Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ephesians 1

Apparently my body doesn't realize that I am 18 years old and not 5 because I still can't sleep on Christmas Eve. So I'm up this morning at 6am reading the word. Ah again I'm amazed at how GOOD our Lord is. I was flipping through my Bible wondering if I should read the Christmas story from the gospels, but I decided to pick up where my bookmark was.. the beginning of Ephesians. And how perfect this passage is. Read it with fresh eyes this Christmas. Have a merry merry day celebrating the birth of our Savior!!

Ephesians 1:3-23

       3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9 And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment-- to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
       11 In him we are also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession-- to the praise of his glory.
       15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believed. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20 which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated at his right hand in the heavenly realm, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Friday, December 24, 2010

JESUS!!





Because our church is so large, we have nine different Christmas Eve services. So, I've been working in the nursery at each one, plus all the services on Sundays, taking care of all the kids! I absolutely love it! Anyways, because I've been working the nursery so much I had to watch one of the services online.. churchofthehighlands.com. Last Sunday our pastor said this:

I call it cultural christianity and I think the problem with cultural christianity is we think there's two different kinds of life. A spiritual life and a normal life and the day you make both of those life is the day you're going to experience peace.

And how true is that? We think there is church and we think there is the rest of our lives. He says all the time that he wants us to be a church that lives the same way Monday thru Saturday that we do on Sunday. We don't need to put on a show at church. Church is the place where we should be the most real. The most transparent. Because it's where we can get help. It's silly to me that we act one way at church and another everywhere else. I've started asking myself.. If I was in front of people I know at church right now would I be doing this/acting this way? It'll convict you FAST about how you live your life. I saw this quote once:

If you ask most people what Christians believe, they can tell you, "Christians believe that Jesus is God's Son and that Jesus rose from the dead." But if you ask the average person how Christians live, they are struck silent. We have not shown the world another way of doing life. Christians pretty much live like everybody else; they just sprinkle a little Jesus in along the way." -Shane Claiborne

So question.. Are we living a life that people can tell you are in love with our Savior Jesus Christ. Or do we look just like everyone else? Can someone tell by your actions and your words that you are a follower of Him.. notice I didn't say believe in Him, even Satan believes. That you are a FOLLOWER of Him. My Savior became flesh and died for ME. And with everything in me I want to serve and honor Him with my life, granted I'm going to mess up. So it's Christmas Eve.. and let's remind ourselves of the meaning of why we celebrate. Let's praise and honor Him. Let's remember why we are thankful for Him and our salvation. He deserves all the glory. And after Christmas... Let's keep it going. I mean who doesn't like to be praised and adored constantly? Well God does too. Merry Christmas Eve!!

"But the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.'" Luke 1:30-33




Sunday, December 12, 2010

where is your heart

It's Christmas break. And what better to spend a 35 day break from school resting, spending time with friends and family, and seeking the Lord. I brought about five books home with me from school and will hopefully get through them all. I'm starting with Radical by David Platt, the pastor at Church of Brook Hills in Birmingham. It has been incredible so far (I'm only on page 72). I can't even begin to recap the first couple chapters but it has challenged me to think about my faith and the glory and power of the Lord. As I was reading I was reminded of a passage from the book Crazy Love I read this past summer. Francis Chan is actually quoting John Piper's book God Is the Gospel when he shares this:

"The critical question for our generation--and for every generation--is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasure you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ was not there?"

Challenging huh? Is our love for Christ alone.. or for what He can give us. Are our motives selfish? Or selfless for His kingdom? I remember the first time I read this I was thinking.. Wow, that'd be great. No disease, no trouble, just perfection. But what if God wasn't there. As I'm typing this now I see the faithfulness of the Lord. I see how he has deepened my love for Him. I long for the day I can sit at His feet. The day I can just be with Him and worship Him. I love the song by Kari Jobe "The More I Seek You". One of the lines says this: "I want to sit at Your feet. Drink from the cup in Your hand. Lay back against You and breathe. Feel Your heart beat". Those verses have become so real to me. I long for that day. So, reading more of Radical I came across this passage..

"If you were to ask the average Christian sitting in a worship service on Sunday morning to summarize the message of Christianity, you would most likely hear something along the lines of "The message of Christianity is that God loves me." Or someone might say, "The message of Christianity is that God loves me enough to send his Son, Jesus, to die for me.


As wonderful as this sentiment sounds, is it biblical? Isn't it incomplete, based on what we have seen in the Bible? "God loves me" is not the essence of biblical Christianity. Because if "God loves me" is the message of Christianity, then who is the object of Christianity?


God loves me.
Me.
Christianity's object is me.


Therefore, when I look for a church, I look for the music that best fits me and the programs that best cater to me and my family. When I make plans for my life and career, it is about what works best for me and my family. When I consider the house I will live in, the car I will drive, the clothes I will wear, the way I live, I will choose according to what is best for me. This is the version of Christianity that largely prevails in our culture.


But it is not biblical Christianity. 


