Friday, October 29, 2004

Struggling Between Fear and Faith

I got off work early this afternoon which leaves me more time to pack. You see, I'm going home this weekend. For myself, this is no small event. I've only been home once since coming to school at that was for less than 24 hours after my brother's wedding. I'm driving up to the cities tonight to stay with a friend and then both she and I will be going to my house tomorrow. My church has a candidate for pastor there this weekend so he will be speaking tomorrow in addition to Sunday so we hope to make it in time to hear him speak in the morning. It's a huge relief to not have to make the drive all by myself. This morning I wondered how I would make it through the day. I only had two classes, but I had to take a test that I had rescheduled and I had a quiz. I passed the quiz, but the test I'm not so sure about. It's not that I didn't study, in fact I studied very hard. But it's a class that both tests I've gotten so confused when I go to answer the questions that I just dreaw a blank. It's funny how when you get tired that you start being satisfied with lower grades.

Actually that's not true, I get even more frustrated, but I don't know what to do about it. I can only push myself so far and I seem to be less productive when pushed that far. Ahh well, it'll slow down for a week now before it picks up again. A week of reprieve before the next onslaught as it were. Along with that is this weekend of refuge. I'll be with lots of people at the church, but other than that I have no plans but to spend time with my family and hug my mom a lot. My brother and his wife will be coming home as well with my nephew Alex. Considering how much Alex loves to talk that will make the weekend even more fun. I might not get lots of physical rest, but I plan on resting my soul a whole lot. My spirit needs some refreshing and a break.

So there is 30 minutes until dinner and I think I'll take this opportunity to either go pack or read a book that isn't required...hmm but then there's the chance to get ahead on homework...ahh the choices of life.

Your prayers would be appreciated for my home church as this weekend occurs with the candidate. My prayer is for a pastor. I don't know this man and his family at all and I know nothing about them. But I pray that God will bring a shephard to our church to do just that, shephard. So please pray for guidance and for provision.

I look forward to my short drive into the cities. It's not so far tonight and it'll be good to have some time just to be. Be what I'm not sure. I'll have time to think, pray, and process the last few weeks. There are some relationships I need to work through and some issues in my heart. God never ceases to amaze me with His overwhelming prescence. When I feel so dry and empty that I can't even ask to be filled, He causeth my cup to overfloweth. Maybe not visibly with physical blessings, but the cup in my heart overfloweth with the knowledge that He restoreth my soul.

Last night in our floor meeting Ms. Roiger (she runs the bookstore on campus) came to share with us. She's a wonderful lady and radiates the love of God to everyone. Her sister is a freshman here and we're getting to be friends. Anyway, Ms. Roiger shared about the passage in Mark 4 where Jesus calms the storm. She mentioned how since we know the end of the story we often miss the details in the middle. Like the disciples panicking for instance. They weren't just gently waking Jesus up trying to get His attention, they were doing some serious panicking. After He calms the storm we all know how they remark that even the wind and waves obey Him. Yet it's so easy to miss the importance of this little verse: "But He said to them, "Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?" When the storms of life are crashing all around us why is it that we're so fearful? We can have faith in our Father. We ended our floor meeting last night by sinking "It Is Well". Listening to over 30 girls sing of the peace of God reminded me how fearful I've been lately.

And so I leave for the weekend asking God to calm my heart and replace my fear with faith. May you find His peace as well.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Wait? Or MOVE!?

I have had one of those startling moments that soon turn into minutes of contemplation. While reading on a website the thought struck me, "Which is better, to stick your neck out and be daring, or to be reserved and think things through until you can't think anymore?" I realize that at first this is kind of a random and somewhat disorganized question. I would like to expound on it to make it more sensible.

