Sunday, December 30, 2012

Coffee: Grace to My Heart

There is something kind of magical about local coffee shops. They are the places that nurse my heart and help me to breathe and relax. So today I found a little coffee shop in downtown Greensboro to let me heart rest once more.

I wanted Christmas break to be a time of relaxation and rejuvenation, but it simply has not been. This break has been more exhausting than anything because my days have been dictated by being mad and frustrated... at myself. 

I cannot meet the expectations that I have for myself. I measure myself against perfection and these days perfection seems like a foreign concept.

I know that I will never be perfect. I know that God does not expect perfection. I know that Jesus is perfect. But even though I "know" all of that... I surely have not been living like that.

And it has made my heart a little dry and my soul a little sore.

I am supposed to have it all together. I am supposed to be all smiles all day. I am supposed to be a good gift giver. I am supposed to love selflessly. I am supposed to show Christ to my family. I am supposed to be the social planner. I am supposed to know how I feel. I am supposed to always be on the go. I am supposed to be encouraging to others. I am supposed to read my Bible everyday. I am supposed to have it all together. I am supposed to be optimistic all the time. I am supposed to have a lot of friends. I am supposed to be fearless. I am supposed to be patient. I am supposed to be wise. I am supposed to show everyone grace. I am supposed to live out of honest and vulnerable places. I am supposed to be............. perfect.

But I am not. 

Quite frankly, I do not know if I have perfected a single one of those things these days... or if I have even half-way succeeded.

Rather these days of "break" have consisted of a watered-down version of myself that is tired and sick... a version that is irritable and sad and anxious and not very nice. It's a version that's fire for Jesus seems like a bonfire that is slowly dying. 

And if there is one thing that I am definitely not good at, it is showing myself grace.

But today, I am putting my foot down. I am choosing to show myself some grace and I am choosing to not measure myself against a mark of perfection... a perfection that I will never reach.

Instead of staring at my own imperfections and all of the places that I am falling short these days, I am choosing to sit at the foot of the cross. I am choosing to hand Jesus all of the broken pieces that make up my life and give them to Him.

So I'm embarking on the process of letting my tired heart heal and rest.

It is going to be a process, but it's starting today... in a little coffee shop on Tate Street... at a table that is shaped like a coffee mug (I think Jesus knows me really well).

So I'm showing myself some grace today with a little latte. 

"For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything." - 1 John 3:20


"But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions--it is by grace you have been saved." - Ephesians 2:4

Friday, December 21, 2012

On the Hunt for Christmas

I love the holidays. I love everything about the Christmas season. For a person who delights in the little things, Christmas time is delight overload and it's magical and wonderful.

... the twinkle lights ... the baking ... the gingerbread houses ... the Christmas parties ... the shopping ... the decorations ... the gift wrapping ... the bows ... the nativity scenes ... the peppermint everything ... the music and carols ... everything Christmas ... it's simply delightful

Since my friends and I were fifteen we have been having the same annual Christmas party. It's always at Katie's house and it's always full of some of my favorite memories. We have continued the tradition since all going our different directions in college and each break I always look forward to the party that brings us all back together.

For a little trip down memory lane...

2006: We were fifteen and sophomores and knew not a care in the world.
2007: We were sixteen and growing up and didn't know how to pose for pictures.
2008: We were seventeen and seniors and never got a whole group picture...
2009: We were eighteen and freshmen in college and crazier than ever.
2010: We were nineteen and loving college.
2011: We were twenty and getting old and tackier than ever.
The memories have been plentiful and I am so thankful for each person in each one of these pictures. Some friends have come in and out and then some other friends have been there from the beginning. Some of them know me better than any other people ever will because we have been together for so long.

And each year, the night before the Christmas party all of the girls come to my house to bake cookies.

Meet Danielle, Paige, Caitlin, Pooja, Katie, and Sam.
My besties since I was thirteen... kind of hard to believe.
Needless to say, the traditions do not end there. That is what I love about Christmas time. It is full of traditions and in turn, full of memories. Each year I look forward to Christmas beginning in October (but I do decline any Christmas celebrations until after Thanksgiving).

This year is different though. 

It doesn't feel like Christmas. It doesn't feel like the holidays. And the parties just aren't the same.

And boy let me tell you, I have tried to make it feel like Christmas...

I have tried nearly every Christmas-y drink at Starbucks. I have driven around to look at Christmas lights. I have had the music playing since the day after Thanksgiving. I have made the shopping lists. I have gone to Dave Barnes and Friends Christmas concert. I have sent out the Christmas cards. I have baked the Christmas cookies. I have kept my mom company as she has wrapped countless gifts.

I have really tried...

And on top of it all, the annual friends Christmas party just isn't quite the same this year. We're getting older and the family obligations are increasing. More of us seem to be traveling or seem to have people that are calling us other places. So this year, rather than the usual party, we're doing dinner at a nice restaurant all together. We're getting old and this is the last Christmas that it's guaranteed that we'll all be in Greensboro.

So it doesn't feel like Christmas. It just doesn't. And I have been a little bummed. Well actually, a lot bummed... because I love this time of year so much and it has been kind of a let down.

But in this season of not quite delight with Christmas, I have been able to see the truth... the real truth.

And the truth is that Christmas is not about the lights, the parties, the cookies, the shopping, and all of the music. It is not about all the things that have brought me so much delight in the past.

Christmas is about the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ and is about finding delight in Him. 

So that is where my focus is this year... on the birth of a child that completely turned the world upside down.

The Christmas story is so often told just like that... as a story. It is romanticized and told in a way that is often distant from our beings now. But the reality is that our lives were forever changed the moment that Jesus was welcomed onto the earth in a stable in Bethlehem. The Christmas story is not distant at all, it is the gospel.

Jesus' birth changed everything. He is Immanuel... God with us. There is something so incredibly beautiful about that... God with us... God... with ... us... 

God came to earth as a man and lived a perfect, sinless life. He died on the cross for our sins and was the ultimate sacrifice. He then defeated death and overcame the grave. Jesus has made us all new through the cross and the resurrection.

