Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Like a Sponge

I just had this thought.

While cramming for a final (or if my parents are reading this, studied tirelessly over a number of days), I found myself hoping that the next 3 hours would just fast forward themselves.  That I could magically wind up on the other side of this exam ready to go on a jog, take a long shower, clean my room, and read a good book with a hot cup of tea by my side.  This is my hardest class anyway, but after missing a week of school due to illness, I am trying my hardest to keep up.  Needless to say, I am not looking forward to this exam.

So I Tweeted something that talked about me wanting to fast forward 3 hours.  Then I went back and read it.  I realized how silly I have been.  Sure this test is not going to be fun, but it is part of my college experience.  It is a part of my life.

After this test I am finished with the fall semester of my senior year.  I have one semester to go until I am a Baylor alumni, and have completed my undergrad.  Although I still have grad school to accomplish (hopefully at Baylor), this is a big step.  I can't believe these four years are almost up.  Four years in which I have learned about myself, about God, about a variety of things.  Four years in which I have matured.  I have and am continuing to grow into the person that God wants me to be,  Four years in which I have created some very meaningful friendships.  Four years... just four years.

So why am I sitting here wishing to fast-forward through this exam?  I should be soaking up every instance of this year... even the ones I don't entirely enjoy.  Because even though I was one of the few stuck in the library last night, I still got to talk to someone from my class who I haven't really known before, see one of my friends who is graduating on saturday, and have another of my friends bring me dinner.

I am blessed.  One more semester (and an exam), and I'm going to soak it all in.

And yes, I should be studying.  Thanks! :-P



"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and for all the friends I want to see."


Monday, December 3, 2012

Wavelength

I just had a moment.

My goal in life has never been to change the world.  I have always tried to be realistic with what I could do.  Always had the mindset that if I could help or impact one person, that my job would be satisfied.

Christianity has made a name for itself that is not necessarily a good one.  Words that float around about Christianity are homophobic, unforgiving, bigotry, and paternalism to name a few.  And most of these I would say are untrue.  Unfortunately we have crazy, outspoken people out there making a bad name for us all.

So here I am.  Graduating from my undergrad soon and trying to figure out what to do with this vast spectrum of life that is lying out in front of me only a few months away.

So I had this thought.  What if I tried to be the change.  What if I were to learn what it means to really live as Jesus lived.  What if I strove to feed the hungry... to be aware of my surroundings and the needs of others... to change the stereotype.

So I think that's my goal for now.  If I can change the way one person views Christianity, I will be doing my job.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving,
And a day to give thanks.

I am thankful for my life.
For the ability to breath.
For a body that functions and is resilient.

I am thankful for doctors.
I am thankful that I can walk and run.
I am thankful that I have one working ear.
I am thankful for my disabilities.

I am thankful for my family.
For a family that loves me no matter what,
And is there to offer support.
A family that has taught me that people are people,
And that I am to love them.

I am thankful for my education.
For parents that have given of themselves so that I could have this opportunity.
And I am thankful for the opportunities that Baylor has given me.

I am thankful for my friends.
I am thankful for the family that they create for me,
For the support,
And so I know that I am cherished and loved.

Most of all I am thankful for a God who loves me.
Who pursues after me and never lets me go.
A God who has given up everything.

There really are a multitude of things I am thankful for,
and if I were to write them all down, I would be writing all day.  Sorry folks, but I'm going to go enjoy this day that the Lord has made with my family and my puppy!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!




Thursday, October 25, 2012

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Going into college, I decided to attend Baylor University in Waco, Texas.  Little did I know that when I picked the school, I was also picking the city in which it was located.



When I first got here it seemed like everyone was talking about missions.  A lot of people were talking about how it was something that they were thinking about pursuing after college, or how it was something that they really had a heart for.  Growing up, I knew that I should give to people and help them out, but I don't know if I really understood what that meant.  Freshman year I began praying for more of a mission focused heart.

If you read some of my previous blog entries, you will read my testimony about how I ended up back at Camp Cho-Yeh this summer... and the funny thing is, I am just now beginning to realize what the intent of God's plan for me was last summer was.  You see, for the first half of this summer I was a camp counselor for the third year, and loved it... but then the second half I was living in Waco by myself taking summer school classes at our local community college.  It's taken me until now to really realize why this was such a blessing to me.

Over the past couple of years God has been making my heart yearn for people.  I have always been a people person, an extrovert, but I have really begun to flourish at Baylor into the social butterfly that I am.  I am learning to ask questions and working on caring about people in a very genuine, Christian way.  I fall short by far... but God's grace catches my fall.

I guess this whole thing really started in March... I started jogging and trying to get in shape.  I know this doesn't seem super significant, but it got me out into the community more, and helped me to grasp more of a love for the outside.  Suddenly the focus shifted from those immediately around me at Baylor, to those jogging besides me in Cameron Park, and elsewhere in the city.

Then I went to camp.  My first week was one of the hardest weeks I ever experienced as a camp counselor.  There was a ton of drama, I got woken up to throwing up for the first time, and my heart was ripped out of my chest.  For some reason my 7th and 8th grade girls decided to tell life stories... and it was heart wrenching to say the least.  Here were these twelve and thirteen year old girls whose dad's had abandoned them or tried to hurt them physically, parents struggled with their marriages, mothers had died, CPS had been involved, and many other things.  I tried to go on a run one morning after hearing this, but ended up in our meeting hall on my hands and knees in prayer, crying for these girls.  These girls changed my life more than they will ever know.

The second half of my summer I spent in Waco living by myself.  I was REALLY nervous about this, and spent a lot of time in prayer about it.  I'm an extrovert and I knew that being by myself was going to be really hard for me... but it ended up being ok. God definitely worked through it.  I began going back to the church I had kind of left the semester before, began eating healthier, running more, and taking classes at MCC.  I would drive all over Waco getting to know the city better, and was learning a lot about it in my history class.  I absolutely loved my history class, so much to the extent where I would do extra research for fun outside of class. I grew this appreciation for Waco.  By the end of the summer I had a growing appreciation for the city of Waco that I hadn't had before.

I think my favorite thing about Waco is how it is so random, and how the major juxtaposition of the city is so evident.  Driving through Waco this summer I was surprised to realize that there are giant lake houses in the back of Waco, and really nice neighborhoods.  There are also some of the most beautiful sites you will see at Cameron Park, downtown, and along the lake... but drive a couple more blocks and you are in deep impoverished areas.  According to a study done this past June, approximately 28.7% of Waco is in poverty.

