Thursday, December 20, 2012

Searching and Seeing

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I’m searching for you. It’s not that you’re nowhere to be found, you’re just harder to find than usual. When I hear from you, it’s like getting a letter, or a text, or (if I’m lucky) a phone call, but it’s not like you’re right next to me like it used to be. I don’t want to believe that’s part of growing up. I don’t want to believe that growing up means growing distant. So I’m trying to find you. I’ve been looking in books, old journals, talks with friends, movies, music…and I can’t seem to find you anywhere.
                For awhile it seemed to be getting better. The Christmas season began. With every twinkling light and with every whiff of peppermint, my soul was subtly reminded of you. I was reminded of your joy. I was reminded that those who searched for you did find you. I was reminded of the events that set the stage for your arrival.
                To be honest, I was a little jealous at first. Mary beheld Gabriel. Joseph had a clear dream. Elizabeth birthed a miracle. The innkeeper observed a desperate need. The wise men witnessed a celestial sign. The Shepherds were covered with angel’s light. You were so evident. You made yourself so clear. It’s not always that easy to find you and I feel like this story almost…leads me on.
                Things happen and it’s really hard to see you. It was hard to see you when friendships got weird. It became even harder to see when cancer returned. Then it became more difficult with the anxiety of finals. And then a man opened fire on children and I can’t seem to see you anywhere. I’ve learned to have faith that you’re there without seeing that you’re there and cling to that for all its worth…but I’m afraid I may lose my grip soon. And to be honest, I get really confused why you’re so silent when your entry into the world was anything but silent.
                But then again…it wasn't that simple, was it? One dream and one angel visit probably didn’t continually bring Mary and Joseph comfort when they were looked down upon by society. Elizabeth’s high-priest husband was mute for nine months because he argued with an angel. The innkeeper had to worry about the potential death of a newborn and mother. The wise men had to depend on the ever-changing sky. The Shepherds were probably scoffed at and quickly silenced. Mary and Joseph had to flee to Egypt for years. Herod ordered a massacre. It’s not always that easy to find you.
                But just because it isn’t easy to find you doesn’t mean that you are not there. In fact, it could mean that you are very, very present. 

