¡Wait?!

Traffic in Brazil

Waiting in traffic in Brazil.

There is no four letter word I  dislike more than the word “WAIT”. Now before you think me a little crazy, my issue isn’t with the word itself but rather the verb, the action of “waiting”. I dislike waiting on lines at stores, I particularly loathe waiting in traffic ( I think EVERY HUMAN DOES). I don’t like waiting at drive thru’s  I mean come on, it’s a drive thru, there should be no waiting involved!. And I really, really don’t enjoy being told to “wait”.

Yet the last couple of weeks all I keep hearing is “WAIT”.

“… but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

Wait for the Lord;
be strong, and let your heart take courage;
wait for the Lord!” – Psalm 27:14

As a college and now seminary student, one of my biggest struggles has been waiting. Waiting on God to fulfill His promises. Waiting on Him to complete His work in me. Waiting on Him on to bring the right person into my life. Waiting on Him to open up the right doors for ministry.

Waiting is not something I do well. Mostly because we’re told to hustle and make things happen. Yet sometimes all God wants us to do is WAIT, on HIM.
He can make things happen A LOT better than you and I, ever could.

I have recently realized that waiting means letting go of all control, truly surrendering and trusting that God will piece it all together in the end, just like He said He would. My issues with waiting go beyond, waiting. It is an issue of trust. It is much harder to wait, when you don’t trust that the one you are waiting on will actually come through.

And that’s just it. I will either choose to believe that God is absolutely good and has good things in store for me as His daughter ( as one of my amazing ATS friends/co-workers reminded me). Or I will continue to buy into the costly lies that He won’t come through for me as He says He would. Both time and testing has proven, even over the course of the last two months, that HE ALWAYS comes through for His children. I have no reason to fear, no reason to doubt, no reason to think that if I wait, it will not end well for me.

So I have chosen as I start my second year at the Alliance Theological Seminary to practice the discipline of waiting. To genuinely STOP trying to figure things out. Or stop trying to make things happen and TRUST that my Daddy, will DO everything He said He would for me.  Even if the picture isn’t painted with the colors I’d like them to be. Or the brush strokes don’t happen as fast as I would like them to. Or the picture as a whole is completely different from what I hoped for, I choose to wait, I choose to trust.

Because it’s in the waiting, it’s in the trusting that I am coming to truly believe that His WILL is perfect. It’s not just something that sounds pretty in scripture. This is absolute truth. HIS WILL IS PERFECT. SO if HIS will is perfect, then when I wait on HIM, and He is in control, the outcome of my life will be EXACTLY what it’s suppose to be. And it will be perfect for me.

I know a lot of you reading this have perhaps struggled with this very same issue, or are struggling with it now. I encourage you, find comfort, as I have, in knowing that really, He is a good father, who gives GOOD gifts to His children. He has not forgotten you, you have not been overlooked. He sees, He knows, He hears your prayers. And in due time every single word, every single promise He’s ever made to you, will unfold in your life.

I am a witness that those who wait upon the Lord, renew their strength and WILL rise up on wings like eagles…

In the clouds
…Or a plane… My view as I arrived at Rio de Janeiro.

” No one who waits for you will ever be put to shame, no one who waits for you will ever regret it!”

 

Pierced by Love


knowing I am lovedA couple of nights ago I was laying on the floor, on my face at Resting Place House of Prayer in New Jersey ( lots of Nyack College students and ATS students visit this place). And I was crying. I was crying over the fact that God is a high and lofty God. He is unapproachable light. His power could crush the universe. I was saddened by this amazing truth, because I realized that this same unapproachable God, is my Father and as much as I would want to approach Him, hug Him, run and sit on His lap in the throne room one day, I can’t.

It’s safe to say that my sentiment moved God’s heart. And instantly I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of love and longing, which were not my own. I felt the affections of this powerful God towards me. I felt a love that saw all of my dirt, all of my sin, all of my mistakes, all of my past, present and future failures but loved me the same. I felt this love wrap around me like a tight, strong, passion-filled hug.

