Monday, December 28, 2009

december.

sorry this is going to be a long and detailed post about our month, which was a whirlwind! i doubt anyone is reading, but i like to write it all down so i dont forget!

drew got a job with newsong this year, working on their christmas tour. he left november 29th from bama for 19 days of touring. we had already booked my flight, so i still flew out there, even though i wouldnt get to see him for much of the trip. thankfully the dates he had in Bama were the days i was there, so i got to be out with the tour for about three days. the picture above is us at the show in athens, alabama. we also were in dothan and montgomery, then drew left for two days while i relaxed in montgomery and auburn with my good friend whitney (note the newly designed auburn colors blog.)here's drew with his buddy jeff jones, drummer for big daddy weave. one of the many kind and sweet guys on this tour who were a wonderful community away from home for my guy. what a blessing it was to meet and be with these talented and humble artists.this is rico, guitarist for newsong, and another sweet, sweet guy. i got to hear the 'christmas shoes" song for three nights straight. and then i made drew watch the movie when we got home :) good thing he is so patient :)here is drew playing drums with newsong.
matt butler and eddie singing "o holy night" in montgomeryhere we are with aunt frances, and cousins elizabeth and madeline at the cracker barrel to celebrate christmas! so sweet of her to bless us with sweet presents (and SNUGGIE) and time together.with drew's brother bryant and his girlfriend parker at drew's moms for christmas, which we spent with drew's brother, myrons parents, and drew's sister and sister in law...lots of family and lots of kiddos! (his brother has six!)
some of the neatest girls you'll ever meet! malerie, amelia, chelle (and baby willis!), emily, and i. aka the foolettes (i am an honorary foolette, since drew isnt actually in the band lol) love our ugly, i mean beautiful sweaters! i miss these precious and amazing girls and am thankful for the encouragement they have been to me as i learn to live life with a guy who tours.our rush of fools family: chelle and wesley and baby, jan and emily, mal and kevin, me and drew, amelia and jake, and jack. what amazing friends these guys are. love them all to pieces.with my mom and dad at the top of roxy ann on christmas day! we are thankful and blessed to have so much wonderful family! and even though december has been a whirlwind, we are grateful. now we are relaxing in oregon for awhile, and i cant tell you how great it is to have my sweetie with me for awhile! we are working on my financial aid situation with nursing school and trying to financially make it work. (its 20k a year for my schooling). i am grateful he is here to help with the finances, since i am not good with numbers. plus its' nice to have a date night and quality time together!

i am keeping busy working, and prepping for the switchfoot tour in a few weeks. writing quite a bit and thankful for new opportunities that come up for me to write (and get paid!). it helps pay the bills, and for that we are thankful. (iphone bills are unkind!)

sad i didn't get to see my middle sister this christmas, but hopefully i can fly there soon to see mr jack henry! we are praying for my oldest sister, whose middle son has epilepsy and is undergoing surgery for a hernia today. he is a sweet and fun guy and we hope this surgery will help alleviate some of his pain.

most of all, we are thankful for this year, for all God has brought us through, and eager to watch Him work in our hearts this year, for His glory. He is good, all the time ,and we have been carried through my health problems, drew's heart problem, schooling ,finances, touring, and more. We are thankful. and so blessed by His provision and protection.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!


merry christmas

love, grace and drew

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sabbath.


drew and i were listening to matt chandler earlier today. i have surely missed holding hands with my sweet almost-husband and driving. we have been driving ALOT because of drew's tour dates and in order to enable me to see him as much as possible, we have driven back and forth hundreds of miles. today, we drove to birmingham and listened to some of matt's earlier podcasts. todays was on sabbath. about obeying the command to observe the sabbath. matt mentioned how, when he was little, he remembers the sabbath being code for "no fun". instead, matt talked about how the sabbath is to be restful and joyful. he also mentioned that we, as a generation of laptops, iphones, and twitter, should unplug at least one day a week. chandler, a pastor of a large church, husband, and daddy of three little ones, says he checks his email just three times a week. and "no one has died! nothing disintegrated!".

i have an iphone, and am thankful for the way it has enabled me to do more, faster. but sometimes, doing more, faster, is not always better. sure, i can access every social media in a second, and i can email word documents and type papers into powerpoint. all from my phone.
chandler mentioned how it eventually reaches a point where you aren't where you are.
you can be present, but you aren't THERE. drew and i have a tuesday night date night. we havent gotten to really enjoy that commitment for four months, and tonight, our "date" means he is working and i am sitting in the audience being proud of my almost-husband. and that's okay.

we don't know which day our sabbath will be. we will hopefully get to talk about it when drew comes home after this last leg of tour. for now, i will just enjoy spending time with him, and tagging along while he works. we have been so immensely blessed by the newsong tour, full of kind people and sweet friends, some new and some old. but one day this week, i will stop being my super-ridiculously-efficient self. sunday, we will go to church, i will unplug. both of us will shut the email, switch phones to silent, and refuse to take any calls. and we will go to dinner and hold hands and take a walk. and just be.

because, like chandler said...rest on the sabbath is a shadow of something else...the cross.
resting reminds us that we are saved not by working, but by grace and with joy.

besides, i like holding drew's hand.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

rejoicing.


i havent blogged in awhile, but i figured i would at least post something about all the things we are thankful for this year!

we are most recently thankful for my (our) sweet nephew Jack Henry Watkins (note* NEPHEW. NOT OURS. I realized the post made it look like we had a baby, and we certainly DID NOT!) ! born november 29th, 2009, he is a precious and handsome little one and my sister and her husband are overjoyed with his safe and healthy birth. he is in san antonio, so i havent met him yet, but i cant wait! he is a cutie (obviously!). my other precious nephew, beck, turned one in november, beth turned 6, ben is 4, tim was 5 in november, and ally-bug is 3! all such fun, sweet kids!
my grandma is also moving up to oregon today, from cali, after the passing of my grandpa a few months ago. i have never had grandparents in the same city as me, so it will be fun to have her around!
we are sooo thankful for the precious news from dear friends wes and chelle, on the announcement of baby willis in july! we couldnt be more excited for our friends to become wonderful, Godly parents, and we cant wait to meet him/her. baby willis, your mommy and daddy love you very very much!
we are thankful for drew's current job, he is out on tour with the newsong and big daddy weave guys, and its a wonderful tour. i am, as always, thankful to the Lord for keeping him safe while he travels. especially with several artists having bus accidents, i am grateful every day when i get a call in the morning to let me know he has made it safely. i have a friend who started a community group for women who are engaged/married to guys who are in christian music and who tour, and it's been a sweet encouragement for me to hear verses/prayers from these girls.
i am thankful for my wrap up of school with 2 A's and one C! it was a rough term with health issues, financial aid problems, the flu, and working 30 plus hours a week. i didn't see drew any of that time, so it's been almost four months since we have been together.
i fly out on saturday to alabama! excited to see our fools family, drew's family, and spend time catching up with friends and relaxing. i have not relaxed since i left bama, so i am ready to do some reading and writing of articles, shopping, and spend time with drew! we have a crazy schedule planned, full of day trips and though he will be gone for three of the days i am there, i get to spend time in Nashville with my dear friend tiff. sounds like a great time, and i get to see the newsong tour dates twice, including my all-time favorite christmas song, The Christmas shoes :)

love you all! pictures to come soon, after the holidays probably, but i had to get that one of precious Jack up here!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

a cab to drive him home.

