Here Now. Alone in a Crowd. Airport Ramblings.

Wait.
Seats.
Heart drownin in the beats.
Quiet.
Chairs.
People and subtle glares.
Lost.
Found.
World goes ‘round and ‘round.
Aches.
Joy.
Cute girl, handsome boy.
Spirits.
Souls.
Out of your control.
Walk.
Kicks.
Still in the mix.
Thoughts.
Alone.
Writing on my phone.
Melodies.
Emotion.
Caught in the Ocean.
Loneliness.
Love.
Like a wingless dove.
Wait.
Seats.
Heart drownin in the beats.

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Looky Looky! Read Your Booky!

‘Ello!

I haven’t written anything in a while, so I feel like there’s a lot buzzin’ inside ready to be spilled out onto this awesome medium of self expression. Haha.

For the past few months I’ve been diving deep into the Bible and I’ve been discovering some awesome things. It’s been rocking my world. After deciding to step down from leading worship for a while, I’ve been able to really buckle down and wrestle with/ask deep questions about my Christian life and all that I’ve known, seen, and experienced. I went out to Bethel Redding in Cali, felt even more of something stirring inside of me, came back, and during Christmas time I gained a revelation from the Christmas story in Luke 2 that led me to study even further into the truths in the Bible. It wasn’t anything that I forced or tried to seek out. Honestly, I didn’t even know how to help myself. It was very spontaneous and exciting. God showed me… and the more I read and looked the more revelation I gained and I couldn’t stop. It’s been quite a journey since then. I’ll go more into detail soon.

What amazes me is that I’ve come all this way… I’m 25 years old, turning 26 in 3 months, been a Christian for most of my life, and I am NOW just finally seeing things that I should have been taught at the beginning. I wonder how many Christians actually know what they believe, why they believe it, why they do what they do, etc. I am seeing more than ever how important it is to have good theology. Did you know everyone is a theologian? Everyone.

No, we might not be all like scholarly and super smart, having multiple P.H.D.s and using big words, sitting with bifocals,and digging into essays and commentaries and all the like, but everyone believes something about God. And we don’t have to be like what I described to have good theology and know the truth. Now, more than ever, I am seeing how important it really is to study! So many Christians go on believing whatever is given to them. Church tradition, experience, and the big shots who write books and devotions are what feeds the masses. We have the GREATEST privilege to have the Bible to look and read and discover what it says for ourselves!

I’m not discrediting history or experience or the big shots… we all can learn SO much from everything and everyone, but it seems we spend more time reading and listening to everything and everyone else, instead of getting into it and studying for ourselves. We have an ocean of free resources and tools! It’s amazing! I’ve been guilty of it, too. It’s not really the most horrible thing that we trust our church leaders, we trust people who have studied and written books, we trust church tradition, especially if it’s been around forever and respected by many, but what if there’s more? What if there’s more even beyond what you might have experienced? Couldn’t it be possible that what you’ve experienced or parts of it has been outside of the truth?

Haven’t you questioned some things? Haven’t you wondered what that passage in the Bible REALLY means? Haven’t you wondered if what has been taught is right? Haven’t you wondered why you do x and y and z and still feel like something is missing? Haven’t you wondered why you do what you do in Church and as a Christian? Haven’t you wondered why you don’t seem to do and be all that you see in the Bible? Haven’t you wondered where the joy and love is? What is the Gospel? And if it’s such good news then why have I hardly felt compelled to share it?

It’s amazing how we just take and swallow and agree because it makes sense to us, and everyone else seems to agree. And just because you can spout off a passage of Scripture to back up whatever was said, it doesn’t even mean anything. Some might feel it is disrespectful to question things that have been solid… or rather, seems solid. But I don’t. Life is short. I would like to live it fully, and know why I am doing what I’m doing and why I believe what I believe. Gone are the days where I just take what someone says, or take how a Bible passage has been interpreted without really looking at it myself for I am learning that good theology is important. It affects the whole of your life. It’s not just perspective or opinion or preference. There IS truth.

I don’t know everything and I’m not a pro at Bible study, but I think I’m smart enough to look and see and try and learn it. I think everyone should open themselves up to really dig deep into the Bible and look at it with fresh eyes, ready to learn something… possibly even outside of your current theological stance or church background. We study to learn the truth, not to gain points for being a good Christian. A good place to start is instead of reading out a devotional, do one yourself. Let’s be Christians who know what we believe and why we believe it, and not just because someone told us or because it’s church tradition. I’m not saying throw all of that out. I’m just sayin’ let’s learn to think for ourselves, too. And then let’s really praise God for who He REALLY is and live our lives as we were meant to live it – totally wacked out by His love.

Wackawackawacka.

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Blurb on Cali, Community, and Real Joy

Wooo… Bomb diggity. Wuuuddduup?!

So it’s a New Year! Yaaayy. Another year over and a brand new one to start. It’s crazy to think that I’ve been in Jackson for like 3 years. Haha.

