Category Archives: Uncategorized

Independence Day.

We want our independence but we have no idea what we’re talking about. Or what we really want for that matter.

We want to move out. Get real jobs. We long for space, financial security. Yet we’re really just looking to move our dependence from our parents to another person: a partner, a spouse, a fiancé, a friend. We can’t stand the implications of independence. We can’t stand being alone.

I’m learning independence. I’m learning alone. Not aloneness as loneliness but as I’m okay-hanging-out-by-myself-ness.

New church- alone. Road trips- alone. Weddings/parties/shindigs- alone. Well, I have been counting my iPhone as my “plus one” these days.

Most of the time, it’s stifling, almost paralyzing. New places & people bringing out social anxiety that I never knew that I had. Overtaken by questions of who I am, how I act, what I say.

However, there have been times, especially lately, that this alone-ness has been subtly liberating. Strangely comfortable. No one to impress, no expectations to live up to, no mask to wear.  Just me. Little ole, always the same me.

I’m realizing that I’ve been living under this darkened cloud, this craving for a false self-fulfillment. Pretending that I want things I don’t, yearning after that which I don’t have.

As I write this, I realize that this is all one giant layers of hypocrisy piled ontop of one another. Heck, I am just one big heap of hypocrisy.

We were created for dependence. We are not self-sufficient.

We are needy. I am needy. I need Jesus.

So bad.

So good.

So much.

Whichever. Any and all of the above.

So, today I am thankful for my dependence. That I am fully know & somehow, in all that knowing, fully loved & lavished upon with grace after grace.

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I think that I’m in love with the office laminator.

I’m serious. I think this could work.

I mean, we’re both single, hot, hardworking…people?

No. I am not desperate.

I wish I had wifi at my house. Maybe then I would actually live within the realms of the blogosphere. I often think about the life of bloggers and think “I could get down with that.”

Alas, no wifi. That makes blogging weird. It’s weird when I have to blog while John Drumgool sits and pounds (literally) out an email on his computer. Or reads me the updated weather report.

He’s not here right now so I can say that and it makes it okay.

That’s why I don’t blog. I have good intentions. I really do. 

Yeah, you’re right. Intentions count for nothing.

For the past three weeks, I haven’t had any desire to leave the house and come work in the office. I’ve just wanted to sleep. And watch Lie To Me. And marry a British man who will call me “Love”.

But now, now I want to be in the office and not at the house. I suppose that’s good since I have quite a large to-do-before-summer list accumulating on my desk.  But not any more. I’m checkin’ those suckers off like it’s no one’s business. I also suppose that it’s evidence that God is changing my heart. He’s up to something.

It’s so weird to think about how different life was just one year and one month ago: living at my parents house, working at The Manor. One year and one month ago, my best friend would not be getting married in 10 days, my baby brother would not be getting ready to graduate from college. 

Life was different in circumstance but even now, though events and people and places have rolled in and out of my life, the feeling is still lingering:

Defeat.

I guess that’s the point. Life is a battle. (Get out of my head, Pat Benetar!) Defeat is always a threat, always a rain cloud looming over your vacation week.

Always a threat but never an option.

There is always an agenda. Always a plan to be thwarted. Always a battle to be fought.

But we can not only choose victory, we can claim it because of who Christ is.

In Him, we are MORE than conquerers.

In Him, we are strong despite our weakness.

In Him, we are victors over our Opponent.

In Him, the battle is already won.

When defeat is lurking, when the skies are gloomy, when the answers only produce more questions, there is victory.

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The past three months have been tumultuous. A lot of stuff. A lot of learning. 

Since the break of 2012, I have come to know myself in ways I wish I didn’t know myself. Does that make sense? I’ve proven what I’m fully capable of, in all of the worst ways.

I’ve hurt people. Really hurt people. 

I’ve been angry. Really angry.

I’ve thought about giving up- on myself, on others, on church, on camp.

