Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Merciful gentleness

If you could describe this world in one word, what would it be?

For me, it would be "broken."

This world is broken and in much need of repair. It struck me today as I was driving, through the dark, that we aren't nearly as all that as we think we are. For some reason we are quite content to scurry around in our messed up world, thinking that we're fine and living a fantastic life. I think though, that one of my favorite singers says it best: "If a life is a comedy, then why all the tragedy?" This is a sad world, people dying all around us, war tearing up places we've never really heard about, families being torn apart by divorce, friends backstabbing each other, people being lonely and taking their lives because of it during the holidays, and I could go on and on. I'm pretty certain that each one of us can say that we've been touched to some extent by this miserable place.

Now, why have I gone on this sad and depressing tangent? (and why am I asking so many questions?)

This is because of something amazing that has happened. Into this sad and dark world, with all its miserableness, something changed. There were angels broadcasting this news to a scared group of shepherds some 2000+ years ago. Very slowly it, not the idea of it, but it, itself, began to take over people, the way they lived, the way they breathed, the way they moved, talked, interacted with other people. This change was life. Not life as we know it, which is merely surviving, but life, life worth living. To many it's a breath of fresh air, to others, a sad number who feel they are comfortable in their own little holes of despair, it's a threat. The reason it's a threat is because part of this new inexhaustible life is living differently than you did when you were in misery and despair. To those who are habit oriented, or convinced they are right, this can be a threat, but to those who truly know that they are in desperate need of life, an amazing intoxicating life, changing how you live is a small price to pay.

2000+ years ago, God, the creator of the universe, the one who spoke and created everything from the tiniest organism and molecule that we have yet to find, to the largest galaxy that is the furthest thing away that we can find in our most powerful telescopes, the one who set time in motion, the one who lives outside time, the one who is, and has been, and has yet to come, and yet is unchanging; God broke into our miserable time and space, the time and space He had once created good, and stepped into our world.

If He had created our world good to begin with, and we had messed it up, how do you think God should have stepped into our world? If it had been me, or any of the human-created gods, such as Zeus and Buddha, I would have blasted the awful humans off the face of the earth the minute they messed up my plan. I wouldn't have waited for several thousand years to watch them mess things up. I wouldn't have bided my time, another plan up my sleeve. Instead of allowing humans and their free will to destroy His will and His plan, He wove our mess-up into His plan, creating a plan that would bring Him more glory than His original plan.

(I'm speaking as if we changed the course of God's glory, though this is not true in the least. For some reason He already had this plan in place, and He was not surprised by our mess-up, even though He created us good to begin with. This is a mystery that the most brilliant minds haven't been able to crack, the mystery of human free-will and God's sovereignty, but I don't have time or knowledge to go into it.)

Instead of stepping into our time and space as a vengeful, wrathful God, wreaking havoc on the subjects who disobeyed him and created a prison of misery for themselves, God quietly broke into our disorder, and came as a baby. A baby. A squalling, messy, time-consuming, needy baby. God in flesh did not come as a conquerer, but instead in the most helpless form a human can assume: a baby.

Why? Why? Why would God chose to interact with us on this level? Why a baby?

Maybe it's because we wouldn't listen as well if it were a conquerer speaking to us His subjects, maybe it's because it would be taking our free-will away and He would rather have us love Him on our own than Him forcing us to. CS Lewis says in his Screwtape letters, the eighth letter, "But the obedience which the Enemy [God] demands of men is quite a different thing. One must face the fact that all the talk about His love for men, and His service being perfect freedom, is not (as one would gladly believe) mere propaganda, but an appalling truth. He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself--creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We [the devils] want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons."

Whatever the reason, because God stepped gently into our world, because He stepped in at all, we now have hope. Anything we see that is in despair, we have hope that that will be touched with the life that comes from knowing Christ. It took more than just a birth as a baby, it took Christ living as a human, in a rugged class of people, a people under the thumb of Rome, teaching and pouring Himself out to the people around Him for three years, and then at the end being unjustly accused by the people He loved of being a criminal and rabble-rouser and then being crucified by them, which is a horrific way to die. It took Christ not only dying for the sake of (and by) the people he loved, but also dying in their place because of the mess they had made (because messing up God's plan and turning your back on Him is actually punishable by death).

If the story ended there, at the Light of the world, the only chance of Life being snuffed out because of us, I would have every right to the miserable things I wrote about at the beginning of this post, but it doesn't end there. God, in His matchless sovereignty saw fit to bring Christ back. He wasn't dead for good. Misery couldn't hold Him in the grave. The darkness that chains the world down couldn't hold the Light back. Just the same as turning on a light in a darkened room banishes the dark, Jesus the Light of the world began the start of banishing dark from every corner of the world by coming back from the dead.

This why the despair we see in the world around us is only temporary. The God-man has broken death's hold. This is why we can say with certainty, "O grave, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The death that encompasses most of this world has no hold on it any longer. The fingers of death have been shattered. What is left are the cobwebs that need clearing away, so to speak.

To think that life wouldn't be the same if this hadn't happened so long ago. To think: this is why we celebrate Christmas. Praise God for His matchless and infinite, intoxicating, inescapable wisdom, mercy, grace and love. I don't deserve any of it, and yet He has chose to bless me with life. Let me know if I can show you were to find some for yourself.


Tears are falling, hearts are breaking,
How we need to hear from God,
You've been promised, we've been waiting,
Welcome Holy Child, welcome Holy Child.

Hope that you don't mind our manger,
How I wish we would have known,
But long-awaited, Holy stranger,
Make yourself at home,
Please make yourself at home.

Bring your peace into our violence,
Bid our hungry souls be filled,
Word now breaking Heaven's silence,
Welcome to our world, welcome to our world.

Fragile finger sent to heal us,
Tender brow prepared for thorn,
Tiny heart whose blood will save us,
Unto us is born, unto us is born.

So wrap our injured flesh around you,
Breathe our air and walk our sod,
Rob our sin and make us holy,
Perfect son of God, perfect son of God.
Welcome to our world.

