I spoke in class chapel last week and a lot of people had asked that I share what I talked about. So if you didn’t get to hear it, here you go! This has something that has been on my heart the last several weeks and I am glad it spoke to so many:
I don’t like to ask for help. I will try to find places on my own first before looking it up on my GPS. I never asked my parents or teachers for help in school. I think there is a part of me that really likes being independent and self-sufficient.
I think as humans our relationship with how we view and interact with God is a conflicting battle between two things. Reverence and intimacy. It’s either we grew up seeing God as close by and a comforter but sometimes forget to see Him as the creator of the universe. We forget about the wonderment and amazement. If we aren’t careful we may even make Him and our relationship like one we can relate to (so something of this earth). Than there are some of us who were taught (whether as a child or recently) that God was far away. He was this God who is out doing big things and doesn’t have time for our little things.
I think the best relationships with God have and find a balance between the two. Because its true that God is a big and amazing God, but he also cares about the small things. For me I struggled with God caring about the small things. I felt like I had this intimate relationship with God, but I felt that He was too big to care about the small things in my life. When I have a little fever, or I am beyond exhausted, if I needed to receive a particular grade, or I was really hungry and didn’t have much to eat for dinner. Those are seemingly day-to-day basic and simple things. Than there were a little bigger things like when I was upset and hurt by something had told me, or other broken relationships, a loss of a loved one, or the stage and feeling of helplessness. I always thought God was too big to care or see me and what I was going through.
When I was heart broken I would think, “ok there are 27 million people enslaved around the world, millions of kids are starving to death, I live in such great wealth and blessing. I shouldn’t feel this way, or more that I feel this way but God doesn’t care as much because He has bigger things to do.” Although I don’t necessarily believe that that kind of thinking doesn’t have a place- I definitely thinks it gives perspective and humility- but I think we underestimate God and his character and abilities. We place a limit on who He is and His power. When we think we will be fine and can handle it, that it is not as big of a deal as some other people’s issues, we rely on ourselves and underestimate God.
One of my favorite stories is the story of Hagar. So we are going to read it Genesis chapter 16
Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; 2 so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”
Abram agreed to what Sarai said. 3 So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. 4 He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.
When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. 5 Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”
6 “Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.
7 The angel of the Lord found Hagar near a spring in the desert; it was the spring that is beside the road to Shur. 8 And he said, “Hagar, slave of Sarai, where have you come from, and where are you going?”
“I’m running away from my mistress Sarai,” she answered.
9 Then the angel of the Lord told her, “Go back to your mistress and submit to her.” 10 The angel added, “I will increase your descendants so much that they will be too numerous to count.”
11 The angel of the Lord also said to her:
“You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael,[a] for the Lord has heard of your misery.
12 He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward[b] all his brothers.”
13 She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her:“You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen[c] the One who sees me.”
Part of me reading this story makes me angry. How could Hagar be mistreated like that? But I think we get to see a glimpse of a sweet side of God. I don’t have all the answers of why there is evil and why bad things happen. But God saw Hagar. He went out and found her, increased her blessings. Hagar responds with something so profound and says, “You are the God who sees me.” He sees us. Hagar was a slave, a minor character in the story of Abram later known as Abraham. Abraham! I mean the father of the Israelites. The guy who has the most insane faith- He almost killed his only son because He so trusted God. This Abraham we teach in Bible stories. Hagar isn’t like an Abraham. But God sees her. He saw her tears and her pain.
The God of the Universe sees your pain, he sees your dreams, he sees your daily simple needs and HE CARES. He knows us and our dreams. And he CARES. How much more could God do in our lives than us trying to do it ourselves? We do ourselves disservice when we think we can figure it out on our home. Why figure it out ourselves when the God who knows all things wants to be a part of it? What a God what a love.
If you aren’t convinced about a big God that cares and includes us in His story I wrote down some times in the Bible this was true:
Jesus fed the thousands. (He definitely didn’t have to)
God saved Israel over and over and over again. He saw them whining in the wilderness and provided for them every time.