But I haven’t. I guess that’s good. Although, this has only added fuel to my already critical fire. I’ve continued to view myself of less of a pessimist and more of a “realist”. Is there such a thing?

I’m finding that life is subject to opinion. Motives. Actions. Words. Nothing is cut and dry. There are always multiple perspectives. We are always right. They are always wrong.

I’m finding that we are in a war. A war against evil, a war against the sin in ourselves & each other. 

I’m finding the power in Scripture.

I’m finding the power of confession, the power of humility.

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Abba, I surrender my will and my life to you today, without reservation and with humble confidence, for you are my loving Father. Set me free from self-consciousness, from anxiety about tomorrow, and from the tyranny of the approval and disapproval of others, that I may find joy and delight simply and solely in pleasing you. May my inner freedom be a compelling sign of your presence, your peace, your power, and your love. Let your plan for my life and the lives of all your children gracefully unfold one day at a time. I love you with all my heart, and I place all my confidence in you, for you are my Abba.

Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust

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February 9, 2012 · 3:19 pm

Kickin’ It Old School: A ReBlog

I take grace for granted.
I take grace for luck.
I take grace where I go

In case get stuck.

I say that I need it
& I gobble it up.
I sin all I want
Because grace is enough.
Isn’t that true?
Why is it so wrong
To give into sin when the temptation’s so strong?
I’d never say it aloud
But deep down, I think it true.
I take grace for granted
So more wrong I can do.

It should not be this way—
You are free, you are free!
Reckon yourselves dead
& dead you shall be.

He has died, I am dead.
He’s alive, now I live
Free from sin, free from chains, free from the law but not grace.
I am free from the law under Your under-appreciated, un-understood, unbelievable, unfathomable, unwavering, unending, how could you possibly love me?! grace.

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The Reason For The Season

I always feel like such a sucky Christian on Christmas. Every year I say that I’ll “remember the true meaning of Christmas” but I soon discover that December 25 is mostly about pecan pie and ripping paper off of boxes & out of pretty bags. The day comes to a close and I find my hand holding again my same baby blue mechanical pencil, realizing the severe lack of Christ in my supposedly Christ-centered holiday.

Every family has their own Christmas traditions. For us, Christmas means Catholic church. This also, for some reason, means that tradition & ritual trumps personal relationships with God which also means that I have to bite my tongue for an hour.

The Priest gave a mini sermon on Christmas Eve entitled “The 5 Reasons We Should Celebrate Christ’s Birth.” The reasons were as lame as his sermon title was trite. The number one reason, the most important reason given was because of the amazingly selfless things that people do by motivation of the Christmas story.

No. That is not why we celebrate Christmas. This is not about peple becoming nuns or missionaries or ascetics.

Christmas is the fulfillment of a promise. A promise made THOUSANDS of years before that first Christmas night. A promise that has literally been hanging over humanity since the dawn of time— that God would come to us.

We are lucky that we’ve only ever had to wait 364 days until Christmas. I think of the people who so eagerly awaited the fulfillment of that promise, who died with faith in their hearts that although they had not seen it come to pass, God would deliver. I think of the stories of Simeon & Ana would had served their entire lives in the temple of God, awaiting the arrival of the Promise One only to see the young boy Jesus & know— He is the salvation which God had prepared in the presence of all people.

We celebrate Christmas because without it there is no Easter. Without the lamb, there can be no scrifice; without the Christ, there can be no salvation; without the promised birth, there can be no atoning death.

We celebrate Chrustmas not just because a baby was born in the most humble of circumstances but because this baby- the one prophesied of by prophets, hoped in by the hopeless, & promised by the Provider came to usher in a new age: a baby who would unite again man & God. A baby who would grow to be a man, who would then surrender himself to be a Savior.

That is love. That is hope. That is Christmas.

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Sometimes, I feel terribly self-aware. Sometimes my introspection is frightening.

