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Graduation Speech.

2014
05.01

School is over and I have one day left before graduation. Ahhhhh. This means that tomorrow I will stand up in front of far too many people and speak. What I’ll be sharing is very personal and I think summarizes everything. I thought I would share it with you. All the times I say the name of my school, I’ve replaced with “Christian College.”

The first thing we tend to hear when people give their testimony is “I did or did not grow up in a Christian home.” Well, it’s not that easy for me. I was born to parents with differing views. My Father is an atheist and my mom is a christian. I learned equally from both of them. 

My Dad has questioned God and the Bible and thus made me think about my faith from a skeptical angle. I’ve always been thankful for that. He has made my think about the facts of my beliefs which have resulted in an even stronger certainty in the reality of God. My mom on the other hand, did know the Lord, but struggled to break free from legalism. She was raised in a church with some wrong and confusing doctrine and as a result studied out the Word of God more diligently than anyone I know. Her walk with the Lord has brought her to a place of extreme growth. She has been a wonderful example to me. 

At age 4 my parents separated. I don’t remember a lot from this time. I do remember that afterwards both my started parents dating. That was not my favorite thing and was difficult for me to handle. At age 7, my mom remarried to a man who I admire, respect and love very much. In the midst of some chaotic times, I found myself making some very bad choices. I would steal and I would lie constantly. I would look through fashion magazines and desire to look like the world. I wanted to wear clothing and making up that I thought would make me something special. I wanted to be desired by people, I wanted to feel beautiful. As I got older, I realized that I wanted attention from boys and this is always a dangerous path. I’m thankful for my parents discernment. They noticed these things in me and quickly intervened. I believe they have saved me from a lot of pain. 

There’s a lot from my childhood I don’t remember. Partly because I was young, partly because I’m forgetful in nature and partly because some things I blocked from my memory. However, John 3:16 is one thing I’ve never forgotten. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who so ever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” I can’t tell you the first time I heard it, maybe from Veggie-tales or Adventures in Odyssey. Or maybe it was from my Mom reading me a Bible story. All I know, is that from as far back as I remember, I have known that verse. I’ve never once doubted the reality of Christ in my life. Though I do wish I could tell you a certain time I put my trust in Christ, I simply can’t. 

However, I do know for sure that by age 13 the Gospel was 100% clear to me. I could see from my life the corruption of my sin nature. I never needed anyone to tell me I was a sinner. I knew all too well. I realized the holiness of God and that’s one of the reasons I desired Him so much. He is unlike this world with it’s burdens and pains. God is perfect and I’ve always known I’m not. And this is my favorite part, John 3:16, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay for my sins, to take my place and the only thing for me to do, is believe in Him. That is the most precious news. The moment I placed my trust in Jesus I was saved. I was saved from the bondage of sin, from an eternity in hell, from guilt and shame and I was saved from my own destruction. Praise the Lord! That is something that can never be lost, because nothing can separate me from the Father’s love. 

I’m extremely blessed that my Mom and stepdad fully live by those truths. They are people who are sold out for Christ and are raising my siblings to be the same. 

I’m also blessed by my Dad. I’ve always believed one of the main reasons God put me on earth is to show Him Christ’s love. And I pray that one day He will come to a saving faith in Christ. And he is here tonight, by the way, if anyone feels like doing some witnessing…

All that to say, I have great parents and they have been a to encouragement to me.

In my teen years, my love for the Lord grew and in turn my love for the church. I loved being involved with any and all ministry. I did hospitality team, worship team, greeting team, youth group, Bible studies, you name it. I loved serving and growing with fellow believers. 

Then the summer after I graduated high school, I went to Twin Peeks Bible camp and the (Christian College) camping team was there. I remember them talking about the school and having no interest. But, God had other plans. Through the course of the next year, God kept laying the school on my heart. I would go to the website and just stare at it. Eventually, there was a huge desire and excitement to go. 

