Friday, December 31, 2004

On the Eighth Day God Made Cheap Particle Board Furniture

So one final entry for the old year...if tomorrow is the new year than this has to be the old year. I bought a card a few months back that said..."One the eighth day God made cheap particle board furniture." It showed a picture of God saying "me damnit" I liked it. Especially today. You see there is a crisis in my apt. I have three bookshelves, and like 15 million books...that's kinda an exagerration..but it's only slight! So I decide today I'm going to go buy a bookshelf. I wanted to get out of my apt, but I'm not much of a shopper anyway...in fact I hate it.

If you put Barbie and I in the same room together shopping...well I'd kill her. I'm just not a shopper...I like to go in and get what I want, and come out. None of that driving and looking and asking questions. Well to complicate matters, I'm sick (that means grouchy) and have no voice...(that means rude).

So I go all over looking for a bookshelf...the wide world of sports has taken over and apparantly everyone is in to those books on c.d's..because I found tons of c.d. racks but no bookshelves. The only ones I could find was cheap particle board funiture. So I sit, on New Years Eve, realizing that the end of the world may as well just happen because I've seen Franz Jackson play and have come to the conclusion that no one reads but me.

All I wanted was a haven of saftey for the precious books I own. Precious they are! So much for that idea...so it looks like Grandpa will have to build me a shelf. It will be awesome if he builds it anyway. But really what is this world coming too! People who don't read and therefore have no bookshelves, unbelievable.

And as for Rhodes Furniture in Champaign. Yeah, just say no. I got into the door and a man dressed in an expensive suit approaches and asks, "Have you ever been here before?" I think, that's an odd question and shook my head no. I ask him in my barely audible voice.."do you have a ...." Before I could get my sentence out...the man looks and says "no we don't." I looked at him and said in the grouchiest and rudest tone possible when you have no voice..."you didn't even let me finish, screw you." I walked out. Hmm...how dare they!

A New Years Resolution or a New Years Reality?

So it's New Year's Eve...I thought about typing something about this past year and hello new year..but that seems generic. Isn't every year the same? Laughter, joy, tears, pain, stuggles, love, hope, patience, and fear...don't all these things move from one year to the next? Sure spending time reflecting is good...so that's what I want to do...but just differently I guess.

I'm reading a book now titled Reaching for the Invisible God. In it Phillip Yancy writes about how his pastor in Chicago was really struggling with his faith...he writes, "My pastor in chicago, Bill Leslie, said he often felt like an old hand-operated water pump, the kind still found in some campgrounds. Everyone who came to him for help would pump vigorously a few times, and each time he felt something drain out of him. Ultimately he reached a place of spiritual emptiness, with nothing more to give. He felt dry, desiccated. In the midst of this period, Bill went on a weeklong retreat and bared his soul to his assigned spiritual director, a nun. He expected her to offer soothing words about what a sacrifical, unselfish person he was, or perhaps recommend a sabbatical. Instead she said, 'Bill, there's only one thing to do if your reservior runs dry. You've got to go deeper.' He returned from that retreat convinced that his fatih depended less on his outer journey of life and ministry than on his inner journey toward spiritual depth."

So why do I type this? Because I've been there, I'm there now. Emptiness is a scary thing. But if I can do one thing, that one thing is go deeper. You know, I've thought a lot about my own desires lately. There are some really big ones in my life right now. You hear people say Carpe Diem, Seize the Day, I think about that and think I should just go wacko and do and say everything my heart desires. But at the end of the day, at the end of year, I sit down on my knees, tears running down my cheeks and I realize that I never Seize the day for God! Opportunities pass me ever day, Kingdom opportunities, I never seize the day. When it comes to my own wishes, sure I'll seize the day, because my personal love lies in selfishness and is much more important.

Mother Theresa once said, "The work wil always be here but if we do not rest and pray we will not have the presence to do our work." Yancy states, "The sisters are not working to complete a caseload sheet for a social service agency. They are working for God. They begin their day with him; they end their day with him, back in the chapel for night prayers; and everything in between they present as an offering to God. God alone determines their worth andmeasures their success."

That's my desire. It's not a caseload sheet, it's a ministry. I'm a social work major and if that's not my view, I'll run empty often.

There is alot in this heart right now...a lot that shouldn't be there...a lot of hopes, loves, ideas. There is humanity in the midst of this heart that searches for God. Balance is necessary, I can't escape humanity. I have no intention of becoming a nun. In fact a daily battle I face is dating. For the first time in several years, I feel ready to date...emotionally I feel like I could go into a relationship with more brains than I have had...but at the same time, I'm involved in a complex ministry. This ministry has no room for a dating relationship in it. I know when I explain this to people, I get funny looks. But I've learned that the choices you make in your personal life, affect ministry in all ways. I the choice I made to ignore rest, it affected the ministry...it burnt me out, it made me sick and it destroyed my passion. If I chose to devote myself to a person in a relationship, it could be very detrimental for the ministry. I don't believe that this is true for every ministry, but in this church, it just is! So I sit back, knowing that this desire just can't be right now. That for some reason God has called me to do ministry right now, and I have to remain faithful to His call on my life. That doesn't make it easier for me, it definitely doesn't make it easier for non-christians to understand..and it definitely makes it a daily challenge.

Even now, my selfishness gets in the way, and my faith bridge is once again built on God acting...as I hope and pray that God will reward my faithfulness. Just one day I'd like to look at my faith and say that what God has done for my life up till this point, is enough. For once I'd like to sit back and recognize that He alone is enough for this life of mine. Right now that's just not true. He's not enough, my humanity blocks that. I have so many desires and wishes...and so little faith.

So the new year...I guess my biggest desire is to be somewhere else, doing something else, being happy, having my dreams come true, dating an amazing Christian guy, having fun, enjoying life. But the reality of it is, I'll be in Rantoul, working in ministry, going to grad school, not dating anyone... I think I'm okay with that, I'm not certain, but I think I am. I'm not jumping for joy, because I know it won't be easy or my desire...but I know that if I'm okay with it, God can replace that "okay" with joy. So in all honesty...the new year...it doesn't really mean newness. It means another year of trying to understand this concept that as a Christian God has to be enough...and it means another year of understanding that my humanity won't allow it. There are days that I talk to this God in anger because I say I don't want any part of Him, but the truth is, I'd rather have more of myself and less of Him...because that means immediate happiness. Unfortunately, happiness is cheap...salvation costs a lot...one of these days, maybe I actually understand that!

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Matthew 10:29...it makes all the difference...

This year has proven to be a year of great testing. In my search for answers, I've just found more questions. I've found growing frustrations, growing pains, and growing anger...but in the midst of it all I've found growth.

I was doing some studying this morning and found this. Matthew 10:29 "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." Here is why this verse catches me. In the Greek the word for "will" is not found. Therefore the verse actually reads..."Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father."

God's will is a big thing to us Christians. We want to be in the midst of God's will, because somehow that means we're in the good of things. The NIV version says that God wills the sparrows to die. The Greek allows for natural law, that all things die, but says that even in those moments, God is present. I like that.

