Friday, April 29, 2011


Congrats to William and Kate on your marriage, sorry I couldn't be there as I am living on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and couldn't quite afford the flight. She looked like a princess and he a lucky, balding, middle aged man...i wish you both well :)

I'm trying to be a bit more consistent with blogging, actually just more consistent overall. I am getting ready to leave my teenage years in a few weeks and it's gotten me thinking that's it's time to grow up a bit. I don't want to look back on these years and wish I would have done more and gotten more out of life, so I am trying to do more things on purpose. Have coffee with people on purpose, make food on purpose, read my Bible on purpose...not because I happen to stumble upon some free time here and there. I found myself thinking the other day about why I am doing what I am doing. Hopefully I am not the only one who ever questions why they die to themselves everyday for a God they can't see, and why I put all my trust in something I can't feel with my own two hands. And frankly, it is scary. Scary, and for me the last few weeks...exhausting. And here is my process...1.) Get exhausted - I'm tired and then I... 2.) Lose perspective - I forget why I am doing what I'm doing in the first place which makes me... 3.) Resent what I'm doing - which causes me to ignore God and... 4.) Read my Bible and pray a whole lot less...
I get so frustrated and all my eyes can see through the fog of pity I have created is how alone and scary my world has become. Bad things happen to good people. Daughters lose fathers and wives lose husbands. People who constantly do things for others and serve their hearts right out have to take on three jobs just to stay afloat...
I have been a little caught up in those thoughts lately...just not understanding God and wanting to. But instead of seeking Him out and asking Him questions, I stay away. I stay away because I have been around long enough to know that the truth is hard to hear sometimes. That wrestling with God can and most often will leave you with scars. My young and silly heart takes time to be willing to really want to know the answers. But I think I know what the answer is to seasons like this. I finally stopped long enough to pray for a bit a few days ago and I felt like God said, "You know if you just remembered what I said and kept it close to your heart, you would be ok." If I stayed close, if I read His words and His stories and listened to His voice, fear and loneliness wouldn't be able to chew me up and spit me out like that.

"My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will REMEMBER you from the land of the Jordan, the heights of Hermon- Mount Mizar. Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me. By day the Lord directs me with his love, by night His song is with me- a prayer to the God of my life." Psalm 42: 6-8

"I waited patiently for the Lord and he turned to me and he heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in Him. Blessed are those who put their trust in the Lord..." Psalm 40: 1-4

Following Jesus and believing in something we can't see doesn't mean we have to be always wondering and questioning and unsure about our future. He gives us a solid, firm, safe, secure place to stand. And when we feel like we are falling of that firm place, all we have to do is remember...
All of my friends back home, I miss you dearly and cannot wait to see. Praying for you always, and I hope that you are squeezing all the life and joy out of everyday :)