Christ By Highest Heaven Adored

            Gabriel looked around the smelly, moist, noisy cave. He chuckled and shook his head. As he observed the surroundings he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see fellow angel Andrew standing there, smiling.
            “Not quite what they expected, is it?” Andrew laughed.
            “Certainly not. Not even what I would have expected for the King!”
            “What do you expect, as humble as He is?”
            “I know…I know.”
            “This does not change His kingship…it actually displays the heart of His kingship.”
Christ by highest heaven adored, Christ the everlasting Lord.
            The cry of the baby king echoed through the cave. Gabriel and Andrew turned quickly, grabbing the sheath of their sword. Gabriel felt a sigh of relief escape him as he saw that the fleshly, tiny, weak King Jesus was just fussing after being positioned differently in his mother’s arms. Now it was Andrew who was shaking his head.
            “He’s a baby. I still have a hard time grasping that He’s a baby. And then, as if Jesus being born to anybody was not strange already, He’s born to a virgin.
            Gabriel let out a loud laugh.
            “Yes, it is quite the mystery.”
            “By the way, how did she take the news?”
            “It went a lot better than telling Zecheriah about John, I’ll tell you that much. See…she knew who sent me, and she respects Him and His word. She was puzzled of course, but she was willing to accept the mystery and embrace the incompresenbility of what was being said to her. “
Late in time, behold Him come. Offspring of the virgin’s womb.
            Andrew and Gabriel shared a chuckle. Gabriel slowly cocked his head as he looked at baby Jesus. Baby Jesus. Baby. He was loud, messy after just being born, wrapped in clothes meant to be burial cloths, dependent, weak, and tired. As Gabriel gazed at the baby, he could not help but picture the Jesus He knew. High, exalted, glorious, magnificent, beautiful and perfect. Who Gabriel was looking at was not the Jesus Gabriel was used to seeing at all. And yet, here He was. God, in the flesh. Not only in the flesh, but an infant.
Veiled in flesh, the God-head see.
            “Oh! Here they come!” Andrew whispered.
            “Good! I’m glad they got here…they were terrified.”
            “And despite their fear…they still came.”
            A dirty, smelly shepherd approach the mouth of the cave. Mary saw him and drew Jesus in closer to her. With a look of newfound father instinct, Joseph stood up and confronted the shepherd.
            “You need to leave.”
            “No! Please, let us explain!”
            Joseph looked behind the first shepherd and saw a group of at least ten more. Joseph sighed in frustration,
            “Please. My wife just gave birth to my son-“
            “Did you dress him in swaddling cloths?”
            Dumbfounded, Joseph moved his head back slightly
            “Yes…yes, those were the only clothes we had. I suppose we should have been more prepared…but…wait… how did you…?”
            Gabriel and Andrew smiled at each other.
            With a grin, the shepherd replied,
            “Like I said, let us explain. You see, we were watching our sheep when…”
            Gabriel and Andrew laughed loud and long as the shepherds attempted to explain what they had seen. Not because of the way the shepherds retold the story, but because of the joy of the magnificent story that they were seeing unfold.
            “Please…let us see this thing that has happened, that the Lord has told us about!”
            With mouth agape and eyes wide, Joseph turned his head to look at his wife. She had heard the whole thing. She returned his look with a look of equal amazement, and nodded. Joseph turned back to the shepherds, silently nodded and guided the shepherds into the cave. Mary placed Jesus in the manger so everyone could see Him.
            The shepherds crowded around the newborn King. A silent, reverent hush came over them. Reverent…of a child. Tears welled up in the eyes of some of the older shepherds. One older shepherd voiced,
            “We’ve been waiting…for so long!”
Hail the incarnate deity!
Joseph affectionately touched Mary’s shoulder and she smiled up at him.
            Gabriel now turned his attention from the King to the ones that He had chosen to live among. Jesus had lived with glorious celestial beings up to this point…and now because of His love for THESE, creatures that had been made in His image…He had come down as one of them. He who had created them now had to be cared for by them. Those who would have not existed without Him dreaming them in His heart, He was dependent upon. He loved them so much. He saw so much potential in them. He had such great and lofty plans for them. He cared about them so much, that He wanted to be able to relate to them. He wanted to live with them.
Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.
            Gabriel’s vision blurred. He closed his eyes and tears trickled down his cheeks. He smiled and whispered,
            “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty…Glory to my King…to the newborn King. Glory to the newborn King!”
Hark! The herald angel sings, Glory to the newborn King!
            After what seemed like hours, Gabriel was able to open His eyes, despite the glorious light. He was not in the cave in Bethlehem anymore. He was now facing another kind of cave. In a garden. A cave that moments earlier had served as a grave. It was no longer an effective grave…for the stone had been rolled away and its inhabitant stood before the grave, alive, glorious and well.
Hail the heav’n born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness!
            Gabriel stood completely still. Jesus was alive. First He had been born. Then He had grown. Then He had died. Now He lived again. And He was standing right in front of Gabriel, in all of His resurrection glory. The light that shone from Him was far more radiant than the light than all the angels had shown when they appeared to the shepherds.
Light and life to all He brings,
            Jesus smiled at Gabriel. He reached down to His belt and unlatched a set of keys. Gabriel’s mouth dropped open. Jesus held them up. The keys of Death and Hades. With a grin of triumph and confidence, He jingled them.
Risen with healing in His wings!
            The memories of the past 33 years in addition to the majesty of the present moment was overwhelming to Gabriel. For the last 33 years there had been nothing to attract people to Him…now He was the most beautiful, glorious being on the planet.
Mild He lays His glory by!
            Jesus approached Gabriel. As tears had come at the birth of Jesus, so they came again to Gabriel as the resurrected Christ approached Him. Jesus placed His hand on Gabriel’s shoulder. His eyes twinkled as He smiled. He began to chuckle. Then He broke into a loud laugh. He threw His arms around Gabriel and embraced Him. The tears streamed down Gabriel’s face. His King was not dead anymore. Jesus let go of Gabriel and held him at arms length. He smiled at Gabriel, and patted His shoulders. Jesus leaned forward with a look of mischief on His face.
            “The women will be here soon…I want to surprise them!”
            Gabriel took a moment to look at Him. Even after all the time spent with Him, Gabriel knew He would never totally understand Him.
“I don’t think you have to plan that out.”
            Jesus let out a single, loud glorious laugh and turned to leave. He had come to give people hope. He had died and they had been filled with despair. Now He was alive, and it was time to start letting them know that death did not have to be an option anymore. It was the reason He had come to begin with.
Born that man no more may die! Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth!
            Gabriel watched his master walk into the garden. He took a deep breath, contemplating what was to come and the amazement of the event that had just occurred and would last into eternity. He shook His head
            “To Him be all glory and honor…to the Firstborn from the Dead.”
Hark! The herald angel sings! Glory to the newborn King!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmastime is Here

