Washington, DC // 06/16

13308707_1289322687748012_4014613143588911227_o Three days in my (hopefully) future home. The culture of this place is infectious: the people are undoubtably driven and you can see this in the way they dress, talk, and walk down the street. Whether dressed in a power suit or killing it on a run (seriously, the people in this city work out more than any I've ever seen), people have purpose here. DC, I freaking love you.

Love,

Liz 13320743_1289322801081334_2858699509423794990_o13254761_1289323031081311_6306188576776651691_o

(shirt- Gap, shorts- Altar'd State) 13320801_1289322641081350_2775886077535752463_o13320845_1290442574302690_8744482944533700146_o

Loneliness vs Being Alone

I have a friend, Katherine, who is wise and wonderful. She wrote a beautiful Faith Friday for this blog, and continues to share her faith daily with me in new ways. She keeps me accountable to the gospel and responsible for my words 100% of the time. So the other day when she asked how home was and I responded “Lonely,” I was surprised when she asked “Good or Bad?” Lonely is lonely (so I thought). It’s not biblical, God does not call us to live in loneliness, and it’s detrimental to the heart and head. It sucks.

Yet, Katherine explained that our version of loneliness is often so different from God’s. There are periods of desperate loneliness; depression/isolation, people without solid community spending their entire lives pouring out without being poured into, and Christians failing to ask fellow believers good questions. These periods of loneliness kill the soul slowly. These periods of loneliness are spiritual warfare at its best and our worst.

Then there is the loneliness that is better known as being alone. It is the ache of not being fully understood, not fully understanding oneself, and not knowing why God has brought us to a place where life seems to stall. It is often boring, often busy, often frustrating. Yet, it is good. And healthy. And healing. Learning to be alone, learning to let go of detachments of faith/relationship/dependence are good. These periods of isolation feel similar to deep loneliness, but are often God bringing us to a place of full dependence on Him. In these times, God often reveals to us idols we have been making out of good things. For example, God recently revealed to me what an idol I have made out of community in college: though it is beautiful and healthy, I often think of my faith as intertwined with that of my friends. Nothing could be farther from the truth. My faith is the same when I’m having daily conversations about Jesus, as when I have my faith questioned daily at home.

Jesus walked through the desert for 40 days because God called him to that. He celebrated being alone and learned what a full dependence on God looked like. He stood up against Satan during that time and won. Jesus needed that time of aloneness to truly trust in God’s provision; undistracted by people (whether good or bad relationships), he learned who he was made to be.

We are called to be alone. So seek out God and seek out wise counsel and ask: is my loneliness self-made or God ordained? Am I being called to be alone now? Am I called to celebrate this time or am I called to emerge from it? He is good and his dictionary looks a lot different than our own. Loneliness does not mean to him what is does to us.

Love,

Liz

Freshman Year

Nowadays, anything I say feels like an understatement. I walked out of my last final today and breathed. I felt lighter, victorious, happier. I spent time with my best friend and for the first time in weeks, did not mention how we should be studying. Yet, no words could properly explain how happy I felt in that moment. Nor, can any words explain how sad and scared I am to leave. My freshman year has been a complete transformation (though everyone says this, now I can finally see the truth behind it). I've become a person I like more, a person who's opinions have greater weight behind them, and a person who loves ADVENTURE WAY MORE. I love this year, I love these people. I love that so much about what I believed coming into college was wrong. THANK YOU JESUS FOR UT AND RELATIONSHIPS LIKE THESE!

IMG_8801IMG_8952IMG_8959IMG_8842IMG_9039IMG_8969IMG_9047(just some of my favorite people) 

Now, some more ridiculous things I have learned, and will probably change opinions on within the year.

  1. Say yes more than no. Crafting alone time is healthy, but, sometimes, it's good to be exhausted. If you're saying yes because of a desire for relationship and not because of a need to be validated, Jesus will work through that.
  2. Take so many pictures. Annoy people, get in their faces, ask questions. Make your memories have meaning.
  3. Ask questions (again). Ask so many questions that people have to ask you to slow down.
  4. Alternatively, learn to be okay with silence. Learn to sip your coffee and take your time to answer. Your story is just as important as the other person's. Take the time to savor the question and  respond with intent.
  5. Be thankful in every circumstance. Whether raining, or sunny, whether syllabus time, or hell week, appreciate that God has promised great things in every moment.
  6. Stop looking for a destination.There will never be a time when you are finished/good enough. Enjoy being an infinite, undone, messy as heck, work-in-progress.
  7. Pray. Seriously, this one kills me. Offer to prayer for people constantly, be bluntly honest when you need prayer, and simply pray continuously. In the good and in the bad, it is necessary. Every second that you do it, you're establishing a firmer relationship for down the road.
  8. Make lists of people you want to get to know. Get to know them. It's that simple.
  9. Make lists of people you want to get to know BETTER. Make this list shorter and more thoughtful. Know that the humans you're meeting now could be your humans for life. Give them the attention they deserve.
  10. Be thankful for this year. Be okay if you don't remember everything about it, but realize how much you've grown. Get excited about it.
  11. Be generous!! Your time and your money is borrowed; it's not yours to hold on to too tightly. When you give more than you think you can, the reward from this sacrifice is seen in a million different ways.
  12. Enjoy home when you're home, but REST UP FOR ANOTHER YEAR!!

