Friday, August 28, 2009

Vamos a Mexico!

I was 14 when I first felt that God was calling me into ministry. At the time I was totally freaked out. I thought that God was going to call me to the remote jungles and I had to go right that second. I, of course, was not ready for that at the moment, but my little brian could not comprehend how God was going to grow in and prepare me at all. One thing I did know from the beginning was that I had a very strong desire to go to Mexico. Most of this stemmed from a book that I read that just lit a fire in my heart for that country and those children. For about 2 years I still struggled with telling my parents what I knew God was doing in my heart. It has been a struggle for them to understand, but God has done so much work in their hearts and it has been amazing to watch. Even though I have gone different places and tried to go other places, I have still always had a heart to go to Mexico.

Most of you know that I have had a bit of a rough time trying to go on pretty much any trip. First was Jamaica my freshman year of college. I really wanted to go and I honestly could have worked it out, but my heart wasn't there anymore. I really wanted to go, but the more I prayed about it the more I just felt like God was saying "no", and that was really hard for me to admit, but I knew I couldn't go if God wasn't calling me there. My church also goes to Haiti every year and I have been dying to go. My parents weren't comfortable with that because there is a lot of political unrest and streak of kidnappings going on. I thought I was finally getting somewhere when the opportunity came up for me to study abroad in Mexico for a month. I was going to work in the schools while taking and education class and 2 Spanish classes and would have my minor by the time I came home. Finally, I was going to get to leave the country! Then I wanted to go to Africa with 410 Bridge. It is a program that lasts 4 weeks and works to build schools and orphanages. I ended up not being able to apply because they were leaving 2 days before we were supposed to come back from Mexico. So at least I'm going to Mexico, right? Right about the time school was ending, Jessica asked me if I wanted to go to Haiti with her and her church. Do I?! YES! And then my parents said a big, resounding, "NO". Awesome. And about a week after we got out of school... enter swine flu. And exit study abroad trip. So I was upset that I couldn't go to Haiti, now I wasn't going to Mexico, and I could have gone to Africa. So that left me at home for the summer. Now, as I have written before, I am actually very thankful that I was home for the month of May because I see that God needed me here and not in Mexico. But nonetheless, I spent the summer watching and praying for my friends as they went to Swaziland, Costa Rica, Kenya, Haiti, and Russia. It was difficult to watch them go, but I felt so privileged to be able to commit to praying for them all daily and be a part of that experience with them through prayer.

Well, it's my turn, kids. 2 weeks from today I will be in Mexico. I hate to admit that I have been full of so much doubt about this trip. I guess I have just been so disappointed recently that I just didn't want to be disappointed again. I have realized that this was actually me doubting God, and that is a sin that I, unfortunately, struggle with sometimes. I was really focusing on learning what it means to believe God for the things He has promised and was applying that to every area of my life except for this. Yesterday I got a package from my mom that also had an itinerary for Linds and I, and it suddenly hit me that this is really happening. I'm really going. 2 weeks from today I will be holding precious babies and precious little hands and playing with precious children. 2 weeks from today I will be laying my head down on my pillow within the borders of another country. 2 weeks from today I will be speaking Spanish on a daily basis, surrounded by my favorite language at all times. 2 weeks from today I will be worshipping in Spanish, with other people, not just by myself. 2 weeks from today I will finally be out of this country and in a place where I feel like I actually belong, which is pretty much anywhere outside of this country. This is really happening. After 6 years, I'm really going to Mexico. Once again, God proves His faithfulness.

How, then, can they call upon the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:14-15

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

More Than Fine, More Than Just Okay

One of my favorite quotes was given to me the summer after my junior year when I was going through a really rough time and really looking for God. "Happiness is dependent on your circumstances. Joy is rejoicing despite your circumstances." I have loved that since the moment I was first given it and have found myself quoting it to others and myself so many times in the past 3 years.

