Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

It started out pretty good. And in relative order here are the things I learned/happenings of the year.

  • I became an English major. 
  • I started writing a book called, Saving Melvin. It's about losing your life to gain it. 
  • My best friend's dad and grandpa died. 
  • I ran (well... really I walked) a 5k with my sister.
  • I survived the Thrailkill... whatever that was. 
  • I took 21 credit hours AND worked 12 hours a week in the spring semester AND lived.  
  • I quit my job at Harris Teeter (yessss)
  • I was in love and I loved. 
  • I went to my first high school graduation and there was a girl named LaVaunda DeShaunda Felicia Marie Smith. No joke.
  • I felt pressure to be perfect and to be someone else than who I am... and I caved. 
  • I became a summer RA in the Commons and talked to students from all over the world! I learned so much about a lot of different cultures and countries! It was so fun :) 
  • My Mandy died. She died in our living room and I felt her last heart beat. She was the best dog ever and I miss her. 
  • I went to the beach with Laura and her family! It was really fun! I got a weird sunburn... and didn't tan haha
  • I became an RA in Wright Hall. This job has aged me a lot and I'm much more assertive than I was in the past. I LOVE my staff (both Maddox and Wright) and even thought it is a LOT of work, I secretly enjoy it because I LOVE the people. 
  • My AMAZING sister came to Belmont! 
  • I became a Belmont Blogger. 
  • I became a peer tutor. 
  • I turned 21-years-old! I'm officially an adult. 
  • I didn't drink anything haha. 
  • I went to the 2008 Debate AT Belmont! Woo Hoo. 
  • I quit making plans. I decided that God has a plan better than anything I can imagine. 
  • I got my heart completely broken, well shattered really. I'm not going to write out the story, but I hope this never happens to anyone ever. No one deserves that. 
  • Somedays I felt fine about it, knowing God had a better plan and finally realizing how blessed I am, other days I felt betrayed beyond all compare and completely defeated. 
  • I realized I'm better off now. 
  • I learned I'm much more tender hearted than I even wish to admit. 
  • I dealt with a lot of crap rather gracefully, or at least that's what I've been told. 
  • I finally started to respect myself and realize just because someone abandons me or treats me badly... I don't deserve it. (big step for me)
  • I struggled with the idea of love and marriage and wondered if anyone can truly keep a promise and will always be there. 
  • I forgave.
  • I gave up. 
  • I looked for God and found Him. 
  • I found a strength I never knew I had. 
  • I learned that despite hurting like hell, JOY is bulletproof. 
  • I decided that love is not worth the fall. 
  • I went to a rally at the capitol building for a Tent City--and had quite an adventure in the parking garage :) 
  • I stayed Up All Night for the "Wright Reasons"
  • I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin, even though I felt they were very weak candidates. 
  • I decided I could NEVER be a teacher. 
  • I've done some things that I've always wanted to do--just for me. A lot of things I wasn't allowed to do before. 
  • I decided to go to France. 
  • I made new friends.
  • I became a part of a great Bible Study on my hall and got close to a lot of really amazing girls. 
  • I found out that the friends I already had were more amazing than I ever realized. Liberty, Laura, Becka, Lauren, and Jennifer... you guys have changed my life and mean so much more to me than I'll ever be able to tell you. Each of you have showed me so much kindness when I needed more than anything and each in your own way you have impacted my heart and life--and I'll never be able to thank you enough. I love you girls so much and I shudder to think of my life without you all. 
  • I went to see Liberty in Baltimore and had a WONDERFUL time! I love her and I missed her SO much. We got to talk like we haven't in years and it felt like no time had passed at all. 
  • I held her niece, Hettie, an hour after she was born. I had no idea I would feel this way just because I held a baby... but I took a minute to think about how AMAZING life is and how AMAZING God is... and holding that beautiful baby was the most beautiful experience of my entire life. Words cannot express the feeling of awe and the sheer beauty of reality I saw in that precious baby. 
  • I helped put together a birthday party for a 4-year-old and got a balloon popped in my eye and decided I can DEFINITELY wait to have kids... it was nuts.
  • I talked to cool strangers on an airplane. 
  • I saw Jason Mraz and LOVE him!
  • I went to the Winter Wonder Slam.
  • I got to see my freshman roommate and she is awesome.
  • I laughed harder than I ever have before.
  • I got an internship for the Spring. 
  • I had honest conversations. 
  • I more myself than I've been in a while, and I didn't even know I was missing. 
  • I went with friends for nose piercings and tattoos... but I didn't get any. 
  • I don't know what I'm going to do for a career, but I have decided that our career and our calling in this life aren't always the same thing. 
  • I know I love music, kids, writing, and Jesus and my only desire is to love people so that they would know God's love. I guess I'm just excited to see what God does with the passions He has given me. 
  • I feel like God is on the verge of something huge, and I only pray that my brokenness and bitterness doesn't stand in the way. 
  • Most importantly, I found that when the buildings I "built" crumbled, my feet landed on solid ground and I am more convinced than ever that God is a God of love and I'm looking forward to 2009 not being about me but being about Jesus. 
Although a lot of it sucked, a lot of it was wonderful. 

I guess at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 I'm simply in midias res.  

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6

"I cannot
be my own, nor anything to any, 
if 
I be not thine. To this I am most constant."
-Shakespeare-- This is supposed to be about love between people, but I think it works for who we are in Christ. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

So, here is what I have decided

Sometimes I may not understand why some things happen, but I'm so thankful for God's providence. Even though I get impatient for answers sometimes, I know He has it all under control and I'm so thankful for that. I 

And I'm so thankful for the blessings in my life (ie. WONDERFUL friends and family... and Jesus, of course) despite how good or bad anything gets. Despite my feelings at any given moment, I'm realizing more and more how blessed I am. 

I also decided that God wants us not just to be happy, but to be holy. I think happiness follows that. 

Seek first His Kingdom, everything else will follow. 


Friday, December 26, 2008

I Don't Know Why You Didn't Come


I've decided that it is best to be honest with God. I know He has everything under control, I know He is good, I know He is there, but honestly He does things I don't understand. Or maybe He lets things happen. I don't know. I do know one thing, He has taken me too far for me to deny His existence or to be so naive as to think that He would have brought me this far to forget me. I know I am loved and prized by my Savior, but I feel so confused by Him. 

I thought we had things all figured out, God and me that is. I prayed and I prayed for one thing and I got the answer, or so I thought. And now that it has changed, I can't help but wonder what the last two years have been all about. Growth. duh. I'll figure that one out eventually. I see it already, but it still doesn't make sense. Patience. duh. Understanding... hopefully? I guess that is what I want most of all in life right now. I feel I need understanding to start tearing down some walls, and maybe to build some bridges. But the cruel part is I don't think that I'm going to get that.. at least not anytime soon. I know God uses what man means for evil and turns it into good. I know that He never fails and He saves the day. I know in the midst of all of the sky falling in on us all, maybe we are blind to it, but God is always right there.  I know all of this, but I still don't get why some things happen. 