Be brave,

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Take heart

The weather is beautiful here right now, I had the most perfect Wednesday. Life is busy as usual and the list of to do's gets longer and longer all the time...but every Wednesday afternoon I go get a cup of coffee and sit on the same park bench in the same park and just sit with the Lord. Sometimes I will sit for an hour before I even pick up the Bible or a pen and paper. I just sit, and we think and we talk and I make sense of things...and I wouldn't trade those afternoons for the world. I actually regularly say no to plans with other people because no matter what, come rain or shine I sit on that bench every Wednesday afternoon and get to know the Lord a little better than I did before and it's slowly but surely changing me. There are always a lot of things I would love to share and these days I feel like my heart is always full of lessons and little sayings that help me and that I would love to pass on to you. But I think what God has been teaching me most is not really something you can sum up or tie in a bow with a clever saying...which is sad because I love when you learn things you can just slap on a t shirt or something because they are easier to remember.
It's hard to even start to tell the story of what I
feel like my journey with God is right now, and you might be able to understand that feeling. So I will just be a little bit vulnerable and honest for the sake of possibly taking some of you along with me in this. But I sit here tonight on my couch so incredibly grateful. Our God is so good. And if you don't believe that or think it's a lie then I am believing God and praying on your behalf that you see Him in a new way and know in your heart that He is good and faithful. I was reading in Matthew the story about the Last Supper all the way through to him being crucified. And this was the thought that I was struck this time around... I always think big scale when I think about what or who Jesus died for. Which is correct, because He took on the sins of all humanity for all generations to set us free. But reading about his dinner with the disciples and then them praying with Him on the mountain and denying Him and watching Him die...Jesus obviously had people He was close with. He had brothers and a mother and father and best friends,
He healed people and taught them and their children and cities and towns weren't as big back then, so He was known by his community. On that day when He was nailed up to a tree...those were the people He was dying for. His best friends, his mom his cousins...But not just dying for. Their sins are why He had to die. His mother's lies, his brother's jealousy, his best friends' anger, his uncle's lustful thoughts. The people he healed and gave life to...their sins are what put Him on the cross. The disciples that fell asleep while He was crying out to God to take the cup away...their pride is why He had to die and pay a debt He didn't owe.
And the craziest thing to me, and the thing that made me cry while I read the stories today, is that He knew all of this from the very beginning and served and loved and treasured these people while He was flesh. He knew that as He saw his disciples argue and lie that their mistakes were what was going to cost Him his life. He knew that as He watched Mary and Joseph fight and bicker that their selfish would one day put Him on a cross, but He kept loving them while they were yet sinners. That must have been gut-wrenchingly painful. I cannot imagine it.
So I look at what I am blessed with. Yes, I want to fly home because it is hard to be here and to constantly be in an environment of growing and changing and realizing your weaknesses and flaws. Yes, I get afraid that I will yet again be single, living alone, wearing scrubs everyday eating Ramen Noodles for dinner like I was my last semester at Blinn... but forever. I fear that my family will get hurt. That my dreams won't be fulfilled.
That God won't answer the deepest cries of my heart with "yes". But I am the end of the day. Look at what He has done. The most extravagant, thoughtful, crazy, reckless, beautiful, selfless act of love in the history of this world has been accomplished on my behalf and with me in mind. I have no reason to worry or doubt. And I am praying God gives me strength to believe that. You are dearly loved and formed with perfection. He has your very best interest at heart at all time. And a loving God holds you in the palms of His nail-scarred hands. Take heart, be strong and courageous because your God hears you and will not forsake the ones He loves.

Be brave,

Saturday, March 12, 2011

On watering grass

Hello dear dear friends, it has been a while since we have talked! It is amazing how life kind of just happens and before you know it you are asking yourself, where did those last few weeks go?? I hope all is well at home. Texas is often on my mind and even though I have decided to stay here and do another year of college, my heart is still in the Lone Star State.(Picture is me eating a weird popsicle at Burwood Extension a couple weeks back)
I know I shared a bit of what I am doing these days at Hillsong College but a lot of it has changed. I am now the student overseeing College Promotions at the City Campus. I meet with my specialist once a week and we come up with ways to promote college and do advertising and all that fun stuff. It is something I have never done before but hey, why not? I am still co-overseeing the music for Voltage, which is the 5-6th grade ministry here. I am on a pastoral care team for all Worship Stream students, head student meetings, regular classes, weekend serving... Lots and lots to do :)
One of the coolest things I have recently started doing is driving out to an extension service in an area called Burwood. Some of us go out there to volunteer on Friday nights to help run their youth programs and I think it is probably one of my absolute favorite things to do since I have been here. It is smaller and feels more like youth group back home, and I love every second of it. By Friday at 4:30 when we leave we are dead tired from a crazy week, but it's amazing how God gives you what you need to do what He wants you to do.
We are gearing up for Colour Conference, which is a massive women's conference that Hillsong puts on every year. Literally thousands of women come from all over the world,
it is amazing. And all of the college students are basically the manual labor that runs it haha. I have been allocated to Guest Seating (sounds cool I know) which is accomodating all the guest speakers and their families that fly in to awesome is that?! Speaking of Colour Conference...I sent some of you an email about it, but some college students were asked to write original songs with Colour Conference in mind, so that they could be turned in and performed at either college or church or wherever needed. And I wrote one that was chosen and rehearsed and was actually performed along with a music video and college chapel this week. Pretty exciting stuff!! 3 of my roommates sang it, I directed choir, it was so fun. How could I not stay another year??
(The picture is me cooking some pork and potato tacos with homemade salsa a couple weeks ago with my flatmate Bianca and friend Alan in our flat.)
So that's a little bit of what's going on over in these parts. I know I generally tend to pretend like I have all this amazing insight and write to you about the wonderful revelations that God has given me...and I have a few of those. But here are just some simple thoughts that are on my heart for you this blazing hot evening :)
One of the pastors said this a couple weeks back in a message:

