Sunday, February 27, 2005

Here I Am

Here I am...my first post from my new apt....it's weird...I drove away from Rantoul yesterday and just started crying...no idea why...just did...wasn't thinking of anything...but the tears wouldn't stop...my dad called to ask me a question and then in his own way told me he loved me by telling me not to work too hard and such...I hung the phone up...and something hit me. But it wasn't long and my tears stopped as suddenly as they started...and here I sit today. After 7 or 8 trips hauling, many hours unpacking...I'm almost settled in...although I have way more stuff than any 23 year old should need... So here I am...my first morning waking up and wondering what comes next...I feel settled here already, which is odd...it just feels right..no mysteriousness...it's home and having a roommate seems so easy and nice. It reminds me everyday that some people do like me... So here I am. When I used to say this phrase I'd usually follow it up by 'Send me' and I usually said it to God...but I'm not sure where God would send me...I've got no where to go. Maybe I'll attempt this thing we call church today...only because the church I'm looking at is in a business building...I can't walk into a church that looks like a church....maybe I won't cry all the way through the service and have people star at me...maybe I won't be embarrassed...maybe I'll find healing and love and acceptance and a smile...just maybe...

To further your read...
http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=lynnard

Friday, February 25, 2005

Sorry -right now I'm having trouble expressing myself..and songs appear good...if you're annoyed by this...check out real posts on my xanga site http://www.xanga.com/home.aspx?user=lynnard

Never Underestimate My Jesus

Never Underestimate My Jesus - Reliant K

Am I at the point of no improvement?
What are the deaths I still dwell in?
I try to excel but I feel no movement
Can I be free of this unreleasable sin


CHORUS:
Never underestimate my Jesus
your tellin me that there's no hope
Im tellin you your wrong
Never underestimate my Jesus
when the world around you crumbles
He will be strong he will be strong

I throw up my hands
oh the impossibilities
Frustrated and tired
Where do I go from here?
Now Im searchin' for
The confidence I lost so willingly
Overcoming these obstacles
Is overcoming my fears

CHORUS

I think I can't
I think I can't
but I think you can
I think you can
gather my insufficiencies and
place them in your hands
place them in your hands
place them in your hands.

CHORUS (2x)

You will be strong (3x)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

New Design

New Design by Thousand Foot Krutch

Wait, I might hesitate
Am I a minute too late?
Please Lord, I need to know
This pressure's got me lettin' go
If I'm wrong, will I still carry on
And end up where I belong?

BRIDGE
I've never felt this way before
I've never come so close
I've never worn so thin
I'm stepping out
Instead of closing in
Left myself behind
When I made up my mind
No turnin' back this time
This is my new design

CHORUS
Sometimes I feel so alone
It feels like I'm standing out here on my own
I've never felt so far from home
It's comin' on, it hits me
When I step outside my zone
Cause sometimes, I feel so alone
It feels like I'm standing out here on my own
I've never felt so far from home
It's comin' on, it hits me
When I step outside my zone
I see what you're doin' to me
Could have been you so easilyY
ou look the other way
Even though we were close the other day
And I'm still tryin' to get up this hil
lI need you just like a pill

BRIDGECHORUS

Do you get the feelin'
Everything will be alright?
I'm movin'
So pleased to meet you
But I am movin' on
Tried to pass it to another
But it's comin' on
I can't wait to find out
Break me, can't seem to climb out
Of this hole, I'm stuck again
If I'm not out in a minute
I'm jumpin' in
Let's start again
I'm sick of this
Let's just get it out
Are ya feelin' it?
Move back
Ya wanna feel how real it is
Let's just get it out
Are ya feelin' it?
Move back
Ya wanna feel how real it is

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

This Is A Call

by: Thousand Foot Krutch


She fooled all of her friends into thinking she's so strong, but she still sleeps with her light on, and she acts like It's all right on, as she smiles again her mother lies there sickwith cancer, and her friends don't understand her, she's a question without answers, who feelslike falling apart.

She knows, she's so much more than worthless, but she needs to find her purpose, she wonders what she did to deserve this and..

She's calling out to you, this is a call; this is a call out, ' Cause everytime I fall down, Ireach out to you, and I'm losing all control now, and my hazard signs are all out, I'm askingyou, to show me what this life is all about.

He tells everyone a story, because he feels his life is boring, and he fights so you won't ignore him, because that's his biggest fear, and he cries, but you'll rarely see him do it. He loves, but he's scared to use it. So he hides behind the music, cause he likes it that way.

He knows, He's so much more than worthless, he needs to find the surface, because he's starting toget nervous.

He's calling out to you, this is a call; this is a call out, ' Cause everytime I fall down, I reach out to you, and I'm losing all control now, and my hazard signs are all out, I'm askingyou, to show me what this life is all about.

Have you ever felt this way before? 'cause I don't wanna hide here anymore. Take me to place where nothing's wrong and thanks for coming, shut the door. They say someone out there sees us,Well if you're real then save me Jesus, cause I've been here for far too long.

I wasn't meant to feel alone.And now I'm calling out to you, this is a call; this is a call out, 'Cause everytime I falldown, I reach out to you, and I'm losing all control now, and my hazard signs are all out, I'm asking you, to show me what this life is all about. Show me what this life is all about. Show me what this life is all about

Tuesday, February 22, 2005


James Dean Drawing Posted by Hello

I'm 'The Beast'

'Filthy Dirtbag?'


When faced with the question...'Why did you leave the church?' I wish I could hand them the following newsletter article. There is no good way to tell someone why I left...I didn't leave because of anyone in particular...I left because of how I felt. But I haven't found the words to say all of this quite yet...

Are You Tired of Being Wrong?: One of the cultural aspects of modern Christianity that is a pet peeve to me is the subtle and sometimes not so subtle idea we are always wrong.

"You are just reaping what you have sown! Your kids wouldn't have left the church if you had reared them properly." "God never changes so you must have moved." "Why are you not being blessed? When your life isn't getting better, you need to ask yourself where you are wrong." "If you still have this problem, maybe you need to come to the front and have the elders and prayer team pray for you!" "Will all of you who feel held back by some issue, please raise your hands. OK, now make your way out to the aisle and come on down to the altar and leave this issue before God!"

There are ten thousand ways and phrases that keep emphasizing the same theme. God is perfect and we are dirtbags. This perverted theme drives me to anger, and it drives hundreds of thousands of people out of church every year worldwide.

"Why would I want to go to church? By the time the sermon is finished I feel like a total loser again. Even work doesn't make me feel as incompetent as church!"

Under the New Covenant we no longer remain "filthy rags." We have been washed clean by the blood of the lamb. The Holy Spirit is doing his work of creating a new mind and a pure heart. Jesus is responsible to take care of our needs. We are a work in progress, and all things happen in God's good timing. We are children of God, we are the bride being readied for the big wedding - and it is high time the church understood that and started treating all of us with respect and unconditional love.

We don't need to be made to feel guilty except by a conviction of the Holy Spirit. We don't need a thousand trips to the altar. God the Holy Spirit dwells inside of us and He leads us to the Lord Jesus under every circumstance.