Until then I'm yours faithfully, God, but right now, I'll be honest and tell you: I don't get it. I know you didn't let me go, but why did it feel that way? I know you are here now, but help me see the big picture. Maybe it's not my place to know right now, but I need to see You in this. 

I don't want to be a soldier 
Who the captain of some sinking ship
Would stow, far below

So, if you love me,
Why'd you let me go?
 

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jesus and...

I'm feeling burnt out on Christianity. I'm tired of Chris Tomlin, smiles, and getting up and dressing up on Sundays. I'm tired of it all. I'm not trying to bash it all and I'm not trying to be negative. I guess more than being burnt out, I'm really longing for Jesus over all of the candles and ceremony. 

It seems like if we have a pretty cross hanging on our wall or if we go to a nice church that has been "financially blessed" that we're somehow convinced that we're doing something right. Even a little bit. It's not that these things in and of themselves are bad, but it's so easy to make them the point... and that just falls short. Derek Webb really said it right when he said concerning our salvation, "When you take 'Jesus and...' to God, anything after the 'and' is a sin." 

It is interesting to note that in the past Christianity was often "sold" out of fear of the fires of hell, but now "christians" today seem to sell "happiness". Even the people I used to think of as the most sincere followers of Christ are now merely selling the gospel at any price. I just don't think that is what God had in mind when He commanded us to love others or told us to carry our crosses. When we look at the reward as anything other than the glory of God Himself, I just can't help but feel like we're putting Christianity into a pretty box... and it was never meant to be contained. 

I guess I'm just frustrated with the abuse and perversion of the one and only thing that can save us... even from ourselves. Even those of us who are not obvious Pharisee clones or aren't outright snake and oil preachers, it just seems that SO many "christians" just... don't get it. At all. That being said, I'm sure I have fallen into this category time and time again, because none of us will ever 'get it,' but I just wish we all (myself included) could want only what God wants.  It's like most of us prefer the pretty box over the hard work ahead. And for about two seconds that makes me so mad, but truly it is just so staggeringly depressing and I have to wonder how God feels about that. 

I know I need to remember all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the Lord. 

Just give me Jesus or give me death. 

Thanks for letting me rant. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Awkward moment of the day

So, tonight in the caf they were serving steak, carrots, potatoes, and rolls--which is very nice for the caf. Everything was served on styrofoam plates and the only untensils I saw were plastic forks, so I politely asked, "Um, excuse me. Do you have any knives to cut the steak?"

The man grilling the steak turned to me, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "Honey! This is BELMONT."

I didn't know quite what to do with that so I just turned around and walked away.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You never let go


Sometimes I feel like God harasses me. I don't mean that to be flippant or funny, but it's really true. He disturbs my ways of thinking and does whatever it takes to make me aware of His presence. When I feel I just want to be left alone in the dark to experience peace, every time it's as if God shakes my soul and says something to the effect of, "I WILL SHOW YOU PEACE". 

And as resistant and hesitant (aka stupid and blind) as I can be sometimes and as much as I struggle against going His way sometimes, I've kind of gotten to a place in life where I'll allow myself to wallow in self-pity and really allow myself to feel those horrible feelings and share them with God, only to stick out my hand and say, "Lead the way. Where you lead I will follow."

It's here that I experience peace and it's here that I'm so thankful that God doesn't stop bugging me and doesn't stop pushing me to grow. I like who I have become much more than I have ever liked myself before. 

Thank You God, for never letting me go no matter how I may protest. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Step 2

So as bipolar as this sounds from my last blog, I feel really good today. Despite the horribly gloomy weather, I feel like a beam of sunshine is shining on me. I've wrestled with God a lot lately and I guess I have the tendency to think that nobody else does anything wrong. I think when people treat me like shit and act like... well you know... that it is MY fault. But no... that isn't always true. I find a way to say I deserve it and forgive others just so I can be a "good Christian girl".  

And the nice thing is despite any change in mood--due to sleep deprivation or whatever--I have always felt joyful throughout this whole process (not to say that it is completely over). God has taken me too far to leave me now. I know that. I'd be stupid and utterly ignorant to forget His faithfulness. I am thankful that I've been able to be honest with God, myself, and others this time around instead of trying my best to be happy. And being a good Christian girl is one thing, but true forgiveness despite being able to see people for their faults is another. 

It's so funny. Sometimes when you feel like this is the end and you can't take it anymore, something happens to make you aware that you're in a better place than you used to be--in different and wonderful capacities. 

Today I was feeling a bit numb and indifferent and then after something (very small) happened, I realized the following:

No, I'm not in a coffin. I got burned by someone who chose to act in a 

God did not forget me. People are sinners and we treat each other like crap, but that doesn't mean God has forgotten or is okay with that treatment. 

I deserve better than what I had. I REALLY do... shockingly so... 

The end. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Sin

I was reading an article about how, as Christians, we should not reject, but identify with the losers and the sinners. But to that I say, we are ALL sinners--some of us are just good at hiding it and some of us are just blatant sinners. 

My problems isn't loving the gross or the poor or the misfits. My problem is loving the BMW owners. My problems is loving the men who treat women like crap. My problem is loving the liars. The list goes on and on. 

I have a problem loving the self-important, rich, and those who "know" they don't need help (even when they claim to be Christians). In fact, probably my worst problem is loving Christians who "don't" sin or who at least don't do the "big" sins and think they are better because of it. Don't they know that a sin just isn't in your outside actions? It's like a disease. It's in your blood and will surely get to you in one way or another. Pretending to be a better Christian because of... well... anything. 

I'm thankful I'm not the Judge of salvation--because I would so quickly damn these people and probably forget that they too are gross and poor and misfits, but they also have to deal with the fact that they are hiding it not only from the world, but themselves as well... 

Monday, December 1, 2008

I won't worry my life away


I have a huge paper to write, so this has to be fast, but I have decided a few things:

1. I'm a lot sassier than I let on because I'm afraid that people won't like me. That is lame and I am going to be sassy when I want to be. 
2. I hate essays on the History of Font. I empathize with the Emo's a little more. 
3. I think love is a terrible thing to be wasted. I think the only way I could ever fail in my life is if I fail to let those around me (including my "enemies") that I love them. I love them passionately and genuinely.
4. I hate having a cough. 
5. I love my girlfriends. About two months ago, I had no idea what amazingly strong and wonderful women/friends God had surrounded me with and I'm so thankful to know now!
6. I'm a procrastinator and it just can't be avoided. I'm embracing it. 
7. I prefer black and white pictures to color pictures (most of the time). 
8. I wish facebook weren't such a problem for me. C'est la vie. 
9. I don't just care about things/people. I care passionately. Sometimes it sucks, but I prefer it over the alternative. 
10. When I fall in love now, I take my time there's no need to hurry when I'm making up my mind. You can turn off the sun, but I'm still gonna shine and I'll tell you why: Because the remedy is the experience. 


Sunday, November 30, 2008

All About the Wordplay

1. Put your iTunes on Shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THE SONGS TITLE DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!

