Showing posts with label Honduras. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Honduras. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Remember God's Faithfulness... In the Moments

Hello lovely readers,

Last week I posted "Remember God's Faithfulness...The Blessings in My Life" and I talked about the people who have blessed my life. This week I wanted to talk about the moments in my life that I look back and remember God was with me. But for those moment to make sense I wanted to give you a little insight into my life... I know in the past I have provided insights but I wanted to write them down again.

I have not always been a Christian or Christ Follower (as I like to say). Actually I became a christian after I lied to my dad three times about using his computer and was punished by being sent to my room only allowed to read my Bible or twiddle my thumbs.  I do not know why but I read 2 Peter and chapter 3 really got to me "The Lord is not slow in keeping in his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" -2 Peter 3:9 and next "So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this (Christ's return), make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him"- 2 Peter 3:14. Having just lied to my dad, I felt guilty and I knew that if Jesus came back at that moment he would not find me spotless or blameless and at that moment I prayed for God to come into my life and save me. I was twelve at that time and it would take years for me to even begin living out the faith I proclaimed that day.

Senior Portrait
In my junior year of high school I suffered from minor depression and once thought about killing myself. Those words hurt to write... but as I imagined it, I didn't actually want to die, I just wanted for someone to know how much pain I was in. My thought was to take some sleeping pills (I took occasionally) but then when my mom came to wake me (as she did) she would realize what I had done and be able to get me to the hospital, they would pump my stomach, and they would save me. I didn't do this but just the thought I wanted to do it made me so broken inside... and I blamed myself a lot for these feelings. Anyway, during my senior year I went to therapy and got through some issues... but it still wasn't enough. I was about to move to Boston and I worried what if I move to Boston and slipped back into depression and wanted to kill myself. At home I had the support system of my parents but in Boston I knew no one and it scared me, but I also knew there had to be something bigger out there that could hold me up when I was low.

Because my parents were divorced and living in different states, I spent my summers in Oklahoma and for one week we went to church camp. I love my family so I say this with love but I looked at my dad and sisters and thought "yeah it's easy for them to have faith because they are strong" and I felt so weak and I felt so broken that there was no way that my brokenness could come to God. Well the week God put some amazing people in my life that were honest to me and told me of their brokenness and how God rescued them and saved them. Something I knew I needed because I didn't slip back into depression. So it was then I say I truly gave my life to Christ.

Now I believe if I died in high school I would have gone to heaven but if Christ asked me what I had done for Him? I would have had to say "nothing" because honestly there was nothing in my life that marked me as a Christ follower but that prayer I had said years ago.

My dear friend and I
Anyway after I got back from camp, I asked my dad to help me find a church in Boston and through his guidance and my mom reminding me of Park Street Church, I decided to go there and on my first Sunday there I felt I had come home. Also that first Sunday I met a really good friend of mine... and she allowed me to break down my walls and throw away the masks I had been wearing for so long. Over my Freshman year I felt so much my desperation for God but I felt more than anything His presence in my life.

In my Sophomore year through another girl we met at bible study we learned about Reunion Christian Church, and I remember my friend "C" telling me I had to go and when I asked her if I had a choice she said "no." That was our friendship worked and I am so thankful for that because through Reunion I have found a second family. Also through Reunion I decided to get baptized.

I remember, Reunion, went through this series called "Christian No More" where we talked about what it meant to be truly being a "Christ Follower" and one time my pastor (bald guy in the picture above) told us to "STOP" being a Christian. I didn't know what he meant by that and it was a big struggle for me because I felt he was telling me to stop being who I was. Well that's not what he was saying he was saying to stop calling yourself a "Christian" stop putting rules in the way of faith, and stop putting on a facade if you are not truly loving Jesus. Here is a parody video we watched during the series:

Now I am not saying that being a Christian is bad, because I still declare myself a Christian but I think it is more important to be true to Christ in your heart than just on the outside.

Even through all this, I have had low moments with God. Moments I didn't feel God was with me, moments I thought God had abandoned me or moments I would cry at night believing I was no longer a child of God. It is not because God had abandoned me because He promises over and over again in His word that He will "not forsake you" one of my favorite versed about that is Deuteronomy 31:6- "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them (enemies of Israel), for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you."  

