Friday, January 25, 2013

Christmas {A Month Later}

I'm pretty sure that I am the worst blogger in the world because I totally missed Christmas. Well, on the blog at least. Why don't you take a trip with me down memory lane for a brief visit to the holidays...{It should be noted that we finally took down our Christmas Tree today. So, yeah.}

This year, my family and I decided to spend the few days before Christmas in the Homeland. It was a lovely time fellowshipping with family on both sides!

Also, after an intense game of Taboo, the guys won and had a victory dance.

Christmas Eve and Morning we spent as family in the comfort of our own home. {This has probably been my most relaxing Christmas yet!}

I received quite a few gifts from the parents which included but not limited to three books, an iPhone Camera Lens and a Keurig. {Let's be honest here, they really only bought the Kuerig for themselves! But isn't that a parent advantage?}

Anyway, my brother had his fair share of lavish gifts too. He found in his stocking two little containers of spices that were quite appropriately named.

"Punch Ya Daddy" and "Slap Ya Mama." 

Soooo, that was our Christmas. How was yours?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Attacking Anxiety - Part 1 {A Devotional}

{It should be noted that I took my own notes because a copy of the message notes were not available. Also, I have converged his teaching with my own life experiences and knowledge from the Word of God.} 

Sunday afternoon I found myself exploring the church planting section of my church's website. I have some friends that are leaving to plant a church somewhere in the Middle East and wanted to know a bit more info on their plans. I ended up chasing some rabbits and landed on the sermon part of The Hallows Church website. Needless to say, I spent 41 minutes listening to a message on "Silencing the Alarm of Anxiety."

In the sermon, the pastor gives us 4 Commands and 3 Promises from the Scriptures. The main text was Phil. 4:4-7 with a few other passages he mentioned.

He simply began breaking down the word "anxious" and "worry" and what it actually means.

Anxious - obsessive care, to divide and draw in different directions, to pull apart.
Worry - German word meaning to choke

So, essentially, when I worry I'm choking myself. I'm choking on things that I have obsessed over and have allowed to pull apart my life. I'm drowning in my own spit. 

He went on to say "Anxiety is a catalyst for other sins."

I can worry about my finances and how I'm going to pay for college which can lead to me becoming greedy, envious, etc. Before I know it, I have committed not just one sin (worry), but several.

It hit me like a brick when I realized just how often that happens in my life. How many times have I worried about college and how I'm going to pay the bills?! This leads me wanting to be richer by acquiring more money. It can also lead me to envy people who can afford a nice, Christian education without the worry of where the money is going to come from.

The four commands in Scripture Andrew talked about were actually quite simple.

1} Rejoice in the LORD always. {Phil. 4:4}

Paul is writing this letter, the book of Philippians, while sitting in a jail cell not knowing if he was going to die or not. Yet, he is joyful about the whole situation. Now, he might not be all smiles but he knows who holds his life in His hands.

1 Thess. 5:16 even commands us to be "joyful always" and Paul writes that near the end of his ministry. He's experienced so much persecution, has gone to jail more than once, been shipwrecked, and had a thorn in his flesh that wouldn't go away. Yet, through it all, he is still joyful. 

Wow. Don't I have a lot to learn?!

2} Respond with gentleness. {Phil. 4:5}

Let's just be honest here, life can throw some nasty storms our way. If we're not careful, we can respond in a negative/harsh way. We need to learn to accept trials with gentleness and realize that the LORD is Sovereign and will take care of the situation.

{The next two points go together.}

3} Reject Worry. {Phil. 4:6}

When we worry, we doubt the promises of God AND God Himself. Worry means we have a lack of faith in the One who holds everything together. We don't have a reason to worry or mull over anything because of the sovereignty of God. The simple solution to the problem of anxiety is below....

4} Reply with Prayer. {Phil. 4:6 & 7}

When anxiety creeps into our life, we should immediately respond with prayer. It says in Scripture "by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." We need to take our worries to the One who will take care of them. Of course, it doesn't stop there. Verse seven says, "And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Ummm, what? You mean to tell me that a peace will come over me that I cannot fathom if I simply pray? Yes. Also, the LORD will guard our hearts and minds from the anxious thoughts we once had.

Isn't that amazing?!?! I think so.

Now, this is not a one and done type deal. You will struggle with it on a daily basis. When you wake up in the morning, attack it first thing. Pray that the LORD would fill you with peace and guard your heart and mind from the anxious thoughts that could creep into your mind. If you do this, the LORD will not disappoint you. Trust Him.

Here is one of my current favorite songs that I think fits what we just talked about. Take a listen!


Next week, I'll share with you the 3 Promises in Scripture the LORD gives us when we obey these four commands. Stay tuned!

*Note: Now, I realize sometimes we have so much anxiety built up in us, that we must seek a therapist. And honestly, it might be best for you, if you really struggle with anxiety. Nobody is going to judge you (at least I won't) for seeking outside help. Hey, you don't even have to tell anybody! I believe the LORD can use other people (like a therapist) to help you win this battle of anxiety.*

Sunday, January 20, 2013

White Dust

We had a bit of slight dusting of snow on Thursday. It was great while it lasted, not to mention awesome driving in it. Here's a few pictures and a short video for you to enjoy, dear reader.