I should clarify by saying this was read in the context of relationships, but I think it applies in other areas as well. I have seen from personal experience and from watching others that so often we miss things and opportunities in life by sitting around and waiting. But then we often get into trouble or miss even better opportunities when we rush into things. I personally can go both ways. There are times (most times) that I sit back and simply overanalyze which leads to building walls and missing what is here and now. I've been challenged over the past, well maybe year or so, that sometimes we need to just enjoy what we have here and now. Forget worrying about it just enjoy it.

You can get into trouble by applying this to the wrong areas, and make some pretty bad decisions along the way as well. There are definitely Biblical principles to apply, and God is definitely all about patience. After all, we are to wait on the Lord. But we are also to seek the Lord while he may be found. And so where is the balance? I go back and forth. But today it struck me as I was reading about missed love and lost love that we miss so many things by trying to figure it out on our own. I have always tended to the side of waiting and seeing what God has and then moving forward only when it's safe. However, today as I sit and watch Freshman wasting time mooning over each other, and I also see others who have pursued God's timing and couldn't be happier, I wonder what the balance is? Will we ever truly know when to get off our rear ends and pursue life?

I have seen people whose lives have passed them by as they wait for that sign from Heaven. I've also seen people who never stop but keep rushing about trying to figure out what God wants for them. Yet they never stop to genuinely seek the Lord.

I like change. It's something that can be a burden and a blessing. I don't like to sit still for long. I get bored or dissatisfied very quickly. When I was younger and lived at home I was always rearranging my room. Then after a couple months I would get bored with it and do it again. My mom loved it 'cause this was usually the only time I cleaned my room unless threatened with severe punishment. As I got older I loved to go new places and try new things. I worked in upstate N.Y. for two summers and loved it. I traveled to Chicago on Missions trips several times. I also had a variety of jobs in high-school. It wasn't that I couldn't keep a job, but rather that I enjoyed keeping the main one and then adding different ones with the change of seasons. I had one job steady throughout high-school but it wasn't very many hours so I would work another place in the winter and then do something different again in the summer. As the time approached to choose a college I went back and forth and finally ended up in the least expected place. After the first semester I knew this program wasn't for me. That January God used a future missionary in a huge way in my life. I've referred to it before so I'll just summarize. Basically I was asked why I wasn't pursuing missions as my life and why didn't I just go to Bible College if I wanted to so much. I was left speechless and the rest is history. I moved home for the summer and now I'm here at Pillsbury.

When I was younger my mom often told me that I needed to be content no matter where I was. I often wondered throughout my life why this was so hard for me and why wasn't I getting it? Well, the day came that God revealed something huge through my mom. I was feeling disgruntled about not knowing where to go and my plans being changed and what not. I truly thought I couldn't be content. Then my mom gently told me that she was so encouraged to see me doing so many different things and loving so many different schools. She told me that it showed her that God could take me anywhere in life and the world and I would be content and love it there. What I had thought was discontent was actually flexibility and a love of going wherever. Oh, I still have to be careful to be content, but now I see God's hand in it. And for now, I plan on being here at Pillsbury until I graduate. I need to have some firm grounding for a while and let God work in my personal life.

How does this apply to the subject at hand you ask? Simply this, there are times in our lives when we need to wait. However it's important to be following and listening to the Lord during this time. Sometimes that means being very active and busy where you are. Sometimes it means getting away and seeking the Lord with all of your being. As far as relationships go, it's true that relationships shouldn't be rushed into, however I think we so often mistake apathy for patience.
There are also times when we need to go. God may not have made it clear how or where, He simply wants us to take that first step and He will lead the rest of the way.

This is the hardest thing for me to believe at times. Those of you who know me pretty well know how much I hate not knowing things. I'm getting better for sure, but I certainly like to be aware of what's going on. My friends enjoy stringing me along at times just to aggravate me. I like to know what's going to happen so I can plan for it and not be inconvenienced or have to simply go with the flow. I like to go with the flow, but with my paddle in hand helping. God is continually teaching me and giving me opportunities to have to trust Him to hold my paddle.

