Change

 
 

A Letter To My BCM College Students, Both Past and Present

Dear College Students,

My first day of college is fast-approaching and the dreams of being a college student I had as a little girl are about to become a reality. It is truly unbelievable. To say that you have been an important part of my life is an understatement. You mean the world to me. I don’t know that I will get the opportunity to speak with each of you and tell you how much I love you. I might not get to share my memories of that time when I hit you with pool noodles and then brought you ice water to make up for it. Or the time when I sat in on your small group and talked about what God was doing in my life through a message. Or those impromptu jam sessions in the Big Room where I got to stay up extra late because my Daddy knew just how much I loved making music with you. Needless to say, I have wonderful stories to tell about all of you. I remember how we met. I remember when you told me your favorite color and that you liked red skittles the best. I remember watching you grow spiritually in college and thinking “I want that to be me one day”. I promise I can never forget you. It’s safe to say I still vividly remember close to 14 years of students. If you ever believe you went unnoticed, let me prove you wrong. I did my best to see all of you. Not just physically acknowledging your presence, but trying to understand who you were and how God could use me to encourage you.

I wanted to thank you for always being there and listening. I wanted to thank you for showing me what real friendship looks like and what real transparency means. I want to emphasize that you challenged me spiritually with both positive and negative things. It wasn’t your “perfection” and maturity as a Christian that grew my own faith- it was the recognition that you were all imperfect people saved by grace. It was the realization that God was present in every circumstance, strong enough to save, and powerful enough work bad things for our good and his glory.

I am writing you this letter to say goodbye to all of you- at least for now. I know I will see many of you again, but there may be a few people that I might not get to see. I wanted all of you to know that you have made a difference in my life and for that I am forever grateful. I will treasure all of the memories I have made with each of you. You hold a special place in my heart. I am on the verge of finally experiencing BCM as a true college student, a thought that is both exciting and saddening. I will no longer be the one to watch carefully as you grow from timid freshmen to confident seniors. I will no longer get to experience the joy of watching you share your testimony at Impact as a sophomore when you were too scared to speak in front of anyone as a freshman. I will not get to see you grow into incredible men and women of God like I have been accustomed to in the past. Instead, I will be the one growing. I hope to have younger students looking up to me, watching as I mature in Christ. That reality is frightening and wonderful at the same time. I am trying to look joyfully toward the future, live presently where I am, and hold the past close to my heart all at once.

Please know that you have been the best group of students ever. I wouldn’t have asked to be a part of any other campus ministries than the ones at Midwestern and Valdosta State Universities. I am going to miss you all terribly. Keep me and the BCM at UNG in your prayers. If BCMs prayed for each other, just imagine what God could do at college campuses all across the state of Georgia- all across the nation! Prayer is so powerful. Never take it for granted. In fact, I want to say a pray over all of you now.

 

Dear God,

I pray that their faith will continue to grow. That they will trust You with both the big and small things.

I pray that they will love each other and not let insignificant quarrels divide them.

I pray that the Devil will not have a foothold in their ministry.

I pray that they will humbly submit themselves to a life of prayer and fight hard against the enemy with Your strength and not their own.

I pray that they will believe with all they are that You are good even when circumstances are not.

I pray that each of them will know Your presence and know that they are never alone.

I pray that they will put You above all else and that they would allow You to have control of every part of their life.

I pray that when life gets chaotic, they will run to You first.

I pray that they will trust You and know that Your plans for them are good.

I pray that they would refuse to settle for what is good and instead chase after what is best.

I pray that they would surrender all their relationships to You and allow You to work in them as You want.

I pray that You would clearly show them the people they need to hold accountable, the people they need to keep in constant prayer, the people they need to be intentional with, and the people they need to witness to.

I pray that they will be obedient to You. No matter what it may cost them. No matter where You may lead them.

I pray they would submit themselves to Your plan.

I pray that when your Holy Spirit moves them to do something, that they would do it without question. Forsaking their own pride, casting their fear aside, and allowing themselves to be completely obedient.

I pray that they would trust You for the right words, and not their own eloquence or lack thereof.

I pray that they would be faithful and stop being afraid.

I pray that they would choose honesty over their own pride.

I pray that they would be transparent with one another and that they would never pretend that they are perfect people who have their lives together, because that is a lie.

But I also pray that they would share their faults appropriately and tactfully, with the intention of letting in the people who would keep them accountable and challenge them to go even deeper in their walk with You.

I pray that they would share You with their campus like they never have before.

I pray that their hearts would be broken for the lost.

I pray that they would be guarded against self-righteousness and pride.

I pray that they would build one another up in love and that their love for one another would reveal the truth that they are Your children.

I pray that they would never get caught up in merely doing good things and being a nice person for You.

I pray that they balance their actions with words so that people will know they are followers of You because of what they do and because they’ve shared with others what You have done in their life.

I pray that they would have a unquenchable passion for Your Word, and they would hunger to know You more and more each passing day.

I pray that they would love You more today than they did yesterday.

I pray that they would continually put on the full armor of God so that they may stand against the Devil’s schemes.

I pray that they might know that they are in college for more than to get an education; they are there to be lights for You.

I pray that they would remember that obedience to You and a willingness to follow You is a powerful thing.

I pray You will do something they couldn’t possibly imagine- even if is not what they thought it would be.

I pray You would do a mighty work in their lives.

I pray that at the end of this school year the only thing they can say is “to GOD be the glory, great things HE has done.”

I pray that they will experience both Your power and presence like never before.

I ask these things in Jesus name,

Amen.

