Wednesday, December 03, 2008


I love advent. I normally get somewhat annoyed with typical Christmas-type things- feeling the pressure of finding gifts for those I love, way too many people at stores and in parking lots, feeling busy when I would like quiet. But when I do give myself the permission to really focus on, what a beautiful picture.

I love that the season of Advent reminds us to stop. wait. listen. prepare. anticipate. We wait with longing hearts for the Savior, and we remember what it means that Christ has come. In the darkness of this world, of our personal lives, and even our own hearts, we remember that One has come to pierce the darkness with the brightest light possible. It is in waiting, in being quiet, that we understand ourselves, our need for Christ, and what it is that God has done for His people.

I think that Advent might be particularly significant for me this year, as I've been in a season of waiting for a few months. For multiple reasons, my life has been a rollercoaster for a while now. I graduated from Asbury and am still looking for a job. My season of being in school is over and I'm still trying to answer that "what's next" question. I don't know the answer. Other things in my life changed earlier this fall (in ways that I did not expect, but the change was necessary), and I am still processing through a lot of it. There are many ways in which I tend to be a perfectionist, and I've put pressure on myself to have it all figured out.

As I've entered into Advent, I've realized that it is ok to wait. It is ok to not have life figured out, and it is ok to not always be happy. It is ok to need other people and to need God. In fact, it's necessary as a Christian disciple to need others and God.

So I wait in joyful anticipation, in more ways that one.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

What's The Problem?

My friend Erin and I have been throwing around the idea of starting a non profit for the past year or so. We want to start said non profit to help impact the lives of middle school and high school girls who struggle with self esteem. We're nowhere near being able to launch anything, but we're trying to research the situation. And from my own experience (both with my own personal story, with the stories of my female friends, women I run across, and young girls I happen to know currently), low self esteem is crippling. At times it certainly has been true in my own life.

As Erin and I have talked about what we feel called to do, we've started asking the question, "So what's the problem?" What's the REAL problem here? Is it that young women aren't empowered or don't have enough role models? Is it that most grown women still aren't able to walk with healthy amounts of self esteem? Is it pressure from society to just be too many things? Is it that we have an inability to truly believe that the God of the universe loves us and believes in us? I certainly have my thoughts, but they're still jumbled. I just know that I hate how I sometimes see myself, and the struggles I see most girls and women battling in this area.

And what is it that self-esteem does to us? I believe that it cripples us, and it keeps us from being the best versions of ourselves. It keeps us from being who God truly desires us to be. God is not honored when we deprecate His creation...whether that be a towering redwood, a brilliant flower, the elderly woman next door, or myself. By honoring God's creation...ALL of His creation, I am able to praise the God who so lovingly created me.

I often wonder if part of the problem is in really, really messed up standards. I have been reading through the book of 1 John recently, and today's passage hit me hard, especially as I think about how I often enter into the practice of self-loathing:

"Stop loving this evil world and all that it offers you, for when you love the world, you show that do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only the lust for physical pleasure, the lust for everything we see, and pride in our possessions. These are not from the Father. They are from this evil world. And this world is fading away, along with everything it craves. But if you do the will of God, you will live forever." (1 John 1: 15-17)

The standards we see on TV, in the media, from peers shares a standard that tells individuals that in order to be loved and accepted we must look a certain way, have a specific body type, and present a certain image of ourselves. I have been reminded all day of the power of refusing to give in to this... to seek the things of God's Kingdom, and not of this world. As I think about how to respond to my own areas of feeling insufficient, and in turn, of how to best love others struggling with honoring the beauty of their own creation, I am reminded that God has standards, beauty, and desires that are completely contrary to what this fallen world offers.

So often the "easy" thing is to find our identity in the people around us, our immediate community, or the culture at large. Those things tell us right away if we are beautiful or not, if we are right or wrong, if what we present is acceptable. However, this passage tells us that we simply cannot trust the things of this world (even if that might be the easy thing to do). We are called, instead, to identify with God and His values... very different from what the culture around us has to offer.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Roots and New Directions

Over the course of the past few weeks, I have started attending a new church. This particular faith community is an anglican church, and I've found that I like it a lot. After the first week, I wasn't sure if i'd come back. But then I did return, and now I'm excited to return today. My initial hesitations were multiple, but one was because it is, in fact, anglican. As someone who grew up in a very small Episcopalian church and experienced the ritual of liturgy every Sunday of my life for 18+ years, I never expected to willingly return to this setting. My formative years weren't bad, just devoid of understanding the transforming power of Jesus Christ. I was loved by many surrogate grandparents, but left without an understanding of why it was so important that we did what we did.

