Monday, December 27, 2010

Ordained Our Mouths With Praise

A few jumbled thoughts this evening that I will attempt to bring order to in a few short minutes because I am tired.

Disclaimer: This thought may not be finished, or complete, or polished with a big shiny red bow on top. So please, allow me to use this for my own learning experience, and if you'd like to continue with me, brace yourself.

This past Sunday, Barry talked about John 1:1-2. He broke it down word for word.
And spent (what felt like to me) the majority of the time speaking about the word, word.
In Hebrew, word is logos. Words were not just words, they were a happening. An event. Something that could not be flippant, or taken back. Words were meant to be said with entire meaning. And they were only said with complete meaning.
In Greek, the word word is also logos. But to the Greek people, words were something that were ultimate truth and knowledge. In Genesis 1, we see many examples of God using words to make things happen. Words, to Greek people, were ultimate knowledge because God used them to create. To begin it all.
Around the time Barry was talking about the Hebrew meaning of the word "word", Chris leaned over to me and said, "I want to think about words like that. I want to use my words like that."
I nodded my head in agreement, and it's been stirring in my head.
If anyone knows me, I use a lot of "I dunno"s "I don't care"s and "I'm fine"s. I've been holding people back from fulling loving me by using these phrases, that don't let people in and push them away. (Goodness. I have had this conversation 14 too many times, and I have yet to beat it into my foolish brain. I am also currently learning about my pride and stubbornness. People have to have a lot of patience with me as of late.)
I'm so afraid of failure, I'd rather not do it.
That's my mindset.
(Again, back to that beating into my foolish brain. But I'm getting off track.)

Today, a Spontaneous Song by Kim Walker-Smith played over my iPod. And I heard these words:
You have ordained our mouths with praise.

Ordained.
Meaning
1. To confer holy orders upon.
2. to decree, or give orders for.
3. to destine or predestine.

We have been given holy orders, we have been decreed, we have been predestined, with our mouths. To praise. Him.

Our mouths.
Yahweh. Already our breath praises Him.
Our mouths, the words that we speak, should praise Him.
Each and every one.

Going back to Barry's message,
Each of our words should hold weight and meaning that even we cannot comprehend. The words we say should not need to be taken back. The words we speak are happenings.

He has ordained our mouths with praise.

Oh, how I long and desire for my words to praise and glorify Him. I long to stop my flippant insults, and take them quickly back with a "just kidding" or "I didn't mean that". I want my words to hold weight and meaning and specificity.
Because He has ordained it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Impact


I am learning that I have impact.
I am learning that I am more than this seemingly wretched human form I am trapped in.
I am learning that the small things matter.
I am learning that I love the simple.
My heart breaks for those who are breaking, and never once have I stopped to show them that they are not alone.
My heart loves for those who are unloved, and yet my life does not reflect that a single bit.
My heart reaches out to those who are suffering, and never once have I told them about the hope that they can have.

Who am I to take on the role of Christ?
No matter how I try, I cannot save those who need saving. I cannot love unconditionally. My heart cannot hold the lives of everyone I come in contact with.

But what can I do?
I can share. I can share Him. I can share Him through the way that I do love, the way that I show some they are not alone, the way that I live my daily life.

I have impact. The small and simple mean something. Always.
I am making life changes. Not because the new year is coming, not because of some epiphany, not because I am dying and need a change. But simply, because Christ is calling me to be more than I am now.
I have impact.
We all have impact. 
It's time we lived like it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Longing For Purpose

I have been longing to simply find the meaning. What is the purpose of school madness? Of silly fights? Of busy schedules?
It's all been something that has rattled around in my brain because I feel like, if anything, I have been hindered in my relationships with others, and my relationship with God. 
But who am I to measure the worth of the things I am doing?


I was considering not going back to school. I was considering that it wasn't worth it, and it wasn't teaching me anything I didn't know. "It was putting me in a box."
How arrogant. How silly of me to think that I am the exception.


