Monday, December 9, 2013

On Weddings, Babies, and Never-Ending Highschool

I have a friend who is married with a 8 month old baby boy. I ran into their little family on my way into Starbucks the other day and it was so fun to hug them and watch them click J's carseat into the car and drive away. That pang stuck my heart though... you know the one. Jesus... I want that to be me so badly. Can't I be grown up now?

Another dear, dear friend was married in May and is due with her sweet baby girl in March. We meet at Biggby or Panera and I absolutely love to hear her talk about how she loves being married and how she can't wait to hold her daughter. I love it. But there are also moments of I.just.can'

I have a friend who is planning her wedding, dropping out of college to save money for marriage. I have a friend who is head over heels in love with her man and honestly, we're all just waiting for her relationship status on FB to change and pictures of a diamond to appear. A good number of my friends are older than me by several years, and so these days, lots of life-changing things are happening to them.

It's easy for me to feel left behind sometimes. They're all out there, with their exciting lives and men and babies, and here I am. Still in high school. Still plugging away at the school books and enduring the drama (no pun intended) of HPA. It's exhausting and monotonous at times. It's easy to feel like the end of the school year- or even Christmas break- will never come, much less graduation. And graduation isn't even the magic key to marriage and babies and exciting life.

What would happen if we all just took a moment to think about this?? How as little girls we longed for this time in our lives? How so many others don't make it to 16, to 20, to 35? How these moments, these days, will never come again?? People, this stage in your life will finish, this page will turn, and we won't be able to go back.

I don't want to pine these last years of high school away by wanting a husband and a family. I remember thinking as a little girl that 16 would be the absolutely perfect age and it seemed so far away. But I'm living those perfect days right now! and they are good. I have a relationship with the King of the world, a wonderful family, amazing friends. I love homeschooling, HPA, quirky moments with those I love and freedom with my days. Why is it so hard to be content with all those blessings?!?

It all goes back to that one truth: Satan doesn't like God to be glorified. He will fight nail, teeth, and bone to keep praise from going back to our Savior. And you know something?

Discontent people rarely worship God meaningfully.

When I remember that God has given me this school, job, year, life to do for Him and His glory, and when I live like I believe it, I do my school in a way that worships the Lord. When I remember that He has given me these last few years to have a huge impact on my siblings' lives, I work hard to invest in our relationships. When I remember that my high school friends will be busy with college and life in two very short years, we gather together to study the Bible and worship and pray and make memories together. When I remember that God has given me life, I live it to His glory.

Satan hates this.

Dreams aren't bad. Marriage is incredible. Babies are a massive blessing. What is wrong is when we allow Satan to distract us from our everyday work with whisperings and what-ifs. God knows the desires of our hearts! He loves to give good gifts to His children. But we have to trust that His plans for us are for the very best and that He never, ever makes mistakes. So many times I have prayed for something desperately and later realized how good it was that I didn't receive that gift. Other times I have prayed for something to later be overwhelmed with gratitude when God blesses me with that very thing.

Don't think I've mastered this. I've been battling it for days, weeks, months. I'm preaching to myself here. But be encouraged, friends! God knows what He's doing in your life and even if it feels like this stage will last forever, it won't. Don't let Satan discourage you from fighting the good fight. Find joy in doing what it is that God has you doing in the here and now, and remember that before you know it, these days will be but a memory. What you do with them is up to you, but don't waste them.

"For who knows what is good for man while he lives the few days of his vain life, which he passes like a shadow?" {Eccl. 6:12}

God does. Rest in His arms, in His love for you today, friends.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A Long-Needed Update

I've been scared to update on my last post... scared to tell you all that things are going better for fear they'll take a turn for the worse and scared to tell you that things are still bad because they really aren't and I'm But honestly, I don't know how to start to tell you.

Do I tell you about how the pain slowly dulled and is now nearly gone?? How I disobeyed God and how that didn't go so well?? How I have amazing friends and family that helped me through? How since then, I've experienced the blessings of God in full abundance pouring down on me?

It's been such a growing year for me. I've experienced school and lots of it. People told me that the junior year was heavy, and it's true. Chemistry, Advanced Math, American History and Biblical Worldview don't give me a lot of time, but God keeps reminding me that this is where He has me in life, to learn and study and work hard. And it's all going really well. My days are full, but they aren't overwhelming. God helps me every day.

