Thursday, December 22, 2011


   Before moving to Colorado I had grown up going to the same church, Good News Church (previously called Glad Tidings Assembly of God), my entire life. I absolutely love my church. And the people. ;) They are truly my family. A couple of years ago I felt like God was speaking to me and saying that I would not always go to Good News. I like to jump-the-gun sometimes and so I visited a few of my friends churches and thought I must have heard God wrong on that one. There is no church like my church. That statement is still true. There is no other church exactly like Good News Church in Topeka, Kansas. I still felt I was going to go somewhere else someday and so I told God 'you better have an amazing church in store for me, because my church is amazing, and I can't go somewhere less amazing.' I am sure that God just chuckled at me. 
   I am pleased to say that God has provided me with yet another amazing church. :) New Life Church in Colorado Springs is a church like no other. We dance around like crazy during worship. New Life Worship band has produced worship cd's and the student ministry Desperation has also produced cd's which are directly under Hillsong music in popularity. Just plug in a cd to listen and you can feel the power of God in the songs. The worship is incredible! We encounter God.
  We pray. All the time. On New Life's campus there is what we call the World Prayer Center. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week people are praying. It is incredible. Late night prayer is the best. When we are at our weakest points, aka no energy left, God moves in the biggest ways.
  We serve. New Life has opened what is called the Dream Center, a non-profit clinic which serves women in the community who don't have a lot of money to pay for medical needs, and they are ministered to along the way. As a part of DLA I have the opportunity to serve the junior high students every week. It is such an incredible experience to minister to students and see God moving in them at such a young age!
  To me the thing that stands out the most about New Life Church is that they overcome. The past 5 years has seen New Life through 2 different events which might shut a church down. The founding pastor of the church was found out to have been involved in things that were not of God and left the church. New Life was without a pastor for about a year. A new pastor came and 100 days into his time as pastor there was a shooting that occurred on New Life's campus and two girls were killed. Instead of backing down, New Life got back up and took a stand. 3 days after the shooting the church got together. Instead of a sermon Pastor Brady Boyd read scripture after scripture of God's promises to the congregation. At the end of the night the church erupted into the song Overcome, written by Jon Egan, the worship pastor of New Life. They decided that they were not going to let Satan win the battle. God has the victory! We will overcome!
   I write this blog because last Sunday, December 4th 2011, was the four-year anniversary of the shooting. To be a part of New Life now and see what God has done in them is incredible. Our God is a mighty MIGHTY God. Pastor Brady Boyd wrote the book, Fear No Evil,  a few years after the shooting to talk about what God has done in the church. I would HIGHLY recommend reading this book.
  I am not sure what God is calling me to do after DLA is over. If I am to stay in Colorado, I would be happy to call New Life my church. ;) I've even gotten over the fact that there are between 8,000-10,000 people that attend the church. Crazy, I know!!

New Life Worship

Seated above, enthroned in the Father's love
Destined to die, poured out for all mankind
God's only son perfect and spotless one
He never sinned, but suffered as if he did

All authority, every victo-ry is Yours
All authority, every victory is Yours

Savior, worthy of honor and glory, worthy of all our praise,
You overcame
Jesus, awesome in power forever, awesome and great is Your name,
You overcame

Power in hand speaking the Father's plan
You're sending us out, light in this broken land

We will overcome by the blood of the Lamb
And the word of our testimony,
Everyone overcome

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Banquet

  This year of school DLA is set up a little differently than normal. In previous years students could join at semester, such as in January or September. Now we simply start in September. Because of the different start dates we had a graduation last Tuesday for the students who started school in January of 2011. We all dressed up in pretty dresses (girls) and nice shirts (guys) ;-) ate dinner, and celebrated our friends who were graduating. Of course, we had to end the night with a dance party while cleaning up. I am convinced DLA can not have a party without some goofy dancing involved. ;)
  Anywhoo, it was a bittersweet moment seeing people graduate and receive their rings. When you graduate you get a ring and engraved on it is the saying 'For the Lamb's Reward.' Those completing a 2nd year receive a frame with a verse picked out especially for them. The directors of the school spend time in prayer, asking God to give them a verse for each graduate, encompassing their life in the past, and what God is calling to them.
  It was an incredible night: food, gift exchange, graduation, dance parties and all....and I took some pictures with my friends! I had to...I mean, we were all dressed up and that doesn't always happen. ;)
We had a gift exhange and the guy who got my name bought me raisins and cake supplies - good job Andrew!! I think he had some help. ;-)

 Janelle, Brenna, Tucker, Dorie, Buckie
Me and Marisela

My accountability group
Anna, Charaia, me, Christelle, and Gabby

Too many people to share their names....
my crazy DLA friends! ;)

My WONDERFUL host parents Patty and Gordy

Me and Hannah!!

