Thursday, November 26, 2015

These thoughts may or may not be related to Thanksgiving

Sometimes I pressure myself into thinking that my blog needs to be full of big, weighty thoughts. But by doing that, I discredit all of my small thoughts and put perhaps unwarranted pride in the posts I do post here. So I'm trying to challenge myself to value my little thoughts, my short writing, and my fleeting feelings more.

The following thoughts may be disjointed. I'm okay with that.


Today is Thanksgiving. I'm grateful for so many things. I am so grateful for and to a good Daddy (God) who keeps blessing me with so many great things.

A list of a few things I'm especially thankful for right in this moment:
1. Socks. My feet are forever chilly.
2. My best friend. Yes, I'm mentioning you here. It could be worse. I could go on and on about how excellent I think you are. I'll just leave it at "you rock" though. You rock.
3. Food and people who feed me. Shout out to all the different people who took me in and gave me food today who aren't my relatives.
4. Rest. I undervalue this so much.
5. The nearness of God. Whoa, do I ever need this.
6. People who lift me up. People who encourage me. People who invite me over to their houses. People who make me rice krispie treats and leave them outside my door. People who talk to me when I'm uncomfortably crashing their family's Thanksgiving dinner.
7. People who make me laugh.
8. My brothers. Seriously, two of the coolest humans on the planet.
9. My parents (shhh don't tell them that I've started to think and talk like them)
10. Antibiotics. Wow, modern medicine, you've pulled through on this one.
11. The opportunity to write, express myself, and think. I take these for granted entirely too much.


I went with my best friend to his grandparents' house to bring them Thanksgiving leftovers tonight. Sharing your grandparents with someone takes vulnerability and courage, so first, thank you for that. 

I walked away with a deep ache, missing my own grandma. It's going to be a while before I see her again (whenever Daddy calls me home. I'm comin', Grandma). 

I watched his grandpa help his grandma, and thought to myself, wow, I feel the importance of choosing the person you'll spend the rest of your life with. I hope that someone will cross paths with me that I can spend 50+ years with. Praying for that, for my maybe future husband, and for my friend's grandparents tonight. 


I planned my entire day around when I would eat today, and wondered if I would be able to eat everything I wanted to. I felt really awful after thinking through all of this. There are people who literally die because they don't have enough to eat. Not that we shouldn't enjoy time with family and good food, because those are good blessings to be enjoyed, but I was struck by the disparity of the world and a desire to serve. May we pay those blessings forward. 


Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. 


Saturday, November 21, 2015

There Will Be Days...

There will be days you won't want to get out of bed. There will be days that you just want to ignore the world, hide in your room, stare at the ceiling and listen to music that makes you feel even more lonely.

There will be days that you don't think you can handle the pressure of everything.

There will be days that you want to abandon every single thing you are doing and go do something completely different, something completely unproductive.

There might be days that you do that.

There will be days that you will wish you lived someone else's life-- a life with less trouble, work, stress, or conflict.

There will be days that you don't understand why you are where you are or where you might be going.

And that's okay. 

You are allowed to ask questions. You are allowed to feel pain without being ashamed of that fact. You are allowed to struggle.

You do not need to be perfect. You are not perfect. And that is okay.

There will be days that you feel abandoned, alone, isolated, invisible, or unheard. Maybe all of them at once. That's okay. 

God designed life to have different seasons. Solomon understood this, and wrote it down in Ecclesiastes: 

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace." -Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

What's important to remember is that while the world is constantly changing and you are constantly changing, God does not change. Malachi 3:6: “For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed."

Take refuge in the fact that everything else around and inside you will change, but your Daddy won't. He is forever good, forever gracious, forever almighty. It's okay to have rough days, weeks, years. It's okay to struggle.

Call out to Him in that struggle. He will answer.

