Wednesday, December 7, 2011

It all seems so surreal..

After watching the new video for Successful Pathways of YFC about a dozen times, I tried to watch it as if I didn't know anyone in it. As if those weren't my girls. As if that wasn't me. And something finally snapped in me.

How did I get here?
When did this happen?
How is it that life is so awesome with God?
How did the girls know exactly what to say?
Will things be this good next year?
She has such a great smile!
When did she start thinking that about God?

One of the girls and I at our Fundraiser!

The video honestly made me think, what can I do to help this place out. I love what they do. I know that might sound conceited but really the music in the background just drew me in. So YAY for God's plans!

Also I went to my Alma Mater last night and again SO SURREAL. It's not like I have not been back there since but this time I was not going in as a college student, as a friend of a college student but as a Case Worker. Although I was visiting a LOVELY friend for her birthday also, I did an intake on the college campus as an expecting mother joyfully told me her plans for the future. As I arrived at her dorm, the RA's stared me down like I was a bother to them. I wanted to yell oout "HEY! I helped make some great new guidelines for you all and trust me I was just like you.... a few years ago". 

Student Government days!
I entered the dorm room in awe. OH MAN I miss that. They were so cute, so young, so joyful. Watching glee, decorating the dorm and just living life for fun and papers. I honestly can say there is no way I would go back but I sure did admire the youthfulness of it all. Across campus I went to the social work lounge to send out some pertinent emails.  While there I met some awesome grassroots Social Work students who were ready to take on the world, one "Occupy Brockport" at a time. They were trying to convince me that the student government wasted money and I almost didn't tell them I was the student government... but I did, and their right, we did waste money. The conversations they were having were just so similar to all of ours. Same professors, same papers, same drama. I wonder if the professors feel that way. Get so over the same excuses over and over again because they have heard them year after year. 

Regardless, again SO SURREAL. Here I was "in the field", as they asked me, when only a few short years ago I was procrastinating those same papers. *sigh..

Some of the lovely women of God who brought me up!
Then to visit the birthday girl! I joined in after lifegroup had ended, the very group that save my life. The Tuesdays nights that opened my heart to my creator, my lover and best freind- God. The Seniors in the group were MY freshman. My loves, the youngins' the ones who never knew the pre-Jesus Kerri. *sigghhh they are all so beautiful and talented, I just pray they never forget that. And when asked what I do I got to again tell them, I am "in the field" I am in missions fields, I help draw hearts to God.

AHHHHHHHHHHH it is all so surreal!!

I know I should not be so surpirsed God promised He had plans but sometimes you just have to take a moment and thank Him from getting to point B, when you fought him so much at point A. And to think He has a point C, D, E maybe even an H?? So much to look forward to, so much to be grateful for. EVEN WHEN THINGS ARE NOT GOOD- GOD IS GOOD. ((can I get an amen)) 

Alas, I just needed everyone to know that even when I am lost in the paperwork, stressed over transportation, saddened by client's behavior, I am truly GRATEFUL for it all. I don't know how life can get better but I cling to my Jesus the giver of all good things. 

"Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the 
Father of the heavenly lights, 
who does not change like shifting shadows."- James 1:16-17

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

--> my first ten months<--

10 months. 
Its been 10 full ((very full)) months since I started coordinating the health education sessions at my work, which I feel like signified my really stepping into the leadership role I have now there. These sessions are for young mothers in the city of Rochester. We discuss things like domestic violence, STDs, respect, childhood baggage.... all that fun stuff. We provide social, spiritual, and psychological support for these young women in many aspects. Tonight I do not want to tell you about how great my job is, what we do exactly, how we need more funding, the behavioral change we've seen, the retention rate, etc etc I say that all the time. I speak at agencies, I preach at churches, I do trainings, I meet with donors-- but I feel like I never get to share my heart. And, I yet to hide my heart from you blogworld... so here I go.

I don't know what I am doing. 
In the midst of all my right answers,
of my great advice,
my leaping attendance rates---
I don't know what I am doing.

I always thought if you'd give me a mic I would woo the crowd and they would love God in an instant after hearing me speak... and ya know what? It doesn't happen that way, I'm not at good at ministry as I thought I would be. Which is good because if I led by my arrogance I would not be leaning on God's grace. It was a good wake up call that I am not all that-- I also thought the first thing I would think to do in a meeting would be to pray and more times than not, I don't. I thought I would have prayed with these girls, loved on them, and led them to Christ-easy'&simple. But.. I don't know what... I am doing. 

