God Works in Weird Ways.

4.26.16

How have you seen God this week? (A question I am asked on a weekly basis)

Hi friends, it’s been a while. I attempted to make this whole blog thing a daily encounter, well here I am a month later. Tonight I want to talk to you about God. If you don’t know Him, he is literally the coolest dad ever. He has everything planned out for each and every one of His children. It’s extremely hard to have faith in that plan. Sometimes it’s hard to believe he knows what’s best for us. But He does. Oh, He chuckles (mainly at me) because I think I have my entire future planned out. Everything goes smoothly and then BAM, my whole world turns upside down. But the awesome thing is, he does it for a reason. That friend of mine who is really really sick, has brought me closer to Him. I started going to a youth group type activity, called Young Life, in January. It has changed my life. I’m exploring my faith in a deeper way than just routinely going to church on Sundays. I’ve started noticing the way God is working around me.

Every week at Young Life, we have a bible study, called Campaigners. We are asked, “How did you see God this week?” When I first heard that, I sat there and began wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. I’m not good at this whole “God” thing. At first I thought, “There is absolutely no way He’s working in my life.” So I sat there. And sat there, and sat there, wondering and waiting for God to start.

Little did I know, He already was. I just needed to open my eyes and look right in front of me.

I had no idea how He was going to reach me, but He sure did. My friend, Liz, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. It’s a very serious brain tumor that brings several surgeries, and tough recoveries. Recently, she has not been doing well. She was moved to Hospice a few days ago, which has amplified my fear of losing her. But in that fear, I find hope and reliance in God. She is in no pain, and I thank God every single day for that. God is using her strength and love to find His children.

So how have I seen God this week?

Through my beautiful friend, Lizzy Grace. I got to see her last week, before she needed more intense care. That’s the moment I realized He was there. I was in the chapel of a church I had never heard of, with one hundred people I had never met. God used Liz to bring a gathering of people, all of whom shared different levels of experience in faith. People (including myself) who have been searching for answers as to where and how He was working, were right at His feet. Liz was my answer. Through her strenuous journey, I have grown closer to God; talking to Him on a daily basis, and reading the Bible, asking for his protection of her.  So, my friends, I encourage you to look for blessings in disguise.

 

Stop worrying about what’s hard in life, and start looking for how God is making you stronger.

 

 

 

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Simply a punctuation mark. That little guy has a lot of power, the period. He ends sentences. Something I’m really bad at. Even if you’re grammatically challenged, I’m sure you understand the meaning of a run on sentence. It goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on. A lot of things in my life seem to go that way. My blog writing, (I have 21 unfinished drafts. 21.), my food cravings, my level of procrastination, and my consistent promises that, “I’ll stop trying to control everything in my life.”

These things just keep going and it is evident that changing them takes a lot of work.

One that persistently hangs over my head is “Let go and.” Waiting for the big finish, right? Me too. It feels like I am waiting for some big victory. I am waiting for things to all start going my way. I am waiting for real happiness. The problem with that mindset is the very thing I’m doing. I am just waiting. Nothing else, really. I look busy because I fill my time with a lot of things. I’m just not filling my heart with anything.

I just need to stop waiting. I need to end the sentence.

This sentence. Let go and let God.

In the Bible, the book of Proverbs provides some wisdom for naive Christians, like myself. Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.” I heard it in May of 2016 and will never forget the impact it had on my life.

Reading that verse is difficult to swallow. When I first accepted Christ into my life, I thought I had finally found the answer to every problem. I would never face a problem again. I got this idea burned in my head that I didn’t need God all of the time. I assumed, “I like to plan things out and as long as I don’t do anything too stupid I’ll be okay.” Man, was I wrong.

Trusting God felt like it was only something I had to do when things were going well. That’s when it felt like He was there. When life hurt and all I wanted to do was cry, that’s exactly what I did. It didn’t feel like God was actually beside me because I felt completely alone. I did not understand why that feeling was there, but it sparked a desire for God’s love. He works in weird ways, people.

Finishing this sentence is something I am still working on. Handing my planner to God is a scary, scary thought but there is a great future ahead. I am not capable of predicting what He has in store but-

It’s time I let go and let God.