 

I love all of you so very much,

Mackenzie

Categories: Change, encouragement, prayer, relationships, School, students | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Happy 2nd Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Guys. It’s been TWO YEARS since I started this blog. Is that crazy or what? I admit, I didn’t do so well this past year with posting regularly. There wasn’t much to read. Which is why I am so amazed that this blog has only grown over the past year. God is so good. But, in order to get the whole idea you’ll need to see some numbers, so without further ado…

Number of Hits: 1, 980

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts/ Pages:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 147 views

About Me– 118 views

To God Be the Glory– 98 views

Number of Followers: 40

Number of Comments: 61

Number of Posts: 26

Again, I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been over 40 countries represented in the views, even some countries in which the internet is highly censored. God is using this blog to share the gospel in counties like that all over the world. I am only a minor character in this elaborate story God has designed and I couldn’t be more grateful to be used by God to reach the nations with the gospel. If you would, take a moment today to thank God for how he has used you, even when you didn’t deserve it. Dear reader, thank you for reading the few posts I had this year and not dropping out of my followers list even when you rightfully should have. Now that my blog is exactly how I want it to be with those new pages ready for anyone to read, I am certain that the gospel will reach farther in this coming year than it has in the previous years combined.

Prayer is powerful. Join me in praying big prayers over this blog. Not So Supergirl doesn’t belong to me. I don’t claim it. It belongs to God and I pray the words I write are the words he wants me to say. I don’t know what the next year will bring; but I do know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog. God is going to keep doing jaw-dropping things through it, and I hope you will continue to follow along with me on this journey. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You are my source of inspiration. Each day presents an opportunity to know you better and fall in love with you more. I want to make the most of each of those days. Guide me when it gets tough. Remind me that you’re always, always, always, in control and you’re still on the throne no matter what happens. This blog wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

Check This Out

In case you haven’t been by the blog to notice, I’ve made some renovations! I changed my subtitle/motto from “The Not So Heroic Deeds of Not So Supergirl” to “Truth, Hope, and God’s Way”; modeled after Superman’s motto, “Truth, Justice, and the American way.” I also made some tweaks to the overall design and added three new pages. Most noteworthy, I completely revamped my About Me page. I had taken it down about a year ago with the intention of redoing it and I never had the time to make it say what I wanted. My other new pages include  My Beliefs (the title speaks for itself), FAQ (the page where I can answer your questions about anything), and How To Become a Christian (the gospel). I hope you’ll take the time to stop by and see the new additions and leave a few comments about what you think! I’ll post another blog post sometime in the next week, so be on the look out for more of my scribblings. Have a wonderful week!

God Bless,

Not So Supergirl 🙂 

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, God, happiness, Holy Spirit, Jesus, looks, waiting | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

Don’t Fill in the Blank

“There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

-Oswald Chambers

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

So often I find that God has erased all my plans for the future and given me a clean slate. A blank space. And the hardest part is looking at that space and realizing that I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen next. I naturally want to fill it in. And many times I do. The space that was a clean work area for God to make and mold and move me becomes a cluttered mess of notations, desires, plans, and calculations. If you ask me, I’ll tell you I know where I’m headed; but that’s about the time God comes along with an eraser and wipes away each one of those ideas. He again gives me the space that begs the question: “Do you trust me?”. I’ll say that I do, and I might even wait a few days for God to do something. But eventually my patience wears thin. I wind up with a metaphorical expo marker in my hand. And I’m drawing something new. Why?

Part of the reason is that there has to be the seamless unity of believing and doing. I must say that I trust God to fill it in when He wants to, and then prove that I trust him by waiting on his timing and not filling in that blank space myself. It’s not that my plans are necessarily bad plans. I might have been planning to go to India and be a missionary for the rest of my life. It was the fact that God has something different and God has something better and I have to still myself and wait for him to give me direction. I should never run before God’s guidance. When he takes the time to erase my plans, it means I should take the time to wait on his plans.

Right now, I have a blank space. Not to long ago God erased all of those plans I had made and began to show me why they weren’t part of his plan. I wanted to do this to please this person. I wanted to go there to meet that person. I wanted to stay here to become this version of myself. I had hidden intentions in each one of those carefully crafted ideas. And God saw those, even when I couldn’t. . He penetrated through the murkiness of my imagination and sorted the stuff I had piled on top of my plans to make them seem more appealing. He showed me what he was seeing as I sang “Wherever He Leads I’ll Go”.  Sometimes following God’s will means waiting on him to fill in those blank spaces in His timetable; not yours.  His will for our lives isn’t some incomprehensible theory that we have to struggle and strain to somehow get on board or grab a glimpse of. He says in Leviticus 19:2 “…Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.”

When we wake up committed to following him and growing in him, we become more like him each passing day. His will isn’t for the future, it’s for now. It’s that process of maturing in holiness and righteousness that sets us walking in the right direction, in his will for our lives. Even when we may only see a blank space in front of us, rest assured that God has plans for it, and wait for his guidance. Don’t rush to fill in the blank. “When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait.”

Categories: Bible, blank, Change, christianity, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, space, Trust, waiting | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

7 Things I Learned in 2014

This year has been incredibly busy. I could almost say that 2014 has been one of the busiest years of my life. This summer was packed full to perfection with an amazing vacation to the North Carolina Mountains, Williamsburg, Virginia, Washington D.C, and Baltimore, Maryland. This school year was packed with AP classes and time-consuming, tedious work. It’s a flimsy excuse for not sitting at the keyboard to post, even when I did have time, but I’m hoping that I will be able to start the New Year with a commitment to blog more (just one of my resolutions). But I didn’t log in just to tell you about how busy I’ve been, I wanted to share with you 7 important things I learned during the year 2014. There’s been ups and downs and through it all, I couldn’t be more amazed at how much I’ve grown spiritually this past year. Which leads me to the first thing I learned in 2014…

1. How to get in the Word…and stay there

I went to church every Sunday and Wednesday and I heard the Word, but often I wouldn’t take time out of my day to have a quiet time. I would usually take out my Bible and read a  huge chunk of scripture and then never read again for the rest of the month. But that changed in March of this year. After learning some context about the book of 2 Timothy, I dove in and committed to read my Bible everyday. I haven’t been perfect, but I have absolutely formed a habit of it, and I have seen the difference it has made. I notice a change in my faith, life and mood when I make the choice to read that day or not to read. That alone has been the defining point in my life this year.

