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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Lessons from a Thrift Shop

I am counting down the days until I leave for camp. I have no doubt that the next two months of my life will be stressful, bug-filled, and messy :) But I think that I would have it no other way. I love that I don't know quite what to expect. This is new for me, of course. I am normally the type of person that wants to plan things out in advance and write lists of the million things that must be completed. But slowly, God is showing me a new side of myself. I've always loved going on adventures, and I see now that many are ones you can't plan for.

Since being home, I have attempted to take each of my siblings on "dates" to spend time visiting and catching up with them. Caleb and I went to a movie, and Molly and I have gone on several adventures since my arrival. But today was my day with Addie. We went out shopping, mostly because I figured we should bond over something she actually enjoys (I, however, took one for the team as I dislike shopping vehemently)! After a yummy lunch, she took me to a wonderful thrift shop that had the power to change my hatred of shopping to at least a vague appreciation. If I'm going to shop, I like thrift shopping. To me, there is nothing like looking at old things and dreaming up the stories behind them. I mean, really, how did they get here? To what neck did that vintage cameo necklace belong? How many crayons have scribbled over the carved oak table in their pursuit of preschool art projects and research papers? I like looking at these things so much better than the pristine new things in the department stores because they have character, a past. I loved spending time with my sister, too. It was a good reminder that we can disagree on so many things, but we still love spending time with each other. Someone once told me that love is authentic when we have something to lose. I think today was a good reminder of that. I love Addie, and even though we are polar opposites, her friendship is worth risking disagreement or misunderstanding between both of us.

Between graduating and being separated from so many people I love, I am learning. God is showing me how to pray ceaselessly. How to love authentically. How to hope unfailingly. How to trust unreservedly. I think it will be worth the risk :)

"Though my edges may be rough and I may never feel like quite enough,
And it may not seem like very much, but I'm yours..."

Monday, May 17, 2010

Death and Taxes

There are some things in life that are inevitable. For example, I will ALWAYS miss a spot when shaving my legs and agree to look foolish if given the opportunity to go on an adventure. It is not surprising to me, then, that another of life's truths is that my best plans will inevitably fall through. At this moment, I am one of countless homeless, jobless college graduates. I spend my days babysitting my family's high-strung puppy and wondering how much cleaning is too much cleaning. Despite this, I am trying to trust that my move to Portland (or more accurately, wherever I get into a nursing program)will be revealed in time. Until then, I will continue finding things to clean and prepare for camp!

My friend, Kris, left this morning to spend two months in Honduras. I am so excited for him I could burst, but I'm a little sad as well. Even though it's only for a while, I feel like I will be without one of my best friends for the next eight weeks. In the midst of this, I realized that I am jealous. I am jealous of Honduras for getting to have Kris all summer; but more importantly, I am jealous of Kris for getting to go to Honduras and serve there this summer. Now, I know jealousy is a bad trait to have. As a sister in Christ, my love for Kris should have absolutely no hint of jealousy. But there is an upside. After feeling jealous, I feel very affirmed that I am being called into missions, because I know how desperately I feel called to be working overseas. If my reaction was any less passionate, I would question my aspiration to make missions a vital part of my life. And so, while I had to ask for forgiveness for acting jealously, I am confident that the Lord is
changing my desires into His desires to see me sent to the nations. Really cool.

To end, I will tell a story about one of the little girls I am nannying for until I leave for camp. I was playing Pretty Little Ponies with Jillian, while simultaneously chasing her baby sister, Madeline,around the house. Jillian had been pretty patient with my lack of participation until she finally called out to me, "Sam, one of the ponies is lost. Who will help me save it?" I told her that I would be there to help, and assured her that she was the perfect person to go save the pony. It seems silly, but I wonder how many times God looks at me, shaking his head, saying, "Sam, if you see a need, meet it. I have equipped you, I will go with you, and you are just the person I had in mind to send." I pray that I never miss an opportunity to go precisely where the Lord has called me.

"Missed the last train home, birds pass by to tell me that I'm not alone.
Over-pushing myself to finish this part, I can handle a lot...
But one thing I'm missing is in your eyes."

