Sunday, October 23, 2016

My Family

Today's the day. The last day of church services at my church in Lawrence, Antioch Community Church. For the last two years, Antioch has been so much to me. It's been my home away from home, my community, my family. Antioch has been one of the few things in college that remains constant through the numerous changes that come with being a college student, and after tonight, I think that all of that will be over.
However, instead of sulking over what is no longer and dwelling on the former things, I am choosing now to reflect on some of the blessings that have come with being apart of such a deep and lively community... Here are those blessings:
1. I've learned what it means to love my neighbor, to embrace the body of Christ, and to honor and bless those that hurt me--intentionally or unintentionally. This has been and continues to be a huge challenge being in this community, but it's taught me so much of what is near to God's heart and what it looks like to really truly deeply love people. And that really isn't always easy.
2. I've learned the importance of discipleship, community, and walking with people who love Jesus towards the Father with transparency and vulnerability. Again, this has not been an easy thing to learn, but it's been SO GOOD for my spiritual and emotional health! It's helped me to see God from the perspectives of many different people and to hear the hearts of others for the Lord and for the desires that he's given them!
3. I've learned  of God's immense love for every single person on this earth. I've learned that God has chosen people to receive Christ and that, although he's chosen people, not everyone wants to receive him. In addition, I've also learned the importance of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with people regardless of whether or not they wish to receive his free gift of salvation.

I've learned so much by being part of this community, and I've been able to let down my guard to be freely who I am called to be. I've found a family that loves me and loves Jesus and spurs me on to doing good works and encourages and challenges me to be even more the woman that God created me to be. *HEAVY SIGHS*

And now it's over. In some sense, it's over.


But the Lord is good and he is faithful. And although he causes grief, he has compassion. He comforts us in all of our afflictions. He causes these broken bones to rejoice in his name. And he works literally everything out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purposes.
He is sovereign.
He gives and takes away.

And he is good. I will bless his name because he is the only constant in my life.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

I Forget

Sometimes I forget....
I forget about that lonely night in my bedroom in Kansas City where you met my heart so sweetly. The night that I was left without the hope of receiving love from what I once thought was an unconditional source... I often forget that night. And I forget the way that you suddenly appeared to me after tenderly whispering "Come" and I came. Only a small pace did I take in your direction, but I heard the gentle beckon and began my reluctant pursuit. But the part that I tend to forget is your hurried response to my weak and uncertain "Yes"....

Every now and then I have trouble remembering that heavy night that I snuck back into my dorm room on 14th and Louisiana. The shame, the guilt, and the disgust I felt come to mind much more often because those feelings are all too familiar. I find it hard, however, to recall the comforting embrace that told me "You're forgiven" when that was the last thing I wanted to hear. Your overwhelming grace that surrounded every part of my heart and each member of the body that I'd already deemed condemned and damned enveloped me.. But that's what I tend to forget.

It seems that almost every single day I need reminding of those days when I would walk the long way to class just to talk with you and to hear your voice--your soothing, calming, thundering, tremendous, gentle, passionate, sweet, warm voice. I forget hearing you say to me "You need me" because I oftentimes just feel like I can do it all by myself. And I just forget... I forget that apart from you I can do nothing.

So I just go on about my day without listening to your gentle beckons and sweet, sweet summons... All you want is just to whisper in my ear of your love for me. You just want to wrap me up in your warm and forgiving arms--your arms that know no shame! You just want to hold me so tightly in a never-ending embrace of love--true love. The ONLY love that's not hard to find, the only love that's forever focused on ME. The only love that gives me what I so selfishly desire--desire! Because you just desire to be with me, to hold me, to speak to me, to love me, to know me, to behold me....

Your love--I just forget how sweet it really is. But you are so kind, so faithful to remind me. Of your love <3

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Mi Verano Hasta Ahora... Y Qué Viene

Lord, have mercy! Friends, there's just A TON that I'd like to share about my summer, and I don't even know where to begin!

I suppose I'll start with what life's been like being home! It's been HARD! Oh my goodness, it's been hard! I am not working while I am in Kansas City this summer, so that leaves a lot of time to...ya know... Rest, I suppose! So, that's basically what I've been doing! Resting, cleaning up, spending good quality time with friends and family members, and trying my absolute best to seek what the Lord has for me in this season. I felt like before this summer started that the Lord spoke the word "uncomfortable" over this summer for me. And lemme tell ya--that's been pretty spot-on so far!



Being at home without working has given me loads of free time, which I am SO not used to. I don't know that I've ever had a season of life that wasn't busy--at least not since sometime in early high school! So, being at home without working has been a challenge. I think that through those challenges, though, I learned to seek the Lord for new ways to seek him! Lol. It's strange, but it's good. And I've also just kind of learned to not compare my season of life to those of others; what the Lord has for me right now is for me right now. And I will receive it with open hands and open heart!







Then..... I went to Tijuana, Mexico!!!!!!! While in Mexico, I personally got to witness/lead about 5 people to the Lord and also saw the Lord do so much in me throughout the trip! A couple of specific things that I believe the Lord did in me I'd like to share. One was basically showing me that when I delight in Him, he is faithful to give me the desires of my heart! The trip as a whole to Mexico was a dream come true, to say the least, and NONE of that would've been possible had I not drawn near to the Lord to delight in him. Praise God for His faithfulness, okay?!






