For Times When Jesus Lets Things Crumble…/Sarah/VCU

ESFJ is my Myers Briggs. For those of you who know about these magical letters and love them, you know what that means. For those of you who do not (**giving you a sassy/shocked look in my mind**), this is what it means- being the personality of “ESFJ”, I love to have control, order, and stability. I enjoy knowing what is going to happen and I feel secure and comfortable in that. Over the last year, the Lord in His loving kindness has graciously tossed that idea out of the window. Life now is not ever what I dreamed it would look like. It’s been a hard year, but a sweet year.

Let me take a poll. How many of you have answered the following or a variation of the following question: “So what are your plans for the future/after graduation/next year/ (any given timeframe)?”

**everyone raises their hand**

I don’t think anyone gets through college without being asked that question a few (billion) times. If you have, God bless you and you are a rarity. A year ago I had a pretty solid answer for that beloved/hated question. I could have confidently told you a loose timeline of the next 2-10 years and how I thought life was going to be like. Now? Girl, I have no idea.

Our culture and even our own personalities thrive on knowing what we’re doing and having a plan. We don’t usually like to be clueless or uncertain. We like to be comfortable. We like to have a plan and usually… we like our plan the most. I know I liked mine. Yet, in this past year the Lord has given and taken away and mixed everything all up in the process. In this year He has left me with more question marks than answers and He has shattered my dreams. My dreams and my plans are totally ruined because of Him. He wrecked my comfort and my confidence in my planning. (Love you though, Jesus. Promise I am getting to the good part, just wait.)

I have learned that sometimes He takes our plans and He lets them crumble. He lets our hearts be broken. He lets our hopes be let down. He lets our bubbles pop. And He lets our dreams be shattered, all because He loves us and He knows what is best for us. When this happens, we are confronted with questions like: Is following Jesus worth it? Is He alone enough? Why would He let ____ happen? Why would He allow ____? Do I really, reaaaaaally have to trust Him with my life?

The answers to the previous questions are- yes, yes and yes. I have asked myself all of those questions in this year and more. I have struggled, really struggled with asking, Is Jesus and His plan better than mine? Again, the answer is yes. He wants what is best for us and He knows that He, Himself is what is best. Most times it takes being out of control to show us Who is in control. Let
me tell you, it is not a fun process. Tears, anger, anxiety and doubt may bubble up when things don’t go as we have planned them. In those times we
either fall to our knees or turn our backs. Through this year I have learned many lessons in this, let me share a few of them…580fb9e43ddb75f59f98ecde1a093c9e

  1. God is good. God is good. God is good. He swaps out our good plans for His better ones. His ways are higher and He remains good no matter the circum
    stances. Psalm 100:5 says, ‘For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.’
  2. He is faithful. He is faithful to keep His promises. He didn’t just start being faithful to us either, it’s not a new thing He just started doing. Look at scripture and see His faithfulness. In Genesis, God calls Abraham out from his country into an unknown land to be the father of a multitude of nations who fears and loves the Lord. God is fa
    ithful to uphold His covenant of blessings and provision. In Exodus, God calls Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and as we read, we see that once again God is faithful. Ultimately we can look to the cross and see He was
    faithful to complete the work of redeeming us and reconciling us to Himself. The list can go on and on. If we trust Him with our salvation, may we trust Him with our future all the more?
  3. The word of God is our sure foundation. Things change, people change and our plans change but God’s word stays the same. Isaiah 40:8 says, ‘The grass withers and the flowers fall,
    but the word of our God endures forever.’
    Scripture shows us God’s character, His grace, His pursuit of people, His love for us, His wrath, His justice, His goodness. It corrects us and encourages us. It gives us a new outlook and shows us our purpose. We may not know what we are doing 6 months or 6 years from now but God’s word is the same yesterday, today and will be tomorrow.
  4. Jesus is better. We may not be happy with where He’s leading us and there may be emotions that need to be worked through as He’s guiding us, but my sweet friend, there is joy in knowing you are exactly where He wants you to be. Happiness can be so fleeting but true joy comes in knowing you are following after Jesus. He is better, even when it doesn’t always feel like it.
  5. He gives us our daily bread and enough manna to live through the day. What in the world, you may ask? Check out Exodus 16. After Moses led the Israelites into the wilderness, they are hungry and quite grumpy…’hangry’ as some may say. We see God’s provision for them as He provides manna each morning. It was enough to get them through the day, nothing more and nothing less. He provides the same way for us now. Thankfully most of us don’t have to collect our cereal from the streets every morning, but we do need surrender each day to the Lord, asking Him for enough strength, wisdom and grace for the day ahead. Just one day. Not tomorrow or the next year, but just enough for today.