             So many searched for Him. The magi, the shepherds, King Herod. Christmas is seeking Jesus. It’s seeking the fulfillment of long forgotten promises. It’s the glimmer of hope for downcast hearts. It’s the answer that no one was expecting.
            I’m still seeking. I still feel like so many of my hopes and dreams were crushed. I still feel unheard. I still feel like I’m lost. I still feel disappointed. I still feel confused. I feel like I have more questions than when I began. I still feel like I’m waiting for answers.
            However, there’s something in the Christmas lights that softly glow on my street. In the hymns singing of yearning. In the aroma of peppermint, hot chocolate or cookies. In the sound of crinkling wrapping paper. In the laughter ringing. In Scrooge’s redemption. A reminder.
            It’s a reminder that promises were fulfilled. That there are things to treasure in our hearts. That when things are not as they seem, it's not always a bad thing. That God resurrects hopes and dreams. That we are heard. That there will always be a light to lead us. That there is a cause for celebration. That just because things don’t make sense doesn’t mean He’s not up to something. That questions are often followed by declarations. That He does come.
            That there is hope.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Digging for Worms

      She handed me a woodchip. I looked down at my 2 year old student and took the woodchip from her, slightly confused. She plopped her adorable, chunky self down on the ground, pointed at a spot in the dirt, looked up at me and said, “Worm?” I chuckled. The day before we had found a worm, and apparently 20 minutes of taking turns holding said worm wasn’t enough time at all. I shrugged and went to digging. I knew the chances were slim, but I went ahead anyway. I told her, “The worm might be on vacation so we’ll dig for a little while but if he’s not home we’re going to stop ok?” She nodded. We dug for 5-10 minutes. Nothing. I told her, “Sorry, Mr.Worm went on vacation.” I put the dirt back in the hole and went to another part of the playground. 5 minutes later there was a little tap on my thigh. I looked down. There she was again…holding a woodchip. “Worm.” 
     This went on throughout the ENTIRE SUMMER.
            Relentlessly this child would ask me to find her a worm. I mean, I know that kids like bugs, but SERIOUSLY? After digging for 5-10 minutes, every time, we wouldn’t find a worm. And the cycle would begin again moments later.
            I kept digging for two reasons. One….because…I mean, not digging for a worm at a two year old’s request seems like a mean thing to do. Secondly…I couldn’t help but notice the faith she had. And it was fascinating to me. She never once thought that maybe the worm wouldn’t show up again. I was in a really rough patch in my spiritual life and it was encouraging to see a picture of faith in this little girl. It made me think of my own faith, which at the time felt so weak.
            Then we came to my last day at work. As we dug for a worm, I silently prayed, “Hey. Jesus. I think it would be really cool if you could help us find a worm.” I chuckled to myself and half joking, half serious silently said, “In the name of Jesus, we will find a worm.”
            We didn’t find a worm right then. But I walked to another area of the playground. I had been with a different class the other day and we had actually seen a worm there. So, maybe there would be one there. I moved around some dirt. Didn’t do any digging. Just moved some dirt around. And low and behold….there was a worm.
            God rewards faith that He’ll provide and earthworm, just like He rewards faith in anything else. I know it sounds cliché, and I don’t know, maybe it is. But it was a nice little reminder that He really, really, REALLY does hear us. He really does recognize any amount of faith we have. He really is overjoyed by our faith.
            Oh, one last thing that I learned from that little girl.
            When she received what she faithfully believed she would find…
            She wouldn’t let go.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

"There is, ya know, surprisingly, always hope"

