Thursday, December 17, 2009

What is your life? - James 4.14

"The way you see your life shapes your life."

What definition or metaphor do you use to describe your everyday life?

For me it as always been a roller coaster. I even remember standing in front of everyone at the FCA Leadership Camp summer before my senior year of high school talking about the roller coaster relationship I've always held with God. There are amazing ups, gut-wrenching down times, and so many twists and turns. But today I am letting that worldview go.

Rick Warren writes, "How you define life determines your destiny." So, while my view is not completely negative, it is not all good either. Warren continues saying, "To fulfill the purposes God made you for, you will have to challenge conventional wisdom and replace it with the biblical metaphors of life."

Romans 12.2 says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God--what is good and acceptable and perfect."

"The Bible offers three metaphors that teach us God's view of life: Life is a test, life is a trust, and life is a temporary assignment. These are the foundation of purpose-driven living."

Life is a test: Absolutely nothing in our lives is insignificant. Everything counts. Our "character is developed and revealed by tests."

"Even the smallest incident has significance for your character. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to develop character, to demonstrate love, or to depend on God. Some tests seem enormous and overwhelming while others you don't even notice. But all of them have eternal implications"

Personally, I've never applied the fact that life is a test. I have spoken many times about being tested, especially when it comes to my headaches. I now realize more than ever that you have one chance to get life right or wrong, and every second counts. I picture myself in a classroom with a dreaded biology test in front of me; I have an hour but I know that there are 3 essays at the back of the packet - every second counts; every wrong answer is a step closer to failing.

1 Corinthians 10.13 - "No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it"

James 1.12 - "Blessed is anyone who endures temptation. Such a one has stood the test and will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him."

Life is a Trust: Everything, literally everything belongs to God; he has trusted us to take part in what is his. He has trusted us with decisions and belongings in order to see how we act around them, and how we act determines a lot when we get to Heaven.

"At the end of your life on earth you will be evaluated and rewarded according to how well you handled what God entrusted to you. That means everything you do, even simple daily chores, has eternal implications. If you treat everything as a trust, God promises three rewards in eternity. First, you will be given God's affirmation: He will say, 'Good job! Well done!' Next, you will receive a promotion and be given greater responsibility in eternity: 'I will put you in charge of many things.' Then you will be honored with a celebration: 'Come and share your Master's happiness.'"

What really hit me here is when Warren talks about money. It is both a test and a trust from God. "God uses finances to teach us to trust him, and for many people, money is the greatest test of all." He watches us to see how we treat money as a test to see how trustworthy we are.

Luke 16.11 - "If you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven?"

"God says there is a direct relationship between how I use my money and the quality of my spiritual life."

Obviously, this has struck a cord with me because I'm not doing so great in the money department. Michael and I have managed to rack up a substantial amount of credit card debt which we are now working very hard to pay off. It is my prayer that this is our one and only young and stupid mistake. I have never thought of money this way. In the last year I have definitely turned to God with our money issues and realize for certain that it is only through him that we'll ever be successful with any money.


"Life is a test and a trust, and the more God gives you,
the more responsible he expects you to be."
This writing is inspired by Day 5 in Rick Warren's 'The Purpose Driven Life.'

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Uncle Arthur's Arms

Psalm 73.21-26

Thought for Today: The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33.27

When I was little, I'd visit Aunt Barb and Uncle Arthur. Every night I'd lie down at the foot of the stairs and pretend I'd fallen asleep. Uncle Arthur would 'discover' me there and pick me up and carry me to bed. We did this long after I was really too old for it.

Uncle Arthur lived into his eighties and was always healthy, strong and kind. He'd been a farmer, a school janitor, and a rug hooker, and he knew everything about flowers. He made me feel loved when he held me. I've met a few important people whom other people write books about, and they gave me memories I treasure. But I treasure most the memory of Uncle Arthur's arms.

We get too few hugs. At the end of my life, I'll lie quietly down. I'll close my eyes. I don't know if Uncle Arthur will be sent to carry me home. Maybe only Jesus' arms are strong enough for that trip, but I know whose arms prepared me to trust in Jesus.

May we live in such a way that someone can say that about our arms. No other honor is quite so sweet.

Prayer: Loving God, as you hold and carry me, teach me to hold and carry others. Amen.

By: Sheryl Stewart--Albion, New York
From 'The Secret Place' devotional book for Winter 0-10

This made me think of Debbie - Psalm 73 was used at her funeral, but beyond that many of the memories she leaves behind are of her hugs; her beautiful hugs that have helped so many through times of trouble and joy.

