Sunday, November 16, 2014

I want to die on a day like today.

today is perfect and exactly the sort of day on which I want to die.

It's flawlessly rainy, and gray, and cold, and lovely. It requires finding the softest blanket, wrapping yourself in it to traipse down the stairs and make a pot of coffee, carrying that cup of life-giving juice with both your hands (it seems to warm your soul at the same time), and snuggling back under the covers with only your head peeking out to watch a Christmas movie on netflix- emerging only to guzzle down another mouthful of coffee.

Doesn't that sound like the best sort of day on which one might die? Not that I'm sitting around planning my death, but I'd be incredibly happy if I got to die on a day as glorious as this one.

It's the type of day my anglophile heart loves best- the type of day that reminds you of be-puddled London streets and heads ducked down as pedestrians walk across the zebra crossing (crosswalk with stripes painted on the road, for all you Americans that think that actually refers to a place zebras can cross the road. hint: it isn't for zebras).
The kind of day you don't mind driving slower and walking slower and breathing slower because something about life just seems more peaceful and manageable. Something makes you feel like you should be taking long, melancholy walks through the rain and writing blatantly honest love letters (the general kind to humans you love un-romantically) and jumping in puddles and laying in your bed clutching your old memories so tight they're suffocating you and feeling a plethora of emotions all at once.

I guess that's why it's my favorite kind of day, because I'm really good at feeling things. (insert reference to her own emotional basketcase-ness HERE).

Messiness. It's a day of messiness. The pinpoint of that description for this day settles it all down and clarifies even the foggiest of thoughts that drift like misty rain my windshield wipers can't quite keep up with.
Most people use these days as excuses to stay inside and not go out for anything. "It's too messy", my dad always says. The messy rain makes the roads incredibly slick and the possibility of hydroplaning gets obnoxiously high, even for people who are very different from me and like to go the speed limit (or slower) when it's raining. Not to mention the getting in and out of your car in the rain- that is the only thing I cannot stand about rain. You try so hard to stay dry, you figure out these little umbrella maneuvers to keep you as dry as possible when opening and closing the car door... but you always get sprinkled on. The messiness is unavoidable.

Other people don't like the messiness. Especially not messiness in life and relationships and events.
Well, I thrive off of it.
I, like the aforementioned well-missed London, am a city of constantly changing chaos and ever-present messiness that somehow finds consistent order within that.

And today in my chaos and messiness, and in the messy perfection of the day, He (my Jesus) found order. Maybe he created it, I don't know. But I looked in my heart and all the sudden I saw consistency of mind and spirit that has been absent for so very long. It came on the wings of His whisper: "I have not forgotten you."
That was really all I needed, but He kept going.
"My promises are still unfulfilled but still living, and here I hold them up for you to see and remember. I have not forgotten you. I have not forgotten your heart and its longings. I will not abandon you."

Within me, it was like that scene in Mary Poppins where they start snapping and all the toys just start going back to their places.
God's whispers were the snaps. And all my doubts and fears were going back to their places (somewhere outside of my mind, I don't really know where they go) and letting the Tetris pieces fall into their place perfectly to leave an ordered, sound mind, clinging with faith to His promises and whispers.
I was driving, as I am when most of God's most obvious whispers come to my little ear.

He replayed my day for me:
this weather.
sleeping in.
coffee (three cups of it, and with peppermint mocha creamer to boot!)
a weird semi-english breakfast
a day-long conversation about Doctor Who
a British Christmas movie (that turned out to be rather awful, but HEY, London at Christmastime)
Wellies

it was like my own little day in London.
I remembered how when I first stepped outside this morning, I stood on my doorstep under my holey little awning with the rain pattering all around and my breath making white steamy swirls around me, and I cried. I just stood there and slowly surveyed what was in front of me and I cried. He had given me London, for a day.
Just to remind me that He's not done with it.
Just to remind me that though that dream is dead, it is soon to come back to life.
Just to remind me that after the winter comes the spring.

Just to say, "Hey. I love you. Here's a little something I made you, just because."
On this day that would be one so perfect to die on, He reminded me that He's given me life, abundant life, and that He's giving His promises life- that in Him they find their Yes and Amen- eventually.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

the 1 Timothy 4:12 challenge

Back in August, when I had first moved into the apartment and was just doing my own thing trying to spend my days as best I could and still didn't have class, God started this thing. It was, in typical God-Thing fashion, completely out of the blue and something I could never have thought up on my own. I had been listening to an old audio CD of the 2010 TeenPact National Convention sessions for a week or so, slowly listening to bits of each session when I was driving hither and yonder. And of course, over the course of the past four years, I had completely forgotten the things God had whispered to my heart during NC, so He was busy re-wrecking me with those truths.

