Saturday, March 21, 2009


I am still waiting to hear back from City Year. I am having a heck of a time with one of my references, so of course I feel like a flake. Plus the people at the office have been so patient with me about all of this paperwork and such. I really, really want to do this. I've been praying over the last couple of days for a renewed sense of desire for what God wants. Where is His heart in what I am doing? What does He care about? What does He like?

Today has been a really good day. Excellent. So was yesterday. K and I had a great day together, playing at Mamalu's and reading fairy tales when we got home. I love walking from their house to the B61 bus stop in the evenings. I take a long route there, and it's during the early evening when the sun is setting. It is so beautiful. I really love Williamsburg and Greenpoint. And I especially love not taking the L train. I'd always rather take the bus. So much more to see.

I've gotten into this TV show Jericho. It was a show about a town in Kansas dealing with a nuclear attack that destroyed 23 American cities. One of those post-apocalyptic shows. It only lasted for 29 episodes, but it was such an incredible show. I never watched it when it was actually on TV, just over the last couple of months on Netflix. I think I got started in November or December. Anyway, I finally watched the finale last night. Fantastic. Loved it. The thing I love about this show (among other things) is how it is structured. I find incredible parallels between the show and the Gospel. The first season was all about rebuilding Jericho and what that looked like, about getting a town put back together and getting it right again. Season two was about foreign attacks, dealing with outside influences, maintaining wholeness found. If my heart is not right towards God, I cannot fully love other people. Like this quote in Boundaries I keeping coming back to: "To know what to ask for, we have to be in touch with who we really are and what are our real motives." So, so true. Two separate things are going in: God is fixing individuals and God is fixing His creation. God heals us for a purpose. The healing is not in and of itself the final end, but rather it is a part of the ending, a part of the final redemption.

Also, I am so struck by the incredible passion in the show for the redemption of the world, for the full truth to be told and to be known, for a rebuilding. I know I am not passionate about God's kingdom, not as passionate as I should be. I am too inward looking, to self-centered, to me-focused. I hate it. I need to look up more. I need to look at my Creator and His mercy and grace as much as I consider my own failure and sin.

Yet again, I feel like I cannot convey what I am actually trying to say. I feel like I am so poetic in my own head, but that's because I don't have to communicate with real words. Sometimes a feeling is enough. I wish I could play the guitar, so my fingers could strum out a melody that my mouth could never put words to. It would be exactly what I am feeling right now.

Speaking of feeling right now, I am in general so excited about the future! I'm not sure why, only because I know a God who brings delight and who has promised hope and a future for all of us. And the best part is He knows me and will never forget me nor look past me. I still think this is absolutely incredible. It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Jerry has to miss the softball game because of a funeral. George is trying to talk Jerry out of feeling guilty about not going to the funeral and says to him "If you're a spirit, and you can travel to other dimensions and galaxies, and find out the mysteries of the universe, you think she's going to want to hang around Drexler's funeral home on Ocean Parkway?"

If I was the God of the universe, would I care so much about this one planet in this one galaxy? And these people who lived and died on it? It's like me now taking an equal interest in every single ant that's existed ever on this planet. What?! Crazy. Crazy, crazy, crazy how much God loves us. I guess all of this connects back to John Piper's Desiring God. If God truly was the best thing in the universe, He could not be a good God if He did not offer Himself to us. Something like that. Part of that.

Once again, I am thinking of moving to New Orleans. I'm going to apply in October for Teach for America and Teach NOLA, as well as NYC Teaching Fellows and Mississippi Teachers Corps. I know I want to be a teacher. God has definitely been growing in me a heart for New Orleans for a long time. Who knows. He does.

I just felt like writing a bit in the journal. Not a whole lot to say. Pretty content with life right now. In love with Jesus, but only, only because He was in love with me first.

Quote for the day will come from Jericho:

"It's not about convincing one man he's wrong. It's a whole system."
"You think it's impossible? This has all happened before. If the names weren't Jennings & Rall, it would be names like the British East India Trading Company. If it wasn't Ravenwood, it would be the Hessian mercenaries. It all comes down to the same thing..."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Daughter of the King

I have been meaning to update this blog for a month now, and I'm still not quite sure how I never got around to it.

I feel like my life has been a roller coaster ride this past month. Or this past six months. I've been growing up. Learning a lot. Life is good, it always is, always will be. Doesn't mean it doesn't hurt or isn't painful, but that ultimately it is good. Because God is good. Not only is He good, He cannot be anything but good.

I had this revelation on Monday night. The Holy Spirit just flooded me/floored me with it. First off, I too often gloss over the idea that I am in a relationship with God. I'm not quite sure how I manage to do this, but I do. I think of God up there and me down here, and I never consider the idea that we are together. Because if I was Him, I'd totally have already broken up with myself. But He's sticking with me, for better or worse, forever kind of thing. I realized I had been treating God like I was a bug and He was waiting to squash me if I stepped over the line, if I didn't measure up, if I messed up at all. Like God was a mean kid with a magnifying glass, waiting to burn me up. I treat God like a slave driver, like a miserable old man. How awful! What am I doing? That is not the God I worship. That is not the God I follow.

