Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I have been in many a stressful situation lately. My life seems to be moving rather fast, and I feel like I don't have time to sit and reflect on anything. I feel like I am only able to react to whatever comes at me, and then move on. I'm not used to this!
I've taken lately, however, to praying a lot more about everything and anything. If I am not able to handle it, I certainly know that God is! So I hand directly over to him anything that begins to stress me out. I pray out loud, I cry; I do whatever it takes to make my needs known, even though He already knows exactly what they are.
Then I read something in Oswald Chambers' "My Utmost For His Highest" about being child-like before God. I always thought that meant sweet and innocent. But I think I am learning more the real meaning of child-likeness as I go through life, and especially as I work with children every day.
The thing about children is this: they are not necessarily so sweet and innocent. But they have something going for them that many adults don't: they trust their parents without reserve. They make their needs known by crying out to their Mom or Dad, knowing that their needs will be met. Would that we could always be like that with God! I have found that this works. Audacious, child-like prayers are what God wants to hear. We realize that we are indeed still the child, so we don't demand without respect, but rather we ask in total trust that we will be taken care of. It's so easy, only a child would have thought of it!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Contentment in all things.

It's HARD!
Life throws you curves and stresses and large piles of poo in this fallen world, and yet we are called to be content. Paul tells in Philippians that he has learned to be content in all situations and circumstances. He said, "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." It's probably one of verses of the Bible that's taken out of context the most.
It doesn't mean that I can jump off a cliff and fly or disappear or have x-ray vision because Christ gives me strength. Rather, in context, it means that because we have the strength of Christ, we are able and equipped to deal with whatever life throws us.
I'm trying my best to rely on Christ today. My day has sucked, sucked, sucked so far. Stresses are piling up. I know Jesus will help me through it all. I trust that He is both sovereign and good. But that doesn't make it any easier to be content in the midst of madness that is not necessarily of my making!
However, it was pointed out to me by someone quite wise that Paul tells us that he has LEARNED to be content in all things. It is something that must be practiced and prayed over, not something that is easily attained. Paul was a SAINT, after all. But then again, so am I (small "s")... So here I go...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Mystery Of Believing

I read My Utmost For His Highest every morning before work. Oswald Chambers is, to me, a genius at wording things in exactly the way I understand. Not only that, but many times, it is also exactly the thing I need to hear.
So this morning I read "The Mystery of Believing" from the aforementioned book, and it said this, "Many a soul begins to come to God when he flings off being religious, because there is only one Master of the human heart, and that is not religion, but Jesus Christ."

Now, I don't know if you know this about me, but I really despise being called "religious". I understand that for many non-spiritual people, that's the only word that they have in their vocabulary to describe someone like me, someone they see as a Christian, or as following a bunch of rules for no reason (depends on your viewpoint). But, like Chambers, I believe that religion is NOT the answer. Not only that, but I believe that religion slowly kills spirituality. Once I start clinging to the guidelines of my faith, but forget the reason that I am following them, I begin to become legalistic, Pharisaic, and in short, religious!

Jesus. Jesus is who I follow. Not the Pope, not any synod or governing church body (although of course I believe one should respect God-given authority to a certain extent), but only Jesus. He is the Master of my heart, as strange as that may sound. The reason I associate with being a "Christian" is because the word itself means "Christ-like", which is what I strive to be. Also, I associate myself with other Christians because as a whole we are the body of Christ, attempting to bring His love and hope to the people of this world. As a Christian, I am not "right" or "left" or "fundamental" or "liberal". I am simply a Christian. Just Jesus. That is all!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

His eye is on the sparrow...

I am having one of those mornings where I wake up and already I feel overwhelmed by the day. I'm sad, but still hopeful. I'm thankful, but still a little upset with my life in general. Just...overwhelmed. I get to the point when I start to ask God the silly question..."Why?!" "Why this, why that, why me? Wah wah wah."
So I tried to stop myself. I read the last two chapters of Job.
Now, a lot of people know the story of Job from the Bible, and a lot of people get angry with God or Christianity or just angry in general when they read it. I think it is so misunderstood. Yeah, Job had to suffer a lot of crap and God let it happen. I think we can all relate to that. I feel stupid about my petty worries when I read what Job's trials were. But the last chapters of the book pretty much go like this.

