Uni-Versi-Ty

It’s been over a week since I’ve been here in Calgary! For whoever doesn’t know, I moved to Calgary to go to the University of Calgary for a bachelor of nursing degree. And what a whirlwind its been so far! The first stage of the transition was actually getting to Calgary – I bought my first car back in March, which I got for the purpose of coming here. So mom drove with me, and we left early early morning to catch the first ferry, and drove all day, straight from Vancouver to Calgary. I was nervous about driving that whole way by myself, because I had never driven that long at once before. Thankfully mom was there as a backup if I got tired or wanted a break – although she only ended up driving for an hour and a half out of the twelve hour drive. I was pretty impressed with myself! Haha

            Mom stayed for two more days to help me with the transition – moving in, last minute buys, etc. I am so thankful that she was able to come with me for this transition, because it would have been a lot different and more difficult I think without her. So mom, if you’re reading this THANK YOU! I was pretty awesome. I said goodbye to mom Monday night and drove home feeling really strange – like I was really alone now. I knew I wasn’t ACTUALLY alone cuz I have so many good friends here, but I guess I was struck with ‘now I’m really responsible for taking care of myself and everything by myself from here on!’ True adulthood, it’s kind of scary!

            Last week at the school was O-Week (Orientation week), which is dedicated to the first years and making sure they get welcomed into the school properly, and learn all the ins and outs of the university etc. The first day was quite a bit out of my comfort zone as it was all very peppy with a big ceremony where we did cheers and stuff. Not really my thing – but put that on top of meeting a bunch of new people, and trying to navigate around a brand new campus and feeling like I knew nothing at all, it was a good combo for feeling very overwhelmed. I left early that day as I just needed to not be around so many people not knowing where to go or what to do. Day two of orientation was a bit better, as it was specifically for the first year Nursing students. We had a big nursing orientation session where we heard from lots of teachers and student reps about what to expect, where to get help, and events to get involved in. I met this girl Sharla during that and we hung out for the rest of that day with the nursing faculty, so that made it better to have a friend to talk with about all the craziness! I think a lot of the first years feel and experience the same kinds of things with coming to a new university. She moved here from Swift Current, so she also moved away from home, which as I know makes it that much more difficult in the beginning stages. I did end up leaving early that day too though, because a lot of the stuff they had planned was stuff wasn’t mandatory and I wasn’t really interested in it. Thursday the main thing that was supposed to happen was a tour of the campus, but I didn’t go because I was going to be given a tour by Dayna, who also goes to UofC, the next day. So that day (Thursday) turned into a sleep in/relaxation day for me, which was amazing. I got a bunch of organizing and some last minute shopping done, and caught up on Grey’s Anatomy :) Friday I picked up Dayna and we went to the uni for a tour and to buy our books. This was the first time I’d seen her since saying goodbye at the airport in Estonia, so it was pretty exciting! She took me to all the buildings where my classes are so that I would know how to get to them, which was super helpful! And we went to the bookstore and bought all our textbooks together. It was kind of weird walking around UofC with her, when we’ve spent so much time together in Estonia. That’s like where I really got to know her well and where we’ve connected the most, so it was pretty exciting to be able to experience my first time at university with her too! I’m excited to be able to be here for four years and continue all of my friendships here that I’ve made over the past couple years.

          I was also able to reunite with some Rocky friends a couple times during the evenings. It’s so cool to know that I still have such a close knit community from Rocky and I can just be thrown right back into it and be totally accepted like I had never left. I had no idea who would be coming to join us one of the evenings, and there ended up being like 10 people there from res and edge who I hadn’t seen since graduation, and it was such an AWESOME surprise. I also got to meet a couple new people who came last year, and it was cool to see where these old friends have come and think about how it has changed since I was there and how we’ve all grown. I’m definitely excited to continue hanging out with them more and getting to know them better throughout the years I’m here!

             And now to end off this crazy week, I went as a leader to the youth group (Ignite) fall camping trip to a big group camp site just west of Calgary. When Jeidy and I were here before, we both were leaders at Ignite as well, and Peter asked if I would like to do it again and I said I would love to try it out and see how my school schedule works with it. So this weekend was the perfect way to kick off my time at Ignite, reunite with some of the teens and meet some new ones, and relax one last time before the craziness of classes started. We had a few big group activities together, but we also had a lot of time to relax in the sun and enjoy each others’ company, as well as gather around the fire at night and sing songs and hear from Peter what God wanted to say to us that weekend. It was very refreshing for me and I’m glad I was able to go.

