If you are interested in what happened after the journey was over... feel free to check out my new blog!
Thank you to all of my followers :) I love y'all!! :)
Friday, March 16, 2012
It has been over a month since the last time I updated the blog.
What has happened since then?
*My friend Hayley came to stay for the weekend; that weekend I led a small True Love Waits conference at Grove Hill Baptist Church, joined Thomasville Baptist church and was baptized.
*Received a vision that changed my perspective on how to receive only the guidance of God through God's people.
*Hayley came to stay the weekend again
*Hayley & Ashley put together a surprise party for me
*I turned 21
*My brother Damien came to stay with me for the weekend (this weekend)
The True Love Waits conference was really special. It was a small group of girls. First, we led the older girls; then, we led the younger ones. God surprised me by placing the words in my mouth. Before we got to Grove Hill, I was wondering if I would have enough to say and if I would be able to speak for 45 minutes or not. To my surprise, I did not have enough time & even went over a few minutes. God is wonderful & in control. Always trust Him. It was really great to have Hayley with me. She spoke up and had wonderful things to say. God used her and it was precious to have her!
It was really special to join Thomasville Baptist Church. Before I joined, Hayley & I met with Brother Ty. He talked with me about my relationship with Christ & asked if I had been baptized since receiving Christ as my savior. I was not baptized in the church since then, so he said it was a sign of obedience & I should do it. That night, I was baptized. The entire time, I cried. Afterwards Rob Hilbun asked me why I was crying. All I could think or say was "He is so big, I am so little". In that moment, I realized that I will never really know how small I am. I'm fine with that. Once again, having Hayley with me was such a special blessing! God knew that I would be getting baptized that weekend & allowed her to come (without us even knowing). Our God is Sovereign!
The vision that I received went like this: Imagine a shepherd leading his sheep- hundreds following him. One sheep slows down because he is tired and before he knows it, he has fallen to the back of the group. Instead of keeping his eyes on the shepherd, he looks down to the ground and keeps walking. A few of the older sheep unintentionally mislead him. Without checking to see if what the older sheep said was in line with how the shepherd was leading them, the little sheep walked the way he was led by the older sheep. The little sheep looked everywhere for his shepherd and could not find him. "How long have I been going in this direction? Why did I not confirm what the other sheep were saying with my shepherd?" thought the little sheep. "Come to me, you are not alone!" he heard faintly whispered in the distance. Was this truly the voice of his shepherd? He wandered longer and finally sat down and waited for help. Suddenly his shepherds voice got louder and felt closer. His shepherds voice got closer and closer until it was right behind him. When the shepherd saw that he had found the little sheep, he rejoiced and hugged him! He looked the sheep in the eyes and said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you!" Comforted by the words and pursuit of his master, he followed him back to the group. From that moment forward he stayed in the front of the flock and listened carefully to what his shepherd said; his eyes remained locked on his shepherd. After seeing this, I have been able to focus on what God is saying & also, able to test each word others speak with the Scripture. This vision re-emphasized the importance of trusting the voice of God over any/every other voice in my life. I URGE YOU ALL TO TEST THE WORDS OF OTHERS (ADVISORS, PASTORS, TEACHERS, BROTHERS & SISTERS) WITH THE SCRIPTURE. Only God's Word stands firm forever.
Spring Break was restful. Every day I slept in late, prayed, read, journaled, walked three (or more miles), showered, and rested in the Lord.
Hayley's presence at the end of the weekend was amazing and refreshing! Having her around is one of the sweetest gifts. She is a special part of my life & I trust that God has established our friendship and soaked it in His love.
The girls (Hayley, Ashley, Chloe, Mariah and Lexie) surprised me with a party! We had cake, ice cream and lots of yummy treats. Hayley was supper sweet & asked the girls to share who I had been in their lives. Hearing their love and seeing who I am was helpful & truly blessed my mind. The girls said the opposite of who I thought I was; this conversation helped me to further establish and understand my identity in Christ. Thank you ladies!
I turned 21. Hayley came in my room & sang happy birthday to me at midnight! She brought in sparkling grape juice and a gift. Her gift was perfect! It was a mug that I had been wanting (and she had no idea) & cards (I ALWAYS USE CARDS & AM SO GLAD TO HAVE THEM)... so her gifts were gifts from God! In the morning when we woke up, we went to the early service and then Sunday School. We spoke to the Spinks sunday school class (the young adults-which is the class I would be in if I did not join the youth) about prayer. It was special to share our hearts with them! The experience was a blessing. We then joined Mrs Brandi's class (9th and 10th grade girls). After Sunday School, we went to The Grill. The Spinks took us to lunch. We spent the rest of the day napping, walking and then went back to church. The entire day was sweet. It was really nice to get to talk with Callum on my birthday. Seeing him is always great! Although seeing him makes me miss him more, I am grateful that I was able to share my birthday with him and see him! Thank You, Lord, for technology! Over all, my birthday was the BEST! Truthfully. Thank you to everyone who made it so special!!
This past week, Hayley & Damien stayed on Wednesday night. We all went back to school on Thursday morning. Damien & I came back to Thomasville yesterday. We took very long naps. Woke up for dinner, watched American Idol with Mrs Blanche and went back to sleep. This morning I woke up, prayed and read. Damien woke up & we ate a little breakfast. Following breakfast I listened to the new SONS cd (a gift from Callum) and then went for a three mile walk. Walking was special; I was able to pray out loud and just walk with joy. When I got back I took a shower, made lunch for Damien & I and then cleaned up the kitchen. We went up to the Salvation Army, Antique Shop, and another little shop downtown. We hoped to run into our family (the Brasell's). Mrs Barbara was not working at the Antique Shop, so Mr Hicks recommended we stop by her house. When we first got there, no one came to the door. So, Mr Jay helped us to find Mr Kenton. He was in the back working on making a bed. We all talked & he offered to take us to Grover (where our family lived before they came to Thomasville). Tomorrow, we are all going to go at two o'clock. Damien & I both look forward to it. It was nice to have some free time to go and see family. I am glad that God has blessed us with the opportunity to connect with them. Hopefully we will have more and more opportunity to see each other. Family is special. Nothing compares to family.
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud" Proverbs 16:18&19
"He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he" Proverbs 16:20
"The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips. Pleasant words are as a honey comb, sweet to the bones" Proverbs 16:23&24
"He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city" Proverbs 16:32
"In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death" Proverbs 14:26&27
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
I am one to daydream, imagine, and envision as much as possible. In the beginning of my walk with God, He allowed me to see so many wonderful visions and dreams; such things allowed me to understand God's character in ways that I did/do not deserve. At first, all I could think of was these things I had seen. As time went on, life started to catch up to me. My desire to know God increased all the more, because I felt as if I was loosing touch with Him. Never did He leave me! We remained one; we remain one! It was hard to adjust to every day life without the security of knowing that I would have time to rest and meditate on God's Word for hours throughout the day. Every day, responsibilities covered me. This new schedule was a gift from God, but something that would take time to adjust to. No matter what has come my way, there remains an inward desire that consumes my thoughts & ways, this desire is to know the Lord. The words of Paul, "I want to know Christ, yes- to know the power of His resurrection and participation in His sufferings, becoming like Him in His death and so somehow obtaining to the resurrection from the dead" (Philippians 3:10&11), enter my mind more than any other words. I hope to know Christ- to really know Him. To live from that position of knowledge of the Holy One! So, my heart has not changed (even when my actions are different than before). God is my desire, my greatest HOPE. For about seven or eight months now, I have been battling with this constant reminder that my thoughts are not as they used to be. Instead of never really thinking about much aside from God, I am concerning myself with responsibilities, work, school and anything else that comes to me on a daily basis. The truth is, I am growing up. My salvation is secure in Jesus, not because of what I do but because of what He did. The enemy, who disguises Himself as light, would love to make me think that I ought to work for my salvation (if you have given yourself over to this lie, I urge you to recognize it as a lie and to just worship God freely from the love that you have for Him. This lie is destructive and will kill the one who feeds off of it. God only requires that we are obedient unto Him. Obedience is a result of love. Love comes from the Father. God is love). Well, on Sunday night God opened my eyes and blessed me with His love. He used "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" to reveal Himself to me! In the third movie of Narnia, three kids enter Narnia when a picture becomes real life and floods their room. The flood takes them to an ocean where Prince Caspian rescues them and brings them up to the boat called The Dawn Treader! Two of the kids are main characters from the previous story, but one of the kids is hesitant and refuses to accept the fact that Narnia is a beautiful place. In the movie, the kids are told that in order to remove the evil around them, they have to remove the evil within them. If they refuse the sin within, they will conquer the evil around them. It is such a beautiful concept. I related so much with the young girl. She thought of her looks and desired to look like her older sister. In the middle of the movie, Lucy was looking in the mirror at herself hoping to look like her sister. Aslan appeared to her and told her of her purpose and worth. I needed to hear that part. At the end of the movie, Aslan tells her that He let her come to Narnia for a little bit, so that she would better understand Him in her own world. He said that she wouldn't be coming back to Narnia, but that He would be watching her in His world. He also said that one day they would be together again. The entire ending spoke to me and allowed me to see what God has done for me. He allowed me to visit with Him in heavenly places that others would not even imagine and blessed me so much in the spiritual in order that I would better understand Him in the natural. Although I may never go back to those places, He is still with me. I am still returning to Him one day. Wow. So I no longer feel as if I return to "my Narnia" instead, I am thankful that He allowed me to experience such a heavenly place. What He has shown me has helped me to better understand Him and to see Him in everyday life.
