Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A pretty good place to pick up...

It's Thanksgiving. I figure since I've put off writing for so long, now is a good time to start up again. So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin. So, I think I'll just skip the update and move along to the giving thanks part.

I am so thankful for my Jesus. Oh, Lord, where would I be without your perfect grace and mercy? I am at a loss for words to express the gratitude my heart feels toward you. You are my strength, God, and I praise you and thank you for the way you have continuously held me in your hand despite all my sin and the destruction that often wreaks through my life. You alone are faithful, Lord, and I thank you for your power and your faithfulness. Thank you for my life and for all of the following.

I am so very thankful for my family. Although there have been some incredibly rough patches and things are still not where they necessarily should be--and probably never will be--I am so thankful for the people who I call family. I'm not just talking about the people I am related to by blood but also the people who have shown me the love of a family such as Leslie, Becca (my best friend), Rachel, Sarah and Joel. I am so glad that the Lord put people in my path that could offer me love and care when I needed it most from an unconventional place. I am also thankful for the Kopp family: Tim, Kim, Quentin and Lauren. I am so blessed to have been able to spend so much time with them this summer and am eternally blessed by the pure love each of them showed me.

I am thankful for my friends. God has blessed me with an amazing number of friends throughout my life and I am grateful for the way each and every one of them impacted and still impacts my life. I am thankful especially for those who have stood by me when I have been prideful, hateful, self-centered, rude, vicious, destructed, and low. Thank you for your faithfulness as a friend. Thank you for never leaving me.

I am thankful for my best friend, Becca. Where in the wide world would I be without you!?! God has so blessed my life with your friendship, Bec. Thank you for never, ever leaving me. Thank you for fighting me when I pushed you away and tested your faithfulness. Thank you for putting up with me through all of the garbage I dragged myself through. Thank you for showing up on my doorstep that December night when all I needed was someone to say "no". Thank you for being my best friend--the best friend I have ever had. Thank you for being such an awesome picture of who Jesus is in the way you love me and care for me. (And thank you for taking care of me when I have the flu...since I can't take care of myself yet.)

I am thankful for my Joseph. :) Babe! It has been two and a half years and everyday is more exciting than the last. I am so blessed by your love, Joe. Thank you for fighting for me. Thank you for showing me how to fight for what you want. Thank you for sticking with me through all of the garbage. Thank you for loving me the way you do. Thank you for your steadfast desire to honor God through our relationship and your strong self control. I am so grateful that God chose to bless my life with a man like you. You are so much more than I deserve and I am so glad to be yours.

I am thankful for my schooling. Although Ball State has some seriously messed up processes and procedures, I am so thankful for the fact that I can get an amazing education there. I am so excited that God has put a desire in my heart to teach and I'm glad He's giving me the means to get there. I know that Ball State is just a starting point and I can't wait to see where it leads me to next.

I am thankful for my home(s). I know that so many people in this world would be willing to open their doors to me and offer me a bed--or at least a pallet on the floor. :) I'm so grateful to have so many people who I feel at home with. I'm especially thankful for my parents' home. It is a beautiful, warm, cozy home in which I can relax and I'm so glad. I'm also especially thankful for Becca's home where I lived this past summer. I'm so glad that a family I hardly knew was willing to open the door of their home to me and offer not only a bed but a room for the summer--free of charge--to help me out when I needed independence.

I'm thankful for so many's really impossible to list everything here. Although I think I could continue for hours, I think I'll stop here. Perhaps I'll take a moment to talk about more thanks later in the day...after I go to sleep and wake up again.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

For what and to whom are you thankful this year?


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A rambling, flow of conciousness sort of night...that ends in a place I didn't expect.

Sometimes, I get really upset for no reason. No, it is not a "monthly thing" and no, it does not have to do with "crazy female hormones". It actually has to do with the fact that I am really awesome at reminding myself of my failures and how pitiful some of the events in my life have been. And then, the flood gates open up and I am totally and completely overwhelmed by tears, anger, frustration, shame and embarrassment. And I flee.

One of these fabulous episodes showed itself last night while I was at my Bible Study. Don't get me wrong, I love these girls and I know that I'm safe within the walls of their reciprocated sisterly love. But. But, I am just so...humiliated to lose it in front of them. Because I want them to look up to me. And secretly, (or not so secretly) I think I want everyone to think that I have it all together.

