Friday, February 26, 2010
"Let mutual love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it." -Hebrews 13:1-2
As we leave for Appalachia in the morning, these two verses will be ever present in my mind. We are called to love as Christ love, we are called to reach out and listen, serve, respect, and befriend others. We are called to do this humbly as Christ did, after all "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (somewhere in the NT). As we leave for the mountains and head into the heart of Kentucky our prayer will remain that our hearts and minds be open to the lessons God has in store for us, that we make friends with those we come in contact with, and that we develop a love like none other for the people in Appalachia so that when we return in the spring we do so with grateful hearts for all that Appalachia is going to do for us in this next week.
Look for a midweek update (if we get to the Library near where we are staying....Until then, may the Peace of Christ be with you!!
Monday, February 22, 2010
This weekend my Grandma and Aunt came up with my younger cousin to visit me! They also attended church on Sunday with me as I was accepted and welcomed into membership at Trinity United Presbyterian Church (major blessings). The opportunity to take part in a Service Learning Trip has been offered and I am looking to leave on Saturday to go to Appalachia and learn more about the people there, in the spring we will go back to do some service work. Then today I received an email informing me that I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve on the Leadership Team of the Academy of Preachers (Festival of Young Preachers).
It is amazing how time and time again God has opened opportunities for me to continue to grow in service and relationship as I continue to discern God's call. A friend of mine the other day said "For some reason you resist God's call"...I wrote back saying "I promise I quit resisting!" Why is it that we resist what God sees as best for our lives? Because it is scary!! My supervisor the other day was talking about how 5 years from now I could be leading a church, that is a scary thought! With that said, it is also a very exciting thought! For so many people to see gifts that I had and shed light on them, it affirms what I feel, what I hear God saying to me. I have been blessed with a love for people, a love for the church, and a desire to serve the God I love...and with that I have been blessed with leadership skills that continue to develop and continue to be put to use time and time again. I also have a gift of relating to people, over the years people have come in and out of my life in various situations, and for the most part I have kept relationships with people of all ages. Especially the interns from LPTS who worked with my youth group over the years. They are very special people who have continued to play a huge part in my discernment process, and continue to serve as a sounding board for me and I for them.
During the last week, I have been collecting my thoughts for a paper I am writing for a class. While thinking about the paper I came up with some questions that may help me write it and I sent them to some of the interns, some teachers, some mentors, and a few other people who have been a major part of my life, and I was surprised at how many people were so willing to answer back and give me new insight to the person I've grown into over the years. It is a blessing to know that I've been a big enough part of someone's life that they would all take the time to do this for me.
Blessings, they make us happy, they make us thankful, and they make us realize how much of an impact we have on each other. In the next week and a half, I will be realizing just how blessed I am as I travel to a part of our country where they do not have quite as many material blessings as we do, but they are so thankful for what they do have and it will only shed light on the smaller things that we have to be thankful for.
Count your blessings, and thank God for all that you have.
Lenten Blessings to you,
So on the way to church yesterday, on the way to the first Sunday in Lent, on the way to celebrate the installation of new elders and to celebrate becoming a member of an awesome community of believers...I heard this song. I felt it is very appropriate for Lent, very appropriate for new beginnings, and a wonderful prayer.
May it be a meditation for you in the coming days as we journey with Christ to the cross, and anticipate the empty tomb of Easter morning...
Lay It Down-Connersvine
Listen to my humble cry
Listen to my earnest plea
Here my voice as I am calling out
I’m on my knees again
I don’t wanna go away
From this holy holy place
I guess I’m saying Lord I lay it all down again
All of my life I’m happy to lay down
In light of your glory
All of my life I’m happy to lay down
In light of your glory, in light of your glory
And when I wake up in the night
And I feel you in my room
Something in your voice is drawing me to follow after you
To a place where I belong far away from incomplete
Where I give it all to you because you gave all for me
All of my life I’m happy to lay down
In light of your glory
All of my life I’m happy to lay down
In light of your glory, in light of your glory
In the morning when I rise again (Lord I lay it down)
In the evening under skies for you (Lord I lay it down)
Everyday and all my life for you (Lord I lay it down)
All of my life I’m happy to lay down
In light of your glory
All of my life I’m happy to lay down
In light of your glory, in light of your glory
Thursday, February 18, 2010
A reflection on what you may be asking? Well a reflection on water, on baptism. This is in connection with yesterday's blog and reflecting on my baptismal vowels. Today at Spirit Place (Thursday prayer time) we had a station where we reflected on our baptism. I am very thankful, when I reflect on baptism I obviously think of those questions that were asked of me, but I also think about my Grandpa (Papa). It was from him that I learned what it meant to be a humble person, it was in him that I can remember thinking "this is what a reflection of Christ should look like" (no he was not perfect, but he was faithful, humble, soft spoken, loving, and gentle), it was Papa (and Grandma) who made sure we made it to church on Sunday mornings, it was Papa who sung hymns throughout the day and week, it was Papa who was a deacon in the church, it was Papa who stood with me during my baptism and confirmation, it was Papa who encouraged and supported me in everything I did.
