Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Power of Words and the Wonder of God

Just got back from the 2008 Desiring God National Conference. It was incredible. wish I could say more. Eventually I will. For now, the video and audio are online FREE for a limited time for download. I highly recommend you listen to these messages:


Thursday, September 25, 2008


are you ever suddenly remarkably confident in who you are? As an individual, as part of a community...
It's a sudden recognition of your own utter weakness but Christ's complete sufficiency on your behalf--and its a beautiful confidence. I have felt that today. I don't feel it often, but I have felt it growing. I think its the "i am not but he is everything" sort of theme running through my days.

and yesterday Rachel came up to me randomly and said "Andrea, I think i need to remind you of this verse: 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.'" It was perfect.


that's the "light bulb of revelation" (or whatever) that goes on when the Spirit allows your spirit to know something deeply true and beautiful in an unexpected moment.

I am blessed to be living this life. Each day overflows with so much richness. It's undeserved.

Tomorrow morning I leave for Minneapolis with the girls. Another gift. I cannot wait :)

Now back to the books. I am, as I have mentioned I would be, buried in the pages of Amos...and sipping a soy late because I'm going to be here for awhile :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

smiling through my days. the heart is glad.

I feel like its been ages since I’ve given a “true” update. It’s pretty long overdue…I guess tonight is the night. I’m in a writing mood. I really should be writing my paper but…I’m sure you know how that goes. Sometimes, when I am in the mood to write, I am entirely distracted UNTIL I write. Can you relate? If not, bear with me ☺

Tonight is “live music night” in Joe’s (our campus coffee shop). So I’m up here doing homework until it starts. Homework until I’m too tired to focus and then I will go to the gym. I’ve been biking. Usually I only bike for about 6-7 miles (stationary). I like it, though. And if it isn’t too busy I’ll swim. But usually it’s busy so I don’t. Sad.

What a week! What a semester! It’s going so fast. It’s been relatively “quiet” but I feel at the same time like it’s been really full. Hmmm. The quietness of the summer has spilled over and I find myself living very reflective, contemplative days. This is really wonderful. Remember that I had been thinking a bit about the monastic live and contemplative prayer over the summer…and was really hoping to bring a “simple-ness” into my days. I think the Lord has been honoring this request.

I find myself very simply at peace; very simply at rest; very simply enjoying life; very simply loving Him.

This semester is unlike any other of my college career. I can’t really pinpoint WHY. It simply is. I like it. I am blessed by it. It feels deeply refreshing and I sense a rich working of the Spirit.

Days so full of mystery and wonder that I can only respond with a smile.

I have some really incredible classes this semester. You know, with those phenomenal professors. The ones that make your jaw drop open and your arm hairs stand on end. Again, I am blessed.

I am particularly challenged and encouraged in my Old Testament Biblical Theology class. My prof. is a brilliant man of God and I am constantly awed. I went in to talk to him the other day—about life in general and issues of suffering and sovereignty in particular. An hour and forty-five minutes later, I was entirely overwhelmed and COMPLETELY encouraged. It was a much-needed conversation. It was totally unexpected, really. It was a huge blessing to me. I can’t even articulate it all. Basically, he helped me hash out my vision for my future; my heart for missions/aid work; my longing to go; my commitment to stay; my desire to grow; my restlessness; my contentedness….everything. He helped with practicals: here’s what to be doing NOW. He helped with more abstract ideals: how to learn/know myself and learn/know the Lord well in this time. Gah! I can’t give the conversation justice. Just take my word for it ☺

Well. I really need to go write that paper. Sigh.
Life is good. Getting to know some new people, building and investing in “old” (that’s a terrible way to say it) friendships and loving it, and trusting the Lord with details of school (finances, job, future, etc).

Continually challenged to trust. My days aren’t my own. He is carrying me along. If I had to choose a “theme” for my days, it would still be: Sustained. I am everyday awed to see and experience him upholding me.

We also, before the temptation comes, think we can walk upon the
sea, but when the winds blow, we feel ourselves begin to sink....
And yet doth it yield no good unto us? We could not live without
such turnings of the hand of God upon us. We should be
overgrown with flesh, if we had not our seasonable winters.
It is said that in some countries trees will grow,
but will bear no fruit, because there is no winter there.
-John Bunyan

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Hannah visits warm weather!