HPA has been interesting. Every year is such an adjustment, and every year I think is really hard... until the next year. I've learned (and been reminded of), thus far: 1. God works everything out for good. 2. Singing alto is a really fun challenge. 3. True friends make time to listen and remember to check on you. 4. If you hurt someone- even accidentally- apologize right away. You have no idea how much pain can be prevented that way. 5. Saying "No, God, I don't really like that idea." and doing it anyway doesn't end prettily. 6. God loves to bless those who follow Him.

I've had to let go of friends that promised we'd stay together, and God has grown friendships that completely bless my socks off. No words to explain this. He's given me a friend who lets me call her anytime, totally is big-sister protective, and mentors me through life; another who makes me laugh, who cares and listens, and who always brings me back to God; and still another who never runs out of things to talk to me about, who can finish my sentences and with whom I can laugh hysterically about nothing with and who is always a text away from a prayer request.

And finally, everything for me goes back to God and the cross. It has been truly incredible to watch Him work in my life, and to realize that He is really always there, caring, loving, waiting. Prayer after prayer, He has revealed Himself to me, and I'm such an awful Christian- so unworthy to even bear that title- but He loves me anyway. He died to save me, to offer me and you and everyone the undeserved, ultimate grace. These last few weeks, so often I've stood in awe of His holiness, His perfection. It never gets old.

And at the end of this long, rambling blog post, that's what I want you to go away with.
God is good. 
He came to earth. 
He died. 
He rose. 
He is holy
He is King.

Jesus, I am Yours.

More soon, friends. ♥

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Crashing Down

I think most people have a family. Not a flesh-and-blood, blue eyes, midwest drawl family, but a family of people that you surround yourself with when your mom and dad and sisters and brother can't be there. Theater's my thing and I've been so blessed over the years to have had some wonderful families there.

The devotion teams stand out the most. Each year, the directors pick 4-8 people to give devotions and lead the cast. We're selected, but it's more than that. We're a family. During Fiddler on the Roof, we were all trying to figure out exactly how to do this devotions and family thing, but my My Fair Lady team was incredible. We were all super close, we prayed and talked and encouraged and laughed all the time.

And I've been ready for this year. I had plans and dreams, ideas and devotions, all planned and ready to talk to that new team- my new family- about. Honestly, in my head, I was picking them out too.

"Okay, God, can I have Tim and Andy and Chase and Jamie and Abby and Ashlea and Christianna? Thanks."

Before auditions, I spent some time down on my grandparents' dock. And righ there in my journal, I wrote,

"So right here, God, I dedicate HPA this year to you. I'm placing my role, my cast, my committee, my friends, and my life in your hands. I give it all to You. There is no place I'd rather be than YOUR perfect plan. I am Yours. Use me, Lord."

Did you catch that little part there about my committee? The words sound nice, but they really meant, "God, I'll let You decide which devotion committee I'm on this year. I guess I'm okay with either one." It wasn't real submission, probably because I never had any thoughts about not being on the team. I'd been for the past two years, and I was a strong Christian with a desire to do it. I full-out adored it. I thought that was enough.

It wasn't. God had other plans and other lesson for my life. The cast and committee lists came out and the hardest part of that day wasn't the "oh, she and she and he and they aren't in my show." or even the "Okay, God, I guess I'll do the small, girl-group chorus again." It was reading those lists, seeing those committees, and knowing that they were a family. And I wasn't in it.

Call me crazy, but I've grieved the loss of this never-was-mine family. I denied for a bit that this was the truth, thinking, hoping, pulling at any last straw, "It's just a mistake. ____ will email me any time telling me that they mixed up the lists." Then it hit me and I was mad, upset that they could give "my" place to someone else.

God's been teaching me so much, though. It's humbling to have to answer people's "What committ- oh, right, you're on devotions." with "Actually..." and then the truth. I realized how proud I've been, how much I built my place in HPA on that lofty platform of devotions. I glorified in putting together devotions that would sound good and powerful, not necessarily asking God to speak His words through me, just to use my words for Him. There's a difference. Yet through it all, I loved it so much, I made it an idol in my life. It was an idol of pride, self-worth, and popularity. We all know that God can't stand idols.

So He pulled it down. It kinda felt like HPA as I know it came crashing down around me too. It's brought tears to my eyes more than once to watch the team meet in different corners and knowing how encouraging those meetings are. My heart hurt while I sat through devotions last week. Watching the community between the members has been painful. It's all been painful.

But it's good. That's the last word I want to use to describe it, but I must. Chris Brown talked at the Leadership Summit about how much pain and revenge Saul went through because he refused to admit that David was a better leader and warrior than he was. Saul wouldn't move over or get out of the chariot to make room for David.

