Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Broken Heart

While I was at the gas station today, this lady came up to me and asked me for money to feed her kids. I talked with her for a little while, praying while I talked to her, and I ended up offering to go buy her groceries and bring them back to her. She only asked for bread, lunchmeat, and ramen noodles- enough to make it to Friday when she got her paycheck. So I went and bought her what she needed, only to come back to find her gone. I drove around to the neighboring fast food restaurants to see if I could find her and waited at the gas station for a bit, but no luck. I don't know why it frustrated me so much. My heart felt burdened for her- here I was putting gas in my nice SUV, with a credit card at that, and she was just trying to feed her kids. And all I could hear in my head was, "feed My sheep" (different context, but the principles still apply). I prayed about what I would share with her about my faith when I gave her the groceries. I know that part of the reason why she even approached me was because I had a Baylor sticker on the back of my car. Which almost makes it worse. Because if she does show back up at the gas station, it just further tarnishes Baylor's reputation of its snobby rich kids. Sigh.
It's not the fact that I spent the time and money to get her a few groceries- it's the fact that I couldn't give them to her. So now I have some extra bread, lunchmeat, and ramen coming out of my ears. And part of me can't help but think, maybe I misjudged her and she didn't really need to feed her kids- she just wanted money and was perfectly content letting me drive off to buy unnecessary groceries. Which may be the case, but who am I to judge. I was being obedient to what God asked of me. But what I can't help but think that is even worse- her kids will still be hungry. I think this is going to be a challenging summer- I have already been approached more times in the few weeks I have been here this summer than I have my entire time at Baylor. I'm not really sure what God is trying to teach me in this.
And yesterday, I took a friend to the laundry mat, and I sat and talked with a beautiful 5-year-old little girl. You should have heard the things she told me about her life. She talked about how her mom had left her by herself at her house, had locked her in the bathroom. She talked about how CPS was called, how the police chased her mom, how she was now in jail. She talked about adults doing "nasty" things. All sorts of things. I wanted to cry right there. It broke my heart. It sure puts things in perspective- I came to the conclusion that if the only reason I didn't get the internship this summer and got stuck in Waco, Texas was so that a little 5-year-old little girl could have someone to talk to at the laundry mat, someone who could make her laugh and listen to her story and show her Jesus' love, I am completely ok with that.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

A Timely Sermon

I was able to go home this past weekend, which was so great. Of course, the weekend was too short, but it was nice to be home. Most of the time was spent with extended family, which included an all-inclusive celebration for a graduation, two birthdays, and father's day. Gotta love family. Of course, it's always enlightening to spend time with my extended family. You know, "never a dull moment." There's always some new drama that is ensuing. Classic stuff. I love my family, don't get me wrong, but they're crazy. Pretty much, they're just insane. It always weighs on my heart how much they all need Jesus. Desperately. Sigh. I continue praying...
The pastor at my church back home is retiring, and they are in the midst of searching for a new senior pastor. Until then, they have had a lot of visiting pastors. This weekend, I got to hear a sermon from a guy named Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham from DTS. I think God had him prepare the sermon just for me. It was one of those. He spoke from Daniel 7- of power, glory, kingdom, abundance, victory, and dominion. He also looked at Jesus' words in Mark 8-10- of suffering, rejection, self-denial, and death. He talked about how Jesus has an order to things which are distinctively Christian. So many times in our Christian walk, we focus too much on blessings. We live our lives thinking we are actually "entitled" to such blessings just because we are children of Christ.
I sat there listening to his words and realized that he was talking about me. I have been so self-focused this past year. So upset that God didn't have it go the way I had wanted and/or planned. Upset that CL stuff was hard. Upset that issues with friends weren't getting better despite my efforts. Upset that my brother never wanted to see me when I was home. Upset that I didn't get an internship. Upset that I didn't have a cool summer plan to tell people about. The list goes on about what I was so upset about, it's embarassing. And all because I felt I was somehow entitled to those things. Like I deserved them somehow. How could I reach that point? How could I be so prideful and arrogant?
Needless to say, this weekend was quite humbling, because God gently reminded me that I don't deserve any of it. I don't deserve the countless blessings I do receive every day. Christ's plan for me is not to be blessed. It is to be more like Him. I need to choose last place so that others can be first. I need to be a servant to everyone around me. My mind should be consumed with denying myself, while I let God concern Himself with the power and glory and blessings. Because Christ's message involved suffering and the cross before glory and the empty tomb. Self-denial comes before the things mentioned in Daniel 7.
And yet in His process of humbling me, God was so sweet to continue to remind me through my quiet times this week that He hears the cries of His people. He reminded me that He knows the desires of my heart. He knows the plans He has for me...those plans are to prosper me, not to harm me, to give me a hope and a future. He reminded me that He is faithful and that He always keeps His promises. And He reminded me that when I am at my weakest, He is at His best.
And so...I am learning to wait with a listening ear and a ready heart to do His will. I am learning to trust Him more completely with the dreams He has implanted in my soul, the promises that He has made for me. I am anxiously awaiting the time when, just like Sarah, I will be surrounded by laughter at the wonderful way that He accomplishes His purposes despite my weaknesses.
Currently Listening: Your Love is Extravagant, by Casting Crowns (Casting Crowns)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A Summer of Growth

