Monday, February 28, 2011

Rainy Monday

It's a rainy monday and it has made me weepy all day. I hate that. Rain is life-giving, and yet when I watch it fall outside the windows I find myself drained and feeling dreary. Rain also makes me very thoughtful and pensive and I find myself processing and analyzing things (sometimes too much). So, it sounds strange, but while I sit and type, I have to make a conscious decision about what I want to think about.

The good or the bad.

The encouraging or discouraging.

The temporary or eternal.

And so on and so on.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..."

Hebrews 12:2

"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.

For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:18

So, what will I choose to fix my eyes on?

Will I choose to think about the rain, or the fact that I can sit in my living room tonight with the windows thrown open because it is delightfully warm outside?

That is all for now.



Friday, February 25, 2011


I don't even have words to explain what this song does to my soul each time I hear it. I heard it at work the other day and the Lord opened my ears to the words (that I must have heard a thousand times). I think it was written for me. No, really. So, watch it (and make sure to read the lyrics I posted with it).

There's a girl in the corner
with tear stains on her eyes
from the places she's wandered
and the shame she can't hide

She says, "How did I get here?
I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"

But don't you know who you are,
what's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
you are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
you are more than the problems you create,
you've been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling
That it's not true tonight

She knows all the answers
and she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
you are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
you've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
you are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
you are more than the problems you create,
you've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,
but what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
but where your brokenness brings you to.

This is snot about what you feel,
but what He felt to forgive you,
and what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
you are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
you are more than the problems you create,
you've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
you are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
you are more than the problems you create,
you've been remade.

You've been remade.
You've been remade.
You've been remade.
You've been remade.
-'You are more,' Tenth Avenue North

"But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Romans 5:8

It's truth. Believe it. And remind me of it.
You've been remade. (and so have I)

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation;
the old has gone, the new has come!"
2 Corinthians 5:17


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

i choose life.

A few weeks ago at Prayer Overnight Justin Ryder (the area director from Chesapeake) got up and said a few sweet words about his wife Libby. Libby is 27 years old and was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma about 7 months ago. I have never met Libby, but I knew of her and I knew she was battling cancer because of a few emails I'd received. I also knew that Libby had a blog but for some reason I hadn't been following it (I know, weird). Well after that weekend I couldn't stay away! Libby is incredible- no, no Jesus is incredible and he is inside and flowing out of Libby with every breath she takes and every word she types. Here are a few of the words I have read on her blog so far that hit me extra hard (I am still not caught up and refuse to skip even a day):

the nurse today said, "wow i bet its been a nightmare for you guys since you found out three weeks ago..." i did not respond, but i immediately thought, nope not a nightmare. never occurred to me to think of it like that. not because i am strong or anything, because this sucks. cancer is not very fun at all and i hate it. but i do not hate it because i think its unfair or why me...but mostly because i would prefer not to have cancer. but i trust jesus more than i ever have in my life and i can already see how he is using this in such huge ways and i love it. he is real and he is good. all the time.

I see echos of Philippians 1 in your messages, "I want you to know brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel...". -Justin to Libby

many people choose despair. but i choose life. and life to the full. even now.

Beautiful words. Powerful words. Incredible truths.

"Therefore we do not lose heart.

Though outwardly we are wasting away,

yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:16

This thing is seriously changing my perspective and kind of kicking my butt (in such a good way). So, please, please read it for yourself! Don't waste your cancer (I love it so much when people read my words- but it is almost more fun to encourage people to read the words of other people that have rocked my world.)

Then, this weekend all of the leaders in our region got together again (the number neared 1000), in Richmond this time, to worship, learn, be encouraged, and just spend time together. When I saw Libby I knew it was only a matter of time before she got up front to share her story with us in person... and I couldn't wait! Sure enough, on night one, Scott called her and Justin to the podium to speak and some of her first words were said in triumph: "We heard from the doctor today that I AM CANCER FREE." Hallelujah! She received a standing ovation- applause for her lasted longer than anyone else's that weekend (even longer than the keynote speaker). She cried through most of her time on stage but they were beautiful tears- tears of joy and passion, of relief and gratitude. Her life has been changed forever. Jesus met her in such a sweet, intimate way and she will never be the same.

I want that, I desire that, I crave that.

