Tag Archives: faith

Christmas Future

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The thing about Christmas is that you wait and you wait and you wait for it to get here…and then it ends.

And you wait for the next one.

I spend all year waiting for Christmas. The anticipation begins with January 1st. I wait for the lights and the music and the decorations all year long. I’ve always been that way.

But I’m not guaranteed next Christmas. I’m not even guaranteed tomorrow. Or the day after that.

I have an idea of what my Christmas future will be. I have my hopes and my wishes about what it will be. It could turn out a lot better than planned. It could turn out a lot worse. Or it may not be worse…just different.

It’s all a big, wintery blank.

Yet, in spite of all the looming blankness that comes with adulthood and growing into it, my inner seven-year-old insists that everything will turn out right. Or at the very least, the way things should be.

It’s not that I have no responsibility. It’s not that the outcome of the year is not influenced by the choices I make or the steps I take. But there are many influencing factors in my life that are 100% out of my control, and I’ve accepted that.

Who knows that tomorrow holds but God Himself? And I know His plans for me are perfect. With that knowledge, I know I have many merry Christmases ahead of me.

One

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I am grateful for a forgiving, merciful, all-powerful God.

Honestly.

My college career would have been vain dabbling without Him. My struggles would have been without relief, myself my only hope.

I would have been so very lost and confused. And for a while, I was lost and confused, but only because He wanted me to come out of the darkness with new clarity and depth and drive.

I would not have gone to UU had I never accepted Christ as my Savior when I was a little, little girl. Because of Him, I have become a woman. A very young, inexperienced, and impetuous sort of woman. But a woman who wants to please God more than anything else. And that’s an auspicious beginning.

I give full credit to God for everything I have accomplished in the last four years. Without Him, it wouldn’t have happened. Time and time again he has proven Himself faithful. I know he always will.

One more night. Then…homeward bound. 

Observations From the Mountaintop

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The church we visited today was tucked up in the mountains, far, far away from civilization.

There was no electricity in this building. The plumbing was questionable. The walls were painted plaster and we shared space with beetles the size of quarters. The chairs were of the folding metal variety and/or wood. The windows were our one source of ventilation. We were all grateful for a mountain breeze.

This was the only church for miles around. Most of the people who came did not own their own cars, and so were ferried up the mountain in the pastor’s Land Rover. But they came. They came from miles away, if they had to, but they came.

They came for something that they’re hungry for every other day of the week. They came to worship. They came for fellowship with other Christians. They came to hear the word of God preached.

They came for something so many Americans take for granted.

Americans tend to treat churches like fast food restaurants. They pick their favorite based off of the deal they get, or the food they’re served, or how nice the staff is, or whether or not the establishment caters to their supposed needs. There are so many churches, it’s easy to be picky. Most people flock to the biggest or the best furnished or the one with the most entertaining speaker.

Americans don’t go to church to serve other believers. You see, we’re not hungry for the company of other Christians. We can find that anywhere. Christians are everywhere, of all stripes. Because we’re everywhere, we feel we have the right to pick and choose which brothers and sisters are worthy of our company.

Here, in Croatia, in the backwoods, far from the kind of culture that this American Christian is used to, there is a tiny, tiny family of believers. Some are old, few are young, and they are scattered across the country, one or two per village. They come from miles around just to worship. Just to shake hands with someone who shares their faith. Just to sing, however slowly or out of tune. Just to pass a sister a cup of cold water to fend off the heat; just to serve potato salad to a brother when the service is done. Just to hear the word of God read aloud.

These people know what it means to hunger and thirst after righteousness.

My question to myself is this: when I return to my country, glutted though it is with Christian conveniences, will I approach worship with gratitude, knowing that what I have is rare? That my church family is family and not just another club of people with similar interests? That my God has given me an abundance of love, and I need to pour love out on the believers He’s placed me with?

I wonder.  

Signs

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Sometimes on the road of life you will have no clue where you’re going.

