Tag Archives: Moody

Where I Belong

“Maybe you’ve been away from your family for a long time, and you get to fly home tonight. They’ll pick you up at the airport, and it’s hard to find anything that compares to that joy of running into their arms.” The chapel speaker was talking about home and heaven this morning, and my mind started reeling, thinking of the glimpses of heaven God has granted me on this earth – the places in this life where I have found pockets of Home.

The Most Joyous Day of the Year – no, not Christmas. The wheels touching down on the tarmac, walking down the airplane stairs into the oppressive humidity and into the airport as quickly as possible, gulping in the familiar smoky air. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the bags, impatiently shifting from one foot to another. Finally crossing through the doors from baggage claim, seeing my Peruvian family after a year. Sprinting into their arms in a chaotic storm of Spanish, English, tears, and laughter. Sound kisses on cheeks, strong arms finally tangibly wrapped around me after a year of aching. Smiling so big my face could crack open, accepting the water bottle Zaida instantly has ready, and walking outside to board a motokar for the first time in so long. Home.

A left turn onto North Rd. after four and a half hours in the car. Rolling down the windows to inhale the Pure Michigan air. God’s country. Finally pulling into the cabin. That first step into Piatt Lake, the first view of the sunset. Black stillness on the footbridge, stars reflected in the water below. Worship in the Miracle Building sanctuary, the trek from the cabins to the sweet shop, sitting on the pontoon with my dad, Tuesday night bonfires, pizza at midnight with Kendra. Home.

Ian and Avery clamoring for space on my lap. Taking hundreds of goofy pictures on my phone and laptop, telling yet another story “when me and Avery and Ah-Ah and Bo Bo and Papa went to a farm.” Will smiling up at me from my arms. Avery growing sleepy and snuggling. Home.

Moody. Chicago. Sitting in my room talking to Molly. Walking the tunnels to CPO or the SDR. Answering phones at work. Sprawling on the floor with the girls on my floor. Taking the Brown Line. Lake Michigan. Walmart Express. Classes, finally knowing my way around Sweeting. Home.

Sitting on the couch in the living room, watching Julian Smith videos with Bo. Mom doing the dishes while we try to watch TV. Laying on my parents’ bed at night, just talking. Waking up in my basement room. Farrand-to-Irish-to-Vienna-to the best Mexican food I’ve ever had. Fields, whistling wind, getting the mail, walking to the church. The librarian knows me by name. Home.

Turning into the driveway on Cole Rd, knocking extra-loud so Nana and Papa hear it. The pink room. #inthecornfields. Lady sitting on my lap in the big chair. Country magazine, morning devotions, and making dinner. Seven minutes flat from the back door to Jocie’s front door. Advice from Papa. Walks around the Arboretum. Crossroads Farm. Home.

Coffee with a friend. Weekend visits. Laughing until it hurts. The kind of hugs that you melt into and feel instantly safe and sheltered by. Long car rides. Fall walks. Home.

I’ve been so blessed to catch glimpses of heaven, of Home, here on earth. The problem with all of these things, though, is that they end.

The Most Joyous Day of the Year is followed in a few short days by The Saddest Day of the Year. Back at the airport, the tears flow again, the arms cling again. Sobs wrack my body as a soundproof glass wall separates me from the people who have worked their way even more deeply into my heart.

Summer ends and I have to cross the Mackinaw Bridge again, this time in the southbound lane. I leave the small cousins to go back to school. I leave school and everything changes before I come back. My parents sell the house I grew up in and soon I will have no legal right to sleep in my childhood home. Lady dies unexpectedly, Nana doesn’t remember me, and the barn is being sold. There are no more walks around the Arb because I’m no longer friends with the person I walked with.

The last drop of coffee is gone and it’s time to leave the cafe. The weekend is over. Sheltering hugs end within two minutes at the most. Fall turns to winter.

And then the speaker says some of the most powerful words I’ve heard in a long time.

“When we trust Christ, our souls find home.”