Please forgive my dog's manners... *rolls eyes* Men. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

So.....What's New?

Hi, there. I thought I would give you an update on my life at the current moment but, there is nothing new to report. I'm still stuck with that awful bug someone so graciously gave me. {I don't know who, though. If you find out, let me know. I would love to have a chat with them. ;) } I don't really mind being sick and laid up as long as its on MY time. And for about 3 days.

Currently, I am sitting here sweating. It's okay. I'll be shivering again here shortly. I honestly wish I had some profound words of wisdom for y'all. Maybe an inspiring Bible verse. Wait, why not a comical story to entertain y'all? But, I've got nothing. Seriously. N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

This week has just been me either sleeping or watching horrible, cheesy chick flicks. No, seriously cheesy. I watched a movie that had to do with two people who fell in love over pizza. Yeah. I don't think I ever finished it because I started to crave pizza SO bad.

I did find this little video someone from the Gold Community Group made called, "Stuff People say at Passion." I hope it entertains you as much as it did me. It should be noted that yes, the Wendy's line was that long.

Until next time...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Curious Case of Awkward Eye Contact Guy

{Disclaimer: What you are about to read should not be taken seriously. Sometimes you have to laugh at what life throws your way. Also, this may or may not be exaggerated. I have written a serious post about Passion 2013 in case you're interested.}

Passion is supposedly where you not only find Jesus, but you find your future roommate (if you're a senior in high school), your future best friend for life, or your future spouse. Well, I didn't quite find all three. I may or may not have found my future spouse, though.

The first night of community groups the leader, Brad Cooper, said, "Look around your circle one of you may find your future spouse within your own family group."

I immediately look to the family group next to me and make awkward eye contact with one of the guys. I later tweeted about it.

I was totally joking about this whole incident until it happened every single day. I'm not kidding. We always made unintentional eye contact every time we saw one another. It was the weirdest thing.

Certain questions started popping in my head.

"Maybe he is the one?"
"I wonder what his name is?"
"Is he even going to talk to me?"
"I have to at least know his name!"

All these questions remained unanswered.

If things couldn't even get more confusing, the next night he intentionally moved to the edge of his family group to sit next to me. We were less than arms length apart. Clearly, something was up.

"Oh my word. He's sitting next to me!"
"Maybe he'll talk to me?"
"I mean, he should at least say something!"

Then, the last night, someone in our group asked him to take a group picture using my phone. After he handed the phone back to me, we exchanged names.

And that was that. I never saw him again. Well, in person that is.

While I was looking through my photos to find a new lock screen, I saw this picture.

I then posted the photo to Instagram and Twitter secretly hoping that I could find him some how.

But, to no avail.

Until, one of my friends left a comment saying she went to church with that guy.

The next day she saw him at church and approached him with the photo in hand.

Guy: "Oh yeah, I remember her! She told me to take a group picture so I took the phone and posed for a photo."

And that is how the story ends....for now.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

{Jesus, only Jesus.}

I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the new year! I got back from Passion a couple of days ago. But, while I was there, I caught a little bug that I'm trying to get rid of right now. It frustrates me that this is what happened but I know that the LORD has a purpose through the sickness! :)

Anyway, do you want to hear about Passion? I thought so. :)

All I can tell you is that it was powerful. I was overcome several times by God's presence, especially the last night.

Towards the end of the night when Chris Tomlin sang, "I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always on my side," I just broke down and started to cry. There has been several events that happened last semester that have just brought me down.

In essence, I have had a hard time trusting God. 

I found out in September that a very close family friend of mine was going through some very hard stuff. If you heard Francis Chan's message, you'll understand what I'm talking about. I knew I could pray for her and just be there if she wanted to talk about it. But, to me, that wasn't enough. I wanted to fix her and bring back the girl I used to know. I'm going to be honest with you here, there were some nights last semester that I just cried. All I could do was cry it seemed like. I couldn't even offer up a simple prayer. I don't like to see her suffer and walk this path of pain. It was hard.

I thought I had truly given the burden to God and was "Trusting Him" with the outcome. But, I wasn't. I was looking for ways to make it better overnight. I wanted her to be the girl I used to know. Last week, she turned 16. It was on that night I realized, "I know who goes before me, I know who stands behind, the God of angel armies is always on my side."

Y'all. Jesus is walking beside her every step of the way. He's with her. He's with me. He's with you.

I don't know what the future holds for my friend. I don't even know what this year holds. But, I do know who goes before me, who stands behind, and is always on my side. This is the hope I have.

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
 - Romans 15:13 

Friday, January 4, 2013

Project 3 6 5 {1-4}

New Year. New Days. New Experiences. New Challenges. My first four days of 2013 captured in pictures.

{photo credit:}