Monday, December 26, 2011


‎"Congratulations! You're not perfect! It's ridiculous to want to be perfect anyway. But then, everybody's ridiculous sometimes, except perfect people. You know what perfect is? Perfect is not eating or drinking or talking or moving a muscle or making even the teensiest mistake. Perfect is never doing anything wrong-which means never doing anything at all. Perfect is boring! So you're not perfect! Wonderful! Have fun! Eat things that give you bad breath! Trip over your own shoelaces! Laugh! Let somebody else laugh at you! Perfect people never do any of those things. All they do is sit around and sip weak tea and think about how perfect they are. But they're really not one-hundred-percent perfect anyway. You should see them when they get the hiccups! Phooey! Who needs 'em? You can drink pickle juice and imitate gorillas and do silly dances and sing stupid songs and wear funny hats and be as imperfect as you please and still be a good person. Good people are hard to find nowadays. And they're a lot more fun than perfect people any day of the week." 
-Stephen Manes

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Somethings watching over me, like Sweet Serendipity!"

One time when I was a child, I read a book that had this analogy in it that I will never forget.  It said that life is like a wheel: sometimes it is up and things are great, but sometimes it goes down and things get tough.  The hope is that we know that it will always come up again.

During the summer I did a devo on this topic and I completely forgot about it until this past sunday.  I am deaf in my left ear as of the last couple of years, and this summer one of my campers kept poking fun at me for it.  It's one thing when it's one of your close friends who you know will be there for you if you need to break down about it as well, but it's different when it is a 12 year old who doesn't fully grasp the concept.  But when she said this it just got me to thinking a lot about the difficulties I had been through and how God had shown himself to me through them.  Around this time of the summer, God kept putting things into my life where I was learning about the meaning of difficulties and "why good things happen to Godly people".  I felt compelled to share about it, and decided to give a devo on it basically the next day.  I'm the kind of person where I won't get up and talk in front of a group unless I know exactly what I want to say, and this was no exception.

Around this time I was reading So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore on my own, and Out Live Your Life by Max Lucado for a Bible Study.  These two books brought concepts to the table that I had not thought of before.  I don't specifically remember which book said what, so I'm just going to generalize here:

Basically, in hard times God is teaching us.  He is showing us and testing our faith.  He is challenging us to become the people that he has set us out to be.  Also with this, God uses these challenges in our lives to give us the skills and opportunities to minister to certain people.  God teaches us languages of the hurting through our pain.

For instance, I was born physically disabled and then lost my hearing this past year, so I have a heart for the physically disabled.  Then this summer God put a girl who also has feet problems in one of my cabins.  I was able to talk to her and have empathy as she had just had foot surgery.  Also, I have struggled a lot with my weight and self-image, and God led me to be more open about this and to have many conversations with staff and campers about this.  It is also something that I have just been able to pull from in my everyday life.  It is really cool to realize that I went through that to be able to minister to others.

Lately I have forgotten this.  See, when I gave this devo I wasn't necessarily going through a difficulty at the time, but recently I have been having a hard time knowing what God is doing in my life.  This goes with many things, including my future, school, friendships, etc.  But this past Sunday as I was sitting in church, the pastor started talking about missions.  He was talking about how his purpose in life to make sure that people know that they are redeemed by God.  That no matter what, God is still with them and that God still wants to be glorified through whatever they are dealing with.

Then I realized that that was what I had given my devo on this summer and it struck me: no matter what I was going through, God is going to use it to his glorification.  No matter how long it takes to get out of bed in the morning, or how much time I need to spend with God that day, he is going to ultimately be glorified in whatever I am going through.

And that just service just changed my mindset.  I feel like I think way too much about myself and about petty things in my life.  During this service I just examined my life and these past two summers, and how during them I was better able to compartmentalize everything (now, I'm not a boy, so it's still spaghetti, but it was a little better).  Helped me to realize that no matter what is or was going on, God still wants to be glorified.  Time to get my feet up and continue the work in me that he has been doing the past several months.

Looking back on this past year, I am a completely different person than I was 7 months ago when I left Baylor and went to Cho-Yeh for the second year.  I will write a more detailed post on this later.

But basically, God works through our hardships for the better and I am so excited to see how he is going to bring glorification to himself through me and through these experiences.

"God seeks to redeem everything about us.  God's great reversal.  God takes the bad and changes it to his good," Dr. Albert Reyes (the pastor on sunday... I take sermon notes).

"The redeemed life is not without pain and suffering, but God wants us to take that redemption to others sometimes in our lives," Dr. Albert Reyes

"In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.  I ask you, therefore, not to be discouraged because of my sufferings for you, which are your glory." -- Ephesians 3:12-13

"Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.  But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong."-- 2 Corinthians 12: 8-10

"... but we rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."-- Romans 5: 3-5

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Caught in the Inbetween

I am really passionate about girls.  That may sound kind of weird, but it's really not.  I am passionate about girls experiencing a God found security.

