It’s been awhile, I’m aware. Life post-recital is certainly less stressful, but so far has not proven to be less busy. I could write a novel on everything that’s happened, but determined that a few pictures would have to suffice instead.
After the recital came finals, then came Christmas with the family (see photo #1). Four days after Christmas, I flew to California to spend time with my best friend Elly and her family (Photo #2). While there I gained an obsession with vintage signs, among other things (Photo #3. One of my top 3 favorite signs). After a little over a week in Redding, Cali, we (myself, Elly, Becca and Sarah aka: The Shtweeties) drove to Seattle and spent the weekend there (Photo #4).
Christmas break then promptly ended, as I flew back to Indiana and started school the next morning (only after my dad locked my keys in my running truck at midnight the night before. Awesome.). I hit the ground running, since I had no other option, and haven’t really stopped since. Although, I have found that I actually have time for a social life now, and am thoroughly enjoying that fact.
This semester (especially this next month), is filled with important tasks such as (and not limited to):
1. Finding an internship (and under that category falls…)
- Deciding which side of the country I’m moving to (current possibilities are DC, New Orleans, Austin, Minneapolis and San Francisco)
- Finding a place to live
- Finding a way to not starve and live in a box while I’m there
2. Finishing my last Spring semester (woot!)
3. Figuring out where I’m going to be living after this summer for my last semester of classes
4. Maintaining at least some mental sanity through this whole process
Life is changing quickly, and seemingly weekly. I guess that’s kind of my standard for “normal” now, and I’m mostly okay with that. It seems like just a week ago that I was lamenting over my high school years ending and having to decide what college I was going to go to, and now I’m here deciding where I want to move and what kind of job I want to do (granted I’ve already chosen my field of work). I guess this is all part of growing up, but to be honest I wouldn’t mind having the chance to be 5 again for a day or two and to not have to think about this stuff for awhile.
I could say a lot more, but I’ll just start getting nostalgic and then it will end up like word vomit and nobody really wants that. So this is me ending this update while i’m still ahead. :)
I believe that we all have lies that we deal with every day, whether we realize it or not. Lies that cripple us and keep us from realizing our full potential, and from living to be the people that God has uniquely designed us to be. These are the words, and sometimes just feelings, that run through our minds when we are faced with a vulnerable situation, the things that we hear when we see someone who appears to be everything we think we’re not. Nobody talks about them; we barely even like to admit to ourselves that they exist. But they do. They exist, and they are painful, ugly, and debilitating. Somehow these lies hold power over us, they speak to the very core of our being.
I am coming to believe that sometimes the only thing that will heal us from the scars that these lies leave is to face them and name them. It is uncomfortable, and even downright painful. I am a runner. I will do whatever it takes to be comfortable and “happy.” When my lies speak, I prefer to ignore them and downplay them. They don’t matter; I’m just being overdramatic. Obviously it’s all in my head and holds no validity in my life. Right?
But I am called to repentance. I am not perfect, and any “good” that is in me isn’t really good when compared to my Creator. But He has done a work in my life, and who am I to deny it, or to say that I am not good enough to do anything that He may place in front of me. He chose to create me, not because of any need that He had, simply because He wanted to. He chooses to love me, He has saved me, He chooses to use me, despite my imperfections (which are many.)
So this is my repentance. It is messy, it is ugly, it is uncomfortable. But it is necessary.
“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having cancelled out the decrees against us, which was hostile to us; He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He has disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”
“You are beautiful because you reflect My beauty in a way the world has never seen and will never see again.”
Chaos. That is my life. Although I will admit that my chaos is pretty well organized, thanks to my color-coded whiteboard calendar (Red for assignments/quizzes, blue for required concerts and social obligations, orange for performances and extra rehearsals, green for cash shifts, and purple for serving shifts). My days are filled with classes, work, homework, practice, and lessons; not to mention the after work socializing with friends and movie watching with my amazing roommate.
“One day at at time” has pretty quickly become my mantra this semester. I hate change, and I hate when life seems unsteady. But even as life spins around me, and my world seems to change every week, my feet remain solidly planted. Each day is filled with the grace and strength to do all that I need to do. Every morning brings a breath of fresh air, and new mercies. I am provided for, cared for, loved, and filled with the capability to do all that God has placed in front of me. My world may change, but my God does not; and that, my friends, is what counts.
“The Lord’s lovingkindesses indeed never cease,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul,
‘Therefore I have hope in Him.’”
I just posted this on Facebook and decided I might as well post it on here as well. :) This is a journal entry that I wrote last semester as I was thinking about a lot of things and God was transforming my view of Him/myself/life. I’ve been pretty shy about posting this, it’s close to my heart and feels pretty vulnerable. But I feel like I need to begin being bolder about what God is really doing in my life and stop being so shy about His work.