You will be tired. You will have had a long, long day. How the day went in terms of delightfulness or lack thereof is irrelevant. You will be tired.

You will be driving through unfamiliar territory. The sun is going down and you are less and less sure of where you’re supposed to be going. The forest road that seemed pleasant and green half an hour ago is growing ever darker and more foreboding. You see the full moon rising and momentarily question your belief in the innate fictitiousness of werewolves.  

But you will see a road sign. It will tell you your intended destination and shows an arrow pointing down the road you’re on. You will drive on with renewed, though still shaky confidence.

Then the road will go from patchy asphalt to dirt and rocks and holes. You will question your reasoning and your sense of direction and whether or not this was a good idea to go on this adventure today.

But most of all, you will question the sign that told you this was the right way to go.

You encounter sign after sign that tells you to keep going—you’re on the right road. But nothing about this road will look right. You will have to trust the sign.  

Doing what God’s Word tells us will not always “look right.” It will tell you to ride against the current of popular opinion. Others will mock you, threaten you, even inflict bodily harm on you, if you do what God has called you to do.

But He gave us road signs. He gave us a whole Book of road signs. We have to trust Him when He says to keep going, no matter what.

And you will get there. So long as you don’t get into your head that your detour is a better idea, you will get there. Trust Him. He made the roads. He knows the way. 

Nineveh: A Travelouge

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Yesterday I filled in the last page of a journal I started a year ago on that date. During last year’s spring break, I bought a red Moleskine journal for the purpose of filling it with written prayers. I found that I was easily distracted when I tried to pray, so I thought that if I wrote out my letters to God, I could focus a little better. At the beginning of the following week, on March 23, I began writing in this journal. Now that I’ve filled the last page, I’ve gone back and read the earliest entries, comparing the struggles of then to the struggles of now.

There was a lot of really, really awful stuff happening in my life a year ago. I try not to let on about the negative aspects of my life on this blog, because I figure that you all have enough negativity in your lives without me adding my worries to yours. That, and this is the internet, and the internet is just a bad place to hang out your dirty laundry. But trust me when I say that a year ago, I was fighting the biggest, meanest, hairiest spiritual dragon I’ve ever had to face.

I prayed about this battle constantly. God was my sole strength. He was all I had. Those were some very dark days, but He was my light. His grace proved more than sufficient. By the end of the semester, He had rescued me, and I was freed from a burden that had weighed on me for about a year.

The rest of the prayer journal was me dealing with the battle scars. The conclusion of the first battle led to a hundred little ones, all hearkening back to that initial conflict. I was relieved. Then angry. Then haughty. Then ashamed. Then angry again. And so on and so on.

And all along, God just wanted me to love. Specifically, He wanted me to love the source of my prior pain.

But I didn’t want to. For reasons best left unexplained, I saw loving what (or who) had hurt you as a dangerous occupation, like trying to tame a dragon. I was Jonah and love was my Nineveh.  How could I learn to love what had hurt me so deeply?

Then I remembered. I only love God because He first loved me. I don’t deserve His love. I don’t deserve the gift of grace that sets me free from hell. I deserve death. I deserve a lot of awful things, none of which I will receive because God loves me in spite of my own colossal failings. I’ve hurt God deeply. But He forgave me. He still loves me.

He wants me to love.

So I went to Nineveh. I went to Nineveh and decided that obeying God was more important than hanging on to hate. Hate doesn’t do much good, anyway. Love, on the other hand, heals.

I filled that last journal page with a prayer thanking God for all the things that happened. He can and will teach me to love. He brought me there and back again. He takes us on these journeys for a reason—if only so we’ll be stronger at the end.

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Death by Academia

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Thanks to this week’s course load and performance schedule, my new hobby for the week will be avoiding hyperventilation.

There is more due and more to do this week than there are days to do it all in. I’m a broken record—I know—I’ve said this a thousand times and every time I’ve reached the end of the week with both my body and my brain in one piece.

