What Now?

Otherwise known as, “What is God’s plan for my life?” Or, “What in the world, this is NOT how I thought it would go!! What am I gonna dooo?? (AIO reference)”

So… recently my dad told me there’s a new thing now. It’s a “quarter century crisis” or a “quarter life crisis” or something along those lines. Something about freaking out when you’re in your mid-twenties. And I grinned a bit, but said that I can understand that. Of course I’m not at a quarter century yet and won’t be for a year and a half ish (eek), but still–I get it.

And I’m not the only one. The more I talk to and observe  people, especially young ladies, the more I realize how common this is. Things don’t really go how we thought they would, especially when we were younger and thought that of course we’d be married (or in some sort of ministry or career) by 18 or so.

We’re 20 something, not married, not really “settled” in any sort of career or ministry yet… wondering what it all means and what we’re supposed to do.

Of course I don’t have it figured out yet… but I do have a few thoughts forming.

The first is that dreams must die: must be surrendered to God. This doesn’t mean that we can’t dream, or that dreams are bad. Far from it. I think dreaming and dreams are wonderful things. But like everything else, if they are not given to God, they can take a wrong position in our hearts–and they can end up being quite harmful, whether fulfilled or not.

God has dreams for us, too. And as one of the Bright Lights girls said last week (when giving a testimony about giving up a life-long dream), God’s dreams are way more amazing than ours. So as we surrender our dreams, it makes room for His. Which may or may not include our dreams (only better).

The second is that… our lives here will never be as picture-perfect as we’d like. Life just is rough and confusing sometimes; well, most all the time. And often the most important things, the things that really make a difference, are rather boring and hard and not very noticeable. We may never even realize, if we don’t look hard, what God is doing during these in-between stages. We may not realize that He is using us powerfully, here, when we least “feel” or expect it.

Third, we need to be patient. With God, with ourselves, with… life. We need to rest in God, knowing that He will work it out as we trust and obey and love Him. He does have a plan and a purpose for us. We’ve got to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we don’t have everything figured out, and THAT IS OKAY, because God does. Sure, some people do (or seem to), but often, very often, God totally turns those plans on their head. (I know what that’s like.) So… just enjoy the ride. People will think you’re crazy, but oh well.

Fourth, YOU ARE ALIVE. Really. I promise. Right now, in your confused, in-between state, you are still a person. So LIVE. Pray. Be grateful. Love the people you’re with. Praise God where you’re at. Look for ways to serve, no matter how small. Remember that even if you are not “Doing anything Important” you can still be developing character that will last. God often does His deepest work behind the scenes, in the quiet times of our lives.

Fifth, (why is it spelled that way? It’s so awkward. Anyways.) don’t just sit around. Waiting on God doesn’t mean waiting like sitting around, it means waiting like trusting and working faithfully right where you are. God will bring along opportunities to serve, to try new things, to travel, to meet people. Take them!! If they don’t work out, well, now you know one more thing that isn’t right for you. But you’ll still learn something; you’ll still grow. And maybe the next thing that comes along will be the one you’ve been looking for. So just keep looking, keep trying new things. Remember that each experience helps to shape you into the person God wants you to be.

I probably could come up with more things, but I think I’ll just stop there. What is God teaching you during this stage of your life? What opportunities have you had recently that you might not have if your life had gone “as planned”? What are you grateful for right now, in this place?

The Rock Tumbler

So I’ve been struggling inwardly with various things–some of them really deep. (prayers appreciated!)

Last night I finally prayed the way I needed to… and during that prayer, something came to mind that helped some things make more sense to me. Whether or not God showed it to me, I’ll leave you to decide. But it helped me out quite a bit, and I thought it might help some of you. 🙂

I first thought of a jewel or a gemstone… and then rather abruptly saw the process that went into making it all smooth.

First there was the more drastic part of sanding/cutting away parts, making it roughly into the right shape.

