Friday, March 18, 2011

Spiritual Discipline

Okay, so I promised I would explain the verse from last time. Hebrews 12. How did I stumble upon this chapter? The only answer I can come up with is that God pointed me toward it. There is simply no other explanation. About six weeks ago, I had to choose a spiritual discipline to practice for five weeks for a religion class. I decided to focus on meditation of a scripture passage. I literally didn't know where to start...I mean, I had the whole Bible, 2,000 pages and all, to choose from. Somehow I just opened it up to Hebrews and the first page I turned to was Hebrews 12. It looked interested, so I read the chapter. Then I reread the first 6 verses. And reread them again. And really started to think about the message being taught here. 

Over the next few weeks I studied and memorized Hebrews 12:1-5. As I read the words they began to establish a permanent place in my mind, reminding me of their message. Then the strangest and most amazing thing happened: I began to see this Bible passage everywhere in my life. At church on Sunday my pastor read the passage, in my Perspectives class the speaker recited it, and I even saw Hebrews 12:1 in an Anchor article (Hope's newspaper). Initially I didn't know what to make of this. While I definitely noticed the consistency of this passage in my life, I couldn't comprehend why. What was God trying to tell me? 

Soon I got the answer. Two weeks ago I received a phone call from my parents with some very shocking and sad news. I didn't know what to think or do. That night, I went to Lemonjello's with some friends to get some coffee (or as I prefer, a Pink Heaven. yum!) and I told them what I had found out. They were all very supportive and comforting. Then as I was walking back to the library to finish some homework, I had a revelation. Hebrews 12:1. Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses. My friends were the great cloud of witnesses. They were surrounding me with love. God had prepared me for this news by reiterating that verse over the past week. Wow. God is awesome!

A week later as I was waiting at a stoplight, I glanced at the license plate of the car in front of me, which said "HEBRWS 12". Yet another way God is reassuring me that everything will be okay. I am strong with God by my side. I can do this. He will get me through the rough days. If you are reading this right now and know what I'm going through, thank you. You are so appreciated. I will leave you with this suggestion:

Open up your Bible to Hebrews 12 and read verses 1-6. Let it sink in. God is good. :)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

     The time has come. The time when I don't know what comes next. Over the past few months I have realized that this is the first time in my entire life when I actually don't know where I will be and what I will be doing in a year. I graduated from high school and knew I would go to college. Now that I'm two months away from graduating from Hope College (a small liberal arts school in Holland, Michigan), I can still imagine my life going in a million different directions. These past four years have been filled with hard work, fun memories, and lots of learning, but soon I will be starting a new and fresh chapter of my life. So as I prepare to step out into the "real world" I will be reflecting on the challenges, joys, and surprises of this journey into adulthood. I hope to remain connected to old friends over this next season, but also develop new and different relationships and experience things I never dreamed of. I anticipate growing mentally and spiritually through the adventures God brings me! As I think about this transition, a very special verse comes to mind:

"Therefore, since you are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
~ Hebrews 12:1

 More on this later. Thanks for reading!