Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

It started out pretty good. And in relative order here are the things I learned/happenings of the year.

  • I became an English major. 
  • I started writing a book called, Saving Melvin. It's about losing your life to gain it. 
  • My best friend's dad and grandpa died. 
  • I ran (well... really I walked) a 5k with my sister.
  • I survived the Thrailkill... whatever that was. 
  • I took 21 credit hours AND worked 12 hours a week in the spring semester AND lived.  
  • I quit my job at Harris Teeter (yessss)
  • I was in love and I loved. 
  • I went to my first high school graduation and there was a girl named LaVaunda DeShaunda Felicia Marie Smith. No joke.
  • I felt pressure to be perfect and to be someone else than who I am... and I caved. 
  • I became a summer RA in the Commons and talked to students from all over the world! I learned so much about a lot of different cultures and countries! It was so fun :) 
  • My Mandy died. She died in our living room and I felt her last heart beat. She was the best dog ever and I miss her. 
  • I went to the beach with Laura and her family! It was really fun! I got a weird sunburn... and didn't tan haha
  • I became an RA in Wright Hall. This job has aged me a lot and I'm much more assertive than I was in the past. I LOVE my staff (both Maddox and Wright) and even thought it is a LOT of work, I secretly enjoy it because I LOVE the people. 
  • My AMAZING sister came to Belmont! 
  • I became a Belmont Blogger. 
  • I became a peer tutor. 
  • I turned 21-years-old! I'm officially an adult. 
  • I didn't drink anything haha. 
  • I went to the 2008 Debate AT Belmont! Woo Hoo. 
  • I quit making plans. I decided that God has a plan better than anything I can imagine. 
  • I got my heart completely broken, well shattered really. I'm not going to write out the story, but I hope this never happens to anyone ever. No one deserves that. 
  • Somedays I felt fine about it, knowing God had a better plan and finally realizing how blessed I am, other days I felt betrayed beyond all compare and completely defeated. 
  • I realized I'm better off now. 
  • I learned I'm much more tender hearted than I even wish to admit. 
  • I dealt with a lot of crap rather gracefully, or at least that's what I've been told. 
  • I finally started to respect myself and realize just because someone abandons me or treats me badly... I don't deserve it. (big step for me)
  • I struggled with the idea of love and marriage and wondered if anyone can truly keep a promise and will always be there. 
  • I forgave.
  • I gave up. 
  • I looked for God and found Him. 
  • I found a strength I never knew I had. 
  • I learned that despite hurting like hell, JOY is bulletproof. 
  • I decided that love is not worth the fall. 
  • I went to a rally at the capitol building for a Tent City--and had quite an adventure in the parking garage :) 
  • I stayed Up All Night for the "Wright Reasons"
  • I voted for John McCain and Sarah Palin, even though I felt they were very weak candidates. 
  • I decided I could NEVER be a teacher. 
  • I've done some things that I've always wanted to do--just for me. A lot of things I wasn't allowed to do before. 
  • I decided to go to France. 
  • I made new friends.
  • I became a part of a great Bible Study on my hall and got close to a lot of really amazing girls. 
  • I found out that the friends I already had were more amazing than I ever realized. Liberty, Laura, Becka, Lauren, and Jennifer... you guys have changed my life and mean so much more to me than I'll ever be able to tell you. Each of you have showed me so much kindness when I needed more than anything and each in your own way you have impacted my heart and life--and I'll never be able to thank you enough. I love you girls so much and I shudder to think of my life without you all. 
  • I went to see Liberty in Baltimore and had a WONDERFUL time! I love her and I missed her SO much. We got to talk like we haven't in years and it felt like no time had passed at all. 
  • I held her niece, Hettie, an hour after she was born. I had no idea I would feel this way just because I held a baby... but I took a minute to think about how AMAZING life is and how AMAZING God is... and holding that beautiful baby was the most beautiful experience of my entire life. Words cannot express the feeling of awe and the sheer beauty of reality I saw in that precious baby. 
  • I helped put together a birthday party for a 4-year-old and got a balloon popped in my eye and decided I can DEFINITELY wait to have kids... it was nuts.
  • I talked to cool strangers on an airplane. 
  • I saw Jason Mraz and LOVE him!
  • I went to the Winter Wonder Slam.
  • I got to see my freshman roommate and she is awesome.
  • I laughed harder than I ever have before.
  • I got an internship for the Spring. 
  • I had honest conversations. 
  • I more myself than I've been in a while, and I didn't even know I was missing. 
  • I went with friends for nose piercings and tattoos... but I didn't get any. 
  • I don't know what I'm going to do for a career, but I have decided that our career and our calling in this life aren't always the same thing. 
  • I know I love music, kids, writing, and Jesus and my only desire is to love people so that they would know God's love. I guess I'm just excited to see what God does with the passions He has given me. 
  • I feel like God is on the verge of something huge, and I only pray that my brokenness and bitterness doesn't stand in the way. 
  • Most importantly, I found that when the buildings I "built" crumbled, my feet landed on solid ground and I am more convinced than ever that God is a God of love and I'm looking forward to 2009 not being about me but being about Jesus. 
Although a lot of it sucked, a lot of it was wonderful. 