Hook 'em,

Liz

Faith Friday- Jorge

Though I only got to know Jorge senior year of high school, his faith has impacted me in so many ways. He's wise and adventurous and a great leader. I've been so grateful for his friendship and to get to hear about his walk with Christ!  What does my faith mean to me? I think when answering this simple but complex question I need to start with a bit of background of myself.

I'm a thinker. When it comes to trivial concepts and beliefs and feelings, I'm one to go back and forth, seeking the answer in many places in an attempt to find the one I like best. In the ups and downs of answering a difficult question, I usually give up, or lose interest. I'll find another thing to grab my attention, and seek that out. So this brings me to a time earlier this year: a time that felt as if I was losing myself, but it became a time of finding Him.

I have been a Christian since I was young, being raised in a loving Christian family that took me to church. But I would say not until March of 2014 did I truly come to KNOW God, not just know of Him. I went through a life changing experience in my life, where I felt the Holy Spirit overtake me and fill me. That was the moment my faith became REAL. I had never felt that way before. I was in the word first thing in the morning, worshipping throughout the day, and felt as if I was constantly in communication with my father. Like any other new relationship on earth, I was overjoyed and overtaken by something new. As time progressed, I met people who felt the same way, who led me to learn more and more about myself and my God (s/o Liz you rock). I was literally in love with God. But..... as most of us have experienced, bubbly, gushy love doesn't last long. That brings us to November of 2015. At that point I was finishing my 1st semester at Texas A&M (the greatest university on earth) and I was having the greatest time of my life. I was loving my classes, my friends, and I had joined a men's organization on campus filled with men who love the Lord and actively seek to pursue Him. This is why my feelings were so bizarre. God now felt distant. He felt more like a concept that I was supposed to be well versed on, as opposed to a person I was called to KNOW. When that happened, my natural instinct kicked in. I began to look around for answers. Why wasn't I feeling bubbly on the inside? Why, if I had once loved him so much, did I feel like I didn't even know who he was? I looked for answers and when I didn't find any, I simply stopped. I had accepted the fact he was a concept The same God who said “I am with you until the end of the age” in Matthew 28:20 had abandoned me. I began to ask myself questions like “Why Jesus?” “Why Christianity?” Being a lover of learning and other cultures, I have been around many different religious and cultural beliefs, all preaching the manner one should live life and the God one should believe. Although I asked this question in an attempt to mock Him, it was the answer I received that changed everything. As I sat down in mid January, now in my hometown, I was overcome with the feeling I needed to talk to God. I sat with Him and was honest. I questioned His love. I questioned His loyalty. I questioned His promise. But then I questioned myself. I questioned MY love. I questioned MY loyalty. I questioned MY promise. I came to the realization I had abandoned Him. I had left Him. He was right there waiting with His arms wide open. He died for me in my brokenness. He literally died AND resurrected for ME and every other human on this earth. There are only a select few people I'd die for. But he literally wanted to KNOW US so bad he died and came back so we could be in eternal union with Him. LMAO literally thinking about that gives me chills. So long story short, in that time of searching and wandering, I found Him. In turn I found myself. I think it's beautiful how God has the power to make suffering and pain into something beautiful. He turned the pain and suffering of His son Jesus into our sanctification. He turned my pain into joy. Finally, he guided me to Himself, and gave me Love. So what does my faith mean to me? It means love in the purest of forms. A love for people of all nations, cultures, and beliefs to experience. He is running after you. But before you can truly love Him, answer for yourself “Why Jesus?” Because as He has shown thousands of times before, He is truly with us until the end of the age.

