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Friday, December 14, 2012

 "When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." 
Henri J.M. Nouwen


Friday, October 26, 2012

growing up.

What does it mean to grow up? I've become the victim of this travesty , and I assume that it's normal since we all grow up at some point. But what does growing up mean? Is it the fact that years seem to impact us so severely, so that the older we are, the more grown up we are? 
Is it the fact that the more experiences we've had at earlier ages grows us, and that the more we "experience" the more we turn into adults? 

Or is it that we put away childish fancies and assume positions of adulthood that transform us into ripened, seasoned persons? 


I don't think growing up means what we normally tend to think it means. I don't think it means age. When people "come of age" to drive, drink, smoke, etc, it doesn't mean they are ready to treat those things with wisdom or discernment. On the contrary, so many people abuse the "privilege" of becoming an adult. 

I don't think growing up means putting away the things of a child and striving to become more direct and serious in your approach to life. 

I don't think growing up is the same as being an adult.

I think growing up happens without us really thinking about it. It's an accumulation of occurrences, emotions, decisions, likes, dislikes, reactions and thoughts. It happens when you don't expect it. 

It happens when you start accumulating new likes and dislikes concerning your opinions, interests, styles, habits...when you realize the good and bad things in life and how to make a choice based on your own opinion rather than someone else's. 


It happens when you think of others first rather than yourself and what pleases you. 


It happens when you take responsibility for your actions, and accept, perhaps with challenge, the outcomes of your decisions. 


Growing up doesn't mean you should stop being who you are and turn into a completely new person with new loves. Instead, I think it means adding to your list, and refining what you love ever so gently with each passing year. For example, I still like pretending that I'm another person and dressing up in ridiculous outfits. I still love Disney and children's storybooks with lots of illustrations and simple words. Jumping in puddles, making mud pies or running around slaying dragons will never become boring. Neither will tea parties or writing in a journal. But there are new things I've fallen for... having insightful conversations with people who are much wiser than I; people who are smart, the elderly, or those who have experienced the world. I love natural and rugged things, like camping and hiking and the great outdoors, but mason jars with candles burning on a front porch while snuggled up in a blanket make me happy too. I, of course, enjoy being comfortable, but I've also learned that I actually like being uncomfortable, being tested and uncertain, and having to make choices on my own. I like living in a county by myself with no familiar faces, and having to be independent, but I also love the things that make me feel five again. I like feeling confident because of new things that I learn; of experiencing a different culture, feeling like a grown up, drinking wine and being well mannered by eating delicacies and talking of the finer things in life. I also just like wearing sweats, eating greasy fried chicken with gravy and mashed potatoes, and like that I still, and will always, actually need and want my mom for many things.


Growing up...it's a weird sensation. Good or bad? I think it's something that I'm learning to not be afraid of, something that I am slowly accepting and enjoying in my surroundings. However, I don't think growing up should hinder us from who we are. Does that make sense? 


I always used to be afraid of growing up. I felt like Peter Pan. Not even kidding. If I could have found Tinker Bell, I would have gladly flown off to that second star to the right and strait on til morning, because I wanted to be a child forever. What I didn't realize at the time is that children don't have the option of being adults, because they've never been there. When you're older, you have the choice to be or act younger because you've already been there. And that's where the fun is. 


However, I think that adults often get caught up with being adults and carrying on the cliché meaning of the word. They forget to have fun, they forget to be innocent because the world has robbed them of most of theirs, if not all; they forget to be carefree and not uptight; they forget to not worry and just let moments slip by without clocking everything. They forget to be kids.


"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." 

- George Bernard Shaw


Don't stop playing. 


"When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves u free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind." 

- Patrick Rothfuss



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Monday, October 8, 2012

mothers.

Mother. The word mulls around in my head and I try to think of how to expound upon it. The first thing that pops up is Marmie, because that's what I call my mother.

Mother. A copious amount of emotions are mingled with that word. At once I feel calmed and at peace. I feel content. I feel loved. Appreciated. Encouraged. Taken care of... It's amazing how one person can impact you so fully. There are moments when I was a child when I felt as though I could do anything when she was with me. Anything was possible and limitless. Then there were moments when all I wanted to do was shrink to the size of an ant so she wouldn't notice me or scold me in my youthful follies.