I really love Dahlonega. I really love my friends. I really love North Georgia and its beautiful mountains. But I have struggled to adjust the past few weeks. I wouldn't say that I have been unhappy, but I wouldn't exactly say that I have just been ecstatic either. I haven't had horrible days... just real bad ones. I just wanted to be able to say at the end of the day that it was a good day, and I just couldn't. I am such a happy person normally so I just felt weird. This is going to sound so cheesy, but I am so thankful that I have Jesus because even on the really bad days, I still found myself singing to Him and jumping around my room (yep, I really do that. true confessions. that's embarrassing). Even though things have been a little tough and all, I love being filled with so much joy that it still feels like I could just explode and makes me wanna just tell the whole world about Jesus. "Weird" is pretty much how I described the first week or so to everyone. A good day isn't too much for a girl to ask for, right? Right.

Well, friends, the good days have arrived, thank You, Jesus! I guess it was Tuesday when I was finally able to enjoy a day. Orientation consisted of fun group activities such as doing puzzles. I love going through this with some of my most precious friends. They make every difficult and overwhelming day bearable and we never stop laughing. I also have my favorite class, Teaching of Reading, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Mrs. Schact (like "shocked") reads us a chapter of Junie B. Jones before each class. Who doesn't love Junie B. Jones?! If you don't know what those books are, you need to Google it because they are some of the greatest children's chapter books ever written. She just makes the class so enjoyable and is such a joy to be around. Just being in her class puts me in a good mood. Tuesday night we had another candle lighting for a sister who got engaged, which is always such a happy time. Then it was time for our first chapter of the year. It was so wonderful to be back together with everyone. Everyone has really found renewed pride for being an Alpha Gam and is really stepping it up. I really love nights like that where we can all be together and I am reminded once again of why I love my sisters so much.

Wednesday morning we had to fill out our plans of study at orientation. I was feeling really apprehensive about this because I had to figure out when I was going to fit my classes in if I wasn't going to take summer classes. Long story short, I ended up adding a Teaching of Art class to my schedule. It meets Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30-8:30, so the time kinda sucks and I also will miss chapter most nights this semester, but I had to evaluate my priorities. I am sad that I won't be in chapter, but I would so much rather be there next semester when my Littles are getting their Littles and all that fun stuff. Plus, hopefully I will possibly have an office where I will need to be there every week. Hopefully. ;) This means I am taking 22 hours this semester (which someone so kindly pointed out is almost as many hours that are in a day) and I know that it is a lot, but I feel like this is what I need to do and I can handle it, even if it is a little bit of a rough semester. That afternoon, Lindsey, Lauren, and I had lunch with Michelle, our Bible study leader. We talked about when we were going to start Bible study again and such and it made me so excited to get started up again this coming Wednesday. I am so ready to have a solid group of girls to hang out with, laugh with, and study the Word with. I cannot wait until Wednesday to be with them again and bring in some new girls! That night my dad came and had dinner. I just really love him and it was so great to spend time with him. Linds and I were on the way back and decided to make a little detour to this place that has an awesome view. We got a call from Casey right as we were getting back in the car and she said that we had a special parcel waiting outside our door. We rushed home and Case had come to surprise us and stay the night! I absolutely loved having her here! She makes everything so much fun.

Thursday night Ashton and Brandi came over and had dinner. I am really loving having Ashton up here. She is so precious and I just really love her. There's nothing extremely special about this day or this whole week honestly, but I have truly been blessed with some wonderful friends and am so thankful for each and every one of them. I know none of this means much to most of you, but it is so nice to be able to have a good day and enjoy what I am doing. I am so thankful the the peace of knowing that I am in God's will, following Him, and feeling His peace at all times, even on the difficult days. God is so good, my friends. So, so good. :)

whatever You're doing
inside of me
it feels like chaos
but somehow there's peace
and it's hard to surrender
to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly
-Whatever You're Doing, Sanctus Real

A heart at peace gives life to the body. Proverbs 14:30

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome To Our Humble Abode

here is the long awaited tour of our home! man, this thing has been so complicated, but alas, it is here! enjoy :)

also, ignore that you can hear Linds say "go". don't judge me.
here is part 2 because my camera died. also, ignore the fact that I almost made an Office reference because it cut it off and now it would be dumb for me to explain. and, this is also what you need to know: you should just turn this second one off when I say "bye" or else it will start over. so I had a little trouble uploading. once again, don't judge me.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You Are Ever Faithful To Us God

Wednesday was a really rough day for me. It started bright and early when that alarm went off at 6:30... and I didn't fall asleep until 2:30 the night before. Not a good combination. It was our first day of orientation for the education program, and I was really excited. Three hours later, I was totally freaking out. I was on information overload and was tired of hearing about more and more assignments and portfolios and lesson plans that I was going to have to do. It felt like everyone just kept warning us that this would be the hardest year of our life. This isn't quite what I thought I was signing up for. Classes that afternoon didn't make anything better at all, especially that 12 page case study I got assigned. By the time I got out of class at 4:30, I was exhausted and on the verge of tears. It was turning out to be a really bad start to the first part of my second half of college.

