Thursday, December 31, 2009

Remember That Time We Got Free Thrashers Tickets? That Was Fun.

Obviously I am way behind in my blogging, so everything is going to be a recap basically. Sooooo a few weeks ago our Sunday school class planned to go to Centennial Olympic Park and ice skate and eat at the Varsity. When David was waiting in line, a lady offered him 16 tickets to the Thrashers game the same night. Needless to say, we abandoned ice skating and headed to the game and had so much fun!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Is That Even Really A Book Of The Bible?

That's the reaction from more than just a couple of my friends when I told them I was studying Habakkuk. Oddly enough, Habakkuk has a very special place in my heart.

My grandparents, Ma and Pa, live in Suches, a little down 30 minutes north of Dahlonega. Also known as the middle of nowhere. They just got internet last week. They have had their cell phones for about 3 months now but have only actually used them twice and don't know their phone numbers. There is no cell phone service in Suches. When we're there we are completely disconnected from the rest of the world. I read a lot when I'm there. It was really late on May 14, 2005 and I was sitting on the bed reading my Bible. For some reason I decided that I was going to read Habakkuk. I read this verse: "Look at the nations and watch and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." (1:5). This verse came to me at exactly the right time. A month earlier I really felt God calling me into ministry. I was confused and scared and didn't know what anything He was showing me meant, but, through this verse, God showed me that He had it all under control. I wrote the date next to the verse in my Bible and have come back to it more times than I can remember.

For this reason, I decided to start studying Habakkuk. I have a really hard time when we're not having Bible study because I'm not specifically given something to study, so I chose Habakkuk. Random, I know, but it's something I've always wanted to do. Mostly because I do not understand it at all. So I have been studying it one little bit at a time using any commentaries I can find and my Greek/Hebrew dictionary. And it has blown me away! God has showed me so much that is so applicable to my life right now. The first section (1:2-4) is Habakkuk's questions. He's looking at the world and wondering why there is so much sin and wickedness. Why does it seem as though God isn't even there? Habakkuk asks, "How long will I cry for help and You will not hear?" (verse 2). This clearly isn't the first time he has prayed and asked these questions. Sometimes I think that I get the mindset that I am not allowed to ask these questions. I am supposed to just accept God's answer, not tell Him my real feelings on the issue (which is dumb because, hello!, He already knows them), and move on. Even Habakkuk, a prophet and a man of God, asked the hard questions. Maybe, just maybe, it's ok for me to ask too.

In the next section we see God's answer to Habakkuk. After so long, God is finally giving an answer! ...and it is far from what Habakkuk expected. God basically tell Habakkuk that He has this under control, the Babylonians will get what they deserve, and for Habakkuk to just do what he is told. And when Habakkuk realizes that it is all out of his control, he praises God- I mean really praises Him!

God doesn't always answer prayers the way that we expect. In fact, I feel like He, more often than not, answers them completely oppositely of what I expect. But that's ok. Because I am not in control. Thank goodness, because I would make such a mess of this life! How could I do anything but praise Him?!

I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in God my Savior! -Habakkuk 3:18

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Weekend of Epic Proportions

Last weekend was one seriously fine weekend to say the least. Everyone was finally home for Christmas!

Friday night started with going to the Bethlehem Walk with Mary, TK, and Mike. It never feels like Christmas until you go to the Bethlehem Walk. Mary and I were way more into it than TK and Mike were though. We went back to Mary's house and some more people came over and we had a nice little fire in the backyard. Nothing huge, not a big deal to most, but I waited all week for this night. I seriously love these people and love being with them so much.

Saturday night Kelly, Mary, Nelly, Susan, Kevin, David, Mike and I went to the Chris Tomlin concert. Y'all, it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to! and not just a concert- a complete worship experience for sure. I'm talking bring you to tears, leave you speechless kind of worship. Now, backing up a little, Nelly, Mike, and I met Kelly, David, Kevin, and Susan down there and Mary had to come later. At the end of the concert, we told Mike to go with Mary so she wouldn't be by herself and we would all meet at the Varsity shortly. Suddenly Nelly and I could not figure out where I had parked my car. We wandered the street a little and finally had to call Mary and Mike to come and pick us up and help us find the car. We finally found it... locked inside the parking deck. I had a bit of an emotional day that day (I woke up to news that my dog died for starters...), and this was the last straw for me. I started freaking out and crying and we could not figure out how to get my car out! We eventually found a little open door that we could walk through, found a phone number to call inside while Mary and Mike waited outside for us, and eventually got my car out. What an ordeal it was though! Overall, an amazing night with some sweet friends.