Please understand, if you have surrendered your life to Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is at work in you, you will be led and taught by the Holy Spirit. You need not be made to feel second class by a church, a pastor, or anyone else. Worship God. Rest in His spirit, and have a broken and contrite heart, and forget about abusive, manipulative churches and denominations. Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Kurt Cobain and John Lennon Drawings


Kurt Cobain Drawing Posted by Hello

John Lennon Drawing Posted by Hello

As many of you know -- I've had a lot of time on my hands and a lot of emotions and thoughts and changes going on. I've never been artistic in my life, but something has changed over the last month and I've found a new ability. So I've spend my month pouring myself over a sketch pad with a pencil. These are just two of the drawings...my mom has claimed a couple I've done and there are others that are too big to post on here.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I Didn't Go To Church...

Well it's Sunday morning. In fact it's 9:30 Sunday morning. I'm in my pj's and have decided that I'm not going to church this morning. After disappointment after disappointment, I've decided that I'm not going to start this week out frustrated with the church. For those of you who read this and shake your head disapprovingly, you're the reason why I have no passion for the building you call church.

I don't see church as a building, but you do. Church to you happens inside the walls of fancy building, but to me church can happen on the streets of a city full of homeless people. Church can happen dressed in rags just as easy as dressed in "church clothes."

You've taken the hands of Jesus and marked his hands with decision. Decision about who belongs in His Service, who belongs in His pews, and who belongs in His Will. You've changed my God into a decision making God...into a God that is secularized to pick His favorites.

I say I want to work with the poor, the lost, the rejected and you're response is of thankfulness, because someone needs to do it...yeah you're right...finally you're right about something...someone does need to do it, but why isn't it you?

I hope for your sake that one day you wake up and open your eyes and too wonder, 'who moved my church?' Because I'm telling you...it's a search that marks pain in your heart, but it's a step at removing yourself from your own selfish ambitions, you're own vain conceit and you're own judgemental hypothesis.

Where have I gone? I'm sitting in a land that I don't know, it's a land without the church as I thought it to be...I'm sitting here, but I don't recognize myself any longer. You see I used to be surrounded by people who told me they cared, people who I thought were my friends...but in the end I sit alone....in the end I search so hard for the God I once knew before I ran into 'the church.'

So you sit and think...don't blame us, it's you're own attitude that sucks. You know what...it's comments like that that push me further away. 'Thee church' would wrap their arms around me, hold me close, pray with me, laugh with me, and not turn their back on me.

In November, someone did that with me...someone spent time with me, let me talk through my frustrations, he was amazing...he showed me what I hoped to see in the church...but he's gone now.

Is love always conditional? Is it always based on how one behaves, or how one speaks or acts, or feels. When you round lifes corner and are faced with unexpected obstacles...will anyone be there to hold your hand as you struggle...or is friendship merely an act of conviencience. ...Meaning, if you can no longer help me, then why should I help you? I ask these questions because this is how I feel. I feel like now that my corner has come that all hands have let go.

Well when these past hands let go, so did my heart. It let go of a God I thought I knew. It let go of a Bible I thought I understood. It let go of a ideal I always believed. It let go of Christianity. Now I'm back at the basics...but this time I have so much hurt in my heart that I'm not sure I'll ever fully heal.

So as you read this, please, pity my soul...please renounce my faith, and please criticize my writings...because that is what church is to me...then this week I will feel like I've been in church.

I'm gonna show you someday what church really is! No it's not perfect, but it is beautiful...I just know it is... You'll see...you won't have ruined me...but you will have broke my soul. But my God...can fix my soul....someday...

Friday, February 18, 2005

You Mean You Don't See That!

I don't normally post the same post here in my blog that I do in my Xanga site, but today the only thing I feel is what I posted in my Xanga...so here it is...

As many people know, I've had a lot on my heart lately. A lot of changes are coming up and a lot of changes have happen. Lately I've learned what it's like to be totally out of control in my own life. I feel like my life is being lived and I'm just standing in a corner watching. I feel kinda like I did a year or so ago when I was playing Mario Brothers for the first time since 5th grade on Heathers Nintendo. I would have to call Heather or Liz in to get me more lives because I was always killing myself.

I kinda feel like God grabbed my controls and said...I've got to get you more lives...for right now I'm playing...only instead of a little Mario running around, it's a little Lynn.
In the last few days there have been times that I wanted to grab things back up and hold onto them. But instead I sit perplexed because I don't know how to do that...do I push A or B to do such a thing.

Well today a friend of mine is having a biopsy done. In a few days everything in her life could change. Her dreams, her life, her future could change, or once again with the controller sitting in God's hands, she could just find wings and fly over the hurtle.

I've been faced with the control of God lately. Whether it's been my urge to write a lost friend a letter telling them I love and miss then. Whether it's been my packing and moving, whether it's been my job, my school, my fears, my hurt, and my emptiness.

When you hurt and see God in control, I think it has to be the scariest version of God I've faced yet. You wonder why...well because of the hurt there is no way I can take control, but if God makes a decision that hurts more than what I'm going through now...will I survive?
So I say all this to arrive at this point. What is this point? It's here...don't you see? You mean you can't see the cliff that lays ahead of me? You mean you can't see the bridge being constructed? You mean you can't see the water 200 ft below? You mean you can't see that it's life or death?

Oh wait...what...you see a hand? You don't see a bridge? You say that hand is the bridge. I don't see a hand, I see a rickety bridge being built, but you say it's a strong hand? It will catch me you say...

But where will I be when it does catch me? Where will I end up? Will I be happy? Will I be sad and alone? Will I prosper? Will I have a hope and a future? You say it's written on the hand that I will have a hope and a future and it won't harm me? I don't see it written on the bridge...you say it's written in red? I see nothing red...

It all comes to the point where my vision does not see the same picture of God that many others see. My vision doesn't see the hope that others see. I've lost sight of the God I used to see. Trust is a chasm that I have to cross blindfolded. This life that I lead, I deeply love. I love every youth that I spent many days with over the past year. I love every congregation attendee who brought so much joy into my life. I even love the minister...I've never hated him...just frustrated with him...love...love sometimes means saying things that are hard to hear but best to be said. That's kinda what God's doing with me now...He's telling me to let go, He's telling me that all these things that I love so much, although good, they aren't going to save me in the end.

I turn around and see the backs of people and heads that I've known for the past year...but I've never seen their backs...only their fronts. I keep looking back and forth...the bridge doesn't look safe, but the there's no safety amongst the crowd. What you say, you don't see anyone around? I see them clearly...you mean you see no one with their backs towards me? I can't believe you see no one?

What? Why can't I take a step back? You say there's no ground behind me...don't you see the tree's and the hills? You mean they aren't there? You mean I have no choice but to take the bridge? Okay...You mean I have no choice but to take the hand?

What about the ones I love...What about my dreams...What about my memories? Forget them? I can't do such a thing.. What, you didn't say forget them? You said, you're ripping them? Ripping them, how? You're ripping them from me... How will I make it without them? You say I'll be okay! I don't feel okay! You say you promise me!

Well to be honest I don't know how to move without these people, but I don't know how to move without you either... So here...take all of these people...wait...are you sure I can't take them with me? You're sure I don't have the strength. What about you? You seem pretty strong! It's not their time, you say? It's my time though? So I have to leave them?

Well okay then...I guess I keep moving foward...but if you don't see the people, why are you saying I have to leave them? What? You've already moved me? What do you mean? The people are where I left them? I didn't know that I moved. You moved me when the tears blocked my vision? Then what do I see? I see my my dreams and my memories, you say!
Can I carry them with me? Only the good ones, the bad are too heavy! So I have to lay down the bad! What if they all are bad because they all hurt? I should give you them all, and one day you'll give me back the good ones, when I'm stronger? But I don't know how? You say trust you! You see nothing I see, feel nothing I feel, and you want me to trust you!