2. My determination never gets me anywhere if it’s not something God wants to happen.

I can work hard. I can muster up enough determination to challenge a metaphorical Mt. Everest. I can try to tackle it. But in the end, it only takes me so far. There are always situations that are out of my control, and I have to accept that God’s plans are so much better and so far above my own. My determination should always be to bring glory to God, no matter what my circumstances are or what the outcome might be. God is ALWAYS in control. He is still sitting on his throne no matter what is happening in my life or in the world around me.

3. Savor the small things

This year I’ve gotten better at living in the moment and finding wonder and reasons to worship God in the things that could be overlooked. It means that I am not so focused on the future that I forget to look around and see what’s now. Because my “now” is a painful, complicated, beautiful work of God’s heart, and there are so many things he uses to get my attention so that I can become even more brilliant. And this year I’ve barely scratched the surface of seeing those things like they’re meant to be seen.

4. Fear is temporary when God is involved

No matter who you are or how old you may be, there is always some type of fear that plagues each and every one of us. My approach at the beginning of this year was simply to power through them. To face them. Show them who’s boss. To wrangle them into submission. In case you’re thinking of doing the same, I have a warning- that doesn’t work. I tried to. I wanted them to go away. And at the beginning of the school year, I spent some time in prayer. And Jesus told me where the problem was. The fear in my life was never something I could handle, power through or beat into submission. It was something that had to be placed in God’s hands and left there. Fear had to be given to God every single day. And there were times when a paralyzingly spirit of fear was fervently prayed out of me by people who care about me, and that was when I found myself free to accomplish each and every action God was calling me to take. Because when God is the center of my life, fear has no room to stay.

5. When I wake up committed to follow God each day, I will follow His Will for my life

Slowly but surely, I find myself on the path he wants me to walk when I give him my simple obedience day after day. “Be holy as I am holy” is what God asks of me, it’s his will for my life, and I become more like him when I wake up surrendered to whatever he might call me to do that day. I give up my own dreams and my own will and I align my will with God’s- that’s when I’m right where I’m supposed to be.

6. A change in procrastination and priorities gets more done

I’ve proved this to be true in my own life , especially as it relates to school. When school gets busy, I am tempted to let God take a backseat to my exhaustion and the growing amounts of him work I have, most of it could have been done earlier, if I hadn’t procrastinated. This year, I’ve proven the statement “When God is your top priority, everything else falls into place.” When God was my priority, things did flow smoothly, even in the midst of chaos. And, when God wasn’t my priority, even when things weren’t too tough, the schedule I was juggling seemed to fall apart. Procrastination is still a sin that needs works in my life, but I am confident that in the next year Jesus and I can straighten some of my laziness out of me. But this year has been a wake-up call to me regarding my procrastination, and next year, hopefully I’ll get more done. And finish everything all the way and to the very best of my ability.

7. I’m never meant to be center stage

I mean this in a spiritual context, because another thing I wanted to work on this past year was my humbleness…or lack of humbleness. Through different events, God has shown me that he is to be the one thing people notice about me. With my abilities or talents, I am meant to glorify him and put attention on him, not myself. And most importantly, it’s not about me, it’s all about him. There’s nothing that’s worth seeing if I’m the center of attention.

Take some time to think about what God has taught you over this past year and get ready to celebrate the new one. Here we come 2015!!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, New Year | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Happy Anniversary Not So Supergirl!

Wow! I can’t believe it’s already been ONE YEAR since I started this blog. It just doesn’t seem real. God has used this in amazing ways, but it was his blog in the first place, I was merely writing what he told me. So in honor of Not So Supergirl, I have compiled a list of the stats. And drum roll please….

Number of Hits: 1, 445

Most Views on a Single Day: 149

Top Posts:

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing– 142 views

My Future Husband– 86 views

Speechless– 76 views

Number of Followers: 22

Number of Comments: 42

Number of Posts: 18

I have to say, I think that’s pretty good. Okay… more than good. When I look at all the stats I am amazed by what God has done and how he has used this blog not just in the USA, but all around the world. There have been nearly 40 counties represented in the views, not including the USA. To my readers, thanks for sticking around this long. I haven’t always been the best at posting regularly- even though my intentions were good. After a while the “new blog” excitement wears thin and you realize you need to keep writing, even when you don’t always feel like it. Not just for people to read, but to keep your own faith where it needs to be; to come to God and sit down for a while and let him speak to you, even when your not feeling it.  I know that this isn’t nearly the end of this blog and God is going to keep doing wonderful things through it, and I hope you guys still decide this stuff is worth reading. Once again, thank you so much. To God, thank you for giving me the privilege to write the things you tell me and telling me the things worth writing. You give me so much inspiration and I’m positive it will never run out. That’s just what I love about you, the more I think I know about you, the less I really do. This blog (not to mention me) wouldn’t be here without you. I love you so much!

Categories: Anniversary, Change, Faith, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, love, words | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

The Following: Leading Well (Part 2)

Proverbs 14:28 (MSG)

28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.

