5 Weeks In

It’s been about 5 weeks into the semester… I think. It still feels so surreal that I’m going to this school, learning what I’m learning. It’s been good. It’s been hard too.

It’s such a relief to finally be working with my hands, making things. Seriously, I’m going to school to make things on Photoshop and Illustrator, to draw with real ink and calligraphy pens, to edit photos… seriously? This is the most fun homework I’ve ever had, and it’s been so life-giving. But despite how easy and effortless it may sound, there is definitely a lot of hard work involved. A LOT. It seems like there’s been hardly been time to rest. But even still, I try to squeeze some time in to get out into the nature areas on campus and just forget about all the work for a few minutes. Every day has been full of constantly rushing around and getting things done, basically. There have been a lot of late nights, even one all-nighter (my very first ever of my college life). I’ve been so overtired, and therefore emotional. I wish I could sleep more, but it’s hardly an option. But I need to do so for the sake of my health… balancing self-care and school is hard.

I’m growing accustomed to the size and culture of this school. I’ve made a few acquaintances and a few new friends, which I’ve slowly been getting to know better. I have nice professors. I’ve ran into a few people I know who attend this school. Overall, though, it’s been a bit lonely. Making friends isn’t the easiest thing. But then again, I have nothing to complain about. Maybe solitude is a blessing. In fact, I’d say it is… in this solitude I’ve had more time to think, more time to pray. And solitude is helpful when my schedule is so busy, I suppose. At least I can focus on my work. I go to class, then I study for a few hours, then I take a walk around campus and explore the little wooded trails, or climb the hill. I pray as I walk, I look around me and take everything in. There won’t be many days of green and color and sunlight left, since winter is coming soon—I need to enjoy it as much as I can. Eventually I go back to the main building and study some more, then I go home when the sun sets. I then study for the rest of the evening, then go to bed. Repeat. Though it’s kind of lonely, I still see my friends at church, and every so often we get together to hang out. And I have a feeling that pretty soon I’ll feel more at home at this school—I’ll probably get to know more people and have more solid friendships there. Hopefully. The LORD knows.

I’m so thankful that this college has a campus. The last one didn’t, which was okay, but I’m glad that I have somewhere to escape to when I am overwhelmed with all the work and relax. There’s a large hill a minute’s walk away from the main building. I’ve climbed it nearly every day, and just would sit there on the top, between two oak trees, and pray, enjoy the sun on my face, calm my mind, and observe people walking by far away on the path below. Behind me, beyond that hill, is a maple tree, with bright orange-ish pink leaves, and beyond that, a little wooded path. That path… it’s so beautiful and peaceful. Once when I was walking on that path I saw a doe. It stopped for about 2 seconds, looked at me, and then ran away. Beautiful.

It’s so natural for me to focus on the negative things and not the positive. But I have to tell myself that there are so many beautiful things in this season, and that I will not have eyes to see them if I keep looking back with nostalgia and wishing I were still in that season. Yes, that last season had wonderful things, but it had its hardships too. Every season does. That’s life. But that’s not what I will focus on. May I focus on the positive things. Soul, open your eyes to everything that God has for you! All the grace He has… you finally get to pursue your dream of getting into design… you get to make things. You get to learn new skills that you’ve always wanted to learn. It’s only 5 weeks in and you can do so much already. And you’re HERE… by God’s grace; by His provision. This is such a gift. So be thankful. And don’t complain about the loneliness, or the change that is hard to adjust to. Every dream comes with its difficulties, but that’s the way things are. You can handle it, just trust the LORD, and He will be there for you in it all. There. I needed that self-exhortation. I feel so thankful now… God placed me here. And He will lead me through this season, and He will care for me and provide, according to His will. And I, by His grace, will do my best to be faithful and diligent. He’s given me this opportunity, so may I run after it wholeheartedly.

I’m so thankful the weekend is here. Praise God! Happy weekend, everyone!

M

 

Advertisements

O, For Grace To Trust You More.

New opportunities are wonderful things. Like being able to study graphic design. I’m so, so thankful that God has blessed me with such grace as this.

But I regret to say there’s part of me that is still stuck in the past, looking backward, refusing to embrace what is ahead for all that it’s worth. I want to embrace what is ahead, but I keep looking back at what is past, wishfully thinking I could keep living those days.

