Tuesday, November 17, 2009

my league of extraordinary gentlemen...

This has been a really good couple of weeks...and that always leads to really obvious realizations for me. This week's?:

I have some pretty amazing men in my life.

1. I have a Daddy that has set aside special time for me since I was little. Tea parties at my Little Tikes kitchen, picnics in my playhouse, rides on the riding lawnmower, our exclusive Bourne trilogy dates, encouraging notes in the mail, pre-ordered flowers that show up halfway through his Africa trips, long phone conversations on anything from flirting to finances to faith. He's such a good daddy. He loves the Lord. He loves me. He takes care of me. I've realized lately that my relationship with him is an exception to the rule...not many girls have a relationship with their father like the one I have with mine, not many girls have a dad that doesn't complicate their view of God as their Father. I'm so blessed to have him.

2. I have a brother who graciously let me hang around and claim his as my best friend until I found another one. Poor guy, put up with his ten-years-younger little sister for a looooong time. He's taken care of me, hurt with me, protected me and prayed for me. He's my brother...and everything that comes with that.

3. My great-uncle, referred to by all of us as Uncle Buddy, was an amazing example of faith. He was funny, lovable, and fully committed to the Lord. He was crazy about his wife, and when she passed away, he couldn't wait to get to Heaven and spend eternity worshipping God with her.

4. I have the greatest brother-in-law ever. Seriously...jackpot. He loves my sister. He loves our family. He loooooves the Lord. I have known him for....65% of my life. He's pretty much just my brother...no in-law needed. I used to be horrified of him. He was sooooooo tall and sooooooo scary. He's still tall....but he's not so scary anymore. He's pretty good at the brother stuff too. When I was ten he sent me flowers after one of my surgeries. A couple summers ago, when I was literally trapped in an uncomfortable situation, he'd call periodically and check on me, reminding me that if I needed him to come get me, all I had to do was call and say "The eagle flies west on Tuesday"...and he would come. His love for connecting students to the Truth and the life found only in Christ is contagious. He's shown me how to serve God even when your situation's not what the way you wanted or expected.

5. This summer I, along with two of my friends, Brittany and Lindsay, invaded the Kiser space! Chris and Becky were so generous to share their home with us for the summer. They were an answered prayer for all us! If you haven't heard me talk about how much I love Becky...you don't know me at all :), but Chris has become such a great influence in my life as well. I got to see firsthand the way he loves the Lord, loves his wife, and loves his friends. I was so encouraged and challenged by the man of God that he is to be more intentional in my relationships with people. He challenged me to take small choices seriously and to use all of my time to its full potential.

6. I have a small, but priceless, handful of friends that I am blessed to call my brothers. I trust them and know that when they say they're praying for me....they are. I know that when I'm frustrated with one of them...or they're frustrated with me...we'll figure it out. I love them and lift them up as my brothers. They love me and take care of me as their sister. I always wanted "brothers" like this...and I'm so blessed to have them. And when I get those texts that say "I'm praying for you sis," it makes my day....because I know I can believe every word.

So yes....I have some pretty amazing men in my life...

They paint me such an intricate picture of what a man of God looks like. They constantly provide encouragement for me....silently reminding me that my patience isn't pointless. They reassure me that I won't be compromising anything by someday submitting to my husband, but instead gaining so much more. They challenge me and protect me, reprimand me and build me up. They each add so much to who I am.

In a world where so many women resent, and even hate men....

that's not my opinion at all.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's a safe place!

I'm not much of a risk taker...

I'm not a risk taker at all.

If it looks like it could break me, I don't do it.

I thought that only applied to skiing, skateboarding, bungee jumping, etc., but I was wrong.

I'm that way with everything.

If it looks like it could hurt my feelings, I don't do it.

If it looks like it could scare me, I don't do it.

If it looks like I could fail, I don't do it.

If it looks like it could hurt my heart....I don't risk it.

I'm not a risk taker.

I'm a chicken.

But I long to be brave.

When the college catalyst at church confronted me about leading a girls' small group this semester, my anti-risk taker walls went up. No thank you. Pass. Maybe later. That's not for me. The question for discussion that Sunday night in college group? Where are you risking in your life to show God and people that you trust Him? Oh.........but.........well........ok. So I held my breath and took the risk.....absolutely horrified the whole time.

I was scared that no one would pick my small group...but girls did!

I was worried that no one who signed up would actually come...but they did!

I was scared that they wouldn't keep coming...but they have!

It's been almost two months, and we're still working through Crazy Love, by Francis Chan. These girls still read, they still come, and they're still as amazing as they were on day one! Last night we met and went and to Starbucks to hang out and talk about our chapter. We hadn't been there two minutes before one of the girls (who tends to keep her information completely to herself) randomly and unprovoked, leaned forward in her chair and gave us a thirty-second summary about the emotional struggle she's had for the past few days.

I was shocked. I couldn't believe what was happening. I had hoped and prayed from the beginning that this small group would be a place where these girls felt comfortable enough to say what they needed to say, to ask for prayer, to be honest with each other. There was no guarantee that this would happen....it was a risk. We all took that risk together...

and it worked!

We have a safe place!

I'm not an official risk taker.

I'm still a chicken.

I'm no where near brave.

But I might be one tiny, little bitty, baby step closer

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Sister!

Monday was my sweet sister's birthday! With she and my Daddy getting back from Africa that day, and school making me cRaZy, I didn't get to do this until now, but.....