"In my distress I called upon the LORD;to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
...He sent from on high, he took me;he drew me out of many waters.
He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the LORD was my support.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me." -Psalm 18:6, 16-19

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Seeds: (the end of) The Intern Diaries

Be patient, therefore, brothers,until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
James 5:7

It's officially over; today was my last day. Whoa. While I am trying to figure out where ten weeks went so quickly, allow me to share an insight from my final day of work.

Every Thursday, we set out all of the resources our volunteers will need for Sunday mornings. It's a piece of the weekly rhythm I have become quite familiar with. This being a Thursday, I resourced. It struck me that I was preparing supplies for events in the future that I would not get to see. I was equipping volunteers, even though I do not necessarily know who is leading this Sunday, for success in the future. Planting seeds, if you will. I will be on the trail by the time those resources are used, so I will not see them in action or maybe the immediate fruits of that labor, but I can trust that Daddy will use them. 

This is a metaphor for so many things in life. So often, especially in ministry, especially in children's ministry, we do work equivalent to planting seeds. The stories we tell kids, the ways we interact with them and our co-workers, the truth we speak over them, and the ways we love them plant seeds in their little hearts about who God is and who His people are. Though we may not immediately see the fruit of our work (which can be rather frustrating), God is keeping careful watch over those baby plants, and knows exactly when they will bloom and produce fruit. 

I certainly have a handful of memories from early childhood that the people involved probably would have considered small in the moment, but they helped define the way I understood people, God, and the way the world works. Small seeds, but with big impacts over time.

Consider what sort of fruit you plant in the lives of those you interact with. Perhaps first impressions you leave and what those look like in the future when people find out you love Jesus. Perhaps how you treat coworkers in front of your kids, or how you interact with cashiers, waiters, and custodians. I have a friend who is incredibly friendly to those who are often taken for granted, like custodians and cashiers, and she changed the way I think about those interactions. Because of her over-the-top friendliness in just a handful of moments when I was around her in those situations, I consciously try to emulate that every time I interact with people I do not know. She unknowingly planted small seeds, but they have definitely made a considerable dent in my day-to-day (and I doubt she knows that). 

So I encourage you to consider the types of seeds you plant. Consider if people know what you stand for by how you live, and if not, perhaps address why that might be. It certainly will be food for thought on the trail for me this coming week.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Little Fish, Big Things, and Closure: The Intern Diaries

I don't say a whole lot here, I realize, so it feels somewhat counter-intuitive to be writing a post about closure when I've hardly discussed the opening. But no matter what I have or have not said, this intern-ship is docking soon (see what I did there?), and I figured I might have a few words to say about it all.

This is such an incredible opportunity. I cannot put into words how valuable the past nine weeks (and this final tenth) are to me. I have learned a lot about my own motivations, my spiritual gifts, my love of kids, and my best and worst sides. A few stories could  be in order.

One of the beasts of the summer internship is the craft closet. It doesn't take too much imagination to picture how a closet full of glitter, popsicle sticks, every shape, size, and color of paper, paper clips, paint shirts, stickers, birdseed, and everything in between that is accessed by many volunteers with varying amounts of time to put things back correctly over the course of a year could quickly become chaotic. Thus, our (my co-intern's and my) task was to tame the beast. This involved hours of putting things in bins, making the label maker cooperate, taping over the labels that refused to stick to the bins, and generally organizing things in logical ways (i.e. the markers with all the other writing utensils, not hiding under the sticker bins). Sometimes though, our tasks were as simple as sorting out the different types of ribbon or throwing out a heap of messy tinsel.

There is a pleasant rhythm that hides in tasks like organizing ribbon and stickers. Granted, some of that rhythm is pleasing to me because some of my main spiritual gifts are helps and administration-- I like organizing and doing little tasks to free others up to do big tasks. But there is something satisfying looking at the rainbow-ordered rows of ribbon and knowing that order has been restored (for now). In those moments of detail-oriented organizing, Colossians 3:23 had a habit of crossing my mind: "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters." That verse was a great reminder that in the smallest (and biggest!) tasks, the Lord is near and cares about my heart as I work.