The message of biblical Christianity is not "God loves me, period," as if we were the object of our own faith. The message of biblical Christianity is "God loves me so that I might make him--his ways, his salvation, his glory, and his greatness--known among all nations." Now God is the object of our faith, and Christianity centers around him. We are not the end of the gospel; God is."

Once again, is our devotion to the Lord all selfish? I know so many areas of my life that I am selfish. That I'm definitely not thinking about others, just myself. So what about my relationship with the Lord? Do I love Him for who He is or for what He can do for me? My prayer is that now and forever my faith will be fully developed on my deep love for the Lord. Because He is good and more than enough for me.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

thankful

Thanksgiving. A time to celebrate. Give thanks. Visit with family. Reflect. Indulge. But, there is more to Thanksgiving than eating turkey with your family and saying "Happy Thanksgiving". This year more than ever I was actually thankful for the day of Thanksgiving. It seems silly that we have a day set aside just to give thanks but what a wonderful reminder. This Thanksgiving the Lord showed me what I should be most thankful for.. my salvation. For my precious Savior. Who in turn is responsible for all else in my life I have to be thankful for. Because of my sweet Jesus I am thankful for my family and friends and all he has blessed me with. 

But, I shouldn't just be thankful on Thanksgiving. Each day should be a day of thanksgiving. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." Always. Continually. All circumstances. In everything I do. All the time. I am so thankful for my Savior and each day should be a celebration for the life he has blessed me. Each day should be used to glorify His name. Each day I should thank Him. A life full of thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I stand in awe

I am my Beloved's and He is mine.



I am in awe of Your faithfulness.



I am thankful for Your presence.



I am captivated by Your beauty.



I am in love with Your Word.



I am humbled by Your mercy.



I am amazed by Your creation.



I am motivated by Your love.



I am inspired by Your children.



I am blessed by Your joy.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hello, My Name Is..

 As my friends have begun to make blogs too, I've realized.. I never even introduced myself. So where to begin? For starters, my name is Francie. Weird? Maybe. But there were three Francie's at my high school so maybe it just isn't a cool name where you are from. But apparently it's making it's way around Birmingham. I graduated high school last year and my first semester of college at THE University of Alabama is coming to an end. I'm at that point in my life where I've realized that time really does fly. All throughout high school my weeks wouldn't go by quick enough. It felt like a year until the next weekend. But in college they come too fast. Life needs to slow down. I need a breath to take it all in. 

I have the most wonderful family. My brother Austin is a pretty big deal. He's 21 (3 years older than me) and runs track and cross country at the University of Alabama. Yes, with all the Kenyans. He is FAST. He's so good and dedicated and I don't even think he realizes how great he is. He can also tell you anything you want to know about History. We are obviously opposites. If you've ever "worked out" with me. I hate running, and I'm terrible at it. And History? Baha. My absolute worst subject. I'll do your math homework but do not ask me any historical facts. We have a little sister too. Sarah Clemson. She's following in Austin's footsteps and running Cross Country and Track. Great, my awesome athletic siblings. Most of you don't know her because she is 5 years younger than me. That's right, 7th grade. Middle school, the awkward stage. Where do you fit in? Who are you? Who is your best friend? The stage in life where you are figuring out who you are. And my prayer is that she realizes she is a daughter of the Most High God and that'll be enough.

My poor mother. As if I wasn't trouble enough at that age.. I taught my sister how to act. Like a complete rebellious brat. So the wonderful Julie gets to experience her second dosage of me. Oops. Speaking of Julie, she is my amazing best friend. Also known as my mother. Her and my amazing daddy John married October 28, 1995. Praise the Lord. They are wonderful. Mama is my best friend. She's beautiful inside and out. She is the most selfless person. Always thinking about her children. And I hope when I'm a Mama too I can do half as good of a job as she does. 

Now daddy is the funniest and most caring man you'll ever meet. Seriously he can make anyone laugh and he'll do ANYTHING for absolutely anyone. I'm serious. We might be the most dysfunctional family ever but it's incredible. I bet your family doesn't have nicknames such as Gorillahead or Goatbreath. That's right. Daddy yells "Gorillahead" across the house. And I answer. I guess in all, we are just all best friends. We are a family. We fight. We are experts at fighting. But we are all just best friends making it through life together. 



But now, I'm in college. Separated from normal life. From the city I've grown up in the past 17 years. And it scared me. Coming to college I was an emotional wreck. I had the BEST group of friends in high school. Really. When we come back for mini-reunions we realize how good we had it. I was so blessed. I had the most amazing group of friends ever and went to the best school you could ever imagine. We were the rebels. We were family. It was the perfect city to grow up in.. even if we lived in a "bubble". Moving on is scary. It's daring. I went to preschool with five of my best friends. And made even more best friends from Kindergarden all the way to high school. Most of my best friends were going to Alabama but a couple were leaving us and heading to Auburn University. Even though we all are separated.. we come home and everything's the same. Distance won't break our friendships. No ma'am. My friends are too special to be forgotten. I am so blessed to have grown up with them. We were friends when we played with dolls, when ponchos were cool, and when we got our first car. It was an amazing 17 years and college is (forgive my corniness) the next chapter. 