And in honor of your birthday, here's 21 things I LOVE about you or have loved doing with you! By the way, it is 21 right? ;)

1. I LOVE that you always read to me when I was little...Chronicles of Narnia, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, The Polar Express (especially our favorite page about the "hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars"!)

2. I LOVE that you LOVE to take care of people: your guys, youth, kids, etc.

3. I LOVE that at least once a week, while putting on my makeup, I remember that I learned how from years of sitting on the bathroom counter and watching you do it

4. I LOVE when we talk and remember stories about Dad that make us laugh until we can't breathe! wwwWWhHAT?! (in his one-of-a-kind way)

5. I LOVE our haircut dates :)

6. I LOVE that you can't keep gifts a secret.

7. I LOVE that you were never big on the color pink, then you had all the boys, and now you love it!

8. I LOVE that you love investing in youth and love to see them grow spiritually.

9. I LOVE LOVE LOVE going to Bible study with you

10. I LOVE the time we watched A League of Their Own at your house in Brookshire, and cried our eyes out during that last game

11. I LOVE that we've always fought over who loves the other the most

12. I LOVE that we both have the same opinion of Matt Damon

13. I LOVE that I can talk to you on the phone for a long time...even though I hate talking on the phone.

14. I LOVE that no one else in our house would ever watch My Fair Lady with me but you

15. I LOVE the way I picked up on your ability to trip up stairs, your fear of birds, and your annoyance with mouth noises

16. I LOVE to see you being a mommy....and SUCH a good one!

17. I LOVE that you love your husband and stick with him

18. I LOVE that night at youth camp...you were pregnant with Joseph, and I had a headache. Dad brought me to you and Larry's cabin instead of going to worship and we sat on the couch for a long time with my hand on your tummy so I could feel him kick.

19. I LOVE that we're really different.

20. I LOVE that sometimes we're exactly the same.

21. I LOVE that you're my sister!

Happy birthday, big sister!

I LOVE you!




Saturday, October 10, 2009

new layout, new Michael Buble, an old movie, and a new patience

I do believe that my blog has a bit of an identity crisis. It really cannot maintain the same look for more than a few months. We'll see how long this look lasts :)

Michael Buble released a new album, Crazy Love, yesterday!!!!

I absolutely love it! I ran by Target and picked it up last night and have not stopped listening to it. It bears the same title as the incredible book we're going through in small groups, so guess what we'll be listening to Wednesday night. ;)

I have watched Return to Me three times in the past two days. Ridiculous. Pathetic, I know. It's sooooo good though. If you haven't seen it, you must. It's cheesy and predictable, I'll warn you, but honestly, what quality chick flick isn't? I tried to tell myself yesterday afternoon (before popping it in for the third time) that it wasn't good for me to watch that much lovey dovey that many times. Of course, I didn't listen, and was swept off my feet yet again.

It wasn't bad for me though. It was surprisingly good.

See I'm the girl that cries randomly and unprovoked because I need a boyfriend. I crave that relationship and I often have myself convinced that if it doesn't happen soon, it never will. Watching this movie though (you'll have to see it to understand...and maybe even then it's just my crazy perception), I didn't feel that way at all. The way that he treats her is what I want. He's a grown man when he meets her and because of that he respects her and supports her and takes care of her and really loves her. He's grown up enough to know what he needs. And what he needs...is her.

I am not a grown up. I'm twenty years old. I'm a long way from knowing what, let alone who, I need. And he....whoever he is....isn't grown up enough to know that now either....and that's ok.

Because I want him to respect me and support me and take care of me and really love me. And if I have to wait fifteen years for that....it'll be ok.

(although fifteen might be pushing it....Lord, please grow my patience fruit!)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

no call? no text?.....anything?

First of all........

Thank you so much for the outpouring of wonderful, love-filled comments! Absolutely made. my. life! I don't even think I need 50.....27 made me just as thrilled :)

Now on to my thought for the day....er.....days!

I may be totally in left field. I could be terribly wrong. I mean really, I could have been extremely misinformed, but I was under the impression that when a boy asked for your number--not because you had class together and he might need to borrow notes and not even in the "oh-we're-friends-and-we-hang-out-all-the-time-so-I-should-probably-get-your-number" kind of way, but in a very flirtatious, elevator conversation, out of the blue, "hey, let me get your number" (with the smile.....ugh...that smile. You know the one.) kind of way-- and remember, I could still be wrong, but I really kinda thought he actually had the intention of USING IT!!!

Really? No call? No text?......anything?

Apparently....I misunderstood.

I mean I must have just been completely and utterly wrong. In every form of the word.

Or maybe I just imagined the whole thing?......

No.....that's not it. It happened.

And now he's walking around with that smile on his face and my number in his phone and I don't like it. I don't like it one bit.

The five year old in me wants to walk up, ask to borrow his phone (with some endearing story about how a bunny ran off with mine and dropped it in Friendship Pond), in which case he will gladly lend me his and I will proceed to dramatically delete my number (after all, he's not planning on using it), slide his phone closed with unnecessary force, let out an exasperated "Hmph!", make an exaggerated turn, and walk away.

But I won't. Reeealllllly, I won't. I promise. I want to....but I won't.

And instead of making a total fool of myself, I've just been thinking instead, and what I've been thinking is this:

This thing. This boy. This failure to communicate and follow through....

I've done it.

