Friday, January 30, 2009

Coming clean

Tonight I sat down to read my Bible, and I really had no idea where to start. 1 Peter caught my eye this week while I was flipping to another passage, so I turned there and starting reading.

Before I go on, I feel like I should be honest with you. I've always struggled when it comes to reading my Bible faithfully. I've tried to consistently have a quiet time, and after a few days or weeks, I fall back into my normal routine. When I do read, its usually not for the right reasons. I'll read for a one-on-one meeting so I won't look bad or disappoint the other person. I'll read when I'm preparing for a Sunday school lesson or for D-group. Other times, I read just to say that I did, and I'll come away from it with nothing. I've got a desire to be in the Word. I truly want to dive into the Scriptures everyday and see what God has to say to me. I want to seek His will and His guidance. I want to attain wisdom. I want to say that I have honestly spent time with the Lord everyday. Unfortunately, I'm a human and a sinner. I let the everyday things of this world get in my way. I'll make excuses. "It's late, I need to go to bed." "I'll read it later on today." (It's probably not to hard to guess that it never happened.) I've been praying that God would give me a pure desire to read His Word. I want to read it for the right reasons. I want to grow. I want to be able to recall Scripture when it's needed. I want God to transform my life through it's power.

The last few months have been somewhat interesting for me. I wouldn't say they've been difficult, but looking back, they haven't been very easy. Around everyone else, I acted like everything was great. I didn't really open up about it to anyone. Occasionally I would mention stuff in passing to a close friend, but I would spare any details. My mom suspected something was up, because she's a mom...they have like, 12 senses. Honestly, I feel like the root of my problems was the fact that I am not in the Word daily. I've been going it alone for the most part, with the occasional prayer and quick read here and there. Last semester, I felt quite a bit of pressure. BCM president. Dental school interviews. Waiting after the interviews. A new relationship. I felt like I had a lot of expectations to meet, and I tried to do it by myself. I would give in to my temptations without a second thought. As you can guess, it got to me. I really needed a break and welcomed Winter break with open arms. I was getting burned out with the BCM, people were annoying me, and I would get frustrated easily. I didn't like what I was feeling. However, I did keep praying that God would help me. And I know I had a lot of prayers being sent up on my behalf. (Thank you.)

In the last few weeks, things have started to change. The sermons that Pastor Jason has preached in the weeks since I've come back to Bowling Green have spoken directly to my core. God has used those sermons to refresh my focus. He's renewed my willingness to serve, and has given me a greater sense of urgency to share about my Jesus. The incredible part is that I have felt the change. My temptations have been less of a struggle. My attitude about everything has been better. God is working through so many situations in my life right now, and I love it. And this week especially, I've had a greater desire to read the Word as it is meant to be read. And that brings me back to the beginning...

(Sorry for the tangent...just felt I needed to share.)

So as I was reading 1 Peter, I kept coming across verses that I had read before, but they actually meant something this time. I have read most of 1 Peter, but I'm not sure that I had read it in its entirety, much less in one sitting. Tonight, I couldn't put it down. It was incredible. I wanna share some of what I got out of reading tonight.

I love in verses 1:3-4 where Peter describes our inheritance: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is
imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you..." Imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven for me. That is so good to know. God's gift of salvation to me is like my inheritance; those same words can be said of it. It is so good to be reminded that no matter how often I screw things up, God loves me and has saved me. I have an eternal life with Him and nothing can change that.

I also love verse 1:14: "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct." This reminds me that the things that have tempted me and caused me to sin in the past are no longer who I am. I am called to be holy, and those things are who I used to be. God is holy, and I should strive to be as well.

There are so many good things in this book, but the last one I want to mention comes from verse 5:10: "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you." If anything speaks to what God has been doing this past week in me, this is it. Looking back over the last couple of months, I've been suffering. Granted, I wasn't suffering horribly, but it made things...harder, I guess. I didn't realize it at the time, I just knew something wasn't right. I read this verse tonight, and it all clicked. I haven't been letting God into ALL areas of my life. This past week, God has been restoring me. He's been confirming me. He's been strengthening me. And He's doing all of this to establish me as the man He wants me to become. I know that there's a lot that God still needs to work through in my life, as does everyone else. But seeing and feeling how He's been moving in me this week has been so incredible and encouraging. Please continue to pray for me, because God's work is never done. Our God is so good!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

An emotional not-so rollercoaster

This past week, I've been faced with a lot of different emotions. I wouldn't go as far as to call it a rollercoaster-type of week, but it has made me do a lot of thinking. I've experienced excitement, sadness, fear, among others. Those just seem to be the dominate ones. Allow me to elaborate.

