Sunday, January 28, 2007

The shower is the best place to cry

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

"Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid."

...and that was enough.
Matthew 14:27b

Friday, January 26, 2007

When not studying...

I want to take my camera out one of these days and get some good shots of the city. We'll see...
Have a wonderful weekend! I, for one, am glad its here! Tonight a few girls on my hall (including myself!) are playing Euchre with some of our brothers. Saturdays after breakfast we play walleyball (woohoo!!). I have to lock myself in the library tomorrow afternoon and get lots done because allie is coming sunday!
I am enjoying trying out lots of new Churches...I'm excited to find one of my own.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

You are more sinful than you ever dared imagine, but more loved than you ever dared hope...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Let love replace duty in our Church relations, and the world will soon be evangelized."
D.L. Moody

Friday, January 19, 2007

Eventually all of this must become zeros and ones

"Be faithful in the little things." My new friend Michelle reminded me of this last night. It was a small but powerful statement said sort of just in passing. I was explaining to her how overwhelmed I get when I think of what God might want me to do with my life. There are so many opportunities in the will of God--lots of ways to serve him. I have been feeling overwhelmed because I don't know which option I should walk towards. Urban Ministry? I think so. But maybe not. Stateside? for some time, yes. Overseas? I would love to. My passion for urban ministry, my passion for Bible translation, my passion for international studies, my passion for community development...aaah. SO MANY!

Michelle and I decided to get off campus in order to study yesterday evening. She knew of a cute cafe on the brown line. I hardly knew her. I went. We couldn't find the place so we sat in the upstairs of a corner street Borders. We drank tazo tea and talked...and talked...and read a little :)...and talked. It was amazing. We shared our hearts....just a bit...diving in deeper than we do with most. It was wonderful. I needed it badly, and the Lord knew it. I thank him for such a gift! We are a lot alike. We share many similar desires, passions, fears, struggles, frustrations, excitements...we share the desire to "go deep". We decided that whenever we want to "go deep" we'll just yell across the hall (she lives RIGHT across the hall from me).

She encouraged me in so many ways and opened my eyes again to just the simple beauty of loving and following the Lord....and being faithful in the little things. He knows me. That is such a peace to me. HE KNOWS ME. He knows what the future holds. I need to rest in that.

I thank God for the evidence of His hand at work in my life. It's thrilling to watch him work. The girls on my hall are amazing. I can't explain the love I am developing for these dear sisters.

Life is somewhat "hard" these days...still adjusting to new things and new people. I'm working to find my place among these people and manage my time well. But life is SO rich. It is full. I am incredibly excited.

My class "Studying and Teaching the Bible" is really amazing. We're learning all kinds of Bible study methods, etc. It is so helpful and opens my eyes to whole new ways of studying and reading scripture. Wow.

I find myself in a quiet place with God. I am amazed and excited by the diversity I see around many DIFFERENT kinds of people living differently for God. They express themselves differently but the beauty lies in the fact that we share a common passion--to see the Lord high and lifted up. It's a new feeling for me. There are definitely "flyers" and "non-flyers" (only a few of you will understand this analogy...sorry) but that was (is) to be expected. This is true ANYWHERE...just remember that. Every environment demands certain things of us. Every environment affects us differently. God calls us to love Him EVERYWHERE. He calls us to be his true disciples. This might take on a different look in each place, depending. It will definitely have similarities. Life is a battle anywhere you are. Capture the time you're in. God has given it to you and He calls you to fill it. LIVE in it.

