October 15, 2015

The Path of Peace

There's a path tracing the edge of campus, beyond the buildings.  It's tucked away behind the sports fields and it's beautiful.  Sometimes I'm almost convinced I'm not in St. Paul, but walking through a park in a small town.  The wooded trail skirts around a lake, the sun sparkling through the trees if you follow it at just the right time.  And it's October in Minnesota, which means the whole place is golden and glowing.


One evening, when my to-do list was overwhelming and situations out of my control weren't going my way,  I slipped away to this little sanctuary.  It gave me time to think free of distractions and introduced a feeling that's sometimes lacking (see: homework & midterms): peace.  Paul urges us in Colossians 3:15 to "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts."  Wait– what does that mean?  Let His peace rule in my heart?

I automatically associate "let" with allowing.  Letting someone borrow a sweater means you allow them to wear it, giving it to them.  But the dictionary presents a fascinating, thought-provoking alternative: not prevent or forbid.  It's a subtle and significant difference.  Instead of allowing the sun to shine on your face by removing sunglasses, don't block it.  Instead of allowing the waves to carry you by tossing aside an inner tube, don't fight against the roll of the water.

Maybe that's why this route in the woods is so serene.  Nothing is preventing peace; nothing is distracting me from walking in it.  Instead of merely allowing peace (as if we could somehow will it into our lives) what if we just simply didn't prevent it?  It's promised in Philippians 4 that God's peace will guard our heart and minds in Christ Jesus.  Choose peace instead of confusion.  Don't let outside circumstances influence you to the point of preventing peace.

And peace– it's one of those small words everyone knows, yet struggles to define.  The Greek definition means wholeness.  Complete.  All essential parts being joined together.  In not prohibiting peace, we are made whole.  Completion doesn't allow room for discord.

Could it be we have peace in Jesus because we are complete in Him?  He fills up the holes in our hearts and brings life to our dry, broken souls.  Perhaps peace is not only a feeling, but something to be fought for, sought after, and lived.  It's a Person, Someone to be pursued, known, and followed.

Would you join me in discovering this path of peace?  The Prince of Peace will lead us.

--------------------------------------------
"Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace.  If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace.  In that stillness you will know what His will is."  Amy Carmichael

Julia | Senior Pictures

My sweet friend Julia is a senior this year, and I was so honored and excited to take her senior pictures!


Julia, her mom, and I spent the evening walking around downtown Minneapolis.  
Something about the city is so beautiful... I love how unique it is!


Julia's the type of girl who is determined & fun 
(for example: she would not sit on someone's steps for a picture but made plenty of funny faces;).  


She's beautiful, she loves Jesus, and she's a true friend.  Julia, I know He has big plans for you! :)


Here's to your senior year!

September 26, 2015

RAYLA


Rayla was sweet enough to explore Northwestern's campus with me this evening.  
It has so many fun spots to find!


She was worried about being awkward in pictures.  Yeah... That wasn't a problem!  
Aren't her glasses adorable?!




August 27, 2015

CONSTANT

Maybe it's because I'm in a new place doing new things with new people (hello, college!), but I've been thinking about change. More accurately, I've been thinking about what doesn't change.  In this, I  keep coming back to one thing: God is constant.  He's the same in the Psalms as in Hebrews.  The same Jesus prophesied about in the Old Testament is the same One who came to earth, died, and rose again.  It occurred to me that when I learn something new about Jesus or grow in my faith, I'm not really learning something new.  New to me?  Yes.  New in the sense that it wasn't true before?  Nope.  Ideas, limited views of God, and what is known (or not known)... they simply do. not. change. Who He is.

All the creatures in the forests and ocean depths that have yet to be discovered are still there.  Just because they're not known by man doesn't make them any less alive.  Just because my eyes are opened and more is seen of God and His heart doesn't mean He wasn't like that before.  He's constant.

So where do we go with this, friend?  You may be thinking, "Great!  I'm glad God is faithful.  But what changes for me?"

Because He doesn't change, we are changed to be more like Jesus.  Because He doesn't change, we can run to Him when life's hard.  We can walk into uncertainty with the Constant One.  Because He doesn't change, we have the hope of glory and the reality of His kingdom.  Because He doesn't change, we can say that it is well.  We can live and love, standing on and walking in the certainty of Jesus.  We can trust Him with open hands, really and expectantly.

Praise Him for opened eyes and fresh grace, satisfied that He's enough– with a longing for more.  We're surrounded by gifts and glimpses of a constant Father.

The stories of others– broken and beautiful– excite me.  In them, I read a sentence of the story God's writing across the globe this very minute.

Friends who are more like sisters (both new and familiar) who share truth and weave their lives into mine, make me thankful to the brim.  I praise God because through them, I catch glimpses of His goodness and steadfastness.

The lit-up sky, glowing with streaks of red or purple, makes me stop and marvel.  I praise God because sunsets pale in comparison to His majesty and faithfulness.

When singing along in worship (or when I can't find the words), I am shown a flash of what's going on in heaven.

A rainbow brings forth praise because of maintained and fulfilled promises.  God doesn't keep promises to prove or create faithfulness.  He is faithful, so promises are kept.

All of this brings me back to Father God, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit.  I see constant, unchanging character that is not swayed or broken.  The unsearchable has made Himself known; the King of Heaven has come to us.  He is fierce in love and unmatchable in every way.... unwavering.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PS: College?  It's great. God is great.  Classes started yesterday and He's already been so good to show me this is where I should be, at least for this season.  In the whirlwind and excitement of new friends and classes, I know that Jesus is with me (and all I truly have).  So much peace (and joy/thankfulness/freedom/boldness/adventure) comes from that.  And when I walk into tomorrow, I can look to Him first and anchor my soul because He's faithful.  

August 18, 2015

BETSY | Senior Pictures

Betsy is going to be a senior at Dassel-Cokato High School this year, and I had the privilege of taking her senior pictures!  Here are a few of my favorite moments...


I asked Betsy to say a word so she'd look like she was laughing (for example: "hi"), but she thought it was funny and just laughed for real!