The Seen from the Unseen/Laura

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.  2For by it the people of old received their commendation.  3By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Hebrews 11:1-3

The first verse here is ingrained in my brain. I’ve heard it multiple times, read it, seen it in pretty prints and had it quoted to me in times of doubt. It is familiar and something that I know.

This summer, I have been studying the book of Hebrews with friends and using Jen Wilkin’s study book. (Which I highly recommend!) In her questions for the week she asks this simple question that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about for weeks now:

“How does verse 3 relate to verse 1?”

A simple question but it is a connection that I 8c82247e402cbec6896a85512a45b9fahad not looked at any other time.

“By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.” Seriously? Have you taken a minute to realize how miraculous and beautiful it is that God created this world? He brought the world into being from His word. He brought it to be from things that are not visi
ble. He made everythin
g from nothing. We, as humans, are completely incapable of creating things from nothing. But God…He created the most beautiful creation out of the unseen. He is the Creator. And He is the Sustainer. He is God!

So why did that bring new clarity to my understanding of verse 1? Not that God needs to prove Himself to us, but it gave me even more confidence in the character of God and His ability to create and provide. Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things unseen and that is trustworthy because from the beginning of time, God created from the unseen things.

Too often I find myself trying to figure out how God will work things out—as if I were God and could know all things.  I can become discouraged if I can’t see the solution. But now I remind myself, God created this whole universe out the things unseen. Surely, he can create a solution and a way for His will to be done from things that I am blind to now.

After all, He took my calloused, prideful heart and replaced it with a new one that beats for Him—all from things that were unseen and unknown to me.

So for the last few weeks, when things seem impossible or crazy, I repeat to myself, “God can make something from nothing.” God has eyes to see the unseen. He can make a way from what seems like nothing to me.

Plants & Growth & You // Kathleen, RVA Intern

Kathleen1“Just some rocks, a layer of soil, throw the li’l guy in there, and some water and sunshine and he’ll grow just fine! Plants want to grow, you see. They are resilient and do what they have to to survive.” This is what John, the #PlantHustler, explains to everyone who asks him about the cool succulent terrariums we build.

This summer I am support raising to join the Cru movement in Richmond as an intern in the fall. Alongside that, I am working super part time with a cool guy named John who runs a local pop-up shop called “Glass Gardens.” John loves plants a whole lot and has learned so much about them in the last 5 years. He has been a source of laughter and lots of conversation these last few weeks as I’ve been going through this wonderful/draining/incredible/painful/challenging/exciting process of support raising. While I’ve been a #PlantAngel, as he calls us helpers, I have seen a lot of correlation between plants growing and our spiritual lives growing.

Rocks– Plants need a layer of rocks, something sturdy to hold them up and to help filter the water that comes through. Jesus is our Rock (Matthew 21:42). He provides the sturdiness and consistency in our lives that we so desperately need. He helps us filter the bad (thoughts, emotions, experiences, etc). He is unrelenting and never changing (Hebrews 13:8). When we try to run away or when we become distant, it’s not Him that moved, it was us. You can always go right back to Him!

­Soil– The soil provides the nutrients for the plant and provides the home for them. It holds them to the rocks. This is similar to your close community of Christian friends. If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, please please find a small group this summer. It is crucial for us to have those that hold us to Jesus (like the soil keeps the plants to the rocks). Without accountability from community and strong friends to lean on, we may begin to wither. I know for me, this would often happen during the summer when I moved home and didn’t have a weekly Bible study meeting to grow in. The Lord commands us to stay in community (Hebrews 10:25, Acts 2:46). Not only does He command us to do this, but it just feels good. When you have friends to go to about your struggles or your successes, you feel that you are being bolstered by those around you.

Water– Water gives the plant life and health and sustenance. If you do not give the plant enough water, the soil gets dry and, again, he begins to wither. Water can represent our reading the Word. We often think we are fine without it. “Oh, I read the daily verse on my app, I’m good,” or “Yeah, we went through a passage in church on Sunday, really solid stuff,” or even “nahh, I don’t really have time for that.” Whatever our excuse, it’s just not worth it. One daily verse?? What if the plant got one drop of water? Or was just watered every once in a while? Or if the caretaker of the plant was like “nahh, I don’t really have time for that.” The plant would not thrive. Reading the Bible daily, asking questions, and truly desiring to understand and love God’s Word for us is crucial in our walk. Look to Joshua 1:8 and John 15:7 about the necessity and benefits of remaining in the Word.

Sunshine– Different plants need different amounts of sunshine. Some like direct light, some are okay without. Some need to be outside for LOTS of sunshine, others are okay inside. Nonetheless, the environment for the plant is key. The same is for our environment. Are you choosing to be around those that will encourage you and strengthen your Christian walk? I don’t mean during the school year, I mean right here, right now. It’s the summer time and who are some friends you can meet with during the week to encourage each other in the Word? This may seem similar to the soil aspect, as it is. But more importantly, if you surround yourself with negative people, not filled with the Light, what do you expect to happen to your soul? 1 John talks about how Jesus is the Light and how we are to walk in it. If those that you choose to be around are not adding to that light, then what are they doing? Are you shining light in their direction? Matthew 5:16 tells us to shine our light wherever we are and this is done by actions but also in simply telling people what we believe and the HOPE that we have in the Gospel!

