Oh, the randomness...

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

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I went to a funeral today. It was my aunt’s dad (she’s not a biological aunt) and it was, like most funerals, sad and also joyful as people celebrated his life and his time here on earth. People spoke about their favorite things about this man, and celebrated his character and personality.
It got me thinking: what would I want people to say about me at my funeral? How do I want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered for loving others well. Not necessarily in the sense that I was always with my friends and loving them, but that when I was with them, they knew they were loved so deeply and that they had a special place in my heart. This is how I want people to feel around me.

I’d like to be remembered as someone who overcame obstacles. As a girl who had some tough stuff handed to her in this life, but as a girl who was determined to not let it beat her. To not stay in the same spot, but to relentlessly pursue forward motion.

I’d like to be remembered as kind, gentle, and generous. And very, very loyal.

Most of all, I want to be remembered as a passionate Jesus-follower. And I would hope that everyone at that funeral would know…I did none of these things on my own, but only through God’s grace and strength.

It’s good to think about these things, because it means if I want to be remembered for being that way, I need try everyday to live that way.

What do you want to be remembered for?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A Turtle and her Shell

Ever suddenly find yourself wanting to retreat back in your shell? Like, you’ve come out of it, this time for quite some time, and suddenly you fear you’ve exposed too much of who you are to other people?

Many people get scared when they fly in airplanes. It’s a control thing – they hate feeling like if something were to happen, they are powerless to stop it. I, however, am the total opposite. If I’m in a plane crash, I likely wouldn’t really freak out. Because I’d be able to accept it, and know I couldn’t do anything to prevent it –that I wasn’t in control. Same with car accidents – if I’m driving and hurt someone else, I couldn’t handle it. I just couldn’t. But…if I were to be riding with someone else and get in an accident? Fine, because once again I wasn’t in control.

I used to think this was a good thing. Like, “oh look at me, I’m not a control freak!” But instead, I’ve come to realize that I think it alludes to the fact that I don’t like being responsible for my decisions because I’m so afraid of making mistakes. I really, really think that the reason I don’t mind ‘handing control’ over to someone else is that I’ve done it most of my life. And it’s really scary for me to think about taking back that control.

And so what’s weird for me is that I’ve been making many steps (make that huge strides), to separate myself from the people that I let control my life…and yet I have friends pushing me to do so even more. And it’s scary. And one of the ways in which I have taken some healthy control is really choosing who my friends are – the ones I can sit down on the couch with and vulnerably tell them my thoughts and opinions on things. (Yeah, Anne, I am picturing last night!! haha) Which is great. But so then when I start to fear that I’ve shared too much of myself, and opened up the big, complicated picture of what makes me, me…I start to panic. Because I’m in control of that choice, and that means I have to deal with the resulting emotions/consequences.

The funny thing is, I’m making good choices these days. And the people I am vulnerable with? Well, I can trust them to see the good and the bad, and not split them. Not to love me only for when I’m funny and intelligent and witty, but also when I’m struggling with doubts or irrational fears or when I’m being mean or cranky. But for some reason, that fear has crept back in. And it’s making me really scared to be open with people. And that’s not a good thing.

I’m gonna fight this as hard as I can. I’m going to still go to social events where I will see my friends, even if I feel exposed. Even if the more I spend time with them, the more I will be honest and vulnerable about who I am.

After all, the best way to glorify God is to remember that there are things that we, as humans, cannot ever do on our own. That can only happen through him. For me, I believe that learning to like myself and not keep the ‘bad’ and the ‘good’ separate, is something that only happened because of God’s grace and strength, not my own. And I’m in a new fight now – to stay connected and vulnerable when it is the scariest thing in the world. Because once again, that can only happen by God’s grace and strength.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Looking In

So…where to begin. I’d fallen off the blogging wagon, mostly because it became scary at one point to realize people were reading my innermost thoughts and struggles. And that’s because I can’t write any other way. You don’t get ‘Melinda, Censored’ when you read this. You get the real stuff that’s going on inside. But people encourage me to keep writing, so I’m back. And I’m loaded with questions, ideas, struggles, answers, and musings. So dive in if you dare…

The past few weeks/months have been interesting. I’ve been noticing a downward slide in my life, in terms of my relationship with God. True, I haven’t been reading the Bible enough. I always struggle with that. (And no, the irony of that is not lost on me.) :) However, it’s like suddenly, I feel like God is so far away.

