But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility... Eph. 2:13-14

Sunday, December 4

Um... Jammer Lammy?

Saturday night I went to my first Roller Derby. You may wonder how I of all people ended up at a sporting event known for tough girls and bruises. Or maybe you're wondering why this is my first. Or maybe you're wondering how you even ended up on this blog. I can't help you with that last one (welcome, by the way!) but I can tell you how I ended up cheering for The Smashinistas.

A long time ago (May 10th, 2010, to be exact) I read a nifty article by mental_floss. I wasn't entirely sure what they were talking about, but this ancient skating sport sounded pretty rad. Then I read a few comments, and decided that Roller Girls had to be some of the most adventurous, exciting people alive. I thought to myself, "Wow, I'd really like to see that someday," then closed the browser and went back to writing a paper that had nothing to do with skating.

After that I came very near to forgetting that Roller Derby even existed. Until one day not too long ago when my father told me something amazing. He said that his workplace is a Roller Derby sponsor, and that are rather frequent drawings for tickets to bouts. After telling him about my year-long (albeit dormant) desire to see one in action, he agreed to enter the next drawing. Not many people typically enter that drawing, and so Saturday night saw dad and me on a Father-Daughter date to see the Arch Rival Roller Girls do their thing.

At first it was a little overwhelming. I hadn't thought to go back and look up the rules and system of the sport. Honestly, I was just expecting a race. Thankfully the program explained how everything worked, and about halfway through the first bout I was able to understand enough to know when my team of choice was doing well and when they were being crushed.
I had a blast, and my dad had fun, too. I had been afraid that there would be too much promiscuity to enjoy myself, but besides the Roller Girls "uniforms", it really wasn't too bad, for which I was extremely thankful!

I know I could never be a Roller Derby Girl myself, but I am fascinated by the whole thing. I haven't skated in years, and now I'm dying to go to the roller rink. I've even started creating a sort of Roller Derby Girl Alter Ego. Is that creepy? Maybe. And I'm not sure how it jives with my hippie-ness. But hey, if it motivates me into getting some exercise, I'm more than happy to be Princess Slaya!


Saturday, November 26

What can you see on the horizon? Why do the white gulls call?

Last night I had a dream.

All of the people I’d ever helped were there. You know, all of those clingy people who drive me out of my mind, but whom I love so very, very much? All of them. Even people whom I hadn’t realized I was helping in that way, like a cousin of mine, who I had unknowingly helped when we were five (this is my dream, remember, not based on actual events).

There came a day when suddenly my friends didn’t need me in that respect any longer. Everyone was self-confident, balanced, and happy. Though startled, I was very glad, and actually pretty relieved. I had to learn how to cultivate 50/50 friendships, but I had lots of practice in that, and life was good. Soon, though, I noticed that I had some health problems. I went to the doctor, and by the next week I was in bad shape. I think I had bladder cancer, but I’m pretty sure it was in at least some of my bones, too. There were several other health problems involved as well. I was bed-ridden and miserable.

I’m not sure where my family was at this point, but they weren’t really a part of my dream. I suppose they must’ve moved far away, or maybe even died. The only people in my life that I could turn to were all of those friends who had "sucked my life away" for so long. And WOW did they come through! One friend came and stayed with me all day long almost every day. Even though my mouth was dry and I couldn’t really have a real conversation, just having her in the room helped me so much. My friends brought me flowers, food, entertainment, love. They made sure the hospital was taking care of me, made sure my bills were being paid, made sure to check with the doctor on my progress and such. One friend, who had gone on to become a lawyer (albeit the worst lawyer to ever pass the bar) was trying to make a case for the hospital to pay my bills because my cancer may have been caused by their earlier mistreatment of a Urinary Tract Infection. He was pathetic at it, but I appreciated it so much.

The love and care and self-sacrifice my friends poured out on me blew me away. It brought me to tears. It humbled me, and it raised my spirits. Most of all it encouraged me. I got the feeling that my friends were helping me because I had lived the Gospel for them when I had helped them, and God had taught them through my example. It was as though God was telling me through this very difficult and painful time, “Look, I’ve used even you! The life you’ve lived HAS been to My glory, even when you thought you were failing.”

One morning two of my friends came to visit me, and I was in an unresponsive state. They weren’t sure if I was asleep or comatose, but after trying unsuccessfully to wake me, they called for the doctor. The doctor said that they had done all that they could do, and suggested they put me on hospice.

Though I couldn’t open my eyes or move, I could hear what was going on. I smiled inside and thought, “Oh good. Now my friends can finally rest.” I was filled with love and thankfulness.

Then Mom woke me up and asked if I wanted to go shopping before everyone else woke up.

I briefly considered falling back asleep and trying to finish the dream, but decided against it. I’m content with this ending. And I’m thankful for this dream. And I'm thankful for those great deals I got on Christmas presents this morning!

Thursday, November 3

I ♥ Trees.

On Facebook this month it's popular to post something you're thankful for every day until Thanksgiving. Today, the 3rd of November, I am thankful for trees. So thankful, in fact, that rather than write a book of explanation on my status, I've decided to blog about it in what may turn out to be the most poorly-written post in the history of Droll Digression. Sorry.

Where to begin?

Well, to start, they don't sin. They do exactly what they were created to do, and never have an evil intention. Ever. They're always pointing to their creator. I mean, seriously, they grow pointing up! How crazy cool is that?
They symbolize death and rebirth with their changing leaves and new growth in the spring. Unless they're evergreens, in which case we can be reminded of Eternal Life.

