Wednesday, October 27, 2004

So here's an interesting thing. My best friend has a boyfriend. Officially. It's very cool. And very weird. My best friend has never had a boyfriend before. So even though it's obviously effecting her more than me, I feel in some way a part of my life is about to change too. Like it has too. It's not just some random flakey boyfriend. It's a relationship, and relationships are pretty dependant upon time. And since we pretty much spend a lot of our time together, I'm assuming that that will be cut down. Not out. But down. Which again, is not a bad thing, it could actually be a good thing. But it's wierd. I'm excited though. Super excited for her, and him.
Actually in a way, this has totally renewed my faith that God is in control of the whole love life/boyfriend/husband part of my life. This has pretty much all gone down in a month, and was totally not even thought of before then. God is in control. I should start chanting that through out the day. Just for everything that goes on. God is in control. I probably could not be reminded of that beautiful fact enough.
I will say though that I am a bit jealous. In a way. On the other hand, I'm glad she gets to go first. We've talked about how one of us would have to go first. I'm glad it's her.
And now I shall go read myself to sleep.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

I started reading a book today by an author I really love. His books always make me think outside my box. I will recommend this book to you, but I can't right now, for reasons I can't discuss at this moment. I got about halfway through the book this morning, and as much as I just wanted to bulldoze my way through the rest of it, I had to put it down and think. Which is why I'm here. To help me think. One line that has been spinning around in my head...well I can't find it right now...but it basically said something to the effect of, "Life is more than a list of things that need to get done." Man, there is a lot of freedom in that statement for me. So much of my life becomes a "To Do" list too easy. I like being able to check things off. I like that feeling of productivity and acomplishment, but somethings should not be able to be checked off. "Spent time with Jesus...check. Quality time with friends...check. Weekly call to mom...check. Lead worship for youth group...check." I've gotten better. Believe it or not. Liene always bags me out for not being very flexible or spontaneous. It's because lists don't allow for flexibility. If you're flexible, things don't get checked off, and then I don't feel productive, and I get depressed and lost in a mire of worthlessness...

Sometimes I think I spend to much time with people. For some odd reason, since I've moved back to AZ, I hate to be alone. I keep waiting for it to wear off. Honestly, this morning is the first time that I've really been alone for this long in months. And it feels ok right now, but I'm having to fight really hard to not pick up my phone and tell liene I'm coming over, or ask rose if she wants to go for coffee. Surely I'm not turning into one of those ridiculous extraverts that don't even know how to spend time alone. I wonder though, if all my time spent with people takes away from time spent with God. I feel guilty about this alot actually. I beat myself up about it, because I feel like I'm not being spiritual enough. I don't feel like God is mad at me. I actually think I'm at a pretty good place with God. That sounds so stuck up. But you know what I mean. There are seasons. I think I'm in a fairly good season right now. I'd call it an up swing season. Which is amazing since it's October and all of the years' crap seems to always culminate in October. I'll get back to that thought in a bit. But I was thinking in the shower this morning (afternoon) about how I spend too much time with people and not enough time by myself with God. I just started talking to God about it, and how I feel guilty about it, and I realized that, with my close friends, the people I spend the majority of my time with, through my relationships with them, I am drawn closer to God. They challenge me, and encourage me, and confront me and I see and know God through them. Now, not to say that we can exchange time in the Word or prayer for talking with friends, but it lifted some kind of unnecessary weight off of my shoulders that said I shouldn't be spending so much time with people. God also reminded me that I'm in process, and that he has created everyone different. So often I think of the spiritual giants and want to be where they are now, even though they weren't where they are now when they were my age. Well some of them were. But even still, God's got me on my journey. That was their journey and I should try to compare the two because they are equally important and beautiful to God. It's frustrating though. I wish I could spend hours in prayer and meditation and bible study. But I can't. And I wonder how I will ever be successful in ministry. Or life for that matter. But I know God has plans. Good plans, and I know that even though my mind often decieves me that my heart yearns for him more than anything or anyone else. I'm going to try to stop wishing I was on another part of my journey, and just enjoy where I am now and soak up all that God is teaching and showing me now. And I'm thankful that I'm another mile down the road from where I was last year.