1)IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY?
Stoppin the Love (KT Tunstall)

2)WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Tumbling After (Starfield) 

3)WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY?
Gold (from Once)

4)HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Who Am I? (Casting Crowns)

5)WHAT IS YOUR LIFE'S PURPOSE?
River Kiss (Nancy Wilson/Elizabethtown) 

6)WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Lessons Learned (Carrie Underwood) 

7)WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Julia (The Beatles)

8)WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
I Just Love You (Five For Fighting) 

9)WHAT IS 2+2?
Many Rivers to Cross (Joe Cocker) 

10)WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Nothing Left to Lose (Mat Kearney)

11) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
On Fire (Switchfoot)

12)WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Sing to the King (Candi Pearson) 

13) WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Reprise (David Crowder) 

14) WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Don't Worry Baby (B.J. Thomas) 

15) WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Good Vibratioins (The Beachboys) 

16) WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Never Loved You More (Nichole Nordeman) 

17) WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Boston (Augustana) 

18)WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd) 

19) WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Sugar Daddy (The Jackson 5) 

20)WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
Dirty Second Hands (Switchfoot) 

21) WHAT IS THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Hello, Goodbye (The Beatles) 

22)HOW WILL YOU DIE?
In Repair (John Mayer)

23) WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Black Horse & The Cherry Tree (You're not the one for me) (KT Tunstall) 

24) WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Air on a G String (Bach) (AND IT DOES HAHAA)

25) WHAT MAKES YOUR CRY?
Slow Dancing In a Burning Room (John Mayer) 

26) WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
Sunny Days (Jars of Clay)

27)WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
You Really Got a Hold On Me (The Beatles)

28) DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
Mellow Yellow (Donovan) 

29) IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
All in Love is Fair (Stevie Wonder)

30) WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
You Don't Have to Believe Me (Eric Hutchinson)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Still in Need of a Savior

We have a problem in the American Christian Church. Not "those" Christians, but you and me. We are so uncomfortable with hurt... not the hurt of the "sinner", but the hurt of the Christian. We somehow fool ourselves into believing that once we're saved, nothing bad will ever happen, and for those of us who are unfortunate enough to have misfortune fall upon (or for those of us who don't pray hard enough) we're just supposed to grin and bear it and pretend like just because we know of God's grace, it doesn't hurt as much. Because God can't possibly use a hurt messed up Christian, can He? Sadly, I think many people parading around in the Church as Christians would say yes. 

We expect our brothers and sisters to be just as pretty and picture perfect--inside and out--as we are in our happiness and "blessings". We are so afraid to admit that our "family" could be anything other than God's perfect and chosen people because that means someday WE could possibly be like them (heaven forbid). We are so afraid to admit that they are, and we by association, are still... sinners.... weak... fake.

But that's just what we are when we're so afraid to admit we're weak... we're fake. We try our best to be like Jesus, but we'll never ever admit that we need Him (after our initial conversion experience). We'll find a Bible verse to justify the circumstance or action and move away. We work so hard to pretend like there is nothing wrong-- but really it's Christians who should be the MOST willing to admit when something is wrong--because we KNOW what is wrong, and we know it is DRASTICALLY wrong. We won't help. We won't call other Christians out. We won't mourn. We won't do anything to admit that there could be anything wrong with a fellow Christian, and this begins to convince us that WE (that YOU and I) don't have anything wrong with us. 

I honestly wonder how differently our lives would look, how different the Church would look, if we weren't so concerned with convincing people we are just like Jesus and started admitting that we really NEED Him. 

"I'm scared to wander outside major keys
So I sing a song that I wrote just to please
The fools and the fakes afraid just like me to be honest

So I play pretend with my smile painted on
At best I'm a clown and at worst I'm a con
Convincing the crowd and myself nothing's wrong to be honest

My soul is trembling
Knowing they're listening
But all that I need to be
Is all that You're making me

I'm leaving the stage
You can turn my lights down
The curtains are closed
And I'm taking my bow
Lord help me remember
Cause I forget how to be 
Honest

And I rewrote my story without tragedy
Left out the lines that reveal I am weak
Erased every reason for You to save me
To be honest

My soul is trembling 
Knowing they're listening
But all that I need to be
Is all that You're making me

I'm leaving the stage
You can turn my lights down
The curtains are closed
And I'm taking my bow
Lord help me remember
Because I forget how to be honest" 




Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for the Blessing and the Lesson

Recently, I was talking with a friend about prayer life and I noted how often I find myself telling God how I'm going to do things. For example, I often catch myself saying things like, "God, please help me to show X person love by doing X" or "God, please help me to be more loving and patient by doing X." However, as he suggested, I'm finding it so true that God doesn't make you more loving or patient or anything like that, but give you the opportunity to be more loving, patient, etc. 

Another thing I've noticed lately is how reluctant I am to share my "life story" with people--not because I'm ashamed, but because, frankly, it really is sad! And I just hate when people feel sorry for me and try to help me or feel they need to fix me. To be honest, I just wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I'm so thankful for every disappointment and scar I carry because they have taught me to love and to know joy in a way I feel lots of people just can't understand. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is I think I'm a happy person, not because I am always in a good mood, but because I have been blessed with opportunity after opportunity to find happiness and light in the dark :-) and I'm just so thankful. 

"It was when I was happiest that I longed most... The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing... to find the place where all the beauty came from" - C.S. Lewis 

Monday, November 24, 2008

The death in goodbye

I think the weirdest part of a break up is not saying goodbye, it's not the loneliness, it's not anything like that. 

The weird part is finally realizing that there's something better out there than what I previously thought was perfect. No, maybe the weird part is when I write love songs... and none of them are about you. 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Forgiveness... "And then he put down the rock"

My friends back home love to tease me about my tendency to tell really, really long stories that build and build until I reach the ever-intense climax and end it with a depressingly short and disappointing end. I always feel like they have a very deep and meaningful point, but if you're just listening to the story for the plot, I suppose I can understand why you'd be disappointed. 

My friend Laurissa in particular loves to remind me of a story I told in front of my youth group. I love Shaun Groves and I listened to a Podcast of his where he told about a night in college when he felt like he hadn't forgiven someone and wanted to feel, physically, what his soul had been feeling by harboring unforgiveness for so long. So, he went outside got a rock. I think it was probably like 4 or 5 pounds... which isn't that big. So he went into his dorm room and took in in his hands and raised this rock above his head. And he stood there... and stood there... and stood there... for hours. 

I don't know if you've ever held your hands above your head (even without a rock) for very long, but I'd encourage you to try it and see how long you can hold your hands up there before your arms hurt and you begin to shake a little.

Anyway, poor Shaun was standing there, with this rock in the air, shaking, sweating, and concentrating ONLY on keeping the rock up in the air until something huge happened...

He put down the rock. 

Disappointing ending, I know, but if you really look at it, this story is just so deeply profound.

