New Year Silence

Hello, its been a little while. I hope you are well. I hope you are finding joy in the little everyday things. I know I am, at least today.

Sometimes its difficult amidst the hustle and bustle to find time for stillness, silence, and God’s word. I try to make time daily, but that does not always work out in my favor. And for me, a lot of times, lack of stillness means its harder for me to stop and find little joys. Without those moments of peace and focus, I lack focus and intentionality.

I am learning that I need stillness, and the last couple weeks, Saturday mornings are quickly becoming my favorite. I wake up fairly early (I’ve always been more of a morning person) take care of errands and chores early (if I can help it), and then sit with a cup of hot coffee or tea, and read and rest and reflect.

For the last month or so, I’ve been studying the life of David (1 & 2 Samuel) with some friends as a Bible study, but I do my readings and use that time as a still and quiet time. I forget just how rich a history the Old Testament provides for us. So many people and churches spend a majority of their time in the New Testament, but I find the Old Testament refreshing to read.

In the OT times, the people had to rely on prophets to hear from the Lord, Christ had not yet come. Sometimes it feels like the OT people had to have more faith, or maybe their faith was just different. They didn’t have the same miracles and amazing works to help along their faith. I really admire the people in the Old Testament, and as I am reading about David’s life, despite his faults, David lived a rich and faithful life.

I am in a sort of transitional season in my life. Many of my friends are getting married, engaged, or having kids and I feel like there isn’t much in my life that is changing. I know my life is changing, I’ll be graduating soon, probably December, but I’m at a loss as to what I’m doing after I graduate.

My desire is to do what the Lord has planned and willed for me. But what is that plan? For the most part I’m totally okay not knowing the plan and will, but times like now, I have a desire to know what I’m supposed to do next. I don’t need or want the whole plan, but a glimpse would be nice.

Really I need to trust the Lord, and be content with where He has me. I need to learn to trust Him, and rely on Him. But mostly be content in Him. Trust Him. Lean on Him.

I always tell people that I feel closest to the Lord when I am out in nature in His creation. But I’m learning too, that I feel close to the Lord when I am serving Him, by loving others and sharing the name of God with unbelievers. Like Donna, Mary, Sherry, and many others I’ve had the privilege to encounter.

How can I pray for you? What’s your story? What is your life like? I love listening to people and hearing all about their lives. I love all the little details. Its one of my favorite parts of meeting new people, learning about them.

Well I hope you have a peaceful and restful Saturday.




Fear is a funny thing. It can stop someone short, or it can be embraced and worked through. Everyone handles and approaches fears differently.

I handle fear differently depending on the situation. What am I afraid of? I am afraid of being alone. I do not like being alone for long periods of time. I especially don’t like being home alone at night. I am afraid of not being able to breathe. I am afraid of the direction the world is going. These are just a few of the biggest fears I have.

How do I handle these fears? First, I try not to be alone. I spend as much of my free time as I can with others. I see lots of people though work and school, but I invite people over to my apartment to study, or I go out to study in a place where there are people. But if that is impossible, or I need time alone away from the busy world. Instead of dwelling on the fact that I am alone, I spend time with the Lord. I do this either by reading the Scriptures or just praying and talking to him.

My fear of being home alone at night, there is not much I can do about that. But I have a roommate and I know that she will come home. Or if she is out of town, I have friends over to spend the night. If thats not possible, I make sure I’ve locked my house up tight. Then I stay in my room. Many times I’ll turn on a tv show or movie as filler sound. but often I just lay there in my bed, scared by noises that happen outside. In those times I pray. I sleep. Or I call my brother to check out my apartment and make sure no one is outside.

My fear of not being able to breathe is irrational, but I try to reason with myself and I thank the Lord that I can breathe and I thank him for every breath I take.

