Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Pal Logan

Logan is one of my newer friends, but she and I have been absolutely inseparable ever since we met! This vacation was hard on us; it was our first time apart. Logan is my guitar. Even when I was just practicing chords, I couldn't put her down, and last night I was exhausted after a day of excitement and travel, but still I took time to play a few songs.

One of the biggest reasons I've fallen head over heels for her is the new dimension it brings to worship. There's something so amazing in figuring out how to play a song, working to make it sound good, and coming back to it again and again that is incredibly pure, adding a dimension of vulnerability and personal connection to the music.

I love that I love playing. And I love that God loves it too. I'm not the best, trust me. Many of my readers have heard me sing, and it's not always the prettiest thing. But I enjoy it. It comes from a real place in my heart. And that is simply beautiful.

I've written one song, and I would love to work on writing more as I learn more about what the Lord is teaching me and what Logan can do ;) I've been a poet for a long time, and song writing has a lot of the same characteristics. It's one of the most accurate expressions of what I'm thinking and feeling. Slowly, God has helped me draw it out and share it with others. Because everything we do and everything we are is all for the joy of our Redeemer and Maker.

Father, I'm singing for You and Your glory. I thank You from the bottom of my heart from the gifts I'm reflecting on right now. For my guitar, which has helped me grow to adore and worship You more every day, but even more for Jesus Christ my Savior. That You would come to earth in Your Son to love to the point of death for me, a sinner, is something I will never get over. We were all so desperately in need of that grace, and You provided in the most difficult way possible. You did something we never could in order to save us all and demonstrate the enormity of Your love for us. I could sing of that forever. And I will. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.

And they sang a new song: You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because You were slain, and with Your blood You purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. Revelation 5:9

I Still Feel Small

This year, I celebrated my first ever Christmas on the beach. The view from the condo we stayed at was stunning - we were right over the ocean, 18 floors up. By stepping outside, we could see a wonderful sunrise, and from our patio a breathaking sunset.

My sister loved physically being on the beach. Any time she could, that's where she was. On Christmas day we went on a dolphin-watching island tour. As I walked the shore of the isalnd, seeing water for miles and miles, I remembered the song, "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. She sings, "I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean" I do.

I wrote in my journal, "I think we all need to find the oceans in our lives, no matter where we live. We need to feel this small so we can begin to see how big God is"

It was certainly one of my favorite celebrations of Christmas. I had to look out and see all that I am not, but then worship the God who IS.

I want more of You, oh Lord. You have created, and You are in control. Even the wind and waves obey You. Let me decrease, so You may increase in my life, God. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Sing to the LORD a new song, His praise from the ends of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that is in it, you islands, and all who live in them. Isaiah 42:10

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hometown Love

For going to school as close as I do, I don't come home very often. I love my family; I'm just that busy.

This weekend I've experienced what I think are some of my favorite things about being in my hometown.I waitressed at a cafe my mom manages, where a semi-regular substitute for my high school came in and recognized me and I was tipped $5 for a latte that cost $3.50. I walked through downtown to the local bookstore,where I bought Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith on a whim. I saw the horse drawn carriage go by time and time again. I put on a cozy sweater and made tea my parents keep in the house just for me. And every time I was in the car alone, I listened to 105.3 KLOVE

If any of you have been listening to KLOVE within the last couple weeks, you've probably heard JJ Heller's latest, "What Love Really Means". I'd find myself with watering eyes every time I'd hear it. Its message is so simple: The Lord is the one who knows what real love is. We can look for it forever, but He's going to be the One to satisfy our acceptance and true love.

There's something about the combination of being home and hearing that message that was so rich for me. I'm the kind of person who likes to please people, but to hear God telling me He'll love me for me simply takes my breath away.

Father, You leave me speechless. I can't even wrap my head around the kind of love You have for me, for all the earth. It's amazing. Thank You. In Jesus' Name Amen

(I know I've used some of these verse before, but I love them so much!)

This is how God showed His love among us: He sent His one and only Son into the world that we might live through Him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:9-10,16

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Jesus' Birthday

You knew a Christmas post had to be coming. Let's dive into its meaning, shall we?

At school, Christians are a minority. That being said, you don't hear "Merry Christmans too often" I bet I'd hear it even less if people knew what the words meant: "merry" means "mighty", while "Christmas" translates to "continuous encounters with Christ". So when you wish someone a Merry Christmas, you're really wishing them mighty and continuous encounters with Christ.

Now I'm back home, and I can't express how wonderful it is to be wished Merry Christmas everywhere I go - in town, to visit family, at home. I love it!

Something else I love: I was visiting with my grandma, aunt, uncle, and cousins(ages almost 4 and 2) on Wednesday. I was sitting down and had Caeden in my lap when I felt a tug on my jeans that could only be from tiny two year old hands. Lana doesn't yet say her k's very well, but she got my attention all the same, "Tate! Happy Jesus' Birthday"

Happy Jesus' Birthday, everyone. The baby that would save our souls. He made all the difference in our lives. Let's celebrate His.

I am very sincerely wishing all the earth continuous encounters with Christ, not just this season, but every day we all live.

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:9-11

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

I don't think it's a secret that I'm a sucker for a sunrise. And maybe it's just because it's the start of winter and I'm temporarily blind to spring, summer, and fall, but today I'm going to say that winter sunrises are the best.

Think about it. Your entire world is dark, but it's covered in snow. Then, in the east, you see just a glow of orange transcending the navy, turning it into an ocean green. I could stare out at that forever. But then, as if it wasn't good enough already, streaks of purple and pink come bursting through the sky. The golden orb is still in its corner, but overhead sparks are flying. As the sun rises, the severity disappears and everything begins to be a blended fading pink as our star wrestles with the blue sky.

I wonder how many people missed it this morning. How many were sleeping; how many simply weren't paying attention?

There's a reason I call it Sunrise with the Savior. Yes it's early, but I don't see how I could ever look at daybreak and not feel the Lord's presence.

This is a song that I often listen to during my morning quiet times. It gives me peace; it calms my storms. And it draws me near to God.

From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised. Psalm 113:3

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Love You Because...

I was talking and saying goodbye to a friend. He told me, "I love you because you're a little odd. I love you because you think going for a walk on a freezing snowy evening is magical. I love you because you think spending hours in a library reading random articles and books is fun. I love you because you're strange"

He didn't say "I love you despite" these bizarre quirks he personally doesn't care to partake in; he said, "because". How wonderful is that? Isn't that what we all want, to be loved not despite, but because?

And of course, this got me thinking about God's love for us. Yes, He loves us despite of our sin. But go further; push the envelope a little bit. Why would Jesus love us so much He would die for us?


Because He knows us better than we know ourselves. Because He formed us with His own hands. Because He has a wondrous plan for us that He's been crafting since the foundations of time. Simply put, the Lord loves us because we are His.

And God, the Creator of the Universe, was willing to take this love all the way to Calvary for us. He wanted us to be reunited with Him. The Lord is just, and He extends a pierced hand to pull us out of our shame and sin. He is risen; He has made us more than conquerors. And why?

