My Story

My God is full of wonder, and each day I am learning more about Him
and the amazing plans He has laid out for the adventure that is my life.

This is my story.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hope & What's Next

Tomorrow is my last full day with my grandparents, and Saturday I fly back to Southern California. It would be a lie if I said I wish I could stay a little longer, but I will be leaving with some life lessons that were completely worth receiving by spending this month with my grandparents.

For one thing, I am learning that no matter how miserable I feel about my circumstances and where I am at a given time in my life, God is always there in the midst of it all and He has special treasures to give if I just ask. I think that's a big part of what Paul discovered when he wrote that he had learned how to be content in whatever situation he was in, whether in lack or abundance, high or low (Philippians 4:12).

I've learned what quiet horrors age, time, and disease can do in this life. But that God gives humor in abundance where there really should only be anger and tears. And I now thank God for the tremendous blessing He gave that when sin was let into paradise, which has now become this world, He didn't allow people to live forever on top of that. It also makes me wonder why we think church and speaking about God should be taken so seriously. I think God's gift of humor is one of the biggest weapons He has given us; humor, joy, and thanksgiving in the face of a bleak, depressed, evil world. Satan must be the most serious, depressing, and frustrated character in the entire universe. If he wasn't so evil, I might even feel a little sorry for him. I mean seriously! He's so bent on destruction - steal, kill, and destroy, all because he didn't get his way and now he wants to ruin it for everybody else. It's like an epic sized tantrum fit. And when I see the devil like that, I'm floored by the the sheer cheekiness and brilliance of God who gave His kids the ability to laugh in his sad face and say, no matter what you throw at me to try to take me out, I'm God's and He is so brilliant and better than you that He's going to take even your pathetic attempts at destroying me and turn those into blessings for my good. :)

And that is why we can always come to Him with thanksgiving on our lips, no matter the circumstances. God is alive. He's intimately aware of the details of my life, and cares about them. He promises the worldly impossible. And He is wholly good. Even in my darkest moments it is hard for me to understand how anyone would choose another religion or to believe in nothing at all instead of accept Jesus Christ. What else gives you any hope? Even if you weren't sure He even existed, wouldn't you want Him to? I heard a Christian and an atheist debating recently, and the Christian said that for someone who had been hungry who found an endless supply of food, that they would want to share this with others they saw starving. And the atheist said, "But that's just it! I'm not hungry!" I find this very hard to conceive. Living in this world without the hope of Jesus Christ would for me be entirely unbearable.

This month I have found hope that God is with me even in my biggest puddles of self pity and despair; and that they never last forever. And they can clear up a lot quicker if I go run to Him in those moments with praise and thanksgiving. That it's like love, you don't always feel like giving it, but when you do, your feelings change accordingly in time and that that's probably one of the biggest reasons He wants us to do it in the first place. It's one of those "for our own good" things.

And I also think that I just might know what to do next now...

I am scheduled to meet with some faculty and staff at Azusa Pacific University this upcoming Monday to discuss applying for their Master of Science in College Counseling and Student Development program!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chacos - A Symbol of My Life

A couple weeks ago while with my Grandparents, my favorite pair of shoes broke. Grandma accidentally stepped on the heal of my foot and one of the back straps on my dearly loved Chacos snapped off! Besides them just being my favorite pair of shoes to walk in ever, their snapping meant so much more to me.

It took all I had within me to keep from crying right there and then. The symbolism was just too much bare. They were my hiking camp shoes. They were one of my last ties to my life when I worked at the camp I loved with all my dearest friends doing what I loved and what I knew I was good at.

It's almost been a year since I was laid off from the camp because of its financial troubles and had to move back home, eight hours away from all my dearest friends, mentors, dance studio, and church. And I am still trying to heal from the pain of that rending.

When my Chaco sandal was ripped and unusable, the symbolism of that rending and ending of one of the happiest times of my life was almost too much to keep inside.

