Thursday, December 8, 2011

That scene from Garden State.

That's the only way I can describe the way it has felt, returning to the states.
If you've seen Garden State (I'm not saying it's the most appropriate for all audiences, but it's definitely a beautiful film worth watching), you will remember the scene when the main character sits on a couch during a party while everyone around him moves in a fast-forwarded blur. That's how it feels to be back for me. All of a sudden, the trip was over and I was back into the world I left and things were moving so fast around me but I couldn't move or speak and I didn't even know how to begin to share stories or pictures or experiences and I certainly didn't know how to re-enter normal life and can everything just pause for one second while I catch my breath or find a spot to focus on before I get dizzy and fall?
But God is faithful and it's getting better, thanks to close friends and family. And being back, I see and feel that God is blessing me with an earthly home, an earthly family, and a purpose to live out. For what more could I ask?
As the Christmas season approaches (I guess it's already here!), I pray you would celebrate Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection, and that you would look forward, lamps lit, with anticipation for His coming.
Joy, joy, joy to the world indeed!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Is this real life?

Tonight is our last night in Sydney, Australia, but more than that, it is our last night abroad. Tomorrow we will re-enter the States for the first time in 3 months (to Hawaii!!!) and it is really a strange feeling. I realize I haven't been as consistent with blogging as I had planned, but in my defense, I have excuses. Internet has been super spotty in New Zealand and Australia... Plus, it really is just a pain to type long things on an iPod. So here I am with a new blog, though I'm very unsure what to even write about.
For starters, I suppose I will run through the highlights of our time in NZ and Aus. Skydiving was amazing... Not scary, just fun. :) Blackwater rafting was so incredible!! We basically spent five hours rappelling, tubing, ziplining, and free-climbing in a cave. Also in NZ, we got the chance to stay in a Marae, or traditional village of the native NZ people, the Maori. That is a whole other story in itself. In Cairns, Australia, we spent a day scuba diving and snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. This was by far the scariest of all the extreme sports, but so worth it. In Sydney we have gotten to see a show at the Opera House, hike in the Blue Mountains, spend some time at the beach, visit Hillsong Church, etc.
Ok. So I do realize how braggy this post could sound. But I say all of this for one reason. So many people, myself included until this trip, buy into the lie that traveling and experiencing it all makes life full. People (particularly those in my generation) buy into the delusion
that a simple life means a meaningless life. While traveling is wonderful, I am here to
tell you, as someone who has been blessed to experience a lot, that nothing brings deep joy and satisfaction like the privilege of knowing Jesus Christ and being adopted by His blood into the Kingdom of God. Knowing Him more, being challenged by Him, watching Him transform my relationship with Logan... Those are the highlights of this trip for me. Honestly. And for that I am so thankful. I cannot wait to see what God will do next semester at OC. Whatever it is, I am believing that a new season of dedication and obedience is on the horizon. I would so appreciate your prayers for the OC campus, as there are so many who call themselves Chistians yet are completely unacquainted with Christ.
On a random note, Logan and I have been listening to a lot of sermons by Matt Chandler, a preacher in Dallas, Texas. The man know how to speak the Word of God!! I highly recommend his lessons... God has really used them to renew Logan and I's relationships win the Lord and bring greater commitment to our faiths.
Blessings to all of you and in the spirit of the Aussies, Happy Christmas season!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Life in Ibaraki...