Anyway, I’d have to say that the year was full of awesomeness and great experiences full of worship leading, meeting new people, traveling, growing… man. The Father’s House, West Virginia, ministry trips, Georgian Banov in Jackson, being on stage with Justin Rizzo, Jesus Culture Awakening in Chicago, hanging with the Paughs, God speaking in deep places, learning how to rest, to pace myself, what faith really means… love and peace. ToNS of good stuff. There’s so much I can’t even begin to tell all of it!

I have to say that the year wrapped up for me with an awesome trip to California that set up such a great momentum for me going into the New Year. For a week and a half, Leann and I were in California being transformed and poured into in ways I can’t even begin to explain. We visited Gloria and hung out with her near LA, met some friends, traveled up north to San Jose, sat in on a living room session with David Hogan, met some more friends, pranced around on the streets singing Christmas and worship songs, prayed/sang over strangers, traveled even further North to Redding where we hung out in a house full of the awesomest guys in the world! We visited Bethel Church, went treasure hunting, hung out in the prayer house, got ministered to, ministered, listened to great music, worshipped, laughed, relaxed, and just hung out. It was such a good time for my heart. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention that we finally ate In-N-Out and Pink’s Hot Dogs! So good. I have yet to fully edit and finish my video documentation of the trip. Stay tuned for that!

All that to say, it’s been a good year, and a great way to finish off 2011 for me. December 2011 will be one that I will never forget. I just KNEW it was a God opportunity  when it came and it proved to be true.

Here, I’d like to just share some thoughts of my experience and where I am now.

I feel like a totally different person. Maybe not different as in someone else, but maybe more like the real me.

It’s kind of weird to say, but it’s true. There was no big conference, no big shot speakers at center stage, no big prayer line, no big ministry time, a church packed with hyped up people and rockin’ music. I did get ministered to, I did get to worship to great music, I did get prayed for, was provoked and wanted to learn, but it was all majorly in the context of community. It was the people I was surrounded by and was living life with for a short period of time. They were my community for a week and half. It was such a natural and uplifting kind of environment where God was not a side thought, but on the forefront of everyone’s minds and hearts. We were passionate, loving, kind, encouraging, but genuine, hungry for truth, hungry to live it out in the everyday, exploring God and the reality of the Kingdom, and ready to see God’s goodness explode in every and any given moment. It was experiencing this community that rocked me. People who weren’t afraid to be who they were, weren’t afraid to be themselves, weren’t afraid to look like fools for the sake of the Kingdom, truly believed in God and the truth of who He is and wanted to live it out to the fullest. People who were willing to throw themselves out there, who weren’t ashamed of what they believed, weren’t ashamed to love complete strangers, welcome them, hug and kiss on them. People who were free to laugh. To me, it felt like I just walked in on a family and was immediately welcomed as part of it. I realized how much power there was in just that. And it wasn’t forced, wasn’t SO intentional that it felt uncomfortable or unnatural, but it just flowed from who these people were. I’m sure they have their faults, I have mine, and I know that getting to know people for a week and half isn’t much, but there was such a love, and a connection on the spirit level because we are after the same thing. It was just plain amazing. And I’m not saying that they had it all down perfect, and I don’t want to make it sound like it we all became completely tight and got to know every deep and dark secret, but I saw a glimpse of what could truly transform people, a home, a neighborhood, a town, a city… And it was just something that I’ve never seen or experienced personally on that level.

In that kind of environment, I began to experience the joy and freedom in being myself, and in being part of them, in knowing that wherever I am, even if I never see them again, that we are on the same team, going after the same things. It brought joy. It brings joy. And I think I can understand when it says in the Bible about joy being made complete in that way.

Since being back, I’ve noticed a more lasting and permanent change inside of me. I know it hasn’t been that long, and I know it could be too soon to say, but I feel this thing in me, like something got unlocked and it can never be closed up again. Honestly, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I feel more joy, more confidence, more love, more free, more alive, more me… and not a whole lot has changed as far as circumstances around me go. Actually, nothing has changed outside of me. I think that’s a good sign of growth.

I know I’ve attributed a lot of goodness to being in California, but the truth is, it wasn’t just this trip that did all this. I knew before going that everything that I was going through and praying about would somehow lead me to experience what I did in Cali. It was, in essence, kind of like the cherry on the top that sealed it all together and completed the package. Cali just showed me things, answered questions, reaffirmed my heart, encouraged me, and sent me back feeling great. God was with me before, was with me while I was there, and used everything before and after to bring me to where I am now. And I am thankful for it.

The cool thing is the goodness hasn’t stopped. Currently, I am being rocked. So much to the fact that I don’t even know what to do with it. I feel like I’m going to explode. I hope to write about it in the future, but today I have no words. I’m not even sure how I will express them at this point, but I have a feeling it will be very bold, and very different than how I’ve written before. What’s going on? I am rediscovering The Gospel. It all started on Christmas Eve Eve. (It’s not a typo… lol). I read the Christmas story (which I either read or hear every year), but this year it was like I’ve never read it before. It filled me with JOY. Real JOY. Who want’s REAL JOY?? *HIGH FIVE!* I’ve never felt such joy like this before. I can’t explain it.

I hope to try, though. Soon. All I can say is that I think the Gospel is the key to real, deep, consistent, unspeakable, unchanging joy.

