There is power in prayer (plus a pumpkin poll)

I use alliteration a lot, just in case you don’t really know me.

Since this is my last post of the month of October, the quintessential fall month, I wanted to add a little poll to the end of this about one of my favorite fall things — the flavors! Sweet potato and apple are two of my other seasonal favorites, but we will keep it to pumpkin for this one.

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But first, coffee. Just kidding. First, Jesus. Prayer — something that has had a profound impact on my life the past couple months.

It may sound strange, but I don’t really look forward to the weekends. I enjoy the school week more. People are here, and things go on a schedule. More events happen, and I always know that I will have friends around. On the weekends with no class, many people go home or somewhere else, and campus is quiet. The caf also closes early and has more limited food. I get pretty lonely sometimes. However, there have been some events, just all happening at the same time! They are so intriguing, but I am so indecisive. Then I get stressed over which thing to choose so that I don’t miss out on something. The solution that I have found to that problem? Prayer.

One weekend was actually packed. Friday to Sunday there were options of my parents, camping, a goat festival, luau, bonfire, church. For Sunday evening, I was debating between the bonfire and church, really wanting to go to the bonfire, but not alone. Throughout the afternoon, I prayed that god just somehow show me which one He wanted me to do. Minutes later, my phone rang. A girl from the team, Kendra, had seen where I was asking if anyone was going, and she was and offered to take me! That was my sign that I should go to the bonfire. It ended up being a great time with food, fun, painting pumpkins, fellowship and singing worship songs around a bonfire.

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The next weekend, I was again struggling with what to do with my Sunday. I had so much homework (as usual, I feel), but one of the other freshman girls on the team had invited us all to her house to carve pumpkins and other fun stuff. We would be staying for dinner and stuff, so we wouldn’t be going to church either. Now, I really love Ethos. I really wanted to go and have fun and participate, but I was also stressed. I prayed about this decision, too, decided to tell Kailey that I would come, and just went with it. However, right after that, she sent out a message saying that a lot of people were worried about homework and such, so we could plan to do it the next week. That made the decision for me!  The afternoon ended up being beautiful, and I got lots of work done sitting outside. I had time to dress up for church, hear a fantastic message and have a great dinner and fellowship back at school.

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Answered prayers for God’s work to be known and shown is also kind of the theme in a previous post I did about a night going out with some friends!

The more I see this happen in the world and my own life, the more I am willing to trust God’s plan. When He shows us the way, we should be faithful and walk in it. It leads to the best destinations, usually in the most unexpected ways.

While I’m at it, I can’t believe October is over, but Happy Halloween!

These are not all my pumpkin indulgences, but just a few.

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Pied Piper Creamery, Target treats, Sweet Cece’s, pumpkin cheesecake pudding mousse mom made and cookies from a friend, Yogurt Mountain, and The Comfy Cow.

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Delight in the Lord

One of the things that I have seen as a blessing through taking this cross country season off to rest is that I have taken the opportunity to do things that I would not have done if I was training, such as staying up late. There’s no point in not taking advantage of opportunities that come up. Although it’s not what I was used to, why not enjoy the special occasions? The Bible tells us to “make the most of every opportunity” no matter what the circumstances are (Colossians 4:5). Time is something you will never get back, so why not get the most out of it?

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It has amazed me how there are always events happening here on campus. Between constant events and homework, there is rarely to never time to be bored. Some days there are so many options, it actually stresses me out that I don’t know what to choose! One night I had already had a fun day out and about and eating, but the Elam RA’s were hosting a painting night in the lobby. It didn’t start until 10 p.m., but that is something that caught my attention. By the time that I got back to the dorm, changed into my pj’s, and ready to go down to paint, it was almost 11:00, but I really wanted to do it! There were still plenty of people down there and plenty left when I was finished.

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This was one of my latest nights, but it was worth it. I got to talk with new people that I hadn’t met that were basically my neighbors. It was also great to take time to just relax and be creative. Some girls did really elaborate and impressive paintings, but others were simple. Some had words while others were just images.

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It took me a long time to decide, but I choose to make two pictures that were very relevant to where I was at in my life. The Elam residence hall theme for the year is “delight,” using Psalm 37:4, which is also one of my favorite verses. If you take it literally, it will not always come true. But God’s Word is never false, so people say. This is true. This takes a deep understanding of what a life for Christ is about. It’s like a circle of repeating events. The more that you delight in the Lord, the more that becomes what your heart desires. His joy and contentment has no comparison, and nothing else can provide it. When you find this feeling, you begin to want it more and more. Then the desire for the Lord will be filled by Him. That is what I have found in so many circumstances. When I stop focusing on controlling my circumstances and live in the moment, embracing what God has put right in front of me, I have found more joy than when I am focused on what I want to plan.

2016-09-03-23-19-07 This leads me to the second verse that I painted: “Live by faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7). To follow where God leads and to see what He wants you to do requires that you have faith in what He is doing. Now that life here on campus is totally different from my routines at home, faith is something that has repeatedly come to me. Though I do not know what a day will bring, I can live in faith that God is working a good plan. When I put this trust in Him and live in the moment, I find that I am filled with joy and long for more of it.

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Elam has also done a bonfire, Bible studies, cookouts, games, decorating, Tuesday night pancakes and much more, as well as upcoming events like the Halloween Party. Hopefully I will share about some more of these soon!

Has your dorm done any fun or inspiring activities? What are some themes you see reoccurring around you lately? Consider what they may be really trying to say to you.

Opportunity is omnipresent

One quality of God is that He is omnipresent, meaning that He is present everywhere. The same goes for opportunities that He gives us; we just have to be open to seeing them. Matthew 7:7 says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” When you earnestly ask God to help you see the things He wants you to do with your life, He will be faithful to show you. If you want the opportunities, God has already planned them out.

A couple weeks ago, this very thing happened.

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It was another long night of talking in the caf with some great friends like I wrote my last post about, when Lauren and I started talking about ice cream. That made us really want some. We asked the two guys who were left with us if they wanted to go get some, but they had homework to do that night, so we planned for the next night. I was really excited to be going out with some new friends, but praying that God let His plans go through and not mine, that He watch over us and let whatever He wanted to happen happen. We waited on Brent as the last one to be ready and left around 7:20. We weren’t sure where to go, but ended up at the Comfy Cow.

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After ordering, we found a bench outside to sit and eat and talk. A poor, old, woman walked past us. She looked like she was really struggling and not quite with it, then she turned to ask if anyone had a dollar to help her. Brent immediately gave her one. She walked a little more, but then turned back and asked if she could have a ride to the hotel she was staying at down the road, and Topher said yeah, we could take her if the rest of us were fine with it. She seemed so happy and went to get her couple bags and told us how to get to the Extended Stay. We helped her to the car and drove there and got to talk to her a bit. Her name was Ellie, and she was living there by herself. When we got there, we told her that we hoped she had a great evening and offered to help her more, but she said she was OK to take it to her room herself. She thanked us so much! Before pulling out of the parking lot, Lauren led us in prayer for her. On the ride home, we talked more about her situation and shared even more spiritual encouragement and stories with each other. I am always amazed with how my teammates are so open and motivated with their faith! They uplift my spirit and inspire me to live better myself. This is also like what the message was at Ethos the night before: be a missionary right here in Nashville, right where God has placed you. If we had gone the night before, earlier on that night, to any other ice cream place, or stayed back for the missions meeting, this would not have happened. My prayer for God to be at work on our little outing was totally responded to by that opportunity. Then at the girls’ team devo, Lauren and I had a story to share during God Moments!

Where was an unlikely place you have gotten an opportunity to share God’s love?