Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 4: School

Thirteen years, this place has been my second home. Tonight, I don’t think I’ll be very good at expressing my love of this place. My school has become so much more than just a place of learning. It’s become a place of fellowship. The Lord has blessed me with a special bond with these people – not just my friends and classmates, but with my teachers. Those teachers are the best examples of humble servants I’ve known.

One of my favorite teachers used to be the CEO of a very big, important company in Belgium. She was near the top of the corporate food chain, and because of that her faith impacted many employees. Her leadership set of a domino-effect of success in that company. For all she knew, she was livin’ the life.

Until she got the call. The call from God telling her to move to the Southeast, USA to teach some high schoolers. She’s been there for about six years and is passionate about her job. The other day in our French class, she started tearing-up over how much she was going to miss us when we graduated. Years ago, she was in the spotlight. She had a huge company wrapped around her finger and was making some awesome pay.

But she chose to be obedient. She decided to leave the life of glory and chose to meet a need in our tiny school, a need for a business/finance/French teacher. Over the years she has instructed hundreds of students and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them ended up being a financial master just like her. This woman is just one of many teachers at my school who have greatly impacted my life and sacrificed so much just to prepare some high school kids for college.
Meet the Black Box -
Where I've been taking theatre classes at my school for the past five years.
And also where I've laughed the hardest :)
But they have done so much more than just prepare us for college – college is temporary. The teachers at my school helped prepare us for eternity.

They helped us find ourselves. They taught us what it means to be men and women of God. Whether it was Honors Pre-Calc or AP Lit, the Gospel was brought to light. Through the Word of God, they handed us the spectacles to see the world in a totally different way. They encourage us. They pray for us. They love us.

I also couldn’t ask for a better senior class. The Lord has blessed our class with a ton of talent….I mean, it’s ridiculous. Our class has a ton of braniacs, incredible athletes, amazing singers, wonderful artists, etc. With the Lord by our side, our class has the potential to change the world. Or at least, greatly impact it. I totally believe that.

So thank you, Class of 2013, for being who you are. Whether we’ve known each other since kindergarten, have just become friends this year, or don’t even really know each other: you’re awesome. Each of you have made an impact at our school, and I firmly believe I’m a better person for knowing you. I wouldn’t want to toss my cap with anyone else but you guys. You’re the best.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 3: Church Family

Four years. That’s how long my family and I have been members of our wonderful church. I don’t deserve the body of believers the Lord has blessed me with. I am constantly being hit with an avalanche of love, and every time I am with them, they continually demonstrate the Lord’s grace and mercy. At the moment, writing this, I’m having a hard time thinking of words to say that would sufficiently express my gratitude. I’m so blessed.

Lake Placid Mission Trip: 2011
To all the church leaders who have impacted my life: Thank you. Whether we went on a mission trip together or merely chatted at the end of service, thank you for your continual display of the Lord’s love. Your smiles always brighten my day! When you see people, you don’t just see them, you see them, and recognize them either as brothers/sisters in Christ or as someone who is lost, who desperately needs what you have. Whether we are very close or mere acquaintances, so many of you have taught me what it means to make disciples and genuinely care for others. I wouldn’t trade that gift for the world. Thank you!
To my Pastor: Thank you so much for loving my family. My father treasures your friendship, and we all appreciate your prayers so much. Your admiration and devotion to the Lord is so inspiring...thank you for letting the Lord speak through you – not just at the pulpit on Sunday mornings, but in every little thing you do.

To the small group leaders I’ve had in the past and the ones I have now: Your devotion to us is really incredible, and I can’t thank you enough. I’ve learned so much from all of you and am happy to learn even more in the future. Your wisdom and love of the Word is so encouraging! Thank you for your service, your prayers, and your love.
To my Youth Pastor and his wife: Alright…now the tears are starting to come – shocker ;) I don’t even know how to thank you two. You both have played such a vital part in my life and I hope that when I grow up I will have a little bit of a mixture of both of you in me J You both are such awesome examples of obedience, and words can’t describe how grateful I am for how much you love our youth group. The Lord has used both of you in such mighty ways – I know at least in my spiritual walk with the Lord. Thank you for speaking Truth to us and praying for us. Thank you for always pushing us to be the best we can be – especially the seniors. I know we shouldn’t want to please man…but I hope that by the end of the year the seniors have made you proud! Oh, and thank you for introducing me to chacos!

