Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Shepherd

Look at me.
I am but a little sheep.
Weak. Defenseless. Powerless.
Do you see these hoofs?
They are incapable of doing anything of value.
Do you see these legs?
They are completely unable to follow after the Shepherd.
Do you see this mouth?
It is only capable of a pathetic bleat.
Do you see these eyes?
They are so prone to wander and to dart about in fear.

Now forget about me.

Look at my Shepherd.
Strong. Powerful. Beautiful.
Do you see His hands?
They are quick to defend, mighty to work,
And the nail scars speak of resounding victory.
Do you see His legs?
They can go anywhere; climb any mountain standing in the way.
Do you see His mouth?
His very Word is power.
Do you see His eyes?
See how they look with love on my weakness.
Too great a love to allow me to remain that way.

Yes, look at my Shepherd.
Don't dwell on your inability; cling to His ability.
He has given all you need to follow Him.
To love Him, and to love others as He has loved you.
Look to Him and love Him on days of sunshine.
Hide under His shadow and be saved from any foe.
Move forward in His strength against the wolves.
Look at my Shepherd, and lose yourself in Him.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Ellerslie Summary

How in the world do I begin to summarize nine of the most spiritually intense weeks I've ever experienced? It's not going to be easy, but I pray that God will give me the words.

I saw such a beautiful picture of what the true Christian life is supposed to be. I saw that God's commands are to be obeyed truly, not just given a nod of affirmation and then disregarded. I saw that His promises are rock solid truth, not just comforting poetry. I saw even more clearly the weight of what He did for me, and what my response must be: complete, unconditional surrender. So much powerful truth, but at the heart of it all there is one thing.

Jesus. All that I've learned only has worth if it is the outflow of a relationship with Him. This life can only be lived victoriously by total dependance on His enabling grace. In Him we have the strength to love, forgive, overcome the enemy, pray with power, find perfect peace and joy, die to self, follow Him, and so much more, but that's the key- through Him! He is all that matters! We have the breathtakingly wonderful and sobering privilege if representing Him on this earth. We can't esteem His pattern and seek to imitate it; we can only come to Him and allow Him to live His life through us. It's all by His grace, and all for His glory!

There is more I could say, but that's the heart of it. God did so much in my life over those nine weeks, and this is only the beginning. My hearts desire is to know Him more and to make Him known. I don't know the next step, but I know the One who goes with me! May He receive all the glory!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Center

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm a girl who has always loved tradition, so I generally get pretty excited this time of year. This is my first time spending Thanksgiving away from my family, and truthfully, it hasn't been easy. Still, God has used it to teach me so much!

Tradition is a beautiful thing, but I see now that it has been the primary focus of my Thanksgivings and Christmases. Jesus has always been an important part, but now I'm asking that He would come and be all. After all, He is the One that we celebrate!

I'm asking Him to redeem the holiday season in my life. I want to joy but that which comes through Him! A few days of rest can be such a blessing, but I know in my own life I have used those times to take a break from seeking Him. I'm asking Him to show my what I need to let go and what He needs to redeem. It's not some religious duty, it's an act of love! I don't want a break from Him! Tradition, celebration, and fellowship are beautiful gifts, but nothing is truly beautiful apart from Him! My prayer for this holiday season is that He would be the center of all celebration, laughter, and fellowship, and would draw me closer to Him through it as I seek His face. I'm also asking Him to cultivate in me a truly thankful heart, yes, for material blessings, but especially for who He is, and what He has done! Christ died for me, and I now live in Him! What's not to be thankful for?

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth!
Serve the LORD with gladness!
Come into his presence with singing!
Know that the LORD, he is God!
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!
For the LORD is good;
his steadfast love endures forever,
and his faithfulness to all generations.
Psalm 100

P.S. Here's another video of something we've been doing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A few pictures!