I am going to have to make some major decisions about when I am going to take these classes and graduate. Basically I have 3 options: take classes this summer and graduate in May 2011, take classes next summer and graduate in August 2011, or take no summer classes and graduate in December 2011. Taking summer classes means being in this country, which I am not a fan of, and not working camp, which I am also not a fan of. My summers are for mission trips and FCA camp, not taking classes. I also have a minor in Spanish I still want to finish. I am only 6 hours away for being done and was supposed to take those classes in Mexico this past summer, but now I'm not sure what to do. There is still talk of a study abroad trip this summer, but it's looking like that area of Mexico isn't in very good shape and we will have to go to Costa Rica, Argentine, or Ecuador. I mean I'll pretty much go anywhere, but I'm just not sure about those places. And where will I go to get my master's when I graduate? I need to start looking into scholarships so I can see if I can get enough money to leave the state. So much to decide.

All of this was rushing through my head and causing it to spin and also causing my eyes to well up with tears as I drove to pick up Savannah that afternoon. As I pulled out onto the road, I saw this in front of me.
I couldn't tell you the last time I had seen a rainbow, much less one so vividly. I wish that a picture could actually capture what it really looked like. It was absolutely beautiful. And the tears just started coming as I sat in the parking lot outside Sav's apartment. I am so thankful for a God who is so incredibly faithful, day after day. I am so thankful that He chose to show me this rainbow and remind me of His incredible faithfulness at the exact moment that I needed it. This song was also playing as I drove. They just go so perfectly together.

Faithful, You are ever faithful
You are ever faithful to us God
Powerful, You are crowned all powerful
All the world will bow before You
Oh, God
You're the song of our soul's salvation
Life that cannot be taken
Solid rock, firm foundation
Never changed
You are never shaken
-Faithful, Steve Fee

I still don't feel really great about the program, but I know if others did it, I can too. I don't know what I'm going to do about taking classes, and I don't know how I'm going to finish my minor. A huge part of my heart is already in whatever country God chooses to call me to and in leading that children's ministry. I don't know what to do about any of that, but I'm ok with it. I don't know what's coming, but I know the One who holds tomorrow, and He has proved His faithfulness over and over again, and He isn't going to stop now.

Happy Anniversary

Wednesday morning Savannah and I sat down next to Bekah at orientation and she said "Happy 2 year anniversary!" and it made us get a little teary eyed. Two years ago we moved into Donovan together. Some people knew their roommates and some of us didn't. I remember the first hall meeting we had that night. I looked around at all the girls in the lobby and felt so lost and alone. I didn't know a single person except for my roommate that I had just met a few hours earlier. I recognized a couple people from my Intro group, but I never really made friends there so it wasn't like I thought they were going to be my new BFFs or anything. The first semester was rough, but second semester I finally started to find my place. I never thought that Bekah would be the first person that I would go to when I got my heart broken and didn't want to be alone in the dorm. We spent so many nights sitting on my futon, one of us crying over something or another. So many nights out in the lobby struggling to finish a Stat project that we put off for way too long while our roommates slept. When Savannah walked into my room that day and brought me a CD of songs to lift me up and help heal my heart, I was so appreciative, but I had no idea at that moment that my best friend had just walked into my life. I can't imagine life without her. She has been there through some seriously life changing moments over the past year and a half and I wouldn't have made it without her. I thought that Kristin was stuck up, mostly because she didn't talk to me at Intro, which clearly means stuck up. We were in the same learning community which meant we had many of our classes together and we ended up sitting next to each other in Education 2110. We bonded over making fun of our teacher mostly and drawing pictures to pass the time in this horribly boring class. She was so much fun to live with and is a forever friend, even when she is no longer on campus with us. One night first semester, Baileigh found me crying outside in the lobby. I couldn't sleep and I was incredibly homesick and felt completely alone. It was about 2 am and I assumed everyone was already asleep, but not Bai. She was so sweet and gave me some encouraging words and tissues and made me stop crying. We sat and talked for a few minutes, but it wasn't like we had some kind of big, friendship defining moment right there. It wasn't until about March that we really became friends. She came to my rescue when I didn't want to be in my room anymore and was comic relief to the current situation.