I have been toying with this thought, and pondering why it is even there. There are a lot of times in my life where I have considered myself the exception. I don't have to go to school, because it doesn't do anything for me. I don't have to be intentional with relationships, because they should be intentional with me. I don't have to clean my room, because it's just going to get messy again. I don't have to do things I don't like because I don't deserve that. I don't have to obey my parents because I know what I'm doing.
Do you see how this thought can continue on down a path of destruction?


The truth is-I am not the exception. I never have been. I need education, I need to learn to be clean, I need to obey my parents, I need community even I have to be the one initiating it, I need to do things I don't like because that is life, and that is how I will learn.
These things have been placed in my life for purpose. To teach me, to push me out of my comfort zone, and learn to do everything I do for His glory, and not my own.


Do you know what goes along with believing I am the exception?
Sin.
I have believed that I am the exception to sin because He has already forgiven me.
I could not be more foolish, and my heart has broken over realizing this thought has sat in my head for the past 16 years of my life. 


God did not forgive and redeem so that I may live as I want.
He did, so that I may live freely within His teachings. That I may live freely in His word.
He longs to give me my life. He longs to give me a life of freedom. He longs to give me everything that He wants for me.
But when I look at it as "I can sin whenever I want, because He already forgave me"...
I don't even have words for how foolish I have been.


He forgave and redeemed for His glory, not my own.


My heart breaks, because I have not been living in love. In life. In His will for me.


Oh, what a world He chooses to love...


The purpose, the meaning to all of this,
is Him.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Something That I Long To Share

There is something that I long to share.
There is something that stirs inside my soul that longs to burst forth, so that everyone may know.
There is something there.


Words cannot describe.
Eyes cannot see.
Ears cannot hear.


Only hearts can feel.


This thing, 
This something.
It's Joy.


And although, like I said, words cannot describe, I am going to do the best that I can.


It is as if every moment is a changing season. It's just like when Winter has been here for so long, and Spring finally comes. Feel, inside your soul, that beginning. That refreshing, recharging state of mind.
It is as if every moment is the reaching the top of the tallest mountain you have climbed. You stand there, at the top, and look down on the paths you have taken to get there. No matter how many bumps and bruises you have gotten, you are now on top of the world.
It is as if every moment is that first moment you hold a baby. No matter how alien-like they still look, newborn babies, when they smile so wide, cause stirring in hearts. Their eyes holding onto everything new, their fingers grasping anything they can touch. As if every moment is new life.
It is as if every moment is the moment when someone saved you from the wretched place you were in. When you were beaten, and broken, and had no desire for anything anymore, and this person comes along, and pulls you from the ground. Your body jolts, and your head gets dizzy, but it feels so good to be back up. 
It is as if every moment is meeting a new person. A complete stranger, who tells you a story you never would have guessed they held. And you lock eyes, and know that this deep moment with this stranger will last in your heart forever.
It is as if every moment is drinking an ice cold glass of water on a hot day, or finally curling under blankets on a freezing day.
With the intensity of a hit funny bone, it grasps your soul. And your breath catches, and your eyes close, and everything seems different.
Because as soon as you see it-your world focuses on it.


I am overjoyed to tell you, that Christ IS joy. That He has overcome the world, for us. For me. For specifically you. He has come for us, and He has given us a hope.
He has placed in us, joy.


When did we stop living like these words are true?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Ponderings

I just wrote out an entire blog and erased it, because it was going nothing like my brain is going right now.


So, I'm going to write my brain.


-Chris is home today. He was gone for five days, and has come back feeling refreshed. We both feel a stirring in our hearts to push each other more toward the path God has been planning for us. We've reached a time when things are really busy, and it's too easy to get caught up in the world. I am going to admit that first hand, because it happens to the best of us. I am so grateful for this man in my life, that encourages me in the things I love, and lifts me up when I'm down. I'm so thankful that he is here to uncloud my often cloudy vision.
-Registered for classes. I am going to be really busy, and it's going to be hard. I'm going to want to give up at times, and allow myself to barely skim by. But this coming semester must be different. I have to see that everything I do, is for the glory of God. And what do I say about Him, and to Him, if I am just barely getting by? 
-I love my family. My blood family, and those who are dear friends. I love to love. If that is one thing that I know, is that God loves me. And I know that there is no better feeling than to be loved. I long to share that with every person I know, because I dearly love each and every person. I love loving. God has recently tugged on my heart to love more. So, I am pulling those I love closer to me, so that they may know my love. And I pray, that I will be an example of His love. I long to love. My friends, my family, anyone I come in contact with.
Love. Unconditionally. Other-wordly. And dearly.
Always. It is in my heart, and in my mind, and I don't know where I would be without it. God saved me, with His love. He pulled from the bottom, with His love. God is Love.
Love.
-My room is freezing, and we need to get the plastic wrap stuff to go around my window.
-I need to get myself a bank account, and start searching for a job.
-Drink less coffee.


