Tuesday, April 22, 2014

84: an excerpt from the "book"

I've probably mentioned it several times before, but I'm writing a "book." I put that in quotes, because I'm not sure when it'll be done, I don't work on it consistently, and it's more like me putting all of my thoughts in a fictional setting than "oooh, oooh, I've got this great idea for a story!"

So, here is another excerpt from the "book" where the lines between fiction and life blur. It's sort of a continuation from the last post.

And me? I was resistant. Because if I confessed Him to be enough now, then what of the last few years when my heart adamantly declared He was not enough?  To confess Him now meant confronting my guilt. Guilt that I had not been submitting myself to Him these last few years. I had not been trusting Him. Instead, I had been demanding from Him a reason for my singleness and the singleness of the many girls around me who had grown up only wanting one life path: to be married and have children. I had been telling Him it was not fair and refusing to accept any reply.

But to turn around, say, “ok, I’m better now,” and recommit my trust in Him? It felt like hypocrisy.

Did God have grace for those in pain, throwing temper tantrums, stomping around arguing without listening?

How embarrassing.

I had come to a crossroads.

He was healing the hurt.

He wasn’t even condemning me.

But He was requiring of me a choice. Whether to continue to wallow in grief over lost dreams and what to me was a broken life and family, or to recommit my trust in Him—not because what He did made sense to me but because long ago I had decided He was worthy of my trust.

The worship leader’s voice and the words on the screen struck my senses with personal meaning. “Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom? Who can fathom the depth of Your love?”

I couldn’t grasp it. “Lord God, You are infinite. And at this moment in time, I choose to lay aside my anger, my disbelief in Your goodness, and my grasping for You to change Your ways, and I submit myself to You again.” Embarrassment and guilt combined to bring shame. “Forgive me for how I’ve acted towards You through this.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

83: where were you when He created the heavens?

A couple of today's thoughts...

"Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom? I've been trying to grasp it, while holding onto disagreement at the same time. I need to let go of trying to grasp it and acknowledge that He is too wonderful for comprehension."

She stood on the stage, guitar in hand, yellow and white chevron dress swishing the tops of her bare feet. “The Lord has promised good to me.” Her voice took on the sound of personal meaning as she looked out at the audience, half smiling. “His Word my hope secures.” I knew her story. She had surrendered her love life to the Lord 15 years prior and had had no boyfriend since. Now she was in her 30's. “He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.” I knew she meant it.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

82: should my spouse's theology matter?

An acquaintance challenged me to let go of the idea that whoever I might be pursued by must have the same theological framework as me. For example, that people on opposite sides of the Calvinist/Dispensationalist fence can get along in a marriage.

So, I ask the question, how important are my beliefs to me?

Why do I feel like I must agree with my husband on these points?

Does theology matter? Does it matter in my practical, doing-life-with-my-husband, life?

I believe in a rapture. So how would that belief affect how my husband and I lead our lives? It probably wouldn't. (Though, I suppose if I believed that the church was going to bring God's kingdom to earth, I would be more intent on changing the world's institutions.)

Maybe it would take looking at each theological belief step by step to really figure out how each affects my practical life and why it needs to be shared by a potential spouse.

But what does it matter what a fellow believes about end times theology, about predestination, about a host of other issues as long as he loves God and follows Him with all his heart?

And, as modern day Christians, with all our denominations and church divisions, are we focusing too much on the minor points?

Why does theology matter? Because it is what I believe about the living Word of God. I am passionate about what I believe the Bible says. And why would I invite conflict by marrying a man with whom I disagree over heart-deep beliefs? How could I choose an intimate relationship with someone who disagrees with what I'm passionate about?

Should it matter?

Does it matter?

It does to me.


Because if what I believe about God's Word doesn't matter, what does?

Monday, March 31, 2014

81: evaluating the different sites

Christian Café offered me 2 free days this morning to entice me to come back. So I checked my inbox. I was greeted with a message from a 20 yr old saying "You say you have no appeal for 40 year olds. What about guys in their early 20s?" and a message from a 28 yr old saying "You'd make a good wife, dear." What a way to start a morning! *cracks up*

Someone asked me if there was a specific online dating site I'd recommend. So here's my evaluation.

eHarmony: eHarmony requires you to take an extensive personality quiz at the beginning and then matches you based on your answers. (It was co-founded by Neil Clark Warren, who has written books on how to find the right match, so you can tell that is his heart.) eHarmony sends you about 7 matches a day (until the database starts running out of good matches), and you can only view the matches they've sent you. When you are ready to begin communication, you go through a somewhat lengthy process before jumping to actual e-mails (although you have the ability to skip this process). Using lists provided by the service, you exchange several multiple choice questions and 0 must have's and 10 can't stands. Then you ask three questions to which the other can reply in paragraph format before jumping into actual e-mailing via eHarmony. As a non-subscriber, you can receive and view profiles, but you cannot see pictures, send messages, or know who viewed you.

