Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blog Revival!

I am finally reviving the blog! This year was so hectic with teaching full time and photography that I did not have time to keep my photography blog updated and and throw my thoughts out on this one. And so my personal blog became a victim of neglect, but I am determined to revive it! So for all of you that constantly tell me you want me to update this blog...I'm doing it! As I was reading over it today it was so interesting to read back through some of the things the Lord taught me over a year ago and how much he has changed me! While I want to post new thoughts in the future, this was an old post from the beginning of my blog and as I reread it this morning, Jesus sweetly reminded me how intimately he is involved in the details of my life!

l'amor che move il sole e l'altre stelle...

Dante uses these words to describe God as "the love that moves the sun and the other stars". The words themselves sound beautiful simply because they are written in what is thought by many to be the most romantic langugage in the world, but when you realize what they actually mean you are struck by the the beauty of our God. When I read this it reminded my heart that God is in the details. He is the love that moves the sun and the stars in place....every day! He knows the number of hairs on my head, he knit me in the womb and created my inmost being, he knows when I rise and when I sit, he is familiar with all my ways. In that moment when I read the meaning of those words I was reminded that I am loved by a God who is intimate with the details, not just the big picture. Details are what seperate a mere aquaintance from an intimate friend. An intimate friend knows the details...the habits, the likes, the dislikes, the joys, the struggles....they are familiar with the details of what makes you...you. And when you are hemmed into that kind of intimacy you feel known... and you can just be. That sentence made me realize that I love that about the Lord. He has hemmed me in....he knows the ins and outs of who I am...he's well versed in the details of me....I am known.....and in his presence....I can just be.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

8 Facts of Randomnness

I was tagged by my friend Sexy Bexy to give 8 random facts/habits about myself. (She threatened me within inches of my life so I have to do this)

The Rules:

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog (about their eight things) and post these rules. (**if you’re a non-blogger, you can email them!)
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

My eight random facts and/or habits:

1. I graduated 4th in my senior class of 300.

2. I will only eat Haribo Golden Bear brand gummy bears.

3. My senior year in high school I would come home often after school and watch The Joy of Painting on PBS with Bob Ross as he painted his "happy little trees" and said things like "We don't make mistakes, we just have happy little accidents." and then take a nap because he would put me to sleep.

4. I can sound like a sheep.

5. When I cry my eyes get really bright green.

6. Even though I know Santa does not exist...I still won't let my mom put the presents under the Christmas tree until I've gone to sleep on Christmas Eve.

7. I love pancakes.

8. When nobody is around I will blast music in my house and sing into a hairbrush...true story.

Now it's someone elses turn...I pick Kent, Hollie, Heather, and Summer.

Skeptically Yours....