Job: Why God? Why me? Why all this crap?
God: Um, excuse me... Look, I love you, but you are not God. Did you put the stars in the sky and teach the angels how to sing? Did you create any of the amazing stuff in this world? Can you add one minute to your life on your own power?
Job: Uhh, no. Sorry God.
God: That's what I thought. Here's everything you lost back, but double. Be blessed for the rest of your life because of your faithfulness. I love you.

(Yeah, that was a real paraphrase, I know!)
Anyway, what does this have to do with anything? Well, whenever I get to the point when I want to ask God "Why?" I try to re-direct my thinking.
My new questions go something like this:
What awesome things does God want me to learn out of this?
What change does He want to make in me for the better?
How will living through this time help me to love others better?
AND EVEN (because I'm human, after all) What blessings does He want to bestow on me because of this?

I'm not perfect. I feel within myself the capacity for great evil, for even greater sin. But every day I am trying...trying to redirect my thoughts and reign them in for good and not ill. God help me from myself...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

When the truth is found to be lies...

I feel like my spiritual life has been in direct opposition to my physical life for a few weeks now. While my life as I see it and know it is pretty much in shambles, my spiritual life is exciting and life-changing in so many ways. This is just another example of God working in my weakness, of God swooping in just when I feel like I can't take it anymore.
I've been learning, therefore, a lot about truth and lies.
Things I've taken for granted as true...these things have lately been shattered, revealed as false. One example of this, which may seem kind of silly, is that pretty much all my life I have thought of myself as just OK-looking. I don't know where that came from, or who enforced it, but I have believed it forever. Only lately have a whole bunch of people been saying to me, both in word and in deed, "Oh, you didn't know? You're totally gorgeous!"
No. I didn't know! I have believed many lies concerning legs aren't long enough, my hair is too curly, my skin isn't perfect so that must mean I'm ugly. Apparently not. (I am still trying to grasp this...)
I also believe lies about who I am as a person. Sometime long ago, someone told me I wasn't good enough, that I wasn't worth anything. While my outer demeanor may bely it, I realize through a series of revelations that I actually, in my heart of hearts, believe this! It's been holding me back from trying new things, from succeeding in my talents, from living the kind of life I am supposed to be living. I almost don't even blame the liar, but more the lie itself and myself for believing it.
Amazingly, God has been bringing these lies to light and showing me how I might silence the voices that tell them. He, as ever, has been pointing me towards the truth. The truth is God, and figuring out how God views me as a person has been an eye-opening experience. I have love. I have acceptance. I have more freedom than ever before.
Before we are Christians, we love ourselves for our own sake. When we come to Christ, we love God for our own sake...because he saved us, because he has done things for us. As we mature in our walk, we begin to love God for God's sake, simply because He is. But I have been told that the height of Christian maturity is actually to begin to love ourselves for God's sake. God made us in His image. Only once we free ourselves from self-loathing and all the lies that encumber us, can we then love others in a way that is free from hindrance.
I don't know that many people actually reach this level of maturity. There is so much of our own insecurity wrapped up in the way we love other people. But I'm working on what this new way would look like. I want to live freely and love the same way. And I realize that in fact, that's what Christ had in mind for us all along.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


Sometimes life goes well for the Christian. Job, family, relationships, ministry...all in states of healthiness and all thriving.

Sometimes, however, the life of a Christian, just like the life of any other person living in this fallen

I'm living in one of these times. Thankfully, not all of the aspects of my life are difficult, which is probably why I am still standing upright and speaking in coherent sentences. My job is fulfilling; there is no romance, but I still have pretty good relationships with my friends near and far; the ministries I am involved in seem to be doing well, doing good things. Family...well, not so great.

