For the First Time in Forever

For the first time in forever (yes, this is a Frozen reference, which I saw today!), I went to the driving range with my boyfriend Taylor. The last time I was at the driving range was July. Over six months of not swinging a driver will definitely show.

Now, I’ve only been “playing” (the quotes are because I don’t really play) golf since April of last year. I’m not that good of a player, my form could use a lot of help, and I still get sore.

I always wanted to try golf. Every time I went mini golfing, I always tried to mimic Tiger Woods. I knocked the wind out of my sister, and I gave my brother a huge bump on his head. I got in trouble for physically hurting my siblings, but no one ever thought to actually get me into golf.

It wasn’t until Taylor and I started dating that I actually got a chance to try golf. He was on our college’s golf team, and he has played for half his life. His form is amazing; his drives are far, and he is just a natural at it.

Then there’s me, amongst those that have played golf for several years. I awkwardly try to position myself as try to swing. I rapidly change my stance from one awkward position to the next. I can feel Taylor’s loving eyes fixed on me as I’m about to swing. I take a deep breath, and I swing. The ball doesn’t seem to go past 50 yards, and Taylor asks me where my weight is on my feet. He knew exactly what I was doing wrong, and he knew how to remedy it, just by looking.

You must be wondering if I listened. I did. I shifted my weight, and the distance just about tripled.

I think often times, I’m still that awkward golfer in life, namely my faith. I work with middle schoolers and high schoolers at my church. I watch them grow, and hopefully they love Jesus more and more. As I put together the studies I will use for my small groups and the discussion, I lack the drive to ask those that are experienced.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with asking someone for help. It’s even better when you’re asking for help from someone who has more experience than you.

But if you’re anything like me, you’re stubborn and you want to do it on your own. Proverbs says that pride comes before a fall. I hope that I see that I am wrong before I fall. That I can ask for help before I cause a young to fall. The area where I see God calling me, I want to do the best I can to help young people. I want them to see God in me, but they can’t if I’m prideful.

I need to surround myself with experienced Christians that can guide me and mentor me. They will be able to loving look at my work and tell what I am doing wrong, and what I am doing write. I know what I’m supposed to do, and I hope I do it.

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The Struggle is Real: An Open Letter to Non-Believers

For all the people that do not believe in Christianity, I would like to say that I am sorry. This isn’t like a pious, “I’m sorry that I am better than all of you.” type of apology. It is just an apology from one person to another. I am sorry.

I am sorry that Christians try to shove religion down your throat. I am sorry that people preach hatred. I am sorry if you have felt victimized by Christianity in any way. I am sorry that Christianity has not done what they’re preaching. Lastly, I am sorry for not doing my own part. I am sorry if I have wronged anyone, and if my actions pushed you away from Christianity.

I have gotten caught up in doing good. Not that that’s wrong, but the heart behind it is wrong. I haven’t done good to benefit others and show them God’s love; I’ve done it to make myself look good. Honestly, doing things to make one look good sucks (yes, I just said that I suck)! Am I wrong?

Being a Christian is about doing what God has called us to do: love others, share the news of Christ through love, helping others out, and constantly growing the relationship built on Christ. We aren’t perfect. We’re not better than others. And we sure as hell (it’s okay if I say that, right?) shouldn’t be acting as if we are better or perfect. I’m guilty of doing this, and I apologize.

The purpose of this letter/blog is not to automatically convert you to Christianity, but to show you that not all of us are the same. We’re not all pious and bigots. If the only interaction you’ve had with Christians have been with people that have treated you wrongly, I am sorry. I’m not proud of that, and I’m certain that the Man upstairs ain’t to thrilled either.

As a Christian myself, I will do my best to show love and Christ in all that I do. If we ever get the chance to meet, I hope that the experience you have with me is a memorable one (for good reasons of course). I love you all, and I hope that you don’t hold all the bogus encounters with Christians to everyone who believes in Christianity.

