The End of an Era

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The last post I wrote on this blog was nearly four years ago.

I was still in high school.

A bustle of career path changes and moves and new relationships and growth put this blog on the back burner. I scroll through the lessons I was learning before all the change and can’t believe how much deeper God has taken me in the past few years. I read the words and barely recognize my writing voice that wasn’t yet developed. I look at the pictures and can’t remember when some of them were taken.

Needless to say, a lot can change in four years.

One of those changes was a new idea for a new blog that seemed to fit me better. A clearer focus and more distinguished voice swept me up into this new project, and the future is bright.

I wanted to give everyone who began this journey with me on Prone to Wander an update and an invitation to my new adventure.

So, come along on this new journey: The Adventures of Mic.

I’ll see you at the new site.

https://theadventuresofmic.com/

Adventures in the Windy City

A couple of weeks ago, I got to visit the beautiful city of Chicago, Illinois. I have been several times before, and Chicago continues to be one of my all-time favorite places. I love the variety it offers– vast cityscapes, bright blue waves, and charming neighborhoods all in one place, connected by a network of metros, buses, and cabs.

My trip this week included cheering on the Bulls at the United Center, time travelling at the Chicago History Museum, laughing at the Blue Man group, feasting on Chicago-style pizza at Giordano’s, defying gravity at the Willis Tower, exploring Michigan Avenue, eating a delicious burger at the Hard Rock Cafe, and a breakfast cruise alongside Navy Pier.

Here are a few highlights from the trip:

Til next time, Windy City.

10,000 Words on Belize

A picture is worth a thousand words. Here are ten pictures. You do the math (; I hope you enjoy these little snapshots of Belize. If you missed the last post on Belize, here ya go. You won’t want to miss it.

Also, happy Easter to all! I pray you find unspeakable joy and peace on this Easter weekend– because it is finished, He is risen, and you are forgiven. Sharing this wonderful news was one of my favorite parts of my trip to Belize.

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Experience is the Best Teacher: Lessons in Belize

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First of all, I want to apologize for the lack of blog posts as well as Instagram photos for, um… the past two months. I promise I was not just being lazy. Thank you to all who stuck around. I hope to get back into the routine again now.

Second of all, I would like to tell you about what happened these last two months. Hopefully it was worth the wait.

As you already know if you follow the blog, I recently went on my first mission trip to Belize. Belize is a small country located in Central America. It was a truly amazing experience. From way before the trip and still today, God has been using it to teach me many things. All I can say is if you get the opportunity to go on a mission trip, take. it.

I have trouble talking and writing about the trip because there is just so much to talk about, and words are completely insufficient for conveying the experience. The only proper answer to “How was your trip?” seems to be, “You had to be there.”

So I am simply going to share a few of the many lessons I learned while in Belize.

Lesson #1- I don’t need so much stuff. Surprisingly enough, I actually don’t need a suitcase packed with 50 snacks and 20 changes of clothes and 5 books and 2 blankets and a bag of chocolate (yes, I’m a chocolate lover, and I figured there wouldn’t be a lot of it in Belize so I prepared for the worst). In the middle of frantically cramming the never-ending list of supplies into my suitcase the night before leaving, I realized I find far too much of my security in my stuff, when I should be finding it in God alone. And that got me thinking, if I didn’t have a closet full of clothes and a refrigerator filled with endless food and a medicine cabinet filled with the cure for every little headache I have, it would be a whole lot easier to realize how very dependent I am on God in every moment, for everything.  The truth is that, even with all of these luxuries, I am still dependent on Him—it’s just harder to see it. So, stepping away from all of this gave me a chance to realize the extent of my dependence.

Lesson #2- I should use my time wisely, and that sometimes means ignoring the rigid schedule that governs my life. In Belize, things were way more relaxed. We ran a Vacation Bible School, and the kids showed up when they showed up—and they were usually late, but that was okay. The people were okay with dropping everything they were in the middle of doing to invite you into their home and talk to you. They were more than happy to spend hours after our last church service to spend time saying final goodbyes. They made time for what mattered. This is a principle that is not popular in America. We find ourselves skimping out on quality time with those we love, denying the fact that sometimes we need to just pause and let ourselves rest, and pushing important things, like quiet time with the Lord, down to the bottom of our lists. Why? Because we always have somewhere else to go, someone else to see, something else to do. In reality, right now is all that should matter.

