Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Figuring it Out

       New school, new town, new living arrangements, new everything basically. I chose this new environment, and I’m loving it and so thankful to be here, nevertheless it’s new and I’m having to figure things out. I’m in a very unique place, that not many understand. I am a sophomore (or 6 hours away from it) in college, yet this is my first semester at an actual university. I’m having to learn how to study, where to study, how to manage a crazy ever changing schedule all in a new environment. It’s a challenge.
It’s hard coming from living in an environment where the people around me cared and took time to get to know one another to a place where I hardly know the people I’m living with. I didn’t know the girls at Link Year in the beginning last year, but it wasn’t long before I felt like I had known them since birth. My roommates here are phenomenal but it’s a very different relationship. I’ve left my comfort zone, I’ve gone from a place where I was surrounded with girls that I could always rely on, and I’m learning that here in all this newness the Lord is the only constant in my life that I can always rely on (which is a great and much needed reminder). The Lord doesn’t call us to be comfortable, he calls us to step out of our comfort zone so that we can rely on him, and turn to him for advice.
As a sophomore I’m learning the ropes of this whole college thing. It’s not easy learning how to prepare for the tests and how to study best. What I have figured out is:
**I don’t like studying in the library. You see the library can be a very social place, and I LOVE to talk.
**You HAVE to study your notes a lot!!!
**It’s often too pretty outside to be cooped up inside a cold library.
**If I must go to the library, find a cubicle
**I can’t study past 11:30, my brain shuts down and my body screams for sleep!
I have found a few great place to study outside, however this may become a problem when it gets cold outside/ I can’t study at night in the dark. I’ll have to find some other hidden spots for these times, but for now I’m taking advantage of the beautiful sunny days and spending my study time outside!
            Things that I don’t understand:
How do people have time to spend endless hours watching Netflix? I NEVER have time for this!
Most people go to the library late at night, this is more of an observation, but I just don’t understand!!! When I’m going home to go to bed students are just getting to the library! Sleep is important people!                                                                                                              
        I'm trying to get plugged into ministries. I think I have found a church, but finding a church that resembles Highlands, the church I have grown up in, is hard! Churches are all so different, and many know that I hate change especially in the church but I’m learning to accept the differences. The important thing is that scripture is being taught and that the Gospel is being proclaimed. I’m excited for the opportunity to get involved with K-life ministries (a branch of Kanakuk Ministries). Through this I’ll be leading a small group of girls along with two other leaders. I’ve also attended a few RUFs, but RUF at Baylor is wayyyy different than in Mississippi. It’s super small here.
I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be here at Baylor. Everything is new, it’s exciting, scary, and challenging. I’m having to figure things out, but no worries I’ve got the Lord walking alongside me every step of the way. Whatever you may be going through, remember to be thankful and that the Lord is with you every step of the way! 

One of my favorite study spots! 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Not Ole Miss?

So for those of you are wondering or  haven’t heard I am at Baylor University! This may come as a shock, as many assumed I would be attending Ole Miss after my year off.  At one point last fall I thought I would be at Ole Miss, however as the semester went on I became uneasy with the thought of attending Ole Miss. Ole Miss is a great school and I love Oxford, but I just had this strong feeling that it wasn’t the school for me. Of course the thought of telling my parents this was a nightmare. I knew last Thanksgiving that Ole Miss was not the school for me, but at that point all I had to go off of was this strong feeling. I was supposed** to tell my parents over Thanksgiving break, but that went and came and they had no idea I was considering other schools. I continued to pray for an opportune time to tell my parents. About a week before Christmas break, after a lot of prayer, thought, and encouragement from those around me I had decided I wanted to study communication studies. This is something I NEVER would have considered before Link Year, but let me tell y’all that the Lord works in so many ways! As I began to look at Ole Miss’ communications department I saw that they did not offer what I felt that the Lord was calling me to study. Now I had not only a strong feeling but also a concrete reason to look elsewhere. Still I feared disappointing my Ole Miss Alum parents. When it finally came out my parents weren’t as disappointed as I thought they would be. They were like okay if that’s what you want to do let’s figure this out. (Of course I still think my dad had hope of me attending Ole Miss.)

I started application process again for schools. A process that stressed me out my senior year of high school, but this time was different. Throughout the whole process from beginning to the very end (and yes this was a long process) I had this strange peace that I had never experienced before. At no particular point was I ever really stressed, I just had confidence that Lord was going to have me where he wanted me.

So why my interest in Baylor? I was very drawn to Baylor not only because of the great community, but the Christian Community. I have heard so many great things about the community at Baylor and after this past year the importance of Christian Community (Hebrews 10:26) means so much to me. Even within just my first week here, I have just been blown away with the community; I have felt so welcomed by everyone that I have met, everyone is so friendly.

