28 February 2011
I seriously need some help. My priorities are completely messed up right now. I have a take-home test due at 4pm and I'm not halfway through it because I keep putting it off and looking at other things. When I finally START it, I go quickly, but it's getting there that's the problem.
Also, if you know of any good waterfalls near Berry College, please let me know. I'm looking for a few good ones.
24 February 2011
Sweet Kate McRae (see my previous posts here and here or visit her website) had a spinal tap last week to see if the cancer had spread to her spinal fluid (they are fighting right now with two lesions that have recently shown up on a different part of her brain from the cancer they treated this past year) .
I cannot begin to tell you how joyfully I am coming to tell you that the cancer has not spread to her spinal fluid.
Praise to the Star Breather. The Creator. the Almighty. El-Shaddai..the ALL-sufficient One!
Kate's parents and doctors are still going through so many different processes to decide on the next step in treatment, but glory be to God for this small victory.
Regardless, God is victorious.
So thankful that He is gracious enough to show us the fruit of our prayers.
Throwing out some old-school here for you..heard this in the shower and remembered how much I loved it.
"if they only knew how you've mended my broken heart. Now I'm living. Your love is heaven on earth. I'll shout it out to all of the world."
I miss those nights a lot right now.
I'm in need of some incredible Kenyan coffee and maybe a game of Apples to Apples with my favorite people.
Beyond that...I'm finally starting my new journal tonight. I've been too busy to look at it lately.
I feel like I've been in mom-mode all day today.
One of my best friends got a DM from Glozelle on Twitter.
God is still good. Thankful for the ability to breathe today - what a promise that He is continually with us. The Tetragrammaton "YHVH" or "Yahweh" as it is transliterated (or Jehovah) actually consists of the Hebrew letters יהוה which are gutteral tones that are more like breaths than actual letters if that makes sense (I'm leaping over the technical terms here).
In essence, we breathe those...Breathe in. breathe out. Yahweh.
We call on His name even when we don't think we have the strength to..even to our very last breath. We call on the power and strength He gives.
23 February 2011
As Kingfishers Catch Fire
I won't drink my chai so early next time.
Maybe I'm just Restless.
This song has been on my heart for almost two weeks now. For a few days I couldn't remember which song it was...I only had one line repeating itself in my head:
We are not long here.
Works of art.: "
I once went to counseling to talk about my Google Analytics.
I’m not sure if I’m the first person to talk to a professional counselor about web traffic, but the whole thing was pretty ridiculous.
Basically, when Stuff Christians Like took off in 2008, I really tangled my self worth up with how many unique visitors this blog got and how many comments each post received. I became like a gambler pulling a lever on a slot machine, only I was hitting refresh on Google Analytics.
I worked through that, but questions of self worth and identity are still brambles I stumble into from time to time. I was thinking about that last week on my way to work when I had this thought:
“Who you are, what you’re worth, those are not questions Thursday will answer. That debate is over. You are God’s work of art.”
I tweeted that, and started to really think about what it means to be “God’s work of art.” That concept is based on Ephesians 2:10 which says, “For we are God’s handiwork …”
I started to think, if my identity is I am God’s work of art, would I get cocky in that? Would I walk around thinking, “Look at me! I’m an amazing work of art!” My ego is incredibly hungry and I often slip into arrogance. But in the middle of these thoughts, I felt like God began to laugh with me. (It’s always with, never at.) Here’s what I felt like he said:
“Why would you brag about being my work of art? Why would you brag about living the way you were created to live? That’s how you were made. If you speak well or write well or anything well, that’s you living out of who I created you to be. That’s how you were designed.
That would be like a painting bragging about the strokes and lines while ignoring the painter. Or a bird bragging to a fish that it can fly. If anything, when it comes to your identity, I want you to laugh in it. I want you to love in it. I want you live in it. But above all, every day, all day, I want your identity to point back to me. To say, ‘Look how good my God is! Look how good my artist is! Look!’”
Sometimes, as Christians we have this weird assumption that to celebrate your abilities and your gifts is a sin. As if quietly possessing them is holy and loudly living with them can only be an act of arrogance. But I’m not so sure anymore. They’re not my gifts. I didn’t give them to myself. I received them. And so did you. You are a unique work of art. You reflect an artist the world needs to know. He did not give you those gifts to hide them.