I am so lucky to have known her and her family. My prayer now is for her husband, Carl, and sons, Jonny and Richard. My praise is that she is no longer in pain. But God please be with the Olsons during this time of happiness because Debbie isn't hurting, but time filled with pain because she's no longer her blessing our daily lives.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Inching closer

In 35 days I go back to school.

There is this huge lump in my throat and a million pounds on my back. I'm so afraid that the pain will get really bad again and I will mess it all up over again. There are so many unanswerable questions about my health and I don't know what to expect.

I feel like a kindergartner headed off to her very first day. No scratch that - a kindergartner doesn't know any bad; they're able to be full of optimism. Whereas, I've experienced the headaches (no pun intended) and the trials, and I'm scared to death.

I keep telling myself that I'm going to do better than expected and pass with distinction, but I don't think that I can do that. I think I need to lower my expectations and just pass! A lot of my problems have stemmed from trying to be the overachiever. Now is the time to let go and enjoy this second chance that I've so graciously been given.


Dad, please lay your healing hands on me.
I am yours.
I'm a very nervous girl right now.
Calm me down please.
I am yours.
Only You have the ability to heal me.
I am yours.
Matthew 6.34 - "So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today."
Philippians 4.6 - "Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Flying Home

Cancer.

Anger.

Pain.

Family.

Left behind.

Sadness.

Heaven.

Joy.

God's saving grace.

No more pain.

Free at last.

Flying home.

Debbie Olson - I will miss you so very, very much.
Went home on 11-30-09.

Friday, November 20, 2009

God's Plan For My Life

Everyone longs to give themselves
Completely to someone –
To have a deep soul relationship
With another
To be loved exclusively and thoroughly
But God, to a Christian says,
No,
Not until you’re satisfied and content
With being loved by me alone.
I love you, my child
And until you discover that only in
Me is your satisfaction to be found
You will never be united with another
Until you are united with Me –
Exclusive of anyone.
Of anything else, Exclusive of any other desires or longings.

I want you to stop planning…
Stop wishing…
Allow Me to bring it to you…
Just keep watching Me
Expecting great things.
Keep experiencing that satisfaction
Knowing that I AM.
Keep learning,
And listening to the things I tell you.
You must wait,
Don’t be anxious.
Don’t look at the things you think you want.
You must keep looking off and away,
Up to Me
Or you’ll miss what I have to show you.

And then, when you are ready
I’ll surprise you with a love
Far more wonderful
Than any would ever dream.
You see, until you are ready
And until the one I have for you is ready
I am working even this minute to have you both ready at the same time.
Until you are satisfied exclusively with
Me and the life I have prepared for you,
You won’t be able to experience the love
That exemplified
Your relationship with Me…
And this is the perfect love.
- Author Unknown
This poem was one of the best gifts that was ever given to me. It forever changed my life. Embrace it.

Guide me oh Lord, for I am yours . . .

There is so much on my heart and mind right now. I feel like a big lesson is about to come into my life.

There is a lot of apprehension within me too, and I don't like it at all. I want to be open to whatever is coming my way, but I'm scared of screwing up and having to learn a painful lesson. I've had enough painful lessons recently.

I'm learning to give God my time. I've always been open to him and we've always had a relationship, but when it came to prayer and devotion time I wasn't doing that. It's just never been a part of my life. But God gives so much to me and all he asks is for me to give him my time and love. I want to be someone he can be proud of, and I can't grow if I don't let him in.

God, I am yours. I'm letting go of the apprehension and fear - what do you want me to do; what are you telling me right now?

Rid my body of the negativity, anger and hurt - let me move forward from things that do not matter to you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wonderful Poem

Lord, My Savior

Shivering before my mirror
I hung my head in shame
At the mess I’d made of life
And I had no one else to blame.

Then I raised my eyes and saw
Not my own dark, lonely face
Reflected in the piece of glass
But one of divine grace.

Boundless in love, profound to see
Was my Lord’s tender smile;
Two tear-filled eyes stared back at me
Questioning my denial.

I felt your pain rip through me
As you gazed into my eyes
And I knew my fall had started
When I’d severed all our ties.

“Lord, do you still know me
The way that I am now?
Can you help me to break free?
I beg you, show me how.”

As if a spell were broken,
Warmth soon washed over me,
And I knew my Lord would guide me
Back to living righteously.

Lord, you came to save me,
To remind me what is true;
You are my Rock and courage—
I turn my life over to you.

