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Monday, February 14, 2011

How He Loves Us.

Love. It's been the pivitol emotion of the human being since the beginning of time. People have been proud, have been sorrowful, have hoped, have hated, but love has been stronger than any emotion ever conceived. There have been thousands of songs written about one thing:love. These songs might varry from the "I want your body" love, to the true appreciation of love that other bands like Plain White T's produce (Yes, I just did free advertising.)
And what about the movies that have been produced about love? Think about all the chic flicks there are out there. Personally, my favorite movie, the Princess Bride, is about how love transcends through death. Buttercup's fiance, Wesley, had been captured by a pirate ship and word had spread that he was dead. Five years passed and Buttercup was betrothed to the evil Prince. But enter Wesley once again in the picture. When Wesley questioned Buttercup why she didn't wait for him, she told him that he was dead. But he proved to her that true love transcends through death.
What love does that remind you of? The sex-saturated world full of people who have rejection issues might have heard of this love, but they just don't have the strength to believe it. It's JESUSSSS!!! (enter fireworks)
"Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." -John 15:5. I beg to differ. Jesus had the greatest love of all, because he died for people who would reject him, and than rose again because his love is stronger than death.
The thing with this love is that all of us know that we "love" things, when we really just like it. We "love" America, when every single one of us complain about living in this country. We "love" the world, when in reality, we have only seen maybe 2% of it. Have you ever felt a love that wanted to rip your heart out? Maybe someone that you have loved was being really stupid, and you were not angry, you were sad for them and you just wanted to help them get back on the right track. Jesus did that exact thing for all of us. You guys know the story in the bible that talks about how a shepard will leave the 99 to search out the one that is lost? Jesus did that for you. He LOVES you. He doesn't just like you. He LOVES you. And he wants you back.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Small = Big.

"And the King will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you have done to the least of my brethren, you have done to me." -Matthew 25:40.
According to the world, success is in numbers. The amount of viewers for this past superbowl was at 111 million, therefore it was considered the most successful game yet. If a restaurant is teeming with customers so that there is a wait of half an hour or more, it is considered to be a more successful business than a mom-and-pop's diner that has a scanty flow. If a church has an average attendance of a couple thousand, it is considered more successful than a small church of a couple hundred. If someone goes on a mission trip and there are a hundred people saved during that time, the mission trip is considered more successful than one that only has one person or even none that are "saved." Worldly success is in numbers.
But God's
is in
I have been convicted about this. I have taken on the mentality of the world. The youth groups are automatically cooler if they have more students because, of course with more students there are more opportunities. Larger churches are fantastic because with a larger group is more talent and since my worship love language is music, thats what I aim for! More friends = a happier life. What I have realized but failed to accept is that life is just as good, nay, better, if the quality of the relationships that we have outweigh the quantity of relationships. My church may be small, my youth group may be small, and my circle of friends may be small, but I guarantee that those relationships that I have with those people would be spread so thin that they would barely exist if everything in life was larger. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.
The same goes for the kingdom of heaven. What is the point of being a follower of Jesus if we just get lost in the crowd? What is the point of being a child of God if we just join a subculture that all dresses, talks, and acts alike? Granted, if we are all true followers of Christ, there will be similarities, just as there are physical similarities in families. What is the point of winning someone for Christ if we just tally them in on our list of "spiritual successes?"
It's about quality, not quantity. How can we just look over the masses of people in the world and not really see their hearts? Everyone is human, no one is less then human and no one is more than human. We all have feelings, wants, and needs. Like the need for food, water, and love. Why do we just look over those masses and not realize that?
People have asked me when I will be going back to Africa. I don't know when. If God wills it, within the next couple of years, but I might never go back. I might die tomorrow on American soil. But until I go back to Africa, God has really convicted me to love everyone like they are human. To build relationships with everyone that I meet, focusing on that particular person as if they are the most important thing in the world and loving them like they are.
The entire world might be beyond us. We might never go to China, or Africa, or the Amazon. But we can love the least of these, remembering that we are loving Christ at the same time.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Last Sunday, I was just about to end my shift and Subway was dead because there was this thing called the Superbowl that apparently about 1/3 of the American people watch. I think it's pretty much equivalent to the Fifa World Cup, except only in America. The few people who decided to be rebels all showed up to Subway via drivethru. NOTE> Subway drivethru sucks. You wait twice as long to get your sandwhiches, you basically cut in line from the people who actually use their legs to walk into the restaurant, and we are more likely to mess up your order (like the time that I took two sandwhichs from the main counter to the drivethrough and had to remake four sandwhiches because of it. ) Just don't do it. It just causes stress on us.
ANYWHO. I was making a drivethru sandwhich and the store was pretty quiet. It was near the end of the night, so all the floors had just been mopped and the tables and chairs had been wiped down. And the dishes...the hundreds of dishes had been washed- and the water spilt all over the floor. I had been feeling quite adventurous that day and I rebeled against wearing my running shoes to work and instead opted to rock the old converse with the snazzy purple laces. I rounded the corner to get some more mayonoise from the super cool walk-in fridge and I most definitely forgot that there was water on the floor, and since my converse have no traction whatsoever now, I completely wiped out on my left side. I brought down two brooms, a tall trashcan (which I actually split in half with my left arm) and one of the large dustpans that lazy people use when they don't want to bend down to use a real dustpan. The greatest thing about this is through all the unsteadiness and spilling trash, I popped right back up to get the maynoise. This whole scene happened and ended in less than 5 seconds. It was like, downUP! That fast.
My point is this. The last few weeks I've kind of been well, depressed, to say the least. And I've told God a few things that are just completely stupid and immature. But He spoke to me on Sunday night and told me that as steady as my hearts beats, so is his love for me. It can't deminish because I make a fool of myself by wiping out in Subway or by completely blaspheming and dissing him. It's gonna be there because when you die for someone, you can't exactly say, "Oh, I just decided that my entire life wasn't worth you not going to hell." And raising again just proves how commited you are. Lets just say this, we will always fail God. But his love for us remains steady no matter what. Let that blow your mind.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I love you.

