Thursday, 29 March 2012

Annal 142: Tale from the Victorian Deluge

I came home last night from watching Survivor with some friends, crawled beneath my warm blankets, set my computer up on my lap, and watched some Supernatural.  In the midst of an episode my sister emerged into the hallway and began calling for me.  I rushed out and discovered our hall carpet was wet.  We opened the door to our utility room only to discover water gushing from our hot water tank.  As my sister ran upstairs to grab our landlords I headed into the rest of the house.  What met my eyes but water pooling in our kitchen and living room.  Thus began the next while of using every towel, dish cloth, and tea towel in our house to mop up water while our landlord used his shop vac to get up the worst of it.

Pretty epic for a Wednesday night in March, wouldn't you say?

My laundry pile has now grown exponentially thanks to that little excitement, but until the plumber comes no laundry can be done.

My Victorian Literature class managed to make it into several posts last semester, but hasn't done so this semester.  Well, now is the time to bring it up :)

Apparently my life is unfolding into a Victorian gothic novel.  Here is the premise:

Woman, thwarted in much of what she sets out to do, moves to the city to attain an education that will help her pursue a future in teaching.  She moves into a basement suite, one with an odd shape and small windows, lending to a dark, and at times foreboding, feeling.  Yet this is no ordinary home.  The living room lights consistently burn out, leaving our heroine to read and study by candlelight and the glow of white lights strung about the ceiling (our heroine doesn't believe in buying light bulbs apparently).  While absent over Christmas flood waters threaten the premises and our heroine returns to find her secret box of letters scattered about her room.  At the time she dismisses it as the landlords leaving them to dry out... now she is not so sure.  Life progresses in an unassuming manner until the end of the semester draws nigh.  As she prepares to pack up her life in this city and move on, another flood occurs, threatening not only the seemingly limitless supply of electronics our heroine and her sister have stored about the house, but also our heroine's collection of mugs.  This assortment of mugs is epic, and one that has been added to over the ages by numerous people and by means of various adventures.  Someone, or something, is trying to ensure that our heroine remains buried alive in the frigid cave of her home, unable to leave and experience that adventure which Providence has directed.  The uncanny appears to have overtaken her life... will hope's light break through the trees that obscure her view of the outside world?  Or will she succumb to the darkness?

Just in case some of you were starting to think I was "normal" and had decided to lay aside those quirks which before have seemed to prevalent, I decided to gve you a post that would assure you that I have not changed. ;)

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Annal 141: Tale from the Warrior Princess

Growing up I had a desire to be a princess.  But not a Disney princess (though I did go through a phase where I would brush my hair with a plastic fork from my play kitchen and call it a dinglehopper).  I wanted to be a warrior princess.  Not Xena, mind you, but a princess of mythic proportion who would ride at night, cloaked from searching eyes, helping those in need of aid.  I would wield a sword, a bow, and heaven help the person who entered into hand-to-hand combat with me.  And I would have a scathing tongue.  I managed to emerge into adulthood with at least one of those things though I will leave it to your imagination to figure out which (not that it would require much imagination). 

In my mind I saw myself as weak, so I would imagine the bravest and most beautiful woman I could and in my mind's eye that was who I became.

I imagined myself with sun-bleached, blond hair, tanned skin, and piercing eyes.  I came away with blond hair that only grows bleached by the sun if I experience a summer where the sun actually appears, and skin that breaks out in hives from sun, not turn a shade of golden brown.  Reality just never seems as glorious, does it? ;)

Regardless of the outcome, this was the character I always came back to, whether playing games with my friends or writing my own stories.  In part I blame Christian romances (which I have ranted about on here more than once).

For whatever reason I was driving home from my Wednesday morning Bible study and was remembering this phase of growing up.  Maybe it was the epic battle occurring between the clouds and the sun, each fighting for supremacy of the skies (the clouds appear to be winning at this point).  Maybe it was the pockets of sunlight striking the haze resting over the city that stirred such memories.  Or maybe it was reading about David and Bathsheba (random, I know).

