Oh, the randomness...

Just my thoughts on life, love, and the pursuit of Jesus.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Anger is ugly

So, this weekend. What can I say?? I went back to my hometown for my birthday, and it really may have been the worst birthday ever. It wasn't all bad, but it wasn't that special, either.

And so this whole thing about unmet expectations reared its ugly head, and I am so, so angry right now. Saturday was bad, Sunday was worse, and today, Monday morning, it just was the final straw.

And what is it about the people you love the most being the ones who leave the biggest gashes on your heart? I mean, I would think that my family should be a safe place, not the place that leaves me broken and crying. All the scars on my heart that I thought were healed and sealed were ripped open again, and now I am alone, angry, and trying to let go.

Today's verse of the day was interesting in light of everything I said to (shouted at) God last night:
""Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord."
Jeremiah 23:24

I guess I can't hide from God, but being straight up with him about all of this is hard. Because I see the darkness, the ugliness in my heart. And I can't right now conceive how he can see beauty and light in there. How Jesus can really take my place.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Almost There!

It's almost my birthday! Which is funny because usually I make it a big deal, because I'm kind of a big deal...(Ron Burgundy anyone!?) But this year, it's really not a big thing. It's going to be such a low-key day, and that's actually OK with me. I'm realizing that maybe I don't need all the attention like I thought I did.

It's been a cool day today because so many friends at work got me presents, and some friends at Z took me out for lunch. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time. I love my fellow 20somethings at Z who can get off-site and really just be themselves and not worry about appearances. Being comfortable in your own skin is so important to me.

It's been a cool week overall because God has been giving me blessing after blessing and encouragement after encouragement. People have been telling me the changes they've seen in me, and how open I am to God's blessings now instead of rejecting them. They've told me they're proud of me. They've bought me ice cream and shared the deepest parts of their walk with God. They've bared their soul.

And so tomorrow, my only hope is that I get another day to see Jesus revealed to me. Another day to lay down my life for someone else. Another chance to restore things and bring happiness to others. Oh, well that, and I do hope to hear from a couple of good friends of mine! I've missed my girls lately, and hope they call soon!!

Happy Friday night,

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Taking Stock: A Review

Well folks, in 4 short days it’s my birthday. Yup, another year gone by. I will be the wonderful old age of 26. (ha!)

As I sat the other night, taking stock of the past year and thinking about who I want to become, I jotted some things/actions I am committing myself to over the next year.

In my 26th year, these are the things I want to accomplish:

1) Follow my heart at all costs
2) Learn to see God more clearly
3) Relax more!
4) Read more books
5) Study the Torah, for the law of Lord is sweeter than honey :0)
6) See my sisters!!!
7) Love unconditionally
8) Fight for friendships
9) Learn grace under fire
10) Trust God more completely
11) Have a kind heart
12) Live on God’s timetable, not mine
13) Overcome any remaining abandonment issues
14) Open my heart to being loved
15) Discoverg the magic in the everyday moments
16) Establish a solid church community
17) Live with eyes wide open, looking for God’s smallest and biggest wonders
18) Encourage those I care about more frequently
19) Give back to those who have given so much to me
20) Write an article (and get it published maybe!)
21) Baby-sit more. I miss kids!!
22) Love my mom more completely
23) Take the leap and get tested for breast cancer
24) Pray more often for those around me, instead of for my selfish wants

lessons from an unintended source

Today I got an email in from my friend who recently got a new puppy. I sent an email nicely asking (aka demanding!) to see cute pictures asap. The dog is so darned cute!!!

In his response about how the weekend with the new puppy was, he said "Actually we started crate training him so we did go out for a little bit on Sunday... just to help him realize that when we leave, we are coming back."

And he was really talking about the dog. There was no deeper lesson intended. But, for me, that one sentence cut right through to my very core.

"We left to help him realize that when we leave, we are coming back."

For years, my biggest fear was that someone would 'leave' me. It wasn't entirely an irrational fear, because many people did leave me or abandon me in my times of needs, or in friendships altogether, and so whenever I saw a situation arising where someone was leaving or I was leaving, I would immediately push them away. It was easier to run and push them away early on so it would hurt less later. (For anyone reading this who does this, just remember one thing: it is not easier later on if you push them away.)

