Sunday, November 6, 2011

Allowing God to Take Control

Wow, I really can't believe I let a whole month go by without blogging once. October was a ridiculously busy month, and so much seemed to happen. First off, after many applications, phone calls and interviews, I was finally offered a job. I am now in the training process to become an official Starbucks barista! Commuting to NKU at least 5 times a week is not cheap, so it was definitely an answered prayer to get this job to help afford things like keeping my gas tank full. I also helped lead a youth worship night at First Church of Christ, began rehearsing with Union Baptist's choir to be in the Christmas musical, and I performed in my first NKU college choir concerts. Midterms went extremely well, and I am content with my grades I currently have in all of my classes.

Although I love all of the things I am doing, I often get extremely overwhelmed and stressed out. School, church, and work are very time consuming, and I often wonder if I will be able to handle everything. I have to remind myself daily, that even though times can get tough, "I can do all things, through Christ who gives me strength" (Philippians 4:13). Besides these three things, there is another thing I spend entirely too much time worrying about. Dating.
I have never had a serious boyfriend, and it is crazy how often people question me about this topic. Literally, at least once a week someone will ask me why I'm never in a relationship. People have even asked me if it's because I am against the idea completely. My answer is, of course not! But, I do have strong dating standards and morals that are very important to me, and I am not going to change them. I need someone who will help me to grow in my faith. Someone who I can grow closer to God with. One of my favorite quotes says, "A woman's heart should be so lost in God, that a man needs to seek Him in order to find her." And although I may think I should be with someone, it might just not be the right timing, or God may have something completely different planned for me.
I would love nothing more than to one day get married, adopt a child, and further God's Kingdom through singing/playing music for Him, going on mission trips, and serving through the community. But, I have to remind myself that God has a plan, and things will happen in His timing. It isn't something I need to worry about. Even though it is something I may think about daily, I have to simple pray about it, and know that God is in control.

I, along with other single young adults, must be reminded to view singleness as a gift from God. We should be using the time we have as single young men and women to grow in Christ. We have to remind ourselves daily to not misuse our time being single by wishing it away, or focusing on what what we think we need. We should be spending our time wisely by sharing The Gospel, and serving/loving others.

Songs: Lead Me-Sanctus Real; Letting Go-Francesca Battistelli 

Verses: Jeremiah 29:11; Corinthians 13:4-7

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Motions

For some reason, as the weather outside graudually gets cooler, my bed seems to become more and more comfortable. It is a difficult task to force myself out of my warm blankets to face each day. Typically, I hit the snooze button so many times that it eventually shuts itself off.

Each morning has the same routine. For me personally, I wake up, get dressed, do my hair and make up, brush my teeth, grab my coffee and leave for either class or church. Everyday. Sure I may not wake up at the same time every single morning, but once I'm awake, the same process is generally repeated.

I think this is how most people are. People get so caught up in their everyday lives, that they shift into auto-pilot mode. We start our days the same way. We do things such as going to school/work, running errands, coming home to do homework/studying, etc. Then, we go to bed and repeat. Some people spend entirely too much time working or doing schoolwork. While they are just trying to impress their boss or ace assignments, they also unfortunately lose precious time they could be using to spend time with their loved ones.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that these things are important. It is necessary to work in order to support a family. Getting an education is valuable too, but is that really what life is all about? Is living about waking up and going through the same motions day by day?

This morning, I got stuck in traffic on my commute to school. I was sitting on the freeway, when I suddenly noticed the sunrise directly in front of me. I took in the sites surrounding my car. The sky was gorgeous; pink and purple. The sun began to shine and the light burst through the leaves of the trees. These are the little things I never take time to give much attention to. These are the beautiful gifts that God gives to us as a reminder. A reminder of how great and wonderful He is. A reminder that we should be living our lives for Him. 

We must turn off auto-pilot mode and switch back over to manual. On a daily basis, we must spend time with our Heavenly Father. We must pray and give him thanks, even for the little things we often ignore. We need to set time aside everyday, to spend with Him. We must worship Him from the bottom of our hearts, and use our gifts to bring Him the honor and glory. Going through the motions is simply not enough, and we must come to realize that, and make a vital change in our daily lives.