Side note:

  • I tweet and gram like crazy (yeah, twitter and instagram!!) Follow me! @vickihong it’s so addicting, but it’s kind of genius in my opinion….

I will leave you with this. Check out John Mark McMillan. This song makes me happy.

John Mark McMillan – Murdered Son

You set us up above all the stars
You set us on a high place by where you are
While we were dead you made us your friends
And scattered our debt upon the wind

Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Once from the dust, once from the grave
Daughters and sons from the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults even from your own face
And scattered our debt upon the waves

Glory to one
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection

Glory to the one who
Who overcame in death
Glory to the one
Who paid for my offenses
Glory to the one

Once from the dust
Once from the grave
Daughters and sons
From the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults
Even from your own face

And scattered our debt upon the waves
And scattered our debt upon the waves

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Christmas Time Ramblings by a Lovesick Dreamer

Currently sitting at home, sweats and slippers on, Christmas music playing, type typity.

I think I’m done with my summer blog series… for now. Haha. I don’t think I officially ended it or anything, but I think it ended on a good enough note. I did have a few more things I wanted to talk about, but I think it would have turned into more of a sermon blog. I’m in the mood to blog and I’m not in the mood to get all serious and preachy.

SO … I’m just gonna ramble. Because I want to. I have no plan. What comes out, is going to come out. Here it goes.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE CHRISTMAS TIME!!

And I think it is sooo appropriate to blog this on the first day of December. I’m so cool.

There’s something about winter that makes me grow warmer on the inside. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. Especially when the snow comes, everything is just so white, blanketed, and beautiful. You just wanna snuggle and sit by the fire, drink hot chocolate, and listen to good music, or read a good book. It’s the perfect time. Lights everywhere. Happy music everywhere… even if some are just plain ridiculous they bring smiles. There’s joy and love in the air. I look at my family and friends a little differently… I feel warm and fuzzy, I appreciate them, I wanna just love on ‘em and I want to show them how thankful I am. I remember how blessed I am… because it’s not necessarily a lovely, warm season for everybody.

Unfortunately, there is only one downside to winter and the Christmas season. It’s that it makes me 20 times more of a goner in my hopeless romanticitis. Haha. (I just made that up… I made it sound like a disease! Didja get it?!) So yup. I admit it. I am a hopeless romantic sometimes. And since winter to me is such a romantic time of year, I just ooze… and I don’t think it’s just me. Recently, every conversation has been about finding someone and being in a relationship, both with friends and family. I don’t know if this is something that has happened every year, but I am definitely noticing it this year. Not that there is much I can do about it.

Haha… but I’m just kidding. Not about being a hopeless romantic this time of year, but about it being unfortunate. While I do become all googly-eyed, I don’t feel like a loser. I’m happy. And I am SO thankful. Deep, deep, thankfulness has just welled up in my heart this week. I am so thankful for my life. Thank for my friends. Thankful that my roommate is my friend. Thankful for my family. Thankful that I get to work a job that is about helping the less fortunate. Thankful that I get to bring smiles to people who have every reason to be angry and upset and have no hope. Thankful that my health is well and my heart that is full. Thankful that I can do what I love without limit, even if it’s just in my room for now. It’s pure and raw. Thankful that I have the luxury to dream… Dream about my future, my life. That it’s not just about how I’ll survive tomorrow or if I’ll eat. Thankful that I can feel really good about dreaming of sharing my heart and life with someone whom I will love and share my life with because I’ve been fighting to keep what the world so easily sees as worthless and throws away. I have good dreams, and much goodness to look forward to. So I am not worried.

This is a good time for a transition.

I’m not gonna lie, I have been worrisome…. About my future, my destiny, my dreams. My dreams have felt so HUGE to me the past couple months. SO HUGE. Like. IMPOSSIBLE. I’ve felt that way before, but lately, I’m like… absolutely at a loss. Haha. In reality they’ve always been impossible. But they just seem even bigger to me now because I am realizing I have have NO control and strength, talent, knowledge, resources, to make ANYTHING happen whatsoever. And sometimes I don’t even know exactly what it is I want. I think I know and I think I’m ready for whatever I picture, but then I feel in my heart, I don’t even know what it is I’m asking for. I just think I know. We are so limited. We don’t even know fully what we’re capable of. We think our biggest dreams are going to be our greatest achievement. And THAT in our eyes is HUGE and like the greatest thing ever. We don’t know fully who we are, what we’re capable of, what we’re REALLY destined for. I think God gives us dreams that kind of urge us on and point us in the right direction, but we have NO idea really what He has in store for us. I think that’s why it says in the Bible that He exceeds and goes above and beyond all we ask or imagine. There is so much more for us than what we are even able to dream up. And it’s ALL impossible.

It’s been nice to be reminded that it’s a journey. If you don’t embrace and enjoy the journey, you’re missing out on the beauty of your life in the moment! God has a lot for the future, but He has lot for us now, too. He exceeds everything we could ever dream for ourselves and it’ll be awesome, but that also means the way and the road that gets us there will be just as unexpected and full of adventure that we won’t always be able to make sense of.

Trust. Yup. Love. Yup.

We gotto remember that He loves us. That He is good. And trust that He has a plan for us. A good plan. That even today is a part of that plan. Even if it doesn’t seem good to you.