Because. Because He loves us. Because we are His. Because. Not despite, because.

Lord Jesus, I love You. I love You because You are, and will always be. I love You because You look past my sin and call me Yours. I love that I get to be a daughter of the King of all kings. I love You because, in my heart of heart, You are mine, and I am forever Yours. Amen.

But now thus says the Lord, He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you;I have called you by name, you are Mine. Isaiah 43:1

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Rally Against Low Expectations

I have been blown away by the "bar on the ground" expectations my worlds seems to have of me.

1. When I open a door for someone and let him or her go in front of me, people (especially adults) are taken aback with genuine surprise.
2. I throw together a paper with next to no effort, and hand it in knowing it's not my best work, pretty well convinced I'm getting at best a B. I get an A.
3. I return something I borrow on time, and am met with sincere gratitude and appreciation.
4. I live out my faith and am thanked for it, thanked like it's never been seen before.
5. I do the dishes for my family at home, without being asked, and am showered with praise.

These are just a few examples of what I've noticed moving around in the world lately.

Now, I could sit back and say "Alright, people think I'm doing pretty well here. I'm already exceeding expectations; why should I try any harder?"

That's not what God intended for us all! Looking at the Scriptures, God doesn't go for just good. He doesn't even go for great. He goes beyond what we could imagine in our wildest dreams. He wants to continue to surprise us by His perfection and His holiness. And you know what else, He tells us to do the same (Matthew 5:48).

Hold on here. Be perfect? How can the Lord expect me, a carrier of humanity's sinful natures, with all of my pride, to be perfect?! Perfect is a big word, there, and I, well, I am not.


I know who is. And that's what saves us all. Jesus Christ lived in the world, but did not give way to its ways. He lived a perfect life. And He wants to live that perfect life inside of me. Think about it; it's absolutely mind blowing. By continual surrender to the work Christ literally died to do in me, I can see the greatness of God. Now, I'm human; I can't be perfect. But I can move towards perfection in Christ alone. This work won't be complete until His glorious and triumphant return (Philippians 1:6), so that must mean there's a lot to do.

I'm so glad that the Way is there, leading me and showing me how to rise against my culture. God has so much more He wants to show me.

Lord, Show me a life bigger than the one that's in front of me. Help me to not settle for the world's best, God, but to continually seek more of You and Your glory and perfection. Let Your greatness begin to reveal itself in my life, and help me encourage other people to do the same. I'm a teenager, I'm a girl, I'm a student, and maybe that's why others don't expect much from me. But I am Your daughter, and part of Your body. You, God, ask perfection. And Jesus Christ made the way for us when He died on a cross and rose again. So God, thank You, for never giving up on us and for always having more in store. In Jesus Who Saves, Amen.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hey Kate, I'm Praying For You

I'll give a little background here.

Beloit College is not the easiest place to be a Christian, but it's by no means the most difficult either (Belarus has us beat by a light year!). But yes, being a practicing Christian puts me in a minority. So it was no surprise to find myself the only Christian in my Religious Diversities and Marital Practice course this semester.

I was respected in the class and allowed, and even felt encouraged, to share my opinion. It ended up being one of my favorite courses thus far at Beloit. Well, for our final project, we're doing a museum exhibit on different issues in marriage and partnering.

The names of the exhibits are as follow: "Superfluous Women", "Portrayal of Romance Through the Ages of Cinema", "Shacking Up", "Christ-Centered Marriage", "Equal Sex: The Way One Revolution Sparked Another", "Transgendered Living", "The Rise of 'F-Buddies'", "Stay in the Kitchen, It’s a Man’s World, Buy One Get One Half Off: Classic Ads Enforcing Marriage Roles", "Celebrating Marriage: A View into Cultural Traditions", "A Case for Many Loves: Exploring Polyamory in a Monogamous World", "Complexities of Love". If I need to tell you which one is mine, you should really go back and read more of this blog.

Anyway, our professor sent out a mass email to faculty inviting them to our showing. This morning, I received this email in my box:

I gather by your topic title that you are in favor of a “Christ-centered marriage.” Wow, talk about a voice crying the wilderness. I’ll remember to be praying for you as you let your light “so shine.”

Wow! I mean, I don't have any idea who this staff member is; though I have a vague name recognition. I doubt we've ever met. I don't know him, but he's praying for me. And he wanted to let me know that. I just wanted to scream GOD IS GOOD! This helps me remember I'm not alone here. The Lord has provided everything I need and could ever hope for. And it also affirms me that I'm not insane. I just love Jesus. And apparently, this man does too.

Here, at Beloit, this was a great thing. God is here and He's moving and working on this campus. And I know the best is yet to come. When He says Lord of all lords, He means it. He is the King of everyone; there is none like Him.

Thank You, Lord, for Your faithfulness and the ways You provide. Thank You for these great things and the greater things still to come. Amen

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12

Friday, December 3, 2010


God is so good!!! My heart is squealing with excitement as it jumps for joy.

The Lord tells us that if we earnestly seek Him with all our hearts, we will find Him (Jer. 29:13). But what's even more amazing are the ways He finds us when we're not even looking! These kind of surprises are glorious and leave me awestruck every time.

Last night, I was reading a (Christian) book, and though I'd heard all of it before, I found myself continually pausing. I had some worship music on in the background, and I would end up singing, journaling, and searching through the Bible for the verses on my heart.

I am so desperately in love with how God reveals more of His truth to me in new ways every single day, often multiple times a day. I'm not a naturally excitable person. If I do get excited about something, it fades fairly quickly; I get over it. But the grace presented to me in Jesus Christ is the exception to that rule; in fact it is the only exception. The minute I think about it, my heart comes to life once more. God really knows how to break through all of our walls and reach the hardness of our hearts, no matter how much our sin and love of self has controlled our lives.

I wrote this prayer last night:
God, You truly amaze me. Your love leaves me absolutely dumbfounded. Earlier tonight, when I was reading, I kept stopping because You have such a hold on me, Lord. It's like nothing else I've ever felt! It's incredible to think you would come down here for me. Your one and only precious Son lived a perfect life amidst and entire world of incredibly imperfect people who looked everywhere but at You. And then He died. He died for our sins. He died to save the very people who spat in your face, who mocked and beat You. I thank You for bringing me to the cross right now, not just with my head, but with my heart. I thank You that through Jesus,I can be real before Your throne. And I can't talk about Calvary without the resurrection; I mean wow! What a way to show who's really in charge! Without Jesus, we'd all fear death. But You showed us the Way. You gave us life, and demonstrated your absolute authority over everything. I thank You, Abba Father, for coming down as Jesus to meet humanity in the broken sinful place we all are. And I thank You for Your Spirit that has come tonight to meet me where I am. Your love is shown by its daily renewal in my soul; it's never old, never boring, never overdone. God, I just love being here with you. I love You so, so much, Lord. You are my everything.
In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Come near to God and He will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up. James 4:8-10

Thursday, December 2, 2010


College is busy. It's about finals time and people are antsy to get home. It seems like the action never stops and all we want to do is go home for Christmas. Keep this in mind as I tell you a little story about the past few days, while attempting to maintain a minimal level of confidentiality (though some of my main readers are involved :) ).