"but those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.

They will soar high on wings like eagles.

They will run and not grow weary.

They will walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:31

Meet me where I am and renew me, Lord.

Amen and amen.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Face off

This week I experienced one of the funniest moments of my Chick-fil-A career (so far- I am sure there are plenty more to come). Let me set the scene:

Last week was "Free Breakfast Week" in our Chick-fil-A region- so each day throughout the week, we offered a select free breakfast entree. It was, for the most part, controlled chaos (as controlled as it can be giving away 922 Chick-fil-A biscuits for free on an already steady Friday morning). Waynesboro sure does love free stuff (I mean who doesnt? But Waynesboro patrons really are one-of-a-kind!) and one of my favorite things to do is give away free food! Anyways, it was Tuesday morning (or maybe Wednesday, I'm not really sure, all of the days from last week pretty much blur together) at about 8:30am and I was checking on the cow we had on the corner of one of the major intersections in town. My little cow was doing alright and I was about to head back to the store when something caught my eye. Across the street, in front of Shoney's was a little bear mascot. (Who even knew Shoney's had a mascot? Yeah, me either!)
Here it is-

{I know, it looks like it's terrifying that poor kid!}

I will never regret something as much as I regret not getting my own picture of what I saw that morning because it did not stop at the mascot itself- no, no there was more. Our sweet little cow carried a sign that said, "Free Breakfast Now" and that little bear held a sign of it's own- a real classy, sharpie on poster board sign. It said, "Real Breakfast Now." I almost rolled down the hill from the laughter that rocked me. The Shoney's bear was trying to start something with our Chick-fil-A kid cow! I immediately texted Jay and told him to drive by on his way to work to get a picture but by that time the bear (who obviously didn't have the stamina of our more experienced cows) had already retreated inside. We waited eagerly for that little bear to resurface, but he never did show his face again.

That is not the first battle our faithful mascot has encountered (there was this other time with 'Grimace' the McDonald's mascot-

I know, what kind of name is Grimace for a kid-friendly mascot?) and I'm sure it won't be the last. But Chick-fil-A will hold on to it's class and stamina and will always be the last one standing! But I have to thank that little Shoney's bear for bringing light to my week and making my day!
(If anyone sees that bear again, I will PAY you to take a picture for me!)

I felt a little bad because I'm sure our free breakfast was taking a chunk of Shoney's breakfast sales last week (and hopefully in general), but 1. whoever named them "Best Breakfast in the Valley" has some serious issues- I won't lie, I love me some Shoney's, but it is not the best around and 2. don't mess with Chick-fil-A breakfast. It's bangin'.

Still laughing,

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Something beautiful

A lot of times when I am driving down the road, I am struck by the thought, "this place is incredible- why would anyone want to live anywhere else?" This week I got off work early one day, so I decided to make a trip up to Harrisonburg. I like to take one particular route because of the scenery and it turned out to be such a good choice Tuesday. It was right at sunset and the sky was seriously blowing my mind. I didn't want to miss one cloud or one burst of color, so I started slowing down and grabbed my phone for the camera. I had some time to spare, so I decided to chase the sunset. I pulled off on a random side road just to find the best view. Despite the slight danger and the people driving behind me thinking I was crazy, I was in awe, and I had to capture what I was seeing. There is no reason the sky should look like that. Well, actually I take that back- there are 2 reasons the sky looks like that-

1. The earth can't help but cry out in praise to it's creator- the way that we are made to.
"I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
Luke 19:40

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1

2. God loves us so much that he chooses to dazzle us with beauty. Just because.


It was incredible and as though the land and sky were shouting 'hallelujah' and saying, "how could you possibly not believe in and worship the One who created us? He is so good!"

"...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


"Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it;
let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them.
Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy; they will sing before the Lord..."
Psalm 96:11-13

"You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands."
Isaiah 55:12

God knows me, and he knows what rocks my world and brings me to my knees. He knows that when I see the sky turn incredible colors and the clouds race across the sky I am enraptured and my thoughts immediately go to the One that made it all. I believe with all of me that the sky during that drive was crafted just for my enjoyment- because God is good and oh, how he loves us!


Saturday, February 5, 2011

24 hours

(**Disclaimer: I'm not even going to address how flipping long it has been since I wrote...
onward and upward!)