Today as I stood at the station, a bowl with rocks and water, a reminder of the waters of baptism. A good reminder of the fact that through Christ we are made clean, our hands are washed and our lives are made new, we are welcomed into a new community, one of believers and brothers and sisters in Christ. It was in reflecting on my baptism today that I was reminded of the fact that I am rooted in Christ, that through this Lenten season I realize that I fall short of the glory of God, yet, I belong to God through Christ I am forgiven and made clean.
It is in reflecting on my baptism, my relationship with God, and even my relationship with my Papa, that I remember where my roots are and at the same time I look forward to Sunday. I look forward to professing faith in Christ to a new congregation and promising to do my part as a member of their church but more importantly as a member of Christ's church. I have to admit, today as I stood there, thinking about my Papa, I know he would be proud of the woman I am today and the woman I am growing into. I know always and forever I will be Papa's girl, but I also know I am a child of God, I belong to the one who knew me and formed me in the womb. I belong to the one who knows my thoughts and feelings, I belong to the one who knows my faults. I belong to the one who loved me enough to send Christ to the cross on my behalf, the one who is merciful enough to give me the opportunity to approach the throne of grace and seek forgiveness.
I miss my Papa, I always will, and each time I remember my baptism, each time I remember the promises I have made, I get to remember the man who was the best example of a Christian that I know. I get to remember my #1 fan, and I get to look forward to continuing to serve and grow in Christ. Knowing I serve a God who provided me with a wonderful role model for many years.
May you reflect on your baptism during this Lenten season, knowing that yes you fall short, but Christ is there to fill in that gap. Thanks be to God!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"All go to one place; all are from dust, and all turn to dust again."-Ecclesiastes 3:20A familiar verse on this Ash Wednesday. A day where we are reminded that our bodies are merely vessels for the lives in which we live here on earth and when the time comes these bodies will return to dust. As this journey of Lent begins I reflect on the last year. I reflect on the commitments I made in my baptism and confirmation, a good reminder as I begin this Lenten season in a new place in life with a new congregation to share with.
Renouncing evil and relying on God's grace-This one is especially on my mind as this time of penitence begins, as we spend the next 46 days (if you count Sunday's) unveiling those things in our life that cloud our minds, that build barriers, that keep us from seeing clearly the face of God. As the focus of the season turns from trying to hide our sins from ourselves, the world, and even God, instead focusing on bringing them to light and shedding them from the lives we live, we are forced to remember that it is by the grace of God that we are free from the bondage of sin. It is by God's grace that we are a new creation in Christ, that we can humbly approach the throne and ask for forgiveness. It is God's grace that allows us to be real with ourselves so that we can truly focus on what the cross means and how God's love and grace poured out for us is something worth reflecting on.
On that day nearly 8 years years ago, when I was baptized and confirmed I also made a commitment to God and fellow being when I promised to actively and responsibly participate in the worship and mission of the church. This takes on a new meaning this week as I remember that promise made years ago, again this summer, and now to a new congregation of folks whom I look forward to being a partner in the mission of the church with. What does this have to do with Lent? As a community of believers it is important for us to remember that this journey to the cross is not one we take alone. We journey together from day to day and week to week. We share this liturgical calendar with brothers and sisters across the world, and it is a reminder of how we are bound together in the love of God through the blood of Christ.
