The Moment


Birds singing, a person smiling, a long, winding conversation.

This is the present, slow and beautiful.

Rain falling, a page turning, light shifting across the room.

This is now, full of rhythm.

Never a moment quite like it again.

Hurry and stress accomplish what,

If we never notice the small things?

Never notice the skitter of leaves upon the ground,

The clouds inching across the wide, blue sky.

How much we can easily miss in the hustle and bustle!

Each moment, a gift.

Do we throw it away in our rush for the next?





2017: A Review

“Hindsight is 20/20.” That is the main reason why I like to take some time at the end of each year to look back and see what I learned. This year, I am amazed at how many dreams came true. 2017 was good. Of course there were struggles, but I was usually able to look past them in the moment.

A big thing that made this year so good was that God was proving His goodness to me all year. He gave me the grace to see the good in the hard stuff and placed me in community with gracious, caring people over and over and over again.

  • I took Music Appreciation with fantastic people and we had the best teacher. They, along with other friends, made school a joy.
  • I got my first “real” job: as a biology tutor. And then got another fairly consistent part-time job.
  • I finally got my driver’s license. It was a huge step toward adulthood for me.
  • I bought a piano: a gift straight from God. (Ask me about the story behind this one.)
  • I visited family friends in South Carolina for a week and a half in the summer. While there, I learned more about what God-centered family and community looks like. (And I learned to cook better, which was the whole goal of the trip.)
  • I was able to make friend- and adventure- time a priority over the summer.
  • I took a day trip to Virginia Beach with my brother and some friends. It was a blast, until it was time to drive home. (Would never do this again.. lessons learned.)
  • I got to take Chemistry with my brother and completed my associated degree.
  • I learned how to let my friends and family be there for me through the hard stuff, and got more involved in my Bible study group.
  • I changed churches.

So to say a lot of big things happened might be an understatement.

Sometime near the beginning of the year, I felt drawn to a verse and I wrote it in the beginning of my journal:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

If that doesn’t describe 2017, I’m not sure what does. The Lord really has proven His heart to me this year. He has shown me that He is the Good Shepherd by providing, protecting, and leading. He has been gracious and gentle in the way he led. He has been gift-giver in ways that I could not provide for myself. He has been a guard over my heart and mind so many times when I needed protection.

So this year, I’m thankful for much. Most of all for the friends I’ve made and the way that God drew near.

The Dream of Marriage: Waiting, Trusting, and Letting Go

In looking back through my journal entries from the summer, I found this:

“Help me remember Your goodness and be patient-  WAIT.  How strange that I’m learning to wait during a season when You’re giving me so many long-desired gifts…”

I could see God’s merciful and gracious hand in so much this past summer. I was truly blown away at how many good provisions were made for me to walk in- many were ones I had dreamed about for years. Yet, there were places that I wrestled with God. Anxieties threatened to overtake my body on many occasions so that I was left to cry out to the Lord seemingly constantly. At the time, it was very frustrating, though I could see how it was drawing me closer to God. This was one verse (of many) that was given to me during that time:

“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea 11:12)

The big thing that was being broken up in me was my strong desire for a serious relationship/ marriage. I was reading through ‘Passion and Purity’ by Elisabeth Elliot. It is the hardest book I’ve ever digested. Strong emotions were brought up by each tiny chapter. The main point that stuck out to me was that God may not have marriage in our individual plan.. if so, will we say, “Yes, Lord”? Elliot included this quote in her book and its truth struck me:

“The fair new petals may fall, and for no visible reason. No one seems enriched by the stripping.

“And the first step into the realm of giving is a like surrender–not manward a Godward: an utter yielding of our best. So long as our idea of surrender is limited to the renouncing of unlawful things, we have never grasped it’s true meaning: that is not worthy of the name of “no poluted thing” can be offered.

“The life lost on the Cross was not a sinful one–the treasure poured forth there was God-given, God-blessed treasure, lawful and right to be kept: that there was the life of the world at stake.”

It was a hard truth to hear, and like I said, it produced a struggle. It made me examine how much I trust the Lord’s heart toward me. Honestly, I found that I didn’t trust Him as much I as thought.

God was so gracious to send people into my life to speak words of comfort and truth to this area when it seemed unbarable. Someone told me, “Most people will meet someone special at some point in their life and get married.” On one level this was a comfort, even though it did not address the possibility of God asking forever singleness of me. Still, the person who said it made a good point that the gift of singleness is usually only for a season of life.

Another encouragement was the current testimony of a godly woman at my church. She shared about how she was being pursued my a kind, incredible man of God and God was/ is very clearly orchestrating the relationship. It is much better than anything she had ever dared to dream of! Hearing her tell of what God was doing renewed my trust that God does love to give the good, great gift of serious relationships/ marriage (in the perfect timing). Also, seeing how God is the center of their relationship renewed my hope that it is possible to stay focused on God and bring Him glory through a dating relationship.