Granted, I have not asked a guy for his number and then failed to call or text him....I haven't asked a guy for his number....at all, actually; but I have failed miserably at communicating with someone that waits for me to call.

I'm frustrated. I'm annoyed. I'm a little embarrassed and a little curious as to what I did to make that guy not use my number. So I'm wondering...if the fact that I so often neglect communicating with God causes Him to feel the same way.

I mean, God in His greatness knows He did nothing to push me away. He only draws me closer. He doesn't need fellowship with me, but He wants it.

I'm going to survive if this guy never texts me, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't mind if he did. I don't need it, but I want it.

But boy and texting and smiles aside, how many times do I look to God and promise to call on Him, and then I just.....


And I'm wondering if all the times I do that...if all the times I display good intentions and then fail to follow up, if He wonders what it's going to take to get and keep my attention. He knows what He did. He gave His Son. He gave up the One that meant most to Him, so that I could have the opportunity, the choice to call on Him....and so often I don't....and He's gotta wonder why.

There's really no conclusion. No end point. No pretty, wrap-up sentence. It's just what I've been thinking about.

And while I may not have an answer to all of this "wondering"....

I'm a lot less concerned with the inactivity of my cell phone.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

one million readers, a small group success, and a God that just won't leave me alone

On the epic best friend weekend (pictures soon to come!), I saw Julie & Julia. Let me just say, I have never been more inspired to be the author of the. best. blog. ever. Not even the best blog actually. Just a blog that a large number of people read. Imagine waking up to 50+ comments every morning. Um.......yes please!
But since we (and by we I mean myself and the five or so people that read this) know that that is simply not going to happen, I'm just going to pretend that I have one million readers that are dedicated enough to read my blog, but are just too busy to actually comment.

But hey, if you someday feel the urge to leave me fifty comments just to boost my self-confidence, I'm not going to stop you ;)

We had a small.GROUPS kick-off tonight for the three girls' small groups at HBU. I've been so scared that no one would want to come to my group, I was actually making myself sick. Seriously...I've been paranoid all week that I was going to be studying Crazy Love, by Francis Chan all alone for the semester. Not that that would be bad, I would still love to do it, but since I've already been feeling pretty lonely, I was really hoping for some sisters to grow with.

I had seven.....7.....SEVEN! sign up tonight! I'm so excited! Plus there are girls that weren't able to come tonight that are going to come once we get started going through the book next week! Praise the Lord. P...T...L.!

I can't wait to get the small group started and begin pouring over the Word and into these girls this semester!

I've been feeling miserable alone, out of place, and unwanted lately; and last Wednesday, this is what came in the mail:

Dear Hannah,
I am praying for you to have a great semester. Do not fret (Psalm 37) over the circumstances with your friends. They will come back around.
Keep your eyes open for someone who needs a friend. You probably are yet to meet your life's "best friend."
See you soon!
Love, Dad

I was desperate for a word. I needed a hug. I needed a friend. I needed to know that my Father hadn't left me all alone. And since my Heavenly Father knows my heart better than anyone, he sent me a message through my Daddy, the man that knows me better than anyone on earth. I sat there and cried. I'm sitting and crying now. My God knew what I needed. My God knows what I need.

and of course....since He is God, after all, He didnt' stop there....

I got another letter, on the same night. It was from me. During Daycation training at the beginning of the summer, all of the counselors had to write out a prayer, asking God to do His work in us and through us in the summer. Obviously, we all got our letter back in the mail at the end of the summer. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think mine just happened to get here last Wednesday. Near the end of the prayer, I read this:

Father, I pray that you would mesh Patcrick and I together as a team, Lord. Help us learn how to draw from each other and support each other. Help me respect and support him, encouraging and building him up as my brother-in-Christ and a warrior for You.

Funny, huh? how God chose that particular day to remind me that the guy that absolutely horrified me in May, is one of my good friends in September. My God knew what I needed. My God knows what I need.

and then.....there's more.....

I was sitting in my room, catching up on The Secret Life of the American Teenager :), when there was a knock on my door. It was one of the first year RAs and she said:

So......I have a question...It's an important question, but I don't know how to.....um.....well.....I don't know what to...nevermind. No, see.....I don't have a mentor, and I don't know if you would do that, but I wanted to ask if you would do that.....so.....would you do that?

um......YES? All of this on one of the worst days I've had. My God knew what I needed. My God knows what I need.

Man, He's good.

I sat there on my bed, with Amy and Ben fighting about something stupid on the tv in the background, and had Bible Study right there all by myself.

I guess I wasn't alone, huh, God?

It's like He smacked me (and not nicely, or gently....I mean He lovingly smacked me), and said, "Um.....you think?"


And while I knew I was being spiritually corrected for wallowing in my own self-pity for feeling so neglected, I was being deeply reminded that my God just doesn't quit. He doesn't back off when I feel like throwing a fit. He will not leave me alone. He's going to send me person after person, letter after letter until I flat out can't ignore Him anymore.

And with that....another note slid under my door.

Monday, August 31, 2009

what to do?...

Ok, so my best friend is coming to visit me this weekend! I could not be more excited!

I'm trying to come up with a list of fun things (that won't break the bank) for us to do so we're not just wandering around Houston aimlessly. We tend to wander :)

I'm at a loss though. I live here for crying out loud and I can't think of anything that's particularly exciting. So I need your help!

If you're from Houston, where are some of your favorite places to go or things to do?

