Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My mom was here in Searcy saturday night-tuesday morning. We had a lot of fun just hanging out and catching up :) Sunday morning we went to one of the spanish churches in town. I used to sometimes go to a spanish church that meets in the fellowship building of Berry's Chapel church of Christ in Franklin, but haven't been in over a year. I loved going - the pastor of that church is still one of the happiest people I have ever met. The whole congregation (probably only 30 people) was so gracious and friendly. They would "nominate" me to read scripture aloud sometimes... in spanish... talk about nerve-wracking. But they were always so sweet when correcting my pronunciation :)   (Pharisee and Samaritan aren't exactly in my vocabulary).  

The service we went to on sunday was so great. I love hearing a prayer in spanish. I love that worship breaks all cultural and language barriers. I love that, even if we don't completely understand one another, we all worship and love the One True God. I love that we are brothers and sisters in Christ, despite our language, race, or culture. I really just love people. And I'm learning more and more to see the beauty of God in every face.

Community is what it's all about :) 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


This is an excerpt from the book, Hope in the Dark. It's a conversation between an African man and one of the authors, Jena Lee:
" 'We know that Americans pity Africans,' he told me. 'But sometimes I think Africans pity Americans.'
'How so?' I asked him.
'Americans seem to expect that everything will be provided for them. For us,' he said, 'this ear of corn is a gift from God. This evening's rain is a shower of mercy upon us. This healthy breath is life-giving. And, maybe tomorrow we will not have such things, but our hearts are so full from God's provision.' "

i want to live like this. completely dependent on Him.

Check out Mocha Club
I volunteered at their office in Nashville this summer - such genuine people and a really simple but awesome way to do a little more. 

Monday, December 1, 2008


I have heard the song "Amazed" so many times. But i think i actually listened to it for the first time yesterday. 

You dance over me
While I am unaware
You sing all around
But I never hear the sound

Lord, I'm amazed by You
Lord, I'm amazed by You
Lord, I'm amazed by You
And how You love me

You paint the morning sky
With miracles in mind
My hope will always stand
For You hold me in Your hand

How deep, how wide
How great is Your love for me

The first verse is what gets me. Everyone has days when they feel so alone; too alone for anyone to understand, too hurt to even have words to tell anyone. The imagery of our Father described in this song is so beautiful. In those times of not having words to describe your pain or hurt, He knows our hearts and is feeling our hurt along beside us, whether we know it or not. I too often forget that He is always here. He will never leave me or forsake me. The God of the Universe has promised to be with me always! "You dance over me, while I am unaware. You sing all around, but i never hear the sound." At our loneliest, God is covering us in His love and His incredible comfort.
I'm not sure what it was yesterday, but my Father's unconditional and unfathomable love became a little more real to me.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

what a day.

left franklin at 5:30 last night. got to searcy at 1:30 am. 
We (my friend adam and I) were about 25 min. outside of franklin on I-40 when we came to stand still traffic. I turned the car off and we just sat there in park... for an hour and 30 minutes. The man next to us said that there was a tractor trailer that had caught on fire. A lady walking around told us that she heard that it wouldn't be cleared up until midnight! Thankfully, where we had ended up stopped was right next to a turn around spot for emergency vehicles, so we hopped back on I40 and headed back to franklin. My directionally gifted brother told us two different routes we could try. Tried the first way, but traffic was still backed up. Sooo we ended up driving the centerville and around some extremely winding roads. Finally made it to I40 an hour or so later! Basically, it took us 4 hours to get to Jackson. We made a couple stops for frappuccinos, coffee, and energy drinks along the way. When we were about an hour outside of searcy in Wynne, i got pulled over for speeding. It was bound to happen - we joked that we'd get pulled over the entire trip. Didn't get a ticket though :) Pulled into my dorm parking lot at about 1:30 - security let me in. probably a curfew violation. ohh well.

yesterday was the first time that i've cried about leaving and coming back to Harding. every fiber of me wanted to stay. i'm praying that i will see God's plan play out in the rest of my time here. i have absolutely seen Him working; it's just so hard to be here now.            
7 weeks until i move back. 3 weeks until thanksgiving break. 

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Your love is strong

I feel like i've been living a bipolar life lately.
somedays are really great and i am so aware of Him! and other days, just aren't so good. But, He has continually turned even the worst of days around and pointed them straight back to Him. 

