This weekend was our 7th annual camping trip things didn’t go as planned. Two of our meats got left out. A friend at the last minute didn’t get to come. The water in the pond was really low. It just wasn’t the weekend I was expecting. For the past bit my mantra has been “God has a plan”. I’m sure this weekend was no different. Even though I haven’t quite sorted it all out, I know God has a plan. The changes to my agenda were not random or unnecessary; in fact it was still pretty good weekend. Here are some highlights.
How is it that I missed yesterday’s gratefulness post? Oh no! I figured this would happen at some point though. I’ll just play a bit of catch up.
Day Three (abreviated version):
Yesterday I spent the majority of my time watching The Great British Bake Off and writing papers. I also made some jewelry but since I can’t find my card converter I can’t show the pictures to anyone. Finally, my friend and I went to see Ender’s Game. Yesterday I was grateful for friends. Because of many changes in mine and my friends’ lives, we just don’t get to see each other as often as we would all like. Senior year is busy. On Friday night though we got to hang out and do a scavenger hunt around campus which ended in pizza at a local pizza place. Yesterday I spent some time watching a movie with a friend, even though I’ve never read the book. It’s good to do something that maybe you wouldn’t have chosen to do simply because your friend wants to and then discover that you enjoyed it as well. This semester, with all of the time I spend alone, has taught me to be grateful for the time I do get to spend with my friends. I am grateful for my friends.
Today, our pastor showed a video about a church in Nigeria. The small church was meeting for a normal Sunday service. In the midst of praying for persecuted churches, some Muslim hate group came in to the service with guns and opened fire. A 13 year old girl told her perspective of the event where she watched her father die in church. She told how he was the one that always talked about Jesus and brought them to church. Then he died. She told how she was running out of the church and felt scared and cold. Then she realized that she was bleeding. She cried Jesus because “that was all she had.” It amazed me that even after watching her father die in church she still had a strong faith in God. That’s the power of Jesus.
I am grateful today that I was able to sit in church without fear of attack. That girl mentioned that her church did not fear attack either, but it happened. I realize it could happen in my church here but I am grateful it has not. I am grateful that I can go to church at all, because there are some places where Christianity is not welcomed. I am grateful for church because it helps to revive my spirit and reminds me of my faith. The fellowship is sweet; God’s presence is sweeter though. I know what I believe and it breaks my heart that others do not see the need they have for God. What also breaks my heart is that different belief systems cannot get along. I realize that people do believe different things but killing each other is not going to make anyone change their mind. That’s not necessary.
So I am grateful for church.
Real recently I read a quote from a guy named David Roper in a book called Psalm 23. It says:
“When we ask our friends to take away our loneliness we force on them a burden too heavy for anyone to bear.”
At first I vehemently disagreed, because friends are supposed to be there for each other right? That’s what the purpose of friends is, so that we don’t have to be lonely and sad. Then I started thinking more about what he said and decided there was some validity to his statement. I can’t ask my friends to take away that burden, because that’s a burden only God can take away. I need to turn to God. I decided I needed to focus more on how I could help my friends rather than how they could help me. I took that thinking even farther to think that I shouldn’t bother my friends. At the point of reading this quote, I was a little lonely because I was sitting alone all day at home with no social interactions. It was a shock from coming from school. I decided I should resist the urge to text people just so I would have someone to talk to. That was hard though and I gave in to the urge.
Then I felt guilty for talking to my friends.
What kind of crazy logic is that? I shouldn’t feel guilty for talking to my friends.
Now, a few days later, I am reconsidering this quote and my thinking. The quote may have some validity in that I shouldn’t ask my friends to fill a void when I haven’t first sought out God to fill that void. I shouldn’t ask my friends to take away my loneliness. I should ask God to take away my loneliness. I should be talking to my friends not because I’m lonely but because they are my friends and that’s what friends do. I did some Bible-searching (as opposed to researching) and came across these verses about friendship.
“Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?” Proverbs 20:6
-Okay…rather than thinking if my friends are reliable, I wonder if I’m a reliable friend? That’s gonna take some soul-searching and more than I wanna post to the world on a blog.
“Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.” Proverbs 27:6
-What? I do not want to be wounded by a friend! That sounds horrible. I guess though I can understand how that is better than being kissed by an enemy, because an enemy’s kisses won’t be sincere. At least a sincere friend will hopefully eventually come back with forgiveness.
There were many others in Proverbs, but the real clincher for my thinking was found in John 15:12-13
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
That’s what it means to be a friend- to be willing to sacrifice even your life for a friend. As a friend just told me today, friends are a commitment. In order to be a friend, I have to commit to be there and sacrifice, not just expect my friends to do that for me. While friends are there to support me and help me not feel lonely, God has to fill that role first. I need to rely more on him than I do on my friends, and I often I fail in that aspect. This does not mean though that I can’t reach out to friends, because friendship is given to us so that we can support each other. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says that “a person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple braided cord is not easily broken.”
God is my best friend. So I need to go to him first, whether the situation is happy or sad. I also have some pretty great friends here on earth as well who are always willing to listen. For that I am thankful.
Today I felt like a princess…kinda. My friends and I took a spontaneous trip out of the campus town to eat frozen yogurt, shop at Goodwill, play in a castle, and celebrate life and friendship. The park we visited looks like a castle made of wood. After a tree climbing experience, in which I failed to climb a tree, we found our inner child and played on the playground. Since it is Saturday, there were lots of little children playing on the castle. I am a princess by the way so I felt right at home.