And now, here I am. Sitting among a small, anglican worship gathering repeating the same exact liturgy that I did as my 8-year old self. Part of me wants to run far, but most of me feels like something is getting connected. The dots in my 12-year old brain are suddenly connecting to the passions of my 30-year old persona. It's a bit like coming home in a way, but in a new, "ahh, i get it now" kind of way. In a fuller, more complete way.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I'm an Aunt!

Just wanted to say congrats to my brother and sister-in-law... their son (and my nephew!) is now here among us! He was born yesterday (August 5th) at 7:53 p.m. Apparently a long labor, but everyone is healthy. To my nephew, your Aunt Maggie is very excited to meet you! And to Randall and Melissa... congratulations!

Monday, August 04, 2008

At Long Last

At long last, I am returning to the blogging world. Countless times since April I have logged in to my account and started to write a post, only to have been struck with insane writer's block. And that has been frustrating, because I have had much to say, but have not known how to articulate myself. But alas, at long last, here I am again. So, for the two people who read this, I am back in all my glory.

Since it's been so long, I'll just give an update on my recent state of being.

CPE. I have been spending my weeks doing my CPE. For those who don't know what this is, it's basically an internship. Yes, this summer I've had the privilege of paying to work. awesome, right? Actually, it's been a good experience for the most part-better than I had prepared myself for. I had many, many people telling me how horrendous this experience would be. The worst part really was needing to wake up much earlier than I would like once a week, and needing to reflect about EVERY SINGLE PART of my life for 9 straight hours on Mondays. However, I will say that God answered my prayers and gave me a really great group of folks to be with. In addition, i prayed a lot that this would be a good, life-giving experience, and I am walking away feeling encouraged. Thanks, God. You are always faithful! Next Monday will be my last class, and I am ready to be done, but thankful for a good experience.
In addition to the class aspect of CPE, I have been working about 20-25 hours a week with the church. I've been working with the youth ministry and have been visiting our homebound church members. Both projects have been really amazing...we've had lunch for our kids at the church twice a week, which has been super cool. We eat food (donated to us by God's Pantry!), we have a short devotional time, and then play kickball. It's been such a sweet time just to BE with the kids. Our kids have grown closer to each other, the leaders, and to God. and just by being together. We haven't put on a flashy program... we're just offering a time to be together. simple, but profound. when we are together, we pray. we eat. we play. we laugh. sometimes the kids get mad. sometimes i get frustrated. but i believe through this that we are being what the Church is meant to be. and we've seen fruit....again, thanks God for your amazing faithfulness for our meager efforts!
And homebound visits.... amazing. I've learned so much, and met some of the most incredibly devoted followers of Christ. Most of these folks have been members of the church for 50 years or more...have been there through thick and thin. I've gotten to hear stories, bring communion, offer prayers, and get to know some saintly people. I've found out more about the church from these conversations in just a couple of months than in the three years I've been there.

Aunthood. Melissa's water broke today.... and I will soon have the joy of offically being an aunt. I can't wait to meet my nephew... we've waited so long to meet this little guy. I hope he likes us, because we're all pretty pumped about him. And melissa is amazing... doing a completely natural birth at home. What a rockstar.

"What are you doing next?" I am beginning to loathe this question. My free time is spent job searching, and I don't know where I'll be, and it's scary. Plain and simple. I am hoping to be involved with an amazing ministry somewhere, but not sure where that is yet. So, if you are reading... pray for this job search. There are times that I'm excited about what's next, and times that I am just plain clueless and scared. But I'm trusting that God has something amazing... and trusting that God will use me for crazy and lifechanging things.

Free time. I have recently been introduced to the joy that is Anne of Green Gables. Simply thrilling and simple. And I am loving reading a book that I picked out on my own... something that is not about theology... and i think, "how did i NOT read this as a child?"

that is all.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just Have Faith!

i've been thinking a lot recently about what it means to 'have' faith. we talk about faith and the Christian experience in very possessive terms, and i wonder if this is correct. perhaps in some ways it is. but if we're not careful, our faith becomes only about 'me,' and how i feel, what i feel God calling me to do, and we forget to think about others in relationship to faith. and that's funny... because the whole nature of who Jesus was had to do with self-sacrifice, and of serving others. He was brought into this world and left it in the must humble ways possible...humility for the sake of humanity. and so i struggle with some notions of what 'having faith' means. For instance, a phrase that is commonly used in evangelism is "accepting" or "receiving" Jesus. i really don't like these terms, mostly because i don't really know what that means. it sort of conjures up this image of God as a magic pill, and i think that's extremely dangerous territory to be walking on. it also leads to the notion that God is to be molded to us, instead of vice versa. shouldn't our language be more about deciding to follow our Creator, instead of Him following us? just a thought.

