Halleluja in the twilight

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The Simple Life

"GET OUT OF THE GARBAGE PILE!!" The not-so-stoic security guard bellowed at the 10 foot pile of trash overflowing from the dumpster in the enormous campground, eyes twinkling, mouth pursed in an attempt the smile behind his lips.

We had been so taken aback by this demand that we were compelled to stand and watch for some inkling as to what on earth pocess this man to yell at garbage. Suddenly, a figure began to emerge through the thinning bag until it gave way to reveal fingers, hand, arm. Another arm pulled the sack open wide enough to reveal the body inside.

Our curious wonderment gave way to ferocious laughter as the odd teenager, dreadlocks and all, stumbled off like a duckling who just broke free of his egg. His reason for hiding in trash was entirely beyond us as was most of the pranks and shananagans we took part in that week at Creation Fest. It was just.... Funny!!

Funny in ways entirely ignored by many once they reached the age of 14 and realized there were more daring ways to have fun. Funny in ways that seem maybe immature to those who have outgrown the joys of simple, harmless pranks. Funny in ways that leave you hunched over laughing so hard you can't make a sound and make you feel like you just did 50 million sit-ups when it's all over. It's really quite refreshing when you consider the opposite.

Two weeks before the enormous Christian rock fesival, Jaden and I went to Warped Tour, a punk rock festival at the same venue in eastern Washington, where 'having fun' meant sticking your middle finger in the air and drinking lotsa beer. Or smoking weed. Or bashing our president and country. It was a big festival of people who think they're open-minded and unique because they all believe the same things and dress the same way. "Stand up even if you stand alone" was the slogan of one of the Warped Tour bands that played last year. Imagine what would have happened if I stood up (alone? You better believe it!) and instead of shouting "F--- Bush! Give women their right to choose!" I yelled, "JESUS is LORD and SAVIOR! Abortion is murder! Homosexuality is a sin!" My life would have been at stake, even among those who claim to be so "open minded."

It was just such a blessing and inspiring time to be among those who shared in knowing the truth. Those more simple and peaceful minded because of Christ. Those who I KNOW I'll be hanging out with in Heaven. It was truly amazing to be among literally thousands of believers and know that that was a taste of Heaven. We didn't have to lock our car doors or hide our valuables (or BIBLES!). People shared in the message of peace, not hate or destruction. Worship melodies drifted through the campground right up until lights out.

We had joyful pillow fights instead of hateful fist fights. We drank "squeeze-its" instead of alcohol and we delighted in absurdly funny things like "pool party" invatations with directions to a blow-up kiddy pool on the other side of camp. We ran around like 10 year olds singing "Yo Ho! Yo Ho! A Pirate's life for me!" and ate lots of pop-tarts.

I can't wait to have fun in Heaven :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

No, she's Christian!

After reading Shannon's controversial blog, 'Coffee at Clackamas,' I want to share one of the times I got my own cup 'o' judgement. I too am a tattood, pierced, wacky haired barista who loves Jesus with all of her heart. He is my Lord and Savior and has changed my life inexpressably.

I love the double-take looks I get when I wear my "Waiting for the Son" shirt and I get teary eyed when fellow tattood believers exclaim, "Sister!" upon hearing of my salvation. Some people just don't realize that God can work in anyone.

People just loooovvveee to judge, don't they? :)

"Can I please get a 16 ounce irish cream latte' with about two inches of room on top?" The woman in the front seat proceded to relay her coffee order with a wink, "I need the extra room so I can top it off with Vodka!"

Amazingly enough, this is not an uncommon request at my coffee stand in Granite Falls. I thought nothing of it until I heard the woman in the passager seat offer to her friend with a teasing smile, "You're not supposed to tell her that!!"

I managed a polite laugh and stood in the window when the first woman reasoned with the second, "Look at her! She doesn't care, she has a lip ring and red hair! She knows what's up!"

Both women laughed. Yeah, right. Little did she know I have never in my life been drunk and spend almost all nights a week at church.

Having being the butt of many such judgements, I make a more conscious effort to not judge people, may they be mohawk bearing, lip ringer wearing punk or a dirty, teeth missing old man from 'up the Loop'. If a person practices modesty and does not lead others to lust, who is to say what appearance is more for God's glory?! Who is to say that me, basically having the appearance of a punk can't enjoy a lovely "domestic" conversation about the benefits and smell-good factor of color-safe bleach with with my lovely, more "domestic" looking girlfriends? Who, besides our Lord, has authority to tell me that my hair color is interfering with my relationship with my Father? Some of the most "outlandish" people I've seen are also the most on fire for God. Some of the most "outlandish" people I've seen also make some of the best coffee I've tasted :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Priorities....

Lesson for this month? When God wants your attention, He knows just the way to get it ;)

So I want to start by honoring those who have prayed for mine and Jaden's relationship and for the feelings of EXTREME uneasiness I've been feeling. You have been in my prayers and I am indeed very, very blessed to be surrounded with people who are so very gracious with their time, advice and prayers. Thank you and my God bless you beyond your wildest expectations. I love you!

