Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Annal 131: Tale from Miasma

I am currently doing research for my Victorian Literature paper on the theme of degeneracy as characterized by Arthur Machen's descriptions of air and mist in "The Great God Pan."  As such I am reading articles about miasma, which is the theory that disease and such was passed through "bad air."  Sounds a lot more intelligent than it really is, I promise!

I am also watching Bones while doing this research.  Why?  Because David Boreanas' character is the perfect mix of charm, wit, and geekiness ;)

So this Saturday is the SnowBall.  Which means I get to have my hair done, get all dressed up, and go dance the night away!  I am definitely looking forward to that.  It is not often that I am able to whip out of killer dance moves (the sprinkler, the towel, the teacher dance... you get the idea).

I have also gotten a few grades back this week and they have made me feel quite happy as well!  For at least a brief period in time things seem to be going well.  Yay!!!

This morning was my early morning ladies' Bible study.  We started Joshua and there were some interesting tidbits some of the ladies pulled out of the first chapter.

First of all, Joshua is told to be "strong and courageous" A LOT.  Which made me wonder how scared he must have been to be taking over for Moses.  Those were some pretty big shoes to fill, and not just to fill them, but to then lead Israel into the Promised Land.  I would have been freaked!  But God repeatedly tells him that He will be with him, that He will never leave him.

So Joshua steps out and gives a command to the people and you know what they respond with?  They tell him they will listen to him and then they also tell him to be strong and courageous.

One of the women pointed out that those Joshua must have been the most afraid of, the people, are then used to affirm his position and calling.

It made me wonder how many times I miss out on God reminding me that He is with me and that I need to be strong and courageous.  Which also made me wonder how many times I actually listen to His reassurances.  And how many times I still wallow in my fear.

Points to ponder, that's for sure.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Annal 130: Tale from the Glower

Today is my last day in Manitoba.  I fly out first thing tomorrow morning, will get a few hours with my family back home, and then head back for school.  I have always hated the last few days of breaks, be they Christmas break or reading week.  I never feel like I get quite enough time to see everyone I want to see.  I didn't get to see my dad this break and texting each other is just not quite the same.  But I have had a lovely time visiting my cousin (including not getting to sleep until almost 4am last night... errr... this morning, because of introducing North and South to some of her friends... have to love female bonding over Thornton's glower).

We went for dinner last night with two of her friends.  The restaurant where we ate was out of town and so it was surrounded by trees and lit with garden lights.  I wish I had a camera that would have taken pictures beautiful enough to show you.  The pathway leading to and from the restaurant was tree and bush lined and lit with lights.  I felt as if the trees were calling to me, begging me to stay with them, to give in to their embrace, to join them.

There is a stanza in a poem by Robert Frost called "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening."  The stanza goes like this:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep

I think that may best describe what I saw.  And what I felt. 

As we drove away I was overtaken by a sense of longing.  We drove through the park this restaurant was in, and moon seemed to be smiling over the scene.  It cast but the faintest of light over the surroundings, yet that haunting glow called to me.

I wanted to disappear in the woods, be swept away by their depth.

But I couldn't, because there are still many miles for me to traverse.

One thing that has been wonderful for me on this visit has been my discussing the future with my cousin.  I have felt so dragged down this last year with having to be in school when I want so badly to teach that I have forgotten the excitement I will be able to feel when I hopefully begin teaching next September.

I can apply anywhere I want.  The world will suddenly become open to me in a way that it has not previously been.  While I sometimes think that no class will be as perfect for me as my first class was, I am excited for the students I will meet and interact with.

Being able to discuss this sort of thing with my cousin (in the context of her wishing me to move to the prairies) brought me some more excitement to finish where I am now.  In seven weeks time I will be done the course work of my last semester of by Bachelor of Arts.  And I will hopefully be hearing from schools and knowing where I will attend next year.  It gave me a hope to not just look at the trees and want to disappear into them, but to complete the miles I have to go.

My life has not turned out the way I thought that it would.  And sometimes that frustrates me.  But I am where I am for a reason.  I have had to travel miles that I never imagined I would have to travel.  And yet, strangely enough, I would not trade those miles for stopping in the woods.  They have made me who I am.