Details of that aside, I have come into a state of what I believe is healthy Christian mourning or lamentation. No person is going to rejoice when their family is having problems; they will most likely be a little downcast, a little sad. There is no reason to "suck it up" or "smile through the pain", especially when I think about the Biblical books of Job or Lamentations. It's OK to admit that life sucks sometimes. The world is in a sorry state, and it's OK to cry about that, too. Righteous tears and indignation will hopefully spur me to prayer and action.

After all, I still have the eternal joy of knowing Jesus, and I still have a whole lot of good happening in my world. I'm not about to jump off a cliff. I just need to cry a little. It has nothing to do with hormones or with being a girl, it has to do with being a human being in a fallen world.


2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?

3 My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

4 These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Sexy - Sex = Why?

I just read an article in Christianity Today that posed the question to it's readers: What does it mean to be created a sexual human being...who's not having sex? It's a conundrum that many single Christians deal with, I think, and I feel that it is particularly pertinent in my life right now.
In church and classes we've been talking a lot about gender roles, about funny quirks of men and women, and how the church has handled (or not handled) these issues in relation to us single folk. One must admit, as much as I believe in abstinence before marriage, it is a very strange dichotomy in this day and age to exist in the sex-saturated society and try to remain untouched by it!
Can we, as women, be sexy without becoming sex objects? Or should I use the words "attractive" or "feminine" to describe what I mean? Sometimes, I believe, the church has pushed us to a point where I feel like I need to be gender-neutral so I don't cause anyone to lust. From the time I went through puberty, I have always thought, "That's complete bullocks!"
Why would the good Lord give me hips and breasts (besides the obvious baby argument) that are attractive to men, and then expect me to spend my days figuring out how to hide them? Now, don't get me wrong, I also believe in modesty, but I am not going to go around in a potato sack so no one will notice that I have a figure! I want to get married some day!! (and when I have babies...THEN my hips and breasts will have dual purposes. Ha!)
Last night, I was having a talk with my non-Christian friends about this. It is very interesting to hear their perspective, and also the subtle ways that knowing me and my choices has changed their perspectives. While they used to make fun of me, and sometimes give me friendly ribbing still, I know that they respect me for it, and consider it to be a pretty good idea, on the whole. They have also seen how many times I am approached in bars, and how I have to try and handle these situations with tact (No, I will NOT have sex with you in the bathroom!). So they know that it's not for lack of opportunity that I am still a virgin (I'm in a band...come on!), but that it is a daily choice, even a moment-by-moment choice that I make out of deference for God's will rather than my own. It's also not that I go to extremes and either dress like a nun or a slut (unless t-shirt and jeans fits into these categories somehow), and they know that, too.
I just thought that this was a very intriguing question. The answers that people gave in the actual article can be found here.
If you have an opinion on this, I would like to hear it! I don't think I touched on half the things I would like to say on the subject, but this was my scattered first attempt.
I think my next step in answering this question in a Godly way is to go and read Song of Songs. (Woo woo!)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Moral Responsibility

I have this friend, see...
She can't make up her mind between the guy she's been dating forever, and the guy she can't seem to shake, who happens to be married with children. My dad and I are friends with all three unfortunate individuals in this love triangle. She hops partners so fast it makes my head spin.
I can't believe that her boyfriend keeps taking her back, after she has time and again betrayed him and publicly gone around town with this married man, who also used to be her boyfriend's best friend. (Yes, like sand through the hourglass...these are the Days of Our Lives!)
So I had a party at my house yesterday, and she was invited. She brought her lover to my house instead of her "boyfriend". I didn't know what my moral responsibility was in this situation. I wished I had a Christian version of Dear Abby to pose the question to. I felt like I didn't want this female friend in my house, flouting the concept of family and marriage and fidelity on the most holy day of the Christian calendar (or any other day, for that matter!)
But she had been invited and told she could bring guests. I couldn't very well kick her out, for I was the hostess, and she had also brought her teenage son along with his girlfriend, and they were nice and polite young people. I still don't know what I should have done, or how I should react to her in the future. I feel like the next time I see her back with her original boyfriend, I will scream. But if I see her out with her "other" guy, I will not want to talk to them at all.
Am I making too big a deal out of this? I know that in society, people would say this is really 'none of my business'. But if these people are my friends, and I have to communicate with them and be around them, and they bring their sordid affairs into my BECOMES my business.
*sigh* What's a girl to do?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Watch this space...