This time, though, I seriously wonder if, by the end of next week, I’m going to be able to do anything but huddle in a corner, babbling incomprehensible sentences as I rock on my heels, eyes darting restlessly from unseen phantom to unseen phantom. If this week does not kill me, it may be my mental undoing.

However, comma, I have lived through frightening weeks before, and God seemed to pull extra time out of a hat, miraculously giving me the time I need to get everything done. If it’s happened before and I came away (mostly) unscathed, it will happen again.

That said, I need to go revise a sestina. And write a paper. And study for a test. And…

Beautiful Day for the End of the World

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The day the world has been anxiously awaiting has finally arrived. It’s the end of the world as we know it, folks. A civilization of highly superstitious Early Americans that died out centuries ago couldn’t possibly be wrong.

If you leaned out your window this morning, you might have noticed the absence of asteroids falling from the perfectly clear, blue sky. If not, you probably at least turned on the TV or radio to hear reports of the devastation, and might have been disappointed to receive only a traffic report and a blurb about Kate Middleton’s baby.  

If you were intrepid enough to step out of your house and/or underground bunker, you might have anticipated hoards of frightened people fleeing for the hills. Instead, if you were close enough to a road, you would have seen the occasional soccer mom in an SUV packed to the brim with Christmas purchases. Instead of the sound of gunfire, screams of terror, and roaring explosions, the loudest sound was the winter wind hissing through the barren trees.

You may have watched the skies all day, waiting for so much as a pebble to fall from the sky. But, considering the fact that you are reading this and therefore are most likely not dead, you can safely assume that the world did not end today. Chances are it won’t end tomorrow either. You see, there is only One who knows which day is the End of Days. He told us “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but [the] Father only.” As clever as we humans like to imagine ourselves to be, there is no way of knowing when the world will end. All we can know for sure is that it will end one day. But then the story will begin anew, with a new heaven and a new earth. This new world will be similar to the old—only perfect, with no death and no pain. And this perfect world will last forever. I’d pass up this old world for that new one any day.

But for now, since the world apparently is not due for its doom anytime soon, this old world will have to suffice. Pity.

As a Little Child

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It is widely held that Christmas is a holiday for children. After all, secular celebrations of Christmas focus on giving toys, the belief (or lack thereof) in Santa Claus, whimsical talking snowmen, candy, and flying reindeer. For Christians, there is an emphasis on Christ Himself as a little child and the simplistic nature of the faith that brings us to His door. Perhaps this is why adults often find themselves more willing to put up with childishness at this time of year—in contrast to all the other seasons. Perhaps Christmas helps them see the eternal childishness in themselves, and they are more willing to give it free reign at Christmastime.

Adults try to soil the innocence of Christmas. They paint Santa as a dirty old man, deface nativity scenes, turn Christmas parties upside-down with drinking games, and, worst of all, replace the giving spirit of the season with a spirit of covetousness. Somewhere in the process of growing up, many of us forget what faith is. We decide we’re too old for it. Without that faith, we can respect nothing. Not even Christmas.

I spent the day babysitting three little boys with massive imaginations. My primary responsibility during the day was to assist in the construction of the world’s most complicated fort. I felt like a grown-up Wendy; an interloper in the world of these wild and wooly little lost boys. My fort-building abilities are limited at best, but I was taller and stronger than my supervisors, so I did a lot of the moving and placing and lifting. To them, this fort was serious business. No Nerf war can be fought without a proper set of defenses. Not if the general has any self-respect. Construction quality was key. To them, this fort was no mere pile of twigs. This was a castle. A barricade. A Helm’s Deep. When I allowed myself to view it as seriously as they did, I found myself working much harder to make everything right.

Christmas is a joyful time. It should always be a joyful time, unsullied by jealously, greediness, and sensuality. Christmas needs respect because of what began it in the first place. A Child. God Himself in the form of an infant, sacrificing a throne in heaven so He could die as one of us. It is childlike faith that will bring us to an acceptance of the salvation this Child offers us. If my three small friends could take something as simple as building a backyard fort so seriously, then surely the adults of the world can bring themselves to take God’s Gift of love very seriously indeed.  