If it fell, a tree could kill you. Crush you flat! You couldn't live without the carbon dioxide recycling that it does. You couldn't live without the ecosystem it's a part of.
They're older than us (created three days before us), and they're tougher than us. We eat their fruit, we live in houses made from them, we use furniture made from them. We imitate them in our art. We beautify our land with them.

Aside from the obvious sustainability factor of oxygen and food, think of where we'd be without the tree.


No fire, no tools, no weapons, few shelters. No ships, no discoveries, no cradles, no wagons, no Noah's Ark. Cursed is anyone who hangs on a... what? Christ's sacrifice on what?
Even the Ark of the Covenant was made of wood and covered with gold.

So, this great creation that lives to give, that does nothing but grow to the glory of God, wave it's branches in the wind to the glory of God, and die to the glory of God, it would seem that this creation is better than us. It produces, we consume. It provides food, shelter, shade and oxygen, we bring sin and blight into the world. It lives to serve, we live to be served.

And yet...

WE are made in the image of God. WE can think. WE can use the resources (like trees) that God has provided for us. WE have been given charge of this planet.
Christ died on a cross of wood for US!

Look at the trees, my friend. Be in awe of the God who has created something so magnificent. See the forest.
And then remember that God likes you even better than them, even though they've never sinned.
Let them remind you of your insignificance. Then remember that you are their legal guardian. You're more special than a tree! That in itself is a mind-blowing grace!

But more than that, you have the opportunity to be adopted by the God of creation! A tree does no wrong, but it isn't righteous. It is corrupted by the disease of sin that we continually cultivate, and it can never clear itself of that corruption. Neither can we. But Christ didn't die for the trees to be saved. He died to save us, sin cultivators! He took our place, and so we can take His righteousness.

Think on that as you rake this Fall,
And worship the Creator of the trees!

Friday, October 14

Inspired by the Beauty of Psalm 29...

Genesis 1:1-3

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

When I think of language, these are the first two passages of scripture that come to mind. I don't know when God made language. I imagine that He created it long before Creation. I know for certain that it existed before light. Before light! Think of it! Light is necessary for almost everything, especially living (no photosynthesis=no plants=no life) and seeing. But to create light, God used words. And not some magical spell, but simple, everyday words. "Let there be light." The power is not in the words, but in the Speaker. They are a tool - perhaps the most powerful tool in existence.

  • What did God use to create the the world? Words.
  • How did God communicate with Adam? Gen. 1:28 "And God blessed them. And God said to them..." Words!
  • How did the serpent deceive Eve? With words. (Gen. 3:1)
  • How did God both curse and prophesy redemption? Words! (Gen. 3:14-19)
  • How did God speak to Abraham? With words.
  • What did the prophets speak and write down? Words.
  • Who is Christ? The Word!
  • How do we know all of this? Through the printed Word, i.e. the Bible!
God uses language for creation, for communication, for blessing and cursing, for judging and redeeming.
On a human level, words are still powerful tools. The Magna Carta, Mein Kampf, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Common Sense, The Communist Manifesto, what do these titles have in common? They're collections of words that changed the world, for good or ill. And that's just written word! Who could count the speeches that have influenced people over time? As portrayed in Mark Antony's speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, words wielded correctly are powerful enough to change someone's mind completely.

Bullying has been a major topic lately. Children and adults alike are driven to desperate acts of depression and violence by words. I once heard R. C. Sproul say that when he was little and would say "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me," he knew it was a lie. Words do hurt. "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Hurting and Healing are powerful things, my friends!

Consider the gift you are using right now. Reading this, you're setting yourself apart from the rest of creation; you're proving that you are indeed made in the image of God. It is a powerful, magical, holy tool that has been put into your mind, mouth, and hands. Use it wisely!

And THAT is why I am an English Major.

Wednesday, September 7

Merciful God, oh abounding in Love! Faithful to all who draw near You!


So you know how God has recently been showing me that I need to pray more confidently and trust Him completely? Well, guess what!

Shortly after posting "Confidence is Keen" (which desperately needs a better name, btw), my friend and brother in Christ received a preliminary diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphatic system. This is a particularly terrifying diagnosis to me. Your lymphatic system spreads all over your body, so when the cancer is there it soon spreads everywhere. I know this, because that's the cancer that killed my biological father.

My friend did some research and said that this type of cancer has a very high survival rate. My brain wouldn't accept this, but of course I didn't tell him that. Instead I prayed. I prayed and prayed and prayed. Several times I was tempted to pray my doubting prayers of before, but God gave me some remarkable confidence. I knew of course that He was completely in control, but that didn't change my earnest pleading that the cancer be taken care of quickly. When I learned that it was, in fact, a preliminary diagnosis and not set in stone, I prayed that there was no cancer. That the doctor was mistaken. More than anything, I prayed that salvation would come to my friend's family through this. I know firsthand that God makes all things good, and uses the darkest moments to create the most beautiful results.

Guess what my friend learned yesterday.

No cancer! None! How gracious, how glorious, how merciful our God is! I've been thanking Him off and on all morning and evening. I'm so thankful to the Lord for sparing him that trial, and so blessed to have been able to pray for him. If you want to read his full story, you can find it here.

What a beautiful, caring God we serve! Rejoice in Him today, my friends. He is always good, always! But sometimes, like now, His goodness is readily and abundantly apparent. Praise Him for His goodness.