is so wonderful!
I really do believe that this home-stay part of the PacRim trip is what makes it so so special. I have been completely immersed in Japanese life, culture, and language, and I really do think I'm learning! I am so blessed to have an amazing host family and second host family (Logan's house parents, Yasuko and Yoshihiro). Noriko-chan, my house sister, and Yuuki-chan, our friend, have been so welcoming and wonderful to me and Logan. And Noriko's family is just the best. Her mom is hilarious and so cute, and although she speaks hardly any English, we somehow manage to make some Janglish conversations. Nori's dad is so so smart, so he knows several really fancy English words, like constitution, atomic energy, etc. What Japanese person knows words like that? Only my otoosan. The Ibaraki Christian students have been so incredibly hospitable to us. I feel like an honored guest. And the days have just been so full of fun. Recently, we went to Tokyo Disneyland for a day while it was decorated for Halloween! So fun. And yesterday, we got to go to the most wonderful on-sen (public bath house) right on the ocean.
Today, we got to have a conversation with a Buddhist monk, and that was such a incredible experience to me. I've been struggling to find a way to communicate my religious beliefs in a culture and a mindset so different from mine, so it was really interesting to speak with a Buddhist monk about beliefs and practices.
As I mentioned in the last post, Japan has been both wonderful and discouraging and challenging for me.  More than anything, I have come to realize that this world offers me nothing that I can't gain from my relationship with Jesus. I am on an amazing trip around the world to some of the most monumental sites in human history. I have also had some amazing opportunities to cross cultural boundaries by having conversations with people from China and Japan. But those are not the moments that stick out in my memory from this trip so far. They are not the moments that most completely blow me away. I am most humbled, amazed, captivated by the moments when I see God working in those around me or in myself. And the more I meet people who do not have the privilege of knowing Jesus, the more I feel the urgency for the knowledge of Him across the world. While I have clearly seen that people can live good lives without Jesus, I can't find anything in the world that compares to the joy and blessing of knowing Christ.

I hope that all is well for those at home. I miss your presence in my life!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Discovering the Story.

I'm an English major, so I love words.
I love the process of finding just the right word to fit in just the right place. I love hearing and learning new ones. I love languages, literature, speeches, etc.  I especially love that moment in language learning when the new word no longer directly correlates to a word of my native tongue.  It takes on a whole new life... set free from the bindings of the foreign words used to describe it.
First in my heart when it comes to the love of words is writing and the process that goes with it.  When I write, I sometimes feel as if the story (poem, etc.) is writing itself.  It truly is as if I am discovering the words rather than writing them... like they've been written all along in invisible ink, and all I'm doing is taking a blacklight to them.  Today, I discovered that that's how my life feels, too.  Never in a million years did I dream that I could be living with a dear sister in Japan for one month.  Never in a million years did I dream I would travel the world as I'm doing now.  But God knew.  He has been preparing me, for the entirety of my life, for moments like this.  I think sometimes (particularly as Americans) we feel that we are writing our destiny.  But I'm not... I'm just discovering it.
And it's a good thing, too, because the Lord of the universe is a much better author than I.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I am now settled in Ibaraki, Japan, and it is such a blessing. 
I SO appreciate living in a home, having a routine, and having two sisters that I can spend time with, laugh with, love on.  Each day truly does feel like a gift.  Probably because they all are.
But, the days and gifts come with culture shock and identity crises and struggle.  I have been so encouraged here by the warm hearts of the people in Japan and the incredible hospitality, but I have also been discouraged in so many ways.  Since Japanese people live in line with a defined moral code and they typically have joy in everyday life, it is hard to see how Christianity is even applicable here... particularly with my generation.  Japanese people are mostly atheists, and I can now at least partially understand why.  To them, religion is not necessary.  They have a good time, they are happy, they are kind to each other, etc.   What's the point of religion?  I came with the task in mind of trying to represent Jesus well and glorify Him, but that task seems so large in light of the culture here.  And so it's been a little difficult to deal with.  But here's the truth that I have to continually repeat to myself: God desires that we know and love Him.  Not so that we will be good people, and not so that we will feel happy all the time, but simply so that we can know Him.  He is too good to ignore, too wonderful to go without.  So even if the Christian morality seems inapplicable here, Christ is more applicable than ever.  Please pray for me, that God would use me to reveal Himself.  I can see the beautiful love of Christ covering the people here, but they cannot often see it.  Pray that their hearts and eyes would be opened.  I don't take this task lightly at all, because I cannot think of anything more important than knowing the love of Christ.  But also, please pray that I do not let Satan use these circumstances to burden me, as if I were responsible for saving souls.  Pray that I would be confident and bold in doing the task in front of me, and that I could leave the rest to God.  

All that being said, I'm having an incredible time.  It seems almost unreal, how much fun I'm having here.  And I'm loving being completely immersed in the language in culture.  I pray that you, too, would have your eyes opened to God in a new way, and that His magnificent love would surprise you today!

Friday, September 30, 2011

ID me, please.