Lesson #3- We truly live like royalty in America, and yet are often way more discontent with our lives than those who have way less and live in conditions that we wouldn’t even consider. Contentment is an attitude, and it is not based on circumstances. Discontentment, on the other hand, robs God of the praise He so rightfully deserves, and puts the focus on ourselves.

Lesson #4- Let go and let God. This is something I really experienced on the trip—how much better things will go when I step out of the way and let Him work, and when I admit that I can’t do anything without Him. It’s really hard to let everything go and surrender it all at once, so I often get frustrated with myself when I pick something back up that I have already laid at His feet. However, I’m learning that letting go and trusting God happens one moment at a time. Each moment that you silence your doubts and replace them with trust is a reason to celebrate. God is pleased with us for simply trying. He is pleased with every baby step.

Lesson #5- I have nothing to offer God. It’s not about what I can do, which is nothing. It’s about what He can do, which is everything. If I admit this, then I become usable to Him if He chooses to use me.

Lesson #6- Do the best you can; that’s all you can do. I became overwhelmed on the trip when I wondered if I was doing enough. Maybe I could have told the VBS lesson better? Maybe there was someone else I should have shared the gospel with? God reminded me that He doesn’t really need me—He can make it all happen regardless of what I do. I can’t mess up His plan. I can only do my very best in the moment. God is pleased with that. God doesn’t expect me to be perfect. He expects me to simply lean on Him.

Lesson #7- Little kids are my favorite. There is nothing better than goofing off and running around with them. It was amazing how they would instantly trust you and attach to you. I didn’t realize how easy it would be to become so attached to some little kids I barely knew for a day. They were all so full of joy and so generous and loving. Child-like faith is what we should be striving for, and it was so cool to see that demonstrated in so many ways.

Lesson #8- Sharing the gospel is a whole lot simpler than I thought. We always talk about going into the world and sharing the gospel, but I have found myself to be unsure of how exactly to go about that. When “the world” becomes an adorable little child with the sweetest smile standing right in front of you, you suddenly realize that it’s not that hard. All you really have to say is, “Have you asked Jesus into your heart?” or, “Do you know about Jesus?” That’s it. Let God take over the rest.

Lesson #9-  American orange juice isn’t even real orange juice. Every morning in Belize, the wonderful ladies who cooked for us made a big pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice. It was totally delicious, and it didn’t taste a thing like American orange juice.

Lesson #10- A piece of my heart will always reside in the beautiful country of Belize.

I hope you enjoyed reading some of the lessons I learned on my trip, and maybe even took something away for yourself. I plan to share pictures from the trip soon, as well.

Once again, I encourage you to go on a mission trip if you get the chance! It is such an amazing experience that words can’t possibly do it justice. But also keep in mind that you don’t have to go overseas to be a missionary– there are always going to be people who need Jesus right where God has placed you. Keep an eye out for His opportunities. He knows what He’s doing (:

Adventure is in the Air

In less than two months, I will embark on my very first mission trip outside of the U.S.

Words cannot contain my excitement.

I will be traveling to Belize with Thirst Missions and some of my favorite people in the world. I absolutely cannot wait to explore this new land and experience the Lord and living out the Great Commission in a whole new way. I feel beyond blessed that the Lord has placed this opportunity before me.

However, I have to admit that, interlaced with my excitement, is a bit of apprehension. I’d like to say I have zero doubts or worries about this trip because it will be totally awesome, but there are still a few things I wonder about.

For one, I am an introvert and tend to be shy around new people. In Belize, I will be submerged in unfamiliarity and talking to new people is a big part of any mission trip. Talking about the Lord, at times, requires pouring out your heart and soul– even to strangers. Vulnerability like that is just plain scary.

Another thing I worry about is if I would actually be able to lead someone to the Lord. Considering that I could potentially be the only Christian that ever tells an individual about Jesus or interacts with them is a HUGE deal.

