Monthly Archives: June 2012

My Love Story, Part 5: Long Distance

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Part 1: The Hang-Ups

Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior

Part 3: Love at Second Sight

Part 4: A Spiritual Leader

We spent the summer together, all day, every day. It was wonderful, and we became accustomed to one another. It was nearly impossible to let go, that night before I left for college. To be completely honest, I’ve repressed the memory (unintentionally) and it no longer exists.

There is a lot of bitterness stored up in this part of my life…and a lot of strong–hardly harnessed, truly–emotions that had no outlet then. This is essentially their first outlet. It’s something I didn’t share then, and I wouldn’t have thought to share now (until this series came along). The following information is an incohesive cloud of emotions that overlap and work together to create a toxic mess.

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I’ve been published by the Good Women Project!

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This is one of the happiest days of my life. I’ve been following the Good Women Project for a year or so now…I’ve read every single post they’ve published since I found them. It’s a blog/website dedicated to helping women live the life they were created to live. It’s a place for community and advice and stories and healing.

I decided I’d go out on a limb and write an article for this month, especially because I’m doing the Great Writers Challenge from Jeff Goins (also, GWP’s theme for this month is “The Working Woman”, and I don’t foresee myself writing for the next two months, “Ask A Married Woman” and “Let’s Talk About Sex Again”…not exactly things I have experience with). The main themes of the challenge are to  put yourself out there, do something brave, and build a platform. This is my first effort to do all of those things.

I wrote about my journey as a self-proclaimed workaholic. Here is a short excerpt:

I work hard. I always have.

And so, it was fitting that I chose quite possibly the world’s most daunting major: Music Education. In four years time, I have to rack up 135 credit hours of 0 and 1 credit courses. Those, along with homework, hours of practice, concert band, marching band, pep band, trombone choir, and attending concerts and recitals made every day into a 14-hour day. But I liked it, because I liked being busy. I thought I was “seizing the day”, not missing any opportunity, because I had no leftover time. I was doing as much as I could with the time I had. That’s what I thought was important.

People sometimes asked me what my hobbies were, or what I liked doing. “Well…I like playing trombone. I like school,” is what I found myself saying. Yeah…probably the lamest answer ever. I didn’t have any hobbies. I was consumed by work.

Click here to keep reading.

This is the first time I’ve ever tried writing for someone/something/somewhere else, and I’m thrilled that I actually got published on my first try. I really can’t believe it. I’m so humbled and I can’t wait to see what else God has in store for me with this passion for writing.

A Sunny Bike Ride

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So, I’ve been riding my bike EVERYWHERE recently. Work. Walmart. Starbucks. Matt’s apartment. Soon, FSU. Anything is possible with the city bus system and a bike.

When I go to the two “main” places–work, and the bus stop at Walmart–it is mostly uphill. Then, when I come home, it’s a breeze because it’s downhill the whole way. I guess my house is in a weird valley where EVERYTHING else is uphill from me.

So one day last week, I was just…wiped out. My allergies kinda cut my feet out from under me. But I still had an errand to run before I hung out with a friend, so I did.

On my way home, I was really relieved to just coast downhill the whole way, as usual. But whenever I turn onto my street, that very last leg of the trip, it’s a long uphill slope. Like, unbearable. Like, what-the-crap-why-does-my-life-suck misery.

But I knew what was at the end of it. Home. Peace and quiet and air conditioning. And I couldn’t get off and walk my bike now! I was almost there!

It’s the worst thing ever…every time I do it. But God whispered a little something to me as I was pedaling, oh so diligently…

Even when you’re coasting downhill easily the whole way, you’ll still have to push at the very end to get Home.

I’m not sure what He meant. But here is my current commentary.

It’s easy to get lazy when everything’s going great for you. It’s easy to get discouraged when only one obstacle stands in your way. I’ve always worked best when I have a billion different things going on that have to get done. But when my schedule is open and free, and I only have to do one thing…well, it gets procrastinated a little more than it deserves. And when everything is easy but one thing stands in my way, I get way more upset about it than if I had many more things to deal with.

Maybe this is what He meant. But even if He didn’t, I’m both excited and scared to see what He means.

That’s the thing with such a grand and mysterious and loving God: you never quite know what to expect.

