Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Slow steps of responsibility and commitment

Having a dog has proven a bigger deal than I knew. Or maybe I'm just seeing the unknown I worried about when choosing to take the plunge and bring Bella home.

First, she wet in the house the first couple weeks she was here.

Second, she tears up my garbage when I'm away for a few hours.

Third, she wants lots of attention.

Fourth, she requires lots of activity.

Fifth, she's super curious, which led to her finding her Christmas present and chewing through her bag to the bone before I could take it away til morning.

She's a bed hog.

Every morning around 6am my mom lets her out to go potty.

Twice a day she gets a walk where she gets to run around in the park.

the tub after a Bella bath
I give her a bath every week.

What am I going to do when I move out? Will I have to get up early every morning of my life to let her out? Will I have to get a tacky doggy door so she won't wet the carpet or tear things up while I'm gone?

So I think "What have I done??" and I realize my life has changed and I miss the days in my bedroom alone. And I see I have taken on a responsibility--like adopting a child before you're married. And I didn't know, I wasn't prepared, I couldn't have been. And I am tempted to send her back because a panic is threatening.


Many but's.

And lastly, the thought I had when I decided it was okay with God to move forward:

It is a good thing when our love expands.

Those who have kids and husbands or even other forms of responsibility will think me a little extreme here, but this is my first major responsibility and commitment, and while small, I'm thankful I'm getting used to the smaller steps before I have to undergo a bigger one, because apparently I really needed practice. And right now, my parents help out very very much.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I would have despaired
If I had not believed
That You would come to me
Great God who saves
In my darkest hour
Your mercy and Your power
Are reaching out to me
Great God who saves
--Laura Story, "Great God Who Saves"
And He does. He does surprise us with joy.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Monday, December 17, 2012

On journals and prayer and the hidden hand of God

I've been encouraged to write more lately. I don't think hardly any people read this blog, but that's okay.

Late November I ended a journal. I love my journals--they let me peer back into my life, and having been a history major, I guess I really like that.

In late April, when I began the journal, I started with an entry on prayer. My goal was to become a more consistent pray-er by the time the journal ended.

Seven months later (eight now), and nothing has changed in that department.

Wow. You don't realize how long your prayer life has been suffering until you look back at a date in a journal.

"As I sat listening I saw plainly that it was true the Lisu church was born in prayer travail, and I decided that I must also employ this weapon of 'all-prayer.' It is so obviously effective and is attainable to any of us. I recieved a life-pattern at that moment for which I have ever been grateful."
--Isobel Kuhn, By Searching
I haven't grown in prayer. But I still believe in the power of God to answer our prayers. The other week I was frustrated and prayed for something to happen that night. It did, and I was blown away at God's answer. And wondered that I don't pray more.
But anyway, something that I HAVE seen in the last 7-8 months is more puzzling, more personal to how God has chosen to work in my life in this/that season.
I have been able to see God working in me apart from me.
I have seen Him work in me, increasing my trust and faith, for example, without any help from me.
Personally, I don't think this is His normative way. I think His normative way is to work in us as we seek Him and spend time with Him.
But graciously, He hasn't led me through a dry spell these last several months where one feels alone and without direction.
Instead He's led me through a winter spell. Where the growth of a seed is working beneath the surface even if the outside looks barren.
And I thank the Lord for His mercy. Because it is nothing that I have done. And that answer to prayer the other week? It was not because I had earned it, because I hadn't. I have been neglectful and self-full. It is wrong. But God has been so gracious to me, and for that I am very grateful.
If we are faithless,
He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.
2 Timothy 2:13
P.S. You know, if He has been gracious to me in that, then He will be gracious to me in other areas of my life that I can see. And usually I don't think there is anything outside of God's power to do, but today I unearthed one area that I really do think cannot be changed, no matter how much prayer. What then? Pray believing. Because while God may not choose to do a miracle, I have every evidence in the world that He is able. Pray, believing not He will do a miracle, but pray believing for this instance what I believe to be true in every other instance, that my God does amazing, absolutely outside of our power things.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Messy--one of my favorite words to describe humans


That's what human relationships are. Messy.

