Monday, February 28, 2011

Random Ramblings

9 Random Things About Me:

I prefer to wear ballet flats over heels any day.

  • I have a weird, (BUT STRONG) anti-deli feelings. Subway, Quiznos. Schlotzky's. I hate them. I just don't understand why I would pay $8 or even $5 for a sandwich when i could easily make it at my home for free. (yeah, yeah...fellas, this is where you  can make alllll those jokes about women belonging in the kitchen, making sandwiches all day for a living....)

  • Writing letters. I write to  to people across the country, to people across the city, to my mom across the hall. I find it more personal and much cuter than any email or Facebook message.

  • Some days, when I feel like it's been "one of those days" or when I'm so happy I feel like I could skip everywhere I go,  I watch "When Harry Met Sally". I watch it all the way through until the very end- you know, when Harry runs to Sally at the New Year's party and tell her he loves her? AND THEN GRABS HER AND KISSES HER!?!? Yeah, I rewind that part about 7 times. AT LEAST. Look, watch it for yourself and see what I mean...
  • I would like to write a book someday. 3 of them, actually.
  •  I like waking up in the morning, and not just at like 9 a.m. I'm talking like, waking up while everyone else is asleep. I  throw on a sweater, drive around with the windows down and I stick my left arm out the window, letting the wind move it like a wave. Or sometimes, I sit on the cool grass outside, letting its wetness seep into my clothes while drinking hot tea. Either way, whether I'm in my own backyard or driving along the highway, I like to play worship music and exult my Creator as the morning colors begin to tint the sky and the day unfolds. It brings me so much wonder and leaves me in total awe.

  • I think public school teachers are the biggest unsung heroes of America.
  •  I run. but not because i like it.

  • Sometimes, I like to speak in a British accent for a whole day and go places talking to strangers in that accent. They ask where I'm from and I usually say England. Then I ask where the "loo" is, because i know thats what they call the restroom over in Britain-it adds to authenticity.

             So now friends, what are some random things about you?  Go on, don't be shy to tell...

    Tuesday, February 22, 2011

    Free Wheelin' Dylans

    My brother looks a lot like Bob Dylan.

    The hair.

    The clothes.

    (He copied Bob Dylan of course)
    They even walk with the same hop in their step. Not in an arrogant way, in a-take-a-stroll-through-life-easy-going kind of way.

    The resemblance is almost unreal.

    It's kinda cool really, having a brother that looks like a legendary music icon.
    And he's not only that, but he's just an amazing guy all around. A follower of Jesus, a creator of music, a composer of words, and of course, the funniest guy in the world (seriously, he made me pee my pants from laughing...)
    Passion, love and joy drive him. He lives his life impacting those around him, though I'm not really sure he sees that.
    He's also the reason I haven't gotten asked out by any guys over the past 4 years of my high school career. He is feared I tell ya...
    He's pretty much my best friend. He knows me better than anyone ever.
    That's kinda cool too.
    Anyways, I looove him.
    And maybe this has to do with why I've started listening to Bob Dylan fairly recently.
    Because I miss having him around the house now that he's got his own place and I rarely see him.
    And when I listen to old Robert Zimmerman (Ol' Bobby's real real name btw) I hear my brother singing along to him in the background, as he's driving along stretches of highways,
    like a rolling stone,
    but he ain't goin' nowhere.

    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    Love Is Never A Stagnant Pool

    Background Story:

    At the after school program I work with, there's a girl named Megan.

                                      Let's call her Megan shall we?

    She used to somewhat annoy me because she would always follow me around and was extremely clingy and a couple of weeks ago she came up to me to talk to me. In that talk, she revealed to me so much that my view on her was changed. Jesus gave me COMPLETELY new eyes to see her in. She was no longer a pest, an annoyance, she was just a really hurt little girl. She explained how she spent the majority of her days with her dad, "the biggest meaniest man in the world" because he always errupted and responded with anger, shouting or spankings for the smallest things. So obviously, she was always scared of him.