What does it mean to live loved? What does it look like to live as a child of the King, whose Father is so incredibly filled with compassion and tenderness toward them?
What if I truly believed that God is delighted with what He has created in me? What if I allowed my heart to grab on to the almost foreign truth that God sent His Son to die for me so that not only will my sins be forgiven, but that I might live a life of freedom and joy? How would my friendships and my relationships be transformed if I believed in the deepest part of my heart that God is madly in love with me, just as I am? What could happen if I believed that because of His Son, I am enough? That any change He calls me to is not because I am a failure, too much, not enough, or evil incarnate, but rather simply because He is enabling me to be more fully delighted and satisfied in Him.
What if I understood and lived in the fact that my purpose in life is not to live an impossibly perfect life, or to fulfill a checklist of “Christian duties”, but rather to know God and to delight in Him fully, to spend each day making much of Him. What if I realize that because of His sacrifice He has taken away any need for self-reliance and allowed me grace when I stumble and fall, the mercy to cover my failure which leaves me unworthy of His presence, and love to guide me towards Him once again?
How could my life be changed if I stopped placing God in my human boxes and categories and asked Him to come for me in an intensely powerful and intimate way that only He can? How would I view my struggles if I really believed that God is a Warrior, eagerly waiting to show His bride His strength, and to combat against the forces of evil that work against me each day? What things would I attempt if I believed that God is the ultimate loving Father, who would not look on me with shame if I fail, but instead, take pride in me for my effort and hold me close to His heart, helping me to know that I am still complete in Him. How would I view each day, if I looked at God as a romantic God, who takes joy in delighting His bride, doing extraordinary things to show His intimate love for her every day?
Silly things that I have learned about myself recently…
-I enjoy teaching people how to grocery shop (a.k.a. how to find super awesome prices)
-I can make my piano teacher happy.
-I do not take well to surprises and tend to call people mean names (Sorry, Brandon…)
-I enjoy seeing how long I can make it between trips to the grocery store.
-I love decorating and designing.
-I enjoy lists and organizing.
Legit things I have learned about myself recently…
-I take my best friends for granted too often and miss them when they leave.
-My heart needs people much more than I allow it to.
-When things aren’t right, I go into running mode and shut down.
-I will do/sacrifice whatever it takes to keep someone around.
Life has been crazy these past few weeks, and to tell all about it in detail would take hours (both to write and to read). Allow me to highlight the best points in bulleted fashion. :)
-2 weeks straight with my favorite Fluffy, Elly.
-Moving into a new apartment.
-A surprise visit from my bff, Brandon.
-New notebook for school (may I say again that I really enjoy lists and organizing?)
God is breaking and refining me, and to be perfectly honest it’s been quite painful. I’m not always sure if I’m excited about it as it’s happening, but I hold tight to what Paul says in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” My heart is thankful for all that God is doing, and for the way that He has been showing me each day how desperately I am in need of Him. His grace, mercy and forgiveness astound me. I am unworthy.
“For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another.
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
God has just shattered my world in the best way possible.
I have always loved the night sky. Something about it is so mysterious, like a vast dark canvas with thousands of tiny diamonds sparkling all throughout it. When I was little my dad used to go on walks with me at night and talk about the greatness of God, and how He is creative and loves beauty.
God is so romantic. He knows my love for the stars, He knows how deeply that connects with me. Something that God loves to romance me with is shooting stars. So often I’ll go outside and look at the stars, and He will send one, and I know that it was meant for me. No specific reason, no sign, just because He loves me.
Tonight I laid outside for over 2 hours with my best friend, Elly, looking at the sky; it was a meteor shower. We laid on the picnic table and I began praying, and talking to God, thanking Him for the beautiful gift that He was giving us. I began to get a little braver and more open with Him, and asked Him if I could have 30 shooting stars. I had considered 20, but decided that I wanted to ask for more; so I did.
As we laid on the table, He just kept sending them; each one was spectacular and beautiful. We couldn’t help but to giggle and squeal with delight and joy, because we knew what He was doing. It was undeniable.
I think that God truly delights in romancing and pursuing us. He proves it over and over again. We counted each star, and when we reached 29, we waited with anticipation for number 30. It is just like God to do what He did. Number 30 was the most beautiful we had seen. Bright and streaking with a long shining tail. :) As we continued to lay on the table, God blasted away my request for 30 and sent 10 more. All beautiful, stunning, ravishing.
Finally the sleepiness got the best of us, and we began to walk back towards the house. Looking up one last time, God sent one more. This one, number 41, was by far the most incredible of the night. It flew across the horizon, shimmering and flashing.
God is a hopeless and obsessed romantic. He is delighted by the fact that I desired for Him to romance and impress me tonight, and exceeded all that I had hoped for and asked for. I am stunned and awe-struck. The love of God is not logical, planned, or measured. It is crazy, messy, spontaneous, unrelenting, and passionate.