2 Samuel 11 opens up with war season and David choosing to stay at home.  I know I mention the issue of insecurity a lot, but I began to see a similar pattern here as I have seen among so many other leaders of Israel.  I was wondering about David's motivation in going after Bathsheba.  Was it just because she was hot?  Was it just lust?  Or was there something deeper going on?

Here is this guy who has braved so much in his life, and God has made him king.  He is sitting at home, not going to war like a king is supposed to at this time, and his army doesn't appear to need him.  They are doing just fine without him.  I wonder if David was having a crisis of identity.  If he was feeling overlooked and un-needed.  I realize this is speculation, but to me it makes sense.  Insecurity makes us do crazy things.  Like having an affair and then having the spouse killed.  Like tearing down those closest to us.  Like isolating people because we feel isolated.  Like scheming and lying to cover up our mistakes.  Like isolating ourselves because we don't see the value God gives us.  Like wishing we have what someone else has, or were someone else completely.

I may not be "Chroncler: Warrior Princess," but I have an identity that God has given me.  I may not ride through the countryside at night, slaying enemies and rescuing orphans, shooting arrows with an accuracy to rival Robin Hood, or with golden hair that billows perfectly in the wind as I ride my horse (like Eowyn in the cartoon rendition of The Return of the King).  But I believe I do have a purpose. 

We are always taught what a great guy David was.  Sure he screwed-up but in the end he was forgiven and continued to serve and glorify God.  What I am realizing is that many of these leaders struggled with insecurity, and it was this insecurity that often led to the big mess-ups for which they are known.

I feel as if there is so much more I could say on this, but I will close with this last thought: if who I am, my identity, is defined in God, then shouldn't I spend more time focusing on who He is and less time looking at who I am not?  Who better to emulate than Him?  Maybe I am not a warrior princess, but I do have the ability to be His hands and His feet.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Annal 140: Tale from Security Issues

Remember a few weeks ago when I was reading about Joshua? How I shared with you all my view that he was dealing with some pretty intense insecurity issues due to having to follow in the footsteps of Moses?  How God took steps to not just tell Joshua that He was with him, but took steps to show him as well?  Joshua wasn't perfect but he began to learn to walk in the security that God had called him and placed him where he was.  He began to take to heart what God said about being of courage, that He would never abandon him.

I am about halfway through 1 Samuel now and have been reading about Saul becoming king over Israel.  And you know what?  I have noticed a similar pattern.  In chapters 9 and 10 where God first chooses Saul there were just little things that screamed to me "Hmm... I think Saul might be an insecure man" (like hiding in the baggage when you are supposed to be declared king before everyone?).  But God put in place signs so that Saul would know he was chosen.  And Saul had Samuel for guidance--a prophet of God right there to tell him what God wanted.  Sometimes I wish I had that!

But today I read in chapter 15 where Saul disobeyed God's orders about wiping out the Amalekites. And there were a few interesting things I noted.  One was that Saul never acknowledges God as his God.  He only talks of God when talking to Samuel and so always says "the LORD your God."  Which I find an interesting statement given the Hebrew meaning behind each of those names.  LORD refers to having a relationship, a covenant relationship, and God refers to God being the Creator.  So it is like Saul is saying "The God who wants a relationship with us, your Creator."  Despite the steps God has taken to show Saul that he was chosen for this purpose, Saul decided to not follow God, to not acknowledge God and His role is Saul's life.

The other interesting thing I noted was when Samuel said to Saul in verse 17, "Though you are little in your own eyes, are you not the head of the tribes of Israel?  The LORD anointed you king over Israel."  I guess thinking Saul suffered from some insecurity issues wasn't so far from the mark.

So why am I bothering you all with these bits of information from my reading today?  Because of the issue of insecurity.

Joshua was scared, but he clung to God.  His final words before dying were his telling Israel to not forget God, to not serve other gods but to always follow the One who had created and saved them.  He messed up, but I believe he genuinely tried to walk in the security that God had given him.

