Monday, July 30, 2012

I press on.

I want to encourage you. I want to be a light to the Kingdom of God, to glorify God with my words and actions. But I cannot do that in my own strength. My heart is heavy and I am weary. But the Lord is strong. So I lean on him and I write. And I pray that he will guide these thoughts and use these words.

I sometimes hesitate to share these thoughts, my intent is not to sadden or burden. But this is raw, real life. No masking, no pretense. I am not inviting sympathies but am sharing for the sake of truthfulness, for the sake of the one who gives me life.

The weeks pass and hardship seems to be making a habit of showing its face. Around me and within me. When does the grieving of 'what isn't,' of 'what cannot be' end? Will it ever, in this life? It seems to be only increasing. It overwhelms at times.

When pain occurs, the repercussion are not isolated to the point of impact. If the circumstance was just in and of itself, just an individual entity, it could be pushed aside with greater ease. But, like a web of wound silk, the effects of my body's weakness have attached onto and impacted every thread of life.

The product of these circumstances are an every day reality.

But God is a redeemer. He REDEEMS. He creates beauty from tragedy.
To redeem is "to gain or regain possession of something in exchange for payment." Jesus is our payment. His death brings you and me to life. Because of his sacrifice, we can open our eyes. We can be alive and live with hope.


I am not fully aware of where God is leading this life he is allowing me to live, but I believe with everything within me that he has created purpose in it.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 3:12-14

This encourages me; this stirs me.
Onward and outward. I press on.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More than just photographs, more than just memories

So, my dear wheelchair died last Thursday.  My only mode of mobility, my "legs" if you will, is out of commission until the new part comes in.  It was supposed to come in today (Tuesday) however, it did not.  Cool.

Without my chair, I am pretty much stuck in my bed.  It's been 6 days.  I've been outside once.  Eeep.

It's been an adventure so far...
Lots of thinking.
Lots of music-listening.
Lots of reading.
Lots of thinking.

Knowing, when my chair croaked, that I would be spending a heavy dose of quality time with the four walls of my bedroom, I was not too stoked.

I am not a fan of solitary confinement.  I am also not a fan of being vulnerable and reaching out for support.

But the Lord is stretching me.

There's been much time for reflection.  And one thing I am sure of is that God is completely in this crazy rodeo.  It has been a bundle of emotions, positive and negative, but he has blessed this time and used it to grow my heart.

It's been a weird week and I cannot wait until Thursday, but I am truly thankful for this time.

Because I was stuck in bed and lonely, I had the courage and desperation to tell people that I needed them.  And the Lord showed me great love in the sweet friends he surrounded me with.  In this situation, I have had no choice but to be open, to be vulnerable and reject the fear of appearing weak.  It is what it is.  The love does not cease because my body is powerless.

This situation, at first seeming overwhelmingly limiting, opened doors for unique opportunities.  I have experienced the Lord in new and rejuvenating ways.  I was able to spend some good quality time with some dear and wonderful humans.  I was able to begin reading a book I've been meaning to pick up for quite some time.  I got lots of my spanish homework done, which is a great thing.

I even made some new friends.  From the comfort of my own bed.  That's a first.
The talented Adam Sams stopped by for a little late-night jam sesh.  This is one talented dude.  Check him out if you enjoy great tunes.

Spontaneity.  Quality music.  Worship.  This would have to be one of my favorite moments in the last few days.

Monday, July 9, 2012

The water keeps on falling

I am currently reading C.S. Lewis' The Problem of Pain.  It has catalyzed much thinking... about life, about suffering, about purpose.

Mr. Lewis writes, “We are, not metaphorically but in very truth, a Divine work of art, something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character ... Over a sketch made idly to amuse a child, an artist may not take much trouble: he may be content to let it go even though it is not exactly as he meant it to be. But over the great picture of his life—the work which he loves, though in a different fashion, as intensely as a man loves a woman or a mother a child—he will take endless trouble—and would doubtless, thereby give endless trouble to the picture if it were sentient. One can imagine a sentient picture, after being rubbed and scraped and re-commenced for the tenth time, wishing that it were only a thumb-nail sketch whose making was over in a minute. In the same way, it is natural for us to wish that God had designed for us a less glorious and less arduous destiny; but then we are wishing not for more love but for less.”

When we face suffering, it is painful so we desire it to stop. But it is through our suffering that so much beauty takes place.  In life's difficulty, in the midst of the challenges and the frustration and the heartache, God is lavishing you with the deepest love.  He is molding you into the person He created you to be.