And so I went. I’ll tell you what, my first semester freshmen year was awful. Just awful! I had never shared a room with someone and I had three roommates. One of them was named Hannah Moore and she was crazy! She was loud and had way too many pink things. I didn’t like what God was showing me. I didn’t like that He was pointing out areas in my life that needed to be changed. So, I decided I wasn’t going to come back. But then something happened over Christmas break, God reminded me that I committed three years at Frontier to Him. So once again, I went. It was awesome. I had a new attitude, a willing attitude. And He did great things in me. Hannah Moore is even one of my best friends now. You know what, The biggest lesson I’ve learned from it all, the lesson I will carry with me, is that I am so weak. I will fail people, I will fail myself, I will hurt others and be hurt, I will make mistakes. But God is so good. He is going to use me anyway. The past three years I have done things that have horrified me. I was asked to speak at the ladies retreat and I cried out of fear. Public speaking scares me to death, coming up in front of you scars me to death. I was asked to be an RA, what? I’m supposed to be a leader? I don’t want to. But God is so good. He is so good. And despite all my weakness and fear, He works through me. All I have to do is relax and trust Him. 

 

My time at (Christian College) has been incredible. The staff has trained me to feel equipped for ministry. They have loved me, as well as my classmates, and truly sought to prepare me the best they could. Mrs. Miles has a famous saying “you will be who you are now becoming.” All I can say, is thank you to all the people at Frontier for helping me become who I will be. This school has helped me grow in not only my Bible knowledge, but also my love for the Bible. 

 

 The staff and the students are family. They’ve cried with me, prayed with me, challenged me and lived life with me. They can never be replaced. I couldn’t be more proud of my classmates. When I look at them I see people who are going to make a difference. To the graduates, thank you so much. Thank you for being by my side the past three years. Thank you for loving Jesus so much. God is so good and He is going to use you despite your faults. I love you and will miss you terribly. 

A wise woman once told me, it is important that you disregard what the world teaches success to be, and remember, truly, what is important in your lives. The best use of our lives is to spend it on something that outlasts it. 

I’m not graduating from Harvard with some important decree. But I have something far more valuable. 

I’m walking away from (Christian College) with friends that I’ll have for a lifetime, with lessons and principles that have shaped who I am and what my ministry will look like, but most of all I’m leaving as an entirely different person, a person more grounded in truth and in my identity in Christ. 

 

Now: And now that I’m graduating, the next big thing is a missions trip to Europe this summer. And how much you wanna bet that God is going to call me to do more things that scare me?!! Then, I’m heading home for a while to work and intern at my church. I desire to serve God with my life and allow Him to guide my path. I hope to take the lessons (Christian College) has taught me and put them to good use. 

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what Christ has done.

2014
04.29

Today in chapel the President of the school had students share what Christ has done for the personally during their time at school. I didn’t share anything today, but I will tomorrow. No, today, I sat and listened to my classmates in amazement. I’m so proud of them and blessed to be in their lives. Many of them spoke of the family we have at school. They weren’t just saying it to be sentimental, they were saying it because it’s true. People say that going to college will be great! You’ll make lots of contacts that’ll come in handy later. Some say that you’ll make the friends you’ll keep forever. These are both true, but you can’t always say you’ll meet new family. They will love you and par for you and always give you a place to stay. That’s a precious gift. If you are looking at schools right now, listen here, pray about where your family is. You don’t want just any school or Christian College, you want the best God has for you. Oohh I will cry and weep and eat and repeat when I leave. My heart is with these people, but I’m so thankful that there are no real goodbyes within the body of Christ. There is always a next time.

Oh and here’s what I’m planning on sharing tomorrow…

The past three years I’ve learned I’m disgusting. I’m extremely sinful. I’m lazy, get annoyed way fast, lie, gossip, lust and commit many sins I don’t even realize yet. God though, God is perfect. He is nothing like me. *sigh of relief* He is great, power, patience, honest, fair, righteous, kind, loving and the list goes on and on. He is everything I’m not and could ever hope to be. This is why we crave Him so much. I’ve not only understood my sinfulness to a new degree, I’ve also realized my weakness. I’ll tell you what, I’ve been asked to do more scary things at school than my whole life. When I got asked to speak at the ladies retreat, I cried. I get so nervous speaking in front of people and yet am constantly asked to do it. Again, speaking at Graduation…no. I don’t want to. I’m horrified. However, God is not like me. He is not afraid and He will be right there guiding my words. Praise the Lord! Christ has done a work in me which magnifies His glory. That is a lesson that I will carry with me no matter what I’m doing after school.

