The Rock-And I don’t mean that muscluar guy who’s in the movies…

Let’s get real today. What are you afraid of? I’m not talking about an irrational fear of drinking spoiled milk or having a bee fly into your mouth while you’re laughing. I’m not even talking about the fear of hamsters on steroids or rabid gerbils. I’m asking you, what is the biggest cause for worry in your life? What is that one thing, person, place, or idea that makes it hard to breathe? What scares you to death?

Maybe you don’t like me asking you because your biggest fear is acknowledging that there are uncertainties about the world we live in. Not everything is set in stone. Not everything is guaranteed. In fact, many things aren’t concrete. What makes you so sure that you’re going to wake up tomorrow? Who promised you that your heart will continue beating? Who’s to say that you won’t take your eye off the road when you’re driving and suffer the consequences? Do you think the people in your life will definitely be there forever? What if you stopped breathing? Can you really say with certainty what will occur a year from now, a month from now, a day from now, a moment from now? Are you tired of me asking you questions? I’ll admit I’m running out of things to type, and my hands are getting a bit fatigued. I have such a rough life with this whole blogging thing.

All jokes aside (because we know I’m pretty lame at it), try to focus for a minute. The point I’m trying to make is that life has no guarantees. Moments don’t always unfold the way you think they should. I’m not an expert, but I believe that every fear stems from some specific uncertainty. Those who fear spiders think to themselves, what if the spider bites me!? What if I wake up and it’s in my bed with me!? Let’s have an English lesson for a second. (Some of you might be scared of this! Ha!)

 The phrase “afraid of” is one that indicates an uncertainty. You’re afraid of something that may or may not occur. You don’t know if something is going to happen or not, but you’re afraid that it might. Does that make sense?  Hopefully so.

So what is my point? My point is that we live in an uncertain world. This means that we are afraid of many things. My fears may not be the same as yours, but I certainly have them. For example, I’m afraid of choking , bees, and being single for my entire life. My point in bringing all of this up is to get you to not only acknowledge that you’re afraid of something, but also that you’ll be willing to acknowledge that you need something that IS certain in your life. You need something that will never change. You need a guarantee.

A lot of you reading this are friends from high school or church, family members, or merely acquaintances. Most of you would at least say you are Christians, but there are some of you who admit that you are not. Maybe you won’t admit it, but you know it in your heart. I want you to get this. You can search the entire planet and you will NEVER find stability outside of Jesus. You can party until you die, and it will never guarantee you anything. You can pretend to be a Christian and do the whole church thing on Sunday, but that will NEVER promise you a stable life and happy feelings. Without Him, there will always be something to fear. This world and everything in it will fade away, but God never will. He is the only one who will never change. If you don’t get that, you will miss out on the One who loves you enough to be the rock of your life. It is God’s desire to hold you and this world together. He wants to tell you that you don’t have anything to fear.

I can’t imagine how afraid I would be without my Savior. I’m afraid of a lot of things, but I find peace in the knowledge that He is the ruler of my life and the ruler of the world. I don’t have to be afraid of uncertainty because His Word never changes. And I want you to know that you don’t have to be afraid either. He loves you so much.

So, I’ll ask you again. What are you afraid of?

 

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Just read it ;)

Hello, blog readers. This is quite the special blog because I’m typing this on my new laptop!!!! How exciting is that? I’m seriously feeling so blessed with all that is going on in my life because I know that I just don’t deserve any of it. It’s absolutely ridiculous. But I’m not complaining by any means! In fact, I hope this blog is the opposite of complaining. Today, I would like to write about my mom. Allow me to explain.

I want to tell you a little about my mom in case you don’t know much about her. My mom felt God calling her to become a nurse back when I was still in elementary school. Now, I’m not trying to say that my brother and I are super responsible (that is kind of up for debate, though), but we definitely weren’t at the time when she was sitting in lectures or going to clinicals during nursing school. We were still a handful, but she found a way to get everything done. After she graduated, she got a job at Tipton hospital. Her job was tough and tiring, but she did it anyway. Through a course of events, she ended up taking the school nursing position at Eastern High School. It was different from the work she was doing before, but she adapted quickly to her new job. It was just recently that she decided to go back to work at Tipton, even though it wasn’t her first choice. When she worked at the school, she wasn’t just giving whiny kids their pills or slapping on bandaids; she was allowing God to work through her to impact the lives of hurting people. So when she left, I know it left a big hole in her heart. But she did it anyway.

Now that you have some background on my momma, I will get to my point and save us all some time. As I’ve grown up, I’ve noticed more and more just how much I owe to her. Without her, I wouldn’t have developed a love for Cheerios, my love for squirrels would be unacceptable, and my hair wouldn’t be quite so voluminous. What can I say? She has basically made me who I am today!

But let’s get real. If it weren’t for her, I would never have learned to be tenderhearted. I feel more than your average person, and I know it’s because of her. It was probably seeing her work so hard in nursing school that inspired me to work so diligently in high school (ok…at one point I did really well! Senioritis kills though…).  I wouldn’t really know what it means to love if I hadn’t watched her love on everyone around her all the time. And now I’m learning something new: sacrifice.