**********************************************

This is the second lesson that God is teaching me regarding leadership. The verse really speaks for itself, you are not a good leader if you have no followers. It makes a lot of sense, you don’t to talk to people you don’t want to hear speak. You don’t hang out with people you don’t like. You don’t follow people who don’t lead well. Because this next year, everything will be new to me, I will see how many people follow me.

I will post things about Youth camp later this summer, but I wanted to shine a light on the commitment that I made to my youth group while I was there. Each night, we would have a worship session and then the speaker would stand up and give the message. That night, the message centered on this question, will you be able to walk across a graduation and have people say about you, I can follow her because he/she follows Christ. He/She constantly seeks after what God desires of him/her and I know that he/she is going to be on the right track, I know I can follow him/her because of their relationship and closeness with Christ.

My youth pastor posed this question, and what I heard was a call for leaders to rise up in the youth group. I stood. It is a big responsibility to have an entire youth group looking up to you and watching your actions to see if Christ is evident in your life, but for a while I could hear God calling me to do something more with my youth ministry. The teens in the youth group were being poured into, but it was hard to tell if they were pouring anything out. It was time to start a revolution, beginning with me, because I was willing to let God use me to change the church attitude both in myself and in others. I asked for accountability, because if I’m leading, not only do I need people following but people alongside me to point out things in my life and bluntly tell me; Mackenzie, if you carry this on any longer, you are going to be leading people into sin.

I’ve been gone for most of the summer, and I haven’t had a chance to notice if my commitment had produced any followers. I may not ever see the people who seek after Christ because my relationship with him changed them. I hope I will be able to look back across the graduation stage and look back at people who have followed me as I followed Christ and know that even as I step out into the real world, I will continue after what he asks of me with all I am, no matter the cost.

I want to be able to lead the people at my school this next year and the people in my youth group this summer and for the rest of my high school years, and if I notice that I have no followers, I know it’s time to back off and let someone else do the leading, while I follow.  With Christ at the center of everything I do, I want to lead people to walk in his ways, and get up people out of the pew and onto the road. If you always live your spiritual life in one place with no risks, you’ve never really lived at all. And besides, I need some followers. You can’t lead if no one is following.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, encouragement, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, leadership, learning, life, people, purpose, School, students, summer, teens, Trust, Uncategorized, words, youth group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments
 
 

I’ll Be With You: Leading Well (Part 1)

Exodus 3:9-18 (MSG)

9-10 “The Israelite cry for help has come to me, and I’ve seen for myself how cruelly they’re being treated by the Egyptians. It’s time for you to go back: I’m sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the People of Israel, out of Egypt.”

11 Moses answered God, “But why me? What makes you think that I could ever go to Pharaoh and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt?”

12 “I’ll be with you,” God said. “And this will be the proof that I am the one who sent you: When you have brought my people out of Egypt, you will worship God right here at this very mountain.”

13 Then Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the People of Israel and I tell them, ‘The God of your fathers sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What do I tell them?”

14 God said to Moses, “I-AM-WHO-I-AM. Tell the People of Israel, ‘I-AM sent me to you.’”

15 God continued with Moses: “This is what you’re to say to the Israelites: ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob sent me to you.’ This has always been my name, and this is how I always will be known.

16-17 “Now be on your way. Gather the leaders of Israel. Tell them, ‘God, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, appeared to me, saying, “I’ve looked into what’s being done to you in Egypt, and I’ve determined to get you out of the affliction of Egypt and take you to the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite, a land brimming over with milk and honey.”’

18 “Believe me, they will listen to you. Then you and the leaders of Israel will go to the king of Egypt and say to him: ‘God, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. Let us take a three-day journey into the wilderness where we will worship God—our God.

*********************************************************

For a long time, I’ve been behind the scenes working for Christ on campus. I’ve been there, I’ve led in my own subtle mannerisms, but never noticed a big group following behind me, or was ever entrusted with the care of their spiritual growth.  I prayed, was outgoing, witnessed, all of this leading in its own way, but never truly led. This next year, I have the chance to lead. From what I have heard, I am a very possible candidate for a leadership position with Fellowship of Christian Athletes. You have no idea how excited this has made me. I get my chance to lead people. People will look up to me and I’ll challenge them in their faith. More witnessing will happen and the school will be turned upside-down because of the call he has placed on my life. But I’ve never truly led.

The reality of this hit me one night and I was suddenly asking myself, “How is it possible that I could be leading others?” I wondered what I would say to get their attention. How I would say it? I planned out all the things I wanted to get done and everything that needed to be done. And I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought of leading actual people. Even more so, people my age and older than me. Of course the cute Christian girl praying at her Dad’s college meetings is enough to inspire a Christian college student, but not lead them. I’m not teaching Bible Stories to five-year-olds either. After moving, I hardly had any friends. In middle school, I integrated with the “outcasts” of middle school society and felt a whole new way to stand up for what I believe in , from a bunch of atheists who hated god, a bunch of skeptics who didn’t think he existed, and a bunch of hurting people who couldn’t accept a God who had never done anything for them and allowed them to feel pain. My faith dwindled and then grew as I was able to tell them what they needed and was able to stand apart from them, but allow a safe-haven for them even though I believed in something different.

I was still left out sometimes, most being of the popular Christians crowd.  As the two groups of us moved further away from each other, a fear began to grow inside of me that kept me from going back and finding Christian friends. It was a fear of rejection. We were only 3rd and 4th graders when we met. I didn’t know one person my 3rd grade year who had  felt what it was like to be new someplace and have no one to welcome you.