The leadership team for Christian Fellowship meets every Tuesday evening to plan and pray together. One of our members seemed really down, and he expressed himself in prayer. We all had him on our minds that evening as we considered adequate sleep for once. The next morning, when I saw him he honestly seemed depressed, and the other members were in communication about keeping him in prayer.

Well my good friend invited me to join her for a time of prayer over our lunch break. We talked for awhile, and as she started to pray, I became overwhelmed with emotion. My heart was breaking for our friend, but as she prayed over me, I realized I was also overcome with a flooding of the Lord's pure love. See, I've never had a friend who would do something like what we were doing. I'd prayed for a true friend like this for so long, and as her arms wrapped around me, all I could do was admire the presence of the Holy Spirit. The bonds of the precious love of Christ are stronger and more astounding than any other.

How blessed I am to continually be shown examples of the pure love of Christ, in people, and also in events of live. God is mighty to save us, and good to remind us what His love is and means.

Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments. Deuteronomy 7:9

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Re-introduction

God is so good! He knew that I would hear that song yesterday, and He gave me words to write. Then today, He knew I would receive and read Louie Giglio's book "I am Not But I Know I AM" and again, I can't not write about the things the Lord is teaching me.

Yesterday, when I answered the question "Who Am I?", I said, "I am Yours". But that was only the half of it. By saying that I am Christ's alone, I am saying that I am not me or mine. You see that? I am not. I was bought with a price, and the Holy Spirit has domain over my body.

The world is full of i am nots. That's every human that's ever walked the planet. Because God - the Creator - is the only I AM. When we realize that we are so very small, it shouldn't make us feel like we don't mean anything. Rather, in that smallness we should experience a chain of realizations. We are small. God is big. God is love. God loves us. We are not. God is I AM.

"True humility is not a sign of weakness, failure, or inability, but rather a sign that we are getting to know God and have glimpsed His glory". Think about it. When we let go of our pride, what we're really doing is acknowledging that the Lord dwarfs us. And when we come before Him and say, "I am not", that is when He can use us; He knows we'll be pointing all we say and do right back to Him and not to ourselves.

Now, we're going to go to one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands. It is vastly underrated, but it's truer than a lot of other things in this world. I am not, but Lord, You Are

So, everyone, let me re-introduce myself: Hello, my name is i am not.

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Exodus 3:14

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Who Am I?

It's one of those big questions we all ask ourselves. What am I doing? Why am I here? Who am I? We're all on this journey to find what is good and honest and true.

But what if we're asking the wrong question? What if the question isn't "Who am I?", but "Who are You?". In examining the life and mission of Jesus Christ, we find a better version of ourselves than we could have ever dreamed of. When Jesus was baptized, prophecy was fulfilled as God spoke, calling Christ His Beloved Son. And in Christ's death and resurrection, we too are adopted into God's family. That's who we are.

At the beginning of October, I saw Tenth Avenue North in concert. My appreciation for the band heightened after this experience, because they didn't just get on the stage and play music and talk about themselves. They talked about Christ and the realities of what He did for us. They were truly there to worship God for who He is, and to help everyone in the audience do the same. They talked about something from the gospel of John in a way I'd never heard before. They said that John's gospel is the only place he is referred to as "the one Jesus loves". At first, I thought that was quite amusing. But the guys from Tenth went on to say how incredibly humble that statement was. You see, John wasn't wrapped up in who he was; his entire identity was in Christ.

And I got to thinking today as I heard the song "Who Am I?" on the radio. And Lord, the best way for me to say who I am is 'I am Yours'.

Save me, for I am Yours; I have sought out Your precepts. Psalm 119:94

Since you are precious and honored in My sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Isaiah 43:4

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jesus the Redeemer

Last night, I was on the phone with an amazing friend (love you!) In our conversation, I put to words the thoughts I've been having for the last few months.

Every time I come home, I look through about a decade's worth of old journals. I've been keeping one since I was seven years old, and the collection is one of my greatest treasures. I've grown to write a lot more, more often, and about more serious things, but one special thing has stayed constant. I've always written down some of my prayers. It's amazing to see how my prayers have been answered - in unexpected ways, at unexpected times. Things have happened to me in the last few years that I prayed for when I was just 8 or 9 years old. I didn't remember them, but God did. That's so incredibly awesome, but there's more to this story.

Flipping the pages, I felt pain, regret, shame, sorrow, and guilt. Things I should have said, things I should have done. So many missed oppotunities to make the Lord known, to make Him look good. All because I was too worried about what everyone else would think to surrender to Christ's life in exchange for my own.

But, in that shame, in that weakness, God displayed His awesomeness and authority. He showed me my past two years of life, and how He's redeeming me. He's putting me in situations that give me a second chance. He's letting me do now what I didn't do then. Peter denied Jesus three times, but when Jesus rose, He gave Peter the opportunity to profess his love for Christ three times. I'm sure I've turned away from my Savior far more than three times, but in His blood, He's given me way more than three more chances.

It's not about me - it's about the Word in the Flesh poured out on the cross.

Father, thank You that I'm not who I once was. Thank You for sending Your Beloved Son to die that I might live again. In Your Name, Amen.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Prayer

I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving. Here on the blog, I'm going back to basics. I'm delving into my journal - which NO ONE ever gets to read (yes, you should feel special) to share excerpts from my prayer last night:

Father, I can't thank You enough for people, opportunities, for my very life. Thank You for Christ. Thank You for using His blood to make me clean and whole, God. Thank You. You are so good to me. You are my everything, Lord. No matter where I am, You're here. You're waiting to sweep me off my feet - the only one who can, the only one who knows me. You know all my failures, even the ones I haven't had yet. You know my doubts, my fears. But you know my hopes and dreams, too God; You know my deep desire to love You more. My heart is so full of love that's it's taking my breath away; it's coming out my eyes in salty wet tears. I close my eyes and see You on the coross. I try to imagine what You felt to love like that. And the love in my heart boils over. I adore You, Lord. Savior, I worship at Your throne. I bring myself and the song of my life - praise to You and Your glory. Here I am, Father. I'm here to know and cherish You, and love You with every beat of my heart. In the Name of the precious Christ Jesus my Lord, Amen.

I wrote that ^^ while listening to this:

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.Worship the LORD with gladness;come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His;we are His people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Lessons From Dressing

Ok I know I just posted, but what can I say? God is good!

When I was younger, I thought that the whole point of wearing a sweatshirt was that if you got hot, you could take it off. Then, when I was six, I experienced my first snow day. I was getting dressed, knowing I was going to be playing in the snow all morning, and I told my mom, “I think I can just wear a sweatshirt by itself; I won’t be getting hot today!” This seemed logical to me. It was cold, and I certainly wouldn’t be taking my sweatshirt off. My mom then explained that I should wear a t-shirt underneath anyway because I need a layer close to my body to keep me warm.