my clinical rotations have been progressively harder. we are actual nurses now, taking on 2-3 patients independently. though i still feel somewhat incompetent as The Nurse, i have fallen into a certain level of comfort on the unit. i have been giving report to physicians, helping make life changing decisions that i hardly feel qualified to be helping make. we interpret sheets of lab values, and pore over medications. one wrong move and patients can die. you have to be aware 24/7 while you are working, never knowing that an error has already occurred and you have to catch it. my patient crashed yesterday, with a heart rate soaring to over 190 from a normal 70. i had to run down the hall and grab the physician. i stood with him as he walked me through the prognosis, the ekg, the crucial heart drugs. but then he walked away and i was left alone. no amount of book-knowledge gives you the assurance in that moment. there is nothing i learned in class that prepared me for announcing imminent death to a patients family who is holding onto hope with everything they had.

i had three patients yesterday, the first a patient who had renal disease and was going to hospice in a few weeks, to spend the last moments of their life. the second a young stroke victim who had a 2% chance of recovery and only a few months to live as her family had chosen to not rescucitate. the physician, a kind and smart man, was very busy, and had to run to his other patients. that left me as the bearer of devastating news. i was the one who had to walk back into that room and sit with the children of the stroke victim and tell them they need to consider hospice care for her. i was the one who watched them dissolved into tears and still gather vital information to make the patient comfortable. i was the one who had to share in that moment of their world crashing down around them.

i had to go into the next patients room and deal with the spouse of another dying patient who refused to believe she was dying. he tried to comfort her with "therapy" of his own and odd chants that i am fairly certain he was making up as he went, and he told me God was going to smite me for using my "worldly knowledge" to be a nurse. underneath that tough exterior, though, was a man who held the hand of his wife and wasnt ready to face her death.

my last room was the hardest. i went in to discontinue an iv on a patient who was going home. normally, this is a happy visit, and i had only seen his chart, so i was entering the room thrilled to be discharging him. i walked in to find a tiny old man, just skin and bones physically, with a few wisps of hair, and a tremor that made simple movement hard. i reread the chart and realized he wasnt going home because he was getting better...but because there was nothing we could do anymore. i felt my heart sink and i realized i would be the last nurse who cared for him in this hospital, maybe ever. i went over the medications i was giving him, and gave him some pain meds. i cleaned up his room as he gathered his things, his weathered hands shaking.
i realized it was veterans day, and i asked if he had been a veteran. he said "i was in the service for six years, served overseas in world war II. i saw it all...killing, death, hope." i commented about it being a very ugly war, and he said softly, "miss...they all are." i went to take out his iv then, and there, along his tiny forearm, under the tape and cords and tubes, was a faded service insignia. now long since faded to a dull grey, i could still make it out and he proudly showed me it. underneath, in looping cursive, were the names of his buddies who had died in the war. four of them, unreadable, but still there. and i stopped wiping his tubes and cleaning his arm to look into his eyes and he told me about each of them, how they all had left their "pretty girls" to serve overseas. they were my age, just 21, when they enlisted. i finally got his iv out, a lengthy process because his skin almost tore from the clear tape. as i bandaged the site carefully, he touched my arm and said softly, "miss...you done good. youre the first nurse who has cared about me". i smiled and combed his hair, brushed his teeth...little things that make patients feel human again after lying in a bed for days. and as i went to get the discharge educator, he said "miss...can you call me a cab?" i thought i had heard him wrong, but i made sure. "you don't have anyone to come get you? would you like me to call your family or a friend?" his eyes filled with tears as he said "miss, my family is on the east coast. they dont care about this old guy. and my friends all died a long time ago." i fought back tears as i nodded, and told him i would find him a ride home. i had to run to another room just then, and another nurse called a cab, but i helped him out to it, walking him out with a tiny walker and his little bag of belongings. it seemed so wrong to send him home all alone. sure, home health would be by, and soon he would be in hospice, but i still felt so sad.

he got into the cab, and i put his sweater on his lap. before the door closed, he thanked me again, this tiny, frail man who had just a few weeks to live. and i knew it was me who needed to be thanking him. society should be thanking him. instead he was going home to die alone, in a cab that the hospital called.

i went back into the unit and before i completed my last assessments, i went to the staff room and sobbed for my patients. everyone tells you you cant get involved, that you cant be emotional. to a level, thats true. you have to compose yourself so you dont collapse into tears everytime you leave a room. but no matter what you do, you always become attached to your patients because they are yours. and for that moment, however brief or long, you get allowed a window into their lives. you are allowed just one chance to be Jesus in their lives. you are allowed the privilege to hold their hands while they cry, and to sit and listen to stories about the war, and sometimes... you have to call a cab to get them home.

Friday, October 16, 2009

darkness. sunrise.


God is always in the darkness.
We love to find Him in the morning sunrise, but when darkness falls, He's still there.
This week has been a series of disappointments. I thought I was going to be able to see Drew this weekend, since I have not seen him in almost fourty days, but his travel plans changed and I won't be able to see him until December; a blow that hit me hard. I found out I lost a scholarship I thought I was still eligible for. I got a C on a test at school that I studied for weeks for. I am struggling to understand things in school, and struggling to get enough sleep. I coordinate volunteers for large concerts on the West Coast, and this week two shows had volunteers cancel, leaving me in a last minute panic. I worked a 12 hour shift at the hospital, which was terrific but exhausting. It's been one thing after another, with loan holdups and financial aid problems, and stress at my day job. I have felt on the edge of a breakdown all week.
God is still present.
Sounds simple, doesn't it. Sounds like I would have 'gotten' it by now, doesn't it? Not me.
I struggled to see God in this all week. I cried that I am struggling financially. I cried that I wouldn't get to see my fiance for another two months. I cried that I was failing at my work. I cried because I was just plain exhausted. But God is still present. He is still God, and He keeps showing up.
He showed up in my patients room, when I held her hand and helped her breathe.
He showed up in a few people who offered to volunteer for another concert later in the year.
He showed up in the Love of my fiance, who has been there for me every second, with emails, and text messages, and video chats and 2am phone calls filled with tears.
He shows up and He keeps showing up. I am thankful.
Sunrise always happens, even when the night is darkest.
He even shows up when I forget to look for Him.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

leftovers.


my weeks seem to get busier and busier. i work 22 hours a week as a public relations office manager at southern oregon university, and attend nursing school for 26 hours a week. on the weekends, i freelance for four different magazines, and serve as a volunteer coordinator for a concert agency. i am now working under my own company as an artist manager and publicist/booking agent. sometimes i travel on the weekends to various shows. its basically a circus. i wake up between 6 and 6:15 every morning and commute half an hour to school, and then get home around 9:00, when i can start my homework. i usually can crash into bed around twelve, but if i want to talk to my sweet fiance at all, it's around twelve. he is so incredibly supportive and patient. he went to bed at twelve the other night, and woke up to talk to me when i was done with homework around two am. since he's two hours ahead, it often means he will "nap" until im done with homework and wake up mid-sleep to call. it means alot that he will do this for me.

pete wilson posted something neat from the catalyst conference today, he posed a question from rob bell:

"Does your spouse and kids get the best of you or do they get the scraps leftover after you’re done building what you’re going to build?"

ouch. i cant think of all the times i have excused not making sufficient time for Drew, or worse, my scripture reading and prayer time, by saying that its simply nursing school, that i'm sure everyone understands because its 'just school.' while my fiance, family, and friends are all supportive, i am not entirely sure i should be excused that easily. regardless of school, its no excuse for me to shirk relationships/devotions. if i get straight A's and fail in my marriage-to-be, or lose all my friends than it doesnt matter after all. pete went on to point out his own personal struggle as a pastor, in balancing everything, and he said God convicted him to "not win at church and fail at home."

i dont want to win at nursing school to lose my time and heart.

i dont want to win as a publicist and agent to lose my time for my fiance.

i dont want to become the best manager to lose my best friends and family.

its just not worth it.