Chris then asked us, "Do you have room in your chariot for someone else? Someone who might do the job better than you?" I kinda feel pushed out of the chariot, but honestly, I don't know if I would have gotten out any other way. So it's good. I'm where God wants me, and it's the best place to be. I'm crazy blessed to have been on the devotion team for two years, and I'm crazy blessed to get to listen to their devotions now.

Larry Osborne says, "We don't care who teaches the message, as long as the message is taught."

So teach it, devotion teams. Remind the casts who God is and who we are, and how everything we do; the singing, the dancing, the acting, everything, is for Him and because of Him and His love and His grace. Encourage them, rebuke them, teach them, and love them, every one, even the ones who are in no way like you. Stay humble, stay focused on grace and God. I'm praying for each of you.

"Not to us, oh Lord, not to us, but to Your Name be the glory."

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Repeat

Some of you might remember how I took a break last September.

It was so, SO good for me. I did devotions every day, established a journaling routine and got the first month of school under my belt without the lure of the laptop calling to me every 10 minutes. (okay, the computer still lured me. It just didn't win.)

So you might have guessed, I'm repeating the experiment this year. I'll be off blogs, Facebook, Pinterest and everything except 15 minutes of email a day. I've actually been looking forward to it. Last year was hard, especially the first two weeks. But the freedom and the joy that comes is wonderful. I'm excited for this year.

My goals are pretty similar to last years:
  • devotions every day... 30 days makes a habit!
  • Memorize Isaiah 43:1-4 and Psalm 34
  • start journaling daily- or almost daily- again (summer hasn't been good for consistent journaling.)
  • focus on establishing a good school schedule that works
  • keep writing. I don't want my newly refocused fire to be suffocated just because I can't type.
  • Get aperture, ISO, and shutter speed straight, and be able to shoot a good photo with them.
I've got birthday reminders in my calendar, fresh pencils in my desk, and unopened books in my school crate. I don't like to say good-bye to summer, but I'm super, uber-excited to get into a routine that will affect the next 10 months of my life. That thought excites me so much. I can't wait to see what God is going to do in my life!!

Have a blessed September!!! I'll see you in a month. :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sea Breezes

Sometimes God puts a passion in you and it's revealed through little flashes and glimmers of joy.

Maybe it's in the smile you can't keep off your face when you're dancing your heart out or singing harmony in a crowd of your favorite people or throwing yourself in someone's face and stomping through your rehearsed lines on that wonderful hollow stage. And then the hugs and laughs that happen with those same people in the wings.

Maybe it's the way that whenever you're on hospital grounds, something in you lets go and you notice every person in scrubs, every long white doctor's coat, and every name badge and title. How you love the fountain and grand piano in the lobby and the walls and the carpet and the hand railings. And yes, how even the smell invigorates you.

Maybe it's how when you sit alone in a dark room with a computer with clicky keys, you can't help but to write. Maybe it's an email to a friend or a memoir of a wonderful day or a lesson you've learned but you almost can't physically stop until you've finished.

Or maybe it's something else. Maybe it's swimming or painting or computer tech or baking or running or mowing. Whatever it is, if your heart speeds up and your face can't help beaming and if you feel like you're home, then I would stop for a minute.

Ask God if He's speaking to you about this. Yes, it could be the wonder and the beauty that's luring you in, but does God want you to stay?

Or does He want you to leave?

That, my friends, is the question. Is this thing, this horseriding/soccer/coffeemaking thing, is this what God wants you to serve Him in? Is this the direction He wants your life to start moving?

If it is, then you should run through that open door and dive into the beautiful ocean of God's will for you.

If it isn't, then keep looking. Find another passion that your fire for is so strong, you think you might scorch those around you with the heat.

Too many people are content in their puddles, or even their pools, without realizing what wonders could await them. Sure, the saltwater stings your eyes sometimes. But when the sun hits your face and the sea breezes toss your dripping hair, you'll discover that this is pure joy- this wonderful place of being in the ocean of God's plans for beautiful, wonderful, amazing you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

I will write.

I've changed a lot this year. There have been big things in my friends' lives that have changed me: babies, relationships, cancer and suicide. There have also been "little" things: a show, a friend, a phrase, a moment. Through it all, I respond in two ways. My sister and I have many late night conversations in our room, and I write. Both are ways that I pour out my heart, and both God uses to sooth my soul.

Writing- for me- has become more than just a refuge, though. It's become a way that I can serve, can encourage, can minister. I can use my writing to catalog memories, to build someone up, and to sweetly prove a point.