Sometimes we have a little grudge we hold onto (or sometimes it is a huge hurt), but as we hold onto it, just like the rock above his head, it turns into something much greater than it ever was in the first place. Your soul begins to shake, sweat, and it becomes the only thing you can even concentrate on. It seeps into every aspect of your life and it keeps coming back again and again. 

In my own life, I know I hated someone for the longest time. I thought I was fine and I was in God's presence and a good Christian. I knew I hadn't forgiven this person, but in my thoughts and prayer times it's almost as if I said to God, "No. You don't understand. This person has ruined my life. I'm going to have to carry scars for the rest of my life on my heart and soul because of this person. This person has hurt the people I love. I deserve to hate this person because that's the only way this person will know how much the actions this person made hurt me. No God. You don't understand this hurt and I need to hold on to this to feel safe." 

I just feel like God has to either laugh at us for saying that or maybe just feel so frustrated--maybe He even pities us. (I always wonder how God feels about my thoughts in life). 

And I suppose that sometimes we confuse forgiveness with reconciliation. We think if someone comes to us and admits their "evildoings" suddenly the "rock above our head" will disappear and THEN we can forgive someone. However, having held a rock above my head for far too long, I can't begin to tell you how wrong that is. I feel like I may never have "this person" come to me and admit and trespasses. In fact, I KNOW that won't happen. But after I forgave this person, I looked at him with new eyes. I'm fully aware of mistakes, past decisions, hurtful words, and a crooked heart, but once I forgave this person I couldn't help but look upon this person with a heart only filled with love. It was so strange. I no longer hated. I no longer hurt. It was ridiculously simple... I just put down the rock. And I could only feel the (metaphorical) blood rushing back into my fingers and marvel at the ability to use my hands for what they were created for, instead of holding onto that rock. 

Putting down the rock doesn't negate its existence, but it does free your soul.

"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and my burden is light." -Matthew 11:28


 



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sometimes a light surprises

Sometimes a light surprises
The christian while he sings;
It is the Lord who rises 
With healing in His wings;
When comforts are declining,
He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining,
To cheer it after rain.

In holy contemplation
We sweetly then pursue
The theme of God's salvation,
And find it ever new; 
Set free from present sorrow,
We cheerfully can say-
E'en let the unknown morrow
Bring with it what it may.

It can bring with it nothing,
But He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing,
Will clothe his people too:
Beneath the spreading heavens
No creature but is fed;
And He, who feeds the ravens,
Will give His children bread.

Though vine nor fig tree neither
Their wonted fruit shall bear;
Though all the fields should wither
Nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding,
His praise shall tune my voice,
For, while in Him confiding,
I cannot but rejoice. 

Monday, November 3, 2008

We do not lose heart

"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone's conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness" made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ. 
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair, persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus Christ, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus; sake, so that his live may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
It is written: "I believed, therefore I have spoken." Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believed and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

-2nd Corinthians 4:1-18

Saturday, November 1, 2008

All about those words, over numbers, unencumbered, numbered words

I love words. I truly believe that language makes up who we are. Without language, there is no sense of self. There is no meaning to love or pain. Nothing.

However, as much as I feel that literature is important to understanding life, ourselves, and those around us, I once heard someone say,

"A book will never make you feel as good, as fast as 'I've got sunshine, on a cloudy day. When it's cold outside, I've got the month of May.'"

And it's true. There's something about music that touches the deepest part of your soul, but without words, it means nothing. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hello, Goobye

I know you may not want to see me
on your way down from the clouds
Would you hear me if I told you
That my heart is there now

She's only happy in the sun
She's only happy in the sun

Did find what you were after?
The pain and the laughter brought you to your knees
But if the sun sets you free, sets you free
You'll be free indeed, Indeed

She's only happy in the sun
She's only happy in the sun

Every time I hear you laughing, I hear you laughing
It makes me cry
Like a story of life, of your life
Is hello, goodbye

She's only happy in the sun
She's only happy in the sun 

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sex... it's easier than love.


I truly think the word "love" has been so terribly watered down. It isn't sex. It isn't happy feelings. It isn't something you fall into and out of. It is the word that describes the very essence of God Himself. It is SHOWING the commitment of love. 

Feelings are wonderful, but they do not constitute love. Sometimes I have a hard time understanding what is temporarily kind and what is loving. I think they go hand in hand in most cases, but it sometimes becomes a gray area. That is where it is hard, but I suppose hind-site is what we have to learn from. Love is hard and I think if we really, truly, and honestly loved people it might stink for a little while... or a long while, but when we really want what is best for our "neighbor", we are finally loving them. When we do what honors God, we truly love Him. 

No matter how others act, respond, don't respond, fight, hate, or take advantage, just keep remembering:

Love is a verb. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gender social commentary

I feel that this is a very honest attempt at a difficult subject to address.

By Beyonce

Watch the WHOLE thing before reading.
.
.
.

I'm an English major and anyone who knows me knows that my last desire in the world is to bash men or any particular man. And I don't watch/listen to this and think, "Haha, yes! Boo men." Not at all. I think God has made only beautiful creations and I would never intend to say that men are all pigs or anything of the sort. 

However, I think this is a truly beautiful piece of social commentary. It speaks to something that I think guys don't... and maybe can't (?) get. And this song is coming from a married woman, which makes it all the more interesting. I don't think any male will ever truly understand or be able to estimate the fragility of the female heart. That doesn't mean we are weak. It doesn't mean that men are "bad". I just think that it was really brave of Beyonce to take such a bold step out and show the world what so many of us have been trying to say for so long. 



Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Blessed

I feel so thankful today.
I feel so free.

Thank God for Jesus.
Thank God for second chances. 
Thank God for life. :-) 

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ordinary

I don't know what tomorrow will bring, but right now I am content and happy with who I am in Christ. I'm finding that I had so much more strength than I thought I did... or would have had. Maybe if I had known that all along, things would have been different, but as crazy as it sounds, I'm thankful for the difficult moments just as much as I am for the easy ones. 

I wonder... how could I be sad when God has blessed me with another day? How could I cry when His glory is within me? I'm not sad and I'm not crying because when everything else in life abandons me, I'm learning, that Jesus is forever mine. When I do feel hurt, it almost feels silly... not because it isn't valid, but because compared to the love of my Father it all just seems so small. 

But maybe that's why I wonder, I secretly do wonder, if betrayal feels as good as some make it look. My guess is no, but I hope we all (myself included) can find peace in Christ despite mistakes or shortcomings. That being said, I can't help but love even those who I feel have betrayed me in life. It's almost as if God has given me a new set of eyes. I'm not interested in justice, that isn't my place. Right here, right now I'm just thankful to be given the opportunity to love my neighbor as myself. I thought I knew for sure who my hero was, but I see so clearly now that even a hero can fail you.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to realize my happiness does not lie in anyone or anything in this world, but in Christ alone. I pray that when others disappoint us, we don't get angry but realize that they are souls that need love just as much as we do. 

