Late Night Love Song

It’s been awhile, so I thought I’d share a quick post–just some thoughts that have been running through my mind lately. There is a song that has recently become one of my favorites. It’s a simple song, but the words shout truth. The song is called “Times” by Tenth Avenue North, and these are the lyrics:

I know I need You
I need to love You
I love to see You, but it’s been so long
I long to feel You
I feel this need for You
And I need to hear You, is that so wrong?

Now You pull me near You
When we’re close, I fear You
Still I’m afraid to tell You all that I’ve done
Are You done forgiving?
Oh can You look past my pretending?
Lord, I’m so tired of defending what I’ve become
What have I become?

I hear You say,
“My love is over. It’s underneath.
It’s inside. It’s in between.
The times you doubt Me, when you can’t feel.
The times that you question, ‘Is this for real?’
The times you’re broken.
The times that you mend.
The times that you hate Me, and the times that you bend.
Well, My love is over, it’s underneath.
It’s inside, it’s in between.
These times you’re healing, and when your heart breaks.
The times that you feel like you’re falling from grace.
The times you’re hurting.
The times that you heal.
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal.
In times of confusion, in chaos, and pain.
I’m there in your sorrow, under the weight of your shame.
I’m there through your heartache.
I’m there in the storm.
My love, I will keep you by My power alone.
I don’t care where you fall or where you have been.
I’ll never forsake you, My love never ends.
It never ends.”

Pretty cool, right? Or maybe it’s just me. Either way, I think there’s something we can all take away from this: God’s love is unconditional. If you’re a Christian or you’ve grown up in church then you’ve probably heard that many times before. But do you understand what it means? Have you ever stopped & actually pondered the truth behind it?

It means that even when you insult Him by thinking about how much you hate yourself, He loves you. Even when you get mad at Him for not coming through with what you wanted, He loves you. Even when you think your way is better so you decide not to follow Him, He loves you. Even when you know your way is not better & still decide not to follow Him, He loves you. Even when you spit in His face with your ongoing sin & deny His name, He loves you. Even when it feels like the whole world is against you, He loves you. Even when you deny His existence, He loves you. Even when you break His heart, He loves you.

He loves you, no matter what. Let that fact take root in your heart & change the way you live.

I don’t know about you all, but I think that’s pretty neat. What an honor to serve such a King as this.


Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours

Tonight I sit alone on the 23rd floor of my residence hall. As I had some much needed time with my Savior, I found myself asking what seemed to be an unusual request.

“Holy Spirit, fill me with a burning & passionate hatred.”

(Uh.. that can’t be Biblical.. can it?)

Well here’s the thing. When you’re exposed to this type of lifestyle each & everyday, sometimes you start to turn a blind eye to all the sin that surrounds you. You hear people talking about how this is college & it’s supposed to be the best years of your life, so of course they’re going out tonight. Or how drunk they got last weekend & how they went from being sober to blacking out in a matter of a few seconds (or at least what seemed to them to be a few seconds). You see girls wearing clothes that are basically begging for the opposite gender to stumble. Or people wearing shirts that say, “It’s just sex.”

We hear these things & see these things, & sometimes our reaction is to shake our head. Sometimes it’s to bash on people or label them with not-so-nice words. Sometimes it’s even to laugh.

The Lord has been convicting me lately, reminding me with few words: “These are my children.”

As a follower of Jesus, I don’t want to be okay with these things. Our God is a God of love, yet there is one thing He hates: sin. If I am striving to be like Jesus, why do I not hate sin? Why does it not absolutely disgust me & make me sick to my stomach?

At the same time, I want to make sure that it’s the sin I’m hating and not the people, never the people. (“For our struggle is not against flesh & blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world, & against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” –Ephesians 6:12.) I want to display to them an unconditional love that they’ve never experienced before. A love that loves them right through their sin to the very core of who they are. I want to love God’s children the way He commands me to love them.

It has been so crazy to see the way the Lord is changing my perspective. Maybe those people who get drunk every weekend are insecure & just trying to find acceptance somewhere in this world. Maybe those girls who wear minimal clothing have a deeply unattended desire for someone to love them. Maybe every single person I walk past on campus is fighting a battle I know nothing about.

I’m tired of being numb to this world. I want to hate sin with a never-ceasing passion. I want to hate it for the same reason our God hates it: it keeps Him from His precious & treasured children. & I want to love the broken people caught in the sin.

& of course there’s my own sin. None of this is to say that I am without sin, because let me tell you, I struggle. I am a sinful & broken mess-of-a-person. I want my sin to disgust me so much it makes me run after my Savior even harder.

With all this being said, these are the reasons the cry of my heart has become, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours.”


