Thursday, September 9, 2010

I like the stars because they remind me to look up.

As I sit under the clear night sky at the steps of St. Paul’s Church, I can’t help but feel like a child in awe. First, the stars are beautiful. I can’t help but walk around with my head looking up at the stars, praying that I don’t ignorantly walk into a tree or a car or a trash can. I also love being in high places, like on a roof or in a tree, looking down.

When I’m sitting above everything looking down on everyone, I realize that no one ever notices me sitting there, even when I feel like I’m so obviously noticeable. People walk and drive by, not even noticing my presence, just because no one ever thinks to look up. I talked to my friend Arley about this the other night (as we were sitting on a roof watching cars drive by) and he said that God probably feels the same way. It makes perfect sense. The sad part is that God is so much more obvious, yet people still don’t realize his presence. He is seen through creation and through his people, yet we are dumb enough to miss even that.

So, here I am sitting at St. Paul’s. I’m reflecting on everything that has happened to me this past year. I’m trying to make sense of it all. I have no idea what God is trying to tell me.

Over the summer, I felt like I was missing out on God. I just couldn’t find him anywhere. It was hard. I tried to seek him, but I just simply wasn’t hearing. I had no idea what he wanted from me. I didn’t have any guidance or direction. I just worked and slept and went to church and went with the flow for 3 months.

But it makes perfect sense. I have a passion for people who are suffering, and I have a passion for art, photography specifically. I have a close friend who had to go through art therapy, and my heart cries for her. Gosh, I love her so much. I met an art therapist that goes to my church back at home who is willing to give me advice and let me watch and see the kind of work she does. In Greenville, I ran into another art therapist and we got to talk about photography, and she told me about Born Into Brothels, a documentary about kids using cameras as therapy. God is placing these people in my life for a reason. This is what I need to be doing.

I talk to my advisor, and he tells me I should switch my major to art and minor in psychology. I change my schedule around, and now I’m an art major and pysch minor, and I love every minute of it. Since being an art major, I feel like I am learning more about myself than about art. I think this is good. I’m realizing my passions, and I’m becoming more and more inspired to be creative. It’s funny. In a way, art is therapeutic to me. By learning to express myself, I am learning who I am, and I am realizing that in the past, photography has had such a positive impact on me, and has helped me get through my own hard times. And more importantly, I am learning to stand in awe of God, our creator.

For the past week I’ve been going on night walks with God each night. Just me and God, and sometimes my camera. It has been amazing, and I am learning oh so much. It started with being in awe of creation. Then, I wept, for those who are suffering. I cried because nothing made sense. I cried because I wasn’t hearing from God. I only could sit there and try to listen, but there was nothing. I star gazed. I got the thrill of a train passing next to me on the train tracks, reminding myself that life is vulnerable. I listened to worship music and walked around the town. I walked around in silence. I sat in silence. And I laid in silence. I became inspired by the stars.

So this is where everything ties together and makes sense. Back to the subject of looking up. I love the stars because they remind me to look up. It is so easy to forget God is right above us. He is all knowing and all loving. And He’s right above us. I don’t want to just look up though. I don’t want to just be aware of his presence. I want to be involved in his presence. This is why I sometimes don’t hear from God, because I am only aware of him, and not engaging myself in him. The more I remind myself to look up (or be aware), the more I want to engage myself in daily consistent prayer. I want to be close to God every minute of every day, not just when I make an effort to have a quiet time. I want others to see God in me. I want to be a light to those who need it. I want to learn more about myself and seek God through art., and use this knowledge to help others do the same.

This is my passion.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I spent so long trying to be someone, trying to impress, but lately I really have just been happy with myself. This is a huge step for me. I used to sit around and focus on my flaws and try to hide them and pretend that I was better. I've been told, "you can't love someone else if you can't love yourself first." You should love yourself because God loves you. You should be satisfied. And I feel like I am getting there. I am accepting my flaws, and I can laugh, and I can love. I'm starting to view people differently. I have been filled with a refreshed love.

I'm currently sitting on my comfy futon reading through 1 John with the wonderful sounds of Jonsi playing in the background. I am so content. It's quiet here. Everyone else is out enjoying others company. I just don't quite fit in right now. And honestly, I accept that.

I feel like I'm changing, and I can't put my hands on what exactly it is, but I am really content and enjoying the solitude. It kinda freaks me out because this is usually not like me at all. I'm usually dependent on other people. I hated that about myself. I needed people around me all the time. I needed someone to pay attention to me. I wanted to feel a sense of belonging. I wanted people to care about me. It mattered so much. But now I feel different and I don't quite know what it is, but I'm happy. I feel like my own person. I can enjoy solitude.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Why can't God just put a stop to evil?

In youth group, Willie has been asking us challenging questions and this was the last one that really made me think. I sat there and thought, but God DOES have the ability to put a stop to evil.

God has stopped evil before.

He flooded the earth to wipe out evil in Noah's day.

He destroyed the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. "Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens" Genesis 19:24. "Turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly" II Peter 2:6

He sent Jesus to die for us so we wouldn't have to suffer for our own wickedness.

And if you read more history in the Bible, you will see other examples of God stopping evil. However, God doesn't always stop evil from happening. In most cases, he allows it.

Earthquakes happen. Tornadoes happen. Flooding happens. Tsunamis, volcano eruptions, war and terrorism all happen. It is all part of God's plan.

I guess the reason he doesn't just put a stop to evil all the time is because God sees the big picture. God has already seen the end. He knows how things are going to turn out. Being human, we don't see the picture God sees. We focus on the little things that happen. One person dies and we think, why did God allow this to happen? What we don't realize is that this is all part of God's plan.

God has already seen the end. Everything is working for his perfect plan.
God has already won.

I sat there and thought more about that. God has already won. Why are we so worried? Why do we try to figure everything out on our own? God already knows. Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a perfect plan for us. I guess sometimes I forget that God already knows how everything will play out. He allows certain things to happen because he knows that in the end, it will be used to glorify Him. It may not make sense to us right now, but it will when that time comes.
I'm rambling a lot. I've been thinking a lot about how everything that happens is for the glory of God, no matter how crappy it seems at the time, because in the end God wins. How awesome is that?

I'm Sorry I'm A Christian - Chris Tse

Chris Tse presenting his poem at the Poetry Slam Vancouver. He was the 1st place winner on the 21st of December 2009 with a score of 57.3 with his poem.

I am a Christian. I’m sorry.

I’m sorry for the way that I come across

So fair and faith friendly and full of myself

Judging your spiritual health by

the words that you say

And the way that you dress, and the things that you do

Or maybe just judging you.

I’m sorry for the way that I live my life

So confident of my own beliefs that

I would never even think to think about thinking about yours

I’m sorry for the wars.

Ivory clad Crusaders mounting steeds and drawing swords

With such a spirit that if The Spirit spoke they wouldn’t hear

But you see the sword of the spirit was not a sword but the Word

And the Word was with God and the Word was God

And they preached this as they marched on the Holy Land

Singing and Praying and Killing and Slaying

And purging and healing and raping and stealing

It’s ironic that they lined their pockets in the name of God

Just like the priests who line their pockets in the name of God

Just like the people that you can’t stand, because they always raise their hand

And spread their faith and hate and judgment in the name of God

I’m sorry that I take God’s name in vain

Or rather I’m sorry that I stain the name of God

Defending my selfish actions as selfless actions pertaining to the will of God

I’m sorry for being intolerant

For trying to talk down to you

For trying to talk over you

For not letting you talk

I’m sorry for not walking the walk

For being a hypocritical critical Christian

Criticizing your pagan lifestyle while my lifestyle styles itself

Just like the televangelist’s hair

All slick and sly and slippery

As the silver syllables slide their way into your ear

But see that’s my greatest fear

That the steps I take won’t match the words I speak

So that when I speak all you hear of me

is a weak hypocritical critical Christian

Doing one thing, but saying another

Loving my friend, but hating my brother

It’s a show.

