Category Archives: My Cup Runs Over

Thoughts on Christianity, sermons, verses, and the overall Christian lifestyle.

Face Painting in the Bathroom (A Romania Story)

As craziness has begun to settle around the Wolff Household, I have finally been able to sit down and process the experiences that I had while in Romania. There are so many stories I could tell about this trip, and this one was probably one of my favorite moments from my time over seas.

The city we spent the most time in is called Serverin. During our second day of ministry, we served at our host missionary’s church: painting rooms in their family home, playing games with kids at the church’s carnival, and attending the evening church service. It had been a very eventful day, including:

*Learning that Logan isn’t the greatest painter ever

*Eating baked Chocolate Banana Boats (the best dessert ever invented)

*Watching Alishia get painted by two very artistic kiddos

*Hearing a mandolin orchestra play worship songs

* Getting to share bible stories with the help of very awesome translators (shout out to Sammy who helped me, even when I said Lazarus raised Jesus from the dead)

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Thanks for translating, Sammy!

After the church service, we got ready to load the bus to head into the city for dinner before going back to our hotel. I ran to the bathroom to change into different clothes, where I saw two girls, Dariah and Ava, washing their faces off. They were big fans of the face paint (and were the two that had painted Alishia). Before I could slip into one of the stalls, Dariah came up to me, holding one of the face painting pallets. Not knowing any English, she pointed to her cheek. I quickly painted a heart, with Ava leaning over my shoulder to see what I was doing. Once I finished my work, I pointed to the mirror and gave her a thumbs-up to get her approval.

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Ava and Dariah

To my slight disappointment, she shook her head. She then pointed to her forehead, nose, chin, and other cheek, and Ava laughed and laughed. One heart was not good enough, no sir! You have to have five to complete the look! As I was finishing my masterpiece, some of my friends went in and out, trying to stifle laughs at the ridiculous sight of me face-painting in a church bathroom, but I was having fun, and so were the girls (even though I really wanted to change my jeans and had to go).

Once Dariah was done, she pulled Ava in front of me, and pointed to all five spots on her face again. I did the same paint job, and afterwords, she ran out of the bathroom, looking for her mother. Dariah stayed behind though, and pointed to my wrist. I have a habit of drawing a little cross on my wrist; it’s a tattoo I want to get someday. She said the word for “Christ” in Romanian, and used some of the green face paint to add a tint of color over it. She then tried to draw a few lines on my palm with the green, but it wasn’t showing up very well. I took my black pen out of my pocket and handed it to her. After redirecting her from drawing on my face, she drew a little snowflake on my wrist, saying “Elsa” once she was done. Frozen creates international connections. I hugged her goodbye and joined my group on the bus, treasuring that special time.

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Ava ran off before I got a good selfie with the two of them 😛

While sitting on the bus on the way to get dinner, I thought about how special kids are. It’s amazing to get to connect with kids, especially in a different country where you can’t even understand their language. It was almost shocking to me how trusting they were of us. They had never met us. They had no idea what our lives were like. They had no reason to love us. But they did. Oh my goodness, these kids knew how to love. It was like how God loves us. We gave God absolutely no reason to love us. In fact, we were His enemy. But because of His amazing love, He sent Jesus to build a bridge for us to be able to live in His perfect love. This trip made me better understand the unconditional love that God has for us, and to be able to see the attribute of God being reflected through the people we met was life changing.

Our team went to try and be a blessing to the people of Romania, but in truth, I feel like they were more of a blessing to us. I’m so thankful for the huge moments that God revealed Himself, and for the little, precious memories that I will keep in my heart forever. And, in case you were wondering, no, I never did get a chance to change my jeans 😛

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My cross, Dariah’s snowflake, and a leftover Batman symbol. Reminders of a great day in Severin 🙂 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

 

Grandma Wolff

It seems fitting to break my six month leave of blogging by talking about my sweet Grandma who, at the time I’m writing this, has spent eight glorious days with Jesus. Though, knowing her, she would rather me talk about my missions trip over talking about her, because that’s just the way she was: always diverting the conversation away from herself and back onto you. I can’t express to you how strange it is that she is gone. Over the past few years, I’ve dealt with a lot of friends and distant family passing on, but nothing has hurt as much as this. But, though there is a tremendous amount of grief that is weighing on my heart, there is a sense of peace at the same time.