They have the ability to put you in your place like no ones business. Just the other day, even as an eighteen year old, I said something that I shouldn't have, and when I was sweetly corrected by my Marmie, I became five years old again and had just accidentally dropped a laundry basket lid on her head from upstairs. She didn't have to yell, run up the stairs, or reprimand me...she just had to look me in the eye with that altogether "motherly glare" and it was enough.

Gosh, I miss that glare at this moment. I'd give anything to see her face in real life, not just over a computer screen.

Perhaps every daughter, or every child, has a reason to brag about their mother in some way, being that they are slightly biased to their own kin. There are so many older women in my life whom I revere and respect with the utmost ranking. I view them as mothers, as role models and masterpieces of what a true woman should look like. They have my love and affection... but my mother, my dear sweet mother, she has all of me.

When I was about four, living in Fredericksburg, Virginia, I remember that sometime around the fall or winter months, I was terribly sick. I can picture laying in my bed in a very girly, silky pink nightgown and feeling dreadful. It was a late night when Marmie and Pappie had been out at a dinner party for the Marine Corps. They had only been gone for a few hours, but it felt like an eternity to me.  I don't know how to describe it other than my mother walking in, sitting on the side of the bed, leaning over me with hands placed on either side of me, and whispering in my ear to ask how I was feeling. Even now, I can still remember the waft of air that spread over me when she leaned over my head; I'm sure the delicious smell was one of her perfumes, but to it honestly just seemed like the essence of who she was - pure comfort and goodness embodied in a wonderful women. 

It's funny, I've heard that as we grow up, our perceptions of our parents can decrease, because we grow older and mature and notice the flaws of our parents; we are quick to criticize, to think we are right, to not give them respect, and to call them out in their mistakes. The older we become, the more our parents aren't the superheroes we so cherished. Or so I've heard. Somehow that hasn't happened in my case. On the contrary, I've found that my appreciation for my parents has only enlarged, and will only continue to enlarge. It's not because my mother is perfect, because she always says the right thing, or does the right thing, or is always in control and strong. It's because she isn't those things. 

Maybe that sounds odd, but it's true. My mother is the most real and genuine woman I know, and that is  what makes her so appealing and captivating in my eyes and heart. There are moments when I am down and confused and she says the most wonderful things to get me out of myself and into reality. There are moments when I am feeling wretched and she seems to make things worse by saying something I don't want to hear. There are moments when I have an awful attitude and she just makes it worse by just being there - when all I want to do is be by myself. And then there are moments when she's left me alone with my anger when I wish she would just come talk to me. All in all, though, she is always there for me. In the moment, I may feel quite the opposite of that - but in the end it's always for my betterment. Somehow... her treatment of me always turns out the best.

My mother is the best listener; she makes me feel like I have a voice, and that that voice is important. My mother is the best talker; she speaks words of wisdom that I believe are born of the Spirit, and thus inspire not only myself, but any person around her. 
My mother is the best worker; always taking care of others and serving with a heart of love. Of course there are moments of frustration, but she always perseveres through whatever task is given her, and she has learned how to be content with being by herself in her work. 
My mother is the best lover; she knows the perfect cure for sickness, for sadness, for anger, for problems... she knows the perfect encouragement for joyfulness, for contentedness, for peace, for thanksgiving. She knows how to love others, and she knows how to do it well. 
My mother is the best encourager, never ceasing in uplifting others and spurring them on the road that is before them. 
My mother.... she is everything that God could have possibly given me. 
My mother is the best friend. And she is my best friend.

I love her warm, soft hands; her beautiful smile; her infectious laugh; her ability to make the most delicious home-made meals; the fact that she wears lipstick rather than lip balm or lip gloss; the way she doodles on paper while talking on the phone, or how she fiddles with objects around her when she is deep in conversation with someone; the love she holds for animals, for the elderly, for God; the way she calls me "Lucy"; the fact that she never wears make up; the way she looks at me when she's proud; the quiet strength and peace that she possesses from years of hardships; the way she lovingly gives advice and imparts wisdom... I love her. 

