College and such…

Well, I’ve been really busy these last couple weeks. I’m sorry for my lack of weekly posts, but it may continue all summer and perhaps into fall a little bit. Maybe I’ll just give you an update when I get a chance on what’s happening around here and when I have some poetry or music to share I’ll do that. Any objections? I don’t hear any… 😉

Coming into this summer I got the idea that it might be kinda busy. I was underestimating! Here’s the last three weekends…

We stopped to see this waterfall on the way to WWU. It was BEAUTIFUL!!

Three weekends ago my parents and I visited Walla Walla University in College Place, Washington. It is a really nice campus and the people there are quite friendly. The drive took us about 9 hours so we drove up on Thursday, went to appointments on Friday, visited a local church on Saturday and drove home on Sunday.

Two weekends ago I went to a Women’s Retreat at MAA (Milo Adventist Academy, in Days Creek, OR) with some ladies from a church we used to attend. I had never been to a women’s retreat before, but I can assure you I’d love to go again! Rise Rafferty was the featured speaker and Tawny Sportsman, Rosalie Hurd (author of Ten Talents), and Donna Griffith did breakout sessions. Rise spoke on a couple different subjects over the weekend-and I enjoyed them all-but I think the one that hit me hardest was the fact that “we will never be good enough”. We might try–and we should–but the reality is that only Christ can be our perfect righteousness. One day we’ll be changed into His likeness, but only because we have allowed Him to cover our sins with his perfection. Tawny shared about efective apologies and how to show people that we really mean it. Be willing to make restitution, don’t make excuses, and take all the blame as did Abigail in the Bible story. Rosalie shared some about diet and the foods God intended for us to eat. And Donna shared about the rapidly increasing natural disasters in our world-the end is near.

Last weekend my family and I went to a Restoration International family camp meeting. We’ve been to the ones in WA and CA before, but were unable to make it that far this year. Then a couple weeks ago a friend called and told us that RI was having a camp in OR! We were excited and had a wonderful time! There were many great messages, but I think the one that Paul Rayne shared on the first night was the one that got my attention the most. He shared about our thoughts and how we must be careful to guard them. He said “You may not be what you think you are-but what you think, you are.” Consider that.
This week most of my family (including me) is recovering from a sickness that was going around at FCM. Praying that we’ll get over it soon…This summer is BUSY!!

Besides all that, my parents and I are seriously reconsidering me going to WWU. We have discovered that Weimar college has values which are a lot closer to our’s and therefore are praying about the possibility of sending me there. We have also had trusted friends tell us that it would be a much wiser decision. At the moment it seems a lot more impossible than WWU, partially because I’m quite young, but I believe that whatever is God’s will He’ll make possible.

And when I get my voice back in all it’s strength I have plans to record a video for my blog. I’m excited about it…so there’s something to look forward to! 🙂

Until next time,
Samantha

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The Refiners Fire

It’s one of my favorite songs…but it’s also a reality in life.  For those of you who are Christians yourselves you might be familiar with a verse in Revelation which quotes “I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich…”  Do we understand what it means?

“Gold tried in the fire” I don’t believe this is literal.  In Isaiah 48:10 God says “Behold, I have refined thee…I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.” In Malachi 3:3 the Bible says “And He shall sit as a refiner…and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”  Malachi 3:2 states “For He is like a refiner’s fire…”

We are the metal, trials are the fire.  In Job chapter 23 Job says “when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.”  Gold. We can become as pure gold!  Sure, it’s no easy road–but I’d say it’s worth it!

“When trials surround us, when struggles come

The spirit grows weak, the body grows numb

When these things beset us He doesn’t forget us…

He sends down His love on the wings of a dove!”

I love that song as well!  🙂  How many times have we felt forgotten? How many times have we wondered if life is even worth it?  Here’s a lesson I recently learned…”To look to God is to find joy!”

Here’s what I mean…We’ve all been through trials-some more than others.  I’ve been through my share and you’ve been through yours.  While we live on this earth we’ll continue to go through these fiery trials to perfect our faith.  Yet when we learn that we are not alone it is a lot easier, at least in my experience, to continue on!  I’ll share a couple things that help me in case you’re struggling with something right now and I’ll promise to keep you in prayer as an anonymous reader of my blog!

I’ve tried different music genres (like the kind that numbs your mind), reading story after story and then fantasizing about how those stories could continue after the pages of the book end (so much that I had a foggy sense of reality), and I’ve tried just ignoring it and trying to go on with life (hahaha-not! It never really worked that way).  None of that really worked–but prayer always does!

