Sunday, 27 May 2012

Annal 163: Tale from the Weekend Getaway

I decided to escape for a little getaway this weekend.  Actually, I felt a little like Frank Churchill.  I needed a haircut, love the woman who does my hair in Prince George (where I went to school last year), and decided to make a trip of it.  After work on Friday night I hopped in my car and drove back PG.  I got in around nine that night, and spent the rest of the evening introducing a friend (the one who also owns a red coat) to Captain America.

On Saturday I got my haircut and was taken out to dinner by two amazing women who have been incredibly examples of God's greatness and love to me.  I then met up with friends downtown at the gourmet chocolate shop to get gelato (chocolate and pistachio... a combination made in heaven, apparently).  I then returned with Red Coat Friend to her home where I was staying and we proceeded to have a "Thelma and Louise Go Bad" photo shoot.  We even got to hold real guns!!!!!

Later that evening I introduced my friend to the wonder and amazement that is The Avengers.  To which I brought my Captain America bobblehead.

This morning I had coffee with another friend and then went to church.  The sermon had to do with prayer and thanksgiving, and the pastor focused a bit on giving thanks in prayer, and not just for yourself but for others as well.

This got me thinking about eucharisteo and living a life of life-filling gratitude.

All I could think about all weekend was how thankful I am for the friends that God has given me.  For what He has done in them, for what He has done in me through them, and just for how He has blessed me with them.  On the way home I was listening to a podcast by a pastor named Matt Chandler and he was talking about shadows versus substance.  How so much of what we see and experience are shadows of who God is.  Which makes me think of how if these friendships are this incredible, how much more amazing is a real relationship with God?

Driving home through the mountains, sunshine pouring down, rivers and lakes accompanying me, I was struck by awe at the God I serve.  And I realized how I want to know Him even better.  I want to get lost in Him, in my relationship with Him.

So here's to guns, run-down trucks, super heroes, giving thanks for amazing friends, and delving deeper into a relationship with the One who gave me these blessings.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Annal 162: Tale from Eucharisteo

Jeanine at "Wayfaring Girl on A Mission" wrote a post yesterday about Eucharisteo, the Greek word for life-filling gratitude.  She talked about the importance, the Biblical command, of giving thanks in EVERYTHING.  About how giving thanks acts as a "God-given, natural buffer to our souls."  About the importance of realizing that no insignificant detail is truly insignificant. We have a knack for forgetting what God has done, of who He is.  Giving thanks serves as a reminder.  We are told to give thanks in everything.

How often do I actually do this?

She then went on to make a list of the things that inspire awe in her at any given moment.

This has inspired me to do the same.  It is so easy to get bogged down with life, especially when it seems like it isn't going the way we want it to go.  I forget the things God has placed in my life, the "common, everyday" things that take my breath away.  That give me pause.  That point to Him.

And so I have decided to create my own list, a list of things that inspire awe in me causing me to give thanks, and would like to encourage others to do the same.

My Eucharisteo-Inspiring List

  • Walking outside while the sun anoints my head
  • A stirring breeze that plays with my hair, brushing it from my face
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • The snotty kisses of little children
  • Getting up early in the morning and doing my devotions with my Dad... I love how the two of us can share with each other what we are discovering about the God we serve
  • Going for drives with my oldest nephew who tells me that I am Jean Grey and he is whatever superhero appeals to him that day... we are always battling enemies and putting the car into hyper drive
  • Reading C.S. Lewis and George MacDonald
  • Reading by an open window in the midst of a rainfall
  • Homemade pizza
  • Singing and dancing along to music while doing dishes with my sisters
  • Going for late night walks beneath a star-filled sky
  • The smell and warmth of clean laundry
  • Playful banter with friends
  • Friends who know me, accept me, and love me while still encouraging me to be the woman God dreams of me becoming
  • Being given nicknames
  • The fact that when God speaks to me He does so in a way that makes sense... sometimes this is through nature, other times through BBC period pieces, and still other times through the imagery of "force fields"
  • Reading my Bible and realizing that even the way it is written points to the magnificence of God
  • A good cup of coffee... especially when shared with either a good book or good friends

  • Watching how a hug or touch can offer more hope than any words can
  • Receiving mail (and I mean real, legitimate, stamp in the top right corner mail)
  • Being able to just talk one-on-one with someone, to be completely open and have them do the same
  • Hugs, especially from children
  • Hearing the words "I love you"
  • Saying the words "I love you"
  • Running into the middle of a field, stopping, and then twirling with my arms held out and my face raised to the heavens... what I envision dancing with God to be
  • Walking in the rain

And the list could go on.  Already I have more and more things coming to my mind that still my heart and leave me breathless.  Things that seem so insignificant yet from which I derive such joy.  Things that remind of the greatness of God.  I was created in a way that these are some of the things that speak to my very being.  I don't want overlook them or take them for granted.  I want to give thanks for them.  Sometimes it will be harder than others to give thanks.  Sometimes I won't want to give a thought to this "life-filling gratitude."  But I do truly want to live a life thankful for all that God has done... for all that He has given me.

I want a life consumed by this life-filling gratitude. 

