Sunday, February 28, 2010

Forever and Ever, Amen

Although I'm sad to say it, our church series "The Vow" came to and end today. I only hope that we can continue different kinds of sermon series throughout the rest of this year. Today's sermon kind of tied together the loose ends left from the other 3 this month.

The first topic we discussed was communication. That immediately caught my attention because in any relationship you keep in your life, there will indefinitely be communication issues. I know I find myself struggling with this problem on a day-to-day basis. My pastor got the whole church laughing with his new slogan-- Communication: Just Do It. But then again, that's the truth. It's something you have to constantly work on to make better and clearer. The reason communication can be so difficult in a marriage, or even some friendships, is that men and women clearly do no think the same. We're "wired" differently. The way to approach this 'issue' is just to see the differences between men and women as God's gift to each person, or God's design for marriages. How boring would a relationship with a spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, or even a best friend be if you were exactly the same? The differences between the two people, no matter how small, are exciting little surprises that make life interesting.

The two key words to any relationship should be 1) Work and 2) Focus. Matthew 7:13-14 says:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

A modern example to explain this verse is Malfunction Junction-where I26 and I20 meet. It is almost impossible to change lanes in this particular stretch of interstate and if you're not careful, you could end up going down the wrong road, just like in life. If you listen to the world's view of love and relationships they'll tell you that if you're not happy, then you must have chosen the wrong person. Or that love is passion, an emotion, or a feeling. My personal favorite is "if it don't come easy, you gotta let it go." I don't know about you, but if I put a lot of effort into a relationship, why would I leave the person at the drop of a dime because times got difficult? These views of relationships are lies, so don't fall into the views of the world, for these are the wide road that can ultimately lead to destruction. Just as in the Malfunction Junction example--the exit off of the interstate is the narrow path, and if prepared for, worked for, and focused on, it is possible to escape traffic, avoid a wreck, and safely get off the exit ramp. It may not come easy, but it can be done, so don't give up.

Friday, February 26, 2010


I just got some very exciting news! I was finally published in the school paper! I've been taking some time off to adjust to things and get comfortable with a new school, but I finally decided to take the plunge a couple weeks ago and write an article.

I'd almost forgot that high that I feel when I see my name underneath a newspaper headline. It's indescribable's like butterflies in my stomach. That may sound silly because there's of course nothing to be nervous about, but it's just this amazing feeling I get in my gut- like God's showing me that I really am heading down the right track with my life. I can't say that I mind!


This doesn't have a name yet, but it's just something that came to me and I decided to write it down:

For some,
It's the smile on a friend's face,
The thrill of the chase--
For something new.

The exhilarating rush
Of a new sports car,
Making the big bucks,
Or traveling afar.

But for me--
It's oh so simple;
All I need is my trusty
Pen or pencil...

To carry me away
To a faraway place,
Where no one else exists,
In time or space.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Findings of a College Student

So, I was just sitting here last night thinking about everything I've learned since I've been in college. A lot of these are more recent discoveries, but of course there are some that I've known for a while. Here it goes:

  • It doesn't always have to be two extremes...sometimes there can be a compromise in the middle :)
  • You can't make everyone happy-so don't stress yourself out trying.
  • Sometimes you just have to step back & take a look at the bigger picture...things are never as bad as they seem.
  • I never thought I'd say this, really don't have to plan everything out in advance. Great things can happen without a plan. (My dad would be proud, haha )
  • College is a lot more fun once you branch out and make friends
  • If you truly care about someone, then you can't stand in their way of true happiness; no matter what that may mean for you.
  • No one is ever quite what they seem
  • Love will never end up like a movie, so stop expecting it to happen that way
  • If you have a problem, it's better to talk them out with a friend, rather than letting the emotions build up inside you
  • Procrastination is NEVER a good way to avoid stress. It always comes back to bite you & brings even more stress along with it than you had before!
  • It's good to have balance in your life.
  • Being away from home doesn't mean you love your family any actually makes you love them more
  • Pictures truly can't capture the beauty in every matter how many you take.
  • You really don't have to see someone every day, or even every month to be their best friend.
  • Although an experience may seem scary at first...just embrace it; it could lead to true happiness
  • Life will never stay the same, so you have to try to keep an open mind to these changes that will inevitably occur...
  • You really don't need everything you "think" you happy for the many blessings you already have.
  • Professor-to-student relationships are extremely important, both in and out of the classroom. (Sometimes they have connections for getting a job, lol )
  • No matter how hard to try to avoid it, you're going to grow up and most likely turn into your parents. (Love you mom & dad!)
  • Friends could be the most important thing going for you, so don't let anyone stand in the way of that.
  • Love is not the typical definition that you can pull from a dictionary. It's a verb.
  • It's not so scary to just walk up to a practical stranger and introduce may just have a lot in common after all.
  • Exploring other options doesn't mean you've got to change your mind just means you're open to new things.
  • Finding something you're truly passionate about gives you a totally different outlook on life.
  • And most importantly-God will never let you down...He can take the weight of anything off your shoulders. (Yes, I already knew this, but sometimes you just have to be reminded)

I hope you've enjoyed my ranting...feel free to add your own recent life lessons!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Only Wanna Be With You

So, here goes the third week in our series, "The Vow"...this particular sermon was entitled "Only Wanna Be With You." In case you haven't noticed, we've been keeping the song title theme :)

In my particular Bible, Matthew 22:34-40 is given the headline, "The Greatest Commandment." I couldn't agree more.

"Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: 'Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?' Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

My pastor started off with this verse and then proceded to tell the congregation that all of us, including himself, had our "loves out of order." He said that the top two reasons for a marriage to become out of order was #1-Career, and #2-Children. In a lot of marriages, a spouse may tend to put more effort into his/her career and by the time they return home, they're tired, irritible, etc. This leaves his/her family with the leftovers which isn't good for any relationship. I was shocked to hear children be one of the reasons that marriages are out of order. He explained that parents sometimes put all their energy and effort into their children (which isn't bad for the first few years), but then when the children grow up, the couple find that they no longer have anything in common and sometimes barely know each other. Instead of this, the couple should make time for themselves to show the children a good example of a loving couple.

We also talked about how to most, marriage is like signing a contract. Instead of this mindset, marriage should be thought of as a covenant for a lifetime between husband, wife, and God. The picture I posted by this blog clearly represents this. The background of the picture is part of the Bible verse of Ecclesiastes which states that a "3 fold cord is not easily broken." This is because the marriage has it's loves in order with God being the center of their relationship. Even in relationships (before marriage) I feel it's most important to have God in the middle-without Him, how would the relationship be possible to begin with?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

You Give Love A Bad Name

Here's the second synopsis of my church's new series, The Vow. So, I'll start off by asking, do you give love a bad name?

The correct answer is yes, we all do at times. Whether this is the type of love given to a spouse, a boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, or even a parent. God says that when a person looks at your relationships, they should see His love being reflected through them. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says,

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails."

My pastor put this Bible verse on the projector screen and asked the congregation to replace the word love in these verses with their own name. That should be what each of us strives to be. To me, that is very hard. This is one of my favorite Bible verses, but it also very hard to maintain all of these aspects in every relationship. That doesn't mean that I can't try harder to do so though.

He stated the 3 A's that can destroy a relationship, but more specifically a marriage- 1) Addiction, 2) Abuse, 3) Adultery. Any of these three things can destroy a relationship, but doesn't mean they cannot be mended through counseling. The biggest threat to relationships is complacency. After a certain amount of time in a close relationship, the "fuzzy" feelings are starting to fade, and we tend to criticize the people we love most. Those criticisms, no matter how small, can eventually build up a wall between you and another person and slowly the only things we see in that person are the bad...we start forgetting all of the good times. I admit that I too, am guilty of this. It does build up a wall, but with forgiveness, the wall can slowly be torn down and our relationships can be re-ordered so to speak. I'll end with 2 quotes I found to be really encouraging from his sermon.