"Do not love this world not the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever." - 1 John 2:15-17 

Too alarming now to talk about
Take your pictures down and shake it out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He's ordinary

Don't the best of them bleed it out
While the rest of them peter out
Truth or consequence, say it aloud
Use that evidence, race it around

There goes my hero 
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He's ordinary

Kudos my hero, leaving all the best
You know my hero, the one that's on

There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes
There goes my hero
He's ordinary. 

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Catch You When You Fall

Take courage, dear heart, I'll catch you when you fall,
For I know too what it is like
When everything you knew, isn't real after all.

You're never alone. Look and see I'm here.
You don't even have to think,
I'll hold your hand, and you have nothing to fear.

Though wounded we may be, despite where we've been
Let's take that first step together,
Because it's here where the rest of life begins.  

-
I've missed you dear friend. I'm glad you're back in my life. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Misery is an option

Everything in me that is good is only God. 

Lately I've been feeling punched in the stomach, but to experience His healing like this is just such a joyful experience. I truly feel the spirit of God for the first time in a long time. I see my short comings and find them beautiful because by identifying them I am seeing what has separated myself from Him. It's nobody's fault. It was me turning my eyes from the Lord. And I'm just so excited to be whole and holy again. I pray that you can experience healing like this in life. I don't know God's plan for me or for you. I know what I wish could come true, but even if it doesn't, I feel I have surrendered that to God and I'm just excited for my future husband, career, music, and friends. Also I'm excited to see how He uses those together. I pray you, dear old friend, find this healing and know you are forgiven and set free in God. I do believe in love and I do believe that it will work out in the end, but I don't believe that (even in the darkest times... or what I thought were the darkest times) love dies. Maybe selfishness can win for a moment, but Love will win. I'm excited to love and to passionately love those around me.

I'm finally opening my eyes ... and all I can see is Grace. If only we could have seen Grace was there the whole time. Nothing can stand in the way of God's glory. 

I wish you every happiness 

Monday, October 13, 2008

Being more Nicole

Sometimes it takes a broken heart to see things clearly. 

I've given up so much of myself that I'm really looking forward to being who God created me to be. I'm looking forward to being healed and happy.

Here's to the journey 


Here I am Lord
Here is this soul
It is always only Yours

Here I am
Here where I know 
You are the true source of joy

Have this broken heart
Make it new
Teach me to follow only You

In the good and bad time
I will cry to Jesus
Thank You for loving
Thank You for saving
Someone like me 


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Things I don't know how to say

The one I thought was "the one" doesn't love me anymore. Simple as that.

I'm confused and hurt. 
I don't know if I believe in love.
I don't know if I believe in soul mates.
I don't know if I believe in promises.
I don't know if I believe in forever. 
I don't know if I believe that someone will ever love me. For real anyway. 
I don't what what I believe in anymore.

or i don't know if I believe his love is really dead. 

Love never fails? 
I don't know. 

Friday, October 10, 2008

Some late night thoughts on Socialism

I once heard someone say that if Jesus had a favored political system it would be Socialism because everyone is working for the good of everyone else and for one purpose.
I think that is true... in heaven. There we have one purpose and One person to serve. Easy. Done. 

However, when you factor in human nature/sin... it doesn't work that way. 
The whole entire point of this world is to CHOOSE what is right and what is wrong. Not to be told. God tells us what is right, but not once throughout the history of humanity has he forced anyone to do anything. 

So would Jesus want us to live in a society where we have no choice but to give to everyone and not to serve ourselves? Not to think of our family first, but our master? I think He would if it were that simple. We need to have the choice not to give, not to help, not to love... otherwise we are not only not able to give, help, or love in their truest forms... but we have lost one VERY vital ingredient, completely necessary to our existence on this earth: 

Freedom. 

Not even God FORCES you to live or act a certain way. It's all about the freedom to choose your own life. So, when someone suggests that Jesus' favored political party is Socialism... I only have to say... I beg to differ. 

"Without the choice of love, one does not have the ability to love"
-Dr. Dolan 

Friday, September 26, 2008

Always Winter, Never Christmas




So often I'm reminded by some of my Christian friends that when I'm struggling just to get by, it is only a season. Sometimes I appreciate this sentiment. I know deep down they are just reminding me that my pain or struggle is only temporary and will not only pass, but eventually be flooded away. However, sometimes I hate it because it feels like a dismissal. They don't know what it is like to trudge through the snow (figuratively), day after day, night after night, only to look back and see how your tracks have ruined a diamond white blanket of perfection. They don't know what it is like to have the wet cold soaked through your clothes and stinging until it burns. And as bitter as I may be about no one understanding my pain, what I am truly bitter about is not so much the cold, but that no one is there to bare it with me. I bare it alone. The guilt is mine alone. The cold is mine alone. I alone am numb.

---

Oddly enough, when I think of a "season" that should pass, but feels far too long, I always think of a Relient K song called "In Like A Lion".  

It's always nice to look out the window
And see those very first few flakes of snow
And later on we can go outside
And create the impression of an angel that just fell from the sky

When February rolls around I'll roll my eyes
Turn a cold shoulder to these even colder skies
And by the fire my heart it heaves a sigh 
For the Green grass waiting on the other side

Cause when it's always winter, but never Christmas
Sometimes it feels like you're not with us
But deep inside our hearts we know
That you are here and we will not lose hope



Sunday, September 21, 2008

Finding my voice

Is there a self apart from language?
Is there a me apart from my voice?

I do not know indefinitely, but I am finding her. Or maybe she is finding me.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Never Let Go




If marriage could be expressed in a picture, I think this is the honest to goodness way most of us would like to see it. A beautiful, young, perfectly dressed couple, in the prime of life, running from a rose filled church to a getaway car that will drive far away to the land of happily ever after.

However, if I am correct, I think it more accurately would look like a picture of the same young couple, each in his and her own small boat, traveling down a river--held together only by the grasp of their hands.

No control of the outside world, no control of the current.

Just held together by the strength of their commitment to

Never Let Go. 

Monday, September 15, 2008

What is truly altruistic anymore...


al-tru-is-tic
-adjective
1. unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others


If you love it, let it go free

I don't think I want to go to LA anymore
Not sure that I really ever could

I'm gonna steer clear
and burn up in your atmosphere
I'm gonna steer clear
Cause I'd die if I saw
and I'd die if I didn't see you there

So I don't think I'm gonna go to LA anymore
I think I'm gonna stay 
All the street lights say never mind
The sunset says, "We see this all the time
Never mind. Never you mind." 

Wherever I go
Whatever I do
I wonder where I am in my relationship to you
Wherever you go
Wherever you are
I watch your life play out like pictures from afar 

I'm gonna steer clear
and burn up in your atmosphere 
I'm gonna steer clear
Cause I'd die if i saw you 
I'd die if I didn't see you there

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thought of the day


It is so much easier to talk about God than to talk to Him sometimes. 
But why?

