Wednesday, August 25, 2010

holding steadfast in the unknown

Sometimes, you come across something that says everything you want to say. This article hits so close to home, that I could not have written it better myself. So for today, I will let someone else sing so perfectly the words that are flowing from the depths of my soul...

"The LORD will fight for you;
you need only to be still."

-- Exodus 14:14

Monday, August 16, 2010

where i come from, rain is a good thing

Tonight my Omaha besties came over and helped me move furniture around since my new couch was delivered. The couch was a honker in my living room. We had to figure out how we were going to get it right, so we labored until perfection. We had a blast, because we added to the mix: me trying on a new dress, trying to figure out which pair of 4" heels would look best, adding new quotes to our quote book, and opening the windows when it started to rain. Orpheum has eight-foot windows against 11-foot walls. It's incredible. So we sat up on the back of the couch and just watched it rain, like three peas in a pod.

They were leaving a little after 11pm to head down to the Foundation which is only 3 blocks from my apt. It was raining and I decided I wanted to walk in it with them down to the bar and then walk back.

We got outside and I immediately took off my flip flops. I've been reading Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis and one of my favorite parts is when it talks about the moments you realize you are standing on holy ground. Moments that you can't do anything but go barefoot because God is there and God is real and the beauty around you calls for your feet to be one with the ground. It's such a beautiful illustration of recognizing God's presence in all things and being humbled by it so much that you just have to take off your shoes.

I walked smack in the middle of Harney St., a one-way street heading due East. I threw my head back and danced. With my flip flops in hand, and spiraled curls twisting more with every drop, I was a child. The bible speaks about faith like a child, and I want that. And I want to enjoy life like a child. Children don't worry about when the next paycheck is coming, where they will go to college, what they will do with their life, or if someone likes them or not. They. Are. Free.

And so this life in Omaha is me - with faith like a child. Taking a leap without knowing when I'll hit the ground. It is the most incredibly awesome ride I have been on in so long. I just feel alive. God has been so faithful in restoring my heart each day that I awake by His grace. It it not happiness - it is joy, and I am peaceful. It is a steady rhythm of grace that flows through my soul despite grieving and confusion and wondering. Life with God is like a scary roller coaster ride, but you get to scream with excitement the entire time.

So I left The Foundation and I walked back in the middle of the street again. This time talking out loud to Jesus. It was a simple prayer, but more just a conversation, like with an old friend.

I said, "Lord, I know You know what I miss when I walk through this rain, but thank You for being bigger than the intensity with which I long for it. Thank you for taking this rain and washing me clean with Your love. Thank you for taking me out of that which I was too weak to move away from by my own strength. Thank You for loving me too much to let me stay where I was. Your love is better than life."

I turned back to look at the stop lights behind me, changing to green from red one by one.

"Lord, I don't want to leave this moment."

I shivered (because I am ALWAYS cold). I laughed out loud,

"Ok, now I do. Thank You that I'm always cold. Someone once told me 'cold hands, warm heart,' and I want that warmth to show others Your love."

I reached my apartment, soaking wet, with the biggest smile from ear to ear. His love really is better than life.

And to Kelly: "This is me appreciating life!"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

anybody can quit - that's easy

"This is a good sign - having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something"
-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love

I am beginning this blog at 3:57am.. blogger says 1:57am but it is a LI-AR! The posting times are never right on this thing... Short story with long to follow...counseling this morning, lunch with Patrick at the UP building, work from 1-4pm, dinner at Tanduri Indian Cuisine, Eat Pray Love, conversation at Anne's house until 1:15am, met Kelly and Emily at The Foundation before closing at 2, and then talked in a parking lot a block from my apt until 3. And now I am blogging! The city is so beautifully calm at this hour...

Where to begin?

I tried Indian food for the first time tonight! EVER. EVAH. And I liked it - I loved it. Mint chutney. Meat samosa. And get me some more of that Chicken Tikka Makhani, please! Seriously people, I think I am becoming a foodie - but mostly in the food discovery kind of way. My momma would be proud!

I shared this amazing meal with five extraordinary women who all have their own story to tell. And it was incredible sitting there at times and just listening. I was taking it all in, and then it happened. This thing that happens every once in awhile. You have to be in the moment and be aware enough to recognize it. It happens when you're sitting around a table with a group of people, and you're soaking in the moment, and all the stories, and the laughs, and the hurts, and the dashed hopes, and the new hopes - the moment it hits you that this is life, and we're all going to be okay. It's so real, that you feel the need to close your eyes and burn it into your memory that in that moment, you realized "we're going to make it." And the "what ifs" and the "whys" don't really matter much anymore. Because there is incredible hope in God's promise to restore that which was lost.

