Category Archives: Hannah life.

The World Needs Your Wounds.

There’s an aspect of Jesus’ death, crucifixion, and resurrection that struck me just now. Most of you will likely look at your screen while reading this and think to yourself, “Um… duh. Have you really not recognized that until now?” It’s fine, do it. I’ve accepted that I’m slower than a herd of turtles sometimes. :)

There’s an element to Jesus’ crucifixion and even resurrection that’s convicting for me as someone who claims to be a disciple..

His open wounds were on display for all to see.

Not only were his wounds on display, but he willingly put his scars on display for others to see after he rose from the dead, too. I can’t imagine that having an entire crowd looking on your naked shame, pain, and death is a comfortable situation. Sometimes swallowing your pride and sharing your story are necessary — not for you, but for those who need to hear the story and see the scars. Does this mean we share with everyone around us or post it on social media for the whole world to see? No. Not at all. But does it mean that we get a free pass on shoving it down, not dealing with it, and putting on a happy face as we walk into church all spiffy and tell everyone we’re just dandy? No. Not at all.

Maybe it’s the kid down the street who you saw running out of the house while his mom and dad screamed at each other at the top of their lungs. You remember running to hide when you were his age, too.
Maybe it’s the woman in church who walked in smiling at everyone, but you saw her falling apart during worship. You’ve been there. You get that heartache.
Maybe it’s the coworker who came in exhausted, yet again, because the anxiety they wrestle with keeps them awake. You know what it’s like to feel like a monster is eating you alive.
Maybe it’s the guy whose bloodshot eyes tell you everything about how Saturday night went. You remember the days of showing up for church hungover, hoping and praying no one would notice.
Maybe it’s the wife who showed up to church without her husband again, and you see her watching other couples with a tear in her eye. You’ve prayed the same prayers you know she’s praying now. You still are.
Maybe it’s the woman who had the kiddo outside of marriage who sinks into the corner in the back, telling herself she doesn’t fit in here. You remember what it was like to be young and feeling judged by your choices.
Maybe it’s the guy you know who just isn’t himself anymore because life has hardened him quite a bit over these last few years. You understand that bitterness all too well.
Maybe it’s the kid that comes home with your kiddo all a mess because Mom and Dad are getting divorced, and you’ve been there, done that.
Maybe it’s the friend whose marriage is falling apart. Maybe they’re trying to make it work, but right now there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, and you remember that feeling all too well.

Someone needs your story.

I received a message last night that made me heave one of those shuddering sighs. You know, the type you sigh when you’re fighting back tears of thankfulness while still walking through pain all at the same time? This person was thanking me for my honesty and openness about some pain and hurt that I’m dealing with and trying to allow Jesus to use to teach me. Being willing to expose a wound is hard, but we don’t do it for the sake of exposing the wound. We do it for the sake of helping others whose wounds are still bleeding, but can’t be seen because they’re still hiding them. We do it because Jesus openly –and literally– exposed his wounds and his scars. He told Thomas to place his hands where the holes were from the nails and believe. For me personally, God has graciously removed any amount of pride I had a week ago so I can get on here and tell you what he’s throwing at me left and right. I’m not kidding, you guys. If you forced me to stand on a stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people and told me to ‘fess up to the filth of the sins I’ve committed throughout the course of my life, I’d do it without arguing you or even thinking twice. Not because I want to, but because I’m so sick of Satan using shame to keep people in hiding. 

I look at recent events and I realize that I was ashamed of needing and wanting something on a spiritual level simply because someone didn’t understand it. Was it anyone’s fault? By no means. But in my shame, I turned elsewhere. In the pain of feeling like I was an idiot for wanting something, I shut down. Y’all, we gotta start being honest about who we are, what it is that’s hurting, and what we need to not implode.

Some of us are lucky to have scars. I use the word “lucky” because scars don’t hurt, right? They’ve healed. Open wounds hurt. They’re still bleeding. They need to be fixed. Scars have already healed. Don’t get me wrong: there’s still a mark. The scar means that there was once an injury, and it might have been a very serious one. But the scar means things have healed as best as they could. Are painful memories still there? Absolutely. Sometimes people need to see the scars so they know there’s hope for healing. Some people still have open wounds, or stitches, or even painful scabs that they keep ripping open. They need to know that eventually those wounds will heal and will become scars.

It’s difficult. Sharing your screw-ups, your hangups, your hurts, your wounds, your scars – all of it. It’s never easy, but it’s worth it. Someone once told me that anything worth having or doing isn’t easy.

