It’s hard to think we’re only here for a little while on this Earth--we're here one day and gone the next. Life is so short, but we make it what it is. Yeah, there are situations out of our control, but how we respond is our choice. Do we respond in anger or in love and kindness? Well, however we respond, it shows where our priorities are--with Christ or with ourselves.
I've been learning this a lot lately. Life has become stressful to me and I hate that I feel this way. Situations come up almost every day where I have the choice, do I respond in love or anger? I wish I could say that I always respond in love with gentle words, unfortunately, I'd be lying if I said that were true. I can always tell when I'm going to have a bad day and I know this is cliche and people say it all the time, but it's always when I don't start my day with Christ, whether it be a prayer or a bible study or whatever. I just have to start my day with God or else it's not the same.
I hope that my blog is encouraging and helpful to everyone who reads this whether we're close friends or just aquaintances. So in my following updates, I hope to encourage you through my mistakes and through what God is doing in my life. Read this and think about how you can learn from what God has shown me. It's no fun to have to learn the hard way, but sometimes, it's the only way we learn. And God knows that. He puts us in tough situations just so that we learn to lean on Him and use His strength to get us through. James 1 talks all about that.
I think last time I updated, I told you all that I am going to Crossroads Bible College. I LOVE IT! Everyone who asks me, "Do you wish you would have transferred sooner?" I always respond with, "No, God worked this out perfectly." I'm not saying I liked IUPUI. I hated it, but God used IUPUI to prepare me for Crossroads. I know, you're probably thinking, "How did He use a secular college to prepare you for a Christian college? Is that even possible?" At IUPUI, I had to fight for my faith, I had to stand up for Christ or decide not to follow Him. I learned how to lovingly talk about God to others, but I also learned that there are a lot of other doctrines out there and I need to know the truth that is in the Bible. I mean, how many of us have actually read the Bible all the way through, cover to cover, and know what all the Bible holds. I've read a lot of it, but at that point at IUPUI, I hadn't read it all and therefore, I didn't know fully what I was trying to defend. I began to read the Bible and am still in the process of reading it in a year, and this has helped me learn how to defend my God and what I personally believe. So now, attending a Christian College, I am able to know what I believe and why I believe it. I am able to listen to what the professors say and either say, "Yeah the Bible supports that," or, "No, you've got it wrong. That's our of context." Just because I go to a Christian college doesn't mean that everything they teach is purely biblical. I know that sounds bad, but I can't be a sponge for everything that people say just because they proclaim Christianity. Even at CBC, I have to make sure what they say is backed up biblically. Had I began at CBC, I don't think I would have done that, I would have just taken it all in and believed whatever they said. God prepared me. Moral of the story: Whatever God is putting you through now, consider it as preparation for what He has planned in the future.
Something else that God is teaching me is to trust in Him. I stress about the littlest things. It's to the point where I feel sick to my stomache because I think so much about everything and then I feel like I can't eat or can't sleep. It's not healthy. But, feeling like this and getting to the point of physically feeling sick are all signs of my distrust in God. I need to be placing my faith in Him and in His power and His strength. I can't let the stress of this life control me. However, that's easier said than done. But, prayer is powerful and so is His word. I have began to start every day with prayer. I didn't know how much of a difference that would make. I feel like no matter what happens, God is in control, and that's how I should be feeling. My encouragement to you is to start your day with God and see how much of a difference that makes. It could literally be life changing.
Okay, last big subject I want to cover. I am part of a bible study for young adults on Wednesday nights. I absolutely love it. I think that we are all very encouraging to one another and not only that, but God is definitely working through this group. I can see growth in each and every one of us. It's amazing! Right now, we're going through Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and, for those of you who don't know, I love this book. I even went so far as to get a tattoo with the title on my shoulder. (You can laugh, just not to my face. I'm quite fond of the tattoo, sorry if it offends anyone.) Anyways, this book is so powerful and I truly believe God gave Francis the words to write this book. Crazy Love is about how we need to start listening to God and praying to Him as our God who loves us because He does, He loves us so much and for what reason, no one can fathom, but God loves us and He deserves all we have and nothing less.
Think about how much love you feel from your parents or your spouse or your kids. That is nothing compared to how much God loves us. It's crazy to think about. This past Wednesday, we watched a video on the third chapter of the book made by Fancis himself. At the end he asked a question that went something like this, "Do you remember the first time you felt Christ's love and understood the full depth of it? Where were you? How did you react?" That wasn't quoted quite perfectly, but you get the picture. So my question to you is this-- When did you fall in love with Christ so completely that it filled all of you? Where were you? If you feel comfortable enough, I'd love to have you comment on this, if not, just think about it to yourself and to God. He knows when you fell in love with Him. Know this though, God always loved you and still loves you no matter what you've done and no matter what you will do, He loves you. Period.
Okay small updates real quick. Sorry this is so long.
If you didn't know, Clay and I are officially together and I'm loving every minute. I really feel like God has placed us together for a reason and I can see God at work in both of our lives. The best part about this is that we encourage each other in our relationship with Christ. I started to become more attracted to him when I saw him drawing closer to Christ. I saw a change begin to form and the more he falls for Christ, the more I fall for him. I know that sounds cheesy and lame, but its the truth. And, for all you people out there thinking, well what happens if he starts to regress a little. Clay isn't perfect and that's not what I'm looking for. I look to God for perfection and He never fails. God is my all in all, and for some reason, He's allowing Clay and I this opportunity to serve Him together as a couple and maybe more later. I'm genuinely happy and I think he is too :)
I also have began to help ot with the middle school girls on Wednesday nights. I mention this simply for prayer that I would be impactful and a great influence on these girls. My prayer is that if they ever need someone to talk to then they would feel comfortable talking with me. I just want to help them see God and turn to Him.
Lastly, again, sorry this is so long, but Rhea just had surgery to remove the melanoma they found on her arm. Pray for a quick recovery and pray that they got it all so she can be done with this all. She has been through so much and she is seriously the strongest person I know. Tell her congratulations on finishing her leukemia treatment too. She deserves so much more than a congrats for that, but sometimes, the smallest things can make a difference.
You all are awesome for keeping up with me and if you made to the bottom of reading this whole entry then you're even more awesome because you listened to all my blabbing on and on. I hope this was encouraging to read and I hope maybe God taught you something through this as He has taught me. God l