And what I saw next has changed the depths of my being.  I saw a man clothed in white garments, He had a gold belt around His waist, and hanging off of His belt was a sword. He pulled the sword from its holster and carved as holes into the sword was the word ” LOVE”.  This man turned and the piercing light coming from His eyes kept me from being able to see His face. I tried hard to see what He looked like, but I couldn’t. And this man took His sword and pierced me with it. It was not an act of violence or hatred, but of penetrating truth. Seconds later Ali, one of the leaders at Resting Place says while praying: ” He wants to (Jesus does) pierce you with His Holy love…”

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Needless to say, I was undone. I wept and wept, because I got a glimpse that night of the length, the depth, the height, the width, of God’s love. A love that knows no bounds, that holds no records of wrongs, a love filled with grace and compassion. A love that is not only for me, but for all of mankind.

I have been reading a book by one of my professors at ATS called “Pathways to the King”. In chapter 2 Dr. Reimer talks about our pursuit of God… After reading this chapter, I took on the challenge of pursuing God. I recognized that, throughout my career as a college student in Nyack and even in my first year at ATS, God has always been in pursuit of me. But I have never really been in pursuit of Him. So for nearly a month now, I have been sacrificing; time, money, hanging out, etc. to seek the face of God. 

And in seeking, asking and knocking as hard as I can; I have been pierced by the transforming love of God.  The penetrating truth of His love, is not something for me to soak up and then continue living life, business as usual. His love calls me into action. It calls me to serve, to care and to hunger and to thirst for more and not just for myself, but for all those around me. It is a truth that has ever so gently forced a change in me. 

 His love is a love that has challenged me to view others, even love actsthose who hate me, as people who are also worthy of grace and redemption. It is a love that has moved me to sacrifice, not just for God, but for the sake of a sister who was in need.  It is a love that is truly not envious. It is a love that seeks the well-being of others.  Love that is marked not by word but by deed.  Love that has been teaching me, what it looks like to die to myself, pick up my cross and truly follow Him.

We read passages like 1 Corinthians 13 and we make great Hallmark cards out of them. We quote them, pray them, long for them. But yet never take the time to; A) find that piercing love and if we do we, B) don’t allow it to do the work it is meant to do in us and through us. 

And may I just remind you, that this same love led Jesus to hang on a tree, bearing the weight of sin for all mankind for all time, as He swallowed the wrath of a powerful God, and tore the veil of eternal separation from God we truly all deserve, once and for all. 

I challenge my seminary and my Nyack college fireworksfriends, and everyone else reading this blog- Seek, Ask, Knock. Go on a real pursuit of God. Let Him pierce you with His Holy love, so that you can go out into the world and pierce others with His Holy love, in you. 

 

 

10 Amazing Adventures around Nyack

Here’s a list of 10 amazing adventures you can have for cheap or free while you are looking for something fun to do while you are a Nyack College student. College life is busy, but sometimes it is hard to come up with fun and new things to do. Or maybe you are a perspective student and you want to know what there is to do around Nyack in your free time. This list is a compilation of just a few of the fun things I have gotten to do since I’ve been here and I look forward to adding many more adventures in the future.

Day in downtown Nyack

Nyack College is nestled in the small, but lively town of Nyack which is filled with cute shops, unique food, great events, and amazing river views. I have spent whole days just walking around downtown and especially on days they have street fairs I love walking around and meeting some of the community.

top10 downtown

Hall Events

Whatever dorm you live in there are sure to be many hall events which are hosted by different floors and R.A.s. I love going to the ones on my floor, but have also crashed many other ones. These events offer free food, good conversation, bonding, and often time some crafting and all for free.

The Woods

Another great way you can spend your time is taking a hike or walks through the different wooded areas and trail that sit on the mountain behind the school. This is a great place to just relax and enjoy nature or visit some of the infamous sights that students like to visit in the woods.

