Thanksgiving Chapel at Lancaster Bible College

Chapel at LBC was awesome today, I wish you all could have been there! It was our special Thanksgiving chapel so we had extra time worshiping through song (the team did an AWESOME job) and then one of our students from the Social Work program shared about her testimony and struggle with self-harm. She shared with our entire student body the low places she had been, but the strength and HOPE found in understanding who Jesus Christ is and what he has done so that we may live.

Near the end of the service she sang “I Know my Redeemer Lives” and there was lined up at the front of chapel about 20 students with cardboard signs with their struggles written on them. Things about being rejected, ignored, addicted, bitter, and the like. At the last chorus ( a key change of course ;)) while she sang about the fact that Christ lives to take away our shame, and how He died to bring us victory-the students in line turned over their cardboard “lies “and displayed truth on the back. Because of Christ they wrote that now they ARE accepted, freed from sin and guilt, able to forgive, able to show grace and love, and power over ANY sin and ANY burden.

It was beautiful; I had tears in my eyes. I am so blessed to call this place my college. I am continually encouraged, challenged, and strengthened through the bravery and the caliber of people here and their love for Christ. 

True Friendships

Journal Dates. I don’t know if other friends do this-but Amy and I do. We take our “Jesus/Prayer/Devotional/Church/Thoughts/Quotes Journal” to any nearby coffee house and pour over the pages together. We swap quotes and prayers and heartaches. We reflect on lessons learned, and lessons needing to be learned. It takes a special friendship to be able to go through a journal together, and that’s what Amy and I have.

We are different in a lot of ways. You see the blonde vs. brunette thing we’ve got going. Amy is an introvert. Me? I am an extrovert. As a gifted artist, she almost always has paint either on her hands, or on her clothes. I, on the other hand, can barely draw a straight line with a ruler. She loves snowboarding and conducting. I am scared of snowy mounds and am rhythmically challenged.  But for whatever reason, despite any differences, God has ordained and allowed Amy and I’s friendship to blossom and honor Him.

What is truly fantastic about my friendship with Amy is that it points me to God. How so, you may ask? Well, part of it is through our God-centered conversations. But another part of it is that I feel so secure in her friendship, it is impossible for me to ever doubt her love for me. Her heart breaks when mine breaks, and rejoices when mine rejoices.  She has seen me at my absolute worst. She knows things about me, I would have rather no one on earth know-but yet, for some unknown, inexplicable reason-Amy still thinks the best of me. She values, encourages, and praises me. The deep loyalty and admiration I see in Amy, I know is a reflection of what I have in Christ. So I walk away from each interaction with her wanting to love and serve the Lord more joyfully and wholeheartedly.

In my 24 years of living, I have been blessed with some AMAZING friends. Friends that have loved me well through the thick and thin, that I cry with, laugh with, and grow with. Glenda shows me how to pray with hope, Cathren infuses in me a love for missions, Kia gives me a heart for motherhood, Kristen teaches me (so patiently!) about the gift of hospitality, Emily encourages me to modesty, and Amy propels me to slay my sin no matter the cost.

What have I done to deserve such great, blessed friendship? Not a thing.

When it comes to staying in contact, I am a pretty horrible friend. I’m bad at returning calls, inconsistent at emailing, and will often mentally respond to a text without actually physically responding to said text.  So if friendship was based on attendance and consistently-I’d have failing grades for sure.  Not only that-but I (like all humans) am selfish, and prideful, and sinful, and a host of other unattractive things. But the beauty about friendships rooted in the gospel is that they are rich in grace, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love. So we all learn and grow and apologize and forgive and move on and love and love and love.

If you are struggling with a friend right now, can I just encourage you to love them? Love them ridiculously. Show them grace. Encourage them to godliness. Shower them with truth. Whatever that may look like.

And if you are reading this thinking, I wish I had a true friendship, I encourage you to do 2 things. 1.) PRAY for it consistently and with faith. Ask your small group to be praying for it, ask your mom to be praying for it! 2.) Be on the lookout for it. Be in places and have eyes that see people who could be your iron to sharpen iron. And be willing to take the first step. You don’t always have to be the one pursued-maybe God wants YOU to be the one to start the friendship, to share your testimony, to pray with them.

Friendships are a WONDERFUL (and difficult!) blessing from the Lord. Thank Him for them today; invest in the right ones today!

Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
1 Samuel 18:1-3 As soon as he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. And Saul took him that day and would not let him return to his father’s house. Then Jonathan made a covenant with David, because he loved him as his own soul.

Oh Me of Little Faith

In my journals, probably written about a hundred different times, I write “TRUST GOD”.

I know in my head that He is ABSOLUTELY trustworthy, that He is PERFECTLY loving, and that He is INTIMATELY invested.

I understand that it is silly to put my trust in my own strength or “wisdom”.

Yet still, I doubt. My heart distrusts His goodness and His faithfulness to me in my life. Though I have seen it displayed COUNTLESS times, I wonder if in a particular instance He doesn’t really care about my heartache. I think He cannot really be all sufficient in this situation. Maybe-though He took care of me, here, here, here, and here-He will not come through here. Even though I saw Him glorified in me through this circumstance-maybe this time, He won’t be able to pull it off. Maybe I need something else. Maybe this isn’t going to turn out for any sort of good at all. Maybe this season of silence is going to be a long term thing-for no reason at all.