One of my darkest moments came after I broke up with a boyfriend, I thought I was going to marry. I realized that I had put my hope in him and in our relationship that I lost my hope in God. I couldn't even tell you what it meant when people said "put your hope in God" so I went back and studied all the mentions of the word "Hope" listed in my Bible concordance and it is still not something I completely understand. But I keep digging, I keep looking for times God provides hope. My favorite verse recently has been Hebrew 10:23- "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." And to me that me that no matter what come our way God is with us. God is with me and He is with you... even if you don't think He is.  

Okay, this post has gotten longer than I originally thought... and after writing out all my thoughts I don't know if I have displayed the moments God has been with me.. and I am okay with that because God is with me at all times. He is with me when I am having good days and I can totally feel His presence and He is with me when I am cannot.  He is with me when I am active and sharing my faith and He is with me when I am quiet and just going about my life. He is with me when I am crying and He is with me when I am crying. That is the amazing thing about Him, He will never leave me because He created me (and you) and He will be with us forever. In this moment God has blessed my life in showing me that. I hope you can find the blessing in knowing He is with you as well and that no matter how broken or shattered your life is, He can heal and mend your life... in fact He is the only One who can.

I am going to step off my preachy soap box now and just say if you are reading this God is with you and loves you.

I did not want to leave this blog post with out sharing this video from my trip to Honduras with Living Water... for me that sticks out as the pinnacle of knowing God was with me because I felt there were so many hoops that if God wanted me on that trip I was going to have to go through and He blessed me through all of them. I am not saying you have to go a trip to know God's presence, you can know it in your living room, on your commute to work, or just making dinner. For me however re-watching that video and actually writing this blog post I think God has shown me that he is with me always. Are there ways or moments you recognize Him? What are those moments you saw as struggle but looking back now are moments of hope? 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Maybe its a Bit Morbid

Post: I Press on Towards the Goal

Hello lovely readers,

I am not usually a person who thinks a lot about death, but lately I have...

In Honduras
After my grandad passed away a couple of years ago, quite by surprise, we had to plan his funeral and besides where he wanted to be buried, it felt like none of us really knew what he wanted. I then began to think if anything did happen to me I would want people to know what passages and songs I liked. So I wrote them down and put them in the back of my Bible (just in case). Then when I went to Honduras I had a weird feeling of peace that I may not come back, so before I left I decided to write a quick note of how I wanted some of my things divided (not that I have much)... but silly things like I want my niece to have my Mary Cassatt prints that I have had since I was a little girl, I wanted my friend to look after my cat (if she was able to) and I wanted my mom to have my Bible. (By the way this note is still in the back of my Bible if anything should happen to me).

So these are as morbid as my thought went, until recently. I blame the last two books I have read... both of them have dealt with death in someway. In The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) Valancy Stirling has lived a life with very strict regulations and always trying to please her family, until she is 29 years old and she goes to the doctor and he tells her she only has at max one more year to live. She decides she is no longer going to live in the confines of her strict family and decides to actually live... it is over all a very sweet story.

But it has got me thinking... what if I only had a year to live?

I would of course like to spend as much time with my family as possible. I think immediately I would like to spend any time I felt well I would want to be with my niece and nephews and soak up enough time with them. I don't think I would want them to see me when I was truly sick... as I would hate for that to be the last image they had of me.
Me at Windsor Castle
I think I would also like to spend time finishing my work in progress (at least in first draft). I have wanted to be a writer all my life but I have many works that I have not completed and I would like to have at least one work done. And then maybe hand it over to some one to see it through to be published.

I have also made a second family up here in Boston, so I would like to be here as well. I have some other thoughts of maybe traveling to England one more time as it is my favorite place outside the U.S. but if I didn't get to it I wouldn't mind. Being around the people I love the most would be most important.

Not to leave you on a completely morbid thought... and having you think I am a morbid person.Valancy's story is not just about what she did with her time it is about how she faced the idea that she was dying. Instead of just sticking too routine she decided to go out and actually live her life. The book is called The Blue Castle because whenever Valancy is sad she dreams up this blue castle to escape to. In the story she decides to chase after her "blue castle" the place she is most comforted. In doing this she speaks up for herself and even finds love.