The Lord couldn't have me at a better place. I came to The University of Alabama with no idea what was about to take place in my life. I ended up pledging Alpha Gamma Delta with the most amazing 82 squirrels you've ever met. My biggest prayer was that the Lord was going to bless my friendships. And hallelujah He has. I am beyond blessed by my new friendships. I'm growing so much as an individual and am so excited for what the Lord has in store for my life. The past 18 years the Lord has been so faithful. He's blessed me with my talents, my family, my friendships, my future. He is so good and my life has been the biggest miracle and blessing. 




Monday, November 8, 2010

No Matter What

No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts:

I'm running back to Your promises one more time,
Lord that's all I can hold on to.
I gotta say this has taken me by surprise
But nothing surprises you.
Before a heartache can ever touch my life
It has to go through Your hands
And even though I keep asking why, I keep asking why.

No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what, I'm gonna need You
I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But If not, I'll trust you no matter what. No matter what.

When I'm stuck in this nothing-ness by myself,
I'm just sitting in silence.
There's no way I can make it without Your help
I won't even try it.
I know You have Your reasons for everything
So I will keep believing whatever I might be feeling.
God You are my hope, and You'll be my strength


No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what, I'm gonna need You
I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But If not, I'll trust you no matter what. No matter what.

Anything I don't have You can give it to me
But it's ok if You don't.
I'm not here for those things,
The touch of Your love is enough on its own
No matter what I still love You and I'm gonna need You.

No matter what, I'm gonna love You
No matter what, I'm gonna need You
I know that You can find a way to keep me from the pain
But If not, I'll trust you no matter what. No matter what.


Lord no matter what happens I'll love You. I'll turn to You. Because You are the only thing that will satisfy me. You are the author of my life. I can't live this life without You. I'm sinful, I mess up all the time, I act out of my flesh, I get angry, I get upset, I fail. You are all I need. You are everything. "A man's steps are directed by the Lord. How can anyone understand his own way?" Proverbs 20:24 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

captivating

I absolutely love my life. My weeks are just absolutely perfect. From Monday night Alpha Gam bible study to Tuesday night Bama Crusade to Wednesday night at the Well to Thursday night at Unashamed. All with my very bests friends by my side. And this week is even more special because today is Candice's birthday!! It has been her "birthday week". Sunday night we all spent the night at my dorm and watched He's Just Not That Into You.. then Monday morning we woke her up with silly string and doughnuts. Tuesday we decorated her door with Happy Birthday signs and tonight we get to all go celebrate together at dinner!! Love her so much and so blessed that the Lord has put her in my life! 

Monday night at bible study was the best. It was awesome to see my pledge sisters speaking their hearts and watch us all grow together and in the Lord. I really believe relationships built around our relationships with God are the most genuine. We came to an incredible realization that the same God I talk to everyday walking to class and write to in my journal is the same God that spoke to Moses. Chills. How incredible? God is SO amazing.

We've all started discussing going to Passion Conference in Atlanta January 1-4 and I couldn't be more excited. I'm so thankful that the Lord has put me here, at Alabama, in Alpha Gam, with some awesome godly women to grow with in Him. I really can't express how faithful He has been to me, when I don't deserve it at all. I know right now that I am in the perfect place to grow in my walk with Him. And even though my future is hazy.. He's never let me down before. And He'll be faithful again to show me the way, open up doors, and guide each step I take. 

I'm in college, so there isn't much time to "read for fun" but I started reading Captivating a couple of weeks ago and I try to read as often as I can because I'm absolutely in love with this book. There are so many amazing sections of the book but I was amazed with one passage and I thought I'd share it. It's pretty lengthy but I think it's so amazing..

"Turn your attention again to the events that took place in the Garden of Eden. Notice--who does the Evil One go after? Who does Satan single out for his move against the human race? He could have chosen Adam... but he didn't. Satan went after Eve. He set his sights on her. Have you ever wondered why? It might have been that he, like any predator, chose what he believed to be the weaker of the two. There is some truth to that. He is utterly ruthless. But we believe there is more. Why does Satan make Eve the focus of his assault on humanity?

You may know that Satan was first named Lucifer, or Son of the Morning. It infers a glory, or brightness or radiance unique to him. In the days of his former glory he was appointed a guardian angel. Many believe he was the captain of the angel armies of God. The guardian of the glory of the Lord...

Perfect in beauty. That is the key. Lucifer was gorgeous. He was breathtaking. And it was his ruin. Pride entered Lucifer's heart. The angel came to believe he was being cheated somehow. He craved the worship that was being given to God for himself. He didn't merely want to play a noble role in the Story; he wanted the Story to be about him. He wanted to be the star. He wanted the attention, the adoration for himself...

Satan fell because of his beauty. Now his heart for revenge is to assault beauty. He destroys it in the natural world wherever he can. Strip mines, oil spills, fires, Chernobyl. He wrecks destruction on the glory of God in the earth like a psychopath committed to destroying great works of art.

But most especially, he hates Eve.

Because she is captivating, uniquely glorious, and he cannot be. She is the incarnation of the Beauty of God. More than anything else in all creation, she embodies the glory of God. She allures the world to God. He hates it with a jealousy we can only imagine.

