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Showing posts from 2013

Struggling With God

Struggle.
It's the one word I would pick to describe my last few weeks.
A quick Google search turns up the following definition of struggle: "Make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction" Which is actually ironic.

Now that I have you thoroughly confused, let me explain. When I pick the word struggle, I don't mean it in the way you might hear someone say "It's been a struggle" or "I'm riding the struggle bus". Not that it wasn't a hard few weeks. It was. But right now the word struggle means far more.

I've shared before that when I began this journey to France I knew that God would challenge me to trust Him. I've also shared that trusting Him began much earlier than I thought. So what does that have to do with struggle?

My struggle the last few weeks has been in trusting God with control.

I really like feeling like I'm in control. I might be a bit obsessed with it. You might understand that feeling.

Roots

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Tonight, I'm sitting in my little college apartment, and I'm 12 hours away from taking my last final. That also puts me at 14 hours away from the being finished with school at Francis Marion University for a year. That makes me excited (I'm ready for break) and sad (do I really have to say goodbye to all my friends?).
In spite of the fact that I should probably be thinking strictly about operating leverage versus financial leverage and other finance subjects, tonight I'm thinking about the places I've lived. For the past four months or so, I've lived in a little two person apartment with my sister. Before that, I lived in a four bedroom place that's right across the road. During my freshman year of college, I was in a dorm room. I've lived in 3 different spaces in two and a half years.
And that's just college.
Now I have to admit, there is a part of me that, strangely enough, loves to move. Having done it so often growing up, it's almost second …

To My Friends, With Love

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I'm pretty sure my heart just might explode.

Okay, maybe not literally. But right now my heart is full. Full of love, laughter, friendship, and beautiful memories. And maybe a little sadness, too.

Today my wonderful sister and my equally wonderful best friend threw me a surprise going away party. (I'll admit, I did kind of hint that I wanted a get together to see everyone before I left). I was totally surprised. As in I-didn't-see-that-one-coming surprised.

It was fun to sit around a table filled with good friends and good food and share a special moment with people who wish me well. As I looked around the group, my heart was filled with gratitude to God for the goodness of those friendships. I am so blessed. The room was filled with my Core Group girls, my classmates, my siblings - both blood and the ones I've "adopted" - and my mom who made a surprise stop in. But they are so much more than that. The people who were in that room are my friends.

For various …

Taste

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When I saw the word taste was the prompt for the Velvet Ashes Grove this week, I was so excited. I mean who doesn't want to write about food during Thanksgiving week?
"Taste" makes me think of all of the food that brings my family together. We love our food. My Dad's side of the family is Cajun. Yep, think gumbo, jambalaya, and étouffée. Deliciousness. Every year on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving we cook a Cajun style meal to say thank you to the church we serve at. That starts Thanksgiving for me.
Then we gather with family, generally my Mom's family because we live relatively close together. We have turkey, ham, homemade mac and cheese, squash casserole, rolls, desserts, and, my personal favorite, sweet potato casserole.
This Thanksgiving as I tasted all that food, I reflected on the fact that I wouldn't have all that food next year. I won't spend next Thanksgiving with my family. So I treasured today.
I treasured cooking with my Mom. I treasured getting…

Giving Thanks During Thanksgiving

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In just a few days it will be Thanksgiving. To be quite honest, this time of the year comes with mixed feelings. I love the food, family, and fellowship that come with the season. However, I am not such a big fan of the memories of Thanksgiving a few years ago when I slept in a hospital because my grandmother was dying. I think you can see why the season is bittersweet.

In spite of those feelings, I do enjoy Thanksgiving. It reminds me to do something that often I don't take the time to do. Be thankful.

Today as I get ready to go home and celebrate Thanksgiving with my church over a Cajun style meal that my family has prepared, I would like to share with you a few of the things I'm thankful for.

Jesus: how would any list be complete without Him? I wouldn't even have a list if I didn't have Jesus.

Family: as the reality that I might not see my family in person for a year sets in, this one becomes all the more precious.

Friends: God has blessed me with so many precious peop…

A Burnt Grilled-Cheese Sandwich Kind of Day

Yep, you read that title right. A few weeks ago, I had a burnt-grilled-cheese-sandwich-kind-of-day.

The day started slowly. That's not true. I started out slowly. I was trying so hard to get my act together, but before I knew it I needed to leave. I needed to track down professors so that I could get signatures for forms that I needed to turn in for the study abroad program. Needless to say, I didn't find them.