It seems it has been awhile since I've written the ol' blog, and I thought today would be an appropriate day. I've had the weirdest last four days or so, and I cannot help but think, "What the heck is God doing?"
I'm not asking this in an impertinent way; I'm actually excited to see what it is. For some reason I have the feeling that there is a point to all the weirdness and moments of discomfort that I've been having. It all stems back to a single theme, so as I said, I'm excited to see what God does with me and with my life.
I will also comment that it is so good to be able to rely on God to be constantly changing and working through us. Even when I feel like my life may be stagnant (not recently, but I most certainly have felt that way), God is still present and he is still at work. When I try to imagine a life without God and the hope of heaven, I am overwhelmed with loneliness and despair. I'm sorry, but I just can't understand how people can be content to go through life without any real purpose!
OK, end rant. With Easter coming up, I feel like many things are coming into sharp focus for me, spiritually. For this, and the empty tomb, I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Great Jehoshaphat!!

So many things in the Old Testament really speak to me. 2 Chronicles 20 is no exception. I actually cried while reading it. No joke.

Moabites, Ammonites, and men from Mt. Seir are marching on Judah unprovoked. They have a vast army, they're on their way, and King Jehoshaphat has no idea what to do. So he does the best thing a man can do when he's at the end of his own wisdom, that is, he called upon the Lord. He pronounced a fast for all of Judah, and he prayed in front of the entire kingdom, pleading for God's help.

I think the key words of his prayer were: "For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

And through the discernment of a man called Jahaziel, God answered:
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." He goes on to say, "You will not have to fight this battle."

Now, we know from previous parts of the Old Testament that the Lord is a Warrior, the Lord is our Banner, and the rest of the war-like attributes of YHWH. Judah might not have known that they literally would have to fight NO battle. They might have thought that Jehovah would be fighting with and for them and that they would succeed. Not so.

Not one from the kingdom of Judah perished. Not one had to swing a sword or loose an arrow. At the vanguard of the army of Judah, King Jehoshaphat placed men worshipping and praising God, presumably instead of his strongest fighters, and as they crested the hill to the battlefield... army waited for them there! Well, that's incorrect...there was an army, but every Moabite, Ammonite and Meunite warrior that had marched out against Judah lay dead on the ground. They had ambushed and scuffled with each other, and by the time Judah got there, none had survived. If the Lord can slay an entire army of men without any help from His people, how much more so our little problems and worries!

"Do not be discouraged. Do not be afraid. The Lord is with you."

What more needs to be said?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Answered Prayers (?)

I'll be the first to admit that my life is pretty blessed. If I didn't believe in divine providence, I might even describe myself as "lucky". The past ten years of my life have been pretty darn great, and I would be the world's biggest ingrate to complain about anything, really.

The problem with this is that I start getting ridiculously optimistic about everything. When people do things or try things and fail, I will always think that I'll be different. I went on a blind date awhile ago, actually thinking, "It can't possibly be as bad as all that!" Well, surprise! It was. Still, I chalk it up to experience and move on.

Things that I pray for usually happen, too. I'm not saying I'm ever-so-holy and have the secret to prayer or anything. I'm just stating what I know: for whatever reason, God generally answers my prayers in amazing ways. So when I pray for my friends and family, I naturally assume that things will all work out how I think they should. Last night, however, I got the startling realization that, as the old song says, "it ain't necessarily so".

We in my Sunday school class have been praying for one of our own brothers. He had a trial at court yesterday, and instead of turning out how we'd hoped, he's been sentenced to two years of incarceration. When I heard this, I literally could not believe it. I sat there staring and shaking my head. "This isn't right," my brain was thinking. I simply could not compute that something like this would happen...hadn't I been praying?!