Now compare this to the $22,000 per semester that the Big Twelve university down the street costs for students... MAJOR juxtaposition.  And to make matters worse, most of these students (myself included) aren't even fully aware of what is really going on in Waco, and/or how to help.  We are so focused on school, and our own lives, that we generally don't pay notice to those in the city that need our love.  And even when we do want to give help, we generally just give something out of pocket without putting forth the effort in action (I put myself in these categories because this is something that I've really been convicted of recently).

I have always known a few things about my future.  I need to work with people, I have a passion for youth (particularly middle school girls), and I want to work in someway related to the church.  A couple of months ago this lady came to speak to our college group at church about how she needed volunteers to come and be support for kids who are in bad situations in Waco... many of these situations similar to those that my campers were in this summer.  My heart started aching again and I began thinking of Selah, Shawna, Angel, Julia.... these beautiful girls that had changed my views on life.

In this moment I realized that there are a ton of kids and youth within my own city who are hurting.  I began to realize that this city is hurting.  And I began to realize that I am a member of this community.  I have begun to love the randomness.  I love jogging through downtown.  I love randomly taking drives throughout Waco.  I love getting to know the city that God placed me in for college.

I need to work with people.  I need to work with youth.  I need to work somehow related to the church.

I have kind of felt a longing before, but at this moment at church, I felt a pull towards social work or counseling... or both.  I want to learn more about how to help, and love others, and what specifically that means.  I want to be fully engaged within the context of where I am.  For this reason I am going to try to do a dual masters degree in social work and divinity.  I don't know specifically what God is going to lead me to along the way, but I am listening and ready for the ride.

To me it doesn't matter that Waco doesn't have a good night life, like it does for many Baylor students.  Waco has a history.  Waco has a present.  and Waco has a future.


Freshman year some of my friends and I ran into a homeless women while we were tortilla tossing. She told us her story and really touched our lives.   
Fall 2009.  Gorilla next to David Crowder's house
Waco Wetlands 
Trails of Cameron Park
Cameron Park and snow
Beautiful stained glass from the church behind Columbus 
Waco suspension bridge... gateway to the heart of Texas!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

He Told Me To Love

What if maybe we're all wrong?

So what if there's a group of people that can't fathom another group of people being born a certain way?  So what if the first group may be hateful towards the second sometimes?  What if a holy book has verses against homosexual practices (although it is interesting to note that the leader himself said nothing about the subject)?  So what if there are groups of people who protest anti-whatever, because they think that their hatred is actually going to change other's minds?

What if God did create gays gay?

What if what God wants for marriage is actually just a loving relationship, where people love each other, are faithful, and caring?  What if God wants a 1950's sitcom family?  What if God wants a family with a man and wife?  What if God doesn't care as long as we love each other?

Who are we to say that people can't believe what they want?  We live in America right?  How is your hatred towards those you say are being hypocritical and hateful, any different?

So what if we're all wrong?

What if God is just up in heaven laughing at us?  Laughing at us trying to figure him out.

Because maybe we're just trying to put God in a box...and a stupid internet, world-wide debate is our generation's way of dealing with it.

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength.-- 1 Corinthians 1:25

Maybe God is even bigger than any of us could ever imagine.  Because when I try to imagine a God who created the WHOLE universe, I get stumped.  How could the same God who created all the moons of the planets, the dinosaurs, every single species that ever walked the earth... how could he have created me?  This short, curly haired, young adult, with her faults and the ways that I fail God everyday... How could this great creator have time for me when he's dealing with everything else in the world?  But somehow I know he does because I have seen him work in my life, and because of that, who am I to even fathom putting God in a box?

I don't serve a God who I can put in a box and 
sugarcoat.  I serve a God who breaks the box.  I serve a God who tells me that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14).  I serve a God who tells me that He loves me so much that He sent his own son down to die for me, and to put my sin upon his back (John 3:16).

I think it's important to take a step back sometimes.  To take a step back from everything we've been taught growing up, everything our friends and mentors believe, and everything that we long to know.  I think it's important to get back to the heart of God.  


With all this talk of Chick-fil-A this, and 
universal health care that, we get caught up in this awkward place between theology and politics.  This awkward place where Jesus nor George Washington wanted us to be.  The Bible talks about the unification of believers, and Washington told us not to develop political parties.... somehow that didn't work out.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] This is the first and greatest commandment.39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”-- Matthew 22:36-40



As a Christian I believe that it is my responsibility to love those around me.  To love God, and then to love those around me.  It's funny, because currently in my life, I am in a place where I feel convicted for not loving enough, and here I am writing about it.


You've probably heard liberals say that loving your neighbor doesn't mean excluding the homeless, gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, drug dealers, blacks, middle eastern, etc.  And yes, I completely agree that this is true, but it also doesn't mean to hate on other Christians because their interpretation of the Bible is not spot on with yours.  Hatred is hatred, no matter where it comes from.  Maybe hatred isn't the best word, but you get the picture.

So what if someone doesn't hold the same specific view as you?  It does not give you the license to talk bad about people?  By human nature we are people who have a hard time grasping that there are people who are different from us in the world, and that they believe different things.  If you don't believe me, just look at history!

Being a student of religion, I often have discussions with 
theologians and other students.  I love these conversations because for the most part, we realize that although we all have different opinions and different views on things, we all share a common faith.  We all believe that Jesus is the Messiah, that he was crucified, dead, buried, and rose again on the third day.  But while we have these differences, we realize that we can learn from each other.  We can grow from each other.  And one of the phrases I hear most is, "I come out with more questions than when I began". 

I guess my point in all this is this:  Who are we to say that we have all the answers?  Sometimes even our Biblical analysis have holes.  Sometimes even our non-Biblical reasonings have holes as well.  As a Christian this is where faith comes in.  This is where trust comes in.  This is when it becomes the time to give God our faith and our devotion.

And the questions above... I don't know the answers to most of them.  I could probably come up with a thousand more questions easily.

But there is one thing I do know:  God told me to love my neighbor as myself.  He told me to love.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My cousin had a baby yesterday.  My cousin is only a few months younger than I am.  She is engaged and starting a family.  I am so happy for her, but what I think is funny is that while she is doing that, I am here, single, and working on my senior year of college.  