My mother is the simplest women, and yet the most complex, as I am having a hard time defining her in mere words. I suppose the word "Mother" is enough? Because she is the very meaning of all that that word envelops. 

"A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts." 

Washington Irving

"My mother... she is beautiful, softened at the edges and tempered with a spine of steel. I want to grow old be like her."

Jodi Picoult

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

time & life.

Time is such a precious thing to experience. It can't be kept in a bottle and saved up, but it is used constantly and always a welcome gift. It's something that I've been experiencing in a whole new way recently. 

There is always a struggle to balance well the time that is allotted to each individual; hence our calendars, schedules, notes, post its, etc. We try to keep ourselves on task by having reminders and filling in our time slots. Perhaps it isn't true of everyone, but I think people like to be busy. I know I do. Not overwhelmingly so, but enough so that I feel productive and somewhat special, I guess you could say. A busy life leaves little room for feeling alone, and maybe that's why so many of us try to stay busy. 

But mayhap it's for another reason. I read a quote recently that caught my attention, not because I utterly agreed with it...but because in some odd way, I absolutely agreed with it.

"Dear God," she prayed, "let me be something every minute of every hour of my life. Let me be gay; let me be sad. Let me be cold; let me be warm. Let me be hungry...have to much to eat. Let me be ragged or well dressed. Let me be sincere - be deceitful. Let me be truthful; let me be a liar. Let me be honorable and let me sin. Only let me be something every blessed minute. And when I sleep, let me dream all the time so that not one little piece of living is ever lost." 
Betty Smith

Obviously I'm not keen on being the bad parts of this quote...I don't want to be deceitful or a liar or a sinner...and yet I am so entirely just that. But I do want to truly live every moment that is granted to me on this earth. I believe that time is never wasted. Sure, there are better things to do with your time (with my time), but everything you do is all simply apart of the Sovereignty of God and creates who you are becoming. You can regret things, but you cannot change certain things - only you look back, learn from  your mistakes and try to make more calculated choices as you walk through life. Leave the bad and take the good.

Life is such a wondrous thing, but honestly, there are many moments when I just wish it would stop. That the clock would stop ticking and time would stand still just for an instant, just so I could breathe in and out without the weight of worries on my shoulders.


"Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it, you can never get it back."
Harvey MacKay

We don't know where the future will take us, even if we have life plans that try to steer us in a specific direction (as I do), but we do know that it goes on. Things will happen when we don't expect them, little surprises and pleasant things. Whether they turn out to be big parts of your future, or just fragments, enjoy what they are in the time that they come and don't fret about the unknown future. There is a Known and All knowing God who is pansophical in that. 
I say the above and yet I'm shaking to the core at what is to come when my plane takes off this Saturday for Paris. Thank goodness I have a moment now to think, breathe and write my thoughts in English. 
I cannot say exactly where I'm headed, what will happen and how it will commence, but I'll just keep going; and I would encourage anyone to do just the same. Maybe it's the five year old in me, but now all I want to sing is "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming..." There. Now you can have it stuck in your head too. :) 
To end on a good note...I think I'll let Tolkein finish up while I finish the tea in my cup. 

"The road goes on and on down from the door where it began. Now far ahead the Road has gone, and I must follow, if I can, pursuing with eager feet, until it joins some larger way where many paths and errands meet. And whither then? I cannot say."
J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Saturday, September 8, 2012

to live.

Oh how I hate when my mind becomes consumed with thoughts and I become entrenched in a maze of queries. I have realized that recently I haven't been "thinking" as much; at least to the affects of coming to sudden realizations or wonders where I have urges to write here or in my journal. I have been living, breathing, talking, feeling, thinking - yet not fully comprehending, taking it in, or processing all that I have experienced in the past few months. Is that possible? I suppose anything is. However, I have found a couple things out, and yes, come to sudden conclusions about certain things as a result of my thinking through things today. And here is what I remedied from my "situation" as you will. When I wrote in my journal all the time, I complained that I wasn't living enough, and that I was thinking too much; was too passionate for my own good and needed to take things lighter perhaps. I have found that I have done so, and this new being that I have begun to create with new habits is uncomfortable to me. Basically, I didn't think of the ramifications that come with changing the way I acted.