God came to earth Himself to be our savior. He is no longer a distant judge who we cannot commune with, but is God with us. Jesus Christ came to be trusted, leaned on, communed with, and walked with.

We now walk with God because Jesus Christ was born.

And in that, I will find my delight this season. My delight is in Immanuel... God with us. 

So it might not feel like my usual Christmas, but that is okay. I am making it my goal to spend the rest of this holiday season simply reflecting on what it means that Jesus is God with us. I challenge you to do the same.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rags to Riches: Lessons from Nashville

Over Thanksgiving break I was bit by the travel bug. I was ready for a little traveling adventure and I knew that Christmas break would be the perfect time. Lucky for me, Jen (one of my housemates) texted me the next day asking if I would want to go to Nashville the first weekend of break because she had a job interview there. DUH! I was sold... Nashville, the home of country music, sounded delightful and just where I wanted to go.

It was decided. Anna, Jen, and I would go to Nashville right after Friday morning exams. Oh and the most exciting part, Amanda, would drive down and meet us for the weekend. Yes, please. Jen would have her interview Saturday morning, but the rest of the time we could explore and enjoy the music city.

Planning the actually logistics of a weekend trip to Nashville all happened a week before we left. I remembered my last traveling adventure over Fall Break and decided that a "plan" would be a good thing.

On that adventure Sarah, Anna, and I had no plans other than a plane ticket to Denver, CO and a house to stay in the first night.... the rest was figured out in the airport and on a minute to minute basis. There was a brief two hours when we considered staying in a stranger's mountain house in Breckenridge... It was free, in Breckenridge, and he seemed really nice... Lucky for us, reality set in and we realized maybe not the best decision. But we ended up booking some random hotels all over the state and our spontaneous Colorado trip was beautiful and wonderful and just what I needed at the time.

And the only thing planned was the flight we were about to get on and our first night's stay...
But it ended up all being perfect... exploring Denver, hiking, four-wheeling, seeing snow, visiting Crooked Creek... all perfect and all a truly beautiful gift from God.

So in comparison to Colorado, I thought we had it all figured out... We had booked a hotel, bought tickets for the Dave Barnes and Friends Christmas show, got restaurant recommendations from Macon (a Nashville native), and we even had directions to where we were staying. And when our parents asked about the plans, we said we had it all figured out and to not worry.  Surely we had it all together... or so we thought.

So this past weekend Anna, Jen, and I hopped in the car right after mine and Jen's Friday morning exams and were Nashville bound.

I love maps and love seeing where the road tripping is leading.
Making it to Tennessee was perfect and an absolutely beautiful drive through the Appalachian mountains... I LOVE MOUNTAINS.
After stopping for a snack in Asheville, NC we decided that we would just drive straight to Nashville and get dinner once we were there. It would be a little late for dinner, but we just wanted to get to the Music City.

After a good eight hour drive we made it to Nashville and were hotel bound. We wanted to check into our hotel before going to get dinner and before starting the evening. We were all really tired... I had maybe slept four hours the night before and had just come off a long week of exams, but we wanted to enjoy Nashville for all that it was.

Now all that we knew about the hotel was that it was cheap because it fit into our college budget and that it was in the "Downtown/Opryland" area. We had booked the hotel off of Expedia and it seemed like a really great deal. The downtown area was just where we wanted to be and it was close to Jen's interview on Saturday morning. And it was the perfect price for us college students... As college students loving adventure we knew that we couldn't stay in a super nice place so we were fine with bumming it and Jen brought her sleep sack just to avoid the sheets of the hotel bed.

As we were getting closer and closer to the hotel we started getting further and further from the seemingly safe parts of Nashville. We were entering into the much more run down and sketchy side of the city. I could hear Anna squirming more and more in the back seat and I was just laughing because that's all that I know to do in unfortunate situations.

After passing some old abandoned buildings, some stray dogs wandering around, and some large crowds of people we arrived at our hotel... our hotel that was really a motel because there was outdoor access to all of the rooms. And upon pulling into the parking lot of the hotel, we were starred down by a large group of guys just chilling in the parking lot. We were not comfortable... as twenty-one year old girls who do not know the area, this was not where we wanted to be and was surely not where we wanted to be staying.

But we thought we had it all figured out... We thought our plan was flawless... And I surely was not ready to accept defeat in this plan.

We stayed in the car for fifteen minutes, stomachs growling, contemplating what to do. We could just get over our fears and just stay at the hotel and "hope for the best." We could stay there one night since we were already there and figure out something else for the second night. We could just find a new hotel all-together, which would involve spending more money. Or we could sleep in the car since that would be free (this was never a real consideration though).

In this time of contemplation, tears started coming down my face. They were tears of frustration and of exhaustion. I just wanted this trip to be fun and cheap... not really sketchy. I can say now, crying was definitely not the solution to the problem, but it was the only thing that seemed adequate at the moment.

After talking all together, Anna, Jen, and I decided that we would go drive around downtown (the area we thought we would be staying in) and just see the prices of other hotels and see the availability there. We were driving up and down Broadway (where all the honky tonk bars are) calling hotels and seeing what it would cost to just stay there one night. We figured by the second night we could come up with a different plan.

All of the hotels in the area would be over $200 a night and would not include free parking. It was not an appealing price at all, especially coming off the cheap, sketchy hotel... and it was definitely not in the price range of the cheap college student adventure to Nashville.

We kept driving in circles contemplating what to do... just stay in the sketchy hotel where we would probably be fine, but where we would hardly sleep because we were nervous... OR just accept defeat in the original plan and pay a lot more money for the really nice hotel in the really nice location.

Eventually we decided... we would just splurge and book one night in the Hampton Inn downtown and then figure out another plan for the next night. I wasn't overly thrilled about the price, but it was getting late, and I was hungry and really exhausted and just wanted out of the car.

Jen called her mom to make sure that it would be okay to just put the hotel on their credit card for the night and we would just pay them back once we got home and get it all sorted out. Her mom so graciously agreed. We had to admit a little defeat to our parents though, which is never ever fun.