Welcome to Our World, by Chris Rice

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I have a habit that I've had since I was a baby, and my mom says I'm going to lose all my eyelashes to it. For some reason, when I'm stressed, emotionally crazed, tired, reading something (mainly a book), uncertain about something, or at an extreme almost negative emotion that doesn't involve doing much (like crying or screaming) but involves sitting and staring somewhere, I play with my eyelashes. It used to be that I'd play with one eye normally. We have pictures of me as a three year old, sucking my thumb and playing with the eyelashes on my right eye (the top row of lashes) with my pinky, hands stretched across the right side of my face. It's basically a comfort blanket (seeing as the "blankie" was retired when I was 5ish) and you can tell I've got nothing to do, or am feeling emotionally bad when I start playing with my eyelashes.

Since I was three, my range of eyelash playing has moved from just the right eye to both the right and the left eye. Sometimes I use my pinky, other times I use other parts of my fingers (back of a knuckle, first finger, back of hand), other times I throw my arm across my face (right before I go to sleep) and I'll flutter my eyelashes across the sensitive skin of my upper arm. It's all a comfort thing. I don't understand it, but I do it. Mom says I'll end up with no eyelashes some day because I do this, or I'll end up with lashes that have been broken in half, but I keep doing it. Normally I can tell how engaging a book is by looking in the mirror after reading it and checking my eyelashes. If I haven't worn mascara for a while, it's hard to put mascara on and keep my eyelashes straight if I've been playing with them heavily because they're mutilated and twisted around each other. I probably also lose WAY more eyelashes than anyone else I know because of this habit. If you were ever to run into me on a day I was wearing mascara and look closely at my lashes, you'd be able to tell which ones were broken and where I've destroyed others. My lashes are also not nearly as thick as they could be if I didn't do this.

Why am I telling you all this?

Because I'm home from college, getting ready to face student teaching starting in January. I'm looking at a semester with none of my college friends, my close friends, nearby. Both my sister and Michael will be at least three hours away with these friends (as they make up part of the group of friends). My campus ministry will also be three hours away. The family I've created for myself (that God has created for me as a support system at college) will be three hours away. And I'm on an emotional roller-coaster.

I cried at least once for the first five days of being home (and I've only been home 6 days), sometimes it wasn't much, sometimes it was a lot, but part of me doesn't even want to be home. I don't want to lose sight of God's goodness, but sometimes everything overwhelms me. I know in my head that God has planned everything down to when a hair on my head falls off, but at the same time, not knowing what's ahead doesn't help my nerves, or the fact that I'm lonely.

So why did I start this post of with a confession about my silly, slightly stupid, all-telling habit of playing with my eyelashes?

Because my eyelashes are more mutilated right now than they have been in a while. What does that tell you?

If you could pray for me that God would be my strength and that I would seek God's glory in all of this, I would appreciate it. Also, if you could pray that my eyelashes don't die before this is all done. Going into student teaching with no eyelashes would be very ... interesting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Freak out

So, I just realized that I'm freaking out. Maybe not on the outside, but definitely on the inside. (In the last two sentences, I had to back space multiple times because I couldn't spell correctly, which is how big this revelation is.)

Why am I freaking out, you ask? I'm closing in on my last set of exams for my last semester on campus, before moving home to student teach at a public high school. After I make it through student teaching (because I haven't even let myself dwell on the fact that I might be a total failure with it), I will graduate and move out into the real world. Yay real world.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm excited about graduation and attempting to start my own violin/viola studio, but I'm terrified about getting there. I'm freaking out inside because I absolutely don't know what's going to happen. I hate not knowing what's going to happen. It's a trust thing because I don't have any control over anything at all.

It's not something I can do by myself. I know that. But it hurts to acknowledge that. Right now, prayers would be appreciated as I move through this transition phase of my life. Transitions are always a little bit scary, even if they are longed for and hoped for. God is my Rock and my Refuge. Pray that I run to Him, every time I desire to freak out for the next two months.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Thankful is a big deal, especially on a day like today. A day reserved especially for giving thanks. Who to give thanks to, well, I guess that's up to you, but for me, I have a lot to give thanks for, and it all goes primarily to my God and Father.

In no particular order, here's a list of what I'm thankful for:

BLT sandwiches, and dads who make them for you when he was only planning on making one for himself.

Friends who are awesome.

Breathing. This is good for living.

Family, that while they are crazy, make things interesting.

College, that has taught me a ton.

Good music that inspires me and makes me feel like laughing, crying, dancing, and sitting still all at the same time.

Food. The end.

Grace. In the form of a sister. Especially when I need it.


And definitely for my Savior. Because He died for me. Because everything I have comes from Him.

I'm thankful, basically, for the life that I have. It's strange to think of a different life. It's easy and probably very true to say that if God had put me in a different life with different parents, I wouldn't be what I am today. I've told people that if my parents had been any less caring and nosy about my life, I probably would have gotten seriously messed up with my relationships and possibly ruined myself first year of college. Because of God's care for me, every single thing that has happened in my life has been for my good, even though some of them have not seemed good in the end. Today it is easy to say "God is good." Tomorrow it might not be as easy, but it definitely still applies. God is good.

My challenge to you is this: How is God good in your life?

[edit] I'm also thankful for KB and spleens. [/edit]

Monday, November 15, 2010


I've been learning lately, in a very steady fashion that I can't do it by myself. I'm pretty certain that this lesson is going to be a never ending one, seeing as I'm a stubborn do-it-myself person. As it is, this lesson hurts sometimes.

The biggest thing about this semester, the thing that I think I'll look back at this semester and remember, is the pain that I've been in. Mid-september I played in a concert that was fantastic, but managed to stress my shoulder out to the point where I injured it. I left several of the practices for the concerts feeling as if left collarbone was broken. Because I also had a recital to give this semester, I wasn't about to put the violin down just because I was experiencing some pain that would go away most of the time. I had to practice and that was final. If I didn't practice I would fall behind on the excellence that could be my music.

I took to Ibuprofen, and tried to lay of practicing viola, because I was/am also playing that this semester in a string ensemble. I quickly learned that being in pain meant that I was surly towards people, moody, and more quickly emotionally drained. I'm afraid that there were several times where I shoved my attitude at other people, Michael and my sister being the two closest people most of the time.

