Friday, January 30, 2009

might as well...

Shoot, if I'm going to take the time to compose 25 Random Things About Me on Facebook, I might as well post them to the ol' blog as well, right?? So here goes...

1. I have an obsession with books and reading (My roommate calls my room "the library").

2. I never never. But I wanna learn so bad.

3. I basically have zero cartilage left under my kneecaps...dang basketball...

4. There are fewer things funnier to me than when someone trips or falls down...especially when that someone is me.

5. I have an amazingly strong sense of smell.

6. I am an introvert by nature but I love being around people.

7. I do not love running...but love doing marathons. Go figure.

8. I LOVE babies and little kids (and sometime freak their parents out a little as a result)

9. I secretly love hip-hop, R&B, and cheesy pop music (boy bands for life!!!)

10. No one makes me laugh like my little sister.

11. Four of my greatest fears: getting "stuck" in life, having a lot of money, complacency, and growing up.

12. I have a secret desire to be a drummer...and a hip-hop dancer. I'm far from both.

13. I get paid to do something I love...that's crazy.

14. I don't like taking showers...especially when it means I have to wash my hair...can't believe I just admitted that.

15. I cannot think of one restaurant in existence that I dislike.

16. I feel sad for "too-cools" and people who take themselves/life too seriously.

17. I've been writing a book over the past year and a half...(and I'm almost done with it!!)

18. I have a lot of Texas pride...yep, I'm one of those.

19. I love scrapbooking! (But I'm far from being creative...)

20. I LOVE traveling and seeing new places...but I'm the most obvious tourist ever.

21. Bunny rabbits creep me out.

22. I embrace cheesy-ness in life.

23. I have a horrible memory.

24. I have an unshakeable desire to live in Africa at some point in my life.

25. I see the world in photos (how many times have the words, "I wish I had my camera!" come out of my mouth?!) would be another dream job.

Side story: I got to eat lunch with John Mark Robinson at his school today. I love him. And then I got to hang out with Riley. She wrote a song while I was over there (I got to be her drummer)...I was able to write down some of the lyrics as she sang them. Here's a portion of them (word for word as they came out of her mouth, by the way):

Tell your mom
I am not
When your mom says it's okay if you do it.
If your drink is dirty, now you do it.

Your very best question
If it's not your birdie,
you better have some poopie.

Everybody's stinkin' along
If you're stuck again
you better go to your mom and say
"My brother is stuck"
"My brother is stuck"
"My brother is stuck"
"My brother is stuck"

I don't know about you...but these definitely moved me to tears.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Exactly one year ago today, Grandaddy went home to be with Jesus. I am just remembering him today...and the legacy that he left here on earth. He lived 94 years and was married for 74 of those years to my Grandmommy, who now lives in Lubbock. (How many couples see 74 years together?!)
There are so many things that I'll remember about Grandaddy and so many things to learn from his life, but one of the things that I think his life exhibited the most was the beauty of simplicity. I remember how many people talked this time last year about what a simple life Grandaddy lived, but how it was so full of love. He drove a school bus for 30 years, was a farmer in a tiny little West Texas town called Quitaque (pronounced definitely one of my favorite places in the world), was an elder (and a song leader) at the little church there, and loved nothing more than a game of HORSE in basketball or a game of dominoes. He was selfless and gave of himself tirelessly. He was a devoted member of his church. He was a man of amazing integrity. He LOVED the Lord. And as my dad said at the funeral last year, Grandaddy was maybe not "great" in the eyes of the world...he never made a lot of money and he wasn't a man of great power or stature. But his life was great in the Kingdom. To quote Mother Teresa, he did "small things with great love".
I so desire to live more simply. Grandaddy left a legacy of love and simplicity.
I remember thinking about this song a lot at this time last year. It just reminded me so much of Grandaddy and really became my prayer for my own life.

LEGACY - Nichole Nordeman

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well done, good and faithful one.."

No doubt those are the very words that Grandaddy heard when he saw Jesus...