Let me tell you something, girls are mean.  We (yes, I put myself in this) put each other down and have judgmental thoughts that pass through our minds.  I think that a lot of this mannerism comes from a deep rooted insecurity that lies within us as girls.  

This is something that really got to me over the summer when I work day in and day out with 11-15 year old girls.  Each session we had a Girl's Night.  Now although Girl's Night isn't the best night of the week activities wise, for me it is often my favorite.  Every night we do a devotional as a cabin where we get to talk about anything that our cabin wants to, or that we as counselors feel is something the girls need to hear.  On this particular night, something that we often talked about was "girl's stuff".  This could range from anywhere to boys (although this was usually a separate devo), to what we generally focused on, which was self image.  

From the beginning us girls are told that we have to look a certain way (including but not limited to: weight, boob size, hair, makeup, clothes, etc), act a certain way and think a certain way.  Growing up in North Dallas where my zip code was often called "the new 90210", I know this first hand.  I have seen 12 year old girls walking around in Juicy Couture sweats, with Coach bags and bragging about the new IPhone they just got.  I have struggled with my weight in trying to fit into a world where I felt like I wasn't worth anything unless I looked a certain way.  I have fallen victim to the world telling me that I had to change who I was in order for "good" things to happen, like falling in love, or fitting into a crowd that I thought I wanted to be friends with.  

During these devos we allow the girls to open up and we ourselves do too.  So often we forget that we need to be willing and able to be vulnerable to give others the okay to vulnerable around us.  During my last Girl's Night my co started the night by asking the girls to go around in a circle and say what their biggest insecurities were.  With the exception of maybe 2 out of 17 of these 12-13 year olds, they all said that they were insecure about their weight.  I don't know about you, but that makes me sad.  

When I had the oldest girls (ages 14-15), we took them to the dining hall one night and had an ultra special devo with them where we made smores in this microwave (and I tried oreos and peanut-butter for the first time... heaven on earth!!!!).  During this time we allowed them to ask us any question they wanted to.  What we ended up talking about for the majority of this time was self-image and insecurities. So many of them were struggling with what they looked like, one going on a lot about it and telling us how she tried to hide her stomach because she was so insecure about it.  The big difference between this age and the younger girls mentioned before is that while those girls were just insecure about it, these older girls had more of a grasp on their self worth.  They had a knowing that they were worth something and that they were worth something because of God's individual love for them.

As I have talked about before in this blog, insecurity is something that I have struggled a lot with in my life.  Thoughts of "I'm not good enough", "I will never get a boyfriend",  and others along those lines have a habit of making themselves come up in my head.  But then I think about it...

God created you and me to be secure.  He created us to love ourselves, not to be cocky, but to be humble and realize that we were created by God.  We were and ARE created wonderfully and fearfully in the image of our gigantic God.  How amazing is that?  And because of that, who are we to say or think that we are not good enough?  Who am we to think that our security is bound to another person's perception of us, whether it be a boyfriend or girls at school?  Who are we to doubt that we were created for a purpose?  Who are we to think that God doesn't have someone destined for us in the long run, after all the pain?

That's right.... we shouldn't think that.  God is so big and so majestic.  This is a God who created the earth and all things in it.  A God who loves so completely that he made every person just the way He wanted them: short or tall, white or black, gay or straight (yes, I am taking that stance).

So when I go through challenges that present themselves, I stand in front of my mirror and say to myself, "I am beautiful.  I am so so so loved and have a great support system of friends and family.  God has a plan for my life even though I have no idea what that is right now.  I love me".
... and I believe it.

My goal in life is to try to get other girls to believe this too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just Breath

"People who keep diaries are the happiest," Tyra Banks

I am a writer.  I like to record my memories.  But not so much even that as writing in a journal or a diary is almost therapeutic for me.  At this camp I went to in high school, we had prayer partners.  My prayer partner at my second one of these weekends bought me a journal.  I made it my goal to write in it every once and a while, particularly my prayers.  Sooner or later this became habitual and something that I came to really enjoy doing.  I have kept some sort of journal since my sophomore or junior year of high school.  There are about 6 of them on my book shelves at home and in Waco.

At camp these past two summers I kept my journal with me constantly.  I was careful not to show it to people, because there was private stuff in there, but it was and is very important to me.  In the journal are private thoughts of things I have struggled with, prayers, little fun tad bits about the summer and different cabins I had, and just fun stuff like a "Lizzie's Bucket List" I made with some of my campers! My journal this summer is a documentation of how God worked in my life and brought someone special into it!

