I’m so sorry, my dear blog followers. I’ve been quite sick and weary since Monday and just today got up the strength to make it outside. Due to this, plus a lack of coherence (demonstrated by the fact that I’m pretty sure that I just stared and squinted at one of the girls that I live with when she said hi to me the other day), I’ve been in little condition to be writing. A few fleeting things passes my mind- the blessing of health, how if I lived in another place or at another time- something I’m only being whiny about could be deadly, our responsibility to help others, the wonder of the banana and how it forms the way it does to the texture it holds, the blessing of friendship, but I’d wonder at these things and then promptly fall asleep.

So I’ll leave you with this: marvel at God’s creation around you. I love seeing the little lessons in my world, and most of the time I love sharing those little insights with you. But this week, let’s turn the tables. What have you seen in *your* world that motivates your heart?


Love, Seen.

The Top Three Ways to Distract Marissa During Class/Meetings

(Not in any particular order)

1.)  Show a picture of your baby.  There I go just admiring the adorableness of your child, wondering how it’s changed your life as a professor, what it’s like to be a baby… (You may already be able to tell that I easily go on wondering tangents about people’s lives.)

2.) Tell me something really important or moving right beforehand.  It’s sort of hard to pay attention to what’s being said when you’re trying really hard not to have some kind of outburst, whether it’s giggles or tears.  Giggles I can somewhat manage (when doing a play in middle school, we would calm ourselves with a combination of shouts from an angry director and saying “One, two” (deep breath) “three, four” (deep breath), “five.”  It still works, even without the director!)

3.) Let me catch a glimpse of your wedding band. (See rest of post.)

Now, this isn’t something that people usually present to everyone like a baby picture unless they’ve just been married.  This is something that is far more subtle, and perhaps that’s why it distracts me all the more.  When I see a wedding band, I think (1.) AWW, they’re married! and (2.) Someone loved them, and they loved someone, enough to make a serious commitment, one that they’re willing to present to the rest of the world in somewhat shiny (or tattoed!) physical form.

Sometimes that’s where the little thought process ends, but other times, it bounces back to me.  Like most other girls, I would love for someone to make that commitment to me someday.  But it’s not something that I expect.  God never promised me that I would get married, just as He never promised grad school admission, a sweet and supportive little sister, enough money and free time to jet off to Hawaii whenever I want, opportunities to play a tambourine, or love and friendship from everyone I meet.  Some of those things I have, some of those things I don’t.  He did, however, make other promises.

One is in John 14:27.  “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

And here’s another one, from Romans 8: 1-4, 31-39 (Oh, just read the whole chapter sometime.  It’s wonderful. And though it’s long, try not to gloss over the passage here.  God’s words are far more valuable than mine, which is often why I just hush and let Him say it.): “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit…

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 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? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

   ‘For your sake we face death all day long;
   we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

My God has made a beautiful commitment to me.  Like the nation of Israel was, I’m a faltering mess in keeping mine to Him, but as one of my favorite verses says, I’m pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me.  He took hold of me!  I couldn’t quite decide what to bold or italicize there- that “He took hold of me (why on earth would He want to choose such a mess) or that He took hold of me (He chose me- he sought me out and caught me!).

He made the first move- He told me, and perhaps more importantly, showed me that He was and is incomprehensibly in love with me in a way that always protects, always trusts, always perseveres, and never fails.  While that’s something beautiful and amazing to read and to work towards in our human relationships, I am in a relationship with the only One who can actually do it right now.

So if you catch me staring at someone’s wedding band with a far-off look in my eye, don’t worry.  I’m most likely not wishing it were on my finger or worrying about the relationship.  Even if I am, it’s only a matter of time before my thoughts come back around to a glorious truth that leads me to what’s really going on: I’m falling deeper in love with the greatest Love of my life.

Smell the Dozen

“Valentine’s Day, we’re talkin’ ’bout Valentine’s Day


And smell the dozen.”

This little song comes from one of my favorite Really Real Show episodes from the band Family Force 5.  The guys put on a goofy little show they titled “The Family Force 5 Men’s Meeting for Men That Are Single When It’s Valentine’s Day” and included this song.  After the line “smell the dozen,” audience members shouted out what their dozen was, and it’s inspired me to list my dozen!  So whether or not you think you’ll be getting or giving roses or chocolate this year, I encourage you to join me in thinking of what your dozen from the greatest love you will ever know, Jesus Christ, is.  Here’s mine!

1.) “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1:3-9

2.) I have amazing people in my life who tell me I’m beautiful even when I feel my worst.

3.) My God led me to the school that I am currently a senior at, and I could not be more happy with being here.

4.) There are people that I can pour my heart out to on the days that I’m sad that I don’t have literal roses in a vase on my desk.

5.) This is significantly more superficial, but brownies and cookies, and conversely, strawberries and grapes, exist.  Yum!

6.) Music. ❤

7.) I know some absolutely incredible guys.  They are an inspiration to grow more like Christ and wonderful reminders of how great men can be.

8.) Long-lasting friendships.  I’m so blessed to still be close to my best friends from high school and to have another best friend who has held that position since first or second grade.

9.) “You are precious and honored in My sight, and… I love you.” – Isaiah 43:4a

10.) CAMP.  Campcampcamp.  Working on the Rec Team has been six years of just incredibly amazing.

11.) Sleep.  I’ve gotten to points where the best way to describe it was actually as “delicious.”

12.) My Parakaleo readers!  You all encourage me so much.  The little texts, emails,  and Facebook messages lift me up, and I am so blessed that God can use me in your lives and that blogging like this is even possible.

So whatever is coming up for you next Tuesday, have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and enjoy your dozen! ❤


p.s. To see my Valentine’s Day posts from 2010 and 2011, click the years!

I Love February

I love the month of February for the same reason I’m usually wary about the month of October- both tend to be a centered around a holiday.  And this one is Valentine’s Day!  I’d decided to use this as an excuse to write about love for my four February posts, and got all excited about it.  I’ve been scribbling some things down for months, but due to a very hectic schedule, the first actually thoughtful “love post” will have to come next week.  I’m kind of glad, however, as this allows me the opportunity to do a Scriptural post.  Below are some of the Bible verses through which I define and employ love in my daily life, and thus the eyes through which my love posts are based.  (Don’t worry, it’s not all romantic and mushy-gushy.)

The list isn’t all-inclusive, and some of the passages are rather long, but I encourage you to take a look and consider the significance of each and its context.  I’m so excited for this month to concentrate on love and what it really is. =)

1 John 3:11, 16-20

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another…

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?  Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

Genesis 29:20

So Jacob served seven years to get Rachel, but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her.

Psalm 136

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods.

His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

His love endures forever.

to him who alone does great wonders,
His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens,
His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters,
His love endures forever.
who made the great lights—
His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day,
His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night;
His love endures forever.

to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them
His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm;
His love endures forever.

to him who divided the Red Sea asunder
His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it,
His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea;
His love endures forever.

to him who led his people through the desert,
His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings,
His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings—
His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites
His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan—
His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance,
His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel;
His love endures forever.

to the One who remembered us in our low estate
His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies,
His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of heaven.
His love endures forever.

1 Corinthians 13

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Song of Solomon 8:4

Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you: Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.

Isaiah 54:10

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet My unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor My covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Romans 5:7-8

Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.