Geaux.

I am an LSU Tiger through and through. Pride rises in my heart at the sight of an LSU bumper sticker. Anyone wearing LSU gear is automatically an ally. I bleed purple and gold.

You might have heard about the ever-increasing tension between LSU and Alabama. I, being the Tiger that I am, have been trained for the past four years to hate all things Crimson. I have many loved ones from back home that love Alabama. I just pretend they don’t.

That said, I help lead worship for the Refuge, a wonderful college ministry at LSU. Refuge Band was invited to lead worship at a retreat for a college ministry at Alabama. Last weekend, we packed all our stuff in a trailer, hopped in a big old Yukon and made the long trek into enemy territory.

As we pulled in to the city, our drummer leaned out the window and belted “GEAUX TIGERS!!!” at the top of his lungs. As much as I don’t like Alabama, I was ashamed. We were those Tigers. Even still, there was crimson everywhere I looked. Clearly I needed to be on guard at all times.

Last weekend, I sang and played piano for a group of college kids that I didn’t know from a school that I’ve been trained to despise. But every wall of division in my heart melted to the floor as I saw their hands raised in worship and their hearts lost in the presence of God.

I got the honor to sit with a few of them and listen to their stories. I soon discovered that I was in a room full of brothers and sisters whose lives have been changed by the same Jesus who turned my own world completely upside down. It was humbling to say the least.

I will never root for Alabama.

But there is an added sweetness to my understanding that I am part of a beautiful story written by a beautiful God, who ransoms hearts from every tribe and nation and tongue and university.

Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and is in all. Put on then as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness and patience.
Colossians 3:11-12

Grace and peace

Hope

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four years in ten minutes

God changed my life when I came to college. It’s impossible to adequately sum it all up in one little post. But I really wanted to share a little of the journey that God has taken me on so far.

You see, I came into college a very broken and insecure person. I thought God was more like my boss. I worked for my reward, for peace with God. And if I failed to do the work, I would certainly be fired, cast away, rejected. And let me tell you, my work was never enough. And I hated myself for it. I couldn’t do enough good in the world to get God to accept me. And so I was a constant failure. I was never satisfied because I felt like God was never satisfied. I cried a lot.

I finished my last college class yesterday. This chapter of my life is finally coming to a close. Four years. Four years of joy, love, anger, confusion, sorrow, pain, friendship. There were several times throughout those four years where I decided that my time here was done and I could finally move on. It makes me laugh every time I think about those times. Mostly because I know God laughs at those times too.

You know why these past four years have been the most transformational time of my life? Well, its partly because that’s just the nature of college. It’s fast-paced and furious. You are constantly meeting new people and learning new things that challenge everything you’ve ever believed about yourself, about others, about the world, about Jesus. And it forces you to decide what you really believe.

I decided to believe Jesus, and it changed me to the core. And that might be the most simple and least profound thing you’ve heard all day. But hear me out. I thought I knew all the right answers when I moved to Baton Rouge four years ago. I knew that God loved me. I knew that Jesus died in my place. But deep down I refused to believe it.

The problem was that I also refused to believe that I didn’t believe it. Good Christians are supposed to have all their shit together, right? I couldn’t possibly tell God that I didn’t believe Him! So instead of being honest with my doubts and fears, I hid them behind more piles of good Christian work.

I cried more nights that I could possibly count. I knew that I wasn’t good enough for God. After what seemed like thousands of tear-filled conversations with God, He spoke deep into my heart when I read Romans 4 about how Abraham was “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised”, and that was the faith that saved him. God challenged me to take Him at His word. To believe that I could be with Him and talk with Him and learn from Him and laugh with Him and be fully accepted and loved, no matter what I had or hadn’t done because Jesus literally BOUGHT our righteousness for us, paid it in full. He bought for me the peace with God that I could never afford, that I had been desperately searching for.

Does that make sense to anyone out there? We get to enjoy God. Fo’ free! It’s a constant relationship, moment by moment. Think about your best friend. Your relationship has been cultivated probably over several years. You have that depth of friendship because you have shared your lives together. You’ve had deep conversations, silly conversations, you spend time together, you laugh together, you’ve survived some awful fights, you weep together, and sometimes you don’t say anything at all. But every moment together serves to sweeten and deepen the friendship, no matter how trivial or painful the moment may be.

Clearly, I didn’t have that kind of relationship with Jesus when I came to college. But God is patient with us and gives us grace to believe really wrong things about Him. As I finally shared my fears and my hopes and my hurts with Him, He began to show me His heart. That He would never reject me, He would never leave me, He would never give up on me, and He would never fail me. He is faithful and true.

When I realized that God the Just was satisfied to look on Jesus and pardon me, it freed me to be satisfied with Jesus too. And it changed me through and through.

Share your life with Jesus. Take Him at His word. Prepare to be amazed.

Grace and peace,
Hope

I love weddings!

Quality time has ALWAYS been the way to my heart. If you want to show me you love me, ask me to run errands with you or sit next to you on the bus or grab lunch or whatever. The ultimate? Road trips. Hands down. But even when I was a wee lass, I was the errand buddy who would tag along when my parents had to run errands. Getting a broken wrist or a case of pneumonia meant a plethora of doctor’s visits, resulting in special time with the Mama. Learning to drive a manual car meant just me and my dad on the open road (which often ended up in a brawl because apparently forgetting to use the turn signal is comparable to decapitating the driver in front of me, but that’s far beside the point).

So anyway, you can imagine my excitement when my best girlfriends and I were asked to be bridesmaids in a wedding together up in Shreveport this past weekend. It was a four hour drive, we all shared a hotel room, we got ready for the dinners together, we drove ALL OVER Shreveport together. We danced together, ate together, laughed together, cried together, prayed together. It was probably one of the best weekends I’ve had in a really long time.

Not to mention getting to watch two of my best friends get married! Jess and David have given me an absurd amount of love over the past year and a half. There are few friendships over the course of my life that have shaped me as profoundly as theirs. At the rehearsal dinner, people were toasting left and right. I started thinking about all they had helped me through. I was so moved. By the time I finally got the nerve to stand up, I immediately lost all composure, along with the ability to speak like a well-educated woman. And to breathe properly.

David and Jess, you mean the world to me. I love you so much.