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love, does not know God, because God is love."- 1 John 4:7&8
Today is a beautiful day. It is a day to celebrate the love of God (but what day is not?) Enjoy today as much as you can!! Enjoy the love of God. If you have never enjoyed His love before, start today! Look around, find Him... I KNOW THAT IF YOU SEEK HIM, YOU WILL FIND HIM!!!
"You will seek me and FIND ME when you seek me with all your heart" Jeremiah 29:13
Saturday, February 11, 2012
The Lord is full of grace. He is such a good good Father. No one can parent as well as He does, because He is the greatest dad in the whole wide world. This week, He allowed me to ask a friend for forgiveness (at the Disciple Now weekend, actually) and within the week, He allowed us to really connect and encourage each other. To be honest, I needed to forgive her in order that I could be forgiven. The unforgiveness I hosted in my heart was affecting the way I communicated with God. Instead of lifting my sister up, daily, I was failing to pray for her completely. We know from the scripture that failing to pray for others is sin against God (Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you; but I will teach you the good and the right way.- 1 Samuel 12:23) and also, not showing love to a friend is forsaking the fear of the Lord (Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty.- Job 6:14). It amazes me that He softened my heart towards her, in order that we would bless one another instead of destroy the other's confidence. By asking for forgiveness, we were both free to tell each other the truth and remind each other of God's love. It is amazing. God's love is amazing. If you are having difficulties with another believer, please tell the Lord first. Ask Him to forgive you. Ask Him to soften your heart. The first opportunity you get, ask that person (or those people) for forgiveness & MEAN IT! Deep in your heart decide to love that person; decide today to only speak blessings over that man/woman of God, love them with the unconditional love of the Father and treat them as if they are made in the image of God (because they are)!!! Are you willing to humble yourself and seek the forgiveness of your Father & your brothers and sisters?
"Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven." -Luke 6:37
It has really been a blessing to think about how much love and concern He has poured out in our relationship. I pray that all are able to forgive one another, in order that you may be forgiven. Ask God to expose the dark spots in your heart. Once you see how human you are, you are able to see how God is the only perfect one! Let Him expose your imperfections with love and take every action to change such sin. This will allow you to see God's love and mercy, which will transform your life in the best way!! God bless you all!! Keep seeking Him. He is with us!! Let not evil rule in your heart, instead cling to righteousness. Amen.
I wave good-bye when butter flies by Jack Prelutsky
I wave good-bye when butter flies
and cheer a boxing match,
I’ve often watched my pillow fight,
I’ve sewn a cabbage patch,
I like to dance at basket balls
or lead a rubber band,
I’ve marvelled at a spelling bee,
I’ve helped a peanut stand.
It’s possible a pencil points,
but does a lemon drop?
Does coffee break or chocolate kiss,
and will a soda pop?
I share my milk with drinking straws,
my meals with chewing gum,
and should I see my pocket change,
I’ll hear my kettle drum.
It makes me sad when lettuce leaves,
I laugh when dinner rolls,
I wonder if the kitchen sinks
and if a salad bowls,
I’ve listened to a diamond ring,
I’ve waved a football fan,
and if a chimney sweeps the floor,
I’m sure the garbage can.
It makes me laugh every time I read it. Really. I just read it to Ashley Hilbun and cried because I was laughing so hard. Hopefully you all enjoy it as much as I do... or at least more than Ashley did ;)
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
About two years ago, I had an interview for a scholarship that was available to students with my major (Theology). If one "passed" the interview, they were accepted to receive financial support from the Southern Baptist Association. Accepting the scholarship meant many things. One thing is, you are to serve the Southern Baptist Church for five years after you graduate (or serve the Lord in some form, supporting the Baptist church) and you are to attend seven meetings a semester. These meetings are both International Mission Board and Minister Association meetings. Every time we meet together, the Lord reveals Himself in so many ways. I cannot recall one meeting that did not draw me closer to the Father's heart. Today was no exception. My friend JP shared his life with us, to kick off the IMB meetings.
There was a movie released in 2004 called Hotel Rwanda. There is a big chance you saw it or heard of it. The movie was filled with horrific scenes, chaotic circumstances and terrible endings. To bring awareness to the situation in Rwanda, the movie was very specific with details and excused modesty.
Imagine being in Rwanda is 1994. Really use your imagination now. There are two people groups dominating the land. The minority being Tutsis and the majority being the Hutu people. Power is being passed back and forth between both groups. After the death of a leader, all of the Hutus (majority) decide to kill the Tutsis (minority). The Hutus make EVERY effort to kill every single Tutsi left. The goal is to end the life of every Tutsi in order that Hutus will be the only people left. This is more than imagination. This happened. My friend JP was a Tutsi. He was separated from his mother and father & brothers and sisters. His family split up into three groups. His dad sent JP, one of his brothers and one of his sisters to escape on their own; his mom went off with other siblings and his dad did the same. Before he knew it, he was separated from his family completely. Every where he went, there was someone coming after him to kill him. He hid in the bush, found refuge in local churches, spent nights hiding out in abandoned houses and remained homeless without family. JP watched the Hutu people kill his brother and sister. He managed to escape. After years of running and running from the Hutu people, he was safe to settle down. The orphanages were full; this left him with no where to go. He remained homeless. Eventually orphanages were opened specifically for people like JP and he had a home for a few years. Because of need of space, he was not able to stay past the age of 14. This is when he started a life of his own with another surviver. JP started playing volleyball and went to high school. Schools from the U.S. came to recruit him to be on their team. He ended up in the United States and went to three different schools, learning english for the first time. His goal was to make it to the NBA. Before coming to the United States, he had not played basketball. In order to receive the scholarship he needed, he worked so hard to become an amazing basketball player. This he is! The University of Mobile found him, helped him receive the surgery he needed for his knee and offered him a full-ride. Because of his desire to finish his education, he said yes to this small Baptist "country" school that he had never heard of before. JP said at UM he feels loved by family for the first time since he lost his, blessed to be surrounded by godly people and most of all protected by God. Hallelujah.
JP is an amazing friend that I cherish. His love is always extended to me perfectly from the Father. Since the first time that I met him, he has recognized me as a daughter of the King and always calls out the godly qualities he sees in me. There are not many people like JP. His testimony of God's provision is amazing. He knows the grace of God and lives from that grace. By God's grace and provision, he is still alive.
His story has been on my heart today.
Think about all that God has done for you. Rejoice in the life that has been given to you today! Enjoy life & life abundant!!! Enjoy God.
Thankful for: LIFE.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
It's a beautiful day. I was feeling very sick yesterday, but am feeling MUCH better today!! Hallelujah. It is always nice to fall asleep with a mean headache and a rough sore throat and wake up not feeling any of the previous days pains. So nice!! Praise God for always renewing and refreshing us. God is our healer. Thank you to all who have prayed for me. On the way to school this morning I heard "many people have been praying for you" so thank you :) God is so sweet to allow you all to pray for me, especially in my weakness. Praise Him!!! May He be strong in you today, as He is strong in me now.
My alarm was not loud enough!! Either that, or my dreams were much louder!! So, I got to school an hour after my first class started and missed the entire class. It's okay though. I was so grateful that God gave me the energy to get up and go to school!!! :) Woohoo.
International Relations was good. We talked about World War I. YAY for History tying itself into everything! It really was a good class. Now, I have a five hour break until class tonight... ANCIENT HISTORY!!! So, I need to study a bit about philosophy, myth and fact... that way I'll be prepared!
Today has been a day full of grace, but what day isn't? "Out of the fullness of God's grace we have all received one blessing after another" John 1:16.
In Mobile, it is nice and warm. I went from wearing thick pants and long sleeves to shorts and a thin sweater :) Oh the beauty of Mobile weather. Never makes up it's mind... inconsistency is Mobile weathers theme song :) In case you were wondering.
You know, God is faithful. He is always around, waiting on and desiring us. His love cannot be compared to anything, even though many things can be compared to His love. Because He is love, all things came from Him. Wow. YES! God is LOVE. Love is the center of all things. Amen.
Hopefully you are allowing the Lord to pour His love over you and reveal Himself to you!!! Open your heart to His love, receive Him in full. Amen!!! :)
I love you all. Will write soon... :)
Thankful for: school work, coffee, creamer, water, bacon, Brittany Gardner, Sywanna, and life.
Monday, February 6, 2012
The last time I wrote was nearly a month ago! My apologies.
So much has happened.