I understood a lot where Valancy come from...She feels trapped in a life that is not her own. I don't feel trapped bu sometimes I wonder if I hide myself too much. No one likes being vulnerable, but I sometimes fear letting my guard down so much that I feel paralyzed at least mentally. As I was typing up this post, I found this quote on Pinterest:

And it really struck a chord with me. It tied to this post, in my mind, and I thought instead of using time on what I would do if I only had one more year to live, what I should do with my life now?

I will keep you posted. 

Sorry to start the week on such a morbid note. I just wanted to share some thinking.

Have a good day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From My Thesis Cave... Part 2

I am not sure how many parts of "from my thesis cave" there will be... I like to keep you guys (who ever is reading this) up to date on my life but right now my life feels like my thesis.

Right now I am feeling a little overwhelmed, I felt I was doing on my progress about thesis almost to the point of being cocky (sorry if I came off that way). Well I had a thesis advising meeting and she kind of told me I had done my historiography all wrong... BIG GULP! Well so let me get back to the drafting board. It is a set back but I am not going to let it get to me. I have changed into my yoga pants and flannel shirt (a frequent writing outfit), sipping on some tea, and taking a breath as I begin again. 

Any way, in this overwhelmed moment I thought it would be good to list things I am looking forward to once this thesis is over... 

1.Just being done will be so great- This thesis has kind of been a dark cloud hanging over me and once it is done I think I will just feel more free.
When this is true... it will feel so good
2. Watching mindless television. Is it sad that I am looking forward to this? I mean I do treat myself to episodes of Chuck and I watch some TV with my roommate but sometimes I feel guilty for not working on my thesis even when I am brain dead. 

3. Reading fun books. Another thing I do treat myself to... but mostly to keep my sanity in this time. But  I am looking forward to reading more book and at my own pace and not having to put down fun books because I have work to do.

4. Writing my story... As much as I would love work more on my story "The Grand Days" (working title) I feel I really have no energy for it. 

5. On a more serious note...I look forward to finding my passion. While I have been in school, especially more as I have been facing the end of school, I have felt a stirring that I am not living out on my faith. Looking back on the past few years the last time I felt truly passionate about something was when I was preparing to go to Honduras and doing Living Water work. I keep praying God to guide my steps and help me follow my faith (though I am not sure what that looks like). I would like the freedom to explore this idea more...Probably not full time ministries, but being open to trips and opportunities.  

In Honduras at the well sight

From outside thesis cave: When I was meeting with my advisor she said for my historiography (as analogy) "I need to stop eating the cookies and think about how they were made." I started laughing because it reminded me of the FRIENDS episode where Monica is trying to discover Phoebe's Grandmother's secret recipe of chocolate chip cookies. That is what a Historiography is... it breaks down past research, the way research was done, and how research on my topic has changed or progressed. 
That's all for now... back to thesis cave.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Passions and Impact (pt.2)


I have been thinking and writing about my passion. I think as I face hopefully my last semester it has somewhat been haunting me. I have basically been in school for the last 23 years minus the year I took off in between undergrad and graduate school. When I went from undergraduate to graduate school I was on a plan that I thought about my sophomore year of college. I knew then me majoring in history was not going to get me a career so still following my dream of being Abigail Chase (the girl from National Adulthood Angst) I looked into Library Science school and that was the plan.
Since then things really haven't changed... but my thoughts have changed on life. One that year I had planned to take off became a year and half and during that year and a half I probably faced the hardest heart ache I have had to face. And while I struggled on this side of it I have felt a lot of growth in my life and my faith.
Library of Congress

Well when I started Library School I had my heart set on working in the Library of Congress, I had visited after my senior year of school, and it was just an incredible place of books... and the geek in me could not help but falling in love with it. But over time I discovered that the Library of Congress in all its big and grandness I probably wouldn't be able to interact with people as much as I would like to. Yes some librarian actually want to talk to people. I have had my mind set on being a reference archivist because I figured it would be a nice blend of handling old documents, interacting with people, and helping with research (which I actually like to do). 