If you're not from Houston, what would you want to do if you were visiting here for a few days?

Help a sister out, please! I'm at a total loss!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

He's preparing my place...

I hate the start of a new school year. HATE. IT.

I love buying new school supplies....that's the only joy I get out of that dreaded week in August. Other than that, though, I utterly detest going back.

It has nothing to do with having to go to class or homework. I really don't mind any of that. I enjoy it actually. The problem is I always feel like I lose my place over the summer. I feel like I've forgotten (and everyone else has forgotten) where I belong.

I'm all for change and improving and all that....but I miss knowing where I go, where I fit.

*insert real issue here*

I know I'm not supposed to fit. I'm called to more than that.

"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." Romans 12:2

I'm not supposed to fit in. I'm called to stand out. To be different. I shouldn't have a place I'm comfortable. I'm made for more than that. My God didn't call me to be comfortable. He called me to be consistent. It's hard to be the one that doesn't back down on what I believe. It's difficult to watch "friends" disappear because they don't like the way I don't see gray areas between serving God and serving self. It hurts when I have to walk away from the girls I've turned to for support and companionship because I won't sit around and read Cosmo with them....Let's be honest. Sometimes it's not what I want to do at all. But He called me to be more. He called me to be different.

This God that gathers my scattered pieces. This God that makes sense of me when I can't make sense of myself. This God that will come after me no matter how far I run. This God that's in this thing for keeps. This God that won't just fight for me, but equips me to fight. THIS GOD calls me to be different....and so different I shall be.

In John 14:2, Jesus tells His disciples, "There are many rooms in my Father's house. I wouldn't tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you." I feel like I'm out of place, like I can't find where I belong....because I don't belong. This is not my home. This is not my place. He has gone to prepare my place. So that I "may dwell in the house of the Lord...and gaze upon His beauty." (Psalm 27:4) That's my place. That's where I belong...and until that day comes....

I'm fine feeling a little out of place.

Monday, August 3, 2009

a rhyming revealing

Tonight all of the Daycation staff are going out to dinner for an end of summer celebration! None of us knew where we were going though, and were all anxious to know our destination. Meredith and I got the assignment to come up with a clever way to reveal the big news, and this is what we came up with........

From June through to August, a Summer of fun.
With twenty-something counselors,
A job for everyone!
Monday through Friday, we work hard for our pay.
On this 3rd of August,
It's our turn to play!
We've looked all over town for just the right spot.
Is it here? Is it there?
Maybe so........Maybe not.
It could be barbecue, it could be Chinese.
It could even be a place with a giant mouse and cheese!
It has to be perfect. It's gotta be right!
Nothing less will do for this special night.
Should we eat? Should we putt?
Maybe go to Pizza Hut?
A full buffet and games to boot!
Two for one and plenty of food!
I think we've found a winner, don't you agree?
The best part is it's all for free!
Ok, don't worry, give me a break.
We know what you want is a big piece of steak.
Too bad that's expensive and we're on a budget.
How' bout a Happy Meal? A toy and some nuggets?
That's a great place! We can eat AND play!
Yes its the perfect spot for our special day!
So be there at 6:30, hungry and on time.
Follow the golden arches, you CANNOT be late!
You want to make sure you get a good plate!
Whatever you want, it's all up to you.
Just to be sure, so you know what to do.
We'll see you there. You don't want to miss it.
A great evening at..........
We totally had everyone convinced we were going to McDonald's! It was UH-mazing! We're pretty proud of our clever little poem :)
And for anyone who has not had the pleasure of visiting Taste of Texas.....click here. You really....and I mean DESPERATELY need to go! :)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I know where my summer went! (and other somewhat inspired ramblings)

I made a deal with my sweet sister, that we would blog once a week. We were both seriously lacking in our blogging efforts, and well, we don't like to lack! Colleen is doing a much better job than I am, though. It's July 28th, and I last blogged on July 2nd....yeah...I'm a little behind!

My summer is shutting down pretty soon. Daycation has kept me busy all summer, and I move back in to the dorms in less than two weeks, and school starts back up two weeks after that! In May, I made myself a promise that at the end of the summer, I wouldn't wonder where it went, and I'm not! I know exactly what I've done and I've loved it.

a. Daycation! I loved getting to spend this summer teaching kids about the Word of God! So much of what I know of God, I learned when I was young. So much of what has made my relationship with Him what it is today, comes from the faith that was instilled in me when I was the Daycation age. I was so excited to get to have that same kind of influence. It's been hard. I've been tired. But it's been worth it! Some days I go crazy, but I absolutely love these kids!

b. New friends! I've made new friends this summer and gotten to grow friendships that were barely beginning. It's been so good to see what God can do in the lives of people, through the lives of His people. Whether it's been roommates, accountability partners, coworkers, etc., I've relearned the power in relationships. I've remembered that they're not all bad, all the time. They just take work....LOTS of work.

