Thursday, January 26, 2012

Carpe Diem

Wow, in a matter of a week my life is already changed! Yesterday marked my last semester of high school, EVER! Holy canoli, I feel like I just started my freshman year yesterday! This brings about my topic for this blog post: Time. With the semester change, we received all new classes. One of my new classes is English. I absolutely LOVE English and despite all the negative comments from other students, I am excited to have Mr. Scofield as my teacher. The first day of class, I was so engaged in his explanation of the course and his enlightening stories. I picked up on his sarcasm and quirky jokes and thought they were absolutely hilarious. Little did I know that his topic today would make a huge impact on me...

So obviously, I am a senior in high school. Time is of a huge essence to me! I am one of the busiest people you will meet, but that's beside the point. The physical amount of time that I have left with the people I have known the past 12 years of my life is QUICKLY fading away. I'm already halfway through my senior year with only 88 days left! And what do I do with this limited amount of time? I spend every ounce of it trying to stay involved and create more memories before my time is cut short with my friends. In the beginning of this school year at our very first youth group meeting, my youth leader focused a lot on time and making the most of this year. He asked me to do a skit called "Time" by the Skit Guys. It talked about being extremely busy and not finding time to just focus on God. But the true meaning was to not just offer our little sliver of time to God, which is truly insignificant to him, but to offer him our lives. My best friend also participated in a skit in which she spoke about truly wanting to be a different person this year. She wanted to make the most of her senior year by truly diving into her faith. With this meeting, I felt the inspiration to make the most of this year. I wanted to enjoy every moment but also bask in the exciting opportunities of my future. My first semester was lived by constantly looking forward to how many days there were left until I am finally in the real world. And then I got to English class...

We were assigned to read a simple 16 line poem by Robert Herrick. I will share with you the first eight lines since they had the most impact on me:

Gather ye rosebuds, while ye may,
Old time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting. 

I will try my best to sum up the 30 minute conversation of this poem, (I should have taken notes!) Mr. Scofield has been a teacher at EYHS for over 20 years. In that time, he has seen 8 former students of his pass away; one of them being Michael Enochs who passed away a week ago from brain cancer. This poem is near and dear to his heart in regards to that situation. In the first stanza, Herrick talks about how quickly time passes by. A flower may be here today, but in a few days it will be gone. Mr. Scofield emphasized the value of time. To Mike Enochs, if you would have told him he could have 5 more days to spend with his loved ones, he would have snatched it up quickly. Mr. Scofield also talked about how living in the past is truly a waste of time. You cannot go back and change it; no matter what. And the more you spend looking on the past, the more time you waste in the present. On the opposite end of the spectrum, he also mentioned not focusing on the future. If you plan your whole future out, you'll miss entirely what's going on now. You'll always be focused on what's next and never on the beauty of the present. Of course that is a bizarre statement to tell a class full of seniors but it is most certainly true. If all I am focused on is how successful I will be as a lawyer with a happy family, I will miss out on the last semester of my high school career. This reminds me of the popular quote: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift from God, that's why it's called the present."- Bill Keane. We should truly value each day is our last. And what is the popular word associated with this concept? Carpe diem: Seize the day. Make the most of every.single.moment that you are given. 

So, how does this relate to your walk with God? Well I know in my own life I have set a goal to make 1 person's day better each day. Whether it be a simple hello or picking up someone's books, random acts of kindness are truly God's glimmer of hope in a down day. To continue with my idea of using a song in each of my blog posts, here's this blog's song: Blink by Revive. The songs talks about making the most of each moment and using it according to God's glory. In the second verse the words describe how we should use our time on this Earth:

When it's all said and done, no one remembers
How far we have run.
The only thing that matters, is how we have loved.

I strongly suggest that you listen to this song to get the full inspiration of making use of your precious time. 

I challenge you to seize each and every day as if it's your last.
 Dedicate the day to God so you may accomplish His purpose for your life
 in order to advance his kingdom.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

God's Peaceful Creation

A Snowy Morning

At 8:30 A.M. this morning, I'm thinking, "Ahh, I wanna go back to sleep... this is too early..." But then as I looked at the window, my thoughts were completely changed. I knew there was going to be snow from all of the weather forecasts but I viewed this snow completely different than I thought I would. This beautiful landscape outside my window was God's fingerprints. Now, you're probably thinking, "Snow looks like this every year, Lauren." But that was not the case for me this morning. As I gazed outside my window, I saw the complete peace of God's creation. The trees were completely still covered with snow on their branches. And perched on those branches were birds. When I woke up this morning, there were 12 birds sitting on snow covered branches. And the amazing thing? They just sat there. In peace. No stress of having to go anywhere. No lists of thing to do. No worries about what would happen next. And as I gazed out onto this beautiful landscape, the song "Indescribable" came to mind. (I have an extreme passion for music so I plan on incorporating songs into my blog because that's how my mind works (: ) So here's a glimpse at the chorus which basically sums up the song:

Indescribable, uncontainable,
You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name.
You are amazing God
All powerful, untameable,
Awestruck we fall to our knees as we humbly proclaim
You are amazing God

Those few lines alone simply explain the true glory of God. There are truly no words to describe God's splendor. His majesty is so powerful that it brings us to our knees. But you know what the great thing is? He knows each and every creature by it's name. And he knows the inner depths of your heart. What else can be said from that? It's difficult for me to explain because there is no one on the face of the Earth capable of loving us that way. My absolute favorite part of the song is this last chorus:

Incomparable, unchangeable
You see the depths of my heart and You love me the same
You are amazing God
You are amazing God

God knows our inner thoughts, dreams, and faults. He sees everything we have ever thought or will think. And even though we have sinned in our past, are sinning now, and will continue to sin in the future, God will never take that word-taking love away.

So I thought I would incorporate something special into my blog. I'm taking this from my youth leader who is one of the greatest advice-givers I know. Every time I have a problem, she always challenges me with a new way to grow in my faith. So, I thought I would incorporate a challenge.

I challenge YOU to take the unconditional grace from God
 and use it as your everlasting source of peace.
Whenever another thing gets added to your to-do list, don't make it a list of stress.
Use it as a way to grow deeper in God's peace.