Saturday, August 27

Ooklay in the Agbay

What I'm about to show you is top secret stuff. Don't tell ANYONE! Okay, actually, just don't tell my brother. At least until after his birthday.

I know he doesn't read my blog, so I know that this is a safe place to announce my first steampunk-ish creation (or modification, as the case may be). I am VERY excited that it turned out.

Behold, the BEFORE picture!

Well, it's sideways, but I'm not sure how to fix that.

At any rate, you can clearly see that it is an orange, yellow, black, and grey Nerf gun. This is actually called the Sharp Shot in the Dart Tag series.

Please excuse the screws and such. I actually took this picture to help me remember how I disassembled it so I wouldn't forget how to reassemble it. It was pretty nerve-wrecking!

Now, after lots of sanding, spraying, and general messiness in the mad scientist laboratory that is my room, I am happy to present the finished product.

Behold, the AFTER picture!

I admit, it looks much cooler because I wanted to use Instagram. Without camera effects, it looks thusly:
My brother is celebrating his birthday with a Nerf/Airsoft War, so hopefully this gun can hold its own. I tested it, and it still works great!

So there you have it! Rejoice with me, and don't tell my brother!


P.S. That little slashed cylinder that you see on the final product but not the original gun is a flashlight.

Wednesday, August 17

"There is more than what the naked eye can see...

Clothing all our days with mystery
Watching over everything
Wilder than our wildest dreams
Could ever dream to be.
There is more"
Andrew Peterson - More

Last night I had this crazy dream. I dreamt that my vision kept wavering between seeing the physical world and seeing the spiritual world. I'll explain through the scenes that I remember.

I was in a group doing basketball street evangelism. We went to a random basketball court in the city and just started a game with whoever wanted to play. I could feel a lot of tension in the air, as some people in my group were very nervous about being able to give the Gospel through a game (me, I was just hoping I wouldn't make a fool out of myself and break a finger). When we started playing everything looked a little different. When the Christians spoke, their words came out like a whitish steam, but I didn't see anything when the nonbelievers spoke. Everything someone said did something. One sister shouted some encouragement when someone made a mistake, and her word-breath went behind that person and lifted them up and pushed them on. Another brother said something hurtful and a "snare" (okay, I admit it, it was one of those evil item blocks from Mario Kart - the kind that zap you when you run into them) was thrown out in front of the person. That person ran right into it and I felt a huge surge of anger from her.

The Alley Behind the Restaurant:
Two good friends ended up in an alley behind a restaurant. Friend number one was chewing the other out. It was dreadful! At first everything he said had to do the the escapade that had led to them being in the alley, but then Friend 1 started digging up character traits that annoyed him.
It was at that time that my vision switched to "spiritual". Friend 2 was surrounded with "snares", but had been very careful not to step on any of them. She was looking at her feet for a way to get out of them, and when she prayed a clear spot glowed slightly. But every time she tried to step out, Friend 1 would make another insult-the character traits, remember-and a stone the size of a six-year-old's fist would hit her. When it fell, it would create another snare, but though she winced, she would not move. Then Friend 1 threw something in her face, something that only the best of friends would be trusted to know. When he said it, an ugly black arrow shot into Friend 2's arm, and she lost it. She started hurling stones and arrows of her own. The snares had disappeared, because they were both caught. They clawed at each other, and blood was running down their arms and faces.
Then my vision changed back to the physical world. They were standing where they had been at the first, shouting vehemently at each other. With a last jab at each other, they stomped off in different directions. They looked angry, but unharmed. As they left the alley, my vision switched back to spiritual. A light rain was falling sadly, and the darkness of the shadowy alleyway happily soaked up the pools of blood they left behind.

There were many more scenes, but I can't remember the storyline, and it's all beginning to fade from my memory. The alley scene has a few aspects from other parts of my dream (the glowing safe path, the rain, the darkness seeming to have emotions), but everything here was in the dream at some point. I know it was just a dream, but it's had an impact on me. Hopefully I'll remember those friends next time I want to say something harsh!

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18

Peace be with you!

P.S. I told my brother about my dream, and he said I should write a book like this. ^_^

Sunday, August 14

Confidence is Keen

Wow today was a wonderful day! It was our annual Church Picnic, and was such a blessed time! It amazes me how much I've grown up even in the last year. Today was full of conversation and fun like my introverted self of yesteryear wouldn't believe!

One of those conversations focused on prayer. I asked some friends if they ever struggled with weakened prayers because of their understanding of the sovereignty of God. I find all over Scripture that we are supposed to pray confidently, assured that God will answer our requests, but very often I found myself leaving God a loophole, so to speak. Instead of praying, "God, please heal this person," my prayers often were more like, "God, please heal this person if You want to. Because, ultimately, Your will is going to be done, and You know best. So really please just do whatever you want. Personally, I would really like it if you healed them." I may not have said those words, but that was the feeling and the understanding that I spoke with.

Ultimately, I didn't want to open my heart up to be broken just because God had a better plan. I understood very well that God's plan IS perfect, and whatever He decides to do is so much better than what I've asked, even if it is painful at the moment. But the more passionately you pray for something, the more you are opening up yourself to some serious pain. I know this from experience, but I didn't share that experience with my friends today, because I wanted to stay on topic. But I think I'll share it with you. Maybe writing sappy stuff will get my blog noticed in the world (HAHA!).