Dear Child,
I'm writing this letter to you to tell you about how much I love you. I wish that you could see how I adore you, but your ways are not my ways, and your thoughts are not my thoughts. Because of that, you might get a tiny glimpse of just how much you mean to me, but for as long as you live, you will be discovering every day just how much I think about you and adore you but will never find the bottom of it.
Do you get this? I chose you. No, you aren't qualified, but I don't choose the qualified. Those who are last on this earth will be first in heaven, and those who are first on this earth will be last in heaven. Those people have their worth on earth and although they might seem qualified according to your human standards, they will never measure up to the unwavering faithfulness of you. Why? Because you have chosen to run towards me with all of your might, forsaking the earthly comforts and luxeries. I called you, and you have chosen to come. Don't worry. There will be those of this earth who will call you crazy, will interrogate you spiritually, mentally, and physically. But I will protect you. Nothing will harm you unless I give permission. This faith that you have...this faith can withstand even the gates of hell! Nothing will conquer it and it will be around until the world ends.
You might be asking, "Why me? I'm not worth anything." I'll have you know that I don't care what you have or haven't done. I love you. I can't ever stop loving you at the full capacity that I do. You can't do anything to attract or detract from my love. It bigger than the ocean, higher than the sky, and more perfect than any painting that you've ever seen. I love you so much that I think about specifically you...constantly! More than you have ever thought about any boy or girl or friend in your life. I know your name, it's sweet on my tongue and I love saying it. I sing to you. You might not hear a voice. But listen. Listen. It's in the wind, it's in the waves, it ripples through the trees, it's in the humming ofthe bees and the song of the birds. It flows out the song that you yourself sing. It's all explaining how much I love you. Those songs are meant for you.
I wish that I could explain how much I love you, because I feel that those analogies don't do my love justice. I would do anything for you. I have done everything for you. I gave up my only child to be ruthlessly killed so that I could adopt you into my family. That's the thing with adoption. You can never be turned away after I have chosen you. You can diss me all you want, but you are still Mine. And I'm never letting go.
In this life, you will face tribulations- you probably already have. Just remember, you don't have to go through them yourself. I would never do anything to harm you. The waters will come, but they will not overflow you. You will walk through fire, but you will not be burned. My plans for you have hope, you have a future. It may not be what you envisioned: it'll be far better. I promise. Trust the one who createdthe universe and sees the past, the present and the future. And just remember, I love you. Don't ever forget that.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Dare to give up.