Hello all! We are safe in beautiful Kyoto, Japan. Soon we will be heading to Ibaraki for our homestays, and I cannot tell you how excited I am. Already, Japan is so different from China. For one, everything here is clean. I mean SUPER clean. Oh, and I don't have diarrhea anymore, thank the Lord (maybe that's too much info for a blog, but it has become one of the main topics of my conversations here so I guess I'm desensitized). It's so peaceful and natural here... I love it.
Needless to say, though, there have been struggles. I have experience culture shock on this trip moreso than ever before. And it's no easy task maintaining an identity when everything that you feel makes you who you are is miles away and nothing ever stays the same. So tonight, I really felt God whispering to me who I am, and I think it can be shared with all children of God. I really believe this to be the identity of all followers of Christ. I hope it blesses you wherever you are. Your prayers are sooo appreciated, and you are missed.

I am Hallie.
I am a child of God, created in His image to bear His image around the world. In the mundane and the mighty, I am called to LIVE-truly live-for His glory and to walk in the path of His freedom. I am called to sacrifice, to give mercy, and to love unconditionally. But I am also called to fight fiercely and work diligently against the Evil One and anything that is not of Him. I am enabled to enjoy Him, to be made glad in Him, to live joyfully and righteously. And I am privileged to give Him all praise for all things. This is my Christ-given, cross-ensured identity, and today, I will embrace it to the fullest.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Reporting from Beijing!
It is so incredible here...the history is amazing and humbling, and the people are wonderful! A man on the subway the other day actually ran up to me to give me the one yuan I left in the ticket machine. One yuan is equal to 16 American cents. So sweet.
I am learning so much, mainly finding that God is so much bigger than I thought He was. I have spent so much time of my life living unaware of the ways in which God works all over the world. But I am finally realizing that He has been at work long before I could fathom Him. As we drove into Beijing for the first time and I saw a Chinese flag waving, I heard Him whisper, "Yes, this is my nation, too."
Highlight so far has been meeting the Mother Teresa of China, Mary Chiang. She works with blind people to teach them a skill and give them musical instrument lessons. They played their traditional Chinese instruments for us, and it was so amazing.
I do miss America (mainly the food), but I am so happy to be here. Best wishes to the states!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

On the way!

Well, we made it to Foggy Hong Kong in one piece! I am so joyful, peaceful, and excited in the Lord to be on this trip. Our group is awesome and I can already tell that we are going to be family. Logan's dad gave us a bit of parting advice that I just loved, and I'm hoping it becomes a theme of our trip. He said, "Be safe. Wait, no. Don't be safe. Be courageous and take risks. That's much better than safe."
Love and miss everyone... You are in my thoughts and prayers. Keep us in yours!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Meeting the Healer.

"I was a thorn rushing to be with a rose,
vinegar blending with honey, a pot of 

poison turning to healing salve, pasty
wine dregs thrown in the millrace.  I was 

a diseased eye reaching for Jesus' robe,
raw meat cooking in the fire.  Then I found

some dirt to make an ointment that would
honor my soul, and in mixing that, I found

poetry.  Love says, 'You are right, but 
don't claim those changes.  Remember, I 

am wind.  You are an ember I ignite.''

- Rumi

I have known God as many names... Constant, Provider, Comforter, Father, Lover, Friend, Strength, Song.  But the name "Healer" has never truly hit home with me, mostly because I never knew I needed one.  I've been blessed with health and strength, so I've never needed to rely in faith on the Healer for my physical needs.  And until recently, I've been unaware of the festering sores deep within my soul that desperately need salve.

But by the goodness and grace of God, He's showing me my wounds.

We all walk with a limp.  We are all the man outside of the gates called "Beautiful."  For sin is the ultimate injurer and distance from God the ultimate salt on our wound.  And subconsciously, we lean on other things - earthly things - for support.  For me, it's been pride, anxiety, fear, and the approval of others that I have chosen to rely on as crutches for my limping, weakened soul. They've been my security blanket.  But while I resorted to my sinful, earthly support systems, I was unaware that they only injured me further so that I always needed them more.  They are the cast that stays for years without any results.  The Father opened my eyes recently to my condition: I am a woman with polio, stints and crutches and bandages on all limbs, and I'm immobilized.  When He showed me that He could remove these crutches, I was overjoyed.  But He does more than that.  He can heal the injury that led me to those vices in the first place.  He can not only take off the stints, but He can restore my body so that I may run, jump, dance, leap!

Our Healer, though He may not always choose to heal our physical wounds, always chooses to heal our spiritual wounds - the things that keep us limping and immobile.  And in doing so, He removes our need for the vices of the flesh so that we may truly live, walk, dance in freedom. 