~
Just because I'm in the flesh
Doesn't mean You shouldn't have the best
from me

Even when my eyes are dry
Even when my soul is tired
Even when my hands are heavy
I will lift them up to You

It's not about how I feel
Lord, I am here for You
I exist FOR You

I will lift my voice
and make a joyful sound
Forget about me
I only get me down
Even though I cannot see
Doesn't me I shouldn't sing to You

Friday, September 12, 2008

Debate, Dissent, and Dialogue: "You Are Wrong"

THE BACK-STORY: 
I attended a very interesting convo this morning for the Belmont 2008 Humanities Symposium where a panel of "scholars" (and I use the term lightly because I haven't studied their credentials personally) discussed the idea or concept of "Debate, Dissent, and Dialogue". And, as much as I overuse the word "interesting", it truly was just that... interesting. 
At the beginning of the discussion, Dr. Bonnie Smith posed the question "Can you think of a time in your life where you have changed your mind because of debate, dissent, and/or dialogue"?  The first man, Dr. Daniel Frick discussed his changing opinion over time of Richard Nixon. From a young age and all through his college years, Dr. Frick had an unquestioned hatred for Nixon and long story short came to understand that his feelings for Nixon were unwarrented, after much study he soon began to understand both Nixon and his policies. 
The second man, Dr. Masood Rajaa, a self proclaimed liberal elitist, discussed the purchase of his second car, or rather a car for his wife. While walking through the parking lot, Dr. Rajaa's wife decided that she wanted a SUV. Now, as Dr. Rajaa put it, he and his wife were earth loving hippies who "don't" drive SUVs. However, after discussing the issue with his wife he came to see her point of view and saw that her confidence as a driver was shaken and she needed a larger vehicle to feel safe, he relented his position and purchased the SUV.
The third man, Dr. Michael Berube discussed his previously liberal standpoint and his anti-Reagan thoughts about the cold war. Dr. Berube discussed that while he perviously felt that many of President Reagan's policies (moving to arms specifically) was a horrible idea, but after "a decade" he came to see the Reagan policies as "genius".
Interesting and all valid discussions.  
Further into the discussion the panelists were discussing the issue of empathy and the importance of seeing (and maybe not always agreeing with) another person's point of view.
SO HERE'S THE DEAL:
Now, while discussing the idea of empathy, Dr. Rajaa asserted that during the second Town Hall Debate between John Kerry and President George Bush were asked a question about abortion to which President Bush said something about it being wrong, and Kerry stating that he thought it was morally wrong, but he wasn't willing to say that someone wasn't allowed to do it.
Based on this statement, Dr. Rajaa stated that this made Bush and anti-intellectual and Kerry and intellectual because of his ability to see something other than his own opinion.
THE POINT:
After hearing this, I had to sit for quite a while to collect my thoughts, but then I got up the courage to ask this question:

"Let's say there is something you KNOW IS WRONG, where would you, or would you, draw the line of debating with an individual on an issue. For example, if there were a man in this room advocating a second Holocaust, how hard would you work to empathize with him? And if you can't empathize, does that make you an "Anti-Intellectual"?

.
.
.

I think Dr. Rajaa's absolute silence spoke volumes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Love makes the world go round

GO BELMONT!

Today has been a very good day. I was asked to be a Belmont blogger and found out that I'll be getting an additional scholarship, which is (needless to say) wonderful news! God is so faithful! And, once again, He is showing me that the more I lean on Him, the better life gets. 

I feel so blessed to be at Belmont this year. It feels like I'm really getting excited and involved about everything going on on campus. I loved it. 

Being an RA is a little more challenging in a freshman dorm than it was in the Commons over the summer. As hard as it is to answer the same question one hundred times in a row and write people up for violations, I really do enjoy getting to know the girls on my floor and all of the Maddox/Wright kids. More than anything, as an RA, I hope that I don't just teach these girls where the Inman Health Science Building is, but show them what it means to be a Christlike example not only here at Belmont but for the rest of their lives. 

Not to mention, the Wright/Maddox staffs are absolutely wonderful. I'm really looking forward to our year working together and I really feel like I have gained some new sisters and brothers. It's wonderful and I love them all!

Also, my sister is a freshman this year and I love having her here! It's been wonderful as she transitions in life to be able to see here for ten minutes here and there without having to plan it and just discuss life/assignments/everything. 

All in all, I really think it's going to be a great year! 

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Love and Marriage

If marriage could be expressed in a picture, I think this is the honest to goodness way most of us would like to see it. A beautiful, young, perfectly dressed couple, in the prime of life, running from a rose filled church to a get away car that will drive away to the land of happily ever after.

However, if I am correct, I think it more accurately would look like a picture of the same young couple, each in his and her own small boat, traveling down a river held together only by the grasp of their hands. 

No control of the outside world, no control of the current.

Just held together by the strength of their commitment to 
never let go.



Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Where are you?

I heard Barak Obama say if he met God/Jesus face to face he'd ask Him if he was going "up or down".

But I wouldn't. 

I ask, "Where are You in this world and how can I get there?"

"Oh, and thank You for grace because I feel so undeserving sometimes." 

I <3 Nash


"It's frightening to be swimming in this strange sea, but I'd rather be here than on land"
-TJ McCloud

I love Nashville and the people God has surrounded me with. I love my job and the things I do. I love my major and hopefully will do something awesome with it. I love the days and the nights, the sights, sounds, and smells. It's wonderful. This is what it must be to be free. 

I really hate "in between times" in life--where you know where you are, but not always where you're going... but today I just know that I love where I am and that there is a plan for me... I just don't know it yet...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Courageous

I've decided what I want to be. Not for a career. Not yet anyway... but I've decided what I would like people to describe me as. 

Of course I would like someone to describe me as beautiful, fun, caring, happy, or something along those lines. Hopefully loving would come up in there. However, I really think in order to have those adjectives you need one thing first: 

Courage.

I want to be courageous. I want to be bold and be courageous enough to love when it is hard. I want to have the courage to hold my head up in a room full of models. I want to have the courage to smile in the face of adversity. I want to have the courage so stand up and do something that could change not just my life, but the lives of others. I want to have the courage to really be a Christian. 

So now for the hard part... I need to stop wanting and start doing. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Good Love Is On The Way

Oh sweet glory.
I finally got the John Mayer DVD in the mail... 
That's it. Nothing profound to say. Not even going to try. 
I think I might be dying... and it is good. 
Just keep me where the light is. 

Friday, June 27, 2008

Joy

I feel like I'm really learning the difference between happiness and joy lately. 
Happy is great, but it is cheap.
Joy is deep and lasting, even when "happy" is gone. 

God is so good. 
I'm thankful for the good and the bad in my life, for the love and the pain, and the laughter and the tears. God has a greater plan than I can imagine and I just pray that I can make it the easy instead of the hard way. 

Thanks you Jesus for You.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Tick Tock...


I'm starting my junior year of college in 2 months. Well, technically I'm a junior already, but who knows when I'm going to graduate? I don't know if it will be on time or early yet. 

I'm thinking about adding a second minor in education so I have the option to get my masters in one year (instead of two) to get a teaching degree. But again, who knows. 

Ever since I changed my major people keep asking me, "So what do you want to do with that?"

