Tuesday, December 21, 2010


Wow...I haven't even checked my blog in FOREVER! Sorry to any body who left hanging. College has proved enough of a challenge to keep me busy, though I have decided to take three more credits than my first semester load come this January. And yes...I have finished that first semester now with good grades! This semester, I will be taking classes in my major and minor, which will give me an idea if my plan is really where God wants me or not. Either way, I am excited!

God has been good to me this past semester. It has been a time of growth as I have been exposed to worldviews and lifestyles that I had very minimal contact with when in highschool. I am still living at home and am constantly grateful for the guidance of my parents. It has been a time of mental challenges and spiritual ones as I have more and more opportunities to talk about my lifestyle, my choices, and most important of all...my faith!

And now it is only four days till Christmas! I can't believe it! As most of my followers know, last Christmas was probably the worst one ever with my dad serving our country in Iraq! This year, we are all so, SO grateful to have him here with us! What lessons I have learned since October of 2008 when my father told us he was going to serve in Iraq! It was hard...very possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I am so glad that God gave that challenge to me. It taught me things about myself that I hadn't known. My appreciation of my father increasing one hundred fold and my love for God was so strengthened.

Over and over again in these past two years, God has showed me more of Himself. How marvelous is the God we serve! Why I am still so often afraid or angry or uncaring? I am loved by the God of the universe! I have been adopted by the King of Kings! Every day of the rest of eternity, I will be walking hand in hand with the One who created everything around me. How can I even explain the joy that brings to my heart? How can I weep long enough for how often I ignore that truth?

God's blessings to you all this Christmas season and I pray that above all else, you are deeply reminded of Who lay in that manger. He wasn't just a good teacher or a moral preacher; He was God and He loved us, as He still loves us today!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Enemy, Stress

Stress stinks! I'm a month away from finishing my first semester of college and it is getting harder and harder to not stress out. I'm naturally a worrier and a control freak. I like everything to be in its own box and don't like it when I can't get my head around things; i.e. my history paper on William, Duke of Normandy's conquest of England. These past two days, it has been so bad that I am clenching my jaw in my sleep to the point that chewing is torture! It was pretty pathetic when I was trying to eat cereal this morning.

For the simple reason of self-preservation, I have been really trying to relax, keeping calm, taking breaks, and noticing when I'm clenching. But there is another, bigger reason that I need to keep reminding myself not to stress. When I stress, I am not trusting my Savior to take care of everything. I don't know how many times I've told myself that He can take care of it better than I can, but still, I want to do it all myself like an obstinate toddler.

I think Christ was thinking of people like me when He said: "And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life...Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:27,31-33

God is fully aware that I'm stressed about getting all my classes in for the winter semester and frustrated cause my paper is refusing to flow together, and He is big enough to get me through it. I won't die, in spite of what I think. The Gospel is still certain, I am still saved, and Christ still loves me! No paper or exam will ever shake that.

Whether it is school or work or an overload of housework, don't stress. It will only wear you down. Breathe and trust! We'll all survive together!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Praise and Confession


What can I say? You know me. You know my lying tongue; You know my sinful heart. You see the wrong that I can't even sense. Yet, You love me...

Why? Why do You stay? Why do You still forgive after an eternity of rebellion? Why do You not leave me in the pit I keep returning to? Why don't You let me go?

How can I understand such love? How can it truly be mine? Oh, teach me what my forgiveness cost! Sear me with the memory of my salvation.

Never let me forget the blood that makes me clean! Teach me to love You for my stone heart cannot love alone. You must change me. You must give for me to return. It is not payment. It's praise.

Feeble, broken praise from half-holy lips, but to You, it is incense. Christ has perfected it. The Spirit transates it. And I stand holy before a perfect King!

Friday, October 1, 2010


Yesterday, I stepped outside after classes were done...and I met Fall. She had been on her way in the cold air and the turning leaves for more than week now, but not until yesterday did I catch her perfume. The crickle-crackle of leaves, spicy hot cider, rosy cheeks, bright eyes, turtleneck sweaters, and clear, cloudless skies; all this in the scent of Fall.

I do not think any other season invites such feelings of joy and worship in me like Fall does. I love watching the trees slowly ignite to crimson, saffron, and pumpkin orange, and of course, raking them into piles and jumping in them. Yes, I still do such things and I am convinced that jumping in leaf piles as an adult/semi-adult is even more fun than when I was little.

There is a tree that I pass every day coming home from school. Every day, as I go by, it is a little more crimson and a little less green. Then, the weekend comes, and it is even more aflame come Monday. Soon, its summer garment will have vanished and it will be standing beside the road in a thirty foot high blaze of brilliant red and yellow glory! And it is simply a tree, a mere creation. How much more beautiful must its Creator be!