Here you have a TINY sample of what I've been up to! The first picture is of some of us at Lily Lake, the second is my roommate Karen and I. We dressed alike by accident. The third picture is one of many I've taken of the campus. All of the leaves are gone now, and it's snowed twice. The last one is of my team the day of the Ellerslie Epic Games. :)

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Video!

Hello everyone! I'm sorry I've been neglecting my blog. There is SO much to process that it's hard to get around to writing it out in blog format. Things are still wonderful, and God is doing amazing things as always! I'm rather short on time now, but I did want to share this video from the Epic Ellerslie Games, Fall 2011! I'm on the orange team, and I'm not wearing my glasses. :)

P.S. It's cold here.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Ellerslie Update

There is absolutely no way to put words to the work God has been doing in my heart, and no time to tell you all I've been doing. I'll simply share a few highlights and then zero in on one specific area of what I've been learning.

-The His Little Feet choir (look it up!) has been here preparing to go on tour. It has been such an incredible blessing to minister to the kids and play with them. You don't have to speak the same language to show God's love. Last night they gave us a concert, and it was one of the most intensely moving things I've ever witnessed. They are gone now, and I miss them already. Please pray for them.
-Last Saturday we had a picnic and hiked around Lily Lake. Understanding the power of God and the awe of knowing that His Word makes mountains tremble is taken to a whole new level when you see grandeur like that. The hike up and around was unforgettable.

Again, there is so much God has been teaching me, by there's something central to what I've been learning. (This is sort of a follow up to my post on God's promises)

Just as His promises are to be believed, so His commands are to be obeyed. He is God, we bend and bow to His definition of reality rather than trying to redefine it. He has bought us with His blood; we are not our own. We must "lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If any man will come after me, let Him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. (Matthew 16:24)

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey it's passions. (Romans 6:12)

You therefore must be perfect, and your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

Sounding impossible? If you don't think so, try to live this way and you will quickly change your mind. In our own strength, we are completely and totally unable to live this way. Here's the thing: We aren't called to do it in our own strength! It is Christ living in us that enables us to walk as He walked. We must decrease, that He might increase.

Now to Him Who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)

He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:32)

His divine power has granted us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may be partakers of the divine nature... (2 Peter 1:3-4a)

This barely scratches the surface, but there you go. Those are things I've always understood on a certain level, but not I'm standing on it, in His strength, and accepting His Word as truth in an intensely practical way. I'm seeing my own depravity apart from Him, but I'm also seeing the depths of His grace and power like never before! I don't just feel free, I am free!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Here I am!

(I wrote this on yesterday but didn't have time to post until today.)

Hello from Windsor, CO! Let me just begin by saying that I love it here. It's only been a few days, but already it feels like I've been here a very long time in the best possible way. Someone asked me this morning what my favorite part of being here has been. That is a very difficult question to answer. I love the fellowship. Everyone is so genuine, and I've had the most wonderful conversations with some of the girls. What really makes it special, however, is how the environment is completely saturated with Christ. It's very hard to articulate, but the worship, fellowship, teaching, and ample opportunity to be still before Him are priceless. I am at the threshold of something amazing, and though it sounds cliche, I'll say it anyway: I am so excited to see how God is going to work in my life and in the lives of those around me. He promises that in His presence there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11) and I am beginning to taste what that means.

Several random things:
-My roommate's name is Karen, and she's from Australia. I love her.
-Our dorm room is very cozy, and we have a beautiful view of the mountains from our window.
-I have taken quite a few pictures already, and you can't escape seeing them when I get back! (haha)
-I never realized what a thrilling place Walmart can be when you're out on your own! I've never had such fun paying for soup and laundry detergent. (We'll see how long that lasts.)

Watch this video for a taste of what I'm hearing. (Seriously. Watch it.)

Friday, October 7, 2011


After months of planning, preparation, and prayer, I will be leaving for Colorado early tomorrow morning! I've spent the last few weeks saying goodbye and the last few days packing like crazy. I know it's only two months and it will go by quickly, but it's still hard saying goodbye. God has blessed me with a wonderful community here, and I will miss my family and friends. The support, especially over the past week, has been overwhelming. I can't thank you all enough for loving, encouraging, and praying for me!