Everyone says that this is where you meet your best friends, and I always thought that was a little too cliche for me, but it's so true. I have been so blessed by so many girls from my freshman hall, but these in particular. Happy Anniversary, sweet friends. Can't wait to see where the future takes us. Love you all so much.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Yes, I'm Still Alive

It has been a while since I have been gracing you bloggy friends with my blogging goodness. I know you have missed me so, but have no fear, for I am back... for the next few days. Expect a lot of writing in those next few days, and then probably nothing until next weekend on account of the fact that I sold my soul to the education program of NGCSU on Wednesday. Let's embark on an adventure of my first week here, shall we? Ven conmigo!

Sunday Linds came to church because we had a Mexico meeting. My parents took us to dinner and then we finished packing up my stuff before heading over to see Tammy and Kati for a little while. We had a wonderful time with them, laughing and catching up and getting Kati's stuff together. Love them so much. Leaving Sunday night was surprisingly difficult. I was so ready to be back in Dahlonega but not ready to embrace the many changes in life that this marks. I suppose I have been ignoring a lot of feelings lately and finally thought about it on Sunday. I pretty much cried the whole way back to Dahlonega, but I think it was needed. Linds had a somewhat similar ride back and we weren't in our house 5 minutes before we were both sitting on the futon crying. Thus the house had been christened as ours.

Our whole house (well, mostly the living room and my room) was a mess for a few days. My room is finally coming together, and a video tour will be coming soon :) We stayed up til 4 am Sunday night... and consequently didn't get out of bed until 12:30 pm on Monday. Most of the day consisted of people coming over and it was really wonderful to see everyone again. We went and saw Ashton's dorm room (LOVE having her up here!) and then headed to Dork's to get our books... and spent about $350. Ridiculous.

our first collegiate picture together :)
Getting my own key!

Tuesday we were determined to be more productive, and get out of bed... which we did... around 11:30. We got ready and went to convocation, which is this really boring ceremony deal where all these people speak about the school and you get a free t-shirt. Basically, everyone goes for the t-shirt. This year we had to walk to the drill field to get our t-shirts and it started raining as we were walking. This did not deter our t-shirt efforts and we stuck it out... all for a really ugly t-shirt and some ruined rainbows if you're me. The t-shirt did make for somewhat of a protective covering for my hair. I also must say that the whole military college thing usually neither phases me nor bothers me, but it did both when we had to stop in the middle of the pouring rain for retreat. Seriously? Dead silent, dead still campus in the pouring rain. Awesome. Linds and I had our Littles, plus Lauren, come over for a wonderful pancake dinner where we made them with chocolate chunks, peanut butter chips, and sprinkles. Talk about goodness.

Classes started on Wednesday, and for education majors, orientation also started. Savannah, Heather, and I went to breakfast that morning and got ourselves pumped up for the program. By the time we got out of orientation at noon, we were totally and completely freaked out. Then it was off to class until 4:30 that afternoon. I was exhausted by the time I got home and just wanted to crash. It was a very overwhelming day and I felt on the verge of tears most of the day. That night we had our first candle lighting of the year! For those of you who don't know, a candle lighting is a ceremony we do when someone in our sorority gets engaged. It's how they announce their engagement. Much excitement all around and a good ending to the first day of class.