So, we may still awkwardly laugh and say “I don’t know” when people ask of our plans, but we can have confidence in these five things. He takes our dreams and plans, potentially lets them shatter, but only so that He can put the pieces back together to make something more beautiful than we could ever dream. Trust me, He is good. He is faithful. He is better. He is enough. And knowing Him and being more dependent on Him is always worth it.

 

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Hello sweet friends! I am one of the many Sarahs of this world. Next May I will graduate from VCU with my degree in psychology and minor in religious studies. I am thankful for Cru, running, Jesus, cookie dough and YOU! Thanks for letting me share a little bit of my heart with you and how I have learned that Jesus is always better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring Me Anything/Corinne/Alumni

I am so honored and so excited that Brooke has asked me to write this post today. I have to admit, I have found myself at a loss for words. I have found myself questioning what in the world do I have to offer? What wisdom do I have? I graduated college two years ago, I’ve been married for just over nine months and most days I feel like my life is a tornado that keeps spinning in circles and I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground. Then I reminded myself that this is not about me or the knowledge I have to share with you. It’s about Jesus and the way that He is using my crazy life to hopefully encourage you today.

I mentioned that I’ve been married for just over nine months. They have been some of the best nine months of my life and I am so grateful for my husband and the way he leads our marriage. That being said, they have also been some of the most challenging months of my life. I have seen the tragedy and horror of the death of a close family friend. I have seen the pure miracle of life being brought into this world, when at times it seemed impossible. I have seen the excitement and joy of new friendships, but I have also felt the pain as old ones have faded away. I guess you could say that I have been made very aware of the reality of being an “adult”.

rain-on-windowI was driving home from work recently after a somewhat stressful day. I had just found out that the family friend I mentioned earlier was living his last days on this earth and my world seemed to be falling to pieces. A song came on the radio at what was probably the perfect time. It’s an older Christian song, but as it played I found myself singing along and I knew every single word. This time hearing it was different somehow. I paid close attention to the words and they hit my heart in a new way. The song is called “Bring the Rain” by Mercy Me. If you have a few minutes, I strongly encourage you to look up the lyrics or listen, but for the sake of time, I’m going to quote the chorus. It says, “Bring me joy, bring peace, bring the chance to be free. Bring me anything that brings you glory. And I know there will be days when this life brings me pain, but if that’s what it takes to praise you, Jesus bring the rain.” Whoa. Bring me anything that brings you glory.

Those words really struck me in a way that is hard to describe, but I began to wonder, what does it look like when I pray for God to bring me any circumstance, as long as it brings Him glory. Then, what does it look like when I allow Him to be glorified through whatever it is He brings me? That’s kind of a scary thing to pray and ask God for, but again, it made me wonder, how is God glorified in the sickness and death of my friend? How is God glorified in my marriage and my friendships? How is God glorified in the time spent in my car commuting almost an hour to and from work each day? The list could go on and on.

There are so many things in my life that I tend to look at as monotonous, time-consuming, and burdensome. There are also things that I find joyful and awesome. But how can I glorify God through ALL of those situations, not just the joyful ones. I don’t have the answer for you, because quite frankly, I’m still figuring it all out myself. The advice I do have for you, however, is to truly seek how you can be glorifying God through every situation in your life, no matter how big or small, stressful or joyful, because I can promise you that it will change your perspective towards your circumstances and the people around you. So whether you are working away your summer at the local mom-and-pop restaurant, or living out all of your wildest dreams, know that God has given you these opportunities to bring Him the glory that He more than deserves.