As I look ahead to a new semester, and as I sit in a certain "quietness" before God, I whisper "Father, I don't know how to live. Teach me. I don't know how to love. Show me. I don't even know what to think. Think for me. Fill me up. I am not my own." Surrender is a hard lesson. I think I'm in the middle of a "surrender lesson" :) Please pray for me. Thank you.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Divine Romance

The fullness of Your grace is here with me
The richness of Your beauty’s all I see
The brightness of Your glory has arrived
In Your presence God, I’m completely satisfied

For You I sing I dance
Rejoice in this divine romance
Lift my heart and my hands
To show my love, to show my love

Monday, January 15, 2007

In Your Name

I'm sitting here at my desk, snow flurries going crazy right outside my window. I was doing homework but I got to thinking about this simple phrase "in Your name"...often followed by "amen" or "I pray" or maybe not. It's really powerful. We use it a lot. That's not a bad thing, necessarily, but i was thinking about how meaningless it becomes if we're not careful. We throw it around sort of flippantly--as if just saying the words validate our thoughts, prayers, requests, whatever. Just think about what it means to say that...Whose name it is.

"He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth;
He sends lightening with the rain
and brings out the wind from its storehouses" Psalm 135:7

"...may the Lord rejoice in His works
who looks on the earth and it trembles,
who touches the mountains and they smoke!" Psalm 104:31-32

"Have you commanded the morning since your days began,
and caused the dawn to know its place,
that it might take hold of the skirts of the earth,
and the wicked be shaken out of it?" Job 38:12-13

"The voice of the Lord makes the oaks to shake,
and strips the forest bare, and in his temple all cry, 'Glory!'" Psalm 29:9

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The Girls


...and there are also two boys in a couple of them :) Kyle came to visit me tonight and we went to Gino's east for deep dish. YUM!! Giovanni and Lacy came too. It was lots of fun.

The girl pictures are from the other night. It was a party in our room!! Melissa played the guitar and we all sang. Lots of fun. Lot's of laughing. LOTS of bonding!!

(oh. i should give you an idea of who's who. in the group shots of us all on the bed. From left to right it is Erin, Lacy, Me, Mariah, Sarah, Wendy, and Melissa laying across us all. I love Wendy's expressions. She's AMAZING. I love her).

A first for everything

So....last night I got picked up by public safety. It's quite a ridiculous story and I feel sorta embarrassed that we called Public Safety, but we didn't know what to do. They always say better safe than sorry. The reason I felt stupid was because we (Me, Sarah, Erin, Ashley, Moriah, and one other I don't remember her name) shouldn't have probably been out so late at night without boys anyway. We just thought that we'd be fine with 6 of us. Anyhow, at around 10 last night we walked a couple blocks up to a Starbucks that didn't close till eleven. We were going to play Euchre and have coffee. Well, once we were there one of the girls said something about how her RA said not to walk down that way at night. Great, we thought. So we were in starbucks teaching the girls to play Euchre (only sarah and I know how to play), when this guy walks past the window, sees us, turns around and comes in. He came over and asked what we were doing...I was fine with it at first but he came up behind sarah REALLY close. He was touching her back and his head was really close to her. He wasn't all the way there. I thought he was drunk but i didn't smell anything. I don't know. He kept asking us where we were from. We kept saying "from all over" which made him really mad. He started talking really loud "Where ya'll from!! Why wontcha tell me! Anyone from Texas?" (we all tried not to look at Moriah. haha. poor girl!). He wouldn't leave us alone. He wanted to play...we wouldn't let him. Then he told us we must be from somewhere where the women are really rude (or something of the sort). He went over to the counter to complain to the employees about us. We thought that was funny. Then, he walked over, got REALLY close to Sarah again and it was all very uncomfortable. Then he threw a banana in the middle of our table, said "I never did like them yankee women!" and walked out. The problem was, when he left, we couldn't tell if he had really left or if he was standing around the corner. It just felt funny. He would've definitely followed us back to school. Talk about feeling really girly, though. That's a hard situation. We probably made a stupid decision by going in the first place but then we didn't know if we should call Public Safety to pick us up (which they offer to anyone who needs it) or just suck it up and walk home. hmmmm. I don't know. I kept do you show Christ to someone in this situation and not be super rude? What's the right way to treat him? I felt pretty rude, but he wouldn't leave us alone. This kind of stuff probably happens ALL the time. It's the reality of living in the city. Maybe its something you get used to and just have to suck it up? Maybe you don't and you need to always have someone come? oh man. I just feel myself thinking "is this stupid?--to have someone come pick us up, meet us, whatever...are we being too girly girl?"
Anyway, Public Safety came and the guy was super nice. He told us we did the right thing in calling them and also that we were right to go out in a group. While we were in starbucks we realized we don't have ANYONE'S phone number, especially boys. So we didn't know who to call. Even if we HAD had some of the guys numbers, I just feel like such a ridiculous girl calling. aaah.
After we got back, a bunch of us girls just hung out in our room. Melissa plays the guitar (i really want to learn!!) so we sang worship songs and bonded. It was really fun. Then we just talked and took lots of pictures :) It's nice to be getting to knows more girls better. Oh. Before we went out to Starbucks, I learned the bus system with Erin. That was exciting. I think I could write a book of short stories based on that one experience. haha. Then I went with Stacey and Whitney and a bunch of their brothers to a thrift store. It was SO much fun. The store was amazing. Every ten minutes or so one of the employees would come over the loud speaker and say "attention shoppers, please keep your purses, wallets and al valuables near you at all times. This store is not responsible for theft. In the case of an emergency, your shopping cart may be used for self defense." It sounded like he was saying "this store is not responsible for death". haha. oh man. It was tons of fun. We took a crazy route of buses and subways to get there so I could never find my way back. It was fun to get to know some more people.

