Saturday, May 1, 2010

4 Years Went Flying on By....

Well today I graduated from undergrad with a Bachelors Degree in Unified Elementary Education. That is pretty crazy to me. Something else that is crazy is how fast these past 4 years have flown by. When I think back to high school graduation and the thought of the new adventure of college, I figured that college would be different and would not seem to go by as fast as the rest of my life had. Here is a picture of me and some friends on my first night in Gainesville 4 years ago and then one from today. So much has changed. And it blows my mind to look back and see God's hand at work through it all. His plan is so big.

Well four years later, I sit here, a college grad, with one year of graduate school ahead, looking back at all of the, what used to be "unknowns" in awe of God's sovereignty and how much better and bigger His plan for my life is.

If four years ago you would have asked me what my life would look like today, I would have gotten the answer completely wrong. Obviously. Four years ago I resisted the plan the Lord had for me and continued to try to maintain control of my own life. I am a control freak and need control. Well finally the Lord made it so I could not resist, grabbed my heart, and showed me that there was no reason to fear with Him in control. Tired of failure and disappointment, I surrendered my life to the Lord. Everyday is a battle however. You see, control is like an addition. Just like a drug or alcohol addiction. To quit cold turkey seems impossible. So everyday I wake up and have to remind myself that my God is big, sovereign, loving, and has a perfect will and plan for my life and if I just live in light of that, than I have nothing to fear. I am just so thankful for the Lord's grace and love. In spite of all of the baggage, garbage, sin, and filth that I live in on a daily basis, He constantly lavishes His love on me, reminding me that I am His daughter and that He is going to take care of me. I am so thankful for the security. For that fulfillment. For that purpose.

Here is a picture of my graduation cap that I decorated!

Psalm 13:5-6 says "But I trust in Your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in Your salvation. I will sing to the Lord for He has been good to me."

I feel that no verse could better articulate my feelings about the last 4 years. In these last 4 years I have come to understand (and am still trying to understand) all that the Lord's salvation promises. In the last 4 years, I have come to learn (and am still learning) to simply trust in HIS unfailing love, rather than my own continuously failing self. In the last 4 years and today and forever I will sing to the Lord for He has been and I know He will continue to be good to me.

Thank you Lord for showing me the way. Without You I am nothing. You are the what, why, and how I am where I am today. All the Glory be to God.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What a Whirlwind!

Where do I even begin! Since the last time that I wrote I have seen the Lord work in some amazing ways and I am so excited to share!

Lets start with the middle of last week...
For the past few months I have been in the midst of helping plan Crusade's annual spring formal. It has been a crazy and hectic few months but all of our team's hard work came to its culmination on Friday night! I posted some pictures of the room and of some friends! The venue turned out to be beautiful, the music was incredible, there were yummy desserts, and I think that everyone really did have a great time. Its really neat to see the gifts the Lord has blessed me with be put to use!

So as Friday came to a close I was relieved but still had a lot on my mind. As I spoke about in my last post, I have been blessed with the amazing opportunity to go to Paris this summer. Last summer I had a similar opportunity a little closer to home, in Miami. I had to raise 3000 dollars to live in Miami last summer and the support raising process was a breeze for me. I think that the Lord knew that I would have looked for any excuse not to go so He just provided quickly so that I would not get discouraged. This time, things have been a different story.

Raising support for Paris has been one of the most challenging seasons of my life. I have never gone through such a roller coaster of decision making. Let me clarify. I am a control freak. I want to know what is going on and have decisions made early so that I am crystal clear on all of MY plans. That is the problem, I am selfish and everything is according to my agenda rather than trusting God for His (which is obviously better) I have been trying to raise support this whole time by myself. Instead of relying on the Lord and asking Him to provide I have been relying on myself to come up with ideas and names of people I could ask and ways to raise the funds. About 2 weeks ago, I came to terms with the fact that there was nothing I could do. With 4 weeks left and $4200 I thought that a literal miracle would need to happen in order for me to be able to go to Paris. I was out of ideas and I had no idea where that money was going to come from. In MY eyes it seemed that over $1000 a week for 4 weeks was impossible. (Notice the theme in all of the preceding sentences, they are focused on me). Well God laughs when we limit Him, and boy did He laugh at me. I came to a point 2 weeks ago when I realized I had to completely surrender control of my summer and Paris to the Lord and just start trusting that if He wanted me there He would get me there and make it clear how to get there. Well, He has made it very clear. In the last 72 hours I have just been astonished in how sovereign our God is and how much He is capable of when we just trust Him.