Fear is a powerful tool at motivating us into apathy. All of us as humans fear the unknown to some extent. Whether it be whether or not the roads will be bad on the trip, will a girl/guy reject me, or will God really never leave me? From the little things to the life-changing things we are experience fear. And yet God promises to never leave His children, and He is stronger than fear.

So to bring all that together I would like to say this:
God is more powerful than any circumstance or person in our lives. If we are truly seeking and finding our identity in Him, we will not be destroyed by rejection or fear. So seek the Lord while He may be found. Wait when He needs you to wait, but don't use that as an excuse for apathy and inaction. When God says move, MOVE! Not all situations are outlined in scripture or have a clear-cut God thing in them, but basic principles can be applied. I don't tend to ask God whether or not I should go to work on time; I just do it because it's a commandment to obey authorities. Sometimes we sit and ask when we should simply realize the principle that applies and get up and do it.

This is extremely long and I'm not sure it makes tons of sense, but I hope you get at least part of it. My prayer today is that we put aside our fears and obey the Lord.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Chasing My Tail (Eeyore Style)

Well, it's been awhile and yet I'm still here and you're wherever you are. It's been a fast and yet really long week. Next week proves to be worse. If I make it through intact I'll be blessed. I have 4 huge tests next week in addition to 5 projects being due. So why am I blogging? I'm not sure except to keep you coming back. I would appreciate your prayers as I go through the next week. I need diligence and strength in abundance.

It's been a cold, rainy, and windy week here. Not exactly my idea of fun when all I want is to see some snow. My poor mittens are feeling neglected. A little promise of snow would be good. Meanwhile my photography is on hold while we wait for a decent day for outdoor shots. I did manage to turn in the first roll of film, but this second one might take a while. It's not due until Tuesday so I pray for nicer weather before then. I'm anxious to get my first roll of film back on Tuesday to see just how it turned out.

I'm very much against counting down the days until something. I don't mind other people doing it, in fact I always loved asking my engaged friends how many days until the wedding. But personally, I don't enjoy it. My roomate attempted to count down the days until Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and Summer on our white board. I quickly but kindly vetoed the idea. I simply do not do well living for the time God has given me today when I'm constantly looking ahead. So I try to not count days and simply look for what He has for me today. However, this weekend it's hard to wait for Thanksgiving. I feel the need to go home. My mom sent me a package yesterday and it was much appreciated. It was full of all the right things and I love it. But it made me want to count the time before Thanksgiving. Ah well, God is strength. If this week goes by relatively ok, I'd like to make it to Alec sometime soon. It would be great if Tracy, Anne, and myself could meet there and visit our fine friends. We shall see.

This isn't a post of great revelation, but one of life. And so now I shall return to mine which consists of books at this point. Prayers are appreciated as well as email and packages. I feel a little like Eeyore on this blustery day. I feel a little like I've lost my tail and the wind keeps blowing it away. It's not as bad as all that, but a good analogy nonetheless. At least my house doesn't keep falling down. For great Eeyore insight and great sound clips click here.
So I'm off to chase the tail of midterms. Whatever tail you're chasing today, I pray you catch it and that it reattaches rather unpainfully. Also that you're house doesn't continually fall down.

Monday, October 18, 2004

The Win That Got Away

Because of some unfortunate events, along with a lapse in my brain functions, I missed the Vikings game last night. They still won though, which goes to show how much they need me cheering them on. So congradulations, and I'll try to see it next time.

It was a very long weekend on this end complimented by very little homework. On a more positive note however, today was an ok day. Yep, very positive.
I would like to share with my reading audience a little known fact about a girls dorm bathroom. See on weekends the bathroom doesn't get "cleaned" on our floor. Which is just fine, considering there are only like 10-30 girls still left on our floor on an average weekend. But that is definitely enough girls to make Sunday a day in which toilet paper is in very short supply. There is a certain stall in our bathroom that anyone hardly ever uses. My theory on this is because it's right in the middle, thus you have a rather large listening audience, and it's also placed where the lights don't really reach it so it's very dark. That's my theory as to it's neglect anyway. So usually, when most of the other 6 or so stalls are out of toilet paper, this one has some. So I use it for that very reason. Yesterday however, even that stall was out. You know things are desperate when the dark stall is out of toilet paper. And so that was the exciting weekend revelation. Don't worry, one of the other cleaning gals with keys to the cleaning closet realized our plight and blessed us with more T.P. And so ends my sad tale.