This is probably the most dramatic life change I have faced so far. I will be leaving everything and everyone I know and going somewhere I've never been, not for a few weeks, but a few months. It's not forever, but much longer than I've been away. Am I nervous? Yes, a bit. I am facing many unknowns, but anytime I've started to worry, God has been faithful to remind me that He will never leave me or forsake me. Am I excited? Absolutely! I am amazed at the way God has brought me to this point, and I can hardly wait to see what He will do in my life over the next few months!

Here are a few prayer requests:
1. Safe travel! My flight leaves at 8:30 am and will arrive at 2:21 NC time. Pray that I will be able to make my connecting flight with no trouble!
2. Please pray that my allergies will not cause problems while I'm there.
3. Please pray that my focus will be on Christ, and that nothing will distract me from seeking Him.
4. Above all, please pray that God's purposes will be accomplished in my life and in the lives of those attending with me, that we will learn, grow, and draw nearer to Him during our time there!

Well, this is it! Now to finish packing...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

One Week and a Courageous Review

I leave one week from today, and the time is going to fly by. I have a week of packing and goodbyes ahead, and truthfully, I'm not a big fan of either. Both, however, are necessary when one is setting out on an adventure like this. My room looks like a semi-organized tornado came through and I'll miss the people I know and love, but God is moving in my life, and I can't wait to see where He takes me!

Last night was the opening night of the new movie Courageous, (from the creators of Fireproof and Facing the Giants) and I went to see it with a group of friends. In a world where most of what we view as entertainment is pointless at best, harmful at worst, it was so incredibly refreshing to sit in a movie theater and hear truth. The movie was very well done, the acting was wonderful, and it included a powerful presentation of the gospel. It addressed an issue that desperately needs attention. I don't usually cry in movies, but I was teary eyed literally within the first two minutes. I highly recommend it. However, I would like to share my thoughts on something I felt was lacking.

In the movie, a group of men sign a resolution after certain circumstances propel them into action. In this resolution, they state their intent to be the kind of fathers God would have them be. They have seen a problem, a truth, and rather than staying where they are and nodding their heads in agreement, they seek to live it. A very right response, but there is a very important something the movie barely addressed:

"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing."
John 15:5 (Jesus is speaking, emphasis mine)

We can't just say that we want to be a better father, mother, sister, friend, leader, son, etc, look at God's blueprint in the Bible, and then make it happen. However great our conviction, however firm our resolve, our own efforts are not enough. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that change isn't possible. If God has called us to be something then He will enable us, but that is the key! He is the One who changes us, and it is only through His grace and His Spirit working in us that we could ever live the set-apart, world altering lives He has called us to live.

That being said, let me reiterate that I highly recommend the movie. (Although be aware that it does have some fairly intense gang related violence.) I would just like to encourage you to remember as you watch that it is only through our Lord that such change is possible!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

They Took Him at His Word

Lately I have been reading a lot of missionary biographies. Amy Carmichael, Hudson Taylor, George Muller, and others. There is one common denominator in the lives of these men and women that especially stands out to me, and that is this: They consistently took God at His word. If He said something, they believed, and acted on it. If He promised something, they took it literally and stepped out in faith. Yet even these amazing men and women sometimes grew discouraged or even doubted. I find myself thinking, 'Wait a minute! Look at what God has done for you in the past! Where is your faith? Don't you understand Who He is?'

But hold on. How often am I guilty of the exact same thing? Time and again I allow the cares of this world to turn my gaze from Christ. I become so wrapped up in what is going on around me that I forget Who He is and what He has said. I know from experience how quickly worry drains our joy.

