Monday, November 30, 2009

It's pretty terrible to face oneself.

It's easy to think yourself quite selfless, until your heart awakens to desire. Amazing the sins you suddenly realize have sat silently in the back seat, in a dreary sleep.

Oh Lord, purify me.

Clean hands and a pure heart. A tested heart, one that has felt great fire, lived a great life, and loved beyond itself.. one that has seen such glorious things to awaken every part of it- the ugly and the beautiful, the jealousy and the sacrifice, that neither may lie dorminantly silent. The ugly can be slain, and the beautiful take root. Let it live in the presence of majesty, so it learns humility and courage. Humility to see the ugliness in my own soul, and courage to slay it.

That is the heart of David, as I have read it. That is the heart in me, as it has been written.
I just got a random Noel Richards song in my head, and decided I needed to find my old cd of his... which I did. Man, I love this guy. I love his worship, I love the way he pours out His heart, I love the hunger and the hope of transformation. I love the humility.

I am also about to make a second pot of coffee and get busting on my work for UIE (where I work for those of you who still consider this the "mystery job") and my homework. You may not hear much from me over the next three weeks. I have two weeks of classes, and then finals. And I do not feel ready for what is on its way- at least not in my english honors course. I have no clue what to write my research paper on...

On the other hand, knowing my tendencies... you may see more posts then usual, as the stressful to-do lists tend to make me do a few things: clean, exercise, blog. None really help with the overall projects due. :/

Lord, help me stay focused, and do more then even seems possible. Multiply my time, expand my capacity for wisdom and my ability to organize and communicate my thoughts. Let me glorify You these next three weeks with peace, gentleness to those who have to put up with me (my poor family), and excellence in all I do... with a full heart.

Love you all!!
I am ridiculously blessed when it comes to friends and family!! I am soooo thankful for all of you in my life! The Lord has been lavish in His gifts to me in all of you!

PS, I've been being such a girl lately, since Rob & Aime's wedding I've been looking at bridesmaid dresses. I have been lucky- I loved all three of my dresses from the weddings I have been in. Each have been so different. Can't wait to someday get to pick the ones for my sisters and dearest friends!! (okay, I may have already picked them, but don't tell, let's just say they are a bit of a tribute to my parent's wedding ;)

Since Kim's wedding, I've been telling my sister's I am going to select the most hideous dresses for my bridesmaids.. just because I can. They informed me I don't have a say, but I happen to know them better. When it comes down to it, they'd wear a burlap sack down the aisle if I asked them to. Luckily burlap sacks would clash with the bouhays kristin, so ya'all are safe.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I read this the night I last posted and intended to share it the next morning, but Thanksgiving rushed at me too quickly and carried me along in such a hurry. This is a letter written by Fenelon, collected in his book, "The Seeking Heart." It speaks to the heart of what I've been contemplating these past couple weeks and I hope came through some in my previous post/story.

The Purpose of Suffering

God never makes you suffer unnecessarily. He intends for your suffering to heal and purify you. The hand of God hurts you as little as it can.

Anxiety brings suffering. Sometimes you are simply unwilling to suffer, and you end up resisting God's work. If you put away all your restless longings and your anxiety, you will experience the peace and freedom that God gives to His children. The yoke that God gives is easy to bear if you accept it without struggling to escape. You make life more painful for yourself when you resist God in the least way.

Usually you bargain with God to set a limit on your suffering. The same inward waywardness that makes the work of the cross necessary in your life is what will try to push the cross away. God has to start over with you every time you push Him away.

Sometimes God takes away His gifts until you can possess them purely. Otherwise, they will poison you. It is rarw to hold God's gifts without possessiveness. You think everything is for you. You do not think first of the glory of God or you would not become depressed when your visible blessings vanish. The truth is, you are mostly concerned with yourself. Self-love is proud of its spiritual accomplishments. You must lose everything to find God for Himself alone. But you won't lose everything until it is ripped from you. You won't begin to let go of yourself until you have been thrown off a cliff! He takes away to give back in a better way.

Look at the example of friendships. At first God attracts you by pouring His presence out on you. You are eager to pray and to turn away from your selfish comforts and friendships. You give up everyone and everything that does not feel the same as you do. Many people never get past this place. Some get past this to letting God strip them of everything, but get depressed when everything becomes a burden. Far from looking for friends, the friends they used to enjoy now irritate them. Here is agony and despair. Joy cannot be found.

