November 29, 2014

Ball Ready

I went to a ball. Okay, by ball I really mean like a prom for Bible college students...but, still it was totes fun!

Each year in November the school I attend has a "Grad Ball" to celebrate the end of the year and all the graduates graduating. They rent out this stunning venue that overlooks the harbor. All the staff of the college as well as many of the pastors attend wearing their best dresses and most fashionable skinny suits with bow ties. As if getting dressed up to go to a fancy place isn't good enough then we were served a scrumptious 3 course meal. 

Getting dressed up and going to a fancy dinner is always fun, but when you are in a season where you are spending your life savings to just survive and attend school and buying name brand TP is a luxury it was an extra special treat! 

I must say that I do love being a girl and making a day of getting ready with my girls. It was one of my favorite parts of the entire day.

Know what wasn't my favorite part of the day? Being so stinking excited for Grad and then being forced to sit in traffic for an hour.

But, the good news is we got there and of corse we celebrated with....a selfie!

And a few more as the night went on.

The dinner was massive. It was like being at a wedding reception with 2,000 people. Those poor servers working and trying to serve all of us. They did awesome though. Our poor server had to put my napkin in my lap 3 times because I kept getting up to talk to people. 

After the dinner we went downstairs to a separate ballroom and got our party on and danced the night away. There are no photos of this because it was a furnace in that place and no one, and I mean no one, was picture worthy when they were as messy as we were. I will say, we know how to party! There was live music and dance moves for days.

After the major sweat fest dance party it was time to head out on the town but not before a quick pic with my housemate who had just turned 23 at midnight. 

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November 13, 2014

Prison Break

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
Hebrews 12:1

What sort of words come to mind when you think of a prison cell?

And what do the words "great cloud" make you think of?
Beautiful day.
White puffy goodness.
Good weather.
Blue skies.

These two mental images certainly conjure up different mental imagry don't they? In our minds they can hardly even simultaneously exist. You can't picture a "great cloud" and a prison cell at the same time {:even though I know you are trying to prove me wrong right now in your mind, just go with me:}. 

So why do we feel like these two pictures can coexist in our lives?

I had a bit of revelation today. 

Oh you want me to share? Well, if you insist...

These past few days have been filled with some pretty huge life decisions and situations that have played with my emotions. Big change often brings some stress, but making these big changes and decisions alone, in another continent, just seems to add another level of difficulty on top of it. I have been stressed and overwhelmed and just constantly praying for wisdom, guidance, and peace in these decisions and in the handling of new seasons. In short, my life just feels a bit heavy at the moment. 

Then I was reminded that I am choosing to live in a prison of my emotions and concerns. 

Emotions, concern, worry, and stress are all normal human emotions. The problem is we allow them to imprison us. The wrong is not in feeling these emotions, but rather living according to them. In Matthew 16:19 God says that he has given us the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever we bind on earth will be bound in heaven. 

In the Kingdom the there is nothing imprisoned because Jesus brought with Him freedom not constraint. However, concerns, worry, fear, and stress are not from Jesus and are weapons the enemy uses to throw us off track. So yes, your worry and stress and fear all belong in a prison cell, because they are not things of the kingdom, but you don't belong in there with them. So bind those fears, worries, and stresses, throw them in the prison they have tried to put you in and then turn the key. 

It's time to make a prison break and live the life we are meant to live outside in the "great cloud".
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November 10, 2014

The Journey to Here

Ahhh, an afternoon without homework, assessments, church services, practicum work, or an agenda. What shall I do? What shall I do?

 Oh wait, I think I had this little hobby that had something to do with writing once upon a time. Oh yeah, I have my own corner in blogland with beautiful, amazing, encouraging, incredible people! I think I’ll spend my afternoon with them!

Ready. Set. BLOG

The past 4 months have certainly been that, a journey. The journey has been so good, but if I can be real with my friends, the journey hasn’t always felt good. I am learning that there is a clear and distinct difference in the two.

God is doing some serious heart surgery in me. I’ve shared with you some about the journey of recreating my identity here, here, and here. That is a huge part of what God is doing in me at the moment but that’s not even close to all of it.

The best way to describe the environment I am in right now is a Jesus pressure cooker. 90% of my daily activity involves church. This isn’t a normal environment I’m in. People don’t normally have a Bible as the main textbook in every class. People don’t attend chapel or a church service every day. People don’t normally sit in college classes where every idea and topic is centralized around Jesus and His Church. Then, because of the season I am in, all my friends are from the church, and all but one is in college for the same reason I am. This means church and school is a common theme in our conversations too. Therefore, Jesus has infiltrated every sphere of my life and when you allow Him to do this, he doesn’t just decide to work on one thing at a time in your life. 

It is like he opens up the “closet” that is your life and just starts chucking things out that don’t belong. 

I don’t say that to sound ungrateful, because it is actually the exact opposite. My daily prayer is that even though attending school and church services at the most influential church in the world is my new normal, I never want it to become normal. It’s not. Normal people don’t get to take 2 years out of their life to study The Word, grow in their relationship with God, and learn about how to build His Church. Yes, it is a lot of Jesus. And yes, he is doing a lot of work in me, but I can’t help but find myself overwhelmed with thankfulness that I serve a God that loves me too much to leave me the way I came over here, the way I was.