"He said, "That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself." luke 10:27

pretty sure that means my whole heart.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

i dont want to love my kids that much.



i was driving home from corvallis the other night, and pretty wiped out after my four-show tour weekend, working merchandise and promotion for west coast tours. i have developed a "buddy system" with drew and doug collingsworth, where we help each other stay awake during late night drives by talking to the other person(s). this particular night, my sweet fiance was sleeping on the floor of the van (the glamorous life of a rock star, obviously), and he was rapidly falling asleep. as my drive was an additional three hours, i called kevin, who was driving the van for the guys that night, and was also trying to stay awake. kevin and his wife have been married for i think over five years (correct me there, guys :), and drew and i have great respect for their marriage and their standards. they are dear friends who have become like family. kevin and i got started talking about marriage and kids, and we got onto the subject of parenting. clearly, drew and i are a while from having our own little aspinwalls, but kevin made such a tremendous point, i was excited to share it with drew and to blog about it as well.

kevin pointed out that the worst thing a parent can do is make their child believe they are the center of the universe. i had never thought of this, since i am very excited about eventually being a mom, and i had never been told that piece of advice before. kevin went on to explain that the best thing he can do for his kids is to love his wife above and beyond loving his kids. he said he wants his children to always know that their mom is the focus of his life after Jesus. he went on to illustrate the point by saying if a gunman came into his home, after trying to sacrifice himself for his wife and kids (which is the biblical role of the husband, modeling after Christ laying down His life for the church, the bride), and if it came down to choosing his wife or his kids, he would pick his wife. alot of people will disagree with that, and of course it sounds so counter-cultural, but if husbands truly are trying to be christlike, they will choose their marriage, which is a picture of Christ and His church. a dramatic explanation to be sure, but definitely one that stuck with me.

another site we have been encouraged by is justin davis from crosspoint church, where pete wilson also pastors. i have loved pastor wilson's sermons for awhile now (you can read his blog here), but have particularly enjoyed justin and his wife's blog, where they ultimately point to the redemption of God in an imperfect marriage. he has a great article right now called 'facebook didn't destroy my marriage." here's an excerpt:

if you are seeking to escape from your spouse rather than pursuing your spouse…Facebook isn’t your problem. If you are looking for a way to reconnect with the girl you took to prom your junior year instead of treating your wife like the prom queen, Facebook isn’t your problem. If you need to create an alternate personality, an online persona, and a profile that impresses some guy in Fargo, North Dakota more than the real you impresses your husband…Facebook isn’t your problem.

What would it look like for men and women to come clean and be honest and vulnerable and transparent with their wife or husband, no matter the cost? Could Facebook destroy that kind of commitment? How powerful would it be for husbands to love their wives with the sacrifice and unselfishness that Christ had for the Church…could Facebook simulate that? How unappealing would some girlfriend from 20 years ago be if wives were determined to honor and respect their husbands as unto the Lord?


great stuff.

oh that God will grant me mercy to be the kind of wife who loves my husband more than my kids.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Oregon updates!

whew! i am back in oregon, and things have hit fast forward.
it's great to be home. and getting to see the people i have missed this summer while in nashville and alabama, including my lovely family. school starts september 28th, and i am taking a full load of nursing classes, including one full shift of rotations at the hospital a week. i am thrilled about getting more time in the operating room, since it's my favorite! right now i am juggling working 40+ hours a week, and working several other jobs...keeping me busy and things i am excited about this week:

-working on managing the flu crisis at the university and collaborating on a plan with the health department
-developing a plan for social networking to be implemented by 2010
-getting things together for nursing school to start!
-working as an artist manager and booking agent to three artists and one record label
-just got accepted as the TOMS SHOES campus rep for my university, one of about twelve who were chosen for these colleges in the state! i am very excited.
-writing two articles for HALOGEN on social justice and hope.
-brainstorming three features for soul-audio.com with indie bands
-back to school week for my campus bible study, praying that i will be able to commit alot of time to this awesome ministry.
-the BLOOM book club! check it out at www.jessicaturnersblog.blogspot.com, started by my friend Matthew's wife, Jessica Turner.
-blogs to read: audreycaroline.blogspot.com, withoutwax.tv, jesusneedsnewpr.blogspot.com

I'll be leaving friday for a four-show run with chris and conrad, with stops to work with Toby mac and Paul wright. Excited to connect with friends of drew and i along the way. VERY excited to see my precious niece and nephews, as well as my dear best friend Heidi who i have not seen since june. Should be a busy, fun weekend split between Puyallup WA, Portland ,and Corvallis.

Drew and i will be getting our engagement pictures back this week or early next week and i am eager to see them. www.kimboxphotography.com is amazing and we were so blessed by Kim's (Drew's stepsister) wonderful shoot.

that's all for now.

life is good. God is good.
my fiance is amazing. i love him so much!

and i am thankful to the Lord for these blessings and gifts He has let me borrow for now.

(ps-excuse the messy blog layout...i haven't had time to format it...)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

what do i know of holy

thanks to Mal for showing me this song...love it.

WHAT DO I KNOW OF HOLY BY ADDISON ROAD

I made You promises a thousand times
I tried to hear from Heaven
But I talked the whole time
I think I made You too small
I never feared You at all No
If You touched my face would I know You?
Looked into my eyes could I behold You?
(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?
I guess I thought that I had figured You out
I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about
How You were might to save
Those were only empty words on a page
Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be
The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees
(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood

But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?
(CHORUS 2)
What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of wounds that will heal my shame?
And a God who gave life it's name?
What do I know of Holy?
Of the One who the angels praise?
All creation knows Your name
On earth and heaven above
What do I know of this love?
(CHORUS)
What do I know of You
Who spoke me into motion?
Where have I even stood
But the shore along Your ocean?
Are You fire? Are You fury?
Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?
What do I know? What do I know of Holy?
What do I know of Holy?

