Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lessons learned from iced tea

Life gets pretty crazy pretty fast if you don't stop to rest, rest in God. This life has been a little draining lately and this girl right here has not made it much easier. I want to rush things make life go by a little faster but at the same time I wish I had more time. Living life in the future has not been beneficial. Worrying about tomorrow, about work, about learning, about living, about leaving. Where will I go, what will I do? All I know is I am currently here in Wilmington with an 8-5 job and a life, a here and now life.

I decided to brew some sweet tea (my favorite beverage) today. So I put the kettle on to boil, I get the tea bags ready and the sugar all measured out. The water boils and I have learned to pour the water in my glass pitcher thing slowly so I do not bust out the bottom from the rapid transfer of heat. Come on tea steep, steep! Bags gone, in goes the sugar. Now the real waiting begins. It takes so long for 6 cups of hot sweet tea to cool down. Hm getting late. I better eat, but wait my tea is still hot! Oh well, at least I got ice. So in goes the ice, in goes the tea and the melting begins.

Here I am with this watered down tea that does quench my thirst but does not taste like the warm stuff in the fridge does. It is better than that instant junk, but not as good as the tea that is slowly cooling down in the fridge.

See I know in the back of my mind God does not want me to settle for good things. To decide all on my own what my future will be, where I will go, how I feel like serving God. He will show me his heart in time. I know he will. I get to see bits every so often but I have to be patient for the best stuff. That stuff I can't rush that is totally out of my hands. I can not control God's desires for my life. I have to wait, but not wait like I have been. I can be proactive. Putting my tea in the fridge will get it colder sooner than letting it hang out on the counter. I have to learn to spend my time wiser. Not waste it. I need to spend time with my God my friend, the only one who really knows my future and the only one that can make it the best it can be. Not that okay stuff I can make of it, and if I meddle with it too much it might even resemble that instant yuck some call sweet tea.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Now give me the whole story.

When I am telling a story I try my best to include all of the details. I expect no less when I am hearing stories. I demand all of the details. Who wants to hear half of a story anyway? Weren't you frustrated at the end of the Fellowship of the Ring when it just cuts off when things are getting really good. What happened to Frodo and Sam? What about watching the "end" of the first half of The Deathly Hollows. Not cool... I cannot stand it when books like these end up as movies and leave out all of the good details or they may not only do that, but also add ridiculous stuff like Prince Caspian and Susan kissing. Poor C.S. Lewis. I usually leave the movie frustrated and hating the movie makers.

Sometimes we see the trailers and hear about the movies from our friends. After all of that we have formulated our own opinions of these movies and may or may not watch them. I myself have not seen one Twilight movie and have no intention of doing so based on what I have heard. This may or may not be fair though.

When it comes to Jesus, we all have our opinions. Some are good, some are bad, some are true, others inaccurate. When it comes down to it, many of those opinions are based off of what we have heard, or maybe even read in books that others have written. Some people try to see for themselves and attempt to read one of the Gospels. I myself struggle sometimes with sticking with it. Sometimes my eyes glaze over as I am reading the words on the page. Sometimes I feel almost numb to the story. I have heard it countless times at school, church, retreats, etc. I forget how meaningful and important the story really is, how it changed my life.

This morning I finished reading Luke and I remembered that this book was written by Luke to one of his friend to tell him everything Luke knew about Jesus. The book starts out like this:

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-4

Luke was a good man who liked details. How neat! He also valued getting our stories straight and forming our own thoughts about Jesus. He like Matthew, Mark, and John wanted people to not only hear about Jesus, but to read about him too. Luke cared so much about this story that he "carefully investigated everything from the beginning".

Dear friend, Please do not be like the poor movie goers that only get half of the story and all of the extras that were not in the story in the first place. Today I encourage you to try reading the story for yourself. It may just surprise you.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Me a lover?

Loving people is not the easiest thing to do sometimes. I am not the greatest at loving people when they love me back the way I understand love, so to love others who don't always love me back or love me the way I understand love gives me a hard time. Pursuing relationships with others is also not one of my strongest areas which kinda goes hand in hand with loving others. Today I pray for God to give me grace, mercy, forgiveness, and love so that I may be able to do these things out of the overflow that he has blessed me with. Only with God's help will I ever begin to love those around me. Those who I love but that I suck at showing love to, those who I cannot stand, and those I forget about.

