Monday, November 30, 2009

Epic Fail Times a Million

Where I live, the phrase 'epic fail' is used pretty much on a daily basis.
For instance, today I was baking colossal brownies for a bake sale I'm having tomorrow at school. I'd noticed that the batter had been kind of thick for brownies, but I went with it, assuming that it was just the mix. After they'd been in the oven about 15 minutes, I slapped my hand to my forehead and yelled out, "Oh, CRAP!" My dad peeked his head out of his office to ask me what was the matter. At this point I was having a mini breakdown. The bake sale is TOMORROW and I need to have enough items to sell. "I forgot to put the eggs in!" I yelled as I stormed around the kitchen. "Epic baking fail!!!!" I screamed at the top of my lungs. For all of you nice people who care, yes, I do have enough baked goods. So I composed myself pretty quickly.

But, anyway, 'epic fail' is used pretty much everywhere. When a kid in my class failed a test, he called it an 'epic geometry fail.' It's just used a lot around here. But, we people like to laugh at other people's epic fails. Like I guarantee many of you laughed to yourself when I forgot to put the eggs in up there. One epic fail, though, we don't like to laugh at. It was an epic fail times a million. It was like that explosion up in the top left, one that took out the whole world.

Have you guessed it yet? It was Adam and Eve's epic fail. THE epic fail of all epic fails. This is how I like to see the story.

Adam and Eve are just walking around, hanging out in the garden of Eden one Saturday evening. Adam's listening to music on his iPhone (okay, maybe not, but let's pretend) and Eve's eating a banana. God went out for coffee, and everything's hunky-dory. When all of a sudden, this lizard comes up to him. Now since Adam and Eve talked to all their animal buddies, the talking lizard really didn't bother them. He turned his attention to Eve and spoke in a slippery, sneaky voice, "Did He really say you couldn't eat any fruit in the garden?" Much to the annoyance of the lizard, Eve shoved the banana in front of him. "We can eat any fruit we like except the fruit from that big tree right there," she said, pointing to the big apple tree that was a few yards away. "He said we'd die if we ate that fruit." The lizard shook his head, a glint of evil in his eyes, "Of course you won't die!" Eve dropped the banana in surprise. The lizard continued, "If you eat it, you'll be just like God, knowing good and evil. He just wants all the knowledge to Himself." Eve was shocked, and she felt betrayed. She couldn't believe that God would do that to her, and she didn't know if she trusted this little lizard. But the shiny, red apples did look tasty. She reached up and plucked one from a branch. Now, Adam was here the whole time, playing Labyrinth on his iPhone, sort-of-not-really aware of everything that was going on. After Eve took a bite of the apple, her eyes widened and she had a new look about her. She put the fruit in Adam's hand and said, "Oh, Adam! It's wonderful! Eat, eat!" "Yeah, yeah, whatever," Adam replied, taking a quick bite out of the fruit. Afterward, his eyes gaining that new shimmer just like Eve's. When God came back and found out they had eaten from the tree He had SPECIFICALLY told them not to, he cursed them. For Adam, He cursed the ground so it would be hard for him to make enough money to support his family. For Eve, he made childbirth horrifically painful, and separated her from her husband so that she would want to rule over him. I can just picture all of their friends laughing at them and shouting, "Epic fail, guys!" Until they realized the curse was on them too.

Their curse is still on us, but God sent a way to escape the curse. He sent His Son. So, you see, next time you have an 'epic fail,' remember that God fixed THE epic fail. Fixing yours is a like breaking a toothpick.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Gift Just for You

So I don't know about you guys, but I am so excited about Christmas!

I'm the person who listens to Christmas music year round, and then gets all happy at Christmastime because it's finally not weird.
Christmas is such a wonderful time of year! Everyone's in a better mood, and there's a warm, cozy atmosphere in your home. Holiday lights get put up and trees get ornamented. Everybody is more compassionate at Christmas.
On Christmas Eve night, 2,000 years ago, God sent us a gift. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. Everybody knows the Christmas story. What they don't know is that God sent us another gift, a separate gift - the gift of Talent.
Every one has this gift, but it comes in different forms. Some people's Talent is music, for others it's math, or communicating.

We all have Talents. And each one of them is a gift from God, a little piece of him meant to be used as a reflection. Our Talents should reflect who God is.

What's your Talent? And what are you using it for? Try using your Talents to glorify God, even if it's something that you think is unimportant. Like balancing a pencil on your nose. When everyone says, "Wow! That's pretty cool," you can tell them why you can do that. Tell them who gave you the ability to do that. Even the smallest things can be used for God.

Everyone has Talents. Are you glorifying the One who gave them to you?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Being Busy

"If the devil can't make you evil, he'll make you busy."

This statement is so true, but it takes some thinking to realize that it doesn't just apply to "the rest of the world," it applies to you and me too.

There have been so many times in my life that I've just been "too busy" for God.

"I can't go to youth group because I'm too busy."
"I didn't get to read my Bible today because I was too busy."
"I meant to have a quiet time this morning, but I was just too busy trying to get out the door for school."
"I meant to say a prayer last night, but I just stayed up so late doing homework. I was way too busy."

I think we even become too busy when we're doing things that are for the glory of God.

I am currently raising money for a little boy in Russia with Down syndrome and lots of days, I don't read my Bible or have a quiet time because I was too busy trying to raise money for Dennis.

The Devil is sneaky. When he saw that I was not going to be made evil, he turned the things I was doing for God into just "being busy," and forgetting who I was doing it for.