My faith has be stabbed, beated, spit at, exhausted, and thrown to the curb this year. For the first time I've stood back and said, I have no faith. I've walked through some journey's alone and I've walked through some with people. But it just seemed like God was absent through most of them. I believe it's because I felt the NIV of this verse was true...God willed me to go through this...but now I view this year differently. On this earth, the crisis that I went through is apart of natural law but through it all God was present.

There have been many times where jealousy stabbed at my heart. I longed for other peoples lives, I longed to laugh and do things that others were doing, I longed to have what other people had, and I longed to ruin the good that other people did have. I sit here now, looking back and still struggling with these things...but I now understand that God doesn't have it out against me, He isn't willing bad things upon me...He's simply holding out His arms and saying, I love you. As the bad things swarm, God is present. It doesn't say He's present and acting, He's not changing or moving, He's simply there.

As Christians our bridges of faith are often built upon God changing things in our life, it's the bridge built on an acting God. But God doesn't promise us His actions, He promises us His Presence. My faith is now having to be rebuilt upon a God of presence. If He chooses to sit on His hands...so be it! May my envy and jealousy not devour the faith that God is trying to hard to build. May my desires and wants take second place to the presence of a God who indeed suffered Himself. May my talk take second place to the silence of God. The value of silence...it used to be scary to me...now it's beautiful.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Chewing Orange Juice

There are few things in life that send chills up my spine, that make me gag quickly. Some of these things are polyester, bleh, sleeping with socks on, feet (i really hate feet), but one of things that does it more than any other is orange juice with lots of pulp. I can drink orange juice without pulp, but you put the pulp in and no amount of ameretto in the world can solve such a world crisis. I know because I found out tonight. My mom bought the orange juice and sent it home with me over Christmas. I was left with instructions and repeated naggings to drink it. I've really tried, half a glass of OJ and half a glass of ameretto. So here I type with a buzz and nasty OJ that I still have to chew to drink sitting in front of me.

I probably should have mentioned before that I threw my back out and just took two tylenol, which says do not drink alcohol while consuming this product. I say blah to that...I got nagging mother on one side saying, chew your OJ and tylenol that says don't consume alcohol. I guarantee I can't chew my OJ without alcohol in it, I can barely chew it with it in it. So after typing this I realize that I not only have laryngitis, viral infection, mono, and now a very sore back...but I also could possibly need therapy because of this disgusting OJ experience.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Value of Silence

My eyes are dry, my Faith is old.
My heart is hard, my prayers are cold.
And I know how I ought to be,
Alive to You, and dead to me.

Well what can be done, for an old heart like mine?
soften if up, with Oil and Wine.
The Oil is You, Your Spirit of Love.
Please Wash me anew, in the Wine of Your Blood.

Keith Green

I've listened to this song about a thousand times in the past week. Each time, my heart feels peace because the truth that lines this song. To love selflessly, my longing, my dream, my prayer, my desire. To love with no expectations. No returns. No concerns. To just love people, the church, the Kingdom.

I don't know if I'll ever get better...but it's becoming less of a frustration with each day. It seems like each day I wake up and feel weaker, more exhausted, more worn out. But each day I learn the value of solitude a little more. I was never a person who really hinged a whole lot on daily devotionals. I still really don't...but the last few days, I've spent a lot of time examining my heart vs. God's heart. The last few days, I've learned the value of the place I'm at. I've learned the value of the t.v. off, my books closed, my mouth shut and just praying to God. My voice is so silent that He's the only one that can hear me talk. So I talk to God.

The pain that has been etched so deep in me is beginning to see healing. I'm beginning to see what selfless love looks like...and I'm beginning to long deeper for it in my own life.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

My Broken Heart

Today was an interesting day. Today I realized I have a broken heart. It's broken, meaning it doesn't work. This morning I crawled out of bed and decided I was going to go to church, because for the first time in months, I actually woke up loving my church. I got in the shower, got out of the shower and passed out. So much for going to church, I laid around in my p.j's.

So how is my heart broken? Well while I was laying around this morning, I read a book, listened to some music and prayed. As God and I talked, I realized how backwards of a person I am. This blog is just gonna get straight to the point of brokenness. I've never stopped loving my church, or I wouldn't be fighting so hard...but my heart doesn't know how to love the church the way it needs to be loved. It's like my dad who buys my love, when I'm saying, dad just spend time with me, don't buy me stuff. Dad loves me, but he doesn't really know how to love me. It's the same concept, I love this church, but I don't know how to love it. God's shown me through solitude and silence I'm called to love this church. Well I don't really know how to keep my damn mouth shut, so God gave me a hand and gave my laryngitis, a viral infection, and mono. I'm on my last day of meds and I'm oddly worse. So I lay down under that and realize that my heart is broken, so broke that I can not perform this act of love on my own, I must be taught.

I'm broken, because I'm alone. I love people, love being around them, love being their friends. Lately, I've began to realize that my church doesn't love being around me or love being my friend. And God's arms only wrap tighter around me as I feel the void opening. My wound is gaping, my heart is bleeding, my soul feels the chills of winter. I've fought and fought and pushed and pushed to try to make people care, but God once again reminds me that we can not change free will. So I stand in silence and look over the church in dismal hope of ever feeling their love again.

Then I hear God's sweet voice. It's quiet as He whispers, I love you. In those three words I realize that that's the love I'm searching for, that's the love that I miss. My broken heart absorbs these healing words but the brokenness is so deep that it only slows the bleeding.

I walk alone. To remain in this church means I walk alone or does it? Have I ever really walked alone? I think deeply and say in confidence yes. I lost sight of God, I walked away, anger became my compass and bitterness became my map. I walked alone. In "this" church I walk alone, because "this" church is that of anger and bitterness...but that is not thee church...thee church is a church where an imperfect person speaks to an imperfect congregation, where imperfect people try to serve a perfect God. So I look closely at my vision of church and realize everyday, that my vision is twisted.

I've spent the past year fighting...fighting what? Lots of things. Image, stereotype, roles, positions, God, love, friendship, hatred, envy..you name it, I've fought it. I've battled the people, the positions, and the visions of the church. Now my broken heart lays down. My broken heart lays wounded and tired. My broken heart is tired of fighting. Has been tired of fighting.

I've spent the past year trying to form a friendship with this amazing guy, Tim. When I first met Tim, I was less than optimistic. I really just wanted to push him in the creek, send him down stream and erase LCC anything from Rantoul. Well as time went by, I began to realize that he isn't like the rest of the crowd, I wanted to be friends. I know, girls, friends with a guy...new and growing concept. So I tried, I pushed, I fell, I stumbled, and I was broken. This week, my broken heart has realized that you can't push free will. You can't make someone be a friend. It just isn't possible. I can't make this church love me, I can't make these people see what I see, I can't make these people respect my vision. I can only love them. I can only serve them. I can only sit silently among the crowd and worship my Lord and Savior. So I give up.