Day 6: Steal; Savor the Journey

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This is Day 6 of the Great Writers series from Goins, Writer.

I haven’t really been blogging through it because I’ve kinda been lacking inspiration (as silly as that may seem…seeing as I am given a prompt every day to work on). Most of them have seemed to me to be “thinking” prompts, and they all seem to be centered around starting a project. I haven’t been at this whole writing thing for long, so I don’t have any dreams yet to put into action.

But anyways, I am totally up for today’s challenge: take inspiration from somewhere else, and incorporate it into my writing.

One thing that really inspires me is my mom’s art. She is so talented and it’s been a beautiful journey to watch her art change and develop as she pursues it more. When I see a new painting of hers, I feel like I am looking directly at her heart.

“Savor the Journey” by Heather Santos at Sparrow’s Journey

I want you to take a long, hard (or soft) look at that piece before reading on. Notice the details. Notice your emotions. Think about what it means to the artist…to you.

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My Love Story, Part 4: A Spiritual Leader

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Part 1: The Hang-Ups

Part 2: Falling in Love with a Savior

Part 3: Love at Second Sight

I was elated by Matt’s decision to get baptized. The testimony he gave at the baptism was quite touching. All I could do was be incredibly happy for him and encourage him despite his fears.

But I still couldn’t help but believe the wise advice that everyone had always given me. “He still can’t be your spiritual leader.” And I talked to God about it. Talked at Him. Let’s be honest: when He brought it up, I always cut Him off before He could say anything—“I know, I know, I’m wrong. He can’t be my spiritual leader. I’m taking care of it. Don’t worry about me.” How silly of me–to tell Him not to worry about me. HELLO. God of the universe up there. He loves me where I am! (These are things I wish I could tell myself back then.)

Well, I was really just avoiding the feelings of failure that I thought God would speak down towards me. How foolish! What He was really trying to say was, “I see you. I know your heart, and I love it. I love you. I want to give you everything—you don’t have to do anything else (and I could imagine Him shaking me at this point), just accept what I want to give you!” Now, what he could have meant by “I know your heart” could be any number of things; I think it is a mixture of “I know you love me and want to please me” and “I know you’re stubborn, so I just made your non-Christian into a Christian for you. And what’s more, he’s gonna be your spiritual leader.”

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Courage

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I’ve always found it hard to reconcile God and country in my mind.

I’d always thought that it was hazy, at best, what a country like ours–with all its “freedom” and “the Constitution is always right” philosophies–should do about a thing like God.

Ah, well, let me catch myself here–I suppose that when I think about “country”, I think about “law”, and all of the controversies surrounding church and state. One time, I posted a rather vague blog on another domain about my reflections on abortion, and I got like, 4 messages from some liberal (not that ALL liberals are like this) who just wanted to tear me apart for all of the reasons I always hear thrown against Christians: “What about the people who are raped”, “This isn’t a theocracy”, etc. etc.

It made me so angry. It always does. I hate it when people get all angry at me–and believe me, I’m a fighter. It took me a lot of reading those messages, and then walking away, in order to finally come back to them without anger and look at them levelly. Even then, I never responded because I knew this person was only looking for a fight. And what I thought was most ironic was that their username was something like, “LivingQuietlyAndPeacefully”.

There was another message that I got, from someone else, assaulting me with a profanity and telling me that they hope I burn in hell. Or something to that effect.

Ah, my point is, I didn’t even attack anyone–I just calmly listed some things with little to no explanation. And I suppose I should explain my opinions better in the future so that they aren’t so blown out of proportion…but a cynical part of me believes that they always will be.

So…things like this, and all the liberal arguments I hear on Facebook and on a college campus, only perpetuate the confusion inside of my heart (and I remember who is the author of confusion). This post is my attempt at dissolving the matter (though it will probably something I come back to over and over again, only to be healed further in Christ each time).

There are things in life worth standing up for, no matter how hard it is. And if people are going to attack you no matter how you say it, you may as well take a stand. Sure, who am I to say that I, or that Christians, know better than everyone, but I know a God bigger, and stronger, and smarter, and wiser than ALL of you. And everyone in the world. Yeah, he’s pretty awesome.

