Home. Love it, LOVE it, LOVE IT!

Who’s in HokieLand??? ME!!! 😉 Finally back alongside my fellow Hokies – if only for a few days. Enjoy it immensely, I shall. 🙂 I must admit, every time I see the “Christiansburg, Blacksburg, Virginia Tech” signs on I-81 my heart gets a little too happy. I LOVE THIS PLACE. 😉

Lots and lots of fun things planed for this weekend – a trip to Sinkland Farms, FOOTBALL, bonfire, a new hairdo, lunch with Mom, supper with the family, and Nav socials just to name a few. See, FUN I tell ya. A fun and busy schedule – something that I’ve dearly missed. 🙂 Oh, and my birthday. Shouldn’t forget to include that, too, I suppose. 😉

Have a lovely and blessed FALL-filled weekend, too! 🙂

My last post as a 21 year old,

Christina

Love never fails.

We began a new sermon series at FBC yesterday. The topic is “suffering” and how we approach the difficult trials in our lives. When you face a trial, how do you respond? Do you get mad? Get sad? Get joyful? That’s the question that was posed this week… how do you act when difficult times befall you? If you actually know me, then you know that I faced a trial this past summer. A big whopper of a trial! But He was always there with me – right beside me through it, before me in hope, and encouraging me from behind. He was my God in those moments and I am so thankful for His presence during that trial of mine. I never felt mad, or sad, or questioned “why me?”… I promised myself that I wouldn’t… I promised Him that I wouldn’t… I loved Him and trusted Him. I look back and see His strength and wisdom in my thoughts and actions. I wasn’t afraid… I was actually joyful. I was assured and comforted by Him to the point of unconceivable safety, peace, and joy. Amen and thank You. I won’t go too far into detail about my story (Please ask if you care to know, though! I really don’t mind sharing. It’s His story really… and it’s my job to keep spreading the Love. 🙂 ), but I will leave you with some quotes from this week’s sermon…

The sermon was impactful and definitely worth your time! Take a moment to listen: The Reality of Suffering and the Pursuit of God by Mark Carey.

“God allows what He hates to achieve what He loves.” Joni Eareckson Tada

“We will not encounter Christ as our best friend, as the source of all true goodness, as the one who provides the sweetest pleasure to our souls until we abandon ourselves to Him. And full abandonment, full trust, rarely happens until we meet God in the midst of shattered dreams, until in our brokenness we see Him, the only and over flowingly sufficient answer to our soul’s deepest cry… As nothing else can, suffering moves us away from demanding what is good to desiring what is better, until Heaven provides what is best.” Larry Crabb

“There’s nothing that shows our ignorance so much as our impatience under trouble. We forget that every cross is a message from God and intended to do us good in the end. Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees. Health is a good thing, but sickness is far better if it leads us to God. Prosperity is a great mercy, but adversity is a greater one if it brings us to Christ.” J.C. Ryle

“God’s universal purpose for suffering is more contentment in God and less satisfaction in self and the world.” John Piper

2 Corinthians 12:7-12 and Romans 5:1-5

Feel free to reference all those verses that I posted a while back, as well. Maybe they’ll help you, too. 🙂

Reading, reading, reading… and reading some more. Welcome to grad school! 😉 More later.

Christina

Hallelujahs in the morning, Hallelujahs in the night

The Hokies lost two games this week…… I don’t even know what to say to that. haha. I still love you guys and our wonderful school! 😉

I won’t lie, this week has been interesting for me. But, I sit here speaking to you with a heart that’s trying its hardest to hear Him, trust Him, and follow Him amidst all these questions… I share these things with yall in the hopes that the things that I’ve learned might help one of you, too.

Grad school is tough stuff. (Just an FYI, my school schedule runs from Thursday to Wednesday.) This past week was tough because of… me. I didn’t plan well and left TONS of work to be done on Monday and Tuesday. Lesson learned. This week will be no different, too. Schoolwork load, that is… there’s actually more to be done. This week will be different than last because I have been much better at scheduling my time… already have two classes’ work done! Three more days for three more classes’ work to go! MUCH better than last week. 🙂

Life is interesting at the present moment. There are some things that I can’t really talk about on here, but lots of things (have been and) are changing. Things are different from what I’m use to. It seems like I’m facing new challenges every day – in all sorts of areas. And, honestly, I just don’t know what to make of it all at times. I’m taking it all to Him… praying and living in faith… and He’s always proving Himself faithful… but my sight is still so mirky at times. No matter how cloudy my sight may be or how little I am understanding His plans, I will still trust Him and seek my Source. What else am I to do? Nothing. And I wouldn’t have it any other way… even though I don’t understand, I know that He does. Just keep trusting, my sweet self…