But then there’s the tumbling part; the part where there’s lots of little grains of sand, and lots of tumbling, and lots of annoying noise, and you can’t see what’s happening, and it takes SO LONG. (at least the little dinky one we had once did.)

And I’ve been feeling that lately.

I don’t see what God is doing. Sometimes I think I haven’t got anywhere at all, at least not on the inside.

There are many little “grains of sand” that annoy me and bother me and distract me.

I’ve definitely been feeling quite tumbled about, especially in my mind. It’s hard to know which way is up sometimes.

There’s been a lot of noise, inwardly and outwardly, and it doesn’t seem to be doing any good. All it seems to do is confuse me.

It seems like I’ve been in this place for a while, a long while, and I don’t know when it will end and I wish it would just hurry up.

And… having that image in my mind of the rock tumbler makes it all make a little more sense. God IS working, even though I can’t really see it and it just feels annoying and confusing. I’m realizing that I am not really used to this part yet. I was braced fairly well and mostly trusted God for the first round; the really hard stuff. But now this endless tumbling about with tiny grains of sand… ugh. Not nice.

But now I can understand, a little more, of what God is doing. And I am learning to be patient with Him as He allows me to go through this time in the Rock Tumbler. He knows what He’s doing, and He knows the outcome. I just need to submit to His work.

Tumbled Thoughts and Things

This has been a particularly strange morning. Not outwardly, but inwardly. I have no idea what’s going on, really. I’ve drawn a page full of swirlies, a page full of straight lines, a few pears and an apple and a mug, a ribbon, and a some other things. I just needed to draw. And now I feel like I have to write. Or run. Or punch or kick something. I miss the punching bag. And New York. And lots of people.

It’s gorgeous outside. Which is making me want to be outside and Do Things, but I’m inside in the office. The doors are open, though, which is good. And I can hear a bug, maybe a cicada, singing away. If you can call it that. But it is a happy sound. Also the sound of the printer, and Hannah rustling papers, and myself typing.

I’ve been thinking about Things, way too many things.

About ritualistic abuse and child sacrifice, and the fact that it happens here. About Halloween and the way it relates to the aforementioned. About our mission trip and what that means. About my life and what God wants me to focus on. About the opportunity to help fight Common Core. About Facebook and what it’s doing to us. About writing. About language, and the differences between languages, and grammar, and how that affects us. About God. About the Meaning of life. About the universe and it’s vastness and what that means. About my smallness and yet my value in God’s eyes, and that doesn’t make sense. About the tile business and how strange it is that I’m in it. About creation and the fact that it exists and why did God make it, really? About the spiritual world and it’s being real, and why don’t we think about it as real? About American culture and how out of touch we are in some ways. About the warped sexuality that is so pervasive here. About the great wrongs that are in the world that the church turns a blind eye to. About how can people just pretend they don’t see things. About how people can spend $13,000 on a TUB and there are children dying? About our government’s absurdity, especially in the realm of money and schools. About the family and it’s sorry state. About thinking about thinking. About friendship and what it really is and how do you do it? About words and Meaning and how that all works. About getting shots and which ones do we need? About fire and how it both sustains and destroys life. About our senses, both physical and spiritual. About learning guitar, and music, and what is music anyway? About working on our church building, and why don’t people help more? About everyone trying to be perfect, but no one is, and why  must we keep pretending? About abortion, and the girls who feel like they have no choice, and how it really is a way to get women to exploit themselves while thinking they are being “liberated” and what a wickedly despicable lie it is. About the fact that we have a Real enemy, but we act like we don’t and we are being attacked violently on a regular basis, without defense and without fighting back. About Pregnancy Solutions, and what a powerful, needed ministry they are. About how God has been putting so many opportunities in my path lately, and which should I focus on? About using time wisely, or not. About eternity and what it will be like. About the Bible, and how it was written and what to do about it. About my physical health and wondering if everything’s okay or not, and if I’m strong enough to go on the trip, probably I’m not, and that’s probably okay because God wants to show me that. About humility, and how necessary it is but how rare it is, and how can we be proud when God and the universe are so vast and we can’t even make ourselves taller, or create a fly? About the fact that so many very hurt people are hurt worse by the church, and how is that even possible?? About the fact that there are so many who say they are Christians, and yet don’t act like it, and if you point that out people say you are “throwing stones” and maybe they are the ones who are actually throwing them? About how crazy it is that we Christians can rejoice and glory in tribulation, not just accept it. About prison, and my friend who is there, and how people don’t talk about Such Things. About marriage and if it will ever happen to me, and maybe probably I’m too busy for a man. About all the girls I know who are struggling with so many things, and how it’s just not Right. About the Bright Lights girls and how dearly I want them to Get It about God and life. About how glad I am that the light switch is fixed. About how cute Esther is. About prayer and how it works and what it really is and why God set it up like that. About death and what it would be like to die and the fact that I probably will die. And so will people I love. About the fact that there are at least two people that I have a premonition will die for the cause of Christ. About rebuke that is done right and wrong. About faith and what it is and how to have it and why don’t we have more faith–maybe because we don’t want to? About… so many other things.

