Monday, July 31, 2006

Give every minute to the One who's given today

[Every Moment, Joy Williams]

This weekend was like a small reunion of sorts. I spoke on the phone for literally about ten hours- and I rarely talk on the phone- to friends from each of my phases in life- Jill, who I've known since sixth grade; Darla, who has been one of my closest friends since high school; Shiona, one of my best friends since college; and Becca, one of my roommates and my closest friend now in T_F^A.

I've been thinking a lot about who I am. In John 8:14 Jesus said:

For I know where I came from and where I am going.
I've been ruminating over the fact that I feel like in many ways over the last year and a half I have really lost my sense of direction and where I'm going in life. Well, had, not have.

I've always known with a quiet certainty that I will marry someone in the ministry. Not because I think I deserve it, or because I think that it's more spiritual than serving Christ via a secular job. It's just something that I feel God has not only said will happen, but that He's also been preparing me for. Others in my life, godly friends and mentors whom I respect greatly, have told me they see this as well- often even when I haven't told them what God has said to me about it.

I also believe that God has specific plans for how He wants to use me in the ministry. Five years ago I went to see Beth Moore in person for the first time, at NNU (Northwest Nazarene University) in Nampa, ID. It was a precious experience, where God turned up the heat on breaking through my deep insecurities, my longing thirst for unconditional and validating love, and brought me to His feet in worship and brokenness.

The main message He inscribed on my heart that weekend was that I was an empty cup, and I was trying to take things of this world- approval, acceptance, achievement, accolades, acquisitions, affection- in order to feel fulfilled. Beth did an illustration where she took an empty tin cup and threw in a few coins. Then she shook it from side to side. My heart twisted inside out at the sound- the hollow empty clang of the coins rattling inside awoke my slumbering spirit. How truly tragic that sound in my own life to that point must have been to the Lord.

His desire is to be the Living Water in my life, to fill me to the brim and overflow into lives around me. When God uses things in this world to bless me and I am already filled with Him it only causes more of His thirst-quenching, life giving power to flood the other empty cups around me. But I was not there- I was empty and bashing my poor cup to pieces trying to find fulfillment in a few pennies of the world's treasures.

For perhaps only the second time in my life I was brought to the heart of God, saw my own inadequacy, and was broken before Him. How could I ever be filled with Him? How could one as frail and broken as I was access that well of Life and be filled? Ever faithful, the Lord lifted my head and said, simply, "Walk with me, Daughter."

In a later session, Beth was onstage digging deep into- and rightly dividing- the Word of God with nearly a thousand women (and a few men) joining her. The beauty of lives changing right there before my very eyes was awe-inspiring. Seemingly out of nowhere a quiet, still voice whispered, "I want to use you to do something like this, T___." Shock mingled with disbelief and I pushed the thought to the back of my mind.

Flash forward three years, and I filled in for a few Bible studies for my beloved Mamacita (K@thy, my second mother). I found that I absolutely loved studying God's Word, and not only that- the Holy Spirit revealed things to me! I saw things in scripture that even my much respected pastors hadn't seen when I shared what the Spirit had revealed to me. Not only that, but I absolutely loved getting to share those things with the high school girls, and my fervent prayer and desire was not accolades but for transformation in their lives.

So lately I've been thinking about where I came from; God has faithfully built a firm foundation established upon His Word under my feet. My background is a beautiful mosaic with dark tiles that only cause the times of light to burst in radiance. My life is without a single accident or oversight in detail, and I have come from 24 years of seeing the Lord's hand clearly on me, even pre-salvation.

From Christ and of Christ I have come; where, then, am I going?

I've contemplated this, recently, as well.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

If you correctly name my favorite three Ammo-approved nicknames from the video in the previous entry, and you're someone I actually know in real life, then I totally owe you a date. Lunch, coffee, an frozen malt beverage, whatever.

Bring it on, baby. Bring it on.

Ammo is my boyfriend

There's a reason why I have claimed that Adam Morrison is my boyfriend.

I was going to write something deep and inspiring tonight. Instead, I can't stop laughing at the greatest commercial ever.

I'm sure some commercial-writing producer type wrote the list, but I like to pretend that Ammo himself came up with these.

Watch this:

Which one do you think is my favorite?

MAJOR props if you can list my top three in order.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

People keep repeatin' that you'll never fall in love

[Let My Love Open the Door, Pete Townshend]

It seems my muse in on vacation.

I can't really blame her- it is the end of July and, let's face it, summer isn't going to last forever.

