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.

Seek Righteousness, Find Satisfaction

I feel like I write a lot about satisfaction. I am not exactly sure why, it just seems to be a reoccurring theme in my life. I consistently try and find satisfaction in the fleeting “pleasures” of this world and am reminded time and time again that I feel most fulfilled, most content, and most joyful-when I am settled in the center of God’s will which is to be seeking, loving, and obeying him. C.S. Lewis says it well in, The Weight of Glory:

“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a                                                        holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

I somehow convince myself that watching SNL reruns will be a more fulfilling addition to my laundry night than listening to a podcast. I persuade myself that listening to the ”hottest jams” on 95.9 to pump me up for a run, is more beneficial than serenading my soul with songs of spiritual substance. And I live with the lie that talking to myself instead of talking to God will do me any good at all. How quickly I forget the things that TRULY satisfy!  This morning I read Matthew 5:6: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they SHALL BE SATISFIED.” It is a great reminder of what I should be longing for (righteousness) and what its promised result is (satisfaction).  If you are looking for freedom from guilt-look to the cross. If you are looking for peace and hope for the future-look to the empty tomb. If you are looking for satisfaction- look to your attainable righteousness because of the cross and because of the tomb.

Quick Side Note: Matthew 5:6 is a super easy verse to learn! Take 47 seconds today to commit it to memory 🙂 (Psalm 119:11)

A Short Weather Thought!

I don’t know if it’s pouring where you are at, but here in Lancaster it is raining cats and dogs!

Which makes me think…

Every aspect of creation should cause us to rejoice in and praise our creative God! So whether you experience a peaceful sunsets or a stormy gale, know that the same God that crafts the weather is intentionally crafting YOUR life and future! He creates and allows both the bright spring evenings and the dark winter mornings. See him in every circumstance. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight”! Prov. 3:5-6

Summer and Winter

He who complains of the weather, complains of the God who ordained the weather!

-William Law