Christ..."Who is your Lord and Savior" my pastor asked some 8 years ago..."Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior" a statement that was so profound for my life then, and now that statement continue to grow, from words to action, from thought to deed, from then as a 12 year old to now when I am 20 years old, the statement has not changed but evolved. Then it was a small knowledge that I was a sinner who needed Christ as my savior, now it is a way of life. Now the statement means I live each moment with the intention to reflect Christ to the world, to be the candle in the darkness, to be the messenger, to be a person breaking down barriers in order to share the gospel. Now this statement reminds me of the fact that Lent is so awesome because we spend so much time reflecting and being in a contemplative state where we think, seek forgiveness, seek renewal, and then we change who we are, we are shaped into a new being. Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior, is a reminder of the hope that comes during this holy season. A reminder that though the darkness of death is all around us we have a light, we have hope in the fact that Jesus Christ overcame sin, overcame death, overcame suffering, when Christ suffered and died on our behalf, when the stone was rolled away and the tomb was empty, my friends the good news of this Lenten season is that in Jesus Christ we are forgiven. In Jesus Christ we have new life, in Jesus Christ our lives are made new, we are made new!! The good news of Christ is that we are not condemned by the world because the only one who can condemn us is Christ, and Christ came for us! Christ died for us! Christ rose again from the grave FOR US! AND Christ will come again for us...Thanks be to God! Praying that you may have a most holy Lenten season, remembering to reflect, to humble yourself before the throne of grace, to be excited about Christ, to be made new, to be renewed, and to keep in the front of your mind that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior! Peace be with you in this most holy season! KP
Saturday, February 13, 2010
As our trip came to a close with a 7 hour day in the car (we did stop for a long lunch with some awesome people) I decided that this may have been the longest week I've had in a long time. 125 hours away from Hanover during a school week is probably not the best idea ever, but I do not think it is a decision I regret at all. The time that was spent with a best friend was priceless (we really did get along a lot better than we both expected) and the time at PTS was something we will not forget as we continue along this journey of discernment and listening to where God is calling us next. I joked a lot about not wanting to leave Princeton, however, the closer we got to Hanover today, the more anxious I was to be around friends, the more excited I became about class in the coming week, and even more I realized that tomorrow is Sunday (a day that will be busy with church, leadership meeting, Bible study, and chapel) but none the less my favorite day of the week. The closer we got to Hanover, the more I felt that we were getting closer to home.
6 days of adventure, 6 days of stopping and listening, 6 days of intentionally reflecting on what is going on in my life at this point in time and what it means for my future, 6 days of laughing, 6 days of pure white snow all around, 6 days of meeting new people and sharing life with them, 6 days of being away from my community but being accepted and feeling at home in another, 6 days of being fed information, 6 days of asking questions, 6 days of being excited and joyful, and 6 days of just being.
I am thankful for safe travels (and one trooper of a car :-D) for friendship, for windows of opportunity, for confidence in making decisions, for support and prayers by friends, for the hard work on behalf of PTS in getting things put together during the blizzard (the show must go on sometimes), and for all of the people I met and shared the week with. I do not think this week would have been the same with them (or the blizzard), it was a blessing to meet each of them and share stories, to share meals, to share Christ, and to see how the visit informed, shaped, and guided each of us differently, yet in a way that will make the future of the Church something to look forward to.
What else is there to say....
God is good...All the time...All the time...God is good (just a reminder of the influence others have on us over time right Julie? ;D)
Valentines day is tomorrow so I guess it is appropriate to remember 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
567 "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."
I guess this week it was patient enough for Rosa and I to have a great time together with out agitating each other, kind enough to share so openly with one another. It was not envious when things went crazy, boastful when we shared our stories with the group, arrogant on behalf of those who were all older than we were. It did not insist on its own way when it snowed 2 feet, it was not irritable when the schedule changed, or resentful when we did not get our way. It did not rejoice when Rosa got a hotel room 30 minutes out of the way but it did when we found that hotel (just kidding Rosa, that was for laughs, it wasn't as bad as I make it out to be), but love did bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, and endure all things, on our almost 1400 mile journey in 6 days, across 5 states, and in the blizzard.
Happy Valentines day, may the active love of God the father sustain you, the love of Christ be your motivation each day, and the love of the Holy Spirit be within you each and every day, now and forever.
Today's picture was taken during the sunset in Pennsylvania on I-80 on Friday February 12, 2o10
Friday, February 12, 2010
My journey to PTS started long ago, and it was full of all of the above, yet the experience I had while there was full of beautiful moments when I finally felt like all of my backtracking, pushing through, trying new things, and hanging on when my footing slid out from underneath me along the way came together and I had conquered this mountain (well a small mountain but a mountain none the less). As the sun set over the mountains today my focus went from the journey up to the mountain to the view from above.