Monday, August 31, 2009

XXX.

we are driving for awhile, so i figured i would blog some along the way. we passed into arkansas just a bit ago, and right near the entrance to the state, there is an "adult entertainment" venue. complete with a giant neon "XXX" perched atop its roof, it beckons to passing motorists, promising all sorts of "mature" entertainment. as we passed i just felt sick. i cant help but think of those girls in there, searching for themselves beneath neon lights and leering glances. every one of them is someones sister. someone's daughter. some are mommies. i love the kenny chesney song "dancing for the groceries....it reminds me that sometimes those women are more than the shame that we attach to them.

she's thinking about what her kids are doing
Five miles away, it's almost time for bed
They're brushing teeth and hearing one more story
And in the mirror she paints her lips bright red
She wishees she could call and say she loves them
But the bossman says no calls go out or in
So she puts on a dress that might feel pretty
If she didn't have to take it off again

She's dancin' for the groceries
She's dancin' for the rent
She's dancin' for the credit card
That she's already spent
In sequins and in laces
She's dancin' for the braces
So her kids can have a perfect smile someday
Smiling while she dances
Is the price she has to pay

They tell her in this job there is no future
So get it while you can 'cause looks don't last
There's money in those pockets for the taking
And if you do it right, it makes the time go fast
The music's loud, the drinks are mostly water
What her name is tonight, she can't recall
The business men stare at the single mother
Who's smiling while she's staring at the wall

She's dancin' for the groceries
She's dancin' for the rent
She's dancin' for the credit card
That she's already spent
In sequins and in laces
She's dancin' for the braces
So her kids can have a perfect smile someday
Smiling while she dances
Is the price she has to pay

Someday she'll have a house out in the country
Someday she'll see the other side of dawn
And no one will ever know
what it was she did before

But she just heard the DJ say, 'you're on'
And the lights come up
And they play her song

She's dancin' for the groceries

sad to think about, but grateful we serve a God of redemption. i hope i can learn to love even those who perpetuate perversity like "adult entertainment", that they might begin to see a God more beautiful than the things that those neon lights can offer.

He shines brighter than any ten foot X.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

i broke a nail.



this is liviyah.

she is four. sweet. precious. she's about to become my niece, too.
liviyah can't talk. she can't understand most of what i say. see, she had a stroke in utero, leaving her with autism. often her features cloud over with confusion. i watched her for a full 6 hours before i wanted, quite honestly, to pull my hair out. in the course of six hours, she had slept, eaten, tossed food on the floor, tried to eat a fingernail (which i had to fish out of her throat), threw a small desk at my head, took off all her clothes, threw more food, and climbed on all the furniture. she had nearly reduced me to tears. me, a seasoned nanny and auntie.

i worked for two weeks this summer as a caregiver, for a woman with paraplegia. polio had left her mostly helpless, requiring the use of a lift and lever system. i went over every morning, got her up, showered, dressed and fed. she couldnt even lift her arms to shave her legs. how humbling to wash the feet of someone who couldnt do it for themselves. i get why Jesus and the disciples washed feet. theres something powerful about that act. its moving. its beautiful. and its humbling. it took three hours. every morning.

three hours.

i complain when the water is not hot enough for my lengthy shower. i complain when i run out of shampoo. then i get in my car, and i drive to the store. she couldnt drive. i had to heat her food, shampoo her hair. i bought her groceries. i realized i am a really big whiner.

because this woman always was smiling. always. like, at eight in the morning, when i was gving her a bedbath (and in my inexperience, splashing water all over the place), or when i nicked her ankle shaving her legs. or when her food was not exactly warm all the way through. she just smiled and said thank you. one morning, i left her house and got in the car only to realize one of my press-on nails had somehow pulled off during my cleaning/cooking chores. i was frustrated for about ten seconds before God gently whispered, "a nail? really?"

yea. i was complaining about a nail. sure my hands looked a little uneven, but they were hands that had always known the ability to do things for myself. and attached to a relatively healthy body that can walk and move and run. what a whiner.

and sure, liviyah was a handful. but her mommy, a single mommy who is soon to be my sister in law, gets to be with her 24/7. with no break. with no fiance even, like i had, to take the reigns when i couldnt do it anymore. there's no break for her, no respite. and i was complaining.

give me a break.

i need to whine less. because really, breaking a nail is nothin.


Monday, August 17, 2009

an update on the last month and a half.







since i have moved and been so busy, i have not been a good blogger! Chelle and Mal and I are trying to be better bloggers, but I am adopting Chelle's "monthly" blogging update style! mainly because we have had so much going on, i have not had time to stop and blog my usual stuff (though i have much to blog about), so here goes.
we started out july: where we spent the 4th at a family bbq with chris, emily, traci, bryant, parker and drew's mom and stepdad, then we drove to CLANTON, where we got to see thalon in concert, and reconnect with jer, nedra, cam, austin, wes, and jenny, then back to MONTGOMERY where we hung with the eastmont gang and shot fireworks (and drew nearly lost a limb while lighting foreworks). on the 6th, we left for NASHVILLE, which has been my dream for awhile, and we spent four amazing days touring the city, shopping, and getting engaged. we stayed with our good friend tiffany rockhold. on the 8th, drew planned an amazing day, starting with an early morning in the apple store, where he bought me an iphone 3gs! yay! then it was off to get my hair cut, then peiwei chinese food, then a trip to forever21, and then urban outfitters, finished with dinner at the spaghetti factory (where our server was a friend from MEDFORD!). when we finished, tiff and amy walked ahead to the WALKING BRIDGE, and we "stopped for ice cream". little did i know that the ice cream was a delay so that tiff could get hidden for secret engagement pics! we walked to the bridge, where emerson drive's music video for moments was filmed. when we got the top, overlooking the beautiful city, drew dropped to one knee, and pulled out my beautiful ring. i was so stunned, i couldnt even say yes! (i did, eventually ;)
when we got back, we went to BIRMINGHAM for PROM! yes, we are a little old for prom, but rush of fools had their very own prom, and it was so much fun. dancing, getting dressed up and a limo! we even had "after prom" breakfast! when prom was over, we were so blessed to share in the wedding of our dear friends Camille and Austin in their special day. Drew was an usher in their wedding. After all that travelling, it was great to kick back and relax for a little while. we have been keeping busy working, and spending time with Drew's brother, Bryant, and his girlfriend, Parker. we went and played lazertag, went to a biscuits game, and have been spending time with the eastmont group. This past weekend, Drew went on tour for the first time since i have been here, and i had to navigate bham by myself (which i did without any major accidents. thank you iPhone!). i got to stay with jer and nedra, which was really fun, and kept me distracted from missing my sweetheart! i even got to do some shopping at f21 and urban. on friday night, the fool's girls had a girls night, and it was so great to see chelle, mal, em, amelia, and jessica.

on thursday, we have ENGAGEMENT PICS with http://www.kimboxphotography.com, and we will be driving to prattville to have them taken! we are pretty excited and thankful to drew's dad that we can enjoy this blessing of portraits. on FRIDAY, we will be driving up to BHAM again to spend some time with the fools girls before the festival date on saturday! we will get to see our friends from thalon and the fools as they share a tour billing. its been so fun to connect with drew's friends here, including our friends thomas and courtney, who just got engaged :)

okay, thats about it! i will try to be a better blogger when life slows down (which probably means never :)





Tuesday, August 11, 2009

sometimes in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale."