Today is a slow day. I have a lot of reading. Kyle is getting into town tonight. We're going to hang out sometime. I'm going to a Korean Church tomorrow with my accountability partner, Young. Monday we have no classes because of Martin Luther King day. I feel sort of funny about taking the holiday to honor him when so few really know anything about him, including myself. But I want to finish Why We Can't Wait.

It's 29 degrees! It should snow tomorrow. That's exciting,

People here are crazy about getting married. It's sort of weird. I want to yell "let it happen in its own time...slow down! just let God handle it." More on this topic on the phone if you want to hear. I have a few stories :)

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Thoughts Before Bed

"I'm trying to get through the life of Christ by 12:30! We'll be ok." -Dr. Marty

I'm quite excited about New Testament...equally excited about the Church and Its Doctrines. We aren't REALLY into the material yet, buy I feel it already :) The excitement is building.

I have promised myself that I WILL go to a hockey game sometime this semester. I RELALY want to...really really. I can't wait. I just need to find someone to go with. I am on the hunt...

I met with my accountability partner tonight. Her name is Young. She is 44 and from S. Korea. I admire her so much. This is most definitely the beginning of an amazing friendship. I can't tell you how excited I am! I'm going to Church with her on sunday. They're having a "dinner" after the service. All Korean food. I am quite thrilled. She was so cute when she asked me..."the only thing is, it will all be in korean." haha. I told her that was quite alright. I'm very excited about it. She's like my adopted mom but also a new friend. God is so good...and works in such mysterious ways!

I also went to a basketball game tonight. It was fun. I brought Young with me and she really enjoyed it. She was super cute.

I'm off to bed. I'm excited about a long weekend. I've been getting ahead on some reading so i'll have more time to spend hanging out with kyle. yay!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I found my spot

The roof of Houghton. I am going to spend more time up there...even though its cold (probably more time when it gets warmer). It is SUCH a beautiful spot. The view is INCREDIBLE. I went up there for the first time tonight. My camera died after two pictures, but at least you get some idea of what it's like. If you notice, the Sears tower is in the first one :) Amazing.

Sorry they're a bit blurry...I will try to get more soon.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

You Learn With Time

For example...

1. Taking showers at night is the way to go. The water STAYS hot...none of this freezing cold ice water then all of a sudden it turns burning hot.

