love never fails you…

Love Never Fails, Brandon Heath

just heard this song for the first time yesterday and i think i’ve fallen in love with it. and so i think you should too.

i’m pretty sure i mentioned my tuesday group before, so as yesterday was tuesday, we met up. and as per usual, we had an AWESOME discussion.

we, through the course of conversation, got to talking about some missionaries brutally murdered in turkey a few years ago that i’d honestly never heard about. and this got me to thinking quite a bit about what i would do if i were in that situation. part of me really isn’t sure that i have enough faith to go through something like that. i’m sure that no one ever dreams of being martyred, i’m sure it wasn’t on those guys’ top 10 things to do. and as i was sharing my thoughts on that, james said something really interesting about that. he said that at that point, it’s not a matter of how much faith do you have. it’s a matter of your faith being the ONLY thing you have left to hold onto. the point at which you are being tortured for your faith is a point of no choice, it’s a point of finding whatever you can to get you through it.

one of our other tuesday guys brought up Hebrews 12:2: let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

we kinda dissected what that verse means, taking it piece by piece and talking about what we think it means and sharing our insights on it and then, this morning in the shower, it occurred to me. i was still kinda feeling bad about my ‘lack of faith’ and it was as though God said to me, ‘hey. don’t worry about it. i will not tempt you beyond what you can bear and i will not test you beyond what i have prepared you for. you don’t have to feel bad about your lack of willingness to lay down your life in the hands of torturers because that has not been required of you.’ and it kinda stopped me in my thoughts right there. it has not been required of me.

God has not asked me to give up safety to minister to other people, He has not called me into the global mission field. He has not asked me to risk my life for the sake of the gospel. but what He has asked, He does require obedience. not wasting time on the interwebs or on my phone, treating people with respect and love (which i sometimes have a very hard time with), honoring my husband to be, drawing closer to Himself and Christ. these are the things He requires of me. while they seem small in light of giving up my life, they aren’t small. the country in which i live thrives on the opposite of such things, thrives on instant gratification while God demands denial of self; doing what you want when you want while God requires that i do what He wants when He wants me to; stepping on people to get ahead while God requires i be the least of these. God requires that i delay gratification here on this earth so that i can live for ETERNITY in paradise, in perfect communion with Him. because really, if it’s worth having, it’s worth waiting for. the world says don’t get married until you take that person for a test drive to know if there’s compatibility where God says ‘trust that i know what’s best for you and that i’ve given you everything you need in a person. resist the urge to test drive even though i know it’s hard. honor him and honor Me.’

i know that if Christ could endure the cross, KNOWING it was going to happen, maybe not even grasping the extent of the physical pain He would endure and doing it anyway, i can give up some interwebbing and some texting, i can give up the way of thinking of those who don’t know Christ, i can give up a lot of things for cause of Christ. i know that He has so much more in store for me. He’s got a life planned out for me that i could never imagine. and it will be worth it at the end of the day, at the end of my life whenever it is required of me. i will endure my own cross for the joy set before me in Jesus Christ.

in which i play catch-up…

  • so i have two volunteers for a guest blog in june-ish when it’s entirely possible that i’ll be heading somewhere for a honeymoon. if the timeline changes, i’ll be sure to let you all know. if anyone else is interested, let me know.
  • i just started selling my bodily fluids today. tell you what, though, i’m tired. that REALLY takes it out of you when they take your plasma.
  • my wedding is 32 days away. holy. turbo.
  • i’m also right now too fat to fit into my dress. guess this girl put on a few more pounds than she thought. oh wells. i got 5 weeks to take care of it. so not worried.
  • i’m going to detroit this weekend. for a hockey game. courtesy of the fiance’s gpa. he thought it up out of the blue and thought it would be fun to send us to the red wings before playoffs start and really? who knows the next time we’ll get to do this. so yeah. i’m going to joe louis arena. to watch the red wings. i think i just peed a little bit.
  • i have a group project in one of my classes. we have 11 people in our group. i think that’s ridiculous. i would have rather had on the smaller end of the project, but whatevs. it is what it is, right? the only problem is getting 11 people to come to class, check their email, RESPOND to emails in order to figure this out. oh yeah, and when are you EVER going to get 11 people together outside of class? oh that’s right… you’re not. i’m trying not to let this stress me out, but it’s slightly challenging. i guess we’ll see how this all pans out, right?

