For When I’m Not Enough… Which Is All the Time // Sarah // CNU

Sufficient: enough to meet the needs of a situation, fulfilling

All through high school, my English teachers told me not to start my essays by writing out the definition of a word. It was my staple item, my signature move; apparently, bad writing as well (if any of them are reading this, I am so sorry). But to me, defining a word sets the tone. It introduces the paper better than I ever could, which is why I am sitting on my couch trying to awkwardly create an introduction to one of the struggles God has consistently addressed in my life: insufficiency.

Back in February, I received a phone call from my dad that my grandfather had been taken to the hospital with multiple complications. The outcome was terminal, and my parents wanted us to come home as soon as possible to see him before he passed. Multiple thoughts ran through my head. He wouldn’t get to dance with me at my wedding like he always promised. He wouldn’t get to see me become a teacher or watch me start my own family. The man I had lived 10 miles from my whole life, the man who loved me and everyone around him so unconditionally, would be gone. I was devastated, again.

We all experience loss. Breakups, the end of friendships, death. I hate to be a downer, but it’s true. The world we live in is so imperfect and disappointing. Sure, we have great days, weeks, months, even years. But we all have moments that we wish would just go away. Getting teased in middle school for not being “popular”. Not getting into your dream school and having to re-plan the life you had created for yourself. Feeling inadequate when you don’t get your dream job. Losing one of your friends to a terminal illness. Hydroplaning your car into a tree at 60 MPH. Being told you’re not worth the effort of a relationship.

Receiving a phone call at 2 in the morning that your grandfather is gone and there’s nothing you can do.

I hate the feeling of weakness, vulnerability that I can do nothing about. I couldn’t stop the people I loved from suffering. I couldn’t stop my car from crashing into a tree. I couldn’t stop myself from entering into volatile relationships that were only going to destroy me. I couldn’t save my grandfather. Why?

Because I’m not enough. Because I’m not perfect. Because I’m not sufficient.

Because I need Christ.

The night before Grandpap passed away, I sporadically logged into my Tumblr account. Tumblr. Take that in for a second. Four years since the last time I had logged in. After sifting through posts from the impressionist movement and laughing at my love (obsession) for One Direction (Liam), I saw a Bible verse that I had posted my Sophomore year of high school.

“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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

I didn’t know that 4 hours after I read this, my parents would wake me up to tell me my grandfather was gone. As I sat in the living room of my dorm emotionally drained and exhausted, all I could think of was that verse. I was sitting in another disappointment, another hardship, another devastation. I was weak.

But Christ was strong. And His power rested upon me.

When we experience these times in our lives, we try to compensate for our lowliness, to fix things ourselves. It’s in our sinful nature, our human flaws. But we can do absolutely nothing without Christ. John 15:5 says “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”

Apart from Him, nothing. With Him, everything.

Galatians 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” How amazing is it that Christ gave Himself for us, in our sin and brokenness to have life with Him? That he looked at us, undeserving of all He is, and chose us to be His. That we can go directly to Him with everything we have, for He is our Great High Priest, interceding for us daily.

We live our lives discouraged by our weakness when in reality, our weakness is our need for Christ.  Our weakness is His strength, and His strength becomes our own because He is sufficient.

There’s a song by Elevation Worship called “O Come to the Altar” (please please please check it out!!) that I started hearing almost everywhere when my grandfather was admitted to the hospital. There is so much beauty and truth in this song, but the part that has always stood out to me comes in the second verse. The lyrics say, “Bring your sorrows and trade them for joy, from the ashes a new life is born. Jesus is calling.

Jesus is calling you. Right here and now. In all your imperfections and sorrows, He is calling you to a new life in Him.

I don’t know who’s reading this, or what any of you that are have been looking for in your lives, but stop searching. Stop trying to be perfect. Stop tearing yourself down, saying you’re not good enough. Bring these sorrows and place them at the feet of Christ. He desires a relationship with you, he’s calling for your soul to be with Him. He desires to be enough for you, to fulfill you with joy. He desires to bring you the most abundant life there is. Sufficiency is something we search for every single day, and Christ alone can bring it into our lives. There is nothing more freeing than a full surrender to the Lord and trusting in Him for all.