And this would be the reason I would sort of grin and think people should be very grateful that I didn’t take Facebook literally when it asked what was on my mind. 😛

It’s also why I haven’t been blogging much, because how on earth could I make those thoughts into blog posts, and which one would I start with??

And by the way, now all the blog posts in the sidebar start with T. For those who like That Sort of Thing.

And this has been a pretty much completely useless blog post, unless you happen to be fascinated with what I am thinking about; which I don’t know why you would be. Oh well. If you read all that, and if you wanted to hear more about one of those things, comment and let me know and maybe I’ll blog about it. Maybe.

To the Daughters

Last time I wrote to the dads. Now I think it is time to talk to the daughters.

I know that for some of you, reading the last post I wrote was hard. Some of you cried a bit. Maybe more than a bit. And some of you didn’t, but you felt that heart twinge. Some of you have become hard, maybe, and “don’t care anymore”. Some of you, maybe, realized how blessed you are.

To all of you, there are a few things you need to know; especially after reading that last post.

The first thing I’d like to remind you of is that God is your Father if you are in Christ.

“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:18

Earthly fathers, no matter how wonderful, won’t be perfect. They won’t know what you need always, they won’t understand youalways, they won’t do the right thing always, they won’t always love you right, they won’t always know what to do, won’t always be able protect you.

Some dad hurt is inevitable. Don’t look at me, or some other girl, and think, if only I had her dad, everything would be great. ’tisn’t true.

But God is the perfect Father. He fills in those places that our earthly fathers don’t–and so much more.

And I get it–sometimes it’s hard to see. Sometimes we just want our dads to be all that. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like God is a good Father. But, ladies, we must not always rely on our feelings. We must trust God. We must ask Him to help us trust. He will, you know.

Remember that God is your Father.

I know it’s tempting, but you cannot blame your own sin on your father’s lack of attention or the pain he has caused. We are each responsible for our own sin before God–he for his, you for yours. For those whose dads have not been there, or have wounded you deeply–you are at a disadvantage, in a way, and it would be pointless to deny it. And yet, those of you who know Christ have a huge advantage, one that can overcome even the worst situations. It still hurts, absolutely, and that pain will probably never totally leave. But in Christ we have the power to be free from and resist sin. And if you have sinned (and who hasn’t?), confess it as yours. Don’t blame him.

Don’t excuse your sin based on your dad’s actions. Remember the power you have in Christ.

Some of you–all of you?–have hurts from your dad. Some of you have horribly deep hurts, ones I really can’t imagine fully. However, blessed as I am, I do understand a small corner of what it is like. I have been hurt as well–often unintentionally, but it is hard nonetheless.

And I have learned that forgiveness is not just words. And it is NOT easy. Some things–small, very small comparatively–have taken hours of prayer and constant choice for months to forgive, and even still there are times when it’s a choice.