Perhaps I'm not explaining myself as well as I'd like. But I think it's something like this: I was living a certain way, found faults with it and sought to live another way with the hopes and idea that it would be better. In many ways it was better, and yet in many ways there are flaws to it as well. So? There is no perfect way of living, no certain way of going about things. There is no special trick to life - you live and learn as you go along the way. This has often been my plight in life: how is there a way on earth to find the perfect median in every circumstance? Truth be told...there really isn't  a specific recipe for a median, only yourself going back and forth between extremes in an innate effort to remain strait. For the most part it works, but you grow along the way, knowing how far to the left you can go and how far to the right you can go. I'm comforted by the fact that there are no rules to this thing. Just live and let live. 


"To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all." 
Oscar Wilde

Thursday, September 6, 2012

brutal truth.

journal entry from April 14th, 2012......


"I suppose it would be a lot easier to write this on the computer because typing is so much easier; and yet, even though I know that my hands will be killing me after this entry, I prefer it that way. It's been so long since I last wrote... I don't exactly know where to begin. Perhaps to say that school is done? I'm graduating from high school. I have 32 college credits with a 3.1 GPA. I had a different year. Interesting and surprising. Almost had a boyfriend. Had some hurt along the way. Got a D in my Statistics class. Was President of the Student Senate. Had my relationship with God rekindled. Made friends. Said goodbye to them. Got a job at a coffee shop. Opened up a bank account. Got my license. Lost weight. Had boy drama. Went on a missions trip to New Orleans. Have been trying to get to France. Seems like a lot of wasted time in between. 

In general, I'm not in the slums, but not doing marvelous either, as I so often tell those around me. I'm in a weird mood at the moment and it's hard to explain why because I don't really know why. I would, however, really like to hit the pause button before things go by in a flash. Robert Frost once said that he could sum up life in three words, "It goes on". And it sure does...almost to a fault. Maybe its this old fashioned idea inside my head that wants to stop and smell the roses, but it won't go away. It is a marvelous thing to push on in life, to grow and strive for better things and improvements. But sometimes it's just weary along the way. I think that I so often try to find a median between God and the world, and I end up being entirely unsatisfied. The two don't mix; and I'm not sold out to Him as I should be. Because if I were, perhaps I wouldn't be feeling like I am now. Miserable. It hurts. Something inside. And part of me wants to fix it. The other part just wants to let me be; just wants to hurt, just wants to cry, just wants to let the tears heal what it seems like everything else can't. Today is just one of those days...

I hate to complain, and I hate to be self-deprecating, but I guess this is a journal, right? I just feel as though I've held things together for so long and I'm tired of it. People have told me so many times that I'm mature; and I feel like the most immature, little child ever. I don't feel like I should be responsible for anything because I'll screw it up, or not do something right. Talk about insecure. Yes, I am. Completely. And I don't know what to do with myself. I feel incredibly inadequate and incapable of everything. These goals for France and the world? Who am I kidding? I'm just a child, only capable of childish things and too afraid to branch out into anything new. Dear Lord, I am so afraid, so uncertain and so untrustworthy of You. Why do I have to be so human? Because it is humbling to the core. On another note that's been on my mind - I am deathly sick of this world. The perversion, the brokenness, the deceit, the malice, the crudeness, the world. And yet I yearn with the deepest desire for redemption of lost and wayward hearts, that they may know joy and peace. I'm a mess of muddled and mired means tonight. Which means that bed does sound sweet indeed.... Goodnight." 

People have asked me why I keep a journal; why the hassle; how can I write and actually keep up with it; sometimes even "Eww, I hate writing - how do you do it?" Well, honestly I love writing. But it is for moments like these that I truly love keeping a journal. It's being able to look back on thoughts and entries to see how I've grown, how prayers have been answered, to laugh and reminisce about old memories...but mainly to learn from who I was and shape who I'm becoming. I struggled with depression for four years and I am sincerely glad and blessed by it because I have come to know how my Savior really saves, and how He saved me. When I go through my journals and see His "exceeding and abundantly above" work in my life - it is woven all throughout my mess and pulls me closer to Him. And for that, I am humbled, because I want nothing more than to praise His sovereignty. The above journal entry? He's wiped away every fear, care, worry and doubt in my mind with His grace, tender love, care, and omniscience. The brutal truth of what I felt while writing it was, well...brutal. But that's what makes Him so beautiful.


