Saturday, January 4, 2014

A New Year, A New Season, Same Blog Title

Once again, I have neglected this blog. Each time I come back, I hope to be more consistent in posting and more cohesive. I have a plan or schedule in mind for how/what I post, but I have never followed up on it. And so each post almost feels like a re-start of the blog.

It seems like often people change the title of their blogs or start a completely new blog as they transition into new seasons of life, but in almost seven years of this blog I have never felt the need to change my title. I think about what it means and how it relates to my life, and it just seems to still fit.

So where did I get the title? It's a line from an episode of Gilmore Girls, my favorite show at the time I created this blog. It is Rory (the daughter's) tongue-in-cheek response to her mom (Lorelai) waking her up by doing something silly. I always liked that line, and I am totally storing up memories for the tell-all I plan to write some day (if only in my head...). Plus, it reminds me not to take myself too seriously.

This blog is the story of me (why DO so many of us feel compelled to share our often unremarkable stories through blogging?) trying to make sense of life, glorify God, and raise my daughter (due any day now) in love, grace, and joy. It is a way to remember, reflect, and recharge. I am learning to rest in God's grace and be the woman he created me to be.

(And I really like parenthesis.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Has it really been almost a year since my last post? SO much has changed. I started my first full-time ministry position in July 2012. God has confirmed over and over that THIS is where are supposed to be. He is confirming my calling daily, and he has shown me strengths I didn't even know I had. I love the church where I work- the staff, the youth I minister to, and the church body. It challenges me and stretches me, while still allowing me to be myself and lead in the way God has called me. Micah finally found a job in our new town in December, and that has taken a lot of stress off him (and me). And...we got a dog! One of my coworkers found her outside the church. We had been wanting a dog, so I took her home to see if she fit with us while still trying to find her owners. No one ever claimed her, and so she is ours. She is the perfect dog for us- it's like she picked us :).

The past year has been so busy, stressful, and exciting! We love where we live and have enjoyed getting to know our new community. Friends have gotten married. Micah's sister had another baby, and both of my favorite cousins had baby girls in the fall.

Now it's March and things are moving right along. And now you are all caught up on my life and I can get back to my normal type of posts.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blogging has obviously fallen by the wayside since starting my job. It's weird working mornings and afternoons on some days and then working afternoons and nights on other days. I don't think this is a schedule I will ever get used to, mostly because there is not much rhyme or reason to it. I just show up when they tell me to. It's weird not seeing Micah all day and then only seeing him for a couple hours or less before I have to go to bed. I figured at some point we would have this sort of schedule, working opposite days and opposite times. It's not as bad as I thought it would be, but it's certainly not fantastic.'s temporary.

With each passing day I feel more ready to get out of here. It has nothing to do with where I am working. Micah and I both like our jobs and the people with whom we work. We just feel so disconnected. It's not that we have zero friends here, but something is missing. We don't feel at home. We have started seriously discussing "what next." I need some sort of plan. Either we need to make plans to pick a city and move by a certain date, or we need to get used to the idea of staying around here. Of course these conversations happen while we are applying for jobs. I suppose the conversations assume we won't find the jobs for which we are hoping. It's not that I think we won't find anything (I think I have a good chance at all the jobs I applied for last week), but I want to have a plan for what we are going to do if we don't get ministry jobs.

So, we have decided to start treating Kentucky like it is where we will be for a while. I am going to decorate the house and finish unpacking. We might plant a garden if our landlord will let us. We have yet to plug in to a new church. We have visited a few places but now we are dealing with our schedules. It kinda sucks when I work Saturday nights and Micah works Sunday mornings. There is a huge church nearby that offers enough services that we could find one that works, but we just aren't sure it is where we want to be. I think we are scared it may be too hard to get connected there because it is SO big. But, it seems just as hard to get connected in the smaller churches. Church shopping is no fun (I hate that term but I don't know what else to use).

I am beginning to wonder where God is in all of his. No, that's not what I am wondering. If I truly examine my heart and my thoughts, I am wondering why God isn't working things out the way I want him to. I am wondering why there aren't more available jobs close to home and why we haven't found jobs yet. I am wondering when are we supposed to begin trying to have children and what if God moves us far away from my family. I am wondering if God has a specific place he wants me to go, or if he is okay with Micah and me choosing somewhere that we think would be cool. If we do choose someplace, is God going to provide the jobs, housing, community that we need?

I am disappointed. I just knew we would have jobs soon after graduating. I just knew it. I just knew we would find ministry jobs. I know it's only been a few months, but it's starting to feel like we are going to be those people who spent loads of money on seminary and then never even use their degrees. Is that bad if that's what happens? No job I may or may not get will ever negate the truth that seminary was exactly where I needed to be when I needed to be there. I have to keep telling myself that. But what if we don't get ministry jobs? What will we do instead?

