Quiet Times

Break my heart for what breaks Yours!

Friends, I can’t even wait to tell you about what I just experienced.

Have you ever prayed, “Lord, break my heart for what breaks Yours?” Then, time goes on and you feel nothing? I have.

Today was different. Not only did the Lord break my heart for high school students in Reynoldsburg, I also have a renewed desire to share Jesus with the community. (In case you are a new reader to my blog- I lead Young Life in Reynoldsburg, Ohio!)

Last week, someone in the community reached out to my Young Life team, seeking volunteers for an event at the high school called Point Break. (Point Break is not associated with Young Life.) The program attempts to improve the behaviors, values and attitudes of high school students in their schools and communities, intervening before acts of hatred, violence or self-harm occur. Basically, kids sit around and share their feelings. As a result, relationships are forged and reconciliation begins. I really didn’t know what I was getting in to, but I agreed to volunteer.

On a side note, I am taking the easiest course-load of my life. I only have “real” class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Public Speaking (which I adore), Crisis Communication, Beer and Wine Tasting (online) and Chocolate Science make up my last semester at The Ohio State University. And yes, you read that correctly… I am taking a class about chocolate. Anyway, I have a lot of extra time on my hands; I knew the Lord could use this experience with Point Break to create relationships with kids.

And oh boy, did He.

I left campus at 7 a.m., nervous for the day ahead. I walked in to the school with the hope that I wouldn’t fall asleep during the presentations. After being mistaken for a high schooler three times, I found Matt (one of the guys in charge of the program). He explained my role was to join the high school students during the activities and lead a small group discussion. The students move through a variety of games (like Young Life Club games), small group discussions, teaching segments and times of personal reflection. It blew my mind what these kids shared.

I have never seen such obvious brokenness in my life. During the small group breakout session kids shared how they turned to drugs, alcohol, self-harm and bullying to numb the pain in their lives. Stories of murder, prison, rape, suicidal thoughts, death of family members, drug addictions and loss of  hope were shared during this time.

It took everything in me not to scream, “Y’ALL NEED JESUS!” Okay- so that may be a little bias…  but these kids need hope! They participated in an activity where students spread out on a “line” across the gym. The speaker would read a statement; if that applied to your life you were asked to “cross the line.” An example of this would be- “Cross the line if you have ever been a victim of cyber bullying.” The questions ranged from very serious to light-hearted. With every step a high schooler took, my heart broke a little more.

Here are some things I noticed:

1. Almost every girl crossed the line when asked if they feel they are not beautiful.

Do these girls know they are fearfully and wonderfully made by our Creator? (Psalm 139:14) Most of them don’t; I can’t wait to tell them.

2. Almost every boy crossed the line when asked if they feel they are not masculine enough.

Do these boys know they don’t need to be strong on their own? They are made blameless and strong through the battle fought by Christ! (Ephesians 6:10)

3. More than 60 percent of kids crossed the line when asked if they are raised by a single parent/their parents are separated/they have never met one of their biological parents.

Do these kids know they have a loving Father in Heaven that will NEVER leave them? (Psalm 58:5-6)

4. The number of kids who were victims of sexual or domestic abuse was ASTOUNDING.

Do these students know they are meant for so much more in life?

The list could go on and on! I fell in love with these students today! I was so broken-hearted by what I heard that I actually sat, crying, in my car for about 30 minutes. Oh, how the Lord broke my heart for what breaks His. Finally, after a long prayer, I reached out to a friend who spoke Truth into my life. He reminded me that the world is full of broken people but their is great hope!

Students from my small group filled out this card at the end of the day!

Students from my small group filled out this card at the end of the day!

I feel incredibly blessed to pray for these kids. Would you care to join me?

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Quiet Times

Beloved, You Only Need Me

This morning, as I spent time with Jesus, the lyrics of a song caught my attention.

“Beloved, listen to me. Don’t believe all that you see. And don’t you ever let anyone tell you that there’s anything that you need but me.” (Source)

2013 was a year marked with many changes in my life. I started my senior year of college at The Ohio State University. After dating the same guy for 3.5 years, we broke up. I began the last days of living in the Treehouse (A Young Life house) with my eight beautiful housemates.

Treehouse Girls

Treehouse Girls: Some of my crazy roommates!