Oh, praise Him. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Such a beautiful life.

Every single moment.
That's where I'm learning (failing, and learning) to see Him.
The present... it's so powerful. The time, right now. There's so much beauty here.

This past week in Nashville have been more than overwhelmingly beautiful. From kisses to nature to laughs to tears to crazy-busy days to curled-up-on-the-couch nights, it's been so great. I can't think of a better way to start this new, 3-month phase in my life.

And even throughout my shortcomings, God is teaching me about grace. He's showing me how to steep myself in it... to inhale and exhale it, so that it filters everything I see.

Grace... mercy... love... grace.

I pray it finds you where you are, washes over you like the tide, changes the way you think and live and see.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Filled to bursting.

I am one blessed girl.
I got to spend (almost) an entire summer with my family... the ones with whom I've never spent more than a week or two. I thought it would be awkward, different... but now I'm sitting in a still house and I love them so comfortably.  And they me.
I got to babysit 7 adorable kids who aren't spoiled and listen when you tell them to do something. And they accepted me, even though I have a funny tattoo on my leg and a ring in my nose.
I got to witness two best friends pledge their lives to the men of their dreams.
And I got to spend hours upon hours upon hours talking and laughing with the man of mine.
I discovered that I actually may have a domestic side, after all.
And I met Jesus. For real.
My heart feels so full, it just might burst.
God is so good.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

He might not have.

From Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts

"When I realize that it is not God who is in my debt but I who am in His great debt, then doesn't all become gift?  For He might not have."

He might not have.

God never owed me health, family, joy, peace, friends, education.  I owe Him... everything.

And who am I to demand with clenched fists the favor of the Lord?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just an update.

I know it's been a while.  Blogging hasn't necessarily been my priority lately.  And that's probably a good thing.
Meanwhile, summer in Indiana is glorious.  I've been able to spend a lot of time learning, reading, and a LOT of family time.  I'm so grateful.  Plus I babysit the best kids in the WORLD: Ellie, Charlotte, Hadley, Sam, Josh, Maddie, and Noah.  They're wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
Since I'll be heading across the world in the fall, it's been so nice to have some down time.  I'll be ready to put my full energy into seeing the world and learning about culture in the fall.  Hopefully I'll get to blog some then, or at least journal and then transfer to blog later.
This is a big time in my life... I really feel like things are all culminating, building for something good.  I have to continually remind myself that I am filled to be poured.  So I hope to be in a position where I can pour, pour, pour sometime soon.

If anyone reading this has been struggling with feeling pointless, useless, purposeless or empty in their life or their faith, allow me to offer you a bit of advice that has helped me tremendously over the past week or so.  It's simple: thankfulness.  Ann Voskamp, in her book One Thousand Gifts, talks about ingratitude as the first and gateway sin.  Thus thanksgiving is one of the most beautiful, fragrant offerings we can give to God.  It makes our lives full, even when they're not, and it slows down our time so we may enjoy each beautiful, sacred moment.  So I'm learning to live thankful.  Join me, if you'd like.

Hope all is going well for any readers out there in blog limbo.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Make Haste.

"This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
'In repentance and rest is your salvation, 
in quietness and trust is your strength, 
but you would have none of it.'"
- Isaiah 30:15

"But you must return to your God; maintain 
love and justice, and wait for your God always." 
- Hosea 12:6

"Assyria cannot save us; we will not mount warhorses. 
We will never again say 'Our gods' to what our own hands have made, 
for in You the fatherless find compassion."
- Hosea 14:3

"Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming. 
It is close at hand...
'Even now,' declares the Lord, 
'return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.'
Rend your heart and not your garments. 
Return to the Lord your God,
for He is gracious and compassionate,
slow to anger and abounding in love,
and He relents form sending calamity."
- Joel 2:1, 12-13

The day of the Lord is near. 
Make haste to prepare yourself, bride of Christ. 
He is coming. 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You make all things new.

I've got quite a few firsts going on in my life right now:
 - First time living with Dad's family for more than a week.  It's been great, so far.
 - First cat...

 - First re-read of Harry Potter
 - ...and first purchase of $12 online glasses

 - First intense job search of my life: Old Navy, 5 different Starbucks locations, Cold Stone Creamery, Trader's Point Creamery (an adorable little local organic place), Eagle Creek Coffee Co., several babysitting jobs, and the search continues)
 - First summer away from my home church. I miss those silly ones.