Second, the Lord just showed me that He can and will use me when I make myself available to Him. On one of our last days there on the trip, I was on the beach with a few friends just for leisure and having a good time. We'd had set outreach times, but this was just a time to do whatever we pleased. As I was on the beach, I went to a food cart for a snack, and long story short, a girl ended up giving her life to Jesus right then and there! It was insane and I was so thankful that the Lord wanted to include me in what He was doing! I didn't have to do anything special but just be open to letting the Lord use me.. And thank God that that's what He wants to do!



So, the rest of my summer will also look a bit different than normal for me. On July 16th I'll travel to Selma, AL (again) for an internship with an amazing group of people that LOVE JESUS and seek to display His love and His freedom in their lives! Can I just say that I'm thankful?! I am SO THANKFUL that the Lord continues to open doors for me.. Doors that allow me to grow amongst other believers.. Doors that allow me to see different cultures and experience the way different people serve and worship Him...

I'm just thankful.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Life Is Happening

Oh my goodness.
Where do I even begin.
This month marks 6 months (that's half a year, folks) of being intentionally single. Of consecrating myself for the Lord, and seeking to deepen my relationship with Him and Him alone! What a ride this has been!

At the moment I should be studying for finals, but here's what I'm actually doing. I'm writing this blog post because I am so anxious. Here's what's happening in my life.

Yes, I am single for at least the next 6 months, but there's an extremely wonderful and amazing guy that's interested in pursuing me. That scares, excites, and frustrates me. For lots of reasons, but I'm not gonna put them all here. And so, persevering with this dating fast is H-A-R-D HARD.... I need help.

"Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord."
Luke 1:45

I'm going to Tijuana this summer. Both of my parents are terrified. I am not. Why? Because God said go. What I am terrified of, though, is telling my parents that God said go and genuinely showing them that I would like to honor them in this decision to go. Terrified. Why and I terrified of this? Because all my life I've pretty much always wanted to just please my parents. And lately I've been feeling like God's been showing me that I can honor them and obey Him at the same time. Because ultimately, obeying and honoring Him is what's most important. Help me, God, to honor my parents through this decision to follow you. Help me to trust you and trust that you know what you're doing. Give me PEACE, Lord. Give me you.

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."
2 Timothy 1:7


My life is taking off, you guys! I am so nervous right now; I'm a big ball of anxiety and nerves and thrill and excitement. I don't know what to do with it all. But I know that God's truth is SO MUCH BIGGER than all of my feelings and emotions. And God sits on the throne of my heart, guarding it so that whatever comes from it comes from Him. He keeps me at perfect peace, and those who trust in the Lord shall not be put to shame.

This... I just need this right now. I need truth. Because I don't feel truth. I feel fear. But God is gracious, merciful, and good.


LORD HELP ME. <3 p="">

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Do Not Be Deceived...

All my life I'd heard the verse in Galatians 6:7 that reads, "Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap" (ESV). And when I heard this verse, I always believed that it had close to the same meaning as the Buddhist idea of karma, which basically tells us that "What goes around comes around". I believed this to be true until I saw a quote one day on Pintrest that made me think otherwise. The quote read: "Karma [means that] we get what we deserve. Christianity [means that] Jesus got what we deserved." And, because that quote sounded so much more like Biblical truth, I began to ask God what exactly he meant by that verse in Galatians 6.

So here's some of the revelation that I've gotten from the Lord so far. In the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul tells the Christian church in Galatia that, because Jesus set us free, we must walk in the freedom that is provided us through the Holy Spirit. We do this by walking in the Spirit, instead of walking by the flesh. He makes it a point even outline what the works of the flesh are, so as to avoid any confusion. They are "sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies and things like these" (v. 19 & 20, ESV). So if these are the works of the flesh and we are to avoid those, there must be works of the Spirit that we should wanna cling to, right?

Thankfully, Paul outlines what those are too. He calls them the fruit of the Spirit in verses 22 & 23. "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..." (ESV).

So what on earth does all this have to do with what Paul says in Galatians 6:7???
Well, in verse 8 of Galatians chapter 6, Paul explains what he means by verse 7, and how all of chapter 5 plays into it all as well. Verse 8 reads, "For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life" (ESV). Praise Jesus, right?! So, verse 7 doesn't mean that whatever we do to others will eventually be done unto us, or that our actions reap the merited consequences of them; what it means, though, is that we must be careful what we are feeding ourselves and pay attention to whether we are sowing into the flesh or the Spirit. If we feed, or sow into, the flesh (i.e., the works of the flesh, mentioned in Gal. 5:19-20), we will reap corruption. That sounds befitting, right? But if we sow into the Spirit by partaking in the Word of God, seeking God daily, and delighting in the things of the Lord, we will reap eternal life. God promised it, so it's true.
Hope this blesses y'all!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Fearless

I wanna be fearless.
I wanna look at what's before me--the mess that my life has become, the hopeless and broken girl collapsed on my bed, the hurtful words of my mom that pierce my soul--and have no fear.
I want to hear doubtful whispers that you aren't even real, that if you were real you wouldn't care.... I want to hear every single lie and be fearless.