i think that’s all i have right now. i’m tired and i want to go to bed. i want friday to come really really really really really really really really fast. fo’ sho’. 😀

politics…

it amazes me how much politics infiltrates every day life. right down to inside the classroom. the voice of one student is able to override any dissension but concerns brought up by another fall on seemingly deaf ears. one or two students can change the course of an event for 50 and no one bats an eye (at least, those in power) while the concerns of others are shot down immediately. those ones are asked to be mature, to walk away, to just let it happen. to let the immature and irresponsible get their way.

is THIS what the world is coming to? trample on the responsible and mature and let the children get their way? to let the duties of those “in charge” fall on those who are “responsible”? because someone wants it done the RIGHT way and those who are already swamped with garbage to do get to do even MORE? i understand that life is not fair. i GET that. what i DON’T get is how people think this is ok. what i DON’T get is how it’s ok to inconvenience some people and not others. what i DON’T get is the place that we’re supposed to be teaching people how to be adults (college) is precisely the place where more and more students are being allowed to get away with anything and everything. if they whine enough, things are changed. fortunately, i have a number of classes where politics DOESN’T play a role and where students know what is expected of them and they do it.

part of me would really enjoy teaching in a collegiate setting. i really would. however, i’m not sure how i would ever be able to deal with the ever increasing political games in the collegiate setting. it seems that i would almost have to teach at a graduate level and, having never been there, i’m not sure how i feel about that. i think i would like to be able to shape and help more students than that. to help others find their way. i know that i would those who don’t care along the way but i could deal with that. i could deal with that kind of stuff. the political environment that would possibly be in the office though? not sure if i could deal with that. not sure if i could deal with power struggles. of course, that would probably be a place where i would not stay.

i guess college DOES teach some how to be adults, how to adapt, how to survive, how to deal with all sorts of different people. it teaches me to see people for who they are and HOW they are, regardless of what might have been a previous thought or feeling. it teaches me to take certain things at face value and to not internalize. it teaches me to cope with disappointment. it teaches me how to keep school at school, work at work, and home at home. it teaches me all sorts of things.

of course, it also teaches me to not believe in people. it teaches me to expect the worst. it teaches me not to depend on others. it teaches me to look out for number one. on the plus side of all of that, it teaches me that not all people are flexible or can be relied on. it teaches me that some people jump into things far more foolishly than i, even when those decisions affect me. it teaches me how to be discerning of those with whom i come in contact. it teaches me that if i want a good education, i need to speak up and do what i need to do in order to ensure that happens.

however, at the end of the day, school is only a short part of my life and all that really matters is the piece of paper at the end of the tunnel, not necessarily the steps it took to get me there. classes will not be thoroughly scrutinized and if i do get a B in a class because i let myself be bullied a little bit, it’s just another something i’ve learned. so here’s to my education, my rant and my peace of mind.