And this same friend who now has the dog, oh, I can remember conversations about this topic.
In fact, I wouldn't be the person I am today without these conversations. One of them in particular, I remember, occurred at work. I was in my cubicle, very very upset with a couple of things. People weren't respecting me, I felt God had started a plan for my life and then left in the middle of it, and here I was crying and telling my new friend these things. And at one point I said "it's OK. you can leave now. I understand."

My poor, bewildered friend. He said 'what do you mean? why would I leave?' Well, because honestly, for all of my formative years I was told I was 'too much to handle' and so if I was too much, people were going to give up or let go. So I figured he would realize one day that I was too much, and I expected each day to be that day. When I told him that, you know what he did?

He didn't leave.

He didn't run.

He sat down in the chair opposite of me. And waited...

I asked what was going on. And he said "I will sit here for as long as it takes for you to understand that I will never, ever leave you. Friends don't do that to each other, and a few tears aren't going to force me out."

I tell you, friends, that Jesus was alive and real in him. I've never felt love or acceptance or friendship to that degree.

And now I am stronger, and I no longer expect or wait for people to leave. I've learned to see love in its purest form again, thanks to friends like this and my roommates from Calvin. God has led me through a painful yet beautiful healing process.

So today I thought about the idea of leaving for a short while just to let someone know you will come back. You might leave, but you will always return.

What does that look like in our spiritual lives? Is it possible that God sometimes 'leaves' to show us that he will always come back? Is that essentially what he did when Jesus was on the cross?

I think now that leaving looks a lot less scary, and a lot more like an opportunity to see the return.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Guess what time it is! WAY past my bedtime!! I go to bed at 10pm regularly, but last week with all the stress of work and the schoolwork that was due, I found myself up past midnight most nights. And tonight is no different: we were up north really late helping my parents on the cottage, and now I have a team paper to finish up (my final school assignment ever!). I usually end up being the ‘final touches’ person, and I love that. However, the night that it ends up turning into ‘5 hours of sleep night!’ I am not so ecstatic.

Honestly, I’m more than just sleep tired. I’m emotionally exhausted. This weekend was awesome because I can’t remember the last time I slept in until 9am, and just had good, solid, uninterrupted sleep. And working outside with my hands is always a favorite of mine: it’s so different than what I do at my job 5 days a week that it’s a welcome change. And to have your body work so hard and fall into that contented sleep at the end of the day, after good meals and great conversation…oh, that is surely a glimpse of ‘olam haba’. :)

But my mind, oh boy, is that ever tired. All I know is that I have had so much to think about lately, and it’s starting to affect me. I’m second-guessing myself, my abilities, my discernment, my character, my vulnerability. And I am just plumb tuckered out. It didn’t help that we missed church today, because right now I desperately need to rest in the Lord. And I can do that outside of church, but I love church so much and I hate missing it when we’re up north.

Both my mind and my heart are tired. So all I know, friends, is that I’m going to retreat for a little bit and find the peace my soul needs.

May God give you exactly what you need today. He is ever with you, carrying your burdens beside you.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

oh, so jealous!

See this picture. This is Ben & Amanda's new dog they get on Saturday. Bailey. So precious!!! And of course they get the puppy after they move thousands of miles away. argh. But I will see it sometime, maybe next spring when I finally visit Seattle again!!!

Welcome, Bailey.


So, I am a big LP fan (Linkin' Park), and one of the songs I really like is one called 'numb'. Often I can't listen to their music because its heavy and dark, and it can really affect my mood. But I am feeling numb today. Numb to my thoughts, my fears, my work, my class, my friends, my family.

I think I'm simply running on autopilot today, and that is not the way I want to live my life. I do believe it will be better tomorrow, and that while the fog may not have lifted God will provide me tomorrow with the strength I need to sort through some stuff.

Tonight is my last night of class. As I sat at the library last night with an old friend from my Calvin days, i felt a little bit sad. I'm going to miss those moments. I still wrestle with my need to 'accomplish' things in order to have self-worth. Believe me, it's much rarer these days that I wrestle with it, but because of my upbringing it will always be something that creeps in here or there.