Saul was scared and insecure.  He saw himself as a "little" man despite the fact that he stood head and shoulders above everyone else.  God had tried to show him that He had chosen him but that wasn't enough for Saul.  So he dedicated himself to proving his worth to Israel.  He did things that he thought would make him seem great in the people's eyes, not great in the eyes of the One who had called and chosen him.  The result?  God took the kingdom from him and he will eventually die on the fields of battle.

This makes me think of all the times I doubt myself.  All the times I feel insecure.  All the times I ignore the reminders God has given me of who He is, of His love.  And I realize that insecurity goes far deeper than just being how I view myself or what I am doing.  An insecure teacher is a teacher who never asks for assistance and tries to do everything on their own.  The result of this can be a class who doesn't learn properly some concepts because their teacher never sought help.  Imagine what would happen if an insecure doctor never asked for help when they were unsure about something?  An insecure pastor who never seeks accountability?  An insecure contractor who never gets someone to double check their work?

Saul's insecurities impacted an entire nation.  Now I realize that I am no leader of nations, but who would (or does) my insecurity impact?  Who am I hurting when I refuse to remember the times God has proven to me His love and faithfulness?

I guess today I realized that no matter how insecure I feel I can't wallow in it.  And this is easy (well... easier) for me to say because right now my only insecurity is wrapped up in which school I will go to next year for my Education Degree.  Last night I made a decision.  Every time I start feeling insecure I replace that thought with a remembrance of what God has done for me.  Falling asleep last night I could almost feel a cool, spring breeze stirring in my room, caressing my face as I remembered all the times I have stood outside or gone for walks and in that touch from the wind heard the words "I love you."

I just realized today that if God is as magnificent as I believe He is, if He loves me like I claim He does, and if He will never abandon me like I believe He says He never will, then who am I to doubt Him?  What am I doing to Him everytime I ignore His love and faithfulness in favour of my own self-pity?  What harm is that wallowing and self-pity going to cause?

I know there will still be bouts with it (I'm a girl... it's pretty much what we do, right?), but I want to learn to rest in the strength of the One who is far greater than my insecurities.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Annal 139: Tale from the Hole

I have discovered something most distressing.

There is a hole in the heel of my flip-flop.

They aren't expensive footwear, seeing as I only wear the $4 Walmart flip-flops, so buying a new pair isn't taxing on my bank account.  It is simply a matter of going to the store and buying another pair.  That and the fact that I tend to forget I need a new pair until I walk through a puddle.  When my right foot emerges slightly wetter than the other I am reminded of my need.

The moral of the story?  I should probably go to Walmart soon before I fall into further memory loss.

But the concept of remembering has stuck with me.

I started the book of 1 Samuel today and read about Hannah. She was one of two wives, and while the other wife had children, Hannah remained barren.  Her husband still loved her, but more than anything she wanted a child.  So she cried out to God.

Using the reading plan that I am has brought one thing consistently to my mind. 

God doesn't forget.

He promised Abraham a son and though it took far longer than Abraham and Sarah would have liked, God honoured that promise. He didn't forget it.

He heard the cries and saw the pain of the Israelites when they were in slavery.  And He remembered His promise to Abraham.  He didn't forget them.

It was promised to Rahab that she would be saved when Jericho fell. When the walls came down her home remained intact.

God promised to bring Israel to the Promised Land.  They gave Him more than enough excuses to back out, to abandon them, but He didn't.

He promised Joshua that He wouldn't leave or forsake him. He promised to be with him just as He had been with Moses.  And God continually proved this to Joshua. He didn't forget that promise.

Naomi was convinced that God had abandoned her.  But through Boaz God reminded her that He hadn't forgotten about her.  He still cared.

And then you have today's reading.  Toward the end of chapter 1 we are told that God remembered Hannah and so she conceived and gave birth to a son.  He didn't forget her pain or her desires.

