Sunday, September 28, 2008

pride and summertime come before the fall.

i know that we're technically in the season of fall, but this week still had that summer-heat feeling to it.

and i found myself longing for true autumn weather when i can wear sweaters and jeans...and see the beautiful reds, yellows, and oranges of the trees...when i can simply inhale and exhale the air and really feel fall.

i can't explain what it is about this season, but it sparks something in my spirit, in my heart. it's a sort of expectation, a knowing that God is moving and working and that He is going to use this time in my life as He does with the earth and its seasons. He is a sovereign God. He uses all situations for His glory -- both the bad and the good. when we go through trials, we often ask Him, "why are you letting this happen, God??" and it is in those times that He lovingly holds us and whispers, "rest in Me. I will use this to bring beauty. cling to Me." God is sovereign.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Look at the stars, look how they shine for you.

Just got back from working out with my roomies. Since Amy works there, she can go (and she can bring friends) whenever she wants. It was soooo nice to exercise, especially with just the 4 of us.

This weekend was really stressful. I felt way behind with my research paper and finding sources. Turns out, I'm doing pretty okay with all of that. I wish I would've known that earlier so I could have avoided a tearful Saturday evening. But Mom came to visit, which made my day so much better. We went out shopping, had lunch, and just hung out. It was really nice. I love my mommy. :) She also knows how to comfort me, what I need to hear (even when I don't want to hear it), and she can tell when I'm stressed. I can't hide it from her very well. So it was nice to have her here in the midst of my homework breakdown. I am so, so blessed with amazing, godly, loving, supportive, fun parents. I can't express just how thankful I am for them. They are my twin pillars, without whom I could not stand. God has blessed me far beyond what I deserve, and I am so grateful.

I am also thankful for my roommates, friends, other family members, the list goes on... It's easy to forget how much I have; I realize how often I take people for granted. A couple of weeks ago, God helped me realize what I really need to invest myself in this year -- and not just this year, but for life -- relationships and love and Him. During one of our roomie prayer times, Amy Jo prayed that our focus and our "worlds" would not be centered on homework this year. Of course, homework is important and without studying, we're not going to do very well. But there's so much more to life than that. Olivet really does have a lot to offer us, allows us to serve and love others through ministries, groups, clubs, etc. And I really want to invest myself fully in Jesus, in His Kingdom, in His Great Commission -- by loving others, loving everyone (even when it's hard), serving others, putting their needs above my own (even when I want things my way), give-give-giving and getting refueled by His Spirit each day, moment-by-moment....

I just want to really live life. I really want to love. (And, honestly, I don't know if this is selfish or just normal, but I want to be loved, too.) Without Him, this life is meaningless. That's what we've been talking about in Sunday School as we go through Ecclesiastes. "Everything is meaningless," Solomon says over and over again. In the end, both the wise and the foolish die. Everything is meaningless...without our sovereign God.

"A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, but to the sinner he gives the task of gathering and storing up wealth to hand it over to the one who pleases God. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26)

"I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live. That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him." (Ecclesiastes 3:12-14)

I want to live this life by living in His Spirit moment-by-moment, walking and talking with Him, loving like He does, and to find satisfaction in Him alone. My life is His.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

my heart is open and willing; so take it.

So, I'm on week 3 of classes. And, amazingly enough, the homework load has not been too terribly bad. Probably because I've been praying about it every stinking day. And God won't let me be pushed beyond what I can bear. I love how He faithfully shows me how He fulfills His Word in my life - even in small ways. (However, I still need prayer with my classes. I do have a few projects that I know about already - and it wouldn't hurt to get a jump on them while not too much else is going on.)

Before the school year started, I asked God about what He might want me to be involved in this year. Last year I was in a couple of groups, but I wasn't very committed, to be quite honest. I don't want to be like that again, but I would like to be involved in at least one extra thing. I'm not the most out-going person sometimes; I definitely need my personal time. So there's a part of me saying, "Don't worry too much about being involved. You'll have to do things that aren't very comfortable sometimes. Just do classes and have some fun."

Yikes. I don't want that mind-set. See, I don't have a job or anything (my parents have told me time and time again that they'd rather me not worry about having a job now since I'll be working for the rest of my life; they rule) -- but sometimes I feel like I have extra time and sometimes I feel like a big slacker. All 3 of my roomies have jobs and are at least mildly involved in stuff whether it's band, helping out at a church, Bible studies, Sister-2-Sister, etc.

And at the same time, I also thing it's okay. I've not even been here a month yet, right? There really haven't been too many opportunities yet; some, yeah, but not TONS.

Festival of ministries is coming up. I want to follow God's leading. I want to be involved. I want to grow. I want to grow alongside others. I want to love and be loved. I want to invest myself in things that matter, in things that will last (which aren't things at all). All that lasts are our hearts, our souls -- people. I want to invest myself in relationships and love.

I'm looking forward to this weekend, though. My friend, Annie, is coming up to spend the night and celebrate Amy Jo's birthday. We're going to Chicago on Sunday, which should be good times. And I have choir retreat on Friday night! I love those girls. I sincerely feel blessed to be a part of this wonderful group of young ladies.

So, yeah, I guess I am doing stuff. I guess it's just that I find myself comparing myself to others. How lame is that? I know better than that...

"Each one of is created as a unique vessel for God's own purposes (2 Timothy 2:21). We are not to live our lives in self-conscious self-improvement; we are to live in God-consciousness with a deep awareness that we have been purchased at great cost. We are to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits, which are God's." (From The Titus 2 Woman study)

What a loving and gracious God we serve. I want to know Him more and more. I am thankful for the hunger for His Word He has been giving me lately. What a beautiful mystery is our God. I am His. I am completely His.

Lord, lead and guide me to where You want me. Open my heart to You. I want to be obedient to You. You know my desires and hopes; take them, and mold them into what You want. I want to delight in You daily, moment-by-moment. Your Word tells me to delight myself in You, and You will give me the desires of my heart. Here are my desires; here is my heart. It's all Yours.

Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

They are higher than the heavens—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths of the grave —what can you know?

Their measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.

Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,

if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,

then you will lift up your face without shame;
you will stand firm and without fear.

You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.

Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.

You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

(Job 11:7-9, 13-18)