Can't Stop Smiling.

I'm high on life right now. After several weeks of stress and frustration and misunderstanding, it feels like a cloud of pressure has just been lifted off of my life. Through my prayer and devotion lately I have been trying to refrain from complaining about the pressures in my life and instead ask for God's guidance and wisdom through them. I know that we all have to go through the valleys, and those are the times that make us the strongest. At that point where you are so weak that your only option is to cry helplessly to the Lord, at that point you reach hope. God has given me a lot of hope and peace the past few weeks, and this weekend that hope and peace reached a climax that I never could have imagined. Love is the greatest blessing in life. I don't even have words to explain the expanse of God's amazing love. I am so incredibly blessed to have that love encompassing my life. Then to go home and to see that love through those who are closest to me...to go home to that is so incredible that it's almost unbearable. I am so undeserving of the love that God has placed in my life. I love someone who loves me back! Do you know how amazing that is? Take the time today to tell the people in your life that you love them. It truly is a blessing from the Lord.



"Why is it that the second or third question that people always ask you is if you have a boyfriend yet?" That was the question recently posed to me by a close friend from back home. She and I have both heard that question a lot in the past few years. We hear a lot on campus that Harding is a marriage factory, but I think that our culture is the bigger culprit. With all of the current romance novels, films, and songs, no wonder it is a current topic of discussion. This is especially true of the college generation. College is a feeding ground for relationships. You walk into this new place with thousands of new fish in the pond, and everyone expects you to be looking, searching for your lifelong partner. I've seen first hand how that thought process can drive some people to mental insanity. I would like to propose the idea of being comfortable. I am comfortable with where I am, and where God wants me to be. I don't have myself completely figured out yet, much less trying to add someone else into the mix. It is not that I am shunning relationships, far from it. I am very excited about the potential of future relationships that I think God may have in store for me. I try, although it is hard, to wait patiently for the right timing in these relationships. I recently realized that I have a new prospective on relationships, however. In high school, a relationship was based mainly around emotion. They have told us for years (they being all those older and wiser people that feel a need to impart wisdom upon our young and ignorant generation)...they have told us that love is a choice, not an emotion. I thought that this was something that was simple enough. You choose to love someone and then you love them for the rest of your life. Sometimes they make you mad, but you get through it, because you love them. It wasn't until this week, however, that I realized what the true essence of that statement really was. It was when the conversation of a potential relationship was brought up, with that very friend that asked me the question earlier. When she asked me about this potential relationship, I was not filled with the giddy excitement like I was in high school, but rather with something that I almost judged as indifference, which worried me. What I realized, however, was that this emotion was not indifference, but rather almost a practicality. The idea that a lifelong partner is merely a best friend, rather than a star struck lover was something that I hadn't quite contemplated, but the idea makes a good deal of sense. That understanding is what makes a relationship what it is. It is the give and take, the mutual submission. When I was in high school, I told the Lord that I didn't think I had the will power to say "no" to someone that I liked. Now, I am asking the Lord to give me the courage to say "yes" to someone that I love. In love, the risk is high, but the reward is greater. I used to be afraid of that risk. Not being able to say "no" got me past that. Back when I was afraid, I judged all those who weren't, especially the very friend that asked me that question from earlier. Several years ago I judged her, and I threw it (both literally and figuratively) in her face. For that, I am eternally sorry. I know that she will probably never read this blog. She doesn't even know it exists, but that is OK. There is no need for me to bring it up to her again, reminding her of the pain and humiliation I caused her. It is only needed for me to learn from and become a better friend by. Even as I sit here and say that I'm not afraid of the risk, I still am. I am trying not to be though. I tell myself that by the end of the school year I won't be afraid any longer, and I will move forward with a no bars attitude, but I am equally afraid of waiting that long. Timing is everything, and if missed, it is twice as hard the second time. I am hoping that things will be made clear. For now, though, I am happy. I am content. I am comfortable.

A disclaimer of sorts - All of this may not make a bit of sense, because I am leaving out specifics. I leave them out for a reason, however. I am sorry if this all seems incoherent. Please do not judge me on assumptions of what I mean, but rather support me in the truths of what I say, even if I am not the best at articulating them.



For most of us, it's just the lame word they use in chapel to pressure us into not cheating, but I think it's much more than that. Integrity is at the very essence of being a Christian in today's world. It's something that I've felt very passionate about for a while now. I just never really associated with the word, but after chapel today, I realize that's exactly what it is...Integrity. I felt called to a career in Christian media several years ago, but kind of put it aside thinking that I would never have a chance to do something like that, or that if I tried the world would have none of it. This still may be the case, but I've decided that it's better to fall on your face for God than to sit back and not do anything at all. The media is something that lots of people (especially Christians and churches) see as a worldly evil. A necessary evil. We have to stay informed about the world around us, but the only way to do that is through a corrupt conglomeration of media sources. This is far from the case. The media is not evil. The media is merely a tool for evil to be spread, which means that at the very same time it is also a tool for good to be spread. The media is in need of Christians (strong Christians) to take an executive stand within it. This doesn't mean that we need a bunch of Jesus pushers on TV or writing for newspapers and magazines. What we need is a group of Christians with "Integrity" in the media. We need producers that are going to consider people before they consider profit. We need writers that have a positive outlook on life. We need actors and anchors that let the issue of good and evil influence their job decision. We need people that do their jobs to the best of their ability not because they are looking for a pay raise or because the boss is looking over their shoulder, but because it's the right thing to do. We need people to do what's right simply because they want to...and we need this in all career areas, but especially in the mass media which impacts over 60% of every persons waking hours each and every day. As I sit here writing on my blog, instead of writing my Bible paper that is due tomorrow morning, I ask myself if I'm showing integrity right now. Wouldn't the right thing to do be working on my school work instead of posting on some pointless internet blog that maybe 5 people will read? That's the tricky part. My answer is No! Yours might be yes. Having integrity and deciding what is right starts with making your own decisions by what is right. When we live our lives on what we've heard or what we've been taught, we live purely on chance. Who is to say that your teacher didn't give you false information. We cannot trust the ruler of right and wrong that we've been handed solely because it looks good. We must carve our own slowly, but accurately, putting all the notches where they belong. Then we can measure with complete confidence. Then we can have true integrity. The Bible can be our only source of absolute truth, and we must depend on it with our lives. Only then can we become people of integrity. Only then can we make a difference for our Lord and Savior. Only then can we fulfill the plans God has for our lives. I challenge myself today to be a person of integrity, and I challenge you to join me in that search. May you have a day filled with hope and joy for the future.
Yearn for your Lord.

And for Lauren..."Love Never Fails" comes from the scripture 1 Corinthians 13:8 and "laurney_liz" is a combination of what my mom called me (laurney) and my middle name (elizabeth)