Prayer. It sounds simple-but in my experience it works!  Not the kind that says “Dear Lord, I’m angry. Make my life better. Amen.” (yes, God does sometimes answer that kind of prayer in His love and mercy) but the kind that says “Father, I’m having a really hard day and I can’t handle it without you! Please replace the anger in my heart with your peace-you’ve promised to send peace that passes understanding and I claim that promise. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer! Amen.”  I’ve discovered that if I really talk to God as I would to a friend (or more like a father) I enjoy and yes, look forward to my time with Him!  I’ve learned to simply tell Him about my day–how hard or easy it was, if I’m happy or sad, and then share with Him the burdens which I have on my heart.  I ask Him to bless my friends, to heal those who I have come in contact with that I know are suffering, and to bless the readers of my blog (yes, you! 🙂 ).

The other two things which work for me are listening to uplifting music and my favorite sermons (these often bring me to my knees, somehow).  There is one sermon which is really encouraging to me and I often listen to it when I am down. (You can listen to it here: God Doesn’t Waste Our Pain Pt.2 I have heard part 1, and you can listen to that on the same website, but somehow I liked pt. 2 better…)  Christian goes through the story of Job and how he began to feel abandoned by God and how he was being judged by his friends because of different trials that he was going through. He shares how trials can mean a lot of different things and they’re certainly not always punishment from God!   The music part is fairly well covered in other posts, but I’ll say here that I love to listen to “The Narrow Way” and “My Prayer” when I’m discouraged.  I trust that as we look back on our life when we’re in heaven we’ll be able to confidently say “Heaven is cheap enough”!

Remember, my friends, I’m praying for you, God loves you and He won’t waste our pain!

Pressing onward!

–Samantha

The Refiner’s Fire

“There burns a fire with sacred heat
White hot with holy flame
And all who dare pass through its blaze
Will not emerge the same
Some as bronze, and some as silver
Some as gold, then with great skill
All are hammered by their sufferings
On the anvil of His will

Chorus:
The Refiner’s fire
Has now become my soul’s desire
Purged and cleansed and purified
That the Lord be glorified
He is consuming my soul
Refining me, making me whole
No matter what I may lose
I choose the Refiner’s fire

I’m learning now to trust His touch
To crave the fire’s embrace
For though my past with sin was etched
His mercies did erase
Each time His purging cleanses deeper
I’m not sure that I’ll survive
Yet the strength in growing weaker
Keeps my hungry soul alive”

CHORUS

Favorite Music Genres and Performers

Having a musical blog I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to write a post about music! Would it? 🙂

I’ve always loved music-at least for as long as I can remember.  Even when I was quite young I loved to record cassette tapes of my singing and sometimes playing silly “instruments” of rubber-bands pulled over cups (or banging on my little sister’s musical toys).  I still have a tape of songs that I made up as I sang them-I was pretty good with rhymes!

Practicing my violin-Jonathon took this picture

I LOVE music!

Obviously I don’t still play rubber-band covered cups or toddler’s toys, but I still love music. (I just play more grown-up style instruments…)  Still, rather than sing or play sometimes in my busy life it’s easier to simply listen to someone else’s music (I’m still not sure how anyone could enjoy listening to themselves…). I own an MP3 player like many people do these days, and it is filled with LOTS of music. Just to give you an idea of the music I love–music like: Christian Berdahl’s albums (The Narrow Way and A Vision of Heaven), Sarah Draget (Last Chance), Sean Nebblett (My Prayer), The Nebblett Family (To Live is Christ), Fernando Ortega (Hymns and Meditations), Valley View Quartet (Homesick for Heaven), Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons”, Fur Elise, and other misc. songs.   I try to make sure that the music I listen to is uplifting and follows my music convictions. (That’s a whole other post if I ever get to it–maybe some day I’ll write about the Autumn in which I learned the answer to many of the “why” questions about music. If you ask me to I’ll try to write it out…If nobody does then I might get to it someday. 🙂 ) I enjoy music from lots of different genres. My favorites are bluegrass and country but it’s hard to find music in those styles that I’d be okay with listening to. 😦

At other times it really doesn’t matter if you’re busy.  It doesn’t seem to matter what time it is. Or if you should have been sleeping 3 hours ago (or for another 3 hours).  There are times when I have a song or poem ringing in my head and all I can think about is putting it on paper.

Maybe I ought to share one of the songs I’ve written…someday.

But for now I’m not sure if I want to. I don’t want to lose the opportunity to officially copyright them (though I do own the copyright to everything in this blog-it’s unofficial.)

So now you know what music I listen to, I’m interested in what music you listen to!

What genre (style) of music do you enjoy? 

Do you have any specific singers or instrumentalists that you really like?

I’d love to hear your answers in the comments!