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I am in the winter of my soul; All lies dead and quiet, without color and without warmth. But I know one thing about winter – that after it, comes spring.

And then – my soul will burst forth with life and vigour anew.  I believe that you, Lord, will breath your life on me like warm spring air.  The snow will melt, the ground will thaw, and all that once looked dead will look more alive than ever before.

My soul is in it’s winter.  But winter does not last forever, but always surely ends  Slowly, or suddenly. But it ends.

I will come out of this. I will see light. I will know joy once more.

“Weeping may tarry for a night, but joy comes with the morning.” – Psalm 30:5 ESV

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I am a planner. Plain and simple. I am your run-of-the-mill control freak.  I have a calendar and a detailed day planner with a space for every hour of the day from 8am – 8pm. I have a specific pad of paper for my daily “To-Do” lists. Post-it notes are my best friend. When I pack for a trip, it looks like I’m preparing for a trek through Timbuktu – I am prepared for any possible event. I am obsessed with planning.

I could try to be positive about this, and chalk up my love of planning to an organized mind, a motivated lifestyle. And certainly, there is some measure of truth to this – most people truly don’t “plan to fail”, they fail to plan. However, over time, I have come to recognize why I truly love plans – they give me control.

In the seemingly mindless chaos that is “life”, making plans helps me to feel in control of my life. Even when everything else is falling down around me, I can cling to my day planner, I can rely on my “To-Do List”, I can trust my calendar.

But that is, without a doubt, “seriously messed up”. Did my day planner form me before I was even conceived? Did my “To-Do List” hold me in the palm of his hand? Did my calendar sacrifice himself on a cross to atone for my sins? No.

God did. And I am coming to see more and more how God is working every event in my life to make me cling ever more to Him. There are many examples of this, but I would like to share the most recent with you – my trip to Campus Crusades’ Indy Christmas Conference.

The idea of going to Christmas Conference (from here on out referred to as Indy CC) was introduced very early, sometime around the beginning of November. I immediately knew I wanted to go. I looked up the website immediately, determined the price, what I would do, where I would stay, etc, and called my mom – ready to plan! Unfortunately, the idea was immediately shut down – it conflicted with the dates of my family’s Christmas party. I was disappointed, but accepted the fact that I was not going.

Even so, whenever I heard or talked about it, I would send up a silent prayer to God; “You know, Lord, it would be really great to go to this…if I could…maybe…”

Things didn’t seem to change at all, until a week before the conference. One of my friends from home randomly texted me, telling me that she had, on a whim, decided to attend the last 2 days of the conference, and wanted to know if I would like to join. I knew that my family Christmas party would be done by then, and I told her I would ask and get back to her. By coincidence, I had asked off work from those two days two weeks before, long before I knew about the possibility of going. So that was clear. I asked my mom. She said yes, but only if I could pay for it myself.

Darn. Foiled again – until Christmas! I was given just enough money to be able to afford to go. Now the problem was where to stay. This problem did not resolve itself quickly. It came up until the night before I was supposed to leave for Indy, at about 9 pm, when I found out that, even though rooms were supposed to be booked 4 women to a room, that somehow, a room had been booked with only 3 girls – one of whom I had recently become friends with.

Now I had a place to stay, money, and a ride there and back. At the very last second. Even up until I got there, I was winging things – check in, parking, finding my friends. Everything. It was unplanned – extremely uncharacteristic of me.

And I have to admit – it made me beyond nervous. At times, I wanted to throw up from the anxiety.

But it was worth it. God was proving to me that if I trust Him, he truly will provide. And trusting in his provision is far more thrilling and satisfying than trusting in my own. Even if it is scary, I’m going to try to cling to him, and not to my plans.

“Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” – James 4: 13-15 (ESV)

I never considered that this website would be a place for book reviews (honestly, I feel that I’m not being paid enough to do that 😉 ), but I have just finished reading “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” by Donald Miller and I felt compelled to talk about it.

I will not say that I loved it. There are few books that I bestow that honor on, and I read a lot of books. However, I did deeply enjoy it.  It greatly appealed to me, mostly because it was a book about stories written in a poetic form by an author.  I am a poet, an author, a writer.  And Miller’s thoughts and feelings about how the meaning of our lives is in the story that they create was deeply meaningful to me.

Miller spends most of the book talking about his life in his typical rambly, poetic style, meandering from point to point.  The overall theme was something like this: Life is one big story, and you have to decide how you will write it.  You can either write a really boring one where you get up, go to work, come home, eat Easy mac and watch tv, or you can write a beautiful adventure that is filled with risk but also with beauty.