Because I’m leaving my old school. I’m leaving many of my friends there. I’m leaving the city I’ve called home for the past 3 years. I’m leaving behind many things I used to be able to do as a student there, and won’t be able to do here. I’m leaving behind the weekly chapel services there that so often blessed and encouraged me. I’m leaving behind a close-knit community of like-minded people who have built me up and blessed me in so many ways, and have taught me so many things.

I’m actually closing a chapter of my life.

A very good chapter. A hard, but beautiful chapter. A chapter I will never forget.

And I’m afraid to start a brand new one.

But I must.

 

I am beginning to realize more fully that often with new seasons come sacrifice.

While it is very, very hard for me to leave this old season of life behind, I know I must leave it behind, in faith that God has new, good things for me in this new season.

I have noticed that in my life, with nearly every gain I can remember, came a little bit of loss along with it.

But that little bit of loss doesn’t mean that the gain isn’t worth it.

I am sure that there will be more good things ahead in the future.

I am sure that, LORD willing, I will be able to keep in touch with and get together with my old friends. We don’t live THAT far away from each other, though we are a bit further apart, distance-wise, than we once had been.

I am sure that I will eventually make new friends at this school, who love the LORD as much as I do.

And for sure, I am POSITIVE that in this new season, God will be with me, carrying me through it every step of the way, being my hope, my strength, my anchor.

He has led me here, and He will sustain me. So I will follow, by His grace.

No turning back.

God, I firmly believe that it is You who led me here… You made it happen so miraculously, so quickly. And so this seems to be what You have for me. And I want what You want for me, because You know what I want better than I do—You know what is best for me. Everything You do in my life is for my good (Romans 8:28) and ultimately for Your glory. And this season is no exception. I’ve seen You lead me here, and I’ve seen You provide, and I trust that You will continue to lead and provide. And where You lead, You WILL provide—You won’t just lead me somewhere to abandon me. You are my Heavenly Father, and You care for me beyond what I can imagine. You have much grace for me in this season, I know it, but right now it’s hard to imagine what You have for me ahead. So right now, in all of the unknowns, help me to just live in this season, obediently, with an open heart, open eyes, and open hands—ready to receive what You have for me, to see You and what You are doing here in me and at this school, and to do what You have for me to do.

I trust You. “Oh, for grace to trust [You] more.”

 

Never Too Busy

I’m very thankful that it is finally the weekend. This first week of school has been very fast-paced and rather hectic, just with all the stuff regarding credits not transferring, and because of the fact that I was accepted literally a day before orientation. Which is a miracle, and I’m not complaining at all—praise God that I’m here. Seriously. I feel so blessed to be in this season. I just hope that as time goes on I get into a groove. Now that I won’t have to be meeting with faculty so much to talk through my previous education experiences and why I don’t think I need to take an “Orientation to College Studies” class, things should be more manageable, and I will have more time and energy for homework.

I believe I am finally at a steady schedule now—I’ve been adding and dropping a few classes because of the uncertainty concerning transferring and which classes are required… but at this point I have 5 classes—Christian Worldview & Culture, Intro to Wellbeing, Typography, Intro to Digital Media, and 2-Dimensional Visual Thinking (which is an art class). Although the workload is nothing like the workload at my former school, I still am busy all the time and it’s been rather stressful. Every day has been go, go, go, with maybe half and hour each day of restful activity. And every day I failed in some way to deal with the stress. Sometimes I was not the most pleasant toward my family. I stayed up past midnight most nights, trying to get every assignment done WHILE learning how to navigate the student websites, which isn’t easy. Late nights caused me to have to fight hard to keep my eyes open and maintain consciousness in class (and even in a job training session yesterday… which is highly embarrassing. Thankfully I still have the job! haha) Besides all of this, there were one or two near-nervous breakdowns. Yes, this past week was kind of a mess, and so was I.

And this past week I kept thinking, I should really take some time to read my Bible and have fellowship with God. I know I need it… and I REALLY want so badly to just sit down for an hour or two in a perfectly quiet space and talk to God. But then I would think, But I don’t have time; there are so many things I have to get done TODAY. If I don’t I will FAIL this semester.

And so for the most part, my quiet times were put aside. Time with my Maker, Father, and Lover of my soul was put on a shelf. I’ll do it later.