--That's Right-- Trust me~

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Packing

I'm in the process of moving again. For those that know me, you would think I'd be pretty good at this task. But to be honest, most of the time movers came and packed up our family. And when I moved at college, well my parents kinda did it for me.

This is the first move I've done on my own kinda. And I realized last night, how much I suck at it. I spent a lot of the night packing boxes. I also spent most of the night in tears. I went through all of my youth ministry stuff and threw it all in the garbage.

This whole move is weird because I wanted to move just because the people above me are driving me nuts and my apt. has mice. But I hadn't really thought about where I'd move to or when. Then my friend asked me out of nowhere if I'd room with her. The idea of having a roommate sounded good...it was a definite God thing. It will be weird not living in Rantoul, but I'll be around...I'm not totally gone. It will be a nice change of pace though.

But my goal in this move is to kinda start over. My goal is to try to find a church and build myself back up. I'm lost on the inside...more lost than I've ever been in my life. I used to know where my passion were, but I'm not so sure I know anymore. So at this point I want to clear everything away and see if I can find them again.

Last night as I threw all my stuff away, I found an e-mail. I read this e-mail and started crying...because the e-mail was one of hope. It was a response to an e-mail I sent out...I was frustrated and felt used and basically like nothing I was doing was good enough. The e-mail in reply was beautiful...but I wonder how much of it was truth. I threw everything away except that...for some reason I couldn't throw that away because I want to believe it's true even if it doesn't seem true.

Packing...I don't really enjoy it so much. Starting over is a scary thing...I've done it many times, but this starting over is different...because it's not fully starting over...some pieces of my life will be the exact same. But those empty spaces in my heart and life are what scare me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Updates....

I have really one thing to say this morning besides that fact that I'm so tired I'm about to fall out of my chair...but I got an A on my stats test. This is an exciting day in my life because I've never been good at math. My last stats class I took, I received a 104%. So I'm greatly thrilled to see that I have indeed learned to master my fear of math.

If I can master math...then I'll be able to master the church. This is my hope anyway...at least now I can figure out the statistical probability that I'll ever really return to the church.

I have to clean my apt today in the midst of the packing because people from Washington D.C are coming to inspect the apt's because they used to be subsidized housing at one time...now they aren't anymore...therefore they have to make sure that they've been updated and fixed up. Anyway, my name was randomly drawn to show my apt. Yay for me! I told my landlord that that was fine...I actually said...at this point you know...why not! I'll just put a note on my door and tell her my panties are in drawer number 3 in my dresser...

Exciting...in other news...I think I might be going to a slipknot concert. I'm really excited. It should be a blast.

Oh and last night...Dejuan called...for those who don't know Dejuan...we were great friends when I was at ICC. I was working through Jason awhile back because I lost track of him and finally we got each other phone numbers. So he called! It was so exciting. He's crazy...he's like the male version of me. Sometime soon, I'm going to get together with him because he's not that far away, at Olivet.

Then I talked to Rich last night...I went on a date with him back in the day, but he went through a period of intense struggle and didn't want anything to do with me or most other Christians. Well last night we talked and it was neat...things have calmed down in his life and we talked about so much. It was just good to talk to an old friend. I don't see me ever dating him again...he's an all around good guy, but he's very very settled..and well you know me...so it would be a time would tell scenario...who knows...i may not even talk to him again for a period of time.

That's the updates...

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Adam's journal article...

Well it's early in the morning on the only morning I get to sleep in on...and I'm awake. It was a long night of tossing and turning. My dreams were chaotic. It's going to be a heavy day. I've had a lot of those lately.

Yesterday I found out that a dear friend of mine is having a biopsy on Friday...by Monday we should know if it's cancerous or not. My heart just breaks down...Now I am forced to be strong. The biggest part of me wants to collapse on my knees and scream at God...but this time that's not my place...this time I need to be strong for my friend.

When I was younger I imagined older life as this... I imagined me in college and working, and hanging out with friends on the weekends and spending occasional evenings with someone I loved doing goofy things that no other couple does.

Somehow I missed that boat. It's been almost 3 years now since I've dated anyone...I am in college...my work is minimal and chaotic, and my friends that I have are awesome, but I wouldn't classify it as a huge group of friends...but I love my friends and they are loyal..therefore I classify it as good..and those occasional evenings I instead spend by myself.

So yesterday at work I had about 14 kids huddled all around me...I was sitting at a table drawing...which I do a lot of now. The kids watched the entire time...it was weird. When I finished the drawing, one of the girls said...I can't believe you drew that...that's professional work...I just laughed at her and smiled. She then looked at me puzzeled and said..."what is the girls name?"

Let me back up and describe the picture. The picture is of the inner city. There is a homeless girl sitting in a back alley way. The building that are protecting her are an old apt. building and a church. She's sitting in the back of the church, that has a sign (please use front door). No one knows she's there.

Now returning to the girls above question. I responded that I hadn't named her...she looks at me and said...'I think it's you.' I looked at her and asked 'why me?' Her response...I don't know...you just seem sad a lot lately...maybe you feel like that girl....I'm going to call her Lynn.

I left work yesterday knowing that that girl was me. That I felt homeless outside a church, who doesn't know I exist....or they know it but only ackknowledge it when they take the trash out the back door.

---I feel alone--- It's amazing how fast people can disappear and it's amazing how fast you realize the conditional love they possessed. I'm your friend as long as you do this for me...or I'm your church as long as you behave this way...

The following is Adam's Xanga journal article...I want to paste it here because it's how I feel...and the way he wrote it is perfect, but I could have never found the right words to say....

"The biggest misstep the Church has made recently is to equate repentance, real repentance, with behavior modification. Sure, we give lip service to the idea that repentance is about changed hearts, but what does our practice reveal? Listen to so-called "preaching for repentance" and all you hear is a list of the things you shouldn't DO (or think, but that's a topic for a different time). This implication, that having a repentant heart simply means not doing the things you used to, is nothing more than treating the symptoms rather than the disease.
To make things worse, we emphasize accountability of actions over care for the heart. In other words, we're only held accountable for what we DO. Rarely, if ever, have I been part of an accountability relationship where the emphasis was on who and how we love. The focus is always on what we DO. It's like we think that people just sin because that's what people do, and we fail to understand that sin is born and bred in the human heart. Therefore, shouldn't the inner life be of greater concern to us? And it's here that the Church has unwittingly fallen into another cleverly disguised trap.

Because we do try and address people's spiritual lives, don't we? We tell everyone that x minutes of Bible and prayer a day keep the Devil away. Sometimes we even will bring up things like fasting. The problem? We've still got the cart way out in front of the horse. These are still externals, and we're right back where we started in the behavior correction business. Contrary to popular evangelical belief, Jesus wasn't all that interested in correcting people's behavior. His Sermon on the Mount points out over and over again that achieving holiness this way is humanly impossible.