For those of you who have somehow missed this, I’ll say it again. I’M GOING TO COLLEGE IN 5 WEEKS!!!!!!  So, we’ve been starting to get prepared for that. Not only did I get my laptop today, but I also got some new (hot) glasses and some (swell…yes…we’re bring that word back) contacts. I came home feeling like a new person. But here’s the catch: I didn’t pay for any of that.

When I think about the fact that my mom spent her money on those things…FOR ME…it kind of makes me feel guilty. But I know it isn’t one of those situations where she’s thinking, mwah haha! Now she’ll feel guilty for being mean to my dog (I don’t always get along with her sheltie. I like to mess with her head. Secretly the dog actually does love me, and I secretly love her back) and for allowing her room to look like a volcano erupted in it for extended periods of time ( ok…I seriously do wish my room were clean. I try to get it cleaned up, but it would be a lot easier if my gerbils would pitch in sometimes. I mean, seriously)! No, I know that’s not what she’s trying to make me think. What she wants me to not only think, but know in my heart is this: She’s my daughter, and I am happy to do this for her.She didn’t say that; she showed it by her actions and in her attitudes. It was her JOY to sacrifice her money for me. I don’t know. I just can’t get over that sacrifice.

I’m blessed beyond measure, not because of the laptop or the (hot) new glasses. I’m blessed because I have a mom who loves me enough to lay herself (and her money) down for me. I’ll say it again. I’m blessed.

Thanks, mom.

Welcome to the Battle

Hello, everyone! I hope all of my fellow blog readers are doing well and enjoying the green that has finally come from the rain we got. I’m at Mississinewa camping with my family this weekend and it almost feels like fall compared to some of the boiling hot days I’ve spent here this summer. Strangely enough, some of the trees appear to be losing their leaves. It’s beautiful. Today is one of those days when I just have so much on my mind. One thing that I’ve been thinking about for over a year is identity. It’s something I’m very passionate about. My hope in writing this today is that I can encourage others who wrestle with it, and that I can remind myself of truths that I know in my head, but not in my heart. I was telling Mallory, my future roommate at IWU, (yaaaaaay!!!!!!!) that one of the great things about blogging is that when I write things, it’s a way to hold myself accountable to my own words. It’s one thing to be accountable to other people, but it’s a whole different story when you can look back on your own words and realize that you would be quite the fool to contradict your own words. That being said, let’s give this a go.

Identity. What a word. It’s one of my favorites because it is so crucial to the way we live. As Christians, we are two different types of citizens. We are citizens of the United States and also citizens of Heaven. God asks us to be in this world but not of it. This can sometimes create confusion in us when we began to ask ourselves what our identity is. The world, and more specifically our country, will tell us that our identity comes from where we live, who our friends are, how much money have, the kind of body we have, who we date, what our job is, and how people feel about us. This can be overwhelming! And when you feel like you don’t measure up with all of those things, it can also be very, very discouraging. If you stop right there, you can feel like giving up. This can affect your attitude and the way you treat other people. But we’re not going to stop right there. I’m not done with the sermon yet. We’ll collect an offering after this. 😉

God has asked us to find our identity in Him. In doing this, we have to erase what the world has etched into our mind about who we are. Those are lies. We have to ignore those lies and let God come in and write a new identity in our minds and on our hearts. I have found this process to be very, very difficult. God has been working on my heart about this for many years. I go through times when it’s really easy and I’m completely trusting that what He says is more important that what the world says. But more times than not, I wrestle with lies. That’s why this blog is an invitation to battle. If you want to know who you are in Christ and where your value comes from, you better be ready to fight. This is no child’s play. Get in the Bible everyday. Talk to people you can trust and who can help remnd you of who God says you are. And get on your knees in prayer any time you feel like you’re losing the battle.

My hope for my life is that one day I can step outside my door and not let a single thing in this world give me doubt about who I am. And I would hope the same thing for all of you guys. It’s a battle, but the Lord has already won it on the cross. He desire is to help us see that the battle is already won. Satan loves to mess with us, so we still have to fight. But we have God on our side, and He isn’t going to let us lose. So, welcome to the battle.

Operation Godly Character

Greetings, fellow blog readers! I’m glad I get the opportunity to blog again. It’s been awhile, but I hope you give this a read! I would like to draw your attention to the title of this particular blog. If you know me very well, you’ll know that I say  “mission accomplished” on several occasions. It’s one of my favorite things to say. For example, if I tell my family I’m going to Huck’s for a coke, I might come home and say “mission accomplished” in reference to Operation Get A Coke From Hucks. It’s cheasy, but it’s me. Deal with it. Well obviously today I would like to blog about another operation that many of us can relate to. Operation Godly Character.

As Christians, we often get caught up in what God’s call is on our lives. While I believe that each of us were designed for a particular thing, I do believe that perhaps one of God’s primary concerns with us is Operation Godly Character. He has called each of us to this. Whether we’re in missions, working at a hospital, teaching in a school, heading to college, raising a kid at home, or training squirrels to play musical instruments, God has called us to reflect His character in everything we do. That is His call on our lives.