"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give me my stuff.
(Ya know, that full ride to college, a car that actually has a nice paint color. Oh yeah, and let me get at least a 2,000 on this SAT that I haven't studied for. And maybe, could you make my sister stop annoying me...PLEASE??)
And forgive us our debts, just as we forgive our debtors.
For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
How often do we find ourselves praying to God and
a) Sprinting through the "thank-you's, your-will-be-done's, you're-awesome's, and bless-those-and-them's. But specifically noting each and every request that you have.
b) Praying to God, not having a two-way conversation.
Sadly, I have found myself doing both of those things quite often. What makes us humans believe that we are the center of the universe, rather than the God who created it? We think that if we don't have our futures planned out, we will be hoboes living on the street. We believe that we need to ask God for everything that we think that we need in this life when in fact we really aren't supposed to be living at all for this life, but the next! What makes us humans think that we are in control of our lives when we could walk out on the street and one instant later be dead?
I believe that there is a fact that all followers of Christ must accept before even thinking about asking God for anything.
God is in complete control of everything.
We are not in control of anything.
Until we can learn to trust God with the little things in life, there is no way that we are going to give him the reigns in the large things in life. *Disclaimer: What might be small to us might be huge to God, because His mind is far above ours.
I received a challenge a couple of weeks ago from a brother of mine. He challenged me to go for an entire week without asking God for a single thing. Nothing. At all. Period. At first, I doubted that I could do it. A week was such a long time to go without asking God for anything. Really?? So I took the challenge. And it was indeed a challenge. The first day of it I started to realize how much flippant prayers I send up to God. Yes, I ask God to bless people, but I realized how much I ask him to bless ME. Memememe. I had been asking God to do his will in my life while tagging on suggestions (or orders) of what I want "His" will to be.
Throughout the week of not asking God anything, I realized several other things. One being that God really is in complete control! I have gotten in a habit of asking God to bless the meal to the nuritement of my body, to ask him for a good day at work, for safe travels, and for help on my school work. When going for a week without asking those things, I realized that hmm...maybe..just maybe...God IS in control and he already knows whats going to happen with the food, the day at work, the traveling, and the school work. Maybe?? He knows whats going to happen in the future and how it affects his view of how my puzzle of a life will be fits together?
Eventually those petition prayers turned into prayers of thankfullness. When I felt like praying for a good day at work, instead I thanked him that he had allowed me to find a job. When I was frustrated with someone, instead of praying that he would calm me down, I thanked him for giving me opportunites to be patient. When praying for the food (why do we do that anyway??) instead I thanked him for giving our family food. Which led me to think about countries that have no food, which lead me to thank God for the work that he was doing in those countries without me (because he is in complete control of the world and doesn't need me.)
While realizing that God is in complete control and learning to thank him more often, I think that the biggest lesson that I gleened from this experience was finally realizing in my heart and not just in my head that God loved me and wants to use me, even though he doesn't need me. He could have chosen anyone in this world to use to change it. But He chose us. We don't have to "ask" him for anything. He is going to use us whether we like it or not.
So what is my challenge to you? The same that was given to me. Just tell God that you want his heart. That you wnat to see the world through his eyes. And then not ask him for anything for one week. It's only seven days, but it can change your entire relationship with God. By giving up on the little things in life, we can be used for a much greater purpose that is beyond ourselves.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

180 days.