So what was Jesus really concerned about? Love. He desires for us to love God and love each other. He wants us to keep the promises we've made, not always because we want to, but because we've chosen to. It's pretty obvious from Jesus' frequent exasperation with His followers and the prayer in the garden that He didn't always want to love us. But He chose to.
Besides, He understood this one thing that the Church seems to have forgotten. Jesus knew that whoever came to Him in a committed love relationship would be changed. They wouldn't have to be berated into purity by shrill hellfire and brimstone, moral legislation, or anything else. Jesus only offers Himself as a behavior corrective. He expects us to do the same."

Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentines Ramblings

So it's Valentines day. I really don't like this holiday, and not because I don't have a boyfriend...I didn't like it when I did have a boyfriend. It seems generic that one day a year every guy in America that's dating a girl actually treats her right one day out of the year because if he doesn't he will appear to be a slug. I don't enjoy the holiday.

When I was little my dad used to buy me chocolates and balloons and presents...it was another Christmas for me. It was just crazy.

Tonight I'll be with Tiffany. And after much thought, there is no one else in the world that I'd rather spend this Valentines day with. This girl brings a smile to my face. When I first started working with her, she was quiet, withdrawn, sad, depressed, and hateful. Now she's laughing, talking, asking questions, being honest, she's growing and learning. I wish more than anything that I had a church to get her plugged into, but at the moment I don't.

Love...I guess this is the day of "love." Lately I haven't felt loved...now my family has been amazing...my mom actually bought me a Valentines gift. For the first time in a long time I feel loved by my family...but there is a section of my heart that is completely empty.

I've heard people say that they have a broken heart...I never knew what it was until now. And I've been in really hard situations and I've been engaged before...but even when that ended I never had a broken heart...I just moved forward. I guess if I'm going to have to have a broken heart I would rather have it over the loss of a ministry and a church and those that I love than over a boy.

Granted I like guys...I'm getting to the stage where I'm ready to date again. Granted I'm not sure who I would date...maybe I could date some thug who will beat the shit out of me...that seems to be the guys I attract. Now I've known nice guys before...you know them. The guys that you feel safe around, that are down to earth, your average all around good guy...but those guys don't like me. The guys that like me are guys that have bicepts bigger than my head, that are thugish, that have had hard lives and need a second chance...and I have sucker written on my forehead. I'll give every bonehead a secondchance and what happens...yeah you guessed it..I get thrown into walls, I get thrown out of moving vehicles...I get talked down to, manipulated and treated like shit.

So I'm not dating anyone until one of those all around good guy's likes me. I'm not like those females who want the bad boys...I just feel sorry for them, but I've decided that I can't date my clients and the guys I've dated need a social worker and a counselor. No more of that. So I sit wondering where he is...where that guy is that will care enough to treat me right. I don't need flowers everyday, going out everynight, phonecalls constantly...what I need is a guy who I can trust, a guy who loves God in a way that I know he'll see my worth, and a guy who will love me when I'm having the worst day of my life as well as when I'm having the best day. I need a guy to accept the huge amount of love I have in my heart...it's ready to give...I'm just looking for someone who will take my heart and not stomp on it in the end. Love isn't perfect...but it doesn't have to hurt either.

So long story short...I'm not looking for my prince charming...I'm looking for my 'average joe.' He doesn't have to be fancy or packaged greatly...he just has to be willing to love and be loved.

Does he exist...I know he does...but I'm not sure if he exists for me...maybe I'm destined to have the crap beat out of me...in that case I will live alone...I'm not the type of girl who could never marry. I have a desire for a husband and a family...I'm honestly not sure how I would live without that...it's hard living alone now...I don't mind it all that much...but it would be nice to have someone to share things with.

So these are my random Valentines ramblings...

Sunday, February 13, 2005

If Only....

I'm so jealous...

"I wish I had her clothes, and her car and her friends and her money and her life and her house and her and her and her and her...."

I remember these statements in high school...of the common..."If only" statement. If only I had that shirt, I know that he would like me...

Today Katie and I walked out of church before the service was finished...I couldn't take anymore and neither could Katie. Now I know that it's not completely the church's fault. I have a lot of hurt inside of me and church is hard for me right now. But today I just couldn't take it anymore as the pastor spoke of stewardship. I was mad at the beginning because the pastor spoke about how the church would close down if everyone gave their $5 a week and how we need to increase that $5 a week to sacrificial giving. As a college student, I don't have a lot of cash...not saying I couldn't give more money, considering right now I'm not real sure where I'm going to tithe too...but giving is more than cash. For me giving included my gifts and time. Right now I've got nowhere to do that...but then towards the end the minister said, "where you give your money your heart will follow and where your heart is you'll give your money." He continued to say that when you find a place where you give your time, gifts, heart and money, then you have found a place that will take care of you...I couldn't listen to it anymore...I had to get out of there. The statement he said is true..or maybe I should say...should be true....but it's not real for me right now.

So I go back to my original statement...I'm so jealous...I'm jealous of people who sit in church and walk out feeling moved, of people who go to church each week to see people they love and to be ministered to, of people who belong...If only I could find somewhere, if only I could be someone else, if only I could be safe...

Jealous...if only.... None of it really takes you anywhere, at the end of the service, I walk back onto the same wet streets as everyone else...I step in the same puddles...the difference is that it is my tears that form the puddles...

There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of the youth and the church and cry and pray for it...but there's also not a day that goes by that I don't pray for healing. There's not a day that goes by that I feel the pain of the wounds and need nothing more than a healing hand to bring peace to me. Today a man that Katie and I know came up behind us and wrapped his arms around us and shook us and was just crazy...I need those hands that wrap around me.

Most people cry because of friends, family, depression, bad day, boyfriend or girlfriend (for you guy readers) ...but if there is anyone out there that cries because of their church, that hurts because of their church...please let me know...I feel pretty alone in this battle. But I'm proud of myself because I'm determined to not leave "thee church" because of my hurt...I'm determined to heal, I'm determined to survive....I'm determined...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

What Am I So Afraid Of?

As I was driving today I sat and prayed for probably the longest time I've ever prayed. It was less of a prayer and more of a conversation.

I've felt worthless lately...meaningless...like a piece of crap. But the last month has been one of moving forward...one of finding my meaning...and finding my worth. So much of my personality is in giving to other people or what I call ministry. I love it so much, it's my passion, my heart, my desire...it's what makes my days move, my heart grow and God real. It just seems dead for me right now, I find myself looking for opportunities everywhere...for the first time in a year I'm searching everywhere to someone who needs me...but more importantly needs God.

I drove my grandma to the other side of the state to see her sister who is in the hospital today. I looked at my great aunt, who I love dearly, and realized how lonely she is. Her and her husband never got along and he died several years back. They adopted a son, who is ungrateful and a complete weirdo and has nothing to do with her. She has no grandchildren...nothing. I think of her life and how in her older age she wonders what she has to show for her life. She's an amazing Christian woman and I know her life has been used...but I can see in her eyes, her yearning for family, for friends, for love.

I know the feeling all too well. The future is so unknown and really in the end, I wonder what I'll have to show. I may not be a person that has a ton of friends, but I love my friends dearly! This last month, my friends have held my hand and pulled me through...they've listened, they've taken me to church, and they've sat beside me as I've cried through services. I haven't had to go to church alone yet. It's weird because my friends know that I'm fearless and have no problem going to church alone...but they see that right now I just can't do it.