Love,

Jorge

Purest Joy

In everything good, in everything joyous, in everything exciting, we tend to dig our heels in. To rest and revel in the experience. I have seen that in my happiest moments, with my favorite people, I never want any part of that time to change. When the situation starts changing, I desperately try to recover the joy I feel like I'm losing. It's like leaning backwards on a chair. We start with our feet on the floor, but want to lean back because it makes the experience more complete. It adds a component of reckless fun and, at first, it's harmless. Until we lean just a bit too far, depend too much on the comfort and stability of that one support, and then we're flat on the floor.

This is what I've found joy in human experiences to be. Too much of any good thing is bad: too much food, too much trust in one person, too much time with friends and not enough alone. By themselves, most of these things are not bad. When we pursue them in excess, we find that our joy turns obsessive. Now the thing that we depended on as a respite, has turned into our own mini God.

The only exception I've found to this rule has been Christ. Never once have I spent too much time in the Word, praying, or regretted learning more about God. I have never left the experience of connecting with God feeling lesser than I did before. I often experience frustration, disappointment, or even annoyance. But I have never left without feeling worked on and through that construction, loved. Only God can stand up to the weight of full dependence. Only He will return us joy every single time.

No human being or human experience can bear the burden of becoming an idol. Pure joy can only be found in Him, because only God can sufficiently play the role of provider.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us. Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. – Psalm 4:6-8

Love,

Liz

 

Faith Friday- Brenden

I came to college expecting to meet a lot of people. I never expected how much wisdom God would should me through people my own age. Brenden radiates Jesus in every action; it's such a privilege to learn from him!  Got Faith? I don’t know… what is it?

Have you ever read a good book, or any other well-written piece and you get frustrated with the lack of information you can retain?  This is happening to me right now as I read Jesus > Religion by Jefferson Bethke. I find this book fascinating and as I read I am intently engaging in every word saturated with truth. But I can’t remember it all! I can only take away a few valuable points from each chapter when I want to remember every detail. If you haven’t felt this way think about the last time you read the bible…there you go, now you know what I am talking about. For this piece about faith, I want to be short and direct, in hopes after reading this you can remember it and apply it. In this I will express what faith is, what it looks like when you don’t have faith and why we can trust to have faith in Jesus Christ.

Faith. For me, my faith is so integral to my existence that I could not survive a day without it – similar to how I depend on my own breath to sustain me. Faith to me means many things. Through my faith, I have hope. Through my faith, I am restored and redeemed. Through my faith, I have purpose. However, because my faith is something that is not tangible, it might sound silly that I rely so heavily upon it. So what exactly is it? The best way I know how to describe my interpretation of what it means to have Faith in Jesus is through an illustration of a bed. Every night, no matter who you are or how your day has gone you return home with the intent climbing into warm sheets and being whisked off to sleep. Now at any point in your whole life have you ever approached the bed and said to yourself, “Oh gosh, I can’t lay down and sleep because the bed might collapse.” No you haven’t. That sounds ridiculous and absurd. At no point in your life have you ever questioned if your bed was stable and strong enough to support you throughout the night. This same consistency can be attributed to what Faith in Jesus looks like to me. In every situation, in every hard time, in every decision I make, I can be at complete peace knowing Jesus not only holds me up but also sustains me and equips me while never breaking down or deteriorating. Just as I rush off to bed at night with hopes of attaining rest, I can run to my Savior, no matter how broken, lost, confused or tired I am with hopes of attaining something way more valuable – ultimate peace and rest.

So that sounds cool and all but as I mentioned faith isn’t something tangible. It isn’t something you can touch or keep in your back pocket in need of emergency. So what does it look like when you don’t have this thing called Faith in this guy called Jesus? My life is the perfect illustration. For the first 19 years of my life I tried to do the one thing every single human being tries – find fulfillment.  In the shortest summary of what those years looked like was this, trial and error; emptiness, trial and error; more emptiness, trial and error; nothing left in me to keep searching. After every failure I got more lost, more confused, more depressed, more hopeless. I relied on my own knowledge to try to bring myself satisfaction. I tried money, friends, relationships (like that Notebook love; Nicholas Sparks sucks), parties and countless other options. It all ended the same way, causing me a sense of temporary hope shortly followed by life crashing all down with more chaos and confusion. I had nothing to pull me up when I was beat down. My strength wore out. I gave up. This world got the best of me. Until January 25, 2015 when Jesus picked me up and never let me go.