I fear the world. It is full of depraved and sinful people. I often times get trapped in my bubble and community and I don’t realize what’s happening in the world. But then something happens to grab my attention. Something like the Manchester bombing, like the attacks in Barcelona, like the rallies in Virginia. Or even something like men preying on single mothers who are desperate for cash.  Things like this bring fear into my heart. What I want to do when this happens is to hide away from the world and never encounter hateful people. But that is not what the Lord calls me to do. He tells us to love our enemies and pray for our persecutors (Matthew 5:43-44). The Scriptures remind us in Romans (3:23) that ALL have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God. That’s not just the evil and hateful people in the world, but me too. Later in Romans (5:8) that God loves us and showed His love to us because while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Christ died for you and He died for me.

Now that I have this information, what do I choose to do with it? I don’t let my fears stop me. Stop me from what? Stop me from sharing the love of God with people. Matthew 5:16 commends believers to let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. I am commanded to go and make disciples. So I will do that be being constant and loving others. Even when I am afraid. Even when I am not comfortable.

I may not be able to directly do anything to help victims of horrible attacks and riots, but I can pray. I can pray for the terrorists, I can pray for the victims, I can pray for the white supremacists, I can pray for my president and my nation, and for other nations.  I can pray.

Praying gives me power and its one way I can show my love and overcomes my fears.

Rise up

I have stage fright. Most people don’t know this about me. I absolutely hate getting in front of people and speaking or singing. It has never really been something I’ve been comfortable doing. It takes people by surprise when I tell them this. But let me tell you, just because a person is outgoing and extraverted, that does not mean that they like to be up in front of people with their full undivided attention.

I tell you all of this because despite my dislike and discomfort of being on stage, I have put myself out of my comfort zone and started helping with the worship on Sunday mornings at church. It’s only 1-2 a month, but I still am not comfortable. I have a mini anxiety attack before getting up there.

Yesterday, I was helping lead. And like usual, as I was walking up I had to try very hard to control my breathing and calm my racing heart and shaking hands. I wasn’t doing great. It’s always so much easier for my to worship in my car alone, with the music up, sometimes the windows down, just me, God, and the road. I wish I could take my comfort like when I’m in my car and carry it with me onto the stage. But I am not comfortable. My thoughts race, and I’m worried about not messing up, not looking like a fool, not tripping (cause thats the most likely to happen) and then I worry about distracting everyone from worship and failing at leading everyone into a spirit and time of worship (I know rationally I shouldn’t have to worry cause I’m not leading and no one is critiquing me, but my fear is irrational).

Despite all this yesterday was cool. I felt like an utter failure, I wasn’t comfortable with a couple of the hymns we were singing, and then I wasn’t singing in a key that suited me, so I was uncomfortable and unfamiliar. I left the stage feeling down, I thought I had been more of a distraction than a tool used by the Lord. But then as we were taking our offerings and Bethany was leading the song, I was blown away and humbled. She was signing it is well. She made it though the first verse and was starting the second verse, and she couldn’t get the words to come out because of emotions. Tears were running down her face and though she tried to sing nothing could come out. This alone was beautiful, but even more beautiful was the congregation.

As Bethany kept playing, slowly at first then all at once the congregation stood to their feet. They began singing louder and stronger than before, and together we lifted up the words of It Is Well. The congregation joined together as one body, and were one of us failed, the rest of us were able to gather around and lift them up and be united. Everyone was full of emotion and it was clear that the Spirit was moving in each of us. As I looked around tears were rolling down faces and hearts were crying out.

This is one of the most beautiful acts of worship I’ve ever seen. I have few memories similar to it that were such a clear demonstration of the power of the Spirit, the love of the body, and a beautiful picture of worship. The body of Christ is a beautiful thing and I will cherish Sunday’s worship dearly.

God works in mysterious ways and even when we feel like utter failures He is still able to use us for His glory. Worship is not about us. It is about giving praises to God and seeking His power, His spirit, His presence. I was that in a beautiful demonstration. It makes me want to continue serving faithfully, even when I feel like a failure, and even despite my irrational fears. I am thankful.