Thoughts like this encircle my mind: What if I say the wrong thing? Wouldn’t it be easier for God to use an outgoing extrovert that has no trouble opening up? A wiser, more mature Christian? Someone who knows more about the Bible?

I come to the Lord with these suffocating thoughts, and He, once again, puts my racing worries to rest.

He reminds me that I cannot save anyone.

No heartwarming story, no eloquent words, no impressive Bible knowledge will lead someone to the Lord unless He is working on their hearts.

God doesn’t need experienced theologians or motivational speakers to lead unbelievers to Him.

All He needs is an ordinary person whose heart is broken for Him— someone who is striving to please Him in every way. Someone who earnestly seeks to know Him more and live out His commands with all their hearts, regardless of their shortcomings and failures.

The Bible is filled with stories of broken, messed up people who failed time and time again. You know what? In the Bible, God often chose the messiest people of all for His glorious purposes.

Perfect people don’t even exist. People who are absolutely in love with the Lord do exist. They are the ones who totally and completely rely on God alone. They are the ones who recognize that they can’t possibly rely on their broken selves.

He uses those people.

He also reminds me to never underestimate the power of planting seeds. As long as the Lord is working through me, everything I do on the trip will have an impact, no matter how small– even if I never see the results.

He reminds me that all I really have to do is love people — to look at them with the light and love of Jesus in my eyes, so that they can see Him in me.

The only way I can lead people to the Lord is by showing them my true self– a broken person just like them, who has been forever changed by hope.

This is the essence of missions– right at home or in a foreign country.

I think this quote by Madeline L’Engle sums missions up nicely:

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”

I look forward to sharing more about my trip later. It is March 2nd-8th, 2016. I would very much appreciate your prayers (:

What about you? If you’re going on a mission trip soon or have already been on one, I’d love to hear about it!

 

P.S. I would greatly appreciate any help with sharing this post and getting the word out about my blog! Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram… you name it. Thanks so much for reading and spreading the word!

 

Prone to Wander: What’s Next

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First of all, I want to thank everyone so much who has welcomed me into the wonderful world of blogging. I never cease to be impressed by the talent I find on WordPress and I look forward to exploring everyone’s blogs as I get time. Getting my feet in the water of the blogging world has been an amazing experience and I hope to wade further in.

I began writing this blog unsure of exactly where it was going. I’ve been writing some kind of random posts that have been laid on my heart, but I wasn’t sure exactly where this was all leading. After some trial and error, lots of prayer and thought, I have a better idea of where I’m headed.

First of all, a major roadblock for me has been comparing my blog to other blogs, but I am ready to let Prone to Wander become what it is uniquely meant to be.

This year, I hope to gain more blogging experience and expand to more topics.

My main goal is to glorify God in everything I do, and help others to see His Presence everywhere, in everything, as He is teaching me to do.

So, that’s just a little update on the blog. Once again, a big thank you to my pioneer readers (:

Simplify & Glorify– 2015 in Review

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2015.

Oh, let me count the ways the Lord has helped me grow this year.

The lessons He taught me.

The memories He brought me.

It was, at times, a difficult year, but it was interlaced with the hope and light of discovering how to live in God’s Presence at all times—in constant communication with Him. This is something He has been working on in me, and I am still learning to drown out the world and listen to His still, small voice.

This year was the beginning of my senior year in high school, which is supposed to be a blast, but I found myself not enjoying it because the reality of the real world looming just ahead finally hit me in the face.

After much prayer and some hard decisions, the weight was lifted and I am eagerly awaiting the future, but trying hard to live in the present at the same time.

This year involved heartbreak, but the Lord brought me through and showed me the reasons why and the lessons that I was to learn.

This year involved discovering more of who I am and embracing who the Lord so purposefully made me to be.

This year was filled with laughter and experiencing more the joy of the Lord.

This year, the Lord simplified everything for me. He showed me the importance of always placing Him above all, and how to prioritize my time for Him. He showed me the simplicity and peace of a life devoted wholly to Him. He showed me how simple it is to hand everything over to Him and let Him handle it. Simplicity, I am learning, is something to strive for in all aspects of life.

He also simplified things for me by showing me that my one true purpose, in its purest form, is to glorify Him. That is why I am here. That is why I get up every morning. He revealed to me that I can glorify Him in everything I do by devoting it to Him.