It is pledge week here at Harding - craziness. quite grateful I'm not trying to balance pledging on top of everything. haven't seen much of any of my friends all week. i've had so much homework anyway. plus it has provided some good me and God time :) 

Went to the World Mission Workshop last thursday-sunday. Didn't know a single person as I climbed onto the Harding bus for a 9 hour drive to Montgomery, AL. ended up meeting some wonderful people, though. i think that God is really loving stretching my comfort zone this semester. this year. Kate and Heidi Miller met me in alabama (they went with lipscomb). It was so wonderful spending time with the two of them; i've become extremely thankful for familiar faces :) On the bus ride down there, the guy sitting behind me asked what type of missions i was planning on "going into". ( i think some of the guys that go on these trips are partially there to find a wife willing to live in the wilderness or in the desert somewhere). I told him that I'm really not sure about where/if overseas missions is where God wants me, but that I am trying to be aware and open to whatever He throws at me. Would have lovvvved some clarity on that statement during the course of the weekend. I did learn a lot though and i was incredibly inspired and have a new sense of motivation. I met a woman who lives in Jellico, TN (in appalachia) with her family. Really want to go and visit - they are having a major impact in that community. Heard someone speak about the Global Slave Trade - He showed clips from the documentary, Call and Response. ahh intense and heartbreaking footage:

17,500 women and children trafficked in the US per year - 50% of them are minors.
There are 27 million slaves in the world today - that's more than the population of Texas!

Sat in on a lot of other classes and learned something from all of them (well, maybe besides one..). 
Still waiting to hear where i fit in all of this.

Again, I so loved hanging out with Kate and Heidi during the weekend. Kate and I even shared a twin bed the second night :)

I think I'm going to get a tattoo over thanksgiving break:
            It means "redemption" in Greek. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

i am part of the fellowship of the unashamed,
the die has been cast. i have stepped over the line. the decision has been made.
i am a disciple of His. 
i won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.
my past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.
i am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees,
tame visions, mundane talking, and colorless dreams.

i no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotion, plaudits, or popularity.
i don't have to be right, first tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
i now live by presence, learn by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.
i cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.

i will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, 
negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or 
meander in the maze of mediocrity.

i am a disciple of Jesus Christ. 
i must go until Heaven returns, give until i drop, preach until all know, 
and work until He comes. 
and when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.
my colors will be clear.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Praise... even in the Valley

"The idea of transferring to Lipscomb has crossed my mind more than once this week..."
I wrote that 8 days ago. I spent this past weekend in Franklin - very much needed... you people refresh my soul. Spent time with the people that mean the world to me, saw friends I haven't caught up with in months, was challenged and inspired by Shane Claiborne, and got very little sleep. I also had the chance to meet with the Chair of the Social Work department at Lipscomb. I've decided to switch my major to social work... I'll admit that I have changed my mind about my major many times... but I was never as excited as I am about social work. So. really long story short, I'm planning on transferring to Lipscomb after this semester to major in Social Work. (if you'd like a further explanation as to why, just ask me) :)

"After every time of exaltation, we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they really are, where it is neither beautiful, poetic, nor thrilling. The height of the mountaintop is measured by the dismal drudgery of the valley, but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mountaintop, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the place of humiliation that we find out true worth to God - that is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at some heroic level of intensity, simply because of the natural selfishness of our own hearts. But God wants us to be at the drab everyday level, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship with Him. Peter thought it would be a wonderful thing for them to remain on the mountain, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mountain and into the valley, where the true meaning of the vision was explained (mark 9:5-6, 14-23).
"'If you can do anything...' It takes the valley of humiliation to remove the skepticism from us. Look back at your own experience and you will find that until you learned who Jesus really was, you were a skillful skeptic about His power. When you were on the mountaintop you could believe anything, but what about when you were face with the facts of the valley? You may be able to give a testimony regarding your sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you right? The last time you were on the mountain with God, you saw that all the power in heaven and on earth belonged to Jesus - will you be skeptical now, simply because you are in the valley of humiliation?"
-Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

I loved waking up and reading that this morning. I've been somewhat in the "drudgery of the valley" lately. I've been second guessing myself, decisions, situations. I am in an entirely new environment and have been completely overwhelmed at times. But, I thank God for where I am. As much as I would love to be in Nashville right now, God has used the past 6 weeks beautifully. He has shown me how unbelievably blessed I am. I've always known that I had great friends, a great family, etc. But not to the extent that I know now. I had to be taken completely away from all of that to really realize it. I have gained such appreciation, gratefulness, and love for so many people that I have taken for granted.

Not only has my time away caused me to "count my blessings", but it has changed my perspective on life in general (weird statement: Life in GENERAL...). As my surroundings and environment have become smaller and more confined, my awareness of things, life, and people outside of me and my "world" has become greater. Being immersed in college life - while trying to remain outside of it - causes you to be aware of a few things:
1. There is more outside of this campus.
2. There are more people outside of my peers.
3. There are many people on this campus that need to be loved.
4. There is more outside of this campus.