So... I'm going to try and write without her. Hopefully she approves.

This morning (ok, I woke up at noon. Not on purpose. I just hit snooze so many times that my alarm clock stopped going off. Oops.) I was trying to motivate myself into... something. I was a bit lethargic from sleeping for 11 hours, so I was going back and forth between ESPN and MTV. I'm not normally into "Making the Band" but on the episode I was (kind of) watching they were in the studio recording and that whole process fascinates me. Lame excuse, I know, but it's true.

All of a sudden the TV went "POP" and shut off. Totally dead. It won't turn on at all.

So I figured if that didn't get through to me that I should start working on stuff for school then nothing ever would.

The truth is... I've been thinking a lot about the end times lately. Yes, it's true- I'm one of those "crazy" Christians that believes Jesus Christ is going to rapture all of the Christians and then return after seven years of tribulation on the earth. I believe the Bible is literal. I do think that we live in the latter days.

That said, I have no idea when Christ will return. It could be in 10 minutes or it could be in a hundred years. I really don't know. The fact is, nobody does. The Bible says no one but the Father knows the day or the hour, but when it does happen it will be in the twinkling of an eye. So really, I don't know when it's coming. But if it did happen tomorrow, would I be ready? plus, there is also the chance that the Lord could choose to take me home via death in my physical body; it's not just the chance of the rapture that has me thinking about what I'm doing with my life. Am I really living my life as such that were it all to end in the next breath I would have no regrets?

The thing is, I am called by God's word to live circumspectly and wise, and to redeem the time. I'm not saying TV is inherently evil, but at the same time, I don't want to waste my life. Last year I wasted so much time. I really want to be more focused and intentional and do my best for my kids (and in my spiritual life, and just in general). I want to be the best teacher, the best friend, the most faihtful servant of the Lord that I can be.

And I want to start flossing. So I'm going to do that, now. After that, my highlighter, pen, and TF@ materials are ready for me to dive in and get to work.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dear Tony Reali,

Marry me.

When you smile, my face lights up. When you crack yourself up, I can't stop from laughing with you. Or at you. But I adore you all the more.

You are a statistical genius... particularly concerning sports, and we all know that's the most important stat field there is. Your intelligence and smooth delivery capture my attention- and my mind and heart.

When you talk on Around the Horn (or make appearances on PTI) I can only stare at the screen and think about how wonderful you are.

I disagree with you allowing Smith to get the second cut today- you were very stingy allotting him his points. His answer was incredible. But I love you nonetheless.

Call me.

And then marry me.

What I chase won't set me free

[Sympathy, Goo Goo Dolls]

There's not much new on the home front.

I just really like those song lyrics and needed an excuse to share them with people.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

This song has been ministering to my heart oodles today... I heard it on KLOVE when driving in HTown and promptly came home and bought it off iTunes. I know it's old, and I can't believe that I own 200 Christian CD's and none of them have this song on it, but I have it now!

If You Want Me To by Ginny Owens

The pathway is broken
And the signs are unclear
And I dont know the reason why You brought me here
But just because You love me the way that You do
I'm gonna walk through the valley
If You want me to

'Cuz I'm not who I was
When I took my first step
And I'm clinging to the promise
You're not through with me yet
So if all of these trials bring me closer to You
Then I will go through the fire
If You want me to

It may not be the way I would have chosen
When You lead me through a world that's not my own
But You never said it would be easy
You only said I'll never go alone

So when the whole world turns against me
And I'm all by myself
And I can't hear You answer my cries for help
I'll remember the suffering Your love put You through
And I will go through the valley
If You want me to

I'm not who I was when I took my first step...

... and I'm clinging to the promise that You're not through with me yet.

[If You Want Me To, Ginny Owens]

I hate DRA-MA! I try to keep it out of my life, and avoid it. Sometimes it tends to happen whether I like it or not. I have another blog (my first ever) that I have kept on a different site for over two years. I don't feel like telling the whole story because it's not worth my time, but the scary guy I have mentioned pretended to be a 26 year old woman to befriend me on there, and then to say things behind "her" mask that were aimed at hurting me all over again.

The good thing is that the Lord allowed me to have a gut instinct from the beginning that it might be him, and an entry today completely confirmed my instincts. I was able to block him.

Grrr! I just want him out of my life! I am focused on Christ and He has been so faithful, but I did wake up panicked again last night. I'm fine- don't worry! I prayed and am dealing with this and I know my resolve (and feet) are set firmly on my Lord. It's just frustrating to have something like this in my life that I haven't ever had to deal with before.