Christian Mingle: This is the shopper's paradise! You set your own parameters and can change them whenever you want. You can view your matches or you can search for anyone and everyone. You can even search profiles by keywords (I've searched all the profiles with "homeschool" in them. :-P) Without paying a subscription, you can do almost everything--view pictures, profiles, who viewed you--except read your messages and participate in instant messenger.

Christian Cafe: Christian Cafe is similar to Christian Mingle in that you can search for your own match (but not by keyword). One of the distinctives of Christian Cafe--which is interesting since it is endorsed by Boundless--is that you are required to display on your profile what kind of relationship you're seeking (marriage, open to all possibilities, friendship?) and whether or not you have/want children. Without a paying subscription, you cannot access Christian Cafe, though they give you a several day free trial period when you create a profile.

Which would I recommend? eHarmony is a good starter since it's not as overwhelming as the other sites. Christian Mingle has a great selection of profiles if you are ready to sort through hundreds of them. Remember that each site has different members (though I did see a cross-over once between Cafe and eHarmony :-P), so it doesn't hurt to try more than one service. I would recommend shorter subscription periods (1 month, 3 months) until you know if you really want to try to find someone via the internet.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

80: as life turns

I look around my room. It's a wreck. I'm sure all girls my age are supposed to be perfect housekeepers to prove what wonderful homemakers we would be if only "he" would notice, but I have found that all of my friends are horrid at neatness. Oh wait, they're all single too.

Anyway, part of the reason for the tornado-esque atmosphere in here is because next weekend I'm moving. Moving out of my single-girls house of 5 months and back home with my parents.

I've gotten rather fond of living on my own (with two other girls). It was so easy to move from home to on my own, and I got used to it rather fast. Now moving back home seems like the hard thing to do. But we ran out of housemates to split the rent after one of us headed to Ireland,  and so we're all going our own ways. I was home last night looking at my room, deciding whether to repaint, pulling down curtains that I never was particularly fond of anyway, weeding out more books, and figuring out if I could fit my new second-hand desk and overstuffed chair in there. My parents are offering to bend over backward to make the transition a good one.

All my online dating subscriptions have ended as well, though I keep getting e-mails about sales. The 70% off sales only apply if you want to buy a whole year's subscription, and I'm not ready to fling myself into it with all my heart.

The process of the last couple years of trying to figure out who I am so that I could personally know myself truly and then portray myself accurately online has brought me to an interesting conclusion. Namely, I am full of sin. If I only want to be the "real me" I will fall further into sin and my tastes will conform to that. And so, it is all right to put on Christ and want to be a better person than I naturally am.

In other news (or is it the same?), I  started working on my NaNoWriMo 2012 book again. It's a fiction book about an idealist homeschool girl who discovers that faith and love don't come that easy when life doesn't go according to plan. (Am I the only one learning how to deal with life not going according to plan? And I don't just mean romance.)

The epilogue/last chapter has a couple sentences that I want to remember now, before I finish writing the rest:

Except for characters in books and movies, most girls wander through life completely unaware of who they are going to end up with or how it’s going to work out or even if they are going to get to be married at all. The only one who sees the obvious thread intertwining throughout the two lives is He who already sees the end from the beginning.

Like an author, God sees the obvious thread going from beginning to end. It takes a huge amount of faith to walk blindly through life trusting Him to bring about whatever He has planned and trusting that what He does is good. But it looks better on the other side if we do walk it out.

LadyM and her own set of distractions

79: a spontaneous medeival love story

as written by yours truly on March 5, 2004, stumbled upon while packing my journals. Spelling and punctuation errors remain intact.

I have often admired you as you walk through this garden, the prince said. The maiden blushed. I compare you to the rose. See here, (comes to plant) you are beautiful and stately, and yet as delicate as these scarlet petals. She glanced up into the knight's face and saw solemn admiration in his dark eyes. Her heart beat quickly as he slowly took her hand and then knelt on one knee. I began loving you the first day you came to my father's castle, and it wasn't until you were nearly carried away (by the enemy of the kingdom who also loves Olivia) that I realized how deeply I care for you. I would fight the fire-breathing dragon for you, my love. (I defy that dragon to appear that I may prove my sincerity!) Dear, sweet, Olivia, can I even hope that you would favor me above all others? Will you give me the delight of becoming my wife?

