Sunrays

Blogger Template by ThemeLib.com

God Used A Popper to Put Me Back On Track

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 8:16 PM
I really must stop apologizing for all my sporadic posts. I'm a college student and my life has become a frenzy of time management (or lack thereof). :P

As the fall semester started, I threw myself headfirst into studying. I spent four to six hours and six days a week studying for four classes. My social life was co-leading a youth group on Wednesday nights and attending Bible Study on Thursday nights. My life has become focused on surviving my first semester and earning good grades, something I didn't pressure myself about as much in high school. 

Despite attending youth group and Bible Study (and church a couple times a month), I didn't do much with my faith. My prayers were brief and often cut off by my stressed thoughts.

Over that time, my lack of initiative in my spiritual life was unconsciously building up in my heart. Many times I ignored it or was completely unaware of it all together. The build up of all those whisperings of God finally became too much for me. 

On top of a lack of sleep over Christmas break, my heart was growing heavily for, at the time, an unknown reason. My usual chipper personality was becoming pessimistic and I blamed my late nights for it. 

It wasn't until two weeks ago that feelings of depression blanketed me. I'm not talking about medically diagnosed depression but the occasional blues the average person will deal with. It made me feel heartsick. It started on a Friday and escalated on Saturday. 

Strangely enough, I ended up on Youtube looking for some popping dance tutorials. I had hopes that some exercise would get some happy endorphins flowing through me. I clicked one of the links. Instead of most videos that jump right to the point, this video had an introduction to the actual tutorial. 

It began with the popper's phone alarm going off and throughout the video, it shows him playing an online game, practicing martial arts, and practicing dancing. Finally at the end, it pans to a new scene where he is sitting on a bench reading his Bible. Throughout the video he writes: 

"I wake up."
"I need to fill my life with something."
"My usual hobbies..."
"...don't seem to cut it."
"At the end of the day..."
"...I always realize that above all,"
"I need you, Jesus."

He then quotes John 7:37-38:

"On the last day and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him."

At that moment, I had my reality slap. My unhappiness was caused by a lack of fulfillment because I hadn't invested any time or effort into my relationship with God; the Being who created me and the world I live in. I felt truly disappointed in myself. I had unknowingly made school and the Internet an idol. I grabbed my Bible and started to pray out loud. As the words spilled from my leaden heart, tears streamed down my cheeks and soon I was sobbing. I couldn't stop and I didn't want to. As I prayed and repented for my neglect and sins, I could feel the Lord relieving the weight on my heart.

Although, the weight was lighter, I still wasn't happy. I had a couple more good cries that weekend, and I shared what I was struggling against with my family. They were all patient with me as I cried like a child once again, unable to control my emotions. I had a chance to explain my situation to one of my close friends, and she expressed that she was also sharing the same feelings. We mutually decided that we would like to read the Bible from cover to cover together over Skype due to the distance between our colleges. I was grateful to have someone to help support me and in turn I could support her in our faith walks.

Here's some typography that I made to post on my Tumblr. :)
By the time Monday rolled around my emotions had done a 180. I was on top of the world. I had a direction and it made me incredibly joyful. Not only am I going to read the Bible from cover to cover with one of my best friends, I started reading the book of John a couple days ago in the morning before I leave for work. I wake up a 6:00 AM to get ready for work, and to be honest, I'm not an early morning person (I'm kind of a grump). Once I eat breakfast and dress for work, I make time to read a chapter each morning. For the past two days, my heart feels much more fulfilled and my spirit is more serene. 

I am fully aware that our faith in God is not to be based on emotions, but to feel something has been a blessing for me these past couple weeks.

I am still stressed out about getting good grades, avoiding a relapse of anxiety attacks, and keeping up with some social gatherings, but now I am making a point to spend intimate time with the Lord. He should be the center of my life and everything else comes after Him. (Easier said than done, I know)!

I hope that you also find your strength in the Lord. Make the time to seek Him out because He's always there for you. He waited for me, and He'll wait for you too. :)

Also, I am currently on a week long social media fast, and I've realized that it is easier to focus on God when I'm not checking Facebook every 20 seconds and reblogging on Tumblr. I'm think I will make this a monthly ritual to help me keep my center in life. Try it out. It's really refreshing!

Lastly, if you are interested in checking out the video I saw here is the link: Popping Seong Hoon's tutorial .

For the high school students out there, I hope finals go well for you, and for the college students, I hope your first week back is a good one. :) 

I hope everybody has a wonderful night! May God bless you with a joyful heart!

Blessings,

~Twyla




A Dream and A Cough

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 10:34 PM
I'm so sorry for my absence!

God has presented me with some recent trials and great blessings lately.

