Friday, February 26, 2010

Behold the Throne of God Above

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea:
A great High Priest, whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me.

My name is graven on his hands,
My name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair,
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look, and see him there
Who made an end of all my sin.

Because a sinless Savior died,
My sinful soul is counted free;
For God, the Just, is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me
To look on Him and pardon me

Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the One,
Risen Son of God!

Behold him there, the risen Lamb
My perfect, spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I am,
The King of glory and of grace!

One in himself, I cannot die
My soul is purchased by his blood
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ, my Savior and my God
With Christ, my Savior and my God

Words: Charitie Bancroft, 1863. Music: William Bradbury, 1861.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Capital Punishment, Athlete's Foot, and Poor Man's Tea

I sat here for a good 5 minutes after writing that post title, trying to figure out a creative way of tying those three items together. Nothing came to me, so let's tackle them all separately, shall we? (A alternate title for this post could be, "No, I have not taken any pictures recently")

My Ethics class this semester has been going surprisingly well. I was rather tentative to jump into the discussion of such a class at a secular, state university, but I have been pleasantly surprised at the intelligence fellow classmates have displayed when expressing their views on subjects. Our group discussion on abortion made it apparent that the majority of my group (about half of the class is in each discussion group) was opposed to abortion - I find that shocking! On Monday, our group will be discussing the death penalty and capital punishment. I am responsible for writing a short paper which I will present on (not read through, but just state the thesis and main arguments) that day. I'm slightly apprehensive, considering I honestly don't know what I think about the death penalty. However, we were asked to get as specific as possible, and cover one aspect of the issue. I'm going to look into lethal injection - a history of it's use, the doctors who administer it, and the morality/ethics of doctors (who are called to preserve life) taking life in this way. I'll let you know how it goes!

Second item of business - I have athlete's foot. It just disgusting, it really is. Don't worry, I won't insist on showing you next time I'm home or anything. I am currently attacking it with a vengeance, using some cream that my dad recommended. His response, when I asked him what I should do about athlete's foot? "I didn't know girls could get athlete's foot!" Thanks, Dad, for that vote of confidence!

And lastly - as a poor college student (or rather, as a college student who is not perhaps the most diligent about going to Walmart and keeping herself supplied with necessities), I have found that I often run out of things I like. Such as tea-bags. And because my car is parked in a parking lot that is still piled high with snow, I've found an alternative to tea bags. *Disclaimer: I do not in any way recommend making "tea" in this way. It doesn't taste all that great or anything.* I simply take mints from the dining hall, and then plop them into my cup of hot water, allowing them to dissolve. While this works pretty well as a sweetener with regular tea. . . it tastes kind of bland with just plain water. But I'm not complaining - it beats drinking hot water straight, and is a lot easier than making myself of a pot of coffee!

Report on this morning's temperature: 0 degrees, -12 degrees wind chill.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sleep Walking and Talking

Well, it's official. I talk, and walk, in my sleep.

My roommate Blair, as you may remember, was in a car accident the third week of last semester, and did not live in our room for the remaining 13 weeks of the semester. She rejoined me at the beginning of this semester, and I am SO glad to have her back.

However, she has awakened me (no pun intended) to the fact that I talk in my sleep, and seem to walk as well. Apparently, 3 or 4 times a week, she hears me talking. I don't say anything very intelligible (or embarrassingly revealing!), but she says that sometimes it sounds like I'm answering my phone, but no one has called, and I normally say something like, "Why did you call, I'm trying to sleep!"

But last night was the first night that I walked. I remember it as part of my dream, but I had to ask Blair this morning what exactly I did. She said that I,
1. Climbed out of my (loft!) bed, carrying my pillow and blanket,
2. Put my pillow and blanket on the floor by my desk,
3. Left the room (I think I went to the bathroom - that was part of my dream, anyway),
4. Came back into the room, and stood still for about a minute, looking at where I had laid my pillow and blanket,
5. Laid down on the floor where they were for a little bit,
and 6. Picked up my pillow and blanket, crawled back into bed, and went to sleep.

It's not that weird, but I'm slightly concerned about myself. I had no idea that I walked in my sleep, or that I could remember and enter in my bathroom code, and use the restroom in my sleep. That's a little scary.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What a Day

Well, it's one of those days. I woke up this morning feeling pretty sick, I have a big test tomorrow that I need to study for, and I got a flat tire, in the snow. Flat tires really are the most humbling experience in the world. Honestly, much of the time I would rather have to change it myself than to admit to someone that I need help, then watch them change it for me. However, as I was driving back from Walmart, mulling over in my mind what a hard day this has been, I decided that I needed to stop and pick out the bright spots.