Kathleen2

That was a whole lot. But, plants are really cool and your spiritual life is incredibly important. It needs to be nourished and taken care of. What steps can you actively take this week to freshen up and nourish your soul? Is it going to take some MiracleGro? Or maybe a rainy day of scripture reading? Call a friend and meet up for coffee and just ask each other how you guys are really doing? Whatever it takes, do that. Do that right now. Don’t let your summer be dry. Don’t return to school in the Fall wishing you had read your Bible more. Just like the #PlantHustler says, “Plants make people feel good!” Well, so does reading the Bible and being in good community.


 

blog post picHello friends! My name is Kathleen and I am a very recent graduate of Christopher Newport University. I enjoy sweet & salty snacks, listening to podcasts (Relevant & 99 Percent Invisible are two great ones!) napping, and driving with the windows down. As for post-grad plans, I am currently in the process of raising support to intern with Cru in Richmond! During this summer I am also, as I mentioned earlier, working part time with Glass Gardens which has been such a joy. More things I enjoy: Arrested Development, cozy blankets, and Justin Timberlake’s newest song!

Tips for Livin’ La Vida Post Grad/Kate/Alumni

It’s been two years since I graduated from CNU, one year being filled with completing my teaching degree and the next year completing a leadership development program called the Raleigh Fellows Program.

I’m getting real here, life after college is daunting. Here’s what I envisioned my life would be like before entering the post college arena: I always imagined that I would meet the man of my dreams in college, get married after we graduated, move to a lovely city with farmer’s markets and festivals, and hang out with the friends we made at our perfect church.

That’s what I believed to be the next step in life, my dream life.  This was not my reality.

As I finished my master’s year, I had heard about the Fellows Program from other CNU folk who had either gone through the program or knew someone who had. After talking with them and praying about it, I committed my next year to one unique and significant year of growth for me personally, professionally, and spiritually. While I could spend copious amounts of time here sharing how the Lord tested me and stretched me, there are three big takeaways I learned, that I hope encourage you, as you begin this “daunting” life after college.

  • Life after college looks different for everyone. Don’t get caught up like I did in what is expected of you or what you think is the “right” step to take after college. Don’t worry about trying to fit whatever mold you think is right. Instead, listen to the Lord. Be in tune to what you believe he is leading you to, whether it is graduate school, marriage, missions, or a job. Don’t feel pressured to choose a path that you think you’re with for the rest of your life. You might not have an ideal job right after college. And that’s ok! God is using all things for your good and His glory. Rejoice in where he has you and don’t sweat the small stuff.
  • Find a church. With all of the options and possibilities, you might think, “Is there another church that better fits my needs?” I encourage you to find a Bible believing church, try a couple, choose one, STICK WITH IT, and get involved in a ministry. I’ve heard this method referred to as the Pick-and-Stick. I used to approach finding a church based on fitting my needs rather than serving the Lord in community with God’s people. And sometimes you may find that you are the one to create community. If it’s not there, the Lord can use you to be a catalyst in creating a community that glorifies the Lord, is welcoming, and of course, fun! Instead of asking yourself, “Does this church fit my needs? “, ask, “Does this church bring glory to God?”*
  • Find a mentor. This can be scary when you graduate from college. With awesome accountability found in para-church organizations like Cru, we had it at our fingertips. I even had the luxury of the Fellows Program placing me with a wonderful mentor at the church I attended. Now, we’re out in the world. Once you find a church, I encourage you to seek out a mentor; someone of the same gender, who is older than you. And it may take time. It doesn’t happen often that a woman will approach you and say, “You look like you could use a mentor!” It’s up to you, girl. Pray for the Lord to lead you. He will. It may take time to find the mentor. And even once you do, life might not always allow you to meet weekly, but pursue a relationship with a mentor that can be as consistent as possible. You will find that you can learn so much about God and His grace through each other’s experiences and stories and their insight into yours.

I hope the lessons that I learned will help you as you continue the story of your life that God has perfectly prepared for you. I hope you find grace, peace, and joy in the Lord. I’ll close out with one of my favorite verses.

“The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in His love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” [Zephaniah 3:17]

 

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I graduated from CNU with a bachelor’s in Studio Art and a Master of Arts in Teaching. I will be teaching 2nd grade in the fall in Harrisonburg, VA. My favorite things include discovering new music, playing pick-up volleyball, poorly performing our rendition of Riverdance with my sisters (yes, we still do this when we are together), seeing kids create art, watching BBC mini-series, and eating ample amounts of grapefruit. My talents also include quoting Mulan and The Parent Trap in their entirety.