But honestly (pardon my soapbox), without them wouldn't life just be a waste of time? As Christians we're called to fellowship with other believers and reach out to a world in darkness. So without relationships, we would be missing our purpose completely. This summer I've discovered what it really means to hold a friend accountable, how to be a support to my brothers in Christ, and how to persevere through relationships that I would rather set aside. I'm nowhere near perfectection, but I'd rather be working on my purpose and making somewhat of a mess, than waste my time avoiding the thing I was made to pursue.

c. Practicing His Presence. Wow. That's really the best word to describe the Bible study I was a part of this summer. The author and leader of the study, Tammie Head, was wonderful. Seriously. Sister spoke a WORD! In all the Bible studies, conferences, etc. I've participated in, I've never been so directly ushered straight in to His presence. Every Monday night was amazing! The homework was a load, but a wonderful one! Tonight is our last night together and I SO hate to see it come to a close.

d. Bingo Thursdays! Can I just say....that I love bingo. LOVE it! And I love the old people that go :)

e. Nothing beats the Astros in the summertime.

f. And nothing beats a zero-downtime summer to get a girl ready for a worse-than-zero-downtime school year! I miss HBU!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

book the flight...

I have picked the one place I absolutely MUST go. I don't care when. I don't care how. I'm going to Greece!

Monastery of St. John in Philerimos on the island of Rhodes

A picturesque twilight in Mykonos

The Theater at Epidaurus

in Paros


It's official. I'm going.
I may as well be on my way :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

funny looking fruit...

I got a completely random, totally unexpected text message last week that absolutely made my day, if not my month!
This precious girl who is without a doubt blessed with the gift of encouragement will never know how much her sweet words meant to me, but they spoke volumes to my heart, my self-esteem, and honestly, my ego (let's admit it. we all need a little pick-me-up once in a while!)
In the following days, I've been so attentive to the bits of encouragement I've received from other people, and been disappointed in how seldom I hand them out.
I'm very good at the girl game. And I mean VERY good! Basically, I'm a pro. You know what I'm talking about...."Oh, I love your dress!" "Thanks, I just threw it on. And by the way I love your purse. It's very unique!"......We all do it. Girl or not. Every time we receive a compliment or bit of encouragement, we're quick to explain it away and give with a (typically) insincere, yet seemingly kind, response.
Why do I need to wait for a compliment in order to give one? Why can't I just say "thank you" in response to the encouragement I receive?
I'm looking closely for opportunities to encourage others, and working alongside great Godly guys and girls this summer is offering countless chances. I want to be an encourager. I don't want to be known because of the compliments I can earn, but by the encouragement I give.

"Therefore, through Him let us continually offer up to God a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of our lips that confess His name." Hebrews 13:15

The fruit of my lips is my speech, and far too often my fruit only bears resemblance to myself. I want my fruit to show that it comes from a tree that is rooted deeply in the Lord and reaches out to others, continually offering encouragement and always giving praise to the only One who's truly worthy.

Do you have any cool stories about times when encouragement you've received has been a blessing? Or maybe when you've been the encourager and been blessed in return? I'd love to hear!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

blog blog blog....

Ok, so here's the deal.
I'm still here, but I think I might have forgotten about the blog world for a little bit. :/ Forgive me, please?
Sad part is, though, I cannot for the life of me think of anything to blog about. So.....help a sister out? :)
Ideas please! Anything and Everything! I need some blogtastic inspiration!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Broken for You...

In preparation for the Easter celebration, I attended the Broken for You service at Houston's First Baptist Church on Thursday night. This Lord's Supper service is a special time of reflection on Christ's sacrifice. Easter Sunday is for celebrating His resurrection....Broken for You is a time to dwell on the magnitude of His sacrificial love.

One of the songs we sang that night was "How Deep the Father's Love for Us." I've heard this song dozens of times before....but something about it struck me differently. Have you ever had one of those times? When something so familiar and comfortable....suddenly speaks to a hidden, untouched place in your heart? Dr. Greg Beale from Wheaton College once said, "Sometimes you need to comfort the afflicted, but other times you need to afflict the comforted." That's exactly what happened to me listening to the words of that song. Words and ideas I have been comfortable with and overlooked for so long completely broke my heart. His love is too extravagant to explain. His sacrifice far too great to comprehend. Nothing in me deserves anything He has to offer...and yet He gives it anyway. As I sat soaking in those words...God was seeking out the places in my heart that have yet to be completely His. Just when I thought I was doing so well....He shows me He can take me so much deeper. Praise His precious name. I'm all at once discovering the unimaginable depths of His redeeming, powerful, redemptive love. How deep the Father's love for us?....I'm finding out it's far deeper than I thought I already knew.

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

Monday, April 6, 2009

a love like that...

Every year, the church my parents attend holds a Spring Ladies' Banquet. This banquet has gone on for as long as I can remember. Ladies sign up to decorate tables and then women buy tickets to sit at specific tables. Whoever decorated the table hosts it, and her husband waits on the ladies that sit at that table. It's a very feminine, fun evening! Ever since I was little, I've loved to see what pretty, fun, and creative things end up on the tables!

I've never actually attended the Spring Ladies' Banquet (maybe one day I'll go!), but this year my mom hosted a table and told me the most precious story. There's an elderly woman in their church who is anxiously awaiting a lung transplant. However, her body is so small that finding lungs the right size is taking longer than expected. In the meantime, she has to remain in a low-germ-tolerance environment, and obviously could not come to the banquet. So....

Her precious husband came up to the church before the banquet started and took a picture of every table....of every different place setting....every detail and decoration. She couldn't come to the banquet, so he took the banquet to her. It may seem trivial or unimportant, but in that moment, with that action.....he couldn't have loved her more.

My heart is seriously a puddle. As impatient as I may be, I would happily wait forty years if I knew I'd have someone who would love me with a love like that...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

praisin' Him right!