"i have found the one my soul loves." song of songs 3:4

Friday, May 29, 2009

listen to the sound of a heartbeat and the tidal wave of trust

well, i had an eventful week last weekend. on thursday night i was nannying, and began to have slight chest pain. i normally have bouts of chest pain, so i sat down, knowing it would go away quickly. when it didnt, i went the route of the inhaler, hoping to alleviate the shrinking state of my lungs. when that didnt help, i laid down, which only made it worse. by this point, i was struggling to breathe, and pain started shooting up and down my jawline and wrapping around the back of my head. being a nursing student is sometimes unfortunate, and this was one of those times. i knew that jaw pain and left arm pain indicates a stroke of a heart attack, and my parents quickly rush me to ER. by the time i got there, my vitals were through the room, and i was doubled over in pain. thankfully i was rushed into a room where my heart rate hit 120, nearly twice what it should have been. what a scary experience. my blogging friend kate wrote a post recently that asked "where is God when." you know, when things are hard, when the darkness creeps in, when you become a single mom, or your marriage falls apart. i didnt know that God shows up too, in the middle of what feels like cardiac arrest. but He does.
when youre lying in a hospital bed, on the receiving end of IV's and medications (instead of being the one giving medications, like i had been just earlier in the morning), you see things a little differently. you lose control of the situation, and you realize you were never in control in the first place. it feels helpless and scary and totally out of control.
i went from giving my patient an oxygen tube that morning to desperately praying for one that evening, and breathing the rush of air when it was secured. how quickly things can change.

what a level of trust you have to have when God strips you of all you know, and all you think you can control.

i worked as an OB nurse this last week, rocking precious little ones to sleep. giving them baths and holding them while their mommies sleep was one of my favorite rotations yet. they have these tiny stethoscopes for babies. these little miniature steths that still look huge when you place them on their tiny chests. and you strap in the earpieces...and you hear it.
the sound of a heartbeat. perfect, rapid, tiny heartbeats.

i thought of my blogging friend angie, who held her daughter audrey caroline for just over two hours last year, until her tiny heart stopped beating. and of another blogging friend jennifer, who prayed over her tiny son while his heart struggled to keep him alive. i hope we dont forget to take our heartbeats for granted. nor what God is trying to teach us in the midst of the tidal wave of trust that He wants to teach us.

He is sovereign.
He is always good.
All the time.

Oh that He would teach us that with each and every heartbeat.

Isaiah 2:1 Then Hannah prayed and said: "My heart rejoices in the LORD; in the LORD my horn is lifted high. My mouth boasts over my enemies, for I delight in your deliverance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

waiting for life to start.

this is Daylon, a dear friend who went to be with the Jesus he loved so much last Friday. Daylon had the biggest smile and biggest heart of anyone i know. always laughing and smiling, he was a light to everyone around him. you know the type of people...those who make you feel like you just spent time with Jesus because they love Him so much. that was Daylon.



Daylon died doing what he loved second-most (after Jesus), flying. he was planning on being a missionary pilot. he would have been amazing.



last friday, i was sitting at starbucks with my best friend, sipping caramel machiattos and talking about life. how at 21, we feel like we are waiting for our lives to start. how when we were little, we imagined we would be doing huge things by 21. career. marriage. kids. the job we always dreamed of. some of those things have come true, some seem further off than we ever imagined. we poked around barnes and nobles and starbucks for awhile, then drove home.



i got the news that Daylon had died in a plane crash when i got home. at just 26, i couldnt believe he was gone. it seemed a tragedy that his short life would end before he even got the chance to be a missionary. how unfair, it seemed, that God would take a young man with so much potential before he had even finished all his training. Daylon facebooked me a few weeks ago, a short note that just said "Hey Grace! I hope you are doing great! Just wrapping up some flight stuff. Excited about how God will use me in the kingdom as I finish all this stuff, I can't wait to see how it will be used! Blessings, sister!"

it wasnt a tragedy. it wasnt an accident. i dont understand, it, but God is working to weave the ends together into a beautiful picture of His faithfulness. He always does.



Little did Daylon know that God would use him very mightily in a way none of us would have imagined. I thought about how I mentioned i was waiting for my life to "start", to achieve the things that society has told us equal success. Daylon, by the worlds standards, didnt even get to achieve a lot of those things. unmarried, he spent everything he had to earn the remainder of his pilot's licenses. by any stretch of the imagination, the world would scoff at this young man and his "achievements".



Daylon never waited to let his life start. he lived it every single day. with a huge smile and an equally huge heart, he loved Jesus with everything in him, and ran after Him with a passion that fueled his life every day.



Daylon, I am thankful I knew you.



Thanks for living your life, and never waiting for it to "start".



"Excited about how God will use me in the kingdom as I finish all this stuff, can't wait to see how it will be used!"



Me too, friend.



Please pray for his wonderful family, surely both rejoicing in the faithfulness of God and in the brokenness of losing their son. Also pray for the Reznick family, pictured below. Scott was also in the plane with Daylon, and also passed away, leaving behind his wife, Holly, and their children.


Monday, May 18, 2009

i have never gone hungry.

“The tragedy is not that the rich don’t care for the poor. The tragedy is that the rich do not know the poor.”– Shane Claiborne

Saturday, April 18, 2009

stellan, audrey, the orphans of mumbai, and a God big enough for it all.


this is stellan.
he's a pretty special guy.
the doctors told his mommy and daddy before he was born, that he wouldn't make it. and here he is, a beautiful little boy with a fighting spirit and a charming smile. right now, stellan is fighting for his life in Boston with his mommy jennifer, as his tiny heart struggles to keep him alive. please read his story. and pray for this precious little guy and his family. i learned about stellan from another blog, passed onto me by my friend matthew turner. angie smith's precious daughter's story bound complete strangers together in prayer, once again marking the power of the body of Christ. her story is beautiful too. miss amy jean kloek also is fighting the fight of her life against her kidney tumors here in Oregon. she is a spunky four year old full of life and light and a perpetual smile. her mommy and daddy love her very much. please pray for her.
sometimes we need to let God be as big as He is.
i learned this week that He is bigger than what i have even dreamed for myself, capable of opening doors, closing others, and leaving us sometimes just speechless at what He is doing, and how He is moving. this week, i was chatting with my friend and fellow writer Brian Palmer, who had invited me to join a facebook group called "india partners". i didnt know what it was, so i asked him about it.
i was about to get the suprise of a lifetime.
i have been really praying about a way to be involved in fighting human trafficking. i feel this is what God has called me into, and where my heart is most at home. i am attending school to be able to offer the victims of trafficking the gift of medical care as a nurse. but i have not been able to find a place to use my skills...until now.
turns out brian's organization partners with another organization, one centered around care for the red-light district in India. they are taking a trip next september, at just the right time for my school schedule. as excited as i was, i was not sure i was going to get to go, whether i was skilled enough, or whether they would take naive twenty-one year old college student. so i sent off an email...and got one back from the coordinator.
she was praying for someone with medical training.
and i had been praying for a trip just like this.
thank you Lord. (the trip is set to leave september 3rd, 2010, where one week will be spent ministering to the red light district, and the other week working in an orphanage for children rescued from the slums. i would leave tomorrow if they would let me. really.)
today my grandfather was hospitalized for a heart attack. today stellan fought another day to keep his little heart beating. today angie mourned the loss of her precious audrey. today kevin and diane held the hands of their little girl and hope for all the years they want for her. today the orphans of mumbai remain in captivity. today the red light district in mumbai will foster sin and devastation. today i might not make a difference, and i wait for God to move.
but i will go when i am called, and i will rest in His promise to sustain.
bcause God is still God. and He is big enough.
i rest in that today.