Back to October being the crappy month of the year. It really is. I know more than one person will testify to that. All the crap happens in October. And so far, this year is not an exception. I was thinking about that last night and wondering if it has anything to do with Halloween. I try not to get too "Jerry Falwell" about Halloween, but I don't doubt that the enemy uses it as a spiritual stronghold in america. Anyway, so I've actually been thinking about this for a while and then was reminded of it last night when my friend called late and said that she just found out that her other best friend that lives in FL found her 60 something mom dead in her bed. Died in her sleep. October sucks. A year ago Sunday my dad had his open heart surgery and I was on a flight from Sydney to Texas. Krys' grandpa died in October. October always seems to be one of my low seasons during the year. Hence the upswing I'm in now. The rest of the month was pretty shit. Before womens retreat I was honestly in a really bad place. I was thinking about about dying. And waking up some mornings disappointed that I hadn't. It would be so much easier. I'm glad I didn't die though, and I'm glad that God has grace and mercy in abundance for us during those seasons. I'm also glad that Jesus was a man and understands what it's like. This October has also been really challenging for some of my friendships. One in particular that has just gone weird in the past week because of a boy. Actually I don't think it's because of the boy, I think that's just kinda what tipped the scale maybe. I don't know. But I think it's dumb that it's caused weirdness. I think next year I'm going to skip October.

The thought that started all of the previous thoughts was one that I don't have often really, but it's definitely reoccuring. "I am not of this world". That is the thought. It is such a comforting thought. I don't remember where I first heard this idea, I know it wasn't purely my own, even though I've adopted it as such. It explains so much of why so many things feel unexplainably wrong. Why this war against terror feels wrong even though I don't know what would make it better, why there is something wrong about professional athletes making hundreds of millions of dollars for doing something every boy in America has done in his backyard for the hell of it, why Paris Hilton makes me cringe, and why the Real World is possibly the furthest thing from it. It explains why bad things happen to good people, and why injustice goes unpunished, it explains why October sucks and why sometimes I want to die, it explains why I was dissapointed in God when I had to leave Sydney, and why my heart honestly aches to go back some days. It also explains why over and over and over again I run back to God. On really bad days I crawl back. But I always return. Because He is the only thing that feels real, that feels true, that feels like love, and that feels right in this world. Because He is not of this world, and neither am I.

This blog was written to the soothing sounds of BS2. And that sentence was for K.Lo cause I don't think anyone else will understand or care. =)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

There are about five other things I can think of off the top of my head that I should be doing right now. I'm sure if I thought longer or harder there would be more. The voice of Productivity in my head is telling me not to do this, but I know I need to write. Where do I even start?
God is good. I know I write about this probably too much, but I can't help it. God has blessed me with the most amazing friends in the world. Seriously. If there is someone out there that has a better network of friends than I, well I can't even imagine that really. This past week I missed my friends on the other side of the world and wanted to be with them so bad that it hurt. And yet at the same time, I'm so not used to living in the same city as my best friend, and seeing her everyday that I found myself thinking, "When is she going home?" Except she is home. And I'm home. And I get to see her everyday. And it's the hugest blessing in the world. Sometimes I don't think I'd be alive if it wasn't for the grace God has shown me through my friends. I used to be really co-dependant on my friends. Like really unhealthily so. Sometimes I still wonder if I am. But I can tell that God has done a radical work of purging this tendancy from my life. The one blatantly obvious way He has shown this to me recently is through L. A possible and quite unexpected suitor has recently entered the picture. He's a good guy. A great guy, and if this is God, I think it's a really good thing. And if there is something there, and if in many MANY years it does work out, I could not be happier for her. Or him. Quite honestly, I would be a bit jealous because he has beautiful curly hair, but when he gives me hugs, it's like hugging my brother so that's pretty much a huge turn off right there. But I was thinking about this whole thing the other day and just praising God for the stuff He's done in me, and that I can be potentially happy about the potential suitor and not ridiculously possesive like I think I would have been even a couple years ago.

God continues to do seriously amazing and crazy things at our church. I love my church. I love it so much. I love the people, I love the leaders, I love the vision. That's another way I can tell God has seriously done some work in me. Two years ago I was counting the days until I was going to be able to leave not only the church but the country. I know the only way I will every leave this body again is if I am being commissioned by them to go out.