Patty, Alex, Laura and Me

We all either live at the Decker's house or have lived with them!
We had a Secret Santa gift exchange and I had my friend Buckie.

My housemate Alex who came to Topeka with me for Thanksgiving.
She just graduated & just moved back to Cali. :(

Marisela, me, Dorie, and Stacey

 One of my favorite girls...Lindy!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Great Romancer

  I've told you before about The Love Story of Jesus and Stefanie. I started it out with the intention of writing down the ways that Jesus romances me, thinking it would be every once in a while. I wasn't thinking I would write something down every day. Well, Jesus had a different plan. He challenged me. He told me that He romances me every single day and it is time for me to see that. ;)
  In a relationship, if your significant other does not daily affirm their love for you, you begin to feel the lack. Yes, they don't have to buy you roses every day or write you a love song. They should do something small though. Tell you they appreciate you, or love you. Give you a hug or a kiss. Wink at you from across the room. Something to know you are valued by them.
  Jesus told me that He shows His love to me every single day. It might just simply be by giving me a great seat at a performance that I arrived late to and shouldn't have even had a seat at. It might be running in to an old friend I haven't seen in a while. It might be by giving me a new friend (I deeply value friendships). It might be a promise He spoke long ago finally coming true. It might be witnessing a miraculous healing happen. It might be simply Him speaking the words to me "I love you." Whatever it is, Jesus shows His love to me every day.
  He does the same to you as well. Do you know when Jesus is romancing you? Are you aware or unaware?

We had a barn dance in DSM 2 weeks ago.
Alana and I with our fake mustaches. ;)
Alana & Lauren
Two Beautiful jr. girls!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Power of Healing

  I will say yet again how incredible this last week was. Spending hours upon hours in God's presence. I heard His voice so many times. He spoke to me. He revealed parts of my future to me. He opened my mouth to speak in the presence of those I was once afraid of. He gave me words of life to share with others. I have a confidence that I've never had before. Because I simply chose to sit with Jesus.
  I have a challenge to you: if you ever have the time to spend a whole week or even a whole day with God, do it! It might sound cheesy to you but it is so beneficial. Just think about. When you are in a relationship with someone, what is the best way to get to know them, to get on a more intimate level? Spend time with them. Go on a date. Sit together on the couch and talk. Just be together. That is exactly what God has been revealing to me lately. He is real. Why don't we always act like He is? Why don't we give Him the time of day? Why don't we ask Him His opinion on what we do throughout the day? He cares, because He cares deeply about us.

"For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
He will lead them to springs of living water.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes."
Revelation 7:17

  In this last week God has just brought me back through my first 3 months of DLA and shown me all that He has done in my life. Sometimes, looking at my life through my own eyes, I am unaware. I am so grateful to God for showing me. He revealed how much of my past He has healed me from. He has filled me with so much joy that I believe that it radiates off of me. The crazy part about that is that before I came here I prayed and asked God to make me contagious for Him. I have so much more to learn about Him but I know He has already begun to answer that prayer. Thank you Jesus!!
  Now, I want to share with you an image God gave me. I was talking with a friend over coffee about what God has done in our lives this first semester. We were both in awe of God. Exactly as it should be. ;) While talking God showed me a picture of His healing.
  When God heals he doesn't just put a band aid on the wound and call it good. He rips the band aid off. He begins to dig deep into the wound and get out ALL of the junk. That process is SO painful, yet it leads to a Complete and Total healing. There is no ugliness left after God completes the healing. There might be a scar that remains from the wound, but it is nothing to be ashamed of. Rather, it is a reminder. It is a 'look what the Lord has done' scar. It is an example of God's miraculous power!
  I pray that this image sticks with you throughout your life. Let God in, be vulnerable. Then, stand back and watch what God will do! He won't disappoint.

  By the way, this is my 25th blog post! - Random fact for the day!! :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Psalm of Praise

  So much has been happening in my life lately and I have failed to blog about it. I am truly sorry. I promise to try harder now! ;) Jesus has been moving in a mighty MIGHTY way. I love it! I love Him! I'll write that on all my blogs because He is just so wonderful. Every day I fall more in love and I am not joking. Every day He reveals something new to me and I can't help but love Him for that. He's the only man in my life that I will call beautiful, because He truly is.
  Half of DLA is on tour this week in either California or Texas. They climbed into vans and headed out to spread the Word of Jesus to churches, to youth groups, who need a new Word from God. We have this HUGE conference that happens in the summer. These tours are just little pieces of the Desperation Conference.
  Those of us back home have had the wonderful (I truly mean it) experience of staying home and praying for hours on end. 6 hours a day to be exact. I love it, I really do! Sure, it has been challenging, but God has been my strength. God has been revealing SO much to me in this last week. I am SO stoked about my future and what is to come. We get the opportunity to pray a few night watch shifts: either 12-3am or 3-6am. During my night watch shift the prayer leader had us write our own Psalm to God. If David can write praises to God, why can't we? I absolutely loved it. I think I might make my own book of Psalms....there is just SO much to write about God! :) I just really wanted to share one of mine with you. This is what God has been doing in my life.