God was also gracious to present me with time to be alone and on my own. I didn't, and normally don't, think of this time as a gift, because each time I was alone I would come dangerously close to breaking down. Each time at some point I would have to cry out to God, normally with tears in my eyes, and tell Him, broken, that I couldn't do it on my own. That I couldn't cope with the miniscule pain of my shoulder, or that I couldn't cope with being lonely, or that I couldn't cope with whatever was bothering me at the time of my breakdowns.

Each time I come out of these spots, I come away with a fresh realization of how blessed I am to have friends, family and someone standing by my side, even if it's only for now.

I might not be the strongest person, and I know that I can't do it by myself, but even when I'm at my lowest, and still trying to plod along in my do-it-myself attitude, God has blessed me with family and friends that hold me up and keep me pointed at God and His greatness, and sometimes when I turn too much to those people closest in my life, God takes those away too and gently but torturously turns me towards Him all by Himself.

I know this lesson is long from being over, but I just thought I'd share where I am now. God is good in all circumstances, even if I don't necessarily like them.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Feeling helpless is not something that I like.

I'm the oldest child in my family. And as the oldest child, I'm the one who is supposed to have it all under control. Normally I do fantastically well at having most of it under control, and the stuff that isn't under control doesn't really need to be, or I don't care enough about it or what other people think to keep it under my control umbrella. It's really funny this illusion of control that I have though.

It's just that, an illusion.

I've been learning very recently that the control I have on life is an illusion. And that hurts. I want to fall back into the silly idea that life is under my control; that the classes I'm taking are the ones I chose, and therefore all the homework piling on was my fault; that the church I go to was my choice, so the teaching I'm getting there is because of my choice or not; that the friends I make are my choice so if something goes wrong with my friends, I'm responsible or I can run away.

God seems to have whipped that carpet out from under my feet very quickly in the friends area of life, because very recently (within the last week) at least three of my friends have undergone some type of physical or emotional stress. One was in a car accident, and two dealt with rejections of different kinds which caused massive emotional stress. I felt like I had to deal with this suddenly all in one day. It was something I hadn't quite felt before, and felt a little overwhelmed with the massive amounts of prayers I felt like I was shooting to God. "God be with ____, they're hurting. Comfort them." "God show mercy to ____, give them peace." "God, I don't know what to do!" There were so many times where I wanted to do something physically, like bestow a hug, or give a back rub, but in the end, I had to end up saying, "I'll pray for you." Which seems like a lame-lame excuse sometimes.

Every time I said "I'll be praying for you," and then mentioned that I wished I could do more the recipient would say, "You're doing a lot already by simply praying for the situation."

Why do we think that conversing with the King of the universe about someone else's problem is a lame substitute for actually doing something?! Maybe because for me the results aren't as obvious. When I can see results right away it doesn't try my faith. Sitting and waiting and praying does try my faith, and it bugs the crap out of me. There you have it. I'm human! Welcome to the club. Or maybe I should ask to join, because I certainly don't realize sometimes until I hit a limit that I'm human.

In CS Lewis' "The Magician's Nephew" at one point when Diggory and Polly are going with Fledge, the winged horse, to the garden in the middle of the new world to pick a fruit from the middle of the garden and bring it back to protect Narnia from the White Witch, because it's a two day journey, they stop for the night about half way there. When they set about finding supper, they realize there's nothing packed. Diggory says something along the lines of, "Well, you'd think he'd [Aslan] would send dinner along," and Fledge in all his horsey wisdom, and through a mouthful of grass says, "I think He [Aslan] knew alright, but I kinda think He likes to be asked."

Maybe God, for the same reasons, and because it makes us rely on him more, has created prayer as the way to get things done. Because I can't heal hurting hearts, and the creator can, I am to help with that process simply by asking him to heal the hurt. It's frustrating, and yet, at the same time, I'm so glad I'm not in charge of fixing the world (even though I want to try). If I had to fix the world, I'd make such a mess of it, things would get worse, not better. So even when presented with something that I can definitely do, I will turn to prayer. After all, if I'm a child of the King, my Father's going to want to answer my prayers positively if it's good (in the long run) for all involved.

And now I'm going to stop rambling, because, well, I'm exhausted.

Monday, October 18, 2010

God is Good

Last night while walking home with Michael, while we were talking about various and sundry things, he murmured, "God is good." As per my habit, I asked him, "How?" (or sometimes it's why?) because I want to know not only that God is good, but why people are saying that about him. It's so easy to simply sit there and say, "God is good," and not follow it up with anything. Michael, after good-naturedly groaning a little, proceeded to tell me how God was good.

It got me thinking though.

God is good. There's no doubt about that. Even the most hardened heart, when faced full on with God's grace and goodness will have to admit that God is good. But sometimes, like Monday mornings, it's hard to realize that God is good through the sleep-induced fog. Which is why I'm about to ask myself the question. How is God good in my life, right now?

God is good because I am breathing. God is good because I am currently aware of all my faculties and they work. God is good because He created the sunshine that is pale-y washing the outdoors. God is good because of the wind that tangles my hair whenever I try to walk somewhere. God is good because He is love, and justice, and mercy, and patience, and jealous wrath, and righteousness, and salvation. This I can say with ease.

All these things are good though. They're good for me. They don't really hurt me. But God is still good when he takes everything away.

God is good when I'm not breathing. God is good when I am incapacitated by pain. God is good when it's raining and miserable outside. God is good when classes are hard, and I'm failing miserable at a subject. God is good when people shun me. God is good when I am tired and falling apart. God is good when I can't find any good in the world around me. God is good because He is love, and justice, and mercy, and patience, and jealous wrath, and righteousness, and salvation. God is good through the bad times too because all of it is used to drive me closer to Him.

I have such a limited view of my world. All I can see is the happenings around me. I'm a big picture person and love to know what's going on in the grand scheme of things, but thank goodness I don't. God is God. I, thankfully, am not. If I were, I would try to control things, and God would cease to be good.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that God is good no matter what, but I often have to be reminded and remind myself of that fact. And because God is good, we are called to praise Him. Thank goodness we always have reason to praise Him, because we were created to praise Him. Yet another amazing thing about God.