I’m sorry I get drunk on Saturdays

and go to church on Sundays to pray

for my friends who get drunk on Saturdays

And on that note,

I’m sorry for making the church about the pews and the cross

And the walls and the steeple

Because see, the building is not the church

The church is the people

I’m sorry that I hate you because you are gay

I’m sorry I condemn you to hell because you are gay

Instead of loving I jump to hatred

Mouth open and tongue preaching

Eyes open but not seeing that you are the same as me

Just a fucking human being

I’m sorry that I only hang out with Christian friends

And we do nice Christian things

Like pot luck dinners and board game nights

While in the night a man beats his girlfriend again

Another homeless man died again

Is this the way that my own crowd has been?

But here I am with the same friends again

But see what I always forget is that Jesus didn’t come

to hang out with the priests and the lords.

No, He hung out with cripples and beggars and whores


I’m sorry for history

For native tribes wiped out in the name of the church

Lodges burning Stomachs churning and yearning for justice

And mothers screaming and pleading

Pleading for the young ones

As they are dragged away to church schools

Where they were abused

I’m sorry for the way that I refused to learn your culture

Instead I just came to spread the Gospel

And the plague

I’m sorry that I stand at the front doors of abortion clinics

Screaming at fifteen year old girls as they enter

Instead of waiting at the back door to hug them as they leave

I’m sorry for taking my wars and my faith to your lands

When historically it was on your lands that my faith was born

And in the face of the storm, I realize that

If God is Love and Love is God

Then why are we shooting instead of sharing?

Why are we launching instead of learning?

Why are we warring instead of walking together?

Why are we taking instead of talking together?

Why are we bombing instead of breaking bread together as brothers?

You see, I think that God looks down and He’s sad

And from His right hand throne above

Jesus asks where is the Love?

And if it takes Wil-I-Am and Justin Timberlake

Asking that same question for us

To start asking that same question

Then where the fuck are we headed?

So I will take this stage to be my chapel

And this mic my confession booth

And in the presence of God, the few, the proud,

and the blessed I confess, that

I am a Christian. I’m sorry.

- A poem by Chris Tse

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

float on

"Who's to say where the wind will take you
Who's to say what it is will break you
I don't know which way the wind will blow
Who's to know when the time has come around
Don't wanna see you cry
I know that this is not goodbye."

So, my very good friend Travis left for Navy boot camp yesterday. It's weird. He was that friend that would always just be here. Every time I came home he would be here. I would go over to his house and fall asleep on his couch. That sounds kind of boring, but I'm gonna miss that. And that couch is impossible to not fall asleep on. It is the most comfortable couch in the history of couches. So many great memories with him. He was my viola buddy in high school. We talked through school but didn't start hanging out until senior year. He used to be best friends with the guy I dated senior year. When we broke up, Travis was still there for me. I could call him anytime and he would listen. I loved how if I wanted to do something, he would encourage me to just do it. Most of our hanging out times were from spontaneous ideas. I loved going to Main Street during the winter and walking around in the snow and going to the candy shop and stopping at the popcorn stand to get homemade kettle corn, and watching the horse carriages go by and always wishing we could afford to ride one. And walking around Creve Coeur Lake and talking about everything and yes, everyone. Listening to Pink Floyd's The Wall and singing along in the car at the top of our lungs. We would go for late night drives all the time and go down Hog's Hollow and listen to scary music and drive through the fog and corn fields and pass the eery looking water plant. The past two new years were spent at his house with our friends. We'd all sit on the legendary couch until midnight, then see how long we could stay up. The first new year spent at his house was the most memorable. So much drama and laughing, and being worried about breakfast. There are so many frickin good memories that it'd take too long to sit here and type. We used to joke around about how he's going to have a ton of money from the navy. I told him that he should get a fountain soda machine because fountain soda is better than regular soda, and he will.

Man, I'm gonna miss this kid. I know I'll still talk to him when he's graduated boot camp and goes to California for school, but it just won't be the same. I'm proud of him though. I don't want to sit here and be sad about this. This is such a great thing that he is doing. He's going to be a translator for the Navy. I'm really happy for him. I'm just going to miss him being around. I feel like I have developed this expectation that whenever I come home from school he'll be here, but he's not going to always be here and I have to get used to that. Also, I'm realizing that it'd be selfish of me to want that. He's going to travel the world and I couldn't be happier or more proud of him.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

thoughts at the lake

I've been craving spending time with God. I always see how far or long I can go without Him until I hit rock bottom. Why do I do this? I don't know. I'm human. What a lame excuse.

I pick up the book, Crazy Love, remembering how much is impacted me before. I decide to go to the lake to read and watch the sunset. I figure that would be a good way to spend time with just me and God. I grab my blanket and get in the car and drive out to the lake. I park my car, and find a nice sunny spot to lay, where I can work on my uneven tan. I soon realize that I chose to lay in a field full of pollinating bumble bees. I'll just ignore them, I think. Don't bother them, they won't bother you, right?

I continue reading this book, longing for some passion to stir up in me like last time I read this book. Now I can't help but ease drop of the snippets of people's conversations as they pass me by on the trail.  They're talking about school, pregnancy, family, dogs, anything. So many different kinds of people, many different languages. I just want to listen. No, focus on God, I tell myself. Then a huge Indian family stops to the play on the beach right next to me.  All the kids are screaming and yelling and talking at the top of their lungs to each other with their high pitched voices. God, they're so annoying.

This is when I realize what my problem is. I'm trying too hard. Stop being so bitter. Just soak up the greatness of God. These are God's people just as much as I am. God made these bumble bees. Without them, there'd be no honey or flowers, how sad. Help me to see creation and love Your people the way You do, I pray.

It's slowly getting less busy here at the lake. There are those few people trying to get their last minute exercise in before the sun sets. Even the bees are pollinating last minute before they make their journey home. We live in such a noisy, busy and fast paced world. I long for simplicity, solitude and peace. I don't want to miss our on anything God has to offer. I often say that is my biggest fear.

There's another young man standing on the beach, practicing juggling. He seems really good at it. I'm impressed. He's by himself. He sits down and takes a smoke, looking off into the lake towards the sunset. I wonder what he's thinking about. I want to say something, like, "Hey that was amazing" or "That's really neat, how did you learn to do that?" Nevermind, I'll probably just come across as creepy or awkward. I have a thing for doing that.

Finally the loud family is leaving, it's getting quiet, the sun is setting, how peaceful. It's beautiful. God is beautiful. Everything He created has its beauty. I came here longing for passion and passino is what I found in the beauty of creation and of people. I don't need to try so hard to see God. All I need to do is sit and watch.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Sometimes I feel like I don't fit in with my gender because I'm not constantly boy crazy.

I was talking with a friend the other day about boys, and she asked me who I liked, and I thought about it and realized that I don't really have a crush on anyone. It's weird because I really just haven't thought about liking someone in awhile. I am honestly completely satisfied with God right now. Sure, I may be attracted to certain attributes of certain guys, but I'm definitely not crushing over anyone. If anything, I am just realizing what attributes in guys that are desirable. She thought it was the weirdest thing and could not believe that I didn't have a crush on anyone.

I told her that I wanted God to have my heart before I gave it to someone else.

It's like it's wrong in our society today to not crush on someone. It's sad, we have neglected the love of our Creator. We forget to pursue God and to let God love us the way He wants to.

It just amazes me how many girls are trying to find someone to crush on. They move on from one guy to the next. It's like they would go insane if they didn't have a boy to crush over. It's ridiculous, and it breaks me heart. I wish everyone could experience the true satisfaction and love I have experienced. God is perfect love, and it captivates me more than any other being.
My desire is that God will captivate our hearts and that we will stay captivated by only Him. Take the time to get to know God, our Creator. He knew you before you even existed, and He wants to have a relationship with us. Being a Christian is not about what it takes to get to Heaven, it's about what it takes to love God and to love others.

I've been reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and it has been so encouraging in my journey with God and letting Him captivate my heart.

A few things that stood out:

"When we love God because we feel we should love Him, instead of genuinely loving out of our true selves, we have forgotten who God really is...we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him."

"We forget that we already have everything we need in Him...we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshipped and loved."

"Why are we so quick to forget God? Who do we think we are? Even though I glimpse God's holiness, I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all."

"If life were stable, I'd never need God's help. Since it's not, I reach out for Him regularly. I am thankful for the unknowns and that I don't have control, because it makes me run to God."

"The irony is that while God doesn't need us but still wants us, we desperately need God but don't really want Him most of the time. He treasures us and anticipates our departure from this earth to be with Him - and we wonder, indifferently, how much we have to do for Him to get by."