As I pulled on a sweatshirt today over a tank top, knowing I wouldn’t be taking my outside layer off, I thought back to that day and of what I’ve learned since then.

And then I thought about my life today. I go out and take on a lot of ‘stuff’, much of which is solid work for the Kingdom of God. I’m not going to get into the other things, but I admit I’m constantly checking myself and evaluating my priorities. But I still need that layer close to my skin; otherwise all that other ‘stuff’ goes to waste.

That layer is the living Word of God. It’s the heart of the Gospel. Maybe you’ve noticed that I go right to the cross of Christ in a lot of my posts. Well that’s because, for me, that’s all there really is. The entire Old Testament sets the stage for the Savior’s coming, from the fall of man right down to the messianic prophecies. After the death and resurrection of Christ, the focus turns to the mission of God. It’s about preparation for the second coming of Jesus, for the establishment of God’s eternal Kingdom.

How is that relevant to our lives? In every way. Every single way.

I’ll return to the sweatshirt analogy: service, fellowship, etc are all awesome and great things, but if we don’t have that core layer woven right next to our skin, we’re still going find ourselves cold. The eternal Truth of Jesus Christ is what keeps our fire going. And we can’t leave it off just because it’s not directly seen. Sometimes what’s not seen is even more valuable than what is.

A song so many have come to know, love, and then live. But it's so true. Keeping Christ at the center of our hearts is our absolute. Worship is our response to what we hold most dear to our lives. So pull the Truth of the Gospel right down to your core, and let your heart be for Jesus.

My heart says of you, "Seek his face!" Your face, LORD, I will seek. Psalm 27:8

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22

Stopped In My Tracks

Over the last year or so, God revealed to me all of the walls I've continually built up. I hide who I am in order to avoid getting hurt. I try not to get too close to people because I'm afraid they'll reject me. My close friends know this, and some of them have even known it since they first started getting to know me.

Well, in case you haven't noticed, God's not a big fan of walls. He's always tearing them down. So it is with me. In January, I remember being so small and vulnerable on my knees before the Lord, laying everything I am down at His feet. And ever since then, He's used that. There have been moments where I get overwhelmed with studying and projects and He tells me a verse and I stop. One evening I went for a walk, and, looking out, I was pulled to my knees by God's greatness. Things like this have happened more and more frequently as I've made myself readily available and vulnerable to the Lord.

Tonight, I had one such moment. I went out to pick up some dinner and bring it back to my room to continue working on a few things. I had my iPod in, and I was listening to the "Beautiful Exchange" album from Hillsong, as I have many times before.

This song came on:

And I stopped. I've heard this song probably a hundred times. But I stopped right where I was. I sat and I smiled as tears streamed quietly down my face. How many times have we tried to define, explain, experience, feel, and evoke love? It's been a central theme in one of my courses this semester, and I've spent the past few days completely wrapped up in the planning of my final project: a museum exhibit of cross-centered single and married life. And that's the key. Cross-centered. At the foot of the cross is where we find true, pure, unconditional love.

We didn't deserve that. What claim did we have to a perfect God in the flesh giving His life for our own? We've rejected Him, we've forgotten Him, we've disobeyed Him, but in all that, Jesus Christ hung on a cross for us. He gave all He was, is and will be to us.

That, I believe, is the very definition of love.

But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Touched By A Child's Heart

I teach Sunday school for a small group of 5-7 year olds, who never cease to amaze me. God has blessed me so dearly through them; I'm overwhelmed. Sometimes as a teacher to such young (and hyper) students, I wonder if they're really 'getting it', and God has shown me time and time again that He is indeed revealing Himself to them.

Today, naturally, the focus was on Thanksgiving. I handed out tiny bags with 5 individual corn kernels in them. The kernels represent the meager meals the pilgrims had their first winter in America. The activity was pretty basic - name five things you're thankful for. Many of the answers were standard: delicious food, pets, friends, families, me, our class. All wonderful blessings indeed!

But one girl's answer was just so simple and pure; I just melted.

1. God always protects us.
2. God gives us everything we need.
3. God made a beautiful world for us.
4. God gave us Jesus.
5. God always loves us.
6. God makes sure we're safe.
7. God made all of us special.

She then pauses, and asks how many that was. I tell her it was more than five.
She says, "Um, Miss Kate, don't you think God loves us way more than five things?"
I told her, "Yes, McKenna. He does. In fact, He loves us so much that we could sit here for a very long time and still not be able to count them all"
She told me, "Well I'm going to keep thinking about it every day"
And I said, "That's a really great idea"

Count your blessings, no matter where you are. And thank the One who blessed you.

God, I thank You so much for every aspect and detail of my life. You are my Lord, Maker, Creator, Redeemer, Friend. Thank You for Jesus Christ on the cross, for it is through Him I have access to You. Thank You for His resurrection, for showing me You are bigger than anything I know, and always always always victorious. I thank You for Your love and faithfulness. Thank You. Amen.

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is Yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; You are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from You; You are the ruler of all things.In Your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give You thanks, and praise Your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:11-13

Friday, November 19, 2010

Is God Your Safety Net?

Wow I have a lot to say this week! This post is kind of a spinoff of yesterday's.

I am now halfway through Louie Giglio's 30 day worship challenge: Look through the Psalms each day and find a trait or name for God that resonates with you. Write it down, any thoughts, and then meditate on it throughout the day. I've been seeing who God really is through new eyes all over again.

With that, it really amazes me how many things there are in this world, and how easily they keep us from the One thing that truly matters. People come and go, "stuff" gets lost or becomes out of date, but God never ever leaves us! We always have Jesus Christ.

And I think that's where we can go wrong. We know Jesus will always be there, so we think we can keep Him as a safety net, something to fall back on. We say that we're going to do it our way, but if something goes wrong, God will get us through it. That's not living in surrender, in awe of the greatness of God. That's not grace. That's not taking that daily trip to the cross with our hearts held out to our Lord.

If we truly understand what Jesus did for us, we love and trust Him. We walk the tight rope 100ft in the air, blindfolded, and without a safety net. We give Him control of each and every step, because we know that we will fail without the Lord. And even though it can be absolutely terrifying and there will be people staring up at us telling us we're irrational, or completely insane, God is what controls us, and He will never let us fall. He may let us wobble, or ask us to jump. He may let us slip so that we're hanging on by just a few fingers' grip. But He will always be there. God wants the best for us, and He knows what He's doing. And in the end, we will make it across, because the Lord made us and wants to spend eternity rejoicing with us. If we have this awesome of a God watching and controlling our every single step, why would we ever demote Him to safety net status?

Father, my future is decided. I'm going to live not just with You, or for You, but completely in You. I am Yours, God, and I can't move without You. Amen.