After booking the hotel and checking in, we were finally parking in the parking garage when Jen received a text message from her dad. It was simple: "The hotel is on me for both nights. You girls enjoy and have fun in Nashville."

Say what?! No more sketchy hotel, no more splurging on our parts, no more driving around aimlessly... instead we were getting a really nice hotel with fluffy white sheets, in a really great location, for two nights... all FREE to us.

It was perfect.

Except it was a little hard to except. I felt stupid that our plan had failed. I felt indebted to Jen's dad. I felt guilty that we had to ask for help.

But slowly those feelings slipped away and we got settled into our lovely hotel room. It had fluffy white pillows on the best mattresses. We were greeted by lemonade in the lobby. And we were a two minute walk to everything we wanted to do in Nashville.  This hotel was way better than any place we had ever imagined staying in.

The trip ended up being quite delightful. Amanda came down Saturday morning and spent the day and night with us. We explored downtown, visited the Vanderbilt area, did some shopping, saw Dave Barnes and Friends Christmas concert, went to Midtown church, and ate at lots of fun places. It was a wonderful way to begin this Christmas break and it was with some of my very best friends.

And I learned a lot about God... and the plan He has for us.

We ate at The Old Spaghetti Factory and got to play in this really fun Christmas train.
There is nothing like a huge Christmas tree and best friends to put you in the Christmas spirit. Thank you, Anna and Jen, for being the best friends to road trip with and for your traveling spirits as well.
So incredibly thankful that Amanda could drive down to Nashville to meet us and spend some time with us. I am so blessed to have a best friend that lives twelve hours away, but that I still get to see and adventure around with.
The Dave Barnes and Friends Christmas show was absolutely wonderful. Dave Barnes is absolutely hilarious and I was laughing the entire time. And his "friends" performing were some of my most absolute favorite people... they included Drew & Ellie Holcomb and Andrew Ripp.
"It's a crazy town full of neon dreams. Everybody plays, everybody sings. Hollywood with a touch of twang."
So the weekend worked out... better than we had imagined.

And that's how it is with God. Life with Him is way better than we can ever imagine.

So often we try and plan our own life. I know that I do this. I always come up with the plan that I think will be "best" and I do everything I can to act on that plan.

We come up with the "next semester" plan, the "next year" plan, the "five year" plan, the "ten year" plan, and then even the "life plan." Now all those plans may be full of great goals and ambitions and lots of fun adventures, but if they are not God's plans then they certainly not the BEST plans.

We all so often plan our future out without considering what our Heavenly Father has in plan for us. We often do not ask for help or guidance. We just barrel forward with what we want and hope for the best.

That is what we did with Nashville. We wanted to go, so we planned the trip. We booked a hotel without much consideration of the location and were just hoping for the best... well the best did not happen.

When we are not seeking the Lord's will in our life or when we are giving Him the cold shoulder in our plans we miss out on all that life can be... we get the sketchy hotels. We get a life that is manageable and is okay and is sometimes exciting, but it falls short of all that it can be.

We have to ask God for guidance and we have to ask God to show us His plans for us and we have to let God in.

In those moments we will find life that is truly abundant and is all that God intended for us. It is life that is full of sparkle and is beautiful and wonderful. And it is all part of a plan that we do not come up with... it is from God's plan for our life. It is a life that leads us to knowing Him more and to us bringing glory to Him.

We never imagined that we would be in as nice of a hotel that we were this weekend. But when we finally broke down and admitted that our plan was way less than ideal, and we asked Jen's parents for help we were given something way more abundant than we ever imagined. All we asked for was a credit card to temporarily book the hotel with, instead, we were given two nights at a nice hotel with great service and really nice sheets.

God wants to give us more than we can imagine, but we have to let Him into our lives and into our plans. We have to admit that our plans just are not cutting it. My plan and my way of doing things is simply not working.

But with my Heavenly Father there is life and there is beauty and there is excitement and there is someone holding me up when life does get rough. The cool thing too is that God can rescue us and He wants to. He wants to swoop in when we admit defeat.

This gift of life with God and in His plan is all free. There is nothing that I can do to earn it. It is truly by the grace of God that we can know Him and can walk with Him. "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8). With that grace of God there is no room for guilt or regret, there is only freedom. 

It's simple: God knows best. I do not.

And after being on this journey with God for a while now I do realize that His plan does not always lead me to four star hotels with best friends in really fun towns. I do know that it has brought me to places that are hard and where crying seems to be an everyday occurrence. It has brought me to places where my heart is broken, but the journey is always best with God. In the darkest places and in the deepest valleys, Jesus is holding my hand and is crying with me and comforting me. I know that I cannot do this "life-thing" on my own. I just simply cannot.

I am thankful for this reminder this past weekend. I am in a season where "life plan" is brought up in nearly every other conversation. And this weekend I was reminded that this "life plan" is not my own, it is the Lord's. 

I am beyond thankful that it is in this plan that I will know Jesus more and that I will be in a plan that is meant to glorify Jesus more. "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory" (Ephesians 1:11-12).

My prayer is the same as that of Paul for the Ephesians:

"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to the his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."


Side Note: I must give credit to Anna for all of the wonderful pictures that I put on this blog usually. She is the photographer of the McMansion and is a true lover of pictures... and she is really, really talented. She has her own photography blog and you should really check it out.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sizzle and Pop Semester

“I want a life that sizzles and pops and makes me laugh out loud. And I don't want to get to the end, or to tomorrow, even, and realize that my life is a collection of meetings and pop cans and errands and receipts and dirty dishes. I want to eat cold tangerines and sing out loud in the car with the windows open and wear pink shoes and stay up all night laughing and paint my walls the exact color of the sky right now. I want to sleep hard on clean white sheets and throw parties and eat ripe tomatoes and read books so good they make me jump up and down, and I want my everyday to make God belly laugh, glad that he gave life to someone who loves the gift.” - Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines 


[A few of my favorite things from this semester...]