"As we begin to focus more on Christ, loving Him and others becomes more natural."

"I need God to help me love God."

Friday, March 12, 2010


The other week, a few friends and I brought sandwiches to the homeless tent community downtown St. Louis. It was a really great service experience, and it opened my eyes to see how these people live day after day. Through service, I have learned so much about myself. My heart is to serve others. I want to be available to be used by God, I want to continue knowing God more and more through service, and I want to glorify God in everything I do.
It was amazing to see how appreciative these people were that we brought them sandwiches. It was a simple act of service that did not cost a lot of money, and did not take very much effort, but it meant so much more to them. We sat under the tent by the fire and had lunch together with these people. One kid, named Patrick, actually grew up in Greenville, and moved to St. Louis when he became homeless. I told him I would being him back a Greenville lanyard, and that simple act meant so much to him.
This makes me long for simplicity. I want to be able to appreciate the little things in life. One of my biggest fears is that I will get so caught up with myself that I miss God in the smallest places. God’s voice is not heard in the wind or storms, but in a whisper. I want to live a life of service and simplicity and disciplined silence so that I will be able to hear God and I won’t have to concentrate so hard on having to listen for His voice.
One thing that struck me the most when we brought the sandwiches to the homeless was how giving they were in return. In one of their tents they had some food stocked up that they had received. There were two unopened packages of banana bread, and one of the guys told us to take it home with us as their gift of appreciation. It was really hard for us to take the bread from them because I am sure it is a lot harder for them to attain bread than it is for us, but it would be rude to not accept the gift either. In a way I feel like the homeless served us more than we served them. Even though we brought them sandwiches that they could not afford, they still gave us banana bread. That is true service, and that is what I long for.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Present your bodies as living sacrifices to God - Romans 12:1-2

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:1-2)

Before you think that Christianity has everything to do with being merciful, realize that Christianity is first having everything to do with living a life of worship.  What we do with our bodies is our spiritual worship. Before we can be merciful, we must be full of worship, otherwise mercy will be be mere social agendas. Your life simply cannot be merciful if you aren't worshipful first.
Our bodies were created for worship. We worship God for His mercy.

So what does Paul mean by spiritual act of worship?
He means that we need to present a sacrifice, and not to be confused with Old Testament sacrifices. The blood of bulls and goats won't take away our sin. Jesus is the ultimate, perfect sacrifice.

1 Corinthians 5:7 - "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed."

Hebrews 10:12 - "But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God."

We are called to sacrifice our bodies in worship.

Paul makes 4 points: bodies, living, holy, and acceptable to God.

Christianity is not only a mind transformation or spiritual transformation, but a body transformation as well.  God wants our everything, including our bodies.  Some people may think, "but my body is flawed," or "I don't like my body."  That is not the point.  We do not have to offer perfect sacrifices because we aren't sacrificing our bodies for sin; we are sacrificing for God.  The sacrifice for sin was already made on the cross.  Our bodies do not deserve anything.  Our bodily sacrifices are acceptable to God through Jesus.  Through Jesus is the only way we can be accepted.  God is not after our bodily looks; but our bodily behaviors.  It's all about what God wants us to do with our bodies.
The reason we have a body is to make the beauty of Christ known visible.
This can be seen in Isaiah 53.

"Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Like one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows,
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,
and by his wounds we are healed."

The beauty of Christ is not found in looks, but in love.  We are called to be models of mercy and love.  If only everyone could understand this.  We are raised in a society where we are told that we have to look a certain way and we compare our bodies to other people.  It's really sad.  I admit I have done it too.  I think almost everyone has, and it's such a shame.  If only we could see people the way God sees them, with love and mercy.  That is my prayer.  The only thing that matters is how much we use our bodies to love.  We have bodies to give evidence that Jesus is our savior.

"Present your body as a living sacrifice."  We are alive in order to make Jesus known.  Make every act of your living body put to death everything in your life that dishonors Christ. When do you feel most alive? Most Christians will say it is when they are evangelizing.  When they share God's love with others, they feel alive.  We don't feel alive when we live for ourselves, but it is by grace when we live for others and for God.

"spiritual worship"
Romans 12:1 can correlate with Romans 6:13
"Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness."
Do not present yourself to sin, but to God as those who have been brought from death to life.  Let every action be one of righteousness.
Holiness is what I long for.

Acceptable to God
What does this add to holiness?
Paul adds "God" to make it acceptable.
Without God, we cannot be acceptable, but because of God's mercy we can be acceptable.

Before your bodies are designed for mercy, they are designed for worship. Mercy is the goal and means for worship.  Mercy is what displays God and makes Him beautiful.
Worship is the fuel and the goal for mercy.

It may not be coincidence that our tongue is so much smaller than our arms and legs.  Maybe that was God's way of showing us that actions are louder than words.  Use your body for Him.  Use your body to glorify God, and remember that you were bought with a price!  Go serve Him. :)

"Take my life and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing
always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold
not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
every power as You choose.

Take my will and make it Thine
it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart it is Thine own
it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord I pour
at Your feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.
Take myself and I will be
ever, only, all for Thee.

Here am I, all of me.
Take my life, it's all for Thee."

- Take My Life by Chris Tomlin

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I am a true coffee addict. In fact, I'm sipping on some coffee right now.
I just explained to my roommate how I do my coffee. She's trying to come up with a new word for this condition...something along the lines of ridiculous.
Every time I make coffee, I prepare my coffee maker for the next time I want coffee.
I put the water in, the filter, and the coffee grounds. All I have to do is press the on button whenever I want coffee.
When my mug is empty, I clean it out and put the creamer in and put it in the fridge so all I have to do is add the coffee when it's ready.
I even have the timer set for 8:55 every morning so that it automatically starts itself so I won't forget, and I can start my day with chapel and coffee. (Is there a better way to start a day?)

Plus, I drink fair trade coffee, so that makes me feel ten times better about it! :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

It Is Well

I am learning to be at peace with the Lord.  I am always longing for something more, and I am always looking for areas in my life to change to grow closer to God.  I think as Christians, we can get so caught up in trying to fix ourselves that we forget to sit in the presence of God and enjoy it, feel His unconditional love.  We tend to focus on areas of our lives to be changed, which is good to do, but we shouldn't do it so much that it interferes with the joy we receive from God's presence.
I want to live a life of worship every day, whether it be through pain and suffering or praise and joy.  I want the fire in my heart to spread.  I want others to notice something different.  I want to be captured by God's never ending love.  I want to be Christ to those who don't know Him.
God, take over my life. I'm letting go, falling into You so You can guide my steps from here on out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dating God

I love it when I find little things that encourage me. I was going through an old notebook of sermon notes and letters and whatever else I collected in that notebook, and I found a little card from Linnette.

"One of my prayers for you Carrie is that you will wait on God's guy. You have been through so much with your parents divorce. You don't want that for your life or children. So the question then is will you wait for God's timing and not your own? Don't take a temporary problem and make a permanent solution. Just because you are lonely or long to be with someone don't settle. Carrie, you are such a loving, kind, gorgeous young lady. Don't sell yourself short. You may have to wait awhile to get your prince charming but it will be well worth the wait. In the mean time make sure you are dating God. Know His voice, search for His character. He will never let you down.
Psm 139, Jeremiah 29:11-13, Zeph. 3:17, Phil. 2:21.
Keep your eyes on Him. I can't wait to see what God's going to do through you these next four years."

I remember I got that card and I read it and I was very appreciative for what she said, but my issue was that I was settling, and I kept denying it. This was during my senior year, and I was with a guy and I really thought we were going to get married. I just remember thinking that I was already with "God's guy" and it was weird how she would write that. Looking back, I should have known better than to be with him, but that's the past. What can ya do? I know better now, and that's what mostly counts, right?

Anyway, I just found this and reread it and I am just so encouraged right now. I want to wait on God's timing. I don't want to jump into anything without dating God first. For the past couple weeks I've been working on "dating God." This was a concept I knew about before and I didn't really think it was a big deal. I mean, I loved God, so why would I have to ditch dating to date God? What more could I do than what I was already doing with God? I already had quiet times, I prayed, I read my bible, so what does it mean to date God? It never really made sense to me. Yeah, I heard cool stories about how a woman dates God and goes on walks with God or has a picnic with God and does things that she would like to do on a date, but with God, and then she meets a man who enjoys doing the same things that she did while she dated God. Those are always beautiful and heart-warming stories, but I just never could see it happening that way with me. I wanted to find the right guy without taking the time to date God. I should have known that I will never find the right guy until I seek God first. Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and slap my high school self around a little bit, but I can't, so I have to learn to deal with my mistakes.