I got a taste of bigger tasks too this summer-- teaching Sunday School, planning and leading the games for 120 kids at Music Camp, and co-head coaching the four- and five-year-olds at Sports Camp. Sometimes it was terrifying, and I felt incredibly under-prepared. For example, all the mornings I had not prepared my lesson well for Sunday School and wondered if the words I would say would be life-giving. Walking into leading six high schoolers and roughly 120 kids in all manner of rowdy games with hopes of minimal injuries and too much fun, but feeling incredibly inadequate to lead such a venture. And most recently, co-head coaching with one of the coolest humans around (shout out to you, Mia), but also recognizing that neither of us had really been formally trained in what we were supposed to do, a job that usually required a week of formal training. But even in all those moments when I felt small, God did miracles. 

In the story of the feeding of the 5,000, Jesus takes a little boy's lunch of five loaves of bread and two fish and feeds a crowd of at least 5,000 (probably more, because they only counted men back then, and the men usually had families with them). Not only that, but there were twelve baskets of leftovers. So many times this summer, I have felt like the little kid who brings forward a lunch with hopes of helping Jesus feed thousands. Surely people laughed at a little kid with dreams to feed what must have felt like the world. Surely that little kid must have felt a little intimidated walking up in front of all of those people to Jesus, the center of their attention. But Jesus doesn't laugh at the boy or condescend. He uses the offering to bless many. 

Countless times this summer, I have watched my few loaves be turned into dinner for many. I have watched my scared little self walk up to Jesus and ask, "could you maybe use this?" And every time He does something unexpected. 

We use high school volunteers for Sports Camp (news flash: high schoolers eat a bunch). We had planned to feed them lasagna, but by some miscalculations on our part, we wound up with food that was supposed to cook for two hours and only half an hour to cook it. So I was dispatched to pick up microwaveable ones from a nearby store. I got ones that were not ideal, but Daddy took those five small, too-frozen lasagnas and fed around 25 volunteers with voracious appetites. It took every microwave in the church, my fearless ministry coordinator, and our wonderful kitchen manager, but God used what we had to feed the masses. 

Right before Sports Camp, the head coach for Team 4/5 got incredibly sick and had to go home, leaving a volleyball head coach (Mia) and myself to teach 36 four- and five-year-olds how to kick, throw, stand in straight lines, jump rope, stretch, and dribble both soccer balls and basketballs. Intimidating, to say the least. She had watched Team 4/5 for just a day or two the week prior, and I had assistant coached as a high schooler last year and the year before. Needless to say, we might not have been the most qualified with our little fish and loaves of experience. But Daddy still used us in all manner of unexpected ways and places. Mia encouraged me in so many simple things, by modelling enthusiastic leadership, perseverance, and humility. Plenty of parents came up to me and told me how much fun their kids were having and how sad they were that camp was only one week long. The kids' smiles were evidence enough of a good time. 

I started keeping a list of big and little miracles I got to witness during Sports Camp prep and execution. God did some crazy things, some big things, some beautiful things. And it was not limited to Sports Camp happenings. All summer, I have been privileged to watch Him work in and through my co-workers, friends, kids, and me to build His kingdom. Needless to say, I am so excited. 

...And thus it also is very bittersweet to be leaving. Two more days of work left. Two. I knew the time would fly by, but I did not recognize it might fly quite that quickly. To all who have crossed paths with me, encouraged me, modeled leadership and so many other good things for me, welcomed me onto the staff, taught me new things about myself and the world, hugged me, laughed with me, thanked me, tempered my crazy ideas with some reason, and collaborated with me: thank you. Thank you for helping to do a good work in my life. Thank you for making an impact you might not have even known you made. Thank you for believing that Daddy would use your small lunch to feed a crowd, and for feeding me, a member of that crowd.