1.) I got to sleep in until 9:00 this morning, because my 7:30 class was canceled.
2.) I got some exercise with a really good ab work-out, something I could do to stay active even though I'm not feeling well.
3.) Brian, a staff guy from CCF was driving by right as I was discovering my flat tire, and helped me by changing it, and recommending a shop where I could get it fixed if I didn't want to go to Walmart. What a HUGE blessing for a college girl who is 3 hours away from parents who normally take care of that kind of thing.
4.) Running into my small group leader at lunch today - I told him that I wasn't feeling well, and he said not to worry about it if I couldn't make it to small group this afternoon. That just helped me feel much less stressed about skipping it and resting instead this afternoon.
5.) My little coffee maker, which I used for the first time this afternoon, to brew myself coffee from a very special bag of coffee grounds. <3

Thanks, God - for looking after your children even on the most frustrating of days. Help us to remember our blessings always, good times and bad!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

By Your Side - Tenth Avenue North

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

How I Go About Doing College

I have quite the reputation around here when it comes to homework. Rumor has it that I don't really study. Ever. At all. And it's kind of true.

A wise man once told me that studying is overrated. Okay - so it was a fellow college student, and I'm pretty sure he was joking. But I chose to take him seriously, and I haven't studied much since then.

Liz studies. She comes in here every night before we have an Anatomy quiz and I test her on diagrams of bones. Then, I always let her test me. But I don't really study it - I'm normally all over the room, cleaning up, making my bed, etc. while she's trying to get me to pay attention.

Laurel studies. We have "study" parties rather frequently - in fact, we're having one right now. Note that I am blogging during this designated "study party."

Blair studies. Boy, does she ever. I think Blair spends more time studying than she does doing anything else, except maybe sleeping. She makes me look bad, she really does.

I sure feel like I study and do homework a lot. However, I'm afraid that most of the time I think I'm spending on homework, I'm actually taking a nap, or e-mailing people, or talking to friends (and distracting them from studying). I know I studied a lot last semester, especially for math. I think I probably spent at least 2 days studying for my final in that class. I know it was probably 3 hours or more of time total, and that was just exhausting!

But I'm scared, guys - scared that one of these days this semester, I'm going to have to study! And then. . . well, then I will see that I probably should have been studying all along. But until that day comes, I plan to continue blindly upon my present course. So cheers, to those of you who study! Someday, I'll learn from you. . .

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


"Once we get intimate with Jesus we are never lonely and we never lack for understanding or compassion. We can continually pour out our hearts to Him without being perceived as overly emotional or pitiful. The Christian who is truly intimate with Jesus will never draw attention to himself but will only show the evidence of a life where Jesus is completely in control. This is the outcome of allowing Jesus to satisfy every area of life to its depth. The picture resulting from such a life is that of the strong, calm balance that our Lord gives to those who are intimate with Him."
-My Utmost for His Highest, January 7th

"The strong, calm balance" . . . when I read this devotion back in January, I had no idea that this concept of intimacy and quiet before our Lord would be such a hard lesson to learn. I didn't set out to learn it by any means - in fact, I've actually been running away from it for the past several weeks. When I returned to Truman from Christmas break at home, life quickly picked up and started moving at it's usual break-neck speed. SAB, CCF, spending time with friends, small groups, Howdys, planning events, meetings, homework, classes, keeping in touch with friends back home. . . I was overwhelmed. Each night, when I finally gave in to my desperate need for sleep, I would lie awake for hours, exhausted physically and emotionally, but with my mind rushing with everything that still had yet to be done. And every morning, the alarm came far too quickly, for I never woke up feeling any more rested than I had when I went to bed.

One night a week or so ago, in the midst of all this chaos, a friend asked how they could pray for me. I decided to be honest and said, "Pray that I would start taking time for my own relationship with God, and not constantly focusing on my relationship with others, and on their issues in life and their relationships with God." Our conversation moved on from there, and I would have forgotten entirely about it had, God not inserted Himself into the situation.

This past week has been almost frightening. My daily e-mail devotions, the sermon on Sunday, conversations with 3 of my friends, my small group meeting this Monday, and all the other spiritual inputs into my life have all had one focus -- Slow down. Cut back on your schedule. Make time for God. Learn to be a "Mary" and not a "Martha." Place God as your first priority, not just another item on the to-do list. Develop intimacy with Him and don't be content with a casual acquaintance. And through it all, the recurring theme that if I were to do this and pursue God, this "strong, calm balance" would be the result, replacing my usual exhaustion and stress.

This isn't one of those stories about how I made a 180 degree turn-around and my life is suddenly perfect - far from it! I am still in the very beginning stages of learning how to apply these truths to my busy college life. But God knows what He's up to, and He has placed people in my life this semester who are there to help me out. So I just wanted to write this in order to encourage you to also make your pursuit of God first priority in your life, no matter who you are. We are all busy, but somehow, that ceases to be a good excuse when you think of the Cross, doesn't it? Let's learn together how to slow down and be still and quiet before our God, developing that intimacy with Him that He asks us for.

Yours, from the chilly northern climate,