All the glimpses of Home I’ve been given are but temporary. They’re like watching but a few seconds of a preview for the most epic movie to ever be released. They’re not meant to be my home, but to make my heart long for my true Home – with Christ.

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Comm[unity]

In a world of fake, forced community, where “hihowyoudoing” has become one single word, spit out by a person who hasn’t even stopped walking; where any admittance of failure, hurt, or vulnerability is met with befuddled stares and uncomfortable, awkward exits…
In this world,

I am so thankful for the community God has allowed me to be a part of.

This season of life is stressful, and sometimes “hihowyoudoing”  is most honestly be met with

You know what, today sucks.
or-
I’m actually not okay, and I’m not sure when I will be.
-or-
I’m rejoicing from the deepest part of my soul.
-or-
I’m carrying so many burdens for other people and I’m so grateful I can do that but I’m about to crumble from the pressure.

Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep,” and that is truly what I have been taught to do here at Moody. Never before have I realized the depth of this verse, the feeling of rejoicing with and being rejoiced with, mourning with and being mourned with.

Never before have I felt so acutely that I am not alone.

My friends get excited with me over things that would ordinarily not excite them in the least. We stop in late at night, after work or meetings, to see how the interview was, if she got the job, if she passed the test, how teaching went. Bare feet pad down the halls at 11:30 pm to jump up and down and muffle screams with pillows. Six or seven girls sat through Handel’s Messiah because our dear friend had a solo… at the very end. We eat way too late at night, go for walks in the pouring rain, and close our computers to turn around and be present.

There are girls on the floor who invite me in to talk and let me ramble for an hour and a half. One girl came and read in my room on Saturday… nearly two hours in total silence, working on our respective homework, just being together. Sharing life.

It goes both ways. We don’t just share each other’s joys, we share each other’s sorrows. “She’s hurting” becomes “we are hurting,” So many times we’ve sat on the floor in a tangle of arms and legs, physically and tangibly surrounding the one who has been hurt. In my room, the mantra is “never apologize for your tears.” We stroke hair, scratch backs, give hugs, and hold our tongues in favor of comforting. We share. We share meals, we share emotions, we share life.

This season I’m in is uniquely blessed. Right now, I have a support net of people who help carry each other when life gets hard, and that same support group will walk a mile or two in the rain to celebrate a victory with Chinese food. I can’t do this “life” thing alone, and for these four years – I don’t have to. I just have to walk down the hall, or go to work, or look across my room.

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Surprise!

Over the last few years of my life, I’ve learned that God enjoys working in the background in my life, through the little things I tend not to notice. This way, rather than logically connecting A to B to C to D, I look back and say, “WOW. God was working that whole time, through all those confusing/inconvenient/illogical things.”

The end result – due mostly to my general state of oblivion – is a little like the surprise party we threw my mom recently. I know He’s up to SOMETHING, but I could never dream it would be this. Looking back, I realize there were moments when I wondered what was going on. There were moments where I thought, “that’s weird, God doesn’t usually speak to me in this way,” or “Huh. That was an incredibly confusing answer to my prayer,” or “Why didn’t ____ happen the way I wanted it to? It’s not like it would have hurt anything!”

In these moments, sometimes I briefly wonder what God is up to, back there behind the scenes. When I look back in my journal, there are a lot of entries that say things like, “God, I really don’t understand what You’re doing here.” Those moments tend to pass quickly; a fleeting thought or scribbled sentence, soon replaced by the next thing demanding my attention.

I’ve got that feeling again. The feeling that maybe God is planning a surprise party for me. My course load is light this semester, I’ve made contacts and networked in ways I never dreamed of, and there are loads of new freshmen for me to meet. My best friend is here now, at my college, in my city. The student group I’m in is going in new directions. I’ve read three or four books about radical living and sacrificial giving in the past year, I changed my major, and I finally have a home church.

Basically, I’m starting to get suspicious. Starting to wonder why (to stretch the metaphor probably too far) God keeps whispering when I leave the room. I’m beginning to see things that can’t be called coincidences. Little details have shifted and changed and fallen into place just enough to make me question.

