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Showing posts from 2013

An Imperfect Pot.

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Earlier in this semester, I had the opportunity to make a pot in the Evangel Art Department. One of my friends on my floor was taking a pottery class, and she helped me to make the pot out of wet, gooey clay. It was a lot of fun to sit at the potter's wheel and try to form something out of the gray lump, although I was quite clumsy at it. My friend instructed me to put a lot of pressure on the clay as the wheel spun round-and-round. By putting pressure onto the clay, I ensured that the clay remained in the center of the wheel and within my control.

My friend continually poured water over the clay, and by doing so, she made sure it remained moist in my hands. When the clay started to get dry, it scraped my hands. Thus, by her pouring water frequently onto the clay, she not only ensured that the clay remained shape-able, but also that my hands wouldn't get seriously scraped. As I attempted to shape the pot, I had difficulty. After a few minutes, I decided that I was satisfied wit…

God With Us.

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This Christmas season, the words "God with us," have been continually circulating in my mind and heart. Although I've been familiar with the name Immanuel meaning "God with us," I've never dwelt on that particular meaning. It's funny that I haven't really thought about this concept, especially because it is central to the meaning of Christmas. Through my New Testament Literature class this semester and a series of messages shared by Pastor Jeff Peterson at Central Assembly, I feel like I have gained so much understanding and "Aha!" moments about God's nearness to us through Christ. Truly, thinking about this concept has made me rest in complete awe of God's presence and of His choice to be with us.

"Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel,which means ‘God is with us.’" ~Matthew 1:23

My mind journeys back to learning about Moses and the Israelites who wandered in…

Compassion.

“Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter into the places of pain, to share in brokenness, fear, confusion, and anguish. Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears. Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human.” ― Henri J.M. Nouwen

Facing the Truth.

This past year, the Holy Spirit has continued to bring to my attention specific concepts that my heart has needed to hear. I'm thankful that God speaks to us in such a custom-fit way, and that in speaking to us, He wants to allow us to encounter the truth and allow it to change the way we live. Most recently, I have been learning about truth (John 8:32) and God's strength in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9). I never really connected these two concepts together, but today God molded them together for me to understand how they relate to each other.

I've never been one to like criticism. I try to hide from it as best as I can. I will do whatever it takes to maintain an equilibrium of peace and quiet. However, there are moments when criticism is healthy--especially in self-reflection. If we aren't aware of the areas we need to reassess, then we will never be aware of how we can grow.

The world encourages us to hide our weaknesses, burying them so far deep that nobody can g…

His Beauty in Us.

"As we take the time to discover the beauty within ourselves, we begin to discover the beauty that surrounds us." ~Anonymous

I came across this quote the other day on my daily quote calendar and found it to ring so true.  I have found that many times in my life, I've had difficulty being able to love others and see their beauty because I have not accepted the love and appreciated the beauty that God had given to me.

God is love (1 John 4:8), and since He is love, we are able to love others with His love when we know and love Him. However, I believe a main component of this concept that I have often overlooked is that we must first be willing to accept the love God has given us. And honestly, this can be pretty difficult at times. It's tough to accept love, especially when we think we don't deserve it.

In this world of aspirations and goals, society tells us that we should feel fulfilled once we have accomplished whatever we have set is our heart to do. We attach …

Filling My Weakness.

Throughout the past few weeks, the Holy Spirit has repeatedly directed my attention toward the topic of where I turn when I am at my very weakest. So I have, in turn, asked myself, "Where do I turn when I am fearful, stressed, confused, hurting, lost, or broken?" As much as I would love to say that that I always turn to Christ, I don't.

There are many places I have turned to first without even thinking about turning to Christ.

As I turn to these "many places," I've realized they all have one thing in common: None of these places have given me comfort or made me less fearful, stressed, confused, hurt, lost, or broken. They may fill places in my heart during the moment I'm feeling weak, but ultimately, they leave me feeling as empty as I was when I turned to them.

This truly pains me. WHY do I turn to places that don't satisfy my deepest longings when I know in my heart that I have a Savior who has already promised to fill my every longing? If I alre…

Vacation.

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A view of Lake Anna in Mineral, Virginia. Such a beautiful place my family was able to visit this past week. What a restful time and a very welcome retreat.

Rest.

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"Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under the trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time." ~Sir John Lubbock





"God's peace...is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest." ~Philippians 4:7

Securely in His Love.

Ever since I can remember, I tied my worth into how well I could accomplish the tasks that lay before me. Whether it was getting good grades, winning a spelling bee, or being in control of my every word and action—I needed to be working my hardest or best, or else it wasn’t good enough for me. And if it wasn’t good enough for me, then I reasoned it definitely wasn’t good enough for God.
I measured my achievement based on whether or not I got a compliment. If I worked especially hard to present my best, and then I didn’t get the amount of praise from others I thought I deserved, I would feel completely devalued. Even when I did receive praise, it never seemed to be good enough because it never satisfied my heart. As soon as I felt approved by those around me, I felt I needed to take it to the next level and be even more perfect, more pristine, and more worthy of love. Sure, improvement is usually something healthy to strive for. We always should try to be our best. But people cannot …

We Exalt Your Name.

