Sunday, February 28, 2016

Not a lost sheep

Tonight has been an incredibly average night overall. I'm on duty, which means not leaving the building. All of my core groups of people had plans elsewhere on or off campus tonight, meaning that I had a night with just me (and the occasional conversation with a resident). Whether it's a result of that fact or simply bad timing I don't know, but I've felt lonely all night. I wanted to be around a person or two who knew my heart well so badly, but I couldn't come up with anyone.

It hit me about three minutes ago, sometime just before 2 a.m., that God still hasn't lost track of me. Even in this deep loneliness, which feels like it's surfaced more often than usual this winter, He knows where I am and who I am. He knows my heart. He's holding me in the palm of his hand. That's really comforting.

O LORD, you have searched me and known me!You know when I sit down and when I rise up;you discern my thoughts from afar.You search out my path and my lying downand are acquainted with all my ways.Even before a word is on my tongue,behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.You hem me in, behind and before,and lay your hand upon me.Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;it is high; I cannot attain it.Psalm 139:1-6
I can't help but think of the parable of the lost sheep-- the shepherd went after that missing sheep and brought it back. Jesus went after me when I wandered and doesn't lose sight of me now. Even in these moments that it feels like I'm so alone, Jesus is right here with me. How cool is that.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

One Knight Stand

This is (part of) my team. They are quirky, fierce, often inappropriate, and always dear to my heart. They love playing cards, driving too fast with music that's too loud, eating all the time, and occasionally playing ultimate (when they have to). 

This picture was taken sometime between 1 and 3 am last night...I can't remember when exactly. It's all such a blur, like all-night tournaments always are. I don't know if other sports love all-nighters as much as ultimate players, but I know that it's somethingthing I absolutely love about my sport. 

We lost all of our games at Wartburg this year. The closest game was 11-13, the most painful loss was 0-13 (yes, we got bageled). But honestly, the scores don't matter too much to me. We improved from our first to our second game, which was huge. I watched each of my teammates grow over the course of the night: improved field vision, getting comfortable with the rally scoring format, playing zone more aggressively, learning how to support one another as a sideline, learning to lead. 

If there's one thing I want to say, it's that I am so proud of my teammates. We faced some tough opponents, and while we didn't always do the right thing or treat one another well, I did watch everyone grow and learn and put their all out on the field, and I am proud of them for that. It makes the exhaustion the day after well worth it.

A team, a passion for ultimate, and a body that can (generally) play hard and rowdy are three huge blessings from Daddy in my life. I love the community, the friends you make on the sideline, and the feeling of lacing up before a game. I'm so grateful. It's so exciting to me that Daddy built us all differently and that he gave me the passion for ultimate and a team that supports me. I'm so darn blessed. 

Monday, February 1, 2016

A post with no proper attribution for the additional content

I stole this image (meme? JPEG of words?) off of Facebook. 

My edit to this would be "if Jesus can (and did) calm the ocean, he can also calm you." 

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 
And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. 
And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 
And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 
He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 
And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” Mark 4:35-41

Just be held

Hold it all together
Everybody needs you strong
But life hits you out of nowhere
And barely leaves you holding on

I spend so much time trying to be so many things for so many people. A sister, a committee chair, a friend, an RA, a leader, a servant, a teammate, a captain... it lands me here, when I try to do it by my own strength. There are so many things I'm trying to do, plan, think about, research... so many things I love yet can't give my heart to entirely because it's spread other places already.

I spend so much time keeping a checklist, doing things on it, crossing things off, working to get to the elusive end of it. But the illusion of a checklist is the idea that you could ever reach the end of it. There will always be more tasks to do, meetings to plan, and problems to solve.

And when you're tired of fighting
Chained by your control
There's freedom in surrender
Lay it down and let it go

I spend so much time trying to control what I can't (everything), and that's exhausting. And then I break, which frustrates me because then I've lost control of myself, which feels like the thing I should definitely be able to control.

So when you're on your knees and answers seem so far away
You're not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your worlds not falling apart, its falling into place
I'm on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

It's really incredibly difficult for me to break down. I don't cry often, I rarely cry hard, and I struggle to sit with negative feelings and be okay with just feeling for the moment. I try to rationalize sad and stressed feelings away or ignore them entirely. That's a strategy that has worked decently...until recently. Good friends have slowly but surely worn down the lies and are starting to finally break into my stubborn mind, slowly reassuring me that it's okay to have rough days, to have dislikes, to not feel 100% awesome or even look the part, to cry. It's okay. It's integral to the human experience.

My dear cat, dog, and grandma dying in the past 9 months have shown me so much about grief and processing that in more healthy ways. Through the insanity of my schedule in the past year and a half, I am slowly but surely starting to understand how God can be a rock in the everyday. It's a slow refining process.

If your eyes are on the storm
You'll wonder if I love you still
But if your eyes are on the cross
You'll know I always have and I always will
Just Be Held, Casting Crowns.

It's true that this is a matter of perspective. The more I focus on the problems in my life, even if I am saying, "Daddy, look at these problems, fix them!", the more my problems become the center of my life. But when I spend my time looking to Him first, saying, "Daddy, you are awesome, and I know you won't let go of me, and I trust that you love me best",  the more I understand that it's gonna be alright. Maybe not my ideal version of "alright," but His, which is better anyways.

Because your steadfast love is better than life,
my lips will praise you.
Psalm 63:3

He's so good. Love better than life? That's a tough thing to fathom, really. Just sit with that for a while. Sit with the one who can put a leash on the Leviathan and play with it as a pet (Job 41:1) for a while.