Friday, April 10, 2009

i found God.

i worked at the hospital this morning..at a very early 6am. i am starting my first rotations as a student nurse on an actual hospital floor. i take responsibility for one patient, and attend to their needs as my skills allow. the neat thing about student nursing is it allows you additional time with the patient. also, we are not skilled enough to handle the truly difficult (ie: painful) procedures, and much of our skills allow for patient care involving time-taking activities. we bathe the patients, bandage wounds, do assessments, check in on them, change linens and help them order breakfast. we assess for wound size, drainage, their general orientation and mental status, and their pain levels. i had an elderly woman as my patient last week. very frail and in much pain. when i came into her room as her attending nurse (scared out of my wits, of course), she was visibly upset. her IV line had come undone due to her rolled, impacted veins, and she didnt tolerate narcotics at all. because of this, she had to endure four faulty IV insertions before it was successful, with a fairly large needle and no anesthetic. i felt my heart drop to my feet. all the sudden, here i was with a scared patient, and i felt helpless.

i had about forty minutes of assessment to complete on this woman, and she was in pain and tired. i immediately shifted to my "industrious" side, briskly asking questions, and feeling the time crunch to get my assignment done. until i looked up.

i had asked a question about her children...and i stopped short as i glanced up and saw her tears.

i ditched the notebook.

i sat with her as she told me about her estranged children, about the numerous falls and loss of health insurance that brought her to that hospital bed. and i realized that Jesus shows up in places we least expect. its exciting. and humbling.

i love finding people inside their story.

everyone has one.

i met a man today who fought in world war II. he had a lovely family, was married for fourty years. but he had lost much of his acclaimed life to the several nights spent drowning in a bottle of alcohol.
what was left of that husband, that soldier, that daddy...
was a tiny, frail old man lying all alone in a hospital room.
he can't speak anymore, and his throat has been replaced by plastic tubing. he can't feed himself, his independence has been switched for a catheter and a feeeding tube. its humbling.

and Jesus is there.

rob bell always talks about "bringing heaven rushing into hell", by becoming part of the Grander story that God is always writing. i have learned this week that the House of God has no walls. john waller talked about it in his new song...about the Body of Christ being so much more than Sunday morning lip-service. last sunday, i watched a daddy share about his precious, deathly-ill four year old, with the highest confidence in the mercy and compassion of a sovereign God. and today, i watched a man mouth to me, around his feeding tube, that he needed water. Jesus is there. both places. the house of God has no walls.

sometimes, loving like Jesus...means draining a feeding tube.

and bathing a patient who cries tears of joy because you took the time to give them a bath.

sometimes it means dressing the wound around a incision

or holding a hand during a fourth IV insertion.

sometimes it means putting down our notebook...so we can see the Story.

because everyone has one.

Monday, March 30, 2009

tiny fingers and a priestly blessing.

this weekend i drove to portland, where i got to see my sister and her husband, the parents of three beautiful children. their youngest, beck, has captured all our hearts, just like his big sister and brother did, with his rosy cheeks and sweet personality. his big eyes are just beginning to 'follow' you when you walk around him, and his adorable smile is quick and heart-melting. what a sweetheart! i, being the resident photographer and very proud auntie, always love taking photos of his perfect, tiny fingers. they always amaze me in their miniature perfection.



he is just starting to hold onto things, and when you slip your hand into his tiny one, he holds on tight. he never lets go, even when we want to walk away, he just holds on tight. it struck me today when i found this photograph, that these little ones are so trusting.
how precious a picture of what we need to be to others.
never letting go, always holding tight to what they can be, who they are.

today at school, i ran into pastor luke on my way to class. i was a little stressed, having just been thrust back into the crazy world of nursing school (i had forgotten how much work it is). having to miss my weekly SOMA group didn't help, and without that boost of spiritual fellowship, i felt overwhelmed. pastor luke has always had the gift of encouragement. he never ceases to honestly, sometimes pointedly call us out on stuff we could be doing better, like reading the Word, and staying grounded in Christ, but he always, always encourages us to walk worthy of our calling and be ministry-seekers on our campus. today, we made small talk, and a simple "how areyou" from him prompted what im sure was a "deer in the headlights' look from me, as i juggled my notebooks and purse while running to my next class (five hours straight of lectures!). but it was what he said to me as he was walking away that stuck with me, all day long. it was simple, really. just

"God bless you, walk in grace".

oh, the power of a simple blessing. people say that alot. God bless you. we toss it around pretty flippantly, myself included. but never pastor luke, and not today. at least not for me.
i was thinking about the power of blessings today, as i was listening to john waller's new album, that has a song called "priestly blessing' on it. it says, "when the morning comes and the day begins, i will go out in perfect peace.as the sun goes down and darkness comes around, unafraid ill go to sleep. over the fathers and the daughters and the mothers and the sons, we pray, Lord bless us and keep us, make Your face to shine upon us, raise your countenence on us and give us peace...give us peace. over all our days and through all our paths, may we not forget this Truth, those who just believe You keep in perfect peace, those of age and those of youth."

beautiful, huh? it was beautiful in bible times, the concept of blessing others, of speaking words over them, out loud. its kind of a lost art now. rarely do people pray out loud, or speak things over others. my friend crys prayed out loud over me last week and i was really moved. its a really beautiful thing. i want to discover that kind of blessing. because in a way, its like beck reaching out and taking hold. its giving someone something to hang to. something tangible. speaking it out loud, speaking words of blessing. not letting go. offering a hand.

thanks, pastor luke. you blessed me today. im thankful.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