Life and Death of Ben Breedlove

Early this morning, (around 2:38 AM) my attempts to fall asleep had failed, so I wanted to check the news on my laptop and see what was going on in the world. The first story that popped up was a story titled Teen’s video goes viral after death. I clicked it thinking that it would be interesting. Needless to say that I would be changed by someone I never knew, by someone I never met.

Ben Breedlove was 18 years old when he died on Christmas Day in Austin, TX. He suffered from HCM (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy) a heart condition that causes the myocardium (the muscle in the heart) to thicken, causing problems when pumping out blood. A week before he died, he left two videos (This is my story:Part 1 and Part 2) talking about how he had cheated death three times.

I saw the videos, and I also looked at the videos where he and a few of his friends give advice about different things. I began to like him. He seemed so happy, so full of life, even though he might not live the following day. He accepted death, but until then, he lived life, and that to the fullest.

Realizing all of this, I started thinking, Am I okay with death? Am I living life to the fullest? Am I making a difference? For me personally, I would have to answer either no or sometimes. As a Christian, I should be able to confidently say yes to those questions. What can I do to change this? Find my identity in Christ, know that my life is in God’s hands, serve in every way possible (without burning out, a post about this will come soon, I can feel it!), and lastly, love God to the fullest.

I never met this young man, but he has changed my view on life, as well as many others. My prayers go out to his family, friends, and community.

Ben Breedlove’s Obituary

I hope to meet him one day in heaven.

The Technicalities of Christmas

What do you normally think of when asked to describe the Christmas story (not to be confused with the 1983 movie A Christmas Story)? Often times we think of Mary travelling by donkey while Joseph led the way, inn keepers turning away a very pregnant Mary and her husband, a wooden stable, three wise men, etc. But some people like to say that there probably wasn’t a donkey, there was no record of any interaction with inn keepers, if stables where even wooden then, or the fact that there could have been a caravan of people travelling that were wise men/magi. There are so many details or things that have been added to the story that are important to a certain degree, but we lose sight of what really matters.

So, what is it that truly matters in the Christmas story? It’s the fact that Jesus stepped out of eternity and became a man. That God gave up His Son so that we may have a chance to spend all of eternity with Him. That Jesus gave up every right to be selfish, and decided to be one of us.

But how does all of this link to the baby in the manger? That baby grows up to be Man on the Cross. He grows up to be Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the King of Kings, the Man who will come back again. I fear that many of us forget to have that baby grow up, that we don’t connect Him to the Man that rose again on that first Easter morning, the Man who gave up His life for us. We need to see that connection, that growth, because if we don’t, then Christmas can become another commercialized holiday.

This winter season, will you let the baby in the manger stay there? Or will you let the Child we call our Savior grow up?

The choice is yours…

  • Further Reading:
  • Isaiah 7
  • Matthew 1:18 – 2:12
  • Luke 2
  • Isaiah 53
  • John 3:16

A Young Life

I went to a four year old’s memorial service earlier today. I am not going to lie to you, it was heart breaking. This little girl was so vibrant and full of life, but she was born with an intestinal disease that would cause her to be in and out of the hospital throughout her life. Her mother is devastated. This young life ended during the week of Thanksgiving. How can the family go through the holiday season the same anymore?

Karlee (the little girl) touched many lives during the time that she was here on earth. She made everyone smile! And her death came quickly and caused much pain. Many people would say that she never got to live, that her life was cut short. But do we really know that? If you met her, you could see that she was living life to the fullest, even while in the hospital. God has a plan for all of this, and even though much pain has hit many, especially her parents, God has not forsaken us. He is still in control.

One of the things that has completely changed my life through this is that Stephanie, Karlee’s mother, wants to give out of her loss. “Karlee loved playing in playgrounds. I want to build a playground.” I have no idea if I would ever be able to do something like this, let alone say it after losing my only child. But this just shows how God is working in her life, even though it is hard right now.

I would ask that you look at Stephanie’s statement, and just see how God is working in your life, whether things are going great or not. Whatever the circumstance, you will see just how blessed you are and how present God is in your life. If you can, please pray for Stephanie and her family, it would be greatly appreciated.