Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I was thinking about the incoming New Year and about birthdays and random things like that on Sunday, and thoughts like that were randomly floating through my head during the Christmas service I went to. All of a sudden, God whispered to me as 2 Peter 3:8 flowed through my head in the train of thoughts: "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." And suddenly it was like my mind was blown and all of these thoughts flashed through my mind. God is outside of time! He didn't create years; those were created by humans after they calculated how long it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun. Whenever we have a birthday, we may be a year older, but a year is so relative! It doesn't even matter to God. With Him, we are constantly growing, constantly maturing. We made years so we could attempt to keep track of time and try to keep life a little more organized. But even in life's innate organization there is so much beautiful chaos that it's impossible to try to contain it.

God doesn't want us to make resolutions once a year, at the beginning of our earthly year. He wants us to constantly be setting goals, trying new things, reaching for Him. He wants us to constantly grow, even though it's so hard to do. He wants us to at least try!

I'm not saying forget about birthdays, forget about following laws that said you should wait until you are a certain number of years to do something, forget about New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, forget about setting New Year's resolutions. What I'm trying to do say is that more important than anything pertaining to time is the fact that God has blessed us with each moment that we live, each breath that we breathe, each blink of an eye, beat of a heart, twitch of a muscle, flash of a neuron. Don't take time for granted ("Oh, it'll only be for a minute"). With God, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day.

Friday, December 10, 2010

One of those random posts that became not so random at the end

Why, it IS that time: time for a random post of nothingness that surely will have no message behind it by the end!! Although the last time I tried that one, I ended up coming out with some sort of message...but that's besides the point.

I signed in today thinking, "Yay, I'm going to post something that nobody will read, just so I can write. Because I like to write. Yes." But then I get to my dashboard, and what do I see?

I actually have FOLLOWERS?! What is this madness!? Do you guys have nothing better to do than read my mindless ramblings that sometimes have a point behind them!?

I love you dearly.

Moving on.

I happen to have a weird fascination with snow. I hate how cold it gets here, I hate the wind chill, and I'm not a particular fan of ice (except in indoor rinks where it's nice and smooth and I can wear skates). But snow is different. Sure, it's cold and icy and hurts when it gets thrown in your face (had that happen one too many times...), but it's snow. It's solid precipitation that you can pack or dust or dissolve. It covers the roofs and ground and trees in a sort of fluffy, glittering blanket.

Maybe I like it because I feel like a snow princess whenever I walk through the falling flakes and get them stuck in my hair (see Royalty post for a digression on that). Maybe I like it because it relates to a time of year when people are generally more generous and warm and loving, even if sometimes for the wrong reasons. Maybe I like it because it's so hard for me to imagine how the God of the universe could ever come up with such an awesome thing (I know I never could).

All I know is that whenever snow falls from the sky and starts collecting on the ground, I consistently am overwhelmed with a feeling of "God, you are so INCREDIBLE!!! This is BEAUTIFUL!!! I LOVE YOU!!!" And then I become a little child again, like the one Jesus says we need to be to enter His kingdom, forgetting the people around me and laughing giddily and dancing around in the snow. Maybe that's why I like the snow the most. Maybe the reason I actually enjoy this time of year is because it causes me to forget that I am technically an adult, a college student, with responsibilities and goals and such. I am once again reminded that in His eyes, I am always a kid, and I always will be. And when it comes down to it, His eyes are the only ones that matter.

(...well, I thought it would just be a random post...guess not, once again.)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Earth = playground

Almost exactly a week ago, I was in a Young Life leaders meeting, and we were praying before the end of the meeting. This girl who I had briefly discussed with started to pray, and something she said that caught me momentarily was something along the lines of this: "God, thank you for making this world so that we can play in it." It struck me a bit at the time because I had never heard something like that before, but then I forgot about it and went my own way after the meeting.

This morning, after a rough, stress-filled evening, I was walking outside after my chemistry class and really taking in all of the things around me: the perfectly clear, blue sky; the trees reaching up to the great expanse above them; the countless birds and chipmunks and squirrels chattering and running from here to there; the tall residence buildings, the old frat houses, the grassy quads. And those words came back into my mind: "God, thank you for making this world so that we can play in it." And I nearly stopped mid-step as I was walking back to my dorm. Suddenly I looked at everything from this perspective. The world around us, all of the trees and animals and buildings and sky and everything else, is a playground. We are running around in a playground larger than we could ever imagine. It's a strange thought, I'll admit, but what an interesting outlook! I could barely keep from grinning ear to ear as I walked back to my dorm with the perspective that I have been placed in the midst of Creation to play in this playground of a world we live in. It's so hard to describe the feeling. Try it for yourself! It really changes how you see everything around you.

It also brings with it the reminder that God loves us simply because He does. It doesn't matter what our grades look like, what jobs we work, how good at sports we are. That stuff matters in society, sure. It usually ends up determining our next steps in life. But God looks past all of it and into your heart. He sees beyond the letters and the drama and the practices. He sees us as we truly are, and He sees us as incredibly beautiful, even in the midst of our messy lives. Don't forget about living in society, but don't be of it. Let go. Be different. Take each day as it comes, and enjoy each bit of it.

Matthew 6:34 = "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today" (NLT).

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Open your eyes

I was talking to a new friend at an all-nighter event that the high school ministry held, and we were all at the beach watching the sunrise. He said something that struck me, that I thought was such a good point, and something wise amongst all of the randomness bouncing around in my head in this 12-hour period...

As the sun cleared the low clouds at the bottom of the horizon, scattering its light across the waves as the lake rolled back and forth, one of my sisters in Christ makes a remark along these lines: "How can anyone not believe there's a God, after seeing something so amazing like this?"

To which my new friend replies, "They have their eyes closed."

Reader, whoever you may be, how many times have you walked around with your eyes closed? Not just literally speaking; I mean, how many times have you been moving through life too fast to take in the world around you? How many times, even, have you simply just chosen not to open your eyes to the life all around you? I will freely admit that yes, I am guilty of doing this every now and then. I like to say that I love stopping and admiring the beauty of nature everywhere I go, and my friends will even attest to this by saying things like they always have to wait up for me when we're hiking through the woods or something of the sort. But there are definitely times when I'm just "too busy" to marvel in all of God's creation (i.e. having a poor frame of mind when I'm running errands, spending hours upon hours doing nothing on Facebook, making excuses for not setting aside that precious time to be completely alone and quiet with God in nature).

