Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On the road to completion

Six years ago, in the fall of 2003, I got my first taste of the beautiful Rockbridge Alum Springs. Sadly I don't remember who invited me to come but I do remember very clearly other details from my first Fall Weekend. Rockbridge holds a very special place in my heart and whenever I see camp come into view I feel sort of like I'm coming home. Earlier I counted that I have been to Rockbridge somewhere around 15 times since that first trip my sophomore year of high school. This coming weekend will be trip number 16, my 6th fall weekend, and I can not wait!!

(the beautiful Rockbridge Alum Springs in Goshen, VA)

I am forever indebted to my own sweet young life leader, Susan,

for the way her life still shines such light into mine.

(Taylor, Susan, and I at last year's Committee/Leader weekend-

what a sweet legacy Susan passed down through my life into Taylor's!)

"Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.

Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith."

Hebrews 13:7

For the past 3 1/2 years I have had the privilege of playing that role in my own high school girls' lives. I have made some big mistakes, I have battled pride and arrogance and bitterness, I have experienced triumphs and disappointments, I have cried hard and laughed harder, I have watched girls go from death to life, I have made some of the closest friends I could have ever dreamed of- but more than anything else, since that weekend I have gotten to be a part of one of the sweetest ministries I have ever seen- a ministry I plan to be involved in for the rest of my life if God will allow it.

I remember laying on the grass one night at camp all by myself looking up at the brilliant night sky thinking that if what the speaker was saying was true, I wanted it- and I wanted it bad! I remember my body shaking and tears pouring down the sides of my face as the reality of God's love hit me for the first time. I'd heard of "God's love" for my whole life, but that night was the first time that I felt it.

"I once was lost, but now I am found"

"Since what may be known about God is plain to them,

because God has made it plain to them.

For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities-

his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen,

being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse."

Romans 1:19-20

He made himself plain to me and I realized that I was without excuse. My life was changed that weekend in ways that I understood then and in ways that I have only recently begun to see.

"Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you

will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 1:6

This weekend we are taking 45 beautiful girls with us to Rockbridge. For some of them it will be the first time that they have ever heard the gospel. For others it will be the first time they've ever heard truth in a way that is understandable and it will rock their worlds (this was me six years ago!). Still others are coming as our teammates- speaking out boldly for the Lord who is transforming their lives to this day. Fall Weekend is so different from summer camp- by the time summer comes around we've had the chance to earn the right to be heard with most of our girls and that just isn't the case for this weekend. There are girls coming on this trip that we have never met and then there are girls coming who are like our sisters. This trip is going to be a whirlwind on so many fronts- so I ask that you would be lifting us up before, during, and after the weekend (we leave Friday at 7pm and the journey will continue long after we return Sunday afternoon around 1pm). Pray that the speaker's words would fall on open ears and receptive hearts (how cool is it that the speaker this weekend will be the same that spoke for my first trip to Rockbridge all those years ago?!). Pray for open doors for us to have real conversations. We always say that Fall Weekend is a sprint- it is honestly over before we know it. But I believe with my whole heart that this weekend is a perfectly planned gift and every single girl has been entrusted to us for a specific purpose- if only we are bold enough to embrace it. So pray that we would.

(Last year's group of girls at Fall Weekend)

"And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message,

so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ,

for which I am in chains.

Pray that I may proclaim it clearly, as I should."

Colossians 4:3-4

We are fully known, and so, so loved!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Overlook ahead

Today I was feeling restless and I was unhappy with the idea of wasting yet another beautiful day inside, so I decided to do something I've been longing to do for weeks now- go for a long drive on the parkway. I have been sitting on my porch a lot lately, watching the leaves change on the mountain, and something in me just needed to be in the midst of the fall. I love that the speed limit on the parkway is fairly low, because it forces you to take it slow and enjoy the glimpses you get of the breathtaking view. I pulled off at one of the overlooks, got out of my car, and just sat by myself on the grass. It was neat to sit still and silent while the world went on around me. I was surprised by how many people came and went while I sat there- I am grateful that I was raised by parents who liked to take their time at places like this. I only brought my journal and the book 'Crazy Love' to my spot on the grass. It was no coincidence that Francis Chan was talking about heaven as I sat there in the sunshine taking in a tiny piece of creation.

"You are worthy, our Lord and God,

to receive glory and honor and power,

for you created all things

and by your will they were created and have their being."

Revelation 4:11

I felt like those were the very words my heart was singing to the Lord as I sat and marveled at his beautiful and majestic landscape. And how wonderful is it to know that I am a part of all that he created! And not only part- but the best part!

"For in him we live and move and have our being."