Looking onward, one of my goals this year is to become more humble. I recently received a copy of The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis. In the introduction by one of his good friends, Walter Hooper, Hooper talks about how Lewis was one of the most humble men he ever knew. When Hooper asked Lewis if he was aware of the fact that he was “winning worship” from his books, Lewis replied, “One cannot be too careful not to think of it.”

It’s amazing to see what the Lord can accomplish through someone living wholly for His glory, and not their own! C.S. Lewis is a prime example of this.

This is something I am striving for. I want others to look at me and see Jesus, not me. This is something that I cannot do on my own, as with all things. As a mere human, this is something that goes against every grain of my being without Jesus. Humility takes great strength and wisdom—not mine, but the Lord’s.

2016.

This year will, perhaps, be the biggest one yet.

It promises much change and, inevitably, growth.

It promises adventure.

It promises an even greater awareness of God’s Presence.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Let’s ring it in.

 

He is Here With Us

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I could make this some ordinary Christmas post about traditions, presents, family, togetherness.

I could delve a bit deeper and write about how the true reason for Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ—but even that seems a bit too cliché.

Hold up—that is a major problem.

When did the true reason for Christmas become something too cliché? Something repeated so often we don’t even stop to truly think about what it means?

Unfortunately, it seems we often reduce the mind-blowing reality of this into something commonplace and obvious. We seldom let the true meaning of this resonate deep in our souls and saturate our entire beings, our entire lives.

When did this become something ordinary? Something expected? Something we take for granted?

The God. Who created. The universe. Is here. With us.

He is here.

After nearly 400 years of total silence from God, suddenly He came down to our fallen world to present to us sure hope and eternalize His communication with us—to restore our relationship with Him, the Almighty God.

And He chose to come in an astounding way that no earthly being ever would have thought of. He came in a way that had just the right amount of heavenly creativity to assure us that no human made this up.

The Author of Humanity, One and Only, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, Alpha and Omega, King of Glory, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, King of kings, and Lord of lords came to us.

The glorious, majestic God of eternity did not make His entrance as one would expect.

He did not come blazing through the golden clouds in a fiery chariot followed by an army of angels announcing His arrival on trumpets, surrounded with glorious rays of blinding light.

He made His entrance softly and quietly, as a baby in a manger.

An ordinary human baby that had to grow up under the care of his parents just like you and me.

This was just the kind of unexpected thing He knew would rock the world.

This is not an ordinary thing, in any sense of the word.

It proves that He will stop at nothing to care for us and provide what we need. {He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32} Even if what we need is for Him to come down to the earth and live among us as an ordinary human and then die for us, He will certainly do it. And He doesn’t cut corners.

It also proves that He loves us enough to humble Himself like this just to show us He knows. He understands. He has truly been there, done that. And we can now talk to Him, just like talking to any other human.

I personally often imagine God sitting up on His throne in the majestic, heavenly clouds. I imagine that He is up there watching over the earth, and I can drop Him a line anytime and He will listen. And that’s true. He is there, listening.

But I need not raise my voice.

I need not even whisper a syllable.

For He is not just there, but here. Literally standing right before me, His Presence enveloping me like a shield. I am wrapped up in His loving arms.

I can speak to Him. I can shout to Him. I can whisper to Him. I can sing to Him.

Out loud, or in my heart.

He always hears. He delights to hear me call on His name, and He delights to answer in accordance with His perfect will.

If you are a believer who has called on His name, you, precious and chosen one, are sitting in His Presence this very moment.

If you are not a believer, He is calling to you, precious and chosen one, this very moment. He is earnestly longing for you to humble yourself and call to Him, so that He can bless you with His Presence.

Let the utterly mind-blowing reality of His Presence with you, this very moment, sink in.

Can you feel the joy welling up inside of you?

The peace, which transcends all understanding?

He is here with you.

The Author of Humanity, One and Only, Everlasting Father, Almighty God, Alpha and Omega, King of Glory, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, King of kings, and Lord of lords. He is here with you.

He loves you enough to leave His heavenly throne and come to your fallen world to be with you. All He wants is to have direct communication with you—the most perfect, intimate, glorious relationship imaginable—whatever it takes.