    Her mom worked late into the nights and would make it home only to find her brother and her asleep. Once she gave them kisses and left the room, Megan would sneak into the hallway and listen to the discussions late at night. She told me her dad hurt her feelings once when she overheard her mother tell him "But she's only seven years old!" where her dad responded "But she's SO annoying!"

    I can't imagine the heart break she felt when she heard her own dad say that his own daughter was annoying, the thing she heard everyone else throughout the day label her as was affirmed by her daddy.

    "So I never talk to anyone. My parents always say “Not now”, and I don't have any friends. I really don't. They all think that I'm weird and when I want to play with them they run away. So I talk to myself... BUT THAT MAKES THEM THINK I'M WEIRDER!!!"
                         I listened. I listened to her frustrations and confessions of loneliness and rejection and having no worth in the eyes of anyone. I listened to her hurts as they surfaced the more she talked. I told her "But you know that your parents love you right??" and she said, "They used to tell me, but they barely never tell me anymore." Awkwaaaaaard. What can you say to that? So I said,"But you know that I love you right? So very much! I think you're a neat girl who is smart, BEAUTIFUL, funny, and has the prettiest hair I've ever seen!"

               Her face lit up suddenly.

    "And did you know that Jesus loves you even more than I love you!?! His love for you, makes my love seem like nothing! That's how much it is!"

               Her face was a vision. It was joy, amazement, astonishment and disbelief all at once. I told her to talk to me anytime she wanted. Anytime. Even if she just wanted to tell me about her day, no matter how good or bad it was."Sometimes,” I told her, “we won't be able to talk though. But when that happens, did you know that you can always talk to Jesus?"

    "But HOW?! He's not even here! How do we know if He's really listening?"

    I explained that she could talk to Him like He was sitting right there, next to us, to tell Him how she felt and He really does He hear even if it seems like we're talking to a wall.

    "Sometimes," I said, "I tell Jesus whenever I'm super scared or sad or angry. I just say 'Jesus, you need to help me because my mom is yelling at me and I don't know what to do but I'm scared. But I know You're the only one who can help me, so Jesus, please help me feel that You're here with me, and help me calm me down.' and He ALWAYS DOES! You might not feel it right away, it's not magical, but just keep talking to Him, He'll make you feel safe and you won't even be scared. And He speaks to you in your heart. Not like a voice, but you can like, feel Him in your heart. "

    "So. I can talk to Him whenever I want...? Andddd....He hears me?"


    It was hard for her to grasp, a little frustrating too since she asked why we couldn't see Him, but I sensed her hope in what I said. As she left to go home, before she reached the door, she yelled out "WAIT!!!! CAN I TALK TO HIM IN MY HEAD TOO!?!?"

    I was walking down a hallway, holding her hand, and I asked her how things were going at home and she responded:

    "Well actually, things are better. 'Cause that one time me and you talked, remember? I talked to God that night. And then the next day, my dad started yelling at me and my brother again, and I 'membered what you said, so in my head I told God that I was scared and that I needed Him to help me not be scared and then a little bit later, my dad stopped yelling and I wasn't even scared anymore. I told my mom how I talked to you and how I talked to God and my daddy doesn't yell anymore. Sometimes he gets mad, but then he calms down and doesn't yell or spank us anymore. He's nice now. The other day, I told him to have a good day as I got out of the car and you know what he said??! He said “You too! Love you!” 'Member how you said that He hears me? He does! I know so 'cause He made my daddy stop yelling. Ms. Renata, I talk to God all the time now! I tell Him everything and sometimes, I fall asleep in the middle of us talking at night. I feel Him in my heart. I feel like He's talking too. But not a lot, just a little. But it's kind of like being friends at first. I know what you're talking about Ms. Renata! Sometimes, I even hear Him tell me not to do bad things or how to be nice to my daddy. And one night, when I was scared of my closet, my daddy just shut the door but I still couldn't go to sleep, so then, I started telling God that I was scared and I just fell asleep."

