panoramic close-up

[[ warning: thinking via typing may occur ]]

Here are some thoughts I’m having…

I can vividly see what he is doing in the people around me, but it is a hard thing to see the work he is doing in me since I’m me everyday. Ya know those friends you catch up with once every couple of weeks, or maybe even once a month? You really start to see the work of Christ in them and can point it out to them when they can’t see it.

I love that God is big picture, panoramic shot and also artsy portrait with the edges of my face cut off because he’s so close.

He knows me now. He knows me before. He knows me later.

He sees who I am. He sees who I am becoming. He sees who I will become.

I love that.

That is all.

stc

stc

This past weekend, Knoxville took 600+ people to Sharp Top Cove in Jasper Georgia. More than the camp had ever housed during weekend shenanigans! No one really anticipated school sign-ups blowing up like they did which resulted in cramming camp to … Continue reading

the one where i’m almost done with college

I literally have one day of class left at the University of Tennessee. SAY WHAT?? Whenever I think about it for too long, I definitely have a major out of body experience. I’m super excited about the coming days and weeks and months–getting celebrate this weird transition with lots of people that I love. I’m excited about the fall; it gives me good butterflies–learning how to teach (going to school, to be a teacher is a funny concept when you think about it) and hopefully finding a big girl job along with it. In all the excitement and happy-nervous-jitters, I’ve also been feeling really nostalgic. Looking back over the past four years is kind of overwhelming…there are so many memories and so many things that I’ve learned. Maybe I can pinpoint a handful of things that stick out.

Learning what it means to live in light of The Gospel — That time when Jessie and I slipped and slid into fall…and yellow jackets — Small group with Lauren. And her banana bread — Scream-Singing in the Cheetah kitchen — Learning to be honest with people — Raves at Hodges Library — That time when our house had fleas, a gas leak, broken AC, etc…all in one semester — Meeting/crying/laughing with Jen at Panera — Laughing alot — Crying alot — Never having enough Tom-Head — Learning to try to live in the present and not worry about the future — Summer Bible study with Steph — Finally majoring in something other than “undecided” #englishmajor — Watching The Bachelor on Monday nights — Conversations on the back porch swing — Dance Parties — Young Life at Webb — New Years in Nashville — freaking out about who to ask to date parties freshman year — running from Laurel to the Lane Kiffin riot, complete with burning mattresses — Learning the importance of community and authenticity — Working at Cedar Springs with LTP aka best job ever — Walks at the boulevard — Road trips with friends — Learning that peace from the Lord is like manna…perfect provision for each day — Running up and down the halls of Laurel when the power went out — Learning to lay my insecurities at the feet of Jesus — Eating with Ben & Jerry in Humes — Anxiously awaiting each episode of LOST — Learning what it looks like to stand in the grace and righteousness of Christ — Desiring to treasure Christ most and learning to trust Him

Whoa baby. I feel like I just word vomited all over this post. That stuff might not make sense to anyone but me. And that’s just the tip of the ice-berg. I love that the Lord has been walking with me through all of it. I love that He draws me to himself so creatively…whether it be as I scream-sing in the kitchen or as I go for a walk or as I cry my eyes out or as I jam out driving down the road or as I laugh til I pee my pants.  He walked before me in all of it and he goes before me now!

Hallelujah.

“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” Colossians 1:17

Then the LORD said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day.” Exodus 16

resurrection

The more we lack everything, the more we resemble Jesus crucified. The more we cling to the cross, the closer do we embrace Jesus who is nailed to it. Every cross is a gain, for every cross unites us to Christ.

 

It was a day of Celebration.

BONUS: Easter is all day, every day.

I live because of the Resurrection. Freedom and life–real life–is offered. I know He can conquer fear because He defeated death. I am invited into who He is. I am no longer Forgotten or Forsaken, but I am Sought After.  I am undeserving and inadequate; yet, His love for me is boundless. He bore my sin and took my shame so that I can now boldly approach the throne of God. He intercedes for me. He knows my heart and He deeply cares for me. He is the Creator, Sustainer, Completer, and Redeemer. I can live in contentment because His purposes always stand. He is the Vine. He is the Way. He is Truth and Life.

Beyond thankful.

Thy Mercy, My God

Thy mercy, my God, is the theme of my song,

The joy of my heart. and the boast of my tongue;

Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,

Hath won my affections, and bound my soul fast.

Without Thy sweet mercy I could not live here;

Sin would reduce me to utter despair;

But, through Thy free goodness, my spirits revive,

And He that first made me still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,

Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;

Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,

And weep to the praise of the mercy I’ve found.

Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,

And the covenant love of Thy crucified Son;

All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine

Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.

