up on,
and for those who don't get a second chance.
For those we smother...
and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

We pray for the children.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Wait Training

I like the idea of "wait training." It's this idea that I got from FCA about how we have to really practice waiting on God and allowing His timing to control our lives. We honestly live in a world of drive-throughs, of instant oatmeal and of speedy conveniences. (And believe me, I am just as attached to having my weather pop up on Google every morning...) Everything these days is so accessible, readily available. God is the most readily available, but often His timing doesn't line up exactly with ours. And that's when we get frustrated. We're interested in momentary satisfaction, in instant gratification. Whether we're ready for God to answer a prayer or to make a clear statement of direction in our lives, we want to hear Him and we want to hear Him NOW.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." -Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Here's an example: the story of Jacob and Esau. Esau "came in from the field, and he was exhausted. And Esau said to Jacob, "Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted." Jacob said, "Sell me your birthright now." Esau said, "I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?'" (Genesis 25: 29-32, ESV) Esau needed momentary gratification. He wasn't interested in the long-term consequences of what he chose to do. We have this saying that we use from the speaker at Cornerstone: "Don't touch the red stuff," which refers to the stew that Jacob was cooking. I was thinking the other day about the example of dating, but I had to relate it to something more concrete so I used money. Here's what I thought about...and this might not make any sense at all...Okay, so imagine if God held up a ten dollar bill and said to you, "You can have this ten dollar bill right now, or I can promise you that in five years, if you don't take the ten dollars now, you can have a million dollars." I wanted to relate this to other things in life, to waiting for God's best and not settling for anything less. Here's the difference, though. God doesn't hold up the five-years-from-now option. We see the here and now, and we don't see what is offered in the future. And I think that might be why it's so hard to wait for God's timing and to not settle for anything less than the best God has in store for us.

"For we walk by faith, not by sight." -2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV

Second, I'm going to look at the story of Lazarus. (John 11) Mary tells Jesus that Lazarus is ill, but Jesus stays where he is (out of town, basically) for two extra days. Lazarus dies, but Jesus raises him from the dead. Here comes Jesus, days late, but He's still on time. God's timing is always perfect.

The last thing I wanted to look at is from Mark chapter 1. There are a lot of references to time in this chapter, and in the ESV translation, the word "immediately" appears again and again. But basically, Jesus is going around doing some pretty incredible things, from preaching the gospel to telling Simon and Andrew to follow Him, to casting demons out of a man, to healing Simon's mother-in-law, Mary, to cleansing a leper. But in the middle of all of that, He takes time off by himself to pray. Simon and the others are freaking out because everyone wants to see Jesus, and here's Jesus hanging out with God and praying. I think it's interesting because I don't think Jesus really needed to go off somewhere to talk to God, because He was God, so His connection to the Father is inherent. I think He did this, a) to demonstrate to us the importance for rest and solitude and constant communication with God and b) to exemplify this idea of God's timing. If God wasn't ready for Jesus to continue healing people and ministering to everyone, then Jesus would wait.

"Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!" -Psalm 27:14 (ESV)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Amazing Grace

I went to see Amanzing Grace, the movie, with Laura Jo last night. The movie was outstanding, though they never sang the entire hymn the whole way through. At the end, though, the hymn is played by bagpipes, and even though I didn't cry during any of the movie, I started crying while the bagpipes played. The movie, again, was outstanding, and I highly, highly, highly recommend it. The movie showed me a bunch of different things that I don't always think about enough. 1) Abraham Lincoln ended slavery in the United States, but years before that, thanks to the dedication and perseverance of a few individuals who were willing to stand up for what they believed, the slave trade was outlawed. 2) Slavery is something that repulses me completely, as it does most of us. But the truth is that there is such a thing as modern-day slavery, and if nothing else, we ought to be praying for those fellow human beings who are oppressed and controlled by others.

Here are a few quotations from the movie that I especially liked:
-after two young men race across a field, they start to walk back toward the house. "Why is it that thorns only hurt when you stop running?"

-the same two young men are talking about climbing the ranks in parliament and making a difference:

"No one of our age [has ever done it]."

"Which is why we're too young to realize that some things are impossible."

-"Although my memory is fading, I remember two things very clearly. I am a great sinner and Christ is a great savior."