Praise God for His infinite grace and mercy and wisdom. At least He knows what He's doing.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Firsts, lasts, and things I wish I knew

Today is the first day of many last days.

Now before you start freaking out and think I'm going all suicidal, let me explain. I'm not suicidal. I promise. Today is just my last first day of college classes. Unless something unexpected happens.

Today is the first day of classes of my senior year! Last night my dorm hall had a meeting, and as a question, the RA (or Resident Assistant) asked us to tell what year we were in college. Oddly enough, the whole hall is Sophomores and Seniors. I was one of the seniors, and it was very hard to say "Senior" as my year, because I feel like, not only have I been here for forever, but I also just started. When I started college I felt as if I had forever in front of me. Now I feel like 4 years was almost too short. So I thought (just now) that I would tell anyone five things that I wish I knew as a freshman, or listened to as a freshman, even if I knew them. And these are not in any order, really.

One, always communicate with your roommate. Don't just say "hi" or "bye" or "can I get to my bed, please?" but actually communicate with your roommate. If he or she is doing something you really really don't like, tell them because other than that, how are they supposed to know how to fix it? They can't read your mind!

Two, family is important. Even if your mom or dad is calling you constantly, take the time to talk to them. They're your biggest support line when you don't have friends, and are making them. Plus, they might be helping pay for your bill. It never hurts.

Three, coffee is good in moderation. I don't drink it, but I've seen friends who drink it all the time and it wipes out their meal plans. Also, on the same note, don't pull more all-nighters than you need.

Four, don't procrastinate! Then you really won't have to pull all-nighters! If you look for it, you'll find people and resources to help you with your homework and the stuff you don't understand. I promise. Help is out there.

Five, talk to your professors. If they remember you, chances are your grades will improve, and not necessarily because they know you, but more likely because you know them, and have taken the time to get to know them.

I'm sure I could say more, but I've got class to attend soon, and people to see before that, so enjoy what school you have, and may God bless your coming school year. After all, he's the one who has the master plan in front of him.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Original

So often we forget that people, humankind, is made in God's image. Even more often we forget that there is even a God behind the image, behind the creating of humankind, a God that demands worship, and we worship, instead the created, the finite, the fallen and broken, finding nothing but finite, fallen, and broken relationships and love.

Now, before you ask what prompted this post, I'll
tell you. I've been reading CS Lewis' The Four Loves and in the last chapter, he talks about Charity, the gift love, the love that is natural only to God. He also talks about how when we turn to God is the only time we'll find infinite, perfect, and whole relationships and love with one another. Here's a paragraph from his book that struck me.

"For the dream of finding our end, the thing we were made for, in a Heaven of purely human love could not be true unless our whole Faith were wrong. We were made for God. Only by being in some respect like Him, only by being a manifestation of His beauty, loving-kindness, wisdom or goodness, has any earthly Beloved excited our love. It is not that we have loved them too much, but that we did not quite understand what we were loving. It is not that we shall be asked to turn from them, so dearly familiar, to a Stranger [upon meeting them in Heaven]. When we see the face of God we shall know that we have always known it. He has been a party to, has made, sustained and moved moment by moment within, all our earthly experiences of innocent love. All that was true love in them, was even on earth, far more His than ours, and ours only because His. In Heaven there will be no anguish and no duty of turning away from our earthly Beloveds. First, because we shall have turned already; from the portraits to the Original, from the rivulets to the Fountain, from the creatures He made lovable to Love Himself. But secondly, because we shall find them all in Him. By loving Him more than them we shall love them more than we now do."

For some reason the last three sentences make me cry, with happiness. God truly is glorious in all he does. Who wouldn't love the original painting more than the portraits, or the copies? Especially if by studying the original you came to love the art work in the copies more? Praise God for His infinite grace and mercy and His gently turning me back towards Him in every little thing.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Velvet black night
Pierced with white
Stars waiting quiet
Wide listening sky

Stillest of air
Light hanging there
Out of despair
Rises a prayer

Can we take in Your light so we can shine like You
with all this weariness?
Can we shine like you with this weariness?

So we are loved
We are loved
And it's quite enough that we are loved
We are loved
We are loved
And it's quite enough that we are loved

If the whole world could feel it
If the whole world could feel it

We could love
We could love
'Cause we are loved

Surrounded in white
Oh, purest bride
No lovelier sight
The Church will rise

Take in Your light
To shine like You
Take this weariness so we can shine like You

We could love
We could love
'Cause we are love

We Are Loved by DC*B

I got his new album today.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Life continues at a relentless pace. I am constantly shocked at how fast things go.

The summer is already more than half way over. Just two days ago, I was hiking up through the Wilson's Creek Wilderness area with Michael. It was hot, it was sunny where there was no shade, and, gracious me, was it gorgeous. It was his birthday on the fourth, so I felt it only appropriate to see what I could do to make it to his place for his birthday.

Also, I've been reading through my old posts. I started from the beginning, in October of 2008. As I was reading the posts that seem to carry some deeper turmoil, I was trying to figure out just what had happened to make me so emotionally despondent. It was then that I remembered that I had lost a friend to a broken neck in August of '08, so of course I was going to be despondent.

It's amazing to me, and a product of God's amazing grace in my life. There have been times where I look like I have been moving on my own actions. I haven't given my whole thought and being towards pursuing God. It's really very easy to get bogged down in the emotions of the day and time that you are in, and it's easy to forget that our God is completely outside of space and time. And yet through everything, God has reached into my time and place and lifted me to him, showing me grace and mercy beyond measure.

It's a struggle to lift my head above the whirlwind of every day, to glance around me for a brief moment to realize how finite my life is, and to turn and face the God who created me, the God who loves me, the God who has adopted me and called me as his person. By God's grace, I've gotten better at this, but I still have a very long ways to go. O, the blog posts to come.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

An Anecdote

Raspberry Ridge. It's like an idea, a place, and something quite out of reach at the same time, so please forgive the haziness of this post.

The week was hard. The people were sometimes very hard to work with. Tears were shed. Sweat was wrought (especially because it was the hottest week of the summer so far). Patience was tried. Instruments were almost mangled by the humidity. And yet, through it all, God was glorified. By the end of a week and two days, everyone was tired.