I know that Jesus can speak through words on a page, and that's why I keep writing. If He can use my words to help another, then I will stay up until crazy hours of the night, the keyboard clicking constantly under my fingertips. I will endure cramped hands, paper cuts, and dead computer batteries.

My life goal is to glorify God. If writing does that...

I will write.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Year Ago Today {Nicholas's Hospital Story}

A year ago today, June 5th, 2012, started normally. It didn’t end that way.

That Tuesday started one of the craziest weeks of our lives, and we couldn’t have made it through without the support of some very special people.

To you who cleaned our house, filled our fridge, organized our towel drawer and brought us dinners,

Who stayed with us at different points, took the kiddos to swimming and me to driver ed,

Who occupied the girls, did our laundry and let me cry in the car,

Who texted me over and over, and let me vent,

Who sent us encouraging emails, texts and Facebook messages, and let us know you cared,

Who visited Nicholas in the hospital, prayed over him, and let my momma have a water break,

Who prayed,

Thank you. I can’t express how much you mean to us all. Your prayers, words, and help mattered- to Mom at the hospital, Dad in Ohio, and me home with all the girls. We couldn’t have made it without you and we firmly believe that Nicholas is healed today because of the healing power of our Heavenly Father. Your prayers made a difference.

Nicholas’s story is below, for those who might wish to read it.

God is good.


It’s a basic Tuesday morning and my mom is out running when my sister comes in and tells me that my brother can’t get out of bed. I go in and basically tell him to swing his legs around and climb down. It seems like a minor bump to a “normal” day. An hour or two later, he’s still complaining about his leg when I leave for Driver’s Ed.

Later in the day, he’s still in a ton of pain- and Kristin is still hobbling around from her hurt toe she got at soccer the night before. After dinner, Mom takes them both to the urgent care clinic, and I stay home with the little ones. She brings them home around 9:30- Kristin with a jammed toe and Nicholas undiagnosed. They think that possibly he has an appendix on the other side and that maybe he has appendicitis. We’re told to go the the E.R. if his pain gets worse or if he throws up. It’s a hard process to get him up the stairs and into bed.

The next morning, he “thinks it feels a little better.” I go off to driver’s ed again, after making Momma promise several times to text me updates. He gets worse throughout the day, and once piano lessons are over, Mom decides to take him in. Getting him into the car is difficult; he’s in so much pain that he can’t move his leg or hip without crying. We all cry a little watching him cry as they drive away.

Mom calls every few hours to give us updates, and the doctors don’t seem to know exactly what is wrong. First they say it’s appendicitis, then a badly pulled muscle, then a bacterial infection of the hip. It’s hard to wait, not knowing. Anna and Libby get a lot of texts, and their prayers and assurance is such a blessing. The doctors decide to admit him overnight and Mrs. W and Carson come over to spend the night with us and bring food. Dad leaves Ohio at 3 in the morning so that he can be at [the hospital] by 9. We think there’s a lot of long, painful tests ahead, and Dad wants to be there for Nick, for Mom, and for us.

I have to leave the house at 7:15 to drive the next day, and Mom texts while I’m at class that it’s a viral infection called Toxic Synovitis. They come home around 3, and he’s still limping, but so much better. He’s home, and we all think that life will go back to normal again. It doesn’t.


It’s around 8:30 the next morning when the phone rings. Mom answers it, gets a funny look on her face, and goes into the office to talk. A few minutes later, she comes back in to tell me that the doctor called and that they found staph infection in Nicholas’s blood- in both samples they sent in to test. The doctors need him to come back to the hospital right away. His appointment for 4 o’clock that afternoon is too late.

When Momma tells him, he cries, “You mean I have to go back and get more blood tests?” He’d had 7 blood tests and 3 ivs already in the past 24 hours. Mom texts Anna from church to come stay with the kids, and I have to get ready to leave for Driver’s Ed. At this point, I begin to think that driving is a little overrated.

Mrs. S comes to pick me up, and Mom comes out to the van to tell her. Then Mom starts crying, I start crying and Mrs. S starts praying. It’s a few minutes before we leave our driveway. Everyone in the car and at class was so sweet, but I think that was the longest class in history. I get home to a counter full of food, a clean house, and the kids just getting home from swimming lessons. I strongly believe we have the best friends in the world.

The doctors do an echocardiogram of Nicholas’s heart to make sure the staph isn’t infecting it, and it comes back fine. Ws pick us up and take us to a little party that's been planned for a few weeks, and we pray for Nicholas while we’re there. We’re told that the doctors will do one more test to make sure he’s positive, and then they will start him on iv antibiotics for a week or two. If he responds well to those, they’d send him home with a PIC line for another two to four weeks. I email and text to get others praying, and Mom and Dad do the same. Satan starts whispering, “You know how you planned to...” and “How will you do/go ___ with Nick attached to medical lines all day?” We keep praying. Satan goes away.