"The grass isn't greener on the other side, it's greener where you water it."

That hit me like a ton of bricks. So simple, and makes sense. But I am huge "always wanting to be on the other side" person. Nothing is ever good enough, I constantly compare myself to everyone else, and I always wonder what things would be like if I had made different choices. But I need to just start watering MY grass and not looking at everyone elses. Because grass gets greener where you water it. So that's what I am trying to do...water my grass. Make investments into my own life that may hurt a little and cost me some comfort now, but will save me a lifetime of learning hard lessons and paying prices I can't afford.

The other day in my Old Testament Introduction, the lecturer was talking about this scripture:

"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart." Psalms 37:4

She was saying how tend to read that and think..."Oh, if I just read my Bible, and pray alot, and love worship, and build the church and have a joyful attitude while doing it...God will give me what I really want." I think I'm guilty of that at times. Of treating that like being happy with the Lord is the magic trick to getting what you want. But she challenged us to read it differently. To think of it as, if we find true delight in the Lord and in knowing Him and walking with Him. He will be the one "putting" or "giving" us desires. He will instill in us desires and longings that align with his plan for humanity and plan for salvation, so that the things we pray for and ask for will be His will. And then of course He will give us that. So not that He will give you WHAT you desire...but that when we delight in Him, he will give us THE desire so that our hearts beat with His.

So water your grass. I think there will always be people or things or places you wish you were. But feeding into that is saying that God made a mistake when He put you where He put you, or made you like you are. And He is perfect. SO perfect. I know sometimes it's challenging to get perspective and remember that every season has a prupose...even the ones that feel insignificant. God had to bring His people into a desert for 40 years before they were ready for the Promise Land. And he had to put Moses in the desert for 40 years before He could even lead them out of Egypt. I am praying you do find delight in the Lord, so that He will begin putting His own desires in your heart and that you would be a man or woman after God's own heart. You are loved and dearly missed. Don't underestimate the plan God has to use you :)

Click here for the link to the song I wrote being performed. Again it's not me singing, but you will see me on the screen in a green shirt dress thing and then at the end they push me to the front, as good friends do :)

This picture to the right is during a core tutorial, where we had to do some sort of role play for how being different parts of the body of Christ works...Can you guess who totally took the exercise seriously and was adrenal glands... ;)

Be brave,


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chicken soup, humiliation, and good friends...

Hello friends...I write to you on my comfy orange couch, in an air conditioned apartment, yankee candle lit, watching on old Katherine Hepburn movie. Michelle and I decided we needed a night in and made some apple cobbler and hot tea, feeding out growing addiction to girls night and black and white movies...Life is good. I had the best chicken soup of my entire life today, made with love by my beautiful roommate and partner in various crimes Bianca, pictured to the right. I was feeling a bit like a got hit by a car today, and looking like it as well. All I wanted to do was fly home and watch old movies in Caldwell with my Mimi while my mom makes me hot tea BUT I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have the next best thing...a house full of girls who take care of me and are the most fun people in the world...God is too kind to me.