A small anecdote of how tired I was the very last day of camp (jr.):

It was early in the morning, about 8:30, and the junior orchestra was playing a rousing, squeaky variation of some song, which I don't remember because of the fog I was in. Gram, the dear, sweet, old lady who owns the property and lives there with her husband Jack, had just come out of the house with an aerosol can in her hands. The previous day I could remember seeing someone walking around with a bottle of WD-40 in their hands to use on something, so in my fog, I automatically assumed that Gram had the bottle of WD-40.

My thoughts when I realized that she was walking into the tent that housed the junior orchestra and its squeaky music was, oh, that's nice! Gram's going to take WD-40 and use it to make all the squeaks in Junior orchestra go away. To which I automatically shook my head and stared at myself.

My goodness was I tired.

When she walked out of the tent, past me, I found to my relief that she was holding a can of wasp spray. She was merely going to wreak havoc on the wasps in the barn again. Apparently she had wandered into the tent seeking, for some reason, an industrial stapler.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Raspberry Ridge time!

It's Raspberry Ridge time again.

Every year I go to a summer camp that holds a very high place in my heart. It's a place where I can bring my violin (or viola as it turns out this year) and play pieces that are both gorgeous and inspire, but also bring glory to God in the most amazing way possible. This year, our theme is "To the Ends of the Earth."

Raspberry Ridge holds a special place in my heart because it's a place that I can keep to my chest, as if holding a glowing hope. Raspberry Ridge, to me is a picture of Heaven. It's a small symbol of what Heaven will be like. Every year, we have people from all types of denominations, of many different races, of different ages, playing different instruments, some even speak a different birth language. But for one week out of every year, we come together with the same purpose in mind. We come to glorify God to the best of our abilities. There are deep discussions that range from predestination to gun control and back again. Almost everything there is used to make the people involved better Christ Followers. We have Bible Studies that are carefully thought out before hand and the music, the theory classes, and the ensembles all tie into the themes somehow.

I walked into the Raspberry Ridge property today and felt like I was entering my secret garden, a sacred place. This is the place where God has moved and spoken and touched me and everyone at the camp. This is the camp where we've weathered bad weather and a plethora of other dilemmas, including hurricanes, deaths of people who work there and are family members of campers, bloodied faces that require stitches, and cancer. God has pulled all of us together through it. And pulled us all through it together.

Raspberry Ridge has become my family. I have friends who I see only one week a year, but I feel closer to these people sometimes than I do to the people I see every day for a year. In other words, I have brothers and sisters in Christ at Raspberry Ridge, and for that I'm thankful.

Thank God for Raspberry Ridge.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Odds & Ends

Summer has come rolling in.

In a tank.

With a gun on top.

And a man manning (what else would he be doing? Womaning?) the gun.

With summer comes a small dose of sun burn, bleaching hair, and thunderstorms, a large dose of tan, stress, and a heaping helping of items of both boredom and excitement, and loneliness.

The pool opened on Memorial Day weekend. The pool was as packed as the threatening storms would allow. Since then, I've been life guarding pretty heavily, with yesterday as my heaviest day yet.

In a week, my favorite camp, Raspberry Ridge, starts! I'm playing viola solely! I'm very excited.

Also, I would covet your prayers, whoever is out there, as I struggle with the daily with balancing my growing affections Michael and my desire to pursue God and find my worth and identity in Him.

(Yes, sometimes I feel a little like Nick Cage running through a graveyard with the Declaration of Independence on my back, while being shot at by a guy who is out to get my guts! But only rarely.)

Saturday, May 1, 2010

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus

How great is our God, clothed in majesty. He wraps himself in light, and darkness tries to hide.
Oh, how He loves us.
I am His new creation, by water and the Word.
For Him I sing I dance, rejoice in this divine romance.
From heaven He came and sought me, to be His holy bride!
(Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss.)
I'm just a dead man, lying on the carpet, can't find a heartbeat!
But, amazing Grace! How sweet the sound that saves a wretch like me.
Alas, and did my savior bleed, and did my Sovereign die.
With His own blood He bought me, and for my life He died.
Would he devote that sacred head for sinners such as I?
I will glory in my Redeemer, whose priceless blood has ransomed me.
My chains are gone, I've been set free!
T'was Grace my fears relieved.
All of a sudden, I am unaware of these earthly afflictions eclipsed by glory.
How great, how glorious, are His ways.
Immortal, invisible God only wise, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days!
We blossom and flourish but quickly grow frail, we wither and perish but He never fails!
Not what my hands have done, can save my guilty soul.
To see the law by Christ fulfilled, to hear His pardoning voice, changes a slave into a child, and duty into choice.
I bless the Christ of God, I rest on love divine,
because before the throne of God above, I have a strong and prefect plea. My name is graven on His hands, my name is written on His heart, for God, the Just, is satisfied!
I will glory in my Redeemer, my life He bought, my love He owns, I have no longings for another, I'm satisfied in Him alone. I will glory in my Redeemer, His faithfulness my standing place, though foes are might and rush upon me, my feet are firm, held by His grace.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Out From Under the Table

His name is Michael.

Friday night, after a rousing afternoon of discussion, a rompus viewing of Sherlock Holmes with my sister and her roomie, and a rapid sprint (on my part) around a building to get warm, he walked me home and asked that I text him my dad's phone number.

I did so, with anticipatory excitement.

Then I cleaned the bathroom because my roomie's mom was coming over the next morning before ten. While I cleaned the bathroom, I worshiped. Turns out he was turning to our Father in prayer and worship as well. O, how sweet it is to know that that was foremost in both our minds that night.

Saturday morning went by quickly. It was traumatizing, because I fully expected a call from my dad at any moment. Saturday afternoon was less traumatizing because I found out that Michael had had a staring contest with his phone Saturday morning and lost, and decided to play things like Ultimate Frisbee, Dodgeball and other activities for most of the day with his friends. I can't fault him. I was nervous too. Saturday evening he called my dad. I knew when he did, he told me. And then my dad forgot to call me after his talk with Michael.

