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Adultery

I read this thing on my phone yesterday morning at work.

“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”

I got to thinking, what is the gift?

Maybe it’s salvation. Maybe it’s, conveniently, thanksgiving. I’m of the opinion that it’s prayer. Even when those prayers start and end with, “Lord, I thank you for today, though I’m not really thankful.”

Maybe the gift, in this context, is the death of Jesus, his life, and resurrection. Maybe its those whom He places in your life to love you forever.

I talked to my mom, and my dad, and my sister this morning. And it occurred to me:

This gift, possibly, comes in the form of those who require no explanation from me. They do not require justification from me nor do they decide, who I am.

There are those in your life, too, who will come and decide who they think you are or ask for your explanation of who it is you think you are. And in the midst of these carnivorous creatures I do believe that the Lord is there, waiting. He is waiting for you, but I am more or so excited to say, He is waiting for me. He waits for me to sit on his knee, all the fleshy parts of me, with my phone in one hand and my nail file in the other. He waits for me.

I want to tell you what He does not wait for. Explanation. Maybe this, is the gift. Because the walk of a believer is not black and white and it will not fit into a box. It is not ministry. It is not being a happy giver. It is messy and it is gross and it is grey. And I know I do the things I do and the reasons why I do them, and people are never ashamed to say well–it should not be so. It would not be so, if you trusted . If, you prayed. If, you read your Bible.

But he waits for me. Do you understand? It is like so:

They tell me I must wade into waters, where I will soon drown. Before I march in, I leave this on the shore for you. I pray you find it, sister, so you will know what was in my heart as I went under.”

-Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed

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Turn Aside

Part of being an adult is–

I already hate the beginning of that sentence. Like, who really wants to consider herself an adult? I know I don’t. Adults are boring and tasteless. But what I hate more than actually being an adult is the limitations that come with it. All the stop signs. And I know no one wants to think of themselves as being limited, and I know as Christians we like to think especially that we have absolutely NO limits at all because our God is limitless. But the older I get, the more I know my limits.

I feel like when I want to paint a picture I return to the stories of when I was a camp counsellor. I think I do that because that was a time I learned a lot, and struggled, and loved, and grew like a tree by the water who in seasons of drought did not wither. When I was a counsellor we were challenged to do this tight rope challenge. We had to walk across this rope roughly a million billion feet in the air from one tree to the next, nothing but open air beneath you. When it was my turn to give it a try–of course I waited until the end to go–I legitimately burst into tears.

I was a teenager here.

Now I’m in my 20’s and my limits are a little different. It’s not that pure, unblemished fear. It’s rather different.

Don’t go there. Turn aside.

It’s THOSE. It’s a lurking invitation. It’s a closed, locked door easily opened with a butter knife.

Do you understand the difference?

I cannot. I cannot.

Don’t go there. Turn aside.

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Annie, the Very Worst Optician

So it’s not exactly a bad-ass name like ‘Xena, Warrior Princess’ or ‘Captain Kirk, Captain of the USS Enterprise’ but I think it fits me. It’s a title I’ve been hearing repeated in my head for months now, and I think I’ve readily accepted it.

Because the fact of the matter is–you don’t have to be great at something, to like it. I don’t think a lot of people understand that. If they did, they wouldn’t freak out so much at what they’re good at and what they’re not.

Like Captain Kirk, I also don’t believe in no-win scenarios.

Maybe life, too, isn’t about being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ at it. Maybe it’s not about being ‘spiritual’ or ‘transcendent’ or above everyone else around you. Maybe it’s just about giving it your all.

That’s me, and my job. So regardless of if I passed my American Board of Opticianry exam yesterday or not, whether I brand myself as a failure, or am humbly known as “Annie, the Very Worst Optician”,

it is okay.

My Grandpa was driving me to my test yesterday. It was overcast and gloomy out, and yet, in the midst of a God given peace, I found myself asking, in my mind,

“God, what was this all for? If failing this exam is/was inevitable, what was it for? I don’t want to hear any more about how failure opens doors that winning can’t. I don’t want to hear how there’s something to be learned here that doesn’t have to do with optics.”

And it occurred to me, stuck in traffic, my anxious Grandfather behind the wheel, what this was all for.

“Fear,” he said.

And by he, yes, I mean God.

“Fear? of what?”

“Exactly.”

There was no “what” to fear. There was nothing to worry about. For the first time I was without both. They occupied no space within me. It took this test to get me there.

He’ll get you there, too.

And although I should close with the above, I’ve been thinking about something for the past day or so, and I want to mention that too.

When I lived in Arizona I dropped some jewelry down the drain of my bathroom sink, more than once. It fell so far down that I couldn’t get to it, but I could still see it down there. I used the sink anyway since I couldn’t get to it but I knew it was down there. I just didn’t do a damn thing about it.

I don’t remember what I lost. But I think about it, and I get sad. And I just want anyone who reads my blog to know this: God doesn’t want your life to be like that.

Lost jewelry in the drain.

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Watch the Dark

I heard this quote in college I really liked and kind of never forgot it:

“Good, better, best. I never let it rest. Until my good, is better. And my better, best.”

I forget where I was or how I heard it, but it was definitely in the college years.

If I can be honest, for a second, which is going to be hard, even on my own blog, I’ve been lonely for awhile now. All the actions I’ve taken have been to make that lonely less lonely. And none of those things have really worked.

Sometimes having a good time is just something we say were doing when, that’s just something to call it.

I’ve heard so much about trials and growing and how beautiful flowers only grow in deep, deep trenches of dirt and how when you’re going through the fire this _____ happens and analogy after analogy and it’s just like, I don’t care any more. I don’t care any more about my good better best.

Because sometimes, whether you’re in transition and you’re going from one place to the next or you’re deeply rooted in the place you’re in and you’re not going anywhere, this crazy idea still holds–

you just need time. Not to figure things out, or discover who you are,or what it is you think you want. In the not-so-deepest part of you, you know who you are and you already know what you want.

You just need the time. Not to improve your good, better, best. You just need the time.

My God, you see, He is a God of time.

Time to kiss and breathe and breathe in kisses. Time to write and suck at writing and time to fail tests and then pass them.

Time to watch the dark.