Saturday, December 24, 2011

rambles of carols, candles, and his smell.

Oh goodness, so much to say tonight! First off, MERRY CHRISTMAS! I hope you're all enjoying time with family and soaking in the knowledge that God loves us so much.
Next on my mental checklist: Christmas carols. has anyone else ever noticed how whack they are?! think about it: "Silent night" I mean geez, the first TWO WORDS of that are incorrect, as I see it. A BABY WAS BORN! Ain't no way that manger scene was quiet, or calm. Then there's "O Come All Ye Faithful"... honestly, this is one of my favorites to sing, it just has such a great melodic line. but the lyrics hit me tonight: "O come, all Ye faithful, joyful, and triumphant." That's great and wonderful and all, and I know everyone else is probably faithful, joyful, and triumphant at Christmastime, but I'm not. I always find it to be the time I'm most slack in my spiritual discipline and that I struggle the most with daily devotionals, as well as doubts/flaws of faith. I guess some of this (especially the doubt) stems from how at Christmastime I'm brazenly reminded of how life is meant to be shared and how I'm alone. I mean, I have family and they are wonderful, but I'm convinced I'm not that only girl that longs to be kissed under the mistletoe or have a flour fight while baking Christmas cookies... all that romance-ey chick-flick stuff. So anyway, that makes me much less than joyful and triumphant, as one could guess. In the case that only the faithful, joyful, and triumphant are allowed to adore Him, I'm in big trouble. Which is why I am throwing the idea out there that maybe possibly some of our Christmas Carols are downright incorrect. Maybe we should just rejoice in the Gospel at Christmastime instead of those overplayed Christmas carols.
Next let me start with a brief story from my evening. Tonight was our "Carols by Candlelight" service at church, and it was really fun. I love music, and Christmas, and candles; therefore, I loved it. So after the service, I see one of my best friends, and run over to hug her... and her brother is there. And I have this history with him, you see.
I was so in-like with him for a really long part of middle school/high school (over 3 years), and somewhere in the midst of my liking him and praying my heart out for him in his "rebel" phases, I began to love him. And when I liked him, I assumed that love I found was to be romantic and whatnot; I thought I was IN love with him. I dunno, I've never been in love before, so maybe I was. But the truth is that now, I realize he's the first guy outside of my family that I've learned to love.
So tonight when he hugged me, things stirred up inside. I realized that I really do LOVE him, but not the romantic kind, the unconditional kind. As far as I know, he has no clue that I "loved" him for so long, so he doesn't know that the simple fact that he hugged me- a real hug, the kind that conveys gratitude and friendship- and it made me smell like him, brought back lots of memories and made me realize how much has changed.
Back in 11th grade, it would've been the highlight of my day, week,...maybe even month. But today, it just cemented the fact that I am changed and that loving him doesn't mean I want to marry him, it means I want to see him succeed and fall in love and have a wonderful little family that doesn't include me. I just wanted to hold him in that hug and tell him how proud I am of the man he's become. I wanted to sit him down and pour my heart out to him and hear his heart. I suppose that just means I've moved on with life and learned how to love without being "in-love" and how to have mature friendships that can be clear of awkward relationship stuff. And I really like that.
But it also re-awakened that want of a relationship again. I never had a relationship with him, but I had a relationship after him and it was a good one. It made me grow and change and be challenged... and along with that came the warmth of being cherished and wanted and thought of as beautiful. And not that I'm not growing and changing and being challenged now...
Agh, I don't know what I'm saying. I just want a relationship, or at least the possibility of one (which is nonexistent now). Tonight when Brandon hugged me and I continued to smell like him for two or three more hours was nice, not because I liked smelling like HIM but because I liked having that lingering reminder that a guy cared about me.
As I look at that, it makes me wonder if these hopes and cares are reasonable, and proper. Am I wanting this as me, the fleshly me, or as me, the human me?
Basically, I'm overanalyzing (as per usual me). and I must stop.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