Friday, January 23, 2009

sick of safety

I'm still playing catch-up on the New Testament reading that my church is doing together. A couple of days ago, I read Matthew 10. It's the chapter when Jesus is sending off his disciples. The whole chapter is Jesus telling them about how hard the journey was going to be for them. I'm sure they would have much rather heard Jesus say, "Yeah! This is going to be awesome! People are going to love you and love everything you have to say! Your life is going to be easy and perfect now that you're my follower!" But nope. Jesus is like, "You don't get to take anything with may not be welcomed...people may not're gonna be like sheep among're gonna get beat up and'll be hated and persecuted. Take up your cross...". Yeah, not exactly what the disciples probably wanted to hear.

And this definitely is not the last time that Jesus tells his followers how hard it's going to be to follow him. How the world is going to hate them. How they are going to face persecution...

I'm trying to figure out when Christianity got so "safe" for us in America. When did it become so easy? I'm afraid this quote from Irresistible Revolution is pretty right on:
In our culture of "seeker sensitivity" and radical inclusivity, the great temptation is to compromise the cost of discipleship in order to draw a larger crowd. With the most sincere hearts, we do not want to see anyone walk away from Jesus because of the discomfort of the cross, so we clip the claws on the Lion a little, we clean up a bit the bloody Passion we are called to follow...And yet we can end up merely cheapening the very thing we want folks to experience.

In Matthew 10, Jesus makes no bones about how difficult it's going to be for the disciples. It seems to me that if we're not experiencing any sort of tension or opposition - even hatred - from the world around us because of the way we live or the things we say, I'm wondering if we should question whether or not we're truly living for that Kingdom. Maybe it means that we're not being bold enough or maybe it means we're living a watered-down version of the true gospel or maybe it's because we've isolated ourselves from people who would oppose us or who would disrupt our safe little worlds? I'm not sure what it means! All I know is that if Jesus tells us that following him is going to be hard, but all we are experiencing is safety and ease, there seems to be some sort of disconnect happening.

I realize that right now, these are just words coming out of my mouth. Were you to actually take my safety from me, I would probably want it back. So I guess that's what I'm sick of. I'm sick of that thing inside of me that still wants a "nice little life". I don't want to settle for comfort. Shane Claiborne talks about how the most dangerous place for a Christian may very well be in safety and comfort. And I really have no idea what that looks like for someone living in comfortable, safe little Williamson County. I just know that I want eternal eyes...and a heart that is much less fearful about those things which can destroy the body and much more concerned about that which can destroy the soul (Matt 10:28). I want to risk. And I want to do things that scare me. I want to be in situations where I'm going to be in major trouble if God doesn't come through.

This safety thing is just overrated.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

More Than A Friend

I don't think I've ever blogged this late...but I can't help myself tonight. It's gonna take a while for me to wind down from the evening's activities anyway. 

I have an amazing group of people that I meet with every Tuesday night. They are so much more to me than just my "small group"...they are family. And tonight, I experienced the family of God loving and encouraging and praying for one another in a powerful way. 

I think Satan was trying to keep me from experiencing that tonight. I'll be honest...I didn't really feel like going to group. I was's cold outside...I have a list of things I "need" to get done. But God definitely knew I needed to be there. And something has been on my heart the past couple of days that I felt like I needed to share with my small group and ask their prayers over. There is something that has taken over much of my heart and mind for quite some time...and something that I have been praying I would be free of for a long time. And I believe that God has been impressing on me to share this with the group...because right now, I'm praying for a miracle. And I absolutely believe there's power in prayer in numbers. But of course, Satan (who I often refer to as "the punk") was feeding me those little lies..."It's not that big of a deal", "There are other things that are more important for them to pray about", "Do you really want them to know that?"...and the list goes on. But why is this?! Why is it that the church is one of the last places that people feel like they can be real and authentic? "The punk" will do anything he has to do to make sure that you keep those things in the dark, because he knows that when you bring them into the light, they're out of his territory.

Anyway, there was somewhat of a domino effect tonight. It simply took one person to open up and be vulnerable about some things and I believe that the openness of this person truly encouraged others to do the same. So struggles were shared. Fears were released. Encouragement was given. Prayers were lifted up. There is nothing like having a group of some of your closest friends sitting/kneeling around you with their hands on you, petitioning the Creator of the universe on your behalf. There's just so much power in that. 