1. Dates with this dear friend, Jen, to fancy desert places and to the movies just because we can.  Jen is one of the wisest and most sincere people that I know. I feel truly blessed to have her in my life and I cannot wait to see where the Lord moves her next year. I am really really really hoping that it's to the West Coast.

2. I live in a house known as the McMANSION. These girls are my absolute best friends here in Chapel Hill and they know me so very well. We have fun together and we dress up like nerds for dance parties and we just live our lives everyday in the Lord's freedom. They are the most wonderful friends and housemates.
3. I got to spend this Thanksgiving at my family's lake house with my family and it was extremely relaxing and peaceful. My brother, Cole, came home from his freshman year at college at Salisbury University in Maryland so I got to see him for the first time since mid-August.
4. So sometimes we sneak on the football fields for photo shoots and take ridiculous pictures, making ridiculous faces, in ridiculous poses. But these girls are the absolute best and I LOVE Carolina football.
5. When holiday season rolls around in Chapel Hill there is always an excuse to get dressed up in some costume and to celebrate. For Thanksgiving this year, the girls of Blue Kenan decided to have a Pilgrims and Indian feast. It was mighty delicious and it was full of some of the most fun people.
6. Getting dressed up, spending the evening with the best Young Life team around, and watching one of your old teammates walk down the aisle to marry her best friend? Yes, I would call that one of my favorite things.
7. These friends are known as the kitch snitches and they make me smile each and everyday.
8. Some nights it only makes sense to drop everything you are supposed to be doing and to go play in the rain and to jump in the most epic of puddles and to have attempt to float down McCauley St.
9. It was such a blessing to have nearly all of the McMansion parents to our house for a tailgate before the Parent's Weekend football game. It was so fun hosting them and having them all meet.
10. These ladies are some of the juniors at East Chapel Hill High and they inspire me each and everyday and I cannot imagine my life without them. I love them each so dearly and feel blessed to be their Young Life leader.
11. Fall is most definitely one of my favorite seasons and the pumpkin patch makes me feel like a kid again.
12. In my adventures to Colorado over Fall Break I got to see this guy at Crooked Creek. He has become one my best friends after interning together the past two summers and it was such a blessing to be able to see him while we were out there.
13. The vastness of the Lord's creation was impeccable while we went 4-wheeling in a valley in Colorado. It was a beautiful and adventurous trip and I was constantly being swept away by the Lord's greatness.
14. These two girls, the most bestest friends in the world, planned the best surprise that I have ever received. Amanda, my bestie from Indiana, flew in to surprise me for a weekend and Syd helped it all go down. I have never felt more loved by my friends than I did that weekend.
15. It feels like a perfect night for breakfast at midnight, to fall in love with strangers. We're happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time. It's miserable and magical, oh yeah. Tonight's the night we forget about the deadlines, it's time. Thank you, Taylor Swift, for midnight Waffle House inspiration and thank you, Jesus, for best friends.
16. I have spent countless hours with these dear friends and teammates meeting, praying, and living life together. They have seen me at my worst and at my best and they are the best people to have by my side as we lay down our lives and attempt to love high schoolers like Christ has loved us.

What have been some of your favorite parts of the semester? Where have you seen and experienced Jesus? What are your hopes and goals for next semester?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Once Learned, Now (Re)Learning

I am learning a ton... well actually, (re)learning a ton and remembering all the things the Lord has already done.

Yesterday I tore open the pages of my journal from this past summer at Timber Wolf.  I was hit by a flood of thoughts... so many memories from the summer storming back in... so much love for that camp... so many hilarious stories... so much rawness... so many things that I thought I had learned,

but I seem to have forgotten. 

I learned so much this summer.  The Lord was challenging me, growing me, and stretching me in so many different ways.  But today, those "lessons" from the summer are "lessons" once again.  What I had considered learned, now seems like a distant memory... and I am in major need of (re)learning.

It seems to me that one of the biggest ways that Satan can attack us is through forgetting... forgetting what the Lord has done in us already.  He hides all of the beautiful and righteous things that the Lord has done from our memory, so that it makes it difficult to recall the Lord's faithfulness.

Now while forgetting may be one of Satan's ploys, the Lord is already victorious for He has defeated death.

As Satan makes us forget what the Lord has done, the Lord can use that as an opportunity to reteach us, to extend us grace, to love us, and to call us back to Himself... what a beautiful and gracious God we have.

So I now find myself in a season of (re)learning.  I say (re)learning because the situations and contexts are different, but the lessons are the same.

And to be honest, I feel a little lost and a lot confused... but my words are the same as Jehoshaphat's when he was about to face a vast army that he was unprepared for:

"(I) do not know what to do, but (my) eyes are upon You." -2 Chronicles 20:12

And I will cling to Him.  I will cling to my God.  He says, "I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land.  I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you" (Genesis 28:15).  He is calling me back... calling me back to the lessons I thought I had learned... and He will not leave me.  

I trust Him, because "thus far, the Lord has helped" (1 Samuel 7:12).  He has been faithful before, and He will be faithful again.

"I will remember the deeds of the Lord, Yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago." -Psalm 77:11

Today I am thankful for my journal.  I am thankful for all of the words I wrote to the Lord this summer and all the truths He declared in my writing.  I encourage you to journal or to write down what the Lord is doing in your life and what He is teaching you so that one day you can go back and read it... so that you can remember all that the Lord has done and so that Satan's grip on our forgetfulness is loosened.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Gospel.

Last weekend I had the privilege of going to the Transform Women's Conference at The Summit Church in RDU.  To be honest, I was a little skeptical because I didn't know what all a women's conference could entail, but per usual, the Lord knew best and blessed me in such a delightful way.

Elyse Fitzpatrick was the guest speaker and she was phenomenal.  She was sassy, funny, a great speaker... but most of all, very passionate about Jesus.  It was obvious in each word that she spoke.

The entire conference was on God's love for us and how His love can transform our hearts and our lives.  It was truly an insightful and blessed time.

