Monthly Archives: March 2010

pea soup.

This song came on the radio appropriately during my drive home tonight.  I was feeling pretty overwhelmed about stuff mostly pertaining to the uncertain future which was especially reinforced by the oppressive fog which made my drive from Ames to camp harrowing and short-sighted.

Let The Waters Rise

Mikeschair

Don’t know where to begin
Its like my world’s caving in
And I try but I can’t control my fear
Where do I go from here?

sometimes its so hard to pray
When You feel so far away
But I am willing to go
Where you want me to
God, I trust You

There’s a raging sea
Right in front of me
Wants to pull me in
Bring me to my knees
So let the waters rise
If You want them to
I will follow You
I will follow You
I will follow You

I will swim in the deep
‘Cuz You’ll be next to me
You’re in the eye of the storm
And the calm of the sea
You’ll never out of reach

God, You know where I’ve been
You were there with me then
You were faithful before
You’ll be faithful again
I’m holding Your hand

The lyrics are slightly cheeseball (the swimming in the ocean verse with the ‘cuz instead of ’cause line–that’s annoying), but the last chunk (bridge?  I don’t remember) rang true, bits of the chorus and the first verse.  I don’t know anything about life beyond this summer and my habit is to worry, to be anxious, to doubt God’s faithfulness.  He has proved to be faithful time and time again in my life, especially the last couple years, with or without my acknowledgment.  I mentioned the fog because it was a tangible metaphor (I nearly made its status as a metaphor a simile by adding “like a” to metaphor)…I couldn’t see a thing and it made the drive really scary.  [I got here safely, but it was white-knuckle driving.]   I think that worry in the face of fog is like high beams, or worse like the low beams I used tonight which reflect off the dense fog and make visibility even worse.  It’s like I spotlight a fear with my energy and attention so that it gets blown out of proportion and it’s that much easier for me to doubt.

In other news, I had a fantastic one-on-one with a mildly decent café au lait from Café Diem on the side.  I think I was born for one-on-one ministry.  Either that or I’m finding a niche with it.  What if I did that all day instead of any paperwork?  Mmm.  Good luck finding people (students especially) available during the day.  I’d have to work nights.  That’s what I intended to do tonight, before the squinty-eye weariness set in from the drive home.  I might go to my private cabin #2 and meditate on the finer points of “don’t steal and don’t lie” for my talk tomorrow.  What’s crazy is that they are so obvious that the kids know better…my goal is to talk about it in such a way that they find inspiration for not lying or stealing in any capacity for the glory of God…that His name would be praised by the way their lives honor Him.  More than anything, I pray the Spirit would lead both preparation and dialogue tomorrow night.

I better head out and get some rest, though.  ‘night.

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squeaky clean

Last Friday I had the opportunity to clean Private Cabin #2 pretty thoroughly.  Everything but the shower and the bathroom floor…and I totally could have done those too, but I’d spent 2 hours cleaning and was ready for a little sit down before the marriage retreat at camp started.

I don’t know if this is the same for anyone else, let alone everyone, but one of my criteria for a good laundry detergent is that the scent sticks with the clothes that you wash as you wear them.  Today I am basking in the success of my particular detergent/softener selection as I can really smell it.  Bath and Body Works has a scent called Sea Cotton Breeze which reminds me of laundry-scent.  Kind of an unusual skin-scent, but pleasant nonetheless.

I’m kind of thinking along the lines of the aroma of Christ as I breathe in the clean scent.  Here’s 2 Corinthians 2:14-17

14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 17Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.

It’s a really fitting illustration of our “cleanliness” and “righteousness” in Christ alone…it’s not hard to imagine that aroma being pleasing to God, and it’s also something which I can see drawing people in (hence fragrance of life).  I don’t really get the smell of death part…is that the offended folks?  The blasphemers of the Spirit who reject salvation?

Verse 17 has stood out to me before too, and I think its timing is appropriate.  Confirmation day is coming up for our 8th graders and I don’t want to fall into the trap of peddling the Gospel.  I read a kind of hard-to-follow chapter from Blue Like Jazz where Donald Miller related a story of his teaching in a college ministry setting that was more or less fake peddling and then how he came to a point of being real with God again, and though I am far from enjoying the kudos and “success” of my Bible teaching ventures (this is something to be pleased about, especially in this context), I want so badly for them to get it, to own it, to claim it that I nearly forget that it isn’t my job to sell the Gospel to them.

I came to the office today to do some work for Perspectives before braiding some hair…but the talk isn’t online yet for the session I missed.  I did other stuff, but I have an hour to fill.  Hmm.  Should have brought a book with me.  Or my homework.  🙂

happy monday to you, regardless.