Press on,


Your Fear Will Eventually Lead You Toward Sin

“Do not fear…” Isaiah 43:1
Before I start this, I should say that I’m referring to fear in this blog as the fear that holds us back and keeps us from acting as we should. I’m not referring to temporary fear that’s necessary for survival, holy fear of the Lord, or anything that fear can be used for positively. I’m talking about the fear that keeps us quiet.
The words “do not fear” show up time and time again in Scripture. What’s your first thought when you read those words? This is a command, not a suggestion. God never says, “Hey, if you can find it in yourself to not have fear here, that would be great.” It’s always said as a command.
Few people will believe this, but a lot of Hannah has lived in a lot of fear. There was a moment when I was in college where I, without any question in my soul or head at all, heard God speak. I was numb to a lot and kept asking, “What is holding me back? What am I missing here?” I was at the end of my robe one evening when I prayed this, and He shattered me with his response: “Fear. Fear is what keeps you from Me.”
I broke in two. He was right.
Think about the sins you’ve struggled with. How many of them have had fear attached to them in some form?
What are you trying to drown out? What are you afraid of letting go of or dealing with? What is the pain that you’re avoiding that needs to be dealt with?
How secure are you in your relationship/marriage? What are you trying to drown out? What are you trying to escape from? What are you not wanting to deal with?
Cheat on a spouse?
What were you afraid to discuss? What did you not want to bring up in fear that it would lead to an argument? What were you afraid of dealing with, so instead you turned to an easy way to cope? And by cope, I mean heap more pain on pain.
What are you bulking up for? What do you need to let go of? What are you reliving over and over in your mind, afraid to actually get it out in the open and talk it through with someone?
Overspending/Financial issues?
What situation brought the pain on for you to want to numb the pain with a credit card?
This one is quite a bit like alcohol. What are you trying to numb? What are you upset about that you aren’t dealing with?
Sleeping around?
Why are you afraid of the intimacy within a monogamous relationship? Why not let someone see who you are beneath the surface?
I get it. It’s hard to admit to a lot of this. It’s easy to roll your eyes and write it off. I get it because I’ve lived it. Once you make the same mistake more than once, then you go into hiding. If the fear wasn’t there already, now it is because you have something you have to ‘fess up to. Y’all, fear, when not dealt with, will consume you and shove you into sin. It has that kind of power.
If you haven’t picked up on it, I am in a SEASON right now. It’s a season of hurt, regret, brokenness, and learning because I was swallowing a lot of fear, avoiding doing some difficult things, and not properly dealing with frustration. I shut down. I made decisions that I swore I never would, and it hurt people. The thing is, what I did isn’t the root problem: It was the symptom. The problem(s) happened long before bad choices.
But I told myself, Jesus, friends, and dearly loved ones that I would not implode this time. I have a history of when things get stormy, in FEAR and pain, I shut down and start making ridiculous decisions. But this time God has graciously blessed me with being able to finally see the roots behind all of it. I see how and where fear has hindered me and how it has opened the door for sin to creep in.
When we close the door on fear, we open to door to dealing with problems. Essentially, we close the door on what’s easy and yields no satisfaction, and we open the door to what could be the most difficult thing we’ve ever had to do, but satisfaction in knowing we did the right thing.
Guys, I would never wish the heartache and the pain I’ve felt recently on my worst enemy. It’s a nightmare. It messes with your thinking, it messes with your health (I’ve lost 9 pounds since Tuesday. I’ve eaten one meal that I threw up 15 minutes later), it messes with all of you. But I prayed a prayer this week that I’ve never prayed in my life: “Use the hurt. Use the pain for good. I don’t want it to go to waste this time.”
We can either use our pain for good or we can allow it to consume us to the point where we bring more pain on ourselves. My prayers are rawer (more raw?) than they’ve ever been, and I find myself praying for people who are currently furious with me in a deeper way than I ever have. I spent months trying to figure out how to best pray for someone very dear to me. Yes, I offered the “typical” prayers, but I kept praying and asking God to show me how to best pray for this person. I never seemed to receive an answer…until this week. I’ve had more joy praying for this person than I’ve ever had before. I’ve prayed more fervently and passionately than I ever have because — HALLELUJAH — Jesus answers prayer. He might answer them at the most unfathomable times using the most difficult circumstances, but He answers them.
I’m not thankful for my sin, my fear that I have to fight through, my pain, and my crazy, but I AM thankful that He’s using it to teach me and not let it go to waste.
If you’re struggling with fear, read through Isaiah 43 and 44 … or the rest of the Bible. :)
Press on,

I’m moving to Virginia!

Since I’ve known since January, I figure it’s time I announce this. :) That picture you see is in the choir room at a school tucked away in the mountains in Virginia. So….

I’m moving to Grundy, Virginia to work at Mountain Mission School!

For those of you familiar with MMS, you know that this is such a unique opportunity – one that still makes me ask God, “Are you totally sure you have the right person for this?!” I’ll be teaching choir and living with the high school girls. For those unfamiliar with the school, the staff is full time. Like, full time: The staff members are teachers, counselors, mentors, shoulders to cry on, cheerleaders, etc – and I think those are just the roles they play before 10 AM. :) Life is lived day in and day out with these kiddos. It’s a mission of the neatest kind. Kids from 18 months through 20 years old are living and being raised to know Jesus at Grundy. I’ll be moving on June 29.

Common questions I’ve been asked recently:

Are you excited?

Yes, I’m excited, albeit completely terrified. I’ll be excited once the stress of the move is over and I figure out what I’m doing (And no, I haven’t started packing, so if you have any boxes you need to get rid of, I’m your girl! …or if you want to sell me a flat screen TV at a decent price :) Doesn’t have to be flat screen, but they’re easier to mount :) ).

How in the world did this come up?

Long story short, I heard about the job not being filled and tried to avoid it like the plague. SOMEONE (read: Dave Sims) told them I had a music degree and a background working with juvenile delinquents & teens in general. The rest is pretty much history.

Are you near the beach? (Where’s Grundy?)

The exact opposite, actually. :) It’s in Appalachia right next to the Kentucky border – about 45 minutes from Pikeville, KY. I’ll be about 6-7 hours away from FoCo. In other words, not so far that y’all can’t saddle up the horses and come visit. :)

Is that the choir that comes to Sterling every now & then and sings?

Sure is! MMS’s choir is a traveling choir (so much like Chorale, for those of you fellow IWU Chorale clods). I will, of course, post all tour dates. If you can, come see the kiddos sing! You will not regret it! Friends from college & friends all over, I would love to see you again if we’re ever singing in your area, and I know you’d be blessed by their songs.