I do have to talk about my Romania trip a little bit after all. I had known the Sunday night of our trip (Sunday morning Kansas City time) that both Grandma Wolff and my Great Grandmother weren’t doing well. At our team meeting that night, I asked for prayer for both of these wonderful ladies to be out of pain and peace for my Dad, who was the only son and grandson in town to deal with it all. As I prayed to myself as I lulled off to sleep, I prayed not only for their pain to be relieved, but also that no one would die while I was out of the country.

I felt very selfish praying like this, but this had been my biggest fear before leaving on my trip. A week before we left, our team had it’s final meeting to practice and get all the last minute details. Up until 10:30am that day, I had felt great! I was so excited to travel and see God work. I had had no worries about anything up until that point. But an hour and a half into the meeting while we were sitting in small groups, a spirit of fear that I had never experienced before washed over me. One of the adult leaders was sharing her testimony, and part of it was that her father had died when she was 13 years old. I began to have horrible thoughts about something bad happening to my dad while I was gone, and my thoughts then shifted to thinking about Grandma dying while I was away. After the meeting, I went home and sobbed; I had never been that scared.

Over the next few days, I talked to God and ultimately gave my fear over to Him: if something happened while I was gone, there was nothing I could do about it. God has His own timing. A week after my panicked episode, I had my graduation party, where many friends and family, including Grandma and Grandpa, came to stop by and congratulate me. As I laid in my bunk in Romania, I thought about how I week before, I had hugged her and taken a photo with her. She was gonna be fine; we’d had scares before. I finally drifted off the sleep, still praying for pain to be relieved, but to please Lord,  let me see my Grandma again.

The next morning, the fear that had been crippling to me came true. I woke up to hear one of my team leaders talking quietly to my sweet friend Avery, and I knew something was wrong. When the leader left, I sat up, trying to decide whether to call my mom or just get the news there. I ended up going with the second. I asked my sweet friend Avery, “Who’s gone?” She climbed up to my bunk and told me the news. She held me and together, we cried. Looking back on this moment, Avery reflected a lot of what Grandma’s life’s work was all about. Grandma was the sort of person who hurt with her friends and was there for people in need. In dark times, she was a light to those who needed it.

Calling my parents was hard, because I realized that the first part of my fear had come true. My dad was the one at home helping my Grandpa deal with the passing of his mother. He was hurting deeply, more deeply than I could imagine. After hanging up the phone, the only thing I wanted to do was go home, but I was an ocean away and wasn’t heading home for three more days. Thankfully, Grandma’s loving spirit was reflected in my teammates yet again. As we fellow shipped together, friends were there to cheer me up and distract me from the many negative emotions I was feeling. Romania is a beautiful place, and I knew that Grandma would be mad if I let her ruin my last few days enjoying God’s beautiful creation.

Looking back on the fear that I felt before the trip, I know that the fear wasn’t from God, but I do believe that God used that episode to prepare my heart to let go. A lot of our human experience is about letting go. In fact, Jesus said to be able to follow Him, you are to sell everything, take up your cross and follow His lead. Death for those who know God is wonderful; it’s us left on Earth that deal with the bad part of death. We’re the ones who have to live on while our loved one is living a pain and sadness free eternity. It’s bittersweet: we are left with a hole that can’t be filled by anyone else, but we can find peace in knowing that they are enjoying the presence of Jesus.

While there have been moments of anger that have come to my mind, they have been followed my moments of thankfulness. The thoughts of “I wish I had talked to her longer; hugged her more; spent just a few more minutes with her” are followed by thoughts of joyful memories that help relieve the heartache. I am thankful for a God who shares in out pain. It’s okay to be angry and sad; Jesus had those emotions too. But I have comfort in the fact that Jesus is also the giver of joy and will lift us up out of our darkest moments. While I will never understand the will of God, I know that He had me where I was and where she was for a specific purpose. I don’t need to know all the details because He’s already got the rest of them figured out (though, there are times I want to know those details, in which cases, God is ever patient with me).

Susan Wolff’s life shaped the lives of my Dad, my Mom, my brother, aunts, uncles, great aunts, great uncles, cousins, teachers, thousands of students, church goers, Nebraska Furniture Mart humans, friends from missions trips, and me. It’s not too often that you meet a woman like her. A word that was said a lot at her funeral was “legacy”, which, man, she has a great one. It is the job now of us left here to complete our own races to carry on the Christ like love that Grandma had for others. Knowing Susan Wolff as a Grandma was one of the greatest gifts God could have given to me, and I pray everyday to live a life like hers.

