Monday, July 30, 2007

Movin' on up

so... it's official. I signed a lease for a house today in lexington, not far from my church. For several months I've been thinking about moving to lex-vegas, and i finally did it today! i've been really nervous about this move for some reason, but i'm excited. i love the house, it's in a cool neighborhood, and i'll live near some pretty awesome people. well, maybe except for my pastor aaron. i think i'll have to keep him in line... good thing we'll live on the same street and i can straighten him out.

i'm excited... i think this will be a great thing, and a long time in coming. And more than anything else, i really see God's hand in all of this, which is scary and encouraging all at the same time.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Question Marks and Prayers for Healing

It's been somewhat of a trying week....

  • stressful week with the kiddos
  • lots of tiredness on my part
  • feeling overwhelmed by one too many unknowns
  • feeling like i am in a whirlwind
  • needing car repairs

yet, somehow, in the midst of it all God has worked. Things still do not make sense. I am still confused, overwhelmed... but I am reminded of God's presence. And that's really all we can do sometimes. And after a much-needed breakdown on Wednesday night, I felt at least a little bit of peace, and even found myself in the position to get to encourage a couple other friends... which I was so thankful for.

And in the middle of this, I've been thinking about what it means to be truly healed. My pastor and I (a genuinely awesome guy who is probably the most accessible pastor i've ever had the privilege to be around) have had some email conversations about that this week. His wife died about 2 months ago, so it was interesting to get his take on the subject. He basically ended the conversation by saying, "maybe it's all a matter of perseverence. Because if we are healed from what we are wanting healing from, there's just something else waiting around the corner, because life is hard." And it's so true. Maybe it's not just a matter of asking for healing from something, but for God's grace within whatever life throws our way.

So...even in the midst of a somewhat frustrating week, I can still say that God is. And i can say that God loves me... maybe even likes me.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Remembering to Remember

I have been reminded this week, in a few different ways, of the power of memory-of the power of remembering and honoring. A good friend of mine sent me an email a few days ago about how she needed to "remember" God. She needed to remember that He is present, active, faithful. That in itself led me down a path of reflecting on the story of the Exodus: after the Israelites were miraculously delivered from their oppression, they had to be reminded to remember. They had to be reminded that God was faithful, alive, and with them. From a completely objective point of view, one would think that this would be a no-brainer. Of course God was faithful... He showed up in some pretty miraculous ways! But they still forgot. They complained. They wanted more than God's provision for them. And over and over in Exodus we see, "Remember God's Faithfulness."

And then today in Sunday School, we talked about this again. We are about to start a trek through the book of Deuteronomy (which I have never read in its entirety) and this is also an apparent theme. Remember. Remember. Remember God. Remember His faithfulness. Remember that He loves you. Remember that you are His child. Peter, who teaches our class, encouraged us to also remember our own journeys of faith as we read this book. Remember.

There is power in being able to remember. There is power in being able to take a step back, especially when the details of life are overwhelming...when the freshness of a relationship with the Father seems mundane....when what is apparent and obvious is pain. Remember God. Remember that I am loved and beloved. In remembering what is true, I can shift my thinking-reminding myself that I belong to the Creator, the King of Kings, YWHW, Jehovah. It is easy to think that I don't belong to him... which is why I must stop to remember.

I am reading Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen... a book that is all about living into our Divine belovedness. Today I am reminded to remember that I am a child of God, and that in truly understanding that truth changes my posture... changes how I live, how I treat myself, and how I treat others. Remembering and understanding who I belong to and how much He loves me allows me to enter into light and joy. Understanding and remembering takes me into the arms of the Father and trusting in a way that far surpasses any that I could conjure up in my own head. Understanding and remembering carries me from walking slumped over in shame to walking in confidence with my heavenly Father. I'll be honest--this is difficult to remember most days... which is why I guess God is into object lessons.

I often feel guilty for not remembering-for trusting myself and the opinions of others far more than I trust God. But I guess God knows this our tendency, since we are reminded to remember over and over again. And I guess this is why God wants us to worship together... to celebrate Holy Communion remind each other to remember.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Summer Goodness...