It's funny how weird things from your childhood impact you, even if you don't realize it. For example, until last year I hated going into Subway, because that's where my mom, aunt, grandma, stepmom and I met before we picked out the flowers for my daddy's funeral. And I honestly think that, along with the heat and the noise, 4th of July is my least favorite holiday because of what I'm about to share.
I was only six when my biological father passed away (until this year I did my math wrong and thought I was seven). I wasn't really very aware of my daddy's illness until the very end. One Independence Day (or at least I think it was - there were fireworks going off somewhere for some reason) a great group of people got together and laid their hands on my daddy and prayed for him. They prayed and they wept and they prayed some more. The fervency of their prayers scared me, but they prayed so confidently. They were asking God to heal my father, and expecting Him to do so. I think that night may have been the only time before he died that I felt there was a great sadness coming into my life. But I was so young, and a new Christian. I prayed so hard that night. I remember it was humid. I poured out my heart, and then rested easy. God wouldn't let anything bad happen to my daddy.
I'm not sure what day or what year that prayer meeting took place, but I do know that my daddy passed away on July 28th. And it shook me.

I didn't blame God for taking the coolest guy I knew. I certainly didn't understand His sovereignty, but I did firmly believe that God was good. Over time I have realized that everything, EVERYTHING happens for His glory and our good. My life would not be what it is today if my dad had not died. I would not know God like I do today if he had been healed from his cancer.

But at the same time, I let some things latch onto me in that time. Things that I didn't realize could be a problem. Like I've already mentioned, Subway made me sick. Thankfully I've overcome that. I developed a slightly superstitious dread of the laying on of hands while praying. The first year I went to Mexico our group was at the front of the church and our church came to lay hands on us and pray for us before we left. The whole time I was scared to death that I was going to die - and I was 14 (I think)! Last year God set me free from that fear (may His Name be praised!).
But another leech that I wasn't aware of until this afternoon was that, while I certainly trusted God with my life and everything minor in it, I didn't really trust Him with my prayers. This has actually manifested itself in many ways, and I never noticed before. It was fine with me if God ruled the world and everything in it, including my life and the lives of my loved ones. But I didn't want to pray, because that makes hard times harder, or so I thought. Did I really think that if I asked the Lover of my soul for something dangerous (salvation, healing, radical provision) He would intentionally crush me? I did. Oh, God forgive me, I did! How could such a monster have hidden in me for so long? And what a fool I am if I ever think no monsters like it could be left.

And so, through my friends, and recruited wisdom from some of the wise men in our church, God revealed to me that I really just need to trust Him (doesn't it seem to always come back to that?). Yes, I should pray confidently and boldly! Yes, I know that God is sovereign, but that should not affect the fervency of my prayers. If I remember that all things are ultimately in His hands, rather than taking that as a reason for me to pray in a wishy-washy manner, I should cling to it as a confidence that no matter what God's answer, He WILL give me the strength to live through it, and it WILL work out for His glory and my good!

What a beautiful God, what a beautiful God, what a beautiful God we serve!

The funny thing is, I hadn't even thought about this topic in months, and it just jumped out of my mouth before I realized what I was asking. Hmmm. Coincidence? HA!

He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 8:32


[I would just like to mention that because I was very young, my memories of that prayer time may not be entirely accurate. I've never spoken to anyone about it, at least, not since it was a recent occurrence, so I don't have any verification. But it did make a huge impact on my life, and I did faithfully record what I remember. If my memory is a traitor, please forgive me.]

Sunday, July 17

Now and Forever

I just found my List of Things I'd Like to Do Before I Die. I think I wrote this in 2008. That seems like it was much longer ago than it actually was...

1. TP a house [√]
2. Learn to play a bizarre instrument [√] (if you count ocarina)
3. Publish a book [ ]
4. Learn to dance [ ] (I can dance if I have an extremely talented, patient partner...)
5. Learn Russian [ ] (As of yet, nyet)
6. Go to Scotland [ ]
7. Ride to California [ ] (And because I no longer have a motorcycle, I'm not sure if this one will ever happen)

It's amazing how many things have happened in my life that have something to do with this list. I taught myself to play the ocarina long after I'd lost this list (and then I promptly stopped practicing and forgot most of what I'd learned).
I decided during college that writing really isn't what I want to do, and yet lately my thoughts have been turning that direction more and more.
I went English Country Dancing with some friends, and absolutely loved it! I waltzed and discussed English literature with a complete stranger. If you would have told me that was going to happen when I wrote this list, I would've thought you were crazy.
I now have access to Rosetta Stone's Russian program, and have gone through a few of the lessons. As with the ocarina, I have a hard time being disciplined enough to teach myself anything.
My interest in Scotland has, frankly, waned. Although I still love Scottish accents.
And my desire to return to California (especially on a motorcycle) has increased dramatically.