Don’t look for your identity in web traffic or success at work or in relationships. Today, don’t search for something that has already been found. Your identity is set. That debate is over.
Today, don’t be a shy work of art. Be a loud work of art.
22 February 2011
First of all, my week without Facebook and Twitter hasn't been as challenging so far as I thought. I keep finding myself trying to find something to do...obviously I have homework, but I'm looking for Facebook and Twitter...not happening. It's been good. When I was getting ready for school yesterday it gave me extra time to get ready (which was fabulous) and I had a better conversation with God about things. I'm having to plan dates with Him which is new territory for me.
I'm having to plan friend-dates with everyone. I've never had to do this before and I'm not sure how I feel about it. My time with friends as typically been spontaneous. Obviously, sometimes there has been planning when there's a specific thing to do, but this is different. We're having to plan to co-exist.
I'm not a fan.
It makes friendships seem forced, but I know I wouldn't be able to see them otherwise and it is absolutely necessary for me to see these beautiful people. The thing is - as much as it bothers me so much to plan to spend time with them on a regular basis, I wouldn't have it any other way because I love them so much.
If I were tweeting, I'd have said something like this around 7pm: "Just spent two glorious hours with @willoughbym. Two of the best hours ever. Love her heart so much."
It blows my mind how my friendships have changed so incredibly much over the past six months. I know I've talked about it before, but I'm constantly dumbfounded by God's great big plan. It's crazy to look back even over the past few years at how He has grown me, guided me, and prepared me for exactly where I'm at today. The changes are immense. I have to brag about some of the most beautiful people ever - God has given me the biggest blessing in a group of ladies who challenge me constantly to be a better person. They challenge me to be okay with who I am and to rest in God. They challenge me to move...to leave complacency and hearing-but-not-doing behind. They challenge me to apply what I know and what I'm learning. They challenge me to drink in everything God is teaching me, not to KEEP it, but rather to turn around and pass it to someone else immediately.
I've never been so challenged by a group of women in my life.
They have so much of my heart.
I was mesmerized by the sky tonight after Madi dropped me off and I couldn't help but thank God for the crazy blues in the sky and pray that we would all be friends like this in ten years. I openly and earnestly desire for these ladies to be my core for a long time.
"A three-chord strand is not easily broken." (Ecclesiastes 4:12) Our lives are so interwoven..I would have it no other way. I love them so so much.
Tonight will be the last night of my moleskin journal. It's covered in Relay for Life stickers now (And one Up 'Til Dawn sticker on the back) with some sharpie writing on it as well. There's a post-it note in the front cover and one of the first scripture written in it came from another dear sweet friend of mine that I adore so much. I can't imagine my life without her. I can't even comprehend how we thought we were close on October 13th. We are so much closer now. I'll probably spend some time tonight going back through the crazy prayers I prayed and lists I made just to see how God has moved. He's already blowing my mind with that.
Audrey Assad has recently been a huge part of my life. I found a few of her songs a while back, but with all the other randomly incredible music of late (i.e. Hillsong's new album - Aftermath - and of course the beautiful songs from Passion..and some DCB) took my attention. You need to listen to Restless. Seriously one of the truest songs I've ever heard. For a beautiful take on that (it so very much corresponds with where I am right now in life) please see this beautiful blog post by my dear friend. I found the song "Little Light" by Audrey a few weeks ago when I was reading through some posts about Kate McRae. This precious girl has been on my heart for so long. Audrey wrote this song for Kate and I want you to see it...listen to it..hear it. Let it sink in and touch your heart.
I've got another pretty huge piece of news. I'm not sure why I've held it in for so long. For a while I thought I would burst. I finally got to tell my core about it. To have them praying about it and for me is like a weight lifted.
Well here it is: I'm taking over half of small groups at my awesome church. I feel like God's put a huge call on my life in general when it comes to this...He's got something big in store. I'm certain. And I believe He's going to use small groups to start that. It's such a crucial part of life to be in a group that you do life with - you need people to build you up in the Word. To ask you how you're doing. To learn with.
These people are your core. You need them. It's absolutely necessary. I can't stress that enough.
After discussing this with some awesome people at church and really jumping in, God gave me this incredible visual of small groups.
I am currently reading Radical by David Platt. It's an interesting book that has challenged me in a lot of ways. God used this in the most incredible way to show me this:
Jesus was the first small group leader.