Which means we got to do lots of FUN stuff :)

First, the Xavier Rudd concert last night. It was SO AMAZING. Gosh. If my phone took better pictures, i could put one up. sad. He was so good and the whole experience was great. just a few highlights:
1. stacey brought her camera without knowing it was against the rules so...we had to "pretend" like we were leaving to "hide" it but instead put it in hannah's pants till we got passed security. haha. it was amazing.
2. the man in the green shirt--he was definitely high or something. Which was actually kind of sad but he was going nuts by song number two and was pretty crazy all night long. He took off his shirt and was waving it around (he was in the balcony box) and we were sure he was going to throw it onto the stage or into the audience. neither happened. bummer.
3. xavier's tribal dance. it was amazing.
4. food in the belly, come let go, let me be.
5. "how you feelin'?"
6. Oh, and $5 posters :)

We got home and were super pooped last night. we slept in this morning, had a light breakfast together in the room with some coffee :) and then went to mercury for awhile to study. I love this cafe:

We didn't study for long. How on earth can anyone stay motivated when its such a beautiful day with a good friend in town?? So...we went to Jay's to get hot dogs and walked down to eat them by the river (shades of while you were sleeping! eh? eh?). It was the perfect day for it:

After that we went down to the lake. We had strawberry fruit bars on the beach. The weather was perfect. However, there have been weird cloud/smog patches over the buildings all day. it's kind of gross. And the day got progressively muggy. yucko.
Zach, Aaron, Jared, and Whitney met us down at the beach to slackline. It was lots of fun. Sigh...the perfect day!!

Now I need to go get some homework done. Hannah is visiting her friend for awhile and I have a presentation and an exam tomorrow. ack!
Hope you all are enjoying your fall days!! :)

Wanna see our room?

Lace takes a video each semester. to see this semester's room, check it out here: Lacy's Blog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

two days

and i'll be seeing this guy IN CONCERT!!! WOOOOHOOOOO...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

with each passing day...

Even though i am up, on average, from 5:30am to 11:00pm, life is good. I have noticed though, that each morning when my alarm goes off the first thoughts to enter my hear are "God, you have to sustain me today. You must be my energy." I am tired. I have LOADS to do...but I have felt remarkably and incredibly UPHELD and I am blessed. Though I have my "tired-grumpy-moments," I am generally extremely uplifted. I prayed much during the beginning of the semester, "restore to me the joy of my salvation," and the Spirit is working and moving in beautifully quiet ways.

Enjoying school. Enjoying friends. Even enjoying working through the hard times with the Lord--sitting in silence and whatnot; waiting for "who knows what;" trusting with everything...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I often think of those around the world who are without family, without land, without home, without country, without God.
It doesn't take long to grow sorrowful and burdened for such hurting, broken, and lost. However, I often find myself smiling to think of the Holy Spirit--not bound by geography, family, social structures--blowing in among them, whispering words of comfort, covering their hearts with perfect peace. We know not how near the brokenhearted God actually is...but He said He is.

I am writing a paper and listening to Fernando Ortega. His song "Prayer for Home" made me think of these dear souls again.

Oh how our hearts long for a heavenly home. Lord, haste the day! And please, usher many into your eternal kingdom...


Grant them peace, most precious gift of all
Keep the worried world far away and small
When they return, may quiet fill their souls,
Dearest Lord, keep them safe within it's walls.

May the stone be cool beneath their feet.
The canyon breezes circle soft and sweet
When darkness falls, the stars and opal moon
Find them wrapped in each other, ever warm.

May it be a refuge for their love,
A harbor for their deepest prayer.
May they come to flourish in the grove,
Grow ever nearer to You there.

Many a burdened friend in their company rises,
A heavy heart is soon released to fly.
May their table be blessed with laughter and with grace
And by the comfort of kinship be surprised.

May the cold wind blow far from their front door
May the winter rains never bring them harm
May their hearthfires burn throughout the night
Grant them peace until morning's perfect light

Sunday, September 14, 2008

shopping for sarah's wedding dress!

We took the train out to Lombard today to look at David's Bridal for Sarah's gown. and we FOUND it!! It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL on her...she definitely glows :) It was so much fun. It made me want to get married so so bad, though. aack. I can't believe we're growing up!!!
Enjoy some pictures...