Here's to newness. Cheers. :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Mirror of Erised.

"It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
-Albus Dumbledore

I'm rediscovering my childhood this summer by re-reading the Harry Potter series.  
It's been so much fun. :)  Sometimes, since I can't grasp the fullness and elusiveness of God, I picture Him as Albus Dumbledore.  I know He's more than that, but something tells me the Father has the same mysterious wisdom and warmness to Him. 

Sunday, May 22, 2011


I am learning a few things this summer.
One of them is that God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.
I have always been drawn to the story of Moses, so I was excited to begin reading Exodus through Logan and I's Bible reading.  It may be that I love Moses so much because I loved the movie "Prince of Egypt"... it's a classic.  But I think part of his appeal to me is his inherent human-ness.  He's a coward at times.  He's a murderer.  God gets angry with him.  But God uses him to conquer.  And I have always felt that if God could use cowardly, stammering, idiots like Moses, He could use me, too.  I am believing that I don't have to be equipped for God to use me.  I just have to be faithful, to be willing to respond "Yes, Lord; here I am."
The second lesson is closely related; I have learned that God desires a broken vessel.  I've learned this lesson before - many times - but it's finally beginning to sink in.  As elementary as it sounds, I will never reach perfection alone.  I am unchangeably broken, apart from the cross.  But I don't have to stay that way.  I can become victoriously freed to allow the Spirit's work in my life and to fight against darkness.  But I don't do the work.  I surrender, and Jesus shapes my brokenness into beauty.  He has been reminding me daily never to forget my weakness, because the moment I forget how weak I am alone is the moment I believe that I'm capable alone.  The Enemy has succeeded in many of our lives by convincing us that we are capable of glory and freedom apart from Jesus.  But Christ in me is the true hope of glory.  And the Spirit of the Lord brings liberty, not enslavement.

I hope you are enjoying summer with all its beauties.  Mine has consisted of a lot of this:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Breaking Free.

"God wants to reveal Himself to humans.  Each way He accomplishes this divine task is His glory.  God's glory is how He shows who He is."

"Living a life that glorifies God is synonymous with living a life that reveals God."

"God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27).

"We glorify God to the degree that we externalize the internal existence of the living Christ."

[from Beth Moore's Breaking Free]

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Liar, Liar.

So I lied.
Although I do have a Tumblr now, I am going to keep posting here.
I feel like blogspot caters more towards lengthy posts... and we know I love those. :)
So I'll be posting.

Ladies, if you need a good book to read, Beth Moore's Breaking Free is so good.

Monday, May 9, 2011


I'm moving to tumblr....
So feel free to follow me here. :)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

There's No Place Like Home...

I love so many things about being home.  As I was driving through town today, I started making mental notes of things that I love so much about being home.  No matter how many times I come back, and no matter how long I'm away, I never get tired of coming home.
Here's a list of my favorite things about Nashville (I'm a bit biased):
1.  The people here know me, and I know them.  It's so familiar and, for lack of a better word, homey.
2.  I finally feel safe again, tucked away in the midst of rolling hills and millions of trees.
3.  The radio stations play real music; you know it's home when one station plays Dave Matthews, Michael Franti, Coldplay, Death Cab, and Adele.  Start the hallelujah chorus!
4.  Nobody, and I mean nobody drives 5 under the speed limit.  If you're not driving 5-10 mph over, you're getting blown away.
5.  The homeless people are so happy and active.  They dance on the street corners, they talk to you when your windows are rolled down (even if you don't give them money), and they take action by selling The Contributor, the local homeless-run newspaper.
6.  Nobody's shy.  If you're walking or driving through Nashville, anyone and everyone could talk to you.
7.  We'll celebrate any chance we get; shops and restaurants everywhere with no Mexican affiliation had parties on the streets today for Cinco de Mayo.
8.  This is the only place where I can listen to country music without gagging.
9.  I can drive around without the help of a GPS, and I can take any short cut I want.
10.  I have memories everywhere--thank you, sweet, sweet nostalgia.