I wanna trust you without fear. I wanna be face to face with the devil and stand with courage because you are real. Fearless.

God, make me fearless.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

GOD, okay?

Where do I even begin??? I just wanna tell you all about everything the Lord's been doing in my life, but I just feel that one blog post is not gonna cut it... Ehh, I'll try anyway :)

First off, my winter break was OMG SO BOMB. Before going into any new or different season of life, I like to pray and ask God what he has for me in that season. I do this because I like to have a clear vision for what's ahead and then pray into that; whatever God wants for me, that's what I want for me cuz IT'S GOOD! So I'd prayed a lot for the things I wanted to see during my winter break--mainly just to have good, quality time with my family members and friends because it's so easy to waste time when we're together. I feel like I've done that all my life--just got together with family and enjoyed myself but didn't leave knowing anything more about them. I feel as though that's a waste of time; I don't want to only know surface-level information about my family members, I want to go deep!
So the Lord did that in so many ways. I had the chance to confront some latent issues that I'd had with my mom, feelings of resentment and hostility were confronted and I know that the Lord is beginning a work in that area. I was able to spend great time with my aunt who I feel as though I barely know! I got a chance to have deep conversations with my sister and I even got to pray with 2 of my closest friends!!! It was powerful and wonderful and GOD IS GREAT.

So the portion of my break where I was at home was, without a doubt, successful! For the final week of Winter Break, I went to Selma, Alabama to volunteer on an Alternative Break! And, as I love to pray into different seasons of life, I didn't really get a chance to pray into this one, and that kind of concerned me. But OH MY GOSH, God blew that thing all the way up! It was AMAZING and completely life-changing.
The organization that my group volunteered with--Something New Organization, formerly known as the Freedom Foundation--is not a Christian based organization. But most of its volunteers all attend the same church together, live in community together, and FREAKING LOVE JESUS!! It was such an amazing experience to actually feel God's love and see the Gospel lived out by people who didn't even need to say Jesus' name. You could just FEEL the love of God all throughout that place and it was extraordinary! Not only were the people that we met amazing but God also did some wonderful things for me personally while I was there... God just gave me CLEAR VISION of what it is that he's calling me to do. I now know that I am called to start up a mentorship program through the schools in Wyandotte County! It's not what I had planned before but if God has that for me, I want it... So Ima just do it. <3 p="">

Umm.. That's my winter break but since then, there have been other amazing things that the Lord's been doing in my life!


For starters, it is totes true that God works everything out for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose! Would you like evidence of that? Great!
So during my freshman year of college, I made the HUGE mistake of befriending a guy who was just not so good for me. What started off as a merely platonic relationship between 2 strangers soon (exactly 2 weeks after meeting) became a disastrous, unhealthy, toxic, sexual affair. It was probably one of the most difficult spiritual battles that I had encountered and entertained during my freshman year of college; it'd brought about so much shame and guilt that I didn't wish to shine a light on with anyone really. I'd gone through a cycle of obedience to God by cutting the guy out of my life and disobedience to God by welcoming him back into my life that was impeding growth and honestly tearing me apart emotionally. I finally completely cut the guy out of my life (by blocking his number and deleting and blocking him on Facebook and Twitter) in early October of 2015 and I believed for sure that that door was completely closed. Little did I know that the door would be reopened in a new way only a few months later.
So in January of 2016, I butted in on a conversation between a couple of friends and found out that the guy with whom I'd had that long, terrible, draining, and awful affair had been having an affair similar to ours with a girl that I'd be working extremely closely with; she and I were on an executive board of an organization together! Now, you know that that's supposed to be a disaster, right?!? Well, upon finding out that information, I initially just knew that the girl and I needed to sit and down talk it through. So that's what we did--we talked, we exchanged experiences (which were quite similar, might I add), and we PRAYED for each other... 

I was filled with SO MUCH JOY. The Lord worked out that whole disaster of a situation that I probbaly shouldn't have been in in the first place for the good of both of us. The situation has since brought the two of us closer, which is such a blessing because situations like that typically don't end well. To this day I'm still kind of shocked and healing from that experience. I'm learning to forgive that guy for the lies he told and the ways in which he hurt me, but I know that God will continue to reveal himself to me through the process. The process hurts from time to time, but it's good and meaningful. And if I allow God to have every piece of pain that I feel, I know that he is faithful to give me beauty for ashes.....


I hope that all this encourages you guys! God's amazing! Living a life of surrender unto him is SO WORTH IT!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

Thankful

Just a random post because I randomly wanted to say how thankful I am.
The Lord is so kind to me and I don't understand why ever...

But he is and I accept. So many great things happened this semester and I'm totally undeserving of it all... But still the Lord gives to me. A verse that I recently read was Psalm 37:26. It reads, "He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing."


I'm just so thankful that the Lord is generous to me because now I can be a blessing to others. I felt the Lord say today that he wants me to volunteer over winter break... So that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna pour out the love that God has given me and be a blessing.


He is so kind, y'all! So kind!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Oh Ma Gosh.

