I’m back!

After a great week in the sun I arrived home last Friday. God is faithful and answered my prayer. If the financial aid comes in, and I am accepted to the school, I will be attending California Baptist University next fall. I couldn’t be more surprised at my choice. CBU was at the very bottom of my list, but you know the curveballs God likes to throw in to life when we think we “know it all”. CBU really fit me as a person, and I’m excited about the Christian worldview, but the fact that the student population is diversewith just 75% professing Christians. The other 25% varies in their religious views.

In other news, I chatted with a friend the other day. We are the two older girls in my youth group who aren’t dating. She likes to call us “single”. I don’t think single applies till we’re in college. We are struggling together over being different. I don’t think it’s a “sin” to date in highschool (as long as you stay pure in the reationship) but it’s just not for me. I want to spend my 4 years pursuing Jesus not some dude.

Any advice from other ladies who’ve been where we are and know what we’re going through? Any advice from people who chose TO date in highschool and how that effected your future? I keep sticking to my ideals, waiting for my man, knowing God has a plan, and praying for patience.

CBU has an Army ROTC program.

 

Did I ever mention I love guys in uniform??

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September 15, 2008. Lessons from God. 2 comments.

I’ll Be Back

not that anyone would be concerned, since I rarely post anyway, but I’m going to be chillin in SoCal for a few days and will post (hopefully) about which college is my #1 choice and why when I get back.

Comment and blow me away by how much I’m missed 😀

The schools I’m visiting:

  • Biola University
  • Concordia University Irvine
  • California Baptist University

September 4, 2008. Lessons from God. 1 comment.

Community

As I was sitting on the bus yesterday, my phone buzzed in my pocket. The short buzz meant it was just a text, 3 longer buzzes or The Office ringtone would have meant someone was calling. But the fact that my phone buzzed at all made me really excited. Eagerly I flipped open the phone to see who had texted me. Some names I get really excited to see and can’t open the message fast enough. Others I sigh and delay opening till I’m in a more social frame of mind. When I was thinking about how funny this is, I realized the same applies to e-mails. Certain people have filled certain “spots” in my life which determine how excited I am to hear from these peope. For instance:

  • Shannon–a very good friend, but often goofy. I’m excited to hear from her, but she’s not one of the top
  • Amanda–a friend from youth group who has a lot of tough things going on in her life. Generally her texts are telling me the latest problem she’s having, so I have to gear up to read them.
  • Caroline–one of my all-time closest friends who happens to live all the way across the nation from me. I’m happy to not have a sister, but if I HAD to have one, I’d pick Caroline. I love her to pieces. I open her messages really fast.
  • Steven–I have 2 biological brothers and then there’s Steven. We adopted eachother in highschool. He’s my 3rd brother, and I love texting him, as his girlfriend is really protective of him in public.
  • Josh–One of the most godly young men I know. We’ve shared life together over our online school for the last 2 years and this summer have kept up over text and e-mail. Like Steven, he’s really encouraged me in my walk with Jesus. I love hearing from him.
  • Becca–Another friend across the nation from online school. Lovely Becca is a very sweet and caring friend. She doesn’t e-mail me often, so when she does I skip everything else and open that.

While I was thinking this through, I kept thinking “I couldn’t imagine my life without this person” or “man, I’m SO glad I have this person in my life”. That led me to thinking about the importance of fellowship and community with other believers. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 says “two are better than one, if one falls the other can help him up.” Youth group and church are the highlight of my week. As I mentioned yesterday, life can be tough. Having other close friends who care about you and can give you good advice really helps. The more I surround myself with good Christian friends, the more I find myself looking to Jesus for everything, and not worrying about pleasing other people. If you’re not involved with a good youth group, small group, Bible Study, or whatever for your own spiritual well-being, DO. Get involved with a community of believers. Grow your faith.

August 19, 2008. Lessons from God. 1 comment.

Keep On Keeping On

Does it ever seem to you that life is overrated? I’m not suicidal or anything, but that’s the way I’ve been feeling recently. Weekdays just get on my nerves, and weekends have lost their charm. Perhaps that has to do with the fact that I work every week day 8 to 3 and then some nights. Maybe it’s because early Saturday and Sunday mornings don’t agree with my sleep schedule. Or could it be that since my Zune broke I’m music-less until it comes back from being repaired. (it’s on its way!!) Or maybe it’s that I’ve slacked off on doing my devos every morning…hmmm….bingo.

