Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sleep Typing

You know, this birthday came and passed, and really, it doesn't feel like it actually came. Yes, I got gifts, I got a couple of Happy Birthdays, but in reality, it's just time passing, isn't it? I've been 22 for two weeks now, and in those last two weeks more has happened than I really know what to do with. My mom went in for her fourth biopsy yesterday, and she'll get the news tomorrow about the same thing that killed her mom; whether or not it's benign. Then we'll know whether or not we can afford a surgery that my father has been putting off for far too long now.
I don't say all these things for sympathy, or attention, but rather, it's more a way of actually getting it out without having to share it with the whole world.

I guess my thought process is that this life is way more fleeting than we realize. A good friend of mine once made a list of the things she wanted to do before she died (of course, she was actually faced with a visible possibility of death). She even went to a Jewish camp because being a camp counselor was on her list (probably one of the mose hilarious stories I have EVER heard). My father has always wanted to publish a book. He's 68 years old, and still has not completed this task. I don't want to put off the things that I really want to do in life just because I think I can do them later in life.

It's late, I should be getting to bed. It's been a long day. Brit, I love you, thanks for talking to me about everything tonight. I don't think you realize this, but you happen to be one of the most inspiring Christian women that I know. I don't think you realize how significant an example you set for the other ladies around you. Maybe that will be what turns us around in our darkest time. Thanks for being such an awesome friend. I am going to miss you SO much when you go to Jordan.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

A Random String of Thought Processes

I am extremely burned.

I mean, really burned.

No, this is not a parallel to some emotional distress that I may be under. What I mean by this is that Brazilian, olive-tone skin that I claim never gets burned is, in fact, burned.

I'm sitting on my bed in a very awkward fashion in an attempt to avoid rubbing my skin against the sheets of my bed. It hurts. a lot.

I'm listening to my 90's playlist right now... whatever happened to really good lyrics like the ones found in Jewel's "hands," and Alanis Morisette's "ironic?"

Ever wonder what Jewel's last name is? It's Kilcher... not that bad... wonder why she goes by just Jewel...

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Because God Wills it!

Did you know that God's will for your life affects more than your life? Are you grasping this concept? This means that there is actually a lot more at stake when you choose to follow a path that does not glorify God. This is not to say that you should feel burdened by a task that you may or may not know will impact the entire world. This does not mean that you should feel entitled to the glory that belongs to God and God alone. No, this simply means that every choice you make that does not align with His best for your life impacts so many more.

There is a scene in the movie Kingdom of Heaven in which the Christian crusaders exclaim that the unjustified death that they are inflicting upon the Muslims is being inflicted because "God wills it!" This had me thinking, who are we to claim the will of God for another man? Also, when we realize the purpose and calling of our lives to the work of the Lord, what happens when we do not follow through with that work? Who suffers when we deny the cross? Who suffers when we choose the World over the Word? What is the aftermath of what we do and do not claim as "the will of God."

There is another scene, in the same movie, when the man appointed to defend Jerusalem surrenders the city to the Muslims. He then says "if Jerusalem is truly the Kingdom of Heaven, then let God do with it as He wills." Now, this had me thinking, if we just surrendered our lives and said the exact same thing about our "paths," or "callings," would he not guide us in the way of His will?

Why do we so often use the will of God as grounds for our own desires and inconsistent decisions? Why do we also hide behind the will of God; why do we use it as an excuse for sloth?

What if we didn't use it as grounds for what we want, or a shield to defend us from the things that we do not? What if we just simply said: "Here am I, do with me as You will."?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Limbo

Ever feel as though you're stuck in limbo? I am pretty sure you have at some point in your life...

Well, if you can't quite remember what it feels like, let me describe it for you...


This weekend I was in a wedding for a very dear friend of mine, and, as I had the opportunity to tell her the night before her wedding day, she was beginning a new chapter in her life. She would be leaving her crazy single days for a long and happy life with a man that she would be putting before her every decision, she left the self-absorbed for the sacrificial. I can't really think of anyone more ready for that choice....
Well, limbo is the feeling of being between chapters... it is when one phase of your life is ending and you have absolutely no clue what's next... A secular mindset would remedy this problem by pointing out that because we have control over our own lives, then we can simply write the next chapter of our life. Since I thirst for control, this particular mindset would be not only appealing, but also logical to me. As both an unfortunate and fortunate consequence to my committment to the God of all creation, I have been granted absolutely NO control over how my life will play out.