Whether you enjoy fall or prefer summer, this is a marvelous thought: we are loved by the Person who created those radient colors, that mighty tree. Though the seasons come and go, He remains the same...always. He will always, eternally love us and that's something to rejoice about! Have a blessed autumn!

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Line Uncrossed

My family went up to Lake Ann last weekend to stay in a cottage with a family who are close friends of ours. Needless to say, it was awesome! We went up to Sleeping Bear Dunes, thoroughly exhausted ourselves walking uphill through sand, and then, ran or jump back down in attempts at flight. We also went out for the best ice cream in America and spent an entire afternoon at the beach where I learned to skip rocks, even succeeding in ramping one up an incoming wave, and did more jumping off sand dunes with the other kids, collecting several sore or bruised muscles, a favorite new thing to do, and several pockets' full of sand from an unsuccessful jump.

But even with all the fun, we did not forget God. As I walked along the beach towards the end of that exciting afternoon and let the waves just brush my bare feet, snatches of a verse came to mind, which I later looked up and found. "'Should you not fear me?' declares the LORD. 'Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it.'" Jeremiah 5:22

No one has ever conquered the ocean. Do you realize that? We can conquer animals, land, and even other peoples to our discredit, but water is not tamable. Who can tell the waves to not approach this or that line or command seas to stop their motion? Only One. From the beginning of time, He has ruled the oceans and the chaos that they so often represent. He thought this unconquerable substance into being, dug out space for it to dwell, and then, He drew a line and commanded that here it can go and no farther. To His voice it listens...as should we.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

College Prayers

Fall is arriving and with it, a new academic year begins. For those of you who don't know, I am now a freshman at Saginaw Valley State University near my home. This decision to enter the public arena of education has already been a mixed blessing.

As a Christian, I am always a stranger in a strange land, but I must admit, I feel it more here. Already, I have encountered opinions and beliefs that oppose my own, but those hours away have heightend one hundred fold my appreciation for the sanctuary and love of my family. There is nothing better than returning to them and letting go after a long day.

I have also discovered a love for the French language. I'm only three weeks into the introductory class and I already adore the pure vowels and flowing rhythms.

I pray that as I continue here, that God will use me for Himself. I am now surrounded by people who don't know Him! My prayer is that they will see Him in me.

Please pray for me as I continue this journey. Pray that I am faithful and remember how great is mercy, love, and strength of my God, and pray that I am able to testify to His salvation whenever the opportunity arrives.

Monday, August 23, 2010

To Love A Black Hat

How awesome, wonderful, and incredible is our God! Every person who ever lived has had a god; everyone worships something. It might be Buddha, or money, or success, or aethism, or Allah. We can give our love to just about anything, but there is only One who will love us back! How can such a tiny vessel as a human body carry the magnitude of that Divine affection?

I am reading the Psalms for my current devotions, and today, I read Psalm 91, the end of which talks about how God will deliver the one who holds fast to Him in love. Do we hold fast to God in love? Do we cling to Him, vice gripping Him each and every day, staking everything we have on His steadfast faithfulness? Do we understand what it means to be loved by God?

That is truly an amazing thought! Think of God as the best good guy ever, and we are the bad guys: black hat, filthy heart, total scumbag. Now, these bad guys get caught and are finally brought to account for their wickedness. But then, the good guy stands up and says for all to hear, "I will die for them. I will take the punishment for their sins. Because I love those bad guys and I desire to make them mine!" The bad guy did nothing but evil; the Good Guy did everything and now, we are loved more than we can describe.

(word count: 247)

Friday, August 13, 2010

When Things Totter

"When the earth totters, and all its inhabitants, it is I who keep steady its pillars." Psalm 75:3

I love that verse! I've highlighted it in my Bible and next to it, I have a note: 'We must lean on God's strength.' I just love that imagery.

Everyone has those times when they feel unsteady or as the saying goes, 'their whole world's turned upside down.' When the entire planet is shaking, when our lives are crumbling down around us, when we're not sure how we're going have the strength to get up and face another day...God holds the pillars in place. Not the President, not the military, not our parents, not us...God. Just Him.

Sometimes, we get all worried about our lives and our troubles. We forget and think that God needs help to take care of His creation. It's HIS creation! I'm saying this to myself as much as anyone. I am a terrible worry wart! But my worrying won't do a single thing, except for give me an insanely bad headache. The pillars are too big for me to hold, but they fit just perfect in God's hands. I think that was the point in the first place.

