Concordia Blogs-Abigail

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Beyond Excited

When people ask me what I think about going around the world in under 3 months, I tell them, “I am beyond excited.” It usually answers their question directly and to the point, and it’s exactly that they want to hear. Nobody wants to hear the intimate details, the small stresses that eventually pile up to anticipation anxiety, they just want to hear that you are happy, excited, pumped up, and ready to go.

While I have all these emotions, I have also gone beyond mere excitement. I am no longer jumping up and down with excitement at the mere thought of traveling to 10 countries in 20 weeks. It’s my reality. It’s going to happen, and I am thinking about other things, such as how I am going to make the most of this opportunity.

If you are finding yourself a bit more “mellow” about your decision of coming to Concordia, or perhaps you aren’t sure if you should come because you just “aren’t as excited” as you should be, don’t be worried. Perhaps you are just beyond excited, and that’s ok. Life doesn’t solely consist of really high intense moments of happiness, rather most of life is made up of the small and constant moments. You will find that as great as those high moments are, they are too few and far between to be able to make it through life. You will find that it is in fact the little joys in life that are able to help you make it through.

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The Right Decision

How do I know if I made the right decision? Perhaps you are having second thoughts concerning decisions you made, or are still making decisions. Whether you are an prepared overachiever or scrambling late bloomer, late spring can make us all kind of twitchy and impatient and anxious and happy and a million other emotions all at the same time.

So how do you know you’ve made the right choice? Well, God gives us peace, and things start falling into place, opportunities open up, etc. Now peace isn’t some fluffy feeling that we sometimes have. Peace is a state of being given by God in time of chaos. The world can go to pieces all around you, but if you are following God’s calling for your life, then you will be sustained. Psalm 37:23 says, “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him.”

When the ground we walk upon is shaky, the Lord is the rock beneath our feet.

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Rain Down Your Blessings

This is one of my favorite pictures with my dear Nokukhanya, a strong woman of faith that has become so much more to me than a Bible study leader. She has been there for me during the good and the bad, and through our mutual struggles we have learned how to trust in God with everything, especially with finances.
Whenever I meet her in tears wondering if God will come through for me one more time, my beloved sister Noks always tells me (insert a beautiful South African accent), “Child, when the praises go up, the blessings gonna come down.” She reminds me that God is good, that he has not forsaken me, that he knows what I need, and that he will provide. Living these two semesters in community with Noks has taught me that God is able to provide in many creative ways, and that he will continue to do so. He is unlimited, and he loves us, and he knows that we need. 

I have learned that coming to college demands a lot of faith and trust. I know I have been tested. I have wondered if God has a plan. I know that God has already provided, you know his Son to save me from sin and death, and all the other things in the past, but I struggle with knowing that he will provide again. 

I struggle because if I have learned anything from this first year at school, it’s that I am so dependent on Him. I have asked for so much already, isn’t it presumptuous of me to ask for more? How many times have I asked for enough strength to just finish the day? How many times have I asked for peace and rest? How many times? And though he has followed through, I always wonder when He’s going to run out, or say, “Enough! No more for you!”

But these are lies. The God I serve is never-ending. He cannot be fathomed. His love is endless. He is boundless. He delights in his children. He is good and he will provide for us for his name’s sake. Child, he has promised on himself to provide. He has provided before, he will provide in the future, but most importantly, he is working RIGHT NOW, providing exactly what you need today. 

So if you can’t do anything else, just praise him today. Thank him for who he says that he is, and ask him to reveal himself as such. Then sit back, and wait, the curtain will rise on your story, and know that God always comes through!

Rain Down Your Blessings

This is one of my favorite pictures with my dear Nokukhanya, a strong woman of faith that has become so much more to me than a Bible study leader. She has been there for me during the good and the bad, and through our mutual struggles we have learned how to trust in God with everything, especially with finances.

Whenever I meet her in tears wondering if God will come through for me one more time, my beloved sister Noks always tells me (insert a beautiful South African accent), “Child, when the praises go up, the blessings gonna come down.” She reminds me that God is good, that he has not forsaken me, that he knows what I need, and that he will provide. Living these two semesters in community with Noks has taught me that God is able to provide in many creative ways, and that he will continue to do so. He is unlimited, and he loves us, and he knows that we need.

I have learned that coming to college demands a lot of faith and trust. I know I have been tested. I have wondered if God has a plan. I know that God has already provided, you know his Son to save me from sin and death, and all the other things in the past, but I struggle with knowing that he will provide again.