Lastly, if you’re like me you dissect every little thing and continually ask the question why about everything. You need concrete evidence for you to fully have complete trust in Jesus. But you can’t meet up with Jesus for coffee to discuss your unending amount of questions you have so I want to answer to try to answer question of why it’s the best decision to have this unshakeable, undeniable, unchangeable, hopeful, joyful and fulfilling faith in Jesus. The first reason is you and I have incredibly inadequate judgment. As human beings we automatically think we know what is best, or we think we know what is right, or we even think we know what will happen in the future. That thing is called pride. Break it. An example of this is I had this girlfriend. She was funny, loved sports, could hang with the guys and oh boy was she smoking. She was “the one.” And I remember 8 months in the relationship started to get a little rocky I remember praying, “Lord if you just let us be together I will be happy. I know this is what I need in my life to keep me happy, please make this work.” Four months later I broke up with Michaela and was devastated. I didn’t understand why this perfect girl couldn’t make me happy. This is what I needed. Well, 6 months after I broke up with her and was still hung up on the relationship, Jesus came into my life and showed me how I didn’t have a clue what I truly needed. Through this girlfriend, Jesus showed me how no person can ever fulfill what I need no matter how perfect they are if I don’t have Him. Through her, Jesus showed me his way, his truth and his life. This would have never happened if she and I stayed together and it went my way. As I mentioned earlier you cant have concrete evidence and have coffee with Jesus but ask yourself this question, “Have I ever begged the Lord for something because it was what I needed and later in life I look back and see how thankful I am He did not fulfill that request?” You can probably think of multiple. There is your concrete evidence. The second way on why you can trust this faith is because of God’s character. Get this through your head. God does not need you, me or anyone else. He is completely self sufficient with out us yet He created you to experience his goodness, his joy, his love and his life; He created you because He wants you.  Everyday we disobey, lie, judge, compare, lack trust and even question in Jesus. But everyday God continually forgives us, seeks us, loves us and provides for us. Just put this into perspective if you had a friend that lied to you, judged you, lacked trust in you and questioned you on how good of a friend you are every single day would you continually seek that friendship? Well God does for you and me, because of who He is. William P. Farley puts it this way, “God could send us all to hell and remain holy, loving and just.”

Jesus loves you, Jesus seeks you, Jesus wants and knows what is the best for you, Jesus will hold you up and give you rest (just like that bed does) and lastly Jesus will never ever let you go. This is what faith in Jesus has proven to look like to me.

Brenden

Silence

I get a kick out of being right. Out of being put-together, and organized, and joyful. I get a kick out of being a proper, perfect version of who I should be. It's a dangerous type of addiction. It's an addiction to a version of ourselves that we think we should be at all times. The type that can run from activity to activity, never sleep, work out for an hour or more a day, say the right things, and look good while doing it. It's a false perception; a version of us that comes around maybe once in a month. I feel like spiritual warfare hits the hardest when we're living in these states. Because perfect people don't like to admit when life isn't perfect. Perfect lives don't have stress, worry, or unrequited emotions. So our best selves don't like to talk to talk about the parts that make us look weaker. Spiritual warfare thrives in this silence.

Silence is the refusal to admit that these emotions/breakdowns/feelings of vulnerability are normal. Silence is the belief that internalizing an emotion is sufficient to solve it. Silence is not allowing God to work through your vulnerabilities, correct them, and grow closer to your community because of them. Spiritual warfare may thrive in silence, but community thrives in honesty and brokenness. When we let down our facades of perfection, God brings those to us that can love us through those imperfections. Nothing creates a stronger sense of belonging than someone seeing your broken pieces and not only overlooking them, but also celebrating them!

Finally, admitting vulnerability opens the door to prayer. Attempting how we are struggling allows people all around us to care for and pray over our struggles. "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." James 5:16

Love, Liz

Faith Friday- Sarah

Wow, what a blessing it is to know Sarah. Sarah speaks in wisdom constantly, inspires me to be better in every aspect of life, is the most social person I know, and pushes everyone to care more. She's a mom in the best sense of the word. I see faith portrayed through her each and every day; how much more of a blessing it is to learn how she approaches it. I'm so happy that I get to learn from her and love her throughout college! Picture1.png My favorite song of all time is How Deep the Father’s Love For Us. Stuart Townend tells the story of Christ on the cross, but more specifically about what it cost the Father to give His Son. The lyrics shatter any conception of self-importance, bringing me immediately into a posture of humility. The words are simple and true, which is why they resonate so powerfully with the inmost part of my being. Therefore, it only seems fair to share these words with you.