Opening my eyes to that gorgeous sunrise and meditating on how God brings new mercies each day really opened myself to God's presence this morning. The intimacy of sharing with God in those 20-ish minutes of that golden ball of fire rising above the vast waters of Lake Michigan was really something remarkable that I had never done before. How long have I been walking with my eyes shut to such a marvel? Eighteen years of my life?

Perhaps if the world slowed down a bit more and took more time to stop and really take in everything around us, our eyes would all be opened...opened to uncontainable joy, to true beauty, to pure love, to satisfying peace, to the King of Kings.

Friday, August 27, 2010

I obviously think too much

Okay, so I have this essay to write for school that is due on September 10, before I even arrive on campus. It's an essay on plagiarism and why a university should be concerned about their students following strict guidelines regarding avoiding plagiarism. Currently, at this exact point in time, I have a few scattered ideas typed out in a word document and no real structure at all. Thirteen days to go....I might think about starting on it soon.

Anyways, that's not the big point. As I was brushing my teeth in the bathroom last night after typing another random thought into that word document on plagiarism, I got a random thought: What does God think about plagiarism? Is it possible to plagiarize Him? More than that, if it's possible, how does He feel when we plagiarize Him?

Well, technically plagiarism is a sin against someone else. It's stealing, stealing someone else's work to be exact, whether artistic, musical, linguistic, mathematic, or scientific. It's also saying "Hey, I'm the one who created this!" when someone else deserves the credit instead. So I suppose to answer the question "how does He feel," I think that He feels sad, because we are hurting others by stealing from them.

So, is it possible to plagiarize God? Honestly, this is pure speculation from my point of view, as a lot of this blog has been, so feel free to disagree, but I feel that yes, it is possible to plagiarize God. In addition to the obvious (taking words from His Word and saying that you came up with them all by yourself), isn't it plagiarism when we plant something and then say, after it has grown, "I grew this?" We didn't grow it. We planted it. We watered it. We made sure it was positioned in the sun. But we didn't grow it. What about when we complete a very hard task, and then take a step back and say "I did this all by myself?" Did we really do that all by ourselves? In truth, we can't do anything without God.

On the other hand, God created us in His image with the ability to create. We can be original creatures and create things. God didn't create the car on the sixth day, nor did He paint the Mona Lisa. Some could argue that he may have inspired Pythagorean's Theorem and the Theory of Relativity, but I am not certain that that is the case.

So where do we draw the line? And does any of this even matter? I honestly don't think we need to go crazy about this whole thing. I found it intriguing enough to write about, but I think God would rather have us worry about more pressing matter, or in fact not worry at all.

The Bible says that what we do to the least of these, we also do to Jesus Christ. Creators are in a vulnerable position when they come up with something original and then send it out into the world to be criticized, acclaimed, or stolen. I almost feel as though by giving proper credit where proper credit is due when we ourselves are creating, we are indirectly being kind to those creators who are in a vulnerable position, thus doing so to Christ. I also believe that by recognizing and fully believing in our hearts that we humans would not even be capable of living without God, and by not being afraid to name Jesus as our Savior and the center of our lives, we are giving proper credit where proper credit is due to Him as well.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A vision for Generation Y

I finished reading it a while ago, but in any case I suggest that you read My Generation by Josh Riebock. Seriously, it's a good book. Anyways....because that previous comment doesn't fully relate to what I want to write about. Although it does have a small bit of pertinence.

I see great potential in the generation I am living in, which is to say the current middle school kids on through people in their late twenties. Seriously, I have met people who have been changed by God and I have seen people be changed by Him. I have seen fires lit from within. I feel my own burning within me.

All that needs to happen now is for each small fire to catch onto all of the other small fires and turn into one consuming blaze.

I have a dream that stems from Hillsong's song "Hosanna." It goes like this:

"I see a generation/Rising up to take their place/With selfless faith, selfless faith/I see a near revival/Stirring as we pray and seek/We're on our knees, we're on our knees."

My dream is for each and every child of God to recognize that the revival starts with us. We can't just keep waiting for a better time or for the right time, because that will never come. Christ has already sent us out into the world with the command to go and make disciples of all nations, helping them open their hearts to the love that God has for them and helping them walk into a life with Him!

Know what else? War is not inevitable. They say that of course war will always happen, because people have different ideas. But you know what? Having different ideas doesn't lead to war! Even if Person A and Person B despise each other and the ideas the other has, this doesn't lead to war! If neither Person A nor Person B actually want to go to war, then no war will happen. They will live in disagreement with each other, knowing that even though they dislike each other, they also dislike war, and wouldn't dare risk their values over a disagreement between people.

And you know what else? Hunger, homelessness, and widespread disease are not inevitable, either. But until you visit a country with significantly less than what you are living in, you might not realize this. I have seen people living with half of what I have, maybe less, who get along perfectly content, and who give to the people living in tents in the slums. Don't you think that, if we humbled ourselves and gave away more of what we have than we might feel comfortable with, we could provide homes for those out on the streets, or food for those who don't eat every day, or medication for those who suffer from easily-treatable diseases?

Another book recommendation: Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Okay, end of rant for today.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Think about it

I was watching one of Christine Caine's sermons and she mentioned this interesting piece of writing that really got me thinking, "Hey, I want to be like Jesus."