And due to the fact that I've had a lot of alone time lately, that question is beginning to drive me nuts because it has been playing and replaying like a broken record in my head... and I don't have an answer.

I could be a great teacher, but I never wanted to be a teacher. I think I would be great writer, but is that what I'm called to do? Do I write for Christian things? Do I write for Music Business things? 

I used to want to be a lot of things, but really I just don't know where God is calling me. Where is a burning bush when you need it, right? I don't know how one action will change another and don't know how or what to do. I don't know how my personal life will affect my career or visa versa. I don't know where God wants me. Maybe I do but I'm just to afraid? I don't know. I am a plan person. Even if I don't like the end result I like to have a plan.  I still wish I just knew what is going on and what will be going on and I wish I knew and could be happy with the result. I love my life, but I'm afraid to make decisions now because I can't handle if they change later. I guess I'm kind of on hold right now until further notice. The only hard part is not knowing what will come next. 

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I'm pro-child

http://www.boundlessline.org/2008/05/my-eight-year-o.html 

God save our children. 
In a country that allows us to have the "option" to kill our children, I'm tired of my government telling me what is and isn't right to do with my (potential) children. I'm tired of my government telling me that I don't have the right to do what I think is best to keep my (potential) children safe, happy, and well educated. 

I'm not laisser faire, but the government needs to learn that it is there to protect us and help us remain free, not to take those things away from us or our children. 

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thoughts on the "College Years"


It's that time of year again. The time of year when millions of kids across the country are fervently penning the last words of their high school careers onto the pages of life, all about to close that chapter forever. It's high school graduation. 

After coming to college I know I've changed, but I'm not sure how--or at least I don't think I can put it into words yet. In some ways I feel more lost, in others I feel more found. I've learned more about people than I ever wanted to know and I've learned what it really means to walk the walk. I've learned that my patience is much more thin than I had hoped it would be. I've learned that you can't trust everyone. And in the fatalistic blow to my bubble, I've learned that there are people who do wish harm on me as well as others. However, I've also learned that everyone hurts and bleeds the same. I've also learned that the "bad" people are just insecure and scared. I've also learned that in the midst of despair and fear for others there is only one thing that matters: Love--and His name is Jesus.  

I feel like in our country college is the time where a person gets a nod and a wink, maybe a slap on the wrists, for "bad behavior". It's kind of understood that we'll all be drinking underage and having sex with random people to "find" ourselves. But to that I ask, "Who ever found themselves at the bottom of a glass or in a one night stand?" Name one...  Also, it is obvious that also accepted in our society is the idea that there is no consequence to anything done in these 4 years... Well, again I beg to differ. Sometimes the consequences of our actions can leave us hurt and scarred for the rest of our lives whether we're in college or not. 

It is a hard time for me because I feel like I've been called to a higher purpose and I'm doing my best to be who He created me to be. I know who I am and I don't need sex, drugs, or alcohol to "teach" me anything. However, I know everyone else is called too and watching them fail to even recognize that potential is sometimes agonizingly painful. Ephesians 5:15-21 kind of says it all. I guess part of my problem is that in college in an attempt to gain knowledge, we seem to lose any sense of wisdom. 

I sincerely hope I never come off as one of those judgmental Southern conservative "Christians" who says, "You'll be damned to Hell if you do X, Y, or even think about Z!" If anyone reading this (if anyone even reads this) walks away thinking that was my point you have missed it completely. 

I'm just sharing the most important thing I feel I've learned during my college years so far (but not in college, despite going to a "Christian school" (that is another blog entirely)).

I've learned that it's not drugs or alcohol or sex that bring you down. No.

It's the failure to recognize the fact that YOU ARE LOVED causes failure to recognize your potential and so goes the trail. 

So let's share His love, huh? 

I know it's hard sometimes, but pray for the person you despise. Hug the friend who hurt you. Call your mom and tell her you love her. Help a stranger. Apologize. Ask forgiveness. Smile. Love those who don't love you. Ask questions and seek God. Study and ask questions, but don't forget to ask Him. I know some don't feel that Christians do this, but I do. I ask questions. I doubt. But time and time again I have faith that you'll find: Love wins. It's easy to hate, love takes courage. Be courageous. 

We all have a pen in our hands and I only pray that by the time I finish the "College Years" chapter in my life, that I am happy with the way it turned out and I don't spend the rest of my life regretting or wondering what would have been different if I had realized my potential or if I had loved more. I want to look back and see that in the times I wanted to hit someone I was so mad, I hugged them instead--literally for figuratively. I want to see that in the middle of my struggles I didn't give up, but instead found my strength in Christ. I don't want to look back and see "religion" I want to look back and see the Love of Jesus in my life. I know I forget these things daily, but with His help I know I can try-- and I would encourage every college Freshman of 2012 to do so too. 

In Him,
Nicole <><

Please lay down your arrows
For they're sure to pierce the skin
And water from a broken well
Will make you thirst again
When all things you've acquired
Are tested by the flames
And you can see them melting
Then will you call His name?

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sin
Did you know that you are dearly loved?

To the slaughter you are being led
Being told that it's a party
That this God is in your head
And every single lie
Sounds just like the greatest truth
But the one truth you're not hearing
Is that He died for you

It's worth it brothers
It's worth it friends
To know your maker
To lose your sins
Did you know that you are dearly loved?
-Jimmy Needham


Monday, April 28, 2008

Have a little faith in me

I'm a hurting person. I always have been and no matter how great my life gets I always will be. 
After becoming a Christian, I'm realizing I'm still human and I'm still in this world. Being "saved" has nothing to do with never getting sick. Being "saved" has nothing to do with my short term happiness. Being "saved" doesn't make me a super-being that is suddenly invincible and incapable of sin. I wish it did, but it has nothing to do with that.

I know Christians always get criticized for being hypocrites. And most of us are--whether we're talking about real, genuine Christians or just those who claim to be Christians. Why? Because being "saved" has nothing to do with earthly perfection. Please, don't look at me. I am striving to be like my Father, but I fumble and fall everyday. 

Sometimes in an effort to try to atone for my sins I guilt myself into if I'm sorry enough then God will forgive me. I try to do nice things for people and have a loving heart. But I can't "feel" bad enough or "do" enough to make up for things I know I've done wrong. I know that God's love changes people and I try and try to share that. Why, then, do I get so frustrated when I try and try and try and try and feel like God is getting further and further away? 

However, sometimes in an effort to help myself and help others I forget...

It's not about me. I'm STILL in need of a SAVIOR. 

My works and my heart are nothing without my faith in Him. Without Him they are meaningless and hollow, for I am saved by GRACE, not works. 


"And when the tears you cry
Are all you can believe
Just give these loving arms a try
And have a little faith in Me" 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

True Friendship




i carry your heart with me (i carry it in 
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
 i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done 
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate, my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Life and Lennon

I always have and always will tell the world that Paul McCartney and I are kindred spirits. I adore his genius and I think he is amazing...