Does this surprise you? God takes everything because you do not know how to love, so do not speak of friendship. The very idea brings tears to your eyes. Everything overcomes you. You do not know what you want. You are moody and cry like a child. You are a mass of swirling emotions which change from moment to moment. Do you find it hard to believe that a strong and highminded person can be reduced to such a state? To speak of friendship is like speaking of dancing to a sick person.

Wait until the winter is past. Your true friends will come back to you. You will no longer love for yourself, but in and for God. Before, you were somehow always afraid of losing- no matter how generous you appeared. If you didn't seek wealth or honor, you sought common interest or confidence or understanding.

Take away these comforts and you are pained, hurt, and offended. Doesn't this show who you really love?

When it is God you love in someone, you stand by that person no matter what. If the friendship is broken in the order of God, you are at peace. You may feel a deep pain, for the friendship was a great gift, but it is a calm suffering, and free from the cutting grief of a possessive love. God's love sets you free.

Do not waste your suffering. Let suffering accomplish what God wants it to in your life. Never get so hard that you suffer for no reason and no purpose. Paul says, "God loves a cheerful giver." How much He must love those who cheerfully give themselves to His dealings.

Isn't that the most incredible thing you'v ever been told?! I feel like this could have been written to me this time two years ago. After years of His processing, I've learned to not love possessively. I've learned His love frees. And now, I feel like HIs dealings have begun again, and He is purifying me again, teaching me to hold His gifts purely. I still get depressed when my visible blessings and friendships vanish. I still care for myself when it ultimately comes down to it. I want to think first of HIS glory.

Gotta be honest, the dealings of the Lord have wounded me terribly the past couple years. He mended me and it is better then ever, but I am still a little fearful when I hear this word returning a second time, and the Lord assuring me of what I know and who I am in this... I see the windup for a test... and I remember the pain in being broken. Oh Lord, let me not resist You or Your ways in the least. Teach me to Love. Make me real. Create Your image in me.

"When I awake I will be satisfied with Your image"

Monday, November 23, 2009

The internet here is shoddy (word? appears to be since it's not underlined in red). I hope it doesn't fail me at the end as I go to post.

Not sure what I want to write right now, just certain I'd like to write to you all. (Yes, Kris, I am 'certain').

I could write about the amazing MLS cup game last night, but those of you who actually care about it would have watched it last night on ESPN. I'll just say I had incredible seats on the first level (thank you Kristin & Grant!), and both regulation-time goals were scored right in front of us (Ty came with me since my dad was sick)! The game was unbelievable... mostly the shoot out was unbelievable! Next year I hope the Sounders are in it ;) The one terrible thing about watching soccer matches- it makes me ache to play again! Not just scrabbling around at Kenmore Junior High with all the masses on Sunday afternoons, I mean I miss the BEAUTY of passing! I miss the adventure in crafting plays on the field, webbing with my teammates, lofting the ball across the goal from the left corner, I miss battling, I miss break aways- racing across the 50, a few steps ahead of the defense, hitting the ball just right, or tapping it in with my left foot, or the perfect pass for an assist... thats definitely one of my favorites! AGH! Sadly, these feelings are hard to satisfy... I've tried. I think it may never be like that again :( You see, I need a team...I always have. I'm not the showstopper, I'm the playmaker. I wouldn't really stand out at tryouts.

Fun story to tell, which I think my family all already knows. In 10th grade I tried out for 3 or for different select clubs. I made two, Crossfire United's C team, and Northwest National's B team. Crossfire's A team was #1 for my age group in the state, Northwest National's A team was #2 I believe. My dad wanted me to go for Northwest Nationals (I'd played for their club the year before, playing a year up on their A team). My dad's a good strategist, and he loved seeing me play with the right fit. He'd actually watched the Northwest Nationals A team play quite a bit and had decided there was a girl in midfield he knew I could knock out....(I still laugh at this- love you dad!) It just made more sense to go with the B team, rather than a C team. But I went with the C team.

A few months later, the team I chose, Crossfire C faced up to Northwest Nationals B... and we beat them, knocking them into the league below us. :) My dad was happy with my decision at that moment.

Halfway through the season life was pretty tough. I remember my dad coming to get me early from a practice, I lost it crying. I don't do that. I'm pretty strong when I need to be, and I rarely ever cry in front of people...let alone on a soccer field. Our team was terrible, we lost week after week. And with all it was costing us, and all we were facing as a family we chose for the first time to pull me off a team. I don't quit. As a family, we don't quit. Yet, in every visible regard, we were quitting something.