But it is a choice you must make; or be destroyed inside.

Do not harbor bitterness.

Realize that God took your father’s sin so seriously that Jesus had to die to pay for it.

It is not your job to make your father pay. Holding on to the wrongs done to you will only hurt you more. You–we–must let go, must let God take care of them. And ask Him to bring healing. He will.

Forgive your father.

This next one may be a little hard to swallow, because we want to be loved how we want to be loved. Some of you may have great dads who do all sorts of things for you and take good care of you, and yet they don’t praise you and speak lovingly to you. And you really, really wish they would. I understand that.

But it is SO important that we recognize their love in whatever form it comes. Don’t wait for it to be perfectly exactly how you want it to be. Because guess what? It may never happen. And even if it did, you may be so bitter by then that you won’t even care. So be on the look out for ways your father loves you, even the tiniest things–and be grateful.

Accept and value your dad’s attempts at loving you.

And, finally, probably the hardest one. Especially for those of you who have been wounded terribly.

Love him anyway.

I know. I know. *sighs* The only way I would dare say such a thing to some of you is because Jesus does it–and if He is in you, it IS possible. And if you allow Him to work it in your heart, you will be blessed and he will be blessed and the world will be, too, even if they don’t know it.

For some of you, the only way you can love him is to pray for him. And that’s okay. But do it. You never can tell what God may do.

For the rest of you–find out what HE likes, the way HE receives love, and do that. Show him you love him and value him and need him.

Love and respect your father anyway.

And… that’s it.

Other than to say–well, there isn’t really anything to say. But my heart hurts for you, and I wish I could hug you and make it all better.

All I can do, though, is point you to your heavenly Father. And… *smiles* that is Something.

Central America

I’ve always wanted to go on at least one short term mission trip. (Probably all those missionary stories we read as a family… Plus the fact that both my parents went on one. My dad to Indonesia, and my mom to Honduras. They both talk about them regularly, and they obviously affected them–and not only them, but us as well.)

Especially after my trip last year. I ended it with the attitude of, God, wherever you want me to go, that’s where I’ll go. Whatever you want me to do, that’s what I’ll do.

I was hoping to go on one next year–I filled out my passport application information and was planning to get it by the end of the year.

And then, suddenly, there was this opportunity. And my father was the one who suggested we go. And I had no reservations, no wondering if this is what we should do or not. I just knew. So we looked it up, printed out the forms, and started filling them out.

So, yesterday I sent in my application for going to Central America for two weeks in December. And within an hour, I got an email back saying I was accepted. I wasn’t expecting it to be that fast, haha.

Just 9 days after hearing about this trip, and I’m already accepted. (Now my brother and sister just need to hurry up and get accepted too!) I’m applying for my passport on Friday with my brother. It seems like it’s moving very quickly… and yet, it also seems like I’ve been planning this for a long time. Or, at least, God has.

People often say that their short term mission trip changed their life. What I haven’t heard before is that just thinking about the trip before you go changes your life.

This has definitely been true for me…

To be honest, the idea rather terrifies me. I have no idea what to expect, really, except that it will be hot (And I do. not. like. heat.), and that the people and culture will be different from what I am used to. Oh yes, and there are lots of insects (not that I really mind insects, just… diseases. Also cockroaches.)

It sounds really uncomfortable. Heat, bug bites, people who don’t speak my language, dirt, long days, sickness, the unknown, sharing my testimony (especially with a translator!)…

And I realize just how far I have to go.

Why am I thinking of that? Why am I not thinking of souls who need Christ, or ones who know Christ and need encouragement? Why am I not thinking of the chance to glorify God?

I do think of it, sometimes. But it’s a conscious effort. I can tell already that I’m not going to be a model missionary-for-two-weeks. I haven’t even gone and I’m already humbled.

I am memorizing James 2… My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,” have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

Even before I knew about this trip, I was thinking about this a lot–how dare we hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality?? It’s not ours! And He has particularly singled out the poor people!!

