Thursday, October 28, 2010


This is going to be a little bit random, so bear with me... But I wanted to write this down so that I would remember it. Being the college student that I am, it's faster to type it than write it out on paper ;-).

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him,
and I am helped;
therefore my heart exalts.
and with my song I shall thank Him.
(Psalms 28:7)

Wait for the Lord;
Be strong, and let your heart take courage;
Yes, wait for the Lord.
(Psalms 27:14)

I came across both of these in my devotions the last couple days. I'm at a point right now where I am waiting to see what God's plan is for me after this coming May. I'm moving ahead, but also kind of standing still at the same time... I might be leaving home for a year, but I also know there's a possibility I might be staying here. The idea of leaving is exciting and also absolutely terrifying, especially when I realize next fall really isn't that far away... But then again, neither is the spring after that!

But that's not the point ;-). While I was reading these verses I was reminded that I am to wait on the Lord's plan, and His timing. If I trust in Him with all my heart, He will help me. He will show me His plans and where He wants me to go. I can have courage right now knowing that He will lead me, He will show me where He wants me, and what He has in mind for me, is in fact, going to be amazing. Better than anything I could ever dream up... And that makes me smile =).

Saturday, October 23, 2010


I'm sure many of you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I didn't know that it was until October of 2007... Five months after Mom was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. There's nothing like someone in your own family getting cancer to make you more aware of it.

I watched cancer attack my Mom's body.. I saw the tears, the pain, the medicines after and during treatment, the exhaustion, the frustration, the nights of no sleep because of pain, and the days of being stuck in bed because the chemo and radiation would make her so sick. But even more than all of that, I saw a woman who clung to her Rock and Redeemer through the whole thing.

It's true; cancer weakens you. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. I saw that. But overall, I saw it strengthen Mom spiritually. She had days where she had no choice but to cling to Jesus, because that was the only way she would get through the day, or even the hour. She took something that can kill people not only literally, but spiritually, and let it strengthen her.

I pray no one else I know ever has to go through what Mom did. But should you, or should someone you know - the best thing you can do is to love them. Don't just tell them you are praying for them and you "hope they get better." Pray with them. Show them you are there, fighting along with them. Be their support team. Love them. Love their family. Be a shoulder to cry on. A smiling face. You can even bring cookies (or meals... A lifesaver for whoever takes on the cooking!!), take the kids, be the hands and feet of Jesus to them and their family.

But most important out of all of those is prayer. It is powerful. It is encouraging. It is comforting. It offers peace. I can't count the number of times we prayed as a family, with friends in the waiting room, in church, around Mom's bed... It helped us as a family to grow stronger in Him. For me, the most encouraging thing people could do for me was to take the time to stop and pray with me... For me, for my siblings, for my Dad, and for Mom. I knew that with prayer warriors surrounding my family and I that God's will would be done. And He is faithful!

Scrabble during Chemo treatments.
(I won't say who won, but I will say Mom had to play while on Benadryl!)

Easter... with hair!!! 2008.

Breakwall jumping, August 2008
(She thought she was going to die!!!)

Graduation. My Mom is amazing.
Homeschooling can be challenging enough when you aren't fighting for your life...
She did it while she was, and succeeded.
(I think ;-))
June 2009.

Boston Trip.
Just us =)
(We got to see the Detroit Tigers cream the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park!!)
August 2009.

Trip to 'da U.P' to scope out Finlandia University
July, 2010.

Mom, I love you more! I know you say it isn't humanly possible, but "I'll love you for always, I'll like you forever, and as long as I'm living, my Mommy you'll be."
Thank you for everything you've done. From caring for me as a little 'butterball' to dealing with my early teenage years, to encouraging and supporting me now. I cannot describe how thankful I am for you and all you have done. You have set an amazing example of what it means to be a wife and a mother, and I know that someday I will be even more thankful for those examples than I am now.
You mean the world to me! I love you crazy much and I cannot wait to see how God continues to use your story to encourage those around you.
And I will always be your Hannie Girl =).