With a smile and a bounce in her step, Amy says to the Doctor, “Time can be re-written! I know it can! Come on!” And with that she runs into the museum
From my couch in front of my laptop, I smile. I know where this is going. There are going to be new paintings! At least one. That Tardis painting thing I see everywhere. That must be from this episode.  And just the thought that maybe, just maybe, there could be new paintings and Van Gogh’s life didn’t have to end so tragically…ah! What a brilliant idea.
Amy runs up the stairs followed slowly by the Doctor. She rants on, “Oh the long life of Vincent Van Gogh! There will be hundreds of new paintings!” The Doctor casually follows her, saying, “I’m not sure there will.”
I’m starting to not feel so good about this. But it’s been such a good episode! So beautiful! It has to have this beautiful, happy ending, right? My hopes of seeing imaginings of Van Gogh’s potential work is getting more exciting by the second.
“Come on!” she repeats. Amy walks into the Van Gogh exhibit
Yay! Here it is! New paintings! I’m with her all the way now.
She looks around. Everything is the same.
It’s gotta be there somewhere.
The tour guide is heard, “And here we have the last work of Vincent Van Gogh, who committed suicide at only 37…”
My heart sinks. No. But…! That can’t be right…
Amy squeezes her eyes shut. She turns to the Doctor. With tears in her eyes that mine seem to be copying she says, “So you were right. No new paintings. We didn’t make a difference at all.”
Hopes and dreams crushed. Suddenly, this wasn’t about Van Gogh anymore. This was about me.
The Doctor looks at Amy sympathetically but wisely. “Well, I wouldn’t say that,” he says.
My heart lifts…just a little.
“The way I see it, life is a pile of good things…”
Andrew the angel. My friend gets up out of her wheelchair and walks. A loving family at Resting Place. My friend’s joy-filled engagement. A place of belonging in theatre. Gold dust on my hands in random classes and in my journal in a time of need. Extremely specific moments of encouragement. The seniors who constantly encouraged me while SMing. The women who surrounded me with prayer and love the opening night of the show. Praying over my friends at the Actors Lab senior send-off. Finding out that for my senior year I’ll be living on the same hall as my 3 best friends at Eastern. Three prophetic dreams. Beautiful writings. A new but good change occurring within me.
 “…and bad things.”
Almost two months without solid friendships. Fear of rejection. Sitting in my car late at night, sobbing, on two different occasions because two different people had hurt me. Having to SM a musical that brought back memories of an awkward 13 year old girl whose Dad was in the hospital and eventually became known as “the girl whose dad died” Walking into my room and sinking to floor, only to cry for an hour.  Two very influential people in my life moving away. A friend that once said “I don’t want to lose your friendship” stopped contacting me. Confusing messages from God. Feelings of confliction and self-doubt. Hopes and dreams crushed.
     The good was SO good, and the bad was SO bad….it seemed that the good things and the bad things always just seemed to be at odds with each other. Not only that, but the bad things almost made the good things seem irrelevant.
 “Hey.” The Doctor embraces Amy.
My ears perk up.
 “The good thing don’t always soften the bad things…”
The two piles of memories swarm again. Amy and the Doctor start to become a blur.
“…but vice versa the bad things don’t necessarily spoil the good things…”
More memories just swirling in my head. Amy and the Doctor are a complete blur now.
“…or make them unimportant.”
The tears came.
And in that moment….Jesus definitely added to my pile of good things.

(1) "Vincent and the Doctor", Doctor Who, Season 5

Thursday, August 23, 2012

You Memorize Me

“And nothing is hidden from your sight. Wherever I go, you find me. And you know ever detail of my life. For you are God and you don’t miss a thing…
You memorize me”(1)
            Everytime this line is sung out, it echoes within me as well as pierces my soul. “You memorize me”.
            I’m officially back at Eastern. I STILL don’t know what this season was entirely about and I STILL don’t know A LOT of what God was saying (and is still saying). But at least He’s near. And at least I don’t feel alone anymore. Actually it’s quite the opposite.
            If I’ve come out of this season with anything, it’s the knowledge that God knows me. He knows exactly how to get to me and how to get my attention. He knows the TV shows I like, the music I listen to, the bugs I hate, the food I savor, the things in nature that fascinate me, the plays I relish, the movies/characters that I resonate with, the things that bring me nostalgia, the friends I love, the jokes I laugh at, the memories that hurt, the simple things in life that bring me joy…He knows me. And He uses ALL these things to speak to me. All the time. I realized that things that are important to me are important to Him too, because they are important to me. And He gets it. It makes Him seem more real and closer.
            I’ve been walking around campus and remembering all the things that happened last year. Good and bad. I’m enjoying the new memories I’m making and I’m looking forward to new ones being made throughout the year. And all the while, God is speaking. And to be honest, sometimes….heck, often, I don’t know what He’s saying. But I know He’s speaking. I know He loves me. I know He knows me. And I know He knows what He’s doing.