Read it and believe it. He had his core - the disciples. He did life with them. They learned from each other. They experienced life together. They probably cried together and had bromance dates. I'm convinced. Jesus even prayed so much about them in John 17. His whole prayer was about how he wanted the disciples to be protected and cared for after he was gone. WHAT A CRAZY THING!
That's how we should be.
Basically..by telling the disciples to go and make disciples of others ... he was telling them to go and make small groups.
Go do life with some people.
Are you doing life with a group? If not, you're not being fed. What you get on Sunday isn't enough. Your alone time with God is crucial, but we're relational creatures. God created us to need and desire a closeness with other people. If you don't have a group that you diligently chase God with....you are missing so much spiritual filling. Your heart is only half as full as it could be.
Get in a group.
21 February 2011
And I can't leave you without a bit of my favorite - I adore E.E. Cummings with most of my poetic heart.
Within five minutes I realized how hard that would be.
I'm addicted to social networking and the information that pours in from these various places - both good and bad.
It's easy to get caught up in the pictures, words, and thoughtful-or thoughtless-ness of the people around me and around the world.
Unfortunately, I've realized my need to find myself on my knees again in the face of my Father.
I feel like I'm including you on a new journey - a journey toward some sort of organization and worthwhile juggling of the different facets of my life. A friend said it beautifully today - I wouldn't take away a single one of these different parts of my life. God has blessed me abundantly and I enjoy the tension, but I realize I need to do a better job of maintaining it all. Neglecting one part is no good. (See my previous post)
In order to control my wild procrastination right now, I am tuning out the information vomit of both Facebook and Twitter. This blog, my email, or a presh phone call will be your best bet at communicating with me.
I'm excited to diligently finish my homework this week (obviously after tonight because it's midnight and then some and I'm stuck in a cubby in some dark, dismal hole in the library).
More importantly....I'm excited to encounter God in a new way this week.
In more than one new way.
One of those starts tomorrow morning at 8am with some of the most beautiful souls I've ever encountered. Needless to say, there will be a hot ton of love and a hot ton of God (as if you could have one without the other) in Krannert tomorrow morning. Bright and early. Let the SON shine.
19 February 2011
In revolutionizing my life, God has blessed me with some of the most incredible people as friends. We're not all alike, thank you, Jesus! But we share a love for our God and sunshine. I'm learning to balance these friendships with school work, Relay for Life, and my relationship with God.
I have to admit - I'm sucking at it.
I'm doing a horrible job of juggling these categories - my grades are slipping. My relationship with God is sometimes put to the side. Relay, in some ways, has taken over (as you can see in my last few posts). I'm convinced that is partially caused by the purple extravaganza of last week, but an excuse isn't what I need.
I'm also struggling to maintain all of these friendships. I am in LOVE with each of them. There's something so special about a group (or twelve) of people who adore God. I'm learning that it's normal to talk about Him so much with friends. That's normal. I never knew. That's fantastic! But juggling all of these friends is so hard. I don't feel like I have time to devote to each of them. A friend of mine once said you never have more than 5 or so CLOSE friends. Your heart/mind/body can't handle more than that. I'm juggling ten at least. I love them. I love trying. I love caring. I love being around for them. I ADORE our dates and so very much love hearing about them and listening to everything going on in their lives, but at some point my hands have become too full for Christ. They've become too full to put the right amount of effort into these beautiful relationships He's given me.
This has to change.
I don't want to turn this post into an "I apologize for neglecting our friendship, but it's not going to change," sort of thing.
That's not what I'm saying.
I'm still trying to figure it out.
But I do know this:
2 Corinthians 12:9 says, "But He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.' Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may reside in me."
Psalm 97:18-19 says, "If I say, 'My foot is slipping,' Your Faithful Love will support me, LORD. When I am filled with cares, Your comfort brings me joy."