Bride with Maid of Honor :) mariah is going to be so beautiful, too!! I love the colors...
and the boquets are going to be calla lilies!!

This is my "i can't believe this is happening! and WE ARE GROWING UP!" face...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

you should expect this, Kristen :)

You know that I can't resist putting a new picture of you up :) Especially with known little boy boy inside!! Well, we hope it is indeed a boy. I am secretly holding out for twins, since I was sure it would be a boy and mom was sure it would be a girl :) haha.
Here she is everyone! My beautiful pregnant sister whom I MISS a whole whole lot. Wish I could be with you, sister!!...with you and the Mr. :)


In other news, I visited Melissa this weekend. Well, last night. I took the train out to Palatine yesterday and came back this morning (she had to work). We had the evening to catch up and it was WONDERFUL. I needed that time. I am blessed. The train ride was encouraging, too. You might think that's weird. i don't :) If you could ride OUT of the city on a train looking out raindrop-lined windows listening to Isa, Iron and Wine, and Matthew Smith, you would feel the same way...i'm sure of it :) Plus I am always up for a "solo-adventure," even if it is only for an hour or so...

John Piper is starting up a new sermon series this fall on the Gospel of John. I am thrilled. It is my favorite Gospel. His "reasons" for doing so can be found here: do look! It's a brief explanation but a very good and interesting one. I particularly like his perspective of "wanting to die in the book" as he considers his age, etc. It's quite remarkable. I'm reading through matthew right now. I want to be steeped in the Gospel's this fall. That was something I prayed for this summer and look forward to with hopeful anticipation...oh to know my Lord and Christ deeper.

I have lots of homework to get done. Tomorrow is wedding dress shopping day :) And I've been fighting some sort of throat/cold/flu virus that is NOT FUN. I just drank some hot tea and am about to hide away in a cozy corner of the library. It's been raining all weekend. Usually I really do not like the rain here--it depresses me. For some reason, though, today's rain is beautiful. I like it :)

Oh. I want to mention. I met Dee today, getting off the EL. She is my age. She and her boyfriend got kicked out of their apartment bc they couldn't pay rent. They were living out of the car but it got impounded. Her boyfriend is in jail. she hasn't spoken to her mom in years, her dad in over 20 years. she has no money, nowhere to go. She's an "average" 20-something. Like me. We talked a bit. I took her to starbucks to get her something hot and a muffin to eat. She was hungry. There was some obvious drug/alcohol withdrawal going on. It broke my heart. She was beautiful but so sadly broken. I had no idea what to say to her. NO IDEA. Praying so hard "God, i don't know what to SAY!" and no words came... I gave her a hug and she kissed my cheek.
Pray for her if you think of it. She said she's been thinking about God more than ever because there's nowhere to go and nothing to do--she NEEDS something secure; somewhere to turn. I pray God would captivate her soul, speaking LIFE.

My "theology of suffering" has grown a lot over the past few years. It is growing still. This semester, i think, it is going to be challenged even more. I'm realizing how near the heart of God I must be to explore, discover, and learn more of this. Being reminded that it is His Spirit that "leads into all truth"...and...HE is truth. His Spirit leads us deeper into the person of Christ--deeper into God Almighty. Pretty remarkable.

I love you all. Peace upon you...

Friday, September 12, 2008



I can't even BEGIN to express my excitement :) :) :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

my soul is singing ... and longing

How helpless guilty nature lies,
Unconscious of its load
The heart, unchanged, can never rise
To happiness and God

Can nothing less than power divine
The stubborn will subdue?
'Tis Thine, eternal Spirit, Thine
To form the heart anew.

'Tis Thine, the passions to recall,
And upwards bid them rise;
And make the scales of error fall,
From reason's darkened eye

To chase the shades of death away
And bid the sinner live
Heaven's beam, a vital ray
'Tis Thine alone to give

Oh change these wretched hearts of ours
And give them life divine;
Then shall our passions and our powers,
Almighty Lord be Thine.

Oh change these wretched hearts of ours
And give them life divine;
Then shall our passions and our powers,
Almighty Lord be Thine.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I signed up to receive the Sojourner's email newsletter a while ago. I don't read them anymore. I mostly just get frustrated and will probably be forever deleting them. I read the subject lines and get frustrated. I know that's probably not fair but, in all actuality, the subject line usually does a pretty good job of giving a "heads up" about what's in the newsletter.