(1)Song, “You Know Me” by Bethel(Loft Sessions)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

To the Age Old Truth, We're Not Alone

I had a dream the last week. And it was one of those dreams that’s so real, when you wake up&you realize it was only a dream, you’re really confused. Well, it wasn’t the whole dream that was vividly real. Stuff like the Muppets being part of the NJHSA drama fest didn’t feel real(though that would’ve been epic). What felt real was this guy friend who was in the dream that happened to have his arm around me&whose shoulder/side I had nestled into. He later said I was cute&beautiful&said he wanted me to be his girlfriend.
Now, before my family celebrates, or my girlfriends text me, or certain guy friends start planning pranks/beat up sessions, know that this guy&I are not interested in each other in real life. However, in the dream, it was very real. When I woke up, I was kinda disoriented from sleeping in in the middle of the week. A minute after I woke up, I realized that all that was a dream. And my heart sank. Not because of him or anything, but because it brought me back to reality.
And my reality lately has felt like I am incredibly alone. It’s no big secret that I’m single. It’s no big secret that most of my best friends are pairing off faster than the animals on Noah’s Ark(or have new adventures far away from here). It’s no big secret that they still love and care for me and if they are reading this they are probably really concerned right now. Nevertheless…sometimes….often….most of the time lately, I feel alone. So, I dream of companionship, I dream of love, I dream of “my counterpart”(1). But that’s just it…it’s a dream.
Now, I really don’t want to make it sound like I’m desperate. I really don’t want to sound whiny, or dramatic, or manipulative. I’m writing this because I know that I’m not the only person who feels this way and I know that how I feel matters to Jesus.
Yesterday, I woke up feeling depressed. I WOKE UP feeling depressed. The day before hadn’t been a good day, so I had expectations of another bad day. I told God I was depressed, but that was about it. I didn’t ask anything. I just told Him and kept going on my way. I honestly didn’t expect Him to do anything about it. I was feeling REALLY down. I was feeling REALLY alone.
Then I got to eat a yummy bagel. Then I set up water day(quiet, alone jobs are highly valued by me at the daycare). My 2 yr old students had a BLAST during water day, which resulted in me having a blast(and getting soaking wet). When I was working in the baby room, there was a 3 month old who(for once) wasn’t crying&whining but instead was making cute baby noises. For fun I played the Anastasia soundtrack on the way to school(ECC) and that made me happy. We got out of class 5 minutes early. My mom gave me a “My Adventure Journal”(UP). I ordered tickets to see Singing in the Rain in theaters the next day. I snuggled with my 3 yr old niece and watched Cookie Monster videos on youtube. Before I got into bed, I watched Doctor Who. I didn’t have a bad day at all. I had a fantastic day…and I know that God was behind it.
One good day doesn’t solve everything. I know that. I’m probably going to feel lonely again soon. I’m still dreaming of companionship, love, and all that jazz. That hasn’t changed. What has changed is that I’m (at least) starting to internalize the truth that I’m not really alone. I know that sounds cliché, but I’m not. I have Jesus. He hears my prayers. Even if I don’t see the answer, I know now that He hears them. I know that He really does care. I’m starting to really get that the next time that I feel incredibly lonely, I have someone to talk to who is extremely understanding and loving about the whole thing. And that greatly encourages my heart.
The lion roars and the lamb lays down
They live together in a whole new town
They’re calling me and they’re calling you
From the cold hard facts that we’re on our own
To the age old truth, we’re not alone. (2)

(1)   Book, “The Divine Romance” by Gene Edwards
(2)   Song, “Emma(Not Alone)” by Jason Upon