(word count: 204)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Forever Changed

Two thousand years ago, a man was sentenced to death by the Roman governor of Israel. He was then scoured, beaten, spit upon, cursed, and finally, nailed to two pieces of wood that had been lashed together to form a cross shape. For three hours, He hung there in agony, which we can't imagine, while His closest friends and His mother watched. Storm clouds covered the sky and when He died, the earth trembled beneath the weight. Then, He was laid in a tomb and His followers went home, numb because they thought their leader had failed...

Today, I sit in my home with my laptop in front of me and the school supplies I've been organizing to my right. I have been born and raised in America and seem to have no connection whatsoever with that Man who Pontius Pilate killed so long ago. Yet, I sit here today with a soul that is washed clean because of that Man. Today, when God looks at me, He sees the perfect sacrifice of that Man and He declares me justified and righteous, consecrated to Him.

The day Jesus came to this earth, all of human history that had come before Him and all that would come after changed, irrevocably. God touched His creation as He had never touched it before and did something that no one but He could...and we will never be the same!

(word count: 238)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My August Challenge

Okay, I can admit this. As a writer, I have the profound ability for using the largest amount of words possible to say something. Sometimes, that is alright, but I have decided to challenge myself for the rest of July and into August to write every post with a 250 word maximum limit. So...here goes.

(57 words)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A God Like No Other

Wow! For an aspiring writer, I am not good at being consistent with this blog thing. *sigh*

Well, my family is settling well into a new normal with Dad back home. I am still so grateful that God brought him home. The Lord was so good to us during that year. I can never tell Him 'thank you' enough!

I tend to be so forgetful, especially with God. I pray for something, and then...I never thank Him for answering. He is utterly patient with me!

These months have been an up and down time for me spiritually. I've been struggling with my own apathy, seeing so many areas where I simply do not desire God as I should. But, as always, God has not left me alone. Even when I am back in the same sin over and over again, He does not give up on me. How can we ever dwell enough on the patient and steadfast love of our God?

And He is more than just a Savior. That almost sounds disrespectful, 'just' a Savior, but I don't mean it that way. I mean that He is Savior and Father and Comforter and Protector and Shepherd. He offers us love that no human could ever give; He wants to have a personal relationship with us. He is the One who I can greet every morning and walk through every day with. He is waiting to help me through every trial and smile with me through every gladness. How can we ever deserve such a God?

In my struggles of trying to understanding myself, I imagined what it would be like not to believe in God...I was saved at seven years old and in the back of my mind, ever since that day, I have been having a conversation with Him. Imagine not having that quiet presence in that back of your soul? The constancy of His presence has been another grace that God has shown me over these past weeks, and I am so grateful for the work He is doing in me. I am never alone. I am never parted from the One who loves me more than I can comprehend AND who has the power to actually take care of every single problem I will ever face. Not to say that I think He will make all my troubles go away, but He can dissolve them, or give me strength or wisdom or whatever I need to get through it. No one else will ever be able to offer me that kind of love.

We are loved by a God too big to describe, and yet, so many, many times, we don't pray, don't read His Word, don't listen to Him. What is wrong with us? O Lord, You are beyond comprehension! You pursue us when we don't want to be pursued. You love and forgive us beyond measure, and even the gratitude and obedience we give to You in return is only in our possession because You died to free us from our own sin. How great are You!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Faithfulness of the LORD

Exodus 34. Moses has already completed his forty day trip onto Mount Sinai. The people have forsaken the Lord and worshipped the calf that Aaron molded for them. The first set of the Ten Commandments has been broken and the idol ground to dust. Israel has experienced the plague of God's wrath and now...God still gives Moses His covenant.

Again, the Lord writes His laws upon tablets of stone and now, after Israel's terrible forsaking, He proclaims His name. In Israel, your name was more than what you were called; it told something of your character. By telling Israel His name, God was revealing part of Himself to them. This is what He said as He passed before the averted eyes of Moses:

"The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will be no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."

Even after Israel had already shown their inconstancy, God reveals Himself to Moses, show him His glory, and proclaims this title. Even after Israel has abandoned Him for a god of their own hands, He calls Himself slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. We serve a God who is not like us, a God who forgives long after we would have punished, a God who never wavers or changes, and a God who is both perfectly just and perfectly merciful.

He does not depend on our faithfulness, He does not leave us when we sin, even when we disobey, He remains. He will punish, but even when we are chastised, it is in love (Proverbs 3:12). He saves us all on His own, praise be to God!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

And the King Will Sing!