We trust God for our salvation, but what about His other promises? Sure, we quote them, memorize them, and sing about them, but do we really believe them in a deeply practical way? (I will be the first to admit that I don't.) For example:

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

"So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

And that's just a drop in the bucket! What would our lives look like if we really took God at His word? "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Numbers 23:19) For our Lord to be false is literally inconceivable, and look at what He is freely offering! By His grace, let's take a step of faith and trust that He is who He says He is and able to do all that He says He will do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

7 Random Things

Normally (I hope) this will be a blog with purpose, but my dear friend Emma tagged me, and a bit of randomness never killed anyone, so here goes. :)

1) I do not like to drink coffee, but I think it smells wonderful. I am a hot tea kind of girl.
2) I love taking pictures! My camera is more or less an extension of my hand. Although certain friends of mine complain loudly, they will thank me when they're 40 and have something to show their children.
3) I believe that I'm allergic to nearly all things athletic. I do play tennis once a week, and although I'm not good at it, I have fun.
4) Fall is my favorite season by far. I dislike hot weather intensely.
5) I am very fond of stuffed animals, and my room is full of them. This includes over 100 beanie babies that I collected when I was little.
6) Embarrassing confession: over inflated balloons (especially in the hands of children) make me nervous.
7) Before I die, I would love to go to England.

The end! Laura, you're next!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


I have mentioned Ellerslie several times now, and I suppose it's time to fill you in. Ellerslie is a two month long program begun by Eric and Leslie Ludy. Rather than trying to summarize it myself, I will give you a quote from their website.

Ellerslie Training specializes in taking students deeper with God and providing an atmosphere in which a love for the Word of God, prayer and Biblical study can be cultivated. We are more of a spiritual-training retreat than a classical school environment. But though our primary goal is to help students go deeper with Christ, we are also very purposeful about giving students a strong Scriptural understanding and Biblical framework as they walk through this deepening process.

There are five major themes that we seek to develop in the hearts and minds of our students through the semester-long training:

  1. 1.A passionate love for the Word of God

  2. 2.A clear and intimate understanding of the Gospel life

  3. 3.The cultivation of a vibrant prayer life

  4. 4.An establishment of healthy, life-long spiritual behavior patterns

  5. 5.An intercessor’s mentality – being made strong in order to be poured out for the weak

This is what we specialize in at Ellerslie - stoking the fire of the human soul - acquainting Christians with the enormity of our God and His ability to bring about a very real triumph in the human soul.

At Ellerslie, our desire is not to talk about Christianity, but to live it.

I have followed the ministry of Eric and Leslie for a long time, so I heard about Ellerslie soon after it began a few years ago. I distinctly remember a strong impression that God would have me go. That dream never died, but I never thought of it except as something that might happen years down the road. As I mentioned before, God used a conversation in January with my mom to change all that. Now Ellerslie is not something in the distant future, or even what I will be doing later this year.

I will be there in less than a month.

It still seems surreal that I'm actually going, but as time goes on, the more real it becomes. When I think of all that must be done in such a short amount of time it is rather overwhelming, but if God has called me there, I know that He will enable me to get it all done. If you think about it, please pray for me as I prepare both spiritually and practically!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going (Pt. 2)

This brings us to January 31st, 2011. It was time to go out on yet another job search, and I was so discouraged. I prayed and cried, completely overwhelmed with everything, and as I prayed, I sensed God saying, "Ask Me again." "But Lord, I have asked, and nothing has happened." "Ask Me again." So I asked, and once again I had to make the choice to trust even though I couldn't see, to let go and really believe that He is in control. That night I had to go somewhere, and when I came home my mom told me that a friend from church had called from out of the blue to ask if I wanted a job! Did I want a job? Oh goodness! I began work the very next day, and literally as I pulled into the driveway after work that evening, I received a call saying I had been accepted to Ellerslie. (More on Ellerslie another time.) That was 7 months ago now, and I am still amazed by God's perfect timing!