This moment of reflection has made me all the more thankful for my Sovereign Lord. Around the time I graduated, my lifetime achievement list began with TP-ing a house. Seriously? I was wanting to get married when I wrote this list. Granted, most of the list is pretty normal, and I would still really like to do them, but I marvel at what a different person I have become. Maybe it's not obvious to those around me, but life is a much more serious, beautiful thing now. Part of it is maturity, and all of it is God's grace.
I didn't know that my view of life would change so dramatically in just a few years when I wrote this list. But God did. He's orchestrated it all, every second! He knew what I would like and dislike at this time. He knew what would change, and what would stay the same. He has used every person, every moment, every atom to continually build my life toward its great purpose: His glory. God is the most eco-friendly Being that has ever existed, because He doesn't waste ANYTHING! Not even a millisecond can slip by that He has not used to its fullest potential. No success, no failure, no mountain, no eyelash, no drop of water, no speck of dust floating in space, no bit of calcium clinging to a stalactite in an undiscovered cave, no ant exoskeleton, no snap of static electricity, no tree falling in a forest where no one can hear it, no oil leak, no birth, no death, no injury, no sickness, no medical advancement, no medical blunder, no argument, no affection, no kernel of corn grown by Monsanto, NOTHING has existed, happened, or been felt that has not been exactly the right thing to create some sort of huge, intricate, most God-glorifying piece of art possible. My brain aches trying to imagine it! And one day, when this world has ended and we can step back and see this great masterpiece the way it is best seen... oh how will we not explode into a thousand God-praising pieces? I get teary-eyed just thinking about it.
Imagine, just try to imagine a goodness so great that it has taken the worst corruption our sin has created-cancer, aids, pornography, etc.-and turned it into something beautiful and pure! Praise to our incomprehensibly glorious God!

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." Romans 8:18 (emphasis added)

Tuesday, July 5

Prayer Request...


Um... so... You know how I've been praying for direction a lot lately? It is possible that I've gotten some. I don't know. But prayer is definitely needed. Pray that I and others would have wisdom. I don't really want to say anything else, because nothing has really happened. Someone told me I had a good idea, and that's about it. I don't want to build up excitement or anything, I just want to request prayer. So if you think of me, please pray that God would grant me much wisdom and clarity!

Thank you!

Saturday, July 2

Down With The Bloody Red Queen!

Good-bye, June! I think that was the most exhausting month I've ever known. I was gone so much that I actually felt like I'd moved away from home. It was... interesting.

So now that July has attacked with its devastating sword of heat and humidity, it's time for me to try to figure out what normal is going to look like. I really don't want a real job, but for now that seems to be the next step, so off I go, filling out applications and making *gulp* phone calls.

PRAISE!!! I've struggled for years with some severe telephonophobia. I not only HATE using a phone, I fear it. In the past I have felt physically ill at the thought of calling someone. It was dreadful. Granted, it could've been much, much worse, but it was very inconvenient and kind of embarrassing. For the past few years my dearly beloved family has been forcing me to step outside my comfort zone and make phone calls. The result? I'm much better now!
For me personally, my problem was (and is) pride. I couldn't see the face of the person on the other end of the conversation, and I am not very good at expressing myself vocally. I would hold a phone in my hand, ready to make a call, and think, "THERE WILL BE CONFUSION AND THEY WILL BE ANGRY AND I WILL JUST LIE DOWN AND DIE!!!!!!!" Which is, of course, a far cry from the que sera, sera, what-e're-my-God-ordains-is-right attitude I'd like to have at all times. The trick is not to think about it. The fact is, I need to make a phone call. I could blow it up into a tornado of terror, confusion, and fear, or I could just hit the "call" button, say what needs to be said, and hang up. Praise be to God that I'm finally decreasing my hesitation time before making each call!

And that's how I want to live my life. I tend to think things into the realm of impossibility. "Oh, that'd be great, but I can't because..." At this point in my life, I don't need to worry about what might happen in the conversation, and I don't need to worry about future phone calls. I just need to buckle down, bite the bullet, and hit "call". By God's grace, it won't be a wrong number.

He is good, my friends! So very good!

Sunday, June 19

Yellow Spider, Yellow Leaf, Confirms my Deepest Held Belief.

You know what I hate?


I hate that I just killed a spider.

Most of the time I can get by without thinking too deeply about it, but when these times of contemplation hit, they tear me up inside. That spider died because it was doing what it was created to do. It was in my home because it had an instinct to survive, and it survived best in my home until now. It had nothing against me, nothing against my way of living. It did not know that there is a no-spider rule in this house, and there was no way to tell it that.

And in one smash of a shoe, I extinguished life. Life! You can't replace that! I can't dispose of a little life and make more later (and if I could, it would end in a long-winded, yawn-inducing intellectual monster like Frankenstein's, I'm sure).

Don't misunderstand me. I don't think of myself as a murderer, or a trampler of arachnid rights. The spider needed to die. I needed the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the spider is not going to crawl into my bed and bite me. My issue is with the fact that the system of our world is death. It troubles me. It's wrong. It doesn't fit with the world God created, and I can feel it. All death is a result of sin, even the death of my tiny nemesis.

Off and on, whenever I have time and I'm not distracted, I've been reading The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky. So far it is a fantastic book (although I must admit, I seem to be a sucker for Russian literature). The issues and mindsets that are brought up in this book make you think, whether you accept them as your own views or no. Whenever I am struck by the grimness of mortality, whenever I find a dead bird or mouse, or smash a spider with my shoe, I think of one of the characters in Karamozov.
"Birds of heaven, happy birds, forgive me, for I have sinned against you too." None of us could understand that at the time, but he shed tears of joy. "Yes," he said, "there was such a glory of God all about me; birds, trees, meadows, sky, only I lived in shame and dishonoured it all and did not notice the beauty and glory."

When I first read these words, I dismissed them as extreme, impractical, and misdirected. And yet, as I discover more and more how all creation groans and suffers in its slavery to corruption, I find myself wanting to apologize to all that is touched by death's cold hand. The wages of sin is death, and though Christ has taken my death for me, my sinful actions take their toll on Creation.

Ultimately, whether I sin or not has little effect on the death in this world. There was quite enough sin in Eve's bite of fruit to ruin all of creation. But when I sin I show utter disregard for every crushed insect, for every withered flower, for every blue jay-raided nest, for every dead animal on the side of the road, for every cancer, for every star gone super nova. And more than these things, when I sin I show this disregard for the Death that brought Life.