You have heard me.  Sometimes I despair of who I am, of the fact that I am not becoming any more "normal."  Today I am not despairing.  Today I am recognizing that I have had to take a certain path in life, and it has not always been an easy path.  But God has used that path to shape me and form me.

And maybe men don't fawn over me.  I don't think that is because of anything that is wrong with me.  I have visited my cousin and gotten to know her friends and they don't seem to think I'm too odd for comfort.  We can discuss Thornton's glower and sing songs from the cartoon version of The Return of the King and I can fit in beautifully.  I can hear someone's cell phone go off with the Star Wars theme song and suddenly my phone with its Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past ringtone doesn't seem so strange.

I am different and I am unique.  And that is okay.  God has used the road I have had to travel to show me (among other things) that it is okay for me to embrace my quirks.  I don't need to hide them in order to belong.

And so I shall continue working my way along this path.  I will continue to allow God to shape me and change me and mold me into the woman He has designed.  I will try to embrace that and not complain.  I will try not to be the Israelites who see another hurdle and cry out for their life in slavery.  I will try to remember where I have come from and the One who has brought me thus far.  The woods still call, but the time for dancing within them has not yet come.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Annal 129: Tale from the Ditch Debacle

No one can tell me that the prairie province of Manitoba is not an exciting place to spend reading week!  I have gone for daytime and nighttime walks, eaten cheesecake at the most delightful cafe, and been introduced to the first season of Downton Abbey.  Oh, and I have spent two hours in the ditch.

Driving back with my cousin from the city last night the roads were somewhat slick.  They had gotten a fair bit of snow the night before and throughout the day, and the result of this was my poor cousin hitting a patch of ice, spinning the car about 270 degrees, and then landing rather deeply in the ditch.
It was quite exciting!

We tried digging ourselves out, her with a shovel and me with my foot, but alas, it was to no avail.  So she called roadside assistance while I assured the numorous cars that continually pulled over to check on us that we were quite alright, that we had a phone to call for help, and that we were staying warm.
We were promised a tow truck in about forty-five minutes.

We received a tow truck in about two hours.

And it was a two hours full of movie quoting and song singing (our rendition of "You Can't Hurry Love" was something to behold, that's for sure).  And of finding ways that we could blame this experience on friends and not ourselves (apparently I decided to forget the lesson I learned from my friend Moses in my last blog entry) :)

But in that time I discovered that Manitobites are some of the friendliest people I have ever met.  A good twenty cars pulled over throughout our stay in the snow, wanting to make sure we were okay.  We had many offers for tows and rides from these lovely people and all were very concerned for our safety.  By the time we were out of the ditch and back on the road I felt like I was a part of this prairie family (not that my cousin minded, she has been trying to convince me to move here for quite a long time now!

You see, I have been able to celebrate numerous 'firsts' with my cousin.  I was there the night before her wedding when she almost rear-ended a pizza driver, the morning of her wedding when the toilet overflowed on her right before our hair appointments, I was with her for her wedding, and now I got to be there with her the first time she put a car in the ditch.

If that isn't family bonding, I am not sure what is!

And then we had a most relaxing evening once we got back (even if it was almost 1am by that time).  My cousin's husband had the kettle ready to go, a teapot heated up, and cinnamon buns on a plate just waiting for us (yes, my esteem for him DEFINITELY rose after that).  We also heated up some leftover Chinese food and then we watched an episode of Downton Abbey in our jammies.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Annal 128: Tale from the Reactionary Airport

I am currently sitting in a not-so-comfortable chair in an airport waiting area.  My flight doesn't board for another two and a half hours and I am really not wanting to read The Blood of the Vampire for Victorian Lit.  I don't want to edit an essay.  I don't want to start reading The Lonely Londoners and I really don't want to start working on a presentation that isn't due for almost two weeks.

Wow... think I could whine any more than what I just did?  Apparently this is one of those times where my maturity level is really shining through (insert sarcastic tone).

I really want to sleep, but I suppose that isn't really an option! It was a pretty early start this morning and since my visiting time with my family was pretty limited I stayed up rather late last night.  At least I got to sleep on my first flight.

Driving to the airport this morning with my mom and a friend we had an interesting discussion.  I am reading in Deuteronomy right now, and Moses is recapping the Israelites' time in the wilderness for them.  He just finished telling them (for the second or third time) that he can't cross over into the Promised Land.  His reasoning?  Because of them.