2. Yo Yo Ma is great studying music (AND he's coming to Chicago in March. I really want to go.)

3. Quality conversations with new acquaintances are wonderful-even if short. I want to talk to someone...

4. Reading for classes I'm excited about is quite thrilling.

5. Waking up early to read and drink tea helps prepare me for the day.

6. God's mercies are new every morning. I praise Him for that.
The light of heaven is the face of Jesus
The joy of heaven is the presence of Jesus
The melody of heaven is the name of Jesus
The harmony of heaven is the praise of Jesus
The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus
The employment of heaven is the service of Jesus
The duration of heaven is the eternity of Jesus
The fullness of heaven is Jesus Himself

It is the mark of weak men that they break down under unusual
responsibilities, of strong men that they are developed by them.

I can't stand to love alone

no one would love me if they knew all the things i hide
My words fall to the floor as tears drip to the telephone line

And the hands I've seen raised to the sky
not waving but drowning all this time
I'll try to build the ark that they need
To float to you upon the crystal sea

Give me your hand to hold
Cause I can't stand to love alone
And love alone is not enough to hold us up,
We've got to touch your rope
So swing your rope down low
Swing your rope down low

Prince of despair's been beaten, you know
but the losers still fight
death's on a long leash stealing
my friends to the night

And everyone cries for innocence
But you say to love the guilty too
And I'm surrounded by suffering and sickness
So I'm working tearing back the roof

And the pain of the world is a burden
And its my cross to bear
And I stumble under all the weight
I know your Simon standing there
And I know you're standing there

Monday, January 08, 2007

First Impressions Suck

Everyone always thinks I'm mean, stuck up, or just plain weird. I quite. First impressions are awful... I FEEL LIKE NOBODY KNOWS ME!!!! But I'm trying. I REALLY am. I WANT to know people, and I want them to know me! Really, really! I go places when I don't feel like it, and am trying to be assertive. I just feel like everyone already has friends....


Oh the things you hear...

"What kind of tyrant God would He be if He MADE people go to heaven."

wow. Just think about that one... probably one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard. I was in line for lunch. I almost turned around and gave this dear boy some of my own thoughts. I didn't.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

More Pictures

Here are a few more pictures :) Today Lacy, Giovanni, and I made it to Target! We took the red line subway all the way across town and then got off and walked the rest of the way. We didn't get lost once! This target is amazing. it's two story and has a special escalator for the carts! yeah. rockin' awesome. We had to haul all of our stuff back across town on the subway--that was an adventure! After we dropped it all off, we walked just down the street from the school to this little Thai Restaurant called Panang. It was really good. Then we decided we wanted to find Whole Foods. We sort of got lost but it was fun to just walk around and hang out.

I decided I'm going to lose 20 pounds. I walk a lot. I eat not a lot. haha. I eat a healthy amount, just small portions. The quality of the food isn't that bad at all but the variety is AWFUL. I am already sick of it. So I eat salad (they have a fantastic salad bar. with spinach!) and pita with hummus (served at both main meals!!). We also have some food in our room...we got Kashi and milk at Whole Foods for breakfast. Yum. Almost all my classes conflict with the lunch schedule so that's a problem. I will probably eat breakfast and dinner there and lunch in my room or on the run. That's why I have a 15 meal plan!

Here's my schedule:
Intro to Ministry (Thurs.)
New Testament Survey...we read through the NT twice--2 diff. translations of choice (Tues., Thurs.)
The Church and Its Doctrines (M, W, F)
Studying/Teaching the Bible (M, F)
Spiritual Life and Community (M, W, F)

and my PCM Thursday nights from 7-8:30. It's tutoring young (mostly single) mothers and their kids at a women/child shelter downtown. please pray for me during this time! I'm really excited but really nervous. it's already dark by this time and I have to switch buses to get there....yikes.
Love you all!

Go Listen to it!!

It's a Nickel Creek song called Hanging By a Thread. It's beautiful.

There's a kind of emptiness that can fill you.
There's a kind of hunger that can eat you up.
There's a cold and darker side of the moonlight.
An' there's a lonely side of love.

With you here, baby, I am strong; no sign of weakness.
With you gone, baby, I am hanging by a thread.