So God is good. Believing that to the core is the key to trusting God with any of our deepest hopes and dreams. Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (All things within His will, of course.) And yet, God asks hard things of us and does not contradict His own character. I love this quote by Ruth Stull that Elisabeth Elliot included in her book, “If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a lad.” When we give up the good in our lives, God can use it in the best way possible to serve others and bring Himself glory. That often will look different than we have envisioned.

The dream of marriage is only one (fairly big) area where I must release my hopes and dreams to the will of God. God has been so gracious in the journey thus far, though! So yes, when God led me to write “WAIT” in my journal, there was a reason. I still have need for patience in the good times. I have need for patience as I wait for the Lord’s will. I also have need for trust in the Lord’s unfailing love and His good, great plan so I can focus on pouring out my life. He is providing day by day what I need for this journey called faith, though, and that is possibly more encouraging than anything else!

A Life of Crazy Love

In my experience, debate/ argument is valued by many Christians. Honestly, I used to be included in that group. I loved a good debate, where I made my point (and of course won 😉 ). My desire to be right has diminished in recent years, which I’m sure I can only attribute to God. I still enjoy having challenging conversations about things that are important, but I think I have a stronger value for how the other person feels during the discourse.

A couple weeks ago, I turned on my Bible app’s audible reading option. Because I was busy coloring, I listened to Romans 8 all the way into the next book, 1 Corinthians! It was eye opening to listen to all those passages strung together. (I highly recommend listening to big passages of Scripture read out loud. You get so much out of it!) Anyway, a theme came to my attention. Our actions as believers should be chosen because of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.” (Romans 12:9-10)

“Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)

Paul specifically addressed how to live with those who had different convictions on what was okay to eat. Today, this can be applied to diet restrictions or any other kind of restriction a person places on them self because they feel led to. It is made clear that each person will give an account to God and that it’s not the place of any other believer to judge their choices.

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions.” (Romans 14:1)

“Therefore let us not pass judgement on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” (Romans 14:13)

What a humbling way to live: for others. To make every decision based on how it  would effect the people around us seems a little crazy! We have been given the perfect example of this kind of living in Jesus, though. He showed love, sought after others, did not seek to quarrel, and ultimately died for people who didn’t deserve to be loved. We are called to be like Jesus. It takes a whole lot of vulnerability and humility, but it flows from our receiving this very mind-blowing gift ourselves. We’re just passing along a little bit of what we have been given.

So how can you put your brothers and sisters in Christ first this week? And beyond the family of God, how can you show this crazy love to those who don’t know Jesus?

Intentional Seasons

I like to think of life as a series of seasons. Each one has it’s own set of specific values. Also, each person’s season will look different from anyone else’s, even if they look very similar on paper just because we each have beautifully unique lives. 

Social media often feeds off of the similarities in our seasons, though, and can influence the choices we make during our own personal seasons. For example, being a college student is villianized by social media. High school students are trained to think that college life is full of late nights, Ramon noodles, coffee, stress, and partying. Well, most of those things can be cut out if you are intentional; it’s all about priorities, not what “everyone else” is doing. This is not a guilt post trying to get you to quit social media, though. Social media is an awesome tool for connection, encouragement, and spreading knowledge. Sometimes I think we just need to be reminded that it is influencing us in a lot of ways. Are those good or bad ways? Are we letting it make our daily decisions for us? As my professor asked us today, “Are you more influenced by others or by yourself?” It’s something good to consider when examining what decisions we are making.

If we want to get better at anything, we should study the right way to do it, versus the wrong way. This applies to living each season well. I think we tend to know most of the time when a season starts and ends. (That’s not to say we don’t try to fight the change at times.) Something changes either in life or in our hearts and we know it’s time to move on in one way or another. 
As a college student, each year is split up into mini seasons: two semesters and summer. The classes I take change each semester. My schedule and the people who are in my life (to varying degrees) change with each one of those mini seasons, as well. 

I think there are two words that will help us live every season well: seeking and intentionality. Both of these are verbs. There’s a reason for that: We must take action to live well.

When we are seeking God, He will let us know what we need to know when we need to know it. We must have an open heart and be quick to prayer. There will be plenty of confusion along the path called life, but if we keep seeking, we are sure to find answers! (Also, there is a constant tension of faith. We won’t have clarity very often as to what God I doing, but none less, we must trust that He is working. Our job is to live out the next action asked of us and trust.)

Living with intention is the difference between being happy or unhappy with your life when looking back. Seasons of life can take over and make our decisions for us if we let them. We have to make time for the things that are important, or else they will slip away.

I encourage you to write down what your values are for the season you are currently in: what do you feel are the most important things for you to focus on? That list may fluctuate throughout your season and that’s okay. God’s leading changes with time, in my experience, and following His most recent guidance is more important than sticking to the list you started with. Yet, it can bring a lot of clarity to actually write out on a piece of paper the things we want to be intentional about in the season were in. 

So what are you going to value today and in the coming days?

Community, Influence, and Jesus

Hello again! It’s been a while since I posted anything. A couple weeks ago school started back and life got crazy a week before that. In those three weeks, I’ve experienced some of the sweetest joys along with multiple deep disappointments. In other words, it’s been a roller coaster ride. One of the main things that has kept me somewhat positive through it all has been my family and friends. Relationships play a huge role in our lives.

