Sunday, March 30, 2008

Laying It All Out There in Brutal Honesty

Throughout the course of wrapping myself around this breakup, I have had my eyes opened to many truths about myself, relationships, and the faithfulness of our Lord. God is gracious in His answers to prayers. Overall, He has blessed me with peace and comfort as I could not have imagined. However, today has been a rough day. I've had to admit some things that I have not wanted to admit to myself let alone out loud for anyone else to hear. The very writing of this blog is something that I have debated all day and even as I type, I am wary of it. I feel as if I am about to admit to something that I do not want to and am not supposed to. Yet, here I sit, exposing myself to the world. Maybe this is too much. Maybe this is too personal. No maybes about it, this is a tough pill for me to swallow right now. I'm not sure what I hope to accomplish with laying all of this out there. I think what it comes down to is laying it all down before God in the faith of deliverance from the hurt and fear.

From the time I was still living with Mom and Dad, I have said that I wanted to be fully self supported before I ever got married. I wanted to make my own way so that when the time came, I knew I was marrying for the right reasons: love, companionship, a mutual goal in seeking the Lord. I never wanted to marry because I felt like it was necessary to my survival. This is one of my childhood goals that has come to fruition. I have my own home, I pay all of my bills, and I maintain a life independently of dependence upon anyone else. However, it is not 100% what I envisioned. Then again, what ever is? While it has its definite perks, I find things missing from my life. Someone to sharing things with, to laugh with, to cry with, to seek God with. Someone to sit on the couch and watch TV with. Someone to sit at the table and have dinner with. Someone to dream with, travel with, share a life with.

What I am about to say is a simple sentence. No difficult words, no confusing meanings. At the same time, it is hard to me because it seems to grow stronger all of the time.

I want to get married.

Today, all day, I have been reminded of my singleness. I have been forced to look at myself at 28 years old and realize that I am back at square one again. This time around though, I am seeing things a little bit differently. I am being heavily reminded that marriage is not a promise that God gives me. That may not be something that He has in store. These are all words I have spoken before but a deep truth reverberates in them tonight. All the things that I have put on hold in hopes of sharing it with someone else need to stop being put off because they could possibly never come to be if I keep waiting. Hopes for a home, a family, trips to share, work to do together . . . . all of it. While a small part of me feels liberated by this final realization, my face is soaked in tears and my body shakes in sobs. It feels as if a lifetime dream is being dashed and all I can do is helplessly sit by and watch it happen. I know that God's way is best so I pray that I accept whatever He leads me to.

Psalm 121 has been heavily on my heart the past three weeks. I read and dwell on it daily. It gives me hope and strength through this fear.

I lift up my eyes to the hills -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord.
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches of Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD watches over you -
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will keep you from all harm -
he will watch over your life;
the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Am This Easy to Please!

Sometimes I think that God gave me a joy for the simple things in life just so I can see Him and His displays of love (both big and small) so vividly. Take tonight for example. My drive to work is 12 miles, takes on average 45 minutes, and includes 15 stop lights. Tonight, I turned on my car at 7:49 to head home. (We had a Family Night - I didn't work that late of my own accord.) Long story short, I was in my apartment with my shoes off at 8:08. That is right - I made it home in 19 minutes because I hit only ONE stoplight! One out of fifteen! Do you know how often that happens? Apparently about once every eight and a half months! That means it should happen again for me about the beginning of December. It made me really happy!

My God is so good to me!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Irony of It All

Tonight once again reaffirms that I have absolutely NO control over what my life might look like and that our God likes to throw me curve balls. When this will stop surprising me, I will never know. At least now I can just shake my head and laugh about it. There are no longer "Why me!?" or overwhelming tears. It almost feels like I have a personal inside joke with God Himself!

This evening was our last study of the spring semester. Several of us were excited to hear about what the topic for this fall will be. We got there and much to my surprise, we find out that study will be quite different in September. Beth will be hosting an "Intro to the Bible" study for 250 ladies ages 18-25. Not only am I too old to go, the study is geared to beginners to the Bible (thankfully not me). In other words, there will be no study in the fall. We will pick up again in January of 2009. I just stared at the flier and started laughing in my head. Those of you who know what has gone on the past few weeks will understand why the irony just shot throughout the course of my entire body.

For the second time in about a week and a half, what I have envisioned for the fall is tilted and changed. Things I have grown to depend upon taken away. Granted, this turn of events is nowhere as huge as the break up but it is a change when I'm still trying to adjust to the other. It feels like God is slowly striping it down to just me and Him again. In many regards, I am full of anticipation for whatever He is planning because His ways are always higher than mine. At the same time, it makes me feel so raw and so helpless not having any say in my own life. Despite that feeling, I know that this is the time He does His best work.

So who can argue with that?

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Tear-Jerker for Erin

This blog started out an entirely different way. It started out about my idea for reading a book a week. It then turned in to talking about the book I started last night and it's themes on travel. However, as I have begun to write, it has come down to this. I hope it makes at least a grain of sense.