This isn't a guilt trip for you or for me. It's simply an observation, and the voicing of a thought that I have long held in my mind. It's the reason I could never hunt, and the reason I sometimes go through vegetarian phases. But more than that, it's fuel to my desire for an eternity full of God's holiness, glory, and perfection!

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. Romans 8:18-25

The title of this post comes from the song "Yellow Spider" by MewithoutYou.

Nabawl lamdangnate hangin, Topa nang kongphat uh hi.

Hi-ho! I hope this post finds you well and joyful in the Lord. After two long weeks of waiting, I'm finally ready to tell you what happened after I made my last post. Sorry to leave you all on the edge of your seats for so long, but life has been rather insane (on a side note, when has life ever been sane?). So here we go. Hopefully I won't forget too much.

The week of June 6th was absolutely amazing. In fact, though I'm trying to only use this word when I mean it in its fullest sense, I would go so far as to say it was an awesome week. "Well now Sarah," I can hear you saying, "care to describe this week as anything other than vague adjectives that begin with the letter A?" Absolutely.

I've been trying to find a good way to sum up the week, but these attempts have been rather unsuccessful. The best I've been able to come up with so far is to rush my listeners through what a typical day was like. So imagine this.

You wake up in a very nice apartment after a very nice sleep. If you're me, you have your quiet time and then dress and eat very quickly, as you enjoy sleeping more than you enjoy eating breakfast. Once you're presentable, it's off to the classroom to worship with your classmates (I'm not sure what else to call them) and then hear a devotion brought to you by someone who has worked on the field as a Bible translator.
Now that your morning is sufficiently off to a fantastic start, you get a taste of translation and linguistics. You learn about phonetics, or grammar, or literacy, or how technology is used in Bible translation. Some days you even get to try hands-on language learning with refugees from Myanmar/Burma. More than anything, you learn about difficulties in translation that never would've crossed your mind. Things like, how do you translate "though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson,they shall become like wool." (Is. 1:18b) for a culture who cannot comprehend what snow is, and who do not own sheep?
After many, many short breaks, a lunch, and about half an hour of free time, the day winds down with a meal from a certain country. One night you eat chicken in a peanut sauce from Côte d'Ivoire, another night is full of yams and plantain from Papua New Guinea. After your delicious meal, it's back up to the classroom to hear field reports from Wycliffe workers around the world. If you're me, one of the best parts of your week is getting to mingle with people who have not only travelled the world, but who have been directly used by God to get His Word to every people, tribe, and tongue.

I want to thank everyone who prayed for me while I was away, and who may be praying for me still. True to its name, that week gave me a Taste of Translation and Linguistics. To my palate, it was full of exotic flavors that, though I was fascinated by them, I could not digest. Through the little homework we did, and all of the lectures we heard, the Lord made it very clear to me that I have not been given the mind of a linguist. As much as I love words, things like phonology and grammar were very difficult for me. I actually wonder if they were so very difficult for me because so many were praying for me to see clearly what the Lord would and would not have me do.

In the end, Wycliffe needs teachers, and would love for me to be one of them. I don't really want to be a teacher, though. In fact, I've been against having a future as a teacher for a very long time. Wycliffe also gave me some fantastic advice, however. They instructed me to go to the adult Christians who love me and know me best, and ask them to pray and counsel me. Naturally, I went to my parents. At this point I highly doubt that I will work with Wycliffe as more than a prayer partner and hopefully someday financial supporter, but I'm trying to remain open to whatever the Lord would have me do. If He makes it clear that He would have me go as a teacher, then by His strength I will go.

So, as I'm sure you can tell, prayers are very much appreciated. This past week God really had to work in me, and one of the things He worked in me was a renewed patience and peace. I still do not know the way I go, but oh, I know my Guide!

Soli Deo Gloria!

P.S. Another thing God showed me during TOTAL It Up was what amazing people He can make! His diverse taste is beautiful. I met people of different cultures, and people who far, far surpassed me in intelligence, and yet we all worshiped our Great God, and He received all of the glory. It was a beautiful thing, and made me long for Heaven even more! It also made last week, which I spent at a Baptist camp serving in the kitchen feel rather culturally stifling. But that's just me.

The title of the post is translated "For the miracles you did show us Lord, we praise 'n adore Thee." Taken from the Zokam hymn A Beitheilo Hehpihna

Sunday, June 5

I may not know the way I go, but oh! I trust my Guide!

Well, I really thought that when I posted again 'twould be with something cheery, but that doesn't seem to be the case. We'll see, I suppose.

'Twas the night before Wycliffe, and deep in the house,
Sarah was shaking like a timid little mouse.

This moment is so very much different than I expected it to be. Back in February, when I signed up for TOTAL, all I wanted was direction and a husband. Actually, I would've just taken the husband. When the Lord promised me that June would hold some answers, I was ecstatic! All of my worries were blown away with one word: June! Not sure if I should invest in a car? Oh Lord, hasten June! Not sure if I should get a job? Oh Lord, hasten June! Struggling to keep my heart captive? Oh Lord, PLEASE hasten June!

At some point in the Spring, I think I really did have this idea that on June first Dad was going to say, "Sarah, I just had a very interesting conversation with [insert name of some godly young man that I'd probably meet before June here]..." And maybe, just maybe, that [scottish?] young man [who lived in California?] would want to translate Bibles! Yeah! In June, everything I wanted would come to be. With fireworks and a parade.