My broken heart lays down in front of the hands of a gentle Shepherd. My broken heart quits trying. My broken heart gives up on friendships, on position, on status, on abilities. My broken heart lays bleeding, open, and wounded. My broken heart desires nothing more than the touch of a Shepherd. My visions for this church no longer matter, the Shepherds vision all but cry out. Friendship...it's a beautiful thing, something I've never had the time to be blessed with. Katie is the only friend I've ever really had that is constant. There was another one, but we've gone seperate ways. Friendship is something I never was able to have because of the homelife and worklife I had to carry growing up. That's not a curse because I cherish friendship more than most. I recognize the beauty of it. It's like someone who has everything, they don't see the value of anything. I on the other hand look at friendship with so much beauty and amazement.

Now I look at friendship, I see a broken heart. So my broken heart gives up on this friendship that I've tried so hard to build. I don't give up in hopelessness, I give up in personal effort. For a friendship traveled one way, is really just two people passing by. I'm tired of chasing. God's calling my attention to Himself. No longer can a broken heart chase, no longer can a broken heart mend, no longer can a broken heart speak.

Silence is the greatest gift of all. You learn who your real friends are, you learn who God is, and you learn what the church is made of. In this time of sickness, the church has sat on their hands. I didn't know how I would feel about this, but once a heart is broken, it is no longer scared of brokenness. Before, this heart trembled in the idea of brokeness, now this heart looks at brokenness and lays down knowing that this means hurt...but not failure.

For I'd rather have Jesus than silver or gold, I'd rather be His than have riches untold. I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands. I'd rather be led by His nail-pierced hand. Than to be the king of a vast domain, or be held in sin's dread sway. I'd rather have Jesus than anything this world affords today.

-If this entry seems odd, it's because I have a 102 fever as I type it...so I'm not sure how much sense it makes. But it comes to you in completeness and it comes to you in the knowledge, that I'm not scared anymore. I'm just broken...

I'm not sure if anyone really reads this anyway...but if you do...look for the broken hearted... they are often disguised by strength, because their fear of displaying their hurt is high. Find the broken hearted and tell them, that it's okay for them to hurt, because once they begin to feel the pain...they become less scared of the pain. Scars eventually become the outer shell of the broken hearted. Those scars mark the battles humanity fights...stubbornness...if we first laid down and never fought, our hearts would never have gotten broken, but in brokennes you learn the power of healing and without healing, you will never understand the hands of the Shepherd.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Christmas...What Does It Mean?

Well Christmas day is here and almost gone. I can't describe the weight that's been on my chest today. I've been thinking of my kids all day long. I hope they are all doing okay. Christmas at my house was once again a festivity of presents.

I did get to see Carrie and Jason. I really like Jason, always have, even though the rest of my family isn't as impressed.

So Christmas...somehow today should be a happy day, but it really hasn't. Why? Maybe because I'm crazy sick...but I think because somewhere out there I wish that life was different. Not my life personally, but life in general. I think of the birth of Jesus and how even that amazing event did not really change the world here and now, but instead changed eternity. I've thought a lot about my church today. A year ago this week is when I first stepped foot into this church. A year later, my heart is broken for this church. Nothing brings tears to my eyes faster than this church. I love these people, but I don't know of a place where I feel more out of place in.

I think of the main people that I have come to know. The Stanberry's have a huge place in my heart. They are going to be the constants of my life! The youth minister, it's been a long, hard ride. But you know, I've learned a lot from him. I've learned the most difficult lesson from him (with a little help from God and laryngitis)...silence. The minister and his wife...for the first time, silence comes in handy...

This year, I've learned humbleness. God has taken someone who thought she knew a lot and brought her to be someone who really knows very little. I no longer walk with confidence, instead I walk with more uncertainty than ever and through that uncertainty I can learn faith. I want to say something that very few people will understand...but it's important to me. I miss God. No He hasn't gone anywhere, but He's not the God I knew a year ago. I miss the God of comfort and joy. I haven't seen much of that God this year. But then I realized that it's not because God isn't of those things, but God is also a God of growth. Growing is scary. So I sit and reflect on this past year of my church. I think about Christmas. I think about the disappointments.

Then I place my eyes on God, realizing for the first time in my life...I don't really know Him at all. Meaning that I've finally seen the God that is so big that I just can't wrap my arms around Him. The unknown is scary and patience isn't my strong point. But when you drive home for two hours with beautiful snow falling, you begin to see that the here and now are the beautiful things.

Last night, Christmas eve, a dear friend passed away. An attendee of a church that I grew up in. Such a beautiful family, this family is. It's taught me to recognize that some people smile through Christmas, others cry, and others just think and hope. None of these are wrong and I kinda feel like that's what happened at the manger that day, thousands of years back. Some laughed, others cried and other just thought and developed a sense of hope. The Christmas program at my church won't be the same without the duets of Chuck and Lonnie. I can't even hear Christmas songs without hearing their voices. Distinct...not amazing to most listeners, but it's a part of my childhood.

Raedean Windish...most amazing woman. She's frustrated with the church. I never thought I'd ever see the day. For once in my life...I all of the sudden, don't feel so alone.

That's what Christmas is about, life..death...birth...joy...saddness...future...frustrations...love...anger. All these things center around that day, when a baby named Jesus came into the world.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Why I Rewrote - Twas the Night Before Christmas


brokenness Posted by Hello

As a social work major and as someone working in the community, these are the children I see and read about. For them Christmas is just another day, another day of abuse and neglect or of saddness and fear. I think about the families sitting around their trees opening mounds of presents and my mind rolls back to little children like this. What's in it for them this year? They don't wish for thousands of presents, they want what most children have just been given...a family. A family that loves them and cares for them. Happiness. I personally do not like Christmas at all...I wish tomorrow would never even get here. Why? Because I see people all over, lost in Christmas shopping, lost in church programs, lost in family. And somewhere out there and thousands of children who are lost in abusive homes. These children have no gifts, no love, and no vision of a Savior. They think everyday that this could be their last.

Last night, I thought about my church. Yesterday I found out that I was taken off of praise team permanently because the leader of the praise team felt I was spiritually weak. You know, if feeling empathy for families like this, if having anger towards churches who have an ability to bring change but don't makes me a weak Christian...than so be it. In all honesty, I am weak...there are days I'm so angry with God, because I don't know how to help the kids I work with. Because more than anything I wish I could wrap them up in my arms and hold them until they get big enough to fight the battles they face. But I can't...

So why did I rewrite the poem? In hopes to open up peoples eyes to what Christmas really means? It means Christ? For me...it means taking Christ into children's lives who have never experienced laughter or joy. For these children to have one day a year where they aren't scared for their lives...that's what they want for Christmas. I honestly wish that my family would not spend their money on me, but instead give me the cash, so I could make a few children's dreams come true. But honestly, all the cash in the world won't stop the hand of an abusive parent. It takes more than that...maybe the only thing that will save an abused child is for someone, somewhere to step into their lives and give them one source of safety to turn to when everything else has crumbled? What are you doing?