".....but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God." 


1 Corinthians 1:27-29

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

monsters of life.

It's funny.....when I die, none of this will matter. None of these petty cares of the world will follow me because they all end with death. So why should they threaten our wellbeing while here on earth? So many pressures try to destroy us - doing well in school, being popular, having the right friends, being successful, being wealthy, having the right job, being beautiful, being handsome, having the right things, saying the right things, doing the right things....and to what extent? They all count as loss in the end. I am tormented by these small things daily, and though they sound little, they are giants to battle. I wish none of them had a hold on me; I wish I didn't have to struggle. But I suppose that's what we all think. It's no ones choice to struggle with these monsters in life, but it's not for us to decide. We must decide how we confront them. Do we allow them to gobble us up and consume us to the point of death and destruction? Or do we not grow weary and faint of heart, and affirm ourselves that there is an end to all things, even these battles on earth, and that when are done, there will be a prize more precious than anything our minds could ever conjure. Don't give in. Never give in, otherwise you will be forever lost amongst a sea of battling monsters. 

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary." 

Galatians 6:9

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

thought of the day. 1

Already it’s July. Unbelievable. Honestly it is. I swear, I’m eighteen but I’m going to be a grandmother before I know it. Perhaps it’s my over-analytical mind, or just the thought of change, but I have a hard time imagining growing older; being old; being haggard. In a simple way, I find it satisfyingly beautiful. Being old, hard of hearing, wrinkled brow and skin, stiff hands and the rubbing of joints, gray and white hairs coarser than their voluptuous predecessors, weary gray  eyes, crows feet, slurred words, deeper tones, slow movement, loss of memory…they all combine to create a being who is the essence of life itself. Everything you’ve done in life to become old, it’s all earned. And it’s worth it. There’s nothing to be afraid of - just excitement about a life to live, full of great things God has set in stone since before the beginning of time for your benefit, not harm. 

Monday, July 9, 2012

i like being broken.

There are just some people who seem to be naturally "with it". What do I mean by this? Well ask yourself what "with it" means and you'll probably start to think of people who seem to have the works. They are bright and brilliant; charming and winsome; talented and together; cool and collected; graceful...beguiling in their aura of unperturedness and placidity. And yes, I am using a thesaurus while writing this. Point to be made, I see so many people who just seem lovely; they are beautiful, inside and out; they are talented and artistic, they wear adorable clothes, and as if by chance, it all looks natural. They have beautiful handwriting, nice skin, good hair and nails, smarts and intelligence, motivation and determination. Bottom line, they are "with it" and I can't help but be envious. Even as I'm writing, a silent voice is quelling my frantic mind and asking the simple question, "Does it matter, Sarah?" It's not a question from my mind, but His. Oh goodness, no. It doesn't matter at all. But I suppose it's nice. In reality, I know that no one is like the words I used to above - at least not all of them together. Those picture perfect models are saved for Hollywood's motion pictures. The idea is nice, though. Even if that idea of perfection were possible, would I want it? I think not. Because that's not who I am. I am broken. And as odd as it sounds, I like being broken because I am constantly reminded that I need fixing. I am constantly reminded that I am a true scoundrel; that I am a cheat; that I am nothing. I am also reminded that He constantly makes much of Himself through me and my deplorable weaknesses, and that keeps me in my place with no room to boast, save for in Him alone. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

helping others.

I was at dinner yesterday with a family, and when talking about my plans for the UNHCR, was asked by a boy quite nonchalantly, and jocularly, "You want to help others? But why? Who wants to do that?" Perhaps the question was rudimentary, but it got me thinking. Why do we help others? Why do I help others? 