My roommate's mom told my roomie to call my dad when they came home later that night to take me to dinner with them and found me flipping out because Dad hadn't called. Needless to say, my dad called shortly after that. We talked briefly, me dancing about crazily outside the restaurant in the cold and expressing my crazy interesting.

Dad called Michael back and told him that he could, in fact, date me. Michael and I texted back and forth while I tried to carry on a semi-normal conversation with my dinner-mates who were more than just my roomie and her mom, and by the time we got back to the apartment, we had finally kinda come to the realization that we were, in fact, now dating.

Our text conversation went something like this:

Me: I've got a feeling about tomorrow [tomorrow being Sunday]... How in depth am I allowed to go tomorrow when Martha asks what went down tonight? She kinda cottoned on to what might be happening. How are you okay with me defining us?

Michael: However you like. Two redeemed sinners seeking God's will together? In a relationship with a purpose? I don't really like semantics, just truth. Who is Martha?

Me: Martha is a girl friend of mine from RUF. And Jill [roomie] shouted from the front of Los [restaurant we were at Saturday night] tonight "Hana has a boyfriend!" I agree with both your descriptions of what we're doing right now, but I think for the sake of being concise, are you okay with me defining it the way Jill did?

Michael: Yes. :-P

And yes, this morning after church, Martha did pounce, and I went through the traditional girl rituals of squealing and giggling. But over all, while I'm giddy and excited, I'm also very aware that I'm not obsessed with Michael. This is a very, very good thing.

This evening for the first time I was introduced as "Michael's girlfriend" twice, in the span of three minutes. Michael and I had taken in a guitar ensemble concert and were waiting for a friend of ours who was in it, who Michael had told this afternoon about the change in relationship. Brian's family had come to the concert, and since Michael's rooming with Brian next year, he wanted to meet Brian's family.

First Brian's dad showed up with Brian's younger brother in tow. Brian went around the circle introducing everyone there to his dad, and he was like, "and this is Michael, and this is Michael's girlfriend, Hana." And then he flashed me this really big grin as if he'd been waiting to do that for a long time, and then asked me, laughingly if it was okay to introduce me that way. I laughingly told him that yeah, it was okay, because it was true. And then his mom shows up. Brian told his mom, "this is my friend Michael, and this is my friend Hana ... who is actually Michael's girlfriend." Michael, consternated by this time, gave Brian this look, and was like, "Brian! Stop! Really!" even though you could tell he was pleased, if a little unused to the introduction. I had to turn to Brian's mom and explain that it was all very new for the two of us, so would she please pardon any awkwardness.

It was kind of weird, and yet, it was a great type of weird.

I could get used to this. God is good, and I don't just say this because He has brought Michael and I together. God is good all the time, and this is the one thing I need to remember.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Here's to you Inigo...

Being patient is not a strong trait of mine. I'm just going to say that. As stated before (in the previous post) I'm the do-stuff type of person. Waiting is awful. To quote Inigo from Princess Bride, when Westley is climbing the Cliff of Insanity, "I hate waiting." (Thank you KB for that one.)

I can say that since the last blog and this one, not much has changed on the waiting and I-have-no-control front. But things have changed. Over the past weekend, in one way or another (I promise I'll get it all out when it's been resolved), when Sam and I were hanging out, his feelings (positive) for me and my feelings (also positive) for him came out.

Considering I am a year above him, and getting ready to graduate next year, and because he had kinda recently realized that he had more feelings for me than as a brother, we've decided to evaluate our relationship. Also, neither of us want to date frivolously. There would be no point in doing that. If we were to date, we'd want it to be leading, eventually towards something. As scary as the word "marriage" sounds, I can honestly say that after about five days of wrestling with myself, with God, with questions my parents have proposed, I am willing to take a step forward into a dating relationship with Sam (whose real name will possibly come out if this all resolves itself in the dating direction) with the intent towards possible marriage later on.

Now all I have to do is wait on Sam. Yay waiting.

"I hate waiting."

When I say things haven't changed at all, I still mean that while he says his feelings for me go deeper than as a friend, or brother, I am still terrified that he isn't going to think that I'm worth pursuing further. During the summer I live at home three hours away from him, and neither of us have a car. When I student teach two semesters from now, I'll be living at home. If we were to date, we'd have one more semester together on campus, and then it would be a long distance relationship for three semesters at least, unless he came and student taught in my home town.

And he's always taken his time in deciding. Even when it comes to crossing the street, he takes his time deciding when to go without getting both of us killed, while I often make a split second decision on crossing the street that has him sometimes worried for both our lives.

Right now, all I can do is pray and wait. Pray that God leads Sam in the right direction and that my heart would be okay with it no matter which decision it is. And then wait for him to tell me, or call my dad. Which ever his decision is. Waiting is agony. Torture. God is stretching me for all I'm worth. And yet, I know that, like the merciful God He is, He won't stretch me past my breaking point.

If you're reading this, please pray that I am given unlimited supplies of patience and the ability to use all of it. Without stomach pains, or ulcers.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Civil War

How many times have I posted about trust, about love, about God's sovereignty?

In my last post, (remember the one on trust?), I made a public declaration that I would not pursue a romantic relationship with the young man, who for privacy's sake, I'm still going to call Sam. I made a public declaration that I wouldn't pursue any type of relationship like that with anyone.

I lied.

I quickly started falling back into the old habit of texting him constantly, of almost stalking him, trying to find out where he was at all times, of looking for him between classes, of asking him to go to lunch with me a couple of times. In essence, I was pursuing him. I love hanging out with him, and his friendship is important to me, but I want something more too, and it's kinda driving me up the wall.

As much as I let a guy know my feelings for him, I will never tell him outright that I like him. I know that I need to have him say it first. He needs to be the one to take that first step. And with him taking that first step, I also want to feel pursued.

Sam is so quiet and laid back that he wasn't (isn't) going fast enough for my high spiritedness, my eagerness to jump into everything. I was trying to hurry things along.