Sometimes, I feel like I don’t know myself very well. Sometimes I hear people talking about their passions or talents or even just their favorite things and think, “I have no idea who I am.”

It’s a tricky diachotemy- knowing yourself so well that you hardly know yourself at all.

In order to solve this issue, I’ve decided to begin keeping a list of all my favorite things.

Favorite Dog: Molly. Duh.

Favorite Herb: Rosemary

Favorite Color: Purple, Mustard Yellow?!

Favorite Book of the Bible: 1 John

Favorite Cake: Red Velvet

Favorite Dessert: Lemon Squares

Favorite Drink: Original Seltzer Water with Freshly Squeezed Lemon

Favorite Place: Pine Brook Camp

More to come.

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Psalm 62:5

“My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my Hope is from Him.” —Psalm 62:5

___________________________________________________

My soul,

The time has come to wait. Quitely. To hunker down and wait.

Storms will come and pass over us. They will come with their winds that may cause you to sway. Swaying is ok. Just plant yourself deeply & wait.

They will come with their rains that may flood you with doubts. Doubts are ok. Just trust completely & wait.

They will come with their lightening and thunder that may instill in you fear. Fear is ok. Just fear the Lord above all else, respect His character, & wait.

Be silent. Not a silence of mourning or a sinlence of anger but a silence of anticipation, that deep breath of excitement resting heavily on your lungs eagerly awaiting expiration. A beautiful silence of excitement.

Why? Because of Hope. Because of who He is, I can hope. I have to hope.

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Essay Contest Loser Entry

I shouldn’t be writing this essay right now. I should be meeting with sponsors, writing support letters, perfecting my Spanish. I should be booking my plane ticket to South America and packing my bags for adventure.

I should be preparing for the missions field…but I’m not.

I shouldn’t be sitting in this camp office…but I am.

What changes a year brings about! In the last year, I’ve moved out, moved on. I’ve made changes to my “Five Year Plan” for the millionth time. And somehow, through all of the madness and excitement of this past year, I’ve ended up in camp ministry.

Here I am. At camp. Living here. Serving here. I am living camp.

When I was a kid, I had this crazy dream that one day I’d live at camp. I’ve only lived here for 6 months but this place has always been my home.

I know that this isn’t about my camp story but then again it is. That’s why I want to go to the ENGAGE Conference. I have a camp story and I know that mine isn’t the only one.  I know that there are hundreds, thousands more that still need to be written. That’s why I’m here now. That’s why I want to be here in the future- to bridge the gap between God, the pen, and the paper of people’s lives.

 

Last month, I left my all too reliable, all too predictable, all too plain job to come work at camp. I took on a full time position at a part time pay rate.  Before my “career” could gain any momentum, I squashed it. I gave it up because I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself- bigger than myself and some multi-trillion dollar corporate healthcare trap.

Our God is so much bigger.

He’s used the ministry that happens at camp to rescue me from my sin, from myself, and from the world. I didn’t grow up in the church. Camp has been my church. My parents are not believers. The people at camp have been my spiritual family.

I could never afford to go to the ENGAGE Conference. I really can’t “afford” anything right now. I know that I probably shocked you with that information. I also know that I’m not alone in my financial plight.

I want to be a part of change at our camp but I’m green to the whole camp ministry thing. I’ve seen it from many different facets just not this one. I may be new but I’m eager to learn, to drink in information and ideas and advice. I have dreams of grandeur for our camp but very few practical ideas of how to put feet to my ideas.

I want to go and learn so I can come back and teach. I want to go so our camp can grow. I want to go so we can continue to fan the flames of our ministry.

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Painted Red

If I could not hold a pen
I would write of You on my heart instead
You have bought me with Your blood
And I am painted red by Your love

Oh…

If I could not say a word
My life would speak of love I don’t deserve
Hope means holding on to You
Grace means You’re holding me too

—JJ Heller

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