I guess at the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009 I'm simply in midias res.  

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." - Philippians 4:6

"I cannot
be my own, nor anything to any, 
I be not thine. To this I am most constant."
-Shakespeare-- This is supposed to be about love between people, but I think it works for who we are in Christ. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

So, here is what I have decided

Sometimes I may not understand why some things happen, but I'm so thankful for God's providence. Even though I get impatient for answers sometimes, I know He has it all under control and I'm so thankful for that. I 

And I'm so thankful for the blessings in my life (ie. WONDERFUL friends and family... and Jesus, of course) despite how good or bad anything gets. Despite my feelings at any given moment, I'm realizing more and more how blessed I am. 

I also decided that God wants us not just to be happy, but to be holy. I think happiness follows that. 

Seek first His Kingdom, everything else will follow. 

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Don't Know Why You Didn't Come

I've decided that it is best to be honest with God. I know He has everything under control, I know He is good, I know He is there, but honestly He does things I don't understand. Or maybe He lets things happen. I don't know. I do know one thing, He has taken me too far for me to deny His existence or to be so naive as to think that He would have brought me this far to forget me. I know I am loved and prized by my Savior, but I feel so confused by Him. 

I thought we had things all figured out, God and me that is. I prayed and I prayed for one thing and I got the answer, or so I thought. And now that it has changed, I can't help but wonder what the last two years have been all about. Growth. duh. I'll figure that one out eventually. I see it already, but it still doesn't make sense. Patience. duh. Understanding... hopefully? I guess that is what I want most of all in life right now. I feel I need understanding to start tearing down some walls, and maybe to build some bridges. But the cruel part is I don't think that I'm going to get that.. at least not anytime soon. I know God uses what man means for evil and turns it into good. I know that He never fails and He saves the day. I know in the midst of all of the sky falling in on us all, maybe we are blind to it, but God is always right there.  I know all of this, but I still don't get why some things happen. 

Until then I'm yours faithfully, God, but right now, I'll be honest and tell you: I don't get it. I know you didn't let me go, but why did it feel that way? I know you are here now, but help me see the big picture. Maybe it's not my place to know right now, but I need to see You in this. 

I don't want to be a soldier 
Who the captain of some sinking ship
Would stow, far below

So, if you love me,
Why'd you let me go?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Jesus and...

I'm feeling burnt out on Christianity. I'm tired of Chris Tomlin, smiles, and getting up and dressing up on Sundays. I'm tired of it all. I'm not trying to bash it all and I'm not trying to be negative. I guess more than being burnt out, I'm really longing for Jesus over all of the candles and ceremony. 

It seems like if we have a pretty cross hanging on our wall or if we go to a nice church that has been "financially blessed" that we're somehow convinced that we're doing something right. Even a little bit. It's not that these things in and of themselves are bad, but it's so easy to make them the point... and that just falls short. Derek Webb really said it right when he said concerning our salvation, "When you take 'Jesus and...' to God, anything after the 'and' is a sin." 

It is interesting to note that in the past Christianity was often "sold" out of fear of the fires of hell, but now "christians" today seem to sell "happiness". Even the people I used to think of as the most sincere followers of Christ are now merely selling the gospel at any price. I just don't think that is what God had in mind when He commanded us to love others or told us to carry our crosses. When we look at the reward as anything other than the glory of God Himself, I just can't help but feel like we're putting Christianity into a pretty box... and it was never meant to be contained. 

I guess I'm just frustrated with the abuse and perversion of the one and only thing that can save us... even from ourselves. Even those of us who are not obvious Pharisee clones or aren't outright snake and oil preachers, it just seems that SO many "christians" just... don't get it. At all. That being said, I'm sure I have fallen into this category time and time again, because none of us will ever 'get it,' but I just wish we all (myself included) could want only what God wants.  It's like most of us prefer the pretty box over the hard work ahead. And for about two seconds that makes me so mad, but truly it is just so staggeringly depressing and I have to wonder how God feels about that. 

I know I need to remember all have sinned and fall short of the glory of the Lord. 

Just give me Jesus or give me death. 