My Psalm of Praise to God
Jesus I praise you!
Your ways are wonderful, beyond anything that I can imagine.
You blow me away. Every single day. I love it! :)
You fascinate me. Every single day you show me something new.
You romance me. Every single day. Open my eyes to this romance.
You healed me. You removed my shame and guilt from my past.
You've given me joy. Some days I just can't help but laugh with you.
You hold me. I love when you wrap your arms around me.
You comfort me. On  days when I can't stand, you carry me.
      You wipe away my tears and tell me you love me.
You promised me dreams. I dreamt. Then you told me your dreams are bigger.
You taught me the power our words have to speak life and death over situations.
You pulled me away from my friends and family and you gave me new friends, a new family.
      You gave me a double portion.
You asked me to come away with you. I did and I don't regret it.
You set me free to dance in your presence once again.
You made me pure. You gave me a white dress.
You asked me to marry you. I said yes.

*What has God done for you lately? Have you shared it with anyone? Write it down. Tell someone!

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Incline

  I just realized that I never told you guys about my experience climbing The Incline. You might be wondering, what exactly is The Incline? It is a very difficult hiking trail in Manitou Springs which is just outside of Colorado Springs. The trail goes straight up the side of a mountain. There are railroad ties for you to place your feet on when walking. The trail is only 1 mile but in that 1 mile it goes up vertically 2000 feet. It is SO intense. And SO worth it. I LOVE the view. Along the way and at the top. Supposedly at the top you can look out and see as far as Kansas.
   I read about the trail after I attempted to do it and seriously laughed at this websites' description of the time it takes to get up the trail.
Time: 50 minutes for Olympiads. 2-3 hours for mere mortals.

   The Incline has signs that say it is closed to the public. Not true. Coloridians hike up the trail ALL the time. If you are ever in the Springs area I would recommend hiking The Incline. Just know though, it is not for the faint at heart. You must have endurance. There is a false summit about halfway up. You can't see the true top from the bottom so when you reach the false summit you think you have arrived, only to realize how much farther you have to go. The very end is the steepest part as well. It's so rewarding though!!

At the bottom of the Incline
The girls I went with the 1st time.

It's kind of intense! ;)
View from the top

More of the incredible view.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Great Romancer

  I told you I would write this blog again. The Great Romancer. I just can't not do it. I have someone who is deeply in love with me and me with Him. Why would I not share my experiences?
  Think about it. If you have someone that you are madly, passionately in love with, your natural response is to talk about that person. In my experience, when I have liked a boy, I've talked about him with my friends. So much to the point that I annoyed my friends. Well Jesus is my focus I can't help but talk about relationship with Him. ;)
   I told you before about my decision to ask Jesus to open my eyes to the ways that He is romancing me. I asked a simple question and my life feels so completely changed. I am on such a journey. God loves me, He really does!! I asked some friends to partner with me on this journey and now I am asking you to join me.
   I have devoted a journal to which I am simply writing down the ways that God is romancing me. The ways He is showering His love down on me.
   Some things are big - God gave me this image: I was thinking about how loved I felt because my friends saved up money for me to come home and God  showed me that in these acts of love by friends/family God is running to the front of them, pushing them out of the way to say "Me, Me! I love you More! They gave you _____ but I DIED for you. I am Jealous for you. You can't forget me!"
   Some things are little - Wednesday night I went to another late night prayer meeting. I lost 1 of my gloves during the day so when I walked out to my car at midnight in the freezing cold I was so excited to see that there wasn't frost on my car. God was helping me out....I didn't have a way to cover my hands so He "scraped" my car off by there not being frost in the first place.
  I am titling my journal The Love Story of Jesus and Stefanie (copying The Story of Gabriel and Stefanie!). I am going to treasure this journal for life. I just know it!
  My challenge to you is to do the same. Write down the ways that God is romancing you...because He is! If you feel distant from God, this will bring you to a greater awareness of Him in your every day life. He is working. Some times we can't feel it. He loves you. Sometimes we forget it. I pray this journey, if you choose to take it with me, changes you.