And the thing I am finding I dislike the most is that everyone asks 'so, what's next? what are you going to do with all that free time?' To me, it implies an idea that I have to move on to 'doing' something again. My dad told me to take one year off and then go for my PhD. And I said 'no, I want to live my life in a different way for a while. i've been selfish with my time, and it's now time to give it back.'

So here are some of the things I am most excited for, things I can now do that class is over:
1) Sleep
2) Eat healthier
3) Exercise more
4) Be a mentor for a Calvin student this fall
5) Volunteer with local missions and organizations
6) Hang out with my friends!!!!!!!!!
7) Read more books
8) Go to 'quiet places' to seek God more fully

Things I am not going to do:
1) Find something else to consume every ounce of energy and every minute of the day that leaves me feeling tired and selfish
2) Spend my new free time working more (this one will be hard for me, but I will not give in to it!)
3) Sit around and do nothing

Ok, well, that's it. As I said before I feel numb to most things, so hopefully these ramblings make some sort of sense. :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

once again

i sit here, once again up way too late to make it through the work day tomorrow.

once again I am feeling a bit thrown off by the fact that school is almost over. it's been a part of my identity for so long, that it feels weird to think of it not being there.

once again I'm confused about certain life situations, wondering why God allows certain things to happen, grateful for his grace in showing me truth, wondering what he has in store for me next.

once again I wish things were different. that loved ones lived closer, that I could actually sleep at night (this is a new occurrence that I can't sleep, and I am missing the feeling of actually waking up in the morning, instead of just laying in bed waiting for the alarm to ring so I have an excuse to get up)

once again I'm seeing the many blessings in my life. and missing dear friends. and knowing I wouldn't be the woman I am without them in my life, and also recognizing that there are seasons and in this season they are all needed elsewhere.

When is it my turn for an elsewhere? Or because of my constnat wanderlust, is Grand Rapids the place that will always be my 'elsewhere'?

And, this is scary to admit out loud because I can't even believe I'm saying it...

i like Grand Rapids.

i could settle down here.

i actually don't feel the wanderlust like I did in high school and college.

crap, is this what they call maturity!? :)


Broken. Scared. Confused. Worried.

Dad might be having mini-strokes. Grandparents not doing well. Big questions I’m working through. Doubts about my abilities.

Content. Joyful. Blessed. Full.

New friends who love me for me. People to reach out and care. New opportunities to serve. A new small group to join. Becoming a mentor for Calvin students.

Life is a mix of emotions, of hurts and joys, of triumphs and pain.

I wouldn’t change it for the world. And am grateful I've been given one more day.

Until tomorrow,

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lessons from TBE

Today I got to audio proof some of the Old Testament Bible Experience (comes out this fall, better check it out because it sounds AWESOME!) It was amazing listening today!

I had picked Esther because I love that book of the Bible. But then on a whim I also picked a disk with Ezra and Nehemiah on it.

(Insert: I must say that my job is awesome. How many people get paid to listen to a star-studded audio production of the Bible? How many people get to have a quiet time with God in the midst of all the crazyness, and have it count as work? Amazing.)

Anyways, what blew me away were the things I picked up on in Ezra and Nehemiah.

1) They saw every good thing as related to God, or coming from God. The phrase “and because the gracious hand of my God was upon me” or “because the favor of my God was upon me”….the king granted my request. My life was spared.
How many of us are quick to see the bad things and wonder where God is, but forget to acknowledge him as the giver of all good things?
And because the favor of my God was upon me…I made it through the ‘dry’ season.
And because the favor of my God was upon me…the work of my hands was blessed.
And because the favor of my God was upon me…I was spared a foolish decision.

2) Another interesting observation: we see these lists of names. Men who were part of the army, men who were leaders of Israel, men who made this trip or that trip. And we get bored in these lists of names. But how many of us want to leave a legacy? How many want to be recognized for what we do? For our faithfulness? For our leadership? These men are honored for their names are ever carried down in God’s Word. That alone is enough for a reverent pause when reading through the lists. These aren’t simply names: these were people who were children of God. They are part of the legacy of our faith.