In Elyse's first talk she presented the Gospel... and it was real... and it was good... and it was powerful... and it hit me like a wave crashing into the ocean.

As a Christian involved in ministry, presenting the gospel becomes a "normal" thing to do.  It is what we do at Young Life every week.  I hear the gospel often and I thank the Lord for all that He has done, but then I move on to the next thing... not because I don't value Jesus or the cross, but because I don't always let the truth of the gospel sit and stir in my heart.

But this time, it was different.

I was mesmerized by Jesus and His love for us and His death on the cross and then his resurrection.  I was awe struck by the gospel.  I was captivated. 

Elyse presented the Gospel in five different pieces.  I want to share them because I think they are beautiful and they are raw and they are real and they are mysterious and they have the power to transform.
  1. The Incarnation: God became flesh.  He became a human... a human that experienced all parts of human life.  He was birthed in a stable and was kept in a manger.  He experienced ALL that we are experiencing now... the frustrations, the joys, the hurts, the pains, the disgusts, the excitements, the stresses... He knew those.  Jesus was fully human, yet fully God... what a marvelous mystery.
  2. The Sinless Life: Jesus lived a truly sinless life from birth to death.  He lived a righteous life the entire time... the righteous life that we can never live.  He fulfilled the law in our place. 
  3. The Substitutionary Death: Jesus died for us... in our place.  He died a perfect death for us... and in that moment the Lord turned away from His perfect Son on the cross and He poured out ALL of His wrath on ALL of our sin.  And Jesus cried out, "It is finished."  This was done so that we may gain the righteousness of Christ. 
  4. The Bodily Resurrection: God in Heaven turned around three days later and exclaimed, "AMEN," over "It is finished" when He raised Jesus from the dead.  Death had been defeated and Jesus rose victoriously out of the grave. 
  5. The Ascension and Continuing Intercession and Reign of the Son of God: Jesus now sits at the right hand of the Father.  His Spirit is in us and He is Sovereign.  The Lord reigns over us.
Heavenly Father, thank You for this good news.  Thank You for sending Your Son to this earth to walk as a man and to live the perfect life.  Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for me, even before I knew You.  You are VICTORIOUS and You are TRIUMPHANT!!!  Lord, thank You that we do not have to try to be perfect because we cannot be... but thank You that Your Son was perfect.  Thank You for the opportunity to hear the gospel presented another time and I pray that each time I hear the gospel that it awakens my soul and that it transforms my heart because it is real and mysterious and beautiful.  My prayer is that each person that hears the gospel has their heart radically transformed as well... whether it is for the first time or for the hundredth time.  Jesus, I love You.  Amen.  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

October: Blessings & Exhaustion

My calendar says that today is November 6. Excuse me, what happened to October? I remember the first of October like it was just yesterday... I was so excited for the month that would usher in autumn. But now I'm in November. October was a very full month... Very full. 

The Lord's blessings were bountiful in October. I was constantly amazed at all that I had the opportunity to do and all of that I got to experience. 

Pumpking carving, leading 20 wonderful high schoolers at Rockbridge, the North Carolina State Fair, Fall Break trip adventuring through Colorado, release of the Taylor Swift CD, surprise visit from my best friend in the entire world from Indiana, and celebrating the madness of Halloween in Chapel Hill... Those were just the big things. There were so many other things in between, that truly filled up the month of October and were blessings from the Lord.

Carving pumpkins!
East Young Life ladies at Rockbridge!

Baby Ayers & Macon: My co-leaders, my biggest encouragers, and 2 of my best friends.
Book flights to Denver with no plans? Sure, we'll do that.
Our hike in Breckenridge reminded me that God's creation is a love letter, like no other.
Flat Irons in Boulder, CO... We seriously, went all over that state in just 4 days!

And this girl: the BEST surprise I've ever had and the one who challenges me and loves me like no other!
McMansion does Santa and the his reindeer for Halloween 2012.

Seriously, I cannot thank God enough for each of those things. 

Little Side Note: Before Amanda (bestie from Indiana) came to visit, I was remarking to Sydney how blessed I had felt recently in all of the busyness, but that I still was really sad and missed Amanda a lot. It may have been my lack of sleep and lack of a desire to study, but I crawled into Syd's room Wednesday in near tears because I just missed her.... And in Sydney's most loving way she told me to stop complaining and to go study. Well I came home Thursday afternoon from class to the best surprise in the entire world... Amanda. Real. Live. Amanda. At my house. It was the best surprise I have ever received. Sydney videoed the entire thing.

But somehow, amidst all of those blessings, I got a little side tracked. I was going from one thing to the next. Trying so hard to savor every moment, but knowing that something else was coming next. 

Now that I am in November I am realizing... 

It happened all so fast and my heart is worn out. My body is exhausted. Sleep has become an option. Spending time with Jesus has become rushed in the morning as I attempt to plan out everything I have to do for the day. Relaxing is a foreign concept. Doing school work is that hurried, stressed hour where I remember I am, in fact, a student. Talking about plans for next year fills any and all voids of normal conversation. And that's just not working.

So now that October has ended, I can say I loved every single thing that I did during this past month. I truly did. And I truly feel so blessed by the Lord... but I am tired and a little off track. This past month, my focus on the Lord has shifted just so slightly as I have been focusing more on the His blessings than I have just solely on Him. That was never my intention... it just happened. I got swept up in the chaos of fun adventures, midterms, Young Life, and just life. 

And when that happens, when the Lord is not my sole and only focus, the exhaustion kicks in and a staleness sets in my heart. I begin to believe the lies that Jesus is mad at me and that He is going to stop loving me because I am not doing a "good job."

That is NOT the truth though. It is not. In fighting that lies, I am clinging to Philippians 3:10. Amanda (my mentor) shared the Amplified Version of this verse Friday at Leadership. It really spoke to me and as I broke it down I learned a lot... about God, His determined purpose, and He began to heal my heart that was a little off kilter.