I'll start with the excitement. I got to go up to Rupp Arena and watch my Cats beat the Auburn Tigers. I've loved going to Rupp since I was a kid. I've been raised on Kentucky basketball, and any time I get to go watch them play, I get excited...giddy almost. (Ask Sarah, haha) It's also the last week of Christmas break. Now, while part of me is really sad about not having anymore days off after this weekend, the beginning of a new semester is always exciting. Reuniting with friends makes starting classes again bearable. Not only that, but this semester is my LAST semester at WKU. Who doesn't get excited about finishing college??

Moving on to sadness. While I'm ready to finish up at WKU and move on, I also get pretty nostalgic when I think about it. I've gotten really attached to not only WKU, but Bowling Green. I've made so many friends in my classes and at the BCM. This past week, some of us were talking, and we kept reliving the funny memories we've made since we met a few years ago. And plus, it's going to be really hard to leave behind so many great people. I've been blessed with such a great community at the BCM, and even moreso at Living Hope. These friends have been an extended family to me over the last few years. It was hard seeing a lot of the past seniors graduate and move on, but I think it will be even harder to move on myself.

And that brings me to fear. When I graduate in May, I'll have to start packing up my things here in BG, move them back home to Etown, and then on to Louisville. I'll essentially be starting over. New city, new apartment, new school, new friends, new church's kind of overwhelming to think about. To say I'm not nervous or scared would be a huge understatement. Believe it or not, this social butterfly is really shy and nervous when it comes to meeting new people. I can usually open up pretty quickly, but if I'm in a room full of people I don't know, I'm content to stand to the side.

Now, all of this being said, I know the Lord will take care of me. He'll help me when it comes time to leave all of my friends in BG. He'll lead me to a great church family in Louisville. He'll bless me with a new community and new friends. And I know that I won't be leaving my friends at WKU forever. I'll be back in BG to visit when I can, and I know that we'll keep in touch. God has blessed me with an incredible opportunity, and I know that He's been preparing me for it over the last 4 years, and probably much longer. I really have nothing to worry about or be afraid of. But the human aspect of all of this seems overwhelming. I'm so glad that my God is bigger than my doubts and fears. I'm just gonna enjoy my last semester on the Hill. I've still got a lot of memories to make, and a lot of quality time with friends to enjoy. It's gonna be a great semester, and I know the Lord is gonna continue to bless me in ways that I'm sure will surprise me. God is good!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This day in history

Whether you voted for him or not, today's inauguration of President Barack Obama is an exciting and historic day. Most people who know me know that I did not vote for him back in November. However, that will not keep me from soaking in the history of this day. I love American history. I love studying the American Revolution and the Civil War. I loved studying the Declaration of Independence, the drafting of the Constitution, and so many other events in history that helped to shape our nation. I'm glad that I'm able to witness this day and understand the implications that it brings. 40 years ago, African Americans weren't allowed to use the same bathroom as white people, and today, we have our first African American president. Like him or not, he has overcome many barriers, and I respect him for that. I really do hope that he does well in office. I pray that he makes the right decisions for our great nation. I pray that he leads with integrity and that he bases his decisions on what is best for the nation, not the best for his party. It's time for Americans to look beyond party lines and band together. That is what makes our nation historically great. No matter what your political standing, America is nation that boasts freedom and deomcracy. I'm proud to be an American.

That being said, I don't agree with all of President Obama's views. I will however respect him and the office he holds, and I'll pray for him and his family. No matter who you are, being the President of the United States is a tough job that comes with a lot of pressure. As a Christian, I support my leaders, regardless of who they are. I know that ultimately, God's will will be done. I pray that President Obama will seek guidance from the Lord, and that God will continue to bless this nation and our president, like He always has.