Sorry I keep ranting off subject. So, I am dating God. I thought about it a couple weeks ago, and I really do want to grow more with God and get to know God's character and His voice personally, even more than I do now. I want to fall in love with my creator. I can't imagine loving God more than I do now, but I know it's possible and I am super excited for what will happen because of this. It started when a group of us went ice skating in Michigan the other weekend. I remember skating around the rink seeing couples and just getting annoyed at the fact that there were so many couples. (I'm not bitter, I promise) Even though I was having fun with the few of us who went, I found the time to turn that situation into a date with God. My bitterness completely changed into seeking after God. I went around the rink a few times just talking in my head with God, and that was absolutely amazing. It wasn't like I heard God say anything. It was more along the lines of acknowledging His presence and knowing that He wants to spend time with me, that He is jealous for my love. So instead of being bitter about all of the couples, I was able to just fall more in love with God and take pride in God's love for me.

So, I am trying really hard to not be paranoid about "the right guy" and to not worry about whether I should try talking to someone or not. There's no use in getting nervous because I know God has a guy for me out there somewhere, and until we meet, I will wait patiently upon the Lord. For now, I am dating God, praying for my future husband, seeking God's character and voice, and I pray that whoever my future husband is will also have to seek God first before he finds me, and have the guts to come to me first so I don't have to worry about being nervous, ha. just sayin.

P.S. Coffee dates are the best! :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010


So, I realized that I critique myself way too much. I try to find every fault in my life so that I can work on getting better. There's nothing wrong with wanting to be a better person, but I have to remember that I won't ever be as good as the standards I set for myself.

Oh, I'm too quiet. I worry too much. I am prideful. I compare myself to others. I don't always put God first. Sometimes, I only spend time with God when I feel like spending time with God. Sometimes, I put off spending time with God until I get everything else done first, and by that time it's already time for bed, so I put it off until the next day, only to fall into the pattern of repetition. I don't have the eloquence of speech as much as others. I want to put into words what I am thinking, but it's like there's so many colliding thoughts that the only way I can get it all out is by venting on paper (or computer).

I am not perfect, nor will I ever be perfect. So why do I keep trying to be perfect? Is there a problem with wanting to be the best you can be?

I feel like I need to prove myself. To make up for all of my faults.

Geeze, I'm even critiquing myself right now about critiquing myself! Ironic, huh?

Lord I'm tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I'm so alone
And Lord the dark
Is creeping in
Creeping up
To swallow me
I think I'll stop
Rest here a while

And didn't You see me crying?
And didn't You hear me call Your name?
Wasn't it You I gave my heart to?
I wish You'd remember
Where you sat it down

And this is all that I can say right now
i know it's not much
And this is all that I can give
That's my everything

I didn't notice You were standing here
I didn't know that
That was You holding me
I didn't notice You were crying too
I didn't know that
That was You washing my feet


I love Sundays. It's a day of celebration.
I know I usually end up doing homework and cleaning and laundry and getting ready for the upcoming week, but I always try to make time (besides going to church) to reflect on Christ and what he did for me. That's what we do on Sundays. We go to church and worship our Father and celebrate Christ's resurrection. The celebration shouldn't stop after church. It should carry on throughout the whole day. I try to be in constant meditation on Sundays, while I am preparing for the week. I want my actions to glorify God. I want the words I say to build others up and be words of encouragement.

God, consume me.

During the week help me to stay focused on You and grow closer to You. Help me to stay diligent in my studies and in the Word. Help me to not become lazy or distracted this week.

You are my joy.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I am sick of basing my relationship with God off of emotions.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Today, I came to the realization that I need to stop only focusing on the issues happening across the world when there are people here who need to be shown God's love as well. At the Faith and International Development conference this past weekend, I learned so much about social injustice in other countries, and my heart cries out for those countries. It's just not fair how so much wealth and so much poverty can coexist under God's authority. The same thing with Haiti, it's not fair. I feel like America is such a blessed country that I tend to only cry out for those across the world, and ignore what's happening here.

Today has been a strange day. I became aware of how much suffering and pain there is amongst my peers. I am looking at people with a new perspective. I am asking God to give me his eyes to see the world and people the way he sees, with love and compassion. So, I laid down for a nap before my western civ class, but instead it turned into laying down before God in meditation. I had the song Desert Storm by Hillsong stuck in my head, so I was reflecting on the words of the song, basically saying that no matter what I may be going through, I will always have a reason to praise God. I laid there in silence, asking God to come into my heart and consume me, and fill me with love to love others the way he does. I ended up not sleeping at all, but the neat thing was that I still felt awake in class. I didn't doze off at all, even though I was so tired before. God sustains us, and He did to me today.

I feel like I have been taking in so much information, especially from the conference and from the "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster (the book I'm reading for COR), and I've been asking God what I'm supposed to be doing with all this information. Later, a friend calls me asking if I could talk. I knew I had homework I had to do, and a bible study to go to later, but I felt lead to put everything aside and listen, so I did. She is heart-broken right now, and it turned out that she needed someone to listen to her. I was able to talk to her through her situation and help her calm down a little bit, and then I prayed for her. Then, it was almost time for dinner, and I realized that I didn't have time to prepare anything for this bible study that I started, not to mention it was our first meeting. I turned to God, asking that He would guide us through the study, and He did. Everyone was very involved, and we have an awesome time in fellowship and studying and analyzing God's word.

I also have another friend who said he was going through a rough time today, and so we prayed for him along with the other prayer requests in the bible study. Then, later this same night, another friend was upset and also going through a rough time, so I sat down and talked with her for awhile. After asking God to fill me with a compassion for others, I feel like more and more opportunities are being placed in front of me, and I do not want to pass them up. I'm supposed to be reading a book for my COR class, but I feel like God has been challenging my faith a lot, seeing if I will take the opportunities presented to me.

It would have been so much easier to ignore my friends and focus on getting my homework done, but it is much more rewarding doing God's work and making yourself available to be an example of Christ to others. It comes down to the question, do I trust that God will provide/sustain me with the energy I need to focus on my homework if I make myself available to be used by Him first? We are called to be missionaries, and witnesses, and if we think that we don't have time to do God's work because other things are more important, than how dare we call ourselves Christ followers?

It took a leap of faith to make God and others my top priority, but it was definitely worth it, and I have faith that God will send blessings to those who do so. I fear not being able to be used by God to the fullest because of the interference of my own human desires. When we receive the same amount of joy from helping a friend or stranger where we are now than helping someone across the world, that is when we can experience true love and compassion.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


I waited patiently for the Lord;
He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set me feet upon a rock,
Making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their
trust in the Lord.
- Psalm 40:1-3

Usually when I read verses about how if we wait patiently on the Lord He will answer our cries, and my first reaction is one of frustration or anger. Patience has got to be my weakest attribute. It's one of the hardest things for me to deal with, and when I read about God giving people the desires of their hearts, I want to think, "It's not fair! I want MY prayers to be answered. I want to be secure. I'm sick of waiting." Why is it that God takes care of David's desperation and not mine? I try to be a righteous person, and I know I fail at that, but my desire is to be a Christ follower. That should mean something, right? And it does. I've always had a passion for the Lord, but recently I've been convicted that I don't have the patience for the Lord. I never fully understood why God is making me wait so long, but through some serious prayer and meditation I think I figured it out. He wants to spend time with me. He wants to speak to me. I wasn't listening. I was always one step ahead of God, thinking I have everything under control, but in realty, I am lost.

Yes, I am a born again Christian, and I love learning theology and I strive to be Christ-like, but my steps are anything but secure. There was always a fight or struggle between me and God. In high school, I had sometimes thought God's love wasn't enough at the time and I needed something else to fill that desire. Love has always been something I struggled with. My parents divorced when I was really young, and I hardly ever remember feeling a sense of family. I would go to friends' houses and spend time with their families, eventually calling them my own family. But in the house I grew up in, it was hard to feel that sense of family. I'm not writing this to gain sympathy. I'm not depressed over this. If anything, I have learned a lot and grew a lot stronger in my faith because of those circumstances. I'm writing out of a desperation to experience God's love to the fullest and let that be enough in my life. I want to say his love is enough, but it's another thing to believe it from experience. So that's what I'm doing now. Experiencing God's love to the fullest.

