Wait for the Lord

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I was asked to do this commission for a group of girls in my fellowship for when they went on an overnight stay-retreat. It’s taken from a website called Naptime Diaries that does a lot with Bible verses and pretty posters 🙂 This was my first attempt, clearly, as it looks pretty rough and also unfinished as I didn’t completely outline all that I needed to. Technically speaking, I need to work on the lettering for everything that isn’t in cursive and also take note that you cannot simply watercolor on regular cardstock. 😛 I will also probably redo this and maybe do an update on it and see the progress I have made, which I think would be quite cool!

This verse to be honest did not strike me at first. Especially in recent times, with such tragedy all around us in the news and everywhere, I took it to mean something almost of a complacency with the world around us. But I don’t think that’s what it means. Now, it reminds me of the title of this blog, Still and Know, which for those that don’t know, is a reference to the Bible verse, “be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.

Wait for the Lord because He will come to conquer all in the end, wait for him, be quiet and listen for him, because He is there. He is present, He will always provide. But more than that BE STRONG AND TAKE HEART. Have confidence in Him and what He can do. And be strong. Be courageous. Be all that you believe is right in the world, wait for the Lord, but also be in the world and do good onto it with belief in Him .

A happy 19 to me

Last week, I celebrated my 19th birthday. I have always been pretty low key about birthdays, so what we planned to do – dinner and a movie – ended up being eating at home and seeing a movie on Netflix – just as nice 🙂 Anyways, I’m happy I got to spend so much time with family and hear from friends I hadn’t heard from in quite a while. Not that you can do much at 19, but it’s crazy that the years have passed so quickly, and in a blink, I have reached my last year of being a teenager. Here are just a couple photos below 🙂

My boyfriend sent me this basket of Edible Arrangements as he was off at Duke doing research and couldn’t make it. My mother went wild with the pictures… I thought this one looked nice and captured quite impressively the cute 19 made out of pineapples in the middle. IMG_4898.JPG

For myself, I recently found out about Thredup, which is a website that sells used clothes very cheaply. You can choose to buy from them or to sell them your own used clothes (though I hear bad reviews about the selling part). I browsed and purchased three shirts from the website and it came in the cutest packaging right in time for my birthday! Needless to say, I am really pleased with my purchase and for those who do a lot of online shopping, you would feel right at home. IMG_0639IMG_0640FullSizeRender 3.jpg

A while back, a friend also got me these two ridiculously cute items from Mochi Things – the first is a set of pretty colored highlighters and the other a Japanese weekly planner. I am an absolute sucker for stationary and am pretty excited to use it. I decided to include them in this post just because they looked quite pretty haha. The shorts in the picture below is from Ann Taylor that my mother got me. IMG_4904.JPGIMG_4905.JPG

My brother has a couple of key stores he goes to when he gets gifts for me and my birthday was no different. The two mugs (one is from Christmas) are both from Anthropologie and the cute little black and white box is from South Moon Under. I love them all so very much and at the rate he’s going, I will have quite the accumulation of mugs 😉 IMG_0695.jpgIMG_4861.JPG

I’m really grateful for the life that I live. I’m thankful for God and I am thankful for family, for the opportunities that I have been given to reach the place that I am now, more so than any physical present that I received. 19 is a new year for me and I am excited for what it brings. My hope for myself is to stay motivated and to stay true to myself, to work harder to understand others and show compassion and love in ways that I can, and to transition into greater maturity and understanding of the world and pursue a deeper love for God.

Christian books I plan to read

Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis

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I got my boyfriend to read this book, but I haven’t actually read this book myself. Aside from the Chronicles of Narnia, this is probably the most famous of C.S. Lewis’s books and perhaps the one most blatantly centered on Christianity. It is actually adapted from a series of talks that Lewis gave between 1942 to 1944. I have read the first chapter or so of the book, but it is difficult to get through as he writes with an older more formal style and also very densely and precisely regarding apologetic Christianity. I’m looking forward to finally pressing on and finishing this over the summer.

The Reason for God – Timothy Keller

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My ministry fellow for Yale Faith and Action actually gave this book to me so that my boyfriend could read. I asked for it because I knew that my boyfriend is not the type to fall for the emotional side of Christianity so much as for straight logical arguments. Timothy Keller, a famous person in the Christian community, goes through in each chapter several of the most common and most difficult questions regarding Christianity and provides his answers for all of them. I decided I definitely had to read this book in order to resolve some of my own doubts regarding Christianity and also preview whether it was acceptable enough of a coherent argument to give my boyfriend to read as well. I have just finished reading the first chapter, There Can’t Be Just One True Religion, and I must say that I am thoroughly impressed with his eloquence and the stickied effect of his words on my heart.

The Sacred Search – Gary Thomas

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My ministry fellow gave me this book as well after I told her about my questions regarding dating someone who is not a Christian. She said that she had read The Sacred Heart, which is a similar book, except for people who are closer towards marriage. This one is more toned down for those who are dating and what it means to date with a Christian mentality.