It's not that the schooling didn't prepare me or I am lost at my job, more so I can't take myself out of what we are doing and see it--- for what it is. Like I honestly don't know what we are doing. How much an impact we are having, if lives are being changed, if the girls are starting to love God, if I am being too much of a control freak, if I am being too lienent. Things are SO BUSY, that I really need to sit down God and I and have a meeting. Get some love back in my heart, brainstorm some ideas and cut myself some slack of course.

That is what December is. After the big fundraiser, I am closing the office door and figuring things out. I knew this year would be different, challenging, eye-opening, busy and sacrificial- but again I really knew nothing, I had NO CLUE what I was getting into, how much I can handle, how I would supervise, what it would be like to have clients, a program, and babies around all the time?!? 
And, I don't mean to sound like I am upset or overwhelmed, I am just admitting I don't know how 10 months went by. I don't know if I was efficient in my ministry. 10 months-- wow. I always knew I would have a lot to learn and that will be a constant in Social Work. But this is my first real 10 months and I have to admit for not knowing much I did pretty alright- now its time to sit down and make things better. ((any ex's of mine who read this know my 'need to get better' syndrome lol))

For example, I am learning for the first time what attachment and termination is for real like with clients. I see why other agenies have such strong boundaries set.. *sigh. I mean I love these girls... and I just didn't know how much a family we would become. How much attitude they'll give you just to see if you'll really stick around....and their texts... man, they kill me. At the end of a day they'll text me just a simple thank you... and honestly it makes ---everything--worth it. I have so many stories, I could share-- but the girls say it better; this is a rough draft if you will- of what they girls video taped for our new video. The video will be showed in its completion this coming Monday so I'll share it then also. But check it out today too!

Throughout it all God has been so faithful-- each week (of group, but really everyday) I enter in not really sure what is going to happen and each week, He gives me exact plans, He listens and directs... and honestly that's what I need... I need to be bringing all of this to God, asking Him what He thought. How He wants this program to improve, how He wants to move forward. I think I'll go do that now... I don't need this blog to process my last 10 months-- I need God.He's the best Social Worker around anyway :) :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Are you plugged In?

I hurried to my office today an hour early to get things ready for what will always be the busy day, Tuesday. The day I have the pleasure of coordinating RLI (Real Life Issues), a group for young mothers in the city who are able to talk about their 'real life' and feel safe, accepted and loved. Attendance builds each week and so does the chaos. But a good chaos, as my boss states in our video "Change is challenging; Christ can change us". While busy typing away I noticed my computer was losing battery quickly, which was odd, since I know I plugged it into the wall first thing this morning. When it reached the 10% battery life warning I took a look. The plug was plugged into the computer, the plug was connected to the wall: but the two were not connected together. I immediately opened my Bible. A great reminder to not forget to connect to our One True power source. 

Isaiah 40:28-31  Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God,   the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint,   and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary,and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;   they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary;   they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 41:10  fear not, for I am with you;  be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you,  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

1 Chronicles 16:11  Seek the LORD and his strength;  seek his presence continually!

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Psalm 18:32-34  the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer  and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.

1 Corinthians 10:13  No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

As busy as always, yet as peaceful as I allow the word to let me be-

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cast all your cares...

 He doesn’t love me. That is all my heart can think tonight.
I don’t know why I am so surprised.
It’s like, Kerri- hello… where have you been?
I am back at that idea of the desired to be desired.
The paradox of love and hurt.
I am starting to see why some people settle.
They cover up the pain of the last one with the next one.
Never truly feeling the loss of a relationship.
Tonight I choose to feel the loss.
Funny, most people will give you advice on how to spend your time when you feel this way. Ignore it, watch TV, go out on a blind date etc- but I have said it before and will say it again sometimes, and only sometimes, we need to allow ourselves to connect with our TRUE emotions. That is why people can become so transformed in counseling. It’s not the counselor that makes things happen, it is actually taking the time to focus on your emotions, your triggers, and what they are trying to tell you. Other times of course we do need to rise above, hand our hurt over to the God who knows all about losing relationship with the ones He loves…

I guess that is the hardest part... how to explain to someone how to “hand it over” to a God they barely know. Let’s be honest to a God I barely know…

Tonight at group I lost the girls, I could feel it- the energy was gone, they were distracted and bored with whatever I had to say… I brought back our worry basket. The idea is to write down your worries, crumble them up, and throw them into the basket. The basket is surrounded by the scripture: “Cast all your cares on Jesus, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) For weeks we used this and gave a little different explanation every time. After hearing my spiel a few times one of my interns hit the nail on the head when she asked the ladies, pretty hard to hand something over to a God you don’t know right?... So again I ask how can I explain to someone how to hand over their “anything” to God, especially when it comes to things like loneliness, the very emotion I speak of tonight.