-Delaney

 

 

 

Emptiness

Welcome to the 21st century. We have iPhones.

Finally, an LED screen with access to anyone’s life- even their breakfast!

Some find these tiny glass boxes of communication comparable to an extra limb, or in serious cases- a child. We love our phones more than we love our neighbors. People do not know what to do without them. We fidget and whine and complain in the absence of them. The circulation of social media keeps our hearts pumping. We are addicted.

Phones are merging into every single aspect of our lives. We are a social media-obsessed world. Every single thing we do must be shared with our cousin’s sister’s dog’s uncle’s grandpa’s best friend’s mother. Take a look at Snapchat. Selfies and food and concerts are among the most commonly snaps. Nothing relevant to the user comes from this app, unless you really care what that one girl in your math class had for lunch. But I still have it. Most people have it. And we all use it.

The pictures I send are often selfies with the ridiculous filters. I send them when I need a distraction.

We are setting no limits at what we’ll do to get to a 100 day streak of sending a 5 second picture to our not-so-close friend. What do we expect out of it? A congratulatory tweet? A trophy? I’ll tell you what will come of it.

Nothing.

I am amazed at the determination of my peers to maintain these streaks. They will go as far as handing over their accounts to a trusty old friend for weeks at a time. They are filling their void.

Snapchat and Instagram and Twitter and Facebook fail to highlight the features of our lives that are most important. We disguise our imperfect lives with intricate pictures and hilarious tweets.

We are filling an emptiness inside of our souls with screens that never seem to be enough. These screens, these apps- they don’t fill us. Do not let the holes in your heart be filled by a retweet.

Let God fill the emptiness inside of your soul.

^ That was a scary statement for any and all of my non-Christian readers. For those of you who do not follow God, listen to this: Try putting your phone down for a few minutes and getting to know someone new! And watch this video!

For my friends who are followers of Christ, here is a challenge for you: Let your soul overflow with the love of Jesus! Social media is fun, but it encourages the need for acceptance from others, when you already have it from Him. Fill emptiness with the love of Jesus! And watch this video!

 

The Election

Donald Trump was just elected President of the United States.

I am unable to comprehend this result. When I first heard this, I was at a complete loss for words. Personally, I am not a fan of Donald Trump. He is overwhelmingly vulgar and extremely insensitive. The comments he made during the election left me speechless.

For the Trump supporters still reading: 1. Thank you for having an open mind. 2. I am not here to completely bash Trump. I am not here to fully support Clinton. I am here to advocate for love.

Hate won this election.

Let’s face it. Donald Trump was able to manipulate the media into advertising for him at a value equivalent to approximately 3 billion dollars. How did he do this? His words. Every other week, there was a new claim, insulting an entire population of people.

Trump based his campaign on hating non-traditional things and Clinton based her campaign on hating Trump. Either result would’ve resulted in chaos. And all we can do is blame each other. And that’s all we’re doing.

Liberals are calling all Trump-supporters thoughtless racists. Conservatives are calling Clinton-supporters hypocrites.

I am a huge believer that good exists in everyone. This election proved that it is very hard to find good in some. People often throw around the words, “This world is so broken,” or “The people in this country are broken.” I have to disagree. I do not believe that anyone is broken. Rather, We are lost. This election pushed us into a mindset of hatred and lying and deceit. I am here for a simple reminder that love defeats all. It is hard for me to watch other Christians force our ideas upon other people. I am ashamed to associate myself with those who hate on the people of this world, God’s creation, and continue to call themselves “followers of Christ.” Christians continue to shame people for their sins. As I’ve heard many times at Young Life, God has a “bird’s eye view” of sin. The stack of sins you find much less convicting than your neighbors is equal in the eyes of God. We must notice that comparing ourselves to each other only encourages hate.

As C.S. Lewis once said “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

It is crucial, especially as Christians, that we love on others! Jesus wants us to love his people! Please continue to be kind and love others like you love Jesus!!!

Hate won this election. But love conquers all.

How to change the world.