social media check up…

i’ve realized lately, and mostly last night, that my social media outlets have a tendency to run my free time. if i’m not doing anything and i can get on the interwebs, i’m on facebook or checking my email or my blog or other people’s blogs or on some equally mind numbing, free time consuming site. not that this is inherently a bad thing, but it’s become almost obsessive checking. waiting, waiting… has anyone commented? are they paying attention to me? and it’s this obsessiveness that’s the problem.
i’ve realized, and it’s been agonizing, that i’ve gotten zero comments on my blog for the past, oh week or so, i think. something like that. and it’s gotten to the point that i’m looking every chance i get, even though there’s nothing in my email that says someone has commented. i think that’s what really opened my eyes to the growing problem. then, last night our thursday night group (which is now the tuesday night group) started talking about this and talking about finding where our free time is going and figuring out what our priorities truly are. and we really challenged each other to check our media consumption. where is our time going? i was really convicted of interwebs and texting. very much so.
i know that i’ve joined sites and other places because people told me to. twitter. 20sb. flickr. youtube. why do i have accounts here? i don’t even  know. partly because someone told me to. and partly because i’d hoped that more people would pay attention to me. i think that everyone wants to be paid attention to every now and then, that’s perfectly normal, but when the things i do are more about getting those ‘hey you’ve been noticed’ emails and not doing them just to do them, this is a problem.
so i’ve closed my twitter account. i’ve closed my 20sb account. i’ve closed my flickr account. and it’s not that they’re bad, but there’s no reason that i should have them. i hardly EVER use them. in fact, i can barely remember the last time i was at/on any of those places.
texting is another thing that i’ve gone crazy with. and it’s for the same reason. to feel like someone is paying attention to me. i really need to get over myself and realize that hey, people have lives and guess what? i’m not the center of those attentions. and that’s fine. i’ve just kinda lost sight of that and so here’s to regaining sight of that and gaining more free time. more USABLE time. homework time. bible study time. DO NOTHING time.
so this is what i’m going to try to do: limit checking email to twice a day. facebook ONCE a day. bloggy ONCE a day. reader ONCE a day (though reader isn’t necessarily a problem. maybe if i checked it once a day, i wouldn’t get so far behind. ha.) last but not least, turning my phone off during class. really? don’t need the phone on at all. just tempts me to text during class and not pay attention. i know that these are lofty goals, but i need to remember where my priorities are. so i’m not running away. i’ll still be around, just less frequently. and i think that’s a good thing. it will help me to remember what’s important and what isn’t.
so here’s to less interwebs and more productive time, more God time, more homework time. i’m actually really excited to see where this goes.

why even look back…

i was talking to james last night after we got back to his house from our premarried life group about some stuff regarding communication. that was the topic of discussion last night. we are blessed with some wicked communication skills and wicked chemistry. it’s unbelievable how well we communicate and how well we are able to read each other and how well we get along. for some reason, i really thought that ALL relationships were like that. that ALL people were able to share what they thought and what they felt with their significant other. i thought that ALL relationships were like ours.

i was wrong.

as we go along in our life group and the sessions, we realize (actually… realized early on) that so much of this stuff is really elementary.

for us.

it doesn’t seem to be so elementary for everyone else and that FLOORS me. it seems that the things we talk about, like communication basics and even basic compatibility and showing interest in the other partner’s activities sounded almost foreign to the other couples. or it sounded like SO much work, like something that they REALLY had to WORK on. and week after week, james and i would get back and we would talk about this stuff and i constantly would try to think back to how things were with colton. i tried to think about how we communicated and how compatible were we and how much did we show interest in the other person and all these other things. i would really really have to comb my mind to try to find these things and it was usually result of some diarrhea of the mouth that i would come to some conclusion about how things were with him.

something occurred to me last night.

why do i even CARE how things used to be?

why do i sit and comb my brain trying to figure out how much more “normal” my last relationship was? why does it matter? it’s over. i’m over it. i don’t need to try to think about how things were different then as compared to now because at the end of the day, i’m NOT with colton anymore. nor do i have even the slightest desire to be. not even to be in his life. why do i keep looking back to a broken past trying to find the keys to the reason for this solid future that i have? when i think back to that relationship, the same thing comes to my head: ‘i guess i’ll have to ask x about that’. if i need to turn to another friend to tell me what my relationship used to be like, then i don’t need to be thinking about that relationship. if i can’t look back and see it for how it was, for who we were, for how we acted, it’s no longer relevant. it no longer matters.

i can’t believe that took me until last night to figure out.

i’ve been reading about personality for one of my classes and for the 6 (out of 14) i went through this weekend, i’ve figured out which of those six i am. i also had figured out which of those colton is. and i’ve figured out which of those james is. and the funny thing is, the personality styles i have and the personality styles colton is are repeatedly mentioned in that book as terrible or disastrous matches. they say over and over to stay AWAY from each other because of the emotional strain it will put on the relationship.

