the good fight

I am thankful that I know these things are true:

  • there are so many more good people out there than there are bad
  • there is way more love in the world than we have seen lately
  • there are good people out there fighting for what is right and their voices are being heard

I am also thankful that God is good and He is more loving than we could ever imagine. He loves us all, including the person we argue with on Facebook. He loves all our politicians and elected officials. It’s really easy to forget that and trust me, you’re not alone if you do forget that. At some point, I think we all have forgotten.

So fight for what you believe in. Be kind to one another. Now is truly the perfect time to life one another up because some of our brothers and sisters are hurting. Lets keep fighting for equality, for goodness, for love.

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we are virginia tech

A couple days ago when I got on Facebook, the first two comments I read were, “What the hell is going on at Virginia Tech?” and “What’s wrong with Virginia Tech?” Reading this hit me like a train. What is going on? Why was a 13 year old girl from Blacksburg missing? Why was a 13 year old girl from Blacksburg dead? Why were two VT students involved? We always ask ourselves why knowing that we don’t know the answer and maybe that we won’t ever know the answer. I don’t know why this happened and we still don’t know exactly what happened. It makes me angry that such a young girl from such a tight community had her life taken from her. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know how it happened. But I do know a few things.

I know that Blacksburg is one of the greatest places on the earth. I know that Virginia Tech is one of the greatest schools on earth. I know that the community of people here is like no other I’ve experienced. When making my college decisions as a senior, I always used to think, “yeah VT is cool but I don’t know if it’s for me.” Turns out it is the perfect place for me. When visiting campus, I was immediately sold and the biggest part that stuck out to me was the community. Coming from another small town, I was drawn into the small town feel because that’s one of the reasons I love home so much. But that’s what got me here. The love that Tech students have for each other and the other people in Blacksburg and surrounding areas. The love that those other people have for the Tech students. Things like The Big Event and just feeling the atmosphere around town and on game days. Always holding the door open for the person behind you, even if they’re too far away and you make them do the little awkward run to the door. Hearing a random “lets go” in the middle of the day and not even having to think about saying “Hokies” because it just comes natural. This is what a Hokie is all about. Being a Hokie just isn’t going to a school and going through the motions. Being a Hokie is practicing Ut Prosim and serving others. Being a Hokie is sharing and embracing the diversity we have here. Being a Hokie is going to a school ranked second for happiest students. Being a Hokie is a lot of things. A lot of really good things.

What has happened these past couple days have been a horrible tragedy and I know I personally am still trying to wrap my head around the whole thing. While being a Hokie is a lot of great things, it is also understanding what this hurt feels like because we’ve felt it before. We felt it on April 16th a couple years ago and we still feel it. But, being a Hokie is also knowing that we are stronger than any tragedy and that we know how strong this community is. And if you think that there is something wrong here at Virginia Tech because of what happened the past couple days or even in the past years, I would encourage you to step back and realize that Virginia Tech is a place of learning but also a strong community. What happened here recently is not what being a Hokie is about and two people can not represent a university full of 30,000 unique and diverse students.  We know that this happens in other places and we know that these things don’t define anyone or any school or organization. We are strong and powerful together and we want to look out for each other because that’s what Hokies do. And we are here to help grieve and here for support and we never want to forget Nicole.

So, going back to the same question. What the hell is going on at Virginia Tech? The only thing going on is us prevailing past this tragedy and coming together while still continuing to learn and be there for each other.

“We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness. We are the Hokies. We will prevail. We will prevail. We will prevail. We are Virginia Tech.”

public disclaimer: this post was meant to show us as VT students’ support for the family and that we are here as part of the community to help grieve with them and support them. we are saddened by this and want to help the family. this was not meant to make it all about us or take the spotlight off of Nicole, because she is the one who needs to be prayed for and remembered. it was just another perspective.

 

miracles

One of my favorite authors is John Green because of the way he gets my young adult female mind even though he’s older than me and he’s a dude. But something about the way he writes is captivating and he’s obviously captivated the world with his words. I’ve read all of his books (multiple times duh) and they’re just so good. My personal favorite is Paper Towns which was just made into a big time movie (and it was incredible and it fueled my love for Nat Wolff, which started when he was in the Naked Brothers Band, even more). The way you get to hear Q’s thoughts and his internal journey to find Margo is absolutely powerful and really gives you a sense of what being in love with someone who seems like a mystery is like.

During the middle of the book, there’s a conversation between Q and Radar that I have thought about every single day since reading it years ago:

“Can we call Ben then?”

“No, Ben’s an asshole.”

Radar looked at me sideways. “Of course he is. You know your problem, Quentin? You keep expecting people not to be themselves. I mean, I could hate you for being massively unpunctual and for never being interested in anything other than Margo Roth Spiegelman, and for, like, never asking me about how its going with my girlfriend–but I don’t give a shit, man, because you’re you. My parents have a shit ton of back Santas, but that’s okay. They’re them. I’m too obsessed with a reference Web site to answer my phone sometimes when my friends call, or my girlfriend. That’s okay, too. That’s me. You like me anyway. And I like you. You’re funny, and you’re smart, and you may show up late, but you always show up eventually.”