But sometimes, it's not Paul, but only John who knows a feeling I wonder if many people know. 
It's so lonely, it's so overwhelmingly sad and lonely. It's deep and dark, but oddly illuminating. It's deeply connected to something intangible, unexplainable, and unreasonable. I never feel quite so lost and yet quite so found as the moment I find myself here. It is the feeling that values life and love above all and bleeds for those who do not value or know it. It's knowing things could be different if only everyone knew.

It's the feeling I get when I feel like people don't understand:
All you REALLY need is love

~~~~~~~~

Words are flowing out like 
Endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass 
They slip their way across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy
Are drifting through my open mind
Possessing and caressing me

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Images of broken light which
Dance before me like a million eyes
They call me on and on across the universe
Thoughts meander like a 
Restless wind inside a letter box
They tumble blindly as 
They make their way across the universe

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world

Sounds of laughter shades of life
Are ringing through my open ears
Exciting and inviting me
Limitless undying love which 
Shines around me like a million suns
It calls me on and on across the universe

Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world
Nothing's gonna change my world



God is Love,
Nicole <><

Friday, April 4, 2008

My Hope Is You

If there is ONE thing God keeps teaching me over and over and over again is that I can't put my faith in other people. Not even myself. 

Sometimes I wonder why it is so hard to learn something so simple, so true, and so consistent... 

There's a cry in my heart
For Your glory to fall
For your presence to fill up my senses
There's a yearning again
A thirst for discipline
A hunger for things that are deeper

could you take me beyond?
Could you carry me through?
If I open my heart?
Could I go there with you?
(For I've been here before,
But I know there's still more
Oh, Lord, I need to know You)

For WHAT do I have 
If I don't have You, Jesus?
What in this life
Could mean any more?
You are my rock
You are my glory
You are the lifter 
of my head
-By Starfield

Friday, March 28, 2008

If Only You Knew

This is my first attempt at poetry:

If only you could see
Everything I see
If only you could read between the lines,
I know you wouldn't do what you do
If only you knew
On your soul rests a stamp that reads "MINE".

It is signed by a King,
Maker of all things,
But most precious to Him is you.
We watch you wandering and groping,
While we're here waiting and hoping
Someday you'll see it's true.

You'll never be the same
Once you realize the rules have changed
And you, you have already won.
Worthy of love and respect,
A heart to protect,
Never again will you be undone.

We're waiting for you to smile,
Truly smile.
We're waiting for you to shine,
Truly shine.
But until then I'll watch you pretending 
Watch the signs you are sending,
Knowing you'd be different
If only you know
Your own worth. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

They Know Not What They Have Done...

In my life:
I've been stabbed in the back, betrayed, and lied to. I've been attacked by people I hardly know because of their own selfishness. I have cried myself to sleep because of someone's careless words or actions. I've sworn never to talk to someone because of the way they treat me. I've been really hurt by a lot of people in my life. In fact, I would say that to some degree and to some extent the majority of the people I know have done something to hurt of offend me. 

Also in my life:
I've lashed out in anger and pain. I've said things I didn't mean. I've tried to get back at someone. I've ignored someone. In an attempt to have someone understand my hurt feelings, I've gossipped. Even when my intentions were good, I've hurt people. 

It seems to me that the people we call our friends are the people who haven't hurt us. But, frankly, by virtue of the fact that they are people, they are capable of it. Sometimes it's a just a matter of time.  In Blue Like Jazz, Donald Miller had a friend ask him if he was capable of raping someone, and even though it was difficult for him to admit it, he had to say, "Yes, I am capable of it."

I'm starting to see what sin means. It doesn't mean smacking your brother, lying to your coworker,  or even  killing someone.  Sin is a separation from God and God is Love... therefore, I think the real meaning of the word "sin" is losing your ability to love.

When Jesus cried, "Forgive them Father, for they know not what they have done", He wasn't just talking about our everyday individual sins, no. He was talking about our inability to really love God and each other. 

So the next time someone hurts you, don't hold it against them. Forgive them, try to talk to them, and just remember we're all in the same boat... we're all human. I really believe that everyone tries their best just to make it though life and that if we all really understood the repercussions of our actions, we wouldn't do half of the things we do. However, maybe that's the point... maybe we don't know what we do...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

the grass is always greener on the other side of the pond

It's my not so secret dream to study abroad.
I'd love to go to France or England. I'd love to visit, but I'd really love to study there. The idea thrills me to the core. I can just imagine what it is like to take the train in Paris trying to get to class on time in a town where I don't know the language (very well) or anybody. I think trying to save my books and myself from the English rain or working on my laptop in a French Bistro would be a very fulfilling feeling. I've never met a stranger before and I would love either attempting to get over the language barrier or getting to know people who, while they are technically my peers, grew up in a world completely different from my own. I would love staying up late at night and just watching the cities die down. I've always wanted to use the train system in Europe. On the weekends I'd visit small places like Liverpool, Normandy, and Nice (one of the nicest people I've ever met was from Normandy). I'd want to see the grave of C.S. Lewis, Hyde Park, and the Big Ben. I'd want to see Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame. 
I really want to experience everything... but that, frankly, I could do most of those things on any visit. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to just visit someday! 

It's just that I want to study there to prove that I can do it--to be away and by myself. 

I want to know what it's really like to miss home... or if I would. I know I would miss people... especially him. And, to tell the truth, it won't happen because I just can't afford it. But even if I could, I don't know if I'd be brave enough to do it. No, I take that back. I would go, but I don't know if I'd be miserable or happy. I'm sure it would help me appreciate who I've got here. 

Who knows, maybe God has something planned for me here instead, but I guess I'll just have to wonder what it would have been like and what I would have done. I know Jack Johnson said "Don't let your dreams be dreams", but sometimes I think some things are left better as dreams... who knows when you'll pave paradise to put up a parking lot. 

Love wins.  

Friday, March 7, 2008

Turning foes into forgiven friends


Used to be the smiter came
Struck my cheek and I cursed his name
Used to be my fist was drawn
My heart was stone and its mercy gone

I was wrong to breathe
Any words but these
Peace and mercy
Invade every soul that hurts me, I pray
Peace and mercy
Invade every soul that hurts me
Love my enemy
Love my enemy 
Like You loved me

Used to be I rolled the dice
Held the spear and broke your side
Water, blood, and mercy ran
Turning foes to forgiven friends

I'd be wrong to give
Any less than this

Peace and mercy
Invade every soul that hurts me, I pray
Peace and mercy
Invade every soul that hurts me I pray
Love my enemy
Change my enemy
Forgive my enemy Love my enemy
Like You loved me
-Shaun Groves
~~~~~~~~~~~
You know what I think the hardest part of being a Christian is?

It's the fact that we're still human.
It takes a lot of work being a Christian... a lot of hard work that sometimes...
Frankly...
We don't want to do...
Sometimes forgiveness, 
The very thing that Jesus is about,
Is what is hardest thing for us
Because we're STILL human

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"Isn't it interesting that when we get hurt, 
we pray for justice,
but when we hurt someone else,
we pray for mercy"
-Mike Glenn