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.