Monday, November 7, 2011

Kim did WHAT?!

Okay, so I know that I haven't posted in a while, but this whole Kim Kardashian drama is really getting to me. It's all over the (entertainment) news - how she staged her wedding, she never really loved Chris, he was a jerk to her, etc.

All of this publicity for her has made me really sad, yet at the same time... I feel a little bit hopeful toward today's society. I know that many, many people are saying that Kim did a ridiculous thing by getting married to a man she didn't even love and for doing so possibly just for the publicity. But here's the thing - at least people are disagreeing with her, right?

I think I would be really worried about where this culture was going if no one said anything about it and thought she was just "following her heart." However, this isn't the case. People who you would never expect to even care are furious about this, saying that Kim is destroying what marriage should be about.

I was watching TMZ the other day, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear the things that the people said about Kim's marriage. They talked about how she should have never gotten married in the first place, that you shouldn't marry a person if you're unsure at all, and how actions like hers are the reason that we have a 50% divorce rate in this country.

This kind of talk on television makes me feel at least a little bit better about our culture. Yes, we are far from doing well morally, but I'm glad to see that people do understand that marriage is supposed to be sacred - well, at least *more* sacred than Kim made it.

...I thought about adding something about gay marriage as well, but I think I'll save that for another time. There's a debate going on why people say that homosexuals are destroying the sanctity of marriage when they love each other and want to get married, but heterosexuals like Kim can do things like this. I might try to tackle it... we'll see. It's an interesting debate, though. Here's where I think it'll come down to, though:: Both are not good, not healthy, and not the way God intended marriage to be.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sappy Moment #1.

So, I've decided that I'm going to just post whenever I feel sappy (which is a lot, actually).


So here's the first one: I walked down the aisle to this song. And I love it. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Peace for My Soul.

So right now, I'm sitting in my comfy apartment, enjoying the peaceful (yet cloudy) day outside, and listening to relaxing music. As I sit here, and as I earlier wrote in my journal and read my Bible, I realized something disheartening - I haven't really relaxed in ages. There's just something about taking the time to sit and ponder life, God, and where He has me right now that is just so refreshing.

Eric is gone this weekend, which - even though I really miss him - has given me a chance to be alone, and I'm actually enjoying the solitude for now. I know that when he comes back tomorrow I'm going to be really excited to see him, but for now... I'm enjoying the solitude. I've been productive for the most part - I started my online classes and I'm going to clean tomorrow after church - and then when I started pondering life, it just felt... wonderful.

The more busy I get, the more things that Eric and I do, the more I forget about the importance of alone time every once in a while. I get too busy for rest - so when I do try to rest, it doesn't really work. One of my friends posted a quote on Facebook the other day that really stood out to me:

"...getting eight hours of sleep may very well be the most holy thing we do as followers of Jesus. It’ll help keep us from making ourselves and everyone around us miserable. Busyness, hurry, and over-commitment are not badges of honor. On the contrary, they are indicative of a sick soul."

I am so, so guilty of being over-committed in my life. I expect something to be happening all the time - otherwise... I'm not a good Christian, and I'm not as holy as other people. Either that, or I'm not as good of a worker and I'm not going to succeed. Both of these are absolute lies. God gave us the ability to sleep for a reason, and we have a certain number of hours of sleep that we should get for a reason. For so long I've ignored this (college does that to a person), but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it is so important. Last night I got 10 hours of sleep, and it was magnificent. I have been so behind on sleep lately that my body has just been fatigued and I've felt irritable and grumpy, which is definitely not a good sign.

I don't want to have a sick soul. I want to treasure my relationship with the Lord, with Eric, and with everyone else around me. I want to be able to give the people I'm with and the things that I'm doing 100% of my attention instead of being worried about how tired I am, how exhausted I feel... etc. The care for one's soul is of utmost importance, and yet... it's often neglected. I don't want to do that anymore.

I want peace... peace for my soul, peace that doesn't just last for a moment, but peace and rest that comes from making my relationship with the Lord my priority and taking care of myself like I should by making time for rest a priority.

However... Rest doesn't just mean sleep. It means taking time out of my day to sit. To read. To listen to calming music. To stop worrying about the stresses of life and just... be.

When was the last time you allowed yourself to just be? To just sit, ponder, be creative, relax? If it's been a while... I highly suggest taking even just half an hour to quiet your heart and mind, be still, and just... be.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

3 Months and Counting. :)

So, yes. Sunday was Eric's and my 3-month anniversary, and it's weird to think that we've already been married for 3 months. We're starting to settle into our life here in Minnesota, and we're looking forward to the journey ahead of us. :) 

These first 3 months have definitely taught each of us a lot more about who we are individually, and who we are to each other. I had a friend post about her marriage thus far, and she talked about how it wasn't as difficult as people said it would be. However, that's not how it's been for Eric and I. We are learning that marriage is the sweetest relationship in the world, but it's also the most difficult. We are called to deny ourselves everyday and to let the other person be who they are without trying to control anything, and it's not always easy. But I will tell you this: Marriage is the best thing to happen to us.

Though it's not easy, and though we might argue over the best way to start a campfire, or over what time we should go to church on Sunday morning, we wouldn't trade it for the world. It's not always cake and butterflies, but we are growing and being stretched more than I would have even thought possible. Marriage has such a way of showing you exactly how flawed you are and everything that you have failed at and need to work on. We're excited for this journey - it's going to be long and difficult, but the enjoyment of knowing that we have each other for the rest of our lives is totally worth it. 

Life together is beginning to be normal for us. We enjoy the simple things - the kiss goodbye as we head off to our jobs, the 3 roses he brings me when I'm sick, the walks we take in the park just happy to hold each other's hands.... It's so sweet. We don't need a lot, and we don't have a lot. But the important thing is that we have each other, and that's all we need. Sure, bills and other expenses will certainly be part of our lives, but we can get through it because we have each other - and most importantly, we are grounded and bound together by Jesus Christ.

Almost every night, right before we go to sleep, Eric asks me if we can pray together. This is one of the sweetest things for me, because it helps me remember that while we are close together, we are only together because of God's purposes in our lives, and we need to look to Him for our strength and guidance. I love hearing the question, "Can we pray?" from my dear husband, and I respect him so much for doing that. 

We have a lot to learn in our marriage. We are nowhere even close to being perfect at our relationship, but we're enjoying the ride, no matter how difficult it gets. We're excited to come closer together, to learn how to deal with life's situations, and to one day have babies and learn how to raise them in the way they should go. 

I'm married to my best friend, and that's the best feeling in the world. I know that no matter what happens, no matter how difficult things get, he's going to be there for me and love me, and I couldn't ask for anything more than that. I'm really looking forward to the rest of our lives. :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

When I Get Distracted.

Life is messy. Life is hard. Life is distracting.

I get distracted so often, and this song always pulls me back into focus. Our pastor had a great message today on Romans 8, and that no matter what... no matter the hardships or the suffering, God is there. He wants to comfort us and bring us into His arms, and He wants to make us His own.

All my delight is in You, Lord.