My heart is tight in anticipation. I know He’s up to SOMETHING, I’m just not sure what. Every time He drops another little clue, my heart pounds with excitement. Each time I open a new door, I brace myself, wondering if this is it… or if it’s just another step in the process.

Someday, I know, I’ll open that final door, and be completely blown away by what I find. And God will be there, smiling, and gently say,

“Surprised?”

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Not Tomorrow Yet

“We’re going to play in the rain, do you want to come?”

I had my night planned out. Classes start tomorrow and I needed to look over my syllabi, pack my backpack, put my schedule on my wall. I was going to heat up my leftover Chinese food and make a sign listing the books I’m trying to sell. But as my roommate begged, pleaded, and listed the million and five reasons why I absolutely HAD to come outside and leap around in the torrential downpour, I realized something: classes may start TOMORROW, but it’s still today.

And so, fresh out of the annual Vespers service, and with “Oh Happy Day,” still stuck in our heads, seven or eight of us crammed into the elevator in gym shorts, tee shirts, and flip-flops. We giggled in giddy anticipation as the floors ticked off on the display above our heads. 5,4,3,2,1, and we were in the lobby, huddled together staring at the deluge which had produced flash flood warnings in the greater Chicago area.

“On your mark, get set, GO!” screamed Grace, and we sprinted through the doors of Houghton Hall into the already flooded plaza . The deepest puddle reached the middle of my calf, and I was drenched to the bone in an instant. Like elementary schoolgirls we squealed and giggled, kicking plumes of water at each other as we ran around and around.

Shouts of, “HOLY CRAP, that’s COLD,” and “I can’t see anything!” and “Oh my gooooosh, this is so fun!” and “There’s still a dry spot on your back!” rang through the plaza. Upperclassmen carrying umbrellas gave skeptical looks, total strangers joined in the fun, and laughter tears mingled with the rain on our faces.

After ten or so minutes of stomping as hard as we could while screaming at unnatural pitches, we headed back into the dorms. On the way up, we drenched the floor of the lobby and the elevator. And seven college girls (no, really! We are! I swear!) tumbled out of the elevators onto Houghton Five, still gasping and giggling, dripping wet, shivering, and smiling.

Tomorrow will bring its challenges. Tomorrow I’ll drag myself out of bed before 6 am. Tomorrow classes start, tomorrow my job begins again. Tomorrow I have to eat in the SDR, have to decide what to wear, have to get back into a routine.

But it’s not tomorrow yet. It’s still today. And today, I walked over 3 miles in the rain to and from my home church. I listened to a message that cut me to the core. I ate Chinese food with my best friends. A lot of Chinese food. And ice cream. I painted my toenails. I made commitments, promises, and plans. I worshipped. I sang “Oh Happy Day,” and did the motions even though no one else around me was doing them.

It’s still today. And today, we played in the rain.

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Come Over?

I’m sitting at the kitchen table in my house in Millington. I’m not entirely sure how I got here; it still feels so surreal. My mind hasn’t wrapped around the fact that I’m away from my other home, my Chicago home, for three full months. I’ll see something in my closet and think, “I should take that back to school on Monday.”

Then I realize I’m not going back to school on Monday. I’m not going back to school for three more months.  The shortest nine months of my life have come to an end, I’m no longer a college freshman.

I’m sitting here sipping my iced coffee, with six or seven tabs open in Chrome, a to-do list at my side, and The Classic Crime playing.  I’m trying to figure out how to sum it all up.  I’ve spoken of the things I’ve learned, the friends I’ve gained, the friends I’ve lost, and the latest city to tightly tie itself around my heart.  From coffee shops, train rides, classrooms, and my dorm room, I’ve told you stories of this past year of my life.  Yet, now that it’s time to wrap it up, the words fail me.

