Friday, September 19, 2014

Musings on Adulthood

Well, it happened! I turned 18 and so now I am officially a "grown-up." With that magical change from 11:59pm to 12am, I now am thrust into a world either filled with independence and freedom to do as I choose, or one filled with endless work, no fun, and no crazy friendships. At least, this is what my perspective on adulthood has switched back and forth between for the last few years.

When you are a little child, adulthood can seem so far off, and can look like it is something so much better than what you have as a kid. As a senior in high school, adulthood can look terrifying, with crushing responsibilities and the fear of losing friendships.

Lately, however, God has shown me that adulthood isn't that different after all. I guess it does change in some ways (I can vote now, yay!), but overall, the purpose of my life is still the same: to know God better and to bring him glory. He is the one who brings adventure and purpose to my life, not my friends, my school, my work, or anything else.

Now, this doesn't mean I am not nervous. I totally am! My life is changing in many ways, as I am doing online school, working my job, and volunteering at church in old and new ways. My friendships are shifting, and I am starting to realize that I can't depend on having classes with people or doing youth group activities to carry my friendships. I will have to work at them, strive to seek people out, so that those connections can be maintained.

God is so good, truly. One of my deepest fears was losing the crazy goofiness some of my friends and I have. I thought that growing up meant I had to be serious, and not sing out Phantom of the Opera music at midnight wearing sunglasses any more. I thought that some of my favorite things, like playing charades impersonating inanimate objects or having singing competitions to see who could be louder would be no more. I know now that these sort of things are not simply limited to a certain period of life, but rather are connected to an attitude of knowing when to be silly and when to be serious. Hey, last night at our scone booth we had a funeral/releasing ceremony for our scone booth pet— a crane fly. (Ask me about this one sometime, and I guarantee you will think we were all insane :)

As I step into the future, I am excited to see what God does. Today I looked through all the photos we have from this past year, and I realized how full my life really is. I can't wait to get into all the opportunities I have this year, and to tell you about them as they happen. One is really very amazing in particular, and I hope to be posting about it very soon!

Anyway, I am so blessed to have another year to serve my Savior, and I look forward to the day when I can be with Him at last. As for this first year of adulthood— bring it on!

Friday, September 12, 2014

When God Says.... "Yes!"

Day by day I am in awe of the goodness and mercy of our God.
This was exemplified in a huge way through a situation our family just went through. 
Wednesday of last week, my family got a phone call to tell us that our aunt had experienced a heart attack or stroke, that she was unconscious, and was given a 10% chance for survival. By the end of the day, that chance had dropped to 5%. 

For us, it was a huge shock. She was only 10 years older than my mom. She was living a good life, but unfortunately, one without the joy of Christ. We all prayed for their family, but we never dreamed something like this would happen so soon. 

Thursday morning, as I was about to leave the house for work, I heard my mom talking on the phone with my grandma. From what I could gather from the conversation, my aunt had died. I left the house with a heavy heart, and throughout my work I cried out to God. I was hit hard with the fleetingness of life, the fact that someone could be gone in an instant, without another chance to turn from their sin and fall on God's grace. 45 minutes into my shift, I was rotated off and went to check my phone, when I noticed a missed call from my mom. I called her back, and she filled me in on the situation. 

My aunt was not yet gone, as I had thought. However, the doctors had proclaimed her brain-dead, and they were going to take her off of life support that day. My mom thought she was delivering bad news, but to me this was good. While there is life, there is hope. During the rest of my work shift and the rest of my day I prayed with everything within me. I went to battle for the life of my aunt. 

Falling before the presence of God Almighty, I begged him to let her have another chance, to give her the opportunity to reject her sin and turn to her Savior. I asked him to cover her with his protection, and to tell Satan, "You can't have this one." 

In these situations, sometimes God will answer "no." Sometimes he will ask us to wait, but this time he responded with a resounding, "Yes!" Less than a day later, my aunt had woken up. The same doctors who said she wouldn't survive now believed she would live. She is now off life support, can communicate verbally, and is able to eat soft foods. Every day she remembers more and more, and I am in awe of the grace of our God. He is so good, and he loves each and every one of us in ways far greater than we can imagine.

This whole situation has revealed to me not only God's grace, but also the urgency that we should all have when it comes to sharing his love with the world. Only God knows how many days each one of us will have. I realize now that while my unbelieving friend, family member, or coworker may seem to have plenty of time to repent and be saved, this may not be the case. God's call to go and make disciples of all nations is for today, not for some far off time in the future. Today, I ask you to join me today in two things:
First, please pray for my aunt, that she will be restored to full health, and that through this situation God would convict her and draw her to himself.
Second, would you truly look around yourself today? This world is full of sad, hurting people who desperately need the light of Christ. Be that light today. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

When God Says.... "Do It"

* I am starting a new series titled "When God Says..." so expect to see more posts with this theme in the future!

Hey everyone! I am so excited to get going in this new series. God has been speaking to me a lot lately, and I can't wait to share it with you.

If you haven't known me very long, you might not know that I have always had long hair. Seriously. Okay, I cut my hair when I was thirteen, but since then, I have had it very, very long. It has sort of become a defining characteristic with me. I learned to do many cool braids, and some of my friends started calling me Rapunzel after Tangled came out.

Exhibit A: Last fall -

Okay, so you get the picture. Now, here is where the problem came in. I started to really like my hair. Too much. I spent much time on it everyday (braiding takes a very long time), and was planning even on making a Rapunzel outfit for Halloween to complete "my look." For a while, I had considered donating my hair to Locks of Love, but I eventually decided against that because, honestly, I liked m hair.

Then God started speaking to me. He convicted me of my selfishness and my vanity and showed me that this was something he wanted me to do to serve him. He told me that I needed to trust him to handle the results (I was scared that I would hate a short haircut), that I needed to let go of my pride and desire for attention, and that I needed to give up my wants to help someone in need. Once he touched my heart with all of this, I knew that I had to go forward and cut my hair.

I know this is a small issue, but for me it was an instance of trusting God. I was on vacation when God convicted me, and my mom and I scheduled my appointment for the day we got home. As nervous as I was, I knew this was something that God had told me to do, and would be a blessing to someone else. If you are not familiar with Locks of Love, it is an organization that provides prosthetic hairpieces for children with permanent hair loss either free of charge, or on a sliding scale based on income and such. I would encourage you to check out their website.
Anyway, here is the before and after on my hair.

The amazing part is God's faithfulness. I was so nervous, but afterwards, I realize what a good decision this was. My hair now takes up so much less of my time and thoughts. Also, it serves as a reminder to me of what God has done and is doing in my life. 

So now I ask, what about you? What is that one thing in your life that God is asking you to give up to serve him better? He is good, and will work out the results even if you don't know what will happen. 
Praise the Lord.