Bee’s Knees

Do you ever just sit back and watch nature? This morning I’ve had the rare privilege of just sitting in my front porch enjoying the wind and the warm sunshine, nothing else too pressing going on. And even though I am in the middle of the city, I can still hear the sounds of the roosters calling and the birds chirping, the crows are casing. But even neater is the bees. I have a huge rosemary bush growing in the bed next to the porch, its flowering and putting off a faint fragrance that can be smelt slightly in the breeze. It’s the neatest thing to watch the bees. Though the wind is mighty and strong today, they are not blown off course. Sure, they sway a bit and they aren’t getting to their destination as quickly as they would like. Despite the minor setback that the wind provides, they are still determined to drink the nectar from the tiny blooms on the rosemary bush. They don’t worry about me sitting so close, they are just set on their mission. Its curious and wonderful.

Am I like a bee? am I determined and diligent in my efforts for the Lord? Or do I let the wind and trials of like deter me?

I think in my life, I tend to be more like a fallen leaf or a piece of litter that just gets tossed around in the wind easily distracted. I should seek to be more like the bees. Set on course and only slightly setback by the things life throws at me.

It is the coolest thing to sit back and watch the creation of God. Each bee floats and hovers from one bloom to the next, buzzing past one another, landing and stopping for only a brief moment, before moving on. Faithful to the task at hand. I totally recommend going and siting outside. Just sit and be still. Pray and observe whats going on around you. Soak up some vitamin D. Enjoy the warm weather and the breeze. Cause, you know what they say about Texas weather. Just wait a few minutes and it’ll change. Take advantage while you can.


To Mary:

Dear Mary,

When I felt someone grab my arm and tug me backwards, you didn’t realize, but I was getting ready to punch you. But then I saw the earnest look of nervousness on your face.

When I went to Walmart with Theresa, I was expecting to navigate aisles and people to get the needed groceries and then get out as quickly as possible. You changed that Mary.

Before we even really got into the store, you stopped me, and told me that you had been inspired, that Theresa’s shirt inspired you. But it wasn’t her shirt that inspired you, it was the truth of God’s word boldly printed on the back of Theresa’s shirt.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. -1 Peter 4:12-14

You shared of your fears and worries for your enlisted son. Just before walking into the store you received a message that he was being called up and deployed. You were overwhelmed with information, and told you wouldn’t have the opportunity to talk to your son, to Colten. You were shaking, nervous, and had tears in your eyes. All I wanted to do was hug you (that’s pretty unusual for me).

Theresa and I prayed for you and over you and Colten, right there in the middle of Walmart. It was a beautiful moment. When we finished, you shared more of your story with us. You survived cancer, you gave yourself treatments, you care for your mother, you step in at weddings in your sons place, you care for your daughter and grandchildren to the best of your ability.  Mary, if nothing else, I wanted you to know, you are loved. You have courage. You are incredible and it is all because of our incredible creator.

I don’t know with full assurance of your salvation, but you knew Jesus and called Him by name, and that was encouraging to me. You may have been encouraged by the truth of God’s word, but your life and story encouraged me. Thank you for calling on me to be faithful and ready no matter where I am. Thank you for allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me to encourage you. I am praying for you and your family. I truly wish and hope to see you again in the future.

If you ever happen upon this letter Mary, there are a couple of things I want you to know:

  • Philippians 4:6-7 – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”

Do not dwell on all of the “what ifs,” do not dwell on all the bad things that could go wrong. Think on the things from above. Think about the strength the Lord gave you to overcome cancer, thank Him. Think about your 3 little grand babies, thank the Lord for the joy they add to your life. Pray for Colten’s protection. Pray for your daughter. Thank God for keeping them safe from harm, thank God that they are faithful in their callings. Thank God for His many blessings on your life.

