Tuesday, June 9, 2015

in case you were wondering about all the stuff I didn't tell you

   A year ago, there was a lot I didn't know. I mean, more than usual. My life was a mess. Again, more than usual. I knew I was moving, but I didn't know where and I didn't know when. I was super pumped about the new adventure God was taking me and my family on. I was also terrified.
   A lot has happened since then, and I know I've left out a lot of the details. Okay, most of them. There were times when I needed some time to process my life before I could write about it. There were times when I really simply didn't have enough to blog. There were times when I was just lazy. Anyway, I figure ya'll deserve an update. So here, for your reading pleasure (or not. just stop reading if you're not enjoying yourself.) is the condensed version of the last year of my life.

June 2014: Jesus parties. Trips to the creek. Rodeos. Finding Favour concerts. Making the most of the time, because I don't know much I have left.

July 2014: Figuring things out. Red rover. Making plans. S'mores. Going-away party. His Ranch.

August 2014: Moving in with Grandpa and Grandma. Football. Dad, Jonathon, Elaina, me - no Mom, no little boys. School starts. More football. No photos because insanity. But this did happen:

September 2014:  Becoming known as "the barefoot girl." FCA. Finding my niche.
 October 2014: Wednesday morning Bible studies. Homecoming. Getting TPed...
November 2014: Thanksgiving. Time with the fam bam. Focusing on focusing on Jesus. His Ranch fundraiser.

December 2014: Phone-hacking. Selfies. Christmas! Smiling. Surprises. Beautiful friends. The Hobbit.

January 2015: Newness. New ideas. New love. New mercy. New life. New house! Reunited family. Reformed Roses. Snow - but I could've used more snow.

February 2015: Winterwarming. Basketball. Journalism. Dawg Pound. 

March 2015: 41 Night. Persuasion. Soccer. Courage. Mud.

 April: The Exchange - youth group. The ACT. A team that is more like family.
May 2015: Prom. Graduation. Mixed emotions. Rain and sunlight and beautifulness. Excitement for what's to come.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

yupp. he's real.

   On the search for great literature yesterday, I searched the library for every book under the name C.S. Lewis, and I finally got my hands on The Screwtape Letters. It contains the correspondence of Screwtape, a high-ranking demon, to his young nephew Wormwood. It is hilarious and sobering all at the same time.
   See, Lewis' satire is a reminder of something God iterated over and over in the Bible: the devil is real.
   There are some things that we as Christians like to gloss over. This is one of them. I mean, who wants to talk about someone whose entire existence revolves around ruining - and taking - our lives? Some would consider that inappropriate discussion for the dinner table.
   The reality though, is that we need to discuss the devil and his minions. As Lewis said in the preface to The Screwtape Letters, "There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors."
   Satan was kicked out of Heaven because he imagine himself higher and better than God, and he is still operating under this ridiculous pretense. If you read the list of goals taped to his mirror you'll see the opposites of everything God plans to do. God has plans to give us "a hope and a future." The devil wants to steal everything that might give us joy. Jesus came to give "life... and more abundantly." The devil comes "to steal, and to kill, and to destroy." God loves us unconditionally. Satan hates our guts.
   The devil's main weapon is lies. John 8:44 says, "He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies." He takes the Bible's truth and twists it around. He deceives us by influencing those around us. He toys with our emotions. Anything to steal us away from Father God.
   But here's the thing: he can't. Jesus himself said in John 10:29, "My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand." For any temptation offered us, Jesus promises a way out. He cast out demons, and he gave us authority to do the same. All authority in Heaven and on Earth! He has given everything we need to kick Satan's butt. Just check out Ephesians 6:10-18. The Bible says, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." And always remember that there is power in the name of Jesus. Satan has no chance against the power of God that is in you!
   So yes, the devil is real. Yes, he is alive. Yes, he "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." 
   But. He also sucks. And he's a loser. And a coward. So bam.

more scriptures about the devil's poopy-ness:
1 John 3:8
Matt 4:1-11
James 4:7
1 Peter 5:8
John 10:10

