My baptism!

13 Apr

Saturday night, I was finally baptized.  Growing up in a church, I always knew what baptism meant. I knew that it was an important step.  I just kept putting it off. Before going to the Summit. the churches I attended required registering for getting baptized, or something similar.  At Summit, it was different.  So, for the past year, I’ve felt this urge every time they’ve done baptisms.  Very clearly the Holy Spirit telling me it was time. I almost got up at Church at the Ballpark to go down front.  But I didn’t, mainly because I knew my parents wanted to be thereI’ve been going to the Cary campus since it opened.  I got involved in a small group, and felt a sense of community at church I hadn’t felt in a long time.  This led me to begin serving on the First Time Guests team.   I knew when they were going to be doing baptisms, but I found reasons not to get baptized.  Never told my parents, so that was always the biggest excuse.

The week before Easter, I was going through a really rough time.  At church on the Sunday before Easter, during worship, I couldn’t hold it together. I was crying from the hurt.  But in those moments, I felt more accepted than I ever had as the smiling cheerful person I usually am, people were legitimately concerned.  People I barely know. And that was the moment I knew.  The next week, I told my parents I was getting baptized.  Upset that I was going to be in Burlington on Easter Sunday and therefore not able to be baptized at the Cary campus, but knowing that I shouldn’t put it off any longer, I knew Saturday was the night to finally get baptized.  My parents came, my sisters came, two of my best friends came.  They all took time out of their busy schedules to celebrate this with me.  I was so excited waiting I could barely stand.  So many people I had never met congratulated me.  I guess the wet hair was a giveaway.  I felt like a part of a family in amazing ways, and I couldn’t stop smiling for hours after my baptism. It was certainly a time for celebration.

Thanks, Summit Church, for making me feel so loved, not only Saturday, but every minute I spend with any one of you.

And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36 ESV)

Oh Hell, where is your victory?

2 Apr

I am currently going through a 40 days of prayer guide through The Summit, and today was so wonderful and relevant to my life, but then again, when is the Word of God not relevant to life?  

“Oh friend, He is NEVER late.”  God’s timing is always perfect, and sometimes allowing pain to enter into life to realize just how great He is, and how pain is the building block that leads us closer to Him.  Looking back in my life, I can see that pain has been what has really taught me to draw nearer to God.  Because I have come to realize that God is the only one who will never fail me.  Family will fail me, Boys will fail me, Friends will fail me, Education will fail me.  God never fails.  I am really struggling in believing He has perfect timing though, I have been waiting and I don’t see a light up ahead.  But He is never late.  Jesus waited days to go to Mary and Martha after Lazarus died.  And while he waited, he wept with them.  

God is compassionate, He feels my pain, but there is a purpose in His allowing pain.  And then he can come and restore life to the darkest situations, like he restored life to Lazarus.  Jesus loves us, and weeps with us in our pain.  Praise the Lord that He does not allow us to hurt alone, but He gets down with us, wraps His arms around us, weeps with us.  And in time, works His miracles.  

It’s hard to understand his timing, but I will trust it.  I will trust Him.  For He knows more and cares more about my life than I ever could.  He can conquer every pain, he can perform miracles, but first, I have to give that pain to Him.  I have to believe He is capable of miracles.  He asked “do you believe?” before he brought Lazarus back to life.  Do I believe that He can work miracles for me?

Believe. UNC Basketball 2012

26 Mar

When I look back on this season in a few years, I will remember the injuries.  I will remember how we had Kendall Marshall, Dexter Strickland, and Leslie McDonald on the bench for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.  I will remember how there should have been no hope of making it past Kansas Sunday.  

I will also remember Stilman White and his amazing performance.  I will remember how Tyler Zeller played with heart, and how much of a solid guy he is.  I will remember that even with John Henson and a sprained ankle, we had hope. We tied Kansas at halftime with 3 stars in suits on the bench.  I will remember that every day is a great day to be a tar heel because this team went on that court at the beginning with hope. How the entire Carolina family rallied together with #Passfir5t for Kendall and used that to pay it forward. I will remember how the team really was a team.  I will remember how much I love the team, and win or lose, there is no team I would rather cheer for.  I will remember that we totally dominated Dook on their senior night, where they never held a lead.  I will remember being ACC regular season champions.  I will remember how I have never been prouder to be a tar heel, not even when I was a student in 2009 as I was rushing Franklin Street.  That’s crazy, some may say.  But I disagree, because in 2009, we had an easy path to the national championship, beating every team in the tournament by at least 10 points. This year, we came out, and those guys gave it their all.  We overcame adversity, and for some time in that Elite 8 game, every Carolina fan believed in what should have seemed impossible.  