But now–thinking of going to people who are poor on a level I’ve never seen before–(suddenly I feel rich) I wonder how I will react. I think of the homeless people who were in front of our church when we came for Bright Lights–sure, I wasn’t mean, but I didn’t even say hi. I smiled, sort of. I wished they would go away. I reprimanded myself (or maybe that was the Holy Spirit.) and remembered that these are folks Jesus died for, and they need love and care just like me. But I didn’t do much about it, besides changing the way I was thinking.

Then there are the neighbors across the street–I don’t even know their names, much less the state of their souls. I don’t know who lives there and who is just visiting. Doesn’t seem very caring of me. Which is because it isn’t.

That’s just a few of the uncomfortable thoughts and humbling things I’ve learned about myself in this weekish of thinking about this trip. There’s still three months left–and then the actual trip.

I already knew I needed God; already knew I had a lot of room to grow… but now I see a whole new level.

Which is exciting. And a little scary. Which more or less describes life with God.

P.S. Should I start a blog for this trip or should I do it all here?

Stories

So after posting that yesterday, I was pretty nervous. It wasn’t really that I thought people would be mean, just that… I wondered what they’d think. And I was rather startled that I had just said that. On the internet. Where all kinds of people–people I know, people I don’t, people I’m going to see on Sunday–will read it.

But I’m glad I did.

As I thought about what I had written, I realized that whether or not I like it, and whether or not other people like it, that is part of my story. And there’s no point in denying it, in acting like those very influential chapters of my life don’t exist. Of course I don’t need to walk around announcing to everyone that the man I hoped to marry is in prison–but I also don’t need to pretend it never happened. I need to accept it and learn from it.

Everyone has a story. They are all different, they all have hard parts, and they all have some weirdness. What is your story?

Other Things

Hi there.

I’m sort of at an impasse (inside mine own head, which is the worst place for that sort of thing), because I have other things to say that are not related (at least not directly) to the abortion/prolife series. And I really didn’t want to do this, I wanted to continue along nicely with my beautiful outline (That I haven’t even looked at in over a month.) and actually do a proper series for once.

But, alas, it’s just not happening. Sorry folks. I promise I will write all of that, though. It may be a little book. And I may show it to you sometime. Not sure. (Why did I suddenly think of the quote that nothing is certain in this world except for death and taxes? Besides, that isn’t even true. God is more certain that either. Ahem. Anyways.)

So. Now to try to talk about the Other Stuff. There’s a lot of it, this Other Stuff.

(And if you didn’t already notice, this is going to be a rambly post. It may very well make no sense at all. Or maybe different bits will make sense to different folks. One can hope…)

My personality (whatever that is) is INTP: which is also known as the Thinker. I live up to that quite well, I think. (Seriously, I didn’t mean to do that. I thought of saying it before I realized, and then when I realized I said it anyway.) INTPs are also known as “The Warmest Machine”–which may or may not make sense. But the gist of it is that my natural tendency is to think a great deal and feel very little. Which is a very queer way to be, at least if you’re female. I remember even very early on, when my sister Hannah was being praised for being so compassionate (She would cry when other people cried, even if she had no idea why they were crying.) and I’m just there like, “Why on earth are they crying, and why are you crying too, and that doesn’t make any sense, and how is this a good thing?”

It went along like that quite nicely (Sort of) for a long, long time. Sure, I cried–once a month. Nearly literally. Sometimes twice, or sometimes none.  Mostly over stupid things and mostly when I was really out of it. It wasn’t heart-crying.