Sunday after church Mary and I headed to Brunswick for the annual December visit. That drive always seems to miserable, but this time it wasn't bad at all. We learned all the words to Down, Whatcha Say, Party in the USA, and Baby, It's Cold Outside. Lil Wayne better watch out because we do the rap part of Down better than he does. *disclaimer: we actually never listen to this kind of music which is what makes the whole thing even more amusing. Yes, there are videos. Haven't decided if they will ever surface or not. Anyway, we got there just in time for church and spent the rest of the night (after the boys went to bed) talking with Coach and Jessica. Until about midnight to be exact. Which is very late for them, but they love us. :) It is so good for my heart to be with them. I know I have said this before, but I am so thankful that they are in my life. The next 2 days were full of precious little boys who I love more than life itself, playing non stop, a trip to Goodwill, "pounding it" more times that necessary, listing 5 words that describe us, Jessica being really "good" at everything ;), learning to cook things, awesome apple pie, wearing flip flops again, a "who is funnier" competition between Coach and Jess, cuddling with Kirkland, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, and the list goes on and on. Point is, many good times and many laughs and many great talks with some seriously awesome people. Every time it gets harder and harder to leave them.

Could there possibly be a better start to Christmas break? Definitely not.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I Kissed Dating Goodbye?

I will be the first to say that I have developed some rather prudish opinions on dating. I'm not trying to be cynical at all, in fact I am very hopeful, but I've been hurt too many times and I'm done with it. Obviously the way I have tried to date in the past has not worked, so I am dedicating the next... who knows how long? to really seeking God on this and learning as much as I can about how God wants me to handle dating relationships in the future. We started Louie Giglio's series, Boy Meets Girl, in Sunday school and I decided to start reading I Kissed Dating Goodbye. Now, don't think I am saying I will not date, because I'm not, but the whole book is about letting go of the world's views and living to a higher standard, which includes my dating life.

I in no way intend to bash any of the boys I have dated, but I have always felt like I have had to set the physical boundaries or take control of situations and lead us, and I am learning that I am designed to be led. I want to be led. And I need a man who is stronger than me. Who will fight to protect my purity as much as I have fought to protect it. Someone who isn't afraid to be drastic if necessary to make sure that we do this God's way. And I refuse to ever settle for less.

I have learned so much and am so excited about what God is going to do in my future and how He is preparing me for my husband. These are just some of the things I have read or Louie has said over the past few weeks.

-relationships are successful when God is first and foremost in our hearts.
-I have intrinsic value because I am created in God's image. And so does the man I date.
- when my man looks at me one day and says, "wow!" it will be 100 miles short of the "wow!" God spoke when He created me.
- stop asking, "what can he give to me?" and start looking at what God has given him.
- something is going on between him and God that I can't top. and I don't want to.
- I can't sit here and wait unless I'm trusting God.
- God intended for us to be together, be naked, and feel so shame.
- without a relationship with Christ and my Creator, I can't have one with a man.
- God is thinking about my marriage.
- God has a mission for our lives together.
- my relationship with God is the key to the success of my relationship.
- When we make God's glory and other people's needs our priority, we position ourselves to receive God's best in our lives as well.
- Deepening intimacy without defining a level of commitment is dangerous. An intimate relationship is a beautiful experience that God wants us to enjoy. But He has made the fulfillment of intimacy a byproduct of commitment-based love.
- Physical involvement can distort two people's perspective of each other and lead to unwise choices. God knows we will carry the memories of our past physical relationships into our marriage. He doesn't want us to live with that guilt and regret.
- Unless a man is prepared to ask a woman to be his wife, what right has he to claim her exclusive attention? Unless she has been asked to marry him, why would a sensible woman promise any man her exclusive attention?
- We cannot live in the future, but neglecting our current obligations will disqualify us for tomorrow's responsibilities.
- God gives us singleness- a season of our lives unmatched in its boundless opportunities for growth, learning, and service- and we view it as a chance to get bogged down in finding and keeping boyfriends and girlfriends.
- As a single, you have the freedom right now to explore, study, and tackle the world. No other time in your life will offer these chances.
- In its wild abandonment to obedience, the God fashioned life leave no room for pettiness, insincerity, wasted time, or selfishness.
- The Christian with his or her eyes on the goal of sincere and intelligent love will find throwing out the world's approach to relationships as no sacrifice.
- All of the world's deceptions flow from the belief that love is primarily for the fulfillment and comfort of self.
- The world takes us to a silver screen on which flickering images of passion and romance play, and as we watch, the world says, "This is love." God takes us to the foot of a tree on which a naked and bloodied man hangs and says, "This is love."
- True love waits, but not just for sex. It waits for the right time to commit to God's brand of love- unwavering, unflagging, and totally committed.
-We must stop trying to fit God's ideas into the lifestyles society has defined for us and allow His values and attitudes to redefine the way we live.
- Only by learning to wait, and by a willingness to accept the bad with the good, do we usually attain those things that are truly worthwhile.
- The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.
- Our attempts to rush God's timing can spoil the beauty of His plan for our lives. Just because something is good doesn't mean we should pursue it right now.
- Before two people are ready for the responsibility of a commitment, they should content themselves with friendship and wait for romance and intimacy.
***this is my favorite: God has a perfect plan for your life. More than likely, that plan includes marriage and, somewhere in this world, God has the perfect person for you. You may or may not know this person right now. If you spend all of your time and energy trying to hunt this person down, you may actually do that person a disservice. This guy you will one day marry doesn't need a girlfriend or a boyfriend. What that person really needs is someone mature enough to spend the season before marriage preparing to be a godly wife.
- Waiting for God's timing requires trusting in God's goodness. We develop patience as we trust that God denies us good things in the present only because He has something better for us in the future.
- The key to contentment is trust. If we are discontented with singleness, we'll more than likely face discontentment when we're married. When we define our happiness by some point in the future, it will never arrive.

