Being Thankful- Day 6

Yesterday, I got invited, along with 3 other friends, to attend a movie night down at the Sharp house. For anyone who doesn’t know Dean Sharp, he is very intimidating man at first but deep, deep down has a really soft heart. Over the years, I have gotten the privaledge of getting to know his wife, Lee, and their three kids. They are the biggest hoot ever and some of the sweetest and fun children.

Anyways, on our way down to their house, Luke and I were discussing if it was just us and the kids or anyone else. Well, little did we know pretty much the majority of CofO faculty and their children were going to be there as well. Seeing as how there seems to be a 3 kid minimum on children at this school, there was about 30 kids. At first, it was a little overwhelming but then it turned out to be an absolute blast. But more about the children in another post.

Another little backstory; last semester I was going through this ‘Im ready to be out from CofO’s scope and under scrutiny here’ phase. Ive been called into Deans offices for numerous reasons, none too crazy, don’t worry mom, and I was just so over it. Everyone always says they have our best at heart and just want to help but last semester I was just flat out not having it.

I know this may come as a surprise to some of you but, God is amazing. This summer, I started going into Dean Sharp and Dean Schoenecke’s offices every week between jobs just to catch up. And let me tell you, they, and everyone else here, really have my best interest at heart.

So today I am thankful for the administration, staff, and faculty here at CofO.

Every week I genuinely looked forward to walking into their offices for our weekly catch up sessions. I learned so much about them and from them and realized how much they do really care about me. Dean Sharp has always said the reason I get called into his office sometimes is to remind me of my potential (and I remind him of himself, but I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean).  They really do care.

So back to the movie night, I was reminded exactly of this. Here I was, being invited to their home and to hang out with their kids. All the faculty that was there didn’t treat us like students, but like friends and people that cared for their children as well. Yes, they are still my teachers and leaders and I respect them as so, but they are some of the most friendly and loving people as well. I got to have a great conversation with Justin, a HD on campus, and one of the men I look up to most. got to play with crazy children, got to see a different side of many of the adults and it was a real blast.

Was I exhausted by 30 kids? Yes. Was I so ready for a shower and bed? Did I understand any part of the Lego Movie? Nope, but that’s a whole other story.

But I got to hangout with some of the best families on this campus and was reminded how much they really do care for us. My mindset on my last semester here at CofO has changed so much and I am so thankful for staff and especially Dean Sharp and Schoenecke this summer that showed me how much they really do care for and appreciate the students on this campus.

Here’s to the last semester at CofO and may it be blessed with more enrichments from leaders around me!

 

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Being Thankful- Day 5

Id like to start out by saying I warned everyone with my first post that some of the things I am thankful for would be a little outside the box. And here it is.

Today, I am thankful for blanket forts.

I know, I know. I’m 22 years old, graduating college in 4 months and here I am writing about blanket forts. But bear with me.

This summer I have been kid sitting Willow, a 6yr old little girl, and Keegan, a five year old little boy. To say that times were rough and challenging this summer with them is a little bit of an understatement, but I learned so much patience and ways to love throughout it.

But back to the blanket fort. Today, it rained part of the day and both the kids are feeling a little under the weather, so I decided to build a fort with Keegan’s bunk bed.  We hung blankets, turned off all the lights, closed the blinds and watched The Lorax on my laptop in this tiny little fort. It was seriously one of my favorite times this summer.

I used to LOVE building blanket forts. Hands down some of my best memories from my childhood and today I was reminded of that. I was reminded of the innocence of a child and how something so small can make their day entirely. And even while I have so many others things going through my mind, every care and worry I had, was no match for the fort. Once in there, cuddled up to the two little stinkpots, I was free from it all. It was peaceful (surprisingly) and it was so refreshing to get away from the real world for awhile. It offered an escape for just a little bit and a reminder of how infectious and powerful joy can be.

So today, as a 22 year old woman, working her way through this crazy life, I am thankful for blanket forts.

Being Thankful- Day 4

Tonight marks the final Crosstalk at Kids Across America for the summer. For those of you that don’t know, Crosstalk is a reenactment of the trial and crucifixion of Christ kamp puts on and also implements stories of youth searching for the Lord to connect to the urban youth that goes to kamp.

If you know anything about me, Kids Across America has a little piece of my heart and I spent 8 out of my 11 week summer last year serving there. They take your phone and any contact with the outside world for all week and you get 24 hours off once a week. This is so you can truly connect with your kampers and staff members and really grow in relationship with them that is based on expanding the Kingdom and growing closer with Christ. Its unreal and life changing. I met some of the most amazing men and women of God at kamp last summer and they continue to impact my life daily even if I don’t talk to them. But enough about my awesome kamp family, cause I could brag on them all day. But back to the point.

So at Crosstalk last summer, there is a point where the man who plays Pilate asks what shall happen to Jesus.

“Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, “Let him be Crucified!’ And he said, ‘Why. what evil has he done?’ But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!'” Matthew 27- 22-23.

Here’s the kicker. As the staff, we were asked to be the ones to yell “Crucify Him!” during the reenactment. When I was first told by Cate, she said it would be one of the hardest and most awkward things ever. I didn’t think much of it but was like, ‘Its just part of the play, its no big deal.” Boy was I wrong.

So there I sat, week one, with a row full of girls that challenged me already so much in that week. We were amidst 200 other kampers and staff members and when Pilate asked what to do with Jesus, my mouth closed. I sat there, speechless as my fellow staff members did their duty of yelling out “Crucify Him!”. The first time, I didn’t say anything. Then the second time, I managed to squeak out the phrase and my heart instant broke.

It was hard. It was awkward. It was rough. It was heartbreaking. It was eye opening.

There I was amongst many teenagers I was sharing the Gospel with that week and I was turning my back on the Lord. Yes, yes I know it was just part of the play and I might seem to be overreacting, but let me tell you, it was so hard. And it didn’t get easier.

Week after week, I yelled “Crucify Him!” and week after week it didn’t hurt any less and it never got easier.

It started to hit me that thousands of years ago, people that claimed to love and follow the Lord, were the ones crying out those words. That people were blatantly turning their back on the Lord and not living a life pleasing to Him, let alone, claiming Him. And Jesus hangs on the cross and tells God to forgive them! Christ asked his Heavenly Father to forgive the people that were condemning him!

Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I do the exact some thing when I go against the Word. Its like my own little version of yelling Crucify Him when I disregard what the Lord says and continue to walk in the way of the world. I run away and I hide and indulge in what the world offers and I am just like the people that yelled at Christ thousands of years ago. I claim to love Him, but my actions and words prove otherwise. I turn my back on Him just the same.

But the awesome, life giving thing? God did it for me. And you. And he forgives us! He sent his son to hang on that cross and sacrifice his life to set us free from our sins and eternity in hell. Regardless of how many times I run away from him and turn my back, He loves and welcomes me just the same.

So today I am thankful for God’s open wide arms that I get to run back to always, despite how many times I mess up. God doesn’t keep a record of wrongs or tally marks of how many times this year I have strayed. He is there every time I return and seek Him again, without any grudges. His open arms and His love are my stronghold and there is no greater love.

Being Thankful- Day 3

Amidst my heart being rocked this past week, I have had the blessing to catch up with some friends I haven’t seen or had heartfelt conversations with for a very long time.

I got to spend two days hanging out with a Godly man that is pretty much my brother, Darby, and to say we felt challenged and encouraged by each other doesn’t even begin to describe it. Through many honest conversations and sharing of how we were struggling in our walks currently, we were continuously drawn back to the foundation of our friendship, Christ. Darby and I’s friendship has always been one where we can laugh and goof off and be stupid but then at the drop of a hat turn to a spiritual, and honest discussion. The hours of talks we have had that are so open and real, is something I will never forget and will always cherish.

While we were catching up last week, I shared everything that had been going on and what I was going through and I was constantly pointed back to the Word. It wasn’t a “I think” or “Well what I think you should do” kind of a conversation. It was a “the Word says this” and “Paul says this” kind of conversation. Not something selfish based, but based on the knowledge he had from the Word. I was blown away and entirely thankful because those conversations spurred some of the greatest changes and challenges that I am adopting in my life.

Then, a few days ago, I got to spend the night with one of my other great friends, Taylor. Also, who just so happened to be the one to inspire me to join her thankfulness month. Any who, we got to hang out at her house all night and it was the first time I got to really talk to her all summer. We sat there sharing our struggles and how God has been working in us and what we would like from this next semester and were just able to be honest. Taylor and I’s friendship has always been honest. It started off by her sharing some of her deepest struggles at the time and has progressively turned into a friendship in which I can pretty much share any thing and every thing with and know that she will listen wholeheartedly and do her best to give me advice that would be most pleasing to the Lord. She’s always there. Whether we talk every day, or for the first time in a few months, I’m constantly surprised by her love and dedication to our friendship and challenging each other in our walks with the Lord.

So today, I am especially thankful for Christ founded and Christ centered relationships. Relationships that are unashamed to carry out hard work for the Kingdom and grow closer with one another by doing so. Relationships that aren’t afraid to be vulnerable and admit they really don’t have it all together.  Christ centered relationships that are honest and raw and challenging and willing to uphold and encourage each other through the Word.

 

Being Thankful- Day 2

This past week, God has entirely rocked my world.

My summer has been entirely different from last summer in pretty much every way possible and I haven’t felt further away from the Lord in a very, very long time.

I have been irresponsible in pursuing my relationship with the Lord deeper and I have been living this summer stuck in a spiritual drought of my own doing.