Funny how as soon as I stop reading mi Biblia and spending some time in prayer for my friends, family, and community, I stop seeing the purpose in getting up every morning. That’s my personal lesson for the week…But knowing myself, I’ll have to re-learn it all over again once my summer job is over. (usually I read my Bible and pray on the bus ride to work) But then again, I’ll be going to CA for a week and a half and possibly to a friend’s cabin for 3 days, so I’ll have plenty of time to do devos on those days, hopefully.

The moral of the story: When you find that life gets boring, keep on keeping on, and looking to Jesus. He’ll get you through.

August 18, 2008. Lessons from God. 1 comment.

Competence

Something struck me as important today, and it made me think of a post from Alex and Brett Harris’ blog. One of the “C”s of the Rebelution is Competence. That hit me as important today when I came home from a shift leader meeting at my Cold Stone job. One of my friends and fellow shift-leaders and I are being promoted to Assistant Manager. Why? Because we are competent in our job, work hard, and honest. Far too often, Christian people (and teens in particular) give a half-hearted approach to life. Let’s face it–living for God is tough. Sometimes that part of life just makes you want to give up, when you see the hopelessness in the world, the amount of persecution and struggling. But on top of that, we must work hard (Do Hard Things) because we are labled as “Christians”. That label has carried a negative conotation for so long that the world’s eye will be fixed on you as soon as you call yourself “one of them”. So what do you want people to see when they look at you? Perhaps more importantly, what do they see when they look at you, at that Christian kid (or teen or adult). Is it someone who does just what they have to to get by? Someone who puts out some effort, but isn’t too concerned with getting the job done really well? Or is it someone who doesn’t even put out any effort? Who wants to be a Christian if the Christian they know is the 18-year-old senior who has played football for 4 years, and is STILL on the jv team, who gets Cs consistently, and rounds out his busy life with a slutty girlfriend? Wouldn’t it be such a great witness to the public view if the Christian is the 14-year-old girl who gets hard-earned Bs, worked her way up to leadership in her community, and chooses friends carefully? That’s what I’m aiming to be–the senior who leads in her youth group, puts all-out in school (even if I don’t get A’s), and lives wrecklessly for Jesus. That sounds so much more attractive, but so much harder.

Again, I ramble. But let’s try as a generation to not only do hard things, but to do what we do well.

Some pictures of my lake to leave you with…nothing particularly holy about them, I just LOVE the sun, heat, and water! 😀

One thing I thought of as I posted these…it’s important that you don’t gain competence and do things well to compete with others. That defeats the purpose.

August 16, 2008. Lessons from God. 3 comments.

But As You Will…

A familiar line from Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane. “Not as I will, but as You will.” Mark Dricoll preached a very moving sermon on this prayer. (the sermon will be here soon) It led me to think about blogging, which I haven’t done in a while because life hurts too much to dig too deep.

I’ve always been a prayer. I love talking to Jesus, and when walking through pain, I discovered how refreshing it is to be able to offer up everything to Jesus. Most of the time it’s prayer for other people, but frequently there will be the desperate, “Jesus, I’m at the end of my rope with life, show me how to survive.” And of course there’s the “God, please let ______ happen.”

As Mark pointed out, Jesus’ prayer in the garden is his human plea to escape what was coming. He knew he would be brutally tortured and eventually killed for the sins of the world. Since he was fully man, he wasn’t going to feel it any less or somehow escape from the body until it was over–no, he had to suffer through it like any common criminal. So he prayed desperately to the Father.

If there’s any way you can save the earth without making me go through this, I would really like that. Really a lot.

But the prayer didn’t end there. The “but not as I will, but as You will” line wrapped up his desperate plea. Even though it will be tough. Even though I’ll hate it, if it is Your plan for me, Father, I’ll do it. That’s what that line is all about. That line should be in our  prayers, too, and we should really mean it.

One of the hard things about praying that, for me, is that first of all, I’m actually putting the whole situation in God’s hands. In life it’s so easy for us to think we know what’s best for ourselves. Let’s face it. Our entire lives revolve around keeping #1 in the best position possible, never getting hurt, and having a good life. After years of self-preservation we think we know pretty well how things should or should not go. After milleniums of loving people and directing their lives, I think God knows better. The other great thing about acknowledging God has control is that God loves us, so he’ll do what’s best for us, but he’s also all-powerful, so he can do what’s best.