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NYC

Of course if you have a little money and some willing friends you can always go and spend the day in the incredible city of New York. There are endless things you could do in the city and even get out without spending a lot of money. Take the public transportation in and eat cheap like at the $1.00 pizza joint at 40th and 7th street.

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“DATES”

Set a date with a friend or even your roommate to share some tea and coffee or watch a movie together and pop some popcorn.

top10 dates

Go Home with a Friend

I live 8 hours from Nyack so I don’t really have the option to go home, but I have gotten offers from some great friends to go to their home for the weekend. I got to go spend the time in a nice bed, get my laundry done, eat home-cooked meals, and spend time with a great family. It was such a huge blessing!

Yonkers

The Tappan Zee Bridge can be seen from the college and just across it is the city of Yonkers. My favorite things to do across the bridge are to visit a giant market-style store call Stew Leonard’s or to visit the other unique sites on the other side of the bridge.

 

Sports Events

There are a ton of different sporting events on campus that I have been able to attend throughout my time at Nyack. We have lots of different teams and it’s a great way to spend time with friends and support our Nyack teams.

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Piermont

Just a short drive along the Hudson River lays the adorable town of Piermont. It’s right on the water and as you can guess the town is complete with a huge pier. I love driving out on the pier and singing or to watch the sunrise on occasion.

top10 piermont

Photo-shoots

This idea may be last, but it is definitely my favorite thing to do with my friends on slow Friday afternoons. We get dressed up and go to take pictures at different places around campus or hop in the car and visit some of the beautiful abandoned building that dwell in Rockland County.

top10 photoshoot

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Serving God While I Wait

god's calling

perublog

My head is constantly full of dreams of travel, of holding orphaned children in Africa, of touching the outcasts in India with the story of Jesus, and countless other scenarios. I get it stuck in my head a lot that once I graduate and jump through all the right hoops and go to the mission field that is when I can finally and completely serve God and fulfill the calling on my life. This seems like a fair statement, but in truth it is flawed. Because of this intense focus on the future I have often lost sight of the things that are right in front of me now.

There is this song that says ‘while I’m waiting, I will serve you’ and this is the attitude we must have in life and one I continually strive towards. There are so many ways to love and serve in every stage of life. Doing God’s work looks different in every setting, but it is important to involve yourself in such thing. For me a lot of times when I’m at school that means doing stuff like studying and going to classes and even spending quality time with a friend. And right now as break has started and I spend time at home I get to rest with my family, but also volunteer to help as needed or make connections with old friends. These sometimes can seem pretty basic, but they are important as God calls us to love and serve those around us. At the same time I look forward to the plans God has for me in the future. This means farther off when one day I serve him abroad, and even as I head to another summer working at camp in a few days. I know and trust that God will use me. And, something I believe and hold as a principle in my life is that it does not matter if I am washing dishes or preaching a sermon, I am serving God and that is all that matters. I know that God has an amazing destiny for each one of us, but that destiny starts today. Whether you are a student, a parent, a pastor, a teacher, a librarian, or even a missionary trust and know that God has placed you exactly where you are meant to be. Trust that he is good and know that His hand is in your life wherever life may lead you. God calls us to love and serve so remember to focus and to love the ones who are in front of you right now in this stage of your life.

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Dorm Rooms at Nyack College

Coming into Nyack as a freshman, one of my biggest questions was what my dorm room would look like. I searched the internet for picture of dorms, but couldn’t wait to move in and just find out what the place I would be living in would look like. Since being here the dorms still fascinate me and I love seeing how different peoples look and how they choose to decorate them. So if there is anyone out there anxiously trying to find out what their new home will look like here are several pictures of some of the rooms I have lived in as well as rooms on my floor in Christie and Simpson Hall. They are all unique and creatively decorated and I hope this gets you excited to move into your new home if you are a new student.