"If our belief system never leads us to encounter with the person, if it doesn't leave our hearts changed, what good is it?" Mike Donehey, Tenth Avenue North

Date with Jesus
KS sunset on my drive back to Co ;)

Thursday, November 10, 2011


  I was going to write another blog on The Great Romancer. I am probably going to still write it. But first I must take a rabbit trail....
  One of the guys in DLA, Paul, is from Germany. He speaks English very well but there are still some words he does not quite understand how to say the American way. The word adorable is one of them.
  According to adorable means 2 things.
     #1 - very attractive or delightful; charming
     #2- worthy of being adored
   As Americans we tend to use the word adorable via definition #1. If I am describing a little kid I use the word adorable...a lot. ;) Well, my friend Paul is one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Seriously. One day someone told him that he was adorable and he said, "I'm not adorable. Only God is adorable." Now, this totally threw me off because, really, when have I ever called God adorable? Probably not very often. I love God, I think He is pretty wonderful, powerful, fantastic, and so many things, but adorable? Paul continued and said, "Only God is worthy to be adored." Oh, wow! Have you ever thought of God as adorable? He truly is the only one worthy to be adored.

   Think about that. Change your opinion of God today. God is adorable!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why I Love Kansas

  I had the blessed privilege of going home this last weeked. My friend Chelsea was getting married and I got to be there to celebrate!! She looked SO beautiful!!
   I call it a blessed privilege for several reasons. #1 - My friends who I lived with at the XA house last year payed for my trip home. I told them I didn't have the money to make the trip and so they decided to raise the money for me themselves. What an act of love!! They are so wonderful. So wonderful indeed!! #2 - I got to see my friends and family. I love DLA but it was SO nice to make a trip home. God has been romancing me a lot lately (I've been more aware of it) and my drive home was truly amazing. I have never noticed KS being quite so beautiful. I probably never will again. It had something to do with the fact that I love fall. God knew that when He planned this trip for me. Ah...I love Jesus SO much! Seriously. I keep falling more in love with Him every day. Every time I think about Him. And that's the way it should be! I was home I kept thinking of all the reasons why I love home. So now I am sharing them with you. They are in no specific order.

   1. Walking around Washburn University with Kaci Eccles.
   2. Running around Wasburn Uniersity with Rachael Ortega.
   3. Classic Bean - Chai Tea Latte!
   4. Lifeway....Barnes and Noble....
   5. Coffee Dates at World Cup, Classic Bean, and Barnes and Noble
   6. Working at Billy Vanilly Cupcakes and all the people there
   7. Late night coffee runs to Billy Vanilly Cupcakes (I'm starting to sound like a coffee addict)
   8. XA House - Ari, Kaci, Taylor, Kelsey, Christian, Erin...late nights full of laughter!
   9. Thursday Night Live
  10. Worship Jam Sessions with Christian, Ben, Christian, and Phil
  11. Hugs from Ari
  12. The many many different laughs of Ariona Taylor
  13. German Chocolate made by Adam Stauffer....German Chocolate Frosting shots!!
  14. Fall in KS - the trees are SO SO SO beautiful!
  15. Walking in my favorite neighborhood...surrounded by trees.
  16. Friday Night Pizza/Movie nights with my sister and her kids
  17. Sunday dinner at my parents house - with the whole family!!
  18. Good News Church
  19. Hearing the many wonderful quotes from my paster - aka Gordonisms ;)
  20. The Good News Worship Band
  21. Concert on the Lot!!
  22. Spring in KS - it is just SO SO beautiful!
  23. Walking around WU....knowing the perfect amount of people yet still not knowing so many...
  24. Eating lunch in the Union - I like to people watch! ;)
  25. WU Business classes - I am a nerd - Microeconomics, Business Stats, Financial Accounting...
  26. Being 5-7 minutes away from my family.
  27. Sleepovers with my nieces/nephews
  28. Bathroom conversations with Ari...and Kaci...
  29. Riding my bike around Shawnee Lake with my dad
  30. Shunga Trail - walks/bike rides/ picnics
  31. Sand volleyball at Sonic
  32. Shawnee Lake - so beautiful!
  33. Watching the Vaughn kids
  34. Study parties in the hallway of the XA House
  35. Family dinners at the XA House - the delicious creations of Christian and Wesley
  36. Driving on Highway 40 to Lawrence....I love the country!!
  37. Lawrence - best city ever in KS
  38. Driving past places so full of memories
  39. Driving down Burlingame (between 27th & 29th) in the fall
  40. Fall in KS - I might have already said it, but I love fall. ;)
  41. The country...vast prairie lands
  42. Corn Fields
  43. Good News Church productions: Gameplan, Welcome Home, Happily Ever After...
  44. Annual GNC picnic/baptism at Lake Shawnee
  45. Thanksgiving dinner at GNC
  46. Wednesday night dinners at my parent's house with Shaun and Mikaela joining in.
  47. Topeka Shawnee County Public Library
  48. Being greeted every time I come home by my dog - Bella
  49. My Friends
  50. My Family

  To break it down....I love where I was born. I have so many memories. Good and bad. It is mostly the people make me love Topeka. I am such a people person! Don't get me wrong though, Topeka has been a beautiful place to live. Yes, sometimes you might have to search hard to see that beauty - only in the summer, ha ha! In the fall and the spring, Kansas is just Beautiful! No questions asked. Pictures don't do justice. I am greatful for the 21 years I have been granted to live in Topeka, KS. I wouldn't trade it for anything.
  It has spurred me on to having a love of traveling. I can now say I love Colorado! I am greatful for my time here as well. I'm not sure what my future holds....except I do...slightly. ;) I love when God reveals His plans piece by piece.