I love Phil Wickham. (If you have absolutely no idea who that is, you’ve gotta Grooveshark him! He’s a great Christian singer. Really, just go look him up! I’m sure you’ll just love him.) It’s been a wonderful thing to witness… He has used him a whole whole lot to encourage me this week. Phil Wickham and BCF sermons. 🙂 Almost all of his songs are great, but I’ll share just a few that have meant a lot to me recently…

(1) In My Love

This song is brand new and you can only find it on iTunes… I would share it if I could! Go find it, though. It’s great!

(2) You’re Beautiful

(3) I Will Wait For You There

There’s a rhyme to my reason… I found (1) on the radio the other day and it was too perfect to even be true. Good thing perfect things are possible with Him. 🙂 Number (1) is “In My Love” for one reason. One perfectly exact reason. The lyrics…

“I have looked you in the eyes
I have seen the tears you cried
I have heard you question why you are here

There is a reason, there’s a plan
There is a God Who understands
He’s got your life inside His hands
Have no fear
Because He says

In all your hurt and in all your pain
I’ll never leave, I won’t forsake
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love

I know this road is deep
And I know you’re tired and weak
But the God of perfect peace is right here

He is the shelter from the storm
He is the rock firm and secure
He is hope forever more
Have no fear
Because He says

In all your hurt and in all your pain
I’ll never leave, I won’t forsake
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love
When everything seems out of control
I’m holding on, I won’t let go
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love

There is hope tonight
There is everlasting life
Dry away your tears
Because tomorrow is on the rise
Love will never fail
He will never fail
He says

In all your hurt and in all your pain
I’ll never leave, I won’t forsake
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love
When everything seems out of control
I’m holding on, I won’t let go
You’re my child and I’m your God
Come and rest in my love
In my love
In my love”

Number (2) is second because it reminds me of who He is. The Creator. The sovereign Holy One. And my God. I have nothing to worry about when I’m in His hands.

Number (3) is third because it sounds like the song of someone speaking from heartache and questions and doubts and, yet, has chosen to hope and wait and praise and seek Him. Amen. FYI, this is a good one to sing nice and loud while driving down old country roads on beautiful Fall days. The poor speakers in my car!… hehe, if Skillet doesn’t bust them, Phil Wickham shouldn’t either. 😉

Socially, I’m strugglin’. I miss my family and friends terribly and I wish to make new ones SO badly… but I just haven’t been able to. School is taking up so much of my time and the activities that I have planned to attend have almost all fallen through. This week might be promising, though! On top of allll my schoolwork, I have lots of fun social things planned too. I’m trying my hardest to seize opportunities and continue to root and establish myself here… let’s hope that I can make big strides in that area soon. Like my mom said, it’s only been a month… some things just take time.

Lesson of the week: He loves me. He loves you, too. Truly.

“…for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6

Praying for more of Him (and people in my life 😉 ),

Christina

A lovely reminder…

“What difference does it make (or should it make) that God is a God of truth?

a. It assures us that there is such a thing as absolute truth. Truth is what is real, and God is real and God is truth, and Jesus Christ is the way and the truth and the life. This is both comforting and disturbing.

b. It is comforting because it means that our lives have meaning; we are not just the result of slime plus time, but we are the creation of a loving and gracious God. Are you hurting today in some way? Perhaps you have just lost your job, or perhaps the girl of your dreams has found someone else, or maybe the doctor has just told you that you have a serious illness. You can rest today in the truth of God’s love for you; whatever else happens He has promised

Heb 13:5-6 God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”

c. It is also comforting because it tells us that this God not only created us but He also loves us, and that He sent His Son Jesus Christ into this world to be our Savior, and to pay the price that we could not pay.

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

d. It is disturbing for believers because it demands a response from us.

The prominent Chinese Christian, Watchman Nee, spelled out more fully the kind of attitudes we must have if we are to know the truth: “Lies have no price upon them. They are cheap and they abound everywhere. But for the truth there is always a price to pay. First there is the price of humility, for it is to the meek that light is given from God. If we are not prepared to buy the truth at the cost of our own humbling we shall not receive it. Then there is the price of patience. Quick verdicts and impatient decisions have little to do with the divine light which is given to those who will wait upon God and wait for God. And supremely, there is the price of obedience. “If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know.” Unquestioning obedience is essential if we would know God’s will and God’s ways. Is our faith the cheap, easy kind that pays no price? Or are we prepared to have it founded on the truth of God, however great to us the cost of coming by that truth?”

e. It is disturbing to non-believers because it spells out the consequences of unbelief.

