Thursday, December 01, 2005

Christmas is Coming

I am so excited today is the beginning of December. That means it is only nine days until my brother's wedding. The first day of December also means that finals are next week and the semester is almost over. Yeah. I only have to take one final next week so I am very thankful for that. I am so ready for Christmas to arrive. I am ready to be home with family and friends for a month. I would ask that those who visit here in the next day or so would lift my brother and his fiancee' up before the Lord. These last few days can be very tense and stressful as the big day approaches. Thank you Lord for the coming of Christmas.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Wedding Bells

For those who don't already know, my brother is getting married at the beginning of December. God could not have blessed him with a more perfect young woman to share life's journey. Our entire family has been immeasurably blessed to get to know and love Laura. She has such a lovely and genuine heart that is actively seeking after the desires of the Lord. As you might imagine our home has been buzzing as we have helped finalize details for a memorable day of celebration for them both. I have prayed for Grant's mate for so long and I praise God for his faithfulness to walk beside Grant every step of the way. I get a new sister for Christmas this year! She has become so precious to me and I can't wait to only grow to love her more as the years pass. The Lord knows how I love my brother and how deeply he has blessed my life. Laura is only an extension of God's lavish goodness and I thank God for allowing her to become part of our family. Thank you Lord for giving Grant the most fervent desire of his heart and for answering the many prayers lifted on his behalf. She is so beautiful. May they only grow in love and devotion to you and to one another as you author their life together.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

God's Lessons

Hi bloggers! I am sorry I haven't posted in a while. God has really been trying to teach me a few things lately. His number one lesson has been trust. There are so many times in my life that I rely on my own power and I forget to hand things over to my infinite all-knowing God. He has been teaching me that only HE can take all of my petty little concerns and work them together for His good. Sometimes in an effort to please him, I forget to give him the two things he truly desires, my heart and my trust. I am thankful that we as his beloved children are never completely finished learing from his divine wisdom. Thank you Lord that you never fully stop refining the hearts of those who love you. When we doubt he doesn't chastise or blame. God, being the ever-faithful, loving Father he is, dusts us off and gives us another day to praise and honor him. The Spirit keeps reminding me that I only need to look to His strength to find peace, joy, hope, and light. Lord it is my prayer that I will daily look to your strength to find my confidence, joy, and peace. You are the giver of all good things. It is in YOU and you alone where I find life and sustenance. Blessed be your name, O Father. I love you.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Top Ten Songs

According to Chelsie Sargent, I have been tagged to share with the blogging community my top 10 favorite songs right now. They are in no particular order.

Lifesong - Casting Crowns
God Bless This Broken Road - Rascal Flatts
Indescribable - Chris Tomlin
Held - Natalie Grant
Bless Your Name - Selah
Living Prayer - The Zoe Group
Let The Worshippers Arise - Phillips, Craig, & Dean
We Are The Body of Christ - Hymn
Worthy Is The Lamb - Hymn
Blue Skies - Point of Grace

Be blessed today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Let the Semester Begin....

It's that time again. The time when the syllabus rears its ugly head to let the college student know of looming deadlines, its the time when critical decision-making skills come into play. Do I stay in and read the Biology chapter or do I make a Starbucks run with friends? The past two days have flown by as the semester has announced its beginning. To be perfectly honest though, I'm glad the school year has gotten underway. I am really excited to see where the Lord will lead as I make myself available for His use and his divine and eternal purpose. Throughout the craziness of the past couple of days, He has reminded me that as I surrender all of myself and everything within me, unto his throne and the foot of the cross, any burdens, worries, or thoughts of insufficiency will be conquered by his peace and the power of his blood. I am given confidence in the fact that if I do my part, He will undoubtedly fill in the rest. I have also been incredibly blessed to have a roommate and a group of friends that passionately yet humbly and authentically follow the way of Christ. To live a blessed life is a priviledge. My prayer for all of us today is that we will take time to notice the blessings that the hand of God has lavished upon us. May our eyes and our spirits be opened in a new and bigger way so that we may see the the reign of the Almighty that makes itelf present all aroud us if we take the time to acknowledge it. Be blessed.

Monday, August 15, 2005

God Bless You, Grant & Laura

Last night was a BIG night for the Cunningham family! Grant proposed to the woman of his dreams in a gazebo decked out with twinkle lights, cadles, and red roses, and to top it off, this gazebo was in Latimer Bowen Ramsey's backyard. Anyone who has seen this incredible place knows what a holy sactuary it is. My mom, daddy, and I had the honor of having Laura's three best friends there to help make the site beautiful, memorable, and romantic for both of them. These three young women are so beautiful, funny, and sweet. I can definitely see why they are deeply loved by Laura. After the proposal we had a celebration at our house and every person there is in some way very special and connected to them and their relationship. It was absolutely precious for me to witness just a glimpse of how much Grant and our family is loved! The smiles on both Grant and Laura's faces was priceless! What a great memory last night was! I will cherish it always. Mr. & Mrs. Grant Cunningham... WOW! Come, December, come! Congratulations! I love you both and I can't wait to see how God will lead and bless your lives.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Joy All Around

My life is so full! I am constantly in awe of the many ways God chooses to show me that he sees me, that he knows me, and that he loves me with an uncomprehensible, lavish love. I am humbled that he would even know my name! It is such an immeasurable blessing to know with all certainty that I am his humble servant, a beloved heir of his salvation, and that I am a masterpiece born of a God who constantly pursues my heart. When I think of all of the wonderful things he has done and all of the beloved people that he has placed on my journey, I can do nothing but lift up my heart to him in praise. God is present and attentive in all circumstances. I am so thankful that he is a Father who longs to delight in and prosper all of those who have claimed his eternal hope and promise. May all who enter here be blessed.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Six Months

Six months ago yesterday, the Body at Highland was changed forever in obvious and unseen ways. It seems as though the car accident that claimed the life of one child and indelibly impacted six others happened just yesterday. Today, in the Abilene-Reporter News, was a story written to update the community on the progress and healing of the seven families personally affected by the events of January 16th. Although I do not feel as though I know all of the families well, I have been humbled as I have prayed and begged God to heal whatever brokenness and unrest there hs been for this precious part of my church that has been hurt in such a present, permanent way. I do not have words to express the emotion that has welled up within me as I have watched the Bourlands, the Bennetts, the Lemmons, and the Copes walk with one foot in front of the other and trust that God is in control. My heart has been renewed as I have watched Bret, Jennifer, Taylor, and Brock take the Lord's hand, fully trusting in his promise, and walk through some very real valleys in the months after losing Brody. There have been so many days in months past that I have yearned to have known Brody better, as I have heard story after story of his compassion, his servant heart, his love, and his humble, Godly leadership. He truly was a good and faithful servant in the eyes of God, although his eleven years were cut short.

Through the experiences and the stories of healing of these families, I have been incredibly edified, challenged, humbled, and grown.They have shown me just how to take the load one is given and bear it with trust and hope in an all-sufficient, ever-faithful Father who does not forsake his cherished possessions, but walks beside them, shouldering what is heavy and unbearable for their journey toward his heart and the eternal home that is awaiting these precious ones in heaven. Let me say as a witness to each families' road of grief and their persistence toward healing, that it has been an immense honor for my family and I to walk beside and serve them. Thank you for being so real, so transparent, and so beautifully surrendered to the reign of God.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

PRAY for Brock Latham

After reading the commnents on Mike Cope's blog today I have been convicted to intercede on behalf of a little boy, Brock Latham, and his family. Details of his struggle can be found at Apparantly, this little one has been battling some type of cancer and only has two weeks to live. Please join me in petitioning the Lord's will and claiming Psalms 56:13. While at the blog site, you may also sign up for a slot on the 24 hour prayer vigil. I hope you will join me in praying for Brock and his family as they wait upon the Lord and boldly ask for Brock's life and victory. Be blessed today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Memories of Oregon

This is the first chance I have had to sit down and blog about my trip to Eugene. What a week! Christ Fellowship, the church we partnered with during the week, was absolutely incredible. I think Highland is one of the best, most Spirit-led churches I have ever attended and I mean that in all sinerity, but this small congregation possessed a fervency and vitality that touched my soul. These precious ones of God longed to passionately make the name of the Lord renowned. I was totally humbled, and convicted by the simplicity of the lifestyles of the ministry team which included several couples from Highland. Matt and Sarah Lynn Grubb, Corey and Stephanie Jackson, and Mindy Cecil Mendenhall left Abilene in May of 2001 to join Tony and Elizabeth Denn and their five children to plant a church in Eugene, which happens to be in the most unchurched county in the country. The couples that make up this amazing team long and yearn to glorify God in all they do. I will never be the same as a result of the week I spent in Eugene.

To those of you who know me well, it is no surprise that most of the memories I will take with me forever from our time in Eugene will be the relationships I established. I was blessed to spend one night in Matt and Sarah Lynn's home, there I got to spend some quality time with them and their two kids, Enoch and Indie. Matt and Sarah Lynn were cherished to me while they were in school at ACU and it was so good to reconnect with them. They are truly in pursuit of the heart of God and their lives are full of beautiful fruit. I love you both so much!

Another precious family I had the pleasure to meet were the Denns. Tony and Elizabeth were two of the most generous, most authentic, and most humble people I have ever met. This couple gives of themselves tirelessly as they serve and live for the Lord. Liz, TJ, Annelisse, Wynter, and Adeline, the five Denn kids, were so much fun to get to know and love. I was absolutely humbled when we were invited into their home for TJ's 12th birthday where I witnessed something very special. After opening his gifts which consisted of a bow and arrow set and a dart board from his parents and an arrowhead, a book, and a worm made out of clay at the Art Camp from his sisters, TJ went to each of them and threw his arms around his mom and dad and thanked them perfusely. He then went to each of his sisters and hugged them so warmly to thank them for the gifts they had sacrificially and generously given. As a gift of thanks, the Highland team gave him twenty five dollars to spend and you would have thought he had won the lottery. These illustrations of generosity and such incredible love for one another moved me to tears. I have never seen a group of siblings have such respect and genuine love for one another. Tony and Elizabeth have done an incredible job to raise five children who first of all love the Lord, and secondly, who love one another.

Thank you Lord for allowing us to minister to the Christ Fellowship family, but more than that, thank you for allowing them to lavish us with gifts of love. I am always amazed to be sent out to bless and edify a group of people and to come back changed as a result of where I had been and what you had done. You are so good. Please continue to anoint Christ Fellowship with the presence of your Holy Spirit. These are servants who want to make you known. I praise God daily for them. I will never be the same! I will be going back as soon as possible. Christ Fellowship, Grubbs, Denns, Jacksons, and Mendenhalls, I love you.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

My Daddy: A Man After God's Own Heart

It is already early Saturday morning and I am just getting a chance to sit down to compose this for my daddy. I thought that since we will be in Eugene on Father's Day, I would go ahead and make this my gift to him. I cannot even begin to express the immeasurable blessing my daddy has been in my life. There are too many blessings that I have received from him to even begin to recount in the space given in this blog, however, I will share the three things about the most special man in my life, besides Jesus. These are the things I cherish most about the man I am honored to call my father.

The first and most beautiful thing about this man I love is the way that he loves the Lord. This love is by no means fake, it is 100% authentic and it is an all-encompassing force that seeps into every single aspect of his character and the way that he lives out his daily journey. Throughout Scripture, Jesus calls all of his disciples into relationship-- with him and especially with one another. It is the quality of these relationships that shows the world and other servants the degree of our commitment to the call of Christ. My daddy is a person who follows call for quality relationships very passionately. Second to investing himself in quality relationships, my daddy is a servant. He is a man who doesn't enjoy being in the limelight or in the center of attention in any way. I absolutely love the way that he uses humility to define every part of who he is. He is very often the one who would much rather wash dirty feet than to have his feet washed. My dad is a man who literally lives by the towel. I have been incredibly blessed to watch as my dad has lived out his faith, by word and deed. Daddy is a man of fervent prayer, mercy, grace, surrender, peace, and most of all love. The love he shares with others is a love that is abundant and very unconditional. It is a love that looks past station, race, and color. He proclaims a love that nourishes and revitalizes the soul. He is a man who the Lord knows intimately. My daddy is the most gentle, compassionate, merciful, humble, generous man I have known in all my life. He exemplifies the life of a favored disciple to me everyday, and for that I will never be the same.

The second most cherished thing about my daddy is the way he loves his church and the people who make up its Body. In addition to being an elder at Highland, my dad is a Huddle Leader for the sophomores in the fall and winter and he teaches in the sixth and seventh grade boys class in the summer. This is a man who is absolutely invested in people's lives. Kids flock to my dad. Age doesn't matter, I think one of the reasons is because he is genuinely interested in their lives and they know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he cares what is going on. A Sunday doesn't pass that my dad isn't inendated with hugs, high-fives, and bright smiles. One run in with his firm, very warm, and very welcoming handshake and the gentle light in his eyes, and people are hooked, they know that he will never ever forget them. It is such an immense honor for me to be a part of a church that loves the leader of our family as lavishly as they love my daddy.

Finally, the third thing I cherish most about my dad is the way he leads our family. Beginning in the formative years of my faith and continuing to this day, my dad has made a point to allow the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit to be the central focal point of the home that he has established. He has provided for our family a haven of unwavering support, affirmation, gentleness, peace, spiritual richness, and grace, and prayer. The presence of the Holy Spirit has always been invited and embraced in our home. Evidence of my parents faith is around every corner of our house, through the form of scriptures, pictures, crosses, and reminders that this is not our home. The Cunningham family is one whose citizenship is in Heaven. The thing I am most thankful for about my dad is the fact that he has taught and encouraged Grant and I to place our confidence in the One who loves and knows us even better than him. My foundation is firm and it is unswervingly strong because it has been built upon a faith, hope, joy, and peace that cannot and will not ever be shaken. My parents have both tirelessly invested their lives to instill in me a pursuit of the Lord that will never be quenched. I pray that I will never get enough. Wearing the Cunningham name is such an honor and blessing. My daddy is what Isaiah describes as an oak of righteousness, a firm planting for the display of His splendor. Thank you Lord for choosing me as one of the witnesses to the life of this man, my dad. I love him more and more everyday that I grow older and wiser. He is yours now and always.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Off to Eugene

In just a few short days, my family and I will be traveling to Eugene, Oregon as a part of Into All the World 2005. This trip is part of a summer mission effort that Highland is sponsoring. I am really looking forward to it! I have heard nothing but wonderful things about Christ Fellowship, the newly planted congregation that will be partnering with us this next week. My two favorite worship leaders, Matt and Sarah Lynn Grubb, left Highland about two years ago to be a part of the church planting team in Eugene. It will be so great to see them again and to meet their two children, Enoch and Indi. The small congregation meets in an elementary school cafeteria, so it will be quite laid back and comfortable. Boy, am I getting excited about the worship times. There is one inner-city ministry that I have heard incredible things about called Hosea that serves homeless teens in the city. I pray that I will get to spend some quality time down there lending my hands and my heart because I know that this is where Jesus would be spending a lot of his time if he were to visit the city. Eugene is home to the University of Oregon, one of the most unchurched, God-starved campuses in the country. I am looking forward to walking the campus and praying that the Spirit would permiate everything that happens on its grounds. In preparation for our trip, our team has been warned that there are a lot of ungodly things that go on in Eugene and my prayer is that God will use each one of us to shed some much needed salt and light in this special city. God loves every citizen of Eugene, Oregon and I hope to be a bearer of his grace, humility, light, and love. I know that there will also be some great people waiting to greet us as we ready ourselves to be servants, I can't wait to forge new relationships! Lord, let the games begin. Please be glorified through us, may our harvest be abundant!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Family...What a Blessing

God is incredibly good! He knew that when he called us as disciples, we would need a special place to be nurtured, cultivated, stretched, unconditionally loved and infinitely valued. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that God has lavishly blessed me with an incredible, Christ-centered home. I have been challenged and edified by my preciocus parents, Rob and Cheryl, indelibly. I have also been blessed to share my life with my brother, Grant, who is growing to be an incredible man of God. My mom and daddy are two people not only loved by Grant and I, but our Highland family as well. They have taught me grace, mercy, humility, and hospitality like no other two people in my life. There are no words adequate to thank them rightfully. My mom and dad are two people that I esteem very highly and I am very thankful that the Lord deemed me the daughter they needed and desired. Being raised by them has been such a wonderful experience. I am so honored to have them as the foremost guides, mentors, and disciples of my life. I pray that my family can be as fun and as spiritually rich as the one I have shared with mom, dad, and Grant. Thank you so much Father, for inventing the institution of family. This institution has given me so many invaluable gifts, such as confidence, an unshakable self-esteem, a love for Christ, and a place to be myself and to grow into a woman of hope, abiding faith, steadfast prayer, and unending joy. I love you mom and daddy. Thank you most importantly, for the gift of your journey together in marriage. You have taught me that marriage is not a place to find my identity, but it is a place to learn holiness. Thank you for instilling in me a yearning to know God in a way that my spirit will always be grown and pursued by the Lover of my soul. You are cherished and loved beyond words.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

For Everything a Season

The last couple of weeks God has really shown me that this experience we call life is a series of seasons, some wonderful, some gut-wrenching. This conviction is nothing new to me as I have viewed life in this way for quite some time. About three weeks ago now, my great-grandma Lillie died, and now I am rejoicing with people such as Brandon Scott and Sheryl Thomas for the much anticipated and prayed over arrival of Sam. I am also reminded of the fagility of life as I read of the struggles and daily praises of further healing of such vital servants as Jonathan Shaub. As a fellow daughter on the journey, I realize that these seasons, however full of wonder and majesty or sorrow and heartfelt grief, are a divine gift, teaching all of us disciples that it is only Christ Jesus, an all-knowing Father and Sustainer, and the assurance of the Holy Spirit, that can see us through any tragedy or triumph. I personally cannot even put my mind around life without the hope of a resurrected, present King, Friend, and Savior. I am given holy confidence and reigning peace as I hold fast to the promise that Christ has and will continue to walk with me in past, present, and future times of doubt, celebration, thanksgiving, fear, and uncertainty. How incredibly wonderful to know that I do not have to have all of the answers of my life analyzed and figured out to the tee! I believe more strongly everyday that I serve an ever-faithful, ever-present, all-sustaining One that has my life in the palm of his hand. Thank you Father for knowing my life's path, thank you for being intricately involved in the formation of my character and my journey into womanhood. I praise you for this season of good things. You and you alone deserve all honor, glory, and praise. May I never ever lose the firm foundation of my faith heritage, may I never lose the sweetness and certainty of your agape love, may I never fail to hear your whispers of pursuit. You, sweet Lord give my life its hope, its pulse, and its meaning. Please continue to sew and cultivate my soul so that I may be formed into an image of glory, humility, mercy, spiritual depth, and continued growth.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Summer Job

Last night my family was invited to have dinner with another small group from Highland, it is actually one that was formed when our group split into five different smaller groups in the hopes of reaching out to new families at Highland to become plugged in. In the middle of the delicious meal, made up of smoked ribs and brisket, I mentioned the fact that I was looking for summer employment. The couple that was hosting the group happens to own Friendze, Inc. which is an import store that specializes in jewelery and other accessories much like Sam Moon in the Dallas area. I was flabbergasted when Ronda asked me what I might be interested in and then told me she just might have a place for me! This opportunity, much like that of last summer, just fell into my lap! Talk about God's orchestration and control! Please pray that this works out. I would love to work for and with this godly couple this summer. Thankfully, if I get the position, I will not be in the front of the store. I hate being in the center of things. God is so good and he is incredibly faithful! Be blessed.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

FCA All Star Week

Beginning last night, our family became hosts to 6 young men that just graduated that are participating in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes All Star Football Classic. You must understand that to my dad, the black and gold blooded football fanatic, this week is great. It gives him a chance to reconnect with kids that he absolutely adores. This week always gets him salivating for the football pads to come out in early August. We always serve as hosts to the Abilene High guys and this year we have an awesome group of young men which include Ryan Kennedy, Matt Adams, Lane Miller, Derrick Bibb, Travis Walding, and Robert Bebe. Grant played with several of these guys his senior year and fell in love with them. I always enjoy this week because at the end of the week you know that you have served them in a way that brings a smile to the Lord's face. Young men that are invited to participate in this game do not have to profess Christ, but by the end of the week, many of the young men who do not know Jesus make a decision to follow him and it is nice to know that we as a host home could of had a part in that. Most of the Abilene High guys are planning on attending ACU in the fall to play football and it will be so much fun to watch them suit up again and go out on that field. There is nothing like high school football in West Texas and I am thankful for another opportunity to watch these great young men shine once again.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Weekend in the Metroplex

Howdy blog folks. My mom, dad, and I just got home from a wonderful trip to the Dallas Metroplex. Boy, was it fun, relaxing, and just what I needed! The fam decided last week to drive up to wander around the new Cabela's store they just opened in Fort Worth. It was a lot of fun, but there were a gazillion and one people that had the exact idea we had, I guess great minds think alike:) This store was incredible they had tons of stuffed things on the wall and in "natural habitats" for people to see. An added bonus was that on Friday night Laura, my brother's girlfriend, called and asked if we would like to meet her parents who live in the Arlington area. When we arrived in Arlington, our stomachs were growling, so we decided to eat at our favorite Metroplex restaurant, La Madeliene, and Laura, Grant, Laura's mom, and her brother Andrew met us there. It was so fun. After our feet were screaming at us in Cabela's, we all decided it was time for a break and some dinner so we called the Pattersons to see if they had any dinner plans. We were invited to their house and after we visited a little while we went to Saltgrass Steakhouse in Arlington. All in all, it was absolutely wonderful to meet Laura's sweet parents. They were such lovely people and we are so thankful God has brought Grant and Laura into each other's lives. Today we slept in a little and went back to La Madeliene for brunch. We then decided to poke around Grapevine Mills a little while which is always really fun. I love to shop! We did not stop there. We then proceeded to go to Pier One, one of my mom and I's favorite stores ever, where I got to quench my candle obsession with the purchase of one called Biscotti. It is out of this world! We then decided to make one more trip to Cabela's to pick up something for Grant, and by this time, people were getting out of church and making their way into the store. After our second trip into Cabela's for the weekend, we decided to head back to A-town, where we are getting ready for company coming in for my great-grandmother's memorial service on Wednesday. I am very thankful for little excursions like this where the whole family gets to recharge the batteries. Well, I'm off to see what needs to be done. Too ta loo.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cabela's Superstore

Tomorrow is a special day. Well, at least to the men in my family. The Cunningham men are hunting and fishing enthusits. Basically they enjoy anything that is performed outdoors. So to any other red blooded American male, raised in Texas, the Grand Opening of a massive Cabela's Superstore as close as the Metroplex is a dream come true. That means that this store is just a mere two hours away from Abilene. I imagine Grant and my dad will frequent this shrine to everything that a male would consider a good time. This Cabela's Superstore is supposed to be even bigger than the Bass Pro Shop, which happens to be Grant's favorite store of all time. All I can say is Boys, have fun! My mom and I will at least have La Madeline, our favorite French bistro in the entire world. Any trip to Dallas is fun and relaxing with my family and I can't wait to go!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Grandma Lillie's New Life

This morning at 1:43 a.m. my great-grandmother, Lillie Averitt, passed away entering the courts of Heaven after living a long 97 years. Sweet Grandma left on her own terms, and we all expected nothing less. This was a woman who was very, very strong-willed and determined. She was a native of San Angelo and held to the very strong core values that make West Texans who they are. Her family made their home on a small farm a couple of miles right outside San Angelo, her brother Ace and his wife Billie still call the farm home. I have to be honest, it has been such a blessing to witness the way in which my grandmother and my mom have compassionately served this precious woman. It has also been very difficult in these last days. She was uncontrollably restless and panicky as she awaited the angels. Grandma grew up in the era of the idea of completing works to enter Heaven, she did not know the grace that God extends freely to those who claim his promise and his way. It has been such an incredibly long road for Grandma Lillie to know complete physical healing! These last few days have been really hard for me to sit back and watch because I had to watch my precious grandma work so hard. To see a woman who has always been hearty and healthy whittle down to mere skin and bone was absolutely unbearable. She was not completely calm and comfortable until 12:00 this morning. She knew comfort for the last hour and a half of her ordained time. One sweet picture that Mom told me about was right before she died when she raised up both of her hands as if she was being welcomed by a family member that had gone before her. As she was reaching out Mom was telling her to find her husband, her mama and daddy, my Mom's first husband, Glenn, and many other cherished people. Now I imagine she is sitting in the lap of Jesus. I hope tomorrow she gets a personal tour of the mansion that has been lovingly prepared for her. Enjoy Heaven, Grandma. Give God a kiss for me. We love you and we know that you are watching down with new joy and fulfillment.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Will and Anna

Today our home was filled with women oohing and aahing over two 6 week old fraternal twins. They are the blessed new additions to Kelly and Megan Cheek, who are the daughter and son-in-law of one of my mentors, Jayma Savage. Today was a celebration of the fruition of a long-awaited dream. Kelly and Megan have been married for five or six years and they have not been able to get pregnant on their own, so naturally they decided to adopt from Christian Homes. The most miraculous part of this sweet story is the fact that their first adoption fell through. The first time Kelly and Megan tried to adopt a baby, they had to travel all the way to Rochester, New York and at the last second, before the papers were to be signed and everything was to become official, the birth mother decided to keep the baby. So about a month went by and it had always been Megan's dream to have twins. About that time Christian Homes let the Cheeks know that a birth mother was expecting twins and that they would need to place these precious babies soon. Well, the birth mother leafed through the placement book and chose to place her twins with Kelly and Megan. On April 7, 2005 Anna Marie and Wilson Gabriel were placed in the Cheek family. It has been so sweet to hear stories of this precious, godly couple becoming new parents! God is so faithful and so full of wonderful surprises! Welcome to the world Will and Anna. We love you.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sickness and Senior Sunday

For the last week I have been sick. I mean really sick. It seems I have a full fledged sinus infection. I decided yesterday that I would not sing in church because my throat was so incredibly sore and it was really hard to be completely silent because today was one of my favorite Highland Sundays. Today we celebrated our 48 graduating seniors with a service that was entirely planned by them. Our worship leaders were Steven Moore and Mark Hadley. It was entergetic and a lot of fun, so as you can see, I was very sad that my voice would simply not cooperate. One really touching part of the service to me was when Nicole Pollock, a radiant young woman who has been confined to a wheelchair all of her life, was presented with her Senior Bible. At this point in the service, the three Huddle Leader couples came down off of the stage and surrounded her with hugs and warm wishes. I was a total wreck! I tend to be highly emotional during this particular Sunday, that is not to say that I can't turn tearful at the drop of a hat! I was richly blessed today in the midst of my sniffles and sore throat to know that God was in our midst and that He would provide a hedge of protection around this amazing Class of 2005. Be blessed today.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Target, Gilmore Girls, and Phantom of the Opera

Well, my summer has begun very nicely. Over the weekend my mom, my nana, my aunt, and I went to Target, one of my favorite stores of all time. There is just something about this particulat store. I absolutely love it. Target has everything that a person might need or want. As I was carefully perusing the aisles, I came upon the newly released season of my favorite TV show, Gilmore Girls. As you might imagine, this filled me with glee, for you see, my first summer days could be filled with watching my favorite episodes of the third season. For those of you who have not seen this show, new episodes air on the WB on Tuesday nights at 7:00. Any college age girl who knows what is good for her watches this addictive show. I was given the first two seasons on DVD for Christmas this past year. From the pilot episode, my mom and I have been hooked. We watch this show religiously. I thought the fun was complete after I found these DVD's but I was wrong. Shortly after depositing my find in my mom's basket, I went back to see what other great things were in store for me. I always enjoy checking out the selection of newly released videos and DVD's. I am a movie lover. To my astonishment, I happened upon The Phantom of the Opera with Emmy Rosman, the eighteen year old phenomenon who played Christine flawlessly. She is incredibly talented. Phantom is my favorite musical of all time. I have never seen it on Broadway, but the music is absolutely incredible! I gave Phantom to mom for Mother's Day. Anyway, as you can see, I enjoyed my first weekend of summer. We even enjoyed some great family time. Be blessed today. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mother's Day

This entire last week while I was studying for final exams, I was trying to figure out what gift to get my mom to ensure that her Mother's Day was extra special. As is usual for me on special occasions, I made mental notes of appropriate Mother's Day tokens of love and appreciation. I tried to get valuable information out of her, but she always says that she doesn't need anything. Like that is supposed to be helpful! Come on, that is not what a daughter wants to hear! One of the most cherished gifts to her is to receive a letter from me expressing my love for her. She tells me all the time that I have a gift of writing and that words speak more loudly than material gifts. I am somewhat daunted when she wants letters because I don't know where to begin. Her influence has been far too great to put into words. For the past 22 years, beside Jesus, my mom has been my most trusted and precious friend, mentor, teacher, and confidant. She has provided a haven for me in which to cry, laugh, hope, doubt, and to celebrate. With the wisdom and guidance of the Lord, my mom has helped to cultivate the fruits of the Holy Spirit within me, she has helped shape my prayer life. she has taught me to unreservedly feast upon the richness that an intimate relationship with the Lord brings to life. My mom has shown me through the fruit and the gift of her own journey of faith what unfathomable joy and peace there is in surrendering my life unto an all sufficient Creator and Sustainer. My mother has also shown me how to create and maintain a beautiful Christ-centered home. I have learned hospitality from a woman who embodies authenticity, generosity, and gentleness to her core. My mother, Cheryl, has been the most abundant, Spirit-filled blessing of my life and for her I can only be eternally grateful. She has helped make me the young woman I am today and the woman of God that I hope and pray that I am becoming day by day. I love you Mama! Be blessed today.

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the time to come. She speaks with wisdom, faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed.

Friday, May 06, 2005

One Down, One to Go

Well, I finished my next to last final at 10:40 this morning. I have another test at 12:00. Hopefully it won't be too hairy. Summer is so close I can taste it. I am almost free! I have a quick prayer request for whomever may wander by my blog today. Please pray for Jonathan Shaub. This is an incredible young man who was hit by an oil truck about three months ago. While there is no visible infection in his leg anymore, he has suffered an incredible fever. 104 degrees to be exact. The many people who have been on their knees for him know beyond doubt, that this is a tool of Satan to breed discouragement and doubt. Just a few days before we all learned that Jonathan was experiencing very visible, tangible steps of victory. Please get on your knees for this servant of Christ and his precious family. They are all hungry for mercy, healing, peace, and wholeness. Sharon, Jonathan's mom is staying with him in New York, while his dad is in Nashville where the family calls home, and his sisters are finishing up the semester. I don't remember where Nicole and Megan are in school. Jonathan is a student at Vanderbilt. THank you for visiting today. Be blessed as you enjoy the Lord.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

A Few of My Favorite Things

This week I have been reminded of so many blessings I have to be thankful for. Here is a list of my favorite things, with the blessings mixed in. The life I live is such an abundant joy.

1. My relationship with Jesus Christ
2. Cherished, longstanding friendships
3. My close-knit family
4. West Highland Terriers
5. West Texas sunsets
6. The Barefoot Contessa on Food Network
7. Chris Tomlin's music
8. Intercession
9. Mary Engelbreit
10. Highland Church of Christ- my church home
11. My baby cousin Emma Beth
12. red, sage, and gold- a few of my favorite colors
13. having a younger brother- I love you, Grant
14. having so many cherished mentors willing to disciple my journey of faith
15. witnessing my parents marriage
16. having my grandparents in Abilene
17. my Yorkie Rose
18. being renewed and challenged by Scripture
19. New beginnings
20. God's infinite love
21. roses, calilillies, and hydrengias
22. having my mom as a precious friend
23. Bath & Body Works
24. having my daddy as an elder at Highland
25. having Mark Lewis as a friend, mentor, and my personal elder
26. being raised in Abilene, Texas
27. being able to attend ACU
28. Ephesians 3:14-21, Provers 3:5-8, Isaiah 58:11, 1 Peter 3:4
29. Knowing that God is at work in me
30. Living in joy, praise, and ceasless thanksgiving to an infinite Creator and Sustainer
31. Knowing that Jesus longs to be my daily bread and that I have the honor of courting the King of my heart.

This life is full of both simplicity and hardship, the goal of all of it is to shape us, to challenge us, and to make us into what we were created to become through Jesus. Be blessed as you count the blessings of your journey.

Monday, May 02, 2005

4 Days and Counting....

Finally, in just four days I will be free of deadlines and schedules! I am ready for a three month break. Summer cannot come fast enough. The feeling of freedom is all over campus. It seems that students, faculty, and staff can all feel the need for a long summer break of rejuvination and relaxation. I don't have any huge plans for the break other than a mission trip to Eugene, Oregon in June with several families from Highland. We are traveling to Eugene as a part of the Into All the World campaign. I cannot wait until we get a chance to worship with Christ Fellowship. I am really looking forward to being reunited with Matt and Sarah Lynn Grubb. I really miss Matt and Sarah Lynn's presence in the Highland body. I have also heard of some great ministry opportunities such as Hosea which is a homeless shelter for teens. I heard about this particular ministry from Steve and Chelsie Sargent as a result of Steve sharing some tidbits from spending two months in Eugene before beginning graduate school at ACU. I have heard incredible things about the people that are a part of the Christ Fellowship congregation and I cannot wait to see and meet them for myself. Be blessed these last few days of the semester as we finish tests and look forward to a very effective, productive, restful summer break. Come sweet summer come!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Super Nanny Phenomenon

In case some of you do not know, there is a show on ABC right now called Super Nanny, wherre a British nanny named Jo Frost comes to help struggling parents get control of the reins of their children. As I watch this show each week, I continue to be shocked and appalled at the severity of the children's behavior. I often ask myself, "How can two people allow their children to get so out of control?" It is so easy these days with the pressures of work and the world outside of the home. It is absolutely incredible to see just how much control the children have over the parents! The episode last night featured a family with three children, two twin girls and a boy. One of the twin girls slapped and spit all over her poor mother and she also pointed at her mother as if trying to scold her for putting this little girl in the "naughty corner". Don't you just love the sound of that. " Hey Joe go sit in the naughty chair for four minutes and think about what you did when you peed on your brother". Every week I seem to make mental notes about how I will not allow my children to act, but I am sure that they will act out of sorts sometimes, that is just the nature of kids. Be blessed today.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Bridal Showers

Today was a whirlwind in the Cunningham home. There were no two hour Sunday afternoon naps for any of us this afternoon. My mom was one of the hostesses for a bridal shower honoring Anslee Craig which took place at our house. So, in typical Cunningham fashion, the early afternoon was spent quickly tidying up before the inevitable onslaught of company arrived. As is usual for me, I was quite impressed that my mom could get everything so beautiful so fast! I always enjoy attending bridal showers because, to me, there always seems to be an air of abundant hope and infectious joy for the bride-to-be and her long-awaited groom. Bridal showers symbolize the fulfillment of a lifelong dream and hope of an everlasting union between two people that are committed to one another and most importantly, to the Lord. These times of celebration also serve to renew my hope, that in the not too distant future, the earnest prayer and desire of a Godly, passionately devoted, humble partner, friend, and bridegroom will come to fruition in my own life. It is so funny whenever I attend the weddings and showers of friends my own age because I think I could be up in front of God and a community of people making a covenant of lifelong love and committment to my own Heaven sent gift of grace. Lord Jesus, I thank you and praise you for the gift of weddings. I praise you for the invention and intention of the marriage relationship. My prayer for Josh and Anslee is that you will be the focal point of their union as one and that you will charge them to be focused on everything that is good and worthy of you. May they forever grow deeper into love for one another and you, but may they also always enjoy one anothers' individuality and uniqueness. Be blessed.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Friends and Hotel Rwanda

This weekend I was invited to go to Midland with Jordan Wesley, Meredith Rothschild, Katrina Weatherly, Jordan Swim, and Kevin Porter to visit Jordan W's dad and stepmom. It was a very relaxing weekend. Jordan's dad lives on a golf course, so as you might imagine, it was really rough! The weekend was also highlighted by delicious steaks and a pool. One of the things we decided to do was to watch Hotel Rwanda with Meredith because she had to critique the film for a class. I had heard that this was a must-see movie and so I had pretty high expectations. Hotel Rwanda was incredible although it wasn't as graphic as I expected it to be. This tale was one portrayed with such humility, I was deeply moved by the main character, Paul, because of his devotion to his wife and children and the Tutsi population. He literally saved thousands of people and their families. I was very impressed with this movie and I would encourage everyone to go see it. Be blessed.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Unexpected Affirmations

God has been busy this semester. I have asked him to make my spirit sensitive to the leading og the Spirit and he has lavishly delivered as usual. One way that God has blessed my journey of faith is by affirming me with the gift of some new friendships. These unexpected blessings have served as holy kisses from my God. It is like he is saying to me, "I see you and I love you Lauren." "Let me open up my storehouses of joy and lavish you with gifts of grace." I have been blessed by an incredible group of young women to pray with each week, these women have enriched my walk with the Lord in a way that is inexplicable. I have been challenged, affirmed, and cherished by the communion I have shared with these precious disciples. I hope that the relationships that have begun this semester will continue to be strengthened and grown in the years to come. It is such an incredible thing to know that God is intimately and passionately concerned about the joys of my journey. He sings his delight over me daily and I am so unworthy! Father God, I praise you and I thank you for the unexpected affirmations you have placed in my life the last few months. My prayer is that I may be an encouragement and blessing in the lives that you have blessed me with, may I strive to love and serve in ways that would bring a smile to your face and a smile to their hearts. You have abundantly lavished me with gifts that I do not deserve, but I am so thankful for. I surrender them back to you and I ask that you may be glorifed.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Spring's Awakening

As Spring has made its entrance, I have been reminded of so many simple pleasures I have been blessed with. Some of the most cherished simple pleaures I enjoy are being around beloved friends, intercessing on behalf of others, the regal majesty of a sunset, reading a great novel, loving on our Yorkie, and writing. I have also been reminded of the beauty of God's creation. Spring has a way of teaching me anew, that every day is a gift. We are to enjoy it passionately, basking in its uniqueness, glory, and splendor. Each Spring, my senses are tantalized by the heady fragrance of a flower, the sound of birds making melody, the sight of a clear unencumbered blue sky, and the touch of the wind playing with my hair. Thank you Lord for the arrival of Spring and for the sense of renewal that it ushers into our lives. My prayer is that I will enjoy each new day with a renewed fervor and passion. Open my eyes and heart to recognize your innumerable blessings and new opportunities that you place in my path. Renew the eyes of my spirit to recognize the leading of your Holy Spirit, and his tender whisperings. I pray that you use this blessed season to help me to reclaim the sweetness of your promises. Sew my spirit to unreservedly welcome the cultivating and pruning of my heart. Have your way Lord. I am yours. Continue to emblazen your signature on all of who and what I am becoming.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Sacred Moments

This has been a week filled with incredible sacred moments in the presence of the Lord. I have spent three days basking in his holiness and in the comfort of his throneroom. I don't know about you, but I find something sacredly sweet about being able to bow completely surrendered to the foot of the cross. I have felt an uncomprehensible sense of freedom as I have brought my desires and dreams to an incredibly sufficient Creator. Through the gift of silence and surrender, the Lord has been able to minister to me in a way that has been divinely intimate and soul-satisfying. I have been reminded of Jesus's command in Matthew that He be our daily bread. The last couple of days I have been able to feast upon his goodness, mercy, grace, and truth. It is incredible to know with all certainty that I am His child, I am an heir to everything that is of God. How did I get to be so blessed?! These precious times of communion with my Savior have served as reminders that God is continually taking my spirit deeper and higher into his character. I have been able to give my heart unreservedly to the Lover of my Soul and I have complete confidence that it will continue to yearn and thirst for the things God has in store. My prayer for myself as well as whoever may wander to this blog is that we will always be willing to be shaped and molded more closely into the image of Christ Jesus. Be blessed as you look for ways to commune with the Maker of all things good.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Hungering for Holiness

Throughout the last couple of weeks and days, my heart has been hungry. I am not speaking of a physical hunger. The hunger I am addressing is one that goes way beyond the physical realm. The Lord has revealed anew, a deep yearning within my spirit, to journey further into the inner courts of his holiness and blessing. I long to be taken deeper and higher into his majesty, his delight, and his splendor. My hearts' yearning is to be consumed with his favor and the leading of the Holy Spirit. I am so sick of living within my own comfort zone. This has been a place of complacency and mediocrity. I long to walk out on faith and to be shaped into a disciple that trys to empower those within my realm of influence to be ready to walk down any road God opens up to them. I long to show people that our Savior is a very dynamic, charasmatic, radical presence. He is not going to be found in "safe" places. The road Jesus calls his disciples to pioneer is one filled with opportunities to grow and to be stretched by the places and the people he calls us to. I am fascinated that in the days of his ministry, Christ was not satisfied to partially teach or to partially heal. He fully restored them unto redemption and hope. I pray that this is a message that my life proclaims with passion to a world that is searching. The journey that I have had with my Savior has been the most fulfilling, rich experirnce of my life. Being willing to follow the leading of a faithful, ever-present Father is something that has given my life meaning and purpose. My prayer today is that we all might ask the Lord to show us ways that we might sep out of the boat and to radically follow wherever He leads us. Be blessed today,

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Call to Prayer

If I might, I would ask that you be in prayer this week for three specific requests. The first one is the continued improvement and healing of Jon Westin Bennett. The doctors, as well as Wes, Terrie, and JW are hopeful he will be well enough to return to Abilene most likely the middle of this week. Isn't God good?! The second prayer request is regarding Kerri Lane, who was just diagnosed with melanoma on her abdomen. She is scheduled to meet with doctors tomorrow at M.D. Anderson in Houston to explore surgical options. Today in the ladies class I am a part of, we had the honor of surronding Kerri and laying our hands on her as we together, along with the groanings of the Holy Spirit, petitioned the Lord's help on her behalf. I was absolutely blown away by Kerri's victorious attitude, and furthermore, her desire to not miss any divine appointments God might put in her path. Please pray that God's will is done in this situation and that He alone will be glorified through its outcome. The final prayer request is for the continued progress and healing of Jonathan Shaub, a member of the Otter Creek Church of Christ in Nashville. I became aware of Jonathan's situation through reading Brandon Scott Thomas's blog. This young man has been on my heart ever since. I do not know him personally, but through the comments on his blog at, I know that he is a very powerful missionary in the Kingdom of Christ. Jonathan was walking out of his apartment in New York City and was hit by a car. He has been in the hospital ever since. Please pray that Jonathan would continue to find joy in each day and that the Lord would continue to bring healing and mercy to him. The Shaubs are an incredible testimony of God's love and grace. My faith has been grown and encouraged by the way they have walked each step of their incredible journey of healing for Jonathan. Thank you for joining with me as we bring these cherished servants to the foot of the cross. Be blessed today as you trust in Him.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

MInistry of Music

I often wonder what my life would be like if music were not a part of this world. For as long as I can remember, the gift of music has been an integral part of who I am. As I stop and think, I remember fondly, getting up on the window seat in my bedroom when I was about 5 or 6 and joyfully belting out whatever song was in my head or on the radio. I have always been one to catch onto the lyrics of a song very quickly, usually after the first time I hear something new and unfamiliar. Whenever I climb into the front seat of the car with my parents or my brother, my first reaction is to push the power button and turn up the volume. I think God created something within me that thrives off the gift and ministry of music. There are times that I yearn and thirst for its power to come and wash over me. God knew that his followers would need a unique and powerful avenue to freely express feelings that could not be formed into mere syllables. In my own life, music is used as an incredible agent to usher me into my communion times with the Lord. It seems to bring a somewhat tangible sense that I am in the divine presence of Christ and that I have an audience with the King and legions of angels. Music's ministry on my journey of faith is not limited to my times of communion with the Lord. I have felt the gentleness and authenticity of its healing through times of tragedy, doubt, disorientation, and confusion. This awesome gift ordained by God's hand has also seemed to allow me to ride on its wings as I have entered many seasons of joy, contentment, and satisfaction. I do have a few stipulations that guide my selection of music, so that it will cause me to grow and to be refined into the image of Christ. It is not at all my intention to imply that if a person listens to Country, R&B, or any other genre of music, they are bad. It is my desire to constantly be devoted to words and images that promote and honor things of God. I have learned over the years that what seeps into your mouth will gradually worm its way into the spirt and heart. Some of my stipulations include purchasing music that will uplift my spirit, bring a message of encouragement and hope, and music that will equip me to serve others more effectively. Some artists that have ministered to my spirit throughout all of its seasons have been Michael W. Smith, Third Day, Zoe, Phillips, Craig, & Dean, Twila Paris, Sarah Lynn Grubb, 4Him, Shane&Shane and many others. Music has left an indelible mark on me that I will be eternally thankful for. May God speak to your heart through the gift and ministry of music today.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Remembering Brody

The last couple of weeks my heart has held a new kind of grief for Bret, Jennifer, Taylor, and Brock Bourland. You see, as is customary this time of year, Brody's cherished Cedar Creek Little League held Opening Ceremonies. I can connect with the Bourlands' love of little league baseball because my family and I spent four years running the concession stand at Key City. The memories of the ballpark are some I will not soon forget. There is something precious about watching young men enjoy America's pastime. There is also nothing in this world like enjoying a Ballpark burger. One snapshot from Brody's funeral that I will carry with me forever is that his teammates who were at the funeral were dressed in their Cedar Creek uniforms to honor his love of baseball. I, like so many others at Highland, wish I had known this precious sixth grade boy who exemplified the character of Christ in every aspect of his life. My dad, Rob, had the opportunity to get to know him because he taught in the sixth and seventh grade boys class on Wednesday nights in the summer. His life will never be the same as a result of the influence of Brody Bourland. I have asked my dad the last couple of weeks if he could identify what made Brody special. He did not have to think for long! Brody exemplified humility, mercy, gentleness, authenticity, and joy in everything he was a part of. God was cultivating Brody's spirit to become an oak of righeousness. The Spirit of the Living God was overflowing from Brody's life. It seemed to touch everything he was a part of--in his family, his friendships, and every other activity he participated in. Brody has taught me how to be a more effective disciple. He has taught me how to look past outward appearances and into the heart of both people and situations. I will be eternally grateful to him. Father, I praise you for giving Brody Bret Bourland life, thank you for using his short eleven years to produce such abundant fruit. I praise you for using his death in a way that has brought a church together in a way that she will never be the same. I know that you had to have an annointed assignment for him in Heaven because I know that he could have been used powerfully on earth to proclaim and to display your glory in so many lives and in so many ways. Brody, you will never ever be forgotten. I know for a fact that I am not over your loss. Thank you for showing the world, through your life, that God's signature was on your heart.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Anticipating Summer

I don't know about you, but I am very eager for the arrival of Summer. This particular season invites a certain spontaneity and slow pace into my life that I seem to let slip during all the other seasons. I am ready for Rangers baseball games, Cajun Cones, and leisurely barbeques with friends and family. A little "surprise" excursion sounds really good right about now! My plan this summer is to relish the things that I truly cherish. Some of those things include enjoying the majesty of a sunset, getting sucked into a Francine Rivers novel, and going to lots of movies. I am very ready to put books and deadlines aside for three months to intentionally enjoy each day and surprise the Lord sends my way. My prayer for myself and all of you is that the Summer will provide the time to commune with the Lord in ways that are refreshing and new. One thing that God has really shown me this semester is not to be afraid of entering into His presence. A majority of my time is spent not wanting to sit in silence to truly listen to God. I think it is because I am afraid of what he will ask of me and of the ways he will ask me to grow. Let's face it, maturity is scary and uncertain. I pray that we remember that God longs to know us intimately and completely. God's desire is to grow us in discipleship. My prayer is that we would not shy away from these incredibly rich times of refinement. Let us take hold of the Master's hand and allow him to take us deeper and higher into his holiness. May you know the peace of Christ today.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Passing of the Pope

As you might imagine, I have been glued to CNN and ABC as John Paul II has lived out the final days and hours of his journey on earth. I have been incredibly humbled at the breadth of his legacy given to Catholicism. The message that I have recieved from John Paul has been one of humility, mercy, authenticity, compassion, and peace. As a fellow follower of Christ, I am thankful for the way that he trusted in the will of God. He encouraged the Catholic church to perservere in times of trial. I believe he knew that the refinement of one's character is one goal of being a child of God. My prayer in the days to come is that God would bless Rome and the Vatican as they show their respect, through times of mourning. Father, I praise you for allowing the Catholic church, and the world in a sense, to be led by a man who was a friend and champion of those who knew poverty and oppression. I thank you for allowing him to be a gentle and kind leader. I pray that as a result of the death of John Paul, there will be a revival of trust and belief in Jesus Christ. I ask that you remember the those that claim alligence to Catholicism as they mourn, please also pray for the upcoming Conclave that will gather in Rome to elect a new leader. May you know the height, depth, and breadth of the love of Christ today.

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Glory of God

Today, as I walked into Chapel, I expected Praise Day, our Friday staple on the ACU campus. I was blessed to join the entire student body as we sang old familiar hyms. After about three songs, Dean Barnard approached the podium and announced that Max Lucado was going to share about some new service opportunities that are being implemented in Western San Antonio. Boy, was I blessed and challenged by his very timely message. His topic was the glory of God. Max remided us that we are not here for our own comfort, but we are here to proclaim God's glory. He also shared that God in his sovereignty, can use each of us whether in health or sickness, to help make His glory known. My prayer is that with each moment that I am given will be used to show the world the glory of my God. Be blessed today

The Gift of Community

After almost twelve years on this journey toward Heaven and further into the heart of God, I think I finally realize why community was so important to Jesus--in his personal life and in his ministry. Times surrounded by close friends and family and other familiar people are sacred and should be cherished. Jesus knew that his followers would need this type of relationship if their journey was to be fruitful. He knew that we would need to rely on the prayers and strength of others when we could not find it within ourselves. In my own life, there is quite a large group of this community. I call these cherished friends "my people". Some of these people I have asked for fervently and others have been sweet affirmations from the hand of God. Two of the most cherished members of this group have been my parents and grandparents. They have ever so gently modeled the character of Jesus and I will take that with me forever. Others in this community include the families in my small group, the Etters, the Bennetts, the Zellers, Jayma Savage, Squeaky Walker, Maria White, Kirsta Leeds and many others. Even though it seems that these two small words could not encompass my love for each one of you, I say thank you. Thank you for teaching and showing me, through the gift of your lives, what real discipleship looks like. Thank you for giving me a hunger for truth, thank you for teaching me to pray and to intercede on behalf of others, thank you for teaching me to serve. Most importantly, thank you for giving me the gift of Jesus, thank you for teaching me to hold fast to his promises. Thank you for the assurance that God's signature is on my heart forever. My journey with my Savior is what it is because of each of you and so many others. I love you and I treasure the relationships we share.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Day One

I have become somewhat obsessed with this new found phenomenon called blogging. I have read so many incredible posts and I feel somewhat inadequate as I contribute my two cents on being a disciple of Jesus, a college student, and a friend. Please know that I encourage community in this little piece of cyberspace that I have been given. I will share the ways in which I have been challenged, encouraged, and edified as I try to live out this gift of life that I have been given. Feel free to share. My prayer is that whoever may visit this blog may be blessed to live more intentionally for Jesus. Believe me, I am still taking it one step, one day at a time. Let us all figure out how to love one another together and how to bring the light of Jesus into a dark and depraved world. Thank you for taking time to listen to my ramblings