Spelling Bee

Four words I cannot spell to save my life, on the first try.

1. Commitment

2. Appropriate

3. Privilege

4. I can’t remember. But there is a fourth.

What does this say about me? This must point to bad things.

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My Night in Numbers, With Words.

I’m watching my sister’s babies tonight. All four of them.

My last two hours have consisted of the following:

1. Chronicles of Narnia watching

2. Cracker eating

3. Book reading

4. Teeth brushing

5. Diaper changing

6. Hand washing

7. Pajama changing

8. Minnie Mouse in the toybin finding

9. Crying stopping

10. Cell phone reclaiming

11. Lullaby making

12. Needed praying

13. Story-Telling: Goldie Rocks and the Three Bears. A rock-fairy tale set in Central Park, NYC, in which all of the bears speak in British accents, and Goldie is a teenage rockstar.

Auntiehood is the necessity of invention.

They’re all laying down now, but I can hear the oldest two whispering to each other from their bunkbeds. If it wasn’t so sweet, and it didn’t bring back such good memories of my sisters and I staying up and whispering to each other when we were young, I might put an end to it. But for now, I’ll give them ten more minutes. This time is more precious than they’ll ever realize in the moment. I’ll recognize it for them. Gladly.

I feel old. I’m twenty-four. I don’t know how that happened, or why it feels more like thirty-four. I think I have old soul, and I’m not just referring to the kinship I feel to Angela Lansbury everytime I watch Murder, She Wrote.

But seriously, that show is wicked awesome.

And now, I’m off to scour the house for something to read. Preferably something that Jesus will use to soften my heart and awaken my soul. So, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is pretty much out.

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perfection and failure and grace.

When you finally find someone with enough of a backbone, enough gusto, and enough nerves to really call you out on something…

you freak out a little bit. Specifically when you haven’t had to answer to anyone in years. Specifically, when you’re me.

So here’s what I think. I think God uses relationships in humbling, sharpening, brutal ways sometimes. He uses them in our lives to point out how futile our own attempts at goodness really are.

These are the times that force us to come to terms with all of the crap inside that we’ve gotten so good at hiding from everybody else. I think the right person for everybody is probably the person who tells you things you don’t want to hear, when you don’t want to hear them, because it’s still exactly what you need to hear.

How rude. How inconceivable. How non-PC. How bold. How unfair. How shocking. Eeeek.

Alas, the uncomfortable truth still exists: when someone really loves you and really wants to invest in you, he has a thing or two to say about the areas in your life where you need to be called out. The areas that can cause yourself and others a lot of hurt.

I bet this blog post seems off-topic from what I usually write. And that’s fine. I haven’t written in a month, and it figures that my first attempt to get back

into it would result in some partial word-vomit to deal with the thoughts swirling around in my head.

What I am trying to tell you, I suppose, is this: I’m not perfect. Ah, yes. That’s it.

I unbelievably thankful for this very real realization. As a girl who grew up in a strict(ish) Christian household, who always prided herself on making people happy and on being so very cautious to stay away from the “big” sins, I have pride that runs miles deep in my soul. Pride that blinds me from my weaknesses until it’s too late;

pride that makes me think I can look down on the lifestyles of others; pride that poisons. This image of myself as a minor league sinner, this image I held onto so dearly has slowly crumbled apart, and this afternoon as I was driving past miles of trees and grass and homes and sunshine, thinking about what an unbelievable failure of a good Christian I’ve been lately (and oh right, everyday of my life), this truth came to mind.

My worth is not based on my own perfection, but on the perfection of Jesus Christ. His perfect Life. His perfect Sacrifice. His perfect Love.

My worth is not based on my own perfection, but on the perfection of Jesus Christ.

His perfect Love.

His perfect Love.

His perfect Love.

I went to a writer’s conference last week, and one of the speakers talked about how when you create, sometimes the creation you make is a way that God wants to speak to you. When you write, she said, sometimes the words are for you. They are words and gifts from God that needed to come out on the page in order for you to get to them, see them, interact with them, reread them, and understand them.

So there you go. This one’s for me. Not for you. But you can read it too. That’s cool.

And here’s something else for you:

This song.

Enjoy.

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“I hear the Savior say,
‘Thy strength indeed is small;
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all.'”

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lose it.

I’ve been thinking about my generation a lot lately. I know. Cliche. I’m tired, and I can’t think of any other way to word it.