I struggle because if I have learned anything from this first year at school, it’s that I am so dependent on Him. I have asked for so much already, isn’t it presumptuous of me to ask for more? How many times have I asked for enough strength to just finish the day? How many times have I asked for peace and rest? How many times? And though he has followed through, I always wonder when He’s going to run out, or say, “Enough! No more for you!”

But these are lies. The God I serve is never-ending. He cannot be fathomed. His love is endless. He is boundless. He delights in his children. He is good and he will provide for us for his name’s sake. Child, he has promised on himself to provide. He has provided before, he will provide in the future, but most importantly, he is working RIGHT NOW, providing exactly what you need today.

So if you can’t do anything else, just praise him today. Thank him for who he says that he is, and ask him to reveal himself as such. Then sit back, and wait, the curtain will rise on your story, and know that God always comes through!

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Growing Up

Recently I have been thinking about growing up. I heard this really great song by Matt Papa called “I Wanna Be A Child Again,” and it totally transformed the way I think about growing up. I remember last year as I was making all sorts of scary decisions about college and financial aid and such, I would recite e.e. cummings’ famous quote, “It takes courage to become who you really are.” I wrote it all over my notebooks, posted it on my wall, etched it on my heart as a mantra, hoping that by saying these words that courage would come to me.

I blinked and the summer was gone, and I was in my dorm room as a college freshman. I had made it, or so I thought. For most of my life, college was “the goal.” When I was a kid, it was hard to believe I would ever get out of school, college was that light at the end of the tunnel. I had made it, I was an adult…

And then God started working in my life in ways I never expected through the ATW application process, through my jobs, through classes, etc. He was (and still is) calling me to be humble, to have faith as a small child, to depend on him. I laugh when I say that, because we as Christians all believe that humility, faith, and dependence on God are good things. The reality is, they are HARD things.

How do you become humble? Well, there’s not really a 5 step plan, it just sort of happens when your life starts going to pieces. It happens when you say, “I got this,” and then it just so happens you don’t. There are lots of tears and frustration because your pride is wounded.

It’s also hard to have faith and complete dependence on God. If you ask God for faith, he will put you in places that you will have NO other choice than to say, “The Lord is my refuge and strength, and ever present help in trouble. He will deliver me.” When there is no other way to look but up, your trust will be in God.

Who are you growing up to be? I want to grow up to be like Christ, even if that means that the road is hard, because He has promised to be with me.

Dear Seniors, if you are still wondering about where your life is going, just know God is with you. No matter how hard things get, He is there. It’s never the answer we want, it’s not easy, but it’s enough.

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Distractions

This song has been my jam this week. There have been so many strange distractions. I have found it hard to finish all my responsibilities because contemplating the meaning of the universe and my place in it has just taken precedence. Suddenly being scatterbrained is not just a little part of my personality, it has completely overtaken me.

When I am attacked by a sudden barrage of distractions, the only thing I know that will get me back on track is taking the time to seek God. Whether it’s listening to a worship song, taking a walk up to French Hill to pray, or singing my heart out in Good Shepherd Chapel, I need some time to be still and KNOW that GOD is in control.

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Balancing Fear

Last semester in Core Philosophy I read Aristotle’s opinion on virtues. To summarize, he says that virtues are the means to two extremes. For example, Courage is the midway point between a life controlled by fear and cowardice, and sheer recklessness. Courage takes a good measure of responsibility in spite of a whole lot of crazy; craziness from the chaos of this world and from within.

Last semester I did something crazy. I applied to go Around-the-World Semester®. For 5 months. Traveling to 10 countries while simultaneously studying for a Global Cultural Studies Minor. Sometimes I think it was the courageous thing to do, other times I think it was too brash a choice. Some days fear takes a hold of me and I often wonder what on earth possessed me to make such a decision to leave my friends and family for a whole semester. Other times I couldn’t imagine life at school without all the great experiences I have gotten to be a part of, and the friends I have been able to make that will be going with me.

Every time I start freaking out, I remember the promise regarding fear in 1 John 4:18. The word of the Lord says, “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” It’s quite clear that I am hardly able to control my emotions or the circumstances around me, but I do know that God loves me and has a plan for my life. So everything is going to be ok.

Remembering God’s promises changes everything.

So for all you Seniors signing your deposits, wondering if this is the right thing to do, I encourage you. College has been one of the hardest, most rewarding experiences of my life. Sometimes I don’t think I will be able to make it through the end, but I cannot imagine my life any other way. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else other than being a student at CUI. Perhaps your moment of realization has already come, or maybe it will take a while, but in the end, you will be able to look back and say, “This was the right decision.”

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God’s Unfailing Love

“The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be, as long as life endures.”

This is a verse to one of my favorite worship songs, Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone). As I look back at this semester, so quickly closing, I can see how every part of these few sentences have been true in my life.