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This is such a powerful song that helps me to refocus my heart on who I am giving glory to.  A change in perspective occurs in our hearts when we transfer our attention from our own qualifications and accomplishments to giving glory to our God. May our every moment be spent exalting the name of the Lord.

"We could run through fields of daisies..."

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This afternoon, my dad asked me to print out some copies of "Katie's Heaven letter" for my family to be able to distribute them to different individuals that Katie's Comfort Ministry ministers to. We had run out of our current supply, and he had been asking me to print them out for quite some time. However, today I finally answered his request to not only print the letters, but also to proofread the letter. (Thanks for asking me to do that, Dad!) For, in proofreading the letter, my heart was reminded once again of the love my sister had for her Lord and also of the deep, personal love the Lord has for us, His little children.

I want to share this "Heaven" letter with you, my readers. It is such a precious opportunity for me to be able to read the words she so honestly prayed to the Lord in October of 2005 (just five months before arriving in Heaven), and I pray that the words she wrote also touch your heart--allowing you to glimpse the love of a Savior who i…

My Bun-Bun.

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This summer marks the tenth year I've had my bunny rabbit, Buttons. He has been a trusty pal. I took him out into the backyard yesterday afternoon, and we had a mini photoshoot together.

I'm thankful to have a furry buddy who has been in my life for the majority of it, and even though he's never said a word, I can sense he has somehow understood the scenic journey of life I've been on--and the many changes that have occurred throughout the years.

Thanks, Buttons, for being a class-act rabbit. Keep hoppin'...but please stop shedding. ;)

Beacons of Light.

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It was a starry night—
Not twinkling in the sky, But rather piercing through the darkness In a nearby field. Taken by surprise, I stopped, Dumbfounded by the sight. How mysterious, how enchanting— Like from a distant galaxy.
Yet, encountering this wonder Was like hearing a song I’ve always known.
I recognized the glimmer.
From childhood I’ve seen one or two bulbs Appearing on summer nights. I admired their beautiful splendor And was curious about their purpose.
But through the years I’ve ceased To admire and to question.
Yet something about this recent night Allowed my heart to ponder. Glimpsing hundreds of bulbs at once Inspired me anew.
With rhythmic illumination My old friends danced before me. I could not trace their paths, But I knew they would alert me of their presence.
No man-made lamp powered by a current Could compare to the natural wonder on display. Connected to their Creator, they shone, Gaining life-sustaining purpose with each blink.
They were called to sing a melody in silence, To bring light to a…

Renewed.

"Though our outer selfis wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen."  ~2 Corinthians 4:16b-18a 
When I read this specific passage out of 2 Corinthians 4earlier this week, it struck me in a whole new way. What an incredible thought to think that even though our bodies continue to grow older as time goes by, we are just on the verge of a beautiful adventure and growing experience with Christ. While we are able to notice our bodies aging through such signs as wrinkles and gaining gray hairs, we are most likely not able to physically see our daily spiritual renewal in such a tangible way. Yet, still we invest our faith and trust in God, who promises that He is renewing us each day. We do not need to fear His leaving our side, for even in this moment as we have the heart's desire to s…

"Laura, Will You Do the Dishes?"

This is a loving command I hear most days from my parents, to which I more or less answer, "Yeah! I'll do them soon." (Notice how I don't include a specific time frame in my answer). ;)

Today, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher. Usually, I complete this chore during the daytime. I try to rush through the formalities of stacking the bowls a certain way and putting all the mugs in the same vicinity so I can move onto my next task of the day. However, tonight I waited until nighttime to do the dishes. As I trudged up the stairs to begin my not-so-favorite activity, I made sure to put my prized Tony Bennett tape "Perfectly Frank" into the music player to set the mood.

Then, I began to put the clean dishes in the cabinet. Each fork I picked up weighed heavy with dread, but somewhere in the midst of putting the dirty bowls into the dishwasher, I started to slow down and reflect upon the day. Instead of allowing the dishes to be mildly dirty as they went into …

Summer Time & Friendships.

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I am over a month into my summer vacation as of now, and it has been a time of adjustment, rest, and beauty. It took me close to forever to start unpacking my belongings from college--and I'd say that now I'm 98% unpacked. I'm thinking I might as well keep some things packed so that traveling back to school in August will be a more streamlined process... :)

On these summer days, I've been able to reflect upon the school year that's just passed as well as the lessons I've learned throughout the months. I've spent time studying God's word, journaling, and listening to His voice. I've been increasingly recognizing my need for fellowship, and I've been trying to seek out ways to grow with other believers during this time I'm home. I've realized to the highest degree how purpose-less I feel when I am not employing my passions the way I think I should be using them. This has led me on a journey of a new kind of surrender--trusting that God wil…

Victory.

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"Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold.We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away.But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ.Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away.For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image."
~2 Corinthians 3:12-18

I am celebrating freedom in Christ with all my heart. I am no longer …

A Fragrance.

