Friday, January 28, 2011

In EVERY Season

Every Thursday night, a bunch of friends from the sorority and the fraternity get together and go to Campus Crusade. It is one of my favorite parts of my week! It is a time of worship, prayer, and fellowship. All of my stress from the week just fades away and I am able to just focus on what God has blessed me with. I LOVE IT! Last night, the worship band played some of my favorite songs: "Our God is Love," "Desert Song," and "Mighty to Save" -Hillsong. The Lord opened my eyes to a very important lesson during the "Desert Song." 

"All of my life,
In EVERY season,
You are STILL God,
I have a reason to sing.
I have a reason to worship."

This is something that the Lord constantly has to remind me of. My life has consisted of many different seasons, all equally important, and all equally life changing. This year, I am especially conscious of this fact. It seems like while I am in a hurry for some specific seasons to hurry up and get here, I am desperately eager for some other seasons to hurry and end. Here is an example of the changing seasons I experienced this past year:

-From a baby freshman at AppState University to a somewhat experienced sophomore. 
-From undecided to an Elementary Education major.
-From a 10 month relationship to single life.
-From a SAO candidate to Prayer Chair for the sorority. Dealing with the challenge of spiritually leading my sisters in Christ.

You see, while I am IN a particular season, I normally experience minimal discomfort. I am comfortable where I am and I would actually prefer to stay there. But, it is through the CHANGING seasons that I am calling out for help. I am struggling to keep my eyes fixed on God. Ironically, it is through these changing seasons that I GROW the most. My relationship with God becomes stronger. My eyes become opened rather than glazed over from a comfortable routine.  "In EVERY season" God is STILL God. He has not changed. He is only changing me so that I will learn to call upon Him. So that He can teach me and mold me to the kind of woman He wants me to be. 

"I have a reason to sing, I have a reason to worship." 

Praise God today for the changing seasons in your life. Keep your eyes fixed on Him and you will experience safe travel on the way to your next season. 

"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he deposes kings and raises up others. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him." -Daniel 2:20-22

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Snow Day!

This morning I woke up to a pleasant surprise! My first class of the day was cancelled due to possible snow today. Sure enough, it began to pour down snow about a hour later. I was extremely pleased as I waved adios to my sister Shelley (sadly, she had class today) and settled down with a huge mug of coffee. I went on to watch two episodes of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, 

Regis and Kelly, 

and The Nanny. 
I also cleaned my room and the apartment and began some of my homework for the weekend. I guess you could say that I had a productive morning! Just when I thought that my workload was getting to be too much for me to deal with, the Lord surprises me with a snow day :) I am grateful for relaxation and peace this morning. My God is eternally faithful. 
"Because of the Lord's great love, we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are NEW every morning; great is your faithfulness." 
-Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, January 24, 2011

Today's Adventure

This morning presented an interesting start to my day. On Mondays, I only have one class (lucky I know), Art. I have been nervous about this class ever since signing up for it last semester! I have never been able to draw, paint, sketch, etc. very well. However, I do have a pretty good imagination! Normally, I have a good idea of what I want to create, but I have trouble actually creating it. Anyway, my art teacher says to us this morning that we will each spend the 2 hour class time wandering outside. We must individually wander around campus and take pictures of things that intrigue us. Things that we want to know more about. Things that inspire us. It was actually a lot of fun! (Besides the fact that it was absolutely freezing outside and my fingers were completely numb by the time I returned!) 

I chose to walk down King Street and wander through all of the different shops. I spent the most time in Art Walk- one of my favorite stores to find paintings, jewelry, stationary, etc. 

Here was my favorite picture of the morning:
Not only do I want to know more about this picture, such as what kind of words could possibly be written inside, but I find it extremely romantic and inspiring. What a wonderful start to a Monday. 

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Refiner and Purifier of Silver

I have a little devotion that I wanted to share. I thought that it was just beautiful. It is from a devotional site called "Girlfriends in God." Here's the link if you want to subscribe to get these free devotions:

The story is told of a group of women who met each week to study the Bible, hoping to learn more about the nature and character of God and how He works in our life. The women were puzzled and even a little troubled by the description of God they found in Malachi 3:3, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." One of the women offered to do a little research on the subject and report back to the group at their next meeting. The woman found a local silversmith and made an appointment to observe him at work, explaining that she was particularly interested in the process of refining silver. She watched as the craftsman carefully selected a piece of silver for his demonstration. She thought the piece of silver was already beautiful but evidently the silversmith saw something that she could not see. As he held the silver over the furnace, the craftsman explained that in refining silver, the silver had to be placed in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so all of the impurities would be burned away.

The woman was silent for a moment as her thoughts drifted to the fiery trials she was facing in her own life. Honestly, she did not get it. Why would a loving God allow His children to suffer when He could so easily deliver them? In fact, why does God even allow bad things to happen to people who are seeking Him and really trying to live for Him? The woman asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. "Oh, yes!" he replied. "I cannot take my eyes off the silver. If it is left in the furnace even a moment too long, it will be destroyed." The woman suddenly understood the beauty and comfort of Malachi 3:3, "He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." Yes, there are times when it seems as if we will be swallowed whole by the fires of Hell itself. The pain seems too hard to bear. The fear is paralyzing. The doubt is overwhelming and questions flood our heart and mind.