Of course, I had. We had all been praying. But no matter what, God is still God. He knows what He's doing, and we must trust this above all. Perhaps our brother can do more good for the Kingdom while he is inside the walls of prison, I don't know. That's where he was first touched by God's love and mercy, so maybe it's now his job to bring it to others. Perhaps this is just earthly consequences for earthly screw-ups. Again, I don't know. I don't need to know.

What I do need to do...I assume we will be able to visit him, bring cookies and brownies and books and smiles and whatnot. It might be hard to visit very often because of course he has family and girlfriend and all that will have first priority. But what I will certainly not do is stop praying. Never, ever stop praying.

Ephesians 6 says "Pray in the spirit on all occasions, with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Lent. With an "E".

Everyone likes to make jokes about "lint" when I say something about the season of Lent. Thus, the title of this blog.

Anyway, the Lenten season is upon us, and for many people I know who grew up Protestant, this means little. Lent, for those who were not raised Catholic or simply don't know, is the forty days (not counting Sundays) leading up to Easter. I cannot fully explain why I observe Lent, but I do believe it has something to do with wanting to embrace the gravity and holiness of the days leading up to the crucifixion and resurrection of our Savior. Also, I liked to meet my Grandma half-way with things when I was growing up, like reading her Catholic Bible, learning to say the Rosary (not necessarily doing it, but knowing about it), and things like that. My mom and I liked to keep an open religious forum in our family. But I digress.

Lent is not simply about "giving up" things. I do not do the whole vegetarian thing like many Catholics do, with allowances for fish on Friday. In fact, I had steak last night...on a Sunday! However, I have forsaken certain things that I like in order to hopefully become more focused on spiritual things. It's a form of fasting.

For me this year, I have chosen to give up all alcohol and not allow myself to watch over one hour of TV a day. If I watch a movie, I make an exception. I found myself watching too much TV lately, and thought that there were certainly more contructive ways to use my time. I'm not fooling myself or anyone else by saying that all this extra time and energy is going to be put toward prayer or reading my Bible...I'm not that holy! But when I turn off the TV after only one episode of Law and Order (instead of three or more!), I think about why I am doing it. When I sheepishly tell the waitress at a bar that I would like some hot chocolate instead of a shot of schnapps or something, I think about the conviction and reasoning behind it. It's a bonus when people ask me why I'm doing it...I get to witness to them a bit!

So there you go. I think about my Grandma Betty a lot during this season, too. It makes me sad and happy at the same time: sad because I miss her, but happy because I know she's in Heaven and having a great time, and that I will see her someday soon. Lately, I find myself wearing a lot of the jewelry she gave me, just as a little remembrance. My days are imbued with a little more meaning in this season, and I don't think anyone can fault that!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Days After the Dunking

Well, I guess I'm an official member of Bear Valley Church...seeing as they got their wish to baptize me again! I've got to say, I don't feel much different...not that I really expected to. Wouldn't it be nice if a good dunking on a winter's day could completely transform your Christian walk and make you feel more holy? Well, too bad! Doesn't work like that.
Truth is, like maintaining any other sort of relationship, keeping close to God when there's all this busy-ness about can be difficult. To keep up a relationship, there must be communication and sometimes I feel I'm sadly lacking on my end of the deal.
Lent is coming up and I think that there might be more of a feeling of communion with God, as I forsake certain things that I love on this Earth, in deference to the more important things that are spiritual and cannot be seen. We'll see, we'll see...

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Two Weeks Later...

So it has been exactly two weeks since I decided to stop drinking when I go out at night. I think, to be exact, that I have had two thimbles of sake at sushi, and one margarita when we went out for Mexican. Oh yes, and the obligatory wine with dinner when we went to Mongolian. All of those times I was out to dinner with Dad, a loophole that I expressly built into the new rules. Reason? Good question, with multiple answers: so I won't be an annoying tee-totaller (it could happen!), so Dad won't drink alone (co-dependent reason?), because I felt like it.

I think that since alcohol has been ingrained in the way I go about my business for the last four years or so, it was a bit of a leap to say NO MORE, in that very cold turkey fashion. So I've allowed myself these loopholes not to exploit, but to hopefully re-develop a good relationship with alcohol. I certainly don't want alcohol to be on a pedestal, but nor do I want it to be demonized. I think, above all, that I needed to realize it was my own behavior that was wrong, not the drink itself.