If you're aware of some of my quirks, you'd recognize that I'm a little bit obsessed about scents. 
When I buy a new book or a new dress, I have to sniff it to take in what I have come in contact with. When I step into a Hallmark store filled with new items, I have to inhale the distinct scent of the place that surrounds me. Scents give me comfort, reminding me of where I've been. One of my favorite scents is that of the Minnie Mouse blanket I've slept with for the past...well...fourteen years. I love when it's freshly washed and hung to dry and I can smell the summer breeze upon its fabric. I have an affinity for pretty perfumes, but after I buy a certain perfume and wear it for a specific time in my life, I can't wear the perfume in a new chapter of life. I suppose this is because when I smell Hilary Duff's "With Love" or "Vera Wang Princess," my mind is transferred to memories of going to the National Spelling Bee in 8th grade o…

Times.

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I've been playing this song on repeat tonight. The love of God is so real, so beautiful, so distinctly here for us. No matter our emotions or condition, still God loves us. Just let that sink in.

Into All Truth.

Being back home for the past couple weeks has made me reflect upon this school year, and especially upon the growth I've experienced in my relationship with God even in this last semester.

One concept that my heart continues returning to is the reality of what God has shown me during this season compared to the reality of my thoughts and mind before this season. Let me explain...

For so much of my life, I have lived in fear. Fear of what may happen. Fear of dreadful possibilities. Fear that God wouldn't come through for me. For more nights than I can count, I would spend exorbitant amounts of time lying paralyzed with fear about things beyond my control. I was so fearful that I couldn't fall asleep because I was afraid to fall asleep. The enemy presented a reality of fear to me, and I willingly accepted living in fear as my reality. And as the enemy continued to feed me with fear, I continued to listen because it was familiar to me, and therefore had a sense of safety atta…

As the Deer.

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Make Someone Happy.

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It's amazing how creative God is in the way He speaks to us.
At the start of this week, my mom and I took a talk at Lake Katherine. What a joy it was to be within nature once again, admiring the trees and water and ducks and geese (Well, not so much the geese. My mom and I had to run away from one that started to chase us).


Maybe I was a little TOO glad to be back. It took us three times as long to walk the one-mile trail because I had to stop to "Awww" at the turtles, the swans, the breeze, the sun...But it was delightful.

Somewhere along our walk when I was capturing a photo of some tulips, an elderly gentleman (probably around the age of 80) came up to us. First, he offered to take a picture of me and my mom. With this gesture, he encouraged us to capture not just the scenery but the person we were enjoying the day with.


After he had the woman who was with him (who appeared to be his caregiver) take this photo of us, he opened up a grocery bag he was holding and gave …

A Hallmark Card.

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I'm checking out of my cozy dorm room in Walther Hall tomorrow evening. This means I have spent much of my day today packing for the journey home that begins after I wake up from pillowing my head for the last time in my room tonight. When I sift through my belongings while packing, I tend to reflect on what each belonging means to me. This can make packing an lengthy and emotionally involved process. Nonetheless, it's part of my packing routine.

While taking down items from my wall, I stopped and stared at one of my favorite high school graduation cards. I received this card from my brother--a Hallmark card (My dream is to work as a Hallmark card writer one day!). This card has greatly impacted me from the first time I read it, and it has hung on my wall above my desk this past year as a reminder of the support I have from my brother and other caring individuals back home.


To me, the greatest compliments are those that point toward my character. In the midst of a society th…

Year One.

What a year. I am left nearly speechless as I look back at my first two semesters at Evangel. So I'm going to write about them instead!

When I traveled to Springfield from my home in the south suburbs of Chicago, I had no idea what my college experience would look like. I had heard stories from current college students about their transition, their dorm life, their classes, and their new friendships. Still, I had a difficult time picturing myself as a college student. I couldn't help but view life from the frame of reference of a freshly-graduated high schooler, and I couldn't see myself as a college student no matter how hard I tried.

However, reality hit when my dad and mom helped me trudge my belongings into my new "home" in Walther Hall. There was a definite moment when I felt like this is finally happening. And that was an overwhelming moment. Through the many tears I shed during that transition of saying good-bye to the life I had always known, I gingerly e…

Going Home.

With summer quickly approaching, and my heart feeling bittersweet, I wanted to list some of the beautiful things I'm looking forward to this summer. Things that were part of my everyday life that I had to build a new routine apart from. Things that make my heart happy.


Going to Baker's Square with close friends on Wednesday nights for free pie. (With another menu item purchased of course!)Sipping coffee at the Starbucks by Lake Katherine and discussing life with my girlfriends.Going on walks with my family at Lake Katherine--taking in the sights of the baby ducks and geese at springtime, the new blossoms on the trees, the great outdoors.Watching Jimmy Stewart and Cary Grant movies on the Turner Classic Movie channel. What beautiful, classic movies.Listening to the crackle of my favorite records on our record player. I always have a specific Frank Sinatra record I listen to when I do the dishes. (I miss that record...not so much doing the dishes every day!)Falling asleep on and …