What's next, you ask? Final closing out of this internship, a week of backpacking in the beautiful south San Juans, a week and a half of annual doctor/dentist/ophthalmologist/physical therapist appointments and final coffee dates, and then back to Iowa! Maybe I'll check back in here with news of all that as it happens. 

Until then, the adventures keep coming. Keep trekkin'!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rest: The Intern Diaries

First of all, being salaried is a new, weird experience. Also new and weird (and wonderful) is the fact that my director is very conscious of making sure that I'm not overworked.

As a result of my awesome director's caution about me not working overtime without getting compensated (and our fairly small budget), I got yesterday and this morning off. And it was beautiful.

I touched on it a little bit here, but rest is a really difficult concept for me to embrace. If there's work to be done, I would like to be doing it so that I don't have to do it later, or so that someone else can take a break. If I can be productive, I would like to be. If I can be accomplishing something, checking it off a to-do list, moving forward with a project, I would like to do that. So resting is difficult for me.

Most of my work is hard to do from home though, so I was forced to turn to other things to pass the time on my Monday/Tuesday morning mini-vacation, which was a blessing. In that time, I found a chance to rest, to linger where I wanted to, to work out, to just be.

I got a chance to read an entire book (The Maze Runner rocked me). Hammock. Eat s'mores. Hike with friends. Sit with the Lord. Call a friend in Iowa. Do some thinking about life. Brainstorm more for my summer bucket list. Clean my room (it's been a while since I did that). Sleep in. Sleep in a hammock. See my physical therapist. Go for several long bike rides. Hang up my own laundry. Pet the cats. Dance. Make dinner with my family. Enjoy breakfasts and lunches on my porch. Swing on the swing in front of my house. Sit in the creek. Journal.

I had space to exist, to rest, to feed my soul. Let me tell you, that was a blessing of a time. I realized just how essential rest is to our rhythm as humans. I go back to the fact that the Lord even rested after creating the world.

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. Genesis 2:2
I can't tell you why He did that exactly, but one of the wise people in my life has said He rested in part because He was setting an example for a fragile creation (people) who are not infinite and need rest. That's pretty neat that He would set an example like that to protect us as people.

How proud I have been, thinking I know best, thinking that I don't need to rest. How proud of me to think that I know better than the One who created everything. (Thank goodness for grace and forgiveness. Thank you, Jesus.)

It's a learning curve. I am definitely a slow learner when it comes to things like this. But I'm learning nonetheless. If I can encourage you to do anything this week, it would be to take some time to really rest. Not kill time mindlessly or a do an easier task than your usual grind, even an enjoyable task, but really rest. Step out of the routine and embrace time with Daddy. Whatever that looks like for you. I'll try to do it too. It's just good for us.

Ecclesiastes 3 talks about how there's a time for everything. There's a time to work and a time to rest. Resting doesn't qualify you as lazy or unproductive. It qualifies you as smart, as obedient, as treating yourself right.

As my fantastic director would say, "work hard, play hard (rest well)."

Friday, June 19, 2015

Gratitude: The Intern Diaries

I'm pretty sure I have the coolest job ever (technically a paid internship, if you want to be technical). I get to sing, dance, play games, and make crafts. And hang out with Jesus. And little kids. Basically the coolest job ever. Officially, I'm a summer intern at my church in the children's ministry. Effectively, I do everything from organizing cabinets to running games at our week-long music camp, from making photocopies to leading Sunday school and teaching stories, from laughing with kids to teaching them about how much God loves them.

Coolest. Job. Ever.

People ask me all the time how it's going, and I really have nothing but good things to say. I am so grateful that Jesus let me be here for the summer, and that He let me have this ten-week position. I'm also so grateful to so many people for teaching me the skills that make my life easier as the intern-- to the past interns who modeled everything from leading to restoring the classrooms, to my family for teaching me to work hard always, to my friends who have taught me to laugh, sing, and dance.