We all get to go visit Nicholas at the hospital the next morning, and then Anna takes us home. We’re supposed to get the test results around 12, and Dad and Mom don’t want us there. It’s closer to one when a doctor comes in and tells them. “There’s absolutely no traces of staph in his blood. There’s no explanation for this. I just can’t understand it.”

We do. Our God is good.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Every Time I Turn It On...

Andy, Asia, myself & Beth | Sometime between 12 and 1 in the morning | February 10th, 2013
This is the picture that I see every time I turn on the computer.

I love it, but not just because it's a picture of a few of my dear friends.

I love it because it's a picture of the power of Jesus, the work of His hands.

I love it because it shows a healthy, healed Asia.

I love it because though Andy is sick, he's still smiling and still proclaiming that God is good.

I love it because Beth and I are standing together, like we did for 3 weeks straight.

I love it because this group- we prayed together every day, all the time.

I love it because though we all had bad days, though we all were tired and messy, we stood by each others' side through it all.

I love it because we laughed and cried, worshiped, sang, and prayed- together.

I love it because we fell on the rock of Jesus Christ everyday, and clung to it for precious refuge.

I love it because we got to work together all year long, and watch so many God stories of Asia's senior year.

I love it because it brings back so many memories of one of us going to another and exclaiming, "Guess what God just did!"

And I love it because each of them showed me the love of Jesus, and I praise Him that we got to be His hands and feet to each other every day.

I love it, because I am blessed.

(Yes, My Fair Lady closed back in February, and I'm just now writing about it. Better late than never. :) I've been waiting to post until I had more pictures (*hint* you know who you are), but I decided to go ahead with just this one.)

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Day After Easter

It's the day after Easter and I recline on our guest bed and write a paper about the respiratory system. The little girls are putting stickers on their letter "F" and the other kids are deep in their school books too.

It's the day after Easter, and this is our worship.

It's the day after Easter, and my Pandora station plays worship music all day long. The respiratory paper stops sometimes, and the writer closes her eyes to dwell on her Jesus. "You can have all this world, but give me Jesus..."

It's the day after Easter, and this is my worship.

It's the day after Easter, and I sit in the bedroom with the twins so that they don't talk to each other while they're supposed to be sleeping. My history pages ask me about the Scottish Covenant and astronomers and Pascal's Law and Isaac Watts.

It's the day after Easter, and this is my worship.

It's the day after Easter, and I stir cheesy potatoes in the frying pan and set the table while Momma cuts apples and peels oranges. We're working together to feed the family.

It's the day after Easter, and this is our worship.

It's the day after Easter, and my worship is vastly different today than it was yesterday. But I believe that we can live lives of worship, and that worship is more than just singing and reading our Bibles. Granted, that is worship...

School is also worship.

Cleaning is also worship.

Eating is also worship.

Breathing is worship, when you do it with the name of Jesus on your lips.

As long as you are doing your work to glorify God, then your work is worship.

Don't be discouraged by the drop from your wonderful church service yesterday to the grind of everyday life today. You can find God in the little things just as much as in the building with the cross.

Your life can be an act of worship to our King of Kings. Will you let it be?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Are You Really Okay?

We're standing in the dusk of backstage left when her searching eyes look into mine. "Linds, are you okay?"

I jump to assure her that I am, that I'm "fine."
Her eyes pierce deeper. "You hide things."

I know. oh, how I know.

"I hope you do tell things to some one."


Her words haunt me for the rest of the night and into the next morning.  She's right. I hide things deep, shovel "I'm fine"s on top, because I'm scared of being hurt. again.

She won't hurt me. She loves me. She's my friend.

And she's worth the truth.
It's easy to feel like she won't care, but she does.

It's so easy to feel like she's too busy, has too much stress to handle my little problems. I mean, she's Eliza! in My Fair Lady! She has enough to think about.

But the truth is, I'm hurting her by my hiding.

I only have a week and a half left of this show with her, before she's graduated from HPA forever.

Do I really want this last show to be tainted with my lies? Or will I share, deepen our trust?

It's in the dark of night that I resolve.

And when I see her in a few hours, after we hug and she tells me how practice has gone so far, when she looks into my eyes and asks "And how are you?"

She's going to get the truth.

The whole truth.

Every time.

Because she's worth it.