As I was saying before, well, three weeks ago, this whole thing started with feelings of being taken advantage of and maybe even over extending myself in my relationship. As I recall, I STARTED out by asking for advice on being selfless before I pleaded for advice on "Hold on, WHAT IF JADEN AND I AREN'T IN GOD'S WILL?!" It all started when my mama made a comment cut deeper (read Godly Marriage?) than I thought it should have and left gaping holes in my heart long after I thought I prayed them out. It started that way, but those blessed, ugly feelings had a way of manifesting into something I NEVER saw coming. They warped into what seemed a HUGE mess that literally overtook my normal life and left me with nothing, NOTHING to cling to but our Sweet Savior. Those feelings left me clinging to Jesus and His promise to NEVER forsake us and to ALWAYS work in the good of those who love Him. I've reached out to people I've never truly opened up to before, I prayed prayers I've never prayed before, I've learned what it is to hand God our burdens (even if it takes handing them to Him 50,000 times) and I've stretched my arms higher to grab hold of God. I've had established before me for the first time in my walk the promise fulfilled that Jesus will carry us through our deepest pain and I've found that Jaden has been walking right next to me!

Halleluja!

"Now, why do you think God chose to make THIS particular arguement about Jaden not letting you drive stick with you?" Pastor Kelley mused despite my insisting that even though my pain started with me feeling a bit controlled, it's now something deeper, something more life or death for mine and Jaden's engagment. All I wanted was "yes" or "no" and a "here's how" answer but all Kelley wanted to know was "how often do you talk on the phone?" and "does Jaden ever get mad at you when you don't answer when he calls?" After some poking and proding, I was able to take in the fact that yes! I felt very controlled at the time I started being depressed! And yes! It did have something to do with undealt with issues from childhood! Something within me must have realized it from the beginning because my mom's question was startlingly convicting. Throw that in with the fact that Jaden got a little upset when I left my phone in the car an hour after my mom's comment, his anger that very night during the hot tub incident (those i have been talking to personally will understand this) and the fact that I had been neglecting my relationship with God a lot lately and BAM! You've got the recipe for disaster!

Now let me just add that this is not all Jaden's fault! I am one of those people who has a boundries problem. I sometimes can't say "no" when I mean no and I avoid sticky situations. AT ALL COSTS!!! If Jaden wants to hang out at his house, and I want to hang out at mine, I will give in almost instantly. Oh, sure, there are times when I'll say,"Ummm.... I dunno... Uhhh, sometimes I wish we hung out at my house... I dunno...." but I quickly let that go when I see any sort pain in his eyes. Dumb idea. This is sort of a "baggage" issue I have in all aspects of my life. But for the first time it's a matter of losing someone I love if I don't seek healing of this.

As far as the phone goes, it's a matter of what's normal in our relationship. If Jaden and I talk exactly 4 times a day every day for 2 monthes, and I answer my ringing phone perfectly for 2 weeks, the day I DON'T answer will inevidably lead Jaden to worry and thus be a little mad because it's never happened before, get it?

The doctors orders? We are cutting back our talking time to ONE time a day. If I don't answer, Jaden will just have to trust in God that I am OK, which will lead him to depend on Jesus more. Jaden comes from a male dominating (read: controlling) family and I come from a family that avoids dealing with painful feelings. So it seems a lot of prayer is in order! I pray God will help us strike a perfect balance of selflessness vs. honesty in emotions. I could use advice on this, too! I'm still praying about our marriage, if that is in God's will for us now. My soul still isn't at peace. It could just be that even though I found out the root of my pain I can't expect an overnight recovery. We'll see. I'm still God's girl and I will do whatever it takes to be in His will. I pray I will start thinking of Jaden with my heart again and less with my brain. I pray I will be able to feel madly in love with him again without the burden of guilt. Please keep us in your prayers and be sure to let me know if there is any prayers that you may need!

Lord, I pray you just help me to be lead by Your spirit and Your will. Make clear Your path for me and I pray you deal with the things that are just beyond me. Thank you for being such a good father and loving Savior! I love you, Lord!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Road marked with suffering

No one said it would be easy.... Listening and waiting for God's voice and direction. It's not easy choosing to have joy and peace in the midst of practical heart break. I don't get it. I know this blog is melancholy but maybe putting it into typed words will bring enough peace for today.

As I was saying, I don't get it. I don't get God's divine plan, why he has chosen this specific hurt to hurt me now. He needed my attention and he's definetly got it! It's hard sometimes, but I know to walk in faith. I know that I have to set my sights and our Lord and know, KNOW, beyond a shadow of doubt that he will bring deliverance. It makes no sense to me now, but I know that God work for the good of those who love him. ALWAYS. It's his promise. And I must remember that no matter what I will come out stronger and with much more faith. I've already been blessed by being 'desperate' enough to pray OUT LOUD with Jaden and to take steps towards making our relationship more Godly. I pray THESE are the steps God is asking me to take, not something more durastic. I'm terrified of the latter, but I know that fear isn't of God. I know that if God wants me to do the unthinkable, I will do it, even though my feeble mind can't see any sort of a future for myself if I do that. I must remember that it's not about ME.

I just have to keep praising God, reading His Word and keep finding peace in his promise to deliver me, and just hope that He's doing this to STRENGTHEN mine and Jaden's relationship, not get rid of it.

With this much being said, I'm asking you, Reader, whoever you are, to keep us in your prayers. Please pray for my ability to hear God's voice and to do whatever He asks of me. Thank you, God bless.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord," plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you" Jeremiah 29:11

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings because we know our suffering produces perserverances, perserverance, character and character, hope. And hope does not dissapoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:2