Usually I hate reading my old journals.  I dislike looking back on the stuff I went through and how "dramatic" I was (but really... ).  It just makes me aggravated with myself.  Usually I only look back through them if there is something in particular I want to look at.  (Someone told me once that they burn their old journals.... not me!)

Today I was packing for Thanksgiving break and decided that it would be fun to look for a certain event in my journal.... turns out I have that once in Plano, BUT it was really interesting.  I forget all the fun parts of looking back on this stuff.  Although I may not be proud of things I've done in the past, it is good to look back and see how much I have grown throughout the years, even just since I entered college.  I feel like I have grown a lot emotionally over the past year, and it is really cool to have documentation.

I picked one journal up and realized that it was from my freshman year at Baylor.  I started to read and realized that I was at a not-so-good part of my life at this point.  I was struggling a lot with self-esteem and self-worth.  I was really down on myself about some thing that had recently taken place with a friend... seems so stupid now.

BUT I found this list below.  I remember how long it took for me to write it, but it still stands true!

"Reasons I love me:
1) I try to include other people and generally don't feel good when I don't.
2) I'm a planner.  I like to figure out how things are going to work together to make something (a party, gather) work.
3) If I really want something I will work towards trying to get it.
4) I'm talented.  Even though I often don't feel like it, I am a good singer, handbell player, pianist, writer, artist, dancer, etc.
5) I don't get embarrassed easily, and when I do, I often shrug it off.
6) I'm not going to settle for less that I deserve when it comes to relationships.
7) I give people multiple chances.
8) I try not to judge people based upon what they've done or are (gay, race, etc).  God called us to love and that is the greatest commandment!
9) I'm dedicated to what I do (most of the time anyway) and don't like quitting.
10) I have a pretty good memory... that can also be a curse.

I am beautifully and wonderfully made by the creator of the whole wide universe!  I am his and only his and forever his! :-)"

Sometimes I like looking back at these entries and realize how wise I was in those moments.  I may have gone through a lot that led to entries like this... but I'm glad they're there because they definitely help me still today, a year and a half later!

Friday, September 30, 2011

This is Not a Pipe

‎"The handicap of deafness is not in the ear; it is in the mind," Marlee Matlin

A year and about 4 months ago I lost my hearing in my left ear.  At first it was really hard for me.  With the loss of my hearing in that ear, I gained tinnitus, which is ringing of the ear.  Even though I would never actually hear out of that ear again, there will forever be a ringing or at least a static sound in that ear, although it has gotten a lot better with time.  

Over the past year or so I have had to make many adjustments.  The first time after I sat down at a piano after this happened, I could only play for a few minutes before I gave up and started crying.  It was too weird to not be able to hear it the same way anymore.  Same thing with choir.  I had been in some sort of choir since kindergarden, and now that love of mine was taken away because I couldn't hear people around me in order to blend.  Here I was adjusting to a new lifestyle that I didn't see coming at all.

It's crazy to think how much we take things for granted.  Up until this point I had never even thought to thank God for my hearing.  I took it so much for granted, appreciating it, but never really thinking about how I did so.  I had days last year when I would curl up in a ball after my music classes and cry.  Days when I had to relearn how to sing.  Days when I had to relearn how to love myself.

Like I talked about in an earlier post, this summer I became a lot more sure of myself through the eyes of God.  This took owning the things that I don't necessarily love about myself.  This included my ear.  It was hard for me to accept this.  I was born physically disabled as well with clubbed feet, but I had an easier time accepting that when I read passages from the Bible that talk about being "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalms 139).  But this wasn't the way I was made.  This was the way I became.  Does this come from God?

I really struggled with this question.  It has been hard for me to grasp hold of the fact that I'm deaf.  At first we looked into all the options of hearing aids, and finally found one that would work.  It's called the Baha bone enhancing hearing aid.  Basically they would put a titanium screw in my head and then I could put this device on my head that would transfer sound waves through my scull so I could hear sound from the left side in my right ear.  However, the insurance has denied it multiple times.

For some reason I have felt like God really wants me to take American Sign Language and learn how to glorify him through that.  So this semester I started that class.  Wow.  My grades in that class may not be as high as they should be (I'm taking two languages...), but I am loving it.  I love how the class is silent and how I am learning more and more about not only the language, but also the culture everyday.  There is a deaf community out there, which is something not many hearing people realize.  It is really interesting to learn about it.

I think that this class and how supportive all my family and friends have been has helped me to realize that I am still as capable as a hearing person.  I still have meaningful relationships, was able to be a camp counselor for 2 summers, am still a student at THE best university (Sic 'em) and still can make music.  I may have to sit at a certain spot at a table, may have to move around so I can hear better, and in conversation may seem rude because I am turned to the left so I can hear better.... but I am adjusted.

