Tuesday, June 26, 2012

On To The Next Adventure

I am now an NCFCA Alum.

I'll never compete in speech or debate again.

I was totally depressed about this for a little while, but somehow God has given me such a peace about it.

I am so grateful for the past four years of my life, the wonderful friendships that I've formed, the crazy situations and the coffee runs.

I'm so grateful for all of the nail polish used to fix nylons, the absurd amount of makeup used, the hair emergencies and the nerves.

I'm so grateful for the tension before rounds and anticipation before breaks.

I'm so grateful for the lack of sleep and the dark circles under our glossy eyes.

I'm so grateful for the prayers, hugs, tears, encouragement and love.

But now I have to move on.

God is so good.  I was nearly panicking right after the awards ceremony at Nationals three days ago.  I felt this knot in my stomach; a sinking, sick feeling.  I couldn't stop thinking, "this will never happen again...this is it."  I walked around the after party, drinking every detail of it in; watching my friends read their ballots, play games, sign ballot envelopes and tee shirts.  Tears came to my eyes on and off, and I didn't have much control over my emotions.  All of a sudden I didn't feel ready.  I wanted to rip up my diploma and compete for another year.  I wanted Nationals never to end.

But it had to.

A friend invited me to play frisbee with a group of people, and I'm so glad that I did.

The sprinklers were on.

It. Was. Amazing.

It was only dimly lit, as it was about 11pm, and the sprinklers turned on and off multiple times.  There were only four people on each team, so we each got to be more involved than in larger games.  Everyone was pretty hyper, the guys were making animal calls and yelling hilarious things, and I loved every second of it.

We made our way to the lake afterward, and it was stunning.  I had seen it during the day, but it was so still and calm and quiet.  A few of us stuck our feet in, and the water was pleasantly warm, so a couple of the guys jumped in and swam around for a little while (pretending that sea monsters were attacking them, and other such manly things...).

One of the guys did his best to shame the others for not jumping in along with him, and then we tossed the frisbee back and forth on our way back to the dorms.  We raced part of the way and then were met by a girl from another Region who told us that there had been an accident at the after party, and a student had been knocked unconscious.

We all fell to our knees and started praying right there on the sidewalk.

The young man is fine now, and was released from the hospital later that night, but this is part of why I have loved competing so much: when something horrible happens, when it is suitable to panic, when joyful times slip away in an instant we fall to our knees and surround the throne of God.

I've never seen this kind of passion for and dependence on the Lord in any other place.  This is part of why I had been so sad about leaving.  How could I ever find that kind of thing somewhere else?

But then I realized something.  When we were playing frisbee the tournament was over.  We could have been playing just as easily anywhere else.  The guys could have jumped in any other lake.  We could have prayed together and stayed up until 3am any other time (well, that last one doesn't happen too often...but it is possible...theoretically).  These experiences and friendships are not limited to tournaments.  We could choose to seek God first in any tragedy or accident, just as we did that night.  God is just as powerful, just as present, just as involved in our lives outside of tournaments.

I'm going to miss competing, of course.  How could I not miss it?  But I'm seeing that God's timing is always best, and I'm stoked to see what He has in mind for this next chapter in my life.

"The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore."
(Psalm 121:8)

My amazing Region, praying together first thing in the morning.
Over and out,


P.S.  If any of you were at Nationals and I don't have your email, please contact me so that we may keep in touch.  I love you all to death and am so grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know you.  Blessings!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Change, Worry and Knocking

I tend to think that I love change.  I love new adventures.  I love going to new places.  I love meeting new people.  I love re-arranging furniture and trying new recipes.

But when I come to big changes in life; when I come to fearfully new things, things I've always dreamed of, things that are not new ideas, but rather new experiences, when I come to these things, I can feel my mind's heels dragging in the dirt, trying to stop them from happening.  I try to get used to these things, try to feel fine about them, but the whole, "mind over matter," idea has never worked too well for me.

It's so easy to forget that God has this all in His hand.  It's easy to think, "Uh-oh, unknown territory!  Reverse!  Get me out of here!"

But then we get sick of our lives.  I get so sick and tired of always doing the same things, never moving forward, never turning the page to the next chapter.  So, why not allow Him to turn the pages?  Why am I holding onto the page I'm on, as though my life depends on it?

Looking back on my life, the past year has been filled with change.  Little changes that I barely even noticed at the time have now become monumental in my walk with the Lord.  God uses change for good.  God uses everything for good.

Why is this so hard to remember?  It's so easy to worry about every little detail of everything, but I usually get in the way when I do that.  