I’ve been doing things to take me to a place in my life that I want to be in. I want a tighter community, no more chasing after 40 people and trying to make room for them and to be filled by them. There are some people I still want to get to know more, but overall I’ve decided that instead of being spread so thin that my close friends get the leftovers, I want to realize what is important to me and go after it.

The great irony of this is that by doing this, I have a lot more free time that I am alone. And while I definitely need some alone time, it’s starting to be almost too much. And I’m not sure why! Why is it that I don’t like to be alone? Or is it just the time that I’m alone – Friday and Saturday nights? That is when most people are being social, and here I am alone. Is it because of my budget? Is it because I don’t reach out enough? Is it because people have their own friends and routines and they don’t want to change them?

Well, I feel stuck. Nothing in my life seems to be changing. But the weird thing is…I feel like I should feel sad all the time. With the things I’m wrestling through, and feeling, I swear I should feel sad and feel like I don’t want to get out of bed. I should be depressed. In the past, that is how I would have felt in times like this. But I don’t. Which is a great thing – because I think it’s means I’m growing in my trust in God. I heard a quote at the orange conference today: does God value trust in Him more than anything else? And you know what, I think so. Bible story after Bible story shows his people in the midst of hardship, now knowing the outcome, but they trusted God. I want to be a living example of what it means to follow Jesus, and I believe that a big part of that is not crumpling when times are tough.

And I heard today this idea: “People need to fear the pain of lost opportunity (which happens when we don’t step out in trust), rather than fearing personal emotional pain of going through hard times.” That hit me hard. Because I’m not afraid to be in this place. I’m not afraid of being in emotional pain. What I do fear is people not understanding or caring that I am in this place. I have very few outlets I can be gut-level honest with about this stuff. I can only name 4 people (hey, maybe 4 is a lot and I’m lucky, I dunno.) These 4 people are people that if I’m going through stuff like this, I can show it. I can remove the mask, let the tears out, and know they won’t judge me. They will still love me, even in moments I forget how to love myself. But that quote really woke me up, because I don’t think I fear the missed opportunities. I am so afraid to step out in faith and change something about my life. Like moving, or changing jobs, or selling a house, etc. etc.

Maybe it’s this fear that is making me not ‘feel’ God?

Another thing that came to light recently is that as much as I feel I’ve forgiven my mom for stuff from the past (and stuff that will inevitably happen)…what has recently resurfaced is a bitterness towards God for giving me to that family. I don’t understand why He placed me where he did. Some people have their theories, and true, I believe it has sharpened my ability to understand and empathize with people because I realize that under every mean or painful statement is someone who is hurting, just like you and I. But still, did I have to learn it that way? Parents are supposed to encourage their kids, tell them they are valuable just for existing, help them make friendships with others and help them spread their wings. Why did I get the hyper-critical mom who instead hurt my other relationships because she was so desperate to be #1? There’s more I could unpack behind that, but not right now.

So, honestly, I’m a bit mad at God. I can’t imagine why my life is the way it is – why this family was in the plan for me.

And irrationally, I think that my mom has an impact on my ability to date and be married. Sounds stupid to most, but I honestly can’t imagine why someone would pick me knowing what comes along with me. A big mess, and a trail of brokenness. I know my issues are not worse than anyone else’s, but I just know that most people who have met my Mom have said they could never enter into my family. They just couldn’t have someone like her in their life. So where does that leave me?

Anyway, God has been making some amazing change inside of me. He’s identifying what is broken, and working on repairing it. It’s painful at times. Sometimes (like yesterday), I revert and take 2 steps back. But even there, there is growth. For the person I chose to show my two steps back? Someone trustworthy, not someone who would use it against me. I used to have really bad judgment in that area of my life.

I’m determined to keep talking to God. To keep reading my Bible. To keep serving him, and to keep being diligent with the gifts he has given me. Just because I don’t feel him, doesn’t mean he isn’t there. I need to forgive him (or get past my selfishness) for stuff about my mom, and stop blaming him. That is probably the biggest factor. Like Brady said once, maybe the way back to God is actively living for him. So I am, and will continue to.