But still. I’ve been thinking. Thinking about how we spend all day talking to technology instead of each other. Thinking about how a lot of us had parents that struggled with being absent during the years that formed us into who we are today. We raised each other and ourselves, and I worry sometimes that we’ve lost out on some incredibly fundamental knowledge about how to live our lives. More importantly, I think perhaps we have spent so much time typing and texting to one another, changing our profile pictures and making ourselves look better on LinkedIn and Facebook, that we have become an unbelievably self-focused generation of people. Society tells us to be this way and then provides a million different venues in which we are able to follow through with this ideal.

I am afraid of becoming one of those people who is so concerned about how others perceive me that I completely forget the point of life itself. The point is to love God, and to love one another. It is so simple. But that idea– the concept of loving God and loving others, whole-heartedly, doesn’t make sense unless I’m actually doing so. When I’m not, I become frantic in my search for self-worth and approval from others. To tell you the truth, I clam up and climb into myself and stop functioning all together. I stop living how I was created to live.

We are created to love each other. To build each other up. To share things and look in each other’s eyes and be honest and be trustworthy. To love authentically. And authentic love has nothing to do with yourself.

Am I the only one who struggles with living on a conveyor belt that is constantly moving towards self-destructive constant self-focus? I don’t think so. I think we all do, and I also truly believe that it is the cause of some of the greatest pain on this earth.

Jesus talks a lot about how you have to lose your life in order to find your life. He was just… He was just right.

I believe that Jesus was the Savior of the universe because He has the words that spoke directly the hearts of the men and women, not just in His day, but in every generation that has sprung up since. Our basic needs and worries and struggles are still there, and Jesus used a magnifying glass and a microphone and alerted humanity that in order to have joy, peace, and love, we had to have faith in a God who is asking us to turn away from ourselves and our ways. He wanted us to see that in fact, we are completely worthless, but we have worth in His eyes, and that’s all that matters. This should define us and fill our hearts to the brim everyday–the Creator of the Universe is madly in love with His creation. Even now, I can hear the prideful side of my heart pointing out things I must have done to deserve this love. What glorious relief I find in the fact that this is not the truth.

Jesus knew me when He spoke the words that appear in the Gospels. He still knows me.  He speaks to me and tells me how to fix my life and how to deal with the problems that would inevitably appear in the future. But like so many things that are good and true and right and healthy,  I feel my soul recoil at times in a desire to hibernate and stare at a mirror instead.

And there is no joy in this.

24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 25 For whoever wants to save their life[a] will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?

Matthew 16:24-26

It doesn’t make any sense until you start living it. Or start again, living it.

Have a beautiful Wednesday.

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rest.

My drive to work every morning is probably my favorite part of the day. It’s quiet. There’s coffee. And I am alone with my thoughts, the sunrise, and God. I never feel more overwhelmed by the presence of God than when I see a really breathtaking sunrise. The kind that just screams of otherworldliness at the top of its lungs. The heavens seem to open up in the morning.

Now, of course, there are some mornings when I don’t see any of this. I’m too busy swearing beneath my breath at the car in front of me, or scanning the roads for cops to determine whether or not I truly can go 15 miles over the speed limit, or spilling coffee all over myself, or singing along to some song with meaningless lyrics but a great beat. Some days I really miss that opportunity to set my mind on God and praise Him for the beauty He creates amongst the chaos. I ignore Him for weeks at a time, forget to open the pages of His Word, stop interacting with people in a loving way.

I feel it all happen, and I wonder how I’ve gotten so far from where I was, and then I realize I’ve spent the last month of mornings hectically trying too hard, and I’ve missed the rays of sun shooting through the clouds. I haven’t looked up at the sky at night and noticed how small I am compared to the enormous orchestra of stars playing in the smooth black of the galaxy. I haven’t allowed Jesus to change me through His story or through the Holy Spirit, I’ve resisted through busyness and through sin. And yet I still always find my drowning heart wondering why it is that I have fallen so far away from His shore.

When you allow yourself to fall away for too long, I think you start feeling too guilty to try to go back. But the truth is, our realization that we are not perfect, holy, or even moderately deserving of God’s love, is the first step back. The step that is based on grace, and not at all on our fancy, busy, showy works. We wear ourselves out and we bleed our souls dry when we are striving for perfection, instead of basking in the grace and the love of our Father. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

Tonight, I am simply going to go and find rest in Him. Everything else can wait.

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spring.

Unbelievable amounts of sneezes are taking place in my life today.

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