Fresh Breeze

I'm starting to wonder if I'm not fun anymore. My last few blogs have been so depressing, and I like happy-me so much more than contemplative-me. As much as she has her uses, she can be so dull sometimes.

So like a week ago, adventure fever hit campus. Everyone suddenly felt the need to do crazy things. It was awesome. So what did we do? Five of us piled into Daniel's car and we went to Dairy Queen. Everything was going fairly normal until Steph, leaning against the garbage can, holds up a little packet and says: "Dare me to eat this relish." So of course we do, and she does! Just rips it open, nothing to it, and squeezes it straight into her mouth. So, naturally, we then dared her to eat the vinegar, ketchup, sweet n' low, and sugar packets. I think she drew the line at pepper. It was ridiculous.

Then, sitting eating our ice cream, Melissa unveiled her most wonderful secret. As Melissa doesn't blog, I don't feel as though I'm taking away from her story-telling opportunities by sharing this now. It is also one of my favourite stories of all time, so I reserve the right to tell it whenever I want. Here we go.

It was Melissa's tenth birthday, and she was over-the-moon excited because her greatest wish was finally coming true: she was getting ice cream cake for her birthday. She had told all her friends, and they were nearly as excited as she was. The moment approached, she sat at the ready, and got the surprise of her life. Apparently "someone" had put the cake in the fridge and it melted everywhere. Jumping in to save the day, Mel's grandma decided to bake her a cake (how sweet). And, being the hip woman that she was, Grandma decided to give Melissa a cake that any little girl would dream of: vanilla cake with naked barbies stuck in it. Not only is Melissa a complete tomboy, but who wants to eat anything with naked ladies jumping out of it? ...don't answer that.

That was pretty much the adventure of our evening and, even though it may not seem like much, we apparently don't get out enough to know any better. Basically, it was wonderful. I love this place.



The other day I picked up a random book sitting on a random table in the rec room. It's from a class I'm not taking and will probably never take. But it spoke to my soul.

One chapter was speaking about the wilderness. There are three examples in the Bible of people going off into the wilderness: the Israelites wandering for forty years until the old generation were all dead and God could bring the new generation into the land of promise; Jesus being led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to fast forty days and then be tempted by the devil; and then David being chased into the wilderness to save his life from King Saul.

It was David's story that spoke to me the most. He is my hero of the Bible. When I read his story, he is the person who I can most relate to. I know that we as Christians living in the 21st century tend to look back on his mistakes and say "Come on! How stupid can you be? You're intimate with God, now live like it!", but that is so far from how we actually execute our daily lives. I am a big one for messing up, especially, it seems, right after I have just had the most incredible encounter with God. Things will be going amazing with our relationship, we will be closer than ever before...and I'll fall. Maybe not an adulterous, murdering and lying all-in-one kind of situation, but the kind of sin that still makes me hang my head in shame. And the worst part? I still try to justify it! I will use everything in my possession, including scripture, to try and twist what I have done into what I can call "acceptable." I have a disease.

So here is David. Anointed to be the next king over all Israel. God's chosen one. And where is he? Hiding out in caves in the desert surrounding the Dead Sea. He may not have made any HUGE blunders yet, but he's still human. So he's in this place without civilization, with only a few hundred men loyal to him. He has the king and all his men out looking for him so that they can kill him. And what happens while he is out in the middle of nowhere? David finds God.

The times when I have felt closest to God have almost always been just me and Him, standing in the middle of His natural creation. Not man-made configurations birthed out of His earth, but the things He always meant to be here: trees, water, sky. Just Him allowing me to breathe in the greatness of who He is.

I want to escape!! What is the greatest yearning in my heart? To stand in the middle of a field, alone with Him, freely drinking in all that He is and all that I am within Him. Floating in the middle of the ocean, with nothing to think about except the smell of the sea and how long He has waited to spend this moment with me. Lying on a dock in the middle of the night, staring up at His stars (Shack-style), sharing the experience with the Creator of it all, with the One who named each and every dazzling piece of light.

So what am I doing here? If I feel that I should be "out there" somewhere, finding myself in the midst of nothing except He who made me, what in the world am I doing at this school, in this city, at this moment? YMI. Why am I here? It's so over-used, but it's had me thinking lately. I'm here to pursue God, to come to know Him better. My purpose is to be trained up so that I can go into the world and win souls for Him.

And then I examine my life.

I am a mess. Right now, there is very little in my life that I am proud of, and that might as well be thrown in a ditch when I look at the other stuff I have to compare it to. My thoughts are not holy, the desires of my heart have been ravaged (and I've allowed them to be), and my actions are less than how I know I should be living. And what do I do? I pull a David. I cover up one sin with another until I can no longer see where one ends and the next begins. And then I punish myself. I attempt to get back on track with God, but all the lies inside of me are screaming that I will never make it back. My Father will never accept me the way that I now am. And even if He forgives me, we will never be in the same place we were before.