In hindsight, I wonder how much this decision to “do it later” (a.k.a. hardly at all) affected my attitude, my outlook, and my level of peace (or lack thereof). My guess is, probably a lot.

No matter how pressed for time I may be, I can never be so busy that I don’t have time for God. In fact, spending time with God will depend on how the rest of my day will go—if I am spending some time with Him and asking Him for help to live this life to His glory, He helps me. My faith is stronger, my outlook is more positive, I am looking to Him rather than worrying about the future, and it is easier for me to love others. Apart from Him I can do nothing. And this past week, I seemed to have forgotten this.

This next week, I plan to not repeat this mistake, but to be more intentional about spending time in His Word, in prayer, meditating on His promises, being in Christian community, and following Him.

Hopefully this next week will be better.

-M

P.S. How has school been going for you, all you students out there?

The Beginnings of Summer

My life, since I finished my last final:

Hung out with my classmates. Laughed a lot. Went to Chipotle with some of them. Was tired, so I tried to take a nap in an empty classroom (didn’t work). Did absolutely nothing yesterday morning and afternoon. Went to a swing dance, saw some friends there and danced twice. Hung out with some classmates some more, went for a walk with some of them around the city, going to the top of a parking garage and admiring the view (I didn’t go very close to the edge…heights. Ya know?). Went to bed at midnight. Tried to sleep in, but couldn’t (had this dream—a good one—after which it was impossible to go back to sleep). Journaled. Recounted the previous day’s adventures to my sister.

And my school’s commencement is tonight, so I’m really looking forward to going to that and cheering on some of my friends who are graduating.

It feels so good to finally feel alive again. This past school year was wonderful, and I am so thankful for the memories made, the beautiful souls I’ve gotten to know there, and the lessons I’ve learned, academic and otherwise. But it was hard, sanctifying, exhausting, and very draining. It’s good to have all of that behind me, and to finally be able to relax, recover and have some fun, and not have to worry about the next day’s assignments.

Freedom.

I had my last final interview this morning. 10 minutes beforehand, I was going through my notes frantically, trying to solidify as much information in my brain as I could. It was 9:07, and I had the 9:10-9:40 interview. Seeing that the classroom was empty, I walked into the classroom 3 minutes early.

“Hey, Madeline,” my professor greeted me. I greeted him likewise and sat down at a table, opposite him. After asking me a couple of smalltalk-y questions about my summer plans, he opened in prayer and then began interviewing me.

He began with the theme of authority. I was so glad—that was the theme I had focused on the most in preparation for this.

I talked about British monarchy, its clash between the Catholic church and the parliament, the establishment of the Anglican church, the “Divine Right of Kings”, the KJV Bible, etc., all the way to Dostoevsky and Crime & Punishment, with the theme of relativism and how the individual decides what is right and wrong; how Raskolnikov denies that his murder was a crime…

We talked about the development of “the nature of the self”, we also talked about Marx and Communism, the American Civil War, World War I, The Edinburgh Conference, Socialism and themes in Crime & Punishment (quite a wide spectrum of topics).

And 30 minutes later, just like that, I was done.  FREEDOM.

 

 

FINALS.

 

It’s finals week.

This morning I walked into my classroom, where a few of my classmates had gathered together to study.

“Have you done your interview yet?” I was asked. (In this program we do finals in the form of 2 30-minute, one-on-one interviews with our professor, covering the information we learned over the semester and tracing themes throughout history.) I replied that I had not yet. Mine would be in half an hour.

“Can I pray for you?” one of my classmates asked me.

“Sure!” I said, not having expected the pleasure of getting to be prayed for. Aww. (The others had probably prayed for one another earlier, and I had missed it.)

She started praying, and in a second the others were all around me praying too—for clarity and the ability to recall everything I’d studied… You guys. My class is so sweet. I felt so blessed.

Then I tried to hurriedly intake as much information as I possibly could until 8:30.

/ / /

8:30 came.

I saw one of my good friends. She gave me a hug. “How do you feel?”

“I don’t know,” I responded with a nervous laugh. I did not feel ready for this.

“I’ll be praying for you!” she said.

“Thanks!”

I walked into one of the classrooms and sat down with my professor. He opened with prayer, then we started.