Today is the day--the last day of classes in the Fall semester of my sophomore year of college. My goodness, everyone! Can we just recap the year puh-lease?!?
The semester started off well... I remember having some apprehensions towards just about everything! My co-workers, my residents, living on The Hill, my classes! I remember just trusting that the Lord would take care of me through it all. And then, it wasn't even a scary thing! It was just beautiful and amazing! From the get-go I remember just feeling the Lord say that he's got me; that he would surround me with the people that I needed to be surrounded with and that I had no need to worry... It was fantastic!

So, mid-September got rough. One of my residents ended up trying to commit suicide and having to go back home. The exact same day as that happened, I was reconnected with an ex-"something" and that added so much stress that did not need to be in my life. I remember that night feeling so hopeless, helpless, and overall just like a terrible person. The enemy had attacked like crazy and I thought for sure I would break down... The next morning I got up super early though, and went to spend time with the Lord. And in my time with Him, I heard the Lord constantly saying "The joy of the Lord is your strength; the power that is in you is the same power that rose Christ from the dead; no, you can't handle this on your own, but you've already been equipped by the Holy Spirit to endure." SO MUCH RELIEF. The Lord is faithful, man.

I ended up walking right into temptation and sin with my ex-"whatever" and that had a huge effect on me, spiritually, physically, emotionally, mentally. It was and still is tough sometimes, just having those memories in my mind. But I soon after ended things with him (for like the third and final time). That is like one of the most difficult things to deal with this semester, but the Lord is faithful and he is good and I have life in him....

So, there's obviously been a whole lot more going on in my life but let's just recap the lessons that I've learned this semester....
1. Bear one another's burdens, but cast ALL your cares on him. I spent so much time being stressed about my residents, my co-workers, my friends, my classmates, AND my problems all at the same time.. But none of those problems are for me to fix. The Lord delights in taking on our burdens. He loves it when I, drained and exhausted, unload every single burden at his feet. His yoke is easy and his burden is light.... Dude, just unload!
2. The Lord delights in showing mercy! What the heck! He wants to LOVE ME through my sin!! OMG! That was a HUGE revelation to me just because I know that I don't at all deserve that. After sinning I feel disgusting, shameful, guilty, ugly, unholy, dishonorable, and the least deserving of love! But those feelings are simply the enemy trying to get me to run from God when the Lord wants me to run to him! It's literally insane the amount of love he has for us and I will never fully understand.
3. People are kind of sucky sometimes. It is what it is. I suck, you suck, he sucks, she sucks... But man, the Lord has grace! Grace beyond measure and, if he's willing to extend that grace to me, who the heck am I to withhold that from someone else? Grace has been hard this semester but, the more I ask Him for grace, the more grace I have to give. The Lord is so faithful, y'all!!
4. The Lord wants me to wait to date. And I'm okay with it cuz he knows what's good for me. So, until I turn 21, I am consecrating myself for the Lord. Just me and him for year 20 and it's gone be da bomb!
5. Some really wonderful opportunities came up this year, and I had to step down from my position on the executive board of IGV. It was honestly an easy decision to make but, once I had made it, I'd noticed that IGV was flourishing. I feel like the Lord has shown me that I'm not missing out on what he has for ME. He wants me to continue to run my race and the things that he has for me down the line will be there when he's ready for me to have them... So I will continue to trust in him.

Ugh. This entire semester I've just seen how kind the Lord is. Man, he put some really awesome people in my life and I can't even deny how grateful I am! I've been able to really connect with at least on person in all of my classes and it's just a blessing! To be blessed by wonderful people and to be able to be a blessing! Ha! I'm just freaking grateful. Today my heart is filled with so much peace, joy, and thankfulness.

I also decided that from today until January 1, 2016, I am not gonna be on social media. I want to prepare my heart and mind for this upcoming year and I have been saying for so long now that I need to get off of social media for a while. Well, Ima just do it! <3 nbsp="">

Friday, December 4, 2015

WHOA. Sex.

This post isn't gonna be lengthy at all because I just don't have the time to make it so. However, let's not be deceived into thinking that the topic of sex is one that is short and holds little weight. Cuz it's not.

BUT. I am, at this exact moment, listening to a sermon series by Andy Stanley entitled "Sex, Love, and Dating" and I just really feel the need to share some of these main points with you all:
  • Your past will show up in your future. What you are doing now will show up in your future. Therefore, do not be fooled into thinking that once you meet the "right person" one day that everything else will just fall into place. Life ain't like dat.
  • Sex is SO MUCH MORE than just a physical thing. Sexual sin is the only and deepest sin that you can commit against your very own body. And it's just deep and all that jazz.
  • Religion does not support fidelity. God does.
  • In sex, you are becoming one with someone. Sex with your spouse was created to reflect the intimacy and relationship that we should have with God.
Anyway, there's a lot more in the sermon that I am not adding on here but you should really check it out! And talk to the Lord about your own sex life... Past, present, and future! It's a beautiful and wonderful gift from the Lord and we must, as with all gifts, be good stewards of it!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

La Clase de Español....

Me pregunto si el maestro pueda saber cuando no le escucho. A veces este clase es muy aburrida y mi atención tiene dificultad en quedando aquí.....

Pues mi mente se distrae a otras lugares y mi concentración entra y sale una y otra vez....