With all this on my heart...this song has been a song that's been so meaningful to me. This song tells a lot of how I feel. It's not so much about one friend and how I'm going to minister to a particular friend...but it's more about my heart to do ministry...but I just don't know what to say anymore or how to do it...nothing feels or seems right...for the first time...I'm really scared of church and ministry.... I've faced pain this past month that I never thought I would ever endure...it hurts to see my "friend" slowly fade away...my friend being the church and ministry...

Father, hear my prayer
I need the perfect words
Words that he will hear
And know they're straight from You
I don't know what to say
I only know it hurts
To see my only friend slowly fade away

So maybe this time I'll speak the words of life
With Your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear is tearing at my words
What am I so afraid of?

'Cause here I go again
Talkin' bout the rain
And mulling over things that won't live past today
And as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance to tell him that
You love him

But here I go again,
Here I go again

Lord, You love him so, You gave Your only Son
If he will just believe; he will never die
But how then will he know what he has never heard
Lord he has never seen mirrored in my life
So maybe this time I'll speak the words of life
With Your fire in my eyes
But that old familiar fear is tearing at my words
What am I so afraid of?

'Cause here I go again
Talkin' bout the rain
And mulling over things that won't live past today
And as I dance around the truth
Time is not his friend
This might be my last chance to tell him that
You love him

But here I go again,
Here I go... here I go...

This might be my last chance to tell him that You love him
This might be my last chance to tell him that You love him

You love him, You love him
What Am I so afraid
What am I so afraid
What am I so afraid of?
How then will he know
What he has never heard

The blog of all blogs....

So after this post, I'm not sure I should ever post again...I'm not sure any blog should ever be posted in again because this is the entry of all entries.

So tonight I'm at a movie theater with a group of friends. I pull into a parking space and marking my space was a huge pile of clothes. So what did I do...I picked them up and carried a pile of frozen clothes home that are thawing out in my bathtub. They are all mens clothes, name brand...I was looking for a person that fits the size 38 /34 jeans...but you may just be too late...

Pictures will soon be appearing...

If you think this blog sucks...you're really just jealous!

Thursday, February 10, 2005

'The Return of the Prodigal Son'

Lately I've been studying the parable of the prodigal child. I've also been doing a lot of reading and looking at Rembrandt's painting The Return of the Prodigal Son. When I first starting reading about the painting and reading the story and then reading a book by Henri Nouwen, I pictured myself just like the prodigal child.

I want to speak in this entry as real as I can without quoting from outside readings, but really just speak from the heart. As I read the story of the prodigal son the first time, I really thought very little about it other than the prodigal child is any child that comes home to the Father. My initial thought is that this happens when people walk away from their faith.

As I began searching deeper I realized that this may not necessarily be true. Nouwen speaks of his search for love, his pursuit for acceptance, and his depression of rejection. I realized all too clearly that this was a picture of myself. That I, indeed was the prodigal child, that I left home searching so fervently for love and acceptance and when I came up empty, I made excuses for days of what I was going to say upon my return home.

I realized once I got home that I didn't have to say anything, there was rejoicing going on. I then looked at my brother and saw his anger and resentment and inside I realized that that older brother was also me. There has been so much of me that gave my heart and soul to my passion and work, I gave everything I had and in the end the party and the love was given to someone else and I stood unable to participate in the joy of the Father.

Then as I continued to look at it, I realized that God was calling me to be neither of the sons but to be the father. To be compassionate, to be serving, not self-serving. To grieve, forgive and be grateful. As I read this, I question...how can I ever be the father when I haven't yet experienced that love... I find myself in the cycle of human love and human rejection. I find myself entrapped in the resentment that comes from love and rejection...and I find myself always cycling between the younger and older son...but never treading into path of the father.

I've never been much of an artist, but today I sat with my sketch pad and for 5 hours I sketched a picture of the parable of what the prodigal son was to me. I began sketching when I viewed myself as the prodigal son...I drew a person, undefined, unclothed, just a person, chained, bowing before the father with tears running down their face. The older brother was a 20th cent. body builder when his hands up in rejection as the father has his hands on the prodigals back.

The second sketch in the series was when I saw myself as the older son. The body builder is chained and bound and the father is still on his knees waiting for the older son to put his hands into the fathers hands...and the prodigal is on his knees looking at the chains that once imprisioned him.

The third sketch is when I realized that I'm really to be the father...both sons are on their knees unchained and the father has one hand on each son.

Forgiveness...it's so hard...such a challenge...I'm too young to be this old...yet I'm I'm not as old as I think I am...

In my search for a sanctuary...a safe place or a place of protection...I realized that it comes not through human acceptance and rejection, but through knowing that I am the Beloved on whom His favor rests. As I've thought deeply about this, there are so many changes ahead of me...I'm going to have to search for a new job, because of the need for acceptance I have been working in a job where my boss doesn't show up to work and then records that she did so she can get paid and then tells me to take days off and writes that I have been working... This is fraud..and it's wrong...it has been going on for the last month and I've been so torn down by rejection that I was scared of more rejection...so I remained in the job...but after studying this parable, I realize that this job doesn't define my belovedness... but it could define my jail cell if I stay in this mess.

So as I finally come to understand what it means to be joint heirs with Jesus...I realized that Jesus left the Heavenly home to take on human form...stood under rejection and then went back to His Father....I am a joint heir...what people think of me will only take me as far as their mind turns...what God thinks of me will take me through eternity...

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Social Work

Sitting in class yesterday we were talking about religious affiliation with child welfare agencies. My class contains 3 DCFS workers, which is a government affiliated agency. I on the other hand am affiliated with a Christian child welfare agency. We were discuss the child welfare system over the last hundred years and the changes that have derrived. This system is far from perfect but with the instalation of family preservation...this system is becoming better.

One of our DCFS workers made a comment about the program One Church, One Child. This program is more targeted to the African American population. The percentage of African American children in the system is greater than the percentage of foster homes that will take African American children....you don't want to hear my opinion on that...

Anyway, the DCFS worker said, "I personally don't like the program, they don't do anything, they haven't made a difference." Then she continued..."Most religious agencies don't do anything to help the kids, they just try to shove religion down their the throats of children who view fathers as abusive or abandoning creatures and then the church wants to shove a Heavenly Father in their face. How does the church think the kids will view Him when their foster home decides they can't keep the child or when the system takes full ownership of the child?"

She had an amazing point, a point I stand firm on, especially after working with teens who have grown up in the system and saw thousands of kids adopted while they are still in foster care. These kids don't view God the same way children from healthy families view God. Now I know that some Christians will say, the Bible is the only real picture of God...if they read it then they wouldn't be misinformed. What I have to say to that is "BITE ME."

Christians don't fully understand what it means to look a child or an adolescent whose never had their basic needs met. We were formed from a male and a female who are titled Mom and Dad...yet many children are born just to Mom and then many children are born to Mom and then given away by Mom. Their first look at life is different. They have no stories of their first day coming into the world, no stories of their first birthday...no stories of the younger years. So they go to schools where people have their families and normals families at that and then they are an outcast because they are different.

They are labeled as the "foster kid." These are children who literally have nothing. All the state of Illinois requires of foster parents to give their foster kids is a bed, three meals a day and any daily hygiene products. Therefore as long as a child has an outfit for each day of the week and the cleaning products and a bed and food...they are not considered neglected.