-Thank you, Jesus, for this life I live.
And for each person you have strategically placed in my life.
-Thank you for my freedom from my chains.
-Thank you for peaceful night's sleep.


-I am passionate. About a lot of things.
I need to begin actively seeking my passions, and running after them full force. I long to see more than I have ever seen. I long to write more passionately than before. I long to create things that are truly my heart and mind written out.
I am a person of passion. I need to live as one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Community

When I think of community, it frightens me. I mean really, community? As in large groups of people all pretending to love on each other, but actually just trying to get out of things as much as they can? 
Not my idea of fun. Uck.


But digging deeper, and into the biblical version of community, we see something entirely different. In Acts (2:42-47, 4:32-37), we find everyone gathered together-they were eating together, growing in Christ together, and every need was met. In Romans 12:16, we find that He says, "Live in harmony with one another."Galatians 6:2 says, "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ."
But a Bible verse that I have come to love, and is entirely applicable, is 1 John 1:7,
"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."


Do you hear this?
I'm going to write it again.


"But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin."


We already have fellowship with each other, through Christ.
We all have one thing in common-God. The Holy Spirit lives inside us as Christians. Why would we not want to fellowship with one another? 
In 1 Corinthians 12, we find that each of us have our own gifts, that Christ has given each one of us. We also find that we, as Christians, are a body.
A BODY.
As in, this one guy is the shin, and this girl I know is a finger, and this other girl is the ear lobe, and this kid is the ankle bone.
We are all unique.
And as we all know, our bodies have about a kajillion and one different parts. But without one part, we wouldn't work right.
A BODY.
A KAJILLION +ONE PARTS.
ALL WORKING TOGETHER.
As in, this guy is really gifted with words, and this other girl is incredibly incredible at painting, and this other kid can memorize things like crazy and pretty much can quote the whole Bible, and this other gal is really talented at giving life to those in need.
AND IF ONE OF THESE STOPPED DOING WHAT THEY ARE GOOD AT...
(I'm sure, if Taylor reads this next word, he will be amused.)
disfunction.


We are meant to be a body. We are meant to do the things that Christ has instilled in us, with other people.
This means that I need other people. Because although I may connect with God by sight, someone else may connect with him by hearing, or playing, or drawing, or writing, or dancing, or singing.
My goal, as a human, a Christian, and a daughter of Christ, is to know God.
And although it will not ever happen, I long to know all of God.
In order to know all of God, I need community to share with me the things they draw, sing, dance, play, hear. These people, in my life, were given to me so that my blinders will slowly be lifted from my eyes. And they will become less and less, and I will start seeing the big picture...of God.


So tonight, when asked about what being intentional with people means,
I had to check my own intentions.


I had to bounce back to what God wants of me, and who I long to be.


And in an entirely biblical sense?
I long for community.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Welcoming Back For Winter

It has been so long, since I've written a blog.
I didn't actually realize that I had stopped, it just happened, as if it's a normal step in life. (I guess, of course, everyone lags at one point or another. My lagging period was just a little bit longer than some.)
Winter is coming. Thanksgiving is almost here. Christmas is a little over a month away.
And I lay in my bed, with 7 blankets on me, and remember why Winter is so rough (excluding the fact that the inside of my home is colder than outside.). I remember why I needed blogging and excessive journaling, and creative brain flowing consistently through my house.
Because Winter is messy. Winter is the season that makes me want to throw my hair into a messy bun, and wear too small long-sleeved shirts with much too big jeans, and slipper socks, and stare out my window at the beautiful things God has given me.
But what else comes with Winter? Cold. Dark.
The trees pause to rest for many months. There aren't any flowers, with their colors reminding us about other life. Animals go into hiding, and the ones that don't turn to survival mode leaving carcasses strewn about in various hidden places.
And the cold air that falls down my throat, reminds me that too-warm will not be considered for a very long time.
Oh, gosh, my mind is so disastrous, I hardly remember my topic.
It's so hard to stay on track.