And there is more. The Evil One also hates Eve because she gives life. Women give birth, not men. Women nourish life. And they also bring life into the world soulfully, relationally, spiritually--in everything they touch. Satan was a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). He brings death. His is a kingdom of death. Ritual sacrifices, genocide, the Holocaust, abortion--those are his ideas. And thus Eve is his greatest human threat, for she brings life. She is a lifesaver and a life giver. Eve means "life" or "life producer." "Adam named his wife Eve, because she would become the mother of all the living" (Gen. 3:20).

Put those two things together--that Eve incarnates the Beauty of God and she gives life to the world. Satan's bitter heart cannot bear it. He assaults her with a special hatred. History removes any doubt about this. Do you begin to see it?

Think of the great stories--in nearly all of them, the villain goes after the Hero's true love. He turns his sights on the Beauty... The Witch attacks Sleeping Beauty. The stepsisters assault Cinderella. Satan goes after Eve.

This explains an awful lot. It is not meant to scare you. Actually, it will shed so much light on your life's story, if you will let it. Most of you thought the things that have happened to you were somehow your fault--that you deserved it. If only you had been prettier or smarter or done more or pleased them, somehow it wouldn't have happened. You would have been loved. They wouldn't have hurt you.

And most of you are living with the guilt that somehow it's your fault you aren't more deeply pursued now. That you do not have an essential role in a great adventure. That you have no beauty to unveil. The message of our wounds nearly always is, "This is because of you. This is what you deserve." It changes things to realize that, no, it is because you are glorious that these things happened. It is because you are a major threat to the kingdom of darkness. Because you uniquely carry the glory of God to the world.

You are hated because of your beauty and power." 


I know that was pretty long.. but girls I hope that meant something to you. When I read it for the first time I was absolutely amazed. It opened my eyes again that there is a spiritual war going on. God and Satan are both fighting for our attention. Another amazing thing said at bible study Monday night was.. If you aren't living in God, you are living in Adam. And living in Adam is living in sinfulness. The Lord desires your heart. He wants to romance you. So are you allowing Him to deal with your heart and love you or are you believing the lies of the enemy? The one who wants to steal, kill, and destroy..

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween?

I came home again this weekend and got to see all my amazing, precious friends! I guess I was a little anxious to get home and got my first speeding ticket. I thought about arguing the man and trying to get out of it but I thought.. Were you speeding? Yes. Were you breaking the law? Yes. And he's a cop who is supposed to ticket people for speeding.. So I didn't really have an argument. I ended up driving 65mph the rest of the way home to Birmingham terrified of policemen. Then on the way over to Megan and Morgan's Friday night a cop was behind me the whole way. Did you know the speed limit is 20 on the end of Shades Crest Road? I drove 19. It was miserable. I'm a little bitter toward cars right now that I see run red lights and speed and don't get tickets.

It was so great to hang out with all my friends and hear about what the Lord is doing in their lives right now. Last night we were laying on the trampoline and saw two shooting stars. Amazing, not as amazing as the sky at JH but it was still greattt. We talked a lot this weekend about how amazing our group of friends was throughout high school. And we definitely took it for granted. High school was the best experience ever. But it's even better that we can come home from college, from our separate lives in Auburn and Tuscaloosa and be just as close. Or closer than ever. We laid on the trampoline for about two hours just talking. It was some sweet time to just talk and hang out with my best friends.

Candice's birthday is Wednesday. So that makes this week her birthday week! We're all spending the night in Ridgecrest tonight because the serial killer is coming to Tutwiler? Ugh, Halloween. I can't give away anymore of our birthday week plans, but it's going to be so fun. Well.. Happy Halloween?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October 27.

I've been in the Alpha Gam basement for 22 hours..  studying. I ended up spending the night here last night. Actually, I don't know if I ever really slept. People kept coming downstairs and stealingggg the extra candy from the Trick or Treat event and would leave the lights on when they left. So, Geography test in 45 minutes? We'll see how that goes. Pray for me!!

I am so excited to go home this weekend. Julie and John's anniversary is tomorrow, then my mama and I are shopping in Atlanta Friday, then I get to see all my precious Auburn friends Saturday! I can not wait. It is going to be a great weekend. 

I am so antsy for sophomore year. I am living with the most amazing girls ever in a super cool new duplex. Megan, Morgan, Kristen, Candice, and I are officially living together.. (and another pending roommate). I can not wait. Seriously. Can't. We are going to have the absolute best time. I am so blessed! 

Love you all so much! Have an amazing day! You'll only live October 27, 2010 once!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Oh Glorious Day

As you can tell I have the most precious friends/sisters ever! This weekend was too fun.. Vestavia pep rally and game, doodles, smoothies on the roof, carving pumpkins, caramel apples, and Alabama football. Super eventful and I'm super tired. I'm in the middle of working on my English paper due Thursday while watching the Food Network? Good combo. It makes me want to cook.. too bad I'm a horrible cook. Officially decided that this season is my absolute favorite. Like September through January are just the BEST. My daddy may kill me for the next thing I say, but my mother will love it. Good thing he doesn't read this. But mama you do so after you laugh for a little bit you'll probably show daddy and I'll get a call that goes something like this "Gorillahead why are you embarrassing me on the internet?" Anyways, today at church our observant family notices my dad has put on two different shoes. One black, one brown. Really embarrassing, really noticeable. It pretty much made my day. Later at lunch he decided that every October 24th is opposite shoe day (his favorite holiday) and we all missed the memo. Speaking of the date.. Happy 51st Anniversary to my Mawmaw and Papa!! Okay, back to homework. Passing college is a must.