Well, it's this wonderful, old-fashioned idea that others are more important than you. That others simply matter in general - no matter who they are. Is it so abnormal to wish the best for others, especially those in countries much less fortunate than our own? I love people. There is something enchanting about a human being; the fact that there are 7 billion people worldwide and yet they are all so incredibly different is miraculous. So unique and also much the same. We are quite the paradox because we were crafted by quite the Creator. The way we look, sense, feel, respond, generate, think, compile....being so different is almost magical. Everyone grows up differently, with numerous experiences, countless impactors and a myriad of influences that make us who we are. Everyone has their own special story - never told before, until they speak it themselves or act it out. Everyone also has their own struggle, their own hurt, their own sorrow. I've always loved written biographies and movies based on true events and lives. They aren't fiction; real people lived and breathed out beautiful lives and stories. By reading or seeing them, you are almost able to live through them vicariously just by being a bystander. 

But this makes me think of all the people who aren't Corrie ten Boom's, who aren't Anne Frank's, Mark Twain's, Helen Keller's, or Frederick Douglass'....or any person who was great in some way, yet wasn't somehow noted. The woman in Russia who works four jobs to support her family in the slums; the Tutsi man in Africa who takes care of a Hutu girl who's lost her family after the Rwandan genocide; the boy who stands up to bullies in an English preparatory school to rescue a classmate from being beaten. We don't hear those stories, but if we do, the media milks it until it becomes an overrated, under appreciated headline that's easily forgotten. How many other countless stories have we not heard about the concentration camps and those who persevered through them? About Jewish persecution during WWII and those who stayed strong in the midst? About fathers who have lost their wives and children yet manage to go on living life? About deaf or blind people and how they live? Or about authentic slavery and how costing it was on African Americans?

Each day is full of heroic deeds and heartfelt actions that so many of us miss out on. Humans, whether noted or not, are precious and should be handled with love and care, as cliche as that might sound. Much too often, unkind words are said without thought, uncalculated actions are made that hurt feelings, and everyday people bruise easily. Of course, it is a fallen world, but that doesn't give excuse to be raw towards others. Rather it should encourage us all the more to be uplifting in the way we treat others. Even if someone doesn't respect you, could you respect yourself if you treated them disrespectfully just because of that? I think most the time we do not see the beauty in others because we do not understand them, and no one likes anything less than being misunderstood. But how can you not see it?! How can you not see their warm eyes? Sensitive hands? Enthusiasm for what they love doing? The spring in their step? Life in their very being? People are deep and relational, and this, among many other things, is what I love most dearly about them. Is that not reason enough for wanting to help them? Because you love them? Were it just for one of the above reasons, I would help them. People are always in need of aid, so why hesitate to give it freely when it is so easily appreciated? When we help, we connect and the part of you that is "I" becomes "we". Isn't that grand? You become apart of something and someone much bigger than yourself, than your world, and your opinion, and your importance. It is called compassion. It is that part of you that sees another in need and wishes to quell that need or suffering. The word compassion itself comes from a Latin word meaning to "co-suffer" or "share suffering". It is an active desire to alleviate anothers pain. And we would not be human did we not have this emotion. So why help others? I can answer that much better for myself than for others...so my answer? Because I love people. I love others, and I can't bear to watch them suffer when I can provide myself for them. Is this not the Golden Rule? "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" ? (Matthew 7:12) Is it not also the greatest commandment? 

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.' " (Matthew 22:37-40)

For loving others is loving Him. Helping others is acting out love. So let me help others all the more if it means loving my God all the more. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

through tears of joy.

How do I begin? There is an aching in my heart that I cannot describe. There is a hole inside that wants to be filled. There is an unsettledness that wants to be comforted. There is a fear that wants to be calmed. And I feel powerless. How can the life of someone affect another to such a huge extent? How can you even continue living life when you feel so wretched and despairing; so lost and hopeless; so confused and troubled? How can you continue when all you want is to know, "Why?", and realizing that you'll never know why.

I read this week that there was a shooting at a school in Ohio; that several people had been injured and that one boy had died. A sixteen year old. I didn't know him.

I prayed. I felt sad. I went on living life.

A boy died today. I knew him.