To begin, I moved in with the Spinks & have become comfortable and glad to be with them. Mrs Blanche & Mr Jim are so precious and so important to me! I would not trade my time with them for anything. Mrs Blanche is such a fun, funny, sweet reflection of Christ and His love for me. Mr Jim is the sweetest, funniest man I know; he treats me like a daughter and loves me like his own.
I spend Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Thomasville.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are Mobile days.
Class lasts from 8-12 & then 6-9 on Tuesdays.
On Thursdays I have class only from 8-12.
Online classes throughout the week.
Most of my days are packed full. Really. When I get the chance to rest, I rest... that is usually around midnight :) Unless I am able to sleep in heaps, I only get about five hours of sleep a night (really). I take serious advantage of my sleep-in days.
There are a lot of options that are flooding my mind for the future. Because of the amount of schoolwork I have been given this semester, and the frustration that comes along with it, I have considered dropping out. It is actually something I consider daily. My mom supports me 100% and actually encourages me to take time away from school. Her decision to support me was something made up when I was born. Mom ALWAYS supports me in my decisions. She trusts that I inquire of the Lord and only do what I hear Him say. It is so helpful to have her on my side. The other day I was working on a few assignments and did not get a break, literally all day. When I was finally finished around 9 pm, she said that the schoolwork was not the problem. Something I said, did, and then she repeated really brought me clarity. When I was doing the schoolwork I started to cry really hard and told her that there were one too many assignments to write. I told her that all of the writing was making me upset. When she left, I sat down and wrote in my journal for an hour. When she got back she asked what I did when she was gone because I looked happier and much better than when she left. She smiled when I told her I had spent time writing and praying to God. It was then that it hit me, I complained and cried because of all the writing school was requiring me to do and then the one thing that helped me was writing to the Lord. She made it very clear when she said, "I told Damien that the writing assignments were not the problem you were facing. You write more than anyone I know. You enjoy writing more than anyone I know. You are the best writer I know; there must be something else to this". Knowing this would make me think, I was refreshed by her comments.
One thing that has also stuck with me is this: Damien asked me to follow my heart. Mom & Damien said, "If you could do anything what would you do?" I said, "I would quit school, move to Australia with Callum, start a ministry there and start over... then live happily ever after". They both said, "then do it". They were 100% serious. They want me to be happy. It is obvious that school is too much for me right now.
There is a big chance that after this semester, I will take a LONG break from school. If you know me at all, you would know that I LOVE school. Reading, writing, and learning brings me so much joy. This just may not be the time for me to finish. I will continue in prayer about this. Please pray as well.
Damien, my brother, laid his hand on my heart and said "Pray and listen"... and that is exactly what I will do. I will pray and listen.
If anyone thinks you know what is best for me and it goes against what I am saying, please just pray for me (unless I ask your advice). Do not force me to follow your opinion for my life. I need support in prayer. Pray that I would follow truth and not emotion. There are MANY people telling me to finish and now just as many telling me to take a break. If you want me to go the way I ought, silence your own voice and ask God to direct me. Thank you.
So many of my days are filled with responsibilities, obligations, opinions of man, and tears. I want all of those to be limited to what God has for me. Too much of a good thing can end up being a bad thing.
Ever since I came back from Taiwan, I cannot help but want to leave the country. My heart is glad in America currently, really it is. My friends here are precious to me, my family (both biological and spiritual) means so much to me, and the experiences that come my way are so valuable. Besides the people though, I would be willing to get up and leave everything here today. I know that God has me here right now for a purpose. I know that God has me, specifically, in Thomasville for a purpose. The little bit of service that I am able to do brings me great joy and confirms the call of God on my life.
Lately my desire for kids has grown tremendously. I love the thought of being a mother to children (both that I birth and that are in need of a mother). My trust in God is growing, as I wait patiently for my time to come. His will WILL be done. Amen.
This weekend was amazing. Really. It was Disciple Now. This event is huge for Thomasville. To be honest, I think it is the most looked forward to event of the year for this town. No exaggeration necessary. I have lived here for nearly a year (not quite) and have not seen anything greater or more exciting for the people!! Praise God!! Basically we have over 200 students gather together and learn about God under college-age leaders, wonderful worship leaders, and wise men of God. This weekend so many youth came to know Christ, rededicated their lives to the will of God, heard God speak directly to them concerning their future, surrendered their lives to full-time ministry, and learned about His amazing grace. My friend, Taylor Troha, came to lead with me. She shared her testimony on Friday night and really encouraged and blessed our youth. Valerie, Rob's sister, shared her testimony on Saturday. It was so refreshing to hear how God had changed her life. Dr Dale Younce spoke on Friday night. Dr Doug Olsen spoke the rest of the weekend. Everyone heard the truth and I believe THE TRUTH SETS US FREE... so in a way, every one was set free this weekend :) Amen.
I need to finish my homework. There are three classes I need to prepare for. This entire morning has been filled with homework and as much as I would love to tell you all of the conclusions of my trip to Taiwan, the love that God has given me and many other beneficial things, I must continue to be faithful to what I have given myself over to this semester SCHOOL :)
Soon and very soon, I will write more.
One thing that is really a blessing today is these verses:
"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace to them that make peace" James 3:16-18
Although there is so much going on in my little mind, I am comforted with the truth that my mind is "little" and God's mind is much bigger and full of wisdom. My trust in Him has not been shaken. In my weakness, HE IS STRONG! He really is. Every day He reveals Himself and helps me to see that this time of pain and uncertainty is temporary. His love guides me to peace and joy even when I cannot "feel" it or it seems so far away. Each day is full of beauty... and I pray that you all find it. If you are searching, the answer is... BEAUTY IS IN THE FATHER! Look to Him, give Him all of your concerns. He is with you. He knows you and all that you are going through. Amen.
Thankful for: God.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Well, some days are absolutely lovely. This, I understand, is only by the grace of God.
Today has been lovely. I woke up upset this morning, around six a.m. It was not a pleasant feeling. Last night, I fell asleep crying. So this morning, I was feeling the residue from that. Immediately, I realized that only God could comfort me the way that I needed to be comforted. So, I prayed and asked the Lord for guidance. He led me to Psalm 8.
O LORD, our Lord, How excellent is Your name in all the earth,Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants You have ordained strength,Because of Your enemies,That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him, And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen— Even the beasts of the fields, The birds of the air, And the fish of the sea, That pass through the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord,How excellent is Your name in all the earth.
This Psalm comforted me so much. All I could do was rejoice and remain glad because of the Lord's excellence. He really is the only One who can save me from my sinful ways. As much as I would like to believe that I could become perfect on my own, I cannot. To be honest, I would not even want to pretend that I could. So, in case anyone is wondering I AM HUMAN and I HAVE FLAWS and I AM NOT PERFECT!!! Pfft. That sure feels good to say! Happy Sigh.
Well, I fell back to sleep and woke up around 10 a.m. This is good. Melinda and I planned to meet at 12. I needed to get ready. I used the next hour to get ready for the day. Made a promise to the Lord to keep quiet. This helped the morning to go by well.
Melinda and I met at Panera Bread Company. Melinda is a very special friend of mine. I have always loved her and appreciated her friendship in my life. We have not been in touch for years and I miss her often. She just recently got engaged, so we saw it fit to "catch up". In America, "catching up" does not always mean you tell the other person everything that you have been going through since the last time you met (because most likely it has been way too long to do that if you are having to "catch up", but instead it means that you meet each other and discuss what is currently happening, which sometimes includes minor details of how you got there. At that point, you forget the fact that you haven't seen each other in longer that you both anticipated and you rejoice in the time that you do have). The time I had with Melinda was precious to me. We prayed over the food, which included a prayer that God would be glorified in our time together. I believe He was. Melinda shared her heart about a friend of hers and I really was grateful to be apart of what she was going through. God definitely has laid in on my heart to pray for her. I am grateful to have purpose in the lives of others. God is so good to share with us His heart and allow us to share in the lives of His people. Thank You Lord. I shared with Melinda a good bit. We talked a lot about Callum. She is trustworthy and so, I was able to tell her my heart concerning him and our future together. Maybe soon, I will post more about that. As soon as I understand the words to say and am able to reflect my love in the purest, most truthful way. To God be the glory. Well, after we talked about everything we could... we left one another. It was not really fun to leave her. In my heart, I wanted to follow her back to her house like old times and help her work on the table she was fixing into an ottoman. She is a friend that I always want to know and will do whatever it takes to keep her close.
As I was headed out, I noticed a message from twitter. Ben Hightower had tweeted me and said that the note I left for him at the store made his day. It made my day that it made his day and I missed him so much. So, I went to the mall to catch him for a bit... and just like my time with Melinda, we spent an hour "catching up". This time, I seemed to be the only one talking. I told him all that I could about Taiwan, school, future dreams, and Callum. It was so exciting. To be honest, it felt like we were back four years and I was pouring out my heart to my BFF&BASIC! (BFF & Brother and Sister in Christ). Him & I have always been close. It was so nice to see him for the little bit that I was able to. He invited me to spend time with their youth group on Saturdays. I was so honored to be invited and have decided to take advantage of that offer. I will, as long as I am able to.