I do not want to be that crappy friend anymore that shoves my beliefs and values onto others. I need to realize that loving does not mean pulling someone into what we think is right or better, but loving them no matter where they are. No matter how many things we disagree on or the things we do not have in common. Love is not built on common things, but it is the thing that bridges those wide expanses between two hearts. A bridge that does not necessarily have to be two-way. There is a quote that I love from Brian Andreas, "How many people can you love before it's too much she said & I said I didn't think there was any real limit as long as you didn't care if they loved you back."

God is the same way. He does not have a quota that he reaches and then stops loving and he also does not need us to love him for him to love us. He first loved us. He is love. It is his nature, his identity. It is from that that he pours it into us. We are capable of loving out of that overflow, not out of our love but his. We do kinda mess it up, but without his love first, how do we expect to love others. See his love is not selfish or self-pleasing. It is something that pours out not takes in.

I really need a lot more God love in my life. That is the kind of lover I want to be.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Martha in me

I have read the story of Martha and Mary several times. Today I found myself in Luke 10. The last little bit of it is dedicated to telling a little bit of their story. Martha seems to be this nice lady who invites Jesus over to hang out. I picture her in the kitchen cooking up a storm trying after having cleaned the house from top to bottom. She is a busy woman who wants to please her guests. Mary on the other hand is just chillling and listening to Jesus. Martha probably got a bit mad at her sister who did not move a finger to help her. Here she comes out of the kitchen pissed off and tells Jesus in verse 40 "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"Jesus goes on to say in the next two verses, "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."

I am such a Martha it is ridiculous. I get so caught up in the task at hand that I forget to interact with others and have a good time. Lately I have been attempting to read Luke and Acts to prepare for the upcoming semester as a part of the evangelism team in our IV chapter. I am supposed to be journaling about it as I go along. I have found myself wanting to read but maybe not having enough time to write about it or not enough energy so me being all weird about the task at hand and following the "rules" I have neglected to read my Bible. Crazy huh? I have gotten so caught up in my "duties" that I have neglected Jesus.

Mary was the smarter of the two sisters in the sense that she did not let silly, meaningless things get in between her and Jesus. I need to learn that it is okay to let some silly details slip and really focus on what it important, those things that are eternal.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Wow. My mind has just been blown. Many people have issues with believing that God loves them. I mean he is ultimate love and still, maybe because of his unbelievable greatness, we do not receive it. We have these walls up. We feel unworthy. We are broken after all, right? I on the other hand do believe that God loves me and does not pollute my life with crap. I do get down sometimes but I don't blame it on him. But still, even though I do believe he loves me a whole lot, I don't really realize just how deep it is.

Many people use, or try to use, God. They will say, "Yeah, I tithe so he will bless me financially." or, "I serve at my church so God will fix me." God already said he would! He is not a means to an end. He is the end. Tithing is a command, not a means. Serving is a command, not a means. We are to do these things not that we would be rewarded as if we could actually earn God's love, grace, or mercy. He is a loving God and gives out of his own perfect heart.

Now the part that really gets me. We here on this earth are to point to Christ with our lives, right? We are supposedly "ambassadors of Jesus". Now I was listening to a message from Francis Chan on Christ-centered relationships. Not that I am planning on getting married any time in the very near future, but I will one day. So I was listening to the message that talks about how husbands are to love their wives as Christ loves the church. I have heard this so many times but today it really clicked. As he was speaking out of Ephesians 5 I thought about John 17 when Christ is praying. He prays that as he and God are one, that we would be one with himself and God. In Ephesians 5, Paul talks about a husband and wife becoming one. This is a picture of what Christ and the church looks like. We are one with Christ, we are a part of the body of Christ. Jesus loves us as we are a part of his body. He love us that much. When I am hungry I eat. I take care of my body more than just about anything. Marriage is a reflection of this. Just as some people have difficulties seeing God as the father because of their bad earthly fathers, I have a hard time getting this because most of the marriages I have seen are crappy pictures of what marriage should look like.

After all, like I said, we are to point to Christ with our lives. We should also do this with our relationships. Our marriages, our families, our friendships. We should not "use" God to fix our relationships. We should constantly give them over to him as we run after him ourselves but not "earn" his repair. We should ask for strength, grace, mercy, and love as we fill our roles in our relationships here on earth as we try to point to Christ. People should be able to look to us and point to Jesus through it. I pray that I may become a better friend, daughter, and sister so that through those relationships I may have another opportunity to point to perfect love.

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church—for we are members of his body. "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh." This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband."
Ephesians 5:25-33

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who is the worry wart now?