Here are some panoramic shots then some general ones that reflect dorm life. Update: New pictures here for Simpson Hall. Enjoy!

dorm1

 

dorm2

dorm3

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dorm8

Are you graduating from high school?  Do you want to go to a Christian college?  Check out the bachelor’s program and start learning about nursing, education, criminal justice, and communications at Nyack College!

 

One of those Nights

Never again will I believe the lie that I am not pretty enough…

A couple of nights ago I had what I like to describe as,  “One of those nights”. We’ve all had them. One of those nights when the lies, doubts, fears, insecurities and loneliness overwhelms our hearts, minds and souls. You know exactly what kind of night I am referring too. The ones where we want to scream, cry, or run to some other kind of distraction that would numb the pain and the dark reality we’re facing. (Yes, it’s okay to admit that as students at a Christian college and seminary we struggle with this…)

Yeah, I had one of those nights. You see I am 25 years old in seminary and single. I have been single for 5 going on 6 years (pretty much since I got to Nyack College). I have gone on dates, talked to guys and gotten to know a few, but all that ever resulted in was  heartache. This reality hit me like a ton of bricks, when the desire for a relationship bubbled up out of me, seemingly out of no where. Truth is, CTA button for Blog ATSI’ve wanted some one to share my life with all along, but I suppressed that longing with the Christian ideologies that: “once you’re content with only the Lord, then you will meet the one” or ” you should only be seeking God, first”… When really, God created me for relationship, longing for one is absolutely normal and being discontent in my situation is also okay.

I was bound by the lie that told me my feelings and desires were wrong. And attached to that lie was the greater lie that the reason why my desire for a relationship wasn’t being satisfied was because I am not pretty enough. That night I stood in my room, staring in the mirror absolutely hating the reflection that looked back at me.  All I could see were the flaws that surely have kept a man from wanting to be with me. After spending what felt like hours hating on myself, I laid on my bed and I cried. I cried tears I didn’t know were waiting to be released. Tears of a longing that was laying dormant within me. And tears of  pain I didn’t know I possessed.

My heart was aching with the thought that I would never be beautiful enough, or good enough for the man of my dreams. As much as everything within me wanted to crawl out of my skin and find some sort of escape, I laid  in my bed and I felt every bit of the pain, I’d carried for so long.

 Instead of turning to empty escapes, I turned to friends ( I learned through Nyack, in our darkest moments, community is so important) and a real conversation, with a good friend, helped me to process and recognize the lies, fears and insecurities that held me captive.

I still have much to release, and freedom to find in this area, but one thing is certain: I know that truly I am beautiful! and I am more than good enough!  I know that God has promised me a spouse and he is not a man that he should lie. I know that I could trust that he knows what is best for me. I know that I am not alone and that we have all, whether male or female felt this pain, and that true freedom and rest, lies only in the comfort of the father. I know that one day every tear will be wiped from my eyes. I know that I can keep it real about my pain, I don’t need to hide, I don’t need to suppress. God very much cares about EVERY detail of my life.

My friends when you find yourselves caught in the middle of ” One of those Nights”, run, run to God, run to community, and receive the truth: that no matter what the voices in your head tell you;

You are NOT alone… For He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you.

You are beautiful… Because He made you beautifully and fearfully.

You are NOT forgotten…  His eyes are always on you.

You’re Loved … With an EVERLASTING love.

And while for the night, pain is your reality there is always a sunrise…

Hudson River view from Nyack, NY

Hudson River Sunrise view from Nyack, NY

Fearless: The Struggles of a Young American College and Seminary Student

And Free from anxiety!

And Free from anxiety!

“…The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:5-6 

Some times I wonder if Paul understood the struggles of young American college and seminary students while writing these words. How could he possibly tell us to not be anxious? We have lots to be anxious for; our futures, relationships, finances, loans, families, papers, exams etc. How could I not find myself worrying and caring about the things that will affect and impact the rest of my life? How could I not be distracted with thoughts about my future spouse, or the impending loan repayment that awaits.