Friday, March 09, 2007


Joy is not the absence of pain, but the presence of God.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

All for Love's Sake Became Poor

I'm sitting under an overpass, between the clay earth and the concrete that comprises the bridge. There are four other students around me and a volunteer. The man we're talking to is homeless. He's a little intoxicated and so his speech is slurred. I'm only catching about 90% of what he's saying. All of his earthly possessions surround him and the smell of alcohol fills the air. It's maybe ten o'clock at night. We've brought him a hot meal and some snacks, but what he really wants, I soon realize is just some company. So we listen. And we talk. We talk about God, about mistakes, about life. Cars whiz by overhead and he looks at me. "Do you believe in God?" "Yes," I tell him. "Do you love me?" "Yes," I tell him, "because God has loved me and has taught me how to love." I wanted to tell him that everything would be okay. That tomorrow would surely be better. But I realized that this sort of hope can only come from faith in Jesus Christ, from the truth that "our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Cor. 4:17). How do you explain to someone who has nothing and is lonely that God can and will provide...how do you tell them to believe in something that they don't see evidence of?

I was frustrated. The best way to explain this frustration is to use a metaphor. The board game Monopoly. All twenty-something of us GUPYs got into small groups on Saturday night and played Monopoly. There were three rules: 1) regular Monopoly rules apply; 2) you cannot quit, you can lose, but you can't quit; 3) whatever the "leader" (four staff workers, one for each group) says, goes. Basically, what happened was that three of us only got a few dollars when we passed GO, while the others got $500 or something. The "privileged" people could build houses on properties, even if they didn't have the complete set; they could build double hotels on their properties, and buy hotels for merely the price of a house. The rest of us were "taxed" at random times, and quickly lost our money either to the "system" or to the wealthier players. In the game, I was at a disadvantage and quickly wanted to give up. I was tired of not being able to take a step forward...like the cartoon characters who run on the rug that just piles up behind them, I got nowhere. Meanwhile, the privileged players were asking why we didn't just "try harder." As though the roll of the dice was in our control, as though the system actually noticed whether we tried or not.
But in real life, I was left wondering why I was one who got more when I passed GO...why others got so little...

King of all days, Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in Heaven above
Humbly, You came to the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor.

At GUPY, I re-learned about Reconciliation, Redistribution and Relocation. Christ is the ultimate example of these three. In coming to earth, He gave up His place in Heaven to become man. He would experience pain, temptation, suffering, etc. That's serious relocation, and all for the sake of reconciling us to God the Father. As for us, the Gospel is worth whatever the cost is for us to follow Christ's example. I'm still trying to digest everything from GUPY, so I'll try to post some more later.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Isaiah 55:10-12

For as the rain and the snow come
down from heaven
and do not return there but water the
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to
the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from
My mouth
it shall not return to Me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I
and shall succeed in the thing for
which I sent it.

For you shall go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and the hills before you
shall break forth into singing,
and all the trees of the field shall clap
their hands.

-Isaiah 55:10-12 (ESV)

Sunday, February 25, 2007

What should I be doing right now: studying

What should I NOT be doing right now: blogging

But I am anyway. Because life can wait. I think I've finally gotten tired of being in a hurry All the Time. But the way I feel doesn't mean that I'm going to suddenly slow down at life. I haven't figured out How to do That yet.

Marshall asked me to truly consider doing GUPY (Greensboro Urban Project, Y'all) this summer. But the truth is, I know there's no way we can afford that. David asked why I didn't just take a leap of faith and trust that God would provide... I want to trust very badly that, if this is where God wants me, that I would be able to make that sort of commitment without knowing where the money would come from, but it's still A LOT of money. It's a lot of money I don't have and a lot of money, in general. I've actually been thinking about GUPY a lot, and for Marshall to approach me tonight made me really wonder just what it is I'm supposed to do this summer...

I go back to that Urbana quote about taking risks:
"We think we're hearing God say 'no' but really, He's saying 'Just go ahead and take the leap of faith, you'll be amazed at the ways in which I come through.'"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Do you ever think about the fact that we were created for eternity, reader? I do. Well, I've been thinking about it a lot since Friday night at Cornerstone. What if we didn't live to make it past the next test, or to make it through today, or to graduate from college? What if we lived with the constant belief that we were created for eternity? I wonder in what ways we would look differently in our day-to-day lives...

