Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Don't pray for an easy life. Pray to be a strong person." -Unknown 

Friday, May 30, 2008


Daisy is the new addition to our house. She has been living with us for about 3 months or so. There's also Riley, our black lab and Jenna, our golden retriever, and Hope, our cat. Daisy is hyper and a mix of a million breeds. I've heard everything from german shepherd to pit bull to yellow/white lab to chihuahua to chow-chow. Whatever. 
Anyway, I discovered something the other day: Daisy is AFRAID (yes, fearful) of nothing in the world, except the WORD: Alpha. No matter what tone of voice you say this word in, she cowers, and crawls away, and sort of hides. It's sad really because we can't figure out what makes her do that. 
This ought to entertain you: I tried out the rest of the Greek alphabet on her tonight, and she can stand any other Greek letter (e.g. chi, omega, delta, zeta, beta, gamma, pi, phi, mu, sigma, epsilon, omicron, kappa, lambda, etc etc etc) but after all the other letters rattled off, she still cowers at Alpha... Yes, friends, I did in fact recite the Greek alphabet for my dog, mixing up the letters so Alpha came at random times... Oh well. 

And yes, I am very aware of the fact that her ears are not the least bit proportional to her head/body. She's kind of self conscious about it, really. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Taking Care of Business...

I started my summer internship at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction yesterday. Let me tell you how I feel about my job:

Top 10 things I love about my job:
10. It involves task-oriented work... there are goals to be achieved. I like that.
9. It allows me to be a perfectionist and an organization freak... this is good-- I can be myself.
8. I get to go to the legislature and see how the state government works...
7. NETWORKING... I've met everyone from the state superintendent to the gubernatorial candidate
6. I am the only intern still in undergrad, which makes me pretty special
5. People care about what I think-- they ask my opinion about bills being sent through the legislature and whether or not DPI should support them
4. I get an ID tag on a lanyard that allows me access to the buildings
3. My office is in a cube maze... and those are super fun 
2. My office is not a cubical, though. In fact, my office is: a) big enough to hold meetings in; b) all my own; and c) bigger than my dorm room (is that sad?)
1. I get to wear cute skirts and suits to work every day... and though my girly-side rarely shows itself, I've (for the past two days at least) enjoyed looking cute and professional at the same time. 

My office is a mess of red file folders, each folder is a different case of a teacher doing something they're not allowed to do in the classroom and any accompanying documents like hearing materials, evidence, news stories, etc. It's disheartening to think there are so many teachers like that in the state, but it's also encouraging that people spend their time trying to rectify these situations... whether that's license revocation or something else. It's good work. 

Sunday, May 18, 2008


"We cannot grasp the true meaning of the divine holiness by thinking of someone or something very pure and then raising the concept to the highest degree we are capable of. God's holiness is not simply the best we know infinitely bettered. We know nothing like divine holiness. It stands apart, unique, unapproachable, incomprehensible and unattainable... Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is that standard." -A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy 

I've been thinking about holiness of late. I guess I've always thought of it as some characteristic of God that inevitably and rightfully separated me from God. I imagined this chasm between the Creator of the Universe and me. I felt like I couldn't be very intimate with God because He was so holy, and I was so... not. 

But as I started studying holiness and reading about how people in the Bible acted when they encountered God's holiness, my perspective changed. No one ever sees God's holiness and walks away the same. 

Take Isaiah (the prophet and the OT book). In Chapter 6, he encounters God and is immediately undone, crying "Woe to me! I am ruined. For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty." Even being in God's presence undoes Isaiah. He's freaking out. Once he is cleansed by the seraph, though, he doesn't just walk away, but he also doesn't just sit and bask in God's holiness. He responds to the encounter. My (very limited, mind you) understanding of holiness seems to be that holiness necessitates, if not demands, a response. Isaiah willingly offers to be sent by God after his encounter with God's holiness. Moses reacts in much the same way. 

Holiness is less about creating a massive gap between God and me, and more about me acknowledging (as Isaiah did, e.g.) the extent of God's holiness and just how short I fall of that standard, and then responding to His holiness with a willingness to be used. 