I had never noticed this before.  The Israelites wanted water so God told Moses to speak to a stone and then water would come forth.  Moses didn't do this.  He hit the rock with his staff instead because he was frustrated with the people.  This was what caused his zero access to Canaan.

Yet he blamed the Israelites.

It made me wonder: what if?  What if Moses had've acknowledged that yes what he did was a reaction to te actions of the Israelites, but that he had to be responsible for his actions?  Would God have let him into the Promised Land? 

I also began to wonder how much of this attitude of Moses later on affected the attitudes of the Israelites?  The need to cast blame and not take responsibility for their actions.

Something else struck me through this:  I am just like Moses.

How many times have I blamed others because of my actions?  How many times do I do things in reaction to hurts and frustrations caused by others?  How many times do I refuse to take responsibility? 

Which caused me to further question: how do these reactions of mine influence the people and circumstances around me?  Do others pick up on this attitude and as a result are encouraged to cast blame?

And what am I missing out on as a result of my attitude?

So there are some Saturday afternoon thoughts for you.  As for me, I am probably going to continue procrastinating working on a presentation or reading my books.  Maybe I will do some writing instead... or fiddle away hours on Facebook... while people-watching and devising intricate pasts for the various people around me...

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Annal 127: Tale from the Druid Circle

I miss Ireland.

Pretty sure I have mentioned going before, but just in case anyone is wondering, I went there four and a half years ago with one of my sisters.  We did a bus tour, so we started in Dublin and circled the island, returning to Dublin.  We went through Northern Ireland as well, spending a day in Belfast, one in Derry (or Londonderry, depending on who you are), and I spent my birthday visiting Blarney Castle and kissing the Blarney stone.

And so today my post is not going to be deep, but is simply going to be me sharing some favourite memories I have from my trip, with you.

There was a section of forest by Blarney Castle and it was an enchanted forest.  The colour of the trees and feel of the woods differed drastically from the rest of the gardens surrounding the castle.  This above photo is of me sitting on one of rocks that was part of a druid circle.

This is another picture of me in the enchanted forest.  This was my birthday, and was the only time our entire trip where we had sunshine for almost the entire day.

These two above photos were taken at the ruins of a fort on the Inishowen Peninsula.  Next to Blarney Castle, this was one of my favourite days from our trip.  The weather was grey and brisk, and somehow visiting ruins on such a day seemed utterly perfect.

We simply stopped during one of our drives and discovered this spot.  I loved the landscape of Ireland... everything had a sort of rugged beauty to it, a sense of being wild and untamed.  Also, you wouldn't know it but the flies in the spot were horrendous... I was being eaten alive the whole time this photo was being taken.

And this was a shot from the top of Blarney Castle, while my sister and I were making our way to the Blarney Stone to kiss it.  Truly an amazing castle to tour.  I can close my eyes and still see the spiral stone staircases we had to travel to reach the top.

There are more photos, but these were some of the highlights for me. 

Lately I feel as if reality and dream have become harder to distinguish for me, as both seem to invade upon the other.  I cannot dream without reality showing itself, but nor can I walk through my day-to-day life without some aspect of my dream life, my imagination of you will, influencing what I see.  In a way I feel like a portion of the veil that separates this world from the next has shifted, ever so slightly, and as such I see things in a slightly different light.

Or maybe I am just battling a losing battle against insanity thanks to the craziness of this semester!

Regardless of any of this, my reading week has begun.  My sister and I head home this evening, and then I fly out to visit my cousin early tomorrow morning.  Think of me during my several hour-long breaks at airports, reading Victorian literature and thinking of a take-home midterm involving 18th and 19th century Britain.  Particularly since I will be gazing out the airport windows and envisioning rocky cliffs, the crashing sea, and grasses dancing beneath a gothic sky.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Annal 126: Tale from Valentine's Day

Obviously I cannot be the writer of a blog entitled "Annals of a Christian Single" and not comment on Valentine's Day.  That would simply be... wrong.

But before I go any further I want to clarify something:

I do not hate Valentine's Day--I don't think it is "Singles Awareness Day" or any such thing.  I also dont get depressed and want to scream and cry the whole day.  It was never a big deal in our family when I was growing up, so I grew up to not put much stock in it. 