We just give ourselves waaaaayyyyy too much credit for our lives. We are just not that awesome.

So yeah. Even though I dream and it seems impossible, it isn’t mine so I don’t worry. I trust God is doing His thing. And all I have to do is remain faithful. I do still try to figure things out though, and I need direction, but I know He will guide me and speak when it’s time.

We are always asking for more faith, love, peace, patience, etc… but I am convinced that if we really knew the process of working that into us, we wouldn’t pray for it. Thank God for His grace.

Well, I don’t know if there’s anything more I want to say… Just for the future, I think I want to post more frequently with just random thoughts and expressions, more casual and raw, in the moment type of blogs.

To wrap it up:

  • Chocolate chip cookies sound really good right now.
  • I love it when Oliver wakes up from a nap and wants to sit in my lap while I’m on my laptop. He is so clumsy. He usually ends up either crashing into my desk, or slipping off of it and onto the floor. Yup. That happened like a second ago.
  • A dream was re-awakened tonight: Learning how to be a musher and be a dog-sledder. And living in a warm, cozy cabin for a little while. Alaska it is.
  • I had a sudden urge to jump off a plane today over the ocean with islands in view. No, I’m not insane. I just wanna skydive!! I’ve always wanted to. Just today, I would have done it like 5 times.
  • I REALLY need some shoes. Some new shoes and boots. Please. Somebody. A gift card to a Vans store would suffice!! And maybe one to Target? 😛
  • I feel like I could write a song to anything right now. I hear melodies and words in my head very frequently. They aren’t necessarily all good, but there’s definitely something happening to me. That’s encouraging. I’m not even sure if I even did anything to make it happen. It just started one day. It just showed me that even creating an art isn’t really  something we do on our own… or because we’re awesome.

So speaking of songs. I put up some originals on YouTube. CLICKITY CLICK.

Happy Christmas Tiiime!

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Loved in Sun Rays and Meows

Ollo! This is blog #3 of a very prolonged series. 😀

I know I haven’t written in a while, but I’m back for yet another round. I’m hoping not to make this one too long. It’s already November and I haven’t even finished my story about my summer. Haha… -_-V

I left off talking about stopping and being still, facing yourself, facing some hard things, and finally being able to find peace. And that the things that you face in your heart are the very places that God is speaking and present to reveal Himself… only to be even closer than you imagined possible.

Today, I think I just want to make it very to the point. I want to talk about a truth that was the major heart changer for me this summer. Something that just really hit me deeper. This is where my Summer Love touches REAL love and something of substance, something that can withstand time, weather, any circumstance of life, rather than it just being fleeting emotions, and brief infatuation.

It basically has to do with who God is. Here it is: 

Understanding that God loves me right where I am, as I am.

I think there are times in our lives when we get to a point where we examine what we’ve done, how much we’ve done, gain a sense of accomplishment, or lack thereof, gauge what it means to be in the present, and how to get to the future we desire. We think we have it all figured out. We think we can GET it all figured out. That’s where I was. That’s what I started doing. Reflecting isn’t always bad, but I was I starting to feel crappy about myself because I was measuring the worth of my present by looking at the past, and wondering how to get from here to where I felt I REALLY needed to be. And I only felt I needed to be there so that I could feel some sense of worth and accomplishment with all that has happened in my life. I felt it wasn’t very much. My dreams felt worthless. So I strived for a bit. Panicked. Got discouraged. Lost focus. Did things for the wrong reasons. Etc.

Very often we hear sermons, hear stories and testimonies… we see people doing spectacular things. We get encouraged to do something wonderful for God, to go after your dreams, to make a difference in the world. And while those are very good things, I needed a very different message. I needed to hear that God loved me regardless of whether or not I was doing anything awesome.

God loves you…

Eh.

You can hear that a thousand times and still have it mean not a single thing to you. And that’s what happened. I felt that way. I’ve heard it. Blah Blah.

But my heart cried out.

I didn’t want to hear it from someone else. I wanted to hear HIM say it to me.  “I love you, Vicki.”

Oh, how I need to hear that a millions times a day.

One day, as I was going through my usual day deep in my thoughts and feeling discouraged and worthless, my roommate and I decided to meet for lunch. As we were eating and conversing, I started to complain about some things and question things and expressed how I felt about my life and things that have happened and how I felt about my future. It was the talk of a hopeless person. After listening quite intently, and me feeling a little agitated, conversation died down and she pulled out her iPad. She had an app called procreate (a painting and sketching app) on it and she began to doodle. I watched a picture come to life. A real simple picture.

It turned out to be something like this. Real simple. But I wept.

I didn’t ball my eyes out in the middle of the restaurant or anything, but my tears came from a deep place. It was like a spring welling up out of a dry place because of rain. It was healing and soothing. The truth hit me. I didn’t realize that I had been striving and comparing myself to the lives of other people, or even to my own standards and expectations of where I felt I needed to be on my journey. Even if I did realize it at points, I didn’t know how to stop it. I had been feeling like a failure. And felt like I was continuing to fail because my attempts at doing something or figuring something out wasn’t getting me anywhere. But Leann gave me a simple visual representation of myself as I had been in recent days, and made me realize that there is nothing ugly or shameful about my life. Every moment of my life is beautiful because He gave it to me… including today.