8.02.16

School’s almost here. A fresh start. The season of new friends and new clothes and new classes and new things is approaching, quickly.

 We had a tough summer. We are crumbling, to say the least. This world has a growing crack that can only be filled with God’s love. So the question I have for you is, How are you going to change the world? And how can God help you help change the world?

Let me start by telling you a story. I did not write this story, but I heard it at one of my favorite places on this planet, summer camp. At our closing ceremony, one of the counselors stood up and told the story of The Boy and The Starfish:

Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching.  As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea.  The boy came closer still and the man called out, “Good morning!  May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”

Changing the world is not about starting a charity or raising millions of dollars and giving away every cent. Don’t get me wrong, those are some incredible things that do change the world. But I’m not here to tell you how to do those things. Start with one person. Then watch. Watch how quickly God’s love can spread when you change one person’s world. Now, I’m not an expert at anything, but I do know what it feels like to have someone show a little love through a small act.

Love is ALL OVER THE BIBLE.

“Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” 1 Corinthians 13:7

Try this: find one person and show them God’s love. Go give someone a hug or give them a piece of candy or tell them they’re good at what they do. Just be nice! People aren’t looking for extravagant or crazy things. People want to be shown love. God loves you, go show other people His love! It’s awesome and feels awesome to make someone else feel awesome.

So go change the world. One starfish at a time.

-Delaney

Thanks to

https://eventsforchange.wordpress.com/2011/06/05/the-starfish-story-one-step-towards-changing-the-world/

for the story!

Thank you, Timberwolf.

What an incredible week.

From June 10th-June 15th, I had the amazing opportunity to travel with 155 of my closest friends, to a place eight hours from home. That place, was Young Life’s TimberWolf Lake.

Only a year before, many of my friends who were involved in Young Life, experienced the same thrill and sense of love I just did. I remember seeing pictures of so many people I cared for, at a place called Frontier Ranch. The Instagram captions said things like, “Best week of my life,” or “Take me back.” I didn’t understand the truth behind those words. I mean how great could camp be? Little did I know I would be in their shoes one year later.

(Arrival):

We turned the wooded corner to a view so breathtaking, I couldn’t help but stare. The restlessness of an eight hour ride began to take over. My life was about to change.

I can sit here and tell you about every single thing we did, but that would take days. (And I don’t want to ruin it for everyone going next year!) All I can tell you is that those who shared the pictures one year earlier, they were so right. I got to see my life change and the lives of my peers.

The staff at TimberWolf radiated a sense of joy that could not be explained. They had felt so deeply impacted by God’s love, that they sacrificed months of their lives to help share it.

(My relationship before and after camp):

Before camp, I had a relationship with God. I journaled and attended Young Life, but there was a numb feeling to it. I still felt alone and unloved.

Until now.

This week, my eyes were opened to the fact that there is someone who is there for me. Not just when I’m sad, or when I really need someone. I constantly have my Creator watching over me, and caring. God loves us. He loves us so much that He sent His ONLY SON to DIE FOR US!!!!! For you, for me, and for every single soul on this planet. His love is so strong for us, that even when we sin, when we run as fast as we can in the direction opposite of Him, He continues to love us! God doesn’t want us to be ashamed to run to Him. He craves our love. He is here to carry our burdens! We just have to face Him, head on. I was tired of my chair turned sideways. This week, I recommitted my life to God. Not just a promise to pray every night. My proclamation was intended to turn my chair and face God. I am no longer halfway in the relationship.

I am all in for Christ!!!!!

The feeling I bring back from this trip is more than just an excited one. I feel a sense of fulfillment. God is living inside of me, and now many of my Mason friends. That’s why I cried so hard. In that moment, I saw God working with my very own eyes.

 

-Delaney

 

What’s my purpose?

5/17/16

To those who feel an overwhelming sense of stress as finals descend upon the halls of Mason High School; you’re not alone.