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rainy season

2014
04.27

The pouring rain outside of my window is the perfect weather to match my mood. To me it’s not depressing, but rather just a season of life. It’s beautiful and produces growth to the things which desperately need it. Some might see the rain as a time to do nothing (it certainly does make excellent napping.) The general idea is sun=productively and rain=laziness. At this time in my life, there is a lot of raining. I’m leaving the place I’ve called home for the past three years and the people I’ve called family. It hurts. All the things that have been filling my time, all the friend’s I’ve invested in won’t be around anymore. I will no longer have the familiar and this to me feels like rain. It’s beautiful, indeed; All the seasons God produces are lovely. However, it’s also bitterly sad. I’ll miss it here at my Christian College and there will be a hole in my heart that God, in time, will heal. As I stated, rain causes growth for things which desperately need it. It’s time for me to grow. God has many plans for me and it’s time for the next chapter.

It’s been a real temptation to want to stop doing anything. I have in my mind that I should stop ministering, because right now I’m sad. God does not take breaks, thank goodness. It’s been so interesting, because towards the end of the year everything normally slows down. This has not been true for me. I was asked to be one of the graduation speakers. WHAT?! Umm, can you say scary? I have never, ever spoken in front of that many people. To make it even more freaky, I’m sharing my testimony. That’s way personal. However, it’s obvious that God is still growing me. I may want to take a nap, but God has other plans.

I’m so thankful that God is nothing like humans and that every moment is a moment to shape His children. He’s always held me in His hand and guides me with His staff and rod. So even though my flesh wants to stop, He carries me through. I realize this all sounds terribly depressing, but it’s not so. It’s wonderful. I’m looking forward to seeing how God works in my heart through this rainy season of my life.

 

 

 

 

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lessons learned

2014
03.20

Here I am in March. There is still some snow outside my window and I’m currently wearing long sleeves. Someone told me winter was over, but I’m not so sure. I’m down to my last 43 at my Christian College and it’s starting to feel real. I’m going to miss it terribly. After 3 years, this place is home. However, I have some exciting stuff coming up in the next couple of weeks. I was asked to speak at my school’s women’s retreat next weekend. I’m thrilled now, but when I was first asked I cried like a small child. Giving a message to a large group of women (including staff) is scary, but what an honor. My mommy is even going to come. :) Then, after the retreat, there’s an RA retreat, the Spring Banquet, book reports, finals and then graduation. With the end drawing near, I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned here.

I’ve learned that the Word of God is incredible. Of course, I knew this to some extent before coming here, but I have a deeper love for Bible study. 2 Tim. 3:16 is now one of my favorite verses. The Bible is our guide. God gave His encouragement, will, character, purposes, plans, thoughts…to us!

I’ve learned that the world is so lost and needs Jesus. Again, duhhh, but knowing something and learning it are two different pies. My school has opened my eyes to how needy people are and Jesus is without a doubt the only cure.

I’ve learned about myself. I’ve been challenged in ways that have pulled out the abilities God has given me. The women’s retreat for example. I had no idea I could teach God’s Word, but now I realize that I have a gifting in that area. Also, being an RA, there are all sorts of situations that I didn’t know I could deal with. The key is truly relying on God and also recognizing the gifts He has given me.

I learned that I’m in the right place. Everyone is always trying to figure out God’s will. He’s given it to us. It’s in His Word and as long as what you do matches up with Scripture, you’re in His will. It’s not hidden. God brought me to a Christian College, because it honors Him. Through the experience I’ve learned more about Him and have had much spiritual growth.

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Small case of Senioritis.

2014
02.22

Last weekend I got to go home. It was glorious. I always forget just how much I miss my family until I see them. God has been working in them and it’s an awesome sight to behold. They are becoming increasingly involved in ministry. This is encouraging for me to share in the same vision as them. However, since being back at school, I feel like I should be graduated. I think this is what people call “senioritis.” In pervious blogs, I’ve shared how I struggle with apathy and I guess this is just another case of that.

Here’s the thing though, I’m kind of thankful for it. I’m a planner. I make lists for all the homework I have months in advance. I can’t relax unless my bed is made. I thrive off of organization and can’t stand falling behind. Whether or not my motivation is good…I get things done. All that said, most the time I’m so stressed over assignments and whatever else that I don’t enjoy school. The past few days I have been more chill, but things have gotten done. I guess I’m just seeking balance for the next 68 days.

I also had the chance to talk to my Pastor and Youth Pastor about an internship for next year. They both seem excited and ready for me to help out in various ways. It’s cool to be planning what’s next. I love that my Christian College has prepared me to go into ministry and I believe this internship will help also. Then, there’s the Europe vision trip I have coming up in July. Our team has been meeting every Monday for preparation and prayer. It seems way too surreal to be going. I’m nervous about support raising, because I’ve never been the best at it. God is going to grow me in that area, I’m sure of it.