Anxieties. Distractions. Worries. Cares. We all carry them. And yet the scriptures remind us, that if we pray and “cast all of our cares upon Him (the one who cares for us)” ( 1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22), he will take care of us and the peace of God, will guard our hearts and minds. If this is true, then how come so many college and seminary students find themselves like me, in a constant battle with anxiety?

While I don’t claim to have all of the answers, I do have MY answer. MY battle with anxiety was one that I fought long and hard.  I found myself constantly mulling over different scenarios and options for my future. You see, I need to have all of the answers. I need know the how’s, what’s, when’s and where’s that have yet to come. But those are the questions I rarely have the answers for when it comes to my future.

My battle with the HUGE distraction of anxiety, came from the need to KNOW and the need to CONTROL my future. I needed to know and I needed to control, because I didn’t trust the one who holds my future in HIS hands. Because I believed that he couldn’t possibly have something good in store for me.  I truly believed that only I, could know what is best for me. And because I feared that the God I serve, didn’t love me enough to give me his best. So I wanted to find myself In the Center of my will, instead of his.  I filled my mind with pictures of what I wanted my life to look like, and I obssesed over them.

Thoughts of what my future romance should look like, drowned me in my own mind. Ideas of the ministry I one day want to partake in, blinded me from the opportunities right in front of me. And the idea of the more, kept me from the intimacy that God the father so longed to have with me.

My battle with anxiety came to an end two weeks before orientation at the Alliance Theological Seminary. I’d driven up to Camp of the Woods (www.camp-of-the-woods.org/), where I had worked the previous two summers as a Nyack College Student. One night a group of Nyack friends, others and myself had a bible study, at the end of the study, a dear friend of mine pulled me aside and said the Lord told him to tell me; ” to stop looking so much into the future.” I walked into my room knowing there was something more God was trying to say. With my roommates sleeping, I went into my bathroom and asked: “Lord, what is it? What are you trying to say?”

The answer rang loudly: ” Would you be content if you never got married? Would you be content if you never preached again? Would you be content if you never got the family or the ministry you so desire? Would you be content with just me?” 

I began to cry when I realized how little I trusted God. My reply was simple: ” Lord, help me to be content with just you.” That night, the chains of anxiety that plagued my thoughts and heart were broken by the realization that God IS more than enough and what HE has for me is WAAAAYYYY better than ANYTHING I could think of or imagine.

I was reminded of this victory this past Monday, when at Resting Place ( a house of prayer, many Nyack and ATS students frequent) the Lord removed yet again the distraction of future earthly hopes.

I found rest from my cares in the midst of the crowd...

Resting Place: I found rest from my cares in the midst of the crowd…

 God is a good Father, who gives amazing gifts to his children (Matt 7:11). There is truly nothing to worry about. When we leave our lives in his hands, we can trust that he will give us his very best. Find freedom and rest, knowing that HE LOVES YOU. Let go of control, let go of the need to” know” and embrace the truth that what’s ahead of you is: “…far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” Ephesians 3:20

In the Center

Dr. Widbin from ATS, lecturing in Gennesaret.

Dr. Widbin from ATS, lecturing in Gennesaret. Where will the “center”lead you?

In the words of a good friend of mine, I am a “go-getter”.  The moment I set my heart on something, I pursue it. Whether or not it’s meant to be, is not my concern, my desire for that particular thing, drives me.  This is a great quality to posses, with a huge downfall.

 Like all of you, I have made plans, paved my own path and often times dictated to God what my life will look like. The idea that I can make my own choices and carve my destiny is a juicy one, after all, we have free-will don’t we? While I won’t attempt to argue the issue of free-will, I am making one point and that is that the best thing we could do  is find ourselves

“In the Center”.