Heroes

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Everybody has a hero. Even if you’re a cynical, anti-social stick-in-the-mud, you’ve got a hero, even if that hero is only yourself. The fact is that humans are designed to look up to other humans. That’s why God wrote down so many guidelines about choosing our friends wisely—we’re to pick our heroes wisely as well.

Some of us choose historical figures. Aspiring mathematicians worship at the altar of Einstein. My preacher-in-training friends quote Spurgeon with every other breath. Little girls look to Joan of Arc or Anne Frank or some similar tragic hero.

For some of us, our heroes are fictional characters. I’ve talked about this before: we’ve all got our Supermans who we hold up as impossible ideals. Perhaps this is childish, perhaps it isn’t. All I know is that I know more people who look up to Dr. Who (in any incarnation) than who look up to people like Marie Curie.

But most of us will find that we look up to people that we know and know well. We have watched these noble persons’ lives; we try to emulate them; we hope one day to be like them.

My hero is my dad.

My faithful readers will recognize that he comments on this blog almost every day. He is just as opinionated as and far more eloquent than I can hope to be. It is thanks to his informed commentaries on modern politics and Scripture that I have the knowledge of God and the world that I have today. Thanks to him, I know how to fix basic computer problems and how to start a fire. Thanks to my dad, I know how to make a good pun and many, many bad ones. He taught me that conformity to the world’s twisted standards is not success. I know how to stand up for myself. I know how to respectfully address authority. I know how to put my foot down and say “no.” I know when to stand up and say “yes.”

He has spent the last twenty years of his life protecting me with his life. Some have written him off as “too overprotective,” myself included at times. But thanks to his protection, I am safe, smart, well, wise, and whole. Thanks to his protection I have avoided considerable danger. He is a pro at keeping the boys away and appraising the men to see if they truly are. Until a suitable knight in shining armor comes along, he is my best and bravest earthly defender, and I love him to death.

To which he would say: “I love you more.”

And I would say, “I love you more.”

And he would say, “I loved you first.”

Turn Back Time

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My storytelling class is taught by a magnificent lady who I am half tempted to ask if she would like to be my adopted grandmother. Storytelling is currently a class of all girls, and we always leave class feeling especially well-mothered; she is one of those teachers who lets you know she cares about you, not by saying it outright, but by living it.

She read us an article today about how maintaining your inner child is important to being a good story teller. It talked about how children have a profound sense of wonder, trust, faith, and fun that for some reason we lose when we grow up.

What happens to adults that they think the innocence of childhood is so beneath them? When do we decide that we’re too “grown up” to appreciate the loveliness of a butterfly or the joy of a few moments on a swing? What horrible moment do we find we’re too busy to read a story, or too sophisticated to laugh at a joke that doesn’t carry a double entendre? When did we decide that fairy tales were too simplistic, or that faith was foolish? How does a child find it so easy to believe in God when grown-up, educated adults question everything they see or cannot see?

The world does not like trust. People disappoint each other. We all must admit that there are truly wicked people in the world who are simply not worth trusting. Somewhere around our late twenties, we encase ourselves in armor made from molten cynicism, and decide that there’s nothing on this planet worth believing in.

But a child trusts so freely. No wonder the Lord said that “unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” We need a certain childlike faith to trust that God exists, or to trust Him even after we know He exists.

No matter how sophisticated we pretend ourselves to be, we still need that element of childishness—if only for the purpose of keeping our hearts dependent on Him.

Organized Chaos

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Studying the determinists and naturalists and all of the other “ists” of American literature has gotten me to thinking about why these authors wrote about what they did. I can imagine that a life lived without God in the picture would seem remarkably random; even I, who at least mentally acknowledges that God is in control, sometimes wonder what exactly it is that He has in mind.