There's a certain kind of pain that can numb you.
There's a type of freedom that can tie you down.
Sometimes the unexplained can define you,
And sometimes, silence is the only sound.

With you here, baby, I am strong; no sign of weakness.
With you gone, baby, I am hanging by a thread.

With you here, baby, I am strong; no sign of weakness.
With you gone, baby, I am hanging by a thread.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Just Pictures

here are a few pictures of my room. my side is on the can tell by the amount of books :) I'll post more later.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

First Impressions

Chicago: Big. Beautiful. Lots of Opportunity. Thrilling. Full of intriguing people. Rather scary. I feel swallowed up.

The EL: Terrifying. Overwhelming. Stressful. Ok...not THAT bad, I just felt lost and unsure (both yucky feelings in such a big city). I would say to myself "you're thinking of doing this ALONE!?"

Moody: Exciting. Inviting. Easy to navigate through because it occupies such a small space--mostly going UP. It IS right in the city. I want to go in more of the buildings...

The Sights: We went to the art institute--incredible. I will go many more times...just to spend hours wondering around. My favorites: Seurat, Picasso, Monet, Thomas Cole (cuz he's a relative. yeah!), The Silk Road Exibit (there only for a short time...featuring INCREDIBLE artifacts, etc. from the Asian provinces. Beautiful things from China dating back to 200 BC or earlier!!!!). We went to Gino's East for pizza. It was really good. Really rich. I didn't have much of an appetite, though. I think its nerves. Why am I so darn nervous? It's driving me nuts. Mom has been crying quite a bit--which makes it harder for me not to. She says I'm brave. I say I'm probably just too good at internalizing things.

Currently listening to: Rock of Ages (sandra mccracken) and Lord of Eternity (fernando ortega)

I find myself asking God to be a strong fortress around me...leading me and guiding me to new and exciting things, with his face ever before me. I feel very I will know the strength of Him who is strong (but oh how its a frightening place to be! So much changing). Lord, help me feel your strength in my weakness. Make me lean into you during these days and find great amounts of peace and rest. I feel very wrestles and uneasy. Lord, calm my heart!

Tomorrow at 8am dorms open. Orientation officially starts at 2:30. My parents leave at 2:00 to drive North to my grandparents (my grandpa's kidney is failing, now down to 20%) for a few days. It will be hard to say goodbye. It's hard that he isn't doing well. I wish i could go with them.

There are about 200 incoming students this semester. That's a lot! I had no idea it would be that many. Crazy.

I should go to bed. Tomorrow is a big day...and full. Thank you for your continued prayer, you guys have been great. I love you and miss you. I will keep you posted.

Oh. Once again, I don't have many cell phone minutes. I probably won't pick up unless its after nine or during weekends. Bummer, I know, but that's the way it is. Leave messages! I love to hear your voices. I will get you my school email as soon as I get it...and my mailing address.

I think that's everything. We're staying across from the Rock 'N Roll McDonalds. Crazy. It's an insane one. Someday I'll get a picture....
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Blessed is the man
Who walks in Your favor
Who loves all Your words
And hides them like treasure
In the darkest place
Of his desperate heart,
They are a light
A strong, sure light.

Sometimes I call out Your name
But I cannot find You.
I look for Your face,
But You are not there.
By my sorrows, Lord,
Lift me to You,
Lift me to Your side.

Lord of Eternity,
Father of mercy,
Look on my fainting soul.
Keeper of all the stars,
Friend of the poorest heart
Touch me and make me whole.:

If You are my defender,
Who is against me?
No one can trouble or harm me
If You are my strength .
All I ask, all I desire
Is to live in Your house all my days.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Today: leaving for chicago at 2:30 or 3:00. Spending the night somewhere between here and Chicago, don't know where.
Tomorrow: Arriving in Chicago! Seeing some of the city with my parents...hopefully finding Grace and Peace Community Church so I'll know where it is...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

PS Introducing kids to Psalty is one of my favorite things to do :) Listening to him during road trips: even better!