How can I be praying for you?

Short answer? Yes. That’s how you can pray for me. All of the things need prayed for. :)
Allow me to be transparent for a second. When I made the decision, there wasn’t an, “Ah ha!” moment with God where the sky split open, a dove descended, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is what I was meant to do. Quite frankly, I don’t much buy into this ever-present idea of seeking out a calling for one’s life day after day. I can tell you what your calling is: Go and make disciples of all nations (did I mention Grundy has over 60 countries represented there?). That’s what you’re called to do. You’re called to make disciples wherever you’re at. I believe God places calls on peoples’ lives, absolutely. Paul is a great example. But Paul was going about his business, doing what he thought he was supposed to be doing when God made his red carpet appearance (Granted, Paul was murdering Christians for their faith, but he was convicted that he was doing the right thing, and he pursued that. I’m not saying that makes it right. I’m saying he went about with his daily life and God stepped down into that to get him to go elsewhere. He didn’t spend night after night agonizing over whether or not he was “following God’s will for his life.”) All of that to say, I’m leaping in faith. I’m diving in head-first and not looking back. I’m doing it because I’m (at least somewhat) equipped to do it, and Grundy has a need. There’s the bare-bones answer. So I need prayer! Ways to be praying:

Pray for the kids. This whole thing is first of all about Jesus and second of all about them. They need your prayers to continue to grow and be shaped into the people God wants them to be. Pray that whatever it is God needs them to know, I get out of the way and teach it in such a way that it goes beyond choral music. Pray that this is never about the music, but that the music is just another avenue to glorify God. Pray for a smooth transition for them as they adjust to a new teacher!

Pray that I stay open to opportunities and surrender my abilities to God. I was recently asked to teach elementary music, and I have absolutely zero experience in that arena. I feel like the widow bringing two small coins. I have literally no experience, but I’m willing to try it. Pray that continues. I’m the kind of person that either shuts down completely when I don’t have immediate success, or I go all-out and fight to get to the top. Neither of those are healthy, obviously. Pray for balance and just a willing heart. That’s all God needs to work through people, if I remember correctly.

Pray that I would stay out of the way. If I’m going to do this and do this well, it will be purely because of the grace of God. Done any other way, it’s destined to fail. We have a huge opportunity coming up at the end of October and the only way it’s going to be considered at all “successful” (albeit in worldly, human terms) is through our hard work, the presence of the Holy Spirit, and God’s sweet & sovereign grace!

Building relationships with the students. This will have to have careful attention, especially this first year, as these kids neither know nor trust me.

Adjusting to Grundy life. It’s a total 180 from life as I’ve known it for 25 years!

While I’m very sad to be leaving Fountain County, I’m pretty excited (read: still terrified) for what’s ahead, especially considering some prayers I began praying and questions I began asking God around October of 2014.

Many people have also asked how all of this is going to work out now that I’m now dating someone who lives in South Carolina. I’ll tell y’all the same thing I’ve said since Grundy became an option in December when I wasn’t dating anyone: I’m not at Grundy for one year. I’m not at Grundy for 25 years. I’m at Grundy for however long the good Lord wants me there. If that’s one year, fine. If that’s the rest of my life, fine. If that’s 7 years, 8 months, 2 weeks and 3 days, then fine.
God has continually reassured me since making the decision (in January) in the gentlest yet most obvious ways that this is exactly what I need to be doing at this time. As I said before, there was never some moment of the sky being split open and I was given a 100% definitive answer, but since making the decision there has been continual reassurance that I’m walking/tripping/stumbling/skipping/falling flat on my face on the path I should be walking down/tripping all over/stumbling here and there down/skipping down joyfully/falling flat on my face on. :) I watched a video about adoption a few weeks ago and the mom’s words really struck a chord (ha! get it? Chord.. Cord.. I’m teaching choir….) with me: “Pursue it until God closes the door. If the door doesn’t close and you’re continuing to ask him to guide you, keep going.”

Truth be told, I tried multiple times to get the door to close. It didn’t, and it wouldn’t. I’ll be at Grundy until God grants me his blessing to go elsewhere or until he calls me elsewhere. I’ll pursue him where I’m planted, regardless of where that is, and I’ll continue to contribute to making disciples where I’m at, wherever that is. As for tomorrow, I’m not going to worry about it. Jesus can take care of it. I have enough on my plate today. And as for June 29, the day is quickly approaching, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t tear up even thinking about it. I’m leaving a lot of wonderful people and the place that has been home to me.

So there it is in a nutshell! I covet all of your prayers and cardboard boxes. :)
Pray. Seek. Do.

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Hannah (in) Montana!

For those of you who don’t know, I’ll be living in Montana this summer! It’s official!

Towards the end of February I applied with ACMNP – A Christian Ministry in the National Parks – at Glacier National Park in Montana. Well praise the Lord & pass the taters, I was accepted!

What I will be doing:

Tuesday through Saturday I will be working full-time at a gift shop. Doesn’t sound like ministry, but hold on. Before & after work, I will be apart of a team that is in charge of putting together and leading Bible studies, looking into the lives of the guests and other staff members in the park, and our number one job is to put together and lead worship services in the natural amphitheaters and lodges in the park. I am SO excited!!! This is a dream job for me. Not only does it give me GREAT exposure to what my major is (church music and Christian worship), but I’ll be in the MOUNTAINS doing this! =D YES!