The main point.
My brain.

My brain does not want to pause like the trees. My brain longs to continue budding, producing beautiful colors, and plentiful fruit.
My brain does not want to be hold on hold for the messy, hard months of Winter. Even when storms come blustering in, I want to remember that I have shelter.
And so I believe I may start blogging again.

I need to begin picking up things I long for, that I strangely set down for too long.
I've begun a new journal, simply for inspiration and creative journaling. I've begun to crochet, and have decided I like it better than knitting. I'm listening to music that is good for my soul, and singing at the top of my lungs. I've begun covering myself with blankets, and spending time replenishing my soul with my family. I have begun to be intentional with people. I have begun to love people, rather than judge people. I made a list of goals for the next year of my life.

Oh, goodness.
The point.
The main point?

I have dropped things that I need, because sometimes I feel like maybe I am too much. I have stopped doing things that stir my heart strings, because maybe, I over-react about little things, and it really isn't that important.
I've been lying to myself.
And this? This is important.

I need this again.
And so, hello blog. Hello my dear friends, family, and various readers.
I'm returning again.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Why am I a photographer?

Recently, I have been asked a few questions repeatedly-
What got you started in photography?
Do you want to do this forever?
and
Why are you a photographer?


I am a photographer. My hand forms into the shape of holding a camera on a regular basis. I see better out of my left eye than my right eye, because it's the eye I shoot with. I sit back, and I watch and observe. When I am behind a camera, everything goes down to slow motion, and I can hear my heart beat, and see the smile and laughter of my client in a slow-motion movement.
It's beautiful. It's those black and white home videos of your grandparents you wish you could live. It's the part in a movie where you are about tojump from your seat because the problem was just resolved. It's the beat of your heartwhen you are enjoying a perfect day with the ones you love.
Photography, for me, is the body of a dancer, the voice of a singer, the hand muscles of a pianist, the pen of a writer.
Photography is simply....
it.

When I was a freshman in high-school, I was doing online school. I wasn't allowed to see friends, I was home alone, and I had zero self-motivation.
One day, while on a walk, I noticed so many things-birds singing, trees dancing, bees buzzing. And I was thinking how beautiful it would be to capture this. This moment, when the world seems so still.
So, I brought out my parent's camera (that we were forbidden to use), and went on a walk. And I tried and tried to take a picture that moved me, shook me, and created a fullness in my heart.
But I'm not really much of a nature photographer. I couldn't get it...just right.
And then I thought to myself-what betterway to capture emotion, than to use the person that is feeling. So I grabbed my tripod, and found hidden places where I could set it up and take photos of myself without being absolutely embarrassed.
As time went on, I was feeling more. I had sad days,happy days, hard days, and easy days. And I found that the only time I felt truly connected with myself, God, and the world around me was when I was taking pictures. I wanted so badly to photograph others, but my family generally hates being in front of a camera and wouldn't do it.
So I learned to observe. I learned that it wasn't that hard to photograph the honesty of the moment-when the person had no idea they were being photographed. It became a competition, and struggle, and defeat, for me to take pictures of my family members that they didn't know about.
And each time...it kept getting better.
I bought myself my first (and so far my only) dslr. A Nikon D40. I was in love with it, and I didn't even know how to use it.
It became my best friend. It became what usedto be writing-my outlet for feelings. I used my photography to capture myself. Pictures such as these were the ones that meant the most to me.
These images were who I was. Looking back on them, it breaks my heart because I was so broken, and I was so scared and I felt so alone.
My photography became the only thing I had. The only place that I could fully be myself, and not put on the face of- I am perfectly okay.
So to answer the question of how I started-I started because I needed to get out. I needed my innards to be placed out in the open, so that they would not burst from me. I needed to be myself for an hour or so of each day, so that I could be okay with not being okay.