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Annal 161: Tale from the Voice

I know I have said this before, but today at work I REALLY felt like a superhero.  Lunch time arrived and my foreman and I headed to the staffroom to eat.  On our way his phone started to ring.  I went ahead, sat down, and started to eat my grapes.  He showed up a minute or two later with the news that the power was doing something strange at the high school in town.  We abandoned our lunches on the table and rushed to the work van where we spent the next few hours trying to solve the power  mystery.

For the record, when we first arrived we peeked into the gym where the lights were dimmed and flickering.  It was kind of like a scene from a horror movie... and kind of put me in my happy place.

At one point we were in the room where the main power switch was and the capacitator (I say that because it makes me sound like I know what I am talking about) started smoking.  Then it made a strange noice and before I knew it my foreman was pushing me out of the room and following after me.

Like I said... kind of exciting :)

Eventually everything did get sorted out and power was returned to the high school.

After this adventure I went back to the shop with my foreman and the first year apprentice I usually work with (he met up with us while we were figuring out the power issue).  He and I then returned to checking rooftop exhaust fans.

I have been battling a cold for the last few days, but when I woke up this morning my throat was definitely sore.  As a result my voice was scratchy.  As the day progressed my throat grew more raw.  I don't know if I have ever mentioned what happens to my voice when I get sick.  It's actually quite embarassing as it draws a lot of attention.

My voice drops about an octave when I get a sore throat.  This might not sound like a big deal, but that's because you don't hear the comments I get about it.

Like a guy in Bible college telling me I could get a job with a 1-900 number to put away some extra money.  Or the apprentice at work telling me my voice is raspy and sexy and that I need to stop talking like that (because obviously that is something I can control).

So there you have it, my day in a nutshell.  I saved the school by bringing power back (or followed the real electricians around who did the actual saving), and I did so with a deep, husky voice.  All in a day's work for this Christian single.

And now I am going to try for an early night, as we are starting work an hour earlier tomorrow to drive to another town to check fire alarms at a school there (that and my foreman wants to kick off the long weekend by being able to end an hour earlier).

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Annal 160: Tale from the One Year Anniversary

Huh... a year ago today I started this blog.  On the one hand it doesn't feel like a year has passed, while on the other hand so much has happened in that time that I can't believe it has only been one year.  For a brief moment I entertained ending the blog or trying something different. 

But that moment didn't last very long :)  I figure I'm still a Christian, I'm still single, and I still enjoy writing, so why should I stop?

The last week or so has been spent looking back on all that has happened.  I was thinking about the frame of my mind I was in when I first started writing.  I was angry and frustrated with being treated as if I belonged to some sort of category of subhuman by other people (especially Christians) because I was going to school, single, and apparently older than the proper marriageable age.  I was tired of people not wanting to be around me because I didn't have a significant other. 

There were other reasons I wanted to write as well.  I had lived through enough humorous encounters and believed that by sharing such experiences maybe others would be able to relate... and probably not feel so bad about themselves!  Like my youngest sister telling me I can still adopt (I hadn't realized by child-bearing years were over) or sitting down to family dinners and realizing that I am the only single person (nephews and niece being exempt).

This blog has turned out nothing like I envisioned it would in the beginning.

It has become a place for me to share, to laugh, to cry, and to rant.  It has allowed me to work through issues of forgiveness, bitterness, hurt, and insecurity.  It has allowed me to laugh at times when I might not have laughed.  I have been able to share revelations God has given me through the Bible, nature, other people, and just through life.

This week I have been reading through the book of Esther for my devotions and it brought to mind a sermon I heard on it back in September or October.  I wish I could remember the exact number, but apparently the Hebrew word that refers to "sovereignty" appears in Esther more than enough times to be in each verse once (in many verses twice).  It also happens to be the one book of the Bible where God is never mentioned.  In this sermon the pastor talked about how God proved Himself in control, sovereign, even in His seeming absence from the story.  He left His fingerprint in the very words of the text.

I look back at life, and especially at this last year, and I think of the times it seemed as though God was not present.  The times where I felt alone and rejected by Him.  The times when it seemed like He had disappeared in the midst of life's craziness.  Hind sight being 20/20 I realize now that He never left.  He still proved Himself to be in control.

He was still sovereign.

He is still sovereign.

I have no idea what this coming year is going to hold for me.  I know I will be going to school, but that is about all I know.  I know that a year from now I will be starting to apply for jobs... and that scares the heck out of me!

But I also know that God will continue to be in control.  Whether I feel like I can see Him or not, He will still leave His mark.  Just like He did in Esther.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Annal 159: Tale from a Late Night Force Field

And so ends week two of being an electrician's helper.  I have managed to install motion sensors all on my own (disconnected the old light switches, connected the wires in the  new ones... I was pretty stoked about it), I am not nearly so shaky on a ladder (I was even sliding down portions of a roof today--not going to lie, that was pretty exciting), and I have been helping the cabinet makers a bit as well (and only cut myself with a knife once).  My arms and legs are pretty brutal looking between scrapes, bruises, and the blisters that resulted from wearing ankle socks with steel toe boots (not my brightest moment).  But I am still loving the job.  I'm getting to know people from all sorts of shops around town (I'm on a first name basis with the guys from one electrical shop), and learning, as my friends call them, "marketable, marriageable skills."

