Saturday, March 1, 2014

He remains faithful

Honesty time: I am really bad at this whole "trust" thing. My mind becomes filled with lies. Lies about my past, lies about those I do trust, lies about what The Lord is doing, and lies about my future. However, I can repeat truth all day long. My head knows truth (The Lord) from lies (the enemy) but my heart has a hard time believing it.

This past week my brakes began to make a very obnoxious grinding sound.
I thought "great, this is going to cost me a fortune".
I began to look into what could be wrong and I discovered I needed new rear brake pads and rotors.
I was quoted $250, including a $50 off coupon.
I began to pray.
I am a poor college student trying to complete my last semester of college, apply for jobs, remain faithful in my teaching and planning, and above all else, stay sane.

My cooperating teacher and I have become really good friends.
She serves as a mentor to me.
She, herself, is a graduate of Cedarville and she loves The Lord.
We initially hit it off because we have the common bond of Cedarville but I soon realized how much she truly cares for me and how much she wants to help me and guide me in my teaching.

I started to tell her about my current situation after I found out that her car battery died and her rear brakes are doing the same thing. She asked me how much it was going to be to fix and I told her about $250.
She did not like that.
She immediately started to think of people who could help me out and I appreciated her willingness to help.
Her husband was going to pick up the brake pads for her car yesterday and she told me she was going to tell him to look at what it would cost for the parts to change mine as well.
She texted me later that evening saying it would cost only $60 for the parts and she was determined to find someone to change them for me.
She contacted her cousin and he volunteered to change my rear brake pads and rotors for me.
I was floored.
Why would this woman do something so nice for me?

This morning I met her at her cousins house and we dropped off my car and the parts and went to lunch. We talked education and I got to know her youngest daughter, Lyndie.
When we got back to her cousins, he told me it needed the brake pads and rotors changed so he did both for me. I asked him what I owed him and he told me nothing, he just makes people pay for the parts, but I handed him $20 anyway and thanked him.
I then asked my teacher what I owed her for the parts and she smiled and said consider it my birthday gift to you.
Again, no words.
I was shocked.
We said our goodbyes and I headed back to campus.

As I write this, I have tears streaming down my face.
A job that should have cost me $250, cost me $20.
Oh what little faith I have.

I often find it comical how terrified I was to student teach.
Actually, I dreaded it.
I knew I wanted to go to seminary and I knew I didn't want to teach so the whole thing seemed so silly to me.
But now I see what The Lord was doing.
He was blessing me.
Blessing me with a wonderful cooperating teacher who loves The Lord and loves her students.
Her heart shines Jesus and when I'm around her, I see Him.

So back to my point at the beginning, The Lord is continually placing me in situations which can only be explained in one word, "God". Situations where I find myself convicted to the point of tears because I realize how little trust I have in The Lord.
After all, if I can trust him with my salvation, why can't I trust Him with the little things?
Hasn't he always provided?


So, in the Gospels, when Jesus asks His disciples why they have such little faith, He's actually asking me why I have such little faith.
I have no answer.
But I know that when I become faithless and inconsistent in my walk with The Lord, He remains faithful.
And i'm grateful for that.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014


"God will provide"

Oh how I hear those words and how I struggle to believe them in my heart.

Most of you know, I was recently accepted into Dallas Theological Seminary and many of you have been asking the story of how this came to be.
Well, last semester, I had this intense desire to go to seminary.
At first, I laughed at myself and thought "yeah, like that will happen, you are broke"
But the desire did not go away, it became more intense and I knew God was calling me to something that was very out of my comfort zone.
I googled "top 10 seminary schools". I know, it sounds hilarious but I had no idea what I was doing.
And there it was, Dallas Theological Seminary.
I clicked on the link and explored the website.
I fell in love with the school.
I knew God was telling me to apply.
I began my application in November and I avoided that thing like the plague.
The application essays were so intrusive.
The questions were very deep and intense and I found myself so drained after writing each one.
I closed out of the application several times and prayed. I knew I was supposed to apply but after answering the essays I didn't think I had a chance.
I finally submitted my application in December and they told me it would be 3 weeks until I heard anything.
You can bet I checked my email 10000000 times a day and prayed every time I thought about it.
People kept asking me what my plan b was.
Plan b? I didn't have a plan b. This was plan b. Plan a, b, c, d...etc.
I didn't apply to any other schools.
Finally, I received an email that told me I had been accepted into the Masters of Christian Education program at Dallas Theological Seminary.
I found out while I was in a meeting during my teacher inservice last Friday and I could barely contain myself.