So this is not going to be a rant about the evils of this day, nor a lament because I am single on this day.  It is simply the telling of my day.

I woke up this morning and while getting ready noticed a construction paper heart on the door of my cupboard.  It said:

"For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39).

As I made my way through my morning routine, I came across other such hearts.  One was on top of the container of muffins that have been my breakfast.  This one said:

"So God created man in His own image" (Genesis 1:27).

Another heart showed up on my carton of cream reading:

"Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens, your faithfulness to the clouds" (Psalm 36:5).

I opened the notebook I use to write thoughts from my devotions and found another heart.

"In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him" (1 John 4:9).

And lastly, I was putting my computer away and found another heart.

"But God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

My sister made me her Valentine.  And by doing this she reminded me that I am also God's Valentine.  Could there be a better start to the morning?

While in my first class I may or may not have had my computer open to Facebook when a message appeared on my wall from my two and a half year old nephew, asking me--via his mom--to be his Valentine today.

And then tonight I had some friends over.  We watched a movie, ate some food, I drank tea from my Knightley mug, and we just visited.  Another friend posted some Harry Potter valentine cards on my Facebook wall as well (nothing quite like Neville saying "I love your long bottom").

It was an amazing day.  I felt loved, cherished, and treasured.  I was reminded that there are people who love me, think about me, and value who I am.

I keep coming back to the verses my sister left for me.  I think of how hard it was to remember that God loves me over the last few weeks.  And then I realize that His love hasn't changed.  That I am His Valentine, and not just today.  He pursues me everyday, just like He pursued Israel.  I was reading today in Numbers how He was still guiding His people as a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  He never stopped leading them; in fact, he never left them.  It was they who forgot who He was.

And this is something I do too.  God has not abandoned me.  He loves me.  He treasures me.  He made me wired me to think the way that I do.  He thinks I am beautiful.

Today God used my sister, my nephew, my sister-in-law, and my friends to remind me that I have not been forgotten.

Today I got to be His Valentine.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Annal 125: Tale from the Sigh of Relief

Alright, everyone can officially breathe a sigh of relief.

Obviously you have all been holding your breath, awaiting news on my presentation and whether or not I have become officially insane or not.  Because obviously no one has anything better to do than think about me.  Centre of the world right here, right?

My presentation went FANTASTIC... or at least I feel like it did :)

I even managed to go for almost the full hour and a half!  My prof even came up to me at the break and told me that if I wanted to run with one of my sections for my essay in the class it was perfect essay material.  And given the fact that she said I wouldn't be penalized because of the circumstances leading up to my being the only presenter, I am feeling like I did quite well.

And to be honest I needed that.  The last week and a bit has been a struggle, especially with school.  Tonight I felt like maybe I knew what I was doing... like maybe I wasn't a complete loser!  And suddenly proof-reading one essay and studying for two midterms feels manageable!

Wow... I wish I could fully describe to you all the relief I feel.  I spent the day feeling sick to my stomach, worry gnawing at my innards, stress clouding my ability to think.  And right now I feel light.  This has probably been my hardest semester of school, but once this week is over the worst of it will be done.  I will have only my major essays left, and at least with those I know what I am doing!

I am sorry I have been so all over the place lately.  I realize that nobody likes to read a downer, but being able to write through this last week has helped immensely.  So I appreciate everyone's patience.

Interesting tidbit from my devotions today: I was reading in Joshua where the twelve spies are sent into Canaan to scout out the land.  What has been really interesting with the study I am doing with some other ladies right now is that our reading takes us through the plot of the Bible.  So just a few days ago I was in Genesis and today I am in Joshua.  Which means that all God did for Israel is still fresh in my mind.

I have always been shocked at how quickly Israel forgot what God did for them.  How they seemed to forget Egypt, the Red Sea, and His provision while they travelled.

But then I look at me.  Was Christmas really just a month and a half ago?  Was that the time when God gave me a revelation about beauty that in the last few weeks I seemed to so quickly forget?  When I was in the depth of my stress and of feeling rejected and unloved I so quickly forgot that God spent a semester spelling out His love for me.  Or maybe it is less that I forgot and more that I felt He had let me down.

I wasn't supposed to struggle again.  I wasn't supposed to have such a hard time with issues I have struggled with all my life.  Or so I thought.