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I am a dreamer... I love to sit and just get lost in my thoughts. Whether it's while I'm first waking up, falling asleep, or sitting in class... I love to dream. It just seems like there are so many things to think about, so many different things that could happen! It really is exciting!
If you look at a little girl, they're usually playing dress up of some kind or another. I was one of those! I remember all the weddings I acted out, all the times I played "house." I loved house!! It was the best game ever, because anything could happen! Even at a young age, I loved dreaming. It seems to me life is too exciting to not get excited about.
Dreaming is fun and usually harmless, but we/I have to remember that God does tell us what kinds of things we should be thinking/dreaming about.

Finally, brothers (sisters),
whatever is true,
whatever is honorable,
whatever is just,
whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely,
whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence,
if there is anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.
(Philippians 4:8)

There are so many things I could say.. But I really think that passage speaks for itself. It's important that when we dream, we're being careful what we let into our heads. It doesn't necessarily have to be BAD... But is it beneficial to you, or is it just filling you with discontent? Is it helping you to pursue your dreams, or depressing you because you think they'll never really happen? Is it an honorable dream for the time being, something that you should be dreaming about now? Is it worthy of praise, would God be supportive of your dream?
Dreams can be a great thing. The dreams I have about my future life help keep me going on the lousy days. They also help keep things in perspective.
Dream - Let your dreams inspire you and push you on to bigger and better things. Let God write your dreams, follow His lead, and your dreams just may become reality!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Are you ready for this? This is me, being totally honest.

I have days that I just don't feel loved.

Before this makes you think I'm a sad and depressed person, I know there are two major problems with that. One, I am loved, by my family and my friends. And I know that, because they make it obvious to me! Secondly, it's not always about the feeling... But the reality of what's really going on.
Also, I'm not talking about the love that most people are probably thinking I am. I'm talking about the "deep-down-in-your-heart-I-know-I-am-Loved" kind of Love. Call me crazy, but it's different.

So I was having one of those days this week. It wasn't horrible, but I was just having an off day. When I got home from school that night and was praying and doing my devotions (which might have had something to do with the off day.. Not doing them in the morning), I poured my heart out to my Heavenly Daddy. And I do mean poured. I went to Him with all my hurts and insecurities, and also complained about not feeling loved by Him.

Just when I'm getting into the middle of my pity party (because really, that's kind of what it was), my phone went off LOUDLY. Scared me to death! Normally, I don't check my phone while I'm doing my devotions, but it was a text from my "Grandpa," Doc. Every day or so, he sends me a text with a verse, or some form of encouragement. This one was no exception..

"Read John 15:9. Rest in God's affection. His constant care keeps your heart safely secured. Our Salvation is secure because God's Word is sure. PTL."

So I flip to John 15:9.

Just as the Father has loved me, so also have I loved you;
Abide in My Love.

Wow. I was so overwhelmed that I almost started crying. Why? Because, I realized - His Love really is all I need. His Love is the ONLY way I will ever feel Loved enough. There is a spot deep in my heart that only He can fill, no matter where else I look for that Love. There I was, crying out to Him to show me I was doing the right thing. That looking to Him for Love was the only way. And He did.

Usually I don't have instant revelations like this. I have to think about it, write about it, pray about it, read about it, Cross-reference it, talk about it. But this was different. It was an instant assurance that my heart rests in Jesus' hands, which is right where it belongs.

The next morning, I get in my car to head to school and turn my iPhone on shuffle.. The first song that comes on:

So, you think love is only for the good enough
And one thing you're never gonna be worthy of
But there's a song being sung over you
By the One who breathes life into you

You are being loved, you are being loved
Right now at this very moment
You are being loved, you are being loved
Right now, you are being loved, loved, loved
You are being loved, loved, you are

You ought to see the smile
You're bringing to your Father's face
You ought to hear Him sing
His version of Amazing Grace

'Cause that's the song being sung over you
By the God who breathes life into you

With every breath that you're taking
And every beat of your heart
Even while this song is playing
Whatever you do, wherever you are
There's a song being sung over you

You are being loved, you are being loved
Right now at this very moment
You are being loved, you are being loved
Right now, you are being loved, loved, loved
You are being loved, loved, you are
(Steven Curtis Chapman)

It's not always about the feeling. But I know I am Loved.