I for one can say I have more than 7 outfits, I have plenty of extra hygiene products, I have food for snacks and meals, I have more than a bed to my belonging. Yet there are many foster kids who live in this restricted enviroment...why? Because the state pays the foster parents to house the child and to provide for the child, well the less money the parents spend on the child, the more money the parents get to keep...it's their income. And it sucks for the child.

Now not every foster parent is like this, but as the system grows, there are rising numbers of parents becoming like this.

The church could help, but that would involve pastors going into the community, finding the agencies, finding the needs, and finding the supplies. That would involve Christians deciding that mentoring these kids would be an amazing impact in their lives. Because you see...the children don't need to hear about Christ, they don't need to go to church ever Sunday...what they first needs is to see a picture of Christ. Once they see that picture, then they can hear and then they will attend church to hear more.

How silly we can be for assuming that VBS will be enough, that Sunday School will be enough, that our prayers will simply be enough. Now I believe strongly in all of these things, but not as enough. Jesus lived his days in active service and we should too. Why are our safety nets so important to us that people are hungry, thirsty, abused, lonely, and hurting...and we just wrap our net tighter around us. Ditch the net...as Christians if we can't trust in the Hand of God to guide and catch us and care for us when we're hurt...then how will anyone else ever see who Jesus is?

I've worked with a teen for the past 6 months and never once sat down to share the gospel with her...why?...she's not ready yet...but more importantly...she needs to see the gospel in action...she needs to see love. I'm not perfect at this, but this is what she needs, not only from me but from Christians in her community...but instead she's labeled as a drug seller, a bad kid, a loss...hopeless....she's none of these...she's my girl and every week when she comes in wearing a smile I get a little more excited because things are happening and every week when she comes in wearing tears, I sit beside her with kleenexes and let her talk it out...and each time I want to just take her place so she doesn't have to live through this pain... As a Christian, I can't fix what she's going through, but I can be beside and let her hurt and let her be in pain and accept anyway. That's what these kids need, acceptance no matter what they do, who they are, or how they feel...they need so see unconditional love!

So KUDOS to every foster parent out there who is showing their children unconditional love...you are special people and KUDOS to every church out there who reaching out to these children and who is reaching out to the mothers and fathers who abandoned their children for reasons we don't know or understand....even these people need unconditional love. KUDOS to the families that are opening their homes to mentor children with hurt. KUDOS to the listening ears and the open hearts and mouths that are shut to keep from judging. With each step you are showing a child what their Heavenly Father looks like. You're earning the trust of a child...that child has put their livlihood in your hands, everyday give that life to God...everyday treasure that life and help be the healer of the hurt.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Chancellors List

So I was accepted a Chancellors List person...I'm not sure if they have a name. Boy the Chancellor would be upset to find out that I'm not really even sure what a Chancellor is. Whoever he is I made his list. I hope it's not like the army...I'll go to school in March and be called to the chancellors office where I'm handed a weapon and a hat and made to fight for our school or something...

So I called home and read the letter to my parents and the letter has the words "Lynn" and "gifted" in the same sentence. Now my name has appeared on many letters home but the word "gifted" was never beside it. Usually the letter read...Lynn is a distraction in her classes and cannot find ways to keep her mouth shut. Who would have thought that I would have made it to grad school at the U of I and actually do well at it?

But if someone could help me with what the hell chancellor is, I'd greatful. I looked it up in the dictionary and encyclopedia...I found nothing...so I'm thinking it's a practical joke because we didn't have a chancellor at LCC...oh wait...that's because LCC is a practical joke... So I guess I'm smart or something...I'm voting for the or something category...

Graorange Fruit

Many of you may be wondering what a Graorange Fruit is. Well while at Katies this weekend her mom comes into Katies room and tells us both to come to the kitchen. She has a rather serious tone of voice so Katie asks what we did. We did nothing...Doris was just very excited that she bought fruit and wanted me to see. So she makes us all grab a piece and eat it. So I grab an orange thinking, it's been awhile since I've eaten an orange. I get the orange all peeled and through the process, it smells like an orange...but when I open it, it looks like a grapefruit. So Doris tells me to taste and it tasted like a mixture of grapefruit and orange. It was so sour...so Doris tasted it and made faces that got Katie and I laughing so hard I thought we were going to die.

Doris thinks that the hurricanes were so strong in Florida that they crossgerminated a orange with a grapefruit. So another exciting night at the Craners!

Monday, February 07, 2005

I Am My Father's Daughter

When I was growing up, I couldn't go anywhere with my dad without hearing, boy she's her fathers daughter. I look a lot like my dad. There is a lot about me that is different from my sisters. I have natural curly hair, which we're still not sure about...I have broad shoulders, a different personality...and the list moves on.

Yesterday my dad and I went to church together. He was driving home and he picked lunch up because mom was sick and dad thought it would be a great idea to drive 75 all the way home and burn rubber on his tires.... I was just getting ready to make a comment and the only thing that came to my mind was...I am my father's daughter. So I just kept my mouth shut and held onto the cups that my dad gave me to hold.

My dad is a very stubborn individual...in 8th grade my dad and I got into a fight...we didn't speak for a month. My mom finally made dad talk to me...but once again...it takes more than one person to be stubborn in this situation...therefore I am my fathers daughter.

My dad is a smarty pants...when we were growing up dad was in college getting his bachelors and masters degree's...he always got A's. When I was in my youngest years of this time, I would go out to the kitchen and sit on my dad's lap while he studied and tell him I was good luck...when he got an A on the test, I decided I really was good luck. So it became a ritual of studying with dad. Neither Emily or Carrie did this...just me because I am my fathers daughter.

So in all things that my dad is...he's a wonderful person with a great heart. My dad is fun to be around, yet a fighter when he has to be. I'm enjoying my dad now, because I'm not sure how well old age will set with him... As we drove to church yesterday my dad was playing southern gospel hymns on the radio and we were singing to them... When we first moved into the country...our well was dry so we had to haul water. Dad took me with him and we sang all kinds of songs together...and once again we sat together singing....I am my fathers daughter.

Then there is fishing...my dad and I can sit together and fish all day and not say a word but have a conversation of a century. Why? I am my father's daughter...

My dad protects me...he's there for me when I'm alone...he'll fight anyone that hurts me...but he loves me enough to sit down when I tell him it's just not worth a fight. The moral of this story...don't mess with any father's daughter...especially my dad's.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Escape into the Pages

As a child, I loved to read. I remember sitting in a swing in the yard during the summer and reading great books, like Anne of Green Gables, The Story Girl...and other LM Montgomery classics. I would read these books and escape. During those times I was no long Lynn Griffith of Illinois...I was someone else, that was much more fascinating, that had much more strength and had many more friends. I remember sneaking books to classes and trying to read while my teachers talked, I hated to put a book down. As movies have became way more popular than books, I watch movies that were formed from the book and still run back to the orignal masterpiece of the book...it's just always better.

For those that know me, not too much has changed over the years. I'm still sneaking books into classes, I'm still reading at work and I'm still drifting away into the unknown as I read. The thing that has changed is that I'm also enjoying different types of books now.

Probably my favorite author is Henri Nouwen. In the wee hours of the morning, I was reading a book titled Turn My Mourning into Dancing. This is what I read...

"We become violent preciesely because we expect more from each other than we can give. When we look for divine solutions in others, we make others into gods and ourselves inot demons. Our hands no longer caress but instead grasp. Our lips no longer kiss or form kind words but bite. Our eyes no longer look expectantly but suspiciously. Our ears do not hear so much as overhear. Everytime we think that another person or group of people is finally going to come and take away our fear and anxiety, we will find ourselves so frustrated that, instead of becoming gentle, we will become violent."

