Monday, November 23, 2009

Of The End Of The Lesson

There's that saying: what you find annoying in others is often found in you.
Or something along those lines.

I feel like the walking lesson of that saying. Especially lately, when I've found myself frustrated or annoyed with a specific habit, God seems to just remind me of when I do that thing myself.
(Those are the moments when I want to say- "Really, God?" and then I look down and laugh, so grateful that He has a sense of humor)

Just this evening, I've been mulling over my future. What it might be. Where I might go.
I can't deny that missions will probably be in my future.
It always comes up.
The thought of going out on the field again gets me so excited.

And then I'm not excited.

Without dragging my past out again and boring with the details, let's just say that the past trip I was on was very hard. Lot's of ups and downs. Decisions I wish I could change. Things I wish I could take back.

(This also brings my "live without regrets" mantra into the picture... but I'll deal with it in another time, another place)

"Do you feel like you can't be a missionary again?"
This question was asked by a family member. I was surprised when they asked, more surprised when I realized that my answer was "yes."

There is a part of me that feels like I can't be a missionary again.
Most of that is due to some lingering guilt, frustration, shame, fear.
I think that I am afraid that no missionary is better than a missionary that might mess up, that isn't perfect.

But I know that isn't true. I KNOW that isn't true.
Why can't I shake this fear of trying then?
(I promise, the beginning part of this entry will make sense)

You see, I've always been an advocate of letting your past be in your past.
There's nothing you can do about it except for learn and move on.
And the best part, allow God to use those epic, horrible mess-ups to help someone else. To connect. To show His redeeming love.

I've run across a couple of people in my life who had a hard time leaving their past behind them. It felt like they were constantly carrying this cross around on their back, doing penance for whatever sin they had committed.

I'm trying to think of the simplest, most straight forward way to explain what I told them.
Fine, I'll just try.

By constantly beating themselves down, defining themselves by their sin and not letting go of it, it was as if they were saying that they couldn't be saved. They couldn't be forgiven. Their sin was THAT bad (in their eyes).
Which meant that they didn't see God's grace as enough for them.
God wasn't enough for them.
Only they could save themselves. Obviously they were much more righteous than everyone else in the world since THEIR sin couldn't be forgiven.

(I said it a little nicer than that)
But do you see what I mean?
I'm not saying that everyone who has some horrible sin that is hard to let go of has a huge pride issue or something. It's when we don't feel like God is the ultimate authority.
He is what matters.
No one else.

So looping back to the beginning, I realized today that someone could say the same thing that I've said: Who am I to decide whether or not I am forgiven? (basically)

I've been told my sin is as far as the east is from the west.
That's eternity.

{Now does this mean my sin and decisions don't have consequences? Not at all.}

But it does mean that I don't have to live my life in fear of humans and what they think of me.

Because in the end, this is all going away.
In the end, there is a new beginning.

{And now that I've "finished" this lesson, I can start on the next}

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Of A Correct Response...

I started writing this blog and then had to erase it because I quickly figured out that what I was venting about, what I was looking for the right response to --- well, I was somewhat starting to act the same way.
I just hope that everyone realizes that everyone has "off" days.

We just need to give each other grace.

I know it's easy for me to run back to how I used to handle conflict --- I'm NOT good at handling it. I usually don't approach it at all. So for me, maybe that means I do handle it and deal with it.

BUT --- no matter how we handle tough situations, we really need to just give each other a break.

That's my two cents today. Maybe they're somewhat jumbled and don't flow. But it is what it is. Grace.

Above all, love.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Of No More Wasted Emotions

I think I've finally come to a place where I can look and say "No."
No more. No more frustration over you and what you won't do.
{Interesting that this came close to my other blog, about forgiving myself. I guess healing and self analysis come hand-in-hand.}
While talking a situation over with a friend, this wise person told me that "he is not worth the time and energy that I was giving him." She was right.
Why do we let ourselves get wrapped up in one thing? As girls, I think it's easy to latch onto a guy, thinking that he's our last chance. There won't be another one.
It's not true.
I like to watch TV shows {crime shows are my favorite} and there was one episode of a show, I don't remember what, where a woman is agonizing over the thought of having lost her one chance at love. That it wouldn't come around agian.
Her friend pointed out that love comes around all the time.
And, as the case usually is, it always hits us when we're least expecting it.
For me, it usually hits when I least want it.
Not neccessarily "love," but that one person steps into your life and, for that time, you wonder how you ever fully lived without them.