 

Philippians 1:20-21

I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.

 

Until Next Time,

 

Abby

 

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Below, I have added the blurb I shared at her funeral.

 

How does one begin to describe the life of Susan Wolff? Some called her a friend, a sister, or Mom, but I had the great honor of calling her “Grandma”. In fact, I was the first to call her Grandma. From birth to my college graduation, Grandma was there as a beacon of light that couldn’t be replaced by anyone else. Over the past 18 years, I was influenced by her many talents, her strength, and most importantly, her Godly personality.

Grandma was one of the most giving people you could ever meet. As I was growing up, if I expressed interest in something, she found a way to help me succeed in it. When I decided that I wanted to be a writer, she gave me my first laptop, which I wrote dozens of stories on. She also gave her time, going to see almost all of my musical theatre productions and even taking me to see the Broadway tour of War Horse for my birthday. Between the seven “Wolff Pups”, she made sure to have special moments that we would remember for years to come. If there was a way for her to give, she would do it with a joyful heart.

Photography was one of Grandma’s favorite things. At any family gathering or event, you could bet that she had a camera in her hands. Over the years, I have received many mini digital cameras from her, and it was always a thrill to get to use Grandma’s Big Fancy Camera. The love for photos that Grandma inspired was passed down to her daughter-in-law, my mom Rachel, who in turn passed it along to me. As I study photography in college, I can’t help but remember the times when Grandma handed her camera off to my 13-year-old self to let me start exploring the fun she experienced behind the lens. It’s a joy to capture memories, and Grandma was always good at making sure those moments got caught.

The most important thing that Grandma passed along to me was her Christian heritage. As far back as I can remember, I can hear Grandma singing praises as she drove down the highway or bustled around the kitchen. Man, she loved to sing. I know that she has to have been doing it much longer than I’ve been on this Earth, because my dad, Chad, does the same thing. Every Christmas, she would have all the kids sit down and read the story of Jesus’s birth, and every year without fail, she would say, “And that was only the beginning.” Her passion for mission work inspired me to pursue a life that is a light to others, whether stateside or in Romania. Her love for Jesus was what fueled her strength to battle her sickness and encourage others to live life to the fullest. I’ve yet to find someone who loved Jesus more than Grandma.

There are thousands of other memories that I could share about my Grandma, some including precious stuffed dog Pepper when I was a baby, matching Oreos in the hospital while waiting for my brother to be born, playing Veggie tales games on her school computers, waving at her in the stands as I got ready to graduate, and the many, many Silver Dollar City trips. But nothing is more important than the Godly legacy she has left her on Earth that I and everyone who was touched by her life have the privilege of carrying on. I feel very blessed to be one of the select few that has the gift of calling Susan Wolff their Grandma. I hope to live a life like hers as I grow in my friendship with Christ in the time that God has set out for me.  I know for a fact that if it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

Live Now

You are here for a purpose. A really important purpose, I might add. You were born at a certain time in a certain place into certain circumstances that have brought you to where you are today. While it might not seem like it now, your life so essential. It might not be in a huge, top new story kind of way, but you have a very specific mission: to live the life that was given to you to the fullest.

 

Often times, we kind of just coast through life. We do everything just well enough to get by. We hang out with people we love, but don’t really invest in saying hello to the person sitting next to us in math class. We come home everyday after work and binge Netflix for hours at a time to unwind from the day.

 

What if we truly lived. What if we got out of our comfort zones? What if we went the extra mile? What if we talked to that person sitting next to us? What if, instead of sitting around, we got up and did something great?

 

I’m preaching to myself more than anything. I’m part of a group called HYPE, and we’re studying a book called Do Hard Things. This is a book I’ve read three different times, and every time I read it, I get encouraged to make big changes in my life. While big changes can be really great, little changes can go a long way to living life more fully. Recently, I’ve made a conscious effort to try and smile at people while walking around campus instead of glancing away or staring down at my phone. Let me tell you, that’s harder than doing a show for 500 strangers, but it’s something that has become a habit and is becoming a lot easier to do.