If you've never been to Nashvegas, Cashville, Smashville, Music City... you're missing out.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Yesterday, I drove away from my second year of college and best year of life (so far). That means I'm halfway done with college (maybe). And for those of you who don't read between the lines, that means that time flies (especially when you're having fun). 
Yesterday, I spent the three-hour drive to Dallas in silence (mostly) in reflection of this year. It's overwhelming how blessed I've been. My friends, my boyfriend, my major, my family, my attitude have been transformed and blessed by God. I've prayed and prayed to see Him more and to know Him more, and this year, I couldn't deny His workings in my life and the lives of people around me. I'm sad to leave my friends at OC, but God has so much in store for the people I love this summer. 
Lemme give ya a little hint of what I mean by that:

This goofy girl is headed to Village of Hope in Ghana for a month to hang out with some precious baby orphans. 
This darlin' is headed to intern for the most hipster church in Tulsa. She'll fit in. 
This lovely lady will be spending her summer caring for a disabled man in Edmond. She's got a gift. 
My sweet wombmate is interning in downtown OKC at Capitol Hill. She loves those kids and they are going to love her even more than they already do. 
Cutie in the middle is traveling to Panama for eight weeks to give 'em some KoJack lovin'. I don't mean for that to sound inappropriate. 
This guy... he'll be in Arkansas all summer interning for West Ark CoC. I'll miss him, I guess. 
Little baby Kaci will also be interning, somewhere in TX...
And as for these two, they're goin' off and gettin' themselves hitched.

Needless to say, it's a pretty monumental summer for my friends. 
Can you tell I'm proud? 

Happy Summer. Let's make it memorable. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Thank You, Jesus.

Christ is risen from the dead,
Trampling over death by death,
Come awake, come awake,
Come and rise up from the grave. 

Christ is risen from the dead,
We are one with Him again,
Come awake, come awake, 
Come and rise up from the grave!

Oh Death, where is your sting?
Oh Hell, where is your victory?
Oh Church, come stand in the light,
The Glory of God has defeated the night.

Oh Death, where is your sting?
Oh Hell, where is your victory?
Oh Church, come stand in the light,
Our God is not dead! 

He's alive! 
He's alive!

Monday, April 18, 2011

God has been so good to me. In so many different ways.
First of all, I was blessed to get to go to Passion Conference for a second time in Fort Worth a few weeks ago. I wasn't sure it was possible, but I experienced the Love and Mystery of Jesus even more than before.
Secondly, He has been orchestrating some extravagant things in my life and the lives of my friends. He has completely blessed one of my best friend's trips to Panama City, Panama this summer, He has provided me with money when I've needed it and encouraged me to pursue writing, He provided another of my friends with the job of her life and a clear calling to it, and He provided a long-distance friend of mine with just the right amount of money to pay for her tuition. Not to mention the joy He has lavished on me and my friends and my boyfriend, Logan. He has continued time and time again to show me that Logan is the guy for me right now, and He has blessed us with assurance and joy like we've never known before in our almost four year relationship. It's crazy to me to think about Who Jesus is... how powerful and majestic He is, and how much love He pours on us even though we don't deserve a drop of it.

"The Glory of God thunders, 
the Lord thunders over the mighty sea.  
The voice of the Lord is Powerful, 
the voice of the Lord is Majestic. 
He splits the mighty cedars." 
 Ps. 29:3-5

"God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him." - John Piper 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

For the Dry Places.

I sing to the dry places.
His voice gushes from my lips, 
pouring over the desert, 
refreshing the weary. 
I laugh with Him in harmony;
He is here. 
He has not forgotten.
Reverberating from the corners of the earth,
bouncing from ghettos to plains and skyscrapers to sea, 
our voices join in a whirlwind, a crossroads. 

I sing to the dry places.
I spew red dirt and sod, 
Choking for breath,
Grasping for hope.
My tongue, scorched and crumbling--
He touches it. 
I don't thirst any longer.
Resonating from the well within me,
rippling from the tips of my fingers to the mouth of another,
we send out a message for the one, the hundreds.

I sing to the dry places. 

"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart, and wait for the Lord." - Psalm 27:13-14

Friday, March 25, 2011

To Have and to Hold.