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wrestling and Resting

It was my third night at Resting Place since I had been home from school, but the first time I felt like I was really home again(that’s not a reflection of anybody or anything there, it’s more of a reflection of where I am in the season I’m in). Anyway, I had just received some very encouraging prayer from a YWAMer. I looked up and there was my friend Christian! Christian had been the director of Splinter back when I was in highschool. I hadn’t seen or talked to him in about a year. After making some general chit-chat, he asked, “Can I pray over you?” I replied, “Of course!” I was feeling good. I was actually feeling good. He put his hand on my shoulder and was just quiet for a little while. Then he began singing along with the worship leader. I just stood there with my hands open in a posture of receiving. Like I said, I was feeling good. Then Christian said to me, “I’m feeling that…I’m getting that you feel like your hopes and dreams have been crushed.” I nervously grasped my scarf.  He was right. He continued, “I feel like you feel like your hopes and dreams have been crushed. And you feel like that’s it. And you feel angry. And God would have you be angry. God would have you be angry with Him. God would have you wrestle with Him…God would have you wrestle with Him and not your thoughts.”
                After this was prayed over me I just walked around the room for awhile. Because this prayer was so spot on it literally frightened me. I do feel like my hopes and dreams were crushed. I do feel angry. I feel resentment and bitterness. I’ve pushed Him away. But that hasn’t kept Him away. Because He really meant it when He said He wouldn’t leave me. He’s giving my space in a sense (because that man really, really loves me), but He hasn’t left me.
I was at Resting Place on Monday night and Devin prayed that God would break over me whatever I needed. I apparently need warmth and rest. I sat there and I felt the warm presence of Jesus surround me. It was so comforting and peaceful. As I let Him surround me and didn’t push Him away for the first time in a long time, I started remembering things that had been happening for the past two weeks. Things that made me think “I think that’s Jesus” but pushed the thought away because I had been pushing Jesus away. I thought of the Beauty and the Beast porcelain figurines(which my dad had given my mom) that my mom had left on my headboard for me to find when I came home(Beauty and the Beast is a thing for me&Jesus). I thought of the itunes giftcard my mom passed off to me the day after I realized that I don’t have money to spend on music that I wanted to buy. I thought of the night that I was almost asleep but then jolted awake because I felt a hand on my shoulder. I thought of the last time I had gone to Resting Place and had been so anxious to go home and when I did get to leave I only had to sit at 3 of the 12 lights to get home. I thought of the fact that I had been fatigued for the past week and a half and the first time I let Jesus close to me, instead of immediately picking at my crap, He invited me to rest with Him. I remembered all these things and I almost began to cry. He loves me so much. So, so much.
However, I’m still wrestling. Monday night was beautiful and things are getting better with me talking to God, but I’m still wrestling. Jesus and I both knew that Monday night wouldn’t solve everything and whatever resentment I have towards Him wouldn’t be completely resolved. In the past, whenever I was angry and God would start pouring out His love on me, I would dismiss the anger because I figured I wasn’t angry anymore if I could feel Him love me. But now I’m realizing that He’s saying that He loves me no matter what I feel towards Him. I realize now that He’s saying I can trust Him. I realize that He has not, and will not leave me. I realize that He’s not out of reach. I realize He’s not as far away as I think He is. I realize that I won’t be angry for long. I’m realizing what He meant when He said, “Come to me, all who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest.” I realize that as I’m wrestling….I’m also learning to rest. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What to do, what to do....?

Well. I'm home. This is weird. It's really, really weird. I feel like I'm JUST on break and not actually home. Hopefully this feeling doesn't last for too long. But the fact of the matter is, I am actually home, and tomorrow is the first day official day of summer! I decided it might be fun to post my Summer 2012 To-Do List and then at the end of the summer, write another post about what I accomplished of that list. I figured it's a fun way to start the summer and will eventually be a fun way to end the summer. So, without further ado...

