Give Thanks in All Seasons//Maggie

   

Since it is the day before THANKSgiving, I wanted to speak on being thankful! So often I realize that I am waiting for the next season to come in my life, and not focusing on the one I’m in. We, as broken impatient humans, always want what we can’t have, and once we have that “thing” we want the next one. We go through life rushing through the stages that we’re in because we think the next one must be so much better and it will bring us satisfaction and THEN we can thank God for getting us there. As children, we can’t wait to grow up (literally) and be able to ride the rollercoasters (that was me), then we can’t wait until we can drive, vote, drink, buy a car of our own, get married, have kids, and the list goes on. Our focus is on what’s going to happen, what God is going to bless us with in the future, instead of focusing on how he’s growing us and blessing us now, today, in the present.


    I’ve been learning to focus on taking my life a day at a time with God, because if I blow through the days I have getting so excited for when I get to do fun things, I miss out on those days of being thankful to Jesus. Sometimes I find myself living Wednesday to Wednesday (Cru meeting to Cru meeting) because that’s when I get to see everyone, that’s when I get to sing worship songs to the Lord, and hear a great message. But honestly, I can experience that every day with Jesus if my focus isn’t on stress, or my to-do list, or the worries I have. If I focus on the present, I start to see the little things (and big things) that God is doing in my heart, which I otherwise would have missed. For a while it was like this (and still kinda is): Well I’m single so once I get a boyfriend, my life will be better; but then I remember when I did have a boyfriend, how all I wanted to do was get married, so that I could have a family, so that then all the rest of my life would fall into place. I was still rushing. Time already speeds by us so quickly, and if our heart is also racing ahead to find the next best thing, we will miss so much we could have given praises and thanksgiving to God for, and our perspective would be so different. I like creating little lists in my head of what I’m thankful for that day, even if they are simple little things.

 

Today I’m thankful for:

 

  • Snow! Haters gonna hate, but I love when it snows!!

  • The fact that my sore throat did not turn into a horrible cold. PTL.

  • My family is all together at home.

  • Fuzzy socks (my feet are always cold).

  • Rend Collective has a new Christmas album (that I haven’t heard yet because its not after thanksgiving, but I’m excited!).

  • All that my parents have blessed me with in my life. I’m just being reminded of that while being home.

  • How Jesus loves me.

 

Try it. Live today in the present, God is there right now with you. Give thanks to Him.

 “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.” –Psalm 9:1

Burdened//Maggie

A few weeks ago I remember talking with my best friend, Rachel and voicing how I just wasn’t feeling anything. I didn’t know how I felt; I wasn’t going through any big “thing” and I was just kind of going through the motions. Life was just going on around me and I was just a participant. I knew I wasn’t okay, but I couldn’t place my finger on what was specifically going on. I also didn’t want to sit and reflect because I was afraid of what I’d find. I found it. I was depending on myself to do it all and be the best I could be without realizing how weak I was. Even when I realized I was weak and burdened by a lot of different things, I didn’t want to admit it to anyone much less myself. So I ignored the unsettling feelings I couldn’t place and didn’t try to place them at all.

​My teammate is in grad school for counseling and had to set up a mock counseling session to record for her class and I was her patient. I think that was the beginning to me realizing what was going on in my heart. I took time to process it with her and with God, and then started to let God tear down that wall I had built of “I have it all together, I’m doing great”.

​I don’t want people to know that I am struggling because I want to be reliable; I want to be seen as someone to look up to. Then God was like, “the women you meet with will relate to you and see Jesus through your pain and suffering more than they will if you don’t let them in.” Oops. Being vulnerable also helps others open up. When someone realizes you are dealing with similar issues, they are more likely to share, which leads to growth and encouragement that we are not alone in this walk.

​Last Wednesday night I was just having a rough day still processing through why I feel like I need to perform and be put together all the time. Kim and Barry Logsdon came and spoke on prayer, which was awesome to just feel God’s presence in the room, and God was tugging on my heart to go pray with them during worship. I walked over and the one word that came out was overwhelmed before I burst into tears.Disclaimer: Being that I struggle with being vulnerable, crying is the worst (but best) thing that could have happened. I just broke down as they prayed over me and spoke truth to me. I don’t have to perform for Jesus, he takes our burdens upon him, and He is with us always. He loves me 100% right now. There is nothing I can do to make him love me less, or more. I let him have my pain and the burdens I was carrying, and am feeling lighter in spirit than in the confusing time of not understanding my heart. It’s a daily struggle, but He is with us.

​One quick analogy that came to my heart today during staff prayer: Picture you running a long distance race in the Olympics, and there is a person who is favored to win. You fall and hurt your knee and think it’s all over. You’re on the ground and see the feet of that favored person standing in front of you. They bend down to pick you up and end up carrying you the entire way to the finish and you both finish together. Jesus is that runner. He carries us through life and once we let him pick us up and carry our burdens, we are free to run this race with Him right there with us.



“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30

be a light//Maggie

I’m going to be completely honest with you. I have started writing this blog and then deleted everything I wrote about three times in the past two days. My thoughts were so jumbled up in my head, and I was so focused on having such wise words to share with you, that I just couldn’t write yesterday. So many different topics were running through my mind, I didn’t look to see for myself what God wanted to teach me. Isn’t it funny how he teaches us through our teaching others? Love that. So. After sitting and waiting, and praying…God put on my heart to share with you why it’s important to break out of our “Christian bubble”.
            As a college student, there are hundreds of clubs and organizations to be a part of. When I came to college back in 2009 (wow that seems forever ago!) I wanted to only be involved in groups that were Christian. I didn’t want to be hanging around people who were doing “bad things”. My week consisted of at least three different “Christian” things whether it was the small group I was in, my Young Life kids, or IV, I made sure to be doing things on the weekends with those friends too, and pretty soon, my time at college was class, and Christian events. Now, I’m not saying that any of these things are bad. Get plugged into a small group. Have a group of friends you can count on to help you grow in your faith. Find a church. Find a way to serve. But. God also calls us to reach out to the nations and share the good news with them. How can we do that if we don’t have a sphere of influence in our lives that we can reach out to?
       “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28: 18-20
              I remember when I was in church one Sunday, and they started this thing called the “reach three” card. We were to write down names of people who we could share Jesus with. It took me SO LONG to name people who weren’t my extended family, or people from middle school. That was when I was like…what am I doing? So I started small, and made friends with people on my hall sophomore year that didn’t know the Lord, and got to have a few deep sweet conversations. See, Jesus didn’t hang out with the Pharisees, he hung out with the tax collectors and prostitutes. He didn’t spend time with them to become like them, but to be the light.
           “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17
Disclaimer: We are sinners too, but the difference as Christians is we have been saved by faith through Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. We have an opportunity to share Jesus with others, if we spend time with people who don’t know him.
8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast… Eph 2:8
            So, how does that apply now? As Cru staff, we are encouraged to have something called “2-hour non-christian time”. We are to find something we love doing, whether it is writing, or doggies, or sports, and use that as a way to meet people who might not know Jesus. This year, I decided to become a ballerina. Hey. Don’t laugh. Yes I wear a leotard. Yes I wear tights. No I’m not good at it. But I love to dance, and there are two women in there that I am getting to know so Jesus can love them through me, and so I can have a chance to share Him with them.

            Back to the couple hundred clubs on campus…find one that fits with something that you are passionate about- intramurals, trivia night, they even have the coloring club at CNU…and get involved! Make friends! Take this opportunity to be a light on your campus!