Yesterday was a little better. We got out of orientation an hour and a half early which was awesome and gave me some time to wind down at home. Classes were a little better and not quite as overwhelming, but still a lot to take in. That night I made dinner and our whole Alpha Gam family came over for dinner. I made lime chicken tacos, inspired by Tammy, but did it without a recipe, and it turned out really great actually! Add some bean and cheese dip and you got yourself a great meal. Not gonna lie, I'm real proud of that. I was really missing Case and felt a little sad about the situation, and then she joined us on Skype. It was so great to talk to her and see her and feel like she was right there! A real, complete family dinner :)

And that brings us to today, Friday. I survived, and that's more than I thought I could do as of Wednesday. Woke up 30 minutes late this morning, but had a great day at orientation. I met with my mentor, Sarah. She is one of my sisters so it's nice to have someone that I am already comfortable with that I can go to with questions and when I get overwhelmed. And I am fortunate enough to have Case too! Tonight will be spent being crafty with Linds. She has made a new journal, covered her planner, and is currently painting a canvas for our bathroom. I have been blogging (obviously) and am working on vamping up my curtains a little bit. Ready for a weekend of relaxation before the craziness starts back on Monday!

In other news, we got an awesome new trash can and I made this great picture wall above my bed. It will be growing throughout the year.

more room pictures to come, but this is my favorite part
oh North Georgia, how I love thee

ps- for anyone who might care, Kari Jobe has a Spanish CD. oh. my. goodness. I could have died with happiness. yep, it's possible.


Last weekend I was able to be a part of the youth lock-in at church. I originally told them I couldn't help and couldn't commit to anything, but things change and I'm so thankful that I was able to be there. I got to hang out with my favorite high school girls (who I started working with when they were in middle school and now a few of them are in college. makes me sad. and makes me feel old.) I haven't been able to hang out with them very much in the past few years since I have lived so far away from them, but have kept in contact with them and it was so wonderful to spend some much time together. They are truly an amazing group of girls with wonderful hearts for the Lord. They really have a special place in my heart.

tie dying t shirts for everyone

Rachel got a little bit on her arms...

the final product

the girls wearing them

dinner time!

and this is where we found them at about 2 am... in the kitchen. crazy girls.

I really love them a whole lot.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Randomness: It's What I Do Best

Present-active participle believing God is a lifestyle. It is a daily, deliberate choice. Present-active participle believing God awakens in the morning and says, "My Lord and my God, I thank You for another day to know You and believe You. Whatever means You may choose to increase my faith today, I commit myself to that glorious end." After He sings us to sleep at night, may our Father be able to look at the Son on His right hand and say, "She believed Me today." -Beth Moore, Believing God This has become my prayer. I don't want a single day to pass where God couldn't say that I believed Him that day.

The God to whom you commit yourself and everything that concerns you is huge. he is the omnipotent maker of heaven and earth. He is the One who acts on behalf of His children. He is the Mighty Warrior. He is the compassionate Father. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. He is the coming King. He is love. He is light. He is good. He is right. He is your soul's delight. He is... whatever you need. He alone is wise. In Him alone life makes sense, and apart from Him all is chaos. He is in control. -Beth Moore, Believing God I'm so glad I don't even have to worry about anything! It's not in my hands anyway. Thank goodness, because I would make a disaster of life if it was.

If someone becomes even a little more like Jesus because of your influence today, you're a big time success. -Steven Furtick Shouldn't our goal every day be to point others toward Jesus and lead them to become more like Him?

I want it to be like that: I close my eyes and throw my head back with laughter and step up to dance with You. My tiny hand in Your infinite one, my steps so clumsy compared to Your grace. The music begins and we step out onto the floor. My grip tightens, knowing I will fall, but also knowing You will guide me. The music swells, roaring into my ears until I am so enraptured that I can't look at anyone but You. My hands and feet poised for the next step, my head up, and a smile of love on my face. And maybe, just maybe, then I will not even notice when You turn to one of Your sons and invite him to dance with me. What a glorious day that will be! But I'm enjoying the dance right now :)

Our lives begin to end the day that we become silent about things that matter.