I think it's easy to get wrapped up in what once was or what could be. There have been so many times that I've looked a guy and thought "it could never get better than this. I will never find anyone who gets me like this again."

I grew up believing in soul-mates.
Now, I think that, if two people love each other enough, they will make it work out. They will stay together no matter what.

I guess what I'm saying- no more wasted energy and emotion on what once was or what could be.
It's life. We just have to live.
Our hand in our Father's. Ultimately, it's His love that matters anyway.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Of Forgiving Myself

There has to be a time when you just let things go- when you leave them in the past, where they belong.
When is the right time? Is it something that someone else has to tell you? Or something you figure out yourself?
I never know what the correct "grieving" or "punishment" time should be. Y'know, that time after you do something and have to ask God's forgiveness, other's forgiveness, and, ultimately, forgive yourself.
I always get caught on that last one.
I have the hardest time forgiving myself.
Not to put any blame on others- but it doesn't help when I'm working on forgiving myself, placing the situation in my past, and someone brings it up again. Throws it in my face.
Doesn't help at all.

I've learned from past experiences that time really helps with wounds. There are situations I'm able to look at or talk about now (even with a little humor), that at the time, I thought it was the end of the world.
Only time will tell if I've really forgiven myself.
I know God has forgiven me- I've never doubted that.
A story I like (forgot where I heard it) is of a priest who commited a sin when he was younger (who hasn't?) He continually confesses it but never forgets it. Never feels forgiven. A women in her congregation comes to him one day, claiming she talks to God. And He talks back. The priest told her, if that was so, to ask God what was the sin that the priest commited when he was younger. The woman left and a few days later, she came back. He asked if she had talked to God- she responded "yes". He then asked if God told her what his sin was. She said she did. God's response to her question?
"I don't remember."
I know that is God's true response. Who knows if the story is true or not. The "moral" of the story is true. God doesn't have a book that he's keeping a list of our sins in. He's forgets them. Never to be thought of again.

I'm gonna skip over talking about people forgiving each other- we're all human and fall short of what God had imagined for us.

As for myself- I think I've beaten myself up enough. I have the love of my family and close friends. I've been forgiven by the Almighty God. I have to do this at some point...
I think I'm ready to let go of this situation. Leave it alone.
Time to move on.

Friday, August 21, 2009

In The Dark

I sometimes feel like I'm simply wandering around in a forest, at night, only darkness around me. I don't know if I'm going to walk into a tree, possibly step on some wild animal's tail or if I'm just walking right next to a steep cliff.
The darkness doesn't usually scare me. I have to have complete darkness to fall asleep.
However, there are those times, when I'm in the darkness and I wonder, what else is out there. What could I encounter?
It doesn't help that so many horror stories take place in the dark, the sociopath hiding behind the rock, waiting to pounce.

But, the dark also causes me to notice things I wouldn't notice in the light. Like the stars or the crickets singing.
{I met a guy once and, after I had made a comment about the crickets being really loud, he stated that he liked it. That it was their way of singing to and praising God. I have thought differently of crickets ever since.}
Sometimes the darkness simply causes me to slow down, to really think about the next step and what my surroundings are.

So, as I stumble in the darkness, I hope that I make the right steps. And I know the morning will come.
It always does.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Of A Man I Can Understand

Okay, so I'm sure the title makes it sound like I'm looking for a relationship.
That is not the case.
However, I am looking for a man who will be consistant. Is that so hard to find? A man who I can actually understand 100% of the time, that doesn't make me want to scream or pull out my hair or join a convent?