I have a few prayer requests for you to keep in mind as I prepare for this summer.

First and foremost, pray that God would begin preparing the hearts of the others on my team and myself, as well as (and probably moreso), those visiting the park who do not yet know Jesus Christ. Pray that we would be a light in the darkness, and example to other employees not working with ACMNP, and diligent and hardworking.

Energy. That sounds a little odd, but here’s why. May 16 through May 25 I will be in Italy. I START my job June 1, which means I need to be there, at the absolute latest, May 30-31. It takes roughly three days worth of driving (12 hours per day) to get there. I believe Italy is 6 hours ahead of Indiana time, and Montana is two hours behind Indiana. My internal clock is going to HATE me for a while. =P

Safety. Montana…….. bears………

Daily renewal of attitude. This is going to be a growing experience for me. I’m going to have to live up to a much higher expectation than the regular seasonal employees. This is something I clearly expected and was reminded of when applying. Sometimes it’s easy for me to become frustrated, and this is the perfect opportunity to continue to work on this.

My family. Mom has already told me that it will be strange not having me around this summer. She’s right.. it’s going to be strange for both my parents and myself. Being away from Sterling is going to be a growing experience for me. I’ve sensed for quite a while that God has been telling me it’s time to move on. Not in a “forget these people and go” kind of way, but in the, “It’s time for you to grow up, move on, and start working with other people” sort of way. I talked with Amber about this one night right after second semester started, and I told her I felt like God was trying to tell me something in regards to Sterling. At the time it seemed like I wasn’t… wanted? at Sterling anymore. Of course that isn’t true. Sterling is where my foundation was laid. If it weren’t for the people at SCC, I’d hate to think where I would be today. I’m sorry.. that’s wrong.. if it weren’t for God working THROUGH those people, I don’t know where I’d be today. From young ones like Trenady Vincent to people like Ed Hetrick, I now realize how incredibly, incredibly blessed I am to call each of them friends. I know I left some sort of impact on at least one or two people and now it’s time for me to go impact others and allow others to impact me. So I guess when I say pray for my family, I mean my family at home and my family at SCC. With so many new opportunities coming to fruition, SCC is going to have an impact on a WHOLE lot more people. I’m so excited to see how God uses that particular church in building up the overall church. Praise Him!

I suppose that wraps it up for now. I’ll be blogging much more this summer than last summer, so hang with me! I know I haven’t gotten anything on here in a few months, and it shocks me that I’m still getting dozens of hits a day. Hopefully I’ll get an update on this semester posted sometime soon.

As always, pray on dear ones. Make Satan shudder.

Hannah (in) Montana. =)

Valentine’s Day Blind Date?! What?!

Wow.. What a semester thus far! It’s fantastic and absolutely horrendous all at the same time. I’m busier than ever and losing more sleep than I ever have!

I was finally able to make it to the doctor today. I’ve had some killer neck/upper back pain that’s caused some intense headaches lately. There’s a certain spot in between my shoulder blades that’s really been bothering me. Seeing Joe was nice. I can’t call him Doc Furr; that was his father. I called him Doc right before I left and it felt WEIRD. Anyway. I love going to him. Half the time we don’t talk about anything that has to do with my medical condition. Both of us are “cut the crap” kinda people, but we’re both still understanding people. AND HE KNOWS MUSIC!!!!! I feel like I have never met a redhead who wasn’t proficient in music itself or at least extremely knowledgeable about it. Joe’s in the middle of writing his own musical. Yeah. A doctor.. writing a musical. How often does that happen? =P We somehow wound up talking about relationships and how we’re total failures.. Ha! Like I said, I love to talk to him. We have a lot of the same viewpoints on things. Anyway.. hopefully everything he prescribed will take care of whatever is wrong. He gave me a shot of low-dose steroids, put me on low-dose Prednisone, the generic brand of Paxil, and one other drug (low-dose muscle relaxer). No, I’m not depressed or anything like that; all of this is supposed to help the stress levels and the pain going on in my neck/back. He said one of the main reasons for my headaches is the lack of sleep. He was actually kinda upset when I told him how little sleep I get. I know it’s completely unhealthy, but I have no option. Four to five hours is really all I can spare. Oh, but GREAT NEWS. I asked him if consuming tons of caffeine was causing anything, and he said no!! He actually recommends it as long as it’s in tea/coffee form. Pop is a no, but I drink maybe one a week and he was cool with that. He said a study came out last year that showed caffeine helps reduce the risk of cancer, works as a low-dose stimulant especially for students (obviously. we live off the stuff), and a few other things. I was REAL happy about that one. Anyway.. to wrap up what’s going on, if it doesn’t clear up within a month & a half I have to go back. I kinda hope it doesn’t just so I get to visit with Joe again. And to those of my friends who just made a dozen different assumptions, stop it. =P

Oh, story time with Hannah..
Reebok and I were sitting in the piazza eating dinner yesterday, just chatting away, and two random guys who we’d never seen before walked up to us and said, “Hi, um.. can we ask you kind of a random question?” My interest perked up instantly. =P They introduced themselves first. They were two PA’s (like an RA but with a little more clout I believe) from a dorm on Taylor’s campus. They then proceeded to tell us about how this dorm has a tradition and holds some kind of competition (like a dorm-wide game of tag? I can’t remember) every year right before Valentine’s Day. The top two winners get the privilege of taking out two single IWU girls on a blind date on Valentine’s Day, and it’s the PA’s job to find those two girls. So, after they explained, they said, “And if you two lovely ladies are single, we’d love for you to be the ‘prize’ for this competition.”  Well me being, well, me, instantly agreed. Reebok being the level-headed one she is asked the questions. =P We were both thinking the same things and I was EXTREMELY leery, but the thought of, “well, at least it will be a good story” kind of won out against the logical thinking this time. I know, I know. Pretty typical of me. So, after giving them our phone numbers, they told us that we would be called at midnight on Valentine’s Day (that would be the beginning of the day, not the end of it) by the two winners of the competition and the details would be worked out then, and then they’re taking us out later that evening. It’ll be a good story if nothing else. To be honest, I’m not looking for this to go any further than the blind date. It’s just a good time!