The truth is...I am so far from "together" that I can't even say the word out loud in the context of where I am right now. It simply will not come. I feel muted when I try to say that I'm doing well.

Except, for a while...I was! I had a great summer. I worked seldom and I loved what I did. I wish I could have spent more time with the precious kids I nannied. But, the time I had to myself was spent relaxing, resting and reflecting. I took time for myself. I did things for myself. I did things I'd never done before. I tried new things. I traveled. For the very first time in my entire life, I felt like I had the opportunity to be myself. I felt no expectations. And let me tell you--It. Was. Amazing.

I've been told that I tend to try to climb a "glass mountain". This mountain has no footholds, handholds or grips. I do not have amphibious, insect or arachnid-like qualities that allow me to scale the sides of this mountain. There is no rope long enough to loop around its peak to provide leverage. top it all off, it's covered in Vaseline (which apparently is a proper noun).

Every time I find myself in front of said mountain, I feel worthless. It's those days and nights that I fall so deeply back into the old self I'm trying to eliminate. It's those moments and hours that I allow myself to be blinded and forget momentarily everything I have learned. And it's those moments that I have to be reminded that I'm really just being ridiculous.

I think that mountain hit me yesterday. So either I'm walking with my eyes shut or it's actually a glacier and it's moving. But most likely it's the first option. And I'm really not surprised because I think I do that a lot...hypothetically, of course.

So anyway...we collided and it really sucked because I cried in front of people that I don't know well enough to cry in front of. And I feel...ashamed and embarrassed. Because now they know I'm hurting. And what if now...what if now they don't want to love me?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Like glass.

I recently learned that my best friend's mother has a friend who blows glass as a hobby. I've seen some of his pieces and they're absolutely stunning. It's hard to believe something so beautiful can be made by a hobbyist. I guess I always thought glass-blowers had to dedicate all of their time and energy into their creations.

As I think about it more and more, I realize that in many ways, I'm just like the glass Mr. Rowe can blow. Like his sculptures, I am fragile, I was created by an artist with beautiful skill, and I am completely different from any of the other creations by this artist. However, in stark contrast to the glass, when broken, I can be completely repaired; although I don't always remember that in the moments my life seems to shatter.

My freshman year of college (although only a few months under my belt) seems like a blur in my mind's eye. I look back and see a different person--one I'm ashamed of. I can't help but be disgusted by the way I handled situations, responsibilities and friendships. The worst part about it, I think, is that even though I thought I had no control of my actions then, I definitely have no control over them now.

Control is a funny thing, really. Consider driving a car. While driving, you have complete "control" over the vehicle; the acceleration, the brakes, the steering, the music, etc...BUT if something in the vehicle's engine were to fail, your "control" would be gone. So in all reality, driving has nothing to do with control and everything to do with faith.

So it is with our lives. We, as people, seem to think we have "control" over what will happen tomorrow, or in an hour...or within minutes. BUT, when we actually put into perspective the fact that God is the only one in true control, we realize that we can only live fully by living in faith. We can plan until we're blue in the face, but if we don't have faith, our plans can come crashing down at any moment.

Faith is a tough thing to live by though. In a world that claims "SEEING IS BELIEVING!", we can easily find ourselves trapped within an idea that fully defies what the Word clearly teaches.

"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1.

Scary how completely adverse the two statements are...yet, we as believers are forced to believe one or the other. Matthew said it perfectly in chapter 6 verse 24, "You cannot be slave to two masters...". In this case, we can't trust that "seeing is believing" AND trust that " is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."

I went through my fair share of shattering moments in my first year at school. And when I look back, I realize that some of my hardest times were when I simply demanded control. And, of course, some of my easiest times were when I whole heartedly believed that God was in control; when I simply lived by faith.

Regardless of the billions of times I felt like my life was shattering before my very eyes, I have been made new. I am made new each morning, actually. I am "a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17) every single day because of the great love of my Savior and my God. Because of His sacrifice and His wounds, mine have been healed.

When all seems lost, I find refuge in knowing that He has the best super glue of all--He has perfect, flawless love. When I am cracked, and broken, and feel lost, He never ceases to come to me in my darkest place, pick up the broken pieces and whisk me away to His repair shop. It is there that I find peace, and love. And I pray that you find it, too.