This trap is easy to fall into. So the next time you want to skip church, or youth group, or reading your Bible, or your quiet time, remember why you're alive. Remember who gave you life. Who gave you everything you have now. You have NOTHING without God.

It's time we remembered that, and we stopped being so busy all the time. I challenge each of you (including myself) to take ten minutes out of your day to read your Bible and have a quiet time with God.

He's the Creator of the Universe and the one who gave us everything we have. I think He deserves at least that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Faith Like a Child

There is no faith like a child's. I used to be pretty sure of this, but now I'm absolutely positive.

Lydia is 11 years old. She has two younger siblings with Down syndrome - Hope and Charlie. Her family had been considering adopting another child with Down's, but were unsure. Lydia fell in love with a little girl named Darya on the Reece's Rainbow site ( and asked her mom if they could adopt her. Her mom replied saying that she would love to, but they didn't have the money. Lydia then asked that if she could raise $20,000 by Thanksgiving (9 days away), could they get her? Her mom said that would be a sign from the Lord, so yes. Well, Lydia has almost reached her goal. We are positive she will have surpassed it by the morning. Fox News is coming out at 6:45 so that Lydia can publicly announce her total.

The cool thing is that Lydia never doubted. She never doubted that the Lord would provide the $20,000. Not even when the world looked at her and said, "This is hopeless. This is stupid. This has no point." Lydia remembered that God would always provide. She had faith. And her faith moved mountains.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.
- 1 Timothy 4:12

Monday, November 23, 2009

Patience: No One Said It Was Easy

Patience is not my best area. In fact, it's one of my worst. I don't like waiting around for things to happen. Even in my spiritual life, I hate sitting around doing nothing. I want to be up and about doing something to glorify God. What's hard for me to understand is that, sometimes glorifying God means sitting still and NOT doing anything for a while.

An area where God has been teaching me patience lately is in my desire for a sister.

I've wanted a sister since I was old enough to know what one was. When I was younger, I would pray every night, "Dear Jesus, please help me to have a sister."

It never happened. It STILL hasn't happened. Maybe it won't ever happen.

I've got two younger brothers and, truthfully, it was probably better that way. I wouldn't have enjoyed playing dolls or tea parties. I would have rather been wrestling with Jace or making scary faces with Levi.

My family is trying to pursue the adoption of a little girl (also with Down syndrome) in Africa. Jace was completely in love with this baby (but not in an awkward way).

However, I had my heart set on a different child right here in the U.S. who was being fostered by one of our family friends. This child had spina bifida, a disorder that we knew nothing about. I watched as she was adopted into another family. Don't get me wrong, I am SO happy that she found a family who will be perfect for her and LOVE her to death. I just wish it would have been our family.

Once I had lost hope of getting the little girl with spina bifida, I changed my goal to the baby in Africa. But, once again, I may be disappointed. The country she lives in has closed all adoptions through America, and it's not looking like we'll be able to get her.

I'm almost afraid to hope for a child to enter our family now. The love I felt for both of those girls was so strong that it made my heart hurt that they would never be a part of my family. I know that God has a perfect plan for our family, but it's SOOOOO hard for me to wait. I want to know NOW who's going to come into our family. That way I won't get another broken heart. I won't have another hoped-for sister ripped out of my life. I've closed myself off from getting to attached to any one child because I know we might not get her.

But, somehow, I feel that this isn't what God wants me to do. He doesn't want me to close off my heart, but guard it. He wants me to patient and know that He already has my family planned out. And if that means no sister, it means no sister. Slowly, but surely, I am learning to be patient with him and with those around me.

It's not easy. But, then again, no one said it would be.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Rocks Into Diamonds

The past few months have been very busy for me (hence the no posting). I've started a new school, spent some time in the hospital with Levi, and prayed about adopting a little girl.

As you can see, it's been pretty hectic. And God has been teaching me SO MUCH through all of it.

The next few days/weeks/how ever long it takes me to post this stuff, I will be talking about the many things God has been teaching me.

Today, I'm going to talk about God turning rocks into diamonds. Yes, very metaphorical, I know.

In the past month or two, Levi has been in the hospital for two surgeries. Following that, both he and Mom got sick. We had just recovered from that when now Mom has the flu. What a sicky house we are!

When I get stressed out and tired, I snap at people. That's what I do. That's how I show that I am NOT well in any way. Is it the best way? No. So I'm going to have to learn to control that at some point.
Yesterday, I was being particularly snappy because we weren't able to go out to eat with our friends because Mom was sick. When my dad asked me what was wrong, I said, "I'm tired of people being sick." And he replied, "Well, you're going to have to deal with sick people every day of your life with what you want to do." And as much as I hate to admit it, he was right.

For those who don't know, I want to be a missionary to Africa when I graduate high school. I don't know how long I will stay there, as long as God wants me to. I used to want to be a famous film score composer, but now I don't know if that's where God is calling me. Yes, I enjoy writing music. But what I LOVE, is helping people. Is taking care of little kids. Is hugging a baby close to me when it's crying and telling him it's all gonna be okay. That's what I LOVE doing.

In Africa, I would have to deal with AIDS, malaria, worms, all sorts of stuff. I would have to deal with death.

In that moment, I realized that God was preparing me. He was preparing me to be able to deal with all that sickness, and still be able to hold to my faith. God is slowly, but surely, molding me into a diamond that will shine for Him. He makes us who we are through the things that are difficult for us.

Last year, I would not have been able to deal with sickness and surgeries in the same month.

Two years ago, I would not have been able to handle Levi's three weeks at the hospital following open-heart surgery.

God is preparing me. He's preparing you too. You just have to learn to see it.