Thursday, November 25, 2010

Just Thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.  I feel... thankful today.  More so, perhaps, than I have in previous years.  Notice the giant image to your left.  Read every word.  It touched me.

As a senior in high school this year, my life has come to a turning point.  I'm about to leave home in a few months and embark on a journey of my own.  My decisions from this point forward will make a huge, huge difference in my life.  When I was younger, if I messed up, it was okay.  My parents took care of everything.  I'll be on my own now, and the decisions I'll be making will be life decisions and not only little ones.

I'm so blessed to have what I have.  I've been given so many important things in my life, I could not even list them all if I tried.  I have...

A family that loves and supports me.  Not even all of my friends have parents who actually care where they are right now or what they're doing for Thanksgiving.  My parents love me and let me know of their affections for me every single day.  They support me in the decisions I make.  They're going to miss me when I leave home.  They'll make the effort to see me as often as they can.  My little brother is adorable, not annoying.  My little sister has a huge heart.  I have grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins who actually strive to spend time together.  No one could have a better family than me.

An education.  I'm graduating from a private school.  I'll be going to a great university.  I'm going to become whatever I want to be in life.  I've been given so many opportunities.

Three meals a day, plus snacks.  Seriously, I get all the food I need and more.  When my stomach starts to grumble in between lunch and dinner, I can easily walk downstairs, open the pantry, and find myself one of thirty different snacks.  How many people in the world have that opportunity?

Clothes.  I have a lot of clothes.  I have a lot of shoes.  My parents have allowed me to lead an amazing, blessed lifestyle that not many people can have.  I am so grateful for the fact that I can feel cool in the summer and warm in the winter and feel confident in myself and my style.

Friends.  I have the best friends in the world.  I'm not just saying that.  I truly do.  Don't believe me?  Ask them.  I've never seen any group of high school friends so devoted to each other, so loyal, so accountable, so devoted to growing in Christ, and so drama free.  We've made lifelong relationships.

My health.  I am generally a very healthy person.  I don't have disease or disability.  I am able to run and dance and spin in circles until I fall over in the grass.  God has given me my health and I am so grateful for that.  God has also given my family and friends their health as well, which is just as important to me.

A roof over my head.  I have never been homeless.  I have always had a place to live and feel warm and protected.  I even have my own room where I can express myself and gain my own independence.  I have a comfortable, warm bed to sleep in.  I have air condition for the summer and a heater for the winter.  I have closets and a bathroom and a kitchen downstairs.  I have so much.

I am so thankful for everything that God has blessed me with during my short lifetime.  I can't even express how grateful I truly feel.  What amazes me is how little of this I've deserved.

Thank you, Jesus.  So much.  I owe it all to You.


What are YOU grateful for?

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This is a poem I wrote for the girl I sponsor through Christian Relief Fund, Lavin.


Of all the people in this big, crazy world,
Of all the schools and houses and towns,
There are so many children: boys and girls,
But it was YOU who I finally found.

It was YOU who God laid on my heart.
It was YOUR friendship I chose to pursue.
YOUR smile, YOUR laugh, the way YOU can sing.
I am so glad that God gave me YOU!


Friday, November 19, 2010

I Need You Here

I Need You Here

Touch my heart when I'm broken.
Touch my heart when I'm whole.
Touch my heart when I'm healing.
I need You here. I need You here.

Break my heart when I'm selfish.
Break my heart when I'm blind.
Break my heart when I'm weary.
I need You here. I need You here.

Know my heart when I'm empty.
Know my heart when I've run.
Know my heart when I'm helpless.
I need You here. I need You here.

Hold my heart when I'm falling.
Hold my heart when I'm tired.
Hold my heart when I'm searching.
I need You here. I need You here.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

I have mise you for a long time.

Lavin is a beautiful little girl.  She's thirteen now.  I first began to sponsor her when she was ten years old.  Lavin lives in a small shack with her mom and uncle, who she calls her step-dad.  Lavin's dad died some years back.  Lavin absolutely adores singing and dancing.  She's very creative and intelligent.  Lavin is meek and quiet, but when she comes out of her shell, nothing can stand in her way.  She's in the fourth grade.

During the summer of 2009, I was given the opportunity to travel to Kisumu, Kenya and meet Lavin in person.  In fact, I was able to spend an entire week at her school.  Lavin and I became friends over that week.  I was very sad to leave her, and even a year and a half later, I still think about Lavin every day and write her frequent letters.

When in Africa, I was given the opportunity to see just how much I blessed Lavin's life through my sponsorship.  I first began to sponsor Lavin when I was fifteen years old and a freshman in high school.  I sacrificed money that came out of my allowance, but I felt that it was worth it.  After visiting Kenya, Africa, I saw how "worth it" my small sacrifice truly was.