Is God really who He says He is?
Will He really do what He says He will do?
Will He really keep His promises?

Our trials are not random persecutions. Heaven is not in a panic and where we are and what we are going through is no surprise to God. We may be knocked down and kicked around by life, but if we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not be destroyed. Our lives are filled with excess baggage and waste - a cherished sin we refuse to relinquish or an addiction to which we are enslaved. What about the emotional garbage that weighs us down or our unforgiving spirit that holds us prisoner? Fiery trials come to burn away the guilt of sin and then purify our heart. From those ashes of freedom, the Father then creates a work of beauty. I believe the words I just wrote. I know and accept the truth that trials and hard times make me stronger and strengthen my faith, but there are times when I want it all to stop. I find myself asking, "How much is enough, Lord? How many trials do I have to endure? When will the pain and trouble end?"

"How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" the woman asked. The silversmith smiled and answered, "Oh, that's easy. The refining process is complete when I can see my image reflected in the silver."

God is not committed to our comfort. He is committed to our character. Only God can exchange the ashes of our sin for the beauty of His forgiveness and grace. God alone can replace our despair with His peace that passes all understanding. Hope can only be found in Him. Our purpose in life is to know and become more like Jesus ... and act just like our Father.  

Friday, January 21, 2011


 I absolutely love Fridays. This semester, I have the privilege of having no Friday classes! And I've gotta tell you, it makes all the difference in the world. It turns my seemingly long week into a 4 day week, it gives me the chance to relax in the mornings and actually have a meaningful devotion, and honestly, I just love the extra sleep. Reflecting on this past week, I am amazed that so much can happen in a week. I am amazed at all the things God is doing in my life and in the lives of the people around me. 

Monday was my first Sun Stand Still Bible study. It was incredible! The girls in my group were so fired up to start something here at ASU. I can feel God working in their hearts and stirring a belief for the impossible. We are working on building our Sun Stand Still prayers and finding a Page 23 vision for our lives. I'll explain what that is later :) I am so excited for them and I am confident that God's name will be lifted high this year at Appalachian. 

"Certainly I felt way too young to take on such a serious task that required this much wisdom. But somehow I sensed that none of this would matter. Ignorance and inexperience wouldn't count as valid excuses. When God speaks, he does not stutter. When he awakens you to your calling, the snooze button stops working. It was time for me to get busy for God." - Sun Stand Still

Wednesday was my first day of snowboarding. My lovely friend Natalie somehow convinced me to take a snowboarding class with her this semester. (It doesn't matter that the last 19 years of my life have been 100% against ever setting foot on a slope). 
Her request looked something like this...

"Caroline... P-L-E-A-S-E take snowboarding with me on Wednesday nights!!! I'm going to be ALL ALONE!!! ..Plus that would be the perfect place to film our Beyonce video!!! 

Think about it..... ♥♥♥"

How in the world did I fall for that?! I don't know, but it turns out that I LOVED it and it was a ton of fun. It was completely terrifying, but definitely worth it. I imagine that by the time our 5 weeks in the class are up, we're gonna look something like this:

YUP. Can't wait for that ;) haha

And now, my Friday is filled with joy as I think about what God has given me this week. I am off to have lunch with my favorite "little sisters." 
May your Friday be filled with JOY as you reflect on what God has blessed you with this week. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Husband,

I'm snowboarding for the first time tonight! Can we please take our children skiing/snowboarding while they're young so that they don't look like complete goobers when they're older? Pretty sure they would appreciate that. 


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Whoever welcomes one such child welcomes me...

Oftentimes, I wonder how I arrived at elementary education for my major. I don't remember ever loving elementary school. I did NOT enjoy waking up early, doing homework, and studying for my numerous quizzes and tests. I enjoyed playing with my friends on the playground at recess, but I didn't actually like the learning part of school. What child does? However, there was one teacher that I believe is the reason for me wanting to teach...

Her name is Mrs. Givens, my 3rd grade teacher. Now, I don't remember much about her. But in my mind, I know exactly what she looks like. I also know how much fun I had that year in 3rd grade. We did so many fun activities that they still stick out in my mind as a sophomore in college:
- We had a cake walk
- We had pen pals
- We made succotash while reading a book about Indians
- We practiced our times tables by  writing them in shaving cream on our desks
- Our parents decorated our desks for Valentines day
Sounds fun huh?

