Saturday, August 13, 2011
Okay so I don't really blog much, I know. I tend to write a blog when something monumental happens in my life and I want to remember it and be able to read over it again. Yeah, I journal too, but sometimes it just feels easier to type. Anyway, with all that said, here I go. One weekend this summer when two high school buddies and I were on a road trip we got into a deep conversation. Don't you just love those! You can't force them if you want to, they just happen at the right time with the right people. Anyway, the topic of our converstation was about witnessing. I became quickly convicted. If we really care about people, we should not hold back the knowledge we have about Christ and our eternity to ourselves. We should want the whole world to know! I become really timid and struggle with sharing my faith in the real world. How silly. Anyway, God was able to give me confidence and ease me into this process this summer. Two days ago I woke up just thinking it was gonna be a normal day. God had different plans. What is a normal day anyway? I don't think we really have those. Anyway, so I wake up and have to head to the eye doctor because I have terrible vision and need to get more contacts before I head back to school. So, I walk in half asleep at 10:15 am because I have been up all night enjoying my last moments with my little brother who had just left at 7 am for his freshman year of college. I stand at the little secretary counter and give them my name, insurance information, etc. The guy at the counter looks at me and says you're Christiana? (yeah he pronounced it wrong but whatever, typical.) I nod my head and he says (much to my surprise) "So are you a Christian?" (I guess assuming I would be due to the fact that Christian is in my name). What an opportunity! I am shocked by how forward he is! I say yes, it's a good thing huh?! And he proceeds to say yeah I'm not really sure about all that religion stuff I don't really know what I believe. I was thinking to myself...WoW Lord, you really are setting this one up for me perfectly. I've been lacking confidence and you are handing this opportunity to me on a silver platter. He is initiating the conversation. Then we begin to talk about churches and I tell him he should try Second Baptist (my home church). That's all that is really said at this point. I sorta shyed away. Then I think back to my road trip converation with my friends. Lord, I know I need to do something here. What should I do? The guy led me to the waiting area and I began to think. It hit me, I didn't have a Bible in my car, but I did have a book of a collection of Bible verses called "God's Promises for Every Need" (or something like that). We got it at church one Sunday and I believe I've had it in my car all these years for this moment. I go to get it out of my car and think, I'm gonna give this to him when I leave. I go get my eyes checked and head for the door. He is in mid conversation so I decide to go to the bathroom, let him finish talking and then I'll give him the little book. I start getting nervous again and it's because of this other woman sitting next to him. I'm such a baby. Anyway I walk out of the restroom and the woman he was speaking to is gone. WoW thanks Lord. God is like " Christiana, you have absolutely no excuse, do it." So I walk up to him and say, "here's a book I had in my car, it has a bunch of Bible verses in it and I think you'll really enjoy it." I also reminded him of the times of the services at Second Baptist and gave him my phone number if he has any questions. He seemed very thankful. Then I left amazed at how God was teaching me in that situation. I am blown away by God once again. He is meeting me where I am. He has given me more confidence and I am taking one step at a time. Little by little He is preparing me to share my faith with others. God is going to take over with that man at the eye doctor. The seed is planted, and God can make it grow! God is good.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
WOW. Where do I even begin? God is amazing. He is good. He is all we need, everything. All to us, all to me. This weekend I went to Passion 2011 in Fort Worth, Texas. Going into the weekend, I was so excited to worship Jesus and hear some well known Christian speakers/authors, but had absolutely NO idea what was coming for me. I've grown up surrounded by Christianity on all sides. My parents are absolutely wonderful examples of followers of Christ, I grew up in the church, went to a Christian elementary, middle, and highschool where chapel and Bible classes were a normal part of my life, I went to Kanakuk, a Christian sports camp, and I now go to Baylor. You're probably thinking, "wow, this girl knows Jesus!" And yes, I know alot about Him. I have a lot of head knowledge. But where does my relationship with Him stand. Christianity is not about knowledge, it's about the relationship. I have no doubt in my mind that Jesus has been in my life and that He as saved me, but something so real and so eyeopening hit me like a ton of bricks this weekend. My world was shaken, my perspective changed. God showed up and turned me around. He humbled me and taught me what it is to truly live in his unspeakable joy and be completely 100% totally saisfied in Him and Him alone. Okay so let me just take a moment to set up the scence of the weekend for you. I walk into to a conference center in Fort Worth with about 12,000 other believers. WOW. We all started to worship Jesus as we sang to Chris Tomlin's songs. Chills rushed through my body as I began to think. This is probably the closest to heaven I will ever get on this earth. So many like-minded people all in one place worshipping God in the most pure, raw and complete devotion I have ever seen. I felt at home. However, honestly that's about as much as I thought I was going to take away from the weekend. Yeahhh, I was SO wrong. I mean, I knew I would listen to more speakers and sermons just as I had done thousands of times. I would listen, take notes, and leave motivated, but never make any real change like I wanted. I would be set on fire, but