Instead, I find myself five days into June (which is miserably hot and full of cicadas) scared to death. And single. And fat due to gluttony. But amazing things have happened in the past four months.
One of the most amazing of which (I believe) is that I am content to be single! I noticed it the other day, and I'm honestly afraid to think about it much at all. I'm afraid I'll wake up from this blissful dream. I'm not struggling to keep my heart captive, and I don't feel lonely! I'm content, and I pray that I will stay that way until I meet my husband. To see this growth is, to me, worth ten times the wait.

Another is that I'm not really worried about the future. I'm afraid of what I may encounter in that future, but I'm not worried about how I will get there. Whatever I find-pain, sadness, comfort, joy-will all be part of one great story. I trust the Author, so why worry? "His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me."

I am such a fool, though. Seriously, I'm afraid that I'm going to mess up God's sovereign plan. My head knows that that is impossible, but I still feel afraid. What if I think God's not calling me to Wycliffe only because I chicken out? What if I go that route only because I don't know of anything else to do, but that's not what God has planned for my life and it all ends in tears and misery?

These are the thoughts of a fool, and it's a fool who lets them into her brain. Typing them out has helped me, however. Tell me, Timid Heart, do you honestly believe that your God, who has brought you through so much (though it is so little), would leave you stranded? That He would ignore all of the pleas you, your parents, and your brothers and sisters in Christ have been offering? Prayers begging for clarity and direction? You honestly think that the God who loved you enough to die for you would now leave the life He purchased with His blood floundering in some sort of cruel mirror-maze of doubt? Fie upon thee!

And when he got into the boat, his disciples followed him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing." And he said to them, "Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?" Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. And the men marveled, saying, "What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?"
Matthew 8:23-27 ESV

When I began this post, my heart was heavy with doubt and pre-departure homesickness. But if my God is with me, whom then shall I fear? Bring on the storm! It will only serve to give me a clearer understanding of my Lord!

"I may not know the way I go, but oh! I know my Guide!
His love can never fail!
His love can never fail!
My soul is satisfied to know His love can never fail!"

That being said, you will pray for me this week, yeah? ;)

Thursday, May 19

Ours is not to complain.

It's been a rough couple of days.

Tuesday evening I started feeling sick.
Wednesday morning I woke up with a full-blown cold.
When I walked outside to enjoy the morning, I found a dead momma bird in my garden.
I then began to develop a strange rash, which I'm guessing is poison ivy (I've never had it before, so this is an unpleasant new experience).
I learned that my friends' dad has cancer.
Today I woke up feeling a little better! ^_^
But then I felt terrible again.
It's raining, and we are supposed to go camping.
There's a strong possibility that my wii is dead.
C-group is cancelled because our leader is suffering extreme mouth pain.
et cetera

But you know what? God is good. He is so good that even when I feel like getting in bed and staying hidden under the covers for the rest of my life, I am comforted by Him. Everything is in His hands. NOTHING catches Him by surprise. As I told the little kids in Sunday School last week, "God is Never-Tiring, and He sustains us." What need have I to complain? He is not unaware of my inconveniences - He planned them for my good and His glory. I will glory in my Redeemer, and rest in His faithfulness. Praise be to our Eternal Sustainer! ¡El Señor es siempre bueno!

[Note: My wii is NOT dead, and after some spicy egg drop soup, I think I'm on the mend! I am so blessed!]

Monday, May 16

And so what we have learned applies to our lives today... Part 2

Previously on Droll Digression:
God has allowed me to unwind, and taught me to trust Him with my future and see the smaller picture.

Once I was able to grasp the concept of viewing every day as my full-time ministry, life was a little easier to take. On a good day, I would wake up, have my quiet time, and look around for ways to serve. On a bad day, I was either incredibly lazy (big shocker there!) or right back to my worrying self. Things were looking up, but I was still praying for a more long-term direction with my life. Having peace wasn't the same as having an answer for those who wanted to know what I was going to do with my degree. There was always someone asking, and every conversation along those lines left me frustrated with my lack of direction. I still felt stranded in darkness, but I was no longer afraid, because I knew that I wasn't lost, but right where I was supposed to be.

Around this time God began to show me that this has often been the way He does things. For example, in Sunday School we are going through the Gospel of John. One Sunday my teacher noted that John the Baptist was led out to the desert, and spent some time there before his ministry began. It was so comforting to me to know that I wasn't the only one who felt they'd been taken out to a desolate place before their life's purpose came to fruition. What was John doing in the wilderness before he began to preach? I can only assume that he was drawing near to God.

That Sunday it became clear to me that even though I don't know what my future holds-I don't know if I'll ever get married, I don't know if I'll ever have a great job, or if I'll ever have enough money to buy a motorcycle or restore an old volkswagen beetle or bus-I do know that I have a great God, and that I could never cease to know Him and His Word better. I also realized that, rather than sit around waiting to be told what to do with my life, I should be preparing for whatever it is that God would have me do. If He called me to the mission field, would I be in-shape enough to work for Him? If He calls me to teach His Word, do I know it well enough to teach it? If He calls me to be a wife and mother, am I disciplined enough to care for a household and support my husband and children? Even if the answer was "maybe," it was obvious to me that I needed much improvement in all of these areas. This improvement became my day-to-day mission.

