Saturday, June 23

recent happenings {and a different direction}

Hello, peoples! I've kind of been dreading writing this post, not because I have bad news, but because I have way too much good news to share! :) We've been having such a great time on our trip, and I'm afraid this post will be a mile long! However, I will try to summarize *coughicannotsummarizecough*.

To start off, last Tuesday I had an amazing time meeting Sarah Elizabeth! She and I are both part of the wonderful community of teen girls led by Mrs. Rue at this blog, and for the last couple of weeks we've gotten to know each other better via email. My family was staying near her family, so we arranged to meet up at the Cafe Du Monte (sp?) for beignets - never had them before, but they were delicious! :) Kind of like fry bread, only they're shaped in little squares, with mountains of sugar on top - what could be better? (Unless...they were filled with chocolate! ;) just kidding...) Anyway, here are some pics.

this is Sarah Elizabeth and I...
(not Sarah Elizabeth and me, not I and
Sarah Elizabeth, Sarah Elizabeth and I ;) haha
...and, by the way, if you doubt my grammar, click here)

...and her adorable little brother :)

Here is her blog, by the way, where she posted about our time together (because hers is much better than my pathetic attempt at describing our wonderful time together!). It was really such a blessing getting to meet her, and I had a great time talking with her, as my mom did with her mom and older sister. My dad had so much fun playing around outside, throwing the frisbee and such, with my brothers and her younger siblings - my dad is so great with little kids (and he's not too bad with teenagers either). :)

Oh, and before we went to meet her, we visited a very cool glass blowing and printing place. They were in the middle of a summer camp so there were a bunch of young teens in there making glass beads and shaping metal and making their own ink prints (to print on paper), which was all very entertaining. :) They were not glass blowing at the moment, but they had some amazing displays of tons of different glass creations, which are what the following pictures are (obviously) of (sorry if some of the pictures in this post are messed up...they weren't cooperating with me :P).

Later that afternoon, we drove on the 2nd longest bridge in the world! And...we didn't make it all the way across. It was slightly boring. Beautiful for a couple of minutes, boring after many. So we went grocery shopping and headed home. :) Here is an example of the view from pretty much the whole bridge:

sorry for that annoying black dot :P
it's on my camera lens and I have not
been able to get it off - any suggestions?

The next day we went to a Children's Museum, which was pretty awesome. :) Pictures: 

Noah and Nathan in a bubble
Nathan in a huge bubble (!!!)

Me in a pretty big bubble :)
Here's Nathan standing on...
some sort of blocks that we built up.
we're not sure what they were made of :P

Nathan's pic of me sitting on our little block creation - a very unsteady creation...we felt very brave of ourselves ;)

We found a whole lot of interesting stuff there, and had a great time - unlike the Children's Museum of Houston that we went to yesterday. Oh, trust me, that place was huge and had a ton of stuff - but I was kind of extremely tired, and it was kind of extremely loud and kind of extremely crowded. With little kids. {Today I learned how quickly you can get a headache...just kidding.} Anyway, my mom and I sat on a bench (we soon figured out why it wasn't occupied - it was conveniently placed underneath the AC vent blasting freezing-cold air), and we people watched. Basically, there were a lot of young moms dressed like teenagers (annoying), a lot of young girls dressed like teenagers (very, very annoying), and several grandparents who looked almost as bored as I was. Almost.

But, really, when I say that the dressing like teenagers (and I'm not talking about modest teenagers) was annoying, I don't mean annoying in the normal way you would say annoying, as in describing your brothers' incessant chatter. No, I mean it was saddeningly heartbreaking. My heart breaks for the lack of modesty, morality, and above all, the knowledge of the God Who loves to the point of His death - the lack of this in women in this age. The lack of a relationship with the one true God Almighty, Yahweh, Savior, Who loves more deeply than any boyfriend could, Who makes you more beautiful than any amount of makeup or clothes could, and Who fills and fulfills your life more than anything or anyone else could ever, ever even pretend to.

God has given me a deep passion and burden for the young women of my generation, the lost, the ones who seek security and love and pleasure in all the wrong places, who are ever searching but never finding. What can I do? Where will He lead me? I don't know. But those aren't even the right questions - those questions are focused on me, what I can do. I believe I should sound more like Christ, and how He acted...

"First He {Christ} said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings You {God the Father} did not desire, nor were You pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). Then He said, “Here I am, I have come to do Your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10 And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."
--Hebrews 10:8-10
words in {braces} are mine; also, I capitalized pronouns describing God

I don't want to act as if God is a tool for me to use in order to lead others to Him. {paraphrased from this post by Michaela Danielle - "We put emphasis on ourselves...using God as a tool."} I want to be, in every way possible, in Spirit and in truth, a tool for Him to use in order to bring others to Him!

And, while I wanted to finish there, I cannot. It would be quite hypocritical of me. I want to clarify that I have, in no way, become a perfect tool for Christ. I am definitely not perfect; I am, however, made pure by Christ's sacrificial love for me. And, oh, how often I forget that! I turn from Christ, trusting in myself, my knowledge, my ability - all weakness compared to His Almighty strength. I pride myself in spiritual-sounding language and good deeds, and totally miss out on God's amazing plans for me.

So let me make this plain (to myself as much as anyone else reading this). I have sinned. I will continue to sin as long as I am here on this earth (oh, how hard it is for me to say that, to accept that, that imperfection in me). And yet, Christ has died and rose again in love for what I so often try to justify by my own good works. I have believed in His love and forgiveness and embraced Him as my Savior. And I do this continually, every day - reminding myself that I have been saved by Him, not by myself, and I, in His grace, try to make every effort to live in His.

Thus the meaning of forgiven mess - in a nut shell (a coconut shell, that is, not a peanut shell). :)

In love and peace and blessings in Christ our Savior,

P.S. Well, this post went in an entirely different direction than I had originally planned (guess Whose "fault" that is?). I think it like it.


Britt said...

Great post Nicole! I enjoyed the pictures!! Also, you mentioned that you would be interested in doing an interview on my blog! Do you have an email I could contact you at? if not I can always leave the questions in a comment on your blog :) Thanks for asking to do this with me!!

Aidyl Ewoh said...

I think it’s cool that you and Sarah Elizabeth got to meet in person. =)