Thursday, May 31, 2012

Pleasing Who?

I have a tendency to worry about what people think of me.  Now, I think it's good to think twice before we say anything, and that goes for messages and emails, too ("Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger." ~James 1:19), but as with most things in life, we can go way overboard in this.

But then I've been thinking about Josh (go figure), and why he was so special to each of us who knew him.  Why is it that his life is so inspiring to us?  Why do each of us want to be just like him?  Why are we comparing everything we do with how Josh would have done it, or would have wanted us to do it?  No, we shouldn't be worshiping Josh or placing him on a pedestal.  He certainly wasn't perfect; he had plenty of flaws, but we can definitely be learning from his example.

Josh was so transparent.  This is only one of the reasons we all want to be more like him, but it's huge.  He was one of the most honest people I've ever met, but somehow he knew how to say things, honest things that might be hard to hear, in a way that people would receive them.  He spoke the truth in love.  He shared his feelings freely.  He didn't hide things from people just because they may have thought he was being too outgoing.

I was praying about this a few nights ago, and then I opened my Bible up.  I realized I had just finished the book I had been reading previously, and hadn't decided on the next one to read, but I felt the urge to turn a couple of pages to the right, which turned out to be Galatians.

Wow.  I love that God directed me to read this very passage.

I am concerned about what others think of me.  I don't want people thinking I'm not acting properly, or that I'm not doing what I ought to do.  I never used to talk to guys very much, because I was concerned that people might think I was being overly...outgoing?  (I'm trying to be as tactful as I can here...)

But I've noticed, since Josh passed away,

since I've been paying attention to the still, small voice of God more closely,

since I've stopped caring so much about what others think,

that God has actually been telling me to go out of my way and talk to people, including guys.

Josh didn't not talk to girls, he talked to them all he time.  He went out of his way to make sure nobody was left out; nobody was in the corner.  How many times have I left someone sitting alone, just because he was a guy and I didn't want people to think things?


Life is so short; so precious, and you never know who may treasure memories of conversations with you when you're no longer here.

If I was never supposed to talk to guys, then why has God been telling me to so frequently?  I never used to listen to that voice, particularly when it was telling me to go talk with a young gentleman, but now that I am, I've been having such great, encouraging conversations with girls and guys alike.

How hard is it to just ask someone how they're doing, and listen to their answer?

I guess I'm just seeing how many times I've not gone and talked to people I ought to have, because I was worried about what other people would think.  I was, "trying to please man."  

The thing is, I've been the person left in the corner before; the person nobody would talk to, and I know how badly that hurts.  So, why would I inflict that on others?

I'm not saying we should say or do whatever pops into our minds.  Please don't misunderstand me.  We do definitely need to be careful about the words we use.

"A Gentle tongue is a tree of life, 
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit."
(Psalm 15:4)

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, 
and those who love it will eat its fruits."
(Psalm 18:21)

My point is we use these verses to advocate not talking when we ought to.  

I'm just starting not to care what others think of me, and I pray that I never will again.

I don't care if people think I'm too forward because I have one on one conversations with guys.  As a friend of mine once said, "Guys are people, too!"

I don't care if I miss visiting with my friends because someone new needs to be talked to.

I don't think Josh cared, and I don't either.  One step in the right direction.


Over and out,


P.S. I graduated high school on the 22nd!  Post coming soon... 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

In Memoriam

Almost two weeks ago now Josh left this broken world to be with his Creator and Savior.

The Memorial celebration of his life is to be held this Saturday.  For those of you unable to attend, I hope you'll take the time to watch the live streaming of this joyous event at: 11:00 Pacific Time, Saturday, May 19.

Please continue to keep Josh's family and friends in your prayers.

Over and out,


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I Want it NOW

I am ever waging a war against discontentment.  Right now, I'm content with what I have, where I live, my family and my friends, but myself...that's a different story.