First, of course, we would have to have a relationship forming with God to be able to speak to Him, so the initial “sinners prayer”… Lord, forgive me for my sins, I cannot and do not want to do this life without you anymore. Let your ways be my ways, and let your plans be my plans. Give me the strength to get through the hardships I have now and peace for the ones I will endure in the future. And in all ways God make me more like your Son, whom I am eternally grateful for as I can accept your forgiveness today because He died an innocence death. Blessings and honor in your name, Amen.

Then, the Holy Spirit has to be present. Like has-to-be-. Trying to connect to God without the Holy Spirit is like… trying to listen to an ipod that has no charge. So invite Him in the room and into your heart also, although it sounds weird- He is the Holy Spirit and trust me, He gets things done. Also for that ipod to work, you’ll need headphones- something to get the music to your actual ears and inside your mind, similarly a church or good group of Christian friends can do this same thing. You must have these three parts (God of course being the ipod itself) to work.

From there… well what happens from there... you have God, the Holy Spirit, and your hurt. So.. you just start talking. Remember God is a REAL God—so act like He is RIGHT THERE, because He is. Do what you would do if it was you and your friend. I know if it was my friend, we would grab coffee and let the tears and laughs flow as we explained the dysfunctional growing pains of becoming an adult. Perhaps you journal, draw, blog, twitter your pain. Whatever, just share that with God-

Then and most importantly, as another intern reminded me of today- you have to have FAITH that God will heal your hurt, your circumstances and overall your heart. FAITH is what the Holy Spirit thrives on… so to get the charge on that ipod you must BELIEVE that the outlet you are plugging it into will actually charge the ipod. God responds to faith that’s for sure:

Matthew 17:20 “He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. "
Matthew 15:28 ‘Then Jesus, answering, said to her, O woman, great is your faith: let your desire be done. And her daughter was made well from that hour.”
Hebrews 11:1 “The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see.”
1 John 5:4 “for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.”

Lastly, I guess, yet the longest and hardest part- you must choose to continue to have that faith and not let the pain overtake you. The contradiction is sometimes yes, it’s healthy to connect to your feelings and feel what I acknowledge now as loneliness, but perhaps it is failure for you, or depression, embarrassment, etc – but you cannot stay there. You have to make the CHOICE to continually give it to God. And make right CHOICES in the direction of not filling the “void” or hurt with other things BUT God presence and to not keep running back to things that give you those worries. Examples: ex-boyfriends, drugs, spending money on things you don’t need etc etc

I think that is the best way to explain it. I wish I would not have epically failed that when I went to explain it to the girls today. But I am glad I took the time to connect to what was truly bothering me. Sure, my heart is hurting because I am remembering a loss, but I know the process of handing this over to God, I know how to worship a faithful God when my life seems faithless. But what truly hurts is not being able to communicate the hope and the drastic change that can come from handing these over to God to my girls…

Lord, teach me, help me connect them to you… send me- I say. I surrender my own wants for them to know just how good you truly are. God please… I know you are faithful and unlike him.. I know you love me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Arise, cry out in the night.

 "The hearts of the people
   cry out to the Lord.
You walls of Daughter Zion,
   let your tears flow like a river
   day and night;
give yourself no relief,
   your eyes no rest.
 Arise, cry out in the night,
   as the watches of the night begin;
pour out your heart like water
   in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
   for the lives of your children,
who faint from hunger
   at every street corner...
My eyes will flow unceasingly,
   without relief,
until the LORD looks down
   from heaven and sees.
What I see brings grief to my soul
   because of all the women of my city."
 Lamentations 2:18-19;  3:49-51

One would think what I do for a living would earn enough brownie points to get some good rest at night. I deserve some shut eye-- I work hard "for the Lord". Now I would love to hear God laughing about that one. Same old Kerri, trying to earn love and attention.

Even most unchurched folk say prayers before bed. Do you know unless I am asking for something from the Big Guy I do not do that. I start off good in the morning, continuing to worship all day long, but night never ceases to be about me destressing and getting some sleep. (minus the nights I am at a worship service for hours on end)

But I know that I KNOW- God calls me to more than this. Social Work would tell me I need self-care and make sure to leave work at work and for the most part I do (surprisingly enough). But God has never been shy to let me know that my purpose is higher than that, that He requests more effort than that, that He chose me to do His work- not the worlds.

I am to let "my eyes flow unceasingly without relief". To "bring grief to my soul". To pray on behalf of those He has sent my way(1 Timothy 2:1). To use the Armor of God(Ephesians 6). To fight from victory instead of for victory(john 16:33). To be the advocate(Isaiah 59:16). To pray for the captives (Acts 12:12). To pray for the fatherless, widows, and poor (Deuteronomy 10:18).