All I know is that I’ve moved into a place of self-acceptance, and I’m not going to lose that because of fear. So I’m stepping out, and hanging on.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Love Wins

I've been really wrapped up in this song by Brett Dennen - the lyrics just move me so much. There are so many options in this world, so many different things we can follow. But ultimately, love wins. Enjoy the thoughtful lyrics from this beautiful song:

There ain’t no reason things are this way.
Its how they always been and they intend to stay.
I can't explain why we live this way, we do it everyday.
Preachers on the podium speakin’ of saints,
Prophets on the sidewalk beggin’ for change,
Old ladies laughing from the fire escape, cursing my name.
I got a basket full of lemons and they all taste the same,
A window and a pigeon with a broken wing,
You can spend your whole life workin’ for something
Just to have it taken away.
People walk around pushing back their debts,
Wearing pay checks like necklaces and bracelets,
Talking ‘bout nothing, not thinking ‘bout death,
Every little heartbeat, every little breath.
People walk a tight rope on a razors edge
Carrying their hurt and hatred and weapons.
It could be a bomb or a bullet or a pen
Or a thought or a word or a sentence.
There ain't no reason things are this way.
It's how they always been and they intend to stay
I don’t know why I say the things I say, but I say them anyway.

But love will come set me free
Love will come set me free, I do believe
Love will come set me free, I know it will
Love will come set me free, yes.

Prison walls still standing tall,
Some things never change at all.
Keep on buildin’ prisons, gonna fill them all,
Keep on buildin’ bombs, gonna drop them all.
Working your fingers bare to the bone,
Breaking your back, make you sell your soul.
Like a lung that’s filled with coal, suffocatin’ slow.
The wind blows wild and I may move,
The politicians lie and I am not fooled.
You don't need no reason or a three piece suit to argue the truth.
The air on my skin and the world under my toes,
Slavery stitched into the fabric of my clothes,
Chaos and commotion wherever I go, love I try to follow.

Love will come set me free
Love will come set me free, I do believe
Love will come set me free, I know it will
Love will come set me free, yes.

There ain't no reason things are this way
It’s how they always been and they intend to stay
I can't explain why we live this way, we do it everyday.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It seems like lately, the only constant in my world is change. Health changes, friends change and move away, jobs change, co-workers change jobs, churches change, priorities change, relationships change, goals change, dreams change…It’s no wonder sometimes we get exhausted keeping up with all the changes!

I’ve changed a lot, myself. Not just the things around me, or the things that affect my every day (like my health, job, friends, etc.) but the very core, the very heart of me, has changed. I’ve got new priorities, new dreams, and many of them are just being discovered. I’ve been finding that I have more capacity for patience and kindness than I thought, and I’ve been really able to find contentment. And I like this woman I’m evolving into, and yet I feel something is missing. I don’t know what it is, but I wish I did. Maybe it’s something else inside that needs to change?

I’ve had a most interesting week. I was attending an awesome Christian conference that I usually get a lot of energy from. I found myself, though, feeling really detached and empty. Then I got some more health-related news and it just pushed me over the edge. Later that night I talked to God about it all, and eventually calmed down and came to realize that I will be OK. That this is a fleeting thing. That I am loved. And that that is enough. And the strangest thing is, the ‘harder’ life gets, the more and more I am convinced of and see God’s love. Despite the fear I sometimes have lately, I see more and more that I have no reason to fear. God did something big in my heart this week, just in a different way I would have ever imagined.
He’s changing me. From the inside out, and I’m resting in that. I’ll admit, I’m extremely weary right now. I feel I could sleep for a week straight and still be exhausted. And I don’t like this feeling. Because on the inside, I’m radiant and alive, yet my body fails the energy to show that.

So I’m asking God to keep working on the stuff on the inside, so that when my body is healed and I have the energy again, that I no longer feel empty in the way that I have the past few weeks. I’m glad I’ve found contentment, and what I want back now is the desire for more. The mission and passion for the things I’m involved in every day. And more than anything, I want the energy back so I can love my friends well.

May God be your every constant through the inevitable changes.