The Case for Christ – Lee Strobel

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As you can see, I have been really delving into these types of logical arguments towards Christianity and what makes it different from so many of the other religions out there. This particular book is less scholarly and more casual in its writing style. A journalist goes out and talks to the most prominent and most dedicated Christians out there regarding some of the issues of Christianity. I read the first chapter or so of the book and I was not as impressed as I was for The Reason for God, but I definitely appreciate both the styles of writing in bringing me a wider perspective.

NIV Study Bible 

My brother got a study Bible when he got baptized so I stole it from him to read because I have never used one before! It’s definitely given me greater energy and passion for the Bible, though the process has slowed my reading of the Bible to only around 10 pages a night – for every two or three verses, the Study Bible goes into five or six paragraphs analyzing the text. Although tedious, I am really loving the extra insight that is incorporated into the reading and hopefully I will be able to get past Genesis pretty soon 😉

Christian Songs (I)

I have sort of given up listening to music while in college simply because I am too busy and music detracts from my productivity, but the other day I pulled out my Spotify worship playlist and felt that I really needed it in my life right now. A couple of my absolute favorites 🙂

  1. How He Loves – David Crowder Band

2. You are Holy – Michael W. Smith

3. From the Inside Out – Hillsong

4. Blessed be Your Name – Matt Redman

5. You Make me Brave – Bethel Music

Easter musings, new beginnings

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Last Easter feels so close. I remember exactly what I wore. What my family wore, what my friends wore … actually that’s probably because there are tons and tons of pictures from that day 😛 But it still feels surreal that a year has passed and so much has changed yet remembering 365 days back genuinely does not feel that difficult to do.

Have I changed as a person? As a Christian? Have I grown in faith? Have I grown in character?

College is supposed to be a transformative experience as a religious person. You’re supposed to find the perfect bible study, a tight-knit fellowship, Christian friends.. but that has not been the case for me. I have found it increasingly difficult to go to fellowship, people I dislike in my bible study, and the general feeling of isolation among the few Christians they are on campus. In fact, I have even begun thinking of Christianity mainly in relation to worldly things such as sin or temptation and friendships and good deeds, nothing related to a relationship with God at all.

I think in this way that God is challenging me and I know that I am failing.

This spring break I went back home and there were primarily two things that really make me hopeful for the rest of the year and going into summer and sophomore year. One was that my brother for his baptism had gotten this Life NIV study bible. I opened it and was blown away by immediate resolution to read all of it. Easier said than done of course, but when I am done with school, I believe that’s what I’m going to do. I needed God to spark this sudden fire in me for the Bible and hopefully it’ll be a way for me to understand on a deeper level His purpose for me and the ways in which He works. The second thing was that on Easter Sunday, my church finally decided to start construction for an expansion of the building that has not been done for over thirty years. The picture is above, but we all wore hard hats and carried shovels and got super cutesy excited about the “ground breaking.” I am reminded of God’s constant renewals – His forgiveness of our sins every day,  the way He opens doors, the start of new beginnings.  Happy Easter. He is Risen.

 

 

 

 

Life Lessons – My Conclusions before heading off to college

Some Life Lessons –

  1. Don’t be afraid to speak up
    1. I think when I was younger, I was afraid to talk to a lot of the older people in youth group. It was partly because I was intimidated, partly because I thought I didn’t have anything substantial to add, partly because I didn’t want them to judge me. Don’t be afraid to say what you think. This means in youth group, don’t be afraid to add on something that’s going on in your mind. It also means simply to have faith in yourself and your abilities.
  2. Hold on to your relationships.
    1. Especially when you’re going through some of those rough years in high school, it is crucial that you maintain good relationships. Your friends can hold you accountable, tell you when they think you’re doing something good or gently let you know if they think you’re doing something wrong. They’re also the ones you get to spend some of the best and happiest memories. Also, cherish your family relationships as well. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have an amazing family and this has been my foundation for getting me through so many things.
  3. Be true to who you are and your values
    1. There will most definitely be a moment in your life where your values will be put into question. Stay true to them. My dad often has told me to not simply just listen to what people tell you – whether that’s at school, in the news, in church – to make your decisions and your opinions for yourself. Stay true to them!
  4. Think big picture
    1. We have a lot of worries and a lot of stress especially in high school. But always, always, always think big picture. You’re happy, you’re healthy, you’re safe, and you have lots of people who love you and care about you. That’s really all that matters in the end yeah?
  5. Be committed
    1. Finally, I would like to stress how important it is to be committed to Jesus. Make it a habit – prayer, reading the Bible, going to church. You think these things are very straightforward routine concepts that every Christian follows, but that’s because they really actually help grow you spiritually. I found my faith to be strongest and when I was the happiest when I was really on top of those things. even when you don’t want to do certain things because you don’t have the time, do it do it do it I’ve learned the hard way. it is so important to be committed because having a faith in Jesus that grows and grows and grows will be a foundation to all those other values.