Acts 17:28a

I was sort of bummed that I didn't have a camera to document the changing leaves, but as I took it all in and even as I drove home afterwards, I realized that today was just for me- moments made just so that the Lord could meet me in the place that I am in today. But I don't think today was my last drive on the parkway, I think it was just the beginning of what will be a very sweet part of my time living in Waynesboro, VA. So, if you are interested in coming along on my next excursion up the mountain, let me know! As a matter of fact, I even saw a sign that said "Roanoke 115 mi." Maybe one day I'll take the long way to visit my family. And company is more than welcome! (:



Saturday, October 23, 2010

Seek First

I've been discontent and regretful pretty often lately. I regret doing things; I regret not doing other things. I feel like I watch my days slip by so quickly and I find myself worrying that I will come to a point in my life when I look back and wonder 'what do I have to show for the life that I lived?'

I want a lot of stuff.

I want companionship and adventure and purpose and JOY! And I wholeheartedly believe that God wants me to have these things too. So... why don't I? I think God whispered his answer to me tonight.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness

and all these things will be given to you as well."

Matthew 6:33

I am seeking companionship.

I am seeking adventure.

I am seeking purpose.

I am seeking joy.

I am seeking so many good things,

but I was not designed to find life on my own-

so I wont-

"I have come that they may have life,

and have it to the full."

John 10:10b

I am called to seek Christ first so that he can give me life and all of these other beautiful gifts the way he planned before the beginning of time.

"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-

how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?"

Romans 8:32

My life does have purpose! And that truth brings me great joy!! But that purpose isn't to do a bunch of stuff-

"He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."

Micah 6:8

My purpose is just to LIVE and to bring glory to my God in the way I do it- and my heart's desire is to experience life the way he intended.

"Delight yourself in the Lord

and he will give you the desires of your heart."

Psalm 37:4

That is what I want- and I am confident that if I am delighting myself in sweet time and relationship with the Lord, he will graciously give me those other things that my heart desires in his precious, perfect timing.



PS... After writing this post, I watched 'My Sister's Keeper'- here is a shameless plug- watch it! Although it was inaccurate to the book, it was beautiful... and inspiring!

Don't hold back! Live big. And love hard.

That's all.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This song came on the radio tonight in the car and I was blown away by the fact that I could almost audibly hear the Lord singing it to me personally.

Here is the song itself... I think it's incredible!

And the lyrics-

Days will come when you don't have the strength

When all you hear is you're not worth anything

Wondering if you ever could be loved

And if they truly saw your heart, they'd see too much

You're beautiful

You're beautiful

You are made for so much more than all of this

You're beautiful

You're beautiful

You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his

You're beautiful

Praying that you have the heart to fight

'Cause you are more than what is hurting you tonight

For all the lies you've held inside so long

They are nothing in the shadow of the cross

You're beautiful

You're beautiful

You are made for so much more than all of this

You're beautiful

You're beautiful

You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his

You're beautiful.

Before you ever took a breath

Long before the world began

Of all the wonders He possessed

There was one more precious

Of all the earth and skies above

You're the one He madly loves enough to die

You're beautiful

You're beautiful in His eyes

You're beautiful

You are made for so much more than all of this

You're beautiful

You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his

You're beautiful

You're beautiful

You are made for so much more than all of this

You're beautiful

You're beautiful

You are treasured, you are sacred, you are his

-'Beautiful' -MercyMe

"How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful!"

Song of Songs 4:1a

He calls us BEAUTIFUL! Why, oh why, do I forget that on a daily basis?

Remember that you are beautiful! (And remind me sometime too!) (:

Let Him love you!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How did I get here?

Do you ever look around and wonder, "How in the world did I get here?" I have had that thought creep into my mind so many times over the past few weeks- sometimes it comes in a beautiful burst of gratefulness, and sometimes it shows up in the darkest of valleys.

I wonder how in the world am I already twenty-two years old with 4 years of college behind me! I look around and ask, 'Waynesboro?! Really?!' and yet there is nowhere in the world I'd rather be! There are days that I am at work and I cannot figure out for the life of me how I ended up working in the marketing field at Chick-fil-A of all places. Sometimes I still wonder who was crazy enough to let me start leading Young Life back in the spring of 2007, and yet daily grateful, not that I am a blessing in high schoolers lives, but that they bless mine so much.

And then there are those dark valleys I mentioned- this past week has been a hard one and it has been obvious to all of the people close to me (and all of those who have no choice but to put up with me day in and day out at work). For starters, I've always known that the weather had a pretty direct effect on my disposition, but man the rain this past week took me to an all-time low. (One rainy day, I guess I was being particularly transparent, and my boss took notice and told me, "We need to get you some sunshine!!") There were so many times last week that I thought, "poor me," and an equal number of times that I thought, "How did I get here? This is not me! I know Jesus and he is the author and perfecter of JOY! Who is this sad little person I have become?"

...and yet in all of that wondering, I am convinced that God is faithful and sovereign and his plan is perfect and his ways are so much higher than mine!

"As for God, his way is perfect;

the word of the Lord is flawless."

Psalm 18:30

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.

'As the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

Isaiah 55:8-9

It doesn't matter what I can and cannot fathom, because my God is unfathomable and he does whatever pleases him (Job 23:13 & Psalm 115:3). I willingly gave up my right to control my own life a long time ago.