And then I went home for Easter Break this past weekend. I had good talks with both my mom and with my best friend. Both said the same thing: "Stop initiating." I worried, I fretted, I bit my nails (okay, so I didn't bite my nails, but if I had a nervous habit, I would have been doing that). I knew they were right. I hadn't been sitting back and letting God take care of everything. It's just so hard. As an oldest child, I am the one that normally gets out there and starts bushwhacking. It's hard to sit back and let someone else take their own speed, if they're taking any speed at all.

So, I stopped texting Sam. I would let him text me first before texting him. I stopped initiating. So far it's really only the third day, but already, I've broken down twice (that happened last night), and I'm not going to invite him to have lunch or dinner or do anything with me. If he wishes, I'm going to let him pursue me. I'm scared though, that he's not going to want to pursue me. I'm terrified that he won't want to pursue me. I have trouble figuring out why I'd want to pursue me. If I don't want to pursue me, why would he even bother?

But again, God has been gracious, more-so than I deserve. Over and over again, I've been overwhelmed by His all consuming love for me. Each time it makes me want to cry, or it does make me cry. I am no more deserving of God's love than the serial killer on the street corner, and yet for some reason He does love me. I don't know why, but hopefully, His grace will be enough to sustain me in this battle I am fighting with myself.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Trust, the Ultimate Factor

So, I'm relationally lonely. It's been about three years since I've been in a relationship. Oddly enough, that's been my only relationship ever. I've explained in previous blogs about this relationship. It wasn't exactly the healthiest of relationships, but it served God's purpose. Before my relationship, I had been okay with dating just because I felt like it. After three months and a failed relationship, I knew that from then on I was going to be picky. I told the young man, "No offense, but I don't think I'm going to be dating for a while." When I told him that, I thought "a while" was until about a month after I got to college, but here I am in the spring semester of my junior year of college, and I still haven't gotten into a relationship with anyone.

Well, maybe I have to define relationship. I have plenty of "relationships", but they're all friendships. When I say "relationship" I mean one on one with a member of the opposite sex. In this case, the male gender.

Besides the one date I've gone on in freshman spring, nothing to entirely exciting has happened. The opportunity to enter into a relationship with a young man has happened, but I've turned them down. I simply won't be in a one sided relationship, and I don't do the pursuing. Well, I don't pursue more then the young man.

In March of last year, God knocked on the door of my heart and was like, "um, hey, you know that knight in shining armor that you've been looking for all your life? Well, here I am! I've saved you from a dragon! I love you. You are betrothed to me and I will never leave you, I love you that much." For about two weeks I felt like someone, a mortal, human someone, had told me that he loved me. I was on air, I floated around campus with a large grin on my face, and I'm sure that people wondered what had me so happy. It cut the depression I suffer from occasionally completely out of my life. From March 'till October-ish, I was completely satisfied in the fact that I was single and betrothed to the God of the Universe.

And then, in the middle of school, when I was tired and worn out and desperately in need of someone to take care of me when I couldn't ask for help myself, the fact that I wanted someone next to me, someone who actually cared about me, someone who would make me feel visible, came tumbling on my like a sack of bricks. There were a couple of particularly bad days where I cried and pled with God to change my relationship "status". Every time eventually, I would calm down and tell God that if He wished it, I would take it. For some reason, I would tell myself (and still do actually), at this moment, Adam is in the Garden alone, and it's God's will.

This semester it hasn't been much easier. I still want someone who will be here to care about me. I want someone who can make me feel visible, but then again, we've talked about this visibility thing. It's a selfishness thing. This semester I've admitted to myself several times there are several young men who I could easily like as more then just friends. It would all depend on God's ideas. One of these young men I see almost every day and he's always kinda and gentle and a gentleman.

Also recently, my sister suggested that I watch, for fun, BBC's 2009 version of Emma, by Jane Austen. Mr. Knightley has always been my favorite Jane Austen character because he's Emma's best friend, the man who is willing to wait for her, fight for her, admonish her and be there for her when she's being stupid and silly. The actor who plays this particular Mr. Knightley hits the nail on the head, and has had me swooning for the past week. I've probably redeveloped the crush I first had on him. In fact I liked this particular Mr. Knightley so much that after I saw the 2009 Emma for the first time, I almost cried. I was sorely grieved that I didn't have a Mr. Knightley. Who wouldn't want a gentleman who was everything described above and who could dance extraordinarily well?!

The problem with this was that after watching Mr. Knightley's interactions with Emma and wanting them badly myself, I began to look around me for Mr. Knightley. My sore heart automatically turned to the young man now closest to me, the one I see every day. We'll call him, for privacy's sake, Sam. I love spending time with Sam. He apparently likes spending time with me too. I have fun. I am comfortable around him, especially talking about our shared faith. He's quiet too, which is something I probably need in my life. Needless to say, because of Emma, Mr. Knightley and my loneliness, I have started looking, maybe unconsciously. I am now realizing that. I've had to ask God several times in the past week to keep me from wanting Sam just because I'm lonely. I want to want someone for them, and because I feel like God is leading me in that direction, not because I am lonely.

This is, in effect, my public declaration of my trust in God. I will stop trying to pursue any type of relationship with any young man. At least I will try. I know in my head that God will write my love story and that He will bring people in to my life just when I'm loneliest so that I won't be lonely. I just need to have that translate to my heat now. God Help. Until that time that He brings a young man into my life, and past that, He will always be all that I will ever need.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I have a confession to make. I'm a very selfish person.

How, you might ask, did I come to that conclusion?

Well, thank you for asking! I'll tell you.

The last four weeks (at least) of last semester, I felt completely invisible to those around me. To my friends in RUF (Reformed University Fellowship) I felt as if they were merely looking through me and then talking to me when I got in their way, or they couldn't help it. To my friends in the music building, I kinda felt the same way, though I think it was more pronounced with the RUFers because one doesn't expect them to act that way normally. As a result, I became grumpy, though I think the grump in me was fueled by lack of sleep, work load, and just over-exhaustion in general. In college one is always either mentally exhausted, physically exhausted, or both. Also, the weather didn't help. This little town isn't known for it's sunny days. Part of me wondered what was wrong with me, and another part of me wondered what was wrong with my friends.

