Saturday, April 30, 2011

Being Like Him

As far back as I can remember, my mom has always told me to be careful what I say or do because my little sister and her friends look up to me.  If I mess up, they might follow my example.  I used to think that was silly.  Why would she look up to me?  I'm her sister, for crying out loud.  The older I've gotten, the more I've heard the same thing from other people.  My daughter looks up to you.  Remember that you're a leader to younger girls.  I'll admit I used to think that was an excuse for adults to try to convince me (and other girls my age) to do the right thing.

As time has passed and especially over this last year or two, I've noticed that what adults have told me is true.  Younger girls do look up to me and my friends.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that's a big responsibility.

I've always been the oldest child in my family, so I think it's taken me longer than most to realize how much my little siblings do look up to me.  I've never had an older sibling I admired.  But over time, I've slowly begun to realize that my sister has looked up to me as a leader and a role model since she was a baby who would mimic my silly hand motions and short words.

A month or two ago, some of my close friends and I went to our church's youth group and spoke to the middle school girls about purity.  I was a little concerned that they wouldn't care what we were saying, that they would think it was silly that girls only five or six years older than them were coming to speak.  However, the moment we sat down in the chairs and began to talk, the girls watched us attentively.  They seemed to genuinely want to hear what we had to say.  Many had eager questions for us about our opinions on dating and premarital sex and teenage pregnancy.

That night was a moment when I realized that younger girls do look up to me.  The way I live my life is being closely watched by the young girls around me.  My actions may even be repeated.

I don't know how old you are, but even if you're one of my youngest readers, there are girls younger than you who are watching the way you act and the things you say.  They look up to you and are watching to see how you decide to live your life.  Somewhere right now there is a little girl who wants to be just like you.

Process that for a moment.

There is a little girl somewhere who wants to be you.

This should drastically affect the way we treat the people around us.  How could I ever stand to snap at my mom over the phone when there are younger girls watching me and thinking to themselves, "She's really cool.  I want to be like her.  It must be okay to treat my mom like that."  How could I ever wear immodest and provocative clothes that I wouldn't feel comfortable seeing on my little sister?  How could I ever switch from boyfriend to boyfriend before the eyes of young girls who are watching to see how they're supposed to be in a few years?

We are their example.

Sometimes I hate considering myself to be any kind of role model because I make so many mistakes every single day.  I'll never be "good enough" to be a true role model for young girls.  Jesus Christ should be the One we strive to be like.  We should want to be like Him.  However, not all little girls understand that fact.  Instead, they look to older girls like you and me when they want to know how to act and who to be like.

We'll always mess up.  We're sinful.  We're human.  The fact that little girls are looking to us to see how to act should inspire us to strive to be the best role models and leaders we can be.  Since we'll never be good enough role models on our own, let's strive to be like Jesus Christ.  What better way to encourage and lead little girls than by showing them Him through us?

Friday, April 29, 2011

My Family

Day 27: What do you like best about each member of your family?

Me and Dad jpgDad
I like my dad's sense of humor.  Even though sometimes he's embarrassing, he's funny and isn't afraid to be himself... around anyone.  A lot of people like my dad.  Just about wherever I go, someone asks me if I'm my dad's daughter.  They then proceed to go on and on and on about how much they love him and how funny he is.  "Punch your dad in for me.  Make sure your dad behaves.  Tell your dad I'll be thinking about him during the next Cowboys game.  Tell your dad I said hi."  I've heard these things hundreds of times.

But because of his popularity, my dad has been able to be a great witness and leader in our community.  There's something about him that makes people respect him.  It's a God-given gift.  I admire my dad a lot.

I like how my mom was made to be a mom.  She devotes everything in her life to her kids and has even become a mom of sorts to some of my friends.  She's loving and nurturing and often knows just what to say.

As I've grown older, Mom and I have become friends.  We spend a lot of time together and I've enjoyed that a lot.  I love to eat lunch with my mom and see a movie with her.  It's nice to spend time with my mom and have fun.  A lot of moms don't allow that kind of relationships to occur between them and their kids, but my mom does.  I'm so glad about that.

amy and me jpgAmy
I like Amy's enthusiasm.  It doesn't matter what she's doing.  She'll give each task her all.  She has a passion for everything around her.  She has a passion for life.

You can read Amy like a book.  When she is sad, she cries.  When she's happy, she laughs and becomes extremely excited.  When she's angry, she screams.  At times, this is a trait I don't like, but this can also be admirable.  Amy isn't fake.  I'm not sure if she knows how to be fake.  She's very sincere and passionate, no matter what she's doing.

luke and me jpgLuke
I like Luke's sweet spirit.  Not many little 11-year-old brothers are as sweet as mine is.  As he's grown older, he sometimes tries to hide his sweet spirit behind a "cool" or tough guy exterior, but he can't hide it all the time.  I have so many sweet memories of Luke from when he was a little boy, like when he gave me a big hug after I dressed up to go to a school dance, saying, "You are beautiful."

When I'm sick, Luke often comes and gives me a hug, even if that isn't necessarily cool for a fifth grade kid to do.  A lot of my friends say they're jealous of such a cute little brother.  It's true... when it comes to little brothers, mine isn't that bad at all.


What do you like best about your family? 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Letter to Little Me

Day 26: If you could write a letter to your 13-year-old self, what would it be?

Dear thirteen-year-old me,

That's right.  This is me writing to you.  Yourself... from the future.  Cool, right?

i love everybody.jpgFirst of all, I want to tell you that you are worth something.  God has made you with a purpose.  You have value.  You are loved, even if you don't feel like it right now.  Your struggles are being noticed right now by your family and your friends.  They want to talk to you and love on you and help you, but you're pushing them away.  If you can only break open your walls and let them in, you'll be opening yourself to so much love and care.

You're beautiful.  Even if you don't feel like it, you are.  You're worth so much more than how you treat yourself.  When you hurt yourself, you're hurting everyone who loves you, including God.  I know you don't believe in Him right now, but He does exist.  He's there.  He's holding your hand, just like you always used to imagine when you were little.  Jesus adores you.  It makes Him so, so sad when you hurt the body He's made just for you.

Don't be afraid to fit in a little bit. I know you call yourself an "anti-conformist" but you can be unique without pushing yourself away from everyone.  Talk to people.  Smile at people.  Dress cute, even if someone else has a somewhat similar style.  Be yourself, Emily, but don't try to be so unique that you become someone other than who God made you to be.  Your shyness has overtaken you.  If you allowed yourself to open up just a little bit, you'd make so many more friends.  You wouldn't feel nearly as P1000516.JPGalone as you do now.

I wish I could take you aside and give you a huge hug and talk to you in person.  I know that's weird because you're me, but I remember myself from age thirteen and I was so broken.  You're so broken.  That emptiness you feel inside is the place where God needs to be.  Let Him in.  Follow His plan for you.  He wants you to serve the needy and the lost.  You have that passion... you just haven't found it yet.  Serving the hungry will give you so much joy, Emily.  The Lord wants you to love.  He wants you to feel joy and peace, not pain and fear.