Pero el problema no es que no me gusta español.... Me gusta muchísimo le lengua y quiero hablar cómo una profesional. Solo es la clase de español me hace querer golpear a mi cabeza por el escritorio y me sacar el pelo....

Sigo a mirar al reloj...

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Quit Your Whining


I walk out of my room in the morning and stand awaiting the elevator to stop at the 8th floor. A few others join me... "Oh my gosh, this elevator is soooooo slow", "Ugh, I wish my professor would cancel class", "Why do I have to be awake right now?"....
The elevator arrives. We join two others that have already boarded the shaft.
"I hate Mondays", "I hate everyday...", "I wish it were the weekend already", "I have way too much homework to do"....
My day persists. No big deal; I'm not gonna let a few grumps get me down! This day is mine and it's beautiful!

But when I get to class someone's sitting in my seat... So I start in.. "How dare that girl sit in MY seat. I sit there everyday. What was she thinking?!"

Now I've joined the bandwagon of complaining.. Bemoaning my very existence and lamenting my frustrations for the entire world to hear. I'm filling the air of my surroundings with negativity about a situation that is already out of my control... How selfish of me! How pessimistic. How rude.
I've just been so keen lately as to notice all of the sickening complaining of my peers. And it frustrates me to no end. Why, why, WHY do people complain so much about life?!

I'm gonna be totally honest; I used to be the same way, a total Negative Nancy blurting out my dissatisfactions for the world to hear. I didn't do it to be annoying; I just thought that if that's what I'm feeling, why try to hide it? I'm gonna be real about the way that I feel and the world is just gonna have to deal!
But here's what God's taught me over the years...
1. God is in control.
"Looks at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren't you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?"
Matthew 6:26-27
2. As believers, we are instructed to work cheerfully and diligently, without complaining of our tedious tasks because we're working for the Lord.
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ's return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless."
Philippians 2:14-17
3. God knows what the heck he doing.
"'Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?"
Job 38:4-7
To sum it all up, the Lord has shown me that, no matter how strange or weird or annoying life gets, he's in control. He knew what he was doing when he created the entire universe, so why should I worry now? He will take care of us. I must delight in him even when annoying things happen.

So let's do it!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

A New Leaf

Welp, the year has begun, everyone! I'm a Residential Assistant at KU and life is going... I completely skipped out on posting about my Summer but, lemme tell ya.... It was GREAT! From start to finish God encountered my little heart so sweetly and I learned so much more about Him that it's crazy! (I'll make another post later that goes into more detail about my summer.) So now I'm facing my sophomore year of college. I'm an RA in the residence halls. I'm the vice-president of my gospel choir. And my heart is intently set on the Lord. I'm excited to see what He's gonna do in this season....

I learned in my freshman year of college that no matter what mistakes I make, God will continue to make my life all about Him. I'm forever thankful for that. This year, I just want to continue to find my identity in being His child. Titles can be so overwhelming and can completely consume us if we allow them to.

I just wanna go deeper, even when I can't see where I'm going... I just wanna go further, even when it feels like I'm at a standstill....


I just want more of You, Lord. God, bless this season of my life. I wanna see fruit like crazy! I want to love people that I would not otherwise love. I want to be challenged by you in new ways. I want to see your beauty in every aspect of my life. I want more. More of you, less of me. Conform me to your image. Fill me with your love. Show me your beauty.... I am yours! Do what you will <3 p="">

Amen.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Deep and Heavy Sighs

My heart just hurts.
My dear female friend who has been so back and forth in her faith is plummeting this time. And how can I help her? Pray, I guess. But my heart just hurts.
My male friend with whom I've been very involved was supposedly in the hospital close to death but how can I help him? Pray. Only when I've been worried sick I see that he's been on social media and I haven't heard a word from him.....

My heart hurts for caring. My heart hurts for humanity. My heart hurts for seemingly everything.... It just feels like one little cut can cause a whole world of bleeding. And I'm just gonna be honest right now because I'm sick of considering other people's feelings and caring about other people's hurts when hello..... I hurt too. Who's gonna listen to my hurt?

Do you even care that your actions hurt me too? I just hurt. Tremendously. I'm overwhelmed with hurt. It's so heavy that it's wearing me thin. It's so wild and unsettling that it's overtaking me.
My body is just full of hurt.

I think I just wanna be done with people. Forever.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm Baaaaaack :)

Bloggeroos! It's been a minute, Tony Bennett! I'd be glad to update you!