I wept. I prayed. I angered. I felt ashamed.

Who am I to question His plans?
Who am I to want and need to know why?
Who am I to clench my teeth and bar my fists at Him?
Who am I?

I know what I am not.... I am not perfect. I am not all knowing. I am not supreme. I am not just. I am not righteous.

I know what I am. And that is a sinner. In a world pitch black with soot and grime and ugliness that was never intended to char this earth. I get angry because I'm in pain....because I see others in pain, and I feel their pain. Because I see anguish and turmoil. Because I see brokenness and I can't fix it. I get angry at God because I hurt. And yet amongst the thrashing out at what I see as unjust....I see what He's quietly whispering to my trembling soul.

I never intended this. 

What?

I created this world to be perfect. 

What? How?

I created a place where I could live with you in a perfect eternity. 

What happened?

You chose to be apart from that life. You chose to be all-knowing because you didn't trust my plan for you. I never wanted this for you. I never wanted pain for you. I wanted a life that was beautiful for you.

God and I talked today and in my shattered frame, I felt whole in the end. I say that I know what Christ has done for me. I say that I understand...when I don't. I can't comprehend to the smallest degree what grace was bestowed upon me when He sent His Son. Can you even begin to comprehend that He created a beautiful world that we destroyed and corrupted, that He sent a piece of Himself, His only Son, to come and understand what it was like to be human, to feel all that humans feel; then to pay the ultimate price and die on a cross to be an intercessor for our lives. He gives...and He gives...and He gives...and He gives... Oh, GOD. I am overwhelmed and awestruck by You and all that You are.

Sin brought death and suffering into this world; and Christ will take it out. He will take us out and make us complete, whole, unsuffering souls.

Today He took my wandering soul and bound it fast to Himself. This boy, precious, sweet, beautiful, cherished Ian who was full of hugs, of joy, of peace, of beauty was taken out of a black world where God could say, "Yes, my child...NOW. YOU. ARE. MINE. And you are perfect." I weep; but they are tears of joy, because this is God's supreme plan full of glory, majesty and omniscience. Through tears of joy, I am beginning to understand his wonder.


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

birthdays & wishes.

Today was my birthday. And I must say that I am so filled with joy and love from the warmth of others that I wish I could somehow pass on this uncontainable feeling so that others could have even an ounce of what unspeakable joy resides in me at this moment. I had a wish as I blew out my candle, and with keeping tradition, I shan't tell you. But I will say that I wish, on this day, that each of you feels loved and appreciated. Something that I love about birthdays is that it's a day to celebrate the life of someone and show them that they are loved. At the same time, though, I think, "Why should it just be one day? Why don't we give that much love and encouragement to the people we love everyday?" Well, everyday would be overkill and would take the sincerity out of that love perhaps; but I think even once a week, once a month, every few months... let someone know how loved they are, whether it's their birthday or not. So many times I see someone in the store who I think is beautiful, or has a cute outfit, or is nice, or any random thing that I admire. My fault is that I don't commend them for their good efforts. I just watch and keep my comments to myself. I remember one time this summer however when I was in the store, I saw this girl who was just beautiful - hardly any makeup and just naturally beautiful. I wasn't going to say anything, but then something compelled me to tell her what I thought. So, in a rather awkward way, as we were both looking at hair products I said, "I know this may sound weird, but don't take it oddly.. you are absolutely beautiful. I just thought you should know that." Yeah, I felt like I was making a fool of myself. To my great surprise however, tears filled her eyes, she touched by shoulder and slowly spoke, "Thank you so much. You have no idea what that means to me.  I haven't felt attractive in so long and no one has complimented me on anything in so long. You really just made my day." And that was all it took. I felt like giving her a hug and consoling her, but being on the shampoo aisle was a little weird... so we chatted a few minutes before I left. 

But that made me think, there is beauty in everyone and I think that when you see it, you shouldn't be afraid to tell someone what you think, because you have no idea how it could impact their lives. 

So for everyone who sent me birthday wishes, I am deeply touched and filled with utter bliss at much affection people have given me. It is sheer joy and a blessing to my soul. And it really did make my day. 