Trust in the Lord with all your hearts, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Meet Me At The Cross

When was the last time you took a trip to the cross of Jesus Christ? When did you last let yourself feel like it was the first time you realized what He's done for you?

I was starting off my morning today and before I even woke up all the way, I had "You Are The Lord" by Jeremy Camp playing not just in my head, but in my heart. "Let all Your people raise their voices, now as Your glory fills this place. Heaven and earth will not be silent, You are the Lord that is Your name"

The word Lord is so so beautiful to me. Master, our superior, but also our owner. God takes ownership of us. We are His responsibility. And He did that through Jesus. Jesus was His Beloved Son, and through His blood, we are adopted into the family of God. In John 15, Jesus says that we are not slaves, but friends. We are friends of the one and only Redeemer and Savior.

That is awesome, epic, fantastic, wonderful, mysterious, beautiful, unwavering, glorious, matchless, and every other word that, put together, would mean unfathomable. And what do we do with that?

Before we make a single move each day, I think we all need to take our hearts in our hands and kneel before the throne. I think we need to let ourselves get emotional about what God's love really is. Because on the cross, Jesus hung in personified love. If we lose sight of what the cross is and means, how do we ever expect to share that with anyone else? If we're not moved by its power, there is no chance of us seeing more lives transformed by the life of Christ our Lord.

Let's do this, my family of God. Let's come together at the cross every single day of our lives.

My Lord, You are so amazing. Your love is more than I deserve, but I smile in that recognition. Let me come to the foot of the cross daily, the place You died and poured out all of Your love for me. Let me be completely overwhelmed by that unconditional sacrificial outpouring of affection. And let my experience be used to further Your Kingdom and Your glory forever and ever. You are my Savior and best friend, and I give You my heart, soul, and life. In the precious name of Jesus Christ Amen .

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:10

In love, He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will— to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, He made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. Ephesians 1:5-10

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

To Prince

Those of you who know me well know that I am extremely passionate about complete purity of mind, body, heart, and spirit. I am 100% committed to giving my entire heart and body to my husband. So for now, that means focusing all of my energy towards getting to know and love Jesus instead of looking to guys for relationships. I am so fulfilled in Christ that I usually don't even feel like I'm missing anything; at times a calling to singleness (for the season or even a lifetime) even feels preferable.

But, in the last few weeks, a lot of my friends and acquaintances have begun relationships or moved to the next level, and these are the days when I really wonder about my own future. I am so grounded in the fact that God has a plan for my life, and I truly believe that He will use me for His plan.

But I am human, and a girl one at that, and sometimes I let my mind wander. I think about how nice it would be to go for a walk with a male someone, or have deep conversation; in these times I turn to this article. I remember how truly amazing it is that God, the Lord over all things, wants to walk by my side. He wants to hold my hand and listen to me. He wants to tell me about what He has in store for me, but also for all of His people. He longs to spend time with me. In Christ, God initiated the most intimate and loving relationship with me that I could ever hope to have.

I had really been struggling with being comforted by the Lord, so this morning I dedicated my prayer time to talking it out. He led me to a verse that I am very familiar with, but needed to take note of once again.

Delight yourself in the Lord and He will fulfill the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
God first, everything else a far second.

This post is called To Prince, because I write letters to my future husband, something I've been doing for around six months now. I call him Prince because Jesus is the original- He is my Prince of Peace, and my standard for absolutely everything. I tell him my hopes and dreams and prayers for us, for him. I share what I'm learning from God, how we'll grow together, and most of all, how much I love him. Because I have been captivated by Christ, I feel like I've already fallen for this man I've never met.

This is a song for him

Love you!

We loved because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Faithful Running

I just ran at NCAA D3 Midwest Cross Country Regionals (sounds official, right?) I didn't win, or place, or even pr. Actually not only did I come in dead last, but I also ran 2 minutes slower than my last race. It shouldn't feel this good. But I have never experienced such pure joy after finishing a race.

The whole time I was running, I was smiling. I heard my teammates cheering me on. And I repeated this, "Breathe and relax. Then smile because this moment is the only one you have for sure. When Jesus came for you, He dealt with all of your sin and darkness. All the frustration, all the jealousy, the shame, the pride, and the bitterness in your heart. He took care of that with those six hours spent on a cross. Christ didn't die for you to have a bad attitude. He died so you could be free" And then I'd smile a little bigger.

I reflected on what I did two years ago almost to the day: I qualified for my fourth YMCA National gymnastics championship. But God had another plan for me. He showed me over the next month how gymnastics had become an idol in my heart. I would skip church for meets, and youth group for practice. I spent more time making goals for each practice and listening to my floor music than I did in His Word and singing songs to Him. I felt Him asking me to quit, if I trusted Him. It was so very hard, but I was obedient.

I gave up the sport I'd lived and loved for 13 years and God gave me a new one - cross country - and I was really really bad at it. I hated running. People, including myself, thought I'd really jumped off the deep end. I was essentially stepping off that medal podium and becoming the lowest of the low.

And as I ran those 3.75 miles today, in a field of 250 amazing runners, many of whom have been running years and years just for the chance to race in that meet, I just thanked God for who He is - good, and ever faithful. I trusted Him when He told me to quit gymnastics, and I cried about it, but I did it. He pushed me into running, and when He wouldn't let me quit, I stopped fighting it. God has taught me so much through distance running, it's incredible! As I submitted my utmost for His highest, He drew me in nearer.

When I walked up to the start line, I was jumping up and down to, "I will sing it when the sun is shining/I will scream it in the dark: You are faithful! " (Yes, I did look somewhat foolish, but I made my anxious teammates laugh so it was all good)

And when I finished, still, I was singing, "You are faithful, You are faithful"

Read this out loud: God, Lord of the Universe, Creator or all things, is faithful to us- a pile of sinners with nothing left to bring, and not just faithful, but faithful to death on a cross. God is faithful. And He is so powerful and strong that He can use some of our weakest, most humbling moments to show us how true that really is.

God knew that I would learn this through quitting my strength, gymnastics, and embracing my weakness, running. He knew this was one way He could get me to trust Him. He made me do something I could not do so that I would see what He can do. I gave up what I held dear and grabbed on to something far less glamourous. But through His Spirit, it was made beautiful and precious and dear. God is so awesome!

Because of the Lord's faithful love, we do not perish; His mercies never end. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness! Lamentations 3:22-23

Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Joys of Life

I think sometimes it's very easy to be focused on God when we're going through something. When we're hurt, angry, trying to remember that we're forgiven, when we're wrestling with questions of faith, when we have to make a hard decision, when we're feeling overwhelmed, when we're dealing with some sort of personal issue or doubt. Those aren't fun times, by any means, but they do draw us closer to God, and that's, in part, why they exist. They may not be inherently 'good' things, but our God is pretty awesome, and has a habit of turning bad things into good. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28.

