Monday, May 28, 2012

Be still.

Listening to: "Crazy Girl" by Eli Young Band
I have been in a HUGE country mood lately. It's such perfect music for summer. This band is one of my favorites for sure!
“You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find peace in You.”
- Augustine's Confessions
A year ago, I wrote about my need to simply be still, to know that God was and is in control, to just trust.

A year later, not much has changed.

Scratch that--pretty much everything has changed (thank. God. SERIOUSLY). But that is one thing that does remain the same. I'm at a very, very different place in life now than I was then, but my need to be still and rest only in Him is still huge. It's still difficult.

I am not the kind of person who thrives on busyness. Quite frankly, I think this need that everyone seems to have to be crazy busy all the time is ridiculous.* However, as much as I don't generally want to be busy 24/7, lately, I've wanted to avoid being alone, sitting, having time to hear myself think. Because when I'm alone, that's when the thoughts and the fears start to come, and I just want to get away, to have someone, so I don't have to think about it.

Fear can be so pervasive. Scars can run deeper than you think. When it's just me and God, when I don't have the option of turning to someone else, it means I have to look certain things square in the eye and deal with them…like the fact that I sometimes struggle to trust Him, because I know that trusting Him sometimes leads to very painful places. Beautiful places, yes, but painful ones as well (usually, it's both simultaneously). I get scared of what comes next. I get scared of where loving Him most might lead me. I get scared that I won't be able to love Him most!

And that's when grace comes in. Again. And accepting grace means I have to be still and trust Him and let Him love me and prove over and over again that He is good.

He isn't safe--never safe--but He is very, very good.

Because of that, I can choose to rest in Him and let Him help me face all my fears. I can trust that, however He chooses to go about it, He will always keep His promises. He will always give me His very best.

"You don't have to feel safe to feel unafraid."
- "Lions!" by LIGHTS

Also: this song. So good.

"When darkness comes upon you
And covers you with fear and shame
Be still and know that I'm with you
And I will say your name

Be still and know that I'm with you
Be still and know I am."
- "Be Still" by The Fray
*Obviously, I understand that every person is different, but when it gets to the point where all you talk about is how busy you are and have these weird conversations that imply whoever has the busiest schedule is somehow superior… I think it's safe to say there's a problem. It's one thing to be unavoidably busy. Everyone has those times. My entire last semester was one of those times! However, it's quite another to choose to be ridiculously busy all. the. time. and then complain about it every waking moment. One of my biggest pet peeves ever. (I could vent about this for awhile, because it's something that frustrates me a lot, but…I'll spare you. I just hate the pressure to be busy for the sake of being busy! The fact that I choose to say no to filling up every minute of my schedule does not mean that I am lazy or inferior. End mini rant.) (P.S. I know approximately a billion people who do this. It's kind of a general American cultural thing, it seems. In other words, don't think I'm attacking anyone. This isn't being directed at any individual. Promise!)

Monday, May 14, 2012

(More) Things I Like

I am long overdue for a "Things I Like" post. Here's some things that I've been liking a lot lately!

  • "In Christ, urgent means slow…" Some good things to remember here. I've made a bad habit of getting caught up in the busyness of life that I forget what's most important. It's cliche to say, I know, but to really live it is difficult--and more necessary than we know.  
  • Pure Home.  OH MY GOSH, this site is amazing! One of the coolest home decor sites ever. You pick your style, your mood, and your room, and it helps you choose your colors and accessories. Seriously, go check it out. 
  • Kohl's frames. Kohl's has been having some crazy good sales on their home decor and such. I got a $40 set of 6 (really nice) frames for $13, a $50 6-frame photo ledge set for $10 (and used Kohl's cash so essentially got it for free), and this wonderful (and oh-so-me!) bird-and-branches frame for $7:

I might have a slight obsession with frames.
And pictures. The more, the merrier (until you
can't see your walls--then it might be a problem)!
  • This print. So cute.
via Handz Etsy shop
  • This fun workspace. 
(via Lovely Undergrad)
  • Cubicle shelving. Currently wanting one of these in black.
(via Lovely Undergrad)
  • Log planter! How cool would it be to DIY one of these with a real log?
(via Pure Home)
  • A photo book of Instagrams. Love this idea.
(via That's Happy)
  • "Vergangenheit (Loss)" by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I love this poem. I can relate to it so very well, and can attest that this is true:
"That which is past will return to you again
as your life's most living strain,
through thanks and repentance.
Lay hold on God's forgiveness in the past,
pray that He will care for you this day and to the last."

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hello, adulthood! (...I think?)

Photo Credit: Unknown
Listening to: "Rainy Zurich" by The Fray
Finally got around to getting their Scars & Stories album (which is currently $5 on Amazon, by the way).  I like it a lot. Favorite tracks so far: "Heartbeat", "48 to Go", "Rainy Zurich", and "Be Still".

List of crazy things that have happened/are happening in my life lately.