God doesn’t promise us that our lives will get easier when we follow Him, but He does promise us that He will walk with us, work through us, and carry us home into eternity with Him. All we need to do is give Him our weaknesses, and He will give us His strength. Give Him our cross, and He will carry it forward. Give Him our lives, and He will give us life with Him. Eternal. Perfect. Sufficient.

Listen to “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship

Click for lyrics to the song

 

Hey y’all! My name is Sarah Bishop, and I am currently a junior Psychology major at Christopher Newport University. It’s my dream to teach elementary school and pour my life into children in need. I’m in my second year of leadership here with Cru, and I am so grateful for the community Christ brought me to. I enjoy Pad Thai lunches with my friends/mom, quoting The Office, and my beloved pair of Birkenstocks that I wear way too often. My prayer is that in whatever season of life you have found yourself in, you can rest in the sufficiency of Christ and the perfect love He has for you.

@sarahkatelynn

Nothing Is Too Messy For Jesus // Debbie // CNU

Fear. Shame. Guilt. Loneliness. Need to control.

It’s a constant battle. These are all things I so badly needed to give to God, but wouldn’t. I’ve been so blinded by my sin that I’ve started to view things in ways that were not of Him. I found myself wanting to grow closer to Jesus, but not wanting to surrender my old ways. I found myself living a life that was half in and half out. I found myself not trusting in His plans for my life because I had this skewed perspective that my plans were better than God’s plans.

Little did I know…

Last year around September, every time someone would talk about summer mission with Cru my heart would start pounding out of my chest and my cheeks would turn bright red. I quickly pushed that aside because I already had plans of working all summer. Then I went to fall retreat where I heard more about summer missions, but I didn’t want to deal with raising support. So with that, I pushed it aside once again. Then I went to winter conference and heard more about summer missions and slowly began to pray about it. After about 3 months of saying no to God about summer missions, there I was in front of my computer screen looking through all the different locations.

Fast forward six months and I am in Jackson Hole, Wyoming with 30 strangers who quickly turned into my best friends. The month of June was a life-changing month. I was challenged, loved, and encouraged.

You see, for the longest time I tried to carry the weight of sin on my own and thought I could just go about my day as long as no one knew about it. Up until Jackson Hole, I had been walking in darkness alone because I feared judgment and condemnation.

Externally I was “pursuing Jesus whole-heartedly” and “living an obedient life,” but my heart? My heart had strayed so far from Him that I began to lose sight of His goodness and provision. I desired to trust Him fully, but I was too afraid to surrender my old ways, idols, and hopes for the future.

This reminds me of Lot’s wife in Genesis 19 and how similar I am to her when it comes to trusting God. When God was preparing to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah He sent angels and “one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” (v.17). Instead of being obedient, Lot’s wife chose disobedience by turning to look back at her homeland and turned into a pillar of salt. And just like Lot’s wife in this passage, I wasn’t putting faith in what God wanted me to surrender to Him.

I chose to hold on to my lack of patience, idol of marriage, need to control, and selfishness instead of giving it to Him.

It’s easy to fall back into old ways of doing things and putting God on a backburner. It’s easy to get caught up in shame and forget that Jesus sees past our mess.

Nothing is too messy for Jesus.

We don’t have to be overwhelmed by our sin because He has already taken it to the cross. We don’t have to feel ashamed of our past because we are made new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Because of Jesus we are clean and set free from the bondage of sin. Instead of hiding from God we should be running toward Him to lay everything down at His feet because He has overcome it all. He died the death that we deserve.

Pause and go listen to this song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REZ_OI0Yku8.

There’s something so beautiful about surrendering your brokenness that brings you to a place of intimacy and vulnerability with Jesus.

When I came across Psalm 116:1-9 the other day I was filled with joy because this passage is such a beautiful representation of redemption. Instead of allowing your heart and mind to be damaged by the words of the world, learn and choose to see yourself through the eyes of Jesus, who calls us daughter, son, beloved, chosen, bride, work of art, and more.