A Man Fell Into a Pit
A man fell into a pit and he couldn't get himself out.
A subjective person came along and said, "I feel for you down there in the pit."
An objective person came along and said, "It is illogical that someone would fall down into that pit."
A Christian scientist came along and said, "You only think you are in a pit."
A Pharisee said, "Only bad people fall into the pit."
A newspaper reporter wanted the exclusive story on the pit.
A fundamentalist said, "You deserve your pit."
Confucius said, "If you had listened to me, you would not be in the pit."
Buddha said, "A pit is only your state of mind."
A realist said, "That is a pit!"
A scientist calculated the pressure necessary to get him out of the pit.
A geologist taught him to appreciate the rock strata in the pit.
A taxman asked him if he was paying taxes on the pit.
The city inspector asked him if he had a permit to dig a pit.
An evasive person came and avoided the person in the pit altogether.
A self-pitying person said, "You have not seen anything until you have seen my pit!"
A charismatic said, "Just confess, you are not in the pit."
An optimist said, "Things could get worse."
A pessimist said, "Things will get worse."
Jesus, seeing the man, knelt down and lifted him out of the pit.
-Author Unknown

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Daring to be a David

Seven months ago, at the winter retreat in January (Blast), I made a covenant with God. I promised to do whatever He wants me to do, say whatever He wants me to day, and go wherever He wants me to go. The biggest reason I ended up making that covenant was that, even then, I was worrying about the fact that God might call me to a different part of the world, and I was afraid that I would be too scared to answer that call. Thus, the covenant really gave me some accountability while also opening me up to whatever God had in store for me.

A year ago, I had toyed with the idea of one day going to Costa Rica for a vacation so that I could walk through the rainforests and go white-water rafting and things like that. Not long after Blast, Brooke (tech programmer in our Promiseland children's ministry) started talking to me about how she had gone on a mission trip to Costa Rica and all the things she did there and how it changed her. I eventually felt God tugging on my heart, saying that I should go. I didn't know why He wanted me to go, but the feeling didn't go away, so I started doing some research, and eventually I found out that one of our other church campuses was going to be getting a group of high school kids together to go to Costa Rica for the summer. I started a chain of correspondence with one of the leaders, which led to an interview, which led to a couple of meetings, while led to me sitting on a plane shaking my head at how crazy this situation was. I was following what I think was God's voice, and it led me to flying on an airplane (which I am not exactly comfortable with), to a place that none of us on the team have been to before.

Thing is, I now know for sure that it was God's voice. There is no other way that everything could have happened the way it did. It was no accident that I went with eight other people to Cartago, befriended several of the Ticos, and now am longing to return there. God used me in a huge way while I was there, and I am so glad that I answered His call!

Of course, now that He has worked a great deal in my heart over the duration of the trip, I am still, even two weeks later, suffering from culture shock. In addition, I can no longer see more than a few centimeters in front of my own two feet on this path I am on. I thought my future was pretty much set: Go to Northwestern, go to medical school somewhere, do my internship/residency, get a job, try to have a family. Now, all of that is fading and blurring. I don't know if that's what God wants for me anymore. He's shown me something so different throughout the duration of the trip. He's shown me that my future is not limited. I could do so many different things! In a way, that's not comforting at all; what am I supposed to do about a major in college? Then again, in a way it is comforting, because it means that I have this freedom to pursue anything I want to and anything that God calls me to, because no matter what, He will make sure that if it is His will, it will happen.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


If you're not interested in reading a super long post, I suggest you skip past this one. ;)

I just got done reading a section about worship in a devotional book called A Call to Die by David Nasser. It brings up a point that struck me big time a short while after I became a Christian, sometime back in early 2009 I think, a point that was brought even more clear to my mind when I saw a couple of other people at school attack the subject of worship.

I love worshiping God, a huge reason being because it gives me room to cry out the prayers that are in my heart. However, the one thing that bugs me the most regarding worship is when other people think that worship is just walking into a room, singing a bunch of songs to the ceiling, and then walking out and continuing on your merry own way.

How much more wrong can you get?

Worship is giving God glory, giving Him some of the credit He deserves, telling Him that He deserves everything you can possibly give Him, showing Him that your love for Him is so great that you can hardly contain yourself. You are not merely "singing a bunch of songs to the ceiling" when you are truly worshiping God; you are singing to Him and for Him! The words turn into your prayers, into the cries of your heart, into your desires.

The way I see it, if you don't believe something a song says or you aren't truly praying to God through the song, if you don't really want God to move through your life based on the words in a song ("This life is Yours and hope is rising..."), then, reader, whoever you are, please don't sing. God prefers an honest heart to one that is just going through the motions. And don't think that throwing your hands up in the air makes you more of a Christian than anybody else, if you're that sort of person, reader. I know these are harsh words, but God prefers the humble to the prideful. If you're only raising your hands to Him to look better, your intentions are way off. I don't know about you, reader, but I feel extremely vulnerable and completely surrendered to God when I raise my hands to Him and ask for His Spirit to reign in me.

If only we realized just how mighty God is and the kind of power we invoke when we worship Him, maybe we wouldn't be so quick to simply just go through the motions and shrug it all off afterwards.

Reader, just be honest with God. He already knows where you are, after all. Your worship to Him, whatever form it's in, should come from the depths of your heart. Whether you are happy, upset, confused; whether you feel like you're on top of a mountain or in the deepest pit of your life; true worship expresses Your heart to God and gives Him the glory above all else, no matter the circumstance.

And singing is only one form of worship. Dancing, painting, drawing, writing, acting, lighting/sound, stage design, other forms of art not mentioned, serving others, and praying are all forms of worship. In fact, doing whatever it is you do for God is worship! Whether you are making some sort of video to glorify Him or whether you are lying beneath the stars, thanking Him for creation, as long as it is with your whole heart, you are worshiping Him.

One last thing. Romans 12:1 = "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." What does it mean to be a living sacrifice for God? It means that everything you do stems from Him. It means that He is working in you and causing you to want to live for Him. And that living for Him is what it means to give your life up for Christ, the whole "Christ died for me, so I live for Him" type of thing you sometimes hear.

Once again, reader, just be honest with God from where you are.