Glorious Day by Jeff Johnson

Monday, October 18, 2010

Rejoice!

Seriously God is so good. Tonight at bible study we were talking about rejoicing in our pain. Rejoicing when things aren't going how we want them too. So first, I was thinking.. well Francie you're doing it right now. Good for you. There is something that is not ideal at all in my life right now, but I'm looking at the positive in it. Well, check out that sin.. a little prideful, huh? So after I recognized the pride, the Lord revealed my selfish motives. Am I rejoicing in my pain because I know He has a greater plan for my life that will further His kingdom and is in His best interest. Or was I rejoicing at the fact that there is something better for ME? It's not about me. This life is about HIM. So first, even if I am rejoicing in my pain, it should be because I know the Lord is using the trial to develop me so that I will be more equipped as His servant. Did that make any sense? I wish I could verbalize how the Lord is moving in my life better. But I guess getting it out of my head and written down is a step to understanding...

Friday, October 15, 2010

craziness

I have finally gotten to the point where I am terrible at updating this! But, it is homecoming week so that must be a good excuse. Sleep was not a priority this week! It's been a long, fun, crazy week but I've loved spending so much time with all my sisters at the house! I love those classy Alpha Gams(: The Lord has shown me even more this week how amazing He is. I've been soo caught up in the busyness of the week and unfortunately the Lord has not been my first priority. So after going a week with this world and sorority and people being my first priority, I know now even more that He is the only thing that will ever satisfy me. It was a wonderful, fresh reminder of why I'm alive and who I'm living for! So excited to hang out tonight with the amazing women of God in my life!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

it's a beautiful day

Well I'm typing this is Math 112 right now. I know, I should be paying attention like a good student but I learned this three years ago. So it's homecoming week and I don't think sleeping is an option. Yesterday felt like the longest day of my life. Starting with coffee at TCBY at 7am til finishing dance practice around 11:30pm.. after a longgg day I fell asleep around 1:30am but was rudely awakened by the fire alarm at 2am. Unfortunately fire alarms have become tradition. Sitting outside of Ridgecrest til 3am felt normal. Needless to say it was a long day. And even though this morning I am so tired, this is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice! In days like yesterday I get so caught up in how tired I am and with everything I have to do for the day. I forget to thank the Lord who gave me that day and that I am so blessed to be living it. So today, walking around the quad with my Starbucks caramel macchiato I am enjoying the amazing cool October weather and the beauty of the Lord. So, thank you Lord for this beautiful day and the blessings you pour over me daily because I am so undeserving.

So many people have told me that they are reading this and keeping up with it. And while I love being able to write all about what the Lord is doing in my life and my freshman year of college.. ultimately, it's all about Him, not me. Because without Him, I wouldn't be who I am, I wouldn't be alive. My hope is that this blog is a small way of sharing my faith and how good the Lord is. In the end He should be glorified. He is the author of our lives and He deserves all the praise. The only good thing in me is Jesus!

Everyone have such a blessed day! This is the day that the Lord has made!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

there is a time for everything

If we've talked recently you probably know how excited I am about this season of my life. I can't really put it into words. When I talk about it it's just a jumbled mess. But the Lord is working in my heart and in my life and I am beyond excited for what is yet to come! Why is He so good to me? I do not deserve it at all. His love is so great. His word says there is a time for everything. I've had my time of pain and happiness and everything else. Now is a time of growing. What could be better than growing? Growing as a child of God, a daughter, a friend, a woman. Simply growing, learning, being challenged, taught. Ah, it's so exciting! Praise the Lord for his goodness! His mercies are new every morning!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

seek HIM

I'm supposed to be writing my six page paper due tomorrow.. currently on page one.. but I'm taking a break. I've had a pretty exciting day today.. I really think I should be on a reality show. Surprises around every corner and ESPECIALLY in church. Who knew? Anyways, praise the Lord He is working for my good. Even though sometimes His ways are pleasant, it's for my good. Unfortunately, sometimes people  disappoint you or circumstances aren't quite what they appear to be. But by God's grace and love we can rise above the disasters of life. When we're living in His love we can treat people as Christ would treat us and handle situations in a holy light. A song by Amy Grant says "We pour out our miseries. God just hears a melody. Beautiful, the mess we are. The honest cries of breaking hearts." I've been seeking the Lord for answers. And He'll answer in brokenness. He loves when His children come to Him broken. It's when we need Him most and it's when He can show His love the most. So how about it? Are you broken? Seek the Lord.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

one tree hill

Roll tide we beat Florida!! I actually watched this game and it was the perfect October football weather! After the game we demolished a dough loaf. Oh my gosh best thing ever.. so unhealthy. One Tree Hill started back a couple weeks ago and I'm hooked on the show again.. I love watching the reruns! There are so many good quotes throughout the seasons but here are a couple:


Every once in a while people step up, they rise above themselves. Sometimes they surprise you, and sometimes they fall short. Life is funny sometimes, it can push pretty hard, but if you look close enough you find hope in the words of children, in the bars of a song and in the eyes of someone you love. And if you're lucky, and if you're the luckiest person on this entire planet, the person you love decides to love you back.