In Matthew 6 He talks about how he feeds the birds, “How much more does he care for us?”
Genealogies- lists out all the people- doesn’t leave anyone out.
Israel asks for a king, God gives them a king.
Jesus reaches out to tax collectors
God sends angels to tell shepherds to tell of Jesus’ birth (could have told a nobler group)
There are so many more examples. Moses and Joseph. I just think it is so cool we have such a big God that 1. Cares about the little things in our lives 2. So desires to include us in His story. However we have to keep praying and asking for God. We have to take the first steps and be proactive.
So I hope I talked to at least a couple of you today. I know it is a message for myself as well. A couple things I want you to take away is
Start seeing God in a different way. Whether that be with more reverence or if you need to start seeing God as a God who cares. He is both, don’t forsake one for the other.
A mentor of mine once told me “God moves when we pray because He wants us to know that it is Him at work, so His glory can be shown.” If you are hurt and broken, or tired and frustrated, or anxious and scared, or maybe everything is good… give it to Him in prayer.
Maybe you don’t have a relationship with Him, you never wanted one or maybe you didn’t know much about God and never thought anything of it. I might ask if you feel so bold and up for a challenge to read the Word, talk with someone and see if it will change your life. I’ve lived life with God and I’ve lived life without Him (the good, the bad) and I will tell you there is nothing like Him. He is worth it all. A God that is so big yet cares so much, is worth living radically. Life with Him has been anything but boring. So see what learning about Him will do.
With Spring Break approaching quickly, I’ve been cramming to get everything done. Last week, I had a midterm on Thursday, and 2 tests and a paper due on Friday. I was up pretty late on Wednesday and Thursday to say the least.
Lately I’ve been deep in thought with life. Life is so full of great moments. As cliché as that sounds, it is cliché because that’s just how I roll. This semester as flown by and I can’t even begin to describe how blurry everything seems. I don’t even remember what I had for lunch yesterday! After awhile, the days really do start to blur together with being so busy all the time. It’s discouraging at times, but it makes me appreciate those days when I can take a little break and relax. In high school that’s all I ever did. I never did homework and worked all the time. I sat at home in front of the TV being completely unproductive. I can’t say that now! I honestly don’t like watching TV anymore unless KU is playing. I rather be with people making memories.
Here at MNU I have gained so many great friends and made lasting relationships with people. At the beginning of the year I was so concerned about making friends: now I have too many to count! Plus I’m big on photo taking and love capturing moments I’ll never get back just like any other girl. I have been slacking this year with taking photos, but honestly it’s because I’m so busy all the time. I barely have time to even think. I wish I had a better memory and could remember each of them vividly, but that’s just not what God gifted me with. I will say, that the photo at the top of this post means so much to me. This little girl was shy at first, but once she opened up to me, friendship instantly ignited. I’ve only gotten to know her three Sundays, but if there’s one thing to know about kids, it’s that they steal your heart and never give it back. This girl stole mine and I don’t think I’ll be getting it back any time soon. I also work with kids at my off-campus job.
Here are some other memories I’d like to share:
I love children, and this girl can brighten any bad day
Love my job!
The picture explains itself
My mini me
Watched my beautiful friend play a fairy in A Midnight Summer’s Dream
We needed our chicken from Tipping Point
Trip to the mall
I was just telling my grandma yesterday how it feels like high school was a different lifetime. Let me explain. I never moved growing up so I was around the same people Kindergarten through Senior Year. It was all I’ve ever known. Coming here without knowing many people at all was a struggle. By the way, I taught my grandpa how to use the phrase “I’m driving/riding the struggle bus.” Anyway, since time has flown by, I feel like I’ve been in college longer than I truly have. High school faded like a dream. Then again, I may just have a terrible memory, which I’m pretty sure I do.
I may not be the best advice giver, but I really encourage taking every moment for what it is because you’ll never get them back. I’m still learning that myself so I’m not saying I’m perfect at it by any means. Plus with this weather, I don’t understand how you can’t admire the beauty of the outdoors.
