Friday, December 24, 2010

A Post About Junk

You know what I don't like?
I don't like junk.

I don't like clutter or disorganization or unfolded clothes sitting in a hamper for days. Today as I was cleaning my room an audible sigh of relief came from my mouth the moment everything was put away in its place. I love how peaceful organization makes things. An area, whether a desk or a closet or a room, has so much purpose and a even sense of purity when the junk is gone.

You know what else I don't like?
I don't like spiritual junk.

Tonight in prayer I was talking to the Lord about all the junk that I have a bad habit of allowing in my life. I can almost feel it is I describe it: so often I spend my days turning from side to side, left to right, looking for something to distract me. I wouldn't admit this in the past... but it's true. I wander around, I keep myself busy, I try to fill my life, satisfy my thirst for purpose by drinking from a broken fountain-- things of this world that can not make me complete because they themselves are empty. I waste time and neglect my heart's desire to just be with the Lord. And in this... I neglect the Lord himself... Ah, but there is forgiveness and there is a God who loves me above and beyond all my sin and shame. Praise the Lord for that.

Do you ever feel like this? Do you ever feel like your entire day was spent being "busy" or being "distracted" or "wasting time"? I hate those kinds of days... but sometimes I still choose them.

I don't want to look to the left or the right anymore. I just want my eyes to be fixed on Christ. Tonight I prayed with authority and confidence that the Lord would help me slam the door shut that welcomes compromise and junk into my life.
Because compromise and junk and laziness just leave me feeling like junk.

But that's not who God made us, is it? Junk and frustration don't belong in our lives. I know that that which keeps me from Christ doesn't belong. It just doesn't make sense to hold onto things that only serve to distract us from the call of God. I want to hear His whispers and following the leading of the Holy Spirit... but that can't happen if I'm spending my day looking for the next thing to keep me entertained or "busy". Life lived for self is just so frustrating.

Junk keeps me from peace. Junk keeps me from sleep. It keeps me from building healthy relationships and even from the Lord. Because when junk starts to fill our lives, it tends to be what our flesh wants-- entertainment, stimulation, lack of responsibility.

But God offers something so much greater than junk and distraction... a life of purpose.

That's beautiful.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Beatitudes

Each week in Master's Commission we memorize 4 Scripture Verses.
Laura, our wonderful 2nd year student, takes time each week to grade our verse quizzes and our reflection papers-- short papers on our thoughts or applications of the verses we chose to memorize.
Recently, Laura began offering us the option of doing a "Creative Project" in place of our reflection paper. I love that we have this option-- often new insights on the verses come as I rewrite the scripture and design the creative project.

This is our 14th week of scripture memorization and for the past few weeks I have been memorizing the beatitudes found in Matthew 5. This week, my verses are Matthew 5:9-12. So here's my creative project for this week. (I am well aware that this looks disney-princess-esque... that was not a mistake) This week I'm praying my that my life would become a reflection of the Word of God.

"God, help me to become a peacemaker (bringing others to you) and a pursuer of righteousness (no matter what). In the face of insult, persecution, and evil, help me to maintain integrity and strive to reflect the character and the heart of my Jesus. I pray that any suffering I face would bring you all the glory you deserve. Lord, this week I need to keep my eyes set on heaven and upon your face. It is so easy to be distracted and to wander away. Keep pulling me closer and softening my heart when I try to pull away in my stubbornness. In all things, Heavenly Father, may I rejoice and be glad that you are my God and that I find my hope in you, and your Word, alone."

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Early Christmas Gift

Tonight I feel like God has given me an early Christmas gift.

Back in October, I donated blood at Freedom Valley's blood drive with the American Red Cross. It was a really good experience. I didn't cry, it really didn't hurt, and I got free juice :). The nurses were so sweet and the blood drive was run very well. Unfortunately, the next day I woke up feeling like I had the flu. Prior to donating blood I was told that if I developed flu-like symptoms within 24 (or 48?) hours of my donation I needed to call the Red Cross. As a precaution, the Red Cross can not keep blood that could potentially have traces of infection. I was so upset that I was sick. I didn't feel that donating blood had inconvenienced me at all. The situation just broke my heart because there were people who needed good blood and now mine wasn't available to them. 