Now that was huge! Radical! Mind-blowing!

We usually have a lot of feelings and thoughts about our past, but what I was wrestling with the now. I felt like I was wasting the present. I felt I needed to be doing something. Not sure what. Just doing something to get somewhere. I kinda felt as if I had missed the mark and was STILL missing it. Somehow in my mind, nothing but hitting the mark gave value to my life and actions. That’s called… performance. Which is not really a loving relationship.

So God was speaking to my heart, “I really love you, here… like this, too.”

Through a simple stick figure drawing He decided to point out what I considered to be the least significant and worthless thing that I was doing with my time and was telling me that He loved me there. A LOT. And what I was doing at the time was… relaxing at home and playing/snuggling with my cats. It meant a lot because I was REALLY enjoying the simple things in life. My cats. Music. The sun. Books. Smiles.

So I guess I will wrap it up now.

There’s an ebb and flow to everything we do in life. We need to learn to trust God in all times and seasons. One isn’t greater than the other, one isn’t more meaningful than the other, one doesn’t give more worth to your life and self than the other. He won’t love us more in one or the other. He never measures to the standard that the world measures, and He never measures to even OUR standard.

I decided a few things from that.

1. I will not change what I know about Him and who I’ve know Him to be, based on what my life looks like at the time.

2. I will not change my heart toward Him based on my fluctuating feelings about myself and shifting perspectives of my life.

3. I will not let any other voice tell me who I am and what I am to do or why I did or should do something.

He loves me. Endlessly. Limitlessly. It will never change.

I want to know this more. I want to live from that place more. So that whether I am hanging out with the homeless, worshipping on my face, eating a sandwich, or scooping out poop out of my cats’ litter box, I can be overtaken by His presence and love, knowing He doesn’t love me more or less than any other moment. Every moment of my life was worth it for Jesus to come and die for me. My value and worth comes from the fact that a great price was paid for me to have breath in my lungs and a fire in my heart, so that I may enter into His presence every moment of my life.

Oh what a glorious kind of love.

Today, He calls you LOVED.
Today, He gives you peace.
Today, He says your life is beautiful.

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The Woo into Stopping and Learning How to Take a Chill Pill

This is BLOG 2 of my series! (Haha I feel so official saying that…)

Alrighty then!

FYI – I don’t know exactly how many there will be. I’m estimating 4 total. So 3 more after this one… or something.

Before I begin I must say that I am so very intensely enjoying Josh Garrels album called Love & War & The Sea in Between. So full of truth and creative yumminess with fresh rhymes and melodies sung over cool beats and instruments. He has a way of expressing truth and spiritual things with a zing and uniqueness thats refreshing and makes my spirit jolt alive because it melted right deep into my soul. Awesome stuff. I think you can download it for free right now until the rest of the year. Go get it! Just do a Google search or something.

So, as I said in my previous blog, I’ve been reflecting on my summer and seeing that it has been a wonderful journey with the Lover of my soul. This is a continuation.

In the next couple of blogs I am hoping to express some things that I learned and things that He spoke to me about. It’s personal. So don’t laugh at me. Or poke fun. Or I’ll suck your blood.

Anyway, I think that’s enough blabber. Moving on.

So… Summer began and I thought to myself, “FINALLY! Sun! Birds! Air! I can just enjoy myself for a little bit and rest!”

As I said in my last post, I’ve had a lot of time that was spent in quiet and alone, with nothing pressing going on, no expectation to fulfill, no ministry trips to go on, no meetings to go to, no performing music or leading anything, no prayer groups, no conferences, etc. Just my usual job working at the Shelter, that is on most days, very secluded in my upstairs tower and quiet. There was a lot of space. Space around me. And come to find out, space inside me. A disconnect within me.

IN those quiet places and moments, I very much enjoyed my time and being alone. I enjoyed myself. I normally love my times alone, but this was different. I felt free to do and be and to pursue whatever thought and daydream I wanted. I didn’t have to ponder with a purpose or daydream with a mission. I was allowed to just ponder for the sake of pondering. I began to see my heart come back. Everything I enjoyed, loved, found value in, everything about me that made me, ME, I got to rediscover.

“Ahh, now this is the life. I so needed this. This is resting…” or so I thought.

[Segway (segue) dance into a teaching moment]

Now… what I just described is a good thing every once in a while. When everything inside of you gets consumed by what you are doing on the outside of you, you start to lose yourself. You forget how to be happy just because the sun is shining and the birds are singing. You forget how to do the things you enjoyed, you forget what it feels like to be inspired, smile, laugh from the heart. And when that happens, you lose sight of the beauty of life. The beauty of your life and the love that sustains it. And when you sense that you are not able to find moments of peace and freedom on the inside of you and feel guilty for straying off the path that the cries of the urgent beckon you to, that’s a good sign you need to back off and take some time for yourself… to be with yourself and to be with God. Because every moment is PRECIOUS. Every thought, every movement of your heart, every part of your being that you can turn toward God and be filled with life and joy is important because when you lose focus on who you are and the delight of God on your life, you are losing your true passion, identity, and purpose. So you need times of doing what you want to do just for the sake of doing it. For enjoyment. Simply because it’s who you are and how God created you.