One of the MANY reasons I love XA!!

Heaven in a cup!

My favorite women...

Fall in KS :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Great Romancer

   I have a wonderful update on my car!! The person who hit my car was going to pay 100% for the dent in my car. I got an estimate and was all set to bring my car in to the shop when someone wiser than me shared their fantastic wisdom with me.
   Instead of getting my car fixed I can keep the money and have a dent in my car. Body work is expensive. This means I could get a lot of money back. I don't have a job this year. This means no earning money to put into a new car fund. My car still gets older each day. I'm not making money. Only God could and indeed did provide me with money to start a new car fund when I am actually not making any money. I think I'll keep my dent. ;) Everytime I look at my dent now I am reminded of how awesome God is. He blessed me through a strange circumstance. I like it. A lot.
  God continues to romance me every single day. How wonderful is He! :)

"Every good and perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of heavenly lights,
who does not change like shifting shadows."
James 1:17

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Love Letter

  I am currently in the process of waiting for the clock to strike 5am. Why? I am heading home for the weekend! I can't sleep however. So I've decided to share something with you. :)
  These past few weeks have been life changing. God has been speaking identity into my life. I am beginning to feel full of the strength of the Lord. I am beginning to believe God from the bottom of my heart when He tells me that He loves me. I am being vulnerable and He is rewarding me in that.

"When I called, you answered me,
you made me bold and stouthearted."
Psalm 138:3

  The WPC (World Prayer Center) where I have class every day has this wonderful opportunity for me. 24/7 prayer. There is a special room, the Furnace Prayer Room, where people gather together and pray at all times. It is So wonderful! There is always someone in the room praying. Except for in the middle of the night there is also a worship leader playing music and singing as the Holy Spirit leads them. I'm going to share a picture of the FPR with you later because as I said already, it is just so wonderful! (Thank you to my housemate Alex Tola for getting me to say the word wonderful all of the time)
      Because of the 24 hours of prayer 7 days a week every night of the week there is a main prayer meeting that many people gather together and attend. Most days of the week that main prayer meeting starts early in the evening. Wednesday and Friday nights however the main meeting is 10pm-12am. These late night prayer meetings are the favorite!
  Last night was only my second time attending a Wednesday night prayer meeting. It was Wonderful! Actually, wonderful doesn't even begin to describe it. God showed up. Right away. I truly feel that I spent some time at the seat of the Father. While there I asked Him to tell me a story. I asked my Father "What do you love?" The answer He gave me truly moved me. It is something I desire to share with you right now because, well, God loves you and He wants to know it deep down inside of you.
  I wish you could close your eyes and let me read this to you. I know this is rather impossible since you have to use your eyes to read. So I ask that as you read this be open to what God is saying to you in this. Believe it. It is truth.

I love to see you smile.
I love to see you step out in faith.
I love to see the dreams I place inside of you grow into fruition.
I love when you choose to sit at my feet.
I love when you open up your heart to me and choose to be vulnerable
-That is when strongholds are broken!
I love when you step out of your comfort zone.
I love when you choose to trust me.
I love when you pick me over others.
I love to hear you pray...I love listening to you.
I love talking to you.
I love when you choose joy.
I love when you serve from your heart.
I love when we meet in our secret place.
I love when you worship me and hold nothing back!
I love when you run to me first.
I love when you let yourself be you.
Do you understand what I am saying to you? I love you. I LOVE you. I LOVE YOU!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Power of Encouragement