anger & grace

let me be straight-up with you: I haven't read my Bible in a good week. and I know this means I probably shouldn't be blogging but should instead be reading. however, I feel like I need to confess something else. I've been really angry lately. I know this is probably because 1) I don't have the Word constantly flowing into my mind & heart. 2) I'm therefore living more by my flesh than His Spirit. I know this is no way to live and I should stop, read, journal, & get right.
but honestly? I feel like at this point, that's just one more thing on my checklist. it wouldn't be out of obedience and worship to Him. and I would rather be cold for God today than pretending to be hot.
so anyway, because of this lack of Him in my life, I've gotten angry at my family. a lot.
it's made me realize just how precious God's grace is. apart from Him, I have no way to be anger-less. and living angry is horrid. but because of Him, I can live free from anger (and shame, and guilt, and hurt, and jealousy, and envy, and all that). I can live consumed by His love, peace, mercy, & grace. wow.
He is jealous for that; for me. He's jealous for all my attention and affection. He wants my life, every piece and particle of it, even the ones that don't belong to me anymore. He wants my emotions, my thoughts, my dreams, my wishes, and my hopes to center on Him.
His love for me is great and unimaginable and mind-boggling.
My faithfulness to Him is lacking, sometimes nonexistent, and most often simply lack-luster.

stop and let that sink in.
and thank Him for his unending love, mercy, and grace. without it we'd all be eaten alive by anger at some point. or at least I know I would.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

so long, farewell, auf Wiedersehn, adieu.

inhale, exhale, repeat.
I'm home. after a long, exhausting, thrilling, and constantly changing semester... I've survived. I've conquered and now sit in my room with halfway-unpacked bags cluttered around me. I'm glad to be here, but it's bitter-sweet, because I had to leave MC, and will leave home in just 29 days.
DAYS! it's getting so close.
but back to leaving MC. it was really hard. I cried... a lot. most of the crying occurred yesterday, but of course there were tears today to.
I'm not even entirely sure what was going on, but I totally broke down on Ellie last night. We'd had a good evening of fun & laughter with Olivia, Kayla, & Sarah, then we decided it'd be a good idea to watch the season finale of FRIENDS before we went to bed... which turned into starting at the beginning of the last disc, which is like 6-8 episodes. (the bad ideas started here). we watched a couple episodes, then stopped in the middle of one to talk and laugh about something, and somehow ended up crying over me leaving & it being our last night together, so we pull up PhotoBooth to make a video (bad idea number 2). We do, and can't make a decent video for all the crying that's going on. so we opt to go back through all of El's videos of us from the past year and a half. from the very beginning, as in the day after move in when we made a "this is a tour of our room" video. and from there it just got funnier and more memorable and tear-evoking (hence it's bad idea #3). we watched videos and looked through old pictures for about 30 minutes, until the computer died and we got back in our separate beds to talk (the fourth bad idea). so we talked about our favorite memories and laughed (I mean GUFFAWED) over some silly moments, and cried about not getting to have any in the spring. I know this sounds stupid, but when you live with someone for almost two years, your hearts begin to be knit together because you share a lot of waking moments together. and it's wonderful, because Ellie is one of my very best friends and has her own particular place in my heart full of warm fuzzy silly things. but it's terrible when you have to be parted, because you start thinking about it all, and how much you'll miss out on, and start worrying "WHAT IF..." ...she finds a better roommate... something happens to me in London... something happens to her while I'm in London... I have a really terrible roommate experience in London... and on and on we go.
so we ended up cuddled in the same bed crying for the better part of the night, until we decided it was time to put our big girl panties on and stop crying and actually get some sleep in our separate beds, which we did. but I still ended up crying myself to sleep, which hasn't happened in a very long time.
then of course today I had to say bye to everyone else, which made me tear up but I never outright cried, which was good, cause I mean I looked rough enough without tears making me all red & puffy. I cried in the practice room, and prayed, and worshipped for one last time. I'm going to miss Aven 306. A LOT. and I'm going to miss my fantastic roomie, and my KT sisters. those 3 most of all.
God, I know this London thing will be a great experience, but right now these goodbyes are tearing me apart. I know it's only for a season but it feels like it will be so long and so much will change while I'm gone. what if I'm not even close to these people when I come back? God, 'whatever You're doing inside of me, it feels like chaos but somehow there's peace. It's hard to surrender to what I can't see, but I'm giving in to something heavenly... it feels like chaos, but I believe You're up to something bigger than me, so I'm giving in to something heavenly.' I trust You. 

Thursday, December 08, 2011

the real me, wedding vows, and other long, drawn-out things occupying my mind

there is so much whirling through my head right now, there is no telling what direction this blog will go. ready? set? go.
1- there is this song that randomly popped into my head tonight, The Real Me by Natalie Grant. She wrote it when she was overcoming bulimia. Honestly, I've never dealt with a straight-up eating disorder (by the grace of God!) but the whole self-confidence thing is a consistent issue, as well as body image. and can I just say that Natalie Grant's lyrics hit me where it hurts so good? Ya know what I mean? It's like finally stretching that muscle back out that's been cramping all day. It hurts but you know it's making it better. Yeah, that. Let me share, please...