I’ve really been trying to keep to my commitment of spending daily, quality time with God every single day. Even if it’s right before I go to bed, I have to get it in. I’m starting to notice my hunger comes back the more I delve into the Word. That’s how it always works, but for some reason I allow other things to grab my attention. There’s a certain situation that’s been on my mind constantly for the past, oh, nearly seven years, and before I would always ask God “why” when things went wrong. I decided that’s the selfish thing to do and it’s completely pointless. I’ve been asking due to wanting my own knowledge. I’ve decided that when I don’t understand, I’m not going to ask questions. I’m just going to turn to God. I know that sounds so incredibly cliche and corny, but I’m not turning to find out why. I’m turning because it’s the only thing that ever equates to anything. Everything else is like a math problem that you can’t ever fully find the answer to, but when I turn to God it’s just different, y’know?

The biggest reality that’s hit me lately is you can’t know love without knowing sorrow. I’ll post that one later. But for now, I have to get some sleep.

Pray on friends.

Built True to Plumb

Well, just like everyone else, I have my resolutions. I’ll get to that in a second.

A few nights ago at the get-together at the church, Derrick talked about how we make resolutions that better ourselves. Whether it be diets, giving up old habits, or whatever else, we do what we do to better ourselves. But what if we made resolutions that glorified God above self? There’s your challenge.

Well, like most of America, I’ve set the weight loss challenge for myself. I sat down the other day and mapped out my entire schedule hour by hour. Basically, if I don’t want to drown this semester, I HAVE to follow that schedule so I can get everything accomplished that needs to be. I want to absolutely annihilate everything this semester. That means getting back in my exercise routine. My goal? Lose five pounds a month. That’s a little more than a pound a week on average. Once I cut out the silent killers – like soda and eating fast food when I’m off campus and in a hurry – things should hopefully get off on the right foot. That’s my self-glorifier, if you will. Now on to more important things..

New Year’s resolution for God: Build my wall true to plumb.

“This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”
“A plumb line,” I replied.
Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.”
-Amos 7:7-8-

For those of you who don’t know what a plumb line is, it’s that piece of (typically) brightly colored string that’s laid down before a wall is built, and it is used as a guideline so the wall is built perfect and straight. For those of you who keep up on my blog, you’ll remember the two or three posts I’ve made about how Dave referenced me being a cornerstone and having to be built true to plumb in order for others to line up. This is what I’m talking about. I understand that I will fall. But just as I’ve scheduled in practice time, exercise time, study time, and everything else, I’ve scheduled in my time with God, and above all else, it WILL be kept. The next step is to devise a battle plan for when I start to build my wall away from the plumb line. This I have not done, but will before heading back to school. People, please. Remember. The time is now. God is coming, and will come like a “thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).”

If we as Christians aren’t building our lives true to plumb as God has said, then our walls will crumble and fall. Lay every block, every stone, true to plumb. We as Christians are cornerstones. Not just individual people. We’re cornerstones in a world that needs to be realigned. If you aren’t straight, the other blocks won’t be either. The wall will not stand. Regardless of whether by nature you’re a leader or not, God said go. Get out in a world full of sin and be a light. Be true to plumb as well.

Pray on.

Another Year Down!

Again, New Year’s Eve was a great time spent with fabulous people from my church family here at home. I couldn’t be more thankful for the people at SCC. I’m convinced that there truly is no other church family in the entire world like them. I truly can’t begin to express how fantastic they are.


I could almost swear that the older I get, the quicker the year goes by. Thinking back to last year, WOW. I was a completely different person, but on the other hand, some things never change. =P So, here’s a few things I noticed about the year.

Biggest Change
Emotions. I’m WAY more emotional than I have ever been. It’s a good thing. Trust me. I used to never allow myself to really .. hurt. Growin’ up with a football coachin’ dad meant you walked EVERYTHING off. Not just a sprained ankle. You walked off emotional pain as well. In a conversation with a few friends this past year, I discovered that truly did not understand some emotions. I was never taught what they were, but instead I bottled everything up, had to “man up,” and continued on. This year was definitely a year of just learning how to feel and working through situations on a deeper, more emotional level.

