Thursday, November 29, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Trees don't need sweaters.

The trees in Louisville are absolutely gorgeous this year. Yellow, orange, brown and red leaves make the streets look like the are covered in confetti.

I was thinking the other day about how much I LOVE the changing of seasons.
I love the chaos that even the slightest hint of cool air brings. People pulling out sweaters, scarfs, and boots when its 75 degrees---I am one of those people. and then I get equally excited when it gets warm again and I dream of eating snowcones and sitting by a pool.

But I don't think God made seasons just so I wouldn't get bored with the weather. I think God made seasons (and trees) to mimic people. Dynamic, ever changing people.
I feel a lot of hope when I look at a tree losing its leafs. I am hopeful for the season ahead.
But the tree, on the other hand, is probably less than excited for the season ahead where it sits looking dead for 3 months until life comes back into its little tree arms.

Donald Miller tweeted on Oct 16th: "All of the trees are losing their leaves, and not one of them is worried."

So true.

God, in all His genius, designed trees to grow, shed all of its growth, look dead, and then regrow.
Trees trust the Creator that He will restore life, even when things look bleak and dull.

I find hope in this when I read the story of an abused child. The story look like a dead tree with no spring in sight.
I pray that I can learn to trust the Creator with as much faith as a tree.



Friday, September 21, 2012

a mental image.

So a coworker sent me this NPR article yesterday..
The article talks about the power of mental images and how a situation's morality may be decided by the what you see in your minds eye, how graphic that scene is, and the resulting emotional response. 
For example: 

Scenario Uno: "A trolley is headed toward five people, and the only way you can save them is to hit a switch that will turn the trolley away from the five and onto a side track, but if you turn it onto the side track, it will run over one person."

I thought..."5 people vs. 1 person dying... I pick one."

[Side note: I also thought, "Would I have time to ask them who is a Believer and who is not? ha. but seriously]

Scenario Two: "This time, you're on a footbridge, in between the oncoming trolley and the five people. And next to you is a big person wearing a big backpack. And the only way you can save those five people is to push this big guy off of the footbridge so that he lands on the tracks. And he'll get squashed by the train; you sort of use him as a trolley stopper. But you can save the five people."
"Would you push the big guy to his death? More important, do you feel this moral dilemma is identical to the earlier one?"
I thought "Does the big guy have children? How big is this backpack? Would I be charged with murder? Or would I be celebrated as a hero? Would the other 5 people see me or would it be sneaky? Ahhhh! I can't decide these things. God gives life and takes away.."

I thought this article was extremely interesting as I realized that I am completely a slave to my "mind's eye". I am visual thinker, so if I don't have a mental picture of something, I get confused, forget it, and definitely don't have any emotional investment in the idea or event. 
I blame this on heredity.. and my mother. :)

----
Then today I read an article about a little kid, not even a year old. The baby was left in a running bathtub, neglected by it's mother. The baby nearly drowned and is now on a ventilator and will most likely not be able to see, talk or walk it's entire life. 

I almost threw up.

A baby who was healthy, learning, developing and within a few minutes, permanently disabled. This child's ability to enjoy, thrive, and function in the world in which it lives just decreased drastically. I immediately got angry, thinking "who on earth would do this to their kid!?!"


Then my mind shifted to the unborn. Babies who will never see, walk, or talk.

I have to admit, I've never been extremely passionate about ending abortion, even though I know I should be. I am a huge advocate for adoption but have never really been rattled by the secret alternative. Because I know the character of the Creator, I know killing somebody -a soul- that He wonderfully created is wrong. Yet, I have never been emotionally disturbed by this silent genocide of unborn babies. 

So, a neglectful mother physically and mentally impairing her child forever 
vs.
a mother electing to have a doctor end her child's life before it begins.

Somehow one seemed less tragic. One seems less neglectful. One seems excusable, maybe even justifiable.

As the synapses in my mind connected, my heart screamed "NO!"They are equally negligent. Equally tragic. There shouldn't be an excuse for ending or distorting a life- full of potential, full of beauty, full of the image of God.


My mind's eye can be so so so blind..