   Hi friends! I pray you are all doing well.
   I am doing pretty great if I do say so myself. :)
   I find each and every day that God is So Very awesome! I love it!
   Every Sunday night we have what is called The Gathering. All DLA students, full-time and part-time, get together for a night of worship and teaching from one of our wonderful leaders. This last Sunday was so very great indeed. After worship we took a few minutes to go around to our friends and speak encouraging words over them. The timing on this event could not have come at a more perfect time. I am doing swell, growing in the Lord. There are however areas where I am not sure if I am really growing. I think I am but Satan comes in and tries to tell me that I am not improving. So I get discouraged. Stink! Every single person that encouraged me on Sunday night was definitely listening to God. Every single encouragement I received directly correlated to the areas I was not sure if I was really growing in but so desire to. God sent me people to tell me that I was indeed growing. Don't give up! As my pastor back home would say, "Keep on keeping on." ;)
   Jesus - your timing is impeccable!
   Last night during a prayer meeting I decided to continue on the growth topic and look back in my journal to see where God has brought me recently. I teared up as I read God's promises to me from before I came to DLA.
"The Lord is faithful to all his promises
and loving toward all he has made."
Psalm 145:13
February 2, 2011:
   Oh Stefanie, I know that just stressed you out to find our that your interview is not until the 18th of February. I am fully aware that scholarships are due on the 14th. Do you not think I knew this before I had MaryBeth call you? I know everything! I see it ALL Stef! I know what I am doing. I am calling you to simply leave it in my hands. Trust me Stef. Do NOT fill out that Leadership Scholarship. If you do, you are showing me that you don't trust me. Whose plan do you want to follow? Whose do you believe is better, mine or yours? I am the Alpha and Omega. I am Peace. I am love. I am everything you need.
 (When I was worried about what to do this school year God said "Trust me." As you all know, I am exactly where God wanted me to be!)

February 24, 2011:
  Stefanie I know life is difficult. You work more than you did before. Take it as a blessing. I am helping you get the money for Colorado. I will not just hand you all the money you need. Some of it will come more easily than others but I want to see how serious you are. Do you desire to go to this school as much as I desire for you to go? I have such GREAT things in store for you Stefanie. I am so excited for you to go! You are going to miss your family though. You must lean on me. You must let me be your one and only. I am everything you need.
  (When I was frustrated with going to work and school full-time, when I was in desperate need of encouragement, God came through. He also provided me with ALL the money I needed for school, just in time!)
 "Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing,
but let us encourage one another -
and all the more as you see the Day approaching."
Hebrews 10:25

Are you in need of encouragement? Get together with fellow believers. There is SO much encouragement in gathering together and speaking life into each other's lives.
Ask God. He is the Greatest Encourager of all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Lightning McQueen

   I have talked to several people lately who have named their cars. Definitely not something I've thought about doing. I love my car, it was a blessing from God, but it's a car. It doesn't need me to name it.  However, one time I gave a friend of mine a ride somewhere and her little boy was very excited to ride in "Lightning McQueen." My car is red...get the parallel? ;)
   The reason I bring up my car is that I have sad news to share with you. About Lightning McQueen. Last Monday we had the day off because we were helping out at the high school retreat during our actual weekend. After going on the jr. high retreat without a day off in between the retreat and the school week too many people got sick. Now, we have Monday's off after a retreat weekend!
 Anyway, I had the wonderful privilege to go out for coffee with my dear friend Hannah on my day off. I had an incredible time talking with her and sharing what God has been doing in our lives. I left Starbucks feeling quite overwhelmed by the greatness of God.
  I got to my car and there was a flyer on my windshield. I looked at it briefly but not recognizing what the ad was for I threw it in my car with the intention of throwing the paper away when I got home. Instead of just heading home like I planned on I felt God directing me to keep on driving down the highway and exit onto a different street. I'm so glad I did! As I have been praying for God to romance me, He has been doing just that. My detour took me to a new part of Colorado Springs that I had never been to. There I discovered a beautiful park with the trees looking quite fall-ish. If you know me, you know that I absolutely LOVE fall! (When my sister sent my care package to me she included leaves from around town) God had revealed to me a special place. Our place.
 Let me just say, when I got home that afternoon I was in an Extremely good mood! As I arrived home however I got out of my car and noticed something. Something sad indeed. My dear Lightning McQueen had a big dent in the side of it, and paint marks all along the dent. Someone had hit my car. How had that happened I thought? I surely would have noticed if someone hit it while I was driving. LIGHT BULB! That's what that note was on my windshield when I was at Starbucks. On the back of the ad was a note that said "Sorry I hit your car. Please call my dad at this #." They left their insurance information and their contact info. I felt so blessed in the midst of my sadness. Yes, my car is no longer dent free (besides all the hail damage). I am currently waiting to hear back from the insurance company to know if their insurance will truly pay for the damage or if they will call my car totaled. Regardless of what happens, God is so good to me! I was blessed by the sheer fact that the person who hit my car left their contact information. How many times have people had their cars hit and the person who did it simply left the scene. I am blessed by the honestly of this family. And their willingness to pay for the damages.
 I'll keep you updated on what happens with Lightning McQueen. ;)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Corem Deo