There are many moments when God wants us to just "be" in His presence and "pour out your [love] like water" to Him, no doubt, but we must not forget we are here on purpose, for a purpose. And if you really believe there is a God, Jesus is your Savoir and their really is a heaven- you might want to rethink [like me] how much you care about people, if you are not willing to "give your eyes no rest" for them.

I know I have not stepped up to the plate in this regard, I knew it back in my Mercy days also. It's time to take this seriously. Fight for the women I encounter, like those before me did for me. God promised He would never leave me (Hebrews 13:5). Where He is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). That He hears the cries of the righteous and will answer them with justice (Psalm 34:17). That victory is already promised (Romans 8:31). That apart from Him I am nothing, but with Him I am made whole (John 15:5). I must give up my ungodly desires and control to live the full life He has for me (Matthew 10:39; John 10:10).

All in all if I, or any human service worker/minister, thinks they have a heart for the broken-- they should consider that God has never once stopped pursuing our hearts (even when we ignore and mock Him) and that Jesus not only died for us but prayed on our behalf constantly- that to me is a true sacrifice. Death is one thing [although obviously huge] but to give ones' life, such as a night of rest, on behalf of someone now that... that is sacrifice, that is love.

So arise, my friends, arise and cry out--- not only IN the city, but FOR the city.
above all else:love.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Here's to 22

In January 2011 my longest standing best friend turned 22.That same month began what would be the ultimate separation for us physically. It had come time where our paths were going to split ways and adulthood stood imminent at our doorsteps. After living in Nashville for three months I returned to live with her for two weeks as we both graduated from Undergrad. She returned home that summer, I stayed in the area and began my year long MSW program. Throughout this whole year we were separated by miles, but of course never by heart. We jokingly recall "22 was a bad year" it was the year we would never dare go back to. Although both of us accomplished big dreams, made great decisions educationally- we made some interesting choices that led to some serious heartaches, bellyaches, and hour long phone conversations. To say the least it was most definitely the year that taught us the most about oursleves, each other, faith, and how harsh the world around us can be. We kept track throughout the year of one liners that described our year and continually joked, "cant wait for 23!". We are both now half way through our year of 23 and I really feel like the tribute to 22 I always promised her is due. So this one is for you Kirsten and thanking God we are no longer 22!

  • Twenty-two is watching everyone else but you get married.
  • Twenty-two is having a degree but being completely broke
  • Twenty-two is sorting out classmates by who's pregnant, engaged, or gay
  • Twenty-two is not wearing makeup 75% of the time because it just doesn't matter anymore. Then when you do put it on, you worry the whole night that it was a waste of your time and that these people were not worth the lip gloss you just bought
  • Twenty-two is at first only having time for then becoming addicted to fast food
  • Twenty-two is constantly thinking life should be more fun that it is but realizing you don't have your own places to live yet
  • Twenty-two is dipping into the Europe fund have been saving for years to then just buy mixed drinks at a lame bar
  • Twenty-two is realizing it is way to late to change your major/career choice
  • Twenty-two is becoming good friends with your exs because you are not actually mad at them anymore
  • Twenty-two is realizing how much you can save on an electric bill by turning off the lights when you leave
Twenty-two is turning to a television show for your weekly dose of romance
  • Twenty-two is making a resume to just get hired as a waitress
  • Twenty-two is starting to realize how messed up marriages from your childhood really were
  • Twenty-two is manipulating your friends to drive because you really cant afford your gas
  • Twenty-two is "you guys have david bridals, I have taco bell to cope"
  • Twenty-two is trying to break all the rules...  but knowing the consequences so not actually doing it.
  • Twenty-two is about going to the bars with our parents more than our friends
  • Twenty-two is living off of b-day/graduation money
  • Twenty-two is sneaking out to see kid movies
  • "Here is to 22... cheers... we won our mind games"
  • "I don't actually approve of 22, making mistakes always seemed like a simple idea but it hurts other people too much..."
  • Twenty-two is realizing not only do you not know anything about life but figuring out you never really did
  • Twenty-two is is an identity crisis
  • Twenty-two is a switch of plans you never intended but grinning and bearing it anyway
  • Twenty-two is the justification of why you cant really chase your dreams
  • Twenty-two is the credit card callers waking you up instead of good morning texts
  • Twenty-two is a negative balance in your bank account when you really just want a dollar coffee
  • Twenty-two is the zest of a new job- only to realize it is a sour lifestyle
  • Twenty-two is finding faith in God because nothing else seems to hang around for long
  • Twenty-two is experiencing the real feeling of being lonely: lonely as a routine. There are hundreds of people you talk to but no one who really knows you
  • Twenty-two is breaking up with 'the love of your life", discovering there is a lot more in life to love
  • Twenty-two is flying out to fancy hotels to meet the boy you know is going to break your heart soon enough
  • Twenty-two is actually beginning to voice your opinion at the dinner table and having relatives entrust in what you are saying and valuing your opinion
  • Twenty-two is feeling more so than ever the longing for something real, deep and meaningful- something worth living for and waking up to each day
  • Twenty-two is internships, student teaching, coupon clipping and maxed out credit cards
  •  Twenty-two is over... thank God. 