Let me explain:
I've constantly been told by men and women alike- take men at their word. If they say they're not interested, THEY'RE NOT INTERESTED. After finally "getting" it, a little into college, I decided to just take guys at their word. If they want something, they'll go for it. If they don't, they won't. Easy enough right?
I thought I figured it out- y'know, women read into everything while men just say what they mean.
#1- So not true. There's always that one emotional guy who will say what you want to hear or will say what he wants to hear.
#2- Men are not the best communicators. I know that everyone knows this, but if you really think about it, as women, we are trusting men on their ability to communicate what they want. But they're horrible at communication... but that's how we're supposed to understand them... anyone else confused?

I saw the movie "He's Just Not That Into You" awhile ago and loved it. It was perfect in how it showed how women work vs. how men work.
But, I think it also showed my main frustration with the whole situation with guys. Hold on for a second while I try to explain-

So guys tell us to just take them at their word.
But we've also been told our WHOLE lives that actions speak louder than words.
SO- the situation becomes really frustrating when:
A guy doesn't express any romantic interest in a girl, telling her that he likes her or wants to get to know her better
he's constantly flirting with her and even her friends say that there's a spark and he pays special attention to her.
Well, what's a girl to do?

I've come to the decision for myself- the men say they want to be taken at their word? Fine. I will. However, they better not have a problem if I start to express interest somewhere else.

{I'm not saying that women aren't confusing as well- we can be just as guilty as the men. This is simply something I've been mulling over}

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Of Being Wise With Money

As I've reaclimated to the United States, I've realized how much our world and relationships revolve around money. Not in the sense that my friends only care about money or that if I wasn't rich they wouldn't be my friends--- just that so many of our "hang out" activities require spending money: going out to eat, going to an amusement park, shopping, going to see a movie. Obviosly, as good friends, you're fine with hanging out anywhere, even just a home. But after a while, you usually want to "switch things up." So, here are some ideas I've found online that are free (as well as some of my own ideas thrown in)-
*work on your art- photography, painting, sketching... finger painting*
*go for a walk*
*go swimming*
*sewing or knitting or crocheting*
*look in your pantry and whip up a meal from only the food you already have*
*read that book you've always said you were going to read*
*go through your clothes, give away to charity anything that doesn't fit or you have worn in a year, if not 6 months*
*look up activities in your own town that are free- check out the newspaper*
*some museums are free, others have special days- in Denver, CO, the first Saturday of every month at the art musuem, the DAM, is free for CO residents*

{If someone genuinly offers to pay for a meal or an activity, it's okay to take them up on their offer. But don't let it become a habit (there is a time to say "no"). If you happen to come into some money, reciprocate by paying for them at some point}

Also, since usually the problem is spending the money too fast or in the wrong places, figure out what you actually want to do and spend money on. If you really like going shopping but for some reason you're spending all your money on the movies... cut back. Alot of people are addicted to Starbucks (myself included- working on it) and if Starbucks is taking all your money, then there's less money to go out for drinks with your friends or to go see Transformers 2... Or even, if there's a trip you want to go on (me again) you have to save for it. So that means cutting back on things NOW for something in the future.

Just figure out where you think your money would be spent the best. Maybe make a budget at first until it becomes easier. And find cheap ways to be entertained so that overall, you save money...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Of Sleep Before Midnight...

The last 2 nights I have stayed awake past midnight. Now, a year ago, that would have been nothing. But during my trip to Nicaragua, my night owl-ness was hindered by a curfew and so therefore I turned into an old person, going to bed at 9 or at the latest 10.
And now I've shocked my body and mind with keeping it awake later than it's used to.
I know that I can train my body to handle late nights again. Just right now, I know that I need sleep. I have been pushing myself physically and emotionally the past two days and my body needs a rest. I'm actually in my bed as I type this, ready to head off to slumber land as soon as I finish this blog.
I flew back to Colorado today.
I wish I could describe how I'm feeling (I guess I'll try)-
Out of Whack
{I know, lot's of random and not similar feelings...}
With all those feelings flying around, I know I'm going to have to let myself fully rest... but tomorrow I turn 21! So maybe I'll fully rest after I celebrate my birthday--- you can't just ignore the 21st birthday late night out rule. But as for tonight, I'm telling myself to go to bed... Maybe if I get off now, I'll actually be asleep before midnight.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Of A Mattress