Well, I am excited to say that I am fully confident in my major, elementary education. I hope to be able to brighten my students' day with fun activities and fill their little minds with knowledge.   After my first Sun Stand Still Bible study with my SAO girls last night, I have started to think about ways in which I can pray for BOLD things in my life. I want to pray prayers that can make the sun stand still over my life. For example:

- School: Pray for my classmates around me who watch my every move because they know that I am a Christian and I’m in SAO.
- Family: Pray to be an example for my family members. I will not be afraid of what my family members will say if God is calling me to something different than I first had in mind.
 Friends: I will share with my friends what God is teaching me in my life. I will PRAY that God will use me and my friends in miraculous ways. Instead of talking about what my friend did, I will pray for them. I will ask God for the sun to stand still over their lives.
- Relationships: I will be on the look out for a man who is after God’s own heart. A man who also has a sun stand still vision for his life. A man who is not just a mediocre Christian but someone who is willing to act audaciously for God’s glory.

And finally, my future job as a TEACHER: I will pray for God to allow me to change the lives of my students.  I want to make an impact on each of their lives. I want to be an example of Christ's love to my co-workers, my students, my administrators, my students' parents, my friends, etc. I want to see the sun stand still over my workplace. 

Here are a few pictures from Green Valley Elementary where I tutored last semester :) 
Me and sweet little Gracie

 My kindergarten boys: Johnny and Ward

The whole silly, obnoxious gang...holla

“And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me." Matthew 18:5

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sun Stand Still

As Prayer Chair of my sorority, it is my job to plan the Bible studies for each semester! After much thought, I chose Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick, pastor of Elevation Church!! I am so excited to start reading it with my girls! We also have some great girls leading Bible studies this semester :)

“Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you have, the better your chances.” - Proverbs 11:14

“But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a LEADER among you, must be your servant.”
- Matthew 20:26

My hope for my Bible study group is that they really take advantage of this time together. I want for them to PRAY with and for each other.  SHARE their struggles and triumphs with each other. LISTEN to what is going on in each girl’s life. ENCOURAGE each other on a regular basis. GROW with each other in Christ. And finally, CHALLENGE each other to not just be mediocre Christians, but to be radical Christians for Christ. To go to God with every problem, no matter how small. To trust God when things start falling apart. To trust God when things start getting better. To love instead of hate and to forgive when its hard. To not only have faith that God can help you through some things. But to have faith that God can do the IMPOSSIBLE.

Sun Stand Still is all about having audacious faith. "Audacity makes regular people behave with boldness or daring, especially with confident disregard for personal comfort or conventional thought. When you live with audacious faith in Christ, your eyes will be opened to see your day-to-day life in vivid color. Your spiritual growth will accelerate at a super natural pace. You will find a higher calling to fulfillment and significance that God deeply desires for your future job, your relationships, a marriage, your finances, and your impact on this world."

What I desire most this semester is for us to be CHALLENGED. I want for us to accept the fact that ordinary people, you and me, can do miraculous things for God. I want to see the sun stand still in our lives. 

“On the day the LORD gave the Amorites over to Israel, Joshua said to the LORD in the presence of Israel:
Sun, stand still over Gibeon,

and you, moon, over the Valley of Aijalon.”
So the sun stood still,
and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies,

The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. 
There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the LORD listened to a human being. Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel!”
- Joshua 10:12-14

Holding Nothing Back

A few mornings ago, Jesus reminded me of something during my devotion time. I like to start of my mornings listening to music of some sort. For the past couple months, much of what I have been listening to has been Christian music. It uplifts me and gives me a positive perspective to start off my day. Currently, I am completely in love with Elevation Church's newest album, Kingdom Come, and cannot stop listening to it! 

However, the song "Holding Nothing Back," by Jesus Culture, came up on my playlist and I fell in love with the lyrics. Through the rest of my devotion, I was given an amazing peace by my Heavenly Father. Here are some of the lyrics:

I am chosen, I am free
I am Living for eternity
Free now forever

You picked me up, turned me around
You set my feet on solid ground
Yours now forever

And nothing’s gonna hold me back
Nothing’s gonna hold me back
Nothing’s gonna hold me back

My chains fell off
My heart was free
I’m alive to live for you
I’m alive to live for you
Amazing Love, how can it be?
You give everything for me
You give everything for me

You washed my sin and shame away
The slate is clean: a brand new day,
Free now forever

Now boldly I approach your throne
To claim this crown through Christ my own
Yours now forever

And nothing’s gonna hold me back
Nothing’s gonna hold me back
Nothing’s gonna hold me back

So this is blogging...

For me, the start of a New Year presents many new opportunities. It presents the opportunity for change, growth, and new beginnings. 365 days may not seem TOO long, but in actuality, a lot can happen during that span of time. I have started to blog for several reasons:

1. Since life has thrown more at me lately than ever before, I figured this would be a great time to take up the challenge. So, here starts my adventure into the world of blogging. 
2.  I love reading other people's blogs! They are so creative and each one is unique! Also, a lot of posts can be very relevant to my life. Some of my favorite blogs to read are Holly and Steven Furtick's, Laura Maddox's, and my mom's friend from work.
3. I love to write :)
4. I pray that anyone who reads my blog is uplifted and therefore chooses to glorify God. He is all things to me and is IN all things for me. 
·   I realize that there may be many snowy days ahead for me here at Appalachian State, therefore blogging gives me some sort of hobby :)