I was meeting with a mentor today, and he asked what I had going on. Now this is coming off a weekend where several of my close friends realized things they were working through, and after a few weeks where Christian Fellowship was discussing things that we're struggling with right now. I realized that I'm really not hurting right now. That could all change tomorrow, but I can't remember the last time I wasn't dealing with an issue of some kind. I feel really good about who I am in Christ right now, and what I'm doing for the Kingdom of God. I expressed that it feels weird to be surrounded by people going through something, and to truly be happy and filled with joy. He reminded me of the importance to enjoy this season of life. I can read good books and write poetry and play the guitar and go for walks. I can take a nap! (I had my first one of the semester on Tuesday). And I can be there for other people. I think that's really important. I'm not going to be clouded with my own personal drama, which will allow me to be a better listener. And someday, I'll be the one who needs support. Life comes and goes, but no matter what, it happens.

I think what God is teaching me through this stress free bliss is how to enjoy these seasons of joy. I don't have to question it, or try to find some sort of problem. I can just be happy. I can reflect on all the good the Lord has done in my life. I've spent even more time dedicated to praying for other people. I'm allowed to just be, and be happy in it.

Father, I'm really happy, and I thank You so very much for this time of my life. I will sing praise to You, and live all for You and for Your glory. Thank You for showing me how to enjoy the life You've given me for what it is. All through Jesus Christ my Savior I pray, Amen.

Praise the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. Psalm 150

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Girl America

So I pray. A lot. For a lot of different people, places, situations. Every morning I get up early for what I call "Sunrise With The Savior", though it starts long before the sun is rising. I spend around 2 hours in prayer and with the Bible, just talking and listening to God. I think sometimes we get caught up in praying for generalities, which is ok; I'm not saying it's bad to pray for all the people who are lonely and need to be loved, for all the lost people in the world, for all sick, all the hungry, but sometimes I think we need to focus a little more.

I've been a fan of Mat Kearney for some time now, and I was listening to his song "Girl America" the other day and it really struck a chord with me.

"And I see each tear and every scar
The hands that have held you where you are
And I can see we've strayed so far
A king born under that morning star
As a crown of thorns was placed to erase
Each tear that's touched your face
And his palms and sides were pierced with spears
He hung in love just to draw you near"

I bet you know one of these girls looking for someone to love her, perhaps not knowing she's looking for Christ. Pray for her. She needs to know that someone cares about her, and she needs to know that she is worth something, worth the life of a sinless Son of Man, actually. And through his wounds, we have perfect peace.

Lord, I thank You for Your creativity in making all of us wonderful girls. We're all different and special, but You also created us with a space in our hearts that only You can fill. Let us not look elsewhere for a filler, and let us not be drawn away from Your arms. We can't thank You enough for all You do for us. In Jesus' Name Amen.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Eve Was The First But She Wasn't The Last

Hey everyone! I just got back from InterVarsity Cross Training 2010, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts.

I attending the Witnessing Communities track, and it was all about how...you guessed it...we can get groups of people together as witnesses for Christ. At first, I was sort of disappointed, because I really didn't learn new things, and I'd already been thinking/talking through a lot of applications with our chapter already. But then the Lord really revealed to me the value of the interactions with my table group, all from MSOE, as well as the reuniting with a friend I hadn't seen since graduating high school. It's amazing what God has done in both of our lives. I also wanted to say that this weekend, girl times and chapter times were absolutely amazing, and I wouldn't trade any of it(you) for the world.

Last night, there was a two hour worship session, and from the start, I felt uncomfortable in that room of hundreds of ecstatic Christians adoring their Savior. It was really weird, because usually I'm really excited about being able to worship in large groups like that. Part way through, I really felt God speaking to me. My heart started completely shattering for the millions of people in this world who never get excited about something like this, because they don't know Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. During that time, I was hurting so, so badly, and tears were streaming down my face uncontrollably. It reminded me of a song I've prayed so many times, "Hosanna". There's a line that says, "Break my heart for what breaks Yours", but in French, it translates to, "I want to cry with You". The Lord was answering my prayers, and allowing me to cry by His side for the same things that break His heart. Everything from the weekend really fell into place, as I became convicted in the need to leave my comfort zone, go where God calls me, and bless everyone I meet.

This morning I was strongly reminded of our second track session, when we'd gone through the Bible looking for the command for witnessing communities. We'd literally gone through from Genesis to Revelation, and had talked about how Eve had caused her seeds a lot pain, but also God's promise that it would be one of her seeds that would restore the nations. We have this opportunity, to leave behind a seed of faith in every person on our campuses, and in our lives.

God, thank You so much for not giving up on us, and for hearing our cries for help. Thank You for standing by our side when we continue to try to walk away, for never letting go. Let me be a blessing to those I meet, Lord, and let I proclaim boldly the news of redemption in Jesus Christ. I thank You that my small and imperfect seed can have an impact and purpose in the mission of Your perfect kingdom. Forever I will live to worship You. Amen.

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

Thursday, November 4, 2010

By My Spirit

Hopefully this post will explain itself...it is based on my experiences at the Midwest Conference Cross Country Championships on October 30th. I wrote this piece and have to decided to publish it for you here.

Do you know Zechariah 4:6? If you had asked me to say it anytime before I awoke on race day, I wouldn’t have known where to start. But as I prepared to run in one of my final races for the season the same way I’d start any day, with prayer and the Word, I was drawn to this particular verse: Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit.

This was only my twelfth race ever. My season had been so mediocre and I was getting frustrated. Two awful meets in a row, and a dreadful last tune up workout had left my confidence shattered into pieces. I took comfort in the fact that God doesn’t care if I’m a fast runner; He loves me for who I am, but I wanted to do well as an act of worship for the body He gave me. I prayed continually for strength, for perseverance. Only that’s not what I needed. I needed to let go and let God. I’d put in all the work, I had the desire, I just had to lay down my pride and surrender my race to the Lord.

At the line, I had the perfect combination of peace and excitement, equal parts thought and recklessness. I started the race with this prayer, “Father, let today be for Your glory. I am giving these next 3.74 miles to You, Lord, to do with what You will. Forgetting what is behind, and reaching forward to what is ahead I pursue as my goal the eternal prize in the heavenly call of Christ Jesus my Lord” The gun went off with suddenly and the digital beep of over a hundred watches echoed the golf course. Here we go.

I got going, and felt overwhelmed. This course was a tease – since one loop was done twice, but not twice in a row, we passed the sign for the 3rd mile just a few hundred meters into the race. Torture. I felt tired so early in, and when I hit a hill, I started to doubt. But I looked at my left hand, where I’d written, “By My Spirit”, and knew that God had me. I pressed on to the first mile, where I was surprised to hear I was far under any time I’d ever been. There was a girl from another team who was running just a little ahead of me. I wanted to pass her; I knew that I would, it was just a matter of when.