“Over the year, we’ve studied the development in history of the relationship between faith and reason. Can you tell me about any themes we’ve studied this semester regarding faith and reason?”

I racked my brain. I knew I had made a long list of such themes in preparation for this interview, but I could not for the life of me think of the first theme on that list. An uncomfortable silence ensued. I looked down at the plastic table-top—white, with little black flecks in it, like vanilla ice cream—and tried to think.

Aha. Pascal.

Pascal was the first person I could think of, though I knew he was not the first contributor to the “faith vs. reason” developments since the 1500s. But I started with him.

Pascal had a positive attitude toward reason, but knew the fallibility of man’s reason…oh wait. Before that was Descartes—”I think, therefore I am”… AHA—he introduced the “subjective turn”: reasoning starting with MAN as opposed to starting with God. (Why, Pascal.) He also had his cosmological argument (cause & effect) for the existence of God, which was that an imperfect being cannot think of a truly perfect Being. In other words, he said that an imperfect cause cannot create a perfect effect—therefore God must be something existing outside of a person’s imagination; being most perfect, He must exist. (#Anselm)  THEN there was Pascal. “Man is a thinking reed”—Pascal had a high view of human reason, but he knew that humans are fallible, therefore reason is fallible. “The heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing.” He held that God can only be truly known by the heart, not simply by reason ALONE… (paraphrased summary of thought process)

I went on, until I had said as much as I could recall. “I think that’s all I’ve got,” I at last said.

We moved on to other topics.

…”Well, it’s 9:00, so we have to stop.” he said after a while. “Thank you!”

I thanked him and left. One interview down. I did not know whether I’d done well or not.

“Madeline! How did it go?” a few classmates asked excitedly.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “I think it went alright…”

I went back to the classroom and checked my email. What, a grade back already? That was quick. It’s probably just a C, I told myself. I was not expecting anything good. I always had gotten Cs on my interviews.

Not this time— this time it was higher than a C. Wow, how unexpected! I was beaming. Praise the LORD! He had heard those prayers. Somehow, though I felt like there were many questions that I answered with “I don’t know”, and many awkward silences, and many times where I felt like I could not properly communicate what I was thinking, the LORD had given me the grace of a good grade.

One down. One more to go.

Life. 04/13

This will be a short one, because, well, I should be writing a paper.

Life has been hard. Really hard. In so many ways—health-wise, emotion-wise, faith-wise, life-wise. School is hard. The stress is real. I’m so overtired that I can hardly think straight sometimes. But God is carrying me through. And there is light at the end of the tunnel, I know there is: firstly, I am a child of God. Is there any happier or more comforting news than that? And these hard seasons I am going through are refining me, making me more like Christ. Oh, LORD, continue to make me more like Your Son, no matter what it takes! Secondly, there are only 5 weeks left of school. Thirdly, I’m learning so much about my health issues. I have Horner’s Syndrome, and I am learning so much about it and how it affects certain areas of my brain, as well as my gut—it may even have been the cause of my having Celiac Disease. Anyway, I am seeing a neurologist for Horner’s and for a traumatic brain injury I had had when I was 6. I’m feeling hopeful about finding healing soon. Praise the LORD!

Also, I’ve been marveling these days about how God uses hard situations for good. If things had not gone as difficultly as they had been, I would not be who I am. I would not love the LORD as much as I do. I would not have met the people I have met in those seasons, or would not have grown as close to my friends as I have during those hard days. I would not have as much compassion for people who are hurting. If I haven’t been wounded myself, I would not have known how to care for others who are hurting too. So although those days were dark and horrible, I am thankful that God brought me through them. He used them for my good, and for His glory, and has brought me closer to Himself. Wow. Thank You, God. Thank You Thank You Thank You.

I will post more later soon, if I can, AFTER this 12-page paper is turned in. WHEW!

Happy Holy Week!

Maddie

Rest.

Last night, at 11:58pm, I turned in my music analysis paper. And then the reality hit me:

I can REST now. I’m on Spring Break.

And how good it feels!