I have been wanting fruit so badly.  I want to see that God is using me to further His Kingdom!  I want to know for sure, but focusing on fruit is just as bad as pouring too much energy into anything else, other than glorifying God.  

"He [the blessed man] is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, 
and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers."
(Psalm 1:3)

Okay, so am I not one of the blessed?  I'm not seeing too much fruit, so... Wait a minute.  "yields its fruit in its season."

It's season.  Not harvest time, when I see fruit in everyone else's lives, but rather, the time that God knows is my season.  I've been seeing so much fruit coming from Josh's death, and in other friends' lives and it's hard not to become discouraged.  The thing that's difficult to remember is that God's timing is best.

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I don't know that Josh saw much fruit in his life before he died.  Maybe he did, I certainly can't say for sure, but this does make me wonder.  He definitely didn't see the kind of fruit that is being harvested now.  I wonder if he was getting discouraged over not seeing much fruit.  God, the great gardener, knows when the fruit is ready to be harvested, and it's rarely the same time for each of us.

Sometimes I can get so obsessed with producing fruit that I forget to prune the tree.  I'm too caught up in looking up into the dying branches to remember that the tree needs watering.  I see the tree next to me, which is beautiful and simply stuffed with its juicy crop, and I become disgusted in my own poor, sad, naked little branches.  Somehow I don't stop to consider why the other tree is doing so well.

Josh didn't do anything extraordinary, but he did all the ordinary things in an extraordinary way: he did them for God.  I'm not saying Josh was perfect, but he got it.  Why would God trust me with precious fruit when I have neglected to deal with the bugs eating away at my roots?  

"Well done, good and faithful servant.  
You have been faithful over a little; 
I will set you over much."  
(Matthew 25:21)

I've been wanting fruit pretty badly.  And I think that's a good desire; it will hopefully push me to work hard at doing fruitful things for the Kingdom.  But, as with anything else, when it is taking too much of our time away from worshiping and glorifying God, it's not healthy.  And when I'm wanting the product, but not to produce it, then that's only going to be counterproductive.

You know what just hit me?  Wanting fruit too badly was what got us into this whole mess in the first place...


This post was kind of all over the place; I hope some of it made sense!  Love you all. <3

Over and out,


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Grains of Sand

I was working on this post before we heard the news about Josh.  I think it's more relevant than ever, 
and I want to share it with you.  This was written on day three of this last speech tournament.


Sometimes God moves a mountain all at once, and other times he subtly moves one small grain of sand at a time.  I have had speech rounds before where God has literally fed me each individual line of my speech, one at a time.  I've had rounds where I've gotten so into my topic or character that I finish so emotionally and physically drained that I've almost passed out.  I've Had rounds where God chose to humble me, and somehow He helped me to understand the message that He was teaching me, rather than being upset.

I could go on and on about the amazing experiences I've had in my four years of competing, but today was a grain of sand type of day.  God blessed me in so many ways today; so many little, tiny ways.  You know, each of my days are probably just as stuffed full of little miracles as today was, but I don't generally notice them...Oh, how I'm missing out!  Hearing people tell me that my eight year old sister prayed with them before their semis round brought me near tears.  Having one of my timers tell me that my Persuasive was exactly what she needed to hear made my day.  Praying with people before rounds put everything in perspective.  Seeing young men open doors for women, allowing them to walk somewhere first, and just being gentlemen was encouraging.  Hugging my mom, just filled me with joy.

My speech, "career," is almost done, and I've found myself fearing that I won't have the same faith awakening, stretching experiences once I'm done.  But really, God is just as involved in our lives everyday at home as He is during these times.  My little sister is just as much a blessing every day as she was today.  God can, and does, speak through each of us every day, just as He does when we give prepared speeches.  Praying for people doesn't work better at tournaments, He is just as much involved in our lives and answers our prayers in the same way when we pray on ordinary days.  Young men, believe it or not, do open doors and allow us to walk first and they are gentlemen (at least a good amount of them are...) in the, "real world," not just at tournaments. And I can most certainly hug my mom just as many times every day as I did today, and she's just as awesome on, "normal," days as when she's wearing a super-spy earpiece at tournaments (oh yeah, my mom is the bomb).