Lately (well the past day or so), I have been thinking a lot about the different paths our lives take and the ride that God takes us on.  For the first however many years of our lives, we are told exactly what track we are supposed to follow: education.  Slowly as you grow older, you have more choices available to you: classes, extracurricular, furthering your education, etc.  Then if you go to college you have those 4 years mapped out, and maybe more depending upon the career path that you choose.  

My main point is, there comes a point when you are not being told what to do anymore.  You may have basic things that people tell you: have a job, have a family, provide for said family, do whatever makes you happy.  But the beauty of that point is that you can do really whatever you want, and the path is up to your choosing. 

I think this is something that hit me really hard because of how close my cousin and I are in age, and how close I am to graduation: 10 months!  It's crazy that these first 22 years of my life are coming to a close quicker than I would have realized.  It's weird that these first 22 years are so important, but I hopefully have about triple that number of years left.

Trying to decipher what God has in store for me is a pain.  It's like trying to teach a dog to meow... not gonna happen!  This path that God is taking me on is mine and it's weird to think that none else has been down this path, but it is also very encouraging.  

This is my life.


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mom Mum Mommy!

When I was in elementary school there was this kid.  I don't remember his name or anything, I just remember that he constantly would play the "my mommy died" card.  Now I know this is something challenging to deal with, but it was 5 years after the fact, and it was something that was constantly annoying to us (let's be honest... elementary age kids don't understand).  Looking back on it I can realize that it is a cry for attention, but then I saw it as nothing other than annoying.

Kids need their moms.  And not to say that if you grow up without one you are going to be messed up, because that isn't true.  I know lots of single fathers who raised their children well.  I'm just saying that having a mom, or a female figure to look up to, is important.

I cannot imagine the world without my mom.  She has constantly been there for me over the past 21 years of my life.  She aggravates me like no other, and knows how to get on my nerves, but at the end of the day she is probably one of my best friends.  I can tell her anything, and I never have felt like she didn't want me there.  I don't know what I would do without her.

I have been so blessed by having a great mom who has always supported me and been there for me through everything: health problems (there have been a lot of those), broken hearts, friend problems, school drama, life transitions, and more.

I love you mom!





One of my favorite Family Guy moments! ^

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Achromatic or Neutral

If you could ask Jesus anything, what would it be?

I saw a picture with this question on it on a website earlier, and it really got me to thinking.... what would I ask Jesus if I could ask him one question face-to-face?

With all the current hype going on in the country, my question would probably be something a long the times of, "Is homosexuality a sin?" Just right upfront with it!

Then I got to thinking how Jesus would answer this.  It would probably be something ambiguous, like a parable, or a statement like, "What do you say it is?" or "What do I say it is?" (Jesus speaks nothing about homosexuality btw).

Not particularly helpful, but that's how Jesus often answered the people He personally came in contact with, and I kind of think that's how He answers us today.  Because maybe the answer isn't always black or white... and maybe God wants it to be that way for a reason.

We live in a culture where we want things to be finite, decisive, and concrete.  We want things to be black and white.  What if, just maybe, God wants us to think about things and maybe not reach a concrete answer?  What if his answer, when it all boils down to it, is to trust him.  As Christians we believe that God is all knowing, all knowing, all loving, and all wise.  And this doesn't go with just the homosexuality question.  It also brings me to think about the future a lot.  It reminds me of that saying, "God always answers prayers, just sometimes he answers, 'no', or 'wait".

Maybe we should just give him a little bit more control, and trust him in the grey.


Friday, May 4, 2012

The stars at night are big and bright

I love Texas.  I have lived in the Lone Star State since I was 5.  Before then I lived in New Jersey and Maryland, but I don't really remember it.  I have little memories of snow... but other than that there isn't much.  I fit the cliche saying, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as soon as I could!"  My brother fits it better though; he was literally 3 months old when my family moved here!

I love Texas, but a lot of typical Texas stuff it has taken me a while to adjust to, being born a Yankee and all.  I don't own cowboy boots, although I really want some.  They're just super expensive!  Last semester I went to a western semi-formal wearing boots that fit, but they didn't have quite the same effect.  This past summer I started to like country music... I used to hate it.  I've started playing guitar in the last few months.  I drive all over Texas!  I35 and I are besties!  During the month of October I was in Austin the first weekend, Dallas the second, San Antonio the third, and Waco the forth... not to mention other places I've driven over the past year.

I love Texas.  I love looking out over the hills as I'm driving and just enjoying God's creation!  I love the heat (crazy yes), the bluebonnets, the Christian culture, and the barbeque.  I would not trade growing up here at all!

However, one this that I have grown to hate is that I feel like I'm thrown into a box.  Now this doesn't have to do with Texas specifically, but Texas/Baylor/Republican land/Bible belt/going into ministry....

People assume that because of all those things, that I have specific views on things.  No, just because I am a Christian, go to Baylor, and am a religion major does not mean that I hate homosexuality.  In fact, I don't.  I have a lot of good friends that are homosexual, and am pro gay marriage because of the separation of church and state.  Then it's the church's decision to marry them or not.  I am pro-choice... I don't think the government should have a say in whether I choose to abort a child or not, although I personally cannot see myself doing that.  And honestly, much to my friends and family's disdain, I am between liberal and conservative on economic issues.

I am not a republican.  I am not your typical southern Baptist Christian.  Going to Baylor has actually just made me more liberal.

I love Texas, I really really do.  I want to get married and raise a family here.  But at this stage in my life, I want to get out.  I want to experience more of the world and not be stuck inside this Christian bubble.  Don't get me wrong, I love it... it's just time to get my wings out and fly.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Just Walk Away


"There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and the people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So love the people who treat you right, pray for the ones who don't. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living!"- anonymous



Friday, April 20, 2012

Would You Rather....

I'm actually updating this from my phone... Yay smart phones!!

Anywho, during the summer I like to play a game with my campers to pass time. It is called "Would you rather?". In this game I give them a choice of two things and they have to choose. Some of my personal favorites from this last summer were, "would you rather never get married or never have kids?", "Would you rather never brush your teeth or never take a shower?", and "would you rather fall in love with a lamp post or never fall in love?".

Now I am in my 4th semester of Hebrew and am mentally finished. Everyone in that class is... including our professor!  However, I currently need to be studying.