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sugar-coated Platitudes

Christians drive me nuts sometimes. (Wow, I never thought I would start a blog post off that way... haha) But really, it has started to make me down-right angry when people try to curb my emotions regarding a situation with phrases like "Don't worry, God will take care of it" or "Just pray about it." Okay, don't get me wrong, I do believe in the power and importance of prayer. And I also believe that in the midst of the struggles of life, we can cling to the promise that God is good and that He will work all things for the good of those who believe in Him. In fact, a few of my friends and I have a saying that we toss back and forth: "God's not off His throne," to remind ourselves that God is constantly in control. Those disclaimers having been set forth, it irks me to no end that people want to just sugar-coat or tie up with a bow my (and other people's) problems.
Emotion is a God-given gift. And I think it's so important to validate people's feelings in situations, because it helps them feel understood and ... well... (for lack of a new and different word) validated.
Recently, I've been going through something that's thrown me for a loop, to be cliche and put it gently. I'm frustrated, I'm confused, I'm scared (I'm using commas instead of periods or semi-colons), and I'm angry. Someone asked me the other day how God and I were doing in all of this... mess... so to speak. My response was: "There's a country artist that put it best: I can't seem to talk to God without yelling anymore." This person was taken aback that I would even dream of yelling at God. Here's the thing, if God's not big enough to handle my emotion in the midst of a really trying time, He's not a very big God.
This person just kept telling me that it was all going to be okay. And that I shouldn't worry. Here's the thing. One, I'm worried. Too bad. And two, yes, it will be okay, but the only time we can be certain it will be okay is when we get to Heaven. There aren't guarantees of anything being "okay" on earth.
Okay, once again, don't get me wrong. I know that people mean well, and are probably trying to encourage me, but what I guess what I feel would be more appropriate is love and validation, understand that me feeling like I need to yell at God because I'm angry doesn't make me a heathen, a bad Christian, or even all that far from normal. I'm pretty sure that makes me human-- someone struggling with the messiness of the world. Rather than offering trite solutions to my problems or tsk-ing because I'm frustrated with God and the situation, maybe love me, meet me where I am, and try to understand what I'm feeling. I can quote the Bible just as well as anyone else, and I can offer up scripture for many situations, but sometimes I think people just want to be listened, not told that they shouldn't feel that way or that if they had more faith they would feel differently.

Okay. Rant's over.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A World of Love

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." - C.S.Lewis

Greg talked today about LOVE. This wasn't a big surprise, since the sermon series right now is on 1 Corinthians 13. It was a really good sermon. He talked a lot about unconditional love, and how it's odd that we desire, crave, long for, and need it since we've never experienced it here on earth. Why, then, do we want so badly to find it? Because, he said, God hard-wired our DNA to crave unconditional love. We're like beached whales, he explained, because we were made to be surrounded constantly with unconditional love, like whales are made to swim in water. But, when whales are beached, and as we often find ourselves here on earth, we continue to make the same motions we do when we're in "water," but it just looks awkward and it ends up leading to our demise instead. That's the way I feel a lot, like there is something I will never fully attain here on earth and I'm just waiting for the day that it is fully realized, like Paul talks about.
Greg talked about how we often look for other things-- be they relationships, work, success, money, looks, etc-- to fill the void we feel because we long for unconditional love. He said it's like being in an airplane and seeing the pretty, fluffy clouds and jumping out of the airplane to see if the clouds are heavenly trampolines. They're not. They're just water vapor and we'll fall right through. That's the way it is when we try to fulfill the needs we have with earthly things, with "false infinites." They're unsatisfying, in the end. But there is hope in the promise of Heaven, and the goodness of God.

I also really liked (and this is a sidenote), Greg's explanation for the verse that says, "And these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." I've always wondered what about love made it greater than the other two, and Greg explained that faith and hope are things that we only need for our temporary time here on earth. We won't need faith when we're face to face with Jesus and we won't need hope because all of the perfection of God and the beauty of eternity will be laid out before us. But love, we will be drowning in love. A perfect love. Jonathan Edwards, Great Awakening author of "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," wrote that "Heaven is a world of love." Simply put. Wow.

"All the suffering in the world is as one bad night in a hotel from the perspective of heaven."

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

All I Can Say

Lord I'm tired
So tired from walking
And Lord I'm so alone
And Lord the dark
Is creeping in
Creeping up
To swallow me
I think I'll stop
Rest here a while

And didn't You see me cry'n?
And didn't You hear me call Your name?
Wasn't it You I gave my heart to?
I wish You'd remember
Where you sat it down

And this is all that I can say right now
And this is all that I can give

I didn't notice You were standing here
I didn't know that
That was You holding me
I didn't notice You were cry'n too
I didn't know that
That was You washing my feet

-David Crowder Band, "All I Can Say"