I often think I can be a skeptic about life. I would probably tell you that I'm a "realist" though. I often do not believe the change of something/someone until they have proven it to be true. I like facts, proof, evidence....whatever you want to call it. If a person has exhibited particular behavior patterns over a substancial amount of time, and then all of a sudden they veer down another road claiming change, I am often the skeptic...or again, realist as I like to call it. I found myself on the phone the other night sharing very skeptical opinions about a certain situation with a person involving the change of another. The next day though it seemed that maybe my skepticsm was not warranted. It seemed that maybe the person in that situation had experienced true change.
So then i ask myself the question.....why am I so skeptical? I often try to mentally skirt my way around that word, which is why I like the word realist. I think realist sounds more accurate...but maybe that's just what skeptics tell themselves to make them feel better. And then I find myself priding myself on being a realist because I like facts...I like proof...because they seem to offer security and stability as opposed to the impractical and visionary. In my mind I think that if I'm realistic about people and life then I won't be duped or made to look foolish by believing something only to be proven wrong later because I didn't have the facts and the evidence.
As I continue to ponder this I begin to wonder...maybe its not about having facts and proof...maybe it's about having more faith. I realized that my faith is weak in that area....I don't always have the faith to believe change....especially in people. Is my God not great enough to produce change in the blink of an eye? That's how I act at times. I want people to earn the right to be seen as changed....I want proof....before I will actually see them as something new.
So with the way my mind works....there is always another question that follows...if this is what I do...then why do I do it? Because it prevents me or someone else from getting hurt or disappointed. If a person continues on in their old ways at least I know what to expect, but if they claim change then I don't want to put hope in the fact that Jesus might have really changed them only to be disappointed or hurt again when they fall back to their old ways. It's like a defense mechanism....and I realized it's sad.
What I find funny is that I hated it when people did this to me during my own season of change. I had a rough year this last year...I will spare you th details for now....but the Lord definitely put me through the ringer this year...for my own good obviously, but it still wasn't one of the more enjoyable times in my life. It involved the pulling up of roots of sin and healing of the past and a lot of tears. There were times when I felt like my heart physically hurt because of the emotional and spiritual pain I was in. But then there was change....and I can't tell you the exact day or time, but it almost seemed like it was overnight. One day I just felt a little lighter...insecurities that once were didn't seem so present in my life...and I felt changed. Not that those things wouldn't creep back in from time to time, but I felt like I was actually able to walk in freedom from some things that had me entangled for so long. But the heartbreaking part of that is while I was rejoicing in what God had done and the freedom I felt, there were people that wanted me to prove myself. Some actually even said that to my face in so many words. Honestly that hurt. I felt like there were some that did not want to rejoice with me and be a part of what God had done in my life because they were skeptical of true change. They wanted the proof so they would not be hurt or disappointed again.
So I kind of laugh at myself as I sit here and realize that I do the same thing. Maybe the problem is me....and my lack of faith to believe the changing power of Christ sometimes. When it is happening before my eyes, I want to doubt, but maybe I should jump in and believe. And if that person hurts me or disappoints me again, am I going to believe God to protect me in that? Why am I so afraid to give chances....second, third, fourth...however many it takes for true change to occur...and if I get hurt over and over....what if I handed out another chance because I believe Jesus will change instead of retreating to safety. Am I going to continue to see someone as who they were until they prove otherwise? That's not how Jesus works with me...and I'm so thankful for that....so as I think about these things....I realize that's not how I want to be with others. I think it's our human nature to have this tendency with people...because truly we would all like to hope in others, but we've all been hurt and disappointd by doing that very thing at some point in our lives. My desire is not to put my confidence in the flesh though....my confidence is in Christ...who can change things instantly....just look at Paul. I want to be impractical, I want to dream, I want to believe in the foolish things, I want to be the visionary for what could be, I want to hope in the things that don't seem possible....I want to believe Him for change in the lives of others. I want more faith.
I pray that the Lord will do this...and I believe he will. I want to be a reformed realist...throwing off the hindrances of my skeptic self and be willing to look foolish in hopes that Jesus is creating change in myself and others. I want to enjoy the journey of change with others and not just the end result.... that makes looking back at where we were and rejoicing that much sweeter.
Anyways...that's where my mind is at tonight...so there's some random thoughts for ya!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Times Like These...

I walked in the door this evening from a weekend away with friends. I set down my bags and in silence began to get laundry started, bags unpacked, and I began to mentally run through all of the things I need to get done tomorrow when I return to the routine of life. Then in the silence of my productivity I feel that twinge of sadness that always seems to follow the end of a trip or the closing of some experience or chapter in my life. I always feel a temporary emptiness when all is said and done. As I wash the day off my face in the bathroom sink my processing begins.
I realize experiences like this...whether with friends or family...are unique moments in time....they contain people and experiences you can't recreate. You can try, but it will never be quite the same. So when it comes to an end there is always a twinge of sadness that it's over.
I recently spent a week with some family at our cottage on Lake Superior. And while I see that family often throughout the year, we have never spent an extended amount of time together like we did. I realized that while I was sad when it came to an end I had a new appreciation for them. I learned new things about them and had conversations with them that I had not had before. Our lives became more enmeshed because of the way we spent time together. Sometimes it's just about the people you are with, but other times there is a perfect combination of people and place that lends itself to create a time you just want to truly enjoy and it it always seems to result in a heavier overlapping of lives.
Those times always make me thankful. And as I reflect upon this trip that just came to a close I have a thankful heart. I'm thankful for... community, for doing something out of the ordinary, good music, friends that genuinely love Jesus and make me better for it, hospitality, good food, silence, a reason to not answer the cell phone, a day at the beach, honesty, learning new things about friends, slowing down, not having a plan, experiencing new places, good conversation, not feeling the need to have conversation at all, laughter, questions, answers, being back home, and something to look back and smile upon.

