Monday, December 31, 2012

God is Big, Good, Faithful.

I haven't written in a long time. I've been trying to write a post for the last few weeks, but nothing I've typed has seemed worth writing about. Even thought I know what I want to write about, I guess I've been lacking inspiration to write about it.

Yesterday, Brendan and I went to Church of the Highlands Riverchase. Brendan hurt his ankle, so we only decided at the last minute to actually make the trip as opposed to simply watching it online.

The first song played was "Emmanuel," which is a Highland's original song. I love the whole song (and the whole CD), but the first few lines stuck with me.

"Mountains bow,
Storms back down,
At the mention of Your Name."


I have been stuck in a pit for months now. I've been sick for several months and I've been formally diagnosed and treated for Graves' disease (if you don't know what it is, google it or ask me. I had no clue what it was until my diagnosis). Not one to be patient, I expected my treatment to work almost instantly. After several complications, I went back to the doctor to find out that it will be a few more months until I start to feel healthy again.

This news was devastating to me. I started to think about all the things I wouldn't be able to do again this semester. I thought about how difficult it will be to keep up with school, work, and clinic duties. I thought about how I wouldn't have to energy to have a social life again this semester. I threw myself further into the pit and felt truly defeated by Graves'.


Then I was reminded: mountains bow and storms back down at the simple mention of God's name. Our Savior can move the mountains. He can raise a dead man. He can give a blind man sight.

God can most definitely conquer Graves' disease.

The sermon in church today was simple: God is big, God is good, God is faithful. We read through Psalm 23, which happens to be the only chapter in the Bible I have memorized. I've had the hope I've needed in my brain this entire time, I've just been so consumed with my sickness that I forgot Psalm 23 and God's power. He's my shepherd, He restores my soul.

I ask from you, my friends, to pray. I hate asking for prayer for myself, but I know that I need it. I know that it works and that prayer and faith can get me through these next few months. God is bigger than doctors and medicine. God is bigger than me and my pit of sickness.

God is big, God is good, God is faithful.


The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
    for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Changing of Passion.

This semester, I'm taking music appreciation. The class is something like 75% freshmen. I should have taken it as an underclassman like a normal person, but alas. Penalty for doing my years out of order I guess. 

Anyway, music appreciation classes require concert attendance. My particular class requires us to attend three concerts from faculty members at the university. I have attended to two of those three concerts so far.

I was at the first concert sitting between Brendan and a friend from my freshman year who is a music minor and in the AUMB, which was oddly metaphorical for the two lives I felt like I've lived in Auburn. The concert started and the music absorbed me. 

I haven't touched my saxophone in something like 18 months. I'm concerned I won't remember how to play much less be able to because of my finger. As I sat there in the concert, I contemplated my long lost love for music.

In high school, music and my band was my passion. It was what I looked forward to everyday. Somewhere along the way, I lost that passion and that desire for music. 

Can you really be passionate about something if it one days just disappears?  I'm not sure, but I do know that despite losing my music, I am not passionless. 


I am as busy as I have ever been this semester. If I'm not in class, at work, or studying, I am observing in clinic. I miss having a life, but this is the life of CMDS seniors, apparently. 

As much as I wish I had time to breathe and relax, I love what I'm doing. Everyday, I learn something new about what I'll be doing for the rest of my life. 
I am passionate about my major and my future career. The way I once felt about playing my saxophone is what I now feel when I'm thinking about therapy appointments or practicing skills for my clinical audiology class. As graduate school approaches and as my decision between speech and hearing becomes more clear, I get more nervous but more excited everyday.
Most people aren't lucky enough to say that they love their major and I am very blesses to be one of the few. 


Even though I may not love music as I once did, I asked my mom to bring my saxophone down to Auburn. It is currently in my apartment and ready to be played. We'll see how it goes. 

Friday, August 3, 2012

A Finger-Related Update

Because I get asked "how's your finger?" so often...

Today, I went back to my occupational therapist in Birmingham (in 2 weeks, it will mark 6 months since my injury).
I went to her before heading back to Auburn in June after I got back from Student Life and she gave a list of instructions for my physical therapist in Auburn (my PT rarely dealt with fingers while my OT is a hand specialist). I brought her instructions to him in Auburn only to be released from PT that same day. Feeling very frustrated and defeated, I decided to try to forget about the finger for a while.

Keep in mind, this was 4 1/2 months into my injury and involved 4 doctors, 2 therapists, something like 8 splints/casts/braces, and no answers to questions besides, "this is a bad injury and fingers take a while to heal...just be patient."