But all of that to say… while this was good in finding myself coming alive and enjoying this time, it was not resting. It was only the teeny beginning of the journey into what it really means to rest. I thought that I was enjoying myself because I WAS finally able to rest. The pressures on the outside lessened and I thought I finally entered into freedom and real rest. I felt freer, but it wasn’t everything.

I would say, however, that it was the candy, flowers, a breath of fresh air, fun, giggles, wooing, singing, laughing, portion of the “Summer Love” relationship. Running hand in hand, hearts in our eyes like you see in cartoons, grinning ear to ear and having eyes for only them. I began to see the world differently. I started seeing myself again in a new light, see Jesus in a new light. It was like meeting Him for the first time. Meeting myself for the first time because I realized He liked me. So I started liking me more. It was fun and exhilarating. It felt fresh and unstoppable.

But then…

[Cue dramatic music] *dun dun dun*

… during the middle of the night…

Haha. Jk.

Let’s just say, after a while, I felt I was good. I felt that was enough “vacationing” and “resting” and that it was time to really buckle down and figure things out. Figure out my goals, my dreams, my next steps, my future, my life. That’s … a lot.

(Now this might sound like repetition from my last blog, but bare with me…)

With this very smart ambition to figure and sort out my life in a week resulted in a greatly overwhelmed and heavy heart. As you can imagine. But that wasn’t all of it. With this continued space, time, and now a freshly added teaspoon of anxiety, I was knocked completely off my feet.

The real questions, the doubts, the fears, the disappointments, shame… came to the surface. Or rather, I was kinda “tricked” into going deeper… Haha. Without my usual distractions, I started facing myself. The covers have now been pulled away, the foundations revealed, and now we can see that there was a lot of dust, dead rats and squirming bugs, faulty pillars, and a nasty odor on top of it all. (Eww… that mental picture is making me squirm tonight.) Maybe it wasn’t THAT bad, but that’s what it seemed like to me. All of a sudden I felt the most vulnerable I’ve ever been and the most exposed. It’s not that I’ve been trying to hide everything or not deal with things in the moment or neglect to spend time with God, but things happened and it was time for God to do some deep things inside of me. It was a time of transition and I needed to be realigned. He wanted to speak to me. He wanted me to come back to Him. Bare. Vulnerable. Hurting. Laughing. All of me as I was.

So now I finally figured out the reason why I truly needed to rest. It wasn’t from the outward circumstances and pressures I felt in life, it was the inward chaos and storm that needed much quieting. I had entered into the messiest phase of the journey. It was time to get reacquainted with my real thoughts and truths of my heart. And the heaviness that I put on myself all of a sudden to figure out my life put enough pressure on me to reveal what exactly I was standing on.

The truth is… I became scared. I inadvertently blamed God. Not in a way that it was all His fault… but yeah kind of. I doubted His goodness and His love for me. That’s a big deal. I started analyzing the past and every single choice I made that led me to where I was. I blamed myself  for where I was, who I was, what I was doing, what I wasn’t doing, the choices I made, and so indirectly questioned God’s guidance and hand on my life. I didn’t find Him as trustworthy as I once did. I had disappointments, false hopes, expectations, and some expectations for the wrong things. All of that was revealed. And then I felt sorry for myself. I felt I trusted God and was let down. I gave and gave of myself, to no end. To people, to God. I gave all that I could and strived to be the best I could be, to do the right thing even if it hurt, and in the end I felt everything I did was for nothing. “What was the point of me pouring myself out for You, them, or anybody?” So if God wasn’t gonna help me out, then I’d have to figure things out on my own. So that’s what I was trying to do. With tons of questions of “why?” and “how?” I was offended in my heart, but I was facing it. I tried to figure out a plan… tons of them. But my heart and mind was just full of more questions and riddles, mazes, fog, and … no answers. So I didn’t actually get anywhere. My times with God were overruled by thoughts, countless streaming thoughts of fear, doubt, questions, and I was just asking for answers… over and over. It was frustrating. It was actually very intense. I went through a lot of anxiousness. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t enjoy things, didn’t even like worship music or anyone who talked about God. I didn’t want to hear it. It sounded all so boring and cliche, fake, gibberish, impractical, dumb, and a bunch of other things.

But eventually … I slowly started to let go …

No. It wasn’t easy. Nor was it overnight.

I kept praying…

“God I know I’m a mess. Heal me…”

And I questioned how that would happen if I didn’t even want to listen to worship music or go to church or even really read my Bible. But…

“God, I’m here…”

There is a lot that happened in this time and some that I want to still share in the next blogs, but the thing that I really emphasize in this blog is about learning how to enter into REST. A lot of the time we think that resting is taking a vacation, not thinking about issues, getting away from the mundane, daily routine and pressures, and taking a breather. Now that is a VERY good thing. HOWEVER, I really believe that a lot of people miss out on really living above the storm with peace in their hearts in the deepest places because we never really sit down, take a deep breath, learn to be okay with what’s going on inside of us, and then really dive deep into some things in our hearts… all so that God can come be what we need. We come to believe so many lies, come to so many conclusions, agree with them, and allow fear and doubt to drive the ship. But until you can take some time to sit still and allow yourself to face things, you don’t ever really allow peace to come in where you actually need it most. A.k.a you don’t actually know God as you truly can know Him in that moment. Otherwise we just distract ourselves or self-medicate. A.k.a peace is actually found through the storm, not by steering away from it. And it’s scary. But the way I see it… If you never face it, you never get the sweet taste of victory. And victory is never just for you. That’s a whole other blog.