Intensives are just about over, and I am ready as ever for normal classes to begin. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind! New head student responsibilities are piling on as the days pass, and while I am excited for this season, I have realized how much I need Jesus to give me strength and energy and organization haha. I am learning to take things one day at a time, and to not take myself too seriously. I didn't realize how when you choose to be a leader and take on more responsibility and make the decision to invest yourself into a ministry or a greatly and exponentially increase the potential for making mistakes and falling flat on your face, which has been the lesson I have been learning the past few days. If you don't ever put yourself in a position where you could mess up, you probably aren't really going for it.

We had a student/staff meeting yesterday and the Hills Campus. That means that every college student (just under 1000 people) and every single staff member at Hillsong Church meets together in the Hub and Senior Pastor Brian Houston shares some big picture thoughts and such. All of us head students were sitting towards the front and needed to head out early to help set up for lunch, so we walked out towards the end of his talk, and he definitely called us out from the stage to ask why we were leaving, and then asked us to come sit back down. I have never in my life wanted so badly the ability to become invisible. We all just wanted to crawl into a hole and was humiliating! Oh my word, just thinking about it and reliving it makes me want to cringe so I can't even tell you about it anymore BUT just know that at that moment I learned how to admit to utter stupidity, pick up, and move on. The 1 minute ordeal plays over and over in my head like an annoying commercial that won't end!! Hence I am learning, NOT to take my self too seriously. It's not if I will mess's when...and I think it's good to learn to laugh at yourself and look at things in the light of the big picture and big scheme of things. If nothing else, God probably a good, hearty laugh at some of his kids lookin like fools...thank goodness He has a sense of humor. (picture- Me and Michelle and Coogee beach)

I have been thinking and praying about my time here and what's it's going to look like and for how long. My one year commitment will end this July, but I am feeling my heart soften more and more to the idea of doing another year. That seems like an eternity right now, but I know 2 years really isn't that long compared to the many years I will live. I was reading Hebrews 11 which talks about all the people in the Old Testament who had faith and what they did because of their faith.

"All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only welcomed them and saw them from a distance, admitting that they were stranger and foreigners on this earth. People who say such things show that the are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had the opportunity to return. Instead they were longing for a better country- a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, and he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13-16

I love how it says that if they had been thinking about where they came from, they could have found reasons to go home. But instead they were longing for a new home, for the city God was preparing for them. And I don't know about you guys, but I want to be the kind of person that God prepares a place a for, and who isn't ashamed to be Lord over. So I don't know exactly how long I will stay here in Sydney, but I do know that I will try my best to be a woman of faith, who welcomes Gods promises even if from a distance...

Now for some honorable mentions. I have already mentioned Bianca and Michelle who along with my other 4 flatmates make my life and coming home from class and absolute joy...and for those of you doing the math that's 7 girls in one house...
Dylan Hibbert (picture above) is one of my favorite people here at school for a couple of reasons. I think one of those reasons is that we both love college and despite that face that there are days when we both want to fly home...we make the best of it, and choose to enjoy it. He knows when to tell me to sit down and stop moving for 5 seconds and takes terrible and embarrassing pictures of me and then puts them on facebook and gives me a hard time about never answering phone BUT he is a legend. Dylan if you are reading this I have two word...FAR OUT :)
There are a million people I could talk about...Andrea Wakim- the best Lebanese-Canadian I know, Chris Trapp- someone who I can't be around for more than 5 seconds without laughing, Kristine Diaz- (the hottie Latina in the picture above!! ) who at the end of last semester admitted to me and I to her that we thought the other was so cool and wanted to be best friends with but never said anything, Vanessa, Rachel, Jess...I love them all.

Well, the just put on Selena and I have got to get my inner "chola" on :) I hope you are all enjoying life. Take it one day at a time...there is enough beauty and crazy in one day to keep us busy without worrying about the rest. I love you dearly and miss you.

Be brave,