I’m a firm believer that you cannot really know someone until you spend a day with them doing everyday, ordinary stuff. In those moments, humanity, personality, and character peak through. It’s where facades are blown away and a foundation of trust is built.

I think this mindset is a major reason why God has me attending the church I am. Relationships are valuable to the church as a whole. I get to see the leadership in so many levels living in humble relationship with eachother and those they serve. I don’t think I can see how much they give up to build these relationships, nor do I think I can see all of the community and growth that comes from it. I do know God is getting a lot of glory from the investment that goes on, though.

There are many people I want to be like, and a whole lot of them attend my church. They’re not perfect people; they each have very different personalities and hobbies. (For example, the senior pastor who is at least 70 years old still goes on backpacking trip in places like Alaska… I can’t decide if I think he’s crazy or if I want to be like him when I’m his age. Haha.) Anyway, trying to live a life of perfection is not something I run into very often there. They are genuine. I don’t think you can be genuine while trying to hide all your flaws. I don’t think you can impact someone’s life in a big way without being genuine. I don’t think you can impact someone’s life without either introducing them to Jesus or helping them draw closer to Him.

When we walk in the light of community, it will reveil the places we are walking in sin. Those brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers in Christ should be pushing us toward Jesus always. It will hurt at times, but it’s for our good. That’s why we must be in close relationships, so we can speak into each other’s lives in meaningful ways. Pruning is good for plants and it’s good for us, too. We shouldn’t let that happen from just anyone. To have healthy boundaries in place, we should take critisism more seriously from people we know and trust. (This also applies to encouragement.)

This past summer, I was able to spend a week and a half with some family friends. They are Christians and are involved in their local church. We went to small group, Sunday service, and had some very interesting conversations about theology, denominations, etc. during that time. While all of that was well and good, it wouldn’t have meant as much if I wasn’t spending each day with them, going grocery shopping, interacting, solving problems, showing love to each other. Their lives reflected what they said they believed. That inspired me to live differently. Words are valuable and necessary, but never lose sight of what a life lived out in community is capable of. 

Community College and Writing

I struggle with what this blog should look like. What is worth writing about? What is worth sharing about? In my experience, secular authors write more about the emotions and deeply horrible things of life, while Christians try to find some root meaning and then put a positive spin on it. I’m not ready to say either one is bad, though I’ve definitely taken notes from secular artists. (Plus, the fact that I have never been one to shy away from subjects people often avoid…)

For example, this past semester, I was published in my community college’s yearly book of writings and art. There was a ceremony in which all the authors and artists were invited to read or tell about their work. I was actually shocked at how graphic some of the artists got. They were portraying the raw side of life and often a very free morally view of living. No cuss words were left out in these explanations, either. Not things you would want a kid to hear. This kind of expression shocked (who am I kidding- it still shocks me) because it was not what I experienced growing up.

I look into the eyes of these people, though. My professor; my fellow tutor; my fellow student. What I find there is a hurt and emptiness. Cuss words aren’t the problem. Finding satisfaction in another person is not the problem. Focusing on the negative feelings is not the problem. In fact, they as a person are not a problem to be fixed. Instead, they are a person to get to know.

The issue is actually one of the heart. Someone could cuss and do drugs and be closer to a relationship with Jesus than someone who has lived the model “Christian life.” Or, they could have a relationship with God and are just still breaking chains and habits.

Being at community college has shattered my view of what it means to be a Christian. I was homeschooled and was a part of a fairly Christian co-op and my church before college. If I’m being honest, being at a secular institution scared me to death at first. But I have learned a lot since then and love where I am. People there don’t put on faces. At least not nearly as much as those in Christian groups tend to. They are what they are and they’re not usually ashamed of it. But the thing is, I’ve also found that they also leave space for others to be who they are.  Thankfully, I’ve found people also leave space for mistakes and learning! An awful lot of people who don’t know Jesus give grace so well. This challenges me. My life should be a clear picture of love and grace because of Jesus. Yet, there are plenty of times when it feels like I’m being outdone in this area by someone who has not experienced His love and grace. (Which is one thing I love about the Church when it’s working properly. We are challenged and encouraged as we watch each other live for God.) It really is a great motivation to live right when you are doing life with people who could see God’s love and grace at work in you. The thing about being at a college with a bunch of people who don’t claim the name of Christ, learning subjects like biology from a professor who does not honor God, is that you have to know what you believe, why you believe it, and how it effects your day-to-day life.

So what is worth writing about? That really depends, which is part of the reason I go back and forth on the answer. (And is part of the reason why my topics vary so much!) It’s important to be able to write something that is not clearly Christian-based, because being a skillful writer who is knowledgeable about many subjects is important when building report with people who may not know Jesus. But encouraging fellow Christians by reminding them of God’s Word is also a thing of great value. God’s Word never returns void and is a powerful weapon. So who am I writing to and for on this blog? Probably fellow Christians. Though I dearly hope that these posts may be used to help someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus to understand how much they are loved by God.