Nancy S. Schiller – Media, Pennsylvania

Friday, August 14, 2009

Listen

After finally finishing all of my big papers from my classes it's dawning on me just how important all of my studies are - I'm learning so much.

Namely, I've learned that the most important thing we can do to show Christ shining through us is to just stop and listen.

Our society has become one that if we don't agree with each other we just stop listening - we argue, we disagree, we fight, we stop talking, we move on from each other. We have created labels that allow us to judge quickly and separate ourselves from each other. That is not cool - we have let go of our egos, the need to be in control and start being nice to each other. Being all up in the faces of those we don't agree with is not going to teach them anything. Being quiet and actually listening will show Christ's goodness through us and will hopefully be a beacon to brighten someone's future.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mrs. Donahy

Random thought of the day - I found another note that I wrote sometime during or right after eighth grade that called out my English teacher who said that I wouldn't graduate college. Boy did she light a fire under me . . . at the time. Now that I'm there and it absolutely sucks I have to wonder if she saw something I didn't see. The last two years have been the hardest to the extreme - my headaches have ruined any drive I have and I am still struggling to get on track. I have been working on a paper since the 2nd of the month and I'm still not done, yes, this month has been really hard but come on, really, I haven't managed to get a stupid 12 page paper done!! It's so frustrating and I get so mad at myself, but then if I stress out at all I get a migraine at the drop of a hat - geez this part of my life sucks so bad!! Anyways, reading my middle school note has helped again - I think I'm going to hang it up and focus on proving her wrong. Crazy how something someone says in the heat of a moment can stay with you for the rest of your life. I guarantee she doesn't even remember what she said, heck, she probably doesn't even remember me, but I sure remember everything. It still would be kinda fun to go in after I graduate and shove it all in her face. Anyways, I gotta start pushing myself a lot harder!!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Love - The Boy~Girl Kind

Today, I was looking back at a bunch of my writings and journal entries from high school, and I was completely taken aback from what I was reading about Michael and I.

For the longest time after we started dating I really struggled with my emotions when it came to my relationship with God versus my relationship with Michael. Some people will understand the connection you have within yourself when you know that your relationship is going to last forever - we had that early on in our budding relationship and I feel so lucky for that. But because of people around me, mostly those a lot older than me, I often questioned things. As we got closer to each other and we began getting more physical I got really confused. I knew we were forever but there is never a guarantee for a forever, so I often felt so guilty. I was constantly going back and forth saying, "lets stop" and then falling right back into what we were doing.

Hello, I was a typical teenager . . . my point here is that I am lucky that we got married or I would be sitting here with a ton of guilt and feeling pretty crappy about myself right now. This all shows that while I'm lucky, I am still living as a part of this world too much, if I had really listened to my heart and what I know is right I would have worked with God and gotten control of my emotions and completely waited for everything like I always intended to. God forgives mistakes and again I'm going to use the I'm so lucky for that. But does he forgive us when we don't really feel regret for what has happened!?! I can't say I regret anything from the last 5 years because first it has all been awesome and second we are married now so I'm safe. ;-p

If I was in the position to tell anyone how to act about all the physical stuff in relationship I would still say wait for everything until marriage. I know in my heart that we've been married for years even though it's never been official, but my relationship is so different from many, so waiting for as long as possible to do anything is what people need to do.

This is scary!

I've debated for an extremely long time if I was going to create this place for my thoughts online - obviously I jumped on the band wagon.

I think that the common thing is that people start off with a little bit about themselves - blah!

The main thing sticking out in my head right now is that I really want to work hard and not cuss in this new part of me - I'm a horrible person who cusses all the blasted time in real life and I hate it - so it's not gonna happen here!

Alright, I'm moving on . . . I'm a girl who loves to write, especially about herself and her experiences (so selfish, right!!), so here goes nothing.

Little details about muah:
- Philippians 4.13 is the verse of my life, it gets me through anything and everything.
- I'm very married to my high school babe and I couldn't be more blessed.
- I collect postcards; I have about 4,000 and they're all organized. Wahoo - I'm a huge nerd!!
- Being an aunt is one of the best things about my life.
- I suck horribly at college - I will be done summer '10, but that was after I was supposed to graduate in December '08. No fun!
- My goal after school is to be somewhere in life that I am able to hang out with kids and help guide them to grow up and be awesome.
- I love quotes - you will be seeing them so much you'll get sick of me and will demand that I be lynched!

I'm moving on now - this stuff isn't that important and it really doesn't begin to encompass who I am. So, let the fun begin . . .