As we reached the top of hills/mountains the view was absolutely gorgeous. The snow covered land was reflecting the sun, the snow sparkled, and God's creation seemed so pure. The view from the top of my mountain this week was not as beautiful as the drive but it was spectacular, when everything comes together and you see the "bigger picture" life seems to be put together, the idea that your future is in God's hands and the work you are doing is the work of Christ in the world around you, means life is different. You are changed, the way you view the things you say and do changes. I have continued to be more joyful, more energetic, and more excited about the things to come in the next couple of years.
The reality of a "mountain top" experience is that eventually they seem to die out, the emotions start to fade, the real world gets in the way, and you start to stumble again. I do not look at this as a bad thing (not really a good thing but stick with me), I see it as I am coming off the mountain a new being in Christ. I am not the same person I was going off that mountain, and I am embarking on a journey over the next mountain in life, the difference lies in the fact that I do not climb the mountain alone. I climb the mountain with the Shepherd as my guide, with the knowledge, emotions, excitement I received on the last mountain, and I do so knowing that if I attempt to climb the mountain alone reaching the top means nothing.
As I prepare for bed before the journey home tomorrow, I leave this verse, one of my favorites because it is a reminder of the task that is before us at all times.
"But Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ"-2 Peter 3:18
We are always to be growing, we are always to be seeking, we are always to be Christ to one another, and we are always to be on this journey to the top of whatever mountain may be present in our lives, but we do so knowing that we are carried in the grace of Jesus Christ who is our Shepherd. Thanks be to God.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
These are all questions I seemed to continue pondering as the day went on. I pondered these as we went to lunch with faculty members and listened to some of their stories and where they have been (most over many years), while sitting in on classes and being able to understand the material (thanks to my Theology professors who have done a great job so far), as we were informed on what PTS has to offer in spiritual formation and field education, as we walked through downtown Princeton and just enjoyed being away from HC. I pondered them as I considered being away from friends, family, while instead I have been here with people who are on a similar journey.
I have been around people asking the same questions I have raised over the last year and a half (really a lot longer, but seriously pondering them more over the last year and a half). Where is God calling me in my life? Is God calling me to PTS? Is God calling me elsewhere? Is God even calling me to seminary? Is God even calling me in the ways I think God is calling?
Do I have answers to all of these questions? No, of course not...I'm only a sophomore for crying out loud ;D...but does that keep me from seeking God with all of my heart? Does that keep me from constantly seeking God in the small things in life? Does that keep me from living a life that helps me to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ? Does that mean that I should stop listening for God and start living like a "college student'?
No, what it means is that I am ever more aware of the work God is doing through me, more aware of the ways in which I can see Christ in my everyday life, and more aware of the ways the Holy Spirit can and does work through the things I say and do.
Some of the questions have been answered this week...I can definitely say my sense of "call" is affirmed more and more each day. The more I reflect on it, the more I pray about it, the more I talk about it, the more excited I get about the future God holds for my life. What is that going to look like exactly? I have no idea, but I'm okay with that, I'm excited for it to be a true journey. I'm excited to be lead by the Shepherd on this journey. I'm excited to continue my studies at Hanover, to continue being active within the church, to continue preaching the gospel, to continue to show love to those who are unloved, to do what I can to build relationships and help those in need, and I am excited to continue seeking God with all that I am. In the end it doesn't matter what PTS(or any seminary), Hanover, my parents, my Grandma's, my brother, or my friends think about what I am doing, in the end I have to ask myself am I honestly seeking the will of God, am I honestly stopping to listen?
As I challenge myself to continue to stop, listen, and reflect, I continue to see the face of Christ in the people I encounter, the people who love me, the people who support me, in the people who don't. I continue to see God in the the 2 feet of snow, in all nature, in the hymns, in the psalms, in the scriptures, in the friendships, in everything. I am always amazed at the places we see God, when we just stop and look, the places we hear God when we stop and listen, and the places we reflect Christ when we do things in love (1 Cor. 13 kind of love).