I'm not advocating "Let go and let God."  I think that's silly.  God never had anyone sit there and have Him wait on them hand and foot.  God never had anyone do nothing.  However, we over-think things, in regards to worry.  I firmly believe that we should not jump into things without praying about it.  But, praying about it shouldn't take two years.  And if it does, get off the couch and do something while you're praying!  

Oh, I find myself using excuse after excuse for not knocking on doors.  "The time isn't right."  "I haven't heard God tell me yet." ect.  Now, if God is telling you the time isn't right, then so be it.  But if you are waiting for fireworks in the sky, you will almost definitely be out of luck.

I've been realizing more and more lately, that following God is like it was with Abraham.  God didn't give him a map, He didn't point out every trial along the way, every landmark, every river.  God tells us to take a step, and then another and then another.  As with the Israelites, God is a pillar of fire by night.  We can't see anything else; we can't see where we're going.  We just follow.

Or we should anyway.

Why do I feel like I need to know everything?  Why do I dip one toe into the water and hold it there for five hours before stepping in?  It sounds absurd when I put it that way, doesn't it?  Five hours?  But when I think about that, I do that all the time.

It ought to be simple.

Follow the pillar.  you may not see anything else, but follow Him, and all will be well.  

For some reason this is hard to execute, though.  I think that the pillar is usually two inches outside of our comfort zones, and that two inches can seem terrifying.




Over and out,


P.S.  Wow, it took me forever to type this.  I'm pretty sure I broke my pinkie yesterday, so it's taped to my ring finger and I lost the use of both fingers... I've never made so many typos in my life!

Lavender photo from here.  Verse added by myself.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

An Incredible Song

Hey folks, I just thought you might be interested in this.  Most of you have read my posts about Josh (if not, read them here and here), and have at least a slight understanding of how fantastic he was, how passionate he is about the Lord, and what a wonderful example he has been for everyone who knew him, and many who didn't.

Well, his younger sister wrote the lyrics to a song, and a very close friend wrote music, sang and recorded it.  It was played at Josh's memorial service and there were more than a few wet eyes.

Anyway, they decided to sell digital downloads of the song, with all of the proceeds going to the scholarship fund for ALERT Academy that has been set up in Josh's name.

Please check the song out here, and please pray about purchasing it.  This is truly a wonderful cause and I know that you'll love the song.

Over and out,


Friday, June 1, 2012

Life Lately...

Hearing:  Happy Songs,  Calming Songs,   Worshipful Songs.

Safetysuit.  It was Josh's favorite band, and they are absolutely incredible.

Reading:  Galatians and Psalms.  Every verse in the Bible means so much right now.  I find myself grasping each word and clinging to it to survive.  

The Holiness of God, by R.C. Sproul.  I've never had any book (other than the Bible) put me in such overwhelming awe of Who God is.  Really, truly, you ought to read it.

Watching:  Julian Smith Spoofs.  This is a friend's YouTube channel, and I must say, I prefer these to Julian Smith's videos (although "Buffering" and "Bless You" are pretty hilarious).  Josh is in a few of the videos, and they are amazing. 

Dreaming of:  Someday seeing Josh and Caroline again.  Right after Josh died I felt like I had a glimpse of heaven.  It's like I tasted a sip of perfect wine, and now I'm back to cheap grape juice.  I've never longed for my true home this badly.  I can hardly wait to party with you two someday.  

Loving:  Chocolate covered espresso beans.  Days out with close friends.  Frozen cookie dough.  Loud music.  Google+ Hangouts.  Cooking dinner.  Eating dinner...

Writing:  Jumbled, nonsensical, rambling, venting journal entries and blog posts... Arg.

Circular journal entries.  This is a really fun way to write verses, quotes, song lyrics etc.  For some reason I love this right now.  

Feeling:  I have determined that I can rarely decipher my feelings.  I honestly wish I could.  It's rather annoying.  Arg.  

Disliking:  The crazy mood swings I've been having lately... I'm quite befuddled.  

That I can't have rice crispies any more...ever.

Anticipating:  Nationals.  I'm unnaturally calm about the idea of competing, and unnaturally nervous about preparing for the trip and fundraising.  It's going to be incredible, though.  

A grand get together tomorrow night.  I'm very excited and hope to post about it in a few days.

Feeling Thankful For:  The beautiful sun.  Birds singing like there's no tomorrow.  A lovely breeze blowing through the trees.  A tree shedding its petals; it looks like it's snowing.  Peonies blooming.  Planting my herb garden.  Getting dirt under my fingernails.  Grace.  Hope.  Love.  Forgiveness.  Joy.  Jesus.

Over and out,