Friday, December 2, 2011

I bought a new Bible today

            It sounds silly, but it was a hard decision for me. I was/am so attached to my old one, but it literally came out of the binding and I knew it was time for a new one.

            I went to what I think is the only Christian bookstore in Stillwater. The woman who helped me check out started to tell me about a Beth Moore Bible study she had done.

            “In the study, Beth Moore talked about how exciting getting a new Bible can be,” she said. “We become attached to the old one, and we sometimes just start to fall back on the old notes we’ve made in it. But when we get a new Bible, it can be an opportunity to read God’s word with ‘fresh eyes,’ allowing God to speak to us in new ways.”

            Letting God reveal new truths to me and not just reminding myself of the old ones…

            What a great way to look at getting a new Bible. (And how fortunate am I to live in a place where I can buy a Bible whenever I want)

            There was another woman working (she was maybe a year or two older than I) who engraved my name on my new Bible. After it was done she came over to where I was standing.

            “Whenever someone buys a Bible we like to pray over it with them,” she said. “Do you mind if we do that right now?”

            Of course I didn’t mind! One thing she said in that prayer stuck out to me more than anything else. She asked the Lord that I would use this Bible to share the gospel with those who need to hear it. Wow. Here is this complete stranger praying that I would grow in the word and then use it to be a witness in the world around me. Every time I think about it I have to remind myself to breathe. I don’t even know what to say. Our Lord is so awesome.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I should be doing homework...

My list of things I need to do seems to multiply every day.

I have to confess that I spent a good deal of time this semester feeling physically and emotionally drained. I also spent more time than I like to admit feeling bad for myself. I’m so embarrassed to admit how many “woe is me” moments I allowed myself to have over the past few months.

Our God is so awesome. (even when my attitude is less than awesome) Whether it was an unexpected letter from a friend or a note left on my door by a resident, God continually encouraged my heart this semester. It’s amazing to look back and see his hand every good thing that has happened.

I read 1 Corinthians 4 today and came across this passage:

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

“We are being renewed day by day…”

As this crazy semester comes to a close, I am reminded that God renews me every day. If he can give strength to all those believers as they endured more than I can ever image, then I know he can and will provide a little college girl with the strength needed to make it to the end of her semester.

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 1 Cor. 4:7

Back to homework…

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Few Are Needed- Indeed Only One"

I can hardly believe it has been almost a month since I have been on here…

 I have been working a lot on getting my major declared and learning about what I need to do to prepare. I find myself thinking about the future… a lot. It really is an exciting place, but can be scary when you don’t know what’s ahead. I honestly have no idea what my future holds. I actually kind of like the thought of this. I like the idea that what is ahead is completely open. Even though I have no idea what it holds, I do know one thing. I want my life where God has placed me to be my ministry. No matter where I am, I want to be where he wants me serving Him. My problem is that I struggle with being too focused on “seeking” what God wants for my life. I feel like I have to plan and worry and constantly be “looking out” for the place he wants me; when all the while he just wants me to simply trust him. There have been times that I have found myself cutting my quiet time short because I think he would rather me do something “productive” that needs to be done. Now what could be a better use of my time then spending it with him, in his word? This is where he teaches me and reveals more of himself to me. Why would I want to cut this time short? But I do. I am reminded of when Jesus visits the home of Mary and Martha. Martha is upset that her sister simply sits with the Lord, while she is busy doing things for him. Here is what the Lord tells her:

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “You are worried and upset about many things, but few are needed- indeed only one.” –Luke 10:41

Okay, so I would most likely not be the girl you would find cooking and cleaning (Ask my mom. She’ll tell you.), but I am the girl who finds herself worried and upset. I am the girl who feels the need to be preparing for my future, when all I need is God. He wants me to leave the details to him, seek him continually, and trust that he provide (which he will). Several weeks ago my pastor talked about a time when his family needed to sell a house. They turned down the help of a realtor (despite her warnings that a house in the area couldn’t be sold without help), because they preferred to simply trust God to sell the house in his time. It sold within the month. When we simply trust God for things he always provides in his time and in his way.

“All these kings and all their lands (and there was a lot!!!) Joshua conquered in one campaign, because the Lord, the God of Israel, fought for Israel.” –Joshua 10:42

God will fight for me and provide for me in my future. He wants to do this. He just asks that, like Joshua, I walk in obedience to him.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Everything's Bigger in Texas

My little blog has been neglected (sorry little blog).
There is so much I want to talk about, but I cannot type as fast as my thoughts flow (let the typos begin). Anyway, here we go…

This weekend one of my closest friends and I drove to Texas to see my old roommate. I drove. Driving with me is always an experience (I like to think it is only because I have bad luck). On the way there I only took a dead end street once, got us lost on all the bridges near Fort Worth twice, and only drove on the wrong side of the rode once (Not my fault. Those roads should be marked more clearly.). That may seem like a lot, but for me that is an extremely successful trip.