 

How deep the Father's love for us

How vast beyond all measure

That He should give His only Son

To make a wretch His treasure

 

A wretch is a person of despicable character - a deplorably unfortunate person. A treasure is the thing a person values most, and this thing is regarded as precious. Obviously, wretch and treasure are polar opposites. A person would never look at a rotten apple and call that his treasure, but that is exactly what the Father does. Jesus took on my despicable, deplorable, unfortunate qualities at Calvary so that the Father can look at me and say, “This is my daughter, my treasure, whom I love.”

How great the pain of searing loss

The Father turns His face away

As wounds which mar the Chosen One

Bring many sons to glory

The Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelled in perfect, eternal unison with one another - until man entered the picture. Attempting to understand the Trinity as separate but equal beings is a nearly impossible task, but the closest comparison I can draw is the example of conjoined twins. From the first moment they gasp in air, they are in the presence of one another, and although each is his own being with his own soul, they are together from the time of birth to the time of death. Think about how terribly painful it would be to separate this union. Then, consider the pain the Father felt when he turned his face away from his Son for the first time in eternity. He did this in order to bring me, his wretched treasure, into glory. How unfathomable.

 

Behold the man upon a cross

My sin upon His shoulders

Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice

Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there

Until it was accomplished

His dying breath has brought me life

Often I approach the Father so filled with shame that I refuse to lift my face to His, forgetting that if I only lifted my eyes, I would see floods of grace. One of the devil’s greatest tools is shame, and he uses it deceitfully to make me feel inadequate, unworthy, and unloved. However, in taking my sin upon his shoulders, Jesus conquered my shame, so that I can confidentially lift my eyes to the Father, knowing full well that I am blameless, righteous, and holy before Him.

 

I know that it is finished.

 

This verse deserves a line of its own. People’s final words always seem to be the ones remembered and held onto most dearly, so it is no wonder this is such a well-known and powerful phrase. After Jesus uttered these words, he bowed his head and gave up his Spirit. IT IS FINSIHED. The innate freedom of those words is incomparable. I am no longer a slave to sin, death and fear because Jesus conquered all.

 

I will not boast in anything

No gifts, no power, no wisdom

But I will boast in Jesus Christ

His death and resurrection

 

How silly is it to think that I can accomplish anything of worth on my own? I came from dust, and to dust I will return. As Solomon would say, everything is a chasing after the wind. I am utterly insignificant on my own, but because I am a daughter of the true King, I am of eternal worth. Therefore, the only logical thing I have to boast about is the power of Jesus in me. For goodness sake, He’s the One who fills my lungs with air everyday, so the least I can do is use the mouth he designed specifically for me to praise Him.

 

Why should I gain from His reward?

I cannot give an answer

But this I know with all my heart

His wounds have paid my ransom.

Every time I sing these words, my heart constricts so tightly that breathing seems impossible. WHY. Why do I deserve his sacrifice? Jesus carried the cross I should bear, paid the price I owe, and suffered the death I fully deserve. The beauty of His sacrifice is that it is so underserved, but was done out of perfect love.

 

Since Jesus no longer walks the Earth as a man, I have to have faith in what I cannot see. There are so many things about God that I do not understand, partly because I am human, but mostly because he is GOD. He is not meant to be understood by the beings he created. However, the one thing I do know, with all my heart, is that He paid my ransom.

 

Because of this:

 

I can rejoice in the good and the bad.

 

I have no fear in life or in death.

 

I am free.

 

I am loved.

 

I am forgiven.

 

I am a child of God.

 

Faith is trusting Jesus when he says, “It is finished.”

Love,

Sarah

SB 2016

IMG_0448(Pepperdine)

Spent a week living as a tourist in one of the most influential, perplexing, and fascinating cities in the country. To be honest, the majority of adventures my friend and I took were stereotypical, tourist-hungry places. We loved every second. IMG_7640IMG_1021IMG_0339IMG_0363

(Beverly Hills)IMG_0455IMG_0513(Griffith Observatory)IMG_0528IMG_0637IMG_0630(Warner Brothers Studio Tour)IMG_0830IMG_0845IMG_0770IMG_0808(LACMA)IMG_0921IMG_1003IMG_1012IMG_1011IMG_7877(Wizarding World of Harry Potter)

Better Questions

We all know those, in the wise words of Bob Goff, secretly incredible people. People who's everyday interactions are a testament to Jesus' presence. They scream joy when studying, sleeping, or whilst falling asleep in lecture. My friend Cortlyn is one of those people. One of her favorite life mottos is "Meet new people. You'll never run out of things to talk about." DSC_0168

 

I used to think that was crazy. Only when you know someone can you truly talk for hours; only then do become comfortable enough to break down those barriers of self-image that we've so carefully crafted. I realized I was wrong when I realized why new interactions occasionally made me anxious. I was developing anxiety over my own answers; I was thinking of all the ways in which I wanted to exalt, improve, and sell myself to this other person's perception. Instead of learning about them, I was constantly questioning how they felt about me.