Worship songs that have changed my life because of how God spoke to me through them or how I cried out to Him through them:
  • Invitacion Fountain - The Violet Burning
  • I Could Run Away - Brandon Grissom
  • Amazing Grace - Various Artists
  • Everything - Lifehouse
  • Our God Reigns - Delirious
  • Wrapped in Your Arms - Fireflight
  • Came to My Rescue - Hillsong United
  • All I Need is You - Hillsong United
  • You Hold Me Now - Hillsong United
  • With Everything - Hillsong United
  • Till I See You - Hillsong United

I pray, reader, that the next time you decide to worship Him through music, you really look into your heart, listen to the words you are singing, and really mean them.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

He is in control

I am currently reading In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson (at, unfortunately, an incredibly slow pace because I've been so busy). Now, our youth pastor plus the youth pastor at the retreat I went to this past winter both taught from this book and highly recommended it; in fact, the youth pastor gave it to me for free. In addition, last week, a passage that I had just read from the book was shown on the screen during the church service! It's been so weird to see how often things from this book pop up, and I can't help but exclaim how cool it is. So today I wanted to share something I found in the book that I dog-eared to come back to later because of how much I liked it and how much it meant to me during a recent time when I was overwhelmed with trying to process through what I wanted and how I was feeling.

Research has shown sighing to be a way of processing grief, a response to distress, a way of venting any sort of emotion when there's no way to verbalize it.

Ted Loder's Guerillas of Grace:

How shall I pray?
Are tears prayers, Lord?
Are screams prayers,
or groans
or sighs
or curses?
Can trembling hands be lifted to you,
or clenched fists
or the cold sweat that trickles down my back
or the cramps that knot my stomach?
Will you accept my prayers, Lord,
my real prayers
rooted in the muck and mud and rock of my life,
and not just the pretty, cut-flower, gracefully arranged
boquet of words?
Will you accept me, Lord,
as I really am,
messed up mixture of glory and grime?

Part of me wishes that I had read this book sooner and had found that poem in the book sooner. Because guess what? The Lord DOES accept you for who you are, no more and no less. He accepts me for who I am. He accepts everyone where they are. He knows us from the inside out; we don't even have to verbalize what we're saying. He knows what all of our sighs mean. He knows each and every one of our unvocalized thoughts. And He loves us not because of what we've ever done (or haven't done), but for who He is. It's a reminder that I need constantly, the fact that I can trust Him with my entire life because He wants the absolute best for me because He loves me.

"Nothing is more difficult than praising God when nothing seems to be going right. But one of the purest forms of worship is praising God even when you don't feel like it, because it proves that your worship isn't circumstantial" (67).

So why am I writing all of this, then? Where is it stemming from? Well, remember how I said, reader, that a short while back I had been overwhelmed with things and trying to process it all and make sense of what I wanted and what I felt was best? It was during that period of time that I made a very hard decision that pretty much brought me to tears. I saw God at work in the situation, and it was just so hard to let go and let Him take over; simply allowing Him to do so was one of the hardest things. I know He knew how difficult it was for me and how I disliked it. But I came before Him and worshipped Him and let Him know that I needed Him more than anything to bring me through, that He always is everything I need and nothing less.

Incredibly, God blesses those who obey Him. Let's just say that one day, I was struggling to hand a situation over to God, and the next day God is granting me a completely unforseen blessing. I know for a fact that He has blessed me; there is no other way to explain it. Because of this, I know that there's no way I could ever take this for granted. I thank Him every day and pray that His will, not mine, be done, no matter how difficult it all may be. If anything, what has happened these past weeks has taught me that God truly is in control! He really works in the most unbelievable ways!

Monday, May 31, 2010

A friend indeed

A short couple of months ago, I became friends with someone who has since become one of my favorite people to talk to. The events leading up to my acknowledgement of this friend's existence were odd, to say the least, and yet somehow it shows, to me, how God can place certain people in one's life at specific points in time for special reasons.

For me, this friend has not only been there for joking and laughter, but also for listening and questioning. This friend has helped me realize the importance of truthfulness, a quality that I valued before and now value more than ever. This friend has played Devil's Advocate numerous times in an effort to show me the loopholes in my arguments about whatever we have been discussing, and has also helped keep me accountable for many of my actions. And how refreshing it is to sit down to a frank (even brutally honest) conversation with someone who can give you a second perspective of yourself!

If you are this friend (and you know who you are, if you are) and you are reading this, know that you have made a greater difference in my life than you think. I thank God for you daily.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Straying from the path

I meant to post this blog post on Monday, but never got around to it. So here it is now, and I'll try to recount it the way it should be recounted to the best of my ability.

I decided one afternoon to go walk around in the woods, so I went to the park and started meandering around the woods. Well, the path I decided to take ended up forking, so I chose the path to the right and kept walking, walking, walking through the woods.

A brief note: I have never been very far in the woods before until this point.

I found myself positively enthralled with nature and the beauty of the wildlife, all of the plants and insects and occasional bird or other animal. I marvelled at how some of the trees would bend to form arches that I could walk under. I had my camera out and kept snapping pictures here and there (all of which I planned on uploading to Facebook later that day).

Another sidenote: All I had with me were my camera and my keys. No phone. Smart move...

I even found myself in a meadowlike clearing, and I just kept walking and walking through the woods, coming to an open field where I saw a deer. It was all so quiet besides the sounds of wildlife around me and the praises and songs that I sometimes whispered out loud to God. It was all so fantastic, and such a thrill to someone who had never been so lost in the forest before. Yes, I was lost. I was not sure at all how to get back. But I couldn't have wandered that far away, right? All I would need to do would be to circle around and arrive where I started.

Well, I ended up in a place where I had no clue where to go. I kept taking paths and felt myself straying farther and farther from where I wanted to go. Two hours into the hike I had taken, and I was beginning to worry about where I was. I never saw the same scene twice around me, so I never knew if I was retracing my steps or not. The more I wandered, the more lost I felt, and I eventually found myself praying that, even though I was on a path that had to lead somewhere, God would somehow help me find my way out of the forest. I even ended up climbing way up high up some steep, sand-like terrain in order to try to figure out where I was and try to keep to the path I was on. I nearly fell several times, and would have slipped and fallen down the steep hill I had been standing on had I not grabbed onto some trees in order to keep myself upright. I kept snapping pictures as I walked along, but at this point some of the fun had seeped out of the experience and was replaced by worry. And it was at this point that I felt a nudge inside me: This is a real-life experience of what it is like to "wander off the path," to stray from God.