I remember processing it with the Lord, feeling like HE was asking me to give it up, to lay soccer down. My dad felt it was him doing it to me, and even felt quite a bit of pain for it. But I never did, I knew it was me choosing to put the Lord first. I left that team knowing that a year off would make it even harder for me to make a premier/select team the following year, and I expected I wouldn't try again. To me, I'd laid soccer down.

The following fall came around, and our family had begun to mend from the previous season. My dad came to me with all the tryout schedules and we debated for a while. My decision was this: I'll try out for Crossfire, thats it. If the Lord wants me to play, I'll make their team. No backups. I just knew that was the Lord, and as my dad is amazing at, he supported what I felt I'd heard.

Here is what I've been getting to... not only did I make the Crossfire B team (a team up from the team I'd left the year before!), but the head coach informed me that he'd almost picked me up the year before. Instead, he'd chosen to pick up another new player, and he told me, 'I regret that decision, I should have picked up you.' That wasn't something he had to say.

To take a year off, and totally lay it down expecting it to die, something I loved but knew was not the best for me in that season... and then to come back and be given something even better- if that isn't the picture of God's ways, I don't know what is. For the non sports people- you don't take 9 months off and somehow come back better-- but I can sincerely say, that was my best tryout I'd ever had! That coach became the best coach I ever had, and I was able to stay with him the next two years. Not only that, it was the best team I'd ever played with- relationally wise. A group of 20 teenage girls can be hell... and I'd been in situations where it was, but this team was remarkable. The coach knew how to lead, how to guide, how to correct, how to improve his girls, how to father. He encouraged me, challenged me, got in my face, yelled at refs for me, put me on the starting line, and believed in me. Awww. This is what I love and miss. Not to mention, I miss my United girls. :(

I think this is what I was supposed to write, and I hope that the soccer details didn't detract form the ultimate picture, but helped to truly show God's love and wonder. I think this is the story of my life... my message. That must be part of why I love The Great Divorce so much, I know that death is not the end. Good things must die to bring life to the surreal. When you feel the Lord is breaking your heart and asking you to let your dreams die, trust that He will resurrect what ought to be alive, and you may not even recognize it because of its glorious transformation! He does all things well.

Death so that we might have life, is that not the promise of the cross?! ;)

My favorite verse, today!
1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.

3 There is no speech or language
where their voice is not heard. [a]

4 Their voice [b] goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun,

5 which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.

6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is hidden from its heat.

7 The law of the LORD is perfect,
reviving the soul.
The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy,
making wise the simple.

8 The precepts of the LORD are right,
giving joy to the heart.
The commands of the LORD are radiant,
giving light to the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is pure,
enduring forever.
The ordinances of the LORD are sure
and altogether righteous.

10 They are more precious than gold,
than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
than honey from the comb.

11 By them is your servant warned;
in keeping them there is great reward.

12 Who can discern his errors?
Forgive my hidden faults.

13 Keep your servant also from willful sins;
may they not rule over me.
Then will I be blameless,
innocent of great transgression.

14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight,
O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Psalm 19

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I went fishing in your eyes
And I found a secret hidden,
Found the depths I dreamt I’d written
In the perfect green disguise.

"It would be best if this obscure chapter in the history of the world were terminated at once, if these ugly people were obliterated from the face of the earth and we swore to make a new start, to run an empire in which there would be no more injustice, no more pain. It would cost little to march them out into the desert (having put a meal in them first, perhaps, to make the march possible), to have them dig, with their last strength, a pit large enough for all of them to lie in (or even to dig it for them!), and, leaving them buried there forever and forever, to come back to the walled town full of new intentions, new resolutions. But that will not be my way. The new men of Empire are the ones who believe in fresh starts, new chapters, clean pages; I struggle on with the old story, hoping that before it is finished it will reveal to me why it was that I thought it worth the trouble. Thus it is that, administration of law and order in these parts having today passed back to me, I order that the prisoners be fed, that the doctor be called in to do what he can, that the barracks return to being a barracks, that arrangements be made to restore the prisoners to their former lives as soon as possible, as far as possible."