One day I was driving down I-220, after having treated myself to some Target shopping for teacher things, and listening to Zach Hunter's session about his organization Loose Change to Loosen Chains. It had nothing directly to do with what God had been teaching me; there was nothing in it that I would have pulled out and said "THIS RELATES TO MY LIFE SO PERFECTLY RIGHT NOW."

BUT GOD.

Honestly, I can't even recall what Zach was talking about when he brought up 1 Timothy 4:12. It just hit me suddenly and I zoned out from what He was saying and was caught up in these God-thing thoughts. That verse was what I once claimed to be my "life verse". It was the one I had memorized and felt called by as a 9-year-old at my first summer camp (at MC, no less).

"Do not let others look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity."

then WHAM.

God was all, "Hello, Becca. It is August. that means there are five months left in 2014. And would you look at that! There are five areas in which you should set an example that are listed here. Not a coincidence. Also not a coincidence that you have been struggling with unsure speech lately and that happens to be the first thing I'm going to work on you with."

So then and there, on the wavy I-220 whose foundation of Yazoo Clay seems to be having loyalty issues, He challenged me. and we made a pact.

SPEECH= August was rough. I was not very faithful to hold up my end of the "setting an example" deal. I gossiped and I cursed and I used slang words too often and I spoke a lot of words of death, instead of life, especially into myself. It was really hard and I felt like I had failed big-time by the end of the month. But, I had mentioned to two or three friends the work that God had started and all of them said, "Oh gosh, Becca. He's been telling me to work on that, too. Can I join you?" and it was so wonderful to have them there to confess my failings to and to find encouragement and words of life from them.

LIFE= this one befuddled me, and I spent a good 12 days of September trying to figure out how to "set an example... in life." It seemed so vague and broad that I hardly knew what to do with it. Then one evening I had dinner with one of my fabulous KT breaux, Myles, and he spoke & prayed words of truth and life and Jesus that made everything become clear. He reminded me that we have already conquered death and sin and darkness by the blood of Jesus, and to live in any mindset but one of LIFE and VICTORY and LIGHT is to make small the sacrifice of Christ. So I spent the month being reminded of His victory in my life and in the world, and learning what it meant to SPEAK LIFE.

(I love that He didn't just teach me these things individually and separately, but used them to build on top of each other little by little.)

LOVE= October seems like anything but the month for love, so being the rebel that I am, I decided to make it the most loving month I could. I started with trying to love myself better, love others deeper, love Christ more fully, and love life more freely. and wouldn't you know God brought so much love to my heart that I could barely handle it. I spent my last two weeks at GMS loving those students as hard as I could and hoping they would feel it, see it, or remember it (and realize it later). My literal dead mums were brought back to life, and students that I didn't know even cared about me displayed obvious respect and affection and "I'm going to miss you so much!"s during my last week with them. I found a litter of kittens, and spent weekends with beloved friends having LIFE and LOVE SPOKEN into me (yes, He just keeps building), and I realized how much I loved and admired my cooperating teacher. I crashed a KT meeting and an old active friend made my night by freaking out when she saw me and exclaiming how glad she was that I was there. I realized I'm actually a pretty good teacher and that I love it, I decided to stop wallowing in self-pity and choose to love and appreciate suffering because it produces perseverance and character in me, and I started my teaching at the new placement and didn't like it at first but started learning to love it. I learned Love really does require self-sacrifice and that the sacrifice of self leads to brokenness and then miracles and multiplication on His end of things (see previous blog post for more on that). There was just a lot of odd kinds of love I experienced in this odd month that seems like it shouldn't be one full of love (mostly because it isn't February), but was anyway. Because Jesus seems to be a fan of oxymorons and the like.

FAITH= this one I find hilarious. November is only 8 days deep, so far, and already He has given me so many opportunities to let my faith take deeper root in my heart and soul. I'm remembering what it means when He says that "without faith, it is impossible to please God." I'm recalling what faith really looks like when it's played out in my life, and that it really is as simple (but ?) as being assured of things I hope for and being certain of what I cannot see. There is a peace that comes with knowing that God will do what He said He would do, even when those promises seem to have drifted far away with no hope of returning; there is a joy that comes with waiting on Him to find you and bring His promises full circle, because there is comfort and assurance and expectancy in the blind waiting. Stepping out of the boat I'm in, out of the city founded half on pride and half on fear, that I have built myself, and onto a future and promises as uncertain as a choppy lake, is not fun or easy but there is exhilaration in stepping out and finding the surface tension can hold me up and I can run on this illogical track. He has led me and kept me here for a reason, and I can hold tight to the lifeline in front of me that I can't really even see, and I can trust His unfulfilled promises will be filled to overflowing. and I really look forward to all the other things He will show me regarding faith over the rest of this month.

PURITY= I don't understand this one yet. Pray that God will prepare my heart for it and wreak havoc in me all over again, as He has each month throughout this challenge of His.

the end.

welcome to midnight.

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