"You have me
You have me
You have my heart completely"

Too many times I have heard words of commitment and love, muttered emptily to Jesus. 
"We love you." 
"Help us to follow you with our lives."
It seems strange to me that following Christ in America comes without a cost, and I think it's diluting our ability to commit to Him wholeheartedly. It is perfectly acceptable to call on the Name of Jesus, to claim His Name, yet look nothing like Him. I suppose we believe that calling out His Name will benefit us, because then we will go to heaven. Yay. But I have been looking seriously at my life. Why would I even call myself a Christian if I don't act like one? I would never call myself a Engineer... because I am not one. And I am not at all prepared to act like one. So why would I call myself a Christian if I'm not one? If I am not prepared? If I don't look like Christ?
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." -Matt. 7.21
Our faiths often lack the unconditional marriage commitment that we take on in Baptism. Of course, I suppose that kind of commitment is losing its popularity as well. 
"Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like." -James 1.22-24
I realize I just wrote a post about the fact that the Lord does not require a list of good deeds. But right now I'm stuck in middle of these two - deeds and faith - and I am trying to find a balance. I also do not think being a follower of Christ can be confined to donating to a charity or sitting by the lonely girl at lunch, though it often includes those things. Sometimes, being a follower of Christ means knowing when to say no. All the same, I need some serious courage and strength from the Spirit to choose life with Christ, and to match my actions to my words. 
Let me know what ya think. If you've found the balance, I'd love to hear how you do it. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

He's after our hearts.

I don't know if you struggle as I do with never feeling like I've "done" enough for the Kingdom of God. The enemy looms over me, whispering to me that my efforts are worthless, my strivings are in vain, I'm spinning my wheels, getting nowhere. Well, I've been reading The Me I Want to Be, and John Ortberg (though perhaps indirectly) addresses this issue of mine and of the Church. Or perhaps his thoughts just stirred up my thoughts.
God doesn't require results from us. He doesn't ask for a 6-month report. He doesn't even ask that we keep record of our "good deeds." While I believe that faith without deeds is dead, I also believe that the Lord is after more than a list of charity donations and mission trips.
He's after our hearts. 
Why is it that I can call the number on the TV that is showing me pictures of crying African children and abused puppies, and I can donate my money, and I still wake up the next morning feeling purposeless, meaningless? Shouldn't my list of good deeds fulfill me, give me a purpose? I am just now grasping in my heart that He is not after my little acts of goodwill (though He does call us to give, and give and give and give). After all, isn't He perfectly capable of ending world hunger, preventing tsunamis and earthquakes and nuclear power plant explosions if He so chooses? Is He not bigger than me? Does He really require of me little acts of kindness? Of course, the answer is yes. But He is, first and foremost, after my heart. I'm realizing more and more that deep, genuine, intimate relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Spirit is the only answer to fulfillment in this life. We can't find lasting purpose or fulfilled life apart from Him. I've been realizing just how incomprehensible and uncontainable the Lord is. He will not be boxed in. He will not be limited to a list of humanitarian acts. He is a living, breathing, roaring force of Love and Goodness, and He is calling after our hearts. The very center of who we are. And our hearts, our guts, our souls are desperately crying out for Him.

He has been meeting me in the most unlikely of places. Like a Monday afternoon walk with my main man. He's cute, I know.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring has sprung, my friends.

I used to hate Springtime.
Don't ask me why.  I think it may have had something to do with the fact that I've always had horrible allergies, and they are by far the worst during Spring.  So maybe deep inside I had some deep-seeded anxiety about pollen and flowers and sneezing in Spring.  But that's not important now.  Now, I love it.  It may even be up there with Fall on my favorites list.  I've been at home for Spring Break (both homes - Dad and Mom) and it has been so relaxing and even a little adventurous.  It's been especially awesome to spend a little alone time with Logan, seeing that we're both pretty busy during the semester and we'll be in different states this summer.  But enough about me.
"The God of glory thunders.
The LORD thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the LORD is powerful;
the voice of the LORD is majestic.
The voice of the LORD splits the mighty cedars;
the LORD shatters the cedars of Lebanon."
Psalm 29:3-5

Our God is Present.  Enjoy His Power today. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Zionsville, Indiana.