I know that those close to me often wonder how I manage to make deadlines. I’m a notorious procrastinator (although I’ve improved greatly over the years, thank you kindly), and my desk at home is normally a mass of papers unstacked and unlabeled. My desk, as I’ve said before, is a physical representation of the condition of my brain. Nothing up there is organized—at least not in a way that many people understand. The jumbled filing system in my mind often lends itself to muddled situations caused by muddled thinking. Ah, well. Everything gets done anyway, by nothing short of Divine Intervention. Every. Single. Time.

Much to the frustration of my organized friends and family, my philosophy of accomplishing things boils down to one sentence: if there is to be order, there must first be chaos. When I work on a project, there’s paper everywhere, books cracked open, pens and pencils sticking out of my hair like porcupine quills, and multiple empty mugs. Once the project is done, I go through the cathartic process of putting everything back in its appointed place, or at least nearly so, where they will wait until it’s time for me to wax creative again.

Thus is the life of the budding artist: making order happen out of a mess of fuzziness, and driving everyone you know crazy in the process.

And then I thank the Lord that He knows exactly what He’s doing, and that He doesn’t go about doing anything the way I do.

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Unity

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There can be no clearer illustration of the diversity and unity of believers than to hear the same song sung in many languages at once.

Today we drove an hour to a church tucked up in a mountain farming community, far from civilization. I was greeted in words I did not understand by people whose lives had clearly been much harder than mine. Craggy, rugged faces split into smiles as I was greeted by brother after sister after brother in Christ. Smiles, thankfully, are universal “hellos.”

In America, faith is convenient. People flock to air-conditioned churches to sit on padded pews and hear what they want to hear. They come in Audis and Lincoln town cars and SUVs and BMWs. They come in nice clothes, or in their grungiest just to make a statement. The minute they hear something they don’t agree with, regardless of whether or not it’s false, they leave. The minute they feel their needs aren’t being catered to, they go find somewhere where they feel they are sufficiently pampered.

But here, thirty believers packed elbow-to-elbow in an un-airconditioned room with no electricity and not so much as a breeze coming through the cracked windows. They sat in hard wooded chairs and sang from hymnals that had seen many generations of use. There was no praise band, no youth group, no choir, no sparkle, no bling, no decorations, no trimmings. There was a pastor with a Bible, speaking in a language I did not understand, but who I knew spoke of the joy and love of Christ Himself. Believers gathered under one roof, not because it was convenient, but because they wanted to meet to praise the God they love and serve.

I have never heard lustier singing. There were few trained voices in the group, but everyone lifted his or her voice joyfully and loudly. Unabashedly. Not one was too proud to keep silent. Sweating, hot, probably tired, but there they were, singing loud enough to make the hills ring.

They stood to pray. They prayed long. They were sorry to leave when it was over.

We sang “Amazing Grace.” They don’t call it by that name. They sing different words than I know. But I sang it with them. Loudly. Joyfully. I found myself drowned out by the flood of thirty voices singing about God’s gift of unending life.

Real faith is that faith which endures, even when it is inconvenient.

And even though we were from two different countries, I knew I spent the morning with my brothers and sisters. With family. Family brought together by the hand of God.

Music

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Music is amazing.

Like most people, I like music. Love it, even. I’m a music fanatic. Granted, I know nothing of music theory. I can’t tell an accented passing tone from a minor fifth, nor could I tell you what either of those things are. But the fact remains that I love and will always love good music.

I have broad taste. It strikes me that those who stick to only one or two genres of music seem to be missing out on a lot that the world has to offer. Some people will only listen to songs of a specific kind (country, rock, R&B, classical, gospel, etc.) to the exclusion of all others, determined never to open their ears to something they are unfamiliar with. As a general rule I avoid evaluating songs by their categories, and try to judge the song on its own merit (if any).While I cannot claim any specific genre as my favorite, I have more favorite songs in Broadway and Classical than anywhere else, with a good chunk of Irish and Scottish traditional ballads thrown in as well as select film sound tracks (Lord of the Rings and Chronicles of Narnia being at the top of the list), and of course most of the hymns known to mankind.