To my fellow seniors: It’s been an awesome four years! (So far…it’s not over yet!) Thank you for welcoming me into your “clan”, you guys are such a funny, crazy bunch and you’ve rubbed off a little bit on me J To my senior girls: I love you ladies so much. From day 1 you accepted me as if we had been friends for years, and now it feels as if I’ve known you all my life! Each of you has a special place in my heart and I know that God has some awesome plans for each of you. We’ve done some stupid things together but we’ve also done some amazing things…all by the Lord’s grace. Through every tear and every crazy laughing fit, the Lord has gradually knit our hearts together. It’s been so great watching each of you start to grow into the woman God wants you to be…I sincerely hope we can continue that journey together! Thank you ladies for your prayers, your laughs, your craziness, and your love.
El Salvador Mission Trip 2012
Together…We sing. We work. We witness. We pray. We serve. We love.

Thank you for letting me be a part of it.  

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 2: Family

“I love you” was a phrase of which I was very blessed to hear in my household growing up. To this day, family is “knit together in love”, and I’m very grateful. Our family is one that a lot of people don’t understand. Growing up I was sometimes questioned as to why I spent so much time with my parents or why I had movie days with my sister. The only response I was able to think of was, “well…my family and I are really close.” And for that, I am above and beyond thankful.

One my family's favorite vacation spots.

I’m so grateful to have a Dad who still enjoys having tickle fights with his eighteen year-old daughter. To have a Dad who demonstrates a character of strength and perseverance daily. To have a Dad who is a fellow nerd and watches LOTR with his daughters for fun. To have a warrior for a Father: on earth and especially in heaven.

I’m so grateful to have a Mom who genuinely cares for her daughter so much, that she gives her piles of books that teach on what it means to be a woman of God. To have a Mom who is a continual role model of selflessness when her daughter struggles with humility every day. To have a Mom who makes an apple pie just because she feels like it, and because life is good, so why not?

I’m so grateful to have a sister who seeks the Lord fervently. To have a sister who isn’t ashamed to belt out Broadway tunes while doing the dishes. To have a sister who passionately releases herself onto the canvas the Lord has given her. To have a sister whose laughter contagiously fills the room. To have a sister who is a role model…especially to me.

I’m so grateful to have extended family members who pursue the Lord. To have extended family members who are there for us – that have our backs. To have extended family members who make us laugh. To have extended family members who are continually praying for us.

I don’t deserve the family God gave me. But I’m sure glad He gave ‘em to me anyway.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Day 1: Jesus

I’ve decided that in celebration of it being Thanksgiving Break, every day I’m going to write somethng/ someone I’m thankful for. Call it cliché, but I figure that there’s nothing wrong with reminding yourself of all the things the Lord has blessed you with.

First things first – I’m above and beyond grateful for Jesus Christ and the price He paid on the cross. Words can’t do it justice. Even as I’m writing this, I’m realizing that nothing I could say would sound grateful  enough for all that God has done for me…but I’ll try my best.

My youth pastor has been doing a series on Wednesday nights called “God Unboxed”, and in that series I have been reminded of so many things I’m grateful for about God. Here are some of those things:

·         God is untamable: He is fierce and powerful

·         God is unrelenting

o   He offers unrelenting hope

o   He offers unrelenting faithfulness

o   He holds us with an unrelenting grip

·         God is unconditional, especially in His love for us

God is seriously just so…awesome. I feel like the more I try to describe Him the more I just sound dumb J I’ll let His Word do the rest of the talking (here’s a gem I found in Isaiah that makes me so grateful to have a relationship with the Lord):


The Lord rejoices…over me?! Over you! It’s crazy. God’s children are in His hands, and He delights in them, with an unconditional, unwavering, everlasting love.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise. –Galatians 3:26-29

Oh Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the new mercies you grant us every morning. My brain can’t even fathom how awesome you are. I pray this blog would continue to be used as a tool to reflect Your majesty and power. This blog is worth nothing if You aren’t behind it, so I pray you would use the Holy Spirit to intercede for me. Thank you for Your countless blessings, including the body of believers of which You have surrounded me. Thank You for Your comfort and assurance but also for Your conviction and Your discipline – You know how much I desperately need it. And thank You for just being who You are, and for Your faithfulness.
In Your precious Son’s name,

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Wise Word from Katie Davis

I respect Katie Davis so much. Not too many years older than me, and by God's grace she is changing the world, one person at a time. This is taken from her blog from 3 days ago. If you don't know who Katie Davis is, she's an incredible young woman who was called to Uganda when she was just 18 years old (my age...thinking of living in another country for the rest of my life starting kinda freaks me out!) She started the Amazima Ministry to help feed and educate orphans in Uganda. If you would like to help their ministry you can go to their website here. If nothing else, please join me in praying for Katie and the hundreds of people she encounters. I also highly recommend reading her book, "Kisses from Katie." Katie taught me how fulfilling and rewarding it is to obey God and go wherever He calls us to go, no matter what the cost.