Let's cover the trials first, shall we? I'd rather end on a happy note. ;)

In the beginning of October, I suddenly came down with a cough. I thought it was just a cold, which then we thought was Bronchitis or Walking Pneumonia. The cough was getting worse and sleepless nights became the norm. Then left rib began to shoot with pain every time I coughed. My parents suggested I visit the doctor. At the walk-in clinic, I was told that is was most likely Bronchitis, and I was prescribed a z-pack of Azithromycin. 

A day or two after beginning the medication I began having coughing fits that made it difficult to breathe; it was frightening and uncomfortable, but I just dealt with it. I finished the medication last Friday (a week ago now) and this past Tuesday I was driving home when I had my worst coughing fit. I was unable to get air into my lungs at all and it felt like I was going to throw up although I did not feel nauseas. (Keep in mind, vomiting is my greatest fear). Unsure of whether to pull over and puke or keep going, I just kept driving. 

I had the nagging feeling that not breathing during a coughing attack was not part of Bronchitis. I hopped online and typed in my symptoms. In the end, I self-diagnosed myself with Pertussis also known as Whooping Cough; an illness I had been vaccinated against as a child. At that point, I was past contagious and had already "killed" the bacteria with the medication. All sites I visited said all I could do was wait it out. There's no medication you can take to "cure" whooping cough, so waiting is what I shall do.

I've also had a lot of recent car trouble like getting my first flat tire (on a Friday) and driving to work and having my front tire fly off (on a Friday) and this Friday it appears that one of my spark plugs isn't happy. Fridays and my car don't get along. Poor thing...but hey! It's got 183,880+  miles on it now, so it's just getting good. ;)

This whole time, I've had so much praise for God. I've been able to look past the uncomfortable fits and the likely broken rib, and admire so many simple yet wonderful things; for example, the sunrise on the way to work. I feel like God is really working in my life despite these minor obstacles.

Onto the good news!


Something I made on Picmonkey.com while in a praise-y mood. :)
College is going well, but it certainly takes a lot of energy to keep up good grades. :P I even made my first friend outside of the people I knew before attending!

Also, I'm slowly learning how to speak Korean. :D I've been listening to the Pimsleur program on my 35 minute daily commute. It'll be more helpful to memorize the alphabet, which I'd like to work on this weekend... I also joined a multi-lanuage exchange social networking site called Lang-8. It's so awesome and I highly recommend it if you're trying to learn a second language. You can Skype with native speakers, edit their English writing skills, and in turn they will edit your written [insert language]. It's super cool. B) 

I've also started budgeting for my trip to Asia. My friend and I are open to going over there with a mission trip. We've got a couple years, so there's plenty of time get ideas. I'm so fueled by this! I don't know what God has for me over there, but I'm sure it'll be amazing.

Before I go, I want to mention that my blog has 1,500 page views now. Thank you so much! I really appreciate your guys' interest in my blog!

Have a wonderful night!

Blessings,

~Twyla




Eyes That Are Bigger Than My Stomach

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 10:48 PM
Good evening, everybody!

I'm playing catch up here, so please forgive me for not updating sooner.


College is going well, but after having the work load for three classes I don't foresee myself going full time. I work 20 hours a week at my job and do homework for 5-6 hours a day Monday - Friday. Plus, I have another class starting in November. I've also continued attending a Wednesday night youth group (as a small group leader) and a college age Bible study on Thursday nights.


As of two weeks ago, I decided I wanted to visit Korea and Japan for a month. The best part is I already have a travel buddy, Jen, who attends the same youth group and college as me!


The whole idea of this trip is really strange because I never planned on leaving the country after our 2 week trip to Australia in March/April this year, but my heart suddenly started aching for Asia. I keep wondering if the Lord has something He wants me to do while I'm over there. I have no idea what He's thinking.


Now I have added learning Korean and Japanese in the next two years in between school and work. I have a lot of budgeting and saving to do, but I feel like I'll be able to do it. :)


The Lord has given me so many new opportunities to meet new people too! He is so good.


Have a blessed night, you beautiful people!


Blessings,


~Twyla

This World Is Bigger Than We Think

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 1:48 PM
Typically, when I drive to work in the morning, I roll down my window (since my car lacks air conditioning) and blare my radio so I can hear it. At 7:15 AM, the last thing I want to do is think, and doing this is relaxing for me. This morning however, I kept my window up, turned off my radio, and prayed.

I couldn't even remember the last time I had a silent car, so the quite was refreshing as I spoke to the Lord. As I prayed, I found realizing how often I don't understand God's creation. Sure, He made the Earth, grass, trees, ect. but as I pondered further I kept coming to this state of awe. As I drove past perfect rows of corn and scattered farms, I was thinking how amazing God created everything around me. Just stop and think for a second about everything around you. Everything. It's crazy, isn't it? With all of Creation around me, I can't even fathom the idea that this world just appeared in a "big bang." 