I’m excited to mention that my next blog post will be from Colorado!! I’m going on a mission trip for Spring Break and not to make anyone jealous, but it’s in the mountains. God has amazing things planned for this trip and don’t worry, I’ll do better at taking pictures!!
So, last time, I wrote about an event we were putting on called Awakening. I figured I would write a follow up entry about how the event went.
After set up with the band, the grillers and the other ASG Class Council members, people started to arrive. I was pretty nervous that there would be barely any people there, but we actually had far more than any of us expected. Of course it’s not all about the numbers when it comes to a worship event, but it was a huge encouragement to see so many people there.
After about 45 minutes of eating, chatting and general fellowship with people from every class level at MNU, we got started with worship. We kicked this part off with scripture and prayer, then dove into worship through song. It was a great time of intimate worship, and the band did an excellent job of being sensitive to the Holy Spirit.
We plan on doing a few more installments of Awakening throughout the rest of the semester, so the first event was truly a great launchpad for us. We were able to see what went well and what didn’t, and now we can apply that at the next Awakening. We also got to hear from some other students about their passions and some ideas they have for the event. I’m so excited to see how God is going to use this event for his glory.
Two weekends ago, some students from MNU went on a Spiritual Life Retreat, where Dr. Fine spoke about having a spirit of faith. It really impacted my faith life, and I could go on and on about what the Lord revealed to me through Dr. Fine, but instead of rambling for hours, here’s the main takeaways from the weekend.
It’s important to be in the Word, establish a Sabbath, and enjoy solitude/meditation/listening to God.
Get scripture in your subconscious.
Know who you are and what you have in Christ.
Being in the Word can renew your mind and emotions.
We should internalize, externalize, and visualize the Word of God.
The main thing I (re)learned that weekend was the importance of consistently and intentionally being in the Word. It was healthy to be reminded of that and have a renewed understanding of the power of the Word in our lives.
“Oh that my ways may be steadfast in keeping your statutes! Then I shall not be put to shame, having my eyes fixed on all your commandments.” Psalm 119:5-6
When we live in a posture of prayer and study the Word consistently, we learn who we are and what we have in Christ. The Word is rooted in us and it becomes habitual to think in the ways of Christ.
As I’ve been in the Word this week, God has been reminding me that when we walk in His ways we are blessed (Psalm 119:2). He also promises that we will never fall (2 Peter 1:10), shall not be put to shame (Psalm 119:6), and are satisfied, preserved, upheld, and raised up (Psalm 145:14-20).
God knows what we need better than we do because He knows us better than we know ourselves. That’s why we can confidently trust Him to provide for us in His timing and His way.
There are so many unknowns in my life. I have so many questions. But, I serve a God that has my best interest in mind, therefore I don’t need all the answers. Our God can be trusted because He is ALWAYS faithful and true.
I hope these words that the Lord has given to me can encourage and empower you to live in a spirit of faith. I hope you continue (or start) to press into the spiritual discipline of studying the Word and listening for God’s voice in your life. It’s important. The reward of obedience and persistence is far greater than the reward of fulfilling your own desires on your own timing.
Photo courtesy of Kara Stallings
Photo courtesy of Brady Braatz
Original version of cover photo courtesy of Amanda Doerhoff
This week, I’m going to talk about an event that the sophomore ASG class council is putting on, and which I’m lucky enough to be involved in.
At the start of the semester, our class president, Austin Petellin, asked us what our vision for the campus for this semester is. The thought of a spiritual awakening really resonated with the council.So, we began to plan an event.
We came up with a recurring event which will be on a few select Thursdays throughout the rest of the semester. The event is called Awakening, and the first one is tonight.
The event is centered around getting together and eating together, and, more importantly, worshiping together. We’ll have a cook-out, and then gather for a time of worship with no agenda. We have a passion to see this campus changed, and are trying to make steps to realize that change, this being one of them. The time of worship will start after we get done serving food, and we are just going to chase after God.