This summer we are going to be doing a girls' retreat for the high school girls. I'm so pumped already. My friend KrystyKay that I roomed with in Sydney is coming home this year and I asked her to come down to speak for our retreat in the summer and she nearly peed her pants with excitement. One thing that we really want to do at this retreat is for all of the leaders to give a testimony of something God has given them victory over in their lives. I think it will shock and encourage the girls to know that their leaders have dealt with serious suicide, eatting disorder, abuse, and sexual issues. I've been thinking, and really I should probably be praying, but at this point I've only been thinking about talking about some of my struggles with homosexuality. And seriously right now, there is no way in hell I could stand in front of that group of girls and tell that story. No way. I know that it would probably be a huge encouragement to some of them. It would possibly even open a door for breakthrough in their lives. I don't know. I just don't think I could do it. And I probably haven't prayed about it because I'm afraid of what God would tell me to do...

Right now I'm in the middle of a hard core "I want to be married" season. It's horrible. I keep asking God to take it away and quit playing games with my heart. It's too much right now. In some ways I feel so ready and in other I feel like I never will be. But the desire is so strong. I so long to be able to serve him, and love him, and support him, and grow and stretch with him, and for God to use us, and take us crazy places and ask us to do crazy things. I want to know that feeling of being completely at home with someone. I think I feel most like that with Jesus, but not even completely because hello, it's God we're talking about. There is always that sense of awe, and reverence, and holiness in the back of my head. And yet I know the love of my husband will never measure the love of Christ. I guess it's kind of hard to explain. But I want that, and I want him, and is it possible to miss someone you don't even know? And I want sex. I definitely want sex. This is probably the thought I'm struggling the most with. How do you curb those desires when they obviously can't be fulfilled? God take them away. Just for now. Just until the moment after I say, "I do". Whenever the hell that will be. I want a man, and I want marriage, and I even want kids. Not now, not soon, but eventually. I like the thought of having kids. shocking.

I watched "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" last night. Jim Carry was damn hot. But that movie was whack. I think if I watch it again it would be good, now that I kind of know what is going on. It's such a real movie. In that it deals with the reality of being human. there aren't alot of movies like that. Anything with Hilary Duff is automatically not real. I don't think Hillary Duff is real. I think she is the most recent product of the Disney "Imagineers". At least the animatrons in the Pirates of the Carribean ride can act.

I feel like I should be done writing, but I also feel like there's something that hasn't come out yet.

Sometimes I scare myself. I can be really crazy in the head sometimes and get really twisted up in some weird world that doesn't exsist. Sometimes I wonder if I have a disorder. Or if it's just human but no one talks about feeling crazy. Especially Christians. Gosh. I'm so bleeping sick of smiling fake ass Christians. Seriously. Life is not that good. Being a Christian on earth is not all smiles. Life sucks sometimes. Life is good beyond comprehension sometimes. But gosh. Come to terms with reality people. I can't even listen to Christian radio anymore. It makes me want to puke. It makes me hurt for all the broken, desperate, hurting lives in the world that think that is what Christianity is about. You aren't a Christian if you don't know the motions to "Big House" by Audio Adreneline. I'm reading this amazing book about a British guy who travelled through Afghanistan. Actually I've been reading it for far too long, but that's another story entirely. When he spent some time in Herat, the only place he could find to stay was at some sort of Christian missionary compound. Now before I get to out of control, I have to say that any Christian that chooses to uproot their family and move to such a hurting nation to try and bring Christ's hope gets mad props in my book. I definitely can not dissrespect that. However...these people were so fake to him. The "swaying, singing Christians" as he described them. He couldn't wait to sneak out of the house in the morning to avoid them, and would sit on the front stairs late at night agonizing over going back in to the house because "they" would be there. AHHHHHH!!! Do you see how bleeping wrong this is. So wrong. The world should be drawn to us. They shouldn't want to spend time with us. They should be intrigued and curious, and wonder why we give a damn. They should not want to run from the plastic people. So clean and sterile that surely they have never even had need for a shower. Gosh. I am a sinner. I am broken, and I hurt. I have shit in my life that is not yet dealt with. By the grace of God, I have been saved from a lot more tragedy and heart break and crap than most people, but I'm not plastic! I'm not always smiling. I get depressed and I don't know why. I feel attack and oppression from the enemy. I fall back into habits that were of my old man and wonder how God can possibly love me still after doing it yet again. I think rock and roll really can sooth the soul and I don't think Repbulican is synonymous with Christian. I know I am called to ministry and sometimes I honestly wish I weren't simply for the stereotypes and perceptions full time ministry holds. Jesus was so real. He ate with prostitutes. I don't even know a prostitute. He healed lepers. I've never even given money to a Vet with a "Need money for food" sign. Jesus drank wine. I love wine! He challenged the religious authorities. The plastic people. He challenged them and told them they were fake. White washed. All appearances. He was human and knew that people couldn't be that happy and smily all the time. He also knew that the most important thing He could do on earth was spend time with His Father. I have yet to fully grasp that concept. I know it's important. I know I need to spend time with God. I even like spending time with Him usually. But to have it be the one thing constantly on my mind, that I yearn for and can't get enough of. I'm not there. And I hate that we sang a Michael W. Smith song in church today. I don't hate MWS. I hate that the chorus to one of his songs was the best illustration we could come up with for needing to pray for people. That's stupid. Why didn't we put a picture up there of a kid with a gun in his mouth. I think he could probably use some prayer. What about a picture of a pastor getting off to some porn in his office at church while his wife is at home fixing him dinner. They could probably use prayer. No, all we had was nasally MWS urging us to "Pray for me, and I'll pray for you". lame.
I love Jesus. I love love love Jesus. I love his grace. I love his faithfulness. I love Him. I love that He is not plastic, and that I don't have to be plastic with Him. And I love that this rant was not one bit offensive to Him. Thank you, Lord.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