So, I decided to ignore the finger. You would be surprised how hard it is to do things normally with one finger out of service. After a putt putt debacle and some trouble packing and moving, I gave up and admitted defeat. I called my OT back and scheduled the appointment for today.

Long story short, I finally got some answers:

-The joint where my finger was dislocated will be as large as it is 6-8 months after my injury for the rest of my life (meaning how it looks in 2-10 weeks).
-My ring size (because this is my wedding ring finger) will obviously go up and will more than likely not change from the size it is 8 months after my injury.
-I may not ever be able to make a fist, but I'll come somewhat close to one.
-I will more than likely have a small curve to my finger for the rest of my life.
-When I reach the year mark since my injury (February), my finger will probably have healed as much as it's going to.

They did tell me that because I am young, there's always a chance I'll improve past what they predicted.

I'm so thankful to have received guidance with this issue. Even though it's still a little sad, I'm just glad to know where I stand with this whole thing.

The most encouraging bit of news I got today is that I have gone from bending the finger 65 degrees to 90 degrees in a little over 5 weeks. So, I'm not done yet. Let's see how much more progress I can make in the next few months...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Church Isn't a Building.

I have recently had a struggle I have been fighting for 3 years now come back to the surface. It's hard for me to admit, but I struggle with church.
I've been in church since I was a few weeks old. My family moved churches a few times while I was growing up, so I've experienced different types of churches over the years (admittedly, most of these churches were baptist). I grew up in Sunday school and VBS. I did GA's and Awana's. I've been to DNow, Crosspoint, beach retreats, Student Life Tour, Student Life Camps, spring break mission trips, weekend missions, volunteer centers, middle school retreats, high school retreats, and now BCM retreats/missions/etc.
Why is it that I still feel so unsure about the church at times? I love the place. I grew up there.

I came to college after having my heart broken by my home church. I was determined to recover from the leftover hurt and the orphan feeling of no longer having a church home. I visited around to many different churches in Auburn, including a few that felt far too much like the church I was no longer a part of. Even into my sophomore year, I still visited different churches with different friends, but in the end, I always came back to Church of the Highlands.
Highlands is a non-denominational branch church based out of Birmingham that just so happens to have a location in Auburn and one close to Alabaster. It is extremely different than churches I have attended in the past.

This church is exactly the change I needed from what I grew up thinking church looked like. Last Sunday, I looked around during church and saw an elderly couple together; the woman had her hands raised in worship, while the man sat. They were next to a group of college student on one side and an Asian family on the other. The members of Highlands come from all ages, ethnicities, and denominations---I love it. That it what heaven will be like, after all.

I am guilty of this too, both in the past and the present, but I am calling for us to come together as the global church. We should not be arguing over what we like and don't like about a certain denomination or church. We should be fulfilling what God intended for the church. And, under NO circumstances should the church be hurting it's members.

Church is a body of believers, not a building. Coming to this realization was how I changed my perspective on church.  I have a great church here in Auburn and I'm excited to watch the Body of Christ grow in the coming years, both near and far from me, wherever God places me.

41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added. 42 They were devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Reverential awe came over everyone, and many wonders and miraculous signs came about by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and held everything in common, 45 and they began selling their property and possessions and distributing the proceeds to everyone, as anyone had need. 46 Every day they continued to gather together by common consent in the temple courts, breaking bread from house to house, sharing their food with glad and humble hearts, 47 praising God and having the good will of all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number every day those who were being saved.
                                                                               -Acts 2:41-47

Monday, July 2, 2012

A Secular Calling

Ever since I was in middle school, I've had these moments of feeling somewhat inferior in my faith. I went through middle and high school watching friends and strangers alike stand up and tell audiences that they had been called to ministry. There was a point in my youth group years when I felt like the only person in my group of friends without a calling.
Even now, I constantly meet Christians my age who are attending/plan on attending seminary or are being called overseas as full time missionaries.
I have never for a second felt called to pursue either one of these paths. I have always wanted to get married, start a family, have a good career, and live in Alabama (so I'm not far from my family). Since I have only recently figured out what I'm going to do "when I grow up," those plans have only become more detailed and more real. I kept wondering, why don't I have a calling?

It took only 15 minutes worth of preaching on Daniel 1 to show me that I do in fact have a calling.
Daniel chapter 1 tells of Daniel's training in Babylon and how in choosing not to "defile himself"(v.8) with the king's luxuries, he was "ten times better" in "every matter of wisdom and understanding" (v. 20).
In was pointed out that Daniel was in a secular field. In fact, most biblical characters that come to mind were in secular fields of work.