So it is the end of week 2 of my summer in Waco. School is pretty boring. I had my first exam this past Thursday. It took me exactly 7 minutes to take. I was so frustrated that it took me 30 minutes to drive to and from MCC- almost 4x the amount of time it took me to actually complete the test. Oh well- at least it is easy. Work is going pretty well. I am working 15 hours at the desk in North Village and 15 hours over in the dean's office at the business school. I pretty much study and/or read all the time. Which is kind of a nice change from the crazy schedule I am used to. There hasn't been much for me to do over at the business school- I check the mail, walk mail around to the different departments, answer the phone when the office staff is out to lunch...nothing too exciting yet. I decided that I had reached some sort of pitiful low in my life the other day. Why? Because I actually got excited when they let me shred papers that day. LOL. What can I say? I need to be doing something. Which was part of my problem last semester. I couldn't just be idle. I felt as though I was wasting time, being unproductive, being lazy. But I am learning that this idleness thing is not necessarily an evil thing. At least not when I am not intending to be lazy, but, rather, I am intending to still my heart before God...

I may have mentioned before that I have determined that this must be a summer of growth for me. I still am working through the whole 'not having an internship' thing. It's scary for me because I have to have one to graduate. And I have tried 2 summers in a row to get one and have been unsuccessful. It's hard for me to admit to failure. I'm a perfectionist, I work hard, I give 110% in everything I do, I never do a job half way. It makes sense to me to obtain the things you want if you work hard to achieve them. So for me to put all this effort pretty much into everything related to school/an internship/my future career and come up empty handed is new to me. I'm not trying to brag on myself. I am just working through some pride issues. God has been so gracious to grant me the success I have had in my studies this far. It's hard when that doesn't come in other areas.

Anyway, so the summer of growth has to do with working through all of the above issues, as well as just being still before God. Being still and being quiet before His throne, listening intently to the things He wants to share with me. I desire this intimacy with God, and have for a long time. And I am starting to understand that maybe part of the reason I didn't get the internship  and why I am stuck in Waco this summer with nothing really exciting to do is so that I could have quietness and rest in my life. So that I could use this time to deepen my walk with Christ without all the usual and chaotic distractions. Part of me hates it- like I said, I have to be doing something. But I am learning, I am growing. And although I still have issues to work through in my heart, I am reaching the point where I am grateful that God would love me that much to take everything away so that I would be forced to spend time with Him, and only Him.

Currently Reading: A World of Art, by Henry M. Sayre

Thursday, June 1, 2006

I'm a Working Girl...and Aliens Influence Art

So I have been working at the University front desk at North Village. It's been pretty good so far- not too eventful. Aside from some goofy boys, it's pretty boring. I do have an offer to have me "some sophomore blood" if I am interested. You'll have to ask about the story- some guys are a bit...forward. Anyway, in addition to working the NV desk, I will start on Monday as an administrative assistant in the office of the dean of the b-school. I'm pretty excited about that job. So I am a working girl now. Unfortunately the pay isn't that great (gotta love $5.15 work study), but at least it's work. And it is work that God provided. I may also have a gig at the Michael's teaching some scrapbook classes, which would be really fun.
So today was my second day of Art Appreciation. What can I say? We appreciate art. Nothing too exciting. Although, today was pretty entertaining. We watched a video on how ancient art may have been influenced by visitors from another planet- mainly aliens and/or extraterrestrials. I am pretty sure the prof was just trying to be cool and make class fun and that he didn't really buy into the whole theory...but it was definitely interesting. In between stifling my laughter and trying to appreciate the art in the film, I started to think about it. It amazes me how people can laugh at Christianity because of the "absurdity" of the whole faith system. And yet they will believe that little green men are the original source of all major religions (which is what the video claimed). Yes, Christianity has to be taken on faith. But I also believe there are elements that are pretty logical, too. I have a logical mind- and Christianity makes sense to me. Sure, there are things I don't completely grasp. But all in all- the "theory" of Christianity is pretty sound. But little green aliens? I don't get it. Why is it not absurd to believe that aliens visit the planet and influence religion and art, but to believe that Christ sacrificed his life for others, is who He says He is, and wants a relationship with us is? Needless to say, I did some praying while I was trying not to be too weirded out by the video...
Currently Listening: More, by Matthew West (Happy)