Here are some things I would rather be doing:
Facebook.... 'nuh said.  I signed out so I would study.... maybe.

Stare blankly out this window... and see the guy sleeping, that's a good option as well!

Play this piano.


But this doesn't work.... unfortunately.  This is what I have to remind myself:

So let's be honest::
Would you rather never graduate or study for an hour?

... sigh...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Give me your eyes for eternity!

God continually blesses me through Camp Cho-Yeh.  I can't even begin to describe it.  Just driving into Livingston I am swamped by the overwhelming feeling of being back in a place where I know God is present, where I have so many good memories, and where so many of my closest friendships have sprouted.

This past weekend I went to camp again.  They were having Family Fun Day, which is basically like a premiere day for camp.  Families get to experience camp a little before they send their children there for a week.  They get to see some of the staff, activities, and the beautiful camp itself.

The actual event was on sunday for about 6-7 hours.  I got there the day beforehand, however, to help set up and such.  We filled goody bags for retreat groups, painted, talked, moved hundreds of chairs (no exaggeration), cleaned inflatables, and had a good time doing it.  It's funny how I forget how camp is hard work.  My body is aching today after not working at camp for 9 months.  Over the past 3 years, camp has changed me a lot and made me a harder, more diligent worker.  I am thankful for that.

After we were done with all of that, we had a opportunity to go worship with the band that would be playing the next day.  I don't think any of us specifically knew what this meant, so we were kind of apprehensive about it at first since we only had one night at camp, and we wanted to catch up and such.  We ended up going, and honestly, it was some of the best worship I have had in a long time!  I think all of us were so grateful that we went.  It was a group of college-age kids from the School of Worship around Tyler, Texas.  They had a guitar, a djembe, and their voices in this intimate, acoustic, worship time.

As I started to worship and dive into a more intimate setting with God, I quickly became aware of my walls, the scars that had edged themselves into my heart recently, and the opinions of others... many of whom weren't even in the room.

Being a religion major and studying theology, I get so bombed down with theological stuff: interpretation, denomination, salvation concepts, etc.  I do think that this stuff is very important, but it gets in the way.  For me, many of the walls that I had were those of theology.  "Well people are saying this when the Bible really means this...", "That's very Calvinistic/ Armeniest...", "Do I personally agree with what they are saying?".  These kind of things can really get in the way, because sometimes all we need to do is worship God, completely let go, and just let God take control.

Over the past few months I have been dealing with several things that have left scars on my heart.  The loss of friendships, not allowing other people's faith to impact mine, carrying burdens, church shopping, etc.  My heart has scars and over the past few weeks specifically, I have begun to notice those scars.  Knowing the symptoms is the first way to healing.

Sometimes I get caught up in thinking about what other people in my life would think of my relationship with Christ.  I know that this is often a reflection of what I believe their relationship is, but it can be challenging.  Sometimes we care too much about what those around us think.  A relationship with God is something that is so personal that it hurts when we know others don't appreciate it or look at it in the same way we do.

So this worship was really needed.

A couple of the most impacting moments for me where when we were singing "Set a Fire" and the lyrics "there's no place I'd rather be than here in your arms" were sung.  It's funny how I can sing those words, yet my times with God have become more scarce and fragmented.  It's hard when you get caught up with life and the business of it to recognize your need for God.  We get so wrapped up in our ideas of theology, our own bruises and scars, our own plans, and other's opinions that it becomes hard to recognize our longing to be at the feet of Jesus.  And even then, once we recognize it, sometimes it becomes challenging to actually do it (kind of like working out).

One of the most transforming times for me was when they were prophesying.  Personally I think there is nothing wrong with telling a person what you believe God is telling you to tell them, if it is truly spirit led.  I have done it, but only when I know that it is God speaking.  You can often tell based on a person's heart and the way they live their life whether or not you take their prophesying seriously.

Something that one of them said hit me so hard.  In that moment I felt some of my scars being scrapped away and walls falling.  All I cared about was God and his love and my personal relationship with Him. In this moment he was telling me that he had unfailing love for me, and that his plan for me wasn't going to change just because of circumstances in my life.  God is doing so much in my life right now, and even though it is a confusing time for me, I can evidently see that.

The rest of the weekend was filled with friends, hard work, belaying for hours, memories, new memories, rain, and Jesus.

I am so blessed by Cho-Yeh!



Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A moment of pessimism

My friend Margie did this a while back, and I liked the idea.  A while ago I had my "30 things I love about life" list... now I'll do the 30 Things I dislike/hate/annoy me about my life/in general.... this is broad.

1. When people are loud when they should be quiet.  I have trouble hearing, so it's really aggravating.
2. Being sick at college.  Makes me miss my mom.
3. Goodbye's
4. Being completely shut out by a group, and being ignored.
5. Being as sentimental as I am.  Takes me a long time to get over stuff.
6. Being spread apart from a lot of my friends... distance.
7. When friendships fall apart
8. People who think they are always right.
9. Tuna
10. Zombies.. although I may have gotten over this fear a bit
11. Paint brushes that haven't been washed out
12. When girls keep going back to guys that treat them badly
13. Unrequited feelings
14. When kids deliberately don't listen to you
15. Homework
16. When people don't thank you for things you went out of your way to do.
17. bad hair days
18. How my hair falls out when I'm stressed
19. Studying for Hebrew
20. Small hands when I'm trying to play guitar
21. When my plans don't line up with God's plans
22. When people are close mined to others and are quick to judge
23. Ignorance
24. Ranch dressing (un-Texan of me, yes!)
25. Crappy internet connections
26. When people don't get excited about things
27. When guys obviously stare at your boobs
28. Rising gas prices... it's gone up like a buck since 6 months ago!
29. Sex trafficking
30. feeling alone


Monday, March 19, 2012

Kony 2012?

A friend of mine asked me to write about the Kony issue in here.  Will do!  However, if you are to read this, you must know that I am not heavily educated on this topic.  I have watched several Invisible Children videos and read many different blogs, but I have not spent hours upon hours researching this.


Let's just say that if you are reading this, chances are that you have seen this video.  Released two weeks ago, this video on Youtube alone, will probably have close to 90 million views by the time you read this.  This is an example of social networking at it's best.  If you have been on facebook, twitter, Pinterest, or Tumbler, I would be dumbfounded if you had not heard of this issue that Invisible Children has brought to the forefront of American (particularly young adult) minds.