That said, come Lent I will be fasting from alcohol altogether, as well as coffee...heretofore my two favorite liquids!! Hopefully this will mean a) I will be able to focus on Christ's Passion and Resurrection, the meaning of the Lenten season, and b) that I will realize that I can thrive independently from liquids which alter my mood and mental state. Maybe I'll even drink more water, who knows?!

So that was just a little update into my progress. I haven't had a drink in a bar or a club for two whole weeks, and I can only think of one time that I was tempted to break the new rule. Praise God for spiritual conviction, and for the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wilde Wisdom

Oscar Wilde said, "One can always be kind to people whom one cares nothing about."

Usually I agree with the smart-arse things that Oscar Wilde is recorded as saying, but after the events of last night, I can't say I agree with this one.

There is a woman who has recently come to live in our house. She's the girlfriend of the man who lives in our basement. Word on the street is that before she came to live with us, she was a nice sober Catholic girl who still lived with her parents into her forties. All I know of her is that she seems to be a very small, constantly drunk woman. Her and her boyfriend always...and I mean always...come home drunk. I'm usually trying to watch a little TV after work on the couch, which has the ill-fortune of being right by the front door. They seriously cannot take the most blatant hint, because no matter how much I turn up the volume or try not to listen to them, they will continue to talk to me about inane things, breath through their mouths on me, and generally act like idiots.

So last night, the woman corners me while I'm loading dishes into the dishwasher and she starts talking to me about how afraid she is of me. "I'm really, really shy," she insists. I realize that's probably why she only talks to me, in very large quantities, while she's drunk. Unfortunately for her, the main reason I would NOT want to talk to her is that she always tries to have conversations while she's drunk!! We are at an impasse. So here's this forty-something woman trying to ask me to teach her to knit so that we can watch movies and knit together.

I'm thinking, The last thing I need is to befriend another one of these psychos that live in the basement. They always turn out to be insane, and then they move out six months later or something. I don't want to knit and watch movies with you. I can barely stand the sight of you. I want to slap you whenever you come near me and slur your words and cry at me. I feel guilty because I don't really think this is the ideal Christian response to this situation. Even last night, while she was drunkenly trying to discuss which church she should start attending, it was all I could do not to scream.

Last night kind of devolved from there, ending in her screaming at her boyfriend in the basement at 12:30am, and my Dad coming out of his room to tell them to Shut...the f@&*... up! Oh, it was gloriously reminiscent of my childhood. Could we please have adventures like this every night?! (She said, every word dripping with sarcasm...)

Is it unChristian of me to launch a campaign to get them out of our house? I feel I will soon be driven mad.

Take THAT Oscar Wilde.

Sunday, January 21, 2007


As of last night, I have stopped drinking. It's not because I was leaning over a toilet all night (I wasn't) or because I have a killer hangover (I don't). I just finally realized that in most situations, I cannot seem to handle myself in a mature and temperant fashion. In bars or clubs, I almost always drink too much and behave in a way that I wouldn't normally.
I vow not to be a complete tee-totaller. If there is a champagne toast, I will take it. If there is wine with dinner, I might consider it. But otherwise, I'm staying dry. I'm sure I won't even really miss it. I'm sure my body and brain cells will thank me. I know my guilt reflex will get a bit of a break, at least!
That's all, really. I prayed last night that I am able to stick with my decision. Perhaps one day I will be able to move up in the world, and control myself like a normal human. Until then...

Monday, January 15, 2007


I feel I am being catapulted into a new phase of rife with responsibility, the likes of which I haven't felt the pressures of since being Student Council President of my college. Back then, I was not just a figure head to a giant mass of people...I was on a first name basis with probably 60% of the Student Body, and the personal friend of many of the professors, whom we called by their first names. It was a Christian college, and there were certain things I didn't do that year that I might have done any other time (get a tattoo, be a photographer's model, etc...) because I considered my responsibility to these people important. I wanted to be above reproach, no matter how silly or trivial that reproach may have seemed to me then.

