Monday, November 22, 2010

"Thanks Is the Only Way to Breathe"

And some days, I wake up with a feeling of emptiness. This rare yucky-morning-feeling doesn't happen too often mind you, and it's probably in all honesty tied to the fact that I sometimes snooze my alarm way too much and don't quite sleep enough some nights. And then Jesus picks me up on eagles wings as I'm falling and reminds me of this:

"and there it is, the writing on the wall, the memo every Monday morning needs — that grace is everywhere and joy’s possible even here and thanks is the only way to breathe."

Thank you, Ann Voskamp, for those words!

I was told that the best attitude is gratitude. Such a good thing. So to You, Jesus, . . . thank You.

771. Thank You, Jesus, for laughing hard with roommate and good friend. Healing and strength-giving.

772. for Snowflakes

773. How quickly the frost came off my windows yesterday morning.

774. Hugs from some of the older women at my church.

775. One lady teasing me after I completely didn't recognize her the day before. Her grace and laugh and kind hug.

776. Being able to learn SO MUCH about the Pentateuch right now for my class. LOVE IT!

777. People's stories

778. Jesus' rest, His call to come to Him, those of us who are so weary and burdened.

779. That I could lift weights this morning, make breakfast, and make it to class on time. YES! :) [thanks]

780. The easy quiz in Pentateuch!! YES!

781. That Jesus is faithful to finish what He's begun in me. I can trust Him with this.

782. Church work parties

783. Daily bread

784. An organized closet shelf

785. A firm foundation. Jesus.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Beautiful Gifts, Love

For a long time, every Monday, I tried to be faithful to continue a gratitude list on this blog of the gifts God had placed in my life, a list to number 1000 at the end as inspired by Ann Voskamp. After I made it to college though, I began to slack off on that. Part of that was because the whole exercise was becoming a little too routine. Part of it was time constraint. So on, so forth. Well today, there were several things that really stuck out to me that I wanted to type down. So here's to reflections of the day and the past few weeks, to Jesus being so good, to the reminder that gratitude is a very important character quality (which I need to cultivate in a much deeper level). So here goes. I left off at 755. So . . .

756. Getting a side hug from Professor Kopp today. Hugs are good things. People caring feels so good.

757. Needing Jesus only. Or overall. He has designed me to need others I believe, but my soul-need is Him. And He is constant. I am safe.

758. Three compliments today on outfit or how I looked.

759. John asking me how I was doing and then asking why I was good. And I had to think about it and come up with an answer. Ah it blessed me so much that he cared to know deeper. Meant a lot.

760. There's this lady in my Adult Sunday School class that is so sweet to me. One morning she told me she had been praying for me that morning. Such a blessing.

761. Finding just the right black shoes for fall banquet at such a GOOD price at such a GOOD time the day OF Fall Banquet. Jesus takes care of me . . . even with the little things.

762. Desani, one of the beautiful little guys I work with at an elementary school, him smiling, progressing, melting a little under love.

763. That Jesus helped me through giving blood, conquering fear.

764. Laughing hard with my roommate Bethany and with friend, Clarissa, and just laughing with silly friends at dinner.

765. Phil, this middle aged guy who drew my blood, teasing me and making me laugh through the process and then taking the squeezer thing from me so I could hold his hand and could squeeze that. Supposedly my hands were cold, and they need to be warmer for better circulation. Later he said that it was his excuse to hold hands with a pretty girl. Haha :) Thanks, Phil!

766. Laughing after fall banquet when my friend and I found out that the parking garage was locked, and we needed to head back.

767. Larissa being there to catch me when I passed out. God is good. And she's my hero. lol :)

768. My cousins visiting me here last Saturday and cousin taking me out to dinner.

769. The green red robin balloon I got after eating dinner! It's the little things in life . . . Jesus knows me. :)

770. The reminder to glorify God in the little things in life. Thanks, Oswald Chambers!

I'm not sure how Jesus works, but I know that He takes care of me, and I feel like I can see the good experiences in my life as sweet gifts from the One who gives every good and perfect gift. I think He gives them purposefully too, and in this knowledge, we can be grateful. Plus gratitude has this funny way of changing us, changing our vision. Life looks so much better through the lens of grace and gratitude . . .

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Nothing Is More Practical"

This quote is silly-tacked to my yellow bedroom wall at home. I remembered it some nights ago. I think there's some truth to it . . .

“Nothing is more practical than finding God,
that is, than falling in a love in a
quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings,
what you will do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
who you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Pedro Arrupe

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Colorful Monsters

I wrote this a little while back . . . maybe two weeks ago. I think it still applies. Especially to today . . .

I'm not sure that I should be writing here. I'm not sure I really have anything to say, but maybe Jesus will say something to me as I type.

Tonight, I have a lot of silly things inside of me. I imagine them as little, colorful children's monsters (but the funny kind, not particularly the scary kind), flapping around their furry selves, chatting with each other, but you see, they're way too active. They're not orderly, and though I suppose they're happy maybe, I'm not very at peace here, little monsters! Come on now.

Now . . . I wonder if You'd come, Jesus? I'm sorry about the mess here. I know. There's monsters. I don't think they're that mean. Oh. That doesn't matter does it.

My hands. You want to see my hands? Oh Jesus, I . . .

Yes. (I was told once that one can't say "No, Lord," . . . that it's an oxymoron. Anyways.)

But Daddy? Oh . . . no buts. How about I just sit here? On the operating table. You can just take it all. All. Then I don't have to do anything. I'll go numb. Give me the anesthesia.