Moreover, I'm grateful to the church at-large. Today is the last day of our music camp, which is the best example I've seen of the saying, "it takes a village to raise a child." The camp itself runs for a week of 3-hour mornings. Just 15 hours with these kids over five days. This year, we had 200 kids and something like 130 volunteers. Needless to say, that many people use a lot of space. The church so graciously opens almost every room in the building each year to accommodate the screaming, singing, crafting, playing, eating, learning, questioning, and laughing that these 350+ people bring. I am so grateful for that.

I'm so grateful for my fellow church staff for being so welcoming-- many will say the week is a blessing and a joy, and I love that we have that view here. I'm so thankful for the way that so many of the staff have actively helped us with the preparation and the week, from stuffing mailers to directing families to register to helping move, lift, and carry heavy things. To all who have given us hands along this journey: thank you.

It baffles me that I'm almost a third of the way through my time on staff here. Time is absolutely flying, in part because it's such a fast-paced joy to work here. So thank you one and all who have made it such.

On a time-related note, my partner in crime aka fellow intern starts in 11 days! I'm really excited about that too. (Note: the number of times in a day that I say "so fun" or "so excited" has increased at least sevenfold since I started here. I'm not totally sure, but it's certainly an indication of how much joy I get from this. I just adore getting to share Daddy's love with some of my favorite children on the planet. But feel free to call me out on saying those phrases if they get old.)

And with that, it's almost time for me to go sing and dance with my campers one last time. So fun.

Onwards & upwards! xoxoxo

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Themes & Thank Yous

Where to begin? Some context about my life might be helpful, so let me see what I can do for you there first.

I finished my freshman year at Coe College, and wow was it a year. I am home in beautiful (rainy) Colorado for the summer, and interning at my home church with the children's ministry. I could not be more psyched about that.

On Tuesday (which was technically my first day on staff), I went on an all-staff day retreat to a fabulous little nook of the mountains. While up there, my head pastor, Erik, asked us to walk through the past year with the Lord. He encouraged us to ask the Lord to show us themes & patterns, and just to enjoy some time out in the woods.

Maybe I'm an oddball for never thinking of it, but until Erik asked us to, I had never thought of reflecting on a past year with the Lord. It was a super neat chance, and I think I probably ought to make it a more regular habit.

So I did that. I found myself a very nice corner of a trail and perched on a rock. Then Daddy & I got to talking.

If I could sum up my semesters in sentences, it might be these:
1) I don't know how I lived through most of what happened first semester, but I know the Lord carried me through it all.
2) Second semester, he kept telling me, "I know you want ____, but I'm going to tell you no, because my plan for ______ is better."
3) This summer, he keeps asking me to take things off my plate, and to actually rest.

Perhaps that first item sounds a little negative. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE college. My first year was unusually good compared to most people's first years, and it was full of answered prayers. But first semester was tough at times. I averaged about 4 hours of sleep most nights, especially in the second half of the semester. I had one night that will stick in my mind for a very long time-- it felt like the very bottom of my heart had fallen out. I remember this strong mental image of darkness swallowing all of my hope and every word of encouragement sounding hollow. Additionally in all of this, I was fighting hard to figure out who on earth I was (I'll let you know when I work it all out) and how to not be lonely when I was alone.

It was a recipe for a tough semester. But somehow, the Lord brought me through every single wave in one piece, teaching me to praise Him in the storm. Teaching me that my circumstances don't matter when my faith focuses on Him. He provided wonderful women in my life, strong women who modeled trusting him in every circumstance. He blessed me with a church and a connection group through that church that was always uplifting and full of challenging discussion. That group welcomed me so openly, and I am so blessed to call them my friends & siblings in Christ. So blessed. Daddy blessed me with the motivation to not fail calc 2, even when I napped through it and thought the world was probably going to end. He blessed me with the incredible community and friendship of my ultimate team, who are some of my favorite people on the planet. He blessed me with best friends, great talks, and more than enough cheap pizza. Despite all of the tough spots, I came out of first semester beaming and loving the previous months.