We get mad at some people for not getting us something for our birthday’s or not calling to say hey. We get mad at some people for being arrogant and we get mad because we think they always come across as rude. We get mad at some people for expecting you to always pay and we get mad because some people have no filter. But that’s what makes those people who they are. I like One Direction too much (not really though) and that probably bothers some people but that’s a part of who I am and it makes me, me. I always call my friends first to see how they’re doing and sometimes I get mad because they never call me first but I shouldn’t because that’s what makes them them. They don’t have to call first. Maybe that’s why we’re friends. They don’t call people first to see how they’re doing but I do so either way we’re still communicating and being friends. We all have little things that make up who we are as people and we are truly unique. If someone is annoying but they’re truly being themselves, then they’re doing exactly what they should be doing even if some people think it’s ridiculous. We all only have a short time on earth and if we’re not being our true selves, then what are we doing?

I mean, it’s actually kind of crazy to sit back and think about the 7 billion people in the world and all the people that came before us and that we are all our own person. At the beginning of Paper Towns, Q says:

“The way I figure it, everyone gets a miracle.” […] “But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.”

That was Q’s miracle and that’s what makes him, him. His miracle was getting to love someone so different than him and who was a complete mystery. We all have different miracles but I think it’s a miracle in all of our lives that we get our own unique personalities and we get to be surrounded by other people that are all different but we still still choose to love them, despite the differences.

“What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.”

 

onto the platform

At the beginning of my college experience, I got to serve on the ropes course at Rockbridge. I didn’t know anyone going but I knew that I was going to Rockbridge and I would surely make friends because we were all going to serve the Lord. It was easy to make friends and I was so happy that I had chosen to step out of my comfort zone and go. On the ropes course, I worked on the outside loop, which is definitely harder than the inside loop. My station was a small little zipline and it wasn’t hard. However, my zipline was right after arguably the most challenging part of the course. I don’t know exactly how to explain it but I only saw one person do it correctly the whole 6 or 8 hours I was up in the trees. I had a great time meeting people and encouraging them and just showing them that they could do the zipline.

There was this one man, however, that was deathly afraid. He could not make it across the station before mine and but he tried as hard as he could. When he was so close to the end, he let go of the ropes and just fell back in his harness in defeat. No matter how hard I tried to talk him through it, he just gave me excuses of why he couldn’t finish it. “This part is the second to last part of the whole thing! You’re so close and doing so well, please let me help you up so you can finish this thing,” I yelled to him one time. “No! I can’t do it! Please just leave me alone and I’ll try to figure something out,” was what he responded with. To my surprise, I never got frustrated with this man one time. I just gave him time and was there whenever he was ready to be picked up and put on the platform beside me. After a very long time of coaxing and encouragement, we finally worked together and got him up on the platform, across the zipline, and on to the last part of the course.

I didn’t think much about that incident for the rest of the day because I was so busy with helping other people but soon after that I found myself thinking about it a lot. The whole scenario reminded me a whole lot of God. We as humans often give up and let go of the rope and hang in our harness. We continue to hang even though God wants to pull us up but we say, “no thanks, I’ll come up with something.” We hang and we hang until we realize that in reality, there’s nothing we can do to help ourselves. The only way to move on and get to the next platform is to grab God’s hand. Once we cry out for His help, He is happy and has been patient with us and is glad we’re calling out to Him. When we get on the platform, we’re on the same level as God and He’s our Father who wants to help but He’s also our friend that walks beside us and encourages us to finish the course. I always see God when I’m at Rockbridge but on this day, I felt Him pulling the man up on the platform with us and I saw God greet Him with open arms like He greets all of us with open arms.

“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, they run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” -Isaiah 40:31

chicks and pickle juice

I just got back from serving as a childcare worker at YoungLives camp at Rockbridge or a week and my heart is so full! I am more than exhausted (I slept 13 hours last night oops) but I wouldn’t change it for anything. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when I arrived but I was so surprised and those expectations were soon filled when I met the other childcare workers in my nursery. We had babies that were 13 to 15 months old and we were the “chicks” and had super cute little chick decorations and it was just so so cute omg. We had 10 babies and they were all so beautiful! There was a lot of crying and runny noses and dirty diapers but we didn’t care because we knew that their sweet mommas were getting to hear about Jesus and how much He loves them so we were more than glad to serve them. There was also lots of worship and laughing until we cried and lots of fun. We got to play lots of four square and get happy campers and just hang out with each other when we had some free time. We also had so much fun at meals sitting around the table together and asking our sweet server for funny things like pickle juice (and him actually bringing it to us). The relationships I made this week were some of the strongest ones I have and I am so thankful for that. And I believe that they are strong because Jesus is at the base of those relationships. Whether we were a childcare worker, a server, a leader, or something else, we all served Jesus this week and we know that everything is through Him.

Even though there were times where I wanted to cry because one of the babies wouldn’t stop crying, where I had almost no energy left, where I couldn’t stand to smell another dirty diaper, when my 61 bug bites (and yes that’s an accurate number) itched so bad and distracted me, I knew that these girls were having the best time of their lives and trying new things and most importantly getting to hear about Jesus who saved them from the grave. When I reminded myself of that, my energy was restored and my heart was filled with joy and Jesus gave me new strength and patience which was a complete blessing. I wouldn’t trade this past week for anything and I would go back in an instant. Thank you to everyone that made this week possible and for all the loving words and prayers!

My favorite moment of the week was at the county fair when a mom came up to me and said “I never get to have any fun at home, I’m always working and when I’m not, I’m taking care of my baby. This is the most fun I’ve ever had and this has been the best week of my life.” Then she covered me in whipped cream and I have never been so happy to have whipped cream all over my face before. Jesus is so good and He’s so present.

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” -Colossians 3:17