"For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection which it exerts over believers, and that I may so share His suffering as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness ever to His death" -Philippians 3:10 (Amplified Version)

"For my determined purpose"
My faith is my own. It is just me and Jesus. That's a beautiful thing to me because it allows for a deep intimacy with our Heavenly Father. But it also means taking ownership for my relationship with Christ and for my purpose. And the fact that it is a determined purpose, implies that it is active and is not passive. So in that, it means admitting that I have rushed my dates with Jesus in the morning because I was groggy and slow in getting ready and I needed to run out the door to be somewhere. It means realizing that I am Christ's bride and that I have a role in this relationship. But ultimately, I am Christ's and He has already paid the price for my sin, so I admit I have faltered, but by no means, does Jesus not love me anymore because of that.

"I may know Him"
My determined purpose is to know Him... just Him. I get to have a personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and my Creator. He knows me so well because He made me and I get to know Him more and more as I spend time with Him... Wow, I am so incredibly thankful for that!

"progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted"
This knowing of the Lord does not happen instantly. It is a process and it requires progress over time. It is continually changing and growing. It is not constant. This is one of the most freeing things to me because my relationship with Jesus does not have to be the same as it was in October. It can progress from my rushed mornings to long coffee dates once again. It can go back to the mornings where I get lost in His Word and am so mesmerized by His being that I never want to put my Bible and journal down and Sydney has to drag me out the door for class.
Even though I have not been as dedicated and consistent in pursuing Jesus these past few weeks, He is not finished with me and He is continuing to make me new. I can confident in the fact that "He who began a good work in [me] will bring it to completion" (Philippians 1:6).

"perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person"
God is dynamic and He is full of wonders. As I get to know Him more, I get to see more and more of these wonders. There is no doubt, while I was in Colorado, I was overwhelmed by the wonders of God's magnificent creations. The scenery in that place spoke to our Creator's being and His goodness and power. I can't wait for that to continue.

"to know the power outflowing from His resurrection"
Christ defeated death in His resurrection. He overcame hell. If that isn't power, then I don't know what is. Through His defeat of death, He has brought us life, and life to the full (John 10:10). I want to know that power more. Life to the full means freedom in Christ... true freedom in Christ. We are not bound by the lies of Satan any longer. I am not bound by any of the lies that say I need to do all of these things to make Jesus love me... all that I need to do is be, be with Him and to know Him more. 

"may so share His sufferings" 
Christ was crucified on a cross. He knows suffering. If we are trying to become more Christ-like we will encounter sufferings as well. But Christ knows them, He knows each and every one of our sufferings. It's hard to admit that I've wandered a little off the track through my hurriedness. It hurts my heart a lot, but it hurts Jesus' even more.

"as to be continually transformed in spirit, into His likeness even"
I AM BEING CONTINUALLY TRANSFORMED. I am not who I was. I am being made new by Christ, through His power. So maybe October left me exhausted and worn out and a little lost, but that doesn't have to characterize November. Christ is transforming my heart. The busyness is not going to go away... Honestly, I don't want it to because I love adventuring, spending time with friends, exploring, leading Young Life, and everything else. But my heart is just going to look a little different as that continues. The Lord is sculpting and transforming my heart, so that my time with Him can be rich and lovely and not rushed.

So October, it was a great month... it was. The Lord truly blessed me in so many ways and I got to experience Him in so many places.

But now, it's time to re-center. It's time to refocus. My determined purpose is to know my Heavenly Father more than I already do... to dwell in that intimate relationship. Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." (John 15:9).

So that's what I am going to do... Simply abide in His love once again. And hopefully that will include some fun adventuring, spontaneous road trips, Thanksgiving feasting, McMansion madness, the start of Carolina basketball, but if it doesn't... that will be okay, because...

the Lord is the Author of my soul and my one true need.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for all of the blessings in October. Thank You for showering me with adventure and for meeting my every need. Thank You that You bless us so that we may bless others. Jesus, I am sorry that in the craziness of October that my time with You got rushed and that I was swept away by the blessings more than I was swept away by just Your love. I thank You that You are not finished with me and that You are continually making me new. Thank You that You are transforming me into Your likeness. Jesus, I pray that I can treasure my time with You more and that I can begin again to dwell solely in Your love and that I can get lost in who You are and in Your Word. I love you, Jesus.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Prayer for Wisdom and Peace When Making Big Decisions

I read this just the other day on the Gospel Coalition. It's from an absolutely fabulous blog on there by Scotty Smith. Just had to share. 
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all. (James 1:5)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Prov. 3:5-6)
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts. (Col. 3:15)
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31)
For this is the will of God, your sanctification. (1 Thess. 4:3)
     Dear heavenly Father, you number our hairs and determine our days; you hang the stars and feed the sparrows; you open doors no one can shut and shut doors no one can open. Surely, we can trust you when the time comes for making big decisions, or for that matter, any decisions. I’m in just such a season again, Father, and I know I’m not alone. We will trust you for generous wisdom, straight paths and peaceful hearts, all for your glory.
     How we praise you for being the decision-making-God. It’s not our decisions, but yours that make all the difference. We will plan, but we trust you to order our steps. We will pray, but ask you to fix our prayers en route to heaven. We will seek counsel, but count on you to overrule faulty or incomplete input from our most trusted friends and mentors. We will search the Scriptures, but not looking for proof texts but for you, Father. All we want and need is you.
     Free us from the paralysis of analysis—wanting make the right decision, more than we want to be righteous people; wanting to be known as wise people, more than we want to know you. Free us from the idolatry of assuming there’s only one “perfect” choice in any given situation. Free us from making decisions primary for our comfort and other’s approval, or fear their disapproval. Free us to know that good choices don’t always lead to the easiest outcomes, especially at first. Free us from second and twenty-second guessing our decisions.
     Father, no matter if it’s wisdom about buying or selling, vocation or vacation, this place or that place, this person or that person, we know that in ALL things, your will is our sanctification—our becoming more and more like Jesus. Give us this passion; make it our delight.
     So, Father, make us more and more like Jesus, even as we trust you for the opening and closing of doors that are in front of us. All for your glory—in our eating and drinking; and in our whatever’s, whenever’s and wherever’s. So very Amen we pray, in the name of our reigning King, Jesus.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Break My Heart

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." - Matthew 25:40

A heart of compassion... I am praying that the Lord will cultivate a heart of compassion within me that will consume my entire being.