Twas The Night Before Christmas - reality version

Twas The Night Before Christmas
By: Lynn Griffith

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house.
All the creatures were stirring, even a mouse...(or 10 in my case)
Garbage bags were hung by the chimmney with care,
The presents and St. Nicholas would soon be there.

Some children were nestled all snug in their bed,
While others sat chilled, to them santa was dead.
Mama with her smirnoff and I with my beer tap,
Had been screaming and yelling as mama took the rap.

When out in the living room rose such a clatter.
I crawled quietly from my bed to see what was the matter.
I opened the door and saw beer bottles smashed.
And realized my dad had ran out of cash.

The moon gave light to my new fallen hope,
There was no luster in life or in objects below.
Then what to my wondering eyes did appear?
But a broken sleigh and eight drunken reindeer.

With the old driver drunk and disgustingly sick,
I knew in a moment it wasn't St. Nick.
My dad looked at me and his eyes melted in shame,
Then threw things and shouted and called me by name.

I turned and I ran and threw open the gate,
Fell on my knees but imagined it was too late.
Dad came running but fell and hit the wall,
Just as I saw my Christmas present fall.

One present you see, was all it took,
My dreams and my hope were all but shook.
Then I looked to the sky and the stars shone down.
I knew that God was looking around.

I fell on my knees and looked to the sky
And one tear fell and I realized I would cry.
Christmas wasn't about presents and all,
It meant healing for me and my families great fall.

Not everyone has a dream Christmas you see,
Some don't have gifts, so they can pay their bills and their fees.
They understand what it means to feel left out and in need,
As they open their door and let others in to feed.

Wealth and image, Christmas possess,
But the stable where Christ was born, was truly a mess.
The families that are heard by God's listening ear,
Are often the ones who live in complete fear.

So I think to myself on this Christmas Eve night,
God, for one day let nobody fight.
Let every child wake up, and see a family of love,
The love that you once brought to this earth from above.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

i'm sad

i'm sad...nothing seems right. it's a few days before christmas and i haven't even got my christmas shopping done and i don't even feel like doing it. i'm not sure i'm even going to go home for christmas.

it just doesn't feel like christmas this year...


From Santa Back to Christ!

In this weeks Rantoul Press a kid wrote in and said, "I have been very good girl this year. I can't wait until Christmas. I want snow this year. I don't care what I get for Christmas. All I want for Christmas is everyone to be happy." - Logan

Surrounded by a hundred or so toy requests sits this bleak cry for happiness, not for herself but for everyone. How familiar this request is, there were Christmas' that that's all I wanted too. Families are funny things...they can be blessing but they can also cause chaos. In a child searching for peace, a fighting family severes every last source of strength.

Christmas, the first Christmas family wasn't even really a whole family. This man see's his "probably girlfriend" Mary pregnant and having a baby and we really never hear from Joseph again through the Bible. Unfortunately, the presense of Jesus didn't promise wholeness on this earth, but completeness through salvation. The Christmas story resonates in children like this, who maybe lost a parent through divorce, seperation, or death or maybe the yelling and accusations are too loud in the home to allow them to hear the small, sweet voice of a Savior.

I take this little girls request and I take it away from Santa and give it to the true meaning of Christmas, Christ. May He answer her prayers.




Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Silent Night or Selfish Night?

Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright
Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

This is a beautiful Christmas carol...one of my favorites actually. But sadly to say, I'm not sure why we sing it on Christmas anymore. The more appropriate version would be.

Selfish night, full of fights
Nothing's calm, nothings right
Round yon presents under the tree
I want yours and mine don't you see
Greed has taken away peace
Greed has taken away peace

This is more appropriate in my mind. So I think this year, I should definitely sing this instead. It puts no thought towards Christ, it puts all thoughts on broken families and greedy families. It centers your thoughts on the presents. I often wonder what would happen if I didn't buy Christmas presents this year...which could happen because I'm still sick and haven't gone shopping yet, in fact I've done nothing on my list.

Christmas, it used to rock my world when I was litte. Not because of presents. I remember my 5th Christmas like it was yesterday. Teddy Rupskin was out and I wanted it badly. Well my dad was on strike for a year, so needless to say, money was not really there. So my dad saved and bought me AG Bear. Now AG Bear wasn't Teddy Rupskin. Teddy told stories, AG just growled. But you know what, I still have that bear and it's the best present I've ever gotten. I remember it because of the sacrifice. At the time I didn't really understand, but I loved it. And now I love it more. The reason I loved Christmas before was because Christmas Eve I would go to Grandma Griffith's and it was awesome. We'd hang out, be annoyed by our cousins, and eat and open presents. Then Christmas day we'd go to Grandma Bell's...great food, family and fun. Now, we don't do anything with family at all. Some people may say, that's a blessing, but I don't...because I love my extended family. But I never seen them much. I love my grandparents...I may go see Grandparents on Christmas anyway. You know, break away from my mom and just do it.

So Christmas...entry number one is focused on our selfishness. Christmas...why don't we just call it Giftmas. The church especially....oh it bothers me because i see so many needs but yet so many churches sit around their Christmas tree, enjoying their gifts but not spreading them around. Selfishness vs. Sacrifice. Where is the Christian heart? Where is my heart? That's what I'm exploring...and I will find it!

The Christian Female

You know, for the past five years I've began to realize that females are crazy. There are very few that I actually get along with? Last night I sat thinking about that and decided that the reason is that everything is a competetion between them. Living with two sisters, I should completely understand that. When I say everything, I mean everything...weight, hair, skin, clothes, cars, writing, friends, laughter, art, books, teachers, boys, boyfriends, boys that are boyfriends, guys, men, the male species, and the list continues, if you can look around your room and see it, it's a competetion between females.

Well I've never been the competitive person. So that's a big reason as to why I don't get females. Well this past semester at college, I wanted to make some good female friends. So I talked to the girls in my class, but competition was too high, so I joined some Bible studies, but the knitting was too much for me. Christian girls are weird. So I went to the bars with some friends...I fit in there definitely more but I looked around and saw girls dressed in a way that I don't think I could ever dress.

So being female and being Christian is tough. You look around at the Christian females and think to yourself, come on really? And you look around at the females in the world and think to yourself, come on really?

I read on a friends site about hoochie santa helpers. That's exactly what I'm talking about. In the female world even having your thong's up your butt is a competetion. "My thong is cuter and it's up higher." And I loose friends quick because I'd look at them both and say, "congrats you're both big hooches."

So as a female you can dress like the girls of the world...which i've witnessed this at Christian college...but then you say one thing to guys, I'm easy. I've decided that's not something I want to say to guys, because I'm not and I am worth more than a piece of string hanging out my pants.

So I turn and look to the Christian female group and I think, man I don't want to dress like some of these girls either. They have all these weird Christian guys after them and I'm not sure I want that either. Not all Christian girls dress like this...but a good percentage look like their moms are still dressing them.

