Saturday, February 25, 2012

those moments when you're thinking about so much you can't focus on one single thought.

so obviously I need to vent/whine.
here goes:
I'm really tired, and I wish I had more time for sleep. but at the same time, I feel like I should be spending more time out in the city, soaking in every moment of these 3 short months.
my legs hurt, my feet hurt, my head hurts. but I'm losing weight! this is worth it!
I did an awful job on my History of Science midterm. It's the worst grade I've ever made. But they said I could raise my grade by working extra-hard on my mini-essays and obviously by studying more and doing well on the final. So I'm just gonna work my butt off to get the grade back up and pray that the rest of the semester goes well.
I'm tired of school and class. I want to just live in London and not have to do anything for class or have a job or anything. I want to just live here and be a tourist every day, all day.... Yeah, in my dreams.
I miss my friends. I don't have time to talk to them or write to them and it's grating on me. Especially because there are things going on there that I should be there for, but can't (obviously). Which is kinda tearing me up.
I miss my nephew. I miss just holding that baby boy and singing to him and making him laugh.
I miss American food. Not that English food is bad, or even that different, it just TASTES different.
I'm getting tired of these people.
I hate cigarette smoke.
I hate hearing cursing.
the end.

Monday, February 13, 2012

she speaks of love and London

they say a bad day in London is better than a good day anywhere else. I don't know who "they" are. I haven't been many other places. but, for the most part, they're right. I still stand firmly behind my earlier blog post about examining life (see 'dancing through life' from 22 Jan. 2012), but I also feel more strongly every day that London is the most beautiful, magical, hopeful city full of possibilities ever has been. Samuel Johnson (pretty well-known guy around here) hit the nail on the head: "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." 

well, I feel as if I've had my first day that can classify as 'bad'. But it wasn't BAD, just less than good. Friday, we had class forever and ever, and it was bitterly cold, and my tummy was being weird. and I missed my family, and I need preschoolers in my life (I stinking MISS coaching!), and people were annoying me. basically, I was just crabby... and still, I feel as if my 'bad' day here is so much better than it would've been if I were back across the pond. 
and still, those occasional (er, becoming more common the longer I'm here) cups of tea, and moments of God wooing me, and the combination of every tiny magical particle makes me smile, eases my worry away, begs me to just love life.
It seems like I've experienced more happiness in this 1 month I've been in England than I ever have before in my life. This is the absolute happiest I've ever been, no doubt about it. I'm sure I've said it before, and I don't mean to be redundant... I just feel like this fact needs to be emphasized. Every day is the next best day of my life, no matter how tiring or trying or cold- though there are the occasional terrible days (Friday was one for me), again I say: they're better than my average days in the US. 
basically, I love the city of London, the country of England, and the great work God is doing in my heart here. I've always heard about falling in love with God, and I thought I knew what they meant. I didn't.
It's what I assume being in love with a man is like, only you can't physically display your love (except with worship). He sings to you and whispers to you and makes things that previously seemed dull glow with warmth and opportunity. He holds you close and points out things you wouldn't have ordinarily seen. He smiles at you and makes your tummy get butterflies. He wakes you up to new love and new grace every day. He draws you in and listens to your stories, hangs on your every word. He is always there when anything goes the slightest bit wrong and you just need a hug. He thinks you are beautiful, and tells you. a lot. He sits down to tea with you and you just sit in silence and enjoy being with each other. It's every bit like human love, but much better, much deeper, much more constant, and much harder to doubt. It's perfect. It drives out fear and holds you tight, keeping you in His hand and unable to be snatched out. It is impossible to be separated from it, by anything in all of creation. 
ok, so now that I've gotten all sappy about God and feel really weird about that, I just want to encourage you to forget all this Valentine's Day stuff. Guess what, ladies? Never once in my 18 1/2 years of life have I had a Valentine, except for the Love himself. And I can tell you that it's much more satisfying to spend the time drawing close to Him and cultivating that relationship. and HEY, while you're doing that, you could write a Valentine's Day love letter to your future husband! :) That's what I'll be doing. Join me, loves. 
Join me, and London, in loving life and loving Love and being made more like Him each moment. 

Thursday, February 02, 2012

trying not to be swept away

pushing my way through crowded streets seems to be something I've been doing a lot of lately. in London, it's just a given that you push through people to get where you need to go, shouting "Sorry!" behind you. You have to do it every day, and people do it to you, and no one gets offended. it's just part of life. Well today, I pushed through crowds like I NEVER have before. And believe me, I've pushed through some crowds. I've been at Youth Camp with hundreds of hungry boys in the dinner line, I've been at the beach for Student Life with thousands of other teenagers, I've gone to an Alabama football game in Tuscaloosa, and I've even been at Passion with 45,000 college students trying to give money to stop slavery. Those all make for some pretty great instances to improve in my pushing-through-crowd skills. Well tonight was the absolute worst/best (depending on how you look at it) pushing-through-crowd-scenario you have ever heard or seen.
Chinese New Year. Trafalgar Square. thousands of people, all speaking different languages. In the short 30 minutes I was there, I heard English, French, German, Spanish, and what I assume was Chinese. We were packed in the streets like wadded-up clothes fill a too-small suitcase. All for some wimpy fireworks, distant music I could barely hear, and freezing cold. When all the fun and celebration was over at 6:30, I pushed forward into the crowd trying to get to the Square itself (which I was still at least half a block away from) and find my friends. It seemed as if at the exact moment that I decided to push forward, the whole world was there, walking towards me and occasionally pushing me backwards (literally). As I struggled to keep my belongings close and avoid pick-pockets while trudging toward my seemingly unattainable goal of Trafalgar Square, I retreated into my head (or maybe God just put the thoughts in there all the sudden, which is more likely).
Isn't that what life is like so many times? At least for us children of God. We're on this mission to glorify Him with our every word, thought, and deed. We're commissioned to seek the lost as He did, and share with them His Salvation. Then we're stuck here on this busy, crowded, selfish earth. Everyone else wants to go their own way and have their own selfish goals attained.
Sometimes we literally can't move, we just have to wait for Him to make a way for us.
Sometimes we get on that train of others moving toward Him together and help each other push through the crowd, and we accomplish a lot together and send out ripples as we go, making others see His glory and getting to see them join our train.
Sometimes all we can do is shuffle, inch-by-inch, holding our valuables close.
And sometimes, we're pushed backwards. At first, it results in completely losing our footing and fighting to stay standing. Then over time, as we join different trains, we find a few of the members of that train have broken off with us and are there to catch us when we tilt backwards and set us back on our feet and on our way to Him again.
Isn't that beautiful?
In the many stages of this crowded life, He is faithful to protect us, save our brothers and sisters, and ultimately bring glory to Himself. He stays with us in our stillness, makes a way for us in our inability, moves us along in our striving for Him, picks us up in our fallen state, and supports us in our overwhelmed moments.
I love that.

welcome to midnight.

Do you ever feel like your path with God is a big ol' question mark, instead of a straight line like it seems it should be? 2018 has bee...