He LOVES me.

How awesome is that?!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sick. Blech.

I hate being sick. Trying to function at a normal level while feeling absolutely lousy is not a good time! I was more than reminded of that this week while trying to "tough" my way through tests, classes, and work. Trying to figure out which antihistamine/decongestant to take, that I could still function on, proved to be an adventure... I can never remember which ones knock me out and which ones hop me up... Always a fun time.
But I was reminded this week about how God gives us the strength we need, when we need it.
I had a major test on Wednesday that I spent a crazy amount of time studying for, and when I woke up Wednesday morning I felt like the scum of the earth.
I prayed when I got up (more like crawled out of bed), and mom hugged me and prayed with/for me right before I left(while I was doing a wonderful job of acting like a little kid who didn't want to go to school I might add)..
I still felt like crud.
I got to school and somehow made it through my first lab. I was walking across campus to my test when the headache cleared, my eyes stopped watering, and the sneezing stopped (mostly). I was able to make it through my whole class period and take my tests without any major distractions.
No joke, as soon as that class period ended (12:55), my energy level drastically declined and I went back to feeling just as lousy as I had that morning... I still don't feel good... I'm on day #4 of this, and can't seem to kick it no matter how much Vitamin C, antihistamine, and NyQuil I ingest (but not all at the same time ;-))!
All this to say - God gives us the strength we need, when we need it. And sometimes, it's exactly when we need it. I had it for the hour and forty minutes I needed it! I am so thankful for the way He shows Himself to us when we need Him the most =). Just another reminder of His great Love for us.

He gives strength to the weary,

And to him who lacks might He increases power.

Though youths grow weary and tired,

And vigorous young men stumble badly,

Yet those who wait for the Lord

Will gain new strength;

They will mount up with wings like eagles,

They will run and not get tired,

They will walk and not become weary.

(Isaiah 40:29-31)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Count Your Blessings

Sometimes I feel SO blessed. I'm not saying I don't feel that way all the time, but some days it hits me more than others. Right now, I'm sitting outside looking at the gorgeous red and gold trees lining the bright blue sky... There's a breeze, but it's still warm enough that I'm sitting here in a T-shirt.That alone is a miracle in Northern Michigan!!
But seriously, I think we need to step back sometimes and realize how much we really have going for us. We get caught up in what isn't happening and don't see the little things that are happening. This tends to have a negative effect on our emotions and our attitudes.
I was remembering this morning while I was watching my little sisters do Bible with mom how ever so often during my home-schooled years, how mom would have us write out a list of things we were thankful for. This would happen especially when our attitudes were getting lousy. So I thought today, sitting here in the sun, I would do the same thing.. Kind of take a little trip back in time, if you will =).