I'm looking out at the snow. It's falling more heavily than before, and it's breath-taking. God knew what He was doing when He decided that frozen precipitation might be a neat idea. And it instills this peace in my spirit that I have not felt in a very long time.

Peace is being right with God: in my heart, in my actions, in everything I say and think. I'm not there. When I try to feign peace, I feel this choking feeling inside my chest and I know I need to give it all up to Him. But I can't.

WHY CAN'T I LET GO?! It's like I've given up 75% of myself to God, but the other 25% I just can't unclench my fists in order to release it up to Him. The hardest part? Knowing it used to only by 5% left. I'm sinking deeper and I don't know why.

I've come up with every excuse in the book.
1. If I didn't have money problems, it would be easier to rely on God. That is the biggest lie, and I know it even as I think it. He has never failed to provide me with everything I need. If I had it all, I'd have even less reason to have faith in Him. Even I know that's why He keeps me at this level of income. None. I need Him.
2. If I were already with the person I'm going to spend my life with, I would be happier. Somehow I've become convinced that once I'm married, the rest will be easy to give up. I know it's not true. But until I find the root of the lie, I don't know how to let go of it.
3. If I could just get away, start all over, it would be easier to follow Him and not stray; it's the people I know who cause this. I am so good at playing the blame game. And it has to stop. Changing my surroundings or the people in my life WILL NOT change the way I am. I need to get that through my head and accept it.

So there are my issues. Out for everyone to read. I want a wilderness, but I'm in one right now. There are no familiar surroundings, and I'm drowning in the aloneness of the situation. Like David, I have those few who are still by my side, but it feels as if everyone else is just out to destroy me. And my biggest enemy? Myself. I need need NEED to learn to be on my own side. A divided kingdom will not stand...

But there's hope. A very tiny light at the end of the tunnel. It's right there in David's story. What does He find in the wilderness? His salvation. He finds God.


Of Consequence

I'm trying to figure out where I stand.

Am I okay with this life, exactly the way it is, exactly where I'm at? Or should I have packed my bags and headed to Greece or back to Cuba or some lost island in the Pacific by now? When I look back in ten years, slightly more settled than now, will I regret that I spent the most fun-possible years of my life strapped into Bible college and holding a non-paying career that would better fit someone in their thirties?

Am I stupid to believe in a one true love? Here I sit: flat on my butt, waiting for the man of my dreams, because my heart has been convinced that there will only be one guy for me. Is having fun until he shows up really not an option? And what if there is never any "he" to show up? If he doesn't exist, I'm waiting around on a misty, dreamy, pathetic nothing.

Do rules really mean anything? Right and wrong? Good and bad? Just words, or do they have the eternal meaning I've been brought up with? At times I feel so settled in my convictions, and then BAM! I find myself at a loss for stability; I am no longer on the solid ground of fact. Rather, I am consumed with pondering my existence and if it's wasting away before my eyes.

Question of the day. If I were not accountable to anyone, if I felt no obligation to anyone: my family, church, friends, school; if they just didn't care or I somehow stopped caring if they cared, would I walk away? Would I abandon God's call on my life and just flit away into oblivion? Would I take the high road still, or would I allow myself to fall away and become the person only created in my most horrible nightmares and most daring, exhilarating dreams? Nevermind question of the day. This is the question of my life.

So the ultimate question I am left with is one I don't want to face. It's boring holes through my brain as I type, and I'm trying to ignore it. But here it is, hopelessly drawing itself out of the depths of...myself? Here it is, bringing itself before the world for judgment. Here it is:

Are all these questions inconsequential? Even though I mean them, does my heart already know the answer? Is the deepest part of my soul already crying: "HOLD OUT! DON'T LET GO!"? Because I fear that deep down, I have no choice, no options. Free will? No way. He's told me what He wants from me, and now that I know...how do I turn away? This scared-to-death-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach feeling I'm getting right now tells me that I don't know what I think; I don't want to know what I think. I've been falling in love with Him every day since the day I turned eighteen, but is that enough?

I don't know if it's enough.



Ah...a new year. And what a year it has been so far. All new, everything new.

A new place to rest my head, also known as the top bunk. I've nearly fallen off twice (definitely would've squished Steph's head), and the first few nights I was waking up every few minutes to make sure I wasn't too close to the edge. But thankfully I've adjusted now and shouldn't pull an Emily.

A new coffee pot that sits in the middle of our floor and gets left on every day until I come back from lunch to the smell of burned coffee.

A new man on campus. He's Stephanie's, which also means a new schedule. She's not around as much anymore, but it's really okay. As much as I bug her about him, they're actually incredibly sweet together...just don't tell her that. I need to give her a little bit of a hard time or it will seem like everything happened too easily and they might not make it, which would be devastating. As I currently have no love life whatsoever, I sort of live vicariously through her...in a sort of removed way. Needless to say, they are the love story of the century and I really hope they make it.