So, it's Summertime! I ended the Spring semester of my freshman year with two B's and 4 A's! I also ended on good terms with my roommates and not-so-good terms with a couple of friends that I left behind. Although it was painful to see friendships end [and you know how I am with losing friends], I trust that God (ultimately) knows what He's doing. It hurts to have people removed from my life.. I tend to take things like that really hard but, I know that sometimes it's for the best. That being said, I will move on!
This Summer has begun with a fresh start! It's strange being home for the Summer as an adult without my mom being here at home. However, I'm sort of used to it by now, so it's not killing me. I'm working at a Summer program with kids and it's been fun so far! I'm barely working at Baskin-Robbins anymore, which is a blessing in so many ways! And I'm really just focusing on seeking God for EVERYTHING. I feel as though this Summer will either make or break me in my walk with Christ because I can either seek Him wholeheartedly all Summer, or I can slack off and let the world get the best of me. But I know that there is no greater love than the love that He has for me, so I'm holding on and taking it one day at a time...
Next Fall I'll be an RA in the dorms! I'm super excited about that! With that being said, I'll have a whole new load of responsibilities to take on and I'm slightly nervous about it. I do know, however, that I'll be working with a great group of people that care about the residents and some of them even love Jesus! So I won't be alone out there :)

I'm really excited about life right now... I'm happy with the lot I've been given or, at least, I am content with what I have. God's great in EVERY season of life! :):)



So yeah. Byyyyyye


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Lecrae Moore: A Counter-Cultural Rebel In Modern Hip-Hop

Hip-Hop in modern-day America is filled with lines that spew profane language that brags on the artists and glorifies wealth and fame. Lecrae Moore, however, has recently topped Billboard charts with hip-hop music that is counter-cultural and refreshing to the ears of its listeners. In contrast to the hedonistic mainstream hip-hop music, Lecrae’s lyrics are filled with hope and present a lifestyle that consists of prayer, humility and adoration of Jesus Christ, whom Lecrae calls his Savior. In essence Lecrae’s rebellion is against the culture of modern-day hip-hop and the culture of American society. In contrast to what is popular in America, Lecrae’s music is focused on the impact of faith on his life while simultaneously addressing common issues and misconceptions about the Christian faith.
As Lecrae declares in many of his songs, his main focus is to openly profess his faith to the world; he shares this faith through rap, a passion that he’s had from an early age. In Lecrae’s fifth album ‘Rehab: The Overdose’ (released in 2011), he reflects on his previous rap career. In a song entitled ‘Chase That: Ambition’, Lecrae tells about how he previously rapped about things similar to what mainstream artists rap about today. He says that his main goal was to attain more money but the money that he received never seemed to satisfy him. From his regenerated mindset he says, “You can have the money and you can have the fame, but me I want the glory; I’m living for the name. See life is just a picture; I see outside the frame. I’m living for a kingdom that I ain’t never seen” (Moore). This kingdom that Lecrae speaks about in the song is Heaven, which Lecrae believes has more riches than are spoken of in secular hip-hop artists’ songs. From Lecrae’s perspective, it is much more beneficial to live for those riches than it is to live for the physical things in the world. Another song from his 2012 album ‘Church Clothes’ portrays more of Lecrae’s rebellion against mainstream hip-hop. ‘My Whole Life Changed’ explicitly talks about the difference between Lecrae and other artists.  He professes, “I could rap about money and cars and getting high but why? I let the rest of y’all pen that. Insecurity brags and I’ve been that” (Moore). Being that Lecrae was once on the secular side of hip-hop, he knows that the reasons for his bragging on himself stemmed from insecurities in other areas of his life. Now that he finds treasure in things that he believes are greater, he sees no need for bragging on his material possessions. Not only does Lecrae openly express his rebellion against hip-hop culture, but he also speaks from a position of understanding, and gives hope to current mainstream hip-hop artists.
Lecrae’s music may broadcast bold beliefs in Christianity but his lifestyle is one that provides evidence to all of the claims made in his songs. The 2012 album ‘Church Clothes’ features a song called ‘Sacrifice’, in which Lecrae talks about the philanthropic work that he has done in his life. He says that instead of classifying his music as Gospel Rap, it should actually be called a sacrifice because of the way he has given up some of his own freedoms to share his faith with the world. With heavy conviction Lecrae states,
I took my girl from the Lone Star to Memphis Ten on them cold blocks. And what you think we moved for? To see kids get killed in the school zone? To see crack get sold? Bodies turned cold? What, you think I think that’s cool, bro? What you think I went to school for? To turn around and move back to the hood? Na, boy this what you call a sacrifice; this is bigger than me. It’s for a greater good. (Moore)
The way that Lecrae vividly depicts his lifestyle in his lyrics makes it clear that he’s not just rapping to gain recognition from his peers; the message in his lyrics is something that he sees as beneficial for everyone and he would sacrifice his own leisure to deliver it. After his most recent album ‘Anomaly’ made the number 1 spot on Billboard 200 lists in September 2014 (Caulfield), Lecrae released a free single entitled ‘Non-Fiction’ that outlined his journey in the rap industry. He talks about his experiences when he first incorporated his faith into his raps. He confesses, “Was rappin’ in the hood and folks broke down cryin’. That’s when I knew this was bigger than me and bigger than rhymin’” (Moore). This theme of Lecrae selflessly sharing his faith with the world for the benefit of others is common amongst his songs and sets Lecrae apart from many of the modern-day rap artists.
One example of Lecrae’s selflessness is seen in his release of two free mix-tapes entitled ‘Church Clothes’ and ‘Church Clothes, Vol. 2’. The goal of these mix-tapes was to extend his music to an audience of people that do not necessarily identify themselves as Christians. In an interview with Adam Fleischer for XXL Magazine, Lecrae commented on this album saying, “More than anything my message and my mission has always been to give hope and inspiration and to see people transform” (Fleischer). In an effort to obtain this goal, Lecrae spoke about various Christian norms, while also addressing hypocrisy amongst Christians and the association with getting dressed up for church services. One song from the album, ‘Misconception’, specifically addresses false notions that are commonly held about Christianity. He features artists from another Christian rap label—Humble Beast—and each rapper talks about one misconception that they believe plagues the Christian faith in society today. In Lecrae’s verse, he states that the biggest mistake is that “…the world believes the Christian is foolish without direction” (Moore). In a sense, Lecrae’s lyrics make him appear to be a Christian apologetic in his attempts to defend his faith, a quality that is not often seen in hip-hop culture. Instead, most rappers are heard defending their identities in being drug dealers, womanizers, or millionaires. In the same interview for XXL, Lecrae points out another misconception about the Christian faith. “Everybody has this idea that, I gotta get dressed up or I gotta put on my church clothes; this putting on of airs. People believe that I gotta put on airs when it comes to dealing with God or dealing with Christians” (Fleischer). Lecrae refutes this idea in numerous songs, stating that his faith allows people to come as they are without the obligation of changing themselves. This theme of being one’s true self also defies the norms in modern-day hip-hop culture, where the majority of artists glorify wealth and riches while demeaning those who do not have such resources.
Lecrae’s fan base does not only consist of those who openly profess and practice Christianity, but he has many fans and associates that are quite famous in the secular world. DJ Don Canon, who is noted for working with secular artists from Yung Jeezy to Ludacris, hosted his ‘Church Clothes’ mix-tapes. However, the aforementioned artists have songs with titles such as ‘Thug Motivation 101’ and ‘Pussy Poppin’; Lecrae’s songs have not a trace of profanity. His music also features secular hip-hop artists such as B.o.B, Big K.R.I.T., Paul Wall, and Bun B and rapper Kendrick Lamar is featured in Lecrae’s ‘Church Clothes’ music video (Figure 1). Famous athletes also proclaim to be fans of Lecrae. An ESPN interview with Lecrae reveals that Jeremy Lin views Lecrae as a mentor and even calls Lecrae his favorite rapper (Zwerling). Other famous athletes associated with Lecrae include Bubba Watson, Justin Forsett, Anthony Tolliver, and Nolan Smith. These vast groups of celebrities, who already have a large impact on American youth only contribute to Lecrae’s expansion.
Figure 2: Lecrae's music video for the song "Church Clothes" begins with various celebrities giving props to the Christian rapper. Lecrae "Church Clothes" (Music Video). YouTube. YouTube, 2012. Web. 6 May 2014.
Lecrae—along with two other rappers on his record label, Tedashii and Trip Lee—also began a movement in 2002 called the 116 Clique. The group was initially geared towards modern-day youth who are unashamed of their faith and is based off of the Bible verse Romans 1:16, which states “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe…” The group of rappers produces t-shirts, bumper-stickers, hats, and other apparel that supports young people that are not ashamed of their faith (Figure 2). This movement paved the way for a more culturally acceptable route in which youth could be bold about their beliefs and publicly affirm and publicize their beliefs. Knowing that this bold declaration of being unashamed for one’s beliefs would set people apart, Lecrae makes sure that the young people that are ostracized for their faith are not alone; this group is full of Christians professing their faith and living lives that back it up as well.