   Last weekend I had the opportunity to go on the high school retreat. I didn't go as a leader. I went as part of work crew. This means that we served all the meals to the students and cleaned up after they left the dining hall.
    Never have I ever been to such a nice campground! We went to Crooked Creek Ranch in Fraser, CO. Every trip I take takes me further and further west into the Rocky Mountains. Boy are they beautiful!! I thought Colorado Springs was the most beautiful city ever. Now I know better. ;) It's like our relationship with God. Once we grasp a new part of Him and think we understand Him more, He opens our eyes to the fact that there is SO much more we don't understand or haven't experienced yet. Never will we fully know the beauty of God. That is part of God's majesty!!
  Back to the retreat. It was So awesome being there and serving students. As you can see by the picture, this was no ordinary dining hall. The evening dinner on Saturday is always a themed dinner. This year it was superhero night!! We made the dining hall even more impressive with tablecloths, linen napkins, and fancy glass drinking cups. It was so much fun to see everyone dressed up in their costumes! Even the servers got to dress up. I was "Super Stefanie" ....copying my costume from a few years back when I was "Super Aunt." ;)
  Never have I ever been to a campground that provides towels, sheets, and pillows for every person staying there.  I went to serve and I left feeling so blessed. Each member of work crew was given a bag of candy when we got to the retreat, and our work crew cabin was stocked with lots of snack goodies for us. Again, blessed. They didn't have to do any of that for us, yet they did.
  The name of the retreat was Corem Deo. This means 'in the presence of God.' Ah...God was most definitely at Corem Deo! After I finished help cleaning up the dining hall I was able to sneak away to the evening service Saturday night and Sunday morning. On Saturday the speaker was talking about how we must be passionate for God and run full force after what He calls us to do. He used the analogy of a white rhino. They are massive, ginormous animals. They can't see very far in front of them but they can run up to 30 miles per hour. We must be like the rhinos...get a vision for what God wants us to do and run hard after that. We will be so victorious!! It is so amazing to be able to worship Jesus with young people who are passionate about God. Several hundred people together in one room singing praises to our King = beautiful!! :)

Crooked Creek ;)

Outside the dining hall.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Great Romancer

  Every day I fall more in love. With Jesus. I just can't help it. I asked Him to open my eyes to the ways that He romances me. Best idea ever! My eyes are are overflowing with the love of God. He loves me. He really loves me! It is not a half-hearted love either. It's the Real deal. :) The really cool thing about how God romances me is that it is in the little things. Sure, He does big things for me as well, like providing me with all of the money I needed for DLA, but there are a lot of little things along the way. It works so well that way.
   I don't need much to make me happy. The right song on the radio at the right time. Beautiful sunrises. Seeing mountains on my way to class. Awesome cloud patterns in the sky. Bright fall colored leaves on trees. A hug from a friend. An intense prayer meeting where God reveals a new aspect of Himself to me. Truth. Freedom from lies that I have believed. New revelation on God's Word that I have read so many times before. Worshipping my lover.
  I have realized lately how so many of these instances are God showering His love on me.
  Last Thursday my housemate was talking about how excited she was to check the mail that afternoon because she was expecting a package. I was happy she was so excited but told her "I Really wish I would get something in the mail. I've only gotten one letter since being here. And a license. I told my mom she could send me a care package, but I haven't gotten one yet." I left for school before the mail came. Later that afternoon my friend texted me to say I got a package in the mail. Considering how we had JUST had a conversation THAT morning about how much I would love a package I thought she was teasing me. I texted her back to see if she was joking. Nope. ;) It was supposedly a big package!
  I got home that evening to receive a wonderful box in the mail from my sister. She got all my family to put stuff together into the package and send it to me. God is SO awesome. He is so perfect in His timing. The very day I said I would love to get something, I got something. The best part, I had NO idea it was coming. Can you say perfect?? :)
From my famly, Rachael, & God! ;)

Noticed the rat sticking out of the lunchbag?
'The Mexican' has been returned to me.
Anyone have a clever way I can return it to my sister? ;)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dry Bones

   God is so very awesome! He rewnews our strength when we are weak. I have been praying for healing for my father for as long as I could pray. Somedays it is very discouraging and it feels like he will never be healed. Yet....
   I've been reading in Luke lately. I came across a very encouraging passage. Luke 18:1-8. It is the parable of the persistent widow. This widow kept going back to a judge who cared nothing for her or her God. Time after time she would come back and ask the judge to grant her justice against her adversary. Because of her persistence the judge granted her justice. In this passage the Lord says "And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly." God reminded me of His faithfulness through this passage. He has never failed me, nor will He. He promised to heal my father. However, it is not on my timetable, rather on His.
   2 weeks ago God gave me a passage to pray over my father. Ezekiel 37:1-14. God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over these dry bones that are lying in the desert. To prophesy life into the dry bones. God was going to bring His people back to the land of the living. God was going to breathe life into dry bones and raise up His people. My absolute favorite part of this passage is the very end. "Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord."
   God does the impossible. He does it on His timetable. He does it so His glory can shine. There is NO ONE greater than God. No not one!
   God gave me a song to go along with the scripture. I challenge you to listen to 'Dry Bones' by New Life Worship. Read Ezekiel 37:1-14. Ask God if you have any areas in your life that He wants to prophesy life into!?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Community Week