Ask better questions. Worry less about perfect answers. The more questions we ask, the more we learn about new people. The easier it is to discover how secretly incredible each and every person we meet really is. Crafting questions teaches us to emphasize. It teaches us to let the other person share their experience; we're learning more from each individual exchange than we would from having the same interview over and over again. Because when we craft ourselves into a perfect person, we stop having conversations. We start being interviewed. And no one ever left an interview feeling fully known. Only conversations, and questions, allow this to occur.

Love,

Liz

What are you for?

Our God is a God of yes. A God that says yes to beautiful, encouraging, powerful, life-affirming things. Yet, our God has been twisted into a God that says no. A God that's only job is to limit and challenge us. God is challenging us; but, he's challenging us to say yes to things that further His kingdom. He challenges us to be for things, not just against things. IMG_6035You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16: 11

I've noticed this discrepancy in college a lot. Anytime that I tell people I am a Christian, I hear the statement, "Oh, so you must not..." In many cases, the answer to these questions are no. I do avoid certain things because of Jesus' will. However, though Christianity is labeled a religion that is against so much, it is also for so much. Jesus encourages us to be for love, kindness, and deep conversations. In many ways, I've interpreted this to mean I should be for late night drives, sunrises, long/lazy days exploring my favorite city, meeting new people constantly, and trying new things (i.e. food, hobbies, sports, etc). Jesus is an adventurous leader and following Him means living life similarly. Jesus is for so much more than He is against. Realizing what that means for me has made life much less constraining, and much more exciting.

I love saying yes to things. No gets boring. Fasting, critiquing, and saying no all have their place in life. Yet, saying yes to loving, caring, and adventuring with/for people is not constrained to certain time periods; it should be constant. God says yes to us, so now we must live with that in mind.

Love, Liz

Faith Friday- Kevyn

Oh man, oh man, am I excited for this Faith Friday. Kevyn is my mentor, my friend, and one of the coolest people I've ever met. Her wisdom gets me through college on a daily basis and without her, freshman year would not have been as fun, or as spirtually encouraging. I learn so much from her and getting to read her Faith Friday is such a privilege- I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do!  IMG_3118

Hello! My name is Kevyn. To clarify, I’m a girl. We’ll just get that out of the way in the beginning so you don’t get confused as you read this, then do some facebook searching only to realize that I’m in fact a female named Kevyn. I had the distinct privilege of being Lizzey’s counselor this summer at camp. But now I just call her my friend- a privilege far superior. Lizzey asked me quite some time ago to write a Faith Friday entry for her blog, to which I nervously, but happily, agreed. I’ll admit, I did not intend for it to take this long to write (sorry Liz), but it never felt like the right time to sit down and write. Also, faith is confusing. What does it even mean to have faith when it comes to Jesus? A man who existed over 2000 years ago, performed miraculous, mind-boggling acts, humbly put Himself on a cross, and defeated death so that I (insignificant me!) could know him and get a small glimpse of how deep His love is. I'd like to note what a romantic love this is; this is a sacrificial love so powerful and beyond comprehension.

So. All I promise to know is Christ crucified. I am not a pastor, I haven’t gone to seminary, and I haven’t studied the bible outside of my own time and amateur classes. But, God is a pretty fantastic teacher and Praise Him for giving us the Bible. Also, let’s be honest—we’re all amateurs when it comes to God. If, at the end of my rambling, you have gotten nothing out of it, which would be fine, please get this: the Bible is the standard of truth by which we live by. The Bible defines everything. Without the support of The Bible, my words hold no value. That being said, faith to me is Hebrews 10:23 (rhyme not intended there). “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.” That last part? Too good. He who promised is faithful. Faith to me is trusting that God is exactly who He says He is and that God keeps His promises. PRAISE God that is true! We can trust God and hope in Him because HE is faithful. This is a faithfulness that we do not understand. This is a perfect, holy, beautiful, unblemished, absolute faithfulness.