     I didn't even know what to do. I literally couldn't speak because I was overwhelmed by so many emotions. I was so proud of her, so awe filled that God made Himself so real to her in things that seemed small, but that in her seven year old mind seemed huge. That being in the transformation of her dad and falling asleep after being terrified of her closet. I was so excited that she heard Him, so full of joy and ecstasy, and amazed at the way He broke into her family's relationships.

    I told her to go down to the playground and assured her that I would be down in a sec. As she hopped down the stairs, I went into the bathroom and cried!!! Because I was SO AMAZED AT THE WAY THE FATHER MADE HIMSELF KNOWN- in the transformation of her dad and even in having peace after being terrified of her closet.

               Mainly, I was so amazed at how deeply the love of Christ penetrated through the rejection, the sadness, the lies and the wounds the enemy tried to instil in this little girl. I was filled with awe and astonishment, at the way His glory and power were manifested through the life of a seven year old girl, who for the first time in her life, is experiencing the love of Jesus and what it's like to be accepted in Him, and I was watching His hand orchestrate this all before my very eyes.

     Praise be to Him, who's constantly at work in our lives and making Himself known! He is the light that breaks down the walls darkness tries to build. He is our source of life that floods our hearts with joy!

    Our hope.

              Our refuge.

                       Our healer.

                                   Our Father.

    This is the Kingdom of God. And it is real. And it is moving.

    Thank you Jesus, for letting me be a part of it.

    He NEVER ceases to amaze me


    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    It Is Well

    sur·ren·der - 1 a : to yield to the power, control, or possession of another upon compulsion or demand b : to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another 2 a : to give (oneself) up into the power of another especially as a prisoner b : to give (oneself) over to something (as an influence) intransitive senses : to give oneself up into the power of another

    Sometimes, life gets a lot harder-more than you could think or come to admit.
    Friends sort of vanish, loneliness seems to follow you and everything is just so dim.
    And suddenly, just living takes courage. 
    Yet it is in those moments, those feelings of sadness, hurt and weakness that that I hear the Savior comfort me, and He tells me to sing "It is well with my soul..."
    It's in the moments where I feel like I don't even have the strength to stand up and all I can do is just trust Him, fully
    Many, many times, I say to Him how I have surrendered everything to Him, how I have laid down all my burdens at His feet, but when the time comes where I feel so very frightened, I run back to my burdens and thrust them upon my shoulders once more. I do this out of fear. But then I ask myself "What are you afraid of?? Let God act!"
    He continues to demonstrate how nothing is outside His control! He is SO much bigger than me, but for some reason, I tend to forget that. I instead focus more on the size of my problems than the size of my God and I forget that when I asked Him to be Lord of my Life, I asked Him to be Lord in ALL the areas of my life, not just the things I want to give to Him, when I feel like it. He wants it all, or He wants nothing.
    He is the One in control, not me. Oh how I wish I could always see that! 
    I pray that He would fix my eyes upon Him and not the circumstances!

    Friends, may He whisper His peace upon your soul, that you too, would take great hope in knowing that no matter what you're feelings may be, He is the Lord of it all.
    And may you remember that 
    His Sovereignty calms calamities.
    And so I ask you, "What are you afraid of? Let God act. Abandon yourself to Him. You will suffer, but you will suffer with love, peaceand consolation. You will fight, but you can carry off the victory, and God Himself, after having fought with you, will crown you with His own hand. You will weep, but your tears will be sweet, and God Himself will come with satisfaction to dry them. You will not be free any longer to give yourself up to your tyrannic passions, but you will sacrifice your liberty freely, and you will enter into a new liberty unknown to the world, in which you will do nothing except for love"
    So trust Him, even though darkness seems to surround you, slowly swallowing you whole, the Light will break in. The dawn is coming.
    You need not to despair, but rather look to the sky and wait for morning. As you wait, let the song He taught you, rise with the Sun.

    This is an actual sunrise I witnessed. 
    I know, I know....It left me speechless too.