  1. God. I have been BLOWN away by His nearness and His Love over the past few months. This summer was a major time of growth for me, and I have never Loved Him more. Just knowing that He has everything figured out for me is a huge load off my shoulders!! I love it because the more I get to know and Love Him, the more I can see of Him and the more that I can see there is to see of Him... It's unending!
  2. Family. My family is one-of-a-kind. We love each other, we challenge each other, and we make each other laugh. I wouldn't trade them for anything.
  3. Mom!! Obviously she's a part of the family, but I am so thankful for the way she prays for and with me, and the ways she shows her love to me. Just this morning I got up (and I've been feeling really lousy the last couple days) and she was just putting lemon poppyseed muffins into the oven. YUM. My favorite!! With October being "Breast Cancer Awareness" month, I am even more thankful that she is here to love on me and show me what it means to be a real woman of God.
  4. Dad!! He too, is part of the family. But I like to talk about him =). I feel so blessed to have a dad who is so actively involved in my life. He keeps track of what's going on with my school, he hugs me when I need it, and he knows how to make me laugh. Lately he's been a huge sounding-board for me. I go to him about EVERYTHING. There isn't much about me that he doesn't know. Whether I'm struggling with something or curious about something else, he usually knows about it.
  5. Friends... I love my friends =). I am so blessed to have some God-crazy friends in my life. I can talk to them about everything. They make me laugh. They encourage me. They pick on me. They love me. They challenge me. I am incredibly thankful that God has sent me friends in my life that are just as bent on following God as I am, because it helps keep me real and it keeps me from going absolutely insane from boredom!
  6. Bible Study. We just got a Bible Study going for College-aged people, and I'm LOVING the opportunities it's giving me to grow in my faith. Having people my own age to talk things over with is so great, because for the most part we're all facing the same types of challenges. And, the study that we thought we'd be lucky to have 5 or 6 people come to had TWELVE people at this past week. God thing? I think so!!
  7. School. I know, people say that's insane to be thankful for school. But I am so thankful for school right now. It keeps me busy for sure, and sometimes I complain about it, but there is SO much to learn!
  8. Church. I love my church family. I know the Christian body as a whole is indispensable, but there's something special about the way you grow with the Christians at your church. Serving along with them definitely gives you great opportunities together to grow and teach.
  9. "Little people" =). Just today I saw one of the little girls I babysit. She saw me and went "Hi Heenah!!" Her sweet little face made my morning. Kids are such a joy to be around.
  10. Surgery!! Honestly, I have never been more thankful for surgery. Because of the surgery I went through in May for my knee, I just ran a lap (yeah a whole lap.. I'll go further tomorrow!) without any pain or dislocation or unnatural popping noises. It was phenomenal. The fact that the medical world is advanced enough to MOVE my kneecap and eliminate pain is incredible!
  11. Music. I love music. Recently I've been listening to "Our God" by Chris Tomlin and "Reaching For You" by Lincoln Brewster almost endlessly. Something about rolling down the windows in my car, driving between the beautifully colored trees, with these songs blaring is just great.
So there you have it. A little trip down memory lane for me, and a short list of some of the things I'm thankful for. Looking it over again just makes me feel even more blessed. If you're ever feeling down, sit down and write out (or type up) a list of what you're thankful for and then thank God for it all, giving Him the praise and the glory that He is so worthy of!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Little Children..

(Me, to a little girl) "What's one of your favorite things?"

*she pauses for a minute*


"Ok, but what's your favorite thing? Like a toy, or a kind of food?"

"God, 'cause He's best!!! *pauses* Oh, and cats!"

I love kids. I really, truly do. I look forward to the week every month that I get to work with the K-5th graders in church.Today, we were discussing envy and being thankful with them... Thus the above conversation. Each of the kids was supposed to come up with something that they own that someone could envy. This little girl was adamant that God was the most important.
It's precious, she just asked Him into her heart probably about 3 months ago and she carries her Bible with her everywhere. She made it quite obvious today where He places in her life... The look I was given when I re-asked the question was priceless. She couldn't understand why I would question her beyond that answer. God is truly #1 in her little life, even above her cats ;-).

If only we all could be this innocent and pure in our love for Him. We get so caught up in our day-to-day lives that He falls below. Our trust isn't as strong as it should be. We don't go to Him before we worry and freak out about things. We get angry.

I was very thankful for the reminder today to love God with the intensity a child does. To them, it is so simple. God loves them, He sent His Son for them, and because they asked Him to, He lives in their hearts. They don't worry about the big questions of theology like when the rapture will happen, or whether or not you can lose your salvation. They keep it simple simple and their Love for Him stays pure, and their Trust stays strong.

If you've ever watched a little kid talk about Jesus and/or God, you can see it. They're very matter-of-fact about it and they just lay it all out. There aren't any hidden details. He loves them, and they Love Him. Enough said =).

My challenge to myself this week - Love Him like a child. When I start getting to caught up in what's going on, to step back and remember that He Loves me and I love Him, and that it really is that simple.