a glimpse of god

I didn’t expect to find tears running down my face.  I didn’t expect to find such a clear glimpse of who God is and His love for me.  To see how faithful God is to walk with us and never leave.  That’s the thing about encouraging other people.  Oftentimes, you’re the one so blessed and can’t help but smile through the tears.

Within a free pack of cards from (in)courage for National Day of Encouragement, I pulled this one out to find my fingers covered in gold sparkles.  A card that I would not pick myself.  Oh, but, the words softened my heart toward it:

“Thank you for sharing God’s love, not only with your words but also with your life.  In today’s world, that’s not always easy to do–but you do it with kindness and consistency.  That’s what makes you different, and it’s the reason you make a difference.  Thanks for being who you are and doing what you do–you’re appreciated more than you know.”

Right away, I knew who God wanted to receive this card.  Words came easily across the paper as if we were sitting chatting together instead of miles apart.  Until I got caught on the word consistency…so I wrote:

“And you keep walking this road with me from afar even when you could have easily stopped when an ocean got in the way.”

Somewhere along the way I picked up this notion that even if people say they will walk with me through a storm…that they’ll end up leaving me alone.  Close to a year ago, I entered a big storm and made some life changing decisions.  One of my questions as I entered this storm was if a few people would walk with me…and here today, I find them still walking with me. The storm has changed, but the one who I’m giving this card to…well, she’s still here…walking through the rain with me and teaching me to jump in the puddles with a smile on my face even while the tears flow. All the while….encouraging. waiting. trusting. praying. with me.

Playing in the Puddles

Are you ready for a triple shot of real? If not, then skip ahead to the weekend and come back after I’m done playing in the puddles…

Sometimes life feels like one big puddle where you start splashing around only to realize that the water’s gone up and over your boots.  That feeling? Not so pleasant.  For me, rejection sometimes feels like that.  I’m running along, playing, laughing, enjoying, only to be suddenly struck with some cold, wet reality.

In my first year of college, I found my boots flooded with dirty water.  I skated through first semester: made friends, studied extra hard, even met a boy. Come January, I found myself participating in rush. Why? Good question. I’m not a sorority girl and I knew that. But that was the thing to do on a campus with probably 90% of the students in a sorority or fraternity. So, I followed suit. Problem number one…

The thing that they never tell you is that some girls…don’t make the cut. I was one of those. After parading around campus going to the different houses for little get to know you parties, each house makes a list of those they ask back. These girls I didn’t know. These girls I met for one night. Slashed my name off the list of “wanted.” And, yeah, those cold waters pierced my skin in a not so pleasant way.

Except, the amazing part? God turns things around. I can still feel the sunshine, the crunch of grass beneath a blanket covered in books and my pink Bible laid open.  See, I used all this extra time to soak up and wrestle with God instead of running around with a sorority. He brought me  further along in the journey of learning how to turn toward Him instead of clutching some of my idols (success, money, my plans). He started me on a continual journey of learning to look to Him for who I am rather than what others say because then I can play in the puddles and if the water comes rushing, I will not be shaken.  Because see, He wants me, I’m on His list, and in the end…I am His delight.

Ready to put on your rain boots and go play in some puddles with me?

Because I know that I don’t want to miss out on some fun because of the fear of getting wet…do you?

*prompted to serve up a shot of faith by the Faith Barista 🙂

Hear No Evil

You know when you’re zipping along in a book and you come to a funny part?  Do you laugh out loud or do you laugh on the inside? Mostly, I do the latter especially if I’m in public.  Hear No Evil, on the other hand, had me laughing, giggling, and smiling at the GYM! Yikes!  And, apparently, I’ve been in the “church” long enough to catch onto some of the lingo, jokes, and well messiness. Here are a few snippets of the book:

“Good music changes me, shocks me, makes me feel uncomfortable, and drives me to think and hope and believe differently.”

“I was learning that I didn’t know a lot of things. And I think a part of faith is learning how to become okay with that.”

“I can understand why some people don’t use their imaginations. Why is that? Because it gets you in trouble sometimes…People who play it safe rarely accomplish much.”

If you love music, can appreciate some church truth/humor, and want a speedy read with some nuggets to chew on then check out Hear No Evil. If you’re in the area…feel free to ask to borrow my copy though it has been to the gym with me…. 🙂

*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. You can buy one here 🙂 Oh! and don’t forget to check out his blog here.

Pressing On

Nanowrimo weekly update: I am officially at 6,365 words!!! Still quite a ways to go, but I’m pretty happy with the progress. Not to mention that I’m absolutely loving writing about “God-threads” and fictionizing (yes, I made that word up, but I like it) events from a different perspective.  Here’s to 43,635 words to go!

p.s. I had a fabulous weekend full of worshiping on a mountain, eating pizza with some awesome people, playing spades, going on a walk, laughing, playing with kids at the park, and obviously some writing.  How was your weekend?

Full

My heart is full.  Saturday proved to be a perfect, full day.  I woke up thinking and tweeting: “sunny saturday and no plans as of yet. not sure how I feel about that…”

I started out by staying in bed for a bit and then going outside to embrace the sunshine.  I read and got a tan while laying on a combo of a sleeping bag, blanket, towel and three pillows with music playing in the background next to six different books (Wide Awake, Out of the Salt Shaker, Her Name is Woman, Christ In You, The Bible, Inner Healing).  I even had a blank canvas, paints, a journal, pens, and of course sunglasses.  I like to be prepared/going inside and up the stairs to get something is not an ideal interruption.