Soon after I felt myself "really starting to get good", Christopher came along. He added me on facebook, we talked all the time, he bought me a lens for Christmas (and brought it to me in a freaking blizzard!), and he soon taught me everything I needed to know about the manual functions of a camera.
My camera and I became even closer. I began to speak her language, so that my language would be spoken to those who saw my photos. My heart began to connect to her heart, and she was soon my only friend in my broken and confused world.
God was, by then, reshaping my life. And my heart was so caught up in the emotions, that I rarely paused to see how I was actually feeling. And it bothered me. So again, I picked up my camera. And although I stayed with self-portraits for awhile, I became comfortable in finding other things to express my feelings. Stephanie became a regular model. I was again capturing the emotions of my family, because restoration was beginning to happen. I started to find smiles on faces, because they were able to realize that they were stunning, pretty, beautiful, intricately created perfectly to how God intended.
And there was nothing more filling than that.
Chris and I began to shoot together. And it was overwhelming, and it was scary.
I was being pushed and shoved around for the sake of photos, and it felt good.
We have had good talks, bad talks, hard talks. But they've all come down to the fact of-our goal is to comfortably shoot, in our own styles and voices, together.
My favorite photos began to look like these-




Still capturing life, but differently. My photos didn't include only me, and it felt so good.
Soon enough, Chris asked me to shoot his clients along with him, and I loved it, because I was always capturing the inside moments that he couldn't get. Eventually, I was getting people asking me to do their photos as well.
I am still learning to capture honesty in a posed photo. I am still learning that it is okay to ask people to pose ways that seem uncomfortable, because they'll love the photo that comes from it.
My new favorite photos are photos of seniors, weddings, families, and much more.




To answer the question of would I like to do this forever?
Yes.
Recently, I have been given to opportunity to literally SHOOT OFF my work, and my clients. I have been getting more clients than before, and Chris and I have learned how to successfully shoot together.
This is not only a hobby, but it is a business. I do not wish to put the label of "business" on it, simply because I'm not a fan of shutting things into boxes. But I do know that I long to share what I see with others. I long for people to see in themselves what Christ sees of them.
So I will make that available, to anyone that asks. Because I am a photographer.

Why am I a photographer?
I am a photographer because that is what Christ has instilled inside of me. That is the drum that my heart beats to. That is the rhythm that my mind and body form to.
Christ has given me an eye and a heart for people. I love being a photographer, because it forces me to find the good in every single person. It forces me to find beauty in all.
Christ has given me this eye. And I will not ignore that. I will not attempt to remove that, because it is forced into my heart.
Sometimes I debate whether I have what it takes. I wonder if I am good enough, if I have enough motivation to get things like editing and meetings done. But the truth is- of course I do. Because this is what Christ has made me.
And if for the rest of my life I have 8 seniors a summer, 3 families a year, and two weddings a year, that will be enough for me. Because that gives me the chance to intimately know each of those people. It will teach me about those around me, that Christ has created to have relationships with.
I long to deeply know people.
And photography is the way that I am able to do that.

I do not wish to be "successful" in the eyes of the world. I do not wish to be a world-renowened, international photographer. Yes, that would be nice.
But my dream is to be a photographer for those in need of one. My dream is to be that for those directly in front of me, here and now.


I am a photographer.
It is my sweaty palms. It is my butterflies in my stomach. It is my itch in my throat. It is the beating of my heart.
But most of all-It is my worship.




Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Affections Stirred

A while back, it was an average day spending the night with my sister, when she asked me if I wanted to come with her to babysit the Deutsch kids. My first reaction-absolutely not.
SEVEN kids. SEVEN. Me? With seven kinds? Seriously? Come on.
Alyssa glances over and adds in, "I'll pay you half."
Crap. I need money. Photo stuff isn't going well...and it'd really just be nice to have a bit of money...
My mind started going through the pros and cons. And I kept coming back to saying no.
But I kinda needed a bit of money...
"Just try it once. Really, it's not as bad as you think it is. Just once. And if you hate it, you never have to come again," Lou said.
"Fine," I grumbled.