I am not discrediting anyone who is called into ministry or mission work, that is just not my path. I feel so reassured in knowing that I can do God's work in my future secular career field and in my current job as a part time tutor and full time student. 

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
                                             -Colossians 3:17

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Happy-Sad Finger.

Because I've been neglecting the blog for a month, this will be a quick update on life according to Dianna and her sad finger.

Finger Update...
This has been quite an adventure. After feeling very doubtful about the treatment I was given before spring break, I went to a hand specialist in Birmingham while I was home. He told me that not only should I have had a completely different cast on, but that I shouldn't have been moving my finger at all. Here I was wearing a weak, cheap splint and doing finger exercises multiple times a day when I should have been treating the break in the bone and stabilizing the finger.
Anyway, I got a new splint and was told to go to physical therapy after I hit the 6 weeks-since-my-injury mark.
I am currently in my second week of PT. I was told today that I'm making great progress and I'll probably be completely out of the cast/splint/brace in 4-6 weeks. It's still a long time, but I'm glad to be making progress. I've still got a long road ahead, but I'm thankful for the treatment I've received at PT so far; it has definitely been an answered prayer.

Because of the finger, I had to pull out of my summer missions project. I was assigned to teach ESL in Queens (NYC) and shortly after had to withdraw my missions application for the sake of my finger. It was a hard and disappointing decision to make, but I know that Auburn holds a lot of good for me this summer. This finger is playing a huge role in my summer missions work, which apparently is in Auburn, Alabama and not New York City.

I've been calling this my "sad finger" for a while. I've been learning that it is helping to make me more joyful and content. In the first few weeks after the injury, I depended on all of my friends to drive me around, help me carry things, etc, etc. This time was one spent in cars with people I normally didn't spend much time around, which resulted in growth of friendships (not to mention everyone now knows where I live). I have learned to let people help me out every once in a while and I have also been forced to slow down. Even the help I've needed through at-home PT has drawn me closer to one of the most important people in my life.

As a whole, I'm thankful for my sad finger. It ruined my summer missions plans in NYC. It is keeping me in Auburn this summer. It hurts most of the time. Nonetheless, my sad finger has helped contribute to a lot of my happiness over these past 2 months.

God works in mysterious ways.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Christians and Politics?

The republican primary in Alabama has brought back a social media argument that my dislike for comes second only to the Auburn-Alabama football hatred. Politics.
My dream used to be to go law school. I am a declared Political Science minor (although I haven't yet taken any of these classes). Politics and the government have always interested me. In high school, I would argue my political views to anyone who wanted argue back.
I have found myself drawing away from any type of political talk these days. I still get excited at the idea of taking my polysci classes, but I'm extremely frustrated by the arguments taking place around me.

How should Christians view Politics?

I have no idea. This blog entry is just me thinking through things, because I have no answer. I know that my argumentative approach from high school is not the proper way to go about it. My current approach of sitting and listening and saying nothing doesn't seem right either. All I know is this: politics should NOT divide brothers and sisters in Christ and cause unnecessary arguments between them. It's like theological debates. At the end of the day, we all love Jesus and want to live as He did. Anything that causes a division in the body is not what Christ desires for us.

The Bible should be my political guide, not Fox News or CNN, not my parents or friends.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Wow, it's been awhile since I've updated. This entry won't have too much substance, I'm pretty much just updating blog world on what's been going on with me.

I'm currently in a waiting stage in a few aspects of life.

The first notable occurrence as of late is my finger injury. For anyone who doesn't know,  I fractured and severely dislocated my left ring finger and also pulled the tendon. I was playing flag football in Montevallo with BCM when it happened, so luckily Momma got to accompany me during my 6 hour ER adventure.
Come to find out, tendon injuries are a bad thing and take a long time to heal. I'm on my 2nd week in a removable half finger cast thing and I'm doing finger exercises 2 or 3 times a day. I was told by the doctor that my finger would be healing for a really long time and it would probably never function the same way again.
The sad fact is, I am probably going to be stuck without a fully functioning left hand for a long time. As I have found out these past few weeks, even though I am right-handed, having one hand is awfully inconvenient and annoying. This whole situation has been incredibly discouraging and has tested my patience to its limits.
I was telling a few friends about a week before this happened that I needed to learn to slow down and listen to God, not let my stressful, busy life be my focus 24/7, and most of all, learn patience. My injury has helped me do these things. I'm finding the sliver lining, it's just taking (ironically) a lot of patience.

