To Help You Sleep…//Brooke

One of my dear dear friends has a two year old boy named Connor.  [I still remember the day he was born like it was yesterday– how do days turn into years so quick??] Anyway, if you ask Connor, “What does Daddy say?” He will quickly repeat…”Nooo cwyyyyy. Coseee youurrr eyessss.”  You see Connor has a “problem” with going to bed quickly but for some reason when his daddy comes in to tell him, “No need to Cry, close your eyes” it helps Connor calm down and eventually drift off to sleep!Margaret Berg Art: He is Our Peace Pink Blooms:

I was thinking about this scenario this morning and I wondering what are all the things that Jesus has told us through the Scriptures to bring comfort and put us at rest? A
nd, boy do we all need comfort and rest these days more than ever it seems.  And I feel we are called to carry comfort and rest and prayer to those that are hurting and fearful about the days we are living in.

Here are a few things Jesus says that surround us with Peace:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. John 10:10-11
Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. John 14:6
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33
“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” Matthew 11:30
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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
Good Shepherd.  Truth Teller.  Life Giver.  The Overcomer. The Burden Bearer.  The Power Giver.  The Impossible Provider.
What a God we serve.  What a God that cares. What Peace we know.

Pornography, God, and me/Lauren/CNU

We have a huge God, and when we are going through the motions of life, it can be so easy to forget that. I so easily attain this mindset that underestimates the absolute power that the Lord has, as well as forgets about the sovereignty He has over all of the situations I find myself in. However, over the course of the last few months God has allowed me to experience several different things to serve as reminders of who He is, how I ought to think of Him, and why He deserves to have number one priority in my heart as well as in my life.

Pornography is something that I have struggled with for the past three years of my life. It is still so hard to admit that even now, but the Lord has been teaching me so much recently about amazing things that can come out of being obedient to Him, and in this moment I really feel like this is what He wants me to share today.

My struggle with porn began with simple curiosity that soon turned into something that I suddenly could no longer handle or hide. Pornography is a sin that is so easy to keep a secret. It is also easy to slip into a mindset that says “I can stop whenever I want to,” or “I can handle this on my own.” Both of those beliefs that I had proved to be so wrong and I continued slipping deeper and deeper into sin. Guilt and shame were emotions that I felt constantly because I believed that I was alone in my struggle. As a whole, whenever pornography is talked about in a church setting it is almost always directed towards the guys. I had never heard of girls being addicted to porn and as a result of this I truly believed that I was abnormal or that something was seriously wrong with me. As a result of those feelings, it took almost two years before I finally came clean to someone about what was really going on in my life.  Not only did I feel alone, I also felt as though I was a failure of a Christian and that the Lord had surely given up on me. I couldn’t see how anything good could possibly come out of my seriously messed up life, and I believed that I could never amount to anything in the eyes of God. God, however, felt differently. The Lord provided me with a handful of people over the years who had struggled with the same thing and who were able to disciple me and hold me accountable in my struggle. He never once left me on my own or gave up on me.

This summer I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work at a Christian summer camp in Northern Virginia. This camp encourages it’s counselors to be real with their campers and to share their testimonies with them in order to let the campers know what the Lord has been doing in their lives. Last week, the second week of camp, I got placed with a Co-Ed group of middle schoolers, and I basically decided on day one that I wasn’t going to share my entire testimony with any of the kids. I didn’t want them to know about the specific sin that I had struggled with, so I decided to be pretty vague with them regarding specific details to my testimony. Don’t ask me why I believed that God would let this fly, just know that I thought it would work. Anyways, Thursday night rolls around, and on this night a gospel message is shared during worship and campers are able to receive prayer from staff members at the camp. After worship and having some s’mores with my unit, I decided to  have a girls devotion with all of the girls in my group. As I am in the middle of sharing a devotion on being “be-you-tiful,” to the girls,  I feel the Lord prompting me to share my testimony. At first I tried to ignore God, but after a moment I realized that if the Lord was really laying this on my heart and not letting up, it must be for a reason… so I shared everything with them. The majority of the reactions from my campers were appreciation for my willingness to share with them, however, one of my campers sat in her bed sobbing. I soon came to realize that she had been struggling with pornography and that just as I had been feeling alone and ashamed, she too was experiencing guilt and self-hatred. Her tears, however, were not of embarrassment or even shame, they were of joy. That night after worship, she had prayed to the Lord that He would send her a sign that He was there, that He was real, and that He loved her. Her tears were of joy because the Lord had answered her prayer, and He had done it through my testimony. That night I was able to pray with that camper as she accepted Jesus into her heart for the first time.

God is a m a z i n g. Who else could turn brokenness into beauty, shame into joy, or sin into salvation? That night God reminded me that He has everything in His hands and that He can use any person or situation to bring His children back to Him. Never again will I allow myself to believe that I am too broken to be used to bring glory to the name of Jesus. Never again will I forget about the power that God has or His sovereignty over all situations.

I challenge you to never forget as well.

 

 

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My name is Lauren Radcliff, and I’m a sophomore at CNU. I plan on majoring in Sociology as well as minoring in both Leadership and Communication Studies. I am involved with Cru on campus as well as Extreme Measures, which is a mixed acapella group. So basically, I love to sing and in my free time you could find me making cheese quesadillas or binge watching the Office.

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.