He made you special, Emily.  I wish you could see that much earlier than you do.  God has made you for a purpose, and it's a big one.


P.S. Please grow out your hair, bangs, and get contacts.  Thanks. :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The clock is ticking.

Day 25: How is God working in your life right now?

Right now, God is working in my life in a lot of different ways.  I've been having a lot of struggles about which school I'm going to attend and what God wants for my future.  In my enrollments, mistakes have been made and minds have been changed.  I've been forced to wait, be disappointed, and then sit down and wait again as my hopes rise to the ceiling.  I think God's been pigeons in jpgteaching me patience a lot lately.

I'm a generally impatient person.   I hate it when I plan to meet a friend and she's more than a few minutes late.  When I have to wait, I start to feel fidgety and restless.  I become extremely annoyed if I have to wait longer than six or seven minutes.  Once I made Ali buy me something as penalty for making me wait thirty minutes. ;)

I can get impatient with God at times too.  If I've been praying for something big in my life and He isn't seeming to answer, I start to feel angry and offended.  But honestly, who am I to ask anything of God?  I'm nothing compared to Him.  I'm so blessed that He's given me worth at all.

Patience is something I need to learn and I think it's also something that God is slowly teaching me this year.

He's also teaching me selflessness.  It's very easy to become self-absorbed during such a crazy time as this.  Whether it's through the stories of those in third world countries who are dying each day from preventable issues like malaria and hunger or whether it's through small areas of my life like sharing my room with my best friend or learning what it's like to give up a piece of my schedule for someone else... God is slowly working in my life and teaching me how to be more self-sacrificing.

And of course, God is working in my life by showing me that He's there.  I mean, this is my senior year.  I have only a month left of school.  Life is pretty crazy right now.  Yet God is here.  He's taking care of me.  He loves me and He reminds me of that each and every day.

Here are today's questions.
1.) How is God working in your life right now?
2.) Are there any struggles that you're going through? Any prayer requests?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Embarrassing photos... of me AND Ali

Day 24: Who is someone who changed your life for the better?

My best friend Ali has changed my life for the better.

We became friends in the fifth grade, when we were both eleven.  I had just moved to this new school after having previously been P1010518.JPGhome schooled.  I was terribly shy, self conscious, and a little weird.  Ali was the first friend I made at my new school.  Despite how shy I was, Ali stepped forward and befriended me with open arms and a sweet smile.

We've been friends ever since.

Ali has changed my life by encouraging and uplifting me throughout difficult times I've gone through.  I've tried to do the same for her.  Ali is stubborn and loyal, and she always manages to keep a smile, despite some tough situations.

We have a lot of... interesting memories together.  Silly moments, like when we were driving home and thought we saw a dead body in the middle of the road.  Or when we'd sneak to Braum's together without anyone knowing.  Or when we stayed up all night discussing how to end world hunger.  With those kinds of memories, we've become best friends.

I could never ask for a better friend than that I have in Ali.

I'll share a few pictures of our high school years to take your mind off of the awkward fifth grade picture I can't believe I showed you above.  Don't tell Ali. :)

Here we are on the last day of school, Sophomore year.  I don't know why I love this picture so much, but I do.  It's framed right above my computer screen.
This picture is of Ali and I dancing at last year's prom.  During that particular dance, neither of us had a partner, so we decided to dance together.  We were holding each others' arms because we always argue about who is the "guy" in our best friend relationship.  IMG_5296.JPG
This is us on last year's TOMS Day Without Shoes.
We went bowling here.  I love Ali's face.
On Nerd Day at school.
After a service project at school.
When we put too much makeup on each other.
At an A&M game... taken from my mom's iPhone.
Emily and Ali at A&M jpg
And a picture of us together as sisters.
Emily and Ali head jpg
I love you, Ali.  I'm so glad you're in my life.  You've definitely changed me for the better and I'm so glad we've gotten to stay together this year. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Is the Trinity Biblical?

Many Muslims claim that Christians are polytheists because Muslims do not believe such a thing as the trinity could ever be possible.  The Qur'an does say in surah 5:73, "They do blaspheme who say God is one of three,... for there is no God except one God."  It may be surprising to some, but as a Christian, I agree with surah 5:73.  God is not one of three gods.  He is three beads-of-water.jpggods in one.

It is true that the word "trinity" is never once mentioned in the Bible.  However, there are several verses in Biblical scripture that confirm such a belief.  The Lord is incomprehensible.  We will never be able to understand His entire being.  Because of that, He has shown us Himself through three pictures: as a Father, as a Son, and as a Spirit.  There are many verses in Scripture that reference the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as three unique entities but as one unified being.  I'll list a few of them at the bottom of this page.

Christians firmly believe in absolute monotheism.  Deuteronomy 6:4 says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!"

I read this in a book called "More Than A Prophet" and loved it, so I thought I'd share it here.  "Skeptics have said that Christianity defies logic, making 1+1+1=1?  This is a misunderstanding.  The Trinity is not a triplex (by ice-cube-tray-400x600.jpgaddition) but a triunity (by multiplication).  'His one essence has multiple personalities.  Thus, there is no more of a mathematical problem in conceiving the Trinity than there is in understanding 1 to the third power (1³)' (Answering Islam, 282)" (More than a Prophet, 341-45).

Christians and Muslims both believe in Jesus Christ.  As a Christian, I believe Jesus Christ is God and the Messiah, while Muslims believe Him to be a prophet, similar to Muhammad.  Most Muslims believe the Injil -the first four Gospels of the Bible- to be a message of truth from the Lord.  If Jesus Christ is a prophet, He cannot be a deliberate liar, can He?  In John 10:30, Jesus said to a group of people, "I and the Father are One" and was nearly stoned by the Jews for His words because He was calling Himself God.

A prophet of the Lord would not be a blasphemer, would He?  Either Jesus was blasphemous or He was telling the truth.  In Matthew 16:16-17, when Peter said, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God," Jesus did not rebuke him as one who was only a prophet would.  Instead, He commended Peter and said, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven."

steam oh steam jpgIf Jesus was a prophet, He must have been telling the truth in what He said and in order for Him to be telling the truth, He must be God.


Agree?  Disagree?  Feel free to share your opinions in the comments, so long as you are civil and respectful.  Otherwise your comment will be deleted.


Here are a few verses that reference the trinity-
+ 1 Peter 1:1-2
+ John 1:1-2
+ Colossians 2:9
+ Matthew 10:18-20
+ Acts 5:3-9
+ 1 Corinthians 1:21-22
+ 2 Corinthians 13:14     

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Body

On a dark and eerily silent night, Ali and I were driving home in my car.  I'm not sure where we had gone, but it was already dark outside.  I live out in the country, so we have to take many long, shadowed, and winding roads to get home.  On that particular day, Ali and I were lost in conversation, casually watching the road while we shared stories and jokes.