My story turned out for the better, I stepped outside my comfort zone and the haze of lies the Devil had fed me to keep me away from the people who might help to grow and encourage my faith the most. The Christian people like me. Of course, the giant gap remains between my group of lesser on the popularity chain to greater on the popularity chain. I feel like I can’t relate to  Christian people sometimes. These people have always had Christian friends, they always seemed to be accepted by everybody. I haven’t. So it was this that I came to that night. That I had a chance to lead the people I had been afraid of and bridge the gap between my group and theirs. Where do I begin? What do I say? They won’t listen to me! I’ve never led anyone before. Near tears, God spoke to me. He said “I’ll be with you, believe me, they will listen to you. I gave Moses the words didn’t I?” . I remembered this passage and read it over and was so overcome with joy.

That night he promised me that he would give me a full training in how to be a leader. I know it will make me better equipped and a better leader than any “how-to” book on the market or any year-long seminar. He’s the best leader there is. I love how he gets irritated with Moses. He says that he will be with him through everything, that he will give them the words and the victory, yet Moses doubts God. My favorite line is one I’ve said myself many times, ““But why me? What makes you think that I could ever _______________________?” And every time God answers me,  “I’ll be with you.” He’s with you too, whether it be leading an entire body of Christians or overcoming the initial shock of something extravagant he asks of you. He says,  “I’ll be with you” and proves it to be true every time.

Categories: Change, christianity, Church, communication, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, prayer, teens, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Completions and Complications

I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this blog, and before you go off on me about not writing for a few months, hear me out. I have this class that was a little behind grade-wise in AP U.S. Government and Politics (most of you know where this is headed) but before you go thinking that I’ve failed the class, I want to clarify that we are talking about a perfectionist (me) who “failed”. In other words, I was making a B and my 4.0 average began to slip down the drain. I’m not bitter that I was temporarily grounded from my blog, because I felt the same. Taking an AP class consumes a lot of your time, and like the usual me, I couldn’t get my priorities straight, and so my parents straightened them out for me. You have no idea how glad I am to be back and how glad I am to be able to write about the pieces of my life you missed this past month, and also about all the experiences I will have this summer. It’s going to be epic, just saying.

I titled this “Completions and Complications” because it sums up life for me right now, pretty well. As I have had the chance to read other’s blogs and let them pour into my life, I realized that I enjoy reading blog posts where people are real. Not the fake “I’m doing fine” not the teaching of what they learned about Jesus this past week, but when they sat down and said, look, my life is a mess. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It’s hard for me to write this. It’s deeply painful to sum up what’s going on right now, but healing can be painful and I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to. It inspires me. Because I never for one moment think; “wow, they don’t have it all together” or “their faith must be really weak because they can’t trust him with this”, instead I think, “I want faith like that”. It takes a lot of confidence to put out the things you are struggling with at this season in your life. You suddenly become more vulnerable than you’ve ever been, and it’s scary. Like stepping out on a limb that you’re not sure will hold you up. I’ve made the decision to write like that. I’m stressed. I’m worn out. I’m being pulled in a thousand different directions. I don’t know why you’re reading this, but it’s for a reason. It may be hard for me to write like that. It may be deeply painful. But healing can be painful and I’m going to I’m going to write and learn and listen until the very end. Join me if you want to.

The school year has ended and I cannot believe how many close friends I have made just in this school-year alone. This summer will be difficult to begin, I’m going to miss those dear friends so much, and they will always have a place in my heart. I’m finally beginning feel that I have accomplished something. I still have so much that I have to learn, and so many things that God has to pull out of my life. Just as the school-year ended, he put a pin-point on a fear I had lived with for a long time, and I was able to begin to overcome it. As this summer begins, expect to see shorter posts with more content, for as many days as possible. Thanks for coming on the journey this far, in June my blog will be 6 months old.

Categories: AP Civcs, Change, christianity, communication, converstions, failure, Faith, God, God, Holy Spirit, Jesus, learning, life, listening, people, prayer, reality, relationships, School, speech, stress, summer, teens, Uncategorized, vacations, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments
 
 

Beauty in Exile

Here is a little short story I wrote for Easter Sunday. Enjoy!

As far as I was concerned, I was worth nothing. I had rags for a dress, soiled hands and a dirty face. I was an outcast of society; I deserved nothing but to be spit upon by a crowd of mockers. I was an orphan, without family or home. I had no name. I was exiled from the Kingdom, as ransom for a fault of my ancestors, many years before. They soiled the honor of our King. I suffered under the weight of their fault.

A prince sat in his castle window, staring out at the barren land where the outskirts of his father’s kingdom lay. It was dry, where the exiles lived. The exiles who soiled the honor of his father, exiles with rags for clothes and soiled hands and dirty faces; a people who knew no love, no home. His heart ached for them.

I worked hard with little pay and the only satisfaction I got was the hope of death, which was never a comfort. My freedom held me captive, all day long. I knew I was free to roam, but inside, I yearned for something more fulfilling. I needed to know my life had a purpose. I needed to feel loved. I shoved my thoughts out of the way, and toiled on. My search for water was unending.

The prince sat at the King’s table, feasting on the finest food. The king stood. “My son,” he said, “have you not longed to see what I have despised?” “Therefore, I send you out unto the exiles to live among them, to see what they face.” “Bring them back to me, and I shall make them my children, they shall be loved.” The prince, nodded solemnly, knowing this would be his last feast at his father’s table for a long time. His father continued, speaking softly “but you know they cannot be accepted without a price”. The prince stood, wiped away a tear and said, “It will be done.”

I watched the cloud of dust come closer, the only thing it could mean was a new arrival. The person who came stumbling down the road was not eye-catching, but there was something about him. When he looked me in the eye, I saw no scorn, no mockery, nothing I had been used to receiving from travelers. When he spoke, there seemed to be great authority, and his next words shocked me. “I am an exile.” “I came from my father’s kingdom to live here for a year and bring you back to him after your ransom has been paid.” I laughed at such ignorance, but lead him around and showed him the life I lived in this dust bowl, a life without water, a life that seemed to mean nothing. Through the months, his phrase echoed through the walls of my mind. “…To bring you back to him after your ransom has been paid.”