Second semester I learned over and over again that He is good, and His plans are good. I also learned that his plans are often quite different from mine. I could cite four or five specific times when I thought I had a pretty good plan, and he told me, "no, but I'll give you something better." And his plan always was better.

I'm learning to trust that Daddy knows exactly what he's doing. It's a process, especially when I panic about leading a class or not knowing how I'm going to balance all of my commitments. It's really hard to believe him when he asks me to rest instead of work always. It's really hard to trust that he will work out my future-- my current favorite thing to worry about is that if I study abroad, I will almost certainly miss an ultimate season at Coe. I have to keep going back to the fact that he knows what he's doing. I have to keep returning to him.

Isaiah 30:15 is a solid reminder to me. "For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.' But you were unwilling."

It is so easy for me to be unwilling to rest, unwilling to return to him, unwilling to quiet myself and trust. But that also means I lose out on the benefits of those things-- being saved & strength. It's an adventure for me to learn to rest and return.

That's what I love about God though-- it's always an adventure, and he always makes a way to learn what I need to learn. Take this summer as an example. People (and Daddy) keep telling me to rest. Keep asking how I'm resting and taking care of myself. Keep encouraging me to take time with the Lord. He is making so much space for me to learn to rest and return to him. Thank you, Daddy, for your grace and for the room you make in my life to learn to obey you and rest.

I am so incredibly grateful for such a fantastic year. Thank you to every single person who supported me through it-- whether we talked once, maybe you just held open a door for me in some random Cedar Rapids store, or maybe you're my best friend. Thank you. I know that I cannot say it enough. Thank you for encouraging me, for teaching me, for challenging me, for giving me rides, for laughing with me, for dancing with me, for loving me. Thank you for everything. (A huge thank you to Daddy for providing me with adventures and people to adventure through life with too.)

I look forward to continued adventures with you all! xoxoxo

Friday, March 27, 2015

CID-DFW-DEN (Disjointed plane thoughts)


I’m taking off and the runway is going by faster and faster, and this is the part that I usually love most about flying, but all I want to do is stand up and jump out of the door and run back to my dorm room. And I don't know why. I'm fighting an overwhelming urge to cry. An overwhelming fight or flight response screams flight in my head, which is ironic because the last thing I want to do is be here on this flight. And I don't know why.

Normally, I love flying. The movement, the change, the people, the sensation of moving hundreds of miles an hour. Right now though it's hard to love flying when I'm struggling to not cling to Iowa. Like the book I was reading (til all of these feels ambushed me) was saying, people seek comfort and shy away from change.
I like the comfort of Iowa. How friendly people are. How predictable my life is, how controlled. There's a lot of structure provided by the fact that I do so much. I've built myself a structure cocoon in all my events, classes, and clubs.

I'm also avoiding confronting emotions about being home, more than likely. The questions about everything. The purposeless, aimless wandering feeling.
Why don't I want to go home?

Home is just as much Iowa as it is Colorado. Home in Boulder will feel a little emptier without Grandma. That's a tough emptiness to confront. Shoot. Those aren't tears lining up behind my ducts...I don’t know what you’re talking about.  

Hunger and reading books like this one (A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, by Donald Miller) always make me contemplative and a little confrontational. And emotional, apparently. I feel wrong blaming it all on that though. I know I really am avoiding things here. But it's tough to make yourself stop avoiding something in your head. That's what Don Miller was just talking about-- characters have to be moved and forced. They don't like change or scary things, so they won’t willingly just wander into those situations.

Miller talks about having a sense of a Voice, which he then identifies as the Writer in his life. This Writer (understood to be God) suggests small and large life choices, starting with Miller holding his tongue more often but leading into him finding his dad.  Miller talks about how the Writer can see the whole story of life and knows what will lead to a better story, but how hard it can be to go along with His suggestions sometimes.