Henri goes on to offer a solution to such a delimma....

"Community, then, cannot grow out of lonliness, but comes when the person who begins to recognize his or her belovedness greets the belovedness of the other. The God alive in me greest the God resident in you."

I've talked a lot about finding my sanctuary - my place of protection... Reading this reminded me that that place is truly found in God and not in what His people think of me. Through forgiveness...I'm able to live and move forward and God will help me do this because even He experienced my pain...

I close with this thought by Staretz Silouan (a Greek Orthodox monk) "If you pray for your enemies, peace will come to you. And when you love your enemies, take for certain that great divine grace dwells in you."

On this same note Nenri Nouwen adds..."if you believe that you are the beloved, you can offer forgiveness, even when it cannot be received. For still you say, 'I set you free and I am willing to forgive you even when you cannot forgive me, because I claim my belovedness.' And you can move on saying, 'I can ask your forgiveness even though you cannot give it to me yet, and perhaps ever.'

So once again I escape into the pages, imagining me rising above my humanity and into the presense of God in hope and belief that I will not be a manipulator but instead one who embraces her belovedness and sees the stormy waters and allows God to raise me above them and walk upon the waters that could drown me.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

enCoUrageMenT

Last night Ica came up and we ventured to Campus House... Most of you who know me know that I'm not normally a shy or quiet person but last night I was. I immediately became uncomfortable...not because it was weird, but it was church...a place I'm no longer all that comfortable in.

The minister got up and preached...this was the Scripture... Hebrews 3:13 "But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." He spoke for a long time on encouragment...he said that we are all created to need encouragment and to give encouragement. At the end he read us Scripture of God's thoughts about us. I had to struggle to fight back tears the whole time...

I realized that for the past year I've had little to no encouragment by those that surrounded me on a regular basis. Most of the encouragment I carried came from friends that lived miles away. It actually got the point that I believed it was wrong to want encouragement. When I would try to explain that I needed it, in return I would often hear..."I don't need thank you's so I don't think of other people needing them." I didn't want a grand thank you or a ceremony or anything, I wanted encouragment.

Last night for the first time I realized that I had begun to believe that God thinks the same about me as many other people do who have turn their backs. Granted in my head I know that's not true, but last night I realized that in my heart it felt true. When the minister was reading off the verses where God pours His love out for us...my heart just began soaking up these words...hearing them from someone else...hearing a minister speak that type of love into me...it was so hard...

So last night I was sitting in a room full of people who were excited to love God, they had so much passion. I looked around and realized that I used to be that person and I'm just not anymore. It's not that I don't love God...it's that right now I've undergone serious pain...and that excitement has turned into fighting...everyday I fight to hold on to the God I know is real. I fight to forgive the pain and love God and His people.

But last night, for the first time, I felt comfirmation. I wasn't wrong to want and need encouragment. It's in the Bible several times...we are called to encourage one another in Brotherly Love...

Several days back Dayna replied to an entry...I've never met Dayna in person...in fact I know her only through her blog and that's how she knows me...but she put the most encouraging comment on my blog...

Last night the minister said for every insult it takes seven words of encouragment. I believe that is true. I've dated many guys who basically had no respect for women whatsoever...and they really had no respect for me. I remember one guy in particular, he told me I was fat, he told me I was the dumbest Christian he ever met, he told me that I couldn't work with youth in the church because it was wrong for me as a woman, he told me that I didn't know anything about the Bible... After awhile I started to believe these things and become things. That summer after we broke up I was sick and spent tons of time in the gym building my strength up. I ended up losing a ton of weight because of being sick...but I also found a church full of people who encouraged me and loved me and informed me of my knowledge...I began to gain confidence back. I started hanging out with friends in the area who laughed with me, invited me to go places...I began to feel wanted again. That was my sanctuary during that time...

I'm still in search of this sanctuary. Last night the message was great, but I was oddly enough...lonely there. I left and Ica's friends were talking about how friendly everyone was...but for some reason I didn't get that...it may have been me...I wasn't myself...I don't know when I'll ever be able to be myself in church. I think until I find somewhere that is a sanctuary I won't be able to be myself. It's going to take a long time to learn how to trust people and the church again.

Friday, February 04, 2005

When will I be found?

So last night I rolled in around 3:00 a.m. I came into my apt, walked into my room, shut the light off and crawled in bed. My head hit the pillow and tears just began running down my cheeks....why you wonder? You may be thinking...she's depressed, she's female, her dog got ran over...many things could be possible in this scenario...unfortunately, none of these are why I was crying at 3 a.m. Let me set the night up...

At 6:50 I got a phone call from a friend seeing if I was going to go to Bible study. I told her of course and I would be there to pick her up around 7:15. We get to Bible study, ring the doorbell, Adam doesn't answer so we just walk in. Immediately, I knew this was going to be interesting because Adam wasn't home and just left his house unlocked. So after we settle on his couch, put a pot of coffee in, we're ready to begin, except we have no leader and no group. Eventually Adam returns, suprised to find two girls in his house, he honestly did not know he left his door open. So after we pointed and laughed at him for an extended period of time, we decided that we would still let him lead the Bible study group.

Well 30 minutes later, which was also 30 minutes late...everyone starts rolling in. When I say everyone...that is three more people. Now this is the first time I've been to this Bible study, so first guy walks in and approaches me and says very nicely, "Hi I'm Eric, I don't think I know you." So I introduced myself. John and Christy are the next to come in. Now John and Christy are like two people out of the Victorian era...they talk with a deep English accent, but neither have ever been to England. So John looks at Adam and says, "Adam I believe there is someone here that we have not met, how about you introduce us." Well anyone who knows me...well...I ended up looking at him and said, "it's okay I'm not shy, I can introduce myself." Oh my goodness, people were laughing and by people I'm talking about Adam and the friend I went with.

That sets the pace for the rest of the night. We were in Joshua and after a 40 minute geography lesson from John (whose not the leader) I felt the importance to also point out the different tribes involved and their lineage, well John set me straight immediately, I was not to bring that up and they discussed that weeks earlier. Then during prayer request time, my friend and I were laughing about something and John immediately set us straight that this was wrong.

So my friend and I immediately left the Bible study. We actually were going to stay at Adam's and watch Napoleon Dynamite, but we knew the only way everyone else would leave is if we left, so off we went. The plan worked, the house followed and then we went back. Well we laughed all night long. We laughed so hard and it was just a good time.

So when I walked through the door, I had this overwhelming feeling of not fitting in anywhere. I like Adam and I like my friend, but the rest of the group and I didn't jive. Not only did we not jive, I was an annoyance if you will. So I laid down last night and everything in me wanted to cry out to God about why His people hate me....but I decided to instead pray for His people. I spent a lot of time praying for those that have hurt me, I didn't know what to pray, but I just listed their names. I prayed that I would find a place and a group of people that I would fit in, that would accept me... I just prayed.