Maybe I am just feeling burnt out by school, but while my mind has been set on being a reference archivist, my heart has been longing for something else. Well generically I am passionate about my friends, family and my faith. But yep its pretty generic.  Since I have been thinking, praying and posting about my want of passion, I have been thinking:  When was the last time I was truly passionate about something?  During my prayer time my answer came to me: Honduras, Living Water, those children.
I know I have probably over used this picture but I love it

I have always had a heart for children from my nieces and nephews (biological and the friend's kids I have "adopted") and for a long time it has been on my heart to adopt. I don't want any kid to go through life feeling un-special or unloved. And if I can provide that love and that feeling of special-ness... then what do I care if they look like me or not. That is a long term dream and passion of mine... but what about the present?

We are still going through the book of James in my church. If you know anything about the book of James he is really about doing your faith and not just saying you have faith. My pastor said something that struck me that "we create the kingdom of God here on earth." I had never thought of it that way. I mean I knew "our goal" as Christians was to bring heaven to Earth (typing that out...sounds like weird wording) maybe better to say to represent the Kingdom of God here on Earth. But I never thought about creating that... as a wanna-be-writer I think about creating a lot. So I liked the analogy of creating the kingdom of God here on Earth.

I think that is what I need to do more in my life... doing my faith not just reading my Bible, praying and talking about my faith. Not that those are bad but I don't think they are enough. I am not for sure what that looks like right now so I am just praying about it. But I know being open to God and what He wants will lead me down the right path. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

my sister holding me when I was 1 hour old
So I love my birthday, not because of the gifts, but because it means my friends (from all the different parts of my life) get together and it is lots of fun. I have had some friends that have been in my life for a long time so we have lots of birthday memories together (LOVE!). This year has been no different very memorable...

niece, sister, nephew and I 
First lets go back to last Friday when I flew to my mom's house in the desert of California. We have had a very long winter here in Boston so it was nice to pull out my summer clothes and feel the very warm sun on my skin. Though it was mother's day my mom treated me to mother daughter pedicures and the woman giving me a pedicure asked "you're so pale where are you from?" "Boston," I said though being of Irish and English descent I will never be dark. My mom basically spoiled me for the week treating me to good dinners out and one of my favorite meals (Stuffed green peppers). She bought me some new cute shoes and a relaxing week (a massage, a few strawberry margaritas, and other treats). While the treats were good it was  great to spend the week with my sister, niece and nephew. Also my Grandma made me dinner at her house and bought me my favorite cake (German Chocolate). So thanks mom and step-dad for the awesome treat of that week...
Awesome auntie time
with step-dad
Then when I got back to Boston I had a great dinner with some of my good girl friends where I got a some
bookish things and a Starbucks gift card. Then today I received a one year subscription to Netflix. Books, coffee and movies... my friends know me so well. Okay, I know I started out this post saying I don't care about the gifts and I really don't...a co-worker asked me "what I wanted?" and I couldn't think of anything. I feel so blessed that I can't think of anything I want. It is not about the gifts it is about having friends and family that I know that will love and support me.

However, I don't want anything materialistically my friend asked me at dinner "What is one thing I want to do this year?" And my answer is to finish my thesis and FINALLY graduate grad-school. I can't imagine my life not being a student but I sure would like to.

Here are some memorable birthdays since moving to Boston...

From top left down:

  • 21st birthday dinner with friends and Dad, then getting baptized the next day... great to have dad for both occasions
  • Going to my first Red Sox game and it being Lester's no hitter
  • Graduating college a few days before my 23rd birthday.
  • It wasn't really for my birthday but my bible study went to Rochester, NY for the Lilac festival and it was around my birthday time so I remember it as my 24th birthday
  • Doing Karaoke for my 25th birthday
  • Birthday party to help me raise support to go to Honduras
  • Last year going to Newport with my mom and seeing the beautiful mansions. 
my first birthday

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful for the meaning

My nieces first ChristmasDear readers,
I like Thanksgiving, I have some traditions of Thanksgiving that stick with me like watching the Macy's parade and the National Dog Show. Since moving to Boston I have not always had the typical family Thanksgiving, I have made my own traditions of finding friends and spending the day with them. I am not a cook but I love making recipes that I remember from my childhood like pecan pie and sweet potatoes. I love watching my first Christmas movie over hot coco, most of my life we as a family always watched White Christmas, but now as an adult I like to start my season off with A Muppet's Christmas Carol. Sadly however Thanksgiving is often overlooked at least for me personally because it is the start of finals stress season.