And then we saw something.

There was a dark object in the road.  The object was fairly large and sprawled out.  I had to swerve a little to avoid hitting whatever it was.  Ali and I both shrieked, turning behind us to see whatever had been in the road, but it was too late.  The object had vanished into the inky darkness behind us.

"What was that?" I asked in a hushed voice.

Ali was still peering into the night while I focused on the road.  "I couldn't tell.  It looked big.  What do you think it was?"

"It looked like... a body."  I was half joking and half unsure.  What I saw had thrown me off guard.  I wasn't sure what the thing could have been.  "Maybe it was a dead cow."

"I think I saw an arm."  Ali turned back towards the road.  Her face betrayed her concern.  "Maybe you should turn around."

But what if the killer is still out there?  The unspoken question lingered in the air, something we both were wondering but were too afraid to say aloud.  I swallowed hard.  "Do you think it really was a man?"

"I don't know.  It was sure something," Ali whispered.

I hesitated.  "I probably should.  If I was injured and left on the side of the road, I'd want someone to stop for me."  The road was one way, so we took a quick right utrn and looped around, turning onto the same dark road as before.  This time, the car was silent.  We'd turned off the radio and didn't dare speak, searching desperately for the large form we had seen before.

We passed the object again, this time screeching to a halt a few yards away.  It nearly blended into the darkness and we squinted through the windows of my car to try to make out what the bundle possibly could be.  "I can't see," Ali said in a low voice.

I pulled my car into park in the middle of the road and we looked at our hands for a moment, quiet.  We both knew what had to be done.  We needed to make sure the bundle wasn't a dead or injured person.  If we couldn't see what it was from the safety of my vehicle, then we knew we had to get out of the car and approach the object... in person.

"Okay, let's get out and go look," I finally said, grasping my cellphone in my palm.  Somehow, carrying my phone always makes me feel safer.  If someone tried to kill or kidnap us, I could call for help.  Possibly.

A look of terror crossed over Ali's face.  "You go look," she gasped.

"I'm the driver.  If someone came after me, you'd be stuck in the passenger seat anyways.  Logically, you're the one who should go look so I could be ready to take off when you jump in."

After a few moments of debate, we decided to go together.  Side by side, our arms brushing each other for comfort, Ali and I left the security of my car and stepped into the cool night air.  We could hardly make out the silhouette of the object in the darkness.  Trembling, we crept closer until we could clearly see the shape of the arm, limp and grotesque under the light of the moon.

"Can you tell what it is?" Ali whispered.

I took another step closer and then burst into laughter.  I could hear the sound of my voice- nervous, relieved, embarrassed.  Ali began to laugh as well.  The body wasn't a body at all.  It wasn't a dead man or even a dead cow.  It was only a large black trash bag full of clothes.  The bag must have been run over at some point, flattening it slightly and cuasing a few of the items of clothing to spill out.  This would explain the limp "arm."

Despite the fact that there was no dead body after all, Ali and I hurried to scramble back into my warm, safe car.  After all, the night was still pitch black and eerily silent.  Monsters and spooks of all kinds seemed to be lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack.  Ali and I chattered nervously the rest of the way home, both feeling a little sheepish.  Something as silly as a trash bag had frightened the living daylights out of us.

But hey... it could have been an actual body.  It's possible.  Improbable, but possible.

This story was a dramatic telling of a true story.

Friday, April 22, 2011

You make me very angry.

Day 23: What is a quality about yourself that you like? That you're striving to change?

Just to clear this up... I probably sat here and stared at this computer screen for ten minutes, trying to decide what quality about myself that I like well enough to write about.  It feels like bragging.  But honestly, everybody has good qualities and I should be confident enough in myself to admit one of my own good qualities.  No worries... I have plenty of bad ones to even them out.

IMG_9003.JPGI like my loyalty.  I'm a loyal person.  It takes a lot for me to pull away from a friendship.  I think my loyalty stems from my stubbornness.  I'm very, very, very stubborn, which can be a good thing at times and a very bad thing at others.  :)  I feel like Mr. Monk.  "It's a gift... and a curse."  But anyways, I think I'm loyal because of my stubbornness when it comes to giving up on a friendship.  It takes a lot for me to break ties with a good friend.

I may not be as shy as I was when I was in Jr. High, but I'm still a reserved person.  While I'm casual friends with many people, it takes a lot for someone to become a truly close friend of mine.  When I finally break down my walls and make a close friend, I feel very loyal towards them and it will take a lot to break us apart.  I love my friends to death.  And I like that.  Loyalty is a quality that admire in others as well and one that I like in myself.  My best friend is very loyal, which I love. :)

A quality that I'm striving to change about myself is my tendency to hold grudges.  When someone hurts me or makes me angry, I tend to hold everything inside and feel bitter towards them.  I keep a grudge instead of talking things out.  I don't like that about myself because God commands us to forgive, not to hold angry thoughts inside.

I still struggle with a couple of grudges in my life right now.  There are a few people who have hurt me, and it's hard for me to forgive and forget, even when I know Jesus wants me to.  But I'm working on those problems.  If Jesus actually forgave every single one of my terrible sins, then the least I can do is forgive the meager sins of others.

What's funny is sometimes I have trouble holding grudges against people who hurt my friends.  I feel so angry when someone hurts a loved one that I almost feel like they've hurt me.  Has anyone else ever felt that way? 

What is a quality about yourself that you like?
What is a quality about yourself that you're striving to change?

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Day 22: How are you inspired?

As a writer, I'm constantly looking for sources of inspiration.

Sometimes little things inspire me, like something a friend might say in a passing comment or the expression on the face of someone walking by.  A few months ago, my best friend said out of the blue, "I wish I could speak strawberries until everybody in the world had food."  Her funny comment left me thinking for a long time.

At times, a song or a painting might inspire me.  Movies and books often do.  Sermons at church inspire me at times, as well as poetry and photographs and other blog posts.  Stories inspire me... and I'm talking about personal stories.  If I hear a story of renewal or transformation, I'm often left inspired.  At times, even incredibly sad stories inspire me.

Old photos inspire me.  Childhood photographs.  Seeing myself and my friends as little children with wide, innocent eyes inspires me.  I'll never go back to that time in my life.  It's beautiful to remember those moments.

Seeing hope ignited inspires me too.  True passion inspires me.  Loyalty also inspires me.

How are you inspired?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Hypnotized Kittens

Day 21: What do you miss most about your childhood?

I miss the creativity.  My imagination was HUGE when I was a child.

If my mom told me to do the dishes, I was suddenly a poor girl trapped into slavery, washing the dishes by hand because it was harder and more "realistic."  If I needed to make some extra money, my friends and I were suddenly clever businessmen, posting signs everywhere and selling homemade bracelets and pink lemonade to neighborhood children.  If I watched "Lion King," I became a lion for the next two weeks, growling at anyone who passed by.

