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because life is full of twists and turns

Month: May 2010 (page 1 of 2)

Thoughts on God’s Goodness

The other day I was part of a chain message. One friend was sharing exciting news and began “God is SOOOOOOO GOOD”. Someone else replied, congratulating them on their news and said, “Yes, our God is good”. Deep sorrow immediately overtook me when I read those words. It’s in no way a judgment against these friends. Instead it was a recognition of my personal tendency to say these words lightly.

How often I have I used those words flippantly? “…So this great thing happened and, oh yeah, God is so good!”. Even the times I meant it, did I truly believe it no matter the cost? We are quick to praise God’s goodness when things work out as we wanted. In some ways it’s a Christian catch-phrase that’s just tacked onto the end of a conversation. Sort of a clincher to the conversation. Give a slight pause to add an air of reflection …. and then launch right into the next topic for discussion.
Flannery O’Connor (American author who died at the age of 39 from lupus) wrote, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” Am I just as willing to praise God’s goodness in hard situations? After all, “the truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it”.
My current situation in life does not allow me to freely use the words “God is so good.” The truth has not change despite my “ability to stomach it”. Yet using these words flippantly is not an option. Therefore I grit my teeth in determination and declare that despite how I feel or how it “seems to be” that my God is good.
He is good whether or not I receive a miraculous healing.
He is good whether or not I make it into a top grad school.
He is good whether or not I spend the rest of my life in poverty or in surplus.
He is good whether or not I receive the blessing of a husband and children.
He is good whether or not I live the rest of my life with incurable diseases.
The fact is, despite my ability to “stomach it” at any point in my life, God is still good.
“When it’s dark and it’s cold and I can’t feel my soul, You are so good,
When the world has gone gray and the rain’s here to stay, You are still good”
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On The Eve of Your Graduation from High School

To my beautiful, brilliant and darling baby sister.

Here we are! You just about to begin your first undergraduate year and I, my last. I am so proud of your life thus far. We both wished that this year would be spent together at college, but since things worked out differently, I decided to share with you my “wisdom” from three years of personal experience and three years of observing the lives of other undergraduates. May it be a blessing.

YOU sweet sister are a blessing. I’m so glad that God gave me a little sister (even through it’s true that I didn’t like you at first). I am so thrilled that I get to be friends with you for life!

(Many thanks to Marlena for the idea of turning this into a blog post!)

à Jealously guard how you spend your time to avoid wasting time and burnout, yet allow your schedule to be under God’s control. Your time can be sucked away by being wasted (facebook, etc) or even by “good” things (ministry opportunities). Make time for the Lord, for sincere reading of Scripture, for listening to God, for homework, for ministry, for friends, for fun. Balance these and evaluate if you are making good use of your time. Don’t always measure your use of time by productivity. Stopping a homework assignment to listen a distraught friend may indeed be the best use of your time at that moment.

à Become best friends with the library and the librarians. Doing homework in the library will keep you from getting distracted. Plus, the library is kind of esoteric. It’s nice to be “in”

à Find a mentor (older woman on campus/at church) and meet with her regularly (if you can’t find someone right away, ask around for suggestions). Be honest with them and have them hold you accountable

à Spend a little bit looking for a church and then just pick one! No church is going to be perfect, so stop looking for it. Once you pick a church commit to staying there during your time at school and GET INVOLVED! They can become your second family. Get involved with music and with the children

à Find families who you can be involved with. One of the greatest things I’ve been able to do is babysit for some young couples for free. It has been a huge blessing to them and it’s also good for singles to be involved with families. It broadens your perspective on life. As singles, we need to be investing in (and supporting) the marriages around us.

à When you meet someone who seems like they really know Jesus, ask if you can meet them for coffee and hear their testimony

à Choose thankfulness for the food (especially since you’ll be on a special meal plan due to allergies). It might not always be your favorite, but it is a gift from God and someone spent time making it for you.

à Don’t date for at least a year. Become friends (good friends) with guys, but keep it at that.

à Be careful that you don’t encourage girls who have crushes. Think of Song of Solomon where Shulammith (the bride) says to the girls around her “Do not stir up or awaken love until it so pleases”. Encourage the girls around you to make good choices and have level heads. Listen to them, but don’t encourage obsessing over guys.

à Get to know your professors. Go up and introduce yourself on the first day of class. Stay in contact with them. If they are super cool (i.e. super wise), ask if you can meet them for coffee or a meal.

à Avoid girl drama. Nip it in the bud if it starts among your friends. Don’t put up with catty actions and certainly don’t start them yourself. It DOES get hard to live with girls constantly, but that’s not an excuse for sin.

à Spend time alone and outside. Grab a blanket and your Bible and spend an hour in a field (if there are fields around you…obviously I’m from a rural campus!!)

à Get to know your RA and RD. Stop by and talk to them. Write them encouraging notes, etc.

à Be careful what movies and TV shows you are watching. Evaluate everything based on Scripture and remember that wasting time is a sin as well.

à Make time for a Sabbath each week. Set aside time alone with just you and God. Ignore your phone, homework, friends, etc. Begin this practice early on.

à Be kind to everyone and try and get to know a lot of people, BUT realize that you don’t need to be open and honest with everyone. Choose your closest friends wisely.

à Realize that you are going to make mistakes. It’s just part of life.

à Don’t shy away from classes because you know that they are hard. Hard is good. You learn a lot more. With your bible classes especially, take the hard professors

à Spend time with people who think differently than you do (theologically, philosophically, etc). Spend time listening to their arguments. Your views on things are going to expand and broaden at college – that’s good! It is a mark of maturity to be able to have an educated, calm discussion with people who think differently than you. Evaluate EVERYTHING (even your presuppositions) to see how the measure up against the ultimate yardstick (the Bible).

à Look for the people around campus who don’t get notice (custodians, grounds crew, etc) and thank them for doing their job well. Show them that they are appreciated.

à Enjoy these years! They go by so quickly.

à When you get stressed and life feel completely overwhelming, take a break to clean your room from top to bottom, wash your sheets and wash your bath towels. Trust me. It helps!


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The Bread of Life

Baking bread alongside The Bread

Empty. Expectant. Waiting to be filled.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believe in Me has everlasting life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will lie forever; and the bread that I shall ive is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”

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