When it was time to go, we drove out there. What seemed like literally forever from even MY house, we got there. And I was starting to regret my coming. I mean...if you know anything about me-I'm really not good with kids. I've even gone far enough to say that I hate them a few (more like about a hundred million) times. And I was about to walk into a lion's den of children. (Yes, I really did compare children the ages of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to lions.)
We got there, and all of the kids stood at the door waiting for us. They were so excited Alyssa was back, and that she had brought someone new (me) with her. And my heart just melted at the sight of recently adopted Flint and Meadow with smiles from ear to ear. And I went in, and found the tiny Miss Clover, with a blanket up to her face and bed head like you've never seen. And the walls of my heart tore down. I couldn't help but fall in love when their teeny hands grabbed onto mine, and showed me around to each room, and proudly showed me which bed was theirs.

Let me pause this story, and go back a decade or so to when I was real little.
Ever since I was probably the age of comprehension, I've wanted to be a Mom. Whenever someone would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, into the 6th grade, my answer would be, "A Mom!". I was still asking for dolls for Christmas, when the other girls my age were getting much bigger and better, "grown-up" things. My Mom always tells stories of when Zach was just born (Before I was even 2...) I would get real nervous when he would start crying. And I would beg my Mom to hold him, comfort him, something to get those sad drops of water to stop coming from his eyes.
Every single time I see a baby, my heart smiles from the deepest to the most shallow places. It literally swells in my chest, and I feel like I can't breathe. And I get a stupid-big smile on my face, and can't stop staring. (I know it may seem creepy, but I do it with the best intentions. I mean, how can you not look at the brand new eyes and soft skin of a baby and not fall in love?)
And what's even more heart-melting than a newborn? Well, a newly adopted child. I've always admired the parent who can take a child who they have never met, and love it with everything they are. And it's ugly, and it's hard, but it's so beautiful to me...the restoration. The smiles on the faces of those who would have had none without this willing family to take them home, and cherish them, and call them their own.
My heart beats to that drum, ladies and gentlemen. And it has since the very start.

But guess what?
I had become hard. I had become cold, and walled up to the very thing that broke my heart for the things that beak His. I had become walled up to the fullest amount of joy I could have.
Why? Because all I had seen from children was broken, tired, worn-out Mothers.
I cannot tell you the amount of mothers I have seen that seem tired and annoyed with their kids. Even to the point where they turn their cheeks to the wrong-doings of their children, and pretend "it's just a stage, they'll grow out of it."
That frightened me. I don't want to be that Mom that runs around with kids that everyone hates because they're so awful. I don't want tobe that Mom that is tired. I don't want to be that Mom that forgets that their child needs guidance, because I am worn out.
And if my life-long dream has been to adopt- how can I possibly love a child that I did not carry in my stomach for nine months? How can I possibly not become tired and sick of a child whom I did not carry in my own womb?

So this is where the walls came up. These walls came up out of fear, and hurt. I "knew" I could never be a good enough Mom, so I gave it up.I hated the children I saw, I hated the mothers that I saw, so I gave it up. I put up walls.

And a few weeks ago, I was asked the question- What stirs my affections for Christ?
What is that one thing that makes you tick?

And my first thought-photography. Of course. That's been it for so long because that is a direct wire from my heart to Christ. What I see with my eyes is something I cherish, because I know it is from Christ. My photos are my worship. Of course photography stirs my affections for Christ.
So I dismissed the thought. I already know what it is...why try finding other things? Not a big deal...
But Steph and I were up late one night. And she was venting to me her ponderings of the question. And so my mind went there with her. And where did my mind go?
And I tossed it around in my head-why? Why did these kids keep coming up in my head?
Children stir my affections for Christ.
And tears immediately sprung to my eyes.
So I thought about it a little bit more.