I remember making a calendar one month where each day stood for something different.  On the first day of the month, I would pretend like I was a bug.  I'd crawl around with my pretend antennas and mutter in gibberish all day.  The next day, I was a captured Indian princess, trying to hide from my mom, my evil captor.  The next, I was an evil mystical wolf with giant fangs.  

Once I pretended like I was my little sister's pet horse, Star, for over a month.  I even slept on the floor behind her bed because it was my stall.

When I was about three or four, I pretended I was a "Pound Puppy."  Remember those things?  I was obsessed with those little stuffed dogs.  My pretending game lasted for weeks.  I actually ended up rubbing all the skin off of my nose from sniffing the ground all the time.  I remember inspecting my poor nose in the bathroom at church.  A lady saw me and gasped.  "Who did this to you?" she stammered.  I had no idea.  It didn't connect in my young brain that rubbing my nose all over carpets for a few weeks at a time would remove my skin.

In the house next to mine, there were a couple of girls around my age.  We had many interesting adventures together.  One of them you may remember: Rebekah from the prank wars.  Those girls and I made up all sorts of crazy games.  I'll list a few.

In "Hypnotized Kitties," we would each be adorable kittens with names like Pom Pom and Crystal who had been kidnapped by an evil scientist.  He strapped battery packs to our backs and put us in a cage (the trampoline).  We wouldn't be able to control our own bodies anymore, so he'd make us "fight."  During our fights, we'd attack each other and bounce all around the trampoline, shoving and throwing punches and apologizing the whole time, since it wasn't actually us fighting.

In "The Pit Bull Game," the oldest of us would be a pit bull and the rest of us were adorable puppies with names like Cupcake and Britney.  Trapped in the trampoline cage, our goal would be to see if we could escape from the evil pit bull pound-keeper.  We rarely could.

We decided we were real life spies, so we held "Spy Lessons" for the other kids on our block.  We would all meet after dark, because that's when the real spies met.  We would have them run laps and do push ups and sit ups.  Every time a car drove by, we'd all practice throwing ourselves onto the ground in the shadows so no one could see us.  Once I remember getting in trouble because my black pants were dirty and I decided to wear my black velvet skirt instead.  My mother wasn't too thrilled with the idea of me crawling around in the backyard with black stripes on my face while wearing my nicest outfit.

I had a very interesting childhood.  Sometimes I feel bad for my parents.  Rebekah and I once pretended we had been kidnapped after walking to the park one day.  Our moms would always give us a Walkie Talkie to communicate with them.  "Mom, don't worry!  We got a ride!  A nice man in a red truck gave us some candy and then said he would take us home.  He's really nice."  About that time, a red truck sped by our house.  From our spot in the bushes, we could see our two frantic mothers rush out of the house after the truck.

I was a creative child.  What can I say?  I'm still creative in my own way, but my creativity is different now.  I miss the creativity of my childhood sometimes.

What are some of the weird games you would play when you were a little kid?
What do you miss most about your childhood?   

The Qur'an and the Bible

The Qur'an states that there are no contradictions found within its pages.  "Will they not ponder on the Qur'an?  If it had been from other than God they would have found therein much contradiction and incongruity" (Al-Nisa', 4.82).  Fulfilled prophecy is the strongest indicator that a piece of writing comes directly from God.  Moses said in Deuteronomy 18:22, "If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken."

I was reading "More Than A Prophet" for a school assignment and this is what that text says about prophesies in the Qur'an: "The only significant prophecy in the Qur'an predicted a Roman victory over the Persians..., which would take place 'within a few bible-text-11288023193bA2t.jpgyears' after the Persians had initially captured Jerusalem.  This was an expected and predictable event that would not have surprised anyone who was familiar with the flow of current events.  The statement also was hedged by the ambiguous time frame 'within a few years'... One must be charitable to conclude that this was a prophesy fulfilled" (More Than A Prophet; 675-84 on the Kindle).

On the other hand, the Christian Bible has had no failed prophesies yet.  While some are still yet to come, more than 2,000 prophesies have already been fulfilled.  I'll share a list of fulfilled prophesies and the probabilities of each being fulfilled here.

Many Muslims say the Bible has been corrupted, so it is not worth studying, but the prophet Muhammad taught otherwise in the Qur'an.  Surah 29:46 says, "We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which has come down to you.  Our God and your God is one."   He also says in Surah 10:94, in reference to both Jews and Christians, "If you were in doubt as to what We have revealed unto you, then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you: the Truth has indeed come to you from your Lord: so be in no wise of those who doubt."  Even Muhammad believed the Bible to be true, and the Bible that was accepted while Muhammad was alive is the same Bible used today.

The Qur'an was originally meant to be a guardian or protector of the previous messages from God, not a replacement.  According to Surah 5:48, "To you We sent the Scripture in truth, confirming the scripture that came before it, and guarding it in safety."  Most can probably agree that the Qur'an and Bible are very different in terms of doctrine.  In fact, the Qur'an confirms very little about the theology in the "scriptures before it."

Most Muslims say the apostle Paul has corrupted the New Testament gospel.  They say he cannot be speaking the truth from God because he never met Him directly.  However, Paul claimed otherwise in Acts 9.  He met a resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus.  There were witnesses around him to confirm such a story.  Also, Paul gave his entire life to sharing the gospel.  He was once an enemy of all Christians and of Jesus Christ, so what could cause such an abrupt turnaround in his belief system other than a direct encounter with the Lord?

Plus, the other disciples had met Jesus Christ while He was alive and still confirmed Paul's teachings.  "They would have to be genuine fools if they were duped so quickly by an incredibly different version of the gospel than the one entrusted to them by their master.  In fact, the mission of Jesus would be a failure if Paul were apostate, since Christ's message would have been erased just a few years after His mission was completed" (More than a Prophet; 1230-34).

Paul was one of the biggest reasons behind the widespread growth of Christianity in the years after Jesus died.  Without Paul, the gospel of Jesus Christ would have spread much slower than it did.  Paul was a tool of the Lord to help spread His message.  Paul did not create new and radical beliefs opposite of what Jesus taught.  He actually only confirmed Christ's teachings.  If you have truly read both the gospels and Paul's teachings, you will see that nothing Paul says ever contradicts the words of Jesus Christ.


Do you agree? Disagree? Would you like to leave any other points? Feel free to share your opinions, so long as they are civil and respectful.  This is a piece from a paper I wrote for a school assignment.

Monday, April 18, 2011

That glimmer of hope.

Day 20: Are you an optimist, a realist, or a pessimist? Which would you rather be?