Today's was "vote poverty out!" and in that instant I was reminded of the words "the poor will always be among you." I'm not advocating we don't do anything about the reality of the poor. If you know me at all, you should know better. There's simply an ignorance that I sometimes feel about certain approaches to the fight to "end" poverty. Absolutely we should fight for the rights of the oppressed--we are commanded to! But maybe we also need to think about some of the other surrounding passages.

I think I'm going to read through Deuteronomy again...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

check it out

check out my friend Wendy's blog here.

she's in nepal. she's got great things to say. this most recent post of hers made my heart burn.

thinking of you and praying for you, friend!!

can we 'cause' God to do anything?

It's been a long time, it seems, since I've "seriously" thought/questioned/wrestled with the issue of God's sovereignty and human free will. Not since high school have I REALLY thought about it... but i am again. I think because the discussion is coming up in a lot of my classes this year. It's interesting. I think this year will be a year of really "defining" or "cementing" what I believe and why. which is good...but i anticipate frustration and challenge. but both are a necessary part of the growth process. my prayer is for humility and discernment as I study God, His Word, and watch the Spirit move in my life.

oh for a more vibrant faith! I long to love him know him walk nearer.

Monday, September 08, 2008

i love hugs

that's pretty much all. I just really like hugs. I feel like a lot of people here really aren't good at giving hugs. and why do people have to make hugs an awkward thing?? they aren't!!

today was definitely monday. i felt tired all day. also, it was raining allll day. cold, dreary rain. I didn't get as depressed as the other day (i know realize i have a bit of seasonal depression). mariah and i walked to pcm in the rain and got WET and so COLD. But pcm went really well! Her english is lots better and we' re teaching grammar basics now. she asked us if we would go to the salon with her next week. SO EXCITING!

Mariah and i went to the soup box for dinner when we got back Mmm. I love the soup box. it was only the second time i had been there... i think i'll go more often this winter. i like to be warmed up from the inside.

don't really have any homework tonight. i finished a lot of it on saturday. But i need to stay on top of it because the next month and a half is crazy busy:
1. this coming sunday: wedding dress shopping with sarah and the girls!!
2. the weekend after: hannah comes and the xavier rudd concert
3. weekend after that: roadtrip to minneapolis for the piper conference!

i have two weeks then and i think mom comes. sheesh. talk about crazy busy. man oh man...

alright. maybe i should go do some reading. OH. for Sys. Theo. we have a reading list of books to choose from and write a short paper. I chose "How Long, O Lord: Reflections on Joy and Suffering" by Carson (i think that's the one...something like that). It sounds amazing. I'm super excited to read it.

Philosophy class is way over my head. it hurts every time. quiz on wednesday. grrrrr.

tomorrow is supposed to be sunny. I am so very happy. I hope it is FULL of sun. and HUGS :)

Sunday, September 07, 2008


I want my Hillsdale friends to roadtrip to Chicago. VISIT ME PLEASE!!!! :)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

sometimes i just feel tired.

more attacks on Darfur

Farmer's Market

This morning I went to the Lincoln Park market. It was wonderful. I bought two sweet korean zuccini and one yellow one (don't know the name). yum! I didn't get flowers this week. maybe next. It's been a great morning. Went to hojo's with Erin (who is in town to say goodbye!) and had a good time catching up :) ... then the farmer's market. now I'm down to lunch and off campus somewhere to study.

Last night Lacy finally took me to one of her favorite cafe/coffee houses. It has open mic night every friday night. it's definitely a new favorite.

Also. have i mentioned lately how much i love edemame? I love it...

p.s. i wore my overalls today. to the farmer's market. i love my overalls.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

my first exegetical paper

due october 9.

10-12 pages on a pericope of choice (found in the minor prophets). I chose Amos 5:18-24. Intimidating? Only A LOT!!! aaaaaaahhhh. At least ten sources. oh gosh...

that's a lot of writing on one short little passage. whew. But i will admit, I'm also excited. I'm excited to dig into it and find the meaning. I like this passage but realize i know relatively nothing of what it is communicating.

i love my Minor Prophets class. my professor is brilliant. we're studying Jonah right now. Today's class was spent on the first 16 verses. It's an hour and 45 minute class!!