What I find really interesting about this line-up of people is that not all of them were great leaders or people of prominance.  Naomi was a widow whose husband and sons died while in another land.  She came back to Israel a broken woman with a foreign daughter-in-law and no livelihood.  Hannah was a woman who could have no children.  But God still saw their pain, their sorrow.  And He remembered them.  He didn't give up on them.  Naomi didn't get her husband and sons back.  But she was given a daughter-in-law who would follow her anywhere, and a grandson to care for.  A grandson who would become the grandfather of King David.  Hannah gave her son back to God, and gave him to Eli the priest to raise.  But her son became the last judge of Israel and one of the most well-known prophets of the Old Testament.

Sometimes we get lost in our circumstances, in our pain, in our unfulfilled desires.  But we serve a God who has promised to love us and to never forsake us.  Sometimes we don't get our answers in the manner we want them. Abraham had to wait 25 years.  Israel still had to travel through a wilderness and face off against countless other nations.  Joshua still had to deal with a people who didn't always listen to what God told them.  Naomi was still a widow.  Hannah gave her son back to God.

But in each of these instances God remembered His people.  He saw them.  He never left them.  Despite their doubt, their bitterness, their grief, and their disobediance, God never stopped loving them.  He never gave up on them.

Somehow this gives me hope.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Annal 138: Tale from the Sunrise

Have you ever experienced that moment when you turn a corner and there before you is the morning sun?  It holds that golden hue with just a hint of rose, bathing the world in light as it breaks through the early chill.

I had one of those moments this morning. I was coming home from my Wednesday morning Bible study and was mulling over what we had read as well as just thinking about the day.  I turned a corner as I neared home and was struck by the most fantastic view.  The mountains were in the distance and the morning sun was just peeking over them, filling me and my surroundings with the hope that comes with a new day.

This morning we were reading Ruth 2.  You know what struck me the most about that chapter?  In the first chapter Naomi tells people to call her Mara (which means "bitter") because it seems that God has abandoned her, that He brought catastrophe upon her.  Naomi had a reason to grieve, she had lost her husband and her two sons.  But what I really found interesting was that in chapter 2 Boaz takes pity on Ruth.  He provides for her.  And at the end of the chapter, when Ruth relates all of this to her mother-in-law, Naomi talks about the God who hasn't forsaken the living or the dead and asks Him to bless Boaz for his kindness.

Naomi was grieving.  And that was okay.  But God didn't stop being faithful to her just because she went through a tough time.  He continued to prove His faithfulness.  And Naomi saw it.  She recognized His faithfulness. She didn't wallow in her grief, even though no one would have blamed her after the pain she had endured.  She accepted God's faithfulness and allowed Him to strengthen her.

Seeing that morning sun rising over the mountains this morning reminded me of God's faithfulness.  It reminded me that I serve a God who is worthy to be worshipped and held in awe.  It reminded me that even when night seems its darkest there is hope.  I serve a God who is unchanging... a God who is faithful.  A God who breaks through the cold and the dark, the grief and the fear, and can cast His light.

I love sunrises.  I always have.  This semester has had its share of rough patches, of times where I wallow, where it seems like darkness will overcome.  But God gave me this morning as a reminder.  As I saw the sun rising over the hills I remembered all of the instances of the last six months where He has spoken to me through nature.  I remember the wind playing with my hair and caressing my skin, the trees swaying to the music their leaves made, and the embrace of snow as it encompassed me.

And I was reminded that God has not forgotten or forsaken me.  That He is still the same. That He endures.  And that He deserves so much more than what I give Him.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Annal 137: Tale from the Flash Card

I was handed in lime green flash card in Victorian Lit. today.  It informed me of three important aspects:
  1. I am broke... I have not a nickel to my name
  2. I have no title... my status in non-existent
  3. I am single... enough said
Mind you, this little card also told me I was an African  male who had been sold into slavery.

The group presenting on this week's book, The Lair of the White Worm by Bram Stoker, decided to give our class an idea of the difficulties associated with movement during this time period.  If you had no money and no status you could go nowhere.  It was actually a brilliant game.

