Election Day. Sometime in the next 18 hours America will know who their next president is. Throughout the time leading up to the election I have been very shocked by the way most Christians around me are acting. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great to go out and vote. I did so myself. I think it is great to support America and be patriotic. I love patriotism as you can see by the outfit I decided to wear today. But I think so many Christians have the wrong idea about politics. First off, to many people this election is becoming bigger than God’s glory. I’ve talked to so many people who believe if their candidate doesn’t get elected then America is going to fall to pieces. Have you all lost faith? No matter who is elected, they are still human. They will always make mistakes and there is no way they can fix the problems in our country. God is the redeemer. God will come into the lives of people in this nation and all over the world and give us clean hearts. No president can do that.
Attending a Christian university obviously means I am surrounded by Christians pretty much all the time. And even when I am at home I mostly hang around my Christian friends. It makes me so sad to see how biased Christians have become. God is not a Republican. I firmly believe that. You are not honoring God just because you voted Republican. Both parties have views that are both align and disagree with the Bible. If you don’t like Obama and honestly agree with Romney more, then that’s great. Go vote for Romney. You are supposed to vote for the candidate you agree most with. But I think it is incredibly ignorant of Christians to just vote Republican because they believe that is the party of the church.
God calls us to be “A people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.” -Numbers 23:9. I think it is fine to go out and vote and even support a candidate you agree with. But whether or not your candidate wins or loses, Christians should be praying for our new President. 1 Timothy 2:1-2 says “I urge, then, first of all, prayers, intercession, and thanksgiving be made for everyone- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live in all godliness and holiness.” We are called to pray for those who lead our country. We are called to pray that this country may be overwhelmed with godliness and holiness. We are not called to put all of our trust for the country in the candidate we support. We are not called to believe the country is going to fall apart if the candidate we are against is elected. We are called to be a nation set apart. We are called to pray for revival.
So thankful for him.
So I’ve been here at Lee for over six weeks now. Unfortunately, I like it here less and less each day. I’m pretty sure I am going to transfer next semester and go back to Knoxville. I go home every weekend and people keep telling me that is a terrible idea and that I need to stay at Lee more often. But I don’t want that. Going back to Knoxville makes me so happy. I love spending time with my family and friends and with Andrew. Knoxville is where my heart is. And there are so many things about Lee that bother me. The environment here feels like a spiritual contest. People are always talking about the amount of time they spent in prayer or Bible study. Or they will talk about how their form of worship is the “right one” and how it is the most intimate way to be with God. I just don’t feel like any of that is right or Biblical. We are called to go pray in closets and show Christ’s love by our actions, not our words. We are called to love everyone the same way God loves us. And I just don’t think flaunting your own spiritual gifts is showing true love. The attitudes of most of the students and the environment here just really bothers me. I don’t think Lee is a terrible place, I just don’t think it’s for me. I have a little over 9 weeks left here and that feels like forever. If I could be done now and come home, I would. But I have to remind myself that God brought me here for a reason. My first semester of college is at Lee for a reason. So it’s really important that I seek God in everything and choose joy in every situation. That is what I hold onto.
I’m not very good at change. College is a lot different than I thought it would be. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad. Just different. I really miss home. I miss Knoxville a lot. And my family. I miss Andrew and I miss all of my friends. And I really miss peer tutoring and all of my friends in there. I am having a really hard time getting over that. I know that God has amazing things in store for me in college and maybe I’m just not keeping my eyes open for those opportunities. But peer tutoring changed my life. Every single person I met through that program changed my life and helped me become who I am today. I just feel really lost without them and it feels like it’s impossible to get past that. I know people always say you can’t hold onto the past and you need to let it go. But should I really have to let something this good go? Something that changed my entire life and really shaped who I am as a person? Change is hard and I haven’t really figured out how to deal with it yet. But my life is in the hands of the Maker of Heaven.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5-6
So this summer has been really interesting for me. The morning after graduation I headed up to Camp Wesley Woods to work for the third summer in a row. I love camp. This summer was my tenth summer in a row that I’ve been there. And God has transformed me and made me new every second I spent there. I was at camp for five weeks this summer before I quit exactly half way through the summer. Quitting literally broke my heart. Camp was just so different this year. A lot of changes were made just to the way camp runs and I think all of those were awesome and we had almost a completely new staff, but I really liked a lot of them. I just couldn’t feel the love of Christ there. Not to mention, I was homesick out of my mind every day.
During staff training I was really homesick and I didn’t really know why. I had been going to sleep away camps since I was eight years old and I’ve never been homesick once. It was terrible. I felt like crying all the time and I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything. Then the first week we had campers I had a girl who was really really homesick. And as I was talking to her about it one day I realized she was in the EXACT same situation I was. And it made me so thankful I was having to go through that. This girl had never been homesick before in her whole life. Her parents had been going through a divorce the past couple of years and she had liked being away just to escape things. And now things were getting a little bit better and she really missed being around them. And as she was telling me all of this I realized that was EXACTLY where I was. God is just so intentional and it amazes me. I was able to connect with this girl on such a deep level and it was so cool.
Well camp went on and it was really hard for me. Every day I was there I missed home more. I got frustrated with another thing happening. I felt the love of Christ less. My heart just wasn’t there anymore. So my fifth week I made the decision to quit. It was terrible. I cried more that week than I’ve cried in a long time. And I was just really mad at God. Like I didn’t understand why God was letting this amazing and holy place fall away from Him. I didn’t understand why He was letting the bad things that were happening there go on. And most of all I didn’t understand why He wasn’t giving me enough strength to get through it when I was literally begging. I was reading some of the Psalms where David is just like screaming at God about how mad he is at Him then the last couple lines are saying something like “But you make all things new and I trust you.” And I realized that’s kind of where I am with camp. I don’t know why all of this happened. I don’t even really know that it’s bad. All I know is that I trust that God still has a hold on camp. Whether or not I’m feeling it, He is making all things new there and reaching campers and pouring out His love.
So I got home from camp and really realized where my heart has been longing to be all summer. Home. I got to go back to Bible Study which was AWESOME. That group of people is just wonderful and I love our Bible Study so much. Andrew and I have been hanging out with Margarita and I’ve missed her unbearably much. And I can’t wait to start hanging out with my other friends from peer tutoring. They are apart of me and I love them SO much. And I’ve just got to spend so much time with friends that I haven’t had the chance to really spend time with in months. I really feel like God is building up those friendships and making them even stronger so they can stay strong when we all head off to college next month.
So this summer has been really interesting to say the least. But God has been teaching me so much and making me new in every moment. One of my favorite song lyrics is from the Gungor song Beautiful Things. “All around hope is springing up from this old ground. Out of chaos life is being found in You. You make beautiful things.” I think that pretty accurately describes my life right now. Hope is springing up in every situation and out of all the chaos going on, I am finding new life in Christ every second. He really does make beautiful things.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on songs like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. -Isaiah 40:28-31
Last night I went to prom with one of my best friends in the entire world, Trevor Ritter. It was such an amazing night. Words cannot even describe the things God taught me. Trevor, Andy, and Derrick showed more love and kindness than ANYONE else there. And they probably had more fun than anyone else too! God teaches me AMAZING things through my friends each and every day. Just thinking about graduating and leaving them makes me cry. I am so blessed to have been put in a place where I can get to know so many people with different disabilities. They have each changed my life in their own way and I strive to have a heart more like theirs. I am so glad I had the chance to go to prom with Trevor. He is awesome and one of my best friends in the entire world. God does cool things through friendships.