Rom 2:7-8 “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”

2 Thess 2:10-12 “They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved…. all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.”

John Piper asks: “You may be non-committal about Jesus not because you think he is untrue but just because you don’t know. … Let me ask you a question to see if you are really being honest with yourself. Do you suspend judgment and plead ignorance on the issues that really matter to you and where your personal interest is at stake? Or do you just suspend judgment only in those areas that seem unimportant or troublesome to you?

I have never met or heard of a person who has any trouble believing in moral absolutes when he is punched in the nose. He immediately believes that the aggressor is absolutely guilty. And if a judge said, “Not guilty because truth is relative and for him it was a good thing to punch you in the nose and you can’t put the monkey of your absolutes onto his back,” then you would say that this judge is a bad judge.

The point is this, you may say “I don’t know what absolute truth is, and I don’t think I can find out.” But the truth is, when your own personal interest is at stake, you won’t act as though you don’t know what truth is. We have very strong convictions when our life and property are at stake, don’t we? Strange how agnosticism and relativism are blown away when our rights and our life are on the line! So I plead with you.. that you realize how much is at stake in Jesus’ claim to bring the truth. It is a matter of eternal life and death. Your life is on the line. And Jesus says in another place (John 7:17), “If anyone’s will is to do God’s will, he will know whether the teaching is from God.”

f. Truth alone is not enough.

Sadly there are some Christians who are strong on truth but who are harsh and unforgiving and just not good witnesses and examples for our Lord. As Sandy reminded us last week, Jesus gave us two great commandments:

Mark 12:29-31 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

We are indeed commanded to love God and His truth with all our being, but we are also commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves. So we need to stand up for the truth, but to do so in love:

“Yes, if truth is not undergirded by love, it makes the possessor of that truth obnoxious and the truth repulsive.” Ravi Zacharias”

-David Kingston, “What is Truth?” at BCF last Sunday

Something fun

I found a new widget and I’d love to see if it works. It allows me to make polls and view the (anonymous) responses… kinda neat! This is a silly question, but I just want to see if (1) anyone will respond and (2) that I know how to work it correctly. Vote away. 🙂

Love (and Ohio) is beautiful

This past weekend was wonderful… the absolute best!

If you actually know me, then you know that I dearly miss my friends and family. I am living in a new town in a new part of the state and going to a new school with lots of new people and trying my hardest to get involved in a new church. A whole lot of new things, that’s for sure! I’m not sure if I should share all that I am about to tell, but I will anyway. hehe. Not really sure that anyone reads this anyhow – if someone is, perhaps this can be of encouragement to you. 🙂 …

A dear, sweet friend from Virginia Tech married the love of her life this past weekend and it was a joyful thing to witness. I’m thankful that she invited me to partake in her special day and celebrate the beautiful relationship that she shares with her HUSBAND (so strange to say, hehe). To see her walk with Him and him over the past few years has been wonderful. I know, “wonderful”… I use that word a lot. But I love it and I wholeheartedly mean it. 😉 She, in general, is just an awesome person to me. She and he together with Him… even awesomer. 🙂 Her gentle strength is something that I admire and her love for the hearts of others is a huge reflection of His. She is sweet and kind and can run a marathon. Wonderful, I tell ya. Wonderful. 🙂

…I had told her that I would be there to see her walk down the isle in her beautiful white dress and that was a promise that I decided I would keep no matter how much school work I have or how tight my financial situation may currently be (Matthew 5:37 and Psalm 15:4b). So, in order to make this happen, I got to planning… I GoogleMaped it and it would take me roughly 12 hours to drive to her hometown and back… lots and lots of driving all by myself. Did I ever mention that I’m not a big fan of driving? Cause I’m definitely not, hehe. 😉 I knew that a bunch of friends from Tech would be attending the wedding as well, so I got to thinking… I made a few phone calls and the Lord starting putting His perfect plan into motion. 🙂 There was one spot open in the carpooling group’s cars… perfect! I know that this sounds crazy, but it actually worked out better for me to drive down to Blacksburg and carpool with everyone – less driving alone, cheaper, more time with my lovely friends!! I spoke to another dear friend from Tech and her family was SO willing to open up their home to me for the weekend… housing? Check! I was just so pleased to be able to visit my friends at the wedding… now I was able to visit them (and Blacksburg)! How exciting! Such a treat to my heart. 🙂 I wholeheartedly believe that this was all a gift from Him… for obeying His word. Keep reading, though…. things get even better… 🙂