Summer 2012 To-Do List!
·         Have acoustic worship on the boardwalk at Seaside w/friends and just see what the Holy Spirit does
·         Do well in my summer classes
·         See Newsies on broadway w/Grace
·         Visit the Disneystore in Times Square w/Kristen
·         Learn how to sing the Hebrew portion of “When You Believe” from the Prince of Egypt
·         Figure out the harmony to “Through Heaven’s Eyes” from the Prince of Egypt
·         Learn the Cotton-Eye-Joe
·         Learn the knee-slapping, kick bit of choeography from Singing in the Rain
·         Start picking up guitar again
·         Read. Read A LOT
-      The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
-      1984 by George Orwell
-      The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
-      Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
-      Prisoner in the Third Cell by Gene Edwards
-      The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
-      Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
-      A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
-      A book by Shane Clayborne(I’m an Eastern student, I might as well)
-      Cause of Discipleship by Deitrich Bonhoffer
-      Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
-      The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis
-      W/e else gets placed in my hands
·         Browse internship possibilities
·         Browse for apartment possibilities in the St.David’s areaish(yes, I’m planning on moving out after I graduate. Lord willing, I’ll be permanently back in Jersey about a year after I graduate)
·         Browse theatre jobs for after I graduate.
·         Do something crazy w/my hair coloring(Icicle streaks?)
·         Get textbooks for next semester
·         Start loosely planning on Senior thesis stuff
·         Watch some classic movies
-      Who Shot Liberty Valence
-      (rewatch) Casablanca
-      Gone with the Wind
-      Anchors Aweigh
-      Anything with Gene Kelly ;)
-      Oklahoma
-      The Manchurian Canidate
·         Go see “The Dark Knight Rises”
·         Come off of coffee….well, at least, don’t get addicted to coffee
·         Go to nightwatch at RP once a week
·         Keep in touch with EU peeps
·         Rush tickets for a Broadway show(Lion King or Godspell)
·         Disneybound as much as possible
·         Lemon-lime soda w/the juice ice cubes!(I saw it in Pintrest…ooooh Pintrest)
·         Get to know "Les Miserables"
·         Get to know "Dr. Who"

Sunday, May 6, 2012

New Series

       I leave Eastern in three days. Where did the semester go? Heck, where did the YEAR go?! And what in the WORLD happened this year?!?! I don’t have the answers to these questions, and I suspect I may never. I seriously can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m a hair away from being DONE with my first year at Eastern University. I have this feeling that when I go home, I’m going to just walk around my house aimlessly, not really knowing what to do, and then at some point I’ll break down crying just because I’ll be so overwhelmed. PSH, I’m almost at that point NOW and I still have three days left! There’s just so much to process…I’m almost done. I’m ending a really significant chapter of my life…and starting a new one. When I was at the Student Chaplain banquet a week ago, Jo-Mo(Joe Modica, the University Chaplain) said, “Life is a series of hellos and good-byes”. It really is. I know for me, it’s really hard to say good-bye. But the good-byes need to be said. As well as the hellos. So here are mine:
Good-bye locations that already hold so many memories, some full of pain and some full of joy.
Good-bye scenic pathways that bless me on my walks with Jesus and on my way to classes
Good-bye Sodexo and all your nonsense.
Good-bye double-room which has served as a single room for me this past semester
Good-bye living completely by myself…this may be a permanent good-bye.
Good-bye Victory Christian Fellowship, Blue Route Vineyard and Church of the Savior
Good-bye Wayne, you little town, you quiet village, where every day is like the one before. You little town full of little people...
Good-bye stupid lsdnviusfdgbhwoiedfhfnsdxh Hainer fire alarms!!
Good-bye to there being WaWas on every corner.
Good-bye Actors Lab, where it’s OK to break the rules and make up new ones every once and awhile.
Good-bye theatre-making, an outlet that provides me with both sanity and insanity.
Good-bye Student Chaplain program and the wonderful people/experiences it consists of
Good-bye new friends that have blessed my life more than you will ever understand (and I hope with all my heart that we will say “Hello” again in the future).
Good-bye “EU 2011-2012” chapter of this current season.
Hello job that is not Sodexo.
Hello multiple visits “down the shore”.
Hello state where it’s illegal to pump my own gas.
Hello living with my family once again.
Hello demonic kitty(don’t ask).
Hello little notes from my little sister
Hello friends who are welcoming me back with open arms to embrace me and available shoulders to cry on.
Hello Resting Place EGS becoming part of my weekly routine again.
Hello Resting Place family, I’ve missed you all so much
Hello living 20 minutes away from the greatest city on earth
Hello “Back in NJ” chapter of current season…