I will live to bring Him praise.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I Just Don't Understand.

You know, sometimes I just don't understand why horrible things happen to people. People who seem to be really kind and caring. I know that everyone is a sinner and does bad things, but there just seems to be something so unfair about really nice girls having horrible things happen to them, and then developing mental disorders because of those traumatic experiences that weren't even their fault.

I know that God knows what He's doing and He has the world under control, but there are just some things I can't figure out.

What about the nice, good girl who gets raped? What about the good guy who gets horribly beaten and sent to the hospital? What about the little kids who have to grow up without a mother because their dad murdered her? What about the woman who has not only one miscarriage, but 3, 4, 5...?

I know that this is gruesome, but these things really happen. All the time.

My heart cries for justice.

My heart cries for God to hear the broken and bruised.

For God to physically intervene and save these people.

Ugh. I just don't understand sometimes (I hate not having all the answers).

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Life is a journey, NOT the destination.

A few weeks ago I posted a blog titled, "Forgiveness and Resentment", talking about the people who have hurt me in the past and how difficult it has been to forgive them. Along those same lines (referring to those people), I have really done a lot of thinking lately, and come to realizations through different situations and circumstances in my life.

Let me explain.

When I was really hurt, part of that hurt made me question what my purpose in life was a,nd why I was going to Moody, and even why I was with Eric (like I didn't deserve the life that I had with him). It has been a really long journey filled with pain and tear. The pain that came from what happened a year ago is still very present with me, and has really been difficult to try and overcome. However, I really feel as though I'm on the other side and I'm beginning to see the hope from what happened.

Through meeting with certain people in my life, I have been so encouraged that though I definitely made mistakes in the situations which hurt me the most, I also did whatever I could to try and make things right. Also, just because I made these mistakes doesn't mean that I'm not fit for ministry or doing well in life. It just simply means that I'm not perfect. Though I struggle to see it sometimes (or often) I am coming to realize that God can use me in the midst of my imperfections and failings. 

One of the biggest things I have come to realize is that I don't always have to rely on the opinions of others. Whether it is their opinion of me or the fact that they have a different perspective, I don't need to take that opinion and treat it as right simply because it's their opinion. I need to be wise and discerning about what I allow to actually make a difference to me when it comes to people's opinions (especially their opinions of my character).

Now, don't get me wrong: This doesn't mean that I think I should only listen to the good things that people think and say about me, but rather take what people say as criticism and line it up with either what I've done or said, and see if maybe what they've said truly is a weakness of mine.

For example, a year ago I had my integrity called in to question. Because I wasn't discerning, I let this person's opinion of me rule my heart and mind and I began to wonder who I really was if I didn't have the integrity that I thought I did. Once I thought about it clearly and objectively however, I realized that I did have integrity in that specific situation, and this person just saw me completely wrong and misinterpreted the situation without understanding my perspective and my own situation at the time. 

God really is teaching me and growing me so much. I have learned so much about what it means to follow Him and how it's okay not to be perfect and to make mistakes. When I was right in the heart of all my mess, one thing that Eric told me really stuck with me. He said that it doesn't matter what mistakes I made; it matters what I did afterwards to make it right. Though the people that I tried to reconcile with did not accept it... It doesn't matter. That's their decision, and I can't change it. All I can do is change my behavior, so that I know that I can stand before the Lord with a clear conscience, knowing that I did whatever I could to make things right.

My dear readers, we don't have to be perfect. We aren't called to be perfect. We are called to take each day one step at a time, steadily becoming more like Christ. 

Did you hear that? We don't have to be like him right now. This life is a process. It's a journey - not the destination. We are going to make mistakes, and we are going to hurt people, be hurt, and feel like we can't do a single thing right. 

But. 

We will never get to a point where we are no longer acceptable to God. We will never reach a point where we have made too many mistakes for God to take us back again. He will always take us back, with arms wide open. 

Friends, if you believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will always have this hope available to you. God will never leave you, nor forsake you. And my dear friends who may not believe, you can have this hope available to you, if "you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead." (Romans 10:9) It is through this belief that we are saved and we can have eternal life with the One who rescued us from eternal punishment.

And like my beloved husband said, 

It doesn't matter the mistakes we make - what matters is how we make things right.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bible Boredom.

[Well, picture #2 wins! Not that I got a lot of responses on my question.. But I understand. This whole changing my blog every other day is getting pretty annoying. I wish I could find something that just looked completely amazing and had everything that I could want. *sigh* Well, until then, I guess my blog is going to be a work in progress.]

Anyhoo... 

I have a confession to make. I rarely spend any time reading my Bible. Seriously, it's pretty sad. Anybody else have that problem? Gosh, I always have these high hopes and dreams that I'll read it every day and I'll make it so important, and then... I decide to read Harry Potter or another such book instead, because it's more "entertaining."

However, God definitely has His own way of getting our attention, doesn't He? The way it seems that He's chosen to get my attention is through none other than... insomnia. Yes. Insomnia.

Ugh.

Okay. So, the past week or so I have just been sleeping horribly, and last night was the worst. Neither Eric (he had other reasons for not being able to sleep) nor I were able to sleep, and it was just brutal. So, I decide to pick up my Bible for the first time in probably 3 weeks or more and actually read it. I read through the book of Philippians (short book, easy read) and I read Psalm 145.

After reading that Psalm, I thought to myself... How can I be reading about this amazing God right now and be so in awe of Him, and then the next day just completely push Him to the side? ...The depravity of my sinful nature is almost unfathomable.

Unfortunately, I don't have any simple solutions or amazing breakthroughs in this post. Just thoughts... questions... confessions. I truly want to get into Scripture and grow deeper in my relationship with Christ, but it's definitely not easy - especially when I don't *feel* like reading my Bible, and I'd rather be reading something else.

Well, I guess that's it for now. Here's Psalm 145 for you guys to mull over if you'd like. God is pretty stinkin' awesome.


Psalm 145

 I will exalt you, my God the King;
   I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you
   and extol your name for ever and ever.

  Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
   his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
   they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—
   and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works—
   and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness
   and joyfully sing of your righteousness.

  The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
   slow to anger and rich in love.

  The LORD is good to all;
   he has compassion on all he has made.
All your works praise you, LORD;
   your faithful people extol you.
They tell of the glory of your kingdom
   and speak of your might,
so that all people may know of your mighty acts
   and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
   and your dominion endures through all generations.

   The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises
   and faithful in all he does.
The LORD upholds all who fall
   and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you,
   and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand
   and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

  The LORD is righteous in all his ways
   and faithful in all he does.
The LORD is near to all who call on him,
   to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
   he hears their cry and saves them.
The LORD watches over all who love him,
   but all the wicked he will destroy.

  My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
   Let every creature praise his holy name
   for ever and ever.





PS - Over 5,000 views! Wow... I can't believe it. Thanks for reading my blog, friends. :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Another survey!


I know, I know... I'm starting to get obnoxious with my surveys and polls. HOWEVER...

I need your help.