I’ve also been watching a lot of I Love Lucy and drinking far too much coffee. That’s just flat out good for the soul.

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Just Love Jesus.

2014
02.12

It’s amazing how easy it is to become discouraged. I can be doing well and enjoying life, then one second later, hating myself. I quickly switch from secure and confident to insecure and wanting to hide. Why does that happen? Sometimes I lie to myself and think it’s just the stage of life I’m in; once I’m out of college and more “mature” it won’t be like that. We all know that’s false. Discouragement is a backpack we drop and pick up over and over again all through life.

I listen to all the voices around me, telling me what to do and who to be. The worst of them all is my own. I’m definitely my hardest critic. What’s funny is I tend to make “God’s will” a burden that weighs heavy on my life,  always worrying about what’s the right thing. God’s will for my life is not a prison, but freedom.

My friend reminded me of something last night and it was just what I needed to hear. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matt. 22:31

Sometimes I read this verse and freak out. How the heck do I do that? It sounds overwhelming, but it’s actually extremely simply. Just love Jesus. Don’t try to be good or always try to figure out what He desires for your life, just love Him with your whole being. When you wake up in the morning, remind yourself Jesus loves you and when you go to bed at night. He will take care of everything else.

This has been encouraging to me at this time, because I have been easily discouraged by my own actions. However, I haven’t been focusing on my love for God. I’ve been focusing on me and material things that will fade.

One of the cool things about my Christian College is that we have a missions conference every semester and this week it’s happening. I’ve been hearing sooooo much about what God is doing all over the world and how I could be a part of it. While this can be overwhelming, it shouldn’t be. I just need to love Jesus and He’ll place me right where He wants me.

 

So if you’re feeling discouraged, insecure, stressed or frustrated…you’re human. Just remember to love Jesus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cold and Busy.

2014
02.06

It’s been cold. It’s been really cold. I never want to leave my bed and sometimes I don’t. It’s also been busy, which is another reason to not leave my bed. So what do you do? When you’re so cold and busy that you don’t want to leave your bed? The answer to this question is one I’ve been seeking to find and here’s what I’ve come up with…

1.) If you are going to school somewhere that is so cold, dress warm and bring a blanket to class. I get teased, but honestly, it makes life (and the walk to class) so much more doable.

2.) Drink tea. It relaxes you. For me, it’s been great for both business and chilliness.

3.) Don’t hide from people. When I have so much to do, I normally hide to avoid losing focus. However, I’ve found that when I surround myself with people trying to accomplish the same task, I’m in a much better mood and get it done faster.

4.) Snacks. However, don’t just eat junk food. That works against you. I’ve been eating a lot of raw nuts and raisons.

5.) Get some perspective. Your paper is not the world. It won’t be an issue in a year. Do your best, but don’t forget reality.

6.) Take breaks. Sometimes you just need to watch “Say Yes to the Dress.” mmmhmm.

7.) Spend time with God. Honestly, whenever I’m in prayer, things are better. The past couple of days I’ve been stressing over a paper on Martin Luther and not really spending great time with God. This makes me grumpy. However, when I do spend time with God, I remember why I’m even at a Christian College. I want to glorify Him in all that I do.

Now, the end of my week draws near and it’s almost the weekend. (Thank the Lord!!!) And I’m looking forward to not being so busy, but still probably being cold. At least I won’t have to get out of bed.

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Follow Me.

2014
01.23

Recently God has been teaching me a lesson. This lesson is one that is frustrating, challenging and seems as simple as can be. Here it is: “So he left all, rose up, and followed Him.” That is a verse in Luke 5. It’s right after Jesus went up to Matthew, the tax collector, and said “Follow Me.” This is probably one of my favorite verses in the Bible. What strikes me is that it says Matthew left all, even before he stood up. That shows that in his heart he was ready to give up everything.

I’m not so sure this is me right now. I keep thinking about how I’m called to full-time ministry and yet I’m terrified of not being by my family. That is probably the scariest thing ever to me. I’m graduating from my Christian College in 98 days. Things are going to be different. I’m not going to have Bible classes everyday. I’m not going to be surrounded by believers every moment. Living for Christ is going to have to be a choice, but more than that. Being sold out for Christ is going to be a sacrifice. I have to love Him more than anything.

