Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Day of Prayer

"Some people have questioned why the Day of Prayer has to be right before Spring Break, with midterms, missions trips, and choir tours coming up soon - when life is so full. That's exactly why we do the Day of Prayer now. Amidst the busyness, it's good to stop and be still before the Lord in prayer."

This is a paraphrase of the words Dean Arens said to us today, before the closing session of Moody's Day of Prayer, an annual part of our Spring semester. The entire student body gathered and prayed together for an hour and a half - confessing, interceding, and lamenting as one body, as well as bringing personal and corporate struggles to the Lord. It always amazes me to realize that we can all talk to God, honestly and earnestly, because we all share this common faith in Christ, our Savior and Lord.

I was struck today by the infinite power and might of God. We are broken, imperfect, sinful, incapable of being holy; yet, by the blood of Christ, we are able to come before the Lord and be seen as righteous in His eyes. I know that I have issues, that I am undeserving of being called His daughter, but I am incredibly thankful that I have been given new life in Him, that I can pray to the Lord and He hears.

I definitely felt a heaviness by the end of our last session this morning. Things happen when God's people pray. That means that there will also be some spiritual tension as the enemy is against what God is doing through and in His people. So would you take a moment and pray for the Moody students, as we finish out this week and then head into Spring Break? Pray that the Lord would protect us physically and spiritually, but also give us strength to continue to be bold and courageous in our prayers and in our lives; that a spirit of discouragement or doubt would not become our reality, and that we would remain steadfast in our faith.

God - Father, Spirit, and Son - is amazing. Today was another reminder of that.

(Here's a photo from last year of the infamous red seats in our auditorium, Torrey Gray.) 

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Air Plant

Ever heard of an air plant?

I hadn't, until I received one from a friend as a sweet little gift a while back! And now I just love my little air plant. 

How do I care for this plant? All I have to do is soak the entire plant in water for half an hour every two weeks. Simple enough! I've had it since January and it's still alive, so that's saying something since I don't tend to be able to keep plants alive for very long. So far so good.

If you need a little green touch to give you hope for Spring, find an air plant (like this one!). They're wonderful.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday in Real Life

This is my "front door".

Coming "home" from church on a Sunday no longer includes the smell of soup in a crock-pot, or a little doggy begging for attention after being alone for sooooo looonnnngg (or so she likes us to think). It doesn't include dinner together and then family night, where we all gather and share something from God's Word along with stories of the week past and plans and prayers for the week to come. It also doesn't include worrying about a test I have to take the next day in Czech...well, because I'm not taking any exams in Czech anymore.

Sundays don't include mountains or warming up by the fireplace or country roads and stopping at our local grocery store in town and probably seeing one or two friends there who are picking up last things for their family meals too.

But you know what Sundays at Moody do include?

Being picked up by Caleb and Haley and driving out to Wheaton to our dear church.

Getting to hold babies in the nursery and love on them (in English too!) so their parents can sit in church. Even though it's "serving", I feel like I'm the one being served by those little ones as they just love freely, play wholeheartedly and look at the world with such bright-eyed wonder.

And that was just the start of my day.

Yes, Sundays do sometimes include loneliness. I've had many a Sunday that turned into homework-alone days, and those are hard. Often I end up eating a sweet potato for dinner in my room because the cafeteria doesn't serve meals on Sunday evenings and I don't feel like going out anywhere. Mostly, campus is quiet on Sundays and people are scattered throughout the city at churches in the mornings and coffee shops in the afternoons. It can get lonely.

But there are Sundays like today that, albeit different from home, are full of life. Kid time in the nursery, lunch and coffee time with Caleb and Haley, cooking time in the afternoon (I made soup for the floor tonight). We had a Spring Floor-Family Dinner tonight and gathered in our lounge to eat soup, cornbread and kale salad. It was wonderful laughing together and sharing Spring Break plans, then praying for each other. As soon as dinner was over, there were cookies and we read a few stories from random books. Sweet and hilarious at the same time.

So, Sundays can get me into a funk. They can be stressful and not at all what you would expect from this day. They can be lonely and weird and they can make me homesick. But they can also be refreshing, and good. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Chicago Snow

I found myself mesmerized today as I stood at my window.

The view from my dorm room looks out to the plaza and when it's clear, you can even see the Willis Tower (/Sears Tower). But my favorite in the winter is when it snows like this: fluffy snowflakes drifting down and blanketing the city.

So here's a glimpse into Claire's corner of the world today:

Chicago Snow from Claire Patty on Vimeo. Music by Ampersand: find music for free HERE.

(Feel free to check out Ampersand - the music I used in the little video. The musicians are actually a couple of Moody students, and it's great for studying and focusing!)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Chalkboards and the World

I walked into class to find a greeting on the chalkboard, which was "supposedly" from our professor. Obviously was not, professor Downey did not write this though, seeing as there were three exclamation points and hearts on the board. I'm still not sure who wrote it, but it didn't stop with the main message. Someone added a message at the top in Chinese, and as I was taking my seat, another student was writing something in Arabic. 

Normally you might think this is childish, or even disrespectful. But 1. This professor is just great and very relational and 2. This is a class only for Youth Ministry and Children's Ministry majors, so it's totally ok to have a little bit of fun. I had to add a little greeting in Czech (top left corner), and two other languages were added as well before our professor came in. He laughed, of course, and then at the end added his own version of "welcome", in Hungarian (where he lived with his family at one time as missionaries). 

At first I thought it was silly, just for fun. But I couldn't help smiling not only because of that, but because of what all of these greetings represented.

In this class alone (with only 11 students), one person is from Scotland, another grew up in Japan and China, someone else is from Egypt and Canada, I'm from Czech, my professor lived in Hungary, another student knew French, etc. etc. What a beautiful representation of the body of Christ, and what a privilege to get to learn alongside students from all over the world. We all come with different stories and experiences and can bring that to the classroom.

Although this is a school in the heart of Chicago, in the Midwest, in America, I love the hints of international culture spread throughout this campus. I also love realizing that we all came to learn more about God through His Word, and will probably go all over the world with the skills we learned here together.

Today was just one of those visual reminders of how big, yet small, the world is!