"But those who suffer he delivers in their suffering;
he speaks to them in their affliction."
- Job 36:15

"My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life."
- Psalm 119:50

This is real life.
It is beautiful and it hurts.
I pray that the beauty would obscure the pain.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hipster take-over

Plaid shirts. Lumberjack beards. Mason jars.
These are all things that can be found in excess at a Bon Iver concert.

What can also be found in excess is stellar music.
And by stellar, I mean incredible.
And by incredible, I mean phenomenal.

It was a wonderful night spent with one of my best friends, my bro.
The lovely Georginia made an appearance, as well.

My favorite moment of the show was when they did "Skinny Love"... being a Bon Iver staple, the crowd sang along with passion and vigor... It was pure magic.

Thanks to a random YouTube entheuseist, who had this video posted before the night was over, I can share this gem with you.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A psalm for today

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
 How precious to me are your thoughts, God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.

-- Psalm 139

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Rainy day thoughts

I noticed recently how frequently I hear complaints coming from my own mouth and the mouths of others. We are so quick to voice our grievances, so effortlessly we grumble at the way things are. This is an every-day observance I've slipped into… 

Not to say that complaining about life's frustrations is terrible. We're humans, it's normal. But when it becomes excessive, the effects are less than advantageous.

I realized this, and then I came back to this truth: 
Life isn't easy and it was never promised to be. 

The idyllic "perfect life" does not exist for anyone. We all have issues, we all face difficulties, we all have challenges to overcome. But that is where beauty has the chance to come in. Through our suffering, amidst the struggles we come across, we have an amazing opportunity. An opportunity to see and feel the grace that God has covered us in. An opportunity for redemption from a loving Savior. An opportunity to love others fully and unconditionally. An opportunity to honor God with the lives he has granted us to live.

"though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed."
-- 1 Peter 1:6-7

God made us unique and individual from one another. We were all created with intended purpose. Let's embrace the life we've been given.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Love is patient, love is kind.

I love filmography. I love weddings. Typical Digital Media female college kid.

I've seen quite my fair share of wedding videos… most of which have been beautiful and spectacular, eliciting emotions I didn't think I could have toward people I've never even known… What a sap. 

I just love the creativity of the filmmakers, I love the joy in the hearts of the lovebirds and their families, I love the sweet music.

Just today, I came across another one of these wedding videos…  But this one was different. And it was incredible. A marriage full of selfless love and deep reliance on God. This brings my heart much joy.

Please watch. You will be encouraged. This is what Christ's love looks like.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Home, sweet home

Talking with a dear friend the other day, we agreed that there's really nothing quite like the feeling of going home after a long time spent elsewhere… After a busy semester, jam-packed with an endless "array" of projects (pun intended), nothing sounds quite as sweet as a little visit to mi casa.

[CUE: sigh of relief] 

Home is where I am welcomed by my favorite furry friends via vocal yelping and spastic body movement.. It is where we watch weird indie movies that my dad is convinced will be great because the anonymous critic on the cover gave it "two thumbs up".. It is where there is a surplus of delicious home-cooked food (including, but definitely not limited to, fresh guacamole, whole wheat waffles, and enchiladas… YUM.) 

Merriam-Webster defines the word "home" as "one's place of residence". If you asked where my home was, I would probably recite my address to you. But I don't think a home is just a physical location. When I think of the reasons I love home, it's not because I adore the decor or think the floorplan is super efficient. I love home because of the people who embody it. In the Lord's perfect provision and deep grace, he has greatly blessed me with an incredibly loving family. Their love and endearing support are what make this cement dwelling a home. 

Whatever I am lacking, he never ceases to provide. 

I've been here for approximately two hours and I already feel myself unwinding into a comfortable state of leisure. I think it's going to be a nice week of some much-needed rest...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oh, hey there.

So, I have decided to start a blog.


Cliche? Maybe. But I think it will be a fun little adventure for the summer.

I'm not exactly sure what my purpose is in writing... to chronicle the exhilarating life of a UCF Knight? To document the summer's crazy shenanigans? Because there's sure to be some. To share thoughts and things that I am learning? It will probably be a combination of all of these.

I can't promise to captivate every fiber of your attention with stories of foreign romance or police espionage. Try visiting your neighborhood Redbox if that is what your looking for. I can, however, share with you a glimpse of what it is to be an almost-twenty-one-year-old college student seeking after Jesus and attempting to live a life fully glorifying and honoring to His name. He is my source of strength, my source of joy.

"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
I will be glad and rejoice in you;
I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High."
(Psalm 9:1-2)

That being said, I'm looking forward to these next few months. Good times and tough times, I'm sure there will be both because, hey, this is life, but there are two things I am certain of:
1) I know that there will be growth, and
2) I know that God will provide.

And that excites me!

Until next time...