But I do have a God who loves me with an everlasting love.  He has pursued me like no one else ever has, and He is still pursuing me.  Will I deal with hurt at times?  Yes.  Will I feel ugly or stupid?  Sure I will.  But will God have somehow changed that even He will seem to abandon me?  No.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Annal 124: Tale from the Weekend


I kind of want to crawl into bed, wrap my blankets tightly around myself and watch movies until my eyes bleed.  Or read a novel that has nothing to do with school.  Or have someone stroke my hair and tell me everything is going to be okay.

It has been a bit of a weekend.  Not all bad, not at all.  Like the Lord of the Rings marathon I had yesterday with my sister and some friends.  All three extended editions of the movies, all day.  It was pretty epic.  I just about cried when the elves showed up at Helms Deep, and don't even get me started on the scene where Eomer comes across Eowyn's body on the Fields of Pelennor.  And then you have the numorous inspirational speeches that make me want to take up arms and charge into battle with the rest of them.

It has been a bit of a weekend for other reasons.  Like the group presentation I am supposed to do tomorrow night (the hour and a half talk on "The Great God Pan").  One of the sisters of my partner died on the weekend.  My heart is just breaking for her.  But now I also have to present on my own.  My prof totally understand and won't penalize me for length or anything like that (she also doesn't expect it to be as long), but I am still extra nervous because it will be me up there talking to the class with no one else beside me.  And public speaking freaks me out.  I have been told I am not too bad at it, but my hands shake almost the entire time I am talking.  I must prefer drama--let me act out someone who is not myself before an audience.  That I can do.  So there is one aspect of my increased stress level.

Next you have the essay I wrote yesterday while watching The Fellowship of the Ring.  This would be the essay that my prof finally emailed me about today to tell me how a bunch of it won't actually work and how I should change it.  So I have spent the afternoon RE-writing an essay and doing some extra research.  Yay me.

I also have two midterms and another essay due this week.  The essay is done but here is an example of another prof who decided to change her criteria a week before the paper is due, and so I have to spend the week studying and changing parts of my paper.

Did I mention that I am also facilitating Bible study tonight?  I don't think that will be difficult but given how the rest of today has gone it makes me want to cry.

I am stressed out and to be honest I am also battling a mild case of depression.  I live in a pretty dark city, and this weekend has been darker than usual.  The sun has remained hidden behind the clouds and the result if a very dark basement suite.  And as much as I have been feeling better from what I have termed my "emotional breakdown" of last week, I am still struggling with several of the insecurities and emotions involved. 

And that bothers me.  I feel like I should be able to ignore it, hand it over to God, and then not struggle with it anymore.  But apparently life doesn't work out that way.  I had a dream Friday night where I was in a church and talking to the congregation about the need to be vulnerable before God.  In the dream everyone ignored me.

This morning I was sitting in church realizing that I have been doing that very same thing.  Several times over the last week, through multiple means, I have felt like God has been telling me to just be vulnerable with Him.  But I don't want to be because I feel like that means admitting failure--admitting that I am not doing as well as I would like to believe I am.  But I am also never going to be able to move on until I come before God and completely lay my heart bare.

Which is much easier said than done, but is something I will endeavor to do.

Alright, enough procrastination!  I have worked on a paper, I must finish working on my Bible study, and then I must go over a presentation.  If you don't hear from me again, I will probably have disappeared into the abyss that is my bed and may never return from it!

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Annal 123: Tale from the Hospital Take-Over

Typically I am not the sort of person who has crazy dreams.  Really.  I mean, I had the odd one growing up (like dreaming I was talking about magenta while wandering the produce aisle of a grocery store... the odd part was that I apparently talked in my sleep during this dream... and said "Comfort, peace, a shade between pink and magenta."  I guess I was a deep girl of eleven).

With being sick my sleep pattern got thrown off a little and the result has been even more wake-up sessions throughout the night than usual. 

This morning my sister had her clinical and she took the car (I definitely did not feel like driving her... and I didn't need the car).  She texted me when she arrived at the parkade, like she always does, and I drifted in and out of consciousness waiting to get the text that would tell me she had made it safely into the hospital.

I didn't get this text.

