Monday, December 10, 2012

Today I Am Thankful...

A few days ago I was pretty thirsty, but I didn't have any bottled water.
I'm not a fan of the taste of the water from the sink, so I grumbled a little and then made some tea.
I got my tea and sat down to work on some homework, when an image flashed in my mind. It looked a little something like this:

All of a sudden I began remembering the tiny little hands at Jireh Orphanage that filled up these yellow jugs of water for everyone in their "house" (I'm not entirely sure that I would consider their tiny little cement buildings a house, but they did, so we will call it that). The cistern that collects rain water had gone dry and this was all they had to get fresh water. Each jug took about forty five minutes to an hour to fill, and there were over 200 children that needed water to drink, bathe, and cook. 

Since when did I become so spoiled that I can't even drink a glass of tap water? 

And then...
Yesterday morning I was eating a piece of bread that had gone slightly stale, and in my typical picky way I made a look of disgust and got ready to throw it in the trash. 
Just as the slice was about to meet its doom, another image flashed through my head. 
I don't have a picture, but I can tell you the story and I think it will be just as good: 

While still in Uganda last April, we had spent the entire day walking at Bethany Village. When we made it back to the mainland, we grabbed our sandwiches that we had packed and we devoured them. 
In the bottom of the bag were two pieces of bread. We hadn't had enough meat for another sandwich so we had simply put mayonnaise and mustard on it, incase someone got really hungry. 
The kids from the village played around us as we ate, but one little boy sat a few feet away just staring. 
As we finished our meal, my friend got ready to throw things away and I grabbed the extra pieces of bread with mayonnaise and mustard and I motioned to the boy. 
His eyes lit up and he came flying towards us. 
He'd been waiting for a bite, and now all I had to offer him was two pieces of bread with no meat. 
I kicked myself for not offering him my sandwich, but he didn't seem the least bit upset. In fact, he grabbed the bread, bowed his head, and ran off. 
I thought he'd run off and scarf the bread down, but what I saw, instead, is something I will never forget. 
The little boy ran over to his friends and starting dividing up the bread so that they could each have a piece. 
They all jumped and giggled with joy and looked over at us, smiling and waving and thankful for a few pieces of bread. 

Since when did I become so spoiled that I need to throw away a slightly stale piece of bread? 

Today, I'm choosing to be thankful for the incredible blessings that have been laid in my lap. How can you not be thankful when you remember the tiny little faces like these that were thankful for so little:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lessons From a PT Cruiser

Earlier this year in May, I developed a need.
I needed a car.

I was driving my cute, little, green Saturn down the road, on my way to an appointment, when all of a sudden the car began to shake.
I thought I could drive it off.
Apparently, I thought wrong.

The car began to shake worse.
And worse.
And worse.

I pulled over.
It ended up getting towed.
The engine ended up being irreparable.
And I waved goodbye to three grand.

That was a story of forgiveness, trust, and patience, all in of itself.

Flash forward to July.
I was still car shopping... for the second time in less than seven months.
And at just the right moment, in the most unexpected way, I spotted this cute little, silver PT Cruiser for sale.

Long story short, God ended up providing in His wonderful, gracious, and miraculous way, and a few days later I was driving off in my new car, affectionately titled the "Freida-Cruiser", by my wonderfully hilarious brother-in-law.

And God began working out a lesson I will not soon forget.

As soon as I drove off the lot, I began to notice other PT Cruisers on the road.
I know it's common for people to see others with their same car, and I had experienced this a little with my Saturn.
So I brushed off my frequent PT Cruiser sightings as a freak coincidence.

But, it continued...

Literally, every where I went, I saw PT Cruisers.

I took a 20 minute drive a few weeks ago and I saw EIGHT.
Eight PT Cruisers.
In 20 minutes.
That's roughly one every two and a half minutes.

And in another drive, I was cruising through town, behind another silver PT Cruiser, when it turned to the right.
I looked to my left, and there was another silver PT Cruiser, turning to the left, perfectly in line with me and the other Cruiser.

I'm not really a believer in coincidences.
I think God speaks in the littlest things in life, but this?
This was just weird.

And the more I dug for meaning in it...the more crazy I thought I was.
Rather than be crazy, I thought I would just forget about it and close my eyes whenever another cruiser drove by...or something like that.

But, driving the other day, I was seeing my usual string of PT Cruisers, and God began to speak.

"No matter how many cars are similar,
none are the same.
None are the same as yours.
They may seem better.
They may be silver and similar,
but not one of them has that little dent in the back hatch from a cart rolling into it.
Not one of those cruisers has three mysterious scratches across the roof from its previous owner.
Not one of them has been cleaned out thoroughly three times in one week by it's new owner that cared so much about it.
Not one of those PT cruisers are the same."