Or perhaps, the first chapter of a new season? We shall see…

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Through Samaria

About a week ago, I wrote a blog about how important it is to remember what God has done in your life. I shared some memories that had been swimming around in my head of times when God did amazing, miraculous things. When I was writing it, the truth of what had happened would hit me all over again and I was undone. Like…seriously, a canister of oil was supernaturally transported to my friend’s pocket?! And…wait…I met an ANGEL?!? And…whoa…WHOA…hold the phone…I saw a paralyzed woman WALK?!? That’s CRAZY!! Jesus is so, so, so good!! “God is good, all the time! And all the time, God is good!”
                He’s good all the time. And we forget that. I forget that. I think if we really had an understanding/revelation that He really is good ALL THE TIME…we wouldn’t be so prone to push away the painful memories. The times hurtful things happened to us and all of a sudden, we felt like orphans because our circumstances blocked the sight of our Father. But if He really is good ALL THE TIME…that means remembering times when we didn’t feel (and…to be completely honest…still may not feel) like He was there, much less that He was good.  
                I would love to only remember the good stuff. The stuff that I clearly see on the surface, “Oh yeah! That was good!” Well, yeah, it’s easy to recognize the good in memories like seeing an angel and a paralyzed woman get healed. But what about the times when my siblings, mom and I were either down in the basement or downstairs at church& someone would come downstairs, talk to my mom and after she quickly disappeared I was calmly told that my Dad was having another seizure? What about the multiple sobbing sessions because of hurts, grief, stress, anxiety, or confusion that I’ve had just in this past academic year? Who wants to remember that?? I don’t. It comes to mind and my heart aches and I zone out. It’s not fun.
                The other day though, I was remembering a (not as) painful moment from last semester. I was remembering driving to church by myself. I was so lonely. It made me sad to remember how alone I used to be. Then I thought of how just that very morning I had driven to church with my friend Heather and how this had become a regular thing. All of a sudden, that memory wasn’t as painful anymore! He was there! He saw! He had a plan the whole time! That’s when I realized that…as much as I don’t want to…I need to remember the painful things too.
                 I don’t think it is a unique claim to say that I don’t want to remember painful moments in my life. I don’t think anybody truly wants to remember the moments where we felt pain. But we have to. Because, the thing that I realized is, is that someday…we’ll get it. Someday we’ll see the outline of God in that situation, we’ll see what He was doing, we’ll see that He was THERE. We’ll see. And in the time when we have to remember and it still doesn’t make sense, it teaches us to believe that God is good no matter what. When new hard moments come our way, it teaches us to say, “Well…I know that thing in my past was painful…and though I don’t know what He was doing, I know God was still there and that He was good. So He must be here and He must be good now.” Remembering past pain and believing that God was there and was good in what He was doing even when we don’t see it develops faith and perseverance (1 Peter 1:6-7).
 Also…it’s important to remember, because Jesus remembers.
                In John 4, Jesus meets a Samaritan woman at the well. Before the story unfolds, John tells us that “Now He had to go through Samaria.” Um. No He didn’t. From what I recently learned in my New Testament class, was that Jews in their travels from Galilee to Jerusalem and vice versa took a longer round-a-bout way to avoid going through Samaria(due to their deep prejudice for Samaritans). Jesus didn’t HAVE to go through Samaria. But He did. He goes through Samaria and He meets her where she is and calls out all her pain, all her sin, and still loves her. I think the Holy Spirit is painting a picture here of what Jesus does with us and our pain. Unbeknownst to us, He walks through our own Samaria. He walks through the own moments and memories and events in our life that cause us pain, hurt and rejection. He COMES TO US and meets us WHERE WE ARE. He comes to us in the midst of our Samaria. We don’t know that He’s walked through it, which is why we’re so shocked when He calls out our crap. And then…possibly even more shocked, when He doesn’t send us away. When He humors our attempted diversions from the subject matter. When He brings us back to the truth, which is that He is the Messiah and He knows us…and He loves us. There’s a reason why the woman at the well ran into town and essentially said, “Come see this guy who knows every single secret about me!” She could trust Him. She had faith in Him. She knew He was there. She knew He was good. She had healing.
                One of my favorite Jason Upton songs is, “Trust Once More”. Every single time I listen to it, it touches the sore places of my heart. But it’s so beautiful. One of the last lines really sums up to me why we must remember…even if it’s painful.
I don’t know where you come from.
I don’t know where you’re going.
I only know the healing starts
When we all stop running.