Somewhere along the way I decided to pile all my stuff on my stairs in case I decided to return to my spot on the porch after I made delicious sweet tea.  Sweet tea makes my heart happy and feel like summer.  Though, I never did make it back to lay on the porch.  Instead, I helped (Josh–a volunteer here for 10 days) make a sweet video in iMovie.  I am so using that to make some fun stuff.

Then I intended to go on a walk (with Jace), which was delayed due to hanging out and chatting.  Eventually, we (Jace, Allen, and I) made our way to the pond where we saw some poor, sad, dead frogs while discussing how dirty the pool looked and how we needed to get gloves before trying to shimmy down the zip line.  After the walk, we (Jace, Allen, Jen, and I) jumped into a game of Settlers, which made my heart happy since we hadn’t played it yet.  Then dinner, hanging out (most/all of the interns plus the volunteers), playing guitar on an adorable little guitar, talking about life, laughing, time for prayer (for Tara’s family–pray for them too!), and then we ended the day with watching Wolverine.  I even stayed awake and got in some discussion about how some characters have some bitter roots!

Thus, the day ended with the thought and tweet: “what an awesome full saturday that is ending with a full heart 🙂 praise God!”  I am so thankful for the people God has put around me during this time to walk with me and build me up during this time of re-learning, un-learning, and learning while embracing who I am in Him!

I like big books I cannot lie.

Mark Driscoll is hilarious.  I could not stop laughing on my drive home when I was listening to his podcasts.  Who would think that the subject of spiritual gifts could be so funny?!  I sure wasn’t expecting to be driving alone at night laughing my head off.  From previous podcasts, I know he uses a lot of humor, but I was still surprised at how funny he made the topic while keeping it relevant and important.  I’m sure part of why I found the comments so funny is because I see myself and others as embodying the characteristics.

For example, he talked about the gift of knowledge and some characteristics of those who have this gift.  Granted, he did touch earlier in the podcast about the difference between spiritual gifts and natural talents and abilities, but I’ll refrain from going into further depth on that subject (listen to the podcast!).  First off, he indicated that this is one of his primary gifts, which also helped the humor.

Definition: “the ability to research, remember and make effective use of a variety of information on a number of diverse subjects”

Evidence:

  1. You are an information freak.
  2. You can’t wait for the amazon.com guy to show up
  3. If you get a book written by a dead guy, you dance a jig
  4. If you get a book out of print, you immediately run around to anyone in the vicinity showing them the “out of print” book so they too can stand in awe
  5. “I don’t even believe in the rapture, but if it does happen I’m going to grab my books and take them with me”
  6. You love footnotes and appendixes
  7. You like big books and cannot lie.
  8. What do you do on your day off? Study.
  9. You love to learn and are not content with surface level knowledge on a topic
  10. After reading a book, you think: “I know there are other perspectives….I need to get more books to look at all the perspectives.  I’m going to look at all of them just because I can.”
  11. You get frustrated when you hear bad teaching from someone who hasn’t done their homework— example: that’s not what the greek text says
  12. You are compelled to do long hours of research so that others can benefit
  13. You love when people ask questions and are excited to share your insight
  14. You don’t like to be more than arms length away from a book. i.e. You keep books in your car, room, bag, backpack, satchel…basically everywhere
  15. Reading and knowledge simply make you happy.

Also, Mark Driscoll described his library. Man, I was drooling… I can’t wait to have a house and a library!!  He explained how he has a 13 foot desk like the Starship Enterprise and is surrounded by books.  The books of course are cataloged in the same way as the Library of Congress and he can search from his computer by date, subject, time, author, ect. Finally, the reminder came that the whole point of study is Jesus.  Driscoll called himself a “google for Christ.”  Zach Hubert used this gift to create (in his spare time!) a whole website to “help make the Greek New Testament more accessible to the beginning Greek student, the Greek scholar, or to anyone who desires to experience the Bible in its original form.”

In terms of text, Driscoll used 1 Corinthians 12:8 and also suggested doing a character study on Solomon, Timothy and Ezra if you are interested in the gift of knowledge.

*Podcast on iTunes: Spiritual Gifts, Part 1

*Zach Hubert’s website= The Resurgence Greek Project

Oh my goodness…

For some reason, I have had the funniest moments driving in the past few weeks.  I blogged about the changing in the car incident…  At least I think these moments bring a little bit of joy to the other drivers especially when they see me laughing at myself.  Anyway, on to the story.  This morning I had the glorious pleasure of sleeping in because I had to stay late at work for a staff meeting yesterday.  I didn’t have to be at work until 9:30am!!  I left my house at 9, got gas and still got to work by 9:30.   Impressive if I do say so myself 🙂  I took the 280 to 94 way because traffic of course was wonderfully light.  When I get on 94, I have to move over 4 lanes to exit on the right.  So, I start moving over –mind you, I’m ridiculously careful about changing lanes– and I see this other car moving over from the opposite side.  I proceed to freak out thinking that he’s trying to pull a two lane switch and go into my lane as well.  He notices and I notice and then we’re both laughing really hard because he totally was thinking I was going to do the same thing to him!  We proceed to laugh for the next few exits and play the awkward “is he/she looking at me” game.  Needless to say, I like to think this little encounter started his day off a bit better than if he hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing me get really scared.

p.s. I was listening/singing to “Hiding Behind a Smile” by Matt Wertz at the time 🙂

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