I've also had a sense of the Writer, or Daddy, recently, suggesting that I do a thing or two to live a better story. It hasn't always been what I want, but He has always made it work out for my good somehow-- often just because I'm learning to trust Him increasingly. It wasn't particularly hard or painful, til now. Now something about this is engaging my fight or flight like nobody's business, something about the changes I’m required to accept, the changes I’m going to undergo.

I look down and notice yet again how the callouses on my hands are flecking off. I didn't realize I had callouses there, honestly. It's because we've stopped lifting. I miss lifting already. But I'm not sure how I feel lifting alone just for the sake of staying in it.

It's like that with spiritual work too though--- you lose your callouses, your muscle mass, your capacity and strength if you stop lifting. I stopped again.

Why did I stop? Why is it so hard to continue with reading the word, with constant prayer?

It's tough to find time for devotional time. Because time isn't a thing I just stumble upon in my life, and when I do, I do what I didn't think I would have time for, usually homework or sleeping or buying groceries. So why don't I make time for Him?

I'm afraid He'll ask me to change in really hard ways. I'm scared of what I'm inevitably going to need to change, specifically my interactions with specific people. Changing things sounds hard and I don't want to submit to change without knowing what specifics I'm agreeing to change. I want control. But I don't get control, and I know that, so I avoid the situation as a result.

As much as I fight submitting my relationships to Daddy, this whole semester, especially the last month, has taught me a lot about submitting my plans. I’m learning time and time again how good He is when I do submit.
I was supposed to see Grandma over break. I was supposed to be spending time with her for hours after I got off the plane. I was supposed to borrow her knitting needles and learn really hard quilt patterns and make her dinner and hear her stories. That didn't happen. And I know God is using this for his best purposes. I know it was a good spring break and that I needed time in Cedar Rapids to recharge and get a handle on things and process. And I guess now I need to be going home. But learning to submit how I wanted things to go, even how I expected them to go, is hard. It's like what Ryan Hill was talking about in church last Sunday. I need to surrender my plans to Him, but wow that's harder than I thought it would be.

I don't get to be home for church this week as they transition to 2 services. ...I just automatically called Veritas and Iowa home-- no wonder I have funny feelings about going back to Colorado again. I'm so excited on behalf of Veritas as they move into new structure; 2 services is exciting.


"We don't know how capable we are of loving until the people we love are being taken away, until a beautiful story is ending." -Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

That makes me want to schedule coffee and adventures with every person I know for the next ever just to make sure they know how much they mean to me. Because when I think about the people I don't want to lose, the ones it'll hurt most to lose, I go to my grandma (whose service I'm heading to on this plane), my brothers, my parents, my best friends... And the names keep coming. Every single person I know crops up eventually, and I just want them to know how crazy wonderful they are. What their strengths are. How much I appreciate them for being a character in my story. How much God loves them. How much I want to see them one day in heaven.

But God doesn't give us time to schedule coffee and adventures with every person ever. God gives us 24 hours in a day (unless you're traveling through time zones, and then time gets weird) and however many days He thinks makes sense, and way more people in our story than we will ever have time to get coffee with. And we get to figure out how to convey how meaningful those people are with our few resources and precious time. I guess that's what they mean when they say time is precious. It's limited, and there's a lot we can do with it. Prioritizing becomes important, but so does not wasting time. Suddenly that's a lot more important.

How do I turn my aimless aloneness into loving God & loving others, into meaningful, precious time?

Don Miller talks about how God is like the grandfather ad infinitum-- with hundreds of generations of grand kids, and so much resulting wisdom. Watching the cars of Texas from above gives you so much perspective on how you can see things working in the bigger picture, like the flow of traffic and directions and how it all fits together. I think God's a lot like that too-- he can see everything from where He sits, how all the pieces fit together. But that's why the fact Jesus came in person is so crazy to me-- people aren't even visible from planes. God got down on our tiny level and loved us.