Figure 2: Left to right—Tedashii, Lecrae, Trip Lee, Sho Baraka. They are members of Reach Records and pioneers of the 116 Clique Movement. Bonham, Chad. ‘A Conversation with Christian Hip Hop Artist Lecrae.’ Belief Net: Inspire Your Everyday. Belief Net, 2014. Web. 4 May 2015.
Lecrae Moore has had an effect on a wide variety of people from secular rap artists to athlete, all of which have influence on youth culture in America. His music, which portrays a lifestyle that is contrary to the normal rapper, shows young people that it is okay for them to be different and for them to be proud of their beliefs and faith in Christ. He also gives defense for his Christian beliefs while calling out some common misconceptions about the faith and even explaining some of the Christian norms. Ultimately the impact that Lecrae’s music has had influences the masses and, even more importantly, it influences the youth, which are the future of America.




Works Cited
Caulfield, Keith. “Lecrae Earns First No. 1 Album on Billboard 200.” Billboard. Billboard, 17 Sept. 2014. Web. 4 Apr. 2015. http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/6251697/lecrae-earns-first-no-1-album-on-billboard-200.
Fleischer, Adam. “Lecrae On Church Clothes Mixtape, Why He’s Hip-Hop, No Malice, Kendrick Lamar, & Jeremy Lin.” XXL. XXL Mag, 9 May 2012. Web. 4 Mar. 2015. http://www.xxlmag.com/news/2012/05/lecrae-on-church-clothes-mixtape-why-hes-hip-hop-no-malice-kendrick-lamar-jeremy-lin/.
Moore, Lecrae, perf. “Chase That (Ambition).” By Lecrae Moore. Rehab: The Overdose. Reach Records, 2011. CD.
Moore, Lecrae, per. “Misconception.” By Lecrae Moore. Church Clothes. Reach Records, 2012.
Moore, Lecrae, perf. “Non-Fiction.” By Lecrae Moore. Non-Fiction-Single. Reach Records, 2015.
Moore, Lecrae, perf. “Sacrifice.” By Lecrae Moore. Church Clothes. Reach Records, 2012.
Moore, Lecrae, perf. “My Whole Life Changed.” By Lecrae Moore. Church Clothes, Vol. 2. Reach Records, 2013. CD.