To make a long story short, in the last 72 hours I have seen $1800 been raised. $1800 that is literally insane!!! 7 days ago I said these exact words "the only way this money will come in is if it drops straight from Jesus." WELL IT HAS! I have seen money come from crazy places and from some pretty amazing people. I am so blessed to have some incredible and Godly people in my life who believe in what the Lord has for me this summer and believe that the Lord is going to do big things in Paris. PRAISE GOD! I am still a ways away from my goal but I know that the Lord is going to provide, the last 72 hours have been evidence of that. I am so thankful to the Lord for the time of trial and stress. I know that He is using this entire experience to prepare me for this summer and all that we will face. James 1:2-6 says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." Thank you Lord for your BIG plan and all that you are teaching me.

This journey just keeps getting crazier! I am excited to continue to see the Lord's huge plan unfold right in front of me!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Starting from Scratch

Hello! And welcome to my new blog!

So the Lord has blessed me so abundantly in every area of my life and I am sometimes so blind and selfish to it all. Sharing with others all that the Lord is doing and teaching me is always the best way to realize how truly blessed I am. Therefore, a blog seems to be the most beneficial way to process through all that I am learning as well as give glory to God and all that HE is doing! So here are my small attempts at giving the Glory to the one who deserves it most!

To bring you up to date on what has been going on in my life this past semester...

I am currently an intern in a first grade classroom at a local title one elementary school in Gainesville. In case you were wondering, Title One means that a certain percentage of the school population qualifies for free/reduced lunch. Basically meaning that it is a low income school. 98% of my school qualifies for free/reduced lunch and 95% of the students are African American. Many of you may wonder how on earth this white girl could possibly fit in this setting. But I am confident, God has me right where He wants me.

The Lord has totally broken my heart for this specific population of students and He so amazingly ordained my internship in this low-income school. God has blessed me with a heart and patience for these students and I want to live a life worthy of His calling. I want to show these children the Love of Christ and I know that this is the arena that my current ministry and ministry of the future is going to take place. Here are a few shots of my class. I absolutely adore them. They infuriate me and crack me up all at the same time! With my last week with them quickly approaching, I am absolutely going to miss them everyday.

Looking at another calling the Lord has put on my heart...This summer I will be going on a summer project to Paris, France with Campus Crusade for Christ. I, along with 25 other college students will be going to Paris for 6 weeks to share the Love of Christ with the people of Paris. Just to give you a little background...

Paris, the city of Light, is a city in total darkness. There are over 600,000 college students in the city and LESS THAN 1/2 of A PERCENT claim to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Less than 1/2 a percent? Paris is begging for the Gospel and I am privileged enough to be burdened for the city and to go and share it with them. It has been a scary process thus far, working out grad school details, raising support ($5,500), and just trusting the Lord. I have never felt more vulnerable in my entire life but I love it.

I feel that the Lord has me in a place where He is just trying to refine me. I have recently been forced to face a lot of my sin and I hate it and love it all at the same time. Everyday is a new day and everyday the Lord is revealing more and teaching more to me. My most recent discovery (thanks to the Lord) is realizing that I out so much more trust in faith in myself rather than Him. I try to get through everyday on my own, and everyday I ultimately fail. I need Jesus and I am learning how much more each and every day. I have been reading in Genesis about Sarah and Abraham. It has literally blown my mind everyday all of the faith that Abraham has. And as a result of his faith, comes obedience. I want that. I want to be truly confident and allow the Lord to be in control. I want to stop trying to do it myself. I want to be wholly surrendered. That is my prayer. That I would lay down my life and make it Yours.

This life is crazy, but Praise the Lord, its not my home. My citizenship is in Heaven and I live for the day that I will get to meet the Man who saved my life.

I hope you will continue to follow me as I follow Jesus :)