Last Christmas...holding nephew
a great gift.
So as much as I like Thanksgiving I love Christmas, so it makes my heart hurt when people say they don't like Christmas. So I will admit I don't like how consumerism Christmas is. I love Christmas because it is a time for me to go home be with family. I will admit even though I hate consumerism, I like picking out gifts for people, this does not always mean buying. My two favorite gifts I have ever given have been to my dad one year it was a photo of us when I was younger and I am just resting my head on his shoulder, another year it was a poem I wrote that made him cry. Now that my niece and nephew are getting bigger I like seeing them on Christmas and seeing the joy they have. So yes I enjoy buying gifts but I set simple rules 1) I don't just buy random gift (usually this means I don't buy everyone I know a gift)... if I buy gifts it means something to me for that person, even if it is a gift card. I gave my friends a gift card to a restaurant so they could have a date night ( and as they had a baby I knew they needed a date night... of course I also offered myself as a babysitter). 2) I don't spend money I don't have... as I am one of the few people in America that don't have a credit card this is easier to do, but I set a budget for myself to keep my spending to a minimum. Yes, Christmas can be tense but it doesn't have to be. Remember a Charlie Brown's Christmas and what Christmas is all about...

I don't mean to stand up on a soapbox... every year my church goes through a series on Advent Conspiracy and it a series that really challenges us to get back to the roots of Christmas (video below explain). The first year we got involved in it... I felt guilty because I like getting gifts, but I mostly like giving gifts, and this felt like more pressure to spend less. I didn't really understand and I couldn't imagine telling my family I wasn't going to buy them gifts especially since I had already sent off my Christmas list.
Over time, I started to understand the idea of Advent Conspiracy. For one I stopped wanting things really. I might want things but instead of asking for things that might seem kind of pointless, I ask for things that I have put a lot of thought into. And as I get older I feel my gifts get more practical, like asking for luggage or shoes. Since I don't buy random gifts I don't like asking for random gifts. Also since I don't buy every body I know I don't expect gifts from everyone. So if you are reading this and think you need to buy me a gift... don't. And if you read that sentence and still think you need to get me a gift... I ask you to give to LIVING WATER.

I don't think I truly understood Advent Conspiracy until my pastor said something to the effect "make Christmas mean something more to others." I have never tried to sugar coat my life on this blog, but I know I am blessed in my life and I thankful that I don't fall into the group of people that just want Christmas behind them (according to a statistic given in my church it was more than 50%). I understand stress can come with Christmas, the travelling, seeing people who you may not want, buying people gifts you don't want and sometimes there is a deep pain if you are alone. I know those feelings even in a small amount, but I want to ask what if we made Christmas about more than ourselves? Christmas is consider the time of giving... what if we could give to others who couldn't give to themselves. I have found my passion for Living Water, but I know there are other organizations out there that are helping others meet basic needs around the world and in our own country... I think if we pushed ourselves to spend less on meaningless things and actually gave to others our Christmas might mean more.
I owe this picture to opening my eyes to the true plight of the thirsty, it was this picture and the fact "A child dies every 15 second because of clean water," and I thought "not on my watch." It was after this I decided to go to Honduras, on a Living Water trip.

Sorry this post was not meant to be a soap box, I just meant to encourage you that if you are feeling down at Christmas, this wonderful time of giving, that we give more than just gifts and presents but we give love... because love can change the world.  

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Figuring some things out...


I am sorry I have not posted more, I do not know how professional or even non-professional bloggers post every day or even once every week. I did it during the summer but now my brain is frozen. So I posted a life update  in September (actually my only post from September), but looking back on it the post seemed a little light and fluffy and I have been adamant that my blogs are not just going to be light and fluffy. So here is what has been going on behind the scenes...

In August I wrote a "Dear Anne" letter but I never published it because it seemed a bit "boo-me", however I feel I am still working on some of these emotions... 

Dear Anne,

I know it has been awhile since I have written, I was beginning to feel confident in myself and writing about my deeper thoughts without having to write to a fictional person. However, right now I feel I can only express myself if I write to you.