After three hours of classes - in which, for some reason beyond my understanding, I struggled to stay alert - I proceeded to again track down professors and turn in the forms. During all of this, I discovered that the plan I had for that night's Core Group wasn't going to work out.

A little before 2:00, I arrived back at my apartment and decided a nice grilled mozzarella cheese sandwich would be just what I needed for lunch. So I made my sandwich, put it in the pan, and let it cook away. While it was cooking, I sat at my computer and tried to get some stuff done…

Far Away Yet Together

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Recently, through Twitter I discovered a community of women, Velvet Ashes, who are living or have lived overseas doing ministry. Now as a young woman who will soon be going overseas and who wants to serve and minister to the people who will be around me, I found this encouraging. I am so excited to learn from these ladies who have "been there, done that."

Each Friday, the women of Velvet Ashes will be blogging as an interactive group - The Grove. The blogs will be based on a word prompt. I can't promise I'll join in every week, but this week the prompt really made me think. So here it goes.

Today's word is:


When I saw together, my thoughts went straight to the opposite of together: far apart. In less than two months, I'll be far apart from everything I know: my family, my friends, my traditions, my church, my school. That list could go on. Even though I am so excited to being going to Europe, I know there will be hard days.
Well last night God gave me a small…

Grand Plans, Balloons, and A New Outlook (Part 2)

So when you read my last post, we talked about grand plans and balloons. Now it's time to talk about a new outlook.

Here is where we left off. I'm going to an area of a country that has no missionaries; proportionately, one of the highest populations in the world of people who consider themselves "convinced atheists"; is known as a "missionary graveyard"; and at best I am unsure about whether there is an evangelical church in the area.

Grand plans: POP.

So where does that leave me? Still sure that God wants me in France? Yep. I wouldn't have gotten this far if He didn't want me there. Trust me. Several parts of this journey have stretched me past what I thought I was capable of. Only God could have brought me this far.

The outlook sure looks dim though, doesn't it? If it were about me and what I could do, I'd say the outlook was impossible. But that's the thing: I'm learning to have a new outlook. It's not about me or my grand pl…

Grand Plans, Balloons, and A New Outlook (Part 1)

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I've grown up in the Bible belt of the American South. The place where there is a church on every street corner; even in the countryside where I live there are probably twenty plus churches within a five mile radius. Church is all around me. With the church comes Christians, the body of Christ, the ones who tell others about Jesus.

Now, I'm not naive enough to think that it's that way everywhere. I mean the Church is the one telling us that there are people next door, across the country, and around the world who don't know Jesus. And it's true. We hear all the time about the lost. We're encouraged to go. We send out missionaries all over the world. For me specifically, I hear about them going through my denomination's sending agency: the International Mission Board (IMB). So I guess that's why my next statement - a thought that's been floating around in my head today - surprised me.

"It never occurred to me that there might not be missionaries …

A Love Story

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For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm a very logical person. However, I have to admit that-while you might not see it-I have a romantic side. I love a good love story.


A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to capture a good love story with a camera. I love to take pictures. If I get the chance to put one of my poor friends in front of my lens, I'm going to keep them there as long as possible.


When this particular couple asked me to take their engagement pictures, I immediately said yes! I was so excited to be a part of this special time.

The young lady in these pictures in my former roommate. One of the things I love about her is her passion for the Gospel and missions. As someone who just recently graduated from nursing school, she and her fiance know that they want to use their medical skills for the glory of the Lord and the advancement of His Kingdom.

You know ultimately when I see a love story like Kayla and Jason's, I think about another love story. A …

What Happens When You Seek Eagerly

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The last few weeks of my life have been BUSY. I know you probably feel like you read that every time you read one of my blogs. Honestly, that might be true. I feel like things keep getting busier and busier. The amazing thing is that, in the midst of the busy-ness, I've also had a couple of amazing weeks.

The last couple of weeks, I have watched God move. He has moved in my life. He has moved at BCM. He has moved in the Core Group that I lead. I see Him all around me and I am excited. In all the busy-ness, I've been learning to let go and let God. And man, He is blowing my expectations out of the water!
I'm not sure I can even put into words the AWESOMENESS of God right now! I will say this though: in a week where I would have normally thrown up my hands and said "I can't", I threw up my hands and said "God, You can, so please have it." You know that is an amazing feeling! It hasn't been all sunshine and roses, but it certainly has been a blesse…

Learning to Trust in the Whirl-Wind

It's really late right now. Actually, anything past eleven o'clock is late for me. I treasure my sleep. I'm tired. I'm a bit overwhelmed. This past week has been a crazy whirl-wind kind of a week.