Biggest Challenge
Trusting God. I know that sounds so ridiculously cliched and I agree. To go a little further with that, my trust has been with relationships. I was pressured pretty heavily by a handful of people to say something to a certain someone this summer about dating. I didn’t want to because I knew the answer, yet I was finally talked into it. Well…I did…And surprise surprise, it turned out the way I knew it would. That was on July 4th. On July 6th, I made a deal with God that I would not pursue anyone for a year. If someone came after me, that was a whole different story. I’m an alpha. I’m headstrong, I’m determined, and I’m driven. This means I typically am the one who pursues. I finally decided I was done doing so. As a female, I deserve to be chased after. I can say I’ve kept that pact.. until a few weeks ago. I made a few moves that, as I look back now, were moves of pursuance. And guess what. Things didn’t go as I wanted them to. Oh big shocker, Hannah. I lost sight of what I told God I would do, and he reminded me. So, here’s to another 7 months of blissful silence on my part. :)

Most Unforgettable Moment
This is more on a serious level, and there are actually three. In sequential order, the first was the call to China in February. There’s a whole blog on that one. Just search through February’s archive. The second would be a night where God brought me to my knees in fear for what’s in store, but reassured me that HE WOULD BE THERE every step of the way. After our last night of the summer for the college bible study, the crew was heading to Steak ‘n Shake, as always. For some strange reason, I wound up driving separately. When I got to Hillsboro, it was absolutely clear that I was NOT to go to S&S, but I was to head home and spend some time with God. So, I texted Amber & told her what was up & headed home. The strange thing was I felt absolutely no tug to read certain Scripture and there wasn’t really anything on my heart that I needed to pray about. When things like that happened, I’m usually inclined to just opening up to a random spot in the Bible and reading. I chose to do this then. I opened up to Romans and immediately read

“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.”
-Romans 8:24-26

I stopped and asked God what in the world that was for. It was clear that I was to continue on elsewhere in Scripture. Again, I randomly flipped forward to Hebrews..

“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possession.”
-Hebrews 10:32-34

At this point, my heart rate is speeding up. Over to 1 Thessalonians..

“But Timothy has just now come to us from you and has brought good news about your faith and love. He has told us that you always have pleasant memories of us and that you long to see us, just as we also long to see you. Therefore, brothers, in all our distress and persecution we were encouraged about you because of your faith. For now we really live, since you are standing firm in the Lord.”
-1 Thessalonians 3:6-8

Scripture after scripture. Persecution. Persecution. Persecution. I finally came to the point where I was crying because it couldn’t have been more obvious to me. Over to 2 Timothy..

“You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”
-2 Timothy 3:10-15

I finally came to the point where I was admitting to God that I was scared. I couldn’t do this, I could not have this happen to me. My faith just isn’t strong enough. I was crying.. and hard. Ever have those moments in your time with God where he couldn’t seem more real? That was one of those moments. I was on my knees, face buried in the blankets on my bed, and I was goin’ to town with the crying. The coolest thing was, I knew it was okay to cry because I knew it was okay to admit to God that I was scared. And the whole time, all I heard was, “My child, I’m right here. I’ve always been here, and I always will be. I’m here. What more do you need? I will build your faith. Trust me. My child, I’m here.” And I just knew it was okay to cry, so I did. But the whole time, I swear it was the coolest thing in the world. For the first time EVER, I truly felt like I was praising him in the storm. I might have been scared out of my skin and feeling completely unprepared for what was to come, but I knew it would happen when and how he said it would. So I had my cry, and again, I must not have been done reading. And this is how He wrapped up..

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”
-Revelation 2:10

This will probably forever be my favorite moment with God.

And moment number three occurred on Christmas Eve. I’d messed up pretty big earlier in the week and it was starting to really bite me on Christmas eve night. I laid awake from about 12:30 til 3:30 crying my eyes out. Why? Because for the first time ever, I not only realized that God allowed me to give myself up to sin, but I was also as far from the cross as I’d ever been. At some point I had allowed my relationship with the Creator to begin to crumble, and on that night, it absolutely fell apart. The realization of a lot of things hit and I just.. yeah. Lost it. And it was AWESOME. Okay, stick with me on this. I know that there is no possible way for me to ever be alone, and I knew this when all of this was happening. But I truly felt as alone as absolutely possible on this night, yet still knew God was there and understood that. I’m not sure that’s going to make sense to everyone, but, hey. Welcome to my mind. =P I spent three hours begging God to not give up on me yet. There was a whole lot of fear that I had finally drawn the last straw. I rode his last nerve and I truly thought he might be done with me. No, that wasn’t it, but he DID give me over to sin. And whose fault would that be? Yes, mine. It’s not that he wouldn’t take me back, but he finally let me go my own way. I needed this. I needed to be scared out of my mind the way I was. Now, to make the story a lot happier, things have gotten considerably better. God has spoken in awesome ways. This was definitely something that needed to happen. =)

Those are three of the most memorable moments for me of this past year. I’m excited for the year ahead, but also highly concerned. Our illustrious government is more powerful than ever. We’ve started to put way too much trust in our leaders and I think we’re starting to see the repercussions of said trust. Don’t let anything sneak up on you, guys. Be alert. Be informed. Arm yourselves with knowledge of what is going on. Read, study, research. Be aware!

Well, here’s to a year of lessons learned, and to a year of surprises ahead…

Happy 2010!

Pray on friends.