Cornerstone was really hard for me but completely awesome all at once. I danced and enjoyed it, but it was also hard, especially on Saturday night and Sunday morning, when we finished worship after we heard the talks. The talk, especially the one on Sunday, really got to me. Mark talked about how we are broken, how God wants to heal us, but we have to be receptive to that. He also said that when we come into a relationship with God, we don't bring assets to the relationship. We bring liabilities. So, when I got up to dance, I was nearly in tears and trying hard not to cry in front of everyone. That was a little weird. We talked about a lot of stuff at Cornerstone that I'm still trying to process, but the big thing for me was re-realizing that I was created for eternity, not for a moment. There is this song by Justin Christian that I really like, and here are a couple lines that really speak to me everytime I hear them:
"Raise your head above this muddy mire
And see a better day.
Please don't despair,
'Cause you were born for brighter lights
Than this whole world could ever bear."

Imagine if you lived as though you knew that you were born for bigger things than this world could ever contain! How cool is that!?

Friday, February 09, 2007

A Crayon as a Metaphor...

"For me, I suppose the greatest change came in understanding the power of being broken. It had taken a while for me to realize that the breaking was not God's discipline but His blessing. What a paradox: Our blessing lay in our breaking. Yes that's what it was. Oh, I still had my battles, believe me, but from that day of giving up and being broken, something had changed. I was freer, I was able to serve less fearfully, less self-conciously. And, broken, there was more of me to give and share with others. " -When the Last Leaf Falls

"More people get to use a crayon when it's broken." -Laura Jo pointed that out to me tonight at Coffee House and it got me thinking...and I wonder how many of us have experienced that...the realization that in our brokenness, we become more usable to others. We can share, empathize, whatever...but our brokenness helps us relate to them. Crayons are only so good when they're whole, because only one person can use them. But when they're broken, it's not as "nice" to be sure, but more people stand to gain something. And so too, our brokeness is painful, but we are able to give of ourselves to others. (maybe that doesn't make any sense...)

I think we all have these struggles that we go through-- that break us, strengthen us, tear us apart, bring us to tears, cause us pain and heartache, whatever. Whatever it is, it hurts. We've all been there and we'll all be there again, no doubt. Rick Warren, at Urbana 2006, said that God never wastes a hurt...that God will make your greatest weakness your greatest strength. Basically, the thing that tears you up inside, will be the thing that will help you relate to others. Praise the Lord that this is true. Something good can come out of something painful and hard. And the pain does subside. In some cases, the pain subsides and we move on. Other times, the pain is apparent daily and the process of being restored by God is a daily one. It's a process of forgiveness, accepting God's grace and forgiveness and forgiving yourself as well; it's a process of prayer, of frustration and anxiety as you await results; it's a process of support from friends and encouragement as you heal and learn what it means to live in spite of what happened. It's a process of realizing that, in your darkest moments, God never left; in your hurt, God does not abandon you; in your brokenness, God is ready to heal.

"Therefore, we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen." -2 Corinthians 4:16-18

God never wastes a hurt.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


So, I've been dancing all my life. I danced for about fifteen years before coming to college, and then I stopped. But that's not the point of this post. The point is that I've been involved in the dance ministry with IV at UNCG, and sometimes I get so frustrated because I don't feel like when we dance in front of people that it comes across as worship. Even if I go into it with my heart set on worshipping God, and not on the people watching me, I feel like it still comes across to them as a performance. I've been trying desperately to figure out how to reconcile this because the last thing I want is for people to feel like I am looking to perform or get their praise.

And I realized, as I continue reading Unceasing Worship (long overdue to be back in the IV Office...), that I am putting worship into a box that is opened during IV, maybe during small group, and during church. It's the other times in my daily life that I'm forgetting that worship ought to be a lifestyle. "Authentic worship is continuous outpouring summed up in personal holiness...the Christian needs to hear but one call to worship and offer only one response." (Unceasing Worship)

"Authentic worship and continuous outpouring are to be undertaken by faith, driven by love, designed by hope and saturated with truth, whatever the context, time and place." (Unceasing Worship)

And as I prepare, choreograph and learn dances for Cornerstone, I wonder what it would look like, if those of us who are "supposed" to dance didn't choreograph ahead of time, but simply moved as the Spirit led us. Would other people feel more comfortable to worship in new ways? What would it look like for everyone in the room to be moving (or not) according, not to whether they felt comfortable doing so, but rather according to how movement became or could be worship for them?

"Worship is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, and by the delivered to the Deliverer. And if you and I can go days without feeling and urge to say "thank you" to the One who saved, healed and delivered us, then we'd do well to remember what He did." (Max Lucado, In the Eye of the Storm)

It's not that a choreographed piece is therefore NOT worship; it's just not moving according to how God is speaking to you, because it's preconceived. Don't get me wrong; even when I am "performing" (and I can't think of a better word, but I hate using that word in this context) a choreographed piece, I am worshipping. I'm just not sure that it a) comes across as worship and b) is inviting to those who feel led to move, dance, jump, etc in a way that would allow people to step out of their comfort zones.