Thank you Mary, for calling me to be faithful. Thank you for showing me what true strength and endurance looks like. Thank you for being open and honest. Thank you for raising a son who desires to fight and protect this country. I am thankful for our divine appointment. Thank you for letting us pour into you, but even more thank you for pouring into me.

Much Love,

Victoria Hurst

New Semesters lead to New Growth

Once again it is time for a new semester, a new school year, a new season of learning.

I am exited and dreading this semester, I have decided to take 15 class hours while still working 28-34 hours a week at work. I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into, but I am excited about the classes I’m going to take.

This semester is going to be filled with many many many research papers, as well as exegetical papers and other tough projects and assignments. I am glad I was able to get a bit of a head start, but I can already feel myself falling behind.

I am excited by the content of the classes, and already I am growing and learning new things from my readings and assignments. That is encouraging. With that I am also supplementing my school reading with some works by Bonhoeffer as well as my daily Bible time. This summer I spent my time reading through the book of John, I loved it. Reading about the life of Jesus is encouraging and there is so much to learn. I’m still not sure what I will try and study through the semester, but for Now I’m reading Thessalonians. I’m not sure what the Lord is trying to teach me, but I’m excited to see where I’m gonna grow and be stretched.

I hope your semester goes well, may the Lord grow and mold you!


Like a Child


This summer I have had lots of time for growing, in maturity as well as spiritually. I was able to attend a 5 day camp with the children at my church. We, along with other Baptist churches from the area attended kids camp at Camp Copass up in Denton. It was definitely a week of challenges, as well as a week of growing and stretching and discomfort.

Not only was I able to serve all the children in my care, but I was able to serve and minister to my fellow counselors. Each of us brought to camp our own baggage and frustrations, for me, it was missing a full work week without pay. (My employer made the decision to cut our PTO for part time employees. This means that I no longer accrue paid time off). For others they brought family drama and baggage or relationship baggage. And there is no telling what each child brought with them.

Everyday was challenging. I was uncomfortable. There were things that happened/conversations/situations that I’ve never had to deal with in all of my years. But, there were also things that I have had to deal with before, so it was easy to give counsel to those situations. Without God, I would’ve been a mess. Trying to deliver each child to their respective activity/location, also trying to juggle my kids, but also the kids who were a part of other churches. There were definitely challenges.

Amidst all of the challenges and the drama. God was working. He was working in my life and He was working in everyone’s lives. There were 3 things that really made the week worth all the struggles and challenges.

First, the children (not just my children but all the children) who accepted and rededicated their lives to the Lord. What a joyous time of celebration is to be had overtime someone makes the decision to follow God.

Second, being able to pour into the lives of the children and the leaders alike. There where times I would be correcting a child on anger and how to handle when we are angry and how to forgive and how forgiveness should be constant and ongoing, in these times as I was teaching the children, I was being taught and my heart would be softened by the Lord.

The last thing that made my week so worth it was getting to watch and experience faith like a child. Never in my life have I had the opportunity to see so many children from all walks and different churches, walk/run go to the alter without being told. Without be urged by adults or parents. The children went to the alter and poured their hearts out. It was a beautiful thing to watch. Children praying for and with other children that they may, or may not have known before.

It is easy to get caught up in ourselves, but camp was a wonderful time to watch and observe children and receive a better understand of what its like to have faith like a child. Jesus says in Matthew 18:

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea (Matthew 18:1-6).”

Children are teachable. They crave attention and love. They are moldable and they can be shaped. It is a beautiful thing being able to serve a child. To tach and plant seeds of faith into children. If you have never served indoor children’s ministry, I strongly recommend that everyone gives it a chance every now and again. Many children have lived hard lives. They have had to grow up much sooner than they should’ve. I am always reminded of Matthew 25 in the teaching of the least of these. When I am reminded of serving the least and being a servant leader  of several passages in Scripture, but especially John 13. Jesus made Himself the least, the servant, and He washed the disciples feet.