So, there you have it, this fall I will be pursuing my Masters degree in Christian Education through Dallas Theological Seminary. With the completion of my master's degree (or during), I hope to become a Resident Director and then move my way up into a Dean's position.
Thankfully, the program is online for the first year or two so it's flexible wherever I get a job.
And no, I will not be moving to Dallas, contrary to popular belief :)

The Lord has surely taken me on quite the adventure this school year. From deciding I did not want to use my education degree traditionally, to applying and being accepted into seminary which pulled me completely out of my comfort zone and forced me to rely completely on Him.

I listened.

And I will continue to listen.
Even though I haven't the slightest idea how I will pay for seminary, I know this is exactly what The Lord has planned for my life.

He's provided this far.
And He will continue.

I cannot wait :)


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Share your story

I am in the middle of two books. Two very different books.
I am reading The Reason for God by Timothy Keller and Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey.
While you might find the title of the second book a little strange, that's okay, I did too.
I picked it up out of curiosity.

Recently, I have been on a quest to redefine Christianity.
At least, redefine it in my own heart.

I'm fascinated by people stories.
What they have been through.
What they have overcome.
How they met Jesus.
Basically, their story of grace.

I am constantly reading blog posts and constantly trying to identify with someone.
But i've come to discover that my story and someone else's story will never look the same.
Sure, we have one thing in common, Jesus, but how I met Jesus and my encounter with Him, will never be the same as someone else's.
And I think that is how it was intended.

Whether I am a complementarian or an egalitarian, a calvinist or an arminian, whether I believe in predestination or free will, whether I am pre-tribulation or post-tribulation, a baptist or a presbyterian, doesn't matter.
What matters is my personal relationship with Jesus and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit inside my heart.

I picked up a copy of Jesus Feminist completely out of curiosity, but what I've discovered by reading her book is that Sarah Bessey loves Jesus and has a heart for the Lord.
She is passionately seeking His will the only way she knows how.
She is fighting for what she believes is right and for that, I respect her.
I understand the entire reason behind her book because I understand her story.

People do not make sense without their stories.

So share yours.
With your best friend, with a person you met a month ago, with the random man you met in Walmart.
You never know how much your story can bless someone else or how much freedom can come from leaning into the pain.


Saturday, January 4, 2014

A beautiful mess

As I was driving back to school tonight for my last semester at Cedarville, my head was spinning with thoughts of fall semester, fears of spring semester, and hopes for my future. 

People keep asking me "You have one semester left! That's crazy! Are you ready?!"

I have spent three and a half years at Cedarville University. 
I have met and formed relationships that I will have for the rest of my life.
I have learned how to become a teacher.
I have learned that I do not want to be a teacher.
I have learned how to fall more in love with Jesus.
I have discovered my passion.
I have been mentored and poured into by several women I trust and respect.
I have said many goodbyes but also several hellos.
And that is just to name a few.

The Lord has used my job as a resident assistant to teach me and bless me.
He has shown me my passion and my heart for mentoring and discipling. 
I have learned that I do love to teach, just not formally. 

Three years ago, I thought I would get to January and be more than excited to student teach but quite frankly, I do not want to do it. 
I love my students and I love when I teach a lesson and can see the light bulb moment happen but I hate the entire process that it takes to be a teacher.
The Lord has really shown me through my job as a RA that I want to pursue ministry.
I have submitted my application to Dallas Theological Seminary to pursue my Masters in Christian Leadership and I have also applied to be a Resident Director at Emmanuel College in Georgia.

While my heart has many dreams, my head is very rational.
I'm learning (slowly) that it's okay to dream and pursue the desires of my heart.
After all, The Lord is the one who gave me my passions and my gifts and I want to honor and glorify Him with them. 

I am in a season of unknown. If you know me, these are the seasons that I dread the most.

So, for everyone asking me the question "Are you ready?!"
Yes, I am ready, but I am terrified.

"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Countercultural Christianity

Have you ever felt like American Christianity was wrong, unsettling, moralizing, or fake?

That we are trying to create a culture that is simply legalistic and moral instead of loving and full of grace?

Did you know that we were given the name "Christian" as an insult?
"Oh, they are just being 'little Christ's'"
Hence the word Christian, "Christ like"
If that's an insult, bring it on.