I'm thankful Jesus allows us to experience more of him in the people and the places we go. I'm thankful that He delights in us and gives us times like these that let us delve into the depths of Christ with those we surround ourselves with in life.
But mostly I'm thankful that all of these things are more enjoyable because of Him.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Hammock Confessions

I made an implusive purchase at Target a few months back and slapped down $100 for a hammock. I've secretly wanted one for a long time and in my mind I convinced myself that purchasing this hammock would be relaxing, spiritual, restful...pretty much any positive adjective I could find to justify this purchase, I told myself.
Now my relationship with this hammock started out a little rough. I literally wrestled with this thing to put it together. I could not get one end to stretch to the other end because the rope was so tight, but after much battle I won the war. Yet after all that work I'm not going to lie...the hammock sat for a long time without me in it. But in the past couple of weeks I have rediscovered my hammock....the one I needed so badly.....and I love it. It has become my thinking spot...and also makes a good napping spot.
As I lay in my hammock this evening I realized it's one of the few places that can actually keep me still. For me there is something about laying suspended in the air where my only view is up that just slows me down. My mind slows down, my breathing slows down, and for that period of time I don't feel the need to make sense of the world. I am able to take in the beauty of the sky, the rustle of the leaves, the chirping of the birds, and just take in the beauty of the Lord and lay in his presence. He has captured my attention there several times over the past week and he has also given me sweet rest in that very same place. I don't really know what I'm going to do in the winter when it's cold...maybe my thinking spot will have to change or maybe I'll just grab a blanket, but for now it's my sweet spot. The Lord used my impulsive purchase to meet with me, to give me rest, and to remind me of who he is. I would say that's well worth the $100 bucks, wouldn't you?

Beauty in the Breakdown

I walked into church Sunday night feeling the weight of the world colliding with my heart and as the worship started so did the tears. I wept, but not for myself. I just felt so broken for other people. There are certain situations going on around me and as I sat there on Sunday night all I could do is cry for the people in them. We often are so self consumed that we rarely find ourselves truly broken for the sin of others, but as I sat there weeping over sin that was not even my own I realized that the brokeness I felt for those people seemed to hurt my heart more than my own brokeness. It hurt my heart, but it made me long for Jesus even more.
But what I also thought about is that there is beauty in the breakdown. God breaks things only to make them stronger. God does not want our leftovers and he doesn't want what is convenient for us to give. He wants all of us. Many times in my ridiculous thoughts I think God got a pretty good deal when he saved me. I have talents and giftings that he can use in his work and time and time again I try to walk out in them on my own....those are the self dwelling thoughts of my flesh. It reminds me of the story of Peter in Matthew 14 when he sees Jesus walking on water and wants to do the same. Peter's desire to be like Christ is commendable, but then his flesh takes over and he sinks. How often to do we start off with with good intentions to look more like Christ and end up sinking because our flesh takes over convincing us that we've got this and faith then takes a back seat. Jesus seemed to use brokeness a lot in Peter's life to bring Him in line with what God wanted for him. I feel like I identify with Peter a lot at times.
I like the idea of brokeness. The reality is we are so flawed with our sin and flesh and we usually don't even see it. But brokeness brings us to realize that we can not tame our own flesh....we are flesh dependent creatures. And in our brokeness...just like Peter cried out to the Lord when he was sinking....we cry out to the Lord who is the only one that can heal our flesh dependency.
So I pray that the Lord continues to break my heart for the sin in my life and in the lives of others....because as I sit back and realize how deeply flawed we are as people...I realize I can't afford not to pray that prayer. In Acts 2 you see the end result of God's refining power in Peter as he preaches with boldness and 3000 are saved. You see the glory of transformation as Peter operates in the spirit. But Peter had to be broken many times to come to this final product because our flesh cannot stand in such glory. This encourages my heart and I long for brokeness to bring the same result in my life and the lives of others.

I pray that a broken and remorseful heart is what you will receive from me Lord....

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Redeeming Love...

Do you regret your mistakes? How have those mistakes shaped you? And if you hadn't made those mistakes would you be who you are today.....and if you wouldn't be the same person today without those mistakes could you really count them as regrets? Or do you consider some of them as moments that have taken part in defining who we are? These are the questions I have asked myself lately. In each person's life, there are moments, both positive and negative, which have defined and redefined who we are. Consider the definining moments in your life. These moments affect the very core of who you are and what you believe.
If we walk forward in fear of making different mistakes, or maybe even the same ones again and continue to look back in regret over the ones we've already made...are we truly living? Theodore Roosevelt once said "the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
As i trace the path of my life many of my definng moments have been rooted in my my mistakes. So maybe I would even then say I'm thankful for them. He has redeemed so many of my mistakes and used them for my good. And I think all I can do is look forward to what is ahead and be thankful that God's grace is sufficient for what is now behind me. Thank you Jesus....