Today in one of my classes, a fellow classmate posed an interesting challenge: to make a list of the things I can give God praise for. This idea came from Psalm 66, which was the focus of the devotional he was teaching from. So here is my list:
I praise God for Chris, who works so hard to be an amazing husband. God couldn’t have picked a better man for me to spend the rest of my life with.
I praise God for the support of family and friends while I made some difficult decisions regarding my volunteer roles within RPC.
I praise God for this beautiful weather. Only He could make the sky always so beautiful even before a storm.
I praise God for always making ends meet. No matter how tight our finances seem to be, He always gives them a little nudge to make it all work out.
I am grateful for all the work he has done in my life over the last year. My spirituality has grown so much it is hard to believe how far I have really come.
He deserves praise for the change of heart He stirred within me in regard to missions. There is nowhere else I would rather be in July 2011 than Honduras working with Trash Mountain Project.
I praise Him for the people He has placed in my life. Though I still suffer depression and unbearable loneliness, He sends me hope through a few words from a dear friend. The aid may have been temporary, but it was still a strong reminder from my Savior that He loves me.
There are so many things that could make this list. God has blessed me more than I will ever deserve. I couldn’t be more thankful. Thanks for reading.
Please bear with me as my mind attempts to move past the feelings of shock and betrayal. The entire event caught me so off-guard that I am having trouble formulating thoughts and even coherent sentences that normal people can understand. I comprehend the craziness going on, but I doubt you will. It is simply shocking. Unbelievable. Ideal shattering. Let me just set a scenario up for you…
Image a young, naive teenage girl. She is a junior in high school in April 2004 (rough timeframe). Her dear friend Hannah has just introduced her to a new band. She enjoys them so much that as soon as she gets a chance, she purchases their latest album. Amazing! In her adoration, the cd never leaves her car stereo except to go in the house so she can listen to it in her room. The words quickly form in her memory bank and she can hum the songs to herself during study hall. Some might call it infatuation. Others prefer the word “love”. Either way, she is hooked.
Fast forward two years. 2006. This same band releases a new album. This girl can barely contain herself! It’s like Christmas all over again! She once again purchases the album as quickly as she can and does the same routine as before. The cd is near her at all times. The lyrics find their way into her mind and settle. It’s love all over again. It has even inspired blogs years after its release.
Fast forward four years. 2010. This same band once again released a new album. Her emotions stay the same: excited, eagerness, giddiness even. She obtains the album the day she discovers its existence. This album is a little different. The music darker, heavier, and even a little creepier. She tells herself that it’s not terrible and keeps listening…wait a second. What did he just sing?
Let me quote him for you: “Religion needs a new employer. I’ve got the rope to hang your Jesus even higher”. WAIT! WHAT????? I feel like I need to go to confession just for retyping those words and I’m not even Catholic. I have always understood that Lostprophets were not a Christian band, and until now, that was never a problem. Now we have a problem. I feel betrayed by a band that I loved. What made them so anti-Christian? What happened to make them bash the Jesus I love so much? It all makes me sick to my stomach. It’s not supposed to be like this. If Christianity was all it should be, people wouldn’t want to sing such things. I still don’t have the words to express how much this kills my heart and how much I wish it wasn’t so.
At this point in time, I will only listen to their old music. Their new music doesn’t exist to me anymore. If I have to chose between them and my Jesus, the latter will win every time. I don’t mean to sound preachy or insanely Christian, but it’s the truth. Now, like any shocking breakup between a music lover and her favorite band, I’m going to drown the whole situation in some ice cream and be done with it.
So I stole the title of a Rob Bell sermon. I don’t think he’ll mind. If he speaks up and says he does, then I will change it. Fair? Good.
Today has been a day that pulls on my spiritual heartstrings. Today’s WU chapel was dedicated to the upcoming mission trip to Haiti during Spring Break 2011. The pictures, the suffering, the lack of hope within the people of Haiti breaks my heart. Well, let me rephrase that. As someone who has never seen real suffering in person and has never been on a mission trip outside the USA, or inside it for that matter, my heart broke. It didn’t break the way it should. I felt sympathy and guilt at my comfortable lifestyle while these people have to stand in the rain to try and sleep because otherwise they will be covered in water. I was able to still walk out of chapel without a tear, without a desperate desire to do something. I think there’s a problem with that…a problem with my heart.
That being said, let me give you a little extra background. God has been working in my heart over the last year. A year ago, I would have blatantly told you that missions is not something God has called me to do so don’t even ask. Since then, he’s warmed that stone of a heart in this area. Before, I thought there is plenty that needs to be done here; I don’t need to go around the world to help people. I also had trouble defining the difference between a full-time calling to missions and the week or two a year mission trips. Since last year, I have actually welcomed the idea of a mission trip, and have truly considered joining the mission trip this summer with RPC to Honduras with Trash Mountain Project to build homes. This transformation is all God. Our Christian duty is to reach out to those who need our help, whether in our nation’s borders or out of them. I’m tired of not helping. I’m tired of standing on the sidelines because I don’t know where to start helping. I’m done talking. I’m done thinking. There’s a time for action. There’s an opportunity I can seize. “God is bigger than the boogie man. He’s bigger than Godzilla or the monsters on TV.” (Thanks, Veggie Tales!). If he’s so big, then I might as well start trusting him to take care of me so I can go take care of others.
All of these thoughts hit home tonight as I was walking the dog and enjoying the beautiful weather. I popped in my headphones and started listening to the Switchfoot song “Yet”. I didn’t pay too much attention until the bridge part of the song came on. It hit home awfully quick. I will leave you with those few lines to taste, chew, and devour. Enjoy.
“If it doesn’t break
If it doesn’t break
If it doesn’t break
If it doesn’t break your heart, it isn’t love
If it doesn’t break your heart, it’s not enough
It’s when your breaking down, with all your insides coming out
That’s when you find what your heart is made of”
And so, dear reader, I ask you: what is your heart made of?
This is not a major decision. In the grand scheme of life, it is actually quite miniscule. Nevertheless, I dedicate hours of precious time every few months in order make sure I am properly informed. I know it seems silly, but I really can’t help it.
Oh right! What is it that I am deciding upon? My hair. Yes, feel free to laugh at me all you want to. I have my reasons, and yes, I’m going to tell you what they are whether you want to hear them or not. So there.
Why is this such a pivotal decision for me? My dream job is to be a cosmetologist. For those who don’t know what that means, I want to be a hairdresser. I want to color, cut, perm, etc. all different types of hair in order to make people feel gorgeous, even if I can only make it happen for a few hours. That being said, I place a lot of time and energy into my own hair-related decisions because I attempt to try new things, while at the same time, trying things that fit my complexion and the shape of my face (it’s more on the rounded side so I try not to make it look pudgy).
Also, I am a perfectionist. It is sad, but true. I try to push this quality into the background but it proceeds to have a commanding lead role in my life. I might as well begin to embrace it.
With all of this said, I’m in a pickle as to what to do next. I run into the same dilemma every time – do I cut my hair several inches or do I just have it trimmed and let it grow? As it gets longer, I usually wide up just throwing it up in a ponytail which seems like such a waste. At the same time, I think long hair just looks so pretty on women. Highlights and lowlights are usually a given. I’m thinking blonde highlights, with some dark brown or dark auburn lowlights. I’m not quite sure.
So there it is. If you have suggestions or advice, I’m open to either. I just felt like sharing something light with you today.