So as a female who sits down, slumped shoulders and frustrated...what do I do. I don't fit in this mixture. I don't want to look like my mom dressed me, but if I have to dress like a slut to be attractive, I don't want that either. So I sit in the middle of this fence of females and think...man why are guys attracted to this crap? And where are the guys who aren't looking for housewives or sluts?

So anyway, that's been on my mind lately and I'll have my first Christmas post arriving within the day.

Monday, December 20, 2004

My Schizophrenic Personality

For anyone whose known me for long periods of time, you will have seen two sides of me. I used to be a very laid back person who didn't really care about life, who kept her mouth shut, who just floated by, except when there was a good fight to fight and then I was right at the front of the line waiting to fight. Lately I've been the fighter. So why is any of this important? Well I'm a type AB personality. (oh...i know important information when I see it - it's earthshattering). I'm an unusual bird is what that means. (okay so you all knew that already) Most people are either A or B...I am both. Phil made me take 3 different personality tests in undergrad because he didn't believe it could be correct because it's such a small margin to get into. Turns out, all three agree.

So it's time to start accessing that AB personality. I'm going to have to make a list of goals for the week. That's something I haven't been making myself do and now I have less than a week until Christmas and it's a must...I must do this. I've been so sick and am still sick. Sickness, everytime I get down time, I get sick...I think my body is programmed to push until it doesn't have too. So here are my list of things I must accomplish this week.

1. Christmas shop...yep you heard...I haven't started shopping for my family yet. Oh how much trouble I'm in. (Or maybe I could change Christmas to July and then I'd have lots of time)
2. Clean my apt...for those who witnessed the tragedy of my dorm room, it's not quite that bad yet, but it's working on it.
3. I think at this point I should forget Christmas cards, it was going to go on the list...but too late.
4. Make my sister divinity.
5. Get well....hmm...with all this stuff to do...I'm afraid my body will hate me more.
6. Screw the list, sleep all week, skip Christmas, shop next week and give my family their gifts late.

This is where the AB personality gets into trouble.

7. Beat the crap out of this damn mouse in my apt.
8. Feed the homeless
9. Save the world
10. Stop the war in Iraq
11. Lower taxes
12. Plant more trees
13. Stop country music from being played in all 50 states.
14. Ban all Kentucky Fried Chicken places in all 49 states except for Kentucky.

Okay...so this again is where the type AB personality gets into trouble.

That's a lot to do in one week.

I think I'll just drink coffee, read books, watch movies and work with my kids. Saving the world will have to wait for next week...country music being banned should have happened years ago...but if I ban it I'll have a very unhappy sister and father...so I guess that should wait for the next generation.

Hmm...so I'm not sure what I'm going to do this week..but my apt is gross and since Christmas will be on the 25th, I should get a present or two.

I love jazz. It brings happiness to my sick body. Wanna know what I feel like? I sleep like 15-20 hours a day...that leaves me anywhere from 4-9 hours to be awake. Every bone, muscle, ligament, hair, and nail hurts in my body...no joke. Pain. My voice, I sound like a mouse. I could read the night before Christmas and the kids would never believe the part that said, "not a creature was stirring not even a mouse." So there ya go.

So anyway, this week, since it is inevitably Christmas time...I'm going to be sharing my version of Christmas, my idea of Christmas, be prepared. This could be dangerous, if you love Christmas, be warned, don't read the entries that will follow this..you will be offended!


Sunday, December 19, 2004

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

I watched The Five People You Meet in Heaven this weekend. It was an amazing movie. I love the book and the movie, which is rare for me. The movie touches on sacrifice. I for one hate this word. I hate when I want something that I can't have. It seems like life is full of things like that. I'm a selfish person. There is one thing in particular that I want...but I just can't have and it's bothering me so much. Some people may not even understand it, it's something the world would be completely confused by.

You know, I find myself unhappy. Unhappy with God, unhappy with people, unhappy with life. Unhappiness is when things that happen dissatisfy your expectations. My expectations are broken. And now I battle myself.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, when you're sick, you tend to have time to think. So as I've sat and done just about nothing for the past week, I've thought a lot about my hurt and my anger and my life. I've thought about my anger towards my pastor. You know, he really hurt my feelings when he talks about me behind my back and then suggests that I wasn't supposed to hear, so that makes it all better. I've thought a lot about the anger that has resulted from that hurt. You know...I realized that I really hate this man. I don't respect him, I don't like him, I don't look up to him, I don't even want to speak to him...but then I thought about how many things I've said about him behind his back. This makes me not respect me, not like me, not look up to me and not want to speak to me.

The pain that I feel and the anger I feel, I have no choice to but forgive and forget because I've done that and more to other people. Humbling...

My mother...she's controlling, pesimistic, hateful...but guess what, I've been that too at times. I've judged when I see in the seat of the spectator.

My voice is gone right now, maybe for a reason. Maybe this is the only way I can learn to be silent and stop hating and stop fighting and just stop. Just be still.

So this one thing that I want more than anything. In the stillness of His voice, I give everything I've got back to Him. Until I give it to Him in completeness, I'll carry the burdens of expectations, desires and emotions that aren't mine to carry.

The pain of letting go of something that you not only desire but love. It's the pain of birth...the pain of birthing faith, the pain of birthing hope, the pain of birthing a life that connects with other peoples, a life that touches other peoples lives. It's sad thought, I'm reminded of my humanity because every second I think, I pray that God will grant me a desire...the desire of my heart.

Life...is an amazing thing...but hard...Kudos to Mitch Albom and The Five People You Meet in Heaven. Great book and movie!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Things that make you go AHHHHHH!

There's something about being cooped up in small places for long periods of time that just make me want to scream. I don't know why that is, but things that may not have bothered me before, they not only bother me but they send me into a period of neurosis.

First, chef boyardi...it's gross, it's bad, it made me want to puke when I was little, and somethings never change, once again it hasn't failed me, it still makes me feel like puking. What is that meat in the middle of that ravioli anyway? Cafeteria meat is better than that stuff. It's not normal. Not to meantion the sauce, it's a pink color (in fact it's the color of this text...), I'm sorry, but tomato sauce should never look like that (or like this...). So you're thinking, why did you buy it? I didn't, it was bought for me, which leads me to my next topic.

My mother. Enough said. But really it's not enough for me, because I have to blow of steam somewhere. My mother....my mother...my mother....oh boy...here comes the neurosis. She bought me chef boyardi, knowing that I've never liked that stuff...ever...never....she wants me to puke. Then I today took a deep breath and opened up to share something about school...and guess what...I'm a loser...I'm stupid...she disappointed...and she didn't take it well when I told her that she had no right to be disappointed because I'm the one paying for school and if anyone is disappointed it should be me. Apparantly a B is bad in mom's book.