The more I think, pray and understand, the more I feel like, if we are to worship as a community of believers, it seems there needs to be a different way than choreographing every piece ahead of time. If only I could truly articulate this well to other people...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thought for Today and Every Day

"Everything is necessary that He sends. Nothing can be necessary that He withholds."
-Isaac Newton, author of "Amazing Grace"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blessings in Abundance

So, the kidney stones have made their presence known once again. For the last few months, they've hurt occassionally, like a quick, at most thirty-second, twinge of pain, but nothing like the last thirty two hours or so. Sunday night, I realized that I was experiencing THE pain again. THE pain that sent me to the ER last time. THE pain that is unlike anything else I've ever experienced. THE pain that the doctor said is avoidable in the future if I drink 6-10 liters of water per day (do you know how much that is, reader? I'd pretty much be going to the bathrom constantly!) But anyway, I felt really bad Sunday night, but I took some pain medication, which only served to make me dizzy, nauseous and a little loopy. But through the pain, God has proved to me once again that my friends embody and live out Christian community. Do you, O reader, have friends like these? Friends who will see you through the pain to the end, without regard for themselves?

I can't remember exactly why or how the idea came about, except that I returned from a trip to the bathroom (one of many, to be sure), to hear David tell me that they (he, Eric, Amanda #2, and KVP) were going to take turns staying up with me all night. I announced, however falsely, that I hated Christian Community, at that moment. I hate letting people do stuff for me; it's a common characteristic among our group...we call it "robbing someone of a blessing." (As a side note, I think the community that comes out of the bonds we share through Christ is invaluable and amazing, and these two semesters have showed me just what it means to be a member, both a receiving and a giving member of that community.) But anyway, David and KVP took the first shift; David reading The Chronicles of Narnia, me lying on the couch in the basement of our building... I was pretty much chugging the water. In fact, my body now expects constant hydration. So, I had to use the restroom every five to fifteen minutes, and the pain was dull and constant, but would occassionally flare up. But through it all, they were there. Holding my hands, praying, reading, pacing, or whatever. But mostly, I think, they just wanted me to feel better.

It was quite the night. I don't remember much, except that I drank A LOT of Water, and went to the bathroom more, and faded in and out of sleep.

The update is that everyone has been praying for me, for something to change. And today, I woke up, still in a fair amount of pain, but by lunchtime I was feeling a little better and after my 2pm class, I felt pretty good. There are still occassional twinges of pain, where I squirm a little because the feeling that shoots through my body is uncomfortable to say the least. But Praise the Lord, because I can function again. He is faithful and wonderful, and has provided not only solace from the pain, and prayerful support from those around me, but amazing friends to see me through as well. God is good.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Blessed...so blessed

This week has been really eye-opening for me in many ways. On Wednesdays, Grace Community Church serves dinner to between 150 and 200 homeless people. This was my first week volunteering to serve dinner. I went, mostly because I'd heard about it, and I had really been affected by the soup-kitchen experience I had this summer in California. I had no idea, though, that I would be so affected by my experience at Grace. Maybe it was the children who have no where to call home. Maybe it was the gracious looks from the adults. Maybe it was the frigid weather outside. Maybe it was the realization that it wasn't just the food, or the warm building, but the love that we could offer through Jesus that might affect these people. I don't know what it was, but I was in tears by the end of the night. In tears because I had a warm place to lay my head, hot meals at school three times a day, and in general more material things than I needed, more blessings than I could count. I want to go back...because I don't want to stay in the college-bubble, of believing that I am "poor" or that I am not well-off or blessed. Because I am. And I praise God that my heart longs for these people to be blessed and to know Christ. I am grateful that my heart broke for these people, and I want it to continue to break because the need remains, and to ignore it or pretend it doesn't exist because it's too heart breaking is not what God calls us to do.

On Thursday night at InterVarsity, we talked about Silence. About how little time we spend in silence, and how we are looking for God to speak in a booming voice. And maybe, in doing so, we miss the whisper. Max Lucado puts it: "Because we look for the bonfire, we miss the candle. Because we listen for the shout, we miss the whisper. But it is in burnished candles that God comes, and through whispered promises that He speaks, 'When you doubt, look around; I am closer than you think.'" I am terrible with silence, or quiet time. I do spend time in the word and in prayer, but I think there's this idea of meditation that I'm missing. I have a tendency to fill up my schedule beyond belief, leaving no time for downtime. I don't want the thoughts in my head to flood my mind and overwhelm me. It's easier to be constantly busy than to deal with things that are hard, painful or uncomfortable. Zephaniah 3:17 says:
"The LORD your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing."

