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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Deborah

"Can you hear me?!"
"Are you okay?" 
"My name is Anna. I have some medical training. Would you like help?"

These were my words as I assessed "patients" during wilderness first aid training. The key word here is "some."  It was lunch break during the second session of a two session training seminar, and I drove the short distance to Taco Bell. We had an hour, so I brought in my Bible to do some reading. I sat down in the nearly empty restaurant. A man sat down in the booth in front, facing me. Another man set to my left, his eyes locked in my direction. It was silent, except for some obscure punk-rock band playing softly in the background. Needless to say, it wasn't really my scene. I noticed some tables outside, so I quietly slipped out of my seat and made my way towards the door. 
A woman asked me if I had a light. 
I noticed her wrinkles, overdone makeup, and frizzy hair, and then politely replied that I did not. 
I took the table next to hers.
"How are you today?" 
She looked surprised.
"I'm fine. How are you?" 
"Doing well...so what's with the suitcase?"
"I just bought it from a thrift store. I'm hoping to move soon." 
The conversation progressed. Then, there was a pause.
"Tell me about your faith." 
"Oh...well, I'm a Christian. God holds me together. He carries me through the days." 
"Cool. So what's your story?"
Deborah then told me about her childhood. How her mother loved Jesus, and how her father did not. He was a hard worker, she said, but he drank, gambled, and cheated on her mother weekly. When she was in school, her teachers asked her why she kept falling asleep in class. She told them it was because she was afraid her father would kill her mother while she was sleeping. She would come home from school to the blood they had tried to clean up. She has memories of her Dad grabbing her Mom by her hair, and beating her in the face repeatedly. 
Her 63 year old hands quivered as she wiped her eyes.
"But I know the Lord loves me. I know my Mama is in heaven, and I hope my Daddy is too."
There was a dignity to this woman. I knew she had a hard life, but she woke up, did her make up, bought herself a suitcase, and took herself out to lunch. 
My lunch break was over.
I prayed with her before I left, and gave her my devotional. 
We parted with tears in our eyes. 
A forty five minute interaction and I will never be the same. I can't wait to see her in heaven...a string of little moments. That's all we have. Little moments that make up the story of our lives. 


Friday, June 13, 2014

summer lovin'

Arnold Palmers, boiled peanuts, front porch rocking, magnolias booming, and lots of physical labor- summer has officially arrived in Chestnut Mountain. Most of my days are spent driving a truck or riding my horse.
There is something so refreshing about going back to the basics. I didn't realize how complicated my life at school had become until I came back home. There are no complicated relationships. Friendships don't take work. Church isn't even a decision. Noise is minimal. This was exactly what I needed. Although I still have no idea what I want out of life, somehow that feels okay here. Yes, the simplicity of home is a beautiful thing. I am relearning to appreciate a blue sky, a random thunderstorm, a pair of solid levi jeans, a next-door neighbor's consistent wave, and easy Christ-centered relationships (that I'm beginning to realize are very rare). Thank you, Jesus, for all the simple joys. May I never forget to notice.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

new favorite quote

"By trying to grab
fulfillment everywhere, we find it nowhere." -Elizabeth Elliot


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Doubt.

It's funny- I finished reading the entire Bible on April 31st, and now I find myself doubting like crazy. All I know in this moment is that Jesus is either nothing or everything. He can't be in-between. He either demands no attention, or all attention. No devotion, or all our devotion. I have to be either hot or cold. Why is it so difficult to trust his goodness?


peace amid the wandering

I went to Jamaica (reminded that loving Jesus is literally the most important aspect of life).
My sister is married (now I have a weird sense that my husband could be anywhere...kind of creepy).
I decided to finished school in five years instead of four (which is currently making me feel like a failure at life, but whatever.)


Everything is happening so fast. Why does life fly along like a kite in a hurricane? It isn't this easy breeze in a hot air balloon that allows you to appreciate the moment or your surroundings. It is a whirlwind of confusion that moves at warp speed. So often I find myself walking around like a chicken with its head cut off (such vivid imagery... Why do we use that phrase?)
Perhaps these events aren't racing by, but maybe I'm failing at slowing down.
I am now deciding to return to waking up an hour early to make myself breakfast and listen to what God has to say to me for my day. Otherwise, I know I'll continue on this self-absorption trajectory that tends to result in destructive thought patterns. I'm not perfect. I never will be. I'm not worth all these endless thoughts, but He is.
Jesus once said that our relationships with those we love most should look like hate in comparison to our love for Him (paraphrasing of course). I can't imagine this ever being reality in my life, although I pray that one day my heart will be consumed with that sort of devotion. In light of His sufficiency, I can be content in spite of my glaringly obvious imperfections.