But if that was a symbol, then what happened because of that rending and tearing I hope will become symbolic as well! Because Chacos are guaranteed for life except for normal wear and tear, I mailed my shoes in (which my grandma paid for the shipping) in the hopes that they would fix them. The strap that needed mending would cost $20 the website said, but while that one strap definitely needed it, the other three were starting to fray as well and could really used help too, which could cost up to $80 in all. While I was waiting to hear from them, my mom found out and went to see if she could find a new pair on sale for me at the store. The ones I had wanted in the first place (the complete black with two thin straps instead of one fat one) that hadn't been on sale when I bought my red ones were low and behold on sale! So she bought them for me as a gift and sent them the next day. Soon after I got another package in the mail. They had sent my old shoes back to me with all four back straps completely replaced and new and had charged me nothing! They even paid the return shipping.

So now I have my old sandals back and repaired better than they were and a new pair of the ones I really wanted in the first place and I didn't have to pay a thing! What a blessing!

Please God let this be symbolic of my near future! And thank you so much for your wonderful providence!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nature Nooks

I went on a walk at sunset tonight through my grandparent's neighborhood. I walked until the houses stopped and I came upon a beautiful site. Gigantic pearlesant gold clouds, birdsong, chirping crickets, a forest of pine and green leafy trees, and a grassy trail through the middle alongside a tranquil flow of bayou water.

Wherever I go God seems to share with me His secret special nature nooks He knows I love so much. :)

I followed the trail, which led right up to the sunset until I was surrounded by glowing beauty. I was listening to a praise CD (Glory Revealed II) on my iPod while I walked and a song of the 23 Psalm came on. There I was standing on an expanse of plush green grass surrounded by the lazy bayou facing a golden sunset and I heard these words:

The Lord is my Shepherd.
I shall not want.

He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.

Thank You so much God for these promises from You. <3

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Praise God!

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
He makes my feet like the deer’s;
He makes me tread on my high places.
Habakkuk 3:17-19

This is what I cling to and what I stand upon. That no matter how insane and scary it gets outside of myself or inside my own head, I have chosen to rejoice in the LORD in the midst of it. I'm tired of acting out of fear and letting fear control me. My only other option is to put my trust in how God taught us how to fight back from His Words and stories in the Bible.

There is something spectacularly ridiculous feeling about "rejoicing in the Lord," praising God, when what you feel like doing is hiding in a corner hoping for death to end your misery and fear. But in a crazy wonderful way it makes sense. When Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20) prayed to God to come through for him when three armies were marching toward his kingdom, God told him He would fight his battles for him, so Jehoshaphat created the first marching band and went to watch the game unfold. He came at his fear with praise to God and God fought his battle for him. Then there's Paul and Silas whipped, arrested, and chained in prison, and they decide to start singing praise songs to God! And again, God came through miraculously and completely changed the circumstances!

I've been reading these stories along with all the verses in the New Testament calling God's people to praise God, especially when you don't feel like it or when you don't think you have any reason to. And that is when God seems to really move in big ways.

And I think it's because, first: that's what we were created to do. God created us for His glory. And the more I learn about worshiping and praising God, more I am realizing how powerful it is. It is a weapon that God created for us to use! And secondly: praising God when it's the last thing you feel like doing keeps you from falling out of alignment. It keeps your focus on God and you out of the way so that God can come through for you, instead of you focusing on your problems and trying to fix them by yourself.

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I also accepted Him as Lord. And a lord is responsible for his subjects. So I am determined to lift my eyes to Him, to run to Him every time I feel the deceiver trying to get at me. And I am learning that when I run to Him with thanksgiving and praise, power is released! To me, this is what submitting to God and resisting the Devil is all about.

I want to experience life like Paul and Jehoshaphat did. I want to see God move like that for me and my family.

But even if I don't feel or see any change, and things just continue to go from bad to worse; I have made my decision. I am just going to praise God more, like Habakkuk. Because I know two things very well: the alternative is to despair and there is nothing for me in that, and when I look back at my life so far all I see are Ebenezer moments of how God has already come through for me beyond my expectations.

So Praise GOD for He is GOOD!