Panic ensued and the next thing I knew I was arriving at the hospital to look for her.  The only problem was that the whole hospital was in a state of pandemonium.  People were going crazy.  There were dead bodies everywhere and a whole lot of screaming.

That's when I realized that some of those dead bodies were actually moving around.  Apparently vampires and zombies had formed a coalition in their efforts to take over the fair city where I live, and their first area of invasion was the hospital (makes sense, I mean, there are plenty of people they can turn without having to deal with much of a fight).

Before I know it a zombie and vampire are coming toward me, a slightly hungry gleam in their eyes, but I put up my hands to stop them.

"Please, please just wait to turn me.  I have to find my sister," I said, sounding quite calm and innocent.

They agreed and even offered to help me find my sis.  We were scouring the outside of the building when the zombie comes over to me (err... drags himself over to me), a plastic identification card in his hand.  It is my sister's.  She has been kidnapped, and these guys are going to continue to help me find her and...

Then I woke up.

Of course, I was even more panicked after the dream (not because I was scared the undead were taking over but because I was envision my sister being kidnapped).

Finally, a few hours later, she texted me to tell me she was safe (I may or may not have left her a few messages asking where she was), and now I can relax.

I do kind of wonder if, had the dream progressed, I would have turned into a type of Alice from the Resident Evil movies.

I have always wanted a red dress and boots.

So instead of fighting the undead (or fighting with them) I am doing laundry and drinking coffee, cleaning the bathroom and mopping the floors.  Not all that exciting, but at least I know that should a zombie-vampire apocalypse occur (sorry, WHEN it occurs), I have the ability to charm my way into the good graces of the enemy.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Annal 122: Tale from the Most Amazing Oldest Sister of all Time

Alright, so I have already been up at the university for the last three hours and there are another four and a half hours until my class actually begins... and then five hours after that four hours until I can get home.  Why did I do this to myself?  Oh right!  It is because I am the kindest of older sisters who decided to wake up at 5:30 this morning to drive my sister to her clinical.  And then I came home and instead of going back to bed I thought to myself, "Hey, you have been a blob all week because of the flu.  Today you feel better.  Let's go to the gym!"

How's that for motivation, eh?

So I did.  I made it up to the gym just after seven, worked out for an hour, and have been working on my "The Great God Pan" presentation ever since.  Definitely a productive morning.  And all because I am a wonderful sister (and humble as well).

In case you can't tell, I am feeling ten times better today than even yesterda.  I can tell I am not 100%, but the fog that has permeated my mind for the last few days, making it nigh impossible to think, has finally dissipated and I feel a bit like my old self.

This can probably also be partially attributed to the sunshine that is lighting up the room I am currently working in.  This makes me happy.

It also makes me want to wear my flip-flops.

This makes my feet happy, which in turn also makes me happy.

A friend shared a quotation from C.S. Lewis with me the other day.  Lewis said "You can't think straight unless you are cool. But then neither can you think deep if you are. I suppose one must try every problem in both states."  I have been thinking a bit about how that applies to what I have been feeling over the last two weeks or so.  Sunday I was about as far from 'cool' as one could possibly get.  But that allowed me to think deep about what was bothering me, about what I was feeling and struggling with.  Today I am recovered from my emotional breakdown and my flu and able to think straight.  I can look back and acknowledge the pain I was feeling, but now I can also see the ways that God is still pursuing and wooing me.  Stepping out of the gym into the most brillian sunshine was like God saying "Good morning, love!  I'm thinking about you!" 

I can't ignore the revelation I had Sunday night--I can't ignore that I still suffer from insecurities, that there are still hurts that I have to deal with.  I needed that breakdown (as much as I don't want to acknowledge that because it makes me feel like a failure).  And today I needed sunshine.  I needed the calmness that the light brought so that I could think of how to deal with all that was revealed.

I guess God is just faithful that way.  He has never abandoned me but has instead stood by my side throughout all of this, loving me no differently.  That's an encouraging thought.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Annal 121: Tale from the Bug

My sister is a nursing student who has clinical twice a week at the hospital.  All this semester we have been talking about how we will probably get sick at some point from everything she will be exposed to.  Well, it has happened.  We're pretty sure she brought a flu bug home. 