I watch the tears roll down her cheeks and am devastated for her. I know she must be crying because of the pain of her burns or because of the pain in her heart at the thought of her husband pushing her into the fire. I place my hand on her shoulder and my eyes beckon her to share.

“My stomach is hurting,” she says, and that’s not what I was expecting, “This is the first time I have eaten this week.”

It’s Thursday.

I pray because I don’t know what else to do. Sure, I can feed this woman lunch but after a week of an empty stomach that may just hurt more than it helps, and I can’t do much to change her situation, to relieve her of her abusive husband or her job picking scrap metal out of the garbage heap. I can feed her now but she goes home to 3 starving children and a future that seems utterly hopeless. We pray.

I get a middle of the night text from a dear friend who has been more of an encouragement to me than she will ever know. Her mom’s biopsy results have come back and the tumor on her brain is cancerous. I can barely choke out words to say that my heart is so heavy for her, that we will carry this burden with them in prayer. I am blown away by her strength and feel completely un-encouraging. We pray.

The hurt doesn’t stop. A teenager needs his leg amputated because an infection that could have been preventable is now out of control. A 4-year-old’s arm is permanently damaged because his mom didn’t have enough money to have it casted when he broke it a few months ago. My friend carries the unborn child of her late husband but confides in me that she would rather not. 5 children in our program watch their mother fight HIV which is rapidly sucking the life right out of her. Another friend threatens to abandon her children (again) because she just can’t make enough money to make ends meet and she would rather be apart from them than watch them suffer.

We move them into that little house in the back and we ask for miracles.

13 hearts are growing into women under my roof and need more and more of Mom, more and more of His truth. I sit, erase the to-do list from my mind and will myself to be present, to be available. The gate opens again and again and the phone rings and all these people, they just want to know that they are not alone in their hurt, just want to be heard.

So many hearts to tend.

Who is God on the days when love just doesn’t feel like enough?

I have been reading through the book of Revelation. I’ll be honest, even after reading several commentaries and looking up lots of Greek words, there are parts of it that I just can’t quite wrap my mind around. I think this is ok. How marvelous to serve a God who is so much more magnificent than I can even comprehend! What I have noticed though is that through all of it, a few things remain constant regardless of tribulation and destruction.

God is on the throne. All the angels and all elders and all the saints and all the believers are gathered at His feet. And they can’t stop worshiping Him. They can’t stop worshiping Him. Forever.

And so this week life is hard and it is heavy. Because I love so many and I want them to know Him and I want Him to heal them. I want the hurt to be over, but I know that one day, it will be. And in the mean time I just ask it, I beg it, that we would be people who cannot stop worshiping the Lamb who is worthy. That through the hard and the struggle and the moments that just seem so hopeless we would cling to the hope that He’s already won and our only response would be adoration and praise.

Eyes on Him.

Because when our love is not enough, His was. His is.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.” –Revelation 5:9-12

Friday, November 9, 2012

Faith's Checkbook Fridays

Happy Friday everyone! Hope everyone had an awesome week and has a peaceful weekend full of joy and rest! I haven't done a Faith's Checkbook in awhile, and I stumbled across this one last night so I thought I'd share it with you. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 is one of my all-time favorite passages so I'm glad my man Spurgeon touched on it. Enjoy!

And please remember to pray for those affected by Sandy!

November 8: The Magnitude of Grace

2 Corinthians 12:9

Our weakness should be prized as making room for divine strength. We might never have known the power of grace if we had not felt the weakness of nature. Blessed be the Lord for the thorn in the flesh, and the messenger of Satan, when they drive us to the strength of God.

This is a precious word from our Lord's own lip. It has made the writer laugh for joy. God's grace enough for me! I should think it is. Is not the sky enough for the bird and the ocean enough for the fish? The All-Sufficient is sufficient for my largest want. He who is sufficient for earth and heaven is certainly able to meet the case of one poor worm like me.  Let us, then, fall back upon our God and His grace. If He does not remove our grief, He will enable us to bear it. His strength shall be poured into us till the worm shall thresh the mountains, and a nothing shall be victor over all the high and mighty ones. It is better for us to have God's strength than our own; for if we were a thousand times as strong as we are, it would amount to nothing in the face of the enemy; and if we could be weaker than we are, which is scarcely possible, yet we could do all things through Christ.