When I get to come home for the weekend, I love to go with my parents to our home church. I love the people, teaching, fellowship, and comfort there, but my favorite thing isn't a thing at all...it's a person.

There is a precious little old lady that sits on the front row of the choir, right smack-dab in the middle. I cannot for the life of me ever remember her name, and she probably doesn't remember mine, but there is love there just the same. From the first note of the first song, to the very last note, she's on her feet, hands stretched up high. She sings her heart out, praising her God who gave her life, getting ever so ready for the day she'll see Him face to face. I cannot wait to see her praise Him in Heaven! She'll have to show us all how to do it up right!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

uh-oh! I'm addicted!

So I used to have a really cool program on my computer that I used to edit pictures, make collages, etc. But alas, my computer crashed and I have been without :(

BUT!!!! I found picnik! This is a great, FREE, online picture editing program that lets you do all sorts of fun stuff with your photos!

I love it!...and I'm afraid that after only a couple of days...I might already be addicted :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Break, Waiting, and Serving...

I was so ready for Spring Break. Everyone has asked how school is, and honestly it really is great. Classes are good. I love everything I'm doing. The social aspect though....I would like to kick and run away from. I love all of my friends (so if you're reading this please don't be offended), but I think we can all agree that social interaction always gets old, no matter who it is. So 9 days to myself?....I was excited!

God had different plans though, and instead of leaving me at home to mope and depress myself, he blessed me beyond belief with the chance to minister to two groups of girls this week.

First, I got to help out with a Disciple Now in Bronte,TX (yeah look that place up....middle of nowhere!). I had nine sixth grade girls and we got NO sleep! We did, however, get to talk openly about things they were struggling with, hurt they were feeling, and fears they had. My heart absolutely broke for each and everyone of them. It was such a joy to share with them that even when everything in our lives seems against us, we can have hope in Christ. We're never alone. When we call His name, He is faithful to answer. He always answers.

Then I got to go home. And by home...I mean like FRIONA HOME! I was so excited. I had not seen my bestest most amazing friend in the entire world since JULY! It was about time for a visit. It always surprises me how no matter how long it's been since we've seen each other, or how long it's been since we've talked....nothing ever feels any different. I love her! I absolutely adore her. She's my person!

We got to help with a Pure Freedom retreat at the church we went to in Friona. (we both went to this retreat when we were in Jr. High!) With a group of Jr. High girls, we got to talk about the importance of purity and saving your "whole tomato" (your whole heart!) for your future husband. We even all made our "shopping list"! Everything from a heart for the Lord, mission-mindedness, and nice to his mom....all the way to dances, is adventureous, and wears cowboy boots! It was precious! This commitment to purity is something that every one there teaching is extremely passionate about. We had such a blast sharing our hearts with the girls.

One of the leaders shared "her story" and I know it's one I will not forget. She read from Genesis 24:12-21, as Abraham's servant has gone to the land of the Canaanites to find a wife for Isaac:

"Lord, God of my master Abraham," he prayed, "grant me success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. I am standing here at the spring where the daughters of the men of the town are coming out to draw water. Let the girl to whom I say, "Please lower your water jug so that I may drink," and who responds, "Drink, and I'll water your camels also"--let her be the one You have appointed for Your servant Isaac. By this I will know that You have shown kindess to my master."
"Before he had finished speaking, there was Rebekah--daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham's brother Nahor--coming with a jug on her shoulder. Now the girl was very beautiful, a young woman who had not known a man intimately. She went down to the spring, filled her jug, and came up. Then the servant ran to meet her and said, "Please let me have a little water from your jug." She replied, "Drink, my Lord." She quickly lowered her jug to her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him a drink, she siad. "I'll also draw water for your camels until they have had enough to drink." She quickly emptied her jug into the trough and hurried the well again to draw water. She drew water for all his camels while the man silently watched her to see whether or not the LORD had made his journey a success."

Molly went on to explain how much this passage meant to her, and as she spoke, it took on new meaning for me. She said that just like Abraham's servant was observing the Canaanite women to find one who would serve him, one that would be a suitable wife for Isaac, someday she too will be observed. When that day comes, she wants her future husband to see her hard at work for the Lord, serving Him and serving others. I love this....and from here forward, I'm stealing her story :) I watched Bride Wars the other day and in it someone says that "women are dead until they're wedding day." We live in a society that agrees with this, but I know that's not true. I don't want the time from now until I get married to be wasted. I want to give my life away. I want to use this time to serve God and serve others....and someday when he comes, if he comes....that's where he'll find me: serving and worshipping the One who first stole my heart.

Molly paired this passage with the song by John Waller, "While I'm Waiting". Before then, I had always thought of Fireproof when I heard this song, but in a different light, the words spoke so clearly to me on something totally different. Forget the movie, read the words, and listen for the Lord. You might be surprised what He'll say.

While I'm Waiting (by John Waller)

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am hopeful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it is painful
But patiently, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I'm waiting
I'm waiting on You, Lord
And I am peaceful
I'm waiting on You, Lord
Though it's not easy
But faithfully, I will wait
Yes, I will wait

I will move ahead, bold and confident
Taking every step in obedience
While I'm waiting
I will serve You
While I'm waiting
I will worship
While I'm waiting
I will not faint
I'll be running the race
Even while I wait

I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve You while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting
I will serve you while I'm waiting
I will worship while I'm waiting on You, Lord

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Snuggly pink blankets and the stillness of the morning...