I like to think of it as an operation for two reasons. The first is the most obvious one: it is so much fun to say! The second, although a little less obvious, is the more important reason. It truly is a mission. We were given a command from an authority (God) to live like He does. Remember the fruits of the Spirit? Our lives bear those fruits when we take on the Lord’s character. He has asked us to be purposeful about doing so in our daily lives. And by daily, I mean everyday. Just in case there was confusion in that.

Let’s get real. I tend to live by Jessica’s character, not God’s character. Maybe you struggle with taking on His character like I do. What do we do? It’s called Operation Rely On The Holy Spirit. That’s why the Holy Spirit exists! His job is to help us live out that call in our lives. We’re weak without Him. Operation Godly Character is an impossibility without Operation Rely On The Holy Spirit. Until the latter has been stamped with a “mission accomplished”, don’t attempt Operation Godly Character. You will fail. That’s just the reality.

I’ve been looking at the world around me lately, and it is so clear that there is a lot of character out there. Unfortunately, it isn’t God’s character. Even people who profess to live for Him don’t possess His character. I’m certainly not saying I’m any better about doing it. I just know that I want to be different. I never want that Godly character to be compromised. In 46 days, (who’s counting, anyway???) I’m moving into my dorm at IWU. The reality is that I have to take ownership of my faith each and everyday. Even if it is a Christian school, there are still threats to the Godly character I strive for. Getting to say “mission accomplished” isn’t going to be a walk in the park (although these walks have been known to be treacherous. Ever tripped or twisted your ankle? It’s a possibility….i don’t know why walks in the park are thought of as such cheery things…). Those of you who are joining me in Operation Go To College must be aware that we can’t live like He calls us to without Him helping us. I just wanted everyone to think about that. I know I’ll be thinking about it. So, that being said, Operation Godly Character is a go. Peace out.

 

The First Struggle

If you read my first blog, you’ll remember that I said part of my reason for starting ths blog was to kind of document my college experience. Well, it would seem that I’m already at my first moment of struggle, and none of this has even started yet. Allow me to explain. But before I do, I want all of you to know that I’m feeling discouraged today. I don’t have any answers, witty comments, or even a point. I’m just talking and I need encouragement.

Yesterday, I sat down with my mom to try to figure out what kind of student loans we’re going to use. We’re in a tight spot with all of this. My parents make just enough money that we don’t qualify for much financial aid, but at the same time, we can’t pay for it. I will be the first one to admit that I am not a financial wizard. In fact, I know very little about loans or really anything beyond the cash in my pocket. I sat down with a pad of paper and a pen and wrote down the loan we would need, how long it would take to pay it back, and how big the monthly payments would be. The reality was a harsh one. Just when it seemed bad enough, my mom reminded me that this would only be for one year. I would have to add 3 more years to that. I’m pretty sure my heart stopped then. I said, “Mom, how am I supposed to do this? This isn’t possible!” I was angry, but mostly sad. I just don’t know how this is going to work. If I go to IWU for all 4 years, it will be CRUCIAL that I get a job and make payments during school. If I don’t, I will be paying off my student loans for most of my life. This is so discouraging. This is my first struggle.

It’s so hard to know whether or not I’m being a fool. My deepest desire is to live on this campus for all four years. But I’m so worried that I’m being selfish. This is my chance to start over. What once looked like such an exciting point in my life is starting to look like the biggest struggle I’ve ever had. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have to grow up really quickly. This is going to require a LOT of work. And the sooner I admit that this is merely the first of many sruggles, the better off I’ll be.

Squirrels…and other deep thoughts.

Greetings, dearest blog readers. I must admit that the title of this blog post may have been a complete lie. My real intent for writing this particular one is to see if this is going to work! But, to be fair, I will say that squirrels are quite awesome. Last weekend I was riding a scooter at the campground when I came across a squirrel with a twitching tail. Basically, this made me entire weekend. “And, what about deep thoughts?” you may ask. I shall tell you. At the moment I truly have nothing deep to say. You see, I slept in today and have yet to get ready. I don’t start thinking until I’m ready for the day. Sorry for the utter disappointment. To convince you that reading my blog won’t be a total waste of your time, I will tell you a little bit of why I’m doing this. My first reason is that people sometimes despise long status updates, and I don’t want this to be an excuse for why people don’t read what God puts on my heart. Secondly, I am a thinker. If thinking burnt calories, I would actually be skinny. I need a place where I can release all these thoughts in a constructive and perhaps helpful manner. My life is at a crossroads. The choices I make this summer and next fall are incredibly important. This is where my life begins, and I’d like to invite you to join me as I discover what this will be like and what God has in store for me. And guess what…God has a plan for you as well. I hope this blog serves as an encouragement to those who read it. I will try to make you laugh, and I will try to get you to think. This seems to be my purpose in most of my relationships and I have come to embrace that role. That’s all for now. Peace out, and watch out for squirrels. God bless!