Sadly, all to often, we (myself included) choose the couch. It is part of who we are.  I love playing a computer game called “The Sims”, in which you create characters and then control their lives, raising them from birth to death, etc.  Today, out of sheer boredom, I created a man.  I placed him in a small, but comfortable home in a big town with plenty of other people. I gave him money, and got him a secure job.  I gave him a bike with which he could transport himself anywhere he wanted to go.  And then I let the game run.  I was hoping that, while I was gone, he would do something exciting – get up, move through the ranks of his job, find a wife, have a baby, who knows. I laid it out for him to choose his own adventure.  When I left, he was watching tv on the couch.  I came back two hours later and what did I find – he was sitting on the couch, watching tv.  He had made no friends. He had not been promoted. He had no wife, no child. His bike sat unused. I was deeply disappointed.  I had created this big beautiful world for my character and he hadn’t seen any of it.

Perhaps this is what God feels. He makes this big, beautiful world, filled with risk and adventure and tears and pain and laughter and smiles and LIFE and throws it out there, like an explorer laying out a treasure map and tells us “This, this is all yours.  If you’ll only trust me and go out! Go!!”  And what do we do?  We sit on the couch and watch re-runs of Jeopardy. Because it is safe. Because there is no risk. Because it is comfortable, and we don’t have to get dirty or scared or hurt.  Because when we sit on the couch – we don’t need God.

How deeply this must disappoint our Creator. In one fell swoop we reject the beautiful adventure He has designed for us, as well as rejecting the deeply beautiful One who created the adventure.  How sad it must be for God to look down at this world – this world of sparkling oceans, purple mountains, roaring lions, giggling babies, vast jungles and open skies – and see his creation sitting on a polyester couch enclosed by drywall barriers staring at plastic boxes.

This is your life. And God loves you enough to give you the choice to sit on the couch, if that is what you so please.  But I for one cannot wait to see what great adventure God has laid out for me!

It is as simple as this. His hand is extended. Take it. Trust him. And start to run, and never, ever look back.  The world is far too beautiful, this life far too wonderful, our God far too amazing to do otherwise. What story are you living? What story would you like to live? Tell me your stories, or the stories you hope to write. I’d love to hear and to share.

You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.” Isaiah 55:12


Don’t you just love it when God leads you into unique, and yet terrifying situations?  I’m seeing God’s provision for me so much this first quarter of college.  So many things I have prayed for have just started to fall into place, and I know they are only from Him.  One of the most miraculous things about God, at least it seems to me, is the way he speaks through us if we allow Him to.  I have been praying that God would give me both the opportunity and the boldness to witness lately, and that, when the time comes for me to do so, that He would put the words into my mouth (I have a nasty habit of babbling and rambling).

God just loves to give us what we ask for! Last night, I was involved in a conversation with a friend of mine who is not a believer.  He expressed embarrassment and regret for something that he knew that I would consider a sin, but I assured him not to worry about it.  Honestly, I didn’t care.  Then, out of the blue, he asked “What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?”.  I should have been shocked – that’s generally not something you ask in polite conversation with someone you’ve just met.  I should have scrambled through words, sorted through all my worst deeds, trying to pick one that wouldn’t make me look too bad, attempting to word it correctly, to make myself seem less of a monster.  But I didn’t.  Instead, the words popped right into my head – “Man, I killed Jesus.”

He didn’t know what to say.  I don’t think he expected me to answer the question.  But I had answered, in complete honesty.  I have killed Jesus.  This answer allowed me to explain further that we’ve all killed Jesus.  And what a wonderful thing that is! Not that we’ve killed the most holy Chosen one, but that, in doing so, we’ve really leveled the playing field.  When Jesus died for us, when we killed him, we all became equally as bad.  We all did the worst thing one could possibly do – murder God.  And how freeing that is! We’re all bad! Say it with me – I’m a sinner! I’m bad! I’m a sinner!!! Whooohoo!!  Knowing that makes us all equals.  None of us can judge.  **None of us can be judged.  We all need the grace and mercy of God just as much as the next person.  **Nothing I can do now can be as bad as that original sin, which has already been forgiven.  And that makes me the freest person in the entire world.  Grace is a wonderful, miraculous thing.