I'm here with the fam (praise the Lord for family), and I have had the blessing to participate in some no-bake cookie gorging, trampoline jumping and flipping, wii-fit playing, and some wonderful, deep conversations seasoned with joy and love. There's nothing like being home (or in this case, being pseudo-home).  
Today at church, we heard a lesson about being unworthy--a message I was desperately needing to hear. Matthew 9:13 says, "But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. What a relevant verse... particularly in a "Christian nation" where deeds are praised and "followers" are cynical and judgmental towards others and their actions. Personally, I have become altogether too result-oriented in my faith; rather than seeking, above all, a relationship with the Living God, I have sought after a life worthy of praise, a slew of works that can be admired at my funeral, a powerful impact on the world around me in ways I can see. A good friend reminded me recently that God doesn't work in the same way we do - when we seek results, the Lord seeks reconciliation. And these kinds of mission fields - the ones that strive to make the Name of Jesus famous first and foremost - are not quite as tangible or visible to the naked eye. Understandably, it's easy to get frustrated when we try and try and try to make a difference but we see no outcome. But thankfully, our God doesn't measure success by our standards. And we do not owe Him our service. We have absolutely nothing to offer Him. For too long I have felt that, in some way, I have cheated God by withholding my abilities to serve. Really, I'm cheating no one but myself. 
I have been pretty inconsistent with posting on here, but I needed at least a little break. I hope to continue posting more often, and I hope this will be a source of encouragement for you in some way. I mentioned several posts back that I wanted to try memorizing scripture. Well I've been working (with a few lulls in motivation) and it's going swimmingly. :) I highly recommend it. Mardel's has these awesome key-ring notecards that are perfect for scripture memorization... props to Amanda. 
On this same random note, I have a couple of recommendations that will, I hope, enrich your life: The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg (don't judge the book by its title... it is rocking my world), and the new show "Secret Millionaire." If you're someone like me who gets fed up with trashy and materialistic TV, this show will reassure your hope in humanity. 
Have a fabulous week. Hopefully Spring Break is treating you well. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"There are two ways of looking when it comes to a window.  I can look at a window.  I can notice the glass, see if there are any streaks or dust particles or bubbles in it.  Or, I can look through a window.  I can view the world beyond it by using it as a opening to the world. Sometimes I look at the Scriptures.  I study its story.  I ask questions.  Thoughts of God's goodness, love, and peace lodge in my mind.  The idea is that I begin also to look at my world through the pictures - through the perspective of God's constant care and presence."

"You have great freedom . . . to allow the Spirit to rewire your mind.  As that happens, the Holy Spirit's goal is not get you really good at suppressing angry behavior.  It is for you to have a mind characterized by an ever-increasing flow of Spirit-guided, truth-based, life-producing thoughts and feelings."

from The Me I Want to Be by John Ortberg

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hosea 11 will rock your world.
Check it out.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

All Glory to You, Lord.

"I am in business as surely as I am in the sanctuary of worship. In fact, the former becomes the proving ground of the latter. Your own inner consecration hallows the outer action. two may do what appears to be the same work. The difference is in the bent of the soul whether it be for the glory of God or for self-aggrandizement. I breathe My very life into that which is offered to Me as a sacrifice of love." 
- On the Highroad of Surrender by Frances J. Roberts

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Memory Verses.

I have never tried to memorize Scripture... and I think there's something wrong with that. As a young child, I remember pre-school and daycare teachers trying to get us to memorize Bible verses, but what 5 year old wants to sit and recite words when they could be playing with a fake kitchen set? 
Anyways, in my youth group years I attended a Church where we often fought against the legalism that can come with memorizing verses (not that there's anything wrong with a Bible Bowl, but our intentions are sometimes skewed), so I've never really grasped the value of the practice.  But lately, it seems like everywhere I go people are encouraging memorizing Scripture. So I'm going to start. I encourage you to join me! I'm excited to see where it leads. 

"Yes, Lord, walking in the way of Your laws, we wait for You; Your Name and Your renown are the desire of our hearts. My soul yearns for You in the night; in the morning my spirit longs for You. When Your judgments come upon the earth, the people of the world learn righteousness." - Isaiah 26:8-9

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's been a while.

Happy Late New Year everyone!
I've been neglecting posting on this for a while. 
A lot has happened and there's a lot that I want to share via blogging, but now is not the time to do it. 
So for now, I hope that you are having a wonderful New Year full of God's Glory and full of growth in Him!  I'll leave you with part of Psalm 63:
"O God, You are my God.
Earnestly I search for You.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for You 
in this parched and weary land where there is no water. 
I have seen You in Your sanctuary,
and gazed upon Your Power and Glory.
Your Unfailing Love is better than life itself;
how I praise You!
I will praise You at all times,
lifting up my hands to You in prayer. 
You satisfy me more than the biggest feast;
I will praise You with songs of joy!'