Am I truly a Christian?
Am I truly Christ like?

The definition in and of itself is convicting.
Our entire existence on this planet revolves around bringing Him glory.
Do I do that?

Am I so wrapped up in tradition, or theology or school or relationships that I forget the simple definition of my religion?

I am to be like Christ.

I was journaling last night and God layed 1 Corinthians 13 on my heart as He often does to teach me more about His love.

Paul is writing this passage about the attribute of love.
God simply loves because that is His nature. He doesn't have to try, that's the essence of who He is.
He is love.
Everything written in that chapter is so countercultural to society.
I am not patient, nor am I always kind.
I insist on my own way.
I keep a tally of how many times someone hurts me.
I boast.
I idolize.
And I fail to love.
But He doesn't

And we will never comprehend what that looks like entirely.
But when we see a father holding his daughters hand, or a husband serving his wife, or a friend buying a homeless man a coke, we get a glimpse of Gods love.
And I smile because we also get a glimpse of heaven.

To be Christ like is to be countercultural.

I would rather be deemed crazy by society than to be seen as normal by God.

So here's to discovering what it means to be a Christian.
What is truly means to be a "little Christ"


Friday, July 12, 2013

I need Jesus

"My heart will sing, no other name, Jesus"

I love that song and I love looking around and seeing other people singing their hearts out.

But this Monday was a little different.

I couldn't sing those words.

I tried, but I felt too convicted.

I sat down during that song and started to write.

I wrote exactly what I was feeling.

"Lord, I can't sing these words because they aren't true"

That was hard to admit.

In that moment, I realized how many things in my life I put before Jesus and I realized just how many other names my heart sings.
People, things, plans, ideas, all idols.

How many times a week do I have to remind myself to spend time with Him?

Too many.

How many times a week do I have to remember to give something to Him and not take it back?

Every day.

How many times a day do I have to remind myself that my future is not my own, it's His? 

Every minute. 

The really great thing about conviction and realizing how stupid I am as a human being is grace.

And when I have trouble remembering what grace feels like I think back to that moment on the monkey bars in Silver Lake, Michigan 7 years ago.

Grace feels like forgiveness.
Grace feels like I don't have to do life alone.
Grace feels like I am loved.
Grace feels like peace.

My heart may sing other names at times because I suck.
But because I suck, Christ died for me and I am forgiven.
And I will try my best to let my heart sing Your name.
But until I get it 100% right, I will continue to ask for forgiveness.


Sunday, June 16, 2013

Through the eyes of a child

Every summer I have the privilege of watching these two goofs

and we have so much fun whatever we do. Clearly, they were destined to be models.

This weekend I agreed to help out while they had wedding festivities to attend to and so I was there on a Saturday night which is not normal for me.
Julia and I had just gotten back from a bike ride and a mom and two kids came walking by and asked to pet Bentley and we agreed because he was the happiest pup alive to see a new face.
I started talking to the mom and it turns out she is the stepmom of the new boy in the neighborhood that Tanner has befriended.
We talked for a while and I knew the question she wanted to ask happens often.
Finally she asks me how i've managed to look so good for having a 12 year old son.
I told her, well he's not mine, I am only 21 and then we both laughed and she apologized for assuming.
It was starting to get dark, so we said our goodbyes and went inside.
Julia walks in and sits down and asks me what it means to have a stepmom.
I hold my breath when she asks questions like this.
I told her it's when a mom and a dad decide to not be married anymore, they get a divorce and then if the daddy marries again then the kids have a stepmom.
She then remembers that my parents are divorced and she asks if I have a stepmom.
I told her I do.
She then asks me if that makes me sad.
I told her no, I am not sad anymore.
She said she feels sad for me.
Then she asks me if that would ever happen to her mom and dad.
I told her it would not because her mom and dad love each other very much and they are very different from my parents.
She seemed to find comfort in that and told me she was sorry for me and that she loved me.

It took me a while to recover from this conversation because it was a sad moment for me.
Julia realized for one moment the world she pictures in her head isn't actually reality and for a small second she grew up faster then she should.
Things aren't always as simple and innocent as she thinks.

She teaches me. Her innocence, her spunk, her beauty, her kindness, and her beautiful heart.

When you look at life through the eyes of an 8 year old, you realize just how beautiful and innocent the world truly is and I want her to hold onto that beauty and innocence.