I believe God is always wanting to reach out and reveal Himself in the deepest places, places that really matter in each person on the planet. He is the King of the Cosmos with so much to Him that we can never know or fully grasp His dimensions, facets, and awesomeness. He is a big ball of mystery, but who He is NEVER changes. He is so AWESOMELY HUGE but so close. He is not a man with a white beard, shirtless with bulging muscles holding a trident or a lightning bolt waiting on you to get it right, so that He can do His part. He is in LOVE. He gave EVERYTHING for you. And I believe that in every circumstance and situation, He is wanting to show Himself to be strong, loving, good, and kind. He is wanting to show us who He really is, if we would allow ourselves to BE, sit down in quiet, be willing to be honest and vulnerable, and listen to what He has to say. Because in the passing through it, God is actually right there in the middle of it, loving you more than you ever thought possible. And His love is what changes you forever.

In other words:
Sit. Breathe. Be silent. Cry. Get mad. Pout. Lay down. Shut up. Listen. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Phew* Maybe I should have just said that instead of typing all this out… Hopefully it all made sense. I’m doing my best to organize my thoughts. 🙂

Oh just so you know, I am back to the skipping through the fields, eating berries, giggling hand in hand, singing with the birds, and loving the sun. It’s deeper, truer, stronger and is on the road to becoming unshakeable. That’s what it’s all for in the end. 🙂

‘Til next time.
*Bow*

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“White Nerd Kid” and My Summer Love – Part 1

Kind of a peculiar title, I know. But this blog is dedicated to the one person who searched “white nerd kid” in a search engine and ended up clicking on to my blog. My shout out goes to you! I even titled this post in honor of you!

Now, was this person searching for something in particular and decided to ditch it for a second? Or were they actually looking for me?

Am I a Nerd? Maybe.
A Kid? Well, I do get mistaken to be anywhere between 12-18 years old.
But WHITE? Hahaha.

Regardless, I find it just plain amusing. 🙂

But… Don’t get mad. My post today has nothing to do with a white nerd kid. Sorry.

If I had not titled this post what I did,
I would have called it HELP ME, GOD KDOIJoSIjfosijsdfjsdfaoillnv.

Haha, just kidding. Kind of.

This summer has been quite the journey. It has been awesome, revealing, vulnerable, a fight, full of thoughts and revelation, but most of all, a summer that has caused my heart to be stirred and set on fire again. I guess this is where my real post starts.

I wasn’t planning on doing this, but the only way I can even try to express everything I want to and not have this blog turn into a novel will have to be if I write in parts… making this like a blog series. 

So this will be PART ONE: Intro and Recap… (Dang, I wish I had a title that was more clever and witty…)

I found myself totally caught off guard. September snuck up on me, and to my disbelief, summer was here and now it’s gone. The weather is cooling down quickly, the trees are starting to shed their luscious summer greens, and I am finding myself thoughtful. Whenever I want to grab a book, or my laptop, and sit by a window just to stare and jot down ramblings and strings of thoughts, while smelling sudden wafts of pumpkin spice lattes and chai tea everywhere I go, I know fall has come. And because this year, it has felt like a slap in the face with the sudden shock of cold air, I have already started reflecting on my summer… but more with kind of a longing, as if it were some precious love I’m not quite ready to let go of because I don’t want our time together to become a memory quite yet.

Hmm. I have a reason for that.

There’s this thing called “Summer Love”. Supposedly everybody has one at some point. It’s the cute, little, puppy love type relationships that form because school’s out, the weather is warm, sunsets are pretty, and boys and girls are everywhere just ready for some fun. It’s passionate, and heartfelt, never wanting it to end, but once Fall comes it dissipates as quickly as it formed.

Well, I had a Summer Love… except this is relationship is one that has been pursuing me and growing since the day I was born, and will never fade out, but only burn brighter. He is the reason why I hold this summer so dear. He has been there every summer before this one, but He only seems to get sweeter and sweeter. Cheezy? Maybe. I like cheese. I heard if I stop eating it my sinus problems would diminish significantly… But to stop eating cheese…?! That would be no more CHEESEburgers or PIZZA!! And one cannot live without such necessities in life!

My summer wasn’t all about flowers and candy, kisses, sneaking out at night, holding hands, giggles, and gifts. It wasn’t happy-go-lucky, everything-is-going-my-way kind of time either. It was both wonderful and grueling; anxious and ecstatic; overwhelming and loving; joyful and deep; thoughtful and healing; stirring, hopeful, desperate, and so much more. It has been full of moments of facing the truth, facing your fears, facing everything good, bad, and ugly… all for Love.

