Saturday, May 7, 2011

More to life than this..

So, here I am: on the verge of finals week. So much to do, so little time to do it all. Well, do it all successfully, that is. Four finals this week, and one take home test due Wednesday. Genetics, cellular biology, abnormal psychology, and statistics. Ugh, enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and suck my thumb.

But the more I think about it…

…there is more to life than school.

There is more to life than grades, or tests, or homework.

There will always be times when I look back and I ask myself if I really spent enough time studying for the big test, or put enough effort into my homework, or whether or not I should’ve proofread some paper for the fiftieth time. And most likely I’ll regret not doing so. But there is something else that I’ll regret more than not studying enough.

And that, my friends, is regretting not spending enough time with God. Unless you’re a senior in college, there will always be another test, or there will always be another paper that you can redeem yourself with. But there will never be a chance to get back the time you could’ve spent in God’s presence.

And I am just as guilty if not more guilty than all of you on this issue! So often I find myself caring about my test scores than I do about Scripture. So often I find myself thinking about the next upcoming homework assignment while in Chi Alpha. So often I find myself writing down notes for a paper I have to write instead of writing down notes from a sermon.


Why do we constantly put things in God’s rightful place when we are created as humans to have a relationship with God first? Not after homework is done, not after a test is taken, not after a 50 page thesis paper is written.

Put. God. First.

That’s been laid on my heart especially these last two weeks of school. God time first, then study. Because he will reward you for spending time with him first, and for making him your number one priority. He will give you back the time you spent with him, as well as a blessing over your life.

Along with learning to spend time with God before anything else, a bunch of questions has popped into my mind now that the school year is almost over. I’ve just been convicted lately to ask myself a couple of questions, and to look at myself honestly.

Questions like: “Did I waste this year? Did I waste the time given to me in Seim Hall? Did I take advantage of the opportunities that were given to me, or did I take advantage of the fact that there is always tomorrow to do Your will? Did I make you visible in my life, or did I shove you to the side in order to save my reputation? Did I live for you this year or not? How does my life reflect you? What can I change in my life in order to make you more prominent in my life? What can I do to show your love more? And what can I do in order to get more of you? How can I get more of you?”

In some ways, I almost felt like a failure this year since a couple of goals that I had set at the beginning of the year did not get fulfilled. But then God told me no. He told me that I didn’t waste this year. He told me that this year was a growing year for me, a year for development and letting my roots in Him grow deeper. He also laid 1Timothy 4:12-16 on my heart.

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching. Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” – 1 Timothy 4:12-16

Ok, so maybe I did not fulfill every goal that I set for this year. But that doesn’t mean that I failed. And if some of your goals aren’t coming along as fast as you’d want them to, or they seem impossible, keep preserving. Keep seeking after God, and going to him for your wisdom, sustainment, satisfaction, completion, and contentment. He’s got a plan for everything that he does.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Solidly Planted

Lately I was reading in Jeremiah 17, verses 7 and 8. It paints a picture of a tree that is planted by a steady stream of water. And even though times of drought came, and even when the heat comes, the tree does not fear because its roots are firmly embedded in the stream. I was thinking when I read this, “Wow, I want my life to be like that tree. That even though hard times come, even through times of drought when God feels like he’s a million miles away, even when the heat comes and my faith is tested, I don’t want to be fearful. Instead, I want my roots in Christ to be firmly planted in the stream of life. I want my leaves to always be green; I always want to be producing good fruit.”

So many times, I forget to go to God right away when trials come, or when a time of testing occurs. So many times I forget that God can handle anything that life throws at me. But how much more do I want my life to be like that tree!

The beautiful part of life is that we never really arrive until we’re in heaven. There is always room for improvement, always room to keep becoming more and more like Jesus on a daily basis. I think that’s the coolest thing ever, because I can always go deeper with God, I can always grow closer to God. There will never be a point in my life where I will cease to want more of God. He’s like a drug; I want more of him every day!

The cool thing about this metaphor is the stream. See, the stream never fails the tree. The stream is constant and dependable, always there to replenish, refresh, and renew. It always provides nutrients that are necessary to keep the tree alive.

In the same way, our Heavenly Father is like that stream. He is constant and dependable, faithful and never failing. He never runs dry, nor does he ever take a break from taking care of us. He is always there to provide nutrients to keep our spiritual life alive. He is always there to renew, replenish, and refresh our spirits. Never does he fail to restore us after a hard week, or after a time of trial. He keeps us alive, spiritually and emotionally as well as physically. If we stay tapped into the stream of life, he will never let us grow thirsty. Like it says in John 4:13, 14, he is our living water and we will never thirst again if we have him.

It says that we are blessed if we trust in him, and have confidence in the Lord. How much trust that tree must have in the stream to provide for it. In the same way, we need to depend on God and trust him to provide for our every need. God is big enough to take care of everything that we could ever need or want in life. But it takes a spirit of faith for the impossible to occur.