I have to say 23 has been much better for both of us. She has found herself in a great relationship where mind games and mixed drinks are not necessary. I have returned to my faith-based love and have stop aching for 'more' elsewhere. Both of us again reached significant goals and have seen some of our dreams flourish and other die.

To summarize the year I could say that three things remain: Faith, Hope, and Love and greatest of these is Love. But in our own words three things remain: Taco Bell, negative bank accounts, and friendship. Of course, the greatest of these being friendship. So here's to 23... and many years to come. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

-with you-

אלוהים הוא איתך
--->God is with you<---
And believe it or not: but that is enough.

Prophetic Board Game?

I got an interesting vision today. Have you ever played Trouble? You know that snug feeling the peg has when it is moved into the new little spot? Like it fits perfect and there is no where it can go except forward. I envisioned that for some reason tonight as I could feel my hope align again with God. What I got from this 'child-like' vision is in the game of Trouble there is no going backwards, no other roads: except straight on. The only way you can be taken away from the main path if someone lands on 'your spot' and sends you back home: to square one (which is never a good feeling). Otherwise you keep it movin'. With each turn you get closer and closer to 'home' and each step along the way just feels 'snug'. Like you are in the perfect place. Meant to be there- it just fits.

And I have to say, I love those seasons in life. When you remember nothing is an accident. When God's plan feels so 'snug' and you remember there is no going backwards with God. He is full steam and ready to go: always. Everything is outside of your control, while at the same time it is in that you find the most peace. God has a plan... *deep breath* God. Has. A. Plan.
When God is in control, life just makes sense. But you have to be intentional about putting Him in the driver's seat. That means taking to pray each day, being in community with like minded souls, submitting to Christian leadership, reading His word: EVERY day, and most importantly not only believing but acting as if you believe Jesus is the son of man and someday He will return to marry His Bride.

I am so thankful that I am now in-tuned again to His plans, that life feels 'snug' even when it is frustrating or disappointing. God is in control. I pray His plans always prosper over mine and that I am able to put my first love back where He belongs: being number one... otherwise the prophetic vision I got of the board game 'trouble' earlier, might be for other reasons.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

To The Day

I have somewhat of a fascination with 'one year ago' and how much things have changed or rather sometimes how much they have not.Facebook has recently gone nostalgic on all of us and has started getting us hooked on these "this day in 2009; 2010" status reminders. Everyone I know has had quite the good time reminiscing on their sappy or quote-tastic statuses.Even without facebook's help I have a cousin, who like many in my family does not let things go easily. And tonight I took her out for a girl's night and we went to the Clubhouse Fun tonight when we realized we were at that exact spot exactly one year ago. To-the-day. However, we were not alone on our first adventure a year ago. No, no we weren't- 'flicker', as she calls him, was there before.

Little does she or facebook know where my heart was a year ago. How crazy it was to reconnect with him after years. To think, that was exactly a year ago. The scene was as such; My heart was at a turning point, God had the answer for me, I had followed his lead and began my single life and this day one year ago I sent a text that forever changed my life.. and I don't say that lightly. 

To-the-day I made the choice one year ago that I was going to chase after the wrong lover. And let me tell you it was quite the year after I made that decision. But I can write tonight from a different heart, from a different longing- I again am in more than awe of my God. I not only reminisce of good times with Him but prioritize my time with my first love. 

I laugh at the thought of when my girls say "Girl- you act like Jesus is your boyfriend" and I understand why they don't get it, and when you don't get it (mainly because you have not experienced it) it makes sense. But there is such a freedom in His presence to be had, there really is a divine romance to enjoy, there is a joy to linger in. You just have to be persistent and consistent. His word says He'll answer. And if there is one thing I have learned from this past year: His word is true, forever and for always. 

Lamentations 3:25-27 "God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times"

2 Chronicles 16:9 "The eyes of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him."

Matthew 7:7 "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you."

Deuteronomy 4:29 "But from there you will seek the LORD your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul." 

Jeremiah 29:13 "When you look for me, you will find me. When you wholeheartedly seek me."