God, my foot is slipping. I thought I built all this on a solid rock, but the truth is...You aren't the foundation of my joy right now. I'm losing my joy because I'm not letting you control it all. God, I am w.e.a.k. I'm so weak I can't breathe without you...let alone hold on to all of these friendships. It's not my place to hold on. God, my grades suck right now. My devotion to You has plummeted. Relay will never be a success if I'm in charge of it. Without YOUR love, Lord, I can't love and that's my heart's desire - to love. You've made me to love, but you've also made me imperfect so that I have to depend on you. You've made me imperfect so that You get the glory when I am weak and helpless. God, I'm slipping. I'm going under. I'm restless. I need Your presence. Your strength. Your support. Your control. I need You.
when I think I'm going under, part the waters, LORD
16 February 2011
Paint Berry Purple week has been a fabulous success so far. I'm really excited about how everything has gone. We've successfully painted Berry purple in a classy way, tye dyed a ton of shirts on Krannert lawn (seriously - this was a massive success. I was impressed. It went so much better than I thought at first), handed out awkward stickers that say things like "Want to spend the night with me? Ask how," and tons of other fun things. OH - BUBBLES! We handed out bubbles as well.
Tomorrow night is the big kicker, though. At 7pm we will officially be launching this year's Relay for Life. I'm terribly excited, but terribly nervous at the same time. God has shown favor on us, I think...it's been fabulous so far. He's allowed so much to go smoothly when none of us have had a good hold on it. I'm so thankful that HE comes through, even when we fall short.
We're having a few guest speakers tomorrow night. We haven't done a run-through of what's going to happen. We're simply going to get up there and do it.
I know it's going to be fabulous though. Everyone keeps asking me how many people I expect (for various reasons) and I keep saying, "Go big or go home. We'll have 100 people there."
I didn't start doubting that until today...and with how many people showed up to tye dye shirts, I'm confident we might have 100 people there tomorrow night. I keep stalking the facebook event page as well. Is that awful??
I really just need your prayers, though. I know satan will try to hit me hard tomorrow and make me doubt. I know he'll try to hit the whole committee. He will throw whatever at us that he can. Will you help me pray against that? And pray in favor of a God-filled, God-glorifying event tomorrow night? I'd appreciate it more than you know. Our God is so big.
My iTunes is on shuffle right now and I was checking a few statuses on Facebook. Rush of Fools' "Peace Be Still" started playing, but obviously what I'm reading takes precedence over what's coming in my ears. I think God knew that as well. A friend's status said this:
"Psalm 46:10 says "Be still and know that I am God." Why are we so bad at this?!? Why cannot I not sit still for a certain amount of time without thinking about something that I could be doing?!? Just a thought. I think a lot more would be accomplished if we could learn to stop and focus on God for a while..."
I needed that.
Going to be still for a while.
So thankful for all of you.
14 February 2011
And I am definitely encouraging you to pray about it. Maybe you're on a tight budget. Trust - I understand, but every little bit helps more than you know. I don't want to give you emotional ploys to do this because that's too easy. I want you to seriously consider being somewhat active in touching the lives of others. Giving money might not seem like much, but in this case it allows other individuals to help struggling families battle cancer. Cancer is big. Cancer is devastating.
The God we serve is so much bigger. He is healer.
Relay for Life raises cancer awareness and support, but also serves as an opportunity to lift high the Creator, the Mastermind behind our intricate lives who runs the show. It's an opportunity to praise Him for strength, hope, healing, and faith. It's an opportunity to step out on faith saying you trust God's plan - whether He heals with life on this earth or not...death has no victory!
Sign up online
Berry's Relay page (FB)
Paint Berry Purple information
Relay FB Event page
Team Captain, Survivors, & Luminaria information
Start a team. Donate. Volunteer. Tell your friends.
It's going to be a fabulous Relay this year and I want you all to be there. I want to serve with you! Pray about it and see where God leads you.
08 February 2011
Putting plans into action is intense. It's easy to do on a small scale, but with a bigger event there are just so many hoops to jump through...so many lists to be made.
I'm really excited about Relay this year. I'm excited because it's going to be INSIDE. I'm excited because my committee is on top of things. I'm excited because I've met so many survivors over the past few weeks that plan on attending. I'm excited to honor them...I'm excited to show off my God's power as Healer - both in life and in death.
But with that excitement comes quite a bit of anxiety and nerves. I'm nervous about pulling things together, and slightly fearful of speaking in front of people. I usually man up and do it (I'd never be caught dead in front of a group of people alone in high school..or any time before this time last year, really...), but I still get so nervous sometimes! I crack awful jokes. I stumble over my words. I feel like Josh Roberts a LOT. He's an encouragement, though. God uses Josh in all of his awkwardness and inability to sit still. God can and WILL use me too.