The other day I took my friend’s dog to a BBQ and she saw an ant. She was so entranced by the ant she watched it as it walked around the pavement, behind a shoe, under a table, she was so glued to it. Eventually I told her she could go see it. I knew what she’d do. She’d eat it. But I didn’t love the ant so I didn’t really care if it got eaten. (yes, she did eat the ant). Not so with God. God actually loves us so much that he sent Jesus to save us. That’s the greatest sacrifice ever, sending your son to die for people who did nothing to deserve it?? That’s love. And that love directs the way He plans our future, only wanting the best for us.

A couple of days ago I called a friend who had just gotten back from camp. I asked her how it went, and she said it was great except for these few people and went on to tell me how one guy had really hurt her emotionally. I would have given anything to have gone up to the guy and punched him in the face. (good thing for him he lives on the other side of the US) But I’m not able to do anything, I can’t control people’s words, motives, actions, so I couldn’t have made it better even if I had been there. God can. He’s everywhere and can do anything. How cool. Not only does he love us so much that he wants a productive and fruitful life for us, but he can also make it happen!

That’s what happens when you submit your situation to God’s ultimate authority. Not that he needs us to say “ok God, I’m giving it to you” before he is able to take control. But surrendering your situation works on YOUR heart.  And there’s a difference between saying “I surrender” and actually doing it.

The moving to Alabama scare really shook my life up. Nothing was firm after that, all my plans could be washed out the window at any second. I knew it should be easy for me to accept it. I had an epiphany a few years ago that God always knows what’s best. “I surrendered my life to Jesus last year” so why was this so hard?

Answer: I hadn’t REALLY submitted. I again fought over the emotions related to surrender. “NO God, I can’t move, it ruins everything.” (by the way, don’t ever say no to God…baaaad idea) “If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t make me move since I know I wouldn’t be as happy there” (Oh, since I know so much more than God…riiiight) So once again I pushed and pushed until I gave in.

So why all the random ramblings? I dunno. Just my thoughts on surrender. I think I’ll be due for another “lesson” in a few months. Seems that I learn to give up EVERYTHING to Jesus, and then I slip back into my comfortable routine of planning everything the way I know it will be best. I can imagine God laughing at me and my feeble attempts to have a good life because he doesn’t want me to have a good life–he wants me to have an awesome life which will only happen when HE guides it.

August 4, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Church, Lessons from God. 2 comments.

Please Pray

My friend Emily is 17 and her mom just passed away. It was a very quick thing. It started by an infection in her foot and led to the doctors having to amputate a toe. I didn’t hear exactly what she died of, but I’m guessing the infection spread.

July 11, 2008. Lessons from God. Leave a comment.

Those weird “hint hint” moments

Ever had one of those times when you’re sitting somewhere, busy doing something, and you feel this incredible urge to do something or say something? I have. One of them happened today.

Summer’s monotonus routine has set in. Get up. Throw on clothes. Do hair, make-up, and whatever else needs doing. Grab something to eat and munch on it while finishing the previous step. Drop lunch into work bag and head out door. Make sure mom is ready to drive to park and ride. Take bus to work site. Work. Take bus home. Chill. Sleep. Repeat.

Today I completed the beginning steps of that routine, and then stepped on the bus to go to work. People get on the bus before me and after me and at the same time as me all the time. Nothing weird about the other peoples on the bus. One girl sat in the front bench seats reading a book. Again, nothing weird about that either. As she turned the pages, I noticed the title, “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis. Okay so where I live is one of the most un-churched areas in the US. Very rarely do you see someone reading something like that on public transportation. Weird.

That’s about when the “hint hint” moment started.

God: Anna go talk to that girl.

Anna: Why? She will probably think I’m really weird.

God: Does that really matter? Go talk to that girl.

Anna: What if she’s not a Christian and asks me questions I can’t answer? What if she is, and the situation gets awkward?

God: Stop “what iffing”, go talk to her.

Anna: I’ll do it after the next stop. (maybe she’ll get off then!!)

God: Go talk to her. Now.

Anna: If I don’t talk to her, what’s the worst that could happen? I fell bad? psh. I’d probably forget in a day or two. Besides, won’t she think I’m weird? How would I start the converstation? How would I end it?

God: Anna. Stop arguing with me. I mean it, and I know what’s best.