The only reason I brought up the flash card is because at the bottom it stated that I had no money, no title, and was single.

Who would have thought a game played in class would so adequately describe my life?  Ahh, c'est la vie!

On other news, remember by brothers' basketball team?  How they made it to Provincials after years of last place?  Well, they ranked 16 of 16 teams but won their last game, causing them to place 15th overall.  That might not sound like much, but the fact that they beat their ranking and that the team they beat was one who had always beaten them speaks to the excitement of this.  And they won Most Sportsmanlike Team (which they normally win because they are last, so it was nice to win it while not being in last place).

And now?  Now I am sitting in my living room with my two sisters.  Our youngest sister is on spring break and has come to spend a week with us.  Which means the three of us are playing video games and eating Skittles.  Yeah, that's how we roll.

I don't know, the last few days have felt like somewhat of a blur.  My youngest sister and I have embarked on a Harry Potter marathon... yeah... I totally started crying when Sirius died... it was pretty pathetic.  Of course, part of the blur probably has to do with my lack of sleep and a cold.  Friends came through town and spent Friday night here.  They then wanted to be on the road by five and we had promised to cook them breakfast.  So at three-thirty in the morning I was clad in my Christmas apron, brewing coffee, and frying eggs and back bacon for english muffins (gosh that makes me sound a lot more domestic than I think I am).

And to top everything off I have been making new friends :)  On Sunday we were all invited to lunch after Church with a large group of young adults.  It actually makes me sad to think that now, with only a little over a month left before the end of school, I am making some new friends.  It also causes me to feel torn about next year.  Within the next two to three weeks I should be finding out where I will end up for school.  I really want to get into the one year program, but there is a part of me that doesn't want to leave all of the friends I have made here.  I enjoy my church and feel as if I am continually making new connections.

I guess all I can do is pray, wait, and see what happens.

Have I ever mentioned how incredibly impatient I am?

I wish I had more to tell you, more truths, but the truth is that this weekend has really been a blur for me. I feel slightly disjointed from reality, and I think this just has to do with lack of sleep and a rather annoying cold.  But I am sure I shall have much more to write and bore you with at a later date!  For now I am going to pull on some warm jammies, make my lunch for tomorrow, and prepare for what shall hopefully be a most relaxing sleep!

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Annal 136: Tale from my own Two Feet

I have two feet.

Their toe nails are painted black and everyone can see them because I have been wearing flip-flops since Februrary.

These feet like to get me into trouble.

Like on Sunday.  It snowed... I wore my sandals... as a result I was doing a dance-hop-move from tire track to tire track in the church parking lot while making my way to my car.  My feet thought it would be funny if they slipped, causing them to fly up in the air while my butt hit the ground.  When I tried to get up I continued to slip.

Pretty typical day for me :)

I had another revelation about my feet this morning, but this was had to do with my metaphorical feet (yeah... I am just that cool... I have physical feet and metaphorical feet... beat that!).

This morning was the women's Bible study that I go to.  We meet at McDonalds at 6:30 every Wednesday morning.  I got there about fifteen minutes early and was reading some more in Gospel Wakefulness.  In the section I read today it was dealing with the things we are passionate for that often replace God.  He quotes Tim Keller and states:

"[T]he true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention.  What do you enjoy daydreaming about?  What occupies your mind when you have nothing else to think about?  Do you develop potential scenarios about career advancement?  or material goods such as a dream home?  Or a relationship with a particular person?  One or two daydreams are not an indication of idolatry. Ask, rather, what do you habitually think about to get joy and comfort in the privacy of your heart?"

Shortly after reading this two other women showed up and we began reading Judges 2.  One interesting thing to note about this chapter is how once Joshua and the elders who had led with him were dead, Israel turned away from God.  The next generation forgot about how He delivered them from Egypt, how He brought them through the wilderness, how He delivered to them the Promised Land.  They started worshipping the gods of the people around them, the Baals and Ashtaroths.