Since writing the above, God has been working in the most mysterious ways.  Josh is no longer on earth, and is rather praising God in his new home.  I qualified to Nationals in three events, two of which Josh helped me with, but qualifying has lost its wonder.  I'm now just wanting to present these speeches for God's glory, to make Josh proud.  People are hurting, feeling confused, possibly even angry.  But still, God works through the mountains and the grains of sand, and He is always right here with us, every step of the way.  

  1. All the way my Savior leads me,
    What have I to ask beside?
    Can I doubt His tender mercy,
    Who through life has been my Guide?
    Heav’nly peace, divinest comfort,
    Here by faith in Him to dwell!
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well;
    For I know, whate’er befall me,
    Jesus doeth all things well.
  2. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Cheers each winding path I tread,
    Gives me grace for every trial,
    Feeds me with the living Bread.
    Though my weary steps may falter
    And my soul athirst may be,
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see;
    Gushing from the Rock before me,
    Lo! A spring of joy I see.
  3. All the way my Savior leads me,
    Oh, the fullness of His love!
    Perfect rest to me is promised
    In my Father’s house above.
    When my spirit, clothed immortal,
    Wings its flight to realms of day
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way;
    This my song through endless ages:
    Jesus led me all the way.
    (Fanny Crosby)

    Please continue to keep Josh's family and friends in your prayers.  Also, his parents just found the blog post that he was working on, but was unable to finish, on his computer.  Please read that here.

    Over and out,


Monday, May 7, 2012

Not of this World

Josh, I miss you so much.  I wasn't super close to you; wasn't one of your best friends by any stretch, but you have influenced me in ways I can't explain.

Your joyful, happy, enthusiastic attitude has always amazed me.  Always running barefoot.  Always wearing shorts.  Always carrying your camera.  I wished I was as cheerful as you.  You told me once that you take ice cold showers, and I was impressed and kind of amazed.  This morning I almost took one, but I chickened out and turned on the hot water.

You helped us in so many ways at speech club!  You gave of your time so that we would do better, and you somehow always knew what to say.

Right now I can remember how you looked while you were coaching us on our speeches.  You always made sure you told us something we did well first, and you would get so excited over those things.  Then you would stare off and squint your eyes a little bit and think for a couple of seconds.  I could see the wheels turning in your head as you found the words to say.  And only when you had figured it out perfectly would you criticize anything in our speeches.  I love that.  I love that you understood how powerful words are, and how easy it is to say the wrong thing, so you thought about it.

Then you went off to ALERT, and we didn't see you for quite awhile.  You got back and you were so changed.  You were still Josh, but the fire that had always burned in you had been fanned and had grown into a blazing inferno; passion for your King.

I remember after speech club one Tuesday your ride hadn't gotten there yet so you, my mom and I had an awesome conversation about what you had learned while you were gone; how much your faith had grown; how you had learned to rely on God and only God.  You mentioned different scenarios that you had had to go through where you were literally at the end of your strength physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and God pulled you through.

I follow lots of blogs, but never, ever have I been so influenced  by something I have read (other than the Bible, naturally) as I was by your post about dying well.  I remember reading it at least five times and then crying and praying hard over it.  I felt so convicted and challenged.

You're gone now, and that reality still isn't sinking in.  But your influence on people's lives has not stopped.  Your life, and death, have touched innumerable lives, and I know that this impact will never end.

I can see you dancing, Josh.  Oh, God, I can see it now.  You are whole!  You are no longer touched by sin.  You are complete, living, dancing, praising, singing, jumping and leaping and never, ever stopping, in the presence of your Savior.

Josh, thank you for changing the world.  Thank you for never stopping.

"For I, the LORD your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, 
"Fear not, I am the One Who helps you.""
(Isaiah 41:13)

Over and out,