Far from what I once was, but not yet what I'm going to be

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Case of "The Mondays"

So we all know how Mondays are - BLAH. Nobody likes Mondays! Especially after a long weekend like we just had for Thanksgiving. So naturally, I wasn't feeling too happy about getting up for class this morning and taking a TEST in Biology. (Really Professor Hoffman? A test the day we come back from Thankgsiving break?!) So it wasn't such a great start to the day.

But it got better.

Chapel was right after my test and it was awesome. The worship was beautiful and the message so perfect. It was about how God can't sleep. He won't sleep. He doesn't sleep. Such a beautiful message about when God is silent, it doesn't mean He's gone or sleeping - in the stillness, He is there. In the silence, incredible growth can happen. Hearing that He is always near and always with us is such a clichĂ©, but when you allow yourself to take that in - to deeply think about that absolute truth - your life is forever changed.

Because now you KNOW you are never alone. Now you KNOW God hears all, sees all. Now you KNOW God controls everything.

Sometimes in the silence, God is the closest to us. Sometimes when we don't see Him, He is closer than ever before.

I remember hearing a beautiful story about a man who walked with the Lord. In his life, he saw two sets of footprints in the sand; his own, and God's. And when life got tough and he felt ever so weak and like he couldn't go on, he only saw once set of footprints. His immediate thoughts were that God had left. God had abandoned him when he needed Him most. And when he got to the end of that rough season of life and saw God's footprints once again beside his own, he asked the Lord "Why did you abandon me when I needed you most?" And the Lord God said "My child, I will never leave you nor forsake you. I have never left you nor forsaken you. In your time of trouble and weakness when you saw only one set of footprints, those were mine. I held you in my arms and kept you safe. I loved you and protected you just as I have promised. Even in the silence, even in the stillness, I am here. Forever."

Isn't that such an incredibly beautiful picture of what our lives are? My outlook on life is completely different.

We all go through phases of being on fire for Christ and feeling so close to Him, and then feeling so distant. But to know that even when He feels so far away, He is right there, it's the best the feeling in the world. Holding you in His comforting arms, His arms of love, forgiveness, healing, and joy. Even when we don't see Him, He IS there. Closer than you think.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

"I Must-ache You to Thanksgiving"

Well I had a fantastic Thanksgiving with the family once again this year. And I pray you all did as well! My family is definitely a strange one.. And we proved that this year. The theme of our Thanksgiving was "I Must-Ache You to Thanksgiving." All the men were required to have a mustache for Thanksgiving. (Basically no shave Novemeber for the men until after Thanksgiving dinner). And the lovely ladies had to wear fake mustaches. Well it was a huge hit with the fam and definitely a holiday we will not soon forget.

This is my cousin, Amanda, and me with our awesome matching Ginger 'staches.

And here's the whole crew! We're a great looking bunch! Right? ;)

Another thing to celebrate this holiday season, is the engagement of my cousin Lindsay. She and her fiancé got engaged last Monday and I haven't met Connor yet, but he definitely seems like a keeper. CONGRATULATIONS LINDSAY DONALDSON AND CONNOR DRAKE!

Is this not the SWEETEST picture ever?! Way to go Connor!

So happy for you cuz!

And it was just a wonderful time of fellowship with everyone! Cousins, aunts, ucles, grandparents, friends, you get the picture. We laughed over Amanda catching her hair on fire, cried over the story of Connor's proposal to Lindsay, and just really felt the love.

Did I mention we went LINE DANCING?! So fun!

My lovely aunt and me posing for a picture on Thanksgiving

Cousin love!

I hope your Thanksgiving was as sweet as mine! And if it wasn't, Christmas is right around the corner! ;)


Friday, November 18, 2011

It's About To Get Real Up In Here

So I was thinking about Bible times. And how something as simple as meals were so important! I mean, meals and eating are still important today, but it's not the same. Eating in Jesus' day was a time of fellowship. Meals lasted extended amounts of time and it was a time of love and laughter, friendship and fellowship. Today, we have "fast-food" everywhere. We live in a society where everything is so quick! No one has any patience, people want what they want RIGHT NOW. It's sad. It's disgusting.
I feel like friendship and fellowship in Jesus' day was so much cooler. So much more meaningful. So much was put into relationships back then. Both parties had to give. Both parties had to receive.
I feel like in our society now, people are so superficial. They ask "How are you?" But they don't really want to hear everything you're going through. They don't want you to spend 10 minutes telling them how you're REALLY doing. They just expect an "I'm good! How are you?" And they reply in the same way.
I want my relationships, my friendships, my LIFE to be meaningful. I want to share my thoughts, my feelings, my excitements, my sadness, my EVERYTHING with the people I love. I want meaning.
So over the past few months, I've really examined my "friends." I asked myself what seemed like such simple questions, "What is a friend?" and "Who are my friends?" My discoveries were shocking.
This is how I answered "What is a friend?"
  • A friend is someone who cares enough to ask me how I'm doing and not want that superficial "I'm good. How are you?" answer, but who wants the real answer. How I'm feeling. What I'm going through. My happiness. My sorrow. My struggles. My pain. My everything. And who answers my questions in the same way.
  • A friend is someone who is always there for me. No matter the day, the time, or where I am. They will always be there for me and always comfort me and have my back.
  • A friend is trustworthy, honest, loyal, kind, fun, and someone who I can share my secrets with. Someone who won't judge me for the mistakes I make, the actions I take, or words I say.
  • A friend loves.
This is how I answered "Who are my friends?"
  • Jesus
  • Nate
  • Andi
A pretty sad list right? It sure made me sad! It hurt too! All of a sudden, I had this realization that none of my friends were really friends at all. They were acquaintances. They were a good laugh and a good time. But when it came down to it, they weren't there for me when I needed them the most.

My senior year of high school was THE hardest year of my life. I suffered in my mind, body and spirit. Suffering that I couldn't expect. That I wasn't ready for. I was so taken by surprise. Hospital visit after hospital visit after hospital visit. Procedure after procedure. Betrayal, rejection, and doubt to a whole new level.

But in the pain, I found healing. In the darkness, I found light. And in the hatred, I found love. A love that never fails. A love of which I was so undeserving. I rediscovered the love of my Savior and grew more in that year than I had in my 18 years of life thus far. I found meaning in my life. I found meaning in my relationships. I found the love of my life. Jesus Christ. Who will never leave me. Never forsake me. Who will love me when I least deserve it, because He knows that's when I really need it. Who will forgive me no matter how big my mistakes. No matter how I mess up, He will ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pick me up when I fall, carry me when I can't go on, love me unconditionally, show me mercy, and forgive me.

So beautiful right?

So today, I am new. I'm not the person with the most friends in the world (as you can see from the list above) but I have come to realize that the amount of friends does not matter nearly as much as the deepness and closeness of the friends you do have.

I'm not here to tell you my life is sad. Or that I am depressed. Because it's not, and I'm not. I consider myself to be the most blessed person I know. I am so incredibly in love with my boyfriend beyond anything I ever could have imagined. I have the most amazing family in the world - they're crazy, but they're awesome. And I have developed more friendships. Real friendships. And they are blossoming and I am loving life. I can't begin to thank Jesus enough! Or Nate! Or Andi! I love you all with my whole heart and I would die for each of you anytime, any day.