As I think about how unfair it is for David's cries to be heard and answered, I have to ask myself, what am I doing that is different than David? We have the same desperation, so what makes his better than mine? The reason is because of our spiritual disciplines. This past semester I have realized that I am very dependent on spiritual mentors and accountability partners, and when I left for Greenville, I left all my dependency behind. It became easy to become distracted and to neglect my spiritual disciplines. I tend to turn to other people before turning to God, and this is something I still sometimes struggle with, and it’s also why I am so frustrated with God at times. He is waiting for me to turn to Him in silence and to listen to Him.

The first half of my half hour meditation was me letting out my frustration at God, about how He’ll “give us the desires of our hearts if we commit to the Lord.” I was impatient because I felt like I was committed and I desired godly things, but I wasn’t receiving. The second half was mostly focused on submission and revealing that I just need to be silent and listen to God. David talks about being still and knowing that God is God. I am learning to trust that God will do great things in His timing, and know that His timing always perfect.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


"Maybe there's a connection between the amount of noise in our lives and our inability to hear God." I decided that I'm not going to watch Lost tonight and instead spend some time in silence. It was a tough decision, I'll be honest, but this is what I've been needing to do for a long time now. For the longest time, I couldn't figure out why God felt so distant. Last semester I was so far from Him that I wanted to be closer but everything I tried to do to get closer to God didn't work. Over break, I prayed a LOT, and I talked to my mentors a LOT, and I surrounded myself around good Christian people. I learned quite a bit, and I regained that passion in my heart to want to serve God. So that all happened.

Then I got back to Greenville. I got back into a routine, a daily schedule, going to chapel, worshipping my Lord and Savior on a daily basis. Awesome, right? Right...well yeah, it is awesome, I love worshipping God, I love learning more about Him. But today, I couldn't help but weep. I am realizing that I have been missing out on God. I haven't been listening. He is waiting to speak to me, and I just sit here and tell Him how I am frustrated with life, or how much I love Him, or intercede for others, and I leave it at that. He wants to hear all of my requests, but He also wants to speak to me, and I wasn't allowing Him to do that. This is why I felt so distant. It all makes sense now.

I really feel like God has put me in this Cor class that I am for a good reason, to learn to listen to Him. He's been trying to speak to me and I haven't been allowing that. I woke up this morning in a really weird mood. I feel like something is missing, but I couldn't figure out what it was. I started reading the Celebration of Discipline for Cor, and as I was reading it, I was just taking everything in. I felt everything finally made sense. Sure, I have learned all this stuff before, but I am learning to not be prideful in that I already know this, but to have an open heart and know that it's something I need to continue to apply to my life on a daily basis.

I am learning spiritual disciplines. I can't neglect my daily devotions. "Discipline is the price of freedom." - Elton Trueblood.

Jesus said "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly." John 10:10

The deeper you are in understanding God's word, the more abundant you are. As Christians we go through phases where we long after God, then sometimes we don't. I feel like our emotions guide us too much in our relationship with God. We have to remember that emotions are not the primary motivator for spiritual discipline. It takes effort. It's the same thing as being in a relationship with someone, it takes effort. You just CAN'T base a relationship off of emotions, and the same thing goes with God too.

I am truly blessed to be in this COR class, and I am learning SO much about myself and things that I need to do to spiritually discipline myself.

Resist the temptation to feel that meditation is unproductive.
I am so scared that I am going to miss out on ALL that God has to offer to me. My heart is breaking knowing that I haven't taken the time to be still and to listen. I am going to be focusing on silence for awhile. Yeah, I'll still talk to friends or whatever and have fun, but I do need to back off and come face-to-face with God. I need to confess to Him that I've been doing it wrong. My heart wants to serve God, and wants to be close to God, but I need to rerealize that ONLY God is God.

Monday, February 1, 2010

College, stuff.

So, I haven't been writing very much at all since I got back to school. I've been so caught up in seeing my friends I haven't seen in so long and reconnecting with people. It's been awesome.

But I can't loose my focus.

Lord, draw me closer to you.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Why is it that it takes a massive earthquake or other tragedy to capture our attention of the world, when there are thousands of people suffering every day?
Just because there are more people in one spot suffering, does it mean that their suffering is greater than the one person who cries out for help but doesn't receive any because no one notices?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I'm realizing that I don't know as much about the Bible as I thought. Mostly Old Testament. I am very familiar with the concepts and especially with the New Testament, but I only know a handful of the stories. My goal from here on out is to start reading an Old Testament Bible story straight from the Bible each day. Today I read the story of Samson. I was already familiar with it, but it's been so long and it happened to be he first one I turned to.

Also, I've been thinking about how effective prayer is. People do not pray enough. We worship, we may read our Bibles and go to Bible studies and talk about God, but so many people forget to pray. It's another thing that's really sad. Worship can be very emotional, and we may lift our hands up and feel moved, but how often do we stop and pray? A relationship with God is not based on emotions. Worship is awesome, but it can be emotional. It's not enough to just worship God. Having a relationship with God means to study his word, spend time with him, pray, spread the word, along with worship. Just something to think about.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:6-7).

The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective (James 5:16).

"To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: 'Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: "God, I thank you that I am not like other men-robbers, evildoers, adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get." But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted" (Luke 18:9-14).

writing from the comfort of my living room

inspiration is at it's finest at late hours of the night, when i'm half awake, half asleep.
well, kind of.

why is it that when I need to go to sleep I can't because my thoughts keep me awake?

i think part of it is that I feel so unaccomplished today. (yeah i know my grammer sucks right now, but i don't care)
you know, there is always an opportunity that we can help people, but sadly, we don't.

"sometimes it's just as simple as seeing the need and stepping in with what you've got in you're head to do..." (i-heart documentary)

i've been thinking about how blessed we are to live in America. I woke up, took a shower with nice warm water, got to choose what i wanted to wear today, ate a banana and later a home cooked chicken enchilada, got to drive in my very own car to church and spend time with other Christians without any worry, drove back home, enjoyed a homemade milkshake, read part of a book, watched Lost, got on the internet, texted a friend, enjoyed some music of my choice, and laid in bed with a roof over my head in a secure house...
and not once, did I stop and thank God for any of that, until just now.
we take so much for granted it makes me sick.

"You may choose to look the other way, but you can never say you didn't know." (W. Wilberforce)

"How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.

Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted."
-Habakkuk 1:2-4

there are people across the world who don't even have clean water. there are people dying from malnutrition, and at the same time, there are millions of people in America drinking clean water right now.
I ask myself, why does Go allow this to happen? How can poverty and wealth coexist in the same world? it doesn't make sense. i don't deserve this. the people dying from not having clean water don't deserve that.

Also, there are so many countries where Christianity is illegal. There are prison camps, similar to the ones during the Holocaust, for those who call themselves Christians. In China, they have to have underground churches and worship in secret so they are not shot by the soldiers. It's so upsetting to see Christians in America who act like they need to keep their faith a secret just so they won't be made fun of, while in other countries, people are dying because they are not ashamed.

I'm not doubting God. I know He has reasons for everything. He is a compassionate God, but it's so hard to see that with all of this injustice going on. Haiti just got hit by an earthquake. So many children don't have parents anymore. So many missing people. My heart is broken. It's not fair. How can I just sit here and watch on my tv in the comfort of my living room of all the tragedy going on in the world?
I am so blessed to be getting an education and going to an awesome school. I appreciate everything God has done for me, but I don't understand why I'm not the one suffering.

I see injustice in my own city with the issue of homelessness. I know sometimes the homeless are homeless because of their own mistakes, but some people really can't help it. Sometimes teens are kicked out of their house with no help. Sometimes someone may get injured and can no longer work. Things happen. Not only is there injustice across the world, but there is injustice 20 minutes away from my own house.

"I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." (Hellen Keller)

People are not problems to be fixed; real love is without expectations. Injustice is solved by us being justice.

