Halloween in Edinburgh, Scotland was definitely an unforgettable experience. Said to be one of the most haunted cities in the world, Edinburgh was full of culture all weekend long. My weekend began with a visit to the old Edinburgh Castle. Inside were many canons, armors, swords, and dungeons. Later in the day, I visited the Elephant House, the famous cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote the first books of the “Harry Potter” series. There I enjoyed a delicious Italian hot chocolate smothered in pink marshmallows and whipped cream. The following day, I climbed up the tallest hill in the area with a large group of my friends from Capernwray. Although the hike was long, and although I was not wearing the proper footwear, the climb was beyond worth it. The view was incredible, and the weather was good to us, giving us blue skies and a slight breeze. That night was Halloween night and we walked the town and admired the fun, and quite interesting, costumes of the locals. An annual zombie walk, which takes place in a different city in the UK every year, was held in Edinburgh this year. We were pleasantly surprised to see a hundred or so zombies walking the streets. It was overall a very enjoyable weekend, but I was happy to be back at my dear Capernwray.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Life is a mystery. The unknown is deeper than the ocean. We are in complete wonder of the life ahead of us. In fact, we don’t even know what will happen 5, 10, 15 minutes from now. Life can even change in a second. But the mystery of life is something we have to learn to deal with. We must learn to face it straight on and learn from each moment that is revealed. And to face mystery is one of the most terrifying things. It’s as though you open a door into a dark room, and you must shut the door behind you. You have no clue what you are facing in that room. It’s horrifying. But in this dark room, in the corner against the wall, a small candle ignites, and a flame begins to flicker in the darkness. At first the flame is barely there, holding on during the sudden breezes gusting in through the window. You cringe as you watch the flame struggle to stay lit. But it endures. It stays alive. And each time it braves the storm, it becomes brighter. You are still sitting there, watching all this happen. Watching the candle struggle and then gain strength. You notice that as the candle does this, the room becomes more and more lit up. First only the slightest amount, but now you begin to feel safe again. You are comforted by the fact that you can see again. After what seems like no time at all, you realize you are sitting in a bright room, with a vibrant smile on your face. The candle is burning strong. You raise to your feet and as you turn to leave the room, a sign on the door reads, “The Lord has fought for you; you needed only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14). You smile even brighter, open the door, and receive your first glimpse. The moment you have been waiting for, the thing you have wanted the most, you are now receiving. It was worth it.
The Lord is fighting for you. He is protecting that candle, your light of hope, as each storm hits and as each day passes. He knows you are worrying. He knows you are struggling. He knows your heart better than anyone else does. He understands, and He is taking care of everything. He drew you into that room for a reason, and because He knew it would be dark, He was that candle for you. Whatever you are going through, whatever you are worrying about, and whatever you are waiting for, God knows. He is protecting your candle and He is fighting for you. So, be still. The time, His time, will come.
Friday, October 22, 2010
blank page. a solid line of black flashes as it stands waiting for you to type something. you think. usually people write what they think, so how come you aren’t writing anything? blank page must mean blank mind. but your mind is far from blank. you have a million thoughts running through it. why is nothing on the page, then? why is it so hard to write what you feel? i’ll tell you why...you are afraid. you’re afraid to write your thoughts down because you know once you write them down, you have to face them. you have to look at the words. and they become real. they become more than random thoughts floating around in your head. fantasy becomes reality. the unreal becomes real. we don’t have to look at our thoughts, but we do have to look at the words we write. but in all of this, transferring your thoughts into words on a white page fills that page with color. good or bad, beautiful or ugly, they color the page. bright yellow spatters over the page as you write about the happiest thing that happened to you today. pink swirls start appearing as the words of your loved ones come up. black dark spots appear as you reflect on the worst part of your day. good or bad, it’s all color. and this color brings the blank white page to life. when I was deciding on a title for my blog, “putting print on blank pages” seemed perfectly appropriate. God gave me a big, heavy book. It opens with June 6, 1992, the day I was born, and ever since then, God’s been filling it with experiences and milestones that make me who I am today, on the page of my 18th year. But God is going to finish this book. He will fill the blank, white pages with vibrant, and sometimes dull, colors of my life. Sometimes, I will admit, I want to take this book myself and fill it with my own colors. I am selfish and I sometimes believe that I can write this book better than God can. But I find as I turn the page at the end of the day, that I am not satisfied with my work, in fact, I hate it. So the next morning, I wake up, and I take the book in my hands, and simply hand it up to the Lord. You see, we are a selfish human world. We want to do things ourselves and we hate being told how to live our lives. But God doesn’t want to live our lives for us, He wants us to live our lives for Him. He wants us to trust Him, and let Him do the work. We just get to sit back, give everything over to Him, and obey as He opens each door for us to walk through. Often times, we try to break in through the window instead of patiently waiting for God to open the door for us. We need patience. And sometimes, God will crack open the door ever so slightly, and He gives us a hint into the things we are about to receive, but we must wait. We must not try to push the door open anymore than it is already open. God is behind it, waiting until He is ready to open it for us. So I say to you, give up your books, and wait patiently outside the door. The time will come, and the pages will fill with vibrant, beautiful colors.
