Monday, February 20, 2012

God is my Refuge

Hi everyone! 
There is so much going on here. The business of classes and homework, the day to day tasks one must do, making new friends and worshiping God together in His creation, and so many more great things that I would love to share... but today I felt like sharing what has been on my heart instead :) 
I have had this excerpt from C.H Spurgeon saved on my desktop for months now and read it quite often. I am so glad I know where to run when I need a place of refuge! 
I hope it blesses you as it does me. 

"The eternal God is thy refuge."--Deuteronomy 33:27
The word refuge may be translated "mansion," or "abiding-place," which
gives the thought that God is our abode, our home. There is a fulness
and sweetness in the metaphor, for dear to our hearts is our home,
although it be the humblest cottage, or the scantiest garret; and
dearer far is our blessed God, in whom we live, and move, and have our
being. It is at home that we feel safe: we shut the world out and dwell
in quiet security. So when we are with our God we "fear no evil." He is
our shelter and retreat, our abiding refuge. At home, we take our rest;
it is there we find repose after the fatigue and toil of the day. And
so our hearts find rest in God, when, wearied with life's conflict, we
turn to Him, and our soul dwells at ease. At home, also, we let our
hearts loose; we are not afraid of being misunderstood, nor of our
words being misconstrued. So when we are with God we can commune freely
with Him, laying open all our hidden desires; for if the "secret of the
Lord is with them that fear Him," the secrets of them that fear Him
ought to be, and must be, with their Lord. Home, too, is the place of
our truest and purest happiness: and it is in God that our hearts find
their deepest delight. We have joy in Him which far surpasses all other
joy. It is also for home that we work and labour. The thought of it
gives strength to bear the daily burden, and quickens the fingers to
perform the task; and in this sense we may also say that God is our
home. Love to Him strengthens us. We think of Him in the person of His
dear Son; and a glimpse of the suffering face of the Redeemer
constrains us to labour in His cause. We feel that we must work, for we
have brethren yet to be saved, and we have our Father's heart to make
glad by bringing home His wandering sons; we would fill with holy mirth
the sacred family among whom we dwell. Happy are those who have thus
the God of Jacob for their refuge!
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon 

I am happy. How about you? 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Being Uncomfortable

Sean and I have been here now for two weeks and one day. It feels like much longer and yet we haven't really even begun what we came here for. We came here to go to Bible College, right? Well, it seems as if there might be a different, and much greater purpose in us coming here. I have always said that being in an uncomfortable place is the very best spot you can be because then you are forced to be totally dependent on the Lord and rely on His strength rather than your own. Well, that's exactly where I am. I've been heavy hearted lately about my need for Him and my lack of knowing how to get more of Him. Here I am about to start Bible school and all I can think about is going home. Why? I love the sun here, I am so excited about the upcoming semester and this exciting new adventure! But, I am uncomfortable. Everything I know is pretty much back home. Where to find the best deals on groceries, where the sweetest hiking, running, spending alone-time-with Jesus spots are, where I can run when I'm having a hard day. But here, I only have a couple things I know. My thoughts for the last week have been so caught up in what I am lacking. So from now on, rather than focusing on what I don't have, I am going to focus on what I do. It's so easy to get stuck in the lack-there-of and not to rejoice in the things that are so amazing right in front of me. I have Jesus. Isn't that enough? Though I am so uncomfortable, He is near. He is my comfort, He is my joy, He is my everything. I could not and will not be able to last a second without recognizing His presence in my life.

It's been a hard last week. I've spent so much time worrying about finances, wishing I had friends here, hoping that each day would go by quicker, desiring God to show me what I'm to do with all my time and all along He was just whispering gently to me, "Come away with Me." It took me what seems like an eternity to finally figure this out. I've struggled with questioning whether or not He really led us down here, how He will provide for our needs, if I get too sick what will I do, why my body seems to be constantly in some sort of pain. All of these things are real, and He cares about them, but He is also real. He has lifted my burdens and is renewing my strength. One of my favorite verses has always been;