I pray that in all of aspects of my life that I may be a servant leader, that I may make myself less and Jesus more. Put other’s wellbeing and their needs above my own.

How can I make myself less, so that He may be glorified more?




God is not your best friend.

Perhaps this seems a radical and a mean statement. But this bold statement is one that I wholeheartedly believe to be true. God is not our best friend. He doesn’t want to be our best friend. He wants to be our Lord.

I’m sure you are asking “What does that even mean? Isn’t that the same thing?”

No. It is not. He created us with a purpose and, yes, I believe He wants a relationship with each one of His children, but He doesn’t want to be our BFF and I wouldn’t want God to be my BFF.

In Genesis chapters 1 through 3, we can read about the days of creation. “God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). After each thing that God created, “He saw that it was good” (Gen. 1:4; 1:10; 1:12; 1:18; 1:21; 1:25). After everything had been created and God had appointed man over the earth “God saw all that He had made, and behold it was very good” (Gen. 1:31). God made everything and it was good. Personally, I don’t believe in the big bang or anything like that, and I don’t understand how anyone could believe that everything came from a bang. Everything is too ordered and too beautiful to have been created from chance, it was made at the hands of our Creator.

God made man, however, He didn’t just make man; but He made man in His image (Gen. 1:26-31). We were not made at random or made ugly beings, we were made in the image of God. That is amazing. It blows my mind. I cannot comprehend a Lord that would make us after Him, beautiful like Him. There is nothing casual about that.

After creation came the fall of man with Adam, Eve, and the serpent. The world was filled with sin. And so to atone for sin, humans were forced to make sacrifices to the Lord. They would gather the best animal from their flock and offer it as an offering to atone for their sin. There are several different types of offering for different purposes. (See Leviticus chapter 1-7).

Also in Leviticus we see the effects of presenting unworthy/unholy offerings/sacrifices before the Lord. Leviticus 10 details the sin of Nadab and Abihu, who were priests and the sons of Aaron. They offered strange fire before the Lord, so the fire of the Lord came down and consumed them and they died before the Lord. The Lord takes things seriously. He is not a casual, chill, ordinary God. Therefore we must be careful in what we are offering the Lord.

Its not just our monetary offerings, but the thoughts we have, the words we speak, and our actions. Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” In Romans 12:1-2 Paul tells the believers, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

There are many places in the Scriptures that encourage those of us who are believers in Christ as our savior, not to be like the world and it’s ways. In John 15, Jesus is teaching that the world will hate believers, but we may be encouraged because the world hated Him first (15:18). And then Jesus continues on in John 15 starting in verse 19:

If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. ‘A slave is is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent me.”

Other passages that deal with this are:

  • John 18:36;
  • 1 John 2:15-17;
  • John 17:13-19;
  • Ephesians 6:10-17;
  • Colossians 3:2.

Our sin has tainted and separated us from oneness with the Lord. “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood And your fingers with iniquity; Your lips have spoken falsehood, Your tongue mutters wickedness”(Isaiah 59:2-3). Our sin has cause a rift between us and God. He cannot look at us in support when we are choosing to live lives of sin and unwise choices.

It is because of this that God felt the need to send His son Jesus, to die on the cross for every person. Even amidst His ministry and life on the earth, Jesus did not want to die. In Luke 22, Jesus is in the garden of Gethsemane and He is adamantly praying.

“He knelt dow and began to pray, saying, ‘Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’ Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground” (Luke 22:41-44).

Despite His agony in the knowledge that He was going to die, Jesus still wanted the will of God more than His own will. Then He was forced to suffer for our sins. He took the weight of every sin, from then until the time of the Lord’s return, upon Himself. That way we could have atonement for our sins.

That is not something to be taken lightly. To just remember flippantly. It is something we should consider every single time we have the desire to sin. I remember the pain that was inflicted upon Jesus, and it makes me want to weep. Especially knowing that He did it for me. And for you. And for anyone who comes after my time.