Remember tonight, for it is the beginning of always. A promise, like a reward for persisting through life so long alone. A belief in each other and the possibility of love. A decision to ignore simply rise above the pain in the past. A covenant, which at once binds two souls and yet severs prior ties. The celebration of the chance taken and the challenge that lies ahead. For two will always be stronger than one. Like a team braced against the tempests of the world. And love will always be the guiding force in our lives. For tonight is mere formality. Only an announcement to the world of feelings long held, promises made long ago in the sacred space in our hearts.


God bless your dreams(:

p.s.- I know this blog is the most sporadic thing ever.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

amazing love

I love it when God slowly reveals something to me. It started at the Well. I started asking myself the question.. what do I do with my days? Am I living each day simply loving God and making appropriate decisions? Or am I using my days to further His Kingdom. To be a light. The questions captured my thoughts the rest of the night. Then tonight at Unashamed, the Lord showed me again how much He needed His children to GO and be his hands and feet. All through scripture we know that we are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus and to help the hurt and lonely. In Matthew he says that whatever we did for the least of these we did for Him. Sidenote- I began reading Matthew and kind of wondered why I was. I thought, this is kind of cliche to start with the first book of the New Testament. But God had such a plan in it. It has been the biggest blessing.. it's so great to see God work through something that seems so simple. Anyways, while the past couple of weeks God has been really working on my heart to have full dependence on Him, He's also beginning to show me that my walk with Him isn't all about myself. It's about the ones who still need to be saved by His grace that I am called to reach. So while the Lord wants me drawing near to Him, we are also called to make disciples of the nations. My prayer is that the Lord will give me boldness and strength and courage to stand for Him and reach the lost and broken in our desperate generation.

I know in my head or during a service, my role in this life seems so clear. To serve and live for Jesus. And everything in me desires it. But how easy is it to act out of our flesh and live for this world.. very. So I'll claim it everyday.. I'm sinful and mess up all the time. But what my heart ultimately longs for is Jesus. Because He is the only true and perfect thing. And He loves me through my wretchedness. Hallelujah.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

good

I love coming home. It's my mama's birthday so I drove back to Vestavia for the night!! Birthday dinner and One Tree Hill.. goodness. But what is even better... is God. God is good. He's everything. Amazing. Everywhere. A Comforter. Protector. Guider. Healer. All Powerful. Worthy. Loving. GOOD. He is good and enough for me. I'm excited we don't have a swap this Thursday because I get to go to Unashamed which I've been looking forward to for.. forever. So, call me/text me/facebook me/skype me.. whatever. And let me know if you would like to join! I know it will be amazing and the Lord never fails to show his glory and love. Hallelujah He is good!

Monday, September 27, 2010

ihb day

Let me introduce you to "ihb day".. also known as I hate boys day.
Kristen and I try to celebrate it every Friday.
So, this Friday is ihb day number two. Feel free to join us.
It's pretty amazing.
Ice cream, successful shopping day.. the works.

good morning

It is currently 6 a.m. Why am I awake? Well, I was super tired last night so I ended up going to bed at 9 so I have already gotten 9 hours of sleep and I am wide awake. Unfortunately, I am starting to get sick and I  woke up with a sore throat. Problem. No orange juice.

So this weekend.. I left for fall retreat Friday. And of course the Lord showed up. I had to leave early so I only heard two of the messages but of course they were on two areas that I needed to hear about the most. A "God thing". He's always looking out for us. He knew that I was only going to be on the retreat for a little while, so He blessed my time there. We left Saturday afternoon and headed back to Tuscaloosa for pledge formal. Which ended up being a ton of fun but left me super tired Sunday. My mom, dad, and Sarah came up to go to church and lunch with Austin and I for my mama's birthday. I may go home for her actual birthday Tuesday too. Okay it's still early and I think I'm rambling.