i'm reading through Hosea with my sunday school class. as we read through hosea 1, we started talking about the notion that the Lord was asking Hosea to do some pretty ridiculous things. Marry a prostitute, love her, name the kids after things like 'vengeance' and 'not my people.' (i'm wondering what my brother is going to name my nephew... i really hope those aren't on the list...). one conversation we had last week stuck with me... that God was not speaking to Hosea for Hosea's benefit, but for the benefit of the people of Israel. God is about the edification of the Church, and not just me. how does this play out as we live our lives in a society that tells us to think about me, and me alone? even in our lives of faith, i think it's still an easy temptation to think about what God wants me to do, instead of how my actions will affect the whole.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ebb and Flow

It has been difficult for me to think of things to write about as of late, and I'm not sure why. I normally enjoy the process of getting to write, to share, to think about myself and the things that happen around me. but it's been difficult these past few months. i guess some seasons are just like that...

i'm in a strange season of life. in the next few months, i will graduate from seminary, turn 30, and become an aunt. in some ways, it is surreal that all three of these things will be taking place. on graduating from seminary: i struggled a bit in high school, and in some ways wrestled with just feeling ordinary. i think, at the back of my mind, i wondered if i would be able to even graduate from college. it was difficult to view myself as a leader, or as someone who had important things to say. however, there's a rumbling and a passion in my soul that is real, many times undefined. and here i stand. in addition, seminary has been.... hmmm. i don't know the word for it. i arrived at asbury a very broken person, hurt and wounded, and a lot of healing has taken place. it's strange for this journey to be almost over.
on turning 30: personally, i would like to know why this birthday is normally such a big deal. i think it's definitely cultural. perhaps it helps that most people still think i'm 23, and i have yet to meet someone who isn't shocked when i tell them my actual age. i don't know that anything will actually change in me, but it's strange to think back to when i was younger, and realizing that 30 sounded mature, settled, "adult." i think i thought i would be married by this point, have a career, be "figured out." maybe i'll never be completely figured out, but maybe parts of me will. i have a feeling that i'll always be young at heart, and i'll always giggle. at least, i hope that i will always be like that.
on becoming an aunt: i don't know how to articulate how excited i am about this. first of all, my brother is one of the people i love most in this world, and i love that he is having a child (it's taken a while for him and his wife), and i know he'll be the world's greatest dad. i'm excited to see him as a parent. and i'm around kids so much... i'm really pumped to be around someone that is in some way part of me, part of my bloodline, not just someone else's kid. it's surreal in some ways, but i am so excited to meet my nephew. i've been praying for him and i can't wait for him to make his entrance into this world.

i guess it makes sense that i haven't known what to write about... those are a lot of things happening at once. i suppose it's hard to adequately process a few life changes all at the same time.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

For Laura

I wasn't really under the impression that anyone still read this, but I was proven wrong the other night, and Laura tells me it's time to update. and she's right.

Normally I try to update much more frequently than I have been, but for some reason, i've had major writer's block regarding this puppy. not that i haven't had a lot on my mind or lots going on, because i have, but i think it's been hard, recently, to process through all that's going on. so we'll see what comes out here.

Recent Snippets

today was a crazy day. CRAZY. and because this is a public forum, i don't feel like it would be right to go into all the details since the craziness involves others. as insane as tonight was, i was humbled and honored that i was able to serve and be with some dear friends during a moment of crisis.

it's hard to articulate all that's been on my mind as of late... no big things, but many small things simmering in my mind and attempting to put words to those things feels trite, so i won't. however, i will share that i'm where i'm supposed to be.

i think it took me about a semester to settle into my niche and my groove of living in the '05. i think i finally feel comfortable, i am finally able to internalize that there are some people here who love me and are very much so family for me. there are many, many moments where i am frustrated and mad, and many others where i know that this is what God has for me right now. and as i think about the future, this whole graduation deal, i realize that i'm pretty sure that God is calling me to stay in lexington after may. i could be very wrong, but it doesn't feel like it's time to leave. i feel like i've just gotten settled here, and that there are many roots to still dig down deep here. i'm starting to figure out what it means to welcome people into my house, to show hospitality. i'm starting to understand the unique things that i bring to the table. i'm re-learning how to see God and how it is He desires for me to live this life and treat other people. i'm learning...

one day, a few weeks back, i was hanging out with laura and jason. we were lamenting about various stresses, but then all of a sudden the tone of our conversation shifted. we started to realize that our life is pretty good. we've got this incredible group of people around us, and we get to be involved in the lives of some pretty colorful people on a regular basis. i eventually said, "you know, our life is really pretty cool at the moment. as stressful as it is, this is a pretty good deal." i eat dinner with other people most nights of the week, i pray and talk about scripture with several different people, i get to laugh a lot, i have the joy of journeying with an incredibly diverse group of folks.

not bad at all.