Until. Until… I loved someone. A boy. And he–he loved me. It was really, really confusing. I still don’t get it. I don’t even know what love is. I only really started understanding it when this happened. And he was on the other side of the ocean, and there were other complications, and–I finally cried. I cried for a lot of reasons. But it was the first time in a very, very, very long time that I had cried because I hurt inside. (*wonders if I ever had before that time* *decides I probably had*)

It opened up this terrifying new world of feeling. I suppose it scary for anyone, but it is especially frighting if you have very little prior experience in that department. From that point on, I would actually cry about stuff. I realized, through him and through this experience, that crying was actually–actually okay. It was even… good. Which was very hard to wrap my head around. But I got it. I learned that pain was good. I learned that God teaches us through it. I learned that He is very near the brokenhearted. I learned that weakness is—is Good. Because then God can be strong in you and for you.

This went on quite some time. There were many ups and downs, many tears, many smiles. Things done right and things done wrong. Finally–he was going to come and visit us, for a month.

And then–and then there was… lightening. Cut right clean through our paths. In one moment, everything, everything, was different. He was……arrested. (Very long, complicated story that isn’t mine to tell.) We never even met.

That night in the airport–well, I will just quote something I wrote before.

Shocked, stunned. Cold flooding through me, my heart racing. Stiff. Still. Trying to comprehend. Matthew started wailing. Emily did too. I tried to calm her down.

Papa handed me his phone and told me to tell [his mom]. I couldn’t figure it out at all and I was shaking too hard anyway. I gave it to Emily and said I need to pray.

I looked around hurriedly… there was a place. I am still amazed that it was there… just an odd little area out of the way, with a plant in front of it. I went in there and got down on my knees.

I prayed so hard it was out loud. I couldn’t help it.

I prayed for him, for peace and safety. I prayed that God would be glorified in this. I told God that He was good even in this, that He knew.  I tried to pray Psalm 20 for him. I prayed that… that they’d let him go. I looked up, wishing, hoping against hope, that I’d see him. He wasn’t there.

I thought how strange it was that we were in the same building and yet… I couldn’t see him. He was there, but he wasn’t.

That was the beginning of a strange, wonderful and dark journey. I realized eventually that it was called “grieving”. Very odd thing. Don’t recommend it. 😛 (Just kidding… mostly.)

It’s been a year and almost 7 months. He’s still in prison. Away from his family, his home, nearly everything he held dear. Including me. I have barely been in contact with him over the past year and 4 months or so. I can’t–can’t explain how many layers of hard there have been. How utterly dark the path has grown. How hard it has been sometimes to simply be–alive. How sometimes (like day before yesterday) you feel like maybe, just maybe, you’re beginning to be more… normal again–like maybe, just maybe, the storm has really subsided. And then… not too much later, and you’re crying again, and you cry out to God and He helps you, but it’s–hard.

And all this is so confusing, so strange, so… deeply personal, that I am loathe to speak of it. I don’t even know why I am right now. And even to those who know, I don’t… don’t like that I STILL have such a hard time. That I STILL don’t know what to do, don’t know what’s right, don’t know what really happened. Because I like things to MAKE SENSE. And  this just plain doesn’t. Not in human terms, anyhow. And I suppose that’s what has kept me sane: looking above the human. In fact, I KNOW it is what has done it.

I look back on all that has happened in the past few years, and I see God’s incredible grace and goodness. He lovingly prepared me in countless small ways for this trial–something that you really can’t be prepared for. And yet… He did it. And even in the stripping away of everything, He was so kind. It all went away so gradually, one thing at a time. Oh, it was awful, believe me. But at least He didn’t take everything in that one night. And I saw–see–His wisdom in it all.

There have been an enormous number of ups and downs and wildly confused turns. I haven’t, by any means, handled this perfectly. There were a great many things I could’ve, should’ve done differently.

I never SAID that I didn’t trust God, but I learned it. At first, I think, I trusted Him. But wave after wave after wave after wave after–and eventually,  I wore down. Or, at least, I saw where I was lacking in trust. It was–has been–awful. Fear crept in and took a very deep hold on my heart.

And I still haven’t completely beaten it. I still am afraid. I still doubt, sometimes. I still have moments of–“I just don’t get it!!!!” But God is working. *smiles* He is so good…
I am learning to trust Him, more than ever. I am learning to rest in the greatness of who He is, of His love.