Today has been a mostly relaxing day, but the part that was relaxing and joyful was absolutely lovely. I listened to some music. I journaled. I read Psalm 34 and John 15. I juiced some some apple-beet-carrot juice (I’ve been juicing these days, and it is wonderful), and heated up some chicken soup for lunch. I prayed. I sang as I worked in the kitchen. I read blogs. And now here I am. It’s good to have a little breather from school (not complaining—I love my school—but breaks are nice too), and be able to slow down for a while. During this week, I hope to:

  • Catch up on sleep.
  • Do relaxing things.
  • Read my Bible.
  • Think and journal.
  • Fellowship with people.

– Maddie

#myriadsofblessings – 03/12

  • Homemade applesauce.
  • Butter.
  • That my life is not the storyline of The Sorrows of Young Werther, this very sad book I have to read for school! I am dreading reading the rest of it today, to be honest… I had to put the book down a few times, breathe, and remind myself that this is mere fiction. If my hope were not in Christ, this would be my life.
  • Community. I have been so blessed by the wonderful people God has placed in my life, they are priceless.
  • Progress, in any area of life.
  • Deep, honest conversations.
  • God’s sustaining mercy and grace. Oh, what would I do without Him. (Rhetorical question. I would be under His wrath.)
  • that God has a plan in everything, be it poor health, struggles, trials… He uses all these things for good.
  • that even when I wander so far, God has never failed to lead me, like the loving Father He is, back to Himself.
  • That God is pleased to use me, of all people, to bless others. What.
  • Hilarious things said in class, often providing comic relief on the more stressful days.
  • Songs that are dense with gospel truth. (i.e. “The Power of the Cross” by the Gettys, “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery”, “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”. So good.)
  • Fun times with friends.
  • Color.
  • Wool socks.
  • Skirts.
  • Chicken soup.

Under The Fig Tree – A Sonnet

In anguish my heart searches, seeking rest,

But there is none: two wills divide my mind.

My evil thoughts and actions I detest,

But somehow cannot bear to leave behind.

 

I feel this battle in my soul increase;

This sin I hate, yet love, grips me with force.

These habits, when will they at last decease?

They promise joy; I only know remorse.

 

Almighty God! From sins, deliver me!

These worthless things I somehow love, destroy!

From hollow, fruitless pleasures, set me free,

And make me captive to Your greater joy.

 

You’ve taught my restless heart to rest in You;

I now know joy unmeasured, joy most true.

 

(A sonnet I wrote for a school assignment, inspired by Augustine’s Confessions.)

 

Life – 10/22

These past couple of weeks have been pretty nice. The fall colors are absolutely gorgeous, and I’m trying to enjoy them before all the trees lose their leaves. Yesterday as I was walking home from class with two friends, we collected red, pink, orange and yellow maple leaves. I might hang them somewhere, not sure what to do with them yet.  Ahh, I love fall.

We haven’t had a ton of homework other than the usual reading.  The professors cancelled a major paper that we were supposed to do, which was SO wonderful. Now things are starting back up, as we have a quiz on Monday.

A couple days ago I was low on groceries, and like they say, necessity is the mother of invention—I ended up making a type of paleo-friendly pancakes… you know that recipe on pinterest for “clean” pancakes that are literally eggs + banana? (I don’t like them, they just taste like banana-y egg, which is weird…) If you use canned pumpkin instead of banana, it tastes better.  I did 3 eggs to about 3/4 cup of pumpkin, with some honey and cinnamon, and they weren’t bad, actually. They obviously weren’t the texture of real pancakes; they were thin like crepes, but flimsier and lighter.  They were pretty good, though, at least I thought so. I did wish I had something like tapioca flour to thicken the batter a little bit, though (although I don’t know if tapioca is paleo-approved.  I’m not eating paleo, per se, just trying to go easy on carbs).

Yesterday in class we studied Petrarch, a medieval poet and writer. We had read his essay, “The Ascent of Mount Ventoux”, which I found very amusing—in it he tells of his adventures climbing “Mount Windy” with his brother, and then uses it as an illustration of “the soul’s climb toward blessedness”.  Also, I find it humorous that he carried a pocket copy of Augustine’s Confessions with him wherever he went. He must have really admired that guy (well, everyone did back then, but apparently Petrarch especially). We also had read some of his poems from the Canzoniere, they were mostly really sad, depressing poems about pining after his very DISTANT, unattainable “love”, Laura (whom he apparently only saw once from afar, and fell madly into this obsession over her…). My prof had people read them aloud, and let them do so in whatever style they wanted, which was pretty fun. Haha.