I want to go and serve God. I want to reach out to those in need. I can't just sit here and do nothing. I want to take what I have and use it to glorify God.

"I heard and my heart pounded,
my lips quivered at the sound;
decay crept into my bones,
and my legs trembled.
Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity
to come on the nation invading us.

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments."
-Habakkuk 3:16-19

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

paint splatters

Sometimes I get the strangest urge to splatter paint everywhere in an empty room on a HUGE canvas.
Sometimes I just feel like being messy and creative. I guess it's normal.

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

I'm trying to get back into the mode of writing. My previous posts were mostly posts that I forced myself to write, like writing a paper for a class. I made myself do it. I was passionate about what I wrote about, but I still had to put forth the extra effort to make myself sit down and get it out of my head into words.

I want to be honest.

I am going back to Greenville in four days. I am stoked, let me tell you. It's weird having my life in two different places. I feel like I always long to be somewhere. Once I get to Greenville and get over the excitement of seeing everyone I haven't seen in 6 weeks, I'll use the bathroom and miss not having scratchy toilet paper. It's a vicious cycle.

No, but seriously, I am really excited to get back to Greenville. I am hoping for some changes. Mostly attitude changes. I don't want to get distracted again this semester. I want to keep my focus on Him. This semester is going to be awesome. I'll still have fun and have a blast. Having fun is one of the many ways to glorify God, right?

balance. that's what I needed to work on. It's getting there.

I want to be used by God this semester. I'm tired of sitting around doing nothing.

I've been listening to a lot of David Crowder lately. I forgot how much I LOVE that guy.

Take my fret, take my fear
All I have, I’m leaving here
Be all my hopes, be all my dreams
Be all my delights, be my everything
-Only You

painting by Ben Quilty on

check this out

sculpture consisting of a screw-diver, fishing rod and a kite

Sunday, January 17, 2010

cheating on Jesus

Let us remember that [God] is holy and he is righteous, and that a holy and righteous God has the right to say that the blood is acceptable in his eyes and has fully satisfied him.
-Watchman Nee (1903-1972)

I've been reading through The Naked Gospel by Andrew Farley and it has been really faith-challenging, in a good way.
One chapter was about "cheating on Jesus," something that I find myself struggling with.

In the Old Testament, we see that the Israelites have to offer animal sacrifices over and over because no single sacrifice was enough to cleanse them of their sins. Everytime they sinned, they had to offer another animal blood sacrifice.

[The law] can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Otherwise, would they not have stopped being offered? For the worshipers would have been cleansed once for all, and would no longer have felt guilty for their sins.
-Hebrews 10:1-2

The Old Testiment makes the statement of a sacrifice that is enough to cover our sins once and for all, initiating the New Covenant. When John the Baptist sees Jesus, he declares, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

Because Jesus' sacrifice cleansed us once for all, there's no procedure we have to do to remain forgiven. We depend on this one sacrifice for a lifelong forgiveness. "Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous and the unrighteous, to bring you to God" (1 Peter 3:18).

"Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness" (Hebrew 9:22). No amount of dialoguing with God about our sins will bring us more forgiveness. No amount of asking God to forgive us will initiate his cleansing in our lives. Blood sacrifice is the only action that results in forgiveness and cleansing. This was true in the Old Testament, and it is still true today.

Because there are no more blood sacrifices being made for sins, can we not conclude that Jesus Christ's sacrifice is sufficient to bring a lifetime of forgiveness?

Here is where I find struggle.
Our human pride won't allow us to enjoy this kind of grace. Maybe it's because it feels too easy, not having to do anything.
We feel like we need to activate this forgiveness by doing some sort of procedure, asking God for it. When I became a Christian, I asked God to forgive my sins. But after reading this chapter in this book, I'm realizing that I was already forgiven. The cross is a historical event. We cannot initiate forgiveness; only blood brings forgiveness.

Farley puts it this way:
"Our acts of remembrance, confession, asking forgiveness, and claiming - whether done with good intentions or not - don't cause more blood to be shed...
Realistically, we only have two choices: (1) accept as fact the complete unconditional forgiveness that God purchased through the crushing of his Son, or (2) create some system of our own to feel better about our sins.

What then are we saying about the sacrifice of Jesus when we insist that something further be done to "activate" it? In essence, we're insulting the work of Calvary. We're valuing the Son's sacrifice even less than the people of the Old valued their animal sacrifices."

I can definitely see what Farley is saying here, and I'm starting to understand the difference between forgiveness and mercy. We don't have to do anything to be forgiven, because the cross already took care of that. However, once we accept this forgiveness, we receive God's mercy, which will bring us closer to Him and fills us with passion and desire to know God more and share this love with others.

1 Peter 2:1-12

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

"See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone, and,
A stone that causes men to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall."

They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Today, I met a homeless guy living in a tent community in St. Louis. His name is Patrick and he's 20 years old, and he is from Greenville, Illinois (where I go to college!).
He saw my Greenville College lanyard and really liked it. I have an extra one so I told him would come back and bring it to him. After I told him that his face just lit up. He was so happy that I would come back just to give him a lanyard from his hometown.
Sometimes, it's the small things that can be so meaningful to someone else. Seeing him get that happy about something so small was so inspiring and heart warming. I want to continue to serve. Again, I can't stress enough how amazing it is to allow God to use you.
Nevertheless, I think it made both of our days. :)

My Desire

I’m running through the gates of love, as fast as I can
I can’t wait to see You cuz I’m a desperate man
You made the light and sent it down
to show us who You are
Now It’s bursting out my heart

My desire is burning like a million stars
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You

I’d be nothing without You, yeah I would die
If I didn’t have Your hand if I couldn’t look into Your eyes
Jesus if Your love’s the fuel then I’m the desperate flame
That’s screaming out Your name

My desire is burning like a million stars
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You
My desire, is burning with the fire You sparked
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You

This is glory rising, over a new horizon
I See Your love, I feel Your smile
You're in my heart and I will run with all I have to You

My desire is burning like a million stars
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You
My desire, is burning with the fire You sparked
And I’ll keep reaching out, reaching out for You

- Desire by Phil Wickham

This break was very much needed. I have grown so much these past few weeks by spending time with my mentors, old friends, being able to share my testimony and what God has been doing with my life with high schoolers and doing ministry with the homeless downtown. I have learned that if you just make yourself available to be used by God, you will be utterly amazed at what he'll do.
This song (Desire by Phil Wickham) pretty much sums up my life this past week. I have been filled with a desire to know God more. Before I felt like I hit a wall in my faith. I once had this same desire but it died out because I wasn't allowing God to use me. I tried reading my Bible, but I was having trouble applying it to my life. It took me awhile to regain that passion, and I pray that when I get back to Greenville, I'll be able to hold on to it and not let it go again.
I want to help. My heart is to serve people.

Next semester my goal is to fully give myself to God, and trust in his timing. I want to be used by him, and I don't want to miss out on anything he has to offer. I plan to get involved with Dirty Roots Revolution and serve the homeless in St. Louis. Being home in St. Louis over break has made it easier for me to go and visit them, and I want to encourage everyone to at least try it once. At first, it's intimidating because you don't really know what to say, but afterward you are just in a good mood and want to go back, at least I did. Serving others and spending time with people is what drives me.

I want to serve.
I want to make myself available.
I want to know God more and more.
I want to glorify him in everything.
I want to discover who I am in Christ.

Friday, January 15, 2010

I think I had a nightmare.

So, I woke up from a crazy dream, and I wanted to write about it before I went back to bed so that I wouldn't forget it.