On another somber note, it has yet to actually snow. I did dig my winter coats out, and purchased my red mittens, but still no snow. It's very sad.

Some not so fun stuff happened this weekend on our floor, which I won't get into except to say your prayers would be appreciated. It's not a huge deal anymore, but it's still somewhat affecting some friendships.

The next two weeks are going to be killer academically speaking, especially next week. Lots of projects and huge tests in every class. Ahhh life. I know I'm supposed to be here, but at times like these I get tired and wonder if it will all be worth it. Especially when I look at the even harder classes and semesters I have still ahead of me. I know, take it one day and one semester at a time. But I would definitely appreciate your prayers. On that note, I'm off to try to make up for the craziness and weirdness of the long weekend and study. Keep cheering on the Vikings and watch out for those squirrels, they're evil.

Friday, October 15, 2004

No Longer Just Surviving

Wow. It's been a week since I last posted. It seems like so long. Thank you for your patience, and for continueing to check back for new things. I can't say it was a needed break in the sense that I was hiding for the right reasons, but it did benefit me. I don't have a long time to post right now because I'm working off the computers in the library because of new restrictions on our dorm computers. So it'll be short but at least you know I am alive.

And I am no longer simply surviving. The last 2 or 3 weeks that's exactly what I've been doing. Simply getting through each day with the hope that something will change tomorrow or that miraculously stuff will change. That's not my recommended way to live by the way. I definitely couldn't put forth the energy to write about the surviving, because you aren't really living when you're surviving. Oh there's no doubt that you're alive, but it's not the abundant life that we should have as Christians.

No worries however, as God has used the events of and since Wednesday to shake me up and plant my feet back on His solid ground. I'm still a little shaky, but each day is better than the day before. I will attempt to fully update you some other time this weekend, but for now I simply thank you for your prayers, and to my friends, thanks for still being there.

Oh yes, there is a prediction of snow for tomorrow! This makes me very happy! It's been so cold lately that I wish it would just snow. I've been accused of being an Eskim0 by Charity and Bekka, but I simply believe that I was given an appreciation for the beauty in winter. And even I will be sick of it come March don't worry. However, for now I look forward to twinkle snow and twinkle lights. I'm also very thankful that Dr. Casey has post-poned our Intro to Counseling test that was to happen on Wednesday until at least the next week. Which means I only have to conquer an Old Testament and Logic test next week. Ahh Logic. What would we be without it? Well illogical for one. Anyway, I'm off to put on warmer clothes and then off to work.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Animated, Presidential, and Easy Mac.

It's been a wonderful last 24 hours. I even have the blisters to prove it. Last evening we did indeed wander around in the dark chasing each other for over an hour. Chasing people through the dark and drinking weird milk and water concoctions when captured was involved. It was great fun followed up with great s'mores, testimonies, and singing around the campfire. I then had a Heartbeat for Missions meeting followed up by an all girls dorm meeting. During which we had a fire drill which was not the most fun for me. Stemming back to the actual fire that happened in the girls dorm when I worked in New York. But that was completed and we all got free late lights because of it.

Today was the annual Campus Service Day. Which means no classes and lots of blisters for me from raking lots of leaves. We had fun though. After work I spent all evening in the Student Center/Coffee Shop which is now known as the "Pillsbury Perk". No comment from me on the name by the way. We watched "Ice Age" and then the Presidential Debate and then "Finding Nemo". In my thinking Presidential debates must be bookended with animation. It was a good debate, and I didn't go nuts with politics. It was good to be watching it with people from my logic class and some guys who actually have their heads on straight. I'm still not getting into politics, but it was definitely good to take a break from my disgust of politics to learn some more about the election. And I'm still sticking with my original vote. Although I am tempted to write in Mr. Hudson (My Logic teacher) as my vote for president.