I am a sinner. And I'm imperfect. So not only do I snap when I'm impatient but I also misuse sarcasm and cause damage. And I live among imperfect sinners as well. So then I try to protect myself from someone else's hurtful opinions and in so doing either lash out or block my ears from hearing helpful criticism.

What a mess.

There's a messiness that is lovely. Like the messiness of a kitchen with a fresh baked loaf of pumpkin bread cooling on the stovetop. Or the messiness of a child's watercolor--all wet and little art.

And then there's the messiness that is ugly. Like when family members can tick each other off with the simplest of phrases and everyone goes to their corners and you feel like oil and water--will it ever mix?

There is the messiness of fears. The fear of who you might really be. Not who you purport to be or think you are or want to be but the ugly real you when you step beyond the computer screen. The fear that you are not as strong as you thought you were when you were feeling...well...strong. That maybe you don't know your mind and you can't hold your own because you don't know up from down and down from up and you ran ahead boldly only to be lost in the shadows of murmurs in the dark like Pilgrim on his way to the Celestial City.

The messiness that reminds us that life isn't what it seems. That no matter how many heartbreaks Hallmark includes in its movies, life is messier.

That grace isn't a theology, it's a necessity.

That maybe the reason why I should cut others slack is because I need them to cut me slack.

That in the end, only God remains.

If we are faithless, He remains faithful. He cannot deny Himself.

I highly recommend this series: 31 Days on Why Church?  Alia Joy at Narrow Paths to Higher Places has some true words to share.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Would you rather be a human or a superman?

Doctor Who, an alien, a time lord, not a human. But he looks at the earth, which in sci-fi fashion is supposedly very young in the universe, humans are just getting their feet under them, and he magnifies them for all their messiness. And it makes me appreciate what God did when He created man. Did He choose to create emotionless robots (like the Cybermen) or creatures with super powers? No. He created simple, messy creatures and decided to use them to bring Him glory. Here's the most recent conversation I encountered in the Doctor Who episodes on this topic.

Season 2, Episode 7 "The Age of Steel," starring David Tennet as the Doctor

CyberController: "I will bring peace to the world. Everlasting peace. And unity. And uniformity."

Doctor Who: "And imagination? What about that? The one thing that led you here.  Imagination. You're killing it dead."

CC: "What is your name?"

Dr: "I'm the Doctor."

CC: "A redundant title. Doctors need not exist. Cybermen are never sick."

Dr: "But that's it! That's exactly the point! . . . . The cybermen won't advance. You'll just stop. You'll stay like this forever. A metal earth, with metal men and metal thoughts. Lacking the one thing that makes this planet so alive. People! Ordinary, stupid, brilliant people!"

CC: "You are proud of your emotions."

Dr: "Oh yeah."

CC: "Then tell me, Doctor. Have you known grief and rage and pain?"

Dr: "Yes, yes I have."

CC: "And they hurt?"

Dr: "Oh yes."

CC: "I can set you free. Would you not want that? A life without pain."

Dr: "You might as well kill me."

CC: "Then I take that option."

Thoughts on the current cultural ecclesiastical trend

Disclaimer: This may just be an emotional vent because I don't like when others change and I don't want to. Or it may just be a vent based on the truth of observation and what I believe. Use your own judgment. Oh yes, I said the word "judgment." I expect you to judge for yourself if what I say is beneficial or way off. And I will have to continue to re-examine my own position as time moves on.

Christianity is being examined and redefined. (So is marriage interestingly enough.)

The surgeon's knife is being brought down between Bible and culture.

Traditions are being re-examined.

Assumptions re-examined.

It is almost as if the Church has finally caught up with the '60s and everything is turned on its head and the battle cry is peace and love.


Thinking, logic, reason, analysis. Amazingly important. Is there a time for traditions without any current meaning to be looked at again? Yes. Because traditions without any current meaning could be just meaningless appendages on a growing organism.