Monday, October 18, 2010
how does one go about knowing the meaning of love before they themselves experience it? how is it that we go for so long not knowing, yet think we do? in reality, love is something none of us will ever be able to fathom. we love our mothers and our fathers, we love our friends, and we love our spouses and children. but this love is only human love. when are we ever able to understand the ultimate love? God’s love. the love that includes Him dying for us. when will we ever completely understand His unconditional love for us? my answer?...never. at least not until we meet Him face to face and we are able to see His love for us in His eyes. that’s when we’ll know. without a doubt in the world. to see it in His eyes will be to actually understand love. to understand love as it states in 1 corinthians 13. “Love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. love never fails.” you see, only God has the ultimate love. only His love is flawless and perfect.
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Also this week, my roommate Kaiya and I took time to sit and talk about things that we have been struggling with. At the end of our discussion, we both agreed to hold each other accountable and pray for one another, as we are both seeking guidance and strength from the Lord. Since I need more patience with God in my life, I wrote the word “patience” on my wrist. I see it randomly throughout the day and it is a reminder of the patience I must have with my future and the events to happen in my life.
Learning is the essence of life. Without it, we do not become the people in which we are supposed to be. Through every stage of life, there is learning, and this learning brings on the next stage of life. Those who do not learn, will only be as a broken record, repeating the same things over and over again. The Lord teaches us some of the most valuable lessons in life. Although we learn lots from our peers and from our families, we learn the most important, most life changing things, from the Lord. Except these lessons require one thing: an open heart. Without this openness, our human hearts are closed doors, not willing to open for the lessons God is trying to give us. This is what I’ve learned this week...that an open heart means more lessons learned. A willingness to except that we are wrong, even when times aren’t troubling. It’s easy to go to the Lord when you are desperate. It’s easy to do anything when you are desperate. But going to Lord on any other day for the small things in life, makes all the difference. This week, when I had fully opened my heart, the Lord revealed great things to me. People that I have been praying for for months, even years, found hope and a second chance. And someone I love the most was saved from the thing that worries me the most. God is in every bit and piece of our lives and He is so in love with us that He wants us to see Him. He wants us aware of His love and compassion for us. So, I challenge you this week. Open up. Open up to what God wants to show you because, I promise, it’s worth it.
My experience at Capernwray thus far has been greater than I hoped for. My roommates and I have already grown so close and we feel as though we’ve known each other for years. Last night was game night and all 175 students had such a blast! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard in all my life. Even after the official “game night” ended, a smaller group of students started other games and we played until curfew. It was such a great night and it was a great opportunity for us all to get to know each other even better. I’m having so much fun, and life is very busy, but as I went for a run this week, I was able to stop for a moment and thank God for this incredible opportunity. I was running up a hill and as I reached the top, I turned onto a trail in the forest, and as the trail ended, up came a gate which overlooked hills and pastures filled with sheep. What an amazing view that was. As my time here continues to be filled with excitement, I need to remember to stop every day, look around at my surroundings, and thank my Lord for this blessing and all the others He has given me.
Friday, October 1, 2010
Week number one is coming to a close. As I reflect on the events it has held, I can do nothing but form a large grin on my face. I said goodbye to my father last Saturday and teared up as he drove away from the castle, but as I turned around and looked out across the English countryside, sheep grazing and hills rolling, I wiped the single tear from my face and thanked the Lord that I was there. My roommates are wonderful. God has truly blessed us with a fantastic room of girls, all a bit silly, yet yearning to learn more about our Father’s Kingdom. Lectures began and I already am overwhelmed with information that I have never been exposed to before. But no worries, I’m loving it. Every bit of knowledge has opened new gates along the road of faith that I am walking on. I also found an abundance of people to meet; people representing 16 different countries around the world. And although every bit of free time I get, I want to head to the main lounge and talk with some of them, I still have made time for quiet time with my Lord. The “Quiet Lounge” has been good to me, surrounding me with old-English style wallpaper, a fire place, and large castle windows. But I have even more so enjoyed walking among this countryside every day. I walk down to a pond, saying “hello” to the frequent sheep I pass, and I sit on the same rock that my sister called her quiet place 2 years ago. There is a comfort in knowing that she talked to God there as well. But on the sunny, and not so muddy, days, I walk a bit farther to what I refer to as “The Alice Tree”. My roommate, Kat, and I discovered it and it delightfully reminds us of Alice in Wonderland. But this tree, which stands alone on the top of a high hill, will be my special place for the next 9 months. From under this tree, I can see for miles. I can see the castle surrounded by trees, the Lake District in the distance, and hundreds of sheep grazing the bright green fields. From under this tree, I look across the countryside at God’s beautiful creation, His absolutely perfect masterpiece. The only piece of artwork ever created perfectly by its artist. As I run down the hill towards the castle again, I remind myself of one thing....the best year of my life is just beginning.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
After nearly two years of looking forward to this day, it’s finally here, and I can honestly say, it doesn’t seem real. It’s amazing how I can make myself believe that I’m prepared for something, but then when it actually comes, I feel as though I didn’t know it was coming. Everything I’ve ever known is about to change completely. Not only am I leaving home, but I’m leaving the country that I’ve found comfort in for the last 18 years. I’ve always been one for adventure, but it is strange to think about how much life is going to change. I wish I could tell you what I expect from this year, but I sincerely have no idea. I have no clue what the Lord is going to teach me and how those teachings will transform me, but the unknown can be a very exciting thing, and I’m eager to see what the Lord has in store for me. The adventure is just about to begin...
my new home, Capernwray Hall