The second thing that I’ve come to realize lately rides on the coattails of this revelation.  Recently, I’ve felt that I’ve been doing pretty well in my faith life.  I’ve got a great community here at OU, and they’re teaching me so much.  I’ve been getting up a half hour early for quiet time with God, I’ve been doing my devotional on a daily basis, I’ve been stopping midway through the day to pray and read the Bible.  God and I have been BFF’s. I’ve been confessing my sins, getting good with God, all that great stuff.  I’m doing great…right? Or so I though. Knowing that there’s no such thing as perfection, I’ve been praying that God would reveal unconfessed and/or unrealized sins to me.  Yesterday, I decided during a discussion at Bible study that Facebook has taken far too much control over my life – when you stare at the live feed, just waiting for it to change, you know that you’re probably a little overly addicted.  I decided the only way to break the habit would be to fast from Facebook for a week.  I gave my Bible study leader Katelynn my password and email and told her to change my password so that I can’t sign on.  Without Facebook, I had nothing else to do at night but shower and go to sleep.  While getting ready for bed, I realized something.  Night is a hard time for me.  Night is when I have to be alone.  And I hate being alone, because that is when I face my demons.  That is when I feel lonely, and long for companionship and love.  It’s when I visit my past, when everything I don’t want to think about comes to mind.  The reason that I’ve been staying on Facebook til 2 am is to force myself into exhaustion.  That way, when I go to sleep, it only takes me five minutes of superficial prayer time with God before I go to sleep.  I don’t have to face my problems.  I don’t have to take these awful, dark feelings to the feet of God.  Problem solved….?

There’s only so long that you can run from things before they get you.  Thank God that he has the grace to gently shake us from our habits, take us by the hand and show us ways that we are still holding back from him.  I still hate nights – I probably will for a long time.  But I trust that God can help me work through those nights.

Finally, the last thing that I’ve been learning lately is that, unique as we are, we all struggle with sins that are relatively similar.  In talking to my girl friends, I’ve been seeing that a major thing we all struggle with is boys.  You hear that boys? We all struggle with you! You are one incredible distraction! (Just setting the record straight here.  No offense intended 😉 )  Our hearts are constantly longing after these young men that we know/are meeting.  I explained to my friend Kate with a laugh this morning that I feel like I’m constantly redirecting my heart, like it’s some little kid I’m trying to guide through the candy isle.  The minute I get it to stop longing after one boy and set it straight, it finds another one and I have to try and redirect it again.  None of us are what you would call boy-crazy, but this is something we’re all finding intensely difficult.  Protecting our hearts takes a lot of will-power, and I’m so grateful that they all keep me accountable.  Thank you ladies.  To my brothers in Christ.  I’m really sorry.  You are intensely attractive.  I look forward to marrying one of you one day.  Until then, I’m trying really hard to consider you only as brothers.  Seriously. I am.

That is about all for today.  I recently got this blog listed on the RSS feeds for athensi.com and on the Scripps School website, so if you’re a reader directed from there – welcome! I hope you enjoyed today’s ramblings.  Usually there’s more of a theme to these things, I promise.

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” (Philippians 1:9-11)

*EDIT: A reader pointed out that part of my post might come of as a little ambiguous, so here’s a clarification. I was meaning judgment as in human judgment. No human being can judge me, which means I can’t judge anyone else either.  When you’re freed up from the opinions of other people, you are free to be yourself and that is refreshing. When you’re freed from having to judge other people, you are free to be their friend and love them fully (well, as fully as human beings can love).  That is what I meant.

I also never meant to imply that we can get away with sinning constantly.  I was raised in a denomination that equated guilt with repentance and forgiveness. Guilt and I are well acquainted with each other – I struggle much less with repentance than I do with accepting forgiveness.  Additionally, in my talks with other people, especially non-believers, I’ve found that a common denominator is guilt and fear of failure.  Both are paralyzing and lead only to death. Guilt is paralyzing in that it keeps us mired in the past – we cannot move forward to make ourselves better.  I often struggle with the idea that God has forgiven my sins when I present them to Him, which means I don’t have to sit around feeling guilty about them to prove that I’m truly sorry. In fact, doing so is a rejection of his grace!  Fear of failure is paralyzing in that it keeps us from trying anything new, and from taking any risks.  However, to be a Christian is to live an inherently risk-filled life. In knowing that I have already failed in the biggest way possible (and been forgiven and moved forward from it), I feel free to take the risks that God is asking me to take with my life.

So please, don’t misunderstand.  God WILL judge us at the end of our lives/time, and sin is bad, should be avoided, and needs to be confessed and repented of.  Happy reading! 🙂

Today, I was shown something that pretty much sums up what I want to do with my life.  My vague ideas for a career pretty much summed up in one tiny url. www.mediastorm.org If you’ve never heard of it, don’t feel bad – neither had I.  Until my Journalism 101 class today, that was.  It was brought up by our professor as an example of how the internet is used in reporting.  We watched a video that literally left my speechless.  As I watched I thought “This. This. This is it! This is what I want to do!” I felt my palms get sweaty, my heart beat faster, my chest constrict.  I wanted to run out the door and jog to New York (where mediastorm is located) and beg for a job.