As we prepare for the end of year exams (dun dun dun), I see the vast majority of students throw themselves into the mindset that they will be a failure in life if they don’t get an A. I have received one B in my lifetime (as of right now…I have no doubt that junior year will destroy my GPA). That B, was in eighth grade algebra. There were so many tears. I thought my life was crashing and burning right before my eyes. I was sure I would never get into a good college and end up living under a bridge on the side of the highway for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to tell anyone ever that I got a B in Honors Math. I was supposed to be in the smart class, where everyone had perfect GPA’s. I lied and told all of my classmates that I got an A. ( I sure as heck wasn’t gonna be remembered as the dumb one). Fast forward to now, I realize I was not only NOT going to be remembered for being “dumb” but I literally never spoke a word, so now I wouldn’t be remembered at all. Yay middle school!

At the time, I had no idea of what high school would bring. I expected to fail all of my classes and life in general. (I was incredibly confident in myself, isn’t it obvious?) Anyway, I spent my time solely on schoolwork, when I realized I was spending too much time focused on planning my perfect future. I just needed to understand that it was out of my hands. I had a purpose that was more than my GPA.

So remember that you were made in the eyes of our heavenly Father. You have a purpose. A purpose far more valuable than an A on a chemistry quiz. Far greater than the C you just got on that english paper. You are important. We lie to ourselves that we aren’t good enough because of how we are seen in society’s eyes. God created you to love others unconditionally and share His word with everyone in sight.

The Bible says it clearly.

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth. Exodus 9:16.

School is hard for most, and will only get harder, but having the strength of the Lord on your side will help you push through. We were created to share God’s love and understand the truth of His word. When you feel lost, drowning in the plethora of assignments and review guides, remember:

You were made for a purpose. 

 

-Delaney

P.S. Good luck to everyone taking exams!!!

 

 

Obstacles

3.27.2016

What is the first word that pops in to your head when you hear the word “obstacle”?

If you asked seven year-old me this question, the answer would be, “course.” The Obstacle Course. The neighborhood kiddos and myself enjoyed inflicting pain upon ourselves if it meant we got to have fun. One of the easiest ways to do that was to race to the park and invent the most outrageous obstacle courses ever.  I loved running to the park with the rest of the rowdy children on my street. After sprinting across the dangerous road, we reached the infamous, “Jarod Park.” Ladies and gentlemen, that was THE place to be. It was nothing more than a slide and some monkey bars to the naked eye, but to a handful of seven year-olds, it was Disney World. Our parents saw billions of infections while we saw trillions of opportunities to go crazy. The leader of the pack would demonstrate the elaborate obstacle course each child would soon attempt. The person who completed it the fastest would get to create the next obstacle course. It would go on for about fifteen minutes, or until someone started a new game. At that time, I thought that was the hardest thing people had to face. The Obstacle Course (dun dun dun) created by yours truly, complete with a head first pursuit down the slide, and a one footed hop to the other side of the park.  (Creative, right?) Well, uncoordinated me thought this was the hardest thing ever. Long story short, I couldn’t even finish my own obstacle course.

Isn’t it amazing what we find challenging in life? I mean come on, I live in a town where the hardest thing for us is figuring out what outfit we want to wear to school. Many don’t have that luxury. We define THAT as an obstacle. My point is, we need to begin looking at our “problems” from an outside perspective. When I start to think my life is hard, I step back and think of what people who are very close to me are going through. My former babysitter, and role model is battling Stage 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme, which is a serious form of brain cancer. Not only is she dealing with this, but in 2008, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. After three years of remission she discovered terrible headaches, and was diagnosed with brain cancer. That is HARD. It is incredibly difficult for me to think or talk about, because she has such an impact on my life. How could this happen to her? Which brings me to this common question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

Honestly, I have no idea. It keeps me up at night. I question God and His plan every single day.

But somewhere deep inside, I find trust. It is incredibly difficult to understand why He puts these bad things into our lives, and to keep trusting Him when he does. But we also have to understand that He does nothing without a purpose.

Everything happens for a reason. 

Try. Try everyday to keep faith in the obstacles thrown at you. Try to remember He has a plan. And thank Him. Be thankful for what you have and how minuscule your obstacles can be. Put faith in who you cannot see. Make that your biggest obstacle.

 

-Delaney