"I know, O Lord, that a man's life is not his own;

it is not for man to direct his steps."

Jeremiah 10:23

It was far more than the weather that made this past week a tough one, and my heart has been sad and burdened. I had put so much of my faith and hope and found so much of my worth in earthly things and people that I was completely crushed when these things and people let me down. But where did I get the idea that things here would only lift me up and never disappoint me? God never promised me that! However, he did say that he would be there through every stumble, fall, and long, miserable slide into the deepest valleys. God is faithful even when I am not (2 Timothy 2:13)!!

"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,

and he saved them from their distress.

He brought them out of darkness and the deepest gloom

and broke away their chains.

Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love

and his wonderful deeds for men,

for he breaks down gates of bronze

and cuts through bars of iron."

Psalm 107:13-16

"The Lord is faithful to all his promises

and loving toward all he has made.

The Lord upholds all those who fall

and lifts up all who are bowed down."

Psalm 145:13b-14

How is it possible, that God can remember me- enough to die for me before I even existed- that he can love me enough to promise to never forsake me (no matter what I do- and he knows it all... heck he knew it before I did it!)-

"What is man that you are mindful of him,

the son of man that you care for him?"

Hebrews 2:6

" content with what you have, because God has said,

'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"

Hebrews 13:5

And yet at every turn I forget and forsake him?

"But I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.

You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me.

I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat.

When I fed them, they were satisfied;

when they were satisfied, they became proud;

then they forgot me."

Hosea 13: 4-6

"Yet I hold this against you:

You have forsaken your first love."

Revelation 2:4

My ups and downs are so easily determined by the way things are around me- my job, my relationships, the weather!! And yet this makes no sense when I realize that the God that I have committed my entire life to is completely, 100% consistent and he never changes!

The Lord has been teaching me so much and revealing himself to me in such sweet ways at church. Even after a tough week and a hard, hard Saturday night, I just knew I needed to be in that building at 11am Sunday morning. And God met me! (But doesn't he always when I show up??) Tab is a Presbyterian church, so they have a lot of Presbyterian-type stuff in the service at times, which I don't mind, but sometimes it makes me chuckle and other times I'm caught off guard with how tightly it grabs at my heart- like this Sunday. One of the "Westminster Catechism" questions this Sunday was, "What is the chief end of man?" And the answer was, "Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever." I'm pretty sure my life has not brought glory and honor to the Lord lately, and all he really wants from me is that I would enjoy him!! That's pretty sweet! Essen talked about our souls' cry for meaning and purpose and worth. Uhh.. YES! Ok, if I wasn't before, I'm listening now. He said that our hearts are restless (true!!) and that they will only find peace when they find rest in God- how often do I tell my high school friends this exact fact? And yet I cannot wrap my mind around it or get my life to represent it for the life of me! He said, so truthfully, that nothing on earth will "staunch the bleeding" of my heart. And man my heart was bleeding this week!

"My flesh and my heart may fail,

but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Psalm 73:26

I am not worthless! As often as Satan may whisper that lie in my ear, I am not!! How could I be worthless when I bear the image of the most high God?! How could I be without value when I am daughter of the King and called beloved by the creator of all things?! It's simply not possible.

"Find rest my soul in God alone

amid the world's temptations;

when evil seeks to take a hold

I'll cling to my salvation.

Though riches come and riches go,

don't set your heart upon them;

The fields of hope in which I sow

are harvested in heaven."

-My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone (Psalm 62)

"...there will be a day

with no more tears,

no more pain,

and no more fears.

There will be a day

when the burdens of this place

will be no more,

we'll see Jesus face-to-face..."

-'There Will Be A Day' Jeremy Camp

"And the God of all grace,

who called you to his eternal glory in Christ,

after you've suffered a little while,

will himself restore you and make you

strong, firm, and steadfast."

1 Peter 5:10

So how did I get here? Yes, that is the question- how did I get to live another day, breathe another breath, get another chance to glorify God and to enjoy him? Only by God's grace and mercy! Did I mention that He is faithful?? (:

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,

for he who promised is faithful."

Hebrews 10:23

"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

2 Chronicles 20:12

broken, yet hopeful...


Saturday, October 2, 2010

So... you read my blog?

One of the highlights for me over the past few weeks has been having friends, family, and random acquaintances let me know that they read my blog. I genuinely write to let my heart overflow and am completely aware and content with the fact that lots of people might read that overflow. My hope is that it would be a blessing and encouragement to some, and clarification of who I am for others (I learn a ton about myself as I write, so I know other people must too).

"But encourage one another daily,
as long as it is called Today,
so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness."
Hebrews 3:13

So here comes my request:
If you read my blog, would you let me know?

I am so encouraged to know that my words aren't falling on pages that are never read, and I would love to know who in my life is walking through this journey with me. Feel free to just post a comment (its quick and easy) to let me know, or if you'd rather, you can become an official "follower." Either way works for me!!

Thanks and keep reading!!