The story of Elijah from 1 Kings is something we touched on during IV: (1 Kings 19:11-13)

The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

This question was posed: "Is it possible that you've been searching for God in the winds, the earthquakes and fires and He's waiting to speak to you in the silence?

Jesus says in Matthew 11: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden in light." (Matthew 11:28-30)

I am guilty of always needing to be around people or of always needing to have noise. I walk around campus with my iPod in my ears. David actually called me out on it, telling me it makes me seem inaccessible/unapproachable. He said it's like having a big sign on my forehead that says, "Leave me alone." And he's right. I am not trying to be inaccessible, it's just my method for destressing. But yeah, so I'm going to work on that.

Last night we were playing Dutch Blitz (per usual), and my friend Anne from highschool had come to stay the night. It was fun and I like that my college friends (KVP, Amanda, Kelsey, Eric and David) like her. That makes me happy. But the things that get said when we're playing cards are certainly worth mentioning on the blog. I always tell them "that's going on the blog" (the blog they don't read...) but I usually forget the quotes before I have a chance to post. But I wrote a couple down last night.

"I feel a lot more mellow with Jack Johnson singing from my lap." (David)

Kelsey was heading for the bathroom when she turned around and looked at us. We were like: "What?" And she said, "I was going to wash my hands and I was going to ask if anybody wanted me to wash theirs, but..."

My friends are absolutely the best. And as David says God pretty much rocks my face off.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


So, I promised to talk about Urbana at some point, but most days, (today included), I feel inadequate to even try to explain the way God moved in me and the way He changed my heart at Urbana.

The first thing is that we had large group worship sessions with more than 20,000 people. Imagine, if there were a full football stadium, and everyone was singing praise songs, clapping their hands or raising their hands, dancing, jumping up and down...Just imagine. I think I got a little taste of heaven that day. It was uh-mazing.

A lot of the large group talks really spoke to me. There was one where the speaker asked if we had "settled." What she meant was: Have you convinced yourself that God is saying "no" when He's really saying "go for it, and see what I can do!" Are you settling for something comfortable, when God is calling you to a higher purpose.

"Ultimately, it's all up to God; we're just called to be faithful." Our lifetime is full of saying "yes" to God in little and big situations, to little and big choices.

I also started learning what it truly meant to serve God here on earth. One of the hardest things for me, (it really has been for a long time and will continue to be, I'm sure) is discerning God's voice amongst the noice of the world. Urbana didn't solve this problem for me, because there isn't a solution. The opportunity for us, though, is to grow and mature as children of God. There is a difference between a "good" idea and a "God" idea. We're going to become better disciples when we STAY at the foot of the cross. And I think it was C.S. Lewis who is quoted as saying, "The more I grow as God's child, the more I can trust the desires of my heart." Rick Warren said: "If you get usable, God will wear you out!" That's soooo exciting to me.

There's a Casting Crowns song that says, "How refreshing to know you don't need me...How amazing to find that You want me." That combined with Urbana helped me understand that I'm so thankful that God's grace, mercy and conversion of other people does not depend on me...because I would, without a doubt, FAIL miserably. That's just the truth. BUT the cool thing is that God WANTS to use ME!!! God made me for a purpose, ON PURPOSE. I was made by God, for God. In fact, Rick Warren puts it as: "You are NOT one in a million. You are one in SIX BILLION!" He talked mostly about Purpose. How there are three things that define how people live. People either live in the realm of survival...the realm of success... or the realm of significance. And significance, he explained, is what Christians should be aiming to live in...and significance comes from knowing and living out your calling. "If you're not going to be you, you're irrelevant. God doesn't make carbon copies; you are here for a reason." I just think that's so cool. It's really awesome that I am someone special, not a mistake and I have a purpose for my time on earth... a purpose outlined, planned and conceptualized by God. And that holds true for every person who has ever, is currently, and will ever live. Nice.

But how do you find significance? Rick Warren said there are five things that you can look at, in the acronym SHAPE.

S- spiritual gifts
H- Heart: what you LOVE to do
A- abilities, or your natural talents
P- Personality (you are unique here too. If two people are exactly alike and agree on everything, one of them isn't necessary.)
E- experiences (these shape who you are and how you view the world; your past pains will help you relate to others.)