Its no joke when I say God knows how to do some serious work. It began last Sunday night and I just began to have this strong conviction that how I was living this summer was in no one pleasing or beneficial to my relationship with the Lord. Its not like I have been going crazy or making dumb decisions everyday or even running away from the Word, but I haven’t even been running towards the Lord by any stretch of the imagination.

Spurred by this conviction that I have pretty much ignored my relationship with God all summer, last week I dove into the Word. I immersed myself in it and in prayer and having real, honest talks with some of my closest friends.  This past week, I have been reminded of the love the Lord has for me, even when I ignore Him. I have been reminded of SO many truths I cant even begin to describe. But greatest of all: grace.

So today, I am thankful for grace.

2 Corinthians 12:9 states, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

How amazing is that? His grace is all I need! Through my weaknesses and the blatant times I have ignored the Lord this summer especially, He still wants me. He is still there with open arms and loves me, his child, the same as any of my high says in my spiritual walk.

So here I am today and the rest of this month, putting my weaknesses on blast, so that the Lord may be glorified through them. That His power may be executed through these flaws and shortcomings of mine. It marks my honest and challenging to actively pursuing my relationship with the Lord once more.

But no matter how many times I fail and show daily that I am a sinner, He still shows me His grace and His unfailing love. And I am forever thankful.

Being Thankful.

02_Day02

A few days ago, I was perusing Facebook as I normally do between jobs and I ran across my friend Taylor Poor’s blog. This month of August, Taylor has decided and challenged herself to 31 days of being thankful. Each day she writes about something in her life she is thankful for. After getting to catch up with her last night in the first time in forever, I decided to join her journey and participate in the challenge. So here I am, daily (hopefully), I am going to share something I am thankful for in this crazy life of mine. Im a few days behind but the goal is to catch up shortly.

I already keep a thankfulness journal with me that I try to add to every week. I’m already at 150 things and hope to get to 1000 by the end of this semester, because I have SO much to thank God for. These things range from friends, to grace, to flannels to Chacos. So I’m sure this blog too will be a little crazy and random, but its my thoughts and its the blessings the Lord has placed in my life. Welcome.

Day One

I’m thankful for the freedom I have.

So many people around the world don’t have the ability to drive to their church every morning. They don’t have the freedom to congregate together and praise the Lord openly. They don’t have the freedom to write blogs like this, where they can share and talk about the Heavenly Father together and what He has been teaching us in our lives.

I’m so thankful to be in a country like this where I can openly share. And I am thankful I get to pray for those that don’t enjoy the freedoms I get. They may be thousands of miles away, but we are all doing work to further the Kingdom. We must be in constant prayer and support while we get this freedom that we often take for granted.

I’m thankful to go to this college that gives us the freedom to talk about Christ, all day, everyday. To have teachers pray before class, because we can.

Most importantly, I’m thankful for the freedom I have been given in Christ. Like hellloooo, the creator of the universe has set me free from all my sins and shortcomings and loves me unconditionally! How crazy is that?! I cant think of anything better than the freedom in Christ and all that He has given.

Constant.

Just the other week, I laid out by the little lake in the middle of campus surrounded by seven of the most important people in my life currently. We were all strewn across the grass in little clusters or by ourselves just enjoying the last few days we had with each other before summer split us up for the time being.

As I laid there gazing at the stars, a little set apart by the rest of my friends, I had one of the most profound and amazing realizations. It may seem so cheesy, or miniscule to other people, but in the moment, God spoke to me through his creation.

I stared at the big dipper for the longest time and realized if anyone ever needed an example of something being constant, there it is, right up in the sky. 22 years old, that big dipper sits up in the sky. 22 years ago, the big dipper was still there. 20 years from now, it will most likely be there.

I get that if God wanted to, he could totally rearrange the stars and I could no longer be there, but I’m going to go with the fact that he’s going to keep it for awhile.

And because He has placed that up in the sky, He shows us how He is constant.

Regardless of where I am in life, where I am physically on the globe, how old I am, who I am surrounded by, how low I might get, even in the highs of life, those stars are up there.

To me, the sky, and most influentially to me, the stars, represent how constant God’s love is.

Wherever we are, He is there. And He is constant.

That night, I shared this revelation with my friend Jenny, who actually encouraged me to write this. It took me so long to try and explain how I was feeling in that moment and what it meant to me. Thankfully, she was patient and got it and shared the feeling with me. But even as I write this, it is so hard for me to even put into words how it resonated with me.

I cant wait to, if God willing, sit out on the front lawn of my own house one day, with my own family and explain to them the way the stars, and how I see God through them, means to me. How the presence of God is constant to me just by seeing the stars in the sky.

God created them. He placed them in the sky where He wanted them to be.

Christ died for us thousands of years ago, and the same love he had for us then, is still constant.

He is unwavering. He is unchanging. He is constant.