Christmas trees...I'm really Scrooge when it come to Christmas. It's just not my holiday, I don't understand this whole Christmas tree stuff and the presents and the annoying family get togethers, to me we're supposed to celebrate something, not punish ourselves even more. I know God gave us family, but that doesn't mean we should spend time with them. So today my parents made me drive into Champaign (keep in mind I'm sick) why? Well they had something to give me...they gave me a Christmas tree that looks more pathetic than Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. Not kidding you...and then she wants to know if it's hooked up...it's hard to hook up a tree in your closet. Why spend money on things that are just inherently dumb?

So I bought my medicine today...a Dave Berry book and a Jerry Seinfield book. They say laughter is the best medicine and I was in town so I had to get something...oh and don't forget the Smirnoff. So tonight is a night mixed with sleeping, reading and smirnoffing. Maybe I will wake up when it's Jan 2. Damn holidays...Bah humbug!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Changing the Church

Lately all I have been able to think about is somehow changing the church, my church, your church, the unchurched...church meaning people in general. Christianity is becoming so false and fake to me lately and people are so selfish and monetarily focused.

Then I realized something...these are the moments that I should say...I'm going to say something really important, with hopes that you read on...but really what I should stay instead is I'm going to say something that will mean little to anyone else...that will bore you...that will put you to sleep in mid sentence.....zzzzzz...oh wait..that's you not me. But if I say that then you'll stop reading now and instead sleep...which..I kinda feel like doing except my ovens on and I'd wake up with no hair and singed clothes.

Anyway...what I've realized is this...Power doesn't change people. When my parents screamed and yelled at me, it didn't change me, it just made me wish I was somewhere else. What changed me was when my dad said in a small voice...Lynn...you've got to start acting different. Those were the words I heard. Power doesn't change people. I've been standing in front of the church, your church, my church, people...and screaming at them..."DO SOMETHING!" "STOP WORRYING ABOUT YOURSELF...THERE ARE HOMELESS AND HURTING PEOPLE OUT THERE...DO SOMETHING." Oh how little I know.

All that yelling, the waving my hands in the air to get peoples attention, the jumping up and down. Oh how right I thought I was. But in all what's going to change them is the still, small voice of God. My voice isn't displaying that. My voice is forceful and challenging and powerful...but all in all...not changing. I'm learning, I'm growing, but most of all I'm listening to that still small voice because it's changing and if I can catch the slightest glimpse of the person behind the voice...maybe then I can talk in that still, small voice. Maybe then, God will see me as worthy to greet His people. Oh how good I thought I was...but how I'm seeing now, my ways were wrong...maybe Glen knows somethings I haven't known...and maybe that's why he gave up screaming and yelling and sits in his office. Now I don't believe sitting back and doing nothing is right...but I think that the concept is good. The concept is, I can't do anything without God...His voice changes, mine corrupts. But doing for God, with God and as a part of His church is essential.

So as far as my life long dreams of changing the church go...I've given up on them. I've decided that my expectations have lead me to failure. Instead I'm going to focus on changing this one part of the church...that's me. And I've decided that instead of changing, I'm going to love the church.

You know Elijah wasn't changed by the power display at Mt. Carmel, he was changed by God's voice. And then God sent him back to where he was. It's not about the people, the money, the things, the buildings, the service, it's about God...and I'm on my journey back. Elijah didn't arrive overnight. But God is sending me back...but when I return, I will indeed be changed.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

The Battle

I've been thinking a lot lately about the battles we face each day. I've been dealing with the battle of sickness lately. But you know, in the long line of things, it's so temporary...and soon enough I'll be back on my feet again.

The bigger battle that I've been thinking about is that of sin. You know...it seems like the harder I fight, the more I lose. That's something that this person just doesn't understand. Everyday I wake up, stumble out of bed and give me five minutes and I'll have already managed to bring sin into my day.

I've realized how easy it is for me to judge others, but you know...really I should be looking deeper at myself. My church is made of people just like me, imperfect. So why do I feel the need to see myself as better than others. How prideful I am...and guess what...pride is a sin. Ho hum. You know Christianity is a tough sport. It's full of wins and losses...it's full of struggles and will power.

At the end of the day, what it comes down to is grace. It comes down to God looking down at all my sins that are written on the chalkboard in my hand and it comes down to God erasing the slate clean. It comes down to me realizing every night as the sun falls, that without that grace, it would be impossible for me to be anything but a selfish, uncaring, human. Only through God can I learn to really love people.

Everyday brings a new challenge, but the hardest of them all, sin. To give myself in a life of service is my desire, but upon saying that, I knowingly will never do it. Why? Because that means sacrificing everything I have, and I'm not sure I'm made of that type of strength, but God knows, I want it.

The holidays are here, but I'm not worried. Because for some reason, they just don't mean the same thing to me anymore. They don't mean family and friends and presents and laughter...they mean struggles, hardship, saddness, guilt. You may think..that's depressing...but it's not to me. It's growing. That's what I've been doing. Seven years ago today my friend died and 13 years ago tomorrow my Grandpa died. Sometimes holidays are a reminder of God's sovereignty in our lives. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the Name!

I miss them...especially Grandpa. I miss his laughter, and practical jokes and ability to cheat on every game around. I think I got some things from him...I'm a good cheater, he taught me well and I love jokes, but no joke is the same without Grandpa. My family...I love them! Everyone of them. My mom has my grandpa's sense of humor...when it shines from her, I remember why I'm glad she's my mom. My dad...he's so selfless...he reminds me everyday what it truly means to give. My sisters and their husbands...i don't see them a lot..but they are my family and someday, they will be all I have left. Watching my grandma and her siblings, their closeness when all they had was each other. Family...

So everyday I wake up and go to sleep and realize that only one thing matters and it passes on to the rest of the day. Do I really love God? Or am I just playing another role in my life?

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Ocean's Twelve

I give two thumbs up to the movie Ocean's Twelve. Kudos and all that good stuff. Excellent movie, a tad slow in the beginning but funny and entertaining.

So I've been thinking...if the church isn't what I think it should be, maybe I should join a gang of masterminds and get rich. Then I can build my own church and pay the people and we will be a rich church with lots and lots of people and money...and wait...we already have those...in fact every morning I get up face north and bow in prayer to the wizards of Willow Creek.

So what is going on with church...I'm taking a step back. Doing planning, fighting the Donna monster who continues to want me to join First Christian and do youth ministry there. I'm not doing such a task, nor do I want to. I'm going to be a pew dweller. For all you reading this that know me, you're thinking...yeah that won't last long. But you know, I think it will, I think it will become a new part of who I have to be in ministry. I will have to be the strong silent type. My strength I could never sell away, but the idea of silence is something I have to learn. So for a month or so, I'm going to learn what exactly it does mean to "be still." When I come back to RCC, I'm going to have to break the walls through silence and obedience. Knowing that loving God is enough, and with God's love the walls of Jericho tumbled.