The Lord has promised good things, and has provided them in abundance. Coming to CUI, making so many new friends, having the opportunity to study, getting to travel the world with friends, the list goes on and on.

His word my hope secures. In times when I have been too weak, too sick, too sad, etc. when I have despaired, not knowing if I could make it through another day, His word through daily Chapel services, Beloved Bible Studies, Worship sessions, or my own private devotions, God’s Word has been my anchor.

Jesus has been my shield and portion…as long as life endures! What can I say to this that I have not already said? My entire blog is filled with story after story about how God has provided for me, not just financially, but with the little things like Pozole at the Caf, good friends to take my mind off stresses of classes, stunning sunrises, etc.

Dear friend, if I am here for nothing else, then let me be here to tell you of God’s unfailing love. In fact it’s better than unfailing, it’s neverending, He is faithful, He is good, and He loves you deeply. He gives rest to the weary, peace to the restless, and wisdom to those who ask of him.

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Sunrise Service

This past Sunday I did something I have not done in YEARS. I was a part of a sunrise service. When I was a kid, my church would hold a joint English/Spanish Sunrise service on Easter morning. It used to be my favorite morning in the year, it was even better than Christmas morning.

I have moved twice since the last time I attended a sunrise service, a really long time. I was just telling my friend Kendra about how much I miss these early morning services, and lo and behold, as we checked Facebook, there was an invitation to have Sunrise service atop of French Hill. I was so happy!

Even though we had to wake up pretty early and brave the chilly morning air, it was so worth it. It was amazing to climb up French Hill singing “I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open,” then singing “into marvelous light I’m running, out of darkness, out of shame,”as the brilliant sun made it past the dense clouds.

I find it so amazing that God is literally everywhere. We don’t have to be inside a church building to talk to him, we can just pray to him. In fact Jesus says in Matthew 18:20, “where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” And so there we were, a bunch of college students, one guitar and a cajon, joined together by the ties that bind our hearts in love; and this only through the work of Jesus.

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So the other day at the Caf…

Many people harp on Millennials, “kids these days,” and everything. They say we are lazy and aren’t able to cope with life in general. Truth is, yes and no. Yes, it’s true that we are still learning to live, and we tend to say that “we literally can’t” or that “we are dying” or “we just want the world to stop.” So we are human. Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed with responsibilities? We do struggle with time management, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. And no, it’s not true. We are learning to live while we are faced with many new and emerging challenges that other generations haven’t had to deal with ever before. Besides, if I have learned anything from my Cultural Anthropology class this semester, it has been that cultures/people groups/ are complex and that sweeping generalizations are never good indicators of anything.

So to explain what I mean, I will tell you a little story about two roommates at the caf. Both girls were pondering the big questions in life like what the future holds, student loans, and job opportunities *cough* or lack thereof *cough*.

Suddenly my roommate turns to me and says, “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m going to continue eating.” After hearing that pearl of wisdom all I could say was, “Wow, Angie, that was so deep…and beautiful…yeah, what she said!”

I believe what Angie said accurately explains what it is like to be a college student. The statement is equally comforting and terrifying. It encompasses the joys and struggles of what it is like to be, frankly, me. I don’t know what the future holds, but if statistics are any indicator, then the odds are against me. That’s the scary part. The comforting part is the fact that we have a sandwich to continue eating. I know this may sound elementary, but just the fact that Angie and I are even here at CUI eating a sandwich says a lot about how blessed we are.

I have learned that the world is an overwhelming place. If you let it burn you out, it’ll do so quicker than you can say Geronimo. So sometimes you just need to stop and smell the roses, or enjoy the sandwich, live in the present, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

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Color Run!

This past Saturday Concordia held their Annual 5K in COLOR! Because the proceeds were going toward the Around-the-World Semester®, our team had the great opportunity to be a part of the run. Some chose to run (both the first and last runners were ATW members) while others of us spent our morning throwing color at the passersby.

I was at the pink station with four other friends, two of which are also Roundlings. It was so much fun to encourage the participants, cheering them on as they got close to our station then sending them off in a puff of pink powder. By the end of the race, we were absolutely covered in PINK!

[Photo Caption] The Blue station came by with their leaf blower and helped us clean up a bit…or a lot.

We spent lots of time hanging out, taking pictures, and getting chased by the leaf blower.

Perhaps you are wondering how in the world we were able to wash off all the color. Two words: THE BEACH!

As you can see, we were in such a spontaneous mood that we just hopped in the car and went to the beach. What a perfect day! It was great to be a part of such an amazing a campus wide event. I will cherish these memories as long as I live.