Bluegrass Girl

It’s just after one in the morning, & I just finished my first college paper! (Well, the first rough draft.) I figured since I’m already up this late I might as well make a night out of it & have a writing party. Yaaay for writing! (I’m only being half sarcastic.)

I can’t tell you how many people have asked me why I, a girl from a small town that nobody’s ever heard of in northern Indiana, chose to come to UK, because I’ve literally lost count! So I figured instead of repeating the same, boring answer everytime, “Well, it’s kind of a long story…” I could blog about it so then the whole story’s out there for everyone to have their questions answered. So here’s the story, from beginning to end…

It was my junior year, & I was college surfing on the Internet. I even took the initiative to take notes on the different colleges I was viewing — student enrollment, location, public vs. private, denomination for the Christian schools, tuition, all that fun stuff. For some reason, a reason I am still unsure of, I was looking at colleges in Kentucky & Tennessee, & okay I’ll admit, a few in Indiana. But my heart was pretty much set on the south. Before this search began I had received a letter in the mail from Bellarmine University (along with many MANY others). However, for some reason, (again, a reason I am still unsure of) this particular university intrigued me. I got on the computer & ventured to their website once or twice before I started this whole detailed college search. (Bellarmine is in Louisville — maybe that’s why I was looking in KY & TN?) So anyways, I had my list of schools that interested me, & I started narrowing them down pretty much just based on their websites & what I gathered from them.

Like I said, Bellarmine had stuck out to me. So when I started scheduling visits,  naturally I wanted to visit this place of interest. Before this visit, however, I visited Taylor University. It was a great visit — the atmosphere was friendly & welcoming, & I was even able to meet with the soccer coach & chat with him for a bit. The campus was great, & I would recommend it to anyone. Besides me. Although it was a great place where I could definitely feel the presence of the Lord, it wasn’t what I was looking for. Wait.. what? I didn’t want to be in the presence of the Lord? Don’t take it that way, even though that’s how it sounds.

After this visit, I knew that I didn’t want to attend a Christian school. Again, wait.. what? Christian schools are great, & hear me when I say this: I don’t have anything against them. It simply wasn’t for me. I’ve grown up in a Christian home, in a Christian community, with Christian friends, & attending church all of my life. In that kind of situation, it’s so easy to get caught up in putting on an act. Everyone knows you’re a Christian, so it’s easy to put on a face, & no one would ever know the difference. I had been in a bubble all of my life, & I was tired of being comfortable. I wanted to be challenged, to be pushed to my limits, to have to decide either to trust in my Savior or to fall off the deep end. I wanted to be uncomfortable. With this in mind, I crossed Taylor off the list from the start.

Okay, moving forward..

I scheduled a visit to Bellarmine University in June before my senior year, & I was looking to schedule a couple others (with no thoughts of UK). Having a six hour drive down there I figured we should probably make a trip out of it & make it worthwhile. Honestly, I don’t even remember what other schools I tried for, but I do know this: none of them worked out. The Bellarmine visit was already scheduled, & none of the other colleges had open times for the day of, the day before, or the day after the Bellarmine visit. & one of the sites I couldn’t even figure out how to schedule one. So here I was with one visit planned while all the rest had fallen through. So I thought to myself, “You know what, the University of Kentucky is pretty popular. They’re super good at basketball, & it’d just be way cool to be able to visit there, just cause it’s UK — let’s do it!” So I got on the website & sure enough, it worked out perfectly.

So I had my visit to Bellarmine first. I won’t bore you with the details of that. But I will say that I did really like it, & it excited me when I thought about going to college there. The next day I had my visit to UK. We were sitting in an info session where a lady talked to us for half an hour about campus life & all that jazz. & I distinctly remember feeling very afraid & nervous all of a sudden. I just got really worried about what life would be like, & how scary such a big campus would be with so many unknowns about it. It freaked me out! But then a little voice inside of me said this, “But wait, Taylor, this is what you wanted.” & that voice was right. I was uncomfortable, & that was exactly what I wanted.

July came, & I was feeling a lot of pressure since everyone else seemed to have all their plans for college down & ready to execute. I was constantly back & forth between Bellarmine & Kentucky. (Let’s face it, I never really considered anywhere else..) There was a lot of frustration as I tried so hard to seek out the Lord & the plan that He had for me. Where did He want me? Where would I best serve Him? I specifically remember one day at summer camp — all I could think about was Kentucky. I would picture myself being at college, & I pictured myself on UK’s campus. I got really excited to go to school, & I couldn’t figure out why I had UK on my mind. Then that night as I was lying in bed, I remembered. I remembered praying a prayer the previous day that went something along the lines of this, “Lord, I don’t know where You want me to be. I don’t even know where I want to be. Where do You want me? Where do my next steps of life take place? Would You please show me, make it clear to me.”