Because life here is so uniquely different and quite impossible to explain fully to someone who hasn’t experienced it, strong friendships are built quickly. Frienships go deep quickly because you share this experience and also because of the deep need for relationship when you are this far from home. I have met some AMAZING people. How many opportunities do you get to make friends with people from across the globe? Many of my close friends are from the states {:we gotta stick together:}, but others are from South Africa, London, Zimbabwe, London, Switzerland, Indonesia, Brazil. 60 countries are actually represented within the college. It’s incredible!

One thing I wasn’t prepared for here was culture shock.  I mean I was going to another modern country who also spoke English so it couldn’t be that different, right? Well, in some aspects yes, but in many others WRONG-O. I never expected the language barrier I encountered when I got here. I am now convinced that they do not speak English, they speak Australian. I am kidding {:kind of:}.  They make up words and shorten everything.

Just an example of something an Aussie might say: Connect groups meet up fortnightly in the arvo. 

Um, excuse me….WHAT?

So fortnightly means every other week, and arvo is short for afternoon. 

Where do they get this stuff?

And the fact that people in Sydney do not us AC and Heating in their homes is beyond me. 45 degrees doesn’t seem that cold until you can’t go in your house to get away from that temperature and when nights are in the 30s. ...yeah, about that. Also, because they don’t use heat, if its 45 and sunny outside it is like 40 inside because you're not in the direct sun. 

And please, lets talk about this whole no AC or AirCon as they would call it. I definitely don’t know why they don’t have it because this is only the middle of spring and the temps are already pushing 100 degrees. And again, there is no relief when you walk in the house….YUCK. One hot sweaty, hair stuck to my head, makeup melting, clothes sticking mess...that will be me for the next few months.

I could keep going on all afternoon with you, but I won’t “blog vomit” all four months on you in this one blog. It is already pretty long, but if you are still reading it means you are the bees knees.

If you want to keep up with me I have been trying to be good about keeping my Instagram up to date. Just follow along there {:aemiller16:}


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November 7, 2014

Nothin' but Net

The first disciples of Jesus', first reaction to following Jesus was to drop their net. It seems like a simple thing, but the net represented their livelihood, their past, everything they knew, their comfort  zones.

What net is Jesus asking you to drop to come and follow him?

The Safety Net

Are you carrying around your safety net? The net that will catch you if you fall. The net that always has a plan B in case God's plan A doesn't work. The net that keeps you from making any decisions that would push the status quo. 

I'm not sure who told any Christian that following Jesus would be safe, but they are a liar. Selling your home, quitting your job, and moving to Australia to spend your savings to go to Bible college is not safe. But, then again, who has ever done anything great inside their comfort zones? Who has ever done anything great inside the boat? Jesus called Peter out of the boat, but let's be reminded that he wasn't walking on calm water. It says he called him out among the wind and the waves. Wind and waves are not safe when you are in the boat much less outside of it.

This reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the book Narnia. Lucy is talking to Mr. Beaver and asks about Aslan:

"Is he a safe lion?"

Mr Beaver: "Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

The Addiction Net

A lot of us are carrying this net around and don't even know it. 

We  hear the word addict and our minds go straight to drugs and alcohol. Yet, I would argue that most of us are addicts. Some of us are addicted to relationships. If we aren't in a relationship we feel like we aren't completely whole {:If this is you, I have a whole bunch of post you should read, girlfriend. Just hit the singleness label over there>>>>>:}.Others of us are addicted to other's approval {:I'm working on this one:}. We seek other people's approval so desperately that we actually forget to seek God's approval first and even forget what He would have us do or say in a situation to please Him because we are to worried about pleasing other people. Then there is the social media addict...I'll leave that one there.

The Fear Net

Then there is the fear and worry net Jesus is asking us some of us to drop. We are commanded not to worry in the Bible which makes worry a sin. And fear means you have displaced your faith in Christ and placed your faith in the enemy. Both of these things ensnare us, and limit our potential to fully run after Jesus and the purpose He has laid out for us. 

The Past Net

This one is can get awfully tangled around our feet. We all have a past and some of your past would put other's to shame. No matter how good, bad, or indifferent your past is - we all have one. Some of us have been trying to escape and drop this net but we somehow always seem to get tangled up in it again and again. 

"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead." - Philippians 3:13

Some people define their lives by their past. Others even choose to justify themselves by their past saying it is the reason why they are the way they are. If you can choose to do that, cant you just as easily choose to not define and justify yourself by it? It is a choice.

Maybe in your past you weren't hurt by other people, but you were the one hurting others. You can still move past your past through the grace in Jesus. Paul wrote the above verse and he was part of the crew that was killing the first Christians. He was a murderer of Jesus' people. If he can push towards whats ahead I am pretty sure the same grace that covered Paul can cover you too.

Here's my challenge: It only takes 21 days to create a new habit. For the next 21 days make it a choice every morning to drop your net and follow Jesus.


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