But we are not quick to trust. As humans, we need evidence. God does not owe us this, but He knows us and loves us and wants us to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is worth trusting. 2 Corinthians 10:20 says “For all the promises of God find their Yes in Him. That is why it is through Him that we utter our Amen to God for His glory.” Paul is referencing to Jesus here. God’s promise to never let anything stand between Him and us is fulfilled in the form of a gracious, patient, good, loving, perfect, and obedient Jesus. We see these promises satisfied and accomplished in Jesus. Why do we have faith? Because Jesus. Because God died and rose again so that nothing, nothing, could separate us from Him.

God made a promise that was seemingly too good to be true; that He would provide the solution to our sin and would give this free gift of salvation to us because He is God. Because He is who He says He is. Not because of something I did, not because I fed the church offering $20 as it passed by, not because I gave a pretty sweet tip to my waiter, not because I wear Chaco’s and own an Eno in typical hipster-Christian fashion. What a silly promise, Lord! If I were God, I would not make this promise because it puts everything on me and no one else would have to do anything. How absurdly unfair is that!? (Thank God I am not God, am I right?) Oh, but how sweet and ridiculously gracious my God is. He promised a Savior (Deuteronomy 18:18, Isaiah 53). He promised a solution that would come from Him. Jesus. Jesus is God’s faithfulness on display. We can trust Him because He is faithful. He is faithful because He says He is. He proves this through Jesus.

Romans 7:18-19 tells us that we don’t have the ability to carry out any good that we desire to do. On my own, my faith in God crumbles. Ephesians 2:8 says that it is by grace we have been saved, through faith. “And this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God…” God doesn’t depend on our faith-- we depend on His. God is faithful when we lack all faith. His faithfulness to us is a saving faithfulness. My belief is a gift from God. And oh, how my faith in Him still waivers. I doubt Him and don’t trust Him. I doubt that He is all loving; I doubt that He is perfectly good. But He is patient and sweet to us, and He is faithfully whispering of His love to us every day. God’s goodness or love, everything about Him, does not require my belief for it to be true. God isn’t who He is because I have faith in Him, but solely because He is God. My faith in God is from God Himself (and praise God for that!). His faith does not waiver and it is not conditional. I can hope in Him, because He is trustworthy; of this, I am sure. I know this because He fulfilled His ultimate promise in Jesus Christ.

He keeps his promises. Proof? Jesus. He made the greatest, most ridiculous, outlandish, seemingly impossible promise and kept it. That is a perfect, holy faithfulness. We can trust that He is good, He is true, He defeats sin, He is quick to forgive, He abounds in steadfast love, and that He is gracious without condition because He says He is. And He who promised is faithful.

 

-Kev

PS: Thank you to Liz for inviting me to do this months ago. Thanks even more for patiently waiting for me to complete it; never bothered it took me so long. Talk about faith.

Solo Bucket List

In attempts to get into the spirit of Christmas, get some rest, and fully embrace winter break (an exhaustive, but exciting 5 weeks), I made a solo bucket list. Though I love bucket lists with friends, home provides opportunities of solitude that college does not. Solitude allows for rest, recharging, and revitalization of ideas. It's a treat to get rest- here's how I'm taking full advantage of it. IMG_6035

  1. Go to a coffee shop alone.
  2. Learn calligraphy.
  3. Bake something (unhealthy).
  4. Do a daily advent- I'm using this one.
  5. Write a short story.
  6. Take photos- sunrise/new city/dogs/anything goes.
  7. Hammock and eno.
  8. Leave my phone at home for a day.
  9. Make Christmas cards/crafts.
  10. Go on a hike.

I hope everyone enjoys their break and this period of family, good food, and rejuvenation.

Love, Liz

Picture Person

IMG_6924 (shirt- Free People, jeans- American Eagle, bralette- Urban Outfitters, shoes- Steve Madden)

God blessed me by bringing me to the University of Texas and bringing me Lauren as a roommate. Thankful to have a person who loves pictures as much as I do.

Love,

Liz

IMG_7007 IMG_6958 IMG_7028 IMG_6976 IMG_7032 IMG_6954 IMG_6925

How to: Blog in College

Doing anything consistently in college is a struggle in itself- finding the time week after week to dedicate to something non-essential can be rough. It can even seem silly at times (particularly when working out is involved). However, I struggle with this primarily when trying to blog. For almost two years, my blog has been an emotional outlet/discussion forum/creative respite. It has fulfilled its purpose well. Yet, deciding to continue it into college was something I struggled with in the beginning weeks. Though I wrestled with the decision for a while, I ultimately decided this blog had become something so important to me; no matter what, I would make time for it in college. I am thankful I did that because I appreciate the ability to create more than ever; school can be tedious, work is exhausting, and being creative fuels me. It's as simple as that; I get fuel from having an outlet to discuss and evolve. IMG_4018