One of the guys in my class preached in Chapel last night. You wanna know the topic? “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Phil. 1:21 His point was that we need to be heaven minded, that’s what we should strive for. Paul had seen the face of Jesus and looked forward to the day when he could be in heaven with Him. Paul also knew that his fight on earth was for the glory of Christ. He wasn’t tied to this earth because of good food, adventures, family or comfort. Paul’s only reason for being on this earth was because God hadn’t taken him home yet. The war wasn’t over, but man, was Paul excited to be with His Lord.

God was so extremely real to Paul. Is God extremely real to me? Is He my only reason for living?

In my section devos this week, one of the girls spoke about trusting God. She used the stories of Noah and Gideon. They trusted God and God took care of them. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is the same God who looks after me. Why don’t I try Him? Why am I so afraid? It’s because this world is more real to me than Jesus Christ.

If Christ tells me to follow Him to the unknown will I leave everything, get up and go? Like I said earlier, this is a challenge and I hope God will shape me into that person. I think He already is.

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Here’s to a “growing” semester.

2014
01.18

…Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. That’s what this semester has felt like thus far. It’s been like an explosion or something else that makes boom sounds. It hasn’t been horrible or anything, just different. It feels like I’m almost done and I’m growing up. The drive back to school alone was a “boom” moment. I was by myself, driving on the scariest, iciest mountain roads. I thought for sure I was dead. There was much crying, praying and holding back sickness. It was a good way to get on track with God before coming to school.

I graduate May 2, do you know how soon that is?! I most certainly do. The past two weeks at school have moved so quickly. Only a few more of those and I’m basically married, with kids, grandkids and retired.

I’m taking 20 credit hours (which is the most I’ve ever done). I don’t personally recommend this amount for a senior, but somehow it’s working out for me.

God has been growing me. I think it’s my friend Sarah’s fault. See, on the day back we prayed together. I prayed that we would have an awesome, enjoyable semester. She prayed that we would have a growing semester. See, see?! Her fault. It’s been good though, truly. I got sick this past week and kinda wished I had died on those icy roads. However, God gave me strengthen and I went to classes. I also got asked to speak at our women’s retreat this March…which is awesome and VERY growing. No matter how many times I speak, I’ll always be nervous, I’m sure of it.

Oh and I have to play dodgeball…growing. I’m not good at anything sporty, at all.

Here’s what I’m learning though, the more I feel like I can’t do any of this, the more I want God to do it. I need Him. I need His strength, His counsel, His discernment and His love. I’m so thankful it’s mine for the taking.

Christian Colleges are awesome too, because of all the godly encouragement I get from the staff. When I was sick, the business manager made me healing soup. It was super spicy. I sweated out all toxins.

Gotta go get ready to play some dodgeball and grow some more. :)

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Christ>everything else

2013
12.29

Wow, it’s been a while. It’s funny cause I’ve been through many stages the past month and have thought to myself “I should blog about that.” I’m now in my last week of Christmas break and will be returning to school (for my LAST semester) on Saturday. I needed this break too, more than I’ve ever needed one in the past. I think God does that sometimes and I’m thankful. He seems to put us in a state that’s ready to let go, ready to change. School holds my heart in many ways. I have millions of memories there and a family, but I’m starting to look forward to the next chapter.

 

Here’s whats been on my mind recently: College will wear on you. It will. It wasn’t meant to be forever. It doesn’t matter if it’s a secular or Christian colleges (although in my experience secular will faster for a believer.) People will make you tired. Classes will make you tired. Dorm life will make you tried. Yes, even you will make you tired. I adore my school and the people in it…but holy cats, I need to hide sometimes. I’ve realized just how introverted I am. It’s funny, cause for so long that was almost a curse word to me “introvert.” I’ve always been social, never shy and quick to try to make people feel comfortable. You know those people who just feel energized by other people? Maybe that’s you, but it’s certainly not me. I’ve realized how worn out I get. Seriously strange considering my strong desire to go into ministry.

 

With that said, I’ve been reading Hebrews and pondering the new year and semester. The phrase “Christ is better” keeps running through my mind over and over. Christ is better than any aspect of my school, the good and the bad. He’s better than being alone with tea and I Love Lucy. This is the mindset I want to have, the mindset that will help me finish strong. So even though I’m not ready to go back yet and be tired all the time, Christ is my all and He’s better than sleep. :) That might sound crazy, but having that motivation makes it all worth it.