So if you’ve ever felt God prompting you to do something, how did you respond?

I learned arguing with God doesn’t work so well. He always wins in the end. When we stopped at a transit center I feebly remarked, “Oh, I see you’re reading Mere Christianity.” To that, the girl looked up and said, “what?”. I wasn’t loud enough. Darnit Anna. I scooted up to sit next to her. “Mere Christianity. I read it last year in school and thought it was pretty good. How do you like it?”

Weird look. I imagined what’s going through this girl’s head. “What a freak. She has the nerve to talk to me on the bus in front of a bunch of people about my reading choice?” But no. It turns out she’s a new Christian whose parents are not super supportive of her going to church. They don’t believe in an afterlife, so they think she’s wasting her time. She first started going to church because a friend invited her. *way to go Lumi’s friend!!!* We talked the rest of the bus ride and found out we take the same route every morning. Hopefully we’ll see eachother again, and hopefully I’ll be able to strengthen her faith as she takes baby steps as a new Christian. 

Will it always work out this way? And do I advocate talking to strangers on the bus?

Not necesarially (to both questions). I think that if you have a divine appointment with someone, yes, it will work out exactly the way God wants it to. And no–don’t go talking to random people for the heck of it. But if you feel God calling you to do something, even if it’s an extreme something or something that is waaaay out of your comfort zone, do it. God’s always right.

July 7, 2008. Tags: , , , , , . Lessons from God. 3 comments.

The Move

Well after I completely surrendered our move to God, and I got myself mentally and emotionally ready to head out this year, my dad made his final descision—we’re not moving. YAY!!!! So I’ll get to keep on with these peeps for the next year, which makes me very happy.

On another note–ever wonder about your income and what being a “good steward” of what God has given you looks like? Check out Mark Driscoll’s sermon from today at their website which you can get to from here. NOTE: THIS SERMON IS NOT FOR THE WEAK MINDED IN AREAS OF FINANCES. YOU WILL BE CHALLENGED….

June 22, 2008. Tags: , , , , . Lessons from God. Leave a comment.

Alabama

A couple of days ago I had a bombshell dropped on me. Not literally. I’m starting my senior year (which is still really strange to think about…) and all those things that you look forward to and dream about from the time you know what a senior is, well all that’s starting and I was really excited.

Then I came home from work one evening to find my dad talking about this job he phone interviewed for. Cool. He’s been trying to get a new job for a while, but my parents already told me they wouldn’t actually move out of the area until I graduated, so I thought nothing of it. At dinner, my dad talked all about the job and then said, “but it means we’d have to move.” Oh. Where? “To Alabama.”

………………………………………………………………………

I’m sorry to anyone who lives in Alabama, but from the center of the technological, fashionable, upscale part of the nation, Alabama seems like the middle of nowhere to me. Obviously I was crushed. I can’t imagine moving at the very beginning of my senior year to a whole new neighborhood, with a whole new church, and a whole lack of friends, in a whole new state across the nation. All this, and I’ve never moved in my life. Not even within this state.

So needless to say I’m kinda shocked and taken aback by the possiblilty of moving the summer before my long-awaited senior year. I could tell you that I’m just trusting God and will be totally fine with moving. But that’s not the truth. I’m devestated by the thought, and it will take A LOT of getting used to if it comes to be. Right now we’re waiting to find out more info. They’re planning on flying my dad in sometime soon to do the face to face interview. We’ll know more then.

The day after this bombshell dropped on me, God plopped this song into my lap. It’s called “Surrender” by BarlowGirl. The words couldn’t portray more accurately how I feel, but I’m still working on the “surrendering” part….

 Lyrics go something like this:

“My hands hold safely to my dreams
Clutching so tightly not one has fallen
So many years I’ve shaped each one
Reflecting my heart, showing who I am.
And now you’re asking me to show
What I’m holding oh so tightly?
Can’t open my hands can’t let go
Does it matter? Should I show you?
Or can’t you let me go?

Surrender. Surrender.
You whisper gently.
You say I can be free,
I know but can’t you see,
My dreams are me. My dreams are me.

You say you have a plan for me,
That you want the best for my life.
Told me the world has yet to see
What you can do with one that’s committed to your call.
I know of course what I should do,
That I can’t hold these dreams forever.
But if I give them all to you,
Will you take them away for ever?
Or can I dream again?”

 

June 14, 2008. Lessons from God. 1 comment.

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