I'm a natural pessimist.  There's something in me that naturally responds with negativity unless I consciously decide to do otherwise.  I don't like that and am trying to change that part of me.  I've been a pessimist since I was probably seven or eight years old.  I've dealt with anxiety and depression since I was a very young age.  There's something in me that struggles with seeing the light side of things.

Over the last few years, I think I've managed to mostly change to a realist rather than a pessimist.  Instead of naturally thinking something bad is going to happen -unless I'm going through a particularly rough patch in my life- I try to see things with logic.  "Yes, something bad might happen, but something good might happen too."

Instead of seeing a glass half empty or half full, I usually see it with 50% water.

Eventually, I'd like to become an optimist.  Not a blind optimist, where I convince my hopes to soar only to have them crushed again and again.  I want to stay logical and realistic.  But I'd rather expect good things to happen than bad things.  I'd rather see the good in people instead of expecting their worst traits to come out.

Ultimately, I want to see things the way they are, but still keep a glimmer of hope in my heart.

Today's questions are...
1.) Are you an optimist, a realist, or a pessimist?
2.) Which would you rather be?

Friday, April 15, 2011

He was there.

Day 19: What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

I've shared this on here before, but my favorite verse is Psalm 77:19.

Psalm 77:19
Your path led through the sea,
Your way through the mighty waters,
though Your footprints were not seen.

I took the picture to your right a couple of weeks after Gatlin's death.  Around this time, about two weeks after Gatlin committed suicide, I was still feeling angry with God.  Only months before I had 100_4760.JPGrededicated my life to Him after years of abandoning Him.  That summer, I had decided I couldn't handle my own life anymore.  It caused too much pain.  I gave my life to God instead.  At the time, it seemed like God had failed.  I still felt pain.  In fact, I was feeling more pain than I had possibly ever felt in my entire life.

Gatlin was dead.  He wasn't coming back.  I blamed myself.  And it hurt.

"God, how could you let this happen to me?" I would pray bitterly, but God wouldn't give an answer.  I couldn't feel Him at all.  Where was He?

After a couple of weeks, I decided to try reading the Bible.  During the previous summer, my thirst for God's Word had enveloped me.  I read through the entire Bible in a couple of weeks, making notes and highlighting passages and feeling a hunger for truth.  I didn't want to believe just what I'd been taught my entire life anymore.  I wanted to know God for myself.

I hadn't read the Bible since Gatlin died.

I let the Bible fall open onto my lap, not caring what passage I read.  I couldn't think of anything at the time that could possibly make me feel better.  Not Romans 8, not Psalm 23.  Nothing off the top of my head could possibly soothe my aching heart.  The Bible flipped open to Psalm 77.  Sure, I'd read the passage before, but nothing about it had stuck out in the past.  This time a verse seemed to scream up at me.

Your path led through the sea, Your way through the mighty waters...

That was me.  My life was an absolute mess.  Gatlin's death had thrown everything to pieces around me.  My life was a raging sea of pain and grief and confusion.  I was drowning.

...though Your footprints were not seen.

Was this a message from God?  I couldn't feel His presence anywhere around me.  He hadn't seemed to be responding to my desperation and my pleading for Gatlin's life.  I hadn't felt God in weeks.  Could this be Him?

It was like He was holding me that night, rocking me in His arms like a little child.  My footprints are there, Emily, even though you can't see them right now.  I'm still working through this mess.  

At that moment, I felt peace wash over me like a gentle wave.  Yes, the pain was still there, hurting as bad as it ever did.  Yes, I still felt incredible guilt and hurt over Gatlin's suicide.  But I could feel God.  I finally felt God.  His footprints were there in my life, even when I couldn't see them.

There are other passages of the Bible that I absolutely adore, like James 1:27 and Psalm 91 and others, but I'll never forget how the Lord gave me Psalm 77:19 when I needed it so badly.

What is your favorite verse and why?  

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Day 18: If you had a friend who talked to you like you talk to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?

To be honest, I think I would dump that friend within a few days.

I don't talk to myself very nicely most of the time.  If I trip and stumble, I think to myself, "Come on, Emily.  You're such a klutz.  Can't you even walk right?"  If I miss a problem on an exam: "You're so stupid.  Why can't you remember the answers?"  If I don't succeed at something: "You're absolutely worthless.  Why did God even make you?"

My thoughts can be absolutely cruel at times.  What's sad is that this is me.  I'm insulting not only myself, but a child of God.  I don't deserve these insults.  I am valued.  I am cherished and loved by God.  I'm His treasure.

I don't tolerate meanness from friends.  If I feel like a friend is bringing me down, I'll let her know.  And if she is outright mean to me or will not stop saying hurtful comments, I'll end the friendship because I do know that I'm worth more than being mocked and put down.  I don't take cruelty.  At least not from others.

When I talk to myself like I sometimes do, I'm sinning.  I'm putting down a creation of God.  I'm saying that something He made with love isn't good enough.  I'm calling the apple of God's eye worthless.  That's a mistake.  That's a sin.

I need to work on treating myself better.  It may be easy to put myself down and use hateful names, but I'm worth more than that.  I know in my heart that I am.  This has all come from the time in my life when I was severely depressed and suicidal, back when I thought my life wasn't worth living.  I hated myself.  I gave my own life no value at all.  While I now know my life holds value, old habits die hard.  I still insult myself when I mess up.

From now on, whenever I put myself down, I'm going to consciously try to correct myself.  "No, you aren't stupid.  No, you aren't ugly.  No, you aren't worthless.  God made you to be glorious.  You're His beloved."

God made me beautiful.  He has given me value and it's time to treat myself that way.

Here are today's questions:
1.) If you had a friend who talked to you like you talk to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?
2.) Do you treat yourself with love or with hate?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My own little impact.

Day 17: What kind of impact do you want to make on the world?

I want to do something for the world.  I want to leave a mark somehow for the Lord.

So many people die without having done much with their lives.  I don't want to be someone who dies and is forgotten in a few Saddy.JPGyears.  I want to make an impact before I go.  I want to do something worthwhile with the time that I have.

To my loved ones, I want to be remembered as being kind and self-sacrificing.  I don't want to be remembered as selfish or judgmental or bitter.  I want to be remembered as a girl who strove to be like Christ, even if I sometimes fail.  I want to make an impact on my loved ones for Christ in whatever way I can.

I want to make an impact on world hunger and do as much as I can for that cause before I go.  I want to put a dent in poverty.  So many kids are starving each and every day.  There are too many dying children.  This needs to end.  I'll use my life to try to end world hunger.  Too many kids die from starvation and preventable diseases each and every day.

Finally, I want to make an impact with my writing.  In many ways, my writing is my legacy.  I hope that someday, something I write will impact someone for the Lord.

What kind of impact do YOU want to make on the world?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sleeping Alone

Day 16: How do you spend time alone?