Zwerling, Jared. “Athletes Turn to Lecrae for Rap Inspiration.” ESPN Music. ESPN, 19 Oct. 2012. Web. 4 Mar. 2015. http://espn.go.com/blog/music/post/_/id/3567/athletes-turn-to-lecrae-for-rap-inspiration.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Am I Free?

Am I? Am I really free?
Free from the bondage... Free from the chains... Free from this sin?
What does that even mean? What does it look like to be free?
It seems like I've been un-free for so long now that actually being free is quite inconceivable...
Like... What does it even look like for me to face temptation, oh so heavily, and yet be free. from. sin.
...
Is that even a thing nowadays? Because my surroundings would seem to say otherwise.
My surroundings would seem to say that sin has quite a grip on everyone!
Drinking, smoking, sex with whomever, selfish ambition, worldly "wisdom", and all the like...
And it's all the like that makes it sure seem like freedom doesn't even really truly exist.

I mean... Does it?

Am I free if I'm tempted every single day to slip off this pretty purity ring and slip into some shorts that show just enough to make you wonder....
Am I free if thoughts keep creeping into my head about what he looks like without apparel and why I'm still so much better than she is?...

What is freedom anyway? Cuz somedays.... I wonder if it even exists anymore.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

It's The Ennnnnnnnd


Oh my gosh. My guts are gonna burst out onto the floor of my suite-style room at Margaret Amini Scholarship Hall..... And then they're just gonna be there for the next person who will live in this room to look at for their year of living here. It saddens me that my first year of college is coming to a close. Here's why:
I loooooooooooooooove living in Maggie! It's so convenient and wonderful and intimate and beautiful! I'm close to everything on campus and have the privilege of being able to eat (home-cooked meals, that is) all the freaking time! I've made some pretty cool friendships here. I live with all women, which is such a blessing. Everything here seems so wonderful! I love it here! I never want to leave.....

But I know that change is not only necessary, but also inevitable. *Sighs*. I really am excited for next fall. I'll be an RA at Ellsworth, which is super cool! I'll be living on the Hill finally with the rest of KU... I'll be enjoying the actual college experience. In a dorm. Lots of people. MEN.... Ugh. It'll be interesting, indeed. I'm nervous and excited all at once. I am also very happy about these changes; they'll certainly be good, whether they start off that way or not. I've just grown so comfortable living here with these wonderful, intelligent, diligent, persistent, amazing women....

I don't want to leave anymore. I like it here....

But I know that God goes with me wherever I go. I know that he's leading me and he knows his plans for my life even when I don't. I know that he's got great things in store for me, and for that I am excited. Just to see what God is going to do in this next section of my life... It's thrilling.

Prayers.... They'd be awesome

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Made To Reflect Him



As humans, in order to understand things, we relate them to things which are more familiar to us. I've noticed that writers in the Bible often describe God and Heaven by relating them to things that are common to earth, however, they don't say that those things are exactly how God and Heaven are. In Revelation, John describes the 4 living creatures by comparing them to things that we see here on earth. But he simply could not tell us exactly what they were... Things in Heaven are simply indescribable! The only way we know how to describe those things (or anything for that matter) is by relating them to things that we actually have seen and experienced ourselves.
This has been on my mind a lot lately. I've heard people say before that God "shines like the sun". But  that seems a bit backwards to me. If God created the earth and everything in it and created all things in his image, then wouldn't all things that he created reflect HIM? The Bible tells us that the earth and everything in it worships him.. So the son, being a reflection of God actually shines like God. Man! That blows my mind...
Sometimes I look at the sun and think about God... I can't even stare into the sun for more than maybe 5 seconds at a time because its brightness is painful! Could you imagine staring at the face of God?! People in the Bible couldn't even bear to stand in the presence of angels! Could you imagine what it would be like to stand in the presence of the one that created angels?!?!
I can't...
He blows my mind.
He rocks my world.
He flips my wig.
He drives me craaaaaaazy!

Just wanted to share these thoughts... They may be a bit illogical and all over the place. :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Midterms, Papers, Stress

God says that there's meaning in it all, right? Surely.. There's no way He'd hace me stressing over exams that only matter for a day and then it's over... If there were no meaning in it all.
Sometimes I have a hard time seeing that light at the end of the tunnel.
Sometimes there's way too much cloud for me to make out any of the silver lining.. Is there even a silver lining?
... Yes! ... Right?
I look all around me and see people just stressing. I've got this test, and this exam, and this quiz and so many papers. They trudge along as these big balls of pent-up stress. Anxiety, fear, anger at the lack of preparation.
Is this all that college is? Day by day, week by week, month by month, preparing for the next exam. Taking tests and writing papers. The monotony is debilitating!
But... God says there's meaning in it all.
And I'm not gonna pretend to know what that meaning is. Because honestly, I'm just learning to function on auto-pilot. Without emotions, without fears, without doubts, without much of anything... Except hope. Hope that God was right when he said that it's all meaningful.