Yesterday was my school’s annual fall party, and it was wonderful.  It was sad to think that it was my very last fall party, as I plan to graduate this spring. It was held, per usual, at this really pretty farm with a huge red barn, in which we barn danced. I went on a hayride, then I hung out with 4 of my friends, we climbed a tree, and then I went on another hayride, this time with them. I talked to some friends that I hadn’t gotten to talk to in a while, so that was awesome. I didn’t dance a whole lot this time, other than the Virginia Reel with one of my friends, and three line dances. It was a fun evening.

Happy weekend!

-Maddie

 

 

Life – 08/29

Screen Shot 2016-08-29 at 6.26.03 PM
Notes on our “Confessions” class

Things have been going really well these past few days.  School has been super interesting, and every day I’ve looked forward to the next class.  We are now into our second week of school; we just finished reading and discussing Augustine’s Confessions and just today we discussed Augustine’s understading of the Trinity and of the Will, whether creeds and confessions are an important thing to have in the church (we’re reading part of The Creedal Imperative by Carl Trueman for that), etc.  So many topics in one class period!  It was so interesting though.

To provide context for future posts, I might as well add that hey, so I’m actually not a junior.  I would have been, but last year the stress, the workload, the late nights and minor depression (from all of this) got to me, consequently last year things didn’t go as well as I’d liked, and I didn’t exactly pass.  I had taken my fall sophomore semester, but couldn’t take the spring one until I caught up on some things.  So I focused on my Greek, aced it, enjoyed a lighter workload for a season, and now I’m back as a Sophomore, 2.0.  While this is hard in some ways going from one class to another, it’s been great being a part of this new class.  From the start I immediately felt like I belonged, they were all so welcoming.  Last year I had gotten to know some of these people, and became good friends with them.  Now I get to be in class with them, and hang out with them all the time.  It’s pretty sweet.  Besides the people I already knew, I got to know the people I didn’t know very well.  At this point I know everyone’s names and have talked to nearly every one of them, and they all are super awesome people.  I left a great class, but I entered one that was just as equally great.

Now that I’ve provided some context, I can talk in the future about themes we’re studying without you all being confused – “didn’t you go through that material already?”

Besides academics, life has been good these past few days – exceptionally good.

  • The LORD has been so full of grace to me, as always, particularly now by giving me joy in him, which I’ve felt somewhat lacking before and had to fight for it.  I feel like these days my prayers have been less self-focused and more gospel-centered, which is good.  Besides that type of joy (which surpasses all others), I’ve been laughing so much these days, haha.  There are a few people in my class who are absolutely HILARIOUS, and they have been a source of much humor in our classes and in the times we hang out together.
  • Some days the weather has been slightly chilly – an indication of fall weather.  You guys, I cannot wait.  The colors.  The smell of dead leaves, and the sound of them crunching under my feet.  Actually having to wear sweaters and wool socks and use blankets.  Being able to drink tea without overheating myself.  Pumpkin, cinnamon, squash… guys.  I bought a butternut squash a few days ago.  YES.
  • I’ve been learning the pleasure of listening to entire albums at once.  I used to not have the patience for that.  But I’ve been realizing that albums sometimes have a big picture, and certain songs sometimes build off others in the album, or a hidden theme develops that I would have missed had I only listened to select songs at random.  Even if not, I’ve found listening to entire albums pleasurable in and of itself.  A few albums I’ve been listening to, start to finish, are
    • Ghost of a King by The Gray Havens
    • Where The Light Gets In by Jason Gray
    • Posters by Strahan

So that’s a bit on how things have been going recently!  I could say so much, but time is limited, and I’ve got to make supper and get to my reading (my reason for blogging was to wake myself up – I kept dozing off mid-sentence while I was reading, and would end up dreaming ends of sentences onto ones I had started while awake!  So strange, haha).