I am not an expert in the history of this area, in fact, like most Americans, I have not been too aware of it before the past few weeks.  I do believe that Inivisible Children has good ideas and motives, but I am still unsure about the whole idea of Kony 2012.  I am going to discuss things that I do know more about with regards to this issue.  Things that are more at the based of the mission and the purpose of the organization.  I am going to talk more about social, psychological, and religious aspects that should be discussed when talking about Kony 2012.

I believe that the idea of this campaign is good.  There is evil in the world and we need to get rid of it.  However, at what cost?  Are we thinking through what our support of this campaign really means?  Are we thinking of what the end results could be?  Or are we just clicking a "share" button on facebook and buying a t-shirt, afraid to think of what killing Kony could actually mean?

Nothing in life is cut and dry.  Over the past 30 or so years, Kony has taken around 30,000 children from their homes.  He has forced them into mass murder, sex trafficking, and has taken away the innocence of their childhoods.  Now let's say that Kony was to be successfully caught and murdered, as Invisible Children and others hope to accomplish.  If this plan were to succeed, would the thousands of children be happy about the fact and go back to their own marry lives as the video seems to claim?

Let's be real for a minute or two.

People are constantly comparing this situation to that of Nazi Germany in the early part of the 20th century.  In many ways, yes it is similar, but in one HUGE way, it is not.  Adolf Hitler was in charge of Nazi Germany from 1933 until 1945, only 12 years.  That means that many of the people (particularly children in this case) that were brainwashed were not actually under his influence for that long.  Many of them came out of mentally stable, but there are numerous others who held anti-Semitic views for the rest of their lives.

In terms of Kony, he took many of these children from their homes 30 years ago.  They have grown up under his influence and spent some of their most formative years with guns in their hands being told to kidnap children and kill their families.  Just because we kill Kony will not make them go back to the innocent way they were years ago.  Some of these men are probably just as evil as Kony himself.  In fact, if we kill Kony it may just make the LRA more upset and have a direct USA target in their minds.  The last thing the US needs right now is another enemy.

There are many different circumstances that can cause a child to have mental or psychological problems.  These could be a bad divorce, rape, neglect, etc.  Now, what do you think taking a child from their home at a young age and having them murder their own friends and family will do?  I am going to bet that these children are going to have some issues.  These children, and now adults, who have grown up with the fear of Kony dripping down their backs are going to have so many mental problems: PTSD and trust issues are just a few of the possibilities.  The video above makes it seem like if Kony is killed then the thousands of children will just go back to their lives beforehand.  Will they really?

In school we would always learn about how the Nazi's used propaganda to promote their cause, and how the "foolish German people" fell for this because of their ignorance.  Excuse me a second, but does this at all resemble the Kony 2012 nonsense?  Maybe we aren't wanting a master social group, but I don't think that at the beginning most of the Nazis were worried about killing either.

In Christianity something that comes up is the idea of "taking up your cross" (Mark 8).  Now, I will not go into the historical criticism of this verse, but the way that most Christians tend to look at it is being willing to suffer for your faith in Christ, and that may even mean death.  Islam takes the commitment they have to their faith very seriously as well, even more so than most Christians.  Now where does that tie in exactly?

If you are going to be willing to stick a picture on your facebook, wear a t-shirt, or post a poster on a wall, you better know what may come.  By hoping that the American government will get involved, you are hoping that YOU will have a chance to fight again the LRA personally.  Being an activist for an organization is more than just clicking something on a computer.  Nothing in life is easy, and this includes Kony 2012.  Going over there with weapons to find one warlord may not be successful.  Sorry people!  Not to mention that it is going to be ridiculously (maybe impossible) to find him.  To me this seems like an American high horse thinking that we're going to track him down and kill him.  Don't you think that people in the area have tried to do that as well?

Another thing that really bothers me about this is all the attention that is focused specifically on Kony.  I think that the awareness that has developed out of this media frenzy is good, but I also think that it is uneducated and ignorant.  This video makes it seem like this Kony issue is the worst thing going on in the world right now and that we should focus all of our attention (and money) on it.  What it fails to address are the numerous other world leaders who have or are murdering thousands of innocents?  Where was Invisible Children in terms of Cambodia or Cuba?  What about Venezuela?  Why is Invisible Children basically disregarding the fact that thousands of girls are being sold in sex trafficking under control of the LRA?  Are people even aware that sex trafficking and child slavery are still huge issues in our own country today?

Like most college students, I watched the 30 minute Kony 2012 video was automatically inthralled.  I love social justice so it was amazing to see other peoples excitement as well!  But one thing that is big for me is to be educated before you make a decision.  This goes with any movement, religion, or major life decision.  I read a few other blogs and they pointed out a lot of the loop holes in the Invisible Children campaign to me.  Honestly, the more I have read on the topic, the more that this campaign aggravates me to no end.  Here we are as Americans thinking we have the superior way again.

To me the only real way to deal with this is through educating one's self and by just placing it in God's hands.  God is in control of all things, and although that is a foreign concept to a lot of people, it is true.  We can not do everything on our own.  Your personal posting of the Invisible Children video is not going to automatically help thousands of children escape the LRA.  God is the only one who has the power and can guide us in the right steps to take in this issue.

"In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead," James 2: 17

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Conviction of a Hypocrite

I work in a freshman dormitory.  It is the only freshman co-ed residence hall on campus, which is actually a lot of fun.  I enjoy getting to create relationships with both girls and guys.  And in case you didn't realize, I thrive on interaction with people.

Today this one guy came to talk to me.  He's come down several times, so it was perfectly normal, but today we started talking about religion.  It started because I was talking about Spring Break, and how I don't want to go party on the beach, get wasted every night, make out with random guys, and not remember it in the morning.  It ended up being an hour long discussion about religion, not just Christianity.  It turns out that he is an Atheist with a tendency towards eastern wisdom tradition, specifically Buddhist.

This conversation had me stimulated for hours.  I love love love religious conversation, and this was refreshing as odd as it sounds.  As an Atheist, he was not offended to listen to my religious views in the way that I thought he would be.  Atheists have kind of created for themselves a stereotype in the eyes of most Christians, just as Christians have in the eyes of non-Christians.  Maybe that is one reason why we were able to talk about religion so well;  he didn't fit my Atheist stereotype, and I don't fit the Baylor Baptist stereotype.  We were both open minded in the conversation, and learned from each other.

