Wednesday, December 5, 2012

adversity & a grateful heart.

the past six months have been hard. i've been challenged spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. my heart has been heavy and my spirit weak. there have been days when i felt lonely. moments when i questioned my reason for being here. there have been times when i didn't know how to extend love to difficult people. and days when i wrestled with forgiveness. but one thing is certain. through all of this i am learning what it looks like to have a heart filled with gratitude. God's faithfulness is proven over and over again. sometimes it feels easier to focus on the things that are going wrong and i neglect to express thankfulness over the things that matter. i suppose this is one of the most important lessons of all, living day to day with a grateful heart.

i read this the other day. 

thankfulness takes the sting out of adversity. that is why I have instructed you to give thanks for everything. there is an element of mystery in this transaction: you give Me thanks (regardless of your feeling), and I give you joy (regardless of your circumstances). this is a spiritual act of obedience - at times, blind obedience...thankfulness opens your heart to My Presence and your mind to My thoughts. you may still be in the same place, with the same set of circumstances, but it is as if a light has been switched on, enabling you to see from My perspective. it is this Light of My Presence that removes the sting from adversity.

Monday, September 24, 2012

cool mornings & crunchy leaves.

it's easy to get wrapped up in our daily routines that we sometimes take for granted the everyday beauty that's all around us (not always, but sometimes). there have been times when the seasons come and go and suddenly i realize that i failed to pay attention. i don't want to miss out on God's handiwork, how beautiful, intricate, and perfect it is. i've decided that this year i'm not going to miss it, even in the busyness of life. there are so many things to love about fall!

those cool mornings when you walk outside, take a deep breath, and the air stings your lungs. bundling up in scarves & mittens. wearing boots. watching leaves dance across the street...and i LOVE stepping on the crunchy ones. ahhh love it! baking. wood stoves. apple picking. drinking hot tea (especially honey vanilla chamomile!). pumpkin carving. coffee. apple butter. family reunions. gathering around a fire & spending time with friends. homemade soup & grilled cheese. long walks. candles. being warm & cozy. piling under lots of blankets. football (i don't know much about it, but i love the atmosphere of games and the excitement it brings to everyone else!) the word 'cinnamon'. hoodies. knitting. fall festivals. the approaching holiday seasons. the expression on a child's face when they come to your door in cute little costumes and say 'trick or treat!' many things to love.

but i think the BEST thing about fall is watching the leaves turn colors. isn't it amazing?? i think it's one of the small, tangible ways God shows his infinite love for us. and the beautiful thing about it is that it's all for our enjoyment. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

a girl from bangladesh.

i met a girl from bangladesh this week. my encounter with her keeps replaying over and over in my mind. i found her so intriguing. she came in the kitchen during a break between classes. it was easy to see that she seemed a bit anxious. her hands were full. she began asking questions about many different things. she told another girl and myself that she recently came to america. everything was new. she was trying to understand her new environment and it's people. she had questions about heating things in microwaves, using coffee pots, how much money americans make on a weekly basis...questions about transportation, taxes, the list goes on. everything was completely opposite of what she was used to. out of my own curiosity i wanted to press her with more questions, but i decided to only ask one. "what brought you to this place," i said. her response. "i want to change my country." she spoke with passion behind her voice. it may not seem like much, but it was profound for me. here is a woman who is so incredibly devoted to her community that she was willing to move across the world and immerse herself in a completely new way of life, not simply for her own good but ultimately for the benefit of someone else.

listening to her made made me think about the effect we have on other people. our ability to make a difference and stimulate change. i was talking with a friend earlier today about how everything happens for a reason. i truly believe that each person we meet plays a specific role in our lives...whether its the woman who passed you on the street whose smile you will never forget, or the man who helped you change your tire in the rain when you had a flat, or the older gentleman who bags groceries at food lion and always expresses interest in knowing how life is going, or the guy who broke your heart...or the girl from bangladesh. it all holds meaning and significance. you may not realize the impact you have on someone else's life, but you do. even the moments that would seemingly be better off forgotten, there is purpose in them too. most often i like to think it's God saying, "here child, this is for the next step in your journey."

Sunday, August 19, 2012

georgia on my mind.

i went to savannah this past week with my parents. it was a great vacation, maybe one of the best - our time was filled with long walks, exploring the local shops, and eating lots of wonderful food. but for me, i guess the best thing about getting away is simply spending time with mama & daddy. i just LOVE it. i'm constantly laughing at the funny things they say & do. they are the best.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

new places & new faces.

i recently moved to a new area, from harrisonburg (a place that i've grown to love) to northern virginia. it's been an adjustment, one that i'm still getting used to. i'm hoping to soon consider this my new home, at least for the next two years. i've realized that it's time to step out of my comfort zone and into what God has called me to. the idea of what i wanted my life to look like didn't include going back to school. all i really wanted was to fall in love and get married and live in the country and have lots of babies! it's funny how we create this idea of what's going to make us happy and bring fulfillment to our lives. we fight with all we have to make those things happen. there's nothing wrong with wanting these things, we were created to want them and i believe that the Lord wants to give us the desires of our heart. but it's as if He's saying "My plan is bigger and better than anything you could ever imagine!" i still want these things. the only difference is that now i'm choosing to believe that He has gone before me and  orchestrated each step. i just have to trust that His timing and His plan is perfect. and whatever His plan entails, i know it will be exceedingly more than anything i could hope for. in the next few weeks i will be starting grad school and working toward a master's degree in social work. eventually i would love to work with children who have terminal illnesses. something is stirred in my spirit when i think about working in this field. it's exciting to think that the God who created the Universe has a specific plan for each of us. i'm excited to see what this year holds.