Monday, June 6, 2016

Messy Spirituality

 there is also a book published by this title. I am in no way endorsed by the author. I haven't ever read the book. I wasn't asked to say any of the following thoughts in this post. The title just seemed fitting for my blog.

I took this picture about one year ago. I didnt put much thought into it intially. Late in the day, I began to think about the sybomlism of both the necklace and the bracelet. I feel like it is representative of my life in a way. Holding to a belief system and also being a free spirit; independent and unique. Since the dawn of time religion was gotten a bad wrap. If you have forgotten, just glance back at some old early world civilization flashcards. Crusades. Church of England. Momons. Muslims. Jews. Jesus.

As humans we tick like a clock. We need boundaries to function. Because of this, there is something that tells us there is one right way to "do" religion. It is hard to remind myself of this, but I don't think there is a specific way to have a personal relationship with Jesus in the sense that there is no algorithm. He is not a puzzle to be put together, nor a mystery to be solved. He cannot simply be checked off a list to to-dos. Sometimes life is going great, there are lots of good vibes, and you couldn't be happier. Sometimes life is also a huge maze. No roadmap. No guidance. It's hopeless and you are lost. Either way, sometimes its hard to see where Jesus fits in. Sometimes there are no answers. Sometimes it's loving people where they are, and being loved where you are.

Sometimes it's just messy. And I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The inner workings of the mind

The diary of a lady who is sick and tired of being sick and tired.

 Brushing your teeth with a stuffy nose proves to be extremely difficult. One begins to wonder about the effectiveness of a cough drop: is my throat being coated or am I just numbing my tongue? After noticing the pile of toilet paper next to your chair,(a literal chair,that isn't code for the toilet. Is there any non-gross way to say blow your stuffy nose?) a thought about "the amount of trees cut down and how much has gone to waste" legitimately crosses your mind. (Since when did I become a "save Mother Earth" activist?) Last but not least, one contemplates and then executes a hypothesis; would the hot tea vapors escaping her teacup actually work as a nebulizer?

 As of late, I have become an expert, though ill qualified, in all matters that encompass self medicating (don't worry; all legal and over the counter); as well as an avid tea drinker. Three lives are dependent on me for survival, and thankfully I have yet to neglect those lives. Of course, I'm referencing my goldfish. I deem myself functionally exhausted.  Through these latest series of unfortunate events, I have drawn the conclusion that when you don't take time to rest/pause your body up and takes it upon itself to force you to slow down, by getting sick. So, here's to all the non-glamorous ways out body tells us to take five.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stateside: thoughts

Thoughts from my plane ride back to the states; yes I mention the book Blue Like Jazz but no, this is not a commentary on the book :)

Have you ever really payed attention to the earth below you when you fly? I haven't. 

Well not until today. 

Today I decided to make the most of my three hours without internet by intentionally bringing a book to read.  I just started "blue like jazz." I'm three pages in and I am captivated by the story. And I haven't even gotten that far. Words make me come to life. Reading words strung together so beautifully in a sentence make my heart skip a beat. I can appreciate the effort it takes to carefully choose words to convey thoughts. That's why I write. It's my outlet. Even if no one wanted to read my blog, I would still write. 

So here I am reading, soaking in the beauty of the sentence structure in "blue like jazz"; the simplicity of the words, the causal recounting of one man's experiences. 

I set the book down a moment to look out the window. I'm flying along the coast of Nicaragua; briefly, I look down below me and observe the beautiful ocean. What catches my eye are the waves, I see the white caps, breaking, closest to the shore. And then I look again, squinting my eyes. The waves, from this distance, aren't moving. The white caps of the waves actually look like splattered toothpaste on a mirror. 

And I started to think... This is what life is like. How often do I skip over the little blessings and details in my life that God is doing? When I looked at the waves, at first glance, I naturally assumed that I would see the waves crashing upon the shore. What I realized is that I had to pay attention and focus really hard to see any movement from the airplane. While I'm flying, looking over this amazing earth, above the clouds I'm convicted. I'm convicted because last night I listen to a message about how as Christians we sometimes want to accept Christ's sacrifice and then jump to going into all the world! I'm convicted because how easy is it to fly above all the worlds problems, to have a mindset of "I'm a Christian" but let me look past the needs of others? It's easy to say "Here God I'll look at the grand wonder of your beauty and majesty" but how can I not stop and focus on your daily influence in my life? 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Maybe One Day...

Maybe one day:
I'll learn to have a playful imagination again.
I'll conquer the world.
I'll stop trying to be such an adult.
I'll dream big, wild, crazy dreams.

Maybe, with each passing day,  I'll begin to regain perspective. That life is short. And beautiful and hard and sometimes ugly... All at the same time. Maybe one day with fearless abandon I will declare my dreams to the world like my friend Naydelyin from Tiribi. When I asked her what her dreams were she told me, "I want my grandma to come back and live with my family...because she's in prison." Maybe one day I'll have an innocent but blunt maner of speaking like most children have.  Maybe one day I'll have faith like Naydelyin... You see, the thing with kids is there is always hope. For some reason there is always a silver lining.

