Monday, March 31, 2014

Anchored to Something Special

Everywhere I go, it seems everything being sold in stores is nautical-themed. The nautical trend really came back a couple years ago, so in almost every store I shop in, there are shirts covered in anchors, sandals with starfish, ship's wheel earrings, fish bracelets, and so on and so on.
But literally, anchors are everywhere. They have become a staple "preppy" symbol. People buy things with anchors on them often times because they are in style.
I have so many anchor-laden things. I have anchor shirts, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, ribbon, hair bows, a watch, a lamp, a purse, maybe even shoes ...and the list goes on.
I will tell you a secret, though, about why I love anchors.
If you've been keeping up with my blog or know me, you know that four years ago, one of my brother's best friends passed away, and he had also become one of my friends. I have written about how depressed I was in the aftermath and how I was affected by Matt's passing.
I would listen to a certain George Strait song over and over in the months following Matt's death. It was the song that Strait wrote after his son passed away. The first lines say,
"Hope is an anchor, and love is a ship.
Time is the ocean, and life is a trip."
The song is called "You'll Be There," and is based around the hope of Strait seeing his son again one day "on the other side."
"Hope is an anchor."
Like that verse in the Bible...
At the time, hope was all we had to hold onto. Hope that things would get better in the coming months and years. Hope of seeing Matt again one day.
I remember being in American Eagle a couple months after Matt passed, and seeing little anchor and ship wheel earrings being sold. My first thought was, "hope is an anchor."
I bought the earrings to remind me of that time in my life and to remind me to stay anchored in my faith and in hope and to remind me to be a light and witness to everyone around me because you never know when someone will take their last breath.
Shortly after, anchor-themed fashion really blew up, and I could buy anchor stuff everywhere. But anchors aren't just anchors. They are anchored to a much more special meaning. I buy anchor and nautical-themed stuff not only because it's cute, but because it's a reminder of hope and a reminder of the faith that I'm grounded in - the faith that I have an urgent obligation to share.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Raised From the Dead

Tonight at Bible study, Catalina led us in a discussion on the story of Lazarus.

Lazarus was a man who died and was eventually raised from the dead by Jesus.
Jesus was gone while Lazarus was sick, and he died while Jesus was gone.
Martha, Lazarus's sister, told Jesus that if He'd been there, Lazarus wouldn't have died.
She couldn't understand why, if Jesus cared for them, He would let Lazarus die.
Shortly after, Jesus raised Lazarus - who'd been dead for days - from the dead.

How many times do we ask Jesus for something and expect immediate results, the results that we think we should get, according to our timing and our plans?

[[ God says, "for I know the plans I have for you."
This means that He is in control and our plans don't mean jack. ]]

Jesus could've saved Lazarus from death before he even died.
Jesus could've healed Lazarus.

But how much more awesome is the story, knowing that Lazarus was raised from the dead?
How much more of a miracle occurred?
How much MORE GLORY was brought to Jesus, having raised a man from death, rather than healing a man from sickness?
Jesus not being there when Lazarus died didn't mean he didn't care about him and his family.
It meant that He wanted to use the situation in the best way possible - to perform the greatest miracle and gain the most glory.
Like Catalina said, the story might not have even made it into the Bible had Jesus merely healed Lazarus from his sickness.

Sometimes it takes a "death" or the closing of a door for us to see that something greater lies ahead.
Jesus has a perfect plan for us, and sometimes we have to go through some sad and rough times to get to it.
If life was easy all the time, how could God be glorified? How could we give Him credit for bringing us through the hard times and blessing us even more afterward?

God will let us go through trials so that through them, He can bless us more, and He will be more glorified.

We were challenged tonight to ask ourselves if there's anything dead in our life - any door that God is closing so that He can eventually open a new one.

Sometimes we, like Martha, wonder where God is during our hard times.
It seems like maybe He's not there, and doesn't care.
That's the farthest thing from the truth.
He is working diligently on our lives and unraveling His perfect plan for them.

If we trust that His plan is greater, we will wait patiently for His plan to unfold, and for Him to bless us and in return, receive all the glory.


Monday, March 17, 2014

Why I Love Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day!
Today, I saw so many people in green shirts, jackets, pants, nail polish, with green phone cases, etc.
I got to thinking about all the reasons why I love green. For a fun post, I'm gonna list them.
[[my St. Patty's Day attire today]]
1. I love green because it's the color of life. New life, especially. It reminds me of spring, grass, flowers, plants, palm trees, Christmas trees, pineapple leaves, and being made new in Christ.
2. Green is a Christmas color!
3. Green (OLIVE, to be exact) is an Alpha Chi Omega color (along with SCARLET).
4. I've always been obsessed with the Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz
5. Green is the color of salad, green beans, cabbage, peas, Granny Smith apples, Mountain Dew, key lime pie, and mints.
6. Green is my high school's color.
7. My puppy's name is Emerald Anastasia, but we call her Emery.
8. Green is the color of recycling.
9. Green is pretty neutral and calm. And fresh.
10. The emerald has always been one of my favorite gems.
11. Green goes well with PINK!
12. Mint green is one of the classiest colors around.
Thanks for reading this mostly useless but entertaining list!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Brooke's Baby Shower!

I realized I hadn't posted yet about Brooke's baby shower (It was on February 1st)! And maybe I haven't posted about her baby at all!
 Brooke is having a baby girl and I've been SO excited about this since I found out. When Brooke found out she was having a girl, I was in the student union at Appalachian, in the coffee shop, and I watched the video of the baby breathing and cried right then and there. I've been anxious to meet this baby since then, so I can't imagine how anxious Brooke, Justin, and the family are!!
Baby L's shower was beautiful. It a perfectly fitting celebration for the adorable and sweet little girl that will be here any day now! Brooke is like a sister to me, so I feel like I will be an aunt - in fact, I've been calling Baby L my niece already. Absolutely cannot wait to play with her and watch her grow!!!

Customary shower picture of the three of us :)
Alicia, Brooke, and me.
My sister and Brooke's sister, Lexie!
fit for a PRINCESS!