Friday, September 14, 2012

"Jesus don't have no boss"...

A couple of weeks ago at work, one of the girls //13 years old and sassy to be exact//, was throwing a tantrum because she had said the F-word [again] and needed to take a timeout in her room. She HATED this and sat on the couch and pouted/yelled/let her deepest beliefs spill out of her without even knowing it... She said ridiculous, irrational things, but one thing she said struck me..

girl: "Jesus Christ!"
me: "...yes?"
girl: "I'm jealous of Jesus Christ!"
me: "why are you jealous of Jesus?"
girl: "because Jesus Christ don't have no boss!"

I thought about discussing the theology behind this. (i.e. submitting to the Father, we have to submit to God's rules and the authority He's put over us) but instead I decided to address the fact that this girl did not like bosses.
The conversation dwendled, the girl went to her room and fell asleep...

But her comment stuck with me..
I kind of thought "don't we all?"
 I mean, don't we all want to be Jesus?
 and not foremost because we want to be holy and pleasing to God, but because we want to BE God. 

I was reading Luke 20:9-18 about the wicked tenants:
{My Version}


So there was a dude who planted a vineyard and hired some workers to oversee it while he was on vaca. When he came back he sent one of his servants to get some fruit juice from the workers. The workers beat his face in and sent him back empty-handed. So the dude sent another servant and they beat his face in too and sent him back with nothing. The dude was like "what the crap? maybe if I send my son they will respect him." The meany workers said "look its his heir. let's kill him, so that the inheritance may be ours."

There are probably 100 other truths to be gleaned from this passage but what stuck out to me today as I read this is the desire to BE Jesus. The wicked tenants wanted to BE the son worthy of the inheritance, so they killed him, a foreshadow of what happens a few chapters later..

This is my biggest struggle in my life. I love Jesus but I fight against myself and Him because I secretly (and at times not so secretly) want to be JESUS. I want to be able to control the wind and the storms in my life and think the things that he 'puts me through' are nonsense and I would do it a different way if I had my way with the universe. I don't trust Jesus because I want to be Him at times, because I often think I would do a better job...

This is Pish Posh. A clay pot telling the potter he's not good at potting and I, the pot, would be a better potter although I lack arms and talent and a brain, because after all, I am just a pot, in need of constant sculpting and refining...

All this to say, I guess this is what it means to confess that God is..God. and I am not. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11


I can't look at this picture of 9/11 without getting the hee-bee-gee-bees and feeling like my stomach is going to fall out of my butt. I shiver at the thought of all the lives lost, the rumors that were brought under speculation and the mess of war that was quickly declared and involved my own family. 

One of the 9/11 tributes that I saw tonight had footage from Time Square where people viewed the devastation happening blocks away on the screens of the megatrons. The footage was raw and emotional, reminding me of my reaction as a 7th grader. However, what shocked me the most about the footage was the consistent reaction of necessary revenge: "Lets go kill all those guys." "We need to go to war now, THEY did this to US, we need to go to blow all of them up."--- I'm not trying to be a pacifist and I know that justice through war is a real thing. But US vs. THEM. Does US stop with boarders or citizenship or beliefs? US vs. THEM. What about humanity? If we think in terms of humanity (whether you believe that we are all fallen or not), if THEY are included in the US of humanity, then are WE doing this to US?? Trading evil intent for evil justified..

All of this makes me wonder how the events of that day and attitudes that permeated from the aftermath have shaped my development as a person and a citizen. I wonder if this tragic event had never happened if I would be different. Or If I were born 10 years later, and unaware of the events of the day, would I be less effected or simply accepting that these things happen because I didn't remember a time before events like these were normal...

And then I have questions as to what this all means. Did the terrorist win on that day? Or Is the US win through the number of deaths through war since that day? What does this abstract idea of 'terrorism' really mean?

9/11 draws me back to the truest true. 

I don't think any of these things will fully make sense until that DAY, when Jesus restores all things. 
However, today I can know that the Lord is in control even while evil seems to be thriving...for a little while longer..




Friday, August 17, 2012

blogging


I haven’t blogged in 6 months… When did I lose my mind?