And I realized-Tisha and Bob.
That's what stirred my affections for Christ.
They know parenting like the back of their hand (I mean...with 7 kids, how can you not?). I'm sure they read all the books, and did all the research. But they didn't know what it would really be like. No one really does know.
And so they went into it with their vision a little bit impaired. I'm sure they mess up sometimes, because every parent does. But their love for their children exceeds much of the love I have ever experienced. And my heart swells at this thought.
There is a mother out there who deeply, tenderly, passionately loves her children? There are children who are well behaved, and their mother is not made of stone? There are huge families that love each other?
Really?

My heart was broken for the things I had missed because of the walls I had put up before me. Because I simply couldn't love children, because I would end up being worn out, cold, and tired. Who wants to be that?
I was too worried about myself, that I muffled the very thing that God had called me to love. God has called me to be on love with children, because children stir my heart. And they make me see again the love of Christ. The relationship between an adopting parent and their new child, is an image of Christ. The relationship between a mother and her daughter, and father and his son, they're all an image of Christ and His child.
I am the adopted child.

I look at the Deutsch family, and see something that is not seen very often.
A perfectly happy, perfectly imperfect, perfectly in love family of nine.

Because the truth is- Children stir my affections for Christ.
Motherhood stirs my affections for Christ.

And Tisha, your family has lit that fire inside of me. I feel so incredibly blessed to know each child of yours, and be able to call you a friend.

When I grow up, I want to be just like you....
(and my Mom, of course...)
(I was planning on putting more photos on this blog, but they don't seem to be in the right format, and I can't change them at the moment...so nevermind...)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

That's How Good It Feels

One thing I would like to think I am-is a peaceful person. I would like to believe that I can handle any situation with the utmost grace and mercy and peace than anyone has ever seen. I'd like to say that I am an easy-going person-you know, that girl that really doesn't care what other people think of her, and is willing to just go with the flow.
But I'm learning that that's probably not true.

I'm a worrier. I sit and worry and contemplate and run circles like a hamster on a wheel in my head continually. I'm a girl that asks "what if" all the time, and can't stop to think that the "what if"'s are generally what leads to worrying. I stress over small things.
I am, straight up, a worrier.

And when times of peace come, it feels so dang good.
I know deep down, if my trust is based on Christ alone, I wouldn't have to worry. I don't need to worry. Because He's got it covered.
So in reality, at my core, I am that girl that goes with the flow and has a sense of peace about her because really, I don't care what we do. Because I am up for anything.
At my core, in my heart, that's who I am. But I let the small worries and stresses of daily life get in my way.

Right now, I am in a place of peace.
School is coming up-I'm starting at PPCC in August. Going back to school, interacting with people, starting college. I need a new camera, and I'm not stressing about it anymore. Nikki is leaving for college, and I am okay with it. We may be moving in the next 1-10 months. I have to get rid of my dog for a time.
Each morning, I can wake up, stay all day in my pajamas. I can spend my morning cuddled up with my dog, listening to a sermon, or writing or reading. I can sit in the living room and hear the chatter of Stephanie doing a client's hair, while I write a blog and feel the fresh morning air pouring through the windows before the heat sets in for the afternoon.

God has put my heart in a place of peace.
And since I know that's really who I am at my core, it feels so deliciously good when those times come.
And I will drink it in as if it is my last sip of water. That's how good it feels.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Time

Sometimes it's frustrating to follow the rules.
Literally painful, even.

Last night I was scorned for being on the computer at midnight. But I've been told this before. A couple days before, I was scorned for not telling my parents that while I was hanging out with Alyssa, we invited Chris along. I've been told this before too.

What is it that causes me to "forget" things I don't want to hear?
What is it, in my human brain, that literally pushes out the things I don't want to hear?
I feel like my conscious isn't even existent anymore.
It doesn't even register in my head that maybe, I might be doing something that isn't okay.
When did that go away?

The thing is-I need people to keep me accountable to that. And in order to do so, I must tell them what they need to keep me accountable for, or else they will not be able to help me.
I need someone.
I need people in my life to tell me when I am slipping, because the slip easily becomes a crash and fall.
And this slip shouldn't be done alone, because I am physically unable to pick myself up.
We've seen that.
We know that.
I am a sinful human. The deepest parts of me tell me that I am evil, and I am wrong.
But Christ has wiped me clean, and loves me anyway.
Christ is the one that picked me up when I fell, and I need people with Christ-like traits to prevent my slip in the first place.