Heroes Don’t Always Have It Figured Out

My dad never ceases to amaze me. Nothing specific, he’s just the greatest man on earth. For those of you who don’t know, my dad is my numero uno. He’s the best! We were talking about all the things he and I used to do together, and I guess sometimes I just don’t keep in mind that he has truly shaped me into who I am. This is the man who, I kid you not, played dollhouse & tea parties with me. He colored in coloring books, took me hiking (and got us lost once.. it’s funny now), taught me how to play basketball, softball, had me lift weights at the ripe age of about 8, taught me to drive, how to air up my tires & check my tire pressure, did an AWESOME job on the conservative Republican upbringing, taught me how to make scrambled eggs, took me to McDonald’s an hour away just so I could play in the play palace, taught me how to shoot & do all the reloading, taught me how to mow, played about a billion games of Candyland, Rummy, Old Maid, Checkers, Monopoly, Mall Madness (not joking), Clue Jr., and a hundred other games, took me to gun show after gun show, took me to an electric train show, read me bed time story after story, took me to my first 4-H fair when I was a short-snort, watched The Little Mermaid WAY more than any dad should ever have to, hid Easter eggs outside for me every year, took me to numerous Indy Indians games, took me to Holiday World year after year after year, shared tons of cookies & Snapple with me.. we get the point, right? Everything. It all goes back to him. We were talking about a few of these and he said something while I was driving that he says ALL the time, but it struck a different cord this time, “Now Hannah, you be careful driving home. I’ve said it a million times before; I can always buy another car. I can’t buy another Muffin. I’d be lost without you.” Aaaaaaaw! Yeah, okay, now that you’ve had your moment, snap back with me. =P This clearly has a ton of sentimentality to it, but I realized something tonight. Out of the countless memories I have of what Dad did for me and did with me, there’s one that I wish he would have done. I wish he would have taken me to church. I wish he would have been a spiritual role model in my life. Don’t get me wrong — he’s the best role model I could have asked for in every single way, and I don’t doubt that he believes in God. I know he does. But as far as a personal relationship with Christ and showing that at home… that just wasn’t there. And now that I’m “all grown up” and looking at things a little differently, I hate that he said he’d be lost without me. The fact of the matter is, yeah, he’d miss me more than anyone else would miss me if I were gone tomorrow, but when it comes to not having me or not having Christ, who cares if I’m gone?! Life without Christ is bad enough.. but after life…… We Christians know what the fate is of those who don’t know Christ. We know it’s going to be a literal living hell. So, why, as his daughter, do I find it so impossible to talk with him about this? If he could know how many times I’ve talked with Dave about this and how many nights I’ve spent crying myself to sleep because I worry about him and his salvation.. heck, maybe it wouldn’t change things at all, but at least he’d know it’s a literal matter of life and death. This is the most pressing issue on my mind constantly. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about whether or not he’s truly accepted Christ and been baptized. I hate saying this because in a way it makes this situation about me and that’s NOT IT AT ALL, but sometimes I just feel like a spiritual orphan. I know Mom’s been baptized, and she’s great and all, but man that woman can be judgmental.. but I always wonder how in the world God will make things okay in the end. It says he will wipe away the tears from our eyes.. but will he have to continually wipe them away? Because I’m pretty sure that when I look around and see my friends standing with their dads who were rock-solid in their faith, and I turn and look around for mine, he won’t be there.. and that scares me and makes me incredibly upset. Incredibly. For those of you who are reading this and your father is a daily influence on your spiritual life, please, don’t ever, ever, EVER take that for granted. And please, go thank him and hug him RIGHT NOW if you can. Let’s be real frank. Let’s say that the person who had the most influence on your life, taught you more than any school book ever did, raised you the right way, in the end, never knew God and the absolute wonderment of walking with him. Never knew why he was living life the “right” way. Never knew why morals mattered so much. I’m so bothered by this! I’m not sure if this is going to be a Holy Spirit thing where He’s just going to make the moment when I’m supposed to say something undoubtedly known to me, or if it will just have to be one of those things where I jump off the cliff and hope it’s the right time. Either way, if my only purpose on earth is to bring my dad to Christ and after that I’m finished, then fine. Praise God that he used me for it! But if I fail to say something.. God will truly be my only hope in making it through it.

And on that lovely note.. I believe I’ll go read Captivating and go to bed..

Pray on, friends. Really. Pray on.


Fall semester: DONE. -sigh 0f relief- Talk about one heck of a semester. =) I love everything I do (kind of..), but the worst part about being psycho-busy all the time is the toll it takes on my spiritual life. Towards the end of this semester, I feel like I crashed & burned. This is the second semester in a row to have this happen. This semester wasn’t as bad as last, but it still had its moments.

I was talking with Reebok a few weeks ago about a book by John & Stasi Eldridge titled, “Captivating.” I bought this book when I was about 13 years old, read about 30-40 pages into it and put it on the shelf and hadn’t touched it since. At the ripe age of 13, I’d labeled it as one of those “stupid, ‘princessy’ books all about the heart & other dumb stuff.” That’s probably close to a word-for-word description of how I has summed up this book. Reebok informed me that I HAD to go back and give it another shot. I believe she said it changed her life. =P Well, I wasn’t exactly Miss Positivity about giving the book another shot…
Last night I was wrestling with God a little bit about some issues I’ve been struggling with pretty heavily, and I got to a point where I had to come to grips with why I was doing what I was doing. It was an issue of the heart. As I was getting ready to go to bed, I remembered my deal with Reebok – read the book over break. I only read the introduction and first chapter last night, but HOLY COW. The reason it didn’t make a whole lotta sense back in 7th grade was because of my spiritual and emotional immaturity, and.. well, rebellion. I wanted nothing to do with the typical female “stuff” when it came to love & all that crap (as I would have referred to it). But reading through it now.. WOW! It’s so true! As corny as it sounds and as much as I hate to admit it, everything I’ve read so far is dead-on. The books talks about the deepest desires of a woman’s heart, the depth in God’s creation of woman, etc etc, you get it. Not really a “Hannah” kinda book. The first chapter talked about how sometimes addictions form because of a lack of “need” being met in a woman’s heart, and how a lot of times women think they’re being weak or vulnerable when they realize that and want that changed. Okay, okay.. I’m done trying to cover that one up. It’s true. I’m not sure why I find sensitivity to be so… bad, but I really do a lot of times! I’m expecting great things from this book, nonetheless.