My father stopped drinking (GO DAD!). I started working with The PRactice as an Account Associate in public relations. I turned 21 and discovered the good ole’ Bier Stube. After three years, I stopped nannying the two most precious boys when their family moved. I started dating again. I discovered what true friendship and accountability mean. I started this blog. I watched my parents rediscover love. I met some great new friends. And finally, I fell in love with My Lord all over again.

I have spent the last few days reminiscing about 2013, coming to a single conclusion. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. 

In Mark 4, Jesus takes the disciples (his close friends) on a boat to escape the crowds that had been following him. Sometime during their trip a storm begins to threaten the lives of the disciples and shipwreck their boat. In an instant, Jesus calms the storm and saves his friends. Last year my parents threatened divorce, but the Lord answered prayers; they are learning to love  again. Today I am reminded that Christ fulfills his promises. I believe that Jesus was the same when he calmed the storm 2,000 years ago. I believe that Jesus was the same in 2013, when he calmed the storms in my life. I believe that Jesus is the same today. And, I am confident that Jesus will remain the same tomorrow and forever.

In 2014 I am looking forward to: cruising the caribbean with my friends, graduating from college, finding a job, moving to a new place, falling in love (maybe I already have!), discovering new places, trying new drinks, meeting new friends, keeping old friends, speaking Italian, sharing Jesus with my family, continuing to lead Young Life and growing closer with my Savior.

He calls me His Beloved; He really is all that I need.

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Quiet Times

I Know The Ultimate Healer

For about two months I have been living the “Need Talk” every day. For all you Young Life Leaders out there, you will understand this reference. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, let me explain. Young Life presents a series of talks to high schoolers every semester. The order of the talks usually go something like this: Introduction to Christianity, characteristics of Jesus, our need for Jesus, our Sin, what Jesus did on the cross, the resurrection and how to live life with our Savior.

The “Need Talk” outlines our need for a Savior. We tell students (and ourselves) that, because of The Fall, we have turned our backs on the Living God of the Universe. But, because we were created to be in a perfect relationship with God, we have this “God shaped hole” in our hearts that needs to be filled. As sinful human beings, we are constantly trying to fill this hole with things that satisfy our soul. For example, I am always looking for the affirmation from my friends and family. I want to get perfect grades and be the best Young Life Leader, in an attempt to feel filled and satisfied. Often times I even find myself turning to the desires of my heat that I know are not glorifying to the Lord. But these things do not last. They ALL rust, spoil or fade. Even the “good” things in life are only a temporary fix for a deeper problem. Its like seeing a million doctors, and only treating the symptoms- when we need to treat the disease. Jesus is the only one who is able to do that, and He did (on the Cross).

And thats is what my life has been like the last few months. I have been passing out, which is kind of comical if you are ever around. But it is also very scary. I have been seeing doctor after doctor, attempting to figure out what the problem is! After seeing a general practitioner, a neurologist and a cardiologist… they still aren’t sure what the real problem is. Unfortunately, I am unable to drive and I have to wear a heart rate monitor for a month. But, through all this I am learning to seek the Lord and His love first and foremost.

Sometimes, I am creative. I made a new journal! Oh Deer.

Sometimes, I am creative. I made a new journal! Oh Deer.

I am confident that Jesus has the ability to heal my physical needs. He is, in fact, the Creator of this world. One of my favorite passages in the bible is John 5. The passage tells a story about this giant pool, called Bethesda. It was believed that this pool had the power to heal people with sickness. People from all over the town would gather around the pool and wait for an angel to magically appear and stir the water. When the water was stirred, the first person to make it into the water would be healed. Too bad this wasn’t true. It reminds me of all the things that we run to in our lives that we believe will heal us.

A man who wished to be healed was waiting by the pool. He was paralyzed, unable to walk. Jesus strolls up, and asks the man, “Do you want to get well?” I can only imagine the man’s reaction. OF COURSE he wants to get well! He is paralyzed, aching for a cure. I am experiencing much less pain than this man and I can’t wait for this trial in my life to be over. The man responds to Jesus, telling him that he wants to get well but he can never make it to the pool when the water is stirred.

Jesus, being THE MAN that He is, tells the paraplegic to get up and walk. And believe it or not, HE DOES. The once paralyzed man can now walk. And just like that, Jesus has healed the man’s physical needs. But, what is even greater is that Jesus not only healed the man’s inability to walk, He also healed his soul.