One thing I can say: I didn't miss too many things about the States. I mean besides the obvious things (family, friends).
I did miss my cellphone. I've already decided that the next time I decide to leave on a long trip I'm either buying a cellphone at the place where I end up or simply get a universal cellphone.
Alot of people missed hot showers. Okay, granted in a cold place, I would definitely miss hot showers too. But in Granada, where it was over 85 degrees usually each day, a hot shower would not have been soothing- it simply would have added to the heat.
The main thing that I missed (the main comfort) was a real mattress. I've always loved having a comfortable bed. Your bed is where you go to relax, wind down and recharge for the next day. It's not that our beds down in Granada were horrible; they were alot better than they could have been. But to sleep on a real mattress... that's my idea of pure luxury right now.
And so, I'm at the hotel in Atlanta right now... I've been up since 2:45 this morning (MT time) and it's now almost 11.
And next to me is a king size bed of pure luxury.
{Fact: we have the AC going full blast so as to feel even more inclined to burrow in the huge beds for comfort...}
I'm going to sleep amazingly well tonight...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Of A Way To Say Goodbye

I have to leave this country in two days.
I have to say goodbye. But I don't want to.
How can you say goodbye to something that has taken so much of your heart? I've grown to love so many people down here and I've fallen in love with Granada as a whole.
But, I have to leave. I can't stay- you might ask why? Well, since I'm still on my trip, my teammates and I are all going back to the states at the same time. I can't change that.
Some of my friends down here have "offered" to steal my passport and destroy it so that I can't leave...
I'm going to miss them all alot.
And so now I come to the place of having to say goodbye. But I don't want to say goodbye. "Goodbye" has such finality to it.
I know I will be coming back to Granada. When, for how long, and why? I have no idea. But I know this isn't the end. So why act like it is?
I was thinking of just saying "Hasta luego" (see you later)
My mom (a military wife for much of her married life) told me she says "I'll see you as soon as I can see you"
I could also say "Hasta pronto" (see you soon)
Some other ways to say goodbye:
auf wiedersehen - german
salam - arabic
veloma - malagasy
tot ziens - dutch
{I got these from so I hope they're right}
I really don't know what I'm going to say. I might just end up hugging each person, not wanting to let go... and then finally looking at them and saying "well this was fun..."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Of Relief

The water in Costa Rica is warmer than most places which makes it amazing to be in- but not too warm that you can't cool off in it. However, me being my brilliant self, forgot about the water yesterday. I went to the beach with Jenn and Jess in the morning; while they headed off to frolic about in the water, I put my Ipod on and simply laid in the sun.
For almost 2 hours.
With practically no sunscreen on my body.
Don't ask me what I was thinking.

{One of the things I really hate about sunburns is the fact that they don't always show up right away. As for me, I didn't see that I was burned until I went back out on the beach during the afternoon. I was walking and I heard "Oh no" from Heather... She was admiring my lovely red back and legs}

So now, even though we have another full day in Costa Rica to enjoy the sun, I am hanging out at the hostel, Pura Vida. (It's a great hostel- TV, free Wi-fi, real showers with water pressure, about a 10 minute easy walk from the beach AND free coffee all day long... what else could you want?) But even though it's a great hostel, it's not like I want to spend a perfectly good beach day at it. 
Last night was pretty miserable. It is hot down here and I already have a hard time sleeping when I'm hot--- well add a sunburn on top of that plus bug bites and it's basically impossible to get comfortable. And, when I woke up this morning, I felt my sunburn more than I did yesterday.
I know, it was my fault in the first place for being stupid and not putting on sunscreen. But, I am still looking for the best way to feel relief. I think someone of my team has aloe vera type cream... maybe I'll ask to borrow that...
Or just go stand under the cool shower for an hour...