This week has been awesome for me, I am thankful that we made the trip, that we arrived safely, and that I leave here different than I came. For those of you who have been around me the last couple of weeks, if you thought I was happy then...I'm even happier now (lets hope a two day journey back to Hanover with Rosa doesn't spoil it ;D just kidding), I'm renewed and ready to continue on this road. I'm ready to continue walking through the doors that open up for me.
In a way I'm sad to leave, this week has been amazing, but at the same time I miss Hanover. I miss my sisters, I miss my classmates, I miss being in classes, I miss the chapel community, I miss my job (yep Doug that was your shout out), and if we were here long enough I would miss my church. Just a small reminder from Brandon Heath that "God's not finished with me yet" God is still working through all of those things, and one day I will be somewhere like this place. And that my friends...is exciting.
Well, tomorrow is another day...and tomorrow will be the day I head back, renewed and ready to continue serving the Lord I love, ready to live in response to the call I preached about a month ago...ready to continue denying myself, taking up my cross, and following Christ. Thanks be to God for the ability and willingness to do so. Thanks be to God for being the endless well of living water that fills us, renews us, and gives us fresh new life each and everyday.
May the Peace of Christ Be With You All,
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Day 3...better known as day of the Blizzard!
We both got up before our alarms (the one day we had to sleep in...dang it!)...had a cup of tea and went around taking pictures of the snow covered campus that was beautiful!
This afternoon we went to chapel, which was very laid back due to the fact campus is closed for the day. They took hymn requests had a Psalm reading and prayer time. Then we went to lunch, had the opportunity to sit with our host student and a first-year student as well. The conversations were very helpful, we learned a lot about the M. Div. program and how it is structured. The first year was referred to as Presbyterian Boot Camp which made me laugh, and then our host made some really awesome comments about Calvin which made me laugh but I cannot seem to recall what he said :(...but it lead into a pretty interesting discussion on Systematic Theology and Calvin.
Our host and the other student that sat to eat with us were great at answering questions and even just telling why they chose PTS, or what they liked/don't like about it.
Now we are sitting in Rosa's room, watching the snow come down out of the window (we are in a blizzard warning until midnight). I sit here thinking about worship this morning and a favorite hymn (for many people) that we sang, and the person who requested it was asked why he chose it...his response was simple...because it is my prayer this day and everyday.
Be Thou My Vision
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
To think of this old hymn, the words, so soft when they are sung, but so powerful when we use them as a prayer. These three verses are three separate prayers (Be my vision, be my wisdom, may it be you alone that I seek) joined in one (Lord guide my every move so that I may not look for anything but you in all that I do). When we allow God to be our vision our eyes open (just like the story of the walk to Emmaus), when we seek the wisdom of God our minds are renewed, and when we seek after God with all of our hearts (Jeremiah 29:13) we find God. We find that God does have plans for us to prosper, plans for a future with hope. When we seek God, we do not seek man's praise but we remember the God who created and sustains us in all that we do. Thanks be to that God for an awesome week so far (and we've just begun).
After our session tonight there will be another post.
May you continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! (2 Peter 3:18)
KP & RN
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
It is only day two and I feel like I've been on this trip a week!! Today was pretty awesome, we woke up at 7:00am in Somerset, Pennsylvania to see the sunrise around 7:14...just in case you were wondering...it was gorgeous...Then we drove through the mountains and stopped in Carlisle PA for lunch (where we found out that the McDonald's there did not have sweet tea or biscuits and gravy on the breakfast menu).
After that we drove straight to Princeton, Rosa did miss a turn and send us through the heart of Trenton...After all the crap she gave me about following then not following the GPS she misses our exit!! But it turned out okay, we made it, and it did not take that long either! Right at 5 hours with stopping for lunch.
We walked around campus a lot today, took some pictures, registered, and checked in. Then we went and found Wal-Mart to get those things we forgot, ate dinner, and are relaxing before the snow arrives (any minute now).
As I sit and relax, I think about all of the panic and worry that started this trip off, should we go? Should we not? When should we leave? Which way should we go? How often should we stop? Are we going to get along all the way there and back?
My initial response is yes we are crazy, we probably should have stayed at Hanover, and no we haven't killed each other...but at the same time, it all worked out. We have been so excited for this coming trip, this get away to stop and reflect on where God is calling us in our lives, to just "be" for a couple of days, and to even live on the edge a little as we take a few little risks along the way. (We are also going to drive back w/o using the GPS and using only the Road Atlas!)