"Yet, those we wait on the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary." 
-Isaiah 40:31(NASB)
Wow! I never realized that so many years down the road I would need that encouragement so much! I am so thankful the truth that has become a reality in my heart. I will become strong, I will not grow weary, as I wait on my King. He leads me, He guides me, and I would be a fool to listen to the lies that say otherwise. 
I hope you are encouraged today that no matter how uncomfortable you are, there is nothing like have Jesus right beside you saying, "Come away with Me." 
Have a Jesus filled day and never forget who you are in Christ! 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Welcome February

It's not January anymore, crazy! 
The last couple of days have flown by! I felt like the first week here was as slow as a slug right after eating its birthday cake... and some turkey. That stuff makes me feel slow at least. 
It's nice that it has gone by a little faster. We've actually had stuff to do this week. 
The Marriage Cafe that we went to on Monday night was really fun! It was nice being around other married couples and the guy speaking was really encouraging. Sean and I feel so blessed that we have been able to get so much wisdom poured into us regarding marriage and communication. It was a much better time then the day before. We will for sure be going back this next Monday! 

I made this on Tuesday evening! 
It looks kind of weird in this picture but it was really good! It's a Senegalese recipe called Mafe. Growing up in west Africa, we had all kinds of yummy food and this was one of our favorites! It has a peanut sauce base which makes the whole dish! It's so mouth watering! I made it with pork, carrots, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes. Then you pour it over rice! So good! And I made way too much so now we have lots of leftovers. Which was the point.  My Mom made it for Sean and I just a couple weeks ago before we moved and so I was inspired to make it myself! It turned out really well for my first time! :) Thanks Mom! 

Today Sean and I decided to go adventuring. He had an interview this morning at a really cool coffee shop and he thought it went really well! So he came home with lots of energy. I wasn't feeling very well but I knew that going out and doing something would at least cheer up my soul. Side note... for those of you who don't know me, or don't know this part of me.... I love to go out and do things. I love being home and cozy up with a blanket and fire and watch movies and bake and all that fun stuff too! But more than all of that I love to feel the breeze in my face and have a sense of adventuring! I love going places I've never been before and seeing new things. That's one of the biggest reasons I love going hiking and camping. Exploring God's creation is probably one of my favorite things in the entire world. I would rather go to a new place and risk it not being as "magical" as another one just for the pure chance that it could be more so. I love the idea that there could be something breath taking around the next bend. So with all of that, we decided to go on a hiking adventure. Sean decided to find a place for us on his sweet app called "AllTrails" and I got ready. Pretty soon we were out the door and on our way. We start driving down the freeway and as soon as the scenery went from brown to green I knew we were heading in a good direction. We see our exit and I am beyond excited! It's beautiful! All the different colors of the rainbow and so many rolling hills! Man, I was so stoked to see where we were heading. So we drove for another about ten minutes and finally arrived at our destination. I love river trails because it's always so much greener and there is more chance of cool little creatures roaming around :) So we start on the trail and instantly, I was in love. This was the first glance down the trail from about fifteen feet from the trail head. 
"The Lord is my Light and my Salvation." 

It was magical! 
Even though I wasn't feeling the greatest, I just kept being reminded of God's goodness. I am thankful for Him today and how much He desires to lavish His love on us. I keep finding myself stuck in a mindset of worrying and Sean so graciously read me these verses this morning, "The LORD is the Light of my salvation- whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life. Of whom shall I be afraid?" Psalm 27:1
I have nothing to worry about. Though I can't see what's in front of us and how God will provide, I believe with all my heart that He led us down here and He will provide for us as we walk in His ways. It seems so silly to worry when you look at how amazing God is. He is the perfect father. 
The rest of our hike was great! I wanted to skip down the trail and sing! It was perfect. I'm grateful for Sean to have found this place. It might be my new favorite spot... well, at least for this season of life. I'm pretty sure my favorite place ever is not in this state ;) 

Here's one of Sean on the trail.

We saw a few people trail running so we decided we would have to come back again to indulge in another one of our favorite things :) Running with a sinus headache did not sound like fun thought. Ha! I have a sinus headache. Doesn't that sound lovely? Whenever I meet people I feel the need to say "I promise I don't always sound this nasally, really, I don't." Oh well, I guess I will be known for awhile as the girl with the nasally voice. I'm praying it goes away soon. 
Well, I guess that's all for now. I'm really bad at goodbyes. 

Oh ya! I forgot to tell you! Hold on, just one minute, I'll be right back...