I spend time alone writing, usually.  I don't like to write when other people are around.  Writing in peace and quiet comes much more naturally to me.  I have to have perfect conditions for writing.  It has to be completely silent in my room.  I know a lot of people write with music playing, but I can't.  I listen to music before I write as a source of inspiration, but never during.  I have to be alone, as I said before.  And I have to be comfortable.  I write the best and most at night.

I also play guitar and piano when I'm alone.  I don't consider myself to be a very talented musician, so much to my parents' (and DSC09438.JPGAli's) dismay, I usually play my music in solitude.

I have to sleep alone.  I can't stand sharing a bed.  I feel so bad for certain people who have to stay with me... *coughAlicough*... because I eventually end up kicking them onto the couch.  But the sad truth is that I can't sleep unless my room is entirely silent, without any breathing or moving around.  I have to be comfortable and relaxed.  I have to be bundled under about ten blankets (while wearing huge sweatshirts, thick pants, and fuzzy socks) because I'm incredibly cold-natured, which is also difficult for most people to endure.  And the room has to be entirely dark.  So it's difficult to sleep in a room with someone.  This is why I'll be having a private room in college.

I like to clean my room alone.  For some reason, it often bothers me when people are watching me put my things away.  I feel like they're expecting me to mess up.  I don't know.  Does anyone else have this problem?

Finally, I like to have my quiet time alone.  I can focus most on God when I'm alone in my room with a Bible and a journal.

Here are your questions:
1.) How do you spend time alone?
2.) Do you prefer sleeping alone or in the same room as someone else?

Monday, April 11, 2011

5 Weird Things About Being a Senior

Today I'm going to share five weird things about being a senior that I've noticed over the last few months.

sisters in high jpg1. There is no class above you.
My entire high school career, there's always been a class above me.  When I first entered high school, the seniors seemed so big and intimidating.  I would never dare to approach them.  Over time, the seniors became more human and closer to my age.  I began to see them as friends or peers instead of as much older leaders.  But they were always there.  The seniors were always above me, always setting the standard for the year, always looking like they were having a good time.

Now it's us.  My class.  We're the seniors.  There is no one above us.  Everyone is younger.  It's the weirdest feeling in the world- especially in the first few weeks of the school year- to realize that there is no one in the high school who is a grade older than me.

Another weird thought is the fact that my little sister (who has always seemed "little" in my eyes) is in high school this year too.  So. Weird.

Both Stop_2.JPG2. The freshmen seem weirdly immature.
Now I don't mean this as a put down for any freshman out there who is reading this blog.  Not all freshmen are immature, but you will mature a whole lot between your freshman and senior years of high school.

When I watch the ninth-graders giggling and talking in the halls, they seem so young.  That doesn't make any sense.  I was there only a few years ago.  That was me.  Surely I was never that immature.  Surely I was never that absorbed in boys and gossip and silliness.  Surely my insecurities were never plastered so obviously on my face.  ...Okay, yeah, I probably was that immature.  Here, I'll share a picture of myself as a freshman so you can decide for yourself.

I was talking to one of my friends last summer and I said something like, "I feel like I was a freshman just a few months ago, but I feel like I was fourteen years and years ago."  I have changed so much since that time in my life.  I've gained a lot more confidence than I had back then.  I'm starting to finally catch glimpses of who I am and who God has made me to be.  When I was a freshman, I was incredibly insecure.  Freshman year was my favorite year of high school, other than this senior year, and I had a blast through most of that time in my life, but it does seem far away now, like I'm remembering things about somebody else, not me.

I have trouble relating to the vast majority of the freshman girls who attend my high school.  Many of them do seem very immature and insecure.  (It probably doesn't help that my little sister and her friends are all freshmen.)  I think they're very sweet, but we're in different walks of life.  And I'm not used to that feeling.

n1187288064_166472_149.jpg3. Adults get incredibly sentimental when they see you.
This doesn't apply to all adults, but it happens quite frequently.  Here's what happens on a weekly basis in my life.

I'm walking through a store with my mom and someone who I don't recognize walks by and sees my mom.  They talk for a few moments... and then the woman's eyes fall on me.  "Who is this?" she asks in an awed voice.  "This can't be Emily.  Wow.  I cannot believe it."

I smile and nod.  "Yes, it's me.  It's Emily."  Who else would it be?

"My, my, my.  You make me feel so old.  You've changed so much since I saw you last.  The last time I saw you, you were this big."  And the woman holds her palm about a foot over the ground.

I laugh politely.  Does she not realize that fifteen years have passed since she saw me last?  Did she think I would stay a toddler forever?

"Emily's going to graduate from high school this year," my mom usually interjects proudly and the woman usually gasps.  Her eyes fill up with sentimental tears and she pats my hand.

"My son graduated last year.  You are going to have the time of your life in college.  Now what do you want to do?"

"I want to be a writer."

Silence.  Then, "Ohhh, how nice" in a forced, excited tone.  And the questions follow for a few more minutes.

I know this was written in a fairly sarcastic tone, but I honestly don't mind.  The adults who get sentimental over my increasing age are very sweet and thoughtful.  These situations are very frequent and a bit embarrassing.  It never happened this often before.  Church, restaurants while I'm eating with my family, and grocery stores are where this happens the most.

4. Parents planning to do things to your bedroom.
On TV sitcoms, you often see parents planning to turn a kid's room into a bowling alley or something crazy after he leaves for college.  I never thought that would actually happen.  I mean, some of my friends have older siblings who have moved out and their parents haven't done anything to their bedrooms.

It's been the weirdest thing this year to hear my family bartering over the use of my bedroom.  Yes, my bedroom is the biggest of all the bedrooms in the house, probably because it was never meant to be a bedroom.  It's actually the upstairs of one section of our house above the garage, so it's pretty big.  It's also separated from most of the house, so it's private and quiet and relaxing.

My dad wants to move up some workout equipment and a TV and turn my bedroom into a little gym.  My mom wants to move up some card tables and turn my bedroom into a scrapbooking room.  My little sister is dying to move into my bedroom after I leave, but luckily, that won't be happening for a few years at least.  My little brother wouldn't mind turning my bedroom into a game room or an arcade of some sort.

Isn't it wonderful to know that your family is already planning for your absence?  It's the weirdest feeling in the world to me.  Of course, I'll be coming back to stay a lot, especially while I'm in college, but the knowledge that my room won't really be my room anymore is kind of sad... and scary.

barney and kids jpg5. You're what you considered to be old when you were a little kid.
I used to be an avid fan of Barney.  You know, that purple dinosaur who loved to sing?  I remember watching those old shows where he would dance around with a bunch of kids dressed in gaudy nineties outfits, and I remembered thinking those kids were so old.  In reality, the oldest ones were maybe ten.

When I got a little older, I became a huge fan of Drake and Josh.  You might remember that Nickelodeon show about the two step brothers.  I loved that show.  But Drake and Josh seemed so old to my eyes.  In my wildest dreams, I could never imagine being that age.

drake and josh jpgEighteen.  Eighteen.  Hey, even when I was fifteen, I thought eighteen-year-olds were incredibly old.  I never thought I would reach this age.  It seemed unreachable, reserved for big kids only.