I asked the Lord to make up for the blood that was lost by providing additional donors at the next Blood Drive, above and beyond what would have been provided if my blood were kept. Tonight God answered my prayer in a very special way. I was sitting in the living room when I got a phone call from a young man working with the Red Cross. He told me that my blood had been tested and is RH Negative. I am by no means an expert or even very knowledgeable about what this means, so he explained. Basically, RH Negative blood is fairly rare and extra pure compared to RH Positive Blood (what most people have). Therefore, RH Negative blood is especially used to help cancer patients and premature babies who need purer blood. (I became very excited at this point!)

The man continued by telling me that because this type of blood is rare, they really like to keep it in stock for these patients. He asked if I would be interested in donating again and I quickly said yes. We set up an appointment for me to donate a few weeks from now, only a couple minutes from Freedom Valley :)

I know some people wouldn't get this excited about donating blood... but for me it is just such a cool sign of God's faithfulness. I was so upset that my blood couldn't be used to help someone, but God turned the situation around. He's using the blood and the health he's given me to bless other people, especially those with issues so close to my heart. It is so like God to do something so special to me that in turn blesses someone else. He is so good.

To find out how you can support the American Red Cross or donate blood to someone in need, check out 


Well, it has been a long time since I last posted. With all the excitement these past few months writing on this blog has kind of fallen through the cracks (as you can tell by my last post date). But here I am posting, and I fully intend to get into the habit, and stay in the habit, of updating this blog regularly. :)

I can't believe it's already December! I am a little over three months into the Master's Commission program and they have been three of the most challenging months of my life. With that said, they've also been three of the best months I have ever experienced, far greater than I could have ever anticipated. Classes are beginning to wind down for the semester and I just returned from Thanksgiving Break. 

Thanksgiving Break was a really good week for me. Being with family was wonderful. I am blessed beyond measure with my siblings, my parents, my puppy, and our home. I even got to attend my 5 month High School reunion. Don't laugh, it was cute. :) That concept is kind of funny, but it was really special. I really enjoyed getting to catch up with friends and hearing about everyones' college experiences so far. It is so exciting to hear how God is giving my friends big dreams and leading them to pursue those dreams during this season. And of course, it was just nice to be together and laugh. I saw God's faithfulness all over the night. What an incredible senior class I have :) My brother and a group of friends from school also had a benefit concert for Bethesda Mission over the break. They did an awesome job and raised over $400 dollars. I am so proud of Aaron.

Thanksgiving Break was also quite the learning week for me. In a few different ways, I was disappointed in myself and beat up on myself a little bit. Thanksgiving Break is considered the most difficult for Master's students as it is the first time back home during the school year. I had been home a couple times before, but only for a day or two at a time. The past three months I have been in an intensive discipleship program, so leaving that environment and that set schedule really challenged me to make very active decisions about time management and just every day life in general. I am so thankful for the way God turned my disappointment around though. He didn't allow me to wallow in discouragement (He is so good at leading me out of those funks) or grow frustrated with myself. He gently and sweetly showed me the beautiful things He has developed in my heart these past few months. I was reminded that the enemy of my soul wants to rob me of my relationship with the Lord, my joy, my dreams, and this season of great adventure. I'm not letting satan take any of that from me. 

So by God's grace, I learned, I was encouraged, and a fire grew in me. I will fight to stay with my Jesus and pursue the destiny God has given me here at Freedom Valley. Every day God is reminding me that He has already won and I am more than a conqueror. He covers me in the truth that He loves me so deeply He will help me to fight through prayer and choices every day so I can be near to Him for the rest of my life. Because He wants to be with me. 
God IS the victorious one and I love that. :)