Songs:  Matthew West-The Motions; 4 Him-The Basics of Life

Verses: Matthew 6:33; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Beni swa Letènel

About two months ago, I took a journey to Haiti. I think about this trip almost everyday. I could easily write a novel about everything I experienced and the dozens of ways I was blessed throughout my week there. However, I have lots of studying/homework/practicing I need to be doing... so, I'll try to keep it 'brief' and post more later!

As I stepped off of the airplane and began walking through the Port-au-Prince airport, I knew I was in a place unlike any I had been to before. Immediately, I was thrown into a huge sea of people, most of them speaking Creole. There was no order in the airport, whatsoever. No luggage spinning around, and no one calling out which bags came from which flight. In other words, absolutely NO organization. The place was considerably dark and easily over one-hundred degrees. There was no electricity. Everyone yelled, pushed and shoved. It was all extremely foreign to me, and set the mood for the rest of my week. The week that changed my life, forever.

When I signed up to be a part of this mission trip, I had no idea what to expect. Having just graduated high school only a few months prior, I had never had an opportunity to go out of the country. However, I felt God calling me to go on the trip, and I assumed I would have an unforgettable experience. Well, let me tell you something. You can watch a million and one documentaries, and hear stories from other people who have been involved with missions in other countries, but it will never truly hit home until you witness it for yourself, in person. Throughout my week in Haiti, I was privileged enough to meet some of the most gracious and humble people I have ever met. I had travelled to help people in need, however, many of the people I encountered, both Haitians as well as my incredible team members, gave me more than they will ever know.

One afternoon when I was riding to a church to lead a Vacation Bible School with some of my fellow team members, I looked out of the tap tap (painted bus/truck that serves as a share taxi in Haiti) and took in the sites that surrounded me. The streets were crowded with hundreds of thousands of people, as well as animals (goats, pigs, chickens, dogs...). Garbage lined the bumpy roads for miles. There was plenty of rubble and half crumbled buildings that were destroyed by the terrible earthquake that hit in early 2010. The air smelled of trash and other odors, all unpleasant. Tent cities seemed to be located all over, along with street shops and small marketplaces. It was an environment unlike any I had ever experienced, but for the most part, I enjoyed being outside of my comfort zone.

I went to a Revival service one evening where Pastor Kevin gave the message. When he was done, I really felt God pulling on my heart. I am not one to volunteer to pray out loud, ever. However, I felt called to say a prayer over the precious people that were worshipping in the church. God gave me the words to speak, and they just flowed out. I had an interpreter translating my prayer into Creole, and the congregation seemed to respond to it very well. I was thanked by the pastor of the church, who also thanked me on behalf of the children I had worked with earlier that day at Vacation Bible School. He informed me that they had asked about me, wondering if I was coming back to hang out with them. It was difficult saying I was unable to do so, but it felt incredible to know I had impacted lives, because that's exactly what I had come to do.

After the earthquake, many jobs were lost. Many lives were lost, too. Money and food is scarce. Malaria is spread through the mosquitos and Cholera is spread through water. Haitians do not have much, yet they strive to make do with what they have. Compared to us Americans, they are very unfortunate, and somehow they are still praising and thanking God for all he has given to them. After going to Haiti, I feel much more informed of what the country is going through. I was able to see their suffering in person and understand a little more about their culture. Our team was able to lead 126 men, women, and children to Christ over the week. We saw 194 others make other decisions/rededications. There were approximately 2,657 in attendance throughout the week. 

Haiti changed my life. From the daily morning devotions, to Vacation Bible Schools, to Revivals, to playing songs and having heart to hearts with one of my special team members... The list goes on and on. I have definitely learned to not take things for granted. Even things that seem so small, like getting a glass of water. Americans can just walk to the fridge/sink and make a glass without even considering the fact that there are plenty of people around the world who don't have that resource available to them. We are beautifully blessed and should be reminded of that on a daily basis. We should remember to continually thank our Heavenly Father for blessing us in countless ways.

Songs: Jenny & Tyler - Love Through Me; Sanctus Real - Legacy

Verses: Acts 6:4; 1 Chronicles 16:23–24


Pastor CJ's daughter, Eunice

The Mission Team

Children at the Orphanage
(Christian Light Ministries)

Garbage filling the streets