So onto the rest of my life. Today I helped out a new T-F*A'er get into a friend's house to buy some furniture and such. He was so nice! It was great to help him out. He was so sweet, and was genuinely grateful and said, "Thanks for being so cool." It was such a blessing to hear! I really want to help out the new C^M's in any way that I can, to bless them and inspire them. To hear that he was blessed made me happy in my heart!

He was a little befuddled as to how to get back to H-town so I let him follow me to the interstate. It was the opposite direction of home, and I realized that I'm in need of printer paper and superglue, so I might as well just drive the extra ten miles and go to Staples. As soon as I was within 3 minutes of the store the world's most intense torrential downpour hit, and I was COMPLETELY soaked in the 10 seconds it took me to run from my car to the store. Meh.

After that I almost went and saw a movie by myself, just to get my mind off things (and because it's only $5. And because it's awesome to do.) but the outpouring of mother nature caused me to change my mind. I actually had to, along with most everyone else, turn my hazard lights on for the trip home because the rain was so bad. I still drove 60 though :)

Now I'm enjoying a little Ar0und the H0rn and P*TI, maybe a little Sport$Center. Then I think I will watch a movie and try to think NOT about scary ex-boyfriends stalking me!

PS Just of for you, Clint0nius- I thought you'd like to know that I (intentionally) buy 100% recycled paper. It's worth the extra two bucks ;)

Monday, July 24, 2006

I thought that I was all alone, broken and afraid, but You were there with me

[Mountain of God, Third Day]

I just have to give praise and glory to my faithful Lord.

The last few nights were scary, and very hard on me. I've never had to deal with anything like that in my life. I've had some fairly terrible things happen to me in my life, but I have never lived in fear of another person. I was frustrated with myself because he hasn't done anything to cause me to think he might hurt me... being angry and hurtful with words is one thing, but driving six hours to do physical harm to someone- particularly a woman- is quite another. So I had to deal not only with the poisonous fear coursing through my veins, but also the fact that I was worried that I was a bit mental for coming up with the notion that he might hurt me.

God is so good to me, though. Last night in my quiet time with Him- time set aside and carved out specifically so that I can just be with Him, and grow in my relationship with Christ- the Lord was faithful to speak to me and soothe my aching heart. First of all, He is my protection. Secondly, He wants to cleanse me of the anger and controversy, that I can lift up clean hands with a clear conscience before Him. Finally, He tells me to pray at all times for all people that He would grant them His mercy; I am to also thank Him. I need to believe God.

It wasn't easy to do, and I confessed that, but I prayed for the mercy of God to come to ________. I gave him over to the Lord to deal with; and not in anger and spite. Kindness and love toward an enemy heaps burning coals on their head. It is not my concern how Christ deals with ________. I only know that he's not MY concern and I have too much of a wonderful life to live to be worried about him.

The Lord really ministered to me with this verse:

For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” (Romans 8:15, NKJV)
I have a Father who has grafted me into His own family; He loves me every bit as much as He does His own son, Jesus Christ. I am not to be a slave to fear; I belong to my God. When I cry out to Him I am always heard, always received, always loved.

This love casts out and decimates all fears. Perfect love- the unconditional, selfless, and pure love of God- it knows all, conquers all, and heals that which is broken.

I am more than a conqueror in Christ.

Last night I slept soundlessly. I also slept for ten hours and am slightly concerned about staying to my new (normal) sleeping schedule since I didn't wake up until 1 pm.

What can I do but smile at that? :)

You saved me from the everything I couldn't be

[Here With Me, Jennifer Paige]

I haven't slept well the last few nights.

Anyone even remotely close to me knows that I am a champion sleeper. Were sleeping an Olympic event I would be a serious contender for gold.

The most I have slept in the last few nights is a three hour block from the hours of 4-7 when my body is so exhausted that it simply tries to trick my mind into slumber. Otherwise I wake up 4-10 times an hour. Normally, if I have nothing to get up for, I will sleep 10-14 hours. Lately I haven't been able to sleep more than 7 before I drag my exhausted self from bed because I couldn't fall back asleep if I wanted to.

This is not me.

You might think it's just adjusting my sleep schedule. But it's not. The truth is that I wake up to every miniscule sound. My heart races so fast that I can feel it from my throat to my stomach. If there are noises I remain frigid in my bed, stiff with fear.

I am afraid that he's snapped and has come after me.