Revelation 2:4 "But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first"

Seek Him. He answers. He is our true Lover.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Settling In

"Once you lose yourself, you have two choices: find the person you used to be, or lose that person completely. Because sometimes, you have to step outside of the person you’ve been and remember the person you were meant to be. The person you wanted to be. The person you are. George Bernard Shaw once wrote: "There are two tragedies in life: one is to lose your heart’s desire. The other is to gain it". Clearly, Shaw had his heart broken once or twice." - One Tree Hill cast 

The last five years I feel as if I have lived out of boxes. I was at school, I was back home, I was in a foreign country, I was out of state- I was always :::somewhere, doing something::: and always with my boxes.

I spoke to a girl earlier today who was in and out of foster care her whole life. Continually split from her brothers and sisters for years then brought back together. I imagine she feels as if her whole life is in boxes...

But I sit here tonight I am not somewhere, doing something, I am just here... and I have no boxes left. I finally decorated my room and well, this is it. This is home now. I feel safe here, relaxed and quite privileged. It is a really nice place and when I spend most of my days working with young women like the one I mentioned above, this is a very nice home.

Even with the familiar boxes in hand, I can admit I lost myself this past school year. Granted I moved three times, earned a Master's degree and started managing a non-profit- so I can use that as an excuse; Regardless I lost that sense of independence I had gained and that beautiful sparkle in my eye that let me know I had a purpose beyond just getting recognition in this life. I let my heart wander and I gained my heart's desire in two ways: One was of the Lord the other was not and George Bernard Shaw was right... oddly enough both feel like tragedies sometimes.

But, I have no boxes left... no excuses; It's time. It is time to be who I always said I was going to be. It is time to take this Urban Ministry seriously and do what I can to carry on God's message of Love. It's time to remember what I got into this crazy profession for. Contrary to popular belief, I never became a Social Worker because I thought I could save the world; I just simply did not want to ignore the pain of the world, like others can so easily do. It's time to move beyond the boxes and settle into life.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Feeling Loneliness

I don't think it is being a hypocrite when you give someone good advice yet don't follow it yourself. We all do it. We know better... we just don't.  

wis·dom//wizdəm// : Knowing the best thing to do and actually doing it. 

I  remember telling him how healthy it is to feel loneliness and to not fill it. To sit there and allow your heart to ache and just breath. I know to everyone that might not make sense-- but we get so busy trying to make our lives 'okay' that we forget it is perfectly normal to not be okay. In fact that is possibly the only true 'normalcy'; sometimes things are good and sometime they are not. Just the same as the only constant in life is change. 

I don't agree with staying in this place for an extended period of time but sometimes we have to let our heart get there. Turn off 'Desperate Housewives' and allow the tears to come. Allow our souls to cry out. Feel it; Live it.

 Life   //lif// : The act of existing and The routined yet spontaneous day to day activity

 I wonder what point I am trying to get across tonight... I guess to just be honest: the weirdest things make me lonely. I have attended five weddings this summer. None of which have made me yearn for a significant other or romance. Oddly enough they all made me crave Christian fellowship-- a group of guys & gals encouraging one another in faith and righteousness. I thought nothing of whom my groom will be, but more so if my bridesmaids would be the same as these girls; Those who had been praying over the bride and encouraging her to guard her heart throughout the relationship. But it is those times where I get out of work and realize I have the night to myself and the summer air is picture perfect-- then I kick myself for not having someone special to share it with-- almost wishing I would have continued to compromise in any of my -not-meant-to-be relationships.

 I miss laughing the most. I understand that I laugh about twice as much as everyone else I know-- but there are different laughs. And I can't pinpoint any one person in my day to day life right now who can get me to laugh... like really laugh.

 Now that the business of summer and vacationing is over I need to start reaching out to more friends again. Friends who are chasing after righteousness, friends who refuse to let compromises come between them and the Lord, friends who won't let me settle for loneliness when I can be having a conversation with a Living God.  I feel like I need a group... not just random 'besties' here and there. I truly believe this goes beyond my need for acceptance and really defines what it is to be in Christian Community.

be·long   //biˈlôNG// : To be a part of [[a God centered adventure]] 

I guess a part of this cry for fellowship really is a desire for Proverbs 27:17: "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." I want to run this race with others. Period. I want to surround myself with those who consistently remind me: I am worth waiting for. Because no matter how he made me feel... I am.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You've Been on my Mind

I was in the office. Seemed like a regular day; then I got the phone call.
One of Dad's best friend had taken his own life :::tragedy strikes:::

In those moments who do you call? When your knees get weak and you know you can't be alone. Since this was over a month ago- I called him. And as he drove me to my hometown I played Adele's "One and Only" over and over again. Holding back some tears, then at other times letting them go. The way she throws her soul into the music was the exact 'real-ness' I needed at that moment. 