It is funny that a few people have asked, "Don't you think God sent you all of the signs that you shouldn't make the trip up?" and of course I respond "well, you could see it that way, but I saw a window God opened up for us to climb through and when that window opened we responded."
(I should note, it just started snowing)
Before I am done for the night, I reflect on the following passage,
"He gives power to the faint, and strengthens the powerless. Even youths will faint and be weary, and the young will fall exhausted; but those who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint." -Isaiah 40:29-31
I really like verse 11 in Isaiah 40 as well, "He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep."
These 4 verses I have often seen used in times of struggle, pain, and grief, however, I think there is much more to them than the old motto "If God brings you to it, God will bring you through it." I see in these passages a hope of being sustained each and everyday, but I also see a lesson that is tough to learn...Wait for the LORD, let the LORD lead, let the LORD carry if needed...
A thought for us to ponder this week as week stop, wait, and listen in the coming days.
Be safe, enjoy the snow, enjoy God's creation, and we will see everyone soon.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Today was day 1 of the adventure. We decided a little after 10:30am to hit the road today and get ahead of this crazy storm. We are two very hard headed people and when we get our minds set to do something, we do it. Before we could leave our lovely sisters had equipped us with a first aid kit, roadside emergency kit, a box cutter, and a bottle of mace, so needless to say we are ready for anything.
The 7 hour drive from Hanover, Indiana to Somerset, Pennsylvania was long but a beautiful drive. Everything is covered in snow (including the entrance to the hotel!) but the roads were perfect. We did have a GPS malfunction when it decided to take us some back roads for a while, but we corrected it and in the end we still made it safely.
More than anything our prayer is that this is a time of discernment and a little get away from the craziness that Hanover has become. And so far is has been nothing short of a get away enjoying the beauty of the earth that God has blessed us with, enjoying the friendship we have, listening to one heck of a playlist of music, and loving every minute of it so far.
We were worried that all of this time in the car would turn us against each other, however, I report that there was only 1 argument in the first 7 hours...Rosa likes the air and I like the heat...in the end we settled in the middle (then I threatened to spray her with the mace).
Now the goal is to get a good nights rest and hit the road around 9am to make it to Princeton by 3, again beating the snow ;D...then we will have a day to enjoy the snow and Princeton Theological Seminary before our 3 days of events gets under way...
Thanks for all of the prayers, well wishes, kits, love, and support. We look forward to what God has in store for us in the coming week!
KP & RN
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
After the Festival of Young Preachers, I returned to Hanover with that intense desire to continue preaching the gospel and serving Christ. And then my Great Grandmother passed away and I returned to Louisville, planned her service, prepared and delivered the homily, and then came back to campus to get the semester going.
I share the synopsis of returning to Hanover because after Nanny passed away I was sad and grieving, then last Thursday life came together and I have been overwhelmed with joy and happiness on where I am in life and how I can continue to serve God in my life as I am listening ever so closely to that still small voice.
Monday-Wednesday I had started putting ideas on paper for my sermon on Sunday, and Thursday I went to BASIC (Bible Study) where a friend led a discussion on the storms of life and where we see God in these storms. It was a great discussion and we pulled out a lot of good scriptures. Then I went to Spirit Place (prayer/communion time in the chapel) and I was praying and thinking about life, thinking about preaching that weekend, and then I thought about how crucial it is to wake up each morning and make a choice to serve the God I love, to live my life to the best of my ability imitating my Savior, and to just be happy with where I am and what I am doing.
My sermon was on "God's love in Today's World" and thinking about God's love as being active as opposed to passive (1 Corinthians 13) helped me realize that each day I GET to wake up, I GET to make that decision to take up my cross, I GET to be captured again and again by God's love, I GET to share God's love with the world around me, and I GET to read God's word to me.
My roommate can second that the last 6 days I have been happier than I have been in a long time, I am up before it's time to RUN to class, I am excited about what is going on in my life and ready to complete the tasks ahead because I know Who has prepared them for me.
As I continue to grow in my faith, as my roots sink deeper in the love of the Father, as my love for the fellowship of the Holy Spirit grows, and as I am captured again and again by the self-less life giving love of Christ, my heart swells, my smile grows, and my desire to continue to listen for that still small voice becomes bigger and bigger.
Life is good, and hopefully I will be posting soon!
May you be filled with the grace and mercy of Christ, and sustained by the love of God in all that you do!!