So I believe Him when he says in Jeremiah 9 that ruin only comes to the nations who perpetuate lies so badly that you can’t trust anyone you meet (when was the last time you left your car unlocked in a parking lot? When was the last time you left your house unlocked? It wasn’t always like that). I believe  him when he says destruction comes to the nation who runs from sin to sin and wears themselves out from all of their sinning (how many people do you see who come to work or school miserably hung over from the night before? How often do you feel burned out or unfulfilled from chasing the things of this world?).

Now, I’m certainly not trying to declare the whole “doom and gloom” message. No one wants to hear that–I certainly didn’t. It was actually really tough for me to accept and understand last night, as I was sitting in my comfy chair, listening to my pastor. The thoughts trying to enter my mind were, “That’s outdated. That was meant for Judah thousands of years ago.” “That doom-and-gloom message isn’t real. Maybe he’s gone off his rocker.” “This kind of stuff isn’t important, in light of everything else that’s going on in the world.”

For I am guilty as charged. I’m not the perfect person who is sitting back and saying that everyone else is terrible or wrong. I do those things, too. My heart is just as deceitful and evil as the rest of them. A part of me wants to believe that those things are normal, because it’s all I’ve ever known and I don’t want to take the time or energy to change them.

But I do know God. I do want to do and be those things He made me, and all of humanity, for. And He redeems me. He’s taken everything that I’ve done that hurts other people and myself and Him, and He’s cast it away from me. “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west” (Ps. 103:12, NLT). And that’s what He promises us, when we choose Him. This…is faith. That He knows what He’s talking about, and He never changes.

Jeremiah was known as the Weeping Prophet. He had so much compassion inside of his heart that the knowledge of his people’s path of destruction just tore him apart inside. It overwhelmed him.

And at the end, my pastor asked, will there be anyone in this country who weeps from their compassion for the people in this country?

I suppose, at the end of the day, after all of the arguments have been talked to death and all of our anger has been spent, that’s what it comes down to. Compassion. Will I have the compassion to speak the truth in love? Will I have the compassion to tell everyone I know about the amazing grace that I experience daily? Will I have the compassion to weep and pray for those who are making decisions for my nation?

Because at the end of the day, God is God. He’s still faithful. He still forgives. And He loves so, so much. He doesn’t want our weaknesses to destroy us. He wants to heal them.

But He is also good, and mighty, and powerful. He is so purely good that by His very nature, He cannot tolerate evil for long.

His character never, ever changes.

And sometimes, it just takes the courage of one person to say that.

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If you have any response, or questions, or even anger to hurl at me, please leave it in the comments section below. I’ll respond with no anger or malice. I want to hear what you (YES, YOU) have to say!

Day 2: Marinate

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Today is the second day of the Great Writers Challenge!

Yesterday, I declared that I am a writer. But it’s still taking some time to believe it–and that’s what today is for.

I’ve always been scared of calling myself something or other–there are always people out there in the world who are better than me at things, and I’m scared of those people. And I’m also scared of people who look at my writing, and don’t like it, and then scoff at me for calling myself a writer.

I also had a certain experience in the past, on a different blog. Perhaps I had not used enough discretion when posting–but someone told me, in different words, that it was bad and undesirable, and that I should never do it. I shouldn’t share all the details of that story–just know that the message my heart took away from it was hurtful.

It took me a long time to once again write a little something. It was pretty destructive; writing is both an outlet for emotions and a tool for exploration of my thoughts. It’s vital. I mean, I keep a journal for all the thoughts I don’t put here.

But, all that being said, it’s tough to think of myself as a writer. But if the past couple of weeks hasn’t boosted my morale, then I don’t know what will. I’ve gotten more encouragement from people that I didn’t even expect to hear from than from anything else, ever. I say that not to boost myself up over anyone, but to acknowledge that God has given me a gift here…and that He’s already using it, in my tiny little world that I consider nearly useless. I mean, seriously? A blog? Plenty of people have one, I’m nothing important. But I suppose all that matters is that I’m touching someone, making a difference, however small, somewhere.

And I am a writer. Direct encouragement from messages and comments, as well as the tremendous growth in page views, has been reinforcing the writer concept daily. I’m ready to start identifying with it. It’s gonna be good!

The second half of this challenge is to get up early tomorrow and write. So uh, I guess I’ll concoct something tomorrow morning!

Ta-ta!