Foolish heart looks like we're here again
Same old game of plastic smile
Don't let anybody in
Hiding my heartache, will this glass house break
How much will they take before I'm empty
Do I let it show, does anybody know?
But you see the real me
Hiding in my skin, broken from within
Unveil me completely
I'm loosening my grasp
There's no need to mask my frailty
Cause you see the real me

Painted on, life is behind a mask
Self-inflicted circus clown
I'm tired of the song and dance
Living a charade, always on parade
What a mess I've made of my existence
But you love me even now
And still I see somehow
Wonderful, beautiful is what you see
When you look at me
You're turning the tattered fabric of my life into
A perfect tapestry
I just wanna be me
just whoa. do you see it, too? He sees wonder and beauty when He looks at us. He sees His masterpiece that is made exactly how he wanted it- flaws and all. Perfect, under the blood of the Lamb. And he takes the ripped up pieces of us that we leave behind, and when we finally come to the breaking point and turn back to Him and beg for redemption, He brings out this glorious quilt he's been making. Isn't is always the old, worn ones that are the warmest and most comfortable anyway? Beauty from ashes. Strength from pain. A quilt from worn-out scraps. How fantastic an image! 
2- wedding vows. for some reason there have been a lot of proposals and engagements and weddings and wedding photos lately. so on my nightly walk over to Aven to practice/study, I was pondering these things, and the difference in men & women, and the spaghetti/waffle brain thing (women are spaghetti- all attached and all over the place, men are waffles- all segmented and some are just empty). And for some reason I started thinking about wedding vows, specifically the part about "having and holding" from your traditional vows. "To have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in sickness and in health, till death do us part" And I dunno, maybe it's just my weird, convoluted way of thinking, but I realized that maybe that half of each of these is for each spouse. To have- for the women (what girl doesn't want to just HAVE someone who is there for her and loves her as-is?) To hold- for the men (Since they tend to be more physically driven than women... or whatever). To love- men ("Husbands, love your wives...") to cherish- women (cherish= care for someone lovingly... your typical 50's housewife kinda deal). In sickness- men (I know everyone wants to be taken care of when sick, but with girls, it's a MUST. guys, DO THIS.) and in health- women (... it's like the wife takes pride in her husband's strength, health, and ability to keep a job & provide for his family). Forever.
ok, I hope that makes sense because I will now stop expounding and stovallogizing.
3- finals. are. killing. me. I am being swallowed whole by this music major lifestyle. and while I love it, I'm not willing to give my whole self to it/ sell my soul. so in this respect, I am SO looking forward to the London semester... it's greatly needed. in my head now: ars nova. ars cantus mensurabilis. prolation- imperfect/perfect. Boethius. aulos. cantus. canticle. Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Santus, Agnus Dei. trope. Winchester Troper. Squarcialupi Codex. Landini. Hildegard of Bingen (1094 C.E.), Ordo Virtutum. musica enchiriadis. and more (thanks for letting me get that out, I felt like my head was literally about to explode). 
4- also: MENC Christmas party. ambassadors Christmas party. all this stupid commercialized, marketed Christmas stuff. Jesus is all that matters, y'all. for real. 
5- I'm not alone in that girlish wish of a relationship->marriage->family->babies, right? because right now, I just want to know God has that in my future. which, honestly, that wish changes from day to day/hour to hour. sometimes I just want to live a life of celibacy as an Italian version of Mother Theresa (India is too dirty for me to handle...). basically, I just want to know WHAT God has in my future. which reminds me:
EXPERIENCING GOD. READ IT. I am now, and it's completely revolutionizing my thought process and relationship with God. and as it SO well-addressed this topic the other night...
"'What is God's will for my life?' is not the best question to ask. I think the right question is simply, 'What is God's will?' Once I know God's will, then I can adjust my life to Him and His purposes. In other words, what is it that God is purposing where I am? Once I know what God is doing, then I know what I need to do. The focus needs to be on God and His purposes, NOT MY LIFE! ...The Plan He has for your life is based on what He is doing in His world. He has a great purpose in mind for all humankind throughout all time. His desire is for you to become involved in what He is doing. Finding out what He is doing helps you know what He wants you to do through you." (emphasis mine)
and on that humbling and thought-and-prayer-provoking note, I will bid thee adieu. 
sleep well, sweet readers. 

welcome to midnight.

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