Then what is my problem?

I am feeling a lust for change.

I am feeling a bandwagon mentality--let's all jump on it together!

I am feeling that the new course has been set and it's no longer about understanding what's Scriptural and what's merely cultural. Instead it's about seeing how much present-day culture we can pour into the church and say that it's not culture but Biblical.

Grace is the Churchese translation of tolerance.

Love is the Churchese translation of "don't worry, be happy."

Relationship with God is the Churchese translation of I don't want any pressure.


My question: Are we really getting back to the Bible or are we just remaking the church in the image of our present culture? If we are really getting back to the Bible, then don't let me stand in the way.

But if we are remaking the church in the image of our culture, do I have to like it?
No, because everyone has their own culture and that's okay.
It's OKAY if a church is influenced by the culture it's in.

Funny though. Churches are striving to be culturally relevant. It's not a passive issue--the culture seeping into the culture. Churches are actually actively going out and trying to bring the culture into the church.

Doesn't that just sound odd?

Not bad, per se, just odd.

I thought the whole point was to get back to the Bible.

And now you're trying to get back to the culture?

Or maybe, more accurately, we're just trying to annihilate any traditions, assumptions, etc. that have been passed down to us from generations of believers before us that might be an offense to our culture.

But you know what? That's our history. That's our family. A couple thousand years of church history, thousands upon thousands of Biblical history--that's our history.

Yeah, mindsets might need to be updated. Heaven forbid that I should feel irreverential if I go to church without wearing highheels and a hat. does one say it?

In the process of revamping, can we just remember that the church has value to us?

In the process of weeding out misconceptions and whatever else isn't popular, in the process of bringing in modern life so we are culturally relevant and can reach the unchurched, can we just remember that it is ALL about Scripture and God and that it is NOT all about altering the structure of the church institution?

The point is not diversity.

The point is not cultural relevancy.

The point is not being missional.

The point is not being purpose-driven.

The point is not heralding back to Augustine or Martin Luther or John Calvin or Irenaeus or Tertullian.

The point is not getting on the bandwagon of tradition or the bandwagon of nontradition.

The point is the Truth. That's the point. That's what we live and breathe for.
It's simple.
And it's timeless.
And it's worked through all times and all cultures.

I saw myself in this post: "No church was safe from criticism."

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December happenings


It is a quarter to 11pm. So I shall attempt to be brief.

What has happened since I last wrote a proper blog post?

1) I became the happy owner of the most darling gray Schnoodle ever to grace this house. Behold.

She will be a year old come January 1st. She was one of the dogs that I used to dog sit, but her owners were willing to part with her since they had two other dogs, one of which is unimaginably rowdy (albeit, cute), and I fell in love with her, my dad fell in love with her, and my mom fell in love with her. And so, after lengthy consideration, we transferred her to our home and my room. I am trying to keep her from being spoiled, but it is hard when I want to be spoiled by her.

2) I joined eHarmony. As in, I actually paid for a subscription. But then, they were having a $5/month sale (the price of a regular Jamba Juice if I'm not mistaken). REALLY good sale!

And I began perusing my unsubscribed accounts with Christian Mingle and Christian Cafe. The results? Well, I quickly received the attentions of a 43 yr old and 47 yr old. And then I heard from a fellow closer to my age who said in his profile he was a bit lazy, undisciplined, and could use a helpmeet to help him with his spiritual life. Then the other day I got a long e-mail from a 60 something year old man looking for a Christian lady who wants children (ie., wants to bear children). Mmmhm. I decided to disavow Mingle and Cafe and stick with eHarmony. Seems much safer.

3) I did not finish writing my novel. But I got over half way through and watched more cheesy Christmas movies than I have in my whole life put together. (ie., the movies distracted me from writing)

4) I got a new camera. :)

5) I bought myself some hoop earrings....even though my ears aren't pierced.

So that is what I have done in the last two weeks or so.

Until the hour is earlier and my brain saner,

Monday, December 10, 2012

Me poor neglected blog.