All God had done for Israel since the beginning of Exodus was prove His love to them, prove He wanted a relationship with them.  And they threw this in His face.  As soon as their leader was gone and they were going to have to stand on their own two feet with the God who had shown Himself as the LORD who wanted a relationship with them, they turned to idols of stone and wood.

Sometimes standing on your own two feet is hard.  Sometimes, like me, you lack in the balance department and tend to spend more time on your butt.  Painting your toe nails and wearing flip-flops don't help.  Putting on a mask and pretending that everything is okay doesn't work.  Fulfilling the "acts" of a Christian while your heart is somewhere else doesn't work.

Last semester God revealed Himself to me in amazing ways.  He showed His love for me through nature, through literature, through people.  And to be honest those experiences came easily.  I went for a walk and would be awed by His glory.  Everywhere I looked it felt like God was showing me some kind of a revelation.

This semester has been harder.  This semester I have struggled.  The revelelations and experiences don't come as easily.  Does this mean that God has suddenly changed?  That He doesn't love me?  Or does it mean He brought me out from where I was, showed me how much He loved me, pursued a relationship with me, and now wants me to pursue Him back?

When it comes to love this is hard.  I know God loves me but I crave affirmation from people.  No matter how hard I try it is difficult to overcome the view that I am unattractive to men, both physically and intellectually.

Yet I serve a God who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to show me how much He loves and treasures me.  And what do I do with that?  I throw it back in His face and tell Him it isn't good enough.  I tell Him I don't want His affirmation but the affirmation of others.

It will be hard.  I know I will fall a lot.  But I need to start standing on my own two feet, resting in the assurance that when I do fall down, God isn't going to abandon me.  He is going to pick me up and set me feet aright.  I need to keep my eyes on Him as I walk, and not depend on whether others are watching me or walking with me.  Sometimes I will feel alone.  But it is in those times that I will need to continue pressing on, remembering all of the times in the past that God has picked me up, that He has told me He treasures me, that He has revealed His love to me.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Annal 135: Tale from the Jesus Defense

So I am not going to lie; I am a total sucker for an inspirational sports story.  The underdog who, through perseverence and with great wit and humor, rises up, emerging victorious amidst the screams and cheers of fans.  Music swells, stirring the soul and often times a dance sequence erupts.

I love it.  That is all I can really say.

Today my one brother heads off for basketball provincials with the high school team he coaches.  Both of my brothers coached these guys for years and the team was always the underdog who came in last at tournaments.  They were the team that people just expected to beat.

But this year all of that changed.  All of a sudden this team from a small school was coming in first at tournaments.  They were shocking crowds.  They were scoring three pointers with only three seconds left in games.

The stuff of movies, right?

And today my brothers are able to see the fruit of their labours.  After years of pouring into this team, my one brother gets to take them to Provincials, which just happen to be where my other brother lives. 

This team has a strategy in their game.  This strategy is called "Jesus Defense."  It is based on the Scripture where Jesus says "No greater love has man than this: that he lay down his life for his brother."  If one of their teammates needs help, the others will come to give this help.  They play as a team.  They play as a unit.  Watching them on the court is like watching one body moving.

Seriously, I want to cry when I think of some of the games I have seen them play.  When I think of the honour that they play with.  When I think of how they give God the glory, whether they win or lose.

It has taken years.  In the past, no matter how hard this team has worked, no matter how hard they tried, they could not win.  It has taken plenty of training and a great deal of humbling, but these guys are champions.  I feel honoured to know them, to cheer for them, to be the sister of their coaches.

Sometimes we wonder if what we do in life is worth it.  I got my worst mark on a paper ever yesterday and it sometimes makes me wonder what the point of all of this schooling is.  What's the point in trying your hardest when sometimes your hardest just isn't good enough?  Sometimes, no matter how hard I work at my relationship with God, I still despair of ever getting married, of ever being good enough for a guy.  Sometimes we work so hard to forgive, to move on, but grief is still our closest friend.