This summer has wrecked my heart in a beautiful way. Say “yes” to everything He calls you to do even if you don’t want to, because our plans will always fail. And be joyful knowing that our plans will fail because we serve a God who is all-knowing.

Ah… How sweet it is that we get to wake up to new mercies every morning and how sweet it is to have confidence in His plans.

You guys… following Jesus is such a wonderful adventure.

Hey guys! My name is Debbie and I am a junior at Christopher Newport University pursuing a degree in Business Marketing. I really enjoy watching God paint new colors in the sky every morning and every night, it’s one of my favorite things! I also love Ellen DeGeneres with a passion and it’s on my life bucket list to go to her show and scare her. My forever go-to look would be a midi dress and sandals with my hair up in a bun and a cute headband. Some of my other favorite things include my mom, pup, Jesus jams, Grand Tetons, hugs, wildflowers, and quality time. Currently I am going through a sweet sweet season of admiring my Savior and being adorned by my Savior.
@debbieanthony1

All Creatures Great and Small/Clare/CNU

Every Christian has probably heard the question before: how do you KNOW God exists?

When I am asked this question, I feel a thousand reasons rush into my heart all at once. But above all, I see God in every creature He created. I see God when dogs wag their whole butt because their sheer joy cannot be contained in their tail alone. I see God in the serenity of a cat’s purr after a stressful day. I see God in the gentle curiosity of a horse nose-deep in my pocket looking for snacks. In the playful heart of a goat who treats every meal as if it’s his last. In the fascinating way crows remember faces. In the bond of elephants mourning for their dead. As a cell biologist, I see the way intricate, microscopic cells somehow come together perfectly to form these amazing creatures and I can only believe there is someone Greater involved. Truly, I could go on for hours. But I didn’t write this just to talk about animals (or did I…?).

God has placed a desire in my heart to care for these animals from a very young age. In Luke 12:6, He reminds us that He remembers and cares for every living thing, even the sparrows who are sold for meager cents. I feel such a responsibility to care for God’s creation and I delight in the challenges of being the voice for a creature who cannot speak. But for a while, I felt guilty that I wasn’t using my life to serve God traditionally, as a global missionary or a church leader. I so desperately wanted to please God, and I thought in order to do that to my full potential, I have to drop my secular passions and work in a church for the rest of my life.

However, through prayer and patience, God is teaching me how the passions of my heart were put there through Him and can be used for Him. People may never make it inside the walls of the church, but that doesn’t mean they will never see God so long as people like you believe your job has a greater purpose to serve Christ. Treat the workplace as your church. Love your co-workers unconditionally like Christ loves you (John 13:34). Be diligent in the work set before you – even in school, as you prepare for your career – without grumbles or complaints (Philippians 2:14). Understand that every seemingly insignificant task serves a greater purpose (Romans 8:28). Share your passions with others and let them see the light in you (Matthew 5:16).

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Maybe your passion falls for people, the other creatures of this earth that we are called to care for. Maybe it’s the beauty of the plants that keep us alive. Maybe you perform – music, plays, dances – as a way to bring joy into the hearts of others. Maybe you seek to use numbers and algorithms to bring sense and security into an ever changing world. Maybe you’re teaching the next generation. No matter what, you are sharing your passion with the world, and that is something to be celebrated. I pray you remember each and every day that God created you with this passion for a reason and that you may find joy in the day to day tasks that make the dream possible. Let your work ethic in school and in the workplace reflect the gift God gave you, and watch His kingdom come alive.

“Let every man abide in the calling wherein he is called and his work will be as sacred as the work of ministry. It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it.” A.W. Tozer

 

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Hello! My name’s Clare and I am a senior at CNU studying Cell Biology with a focus in pre-veterinary medicine. I play cajon (“that box-drum thingy”) for the worship team and marvel daily at the power of music to bring us closer to God. I love to spend my free time running and lovin’ on the shelter dogs at the SPCA. My family and my pup Maggie hold a special place in my heart. I am engaged to the love of my life and eagerly anticipate the adventures God has in store for us.