Thursday, November 25, 2010

A Year Changes A Lot

Today is Thanksgiving.  And while I'm thankful for many things, right now I'm mostly just relieved to have a day off.

I do my best thinking in the shower, and this morning my mind wandered through the events of the past 365 days.  I realized this is a bit of a milestone day for me.

One year and about three weeks ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer.  Again.  I was able to make it home for Thanksgiving with my family, but was worried about going.  Dad had undergone his first round of chemo, and I was nervous to be home in case he was really sick from it.  Sick and I don't do well together.

We celebrated Christmas at Thanksgiving, because I was on call for the Christmas holiday and couldn't get away from work to come home.  As my parents, brother and new sister-in-law, and myself passed gifts, I wondered to myself if this would be our last Christmas with dad here.  I wondered if I would regret missing Christmas day with my family if it was the last one he would be at.  But that Thanksgiving/Christmas was a good one all around.

Four months later, dad went to be with Jesus.

Two months after that, my grandma (my mom's mom and my last living grandparent) joined my dad at Jesus' side.

Now it's my family's first major holiday since all that happened.  I'm over 500 miles away from them, but they're able to be together and I have people here to hang with.  And we have Skype.

So many other things have happened during this past year.  I started having Bible study with another gal from church, and we've built a cool friendship together.  Her family has taken me under their wing (whether they realize it or not)...and continued to stuff me full of food.

I stopped leading Tuesday night worship at church.  It got to be too much and pretty much fizzled out of existence.

On the flip side, our worship team has grown in huge ways, and it's been a privilege to have been a part of that growth.

I trained for and ran a half-marathon, my second.  I did something I swore I'd never do - got up before work each morning to exercise and train.

The house I'm renting went up for sale.  Occasional lookers come by to see it, but no offers yet.  I can't help but wonder if it's worth putting up my Christmas decorations this year in case I have to take them all right down again and move out.

I traded in my Buick for a CR-V.

I shot my first deer - a little eight-point buck.

I remember that a year ago, all I wanted for Christmas was supplies so I could make blankets to give away to people who need them.  I wanted nothing more than to give as much as myself and my resources away.  Today...I wonder what happened to that spark and drive, and when all this selfishness and self-pity crept in.

I have been stretched and challenged in a lot of ways, and I have to admit that most of the time I didn't handle those challenges very gracefully.  In fact, I spent most of them kicking and screaming.  But I am thankful for a loving God Who has unlimited patience with me, Who lets me kick and scream until I wear myself out.  Then, when I decide I'm done, He picks me up and leads me in a better way.  His way.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


The things I want right now cannot coexist. To follow one desire means putting to death another. I can't bear to let go of any of them. Maybe I fear that if I let go of these dreams (if I can go so far as to call them that), then I lose everything tangible and meaningful. 

To sacrifice my desires without having another vision to replace them is emotional and mental death. It feels as though I would be confined to an existence of colorless and monotonous gray. 


Even if I never get to live out my dreams, at least holding onto them offers a tiny glimmer of color on the horizon. I may never reach that glimmer, but it represents and provides the tiniest sliver of hope, and that is what keeps pushing me forward in a grayscale existence. 

. . . 

We look at life and its unfairness. We hear how Jesus is acquainted with our pain and sufferings. After all, He suffered the greatest unfairness of all. But I am quick to think "that's how it was supposed to be, that was the plan from the beginning, and it benefited many" and so detach the reality and humanness of Jesus in those events. 

While I am by no means God, don't the trials and sacrifices of my little life carry similar implications? The course and purpose of my life was mapped out from the beginning of time, with a definite beginning and purposeful destination. The trials and joys along the way will benefit many, and more importantly, glorify God. 

The difference is that as I go about this journey, I can't see the end result. I don't know ahead of time how this fits into God's grand scheme of things. But knowing these truths...does that knowledge make my life and situations feel more ok? 

I think so. Maybe not always. But for now, it is enough. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I like to think that I'm going to do something big with my life. Huge actually, with far-reaching and life-changing impacts. But I get so caught up in the grander, overall picture that I forget to live in the present. I'm trying so hard to see where the ripples of my life-not-yet-lived are going to reach that I can't see what's around me right now. I forget that those big, wide ripples start small.

There's a desire in me to do something meaningful, something important,to make a difference. I want my time here to matter, for God to be impressed with what I did for Him. And pleased. I want Him to be pleased. 
I like to think that I could easily tackle that "big" calling, the one where He asks me to live out my days in a 3rd world country or on a hospital bed stricken with illness. But the truth is I can't even handle my day to day life. I continually fail to be joyful and willing to carry out the mundane tasks, despite being given a fresh start each day. I live for me, I seek my own comfort. I can't handle the little; what makes me think He will entrust me with the big?
What if God isn't calling me to do something big and impressive for Him?  What if He's asking me to let go of these elusive glimmers of hope and plunge face-first into what my finite eyes process only as monochromatic?  I know in my head that true discipleship and reckless abandon produce a full and vibrant life byond what I can imagine.  But I also know that the fullest lives demand the most brutal sacrifices.  I fear the pain of giving up these things, things that I cannot keep anyway.
I fear these things, despite knowing that this life only brushes the surface of my existence, that these brief years I spend here are less than a blink in the eyes of eternity.


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