The second mile is so hard in the 6k. I felt like I couldn’t. But then the Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for You, for My power is perfected in weakness’. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. How awesome it is to have the Word of the Lord written on my heart! And, by the cheers of the men’s team, I passed that girl, not long before mile two ended, and never looked back. Mile three took me to no man’s land. I couldn’t see anyone ahead of me, and the crowds were all gathered to watch the conference champion. But I sang to myself from Times, by Tenth Avenue North, “The times you doubt Me, when you can’t feel, the times that you’ve questioned ‘is this for real?...The times you’re broken, the times that you mend, the times you hate Me and the times that you bend…The times you’re hurting…In times of confusion and chaos and pain…My love I will keep you by my power alone”.

The power of the Almighty God and Creator of the universe, made perfect in my utter weakness and surrender. I kept working so hard, fighting for every step. Our assistant coach, my pole vault coach, Karl, sat at the 5k marker, waiting. I knew why he was watching so closely. I had the potential to hit a 5k pr, and milestone – in the middle of my 6k nonetheless! Sure enough, with a 32 second pr, 7 seconds under that elusive time…and a thousand meters to go. I wanted to stop right there. Honestly. My strength was gone, but as I worked it up that hill once more, again, “Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit”. God had this in the bag. A teammate enthusiastically yelled, “keep fighting!” I prayed, “I can’t do this Lord, but You can. Not by my strength or my might, but by Your Spirit alone”

When I didn’t know how much further I could go, I managed to utter a “how far?” Karl responded, “less than 500. You’ve got this – runway!” Runway, as in pole vault runway, was my key word. It made me run fast, my legs striding out, and a slight forward lean. He’d actually brought the pole all the way to the meet, just for me. I started the acceleration; this was a huge pr. It got faster as I approached the finish shute, ending with a kick to be remembered, greeted by my head coach “aw yeah!”

That girl who paced me, the one I passed – I shook her hand, and she was so sweet. I met up with a girl from my high school at another school and exchanged hugs and laughs.

And then I was surrounded by teammates – laughing, hugging, talking, exclaiming, playing. As much I love the guys’ team, it’s the ladies I have the biggest heart for. We all worked so hard, together. We’ve seen every bit of stress, all the anxiety, the nerves, the tears, the pain, the sickness, but have been able to share in the laughs, the fun, the jokes, the dancing, the love.

And as we drove away, I thought about the race.
For all the stress that is cross country – the practices, the races – I felt like I should have been happier. I was pretty happy, but not excited. It was more relief. But I looked all around me, and I was so proud of every single girl. We had pr’s ranging from 14 seconds to 244 seconds, with my own being 208 seconds.

And I realized I never wanted that pr. If it had truly been the desire of the heart, I would have been incredibly stoked about it. No, the longing of my heart is to be found and fulfilled by Christ. “Not by strength or by might, but by My Spirit” As I reached that conclusion, I was completely flooded with pure joy and unreasonable happiness; I had been filled with the Spirit of my Lord.

So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by strength, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

He will guard the feet of his faithful servants, but the wicked will be silenced in the place of darkness. It is not by strength that one prevails. 1 Samuel 2:9

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Life As A Museum: P-booking Episode 3

I'm back again! The loose cannon has been tamed. Here I am, thinking about museums.

Hmmm. I've been to many. The Milwaukee Public Art Museum was pretty sweet, even if I only went because my sister's artwork was selected to hang there (so proud!).

Then we get the Waukesha County Museum...been there a few times. It's pretty small, but was homey; I liked it because it felt like you were there really learning about people's lives.

The wonderful Milwaukee County Museum is quite the show. My favorite part is the Streets of Old Milwaukee, where you take a trip down memory lane to see what life was like yesteryear - never complete without a trip to the old-fashioned candy store!

My dad would say that the Packer Hall of Fame should count, but I don't remember much from there except wanting to leave...sorry, I just think gymnastics is much cooler.

I went to Washington, D.C. on a class trip, and made a trip to Smithsonian road. There's so much history preserved in such a small area! Although I was quite jealous that my roommate last year went and saw Nastia Liukin's Olympic gold-winning leotard in the Museum of American History.

And last year, I myself was featured in Beloit's own Wright Art Museum. I felt pretty cool, even it was just poetry and it was part of Artletics.

All of my favorite exhibits told a story, they gave me a connection to the creator, or the person it was about. Perhaps this explains my fascination with people watching - you can see so much from the way a person carries himself, what his eyes are doing, what he carries, what he wears. This world is a museum, an ongoing exhibit of life.

This is pretty exciting to think about for me. We are God's museum. Our Creator made and formed everything on this planet. It's all one big demonstration of His love and creativity. Did you know that when the Lord had finished forming every mountain, every river, every star, every animal, every plant, He said "It is good" (Genesis 1:25). And after He had made the very first man and woman, He looked around and said, "It is very good"(Genesis 1:31) ? The Lord of the universe thinks that we are "very good". That is awesome! We were made for His pleasure and glory, to delight in who He is, King of kings and Lord of lords.

What are we a display of if not that of our Lord Jesus Christ? When He returns for His creation, we will not have our money, art, or fancy buildings. All we will have is our lives. Did we worship Him? Did we make Him look good? Did we make His name known across all the earth? (Matthew 28:19-20) I don't know about you, but I certainly want my Father to take pleasure in the exhibit I paint with my life. His Spirit dwells in me (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), and I'd better make it look pretty awesome!

That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:10-11

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breaking Out On My Own: My Favorite Subject

I haven't written here for too long; I haven't had a prayerbooking prompt. Well I miss this, so I'm breaking out on my own, to talk about one of my favorite things in the entire universe, and it is certainly the thing I value the most.

I wanted to talk about grace, because God has been showing me so much the last few months. I memorized the book of Matthew, I'm leading a Mark Bible study, and our Christian Fellowship is doing Ephesians, I heard a story of someone truly understanding grace for the first time, I watched Fruitcake and Ice Cream, where I heard this phrase, "When you get grace, grace gets you, and you have to get excited about it". I read Six Hours One Friday and No Wonder They Call Him the Savior by Max Lucado, alongside Luke and John.

I wanted to share some quotes from the afore mentioned books:

"You make mistakes. God doesn't. And He made you"

"He is not on that cross for his sins. He is there for ours...such is the definition of grace"

"What does that Friday mean? ...Six hours. One Friday. What do you do with those six hours on that Friday?"

Here's what I say: In six hours, one man changed everything in the world forever. Jesus Christ hung on the cross for all of our sins. He died for me, for every lie I've told, every time I've hurt someone, every time I looked away from God. He got what I deserved. And now, I have a chance to thank Him with my life. Live a life to honor the God who gave all He had to make it possible.

"Jesus' love does not depend on what we do for him...You are valuable just because you exist. Not because of what you do or what you have done, but simply because you are"

"To accept grace means to accept its necessity, and must folks don't like to do that. To accept grace also means that one realizes his despair and most people aren't too keen on doing that either"

"...grace doesn't have to be logical. If it did, it wouldn't be grace"

"It's not every day that you find someone who will give you a second chance - much less someone who will give you a second chance every day"

"Look at the forgiveness in those open arms and take courage. And, by the way, never were those arms spread so wide as they were on the Roman cross"

The grace of God is this: He became a Man to bear the weight of all of our sin and transgression. He took our darkness and literally became our sins, nailed to that cross. And He did it with arms wide open. Nailed open actually. So even as we remember His blood pouring out, we know that He will welcome us lovingly.