And so now it is my designated time for bed since we do not have lights out tonight. I'm planning on being burried in books and my bed for the rest of the weekend because I'm way far behind in reading. So have a wonderful weekend and if I need a break to enjoy writing I will try to fill you in on my umm reading. So it won't be that interesting. Oh well. Good-night! Sleep tight! And don't underestimate the goodness of "Easy Mac".

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Playing Hide And Seek With Myself

As kids one of the greatest games we always play when we had at least two people was hide and go seek. And if you had 3 or more it was even better. Get a group of 10 cousins or so and you had the makings for a great game.

Lately I feel as if I've been playing hide and seek with myself. It seems as though I've been lost and don't know where to look to find me. Do I even know who me is anymore?

But God has been faithful as always. He's gently reminded me that I am His daughter, a child of the King and therfore a princess. I am a Princess. Not simply the Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, or Cinderella kind, but the real one. I know how horrible the story of Guinevere, Arthur, and Lancelot is said to be at times, but I still love it. Growing up and watching the "Knights of the Round Table" as well as reading some of the books pertaining to it, I loved the story. I always wanted to live back then, and get to wear the gauzzy dresses, veils, slippers, and tiaras. Somehow if life were real though I imagine I would be a farmer's daughter no matter the era. But regardless of that piece of reality, my favorite character was always Lancelot's wife, Elaine. I even liked her so much that as a kid I named one of the real live cows that I claimed as "mine" Elaine. I know, pretty cheesy. Regardless of how much Guinevere was supposed to capture us as the heroine Elaine was and still is my favorite.

As a child I simply saw her as beautiful and very graceful. She was quiet and meek, and even then I could tell how much she loved Lancelot. You can read a little piece of history about her here. Now as I look back on it, and for not having seen the movie in a very long time I still remember the story quite well. I can see how much she really loved Lancelot. She loved him with all of herself. Some say she loved him so purely that he was not deserving of her love. I thought this as well as a kid. I thought it so unfair that Lancelot would love Guinevere who was already married and not see what a wonderful bride he had right in front of him. And for heaven's sake don't marry her if you're not going to love her. This brings to mind a very hard thought, was Elaine better off being married to someone she loved with her whole heart who would eventually be unfaithful, and was unfaithful always in his thoughts, or to be in love by herself and never be married to him.

Alfred Lord Tennyson himself wrote a poem about Elaine entitled "The Lady of Shallot". This poem is quoted and "reenacted" in "Anne of Avonlea".
I'd like to quote a little piece of this great poem if I may.

"And sometimes thro' the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,The Lady of Shallot."

Tragically, the story of Elaine has a sad ending. Some say she died while giving birth to her son by Lancelot, Sir Galahad. Some say she died of a broken heart when she saw and realized her beloved Lancelot was unfaithful. I always wanted to cry when Elaine and Arthur died in the story. It was such a tragic waste of two lives.
"The Knights of the Round Table" is a tragic story of two people (Lancelot and Guinevere) destroying not only their spouses but perhaps an entire kingdom and legacy with their selfishness.

Now lest you think I cannot live in real life, I can. I simply wish to ponder a lesson from this story. Elaine gave all of herself to Lancelot, because she loved him. I'm not here to make comparisons or draw analogies about "LOVE". I'd simply like to say that I think Elaine was a much better picture of a princess than was Guinevere. I loved Guinevere for her strength and for her name as well, but I loved Elaine more. She was the picture of true and pure love and sacrificed it all. She wasn't a princess, but I like to think of her as such.

So back to my main point. I am God's Princess. And someday I will stand before Christ as such. Not as the imperfect human being I am, not a princess of Guinevere's or Sleeping Beauty's like, but of the Bride of Christ.