 

Life is too short and too fragile to live safely. Pushing past comfort zones is the biggest step you can take to living out the life that you were created to live. Every person is so important, and by making the choice to live presently can make a huge impact in someone else’s life. Don’t let disastrous circumstances make you come to the realization that you only have so much time on this Earth. Do everything you do to the very best of your abilities. Love others as though you are the only person that will ever show them that they are valued. Spend less time wasting time. Live now. 

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

Abby

In the Midst of Pain…

The past month or so has been full of reminders how fragile yet resilient human beings can be. A local police officer/former Marine from our church getting into a horrible motorcycle accident; a boy I’ve known for years is currently paralyzed from wreck and is getting ready to start rehab; as I write this, I’m sitting in my uncle’s hospital room, who is recovering from a heart attack. 

A few years ago, I would have been angry with God for all the pain that was happening to people in my life. How do I know this? Because I’ve been angry with God about pain before. When my friend Houston died, that was hard for a ton of people, and there was a period of time when I was very mad at God. I hated that my friends were in pain, and it a very tough patch of work through.  

 I feel that Houston entering into Heaven though made me want to grow a better relationship with God. While it was hard for the first month or so, the gap in my life was able to be filled by spending time getting to know my Heavenly Father. It’s not a one way street; being a Christian means that you have a relationship with Jesus. In any relationship, it’s a give and take. Imagine if a friend you loved to the moon and back only asked you for stuff. They never asked how you were doing or wanted to get to know you. We as humans would probably drop that friend after a while. 

Often times, that’s how we are with God. We ask for His blessings and for Him to answer our prayers instead of trying to get to know Him. It can be a hard road, believe me. It takes effort, but all the greatest relationships take a lot of effort. 

In the midst of pain, I feel better equipped to be content in hard situations because I better understand the God who is in control of everything. There’s still so much I need to learn, but I’m so thankful that my God is the God who wants to a thriving friendship with me. As I pray for the people who are hurting, I am able to pray with confidence that God is not only watching over us, but is working through us. 

Keep Nate, Cayden and Corey in your prayers as they all work through their medical battles. Through it all, God is good. 
Until Next Time, 

Abby

Two Years

There are days were it just feels like yesterday when I was sitting at the kitchen table playing Jenga after dinner when my mom got the phone call. That night, some of my CYT family came over to my home to just be together as we tried to process the unimaginable. As I went to school that week, I would wander around campus, numb, not knowing what to do with myself as I tried to understand what had happened. In all honesty, I was mad at God. I was mad that He had taken Houston St. John off of this earth. I was mad that I would never get to see such a wonderful person again, and I was mad that my family was so devastated.

But oh, God is so good.

Through the devastation of losing Houston, CYT Kansas City banded together like nothing I have ever seen. People who had issues with each other forgave each other. Every hug was so meaningful. We wiped each other’s tears away and we loved each other like we never had before. As we worked through the pain, God worked through us.

A day hasn’t gone by where Houston hasn’t crossed my mind, and I couldn’t be more thankful that God let me have such an amazing person come into my life, even if it was for a short time. Houston was a prime example of what it means to really love people. He was one of the most, if not the most, talented human beings I have ever met, yet he was also one of the most humble. He didn’t let his talents get in the way of being a friend to everyone he came into contact with. He would never deny a hug, and would tell people “I love you” so easily. You don’t meet too many people like this, especially in high school. Houston didn’t waste any time; he was always working to become a better performer, but he was also working to spread as much joy to others as possible.

In the midst of heart break, God refined so many spirits. There are so many people who now strive to be the kind of person that Houston was on earth, and CYT KC has been shaped for the better because of it. As you go about your day, remember that you don’t know how much time you have left to love other people. God gave us the ability to love each other and share the grace that He has given to us. Life is a vapor, so view every day as an opportunity to spread love to everyone around you. It’s something that Houston was extremely good at 🙂

We miss you so much Houston, but thank you for helping us to better understand what it means to live life to the fullest.

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Until Next Time,

Abby

Philippians 4:13 For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. 

Be a Girl Worth Fighting For

Over the past year, I have learned a lot about myself. Many doors have closed, but so many new ones have opened, and I’ve started to understand who I am. Finding my identity in the right things has been a long journey, but through this process of refinement, I feel that going through some really tough times has been the best thing that could have happened to me.