In the past few days, I have...

  • Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
  • Driven in Manhattan.
  • Been on the Staten Island Ferry at Sunset.
  • Eaten one of the best cheeseburgers i have ever had. ever.
  • Eaten a bowl full of cheeries. A couple of them actually.
  • Seen the ocean.
  • Driven from Brooklyn, New York to Wilmore, Kentucky in one day.
  • Had incredible conversations with my brother about life, family, and God.
  • Been enormously grateful for fun family times.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Can I help?

Working with kids all day can be a funny experience. This is not really new for me-I've been working with kids since I was in high school, but I find that my interactions with them have the ability to be humorous, frustrating, profound. What I've realized this summer is that many of the things I tell the kids I really need to tell myself. It's been interesting to hear these words come out of my mouth and to realize, 'wow. i need to remember this.'

Yesterday I was attempting to give the kids a snack, and this is normally a pretty tumultuous time. This time happens not long after they've gotten up from their nap, and a few of them just do not wake up well (i can relate to that... maggie in the mornings is not a fun sight), especially because a few of them are there for long days, and they are just really tired. What I often do during this time is let one of the kids be my helper. This is a privilege for the kids, one that is worth fighting over. One that is worth shedding tears over. This got me thinking....when do we make the move from the helper as one of privilege to something of a chore? When does it become a burden to help someone else?

It also led me into thoughts of how God designed us. It seems like maybe God wants us to view being a servant in His kingdom, being His 'helper' as something of a privilege to get very excited about. God's pretty big and powerful.... He can do anything He wants.... does He really need us? I don't need the kids to help me.... but it's fun to watch them get excited about being helpful. I don't know if God needs us or not, but it certainly seems like He really wants us to serve Him, and that it delights Him when we get excited about walking with Him and attempting to help His purposes along. It is usually very likely that when the kids help me, something will get spilled or some mess will get made. And i'll be right behind them to clean up whatever mess has been made. And i'm reminded that God doesn't need my perfection, He just wants my willingness, because He knows a mess will be made, and He'll help me clean it up.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


i often have lots of deep, profound things to post about that will no doubt win me the love and affection of all who read what i have to say, but by the time I get around to sitting down and summing up all i have to say, I can't remember what those life-changing thoughts were. So... as life-changing thoughts for today. I deeply apologize to any I may have disappointed. Instead, I shall share how I have been spending my summer days thus far:

  • I have been working at the Wilmore Day Care Center. I am the teacher for the 4 and 5 year olds. Most days, I like it. Some days, my frustration level is a little higher than I am proud of, but I really like my kiddos. they're fun. and they say lots of funny things. and i have a really awesome boss who is more than gracious with me.
  • I have been reading Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen. You must read this book. Many of the life-changing thoughts that are currently in my head are a result of reading this book. I may write something later after i've processed it all.... but it is wonderful.
  • I am really glad that I'm not taking classes right now and have adequate time to read and process aforementioned book.
  • I have to move out of my apartment in August. I have absolutely no clue where i am going to live. This is probably something I should start thinking about soon.
  • I am going to new york city next weekend and i am puuuuumped! yay! yay! i believe that new york city is one of the greatest places on this earth. to add to it's inherent greatness, the one and only randall middleton (older brother of yours truly) lives there. yay for vacations!
  • I have attempted to go fishing the past two weekends with my friend samantha, and have failed both times. I even bought my very first fishing pole for the occassion, and it sits unused, and I am sad. Thus, my goal before summer's end is to go fishing. Not necessarily to catch any fish, but i would really love to put my feet in the water and hold said fishing pole. If I happen to catch any fish, that will be an added bonus.
  • I have done about 10 things today that I feel really stupid about. These aren't bad/sinful things.... Just really awkward things i've done... and i feel extremely foolish at the moment, and i keep dwelling on them.
  • Things I am thankful for today: iced hot chocolate (from Coffee Times!), gift cards from Coffee Times, really great friends, hugs, getting a short vacation in the middle of the summer, thoughtful people, God's provision, sitting on a friend's porch, long drives with friends who "get you," hope, new insights, God's presence, Sunday afternoon naps.