Friday, September 17, 2010

My Grandpa

My grandpa has been calling me nothing but Big Butt and sometimes B.B. for short this past week. I know he doesn't mean to be so insulting and I try to fling it right back in a cheeky kind of way because I know he likes people to kid around with him, but it's getting harder. I remember what he was like with me before and it's really difficult to see him act so completely different now. Even the way he looks has change almost beyond comprehension. Where once his eyes were sharp and focused, they are now cloudy and undilated. His cheeks sag and his body is so week and frail he can barely get around.

Yet it took both my grandma and myself to herd him back into the house today when he decided to check out his boat in the backyard. He almost fell down the steps. That's almost all he talks about: how he's going to get a new boat for his birthday. He can't afford it and couldn't ride around in it even if he had it, but his mind is stuck on it.

When I told him last night that he couldn't go outside and I watched him just stand there looking out the window I could hardly bare it. Who am I to tell my own grandpa what he could or couldn't do. He looked like he was about to cry. It made me feel so mean and uncaring. He just isn't the person that he was anymore and we're forced to treat him like a child because he can't make rational decisions for himself anymore.

And yet, sometimes when I'm in conversation with him, it's like there's nothing wrong with him and I wonder if the doctor's are just making it all up and he's just physically feeble. And then the cycle starts up again.

I wonder if this is how it's always like for those who live this long? It seems so cruel to have such an ending.

But I know that our God is the Redeemer. So how does He redeem situations like this?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting Old Must Get Old

It's been a week and a half here at my grandparent's house in Louisiana so far and I haven't written at all because I didn't want to completely unload to the world and sound like a horribly depressed Eeyore (this is the correct spelling. I had to look it up!). Then during a talk with my mom on the phone about everything, she said what great material this would be for writing, and suddenly it all seemed so funny! She's right! I really must share.

Well, I have definitely decided to go skydiving when I get old. I have always said that I would, because then if the parachute didn't open, it wouldn't be a massive loss. But now I am determined to do it and if I live through that, I will do every adventurous activity I can think of until something finally works. This isn't to say that I will try to kill myself once I reach the age of 80. I just do not see the silly point in being careful with my aging body at that point in my life in order to draw out my life to it's smallest dregs. I definitely do not want to end up like my poor grandpa who basically just sits in front of a tv watching scary movies and boring shows all day, or like my poor grandma who goes through an endless cycle of clean up grandpa, cook for grandpa, give pills to grandpa, put grandpa to bed, and then watch TLC for an hour and then go to bed to do it all again the next day.

When my mind starts fading, someone tell me quick. I'll put "do not recessitate" on my documents, get my affairs in order, get anyone I'm responsible for taken care of, and then have a reckless and fun (hopefully short) time. I just see no need in being so careful to prolong the inevitable in my own life so that I live for another twenty or so years in a miserably boring almost vegetative state with no hope for improvement.

However, I say that about me, but it's quite a different story when it's your grandparents (and I don't want to even imagine my own parents or someone else I care about). They've been in your life your whole life and you are terrified of the hole they will leave when they're gone.

But it is also very strange to find that the two grandparents you knew your whole life are very different from the two people you find yourself staying with for a whole month... by yourself! The grandmother I remember who was such a good cook, went after hoodlums with bed posts, and made coming to "Grandma's House" such a warm cozy exciting experience; and the grandpa I remember who could do anything with his hands, computer whiz, fisherman, champion bowler, who once argued logically with me that grass was purple and won just to prove that he could are not the two people that I am living with now. I know they used to be, but something has drastically altered.

My grandpa has Alzheimers and it wouldn't surprise me if my grandma was heading in the same direction as well. It has been very much like living with two two year olds who you can not only not put in time out for misbehavior, but who are actually in charge. This has been the cause for quite a few interesting stories, and I hope that one day they will all be funny. Perhaps writing about them will help.

Next time I'll write about what my grandpa's nickname for me is and how Grandma handles my cooking techniques among other things.

...has it really just been a week and a half?!