Since learning that I'm officially headed to France, life has kicked into high gear. I'm filling out forms, going to meetings, submitting applications, in addition to normal everyday activities and school work.

When I began this journey, I knew that part of this trip was about learning to trust God. Trusting Him with control of my life. Trusting Him with the unknown. Trusting Him with the uncomfortable. I guess part of me simply assumed that all that trusting would start when I landed on French soil. Was I ever wrong.

This last week I've been learning about trusting God. I've been learning to trust Him when I'm overwhelmed. I've been learning to trust Him when I'm stressed. I've been learning to trust Him when I can't wrap my head around al…

It's Official

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I know it's been a while, but this blog was a long time coming. I think it's worth the wait.

IT'S OFFICIAL.
Now some of you are wondering what in the world I am talking about. Some of your know exactly what I mean. Let me explain.
I got the email yesterday. I'm going to spend the year of 2014 in France.
I'm going to study abroad at a business school in a town called Poitiers.
Now this is something that on one level, I've wanted to do all my life. I have almost always wanted to go to Europe, specifically France. My father's family immigrated from France a few hundred years ago. I've always thought it would be awesome to visit the city where they lived. I've also just wanted to visit many places in Europe: Rome, Wales, and Paris just to name a few.
On another level, this is something quite new. At the beginning of my college career, I briefly considered studying abroad. However, it didn't fit into my nice neat little plans, so I dismissed the ide…

Feeding the 27, errr, the 12.

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In the Gospels, Jesus fed the 5,000. He reached those people and touched their lives. Now I know that (barring a miracle from God), I can't feed five thousand people. But I can reach people right around me. So after being challenged last night, I changed my plans for tonight.

Now must of y'all who know me know that I don't like to change plans. I really don't like to change plans. But God is teaching me otherwise. You see I had a plan for the BCM Core Group I lead. We were going to go experience a secret church. But then I was challenged by leadership at BCM to lead my Core Group to live an intentionally missional life toward a specific group. So after God showed me and a fellow member of my Core Group that the group we should reach was literally right outside of our doors, we made plans to get to know our neighbors. We didn't plan to preach to them or overwhelm them with invitations to events. Nope, we made plans to deliver homemade goodies and just say "hi&q…

Random Musings and Resting in God

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So it's been a while since I blogged. 20 days to be exact. Those twenty days have been busy. They've been hard but they've been good.

What's happened in those twenty days? A lot. I've gotten through the first round of exams - five exams and one paper in a week and a half - on top of the normal everyday bits of schoolwork. I quit my job; the timing wasn't working out so I'm now unemployed and ok with that. I turned in my application to go study abroad for a year in France. The BCM Core Group (a small group/Bible study) I'm leading has started. I'm having a blast with that. I'm in a group with five beautiful ladies who are teaching me and enriching my life; I hope I'm doing the same for them.

The weather is changing. Have you noticed? It's cooler. The humidity has taken a vacation. Some of the leaves are beginning to turn. I love this time of the year. I'm enjoying my chai and roobios teas, and soon it will be boot weather.

These are j…

One Of "Those Days"

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Today was one of "those days." You've all heard that phrase. You've probably used it yourself. But it's kind of hard to define; really the meaning of that phrase changes day-to-day and person-to-person. So let me explain what I mean by "today was one of those days."

Today was a bit of a struggle. In spite of getting in bed at a really great time (10:45) last night, I woke up really tired. I struggled to wake myself up and get ready. As I headed off to work, I just didn't feel like doing it. While at work, I found out that there was (or had been earlier, still not sure on the details) a manhunt going on for suspected gunman across the road from school. That can freak a girl out just a bit, especially when we have to go on with life as usual. After heading back to my apartment (and corralling my very good imagination), I discovered there was not much food left that did not take an hour or so to cook. Not what I want to discover when I only have a shor…