These are the thoughts that have begun to keep me up at night. It's not so fun. I don't feel alone- I know God is near. But I am wondering if all the hopes and dreams I have will ever come true.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Time keeps on slipping into the future...

Time flies when you're having fun. Or spending 9 hours a day in a big box home improvement store. Not my first choice of job, but Micah and I sure are thankful for the extra income! And, I have met some nice people! However, standing on concrete floors all day just about kills me sometimes. That's why I haven't blogged as often as I would have liked. That and the fact that my Lenten fast is going so well. I'm not so worried about the fast. I just simply want to deepen my relationship with God. Anyone have any suggestions of a good book that might help? I feel myself craving a good book.

In other news, we are still looking for and applying for ministry jobs. I am in the process of sending my resume out to a bunch of places and Micah got his out the other day. Please pray! We are ready to be in our element doing what we are called to do. And ready to be out of Kentucky and in a more permanent home. I want to decorate and truly set up my home. I want to get everything out of boxes. I want a church home (we are in the process of finding a new church). I need some roots and community! I have good friends here, but Micah hasn't made any deep friendships. And we don't have any close couple friends. I am very grateful we are still here, though, because we have gotten lots of support from older, mentor type people in the seminary community. We have a professor that regularly checks in with us to see how we are and meets with us to make sure we are staying on track in our marriage, and it is one of the biggest blessings we could have asked for right now (or ever). I can't even describe the relief and encouragement I feel knowing that someone is in our corner and willing to help us navigate the stresses of being newly married, newly graduated, job searching, and probably moving soon. God certainly has a plan for us and he knows what he is doing, even as we are feeling restless. I try my best to keep my eyes on him and my heart tuned to gratitude so that I don't become frustrated or discouraged. We have so much to be grateful for that my heart leaps as I mentally make a list of all the things God has done and is doing right now in our lives.

Honestly, sometimes it is hard to see all the wonderful things right now when I am so ready to be in the next phase of life. This is the story of my life. I really struggle with living in the present and enjoying where I am right now. Last year while being engaged and getting married, I made a huge effort to forget everything else and just enjoy what was happening around me. I'm not saying it always worked, or that even the whole wedding thing was my thing, but a lot of people were really happy for us and I got to enjoy that. I don't mind that it takes effort, though, for me to remain in the present. It causes me to keep my eyes focused on Jesus and the path he is laying out before me. And it reminds me to form special memories that I can someday share with my children. One bonus of learning to live in the moment and truly enjoy life is that I can get excited about things again. For the longest time nothing would excite me- not trips, concerts, whatever. I would have fun but never get the joy of anxiously awaiting the day. But now I have that again and I love it!

So see, I have no reason to feel discouraged. God is working, God is present, and God knows what he is doing. He has not forgotten us! I am thankful for the ever growing relationship I have with Jesus and that it brings me into greater understanding of who God is and how he works. I appreciate those of you who pray for us and love us! We love you, too!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Just checking in...

I started a new job so I haven't had as much time to sit, think, or write. In fact, I'm on my lunch break right now. I am a couple days behind on my Lenten devotional. Getting used to working varying days at varying times has worn me out. Add on the stress of some other things/people and i have had a short fuse. Tears and/or getting annoyed come really easily right now. Since I am so introverted, being around people all day at work makes me want not want to talk or be around anyone but Micah. But, I am sure I will figure out a good balance soon and go back to being my normal self.

In other news, there is a situation I am dealing with that is really starting to wear on me. It's not my story to tell so that's all I can say for now, but I would appreciate your prayers for the quick resolution of this situation. I think it's time that I removed myself from being involved at all, but I am not sure how to do that. The whole thing just makes me say grrrrrrr.

Anyhoodle, have a great day!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

All this worry, worry, worry

I read a blog post the other day by a woman who gave up worrying for Lent. She tells of her experience dealing with the sin of worry. I haven't been able to quit thinking about it. The "sin" of worry. Worrying is a sin. Ouch. I have struggled with worry and anxiety for a long time. I accepted it as my normal and have tried different tricks to overcome it or ignore it. Though some have worked in varying degrees, they don't get to the root of the problem, the root of my sin. The problem is that I don't trust God. The problem is that my view of who God is and what he does isn't the same as who God says he is and what he says he does. I think my life should be easy. I think nothing bad should ever happen to me, that God should protect me. I think that hard things aren't fair and that other people have life easier than I do. But none of that is true. More bluntly put, they are lies straight from Satan himself and undermine my relationship with Christ.