It's like the sun is shining when the rain is pouring down
It's like my soul is flying though my feet are on the ground
It's like the world is silent though I know it isn't true
It's like the breath of Jesus is right here in this room
So take this heart of mine
There's no doubt
I'm in better hands now
-In Better Hands, Natalie Grant

My King has crushed the curse of death
And I am His forever!
Oh praise Him
My Delight and my Reward
Everlasting, never failing
My Redeemer, my God!
-Psalm 62, Aaron Keyes

So when you get the chance
Are you gonna take it?
There's a really big world at your fingertips
And you know you have the chance to change it
Don't let your lights go down
Don't let the fire burn out
Somewhere somebody needs a reason to believe
Why don't you rise up now?
Don't be afraid to stand out
That's how the lost get found
-The Lost Get Found, Britt Nicole

Make me aware
Help me see
That everything I am is not all about me
Take my world
Turn it around
So that the obvious can finally be found
Make me aware
-Aware, Salvador

Sunday, August 9, 2009

My Heart

My heart is at a very strange place these days and sometimes it doesn't make sense when I try to put it into words, even to myself. I write things in my journal and then wonder how God could possibly even understand that. So this may or may not make much sense, and I'm ok with that, because no one is making you read this :)

God's peace never ceases to amaze me. The past year has presented itself with so many opportunities for God to pour His peace upon me, and He never fails. I love being able to feel Him walking with me everywhere, every day. I have had a few teary moments, and then it's like He just pours that peace out over me all over again and just puts that grin right back on my face. One of my favorite songs says "in the moment of my weakness You give me grace to do Your will" I love the emphasis on weakness. I used to think that weakness is being so beaten down that you just feel like you can't go on, but I feel like weakness has been redefined in my life. I don't feel flat on my face defeated by any means, but I have found weakness in the form of total surrender. Simply saying, "ok, God, I don't really know what You're doing, but that's ok. whatever You want is fine with me, just give me the strength to do it because I know I can't do anything without You anyway." Grace: God's unmerited favor. I love that. He gives me His blessing, His love, His strength, even though I don't deserve it because He wants me to be successful in what He is calling me to do. It still blows me away that He loves me that much. That He would do that for me. I hope I never get over that.

In the chaos, in confusion
I know You're sovereign still
In the moment of my weakness
You give me grace to do Your will
When You call I won't delay
This my song through all my days
There is no one else for me
None but Jesus
Crucified to set me free
Now I live to bring Him praise
-None But Jesus, Hillsong

I have recently become obsessed with this song by Watermark called Captivate Us. I'm all about definitions and word origins and stuff, and the words "captivate" and "devastate" really grabbed my attention. Which is funny considering captivate means to attract and hold the attention of. Isn't that how God pursues us? We are attracted to Him and are never the same again. Once you have experienced Him, you never want to leave His presence. You're captivated. Now devastate. I have to admit that I had a bit of a harder time understanding that one. When I think of the word devastate, it doesn't generally have good connotations. But when I think about my own life and my track record, God has had to devastate me in order to get my attention at times. I can think of so many times He has literally smacked me on my face and brought me to a place of complete devastation in order to make me see Him. Such powerful words. And a bold request.

Your voice is powerful
And Your words are radiant bright
In Your breath and shadow
I will come and abide
You whisper love and life divine
And Your fellowship is free
Draw me closer, oh my Lord
Draw me closer, Lord, to Thee
Captivate us, Lord Jesus
Set our eyes on You
Devastate us with Your presence
Falling down
Rushing river, draw us nearer
Holy fountain consume us with You
Captivate us, Lord Jesus, with You
-Captivate Us, Watermark

It could be said that this has been the summer of spiritual warfare. At the beginning of the summer, I really struggled with feelings of discouragement and thoughts that I could not be the woman of God that I desire to be. I felt so inadequate for some reason. Well, not some reason, because of Satan. I finally recognized this as not from God, but I didn't really understand how to fight it until camp. I was so adamant about the girls knowing that they are beautiful and defining themselves in God, but I was oblivious to my own struggles with the same thing. I read Psalm 139 almost every day now and love hearing God tell me how He made me perfect and beautiful. He made me to be His image bearer and I can and will be the woman of God that He has called me to be and that I want to be and I will not allow anyone to tell me otherwise! There is such power in those verses.

