Friday, February 28, 2014

Peace Beyond Understanding

     Ever since I got back from Honduras, I have been ready to go again. In fact, I didn't feel ready to leave when we did. I think that God has more lessons for me there, and I want to learn them. However, through all my excitement about going back again, there has been something in the back of my mind that has kept me from being fully happy about going back, until now. Here's the story.
     One day when we were at the orphanage, the members of our team who were working in the nursery found that two of the babies were very sick. I don't know all the details because I wasn't in that room with them , but when we were leaving for the day we were told that we would be taking these babies to the hospital. As I watched two of our team members hold the babies as we headed to the hospital, I suddenly felt very young. I was no longer playing with children and making them smile, now I was involved in the uglier side of mission work, and I had a hard time processing that experience. I didn't feel old enough to deal with the harsh reality that these babies were very sick and would most likely not have gotten the care they needed if we had not been there. What got me through that day was the fact that I thought we had solved the problems. I thought God had brought us there to get the babies to the care they needed, and we had, so now they would get better.
     Flash forward to a few months later. I was in my dorm about to go to sleep and I decided to check Facebook first, just because. As I was groggily scrolling through, I noticed that one of my friends from the mission team had posted something that was getting lots of comments, so I paused to see what that was about. It was then that I found out that one of the babies we had taken to the hospital had died. I didn't know what to do. It didn't make sense to me. A baby that had never had the chance to really experience life had died despite the fact that we were there to take him to the hospital. I didn't know how to process that. I am old enough to know that life isn't fair, but this just seemed cruel.  That was the first and only time I ever doubted wanting to go back.
     Since then I have been working on dealing with that experience, because I know I need to go back and I don't want my feelings about it to prevent me from opening my heart to these children again. Today I was finally able to find closure and move forward toward's the next trip with 100 percent of my heart. My devotional this morning had a verse that showed me that trying to understand why this happened is not the way to deal with it. The peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts in Jesus Christ. (Phillipians 4:7). I am finally at peace about the death of that baby, because I have stopped trying to understand it. I have accepted the fact that there are some things I will never understand in this life, and that I should stop focusing so much energy on trying to. Instead, I am praying for peace and comfort that God provides that goes past my understanding. So, Honduras trip 2014, I'm ready for you now. Let's see what God will do this time.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Useless Facts About Me to Draw in the Blogging Population

What is your middle name?: Lane (my dad used to tell me that if I was a boy they were gonna name me Dirt Lane, and I believed him for a long time. They were actually gonna name me Andrew Lane, which I think sounds weird)
What was favorite subject at school?:English
What is your favorite drink?: Chocolate milk (yes I'm in college and no that's not an alcoholic beverage. You may begin freaking out now)
What is your favorite song at the moment?: Anything by Matthew West. I also can't get "I Got a Car" out of my head (Oh my gosh that's not  Christian music!). However, may I point out that the correct title would be "I've got a car". Oh, and "Hey Pretty Girl".
What is your favorite food?: Sea Salt Caramel Gelato
What is the last thing you bought?: Groceries.
Favorite book of all time?: It's a tie between To Kill A Mockingbird and Charlotte's Web
Favorite Color?: Purple
Do you have any pets?: My dog Rufus ,who is the best dog ever
Favorite Perfume?: Who Cares? Probably 50% of the stuff they have in Bath and Body Works. They discontinued my old favorite. It was quite a crisis for me. But seriously, who cares?
Favorite Holiday?: Christmas
Are you married?: I'm 18. This isn't Little House on the Prairie, let's wait a while
Have you ever been out of the country, if so how many times?: I've been to Honduras, but don't get me started talking about that, cause then I'll forget to answer the rest of the questions
Do you speak any other language?: Very limited French and I can say some words in Spanish like candy, water, tomorrow, more, and alcohol. (pretend you didn't see that last one. I promise it was an innocent mission trip learning experience. No one was drinking)
How many siblings do you have?: One. Mr. Seth Parker Diggs, who used to shoot me with Nerf guns, get me into trouble, and help me with my math homework. He's the only guy that could ever harass me that much and still be one of my favorites.
What is your favorite shop?: Is the mall a shop? I can't really think of one
Favorite restaurant?: Chick-fil-a
When was the last time you cried?: Nosy question..probably a few days ago. Not getting much sleep turns me into a toddler sometimes.
Favorite Blog?: Don't have one yet
Favorite Movie?: I have so many
Favorite TV show?: It changes all the time
PC or Mac?: What?
What phone do you have?: iPhone 4 (and I only got an iPhone when my other phone completely died, not right when they came out)
How tall are you?: 5ft 2
Can you cook?: A little bit. That's something i'm trying to learn

Monday, February 24, 2014

Love is Patient

     It's such a strange feeling, writing what's on my mind and making it available for other people to read. I'm not sure if anyone is actually reading this, and what they think of it, but I've been wanting to do something like this, and I felt ready to start, so here we are. Let me know if you're reading this, because i'm curious!

     Lately I've been starting to feel some of the same feelings I used to experience before I went to Honduras and found my self confidence, and I do not enjoy them. Spring is around the corner, and many of my female peers are starting to talk about "getting in shape". For a while I started worrying about my appearance like I used to, until I was reminded how stressful it is to constantly have that on my mind. I am working on not getting sucked into those kinds of feelings again, now that I know how great it feels not to have them.

     Another worry I have had on my mind, and this is embarrassing to admit, is the fact that I am almost 19 and have never had a boyfriend. At times I get really concerned over that fact, imagining myself years down the road still single and living with 32 cats. I'm not even that fond of cats, can I be the crazy dog lady instead? Yes, I am an expert worrier with a great imagination, and it's pretty ridiculous.