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Teachings in Trust, part I

A few weeks ago, as I was lamenting the confusion of romantic relationships aloud to a couple friends, one of them turned to me and said, "Well, if someone is confusing you that much, maybe its a sign that you shouldn't start a relationship with that person." And while I love my friend dearly, I have come to the conclusion that she's sorely mistaken. In this particular instance, I don't think this guy meant in any way, shape, or form to confuse me. But more importantly, when I think about any future relationship I may I have with this guy or anyone else, I don't buy that it will always be easy or clear, and I certainly don't believe that our lack of understanding someone's motivation should stop us from searching for the right answers. I'm sure that when I am in a serious romantic relationship I will have to work hard to love that man the way Christ loves him. On some difficult days, I might have to mentally make the choice to love him for that day. But nothing worth fighting for comes easily, and I think that connecting to others, whether through friendships or relationships, is a worthy cause to which we are all called. Indeed, I used to think that God was the only faithful and trustworthy person in my life, and in a way this is true. God IS the only constant truth in life. But I used this a really sorry excuse to doubt the good in others, whom the Lord has in reality brought into my life to teach me to trust. How many people have I pushed away, believing that they were untrustworthy, who were placed in my life specifically for this purpose? And in the case of this gentleman, I want to learn from my mistakes. I desperately desire to open up to him and trust him because he has earned my trust. God has brought him into my life for many reasons, but one of them is to teach me to have a little faith in people. For once, I think I finally understand this.

In much less important news, I am looking for a dress for a Junior-Senior event in a few weeks. Honestly, how hard should it be to find a green, a-line, sophisticated, inexpensive formal dress (in my size)....? If my search thus far is any indication, it will be impossible. But when your competition is the entire population of female high-schoolers in Lexington looking for their own prom dresses, dress shopping becomes an adventure :)

"The smell of you in every single dream I dream,
I knew when we collided,
you're the one I have decided who's one of my kind..."

Sunday, February 14, 2010

What Happens in Vancouver....

A few minutes ago, I heard an Olympics commentator say (about a luger), “Just look at those long German arms. Aren’t they just beautiful?!?” Hehe. Oh, the things you hear on TV.

So for some reason, I have been thinking about chivalry lately. I realize that I am a sucker for chivalrous men. Now before everyone starts burning their bras, I’d like to explain myself. I love men. I love that they can lift heavy things. I love that they smell manly. I even love that their humor is sometimes akin to a 3-year-old's. And I love being able to look pretty, and cook yummy treats, and keep things tidy. You see, it’s not that I can’t open doors for myself or twist the lids off my own stubborn jars. I very well could. But I like that men are around to help with these sorts of things. And the fact that I don’t need their help, but that they choose to help me out in these ways out of the goodness of their hearts, makes chivalry a little more meaningful. They aren’t chivalrous because I’m weak and powerless, but rather because they are showing appreciation to me. So I don’t mind letting a man offer to change the oil in my car as long as I can bake him cookies to thank him!

It is also Valentine's Day. Yuck. Too commercial. But thankfully, God is still teaching me a lot through a holiday (I believe) has lost it's true meaning. There have been countless moments in my life where I have been absolutely humbled and appalled by Jesus' sacrifice for me on the cross. But I think I had it in my head that, when Jesus took on our sin and was separated from God, God was absent and couldn't even look upon Jesus (due to the sin He' d taken on). The more I read and study, however, I'm learning that I'm probably wrong. I imagine any father who sends his son to take the blame for crimes he didn't commit would be heartbroken. I imagine he would ache for his son. I imagine he wouldn't be able to look at his son, not because the son sinned, but because it hurts the father too much to see the son suffering. And now I feel Christ's sacrifice so much more richly, because it would have easy for God to look on us and blame us for His Son's pain (as we are guilty of this). But somehow He doesn't. He looks down on us in love. Even when I mess up, which is all the time, I am still covered in grace. I knew all of this, but it's good to be reminded, especially on Valentine's Day. And I don't think they make a Hallmark card for that.

'We should get jerseys 'cause we make a good team,

but yours would look better than mine 'cause you're outta my league..."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Now I'm Free Fallin'

Someday, when I find a nice young man who I can convince to put up with me for the rest of my life, I will get married on a day exactly like today has been. I woke up to find a beautiful white layer of snow quilting my path to the library. Call me crazy, but I don't care. I want a cold, wintery wedding. Oh yes.