Today I made two possible signs for my blog (yes, I'm changing it again, but this time hopefully it'll be more permanent. I've just never found one that has actually satisfied me. My coffee blog is the only one I'm satisfied with.) I would really like to have your input on which one you like better! Please comment and let me know what you think.

Here they are:

#1.




#2.



Thanks guys! I really appreciate your input. :) If you have any other ideas of how I can make them better, let me know that as well! Thanks again!  <3

Monday, August 15, 2011

Poll and Life. :)

Hey guys! This is my first time updating my personal blog in a long time. ...I've missed it. It's fun blogging about coffee, but I really like just being able to write.

So anyway... Life is going pretty well. My friends are starting to go back to school now, and it's really weird to think that I'm not going back. Am I really done with campus life? It just feels so strange. There's even a part of me that feels like I'm not ready for it to be over - college was such an amazing experience for me.

However.. I'm definitely glad to be in the place I'm at right now. :) I'm adjusted to Minnesota now, and I kinda like the guy I'm married to. ;)

Speaking of my husband... You may have noticed that there is now a poll on the side of the page. If you would be so kind as to answer the question honestly, that would be much appreciated. :) You see, Eric and I have been in a heated debate about what the "normal" place to clip your nails is, and we want to know what you guys think! :) (I know... stupid, boring married debates, but humor us, please) :)

If you haven't moseyed on over to my other blog yet, please do! It's under this button. ;)

Thanks, guys. Love you all! :)

PS - Here's a random picture from our life. We made a breakfast feast last week for the first time on our griddle, and it was so much fun! :)


Saturday, August 13, 2011

READ THIS!

Okay guys:

I know this has been super confusing, but after I changed the address to my blog and started blogging away on a new one, I realized that I and no one else could access my old blogs! That was really unfortunate, since I have 3 years worth of old blogs on here.

So here's the deal:

I actually had an old blog on another address, so I just fixed it up, and it looks like my coffee blog! So please follow me on that one! I know I have 19 followers on here, but I'm hoping you'll transfer to the other one as well. Thanks guys!

Here's the link: http://buddingbarista.blogspot.com.

Thanks again!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Blessings And A Bit Of Sap.

Hey guys -

So, today I'm doing things a little bit differently again. I'm gonna write out some thoughts, and THEN I've got a video that I'm gonna post (beware, it's super sappy, for those of you who don't like cheesy lovey stuff...).

Here goes.

I met with a friend today after I got off of work, and one thing we talked a lot about was how incredibly blessed we are here in America. We talked about our different experiences in other countries (my experiences in Mexico and Peru and hers in Guatemala) and how those people over there have almost nothing, and yet are most often 20x more content than we are here in America. They are so willing to give of their time and the little resources that they have even though they have almost nothing, and yet here we are in America with so much to give... and we keep it all for ourselves.

I know that I'm guilty of that SO often. I just want more and  more (especially when it comes to money) and I'm so hesitant to give anything away. I take everything that I have for granted, and am hardly ever actually grateful for anything that I have. Why do I do this, even though I have so much and can easily give of my time and resources to other people?

When I ask myself that question I can only come up with one answer - I am totally, utterly, and completely sinful. I am such a selfish human being, and sometimes it has to take everything that I have within myself to actually be selfless. And often times... I don't want to make that effort.

So.... I'm making a pledge. I want to be more grateful, more willing to give away my time and resources, and not take my blessings for granted. Obviously I'm not going to be perfect at it. I'm going to screw up, I'm going to take the people in my life for granted, I'm going to be stingy with my money and free time... But the point is that I want to try. I want to try to be different in how I live my life. I don't want to live selfishly, but rather I want to live selflessly as best as I can. ...We'll see how well I do at it.

Okay. So now.... for the sappy part. Last week I decided to learn the song "You Got Me" by Colbie Caillat (Yes, it's a super sappy song). I sung it for Eric, and now I'm going to post a video of me singing it on my blog, because.... well... I can. Trust me, you are under NO obligations to listen to it! I just have a desire to show people how much I love my husband and how much he means to me. So this is one way that I want to do that. I know that it's really cheesy, but... I don't really care. Y'all can take your cold hearts somewhere else if you're grossed out by it. ;) Just kidding! I understand that people are different, but anybody who knows me even a little bit knows that I'm a hopeless romantic. So... here's the video. :) Oh, and I DO realize that it gets pitchy in parts. Don't judge -- no one's perfect, and I had just learned the song that day. So there. =P Love you all! :) (Oh, I DO apologize for the quality. I'm hoping to get a better camera in the future...)


Eric Pegors - You are the biggest blessing in my life. Through all of my screw ups and failings, you still choose to love me every day, and I can't thank you enough for that. I don't deserve you, but God has blessed me with you anyway-- I am immensely grateful for that. Thank you for being the man that you are. I am so glad to have had these 18 months with you as your girlfriend, fiancee, and now your wife, and I'm looking forward to a lifetime more with you. Love you. :) <3

Thursday, July 28, 2011

New Method. Maybe.

Hey guys, I did a video blog for the first time. I'm not sure how it's going to go, but we'll see! I feel like I can talk about updates and things going on in my life more interestingly this way, so we'll see whether or not I decide to keep going with it. :) Here you go! Oh, and I have a few disclaimers:

1. I did this on Wednesday night, which is why it's all dark.
2. At the beginning I'm trying to say "Hey guys" but it got cut off, so all you hear is "..uys".
3. I have a brain fart in the middle of the video.... but that's okay.
4. Professors at Moody - We really DO love you. We just have a different relationship with Dr. Peterman.
5. Mom - I really AM glad that you commented on my Glee blog. It's nice to have a fan no matter what. :)

Also, let me know if you want whether I should keep doing video blogs, I should write, or whether I should do a combination of both. I want your input! :)





Thanks, everyone! <3

Monday, July 25, 2011

Glee: A Review.

Well, as some of you may know, a few months ago I posted a status on Facebook most ardently declaring my hatred for the T.V. show, Glee. However, I had only seen two episodes, and therefore I later realized that I needed to have a little more exposure to the show in order to actually make an intelligent judgment about it. Because of this, I ended up watching the entire first season, and am planning on watching the second season when it becomes available.

When I was first introduced to Glee (I watched 2 episodes from the second season) I despised and even almost *violently* hated the show. I couldn’t imagine why any Christian would want to watch it, and I couldn’t believe that such “filth” would be entertaining.

However…

While I still maintain some of my thoughts from before, after watching the first season, I do not hate the show as violently as I did before. In fact… I actually find it fairly entertaining and fun.

In judging this show at the moment, I’m really trying to be objective. I DO think that this show has great entertainment value and the quality of the music is amazing. They also do a very good job at showing what our culture is like right now, and the things that our culture believes about teen pregnancy, homosexuality, religion, sex, the education system, etc.

I would say that this show very clearly has an agenda. In researching this show during my Apologetics class last semester (shoutout to Sawyer, Allie, and Evan) we saw that the worldviews of the creators and writers of the show very clearly come across in the plot and the music.