THAT excites me!
That also SCARES me. It's a phenomenal thought to know God is using you to bring fame to Him. If you really think about that - it seems wrong. God uses me to make much of Him. But it's SO right.
It scares me that maybe I'll mess up when He's trying to use me, but I know that He's covered me in His love and when I speak, He will speak through me. My words will be silent whispers. His will be profound. That's what matters. His love is FAITHFUL in all things - even when I am nervous.
"Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their craftiness," and again, "the Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile." So let not one boast in men. For all things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future--all are yours, and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." - 1 Corinthians 3:18-23
(A friend sent me this passage last night..blew my mind with the explanation of WHY this was so important to them...we're allowed to fall flat on our faces because God will still use it for His glory. We are HIS.)
Relay is important to me for so many reasons. I've discussed part of my story here. That's the part that gets me every time. I guarantee tears will fall on April 15th, if not before. I've also witnessed so many other lives being touched by cancer. It's ridiculous. But I can affirmatively say that I've seen more lives touched by my God.
I feel like I'm giving myself a pep-talk. Maybe I am. I covet your prayers over Relay and this situation more than I could ever express in words.
I'm a little nervous right now. I have a planner and a pocket calendar that I use to keep up with everything going on. It's overwhelming if I look at more than one day at a time.
I tweeted last night that I'm so thankful for this season of peace in my life. It seems ironic, but it's so true - I'm not worried about my friendships and I'm not overly fretful about my classes. Relay, however, is where my heart is right now. That's not a bad thing in the grand scheme of things, but it's not wonderful. I want my heart to stay with God and let go of the control I want to have over all of this. I've noticed changes in how I act/react to Relay-related things lately. It's wild. Sometimes I feel like I'm watching myself change.
Talk about vertigo.
I'm so thankful to serve along side this crazy awesome committee and the other incredible people in my life - From Heather in Texas to Matt in Perry to all the wonderful people right here in Rome. I don't know how I could overflow MORE with awe of God's blessings and love on my life.
07 February 2011
It's crazy how this still pulls at my heartstrings.
Tell me what you think.
06 February 2011
This weekend was crazy fabulous after the week I had. I didn't accomplish much on the homework side of things, but it was time for a tiny break anyway. I'll get on that directly.
Friday began with one of the most beautiful souls I have ever met, sweet Emily. Our breakfast was short, but oh so sweet. It's impossible to walk out of her presence without a sense of God's love. She is just beautiful. The rest of the day was a whirlwind of crazy - I stepped in a puddle one time, left my homework in my dorm, met with a professor later about said homework, didn't give a scheduled presentation, met with someone in Res. Life about Relay, chatted about David Platt's Radical, was bombarded by hugs and beautiful people at lunch time (including the ever-so-fab Leigha), played a Fender Telecaster at work..for fun, had dinner with MORE fabulous people, and had a glorious nap.
It was somewhere around this point in time when my weekend with Sarah began. Recapping the craziness would do no good. I'll just say there was fun, movies, pictures, laughs, serious talks, Jesus, worship, hugs upon hugs, and so much talk of cookies with no follow through.
All of that just makes me anticipate summer MORE. It will be incredible. I can just tell.
Church this morning and Bible study seriously made me step back and look at everything I try to control - even Bible study itself!! It's crazy to me how we have NO time whatsoever..not that we are guaranteed at least. God is THAT big.
I'm so thankful for my Bible study girls. We're a small group, but it's so incredible to see how we've all grown in the past six months - absolutely incredible. We don't see each other everyday of every week, but we still do life together. We still deal with relationship issues, ridiculous classes, questions about the Word, and so much else. I'm ridiculously thankful for all the incredible people I get to serve with and LIVE with on a daily basis. My heart could not be more full of God's presence. WOW.
Four years ago, I missed the Superbowl. My brother was in an awful wreck that Sunday morning on the way home from a friend's for church. It should've taken his life. That was definitely one life-changing day and week of my life. So thankful that God still had purpose for him on this earth. I love my big brudder!!!
01 February 2011
God lead me to this blog late last year and I spent many months simply reading updates on this little girl, noticing her heart and how her parents constantly called on Yahweh - the I AM. I prayed with them.
Matt Chandler tweeted this update before it was sent to my email.
I sat on my floor and sobbed.
Pray with me.