So some people live the exciting life of the mobb scene, which sounds thrilling...these are the mega churches that survive on the thrill of excitement, I on the other hand live in the ghetto. These are the churches that are built upon fighting and battling the top of the ladder. It's just too bad their's no corny music to dance to in the alley ways...and it's too bad no one is going to get that except me and Mr. Denman...who probably doesn't read this.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Peek a boo...

Peek a boo is an amazing game, you can entertain a child for hours with this games...okay..well at least minutes...which is like hours when the child is never good. It's rather simple, any monkey on the street can understand this game, there is no assembly required, it's rather cheap, and if you have a patient child you can even take a nap while you are playing. As I've thought about this game, I've realized that I'm still playing it. There are days and people that I get around and I just want to cover my eyes and pretend that the day is gone or the people don't exist. As I've studied child development, that is the stage three year olds are at when they are in trouble. If they close their eyes, they think the person scolding them goes away. Hmm...some things never change.

People I'd like to play peek a boo with. My church and most of the people in it. Some of my "friends," my family, and just daily frustrations.

But you know, life is full of lessons...I know, I know..more useless life lessons from Lynn. Even a child learns that the person usually slowly lifts their hands from their eyes and yells "peek a boo." If you're a good parent or babysitter or child abductee, (hmm...if you're that..I dont' want to know) then you will have mastered the true art to peek a boo. The game is secretly more for the adults than the kids. You, the adult, cover your eyes, the child begins to tug on your hands waiting in anticipation for the moment of peek a boo, but you sit with your hands tightly over your eyes, the child begin to think that your hands molded into your face and there is no hope to ever see your eyes again. The child calms down and begins to relax a little bit and just at the right moment you lower your hands ever so slowly and yell "peek a boo" and watch the child jump and then start giggling. You've made the child laugh because your hands are not molded to your face and you've got your own thrill because you scared the child. But the lesson that the child eventually learns is that the hands eventually have to come down. They always come down.

In life, we will always have to see what is out there. We can only pretend we don't exist for so long and then we have to exist again. We have to look our church in the eyes, we have to look our friends and family in the eyes and yell "peek a boo." What sucks is when you open your eyes and realize your view is still faulty. I think God plays peek a boo with us. I think at times God closes one eye, then the other, till He gets dizzy. Why? Because He has such a bigger view, He's bound to want some narrowing excitement. And plus...what does God do all day anyway, eventually He has to get tired of hearing our wish lists and complaints...if I were God I would alternate closing my eyes for entertainment sake and I might even play peek a boo with people. I think right now God's playing peek a boo with me. But if I wait Him out...He's bound to take the hands down and I'm going to be in front of Him...probably making faces, because I'm dumb enough to believe that God can't see through His Hands...hell if He can see into my heart...He can see through His own Hands. So the whole time...yeah..you got it...God's seeing me make faces at Him...man...

Friday, December 10, 2004

My Career

So some of you may wonder what exactly does Lynn do? Granted, those that know me, know that I excel best at being a smartass, and a slacker. But these two job skills do not pay as well as I believe they should. So what exactly do I do with my life outside of these two items. Well I attend the University of Illinois where I pay thousands of dollars to attend grad school and when I graduate I will have a social work degree and live in another rat infested apartment next to more of my clients. yay me! I also work for the local Community Service Center. Now I like this job, but today...I didn't like my job.

Wednesday I liked my job, I got to help a girl memorize verses and I got to explain them to her, it was awesome...today..not so much. Today I was on my own...Lisa didn't show..which is becoming less surprising and more obvious. I had every kid in the neighborhood show up, and most of them caused problems. I gave them popcorn and put a movie in and then before they left they wanted more snacks...I was like..yah right. Then I had to break up fights over toys and by 4:30 they lost privledge of the game rooms, the games, the puzzles, and books. All they had left was the movie that was on and that didn't last long before half of them got sent home. Their punishment carries through till Monday, they again have no game or snack privledge. So today the side of me came out that no kid wants to see. The side that resonates with Roberts accusation of me being the antichrist...but you know...that's just the way it has to be sometime. But God help me if I have another day like this ever again...

So what do I do...well basically study and work with kids for the rest of the hours in my life. I love kids...which is funny because 5 years ago, I hated kids. It's amazing how we change with time.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

The Future...

So I'm optimistic as to the future. Why you ask? Well why not? I have a vision, I have a mind, and I have my first warning ticket. Finals are half way through, I'm approaching a much need month break. I'm planning to spend Christmas day with the family. I'm watching t.v., reading books, and studying things of personal value to me.

I'm going to hear a month of amazing preaching. This Sunday, I'm going to hear Tim preach, and I'm so excited for that...it seems like out of the year of sermons I've heard, his always seem down to earth, powerful, and just have a piece of Christ attached. Not the warm fuzzies Christ, but the true and real Christ. Next Sunday I'm going to First Christian Church and hearing J.P Jones preach. The next Sunday I'm going to Havana and hearing Dr. Zorn preach. The following Sunday I'm going to Northside and hearing Chris Matchum. I'm looking forward to being revived and refreshed. More than that, I'm looking forward to gathering some tools.
I'm looking forward to life...it's been awhile since I've been optimistic. But in a world where jazz is alive, cigars are smoked, and Jesus is loved...what's not to be content...


I want to kiss my old ways goodbye and find God in new ways, to be content in Christ is my longing, desire and wish. I've thought a lot about dating lately. It seems like when life is hard, that dating just seems easy. But I know beyond a shadow of doubt that no person can make me happy. I've got to be content in a man named Jesus and only then will I know what love is. So I'm seeking God out and I'm hoping that I'll find exactly what I'm looking for. Not so God can give me anything, but so that God can give me nothing and I can still be in love with Him. To sit in His arms means He can change me, and more than anything...this person needs some changin.

So for all you people who know me and wish you didn't...well maybe someday you'll be glad you do!...if not..well maybe someday I'll have a lot of money and I can pay you to be glad....nah...I'm going into social work...not gonna happen...

The only thing that I'm not really all that optimistic about is the abusive man that just moved in above me. The past week I've had to report him for abuse and I've had one of his crazy male friends chase me through the parking lot at 12:30 in the morning yelling at me to mind my own business. But that's just minor because if I hear him hit his woman one more time, his ass is mine and I say that with the most Christ like love I can. And I'm not gonna go beat him up, because I have brains and I don't want to die, but I will use my brains and I will get him put in jail. So even this...although kinda unfortunate and even a little scary...is optimistic...

Tomorrow awaits me, helping Barb with church furniture moving...it's a scandal...

