Sunday, 17 February 2013

Annal 194: Tale from the Name Change

I had a realization over the weekend, and this realization provided answers to something that has been bothering me since the summer.

You may have noticed that I don't blog as much as I once did (I went from 4-5 times a week to twice a month... if I'm lucky).  To be honest, I wasn't sure why this was.  I have time in the evenings when I get back from my practicum, and writing posts has always been the perfect way for me to sort through all that is going on in life.  Yet I haven't.

My brother started blogging in September (and yes I am inserting a little plug for it... you can find him at, so most weekends when I go to visit him and his and family blogging comes up in the conversation.  True to form, it came up yesterday.  We were discussing the purpose behind our blogs.

You see, when I started writing, I did so because I was tired of the stigma attached to being a Christian single.  I knew there had to be more to life than waiting around for "Mr. Right."  And, let's be honest, I had more than my fair share of humorous encounters surrounding being single that I found it fun to share :)  God ended up taking my blog, especially during the last year of my undergraduate degree, and used it to help show me the identity that I had in Him.  And those of you who read what I wrote were privy to all that was going on in my life--the good, the bad, and most definitely the ugly!

Then something happened this summer, and in the most unexpected twist of fate (or more accurately God working in mysterious way), I found myself being pursued by a Charming.

And ever since then I have had a bit more trouble writing.

Why is that?

I think I finally figured it out this weekend.

You see, I'm no longer at the same place I was at when I first started writing.  In more ways than just my relationship status, I have changed in the last year and a half.  And the truth is that I felt purposeless.  I haven't known what to write about.  I haven't known what to share.  A part of me has still felt like I needed to be true to the "Annals of a Christian Single" and yet almost every blog I have written since September has felt somewhat forced.

To be honest, I had somewhat of a mini identity crisis in the last 36 hours.  I started asking God, "Who am I?"

And then I remembered all that He showed me last year.  How He spent a year wooing me and showing me how beautiful I was in His sight. 

I was feeling like I didn't know who I was apart from my "single" identity, but what God showed me is that I'm not a different person.  The woman He spent last year showing me I was is still me.  It wasn't my "single identity" in Him.  It was my identity in Him.

So while all of this was going through my head I came across something in the book The Jesus Way by Eugene Peterson that I am reading for my devotions.  I'm in a chapter that is looking at the book of Isaiah and here is what I found.  I'm writing out a full paragraph, and it is long, but I'm hoping you will bear with me.

"Beauty is commonly trivialized in our culture, whether secular or ecclesial.  It is reduced to dcoration, equated with the insipidities of 'pretty' or 'nice.'  But beauty is not an add-on, not an extra, not a frill.  Beauty is fundamental.  Beauty is not what we indulge ourselves in after we have taken care of the serious business of making a living, or getting saved, or winning the lottery.  It is evidence of and witness to the inherent wholeness and goodness of who God is and the way God works.  It is life in excess of what we can manage or control.  It arrives through a sustained and adoratioal attentiveness to all that we encounter along the way: a forced march across a desert, a rock, a flower, the dragon Rahab, a face, a rustle in the trees, the 'cup of staggering,' a storm crashing through the mountains, wounding and bruising of all sorts, an old man's gesture, a lamb led to the slaughter, a child's play, an altar call, a good death, wings like eagles, the Scriptures, Jesus."

I read this this morning and it got me thinking.  It seemed to strike a chord within me, but I wasn't sure why.  It reminded me of a year God spent telling mye He created me beautiful and how to Him that meant so much more than simply my exterior.  It made me think of how once I finally accepted that to Him I am truly beautiful, He brought Charming into my life, and how at least once a day he tells me the same thing: I'm beautiful.

But I still didn't know how this pertained to me and my blog.  So, when I realized I wasn't going to be falling asleep as early as I wanted to tonight, I decided to read a little further.  And here is what I found:

"Every sunflower and oak, every dachshund and elephant, every young girl's lithe form and every old man's worn face, has an interior, a depth, a meaning.  There is always more, much more than, as we say, meets the eye.  There is far more to seeing than a functioning iris and retin.  Imagination is required to see all that is involved in what is right before our eyes, to see the surface but also to penetrate beneath the surface.  Appearances both conceal and reveal: imagination is our means of discerning one from the other so that we get the whole picture.

"Likewise every verb and adverb, every noun and adjective, every interjection and copula, is in living relationship with every other word said and sung by voices past numbering.  There is far more to hearing than an eardrum free of wax buldup.  Memory is required to make sense of even the simplest sentence.  Language is vast and intricate and living.  Memory is our means of keeping the complexities of syllables and syntax coherent, of bring together the voices of the entire membership, of getting the whole story, of hearing the voice across the room but also the voices from across miles and centuries.

"Imagination so that we can discern what is beneath the surface and respond appropriately to the life presented to us in this place.

"Memory so that we can stay in touch with conversations and sounds previous to and beyond those that are coming into out ears at this moment.

"Without imagination and memory we are reduced to surface and immediacy, we live in a cramped prison cell of the five senses and of the immediate moment.  But when imagination and memory are healthily active, the prison door springs open and we walk out into the large, multi-dimensional world that continues to expand exponentially.  'Beauty' is the word of witnes that we use to identify this world, this world that is both outer and inner, both present and other.  When we become aware of and then participate in the coming together, the wholeness, the intricacies of what is implicit always and everywhere, we exclaim, 'How beautiful!'"

I realize that was a large chunk of text, but I wanted you all to read what I read.  What were two means that God regularly used to show me how He saw me?  He used my imagination, my ability to see what rested beneath the surface, and He used the memories of past encounters, past conversations.

As I read that passage last night, I began to see my purpose for this blog.  I never want to stop encountering the beauty of God.  Rather, I want to be continually aware of it.   And not just that, but I also want to help other see it, to help others become aware that beauty is the "evidence of and witness to the inherent wholeness and goodness of who God is and the way God works."

It is not lightly that I do this, but I have decided to change the name of my blog.  For a time I was called to share the "Annals of a Christian Single," but I believe that was a step to a deeper calling, a much-needed step, but a step nonetheless.  I never want to lose sight of true beauty, of the goodnes of who God is and how He works.  And I want to help others to see this as well.  It is my hope that by sharing "Tales of Beauty," I will continually grow as the woman God intends for me to be, and that I will also help others to combine imagination and memory in a way that allows them to experience the beauty of God and His creation.