In doing this project, I was in charge of the technical qualities of the show (I knew that if I tried to have an opinion on anything else other than the technical aspect, I would have been too emotional and not fair to the show itself). I still hold to my belief that the aesthetic quality of the show is very high. However, the plot always leaves something to be desired. The plot lines are most often very shallow, and not only that, but they tend to be totally unrealistic. For example, there is an episode where Glee needs more members, and the football team is required to try out and if they don’t, then they will not be allowed to play in the homecoming game. Not only is that totally unrealistic, but some football players do not decide to sing with Glee until the last minute, and “magically” they know all of the music and dance steps.

I could go on for a while about the plot holes and lack of quality in the acting itself, but I’ll refrain. Instead, I think I will attempt to judge the moral quality of the show. This is a difficult one for me to do. I often become very emotional about whatever I’m trying to judge, and I judge it unfairly and I’m more biased than I would like to be. However, I’m going to try hard not to be like that right now.

Much of the show is very clearly against Christianity. In some senses, you could say that it is against religion in general, but the only religion that is really made fun of is Christianity. One of the episodes in the second season focuses on the “celibacy club” and they are shown to be na├»ve and ignorant Christians who think that the song “Afternoon Delight” is not talking about sex, but rather about having dessert in the afternoon instead of after supper. In Regional’s, Sue Sylvester has her singing group perform “Jesus is a Friend of Mine” in order to appease the judges who are “religious.” However, later the judge who is a nun reveals that she only became a nun in order to “stay off the poles.” The leader of the “celibacy club” is also revealed as not actually wanting to be celibate because she believes in abstinence but rather because she is afraid of sex and believes that it is wrong (even in marriage).

Other than just religion, this show is “edgy” (to say the least) in the moral arena. In the first season, the head cheerleader is pregnant, but after she has her baby, nothing more is said, and it is as if it never happened. There are constantly different love-triangles forming, the head cheerleader cheats on her boyfriend, he’s actually in love with another girl… And these things continue.

This show has a few redeeming qualities, however. As mentioned previously, the head cheerleader becomes pregnant during the first season. She gets pressure from family and friends to have an abortion (mainly from her mother) so that she can keep her figure, her status, and her reputation, but she very firmly declares that she is going to keep the baby. Equality between all people is also very prevalent – no matter the race, gender, background, abilities, disabilities, every person in Glee is treated equally and given respect. If they are not respected by any person in the show, it is obvious that this is wrong and unfair treatment, and it is rectified throughout the episode(s).

Overall, this show, while being shallow and very clearly having an agenda, it is entertaining and very accurately represents what is popular in today’s culture and how people think and believe about certain topics. When I first watched this show, I believed that no Christian should watch it with a clear conscience. However, my feelings have now changed on this issue. I believe that there is a right and a wrong way to go about watching it. If this show is merely a form of entertainment to the believer and they are not keeping their minds and hearts alert to what is going on, then I believe that this is not smart and could in time be very detrimental. This kind of attitude can lead to insensitivity to the aspects of culture which are against what the Bible says, and this may lead us into believing that those types of things are “okay” or even “right.”

I believe that the right way for a believer to go about watching this show (and I will NEVER be perfect at it) is to watch it with discernment and watch it through the lenses of the Bible. This is not easy to do, but it is very important in order not to be hardened by what the world says to be right and wrong. When I started doing this, it was helpful for me to discuss the issues in the episode with other people (i.e. Eric and other friends who cared to be discerning as well) and I realized that I started being discerning about other shows and movies as well.

It is critical for the believer’s mind to be engaged in whatever he or she is watching. Once we let go of our minds when it comes to secular culture, then we open ourselves up to the possibility of believing false doctrines and following the ways of the world. It is of utmost importance that we be discerning and know what we are talking about when it comes to shows like this or other aspects of culture so that we may be a true witness and light to the rest of the world. If we aren’t discerning, then we may lose our credibility with the world and we will not be as effective for Christ as we could be.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Forgiveness and Resentment.

You know, it's crazy how thin the line between forgiveness and resentment/bitterness can be. One minute I feel as though I have forgiven those people in my past who have hurt me, and the next... I'm feeling resentful and angry.

About a year ago, I was deeply hurt by a few people. I knew that I had done wrong in the situation, and I tried apologizing for it... but it was of no use. I desperately wanted (and still want) reconciliation to take place, but it never happened, and it was painfully obvious that it was not desired from the other side.

Even though it was a year ago, I still have a lot of pain from that situation. I have tried forgetting about it and moving on, but it's not that simple. I want to just forgive all those people who hurt me and hurt me on purpose, but it's not easy. Through those people's accusations of my character, I have had to wrestle through a lot of questions and doubts about who I am and who Christ sees me to be. I constantly question now my abilities to do ministry and to get along with others in ministry, and I question my motivations for doing the things that I do.

Though I do not question or doubt myself as much as I did right after everything happened, the pain is still evident. I have had some people in my life wonder why I can't just forget about it and move on, and why I'm holding on to it. The truth is... I don't know either. I desperately want to be free of these doubts and I want to have confidence in the abilities and talents that God has given me, but it feels almost impossible to do that.

I am the type of person that just wants to "fix" things. I want to fix everything that I've done wrong to anyone, and I almost always feel as though it's up to me to make things right, because I'm normally in the wrong (at least that's how I tend to look at it). I feel so great when the other person wants reconciliation as well, and I have had wonderful friendships blossom from those times of reconciliation. However... Feeling as though it is on me to fix everything tends to blow up in my face when the other person is not interested in any kind of reconciliation whatsoever. I beat myself up thinking that I have done something so bad to not even deserve forgiveness or reconciliation, and that because of my stupid behavior, I have lost the opportunity to make things right and be forgiven.

But the truth is... that is ALL a lie. I am not expected to in a sense humiliate myself and beg for mercy from others, but rather I am to do my part in apologizing for my share in the situation and asking for forgiveness. After that... I'm off the hook. If I have gone into my apology with the right attitude and truly desire forgiveness and reconciliation, then that's all that is expected of me. No more, no less.

This is why I love the book of Romans. So often I think that if I don't try hard enough, if I don't apologize to others and to God enough, then I'm going to lose credibility and I'm either no longer going to be loved or I'm going to be judged and condemned. But this isn't true. Though humans may fail me and may withhold forgiveness from me, my God will never do that. He calls me to do what I can in order to make things right, but no matter what, He will still love me. I don't need to go crazy trying to please everyone and make them happy with me - because the fact is, if I do everything that I need to do and they still won't forgive me, the responsibility for the situation no longer lies with me.

Too bad it's so stinking hard to remember that... But I DO need to remember Romans 12:18 which says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." If I have done everything I can in order to live peaceably with others, then that's all that I have to do. I can also take great comfort in knowing that even if I'm not forgiven by people or by my fellow believers, I have been forgiven by my God:

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2)

"There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." (Romans 8:1)

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39)

Yes, I am a wretched sinner. Yes, I make stupid mistakes all the time and I don't treat people as well as I should. But I do know that I desire to make things right, and even if those things don't occur, I don't need to harbor resentment toward the other person or even believe that I haven't done enough to make the other person happy. Though I have been deeply hurt by these people, I don't need to be resentful or bitter toward them. I can forgive them, because that is exactly what Christ has done for me. They are fellow believers and fellow companions on this journey of life. Even(or maybe especially) if they are not believers, then it becomes that much more important that I forgive them and show them mercy and kindness - because that is what my Savior did for me.