So, this morning has been so special. Really, special. Seeing Melinda & Ben was exactly what I needed. Both of them helped me through my rebellious stage and really loved me with the love of Christ until I came out. There are not many people I call BEST FRIENDS, but these two are so close to my heart and will always be best friends of mine. Thank You Lord for Melinda & Ben.
A LOT HAS BEEN HAPPENING IN MY LIFE.
I WILL MOVE IN WITH THE SPINKS, IN THOMASVILLE, ON WEDNESDAY.
IF ONLY I HAD THE TIME TO TELL YOU ALL EVERYTHING.
WELL, IF I DID THAT YOU WOULD PROBABLY BE OVERWHELMED :)
SO, I WILL SAY THIS MUCH... OUR GOD IS AMAZING. HE IS ALWAYS POURING OUT LOVE OVER ALL OF HIS CREATION. I AM SO EXCITED TO BE APART OF HIS PLAN TO SPREAD HIS LOVE. THANK YOU LORD. THANK YOU. LIFE IS REALLY GOOD RIGHT NOW. EVEN WHEN IT IS REALLY HARD, IT IS REALLY GOOD. I AM THANKFUL FOR LIFE AND I AM SO EXCITED FOR WHAT IS TO COME.
SOON, I HOPE TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT THE LOVE THAT I AM CONFIDENT IN. UNTIL THEN, ENJOY EVERYTHING YOU ARE GIVEN AND REJOICE IN THE TIME THAT YOU HAVE :) GOD IS GOOD. GOD IS SO GOOD. ALWAYS. AMEN.
Thankful for: life, God, coffee, Melinda and Ben.
Saturday, December 31, 2011
Well, hello friends & family! Lots has happened since I last wrote. I unintentionally left you all stranded while in Taiwan. Alicia and I stayed pretty busy and so, I was not able to write as much as I wanted to. Most of what happened was written in my journal, which I will post some of the entries so that you all have an idea of what life was like there.
Before I write any more, I have to say... I really miss Alicia and life in Taiwan. Something about being there with her was so right. My hope is that I will appreciate everything I have here in America, because I am afraid that my heart my try to stay in the past. Until the next time I am with her, the memories will be fresh and a reason to thank the Lord.
Since I have been back, no much has happened. I have slept all day and stayed awake all night the last two nights. The first night I got some sleep, but since then... the nights have consisted of me laying there with my eyes wide open. Maybe I am experiencing jetlag? Haha. Whoever made up that word deserves a pat on the back. Good one!! :) "You know that feeling when you just get back from a long vacation and you can barely get back on schedule... let's call that jetlag" I don't know. It's just kind of funny if you ask me.
Somethings to share:
December 13th, 2011
Last night, when Alicia got off work, we went to Chilis for dinner. Our food was delicious! I ordered a chicken sandwich. We shared a dessert. It was apple, cake and ice cream. Very good. After dinner, we went back home and fell asleep. I slept all through the night. Hallelu Yah. All praise to God.
I woke up around eight thirty, prayed and took a shower, got ready and went to breakfast. Alicia took me to a typical Chinese breakfast spot. We had these yummy sticks, which were fried bread- kind of like a donut, not so sweet-and hot milk. The man we ordered from laughed at the idea of us getting three pieces of bread because each piece was really two- so altogether we got six. He did not laugh out loud, but he could not believe we ate so much. Anyways, the meal was so yummy.
After breakfast, we went to Alicia's. There we skyped with her mom, made pumpkin spice lattes and danced around while taking pictures. It was fun!!!
Following this fun-filled time, I went with Kelly, Hannah & Eden to Ikea. They were looking for candles and childrens gifts. They found what they were looking for. I went to Kellys and immediately Alicia showed up. We hurried off to the train together.
At the train station, I used a "squatty potty" for the first time. I laughed the entire time I was in the stall. Just thinking about what I was doing made me laugh.
We then went to "Mr Donut". After, we took an exciting bus ride, full of laughter- because the glass doors on the bus made our faces look like some of the silly effects from photo booth- we ended up at Alicia's work. I walked down to starbucks and am now here. Alicia will get done in an hour and we will enjoy each other then! :)
-Today when I was downtown with Kelly, Hannah and Eden, I was waiting for the bus. An attractive leaf caught my attention, so I went to it. On the leaf was a butterfly. My immediate thought was "resurrected life" and I was reminded of my prayer this morning that God would help me direct all of my thoughts to Him; He has. Bless the Lord.
-on the train, Alicia noticed a woman with sores on her hand. She wanted to pray for her, but did not see the time as fitting, so she mentioned it once the lady got off the train. We then agreed in prayer with God for the woman's healing! Alicia prayed out loud.
-Callum says he has written me another letter. His love is precious to me and I am so often reminded of him.
Currently-drinking a vanilla latte waiting on Alicia.
The people all around me are speaking English.
Oh, I said thank you in Chinese at the bar (where they called out my drink) and the woman spoke back to me in Chinese ;)
"Be with Alicia and her students; fill her with supernatural strength, joy, laughter and excitement for tonight!"
OH YEAH- FOR THE RECORD- I WOKE UP SO HAPPY IN MY HEART. BEING HERE IN TAIWAN FEELS 100% BLESSED. IT HAS BEEN WONDERFUL. I PRAYED AND THE LORD TOLD ME TO GET READY. IT SEEMED THAT HE TOLD ME TO BE READY FOR ANYTHING AND THAT I WOULD END UP AT STARBUCKS. THIS WAS INTERESTING BECAUSE I KIND OF WANTED TO STAY HOME AND SKYPE. THE LORD SPOKE TO ME, SO I OBEYED. JUST MOMENTS AFTER GETTING READY, KELLY CALLED AND ASKED IF I WANTED TO GO WITH HER-HOW PERFECT? HOPEFULLY GOD WAS GLORIFIED THROUGH MY SPEECH AND ACTIONS. AMEN.
(then at the bottom of this page is a picture of a coffee mug, with music notes all around it and written in cursive are the words "out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" and to the side is written "WHAT IS YOUR AROMA?"
WHAT IS YOUR AROMA? :) WHEN YOU WALK IN THE ROOM, WHAT SMELL DO YOU BRING WITH YOU? WOULD YOU REMIND OTHERS OF YUMMY KITCHEN OR STINKY TOFU? ARE YOU CARRYING WITH YOU THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT? MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO BE THE SWEET AROMA THAT GOD AND OTHERS ARE BLESSED BY.
YOU CHOOSE WHICH AROMA YOU WILL BE.
(the last part about the aroma has everything to do with a mug that Alicia gave to me that says "AROMA". there is a kitchen down the street from Alicia's house that is called "Yummy Kitchen" and a really nasty smelling place to eat called "stinky tofu"... all of those things were running together and so I wrote out what was on my heart)
(at the bottom of this page is a picture of a flower with a stem and roots... in the roots is hidden the word "purity" to imply that the flower was rooted in purity. to the side of the flower are rain drops, that say "Good" "Kind" "Truth" "Admirable" "Right" "Love" "Noble" "Pure" and "Lovely")
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Day one back in America (I will write of Taiwan & the plane ride home ASAP)
-slept 8 hours last night
-woke up around 7
-prayed, showered, read the Bible
-talked with Callum
-talked with Alicia
-went out with mom & Alex/ate panera bread
-attempted to grocery shop @ Publix
-came back to moms
-slept until 9 p.m.
-woke up, ate some bread & gingerbread cookies
-talked with mom about nuns, levitation & a dream she had of me
•the one time I went out today, I felt very out of place. I ordered soup at Panera Bread Company. As I placed the bowl right under my mouth & used the spoon to guide the soup into my mouth, I looked up only to find people watching me. It was then that I noticed, every one else with soup had their bowl on the table.
•staying in was similar... I had to go to the restroom & immediately following that, I put the toilet paper in the trash can. Later, I realized what I had done.
•my clothes smell like Taiwan, the food here tastes foreign & everything seems so different from when I left
•even at the grocery store I had a difficult time. The lights were so bright, the people were so different. I must have seemed strange, because mom kept asking "what happened?" "did something happen?" and eventually we just left.
•also, every here speaks English.
•everyone here wants an answer & I don't have any answers yet
One thing I do know is that I fall short, so often. God is constantly revealing Himself as perfect. This exposes my imperfections, but hallelujah. He is glorified in my weakness. He is. He is. Amen.
Thankful for: God, mom, Alex, Alicia, Ashley, Callum, sleep.
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
To catch you up on what has happened thus far, I am going to post my journal entries from the last few days. Starting the day that I left the states. It may be a lot to read, so if you just want to pick a day... feel free to scroll down and find the bold dates :) Bless you all.
Only have written day 1 & 2... will write the rest later. Now I am going to spend some time in a night market near Alicia's. BLESSINGS!!!
December 10, 2011
About to leave for Taiwan. Thank You, Lord, for this opportunity. Let Your will be done above all else. Receive glory through me today.
Bless Rob & Ashley.