As I go through this summer chock-full of weddings, I can't help but feel in limbo. Not because I expect the next chapter of my life to be marriage, but rather because it seems as though so many people already know what their next chapter is, whereas I have absolutely no clue...

I am currently sitting in the Lynchburg Regional Airport, and I can't help but think of all the transitions that I have made in my life. It reminds me of the first time I moved out of the state of Florida, and to a whole new country: Holland. I remember the trips I would make back to the U.S.; little reminders of the fact that life was continuing here while I was over there. I remember the move back to the U.S., a plane trip that started off as a summer vacation and ended with cardboard boxes and a three month recovery from lung cancer for my father. I remember my flight to Lynchburg for the very first time over four years ago, craving the adventure of yet another new place to call home...

Well, my flight is boarding... so i don't really have a great conclusion...

Monday, June 1, 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an End

All good things must come to an end...

Who conjured such a phrase? A realist, surely. Someone who knew that every moment that was spent in a state of elation would do just that: end...

Unfortunately, I came to the realization that I share this philosophy with its creator. As a result, an overwhelming sense of regret has recently washed over me. Something in me sparked when I realized that whenever a good thing happens to me, I don't necessarily focus on the blessing or the gratitude that I should feel, but rather I experience a blessing with a sense of expectancy for that gift to be either taken away from me, or come to an abrupt and painful halt...

My cat is going to be put to sleep this week. This shouldn't be such a big deal, but well, it kind of is... She's a dutch cat named Marika. I held her in my arms when I was eleven years old, and she was eight weeks. She was the gift my parents gave me when I was alone, depressed and completely friendless in a foreign country. She is my friend, and the only one I have had for this long.

I once told a good friend of mine that I have not had (until somewhat recently) a close friend in my life for a span of longer than two years. Moving around the world, college, and parting paths have been the cause of this. In some of the closer relationships in my life there was a falling out, or an intervention on the part of God.

Maybe this is stupid to cry over, but to be completely honest, that cat has been my constant companion for eleven years. She used to sleep at my head every night, curled up in a ball, until we realized I was allergic to cats that is. She has always slept beside me when I have been ill, or sad, comforting me in the only way she knew how - by rubbing her hairy little body all over my face... This later became a trick that I taught her to do in which the end result was her licking my face in a very canine manner (not only was this absolutely adorable to be, but also yielded a much more allergen-free method of affection). Marika has been there during my darkest hours, spending hours on end in my room with me, ignoring meals just as I was.

The truth is, something very good is coming to an end, and just knowing that has caused me to think over the several friendships, and even family members that I have lost these past twenty-one years. Yes, all good things come to an inevitable end, at least on Earth, but the truth is that I have been given a new gift: the awakening to this fact and the ability to change my perspective on future blessings.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Are You Ready?

I stumbled accross an old song yesterday. It was a song I used to sing for our church's worship team. I remember standing in front of the congregation, ready to pee my pants because i was so nervous, and singing the lovely melody, not because I believed in the words, or because the song had made an impact on my life, but because the song fell within my vocal range.

It wasn't until I was a freshman in high school that this song had taken on new meaning. A time when I felt completely alone, afraid, and just plain lost in a place I knew I was supposed to be, but a place in which I knew no one.

Without you, the emptiness inside of me,
It echoes, with all my longings deep
I call out, that I might hear a sound, your voice
A whisper, to flood my void with peace

Hear my desperation, see my brokenness
Reaching out for mercy, gasping for your breath

You are all I need, Your truth unlocks my chains and makes me free
Your light of mercy lets me see, that since the cross, I never have to be
Without You.

It's amazing that at that point in my life, I was ready to have Christ fill that void. I was ready for the emptiness to be filled with peace. I wanted God to see my brokenness, and putting the puny pieces together to fasten me into someone He wanted, not someone I was trying so desperately to be. I called out to Him, and He returned to me a passionate desire for His will, His way, a life so full of Him, that I would be overflowing with His Word. I was ready for whatever it was that He wanted me to do, wanted me to say, wanted me to be.