  1. Set a date- Set yourself a schedule. Whether it's every day, week, or month, make sure you're blogging consistently. It will give you something to plan and look forward to and your content will improve rather than being hastily thrown together.
  2. Tell your friends- Let your new friends know! College is a time where everyone is doing their own thing. Tell everyone you know about your blog! Establish a brand for yourself. (Additionally, I find it fascinating to hear what others are passionate about. Hopefully, the people you find feel the same.)
  3. Let it be a break- Do not approach blogging like your normal to-do list. It isn't just something to get done. It is your creative work, your honest opinions about the world. A blog offers a place to truly discuss these ideas. If you're rushing, you're faking. You're not being true to yourself and your ideas deserve to be cultivated and considered before being published.
  4. Have fun with it- If your opinions change in college, embrace it! If you want to start discussing something new, then roll with it! A blog is a personal expression, it is meant to evolve with you. (Go back two years in my archives...the difference is unreal.)
  5. Take pictures- Lots of them. You never know what can become interesting content. Whether you're hanging with your friends, alone exploring coffee shops, or on fantastic adventures, take lots of pictures. You'll appreciate them in the future and they can inspire an interesting story in the present! Snap away.

Blogging is meant to be fun. There are no grades for a reason. Let yourself be creative, be free of restrictions, and enjoy it.

Love, Liz

A Time for...

I have a planner. Have is probably the wrong word; possess, crave, live by are probably more accurate verbs. This planner (a $7 find from Target) maps out every day during the year, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and then boasts a daily to-do list with over 20 slots. This little book keeps me sane, keeps me marking out every second of time, keeps me on track. If an event is not in a slot, it's not happening. Maybe, I put too much stock in this book (in fact, I know I do. One day I misplaced it for all of 10 minutes and almost had a panic attack). But it keeps me sane in my college life. I don't think it is inherently bad...except for the way its led me to approach every other aspect of my life.

I have planned every second of my tomorrow and every month for the next four years. I have a five-year plan, a 10-year, and even a 20 (more than my current age, might I add). I know exactly what I want to happen and on what timeline and in what place.

Or, so I think. I'm learning, slowly to be certain, but steadily that I cannot rely on my personal timeline. It'll drive me mad when someone cancels (forcing me to cross out and rewrite sections in my planner), but even crazier when life starts getting in the way of my plan. Yet, maybe this life I'm experiencing is starting to look more like God's plan than my own. It's messy, to be certain, but its bright and joyful and full of good people. It can be overwhelming and it might not follow the game plan I've envisioned- and I'm starting to become okay with that.

God's work in my two months at UT have been astoundingly swift and almost imperceptible. Yet, I look back and I can so clearly see his hand in everything, see the way he has molded my path. I am going to keep planning my days, but maybe I'll start to give my life some leeway. God's plan will fulfill me and allow me to find the time for everything I need (truly need, not desperately want). I'm thankful for the ability to loosen my hands of their tight grip and let Him steer.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens" Ecclesiastes 3:1 (all of Ecclesiastes 3 is fantastic though)

Love, Liz

ACL(ol)

IMG_4253(shirt- TJ Maxx, shorts- American Apparel, bralette- Urban Outfitters, shoes- Converse) The most authentic Austin experience one could have: visiting a three-day long music festival where artists from all over the country come to celebrate the live music festival of the world in one giant party.

Love, LizIMG_4265 IMG_4264IMG_4338(hat- Target, shorts- Target, shirt- Buffalo Exchange, sunglasses- Ray Bans)

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1194.

Be Present

Our problems are not the same. They vary from the mundane to the enormous, but everyone has something in their life that they could discuss or work through with the help of another. We want to be there, we are called to be there for these people in those times, but what happens when we do not relate? When the problems other people struggle with are beyond our understanding or realm of comfortable advice? What happens when we are so uncomfortable with our own misunderstanding that we do not step up at all? Words are important. They show care and hopefully kindness. They are meant to construct and support. Yet, when we do not have the words to say, sometimes being there is simply enough. Simply being there for someone, with a hug or a silent presence, is enough to make someone feel understood. Our words are important, but they do not mean the world. We cannot solve other people's problems solely with our words, nor do we have the answers to everything. That does not give us an excuse to step back and sit idle; God calls us to stretch and grow by being there for others. We may feel uncomfortable, but we may learn more in the process. When we are present, we become an active part of another person's story. We become game changers.

Say something, or don't. But be there. Just be present.

Love,

Liz