Maddie

 

Life Capsule – 04/13

10513731_831744080251672_948461295_n 10956889_1060121244002912_1151910615_n 11084836_828068263934087_1300648345_n 11123652_1151280714897650_1919033377_n

We are so close to the end of the semester, it’s crazy!  Trying to finish strong.  Studies are very interesting.  We’re studying early church history and reading through the Epistles.  Yesterday I read the entire book of Hebrews.  Such a good book; probably one of my favorites in the Bible.  God has been teaching me a LOT lately.  We’ve been wrestling with a lot of topics: doctrines, salvation, sin/grace… all sorts of things.  A few days ago we had a class on the five points of Calvinism, and it was very intriguing, though I didn’t fully understand everything.  Also we’ve been memorizing Romans 8, and we’ve gotten as far as verse 27.  Romans 8 is the bomb.  So glad that we’re memorizing it this semester.  Seriously, I just LOVE going to school here – every day I come away learning something new and amazing about this God I serve.  He is wonderful.

11111282_1564848543780240_1267959149_n

Also, God is currently teaching me to give myself grace when I fail, as He gave me grace through His Son.  I tend to be a perfectionist when it comes to my actions, and sometimes feel guilty for even the smallest mistakes I make. Guilt is definitely something I struggle with, even with things I have already taken to the LORD, and I need to keep reminding myself that these feelings of guilt are not from God, for “there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1)” – Christ has forgiven me for everything wrong I have done, large or small.  Through Him, my slate is clean; I am justified!  I’m thankful that God has given me a hatred for sin, but reminding myself daily of His grace to us in Christ.  Wow.  What love, that Christ would take my penalty for sin upon Himself, and give me His righteousness instead!  He is so good.

And He is SO faithful, even in the hard days.  These days have been a little tough, to be honest; it’s kind of a fight for joy, with the workload and the sleep-deprivation, learning to every thought captive in obedience to Christ, and just the weaknesses that I’m not proud of (introspection, poor time-management, etc.).  But I’m learning to see these days as gifts; they remind me how utterly dependent I am on God for everything: life, breath, provision, faith, joy, etc.  If life were totally perfect, I wouldn’t see my need for Him, and that would be awful.  And through these trials, whether they be a massive paper I’m supposed to write, or the temptation to worry or doubt or complain about something, God is teaching me to look to Him for strength in these circumstances, and then supplying that strength abundantly.  His grace is totally sufficient.

These past couple weeks my friends and I have been enjoying going on little excursions around the city, taking pictures, playing games, going out for coffee, etc.  I’m so thankful to have such brothers and sisters as classmates.  I’ve been so blessed by the times we’ve spent, the laughs we’ve had, the jam sessions and game nights, the deep conversations about life, theology, Nichomachean Ethics, how to pronounce certain words, etc.  They’re amazing.  :)

Enjoying my new glasses and being able to see clearly again!  The first class I attended after getting them, I squirmed with delight at the fact that I could actually SEE what my professor was writing on the board, and could sit in the back of the class if I wanted!  (I still enjoy sitting up front though.)  :)  I wrote a cheesy little poem the day after getting my glasses:

O former glasses dead and gone,
We’re through (not sorry!); moving on
Not only ‘cause of your decease,
But time to start fresh, if you please.
Since you, I’ve found a better pair
That makes my face look twice as fair.
I chose you when I was thirteen,
My fashion sense was different then.
Now, I’m not saying you looked bad,
But getting new ones makes me glad.
For one can tire of red and blue
rectangular frames; let’s start anew.
So during my final teenage year
I left you for a more hipster
Type with slightly bigger frames
(Don’t worry, they don’t take o’er my face);
Brown; the tortoise kind. Sold!
Something fun but not TOO bold.
And so it happens, I confess,
That I couldn’t miss you less!
And so I hope that you don’t mind.
Thanks to the new ones, I’m no longer blind.

Haha  :)  Have a good week!

God bless,

Madeline

Second Semester, Greek Philosophy & Intertestamental History

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset

Well, folks, it’s been a while.  School started up a while ago, and A LOT has happened.  Quick recap of the past month:  A BBC Pride & Prejudice marathon.  The discovery that my roommates and I were not the only ones living in our apartment – a mouse was too (NO!!!!).  Lots of poring over Plato’s Five Dialogues and Aristotle’s Poetics and Nicomachean Ethics.  Much stress over trying to figure out the minds of Plato and Aristotle.  Laughing over Greek comedies; crying over tragedies (such as Oedipus Rex).  Lack of sleep.  Lots of laughter and memories.  My first theater experience.  Capricious weather; warm, sunny days following negative-degree temperatures.  The memorization of Romans 8 (I love this chapter!  So glad we’re memorizing it this semester!)  The process of forming good habits for the good of this semester.