For today, I have found myself again in Christ. Sometimes it's hard to let go and focus on God. But as I sit writing I hear Gianni playing a beautiful piano piece by Lorie Line and thank God for never letting me go. I had lost myself, but God has never lost me. I lost myself because I had forgotten to talk to the one who is my identity. I wasn't letting go of things He wanted me too and letting myself simply be His Princess.

I love Fall. I love the crispness in the air, the rain that falls, the smell of leaves and the chill in the air, the promise of twinkle snow and Christmas, and the way it makes me stop and reflect. Something I haven't been doing enough of lately. I've been so busy and tired that I've let myself be discouraged. God has reminded me of who He is and therefore who I am in Him. And so tonight as I go dress in dark clothes with my new "Pillsbury Sophmore" T-shirt in order to go play a crazy game with the rest of the student body, I'll do it with a much lighter heart. I have so much to do, but I have a lighter heart to do it with.

I choose to write again, not because I MUST update my blog, but because I remember that I love it. There are times I need to do things because I have to, but this blog needs to be fun and enjoyable. I need to write because of my love and passion to do so.

I don't know if you can understand, but I thought I'd share a little of my thoughts from the last 24 hours. I have remembered I have a heavenly tiara, and maybe I'll invest in a real one to remind me of who's I am. Perhaps I'll also post "The Lady of Shallot" on my wall to remind me to invest myself in what is right as well.

I'll leave you with this thought however.
Once again God has reminded me in a rather unsubtle way that I must have forgiveness and give it to be able to be used by Him, that I must serve others, I must take care of my relationship with Him first above all else, and that I must give all of me and all that I have to Him. For if I hold on to it, I will draw away from Him.
Have a wonderful fall evening, and don't forget to be the Prince or Princess God has adopted you to be.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Longing For "The Good 'Ole Days"

I'm going to keep this short but I felt that I should at least let you know that I am alive. I had a wonderful weekend. I'll give you a quick run down. My brother is now married and that's great. I have a nephew in addition to my adopted "niece". I had a great time with Tracy. I got to hold Emma! I got to see Jenn and Matt as well as Steens. I got to worship with my home church. I went to Duluth instead of Cloquet on my way back to school. I got in a traffic jam on the freeway outside of Sandstone. My car overheated. I didn't get back to school until after 11pm. My car still isn't working right. I'm exhausted, but it was wonderful to be home. I love my parents so much and it was great to be held by them for awhile.

Along those same lines, today is my mom's birthday so I would just like to say "Happy Birthday Mom!" I love you, and am so thankful that you're my mom. You're a wonderful Godly woman that I'm proud to call Mom.

I have so much to write, but so little energy and time. I'm behind, way behind it feels like, in my homework, and I'm soooo tired. Work is going fairly well.
I probably won't say much for the rest of the week. As well as probably not email or be on the phone much. I need a break.

This may be in a sense biting the hand that feeds (posts) me, but I'll say it anyway. I'm sick of technology. At work today we had some kind of training that involved learning about the past 4 "age groups". I loved hearing about the 30's through the 50's. I wish we could recapture some of those family values and work ethics. All that goes along with "The good 'ole days". I'm sick of not having time, of making ourselves so busy even God has to take a number. It seems as though our grandparents and before had more time for God than we do today. Yes, they had their own distractions, but they valued what was important.

Sunday afternoon I got to hear my grandmother, who's in her late 80's has deteriorating health problems, and can't remember things the way she used to, sing "Great Is Thy Faithfulness". It says something for the value of our hymns when my grandma who can't keep names straight and can't remember what she wants to when she wants to, if she has hymns memorized and can still sing them, well it brings me to tears. If she can still say/sing wholeheartedly, "Great is they faithfulness" well I need to as well. God truely is faithful, and He will raise me up. But first, I need to get away from this technology and go talk to Him. Take care, and I will eventually be back.