Don’t let that little truth pass you by as another year, another holiday checked off the list. Don’t merely acknowledge it for a minute as you sit in church this Christmas. Don’t just shrug it off as you glance at another nativity scene.

This is no ordinary, commonplace event intended to be piously observed once a year with a family dinner and gift exchange.

This is a game changer.

A world changer.

A life changer.

Because our Savior entered the world on that very first Christmas day, nothing will ever be the same.

Oh come, let us adore Him.

 

P.S. This post was inspired by the beautiful song Here With Us by Joy Williams. Check it out here!

Listen to the Rain

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Today was another one of those dreary, cold, cloudy days.

Don’t get me wrong– I absolutely love rainy days sprinkled in here and there. They’re so calming. (Especially rainy summer days like the picture.)

But day after day of nothing but gray clouds really gets me down.

The Lord managed to turn something as monotonous as a week of cloudy days into something new and praiseworthy. He is so thoughtful, and His blessings can be found in the littlest things, like an ordinary rain shower.

To see these blessings, I’m learning that I must simply keep my focus on Him. It takes a lifetime to learn to do this in every moment, but there is victory to be celebrated in putting your complete focus on the Lord for even one moment. This was one of those precious, little moments for me.

I had been feeling drowned in worries recently, and He showed me an analogy in the rain that helped me to cast them away, as we are told to do in 1 Peter 5:7. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Read it again. Let those reassuring words soak your being in calm, like they did for me. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Let all your worries melt away, one by one, like raindrops. Allow the soothing lullaby of your worry-raindrops to calm your mind, as they fall to the ground and dissolve away. When you keep your eyes on the worries, they become magnified and engulf you. When you shift your focus back to God, they shrink down to nearly nothing in their proper perspective.

I made a list of every single worry on my mind, no matter how trivial. And I handed them to the Lord. I let each one fall to the ground like a raindrop and melt away into His arms, because He knows exactly how to take care of my problems. He has ample strength to help a weakling like me.

If you are feeling drowned in worry, look at the problems as opportunities to walk on the water— to further demonstrate the Lord’s strength and power in your life. Look at them as a reminder to fully rely on Jesus alone. When you remember this, the worries fall away one by one, and you are filled with an unspeakable peace and joy. Walking with the Lord is such a wonderful journey that gets sweeter every day.

The little blessings, like the fact that we can cast all of our anxiety on the Lord because He cares for us, are woven into every part of our lives if we simply focus on Him. Listen for the Lord in the rain.

Glorifying the Gift-Giver

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It’s that time of year again when we try to focus on what we are thankful for amidst the whirl of turkey and sales, and I am thankful. So, so very thankful. But I’ve been struggling with something– don’t my blessings distract from God’s glory and ultimately make me idolize earthly things?

Don’t all these things take away from the glory that is rightfully God’s?

The Lord answered me, and the answer was no. Not in any way.

The glory of the Lord is so much bigger than all these things! How silly of me to think that something so small like my thankfulness for any earthly thing could somehow drown out the Lord’s magnificent glory.

The truth is that all these little things bring Him more glory

The blessings in themselves are all very good. He delights to give us the desires of our hearts {Psalm 37:4} .

We run into a problem, however, when we take any one blessing and make it the only good thing. This is what happens when we idolize something. We are saying that the object of our idolatry is all we need– the only thing that can satisfy us. This is not true of any earthly thing.

The Lord is the only One deserving of this kind of devotion, and setting anything else in this sacred place in our hearts is absolutely ridiculous.

There are plenty of good things in this life that the Lord delights to give us, His beloved children, to look forward to and enjoy, but they should not be our everything. On top of this, we must praise God for all that He gives us in order to unlock the true blessing of His gifts.

If the Gift-Giver does not receive the glory due Him, the gift will never live up to what He intended it to be.

The real blessing lies in having a mindset of continual praise, which connects us to our Savior and the many spiritual blessings He offers that make material blessings pale in comparison.

Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. {Ephesians 5:19-20}

Happy Thanksgiving! I pray you have a blessed day filled with praising the Lord in your heart for everything.

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