Monday, February 24, 2014

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It's one week until my recital jury, the day that determines whether or not I have my recital (and, in turn, when I graduate). My mind is constantly clogged with thoughts, worries, and music. My heart is overwhelmed with worry and hope. I want so badly to give up, or just be done, but I've come too far to not keep praying and practicing and pushing.
I know the Lord has brought me here at this time for a purpose, and I know He will continue to work in my life whether or not the jury goes well. I also know that my God is bigger than me and my worries and my unbelief- I know He is big enough to get past my own lack of self discipline and faithlessness and instead show me His glory through all this jury & recital preparation. I believe He is able to miraculously show up in my recital jury and give me strength and ability I thought I didn't have. "I believe; help my unbelief!" has become my heart's cry.

He is able. He will never fail.
Nothing is wasted; He works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

I'm an emotional wreck and don't know what He's going to do, but I'm boldly and selfishly praying that He is obviously present in my recital jury. That my performance would not just be a performance but would be my spiritual act of worship, and that He would honor that with passing me through my jury and giving me a wonderful recital as well.

Please pray with and for me, especially over the next week.
He gives and He takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

a vessel of Love

On this day every year, I stand in a very different category from most of my peers. Valentine's Day, I think, usually brings up very specific opinion groups and they go something like this:
1- In a relationship and enjoying the romance of Valentine's Day.
2- Single and loathing Valentine's Day and pretending it isn't happening.
3- Single and trying to make the best of Valentine's Day even though you're jealous of all those happy couples.

And then there's me.
I'm single, but I *LOVE* Valentine's Day! Every year. Sure, in high school it wasn't my favorite and I was a solid Category 3-er; however, I think after years of being there I've finally gained the ability to revel in Valentine's Day despite my relationship status.

I love seeing happy couples, and seeing boyfriends surprise their girlfriends, and seeing wives pick out cards, and seeing boys send valentines to their crushes. I just think it's the cutest, most fun thing to watch, possibly EVER.

Also, ever since London I keep thinking about my British Valentine's Day experience and how much it was my catalyst for changing from a Category 3-er. I had this somewhat life changing and still vividly memorable experience on the day before Valentine's Day while in London (which I blogged about here). Basically here's what happened: I sat in a Starbucks in a weird part of town at an odd hour, the only person in there for most of the time. I ordered a caramel latte in a mug and spent hours thinking and blogging and writing and praying. It was misty/rainy, I was exhausted and cramping, and it was a Monday the day before Valentine's Day. Really, I had every reason for it to be a bad day, yet I found myself exuberantly happy. I began to realize how Jesus had become my true love, even just in the first month of being in London, and how it was changing every part of me.
On the actual day of Valentine's Day, I ate dinner out with friends, went to a fabulous classical music concert, and made plans to meet in Covent Garden for some dessert. And they didn't show. They ditched me, and one other girl. There we were, unexpectedly alone in Covent Garden on Valentine's Day. It wasn't fun. We bought pity-brownies and tea and sat in the cold until we decided it wasn't worth it, and trudged back to the Tube to be surrounded by couples basically having sex for the whole ride back home. Again I say: not fun.

But, I say all of that to say this: Somehow it still turned out to be an enjoyable Valentine's Day and a memory I look back on fondly because of its oddity (and what a hilarious story it makes now). It was a day filled with love and adventure-- which, to me, is what Valentine's Day should be about.

Last year's V-Day (I'm so tired of typing the entire word Valentine. you try doing it about 14 million times in one blog post, and you'd abbreviate too) was quite different. I spent the afternoon observing and loving on kids in JPS, went to work and loved on kids there (and got to be with my coworker that I had this huge crush on... added bonus), and came back to school to be surrounded by friends that truly loved me and accepted my love. It was, as David Viscott so eloquently puts it, feeling the sun from both sides.
I was reminded throughout the day how much fuller it makes you when you give instead of get. Sure, I love receiving love and being doted on and need to be filled up emotionally.
But for me, showering love on others, especially those who don't often experience love, fills me up much more than chocolates and flowers will.

Today, I spent my morning in a bookstore, buying gifts for friends' upcoming birthdays; I spent my afternoon dining with friends and playing piano; I spent my evening playing with and loving on kids so their parents could go out. Then I played more piano and baked myself a cake... and this has been possibly the best Valentine's yet. I got chocolates and cookies and a coupon for a free donut, lots of hugs, a really cool tattoo of a puppy in a converse shoe, and made a new best friend (she's 7).
Please TRY to convince me that that doesn't sound like an utterly superb way to spend your Valentine's Day single-ly!

I'm grateful for God's provision to mold my heart and alter my mindset and send wonderful AGAPE LOVE things my way, especially on Valentine's Day. And as I look back and remember previous ones spent with homeless friends, or playing in snow, or making cookies with our homeschool group, or these past few half-grown V-Day celebrations, I can't help but feel my heart bubble over with the agape love and the ecstasy that comes with knowing the One who is the very definition of LOVE. Call me cheesy, but it's the truth.

There is bliss to be found in spending this day of love being used as a vessel of Love.

welcome to midnight.

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