Today so far... First off, I did not sleep last night because Alicia and I concluded that would help me stay on Taiwan's schedule. Around three forty-five, we left for the airport. Mom and Alex left at the bag check. From there, I got on the plane to Dallas There was a cute, young African American girl sitting behind me. The flight attendant was really rude to her and intentionally dishonored her several times. After a while of hearing them be disrespectful to one another, I felt the need to write this young lady a note. So I did. I handed it to her and spent the rest of the flight looking out the window. It was obvious to me that she read the note, because I heard it go in and out of the envelope. She started crying and sniffled the rest of the trip. I believe God used me to encourage this young lady, to God be the glory.
Getting to Dallas was nice and I was so ready to get to L.A. so that I could sleep. We loaded the plane (and it had so much more space than the first plane). I had the window seat, so two people had to get out of my way so that I could get in. They were really kind. The guy next to me immediately asked me questions concerning my flight, future, degree, dreams and so on. Every question he asked made me smile and every answer I gave made him laugh. After a while he explained to me that his parents are missionaries, he also studied theology, his sister had done work in Africa and he had connections in Australia. We were both glad that God had put us in each others path. The whole meeting was neat. Then while we were talking, they made us leave the plane because of maintenance issues. This changed everything for me because it was making me late for my flight from L.A. to Tokyo. I waited in a really long line... and while waiting, I met the most beautiful young woman. Her name was Beth. We both talked about how we were confident in our future. We rejoiced in God's plan for our lives. It was sweet. Beth believes her boyfriend, Carson, was going to propose to her while they were in California visiting his family. That is so beautiful! They were both twenty. Meeting Beth blessed me and as I walked to the desk to figure out my flight adjustments, she said "Continue to shine for Him" and we hugged. I hope to meet her again.
After that, well... I had to talk with the flight attendants about getting my flight moved. The lady helping me seemed so ready to be done helping everyone. She ended up switching my flight to Dallas to San Francisco to Taiwan. This made it where instead of getting there at midnight, I am getting there at six a.m. the next morning. I will not be leaving San Francisco until midnight. Goodness. If you remember, I did not sleep today or last night- so when she said all of this I just looked back into her eyes and cried. Imagine this, half the people in the line with me could not speak English... tears were everywhere, we all seemed insecure and uncertain. For about ten minutes I watched this lady reschedule my flight and I cried the entire time. When they called for the flight that I was originally on to head to a different terminal, Josh Chapman came up to me to make sure everything worked out. He was so sweet. It was nice to have him looking out for me; it seemed like he was my big brother. Hopefully he makes it to his girlfriends performance on time (Josh was the one whose parents are missionaries).
After getting my new tickets, I called mom and was extremely emotional. Cried the whole time. She gave me direction on what to do and said she would call every hour. She has.
Logan sent me a text message and said, "He walks right by my side. He promised to be my guide." He was asking if I knew the song. I said no but that I needed to hear that. It was perfect timing.
-Alicia said this in response to my new flight, "Chynna this is actually kind of awesome. I feel His blessing in this too. Just got home from such a fun night with coworkers. My gift is so for you! You'll freak out when u find out how specific God's provision is for you in the gift that I won!!!" Haha! I thought it would be inconvenient for her to pick me up and she said it was better! Wow, praise God. Amen.
I called Taylor-as she asked-she encouraged me and reminded me that God has plans to use me in San Francisco. I am excited to see what God has planned.
Thankful for: the unexpected, the tears, Josh Chapman, Beth, mom, Alicia Conn, Logan and Taylor.
Currently waiting to leave Dallas- 2 hrs.
I have been in San Francisco for so long. It will be eight hours when I finally leave. This has been an unpleasant last hour. The day was good because mom called a few times, Mary Cate called, Taylor called, Lulu and I talked, Cal texted a bit, I was able to walk around (purchased and umbrella) and I had the opportunity to go to a quiet room and pray. The peace of God covered me in that room and it was beautiful.
Thirty minutes later, I was checking my bags with China Airlines and they only let me take one on the plane. I had to pay for the other. I could not find the information I needed for my flight back and they had a hard time believing I am "Chynna Lee" when returning my credit card. Everyone around me, flying with China Airlines, had the same last name as me. After all that, I spent a good deal crying. Security asked me to stop crying. He said I would be going home soon enough.
It wasn't until Callum said, "Chynna I am praying now. Sweetie, trust in Him alone whose plans are woven with love and the love of the Gospel. 'Our God is in heaven, he does whatever he pleases' psalm 115:3" that I actually calmed down. Then Preston told me he was praying and Bailey sent word out to pray for me. I am so overwhelmed with His love. Unworthy of such kindness.
Thank You, Lord.
Be with this flight. Amen.
Before I begin knitting, I would like to praise the Lord and document what He has done during this trip so far. The flight- I fell asleep before the plane took off. About an hour into it, I woke up to eat. Fell back asleep. Woke up after eight hours. The young man next to me asked if I was well rested; he was commenting on the fact that I had slept heaps (He was sitting two seats over). He formally introduced himself as Mike and told me he was headed home. Kim, the young lady sitting right next to me, spoke up. We all talked of our final destination and how we planned to spend our time. Kim was headed home for an emergency trip (Vietnam) because her mother was diagnosed with cancer (which, she did not tell me this until after our discussion on Christianity).
Mike boldly asked me questions and spoke of his Buddhist beliefs. The entire conversation, God filled me with the words to say and wisdom from on high. Thank You, Lord.
After a while of questioning, finding out my beliefs, major, heart and future plans, Mike mentioned that most Buddhists believe in Buddha because of their parents. He said he did. Mike also commented on the fact that many Christians believe because their parents believe; He asked me why I believe in Christianity. Wow! I shared my testimony followed by the miracles I have seen Jesus do. Thankfully my testimony does not end with God setting me free from the bondage I had to sin. Glory be to God in the highest.
When I shared with Mike and Kim about the time Rich Ford asked me to pray over her and how she was cancer free afterwards, Kim told me that her mother has cancer. She said that someone in the states told her to pray over her mom, but that she did not believe. I encouraged Kim to pray in the name of Jesus after explaining to her that God is love and so loves all of His creation. Hopefully she is able to see the powerful hand of Jesus in her mothers life.
Father God, thank You for my new friend Kim. Thank You for using me to spread Your love and truth. Please use every word that I spoke. Be glorified in her life. Remind her of the truth that Jesus in the only way to have fellowship with You. Send Your holy people to lead Kim in the way everlasting. Heal her mother, because You can. Be glorified in her healing. Oh that this healing would be a doorway for Salvation. Amen.
I began to really like Kim. She is precious to me. Hopefully I will know her again someday.
The entire flight (I nearly said "flight home") was beautiful and filled with grace.
Mike told me that I need to be a religion teacher. He mentioned that I taught clearly and with an understanding. That blessed me. My hope is not that Mike was impressed with me, or that he even remembers my name, but that instead... somehow, he believes in Jesus and lets go (completely) of the Buddhist faith. Lord, meet him and save him. Amen.
At one point, Kim snuggled up close to me and held my arm. She looked into my eyes and giggled a little. It was a precious moment. Somehow, in that moment, it felt as if I had known Kim my whole life. As if, she was family. Oh Lord, allow her to be adopted into Your perfect family. For the glory and praise of Jesus. Amen.
At the end of the flight, I hugged Kim goodbye and headed towards customs.
When I finally saw Alicia, it seemed unreal. She came up behind me calling my name. I stopped right there in unbelief. Our meeting was precious. Thank You Lord.
From the airport, we took a bus, then a taxi to her home!! Once at her home we unpacked, cleaned up & put on makeup, and set up the Christmas tree. Alicia skyped her mom and thanked her a bunch. I called my mom (on this app I got today "Magic Jack"). Mom said it was a bad connection, but I was glad to tell her I was safe. She said she knew I was safe when she had a clear vision of Alicia's face. Thank You Lord.
While at her home, Alicia gave me many things. She has given me money to spend on food. As much as I wanted to tell her I could not receive it, I knew it was God providing. Thank You Father.
She always gave me a card to swipe for the bus, an "Aroma" mug, soap that her landlord made, and two really nice pens that you can only get in Taiwan (I am using one now).
We then took a train, to a bus, which dropped us off at her work. We ate lunch at a delicious cafe. The spaghetti was wonderful; the best I have ever had. That says a lot. Then we went to a seven eleven so I could get something much needed. After that Alicia dropped me off at Starbucks!!! :) It is two, she is coming by @ four to take her break with me. Until then I will order coffee, knit (start on Alicia's scarf) and just enjoy Taiwan.
Thank You Lord.
Wow! I think I just saw an American :)
I was able to knit, read, pray and just enjoy the silence for a while. Alicia came by on her break. I then walked with her down to a shop full of neat items. She went back to work. We are supposed to meet at Starbucks at six thirty, which is an hour from now.
My body is starting to feel tired. Most likely because of the serious lack of sleep these past couple of days.
I am currently sitting outside of Starbucks. There is an area, which is apart of the coffee shop, with really large comfy chairs and cute wooden tables. On one of the tables, the one closest to me, there is a no smoking sign (I love that). Out here, a lot is going on. There are cars, buses and scooters flying by. People are walking up and down these streets. Starbucks is playing a really jazzy song. Believe it or not, it actually pretty peaceful out here. All of Taiwan has been pretty peaceful actually.