I've been watching the show Switched at Birth today, and one of the girls in it is deaf.  She uses ASL, and it is really awesome to watch her and her family interacting.  I love seeing the culture that they use.  In one of the episodes, her new found parents (birth parents) are trying to see what would be best for her in education.  She is currently in a deaf school that uses ASL as it's primary language, but they take her to visit a private hearing school.  When they do this, they talk about how we hearing people (yes, I put myself in that category) tend to think that there is something wrong with not being able to hear.  Something wrong with them, and that we have to fix them so they are better or whatever.

This hit me.  Here I have been spending time worrying and hoping that I could get a hearing aid, and to be perfectly honest I don't want one anymore I think.  It would be awesome if I could get one, but I don't know if it would be worth it.  I would have to adjust to hearing out of both ears again, and that would be weird.  and I am used to being half deaf now.  I am used to talking on the phone with only one ear, or sitting on a certain side of people.  Sure there are times when I wish I could still hear out of both, but who am I to question what God is doing?

God did this for a reason, and I am excited to keep discovering why.

Also, feel free to ask me questions about this.  I'm not offended or anything.  If I want to stop talking about it, I'll let you know.

The "E" isn't correct.... 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I just spent my second summer at Camp Cho-Yeh, a Christian camp in Livingston, TX that is focused on creating relationships with campers, showing them the love of Christ, and having fun while doing it.  It was one of the best summers of my life, if not the best.

Going into the summer I was dealing with a lot of insecurities.  "You're not good enough." "You have too much baggage." "No one is ever going to love you because of this sin in your life."  Those were a few of the thoughts that ran through my mind.  The first few weeks in particular were focused on breaking down the walls that Satan and these insecurities had put up.  Something that I went into the summer knowing that I was going to do was to be vulnerable with those around me.  Something that insecurities make you want to do is hide yourself.  They make you want to pretend that you have everything together, when in fact you are crawling with self-pity on the inside.  I knew going into the summer that God was calling me to vulnerable with my walk and how I was currently struggling.

For my birthday I got the book "So Long Insecurity" by Beth Moore.  It took me about 4 months to finish because I kept getting distracted and I am a rather slow reader.  I didn't know it at the time when I got this book, but this book made an impact on my life.  It showed me how these insecurities were not from God, and that God wanted me to be secure in who I was and am, because He loves me so much and made me to be secure.  Another reason for me wanting to regain my security, was the longing to be able to be open to my campers about how God was working in my life.

During staff training I read a chapter in this book where it talks about giving all you have to the King, and surrendering all of your insecurity to Him.  Ironically surrender was our theme at camp this summer. I feel like for a lot of us on staff, this could not have been a better theme.  Everyone has things they struggle with in their lives, and the reminder that we need to surrender them daily is one that is life changing.

One prayer of mine this summer was to develop genuine, Christ centered friendships and to make best friends.  I had really been struggling in finding this sort of value in friendship the prior semester, so this was something that I was really in prayer about.  I don't think it would be possible for me to even begin to deny the power of prayer after seeing how God answered this prayer this summer.  God really knows the desires of our hearts and He delivered in full.  I made some of the closest friends I've ever had, and friends that I know I can tell anything to and they will love me with the love of Christ.  Now, if only they didn't live so far away....

I feel like an issue with the insecurity is that I felt like if I told people what was really going on in my life, and what I was struggling with, that they were going to judge me and think less of me.  However, this was quite the opposite.  God just helped me to be vulnerable and showed me opportunities in which I could open up.  There is something special in listening to the power of God in these times and allowing you to open up to people that can be some of the biggest influences in your life.

This summer I worked with teenage girls from ages 11-15.  I love working with pre-teens and teens.  There is so much that you as a role model can teach the girls.  I know for me personally, I was going through a lot at this age, and it was really important to me to minister to these girls.  Every girl deserves to know that they are loved, cherished and created fearfully and wonderfully in the image of the Creator of the universe.  That was my goal and is my goal is to teach them this.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." --Proverbs 3:5-6

Monday, January 31, 2011

Sometimes I wonder if God is trying to teach me a lesson but I am just too ignorant to listen.
Sometimes I wonder if something I perceive as a lesson from God is really no lesson at all.

In our Christian walks God calls us to leave the world behind and to follow him.  As hard as this is, sometimes it is necessary.  The trouble is discerning what is God calling us to leave behind and what cost are we willing to pay for that.  

I feel like sometimes things scream us in the face when they're ready to be gone, and sometimes it's worth letting it go because there's no use trying to fix it.  Despite my best efforts in life, I have learning that time really is the best remedy. Now if only I could remember that.

I have also realized that verses seem to come into my life and serve for a particular period.  This summer and last semester I would say that Ecclesiastes 3 and Ephesians 4 were big ones.
Now Colossians 3 is really speaking to my heart.

Colossians 3

Living as Those Made Alive in Christ
 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is your[a]life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

 5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.[b] 7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8 But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.

 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.