In my dream, my mom had another son with another man before she had us, and we had just found out that we had a step brother. She gave the boy to a lady named Tray, and for whatever reason she was over at our house helping us move furniture.
There was also a man in a wheelchair and they made him take the trash out to the backyard, and he had to go down some steps to do that, which made no sense. But, he turned backwards in his wheelchair and held on to the railing to get down the stairs. I remember watching and feeling really scared for this man, that he would fall backwards and injure himself. I don't remember if he made it or not, because the next thing I knew I was in the kitchen and my mom and my sister come up the basement stairs all bloody. I was so freaked out and I panicked. I asked what happened and they simply told me that Tray fell down the stairs backwards and fractured her back, and somehow she died. It doesn't really explain why my mom and sister were covered in blood, but whatever. So, I started freaking out because the fact of someone dying in my house scares me. In my dream I was thinking that her ghost would come back and haunt all of us. haha

So my mom is bleeding from the nose and lip, and then decides that she needs to go to the grocery store to get food for dinner, and my sister goes with her. So I'm in the house by myself and I get on Twitter and keep updating my status like every other minute. I don't remember what I was saying, but it was about Tray and everything that happened. It was just weird because I kept updating it so many times, and then my sister was there laughing at it and making fun of my updates. Then, I start writing in my diary about what happened. The next thing I know, everyone is in my kitchen and is holding a copy of my diary and they are all laughing. They read out loud my diary and we all couldn't stop laughing, including myself. There's a page of random questions, and for some reason it is written in an Australian accent. And so we're reading the questions in Australian accents and they're really dumb questions too, like "What is for dinna?

We were all laughing really hard, and I woke up laughing and woke up my sister. I tried telling her the story but I couldn't stop laughing. I almost freaked her out by how hard I was laughing, and I started freaking myself out. Finally, I finished telling her my dream and then we got into a discussion about dreams, and how I was probably having a nightmare, but laughing was my body's way of coping with the nightmare so I wouldn't go crazy or have a panic attack or anything. Weird.

Dreams fascinate me. I don't really know what any of that means, but just how I coped with it made it weird. I think that I was having a nightmare with seeing all this death and blood, and it really did freak me out. I remember what it looked like and thinking of that just gives me the chills. Also, I had my sister turn on the lights so I could get up to use the bathroom (because I'm a wuss.) I must have been crying and rubbing my face a lot because when I looked in the mirror my makeup was smeared all over my face. Also, I noticed that I took the pillow case off my pillow, which is weird to do in your sleep. I don't know. I'll probably reread this later and think of how ridiculous it sounds, but right now I'm just fascinated.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why, God?

"How long, O LORD, must I call for help,
but you do not listen?
Or cry out to you, "Violence!"
but you do not save?
Why do you make me look at injustice?
Why do you tolerate wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
there is strife, and conflict abounds.
Therefore the law is paralyzed,
and justice never prevails.
The wicked hem in the righteous,
so that justice is perverted."
- Habakkuk 1

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


So, I gave a talk to high schoolers last night, and I focused on Jonah, and related that to my story through high school and my first semester at college. It went something like this:

Jonah chapters 1-4
God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach against its wickedness, but Jonah ran away and sailed for Tarshish instead. We don't really know the reason why, but we can assume it was out of fear, or pride, meaning he didn't think the people in Nineveh deserved God's love. God sends a storm over the sea, and Jonah tells the men on the ship to throw him overboard because it is his fault that there is a storm. God sends a great fish to rescue Jonah by swallowing him. Jonah sits in the fish for 3 days, and prays to God. He has no other choice but to rely on God. Finally, the fish vomits Jonah on shore. Jonah goes to Nineveh and preaches that God will destroy the city in 40 days because of their corruptness. The people of Nineveh immediately repent and turn from their evil ways, and God saves the city. Jonah becomes very angry at the Lord's compassion, saying that there was no point for him to go to the city if God was going to be that merciful anyway. He leaves the city and camps out near by so he can watch and see what happens to the city. God made a plant grow over Jonah's head to give him shade, and Jonah becomes very glad and grateful. The next morning, God sends a worm to eat the plant and Jonah becomes very upset and starts to feel faint from the scorching sun. The whole point of this is that God finally gets Jonah to express concern for something perishing, but the irony is that it's only about the plant, not the 120,000 people in Nineveh who "don't know their left hand form their right." God says to Jonah, "Should I not pity the people in Nineveh?" He created them, just like he did Jonah, and loves them all the same, yet Jonah has more concern for the plant than the people in Nineveh.

I tell you this story because I want to encourage you all to not be like Jonah.

High School:
Looking back to high school, I really wish I had done so much more to live for God. We fall into this trap where we feel like everything we do matters. If it's not what everyone else is doing, then we shouldn't do it either. We feel like we shouldn't talk about God because others will judge us, or we might get in trouble. There are so many people who need to hear the truth, and high school is probably your biggest opportunity to share your faith. Don't be like Jonah and close people off just because they are not Christians. It wasn't until my senior year that I started living out my faith. I wasn't perfect, and I know I closed off my faith to people I knew who didn't want to hear it, but to the people I became better friends with, I vie. wed them as friends and as people who needed to be shown God's love and mercy. I learned to be open to them and I had such a passion for other people's salvation that I could not just sit and watch. I was blessed to be the friend that people came to for encouragement or advice, and that's how it started. My friends would come to me with an issue or problem, and I would find scripture to encourage them. Don't overwhelm them with your own words. It's best to let scripture speak for itself. Next, invite them to church with you. I ended up bringing 5 of my friends to church, and 3 of them got baptized into the church. Now, they are out sharing their faith. It's so neat to see what just one person can do. What if everyone who professed to be Christian witnessed to others? Think about how much of a difference everyone can make together. That amazes me. When I think about that and being in high school, I just think, "What if I had opened up to more people? What if I had put God first in every situation? What if I decided not to date and wait on God's timing? What if I didn't worry about what other people thought? What if I had focused on others more than myself?" High school does go by fast, and now I only see a handful of the people I used to see every day. My heart cries out to those that I decided to not share my faith with because it wasn't the cool thing to do. I blew off some of the biggest opportunities to share my faith, and now I'll probably never see some of those people again.

Let your faith speak.

I have learned so much about myself this past semester at college. I've learned that I am very dependent on others to feed me spiritually. I left my security at home. I went to Greenville not knowing anyone, and I had no accountability partners. It was not what I had expected it to be. I was so looking forward to moving on with my life and meeting some awesome Christians at a Christian college, and I just didn't find that. My expectations were so high that I had a hard time meeting such friends. My first couple of weeks I spent focusing on only God and having having quiet times. I wanted my relationship with God to be in a right place, and I trusted that God would bring the right friends when I was ready. Soon after that, I started hanging out with some new friends. It wasn't that they were bad people at all. We just never had godly discussions, and I eventually replaced having quiet times with hanging out with friends. Yes, I was having fun, but I was not growing spiritually. In fact, I became so far from God, and I knew I was far from God, but I just didn't do anything about it. I relate this to Jonah because he was very judgemental of the people in Neneveh, saying they didn't deserve God's love. It wasn't that I didn't think people in Greenville deserved God's love, but I did become very critical of everyone. I wasn't finding people I could talk to and share my spiritual life with. I got the impression that everyone was acting fake, which was totally wrong. I just couldn't find truth in anything, and I was so bothered and angry at God that I just stopped wanting to spend time with him. I became stubborn, and just wanted to run.
I came home Halloween weekend, and met up with Linnette, my spiritual mentor and one of my best friends, Haley, and told them what I was going through. I missed having accountability partners, and I missed having godly discussions with my friends. They prayed for me, and as I was driving back to Greenville, something inside of me changed. I got back to school and things started getting better. I opened up to one of my good friends on campus, and we had a really amazing talk. I also started talking to the girls on my floor, and got to know them a little better. I started meeting other really awesome people, and it was very encouraging. One night at Vespers, there was a man talking about how he used to be passionate for God, then went down the wrong path and started drinking and partying. When he got hit by that train in Greenville, it was a miracle that he survived. He felt that it was a wake up call from God to repent and get back on track. After hearing that, I knew that God was speaking to me as well. My life was so unbalanced, and I needed to make things right. If you try to spend only time with God, you end up relying on yourself too much. God made us relational so we can have fellowship with others. I can't stress enough how important it is to talk about God and your spiritual life with others, and find friends who will hold you accountable. Find someone you can trust and who can challenge you in your faith.

