February 26, 2015


A quick story about how I learned about what it means to make choices and live according to God's will:

A month or so after I graduated high school - after I'd already given my life to Jesus and decided to follow him - I began dating this Christian guy I had known for years.  It seemed like everything was going well.  But some time later, everything was flipped upside down and then it was over.  I felt like I wasn't good enough and went over and over our whole relationship in my head.

I thought I had screwed up by dating him in the first place.  Surely if it was in God's will, it wouldn't have ended like that, right?  Even though I thought for sure I had made a big mistake and was out of God’s will (as far as His plan for my life), I knew where to turn for comfort, wisdom, and peace:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4

To be honest, the abstract concept of God using a crappy situation to make me mature and complete used to seem kind of horrible to me.  But now, going through these trials, I realized that I had learned so much.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” - Romans 8:28

I thought about all that had happened and realized that I have grown in different ways.  Not for one minute do I doubt that.  It was a learning experience for sure.  I know God could have used different circumstances to grow me, but that’s the whole point: He used these things to work out for my good!  I didn't waste my time.  I didn't step "out of God's will".  I am not capable of stalling God's work in my life...  Duh.

Only now looking back, a year since breaking up, I can see how God used that "season" of my life.  Paul says in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret,” and I think that means that the sadness I experienced brought me to a better understanding of my faith and isn’t something to completely write off as a waste.

February 13, 2015

He loves me.

I wanted to tell you a really small prayer that God answered for me this week.  God answering prayer is not anything unusual, obviously, but sometimes I throw out these really stupid requests: desires that have absolutely no eternal value and are usually kind of selfish and that I don’t really even think I should mention... but God sees my heart, so I laid it out at His feet, almost embarrassed.

Last week I got to thinking about Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure I'm not alone in feeling a little bit down about the whole holiday.  I can be prone to feeling sorry for myself when I let my mind go there, so I didn't want to be alone that day.  But what kind of plans does a single girl make for Valentine’s Day?  I mean I just planned on stocking up on chocolate, reading “Crazy Love” by Francis Chan, watching “The Princess Bride,” (maybe shedding a couple of self-pity tears, if we’re being honest here)… Nothing special.  I didn’t spend a whole lot of time praying about it, but it was on my heart, so I just kind of went really quickly “PleasegivemesomewayoutofbeingaloneonValentinesDay.”  Then I moved on.

A couple of days later, I got a Facebook message from a friend who is a few years older than me that I look up to.  I don’t see her often or even know her all that well, but she invited me to join her for a bonfire and a game night on February 14th at her home.  She doesn’t even know how awesome it is to me that I received that message.  Thank God for caring about little tiny me wandering woefully around with a little gray cloud above my head.  His love truly is beyond my understanding.  I will never be able to wrap my mind around it.

The weather is supposed to be bad that day and the whole thing might be called off, but what matters is this: I know I’m not going to be alone on Valentine’s Day.  Whether I spend the evening at with someone else or at home, God reminded me how much He loves me by answering my “stupid” prayer, and I know He is wrapping His arms around me.

“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…” Ephesians 6:18

February 9, 2015

Evolutionary purpose for personality and emotion?

Snow day!

Okay, so a snow day is really nothing special anymore.  In the 3 weeks since the semester began, we’ve had three snow days.  Such is life in the northeast.

This morning I have been studying my psychology textbook, preparing for a test.  Knowing that I would be getting an evolutionary perspective at my secular college, I went into this psychology class with a pretty vigilant mind.

For most of the first few classes, my professor was dealing with the scientific method of forming a hypothesis, testing the hypothesis extensively, how it becomes a theory, etc., and the myriad of psychological perspectives, but last week she introduced us to the biology of the brain according to the theory of evolution.  She praised the makeup of the brain, telling us “The central core, with the most basic survival functions, is located in the middle, surrounded by the part of the brain, the cerebrum, which houses the personality, higher thought, emotion, and intellectual capabilities.  It is not an accident that the most crucial parts of the brain are protected within the cerebrum.”

Because of the snow days, she was trying to fit a lot of material into one day to keep up with the schedule, so I didn’t start this debate.  My one question was, “What's the evolutionary purpose for developing a personality and emotion at all?”

After an awkward silence, she replied, “That’s actually a really good question,” and explained how perhaps personality lent itself to higher social structures, but no one really knows for sure.  Even a perspective that denies faith in God relies so much on faith in the unknown...?

February 7, 2015

I'm not in charge.

“While you’re trying to figure it out, God is working it out.” It’s kind of a Christian-ese quote that I have heard my mom say a million times.  I think it is rooted in Romans 8:28: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” meaning that as much as I stress and lose sleep over decisions about my future, God sees my whole life outside of time, and has it all in his hands.

When I sit and worry, I’m telling myself that I can’t trust God with my future.  What a horrible situation I’d be in if I was in charge of the course of my life.  Every decision would weigh so heavily on my wisdom, and I would wonder constantly if perhaps I was making the “wrong” decision.

But since I have given up my life for God to work through, I no longer have to wonder.  I know I’m not in charge, and I know that I’m not really the one making these life-changing decisions.  God works through all things.  When I face a decision about a college major, I’m not choosing between “God’s way” and “not God’s way” – I’m choosing a way, and God is working through that way to use for His purpose!  I am so comforted to know my life is not in my own hands.

Matthew 10:29-31: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”