Somewhere along the way, I forgot that it was all about Him, and not about what I wanted to do, wanted to say, what I wanted to be. Somewhere along the way, I became thoroughly unprepared for what He wanted, and decided that what I wanted was better, easier, more attractive.

Someone recently told me that whatever vocation, whatever path I chose, I would only be able to influence those who were willing to be influenced, those who were ready. How often do we throw away precious information that is given to us because we're just not ready for the truth? It is my belief that this time that has passed in which God wasn't my sole desire, was a time in which I was not ready. I wasn't ready for what He wanted.
Often we pray that God will open our hearts and minds whenever we pray, or hear someone speak on the Word, and yet, how often do we truly do that? How often are we ready to fully commit our hearts to the Lord? How often are we willing to admit that Without Him, we are so empty, so lost, so hopeless.

It is my prayer that I would stay ready, ready to hear His Word, ready to hear His voice spoken to me as a whisper in the roughest of storms. Without Him, this world is just not worth it. It is my hope and prayer that you would be ready, that you would be willing to say that "Without You God, it just isn't worth it. Fill me, help me to overflow with your Word, your Way, fill me with You!"

Are you ready?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Renewed Ambition - For Kaitlyn

I can't really pinpoint the moment it happened, or even how. I don't know if something drained it out of me, or perhaps I just became completely comfortable in my complacency. I personally believe it was the moment that I thought Christ was going to lead me in a way that meant I wouldn't have to exert any effort in order to live this one brief life extraordinarily. Somehow along the way my dreams took a back seat and instead I settled into a warm and secure environment. One that no longer challenged me mentally and spiritually. I do not know the moment the dreams I chased, and the ambition to win that game of tag, vanished.

No, I'm not 100% sure why this happened, but I do know that the moment I turned over what I thought I should do and traded it for what God wanted me to do, a revolution in which the ambition I had once lost, returned.

What do you do with this renewed ambition? You exert as much energy into it that you possibly can, leaping obstacles, jumping fences, and persisting on fire with the passion that gets you to your destination. There isn't anyone pushing you now, it's just you and the choice between laziness and a dream.


It's your dream; chase it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A complete loss of direction. I am completely ashamed to say that I have absolutely no focus, no idea, no inkling as to what I should be doing with my life. I feel as though I am in high school again, being asked what I want to be when "i grow up." Surprise! I'm there. I'll turn twenty-two in a little over three months, and I have absolutely no clue what I want to do with my life. I will be graduating from college with what seems like an absolutely pointless degree, which I have no intention of using. You see, i've spent so much time learning about the different characteristics of the human brain and personality, that i've begun to lose sight of the multifaceted kaleidescope that is the individual.



That's just the thing, too. It's like in American society, your career is the sum total of your being, when in reality, your personality, your life, isn't made up of the quirks and attributes that psychology labels you with, or your 9-5 vocation. No, you are your experiences, good or bad, and the people that have made the most influential impact on your life.

Experiences that range from your first crush to your first kiss, your wedding day, to the day that your spouse passes. The ice cream sandwich that you looked forward to from the ice cream truck, to the day you looked in the mirror and decided to cut back on the sugar for a while.
The people: Your mom, your dad, whether they were there or not. Your siblings, or lack thereof. The cleaning lady, to the vacuum salesman that knocked on your door. Each of these people, though their influence on your life ranges from significant to a once in your lifetime meeting; even the people we'll never be privelaged enough to meet. These experiences and people are what make up your life.

Not your job. Not a label that someone might give you.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I think i'll eat a worm

Nobody loves me,
Everybody hates me,
I think i'll eat a worm...

I know you've heard this song before... It's like the pity party theme song when you're eight years old. It's what we sing when we're feeling left out, unloved, talked about or just plain ignored. I know it's the selfish tendency of us all to want to be the center of attention sometimes, to speak out about ourselves, our personalities; to be known. It's within all of us to want to be loved and acknowledged as special and important. Heck, that's really all we know until we leave the stronghold of our ever forgiving, ever nourishing, ever loving mothers.