Last night, I started reading Three Weeks with my Brother by Nicholas Sparks. Now, I am not a mushy gushy reader so I am usually not drawn to books by Sparks. However, as soon as Erin told me the premise of the book, I was immediately intrigued. I have not looked forward to reading a book as much as I have anticipated this one. It is a memoir about two brothers who go on a three week trip around the world. Anyone who knows me and my desire to travel can see exactly what initially drew me to this book. Yet, I find myself anxious to read it for another obvious reason. It is about brothers.

There is something about a sibling that plucks the strings of my heart. Seeing how I have the best there is, I can only feel my heart swell at the thought of siblings. One things that I have enjoyed about moving to 1st grade is seeing the older siblings take on the protector role of those I spend my days with. On the rare occasion, I get to see my little ones play the role of big sibling. My heart melts when I see brothers and sisters loving on each other.

I absolutely treasure the relationship I have with my Erin. She knows the story behind every victory and fear that has molded my life. She can tell by looking at me exactly what my mood is even when I can hide it from others. She can laugh with me, cry with me, and get away with telling me things that no one else ever could. She can vocalize my fears when I cannot bring myself to say them aloud and then offer not to look at me when I need to cry it out. She understands all of the associations that run through my mind in certain circumstances or with specific words. She will sit on the floor with me, dog tired, and listen to me tell her things that I have probably already said three times before because she knows that I just need to talk it out. She dreams things for me bigger than I dream for myself. She fights for me fiercely from the depths of her heart. She makes me smile and laugh like no one else can. Above all of this, she loves me in a way that only a sister can.

So I look forward to a book about siblings. About the joys and pains that bond us to each other like no other relationship can.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

For the Record

Can I just say...what a BEAUTIFUL day in Houston! The windows are open and everything around is significantly greener than when I left a week ago. Small flower blossoms are out along with seasonal flowers just reminding me once again that the season of new starts is here. It is days like today that make me wish I had a yard to go enjoy!

It has been pretty productive too! I left the house about 9:45 this morning to take care of some things. By 1:00, the car had its oil changed and was washed, I ran to Kinkos, went to the mall, and had lunch. Thanks to some birthday and Christmas gift cards, I was able to pick up a few things including an Easter Dress! Much to everyone's amazement, I am happy to tell you that it is not black, white, or any pattern with those two colors. It is a beautiful blue - perfect for spring!

I hope you are enjoying this beautiful Saturday!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Same Song, Second Verse

At the end of July, my mom and I drove into Houston to turn the page on the next chapter of my life. I remember it was a very humid summer's day and we arrived at the complex's office just after 4:00. I signed the paperwork and we unloaded the truck. As I signed my name and watched as box after box was unloaded, I reflected on the past three weeks. Everything that I was expecting had shifted into this great unknown. I had applied in Houston area districts almost half heartedly. Just days later came the call followed by the interview followed by the acceptance of the job followed by the speedy move. I remember wondering and asking God, "Why here? Why this place that I pursued so little - almost as an afterthought, as a joke?" As we unpacked every box and hung every frame, I couldn't help but wonder through my tears what was in store but knowing, without the shadow of a doubt, that this had been perfectly paved by God. There was NO other explanation. There was no going back.

This afternoon, as I drove back into Houston, I felt some very similar feelings. Coming into town at the same time of day, pulling into the same parking spot that I pulled into 8 months ago, and feeling that same overwhelming feeling of not knowing what in the world will unfold here. The same feeling of not understanding the past few weeks and how everything that was my reality has shifted so much from even three weeks ago. There was a sense of finality in driving away from Pleasanton as I have never felt before.

To borrow Jackie's catch phrase ...and then....

Relationships change and people shift and grow. In all things, God is good - even when we don't get it!

To all of these things, I am a testimony.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Looking for a Rainbow

Today, after days filled with some of my best friends in the world, I drove from San Antonio to Pleasanton. I was reflecting on so much that has happened over the past few days. Seeing Alissa, Julie, ladies from San Marcos, and Kami was SUCH a timely blessing. Watching Abby as she has gotten SO big and SO smart was such fun. Laughing and discussing with Jeff and Alissa was just what I needed. Julie and her nurturing spirit were a God send. Catching up with Kami after so long was reassuring that moving on doesn't mean losing people. This afternoon, after the last hug was shared, I made that last leg of the trip back south. It was the first time in about three days that I was able to be quiet and think about all that has happened over the past week - feeling everything that I have been protecting myself and others from seeing. It started raining and, much to my surprise, it was raining mud. It streaked my windshield and, as many times as I tried to wipe it away, it was still there. Even when the sun would break through for a moment, the windshield was splattered with the mud spots. I got frustrated and then suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to cry. I couldn't figure out why until I realized that the rain was a perfect physical representation of how I feel.

Right now, I feel like muddy rain.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Just Me?