Thanks for letting me rant. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Awkward moment of the day

So, tonight in the caf they were serving steak, carrots, potatoes, and rolls--which is very nice for the caf. Everything was served on styrofoam plates and the only untensils I saw were plastic forks, so I politely asked, "Um, excuse me. Do you have any knives to cut the steak?"

The man grilling the steak turned to me, looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "Honey! This is BELMONT."

I didn't know quite what to do with that so I just turned around and walked away.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

You never let go

Sometimes I feel like God harasses me. I don't mean that to be flippant or funny, but it's really true. He disturbs my ways of thinking and does whatever it takes to make me aware of His presence. When I feel I just want to be left alone in the dark to experience peace, every time it's as if God shakes my soul and says something to the effect of, "I WILL SHOW YOU PEACE". 

And as resistant and hesitant (aka stupid and blind) as I can be sometimes and as much as I struggle against going His way sometimes, I've kind of gotten to a place in life where I'll allow myself to wallow in self-pity and really allow myself to feel those horrible feelings and share them with God, only to stick out my hand and say, "Lead the way. Where you lead I will follow."

It's here that I experience peace and it's here that I'm so thankful that God doesn't stop bugging me and doesn't stop pushing me to grow. I like who I have become much more than I have ever liked myself before. 

Thank You God, for never letting me go no matter how I may protest. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Step 2

So as bipolar as this sounds from my last blog, I feel really good today. Despite the horribly gloomy weather, I feel like a beam of sunshine is shining on me. I've wrestled with God a lot lately and I guess I have the tendency to think that nobody else does anything wrong. I think when people treat me like shit and act like... well you know... that it is MY fault. But no... that isn't always true. I find a way to say I deserve it and forgive others just so I can be a "good Christian girl".  

And the nice thing is despite any change in mood--due to sleep deprivation or whatever--I have always felt joyful throughout this whole process (not to say that it is completely over). God has taken me too far to leave me now. I know that. I'd be stupid and utterly ignorant to forget His faithfulness. I am thankful that I've been able to be honest with God, myself, and others this time around instead of trying my best to be happy. And being a good Christian girl is one thing, but true forgiveness despite being able to see people for their faults is another. 

It's so funny. Sometimes when you feel like this is the end and you can't take it anymore, something happens to make you aware that you're in a better place than you used to be--in different and wonderful capacities. 

Today I was feeling a bit numb and indifferent and then after something (very small) happened, I realized the following:

No, I'm not in a coffin. I got burned by someone who chose to act in a 

God did not forget me. People are sinners and we treat each other like crap, but that doesn't mean God has forgotten or is okay with that treatment. 

I deserve better than what I had. I REALLY do... shockingly so... 

The end. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My Sin

I was reading an article about how, as Christians, we should not reject, but identify with the losers and the sinners. But to that I say, we are ALL sinners--some of us are just good at hiding it and some of us are just blatant sinners. 

My problems isn't loving the gross or the poor or the misfits. My problem is loving the BMW owners. My problems is loving the men who treat women like crap. My problem is loving the liars. The list goes on and on. 

I have a problem loving the self-important, rich, and those who "know" they don't need help (even when they claim to be Christians). In fact, probably my worst problem is loving Christians who "don't" sin or who at least don't do the "big" sins and think they are better because of it. Don't they know that a sin just isn't in your outside actions? It's like a disease. It's in your blood and will surely get to you in one way or another. Pretending to be a better Christian because of... well... anything. 

I'm thankful I'm not the Judge of salvation--because I would so quickly damn these people and probably forget that they too are gross and poor and misfits, but they also have to deal with the fact that they are hiding it not only from the world, but themselves as well... 

Monday, December 1, 2008

I won't worry my life away

I have a huge paper to write, so this has to be fast, but I have decided a few things:

1. I'm a lot sassier than I let on because I'm afraid that people won't like me. That is lame and I am going to be sassy when I want to be. 
2. I hate essays on the History of Font. I empathize with the Emo's a little more. 
3. I think love is a terrible thing to be wasted. I think the only way I could ever fail in my life is if I fail to let those around me (including my "enemies") that I love them. I love them passionately and genuinely.
4. I hate having a cough. 
5. I love my girlfriends. About two months ago, I had no idea what amazingly strong and wonderful women/friends God had surrounded me with and I'm so thankful to know now!
6. I'm a procrastinator and it just can't be avoided. I'm embracing it. 
7. I prefer black and white pictures to color pictures (most of the time). 
8. I wish facebook weren't such a problem for me. C'est la vie. 
9. I don't just care about things/people. I care passionately. Sometimes it sucks, but I prefer it over the alternative. 
10. When I fall in love now, I take my time there's no need to hurry when I'm making up my mind. You can turn off the sun, but I'm still gonna shine and I'll tell you why: Because the remedy is the experience.