3) The other final phrase that kept sticking out today were the pleas of men for God 'to remember them with favor'. I don’t often ask God to remember me for the 'good' things I have done. Often because I feel that those things pale in comparison to all the bad things I do, the mistakes I make. But I respect and desire the cries of these men for God to remember their works done in faithfulness, their pleadings done in grace, and their prayers offered up with sacrifice.

I really like the Old Testament alot. I've been mesmerized by 1 and 2 Kings, and also Chronicles. (this may not seem a big deal to you all, but I'm recording this because I never thought I would see the day that I would LOVE reading the Bible, especially the OT books!)

May God's grace be with you.

A Beautiful Day

Saturday, a message from a friend. Unexpected, great advice, wisdom, full of care & kindness. A reminder that friendship is an incredible blessing, not to be taken lightly, and true friendship thinks of the other and puts them first even amidst hectic times.

Woke up. Sunshine. Dew on the grass. A bright spirit. A cheerful heart.

New roommate sound asleep downstairs. First time living away from the parents. Vulnerable, excited, timid, secure. Kind, protective, loving, giving.

Parents safely home from New Jersey. Refreshed, Rejuvenated, Inspired.

Drove to work. My car runs. A full tank of gas. Great stereo system. :0)

A great email. Reassurance. Kindness. Confidence.

Today. A great day. Ripe with possibilities. I have much to be thankful for.




It's 8am. Work is starting. Fresh faces, refreshed souls, family-filled hearts.

All these blessings. Don't take them for granted.

God provides.

And so I will say it again: I have much to be thankful for.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Lessons from the Lawn

This week I have completely neglected my house, particularly the outside of it. So last night I mowed the grass so that small children wouldn't get lost in it, and I weeded my front gardens.

And as I saw the college guys moving out of the house across the street, I got to thinking about now they've graduated and a new phase of life is starting. And how the future is just ripe with possibility. They have so much to offer this world, and so many exciting opportunities ahead of them.

And I saw them leaving, thought of the grad parties they had a few weeks ago, and how I had been outside mowing the lawn on that Friday night as well. A small thought crept in my head "I am the oldest 25-year-old I know." But then I snapped out of it, and reminded myself that I chose to buy a house and take on the responsibilities that come along with that. I reminded myself that I chose this simplistic life, not going out every weekend, choosing to cultivate this house into a home instead of always seeing the newest movie etc. And I challenged myself to be content on a night when I might rather be out to dinner than cutting the grass.

Then I moved on to weeding the front gardens. It had been about 2 weeks in between weedings (schoolwork had taken priority), and lots of little new weeds had sprung up. I sat down and began to pull them.
One at a time.
A monotonous task.
And one that allows my mind to wander and my heart to dream.

And suddenly, I stopped! I had planted some bulbs a few weeks back, and each week was checking to watch for their growth. Nothing. Nothing again. Weeks later, still nothing. But as I was weeding, I saw new growth. I saw these flowers pushing their way up through the soil. And my eyes filled. Because here were these plants that will blossom into beautiful flowers, but it took them a long time to get there. They had to push their way up through the dirt, unlike the other flowers I have. They had all these obstacles in their way, and they had to be disciplined and determined to get through. They knew they had a specific purpose, and that if they didn't grow and push, they wouldn't fulfill that purpose. And my eyes filled because I heard God say 'this is you. I know what you've had to push through, and what you are working through right now. It's OK if it takes you a little longer than everyone else. I love you, and I will see my works completed in you. Keep pushing onward to fulfill your purpose." It was amazing, because I see an ugly weed that should be pulled; he sees a beautiful flower on its way to blooming.

These little flowers are late bloomers. (ha, yes a pun was intended!!) But that doesn't minimize their value. They will actually bloom as my other flowers are wilting. They will sustain through the hottest part of the summer. They will bring beauty where there is none.

