Friday, July 18, 2008

Those carefree days....

Innocent Days by: Jonny Diaz
Why do I question what’s taking place
Whatever happened to innocent days
Days when I gladly walked by Your side
After the guilt but way before my pride

Why do I hide in places so small
Crowded with questions, no room at all
For all the big things You once had planned
My faith disappeared when I let go Your hand

Innocent faith/ innocent way/ an innocent heart/ filled with innocent praise

Unfailing love/ undeserved grace/
Please take me back to innocent days

Is Your forgiveness so deep and wide
That it would place me back at Your side
Why should You want me, why should You care
I don’t understand this love that You share

Lord, free my heart to feel, to touch, to see, to taste
Cover me with the robe, the garment of innocent praise

Do you remember those days when life was easy?? I'm so taken back by little children. I love watching my cousin Simon. This kid is so full of adventure and wonder. Anything he wants he can imagine it to be there. When it comes to trust he doesn't think twice about it. Simon knows that when he crosses the street he has to hold someones hand, so without thinking twice he grabs someones hand. He doesn't think about the fact that there could still be cars coming, he knows that once he grabs someones hand they are looking out for him. Why does he know this? Because he trusts them. When Simon is scared he runs to someone for comfort, knowing that they will protect him. Why does he run to them for protection? Because he trusts them.

I wish I was more like Simon. I wish that I could always run to God and not think twice. I wish that trusting God was easier than it is. Why do I second guess myself sometimes? I have no idea. I have never turned away from God, I just know how easy it is to want to pull the reigns back every now and then.

I want to go back to those days when I didn't second guess things. The days where I knew God always had the best plan for me. The days where my mind was full of wonder and adventure. I want to be more like Simon. Have the faith of a child.

"Please take me back to innocent days"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Broken hearts and a bigger story

When love is lost, do not bow your head in sadness; instead keep your head up high and gaze into heaven for that is where your broken heart has been sent to heal. ~Author Unknown

It amazes me that today in America relationships don't seem to mean anything to anyone anymore. Or at least after a relationship ends it's like they never even existed. How can that be? How can talk about a promising future and then move on so quickly? How can someone pretend that what they had with someone never existed? How can someone think that their flirting manners wouldn't be hurtful when they are slapped into someone's face? Why of all places would someone choose a church to break someone's heart all over again, even if they didn't know they were breaking it?

Heart break really is worse than it sounds. It's a one of those you can't breathe, you chest feels like someone is stabbing you type feelings. It's not very pleasant, but none the less you get over it. Obviously some easier than others. But as I sat last night with the feeling of heart break (again), I let God speak to me. Easy to do since I was in church, but he spoke to me in the ways of stories, probably because that's what the lesson was about. But the Professor in the video made a good point. He said we all suffer from Myopia (which in english in near-sightedness), meaning we very easily see our personally stories up close, but we over look God's bigger story. We can't truly be a part of God's bigger story unless we use our stories to be a stepping stone for others. We have to quit trying to do things our way and give into God's bigger plan.

So last night when I wanted to be sad and crushed I didn't let myself get that way, I looked to God. I didn't want to be sad, because it gets me nowhere. I didn't want to sit and dwell on the hurt, because it gets me nowhere. I wanted to think about God and not only my story, but his bigger story for me. My story was not written by me nor is it really about me. It was written by God with the help of all those (good and bad) who have come into my life over the years.

I have a dream on changing the world, one person at a time. My story can help do that. My broken heart can help others in the future. My experiences could possibly save someone from going through what I have been through. I didn't let this broken heart moment get me down. God picked me up fast and put my smile back on my face. No person in this world can bring me down enough that God can't save me. And that adds another chapter to my story and a page closer to God's bigger plan for me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The best is yet to come.....

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a
terminal illness and had been given three months to live.
So as she was getting her things 'in order,' she
contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to
discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service,
what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she
wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to
leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something
very important to her.

'There's one more thing,' she said excitedly.

'What's that?' came the Pastor's reply.

'This is very important,' the young woman
continued. 'I want to be buried with a fork in my right

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing
quite what to say.

That surprises you, doesn't it?' the young woman

'Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the
request,' said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. 'My grandmother once told
me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to
pass along its message to those I love and those who are in
need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials
and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the
main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably
lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my
favorite part because I knew that something better was velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple
pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!'

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket
with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder
'What's with the fork?' Then I want you to tell
them: 'Keep your fork ..the best is yet to come.'

The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears
of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew
this would be one of the last times he would see her before
her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a
better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp
of what heaven would be like than many people twice her
age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW
that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young
woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing
and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the
Pastor heard the question, 'What's with the
fork?' And over and over he smiled.