Oh. That's not how it works, is it?

Sometimes, You test the depth of my surrender, don't You? Do You do it so I know? I can't imagine You're happy, Love. I'm so much more selfish than I even know. I can't imagine why You still remain faithful to me. Why You still "wrestle with [my] sinner's heart," why You "lead me by still waters and into mercy." Please, please . . . don't give up on me.

"You dance over me, and I am unaware. You sing all around, and I never hear the sound."

You amaze me.

I am so undeserving, but sometimes I forget that in my heart. I don't want to forget, Lord? You deserve all the things I don't surrender. You don't deserve my selfishness, and I hate this. I feel like Hosea's girl. You deserve so much better than me, Jesus. I know the names of the type of people who redeem their title of being Yours. Well, they seem like they do. I'm the rebellious one. The One that argues with You and doesn't know how I could possibly give up the things I hold so fiercely on to. And sometimes I just wish we could go away to that place at the base of the mountain where You and I could just dance. But until then.

Will You come in?

We Are Wanted

It was a yucky day today. I wish I knew why. I have some ideas, but it wasn't like there was anything really horrible that happened.

It was a World Christianity assignment that sent me to Montavilla Baptist church this evening. I went for their Hispanic service to fulfill a grade requirement of visiting an international church. When I got there, however, I found that the services (the Hispanic and the normal English evening service) were combined this Sunday. Rats. I seriously contemplated the idea of just leaving then. (I'm so horrible) BUT! it had been a bad day. I needed Jesus. Maybe, just maybe . . . I could find Him there? Or He could find me.

In the front of the sanctuary, there was a table holding communion items. Maybe this would be my connection back to peace and Jesus after a pain-filled day. I needed Jesus so badly. I needed love so desperately. So. Desperately.

The service began with some worship, a man from Cuba spoke while another man translated, one man gave a devotional. I didn't really get anything from that. I was still sizzling and frying in something I don't really know how to accurately describe. Pain? Hurt? Fear? Desperation? Maybe a little bit of everything. After awhile, it was time for communion.

And Jesus and I spoke.

And I'm quite confident He understand exactly what I was dealing with in that pew, what I had been dealing with throughout the day, and a part of my struggle was fear. And I think He knows what the fear of being hurt is. Garden of Gethsemane. Night before the worst time of His life. Of any life. And because of this, He understands. But He also reminded me of something else.

Danae, I want you.

Why do You want me, Jesus? You don't understand! You have no reason to want me!

I made You, danae.

I don't know why Jesus would want me, but it feels so good to be wanted. Maybe I had completely forgotten that He did. But I can't tell you how much it meant to me to hear that. It made me cry. You see, Jesus is my best Friend. Am I His Best Friend? Uh, . . . no, probably not. I have been such a horrible friend to Him, it's disgusting. In fact, I really haven't even paid much attention to Him lately. He brought that to mind this Saturday. But it's a new week, isn't it?

The earlier parts of today weren't my favorite. I'll confess, it was a struggling-to-stay-breathing type of day, but once again, Jesus came. He calmed the storm. I'm safe again, and I'm loved, and it's really going to be okay.

And you, friend? You're wanted too. I hope you know. It's a proven fact . . . proven with the rough pieces of a tree, connected in the shape of a cross where this Man gave up His everything. for you. We are so loved. You are wanted. <3

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

It Was Because of Your Words

that I sprawled out Isaiah 49:15-16 on one side of a 3x5 index card and Psalms 62:5-8 on the back. It was because of your words that I slipped it in my pocket and headed out the door in sweats and a t-shirt and a stormy heart. Yes, friend, it was you telling me to pray on the way that I cried out to Him on the way to the gym, and His reminder was in words I had heard before:

Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell the storm how big your God is

And maybe I worry more than I think I do. Maybe I get caught up in storms. Most of 'em are probably fear storms. I don't know my ending for this one particular story, and it scares me. Pain and broken hearts scare me. Being rejected scares me. Numbs me. Makes me want to run away.

[Side note: One of my favorite things about my relationship with Jesus: I can depend on Him chasing me when I run away]

And I wanted to tell Jesus all about it. I wanted to be able to talk it out with Him, have it all laid out, and I want to get rid of this silly rain storm in the right hand corner of my room with the cube in it. (inside "joke") And then some words my roommate had said last night came into my head along with the above quote, especially these words:

Tell the storm how big your God is.

So I think I'm just going to do that . . . Here's a quick note:

Mister Storm,
"I hate your stinking guts" (Little Rascals quote), and I wanted to fill you in on something. It is for freedom that Christ has set me free (Gal 5:1), and you will not imprison me.

And Mister Storm? My Daddy is big. He's my castle, and I'm safe in Him. You can't come to me without His okay, and you are no more than I can handle. I am not of those that shrink back. In fact, my Daddy gives me courage, and He's fighting for me. He's pretty huge, you know. So don't worry, you won't defeat me.

And Mr. Storm? "God is a refuge for us." (Ps 62:8b) His words are these: " . . . yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands . . ." (Isaiah 49:15b-16a) Pour all you want. I'll wait until it's over. Just saying . . .

from: danae

Oh, and friend? I'm not sure you'll read this, not sure how often you check back here, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciate you so much. You are a picture of God's grace to me, His sweet blessing. Your words, your testimony moved me so much last night, and I'm praying for you now, that God would continue to heal you and take away your fear. You are "Christ-Bearer." Be strong and courageous.

And friend? You have so encouraged me and inspired me . . . after all, I began my first day of running 5 minutes on that treadmill today. ;) Thank you.