Lord, I pray that every part of my trip is filled with purpose. Use me for Your glory, even when I cannot see Your plan. Father, take control of my life. It is Yours. Use it for Your glory. Amen.
Thank You Jesus.
My phone has not been working since I have been in Taiwan. At Alicias, I will pick up the wireless internet connection so I am able to get online and send/receive Imessage(s). Other than that, it is not picking up service. At&t said it would work, but it has not.
Carry peace and love. Rely on Him who is above!!!
(For anyone wondering, I did not skip a day in my journal... the time difference caused me to miss a whole day on the calender :)... that is my favorite part about traveling all the way across the world)
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Well, praise the Lord! He is alive. Jesus Christ is alive. I heard a song yesterday and I remember the lyrics saying something like this "Noelle, Noelle, Jesus is alive. Emmanuel, Emmanuel death has died because Jesus is alive." What refreshing news? Praise God!
Well, I apologize for failing to write. I've been busy, to say the least. To catch you all up... I moved out of the Hilbuns, am staying in Daphne for a few days, have final exams today and I am leaving for Taiwan on Saturday. As you can all imagine, life is 10 times busier than it was last month but it's great because God is in control.
There is so much to share.
God has been revealing Himself in every thing that I do. If only words could explain His worth.
** I will write more later today once exams are over!! **
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Matthew 7:1-5 says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified." - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 These words were all that I could think the entire race... it was beautiful. At one point, I realized that there was a girl in front of me named Anna and a girl right behind me named Heather. I only knew this because the people there to support them kept calling their names out so loudly. It was so great how much God blessed me through these two girls. After hearing there names a few times, I realized that God wanted me to pray for them. So I did. Our final meet was spent, for me, praying for two girls that I had never met and did not even have a clue what they looked like. At the end of the race, I was eager to meet them. I did. Heather and I were able to chat for a bit, that was a true blessing. Something really neat that blessed me more than I will ever be able to describe is the fact that those girls were from a school called "Emmanuel"... I knew God was with me. But to see that the one person who stayed in front of my the entire race and the one person who stayed directly behind me the entire race were from a school with the name meaning of GOD WITH US... really truly blessed me. Thank You God.
It's been glorious and I wish that I had time to write EVERYTHING that happened today. God is good.
Today has been full of God's glory. I was able to really remember how He radically saved my life and set me free. The fact that God changed my heart really is such a miracle. He deserves all of me for the rest of my life. My prayer is that He receives all of me for the rest of my life.
This is something I wrote on the bus ride home from Conference this morning...
So many times I think of how to get out of America quicker, how to escape to a land full of poverty and disease- so that I can love all of the pain out of those around me. Those are usually the times when God reminds me that I am in a country soaked in pain and seeking refuge from spiritual poverty- these times keep me focused.
No matter how often He reminds me, I am still so eager to live in another land. Wherever I go, I notice that the only requirement God has given me is to love the people He perfectly places on my path day to day. So I keep on loving.
But, when will I end up in a foreign land? When will I be able to learn from the poor? Will I ever live in Africa? Am I just dreaming or does God have such plans for me?
Wherever He leads, I will follow. If His leading keeps me in America, so be it. I will cheerfully serve Him in this land & continually pray for those in the land my heart longs to serve.
I believe these desires are from Him. I believe He will fulfill my longings. I believe He would love to send me to work in a land soaked in poverty and pain- I believe He will use me to love all that surround me everywhere He sends me. It's about His love being spread. It's all about His love
Thankful for: dreams, America, friends and God's grace.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
It has been a while since the last time I wrote... but please understand it is only because my life has been busier than ever before.
Things have slowed down a bit... well, for a few days that is.
These last few days have been wonderful. I want to say it all started on Monday night. I was going to sleep very late, after spending the entire day finishing a final paper for Mission and Message of Jesus Christ, and deep within my heart I heard God calling me to meet with Him. Although I was very tired, all I wanted was to hear from Him... so I got down on my knees and waited. While waiting, I thought maybe there was a prayer to pray, but I clearly heard the Father say to be still & not to say anything. The most beautiful thing happened while I was silent! God began to speak to me and to open my eyes to see how much He loves His children. Humbling to hear from Him, for sure.
I fell asleep thinking of God's love and hoping to glorify Him in my sleep and the following day. When I woke up the next day, a friend of mine in Australia had acted as a sort of "alarm" if you will, to help make sure I got up in time for class (because Tuesdays are my days that start at 4 am). The messages he sent me were all Scripture, which was so unexpected (shouldn't have been, but was). So I woke up reminded to seek the Lord. Everything God spoke to me the night before as I waited in His presence, my friend said to me the next morning. God's love is overwhelming.
The day was very full. From 4 am until 1 pm everything was so precious. Around two, I started to break down. All I wanted to do was cry, so I did. I couldn't stop crying. Everything made me cry. Every where I looked I saw something that made me cry. It was about time for work, so I stopped at Starbucks to buy some coffee. Hoping that would help, I cleaned up my face and walked in with a smile. The sweet manager on duty kindly told me that the coffee would cheer me up, I then realized my emotions were fully exposed. She then said the words "Your total is 6.66" HA! Nope. I replied with a laugh and said "no, it's not... I would like another donut". We all know, I did not want another donut. But, in that moment I felt under attack and did not want anything to do with the enemy. My hope was not to let the pain continue, but it did. I went to work, held myself together for a little while because my grandmother came to visit and then began to cry again. Thankfully, not many customers came in... only thankfully because I was trying so hard to pull myself together and nothing was changing. Why was I so upset? Deep within my heart, I was afraid. I was afraid that progression was never going to be possible for me. All I want is to be independent and to live on my own. Unfortunately, when you do not have a parent co-signing with you it is nearly impossible to do such a thing. The other thing that was causing pain was because I was thinking that it wasn't practical for me to leave the country. Financially, it seemed impossible. I'm still about $200 dollars away from being able to purchase my ticket, but I am believing that God will provide and soon. Please pray for me, that God would be with me financially. $200 will come soon, through work & babysitting, but it needs to be soon soon because the price of the ticket is always going up and down. Pray that God's will be done.
After talking to Alicia and Preston later that night, I was comforted and glad to know that God does have a plan and He really is going to work it all out. I love Alicia so much. Preston is amazing too.
Wednesday was nice. Church was great and Rob spoke on the genealogy of Jesus. One time I thought (and maybe verbalized) that he could preach on the genealogy of Christ and people get saved. Maybe some did. His message was about leaving a legacy. What legacy are you leaving behind? Is your life a reflection of God's grace?
Thursday was class and then met up with Hayley. She is such a sweet princess of God. I am so grateful for her love for me. Being with her for a brief moment encouraged me greatly. After meeting with her, I went to be with my family. Mom, granny and Alex were together for Alex's birthday. When I first arrived, everyone was talking about making scarves. In order to raise money for my trip out of the country, I have started selling knitted scarves. Mom found out and made five for me to sell... I have the sweetest most genuine mother in the world. We all asked Al were he wanted to eat, but he was not in the mood to decide. Eventually he just said Chick-fil-A. That was casual and enjoyable. Everyone loves chicken :) So it worked out well. That night, we went to bed early.
We woke up early and made cinnamon rolls for Alex's birthday breakfast :) He got dressed in red, because it was red-ribbon day at his school, where they talk about staying off of drugs. D.A.R.E. After dropping him off at school, mom and I went to hobby lobby to find some yarn, I left for class, went to babysit and headed back to be with Alex for his birthday. His dad, Dan, and Jan came to be with him for his birthday. They took him out to eat and to pick out his birthday presents... so mom and I found other things to do. We got some more yarn and went to Moe's for dinner. It was nice to be with mom. We had some good laughs and remembered sweet times. I love my mom. Later that night Alex came in from a long day. He seemed upset and I wanted to fix all of his hurts, but knew it was best to let him get some sleep.
The next morning when everyone woke up, I prayed over Alex before he left with his dad again. I believe God heard my prayer and protected Alex from hurt.
Saturday was work. Work was awesome! Three of my sweetest girlfriends saw me and came in to visit with joy. Their names are Hayley, Hillary and Hannah. Hillary is such a fun & happy lady of the Lord. I want to spend more time with her. Hayley is the one I told you about, that I met up with on Thursday. She blessed me so much with her presence and purchased my lunch. I was so undeserving. Hannah is a refreshing friend that I hope to know better one day! Having them stop by really encouraged me and I was thankful to God for allowing them come by. My favorite piano teacher, Mrs Fox, also walked by my work and I was able to visit with her for a moment. I love Mrs Fox. After work, it was time to head back to Thomasville. I arrived around 6 and the fall hay ride started at 6:30. Oh, I like hay rides a lot. For those that live in different countries, or just have never been on a hay ride, let me explain. There was a truck pulling a trailer with hay seating. We all got on the trailer and sat on top of the hay (except for Mariah and I, we sat with the hay against our backs... sort of on the floor of the trailer). So, the truck driver drove us down to this cow pasture. The cold fall breeze was perfect. Our destination was beautiful, the stars were in full view... and the land seemed to go on for miles. There was a fire that we all stood around... I kept thinking "consume me". All I want is to be totally consumed by God.