Not to pick on Texas (I have a lot of family from there and really like it), but people just drive differently there. Everyone seems to be in a hurry and it seems like people are always going somewhere. No one seems to know how to enjoy the experience of driving. Which got me thinking (Oh no, she’s thinking again!)…

“I wait for the Lord, my whole being waits, and in his word I put my hope.” –Psalm 130:5

God wants me to wait on him this summer and seek him in all I do. Yet the farther I get into summer, the harder this is being for me. I feel like I am that crazy driver unable to enjoy the journey (something I talked about in an earlier post) and in a hurry to get to my destination. Whatever that destination may be.  I feel like everything around me is moving faster than I want to keep up and I have an obligation to keep pace. Between my job, my summer class, church stuff, attempting to go to the gym, and everything else it is becoming a lot to keep up with. But I don’t think God wants me to keep pace with my life that is becoming increasingly crazier. Keeping pace with all the craziness of being busy means I am going to miss out on him, and things just aren’t even worth it if he is not a part of them. I only find fulfillment in life by seeking him above all this. My suddenly crazy busy summer will always be there waiting for me. I just have to take the time to slow down and make sure I am still letting God be a part of it. Be sure he is still the “destination” I am seeking.

I think it is the writer in me that loves seeing things through analogies, and I love how God has been showing me so much this summer through little things like Texas traffic (Which is really no little thing. Everything really is bigger in Texas. They ain’t just bragging down there.).

I have posted this verse before, but God keeps bringing it to mind. It is a reminder that he knows I need.

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord.” –Psalm 27:14

This is what I plan on doing.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"I am Free to Run"

My sidewalk chalk interpertation of Lake Hefner

By no means do I profess to be a nature lover. There are too many bugs for me to really love it. Big bugs, little bugs, fat bugs, thin bugs (Dr. Seuss anyone?). Yet, I love being outside despite the bugs. My favorite place to read is outside when it is a warm, sunny day. I had a meeting today, and I left my house early so that I could read out by a lake in Oklahoma City for awhile. I spent some time reading in Psalms and God brought this verse to my attention:

"I will run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free." -Psalms 119:32

God is great about showing us things in his word at just the right moment. There is a biking/walking/jogging path/track (I don't know what it is called) that goes around the lake. I thought about all the runners on the path. Many people go running on that path for a variety of reasons. These runners have the freedom to do so because they have feet and legs that are able to work and will carry them. I can run in the path of his commands, because he has given me this freedom.

"And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." -Romans 3:24

If you can't already tell, I really like analogies, and this runner/path one really got me thinking. A path is something that a person follows, which logically means someone had to already have made this path. I am reminded of a verse in Deutoronomy:

"Then I said to you, 'Do not be terrified, do not be afraid of them. The Lord your God who is going before you will fight for you, as he did for you in Egypt, before your very eyes." -Deutoronomy 1:29-30

I am able to run in this amazing freedom, because Christ has gone before me and is fighting for me just like he did for the Israelites. What a comforting thought! Maybe I should read by lakes on sunny days more often...

Saturday, June 4, 2011

It's a Jungle Out There!

What you see above is an attempt to be creative using sidewalk chalk. The result is nothing short of pure artistic genius (okay, maybe I just copied the picture on the back of the chalk package). I love sidewalk chalk, and I bought some last night after going to dinner with my family. This is no ordinary sidewalk chalk. It is "sidewalk chalk: safari colors edition." Hence, the back of the package had this lovely jungle scene that I did my best to recreate in my parents' driveway. Although the rain will soon wash this masterpiece away, its memory will be forever honored on my quaint little blog.

I have been at a loss as to what to blog about over the past week. Every time I would think about posting, my heart just wasn't in it. I didn't know why this was, but then I realized that neither had my heart been in my daily time spent alone with the Lord. The world is so full of distractions for me. When I picture a person standing in a jungle (kind of like the one I drew), I imagine that the person would be overwhelmed by all the different noises, animals, bugs(unfortunately), plants... There is an entire "jungle" of things in my life that constantly vie for my attention. It is so hard at times to not let these "jungle noises" distract me from spending time with God.

"Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them." -Psalm 111:2

I read this verse during one of my quiet times earlier this week. It really convicted me. As I sat reading this verse, I was reading my Bible only to check it off my "daily Christan duties list." Instead of merely reading God's word, I should be delighting in it! It is full of his works, his faithfulness, his power, and the list goes on. This brings to mind for me a verse in James:

"Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." -James 1:22

These verses really make me think about how I read God's word. Am I delighting in the things of him when I read it? Am I reading it to be instructed, challenged, and convicted? Or am I just reading to mark it off my "list?" Unfortunately my answers are usually "no" to the first two questions, and "yes" to the last one. It shouldn't be this way for me, and it saddens my heart that it often is. If I am not being intentional when I spend time in God's word then how is my heart and my mind going to be ready to notice all the "abundant sunshine" God has for me in it?

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Evening With Dean Martin

The Lord has blessed me with a lot of free time this summer to just do nothing. With absolutely nothing to do this evening, I turned on Pandora on my laptop to my Dean Martin station and began to write a letter my good friend, Callie (we decided to become old-fashion pen pals this summer! Haha!).  Listening to Dean Martin and others like him, I thought about how music was so different back then. So many of the songs possess this breezy quality that one doesn’t often find in music today, and the songs are absolutely captivating. The music possesses this effortless elegance much like Audrey Hepburn does in almost all of her roles (so jealous), and I love it. As I was writing my letter I had this sudden urge to read my bible. I’m sad to admit that I very rarely read my bible just because I feel like it. I usually only read it when I do my quiet times. Anyway, I love when I am reading God’s word and he reveals something to me that I never thought about before…
“For great is your love, higher than the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies.” –Psalm 108:4
I have heard and read this verse and verses like it many, many times before, but for whatever the reason it really impacted me today. His love is, “higher than the heavens.” How high are the heavens anyway? I have no idea, but it is higher than I could ever imagine. This is how much God loves me; more than I could ever imagine. Wow! I do not know why he chooses to love someone like me, but he does. And like the music I am listening to, his love for me absolutely captivates me.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Not Perfection, but Progess

I had originally had this wonderful vision of blogging everyday this summer. Fail. A lady whom I greatly respect often told me that living for the Lord is, “not perfection, but progress.” This applies to so many areas of life outside of walking with the Lord (and it obviously applies to my goal of daily blogging).  For some reason, I am very patient people around me (with the exception of my family… Sorry Mom.), but highly impatient with myself. For example, I never really liked coloring as kid. Taking the time to slowly color perfectly inside the lines to create a picture was just boring for me and not worth the time and effort. In class, I would usually just scribble when we had to color an assignment. Once in 2nd or 3rd grade I actually took the time to really color a picture and my mom was so proud she framed it (at the time she thought it might be the only decent piece of “artwork” I would ever do).  My problem is that I expect perfection in myself right away. If I try to learn something and it does not come easily for me, I often just give up. Sometimes when I am reading a book I will skip to the end just to see what happens and then go back and read the rest. I do not know how to “enjoy the journey” in doing things. I have yet to learn how to appreciate progress and I think this is what God wants to begin teaching me during this summer. He wants me to learn how to appreciate the progress of things in my life. I have been reading a book a close friend recommended to me by Elisabeth Elliot called Passion and Purity. In it Elliot talks a lot about dealing with uncertainty before marrying the man who would become her husband. She gives an example of a conversation she had with the Lord at one point, “When will we find it? we ask. Trust Me. How will we find it? we ask. Trust Me.”  I struggle all the time with trusting God to handle situations in my life: school, work, future, etc… Often, I want so desperately to know the ”end of the story“ in different areas of my life and God’s answer is Trust Me. Learn to appreciate the progress.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Trip to the Mailbox

I said I wanted to talk about old people yesterday, but would save that topic for another day… Well guess what? Today is that day. There is this elderly couple who lives in a house that I pass everyday on my way home from work. Some days if I happen to drive by at just the right time I see this husband leading his little wife toward the mailbox (I assume to check the mail).  I have gotten to witness this scene several times over the past couple years and I watched it again this past Tuesday. It is such a sweet picture that I can hardly stand it and I almost cry every time I see that couple. The wife appears to have a difficult time walking and it is obvious that the short trek to the mailbox is not an easy one. It is obvious that the husband could easily walk to the mailbox and back to the house in thirty seconds flat. But he doesn’t. Instead he slowly walks beside his wife, leading and supporting her. He is perfectly content to go at her pace. I cannot help but think that the wife would never be able to make it to the mailbox without her husband beside her. I also get the feeling that the husband enjoys and looks forward to daily taking that short walk with his wife. If he didn’t want to he could just go get the mail on his own. Likewise, the wife could tell her husband that she doesn’t want to walk out to get the mail with him. It is both their own choice.
When I was home working over spring break I was thinking (and possibly tearing up) about this couple as I was driving home one afternoon. Then all of the sudden I heard God say, “This is what I do for you.” I was completely speechless. Over the past couple years I had been given a real life picture of what it looks like when God leads in my life. I am that wife who could never make it to the mailbox on her own. God is like the husband; patiently leading me, walking at my pace, and enjoying the time spent with me. God wants to be with me and meet me where I am. He wants to lead me and he chose me, but like the wife I have to make the decision to let him lead me.
I love how God will reveal himself to me and show his love for me through little moments like this.
“The LORD your God is with you, the mighty warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” –Zephaniah 3:17