The class council is SO excited to see how God is going to show up tonight, and we want you to be a part of it! If you’re a current student, please come and join us, and if you’re coming to MNU soon, or are even just considering coming to MNU, please pray with us tonight at 6pm from wherever you are.
Worship. What a word. It’s tossed around so much… so what does it really mean anyway?
If you were to ask me in middle school/early high school what worship is, I would’ve told you, “It’s something I do on Sunday mornings at church.” In other words, I thought worship was something that could only happen when music was playing.
Romans 12:1-2 says, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
As I realized my desperation for God in the last two years of high school, He began to bring me into a loving relationship with Him. It was then that He revealed to me what worship really is. It’s not about the songs we sing, whether we close our eyes or lift our hands… it’s about our hearts. It’s about the way we live our lives. Romans 12:1 says that presenting our bodies as a LIVING SACRIFICE is our SPIRITUAL WORSHIP.
Worshipping God = Living the life that He’s called us to. Worship happens when we walk outside and admire a beautiful sunrise. It happens when we look into our peers’ eyes and see beauty. It happens when we love the person that has wronged us. It happens when we study the Word of God. It happens when we cry out to Him in times of despair. It happens when we surrender our ways to the ways of Christ and literally be the hands and feet of Jesus in this broken, hurting world.
One of my favorite ways to worship God is through song. Times of corporate worship in chapel and at church are sacred, blessed times in my life. My two favorite things in this world are Jesus and music, so when I get to take a passion of mine (singing) and use it to give glory to God, it’s a wonderful thing. I’ve spent countless hours in front of a piano, looking up chords on Ultimate Guitar, and pouring my heart out to Jesus. In those moments, I forget where I am. I forget what I sound like. I forget everything that’s going on in my life and I give praise to the One who is worthy. Worship through song has played a huge part in my walk with Christ. Before I worship, I always pray that God will rid me of distractions and reveal Himself to me in a new way. He never disappoints, friends. It’s powerful stuff.
Since I talk about my love for music and singing often, I figured I’d record a bit of my most recent worship time in the Bell practice rooms (great place, by the way). I hope you’ll really listen to the lyrics of this song and let the words “Jesus, we love you” be the cry of your heart.
Love you all! Thanks for reading and constantly encouraging me.
A poster that was taped on the inside of the door where I was worshipping. Love it.
I sat down to my computer just now, drawing up a blank. Like all the creativity just left my mind. I don’t know what it is about the pressure of a computer and a deadline that pulls all the creative flow out of my mind. Regardless, computers and deadlines are a part of an education. Actually they are a part of life. So I just gotta get my head in this blog game… woo.
I thought I would just share some fun happenings this last month in pictures:
(KU game this weekend against TCU)
(vote Randi Jenner Pioneer Spirit)
(I get to nanny these boys again)
(Bridal event at Restoration Emporium, Picture Kia Bondurant, Clothes Encore boutique)
I am writing today to inform everyone how much fun it is working at MNU! On top of classes, school work, and another job, I work on campus in the best place possible: The Registrar’s Office! I was able to get the job mid last semester and started training by putting files away. I worked my way up to where I am at currently. Now, if you know me, you would know that I utterly and completely despise talking on the phone. It scares me. As the newbie, I didn’t have to answer the phone at first, but I knew I would have to eventually. I am proud to say that now I answer the phone all the time without fear. That’s a huge step for me!
We titled this one: Mariah’s First Phone Call and yes I was nervous
The people I work with are just absolutely incredible. They have been a tremendous blessing to me and it really is like a family. We get our work done, but we have fun while we’re at it! Plus there’s food every single day because my boss makes popcorn every night. This was my breakfast this morning and I am not one bit ashamed:
Here are some crazy, fun photos of a day in the life of a Registrar’s office worker:
Making cookie dough in a cup
Front desk awesomeness
I wasn’t there for this, but I wish I was!
We also decorate the office according to whatever holiday it is, so you could say we’ve been quite festive lately. We try to also bring in even more food for the holidays. I don’t have photos from that day, but believe it or not, we celebrated Kansas Day. Sunflower cookies and quizzes to prove how Kansas we truly are.