Well, this post has gone rather differently than I expected.

I was really going to write about the sorrow I know of in other’s hearts. I suppose… I am, in a way, because without my sorrow I would not understand (quite literally) the pain of others.

It my wonderful and terrible privilege to know the pain of so many who read this blog. The broken families. The loved ones gone in one way or another. The trafficking. The physical weakness. The broken hearts. The self-harm. The infertility. And so many other things. It makes me think much harder over what I say and don’t say.

I guess… I guess I just want to say… that… I am so glad.

God has given me an amazing gift in all of my tangled sorrow. The gift of compassion. Oh, what a terrible cost. But it is worth it.

*grins a bit* I’m still awful at showing it, though. So thank you to those who I try to comfort for your patience with my awkward hugs and my attempts at just listening and not fixing (which very often fail. :P).

But know this–my heart hurts so badly for your pain.

Especially when I pray. And that’s the thing. This is such a God-gift. I have long moaned (inwardly) over my lack of ability to feel other’s pain and comfort them appropriately–my natural lack of love, basically. But I realized that it’s actually a blessing–because now when I am able to be like that, I know that it’s God working in me. I still get in the way sometimes though. 😛

For those readers whose pain I know, and for those whose pain I don’t–hold on. God is really, truly good. And He really, truly does know what He’s doing. And He really, truly can make beauty out of your ashes. I know it’s impossible. But this is God we are talking about.

*smiles*

I’m Back (Also a Rainbow)

For those who were waiting for my next post on the abortion issue, I’m sorry I haven’t posted it yet. I inadvertently took a break from blogging as well as social media for the last few weeks… I’m back now. I should be continuing the series shortly. 🙂 Until then… I just wanted to share this with you.

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Yesterday morning, I was getting ready to go to work, putting my things in the mini-van. I sat down inside the side door way, and began praying for the Bright Lights Leaders (we had a meeting on Sunday and they all gave requests.) I looked up for some reason, and to my total shock, there was a brilliant rainbow. My mouth literally fell open. 😀 It was not raining at all… It did not make any sense that there was a rainbow.

It was one of those times where you just feel like God is smiling at you. That He knows, He cares, and He’s looking out for you.

It’s especially awesome because those things are all true. They aren’t just feelings. Still, though, it is very kind of Him to let us feel it sometimes, too. 🙂

Missing the Mission (and also, Heaven.)

So, last year, I lived at this place called the Mission for several weeks. When I first got there, it was dark outside–and in the stairwells (some of the lights weren’t working). I walked through this long, bare, wide hallway. And then I went through this odd, unfinished area. (with strangers, mind you.) It was slightly creepy. One of the girls told me I’d love the Mission, which I had planned to all along–but that first impression left me doubting whether or not I really would.

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Finally, I we got to the room I’d be staying in. And… the bathroom door in my room (which was shared with two girls who didn’t really talk much and didn’t seem too thrilled at my presence) didn’t close. Not didn’t lock–didn’t close. The knob even fell off to emphasize this point.

However, the next morning, I woke up to a brilliant pink light on the wall–out the window I looked, and saw one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve ever seen.

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Also, two Willow trees.

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Later, we got the Tour.

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And there was a chapel.

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And all kinds of other cool and unique things.

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And…Turns out she was right. I did love the Mission, after all.

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In fact, I loved it so much that I’ve lost track of how many dreams I’ve had about it since. Also, I used this picture of me at the Mission as my profile picture on the about page on this blog. 😛

And sometimes, I really, really miss it. Today, it’s especially on my mind–because I would be there today. That is, I’d be there if I had more than $4.58. And if I had God’s blessing. But… it was not meant to be, not this time.

And in a really weird sort of way, I’m almost glad. Because I know that it’s not really the Mission that I miss, exactly. Even if I went to the Mission, I’d still feel like I missed something else. Even if I was near every person I miss, and even if I got to be in all the places I miss at once (supposing that were physically possible, ahem.) I’d still be missing something.  Because deep inside, what I really miss is Home. Heaven.