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Struck in a Storm

I had every intention of writing about old people today until about 8:30 this evening, but I guess God had other plans. That topic will have to wait for another day. Today I feel the need to talk about storms (which is funny since the idea for this blog came from a weather forecast). I hated storms when I was little. They scared me to death. If I saw even the smallest speck of green on the little map of Oklahoma on the TV screen I went into a panic, and would be convinced that a tornado was coming to blow me away. I thought I had a “sixth sense” for severe weather. I could just feel it in the air (apparently this is called humidity and many people possess this power of keen weather observation). To put it simply, I had an unreasonable fear of severe weather. Although I still feel a little twinge of anxiety when I hear there is a tornado watch, I really am no longer bothered by storms.
This evening I went to dinner and a movie with some of my dear sisters from my sorority at Oklahoma State University. We walked out of the movie only to be greeted by rain and some pretty ominous lightning. Getting in my car, I realized that I was about to drive straight toward all that lightning and I was about 40 minutes away from my house. It had been quite some time since I had to drive in a storm and I wasn’t in the mood to revisit that experience tonight. I felt that little twinge of fear. Driving towards the lightning, it seemed to only to become more frequent. I had set my iPod to shuffle and the song that came on was “You Hold Me Now” by Hillsong. Here is just a little bit of the song:
“On that day when I see
All that You have for me
When I see You face to face
There surrounded by Your grace

All my fear is swept away
In the light of your embrace
When Your love is all I need
And forever I am free

Where the streets are made of gold
In Your presence healed and whole
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone

No weeping, no hurt or pain
No suffering You hold me now
You hold me now
No darkness no sick or lame
No hiding You hold me now,
You hold me now”

As l listened to that song I was reminded of how in the midst of the “storms” of our lives, God is always there to hold us and lead us. Sometimes in life we sit obliviously in the movie theater only to walk out and be surprised by one of life’s storms. We never see the storm coming. Sometimes we have to knowingly drive straight into the storm, because we have no other options. Regardless of where we are at in life, Christ is there to hold us in that moment. This is so comforting to me.

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” –Psalm 62: 1-2

Driving in this literal storm, I felt a peace surround me. The lightning continued and I was struck (get it?) by the beauty and magnificence of it. God created that lightning and he was in control of it. No matter what I go through in life, God reminded me through this storm that he holds me and he is control of the situation. He is my “abundant sunshine” through it all.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Abundant Sunshine

During my freshman year of college one of the first things I would do when I woke up every morning was check the weather forecast on my iPod. Living in Oklahoma, the one thing you can always predict is that the weather will be unpredictable. On morning during the spring semester I was checking the weather and all the forecast said was, “Abundant Sunshine.” Is there a more lovely way to describe a sunny day than to say, “Abundant Sunshine?” I do not think so. The more I thought about this description of the weather, the more it made me think of Christ in our lives. I was reading today in Matthew 4 during my quiet time. It talked about Jesus going to live in Capernaum fulfilling Isaiah 9:1-2.  In verse 2 of Isaiah 9 it says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.” Christ is abundant sunshine in our lives, and when we pay even the small amount of attention to what is going on around us we can see little evidences of this sunshine everywhere. This is my goal. Daily God blesses me with more than I could ever realize or deserve. I spend so much time focusing on things that do not even matter and I miss out on Christ’s “abundant sunshine” in my life.
“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” –Psalm 73:25-26
 I want to take the time to recognize these daily blessings in my life. I do not want to miss out on the “abundant sunshine” around me, and I want to share this sunshine with others. Being a public relations major (excuse me, strategic communications); I was told it is good for pr majors to maintain a blog. So although I do not like murder (or blood for that matter) I decided I would “kill two birds with one stone” and start a blog documenting just some of God’s many daily blessings in my life. It is highly probable that very few people, if anyone, will read what I write. That is totally okay. But even if just one person reads my little blog, I hope it serves to bless their heart and shed some of Christ’s “abundant sunshine” in their life.