There’s just too much to say, too many topics to cover and emotions to convey. Do I come at it from a humorous angle, telling tales of the time I knocked over a marathon runner, the late nights spent wandering around Millennium Park doing bird calls, and all the times in 501 when we laughed until we cried? Or should I go the sentimental/literary route, making up allegories of running and birdcages and freedom to describe the intense sea of grace I have recently found myself drowning in? Maybe I could make a list, attack the last nine months from a logical perspective. I could just state everything I’ve done and learned and tried, without adding any embellishments.

It’s a lot easier to talk about things one at a time. I had no problem posting about my changed major, my new church, or my friends. But when I try to sum it all up, it’s like yet another assignment for class. I find myself trying too hard to cram everything into a post of manageable length. It’s impossible. I’d much rather have you come over for an afternoon and sit at the table with me.  We could share the homemade iced coffee I just learned how to make, and then you could see.

You could see the smile that spreads across my face when I talk about my summer plans and my new major. You could hear me laugh and see the joy in my eyes when I tell stories of my friends and I. You could see the tears pool in my eyes when I talk about my girls at PCM, who I’ll likely never see again. We’d talk for hours, you and I.

Come over?

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Major Changes

They say the average undergrad student changes their major about five times.  I’ve always regarded this statistic slightly pridefully, with the air of smugness that comes from “having it all planned out.”  I’ll graduate from Moody in 3.5 years with a degree in TESOL (and Bible, of course), and move to Central/South America. (Hopefully getting married somewhere in there.) There, I’ll teach English fulltime as a missionary and, on the side, work with teenage/young adult girls who have been abused or involved in the sex trade.  Sounds like a good plan, right?

Let me back up about four years.  I was reading the book “Zealous Love” by Mike and Danae Yankoski, and came to the chapter on human trafficking.  Tears poured down my cheeks and my stomach turned as I read the accounts of girls, often as young as 5 or 6 years old, who were sold into the sex trade.  An overwhelming feeling came over me as my heart broke for these women.  As a 14 or 15 year old, I didn’t really know what to do with that feeling, but I bookmarked a few blogs and vowed to pray for the women and children caught up in that sickening industry.

Last year, on a whim, I picked up a $5 CD at Family Christian Bookstore.  It was called “Freedom: Artists United for the International Justice Mission,” and it featured several bands I like.  As I looked over the packaging, I realized it was a fundraiser for IJM and included a DVD.  I watched the DVD one night and cried again as the stories of women who had been rescued from prostitution and slavery… but all I did was cry.  After all, I already had my plan (see above).

My plan started out really well.  I came to Moody.  I declared TESOL as my major.  I started Intro to TESOL.  I observed some classes, wrote some lesson plans… and… little by little, realized I don’t really want to spend every day of the rest of my life in a classroom/writing lesson plans.  Rather than being super excited for my upcoming classes, teaching for PCM, and my internship, I would kind of slump my shoulders and resign myself to the coming realities.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about feeling convicted and not knowing what to do about it.  After I wrote that, I started to pray a lot about where I was going with my life.  The books I’ve been reading, things I’ve been studying, and discussions we’ve been having at Gospel Community have made me realize I need to do something different.  I’ve been slapped in the face a lot lately with the reality that, while it is an incredible door into lives, English is not a basic need.  Those who are starving, being sold, without homes, or in desperate need of true love do not need to learn English.  They need food, freedom, shelter, or love.

As I prayed, I began to realize something.  When I think about my true dream – the thing I’m the most excited about when I tell people “my plan,” – it’s not standing in front of a class or writing lesson plans.  It’s the part I always refer to as “on the side.”  It’s the reason I attempted to interdisciplinary (basically a minor, for those of you who don’t go to Moody) in pre-counseling.  I want to work with girls who have been wounded, sold, and stolen.  Girls who had their innocence ripped away from them, who were so desperate for money that they sold their right to themselves.  I want to teach them that they have worth, that they are beautiful.  To LOVE them.  To show them the One who will never, ever abuse them.  From the first time I read about the issue of sexual exploitation, I have had a burden in my heart for those girls.