There is such a huge part of me that wants to just do the same thing that those people did to me and refuse forgiveness. However, I know that this is the opposite of showing Christ's love to them. As much as my fleshly nature wants to harbor judgment and resentment toward them, I know that I need to forgive them and love them unconditionally. No, it's honestly not easy, and I'm probably going to really suck at it. But it's what God has called me to do, and maybe... just maybe... one day I will be able to move on from this and the pain will begin to decrease.

I know that this is a lesson that God will use to work in me for the rest of my life, and I know that I'm going to mess up so many times that I may not even be able to count them. But the beauty of it is... I am still forgiven. And thus, I must forgive others. No matter what.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Apartment and Life Together.


Well, I'm a day late in updating about our apartment, but I hope my readers will forgive me for that (all 2 of you) :).

So, right now we're living in one of the suburbs of Minneapolis, and we are just loving it. We are 20 minutes from downtown, 15 minutes away from the Mall of America, and what makes it all amazing is that it doesn't FEEL like we're close to a city! Living in Chicago, you would have to travel really far in order to feel like you're actually in nature and not part of the city. But here... well, here it's just awesome. There are parks and lakes everywhere (no, really. It's not called the land of a thousand lakes for nothing!), and just 15 minutes away there is a HUGE park where the river flows and there is an AMAZING waterfall! Eric took me there for our date a couple weeks ago, and it was so awesome. I kept telling him that I couldn't believe we lived so close to something so beautiful, because in CO you have to travel to the mountains in order to see something as cool as that.

As far as our apartment goes, I love that too. :) It's so cozy and nice, and I'm really excited to finish decorating it. We're almost there, which is really nice. We just need to pick up a few things and then put pictures on the walls. Our guest room isn't going to be ready anytime soon, but that'll definitely be a longer project that we do together at some point when we're not busy (which won't be happening anytime in the near future). Here are some pictures of our apartment for you guys. :)






Isn't it so cute? :) And I'm SO glad that we had an accent wall painted before we moved in. It makes things feel even nicer and homey. They did that for free too, which was really cool. We can have accent walls painted for a low cost in any of our rooms as well, so we might do that at some point to our bedroom and guest room. We have a BEAUTIFUL view out our porch as well, if you couldn't tell. There are also walking trails around the property, which is really cool considering we're literally right on the highway. I can hear the highway all the time, but it's not as bad as I thought it would be. It makes me feel like I'm in Chicago again, and I'm okay with that. After living there for so long I really got used to hearing noises all the time, so it's really strange (and eerie) for me when I don't hear anything at all. Plus, it's incredibly convenient to live right on the highway as well - it makes it SO much easier to get to everything! I'm really enjoying our location. It has been really nice so far. We have a grocery store that is, at the most, 3 minutes away from us, and the place where I get my hair cut is the same distance as well. We have a gas station with reasonable gas prices (2 stations, actually) right on our block, and we have multiple restaurants right by us.

So... on to what our life actually looks like together. It's definitely busy and we're running around all the time, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Marriage just fits us. We had such a difficult time with our long-distance relationship, and now that we're married.... it just works. It's like we were supposed to get married or something. ;) But really... it's great. We're really enjoying being together. Eric works a lot which is sometimes frustrating, but definitely understandable. And with all our bills and payments that we have to make, it's a good thing that he's working as much as he is - we need the money! (Doesn't everybody?)

I also got a full-time job, which I am INCREDIBLY grateful for! I am a barista at Caribou Coffee, and I couldn't be happier. I've always wanted to work at a coffee shop, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to do so. It has definitely been a challenge to get used to it and learn everything that I need to, but I'm hoping that soon I'll get the hang of it and things will just come naturally. I know what some of you may be thinking: But what are your plans for a long-term career?

...Honestly... I don't really have any. And I'm okay with that. I was just recently asked by someone at church when I told them where I was working what my long-term goals were (really nice guy, but definitely a business man) and I felt bad at first for being so excited to work at Caribou. However, once I started thinking about it, I realized that it doesn't really matter what I'm doing. I'm loving what I do, and that's what matters. I make decent money, I get awesome benefits, and Caribou is an amazing company to work for. I couldn't be happier. And who knows... maybe one day I'll be able to work for corporate! Now THAT would be really cool. :)

So, I DO have daydreams about things that I could do one day, but it's really all in God's hands. I am completely content with where He has placed me right now (which actually took a while, so I'm thrilled that I'm at that place now), and I'm looking forward to seeing what He has in store for me here. God is good, and I know that His plans are better than any that I could have for myself. So... because this opportunity for Caribou opened so easily, I walked through it without any reservations or regrets, because I know without a doubt that it came from Him.

Well, this ended up being a really long post. I'm sure I'll update you all again in the very near future on our life and what's going on. Love you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Finally, An Update.

Well, after being SO excited to get married and updating everyone on it... I failed at updating AFTER we got married. I can't believe it's been so long since I've been on here! I guess things HAVE been pretty crazy around here - but it's been really good. So... I'll go back to the beginning.

The wedding was AMAZING. The 3 weeks after graduation leading up to the wedding were absolutely insane, but it was so worth it in the end. The wedding was completely perfect - it was everything that I had hoped it would be, and I wouldn't have changed one single thing. I couldn't believe it turned out as well as it did, but the people at the Chateaux were amazing. I couldn't have asked for a better team to work with. I would definitely recommend anyone getting married in CO to get married there! It's a beautiful location, and the people who work there are just so nice and accommodating. Here are a couple pictures for you guys. :)















Okay - so first of all, I realize that was more than a couple pictures but... I couldn't help myself. ALL the pictures were amazing! Our photographer did a phenomenal job. Secondly, I know they're not in order - I wanted them to be in a specific order, but they didn't cooperate with me when I uploaded them, and I'm SO not in the mood to either re-upload them or mess with the html code. So.... oh well. :)

But that's just a taste of our wedding! It was just so beautiful and wonderful, and again, I couldn't have asked for anything better. My whole family and my friends were absolutely amazing, too! My Mom helped with SO much of the planning and really helped me pull everything together, and I had the world's best matron of honor! I feel so blessed that everything went so well.

Hm... I think I'll leave the update there for now. I'll update tomorrow most likely on married life and our apartment. :) I'd rather not overwhelm/bore everyone with SO many details in one blog post. :)

Love you all! <3

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Almost Here!

14 days to go til the wedding, and I'm soooo anxious for it to get here (good anxious, that is). I met with my dear friend Amy last night, and I told her how I'm just ready for the wedding to be over with. Not that I'm not excited for it (which I completely am), but I'm just ready to start my life with Eric and be done with long-distance forever.