This might sound really stuck up at first, but hang with me and I think you'll get what I'm trying to say.
Ever since I've been back in Mesa, I've noticed that for some reason I tend to hold an unusual ammount of favor with people for no apparent reason. People like me, and not only do they like me, they respect me and like will even sometimes cater to me. I don't understand this. First of all the fact that I got a job at my church without interviewing, or even being in the same state, or having attended the church for 2 years was pretty good. But now, it's like people are coming out of the woodwork that randomly like me. Maybe this doesn't sound conceited, maybe it sounds more like I have low self esteem. I don't really, I've always made friends pretty easy. I'm a cool person what can I say? But there are some really random people that all of a sudden are like my best friend.
For instance, I was in the office today, and there was an older man in who is retired and spends a lot of his time volunteering at the church. He's the grandpa of two of my good friends, and when I was here a couple years ago I spent a lot of time at their house, so I got to know him pretty good. He's a funny guy and likes to joke around, and every time he sees me he says "G'day mate". So I saw him and said hello and he took my hand and kissed it and said how glad he was that I was back. After he said g'day of course.
Then there's this other lady who was like one of my leaders in jr. high and hi school who is still a youth leader who apparently screamed when she found out I was coming back and gave me a huge hug the other night after I lead worship at MNL and said she was so glad I came back.
But by far, the most bizare one is my friend Meg's mom. She's a great lady, honestly I love her to death, but I can't figure out why she likes me so much. It's a little weird. I'm at their house pretty much every day. Actually sometimes I'm at their house more than I'm at my house. L is living with them right now so that's pretty much why, but like I chat to Meg's mom and sometimes we have seriously talked for a couple hours. It definitely helps that they have the most comfortable furniture in the world, and usually I just don't want to get up to leave, BUT I still somehow carry an unmerited level of favor with her in my opinion. I was over there last night for the VP debate and she was like, "Mel it's so good to see you, you haven't been around for a while." When really I was there the day before. Though I don't think I saw her then. But I did see her on Sunday, so apparently 2 days is a while. This favor comes with definte perks though, like free food and wine, and getting to submit my choice of theme song for our missions conference this year. (My song totally won by the way. Well it wasn't my song, it's Matt Redman Missions Flame, from his new CD which if you don't have you should go buy right now.)
Anyway, I don't know I just find it a little weird that these people like me so much. They aren't the only ones either. Our pastors wife loves me, and a couple ladies in the office tell me frequently that they are so glad I'm in the office now. It'll be interesting to see what areas I can stretch this favor into. More hours? Better pay? First female "pastor"? ha. we'll see.

In other news, I'm going out of town this weekend. Praise the Lord. It's our women's retreat and I'm very excited. I'm excited for the retreat and just to be able to get away. I'm hoping there will be tears. I've been feeling the need for a good cry for some time now, but it hasn't happened.

I would also like to recommend my new favorite tv show. It's on ABC on Wednesday nights and it's alled WifeSwap. IT's based off a british show that we were all addicted to in Sydney last year, but the American one is way more brutal. (not to mention dramatic and over produced) I'm also sadly addicted to the Real World. That show is so slutty. I should not watch it. But it's on24/7 and totally addicting I tell ya.

Ok I should be tired, but I'm not so I"m going to go clean up parts of my room that are crying out for sunlight.