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

The Police

So this morning I'm leaving my apt, driving to school and get pulled over before I even get down the road. The police officer approaches my vehicle in his important "statureness." I roll down my window and he says in the deepest voice, "Ma'am (first of all, no female likes to be called 'ma'am') do you know why I pulled you over?" At this point I have four choices a) be sarcastic and say, "You're the one that pulled me over, so why are you asking me?" b) play dumb, "No I don't know why you pulled me over, as I pretend to be blonde and roll my hair up in the window." c) be smart, "yes in fact sir I do, I was speeding and I deserve a ticket, why don't you let me write it because then I would surely learn a lesson. d) both a and b. "No I don't know why you pulled me over, but I would be delighted to sit and listen if you would joyfully bless me with your presence in story." I chose letter d. This was a good choice. But the story isn't over. The officer then proceeds to say, well you were going 30 or 40 in a school zone. The word in this sentence is "OR." I immediately smell an investigation and the smartass emerges. I clear my throat and in the most sarcastic way possible I say, "I need to see your radar because the difference between 40 and 30 is 10 and 10 mph seems like a pretty big guess to me. So captain officer looks at me with a look that screams, "who are you to ask to see my radar." Like his radar gun is his secret, all powerful, changing the world device. I then decide to continue on in sarcastic jargon..."it is law that if I ask to see your radar that you must show me, if you'd like to write me a ticket and refuse to show me the radar, this is fine, but you better just follow me on down to the police station." The "fuzz" then looked at me and said,"well you're lucky I didn't have my radar on, because you're just going to get a warning." I like how he worded it..."I'm lucky." Luck is a funny thing...I was thinking more that he was stupid, not so much me lucky. As he handed my warning over, I realized that this man rents out to a lady in my church and does not do repairs on the house. This house is about to fall down and this man just lets it. So I thought to myself, "self, what would Lynn do?" I again weighed my options...a) keep mouth shut b) tell him exactly what I thought of him c) be a social worker. I chose letter c. I was kind, and I said...oh you live next door to this family and rent to them. We engaged in small conversation and then I said so very professionally, that house has a lot of repairs that could cause your ability to rent to be revoked if they are not repaired, so if I were you, I'd get on that. I rolled up my window and I drove away. Luck...that's what he calls it...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Have I Done All I Can Do...I'm a Sheep without a Shepherd!

This is going to be a rather serious entry, but I feel like I just need to unload...so this is me unloading.....

I've been thinking a lot lately...did Jesus ever get to the point where He felt He did all He could do? Some people answer yes, because He went to the cross...others say no because He didn't want to go to the cross.

I wonder if it's possible to get to that point. The reason I'm wondering is because I spend so much time in frustration and I hate being a frustrated person. Then after I'm frustrated, I spend the next 4 hours feeling guilty for feeling frustrated. I think the church is expecting someone other than I can be. I'm looking forward to meeting with Don Hatfield this week. I need a perspective in a bad way.

You see...the rumor mill roars again within Christian circles. Two rumors are circulating my circle...one...this person in my church and I are dating...WE ARE NOT DATING....just wanted to be clear on that..and two, I am against baptism. These are both beautiful rumors considering that no one has come to me on them at all. As I ponder this idea, I feel out of place and talked about...like I'm back at LCC again. I feel a lot of hurt by my church, and in return feel like I'm hurting people too.

I really like being friends with this person, but I strongly believe that this just can't take place anymore. Why? Well I challenged the minister to change the congregations perception of him, therefore I have to do the same. But to be honest...this friendship is important to me and I'm not sure it's worth ruining a friendship and putting myself through it either.

So what it comes down to, is that I have a strong feeling that I can't keep going like this for much longer. Sometimes God moves a person and I love these kids and I love this church...but the burden is heavy and my strength is depleted. So I ask...is God stretching me to rely on Him more or is God directing me to walk away while I still can?

Love is a scary thing...it forces you to do so many different things. Second guess yourself is the biggest. I love this church, and I second guess myself if I'm really profitting it or if I'm hindering it. Love carries commitment...and I've struggled so hard to remain committed...but something that weighs on me is what John Castelein said this weekend. If you feel you can't commit to your local congregation for one reason or another then maybe you need to go somewhere where you can have a shepherd.

I'm missing a shepherd in my life...I'm missing someone to help steer me and strengthen me and protect me. Therefore I feel like a lost sheep or an unwanted sheep amongst the lands, I feel endangered of being attacked by my church at any minute, and I feel alone.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Cool Mr. Keller and Lamewad LCC students

This morning I took off for the great escape. I ended up at Lincoln Christian Church. My expectations were once again high, as John Castelein spoke on membership....I don't even want to get into that garbage, but I leave a church pressing membership and end up at another one doing the same. But the highlight...mr. keller. This was my history prof at Lincoln College...the best idea I ever had was taking this class there to transfer in. This man is an amazing person, funny, real, and just plain awesome. Turns out he's riding in the same boat as me and is dealing with membership issues. The laughter we had together was such a blessing. I need people like Mr. Keller in my life!

So anyway, the elders supposedly wanted to take me out with the rest of the leadership for Christmas dinner. I was like...the hell I'm doing that...but after talking to Barb, I realized that she asked if I could come too...so anyway...I'm not going...Believe me...

So I did another amazing thing...while in the warehouse studying today at LCC....I said the world shit and watched this LCC lamewad plug his ears and say...I hate that word...I hate all curse words. So Katie says...you hate the word "shit" and he covers his ears again and Katie and I were laughing and saying..."shit Katie (shit Lynn), you keep saying shit" ...anyway...it wasn't long and I had to go somewhere else to study. One because of lamewad, and two because of gay band playing in the warehouse...and three..lame kids in the warehouse. Lameness...the mascot for LCC.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Expectations

God has recently laid upon my heart the idea of expectations. It's amazing of how many expectations I had when I was younger looking towards the future. I always imagined life would be different. From a young age, I set myself up for burnout and disappointment. Sure I couldn't help it, I didn't know I was doing such a thing...it's just what kids do. They dream. My problem comes when my dreams don't come true.

I expected my church to be a supportive body, who would always welcome me open armed and who would minister to me and cherish me. I expected the youth group to open their hearts to God and close their lives to anger. I expected friendships to develope, school to go smoothly and life to be happy.

What went wrong? Why is God absent? Where did He go? These are questions that plague the mind. But God says, nothing went wrong..I'm just giving you a new vision, a new mind, a mind that is open to God's expectations and not Lynn's expectations. A mind that no longer depends on my own standard of happiness, but on God's standard of happiness. You see, these facts are all true, and of God...but maybe just not on this earth. I may never feel these friendships, this acceptance or this ministry until I step into the arms of God.

I'm learning what it's like to be statisfied in dissatisfaction.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now?

So I climbed my "Mt. Everest" but at the end I realized that it may have been my Bermuda Triangle.

I survived, no getting tossed to the way side here...but because I did this, I'm now sucked in deeper. There may possibly be no escape from something that appears to be destructive to me.

Yet, God has chosen me...chosen me to humble. Chosen me to show...I'm useless without God. How humbling...how prideful I've been in my own abilities. How little I've relied upon God.

To stay in this ministry means giving up everything that matters to me. It means laying down my wants, and needs and realizing that God alone will take care of me.

It means walking away from a friendship that has meant so much to me these last few months. Knowing that God will still take care of me.

Change...live in expectations...hold on to what is true...fight for the end...walk alone, knowing you're really not alone. Smile...