Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Don't.... GOD Does.

I'm in a season of questions. Not me asking questions, but everyone asking me questions. All questions that I don't have an answer for.

What are you doing after college?

How do you plan to use your degree?

Where do you want to live when you are older?

Do you want to be on property staff?

Do you want to do the World Race?

Are you moving back to Greensboro when you graduate?

Do you want to work for Young Life?

Are you going to go to graduate school?

What is your plan for next summer?

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When do you plan on having a boyfriend? Better yet, get married?

Do you want to stay in Chapel Hill after college?


I just don't know. I really don't have answers to any of those questions. Right now questions about the future are coming from every direction. It's understandable... I graduate in less than a year and then I have no plans. The possibilities are endless and my life outside of school will be beginning. Do I know what I'm going to be doing though? No. Do I know who I will be with in that time? No. Do I even know what I really want? Not really...

The comforting thing is the fact that GOD DOES KNOW. He knows my future and He knows exactly where I will be in five years and He knows all the steps that will get me there.

I am constantly having to remind myself that God...

... "knit me in my mother's womb" (Psalm 139:13)
... made me in His image (Genesis 1:27)
... created me and by His perfect power I exist (Revelation 4:11)
...has His Spirit dwelling in me (1 Corinthians 3:16)
...made me as His "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works" (Ephesians 2:10)
... numbered the hairs on my head (Luke 12:7)

I am relying on the fact that God has made me and that He already knows what is going to happen... even when I don't. When God made me, He knew the answers to all of those questions... even before I existed.

And better yet...

My Creator will...

... perfect everything that concerns me (Pslam 138:8)
... work all things together for my good (Romans 8:28)
... contend with those who contend with me (Isaiah 49:25)
... fight this battle for me (2 Chronicles 20:15)
... equip me with divine power (2 Corinthians 10:4)
... delight to show me mercy (Micah 7:18)
... meet all my needs according to His glorious riches in Chris Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
... give me grace that is perfectly sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9)
... be my power in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9) immeasurably more than all I could ask or imagine, according to the power that is at work within me (Ephesians 3:20)
... have plans to prosper me, not to harm me (Jeremiah 29:11)

Those are the things that I am going to cling to in this time. I don't know what I am doing... NOT a clue. But God does.



Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Little Things

While reading The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning I was struck by the fact that we as Christians miss so much in the world around us. We miss the glorious creation that our Father as so graciously blessed us with because we are distracted. We are distracted by ourselves and the things that we have put in our personal spheres. Manning wrote so perfectly when he said:
"Our world is saturated with grace, and the lurking presence of God is revealed not only in spirit but in matter--in a deer leaping across a meadow, in the flight of an eagle, in fire and water, in a rainbow after a summer storm, in a gentle doe streaking through a forest, in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, in a child licking a chocolate ice cream cone, in a woman with windblow hair. God intended for us to discover His loving presence in the world around us."        
I don't want to miss it. I don't want to miss God in my surroundings. I don't want to miss all of the blessings that God placed perfectly in His creation. I don't want to miss the little things.

I have made it my goal to notice the little things... to see their value, their beauty, and the ways they so perfectly reflect a marvelous Creator.

So I have made a list of the little pieces of God sprinkled in my world so perfectly. Here are ten to share:

There is nothing that warms my heart more than a hot cup of coffee. I know it may sound silly, but coffee is my love language. I adore nothing more than reading my Bible while sipping on a delicious cup of joe. 
Please note the sparkly nail polish :)

Only a few days ago Amanda, Sydney, Bennett, T.C. and I ran into the lake fully clothed. (All of those fabulous people are my fellow interns.) We ran in after Bennett and T.C. had been buried in the sand for a scavenger hunt. We ran into the water without a care in the world. There was so much freedom in that moment as we splashed into the water and were instantly soaked. It is for freedom that Christ has set us free and in that carefree moment I got to experience the Lord.

The sunrise over the lake here at Timber Wolf is a constant reminder of the newness the Lord blesses our lives with. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17). The sunrise is new every morning and it is a perfect display of how Christ made us new when we first met him and how He continues to make us new daily.

Picture taken by Neal Johnson.

The Lord's justice and righteous wrath is evident in the afternoon thunderstorms that roll in at the most perfect timing. During the thunderstorms I am reminded that the Lord has created this beautiful Earth and that sin has plagued it. The Lord despises that sin and sent His Son to make us clean. In the thunderstorms I am reminded of all the sin in this world and in my life and how He desires to make it clean. He is a just God and He "works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed." (Psalm 103:6).

I never want to forget to cherish the little notes I receive from best friends. They warm my heart and remind me constantly that the Lord has blessed me with wonderful friends. When I walk into the office to find a note from another intern or I receive a card from a friend back home, I am remined that I am so incredibly blessed.

Day ones are the craziest days here at Timber Wolf for me. They are full of chaos and maddness and I absolutely love it, but to be honest, I do get a little stressed. This day one was no different, except this day one I returned back to the Swamp to the sweetest little gift. All of the girl interns had gotten little surprises from the guy interns. My gift was a bag of coffee (please see first "little thing"). It was one of the best little gifts received at the most perfect time and the Lord reminded me, He is in all the little things.

Thank you, manterns!

 Being at a Young Life camp for an entire summer leads to a lot of encounters with little children (usually a part of the assigment team). Getting to know all of the little kids around camp is absolutely a blessing from the Lord. While walking the other day, a little girl I barely knew came up and grabbed my hand. In that moment I was reminded of what it means to have child-like faith. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whover humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4). When she grabbed my hand she did not know everything about me, but she was trusting me to lead her. The Lord daily wants us to grab onto His hand and to follow Him with a child-like faith.

One of the many children around camp who I absolutely adore is Anna. She is the sweetest four-year-old I have ever met and she has such an aurora about her that screams Jesus made her. She is just so carefree and has the biggest heart. She adores all of the interns and I love all of the time spent with her.
Sweetest office visiter

It's the little surprise visits from friends that are a reminder that the Lord loves us so much. He works through surprises and quality time with friends. Kelly Cooper, an intern from last summer, came to visit yesterday for just a few hours and the time spent with her was so wonderful. It was a beautiful depiction of true fellowship. She has a heart after the Lord like no other and she exudes Jesus from her. It may have been just a little visit, but it meant the world to me.

At the beginning of the summer all of the interns went to Cindy and Don's house for dinner. They are married and are both on property staff here at Timber Wolf. Their property was absolutely breath-taking. They own over a hundred acres of land and we got to explore it in order to see Don's hunting spot. Their land was so vast and it made me feel so little. Their land pales in comparison to the vastness of the earth that the Lord created. The vast expanses of the earth are nearly incomprehensible to us as humans (Job 38:18), but the Lord knows them all so perfectly. I am reminded that the Lord is greater than I. It was also on this visit that all of the interns took one of my most favorite pictures of all time.
I felt so loved by everyone when they agreed to take this picture.

Each of these little things has meant so much to me. I love the little things. Through these little things I have experienced the Lord so much and I do not want that to stop. I do not want to wake up one day and not be able to appreciate the little things. So love the little things, because the Lord loves us through the little things.