It’s seems as though it was a no brainer Baylor was the place for me. However, I actually didn’t commit to Baylor until the last week of July. Though I was accepted back in the spring I still had to work out some details and get the final OK from my parents. So I committed but with 3 weeks until classes, I had no place to live. Still, I had this peace (usually I would stress so much) but I was just confident that the Lord would provide. And just a couple of days later my prayers were answered when a sweet girl from high school put me in contact with some girls that needed a roommate really last minute. I really lucked out because I am now living in a great location, super close to campu,s and my roommates are awesome; I couldn’t have asked for better roommates.

I have been here for a little over a week now and I absolutely love it! I wake up every morning thanking and praising the Lord for the opportunity to be here at Baylor. I am so thankful for my parents and all that they have done for me to be here. After leaving Link Year I had no concrete plans for this fall, and there were points that I thought I might not even be in school at all, but the Lord is good and faithful and I could not have fathomed the situation that I am in now. I just encourage anyone who reads this to run to the cross in everything you do, chase your dreams but center them around God. The Lord is faithful to his children.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Final Week

This is our final week at Link Year and it has been filled with tears. It's going to be super hard to leave this group of people that have walked alongside me the past 8 months. We started the week off with LinkOlympics. This was a really fun Mystery Monday activity that everyone enjoyed. The best part of this activity was when the girls played powder-puff football. It got really intense but was so fun!!
Jonathan Pokluda from Watermark Church in Dallas came to speak to us for our final week. He talked to us about the pitfalls that we will face in college. The first one being narcissism. Our generation is the most narcissistic generation that has ever walked the face of this earth. That is a sad statistic. Christians are called to be servants and to love our neighbors as ourself, not be narcissistic. The second pitfall was lack of commitment. Our generation doesn't make commitments. The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:37 "let your yes be yes and your no be no." If we make a commitment we need to follow through with it and stop making up excuses to get out of things we don't want to do. JP suggested that if we ever want to get out of a commitment we should go to the person and say hey I know I made a commitment to you, will you let me out of this commitment? If the person responds yes then great, but if they say no then you have to respect that and honor the commitment you made.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Counseling... It's Biblical

This week we loaded up the vans and went to the middle of nowhere for some fun in the trees for mystery Monday. Once we arrived at Zipline USA, we loaded buses again to go on a very bumpy, windy, curvy dirt/rock road to the top of the ziplines. We then proceeded to go on a series of five ziplines. This was a fun experience, the scenery was beautiful and I had fun being in community with my peers.
This week’s speaker was Tim Watson. Tim is a Christian counselor in Fort Worth, Texas; he is also Brian Wang’s brother-in-law. Tim joined us for mystery Monday and hung out with us throughout the week so it was fun to get to know him and play with his precious son Owen. It was really interesting to hear what Tim had to say about counseling. I know that in our society counseling generally carries a negative connotation, however a friend of mine that is a Christian counselor has told me that it is for anyone and everyone; it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong. Tim’s purpose this week was to enlist, equip, and encourage followers of Jesus Christ to live and counsel the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His word to themselves and to other people; especially those living amidst sufferings and problems of life. Tim pointed out this week that counseling is Biblical. This was a new take on counseling for me. Counsel is not a new invention; God gave instruction or counsel in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:16-17). When the Bible talks about instruction, teaching, or discipleship these are just other words for counsel.
Biblical counseling is a continuous process, where one person offers loving direction and comfort to another person or persons according to the word of God. Biblical counseling aims at human hearts in order to help human hearts fully for Christ. This is done primarily in two ways: 1) transform heart toward loving God and others well 2) expose the parts of the heart that are unwilling or unable to change. We are called to teach, disciple, and counsel those in our lives. I hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pursuing Excellence

            This week started off with a trip to our local martial arts studio for self-defense class! This was a very entertaining mystery Monday. We each partnered up and practiced several self-defense moves.
            Austin Oches did a phenomenal job as our speaker this week as he spoke on living a high impact life. He used the diagram below to explain this process of how we honor God. My favorite part about this diagram however, is pursuing excellence. Christians often forget to do this, but we are called to do so. This has kind been a hot topic at Link Year as we are wrapping up the year the staff here keeps encouraging all the students to finish strong. 1 Corinthians 3:23-24 says, “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Christians are working for the God of the Universe!! What an exciting thing that we get to do! Our real reason for performing with excellence is to Honor God. There are three components of excellence:
1.)   expertise- knowledge and ability to see what should be done
2.)   innovation- drive and passion to believe it can be done a new or better way
3.)   discipline- commitment to persevere until it is done
Persevere and don’t give up on pursing excellence to honor our Creator. Check out some of these other verses to see what the Bible says about why excellence is important: Psalm 8:1, 2 Samuel 22:31, Romans 12:1-2, Psalm 36:7, and Isaiah 12:2-5. So if you could choose one are in your life to excel in (that your currently aren’t already) what would be? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Another Phenomenal Week at Link!!!