Maybe that's why Jesus tells us to learn from the little children.

Naydelyin, six years old, Tiribi 

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Great I Am

God said to Moses "I AM who I AM."

Today was a pretty amazing day. I don't know where to begin this post except by saying God blew my mind and encouraged my heart. At the same time. 

I woke up this morning and got ready to go jogging. It was a beautiful morning! I was listening to music on my ipod doing my thing when the song "The Great I Am" came on. Um. Wow. It was exactly what I needed to hear!!! Recently the devil has been trying to discourage me and bring me down. I've been feeling sad and wondering why God would call me to Costa Rica only to be beaten up. (Note: not literally beaten up, it's just that I've been throwing myself pity parties.) I was literally thinking these thoughts yesterday! The transformation from yesterday to today has been incredible. God used the lyrics in that song to completely renew my mind. These words particularly grabbed my attention, these words brought me to tears, and drew me into worship. Yes. While I was jogging. I was that crazy girl hahaha :)

The mountains shake before You the demons run in fear
At the mention of the name King of Majesty
There is no power in hell
Or any who can stand
Before the power and the presence of the great I AM

like whoa. 

God has power and dominion over EVERYTHING. All of my problems are his. He holds me. My trials, I do not walk through those alone. Satan wants me to think that I am in control of my life. When I  begin to think that way, I get discouraged easily. This song was clearly screaming "My God is for me.  He is for me." All I can say is that God works mightily in the lives of his kids, for that I am so thankful. :)

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

the least of these

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 
Matthew 25:40

Yesterday morning, Alix, Charles, and I went to an orphanage. Before we arrived, I assumed this would be a fairly normal experience. Wrong. I didn't realize that this was a special needs orphanage! I had an incredible time with those precious kids. The establishment we went to is run by Nuns. They run a tight ship, but it was so cool to see these amazing women dedicating their lives to serving these kids.

There has been a desire in my heart to work with special needs kids for some time now. I helped care for my sweet friend, Lindsay, for about six months, and she had a chromosome disorder that confined her to a wheelchair. Those six months were some of the best months of my life. I learned so much from her and I learned to appreciate a lot of things I had been looking over in life. Little things are important. :) It is practically impossible to put into words how it feels to bring joy into someone's life. It is a crazy awesome experience.

I couldn't help but think, "All life is precious." The entire time we were with those kids I could not stop smiling. Each and every one of them is full of life, happiness, and personality. And now here they are, abandoned, being cared for by strangers. Strangers with huge hearts. Another thought I walked away with was "All of us were planned." Perhaps my parents, or your parents, didn't "plan" to have you. But God did. He knew when you needed to be born. He has given me purpose. What an honor to show and share his love in such a simple way for these children! Feeding them breakfast, playing with them, loving them, showing them there is a world outside the sterile walls where they spend most of their time. Fresh air does wonders! :)

I know these beautiful children are near and dear to the heart of Jesus. I walked away from yesterday morning feeling overwhelmed with emotion. I am so thankful to be able to serve Jesus in this way. It may seem simple, but I know one thing, as I closed the gate door behind me, I know I was the one who was changed for the better.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

There is a time

 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
  a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
 a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
 a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

January 1st, as I was getting ready for the day, the words "for everything there is a season" popped into my mind. 

Often at the beginning of the year, resolutions are made, only to be broken later on in the year. (Those of you have successfully accomplished a new year resolution, congratulations, I am referring to the rest of us losers haha) We silly humans do this every year. I'm sure God gets a good belly laugh, "Here they go again." Now, granted, your resolutions may be legitimate, but for some reason we, the human race, like to try to work for our worth. A lot of times resolutions are for self improvement. (again, not a bad thing) I know I definitely do things to just to do them, so I feel satisfied, as if I accomplished something. However, I am finicky. The only thing I am consistent at is failing. My failings, though, help me realize my need for my savior. I am so thankful that I cannot fulfill my desires, that I cannot do anything on my own. 

Something as silly as resolutions made me realize that God is constant. I experience good times and bad times and I feel a million different emotions. However, in all of my seasons, God is always there. He holds my right hand and leads me in the way everlasting. He knows exactly what is going to happen to me before I do. What is interesting to me, is that all of these different seasons come to pass for my benefit. God tells us that everything works to our good, and ultimately for his glory! It is just a process of becoming more and more like him, sanctification. I think God uses all these various times in my life to break me down, to help me, in some form, begin to grasp my huge need for him. On no one else can I be dependent, only Christ. 

Two songs have been on repeat in my head lately, Not for a Moment by Meredith Andrews and Never Once by Matt Redman. Both of these songs are completely clear in telling about the character of our God. He knows everything that has passed, is happening, and will come to pass. And in every moment he is there, with me. 

After all You are constant 
After all You are only good 
After all You are sovereign 
Not for a moment will You forsake me 
Not for a moment will You forsake me

Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

I can't say if I have made any resolutions this year, in years past I have. But I do know a few things: I want to realize anew the glory of my savior every day. I want to savor every situation that I encounter, knowing that God has placed it in my life for some lesson.