Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Photo #4: Perfection.

This is my *almost* perfect sunflower.

"Perfect in weakness. I'm only perfect in just Your strength alone."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Used to You.

Since the day I stepped on campus I’ve been told that at some point during my time at Moody, the Bible would be feel like an overused textbook. Upperclassmen warned me about getting burned out, tired, discouraged, confused, bored, cynical, and negative. I didn’t pay much attention to the warnings - they didn’t seem possible. I was excited to be here and excited to learn.

Last semester was the first time that I struggled a little with the Bible becoming a textbook. Thankfully, my professors were awesome and were continually pulling practical application from the books and verses we were spending months on end studying. It made what we were studying relevant and interesting. There was so much more to learn than just the surface level stuff; I eventually realized it was hard to get bored while studying the Bible.

As unexcited as I am to be taking a few first year classes this semester, I think it’s going to be a sweet reminder of why I’m at Moody. Christian Missions, Bible Intro, and Understanding the City won’t be the hardest classes to survive this semester (with the exception of the early morning part of the first two), but they’ll be challenging in a different way - to bring me back to why I’m here.

Why am I here?

I want to love God. I want to know God. I want to share God.

These straightforward, yet lifelong goals are easy to forget.

I don’t want God and His Word to become monotonous and unimportant. I don’t want to take His sacrifice and love lightly. It’s way too life-changing to just blow it off!

How can something that’s completely changed my life become boring to me?

I think the lyrics of this song illustrate what I’m trying to say better than I can...

Used to You

by Jenn Weber

I get caught up in the good stuff in the way you fill my life

I guess it’s easy to forget every present has its price

One week in the rain, maybe I’ll appreciate the scent

Lord, your touch is so familiar that I worry I’m not sensitive now

I don’t ever want to get used to you

To make you a habit and take you for granted

I won’t let Your love grow old to me, cold to me

I’ve loved you so long and I don’t ever want to get used to You

Any mystery is a thrill until you know just how it ends

Every first kiss leaves you dreaming on the brink of new romance

You’re so comfortable, maybe I’m too casual with You

This time I’m so determined to be thankful for the little things You do

You’re the love that I’m living for

I love You though I know You more

Everyday I love You more, forever

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blush and Bashful. Pink and Pink.

“Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face”

“Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”

“I have a strict policy that nobody cries alone in my presence.”

“The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.”

“Laugher through tears is my favorite emotion.”

“Smile! It increases your face value.”

“I’ve always wanted to give a wedding shower with a monster motif”

“I try not to eat healthy food. The sooner my body gives out, the better off I’ll be!”

“Men are the most horrible of creatures, honey. They will ruin your life.”

Allie, Annie, Camille, Dawn, Faith, Olivia, and I watched Steel Magnolias together this morning. The 7 of us girls laughed, cried, and had an endless amount of silly comments.

I used to think nothing “big”, good or bad, would happen in my life. Obviously “big” thing have happened though. Deaths in my family, illness, a boyfriend, going to school in Chicago, traveling...big things. I’m thankful for my “steel magnolias” for being with me through all these things. The group of girls who’ve stuck with me, both in Chicago and Livermore, are wonderful. They’re strong, smart, funny, honest, supportive...the list could go on and on. I’m looking forward to growing old with these girls! It’s fairly certain we’ll be separated by distance, but I know these girls are just an email or a phone call away. I love my friends and I’m so thankful for them!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Forgive. Live. Love.

They knew. Instantly. Mistakes were made. But what now? Dang it!

When Adam and Eve ate the fruit, they knew that they had done something terribly wrong. They acted on their shame and hid from their Creator. But God already knew the truth. He’d seen the whole thing. God then calls the couple out on their fatal error. Instead of stepping up and taking responsibility, Adam passes the blame to his wife. Then, as if blaming his wife wasn’t enough, he takes it a step further by blaming God for giving him this wayward women. Adam fails to acknowledge that he was with Eve when she sinned. He could have not only denied the fruit offered to him, but could have stopped Eve from eating it as well.

Condemning Adam shouldn’t be our response though. It’s easy to look down on the first couple and criticize their lame decision. But who are we to judge? We are just as human as they were which makes us no better. Our natural response to sin is the same: eat the fruit, feel ashamed, hide, pass the blame. When we’re caught in our sin, how often is our first response to shove the blame on something else? Anything to take the pressure off ourselves. We use other people, our circumstances, and even God Himself as our scapegoat to cover up our blunders. Yet, we’re not fooling anyone. God’s not stupid or clueless; He knows the whole truth.

Sin results in suffering. But God never leaves us to suffer in our sin. Through Christ there is reconciliation and restoration. A second chance. Hope. This doesn’t mean that the consequences of our sins will just disappear though. We should learn from the aftermath of our disobedience. Negative consequences from a situation should be a reminder to not make that mistake again.

Adam and Eve’s sin affected more people than just them. Obviously. We’re wearing clothes, among other consequences... Our sins do the same. I’ve hurt many people because of my selfish actions. And I’ve been hurt by the selfish actions of others.

Forgiveness may mean a broken relationship is restored, but not always to the level it was at before. Broken trust it tricky to fix. You can’t mend a vow when it breaks. You can’t un-break a promise once it’s broken. Forgiveness doesn’t eliminate consequences, but it is a sign that the consequences have been acknowledged. We can choose our actions, but we’re not typically in control of the consequences that follow.

I wonder if people reminded Adam and Eve of their mistake. I’m often tempted to throw a person’s sin in their face if they’re pointing something out in my life. As if to remind them that they’re no better than I am and to shift the negative attention off of me. But what is that doing other than bring up more hurt. Bringing up past offenses in anger to distract from what’s on hand is wrong. Reacting in anger is sin.

I’ve had a few different general conversations about a specific sin and here’s my conclusion: Forgive. Live. Love.

Accept that nobody’s perfect. Don’t ignore or belittle sin. Genuinely forgive. Know that they’ll be consequences and sometimes reoccurring ones. Don’t give up on LOVE.

Yes, consequences hurt. Yes, the consequences will occasionally reappear and sting a little. But, yes, I still love this person.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,

You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,

You are more than the problems you create,

You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade.