Thursday, March 4, 2010


Today is the first day we've seen sun in a while! I am so thankful!

Classes are going well, and I usually enjoy them. I am learning so much academically while being formed spiritually at the same time. It is a blessing to be able to learn, live, and grow all at once. I've been sifting through a lot of ideas and topics we've been discussing in class. This semester, like no other semester I've had in school (seminary or undergrad), everything is fitting together. Each class builds on the other. It's crazy because all my classes are so different. I have one class on Inductive Bible Study (IBS...ha!), another on Communicating the Gospel to Youth, one on Spiritual Warfare, one on Ethics, and finally Vocation of Ministry (which doesn't really fit in with the others, but that's another tale for another day). My personal theme or motto for this semester seems to be "God loves ME!" I don't know if any of you have ever had a hard time believing that God loves you and accepting his love, but I have always struggled with this.

Lately, I began to pray that I would learn to love people. "We should love people because they are made in the image of God"...that's what I learned in my Youth Ministry class. I told my roommate about my "goal" to love people and what had been said in class and she said, "The only way we love people is from God's love flowing through us. If we don't accept his love, we can't love people." She had no idea that already I had been dealing with the issue of accepting God's love for me. That's when it really hit me that I don't have a choice in accepting God's love if I truly believe him and want to carry out his will for my life. I guess in some way I thought I could get around truly accepting God's love. I thought I just had to believe God loved other people for me to be able to do His work and love people.

The next day in IBS, my professor was taking apart the passage where John baptizes Jesus and then God says, "This is my Son, with whom I am well pleased." Dr. Dongell pointed out that God is pleased with Jesus BEFORE he ever started his ministry. He went on to say that we often get involved in ministry to please God, but he's already pleased with us. We often pour into people when we are empty ourselves and not full of God. Then...he went off on a tangent (I'm certain the Spirit was present in class that day) about how we must be full of God's love to love others. He said, "We cannot generate love. We cannot manufacture love (for others). It has to come from God." He went on to say that it's God's love overflowing from us that allows us to love other people. I knew that message was meant for me.

Later that night in my spiritual warfare class, our prof was talking about overcoming habits and defeating the evil that attacks us and he said, "When we are full of the Lord, all that other stuff just kind of falls away." This statement hit me hard on several levels. One, it was just such a simple statement, yet SO true. Two, it reiterated that I have to be full of God in order to love others and live my life for him. Three, it reminded me that sometimes all I can do to help other people is to pray that God will be present in their lives, that they will fill themselves with Him and let everything else fall away.

I am so thankful that I was able to hear God speaking to me through all these different people. I am so, so thankful to be here. Every day is not good, but I am finally noticing some changes happening, all due to God's work in me. I am doing better at dealing with people. I am more fervent in my prayer time, and I finally feel like God is hearing me again. I am staying on top of my assignments, whether they be reading or papers. I have great friends here, friends that I will probably know forever. I have laughed until I cried and my sides hurt and I couldn't breathe; sang until I laughed and then cried and then couldn't breathe; ate some disgusting food; had some amazing, God inspired roommate time; and met a wonderful guy. God is good, and he loves ME!