Pray on, friends. Pray on.


I’ve been in constant re-evaluation of.. everything lately. I feel like I’ve been in the midst of taking one step forward and two steps back. I’ve found out that I am much better at making stupid decisions than I am making good ones. Welcome to the life of the average college kid, eh? I guess I should give myself a little credit. It’s not like I got out & party & all that jazz, but man.. I wish people knew who I was when the rest of the world isn’t around. Well. Wait. False. I’m thankful the rest of the world doesn’t know who I am when no one’s around. Character is who you are in front of others. Integrity is who you are when it’s just you and God. A lot of people see that I have relatively high character.. not many people know that my integrity can be below ground zero. There are days that I fail miserably. Whether it’s in attitude or action, I’ve found that I need to work on my integrity in a huge way.

With that said, I read a quote tonight that literally brought me to the very edge of tears..

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes it is a quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.”

This hit hard. True courage isn’t always the person who runs in, sword unsheathed, ready to kill like Simon Peter of the discipes. But sometimes it’s the one who, even with a hung head, knows that tomorrow is another chance. Another shot for renewed hope and opportunity. Sometimes it’s the person who’s lost the game but walks away with the quiet determination and quiet strength to wake up even earlier tomorrow to train even harder. Sometimes it’s the sinner who has, again, fallen into the world’s trap and realizes that today’s battle may have been lost, but tomorrow’s has yet to be fought. It’s one of the most humbling quotes I’ve read in a very long time. I try to fight and battle my way out of things, when really, let’s face it.. I’ve been beat. I’m realizing that I can’t always be strong and fight everything. Sometimes I’m going to just have to try again tomorrow. It’s definitely where I’m at right now. I’m finding myself losing a lot of battles against myself and instead of delving into Scripture, seeking the help of others, and time spent on my knees in prayer, I’m scolding myself, dragging myself down even further, and beating myself over the head with what will never work. Granted, there is a time for me to get mad at myself and be truly upset with the way I’ve acted, but I can’t have that attitude constantly in hopes that it will work for reversing the way I act. Sometimes I have to accept the fact that, yeah, I did lose this battle TODAY. But TOMORROW is a new day. This attitude needs to be present all while keeping in mind this is not an escape route for when I do fall short of what God wants me to do.

I was greatly disheartened this week with a fellow .. Christian’s .. view on politics. This person believed that the Bible should, in no way, govern our society. This presents many humongous problems. If we aren’t going to incorporate our Savior into our government, what ARE we going to incorporate Him into? The government has affected literally every aspect of our lives. That should scare everyone. Everything you come upon somehow answers to our government. Look at how much power we have given them. This is ridiculous. I was watching I, Robot today and saw it in a WHOLE new light. Think of our government as the robots. Their purpose is to give us everything we want, make everything easier, take care of what we could do for ourselves, and make our lives all-around simple. But then all it took was one corrupted link in all of it, and the whole thing crashed down. We trusted them too much, and they became smarter and overtook society. We relied on them to keep us safe, and instead they’re taking over our lives. That isn’t safety. That’s slavery. And in all of this, a Christian has the audacity to say that God shouldn’t be allowed into the way our lives are governed? Have we missed the point of following Jesus, which was to love him above all else? And if that’s so, aren’t we loving ourselves MORE by asking him to quietly take a row in the back of the room while we run our society the way WE want instead of the way HE wants? Isn’t that what we’ve done? It sickens me. It sickens me that believers think it best for religion to not sway the way you vote. If you’re a Christian, listen closely: If God isn’t affecting EVERY major decision, such as who you are choosing to lead your country, then you need to re-evaluate whether or not you’re truly on board with this whole Jesus thing or not. Your religion, your choice to follow Christ, better be the FIRST thing that sways your vote. Cold hard fact: You cannot follow Jesus if you are unwilling to surrender your life entirely, including your political views. Sometimes this means voting for the Democrat when you’re a Republican. Sometimes (well. a lot of times [strictly my opinion]) this may mean voting Republican when you’re a Democrat in order to save the lives of millions of children from being aborted. Oh by the way, have you ever noticed that everyone who is FOR abortion has already been born? Anyway. Not what this is about. I’m tired of myself sitting on the sidelines of Christianity and watching other people play the game. We’ve been to enough after-school practices. It’s time that we decide to step out on the playing field and do something. It sickens me how many of us silence ourselves. No wonder our country is where it’s at! Instead of others silencing us, we do it ourselves! We worry about the opinions of others. We worry about whether we’ll keep our reputations. It’s high-time we swallowed our pride and DID something for once! Afterall, show me an atheist who will still claim there is no God if a gun is ever held to his head, and the other person is threatening death if they choose to not believe. (Granted, there are many wrong things with this statement. Stick with me.) You can’t tell me there will be ONE who will say there isn’t one. Why? Because they want their precious lives. Who’s going to die for their faith historically? Muslims and Christians. I’ve never heard of a Buddhist being martyred. I’ve never heard tell of a Wiccaan take a stance for a tree in order to save their life. Who is it that takes it to the extreme, no matter what the cost? The Christians and the Muslims. So where are you? What will you pick? What will I pick? I hope we’re taking the time to study, learn, grow, and connect. It’s about time we did something, don’t you think?

I have tons more I could talk about. I know it’s been quite a while. Things have been busy. Hopefully I’ll get another one up tomorrow night.

Victoria Donner

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