When Jonah was swallowed by the fish, he had no other choice but to fully rely on God. I had so much security at home, and when I got to Greenville, I too had to learn to depend on God. I went from one extreme to the other, and now it's balancing out. I am working on opening up to others, and finding people who I can trust and be honest with about my spiritual life. My desire is to know God more, and I am looking for people who share that desire. I asked God to fill me with a compassion for others. The last few weeks I was at Greenville were rocky. I was working on balancing my life out, and now I am just ready to go back and start a new semester. I plan to open up, share my faith, be honest, and find accountability. I want to encourage everyone who is reading this to do the same. There is nothing more important than your faith, and speaking from experience, you will be amazed at what God can do through you if you just make yourself available to Him.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

"whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me"

He has showed you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. - Micah 6:8

Growing up in St. Louis, I am so used to seeing homeless people everyday. It was so easy to just ignore them and pass by. Most of the people I was raised with taught us to avoid the homeless, because they are all “making up stories to make you feel sorry for them.” Also, they might just spend their money on drugs or cigarettes. My old youth group would go on youth retreats downtown and our sponsors would tell us to stay away from the homeless and to not feel obligated to give them anything. I even remember one of our sponsors telling us to not make eye contact with them. They acted as if the homeless were not real humans and I remember being so bothered by this.

One year, when I was in middle school, a homeless man wanted to volunteer at our live nativity scene around Christmas time. He just happened to be near by and wanted to do something productive with his time. He played the role of Joseph and my brother and I both were shepherds. At first, we didn't say anything to each other, and honestly, I felt really uncomfortable being around a homeless man. We stood in the cold next to the manger in silence. Even the others who dressed up with us didn't say anything. My younger brother then let out a loud burp. We all couldn't help but laugh, including the homeless man. After that, he joked around with me and my brother and turned out to have a great sense of humor, and honestly, it was then that I started to view him as human, and not just homeless. My perspective changed so much and I was so inspired that I thought I would go into homeless ministry as a career.

Years passed, and I never got involved with homeless ministry. I can't even count how many times a homeless person has approached me asking for money. I have been to Chicago multiple times to visit my sister at her college and have been downtown St. Louis so many times with friends, and every time a homeless person would ask for money to buy a bus ticket to get back to their family, I apologized and with guilt said I did not have any extra change. Besides, they are just going to spend the money on drugs - how could you trust them? Plus, everyone was telling me that it was okay to not give them anything.

This past summer, I was at a Bible study and someone asked the question, "Is it okay to give someone money when they beg for it, even though you know they will just spend it on cigarettes or drugs?" We thought about it for awhile, and I remember thinking, it doesn't matter what they spend the spend the money on; we are called to give and God sees that we gave and that's what is most important. Even though I knew that giving is important, I didn't apply that to my own life. I kept avoiding it.

When our COR class went to St. Louis this past semester, my perspective completely was turned around. Instead of being scared of the homeless and being in the city after dark like most of the students, I was more nervous of how I would react. I am already familiar with the city, but I am not familiar with spending time with the homeless. I once had a strong passion for them, and I felt as if I had lost that. It wasn’t that I didn’t care - I was just bitter about giving them money to spend on mostly drugs.

We went through a tunnel under 12th street, which was really muddy and dark and we had to use flash lights to see where we were going. As we got closer to the end of the tunnel, we saw a small campfire in the distance. As it started to get lighter in the tunnel, we saw tents set up on the sides. No one came out of the first set of tents, and we kept moving forward. We ran into a second set of tents. There were chairs set up around the campfire, along with a lot of stuff that the homeless had collected from dumpsters, including a wooden door. They also had their own pantry. We got to talk to a few people who had called this area their home and listen to their tragic stories of how they became homeless.

I thought it was so interesting how they called themselves a family, and how humans have a natural instinct to bond with other people. They each took on the roles of a family. The lady was called, "mom," and there was a man that was called, "dad." There was an elderly man who did not talk to us, but just sat at the fire the whole time, and he was called "grandpa." There were also two teenagers living there that played the role of the kids. The mom and dad of the group took care of the children. That is what struck me the most. Even though they really had nothing, they were happy to have each other and fulfill that need for a family.

Christians should be known for giving, and not being judgemental. Even though they really had nothing, they were able to appreciate everything they had. This is the type of faith we all need to have. We need to remember that God does not owe us anything, but we owe everything to God.

Matthew 25:41-46

The Sheep and the Goats

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

"Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

something Sarah wrote

This is something my friend Sarah wrote, and I couldn't agree with her any more.

"Maybe I'll run away. To another country. The immaturity in me wants to deal with my hatred of consumerism by escaping it, wants to shirk the guilt I feel for American pettiness by disassociating myself from the whole system. When I was a kid, I prayed that God would send me to Narnia even though I knew it was all fiction. He was all-powerful; He could make it real for me and send me there, just for a minute or two of earth time. I promised it would be beneficial to Him because, like the Pevensies, I would know Him better through my interactions with Aslan. I'm nineteen and I still haven't grown out of that because I tell myself I can find the mysterious land I've always loved by flying across a border or two.

Many of His teachings make no sense to me, but I know exactly what He meant when He said we'd be foreigners. I know what it is to be homesick for a place I've never seen, remembering customs I've never imagined.

Maybe I'll hide for a while. Live by myself in a field. I'll be dreadfully lonely, but I will reach it: I will exist for existence. No one will know what I am doing or what I look like. I will not know what anyone is doing or what anyone looks like. And I will not have to meet anyone's standard. And I will not despise myself for not equaling someone else's grandeur. I will not do something because it will make a good story or please someone. I will discover what it is that I like to do for the sake of doing it. I will talk (I will shout!) with the wind without bundling my words in social graces and unspoken messages. I will live and not just act.

I think it's wrong to judge people based on what music they listen to. We don't judge people for enjoying McDonald's fries once in a while, but we think ourselves entitled to berate them for singing along to any style not refined enough for our superior tastes. Why don't we love our music for its own sake? I should be able to enjoy my music without feeling the need to hide it, brag about it, or mention it at all. If I truly like my music, I don't have to compare it to yours to make me feel good about the fact that I am listening to it.

Dear Everyone,
You are not the music you listen to.

And you were unanimously voted the best musical critic of your own ipod. It doesn't matter how many millions have defined their lives by the Beatles if you just don't like the Beatles. It's your right not to like the Beatles and not to be ashamed of that. (It's your friends' right not to be ashamed of liking the Beatles, either, so don't hate.) Yeah, it's true: I'm a musical relativist. I'm sick of the prejudice we throw at beautiful people because God made their ears in different shapes than ours.

(Dear Parents,
I'm sorry for criticizing your music.

(I still don't like it. Personally.))

I don't think facebook profiles should include our favorite music, TV shows, movies, and books in the one-page summaries of ourselves. That has nothing to do with us! At best, it shows some of the ideas we agree with, particularly in the books department. But usually it only proves that we exist to consume the mainstream junk food mass-produced to give us something to measure ourselves by (or obscure music and movies, if we long to be defined as free spirits). Yes, the style of clothing covering the body does tell you something about the person beneath, but it! is! not! the! person! What does a jacket have to do with the lungs, with the heart, with the kidneys quivering within? What does a synthesized beat have to do with what you daydream about or how you respond to rude supermarket employees?

I think it's wrong to judge people based on their grammar too. I used to correct grammar in conversations, and I'm sorry: I was being a jerk. I don't even care anymore if my own grammar is flawless unless I'm writing something serious; I think people should have the freedom to talk to one another without having to sound perfect all the time. Grammar is tricky; it's like calculus. Some people have struggled their way through algebra, others still can't add, and no one but Grammar Girl has mastered every equation. In my opinion, it is writers' responsibility to learn their language and companies' responsibility to hire editors who already have. But the people themselves, the speakers of the language, are more than the competence of their high school English teachers. I promise you they know something you don't, whether it's programming computers, fixing car engines, or making crabby toddlers smile. What makes your area of expertise loftier than theirs?

I want to paint a picture just because it's a wonderful picture in my head, and I want to love it with all my heart no matter how it turns out. Art is probably my biggest insecurity. Before I graduated, I refused to even minor in art simply because I wasn't as good as other artists I knew. I told my friend this, and she was so adamant that I study art that she screamed her first curse word at me. She was right: I am an artist. Not because I am half as good as half my friends but because sometimes just thinking about painting makes me so happy that my ears wiggle. And I need to be true to that; as long as I'm painting bland pictures because they look somewhat like other people's pictures, I'm hardly painting at all. I need to stop painting as if every canvas is a competition and just let my hands create what they will, with joy.

Do you love me more or less for writing this? For posting it so publicly? For admitting weaknesses you share or you despise? For confessing that some of my music is utterly uncool and then turning my nose up at your upturned nose?

The whole point of this is: I don't care, I won't care, I won't care, I won't care."