I am also dealing with incredibly itch ears.  It was cloudy yesterday so I didn't put sunscreen on.  Then the sky cleared while I was on the roof and my ears have broken out in hives.  Not so pleasant, but even that can't diminish the joy and pride I take in my work.  Getting treated to Dairy Queen today also helped with that :)

This week has been an amazing week for other reasons though.  I woke up around 1:30am on Monday morning and was wide awake.  I stayed wide awake for about an hour too. 

What was interesting about this hour was that God used this time to reveal something to me.

I'm coming up on my one year anniversary of writing this blog, which means I have been reflecting on what has transpired in this year.  God has taught me a lot, and perhaps the main lesson has been my identity in Him, through which He has begun to develop a confidence long dormant.  The revelation He gave me tied in with this.

I woke up and perhaps the very first thing to cross my mind were the words, "I've surrounded you with a force field."

Weird?  Yes.  Perfectly suited to me?  Also yes.

I was awakened with the thoughts that have long plagued me about being single.  Thoughts focused on what I thought were my inadequacies and deficiencies that had resulted in my singleness.

In answer to these thoughts God told me that it wasn't because I was inadequate.  It was because He was and is protecting me.  That He has kept me surrounded with a force field.  I have a very sensitive heart.  I know this.  I don't fall for people often, but when I do I fall hard.  God knows this.  Which means he also knows that there would have been opportunities in my past that would have left me scarred and battered had He not protected me from attention.

When my eyes opened at 1:30 I felt as if my heart was surrounded.  It felt warm and safe.  I didn't resent God for His protection.  All I could do was thank Him.

This late night/early morning had further implications.  Seeing God's protection in the past, His constancy, allowed me to realize how He has proved to me that I can always trust Him.  I can rest in Him and in the security that He will not change.

I don't know what my future will look like.  I don't know what it holds. 

And that is okay.

Periodically this week I would start thinking about the future and would start to panic.  I could feel that fear of "Will I ever find someone?  Will I ever get to be a mom?" and such things rising up.  But the couldn't stand before the force field that surrounded my heart.  In fact, the force field disintegrated those thoughts and fears.

And as a result I have had this peace all week.

Even just looking at this last year I am amazed at all God has taught me and done.  As I reflect back on my life I am left astounded.  How can I not trust Him?  How can I not be secure in who He is?

I have been reading a lot of C.S. Lewis lately, and as a result have been thinking about the sort of life I want to lead.  I want my life to be a story that glorifies its Author... and that author is not me.  I want to reflect the One writing my story, and I want my thoughts and actions to be dedicated and directed toward Him.

Because I can trust Him.  Because He's got this whole thing called life covered.

Such is the life of a Christian single.

I don't know if I can fully explain the security that I have felt this week.  Not security in myself or other people, but a security in God. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

Annal 158: Tale from my Super Hero Carhardts

And so ends the first week of work at my new job.  I have been working as an electrician's apprentice for the school district.  Which for anyone who knows me is probably a little shocking.

But I love my job.  I love pulling on my Carhardt coveralls in the morning, my steel-toed boots (that are actually a bit big for me), and heading to work.  I get there and fill my pockets with the various tools I use regularly and place my protective glasses on top of my head.

Maybe this doesn't sound that exciting, but when I put on my coveralls I feel like a superhero putting on their costume (much like when I put on my red jacket).  When I wear them I am willing to do things I would normally balk at.  Like with my slight fear of ladders.  Ladders just weren't the sort of thing I liked to climb.  I have never felt over comfortable and confident with my body and as a result have embraced my klutziness and often times used it as an excuse for not trying things.  But I can't do that because ladders are a part of my job.  So even though I get nervous I find myself scaling them to reach the roofs of all the various schools in the district and swinging myself (rather ungracefully) onto the roofs. 

And I love it. 

I love pulling out my wrench to take apart an exhaust fan. I love standing on a roof with my walkie talkie waiting to hear from the other electrician and surveying the city while I do so, taking in the sunlight (I have already started to tan).  I even love digging through the tool box back at the shop, looking for tools to take apart lights.

Am I really much use to these electricians?  No, but they are so good about taking the time to explain things like how to install smart plugs, or making sure I'm comfortable on a ladder, about making me not feel like an idiot.  And they are awesome guys that it is incredibly easy to get along with.

I'm physically exhausted.  Today, both of the electricians were gone so I was working with the grounds crew (where all the other summer students work).  I spent about forty minutes shoveling dirt and rocks this morning, and then a good five hours or so weed whacking.  Which might not sound like hard work, but I am sore.  But I am also smiling.

This all probably sounds pretty dorky.  But I'm okay with that.  Because God has been using this job to, even in my inadequacy, develop a confidence I never thought I would possess.  And that is exciting.

But for now, I am going to take a nap, eat some dinner, and prepare myself to go to The Avengers tonight :)

Such is the life of a Christian single.