Best Buds
Dearest Anne, I am feeling a little lost, a little lonely, and a little empty. I would like to say my mind is just being overloaded with my move and packing up my place and that could be it... but I think it goes deeper than that. I think it started when I got back from my family reunion, as great as it was, I will say I felt very lonely during it. My younger sister and cousin, I kind of felt we grew up together and whenever our family got together it was the 3 of us together... one year we went to Branson, Missouri and we made the shirts that said "Best Buds". This year I went and my younger sister had her husband and my cousin had her finance... and I didn't have anyone and I think it hit me truly that I am very single and I felt a little left out. I don't want to be all "boo me"... so sorry. (L and C if you read this please know I am completely happy for you and nothing I said about being lonely takes away that feeling of happiness I have for you.)
We so silly

Lately I have been coming to terms with my insecurities and how low I feel about myself. My co-worker and I grabbed dinner one night after work and she called me out. She said "Blaire, your faith is about loving people, but I don't think you love yourself as much as you love others." I couldn't even respond because if I did I would have to say "yes" and then cry. Then in my bible study we are going through some questions we have with our faith and I was inquiring about "humility" vs. "insecurities". I was reminded that 1)God created me in His image 2) God makes His home in us and 3) calls our bodies a temple... I have a warped since of image if I cannot see that and I need to trust my image and hand over my insecurities more and more to God. So I have been reading passages about being made in "God's image" so far my favorite has been from Colossians 3:1-17.

I have also been looking into passages about purpose. After last semester I have felt a little passion-less for Library Science, for school, and really life. I am putting a lot of hope in this semester with taking a children's librarian class and my internship... I am really wanting these classes will spark my passion for libraries. Earlier this summer I was really feeling like dropping out of school, and what was holding me back was the knowledge I only had a year left. Right now my plan is to finish school... hopefully May 2014. Then when I am working full time look into creative writing classes. Even if it doesn't become a profession when I am writing, writing feels like it is the only thing I should be doing. That fulfills one plan and sounds great on paper, but it is not all of me.

Lately (even pre-move) I have had these feelings of being un-settled. I know I am "stuck" in Boston at least until I finish school, but after that I don't know what is going to happen. To be honest I have thought about packing up and moving. I have thought about moving to Texas to be closer to sister and her family, I have thought about moving to D.C. to pursue my dream of working for the Library of Congress, and I have thought about going into overseas missions. I am not sure if I really want to be doing overseas missions, but when I was in Honduras I just fell in love with being in a completely new culture and being filled by giving to others. The other week I was talking to my dad and he joked I could end up in Uganda, he then said "I don't know what library you would work for in Uganda" and I quickly responded "Oh if I went to Uganda, I wouldn't be doing library work, I would be doing Living Water." "So nothing related?" he asked. "Nope, nothing related." There is still so much I want to do with my life. Of course I think about staying here in Boston, sometimes the thought of leaving Boston hurts too much. I have made friends, a second family, I know and love Boston.
old pic...this is my best friend's baby
and my heart melts every time she calls me
"Aunt Bear"
Since the first time I came here I have felt like Boston is my home (where I fit), but lately it hasn't felt true. So I am praying right now for God to direct me, but that is all in the future... 

I am wondering what God wants in my life right now. I know God has a reason for me to here in Boston and in school, even I don't know that that is. I am asking God to show me.

I know one thing I need to work on is being more social. I don't think I need to make more friends, though I have loved the new friendships I have made over this summer, but I think I need to go deeper. I have a hard time being vulnerable with people, and admitting I need help. Lately I have felt very overwhelmed with life and kind of want to run away and hide but that is not a reality and I don't think that is what God truly wants from me. So I have had to ask people for help and it has been really hard, but I am hoping through God is teaching me about his control and to rest in his strength.

Sorry this is so long I guess after not writing for so long, I guess I had some words to say.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Some wanderings....

Dear Anne,

My mom read my last few letters and she said it sounded like I was "lost", I responded quickly that I am not lost, I am just trying to seek out the best God has to offer and I have a lot of thoughts and questions. 

I still don't think I am lost just hazy on where to go and what to do with my life. I am guessing that is pretty typical, after all I am soon to graduate grad-school, and is making me think of what to do and where to go. 

I have been going through this 30 day challenge, recommended to me by a friend, it has no strict guidelines just 5 out of the 7 days to be in the Word and praying. I made up a schedule of switching between the Old Testament (which I need to read more of), the New Testament and a devotional I have.  But the main point of it is just to listen to God. She read my post Spiritual Jealousy and knew my desire to grow in God. So after I got back from my time in Newport I set out on this challenge. 