And as I look around a college campus in which I feel like I am just one of the masses, God whispers those words to me,

"No matter how many of these people are similar,
 not one of them is the same as you.
No, not even one is the same.
They may be similar.
They may seem better,
but not one of them are you.
Not one of them has your scars.
Not one of them has our relationship.
Not one of them has had me lovingly clean them out like I have with you, over, and over, and over again.
Not one of them is the same."

Oh, how good is my Savior and his encouraging words!
Who knew a PT Cruiser could mean so much?!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

In My Daddy's Arms

At this time last week I was packing up the last of my things and saying goodbye to my family, as I prepared for my drive to Huntington University.

I looked out the window to see the garage empty and realized my dad was checking over and cleaning out my car (because he is just an incredible dad like that :) ).

I was crying. 
I was scared. 
I was completely overwhelmed.

And God met me where I was.

As my earthly father wrapped me in his big, strong, safe, and loving arms and whispered all the things I needed to hear in that moment, I was overcome with love and couldn't will myself to let go.

And all of a sudden, God showed up.  In that moment, I heard God's promises ringing in my ears, and I heard his soft and comforting voice say,
"It's my turn to hold you.
My arms are strong and safe.
And my plans for you are great.
Just like your earthly father has made sure your car is ready,
I have made sure that you are ready.
I have cleaned you out.
I have checked you over.
I have prepared you for this.
I will be all that you need, for I am more than enough!"

So I let go of my earthly dad, and fell into my Heavenly Father's arms, surrendering myself completely to Him.

This week has not been easy. 
In fact, that's an understatement. 
This week has been unbearable. 

And, yet...
through crippling anxiety
through overwhelming doubt
through constant skepticism
through all of my unbelief...

God met me where I was and in my darkest moments his voice rings clear,

"I am Alpha,
King of Kings,
the Redeeming God,
and your loving Father...

and I am MORE than enough." 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tears, Fears, and New Beginnings.

Tonight I've been doing a lot of crying. And I mean A LOT.
I've known I was leaving to go to college for months.
I've know that moving to another state, away from your family and friends usually brings about some sadness/tears/heartache...and all that sappy crap.
I've also known that I wouldn't be affected by this, because, well, I'm invincible, like superwoman or something...or so I thought...

Everyone (and I do literally mean everyone) warns you of how hard the first few weeks away from your family will be. They say the cliche things like, "At first it's tough, but it will get better. " or "We're just a phone call away if you need anything!"

Even with warnings from everyone and their mother, I remained confident in my Tin-Man emotions, thinking I would just say my goodbyes and that'd be the end of it.
I'd call.
 I'd Skype.
 I'd come back every now and then to visit, but I would be so fulfilled by my new life that those things would just be for my few occasional bouts of homesickness.

Reality check.
I am sitting on my bed, surrounded by boxes of my stuff that I'm supposed to be moving with tomorrow.
I have yet to leave home.
I have been crying for two hours.
I am contemplating just not going.
I am already homesick.

Call me crazy, but it's just now dawning on me that I am leaving behind all that I have known for eighteen years.
Yea, I know...that's not that long...but when you're only eighteen years old, that's like an entire lifetime!
I will no longer be able to walk to my grandparent's or my aunt and uncle's houses whenever I feel like visiting.
I will no longer be able to drive around the corner and sleep at my sister's house, staying up until 3am, just talking.
(That's also because she is getting married in three days. Apparently, my family thinks it's fun to just bring on as much change as possible in one week. For those of us that are dealing with these unforeseen speed bumps called emotions.... (me)'s not all that fun.)
I will no longer be able to go into town to the bank and run into eight people I know along the way.
I will no longer be able to celebrate each of my friends and family members birthdays with them.
I will no longer be able to ask my mom for a back rub when I'm sore.
I will no longer be coming home to home-cooked meals, that I too often took for granted.
I will no longer be able to curl up with my puppy at nights or on cold mornings.
And I will no longer be able to spend my days working with the goofiest ( and most love-able) kids on the planet.

But, at the same time...
I will be surrounded by a community of whole-hearted Christians.
I will be able to rely solely on God to be my provider for all my needs.
I will learn to stand on my own two feet.
I will be able to figure out my identity away from my family and friends, who have defined me for so long.
And I will no longer be known for my past achievements and failures, my last name, or my reputation.

I have a clean slate.

It's the end of life as I know it. And the beginning of a much greater chapter...

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