The prince lived among the exiles, and experienced the heartache of the people. He felt their sorrow, a stabbing pain in his heart. He healed the sick, and they listened to stories of life in the castle, although they never believed them. But the days were drawing close when their ransom had to be paid. They would know the joy of love and family; he would feel the weight of their burdensome faults. A pack of thieves galloped down the road; he bowed his head and prayed before leaping into action.

We never had thieves. There was nothing to steal, and yet there they were before us, holding us hostage. The prince came out of the cloud of dust, his face set in a firm line, holding out a ring with the king’s coat of arms. “I know what you’re after”, he said, “Let them go.” The thieves dropped us to the ground and sprinted to the prince. I could only watch as a cloud of dust arose and the prince’s cries were heard above the noise. I turned my head; I couldn’t bear to watch it unfold. The others around me laughed and jeered, ugly people enjoying the spectacle of pain they never saw the prince go through before now.

The thieves, after finishing their work, left off into the sunset, while the prince lay motionless on the ground. The others around me wandered off. I ran to him. I watched, in awe as the river of blood flowing from his veins took form, creating a beautiful red dress. The prince stirred, and said in a hoarse voice, “take it, put it on, and walk back into my father’s kingdom, there you will be accepted, and there you will find rest and love.” I took his hand, and he died. The ground shook and the sky turned black. I put on the red dress and started my three-day journey back to the kingdom, carrying the dreadful news to the King- that his son was dead.

The third day, my heart felt lighter, as if the weight I had been under for so long was now gone. I looked at my red dress; it was a brilliant white as I climbed up the steps to the King’s palace. They received me inside, although I had made no appointment. I walked the narrow hallways to the throne room, my heart pounding furiously. I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror; no longer was I ugly, I wasn’t dressed in filthy rags, now I was stunning, the white dress reflecting off the walls.

A voice from inside the throne room called me in, and I walked into the brilliant light. There, my King stood tall and welcomed me to his table, and said I was his child. I opened my mouth to tell of how undeserving I was, when I saw my prince. He stood and spoke for me. He told of the wonderful things I had done for him while in exile. His father nodded. I was lead to the table, and knew that I was loved. I was lead to His table; and I knew I was home.

Categories: beauty, Change, christianity, encouragement, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, identity, Jesus, life, listening, looks, love, Moving, people, perfection, prayer, purpose, reality, relationships, selfishness, words | Leave a comment
 
 

Learning to Listen

I’m a chatterbox. There is the plain truth in black and white. If someone asks me how I am, I’ll tell them. They will hear much more about my life than they ever wanted to. It’s comical really. But I also have a tendency to be a chatterbox to God. I talk and talk and talk about my problems. Why this, why that, I wonder about this, I wonder about that, on and on and on. It’s good to pray. It’s good to talk. But sometimes all the talking drowns out what the other person is trying to say and you miss something important. When my mouth isn’t moving, there is something wrong with me physically. When my heart is talking, there is something wrong with me spiritually.

Why is there something wrong with me spiritually? It’s because I’ve completely ignored what God is trying to tell me. I’ve interrupted and kept talking. “Be still, and know that I am God.” For me, God is trying to tell me in that verse to stop being such a chatterbox and just quiet down and listen. He is God! He holds the entire world and my problems are nothing compared to him. One of the first steps toward having gentle and quiet spirit is to be quiet. Many of my friends are quiet people. That leaves me to do most of the talking. But when me and another friend both like to talk, it creates serious communication issues. You try to talk at the same time and all the words are jumbled together. When you tried to say “my fish is sick” and they tried to say, “I bought some tuna” you wind up with something like “my tuna fish is some stick”; not at all what you were trying to get across. It’s the same thing with God, though with a not nearly as funny outcome.

When you talk so much you can’t hear God, your almost saying “what I have to say is so much more important that what you have to say, therefore you must listen to me before I’ll hear anything from you.” It’s a detrimental spiritual disease called selfishness. It grows in your soul and has to be weeded out by a professional gardener; otherwise, it spreads and you think you are entitled to everything because the world revolves around you and what you want. This is what I’ve done when I needed to listen to God. Because I don’t, I wind up completely and utterly confused and lost. Because I don’t focus on his directions, I lose sight of the way he wants me to walk. Being quiet takes practice; it takes vigorous spiritual exercise to listen. When all you want to do is tell God about your problems, you forget that he is trying to tell you how to fix them. Spiritual chatterboxes don’t make strong Christians; they make confused Christians who have a selfish slant to their lives.

Praying is a wonderful thing. But prayer is a conversation, not a journal you’re keeping. With prayer, you talk to be heard and you talk to be answered. Spiritual talking is almost like a cheat prayer. You just talk to talk and whether anyone responds isn’t your concern. Each trial we face in our lives, is for us to learn from, whether we want to learn or not. The trials build up our faith and the more you learn from it, the stronger you faith becomes. But how much you learn depends on how much you listen.