I eventually found a bike path that I followed until I reached a different park that I knew. I breathed a sign of relief. At least I knew where I was! Thank you, God! The only problem was that this park was about two miles from the other park I started in. Had I really wandered that far? So I found a large sign that had a trail map on it, and I discovered that all I needed to do to get back to the park I started in was keep to the gravel path. So I made my way back into the woods. I stayed on the gravel path, and every time I came to a clearing and knew where I was, I found myself breathing sighs of relief. I was almost back! I almost wanted to shout out in joy.

There was such a sweet relief when I returned to the park, went to my car, and sat down. Much like, I found myself thinking, when one who has strayed from God finally stops wandering and returns onto God's path and runs back into His arms. It was an amazing day, and I am so grateful for this real-life metaphor of what it means to stay on His path for me.

I leave you, reader, with a verse I thought of when I was walking back after I looked at the map... Matthew 7:13-14 = "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Sunday, April 25, 2010


I saw a quote somewhere around Facebook that said, "Tears are the words the heart can't express." I think maybe the writer of the quote meant it to be about crying from sadness, which I can see, but I also think it can be taken differently, too.

Reader, I'm the kind of person who really hates hiding her emotions. I prefer to be open with others, not hiding behind some sort of veil. I don't like to hold back how I feel, but sometimes when I feel strongly, I end up in tears. Examples:

1. If I laugh too hard I definitely end up crying. Possibly the silliest situation because I have absolutely no control over it!
2. If I become angry and upset I may start to tear up.
3. If I witness something sorrowful, whether it be a video, song, or scene that strikes a chord with me, a few tears may roll down my cheeks.
4. If I am overcome with an intense feeling of longing, i.e. wishing Jesus would come back or wishing that people would know God, I might tear up a bit.
5. If I feel overcome with joy, I might start to cry. It just happens.

In these situations, and others, the emotions are so intense that I cannot find words to express them. I suppose tears work well, then, to express the feelings in my heart that I cannot alone.

Do I like to cry? Do I force myself to cry? No. It just happens, and I'd rather let it happen than try to keep it bottled up inside. Of course, walking around a public place like a school makes it rather difficult, because many times you are automatically judged for being so emotional. Those are the times when I end up saving moments in my head to revisit on my own time, in the car or in my room or in some other place.

Ultimately, though, God says that in Heaven, He will wipe away every tear from our eyes. So even if/when I do cry out of joy when I go to Heaven, He will be there to brush them away and tell me, "I know what you are feeling, daughter. Welcome home."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Can we say "miracle?"

About an hour after that last blog post yesterday, I was in my room getting ready for bed, putting some stuff away, when all of a sudden B barges into my room. At the time my back is turned and I'm putting some papers away in a drawer in my desk while she's talking.

She's apologizing, and crying.

Long story short, she was spilling on how she was sorry about the things she's been saying, how she's having so much trouble figuring out who she is, how she feels like she can't be herself, how hard it is for her to believe at all in God, how she feels like she just keeps messing up and can't do anything right. I was humbled by this display of sorrow and all I could think, as I invited her to sit on my bed and lean into me and cry while I told her that I forgive her, was, "How wrong was I for bashing her only an hour earlier!"

Even fifteen minutes prior to this event, my other sister C and I were discussing her attitude and how mean she had been acting lately. I spilled to C some of the things she had said to me. I think C probably had a hand in exposing to B these faults. It seems like B listens more readily to C than to me, which is fine I suppose.

I prayed for her and talked to her, and even talked to her a bit about God and gave her some reading from a site called since she told me that it's hard for her to believe without proof outside the Bible. I'm hoping that she asks more questions and that we all can be more open with each other from now on.

It just seemed like a total miracle.

Happy Easter everyone! He is risen!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

God, please grant me some patience

Looking back at many of my previous blog posts, it seems like each of them has some sort of underlying theme or moral or idea or something, I don't know. I don't think this one will. This one might turn into more of a rant.
I don't know what to do about my sister, who we will call B. I have pretty much had it with her. Lately (like for the past six or eight weeks, roughly) she has become more intolerable than usual. She makes mean comments right and left, and when anyone says something about that (i.e. "that was rude" or "that wasn't nice") she'll say something like, "Can't you take a joke?" or "I was only kidding." What lies; if she meant to pass those comments off as jokes, she a) would use a very different tone of voice, b) wouldn't be saying them so often, and c) wouldn't be saying them in bad situations. Then, whenever someone brings this up to her, she replies that she doesn't know what that person is talking about, she doesn't have an attitude problem, she's only joking, she doesn't know why everyone's so serious.
Last night, I had some friends over to watch Passion of the Christ since it was Good Friday. I told B beforehand that I didn't want her downstairs with us if she was just going to sleep through the whole thing or make comments throughout the whole thing. She got defensive and tried to get my mom involved, who dismissed the whole situation on both sides and didn't get involved. I knew that since I was inviting over the teenage worship leader I mentioned in my last blog post and his two brothers, B would not want to be left out of the situation. Those three would be the only guys watching the movie, and them plus B would be the only people not in my small group. The other seven of us (with myself included in that number) are all in the same small group. Well, throughout the entire movie, B could not help but make loud side comments and flirt with the worship leader (who, on a side note, she has dated before). I know that if B had not been in that room, the guys would have all been really into the movie. I wish she had gone to a friend's house last night or something. The funny thing is that the worship leader's younger brother was more mature that night than his two older brothers! He actually, when I started crying during the movie, reached over and took my hand and squeezed it knowingly in support.
The worst was when one of the girls in my small group and I started bawling and hugging during the last fifteen or twenty minutes of the movie together. B went and said, "Aw, you're cute" in a sugary, syrupy kind of voice. It was completely out of context and uncalled for, especially since Passion of the Christ is such a serious movie! Oh, did I mention that she said this while Christ was being nailed to the cross?
Lately she's been hurting me worse than ever by overexaggerating and ridiculing my intelligence ("Your smartness annoys me!" "Like every five seconds you say something smart about plants and this and that and I don't care.") and my love for Christ ("At least I don't run around shouting 'Jesus!'"). It hurts because I know for sure that I'm not "saying something smart" every five seconds; in fact, it's a rare occassion when I bring up what I learned in school on whatever day because of the fact that nobody asks and so nobody seems to want to hear. It hurts because I know for sure that I don't "run around shouting 'Jesus!'" like Bullhorn Guy; I bring my Bible to school most of the time and I connect with others at FCA and at Sonrise, but unless someone asks me why I'm carrying around my Bible or why I act differently or do this or that, I generally do not talk about my faith. I don't hide it, but I don't randomly out of nowhere say, "So, do you know Jesus?" And it sucks because at home I feel like I can't be open about my faith, either. The place I feel safest and able to open up most is at Impact. It's even a rare occassion when I feel safe and open in my own bedroom. How sad is it when you feel like your home is a place away from what the rest of your family calls home? I feel like I'm closer to my brothers and sisters in Christ than to the family I was born into. But I digress.
I just don't know what to do with B anymore. It seems like she's been turning into those backstabbing mean girls you sometimes see around school. She has said before that she's accepted Christ (apparently last summer), but it's obvious she hasn't; I'm worried/scared for her future because even though I'm trying to be an example for her, I don't think she wants to have a faith like mine. All I feel like I can do otherwise is pray. I'm just at a complete loss besides that. And because of how she's treating me, it's become extremely hard to think fondly of her. God, please help me. And her. And the rest of my family. And the world. :(