1. I got an A in golf. Actually, the fact that I passed golf is crazy. The fact that I got an A is just hilarious. I stopped going to class completely after February 22 (and skipped a few classes before then. I might have had a slight case of senioritis...). For that reason, it deserves to be first on my list.

2. I GRADUATED COLLEGE! How the past four years of my life went by so fast, I will never know. I will also never know how I managed to pack so many wonderful (and, let's be real, horrible) things into such a short amount of time. On that note, I'm moving on to my next thing on the list. (I know--I'm normally so nostalgic, right? This time around, I'm avoiding all my memories like the plague. College was wonderful and thinking about it being over makes me incredibly sad.)

Wonderful friends since day one. Love them so much.
So, so, so, so thankful for him. I love him a lot.
3. I got accepted into grad school. This fall, I'll be starting on my master's degree in Holistic Child Development. It's a program that's actually sponsored by Compassion International (which I LOVE). Basically, I'm getting a counseling degree (but not licensure, which is lame) that prepares me to work with children through non-profit service and advocacy organizations, both domestically and internationally. I'll be taking classes like…
  • Community Interventions
  • Social & Cultural Diversity
  • Non-Profit Design & Evaluation
  • Counseling Children & Adolescents
  • Play Therapy
  • Family Studies
…among others. It's a program that targets exactly what I want to do, and I am so excited about it!

4. I got an apartment. Finally not living on campus (as much as I have loved it. Really). Kristi and I found a place that's in a perfect location (so close to everything!), a good size, plus we finally get our own rooms. I'm excited. Now, just to get things organized...

Related: if anyone has any furniture that they don't want, particularly a couch or a dresser, let me know. We need it. Big time.

5. I got a job. This happened a little over a month ago, but I haven't exactly had a chance to update you all on my life, so…yeah. But get a job I did. I'm working as a secretary-type-thing for my Taekwondo instructor. Kind of random, but hey, it's a job, and I really do like it. It gets a little boring at times, but I love being around all the kids. They're hilarious. One of my favorite quotable moments:
5-year-old boy excitedly to his mom (and being 100% serious): "I finally know what I want to do!! When I get big, I want to be bald and fight bad guys! Then I won't have to go to school anymore!"
Sounds like a plan, buddy. School (and hair) is overrated anyway. Which is why I signed up for (at least) another year of it.

6. Weddings, weddings, weddings! (Not mine, of course.) Sooo many of my friends are getting married, it seems! Two good friends are getting married this weekend, then my wonderful roommate of all 4 years of college is getting married in two weeks. So exciting, and SO WEIRD.

So, that's my life lately. I am so, so, so relieved to be done with the semester and have a laid-back summer kind of life for a couple of months. So. Incredibly. Needed. I'm doing my best to line up a few posts so things aren't so dead around here anymore, but until then…!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Springtime and thunderstorms

Credit: Unknown
Listening to: "He Said" by Group 1 Crew
(Not usually a huge fan of theirs, but I seriously love this song. It's been stuck in my head for days. It's so catchy!)

(Quick sidenote: I wrote this post awhile back and am just now getting around to publishing it. I'll try to update you guys on what's been going on with me lately ASAP!)

I read something the other day that really stood out to me.

"Spring is for tornadoes and rainstorms as much as it’s for brilliant afternoons and bulbs poking fresh petals through damp dirt."*

Remember back in October when I wrote about autumn and the interesting balance of beauty and pain and how you can't have one without the other? At the time, the point I was trying to make was that pain always brings about a special kind of beauty that can be found nowhere else. Now, I'm beginning to see the other side of it as well.

When I think of spring, I tend to think of the happy, sunny side of things. It's when everything is coming back to life, when I can go outside and throw Frisbee and lay in hammocks, when it's warm and green and just beautiful. Everyone always talks about "waiting for spring" in a metaphorical sense, referring to life, waiting to come out of a painful situation and experience the good, happy side of life again.

We forget that even spring isn't all about the sunshine.

Spring is all about new growth and change and coming to life. And that happens to require a few thundershowers along the way. Yes, the most most difficult part--the dying that comes with autumn and winter--has passed. Still, spring has its own kind of pain, the kind that can only come with coming back to life after a long winter.

I'm finding that every season of life has its own kind of pain--or at least it should. Some runs deeper than the rest, but still: it is all pain. Pain, to me, is a sign of growth. If I am changing, growing, becoming, then pain is going to be an inevitable part of that.

Learning to truly love someone is hard.
Learning to accept grace and His blessings after realizing how much I don't deserve them is hard.
Learning to not stop seeking Him first, amidst the busyness of all He's given is hard.
It shouldn't be, but it is.

They're good things, all of them. But they are not easy.

Spring isn't always easy. But the beauty of it is always worth it.

So here's to accepting spring for what it is: rain showers, sunshine, flowers, and a little bit of dirt. It's all necessary for the incredible growth that it continues to bring.

*From Sarah Markley's "The Brilliant Beckoning" at (in)courage