I have no real reason to think this. A few hateful e-mails and text messages don't mean he's going to come physically harm me. But I'm scared of him nonetheless.

This isn't me. I'm always the first to venture into the dark- often ahead of most of the guys. I walk around my house alone at night in the dark for fun, just to see if I could make it were I to lose my eyesight; I never fear someone unwanted is lurking around the next lightless corner. Sure, I have some irrational fear that a complete stranger will break into my house and rape and stab me, but you might be surprised how many girls have at least a phantom-fear of this, especially if they live alone. It's never actually affected me in any tangible way.

I hate the way I feel right now. I'm praying, and spending time in the Word, but I just want it to go away. Why am I afraid of him? How could a few scathingly hatred-filled e-mails from him affect me this deeply? I don't miss him. I'm struggling to forgive him. I resent him. It takes every ounce of self-control possible to ignore him when he lashes out, and not write back exactly what I think of him. He's blocked in every way possible and I finally got my stuff back so I won't need to open any more correspondence from him.

Nevertheless the fear remains.

I am normally so... together. Confident and self-assured, unwavering in faith. I don't worry. I don't fret. I don't get overcome with emotion.

Minutes ago I was brushing my teeth and burst into tears. I had to sit down and pull myself together.

I hate him for doing this to me.

I'm exhausted, distraught, afraid, alone, unsettled, vulnerable, and overall frail.

I know there's a purpose to all of this... but I don't recognize this person currently inhabiting my body and I certainly don't want her to stick around.

I'm going to attempt to sleep. I pray I will sleep through the night.

That hasn't been a problem since I was less than two years old.

I pray this ends soon.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

People all over the world- join hands- start a love train, a love train

[Love Train, The O'Jays]

Church today was SUCH a blessing. Bible study with the other young adults was refreshing. There's something unique and special about studying God's Word among one's peers. I also love the couple that leads us. She's so tender-hearted and sweet, and she always applies scripture to life. He's dedicated to studying out the truth and he always has pages of notes because he's a diligent worker who prepares ahead of time. I really admire them and am so grateful that God has placed me where I am able to get to know them.

The service itself was also a blessing. One reason is because even though my church here is pretty much hymn-driven, today I knew almost every song we sang. I'm not saying hymns are bad, just that I didn't grow up in the church and I don't know many hymns which can make it hard for me to really center in on Christ and just worship. Usually I'm trying to figure out the words and where the note's at, etc. But today I could really just worship in song and it was wonderful!

The other great thing was that the sermon really spoke to me. It was out of Genesis 16, and the main thing I walked away with is that often when God speaks I take things into my own hands. I heard His promise, so I try to work it out. This is not an uncommon mistake- Sarah and Abraham did the exact same thing. God promised them that they would bear a son, and they took matters into their own hands by utilizing the servant Hagar.

The beauty of God is that even though everyone involved sinned (Abraham and Sarah for not believing God; Hagar for her attitude toward Sarah once she conceived; Sarah for her treatment of Hagar; Abraham for not keeping his wife in check and giving her free reign to mistreat Hagar) He still worked it out for His glory. He still gave Abraham and Sarah the promised son. He protected Hagar and was El Roi to her- the God Who Sees. He still blessed the son that Abraham ought not have ever fathered, as opposed to allowing Ishmael to shrivel away. The entire Arab race can trace their heritage back to Ishmael- and, ultimately, Abraham.

I'm not sure why this never struck me before, but I find great beauty in this truth: God fulfilled his promise to Abraham and Sarah by allowing her to give birth to Isaac. This was, however 14 years- 14 LONG years, I am sure- after the birth of Ishmael, and we don't know how much time elapsed between God's promise to Abraham and the birth of Ishmael. Therefore we don't know exactly how long Abraham and Sarah had to wait for God to come through on His Word. It was, however, at least 14 years. This is over half of my lifetime. It's a long time in many respects.

Frequently I know God has promised me something, so I expect quick payout. This isn't how He operates. I constantly remind myself that God is concerned with the process of working out His glory in me far more than He is with the end result. Without the refining process the end would never be reached.

I pray I would always wait on the Lord. Though He may choose to tarry, I will wait.

I never can repay the debt You signed away

[Uncommon Love, Melissa Tawlks]

This is my new blog. I'm sad to leave my old one, because I like what I had going on there, but it simply was no longer, I feel, a safe place for me to be. To those who have followed me here, thank you!! To those who are new, get comfy and hopefully you'll feel right at home.