That being said – I’m pretty sure if that’s what I want to do, that I’m in the wrong major.  Most of the video would probably be placed under the categories of “Media Graphics” or “Photojournalism”.  And here I sit, a Journalism major.  Granted, I have taken the first step of applying and interviewing for a spot in the Photojournalism program.  However, whether or not I’ll get in is still unknown.  What if I don’t?  What if I get in and find out that I would rather do journalism?  What if I find that I actually hate photojournalism?  What if I try to both and am an absolute failure at each one and end up selling off pieces of my equipment to pay the rent for my cardboard box?

For someone who hates uncertainty, I have certainly chosen two possible careers that are pretty much defined by their uncertainty.  And I’m uncertain about even wanting these careers that are uncertain.  Uncertain squared.  Ugh.

If there’s one thing I can definitively say about myself, it’s that I’m a planner.  I like lists. I like calenders.  I like schedules.  Vacillation and indecision drive my absolutely crazy.  Honestly, if I could, I would choose to know everything about my future – my career, who I’ll marry, where we’ll live, how many kids I’ll have.  I have often lamented to friends about the uncertainty of my life.  “I trust God,” I moan, “but I would really appreciate it He could just like, submit a blue-print or something and let me sign off on it!”  We all laugh, but really – is that trust?  Is knowing what will happen – even in rough blueprint form – trust at all?  No.  That’s trusting myself.

Perhaps with my intended choice of career, and my own uncertainty about my major at the moment, is God’s way of getting me to trust Him.  “C’mon,” he’s pleading, “I know what I’m doing.  If you’d quit holding onto that tiny ledge, I’d pull you up to the mountaintop.”  And I know this.  I understand this.  And yet, I’m still clinging to my tiny ledge, my little rock of familiarity, of plans and lists and calendars.

It is one thing to know that I should trust God’s plans for my future.  It’s another entirely to do so.  But if there’s one thing I do trust, it’s that God can change my heart and help me to trust.  In that, I trust.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for wholeness and not for evil.  Plans to give you a future, and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

Kingsley\’s Crossing

Once again I am reminded that God really does work in mysterious ways.  Just today I was smacked upside the head again, and I feel like it’s such a great story that I need to share it with you all.  There is a lot of build up to the ultimate point of the story though, so bear with me.

For some reason, yesterday, I had a monstrous appetite.  Even though I ate this massive meal for dinner (check my twitpic on the sidebar), somehow, at 10 pm I decided that I was hungry again! I texted all of my friends to ask if someone could come with me to get food, but everyone seemed to be busy at the moment.  I sat around for a bit thinking about getting easy-mac, when my roommate asked me if I’d like to go the Nelson Grab ‘n Go and get some dinner.  I happily agreed and we set off to get food.  When I got there though – they were out of cheese pizza!  Not that they were out of pizza itself – but they had run out of boxes to put the pizza in, so they stopped making it.   Disappointed, I decided nothing else looked good and started to walk away. That’s when I got a text from my friend Hiram asking if I wanted to order some DP Dough calzones and eat them in the Coffehouse in the student center with him.  Well of course I thought “HECK YES!” and ran up there to order. However, when I got there, Hiram greeted me to tell me that sadly, the Coffeehouse had closed and we would have to eat it in his dorm.

We went back to his dorm, ordered the calzones, and ate them in his room at 11:30 at night.  Hiram’s roommate, Spencer, happened to be in trying to write a paper a the time, but we managed to successfully distract him and started chatting.  The conversation waxed and waned, moving from topic to topic – boys, girls, movies, gender roles, God’s will, personal gifts, prayer, music, etc. etc.  However, after a while, we came on the topic of “why does evil exist”? Or maybe, more specifically, why does God allow bad things to happen, and if He really does work everything for the good of those who love Him, does He make bad things happen in order to bring people to Him?  We must have debated this for over two hours, pulling out various pieces of scripture, quotes from books, sermons, personal experiences, and on and on and on.  On some things we came to a conclusion.  On many things we didn’t.  For certain though, until I left at 3:30 am (a terrible decision considering I had a 9 am class the next morning), we all learned a lot.

I thought little of it as I groggily got up and went to my 9 am logic course, and then to my 10 am philosophy class.  However, when class started, I was almost blown away.  About a day behind due to the professor being sick one day, we were just starting to discuss Augustine’s Confessions.  The professor said, and I qoute “Today I wanted to start a dialogue, a discussion, whether you are a theist or an atheist, about why evil happens, or more specifically, why God allows evil to happen.”

I about fell out of my seat! Although I thought “I should leave and get to bed” many times the night before, for some reason I had stayed long enough to have that discussion.  God was certainly preparing me to His witness in that class.  The discussion continues (and will probably get much further in depth) on Monday, and I would appreciate some prayers.  Even though I feel prepared knowledge-wise to speak up, it is a class of about 400 people!

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Past Musings