I left small group tonight truly with a burden lifted. No, my struggle hasn't been completely taken from me, but tonight I was given hope...and encouragement. Isn't this what being in the family of God is all about? I heard a pastor speak on community this past Sunday. He talked about how community gives life. I experienced that life tonight.

There's this amazing song called "More Than You'll Ever Know" by Watermark. The lyrics are amazing...I listened to it as soon as I got in my car after group tonight. I wished my small group could have been sitting in front of me at that moment so I could sing this straight to them...of course, that would just be awkward for everyone so it's probably best that that wasn't the case. But nevertheless, this is my song to them! 

"May the blessing return to you a hundredfold!

(P.S. This is only a portion of the lyrics)

Something about just being with you
When I leave I feel like I've been with God
and that's the way it ought to be

Cause you've been more than a friend to me
you fight off my enemies
cause you have spoken truth over my life
And you'll never know what it means to me
just to know you've been on your knees for me
Oh, you have blessed my life
more than you'll ever know

You had faith
when I had none
You prayed God would bring me a brand new song
When I didn't think I could find the strength to sing
and all the while I've been hoping that I'll
do the kind of praying for you that you've done for me
and that's the way it ought to be

You have carried me
You have taken on a burden
that wasn't your own
may that blessing return to you
A hundredfold

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Embracing Today

Three days ago, I journaled these exact words (regarding a certain situation):

...I am going to choose to not worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. I need the power of Your Spirit to do that...I know I can't just will myself into it. Lord, I hear you calling me to just live in today. I hear that. To simply seek Your purposes for today. Worrying is both debilitating and shows a lack of trust in me how you want me to live in today...

I've been having to constantly remind myself of this over the past 3 days. So HCC is reading the New Testament as a church in 2009. Today's reading (for me...I'm a couple of days behind) was Matthew 6. And what is in Matthew 6? Well nothing but the "Do Not Worry" passage (verses 25-34). Coincidence? I think not...  Anyway, it got me thinking more...

I don't think I would say that my life is characterized by worry. Now don't get me wrong...I definitely struggle with it at times. But my main problem is just not living in today. I so often catch myself living in the future. I live in my dreams and my plans and yes, my fears...but then I end up missing out on today.

When I was in high school, I would catch myself getting so wrapped up in concern about college. Then when I was in college, I got myself all wrapped up in what I was going to "do with the rest of my life" (whatever that even means).  I seriously remember thinking about how once I'm able to get a "normal" job and be out in the real world, I would just be more settled and wouldn't have to worry about the future as much. HA! And today I get wrapped up in what's going to happen tomorrow or next week or next month...

I'm starting to wake up to the fact that there really is always a tomorrow! Well...there's not always a tomorrow, but there's always a tomorrow to worry about. Not rocket science, I know...but what I'm trying to say is that if we don't check ourselves, we could end up 80 years old realizing that the vast majority of our lives was spent living in the future and all of those "tomorrows" turned into "todays" but since we never lived in "today", we never really lived! Does this make any sense at all?

Anyway, I love how Matt: 6:34 talks about how tomorrow will worry about itself. Worrying about tomorrow is A. pointless (because it sure isn't going to change anything!) B. debilitating (because you end up missing out on what you're supposed to do today) and C. shows a lack of trust that He is in control and He is at work and He is for your, not just for your good, but for your best

So I'm over it...I'm over living in tomorrow. And of course I'm not saying it's a bad thing to plan or dream of the future and all that...but are we fully present today? Could we be missing out on what God wants to do in us today because we're so wrapped up in "what is to come"? That's what I'm praying against...that would be a tragedy. The future is not lying ahead of's lying within us. And whatever we do today is going to affect tomorrow. Lord, help us to seek Your plans and your purposes for right now...for this very minute. Tomorrow will worry about itself...

Friday, January 9, 2009

my heart beats for you...