This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
1 John 4:9

That's really cool. Oh how He loves us so. How great He is. How blessed we are & how blessed I am to have such a good Father in heaven who is so worthy of all praise. Thank you, Daddy.

Some background for those who need it: my grandma died three weeks ago at the wonderful age of 97. She was a joy and a role model, and loved Jesus dearly. I flew home for her memorial service this week-- these are some of the thoughts that I processed on my flights home to Colorado. Daddy's taught me a lot through her life and her death, and He is always to be praised. Psalm 104. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

"I was thinking about you earlier!"

My older brother sent me a Valentine this weekend. It was short, sassy, and made me smile because it so thoroughly captured how he says things. Those two sentences on a pink construction paper heart got me thinking.

An aside: long time no see! We took the past year and a half to live through senior year of high school and are now well into our freshman year of college! You might hear more from us these days, especially me. Madeleine has a really neat blog of her own-- you can check it out here. 

Back to that Valentine. I got to thinking, "I crossed his mind one day, and he had the forethought to write me a Valentine and tell me that I crossed his mind and that he loves me." Then I thought about all the people who cross my mind all the time who probably will never know. Family, friends, people I met once, cute waiters, people I wish I had apologized to, people I recognize on campus but have no idea if they know me...

So I want you to know that you crossed someone's mind today. You mean a lot to someone out there. Maybe they're shy or distracted or not able to communicate with you currently, or maybe they have communicated it to you but for whatever reason your heart won't believe it, but you are precious to someone, today and every day.

You are cherished, loved, and known. In the post-Valentine's Day season, when too many people are bashing themselves or feeling sorry for themselves for being single, or worse, bashing and pitying one another for being single, I think it just might be especially important for you to take a moment and understand that you are loved exactly as you are. 

This isn't just true because you crossed someone's mind today though, and it's not true for the people who crossed your mind because certain bits of electricity made certain connections in your brain. It's true because we are all loved and known by our good Daddy, which is even more exciting in my opinion. I'm loved because God says so, and there's nothing that'll change that. You're loved because God loves you and says so, and there's nothing that will ever change that. How. Freaking. Cool.

It's well-cited, but God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) Daddy loves the world and its people: YOU. So much that he let his own Son die (if you poll most parents, they wouldn't be stoked about letting their kids die, especially if they have just one) for you. And for me. That's mind-blowing grace that I'm not quite able to wrap my head around, but I hope that you and I both can grasp just a taste of it today-- that we can understand that he loves us beyond anything we know or fathom, and that that cannot and will not change ever.

Challenge: tell people when they cross your mind today. Tell them that they matter, tell them that you love them, tell them that you miss them. Ask for their opinions, ask how their days are going. Reach out, put others first, and tell them that you're thinking of them. Sometimes, that's all it takes to bring a smile to their face.

Keep smiling, keep dancing, and know that you are loved.

xoxox Lo

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pretty Darn Cool

I was sitting in choir this week, listening to our director work with the soprano and bass sections, and I had this moment of sheer wonder. How cool is it that some 25 voices can all work in tandem to produce such a beautiful sound? How cool is it that some 25 pairs of eyes (and brains) can read music and translate that into commands for vocal folds?

Pretty darn cool.

I was half-watching TV tonight, some program about tornadoes, and was blown away by the idea that just rushing air can cause that much damage and capture our imaginations so thoroughly.

I was talking through conflict resolution concepts with one of my best friends, and it was so cool to consider how differently every single person on this planet thinks. We all see things so incredibly differently, and that's rad.

I was talking with a friend about the future and leadership opportunities, and she pointed out that it's no accident that I'm perfectly balanced between two demographics that are about to be united in a new campus and area organization.

My friend fell asleep, and I was watching their chest rise and fall. It blew my mind to just think about all the systems that work in a body, even a sleeping body. How cool is that?

Pretty darn cool.

We have an incredible, creative Father God. That's pretty darn cool.