WHY DID I NOT HAVE THIS BOOK YEARS AGO?! haha.

and the great thing is that my personality styles and james’ personality styles are said over and over to be GREAT matches. that we should, in a sense, seek out people of our respective personality styles. and as i drove back to fargo, i thought and i thought and i thought about all this and how certain things about colton drove me NUTS and i’m sure certain things about me drove him nuts. and i can see now where so much of the conflict came from and how we each were being who we were and how it played into so much of the weaknesses of the other person. we both have weaknesses but so many were the same. and our strengths were not complimentary at all either. i’m AMAZED that we made it 2.5 years. it simply could only be explained by the fact that we did in fact love each other and we THOUGHT that we really wanted to be with the other person. we were even lying to ourselves about that.

and then i think about my relationship with james and how effortless it is. i think of how everything just flows. how we get along. how we understand each other. how my weaknesses are his strengths and his weaknesses are my strengths. how we don’t have to be SO careful about how we say things because we truly truly believe that the other person has our BEST interests at heart and that we DON’T want to harm the other one. we don’t WANT to say something poorly but we’re not afraid to. we’re not afraid to think out loud until we make sense of what we’re thinking. we’re not afraid to be weak in front of the other. we’re not afraid to admit our mistakes to the other. we’re not afraid to be who we are because we know that the other loves us and will take us for exactly the person we are. and words cannot BEGIN to express how wonderful that is. how wonderful it is to be myself and to have james be himself around me. to not be afraid of judgment. to know that there’s ALWAYS someone there to bat for us. always someone there to stick up for us.

it’s wonderful to be sensitive to how they feel about the things we say and the way we say them. to know that the words spoken in front of others matter and don’t matter at the same time. we don’t want people to think that we mistreat each other and yet we have lots of fun together. sometimes at the other’s expense. but at the end of the day, we know that we have someone to “go home to”. someone who we can let our WHOLE guard down to. someone who we don’t have to save face in front of. someone who will catch what we’re throwing out there.

i love the relationship i’m in now. i love the openness. i love the trust, the implicit almost too easy to earn trust. i love the loyalty and the honesty. i love that we bring out the absolute best in the other person. that our love for each other is able to erase the bad of the past. the oh so hurtful past that now seems nothing more than a blip on the radar. a past that once haunted, but now barely exists. this relationship keeps my eyes steadied to the future with no time to look behind and wonder. with no DESIRE to look back. with only a desire to keep the past where it belongs: behind me.

i never thought that i would find someone who could so completely erase the hurts from not so long ago. who would embrace me just as i am now, not who i will be in the future. someone who would love me just a deeply i do them.

so why look back? why wonder about a past who has no answers to give? why crave the answers that are not there? yes, that relationship shaped me but i’m done dwelling on it. i’m done searching out the differences. i’m done trying to find what may not exist. i’m done trying to make something out of nothing and trying to figure out how things worked then. it doesn’t matter how things did or didn’t work then. what matters is how we make things work now. what matters is the step we take today to create a better tomorrow.

so here’s to looking at the future and excitedly waiting to see what it will bring. and here’s to the most wonderful person with whom i could take this journey. here’s to you james and to looking at the future. not the past. no more past. only future.

the shiz i says sometimes…

slip of the tongue that reveals true motives (mayhaps)?

the set up: james roommates bought me some stuff last night and obviously gave me my change and i left it on the coffee table overnight.

james: did you get that money off the table, dear?

me: i sure did.

james: lame… i wanted to take it.

me: well, dear, what’s yours is mine.

james: i know, dear.

me: …

(commence about 5 seconds)

me: i mean what’s mine is yours. haha!

james: yeah. that too.