Paul tells us in Hebrews 4, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16). I think The best way to approach the throne of God is with a humble spirit. We should God in high esteem. We should fear Him, not in a terrified sort of way, but in a great reverence.

That is why I believe that God does not want to be our bet friend. He wants to be our Lord.


Shout out to Blake Smith & Angelo Europe for all your help! And Trevor Brackeen for your input!

New Year Reflections

Happy New Year!

It has been a while since I’ve posted. But I am back now!

Life has definitely kept me busy. Between work, class, papers, friends, travel, I have been pretty busy, plus I just haven’t known what to write. But I know now.

I don’t know your family traditions, but for me, every Christmas morning my family sits down and reads the story of Christ’s birth from Luke 2. No matter how many times I have heard it, or have the pleasure of hearing in the matter of weeks, one thing remains the same. I cry. Sometimes big crocodile tears, sometimes I manage just weepy watery eyes. But I cry.

In my quiet time this week I started reading through Luke. Last night I focused on Luke chapter 1 and 2. In Luke chapter 1 Zechariah and Elizabeth are barren (also they are “advanced in years”). Then while he was bringing incense in the temple (1:10) the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah. He tells Zechariah that Elizabeth is going to have a son and that they should name him John. But Zechariah doubts the angel, and until the day of John’s birth, he becomes mute.

Can you imagine that? Being barren or infertile in today’s terms, but not only fertile, but “advanced in years”? Meaning that it would be very very difficult to become pregnant. But the angel tells Zechariah, and Elizabeth is with child. I would think that would be very surreal and if your like me, you would think it impossible.

After all of this the angel Gabriel goes to Mary, she is a virgin and betrothed to Joseph. They were not yet married. The angel declares to her that she will bear a son and she is to call Him Jesus. But more than that the angel tells Mary exactly who her son will be.

“Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom there will be no end.” -Luke 1:30-33

This is an impossible thing. Mary is a virgin, she cannot be with child. But more so, she is to give birth to a king. a king who will reign forever. -Mary did you know?- Like wow!

Moving along to chapter 2, the decree is sent out by Caesar, there is to be a census, so everyone must go to their own town. So Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem. That isn’t an easy trip to take while pregnant (I imagine) especially knowing that they didn’t have cars and modern amenities. But they arrive in Bethlehem and there is no room at the inn. (Probably because of all of the people who have been traveling home for the census). So they stayed in a stable, a place for animals. Mary went into labor and had her son in a barn. I can’t even imagine. Births a precious moments, even in places that aren’t ideal. Mary takes her son, wraps him in cloth and lays him down in a feeding trough.

How humbling. There were no hospitals or even open beds for Mary to give birth, she laid in a stable to have her child. It is a meager and humble beginning. This image, this event reminds me of the least of these. In Matthew 25:31-46, Jesus is a grown man and is sharing parables, and he says whatever you do to the least of these you have done to me (that is a rough paraphrase). This is very humbling to read and think about.

Then I think about God as Jesus father. I think about it in terms of a father son relationship. If you knew your child was going to die, but more than that suffer, how could you still send him? I am not a mother yet, but I have been a babysitter and a nanny. I can’t imagine letting anything bad or harmful near any one of the children in my care. What kind of pain and hurt must that have caused you Lord? I think of Abraham and Isaac from Genesis 22. You were just testing Abrahams faithfulness. You told him to sacrifice his son, but you allowed Isaac to be spared. I cannot fully fathom your love for us. You did not allow your son to be spared. He died to pay the price for my sins.

My brain and my heart cannot fathom. But I am grateful. Cause if you had not sent your son. If Jesus had not come to live on the earth, where would I be today. What would my world look like? Would it be hell on earth? Would you have already turned your back on us? You made a promise (covenant) with Noah that you would never again flood the earth, but would you have annihilated us like another version of Sodom and Gomorrah ? I am reconciled that I may never know the answer to those questions, but I am humbled and grateful that you did send Jesus, and I am glad that He died on the cross, because now I can have an audience with you, and I can have a relationship with you, because my sins are covered by Jesus’ blood. I am made new. You are loving and forgiving.