Oh, how He loves us!
He loves us! Oh, how He loves us all!
Attempt #5 at writing this post.
There is nothing quite like a summer day. Something is inexplicably and undeniably wonderful and lovely about summer; yesterday was by no means an exception to that statement. Allow me to attempt to describe the incredibleness that was yesterday. :)
In the morning I awoke to the sounds of a thunderstorm. If I had to choose any of my favorite “natural” sounds, it would be the sound of a summer thunderstorm. There is something about hearing the way the rain dances across the roof above my bed, and the thunder that shatters the sound-space of the sky. Amazing.
After I finally pulled myself out of bed, I went out to lunch with my sweet friend Anna. Anna is one of my oldest friends, not in the sense of age, but more in the fact that we’ve been friends since we were adorable little babies who cried in the church nursery. (Actually I don’t know if she cried, but I’ve been told I was quite the crier.) Let me tell you a little bit about Anna…
The name Anna means “Grace” and I don’t think that there is a better word to describe her. She has a beautiful heart, overflowing with love and genuine concern and care for everyone around her. Her life speaks of the goodness and tenderness of our Father, and invites everyone around her to grow and become closer to Him. I always cherish the time I’m able to spend with Anna because it never fails that I walk away encouraged and challenged in the way that I view life and my relationship with God. She is a gift.
Then for the afternoon I headed to the lake with Cassandra and Jenny. It was at this point that we changed into our bathing suits, grabbed some floaty mats and hopped in the lake. We may or may not have floated in the lake for three hours on our mats by the dock… and in the middle of the lake… and to the other side of the lake. I would just like to say that Shrine Lake is a very large lake, and swimming back was quite the task, but well worth it. After we meandered our way back across the lake, we set out on a journey to Wal-mart, where we picked up some dinner supplies. Jenny then proceeded to make some amazing spaghetti and we headed out on the pontoon to eat dinner and watch the sunset.
I love these two women. They are beauty. I am constantly challenged by their desire to serve God at our school, in their attitudes, their schoolwork and even in piano lessons. ;) They are blessings to me every day, always waiting with words of encouragement, and ears to listen and sympathize. In short, they keep me sane. I am more than thankful that God saw fit to cause our lives to run together for this time, I would have it no other way.
I am so blessed to watch God pursue my friends, it excites me more than anything else. God is definitely doing some incredible things in my life, and in the lives of my friends, it blows me away every day. He is a living and active God, daily revealing Himself in more and more intimate and amazing ways.
I am blessed.
I’ve decided to start challenging myself to be more creative. My perfectionist side tends to pull back at the thought of creating art; I am my own worst critic, for sure. But I’ve really been convicted of the fact that I’m so prone to not even being willing to try new things because I’m afraid of not being good enough or of “failing.” God has been showing me how this holds me back from being who He has created me to be. I can’t even describe how many different areas I’ve noticed this showing up in my life, from my music, to exploring new art forms, to relationships and especially the way I relate to God.
So I’ve decided to start taking “risks.” Small though they may be. And since journaling is something that I enjoy anyway, I’ve opted to do it in somewhat of a journaling form. Except this time I didn’t allow myself to purchase a journal with lines (which is pretty traumatic for me), and I’m intending to do more than simply writing. I want to attempt to use this new journal to become more purposeful about looking for God in my life, and for the ways He speaks, whether that’s in a piece of art, poetry, lyrics, pictures, colors… I don’t know. God is much more creative than I am, and I’m so quick to look past His creativity.
So let the challenge of living like I have been redeemed begin, and maybe if you’re all lucky I might become brave enough to post a picture of something I put in there someday. :) Maybe.
The first post. With every beginning I am filled with anticipation. The first entry in a new journal, first paragraph of a letter, first colored pencil out of a new box, first school day of each year… The list could go on, but I’ll spare you the rambling and let you finish the thought on your own. And so begins this blogging experience, welcome to the chronicles of my life. I’ve been wanting to do something similar to this for awhile, but Facebook was a little too public, so I finally gave in and got a tumblr. :)
This past year God has changed and challenged my life in so many new ways, it’s been mind-blowing, really. He has tested my faith and trust in Him, asking me to give up things that I had no intentions of losing. I would be a liar if I said it’s been easy, but I would be ignorant to say that it hasn’t also been so good. I have learned more about living in the grace and mercy of God than I ever could have if He hadn’t chosen to shake my world.
He has shown me over and over again that there is grace with each day, and my life has taken on the theme that each day is a “brand new day.” I am no longer held by the weight of the past, because, ”The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is His faithfulness.” I have been rescued, redeemed, and He is daily renewing me. He has turned my mourning into dancing, He has removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
“Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
So, my friends. Let there be morning.