That brings me to another point. The President of the United States deserves to be shown respect. It kind of saddened me that President Bush was booed when he was announced. (I didn't hear any, but that's what I've read.) I know that he leaves office as one of the most unpopular presidents in our history, but that is no reason to boo him. I know that a lot of his decisions and actions have been criticized over the years, but he has done a lot for this nation, like him or not. He has nothing but absolute respect for the men and women of our armed forces. He fears the Lord, and he is friendly and gracious to everyone he meets. I really loved watching him leave the capitol building with Laura as they were escorted out by the Obamas. Despite all that President Obama criticized him for during the election, you can tell that they have developed a friendly relationship and that President Obama appreciates all he has done for him in the past few months. President Bush truly is a good man. I've watched fondly as they've shown him boarding the helicopter to head to Andrews AFB, and then as he boarded what used to be known as Air Force One. President Bush was the first president that I voted for. I like the man, I really do. Criticize me for my views, but I truly appreciate all that he has done for our nation over the last 8 years. No, not all of his decisions have been wise ones, but whose have?? Even President Obama admits that he WILL make mistakes during his term. Everyone does- we're human. I say all of this to say that whether you like the man or not, the least you can do is show him some respect. President Obama has been nothing but gracious to him. I know that some people detest him, but he has led this nation during some tough times. 9/11 and the largely unpopular war that followed have not made for an easy presidency. It does make me feel better that over 70% of the nation does feel that he's a good person, despite his low approval ratings the last few years. (Sorry for the just irritates me a little.)

So, to President Bush: enjoy your time with your family, and relax. The last 8 years have been tough, and you deserve the break. Thank you for all you've done for our nation, and God bless.

And to President Obama: good luck and God bless. I wish you nothing but the best during your time as President, and I truly hope you do well. I pray that God will bless you and your family and that he will guide you every step of the way.

God Bless America. :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I guess I'm it...

So Kristi and Sabrina both tagged me in their blogs...I guess I'll play the game. :) Here goes nothing...

1) I was born with a leg disease. It was called Blonts Disease, or something. (Don't bother trying to find it on Google...I've tried.) I've told a lot of the people I know, but for those that I haven't, now you know. Mom and Dad weren't aware of it, I guess, until I started walking. My legs were SUPER bowlegged. I wish I had a picture for everyone to see. (I do have pictures, but they're at home.) Luckily, it was caught early, and it was able to be fixed without surgery. I wore leg braces whenever I slept for at least a year, maybe longer. I was like, 2ish, so I don't really remember. I do remember the picture of me throwing them away. That was a good day.

2) I was almost on the Nickelodeon show "Figure It Out". I wrote them a letter the summer after 5th grade. My secret was that my great-grandfather, Ivy Davenport, was born in the same log cabin as Abraham Lincoln. True story. Anyway, they were about to start having families on the show, and they called our house one night after I had started 6th grade. They talked to my dad, and asked if there was anyway grandaddy could appear on the show with me. Dad said, "That would kind of hard...he died when I was 4 back in 1966." Then they said something like, "Aw, that's too bad, nevermind then." It probably wasn't that harsh, but as a 6th grader, that's how I imagined it. And that's how I almost became a TV star.

3) I cried a lot as a kid. I cried when I couldn't stand beside my dad, the coach, in our soccer picture in 1st grade. Actually, it was more like ran off down the field screaming. I also cried whenever I saw someone get sick at school. Naturally, since I was in the same cafeteria, I was gonna get sick too. I also cried in t-ball when they wanted me to wear the batter's helmet. I didn't wanna get cooties...I know, lame. And of course I cried when UK lost the 1997 National Championship to Arizona. What true blue-blooded KY boy didn't cry then??

4) I've always been very talkative. Surprised?? I knew you would be. I would always talk for Allison, and to this day she blames me for her being shy as a kid. And I was known for telling stuff to people that my parents would have preferred me not to share. Sunday school teachers, teachers at parents were often told how...entertaining my stories were. Some things never change I guess. Haha.

5) I had a tooth pulled by a dog in 1st grade. Hence why I want to be a dentist. Ok, that's not the reason. But we were at a family friends house, and they had a collie named Jack. He was the most gentle, playful dog, but he apparently didn't like to be hugged around the neck. I hugged, and then he growled, barked, and got me with his paw. His back claw caught one of my baby teeth and laid it flat on my gums. It wasn't loose yet. I screamed of course. They spent the next 30 minutes trying to hold me still so they could pull it out the rest of the way with pliars. Of course that part didn't hurt a bit, so naturally I was hysterical. But Jack felt bad. He didn't eat for the next few days until I went back to see him so he could see I was OK. I liked that dog a lot.

6) I wanted to be a garbage man when I was like, 3. Me and my best friend at the time wanted to ride on the back of the trucks. Thought it was the coolest job ever.

7) I had the biggest crush on my swimming lessons instructor. Her name was Holly, and she was really tan. I called her Holly Biscuit, because she was brown like a biscuit. I was like, 4, so cut me some slack. She taught me how kick, blow bubbles...
for a 4 or 5 year old boy, it was true love.