More recently, we have officially finished our Greek Philosophy course, and are moving on to the Intertestamental Period (the time between the Old and New Testaments).  We’ve been reading from parts of the Apocrypha, Josephus, etc.  It’s been very interesting.

I’m starting a hand lettering/art business!  More on that soon hopefully!

Later!  Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day tomorrow.

Madeline

School Excitement, Life Lessons & Music

Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Winter Break is coming to a close.  Overall, it was really good.  I spent precious time with my family.  I got to sleep in most days (a luxury!), make smoothies whenever I wanted (I don’t own a blender, but my mom does), and draw, take pictures, write and do exegesis (in layman’s terms, study the Bible) to my heart’s content.   Then the past couple days were spent with the freshmen that are currently in the area: going out to eat, playing hilarious games like Quelf and “Dreams”, and having conversations about things like Calvinism versus Arminianism (typical of Bible college students… but really, theological conversations are the best).  Good times!  Anyway, I feel well rested and ready to start a new semester.  I’m currently in the process of packing up and moving my stuff back to my dorm.  I’m also reading for our first lesson this Wednesday, about the Greeks, Romans and Persians during 400-300 BC (i.e. Alexander the Great, Xerxes, the Peloponnesian Wars, the rising and falling of Rome, etc).  Very interesting.  I’m very excited about this semester.  We’ll be studying Greek philosophy, literature, culture and mythology, and go through the New Testament.  I. AM. PUMPED.  Beyond words.  =)  I’m especially looking forward to going through the Epistles.  Paul, John and Peter’s letters are FANTASTIC.

It’ll be good to be back home again, living with my roommates again, cooking my own food, having friends over, and sleeping in my own bed, in “the batcave” (my loft/closet, which needs a better name, haha).  =)

Processed with VSCOcam with e5 preset

///

These past few weeks, this is what God has been teaching me:

– Words can tear down, or they can build up.  Be careful how you use them.

– God is gracious, even when I am not.  I hate to admit that some days I was tempted to feel easily irritated about things.  Then I would stop and think, “Where did this attitude come from?  This is not right!”

– “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him” (Psalm 42:11).  There are those days when I’m just not feeling the weight of the glory of the Gospel–I believe it, but I feel like it’s more in my head than my heart, and I’m not really seeing it for what it truly is, in depth… and I have to ask God for eyes to see it.  Sometimes during those days my natural response is to worry:  “Oh no!  Does this mean I’m not believing it?”  Not always.  Somedays it’s harder to see clearly than others, but keep choosing to believe God’s Word; keep persevering!  Psalm 42:11 fits this sort of scenario perfectly:

Why are you cast down, O my soul, 

and why are you in turmoil within me?  

Hope in God; for I shall again praise Him,

my salvation and my God.

“Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him.”  I love this verse.  God knows my heart.  He knows that even though I’m not “feeling it” that day, my heart is longing to be in that fellowship with Him.  And soon He will give me eyes to see again–more fully, in more detail–the beauty of the Gospel.  So I press on, preaching to myself of the mercy and grace of God through Christ, and keep fixing my mind on the Word, and pretty soon… WOW.  I once again realize how beautiful Christ is.  And my heart is once again overwhelmed by His sacrificial love.

///

A couple days ago I treated myself to the luxury of Spotify Premium, so that’s been pretty fun.  Current favorites:

Amazing Life – Britt Nicole

This Is My Year (Matoma Remix) – Family Force 5

Energy – Hillsong Young & Free

Tell The World – Eric Hutchinson

Holy Light – Phil Wickham

Trololo Song – Eduard Khil (aka “Mr. Trololo”).  Yes, I’m serious… it’s been stuck in my head all week.  Though it’s been an internet meme for quite a while, I was completely unaware of its existence until a friend showed it to me a month ago.  The song was written by Eduard Khil, titled (in Russian) “I Am Glad, Because I’m Finally Returning Home”, and it’s essentially about a cowboy coming home to his wife.  However, according to wikipedia (yes, I research these sorts of things), he never published his lyrics, but decided to sing the tune anyway, I guess.  It’s a cool tune, I suppose, but why all the “lololololo”? haha  =)

///

God bless,

Madeline