And then I went home for Christmas Break. Christmas Break where my family is overjoyed to see me and slathers love and affection on me. And yet, a whole break goes by with no one from school saying hi to me, besides my roomie (who doesn't count), and a couple guys from RUF, one who got distracted 30 seconds into our IM by his gf (so I don't blame him), and the other who commented on my wall, and on a post shortly before break finished. There were a couple of times where I felt absolutely unseen, invisible, and more than slightly useless to my friends. I even posted about it on here. Yes, I was that upset.

And then I had to go back to college. I didn't want to because it was at college where I felt like I existed in my own mind only. When I got back, the first thing I had was an RUF meeting, because I'm on the servant team. I was extremely apprehensive about going because I wondered if things would continue the way they had ended in December. I was relieved to see that I was wrong. People were warm and friendly and I was about 99% visible.

I spoke to a couple friends about my feelings, and they agreed with me, they'd felt slightly invisible as well. I knew then that my feelings weren't unfounded. Go me! So, I talked to my campus minister (Matt) about the whole situation. He sympathized. I told him, truthfully, that I was now becoming apathetic about being invisible. I was scared that I was okay with being invisible. "If they don't want to see me, they won't." I told Matt. He said he'd pray for me.

Then, I had an amazing conversation with a friend on the servant team. He and I discussed this invisible feeling, and he kinda (without meaning to) slapped me around and set me back on my feet. Our discussion made me realize that there are other people out there who feel the same way. What am I doing sitting on my rear-end if there are people out there who are feeling invisible? Christ spent 33 years on this earth making sure people didn't feel invisible, all at His own expense.

And that's when I realized that I was incredibly selfish. I was getting tired of pursuing friendships with people because I wanted them to come after me, and sometime that's not a bad thing, but other times... well. I think I can and should put aside my own comfort and (sometimes) happiness to make other people feel 100% visible. I know how much it hurts, so I can throw myself into making sure they don't feel that way. I don't know how well I'll do, but we'll see.

As a result of all this complication, I'm suddenly starting to feel close to (if not) 100% visible.

hmm... interesting.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Stop speaking in riddles!

Honestly, I've decided today that if I die with some important message to give to whoever is there with me, I will give it and not speak in riddles. Really.

If you're wondering what brought this on, every movie that I watch where someone dies and has an important message to pass on, they speak in riddles and it takes the hero/ine the entire movie to understand! Really.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Feel Like a Monster

There is a monster in me trying to get out. It is the selfishness that daily invades my habits, my face, my heart, my life; it hurts the people around me, and some times, most of the time, I don't mind. "I feel like a monster!" Skillet screams to the skies in one of their latest hit songs. They're right. There is so much filth in my life and I realize I've just uncovered the first layer. I don't know what to do about it half the time, but then I realize that I have a Savior. He was so perfect that this filth, while plainly visible to both me and God, doesn't make a difference in my acceptance into the family of God.

I am so unworthy of everything that it should keep me in constant awe of the fact that I have a family, a life, breath, but for some reason, I take it all for granted. Again. I think about me. My life. My family. My non-existent relationship. My school. My worries. My fears. My insecurities. My absolute inability to keep myself from spiraling down-wards into depression. Why does God love me? Again with the "me" word. He certainly doesn't love me for me. There's too much nasty in me for me to love me. There's definitely a reason I haven't "found someone" yet.

God is infinite good. That word infinite is so strange. We use it occasionally in every day conversation, but we really fly past the meaning and still use it. This really shouldn't be done, but it's hard to help sometimes. Infinite is such an impossibly large word. It has no end. A God who is good and who is infinite can never be anything but good. His goodness will never come to an end. And because there is nothing that is innately evil, only good things that have been twisted and used for the wrong reason, as CS Lewis wrote in his book Mere Christianity, God can never be evil, or bad either, because He is also infinitely unchangeable.

After writing that last sentence I had to stop and think about that for a little while, because I was overwhelmed.

But anyway, how am I supposed to approach this infinitely good and unchangeable God? How would you approach a God who created you, and who is, besides infinitely unchangeable, and infinitely good, also infinitely just and holy, pure, and wrathful towards sin? God's holiness is so holy that it consumes anything that is not as wholly holy as itself. "Our God is a consuming fire," says Hebrews 12. In the Old Testament there were several instances where people were literally fried because they were in the wrong place, they said the wrong thing, or their unholiness had got in the way of God's holiness. It's simply because of His grace and mercy that people aren't being fried right and left right now.

Unholiness of my magnitude cannot stand in the presence of holiness of God's magnitude. No one can see God and live. They can hear God, as demonstrated with the Israelites at Mount Sinai, but for some reason, the Israelites demonstrated, not a fear of God, but an unwillingness to listen to Him, a complete stubbornness towards entering into communion with the God of the universe. Part of me doesn't understand that! Every little bit of me, most of the time, longs, yearns, to hear the voice of God, to see His face. So many times, I've wanted desperately to be in Moses' place, in the cleft of the rock as God covers me with His hand and then passes before me.

But then we have a problem. I am unholy. My filth would be consumed, and me along with it, if I were to see God. I think it would be worth it though, to be consumed. Yet, I would not be consumed: just my filth. Christ has placed Himself between me and God's holiness. He has given me His holiness, and I am seen as holy, and pure when God in all His holiness looks upon me. That doesn't mean I can sin and get away with it. That doesn't mean my filth won't be judged. It just means that Christ has taken all my sin and filth upon Himself. Christ the Rock of my salvation was cleft for me, and now, like Moses, I can hide myself in the cleft of the Rock while I gaze on the glory of God's back as he passes by me.

It is a strange and wonderful God who requires that all I do to be washed of my utter filth and to see His glory is to admit that I am filthy. I am wholly unclean, the lowest of the low, and yet God, in all His goodness, His love, His infiniteness, God decided for some unfathomable reason that He would allow me into His kingdom, and would allow me to see His glory. I, a mere mortal, am allowed into the presence of the King of Kings who is wholly immortal and holy. Thank God that He loves me not because of me, but because He is love, infinite love.

I would be completely and utterly lost, drowning in a sea of me, but God came and pulled me out by my hair. And for that I worship Him as much as my mortal and forgetful person can.

God, save me.