So there ya go. Now I'm gonna tag Sarah, Whitney, Matt, and Kelsey, because I don't know of many others who MIGHT actually do this haha.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wait...where did 2008 go?

It amazes me how much faster each year seems to fly by. It's already 2009. Where did 2008 go?? A lot happened in the last year, but it doesn't seem like there was enough time for it all to occurr. So what happened in 2008 in the life of Ryan Peace?? Let's find out... (Now, I seriously considered doing a month-by-month recap. But then I realized that it could get boring fast, so I'm gonna limit it to the big stuff. Haha.)

I officially began preparing for dental school. I spent the last week of January shadowing my cousin and some local dentists, including my own. That was an awesome week. I got to see so much. I watched a lot of root canals, fillings, crown preps, an implant procedure, an was pretty cool. It definitely helped confirm that I wanted to pursue dentistry. I also took the DAT in May. I spent the 2 weeks beforehand studying non-stop. Ok, not really non-stop, but I studied for at least 4 hours a day. It paid off- I got the score I wanted. Then I began the application process, which was pretty insane. The stuff they want you to include on the application is nuts. They want family history, shadowing experience, EVERY class you've taken and grade you got in college along with the transcript you're going to send them...kinda redundant. And I had to write a 1 page personal essay about why I want to be a dentist. All in all, the application was 17 pages long.

I failed my first class. That's right...Ryan Peace got an F. In high school, that would have NEVER happened. But I have Organic 2 to thank for that. I was pretty bummed about it. Failing that class meant that I had to retake it over the summer, because you have to have at least a C in the class for dental school. It also meant that I had to give up working camp for a second summer. I was really torn about that. I really wanted to work again, because the summer before had been one of the BEST summers ever, and I grew so much. But part of me also felt that I shouldn't be working again. Well, Organic 2 decided for me. But looking back, I'm really glad I failed. Yeah, it sucked at the time, but I honestly feel like I wasn't supposed to work camp again. I don't feel like I would've been able to give it my all, and I probably would've compared it too much to the summer before. I also got an A in Organic 2 the second time was definitely worth retaking it. I got to hang out with close friends and build on relationships that had started at the end of the semester. I got closer to so many people, and I got more involved and plugged in at Living Hope. I started teaching 8th grade guys Sunday school, and it has been so awesome. I'm sure it would have been a good summer at camp, but I feel like God wanted me to stay around BG for a reason. Funny how He works.

My best friend got engaged. Two of my other closest friends, Jeff and Mary, also got enagaged. And so began the year of weddings. I went to 5 weddings over the summer. A lot of good friends got married, and it was a lot of fun to go to their weddings. Usually, I don't particularly enjoy weddings, but I really had a good time at these. It was fun to celebrate with the ones who got hitched and to look back and see how God brought them together. And you can't forget partying at the receptions. I had a blast dancing and hanging out with all of my friends that were there.

I started my senior year of college. In August, I thought it was crazy that I was beginning my last year at WKU. Now, I have one semester's nuts!!! I'm really going to miss WKU. I've made so many friends here, and I've grown so much, largely in part because of what God has done in me while at Living Hope and at the BCM. I'm gonna make the most of my last semester and really enjoy the time I have left in BG.

I got a girlfriend. I started dating Sarah Sprinkle in September, and the last 3 months have flown by. She's a great girl, and I don't know why she's dating me. But I'm not complaining. She's also an Auburn fan, but I've learned to look past that. :)

I found out that I got into the U of L School of Dentistry. This was probably one of the more exciting things that happened, along with dating Sarah, of course. :) I won't go into a lot of detail because I've posted about this already. But, I'm very excited. I've wanted to be a dentist since 7th grade, and all of the hard work has paid off. I'll be starting school again in July. Again, that's nuts.

I started having gallbladder problems, and after a lot of tests, the doctor said it needed to come out. It worked at 15%, so the week before Christmas, I had surgery. When it came out, there were infected lesions all over it, and the ducts on it were really small. Recovery has gone well, and I'm feeling much better without it.

So that's the summary of the big stuff in my life in 2008, although I'm sure I forgot to mention a lot of things. But all in all, it was a good year, despite the economy and an incredibly long, long, long election year. God has blessed me in more ways then I can count, and I'm so grateful. I don't deserve any of it, but that's the beautiful part about his grace. I'm looking forward to what He has in store for me in 2009, and I'm praying that you all have a blessed year as well.

And even though it's a day late, I'm gonna end with this....Happy New Year!!! :)