Rise and shine.. the sun isn't even up yet! Have a blessed day and week!
Psalm 145

Friday, September 24, 2010

weekend wonders

 Friday, Friday, Friday!! I'm leaving for Campus Crusades fall retreat in a little bit! I'm so excited! I have no idea what to expect, but I know getting away to be with the Lord and learn about Him is always a blessing. Pledge formal is tomorrow night so some of us will be leaving early for that, but I know that the time I am on retreat will be so wonderful and I can't wait to see how the Lord shows up. I'm so sad because Ronnie Freeman will be in Vestavia Sunday night and I can't go because we have new member meeting.. boo. But hopefully I will be hearing him every night next summer at the Ranch?! Let's see.. that's all I know about my weekend right now! Maybe lunch Sunday for my Mama's birthday and of course Sunday study hall! Have a blessed weekend!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

lyrics


I was listening to the song "Embracing Accusations" by Shane and Shane. A little confused by the lyrics I googled it, of course, and found this on a website. You should listen to the song too.. probably after reading this:

The song is called “Embracing Accusations” and at first glance, even if you know Shane Barnard, you begin to wonder if his theology has just gone totally off the deep end. It seems to be essentially a song praising the devil, for he is right.
Shane says he was running on the beach one evening before a show and was meditating on Galatians 3:10:
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written “cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”
He said he was overwhelmed with guilt at this truth from Satan…that because he does not follow everything written in the Book of the Law, he is cursed. Satan was trying to tear apart Shane’s faith but instead, ended up preaching the gospel to him. Yes, he is cursed BUT Christ paid that death for us, so he is cursed no longer. For this passage from Galatians doesn’t end there, it goes onto to say in Galatians 3:13:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written “cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.”

imperfect

The Lord has been teaching me the last couple of days. James 4:8 says "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." So that's what I've been doing. Let's start with Monday night. Alpha Gam is doing a freshman bible study, and I've been so blessed by it. We are going through the book of Romans, and this past Monday we talked about Romans 2. I was immediately convicted as we read the first verse: "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things." How many times do I catch myself judging others for things I do too. I'm a sinner too so who am I to judge others? The Lord is showing me the root of this is my own self-centeredness. My prayer the last few days is that He would humble me.

Last night at Crusades, He revealed my selfishness again. The sole purpose of my faith should be my relationship with Christ. I shouldn't want what He can give me and I shouldn't be trying to do "good Christian things". I should solely want HIM. As a selfish human, I must die daily to my flesh and this world in order to live a humble life for the Lord. I'm so thankful that He daily reveals Himself to me and reveals these truths that will deepen my faith and journey with Him.

I haven't been able to update this because I've been studying for Geography. And at first I was like "ugh geography who do I even have to know this." But last night as I was cramming, the Lord softened my heart and showed me how amazing He was. As I studied, I realized how intricately our world was made. I was amazed as I thought, 'He did this for us.' It reminds me of JH when our accountability group talked about seeing eternity in everything. The Lord revealed to me his goodness through a Geography book; He's everywhere. 

I'm so imperfect and in need of His love and grace each day. I depend on myself when I should be fully dependent on Him in every area of my life. But He is good and His plans are perfect. He's an excerpt from the book I'm reading by Joshua Harris:

C.S. Lewis once wrote a friend: "I don't doubt that the Holy Spirit guides your decisions from within when you make them with the intention of pleasing God. The error would be to think that He speaks only within, whereas in reality He speaks also through Scripture, the Church, Christian friends, books, etc." Though God speaks to Christians primarily through His Word, He confirms and leads us in many different ways. But we should resist over-spiritualizing the steps He expects us to take to more choices.
God knows all things. He knows whom we'll marry before we meet him or her. But that doesn't mean our task is to discover what He already knows or to worry that we might miss His perfect plan. Our responsibility is to love Him, study his Word, deepen our relationship with Him, and learn to evaluate our choices in light of biblical wisdom. If we're doing these things, we can make our decisions in the confidence that we aren't somehow missing God's will.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

He is good

Back in Tuscaloosa. It's been quite a day! I got to work in the nursery at church today for the first time in months! I've missed it so much. We had seven babies and they are just the sweetest ever. One of the girls, Layla, was so precious. The Lord reminded me of the child-like faith He calls us to have. I get so caught up in thinking and wondering when all He calls us to do is step out in faith and trust Him. Sounds easy right? But we make it so difficult.

The past hour I've been reading this book called "Boy Meets Girl.. say hello to courtship". Sounds crazy I know. Courtship? But it really is such a cool book all about God's intentions for relationships. I've never really been a reader but tonight I'm all for it. I started by rereading through my journal from JH. It's so amazing to see what all God did while I was at the ranch. From my May entries til now I'm in awe of Him and how he has blessed me and my faith. Then I started reading the "Boy Meets Girl" book (which I bought who knows how long ago and am just now getting around to reading it). And now I'm about to start rereading "Redeeming Love". I finished it a couple of weeks ago but I am just so in love with it I'm reading it again. I hope the Lord has someone like Michael Hosea for me. If you haven't read it, read it. I promise you will love it.

The Lord is working in me and I am in awe. He's breaking down walls and teaching me. Teaching me patience and dependence on Him. He is so good. And I'm so undeserving.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

In the Blink of an Eye

First, roll tide!! Except I'm the kind of person who feels bad for the team losing so I was semi rooting for Duke to score a couple of points. Typically I'd call today boring but I've loved just relaxing at home. I went for a run today (I know, it's a miracle) and I had my music on shuffle and the song "In the Blink of an Eye" by MercyMe came on. It's a pretty old song but I listened to the words while I was running and it's so amazing. I really think the Lord speaks to me through songs. Unfortunately they don't have an official music video for the song and let's face it the lyric/picture ones posted on youtube didn't do the song justice. But here are the lyrics. I hope you're challenged and blessed by them..