All praise to the Spirit, Whose whisper divine

Seals mercy, and pardon, and righteousness mine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EgJNcKbiHM

Found this song on Spotify. It sounded familiar. I think I sang it a couple of times at RUF. I’ll just let the words speak for themselves…because they sure are speakin’ to me.

freely

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

There’s alot of stuff packed into these couple of verses. Lauren, my small group leader, pointed us specifically to the little part I highlighted. She told us to jot down thoughts that come to mind when asked the question: “What does Christ’s forgiveness look like to me?” After thinking and writing and discussing, this was the tip of the iceberg…

It is complete. “The old has gone; the new has come”

It renews. It is life-giving. “I will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh”

He does not remind us about it over and over, but calls us out of guilt and shame. “Love keeps no record of wrongs”

It is enough. “My grace is sufficient for you”

It is unmerited. “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life”

There is no limit or cap. “Your mercies are new every morning”

Then looking at the words of Jesus in Matthew 18, we see that this forgiveness is also what we’re called to with each other. To forgive freely. No requirements. And not only not holding something over someone’s head, but rather forgiving in such a complete way that breathes life and renewal. I want to extend Christ’s forgiveness in my everyday. And no way Jose can I do it by relying on myself.

Transform my heart to forgive with a motivation of love and gratitude because of the complete forgiveness you have shown me.

i heart today

jesus knows me, this i love.

I read alot about love this morning.

That according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us…So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him…There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4

“We’ve been more than noticed. God has pursued us from father than space and longer ago than time…If God is the Pursuer, the Ageless Romancer, the Lover, then there has to be a Beloved, one who is Pursued. This is our role in the story.” The Sacred Romance

Oh to be loved by Jesus! I am infinitely loved. And not just today.

And even though Valentine’s Day is a holiday created by Hallmark and Hershey’s, I think it’s one of the greatest inventions of all time. Love me some hearts, candy, flowers, red & pink, chocolate covered strawberries, and Rom-Coms. May today and everyday we know and believe that we are loved and pursued by Love himself!

frostbite

“Your hair can never be too straight.”

as told by a 7th grade girl–in front of mirror–with flat iron in hand

Oh the wisdom of a junior high girl. I love it. Can’t say I wish I could relive my days as a middle schooler, but I did have some darn good times at ole WVMS. 20% of my day and 100% of my breaks were spent in front of the mirror reapplying face powder and brushing/doing and re-doing my hair. This phenomenon probably contributed to my acne and my oily locks as an adolescent…

Even though I fondly spent most of my middle school days in Awkwardtown, USA, this weekend I was able to go with Central Baptist on their winter retreat (aka Frostbite) and hang out with some stinkin’ hilarious 8th grade girls that make braces look beautiful.

This weekend was absolutely joy filled and jam-packed with truth that I needed to hear big time! I’m so thankful I was able to spend time with people who have been influential in my life over the years and to be the “big-kid” who got to hang out with students. Here are some other pictures of the weekend…

Happy Humpday, party people!

green slope

Today I had my last first day of class at the University of Tennessee. I could sing a melancholy ballad mashed with an upbeat melody about how I’m feeling right now…but that would just be dramatic and silly. So instead I’m going to take you back a week…

This time last week I was chilling in Buena Vista, Colorado at Trail West.

beautiful view from our back porch

Approximately 24 hours, 3 movies, several car games, and 2 tylenol pm later, we made it from K-Town, TN to the rocky Rockies. It was technically a “ski-trip” but I’d like to call it a “people-trip”. That’s what sticks out to me when I think back over the week. I picture laughing histerically, dancing like a mad woman, weeping at Shawshank Redemption, skiing on green slopes, and awwing with each other over creation and over streets named Sunflower Lane. I loved being with these people. In new friends and old friends, across the board, I saw my Creator. I saw the life he offers in unexpected ways–laughing, sitting still with someone beside you, eating/chatting with people, doing a puzzle, taking pictures, and the list goes on. It was just good. So here are a few pictchas…

sharptop

This past weekend, West-Knoxville Young Life ventured to Sharptop Cove in Jasper, Georgia. After several weeks of gathering money and permission forms, 500 kids from Webb, Bearden (go dawgs), Farragut, Karns, West, CAK, and Hardin Valley hopped on a fleet of buses in the West Town Mall parking lot and we were off. Praise the Lord!

I’ve been to Sharptop and other Young Life camps multiple times since my Freshman year of highschool, but this was very different from every other trip. This was the first time I brought girls that I’m friends with from Webb: Mary Heyward, Gabby, Katherine, Kelly, Macy, Shelby, Emily, and Meg. I was able to spend the weekend with some girls that I’ve been praying for and getting to know over the past year. I loved every minute of it. I loved knowing that God went before us–He is previous. He is the one who is drawing people to himself. I loved the constant reminders that I am not in control–this is His story that he graciously invites me into. I loved falling for Jesus all over again as I saw girls starting to get a picture of the life that He offers.

all weekend, we laughed so hard…

we hugged each other…

we were adventurous…

we enjoyed beautiful weather…

we sang with Drew and Ellie…

we ate yummy food…

we played like little kids…

we danced like champs.

Praying that kids this past weekend got a glimpse of what being in relationship with the God of the universe looks like.

Ultimately, I want kids at Webb and all over Knoxville to know Jesus–to step into the abundant life that he graciously gives us. So this was my big prayer before camp and will continue to be my big-picture, beyond-me prayer…

For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Shout out to Generous-Cheetah, Jessie Hoaglin, for letting me borrow her camera for the weekend!!