My face heightened in color. Looking at the ground I whispered, My good sir, I know not how I ever earned your love. I, a simple maiden, am hardly worthy of your affections. I . . . I know not what to say.

Will you, he hesitated, clutching both of my hands in his strong, but tender, clasp. Will you marry me?

Joy welled up in my heart and love compelled me to lift mine eyes up to his ever admiring ones. My affirmative had not time to leave my lips when suddenly a rugged hand grabbed my arm with cruel force. A shriek filled the air which I hardly recognized as my own, as I turned to face the blazing, jealous eyes of the enemy of the kingdom--Sir Raven. My terror flew on the wings of despair until I remembered that my prince, my very own beloved was nearby. I quickly turned again to him but alas! 2 ruffians (Raven's henchmen, no doubt) had him paralyzed on the ground. From out of nowhere, Raven produced a sword and held it under my beloved's chin. "I'm taking her with me," he growled, with a hard smile. "She is to be my bride. No woman deserves an imp who groveles in the dirt for her hand." I tried to free myself from his clutches, but he pulled me ever nearer to himself. His breath was hot as he muttered in my face "You shall be mine. You shall love ME. And this--" his voice took on a blazing tone as he focused his attention once again on the sword and my beloved-- "this fool of yours shall face the dragon just as he wished." My knees weakened and Raven let me fall to the ground. I began weeping as Raven continued his plans for my prince. As I gazed at my beloved, not once did he show any fear. Not once did he cower at the thought of the fiery serpent which he was soon to meet. There was a strength in his eyes I had never seen before. Later, he would tell me that it was the power of his love for me which made him look so dignified when Raven held that sword to his throat. When the ruffians dragged him away to Raven's own castle dungeon many miles away. Indeed, it was also this same love which nearly drove him crazy with fear for my well being. Dearest beloved. If you had only known how much my heart broke for the terror of your dearth. I had never known my love to be so passionate--for not once did I sleep well as I lay in one of the rooms at the top of Raven's castle, the doors locked against my escape. Where would I have fled? Down to the dungeon to be with my Prince was all I could answer.

Monday, February 10, 2014

78: the other side of the equation (just realized how algebraic that figure of speech is....)

I've been so stressed out this weekend. Friday night I tried to tune out school anxiety but the lump in my stomach remained late into the evening. Saturday I slept all day and cried. Yesterday I lesson planned and felt a little better. Today was a day from . . . the unnamed place. I thought maybe Monday would prove that the mountain of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday wasn't as big as imagined, but instead it confirmed it.

They say tomorrow will be better. Just get some sleep. It'll all look better in the morning. I've already experienced that that's not necessarily true.

It is hard to even enjoy being at home, not to mention the weekend, when you have IMPOSSIBILITY scribbled across your chalkboard future.

I am struggling, really struggling, with this whole "I can't do this, Jesus can" thing. I'm not struggling with the concept as much as with the practical application. I know I need to give it over to Jesus, but I forget that the other half of "I can't" is "He can." Because over and over inside me is "I can't do this!" "I don't know how." "I don't want to." "I want to give up." And a thousand nameless emotions swirling like a whirlpool winding downward.

And I completely lose faith.

Because faith requires hope.

And hope requires...hope. Hope that tomorrow will be better. That the second half will be better than the first half. That I'll do better. That they'll do better. That someone will come and fix something.
A tangible hope. A lifeline out there that if I can just catch....

But all of those hopes are man-dependent.

And since currently I've lost almost all hope in man being able to fix my problems, I find I lose faith. Forget to have faith.

Forget that it's not Jesus can because I can.

But just, Jesus can.

Lord, act.

"From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I." (Psalm 61: 2)

"He sent from above, He took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
He also brought me out into a broad place;
He delivered me because He delighted in me." (Psalm 18:16, 19)

"Oh, that You would rend the heavens!
That You would come down!
For since the beginning of the world
Men have not heard nor perceived by the ear,
Nor has the eye seen any God besides You,
Who acts for the one who waits for Him." (Isaiah 64:1, 4)

P.S. I did have one redeeming moment today. I began the day talking about God's standard of love, how much we fall short, how we need Jesus, and how willingly God forgives us. Later in the day when two of my students were particularly having issues, another student came to me humbly and quietly told me he just prayed for them. Yes! Because God can do SO much more than we can do.

Used audiobooks that keep me smiling while driving--
especially dear old Jeeves

These are a few of my favorite things.

Because it's not cool to post pix of your food on FB anymore