I should be asleep

6 Mar

My mind is racing. I can’t stop thinking of that discussion.  I  keep thinking of all the words I wish I had said. And then I think of the words from another article, An Apology from a Man. and the line “your only obligation is to believe the truth about yourself.”  So, here’s to the man that will one day realize my Truth the way I am longing for.

I’m sorry society has made me feel like I need to compromise the values I have held since I was a little girl.  I’m doing my best not to compromise, but it is oh so difficult.  With all the messages out there screaming that no man will ever want me if I say no, it’s hard not to believe those lies. It’s hard to remember I am in this world, not of it, and the man I was made as an ezer kenegdo will also be in and not of the world, so he will not hold society’s values. I’m sure you’re struggling with the lies of society and with desires that conflict with what you believe. And I will do my best, when the time comes, to help you with those struggles. I’m sorry for believing society’s lie that if I don’t have a boyfriend something must be wrong with me.  I’m doing my best to wait for you, until you are ready to pursue me, and not feed the lie that I have to date.  I’ve never been the kind of girl who is able to go out and meet guys and have a different date every night.  I’ve spent countless nights alone instead of out with a guy who wanted to date me because I am trying to guard my heart so I don’t bring anymore emotional damage into my life, so I can love you with every ounce of my heart, until you come second in my life only to God Himself.  When I am asked by family members where my boyfriend is, I will do my best to remember you are out there.  That I am not going to end up the Old Maid.  And I am going to stop listening to society’s lies to me. I am going to secure myself in the Word of God so that when I am in situations that challenge me, I will be able to remember the promises God has placed in my heart.

You are going to be worth all the pain. All the tears I cry in bed, as a cry out to God to help me understand why I am still waiting.  I know God’s got a different timetable for my life than I do, and His is better than mine. Part of God’s greatness is this mystery.

From the time that I was a little girl, I have understood that I was created to be a help-meet. I don’t think I understood what that was at the time, but I certainly knew I wasn’t meant to live alone. I wish you could see your worth. I wish you believed in yourself the way I believe in you.  I wish I was able to encourage you with that now.  But you had better believe that once we are together, I will show you that the past has made you a stronger man, and that you will be fine as a boyfriend, as a husband.

This time alone is hard. So very hard.  But I believe it will be worth it. I believe God is preparing us for each other.  It is so hard to wait patiently.  It is so hard to see God’s will in this time of pain.  I’m only 22, and the average age of marriage is getting older.  I know all this. But I also know the aches, I also know the loneliness. I know you won’t fix that.  Lonely single people become lonely married people because they don’t let God fill them the way only God can.  But I also know there is a desire in my heart that is not a bad thing, as long as I don’t idolize it. And I believe God’s promise to me, “delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” I believe God is faithful to His promises. So I will wait. I will prayerfully wait for you.

I am going to live my life to the fullest.  I am going to finish grad school, find a job teaching, and serve God with every part of me.  When we are both ready, you’ll show up, man up, and pursue me the way I was meant to be pursued.  I don’t need you. But I want you. You are worthy. I can’t wait to show you that, to serve you, and with you in this world for the Kingdom.

Blessed are those who wait on the Lord… but waiting sure isn’t easy.

27 Feb

So often, I’m told I have the gift of patience.  I mean, I want to teach special education, I work at a children’s museum, I worked at a camp for kids with autism.  And I love all of those things.  So I see where people can think that I am patient.  But I guess that is a different kind of patience from the patience required to wait on the Lord.  

I feel like I am in a waiting period of life right now. Waiting for so many things I want, that I believe God wants to give me.  I pray about them so often, and every time, recently, I have been reminded of verses telling me to wait on the Lord.  Like the Song of Solomon verse “Do not arouse or awaken love until the time is right.” Or the verse “wait on the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait on the Lord.” Or, the verse currently written on my closet mirror, Isaiah 30:18.  