I want to be accepted for who I am...not meaning I don't want to grow and change, but when I make a mistake, when I just mess up...when I open my mouth and insert my foot...that gentleness will restore me. I want to learn and grow, but I want to be myself at the same time. Adam told me to come back next week and be someone else...I just looked at him and said, if that's what I have to do...I guess I'm not coming back. I'm not a perfect person, and I don't claim to be. I'm the Christian that gets along with non-christians much better because they are so accepting. I can live my life in their midst knowing that even if they don't agree they respect it, and in the mean time, maybe I can teach them some things. I've learned the greatest vision of God's love for His people and acceptance by being in the midst of the unchurched. Maybe one day I'll be good enough...maybe one day I'll be worthy of forgiveness and worthy of second chances in the eyes of God's people...but in my own eyes and in God's eyes, I'll never be worthy...I'll only be lavished with grace.

Still in search of a sanctuary...I have a lunch meeting next week with a pastor in the area...I'm optimistic about this... He heard of me from a dear friend of mine and e-mailed me to meet him for lunch and just sit and talk. I'm very nervous, because what if once again, I'm not liked... I'm changing...last night I didn't even want to give prayer requests because they showed my weaknesses and when my weaknesses shine, people run away. But I did it anyway. I'm learning strength to keep going when everything logically tells me to stop... "But I am convince that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to seperate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." So I keep striving and searching and pleaing everyday to hold onto that love that the world strives so hard to break.

I believe...His Grace is enough...

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Moving...

During my life time I've moved quite a few times. In the last five years, I've done a lot of moving. I guess you could say I'm getting good at it. But every move is hard. Last night I started packing, and it just wasn't hard. Putting things in the boxes and thinking of the future wasn't hard this time.

God just opened the doors and it feels so right. I've never really had a roommate, so that will be different for me, but I'm excited to room with Liz. It will be like undergrad again in a way...only we won't have to eat crappy caf food.

But anyway, in the realm of packing I realized I have too much stuff.

When I was in second grade my family and I moved. We did live in Peoria, in what would now constitute as the ghetto of Peoria. In second grade we moved out to the country where the five acre yard appeared glorious at the time but after mowing it, yeah it just wasn't that great. Then we moved down to Kentucky, that was a very very hard move. I left my friends, family, church, everything that was familiar. But when people ask me where I'm from, I'll say KY everytime because that's where I grew up the most. Then I moved to Lincoln for college... Do I really have to dwell on those years? Lets just say I graduated and it's over! During the summers I was always moving around... And then I moved to Rantoul.

Rantoul...it's the home of the world's smallest Walmart and the worlds biggest post office. I'm not kidding you when I say that their post office could be bigger than their Walmart. Ten minute oil changes turn into hour long visits. The IGA is over-priced and snobbish feeling. The town is formed of many race, but all of them segregate themselves, racism is high. Most churches are all weathy, all middle class, all black, all white, all mexican. Rantoul...I came here scared out of my mind, not real happy that my dad picked the ghetto to put me in, but I dealt with it. I learned a lot, I grew a lot, and I helped a lot.

Now it's time to move again. This won't be my final move. In a year I have to move at least once more for an internship and then who knows after that. I've been accused of running away from things when I move. I don't agree. I had to move to KY and when I moved to Lincoln, I wasn't running away, I was running towards -- that's the same with Rantoul. I was running towards an internship and grad school and a church and a job...the future. Now in this move, I'm running towards being twenty-three.

I haven't been twenty-three yet. Sure I've been the age...but not really lived it. I've had youth over all the time that I've had to care for. I was planning events, working, school...life. Don't get me wrong, I loved it and I miss it more than anything. If I could have both worlds, that would be my choice, but when God closes a door, He opens a window. A window isn't the same as a door, you can see outside, but it's a lot harder to climb in and out of a window. This isn't going to be the same and it's going to take me awhile to adjust but now I'm going to be going to grad school, having a roommate, getting more involved with people my age.

So running away...heck no...running towards...always! I hope my mice don't sneek in the boxes...I sure don't want them to move with me....bleh..

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Spite of My Passion

As a young child I remember learning how to cook. The first meal I made was Turkey Piccata, mashed potatoes, green beans, and gravy. I remember the joy of completing the meal and seeing everyone eat it.

Most 23 year old girls don't thrive on cooking. But for me, I love to cook. Well I used to love to cook...

Today I went grocery shopping. I'm walking through aisle after aisle, viewing all the ingredients and foods. I came home with nothing. Some writers get writers block, well I have 'cookers block' - if there is such a thing. When a writer loses his/her passion to write, they are unable to write. I've lost my passion to cook. It seems meaningless cooking a meal for myself...cooking has always been something I've done for other people. I guess it's been my ministry or service.

Because of this ongoing problem...my mom has actually had to grocery shop for me. I'm now living off of canned soups and... well canned soups. I eat one meal a day now...if I'm lucky.

So I decided that I should do what every writer does, get a new a vision a new experience, something to excite them to write. But I'm having trouble coming up with something or someone to excite me to cook. If I lived in a big city, I would go to the homeless shelter and talk to people there and help cook. If I had a church, I'd do something through that. It just seems like there's no ideas to excite my passions any longer.

So as I wander the streets aimlessly, I search for something, someone to fan the flame that I once held inside. Next week I am going to be sitting down with a minister in the area who is a friend of a dear friend of mine. He's an older man, with a lot of experience behind the wheel of ministry. I'm looking forward to this conversation. Hoping to find a home soon...a sanctuary if you will..."a place of refuge and protection."

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

It's The End Of My World...Prayer of Jabez Boxer Shorts...Come On!

I remember the day when I loved Christian bookstores. I could do no wrong in these palaces of perfection. I could walk into the store knowing that I would only leave being a Godlier woman than before. Just walking into these God houses was an act of worship to my Savior.

Well as things have been taking place in life, the song writings of Steven Curtis Chapman make me want to hurl instead of fall on my knees. Veggie Tales are simple way of trying to get kids to eat healthy while be fed their spiritual vegetables. Testamints...what...why put a verse on a breath mint...come on now really! But it all comes down to this....

Never again will I give my money to Christian bookstores. Yes that’s right...while once again exploring the Christian bookstore scene to see if I could maybe find God there, I decided that the only thing I could find there was a migraine headache. Upon the view of the prayer of jabez boxer shorts, I realized that some Christians do view blessings come from their butt, but I hardly see that their boxer shorts will impress God and I don’t think the locker room crowd will fall on their knees in prayer because of them either. Then my mind was filled with the many many Purpose Driven Life monuments. I think the more stuff you own with Rick Warren’s name tacked onto it, the greater force you must have. If this is indeed true then I may as well give up right now and try something else. Then their are the T-shirts, bracelets, stuff animals, coffee cups, cards, fish figurines, and other useless tactics to market Jesus. Maybe it’s just me, but last I knew Jesus wasn’t marketable.

This doesn’t even touch on the Christian music industry. Why is it that Christian music runs five years behind secular music? Just within the last year some cool Christian bands are coming out, but what took them so long and why are their so few and why are their c.d’s so high priced? Where’s the creativity in Christian music....I know I’ll just say God, Jesus, Yahweh in eighteen different languages to a variation of Mary Had a Little Lamb and I’m sure to become a best seller in America....oh that’s right....most other nations have better things to spend their money on besides over priced, Godly crap. Can you picture it...father comes home from a 12 hour day of work where he pulled in the equivalency of three american dollars and turns to his family and said, "I decided that we’re not going to eat this week because we really needed this Chris Tomlin album that has his face plastered on the front."

So stepping down from my pedestal, I have one final word.....hummphhh........