Am I the only one who is STRUGGLING with the whole time change thing? I don't know what is wrong with me! I have never had this problem before but for some reason, my internal clock is way off. You would think that I was readjusting after a visit on another continent. I'm not ready to get up in the morning because it is still dark. Tonight, I stayed at work too late because the sun was still up and I lost total track of time. On top of everything else, I have been one day off all week. Yesterday I thought it was Wednesday and today I thought it was Thursday. That makes for a very long week. :) What is the deal!?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Through Jesus Colored Glasses

Today in class, our instructor made a statement that really made an impression on me. I thought I would share it with you. We were briefly reviewing what the Jews were looking for in a savior and how, for many of them, their own sights made them miss the mark. Others, however, saw Jesus in all his glory. Reid commented that the same can be said of us today. We were asked to stop and think about what comes to our mind when we think about who Christ was in the flesh and who He is today. We shared and then he said something along these lines: The way that you view Christ (and how you think He is) is the way you live out your daily Christianity. How you see Him is reflected in the way we follow Him. For example, say that someone sees God as the Celestial Sherrif. That person will live out their Christianity making sure all of their T's are crossed and their I's are dotted so they aren't "caught". Another person may see God as the grandpa rocking on the front porch watching the world go by but overall not really aware. This person may live out their Christanity in a more vague way because they believe that God isn't really watching too closely.

It got me thinking about how I see Christ. For me, He is fulfillment and completion. From before time began to when it will end, Christ has fulfilled all things. He has never failed to live up to perfection and has completed every prophesy of the savior of the world. He fills in every empty blank I have. I understand His name of "I am" because there is no single name that fits Him. He is everything that I have ever needed and so much more. The other way that I see Christ is as a healer. He heals broken hearts, broken relationships, and broken dreams. He even goes one step further by replacing our brokeness with soemthing more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. That is how I see Christ.

How about you? When you think of Christ, what do you see?

Saturday, March 08, 2008


This week, worship and study has been heavy on my heart. I've been praying about it, rolling it over in my head, asking questions about it, and reading about it in scripture. Over the past two or three days, one short passage has been stuck at the forefront of my mind.

In John 4:23-24, Jesus says that his worshippers will worship in spirit and truth. For years, I have had it taught to me as worshipping the "right way". However, in rereading the context surrounding these words, I find that he is not addressing this idea at all. I find myself wondering if he is alluding to more of a heartfelt, spirit filled worship rather than making sure we are doing it correctly. I don't know Greek or own any commentaries to help me out in this area.

Do you have any insight? What does it mean to worship in spirit and truth?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

God of Our Yesterdays

There are many songs that I would include on the soundtrack of my life but I think that I have found the one that would be my theme song. The first time I heard this song, I was immediately brought to tears. It speaks to tenderly to what my personal journey has been. I know that people often post lyrics and it may be tempting to just skip them but please take a moment to look over these. They are my testimony.

God of Our Yesterdays
by: Matt Redman
We were in the darkest night,
And wondered if our eyes would ever see the light,
You were there, Lord,
We were in the storm again,
And wondered if we’d ever live in peace again,
You were there, Lord,
You were there is the struggle,
You were there in the fire,
You were there all the time.

Praise you, the God of our yesterdays,
Praise you, the God who is here today,
Praise you, our God, as tomorrow comes.

So whatever lies ahead,
Whatever roads our grateful hearts will come to tread,
You’ll be there, Lord,
And we will fix our eyes on you,
And know that there is grace enough to see us through,
You’ll be there, Lord,
You’ll be there is the struggle,
You’ll be there in the fight,
You’ll be there all the time.

Praise you, the God of our yesterdays,
Praise you, the God who is here today,
Praise you, our God, as tomorrow comes.
We thank you for grace in our yesterdays,
We thank you for peace in our hearts today,
And thank you, our Joy, as tomorrow comes,
We will trust you, God.

You’re always closer than we know,
Always more involved and in control,
We will trust our lives to you,
The One who was, and is, and is to come!

Praise you, the God of our yesterdays,
Praise you, the God who is here today,
Praise you, our God, as tomorrow comes.
We thank you for grace in our yesterdays,
We thank you for peace in our hearts today,
And thank you, our Joy, as tomorrow comes,
We will trust you, God.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

High Fashion

I'm not sure how it happened but I got really caught up in Project Runway this season. Tonight was the finale. My favorite designer didn't win but the one who won deserved every ounce of the winnings. I don't know how they could choose from the top three - they were all so talented! I am literally very excited for the winner and what this means for his dreams to come true. He is only 21 and about to start his own line! What an opportunity he has been given! I cannot wait for season five!

I have never been someone that is very into fashion - especially high fashion. It has been lost on me for so long. However, watching this series, I have a new found appreciation for it. I am one who believes very strongly in finding a passion and finding an avenue of self expression. After watching these designers work so lovingly and with such conviction, I no longer see runway shows and high fashion as silly and "fluff". I have grown to see it as an art form. What a lovely talent it is!