I don't remember these things everyday. I've been getting sucked into the shallow, self-centered point of view of a typical college student. But I don't want to be typical.. I want to be more than the stereotype. But I'll be the first to admit it really is a struggle. Since I've been here though, I have reallllly tried to embrace the beauty of the opportunity to "redefine" myself. I haven't dyed my hair or taken up frisbee golf, but I have been able to step back and look closely at who I am and who I need to be; who God created me to be. It has really been a beautiful experience. I have failed every single day. I have felt the immense, undeserving love of my Father. I have been absolutely amazed by the encouragement of so many people. I have found out things I never knew about myself. I have found peace in who i am in Him.

My perspective has been shaken and I now have a fresh pair of eyes.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


So i was planning on "blogging" each day of our vacation here in the gulf, but internet access has been hit or miss lately so I haven't been able to sit down and describe the incredible time we are having. I am at the beach with the Robinson Family, Melanie and Kate (and a whole lot of JP's extended family). We left Friday and have been having a great time from the start.

Friday::::::: It took us a little while to get out of Franklin friday afternoon... at least an hour. Needed a new fuse, bathroom break and our brave van (lovingly known as "lil' red"), holding 7 people (including 2 car seats) and a ton of stuff, kept bottoming out. 
We had sing-along time with John Mark and Riley to some good ol' Roger Day songs (Zachary Hated Bumblebees), watched a bit of Robin Hood and practiced our impeccable voice-over abilities due to the low speaker volume, and learned a new song dedicated to John Mark by Riley called "Blue Eyed Boy". So cute. 
Spent the night in Montgomery where we got a lame amount of sleep (encouraged by our alarm screaming at us at 5:30 in the morning... i have never been so confused as to what was happening while Kate and Melanie searched for the power cord to get it to go off)

Saturday::::::: On the road again for about 4 more hours. Road trips with kids are never boring... especially with adorable, happy kids. Stopped by "Ria and Papa's" house and then Jill, Melanie, Kate and I trekked through crazy crowds at Walmart to get groceries for the week. 

We finally settled down into our lovely beach house.  If you look off the front porch you see the beautiful Gulf, and you look out off the back porch and you see the bay. Could you ask for more perfect placement? The street we are on is so quiet and car-less... it's wonderful.

Sunday:::::: We were woken up by joyous sounds of children... yelling and running throughout the house :) Kate and I were jumped on by our little friends John Mark and Riley to get us out of bed... which eventually happened. We decided that morning that we are going to have to work on getting to bed earlier. 

Enjoyed our first day on the beach reading, swimming, and just relaxing!!! I just finished the first book of the Mark of the Lion series...500+ pages later. So good. I am embarking on the 2nd one... also so good already. I think I'm addicted. 
Can't remember a whole lot from Sunday except that it was great. And there was an incredible sunset to close out the day. 

Monday::::::::: Spent all morning out on the beach reading, taking pictures, making dribble castles with Riley... etc. Riley wrote a new song entitled "Ocean Song" that has been an immediate hit. After our routine lunch break, it was my turn to stay back while Riley napped. I fell asleep on the couch while I thiiiink I was still in a conversation with JP and Kate... stayed totally out for 2 hours. Half of the time I was sitting up... my back is suffering for it.
While John Mark and JP went fishing, we had a girls night which included 7-layer dip (thank you, Jill), 7-layer coconut/chocolate bars (thank you, Melanie) and 27 Dresses. Perfect, yes. 

Tuesday::::::: Happy Anniversary JP and Jill! Melanie, Kate and I have been put in charge of John Mark and Riley while JP and Jill get some time away until tomorrow. Kate and I broke out the kayaks this morning! Ahhh I loved it. Can't figure out why I didn't discover this love until now. We attempted to chase down a group of dolphins but we didn't have any luck. 

Riley woke up from her nap in a surprisingly good mood. She and I played in the water for a while and she sang me some more of her amazing songs... "Fishes come home... fishes come home... Water come home... Water come home..." ---inspired by a school of fish we stumbled upon. 
We packed up our stuff and headed back to the beach house. I was put in charge of bath time. We came down for a delicious meal of mac-and-cheese and fruit (missed Jill's cooking tonight). 
As I was trying to put the kids down for bed and reading, a kind neighbor decided to interrupt us with fireworks... My mom used to sing this simple song to Blake, Cassie and I when we were little called the "nay-nay song" and I sometimes sing it to Riley when I'm trying to get her to fall asleep. Tonight she whispered to me, "erica, sing nay-nay-nay". She is so adorable. 

And now I am sitting on the porch in the most incredible weather I could ask for, listening to the sound of waves breaking, and looking up at a gorgeous, clear and starry sky. 
God is Great.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


I have recently been blown away by honesty; honesty in people. Now that is hard to come by these days.

