Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another (Hebrews 10:25, NIV).
Over the summer I was a counselor for High School week at Lake Springfield Christian Assembly and the missionary for the week was a couple named Chris and Twila who are going to Thailand. The last night of the week a couple of the girls and I sat with them at dinner and got to talk to them and hear their stories and after dinner was over I sat and talked with them for a while afterward. We talked about a lot of things, from relationships to maturity, to God’s calling, to missions, to what it means to be broken. It was incredible how every single topic we talked about was something that I had been thinking about lately and everything they said was exactly what I needed to hear. I love how God knows exactly what’s on our hearts and knows exactly who and when and where to put people in our lives to encourage us and bless us.
Before the week had started I had kinda been thinking questions like, “Who are you?” “What is your purpose?” “What are you doing to fulfill that purpose?” Those were questions that seemed to keep coming up in messages and conversations and songs and just popping up in my head. And after we finished talking I went to the main session and they were already in the middle of worship and the song was The Stand by Hillsong, “And I’ll stand, with arms high and heart abandoned, in awe of the one who gave it all. And I’ll stand my soul Lord to You surrendered. All I am is Yours.” I realized that all I am is because of what God has done, He gave it all for me, and because of what He did, I stand surrendered to Him in whatever way He wants to work through me. I’m His child and I am loved by God. I just stood there so overwhelmed with how everything that night was like God speaking directly to me. First through Chris and Twila and then through the first song I walked in on…
But it got even better, we then sang the song From the Inside Out, that goes, “Your will above all else, my purpose remains, the art of losing myself in bringing You praise” and it hit me that my purpose was also to lose myself for the purpose of bringing Him praise. I wrote and re-wrote and re-re-wrote a longer explanation of what it means to “lose myself” but then I thought of this song by Tenth Avenue North that perfectly expresses what I wanted to say.
But if I let these dreams die
If I lay down all my wounded pride
If I let these dreams die
Will I find that letting go lets me come alive?
So empty my hands
Fill up my heart
Capture my mind with You
It’s so incredible how God can speak to us through so many ways, it doesn’t just have to be an audible voice, it can be through a song, a verse, a book, a person. I love that there are so many ways to hear from God and that He’s not limited to just an altar or a church or speaking through a “priest” but that He actually lives in us and speaks to us through everything. It’s so amazing to think about and I hope that I can live every day of my life to fulfill God’s wonderful purpose for it.
Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.
Now I surrender.
Tonight during Campus Church the message was about this being the best school year ever and what we could do to make it the best school year ever. And in my mind during the prayer afterwards I was listing all the things I was worried about, all my fears about school, my concerns about what was going to happen, my worries about classes and friends and life in general…
Then we sang this song…
“He can move the mountains … He is mighty to save … author of salvation … Jesus conquered the grave.”
And it hit me.
I was singing to a God who is the author of my salvation and I’m worried about Him taking care of the little things going on my life?
He can move mountains and I’m concerned that maybe I won’t do good in classes?
He conquered the grave because of His love for me and I’m nervous about having to make completely new friendships here?
This year will be the best year ever and it will be that because God is with me and “If our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what can stand against us?”
So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.
“God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” – Acts 17:27
Anyone who has been to Cornerstone Festival has probably heard my dad talk about four leaf clovers and how they relate to God, but I thought I’d write my own little note about it since not everyone does go to Cstone and because lately I’ve found more and more four (and even five!!!!) leaf clovers which is really exciting to me. :D
Most people think that four leaf clovers are really rare and yeah, there are more three leaf clovers then four, but there are actually way more four leaf clovers out there then people think. It just takes the time to look and seek out them out. It seems like generally people start looking for a four leaf clover and than give up when it takes a while (me! :P). They don’t know how to pick out four leaves from the multitudes of three leaf clovers because the fourth leaf is kinda hidden behind all the three leaf clovers and mixes in with them, kinda blending in. But the four leaf clover IS there, just waiting for someone to find it.