A new car. Yes, Leanne is FINALLY, after nearly 3.53 months of waiting, the owner of a brand new '91 Camry. His name is Cameron, he's light blue, and the picture at the top of this blog is his second cousin twice removed (I haven't taken any pictures with him yet). We're still working out the clutch (it's a lot different from Trevor's), and I think his heart hurts a little that I've already had two previous vehicles. But we'll work through the baggage and I'll definitely be updating my blog about our many adventures.

Many new classes. I probably overwhelmed myself with too many, but I love it. As much as I complain, there is nothing I love more than having too much to do. My time completely filled and accounted for is the best! Especially when I have to schedule in alone time and God time. It makes it feel that much more special in both cases.

So as I begin this new year, I'm thankful for a lot of things, as follows:

1. I'm single. Hallelujah! I realize that this majorly clashes with many of my previous blogs, but to be quite honest I am just not in a place right now where a relationship would be a good thing. And hey, who knows, God might just dump him at my doorstep tomorrow and make me be ready, but for now I'm content with exactly who and where I am...with Him.

2. My clothes hamper. Before, I kept all my dirty clothes in the top drawer of my dresser, and then allowed them to spill just about everywhere else. But for Christmas my Auntie Tammy got me the most massive clothes hamper of life! It's three feet tall, has a shoulder strap and wheels, and can hold more than 30 pounds of clothes (I'd know). It keep the room so much tidier and I love it.

3. Cameron. Once again. Because he gets me places and I can now go into Vancouver all the time, which I've missed dreadfully. I miss all those kids so much, and I miss the person I am when I'm out there.

I know there's so much more I'm thankful for, but right now it just feels so good to be able to bask in the goodness of being back at school and being loved on by so many people and by the greatest guy I know...Jesus. Who needs anyone else when I have Him?


Phoenix Day 9

Right now I'm sitting in the Phoenix airport, waiting to take off. Less than an hour to go.

I can't wait to be home! I've missed the snow and the cold and the rain, and the fam and my cats and Youth Church, and school and all the people that come with. People down here don't believe me, and I'm sure a lot at home won't agree either, but blue sky from horizon to horizon for days on end is depressing! Something is missing when I wake up in the morning and already know exactly what will greet me out the front door.

It rains in Phoenix approximately two days out of the year; it rained yesterday. All the locals are walking around with giant coats on, gloves, earmuffs!, and everything else we would normally use for a below zero day. It was still fifteen degrees outside. I didn't realize until then exactly how much I missed the rain.

Last night I went to a service at the Phoenix Dream Center, It was amazing! Not the speaking or the singing or the sheer size of the building, but the people. There was an entire section of people brought in from a nearby penitentiary, all dressed in the same bright red shirts, and they were jumping and singing bigger and louder than anyone else in the building. Ages ranged from young teenagers to people in their seventies. I couldn't believe all the different people that were brought together through all the different ministries the Dream Center provided. Incredible.

On my trip I bought: a dress, a skirt, two shirts, sunglasses, shoes, plus some random stuff. And guess how much it cost me? ...$20!! Only $20 on my whole trip. Amazing. I love America (but not really, just their prices/stores; yay Forever21!).

So probably going to be boarding in the next fifteen minutes, and I've never been so excited to go home. Yes, this was a growing process. I learned a heck of a lot! I just reached the point where one more second and I would have exploded.

Off I head, back to the country where I'm of age for anything I could possibly want to do (whether I actually would or not), weather is normal and I can actually relax. Ohhh baby, I'm comin' home!


Phoenix Day 7

So it's a brand new year, and I'm still here. New Year's Eve was the hottest day yet: 22 degrees celsius. Not that I'm complaining...a lot. My body just longs for snow and the wood fireplace and humidity of some kind.

I guess I could be updating on what I've been doing and going into great detail on golf, swimming (in a pool that is hotter than the air outside. It's gross), and my amazing shopping exploits, but the most amazing thing I've experienced here is a new desire to know God more.

I'd be lying if I said that my relationship with God has been good lately. In fact, it seems like ever since I went to Bible College our friendship has been suffering (go figure). And by the time I left to come here, I felt hopeless that we could ever get back to the way we were.

Yet, as I'm in this place trying to figure out my junk and other people's junk, I feel the strongest pull to God I've ever felt. I'm desperate to get closer to Him again, I just don't know how. I'm starting with the basics, though. Getting back to reading my bible daily is a must. Talking to Him at every possible moment has to turn into a habit again. Walking every step for His glory needs to be at the top of my priorities.

I have no idea how long this process will take. My greatest hope is that I will take from this dry season lessons learned, and it won't ever again take a time of pulling away to put me back where I belong with my Father.

So, to start off the new year, I'm not making a typical resolution: silly attempts to lose weight or become something unattainable too quickly, only to be defeated by the mere thought within the first few weeks. I am striving for so much more. I am putting my hope and trust in God, resting in Him and trusting that He knows far better than I do what is best for me.