growing older but not quite growing up


i got my new, "grown-up" job a few weeks ago. working as a marketing assistant means suddenly i have to transform myself into Grown-up Grace every morning. suddenly i have to wear heels and black dresses every day. i drive to work, where i sit behind my very own desk in my very own office. i get to check my very own voicemail on my very own six-line phone. i even have to use my 'professional' voice. yet, in a weird way, i feel like im playing dress-up or something, that i cant possibly be an adult yet, that im still not 21. but i am. and it's kind of scary and nice at the same time. my new job is kind of a mixture of clerical work, writing, and public relations. its the kind of job i have dreamed about since i was little (yes, i was that much of a nerd. i asked for envelopes for my fifth birthday. i wanted to practice addressing them.
seriously.
just ask my sisters.) this afternoon i was sorting through materials on our large bulletin boards. it was my job to sort through them, pick out the relevant things, and toss the insignificant ones. i weeded through hundreds of sheets of paper, each filled with information. i read about lost dogs and bicycles, found out there is an abundance of apartments for rent, and that i can apparently take bellydancing for 12 dollars a lesson on thursday nights. wow.
anyways.
when i was done, i scooped up the trash and stood back to survey my work. it looked so much better, with just the relevant papers, well arranged to showcase campus events. yet as i looked i noticed...
there were still holes.
i had removed the clutter, but the holes were still there, and always they would speak of the pin that was there before i ripped it out. i thought about the clutter of the bulletin board before i cleared it. all those significant events drowned out by the ones clamoring for my attention. now it's clear. i can see again. but the holes will always be there. just like life.
i took a good look at my day planner today. its held together by a rubber band, since i long since gave up trying to corral my small avalanche of papers that i jam into it. its scrawled with notes to myself, notes to others, phone numbers of people whose name i forgot to write down and therefore never called back. but the events....its packed, cover to cover, with things i have committed to. some necessary...most not. i feel like i have been living in a whirlwind lately, running around here and there, meetings and deadlines, articles, emails, homework,and my job. it's been a hectic junior year in college. its a huge bulletin board, and everything wants my attention. i am that bulletin board you see with layers of events, because its so full.
i want to tear out all the insignificant. i feel God has been speaking into me....slow down. stop and listen. watch. be intentional. love people. slow. down. Grown-up Grace still hasn't quite learned how to just be still. i went out to worship this morning, at 6am (yes, really. i really got up at 6. i know.) and it was incredible. an hour and a half of worship, where you find a place to sit in the sanctuary and reflect and just be still. the sanctuary has huge picture windows that stretch from floor to ceiling. the sun was just rising, so i knelt there. the other hundred people spilled out over the sanctuary, some sitting, some standing. i hit the floor, suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to kneel. we sang "wholly yours' by david crowder, and it said "the truest sign of grace is this, from a broken earth, flowers come up, pushing through the dirt." that line stuck with me. i hope thats a sign i carry. that it can be my truest sign of Grace. that i can clear the weeds enough to watch God spring the flowers out of my dirt, redeeming the broken. He does it all the time. ive seen it. i loved that for a brief hour this morning...my bulletin board was empty, save for Jesus. all i had to do was worship. and all thats left were the holes. the same holes that brought me redemption when they marked the wrists of my Saviour. holes. always there, always visible, and when i clear my schedule, wipe the bulletin board off, all anyone can see are the holes.
clear it off, oh God.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

im a b-list actor in a four star film.

i think i need to get much better at math.
i took anne jackson's challenge for fourty days of water for Africa (for the record, i am now six days in and have more energy than i have had in months, however being at starbucks drinking ethos water while smelling caramel machiattos is very tempting. i wouldn't recommend it). yesterday i took pastor pete wilson's challenge to go through the book of matthew in 28 days. thats alot of days to keep track of, and with my counting skills, i will no doubt read matthew in 40 days and drink water for 28. anyways, i am excited about the book of matthew. it has long been one of my FAVORITE books of the bible, right up there with job and esther. matthew is just packed full of so many truths and lessons. seeing as i forgot to read matthew last night, i started tonight (apparently i am not very good at doing these challenge things), and read two chapters. now, matthew appears to start a little nondescript. it lays out the lineage of Jesus, a lineage filled with ordinary, messed-up people who made an un-ordinary choice to believe what they had not yet seen.
i love that tamar and rahab are in that list.
a harlot and a rape victim.
david's also in there, a man who committed adultery.
along with abraham, a man who lied about his wife.
and let's not forget jacob, who wrestled with an angel, and came away with a limp.
what a cast of characters. and what a lineage of faith.

i find it so incredible that while casting the great motion picture of His story,
God chose all the b-list actors. i don't know about you, but if i were God, i might have wanted to choose, well...people with shinier reputations, perhaps.

i'm thankful God picks His people from a B-list and moves us into a sweeping picture of His mercy and redemption. sometimes, we don't see our parts. my part has felt pretty small lately. tonight i made the decision to postpone my trip to nashville, a trip i had waited and planned for for nearly a year. i was devastated, but financially, it wasn't a wise decision. i had prayed over it, and though sorely disappointed, knew now was just not the time. but tonight, the doors opened for me to travel to mexico in june, on a missions trip to build homes.

last week i was driving to school VERY early, anxious about the impending finals week, and very much sleep deprived and exhausted. to top it all off it was dark and it was raining. my university has what i believe are the world's deepest puddles. they might look small and shallow, my friends, but oh no, just step in one like i did, and i promise it went nearly to my knee. well okay, it was my ankle. but still...just wet enough to soak through my tights and my tan color heels. i ran back to my car to grab my jacket and umbrella and happened to glance up. there it was. a perfect sunrise. fiery red and blazing, splitting the storm clouds with its brilliance. i just stood there for a moment.

sometimes God writes the wet, dark, difficult parts of our story, and He gives us limited lines. but as we get more and more frustrated, it becomes clear that we have less lines and feel quite small...because He is readying the blazing sunrise. and it tears through our script like fire, reminding us who truly is Directing our moments.

i kinda like being a B-lister.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

water water everywhere




my friend anne jackson (http://www.flowerdust.net) inspired me to join up with a number of other bloggers to do the blood:water mission water challenge.
 40 days, no coffee, no juice, no soda.

 just water. 

and after the forty days, you donate everything you would have spent at starbucks to the clean water initiative in africa. its a pretty neat program. i am already feeling the discomfort of not being able to drink coffee. i am pretty much addicted to starbucks caramel frappachinos, and during finals week, i generally drink so many that it probably starts running through my veins. 
this is my first finals week with no coffee. and i confess..its not going so well. 

i woke up all frantic, trying to make deadlines and do an interview and cram in studying for my final exam ( a 69 question, short essay exam), all the while choosing music to choreograph my final ballet dance to. all i could think was "caffeine, caffeine, caffeine!" and i got....water.

water.

water.

water.

i will be blogging over the fourty days about what God is showing me in this time, where i truly want to wait and watch to see what He is doing. 

alot of people have asked why im doing this.

because i want to let me actions speak louder than my words for once.

i want to be genuinely in tune to what God is teaching me, and i want to appreciate how blessed i am, in my easy, comfy life. i dont walk five miles for water. i dont wake up every morning wondering how i will eat today. 
i dont ever not have water. 
i can drink it, totally easily for 40 days. i hope i am moved to a greater level of compassion.
you can read more at www.bloodwatermission.com 


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

from underneath the table.


monday night was the 'welcome to the family' tour with Kutless, Disciple and Esterlyn. We packed out the venue with about 1200 people, mainly teenagers armed with Kutless posters, and parents armed with earplugs. i started my evening off with a venti caramel frappachino, and ended it with a second one! it was running, non stop, all night long. coralling volunteers, inventory on merch, meeting with various staff, and being the liason for much of the staff and artists. i love my job, but sometimes it's exhausting. i confess, i even hid in the bathroom for about ten minutes just to get a break. at the end of the evening, i was running inventory with Corey, the merch manager for Kutless. i had to categorize and count each t-shirt design and size. i was in high heels (don't ask me why i thought THAT was a good idea), so i slipped them off and started counting. pretty soon, i realized i was so exhausted that i couldn't stand up anymore, and i sat down on the floor, surrounded by piles of t-shirts. counting counting counting.