You see, I've gotten into this habit of thinking I deserve the things I want and thinking that Christ owes me something. It all started innocently enough, I'm sure, since I have not consciously said "God, you owe me." It has been more subtle than that. I start looking at people around me and the lives they lead. I want what they have- happiness, money, no worries, a nice home, a good job, etc. They give glory to God for all they have and it makes me ask, "Where are you God? Why don't you answer my prayers the way you answer theirs?"

And you see, that is my problem. As someone said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." I took my eyes off Jesus and began looking at everyone else around me. I began to falter. Then I fell into sin. I envied, I coveted, I worried. I stopped trusting God and instead looked to other things for my security- Micah, money, a job. Then it expanded to other things. I began thinking that if I looked better or talked better (no Southern accent) then things would be different and I would be happy. If only I had this or that or could travel here or there I would enjoy life so much more. If only I knew how to shoot a gun or had an alarm or lived behind a gate then I would be safe. If I had money then I could pay off our student loans, buy a house or rent a nice one, not have to worry about rising gas prices. But...BUT...NONE of that matters. Luke 17:33 says, "If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it" (NLT). And I get it now. It's not that I will die (though eventually we all will unless Jesus comes back before then). It's that I will be miserable and miss out in life as I do everything in my power to save my life and attain all these things and compare myself to other people (I can't take credit for this idea. I read it somewhere recently as someone explained Luke 17:33, but I can't remember where/who). John 10:10 says that Christ came so we could have abundant life. That life is exactly what I lose when I take my eyes off Christ.

So by now you may be wondering how we got here from the title of this post. Simply put: worry is a sin. Sin and a misunderstanding of who God is and what he does lead me to doubt God's goodness. That leads me to worry. If I get rid of the sin, I can get rid of the worry. It sounds simple, but I am struggling. As I type this I am trying not think about the storms forecast for tomorrow (and Friday, for that matter). Most people who know me know how scared I am of severe storms and tornadoes. It is a battle for me. I have learned that there is healthy concern and having a watchful eye, but for me that often turns to plain worry about something bad happening. I have lived through bad storms and even a tornado. It was terrifying. But ya know what? Even if a bad storm hits my town or my home, God still holds me in the palm of his hand. Even if I lose all material possessions, God is still good and he is still faithful. Even if I lose my life- glory to God! Satan can never, ever take me from God's hand. As the song says: "No power of hell, no scheme of man could ever pluck me from his hand. Til he returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I stand." That is my life song and I sing at the top of my lungs any time we sing it in church. It is what I want for my life- a heart so tuned to Jesus that I don't fear hard times or even death. I simply trust God and who he is. Please be praying for me. I know many others fight this battle of worry and I pray in Christ's name that he would break the chains of worry on all of us. This may be a lifelong long battle for me (I hope not), but I claim victory in the name of Jesus!

I will leave you with the lyrics of "In Christ Alone." I pray you will be blessed and when you hear it maybe you will think of me and pray for me. And when I hear it, I will praise God for who is he and pray for all of you who are in this battle against worry with me.

"In Christ Alone"

In Christ alone my hope is found,
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone! who took on flesh

Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Today, for those who may not know, is Ash Wednesday and marks the beginning of Lent, the season before Easter on the church calendar. I didn't grow up in a tradition that observed Lent or the church calendar. My first encounter with things like liturgy and the church calendar happened in college. Since then I've attended a seminary in the Wesleyan/Methodist tradition and have learned even more about what the season of Lent is about. I don't intend it explain it here- I'm sure you can find a good explanation on wikipedia. I will say, unlike the Catholic tradition, I don't see Lent as a time where I need to pay penance for my sins. I know that when I confess my sins and ask for forgiveness, God forgives me for them. There is no need for me to hang my head in defeat and punish myself in order to find some favor with God. I like this article I read today. It explains why Lent is about experiencing more, not about giving something up.

This year for Lent, I have decided to abstain from something that will affect my life and my attitude. It will daily point me back to Christ as I remove one thing from my life in order to replace it with Christ. It's not important what I'm giving up, as God reveals different things to each one of us. The important thing is that I am going to use this time as a refocusing on God and surrender of the perceived control I have on my life. I don't want to simply mildly disrupt my life for 40 days. I want to make lasting changes and celebrate Easter as someone who has been transformed.

I will try to blog parts of this journey and what I am learning. I may also set up a blog schedule and blog something different each day (i.e. Lenten updates on one day, a new recipe on another day, something marriage related on another day, etc.). If you've noticed, I have been cautious to commit myself to anything blog related as I'm sure I have not always followed through. But as I feel God calling me to write as a way of keeping me accountable to my commitments to him, I sense that this whole blog thing will become a part of my daily, or at least weekly, life. As always, we'll see.

If you are observing Lent this year, I'd love to hear what you are learning or what God is doing in your life. Even if you aren't observing Lent, feel free to share things God is teaching you.