Ashley, Chloe, Bethany, Levi and I went back to the house early. The night was still young, so I decided to spend time with the Lord under the stars. He is beautiful. Laying out there in the cold was precious to me, because for the first time in a long time I was able to really gaze at His creation and see His power. Wow, our God is all powerful!! I love Him.
This morning, I woke up with a desire to hear from God first. I decided not to check my phone, even though I had a few messages from a friend. Knowing that his messages would encourage me and bring me pure joy, I wanted more to receive from God's perfect love. So after thanking Him for a new day, I went straight to His Word. The first thing that really caught my attention and I felt impressed to memorize was "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (the fruit of the spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth) finding out what is acceptable to the Lord" Ephesians 5:8-10. It is such a beautiful thing to remember what you were saved from and to realize that God is light. Hallelujah.
Church was brilliant. Sunday school was refreshing, we talked about Jacob & Esau. While talking about the two, I was reminded that God keeps His Word and that as children of God, we are to keep our word no matter how bad it hurts. Brother Ty talked about remaining faithful to God, even in old age. His message was spot on. Although I am not "old" I really needed the encouragement. Hearing him talk about Caleb being 85 years old and still striving to serve God with all strength really helped me to see the bigger picture. We were called to remain faithful, excited and glad servants of the Lord for the rest of our lives. Whoa, may I stay excited... His message is always life, so let's rejoice in the life that we have been given!!!
After church, I decided to check the messages I had... guess what? I was encouraged to read John 1:5 which says "and the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it".... so relevant... and so close to what I was memorizing this morning. Praise God! So glad that I went to God first. The word from the friend was then received with thanksgiving. Woohoo. God is good. God is love.
:) Fall festival starts in a few minutes, so I need to go get ready. May God bless you all.
Thank you for your support and prayers.
This journey is fun. Next time I write, I hope to tell you more about a good friend of mine & the trip I am planning for December.
"Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor" Proverbs 29:23
Thankful for: God, friends, fall, Alex, mom, and the Word.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
God is peaceful and perfect in everything that He does. His character never changes and neither does His heart for me. In comparison to Him, everything is without worth. In each moment, I am reminded that God is the only One worthy of anything good. He is good.
This week was fall break. As you all can imagine, it was not much of a "break". Monday was relaxing. Tuesday was work. Wednesday was church. Thursday was restful. Friday was work in the a.m. and traveling to Clinton, Mississippi in the p.m. with the team. Saturday was race day & then heaps of driving. Sunday has been sweet and very enjoyable, glad for church and having the youth over.
Wednesday & Thursday were my days off, which was nice. A lot happened every day of this week. New ideas were formed & I am starting to get really excited, just understanding that God is doing so much. Even in this season that seems so dry, I am fully convinced that God is going to bring water in the desert.
I am planning a trip to visit a friend in a foreign land. Sometime after Wednesday, I will post more details.
On friday and saturday, I asked God to allow me to really enjoy my team instead of sleep walking through another season. Looking forward can cause you to miss the present. May that never happen to me again. I want to live in the now and enjoy EVERY MOMENT presented before me. God is always at work and I want to stay apart of what He is doing, always. Not for my credit, but because He is worthy of ALL of my time (not just my looking forwards). It was nice to be with the team, to recognize needs & have a better understanding of how to pray for my mates. I am so grateful for every single one of them.
My life is going to change really soon. A lot is happening.
This journey will continue with joy.
Check out Psalm 24
"To human beings belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the proper answer of the tongue" Proverbs 16:1
Check out Isaiah 55:6 & let it change you.
This morning, I spent time with the Lord... and did not go to the morning service. Many would look down on me, but God was with me. For that, I am thankful. The time we spent together was much needed. I realized in that hour that God has been so patient with me. Although I am failing so much lately, He is always waiting with arms wide open. He is not only waiting, but HE IS WITH ME. HE IS ALWAYS WITH ME. I began to cry when I realized how it is possible that His heart has been breaking over me. My heart is to please Him. After repenting, I believe Him & I are starting a new chapter of this journey (life). I'm truly excited & glad to be apart of what He is doing. This season is good... because He is good.
Thankful for: Ashley Hilbun, coffee, God's forgiveness and Brother Ty.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
God is glorious, every moment of every day. He is constantly revealing Himself to the hungry, the broken, and the needy. To those who recognize their need for Him, He is seen.
A while back someone told me that I have no need to be DESPERATE for God, because He is always with me. I have found that to be wrong. It is necessary that I stay desperate and needy for God. Maybe not everyone needs Him, but I do. Such foolishness, EVERYONE needs God.
What has happened since the last time I wrote? MUCH! That would be why I have not been able to share.
This past week, Tuesday through Saturday, I was in Atlanta Georgia for a Leadership Conference. The conference is called Catalyst. If you go to the University of Mobile, you have most likely heard of it. Otherwise, there is a chance you never even knew such a conference existed. That is surprising to me, especially when my friends in Atlanta tell me they never knew about it. It is a conference where 13,000 Christian leaders gather to learn under pastors, teachers, authors and inspiring young men and women. I was blessed by many speakers this year including Joel Houston (Hillsong), Katie Davis, Francis Chan, Andy Stanley, Jim Collins, Priscilla Shirer, LaCrae, Judah Smith and Jeff Foxworthy. There were many more, but the people listed are the one’s that I received the most from. It was a great blessing and surprise to be able to worship with Hillsong United. God spoke to me and allowed me freedom while they sang and again while Joel spoke.
The entire conference was wonderful. Because I am human, many things came up and had to be dealt with. Unfortunately, I began to compare myself with the young women that I was with. Fortunately, God revealed Himself and allowed me to walk in the freedom and victory made possible by the blood of Jesus.
Being human is okay, because I am human. I am no super hero. My Savior is THE super hero. Thankfully it is not a competition. The Kingdom is not about being higher than those around you, it’s actually about becoming lower in all things that somehow through such humility Christ Himself would be magnified. Now such a truth is not possible to understand, unless of course your heart is for the glorification of the Godhead. All glory to YHWH. All glory.
To sum up what I learned at Catalyst this year: we are all apart of ONE body, we are ONE church, humility is key in all things, humility is attractive, there IS a difference between secular and holy, you can be holy while living in this world, our jobs are not made holy because they are in the church-everything we do ought to be holy, discipleship is vital, prayer is crucial, Jesus is the glory of God, my calling is to serve the poor and needy, God is leading me into a foreign land, God is present, remaining in Christ is Biblical, it is important that we do not sleep walk through the present by longing for the future, embrace the moment and so much more. God was present at Catalyst 2011. I was blessed.
So much more has been going on. It would take years to explain all that God is doing. Sometimes I feel disconnected from reality and other times I feel too connected to the world, but in all things, I know God is with me. That truth, that God is always with me, keeps me joyful and alive. I am dependent on His presence.
For those who do not know, my life is SO full right now. Maybe from the outside looking in, you would not be able to tell. But, it is really is packed. Each day is different. Some would say that I am living multiple lives, I would agree.
Mondays are rest days- I spend the day at home. Ashley, Rob, Bethany, Levi and I just rest. Sometimes I sleep in a little too late. We walk, eat, and just relax. Mondays are sweet.
Tuesdays are packed- The day starts at 4 am (on a normal week), I wake up, get in the Word, pray, get ready for the day, leave the house at 6, walk into class at 8, finish class at 11, run, take a shower, head to work, 3-9 work, then pack up and leave for Thomasville. I get home around 10:45. The night is filled with catching up in the Bible, talking to friends, chatting a bit with the Hilbun’s (if possible) and then SLEEP.
Wednesdays are somewhat normal- Sleep late because of Tuesdays, run/walk, study and then church. My favorite part is seeing the youth and pouring into the girls in my small group. Just being around the youth brings me life and reminds me of my calling.
Thursdays are early too- wake up early, practice at 6 am, class from 8-11, then head back to Thomasville if possible, and rest it up. Some Thursdays I stay in Mobile because we have cross country races on the weekends and it is easier to just stay.
Fridays are of there own- Every Friday is different. If we have a cross country meet, I am in Mobile using the day to catch up on homework assignments and wait patiently for the night to come so that I can leave the city with my team. We travel. This season we have traveled a bunch.
Saturdays are race days- We wake up early to run against other schools. Once the morning is done, we travel back to Mobile and then I get back to Thomasville as soon as possible. Once I get back I try to run a little more, then I walk or do whatever I can with Ashley. Saturdays are my favorite.
Sundays are church days- Sunday School starts at 9:45, then church at 11, after church it’s homework time, a walk here and there, a run hopefully and then we start it all over again.