Sometimes it takes days.  Sometimes months.  Sometimes years.

And yet, the shortcomings are not failures.  This is where we learn.  They are where we discover how to cling to God, to glorify Him even when life seems to be going no where.  For some of these high school boys, they spent four years coming in last place.  But they didn't give up.  They didn't lose sight.  They kept working, they kept growing.

This is the lesson I want to take from these high school basketball players.  I want them to know that their journey, despite their youth, has been an encouragement and inspiration to me.  I hope I can persevere in my own life even half as much as they have in the sport they love.

Thank-you, guys, for showing Jesus both on and off the court!

Monday, 5 March 2012

Annal 134: Tale from my Bucket List

I have noticed over the last year that I will be having a conversation with someone and will respond with something like, "That is one of the items on my bucket list!"  The only problem with this is that I have never actually written out my bucket list.  Which got me to thinking maybe I should do this.

So, lucky for all of you, I am going to share with you all my list of things that I would like to accomplish before I die (no, I am not planning on dying any time soon so please don't take this that way).  I just think it would be good for me to have a reminder of some of the things I am passionate about and a way for some of you to get to know me a little bit better :)

It is not a particularly extensive list, but that just means that I have ample opportunities to add to it as time passes!!

Here it goes then!

1) Perform the role of the one of the three spirits in Dickens' A Christmas Carol.  I love theatre, studied it in high school, a bit in college, and have both acted and fulfilled the role of assistant director in numerous plays.  I would love to be the Ghost of Christmas Past, but will take either of the other two as well!

2) Spend at least part of the Christmas holiday in New York City.  While there I want to see The Nutcracker Ballet.  I have wanted to watch this since a child and, while not being a huge fan of big cities, would love to visit New York for at least a portion of my holiday one year.

3) Write a bestseller.  I love writing and find it the greatest way to express myself artistically.  I can't draw, paint, or take particularly good photographs, but I do love to write.  One day I would like to write a novel that people will want to read.

4)  I want there to be more balls.  I love dancing (though I am not particularly good at it) and find it a wonderful way to meet people and to break the ice.  Let there be dances!!!!

5) I want to play a game of outdoor soccer in the pouring rain.  In school we always had to stay inside when it started to rain and this made me very sad.  Just once I would like to play a game of soccer involving a torrential downpour and numerous mud puddles!

6)  I want to become a teacher who greatly impacts the lives of her students (for the good, that is).  No matter where I teach I want to represent God to those who come into contact with.  I want my students to embrace the way that God made them and to realize how special and unique each of them is, to realize that being quirky is not a negative thing, but is instead something to be celebrated.

7).  Just once I would like to fall down and have someone there to catch me.  I realize this is a lot to ask, but I fall often enough that you would think probability would be on my side!

8).  I want to dance in the rain... to find a spot secluded from public eye and dance while the heavens sing their song.

9) I want to stand on the edge of the world and stare into the greatness of God's glory.

10) I want to learn how to dance... I know some basic waltz, swing, and salsa steps, but I would truly love to learn how to really dance... to soar along the dance floor...

So there you have it folks.  I told you my list is not very long but at this moment in time here are ten things I would truly love to do before I kick the bucket!  This may give you a little more insight into the quirky brain that is mine (and convince you of my definite oddness)!

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Annal 133: Tale from the SnowBall

This will be just a quick post, but I thought I would let you all now the SnowBall was a success!  I learned how to swing dance, was asked to dance, and allowed the not-so-hidden-geek-within to prevail while I was on the dance floor... which meant some sprinkler moves among others.

Here is a picture of the back of my hair.

And here is my dress for the evening... along with a few friends (me being the second from the left)!

It was really just a fun way to spend the evening.  I am thoroughly exhausted now though, and must be off to bed.  I am a firm believer, however, in the necessity of a ball.  I think we need to have them far more often! 

If for no other reason than so that all of the single women can band together and just give 'er when no guys ask them to dance!