Just knowing that is so comforting and overwhelming. That I cannot help but tear up when I read the Christmas story, when I read about how Isaac was spared while your Son was not, when I think about the widows and orphans and the least of these. My heart becomes heavy with sadness, but even more my heart is overwhelmed with love and joy and comfort. I remember that I fail, but then I remember that your mercies are new every morning. Thats why I love sunrises and sunsets. They remind me of your promises and of your character.


Cold Fronts and Porches

I don’t think there is anything more relaxing and thought provoking than sitting in a rocking chair or on a porch swing, just observing the world around me.

Friday, I was going a little stir crazy from being on campus non-stop since moving my brother up nearly a month ago. Sure I’ve been off campus, but it has been for church or errands. Not for anything fun or relaxing. And with the start of school, everything has been passing in a blur. Working, going to class, attempting to study, it’s been a lot all at once, and I’ve been stressed and overwhelmed. So on a spontaneous impulse, I checked with my brother to see his plans, then called my grandmother, an after we finished our classes friday afternoon, we loaded up the car and drove from Fort Worth to San Angelo for the weekend.

I know Mathew (my brother) would have much preferred driving home to Houston, but neither of us have seen our grandmother (Meemaw) in months, and not knowing what could happen between now and Christmas, and not knowing our thanksgiving plans. We drove out to see her and our Great Aunt Sue.

All we’ve really done this weekend is sleep, sit on the back porch enjoying each other’s company as well as the cooler weather, and watch football and movies. But it has definitely been a good time to recharge my batteries, rest, and reflect on school, life, and the Scriptures.

I’m taking Old Testament 3 this semester over Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. Part of my tests and assignments for OT3 is that I must memorize 2 chapters in Psalms. So I’ve been reading, scanning, and reflecting on Psalms. I’ve been gleaning the messages presented, as well as trying to decide which passages to memorize. Most of the Psalms tell of God’s power and creation and works. How Great He Is!

It’s been really nice to sit outside rocking the back porch and watch His creation. I can feel the cool breeze, now turned wind, and know the seasons will be changing soon. It’s still warm enough that the hummingbirds have not yet migrated. The whir of their fast wings is distinct and calming and their high pitched squeaks and chirps express their concern and annoyance with one another as they chase each other away from the feeders. It’s almost a giggling sound. The dove coo, though there aren’t many of them right now. I suspect they are hiding and taking shelter from the dove hunters 😉 The squirrels chirp and bark at each other and any thing or person who comes near them and chases them from their hunt for pecans.

The horse in the neighboring pasture meanders slowly as I watch, this makes me feel conflicted. He has not a care in the world. Does he understand how fleeting time is? It passes by me like quicksand. I feel nostalgic. I remember watching the horses in the neighbor’s back pasture when we would go to Louisiana to visit my grandparents. I remember the dove cage my grandfather tended. It reminds me of the dove enclosure my neighbor (Mrs. G) had in her backyard. I would help her care for those dove every now and then. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a ring-necked dove with feathers that white. I loved being able to walk into my backyard and here their coo’s. That chesty deep sound is comforting and beautiful. Almost melodious like the wind chimes my parents and grandparents would keep. I love the sound of wind chimes.

I am not ready to return to school, but I am. I’m excited to learn more about Job and Psalms. I’m ready to here more sermons from the chapel speakers. I’m not ready to give up this time with family. This time of rest and reflection. I don’t want to get out of this rocking chair. But I must. God called me to school for a reason. He has a purpose for my life. this is just a passing season, like the summer. Soon, I will be in a different phase and season, longing for this one.

I pray you look at nature and see His creation, and wonder at it. and find peace and comfort in it!