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” – Jeremiah 17:7, 8

Friday, April 8, 2011

Precious in His sight

So, I have spent the last 14 hours studying for cellular biology. Yep, all about chromosomes, mitosis, meiosis, cell cycles, transcription and translation as well as cancer. A lot to memorize. Regardless, it’s amazing how our bodies were created and designed. All of those intricate little details that all work together perfectly to create a fully functional human being? Amazing. It’s fun to see how God created us in his own image, which meant creating all those little elaborate details strictly for the purpose of making life possible for us. I know, I’m rambling.. But think about it! The Creator of the universe designed you and me different, specifically and individually, all the while making some things the same so doctors can help us when our bodies do occasionally malfunction. It blows my mind away!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about self image. Sometimes, we as humans look at ourselves and only see mistakes and worthlessness. We sometimes only seek junk when God created us for so much more. It breaks my heart when people look at the amazing creation that he created and only see the things that we wish we could change about ourselves. I am just as guilty of this as the next person. I was especially convicted of this around 4 am when I took a break from studying to spend some quality time with my Heavenly Father. He put a couple words on my heart that I’d like to share with you right now:

“Keep trusting me, keep following my plan. I have told you countless times now that I never make mistakes, I never make junk. Every person was created to be exactly how they are for a specific purpose. You can’t see it just yet because I haven’t revealed it to you yet. I am not being mean or malicious, nor am I taunting you with this information. I am not withholding it from you strictly for the purpose of watching you squirm impatiently. But you are not ready to have it revealed to you just yet. But keep seeking me; keep seeking knowledge and wisdom from me. Be patient with my timing since I know exactly when you will be ready.

Keep being honest with expressing yourself before me. I want you to keep coming to me for everything. I want to celebrate your victories with you, weep with you in your sorrows, and hug you when you’re lonely, laugh with you when you’re filled with joy. I want to comfort you when you are troubled, protect you when you need saving, heal you when you need restoration, smile with you when you see the beauty that is all around you. I want to experience every emotion with you, walk you through your trials and deserts, hold your hand through the valleys, soar with you on the mountain tops, and whisper in your ear when you seek me in the Secret Place.

Be desperate for me, the same way I am desperate for you. Find your identity with me and in me and through me. You do that, and you will have your answers to why I made you the way I did… I am never going to turn you down. I am never going to stop loving you. I am never going to fail you. I am your God, and I will keep you and save you; I will rescue you time and time again.”

I can’t emphasize how much each of you is worth! You are precious in God’s sight. Don’t ever forget that! He knew you before you were even born, and he desires to know you more than anything! How comforting is that thought?!!

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” – Psalm 139:13, 14

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A little preview of me...

To be completely honest, I am not quite sure why I decided to start a blog. It all started today, when I was sitting in abnormal psychology feeling rather bored and wanting to do something spontaneous. So I started a blog. Wow, exciting. 

Just kidding.. you people must realize that I can be sarcastic sometimes.

Regardless of that fact, having a blog is about being honest, and I will do my best.

So, a little bit about me: I am currently a sophomore in college, but credit-wise, I’m a senior. I shall hopefully be graduating in three more semesters, but a lot can happen between then and now. I enjoy sketching a ton; it’s my main stress reliever. I love photography, but I haven’t had enough time to go take pictures around town. My major is psychology, but whatever God wants for my life is what I’ll do. Yes, as you might have expected from that last sentence, I am a Christian.

For me, Christianity isn’t a fancy title. It’s not my “get out of jail free card” or my ticket to a guiltless life. For me, being a Christian is a lifestyle. It’s a part of my day every single day. It consumes my time, takes over my mind, and it rules my life. All in a good way, of course.

Contrary to popular belief, being a Christian is never dull. It’s never been boring or tedious. Rather, it’s been an exciting journey following God’s plan, and it’s only gonna get better as time goes on. True, life has been tougher ever since I became a Christian (that’s a totally different story, and it involves Toronto, sandwiches, and a homeless guy named Richard). Anyways, back on track because I was going somewhere with that thought… Oh yeah, life has definitely been more of a challenge ever since I became a follower of Christ. But the beauty of that is I have learned to find the good in every situation, no matter how bleak. That’s why I decided to name my blog “Amazed by Grace.” In every situation, ever circumstance, every heartache or every moment of joy, God is so good, and he continues to bless me time and time again.

God is my everything, and I am so thankful he found me almost three years ago.

On a change of topic, it’s spring season, which means new life is blooming everywhere. The trees will soon be forming new leaves, green grass will start growing. There’s beauty all around us.

It’s also a new season of life for me. Next year I’ll be stepping up into more of a leadership role at Chi Alpha, and I’m excited to pour into other’s girls lives in such a way that I’ve been poured into. It’s a new season of growth and development in my spiritual walk, and I’m so excited to share my heart with a new group of girls.

It’s also a new season for a lot of other people. Some of the leaders at Chi Alpha are graduating, and a whole bunch of us will have to step in and fill those roles. New lives are starting together, since I’m pretty sure the number of engaged couples at Chi has reached twenty something. Insane. It’s an exciting time for so many people that sometimes it’s hard to keep the focus on God. Good thing that he gives us promises such as this one:

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all of your heart.” – Jeremiah 29:13

We need to remember to keep seeking after God’s heart, since he’s the only one we can go to for all of life’s struggles and needs as well as joyful and prosperous moments.