I mentor a second-grader as part of my Bible class.  Once she asked me, "How old are you?"

"Eighteen," I replied.

The girl's eyes grew wide with shock.  "Are your mommy and daddy still alive?" she asked in a slightly awed voice.

What?  Eighteen isn't actually old at all.  I still feel quite young and vulnerable most of the time.  Little kids don't understand that when I try to explain it to them.  I used to think people who were my age were very old.  Now I'm there.  I am what little kids think is incredibly intimidating and old... in an entirely different way than they see forty-year-old parents as old.

Being what I used to think was old is a weird thought.     

Here are your questions:
1. If you're in high school, are you experiencing any of these things yet?  Any others I've forgotten?
2. If you're out of high school, what was the strangest thing to you about being a senior?

Friday, April 8, 2011

I was ashamed.

Day 15: Have you ever regretted something you DIDN'T do?

Of course I have.  Some people keep a "no regrets" mindset, but I don't.  I think it's okay to have regrets, so long as they don't define your life.  I regret every sin I've ever committed because each one has hurt God.  I've also regretted things I haven't done that I should have.

I think I've written about this instance on my blog before, but I'll go ahead and share it again.

A few years ago, I was hanging out at a basketball game with some old friends of mine.  We merged with another group of teens and the talk soon transformed into swearing and sexual innuendos.  I didn't want to seem rude and holier-than-thou by abruptly leaving the group, so I stayed in the conversation, although I avoided the cussing and inappropriate topics.

A little while later, one of the guys from the other group of kids pulled me aside.  "There's something about you that's different from all of us.  You stand out.  What is it?" he asked me outright.

I've always been shy, and I was much more shy back then than I am now.  I was a bit embarrassed by this strange boy's full attention on the way I acted.  I didn't want to sound preachy or too Christian.  I was terrified that I would say the true reason I was different -because of how Jesus had changed me- and then he would laugh and walk away.  I hesitated before saying, "I don't think there's anything different about me."

"No, there is something different.  I can see it.  What is it?" the boy pressed further.

In my heart, I knew this was my chance.  I could share my faith with this kid who had so obviously seen Christ in me.  He wanted to know what made me different.  But I chickened out again and said, "It's nothing.  I'm just a unique person."  The boy finally accepted my words and didn't say anything else about the subject.

I went home that night and cried.  I'd missed my opportunity.  I had acted like I was ashamed of Christ, not like I was a radical follower of Him.  That boy was searching for the truth and he sure didn't find it through me.

I still think about that moment with regret.  How I wish I could go back sometimes.  My biggest consolation is that I know God still loves that boy.  He'll send another opportunity to find Him that kid's way if He hasn't already.  I just wish I had done my part and fulfilled my purpose in the Lord.

Do you regret anything you didn't do?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Are you alive?

Day 14: When do you feel most alive?

I feel most alive in a few different ways.

3 sky.JPGWhen I write.
Sometimes, I get so absorbed in the things I write that I feel like I've been taken to a new place, to a new understanding of myself.  I often feel the most joyful when I'm writing, which helps me feel most alive.  Writing gives me a thrill like nothing else does.

When I serve.
One of the most "alive" moments of my life was when I was surrounded by the children in Kenya, Africa.  That was a beautiful moment in my life.  I'll never forget it.  Interning at an inner city mission was an "alive" summer for me as well.  When I serve others, I feel more selfless than I normally would.  It's so easy to become self-absorbed, but when I can focus on others, I feel like I'm doing what God wants me to do.

When I travel.
I love traveling.  I've been to eleven different countries and each time I step into a new place, on new ground, immersed in a new culture, my heart just soars.  I feel completely alive when I'm exploring a brand new country.

Some moments during worship or when I'm playing music, I also feel alive.  Sometimes when I watch the stars or a sunset, I feel alive.  At times, I'll wake up and my mind will feel crystal clear.  I'll have more understanding than I do on other days.  It's like I can feel the Lord all around me.  I love those times.

When do you feel most alive?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I wish I was a computer nerd.

Day 13: Why do you keep a blog? What is your favorite thing about keeping a blog? Least favorite?

I've wanted to keep a blog of sorts since I was probably ten, when I got my first computer.  Of course, at the time, I didn't know what blogs were, but I would use little online diaries to write down my thoughts and opinions.  Over time, I had a few freewebs and mydeardiary and a blogspot and a few others that I can't even remember now.  They never seemed to last.  Now that I look back, I think that those endeavors failed for two reasons.  One, because I didn't have so much to say when I was younger... or at least not anything worthwhile to write about.  Two, I wanted a website, but didn't yet understand the concept of a blog, so I focused more on layouts and designs and "about me" pages when I should have focused on my writing.

A little over two years ago, I started a blog on Weebly for the first time in a couple of years.  I began to post every day without fail and even though I didn't have very many readers, I discovered how much I enjoyed keeping a blog.  I loved it.  I got to share pictures, opinions, and stories with friends and family.  Most of all, I loved the writing part of keeping a blog.  It didn't matter if anyone read it or not.  I just loved the challenge of writing something new every single day.

The Christmas before last, my cousin gave me a domain name for my blog/website and I moved everything onto  This blog was probably the best Christmas gift I got that year.  I have gotten more readers since I first started blogging, when I would get two or three views a day.  I love hearing what all of you have to say.  You're all so encouraging.  But most of all, I love to keep this blog because I love to write.  More than anything, I just love to write.  If writing for my blog ever became something that I didn't like to do, I would stop.

But at this point, I don't think I'll ever stop.  I love this too much.

My least favorite part about blogging would be the negative people.  Some people do feel like they need to put me down because of my faith or my writing.  I don't like that part of blogging, but over time, I've learned to shake those comments off.  Anyways, I get many more positive comments than I do negative comments. :)

Another negative thing about blogging... the codes and all of that.  I have no idea how to work with html and whatever these things are.  So if my blog layout seems plain sometimes, it's because I'm not a computer nerd.  Sometimes I wish I was.  It'd make things a lot easier.

This may have been the most long and rambling blog post I've written in a long time.  If you actually read through this entire thing, I congratulate you.  Here is a virtual high five.

Here are your questions:
1.) Do you have a blog? Please share the link. :)
2.) What is your favorite part about blogging?
3.) Least favorite part about blogging?
4.) Why did you start blogging in the first place?

Oh, and I have one last question.  What would you guys think about me possibly having a book giveaway sometime in the near future?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Live like you're dying

Day 12: If you knew you would die in two weeks, would you change anything about your life right now?

I've thought a lot about this.  To an extent, I think I definitely need to make a change in my life.  I have no idea how long I'm going to live.  I could die tomorrow.  I could die today.  I should live like every day is my last and make the most of the time I have.