I recently had the honor of playing the role of Mulan, which made me start to think more about the young woman I want to be. There is a song in the show called, “A Girl Worth Fighting For,” when the soldiers are singing about the kind of girl they want to fight for as they march off to war. The things they sing about are very superficial; they want girls who have good looks, will fawn over their battle scars, and cook a good meal. The fellas don’t really care about girls who have a brain or speak their mind. In our society, girls are often told that looks are the most important thing and that their value is found in what others say. Well, this isn’t the case. To be a girl who is worth fighting for, there are a few qualities that the world will just brush aside that you need to know.

Be a Girl Who is Kind

Make people wonder how  you keep smiling. People are going to hurt you. That’s what people do, but people also have the potential to overcome hurt for the better. There are going to be times when it is hard to be kind, but in the long run, being kind is one of the most attractive qualities that you can have. Keep your chin up, Princess. It’s gonna be worth it in the end that you didn’t spread that rumor or that you don’t retaliate with a hurtful comment.

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Be a Girl Who Doesn’t Compromise

Being strong means standing firm in what you believe. Set high standards for yourself, and don’t let anyone make you compromise. It’s so easy to let yourself slip up and start bending. If you ever find yourself saying, “Okay, maybe just this once,” that’s a giant red flag telling you to get out of that situation. You are entitled to your beliefs and your boundaries; don’t let anyone take that away from you.

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Be a Girl Who is Herself

It’s really easy to want to change parts of yourself to fit in with the crowd. Everyone wants to be liked by everyone else. But here’s the harsh reality: Not everyone is gonna like you, and that’s okay. Granted, there are things that you might want to work on, like being a better listener or keeping your space tidy, but don’t feel like you need to hide the things that make you You. If you love baseball, you rock that jersey. If you like getting dressed up, by all means, you work those high heels. If you’re quiet, don’t feel like you have to shout and if you’re loud, use that to make other people laugh or feel good about themselves. God has given you specific qualities for a special purpose; don’t feel like you have to change yourself just to get that boy’s attention.

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Be a Girl Who Waits

This one is super difficult. You’re scrolling through your Facebook and see all your friends out with their boyfriends or girls you grew up with getting engaged, and you’re thinking, “When am I gonna get that?” Or you might even already be in a relationship, but you hear friends talk about their wild nights with their significant other or run across a magazine that tells you all the tricks and tips to “having a good time.” It’s a battle to wait. I’ll be the first to say that sometimes I get a little bummed out seeing all the cutesy couple pictures as I scroll through my Instagram. But would I rather have a so-so boy now, or an amazing man later? Waiting can be really hard, but it’s so much better than having regrets.

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Be a Girl Who Knows Her Value

Everyone is valuable, and sadly, so many girls don’t understand the concept of being valued. But oh my goodness, you are so precious and wonderfully made. You were hand-crafted by a Creator who is crazy about you, who designed your laugh, picked the color of your eyes, and placed you in this time and place to live an extraordinary life. It’s up to you to realize this for yourself. Those mean girls or dumb boys don’t have any right to assign your value, so don’t let anyone sway the way you view yourself. You are strong, you are beautiful, and you are so loved. This is something that will always be a constant battle, and there are going to be times that you feel that you are utterly worthless. When times like this hit, remember that the God who knitted you together died so that He could spend an eternity with you.

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As I continue to grow up in challenging times, it is wonderful to get reminders of who I am as a child of the King. There are always gonna be hard days, but during those rough times, I’m thankful to know that the One who designed me thinks of me as not only a Girl Worth Fighting For, but Dying For!

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

Psalm 139:14

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Until Next Time,

Abby

Lord, Carry Me

Overall, life is wonderful right now. Compared to where I was at a year ago, it’s like I’m a whole different person. I have changed and grown and learned so much in this past year, and through ups and downs, I have come out stronger.

The last few days though, I have found myself constantly whispering, “Lord, please carry me.” Juggling school, work, Mulan and my spiritual life has been a struggle this past week especially. The biggest struggle has been with my math class; trying to figure out what the heck is going on in that 90 minutes has been a little rough the past five weeks. On top of that, tests freak me out. To put it this way, I would rather write a 15 page research paper than take a 15 question test, (and I know how long is takes to write 15 pages).