The result?  My face has received a makeover.  My skin is an exceptionally pale hue, and I don't even think you can call what are under my eyes bags.  Pretty sure I have two or three sets of bags under them that no amount of sleep has been able to dispel.  My eyes are also slightly bloodshot and have that squinty look that they can get after two days of a headache.  Perhaps not the best makeover I have ever received, but I suppose that is life. 

On the upside I am feeling better today.  I woke up this morning and had to get out of the house so I went for a lovely forty-two minute walk (yes, I counted).  The result is that I am not very cold and a little shaky but at least I got out of the house.  And my nausea is no where near as bad as it was on Monday and Tuesday, which only makes me hope that by tomorrow I will be 100% better (trying to be optimistic, can you tell?).

I am doing better after my emotional break down Sunday night/Monday morning.  With getting sick I haven't had much of  chance to feel anything else, but my head does feel clearer today.  I still struggle (having to spend the whole day on the couch yesterday because everytime I got up the room would start spinning and I would feel like I would have to run and vomit--classy, I know--really didn't help the self-image) but I am also doing better.  I really struggled with writing what I was feeling on here.  I felt like I was some kind of a wimp by giving in to my insecurities.  But if there is one thing that really bothers me it is people, especially Christians, who try to act like they are always doing great, like nothing is ever wrong.  I didn't want to give any of you that image of me.  If I am writing about my journey through this time of my life, it doesn't seem fair to only write the good parts.  That seems false.  So like it or not, I'm trying to give you all the "real me."

I read about God parting the Red Sea for the Israelites after He brought them out of Egypt.  And I noticed some interesting things about it.  As soon as the Israelites saw that the Egyptians were chasing them they started to complain to Moses, asking why he brought them out of Egypt and wouldn't leave them there.  They weren't complaining against God.  At the end of chapter 14 it mentions how after God had parted the Red Sea and delivered them from the Egyptians THEN the Israelites believed in Him. 

Even after the ten plagues and their deliverance they still weren't ready to believe that God was their LORD, that He loved them, desired them, and wanted a relationship with them.  I wanted to shake them.  Could they not see everything God had done for them?

But then I had to stop.  When I am hurting, angry, or in pain do I always see and acknowledge how God has shown His love to me?

The more I read about God and the Israelites, the more I see myself like an Israelite.  I see a God who pursues His people, loves His people, and saves His people, and a people that is so wrapped up in its suffering and pain that they can't see it.  They felt abandoned in their time of need and because of that have a hard time accepting God's love.

Sounds a little too close to me for comfort.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Annal 120: Tale from a Broken Mind

My head hurts.  My eyes burn.  And I am pretty sure that tears are going to start falling at any moment, seeing as they have been doing that since the end of Bible study tonight.  I'm lying in bed with blankets (yes, all seven of my blankets) pulled up to my chin, while my bare arms are shivering slightly with cold and emotional drain.

Have you ever had times where you seemed to so open to God, allowing Him to work and change different aspects of your life, without realizing that there was a hidden part of your being that you were hiding from Him?  Not because you were scared of what He would do, but because you were scared of the pain it would inflict on you to admit to Him?

I hinted at this earlier, but if I am chronicling my journey through life with all of you, then perhaps I need to be honest.

Today I feel broken.

For the past couple of weeks I have been fighting acknowledging a fact that was nagging at the back of the mind.  I was certain that if I ignored this hint of insecurity and focused on other things with God then eventually it would go away.  But it didn't.  It got worse.  You know what brought on the breaking point?  A friend looked at me after church this morning and asked me how I was doing.  And she didn't want my "I'm okay."  She wanted to know how I was really feeling.

That care she took caused cracks to appear in the wall I had built between my mind and the nagging insecurity.  By the time I made it to Bible study and we had divided into groups for prayer the wall resembled Jericho after the trumpets had been blown.

I felt like God had brought me so far that I should not still have to struggle with being single, or with feeling ugly or like my quirks were a fault.  But for the last two weeks or so I could feel myself fighting with feelings I haven't felt in a long time.

At study tonight we were discussing prayer, and reading in the Psalms where David is sighing and groaning to God.  It hit me then.  I have been okay to talk to God about other struggles, like with church or friends.  But with my feelings of inadequacy I wasn't willing to go before Him.  I didn't want to be vulnerable there.  I didn't want to lay my soul bare before Him.  Not that I didn't trust Him.  I just didn't trust myself.  And I didn't want to have to deal with wounds that I thought were well on their way to healing.