On the other hand, I still need to plan for a future.  I need to save money for college and work on getting an education.  All of IMG_1156.JPGthis I would ignore if I knew I was going to die in two weeks.  I'd quit my tutoring job and I'd probably quit high school too.  I'd start spending and giving away my money on worthy causes.  If I probably won't die in two weeks, I'd definitely still want to continue with school and my job and my savings.  I wouldn't be counting down the clock.  I'd be instead optimistically planning for the future.

Some things I would change about my life in those two weeks would be...

- I would say "I love you" to my family and friends more.  My family is actually pretty good about saying that sort of thing, but I'd say it even more.  I'd also start writing letters to each person in my family, telling them how much they mean to me.  I wouldn't want to die with anyone wondering where they stood with me.  I'd want everyone to feel loved by me.

- I'd spend more time around people and less time alone.  While I love my privacy and alone time, I'd be spending time around others as a way to say goodbye.  I would want everyone to have closure, and I'd want to make the most of the time I had... with my family.

- I would write as much as I possibly could.  Right now, I write a lot, but if I knew I was going to die, I'd start cramming the writing in and perfecting what I wanted to be published someday.  In a lot of ways, writing is my legacy, so I'd want it to live on after I died.

- I would give more things away.  I'd give some things to friends and family as tokens and reminders of me.  I'd give other things away to the poor and the needy because I sure wouldn't need those things anymore.  My car, clothing, and guitars, for example.

- I would make sure I was right with God.  Even though I know the Lord is merciful and would still love me unconditionally, I wouldn't want to have a grudge or the burden of a sin on my shoulders while I stood before Him for the first time.  This is something that I should do right now.  Every moment I live, I should try to stay right with God.  I shouldn't ever hold something until I think I may die.

If you knew you would die in two weeks, what would you change about your life?

Sunday, April 3, 2011

All we need is to trust in Him.

Trust Me

I don't know what's ahead of me.
What future have You planned?
I want to see. I want to know,
But my mind won't understand.
All of this- these mighty things,
I can hardly comprehend.

I sit and think. I wonder, whisper,
"Jesus, just let me see.
Let me know what You have planned,
Where I'll go and where I'll be."
I wait and wait for His reply,
But all I hear is, "Just trust me."

Emily Whelchel
March 23, 2011

Saturday, April 2, 2011

No more sameness.

I think one of the strangest things about being a senior in high school is when it starts to hit you that you aren't going to be around for much longer.

I've attended my school since the middle of fifth grade.  I've been with the same people for years.  I've had the same learning environment for the longest time.  And the fact that I'm not going to be in the same place anymore baffles me.  I think every spiral_bound_notebooks-400x600.jpgsenior goes through this at some point, but it's started to hit me recently.

Caleb and I were dancing at prom a couple of weeks ago when we started to talk about how fun it would be to have a prom without fancy clothes... if we could have a prom where everyone came in their pajamas to dance and have fun.  A pajama prom.  "Next year, let's do that!" Caleb said eagerly, but I tapped his shoulder.  "We won't be here next year," I reminded him.

And then we both got quiet.

At times, attending a university seems like an absolutely foreign concept to me.  It won't be like anything I've ever experienced before.  It'll be totally new, so how can I ever comprehend something like that?  I can't quite imagine it.  I can't know for sure what college will be like until I experience it for myself.  It'll be so new.  So different.

I often forget about the fact that I won't be at my high school anymore after this year.  It's easy to walk through the halls at school and think to myself, "I'll be here forever.  This is where I belong."  My school is where I've always been.

I can't imagine what things are going to be like come the end of school.  There'll be no more, "See you next year!"s and "Have a good summer... I'll see you in August!"s.  No, it's going to be more like, "Goodbye.  If you're one of my best friends, I'll keep in touch, but otherwise, this is going to be the last time we talk for ten years or more."  That's a scary thought.

No more of the same teachers and classmates and familiar four walls surrounding me every day.  No more laughing at the underclassmen for their drama.  No more sameness.

I still catch myself saying, "Well, there's always next year."  Even when I'm at home, thinking about the superbowl or daylight savings or really anything, I start to think, "Next year, I'll do it this way."  But I won't be at home next year.  I won't be with my family next year.  I'll be at college.

Everything will be new in college.  Newness scares me.  Change scares me, I'll admit.  I know it has to come and I know that it will ultimately be good for me, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't look forward to it.

Does this not concern any other seniors out there?!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Only Seventeen

Day 11: What is your favorite age?

My favorite age would most definitely have to be seventeen.  There are a gazillion reasons why I think seventeen is the best age.

When you're seventeen, you're young, but you aren't an adult yet.  You don't quite have the responsibilities of life weighing on your shoulders.  You're old enough for people to take you seriously, but you're young enough to be able to be carefree.  You are DSC05750-1.JPGstill a kid.

When you're seventeen, you're either nearly a senior in high school or already a senior in high school.  You either have the excitement of almost being at the top of your high school or you're already in that moment of your life.  In a lot of cases, it's too early in the game to be freaking out entirely about college yet.  It's the perfect age to be when you're in high school.

You've finally been driving for a year, so if you live in Texas, at least, you can take more than one passenger in your car.

Why are there so many songs about being seventeen?  Because it's the best age ever.

It's the only age in the teens that has three syllables.  Think about it.  Thir-teen, four-teen, fif-teen, six-teen, sev-en-teen, eigh-teen, nine-teen...  That has to mean something.

You don't have any pressure to have a crazy birthday party when you turn seventeen.  No Sweet Sixteen or Eighteen "Adult" party.  You can have a crazy party if you want to, but there's no pressure.  You can focus on having a good time, not blowing everyone away.

You can... still be tried as a child if you break the law.  Heh.

You can see rated R movies.  A lot of my readers probably don't care about that, but at least you get bragging rights.

Most of all, being seventeen is your last year of childhood.  Maybe I'm strange, but when I turned seventeen, I decided to cherish still being a kid.  I wanted to still be able to say I was a little girl and yet do amazing things for God at the same time.

I even wrote a song about being seventeen.

Only Seventeen

Only seventeen, I'm a little girl,
With many dreams and a plan to change the world.
You can look down at me. You can push me away,
But God's the One in control and He will have His way.

I'm not too young. I'm real. I'm strong.
I'll be anything God wants me to be.
Not just a girl, I'll change the world.
Open my heart, God. Please use me.

Hungry kids, broken world, need a helping hand.
I will reach out to them. I will fulfill His plan.
I will not back away. I know what I believe.
Young and strong, dreaming hard, and I am on His team.


I believe in Your calling. I believe in Your plan.
Help me push back these walls, God, do the works of Your hands.
I am not in a box, Lord. I'm not bound with a chain.
I will work for Your glory.  I will sing through the rain.


And that's why I think seventeen is my favorite age.

What is your favorite age?