…I called my mom and dad and they were able to meet me for supper on my way through town – such a great time with them. I wasn’t sure when I would be able to see them again (probably closer to Thanksgiving) and here I was eating with them in August! 🙂 I finally made my way to Blacksburg and I surprised a huge group of friends… their expressions were priceless and wonderful. I truly am thankful for their friendships. More visits to be had in the future, that’s for sure. 🙂 I spent the rest of the night chatting it up with one of my best friends and beating her brothers in Nertz. heheha 😉 I love her family so much – they treat me like a daughter/sister and I couldn’t be more thankful. 🙂 We woke up bright and early the next day to drive to Ohio – lots of coffee in our bellies and lots of great convos on the ride up there with two new people that we can now call friends… good trip. 🙂 Now for the best part!!!… We got to Ohio, ate at Whit’s Custard (SOOO yummy!!! And the place where the couple went on their very first date – how appropriate that we go there!) and went to the most wonderful wedding I’ve ever been to. I won’t try to ruin it with too many words, but please know that it was the sweetest culmination of one of the most “true” love stories I’ve ever known. The Lord was present in every way… His love is embodied in their love… and it was the most beautiful thing to witness. 🙂 Gooshy girly thing: their personal vowels were precious. Props to you, Courtney!… I would have been crying many, many tears of joy and wouldn’t have been able to get those wonderful words out. 😉 A few joyful tears later, we made our way to the reception to enjoy an afternoon of great food, company and weather. Many wonderful pictures, smiles, laughs, dance moves and hugs later, we headed back to Virginia. After another great night and morning at my friend’s house, we attended church at BCF. Felt so good to be back!!! Too much to even talk about concerning that sermon – GREAT message that was perfectly timed by Him, for sure. Check it out here. He also guarded my heart from many things/people during that time and I’m terribly thankful for that. 🙂  Loaded up with an awful lot of Panera bread, jam, veggies and apples from a loving friend’s mother (another huge blessing)… I headed back up I-81 towards Winchester. I was able to stop by my parents house to visit and eat supper with them, as well. Two visits in one weekend! That never ever happens.

…all in all, this weekend was blessed. Tiring and encouraging and fun and blessed. I know this post may sound a little like a jumbled mess, but I hope that you can see His goodness throughout it all. I had a choice to make… stay in Winchester to study and try to build new friendships in order to serve myself (financially, socially, academically) OR keep my oath and continue to live and love like I know He wants me to by lending my time and my funds. (ALSO: I just love her to pieces and would not have wanted to miss her special day!!) He keeps calling me to love and be generous with what I have… to rely on His provision… and He keeps providing. Praise His holy name.

Also, this little trip came at the perfect time. All by His doing, I’m positive. 😛 It’s a somewhat long story, but I’ve been struggling/studying/learning about contentment. Contentment in your current place in life – physically, emotionally, socially. What does that look like? How can I find it? Can you find something like that? What does it really mean to be content and why does He require that we be so “in any and every situation” (Philippians, 1 Timothy, Hebrews). I don’t want to just learn these things and the key to being content in life… I also want to be joyful in my contentment. The following thought came to me loud and clear: If I truly trust in His sovereignty in all things, how could I not be joyful in my circumstances? His hands have made and formed me… they have saved me and loved me… they have led me and lead me… why should I ever doubt His reasonings for my current situation? No matter what may come my way, I am His daughter… look at the good that He has done with my life!… how could I not be joyful in His current and future doings? Silly and simple, I know, but I’m glad that He reminded me of this. 🙂 ANYway, back to my point :), I finally had a pretty good handle on this “contentment with JOY!!” situation. I’ve been finding some of that joy, actually. This made my trip to HokieLand that much better. 🙂 While there and when returning, I wasn’t sorrowfully missing my old life and the great joy that that place brings me… I wasn’t living in the past… I was able to be thankful for what was and hopeful for what will be… I was content and energized and ready to get back to Winchester and my new life with the certainty that His hand is at work (Hebrews 11:1 keeps speaking to me). 🙂

By the way, graduate school is tough stuff. And, I’m working with a cadaver… so strange for me! Prayers, please! (Romans 8:28-32)

“The Chronicles of Narnia” just came one TV and this is my one free night of the week… gotsta go and do NOTHING! Sounds wonderful. 😉

Sweet dreams,

Christina