So that was pretty neat. Need I say more about that?

My senior year flew past, & for some reason I was still unsure of which college to choose. It was one of those things where I was like, “Hmm. Was that really God? Or maybe that was just me making things up?” Many more months & much more frustration later, my dad & I went through the costs of each of the schools. Attending UK seemed to be almost impossible (although Bellarmine wasn’t much better) considering my financial state. So it seemed as though it had been settled — I would go to Bellarmine. But I decided I needed to pay one final visit to each, just to make sure. So spring break of my senior year my parents & I made another trip south to KY. Again, we visited Bellarmine first. Yet this time, I had a funny feeling in my stomach the whole time we were on campus. I’m not really sure what it was, but something just didn’t feel right. Two days later I was on UK’s campus, & I literally felt like I was ready to be there for the next four years of my life. It’s where I wanted to be & where I needed to be. I knew it for a fact. So after discussing it with my father (keeping in mind the cost) I received his blessing & finally made my final decision — I was going to be apart of the Big Blue Nation, & I couldn’t have been more excited.

After hearing my story, you may think I’m an ignorant girl who just goes off her feelings. & maybe I am. But I know this to be true: I am here at UK. I have absolutely no regrets about being here. I have encountered the Lord in a very real & personal way more times than I can count in the two weeks I’ve been here. He is right here by my side. & whether I just went off my feelings or not, He is blessing my every move, & I couldn’t be happier or more excited for all that He has in store for me here at UK.

Looking back, I definitely see the fingerprints of God all over this whole situation. It’s funny to me how He does that.. How He sits there watching you freak out over silly stuff, & then just like that He rests His powerful hand upon your shoulder & reassures you He’s got it all under control, & there’s really no reason to freak out at all. So thanks, Jesus. Thanks for always guiding my path, even when I doubt. No, especially when I doubt.


I Surrender All

Tonight as I sat in my dorm room alone, I welcomed the Holy Spirit to join me, & join me He did. Thought after thought ran its course through my mind as I considered the past few weeks &, as I have been doing more often than not recently, the future course that this life will follow. Trying to make sense of all of these thoughts, a picture began to take form in my mind. Let me try to help you understand my thinking:

Imagine yourself walking along, minding your own business when all of a sudden you happen upon a small box with your name written on a tag attached to it. As anyone else would, you pick it up & begin investigating. Your eyes widen as the realization of what this box is sets in. Although you know what the box is, you do not even begin to understand the power that lies within it. This box has the power to change lives, every single life it comes in contact with, even if for only a second. This box has the ability to end slavery, hunger, depression, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, rage, bitterness, addiction. This box has the ability to stop the ever-increasing number of orphans, of hurting high schoolers, of human slaves, of child exploitation.

You so desperately desire to unleash all these powers & abilities upon the world, to show the world the love, joy, & peace that come from this box, & to allow this box to be all that it was meant to be. However, you can’t. You don’t know how. You don’t know how to open the box. & even if you did, you wouldn’t know how to initiate these powers & abilities. You become frustrated & confused, because all you want is to allow this box to do all that it was meant to do.

But then, you see him. Slowly rocking back & forth in a rocking chair just to the left of you, you see the creator of the box. He knows. He knows how to open the box. He knows how the box works. Although it may be embarrassing to admit you don’t know how to open it, although you run the risk of others discovering your ignorance about the box, although you could sit by & decide not to do anything about the box, you slowly carry the box to him. You stumble over your words as you try to choose the right ones, not wanting to sound too naive.
“This box… I know it belongs to me. I know it’s mine. But uh.. well, I don’t exactly know how it works. I don’t know what you want me to do with it — I am so inadequate. So incapable of using this box correctly. If… if you leave it to me, it’ll be ruined & wasted by the time I’m done with it. But you, you are the creator. You know all there is to know about it. The only option I have is to give it back to you. To allow You to take control & to unleash all that is within. You are able.”

You’re not quite sure how he’s going to respond, but then a beautiful, heart-warming smile creeps across his face. It’s a smile of reassurance as you know you’ve done what you needed to do. He gently puts his strong yet soft hand on your shoulder as he assures you that He will take care of everything. As a peace resonates within your soul, you start to buckle down & prepare yourself for the ride, because you know that what’s ahead is going to be absolutely mind-blowing.

As I think about my future, I so desperately want to become all that the Lord has intended for me to become & to accomplish all that He’s set out for me to accomplish. As Aerosmith puts it, I don’t want to miss a thing. Every life has potential to change the world. It all depends on who you decide to entrust it to: yourself or its Creator. & for this reason, I say to my Lord & Savior, “I surrender all.”

P.S. It is so important for all of us to remember that living a surrendered life isn’t a one-time decision. It’s a conscious choice you make every single day.