So now I sit enveloped by books on Hippocrates at my almost-favorite table in the library. My Tetley tea is hot and prepared just the way I like it (milk, no sugar). Overall, life is good. My Haitian babies have a few supplies, at least enough to hold them until we can send a team down in a couple weeks. I have been so busy with worry for them and schoolwork that the past weeks have flown by.

God is doing a magnificent new work in me. I am continuing to learn more about His joy through my heartache, but it's as if something new is being birthed in my heart. I am beginning to feel a strong restlessness to go to Asia. And it doesn't feel like anything I've experienced before. I mean, I've always wanted to travel to Africa and China and India and Haiti and countless other places. But my heart feels like it's literally being pulled to China right now, like it wants to burst out and board a plane on its own. It's a strange (almost physical) sensation. I am also being called by God to trust Him more now than ever before, which is already so difficult for me. He's asking me to get out of my comfort zone by going to a new place after graduation, a place where I have only a few contacts and where I will truly be on my own. He's asking me to trust that a relationship (that may or may not be forthcoming) with someone will work out to His perfection. Indeed, I'm trying my hardest to be patient and allow this fellow to pursue me, not the other way around. In all, I'm terrified and exhilarated by this upcoming season of my life. I can't wait to see where I'm being led. Goodbye, Wilmore.....Hello Portland!

"She's a good girl, loves her momma, loves Jesus, and America too..."

Monday, January 18, 2010

I left my heart in Haiti

I'm heartbroken. I wish with every cell of my body that I could be in Haiti with the kids. Since the earthquake, people have come up to me to tell me how sorry they are and to ask if I've heard any news. The trouble is, nothing I say can express the scope of my worry and the pain I feel in my heart. I worry because Meola has been hungry for 5 days. I worry that David doesn't have a secure place to sleep tonight. And I have other worries, too. I pray that Jonas will be able to attend his classes sooner rather than later, and that Johnny comes back from the university safely, and that Chrispin will be able to make it to Haiti and get to the orphanage very quickly. I worry because just over a week ago, I skyped with all my Haitian babies. I saw their faces and heard their words. I promised them I would try to visit them soon. Gabieson shouted " I enjoy you!" through the computer screen and Sonson piped up in the background that he wanted me to come see him in March. I didn't realize that a week later I would be praying for these people to somehow find enough food and water to sustain all of them, plus the 40 new orphans that have sought haven with them.

Please be in prayer for them. I wish I could say more about how I'm feeling, but the best way to describe it might be how I imagine a mother would feel knowing that her children were in danger. I cannot fathom a mother's love, but if it anything like the fierce, overwhelming need to be with them and shelter them and fight to the death for them that I feel now, then I can see a slight reflection of the power of a mother's love. And even more powerfully, I rest in the fact that my Heavenly Father loves them even more fiercely than I do and truly did fight for them to the death. And I feel a little more reassured that food and water will come, and that David will rest safely with the rest of them. That schools and homes and lives will be rebuilt. That I will make it down to see them soon.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Updates from a New Year

Last night, I took a walk in the snow. It was gorgeous...the kind of snow that glitters as it meanders slowly to the ground. If it wasn't so cold, I would have sat in a snow drift as the flakes buried me in joy. But alas, I was too numb to stay out for longer than 15 minutes.

This past Christmas was both the hardest and the most joyful I've ever experienced. My time at home was so relaxing and rejuvenating. And Urbana was amazing...God opened my eyes to becoming the incarnation in the most difficult places in the world. I'm really excited to serve somewhere...anywhere. God is moving in China and Africa and India and South America. And I want to go to them all :) This break was countered only slightly by some of the scariest news I've ever received: that a mole I had removed contained cancerous cells. I'm going to be fine, but it will be a couple weeks before I know that it is all gone and that I'm completely healed. And to think that I almost didn't go to the doctor to have it looked at...God is so good to me, even when I have no idea of how He's working!

And now I am headed into my last semester of undergrad. Time flies, but I hope that this doesn't fly too fast...there's still so much for me to learn! I'm only slightly less socially awkward than when I started :)

"I think I figured it out
We need to be together
Like the shore and the sea..."