Class and work have been about the same as always. I did go to a symposium for my major last Friday. I listened to lectures all day from professionals in my field. I went in prepared to be bored to tears and instead came out with pages of notes and a lot of new knowledge. I listened more that day than I have in weeks of class. I am very excited about things to come with my major. I still have no idea if I want to do speech path or audiology, but I have a while to decide.
I'm getting on the downhill path for both my major (which I'll finish Spring 2013) and undergrad (I'll finish Spring 2014). It's strange to be thinking about graduate school, but it's all getting very real to me now. For now, I'm just waiting until I'm close enough to apply.

It is March in approximately 10 minutes. I'll be finding out what I'll be doing this summer in a matter of weeks. I'm not yet sure if I'll be working or volunteering, but either way, I'll be in the mission field all summer. I am so excited to serve. I have been ready for missions ever since Passion and now it's getting real. I could very well be on the other side of the country this time 4 months from now. Once again, I'm in the waiting stage. It's scary not knowing where I'll be, but I need some mystery in my constantly planned-out life.

That's all that's new with me. I am looking forward to spring break simply because of the "break" aspect of it. Life is exhausting these days. Only a few more days to wait on that event.

Here I wait...

(This verse may not be completely relevant to this blog, but it's good to hear nonetheless.)

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
                -James 1:2-4

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


I love reading. I love getting into a good book and feeling like I'm part of what is happening. Because of this, I much prefer reading books that are written in first person.
My life is a story. I am not the author, but I am the protagonist. I experience the events. In the book that is my life, I am the first person narrator.
I've been thinking about the idea of an individual's "story" a lot lately. Everyone's is different. Everyone's story molds them into who they are.

I was with a group of Christian friends a few nights ago. We were in a bible study setting and we were asked to tell our "story." It just so happened that all of the people in this small group were not people I knew very much about past the surface level. I sat and listened to them each tell their own story, what made them into the person that sat in front of me. They each told the story, as written by God, from their first person narrotor point of view. I also shared my own story.

I believe that hearing or sharing personal stories is key to forming a deeper understand of a person or even yourself. I learned so much about myself through sharing my own personal journey. I realized just how deeply certain events in my life have shaped who I am. Everytime someone shares their story with me, I see the person in a much different, much deeper light.

I hear these stories as I hear the stories in books I read, but unlike in the books, I'm actually a part of this person's story.

My challenge to anyone reading is to take the time to ask someone about their story, even if it's someone you've known for years. Take the time to also share your story and BE HONEST. By taking the time to do this alone, I believe deeper bonds can be formed and the two people involved can see just how God, the author and perfecter of our faith, works in different yet equally magnificent ways.

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
                                          -Hebrews 12:2 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Jesus Lifts Your Load

"Brokenness is the bow from which God launches the arrows of healing." -Louie Giglio

When you get a crack in your windshield, you acknowledge that a problem is present, but oftentimes let it be "tomorrow's problem." Overtime, this crack gets larger and larger until it is severe enough that it affects your driving and is a safety risk for you and others around you.

I view this as metaphorical to human struggles. When we first face some sort of struggle, we know it is there but don't really worry about it until it grows severe enough to hinder our everyday lives. When we reach this point, we have to overcome this struggle. We have to be broken to it.

Brokenness is not an easy concept for humans to grasp. When something is broken, it needs to be fixed. Not many people want to admit that they need to be fixed. I know I don't.

When Louie said this quote (top) regarding brokenness, it brought tears to my eyes. I used to try to face my problems head on and fix them as they burdened me. I didn't want to admit to myself or anyone else that I needed to be fixed. I didn't want to come to terms with the idea that I could not handle this on my own. I continued to "work alone." This didn't work. I couldn't do it. I'm just not strong enough.
When I finally came to realize that I needed help, I gave it to God. I let myself be broken before Him. In doing this, I felt a physical release as God took the burden from me. With this load off my shoulders, I was ready to heal.

I grew up with a song called "When Jesus Lifts the Load." This is basically the entire song:

"Your load will be much lighter
When Jesus lifts the load...
...When Jesus lifts your heavy load"

It's a simple song with a clear message: Jesus can handle your problems, no matter how heavy they may be to you.

I believe this with all my heart. Life isn't easy most of the time, so let God take care of things. You just have to trust Him and be broken before Him, then you will be able to heal.

Friday, January 6, 2012

God Likes to Blatantly Make a Point, Too!

Not even 3 hours earlier, we were listening to Louie Giglio urge us to do whatever we were good at and be on fire for God. He told us we didn't have to move to South Africa or start a non-profit, just do what we're good at and shine His light to the world. This ended Passion 2012.

God decided to make this point apparently clear to our small group of 10.