The sermon today was Zephaniah. What a powerful message! Zephaniah, I learned, was the only prophet of the Davidic line and the last prophet before the exile. He speaks of the Day of the Lord, the day when God finally gives sinners what they deserve. He looked past their sin for so long; it was time for recompense. But there is a final Day of the Lord still to come, as my pastor reminded us. We too need to hear Zephaniah's message and to repent when we wander from our Savior-Judge.

However, what struck me most in the entire sermon is my pastor's comments on this passage:

'Fear not, O Zion; let not your hands grow weak. The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing." Zephaniah 3:16-17

This is the message of hope at the very end, the promise that God will draw, not just Israel, but His children from all the nations to Himself. As my pastor pointed out, when God merely spoke, universes were created, and this verse says He will sing over us!

As I sat in the pew, I thought about that great day when we would finally be cleansed of all our sin and the mighty voice of the Deathless One would ring out in joyous song over the whole congregation of His elect. In my mind, I crouched to the ground, weighed down by the glory of that moment, and the crazy thing is, we can't even comprehend the fullness of what we have in Christ.

This was another point that was given during the service and it made me think. There are times when I am almost crushed with awe of God, and yet, I don't even know how great Jesus' gift is! What a marvelous thought! We have been given the Son of God Himself, and yet, so, so often, we reject Him or forget. I think so little of my status of GOd's child, and not only child, but heir, during the day. How does God endure us?

Yet, in spite of all the fickleness that God's people have been guilty of for thousands of years, we are still saved. God didn't wipe us out. He poured His wrath on His Son instead of us! One day, He will return, His voice will exult in the culmination of history, and by His grace, I am going to be there! There is truly nothing in this world worth trading that everlasting future!

Friday, January 29, 2010

I Saw Her Dancing

It has been quite a while since I blogged last. Sorry! Between general busyness and some computer issues,I haven't been in the loop as much! But, I couldn't think of a better way to start my blogging again then with a post about my father's return from his tour in Iraq!

He returned yesterday. Friends and family came with us to the airport and amidst cheers and clapping, my family was reunited for the final time! I laughed and cried and laughed and cried again! I still have to remind myself that we are done!

As I thought about this last year and put up facebook status' about my father's return, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. Gratitude to our loved ones for prayers and support that I will never be able to thank them enough for and gratitude to God that He brought us through. There were times when I didn't really think that we would get through this, when I doubted if my dad would return safe from this tour. If he hadn't, I know that God would have had reasons, but I am so thankful that He returned my father to us! It is a great gift that I did not deserve, but that God gave anyway!

So, we have begun to be a family again and tonight, I was again reminded of God's latest mercy. My sister was playing the Beatles' 'Here Comes the Sun' on the guitar while we both sang and I turned to see my mom dancing with my brother in the kitchen. She was all smiles as they twirled and I just watched...she hasn't danced like that since my father left in January of 2009. It was just another reminder of what God has done for us!

So often, time gets jumbled together but with my dad having been gone, I can look back really clearly on this past year and remember where I was when he left and where I am now. I had feared and hurt deeper than I ever have before but I have found strength greater than my own! I had gained greater confidence in the salvation that I was given and I am learning to fall more in love with the God who loves me enough to use even bad things for my good! God, not the Navy, sent my dad out into the Iraqi desert and God brought him back! He was with me as I clenched in fear for my father's safety and He and He alone helped me release that fear and trust Him. I am by NO means perfect and I still have a long way to go but today is a good day. My mother is dancing again, my father's laughter is back in the house, and God was faithful, as He said He would be!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Security in the Door

John 10.

This was my passage for devotions today, and my pastor also happened to have just preached on this same chapter. In these verses, Christ compares Himself to the Good Shepherd, whose voice is known to His sheep, and as the Door, the only way into His sheepfold.

In Jesus' time, shepherds would sometimes keep their sheep in pens that could be as primitive as rocks piled into a low wall with the shepherd himself lying at the entrance as the door, to ensure that no curious lamb wandered out or that any predators gained entrance. This is what Jesus compares Himself to.

As I thought about that concept, I realize how reassuring that statement should be to us, His flock. We are the sheep in His flock, He lies us down in His pasture, and He Himself guards the door. Why are we so worried about life? What are we afraid? I thought about it. The Creator of the universe Himself is guarding our lives; what in the world can possibly do us harm?

Now, by no means, do I mean that as Christians, we should never have pain or trouble. I know that isn't true, BUT...there is no sorrow that comes to us, which God has not seen every detail of. He knows exactly what griefs and joys come our way and every one, He uses for good. Every ONE! We can walk through life without worry or fear because the Good Shepherd is watching us. What better guide could we ask?

"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly." Jn 10:9-10