Free At Last

Freedom Is Here

The future comes alive
You speak Your word and I
I’m running into Your hope
Because I’ve seen Your light
You bring my world to life
I’m coming after You love

I’m not shaken
I’m not letting go

And everything comes alive
In my life as we lift You higher
Let Your freedom arise
In our lives as we lift You up
Sing it out
Sing it out
Your freedom is here

So take the limits off
No matter what the cost
I’m running after Your call
And I will run this race
See You face to face
So let Your power overflow

I will not fear
I will not hide You love
You love
All of my life
I cannot deny Your love
Your love

I was making coffee today and the slavery to sin was heavy on my mind.  I’ve been absolutely chained to one or two areas (manifested in innumerable examples of bitterness and anger…the opposite of the love to which we are called) of sin and the thought occurred to me that I could really relinquish that to Jesus and abolish the slavery by His power.  So I asked for it.  I don’t know if my heart was “in a different place” or if I had finally acknowledged my need to give up, but I gave it up and felt the bondage totally lift.  The song above was in my head shortly after that (by Hillsong…I didn’t write it!) and it’s been stuck ever since.

In Romans 6, Paul talks a ton about slavery to sin and to righteousness, and I haven’t had my quiet time yet so I can’t tell you that I’ve chewed on this chunk or rolled it around for a while, but I’m going to include it anyway.

(v.15)What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.

I’ve been set free, and it’s beautiful.

I also had some of the best leftovers a girl ever had for lunch, too.  I got to take part in a super sweet meal with a family from Cornerstone last night, and I was blessed to be in a household of people who love the Lord and live like it.  Not to say I haven’t been in houses like that before, it’s just something that you can’t really get enough of.  Kind of like the meal we had.  Not even sure what it was called (besides it being from Senegal), but it was excellent yesterday and today.  What’s not to love about caramelized onions though? 🙂

Get outside and enjoy the sunshine.  If we get off a little early today, that’s what I hope to do (although I have some serious need for the completion of Perspectives homework o.O).  Peace 🙂

extra mile

tonight at Ignition we looked at Matthew 5:41 among other verses.  We read the NLT version:

If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles

and here’s the NIV:

If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.

This was the advice my parents gave me when I was starting clarinet.  If your teacher says practice 20 minutes, go for 40 minutes.  You get the gist.  But when I was listening to the talk tonight I got to thinking, this is really where the extra mile comes from, isn’t it?  I have friends who have poured their hearts into their work, really going the extra mile despite crappy work situations (whether it’s the atmosphere created by the boss, the nature of the work, or even coworker drama), and it’s super encouraging for me to take a step back and see them working as for Christ, literally going the extra mile.

I have a pretty cushy work experience, let’s face it.  My employers and coworkers all love and serve Jesus Christ.  All of them.  And yet things aren’t rosy in my eyes all the time (perhaps I am conditioned to the wonderfulness)…mis-communications still tick me off (my response is important, but so is my heart attitude!), I have lazy spells where I’d prefer to just take the day off and rest, I find my wheels spinning by my inability to focus on the task at hand (at least without stopping to think about the other tasks to follow 20 times per hour).  I don’t really get negative feedback on my work, but I don’t go the extra mile all the time.  Add that to the list of areas for growth and prayer…

Can I just say that even though I don’t really have a weekend this weekend that I’m looking forward to the weekend?  I’m really looking forward to tomorrow, too.  Somehow in the next three days I have about 3 hours left of reading to do for Perspectives, which is going to require some eye-teeth and strong coffee (heh, speaking of which, I made some at church tonight and it was the best I’ve had at church thus far…brand new bag of coffee without the appropriate “measure” cup means Patty makes it up and enjoys the sweet bitter success of rich coffee).

take care and drive safe.  that seems to be my greeting of the night.  peace, yo.

for the record

Hey, it’s been a “first” day for me.  I got my first parking ticket.  Ouch.

I met my friend for a delightful hour of coffee and chatting in downtown Ames, and though the person before me left 58 minutes and I added another half hour, when time got away from me a bit and I went to plug the meter, I discovered a ticket had been issued approximately 3 minutes after the expiration of the meter (might have been 2).  Fair game, yes.  It was just that I got a ticket, especially as I went to fix the problem a full 10 minutes after the expiration, but ouch.  So now when I am applying for things that ask about my record, I can’t just skim over it and say “well, I don’t have any sort of record” (even though parking violations aren’t usually counted unless you don’t  pay them).  To further amuse you, readers, I paid the ticket less than an hour after the expiration of the meter, to an unhappy clerk who was happy to ignore me.  I wished her a nice day and she gave me a bit of a surprised look.

I’ve been challenged in matters of obedience to traffic laws lately.  I’ve never been a speeder, but the other day on the Interstate I found myself really boxed in by a variable speed driver (if it was you, can I encourage you to practice driving without fluctuating your speed so much?).  It was by a pretty busy ramp system and I was put in a tight spot and was really tempted to speed just to avoid the hazard of the entering cars and the driver who was in a slump in front of me.  The worst is when you pass one  of these variable speed drivers and the appearance of you, going the speed limit,  in the side mirrors prompts them to speed up and pass you in the right lane while the cars in back of you (not wanting to go the speed limit but above) in the left lane and the approaching cars in the right lane give you almost nowhere to go.  Obeying the speed limit is really challenging in those situations…it’s not that I want to get ahead or be faster than anyone, I just want to be secure and safely left alone in my happy right lane.

I came here (D’s house) to work on my  homework, so I’ll get to that.  I’m really caffeinated, so that should help my focus for the time being!  Peace to you, patty