It encouraged me to keep searching, keep pushing, keep letting God lead my steps and not worry if others around me are getting there faster. My mom pointed out to me the other day that I'm not married. (wow, really? thanks Mom, I mean, how did I miss the fact I'm not married!?) Her point was, she didn't know why I wasn't. She sees me through eyes of love and they cover over all my faults.

And I told her that it just has taken me a long time to trust people, to want love, and to not my fear of letting someone in stop me from wanting marriage.

Like those flowers, I'm a late bloomer in that area. But I am getting there. Maybe one day love will be a part of my story.

And I smiled to myself because I am already loved. By my Father. And that is enough.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Finding Strength

Today, I missed my friend. My friend moved away 6 months ago to work for an awesome humanitarian non-profit organization, and I thought it was going to be really hard without him around.

On Thursday’s we would leave work to grab Burger King (or Subway when trying to be healthy!) and chat about life, God, solving the world’s problems, and he would kindly listen through my most recent boy issue (and likely thank God every second that he was married and didn’t have to deal with this stuff anymore!)

I drove in to work at noon today (worked from home in the morning), and passed by the BK. The BK where one time, I drove out and all I had to do was simply go through the light to get back to Z. But no, my brain shut off, and I totally turned right to make a Michigan turn back on to the same road I had been on. I am such an airhead sometimes!!! I think he laughed pretty hard at that one!

And for a minute, I missed my friend and the times we had together. I missed the laughter, the mocking, the teasing, the deep conversations, the challenges, the safety and trust I felt. And I thought back and realized how much God has been sustaining me.

Lately I’ve taken to praying the Lord’s Prayer very often. All I really want for each day is the daily bread I need. And you know what? In the midst of a challenging week, God has given me everything I need to be strong. The strength I’ve had this week can only come from him. I must continue to choose to rest in him, and let him be my strength. It’s been an amazing time in my life these past 6 months. God has completed works in me, and begun other ones.

And each day he has given me my daily bread.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Have you ever heard someone describe you, and think 'wow, you’ve got it all wrong?' Lately I’ve really been thinking about incorrect perceptions, and how they happen all the time. For instance, many people seem to think I have it all together. They tell me I have such an awesome, exciting job (if you thrive on stress, then absolutely, I agree!). That it’s incredible I am doing grad school while working full-time, and it must mean I’m really smart. (S-M-R-T) And wow, isn’t it so cool that you lived overseas and traveled the world? You are so cultured!

And let me tell you something. That whole school + work thing? Yeah, about that... You know where I am right now, on this gorgeous Wednesday evening? At the library. You know what I had to cancel tonight to get my group presentation finished for tomorrow night? Dinner with two new friends (a dinner that was set up 3.5 weeks ago!) You know what I just did? Ate KFC, alone. In my car. In the parking lot.

And my job…yeah, it’s awesome. But on days like this when everyone and their brother (or, my brother!) has emergencies and urgent deadlines and you are the only one there to help, it’s hard not to go home to an empty house and want to cry. But you know what stops me from crying? The fact that I just remembered I still have work that didn’t get done before I had to leave, so I get to do that yet tonight too. There simply is no time for the tears.

And yeah, I lived overseas for 3 years. And it was pretty great, overall. And yet…I was ridiculed all the time for my ‘American-ness’. The teachers hated us Americans, and were on a mission to strip away every ounce of self-confidence we had. And I never really quite fit in. And then I move back to the US and guess what? I now am too British to fit in over here. And my friends distance themselves from me. And I only know European history. And I only know British sports. Sweet.

My point? So glad you asked. :0) It’s so easy to see people and think things like ‘oh, she’s so organized. He’s so cool. She’s the kind of mom I wish I had. He’s the kind of husband we all want.’

But behind each perception is the reality. The mom struggling to balance all the responsibilities. The super husband who wonders who he is, and if he married too young. The girl who has it together on the outside, but is falling apart on the inside. The guy who’s ‘too cool for school’ who wonders if people would accept him if he removed the mask and showed them who he really was.

My friends, you are not alone. Your struggles are unique to you because they are yours, and yet you are not the only one to wrestle with the big questions, the feelings of loneliness, or the urge to run away and start somewhere fresh.