Maybe it fell out of the back of my head somewhere in between paying the bills, working with 40 screaming/ hurting kids, or fighting a bloody spiritual battle for our marriage…

Or maybe it’s just hard to be motivated to blog when you feel like you have nothing in your life ‘figured out’. 
No new revelations to share with the world.
No rhyme or reason to the season of life currently in.
Nothing holy enough to put in 12 pt font.
No short snippet of truth or social justicey issue to share and hope that everyone reading becomes consumed with firey passion for what is probably the most important anyone will ever read all day.

Perhaps this is prideful.
Perhaps I am numb.
Perhaps my mind is lost misplaced and needs to be unmisplaced.

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps….

Friday, March 30, 2012

in sickness and in health..

It's easy to be genuine when life is butterflies and roses, with the occasional bee sting. But when your life is a metaphorical bee hive, brought on mostly by your own ugly sin, being authentic isn't as attractive. So for the last year, by far the hardest AND happiest year of my entire life, I have ceased being transparent, hoping instead that people will think my marriage is sprinkled with fairy dust and all we do is laugh and travel.

Walking down the aisle to marry the man of my dreams, I felt as close to God as I ever have been. Tears welled up in my eyes as we sang "In Christ Alone" at the altar, and as I thought about how sweet it is to know and be known by Christ. Throughout the past year, I have more than a hand full of times, yelled at God, blaming him for giving me that man--the man He gave me as part of His perfect plan and timing-- because he makes life so hard. I couldn't be sinful solo anymore and the ever present mirror to my heart, named Jay, made things uncomfortable. Over the last year, God has exposed the grossest parts of my heart in front of and because of the person who loves me the most. Impatient, stubborn, heartless, prideful. Not just a cliché list of sins, but the inside of my heart.

When I said the phrase "in sickness and in health" on April 2nd 2011, I thought it applied to 50 years from now, when I will need Jay to change my Depends. What I have seen, as evidenced by this last year, that this part of the covenant applies to so much more. Both Jay and I have been sick with sin, invaded by the virus of pride and self-centeredness. For example, I want things my way when I want them my way, and I want them my way asap. I am impatient. Jay has dealt with this sickness time and time again, applying the gospel as an antidote, and patiently praying Christ to win the war on this sickness.

Jesus, like Jay, knew these things, and loved me when I was not so lovely.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

two thousand eleven.

My 2011 consisted of:
  • Finishing my last college class for my degree.
  • Moving out of Shawnee and saying goodbye to OBU after 3 and 1/2 life-changing years.
  • Planning a wedding.
  • Substitute teaching at Jenks Middle School.
  • Multiple flights to Louisville and Mississippi.
  • A final father/daughter trip- surfing in Barbados.
  • Wedding showers and lots of love and support from my home church.
  • Moving 22 years of stuff to Kentucky.
  • Marrying my BEST FRIEND!!!
  • Surprise (perfect) honeymoon to northern California.
  • Steve and Hessica's wedding in the oklahoma mountains.
  • A ten-day trip to China with my husband and his mississippi church.
  • Honored to be a bridesmaid in Ocho and Anna's wedding in tejas.
  • Complete with an east to west drive across the state of Texas, discovering an old german town, horchata, and pig intestine tacos on the side of the road.
  • A very long Louisville summer: nannying, and coffee shop, 8am-11pm erryday.
  • Jay and I completing a Summer List of Fun including eating 100 ice pops, going to every museum in town, and sitting through 3 innings of a Louisville Bats game.
  • Cole Family reunion in Ohio.
  • Spontaneous road trip with my husby to ride our bikes around Chicago.
  • Continuous wise counsel from our friends the Noltemeyers.
  • Driving to ATL to see all of my sumo Oliver sisters in one place!
  • Dominating my first (and probably last), seminary class. hermeneutics.
  • A September trip to Oklahoma to cure my homesickness blues.
  • Working part-time at World Market for 4 weeks of my existance. that was enough.
  • 2,500 mile road trip over fall break+ a week long birthday celebration!
  • Getting to see newborn baby Grey Williams in the hospital in Tulsa.
  • Starting a new job at St. Joseph's children's home.
  • Quickly learned that I am not Mary Poppins and I have little to nothing to offer to abused/traumatized kids, but God is faithful to equip when he calls.
  • Quitting the coffee shop after 6 months of caffeinated merriment.
  • A fancy-pants date to Proof on Main with my husby.
  • After months of praying and searching and living in 500 square feet, God provided a little blue house on the happiest of streets.
  • Finished my 2nd half marathon; which by my reasoning equals a full marathon.. with a little 4year break in the middle.
  • Pneumonia, food poisoning, kidney infection, flu, and an untimely upper respiratory infection on her honeymoon. note to self: get a better immune system.
  • First thanksgiving together; my parents came to visit/cook/do slave labor.
  • Another 2,500 miles of driving fun in December to celebrate Christmas with our families and take photos for a dear friends wedding in Dallas.
  • First Christmas together, establishing our own family traditions was simply wonderful.
  • Surprise visit to see my grandparents in Florida, making both of them cry tears of joy=winning!