Last Saturday we said our last goodbye, and even though I would normally cry over us being separated for 2 1/2 weeks, neither of us cried when I went through airport security because we were so happy that it was the last time he would be taking me to the airport without coming with me. It was such a good feeling, and I'm so looking forward to saying hello to him on June 6th and knowing that it's permanent. From that point on, being together will be normal, and being apart will be abnormal, instead of the other way around, which it is right now.

Even though it's incredibly daunting, I'm SO excited to start living life with Eric. I know that it's going to be in a new state for me, I don't really have friends yet and I don't know the people he knows nearly as well as he does, but all that really matters is that we'll be together and we'll be trusting God together. I'm so thrilled that God is allowing this to happen, and can't wait for everything to finally start.

14 days until the wedding day, and I'm SO thrilled. Things are definitely getting done and plans are coming together. Thankfully next week I have a bunch of things to do, so the week should go fairly quickly and then before you know it, Eric will be with me and we'll be finishing plans together! What a blessing....

Thank you ALL for your prayers and support for Eric and me. We've been so confident going into this marriage because we have had nothing but positive feedback from all of our trusted friends and family. We know that this is exactly where God is leading us, and while it's a little scary to think about living with one person for the rest of our lives, we're really excited about it. :) We know that there will definitely be ups and downs, but we know that God is good and He will get us through it.

I will definitely be updating more as the wedding gets closer and we do more things to get ready, but don't look for an update or pictures from the wedding until after the honeymoon, because I will be in Florida and DisneyWorld with my husband, livin' it up and not worrying about anything else! :)

Love you all! <3

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Confessions of a Broken Girl.

You know, I used to always think that God wanted me to be perfect. That He would praise me for the mistakes I didn't make, and the less I made, the happier he'd be with me and the more He'd love me. I used to think that since I didn't drink, do drugs, or have sex, that somehow I was in better standing with God than all those "other" people.

...And then I made my own mistakes. Big mistakes. Mistakes that I will have to live with my entire life. And my confidence in my standing with God plummeted. I even had times of wondering if I was even a Christian, and if I was going to heaven. I had no assurance, simply because I had fallen down. I had even been taught lessons that we need to question our salvation if we fall into sin.

Ever since then, though I know the truth that God loves me and accepts me even when I fall into sin, I find it hard to believe that. I find myself questioning Him and myself and His acceptance of me.

During my time at Moody, I have made mistakes. I have fallen. I have done things that I shouldn't, and I have treated people in ways that I know are wrong. And every single time I have completely beaten myself up for it, and felt as though maybe I'm not a Christian because I made a mistake. That God doesn't accept me because I made a mistake. That God is happier with "those" people who are holier than me and would never treat another person the way I did. But this isn't the case. God loves me and accepts me, and loves me just the same as He does any of His other children.

Praise God for His unconditional love!

When I fall down, He doesn't just look down on me from far away pointing and saying, "You are a failure." No... He comes down, scoops me up in His arms, and tells me that He loves me no matter what I do, and that He just wants me to come running back to Him.

There's a Phil Wickham song that has the line:

"You will be safe in His arms
You will be safe in His arms
When everything is falling apart
You will be safe in His arms"

Beautiful words, beautiful truth, beautiful God.

I also love the "Footprints in the Sand" poem. It is so true, and it is something that I need to be reminded daily of. I am not strong enough to handle this life on my own. I am not strong enough not to make mistakes and not to fall flat on my face. But my God is strong enough to carry me through those times, and bring me out on the other side.

Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him.


One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord. Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand. Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there was one only.
This bothered me because I noticed that during the low periods of my life, when I was suffering from anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could see only one set of footprints, so I said to the Lord,
“You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you, you would walk with me always. But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there has only been one set of footprints in the sand. Why, when I needed you most, have you not been there for me?”
The Lord replied, “The years when you have seen only one set of footprints, my child, is when I carried you.”
- Mary Stevenson, 1936

Friday, April 29, 2011

2 Weeks and Counting.

Oh, how I wish that 2 weeks was the number of weeks until my wedding. But... it's not. However, it IS the number of weeks until I graduate from Moody! Wow... I can't believe that. I'm almost a college graduate. How did that happen? Freshman year in Spokane feels like it was just yesterday, and here I am, four years later, 21 and engaged, about to graduate. Where did the time go? What have I learned since being here at Moody?

I don't think that's an easy question to answer. And I don't even know if I can answer it right now. It's going to take time. It's going to take processing through things and the situations that I've encountered. What I do know is how I've royally screwed up in these last four years. How I have made so many blunders and mistakes it's hard to count them all. But I have also seen the hand and grace of God in my life through all of it. No matter what I do, no matter what I say, He will always accept me back with loving arms and will not condemn me for my imperfections. What do I even say to that? How do I begin to thank Him for all He has done for me?

The cool thing about God is... I don't have to. It's not a requirement. God isn't going to tell me that I mean anything less to Him or that I'm not doing enough to thank Him for everything He's given me. It's not about that. It's about His pure grace toward me, and because of His love, I am compelled to live my life in such a way that glorifies and magnifies His name, and His name alone.

I don't know exactly what lies ahead for me. I know I'm getting married and moving to Minnesota with my hubby, but that's about it. I could freak out about it, and I definitely have in the past. But the beauty of it all is that God has never failed to provide for my needs. Even when I don't feel like He's providing enough... He is. And abundantly so. Though it will be very easy in the future to worry about finances, friends, and everything else in life, I know that I can trust my God in any and all circumstances, that He knows what He's doing, and He has my best interests at heart.

I love my Lord. And I want to spend my whole life serving Him because He has been so good to me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Come, Lord Jesus.

All who are thirsty
All who are weak
Come to the fountain
Dip your heart in the stream of life

Let the pain and the sorrow
Be washed away
In the waves of His mercy

As deep cries out to deep

Come, Lord Jesus... Come
Come, Lord Jesus... Come

Monday, March 28, 2011

It's a Balance Act.

Question of the day:

When expressing opinions, how far is too far? Is there a standard that everyone should follow, or is that another opinion that everyone differs on?

This really is a difficult question for me to answer - especially when I have strong opinions and I want to express them. How far is too far, and how much is too much? I do believe in people being able to freely express their opinions as long as they are not attacking the other person - even if it still offends the other person, but where exactly is the line?

I definitely have strong opinions on certain subjects, and one came out very strongly today. But really... where is the line between asserting opinions appropriately, and when does it become inappropriate?

Ugh. So many question... So few answers.

PS - When I get a little less emotional about the topic, there WILL be a post about my opinion on Glee.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Scared of Transitions.

As March is already here and I have only 2 months until I graduate, I'm beginning to really think about my time here in Chicago and the very little amount of time that I have before the biggest transition in my life. I know that I said I wouldn't post blogs about myself, but this is something that is a pretty big deal.

I am truly scared of my next transition.

Now, don't get me wrong - I am SO excited to marry Eric, and I'm not nervous about that transition at all. I'm just really afraid to leave all my friends here, my comfortable atmosphere, and move somewhere where I really don't have many friends at all. School is a completely different atmosphere than real life. It's SO easy to make friends at school because you're around the same people all the time, but in real life, it takes so much more intention.