Last weekend I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Rockbridge for our annual "Prayer Overnight." There were over 800 of us packed into the club room, the dorms (for every 3 guys, only one had a mattress... chivalry is not dead, my friends), and the dining hall for 24 hours with a single purpose: to pray.

"And I will do whatever you ask in my name,
so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
John 14:13-14

Before life with Christ, I would have thought something like this weekend was a little weird (especially considering the fact that the majority of us were college aged or young adults- not just a group of little old ladies in a circle, knitting). We fasted for 24 hours and focused (as much as our little human bodies would allow) on sitting at the Lord's feet and asking for whatever we believed would bring glory to his name. We worshipped, we prayed (silently, out loud, and collectively), we listened (to those leading our region, each other, and mostly the Lord), we prayed (over the camp and our neighboring areas), we fasted, we prayed through the night (my shift was from 4-4:30am) for every middle and high school kid in our region, and then we broke our fast together on Sunday.

"If you remain in me and my words remain in you,
ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you."
John 15:7

Young Life is such a special group of people, but I never quite feel like I fit in (especially when the crowds number close to 900). However, this weekend I got to see some of my favorite people in the entire world: Susan and Jamie! Susan was MY Young Life leader in high school and it is completely the Lord's prompting and her example that led me to move to Waynesboro and continue leading after college when so many of my friends could not wait to (for lack of a better word) quit. Susan has been such a gift from day one- she is so faithful and has an overwhelming peace and joy about her. She is honestly the leader I want to be. Jamie was my teammate for 3 1/2 years before he went on Young Life staff and moved to Fredericksburg- I hadn't seen him since August! Our lives are all so busy that catching up is tough to coordinate- a few days (sometimes even weeks) of phone tag is always to be expected. Because of the structure of the weekend, I only got to spend about 15 minutes of quality time with these two friends, but gosh, those minutes were refreshing!

My absolute favorite part of the weekend was when we each "adopted" an area to pray for over throughout the next year. Not only was this a cool idea, but it gave me chills to watch JMU leaders go crazy over the opportunity to pray for Virginia Tech leaders and to see Virginia Tech leaders leap up at the chance to pray for UVA leaders, etc. That is what the body of Christ is meant to look like! When the Valley (where I lead) was given the responsibility of praying over Roanoke for the next year my heart nearly burst with joy. In an email to my team I wrote, "I am beyond psyched for our adopted area!! It is the sweetest thing ever to feel called here and to live here, but to be able to (and encouraged to) pray for my hometown!" It put a lump in my throat to think about all of my leader friends here praying for my home and high school.

I know it's been a fruitful weekend when I come home with pages upon pages filled in my journal and a renewed passion to "go." Some of my other favorites from the weekend:

If you preach Christ, you get community; if you preach community, you get chaos.

Prayer is not the blessing before the meal; it is the meal itself.

When Jesus is lifted up, he unites us.

Jesus is Love Personified and Love Mystified.
(a guy prayed this at one point during the weekend- I loved it.)

Kids walk away when I lead them to Christ.
Kids stay when Christ draws them to himself.

"'Not by might nor by power, but by my spirit,' says the Lord Almighty."
Zechariah 4:6

We're not about a lot of 'activity'- a fish out of water is very active, but it is dying!

We are one beggar telling other beggars where we found food.

"If you're a christian- WAKE UP YOUR FACE!" -Scott Hamilton (Regional Director)

It's never going to be 'someone else's job' to follow Jesus and make disciples of all nations.

Thought: Someone once prayed that YL would start in the Valley. Someone once specifically prayed that YL would come to Waynesboro High School. Do I believe that I am an answer to someone's prayers? (usually not.)

My sin is NOT greater than God's grace.

My teammates and I "waking up our faces" (:

It is not cliche to say that prayer is powerful! It is such a gift- but it is not limited to times when there are 900 people gathered-

"For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."

Matthew 18:20

Jesus is just as real in Waynesboro, VA as he is at Rockbridge- and that is something that I forget so easily. I came home with excitement and a renewed passion to "go" and sometimes prayer is the only available avenue (more on that later).

"Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence,

so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."

Hebrews 4:16

I promise it won't be so dang long until next time- but until then...