180 days. Normally, 6 months of looking forward to or looking back from doesn't mean much. Most of us can't even remember what we did today six months ago. Those memories should be long gone; there should be a fogginess of a holiday, a vacation, or dream that we can't quite recall. But we don't really care because it is in the past- a decent while in the past.
180 days. As I think about July 16th, 2010, a flood of distinct memories rushes forth. That was the day that my life became beyond myself. I realized as I left the God-given team, the beautiful African continent, and the people therein, that our world- what is directly encompassing us- is just a piece of sand on the massive coastline of the world.
I have been extremely grateful that the "team" has become family since the trip. We have had around 11 reunions in the last 6 months, and I personally have been able to spend time with 15 of the 17 other team members, including our host who actually lives in Kenya! The reunions in and of themselves are a miracle! Our team is literally spread out across the country: from the southern tip of Florida to Northwest Washington state! I can only give thanks to God for allowing us to be this great of a support for each other. It's true love.
I'm sure that you are asking, "Why are you guys still hanging out? It's been 6 months since the a one month trip! The math just doesn't add up." I can only say this. There was something about Africa. It was heart wrenching walk to through one of the poorest slums in the world. It was heart breaking to become friends with an 8 year old who acted as a mother and selflessly gave up everything for her beautiful niece. It was heart shattering visiting schools with hundreds of kids who were all orphans. It was heart mending to see the enormous amounts of HOPE that the Africans possesed. And it because of that HOPE that I am typing this blog. Because that kind of HOPE never dies. In fact, as much as the pain of not living on that beautiful continent right now is seething within, the HOPE of knowing that the people that our team came into contact with are striving through their adversities, perservering through trials, and thriving in their walk with the Lord is enough to never forget that month.
Dear Africa, it's been 180 days I've left. I promise I will return someday. And I don't break promises.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've read that when writing any sort of paper, the last sentence that we want to start with is, "I don't even know where to begin." Well, that is exactly how I feel about this blog. Beware, it's going to be long and scantily organized, but hey, it's worth a try!
I promised that I would tell of the reasons that I hadn't been faithfully posting blogs. The honest truth is that I didn't feel qualified. Why would this blond-headed girl from middle-of-nowhere Indiana have anything to say about things beyond myself? Why would this person who has turned into something that she despises have anything to say to encourage others in their walk with Christ? The truth is...I don't.
The last couple of months, I haven't been qualified to write blogs because of the filthy selfishness that has surrounded my soul. I pray that no one has noticed it, but that is highly unlikely, seeing as I have been a (word comes to mind). I have had a scewed view of life, turning the deep, meaningful aspects of life into surface, meaningless throw-aways and the surface garbage into something that I was grasping for with all my might.
It wasn't until I had a reunion with my Kenya team that I got called out on some sin that I had fallen into this last semester that I realized this. Those selfish ambitions literally mean nothing to everyone but myself, and considering that we are supposed to be living beyond ourselves...yeah, you get the point.
I guess that the point of this blog is mainly to apologize for the person that I have become. But there is great news, God has once again taken my life and repaired it!
During the New Year, most people decide on resolutions to work toward for the upcoming year. I have never been a fan of resolutions, seeing that for the most part, they are easily broken within the first couple of months. I have felt that in making a resolution, it is impending doom upon ourselves by NOT completing that resolution. While I didn't make any resolutions, I believe that God did. He decided that he was going to give me another chance to be completely, recklessly, and fully in love with him. After all, after talking with one of my brothers, I realized that the very essence of christianity is LOVE. Not the selfish love of ourselves like I had been expressing, but the completely deep love for one another in Christ. It's a love that very few people experience. It can't be bought or sold or even signed with a pen. It's a love that only comes from the Holy Spirit. It's a love that holds together 17 people who all come from different backgrounds, families, and beliefs. It's a love that no matter how hard we try, we can't dillude, dissuade, or dissolve it.
I felt that love during the New Year when God told me that I needed to be baptized again. I was baptized when I was 5. While I understood what it meant, I rededicated my life to God when I was 11, and I haven't been baptized since then. I was hoping to be baptized in the Carribean when I went to the Dominican Republic, but that didn't end up working out. I believe that God held off me being baptized until the New Year. After all, the New Year symbolizes new beginnings.
So, what is my resolution this year? To really be the person that God has called me to be. Not the person that I was. Who I am hates who I've been. Who I am never wants to go there again.
"Do not fear, for behold, I have redeemed you. I have called you by your name. You. are mine." -Isaiah 43:1
It's all about the love.