I am staring the future dead in the face and I have no clue what it holds. Better yet, the talk of "next year" is hitting me like a brick wall and I feel nothing. So no, I still do not know what I will be doing, but my prayer is that the Lord will break my heart for what breaks His, and out of that broken heart I will know where the Lord wants me next year.

This summer in Michigan I began to truly understand how much the Lord loves me and is jealous for me. It was a beautiful lesson to learn as I was overwhelmed by the Lord's love for me. I was romanced by God in the littlest of places... a perfect cup of coffee to start off the day, a sweet letter in the mail, fireworks, laying in the back of the Tundra, or time spent with my best friend. And through all of those things I fell more and more in love with Jesus.
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; YOU ARE MINE." -Isaiah 43:1
"Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life." - Isaiah 43:4 
"I belong to my lover, and his desire is for me." - Song of Solomon 7:10
"'Return, faithless people,' declares the Lord, 'for I am your husband.'" - Jeremiah 3:14
Realizing how much the Lord loved me changed everything. It changed how I viewed myself and how I viewed my relationship with the Lord. 

Now that I have become intoxicated by the Lord's love for me, I am beginning to see... He has that same love for every single person that surrounds me. And because of that, I am called to love them in the same way. 

I want my life to be consumed by loving others, selflessly, with everything that I have, because the Lord loved me first and because He continues to love me daily (through my selfish heart, twisted emotions, and daily ups and downs... thank you, Jesus). 

Just recently I was blessed to be able to go to Rockbridge, a Young Life camp, with 20 of my high school friends from East Chapel Hill. We went for a fall camp weekend and it was truly a magical weekend. Quite frankly, before we went I had a nonchalant attitude... it was just another weekend, at another Young Life camp, and just another thing I had to do. The Lord slapped me in the face very early on in that weekend with a love and an intense passion for the souls of those sweet high school girls in a very new and real way. I looked into their eyes and began to feel in my inner being just how much their Heavenly Father loved them. I saw all twenty of those girls in a new light and my heart broke for them with an intense passion. So many of them are lost in the ways of this world and they hear the voices that say they aren't pretty enough, or good enough, or smart enough, or athletic enough, or skinny enough, or fun enough. But that is NOT true. They are His. I earnestly pray that they will begin to see how much the Lord loves them and how much He wants to be in a relationship with them. He is jealous for them and He is jealous for their souls.

Since that weekend, I have been hit over the head with the need for greater generosity and greater compassion

The Lord is not just jealous for me, or for all the Young Life leaders, or for all my high school friends, He is jealous for every single soul on this earth. He loves them all with an intense passion and love and I am asked to respond out of His love for each one of them. 

In order to love others in the way that the Lord has called me, I must have my heart broken daily and I must completely abandon myself. My life is not really mine at all, it is the Lord's and it is my prayer that I can truly be His hands and feet and that He will rid my of myself. 

I will not be able to do this perfectly... in fact, I can't really do anything. It is only through the grace of my Father that I will be able to serve and love and give in this manner. 

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich." -2 Corinthians 8:9
"'If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?'" -Mark 8:34-36
 "Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need." -Acts 2:45
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." -Ephesians 5:1-2
"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves have been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." -1 John 4:7-8 

I want to see Jesus in every single face that I pass. I want to see His face in the least of these. And I want my heart to break for them... I want to be overwhelmed with love for them in such a way that I can't help but give my time, my money, and all of me to them, so that I can serve them. I am yearning for a heart of compassion and generosity that will actually do something

So Lord, please break my heart until it truly moves my hands and feet. 

I challenge you to do the same... LOVE, GIVE, and SERVE beyond your means because the Lord loves you.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Back to the Basics

The Lord has called me back... back to the basics. Back to a heart of pure gratitude. This morning I was overwhelmed with gratitude and in journaling I realized just how many things I have to truly be thankful for.

So I say to Jesus, 

Thank you for this beautiful day that You created. Thank you for the sun that radiates Your glory and the Carolina blue sky that warms my heart. Thank you for coffee and the opportunity to just spend time with You. Thank you for Your truth and Your Spirit that you have put in my heart. Thank you for my friends who push me towards You. Thank your for my heart that craves Your word and Your truth. Thank you for satisfying me with Your unfailing love. Thank you for always watching over me and for always calling me back to You. Thank you for the cross and for washing our sins away. Thank you for forgiving me daily. Thank you for grace and Your heart. Thank you for making me desire You alone. Thank for you high school girls that remind me how much we all desperately need You. Thank you for healing our broken hearts. Thank you for holding my hand and guiding me always. Thank you for Your love. Thank you for my heart that loves and feels for so many people around me. Thank you for wisdom. Thank you for the church and the people that serve in it. Thank you for all the reminders that you are bigger than me. Thank you for surprises and goodness.

Thank you for summoning me, redeeming me, and calling me Yours. 

A heart of gratitude will bring you back to the basics and it will draw you near to God. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fear and Darkness

When I was little I used to be scared of the dark. I would refuse to walk upstairs in my own house without my parents going up first to turn on the lights. And then when it was time to go to sleep, I would insist that one of my parents stay upstairs until I fell asleep. Cole, my younger brother, had this same fear. It's a crippling fear because it limits a person... if I wanted something upstairs at night and my parents didn't want to go upstairs with me to get it, then I was out of luck.