But then we're pushed into the real world, and in the real world, well, some of us are loved, and some of us have the freak flag. Some of us go through phases: little patches in life in which we carry the freak flag, and little patches in which we're popular, and loved.

Generally, if you're one of the more normal people in this world, your freak patches were in sync with your peers. Unfortunately, some of us were considered more freakish than others, and in the fortunate category are those of you that seemed to have an easier or smoother life, while all the rest of us faced our insecurities. Now, when all of you thought that your freak patch fell in times only of adolescence and all that comes with it, then you are sorely mistaken. These phases, I have decided, continue on for just a little longer.

I say all of this because, even though I thought I had finally established a solid foundation of self that could not be swayed in every which way by the comments of my peers, I was indeed mistaken.

Remember that phrase? Sticks and stones may break my bones... yadda yadda...

lies

See, no matter how much you build a solid, confident self, the words of the people you respect, love and admire, no matter how false and hurtful, will cut to the core. Maybe it was something someone said that you know you shouldn't take personally. You know that they don't mean it the way you take it, or perhaps they do mean it, but you should just toss what they said into the garbage anyways... Whatever it is, it hurts.

Unfortunately... I have found this has happened a lot lately. But it's not even stuff I feel I should toss. No, this is stuff that is absolutely, 100% true. But it still hurts.

This being said, I have found myself singing that above, immature, eight-year-old-pity-party song a whole lot lately. I don't mean to sulk and get grumpy about those things, but in all honesty, I think it's just enough to have to deal with those things on your own, knowing that you struggle with those problems, then having someone expose your flaws and have everyone else ridicule them.

Ever heard of the song high school by Superchick? No? Well, the premise is quite profound actually. Ready for it?

High school never ends.

People will always talk behind your back, people will always compete in a popularity contest, people will always create drama. I'm sorry, but I choose a more abundant, significant life. One in which my identity is not founded on what others say about me, no matter how truthful. This life is not based on how successful you are, how much money you have or how secure you are in the things of this world. This is not the end. People may call you socially awkward, call you skinny or fat, obnoxiously loud or super shy. The truth is, God made you the way you are, and he has placed this intricate map into your hand that will direct you through a rough, saddening and messed up world. You can listen to those people who will tell you the truth to your face, but just because it's the truth, doesn't mean it's something that you have to change. You may be super shy, or obnoxiously loud, but you're not here to please them. You don't have to bow down to them, you don't even have to listen.

Just breathe. It's your life. Not theirs.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Roll With The Punches

I'm not really a deep thinker... I know that's really hard to believe, but really, i'm not. I attribute the personality characteristic of "deep thinker" to people who have the educational credentials to back it up. Deep thinkers are people like C.S. Lewis, a man who could get some of the most difficult apologetic concepts into layman's terms. Philosophers and theologians are great examples of deep thinkers. I mean, look at their profession. They never have a definite answer, and yet they continue to search and logically work things through in their minds. I mean, I had to push myself to scrape by with a B in phiosophy, and that was after I did every extra credit opportunity presented to me.
Deep thinkers are people who publish book upon book about subjects that only phenomenally intelligent people can understand.

Fortunately for us "shallow" thinkers, our future professions are not based on how deeply we think, but how deeply we apply ourselves to the task at hand. Sure, there are some who just seem to stumble upon fame, fortune or their dream vocation, but in the end, we actually do have to work.

See, Americans expect everything to be easy, and carefree, as if any time soon, their perfect life will fall into their lap. The result is, well, fad diets, debt, bad relationships, and a horrible work ethic. We have become so accustomed to the easy accessibility of, well, everything. We shortcut so much that in the end, we don't even know what the heck it is we were doing in the first place.

Example: Sparknotes. Yes, I am guilty of utilizing this tool to brush up on my Shelley and Bronte, but do I really know Frankenstein or Wuthering Heights? Nope. Not at all. When I used sparknotes in order to make the A on that paper, I crammed tiny bits of information into my head and kind of fudged my way through the rest of the project. In exchange for the high grade, I recieved horrible study habits, and it has become a struggle for me to get through three chapters of a text book.

To Be Continued...