There could never be a more beautiful you
Don't buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you can do
So there could never be a more beautiful you
-More Beautiful You, Jonny Diaz

For it was You who created my inward parts; You knit me together in my mother's womb. I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know this very well. Psalm 139: 3-4

I told y'all when I wrote about camp about all of the warfare that went on there and how it really shook us up for a while. And now here I am, facing even more. I'm not quite sure how to word this. I feel like I have really heard God directing me and now I'm doubting that. I'm having a hard time discerning what is my own desires and what is God's voice. And was what I thought was God's voice really my own? But I really prayed against my own desires and practically begged God to make His voice loud and clear and I felt like He did. So why do the circumstances not line up with what I thought I heard Him saying? I'm really seeking Him with my whole heart and I know He can and will speak to me, but right now I'm terrified that I won't hear what He is saying. My mom pointed out to me today that this is just another way Satan is trying to get to me. I have to stand firm on knowing what I heard God say to me even when faced with scrutiny from other people. I'm not living to please them anyway. Hebrews 7:25 says that He intercedes for us. Back to the dictionary, intercede to intervene on behalf of another. When I don't know what to pray or what's going on, it's so nice to know that Jesus is there to intervene for me and take over the situation.

I know I have a knack for rambling when it comes to this thing, and by now it is 1:38 am which only makes that worse. But the most incredible truth that God has given me these past few days is this:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all- how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither present nor future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:28, 31-33, 35, 37-39 That's right, back off Satan!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Ode to Bigness

A little story about my dearest Casey Tatum, aka Bigness, upon her graduation.

Once upon a time there was a girl named Caitlin who reluctantly decided to go through recruitment and join a sorority. She fell in love with the ladies of Alpha Gamma Delta and accepted a bid from them on that cold January morning in 2008. That afternoon, she went to Lewis Annex and met the rest of her pledge class and here Mama Squirrel, Casey. Mama led all the new baby squirrels as they ran down the hill and met their new sisters who were waiting for them at the bottom.

The next night was the baby squirrels' first chapter. What they didn't know was that it was also Big/Little reveal. When Caitlin turned around and saw Casey standing behind her, she was so excited! Yay family!

Casey was a wonderful Mama Squirrel and taught the babies all about Alpha Gamma Delta and in March they were initiated and were officially sisters!

The time had come for Jessi (Casey, Lindsey, and Alison's Big) to graduate and for the family to do her senior spotlight. Lindsey came to chapter that night and met her newest family members for the first time. And took lots of pictures. Because that's what Lindsey Carter does.

Soon enough it was time for Caitlin's first AGD formal. It was a fun night of getting dressed up, dancing, and hanging out with all the sisters.

Summer came and went and school was starting again. Caitlin does not particularly enjoy the outdoors and dirt and hiking, but the rest of the family was going to Dick's Creek and so she decided to fake it and go along too.

One day, Jessi came to visit and the family was complete again.

Cheers for Charity rolled around and, while they did not do so great with the whole cheerleading part, they did take some real cute pictures.

For Christmas, they decided to have a tacky family dinner. As always, they took many ridiculous pictures and had lots of fun. And Casey put a wreath on her head and got it stuck, which was definitely the best part of the night.

January came and it was time for recruitment! Caitlin had never been through recruitment on the sister side before and loved going through the whole thing with Casey. She kept her stress level down and helped paint the awesome signs for bid day.

Bid day was a blast! From the moment the new girls ran down the hill, the Lambda family was on a mission to find what would be their newest additions and Casey's G-baby.

The next day the family didn't just grow, it exploded with 3 new members, and Case became Brittany's Big Mama. Not long after, they added Sara to the family and doubled in size from the beginning of the semester. Now Case had 2 G babies!

In March, Case left for England for a month. It was very sad without her and Ruby Hollow was not the same. Even though she couldn't come to initiation and Feast of Roses, Linds and Caitlin made sure she was still there in some form.

When she came back there was a big celebration at the airport!

Luckily, Case came back just in time for spring formal! And rocked a hot pink dress which made Caitlin very proud.

Whether we're having fun after a candle lighting on the drill field,

hiking at Preacher's Rock,

camping for sisterhood retreat,

or going to the zoo,

Case makes everything 10 times more fun than it really should be. She makes me laugh more than anyone I know, always has a listening ear, and encourages me when I need it the most. Case, I don't know how I would have ever made it through these 2 years without you. I am so proud of you and can't wait to see what God has in store for you in Carrollton. I love you Bigness!!!