During his message, the Pastor told the people of
the conversation he had with the young woman shortly
before she died. He also told them about the fork and about
what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could
not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they
probably would not be able to stop thinking about it

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your
fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is
yet to come. Friends are a very rare jewel , indeed. They
make you smile and encourage you to succeed Cherish the
time you have, and the memories you share ... being friends
with someone is not an opportunity but a sweet

I got this in an e-mail from my mother today and I just loved it. To think life really is going to get better than it is right now.

I was having a conversation with a friend last night and I don't really remember what sparked the conversation, but I made the statement "Maybe I'll just die young and not have to worry about it." (Now that I type it I think we were talking about children). When I read this I thought. What if I do die young? Will I be sad because I didn't get to experience a long life? Will I be upset because all my friends will be around for many more years? Will I be upset because I didn't know what kind of adventures tomorrow would bring?

No, I wouldn't be, because Heaven is yet to come. And let's face it, nothing could out beat Heaven. I'm not afraid to die, honestly I look forward to it. If it happens when I'm young then so be it.

I love having conversations with my grandfather, he's full of insight and humor. He had a stroke almost 7 years ago which after that has sent his health in a downward spiral. Up until 7years ago, my grandfather was the healthiest man I know. Never had a single problem, always healthy and in very good shape. Now it just seems like everything has gone wrong with him. He told me one time "Every morning I wake up I say, If I'm not going to be healthy then God please take me. I'm not happy hear anymore." When I hear him say this I'm usually sad because I don't want to think about losing my grandfather but then he always says, "I want to leave because Heaven is so promising. I won't hurt anymore, I won't be sick anymore, no more doctors, no more medication, no more tests. Just happiness, love and God."

I love his outlook. Earth is such a temporary residence because our citizenship is somewhere else. It's in a place where the best is to come. If I was to die today, I think being buried with a fork would be cool, think of the symbolism. Our best life and days are yet to come.

"I want to fly
into the sky
turn my back on this old world
and leave it all behind
this place is not my home
has nothing for me
only leaves me with emptiness
and tears in my eyes"

Monday, July 14, 2008

We once were the same...

Reaching Out
by: Brandon Heath

What if you and I went for a walk out in the rain
And you turned to me and you said you'd like to share
Just a little of your pain
Well my brother I thought you'd never say
I've been waiting forever for this day

What if you were to call me up and ask
For a minute of my time
And you cried and said you were different from the rest
Like it was some kind of crime
Well my sister I hoped that you might come
And I promise that you are not the only one

Look me in the eye and tell me honestly
What ever lies behind your broken heart
Is too complex for me
Come and talk to me if for only for a while
I am reaching for you

What if you were to tell me you were through
With the way that you live
Cause you take so much from an empty world outside
You've got nothing left to give
Well my brother I've felt the same way too
But someone changed me and He's got his eye on you

What if you remembered who you were
Before people broke you down
And you realized you were someones little girl
And he loves when you're around
We'll my sister, your dad has seen you hurt
And He's waiting for you with open arms

Nothing hurts Him more than seeing you in pain
Just to see you come so close to Him
And turn and walk away
Hide yourself in Him, He will make you brand new
He is reaching out for you
Your God is reaching out for you
He's reaching out for you

In church yesterday the man preaching talked about how we were once condemned, sinners, and unclean. We often times get the holier than though attitude when new people arrive at church and yet we wonder why no one comes back. It's because the church doesn't embrace them. We were once in their shoes. Strangers to the grace, love, and forgiveness that God has for us.

The church is in a rut. Let me re-phase that....the churches are in a rut. I think if Jesus was to come back today he would be very disappointed. He called for one church and one body, we don't have that. We have denominations who at times find it so hard to work with each other. We all worship the same man. Things won't change until one day a Methodist pastor could say, Why don't we try things a Baptist way. No denomination is better than the other. We look at our success based on the money and possessions we have, not the lives we touch and impact, not the lost souls that we bring to Christ.

I look at people from my past and I see countless possibilities, if they would only know what it's like to be free. I pray that my actions leave some kind of mark on them. I want to reach out to them. I want to embrace them. I was them once. How can the church grow if we only reach inside the church? We should be uncomfortable in our walk with Christ. It shouldn't be easy. It should be worth it. I don't like being dry and comfortable. I want to impact the world, one person at a time.

I'm reaching out to the hurt and those in pain. Why? Because I was them once. I want to reach out to the broken-hearted, the mentally and emotionally abused. Why? Because I was them once. I want to reach out to the lost. Why? Because I was them once.