Today I spoke to a group of about 15 middle school/junior high girls and their moms at a monthly event they do for their group (they're called G3 - Girls for God's Glory...clever :). I love talking to girls. I love it. It's weird how God He gives people hearts that beat for certain things. And how it's different for every person. How His body - the church - is made up of people who have hearts that beat for totally different things...and that's what makes it work! So cool. I was looking at 25 girls/women that I'd never met in my life and my heart was just overflowing for them. My heart was racing...and it wasn't because of was because I was getting so excited speaking to them and sharing my heart - and better yet, God's heart - for them. It was in that moment that I was remembering what God has given me a heart and a passion for...there's nothing like that.

I basically had one hour with these girls. So I was faced with a big question: if you only have one hour to spend with a group of girls, what do you want to tell them? And as I was preparing for today and even while I was speaking, of all the things that I wanted to tell them, the thing that was heaviest on my heart was this: I wanted those girls to know who they are in Christ. I wanted them to understand their identity, see their worth in where it truly lies - in HIM.

I wanted every girl (and mom) in that room to hear that she is loved and she is beautiful and she is the bride of Christ...that she is royalty...that she is prized by Majesty...that He is enthralled by her beauty...captivated by who she is. Man, how the world tries to tell us otherwise! Culture is screaming at us that we are only physical objects, that we aren't tall enough or skinny enough, that we aren't worthy of love, that we aren't "enough", that we aren't seen, that we are unpure...Satan is throwing every lie out there that's possible. And I realized that at least for girls (I don't know about you guys...y'all are a mystery to me :), but at least for girls, almost every decision we make in our lives is going to come from how we see ourselves - where we've put our worth and our identity.

We were all designed with a need for something outside of ourselves to tell us who we are. It's amazing who and what we give the right to define us and give (or not give) us worth. The voices of the world and of other people are so loud. But by letting those things define you, you are getting a completely inaccurate sense of self-worth and identity. The only place we're going to find our true identity and our true worth is in Him.

What would happen if every teengae girl - if every woman for that matter - started to use Christ as their mirror? day...we will see. Oh man, if we would only believe that what He says about us is true. So that's it...I had only one hour to spend with those girls. And this was what I wanted them to hear. And even in that experience, I think God was trying to show me more of what my heart beats for - it's not just girls. It's that girls would know and believe in who they are in Him.

So what does your heart beat for? You're not just a random creation. God gave you passions and talents and a heart that beats for something in particular. And the world needs you to find it and live for it. So seek it Erwin McManus says, "The future is not waiting for us. It is waiting within us."

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Heart is Full

I was driving to Kroger this afternoon after work, thinking about a lot of things and people and recent events, and just couldn't help but say, "My heart is full". I don't know why I have been blessed the way I have. I can't really comprehend it...I certainly don't deserve it. But thank God for his mercies and His love. 
This past weekend was our youth ski trip that we have every other winter. I had been looking forward to it for quite a while...and is always the case, it went by way too fast. I could write for days on all the things that happened, all the things that were shared and said, all the ridiculous jokes and I'm almost as bad at snowboarding as I was at skiing two years ago (which is beyond sad). But in the end, I just can't think of a better way to say how I feel: my heart is full.
I'm thinking about how the students I shared the past few days with are seriously like my brothers and family. I'm thinking about how much they make me laugh and equally how much they make me cry, how proud they make me, how my heart breaks when theirs do, how I feel like they're my own kids. I'm thinking about the way God has just opened the floodgates on our youth ministry and sent some of the most amazing adults ever to work alongside us in reaching students. Those volunteers have become some of my closest friends in the world...I would die for them. I think about the encouragement that I receive from them. I'm thinking about the friends that God has blessed me with who so readily are there for me when I need be a listening ear, a sounding board, a source of advice and support. I'm thinking about the ways I've seen God at work so powerfully in and among his people. About how I have been able to witness Him totally transforming hearts and redeeming lives. I'm frustrated even trying to explain the fullness I feel...
And then I start to realize that when I'm experiencing God and experiencing His people, that is when my heart is the fullest. No amount of success, talent, money, power, work, possessions...none of those things make me feel that way. And so I guess it makes sense, right? When God says that the two greatest commandments are to love Him and love others, He knew what He was saying. He knew the prescription to a full heart and a full life. It's not in work or in money or in success. It's in Him and it's in people. No, this isn't some amazing new revelation. But I experienced it and understood it afresh today.