Each and every one of you is beautiful and so lovely, and I wish that you could see the beauty that I see   in you. 
So happy day to you. 
I wish you the BEST! 


"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count... it's the life in your years." 
Abraham Lincoln 


Sunday, January 22, 2012

choice.

It's strange how you can feel okay at one moment and the next, terrible. Strange how your heart and mind can seem as one and then also as different as can be. My mind makes up its mind as to what it should set out to do, but my heart comes and disagrees - my emotions disrupt my focus and determination. At other times, my heart decides how it should truly feel and be, and then my mind confronts it - my logic gets the better of me and tugs at my sincerity and honesty in what I do. Isn't that twisted?

It still, and always will, amaze me that God gave us a choice in our lives. We are not programmed creations of His, going about with no control over our lives. We live and breathe by His mercy, and we are able to make everyday decisions. In one sense, I want to come out and say, "Thank you! You gave me a choice! You gave me freewill! You did it because you didn't want to force my love for you - because then it wouldn't be true love. What an amazing God of passion and romance you are!" Yet another part of me wants to cry out and yell, "Why!? Freewill!? We could have just followed you had you given the command! Then there wouldn't be all the horrid things that there are in the world today! Then my mind wouldn't be so torn as to what is wrong and right, what I should do, and what my self wants to do."

But that wouldn't be love. Love wouldn't be this passionate, careful, erotic, patient, fleeting, intimate, heated, enraged emotion that overwhelms us. It would be no feeling at all - only response.

It order to accept this beautiful idea of love, we must agree to take the ugly side of love, as well as the good. Is it not like that with the rest of life? Perhaps my head and my heart are saying completely different things. But even though there is a choice, and I must choose at some moment in life, I am grateful for choice. It can be a burden, but it is one of the greatest gifts and freedoms given to man. Rejoice in the choices that must be made. And accept that there are good and bad ones. Isn't that to be expected? If you listen to God, He'll make sure that your head and your heart are focused on Him, and a perfect answer will be sprung from that.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

the Colour Purple.

Shug: More than anything God love admiration.
Celie: You saying God is vain?
Shug: No, not vain. Just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off when you walk by the colour purple in a field and don't notice it.
Celie: You saying it just wanna be loved like it say in the Bible?
Shug: Yeah, Celie. Everything wanna be loved. Us sing and dance, and holla just wanting to be loved. Look at them trees. Notice how the trees do everything people do to get attention... except walk? [they laugh]
Shug: Oh Miss Celie, I feels like singing!

...........

"So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
Matthew 6:34

....

I think so often we go through life not appreciating it. Instead we regret the past and worry about the future. What kind of life is that? So much time ends up being spent reliving mistakes and stressing over things that aren't in your control. How much do you get accomplished when your attention is so tied up with things that aren't important?

Today you should be happiest. In this moment you should be happiest. Look around you. So many worries, so many cares....put them aside. Look outside.

Where I live, the weather is chilling to the bone, the grass is brown and dry, leaves have fallen to the ground and blown away...the earth looks ripped of its beauty. Even the sky is cloudy and overbearing. I don't enjoy that.

I look again.

Branches. Stripped of their beauty. Gray bark. No color. Pitiful and naked. Bare. Reaching towards the sky with their limbs swaying in the wind, pointing to the One that made them. Their arms against the silhouette of a deep purple sky, clouded with rolls of lavender cotton balls. They are strained and broken and bent...and yet they are somehow breathtaking, reminding me that there is beauty in each day. I must grab it. I must cherish it.

Enjoy each moment and carry that beauty with you where you go, because tomorrow will have it's own worries (as does today) and you'll need beauty to keep you going. To remind you that God is GOOD. That His creation is GOOD. And that He has already faced the battles you are fighting from yesterday, today and tomorrow and He has already conquered them. Hear that? He CONQUERED them. VANQUISHED. THWARTED. PREVAILED by His own blood that dripped from a cross as He hung and told you with His own words, "It. Is. Finished."

This is what He tells me... "Enjoy that purple sky. Love that colour purple. For it was created for you to love and enjoy. Just as I created you, for Me to love and enjoy. "

Monday, January 2, 2012