 I have been somewhat afraid of honesty for awhile. Not of the good-feeling kind of honesty that is easy to hear, but of the honesty that is hard to hear and to even say. The kind of honesty that you know beforehand could hurt either yourself or someone else you care about. I think from the time we are little kids, our culture, friends, even families sometimes, teach us (subconsciously) that being brutally honest is wrong. We are taught to be careful what to say so that we don't hurt other people's feelings. We grow up thinking that we should be ashamed of our short-comings and faults. Little kids make up stories... I think partly because they don't feel like the truth gets much attention. Now, I know that little kids also have incredible imaginations that are hard to contain at times, but I don't think that is the whole reason. All I'm saying is that as we grow up, made-up stories STILL get more attention. Maybe adults don't technically "make-up" stories, but they take out the bad stuff.  

Honesty is a weird concept. It shouldn't be, but our culture has so twisted it into a far off idea. Honesty can be one of the most difficult things you will experience in life. It can be one of the greatest. No matter how honesty comes about, painful or encouraging, easy or tough, I believe that honesty is pretty much always healing. Maybe not at the moment... maybe not for years (many times, probably). But eventually, I think it's what we need. I have heard some really tough truths already (and I'm only 18!). I can't imagine what other "tough truths" will come throughout my life. But I have also experienced great and wonderful truths. Simple truths, even. Truths about my Savior. Truths about people who love me. Truths about how people may really be feeling. That's a big one. We are so stuck in the mindset of fending for ourselves, taking care of me,  that somewhere along the way we decide that it would be much easier if people, even our closest friends and family, didn't know how we are feeling. We decide that if we can learn to hide our happiness, hurt, struggle, and joy, we will all get along with each other much more easily. Easily?? We hear that word and come running. So we train ourselves to hold grudges instead of confronting someone, to cry at night so we won't cry in front of our friends, and to hide our joy so we don't make people uncomfortable.

Honesty is, ironically, really hard for me. But I am learning that it shouldn't be. I am learning that the people who really care about me and love me won't judge me for how I am feeling. I have amazing people in my life that truly hold all judgement at the door. And if people do judge, I think that just means that they haven't learned how to be honest either. 

I'm definitely not all the way to the place I need to be with this, so cut me some slack (or slap me and tell me to get over it).

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wonder Bread

Jesus said, "I am the Bread of Life". He didn't say that He is the toast you have for breakfast that will maybe keep you going until lunch time. He didn't declare himself as being the sweet-deliciousness of a cinnamon crunch bagel from Panera that delights your taste buds for fifteen minutes and is gone (although totally worth it... try one. you'll love me). He called himself the bread of LIFE!! All that we need to sustain ourselves, all that we need to be fully alive is found in Him alone. Imagine eating only one meal your entire life and being able to survive on that one meal until you die, never feeling hunger or longing for something to eat. Jesus is that "bread". He is that one meal that we need. If we eat of His flesh and drink of His blood, we can live in relationship eternally with Him.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Be Rescued.

I think that this is a beautiful visual of who Jesus was and is: an excerpt from Donald Miller's book, Blue Like Jazz.

(there was a group of NAVY seals on a mission to free some hostages. Once the SEALs found the hostages, curled up in a corner and terrified, they told the hostages that they were Americans and asked them to follow them. But the hostages wouldn't---they didn't believe that their rescuers were really Americans.)

"The SEALs stood there, not knowing what to do. They couldn't possibly carry everybody out. One of the SEALs... got and idea. He put down his weapon, took off his helmet, and curled up tightly next to the other hostages, getting so close his body was touching some of theirs. He softened the look on his face and put his arms around them. He was trying to show them he was one of them. None of the prison guards would have done this. He stayed there for a little while until some of the hostages started to look at him, finally meeting is eyes. The Navy SEAL whispered that they were Americans and were there to rescue them. Will you follow us? he said. The hero stood to his feet and one of the hostages did the same, then another, until all of them were willing to go. The story ends with all the hostages safe on an American aircraft carrier...

...When i understood that the decision to follow Jesus was very much like the decision the hostages had to make to follow their rescuer, i knew that I needed to decide whether of not I would follow Him. The decision was simple once I asked myself, "is Jesus the Son of God, are we being held captive in a world run by satan, a world filled with brokenness, and do I believe Jesus can resuce me from this condition?...

...I never like it when the preachers said we had to follow Jesus. Sometimes they would make Him sound angry... But I liked the idea of Jesus becoming a man, so that we would be able to trust Him, and I like that He healed peoplpe and loved them and cared deeply about how people were feeling."

How amazing is it that the Son of God wants to rescue US?? The thought of that leaves me astounded and speechless.