In regards to pain, Rick Warren also talked about Sympathy, Empathy and Compassion. Sympathy is when you're sorry something happened to someone else. Empathy is when you hurt because someone else hurts. Compassion is when you are willing to do anything to take the hurt away from someone else.

One last thing about Urbana, though I will probably add more later.

WHATEVER- do whatever He tells you; you sign the check and let God fill in the amount
WHENEVER- always be ready to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you
WHEREVER- wherever He calls you, you go.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

It's An Update!!!

My new classes have started and I haven't even posted about Urbana yet...Oops!

Quick update on the classes...I'm taking:
Sign Language I
Spanish 311 (Adv. Spanish Conversation)
Global Justice (my honors seminar)
Honors ProSeminar
Art 100 (Living with Art)
Biology 105 (Forensics and Criminology, mixed with basic biology)
Political Science 105 (Political Issues)

So far, I love all my classes, save my Spanish class, which I am enjoying but already stressing about. It will be interesting to see which ones I end up loving the most.

It's nice to be back in Greensboro. I have spent so much time with my friends the last few days that I actually feel empty when I'm alone in the dorm room or in a class where I don't know anyone...kinda scary there...In fact, I'm even beginning to take on their mannerisms and speech habits...
David has me saying "just a tish" (just a little bit, basically) and "back up off"
Kelsey has me saying "uh-mazing" (amazing)
Laura Jo has me saying "I kinda feel like..." (as in, I kinda feel like you shouldn't do that, or I kinda feel like that's not normal)
Katie hasn't gotten me saying "oh dear" yet but I'm sure that's bound to happen.
Everyone now has me saying "oh, sad story" or "oh, sad day" when something happens-- like a card I didn't want is played in a game or something

Saturday we played Settlers of Catan (best board game EVER) twice...and once on Sunday. On Sunday, we also played Dutch Blitz (best card game EVER) for three hours-ish. Monday night I had small group and we played Dutch Blitz for an hour or so. Then yesterday, we played Dutch Blitz for two and half hours, then we went to dinner. Then we came back and played Dutch Blitz until after midnight, with some Egyptian Ratscrew in there too. We're crazy, basically.

Amanda Coale (aka Amanda 3) said during Dutch Blitz last night: "Why can't there be homo amish people?" Probably the quote of the week, right there. But you'd have to have played the game to truly understand. Basically, two of the four colors of cards (green, blue, red and yellow) have girls on them and the other two have boys on them, and in one section of the game, you can stack the cards in descending order, girl on boy, or boy on girl but not boy on boy or girl on girl...hope that made sense.

So, we're all pretty much addicted to Dutch Blitz and Settlers. Last night we finally stopped because it was late; I was falling asleep sitting up and everyone else was tired. The only other times we really stop are for hall meetings, to stretch some (or dance, thank you Kelsey), to get food or...nope I think that's it.

Thursday, January 04, 2007


I'm sitting at my computer right now, trying desperately to figure out how to convey Urbana 2006 to my few faithful readers out there.

I told someone that Urbana 06 was priceless and that it changed my life. And it did. But how can I express to you, oh reader, just what Urbana showed me, what it opened my eyes to, and how it changed my life.

It's hard to explain to someone the change that goes on in your heart, the way your relationship with your Savior is altered and the way your view of your place in the world has shifted. How do you express the way the lyrics of a song speak to you, move you to tears and perfectly sum up the feelings that have welled up in you for so long that you could hardly understand? How do you explain to someone the way something a speaker said spoke to you in a way nothing ever has? How can you ever describe what it feels like to look around a convention center and watch as 23,000 Christians worship the same God you are, raise their hands in praise, sway back and forth in emotion? Can anyone who wasn't there actually, truly, really understand what you felt, thought, and went through? And even if someone was there, can they understand the way it changed you personally?

The theme of Urbana 2006 was "Live a Life Worthy of the Calling." The theme was taken from Ephesians: "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received." (Ephesians 4:1)

A few of my favorite things said at Urbana that I remember were:
-Isn't the gospel worth it?
-Why not go out on a limb? Isn't that where all the fruit is?
-If you never leap off the cliff, how will Jesus ever catch you?
-So often we think we are hearing God saying "no" to something, but He's really saying "Why don't you take the risk for Me, and just see what I can do!?"

There's tons more to tell, but I don't have my notes nearby. I'll post more later as the things I learned, the things I've experienced, and everything I've felt and thought continue to churn away inside my head.