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Annal 132: Tale from the Awakening

I can pretty much guarantee that today will be a two-post day.  Why?  Because I have the SnowBall tonight, and any chance for me regale you all with tales of my innate klutziness on the dance floor must be taken.  But I also have something else I want to write about and I haven't posted for a few days, so I am writing one now.

Hmmm... got to love my need to justify my actions...

I am currently decked out in my pajamas with a Christmas apron tied over top.  My sister is baking brownies while I make lemon squares for us to take tonight.  And I apparently feel no need to dress up for Saturday morning baking...

Over reading week I asked my Dad to go through his selection of nonfiction and pick me out some books that he thought I might like to read.  I enjoy reading Lewis but find that I need a break in between his books.  So right now I am reading Gospel Wakefulness by Jared Wilson.  The book deals with the shallow Christianity that is often encouraged in churches.  Wilson argues that we can know of Christ's saving power and the wonder of what He has done for us in our heads, but that what every person is truly in need of is a moment of what he calls "Gospel Wakefulness."  A moment where you know in your inner being the you have been saved... and you are awed by that wonder.

The section I was reading today deals with the concept of pain, and reminded me of when I read A Grief Observed and The Problem of Pain by Lewis.  Wilson states that "All creation groans for redemption, and this groaning comes in the form of grief, desperation, and pains and distresses of all kinds."

I find that this part of the Christian life is often overlooked.  No one enjoys it when their life falls to pieces around them.  Feeling overcome by loneliness, loss, and desperation are not emotions most people anticipate.  We prefer the idea of that Jesus takes away all pain.  That He is some sort of Cosmic Painkiller and a dose of Him will set the world to rights.

But more often than naught this is not the case.

Or we are taught to believe that the pain we suffer is a result of sin.  If you are following Jesus then you shouldn't experience heartache or suffering.  This too is faulty.  Believing this means that when hard times comes, and come they will, we tend to believe that Jesus has forgotten us... that He has abandoned us... that if He loved us He would take away our pain, so by allowing us to hurt He is showing He doesn't really love us...

Wilson has a paragraph that addresses this.  He says:

"The way God ministers to the broken, though, is contrary to our expectations and desires.  We tend to think his ministry involves only the removal of pain.  But that is not the only way God works.  In the same way that the crucifixion--itself the consequence of a sinful world and a dark culture--was a victory over sin and darkness, our brokenness itself is the means of apprehension of the riches of the gospel of God's love.  Where we always look for and request deliverance from suffering, the testimony of Scripture is mostly about what God wants to do for us in our suffering."

I mentioned in my last post about my take on Joshua assuming leadership over the Israelites and how it seemed like God was trying to assure him that He would be with him.  Today I read in Joshua 4 about how they crossed the Jordan River and God told them to create a monument of 12 stones so that the Israelites would remember God's might and how He was with them.  What I found really interesting was that it talks about how God exalted Joshua before the people so that they would know he was their leader and was equivalent to Moses.

It seems to be that God didn't take away Joshua's fear of filling Moses' shoes.  God just told him to be strong and courageous and that He would be with him.  Joshua still had to work through all of that.  He could have wallowed, he could have pouted, he could have been convinced that a leader shouldn't feel the fear he probably felt.  Instead he obeyed.  He trusted that God would true to His word and would be with him through his fear.

And God worked through that.

Joshua working through his fear allowed God to be glorified through the parting of the Jordan River and in turn allowed God to glorify Joshua.

Sometimes our pain, our suffering, our hard times don't get taken away.  Sometimes we have to keep trudging on, working through those moments.

Yet God can use those.  In the times where we feel so weak and inadequate, He is our strength.  In the times that our hearts have broken and the pieces have been scattered to the four winds, we can become so much more aware of who He is.

I think back to a few weeks ago.  I had a really rough two week period.  I didn't want to allow God to help me.  I wanted to wallow.  I was hurting and I felt alone.  But it was in that time that God was able to show Himself to me.  It was in that time that I became truly aware of just how much He loves me.

Such is the life of a Christian single.