We pulled out of Atlanta around 3pm (2pm Alabama time) last night. Almost instantly, everyone fell into a semi-comatose state. We were supposed to stop for dinner, but since everyone but me, one guy, and our "adult type person" fell asleep, I figured we would drive straight home. One awake guy looked straight back and me and I voiced that I doubted we would eat since everyone was asleep. As soon as I said this, everyone opened their eyes. A few minutes later, we got off an exit and went to a random IHOP in Union, Georgia.
As soon as we walked in, this young waiter started working to pull tables together so we could all sit together. Originally, an older lady was serving us. As more customers came in, the young guy walked over and told us that he would be taking our table for then on out. From the moment we met this guy, we could tell that he was just a perpetually joyful person. He smiled constantly and engaged in conversation with us. He had an outstanding memory; he took our orders accurately without writing anything down. He brought me 3 pickles for free!
As we started getting our food, we bowed our heads to pray. I noticed him walk up and stand behind Matt, who was praying, as he carried more food to our table. He saw we were praying and bowed his head as well. All throughout the rest of the meal, he talked and joked with us and apparently listened to us reflect upon our time at Passion and what God had stirred in us.
I felt something in me urging me to ask if he needed prayer. I acted on this urge. He told us that he didn't really have anything he could think of that needed prayer, he was content. He continued in calling us "spiritual warriors" and asked if he could pray with us instead of being prayed for. He lifted us up in the most encouraging verbal ways.
After everyone paid, he walked up to us and said, "I'm ready when you guys are." We all paused and looked confused. "To pray with you. Can we go outside?" So, the 10 of us walked outside and stood in front of this random IHOP with this random guy who just happened to wait on us that afternoon. He told us that he was truly content, but had problems with one of his arms and could use prayer for healing. We asked if we could lay hands on him and pray for him. My friend Carlos led the prayer to lift this man up.
He then asked to pray for us. We all joined hands in a circle and listened as this guy lifted us up in thanks to God. I can't speak for everyone in my group, but out of all the prayers I heard that week during Passion, his was BY FAR the most powerful. He ended in thanking us for what we were doing to praise God and pursue His mission in our lives. We told him goodbye, all of us still in awe over what God had just thrown in our path.
(Carlos actually got the opportunity to share what Passion was with a non-Christian who also worked at IHOP, but I won't try to tell his experience)

How CRAZY is that? Everyone woke up right in time to get us to that IHOP, he happened to switch to wait our table...everything fell exactly into place for that experience to happen.
It's like God was thinking, "I know y'all just heard that sermon and understood what Louie was saying, but I'm going to give you a solid example in approximately 3 hours. Prepare to have your minds BLOWN." (I like to think that God says "y'all") Well played, God.

I love those times...those moments when you know God was behind something. I am so encouraged by meeting that guy. I see what the "joy in whatever you do" Louie was talking about is so clearly now.

So that's how God blatantly made a point to the AU BCM Passion attendees, 2012 edition.

We serve a powerful God.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Resolutions and God's Grace

With the new year upon us, it is a time of reflection on the past and looking forward to what is in store. I have been thinking about Resolutions for a few weeks, always deciding against actually taking these on because I know that I'll fail. I really hate failing at things, so I tend to set goals for myself that I know are attainable. Doing so, I never really challenge myself to reach beyond my known capabilities.

A friend from BCM let me borrow his copy of "Blue Like Jazz." I went home to start reading the book the day before new year's eve and saw that the same guy had posted a new blog that I immediately read.
Here's the link:
(This blog is written in by five very strong yet very different men of God, all friends of mine. I recommend reading any of the posts in this blog.)

I was very inspired by this blog entry. He speaks of how discouraging failing at New Year's Resolutions can be and encourages readers to strive for daily Resolutions instead. I love this idea. One day is a much more manageable time frame than an entire year.
With this fresh in my mind, I began reading "Blue Like Jazz." Every chapter has contained concepts that have made me think and examine my Christian walk.

I just read a chapter in which the author, Donald Miller, talks about his struggle in accepting God's grace. He talks of how he felt that grace was some sort of charity from God and how he found it hard to accept this charity in his pride.
God offers His grace to us unconditionally. When I feel that I have failed at reaching a New Year's Resolution or a goal much bigger than that, God's grace stands true.

So as I face 2012, I am striving to set daily Resolutions that stretch me and challenge me to do much greater than I feel I am capable of. When I fail, because I undoubtably will, I do not need to feel like a failure; God's grace is present for me in these failures.

"But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it." 
                      -Ephesians 4:7