Now you'd think this would be a post about tragedy. Or God's goodness through the pain- perhaps ::triumph:: But alas, it is not. This post, as with all the others, is about being lovesick.

He's been on my mind. And no (thank heavens) it is not who you are thinking. The boy driving the car was only an instrument to remind me how much I love being in love... with the man who CREATED love. 

I am God's one and only. He always has me on his mind. 
(that goes for you as well-ya just have to believe it)

The LORD appeared to us in the past, saying: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness" (Jeremiah 31:3)

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing" (Zephaniah 3:17)
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness (Psalm 86:15)

Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever (Psalm 136:26)
How precious to me are your thoughts towards me, O God!
   How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand
. (Psalm 139:17-18b)

God's goodness through that tragedy (and other letdowns that week) were just overwhelming. This life is hard, it really sucks at times (no doubt) and NONE of us like to do it alone. One of the saddest sights to me is to see a lonely person. Whether they are 13, 39, or 93. Being alone, feeling isolated, neglected or as desperate as my Dad's friend must have been... is just indescribably painful to my heart. 

But to know we can do life with God, to never be alone- ever is literally the best security one can have. ((Deut. 31:6)) Once you enter into that RELATIONSHIP with God you'll listen to songs like Adele's "One and Only" and be able to move past the guy driving the car and instead hear God whisper the lyrics into your heart.

"You've been on my mind
I grow fonder every day,
lose myself in time just thinking of your face
God only knows why it's taking me so long
to let my doubts go
You're the only one that I want

I don't know why I'm scared, I've been here before
Every feeling, every word, I've imagined it all,
You never know if you never try to forget your past
And simply be mine

I dare you to let me be your, your one and only
Promise I'm worth it to hold in your arms
So come on and give me the chance

To prove that I'm the one who can
Walk that mile
Until the end starts

Have I been on your mind?
You hang on every word I say, lose yourself in time
At the mention of my name, will I ever know
How it feels to hold you close
And have you tell me which ever road I chose you'll go"

Monday, July 11, 2011

When 3am knocks..

Hello Blogworld! To preface all this, since I am trying to stick to a budget, I still do not have a smartphone. However, I plan to by the end of summer. With that I know I will lose the information I have on my current phone. I was looking at all my locked texts thinking- hey these are some real emotions, I really want to save these. All of these 'texts' were notes from myself when my phone was more conveinetly located than a pen and paper. For example most of the quoted ones are from sermons where I forgot a pen or coffee house chats with friends. As for the others well.. almost all of them were written at 3am laying in my bed this past year. The first year living semi alone after being in a dorm for years.  

Some came to me like a kick in the gut that would awake me and give me a feeling of urgency to remember what was just whispered into my heart. These ones I sometimes didn't even realize I texted until the next morning (thank you Holy Spirit). Others were from two different heartbreaking moments where you find yourself waking up in tears in the early morning, knowing you must seem like a fool to the rest of the world hurting so much, but at the same time knowing it is healthy to grieve a lost relationship. (and 3am may or may not be the only time I am still enough to do so). So alas, here they are. Simple nuggets of thoughts, wisdom, or quotes I wanted to keepsake.

June 10th, 2010: "How can she possibly know him, when she does not even know herself"

June 11th, 2010:  Don't settle, don't compromise, don't even try to make an exccuse- it's either meant to be or it is not. Do not not work through anything but don't think everything should have to be worked on either. He is either the man you want to marry, someone you can inspire to be that man, or he is not. Stop wasting your time, efforts, beauty, and love in a worldly sense. Fall in love with God, fall in love with you and the right man chase you

July 5th, 2010: "What is it about yourself that you believe that is so bad? That does not allow you to be alone. Where is the root? You need accountabilty and those to hold you up in those moments of weakness"
"Those who won't let you compromise, know how good you are"
'Learn from this. You can for pay for education instead of just paying for a mistake"

July 6th, 2010: The easiest person to lie to is yourself. It is not humanly possible to act the way we do and be with someone so much and not grow attached. It is all a choice. You choose to fill your void the way you do, even if it is subconsciously. You have to be your own heart's best friend- if you don't care for it: no one else will.
July 16th, 2010: It is hard to heal others' broken hearts when you are worries about your own.