Monday, March 22, 2010


I just titled this blog post "Indescribable," and now I'm going to attempt to describe this thing that I have deemed indescribable. Hm...

So yesterday, I went to Impact and was delighted to see that SOS (Students On Staff), which is made up of a good majority of my closer friends at Impact, were leading the Impact service. It started out with one of my good friends, who has been truly blessed with musicality and who has such a deep connection with God, leading worship with a set of Hillsong United songs. Watching him worship (when my eyes weren't closed), I just felt this sort of awe at the connection that God has with him, that worshipping Him just opens up a line between them. It was awesome to see it from a third-person perspective and also to feel it happening around me and within myself, everyone just opening up to His presence and praising Him.

Two of my friends spoke before and after a song-skit (which I will describe shortly the best I can) and it was amazing how God spoke through them. I kind of knew beforehand that my guy friend who spoke was outgoing and would have been up to speaking, but to see one of the girls from my small group, the shyest of us all, speak? It was awesome! And I know that she would not have gotten up there and talked to us about witnessing to others had God not spurred her on to do it. I am so blessed to know her and be her friend.

And the song-skit. Oh. My. Goodness. It It's to the song "Dare You to Move" by Switchfoot. I'll try to explain the best that I can, but I am in no way doing it justice and I hope that it gets posted somewhere so I can watch it again and forward it on. So all of the SOS people in the skit were given sandwich-sized, cutout hearts. The SOS worship leader that I mentioned earlier was playing the role of Jesus, but nobody was in costume or anything so it wasn't cliche. He mouthed the song the entire time. First he gave a heart to his sister, who was playing the girl who kind of just came into the world. She goes off and finds some friends at a party and gets some confidence, but it's a little bit fake. One of the friends sees a guy and gives her cutout heart to him, and they're happy together, until another girl comes along and the guy throws the first girl's heart on the ground carelessly and walks off with the new girl. The expression on her face, of such sadness and heartbreak and numbness at the same time... I think it was at this point that I realized, "Why do I feel like I'm going to cry? I mean, this isn't anything really, really close to me at this point in time." The scene moved to two more high schoolers who were playing a mom and a dad, sitting at a table stiffly and ignoring each other, reading the paper, and a totally different girl comes to the table and tries to talk to them, but the kids playing the mom and the day burst out into argument for like the entire second verse of the song, and the girl is begging them to stop fighting, and she looks like she's about to cry... A tear slid down my cheek, and yet it wasn't anything close to home. So why was I so full of emotion? And then the scene turned to the guy from before (who took the girl's heart and threw it away for another). He slowly took an exacto-knife from his pocket and shakily, angrily, hopelessly, started pressing and dragging it across his wrist. His head was down the entire time in anguish... I think this was where I just couldn't keep the tears back, I couldn't, no matter how hard I tried, and I didn't know why. And then the first girl, whose heart the worship leader playing Jesus gave to her, started going around to each of the other three broken, hurting characters during the bridge of the song, witnessing to them with a sort of desperation that was so heartfelt and emotional and urgent... And at the end they all ended up kneeling at the worship leader's (Jesus's) feet, holding up their cutout hearts to him in abandon. His arms were out shoulder-height like Christ's were on the cross.

I did not do that any justice at all. And the only reason I can think of for why I just couldn't stop the tears from coming, why I was so moved by the whole thing, takes me back to something that happened on Saturday, while I was writing part of a story. It's a scene where a character, someone who has no significance to the plot whatsoever, ends up trying to commit suicide because, due to the temptings and antics of my main character (who is a demon), she ends up in massive debt and can't handle it and feels like she has nowhere to turn and nowhere to go and doesn't know what to do and just wants it to all end. And writing that, I felt this sudden surge of pain from the Spirit, and it became so hard for me to write all of a sudden, and I felt such a heaviness that I had never felt before when writing. It was this sudden reminder: God hurts for His children. He hurts when they hurt themselves, He hurts when we run from Him. He is our Father who loves us and He hurts when we hurt. I feel like this is similar to what happened in that room yesterday, that the Spirit inside me just showed me, "The Father hurts for this. He hurts when you give your heart to things that hurt you, not only because you turn from Him, but because you hurt yourself." And I just felt that hurt well up inside me, even though it wasn't like it was my own hurt. My parents have fought, but not since I was little. I have never cut, even though I have a few friends who have done it before. I have never had a boy break up with me, I have been the one who breaks up with a guy, though guys who I've liked have taken that for granted.