Reflecting on 2011 sends my heart on an emotional roller coaster. It was packed with change, challenges, lots of growth, lots of joy and lots of tears and lots of learning and relearning God's faithfulness and steadfast love.
Might I add that I sincerely hope that God in His sovereignty decided before laying the foundations of the world that 2012 would be little less intense, yet equally as happy.
Whew. 2011...

Scout



this is Scout. our new puppy. he's 2 months old today and figuring out the world and his nose, which is much bigger than the rest of his body.

since getting Scout two weeks ago, i think Jay and i have turned into dog people. those people. i reach into my jacket pocket and pull out a hand full of dog treats. every piece of clothing i have now has little puppy hairs stuck to them. my day now consist of at least an hour of walking through the park. even in the rain.
one of the things that convinced Jay to get a dog (i've wanted one since the day after our wedding) was reading Living with Other Creatures, which exposes how some creatures weren't created for humans at all, (i.e. wasps), but only for God's glory through fulfilling their little animal, or insect, roles. also, [and probably the most convicting thing I've ever heard], the book said that animals help humans worship God, by turning humans away from their prideful selves.
humbling really, considering i have absolutely no control over this 9 lbs of teeth, curiosity, and cuteness. as crazy tree hugger, animistic as it sounds, our 8 week old puppy has definitely made me a more patient person and in turn, hopefully, a better reflection of our Creator.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

at about 4am monday morning, my hubs head-butted me in the shoulder blade. After obviously getting my attention, he pointed to my phone that was lighting up. I had a missed call from my dad. thats when i knew something was wrong. i called him back immediately, assuming it was something wrong with my mom. he answered and told me they were up at the hospital because my brother had been shot in the face.
he reassured me that it was not life threatening. Of course, my first thought was "guns kill people dad! how is this not life threatening?" he told me he was in the emergency room, waiting to go into surgery to get the bullet out. I went back to sleep assuming that my dad was completely sugar coating this situation, sad that we don't live closer to our families, and really just confused about reality.
as the story unfolded over the next few days, i realized that the situation was not sugar coated at all. The whole thing, from beginning to end, was covered in God's crazy divine protection! my brother works as a county deputy, and got a call about domestic dispute; a man was attempting to kill his wife. The wife had escaped and called the police. The gunman was barricaded inside. When my bro went in to get him, the gunman fired a shotgun. He missed and fired a pistol. The pistol, aimed directly at my brother, went through a pillow, two picture frames, hit a table and stuck in his chin. had the gun been raised only two-inches it would have been a direct hit.

God is active! "he who keeps you will not slumber" psalm 121:3
It has been so encouraging to hear stories about prayer warriors all over the state of oklahoma covering my brother in prayer. "what is man, what you are mindful of him?" psalm 8:4

I am so thankful that God- in his sovereignty- not only ordained all of this to happen for His glory, but actively sustained my brother, slowing down the bullet at His command.

i am thankful.


Sunday, January 1, 2012

new years resolution:

blog more.
run more.
pray more.


not in that order.

here's to 2012.