J.M. Coetzee, Waiting For The Barbarians

This book is breaking my heart! I am only 25 pages in and I want to stop reading it, it is too painful. The wrongs we can do to one another.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I keep getting blogging ideas when I have nothing to pen them down with and then when I return to an idea to try to capture it, it's already scampered away to some greater mind's hiding place.

I know what you will all advice, and I do keep a pen and notepad nearby almost always... except for the few occasions. Do you know, there aren't many places to stash a pen and notepad (be it however small) in a sunday dress. Most of my writing ideas come during worship, and sometimes I will go back to my notepad and write them down, but other times I don't want to risk losing the moment I am in with the Lord so I don't move... I just enjoy it. And I can't exactly stash a notepad in my scarf.... hmm, or can I? This may have just caused a whole new deliberation in my attire.

One concept that has been sticking with me (taunting, running, and returning), is that of fire. Last Monday night in worship at Bible Study we were sining about being His burning ones, and wanting His fire to consume us-

"Let our souls be like a fire, let our lives be like a flame. Fill our hearts with your desire, let our passion bring you fame."

And I began thinking on fire, or perhaps the Lord was telling me about fire. You can't easily control a fire, and it has cost many their lives in trying to. I told the Lord "Some may try to control the fire, but I am not one so brave." What I meant was this, fires consume, destroy, burn, ignite, heat, protect, clear out for new growth. And if we are really going to invite His fire, we better not be thinking we can tame it.. His fire comes as it wants to come. He's been speaking to me a lot about my expectation lately. Recognizing that I cannot put my expectations on Him for how He will bring things about. He has made promises to me, but they are His to accomplish and fulfill. And with people the rule is much easier- don't put expectations on them. This isn't to say don't trust them, but don't relate to others with an expectation of receiving.

As I walked to my car last week my heart asked Him, "How do I guard my heart?" In high school the answer was much simpler, but I need a higher answer today. In my driveway, in the rain, midstride, I heard Him respond simply, "Don't put expectations on people. Relate to them freely." WOW. Just like that the simple truth fell into my spirit just as the rain fell into the grass all around.

My lesson recently is this: don't try to control God. Man may plan his steps, but God determines His way.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

I knew now, that it is by loving, and not by being loved, that one can come nearest the soul of another; yea, that, where two love, it is the loving of each other, and not the being loved by each other, that originates and perfects and assures their blessedness. I knew that love gives to him that loveth, power over any soul beloved, even if that soul know him not, bringing him inwardly close to that spirit; a power that cannot be but for good; for in proportion as selfishness intrudes, the love ceases, and the power which springs therefrom dies. Yet all love will, one day, meet with its return. All true love will, one day, behold its own image in the eyes of the beloved, and be humbly glad.

George MacDonald, Phantastes
(of favorite.)

Friday, November 06, 2009

How to be honest?

This has been one of those very difficult weeks. One where it seems everything is going wrong and requires your attention, but there is something else pressing for the entirety of your thoughts and time, in this case: midterms.

And it's not the sort of messes you can actually clean up anyways, it's the sort you have to wade through and wait out.

These weeks are hard and I sometimes find myself wishing life would just be easy. But then again, I don't. I know many of you are reading this and thinking 'silly girl, your life is easy.' And it's true, I have such a wonderful life and so many blessings, and I am so wonderfully taken care of (I've reminded myself of this, this week). But then it comes down to the fact that my troubles are real, and my worries are real, and my pains are real. Like David, I feel hopeless.

And like David, I've chosen to say 'yet I will praise YOU' because I know He really is supplying my every need, and furthermore He really is growing me up and drawing me near to Him. I'd rather be a compassionate, tender woman who loves the Lord and is careful with the people in her life then one who has faced little hardship or pain and knows not how to 'handle with care.'

I've tasted the smallest measure of distinct pains, and I thank the Lord that He has but dropped my little toe in them, but I think He's strategically allowed these certain things so that I have just enough to say "I don't know what you are going through, but I know what you are going through." I know just enough to know, I don't know.

This is really me encouraging myself to persevere. This is me reminding myself that the Lord is right now working a good thing in me, and it is HIS patience with me that is my hope for ever being anything remarkable. It's His patience to walk me through these mucks and messes, and to not let me sit down in them. :)

Sunday, November 01, 2009

I had an absolute brilliant thought today. I repeated it to myself so I wouldn't forget. I've been excited to blog about it.

What is it?

Oh, I don't know- I can't remember.