I am even more confident that the Lord is using this time in my life to draw me near to Him. He may not heal my physical needs, but He will heal my soul.

I know the Ultimate Healer, do you?

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Quiet Times

Thankfully, Jesus Never “Shuts Down.”

Today, we all woke up to a country in the middle of a shut down. I sat down this morning to have my cup of coffee, only to find out that complete chaos has taken over Washington. To be honest, I am not sure what that really means. I know that certain government offices will be put on hold and federal museums and national parks will be closed until a compromise is reached. According to ABC 6 news this morning, over 80,000 government workers will go without pay.

So, what does this mean for us? Unfortunately, classes at Ohio State are not cancelled. I still have a midterm and a paper due…. and the world has not stopped spinning. What I am most thankful for today is the fact that, amid crisis, Jesus does not leave us.

Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

I have been learning that although Jesus makes us “wait,” He never truly “shuts down.” Most of us, including myself, are always in a hurry and we want ALL the details. I would love to know where I will be after graduation, if I will be dating a year from now, what kind of job I will have and if I will still be leading Young Life. But, the Lord is content to work in His timeframe and He will reveal the details to me when the timing is right.

I read a great article in Relevant Magazine this morning, highlighting five reasons that God makes us wait. The article tells us that waiting reveals our true motives, builds patience in our lives, builds anticipation, transforms our character and (most importantly) builds intimacy and dependency on God.

Some of the most intimate times in our lives are when we rely on the Lord, not on our own understanding. I need to remember that although it may seem like the Lord isn’t answering my prayers, revealing all His secrets and giving me exactly what I want… He hasn’t left me. And, He certainly hasn’t “shut down.”

In case you need another reason to smile, check out this beautiful sunrise on South Campus.

Sunrise on South Campus. September coming to an end.

Sunrise on South Campus. September coming to an end.

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Quiet Times

Learning to BE STILL in His Presence

Today, I spent my break between classes reading a devotional called Jesus Calling. I needed some encouragement. On a cloudy day like today, I couldn’t past up the temptation to hike up to the 11th floor at Thompson Library at Ohio State and enjoy some time  with my Creator.

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11th Floor. Thompson Library. Ohio State. September 19, 2013.

Sarah Young, the author of Jesus Calling, writes her devotional in a way that allows readers to feel as if Jesus is talking to them (its based on scripture). It may be cheesy, but I LOVE it. I never read it on the correct day. Its like a calendar, and each page is dated. Today I read the entry from March 27, titled “Be Still in My Presence.”

What does it mean to be still? As a Young Life Leader, a college student, a part-time nanny, a bartender/server, a daughter, a housemate and a senior in college who has NO idea what the next chapter of her life looks like… there isn’t time to be still! Not to mention that I try to keep up with this blog for a communications class, run two Twitters (personal and professional), check my connections on LinkedIn, post artsy pictures on Instagram, “like” my grandpa’s goofy Facebook status, update my wedding board on Pinterest, read the new Nicholas Sparks novel, and learn how to use iOS7… all while attempting to avoid running into my ex-boyfriend on a campus with over 60,000 students. Even my “down-time” is not truly restful.

But boy, let me tell you that this Quiet Time was truly fruitful. Young pointed out that time with Jesus is the most important thing I will do ALL day. Do I truly believe that? I wish I did. She also uses Colossians 1:27 to point out that the greatest thing about me is that the Holy Spirit is living and working in me.

“To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the GLORIOUS riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the HOPE of glory.” Colossians 1:27

Finally, while sitting on a comfy couch on the 11th floor, I realized (thanks to His Grace) that these “things” that are making me so busy are simply blessings from the Lord that I have made into idols. The Giver, He is infinitely greater than any gift that he imparts to us. And it breaks His heart to see that I have turned his little blessings into idols that come before Him. I have forsaken my first love.

So stillness was just what I needed before heading to my Earth Science class and diving back into college life. And in case you were wondering, my professor is this awesome hippy guy who loves talking about water issues and Canada.

I am still learning what it means to be still, but I am thankful for times like this when I get a tiny glimpse of what Heaven will look like.

DONT WORRY, following tradition at Ohio State, I rubbed the statue of William Oxley’s bald head on the way out of the library.

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