As I slowly grew closer to the Lord in these ways (and oh, oh! how far I have to go!) He began to answer some of my prayers. When I was willing to set long-term goals aside, He gave me a few. First, He allowed me to remember that I would have the free time to serve at Camp this year - something I very much wanted to do last year, but couldn't get the time off for.
Second, He allowed me to remember Wycliffe.

Back when I was still swamped with schoolwork, a missionary and good friend of our pastor's family visited my church while on furlough. She works for Wycliffe Bible Translators as a teacher to the children of missionaries in Africa. At the time, I was considering working to become an English teacher, so I was very interested in what she had to say. The next day I got online, and while I was looking for information regarding teaching, I discovered something called T.O.T.A.L - a Taste of Translation and Linguistics. It was a week-long workshop-type-thing in which you could see if Bible translation was something you could do, or you were interested in. It sounded amazing, but the only one near enough for me to attend happened to fall on my finals week.

For months I had completely forgotten that TOTAL existed, or that I had ever considered working with Wycliffe. Then, one evening, I was talking to Mom about the future. I don't remember all that was said, except that I mentioned the missionary who had visited earlier. As soon as I said her name, I remembered TOTAL. The next day I excitedly looked into it and signed up. During the first week of June, I'll be TOTAL-ing it up! It's been wonderful waiting for it. Whenever I am tempted to grow discontent, the Lord reminds me that He gave me a plan through June, and that He is faithful to take care of me after that, too. I don't know what to expect when I go. It could be that the Lord calls me to Bible translation, or it could be that He calls me to work in another area with Wycliffe, or it could be that He uses this to show me that He isn't calling me to such missions. I'm open to anything, and I'm praying that I stay that way.

God is good, my friends. Even when the future looks very bleak, we can trust Him! Even when all of the wisdom being given to us doesn't seem to mesh with our lives, He can make sense of it! He is marvelous! Who is like Him?

I want to end with a bit of realism. While God has been showing me so many things, I have not been receiving them perfectly. In fact, far from it! The more He blesses me, the harder it is to fight laziness. Some days I don't even struggle, I just give in whole-heartedly. I hate it. I hate the sluggishness that clings to my eyes when it's time to wake up, I hate feeling so lethargic when I need to work. I am so LAZY! If you don't believe me, you should see my bedroom. But I do hate it, and I am fighting it. God is faithful. By His strength, I will win this battle.

He is worthy of all praise! Worship the Good Shepherd, my fellow sheep! Bow before Him, for He is faithful!

Friday, May 13

And so what we have learned applies to our lives today... Part 1

Hey look! I have a blog!
I'm sorry that I haven't written here much lately, but the fact is that I just don't write much of anything these days. Part of me would like to blog weekly or something, but then I'll have to find something to blog about. We'll see.

For now, I suppose I'll give an update on my life situation.
It's been about seven months since I graduated with my BA in English. Since then I've had one job taking care of an elderly lady who went to my church. That job ended in December, when her need of earthly assistance had ended, and left me in the dark. I had no idea of what I should do with my life - nor what I wanted to do for that matter. I felt lost and frozen. Everyone kept asking me what I was going to do with my life, and I was terrified in my lack of direction. Looking back, I see that it was very good for me. In the roughest bit, God began to teach me many, many things - things that I knew in my head, but had never accepted in my heart.

First, He used this time to help me unwind. I didn't know how stressed I was during college until about two months without a deadline. I'm able to enjoy things again, whereas if I had enjoyed anything before, it was with a streak of guilt that marred the beauty of the moment. To enjoy something then almost certainly meant that I was neglecting an academic duty.

Second, He has taught me trust. There is no terror like the unknown. Any good suspense or horror writer knows that people are most afraid when there are unanswered questions. My future was one big unanswered question, and it paralyzed me with fear. Before I could take a single step in any direction, I had to learn to trust God's sovereignty. It's like they say, "I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know Who holds tomorrow." It wasn't that I stood pointing my finger at the sky and crying, "You don't know what you're doing! You have no control over my life!" Rather, my thought process was that if God has a plan, and I can't figure out what it is, something is wrong with the way things are being handled. Before I could begin to deal with the future, I had to be able to consciously trust God with every moment.

That led to the third thing that God has been doing in my life: He has been teaching me to see the smaller picture. The questions I was asking were good questions - things like, Should I go back to school? Should I volunteer full time? And if so, where? And if I did volunteer, wouldn't that mean I'd have to get a job so that I could pay for a car? What kind of job? - but as time went on God began to show me that while my questions were good, they were too big. I viewed my time in months and years, but when Jesus said not to worry about tomorrow (Mt. 6:34), He wasn't kidding. Each day is all that I'm promised. Each day is my future. My mother has often reminded me in this time that God's Word is a lamp unto my feet. When you're using a flashlight to walk in the dark, you can only see a few feet ahead of you, and that's all you need. That is so easy to hear and agree with, but so hard to apply, and doubly so when you're not even sure if you can see the light at your feet! But God has been teaching me that my feet are standing in one day: today. Until God says otherwise, each morning I am to seek His will for that day. Not the day after, or the week after, or the year after, but that very day, that very morning, that very hour. I am to do at that moment whatever would glorify Him most. Sure, it never gave me an answer for the "what are your plans for life?" question, but when I was finally able to grasp this concept, it brought me so much peace!

Well, the hour grows late, and morning comes swiftly. I will end here and try to pick up where I left off tomorrow. Things get pretty exciting after this point, so I'll try to finish soon. :)
May God bless you, and keep you, and cause His face to shine on you! He is good! Whatever happens, He is good!