There has been so much going on in my life lately...frustration, exhaustion, worry, anger- none of it good, and definitely not of the Lord. I've been tired...and tired of everything. I needed to be home. I knew that nothing else would help...I had to get home. So, on Friday afternoon I took off from school and drove home! This weekend has been like one continuous "spa getaway" from God. He has rejuvenated and refreshed me in so many ways...

Friday night was the GA sleepover which was a blast! I had a ton of fun with the girls and loved getting to share with them how being in GAs when I was little led me to be involved in missions now! I loved having that time with the girls.

Saturday was pretty rough. We suffered a loss in one of my sibling-in-love's families, so it was not an easy day. I spent most of the day with my parents, running around doing necessary errands...but it was time with them, which I desperately needed. (Talks on the phone only do so much...sometimes I just need to be able to see and touch them) Then we ended up at my sister's house for dinner, where I got to snuggle with the baby and giggle with my lovely big sister about pedicure and haircut dates, and about how we almost have matching jackets...love her! By the end of the night I had all three of the bigger boys cuddled up with me on the couch, covered up with the coveted pink blanket, watching High School Musical 3. I was in heaven. Riding in the car on the way home, I smelled something peculiar. It was an interesting combination of baby scent and sweaty little boy. I put my head down and sniffed my hoodie....mmhmm....it was me :) I'm not sure if it stunk or actually smelled as good as I thought it did, but I had a hard time releasing it to the laundry pile.

This morning I woke up to get ready for church and seriously could not have taken any longer. For some reason, I moved at the absolute slowest pace possible. By the time I was finally ready, I knew I'd be fifteen minutes late to Sunday School...at least. I hate walking in late...so I just decided to wait and just go for church. Of course, that left me with an hour of nothing to do....until I realized....it was quiet. Not just quiet. It was silent. In a suite full of college girls, in a building full of college girls....it is never silent. At 4 am, it's not even silent.

I recalled the words of Melissa Fitzpatrick, "There is no other book like it. When you sit on your couch with your Bible in your lap, you are a witness to a miracle. This miracle is called Divine Revelation." (you can read that blog post here) So that's just what I did. I grabbed my Bible, cherished the silence, and savored every syllable of His divine Word. God speaks in a variety of ways. Sometimes He uses other people. Sometimes His voice is in a song or a situation....and sometimes, like this morning, He speaks in the stillness. In the secret, sacred, intimate quiet of complete silence.

I've needed rest, and He gave me rest. I've needed to feel the love of people that I love, and He let me snuggle with them and a pink blanket all weekend. But most importantly, He quieted my heart and showed me how to rest in His love... and there's nothing on earth like it....not even a treasured pink blanket...

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him." The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD." Leviticus 3:22-26

"The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever." Isaiah 32:17

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Daddy-Daughter Mission Date!

Ok, so how many of you have ever heard of GA's?!

I spent the entirety of my childhood going to GA's, Girls in Action. From age four till about fourteen I was constantly involved in one way or another. The best way for me to describe it to you is that it's a lot like Girl Scouts, but while they sell cookies, we raise money for the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, or the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We learned all about missionaries in America and all over the world. We prayed for them and sent care packages, wrote letters and prayed some more! I absolutely loved it!

Plus, I loved my GA leader! LOVED her. LOVE her! She is, without a doubt, like my "other mother". She has prayed for me since she knew I existed, and I absolutely adore her! She was my sister's GA leader, then my brother's (yes, he didn't have anywhere to go but GIRLS in Action!), and then ten years later....she taught me! And she's still leading GA's today!

So I am oh so very excited because this weekend Mrs. Candy, my lovely "other mother" GA leader, is having a GA sleepover and I get to go!!!!!! My Daddy and I get to go together! He's telling the girls all about his mission involvement (Sierra Leone, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Kenya, Romania, Belarus, etc.) on Friday night, and then I get to spend the night and talk about my Mexico and Moldova missions on Saturday morning! I'm so excited! My Daddy and I get to go talk about missions together and I get to be a GA again! I absolutely cannot wait!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sex & Chocolate....He's Just Not That Into You

Ok so first!...Last week at HBU, as Residence Life staff, we put on two events right before Valentine's day. For guys only!, there was Sex & Video Games: food, video games, and open conversation about relationships, sex, etc. For girls only!, there was Sex & Chocolate: chocolate bar, chocolate fountain, pretty tables, and lots of girl talk! :)

From what I hear, (I of course was not there since I am a girl and it was BOYS ONLY!), Sex & Video Games had a good turnout and a great discussion time with their panel! Like I said though...I can't really attest to much of what went on there. (and I'm not so sure I want to know!)

But I can talk about Sex & Chocolate! We had an awesome turnout! We didn't have a single empty table and the Q&A time with our panel was superb :) We had a very diverse panel of amazing women, all completely willing to share their hearts and horror stories with us for the evening.

I think that as girls, we have the tendency to head in the wrong direction whenever we have questions or concerns about things like relationships, dating, sex, etc. I know from personal experience,and from observing girls around me, that we always look horizontally. We stay at eye level and look for someone who is exactly like us, with the same personality, same age, same track record with relationships, same emotional maturity level, same spiritual maturity level...to give us advice. Why in the world do we think that will help? Seriously. What good is that going to do? This is where we run into trouble. We base every action and emotion and decision on the shallow word of some girl who knows no better than ourselves what should actually be done....then we end up in a mess and wonder how in the world we didn't see it coming. Hmm....go figure.