it's a different view from the ground.

from the ground, you can see the concert from another angle. i could see the cables from the speakers snaking along the stage, and the movement of 1200 people milling around. i could see the volunteers cleaning up, and lighting being moved around. as i counted, i was distracted by a little boy off to the right of the tables. blond and blue eyes, he hopped anxiously on one foot, waiting for jeffrey, the drummer of kutless, to come out and sign autographs. as soon as he reached the end of the line, where his jeffrey was signing, i watched as jeff got down on his level. he made eye contact with the little guy, asking him about his drums and his favorite songs. other fans were waiting, but jeff just kept on giving this aspiring drummer his full attention. he gave him kutless drum sticks, and the little guy's eyes lit up. i just watched. i stopped counting, and i stopped worrying about who needed me at that moment, and everything i had left to do in the evening. i just watched. and i saw, in that moment, why i work in the music industry. because, it is, of course an industry. but it's more importantly...a ministry. jeffrey reminded me of that, even though he didn't know. that little boy reminded me of that.

this whole week has felt like an extended version of a show date. i have been running non stop. i work for about four websites writing and editing, and i work as a press writer for another artist. i have deadlines upon deadlines, as well as my regular schoolwork and assignments. my recent decision to re-enter nursing school has only elevated the meetings and things i need to remember. it seems like i can never quite catch up and relax.

but i realized something today.

"Be ready and come up in the morning to Mount Sinai, and present yourself there to Me on the top of the mountain. " Exodus 34:2

God wants stillness. He wants full attention. He wants me to present myself every morning, no matter how much I have to do. no matter how much sleep i have gotten.

sometimes...God wants us sitting down.

on the floor.

because things look different from down there.

I see Him working things together.
plugging in the cables, turning on the switches, arranging the events.
i see Him getting down on my level.
all the pieces fall into place. i like walking in His story.
but i like it too when i can see His story better from the floor.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

when everything you know...

...changes.


i was hanging out with my buddy matt today, chatting about how quickly plans can change, and how grateful we are that we have a God big enough to overcome our rapid, sure-fire mistakes.


last month, happily armed with three hundred dollars in my savings earmarked for my ticket to nashville i, being the astute driver that i am, neglected to check all the way around my ford taurus backing out of my family's driveway. wouldn't you know, my dad's bright red truck just popped up outta nowhere. i promise, it just sprouted out of the driveway. like a daisy. needless to say, even going at a very slow pace, i did considerable damage to my dad's cute little truck..and my cute little left hand mirror. the same mirror i had shelled out a hundred bucks to fix just 34 days earlier. it was, you guess it, exactly three hundred dollars to fix.

matt and i were talking about how Gods economy is different. we think, "Well, Lord, i dont think You are fully grasping the situation! This is $300.00! or this is _______(fill the blank with: a million dollars, a new job, relationships, etc.)." like maybe we dont truly believe God is a $300.00 dollar God. or a God big enough to hand me a job, or matt the apartment he is praying over. it comes down to just a lack of belief that God is everything He says He is.

my favorite people in the bible are esther and job. someday i want my children to have their names as their middle names. esther was a woman truly trusting in a God bigger than impossibility, and in the face of certain death, she said "if i die, i die". simple trust. or maybe not so simple. job lost everything, and my favorite part was he was so genuine. he wavered in trust, he questioned God, he wondered where the purpose was. and yet, he still came out on the the other side, blessed, astonished by the faithfulness of God, and more importantly with a bigger-picture-God. i love when God just nails him with the majesty of who He is. 

"then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:"Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me."Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb,when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther; here is where your proud waves halt' Have you ever given orders to the morning, or shown the dawn its place?"

 the best part is verse 1, where it says "then God answered Job from the storm."

from the storm.

from the middle of confusion. 

from the center of uncertainty.

God speaks. 

this week i got news that i got back into nursing school. being the 'planner' (cough cough, stubborn) person that i am, it threw me into a tailspin. i HAD  a plan. graduation, applying to medical schools, possible working in the music industry. and now here was a new plan. surely God didnt understand that now was not a good time (insert sarcasm here), because i had midterms, for crying out loud! apparently God doesnt work on my timetable, because He seemed pretty good with now. 

i might be kicking and screaming my way, but He's pulling me into His plan, His time, His story. and 

when everything i know

changes,

He speaks. 




Monday, January 5, 2009

he shut the door.

i have committed to reading the whole bible in a year. that was my new years goal (not resolution, because we all know how those turn out!) i have been very convicted lately to become a student of the Word, sharpened by its truth and shaped by its meaning. i met with my SOMA group today, for the first time this term, and we knelt to pray for our campus and our winter classes. specifically, we prayed for a boldness to share our faith, and additonally, the motivation to study and genuinely learn the Word this term. i feel this is something the Lord has been placing on my heart, and i have become so very excited to be purposeful on my campus. i have often grumbled about college in my hometown, when so many of my friends are at larger-city universities, having a huge "college experience", if you will. i admit, my attitude has not always been Godly or grateful. but i have realized that God has specifically placed me on this campus, at this time, for a very real and purposeful reason. just as esther did not recognize her place in history, i truly believe God is revealing mine slowly. and i cannot balk at a God who is clearly big enough to overcome my poor attitude to stir in me a genuine love for my fellow students and my professors. as i was reading last night, i came across a verse (and for the record, i have already missed a day of reading, so there goes the "resolution" side of things. hence, i changed it to a 'goal'...) i came across a verse that was smack dab in the middle of a story i have read probably a hundred times. noah's ark. i have listened to my niece read it to me, even, in her delicate five-year-old voice, pointing out each and every pair of watercolor animals in her bible story book. i have taught the lesson in sunday school, and watched my class of twelve six year olds color an array of olive branches and rainbows. and im fairly certain there are even childrens songs about the flood (which i personally find a little weird, since its a song about floodwaters that wiped out almost all the population. if i were five, i think i would be terrified). but what struck me this time that i read the classic story was this line:

"Then the LORD shut him in."

in another translation, it reads:

"Then the LORD shut the door."
do you remember the story? people were sinning. alot. and God decides to save the righteous. noah find favor with the Lord, and is a "doer", acting in obedience to what i am sure sounded pretty ludicrous. then, watching the heavens open up and literally POUR. i've seen rain, because, well, i live in oregon. and ive been to brazil, and watched raindrops fall from dusky skies that were the size of small coins. but ive never seen the world flood over. but ive felt the door close. i try to imagine what noah thought as the door closed. as that last sliver of light disappeared, and the resounding echo of that door slammed shut. perhaps he was a stalwart picture of trust. maybe he was simply resigning. but i know how i would be, and thats scared. i have watched that light disappear. and its scary. i have listened as i was told my dream of nursing school was gone. i have waited for news at the doctors office. i have closed my eyes as i heard i lost my job. the light seemed faint last week when i crashed my car. and it seemed bleak when my blood pressure dropped again, and i found myself with more frequent breathing episodes. but did you catch it?
"The LORD shut him in."
The Lord's hand never leaves.
even in the darkness, His hand was resting on the outside of that door.
He shut it.
i rest in knowing that with every door that has closed...
i have a God big enough on the other side.