  SO much has happened in my life in the short month and a half that I have been in Colorado Springs.  God is moving. God is doing something miraculous in my life. He is breaking me off all the things that are not of Him, all the things that get in the way of our relationship. He is making me stronger, by relying solely upon Him. God is good!! Actually, He is WAY beyond good! I have been re-learning how true it is that when we are at our weakest points in life, God comes in and blows us away with His strength. I was struggling with something, so I told God I just couldn't do it without Him. That night I just felt overwhelmed by His love and power in my life. He put new direction in my life. He is so Amazing!
 "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses,
 in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong."
2 Corinthians 9-10
  I think it's time to share some fun things I have been doing. We had a community week last week. This means we didn't have class time in the morning. Instead we got together for fun activities

Pumpkin Carving!!
Katie and Kylan
All of the full-time DLA students!
Milbia, Me, Mali, and Lindy
 Monday was fall festival. We carved pumpkins, bobbed for apples, had an apple cider chugging contest (difficult to do!) and then we enjoyed a bonfire at night time.

Tuesday we went for a hike at Mt. Herman. It took us FOREVER to finally start hiking. We went to a place we couldn't get in at 1st. Then we decided on Mt. Herman but we went all the way to the top, had to drive back to the bottom, started hiking, had to go back down to meet the rest of the group And Then we got to hike. It was a beautiful hike and worth the crazy wait!
Having fun rock climbing!!
Sean, Caleb, Tucker, and Meghan

Wednesday we played a game called Bigger and Better. We started with a penny and had to go up to people and ask them to trade us something either bigger or better than a penny.
Our exchange went something like this:
Penny - new pack of mints - little pink football - a make it yourself sushi kit -
 football helmet - kids footstool - trampoline guard - a bike!

Thursday we went out for ice cream...all of the DLA students.
This means around 100 people in one ice cream store.
 It was packed, to say the least. :)
SO yummy! I had oatmeal cookie ice cream. ;)

Silly boys! Caleb, me, Brenna, and Tucker in the front.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


  Yesterday was Zechariah's birthday. He turned 4! Wow! Where does time go!? I love that boy So very much! I love all of my nieces and nephews So very much! I can't imagine the love that I will feel towards my own children because the love I have for Mikaela, Ariel, Gabriel, and Zechariah is already So great. To think that the love God has for each and every one of us is SO SO SO SO SO SO much greater than the strongest love we have towards another human being. God blows me away! His love is truly indescribable!

"For your steadfast love is before my eyes,
and I walk in your faithfulness."
Psalm 26:3

  I keep thinking about people I love, and the people that love me. Some friends of mine decided to try and raise money so I can come home for a weekend. I am not sure if they will be able to earn the money, but the fact that they are willing to sacrifice their money for me means a LOT to me!
  I am finally at a place where I feel like I belong at DLA, where I have some new and amazing friends. I was just sitting and dwelling on the love of friends and God said, "The love that I have for you goes beyond any earthly love you have experienced. I love you more than you'll ever know!" WOW!
  My friend Brenna told me about a video she watched that was showing Jesus dying on the cross for us and it said 'If you were the ONLY person on earth, Jesus still would have gone through all of that for you.' Again, WOW!
"The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."
Psalm 145:8

  Notice how both of the verses I included have the word steadfast in them? I decided to check out the definition on Steadfast: unwavering, firmly fixed in place or position.
The love that God has for us, for me AND for YOU will always be there. No amount of failures on our part will lead to an end to God's love. He is. His love is steadfast. His love for you is unwavering, firmly fixed in place or position. HE LOVES YOU!!! Please, embrace His love if you haven't already. If you think you have fully experienced His love already, you haven't. Keep asking Him for more of it, because He has more to give!!
  I love the way God directs our thought processes. I was just going to write a blog about my amazing nephew and instead landed on the love of God. :) I just can't get away from God...and I LOVE IT!! :)
  My good friend Mali just wrote a really good blog about God's love. That may have also influenced my thought process tonight. Read and enjoy!

I thought I would close with a few pictures of me and Zechie! :)
1) September 28, 2007 - the day I met him. ;)
2) Visiting me in Mexico 2008
3) One day when I was babysitting in 2009
4)  My 21st Birthday I had some pretty amazing visitors. Zech was one of them!