While I’ve been creating the habit of getting in my bible every morning, I’ve found it a lot easier to just talk to God. Through the day, I find myself thanking Him for little blessings, and asking for little  boosts of energy to get through the tasks at hand. It’s amazing how much He communicates with us through little whispers throughout day, whether it’s sending someone to say just the right thing or it’s finding 50 cents on the ground to help you pay for another cup of coffee. I’m learning more and more that God really is always there,we just have to put in the effort of building a relationship. And what’s really awesome is that He wants that relationship from all of us. He’s always ready to lift us up and carry us through situations in life, because He knows that we can’t make it through all alone. He’s already doing His part; we’re the ones who need to invest in growing a friendship with Him.

As I type, a pile of homework is sitting in a stack right next to me, waiting to be completed, and I am again finding myself pleading with God to carry me through my final study time before the day is over. I am so thankful that my God is a God that is alive and active in my life, and that He is the one that will never, ever, ever leave me hanging 🙂

I hope to be back to regular blogging soon! Stay tuned for new updates 😀

Until next time,

Abby

Redoing Homework

I am now in full swing at school, which means homework. It’s not super terrible stuff, but my literature class takes a little bit more time than other classes have in the past. So, today, I did my homework in the office of the art lab, planning to print it out there so that I wouldn’t have to worry about it at home. Well, due to the the annoying fact that school computers are the not the most reliable machines to store homework on, when I went to the library to print it out, the file was gone. Nowhere to be found, even though I saved it three times. Needless to say, I was a little less than thrilled.

Obviously, there’s a chance that I made a mistake when I was trying to save the file, but this isn’t the first time this has happened to me at school. Also,saving files is a habit now. I’ve been doing it since elementary school. It’s been engraved into my brain for the last ten years how to save a Word document, so I don’t know how I screwed it up on the computer at my college. Due to the file running away at school, I had to come home and redo the work, which was frustrating, since I had spent an hour and a half at school getting it done the first time. It’s done and printed out, ready for my class tomorrow morning, but as I reflect on the day, I have come to some conclusions.

My day was pretty swell up until 4:30 when the fiasco with my homework happened. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I have two art classes, and it’s wonderful. I had worked on two projects that day in Design and Painting, and had gotten some really great feedback from my teachers.

After Paris

“After Paris” My line project for Design Project

Monocromatic Painting WIP

“Peach and Flower Still Life” WIP of my first oil painting

I let lost homework almost ruin my entire day. Something that took me only 30 minutes to redo almost messed up six hours of awesome studio time and meeting new people. Often times, I let little things screw up the good things that are going on in my life, and that’s something I’m working hard to fix.

Sometimes, things go wrong. It’s inevitable. But the way that we choose to handle those situations is up to us. God doesn’t ever give us anything that we can’t handle, and through the sucky times in life, He is always there to carry us through them. He cares about every part of our lives, and He wants to helps us through our trails, even if they are smaller ones, like having to redo homework. He doesn’t get mad when we get upset, in fact, those are the times when we can draw closer to Him.

So, what have I learned from today?

  1. I need to put a flash drive on my lanyard and use it all the time.
  2. I need to take my laptop with me to school to avoid the school PCs.
  3. Having to redo homework is not the end of the world (even though it really sucks)

Until next time,

Abby

Isaiah 41:10: Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you in my righteous right hand.

A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes

Everyone has dreams and goals. Some are smaller, like learning to juggle or beating a really tough level on a video game. Others are larger, like finishing college with honors or back packing through Europe for a summer. Dreams are awesome, and goals drive us to work harder to achieve them. Even though they may seem like something that we could never reach, we still have them in our heads, and imagine what it would be like if they really came true.

Meet Suz.

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I’ve known Suz for about six years now, and she has come to be the big sister I never had. She’s one of those people that can light up a room and makes you feel special. At the age of 16, she started college at a school three hours away from home after being homeschooled her whole life. She has gone on a mission trip to Japan, ministering through musical theater, something that she has been doing for years, someday wants to return. Suz is one of the most godly women I have ever met, and one of the most driven people I know. She is also one of the biggest Disney Nerds I have ever met.

Tomorrow, she will be on her way to the Disney College Program in Orlando to work as a Character Actor at Disney World. Working for Disney has been one of Suz’s dreams for a very long time, and now, she’s getting to live out that dream. But she wouldn’t have gotten to start this adventure if she hadn’t done some work to get there. She had to have good grades throughout college, go through a long application process, and then attend an eight hour audition to be a character. Plus, she has to pack up her life and move across the country and not come home until January.