     Recently someone suggested that I "expect to much" from guys. I was quite taken aback by this, and began to evaluate my expectations, to see if I should lower them. After this evaluation, I have decided that I'll just continue to wait for the right guy for me. My father always treats me very well, so I know that good guys do exist, they're just rare.

So what are these crazy expectations that I have for guys? Well, for the thousands of eligible bachelors that I'm sure are reading this, (kidding!), here's what I'm waiting for.

1. Someone who shares my faith, who prays for and with me and helps me grow in my relationship with God, and who I can discuss my faith with, and who will discuss his with me.

2. Manners, manners, manners. They're just so attractive to me! If you don't hold the door for me, I'm pretty much done.

3. You have to listen to my Honduras stories. Honduras changed my life, and I can find a way to work a Honduras story into almost any conversation. Also, when 10,000 Reasons comes on the radio, I'm gonna get all choked up, even if I just heard it 5 minutes ago. Mission trips do that to people. You've been warned.

4. I don't want to be your everything. That phrase annoys the heck out of me. I want to be a big part of your life, but God should be first, not me.

5. Friendship. Maybe I've been watching too many movies, but it seems to me that people who are in love are also really close friends

So there you have it, the things I'm looking for. Do I have high standards? Maybe, but I don't plan on changing them. The Bible says that love is patient, and I feel like I should also try to be patient and wait for the right person, instead of lowering my expectations.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Grumpy Christian?

     Yesterday evening, I wasn't in the best mood ever. I wasn't happy with the way I had been treated in several different situations by multiple people, and I was feeling pretty discouraged. I believe I had every right to be unhappy with the way I had been treated, and yet I found myself feeling guilty. Guilty because I felt that I was not acting like a "good Christian". I felt that I should be able to immediately forgive those who had mistreated me and skip happily back into the world and continue to "be the light". I was quite unhappy with myself for failing to do this, and I ended my day feeling discouraged.

     But now that I have had time to think about it, I have realized something. I admit I haven't read the whole thing, but I don't think the Bible ever says "you must be in a good mood all the time". In fact, I think it says somewhere in there "In your anger, do not sin."  I love that verse because it acknowledges that we as humans will experience negative emotions. Just because I have faith in God does not mean I am immune to all of the negative things that happen in the world. Just like any other person, I will have bad days. As much as I want to "be the light", some days I just feel cloudy. So how should I deal with that?

     I don't know the officially correct answer. After all, I'm just a college freshman writing a blog so I can have an outlet for my overactive mind. What I do know is that God offers everyone these two really great things, grace and forgiveness, and they are unlimited.  Grace, or "the free and unmerited favor of God", takes away the need for me to never mess up. No matter how many times I fail, God won't stop loving me. That really takes the pressure off of me. This fear of messing up that I have is totally pointless, and I need to work on getting rid of it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Why am I a Christian?

I am at a point in my life where I am finding lots of things to write about, so blogging seemed like a good outlet. These are simply thoughts I have expressed the best way I know how. Maybe someone will find them interesting to read, but if not, at least I enjoyed writing them. This blog will probably mainly be thoughts about my faith as I work to make it stronger.

This week I have come to the realization that being a Christian in college is different than being a Christian in high school. In college I am exposed to people that haven't known me my whole life, and as they get to know me, they will inevitably find out about my faith, because it is a big part of my life. This has led me to many opportunities to share my faith, but I feel that I always hesitate and lose my chance. Since it easier for me to write than talk, I thought I would begin this adventure in blogging with an explanation of why I choose to be a Christian.

Many of my peers seem to think that I am a Christian because my parents are making me be one. That's not true. You can't make someone be a Christian. You can lead someone to Jesus, but you can't force them to accept him. My parents led me to Jesus. They took me to church and raised me in a Christian household. They modeled a God centered relationship to me, and I have reached the age where I am extremely grateful for that. God has always been a factor in my life, and when I reached the age where I could consciously choose to become a Christian, I did.

As I have gotten older, being a Christian is becoming harder. I am in classes where I am taught to think logically, and to question things. Believing in something I can't physically prove is considered by some people to be downright unintelligent. But still my faith is growing stronger. Why is that? Because I have seen God.

No, I'm not talking about some dream or hypnotic image. I'm talking about occurrences in my everyday life in which God reveals himself to me. I can clearly remember the first time I experienced one of these occurrences.

For as long as I can remember, Tuesdays during the summer have included going to the nursing home with my Grandma and a group of ladies from her church. They sing to the patients, and I sing along very quietly. I don't remember how old I was, but I will never forget when I saw a woman who seemed unresponsive and unaware of her surroundings begin to sing the lyrics to The Old Rugged Cross along with us, clear as day. Now I'm sure that there's some scientific reason why that happened, but in my mind it will always remain a message from God, telling me that He can reveal himself to me if I choose to seek him,

Throughout my life, I have learned to find God in situations like that. I see God when I child smiles at me or when I meet a new friend. This weekend when I was home I went out to lunch with my parents. As I watched them interact, I saw them for the first time as not just these people that raised me, but as two people who God joined together as part of His plan. At one point during the conversation, Daddy put his arm on the chair behind Mama and began to sing some goofy song loud enough for everyone in the room to hear. She began to laugh and shush him, and they both looked so happy in that moment. The fact that they found each other is not a coincidence. I believe God brought them together because it was part of his plan. The fact that these two people, who raise a family so well and enjoy each other so much, found each other seems to big to be a coincidence. That's God.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is no, I'ts not because i'm "brainwashed" or was "raised really conservatively". I'm a Christian because I choose to be. I see God, and I think it's best for me to follow Him. After all, He knows how my story goes, because He wrote it. Who could possibly lead me through my story better that the Author?