My schedule is PACKED this semester. The things I did not add are youth times, Mariah times, Reading times, writing times, Skype times, family times, coffee dates with Elizabeth, and everything else God likes to add to make life fun. To be honest, this semester is so full that sometimes I think God must be eagerly waiting for it to end so that He can use me all the more. I know He is with me, teaching me, using me and guiding me through everyday. Sometimes I just think my schedule is too busy. If it were up to me, I would give up EVERYTHING I have committed to and serve Thomasville Baptist Church with every moment. The church has done so much for me and I am unworthy. It would be an honor to give back to them what they have given to me. Until that is possible, I am running through each day embracing the opportunities presented before me.
I am in need of prayer, just as any Christian would be. Pray that I would run the race with confidence in Christ and undistracted devotion, that I would be quiet in my dealings and compassionate always, that thanksgiving would come from my lips and that my thoughts would be pure. Pray also that I would be drawn closer to the Father’s heart.
Thank you all for your support and love. May God’s peace be with your spirit.
“Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him that His glory may dwell in our land” Psalm 85:9
“If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. There is another who testifies in my favor and I know that His testimony about me is true” John 5:31-32
Thankful for: God’s presence, the Hilbun home, Alicia, Callum, Damien, Alex, Dan, Mom, and everyone in my life.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
A few quotes from Damon Thompson
"I don't want to sit under a worship leader who has a good voice and poor morals"
"Never not receive a person because they haven't arrived"
"If you do not like the letter, do not get mad at the man delivering the mail, get mad at the one who wrote the letter".... really, don't get mad at all :) you get the point though.
I'm going to diligently inquire...
Are you allowing yourself to be controlled by the operation of the Spirit of God?
Is your will subject to the operation of the Spirit of God?
The key in all things is allowing the Spirit of God to work through you what He is working in you.
Lately I have been overwhelmed with the love that I have known. God is always revealing Himself to me. It is a love that causes me to let go of ways that are not glorifying and clinging to the good that surrounds me. His care for me has produced in me a care for Him, which in turn causes me to care for the people around me. The love that I express daily is out of a love for my Father in heaven. My heart is to please the Father & to live my life in such a way that others may see His love through me and so desire to please Him too.
There is a friend that I have communicated with a lot these past few months. This friend prays for me, daily. Prayer takes place out of a love for the Father. He longs to see me excel in the ways of God, so that God will use me in all things. Having this friend in my life has brought me great encouragement and freedom. All glory be to God. Amen.
Our God is sweet & lovely. Just yesterday, I received a text from a friend of mine and she asked me to meet up with her to talk about what God has been doing. We met. God is wonderful!!! IN EVERY WAY! A little over a year and a half ago, I had to let go of this friend because we were not on the same page or longing for the same things. I was a new believer desiring to please God and she was not as concerned with Him as I was. Knowing that letting go of her would prove beneficial, I did. I prayed & prayed that God would reveal His love to her. After a year and a half, God answered me :) NEVER GIVE UP!!! My friend now has a fresh fire and deep burning to see God glorified in all things. This is just one example about how if you give to God what is dear to your heart, He will purify it and use it for the good. In this case, I was even given my friend back :) We plan to meet for coffee once a week... the coffee isn't our desire or aim. Our aim is to see one another grow, to encourage one another and to discuss how God is working in our individual lives. I am so blessed. So glad to have her back in my life :) Our friendship is finally real. All glory to God. Amen.
Quite a few times these last few weeks, I have been eager to pray for my husband and children. I am so excited and filled with wonder... :) All I know is that God Himself is for me.... :) Not because I am in any way righteous, but because His Son died on a cross that I would have a way to Him! Wow! All glory to God. YES!!! PRAISE YAHWEH!!!
Being a citizen of the Kingdom of God is hard work sometimes, but it is enjoyable and rewarding. Everything done for the glory of God is rewarding. If you give every part of who you are over to God, you will experience great joy and hope. Our hope is in the coming of our Lord Jesus.
Today is a great day to smile & thank God. You are alive.
Thankful for: my room, the Hilbun's, Brooke, Brittany, and Thomasville Baptist Church.
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
"His love is characterized by gentleness. It is not forced upon us, nor is it demanding; it is comforting and pleasing."
"The simple fact that He, alone, is holy should dramatically affect how we enter into and sustain a relationship with Him. What a privilege it is to know and be known by such a Being! What reverence, fear, and gratitude we ought to have in our interaction with Him."
-George Barna in Think Like Jesus
The last few weeks have been exciting. God has allowed me to do so much, be used in many ways, and has answered so many prayers immediately (He's so kind).
Today has been sweet. Every day is really. With God, all things are extremely enjoyable... even the tough things :) That's just how powerful He is. Our God is amazing, wonderful, and perfect in EVERY WAY! That being the case, let's praise Him :)
This morning I slept in a little only because I stayed so busy all day yesterday and needed rest! Yesterday... Around six a.m. I headed to Mobile, went to class from 8-11, ate lunch, ran, took a shower, went to work from 3-9, and then headed home (to Thomasville). Got back around 10:45. It was nice to get home. Ashley & I were able to talk some. That was nice. Being near Ashley brings me great joy.
If any of you think of me, please pray that I would walk in humility. My heart is to serve everyone in complete humility... and definitely Ashley, because of all that she has done for me. She is a friend, but so much more than that. Her heart is beautiful and I learn so much from her, no matter what she is doing. I desire to be to her what she is to me. To serve her in total humility and bless her in any way possible. Thank you all for your prayers.
My morning has been relaxed & full. A little after lunch, my brother Damien called me. Please pray for him. He told me of a new adventure he has taken on and my heart hurt after hearing it. Pray that God would save Damien & Freddy. They mean so much to me.
Something I realized today was that, the one's that do the will of my Father in heaven are my family.
My hope is that you all are growing in understanding and walking in true freedom.
Bless you all.
Thankful for: Ashley, Bethany, Levi, Mariah and my swing.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
What a wonderful day to be alive (but, what day isn't?). God is working all around; He's a wonderful King.
The day started off early and I was able to talk to a good friend. We talked about a lot. It was encouraging to be encouraged. That seems to rarely happen. To just be purely lifted up and blessed is the sweetest gift. I am so thankful for relationships ordained by the Lord.
Everything about selfless, humble love is attractive. I am attracted to the characteristics of God in other people.
We talked about how people were created in the image of God.
Mobile was nice. Being on campus was perfect. Truly glorious, to say the least.
In Christian Worldview, we talked about work & marriage. Dr. Younce gave us a wonderful lesson on knowing when is the right time to be married and pure wisdom concerning our future. I was extremely grateful to be taught under him today, because he is such a wise man. My hope is that everyone in that class would pay attention with all that they are, so that they can learn great things under such a great leader.
Oh, in Mission & Message, Dr. Younce fell. He looked up too fast and before we all knew it he was on the ground. Everyone rushed to him to help him. I prayed. God protected him. If you could, please pray for my professor. He is seriously a blessing in my life and I am wanting him to be lifted up to the Father. He would never have asked any of us to pray, but that's why he deserves it all the more.
Dr. Younce is a wonderful man of God. I intentionally decided to take him for two classes this semester. Being in his class opens my eyes to many things in the Spirit and I am forever thankful for him. Thank you for your prayers.
1 Praise the LORD.
I will extol the LORD with all my heart
in the council of the upright and in the assembly.
2 Great are the works of the LORD;
they are pondered by all who delight in them.
3 Glorious and majestic are his deeds,
and his righteousness endures forever.
4 He has caused his wonders to be remembered;
the LORD is gracious and compassionate.
5 He provides food for those who fear him;
he remembers his covenant forever.
6 He has shown his people the power of his works,
giving them the lands of other nations.
7 The works of his hands are faithful and just;
all his precepts are trustworthy.
8 They are established for ever and ever,
enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.
9 He provided redemption for his people;
he ordained his covenant forever—
holy and awesome is his name.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;
all who follow his precepts have good understanding.
To him belongs eternal praise.
I am extremely blessed. All of my blessings come from the Lord, who is in control of all things. Today is a good day to recognize that God is the ruler of all things, and that is just who He is. No one can rule, without His permission. He is King!!!! HE IS ALIVE!!! HE IS RULING! Now!!! Acknowledge His rule today :)
Praise report- the Lord laid it on my heart to pray for a specific professor and his kids. So, I started praying for them without ceasing. God has given me prayers to pray, and so I have. Well, on Tuesday I ran into him and asked about his twins (the one's I have been praying for) and mentioned praying for them. He seemed really puzzled, but amazed. He asked when I started praying for them "Two weeks ago?" ... "Yes sir!" I replied... and stared in amazement as I walked away. When I came back he said that two weeks ago his children started to be a lot better and that God had given them time to really enjoy each other, which he said had not been happening before. He was so grateful & asked that I would pray for his wife. So I have been praying JOY over his wife these last two days. When I ran into him today I asked how she was... he said that she was doing SO GREAT... :) her unhappiness has changed to happiness. They are going out on a date friday and they have a babysitter to watch the kids :) How awesome? God has answered all of my prayers for their family... and I am so glad :) I will continue praying for them. Just wanted to share God's sweetness & blessings with you all :)
Thankful for: Psalms, rest, the Hilbuns, the McDowells and friends.