I know I touched a little on this in yesterday's post, but at that point I was still running.  So I am going to be honest and lay it all out before you guys.

Lately, I have felt ugly.  I have felt like no matter how hard I try I will never be beautiful.  I feel like my quirks are a curse.  I have tried to embrace them but feel like an alien.  I feel like there is something wrong with me.  I feel like sometimes God is mocking me.  Like He sees my heart and desires and could care less.  I know this isn't true, but sometimes it feels that way.  I feel like there must be something wrong with me.  Like something about me screams "Stay away from her!  She is unloveable!  Back away and leave her alone!" when inside my heart is breaking.

I know it my head that God loves me and I am trying to remember all of the ways He has revealed that love to me.  But right now that is just hard to do.  Right now I am raw.

I know that the women from my Bible study are praying for me.  I know my sister in the room next door is praying for me and loving me.  I know I have support, and I know that support loves me.  I know I have a God and I know that He loves me.

I guess I'm just having trouble loving myself.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Annal 119: Tale from the Mermaid

My sister and I just finished eating the california rolls we made for lunch, and let me tell you, they tasted FANTASTIC!  So now I am eating oreos, drinking coffee, and getting ready to work on my presentation for the novella "The Great God Pan" for my Victorian Literature class.  About as ideal a way to spend a Sunday afternoon during school as there could be (I may sneak in some Supernatural or some writing a little later in the day, just to make it perfect).

So yesterday afternoon I finishes applying to the second of three schools I am applying to for my Bachelor of Education.  Really hoping I get into my number one choice, as it is a one year intensive program that is incredibly well-thought of by school boards (prayers for this would be greatly appreciated).  To celebrate, I took I candlelit bath afterwards, complete with delicious smelling bath products and a novel (mind you, the novel was for Postcolonial Literature, but who cares?!). 

Any women out there who, as little girls, would pretend they were mermaids every time they took a bath or went swimming?  You know, cross your feet at the ankles so they form the shape of fins?  Or submerge your head under the water and watch your hair take on an almost ethereal quality?  Or am I the only incredibly cool person out there who ever did that?  I may not cross my ankles anymore, but I do still love to submerge my head in water and watch my hair.  It's one of the few times where I find my hair enchanting.

Anyway, after this amazing bath I went for a walk in my flip-flops because the weather was so gloriously warm (around 2 degrees Celsius) and enjoyed being bathed in the sunlight as I walked a trail near my home.  I then headed out of town a little way to a friend's home where we watched some Jane Eyre.  And I'm talking four hour, BBC Jane Eyre.

You know, it is very hard to find people out there who think Rochester calling Jane a "witch" is romantic.  And I understand that at first glance it does seem a wee bit harsh.  But I love the fact that Rochester sees past Jane's small, plain appearance and realizes that she has the ability to bewitch.  Not only does she have the ability to do so, but she does it.  She completely bewitches Rochester simply by being who she is.  She doesn't have to be a great beauty or a stunning conversationalist.  She just has to be herself.

I guess this was something I needed to ponder a little.  The last week has just been one where I have doubted myself somewhat.  It has been a week where I haven't felt particularly pretty, brilliant, or charming.  And it has been a bit of a lonely week.  A single week, if you will.  In just a little over two weeks I will have been single for three years.  And in those three years there hasn't even been a possibility of a relationship.  No one has really wanted to take the time to get to know me.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like this has been a terrible week or anything like that, and I know that before I know it I will be feeling just fine again.  I have just felt a little lonely lately.  As I talk and laugh with friends or start dancing with my popcorn maker in the kitchen, I can't help but feel that familiar pang of insecurity.

I am still reading in Exodus about God delivering the Israelites from Egypt.  I'm reading about the depths He goes to to prove to them that He loves them and that He desires them.  He sees their hurting and so He sets out to show them how He will take care of them.  How He is devoted to them.  How He loves them.

And I know that I need to remember the ways He has proved His love to me.  I need to remember that even at my absolute worst He still loves me.  When my most unloveable traits show their faces He still loves me.  And when I feel lonely, dull, and idiotic He still sees me.  I guess some days it's just a little harder to remember than others.

Such is the life of a Christian single.