Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Psalm 107:1
I love Thanksgiving. I think it's such a wonderful holiday of friends, family, food, and (if you do it right) remembering the goodness of the Lord and what He's done for us throughout the year! Especially as I think over this last month, I have SO MUCH to be thankful for in my life. So in the spirit of giving thanks, these are some of the cool things that happened this month and why I'm thankful for them.
I preached my last sermon of the semester towards the beginning of November. Preaching is one of those things that has been a major growing area in my life! I love the learning that goes into preparing for a sermon. I love getting the opportunity for the Lord to speak through me to our community. I love the way the Lord speaks directly to my heart as I prepare and study His word in depth.
But it's definitely not an easy task preparing for a sermon! It's been a growing experience to know how much time I need to set aside to prepare and read before writing anything. Then figuring out what needs to be said to our community and THEN sitting down and writing how I want to convey that information to them.
I'm really thankful for this opportunity to grow as a leader, scholar, pastor, and teacher. It's been so wonderful to learn how to think through the topics I've been assigned to preach, get advice and talk to older, wiser people about those topics, and to take away personal growth through preparing for others.
So Austin and I moved at the beginning of this month to a sweet two bedroom apartment in Denton. I'm thankful for this change for a number of reasons! One, we had so many wonderful friends step up and help us move! They were so kind, encouraging and helpful on a day that could have been a stressful disaster if it had been just me and Austin.
Two, this apartment has a much bigger living room. This is awesome because Austin and I love hosting people, but with the old apartment, any more than two extra people started feeling quite cramped. Just a couple of weeks ago, we were able to have a burger night with two sets of couple friends, one small child and an extra dog...and we all had room to enjoy each others' company!
Three, it has space for our full-sized washer and dryer!!! Wooooo! Never did I think I would be SO excited about doing laundry. But as I write this, I have a load in the wash AND I'm sitting on my own couch. That is a huge blessing that I'm thankful for!
These might seem like weird, insignificant things, but I'm incredibly excited for what having a spare room and decent sized living room means for our ministry of hospitality. It's so rare to be invited into someone's home these days, especially in a college town! This is a way that Austin and I can be a blessing to our friends, the students we work with, our neighbors, and anyone else the Lord brings into our lives.
|Lake de Gray, Arkansas|
The next week after moving, we celebrated our anniversary! Let it be known to all: I am incredibly thankful for Austin Freeman! It's amazing to me that it's already been one year. Most of the time it feels like time went by so fast!
I was able to take off a Friday and we spent the weekend at Lake de Gray, Arkansas. We had the best time! I loved getting to spend a whole weekend with Austin in a beautiful place without a to-do list or an agenda. For the most part, we didn't really do anything. We went on a lot of walks...we laid on blankets in the sun playing Bananagrams and reading...we ate the cake from our wedding, which had been frozen for a year! It was delicious!
|Can you spot the eagle?|
On Saturday, we went on a bald eagle watch! We got in a boat and cruised up and down the shore of Lake de Gray with a bunch of elderly, pretty serious bird watchers (which Austin and I want to be just like when we grow up!). We got to see three fully grown eagles and four immature eagles. Did you know it takes four to five years before they gain their white head and are no longer considered immature? SO interesting.
There are few things that turn my mind to the Lord and remind me of how incredibly creative He is the way that nature does. It reminds me of what Romans 1:20 says: "For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse." I'm thankful that He shows Himself in that way and that I can enjoy what He's made.
Austin and I got back in town just in time for me to head off to Pizza Theology! This is one of my favorite semesterly events that we do. The topic this year was "How to Think Like a Christian," which in our day and age is quite the tricky thing to accomplish!
If you would like to listen to the audio for this topic, you can click HERE.
One of the reasons I really loved that we talked about this subject was because I have one corefa (student leader) that I meet with weekly that is in the process of deciding what she thinks about different topics and how she's going to interact with others regarding these topics. She's thinking through all of the current events, like ISIS, the Syrian refugees, and the upcoming presidential election. She wants so badly to have thoughts and opinions about these things that are in line with what would please God, and she is doing a stellar job of seeking that out in her life! I feel like this year's Pizza Theology really met her in an important place and will be a tool that she will use the rest of her life.
I hope that other students, even the adults and staff, that attended this year were as impacted as she was. I'm thankful for opportunities to learn and explore how to approach some of these hard things that we're all smack in the middle of right now. I'm thankful that students are seeking Jesus instead of what our world tells them to think about these things. And I'm thankful that God has given us tools and equipped us to be able to "think like a Christian!"
Gosh, what a fun Thanksgiving this was! Moriah and Tye came from California and my Dad drove up from Midland. I miss my family a lot, but getting these small bits of time with the different ones of them is wonderful! I'm so thankful for several kinds of family...biological, marital, friends, church and more! Deep and healthy relationships truly are a gift from God.
My Ministry Partners
I really hope you all understand what a blessing you are to me and how thankful I am for each of you. Without you guys, I wouldn't get to be on campus with our students at the University of North Texas. I know the Word of God would still be going out, but I wouldn't get to be as much of a part of that as I am right now and that is a HUGE honor.
I'm so thankful for people who care about college students enough to be excited about giving financially and spending time in prayer for them. Thank you for all that you do.