I'm nervous about that. I really am. For the first time in my life I'm not going to be completely surrounded by Christians all the time, and I may even be one of the few Christians in my environment. I have no idea where I'm going to work, but I'm guessing that wherever it is, it will be a non-Christian environment.

What will I do? How will I respond in a situation like that? - I have no idea what it's going to look like. I know that I've always been able to make friends pretty easily, but this is going to be completely different than anything I've ever known. Will I actually be able to make friends outside of the school situation? Will I find anyone at work that I have common interests with? What if I don't? What if I don't make any friends?

It's really hard to know what my life is going to look like once I graduate and get married. i'm excited to start something new and to live in an apartment with Eric, but what will MY life look like? Where will I work? What will be my ministry? Who will I become close to? What kind of people are going to come into my life?

I can't answer those questions right now, and I hate that. I want to know what's going to happen after I graduate, but I don't. I know that God has His purposes and His timing and He's going to work everything out, but this is definitely a time when I wish I had omniscience when it pertains to my life... *sigh* I guess I'll just have to stick with being a human being.

I hope these worries subside. Unfortunately, I think the closer I get to graduation, the more they're going to grow and the less I'm going to want to leave the school because I don't want to leave all of the wonderful people in my life. Heather, Annie, Tiffany, Rachel, Judy.... and the list goes on. This is no fun at all. Graduating is great, but it also really, really sucks... :(

Until next time. I've got too many thoughts to get them all written down now...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Facebook Responsibly.

There are some things in our lives that could be deemed as "necessary evils." These are not the evils that are, in fact, actually evil. The real kinds of evils in the world today are unnecessary and should be stopped (i.e. murders, adultery, etc. etc.). However, there are some things in this world that may just be bothersome or frustrating, but they are a necessary evil because, well, maybe we just need to put up with them. For example, to some people, Obama is a necessary evil (well, to others he's unnecessary, but I won't address that one. Can of worms...). For some, cell phones and texting are a necessary evil. They don't like texting, but it seems to be the form of communication that many people like to use, so they do it anyway (Or, they try to run away from it, only to find out that they're giving in later on).

Here's another thing that might just be one of those necessary evils: Facebook. Yes, I said it. We've all had our moments where we are so frustrated and angry with Facebook and things that have happened on it that have caused us to write statuses like, "Facebook is so stupid. I'm considering deleting mine," or "I want to have friends in real life, not on the internet." (PS - I'm including myself in this one.) However, as much as I would very often like to say that I'm deleting my Facebook and never looking back, I'm not exactly sure how possible that is anymore.

Props to Mark Zuckerburg on that one.
(whose movie, by the way, I've heard is actually pretty good).

I know that so many of us wish that we could delete our Facebooks and never have to deal with them again. It feels silly to be upset if someone didn't accept our friend request, didn't respond to our wall post or our message, or even, *gasp* deleted us! Trust me when I say that I have been upset about all of these things and more, which is why I feel okay saying it.

However... Our culture is going more and more in the direction of social networking, and there doesn't seem to be a whole lot we can do to change that. I know that I have temporarily deleted my account a few times because I'm so tired of dealing with Facebook, but I always end up going back to it. And the key word in the previous sentence is temporarily. We all know that we do it. We temporarily delete our accounts because we know that it would take way too much work to create our "unique" profile and build up our friends list all over again. In the back of our minds, we know that we're going to come back to Facebook - but in that moment, we're too stubborn to admit it.

What would happen if instead of fighting the phenomenon of Facebook and social media, we instead embraced it with discernment? What would that look like? Well, for starters, maybe we shouldn't add everyone that we've ever known in our entire lives to our friends list. Maybe we shouldn't add Joe, who's friends with our best friend's sister and met us at that party that one time.

Maybe we should learn to let go when friendships seem to die. I just recently had that happen, where I was holding on to a friendship that wasn't actually there. I talked with Eric about it because I was having a slight altercation with this person, and Eric asked me a simple question: "When was the last time you had a conversation with this person?" To be honest, it's been almost a year since I've talked with this person in real life. THAT, I would say, is the definition of a Facebook friend that might just need to be deleted. Not from any bad or angry feelings, but simply because there's not actually a friendship there anymore.

What if we used Facebook as an encouragement tool, rather than trying to see how many friends we can get, who we can spy on, or how many pictures we can be tagged in? What if Facebook became not about us, but instead about the other people in our lives?

---Let me make myself clear right now. I am not excluding myself from any of this. The only reason I feel as though I can say these things is because I have done each and every one of the things I've talked about here, and much more. This is not an easy blog for me to write, because I know that it would take a dramatic change on my part as well. ----

As Christians, we are called to be "in the world, but not of it." Could that mean that it's okay to use Facebook, but be different in how we use it? I know a girl where the majority of her purpose in using Facebook is just to encourage other people, and she does this in abundance. What if we did that? What would happen if we took the focus off of ourselves and used Facebook to help others? I think we would find that Facebook is then not only a necessary evil, but also a helpful tool in developing relationships and building one another up.

As many alcohol commercials use the phrase, "Drink Responsibly," I am going to take the same connotation from that and say:

Please, Facebook Responsibly.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Suffering of God.

On this cold, dreary, and snowy afternoon, I thought it might be beneficial to curl up with my computer and blanket, and crank out a nice blog.

In Biblical Theology of Suffering on Monday, we discussed the debate of whether God suffers or not. This went along with the book we have been reading, Where is the God of Justice?. This is a simple, yet very enlightening book that discusses so many aspects of suffering, including the idea of whether or not God suffer. Dr. Andrew Schmutzer was the professor who taught this lesson, and it was so interesting.

In our book, the author, Warren McWilliams, discusses the debate between whether or not God suffers with His creation. He declares that God is a suffering God, and that it is only because He suffers with us that He can actually help us. He inserted a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, which said,
God lets himself be pushed out of the world on the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way in which he is with us and helps us. ...The Bible directs us to God's powerlessness and suffering; only the suffering God can help.
The fact of God suffering does not mean that He is in any way weak or unable to cope with things. Dr. Schmutzer put it very well when he said in class that unlike human beings, God's suffering does not make Him undone. Instead, it spurs Him into action and He is able to work in the situation. He does not allow Himself to be struck down by suffering, but rather He uses it in order to help and understand His people.