it would burn out in time. This was far from the truth this time. Something was so so different, I heard from God in a way I never have before. God was preparing me all weekend for John Piper's talk on Saturday night. God spoke through Piper to me in a way I have never heard before. It was suddenly like something clicked. I got it. It's unexplainable how I felt, but I'll do my best. I was challenged when Piper asked what is the reason behind our joy? What is the reason behind the reason that I'm happy? It should be God, but it wasn't. God truly wasn't my foundation. I was in shock that I was actually feeling this way. I had always thought I had it figured out. I began to reflect as I walked in silence with thousands of others all the way to my small group that night. One of the questions asked that night was, "Do you believe that God is the greatest satisfaction?" Normally this question would have been a no-brainer, so easy to answer. But I was really thinking tonight, not just going through the motions. God broke my pride. I confessed to my group that before this weekend I would have definitely said that God is my greatest satisfaction, but after reflecting on my life, I realized that as much as I said this my life wasn't matching up. I said that the reason I wasn't satisfied solely in God was because I wasn't letting Him be the bottom of my joys. I was letting fruitless joys fill that foundation and I was crumbling. This weekend, something changed. God has become my foundation. This is a huge step in my life, an extreme leap of spiritual maturity. God has become the bottom of my joys, all my fountains flow from Him. For the first time, I know I have JOY. Like real joy that can only come from Him. It's hard to describe what it feels like to be joyful unless you have expereienced it yourself, but it's amazing. Absolutely indescribable. Joy is different than happiness becuase it is not contingent upon my circumstances. It realizes that my circumstances are not in charge, but that God is in charge. He knows me better than I know myself. That brings me to another lesson I learned this weekend. Pray more often, and stop praying so selfishly. Continual communiation with God is essential. If God understands me better than I do, why wouldn't I want to talk to Him more? So I tried this. Monday morning, I walked to class (Anna normally drives me...what a great friend). I was getting to school early to study for my test that morning, so I walked. I walked in the cool breeze of the morning with hardly a soul in sight. This was perfect. Bliss. I talked to God the whole way! How sweet it was. I was already seeing a transformation in the way I prayed. It was definitely God answering my prayer because it was so subconcious. I was constantly thanking God, praising Him for who He is and what He has done. I was also praying for others and that my genuine love for them might be evident of Christ in me. My joy was overflowing for the first time. I began to see people in a new way. My perspective on life , God, and people was changed just like that. God blew me away. And so with all of this said, and much more I didn't even mention, I am certain that the fire is built right this time. For me to live is Christ, to die is gain! Don't waste this life, it's a vapor that appears for a little while. Do something now!
Isaiah 26:8 says "Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts."
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Such is life. This is phrase that I have come to know and love over the past year. It can be used to describe just about anything. It reminds me how unpredictable life is and how I have no control over it. Such is life, such is my life. This past week I have had the smallest glimpse of how thankful I am for my life. Yesterday, as I was running through a cemetary here in Waco, it struck me. As I passed tombstone by tombstone in the beautiful graveyard, I began to realize how often I take my life for granted. I also began to reflect on life and the brevity of it. There were thousands of tombstones and I just thought to myself, that could just as well be me. I know this sounds a bit depressing, but it was a wake up call for sure. We can't just walk around every day thinking we are immortal. Honestly, it made me want to become more proactive and intentional. I should be living each day to the fullest, glorifying God with what I do, and doing things that bring me joy. It seems so simple, yet it is so hard. Why is that? I tend to fill my time with things that don't matter, menial tasks that I feel I must do, but that bring me no eternal satisfaction or joy. Also, as much as I don't want to admit it, I'm lazy. I don't plan intentional lunch dates or coffee runs with people as often as I should. I'm so selfish with my time. I once heard this saying that the only things that will be left in the end of this world are God and the souls of men. So why am I walking around so selfishly day by day? I need to love everyone around me with the love of Christ. Everyone has a story and sometimes it just takes that extra word or two to show you care and want to hear about what's going on in their life. Instead of just merely passing people and saying the typical, "Hi, how are you?" (not really caring how they respond) and focusing all my attention on my best friends who surround me, I want to reach out to others. It may be odd and uncomfortable at first, but as my Dad always says "everybody needs friends." Who knows, you may be the only positive person they run into that day? I am learning more and more to become completely content in God and Him alone and it is taking time. But while I'm at it, I have adopted this new phrase: "simple bliss." This is the feeling I have now in life and it is the most liberating place to be. It is my new phrase and new attitude. Bliss can be a state of profound satisfaction, happiness and joy, a constant state of mind, undisturbed by gain or loss. So with that I know that I may have many such is life moments where the unexpected jumps out at me, but in all these times I have a simply blissful attitude. Simple bliss. Such is life.