Now, a leader in our church is proposing a Sunday night young adult service (college age, if you must put a further label on it!). The leadership positions for this service are up for grabs, as it were, and being one who has her degree in Music Ministry, I was approached as a choice to lead worship. Basically I was told that I would be handed the reins, that I could do what I felt led to do; what I was trained for three intense years to do well. More than flattery, this was huge for me. I haven't as yet done anything in the vein related to the degree I hold. I have thus far felt I wasn't prepared for more leadership positions, that my life was not right on track where a leader's should be.

This feeling was exacerbated when I saw the papers yesterday that we are to sign when we are to be considered for these positions. They were pretty general, stating commitment lengths and job descriptions and the like. But of course, there were those words, echoing those in the Bible, about being a Christian in good standing, who leads the kind of life that could uphold scrutiny, one that would be above reproach. I say without compunction that this is probably not the life I have been leading in Colorado up to this point. When you think about leading a life that everyone looks at and thinks, "Yup, they're doing everything right!"...the thought is quite daunting! How do these people do it?

I like to have a drink or two. I like to get loud when I play pool. I'm sarcastic and say ridiculous things for a laugh. I've stated before that I don't really follow all the rules of being a "lady": no one's looking to me for etiquette and gracefulness. I know this perhaps has little to do with being a good Christian woman, but sometimes I can get caught up in thinking that living a life above reproach is living a life that is perfect and well, more than a little fake. Yes, I love God with all my being. Yes, I want to be always smack dab in the middle of His will for my life. Yes, I have held leadership positions in the past. Why am I so gun-shy now?

My insecurities aside, through thought and prayer I have discerned that this position is probably the direction that my life is heading in. Just before all this business of the new Sunday service came along, I was putting things in motion to become a member of Bear Valley Church. Since they are associated with the Baptist church, this means I would have to be baptized again, because I was not immersed the first time. At first I chafed against this idea. Was one baptism not good enough for these people? I've been a Christian for ten years! Then I let humility and reason take over. Immersion perhaps is a slightly better symbol of what baptism means. I will be getting baptized on February 11th, 2007, and when I emerge from the waters a cleansed woman of God, I will consider this yet another stepping stone into my new life.

Whether all this new service stuff comes to be or not, I know that God has not called me to lead a quiet life. My whole existence up to now points to leadership, points to being perhaps more accountable than the average person. I have many a spiritual story to back this up! So, all future implications aside, yesterday will be marked as a turning point in my life. I need to change my attitudes, my habits, my outlook on Christianity and where I fit into the big picture of grace and redemption. I need to accept mercy with humility, and grasp opportunity with both hands and a grateful and solemn heart.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Jellyfish. Whale.

I hate New Year's resolutions. I can't really articulate why, which is bad for someone who professes to be a writer...but I hate the idea of them. I guess I hate the idea of waiting until a whole year is up to decide to change all your bad habits...or at least say you will.

But, with all my hating, I will admit that I have submitted somewhat and changed my habits ever so slightly to try to improve my quality of life. I'm trying to be more healthy, spiritually and emotionally and perhaps even physically, from this day forth.

When I get up in the morning, I no longer set my alarm for exactly thirty minutes before I must get out the door. I allow myself time to stretch, read my Bible, pray, actually eat know, all the little luxuries. I actually have decided that making my bed every day might be a good change of pace. It will teach me a small amount of discipline. I also like to read the words of John Wesley or Charles Spurgeon right before I pray and go to bed, just to have good things to meditate on in the night. For a return to normalcy, I will also try to eat at least three meals a day, if not six small ones.

I'm trying to be more disciplined about my writing, my work, my habits. I'm trying to live a more intentional life, instead of just drifting along like some aimless jellyfish, with no point and no spine, blindly hurting anyone unfortunate enough to run into me. I'd rather be like a whale: beloved, purposeful and intelligent, going with the current but with a destination in mind, loving those in the pod that God has given me.

OK, enough sea creature metaphors, but you see my point.

Oh, and happy new year my friends.