As of Friday (6/14) I am on day 15. I thought by now I would have some big revelation of what God desired. The only thing I feel sure of is that I think too much of myself and that I knew going into this. I have written about how I want to make an impact on the world but how can I do that when all I think about myself  and find more comfort living in the world of my novels than I do in the real world. I feel more comfortable writing this blog than actually talking about my feelings with my friends. 

I wrote in my journal: "How do I continue to put others first?" Then I wrote "I am so selfish to even  have to ask that question. " First thing I know is my heart must change, I must focus on other people's needs. How do I do that? That seems like a weird question to shouldn't that be just instinct. 

After I wrote that I reflected over the last time I felt really useful  and it was in Honduras, last August.
one of my favorite pictures from my trip
I so want to be of use in this world. But I am not sure of the next step I should take. Once again I leave this letter with no conclusion. I guess that is okay because a life of faith is not about coming to conclusions is it about the process of being transformed. 

Yours wandering,

P.S.- My friend, who challenged me, sent me a quote who she thinks is by CS Lewis..."Spiritual growth and maturity comes when we start to realize our sin and shortcomings." I tried to look it up but could not find it, I did find a blog called Desire Spiritual Growth  that I will have to check out in more depth. Also I found this... 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Searching for connection

Dear Anne,

I have been feeling a little disconnected from things. During school I was so wrapped up in finals but now that school is over my brain still feels a little foggy. I think one problem is, is that I am too wrapped up in my own brain. I admit I get so focused on my own problems that I can forget what is going on in other peoples lives, I hope this doesn't sound selfish.  

Lately my church has been going through a series on Discipleship and one thing I have really been struck by is how much discipleship has to do with other people. I guess I should not be surprised by this especially since Jesus was the ultimate servant and was always involved in working with others. But the series has left me wondering, how can I serve. I do serve at my church with the nursery and what we call hospitality but it doesn't feel to be enough. 
After the Boston Marathon Bombing I thought about giving blood as you know I hate shots and needles, so that seemed like a big deal, but over a month has gone by and I have not done it. Now with another home of mine in the middle of pain and destruction (Oklahoma) ... I feel I must do something. Being so far away and being in my usual mindset of blocking things out I could easily go on with life as if nothing happened. But I don't want to. 
I don't know where this originates as I found it on Facebook
As you know I have been going through some valleys in my walk with God and I am really trying to change that. Now that I am back from vacation with my mom and I don't have any "out of the normal plans" I am starting a 30 day bible/devotional reading plan. But I am thinking about what type of service I can do. I am still really thinking of giving blood... is that enough? 

I don't have an answer to that yet but I want to do good in this world. 
Besides working with the children at the church nursery and going down to Honduras last year and hopefully next year, I have never really felt called to serve some place. When people talk about "spiritual gifts" I never know what to say. And without an answer I feel like I am little lost in where to serve or what to do. 

 Any way I guess I don't have a good conclusion to this post. I am just hoping through serving others I will feel more connected.   


Thursday, September 20, 2012

I press on toward the goal


Hello lovely readers,

I started writing this post when I got back from Honduras but I never felt it was finished/complete.

As most of you know I took a break from blogging most of the summer. Though nothing huge happened to cause this push, this summer has really made me change my thoughts on my life, faith, and what I see as important. Over the summer I have been really been pushed in my spiritual life.

My friend went through pretty big changes in her life over the summer I got to watch these changes from the sideline and I was also talking to her by what was going on not just on the outside but on the inside. Over this summer she had a passion for God that I had never seen and to be honest I was a little envious of her, in the best since of course, but I really wanted that. 

I have been going through a study in the Bible on the word hope. Before this study I knew what it was like to hope for a good grade; I knew what it was like to hope for/in a relationship; but I never knew what it meant to "Hope in the Lord" (a phrase often used in church). I got to hear my friend talk about what she was going through and she said the phrase "God wants our best in life so we don't need to fear that things will work out." Our best does not mean financial prosperity or happiness all the time but it does mean God's will being done perfectly through us. From the time she mentioned that to now (and on going) my perspective on the word HOPE has changed. More on this in my Hope is an Act of Waiting post. During my quiet time my study came across this scripture...