Friday, March 20, 2015

the greatness of God and the crappiness of me

   Last Wednesday of going to Moberly with Elaina, Bethany, and my momma for 41 Night, which is a monthly event put on by CafĂ© 41 Student Ministries. Remember back in the day when I did a week-long leadership internship and it rocked my world? Yeah. Same people.
   The night was great enough simply because I got to see so many people that I love, and because we played ninja, and because there were so many hug and smiles and laughter, and because they gave us pizza and M&Ms. But on top of it all, Jesus was there. And you never know what Jesus is gonna do.
   We kicked the night off with worship, and about ten minutes in I was overwhelmed by the greatness of God and the crappiness of me. I sat on butt and started crying and yelled at God. "I've messed up so many times! I don't even know how many times." God, being God, just let me ramble. "I always say I'm going to follow you, and then I blow it! I suck, God. How do you still love me??"
   When I finally had to pause for breath, the silence was overwhelming. And then God hit me with His four-word comeback. "I can handle you," He said.
   And that shut me up.
   Because if Jesus says He can handle me, then He can handle me. And if He can handle me, then He can handle all of me, all of the time. And if He can handle all of me, all of the time, then I don't have to worry. I don't have to stress.
   Honestly, God is so impressive. Because honestly, most people cannot handle me. Maybe for a minute, but then they don't know what to do and they have to take a break and then either they give up or we awkwardly try again. But God is not like that. He's so constant. I don't have to try to make Him like me. He already does. In fact, He already did. And He already will.
  So yeah, my crappiness is pretty impressive. But God's greatness wins every time.

Friday, February 20, 2015

show them

   It's so easy for us to spout a "Jesus loves you!" and move on like we've done something. We think we've fulfilled our Christian duty for the day, and we feel good about ourselves. I mean, there's nothing wrong with speaking the truth. It is highly encouraged, even. But it's not enough
   The reality is, it doesn't matter what we say to people. They want proof. They're saying, "Oh, Jesus loves me? Show me."
   So what do we do? We turn around and pray. We ask God to show them His love, or to send someone who can do so. But here's the thing: we can do so. Me, you, us. We don't have to sit and hope a preacher or a missionary or an expert shows up. We have experienced the love of Christ! We have met God! We have been filled with the Holy Spirit! Isn't it our job God to show people God's love? Our responsibility? Our heart's deepest desire?
   I dunno. I just remember reading somewhere that we are the body of Christ. That we are to love like He loved us. That our sole purpose is to show forth His glory. And I know that it's not enough for us to talk about it. We have to live it.
   People need more. They need real and they need raw. So don't be afraid. Hang out with the outcasts, the sinners, the least of these, whether they realize they are or not. Talk about the struggles. Talk about the dirty stuff. Talk about the truth. Accept people. Meet them where they are. Love like Jesus.
   Next time you tell them God love them, they might believe it.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

waiting for Jesus

   Paul wrote in Philippians about how he was torn between living and going on to be with Christ. "To live is Christ and to die is gain." I feel like I understand that more and more all the time.
   It's never that I want to die, and it's never that I hate my life. Mostly it's a simple, burning, desperate desire for Jesus to come back. It's just that I know seeing Him face-to-face will be better than anything else ever. I know that nothing I could even hope for in this life could compare to spending eternity with Him.
   I think some people are scared of eternity. Scared of Heaven even. I mean, I guess forever is kind of a long time when you think about it.
   I don't actually know that much about Heaven. I basically know that God is there. And I get to hang out with Him. And there is constant, incessant, 24/7 music. Everyone praises God. All the time. Oh! And there's gonna be a huge wedding feast when we all get there. I'm pretty pumped about that.
   Anyway. I don't know about you, but Heaven sounds way simpler and so much better than living here. I am forever grateful to Jesus for giving me something so overwhelmingly wondrous to look forward to. Something that can never be taken away.
   Come quickly, Jesus!
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body."
~Philippians 1:20-24