Categories: Bible, Change, chatterbox, christianity, communication, converstions, encouragement, Faith, garden, God, God, hearing, Holy Spirit, Jesus, Journals, learning, life, listening, love, people, prayer, reality, relationships, selfishness, speech, Thoughts, Trust, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment
 
 

When Earwax Clogs Your Hearing

To be honest, earwax isn’t the most pleasant thing. Unfortunately, I have gotten to know that really well. A few weeks ago, my ear was clogged up… and wouldn’t unclog. We went to the doctor and, what do you know, a big hunk of earwax was stopping me from hearing things correctly. During that time, I really stopped to think about my spiritual life. Is there anything clogging my spiritual ears from hearing God’s voice? What is the earwax that keeps me from doing what God has planned for me? For any of you who know, it can be kind of cool to hear your own voice after your ear gets stopped up, but eventually it just gets annoying. You try to remove with a Q-tip… nothing. You try all these different things because by now; it’s beyond annoying, it’s maddening.

I went to Disciple Now “D-Now”, a youth retreat at my church, last week. During the icebreaker, my fun fact was that I blogged. Since I said that, I was forced to blog about D-Now. But that’s not the only reason that I brought it up. It really was an awesome weekend that dealt with finding your identity. And as a teen, that can be difficult. You try to find it in so many different things other than God, and soon you’re entangled in a false identity, not at all what God wanted you to be. I will blog along those lines later. What I really struggled with this weekend, wasn’t finding my identity. I knew what my identity was, it was Christ, what I struggled with, was surrendering a few things.

I devoted the weekend to seeking after God’s plan for my life and not my own. I realized that sometimes, living fully for Christ could mean giving up things that you’ve held onto for a long time. Things like your biggest dreams, your firmest hopes, and your obsessions. I can name at least one that this theology struck really hard. I felt like it nearly killed me to give up control of it. I found out something though, once you make God the desire of your heart, things began to change… fast. So fast, it’s like you’re caught up in an amazing whirlwind of his love, his holiness, and his grace. I am completely and utterly in awe of him.

After the youth retreat, I got to talking with my youth pastor and he offered to let me teach a small-group of 6th grade girls this summer. To let you know, no youth lead the small groups, it’s all college students. Teach at church; become an even bolder person in the faith? No way, my life had been planned so drastically different. Last Sunday, my Sunday school teacher offered to have a student teach the class, I was dying to, but before I could say anything, my class members unanimously elected me via the “stare vote”. So I’m teaching now.

I believe it all came from one prayer. I advise you to use these words carefully as they always bring about change as soon as God knows you’re willing. I had been warned, but I honestly thought I could imagine up what God wanted me to do. Take me seriously on this, unless you really want something to happen in your life, which includes all of your dreams falling to pieces in light of God’s supreme plan, don’t pray this prayer.

The prayer: use me, bless me, do whatever you want with my life. I give you all my hopes, all my dreams; I want you to be my heart’s desire. I want to fall in love with you. Take all my plans, and turn them into whatever brings you glory. Here I am, send me.

I finally got the earwax cleaned out of my spiritual ears; and once I did, I heard God loud and clear. What are you waiting for? God wants to do amazing things in and through your life if you’ll just listen. Chances are; you have spiritual earwax. Clean the earwax out of your ears, and give him all your attention. He’s worth every second. And that earwax… toss it in the trash.

Categories: Bible, Change, christianity, Church, comparision, D-Now, earwax, Faith, finding your identity, God, hearing, identity, life, prayer, purpose, small groups, spiritual ears, students, teens, Thoughts, Uncategorized, youth retreats | Tags: | 7 Comments
 
 

Fighting For Life

My friend sent me a text today asking for my help in spreading the word about something she wanted to do this Tuesday morning in honor of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. She proposed that we gather at the courtyard of our school before first block and pray against abortion for and the support of life. She said, “I just feel like we need to pray out against the murder of unborn children and mercy for women who have gone through abortion. I know this issue probably affects several girls at our school currently, and while I believe we as Christians shouldn’t stand for it, I believe picketing the issue isn’t the way to show how much we actually care about this issue and the many lives lost to it. This event isn’t a picket for abortion or even something that would condemn the mothers and children. It is a prayer time where we can quiet our hearts and ask for help and healing of this nation and the hurt surrounding this issue. We need to pray for comfort for the mothers, whether prepared or unprepared for children, who decidedly give up their child, whether forced to or unforced. It is a sight to see what this nation has become…after everything we used to be. We survived here, we fought and won this land, not anything of our own doing, but because God chose to bless us. Because our founding fathers left everything they knew, to come here, and worship God the way he should be worshipped. My pastor quoted Dr. Russell Moore, the Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Seminary, in today’s bulletin. This is what Dr. Moore wrote:

Why I Hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday

“I don’t hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I think it somehow, unbiblical. No, indeed. The entire canon throbs with God’s commitment to the fatherless and to the widows, his wrath at the shedding of innocent blood. I don’t hate it because I think it’s inappropriate. Just as every Lord’s Day should be Easter, with the proclamation of the Resurrection of Jesus, and Christmas, with the announcement of the Incarnation, so every Lord’s Day should highlight the worth and dignity of human life. I hate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday because I’m reminded that we have to say things to one another that human beings shouldn’t have to say.
– Mothers shouldn’t kill their children
– Fathers shouldn’t abandon their babies
– No human life is worthless regardless of skin color, age, disability, or economic status.
The very fact that these things must be proclaimed is a reminder of the horrors of this present darkness.
But I also love Sanctity of Human Life Sunday when I think about the fact that I serve a congregation with ex-orphans all around, adopted into loving families. I love to reflect on the men and women who serve every week in pregnancy centers for women in crisis. And I love to see men and women who have aborted babies find their sins forgiven, even this sin, and their consciences cleansed by Christ.
We’ll always need Christmas. We’ll always need Easter. But I hope, please Lord, someday soon, that Sanctity of Human Life Sunday is unnecessary.”