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me
heavenward in Christ Jesus. 
-Philippians 3:13b-14 (NIV, 1984)

While this verse doesn't mention the word hope the footnote was full of hope. "We all have done things for which we are ashamed, and we live in the tension of what we have been and what to be. Because our hope is in Christ, we can let go of past guilt and look forward to what God will help us become... Realize that you are forgiven, and then move on to a life of faith and obedience. Look forward to a fuller and more meaningful life because of your hope in Christ" (Life Application Study Bible NIV). I loved this footnote and how freeing it was. I know for me personally that I carry around my past mistakes so much and in my mind I demote myself in value. God doesn't call us to that lifestyle. God wants us to live a life that is fully in Him. 

Then I went to Honduras. Before I went to Honduras I had this weird/cool moment of peace about the fact that I could potentially die and I was okay with that. My younger sister once told me she wanted to die a martyr for a long time I thought that was a crazy idea. But after this moment in my life I think it would be cool to die standing up for my faith. Honduras was an amazing experience and I can't wait to go back. 
My post on Honduras...

Honduras wasn't the mountain top experience I was wanting. However, it did change my thinking and through that I want to make some changes in my life. But I wasn't sure what to really change and to be honest I was scared of change. So I told myself I would take any drastic changes until I really thought things through. 

Well guess what... life got in the way and I didn't really do any deep thinking. But some really harsh realities hit me. One was my budget. My budget smacked me once this summer, when I realized how much money I was spending willy-nilly and not thinking about it. So I worked on my budget, but after coming back from Honduras--not getting paid for a week--really made me see how tight my budget is. So one thing I had to get rid of was my nice data plan smart phone mostly because I couldn't afford it and I also wanted to simplify my life. I had gone a week with out a phone and I survived, surely I would survive with out Facebook and email on my phone. I am here to say you can survive not having data plans. I am still working on really watching my spending, not to stress me out, but to keep things in control.*

I am in general going to try to cut back on the technology in my life. For me that really limits how much TV I watch. I liked TV as back ground noise but I realize how distracting it was in my life. In Honduras and on a woman's retreat I went on, I got so much reading done; I prayed so much; and I felt calmer. I am listening to music more and I added more Christian music to my playlist, just as little reminders through my day.*

The next big challenge in my faith came when I went on Women's retreat. I was challenged with how much I hold on to my own desires for my life. While I think it is good to have goals, dreams, and aspirations in your life and I believe God wants you to have them too. I was holding on too much. I was saying "I want what God desires in my life but I really want what I want." I have now realized I have to let go of that but. I have to say "I want what God desires." Now I am working on getting my heart and mind to also let go of my desires and really focus on what God desires. Only then will I truly feel complete in God. (I don't have this down pat, just know what I long for.)  More on this on my "Letting Go of the 'but'" post. 

I was talking about this to my friend, mentioned above, and how I desired the closeness she had with God. She said "I am going to say something you are going to hate?" I asked what it was. She then challenged me with waking up early and doing my quiet time first thing in the morning. She knows I am NOT a morning person, I mean I think 9 AM is too early sometimes. But she referred to the verses about seeking God in the morning. She knows waking up early in the morning will definitely be a sacrifice for me and thinks God will reward me for my sacrifice. She has found having her quiet time first in the morning very rewarding for her relationship with God. Since I am desiring a closeness with God, I am working on waking up early to seek after God. I still love my snooze button but I love God more so I am pursing this path. Not going to lie these early mornings are only made possible with a good cup of coffee. 

I am going to change this blog a bit. I still want this place to be an oasis from my chaotic life of grad school and my job. But I feel for this blog to be more true: I need it to focus more on the important things on my life and not just the things I think will get readers. I want to talk more about my faith--not in a way that I am standing on a soap box-- to truly share my struggles and my triumphs. (Please call me out if you feel I am on a soap box.) I know not all my readers are Christians and if I lose readers because of my talk I am okay with that.

After typing this somewhat long post I realized it will never be complete because this is just one section of my life and my life is not finished or complete. I will still be editing things a long the way and that is okay. I am still working on ALL these things and I hope you stay around to read this on going part in my journey.

*- The paragraphs are just written to tell you how I have changed, they are not written for conviction sake.