And the desperation with which the worship leader's sister witnesses is such that it struck me that these aren't just people, they are God's children, even if they don't know it! Even the people we don't like, who we think don't deserve life, who don't know Christ, were made in God's image and He longs for them to return to Him! Christ could come back any day for His people, first of all. Second of all, people could die at any time, and if those people refuse God even to their deaths, they have no salvation. That's the kind of desperation that that girl was running around with: The kind that knows that our life on Earth is short compared to eternity, and we may not have much time left.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Last night, I read 1 Thessalonians 2 and the verse that stuck out at me while I was SOAPing was verse 12, which talks about walking worthy of God, who has called you into His kingdom and glory. Coincidentally enough, at Sonrise this morning (our school's Bible Study that me and a couple of my small group girls organized) Ellen was talking about how we need to live like Jesus. His was definitely a life worthy of God, because He is God! He loved so much, and with every gesture he embodied the love He wanted the world to know about. He trusted His Father (Himself? how confusing the trinity is!) so much, and other who watched Him saw His relationship with God and questioned Him about His ways.

And then, ironically enough, I sprain my ankle in gym class while playing soccer. This must have been the third, fourth, maybe even fifth time I've sprained the same ankle by rolling it. Until I began writing this blog, I saw it as a hinderance and began questioning, "Why?"

So what's the irony? The irony is that I cannot walk right. I am limping along, trying to keep as much weight off of my injured foot as possible. It's almost as though my physical injury is imitating the struggle that's going on within myself. I've been trying so hard to lead a life worthy of the calling I have recieved, yet recently I have felt like I'm drowning under many of the things the world is trying to throw onto me. During stressful times like these, my focus on God often strays and I become vulnerable to what Satan tries to trip me up with. Just like how I'm struggling to walk right physically because of the stress on my ankle, I'm struggling to walk worthy of God spiritually because of the stress on my soul.

This really makes me stop and realize that I need to take a step back. Lately I've taken to practicing solitude and silence, and I feel as though I look forward to those times with God because they release me from the small matters of life and focus me back in on the One who matters the most. Sometimes we want to take on the world and all that it throws at us, but we need to remember that our souls need to rest every now and then, and we have the freedom to take what is thrown at us and throw it to God, because He enjoys relieving us from our burdens.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


I just recently came back from a weekend retreat called Blast at a camp in Wisconsin. I went into it hoping that God would speak something to my heart; I came out crying tears of joy and wonder.

Friday evening, the speaker brought up a point during session that made me stop and think really hard. He said something along the lines of, "Guys, I know many of you have given your life to Christ and say that you have surrendered, but would you really do absolutely everything He asked you to do? Would you say anything He asked you to say? Would you go anywhere in the world He asked you to go?" It scared me a little bit and really caused me to stop and question myself. Doubt began to cloud my mind a little bit. I thought that I had accepted Christ a bit over a year ago and given myself as a complete sacrifice, wholly surrendered, to Him this past summer at Sandblast, another retreat. But little doubts were still creeping around my mind. I didn't know if I would ignore God if I was caught in the moment. I didn't know if I would refuse Him outright if I didn't realize that He was speaking to me at a certain time. It kind of freaked me out a bit because I wanted to give Him my everything. I just didn't know if I really could, and I discovered that at Sandblast I hadn't fully committed myself to His will, just mostly. There was still a part of me holding back.

I shared my insecurity with my small group and I prayed desperately that He would show me a way, that He would help me out with what I was struggling with and help me to commit the rest of myself to Him so that I would do and say everything He wants me to and go wherever He wants me to go. I prayed that He would help me not to fear the outcomes of obeying Him.

Well, the next evening at session was a bombardment of amazingness. We were worshipping to a bunch of songs, and especially when we started singing a song called "I Could Run Away," I just felt God speaking to my heart through the actual song lyrics and through the words that the worship leader added himself. It was a fantastic release, and so beautiful that I couldn't help but cry because of how awesome He is and how crazy awesome it was to see so many people walk to the front of the auditorium to accept Christ and to be prayed for. I completely let go and just worshipped Him and prayed and cried some more. My small group was a bit tearful too, which made me feel way less self-conscious about my situation (even though I wasn't too self-conscious to begin with). I just felt God calling me to really, truly give everything else up to Him, and to stop worrying about how I would provide for myself or what other people would think of me or anything like that. And so I let go. I surrendered, and I pray it's once and for all this time.

We took communion after worship, and me and one of my small group friends just couldn't stop crying the entire time! It was so awesome how touched everyone was by where we were and how we were worshipping with everything we had and how many had come to Christ. During small group time after that, I talked about how God had touched me and let me know that I cannot keep ignoring Him when He whispers to me about traveling to other countries to serve. I had been afraid of really considering it because my mom is against it and because I was not sure whether that was the best decision for me. But duh, of course: You don't know what's best for you, God does! So let Him be the one to lead you!

So on Sunday morning I stepped up to the microphone with tears streaming down my face as I told 500+ people about this covenant I had made, this promise to "do all He asks me to do, say all He asks me to say, and go everywhere He asks me to go." I seriously couldn't stop crying after that, especially when my other emotional friend came to me and hugged me and started crying also and when one of the sophomore guys rested his hand on my shoulder. Even before worship, when the leader was praying for us, I couldn't stop crying, and this guy next to me that I didn't even know put his arm around me and the person on his other side. Of course I ended up crying even harder. I don't even know why; the tears just kept falling. And now that I have time to think about it, I think I was just crazy overwhelmed by how much God was working in me and in everyone around me. How awesome is He!!!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


So today in Promiseland (our children's ministry) I found myself doing something that, had you asked me two months ago, I would have never thought I would ever do. I found myself center-stage, teaching kids about prayer. Talking to God. Addressing one of the biggest questions that kids have about it: How do you talk to the Creator? To the giver of all things good? He's so fantastically amazingly awesome, and don't you just feel somewhat intimidated even thinking about the fact that He's not only bigger than our own Earth, but also our entire galaxy? As I stood up there, smack dab in the center of the stage in front of fifty or so pairs of eyes, talking to these kids about talking to God, it hit me. I don't think I could have kept the expression and awe out of my voice had I tried (which I didn't). God is HUGE! He's the Creator! He's the Giver! He's the Lover! You're not just talking to one of your friends, here; you're talking to the King of all kings! Wow.