God rescued me in one of my weakest moments, he brought me back from a hurting and troubling lifestyle. He reached out for me. I am the hands and the feet of God, I want to reach out.
" But if we are the Body
Why aren't His arms reaching
Why aren't His hands healing
Why aren't His words teaching
And if we are the Body
Why aren't His feet going
Why is His love not showing them there is a way
There is a way "

WHY? WHY? Why aren't our feet moving? Why aren't we showing them there is a better way out there? All they want is a new light and a new life. We have found that new light and new life. Why aren't we coming together to better the kingdom of God? Why not start today.

One random act of kindness can go a long way. Your smile (even on a bad day) could give someone hope. A simple hello could make someone feel like they have a purpose. Taking the time to talk to someone, could save them from making a big mistake. We can reach out.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Long over-due's been quite some time since I have put anything on I figured I would do so now.

I miss Maytown so much (I believe that goes without saying). It's amazing how one week in a little boondock town can change your life and your hear so much. I miss the people there, not only the ones who worked/interned for Crossroads but for those who live in Maytown. I miss the kids and the energy they. I miss the Shepherds and their hospitality and how friendly they were. I miss how cool the interns were (even though I'm sure they are still cool). I miss the Georgians and surprisingly I miss their accents too. I miss hearing Jake say "Git -r-done" all day long (even though we know how much I hated it). I miss how simple life was for a week. The place we stayed was nothing fancy. We had 4 showers but way more than 4 girls. I miss working as a team to cook meals for everyone. I miss pick up games of ultimate frisbee and thinking that I was better than Jody and Chris. I miss going to bed at 1am to get up at 6:30am. I miss knowing that there was only one purpose for the day was to serve God by helping others. It's hard to forget that here at Olivet when everyone around me isn't on the same page.

I just returned from a 4 day camping trip with my family. My mother, father, brother, grandma, grandpa, aunt janet, uncle bruce, aaron, braydon, camron, simon, aunt joni, uncle chip and brittany. It was a blast. I left Olivet on Thursday with Luke Mingus and drove him to Marion to catch a ride with his brother and then ventured back to Mississiniwa to meet up with my family. Thursday night by cousin Camron (who will soon be 6) asked me to sleep in the tent with him and the other boys (my cousins...don't anyone get to frantic..ha). I of course said yes....that is what camping is all about and to tell you the truth I had some great sleep the whole time. Friday was the 4th of July and we celebrated our freedom. My favorite freedom is the freedom I have to serve God. What a privilege we have. We went to watch fireworks that night and I don't think you really ever get too old for them....they are such fun. Saturday we went to the beach and I fell asleep and spent roughly 3 hours in the sun. Needless to say I was sick the rest of the day and I now look like a tomato. :) That night we had a pitch in dinner for the whole family and as we all sat gathered round so that my uncle could pray I looked at everyone and realized how truly blessed I am. I really have it good.

At the age of 20 I still have all 4 grandparents still alive. I have a mother who is the closest thing to my best friend that I have had in years. I have a dad who use to be my worst enemy who I know use as the model for my future husband. I have cousins who no matter how old they get...I will always be a role model for them, and knowing that makes me want to do everything correctly, respectfully and mostly for God. I have an uncle and aunt who are such Godly influences that it's unbelievable and another aunt and uncle who are my #1 fans. God has blessed me so much through my family. They drive me nuts...push my buttons...make me mad...irritate me.....but none the less they know how to make me smile....they warm my heart...know me better than I know myself most of the time....and they love me unconditionally.

This morning I fixed my breakfast plate with my moms homemade chocolate chip pancakes with of course peanut butter and syrup on top and made my way into my grandparents camper to eat breakfast with grandma. It was so much fun to sit and talk to her. I think my grandmother is a saint. My grandpa had a stroke almost 6years ago and hasn't been right health wise since then. He is stubborn and my grandmother puts up with it. She shows genuine true love. Many times I know she wants to give up and make him do it on his own....but she doesn't because she took a vow to stand by his side til death do them part. She is such an inspiration for the woman I want to be someday. Between her and my mother.....I hope to be half as awesome as they are.

I left after lunch and came back to Olivet and I'm ready to leave here again. I look forward to a break from here and never look forward to coming back. I don't know what it is about this place..but most days I don't feel like I'm home. I love my friends here. I love my co-workers. I love the area. I just don't understand. I want to feel something more.

"there's not much I can do
to repay all you've done
so I give my hands to use

this is my desire
this is my return
this is my desire
to be used by you"