For the first time in over 18 months, I am reading my bible daily - and with a completely surrendered soul. With this has come unspeakable joy, despite pain and confusion and loneliness. God has revealed Himself to me in ways I have never experienced, and I can feel the ways in which He is molding my heart. The other day I thought about how God continues to show up in the most unexpected ways and places. But then I posed this question: is it that God is showing up or is it that He is already there and refocusing my eyes to recognize Him in all facets of life? Overwhelmingly, it must be the latter. Because God is Sovereign over all things, and He is omnipresent. And how can my human eyes see His greatness if He has not played a part in helping me see Him? This is what God is changing in me.

I am reading Velvet Elvis again by Rob Bell, and it somehow resonates with me more today than the last two times I read it. The talk about building community, healing by the hand of God, what real restoration of a broken heart looks like; I can't help but feel like I'm living this out each day that I am here in Omaha. Rob Bell said this in the chapter called Healing:

"It is possible to be a good Christian and go to church services and sing the right songs and jump through the right hoops and never let Jesus heal your soul...I am learning that very few people actually live from their heart. Very few live connected with their soul. And those few who do the difficult work, who stare their junk in the face, who get counsel, who let Jesus into all of the rooms in their soul that no one ever goes in, they make a difference. They are coming from such a different place that their voices inevitably get heard above the others. They are pursuing wholeness and peace in Christ, and it's contagious."


Have you been there, though? Where you go through the motions and yet your soul is just dying for a drink of water. And the things you try to do satisfy for a fleeting moment but the thirst just lingers. Eventually, you come to a breaking point. And I have experienced that. And now I'm letting Jesus into all the rooms of my soul, and the peace of Christ that transcends all understanding (as talked about in Philippians 4:7) is invading my heart. What good am I to others if I am an empty vessel? Or worse, I've got stuff that I need to stare straight in the face but choose not to deal with it. Yes - broken, fearful, confused people have been used by God to change the world, and that is the point! The process in which He transforms those fears and the brokenness and confusion is what will lead others to Him. And lately, I have found that when I am delighting in the Lord and following His lead for my life, there is joy in the midst of pain. There is laughing in the midst of crying. There is comfort in the midst of longing. And there is SO much to look forward to.

5:14am and I'm ready to wake up again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

take me back to the start

"...but when Perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a (wo)man, I put childish ways behind me."
-1 Corinthians 13:10-11

Hello from Omaha!!

In honor of this new journey I have embarked on, I am starting a new blog as well. For those of you who know me best, the title of my blog is very fitting. I'm a big girl now, and the things of my past that have held me back must be put to rest. And that includes the shopping. Since I moved to Omaha on July 6th, I have spent a total of $50 on any clothing whatsoever, and half of it is from three final sale...what shall I call them...big girl bras from Gap! They're not like the basic ones I have.. haha :)

This terrible addiction, at its root, stemmed from a dissatisfaction with some things in my life. And instead of bringing them under God's control, I have let them interfere with what is really important. But things are a changin'! Including the fact that I have been to TWO - yes TWO - country concerts since I moved here. Brooks & Dunn and Dierks Bentley. Omaha rules.

Also, I got back into running 2 weeks ago! Amazingly after 18 months sans running, I basically told my knee to bite me and went on my first run - and it felt great! Even after going 5 miles. Yes, it was really an out of body experience. I just couldn't stop, and I loved running under the lights of downtown. The 18-month layoff must have given it the time it needed to heal. So now I'm running. And doing a push-up/sit-up challenge against the guys at Gallup. And circuit training. I mean seriously, WHAT is going on here?! But with all of the fitness resources offered at Gallup, it would be crazy not to. The greatest part is seeing the toned body I once had as a soccer player...and knowing it will end up even better than that, since I won't be bulking up for competition! Looking good = feeling good! :)

Recent events have somewhat forced me to press my heart into God. It has been challenging, and so unexpected. But the ways in which God continues to mold and renew my heart are simply breathtaking. His love is better than life. So - join me in this new chapter! I hope you find encouragement, learning, and ultimately my prayer is that you consider getting to know your Creator better as I grow in my own walk.