Ok, I know it's a lot, but it's good stuff y'all. Seriously.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

We're Halfway There, Livin' On A Prayer

First semester of the education program: check.

Things I learned this semester:
- I will survive.
- Sleep is essential.
- 4:30 will always feel too early, no matter how many days you get up at that time or how early you go to sleep.
- bring your iPod in the car or else sleep is impossible
- driving to placement alone almost always ends with a terrible fight to stay awake.
- no matter how great your lesson plan is, it won't go as planned and you will cry to your supervisor when the kids leave the room.
- someone's gotta cry. and most of the time it's me.
- nothing could replace the feeling you get when the kids run down the hall screaming your name and bombard you with hugs.
- the kids from your first placement will always be your favorite.
- there are great cooperating teachers... and then there are not so great ones...
- some supervisors are crazy.
- math is of the devil. oh wait, already knew that.
- so is phonics.
- getting dressed up every day is overrated.
- there will be days when the alarm isn't enough to wake you up but somehow a text message is. when this happens, it is necessary to throw on the closest outfit, grab makeup, and leave. in 3 minutes flat.
- a 15 to 20 minute nap after placement and before class is necessary in order to stay awake during class. so is doodling on your notes.
- lists, lists, lists.
- It's gonna be ok. Whatever it is, it's going to be ok.

With all of that being said, Christmas break has begun! I don't quite know what to do with myself. I actually still feel stressed out because I feel like I should be doing something. Weird, I know. Today I took my car to get new brakes, took a long bath and read, watched Bones, read some more, and made a cake. It's so nice to be able to relax a little. :) One semester down, 3 more to go!

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Favored Woman

Last week at church, our pastor talked about Mary. The older I get the more I appreciate Mary. She was younger than I am. I remember the first time I put myself in her shoes. I was 16. She was possibly about that age. But now I'm 20. Jesus had to have been a toddler by the time she was my age. Now I love babies. It literally hurts my heart when I see one and can't hold it. I just want to touch it and snuggle it. I am called to be a mother. I am going to be a mother. I need to be a mother. But y'all, I could not have a child right now.

Mary was an amazing woman. But she was just an ordinary girl. Why Mary? What would cause God to have favor on her? First of all, Mary knew scripture. I wish I could remember exactly how many times, but the whole conversation between Mary and Gabriel is full of references to scripture. She knew what she was talking about. She knew the prophecies that had been made about the Messiah. She was waiting too. Not only did Mary know God's Word, but she also applied it and believed it. Mary said, "I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said." Sometimes I wonder if I would be able to say that. Do I have that much faith? God picked Mary because she believed Him. Do I believe Him that much?

Second of all, Mary was submitted. Her entire life was fully submitted to God. Mary knew that submission comes with a price. She gave up her reputation. Everywhere she went, people probably judged her. How do you explain to people that you are pregnant with the Son of God? Who is going to believe that? How terrifying it would have been to tell Joseph. But she was committed to God's plan. Could I be that committed?

I want to be like Mary. I want to be the favored woman. What an incredible woman she was.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Baby, Baby, The Stars Are Shining For You

Linds and I were discussing how annoying it is when people put things such as, "can't wait to get home to see my baby!" in their Facebook status when they are clearly teenagers and only dating and, let's be honest, it's probably not even going to last because you are 14 years old and in no way prepared for the commitment of marriage. Perhaps I am excessively sensitive to this subject because of this new learn-as-much-as-I-can-about-Godly-dating kick I'm on, but nonetheless, it is obnoxious. In our attempts to avoid studying, we have composed what you are about to read. Feel free to add more, if the Spirit so leads you.

Qualifications to Use The Word "Baby" In Your Status:
- you have a car seat in your car
- you will be going home to a legit child
- you have an infant that you have recently given birth to
- you have bottles in your refrigerator
- you are a mom or dad
- you have changed at least 6 diapers in the past 24 hours
- you have changed clothes at least twice because someone spit up on them
- you got less than 5 hours of sleep last night and you are not a college student
- you spend more time at Baby Gap than Gap itself
- you accidentally call your husband "daddy"
- your purse suddenly begins looking more like a diaper bag
- you often find yourself talking to adults in baby talk
- your profile picture is no longer a picture of you, but of your child
- you have a crib, and it does not refer to your house

Reasons NOT to Use The Word Baby In Your Status When Referring to A Significant Other:
- it makes others throw up in their mouths a little
- your significant other is not, in fact, a baby. that would be called statutory rape/ pedophilia.
- said person does have a name that is intended to be used.
- there is a fine line when practicing PDA, and this has crossed it.
- his friends will make fun of him, and yours will too behind your back
- you generally want your legit baby to sleep in his or her own bed. this is not true of your significant other. AS LONG AS YOU ARE MARRIED!

*side note: I am not opposed to the use of the word "baby" as a term of endearment, just the ridiculous use.