Dreams are great, but dreams don’t come true just by wishing. Most of the time, you have to work hard to reach them(just ask Princess Tiana). Princess-and-the-frog-disneyscreencaps.com-799

But hard work shouldn’t scare you off from what you want to do, especially when you feel that it is your calling. A lot of the times, it’s going to be rough getting to the finish line, but you shouldn’t give up on your dreams just because it’s too hard, or it’s not “practical”. God didn’t make us to be lazy and just float through life; He made us to thrive.

cinderella1With anything you do, use it to serve God and others. You were made for incredible things, so don’t be afraid to chase after your dreams. It may take a lot of work, and it may take longer than you want it too, but the end game will be worth it. It’s hard to see her leave, but I am so happy that my friend is getting to do what she’s wanted to do for such a long time. Suz, I wish you the best as you travel to Disney World and start this new phase in your life, and I can’t wait to see what you do down there. Thanks for being such a great role model and being the sister I always wanted 🙂

Until next time,

Abby

Check out Suz’s youtube channel with video updates about her time in Orlando! https://www.youtube.com/user/SuzMelton

#GodspellFeels

Almost positive that my director is gonna tell me to go to bed once he sees this. I apologize in advance for any confusing sentences as I am running on a slap-happy burst of energy.

Tonight was our final rehearsal of Godspell before we start our weekend run. It’s incredible how  far we’ve come in the past two months. For those of you who don’t know, Godspell is basically Matthew 5-7, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. (Go give it a read, it’s good stuff.) When I first saw the cast list for this show I was over the moon. I was in this show when I was 13 and was on stage for about 25 minutes of the entire show, while this time around, I am on the stage for about 95% of the show. It’s such a huge transition from being in kid’s chorus to being one of the disciples; there was a lot more pressure because all of us have a bunch of lines that can sometimes fly right out of our heads when we need them the most. But I don’t think I’ve ever felt this blessed.

When the rehearsal process started, I began praying that God would open my eyes to something bigger. I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was about three, and I’ve always grown up in a family that LOVES Him, so my faith sometimes feels mediocre. Don’t get me wrong, my faith is my own, but it often times felt so routine. It didn’t really hit me until last night (our Tuesday rehearsal) what was going through the hearts of the disciples while they were following Jesus 2,000 years ago.

My character (as most of my fellow cast mates would agree) is one of, if not the youngest disciple out of the nine of us. Now, imagine if you are a young child, and an extraordinary person comes who has all the answers that you’ve been looking for. He’s charismatic, he’s smart, and he’s zealous about his cause. You think that he’s the King that you’ve all been waiting for for many generations. If he hand picked you to follow him, it would be one of the most incredible things that had ever happened to you. But then, after a long time of following him, he is killed right in front of you: your King is dead. It’s confusing and heart-breaking and infuriating all at once. BUT THEN HE RISES FROM THE DEAD. Being a disciple is an emotionally roller coaster!

These feelings all really clicked for me completely tonight as we ran the show. I often try to be at Wes’s (the guy who plays Jesus) heels on stage, trying to soak in all the words he says. You know those little kids that always follow around that really cool big kid? Yeah, that’s me. It’s heart breaking when he “dies” in the second act of the show. Hearing my fellow cast mates scream and cry pulls at my heart, and I finally am starting to understand what the 11 guys who followed Him for 3 years felt like when their leader was brutally murdered. But oh man, when He rose again, they must have been jumping for days. I am so thankful that I am starting to be able to really empathize with one of the first followers of Christ, because in real life, I really am one. Anyone who is a believer in Him is a disciple, and as a disciple, we are called to proclaim His glory to the world.

I will forever be thankful that I got the opportunity to play this part. It’s been wonderful to act with some really awesome people. Big shout outs to my fellow disciples: Maggie, Hillary, Olivia, Regan, Ryan, Aaron, Caleb and Zach (Judas) and Wes (Jesus) who have been so much fun to work with. To the directing staff, thank you for leading us through the last few months and making us look great. To the parents, holy cow, you are rock stars and we could never do something like this without you. But most importantly, I want to thank God for opening my eyes to a deeper part of my faith in Jesus. The biggest goal of this show is not to always be in the front and in the spotlight; it’s to make people love Jesus more, and that goal as most definitely been achieved in me. My cup truly does run over with His many blessings. I hope that you’ll have the opportunity to come out and see it this weekend! You won’t regret it 🙂

Until next time,

Abby