Just about every time I am with more than one person in my class, the topic of our overwhelming schoolwork comes up. I, personally, am not a fan of those conversations. I usually end up having baby panic attacks that, for the most part, are invisible to others and wind up shutting down. I am not a major planner and try not to look too far ahead into the future which at times comes back and bites me in the tail when I realize I have not even started to think about this assignment until a few days before it is due and come to find out that it will take me way longer than expected to complete. Today one of those conversations came up, and I blocked it out as usual.

I know that by the grace and future plans of God I am in nursing school. It still amazes me how I actually got in. I was not one of the many who busted their butts and freaked out about getting in. I kind of stumbled through my first two years of college. The sad thing is that I still am. Even though I do not put nearly as much effort into school as I should, I still find myself not working on my relationship with God. I have all this time that I do not study and I still can't read my Bible or pray as much as I want to or need to. How lazy! And after all of that, I freak out over school stuff.

This morning I woke up and realized I passed out last night without getting into God's word as I had originally planned. I was going to get off facebook (ugh facebook I cringe) and then cuddle up with Larry my Bible and read some fun stuff from Mark. So after I got back from my clinicals I was going to start on some homework that I have managed to put off several days now but instead my computer decided to restart. Poo... Every time this happens, I have to manually turn it off and on again 3-8 times before it decides to cooperate. Perfect time to get some word in me.

So I read several chapters and came to Matthew 6. The last bit of that chapter talks all about worrying, and if you have trouble with it I suggest you read it. It is pretty good. I normally do not think of myself as a worrier. Like I said, I pretty much shut down and refuse to deal with things before worrying and then I flip out. I concentrate my worry into a very short time and then push through things. After the misery is over I resume life as normal. In all of this, I miss out on God.

Matthew 6:33-34 says, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

In verses 25-32, Jesus talks about worrying about clothes, food, and places to live. He also talks about life. Honestly, most of the things that I worry about are a lot less important than these, especially less important than life. When I think of life, I think of my body, food, water, air, you know, the basics. But then, when I really think about life, I think about Jesus. Jesus is so much more important than anything else. He gave life. He gave me life. God put me here, got me into nursing school and Jesus bridged that huge gap between me and my maker. That right there is crazy powerful.

So going back to Matthew 6:33-34. I should first run after God, and his heart for my life. Then all of my worries will be taken care of. I should take life as it comes and give it to God, the only one who can really do anything about it. Now all of this is not an excuse for me to be lazy, but as I really run after God, I am believing he will help me with my struggles, big and small, and give me the ability to conquer them in his strength. God is good.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Not too focused

I must say that God has a thing for really speaking to me as I speak to others. I will be having conversations with people and listening to things they have been struggling with and then I speak the words I need to hear. It is a little crazy but many times when I have intense God/life conversations with people I am surprised with what comes to mind and out of my mouth.

Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about some things she has been going through and I told her that sometimes God does not give us what we want all of the time and sometimes He does want to bless us like crazy but the thing He wants more than any thing else is our heart. Then and only then when He is our focus and our life's goal is to put Him first and praise Him with everything we do and really dig into the Word to really have an intimate relationship with Him, He surprises us.

Why would God give me things that I would put in front of Him if He is not my focus? It does not make any sense at all. God wants great things for all of us, but first He wants our heart. Not the half heart I give Him most of the time. Not the leftovers. Not the "I'm sorry God for not really reading my Bible today or really praying, but you do know I am tired and I have an early class in the morning and well I won't have any time for you then either. Maybe I can fit you in around lunch, but wait, I have to sit there and talk to some random people in my class. And well after that, you know how much I need to work on that project. Maybe when I get home tomorrow night. Maybe by then I will have some time to spend with you..." How crappy I am. I am really appalled. Sometimes by the time I get home I am so dead tired that I cannot even muster the strength to get up the stairs to change clothes and climb into bed. Why would God give me anything if I cannot even give Him the time of day? Look, I even make this about myself and not about Him.

I have an idea of what I want my life to look like but I have started to look at that more than to look towards God and really spend time with Him. I know I really want a God centered life, but that is not happening all on it's own. I have to make the effort to really spend time in the Word and in prayer and even in just resting in Him. I really need Him more and more every day. There is a huge hole in my heart that I try to fill with plans and ideas and dreams, but the only thing that can fill it is God. Lord, please fill my heart and if you find anything in it that is in the way of me and You, take it away.