And so began a season of full time work, bringing it's own challenges and joys. I needed a good deal of money to pay for the tuition at Ellerslie, but God had provided my job, and I knew that, if He wanted me there, He would provide. Then came a period of several months with almost no work, due to the economy. In all of this I began to see that my trust had been in God's provision through my job, rather than in God alone. Through everything that happened He was gently teaching to let go of anything I trusted in other than Him. With each new trial came a new chance to rest in Him. I could never earn the money I needed in time. Even when I started working almost full time again, it was seemingly impossible. I grew up hearing "God can provide" and saying "I trust God", but now, for really the first time in my life, I had to live it. I had to trust Him with absolutely everything, and there was no plan B. Friends asked, "What if God doesn't provide" and I asked myself the same question. Again and again I came back to the same conclusion: I know that God has called me to Ellerslie, and I know that He would never call me to something for which He would not provide. I faced doubt, but He enabled me to surrender it to Him. Although it was difficult, I can say with absolute conviction that I wouldn't trade it for anything, because in all of it He was right there with me, stretching, growing, and holding me. I have seen for myself that His promises are true.

I'm writing this after the fact. God has provided, in a just-at-the-right-moment, it-could-only-have-been Him sort of way. I may share the story later, but it is enough to say that God is able to provide, He does keep His promises, and I have seen it myself!
I wish I could say that I would never struggle with doubt again, but I have. The big hurdle is behind me, but dozens more lie ahead. I am so thankful for God's infinite patience with me. He faithfully reminds me that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. To doubt Him is not only folly, but sin. I look back over my life and see His trustworthiness shown through every step. Daily, by His grace, I will trust Him with all that I am, for He is good.

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishesthough it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going (Pt. 1)

Hello to anyone who happens to be reading!

I've decided to jump right in and just begin by saying that God has been very good to me.

This past year has been one of transitions, questions, challenges, closed doors, changed plans, and difficult choices, but I can say quite honestly that I am thankful for it all.

A bit of background: I graduated from highschool in May of 2010. I have never felt like God was leading me to attend college, but for a large portion of my senior year my plan was to attend the local community college and get a business certificate while working at a yarn shop. Ultimately, my goal was to own a small yarn shop myself. If you know me at all, chances are you know that I have always loved knitting and have sold my work at craft sales for years.

As time went on though, it became clear that, for now at least, community college was not where I was supposed to be. Now onto plan B: Work at a yarn shop while seeking other opportunities to learn about how to run a small business. By the fall, I had started seeking work at one of the "many" (translation:3) yarn shops in the area. I was nervous, but very enthusiastic, quite sure that a door would open somewhere.

Days turned into weeks, and soon a month had gone by with no response, although I had followed up and done all I could. Instead of feeling, as I had expected, like I was supposed to persevere and keep trying, I instead sensed God leading me in an entirely different direction.

This was hard. Those who know me know that I like to have a plan, and now I had none at all. The yarn shop had been my dream for years, and at first letting go of it felt like letting go of a part of me. I thought people would look at me and see a wishy-washy person who couldn't stick with any idea, and honestly, I struggled with seeing myself that way.

I began looking for a job, any job, and still nothing. Applying, following up, applying some more, and after all of that not even an interview. In the midst of all this, a good friend observed, "You look weary". That was it exactly. Something would come along that would seem promising, but nothing ever came of it. I knew in my head that God was in control and that I could trust Him, but I was getting discouraged.

Towards the end of all this came the first open door. Through a conversation with my mom, God reminded me of a dream that had been dormant: Ellerslie. I have read and greatly benefited from the books written by Eric and Leslie Ludy (When God Writes Your Love Story and others) and they are two of my modern day heros. Over a year earlier had I first heard of Ellerslie, a very intensive discipleship program they had just started. At the time I felt very strongly that I was supposed to go someday, but I thought it would be several years down the road. Mom just said, "Why not now?" and the more I prayed about it, the more I felt led to apply. I still had no job, and no idea when I would have one, so even applying was a huge leap of faith, but apply I did.
Stay tuned for part 2. It will be more uplifting, I promise! :)