I, as well as most laymen music-overs of the world, judge songs based on how they make me feel. I am one of those people who almost always has a song running through her head. As to what song, that is based entirely on my mood.

Some songs always make me smile. They’re the rainy Monday songs that you play just because the sun isn’t shining and you want to feel better about life. Songs like “Out There,” “You’ve Got a Friend in Me,” “Mama Mia,” “Daydream Believer,” “My Favorite Things,” “Confidence,” or “Seventy-Six Trombones.” Some songs are so deliciously joyful that they’re in the running for my (as of yet purely fictional) wedding recessional, like “The Jellicle Ball” from Cats or “The Rap” by the Celtic group The Secret Garden.

Then there are the running songs. Though I am not so blessed as to own an iPod, I like to loop songs in my brain while I run. These are the ones with driving rhythm and inescapable energy. Power songs. “Don’t Rain on My Parade” is one. Also “Holding out for a Hero,” “The Battle” and “Wunderkind” from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, “Mambo” and “America” from West Side Story, and “He’s a Pirate” from Pirates of the Caribbean. “Somebody That I Used to Know” puts me in a fighting mood that gets me running a little faster when I run it through my brain.

And everyone has songs that they love out of nostalgia. All Christmas music falls under this category, as well as most songs from Disney movies. Few Disney songs can be appreciated for depth of content, but all of them can be loved for their singable melodies and the fact that just about all of us grew up with them being played constantly. And most girls still hum “A Dream is a Wish” half out of nostalgia and half out a firm belief that the song isn’t lying. All songs by the group Libera rocket me back to when I was an elementary school student in art class producing awful charcoal drawings while mesmerized by the sound of the boys’ choir.

Then there are songs that bring tears to your eyes, no matter what mood you were in before you heard it. A lot of these songs fall into this category by guilt of association: some of the cheeriest or sweetest songs in the world can fit in this slot in our minds if we associate it with someone or something that, for whatever reason, is no longer in our lives. I love the hymn “Be Still My Soul,” but every time I hear it I can only think of a boy I knew who sung that hymn to himself in the middle of the night while he was dying of cancer. “It Is Well with My Soul” was sung at my grandfather’s funeral, and that’s who I think of every time I hear it. Some of these “sad” songs only have that label temporarily. It used to be I couldn’t bear to listen to “My White Knight,” even though it’s one of my favorite songs. After a while, my aversion to the song faded and I started loving it again. Currently, the entire soundtrack of The Lion King makes me rather embarrassingly weepy, as does Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” and select songs by Michael Bublé—but only by guilt of association. In a month or so, I’ll probably be able to sing “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” in the shower as loudly as the average enthusiastic four-year-old who also loves that movie.

The songs of the day today were the final three tracks of The Return of the King soundtrack. In these brilliantly composed passages by Howard Shore, the penultimate emotions and revelations of Frodo’s journey are captured in the folds of music that is half sorrow and half rejoicing. While this music plays, we see on the screen Frodo waking up in Minas Tirith, the coronation of Aragorn, the return to Hobbiton, and the departure of Frodo from the Grey Havens. Without fail, these songs remind me, oddly, of growing up, of finishing my days at Anytown Academy, of coming to the end of any chapter in my life. For whatever reason, I forget about these songs until spring, when graduation comes in a flurry of goodbyes and partings. There’s something about the song “Into the West” that reminds me of every time I have had to say goodbye to someone. Every single time.

Alright, I know you’re waiting for it. Usually I don’t ramble this long about my life or my personal tastes before making some broader, more universal application. Believe me when I say I wrote all this largely because I couldn’t think of anything else to say and I haven’t done a long post in a while, so here you go.

Let’s go back to my opening sentence. Music, I repeat, is amazing.