After I sponsored Lavin, she was allowed to attend school and receive a real education.  My sponsorship will last through vocational school or a university, so Lavin can become whoever she wants to be.  Lavin is given clothes, a school uniform, and good school shoes.  Lavin is taught spiritually.  She has asked Jesus into her heart.  She has memorized Bible verses for school.  She attends church each Sunday.  She receives three meals a day, which is much more than she would have gotten without a sponsor.  If she becomes sick, Lavin is given treatment at an on-campus clinic.  Lavin receives letters from someone who lives across the world -me- and knows now that she is loved and cherished.

I was blessed after meeting Lavin as well.  Her obvious joy that came from the Lord, her maturity, and her sweet, crooked smile changed the way I viewed my own life.  You can read my journal from when I spent two weeks in Africa here, on my website.

I very recently received a card in the mail from Lavin. I love it.  My little girl is so creative and talented.  I loved to see her drawing of a mud hut, possibly based off of the one in which she lives.  The letter is precious.  I'll go ahead and let you read what it says.

Dear Emily,
Dear Emily I hope that you are fine too.  I have mise you for a long time.  I am writeing this latter for reminding you that I mise you and your famliy too.  I ama working hard in school and at home.  I am helping my parents.  Emily, I want you to come back again with your familiy your sister Am and your brother luke and you also.

Romans 16:19
I like this memori vac [memory verse].
Say that for your obedience has become known to all.  There I am glad on your behalf, but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil.

Philippians 2:11
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the grolry of God and the Father.

If you don't think that's adorable, check out some of Lavin's drawings in the photo above with your own eyes.  So sweet.

I try to write Lavin letters as often as I can because I was able to see how much the letters actually meant to the sponsored children at Lavin's school.  When a child received a letter, she was literally mobbed by other students, who examined every word, photograph, and sticker sheet.  Children keep letters from their sponsor forever.  Most could quote facts about their sponsors and their sponsors' families... just from the letters.  Letters from people in America who care mean so much to these kids.  If you sponsor a child, please write him or her a letter at least twice a year.  It's so important to them.  I can't stress that enough.

I used to wonder as a sponsor if my money actually went anywhere or helped anyone, or if it merely lined the pockets of pompous, greedy executives.  I don't know about other humanitarian organizations, but I do know that Christian Relief Fund strives to truly help as many children as they possibly can.  I was able to witness multiple lives that were changed because of the ministry of CRF.  Without CRF, many children would be dead right now from starvation and disease, possibly even including Lavin.

There were children dressed in ragged clothing standing at the gates of the school, waiting for scraps of food to be given to them for a meal.  They were the unsponsored children.  I turned to look at the sponsored children with their uniforms and big smiles, laughing, singing, and playing lighthearted games before returning to class.  What a difference my sponsorship made on Lavin's life.

If you do not sponsor a child, I strongly recommend you to consider the idea.  When you sponsor a child through Christian Relief Fund, you will receive progress reports, school report cards, personal letters and drawings from your child, and yearly photo updates.  You will be changing a child's life forever, physically, mentally, and spiritually.  When you receive letters and cards from your special child, you will feel touched and excited, eager to see how you have blessed someone's life.

There are so many children waiting for a sponsor right now, eager to have their lives changed.  You could be the one to change a life.  Perhaps God has that purpose for you.  Go to the Christian Relief Fund website here and click on the link that says "Sponsor a Child."  You can also sponsor a family or school.  If you simply do not have the funds to monthly sponsor a child, you can give a seasonal gift by clicking on this link.  There are all sorts of ways that you can give to change a family's life, such as a chicken, a mosquito net, a home in Haiti, and so much more.

I wish I could return to Kenya, just like Lavin asked in her sweet letter.  I wish I could with all of my heart.  When I find the funds to allow me to return to Kisumu and embrace my little girl again, I will speak with her for ages, teach her brand new songs for Jesus, talk to her about her future, and encourage her as much as I possibly can.

For a little girl who lives halfway around the world, for a little girl with whom I've only spent a week of my life, I sure love Lavin.  And if she is this precious to me, I can't even imagine how much Jesus Christ cherishes her and wishes her -and every single other child who lives in a third world country- the best life imaginable.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Special People

A poem I originally wrote for my friend Ali... but also for every girl out there who is looking for a guy who is willing to save himself for his future wife.  I hope you like it too.

Special People

I have always been told I am special,
Made to be cherished and all.
Then I see the boys around me,
And I watch them stumble and fall.

Is there any guy who is special,
Who is saving himself for "the one"?
Sometimes my search can be tiring,
Even though it has only begun.

When I become tired of waiting,
I'll remember who I've chosen to be.
I'm waiting for a purpose and reason,
For the guy who is waiting for me.

I wish I could see what God sees.
Maybe one day I will fall in love.
But for now, here I am waiting,
So I'll make His love be enough.

When it seems like I'm the only one
Who is saving myself in this world,
I'm reminded that I am special, and
Special guys want special girls.

October 3, 2010