There were several things about this conversation that really stuck out to me.  One that I am going to discuss is what exactly it means to be a Christian in Western society.  This is something that has been on my heart lately, and I have recently talked about it with several friends.

As this guy and I talked about religion, my mind started overflowing with thoughts regarding the subject above.  I think this originally stemmed from our spring break conversation.  I could not be more excited for spring break!  I turn 21 on the first day, but that is not the most important part.  I get to spend time with friends, family, and with God.  I get to play my guitar, read and sleep.  I could not be more excited!

I don't have a problem with Christians drinking... in moderation.  I was raised in a denomination where drinking is generally acceptable, as long as you do it responsibly.  My parents would drink occasionally while I was growing up.  The idea of Christians drinking is one that is common to me.  When I came to Baylor, some of my more conservative friends started talking about how they think that Christians should not drink at all.  This was something foreign to me.  I am fine with them thinking and doing this in their lives.  I just hope they are okay with my decision to drink in moderation once I do turn 21.

But for someone to call them self a Christian but then go to some party place for spring break, seems a little off beat to me.  Is that really giving Jesus a good name?  In Western society it has become so easy to be a Christian that you can slap the title on and off like a name tag.  In Western society it has gotten so simple to let your words say one thing, and your actions another.

After I got off of work and finished up my conversation, I started walking to class.  I started to think and to pray.  I thought a lot about what I discussed in the paragraphs above.  Then the same feeling came over me that I was struck with when I was reading the book "Radical".  It was an almost overwhelming feeling of guilt.  Here I was saying and thinking these things, yet walking through the campus of my private Christian university with my Tom shoes, sorority t-shirt, Juicy jacket, and Vera Bradley backpack.  I have an education at my finger tips, which my parents are mostly paying for.  I have an apartment, am in a sorority, have plenty of friends, I am not persecuted for my faith, and the list could go on and on.

I am a hypocrite.

What does it mean to be a Christian in modern Western society?  This is something that I am trying to learn more and more of.  Better yet, what does it mean to be a Christian when the cool thing is to be a 'Christian'?  I was talking to someone, and they mentioned that they heard that one should pray for hardships, pray for trials, and pray for persecution.  In 2 Corinthians it talks about God's will being done in our hardships, and his strength being made full in our weaknesses.  What would Americans do if the religion that they said they belonged to was persecuted?  Would they stand up, or would their faith be so fragile and based on worldly things that it would just fall apart?

In America do we really know what it means to be a Christian?  Do we know what it means to stand up in hard times?  Do we know what it means to get down on our knees when the world is telling us to do anything but?  Do we know the true thirst for our Father?  What would we do if going to church meant having to risk your lives?

It's more than a prayer you say once.... it's a lifestyle.  a sacrifice.  God gave his life for us.  Now we, Americans need to learn how to give ours to him.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Raise your voice, every single time they try and shut your mouth

This past year I have gotten the honor of being a Sing chair for my sorority.  This experience has meant so much to me, I can not even comprehend it, because I know that if I do I may end up in tears.


Ever since I started being in Sing my freshman year at Baylor, I had wanted to be a Sing chair.  I was really involved with theatre and choir at my school and church in high school, so this was something I found to fill the performing void.

My freshman year I was in a group called Sing Alliance.  In this group I got to know a lot of people who I'm still good friends with, and I got to experience my first Sing.  I was apprehensive about rushing and doing Sing Alliance, because most freshman don't.  But I think it was a really good decision that I made.  3 of my best friends in college came from this group, and we had a little group.  It was so much fun being in this group full of people who love performing!  We got 3rd place that year, which was something amazing to experience!




The next year I did Sing with my sorority.  It was a completely different experience.  While the year before everyone in the group I was in was there because they wanted to be, this was not the case.  Also, because it was a different organization, things were run differently.  I had fun bonding with my sorority sisters, but I knew that I wanted to be a chair the next year to have a positive influence on Sing for this group.  This year we didn't make it to Piskin (top 8 groups from Sing get to perform in Pigskin during homecoming).



This year I was a Sing chair for Alpha Delta Pi.  It came as such a blessing!  I got to know my sorority sisters so much better, and to see myself develop as a person and as a leader.  I became more comfortable talking in front of people, calling people out, talking to authority, etc.  I think this was just a really good positive experience for me.  Also, doing it with the three girls that I was chairs with was such a blessing.  I love each of them so much, and was so blessed to have gotten to work on a team with them.

We didn't make it to Pigskin this year, which is sad because we worked out butts off, but strangely I'm ok with it.  We bonded as a chapter, and we had a fun act that our group loved.  I could not be more proud!



Now comes the question of what I'm doing next year... I'm not sure if I'm going to apply for Student Productions or be a Sing chair another year.  I'm praying about it a lot, so for now, it is all in God's hands.

I am so blessed to go to a school that has the largest amateur production.  We even had Corbin Bleu judge our last night of Sing this year.  I am so so blessed.  What a great opportunity to not only entertain others, but to challenge and learn from yourself, and to develop as a child of God.

I love Baylor.  I love Sing.  Yep, that's about it! :-)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can't finish this sentence...

I wrote this in December and just found it.  I like it, and although it's a little more personal than stuff I usually share, I thought it had some good ideas and that I would share it anyway.  Hope you enjoy!

____________________________________________________


I may wake up missing you some days, and hating you others. 
Sometimes I may wake up ready to face the day, and sometimes I may want to lay in bed and cry all day.
Some days I may find refuge in my quiet times,
Some days I may find it in a friend.
Sometimes I need to curl up and cry,
And sometimes I may want to run all my anger out.

Breakups suck. 
Even when you breakup mutually and have a "great" breakup, they still suck to experience.

BUT it’s life.
“Sometimes it lasts in love, but sometimes it hurts instead.”
Sometimes it is necessary for it to hurt for us to truly enjoy life,
To learn from the relationship.
To learn what was good and what was not.
To learn what we deserve.
To discover that this person you had wondered about all these years really isn’t the one.
To discover that he is still out there.
To discover that you’re not going to put up with crap waiting for him to arrive.
Realizing that you would rather try, fail, move on and find refuge in the Lord.

Sometimes we need to try,
Because if we don’t then we’re left with the question of “what if”?