            The first day of classes was today – I had my first class at 8am in a huge lecture hall that fits 400+ people, and it was packed. Definitely a different feel from the 25-30 student classes in high school and even bible college. But despite being very tired, I enjoyed taking in the experience, and the prof is really nice and funny so I think it will be a good course. One of the most challenging ones, don’t get me wrong, but it will work out well I think. Then I had a 6 hour gap between that class and my second one at 3:00, so I talked with one of my Rocky friends and they were having their kick off BBQ lunch there, so I took the train on over and had a little blast from my past. It was really surreal and weird at first, being back at Rocky and seeing all the familiar faces, but it was cool to be back as well and remember how far I’ve come since being there. My second and last class of the day was another 300+ lecture hall that was packed, and I met a really nice girl who is in her first year but graduated in ’03 and decided to go back to school. The prof was really funny and all we did was intro stuff, so today was pretty easy, but this is going to be another challenging course. Right now I can feel that I’m just on the brink of being completely inundated with work, but I know that proper time management and commitment to study will ensure that I succeed, so I’m motivated to do that right now. Let’s just pray that I keep up this attitude and don’t get discouraged!

            Well that’s all I’ve got for now, thanks for reading!

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Awakening

Wow guys. It’s been forever since i’ve written on here – but I think this is the perfect occassion to get back on track with my blog.

This past weekend i’ve been at History Maker 2012 and Lord knows, I really needed this. God did SO many amazing things this weekend – I have been blessed and inspired and convicted more than I know what to do with, so I thought the first step would be to try to write some of it down and process a little bit.

These past couple months have been, well maybe a little bit of a struggle you could say. Most of the cause of this has simply been business, and stress! I’m not used to stressing about school work, but when I realized how much I had been slacking and still had to do in this course i’m taking, I had a little bit of a panic attack and basically have just been couped up trying to study and finish this thing as soon as possible. The hardest thing about this is has been the fact that i’m not doing anything wrong – but the sheer lack of time, and also exhaustion when I do have a minute, has caused my relationship with God to suffer quite a bit. Also laziness, and lack of passion, has caused me to get into some not very healthy habits as a default – some things that have caused me to even doubt my God, and my faith. I scared me when I came to this realization a couple weeks ago, because without even knowing it or doing anything intentionally – just by not having time to read my bible, and skipping bible study twice in a week – I have so easily become complacent. And comfortable. And nothing in my relationship with God has changed or grown. And it sucks!

I knew that I needed a change and that I needed to get back on track with God. Through this whole thing, I kept thinking of God’s grace though…remembering how he loves me, and how we have not let go of each other in any way. There are just some times in life when life gets the better of you, and if you’re not making enough effort with God, then that can just fall off the deep end.

And let me tell  you – this weekend just slapped me in the butt and made me stare into the face of God and feel his presence. I learned so many things – so many inspiring words, helpful tips, and basic truths but applied with such passion and a fresh perspective. There is something about being in a massive room with tons of people and worshipping together. I was able to go to another level of worship and intimacy with God, and experience the power of Jesus and His presence like I never have before. It’s just crazy guys, like I can’t even explain it really. Our relationships with God are so personal, a lot of it you really just don’t need to share with others because it’s between you and Him.

I’m so pumped to be moving into this next phase of life. I feel like God is doing something new, that he is stirring something fresh inside of me, and a lot of the fear and strongholds I had before have been cast away and i’m so excited to see what God has in store for me. I’m not really worried about my future anymore, about what I want to do and my plans, because I feel i’ve given up all of that to Jesus and it’s in His hands.

A lot of this may seem like that post conference hype that quickly fades for most people – and i’ve been afraid of that because it usually happens for me too, and maybe it will a little bit, but I feel like I have a bunch of tools and new things i’m going to start putting into my routine, and i’ve given up some things, I don’t see how filling that time with God can ever fade. It’s difficult for sure, but i’m committed to praying for God’s help.  The biggest thing i’ve taken away from this weekend is probably simply the fact that I need to know Jesus better. Actually know like his characteristics, what makes him tick, and i’m craving to have that kind of close friendship with him that is so personal that I can’t share with anyone else. And that comes through prayer and reading the word.