Here’s a recap:

With the start of summer, I started off feeling free and alive. I found peace. It included an adventurous getaway for a week in the U.P. full of camping, hiking, and a day visit to Mackinaw Island. Really good times. Nature, water, breeze, fresh air, people you didn’t know, my books, and my journal. But I came back and I started discovering the little things that gave me joy in life. It brought life to my spirit again. I started listening to music just because I enjoyed it. I found myself drooling over my laptop as I discovered new music, new sounds, new artists, new creative expressions for HOURS. I played guitar. I made up stupid songs. I made videos. I enjoyed being outside. I noticed the sunshine, the wind, every smile, every person, every color, every breath, every movement… and appreciated it. I rode my bike around the city just for fun. I went for walks. I talked with people and laughed. I wanted to make people laugh. Seeing someone smile was so rewarding. No agenda, no pressure, no worry. I was like a little child who had a whole world to discover. I didn’t have any concern. Not a single thing. Not about the past, present, or future. I was enjoying myself. As me. In the moment. I found joy and value in each moment. I felt God’s delight in me. I didn’t feel like I was in a hurry. I wasn’t analyzing every little thing I did or overwhelmed with thoughts. And I loved it. I felt God smiling down on me. I was learning how to be me again. There was something I discovered in these moments that I haven’t experienced before, or at least it’s a new level of it. It was the feeling of complete freedom and joy, confidence in Him, and not myself, and seeing the world with new eyes, and feeling myself come alive. (I have more thoughts on this, I will expound later.) BUT on top of all this, I was blessed by a gift. My kitty Oliver!

After a while, I started feeling like maybe I should be done “playing around” and figure out what I’m doing with my life. I started to become anxious. When before I felt like I was unshakeable and so confident in who God was and His love for me, I became totally polar opposite. I started analyzing the past, feeling heavy, all of a sudden full of regret and doubt. I beat myself up over things that I had no control over. I felt guilty for feeling happy and carefree. I felt guilty for being so confident that I didn’t have anything to worry about and that things would all work out fine for me as long as I did things I enjoyed and followed my heart. But at the same time I felt I had lost my passion. I forgot who I was. Everything that defined me and I leaned on disappeared. I started becoming afraid that maybe I missed something or have missed it a long time ago. I felt pressure to hurry up and figure things out because time was running out. I had bills to pay and loans to pay back and everything started becoming overwhelming. It wasn’t just about the present moment anymore, it was about the future. Nothing seemed to line up in my mind. I lost hope. I regretted having done certain things and not having done things. I felt depressed at my life. Felt like a failure. Felt like I’ve done nothing and was nobody. And that I wasn’t really on the track to anywhere. I felt lost, confused, alone. I panicked and was full of anxiety about my future and unsure of how to process the past. I had so many questions. So many thoughts and ideas… and frustrations, too. At the core of it, I just wanted answers. I wanted to know why. I wanted to know how, and when, and every little detail about the past and present and how it all makes sense for my future. Without it I would not rest. I could not. Without it, I felt I had no reason to do anything more in life.

Although I went into the summer knowing that what I was going to be doing was some major  resting and allowing myself to be refreshed, I still became very anxious after a while. It was full of extended times of rest and being alone. Some on purpose and intentional… Some not. But I believe God orchestrated it that way so that I’d meet with Him. I went through periods of seeking God, and then not, and then seeking again. But mostly it was more of a responding rather than seeking. I would feel my heart move and hunger for His presence. And I would respond. I did my best to respond whenever I felt that inside of me. Even if my times of being with Him meant I just there with worship music playing, I did that. I prayed. There was a lot of arguing with myself and wrestling with my own thoughts, and then trying to get myself to shut up, but I would pray the best I could and attempt to listen for Him. There were times where I was greatly moved by His presence, other times, not so much. Overall, I felt it was tedious, uncomfortable, mundane, and a waste of time. Why? In my eyes it wasn’t getting me anywhere because more than anything, I expected an answer. But no answer. At least like I wanted it.

As September neared, I started seeing the results of my small, pathetic prayers. I say that, but I don’t even know if it were my prayers that got me anywhere. Although the reason why I even wanted to pray initially was because I wanted answers and was scared, it started to change. All that I know is that deep down in my heart of hearts, I longed for God. And regardless of my motives, He came. Honestly, it didn’t even look like I loved God for some time… not to myself at least. I didn’t know how, or what, or if I was even doing anything right, but I longed for Him. And it wasn’t some huge one moment encounter I had, but more of a culmination of a gajillion things. Very small things. I don’t even know what they all were, but it was all the little ways that He was reaching out to me that had piled up and was finally overflowing over the brim and spilling over. It caused my heart and eyes to be opened again to fall more in love with My Creator, My Love, My True Unchanging Passion.

This was an intro/recap. I hope to continue to blog over the next few days about certain things I’ve learned and to share my journey. Obviously by “Summer Love” I am speaking of an eternal one. The love and heart of an unconditional, jealous, pursuer who won’t settle for anything less than all of my heart. The love of a King, a Lover, a Friend, and so much more.

This is where I end for today, but check back for more juicy details of my summer love affair! Until then here are some pics from my summer adventure. 🙂

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