So I’m glad we ventured into the unknown.
I’m glad we experienced that together, even if it wasn’t supposed to end the way we dreamed.

So although I still care about you, and want to be friends again some day,
Right now I can’t let you too close.
Right now I can’t let you see how I’m feeling.
Right now I can’t see your face.

Because even though I realize that we’re not meant to be,
I still like you,
I still love you.
I still tense up a little bit when things remind me of you.
I still miss you when I see a couple walking down the street.
I still miss your kisses and being in your embrace.
I still can’t finish this sentence.

 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My diary screaming out loud!

I wrote this article in my Xanga in high school.  It's old, but a lot of my thoughts stay the same.  Music is powerful.  This is probably one of my favorite things I wrote on that blog.



There is one thing in the world that I think is more personal than anything else,
and that is music.

It is exhilarating, 
yet almost frightening to realize that when you listen to music, (particularly the non-rap/hip-hop where they aren't just talking about sex and drugs), you are listening to the words in someone's head.  

I pretty much just realized this this past week when I attempted to write music.  It's kinda funny really, how I can be such a musical person, and someone who adores to write, but I can not write music.  Maybe because I've never really tried before? I don't know.

But I do know that this past week when I attempted to sing and play piano with my own words, I couldn't do it.  There is something about saying your true emotions while performing them, singing them, or even saying them that is the hardest thing ever.  But only when you write them.  I can sing something someone else wrote that fit's me perfectly, but I don't feel as exposed.

Maybe because when someone else writes it, it's like I can hide under that, even if it is what I am meaning to say.  For example, my new obsession to play is "I'm not alright" by Sanctus Real. It is a beautiful song and I can truly relate to it.  But do my parent's realize that when I am singing the chorus "I'm not alright, I'm broken inside.. And all I go through, leads me to you", and am truly saying that I am not alright?  It's like I subconsciously think that if they happen to ask me who sings it, I can say "Sanctus Real" and not have to talk about what the content is, and how I relate to it. 

But if it's something I write, I have nothing to cover it up with.  Those are MY words, MY emotions, MY music.

"Two A.M. and I'm still awake writing this song,
If I get it all down on paper it's no longer inside of me,
threatin' the life it belongs to.
And I feel like I'm naked in front of the crowd,
'Cause these words are my diary screaming out loud,
And I know that you'll use them however you want to."
--Breath (2 AM) by Anna Nalick

...no truer words...



Sunday, February 5, 2012

"When you've only got 100 years to live"



Valentines Day is around the corner.  Now, this can go at least four ways:
1) You have a significant other and get really excited.
2) You have a significant other and couldn't care less.
3) You're single and the thought of V-day makes you twitch with resentment that you don't have someone to spend it with.
4) You're single and you don't really care.  You realize that you have more important things to do than worry about not having a significant other, and you are perfectly okay with it.

I like to think that at this stage in my life I am at the 4th option.  I recently went through a breakup, and it was hard on me for a while.  The past few weeks have been the first real days in which I have found pure joy in being single again.  It helps that I am insanely busy right now.  I have a pile of laundry in my room that is exploding, my bathroom is a mess, my car looks like a tornado hit it, and I have a lot of school work I need to focus on... I feel like this is more important than boys at the moment.

I read something on Pinterest the other day that really got me thinking.  It said "You only get 10 years to be in your twenties".  That hit me!  I am on the brink of turning 21, so right at the beginning of my twenties.  I am at that age when friends start getting engaged, planning weddings, and thinking of their future with another person.  Last semester, 7 girls in my sorority alone got engaged.

I think it's silly the amount of pressure our society puts on people in their 20's.  Our society has a formula they want us all to fit in: school for 13 years, go to a good college, graduate, either go straight to grad school or get married and get a job.  And if we don't get married right off the bat, we're supposed to spend the rest of our 20's devoted to finding Mr. or Mrs. Right.  Now I'm not saying that looking for love is a bad thing, but maybe desperately yearning for it to the point where nothing else is satisfying, is.  Life is too short not see the happiness in everyday.

"You only get 10 years to be in your twenties"

It's crazy for me to think of how much my life has changed in the last 10 years.  10 years ago I was in 5th grade.  10 years ago I had never been kissed, never been depressed, and never had my heart broken. 10 years ago I had never experienced the true love of God, thought about college, known what I wanted to do with my future.  10 years ago I wanted to be a fashion designer, an interior designer, or a famous singer like Britney Spears by the time I reached the ago of 13 (this is before she went cray cray).  Now I want to be a youth minister, and maybe eventually a counselor, bringing teenagers and preteens the love of Christ.

But in the past 10 years I have shed many tears, laughed so hard I didn't even know it was possible, and overcame many milestones.  In the past 10 years I have created bonds that are going to last a lifetime, ended ones that are unhealthy for me, and have been learning to live for God on a daily basis, even though there are many days when I forget to give him the glory.  In the past 10 years I have overcome illness, emotional wounds, and gotten to know the person God is creating in me a little better each day.

"You only get 10 years to be in your twenties"

In a few short weeks I will be 21.  In the U.S. this is a monumental age.  Not only is it when you can legally buy and consume alcohol, it is also when you are officially recognized as an adult.  Technically you are at 18, but there is just something about being 21.

My mom told me when I was growing up to never settle.  To enjoy my twenties.  To not be determined to be wed by a certain age.  She had a good friend that did this, and that ended very badly.  It also helps that my mom was in her late twenties when she tied the knot.

So I am coming back to a realization that I've had before, but am in need of again: that it is okay for me to be single.  God wants me to be single right now.  I have a feeling that he has some work for me to do, and I am excited to see what that is.  And I am going to enjoy my twenties.  Hopefully God will put someone in my life in the next 10 years or so, but what's the hurry?  I do not need to have my "ring by spring" to be content.  And I think that God wants me to be single right now, so I can do whatever he wants for me to do.  Right now I can focus on getting closer to God, and enjoying the many aspects of singleness.


"I serve the Author of Time, who is NOT subject to time, but I am subject to Him.  He has the ability to STOP, FAST FORWARD, PAUSE, or REWIND at any given time…"

"You only get 10 years to be in your twenties"

It's crazy for me to think of how much has happened in the past 10 years.  Sometimes it seems like such a short time, and sometimes it feels really long... but it all just makes me really excited for the next 10.  I have no idea what is going to happen.  I have no idea what joys I may have, and what the hardships are that will accompany it.  But I know that God will be right there by my side.