Music alone has the power to express what words alone could never say. Music can speak at once of beginnings and endings, death and rebirth, triumph and tragedy. Words alone cannot make us want to get up and dance—they need the help of rhythm and notes and vibrancy. One chord, properly placed, can hold more than a library of books. Music can hold our attention where human words fail to do so, and keep us spellbound as we ride the overlapping waves of sound, rhythm, energy, and emotion.

No wonder, then, that the Lord asks us to praise Him with a joyful noise, with the sound of stringed instruments and trumpets, with shouts of joy. He doesn’t want us to sit down and shut up, to keep out praise to ourselves. No. He wants to hear us. He made music to glorify Himself. He made music to be the language of the heart, able to carry every emotion He ever gave to man. He gave us voices so that we could raise them. He gave us hearts that would sway to the sound of “I Surrender All.” He made us capable of making a joyful noise.

Science tells us that the stars produce a low-frequency hum too deep to be detected by human ears. Birds sing with flute-like calls. Thunder booms like a celestial percussion section of a divine orchestra. And human voices—the voices of the young, the old, the rich, the poor, the well-known, the unknown—are all capable of singing, of shouting, of praising.

The universe is an orchestra. God is the conductor. History is His symphony, His masterpiece. And all the music we know and love is but an echo of the music our ears have yet to hear: the final “Hallelujahs” that will ring through heaven when time stops and eternity begins.

Music is amazing.

Moving Mountains

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What I have learned from college:

  1. I am no longer in high school.
  2. Life is not a game.
  3. The world is a scary, scary place.
  4. Because of the first three, I must trust God with every part of my life for every second of my life.

Everyone told me that college would be hard. They warned me that it was a far cry from high school. Academics are harder there, they told me. Your social life will be more complicated. Forget making straight A’s. And say goodbye to sleep. And good health.

What they neglected to tell me was that the necessary emotional growing pains that usually happen in a girl’s early teens would happen to me during the period between my 18th and 20th years. They couldn’t warn me, obviously, because how could they know? Frankly, I wish I could have gone through all that in the sheltered environment of Anytown Academy. But God’s timing is perfect; mine wouldn’t have been.

I’ve always been the sort to be fearful of both change and the future. I also have deep-seated fears of royally messing my life up, whether through poor choices, unwittingly acting contrary to God’s will, and hurting anyone else in the process—hence my strong indecisive streak. With such fears, I find myself spending a lot of time on my knees. I figure, hey, I sure don’t know the end from the beginning—I don’t know what I was designed to do with my life, so I guess I’ll go talk to the One who does and trust He’ll send me the answers, somehow.

Thus far, I’ve noticed that He does. He does, and He does often. And His answers come in the strangest ways sometimes.

The other week I was feeling down and puzzled about life. I asked the Lord for a little guidance. I got a text from a friend asking if she could call me that day. So I called her. I told her my woes. Then she reassured me, sweet angel that she is, of what I already knew, but couldn’t articulate. What was funny was that it seemed to that her vocal quality change, as if I were listening to a different person. Almost—pardon me if this seems strange—as if the Lord has chosen to speak through her to me to tell me precisely what I needed to hear.

There are those in the world that don’t believe in miracles, or that God ever answers prayer directly. But I have seen so many time that He does. He just wants us to trust Him and believe that He will do His thing.

When Christ walked on earth, his disciples came to Him, frustrated that they couldn’t cast a demon out of a young boy. So they came to the master, begging help. With a word, He rebuked the demon and out it went. His disciples asked Him why they couldn’t do it. Jesus replied:

“Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”

If there’s one thing that’s certain in my world, it’s that I can take Him literally when He speaks. Sure, He said those words about 2,000 years ago—but He remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Something He says once will ring true for thousands of years to come.

So if he tells me that all I need in order to move mountains is faith, then I believe Him. I believe that when I ask Him for help, He will be faithful to help me. I believe that when I am faced with impossible odds, He will assist me. I know that in the face of a frightening future, He will be there with me every step of the way. He is the God who moves mountains.

And I trust that He will make all things right.