Last weekend I came to realize that this fear of the dark never really went away. Our house had quite a few friends over to play Body Body and I soon learned... I am still scared of the dark. Body Body is this fun game like mafia where everyone wanders around a dark house and there is one person who is the "killer." They kill people by grabbing their arms. When you are killed, you drop to the ground and are silent. If you stumble upon a dead body, you scream "BODY, BODY!" Then everyone deliberates who they think the killer is. It's really fun, but incredibly scary, especially in the McMansion. Let me tell you, when all the lights are off in the McMansion it is one creepy place. The third floor might as well seem like a dark abyss where the scariest of scary things occur. My fear of the dark, once again, limited me. I was scared to venture off into all parts of the house because it was simply too dark and I couldn't see what was coming and I couldn't trust that I wouldn't run into something quite unfriendly. Therefore, my fear was limiting  me. 

You see, fear is like that... it limits us.

Fear is not just limiting in simple games or when I was little, it limits us in our relationships with the Lord. My fears limit me in my relationship with my Heavenly Father who adores me more than anything in the world.

Fear causes me to not trust the Lord the way that He intends for me to and fear causes me to not see myself how the Lord sees me... That's a problem... And it's one that I haven't quite figured out the answer to.

What am I so afraid of? 

I am afraid of waking up when I am 40 years old and realizing that my life is just mediocre.
I am afraid the people that I love do not know that I love them because I don't tell them enough.
I am afraid the Lord may call me to place that I don't think I am ready for.
I am afraid that I am going to miss out on memories.
I am afraid my friends are going to one day stop wanting to be my friend.
I am afraid of people seeing me fail.
I am afraid of not living up to people's expectations of me.
I am afraid of losing my passion for the Lord.
I am afraid I am one day going to begin to fall for the lies that the world is trying to tell me.
I am afraid that I am not going to follow the Lord's will for my life.
I am afraid of upsetting those around me.
I am afraid of graduating and not having anything to do.
I am afraid of being vulnerable.
I am afraid of failing God.

Each of these fears limits me in some way or another... and I am tired of it. I am tired of being afraid... It's exhausting (Taylor Swift reference friends- Me and fear are never ever getting back together). I have been realizing these fears for a while now. Some of them are ones that go way back and some of them are fears that have just recently developed. Either way, I am ready for these fears to go.

When I was recently reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning I was struck by two things:

1. God's grace is abounding and that grace washes away fears.
"Living by grace inspires a growing consciousness that I am what I 
am in the sight of Jesus and nothing more." - Brennan Manning
2. Our Savior calls us to freedom... freedom of fear.
"He calls ragamuffins everywhere to freedom from the fear of death, 
freedom from the fear of life, and freedom from anxiety 
over our salvation." - Brennan Manning

I need to come to understand God's grace more. I need to understand the power of His grace that is unending and I need to full wrap my head around how much the Lord loves me. 

In John 15, Jesus says, "As the Father has loved me, that's how I love you, now abide in my love."

I want to learn to truly abide in His love... to truly dwell in His love. In those moments, all of those fears will begin to fade away. When I am so enamored with Him, those fears will no longer have a grip on me. 

Lord, I am sorry that I am giving into those fears. I am sorry that I believe the lies that these fears should be real and are valid. God, take away these fears. I am no longer defined by these fears, Jesus, I want to be defined by You. I love You.

Monday, September 3, 2012

My Biggest Enemy... Grey.

I have been thinking about this post for a while now and how to best articulate it all. Needless to say, I learned a ton about myself this summer. A ton. The Lord was really working in my heart and He showed me some things about myself that were hard to hear a little bit.

One of the first things I learned was... I hate emotions. Well not all emotions... I really like the warm, fuzzy ones that involve lots of sparkles and happiness, but the other ones that aren't so positive, like sadness, hurt, jealousy, anger... Yea, those ones, I hate. I avoid them like the plague really. I hate feeling or experiencing those emotions, but they're unavoidable. So when I begin to feel any of them, I try my best to identify the emotion and then I tend to run in the other direction, deny them, or bulldoze through them... whichever seems easiest and most appropriate.

There are a lot of reasons that I have come to dislike negative emotions I think, but the biggest one, is that I really really hate grey. I am not talking about the color grey, I am talking about a muddled, undefined, mess kind of grey. One that is the opposite of black and white.

Negative emotions fit into that grey category because they're usually hard to define. It's hard to really identify an emotion as solely anger or sadness. It's usually a combination of many, and at times, it's hard to even find a single word to describe a feeling other than blah.

Negative emotions are not the only thing that categorize the idea of grey. It's anything that is simply undefined or in a between stage. It's neither black nor white.

I've learned that I really prefer black and white. I like to have full understanding of a situation and to handle it immediately. I like the unknown to be discovered and addressed. If there is a conflict, I want to confront it and handle it and move on. If there are questions, let's ask them. If there is a misunderstanding, let's address it. I want to identify any emotion and wash it away instantly.

I would rather leave the grey, unknown, stuff for other people.

The issue is: I don't have control in the grey area.

The grey area scares me because there is tension and it isn't defined. I can't organize and fix everything when it's in the grey area. I lose control when I am sitting in the grey area.

And God has told me, "It's okay." It's okay to be in the grey area. In fact, it's more than okay to be in grey areas. The Lord calls us to grey areas at times. And for me, He calls me to grey areas because then I have to trust Him more than ever.

Sometimes, we simply must REST.

I don't have to fix everything. I don't have to confront every issue head on as soon as it arises. I don't have to make decisions instantaneously. I don't have to act on every thought. I don't have to identify every emotion.

I must be still.

There's a lot being thrown at me right now since I'm a senior, but I am not going to drive through it. I am going to take it slow and I am going to rest and be still along the way.

By resting and being still, I am TRUSTING the Lord. I trust that His plan is better than my own. I trust that He knows my heart better than I do. I trust that He knows what I will be doing next year even when I don't.

In the midst of learning all of this and realizing it about myself, I went on the Young Life leader retreat at Windy Gap. And there I learned our Young Life area's theme verses...
"Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." - Psalm 37:7 
"Be still and know that I am God." - Psalm 46:10
So I am choosing to hang out in the grey area for a little bit... in the unknown. There may be lots of questions and chaos all around me, but the Lord has this under control. I don't need to fix anything right now or try to figure anything out... the Lord is handling it.

For once, I am going to try to be still and enjoy the grey.