In a society that puts so much emphasis on a structure of how life is supposed to go, I am going to choose to let God have the reigns.  If he wants me to go to grad school, that is in his hands.  If he wants me to get married in my 20's, he will put someone in my life.  It is all up to him.

Something I often talk about with friends is life after college.  It's scary because for the first time in your life you don't have a set structure.  Everything that happens after graduation for the majority of college graduates is an unknown land.  Where am I going to live?  Where am I going to work?  Who am I going to marry?  When am I going to get married?  Will I get married?  What will my kids be like?  Will I be able to have kids? and many more.  To be perfectly honest, it kind of freaks me out.

But God is in control.

This summer God was asking me if I trusted him.  I told him I did, and I made some important changes to my life.  Lately I have had that question pounding through my head.  The answer is a daily reminder to give God control.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also --Matt 6:21

30 Things I love in life:

1. Laughter
2. Late night dinners with friends
3. Spending all day at church
4. Sing... and singing.
5. Making music
6. Learning new instruments
7. Learning
8. Smiling
9. Ministering to teenagers
10. Baylor!
11. Laying on a bench outside in perfect weather
12. Taking walks
13. Dancing
14. Writing in my journal or on here
15. Working out
16. Sleeping
17. Friday afternoons
18. Deep conversations
19. Talking about boys
20. Cooking
21. Planning things
22. Drinking tea
23. Reading my Bible
24. Spending too many hours on the computer
25. Spending time with those I love
26. Taking pictures
27. Creativity
28. My sorority
29. Performing in front of large audiences
30. Spending time with those I love

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Work in Progress

I am a religion major, and I absolutely love it!  Last semester was my first semester in really getting to dive into it.  I took Christian ethics and Intro to Church History, and it was great to see what God taught me through those.  I became a lot more aware of the history of the church, different issues that the church has dealt with and is dealing with, and how Christianity impacts ways of looking at different issues.

This semester I am taking World Religions and Intro to New Testament.  I feel like these two classes go well together, because for both of them it requires me to be a little more open minded.  I also feel like questions that were arisen to me last semester that have been on my mind, are ones that are prevalent in these classes, and that is awesome!  Some of these questions include:  what are the similarities and differences between religions?  Can one examine a different religion and grasp it without joining in it?  Can someone be of two different religions?  What does this mean to be a person of faith studying different religions?

Also questions of textual criticism regarding the New Testament:  what is this?  How are we supposed to judge this and several more issues that are very interesting to me, but I can't formulate into a question at this point.

I think one of the reasons that I love my major so much is truth.  Everyone is searching for truth in life and wanting to know where it comes from.  But the reality is that you can't know everything.  You just have to have faith and trust in God that everything will one day make sense.  I love this!  I love learning about the Bible.  I love learning about the different Popes, Luther and Jonathan Edwards.  I love learning about different religions.  I love that there is always more to learn and more to discover.

That is something about my minor too... music.  I will never be the best, but I always want to learn and discover more about the instruments I am playing and the music I am reading.  There is always more to know and ways to improve myself, and that is never ending.

I am a work in progress, and I am so excited to keep on learning (even if sometimes I don't like to...). :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Close Your Eyes

I work at a Christian camp, which if you read this blog, you already know.  Over the past few months I have really struggled as to whether or not I should return there this summer.

Throughout last summer I felt like God was telling me to return for half the summer, but I was still really unsure.  A lot of my friends were saying that it was their last summer, and that made me feel a little uneasy, but secure in the fact that I knew it would be ok if it was my last as well.  Campers kept asking me if I was coming back or not.  This was a really hard question.  I just really felt like God was telling me to go back for part of it.  At the time I was thinking of studying abroad for half the summer, so working the other half would be really convenient.

This past fall semester however, the doubts really got to me.  I really realized that none of my close friends were going back, including the guy I was dating at the time, who I had worked there with.  Because I was unsure about the path God was going to take us on and the difficulties of the long distance, I was really unsure.  A bunch of my camp friends came and visited me in September, and I remember the exact moment when sitting around my kitchen table someone posed the question, "Is anyone going back this summer?"  Everyone said that they probably weren't or they weren't for sure, and that they felt like God was done working with them there.  For me, this was confirmation that I shouldn't go back.

Fast forward a few months and I was still pretty sure that God didn't want me to go back, but I hadn't really given it much thought.  The thing is, I had absolutely no idea what God wanted me to do with my summer, and that was unsettling.

Then the guy I was dating and I broke up.  The next day I was spending some much needed time with God, and I started praying about what He wanted me to do this summer.  I was looking up different ministry programs and volunteer opportunities in the Waco area, and then I just felt this nudging on my heart.

In high school I was really involved in this retreat called Celebration.  If I hadn't gone to it, my life would be completely different.  I am so thankful to God for blessing me with it.  At one of my last weekends the spiritual advisor was talking about how we are to know when God calls us to something. She said that it is the gut feeling that one has that just does not go away no matter how hard you try.  This message has stuck with me throughout college and really helped me to discern what is His will is for me.

So when I felt God nudging at me that day, I realized that he had been nudging me over the past several months.  I knew he was likely calling me back.  I made a pros and cons list and realized that all the reasons I didn't want to go back were petty ones, such as a lot of my friends not coming back.  But then I realized that there was something much more important than that, and that is the girls I would be ministering to, and the lives I would be impacting for the Kingdom.  I started filling out my application, but didn't submit it yet.

Over the next several days I was still trying to determine what God wanted me to do.  I talked to one of my best friends at school and camp a lot about it, and he basically told me that if I felt like I needed to go back, I needed to apply.  So in a moment when I was feeling sure that this was in God's plan, I submitted the application.

Fast forward a few weeks and I heard back that they want me to come back!  Now I just had to make a decision... and I have decided that I am going to be working at camp Cho-Yeh weeks 1-5, and then doing summer school in Waco, either at MCC or Baylor.  It's been a hard decision, but it's been really cool to see how God has been working through it.

I am so blessed!

I am so blessed to impact the lives of girls for 5 weeks this summer, to grow in who I am, and to make new friendships with the staff while God continues to bless me in new ways.  I don't know what God has planned for me, but I know that this is where he wants me for this short period of my life.  It's been a long road to come to that realization, but I'm glad I've finally arrived!