This week we started off Monday with a work day! We picked up the trash along the road by campus (about a mile in length). And let me just tell y’all people litter! It was crazy at how much trash we picked up in just a short mile. I kinda felt like a delinquent on the side of the road in a neon vest. But some of us chose to make the most of it and play games as we worked our up the road.
            Next up, was the mystery activity! We went to Dogwood Canyon and just went on a nice walk with time to reflect on this year and all that has happened over the past few months. And then sweet sweet Adam Martin took us to sonic, which is always a fun treat!
            We had Sean Mcdowell for class on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was a phenomenal speaker. He is very bright and knows so much. He played the role of an atheist and allowed us to have an open discussion with him. He talked about the objective and subjective truth. And he has the most precious little girl that came to play with me and paint nails in my room.
            To end our week of class we had Chad Hampsch, the Vice President of the Kanakuk Institute and Director of K-7 Kamp. He is a genius, and perhaps one of my favorite speakers. We just had a Q&A with him to answer any questions we had. He was very encouraging. When discussing our last few weeks here at Link Year he said that in a race no one remembers your first mile, they remember how you finish, so finish strong. He stressed the importance of finding a mentor next year in college. It won’t be easy, and we will have to be the one to pursue a mentor, but that it is crucial to seek out a mentor. He also encouraged us to find someone to mentor. Something that I heard before, that has always stuck out in my mind is people aren’t going to remember you for what you accomplished or didn’t, but they will remember how you made them feel and how much you invested into their lives. I think this is a great reminder because our society often steps on people to get to the top, but character and the relationships you invest in are way more important than achieving a goal in life. What are you striving for? Seek out a mentor, dive into God’s word, and listen to the wisdom of Christian mentors in your life.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

True Friends

My favorite little bowling partner Aiden
This week was a great week here on “the island”. We started the week off with a trip to the bowling alley for Mystery Monday at Hillbilly Bowling. It’s always fun to start the week off in community with the whole group; I really enjoy the activities we do. Sometimes it’s annoying not knowing what we’re going to do but I love the surprise and trying to guess what adventure is next each week, so I was little disappointed to find out what we were really doing an hour before we left campus.
Ak, me, and Jamie at Hillbilly Bowling
 Since it is Easter we had to have an Easter egg hunt. Yes, I am aware that I am 19 years old but I don’t think anyone is ever too old to hunt Easter eggs. I have always enjoyed a good Easter egg hunt and I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I searched the lower fields at K-Kauai. We also had a relay race in which my sweet partner had an egg crack on her. It was great time to spend with the Kanakuk Institute girls who planned the whole event.

Jamie and I in our bunny relay masks

   Me and my relay partner Claire     
My sweet mentor and friend Autumn  
            With all the fun going on I did learn a few things this week. Though it’s something that has been encouraged throughout the year at Link Year, I think it’s really important to share with everyone. At the Fort, a young adults ministry on Wednesday nights, we looked at Proverbs 27 with Joshua Straub. Proverbs 27 talks about TRUE friends. Joshua used an acronym for what a true friend is that I really like.

Speak Truth
              Speak  Encouragement
   Be        Sensitive
     Be       Teachable

It is so important to have true friends in your life; a friend who speaks truth is valuable. We are afraid to hurt people, but it’s important to hear and give truth. We also need encouragement. True friends are sensitive, we have to be sensitive to situations and feelings of others and the way we handle situations. Lastly, a true friend is teachable. We don’t just need to look for these TRUE friends in our lives, but we need to be this friend. We have to learn to be teachable and humble to accept the truth when your friend tells it to you. It’s hard to be teachable at times but remember if it’s from a true friend, it’s more than likely out of love. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” We need to be iron in our friends’ lives and sharpen one another! Be a true friend and surround yourself with TRUE friends. Speak truth, speak encouragement, be sensitive, and be teachable. So ask yourself are you being a TRUE friend? This teaching can be heard on www.fortworship.com along with teachings on each chapter of Proverbs. I encourage y’all to check it out and listen to some; we have some pretty great speakers pour into us at The Fort each week.
Be a true friend and have a happy Easter! Celebrate our savior’s death and resurrection!!!