You put me here for a reason
You have a mission for me
You knew my name and You called it
Long before I learned to breathe

Sometimes I feel disappointed
By the way I spend my time
How can I further Your kingdom
When I'm so wrapped up in mine

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given
There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

And though I'm living a good life
Can my life be something great?
I have to answer the question
Before it's too late

Cause in a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given
There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye

If I give the very best of me
That becomes my legacy
So tell me what am I waiting for?
What am I waiting for?

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given

In a Blink of an eye that is when
I'll be closer to You than I've ever been
Time will fly, but until then
I'll embrace every moment I'm given
There's a reason I'm alive for a blink of an eye 


"The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1 John 2:17

Friday, September 17, 2010

home sweet home

So, it's Friday and I'm back in Vestavia. Thank goodness. It's only my second time home and it feels good to be back. Except I have to study for Geography all weekend. A little tired from last night.. 


It's fun being home. Diet Cokes and Fuzes, Dove chocolate and goldfish, puzzles, One Tree Hill. The norm in the Duckworth house. Home sweet home. I'm going to see Fame tonight with the Escue's and my mama. I've heard it's so good so I'm excited!! Okay, I better get off the computer. It's wayy too addicting. Have a blessed day(:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

untitled

Well, it's been an eventful 24 hours. 

Last night after dinner at Mugshots with about 17 Alpha Gams, some of us went to Walmart to buy a button up and boxers for the swap tonight. It's pimps and hoes.. needless to say I'm being a shacker because I can't rock the hoe attire. 

After the Walmart run, I got a parking ticket outside the Alpha Gam house.. oops. Then being all responsible-like I went to pay it today but it's not on my bill yet because it had only been about 10 hours. So much for my responsibility!
 
I experienced my first 8 a.m. class today to take my math test.. I will never take an 8 a.m. class. I think I slept walk to tut this morning. I really don't know how I did that everyday in high school!

This afternoon was wonderful. I get to mentor a precious 5th grader at Holt Elementary. He's getting his subtraction and decimals DOWN. Hip Hip.. It really is so fun to help him learn. Oh, and he reads to me. Good thing I'm an Elementary Education major!

My prayer for the day was to see the Lord in everything. Because life is busy busy and sometimes I'm gonna get a parking ticket, but that doesn't mean He's not working through it all. The Lord is faithful.. a provider and comforter. 

"If You Want Me To" by Ginny Owens

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Francis Chan - Balance Beam

procrastination

so study hall today was semi productive until the last ten minutes... 




the procrastination continues.. One Tree Hill premiered tonight so of course I'm watching it instead of cleaning my room or doing homework or something productive. Campus Crusades is in 30 minutes and I love going there. So, song of the day: "Whatever you're doing" by Sanctus Real:

It's time for healing time to move on
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time make right what has been wrong
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me
All I can do is surrender

(Chorus)
Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...

(Chorus)

Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house
Time breathe in and let everything out


I love the chorus. Because even though life can seem so crazy sometimes and I wonder what in the world the Lord is doing, there's a peace because I know He's up to something "bigger than me". Anyways, this song was in my head all day. And it was such an encouragement!!




Monday, September 13, 2010

a new start

College has begun and it's crazy hectic. Everything is happening so quickly and I don't want to get carried away. I want to try to daily glorify what the Lord is doing in my life and highlight those experiences, since so much of my time is spent in class, studying, and at parties..

I guess I should start with this.. the night before we left for college I was listening to 93.7 driving to Mallory's house to say goodbyes to everyone. The man on the radio was referencing Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it will given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you." He went on to say how all the times he'd read the verse he'd always seen it as a verse referring to salvation. However, the Lord showed him how in everything he did to ask the Lord. So I turned off the radio and thought about how many times i thought about wanting to make amazing friends in college and stay close to my friends in high school and everything like that. However, I was convicted because I was too foolish to ask the Lord. So right then in the car I asked the Lord to watch over me and give me the friends I needed to help me endure the craziness of college. And of course He was faithful. The past month of school has been amazing. I've met the most wonderful girls ever and I couldn't be happier. Once again, He has shown me how faithful He really is.

With the ups and downs of life and my faith, I found myself this morning seeking the Lord to reveal his faithfulness once more. Who knew it would only take a few hours. Reading through Matthew, I was reminded of the verse Matthew 7:7 and my experience the night before I left for college. I turned to Proverbs and read chapter 16. Proverbs 16:3, 9 "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed... In his heart a man plans his course but the Lord determines his steps" both stood out to me . A couple hours later I began writing a letter... guess which verses were the best fit for that letter? Of course.. the Lord had already given me the verses and words to say for encouragement in this letter. He is consistently faithful to me. But if I'm not seeking Him, I may miss a blessing.

So even though college for many people is about how hard they can party and how many classes they can miss yet still pass.. for me I want to grow deeper with the Lord. I want to take my faith from inside my head and from my morning bible studies and show it. Do something. Make it visible. Because the Lord is too good to me for me to sit back and just enjoy Him and not share Him.