God is kinda like that too. Some people think that He doesn’t exist, or that if He does He isn’t involved in our lives, or that it is a rare occurrence when God actually works in someone’s life. But God is more real then some think, and He is here with us all the time and He is more involved in our every day lives then we sometimes realize. It’s not like He always reveals Himself in big ways, He’s sometimes in the small things in our lives, kinda mixed in among everything else waiting for us to see Him. :)
I love hearing people’s stories about how they found a four leaf clover, like they were praying and sat down in the grass and there was a four leaf clover, just right there. Or they’ll be walking and be asking God to give them a sign and there’ll be a four leaf clover right by their foot. Stuff like that is so cool and I love when people have those stories. <3 Here’s my story of the first four leaf clover I found…
Last year at Clover Ranch (my dad has found hundreds of four leaf clovers clovers here, where we live, hence the name) I was outside with Susanna after working on something in the house and we were sitting in the grass talking about how neither of us had ever found a four leaf clover before. And I was kinda disappointed that I had never found one and everyone else in my family had. So I was telling her this and telling her how I had been talking to another friend, Zack, who told me that maybe shooting stars were my “four leaf clovers” because I see shooting stars all the time and not everyone sees them as much as I do. I also love stars and my favourite verse is about shining like stars (Philippians 2:15). And as I said what he said “maybe shooting stars are your four leaf clovers” I looked over and there was a four leaf clover!! Like a good inch higher then the other clovers in the grass, just sticking out waiting for me to find. It was incredible and made me so happy. :D
I read this really great quote that says, “To see God in everything makes life the greatest adventure there is.” While I don’t always see God in everything (I know how hard it is to sometimes see Him in the midst of pain and hurt and when nothing is going right) but I have faith that He is there. Because just like a four leaf clover, even if you don’t see Him, He’s always there.
“That you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation in which you shine like stars in the universe.” – Philippians 2:15
Live a life of love.
“Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:7-8, NIV). The heart of the redemptive story is that while we were still sinning and being selfish and turning our backs on God, Christ died for us.
Live a life of love.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:37-40, NIV). The two greatest commandments are to love God and love people. That’s it. Every rule can be summed up in those two. There’s no way around it.
Live a life of love.
“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love” (Galatians 5:6, NIV). The only thing that counts is that we express our faith through love. Faith without works is dead, but if our works aren’t done in an attitude of love, they’re worth nothing.
Live a life of love.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the 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 8:38, NIV). Nothing can separate us from Love. Even when it may not feel like God is there, nothing will ever be able to separate us from Him and His love.
Live a life of love.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:1-8, NIV). Nothing is worth doing if it’s not in love. You can have everything but without love you are nothing. You can do everything but without love you gain nothing.
Live a life of love.
“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2, NIV). We are dearly loved children and are called to live life loved. It’s always been about love. “For God so loved the world…” Everything we do is because of that Love. And we’re called to live a life of love.
This is love
Jesus came and died
And gave His life for us
Let our voices rise
And sing for all He’s done
Our fear is overcome
Our God is love
So it finally hit me Monday night that I’m really leaving. Everyone has been asking me for months if I’m scared or nervous or sad to be leaving or if it’ll be hard to be away from home and I’ve just been so excited that I really didn’t feel scared or nervous or sad at all. But that night when we were all laying outside looking for shooting stars I realized how much I’m going to miss everyone. When everyone was leaving I cried and didn’t want the night to end or to have to say goodbye anymore. I wish that there was a way I could never have to say goodbye to any of you guys, but I know that it’s not going to be goodbye forever and even though things will change, it won’t change the fact that you’ll always be my friends, no matter how far apart we all are.
I was just reading Ecclesiastes and read this “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,4, NIV). And was thinking, as sad as I am now to be leaving, I’m also still excited about going to Virginia. I’m excited about what God is doing and how He’s going to work in my life and I can’t wait to see what happens at Liberty. Even though it will be different to adjust to living away from home and away from you guys, it’ll be fun and just a new season of my life. I’m excited to meet new people and make new friends, and for all the things I’m going to learn, and the ways I’m going to grow and just the experience in general. Even if it’s hard and sad, it’ll be exciting and fun at the same time.