Yesterday, in chapel, one of our professors stood at the podium and said she had a “very exciting announcement.”  She announced that Moody was beginning a new major: Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.  As she explained the details, tears pooled in my eyes and my mind began scrambling.  The first conscious thought I had was, “I have to do this,” followed shortly by about six reasons why there was no possible way I could do this.

One at a time, throughout the day yesterday, God countered each of those points.  In fact, He didn’t just counter them, He gave me even more reasons why I needed to lace up my shoes and run.  I called my mom, who had been sitting in a chapel at Bo’s school while I was in chapel.  Their speaker was a missionary from Peru (of all places!) who runs a shelter for battered women… many of whom have been rescued from sexual exploitation.  The first class for this major fit PERFECTLY into an hour and fifteen minute hole that just happened to be in my fall schedule. 9-12 more credits from Mott would transfer in with the switch.

I got my change of major form this afternoon and filled it out.  When I went to the Missions Department to have it signed, the hallway seemed deserted.  “Okay, God,” I whispered.  “I’m 99% sure this is what I’m supposed to do… but if it REALLY is… just give me one more sign?” (Oh, me of little faith…)  I walked to the end of the hall, towards what I was certain would be a deserted office, and there was Dr. Sisk.  He signed off on my major change as chair of the Missions Department, and I was gone in about 30 seconds.

I could easily write another 900+ words about all of the tiny details, “coincidences,” and neon signs shouting that I should go ahead with this that have happened in the last 48 hours… but I’ll spare you the extra reading.  As of next week, everything should be approved, and my major will be officially changed from TESOL to Ministry to Victims of Sexual Exploitation.  Do I have a 5 or 10 year plan?  Nope.  But He does, and I know that there’s nothing better for me than His plan.

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Convicted

“That Jesus did not command all his followers to sell their possessions gives comfort only to the kinds of people to whom he would issue that command.” – David Platt, Radical

Tears sprang to my eyes as I read these words last night.  There I was, lounging on my bed in my dorm room, eating popcorn, and reading a chapter of Radical about global poverty and the church.  For me, it was nothing out of the ordinary.  But to a child whose parents are struggling to survive on less than a dollar a day? I was lounging on my bed complete with four pillows, a down comforter, and a fleece blanket.  I was in my dorm room, which implies not only a roof over my head, but that I am participating in higher education.  I was eating popcorn… not for dinner, even, but just because I was a little hungry and had a craving.  And I was reading, an activity which is unfathomable for children and adults in many parts of the world.

I’m so blessed, and I know I am called to share those blessings with the less fortunate.  More than called, in fact, I know I am commanded multiple times in Scripture to give to the poor, to care for the orphans and widows, and to make less of myself.  I generally think I’m doing okay.  After all, I tithe, I go to Peru, I give my old clothes to Salvation Army, and I’ve never cared about brand names or big spending.  In fact, I think of myself as a fairly frugal person most of the time.  The lifestyle of the rich has never been appealing to me.

Then I decide to “treat myself” to a milkshake “just because.” I walk back from Chick-Fil-A, sipping on my creamy, cold $3.49, right past at least 15 people who will have no dinner tonight.  I buy a new shirt “because it’s on sale,” when the children I have loved and held in the villages of Pucallpa are overjoyed to receive the shirt I wore for two years then decided to throw to them.  I send two suitcases of winter clothes home with my parents because there’s not room in my dresser for two seasons’ worth of clothing, as refugees a few Brown Line stops away lack even one pair of gloves.  I throw away an entire plate of food in the SDR because I don’t like it, then read stories of brothers and sisters in Africa who eat a half a cup of rice A DAY.

How? How is this possible? How can I continue to read those Scriptures, to read chapters in books like this, and remain unmoved?  Sure, my eyes filled with tears when I read that quote.  Yes, I looked through my pictures from the orphanage in Pucallpa and prayed for those children.  But I looked through those pictures on my Macbook Pro while painting my freaking fingernails.  Kids are starving, dying, impoverished, and I was painting my nails while crying over them.