So what does this mean for us? If God really suffers, how does that affect our relationship with Him? In Dr. Schmutzer's view, there are 5 implications for the Christian and either our lives or our perspectives of God:
  1. "If God is truly involved in the lives of people, if he actually enters into and acts within time and history, and most of all, if he does so as the God of love, then such a God must, by necessity, experience suffering." - Thomas G. Weinandy, Does God Suffer?
  2. God's suffering can be expressed more as empathetic participation than mere sympathetic identification.
  3. God's love is not reckless or need-based, shot through with self-seeking and anxiety - God's emotion does not incapacitate him. While God does not suffer against his will, he does voluntarily expose himself to suffering.
  4. The theology of creation affirms that God remains in and with the contingent, the other-than-God - the world in its nature as world, and humankind in its autonomous but finite creaturliness.
  5. For people who have faced comprehensive traumas such as: starvation, domestic violence, rape, sexual abuse, and torture, there is a very practical aspect of clinging to a God who suffers-with.
This is huge. In the midst of intense suffering, we can be sure that God suffers with us, and not only sympathizes with our condition, but He knows exactly what is going on, and feels the pain just as we do. While He is not incapacitated, He still feels our emotions and is filled deeply with compassion for us, and this spurs Him on to help us.

Praise Him that we have a God who loves us enough to do that! Who are we, the sinful race that we are, to deserve something so great as that! His love overflows and abounds for us, even though we are wicked and depraved, deserving nothing.

Praise Him all creatures here below.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Me, Me, Me: A New Vision.

The more I look at other people's lives and how they spend their time, the more I'm beginning to realize just how narcissistic I am, and I don't like it. I'm so selfish so much of the time, wanting exactly what I want when I want it, and not accepting anything else. Who have I become? Do I really need to have my way all the time? Am I not willing to compromise what I want just a little for the sake and benefit of those around me?

As I've looked back on my posts, I've realized how much the majority of them are about me, or about the things/people in my life. I think I want to start a new trend with my blog. I would love to start contemplating things that I'm learning in my life that are more general. For example, there are SO many things that I could talk about from my Biblical Theology of Suffering class (don't worry, classmates... no specifics will be used, just general information and inquiries about the subjects. I won't be breaking any rules). I'm also learning SO much in my Monster Literature class, and I'm sure by the middle of the semester I'll have so much to talk about. There's also chapel, church, and other people's lives to talk about.

I really want to make it my goal not to talk about myself in this blog. I really want to do what my title suggests: quietly muse on the things of life. I want to write prayers in this blog, put song lyrics up, Scripture, etc. I don't want to make it about me anymore.

And this is a challenge to all of you who are regular readers: If I start to make my blog more about me and I begin sounding narcissistic, please confront me on this. I don't want to be like that, but sometimes I'm blind to it.

So here's to a fresh start, and a new outlook on my blog and hopefully in life. Maybe being less self-focused here will help me be less self-focused.. *points*... out there.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Prayer for the Unbeliever.

My heart is heavy this morning. For the past 7 years I have been praying for someone in my life, that God would give him a startling encounter with Him, and that he would pass from darkness to light. My friendship with this person has ebbed and flowed over the years - in high school there were times when we were best friends, but then others when he would not want to speak to me. Through being in college, we were such good friends that I almost flew to Arizona (where he is attending college) to visit him. But now... we no longer talk. It breaks my heart to know that I have no idea where he is or what he is doing, but I do know that I still love him, and I still want to pray for him.

This man, Scott (his name has been changed), lives in the darkness. The scary part is however, that he does not know that he lives in the darkness. He truly believes he lives in the light, even though he lives the homosexual lifestyle, his life is his money, and he smokes, parties, and gets drunk every weekend. Because we no longer talk anymore, all I can do is pray for him.

Do you know how hard that is? Not knowing if my prayers are being answered, not knowing if they are making any difference at all... It's definitely a struggle for me. Sometimes I have trouble knowing that God is faithful and He will answer my prayers according to His will. All I want is for Scott to come to know the Lord. Unlike a lot of Christians, my first prayer is not that he will stop living the homosexual lifestyle. If he does not know the Lord, then praying that he will change his behavior will do no good. I must pray that God reveals Himself to him, and that he will come into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Do I sometimes wish things were different and that I could be the one to influence his life for Christ and help him along the path to salvation? Absolutely. But as it is, God has placed me in this situation for a reason, and though I do not understand, I must be faithful and pray for Scott from a distance.

I love him. He has always been dear to me, and no matter what he says, no matter what he does, that's not going to change. I know that it's not by my own will that I love him, so please don't think that I am bragging or making myself seem high and mighty. Scott has treated me very, very poorly in the past, and I know that there have been times when I have not wanted anything to do with him, and when I have even thought that he deserves whatever he gets.

But then I realized that this is not right thinking. I am called to remember that he is a lost sheep, and God wants to bring him to Himself. I have been praying for him for so long, that it feels like nothing is ever going to change. But I know that God is faithful, and I believe that He has promised to change Scott's heart. I am going to hold on to that promise with everything that I have. Seeing Scott cross the line of salvation and fall in love with Jesus Christ would be the greatest gift I could ever receive.

Oh God, reveal yourself to him. Give him such a startling encounter with You that he cannot help but know that it is you. Do whatever You need to in order to bring him to Yourself. I call upon You, Lord. Be with him. Draw near to him, and allow him to draw near to You. I know that You are faithful, Lord. I know that You can do what You have promised, and I want to call upon that promise right now. Give him the eyes he needs in order to see You, Lord. Give him the ears to hear Your word in a new and fresh way, and give him the courage to come to faith in You and to turn his life around. In Your name, Amen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My First Love.

Upon hearing that title, you'd probably think that I would be devoting this post to Eric. However, that's not true. As much as I love Eric and am thrilled to be spending the rest of my life with him, he is not my first love. I so often forget that, and I wish I wouldn't. My first love is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him, I am nothing.

So often I get caught up in my day-to-day life, and I just forget about my Love. I forget to talk to Him, forget to read His Word, forget to thank Him for the grace He's given me in my life. It's so true when the Bible says if we draw near to God, then He will draw near to us. If I'm being honest, I would say that in recent weeks, it has been rare for me to meet with my Lord one-on-one and really devote a good amount of time with Him. Because of that, I have seen myself growing dry and hungry. My spiritual food and drink wasn't there. In the past couple of days though, I have tried to go back into the routine of meeting with Him, and I can't even explain to you the difference that I have seen in my life. While it sucks to see sin in my life revealed to me, the fullness of meeting with my Savior is incomparable.

He is my Love. He is the One who rescued me from the pit and loved me enough to call me His child. There is no way that I could ever deserve this love, grace, and mercy that He has given to me. Who am I, that He should be mindful of me? I am but a speck of dust, here today and gone tomorrow. In the grand scheme of things in this world, I am nothing. The world definitely doesn't revolve around me, and really doesn't care that I'm here. (For explanation, I know that I have people in my life who care about me. I'm referring to the world in general). But yet here is my Lord, who came down from heaven as a man, died, and was resurrected for the sins of the whole world. And even if it was only for me, if I was the only sinner on earth, He would have still come down. That just boggles my mind, and I don't deserve it at all. Yet through my constant turning from Him, He is still there, and still ready and willing to welcome me back with open arms. I will never do too much against Him that He will stop loving me. His love is unconditional, which also makes it unfathomable. I am saved, and not because of my own doing, but simply because... He Loves Me.

Great is the Lord, and worthy of glory
Great is the Lord, and worthy of praise
Great is the Lord, now lift up your voice
Now lift up your voice
Great is the Lord