Yeah, I have accepted Christ and gotten baptized and surrendered my life to Him and all of that good stuff. Those were amazing moments, don't get me wrong, and they were moments that I'd love to talk more about (and that I might have already talked about; I might have to go back in my blog and see if I have). But that's not my point. Here's the thing: I don't think it has ever really blown my mind how holy He is until today. I don't know why; it just hasn't. But

It leaves me speechless to think that God chose that moment to whisper and say, "Yes, I am Creator. Yes, I am Giver of all that is good. Yes, I am the LORD." Sure, I had heard that and thought about it before. But I had kind of left it in the back of my mind with a sort of "Okay, that's who You are. Now let's move on to what I am and how little I am compared to You and how much I need You." And I'm not saying that that's a bad thing, but do we ever stop and look around us and think, "God, You are the one who decided that we should breathe oxygen. You are the one who decided that we should feel hunger if our bodies need nourishment so that we will stop what we are doing and eat something in order to sustain these bodies." He knows way more than we do about anything we know and everything we don't! How is it that we have come to find acceptance and even love in God's eyes? How is it that He finds an enormous amount of joy in saying "This is my child, in whom I am well pleased" when we choose Him? He's just so vast! How do we deserve this? We don't! We sin every day!

But, as I shared on stage, He wants to know us. He's not that mystery who would rather keep you guessing. He longs for an intimate relationship with us! And one of the best ways to get to know Him is by talking to Him. Just like a friend, or a parent, or a cousin, or a brother, or a husband. Yes, He is our Maker, and should be praised for it (God, You are so amazing and spectacular that my words cannot even begin to encompass all that You are!). But we can share our deepest problems and regrets and hopes and dreams and insecurities and faults and loves and joys with Him, because He already knows. He already knows! He already knew before you were born that you would do that thing or feel that way. He knew you would sin. Heck, He knew what was going to happen with Adam and Eve and even that Satan would break away from Him and fall from his place in Heaven. He already knows! He knew He would have to give Himself as His Son in order to save us. He knew you would turn away from Him again and again to do that thing that you keep saying you've given up. He knows about the fighting that's going on in your house. He knows about the happiness that has been in your life, too. He already knows! But He wants you to go to Him with everything, because talking to Him will deepen your relationship with Him! And all you have to do is open your heart! Pour it out! Know that He is God, the Everlasting, the Beginning and the End, but also know that He is your Father and loves you with an unfailing love and is enthralled by your every word, just as we should be enthralled by His!

I was watching part of a 2007 Christmas service DVD the other day. One of the actors was playing an angel. He said something along the lines of "God has this funny thing for these humans. They've done nothing, and He's crazy about them!" No matter what we do, God will always have a kind of indescribable love for us.

God is love. He loves you. Simple, yes, but definitely true.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Well, I decided about five seconds ago that I wanted to write a blog post, but then I started typing this sentence and realized that I really do not have anything specific in mind to write about. Usually I write with some insight. Today, I feel like being random. Kind of like that bursting-out-into-random-songs-whilst-dancing type of random. Well, not quite exactly like that since I'm lacking energy since finals start tomorrow and I'm trying to cope with the stress of putting finishing touches on some projects and essays, but that's besides the point. You get what I mean.

Speaking of random, though, it's often said that life is random. But in actuality, now that I think about it, it's not, is it? Not when God's in control of it all. He has a purpose for even the most minisule event. Each blade of grass pops up from the ground for a reason (even if that reason is to be eaten by a cow or something like that). He gives us the free will to say things or do things that may seem random to us (i.e. bursting out into song or going out with friends at the last minute), but He always seems to use those things to accomplish something, no matter how small or big the outcome ends up being.

That's strange to think about sometimes. It means that this blog post didn't really, truly, completely randomly happen, since God's using it for a reason (even if that reason is to help me pass time while I wait for videos to upload from my camera so I can finish a video project for school). It's so crazy how big God is, that He could have influence over every area of our lives and yet still give us free decision-making reign!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I went back to school after winter break this Monday. These past two days have been some of th most draining days I have ever experienced. If this is how the beginning of the week is going so far, then I wonder how the rest of the week is going to look!

In addition to recieving the immense after-break workload like a slap in the face, I have been struggling with trying to find time to dedicate myself to my resolutions and to simply be with God and acknowledge Him. A lot of this is because the devil has kind of been sneaking around, trying to find ways to breach the barriers I'm trying to set up in my mind. Over winter break, I just started opening my heart to the prospect of dating again (I had been reluctant to the idea since my one and only past relationship). Well, long story short, I'm feeling awfully lousy right now. It kind of stings knowing that the guy who you know liked you and that you have had a crush on for years suddenly decided that he doesn't like you anymore for some strange, unexplainable reason.

One of the thoughts floating around in my head is, "What? Am I not good enough?" And looking on this now, I realize that this thought, this question, is the kind of reaction the devil takes advantage of. In fact, a lot of the time he is the one who puts it there to begin with. It's difficult because I emotionally feel that something's wrong with me since that guy doesn't want to go out with me. But I know in my head, and the truth resounds in my soul, that God never makes a mistake when he makes a person. In fact, God has made us all more than good enough, he has made us great! He has given us plenty of good qualities, and plenty of room to grow. The person who looks past that fact and who doesn't see how wonderful we are is the person who should be prayed for.

And so I pray for those kinds of people, the ones whose eyes are blind and whose ears are deaf and whose hearts are blocked, that they may become aware of God's artistry in making us and giving us our lives. May their lives be shaken up from their monotonous ways of living and may their worlds just be rocked by the amazingness of God's love!

I intend to set aside a couple of hours tonight where I can completely focus on Him without any outside distractions. After reading this, I know I am stressed, especially with finals coming up. I cannot put myself in a position for the devil to try to mess up my life.

I cannot dwell on the things that "could have been." I can think about the things that God has promised, the things that He says He will do.

Reader (if there is anyone reading this, which there possibly might not be, but anyways), know that you were no mistake. You were given what you have for a reason; you were placed in the lives of others for a reason. You cannot go back and change the past, but why would you want to? Things needed to happen that way in order to end up where you are today. If it feels like you've hit rock-bottom, look at it this way: There's only one way to go from here, and that's up.