Participating in things like Sex & Chocolate or having good, Godly mentors is a great way to stay away from stupid advice and dumb decisions. Find someone older (not ancient necessarily, but with a few more years under their belt!). Find someone wiser. Find someone more rational and mature than you are! Find someone that can provide some spiritual guidance and encouragement! Friends just like you are great....but influential people with a little more experience can be great friends too. Plus, they give much better advice!


On a different note, I saw He's Just Not That Into You a few weeks ago and since then have heard nothing but negative things about it from women I've been around. Now, granted, there were things in the movie that I thought were inappropriate, I'll just be honest and say that, for the most part, I completely disagree with the things I've heard. Don't stop reading just yet, please! Allow me to explain.

1. I in no way thought that they were communicating that it's ok to have a relationship with a married man because, who knows, maybe you're actually the one for him instead of his wife. Yeah, I didn't see that at all. The whole point of the movie was to show what goes wrong when, as women, we do the wrong things in relationships. I saw the whole Scarlett Johansson situation as a clear message saying: Do not even THINK about even attempting a relationship with a married man. That is a NO-zone. Not allowed. It will, without a doubt, end badly. It was a disaster example...at least that's how I saw it.

2. Ok. Jennifer Aniston and Ben Afleck. The way I saw it, all through the movie, Jennifer Aniston's character just wanted to get married. She wanted the title, not really the relationship. By her agreeing to love Ben Afleck's character even if he wouldn't marry her, I saw it as her finally realizing that she wanted him, not just the wedding. Of course, he proposes anyway, but she had to come to that realization before he could!

3. I also don't think that the movie was trying to communicate that all men are evil liars that will never commit and always be jerks.....I did, however, get that men aren't perfect, which, thank you for reminding me. I think that sometimes I forget. Men and women are different. Very different...and neither sex is perfect. Sometimes men act without thinking. Sometimes woment think too much and never act. We both have our faults....that's just the way it is.

Please, feel free to disagree. I did it first, after all. Tell me I'm crazy and insane...I can take it! :)

And let me add....this is by no means a favorite movie of mine. I'm not even sure that I would recommend anyone watch it before it's in the RedBox....it wasn't sensational. Apparently it didn't communicate anything positive to anyone but me....but hey, I'm willing to admit I'm a little unique!

Friday, February 13, 2009

my etsy favorites...

These are just a few of the precious things I LOVE on Etsy!

these darling earrings and ring are available in tons of different styles from bethne3!

This cute clutch and others like it, but totally different! can be ordered from JohnMetBetty!

These notecards made from vintage magazine clippings are available from ArdethandBetty!

these pillows from olive are adorable and there are so many different designs! this postcard pillow can be custom made with your own message and address!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Today has been one of those days...the good ones!

It started with a fun girls' breakfast at IHOP with some girls from our HBU small group and our leader, Becky! It was great to get to have some girl time and chit-chat over pancakes!

God has been reminding me all day of the people in my life that I love and that love me completely--not that my joy comes from knowing I'm appreciated, but sometimes...you just NEED to KNOW! I totally got that today, and it was SO good! Praise God for His love that's shown in others!

I have been praying for a reason to wear my rainboots (blue with yellow polka dots! love them!) for a month. I was willing to settle for anything: hurricane, faulty sprinkler, overflowing bathtub...seriously. ANYTHING!

And it rained today!!!!

It drizzled most of the afternoon (which, by the way, is not good enough reason to wear rainboots, as I have been told. apparently, there have to be puddles...go figure!) and then....it really RAINED!!!! So I quickly donned my rainboots, and walked straight through all the puddles!

It could rain every day...I'd be thrilled :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

One last try!

I'm giving blogging one last try! There's no telling how many times I've set a blog up, done about...two posts...and then given up. Hopefully this time will be a little different!

I guess I'll take this blog to explain the title: "Girl on a Mission..."

Missions is a big part of my life, a big part of my family. My dad is involved in full time missions, and even long before that, the responsibility to spread the Gospel was highly encouraged in our home. I grew up going to Girls in Action, giving to mission offerings, praying every day for the man or woman on the missions prayer calendar. With so much history there, it made sense to me when I felt God placing a burden on my heart for missions. It all fit together so well. (God does a good job of that doesn't He?...Surprises us and blows us away. Only He could get away with it!)

In my pursuit to live a mission minded life for Christ, I've learned several things:

1. We're all missionaries. Every single one of us. Whether you live in a hut in Honduras or a house in Houston, you're called by God to be a witness and a testimony to His name!

2. You don't need an airplane to get to a mission field. You don't even need a car. God may have placed a need in my heart to participate in missions, but I don't have to wait to "grow up" to do it. I don't even have to wait for a summer mission trip. I'm on a mission trip. I'm in a mission field. This thing He's called me to is NOW!

In The Great Commission we're told to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20, HCSB) It doesn't say "If you feel like it today, go make disciples." It doesn't say "If you get some fuzzy feeling, go make disciples." It doesn't even say "If you're willing to live in the middle of the Sahara, go make disciples." Jesus Christ's commission to us says "GO." Just GO! No room for discussion, no questions about it. Just go! Whether it's down the street or across the globe, GO!

So I'm on a mission! I'm constantly praying for God to use me in the mission field I'm in right now, with the people He's put me near right now! So you'll be hearing all about it!...among other things, I'm sure!

Much love in His name!