Saturday, June 18, 2011

Young and in Love

One of my best friends from high school stopped by last night, and in the midst of our catching up she gave me a book "Young and in Love" by Ted Cunningham.  I could see it on her face that the Lord told her to give it to me, but honestly, I was a little skeptical because Chris and I are going through a ton right now trying to figure out this dating thing.  She explained the book to me a little and I felt like it would be dangerous to read since it encouraged young marriage.  I've only read through a little bit, but it actually seems like an accurate biblical-based book.  These are some of the things that really spoke out to me:

Young people have fallen for the lie.  Delay marriage, be independent, finish college, build your career, save up your money, and have sex outside of marriage.  You've been told to wait until you have it all figured out and have found someone who has done the same.  That's why you keep hearing the words, "You're too young." I believe that young age is an unnecessary delay of marriage.  While I am an advocate for marrying young, I'm an even bigger advocate for helping you grow up.  Take responsibility for your life!  Entering adulthood doesn't require that you wait until you're twenty-five years old, the age some researchers now believe is the milestone for adulthood.  I don't want that for you because frankly it's unnecessary.  Satan wants you to stay a little boy or girl because it leads you to focus on yourself and results in prolonged adolescence.  But God wants you to press on to maturity. Cunningham talks about his meeting and marrying his wife - Never once did we think we were too young.  Unprepared? Yes. Too young? No.  Our parents blessed it.  So did both of our churches.  The idea that we needed to wait another five or even seven years, get good jobs, learn to be independent, and then settle down never once crossed our minds.  For us, marriage was a milestone at the front end of adulthood, not the back end, and we genuinely looked forward to marriage and figuring out our lives together. 

It's really hard to date - bottom line.  I want so bad to say yes, that Cunningham's words are exactly right and I'm going to follow them.  For some reason, it's not that easy.  I'm ready to marry Chris; I want to be with him everyday for the rest of my life.  I'm in love with him.  But it's not up to me.  Men work differently than women.  Most women just know when they are in love and it is right; but men have something in them that makes them have to figure it all out so they can provide and be who women need them to be.  Chris doesn't work by emotion - in actuality, he has no idea how to handle them.  My love is not based wholly on emotion - the Lord has much say in the actions I take and the things I feel; I have a sensitive spirit.  Always have.  Chris's spirit is very much the same way in it's sensitivity; but when his emotions start coming, it's a red flag in his spirit because he does not work well with emotions.  It's easy for us to get caught up in being in love and just having fun and living life, and although that is a wonderful and beautiful thing, the Lord is in control.  It is very important for us to be in tune with the Spirit so we can follow the Father in His will and not base any decisions off emotions.  Really, we just need prayer.  For the Lord to do a mighty work that we may know His desires.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Lincoln Challenge

So Grace Temple was amazing today.  Last week we started a series on money which has been really helpful for me because I tend to worry about it more than I should (which should be none).  Today we discussed the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.  There were so many things that I didn't know - like that a talent, ONE talent, is 20 years worth of life earnings in silver.  So five talents is about four million dollars in today's earnings for the average person, and one talent is about 800,000 dollars.  So the sermon today was about being a steward and knowing how to invest the money (or insert anything here) that the Lord has given you and make it more.  A steward by definition is someone who manages something for someone else.  In this parable, each servant knew that when the master gave them the money that they were supposed to invest it for him and give it back at a later date; that was their occupation - a steward.  The fact that the third servant who received one talent buried it in the ground out of fear and made no profit is dishonorable to the master because it was not the servants money to do that.  You don't get to decide how many talents you receive - you decide what you're going to do with the talents you're given.  So living out of fear and hiding your talents reaps no profit or growth.  Fear is the weapon of the enemy.  The two servants who invested the money showed their faith in their master by works, but the servant who buried it showed his faith by what he did not do and he blamed his faults on the master, saying, "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid".  It was not the servants place to judge the master's acts when the servants job, his life occupation, was to manage the money his master gave him by investing it.  The two servants who did invest the money reaped much benefit from it.