This too my hope and prayer. I hope you’ll join me this Tuesday in praying over this. For my high school folks who are here for information about this event, we will meet in the courtyard (by the flagpole) just before the tardy bell rings for first block. We will have a time of prayer for the children who are affected or will be affected. We will pray for the mothers and/or fathers that are going through this rough time, and the doctors and nurses working with these women. We will pray for those giving or receiving advice, whether directly or indirectly involved. We will pray that people everywhere will realize they can make a difference and eventually stop the necessity of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.

Categories: abortion, Change, Dr.Russell Moore, Founding Fathers, God, human-rights, life, pregnancy, sanctity of human life sunday, Uncategorized | Tags: | Leave a comment

Attempting to Understand

I enjoy listening to Christmas songs in the middle of the summer and ice cream in the middle of winter. I enjoy dreaming a of snowflakes falling softly on my tongue outside my house back in Texas, as a 4 year old girl who had no cares in the world. I enjoy going back in time to where we snuggled in blankets and drank hot chocolate while watching the fire dance for us. I love looking back at the memories of summers and winters. And just as summer is the opposite of winter I seem to have seasons of my life where I realize I’m not the same person I was all those years ago. I long to go back in time, to Texas, back to when life was merely love and fun and nothing more, but life goes on and I find myself reading bible verses like “…content with who they are and where they are, unanxious, they’ll live at peace.” Time rushes on…but I dream that the memories I made will be retold for generations, and so I will never be forgotten, just as my own memories haven’t been forgotten. I know others won’t remember, but my memories that are held in the deepest reaches of my heart are forever alive, as long as I am.
I try to forget and put the past behind me, but it comes back up anyways. Maybe that’s why the Lion King always makes me cry. The songs I used to sing…the games we used to play on the rusty playground equipment…. I don’t think I’ve changed all that much… I find that I can cry myself to sleep over something that happened nearly five years ago…why haven’t I let go? I feel like the only person in the world who has ever held on so dearly to something you know you can’t control. But why? I still ask God that question. I know there is obviously a reason, but where is it, why can’t I focus on that? So why did we move? I realize that it would have been the same in Texas but why? Let go how? Forget how? Or maybe I’m supposed to remember…
It’s been a rather rough journey when it came to God attempting to teach me why I am here instead of the place I would rather be, Texas. I still find it hard to cope with, even though it’s been 5 years, on my birthday (yes, we moved from Texas to here on my 8th birthday). I don’t really know why it’s been difficult, I guess I had made so many memories there and then was told, “okay, now everything you knew here, you’re going to leave behind you because we are moving and none of your tears are going to change that fact”. I’m a person who hates change, I like everything to be kept normal and under control all the time. Everything here seems to bring up something else that I used to know there. I tried so hard to get myself to understand why I was here. And that was one of the main problems. I trusted myself. I tried to do it on my own. To, let you know, it didn’t work. I just felt more miserable. I found this verse:
Content with who they are and where they are,
unanxious, they’ll live at peace.”
Zephaniah 3:13 MSG

I got, as well as I could , what God was telling me. Sometimes he takes away things that means a lot, only to give you something better, than will mean even more. “Content with who they are and where they are…” I know there is a reason, a deeper reason than just the fact that my dad got a new job 5 years ago, it could possibly be that it all happened so that I could make an impact here. I have no idea why God needed me here, and at this time. But there is always a reason. And I just wrote down whatever came to mind in that moment. I have a feeling there was some reason that God wanted you to hear that.
Even from looking at the pictures, not only are the sunsets better in Texas, but in my memories, life is too. It seemed that my friends there were having a fine time of life there and I wish with all my heart that I could be back in Texas. God wants me here for a reason, though it is hard to understand exactly what it is. Then again, it’s not up to me to understand God’s plans, all I have to do is follow them. Sounds easy, right? Much easier than planning it out on my own. Funny thing is, I like to know where everything leads. I have trust problems. It bothers me that I can’t ever seem to trust completely in God’s power so I’ll keep trying. It won’t be easy for me, but that’s the great thing in giving it to God.

(This post was part word-document-journal entry, part letter. It was something that I found hard to deal with at the time but I tell you with great joy that God came through, as always. It reminded me how much I don’t know and how much he does. I’m positive now that it’s the best thing for me to be here. Although Texas needs me, Georgia needs me even more. I haven’t gotten all the reasons put into place just yet, mainly because there’s too many to count. I started to wonder; it could be that my Dad getting a new job was as much for me to minister to my social circle as it was for him to minister to college students. We have been here 6 years now, and I couldn’t wish for anything better. Keep up the faith 🙂 )

Categories: Bible, Change, Faith, God, Journals, Moving, Replacment, Texas, Trust, Uncategorized | Tags: | 6 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

Ashley P Dickens

Stories from my little black desk

Anchor for My Soul

Take me where HOPE is needed.

Jesus>I

Ministry, Friendship, Family, and Life

Shelli Littleton

From Hardship To Hope With A Mission

Enough Tribulations Peace & Deliverance Ministries

Finding Peace and Deliverance in the Midst of Tribulations

worthydaughters: Ava Sturgeon's blog, book info

For Jesus girls walking "in a manner worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:10).

Ashley P Dickens

Stories from my little black desk

A Beautiful Purpose

God has a plan for every moment

Elephant Poems

A blog of random poems by a crazy poet

commonground3855.wordpress.com/

Taking Gods love from the pews to the pavement.

Stephanie Rische

Stubbing My Toe on Grace

Alicia Zinn

A little Life Laughter & Love... It's the little things in life that make a difference!

Not So Supergirl

Truth, Hope, and God's Way

Leaving Perfection Learning Grace

A journey through eating disorder recovery and beyond

Megan Has OCD

About Mental Health, Daily Struggles, and Whatever Else Pops in My Head

Tina's Recipes

A collection of Recipes