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Monday, November 23, 2015

taking the next step.

Dear Daughter,

I'm now twenty-sitting in the same coffee shop I was when I wrote you a letter at age nineteen. Life updates- I went to see a counselor and it was awesome. I have come to realize that we are all broken (something I've said for a long time, managing, somehow, to exclude myself)- the only difference being the level of our effort to become whole. Through the two sessions I had with a man named Greg, my suspicions were confirmed. I'm just a little girl with feelings who desperately needs validation. The second, and more encouraging discovery is that Christ is enough.
Every family has dysfunction. I hope you get to work through all the dysfunction you will undoubtedly experience in our home. I hope you learn how our failures as your parents affect you today.
Secondly, I learned that sharing your feelings is not only freeing, but necessary. I recently shared my feelings with a guy who I have no romantic interest in (same guy from previous post-yeah, definitely misinterpreted my feelings towards him), but I did, once upon a time, have feelings for him. During that "once upon a time" period, he hurt me. In my pride I refused to admit it, and moved on as quickly as I could. However, Jesus slowly prodded me and softened my heart until I was able to write him a letter. Did I feel like a fool? Absolutely. But I realized it was never about him and it was never between me and him anyways. It was about surrender. It was between me and God, and I knew what He was asking. I hope you overcome the urge to appear stoic and "unaffected" by those hard life events that will rock your world. Sometimes your emotional response will make no sense. It may be one small relationship that causes you to question everything. It's important to note that these seemingly small events/people are simply triggers ...revealing something that is already there, something bigger.
I've been reading Jim Elliot's life and testament: "Shadow of the Almighty" and I'm amazed at that man's devotion-his unwavering discipline. He had one focus: to follow Jesus. He did not see this as part of his life, but an all-encompassing, all-consuming aim that was intimately integrated into his daily life. He was committed. He was surrendered. I fear that I am not this way. I'm reminded of the C.S. Lewis quote that "we are far too easily pleased" and that God "does not find our desires too strong, but too weak." If we desired more out of life, if we demanded the best, then we would seek Christ. I want to want Him more. I want to have this focus. Because, if I believe His Word, then there is truly nothing greater. Nothing better. Nothing more satisfying. Nothing more freeing. Solomon knew this better than anyone- the man who had everything: money, power, and possessions. Yet, at the end of his life, he says, "all is vain under the sun." The key is: under the sun. Beyond the sun is Christ, stretching on for eternity, providing the hope we all seek.
I  hope you are real. I hope you admit when you've been hurt at the expense of your pride. I hope you see Jesus as the prize.
Anyways, I know you're probably yawning. Too long for sure. Check out Mumford and Sons on Youtube. I love them right now.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

frustrations and grace.

It's 1:30 in the morning and I've been staring blankly at my Spanish study guide for an hour. I've taken study breaks to run laps around my property, make hot cocoa, eat sweet potatoes, and catch up with an old friend. The test is at 9:30. I'm not feeling too hopeful.
I don't know what it is- I guess that once someone becomes one of "my people" it's hard to transition to having no relationship with them, besides the occasional and obligatory wave as we pass each other in our cars. Dating is confusing and I rarely understand all the emotions and complications that it brings. All I know for sure is that distracts people from studying #annoying

The hardest part of all is surrender. Surrendering control feels as natural as juggling while on a unicycle (Disclaimer: I've never done this, but I imagine it would not feel natural at all). Refusing to contact the guys I miss and refusing to give into self-pity and fear is really hard. Yet, this is what Christ asks, and He is faithful to provide the strength I need to wait upon Him. It is difficult to accept that I feel this much about, what I feel, is so inconsequential. When I consider the problems in the U.S. alone, not even the world, my problems seem quite pathetic. Still, they loom and I am acutely aware of them. Praying a lot that the Lord would take my self-centeredness away and restore my world to be centered around Him. Praying I will be more faithful tomorrow than I was today. Praying that I will love more deeply and listen more carefully. Praying I will learn to be vulnerable and honest. Praying I will overcome my fear of failure and incessant need to perform. Praying He will teach me to abide so that I can bear fruit. Praying that He will captivate my affections and my heart. Praying that I will not stray in pursuit of things and people that cannot satisfy. Praying I will get an A on this test by some miracle and that the hot chocolate will work wonders to keep me awake. Goodbye for now...