And I don’t necessarily say all this out loud. I may not even THINK it so precisely. But my lack of faith and trust in my Savior is incredibly evident. A wandering heart reflects it. An anxious spirit reflects it. A lack of joy reflects it. Discontentment reflects it.  Idolatry reflects it.

So what can we/should we do to combat this trustlessness? I know we don’t want to live like that! We want to be people of God MARKED by faith. People whose confidence and trust is so deeply imbedded in the character and nature of Christ that we cannot be shaken. How do we get there? Growing in faith requires grace driven effort. We have to CONFESS that we are basically calling God a liar when we don’t have faith in Him. We have to CHOOSE to seek God through prayer and His word.  And we have to COMMIT to replacing lies of distrust with truths of faithfulness.

He doesn’t care about my heartache- False. Read Psalm 34:18.

I need more than what God is offering- Wrong. What you need you have. 2 Corinthians 12:9.

God has abandoned me- Not a chance. Hebrews 13:5. (want more? Nothing is going to stop God’s love for you-Romans 8:38-39)

Nothing good can come of this- How about sanctification? Check out Romans 8:28-90

And that is just the tip of the iceberg! Be in the Word steadfastly enough to know His character and you will grow in your faith in Him.  Ask fellow believers to tell you “faith growing moments” in their journey with God. Have those closest to you keep you accountable in faith by calling you out when they see your anxious spirit. Choose to trust Him, choose to love Him, choose to praise Him. You won’t regret it.

Eating for the Glory of God During the Holiday Season

ImageReady or not, the Holiday Season has arrived! Dispersed among  the many festivities, traditions, and activities there will be MOUNDS of pumpkinny flavored treats, Christmas cookies, and heaven-in-red-Starbucks-cup drinks!

If you are anything like me, you loooooove the sugary stuff.  I enjoy both preparing and partaking in delectable desserts and scrumptious sweets . But if you are like me, you do not love the feeling your stomach gets after eating too many buckeyes, or your tongue after too many candy canes, or your pants after too many cinnamon buns.  My sugar intake in the coming weeks normally sky rockets compared to other times of the year. And I am pretty sure that the negative physical ramification of over indulging is something the LORD did purposefully to immediately remind us that we were not made to eat that way.

In light of this, I am making a conscious effort to eat for the glory of God during the Holiday Season.  

I am going to be more intentional about saying no to sweets more often than I say yes-to be a good steward of this body God has given me to serve Him with on this earth.

If this is something you struggle with each year, feel free to join with me for the next 50 days in keeping a little journal recording what I do and do not eat and drink.

  • I’m not cutting out all sweets.
  • I’m not “dieting” or working out more.
  • I’m not looking to lose weight (though if that happens, Lord knows I’ll be as happy as a clam!)

I am simply being more aware of what I eat and more deliberate/sensitive in trying to see if Christ would join me in eating another serving of kettle corn, or if I should be exercising self-control.

I’ll keep you updated on my thoughts/failures/successes…let me know about yours too!

How a Veggie Tales Flashback Saved My Evening


I had worked late last Tuesday evening. No big deal; it was a good day-but I was tired and ready to head home. Though, as I drove I reflected on my past few “home cooked meals” I’ve made for myself:

  • Sunday afternoon: scrambled egg
  • Sunday Evening: Kraft Mac N Cheese
  • Monday Evening: Noodles with Ham and Apple Slices

This is no joke. Literally-that is what I had in my refrigerator and therefore, what I had for dinner.  So I decided it would be smart (nay, necessary!) to stop for groceries at the best food store on planet earth-SHARP SHOPPER.

For those of you who don’t know what Sharp Shopper is, let me explain to you by some of my most recent purchases:

  • 10 Blueberry Bagels for $1.59!
  • 15 Packets of Oatmeal (3 different flavors!) for A BUCK!
  • Okay, those are the only two things I can think of off the top of my head, but I wanted three bullet points to match the above bullet points, so…you get what I’m saying! It’s great!

 ANYWAY…so I am a shoppin’ a way- tomato sauce, eggs, yogurt-you know-essentials, and I start to see a series of happy couples. Hand in hand, some young, some old, each shopping for groceries for their lives together. Now, normally, this doesn’t bother me at all. Normally, I am able to rejoice with and for people who are happily paired with the love of their lives. But not this night. This night I was discontent and frustrated and lonely. This night I walked to my car with a heavy heart, sad that I was buying groceries only for me. 

And that’s when it hit me. Pulling out of the parking lot, from the far corners of my memory came I song I hadn’t sung for quite some time. The first time I heard it, it came from the mouth of a carrot…or maybe an asparagus, I can’t remember, but it was on the VHS of Madam Blueberry and it said this:

A thankful heart is a happy heart

I ‘m glad for what I have, that’s an easy way to start

For the love that He shares as He listens to my prayers,

That’s why I say thanks every day!

 I sang it a few times, and my heart lifted with each line. Silly as it may seem, that little diddy realigned my heart with God’s that evening. I spent the rest of the ride home thanking God for all the MANY blessings he HAS and IS giving me right now, and thanked Him for the greatest gift of all-my salvation. I thought of gift of grace, after gift of grace He has given me and turned my heart of discontentment into a heart of gratitude.

It’s so easy to look at what we don’t have, or what God isn’t doing-instead of being creatures of humility and thankfulness and seeing what He has given us and what He is doing-with a proper understanding that we deserve none of it!  A mentality of gratitude changed my evening from being one with a heavy heart, to one with a happy heart. God uses all sorts of things to bring us back to himself, even a little veggie tale song! And hey-that’s a good reason to say thanks every day!