There is something wrong with me.

What is wrong with me?

I’m no monster.  I don’t sit stoically in the face of these statistics.  I can readily admit that it is my Christian responsibility to do something about it.  I cry, okay? I CRY OVER THEM.  But the truth is, these tears don’t matter if they don’t lead to action.  I can cry all I want.  I can feel guilty for years.  Until I am moved to actually do something, I might as well be laughing in the face of the dying children.

I don’t know what this means.  I’m comfortable in my Middle Class White Anglo-Saxon Protestant lifestyle, complete with an iPhone, a meal plan, and a 2007 Ford Taurus.  I like having clothing and entertainment options at my fingertips.  I enjoy the luxury of having study Bibles in multiple versions, books for fun, and the occasional midnight snack.

It’s not bad to live a content, comfortable life, thankful for the blessings God has showered upon me.

But where is the line?

I truly don’t have the answer to this question.  All I know is for the last couple years, God has very steadily been making my uncomfortable with my level of comfort.  He has been placing books, speakers, sermons, and documentaries in my path to shake up my way of thinking.  He has used my trips to Peru and experiences with rescue missions to begin breaking my heart for those less fortunate.

As I stand here, teetering somewhere between terrified that He’ll call me to literally give up everything and hopeful that I’ll have the chance to prove my faith in such a tangible way, I am convicted.  Where this conviction will lead, I don’t know.

But Jesus is worth it.

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Things I’ve Learned

Things I’ve Learned Since Coming to Moody that are Neither Academic nor Spiritual:

  • Big Burger Thursday = Pizza Day
  • The Red Line always, always, always smells bad.
  • Taco Tuesday is only worth it if you get there before the second section of NT or OT gets out
  • The bakery on the way home from church has no entrance.
  • If I fail a quiz because I was on the phone with a crying friend, I’ll actually remember it.  If I pass the quiz, I’ll forget.
  • I’ve been missing out on a lot of good movies.
  • There’s no substitute for a sky full of real stars.
  • I really, really, really love my family.
  • The pace I need to walk to ensure that I never have to open my own door when there are guys in the group 😉
  • The exact number of minutes it takes to get from my room to Sweeting 3 (seven), Alumni Auditorium (two if I take the stairs, five for elevators), or Torrey-Gray (five) for class or chapel.
  • How many times I can hit the snooze button and still have time to make coffee, brush my teeth, and put my hair in a ponytail (up to three).
  • The subtle differences in accents between Michiganders, Minnesotans, Missourians, and Pennsylvanians.
  • CPO is generally a disappointing place.
  • The amount of pride I have for my state is ridiculously large, even given the number of Michiganders who attend Moody.
  • I’ll never be able to refer to us as “Moodies” without feeling like a ridiculous poser.
  • Don’t walk to Ghetto-Donald’s in the dark without boys.
  • I don’t care if bro-sis is an elaborate matchmaking scheme, I love those guys like we were actually brothers and sisters.
  • Whistling is maybe more obnoxious than any other noise (except gum chewing/snapping)
  • Road trips with college friends are infinitely greater than road trips with high school friends (except the road trip where Jocie and I went to GR with a trunk full of Value-Zone food. That has yet to be topped).
  • Every band I want to see comes to Chicago. This is one reason I am very, very thankful for my job.
  • It’s hard to find concert buddies when you like obscure bands that most Christian homeschoolers have never heard of (ie, NOT Chris Tomlin or Hillsong…)
  • Dude. Immune systems are incredible.
  • Commons meal replacements are the way to go.
  • Being sick at college sucks, but it’s better when you have friends to make you macaroni and cheese.
  • It’s almost as easy to pick out Moody students wandering the city as it is to pick out tourists.
  • Tourists, in general, are really naive.
  • Food is expensive.
  • I’m a really slow laundry-folder.
  • I’m not as good at photography/school/graphic design as I once thought I was.
  • I love the view of the skyline from Oak Street Beach.
  • I know what Oak Street Beach is and how to get there.
  • I like coffee and spinach.
  • I just might enjoy city life as much as I enjoy country life.
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The Things We’ll Remember

Five girls sit huddled close together on the floor as beds and chairs stand empty.  Appendages are tangled together – an arm slipped through another arm, legs piled on top of each other, a head on a shoulder, a hand stroking hair.  Prayers mingle with tears and laughter.  Half-finished homework is strewn across the room, abandoned for more important things.