Every time we visit this park, we end up playing with the cute kids there. Today, this little girl came up to me and was talking about how it had been a perfect day except for the cold. Then I heard her mom say “don’t sit on that” and I realized that I was sitting on the very thing her mom told her to not sit on so I jumped down. The thing about kids is their inhibition to talk to strangers. I’m not sure I was like that as a child, but the kids that visit this park sure are not shy.
I am a princess by the way. My Father (in Heaven) is a King!
I would also like to add a bit of the book that I purchased at Goodwill. I picked up A Farewell to Arms (Hemingway) and what convinced me to get it was a drawing from the previous owner that told me the book was bad. Listen to this:
“The forest had been green in the summer when we had come into the town but now there were the stumps and the broken trunks and the ground torn up, and one day at the end of the fall when I was out where the oak forest had been I saw a cloud coming over the mountain. It came very fast and the sun went a dull yellow and then everything was gray and the sky was covered and the cloud came on down the mountain and suddenly we were in it and it was snow.”
That is beautiful. This is why I can appreciate Hemingway. The nature described here shows the emotion of the scene. Hopefully the rest of the book is as good as these few sentences.
With some events in my life during the past week or so, I’ve been doing quite a bit of thinking about what means to be a friend and what friends mean to me. For me, a friend is one that I can tell more than the surface details about my life. I can be silly, serious, and real with a friend, and I know they can do the same with me. I have many acquaintances that I can say hey to, talk about the weather with, and share how my day was, but I don’t go to them when I really need advice or a shoulder or want to be completely silly. That’s what friends are for. I am thankful to have several good friends here at school and other various places, a best friend on earth, and an absolutely perfect friend in heaven.
In no particular order are some quotations I found various places on the World Wide Web about friends:
Friendship… is not something you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything.
A friend is one who knows you and loves you just the same.
Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art… It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival.
C. S. Lewis
This quote threw me for a loop the first time I read it. Friendship is unnecessary???? What!? I get it now though. We don’t need it to survive-we only need human interaction of some sort- but it does bring value to life.
True friends stab you in the front.
I guess this means that a friend will tell you what you are to your face.
A friend is someone who gives you total freedom to be yourself.
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.”
― Mark Twain
A sleepy conscience? I hope this means one hasn’t done bad things, not that one is avoiding owning up to mistakes. But the other two are definitely on my list.
“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
― C.S. Lewis
“I think if I’ve learned anything about friendship, it’s to hang in, stay connected, fight for them, and let them fight for you. Don’t walk away, don’t be distracted, don’t be too busy or tired, don’t take them for granted. Friends are part of the glue that holds life and faith together. Powerful stuff.”
― Jon Katz
I like the “fight for them, let them fight for you” part.
“Silence make the real conversations between friends. Not the saying, but the never needing to say that counts.”
― Margaret Lee Runbeck
I think it’s a true friend that you can sit in silence and it not be awkward.
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.
New International Version Prov 18:24
A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
So to all my friends, thank you. To the rest of you, find a friend and say thank you!
Many of my Facebook friends have taken the initiative to post something they are thankful each day. I missed this trend and I don’t really want to feel confined to that kind of schedule, but I am truly thankful for my life that God gave me. Here’s a few things that come to mind tonight.
1. God. I know this sounds cliche but I am truly thankful for the ways that God reveals himself to me. I walk across campus and see the leaves changing colors and falling and I see the beauty that GOD planned.
2. Laughter. This makes number two on my list, because I love it so much. It doesn’t really matter who it’s coming from, but I like the sound of laughter. Life always seems a little better when there’s laughter in the air.
3. Tears. In the past, I thought tears were something to hide, but I’m starting to appreciate tears. It’s a way to let go of emotions rather than trying to be strong. When I cry it’s a physical reminder that I am not strong, but I know that God is strong enough for both of us.
4. Family. I don’t get to see them near enough, but a day rarely goes by that I don’t tell a story about one of the members of my small family. I may be able to count on two hands the number of family members that I actually know, but there’s plenty of love there.
5. Friends. Since I don’t get to see my family often, these people in my life pull me through. Each of them serve a different purpose in my life. I can’t begin to list them, but they each know who they are.
6. Church. This is similar to God, and it should probably be higher on the list. After laughter though I started going by train of thought. There are some weeks that if I know I can get to Wednesday or Sunday all will be good. I do study my Bible almost every day and talk to my roommate about what I or she is reading, but there’s just something special about being in church.
7. Music. Oh my. What would I do without this? It lifts me up and makes me think. I listen mostly to Christian, because why not listen to something positive if I’m going to put it in my head. I can’t really pick a favorite song, because it depends on my situation at the current moment.
I have neglected this blog once again due to a large amount of reading that I have been doing, but I’m here now.
First, I am not sure I ever put a finished picture of my t-shirt rug that I made. It was a Pinterest design. You can read my original post here. Here is a picture of my finished product:
Secondly, I would like to share another completed Pinterest activity with you: Cookie Dough Cupcakes!
Some friends and I wanted dinner on Saturday night (since Food Service is junk then), so we Pinterested some ideas. We made pizza quesadillas and cookie dough cupcakes. Here are some pictures and I will say now that they were quite scrumptious.
There ended up being 62 cupcakes!!! Way too many for the three of us so we walked around campus and gave several away to strangers and friends alike. It was fun!
Tata for now! Off to read the Mockingjay.