Man, God is so good. One thing that one of the speakers said that really stayed with me is something like this: What is your purpose in life? God says nothing. Your purpose – the reason God made you was for his presence. To accept his love. He IS love, and love by definition needs to have something to express that to, and God created US because he us to love. I quote him “quit focussing on the plan. The plan is a BY PRODUCT of the presence of Jesus”. This just kind of blew my mind, to think of the reason God decided to created humans in the first place. Because of LOVE. And if we can really accept God’s love, then we can know how to love him back, and then loving people just comes naturally. Your ‘plan’, the ‘thing’ God has for your life, his will, is only to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself”. No matter what you do, as long as you’re living in that, you’re doing God’s will. Isn’t that SO AMAZING?!? Gosh…just so good.

I could say so much more, but i’m going to leave it at that as we just got home and it’s late. If you think of it, pray for me that I would be able to keep up this hunger and let it really change my life. And I am going to committ to faithfully praying – for my friends, for things going on in the world and peoples’ lives, and believe that that power works and God can change anyone who is willing. Now that i’ve said it, y’all can keep me accountable :)

I leave you with this song which the band Leeland played (they’re soooo good, you should all know their music) a few times and kind of became stuck in everyone’s head and I just love it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFrDtyDz3BA LISTEN TO IT!!

self esteem

Tonight i’ve been feeling pretty down. It frustrated me where this was coming from, and why so fast, and then I really started realizing what I was thinking. I was basically just on the internet, reading a friend’s blog, and watching YouTube videos, and it turned out that I was doing that for like almost two hours, and more and more, the worse I felt. I began to sense that it had something to do with self esteem – and I then became acutely aware of the lies that had been circling in my head constantly. Then I wondered why I had been subconsciously thinking these things, and scared myself with how much I felt my self esteem lowering because of that. ‘You’re not that pretty, you’re not a good friend, nobody really loves you, or cares about you, you’re not deserving of that, you have a sucky personality’. Even just writing that down is so strange, because I usually don’t think these thoughts at all.

In the past, like even just a year ago, I struggled a lot with self esteem, but it was nothing to do with my looks, but how I was, who I was, how people thought of me, my personality and likeableness, how I wanted to portray myself etc. It occupied my thoughts a lot, and I would always be so acutely aware of how I was coming across, and judge myself and feel other judge me (even when they probably weren’t). Since the fall i’ve been growing a lot in that area, and becoming more comfortable with myself and not caring what other people think and all that. And I attribute all of that to God – I believe that is a confidence that he has given me and he is showing me more and more my true identity and that i’m made the way I am and should accept that and not try to change myself so much (I don’t mean not change what I think about and do, because that’s good, I just mean the core of my person and who I am).

Anyways, when that feeling of beating up on myself and what my life is and what kind of friend and person I am, and weather or not people like me comes up so strongly, it kind of scares me. And the more i’m thinking about it, I think it’s because i’ve been just looking at things that are so devoid of God, even for a short time, seeing all the depravity in the world and the sad state of our culture, it is sad, but a part of me gets totally caught up in it and in that way of thinking (beauty and popularity and image etc) and I start judging myself from that standard instead of from God’s. And once the lies start, that’s totally a foothold for Satan, and I believe he completely takes advantage of that and keeps it rolling, until before I know it i’m down in the dumps and can’t figure out how I got there.

When I let my mind calm down and come back to reality, I realized how truly blessed I am, how many people love me, and how I am seen through God’s eyes (which is all that should matter), and I start to feel better. It was an amazing revelation to me when I realized that if I didn’t have God then I believe I would be such a different person, and my confidence i’m sure would just be the worst. Knowing my true value in him is what makes me who I am and the happy loving person that makes me who I am. Without that, i’m really nothing!

passion

I’ve been noticing a seriously diminishing passion for God lately. With so many distractions everywhere, and temptations and questions, it’s so easy to become distant from God and lose connection from Him. I can try to explain it away by saying that he’s distancing himself from me, but I know that that’s just not the case, and i’m not putting in any effort to sustain my relationship with Him and feed myself!

So, I had a really rejuvenating night at young adults tonight, and am feeling refreshed and motivated by good friendships and community, and had a good talk with a friend and we’ve decided to challenge ourselves. She, like me is feeling a loss of passion in her life, and we accredit a lot of this to time wasting, and not putting enough purposeful time aside to intentionally be with God (AKA, read the bible, journal, pray). So we challenged ourselves to seriously reduced facebook time, no movies for myself, more time intentionally being with God, and accountability for each other, and we’re going to see where it takes us. I’m going to be really paying attention to what changes this change is making in my life, which should be good ones, and hopefully it will be the beginning of breaking some not so good habits, and forming some new ones. Ones with passion, and purpose!