August 15th, 2010: The question has never been do I love you enough to stand by- but it has always been: am I suppose to stand by. And the answer I got was no. So I had to surrender what i loved more that anything else in this world. Not just you- but the idea of you, of us, of growing old and getting rich. The front porch and the back deck. The country road with an airplane runway. It was knowing all the time I spent dreaming, thinking and worrying were wasted... but only in the sense of they will never come true now... but then wasted because they were real. They were real hope. They were realistic hopes. They were ours. Now there will never be an us like we imagines. Somehow us will always be- even if it is only used in the past tense from now on. I always wondered what it would feel like to let someone go, to let yourself go- to let the dreams subside. And here it is the end of us. The end of an elongated romance, a pursuing, a battle, a love, and although I know that means there is too a beginning to be had, to be celebrated and longed for that is not where my heart is and where it has been. It has been with you, recklessly abandoned in your arms. And before I gave it over to you, it belonged to you. I kept it as hidden as I could until your gentleness overtook me, your words calmed me and your love convinced me that this was it- this is where I belonged and I handed you my heart. holding my breathe, hoping you would know hot to treat it right and to do so out of the goodness of your heart. I wanted you to teach me... teach me everything. I wanted you to shoe me, show me what it is to love, to dream, and to be a child of God. I wanted this to make sense and someday I know it will. not just because it sounds nice, but because I believe God has a purpose and a someone for each of us and this is only to better our lives with Him. That is the hope anyway... So to us- the us we use to know and be. The us we never thought we would lose and to the us we unfortunately have to become. Let it be the best us we can possibly be after being the best us we already were

August 15th, 2010: I have known that love is a commitment and not a feeling, but it was not until the lovesick feeling was gone that I had to ask myself... am I committed?
When the shiny armor begins to rust and the white horse was only a rental- reclaim your dreams for the Lord!

August 23rd, 2010: If we do it for them they will lose their sense of manhood. They have to pull it out within themselves or they will always feel inferior and be missing a crucial part of their strength. We are meant to be encouraging and inspiring, but if we are the only thing they inspire for or the only one whispering 'I believe in you'- they will lose faith in themselves to be able to do life without you. Then out of fear they will pull away from you in hopes they can be who they are meant to be: a man strong enough to hold themselves and their family (including you) up. You must let the Eagle peck its way through the egg in order for him to survive the real world.

October 17th, 2010: There is nothing more amazing then when a man swallows his pride and fights for you- instead of with you.

February 5th, 2011: Don't act like you care now. You basically packed my bags for me. Don't act like you don't want to lose me when you are the one who used me.  After all this time I waited for you to show you cared... don't act like you do now. That is just not fair. As soon as I got the strength to say goodbye you want to come act like you never lied. As soon as I am about to leave my key, you reach your hand out to me. Don't. Don't act like you care now after all the damage you have done. I can only take so much. So don't play games with my heart. Just as I reach the door you reach your hand out to me... don't act like you care now. 

February 11th, 2011: It is about commitment to God. Unwaivering. Things can go wrong but you are committed.

February 13th, 2011: Do not get caught up being a hostess for the world, when you are really a host of the Holy Spirit.

February 21st, 2011: How can I look at you knowing you do not care about me and still decide to give my heart away. Worship is what you give your heart away to... why do I worship you?

February 25th, 2011: If only you knew how deep your kiss cut into my heart. If only you knew the time I wasted thinking of scenarios that will never come true. If only you could see how often I foolishly check my phone to see if you have contacted me. You have invaded my thoughts, you have calloused my heart. I hate that i care for you. I fonally get the country songs that say 'go ahead and lie to me' .. it just feels right.

February 27th, 2011: Again I ask you, how can you know and not care? Do your part to free the hurting. 
March 14th, 2011: Staying in a relationship you know does not work is showing you have no faith that God can provide you better. You are trying to control the circumstances, when all along he has something better for you.

March 25th, 2011: I would like to say this has been fun... but it hasn't.

April 23rd, 2011: It is like you have intentions to bring me a rose garden, but all you have done is plant thorns

A part of love is you want someone to see beyond the you- you show everyone else. You want them to see what it is that really makes you, you and tell you you are just as amazing as you were always hoping you were. You let them into those intimate places you never knew if you would share with anyone else. You let your guards down and ... they leave with a piece of you

June 19th, 2011: "The world 'fixes' people, God frees them"
 "God wants to use you from an early age and He does not want you to be ministering from a broken heart"

June 25th, 2011: The world will constantly be telling you 'you are not good enough'; While God can't stop telling you how madly in love with you He is.
If Jesus had a facebook status; it would tell the world how crazy He is about you.

June 28th, 2011: When it came down to it I gave it my best. But sometimes in life there are more important things than romance.

July 1st, 2011: "2+2= yellow. It all adds up, you just have the answer wrong"