Try to notice the little things that aren't really little things this week. You'd be surprised at the revelation of it all. :)

Enjoy my tree picture!

Blessings,

~Twyla

A New Chapter in Life's Story

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 4:10 PM
Due to the busy-ness of my summer I was unable to update my blog as regularly. I do hope to be more consistent this school year.

So today's post theme is about new beginnings. This year has been full of change, so I've had to learn a lot about flexibility and acceptance. I'm still learning a vast amount as God directs my life in directions I never anticipated.

This summer I worked my "last" year on camp staff at a local Cub Scout camp. I say last in quotes since many other members have said the same and come back anyways. It was the most unique summer I've worked in the 7 years (including volunteer years) that I've been there. I grew so close to everyone on staff and one of my fellow members, Jared, summed up the experience well by saying, "Why would I miss an opportunity to spend time with my extended family?" He's right. We're all one big, diverse family at camp. It's an experience that has help shape who I am today and I'm so thankful to the Lord for that opportunity. My season at camp has ended. It makes me really sad, but I know the Lord will take me to more great places in the future.

Two days after my summer job ended, I was let go from my office job. (I took a leave of absence during the summer, but I'm under the same employer at both jobs.) I can't say I didn't see it coming, but it was hard nonetheless. I worked there for the past 5 1/2 years and I became so close the the three ladies I worked that I consider them my "office aunts". They've nurtured me over the years as I learned how to drive, graduate from high school, pick up more responsibilities, and make decisions on my own. The Lord was looking out for me though. A new job opportunity had come on the horizon two days prior to being let go, and I was hired a week after being unemployed. I begin my new office job tomorrow!

After taking a year off of high school, I am finally ready for college. I've begun a new chapter in my life, like many of my peers, and I look forward to what the Lord will show me in this coming school year. After much prayer, I plan on attending the local community college in pursue of an Administrative Assistant diploma. I'm attending school part-time for the first semester to dip my toes in the water. It also works well with my new job schedule. So lately I've been busy taking care of all the loose ends before the semester starts on August 27th. :)

I can see God working in my life and it's such an incredible thing for me! I truly praise Him for His great works. It hasn't always been pleasant or comfortable, but coming out of that tunnel in the end is really refreshing. 

So, that's what is up with me. I hope you see God's blessings in your life every day and that you learn to walk by faith. Proverbs 16:9, "In his hear man plans his course, but God directs his steps."

In times of struggle, I hope you cling to Him. He is our rock! :) (Pslam 18:2). Please enjoy the typography I did on one of my photos! 

Blessings,

~Twyla

One of Those Weeks

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 1:27 PM
Have you ever had one of those weeks where you feel like the world was out to get you? I have. In fact, it happened to me all last week, but you know what? The Lord saw me and my fellow camp staff members through it. The feeling of overcoming the problems of the week outshone the negativity that happened.

It's hard to realize what lesson the Lord is teaching me when I'm in the problem itself, but when I finally come to the light at the end of the tunnel, I'm often elated to look back and think, "I did it. I persevered and the Lord has shown me endurance." :) He truly is a wonderful God.

I hope that if you're struggling through difficulties this week be it patience, depression, anger, forgiveness, work, ect. I pray that you too would focus on the Lord and know that from your trials you will learn many things. Including lessons you didn't intend to learn. ;)

Have an incredible week everybody!

Blessings,

~Twyla

Reality Slap

Published by Twyla E. Brooks under on 12:28 AM
I was just praying to God and telling Him about how poorly I've done in seeking out Him these last few weeks and how I've felt like a lukewarm Christian. :( He was listening, because I was suddenly compelled to read the next devotion in my copy of "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. (I understand this is not to be treated like the Bible, but it certainly told me what I needed to hear.) The first sentence was like a reality slap and I truly praise God for accepting and forgiving me of all my faults. Here's the devotion:

May 9 (I don't mind reading it out of order;) -

"Don't be so hard on yourself. I can bring good even out of your mistakes. Your finite mind tends to look backward, longing to undo decisions you have come to regret. This is a waste of of time and energy, leading only to frustration. Instead of floundering in the past, release your mistakes to Me. Look to Me in trust, anticipating that My infinite creativity can weave both good and bad into lovely design.

Because you are human, you will continue to make mistakes. Thinking that you will continue to live an error-free life is symptomatic of pride. Your failures can be a source of blessing, humbling you and giving you empathy for other people in their weaknesses. Best of all, failure highlights your dependence on Me. I am able to bring beauty out of the morass of your mistakes. Trust Me, and watch to see what I will do."

She then provides two Scriptures references to tie into it:

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord. I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me." Micah 7:7

I hope you too would be encouraged. :)

God bless you all! Have a good night.

~Twyla

 

Proverbs 16:9

"In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps."

Followers