Update to follow, sometime!

obsession

things i love/am (a little) obsessed with

– facebook

-my computer

-the office

-youtube

-looking at pretty boys’ faces (harry styles, john krasinski – as a couple examples)

-reading pointless hollywood gossip

-watching tv and movies

-food

-sleep

-reading books

% of these things that waste my time and serve no purpose in my efforts to become a better person: 85

things i should be more obsessed with

-deepening my relationship with God

-reading my bible

-prayer

-spending more time with friends

% of these things that are all that matter in life: 100

 

honest truth…hmmm

 

brewing thoughts

One thing I have a really hard time with (and this is as for real as a confession can get people) is reading and studying the bible regularly. I don’t really know why that is – I  mean, I think a lot of it is just not knowing where to start, but there is just something that makes me not want to do it (which is probably satan). This was one of my new years ‘resolutions’, and i’m doing horribly, but one of the things I love about God is that he gives us the desires for things if we ask him. I want to WANT to read the bible, but I don’t, but I know God can and wants to help me. I know that this is one of the main ways to learn about Him and connect more deeply with Him, and it really bothers me that I have no desire to read the words. It’s so messed up how that works (I want to get to know him better, but  don’t want to utilize one of the main ways he talks to us?!?!?), and i’m ashamed that it’s true, but it is, and I want that to change. I want to hunger for his words, I want that passion! Please pray for me on this!

On another unrelated note…i’ve been thinking about Estonia A LOT in the past few days. Possibly even more than right after I came back, which is weird. I talked to Dayna on skype, and it must have just triggered something inside of me, with talking to her about the possibility of going back and all. I guess before, since getting my new job, and thinking sensibly about saving money and working, I thought that’s what I would do until August, and had basically accepted the fact that I most likely wouldn’t be going back to Estonia this summer. But after talking to her, i’m sure that it’s God just rising up this sort of anticipation and excitement about it. At least that’s what I want to think, because now I really really want to go back! Honestly, every time I recall a memory from last summer, or imagine being there again, my heart skips a beat and I smile to myself. I find myself trying to remember every single thing that happened, and wanting to look at pictures and watch videos from the trip constantly. I feel such a strange sensation of missing it, mixed in with like anticipation and exuberant excitement, that makes me kind of ache inside. It’s weird… The only thing (well not really the only thing, just the biggest one i’m thinking of) is we were talking about what exactly we would do there. We’re not totally sure about doing LST again, but don’t want to just go for the fun of it, but have a mission in mind. There are a lot of possibilities, but what I want is to be used by God the way that HE wants to use us, and right now I have no idea how that would look. I mean, it’s not like we’ve made a commitment to going back forsure, but we both definitely want to, and are praying about it, so I would appreciate your prayers too (whoever you are)!

That’s all for now! :)

daily struggle

This is a poem written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer that was read in class at church this morning. I was feeling really tired, and didn’t really want to go to class but decided to just sit there and try to listen because I didn’t have anywhere else to go. And God ended up getting my attention and teaching me even though I had a bad attitude and wasn’t at first willing to receive it. This poem resonated so much with me, and brought me such encouragement, I hope it does to you too. It’s something I struggle with every day.

Bonhoeffer wrote this in 1944 while in a German prison. While the specific situations he was in are not the same as mine, I resonate with his thoughts and confusion.

“Who am I? They often tell me I stepped from my cell’s confinement calmly, cheerfully, firmly, like a squire from his country-house.

Who am I? They often tell me I used to speak to my warders freely and friendly and clearly, as though it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me I bore the days of misfortune equally, smilingly, proudly, like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really all that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself? Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage, struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,

Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds, thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness, trembling with anger at despotisms and petty humiliation

Tossing in expectation of great events, powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance, weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,

Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all?

Who am I? This or the other? Am I one person today and tomorrow another? Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others, and before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?

Or is something within me still like a beaten army, fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.

Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O GOD, I AM THINE!”

Reading this poem made me realize how much I really do think about those kinds of things – who am I, to these people? Am I who they say or who I believe myself to be? How much do I, and should I care about who I am in their eyes? And on and on, until it can get to be too much and overwhelming. The last line, my pastor described it as like the sun breaking through the clouds, filling you with hope. And that is exactly what I felt. In all things, whoever I am, I know that I am God’s. Ultimately I am who He says that I am, which is loved and forgiven and free, and to me focussing on that as the only important factor, puts the other questions in true perspective. I hope it brought you encouragement too