What got me thinking about all of this was considering money and my budget and City Year (more on this later). I was researching the size of the stipend corps members get from City Year and whether or not it would be enough to pay my rent. If not, I was going to ask my parents for the money, if they could fully support me during those ten months if there wasn't a stipend sufficient to do so. And I got to thinking, I'm not 100% sure if they would say yes, but I would never hesitate to ask them because I know they love me. I would have no qualms about asking. I know they would still love me and I would still love them if they did say no. So, if I am this confident in my relationship with my earthly parents, why do I not have the same confidence in my relationship with my perfect heavenly Father?

I got to thinking about Matthew 7:7-11, about the giving of good gifts:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; those who seek find; and to those who knock, the door will be opened. Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Of if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him?"

Wow. I know I am incredibly selfish person. I realize it more and more every day. To think that I can ask God for something to me sounds both humble and selfish, if that's even possible. Like, why should I ask for something in the first place? Do I really need what I'm asking for? And humbling because I actually have to get on my face before God and proclaim that I am needy, that I am incomplete. I just think of growing up how my dad used to call my mother "needy" all of the time. How growing up I never asked for anything. Either I would get it myself, I would just take it or I would do without.

My dad grew up poor. Like, really, really poor. Dirt floor poor. He would tell me and my brother stories about growing up and we would always cry because they were so heartbreaking. And at the end he would always say "But we don't have to live like that anymore!" And D and I would never believe him. We would feel we had to do penance for having food on our table or something like that. We as children could not get past the heartbreak of the past to actually live a better life in the present. All we would see was the hurt, never the healing. Maybe that's because healing is hard. It's never perfect. Maybe because our dad was never healed. This is making me think of the movie Magnolia, how the movie is all about the beauty of being broken. But ultimately the movie is never satisfying because there is no healing at the end. There is just brokenness. When William H. Macy's character says "I really do have love to give! I just don't know where to put it!" part of me screams at him "Put it in Jesus!" and part of me screams "I know exactly what you mean!"

You know the phrase "'Tis better to give than receive?" Yeah, it's true. But it is so much harder to receive. At least for me it is. I remember being in third grade and my teacher, Ms. Bradley, complimenting me in front of the whole class. I remember hiding under the desk until she was done. Of course, I was just being a good, modest Southern girl. That's what everyone told me. But really I just had a boundaries problem. I couldn't let the good in. And when I was in second grade everyone used to tell me how much I looked like my mom. I used to get so angry, one because I didn't realize it was a compliment, and two because I didn't like my mom back then.

This is kind of an emo blog entry. Promise, I'm actually doing well. Except for a bit of a sore throat. And the realization that I am addicted to caffeine. Not a whole lot, not enough to make me a fiend, but just enough to miss my three in the afternoon cup of black tea. I have given up caffeinated beverages for Lent. No more coffee, Americanos, black tea or hot chocolate. It's been a week, and my brain is letting me know it's not entirely thrilled about this.

So City Year! This is exactly what I want to do! Since about August I have felt God strongly calling me to stay in New York, so I have decided to apply for City Year New York. It's a program with NYC public schools where I will be a mentor/tutor in an elementary school classroom. Basically America Reads but also including the afterschool program as well. I am incredibly, incredibly excited for it! I would most definitely appreciate any prayer for this. I truly feel led to this program by the Lord, and I definitely would like to dedicate a year of my life to service.

I actually am loved! What a concept! Thank You Lord Jesus for Your perfect, perfect love. I know I spend too much time looking inward at my own sin and not enough time considering the God I follow, the God who breaks me so He may heal, and not just me but the entire world, fallen as it may be, He has deemed it worthy of redemption. The phrase "it's not about me" takes on so many new levels here. Live like you're loved, because you are.

L's family is on a cruise this week, so I had Monday and Tuesday off from work. Did they pick a perfect week to get out of New York!

This entry may not actually make any sense. It may not be true. But it is the thoughts inside my head. I love my God, my family, my friends, my life, my job. I embrace the future God holds for me, and I long for nothing more than to glorify my Lord, my King, forever. I long for nothing more than to know Him and make Him known. I long to be His vessel here on earth, to pick fruit and shepherd sheep. I long for nothing more than Him Himself, for all else is empty and He alone satisfies. I know He is good, I know He is great. Thank You Jesus. Thank You Jesus.

Life is good. Today's quote comes from Magnolia as well:

"I lost my gun today when I left you and I'm the laughingstock of a lot of people. I wanted to tell you. I wanted you to know and it's on my mind. And it makes me look like a fool. And I feel like a fool. And you asked that we should say things - that we should say what we're thinking and not lie about things. Well, I can tell you that, this, that I lost my gun today - and I am not a good cop. And I'm looked down at. And I know that. And I'm scared that once you find that out you may not like me."