Waiting is so hard.  I don’t want to wait.  And I have recently become convicted that my problem with waiting on God is a trust problem. I believe God is powerful, but I don’t believe that my concerns are also His concerns.  I don’t believe they are worth the time of God who created the universe.  I mean, it’s just a little heartache.  It’s just a guy I really like.  It’s just finding a job… There are far bigger problems that God needs to focus on.  And that’s where I’m wrong.  God CARES that I am hurting. God cares that I have these desires.  God isn’t going to break His promise of  “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  God LONGS to bless me.  To bless every single one of his people. And that is amazing.  To know I am worth it.  To know that I don’t have to be upset because I feel like God is making me wait too long.  God’s time isn’t the same as mine.  I thought I’d have a clue as to where I was going in life.  Turns out, God’s in control.  Times of waiting aren’t meant to be painful and to test patience. Times of waiting are to make sure I’m truly following God’s will, not mine.  Times of waiting are to prepare me.  Times of waiting are blessings.  I don’t have to worry about waiting periods.  God IS faithful.  God loves far more than I could ever understand.  Take comfort in these waiting periods and blessings will come.

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you,

He rises to show you compassion.

For the LORD is a God of justice,

Blessed are all who wait for Him.

 

And thinking, come back home.

24 Feb

“But sometime when the springtime comes and the sifting moonlight falls, they’ll think again of this night here and of these old brown walls, of white Old Well and of Old South. With Bell’s deep booming tone, they’ll think again of Chapel Hill, and — thinking — come back home.” -Thomas Wolfe

It’s a beautiful day in North Carolina.  Just a few days ago, there was snow on the ground, and now it is in the 70s.  And while it is beautiful in Raleigh, days like today I really miss the quad in Chapel Hill. I miss the shouts of Gary, the Pit Preacher.  I miss passing tour groups by the Old Well.  

Those four years at Carolina were wonderful.  Not just because of the education, no that is merely a small part of it.  Chapel Hill is a place that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.  And days like today are one of the reasons why.  There is, in my opinion, no place more beautiful than Chapel Hill in the springtime.  And after four years, they ask you to leave.  It hurts.  I can’t believe it’s been around 9 months since leaving that place..  I don’t think it is something I will ever get over.  And I don’t think it is a feeling anyone that didn’t attend UNC can ever understand.  I have friends that say it’s pretentious, that give me a hard time about being so in love with UNC and barely caring about Meredith where I am getting my graduate education.  

For me, it’s the person I became in my four years at UNC.  I discovered I could achieve many things. I discovered that some people are way too smart.  I connected to everyone on campus when we played Dook, bonded by our love for the University and our hatred for that darker blue school down the road.  I grew closer in my faith with the help of friendships formed in my dorm and on campus, small groups I was a part of, and campus ministries I attended.  I discovered, in part, my passion for people with autism, through UNC.  I faced challenges, and overcame.  I learned about heartbreak and about true friendship.  

Chapel Hill and my time there will forever be in a part of my heart.  Luckily, I’m only 30 minutes away today, which is close enough for a visit.  Tonight, I will dine on B-Skis and walk Franklin Street.  I will revisit my dorm and my friends.  And I can’t wait. 

 “We’ll hold it briefly, feel its pulsing heart before letting it go to impart that Carolina magic to those students there now, and to all those who will come in the endless future, stay awhile, and leave a part of their soul in a place called Chapel Hill.”

Loneliness

24 Feb

I’ve always loved being surrounded by friends.  Not that I don’t appreciate time alone as well, but knowing that I can get to a friend quickly has been something I have always enjoyed and appreciated. It was something I took for granted through college. Living in the same dorm for 4 years, having the same roommate, and my closest friends staying in that dorm too were all wonderful things I definitely am realizing that I took for granted.  Now I have roommates, and while I like them, we’re not close.  My closest friends live 30 minutes away, if traffic is good. I like the people I work with, but I’m not super close to them either.  I’ve met awesome people at church, but they are people that I only see once a week for a few minutes before the service.

Being in Raleigh, working so much and being kept busy by school is something that has kept me from really developing any close relationships.  I spend lots of nights lonely and wishing I was better at making friends.  And when I see friends I feel even lonelier after they leave because I am reminded of how far away they live.  When I am upset, I can’t run down the hall to get a hug.  It’s tough.

So my solution has become to pray.  And while I still get lonely, I have grown so much closer to God. I am reminded I’m not alone.  While I can’t literally get a hug, I can get hope that is eternal.  I hate being lonely.  But at least I’m never alone.