———

These are the things we’ll remember ten, twenty, even fifty years from now.  We won’t remember which quiz we failed or which assignments we turned in late, but we’ll remember the reasons why.  We’ll remember the late nights spent speaking out the hard truths, the early mornings we dragged ourselves out of bed to go to breakfast.  We’ll forget the terms and references we crammed into our brains at 3 am the night before an exam, but we’ll remember the people we were cramming with, the late nights at coffee shops and the long walks back.  We’ll remember the things that can’t be taught in classrooms.

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Stretched Thin, Spread Out, Worn Down

Sometimes, feelings bottle up inside and the only way to sort them out is to write them. This blog post is a result of those feelings. It may not make complete sense, and I promise that I’m not looking for your pity. Sometimes, I just need to share. Thanks for “listening.”

I should begin by saying I realize that my life is great. I am entirely aware of how blessed I am.  I’m a student at one of the top Bible colleges in the world. I have a solid group of friends who prop me up when I’m too weak to stand on my own. I have finally found a home church, and joined a Gospel Community there. I’m in classes for my major now, I have a job that I love, and my basic needs are met: food, water, shelter, etc.  If you look at my life on the surface, it’s “pretty great, actually.” In fact…

“I’m fine.”
“I’m doing great.”
“Life is good.”

These are all things I’ve told people over the last few weeks.  But they aren’t entirely accurate.

I’m balancing 17 credit hours, 15 hours a week of work, homework, Puente, 5North Min Team, PCM, some semblance of a social life, and sleep.  Actually, “balancing” is the wrong word.  It would be more accurate to say that I’m “precariously juggling” all of those things. And then there’s the fact that, as a human being,I’m required to experience a certain amount of feelings.  I lost one of my closest friends over Christmas break and I’m trying to find time to just be sad for a minute.  I sat in the hallway for over an hour, crying with another friend over her deep hurt. I’ve started counseling to deal with the hurt from our church split last spring. I’m actually homesick this semester, especially for my little brother. There is increasing tension in my group of friends that needs to be dealt with. Between my lack of sleep and the knowledge that each day will bring a lot more stress, it has become increasingly difficult to stop hitting the snooze button.

I’m stretched thin, spread out, worn down. If I could wave a magic wand to get anything I wanted, it would be a long weekend on a beach with a pillow, my Bible, my journal, and some music.  I long for sunshine and warmth, for the laughter and freedom that summer brings.  I want to spend a few days at the farm on Cole Rd, cooking for Nana and Papa, watering the steer, and rocking in the corner of the living room reading old issues of Farm and Ranch. I want to go to East Lansing with Maggie and Jocie and eat at Chipotle and go to Bubble Island and talk for hours.

None of those things are options right now. Instead, I snag a few free minutes to journal each day. I take time to breathe and relax before I fall asleep. Coffee is my new best friend, and I’ve started eating breakfast in an effort to have more energy throughout the day.  Sometimes I pause to stare at a wall for a few moments. Gospel Community is a welcome time to break out of the “Moody bubble” and share life with people outside of my daily circles. I make myself find joy in the little things. I remind myself that I am a wretched, awful sinner, but Jesus loves me in spite of myself. My roommate listens to me complain. I look at pictures of sunshine and beaches and summer. I hug people a lot. Gramma Kelci gives me frequent back massages. Sometimes, like last night, I drop everything and do something spontaneous with my friends. When none of those things work, I hide under my covers and talk to Jesus until I fall asleep.

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