"It's not about the chemistry, it's about character."

"It's not about choosing the right person, but instead, choosing to be the right person."

Valentine Buzz

Although, I may sound like a hypocrite of some sort, I wanted to get some things off my chest. Valentine's Day...a day for love and those mushy fuzzy feelings associated for the people you love or care about. I'm not one of those bitter people who don't like Valentine's day...even if I wasn't dating someone, I still don't think I'd be bitter. My thing is, shouldn't you show someone that you care every day, rather than one day a year? Don't get me wrong; I love receiving flowers and being taken out and pampered, so to's nice, but that's really not what love in general should be about.

I've thought this every year about this time, but I really came to realize these feelings this year. My boyfriend and I tried several times to have a special night together...the first time, we get snow so bad that the roads wouldn't allow us to go anywhere. The second night, everyone apparently had the same idea we did and the wait for a restaurant would be about 2 hours. Instead of our romantic dinner and a movie we'd had planned for weeks, we ended up at a mexican restaurant for dinner and ended with a snowball fight at school for the first night. The second night, we had a lovely meal in the food court at the mall, haha. Well, this may not sound great or even funny to some people, but to me it was perfect and way better than I could ever have expected. It's not about the gifts or even that day really...Valentine's day should just be another day to show someone you care...a day that should really be every day.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

What's Love Got to Do With It?

Okay, so you're probably wondering what the title of this post refers to. Well, this was actually the title of my pastor's sermon this past sunday. For the month of February, my church is participating in a series entitled "The Vow." By the name of this series, you might automatically assume it's nothing but a way to speak to the married couples in our congregation...WRONG. It of course has a lot to do with this, but whether you're married, in a long-term relationship, or even single, there is something to be learned from this sermon series. I got so much out of it, that I wanted to share it with anyone who would listen.

So...what does love have to do with anything? There are two answers. The first answer is Absolutely Nothing. The second, is Ultimately Everything. Here, let me John 13:34-35, Jesus gives a command that is often forgotten:

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love on another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

When I first heard this, I was a little taken back. I've never really thought of love being a command from God; I've just done it. I'm the kind of person who tries to be nice to anyone, whether they've hurt me or not, which sometimes means I get called things like a pushover. Anyways, I'm getting off topic. When you think of love, what do you think about? Merriam Webster's Dictionary had a lot of different answers- strong affection for another person, an object of attachment or devotion, and even an attraction based off of sexual desires. These are all typical answers that people in today's society may think or say is their definition of love. Well, not that any of these were my definition, but I certainly had never thought about the definition I received from my pastor.

He told our congregation to treat love not as an emotion, but a promise to another person. I guess I'd just never thought about it that way, but it really makes more sense. People tend to think of love as something passionate, with warm fuzzy feelings and butterflies that last forever. I do to a certain extent...I've dated the same guy for about three years now & I'm proud to say that I still have those fuzzy feelings when I see him, but I know that in long-term relationships, those feelings don't always last. My pastor went on to say that when couples say "I do," they're relationship is full of passion and those warm feelings. More often than not, when those feelings fade, they tend to feel that their relationship is dying or some even may try to find those feelings elsewhere from others. God commands each and every one of us to love each other, even when we don't feel like it, or more specifically when those "fuzzies" are gone. An emotion can't be commanded, but actions can. Love should be treated as a verb; something we do for others when we feel like, when we don't, or until we feel like it. Just like when there are times you don't feel very close in your walk with God...does that mean you should give up on that relationship? When you stand before God and vow to love this person for the rest of your lives, it's a promise to make things work, even when they aren't in the best of times.

Although I'm not married, and don't plan on being so for a while, it was great insight into my current relationship and advice that can last me for the rest of my life. I'm really looking forward to the next 3 Sundays in this series! Until then...thanks for listening!