There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

All I can say is thank You, Lord. Your grace is more amazing every day!

I am here, right now, living and breathing, because Jesus Christ gave up His life so that I could have mine. And now, all He wants is to know me, to have a personal, intimate relationship with me. The God of this world has created me for His pleasure, for His mission. I get to be a part of that! And it's all because of grace. God at work. God, not me, at work. I can't earn it, I can't prove I'm worthy of it, it's just there. It is God's gift to me, and all I have to do is accept it! Wow. I have, and I will continue to strive to live a life worthy of this gift, the best gift I've ever received.

But God, who is abundant in mercy, because of His great love that He had for us, made us alive with the Messiah even though we were dead in trespasses. By grace you are saved! He also raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavens, in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages He might display the immeasurable riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God's gift. Ephesians 2:4-8

Thursday, September 30, 2010


The building block of every solid relationship. With so many ways to express yourself, it's almost ridiculous how absent this simple principle can be. We can text, call, talk, dance, sing, write letters, write an email, comment on my blog (hint hint), make music, run around, make a facial expression. These, naturally, are not all inclusive, but I think I've touched enough to make a post out of it.

Texting: How do you relate texting and spirituality? Well every day I send out a Bible verse of the day to member of Christian Fellowship, and sometimes I feel like people don't care all that much. But then there are times where I temporarily forget and someone asks why they haven't gotten a verse yet, or someone responds with a "wow that was just what I needed". Prayers have been lifted up through texts; I have found out about answered prayers. I still can't picture Jesus with a cell phone, but at least His name is being honored through them.

Calling and talking are similar: How many God-moments have I had based on having the right conversation at the right time? Praying together, chatting together, learning how to love each other better. Talking to God-His line is available 24/7!

Dance: Free movement where we are no longer ourselves. We get lost in a world not our own; for me it is the most personal form of worship. No one has ever seen me worship dance, because it's sacred to me.

Sing: Wow I'm a bad singer, however, I love it! Belting out a message is such a great feeling, though, so is softly whispering a slow melody.

Letters: I write letters to God, I write letters to friends. I think it's so much more intimate than just a phone call or an email. You have to actually take time to think about what you want to write, and I often feel the Spirit guiding my thoughts and leading me to something completely different from my intent but infinitely better.

Emails: My favorite use of email is quick affirmations. Telling people in that brief moment how I see God moving in them, how glad I am for their lives; these are the things that make people smile.

Making Music: I play the violin and guitar, which are two similar but very different instruments. When I can't even find words to sing, I can pick up either one and make a joyful noise unto the Lord (Psalm 100:1) and know that He is with me, hearing me.

Running Around: Running is spiritual; it's all you. You and God. You're the only ones in your head, your body a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Running is an expression of freedom, or maybe, as in my weekdays, it's a sign that I'm just a busy person. If you want me to walk slow, you can forget us walking together. How interesting; sometimes I run in constant noise, and then when I practice, I race, I'm actually stoked by a quiet flame.

Facial Expressions: Faces say it all. Eyes, mouth, cheeks, nose. I make a lot of faces that take people awhile to understand, and I'm not sure how spiritual this one is for me. Eyes, I suppose, in prayer, in church, in an apology, an affirmation. It adds to the song, the words.

And now I'm supposed to think about a prayer, poem, phrase, or mantra. This is easy; I have one I actually do get stuck in my head on a regular basis, even while running.

Forsaking All I Trust Him...aka FAITH

Running in FAITH is chasing after God, whether it's physical running or spiritual, I run.

I sing in FAITH when I surrender who I am, become vulnerable at the foot of my Savior, forgetting who I am for all He is.

Making music in FAITH is leaving the door of my room open and letting people actually hear what I'm doing; that perhaps it will be a small seed of Truth in their hearts.

And my ultimate goal in life is to walk, talk,see, and live by FAITH alone.

Jeremy Camp: Walk By Faith

Amen to that!

We live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Week One: Holy Moments

As a Christian, a lot of my holy moments are cliché. The day I asked Jesus into my heart, my baptism, my confirmation. But then there are those moments where I rose to new levels in my relationship with the Lord, the biggest and freshest in my mind are within the last 15 months; right before coming to college, winter break 2009-2010, and during/after my summer internship with Generations of Virtue ministries. Then there are those moments when I’ve just looked around and the only word I could use to describe what I was seeing, feeling thinking has been “God”; on top of a mountain in Washington, watching a sunrise (on the ocean, on a run), looking up into the stars on a clear night, or even simply watching the shadows of light, the drizzling rain, the drifting snow. It’s learning to play guitar, and rekindling my passion for the warm rich sounds of the violin. They are group prayers when I’ve felt the connection between people so strongly I didn’t know how to ever go without it, memorizing a new verse, having an old favorite verse come to life in a new way. In a way, I believe each moment in my life has been holy, with the Lord’s hand upon every step.

We're supposed to think of any kind of object that represents our ideas of holy days. My object, I think, is going to have to be this video:

I love the lyrics, but I also love the story behind the song. It’s about Chris August rededicating his life to Christ, a really exciting, emotional, and powerful moment in someone’s life. I also enjoy all the nature references, because to me, all you have to do to see God is step outside and look at what He’s made.


A prayer is nothing but the many ways You use to reach me, and I to reach You. Through Your Son dying on the cross, we can have this supreme intimate relationship. My observing Your world, and living for You in the midst of it, is a continuous song of praise. You’ve blessed me so dearly, and so completely. Your love is all I need. You have my heart, You not only have my life, but are it. You are everything good and true and real to me, the only thing that never changes. You amaze me, God.

Psalm 63:

God, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water. So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and glory. My lips will glorify You because Your faithful love is better than life. So I will praise You as long as I live; at Your name, I will lift up my hands. You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips. When, on my bed, I think of You, I meditate on You during the night watches because You are my help; I will rejoice in the shadow of Your wings. I follow close to You; Your right hand holds on to me. But those who seek to destroy my life will go into the depths of the earth. They will be given over to the power of the sword; they will become the jackals’ prey. But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by Him will boast, for the mouths of liars will be shut.

In Jesus’ Name Amen.

But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:17

Intro To Prayerblogging

Ah how wonderfully busy life as a Christian college student athlete can be! But hey, we like our blogs, and we've got to have our prayer so why not have our cake and eat it too? Prayerblogging comes from embracing the customization of the practice of prayer and worship, inspired by a fellow student. She sends the prompts, I'll be filling them here. Jesus Christ is not only the one and only Lord of my life, He is my life. I worship in a journal, in the Scripture, on the violin, on the guitar, with my verbal prayer, with my life, with my (awful) singing voice, and now I'm extending it to the blogosphere. I'm excited for this journey to a new realm of spirituality. Here we go!

Rejoice always! Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18