Sometimes I Feel Like Moses

As I was sitting here preparing to write this blog post, I was thinking about a lot of the things that I have going on this week. Some things in particular were running through my mind. And I just felt really inadequate for those particular tasks. Honestly, I was thinking, "God, I can't do that."
You know I just love how God works. I was thinking that thought while at the same time sitting here wondering what do I blog about today. When another thought popped into my head:
"Sometimes I feel like Moses."
So I opened my Bible to the story of Moses and the burning bush to follow up on that thought. And then God started talking to me. Here's what I learned.
When God spoke to Moses through the burning bush, Moses had plenty of questions and excuses.
"Who am I, that I should go?" (Exodus 3:11)
"What if they do not believe me?" (Exodus 4:1)
"Lord, I have never spoken eloquently." (Exodus 4:10)
"Lord, please send someone else to do…

The First Week

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Wow! What a crazy week. I feel like I've done a lot since school started. I've had a taste of all my classes, three of which are business and two of which are electives. I think I'm going to enjoy them all. This semester is going to take some effort and time, but I'm OK with that. I've also been meeting with professors about applying to study abroad (more on that later). Tomorrow will start this first day of work for this semester. I'm excited about getting back into the Writing Center and tutoring students.

In addition to school related activities, BCM had it's welcome week activities this past week. As a part of the leadership team, I was there to help set up and take down for events, meet new and returning students, and serve all who came. It was a blast! I enjoy seeing old friends and making new oens. I'm excited for tonight: our first Tuesday night meeting of the year with dinner and worship.

This week has been full of it's ups and downs. There…

My Life in a Minivan

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Talk about a crazy couple of days. Since I've been back from vacation, I've done everything from move my youngest sister into her dorm to start my first day of classes.

On Saturday, my oldest sister and I packed up and headed to college to help freshmen move into their dorms. We spent most of the day toting containers up stairs as freshmen got settled in. Then we got our own keys and headed over to unload. We had filled the back of our parents minivan with an apartment's worth of stuff (minus furniture). I commented that it was my life in a minivan. Pretty much. With the help of some good friends, we managed to get unloaded in a few trips. It's taken a few days but it's mostly unpacked and decorated. It'll be our cozy little home for the semester.

On Sunday, I celebrated my birthday with some of my closest friends. And today (Tuesday) classes started back. That was my week in a nutshell. A lot happened, and there is still much to come this week. Baptist Collegi…

The God of the Mountains

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On Monday, my family and I took one of our "squeeze it in, last minute" vacations. We headed up to the Great Smokey Mountains and Gatlinburg to spend a few days together before my sisters and I head back to college. We spent time shopping, playing in a mountain creek, and driving through the mountains.

I love the mountains. The Blue Ridge and Great Smoky Mountains, part of the Appalachian Mountain Range, are my favorite place to vacation. I adore watching clouds roll across the Blue Ridge Mountains or standing on the Blue Ridge Parkway on a clear day and watching the mountains melt into each other in a blue haze. I also enjoy the name-sake mist that cloaks the sides of the Great Smokies on most days.

Why do I like these mountains so much? That's hard to put into words. When I look up at the mountains, I see the majesty and power of a mighty God. Have you ever thought about the fact that the God who created the mountains, the God who created all the things I enjoy about t…

He Knows

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It's that time of year: back to school. Those three words fill many students (and teachers) with dread while some parents get excited.

I never really understood going "back to school" until I reached college. I was homeschooled and our schedule didn't include a lengthy summer break. Instead, we took a few extra weeks off during November and December as my family prepared for our annual Open House. We would bake and cook all types of goodies. We also took small vacations a few times during the year. Normally, it was a few days here and a few days there. My Dad is a pastor, so we worked those vacations in whenever we could.

Now that I'm in college, I understand the meaning of those words a little better. Thankfully, they don't fill me with dread. I'm actually a bit excited. I haven't seen most of my friends from school all summer. It will be nice to exchange stories about our summers and see each other regularly once again.

However, I'd be remiss if…

Seeking Eagerly

Time for the first blog. Let me be honest: I find this particular post a bit awkward. I introduce myself. I tell you why I'm blogging. I might even tell you why I chose to name my blog "Seeking Eagerly". This isn't going to be the world's coolest blog post; let's get down to it so we can get to blogging.

I'm Elizabeth. Or Liz. Or Lizzie. I answer to all. Though only certain people have the privilege of using the last one. I could tell you a lot of random things about myself, but I won't go into detail. If you want to know about me and who I am, then keep reading. You'll learn. Here are the basics: I'm a college student who is seeking God and His will for the future. Sometimes I do that well; other times, not so much.

Why am I blogging? Well, life is about to change for me (more on that later) and I want to keep people updated on all of my adventures. But more than that I want to be able to share where God is taking me and what He is teaching m…