In the Center of what? God’s perfect will for our lives.

This was a lesson I learned a couple of months ago, while standing under an umbrella in the Biblical Town of Gennesaret in Israel, as Dr. Widbin an ATS professor and guide for the ATS Israel trip, shared the story of the demoniac. For those of you who might not know the story it goes something like this: Jesus arrives to this town by boat. Immediately upon leaving the boat, he encounters a severely oppressed man. This madman lived in the tombs with uncontrollable strength, and spent day and night crying out and cutting himself. After a brief encounter, Jesus commands “legions” to depart from him and into a herd of pigs nearby.  The pigs then run off a cliff and drown. People from all throughout the region come to see what had taken place. It was duly noted that the once madman who lived in the tombs was no longer in severe bondage, this scared them, so they asked Jesus to leave. Mark 5:1-17

BUT this is not the part of the story that moved me. It’s what comes next:  “As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, ‘Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.’ And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.” Mark 5:18- 20

Here was this man truly set free, with a good intention to follow Jesus and yet Jesus denies him and tells him to stay in the place he knew only through a lens of bondage. All throughout his journey, Christ asked others to “follow him” but on this occasion, when a man asked to follow him, he told him to stay. And although it was NOT what the man originally wanted, he obeyed and though not noted in the gospel of Mark,  that entire town eventually became Christian.

Often times we want to pursue things, we make plans, we have goals, and we ask the Lord to bless them, especially as seminary or college students (whether in Nyack and ATS or elsewhere). We try to figure things out, rather than simply seek God in the waiting.  Instead of saying “God, here is my will, do it.” We should be asking: “God, what is your will?”

The center of God’s will isn’t always going to take us where we want to go. I mean let’s be real, the center of God’s will took Jesus to a cross, but then an empty tomb three days later.

So the question isn’t : “God, will you bless my plans?” But rather; “What plans must I let go of? What ideas should I stop pursuing, in order to position myself in the center?”

Today as I remember what I learned on my trip to Israel with Dr. Widbin and ATS I have finally learned to ask:  “In what ways do I need to be obedient?” So that I can be in the Center of God’s perfect will for me.

Walking the streams of Dan; ATS Israel trip 2013

Walking the streams of Dan; ATS Israel trip 2013. Where will HE take you?

 

Love Jesus. Grow with Others. Serve the World.

Rockefeller
Love Jesus. Grow with Others. Serve the World. These three phrases sum up my life in a whole. I picked up this mantra from my church back home in Northeast Ohio. I never fully understood how perfect it was until I started here at Nyack College in fall 2011. I was moving to a place where everything was unknown and scary. But, it didn’t take long for me to realize my purpose in this community. In college I have slowly been finding out more and more about myself. Through that experience I had to hold on tight to Jesus and trust that he was making me into a woman after his own heart. I have learned so much about God’s heart for me as I have been away at school. However, the best part is that I am not going through this college journey alone. The community of Nyack College and the many friends I have made are always around to support me as they grow alongside me. Whether we a worshipping our way through a Deeper Life series, praying our way through a Bible study, or crying alongside each other when we a facing trials, we stick together as a community of believers. There are so many people to meet and new friends to make. I quickly learned that if you open yourself up and reach out to people they will bring countless blessings into your life and truely enrich your time here at Nyack.

In addition we are serving the world around us as we reach out to the community of Nyack, the people of New York City, and the world. One of the things I love about this school is its location. You could walk down town and serve with organizations such as the Nyack Homeless project. You could catch the bus to New York City at any time and go interact with people from all over the world. Or you could even take a trip to another country on a Global Service Learning trip. This place is full of opportunity, and for me as an Inter-cultural studies major this is something I thrive off of. Nyack is not only equipping me for my future on the mission field, but opening the door for me to serve right now. It all boils down to the fact that Nyack is a place where I can love and grow deeper with Jesus, grow with the people around me, and serve the world in new and exciting ways.

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