What I really miss is the time when everything was perfect, when people didn’t leave, hurt each other, go to prison, live across the ocean, or die. When no one was hurting and everyone was happy.

I really miss that.

The weird thing is that I’ve never experienced it.

And I’m not the only one who pines for the “good old days”. Some think that they were only a few years ago, or a few hundred years ago–but, really, when it all comes down to it, we know those days weren’t good either. They were as bad as these. People were still sinners. We still weren’t Home.

This longing, missing, looking for something we’ve never even experienced is a common human trait. Some people bury it, or try to ignore it. But it’s there.

The Germans call it “Sehnsucht”. We don’t know what to call it, so we just say, “I’m okay.” (This is one of those areas where the English language is greatly lacking. Anyone care to make up a word for this thing?)

Recently, I had a particularly strong bout of this feeling–and it was quite troubling. That is, until I realized what a blessing it really is… Sehnsucht causes me to remember things like this:

For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come. Hebrews 13:14

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. Hebrews 11:13-14

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Colossians 3:1-3

Fairy Tales (And How it Really is.)

So… in fairy-tale land, this is how it supposedly goes.

1. Person (no, wait, fairy) has some sort of trial or hard time or whatever.

2. Fairy struggles with dark thoughts and heartache.

3. Fairy finds Jesus (or already knows Jesus.)

4. Everything is great–no more problems.

5. The End.

Okay, so actually there are no fairy tales like that. (That I know of.) But it seems to be the way people imagine it should/does go.

But it doesn’t. 

(Unless I’m a freak of nature, in which case you can just ignore this post. But somehow I doubt I’m the only one.)

It’s more like this:

1. Person has some sort of trial or hard time or whatever.

2. Person struggles with dark thoughts and heartache.

3. Person finds Jesus (or already knows Jesus and remembers this.)

4. Person still cries a lot. The main difference is that they pray a lot now too, but many of their prayers are basically, “Sob, help I don’t understand, I’m glad you do, sob.” (seriously, I am not a dramatic or emotional or sappy or cry-y person, but I’ve been there.)

5. Person is surprised when the sun comes out and they can see how God is working

6. And then Person watches in dismay as the clouds come back and just being alive is hard.

7. Person looks up again and “sees” God there, suffering too.

8. Person is really grateful but it’s still hard.

9. Person learns to trust God more, and timidly starts believing that they are LOVED.

10. Person realizes that maybe this is what is meant by healing.

11. Person still hurts so much they want to scream sometimes.

12. Person holds on, barely (or rather God holds them.).

13. Person realizes that healing doesn’t mean not caring and it doesn’t mean not hurting, and they become okay with that.

14. It’s years later and they still have really awful days.

15. But they know it will all make sense in God’s time, and so they keep moving forward in God’s strength.

16. And it doesn’t End, not here. It still hurts. It still goes round and round in cycles that seem endless.

17. When Person goes Home, finally, it will end–and they’ll see the glory of it all.

18. But until then, Person will learn to love and trust and hope in God’s strength, knowing that His timing is the best of all.

People say you’ll heal, that time will help, just pray about it.

And it’s almost a year and a half in and it still hurts so much I can hardly bear it. In fact, I can’t. And that’s why I continually go to my Papa God, begging Him for help and casting my burden on Him. Because how else can I live?

And others let me glimpse their pain and I feel the vastness of it, underneath their heart-surface. And it overwhelms me, because how do I tell them that even though there’s hope, even when you have Jesus, it is still so hard? How do I tell them, when I see that they are writhing with pain underneath, that it will all be worth it in the end and they’ll see, God will use it, that He already is?

Sometimes my answers sound so “pat”, so unhelpful, so Christianese–even though I care so much it physically hurts. So I do the only thing I know will help, and I bring them to God in prayer with a heart that breaks with it all.

Oh, Lord Jesus, come quickly.