I recently had to apologize to a new friend of mine because I’d completely misjudged him. I’d created a perception of who he was, and it was completely false. It wasn’t until I saw what was inside of him that showed me how wrong I had been.

And many times I wonder, if I just let my guard down, and showed people what was inside, would that shatter their perception of me, and would they still love me? What if I told a friend, ‘I’m struggling this week. And I’m hurting. I just need a hug. And while you’re at it, do you know anyone who could mow my lawn this week? I just can’t do it all – I’m not superwoman.’ Would they walk away? Or would they stick around? Would they love me more? Or, would they love me less?

For once, I’m not running. I’m not running from the person I am, or the woman I was created to be. I’m not scared to ask for help or admit that I just can’t do it all. A few years ago, I would have let your perception of me lead me in the way I lived my life. But no longer. The mask is off. I am who I am, and that is enough.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

A Cruel Irony

To be all that you are.

And still not be enough.

Monday, June 04, 2007

A Prayer

A great prayer* I need to open and close each day with. Absolutely.

"I have one simple prayer Lord, purify me, purify me. I have one simple prayer Lord, purify me.

I have one simple aim Lord, to glorify you, to glorify you. I have one simple aim Lord, to glorify you."

*from one of my favorite songs

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Unexpected Blessings

2007. I rang in the new year, expecting to have a great one. I mean, who really kicks off a new year thinking "this is going to be the hardest year of my life. it's going to be horrible!"

But it started, and it felt as though things were cascading one after another. Best friend moves. Car insurance problems causes a 30% increase in payments. A big fight with a close friend. Propoerty tax problems equal to payments above what I can literally afford. Roommate moves out and thus 'income' lowers. Roof leaks. A lot.

Looking at that list, it doesn't look like a lot. But it was very stretching. And each day I was waiting for the other shoe to fall. Daily I began asking God to provide. I just told him that I was alone and in a place where I couldn't sustain myself on my own. I didn't have the strength to hold it together alone.

And it has been the most amazing 5 months of my life! Not only has God provided for me each day the things I need that day, but he has given me little bits and pieces along the way to make ends meet. A new roommate. A tax return. Extra money for taking notes for a learning disability student in my classes. New friends. Support from my friends. Encouraging notes. Uplifting phone calls. Supportive emails.

But the best part? Somehow, I am more content and more at peace than ever before. It's almost as though I had to go through this refining fire to get to this new, more mature, more God-connected place. And you know what? I wouldn't trade this time for the world. I'd rather be more connected to God and my loved ones than live a comfortable life. I can handle the stretching now. I can function really well despite the added stress. I've seen that friends who are far awar aren't far away in spirit. That friendship changes, but that doesn't have to mean it gets worse or less.

I'm grateful that God taught me these lessons (and many more!). I'm glad I've had this time. Reminds me of this verse from the Psalms:

Psalm 1:3a "They are like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season..."

I've been drinking the water, and yielding fruit in season. And now I have made a committment to never stop drinking the water. God is my true lifeline.

Saturday, June 02, 2007


What is beautiful?

Is it make-up? The right hair style? Flawless skin? Revealing clothing? Flashy cars? Expensive jewelry? Plastic surgery? Big houses? Manicured lawns? A certain fragrance?

Or is it a tender heart? An openness to God's calling? A responsive spirit to his promptings? Kindness? Compassion? A desire to pursue love and give love and accept love? Simplicity? A good listener? Timely words? Wisdom? Grace? Nurture? Hospitality? Gentleness? Hope? Faith? Passion? Charisma?

You decide. I decide. We decide for ourselves every day what beauty is. Because beauty is what we seek, and so our actions show us what we really determine beauty is.

I recently bought new nailpolish because in my opinion, beautiful nails are the ones that are painted. (though, interestingly, it's a rare occasion I find myself with painted nails!)

How many of us think we need to paint over who we are in order to appear beautiful? Paint over those scars. Drywall over the open wounds. Mask those fears. Paint over the doubts. Cover up those questions.

Or can we really free ourselves to believe that the beauty is in the scars, and in the wounds, in the deepest fears and doubts, and in the questions?