So when the service was closing, Pastor Dwayne gave us a challenge.  He said the elders of the church have prayed and prayed about this and they really feel led to do it.  So they took a couple hundred five dollar bills from our missions fund and passed the offering plates around so each person could get one.  "The Lincoln Challenge" is to find some creative way to invest that money in the next month and bring it back on July 10th with the original five dollars and the profit you made from it and give it back to the missions fund.   He challenged each one of us to really be asking the Lord what he wants us to do with it to invest it and follow what he says.  So I'm going to be praying :) He also encouraged us to share our ideas with one another, so if you do have any ideas of how to invest it, you can leave me a comment :)

This is not only supposed to be done for this one month with this one five dollar bill, it's supposed to teach us how to do it with one hundred dollars, and one thousand dollars.  After all, all money is the Lord's. Why shouldn't we do our best to honor him with it?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summertime

It's been difficult trying to find the time to blog.  I miss it terribly.

In order to graduate on time for the spring, I decided to take a full semester of classes this summer.  It's really been good so far because as hard as it is, I really love learning and being busy with school.  I will admit it gets old sometimes, especially when my friends want to do something and I'm not able to because of homework or studying, but it really is a blessing for me to be able to take this many hours and even out my last two semesters.  Last summer I decided that since I couldn't be a pottery major because it's a four year program, I would just be an Entrepreneurship major so I can one day open my own pottery studio.  I'm still loving the idea and truly wanting to pursue it as early in my life as humanly possible.  This switch, however, has caused a very difficult two years.  I'm the busiest person I know.  Although it doesn't really bother me to be busy, I do wish I had more time to do things I enjoy - like blog.  And read.  I am taking a technical writing class this summer that has required me to create a blog, so even though my blogs are assigned now, I'm still glad I get to interact.

For the first time in my life I'm training for a triathlon.  It's really intense.  I love it.  I've always loved exercising but I think the reason I've never been consistent with it is because I've never been working toward something.  It all began with my boyfriend asking me if I wanted to do it together and somehow I jumped in.  It's turned out that Chris and I have totally opposite schedules this summer so I'm training by myself, but it's been great.  I thought I wouldn't be motivated to train alone, but it's been easy.  So this summer, every single day consists of school in the morning, train in the afternoon, and homework at night.  But it's really good :)

The Lord has been doing some amazing and unexpected things this summer.  My friend Jennifer is working at camp this summer - the one that changed my life completely, the one where I understood love for the first time, the one where I experience total freedom, yes, Lake Forest Ranch.  I've been so excited for her to be there.  We've been writing back and forth, but earlier this week I got a text from her saying that she'll be home this weekend :) So Thursday night she stayed at our apartment and it was so good to catch up with her and hear about all the amazing things the Lord is doing in her life.  I love the Lord so much; I really don't know what else to say about it.  So right before Jen came over, Gabby came home from Nashville and told me that she's going to move up there for the month of July.  I was really bummed because I love living with Gabby so much, she's so wonderful, but I'm really excited that she'll be in Nashville because I know how much she desires to be there :) It's really going to be so great.  Then she told me that she thinks she may have gotten the Invisible Children internship for the fall that she has been waiting to find out about! :) What a blessing.  It's so awesome what the Lord is doing in her life; I love watching all the little touches he blesses her with.  So, Jen and I talked today about next semester and the possibility of her and our friend Jessalyn moving into our apartment when Gabby leaves.  I was nervous when I first heard Gabby was moving out because I didn't know how I was going to find someone to move in, but I allowed myself to trust the Lord with the situation and he completely provided for me - over the top.  Jen and Jess are going to move in in August which is absolutely amazing because they are so wonderful and that will split the cost of rent by three instead of two, which helps me out like crazy since I don't have a job while I'm in school.  Whew.  It's been another busy week, but so so good.  The Lord is faithful.

That's really all that's been going on this summer.  I went to Jackson yesterday to get Chris's dog, Daisy.  She's the most amazing dog in the whole world - no exaggeration.  She is sweet and cute and polite and so lovely.

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I just feel so overwhelmed with how good the Lord is.  I wish I knew how to express it in blog form.  He is my joy, my love.



My heart aches for You my God; My soul waits for You my God
I've come far to find you here; In this place will I draw near

Your Spirit soars me; To the highest height
From where I'll not look back; I will keep trusting You

For I know You are faithful my God; For I know You are faithful my God
For I know You are faithful my God; For I know You are faithful my God

From the land of the barren; We will cry out for rain
Fill our hearts O God; I will keep trusting You

Your Spirit inside of me holds me close; Your wonderful presence I let go
I cleanse my hands to burn my heart; I cry out for love You set me apart