 

View More: http://katelynjames.pass.us/sean-and-corinne-wedding

 
Hi! My name is Corinne Robertson and I am a very proud alumni of CNU. I graduated two years ago with a degree in Psychology, but now I run a mobile coffee shop and bakery called The Mix House with two of my three my sisters! It was always our family dream to own a coffee shop/bakery and now we get to live that dream each and every day. I live in the backwoods of Essex County with my husband, Sean. We met through Cru at CNU and were both the Outreach Leader at one point. I went on Summer Mission with Cru to Melbourne, Australia and it was the best summer of my life. I have a big heart for the ministry of Cru and for reaching college students all across the world. Sean and I don’t have any kids or pets, but I cannot wait for the day when we have a pet pig!

P.S. That picture is of me and my mom. I want to be her when I grow up! [photo credit: Katelyn James Photography]

Love is Suffering//Yumi//CNU

Love is suffering.

At least in the case of Jesus Christ it is. If you don’t know Him yet, I’m so excited to introduce you to the greatest friend I have ever known. One who’s Word is the best love story ever written. My savior who weeps out of compassion while I hurt. A God so gracious, He carries me through times of trials instead of only walking by my side. His timing so intentional, I’m often unable to fathom it. A love so wide and long and high and deep that He suffered on the cross for me long before I ever knew what suffering was.

When you spend time reading His story, you will learn of the hurt He endured for you. You will read about the betrayal He experienced and the ridicule He faced. Suffering so heartbreaking it’s difficult to comprehend entirely. You will learn about how He loves you so much, that He overcame this all to save you. And you will understand the incredible inheritance that we now share because of Jesus Christ.

Sometimes Christ will show His goodness to you through growing friendships, sunny skies, and all that’s beautiful in the world.

And sometimes He will show His goodness to you through the pain of unbearable loss and heartbreak. Through misery and agony and rainy days. Through the sorrow that fills our hearts from this temporary world. This goodness is a little harder to understand.

Christ’s disciple James encourages us to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” (1:2-4)

The suffering we experience is intentional. He may not send these heartaches directly, but he graciously allows them in order to develop us. And I hope you find comfort in knowing that our trials are a part of His greater plan to better us entirely. This is His love, my friends. By testing our faith, He encourages us to lean on Him. He welcomes our tears and our brokenness, and hopes we look to Him in the darkness. By doing so we will be given the light and the endurance to keep going. In His name.

We face these trials so we can learn to carry on. Through Christ who strengthens us.

So look to Him, because Jesus is the perfect sympathizer. The shortest verse in the entire Bible:

“JESUS WEPT.” (JOHN 11:35)

Tears of love and sympathy flowed from His eyes at Lazarus’s tomb. He felt compassion for the sisters of this deceased man, and He wept for them.

He knows our hearts, and He knows our sorrow. And He loves us so much that he died for us, but not only so, now He weeps for us in the midst of our sufferings. Christ’s love is a beautiful thing my friends.
I leave you with my favorite poem about His faithfulness through our trials. If you’ve read it before, I encourage you to read it again. If you are unfamiliar with it, take the time to read it. And then read it again.

“One night I dreamed a dream.
As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.4b0f4d8e-5cc9-442c-9c99-458e6f833bf3
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
there was onl
y one set of footprints.

This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it. 
“Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
You’d walk with me all the way.
But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you.”

This is my friend Christ, and He loves you so much.

With Love,

Yumi

 

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Yumi: choosing happiness first, and standing firm in the belief that writing can change lives. Undergraduate student at Christopher Newport University studying Psychology and Religious studies. This past semester I spent a lot of my days in awe at the growth He has provided in me in such a short amount of time, and thankful for His faithfulness through the trials. I strive to live by the verse Colossians 3:14 where Paul tells us to “put on love.”  He loves us so well, and we are called to love just as He does. Thankful to serve such a loving God.