It all starts with me.

Christ is in relentless pursuit of my soul.
I must be wholly devoted.

I must be willing to admit that I am wrong sometimes. I must be willing to listen to the rules and boundaries that have been placed in my life by people who love me.

From now on, I will place my own rules to an extreme, because I cannot handle them on my own.
My computer will be in my parent's room at 10 o'clock. Everything I need to get done must be done during the day.

Yesterday at Starbucks, we talked of priorities. My priorities need to be turned off of me.
As Mark Driscoll said, living a single life is selfish. And although I am not single, I am not married. And there is still a lot of selfishness that can come even from dating.
I need to prioritize my life. I need to go to bed, and wake up, at a decent hour. I need to spend my time wisely because the truth is-there is no measure to my time. Christ is the only one who knows the day, the hour, the second that I will breathe my last. And that could be today.
And I hate the saying "live like you're dying" or "live each day as if it is your last".
But the truth is-my time is not my own, but it is Christ's.
And it must be spent in better ways, because I cannot remember the last time that I spent my time glorifying Christ in my day-to-day every second life.
And that hurts.

GOD! You are all I need.
I pray that I will follow and glorify you in all my days.
I give my time to You.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

There Is Ugly Everywhere

I always talk about how I can't wait to get out of Falcon. I can't wait to finish seeing the faces of people that haunt my past and continually remind me of the destructive path I accepted...happily.
Little did I realize, Falcon is a safe haven compared to many others.

I am blessed to be where I am. Here, I am not surrounded with the many addictions I could have easily drowned in. And although I still see people and things I don't want to see-I am no longer being force fed those things.
I am redeemed.
And absolutely nothing can force me to reduce that to a smaller event than it is. Because really it is not even an event at all. It is a lifestyle. A life to live. Eyes to see. Heart to feel. Mind to think.
My redemption cannot be contained or labeled.
Truth is-there is ugly everywhere.
But this ugly was put there by the hands of the very one who destroyed me before. This ugly was not put there or created by God. And that is something I must remember. God is a God of love, so He has given us free will. And I must be grateful for that, even if it scares me. Because if we did not have free will, it would not be about love.
It's all about love.
If not for free will, it wouldn't be about faith or trust or hope or passion or freedom. Redemption would not be needed. And isn't that everything that has ever given me life?
I must choose to live this life.
And I was meant to do so from the start. As all of us were. But it took me a long time to overcome my pride and stop saying "I can do it on my own."
I gave it to Christ.
And now I am unable to do it without Him.
Christ is beauty.
And I must remember that even in the ugly.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Remembering The Forgotten

I've been processing my Honduras trip for about a week now, and I still feel like I'm still only covering the basics. I've also been debating when I want to blog, because, like I said, I feel I've only scratched at the surface. But I'm feeling the urge to blog (since my photo blog has taken DAYS, and now I must start all over, because I'm ever so forgetful, and forgot to add my logo. To every single photo.) and I feel like I have enough to say to inform you of the trip, and how it went.
I decided I wanted to blog...and then couldn't figure out what to write about. Each and every day's schedule? The movements in my heart? If so, which one? Maybe about the scenery? Maybe about how my heart experienced SUCH a change?
And going through all these things-I noticed a common theme. Myself.
Yes, it seems this blog is about me, my life, my words, my heart. But in reality, this trip was about finding out how to not be selfish. To stop being greedy, to love what I have, and to love others. To give up myself for His glory.
So I'm going to forget myself for a bit, and write about the people I met, the lives I entered into, the family I created, the hearts I saw broken.
It was such an adventure.


I met so many people in Mision Caribe, and involved with Mision Caribe. Each and every heart was open to us. Hugs and kisses were frequent. Stops to genuinely ask how we are were continuous. And although many of them were as fluent in English as I am in Spanish (which...if you know me...is fairly horrid), they always said good morning, and tried to find ways to ask us about our day, and our lives.
One man that really stuck out to me was Anival. He reminded me of a Honduran, Jesus-loving, mellow, Spanish-speaking version of my Uncle Kevin. He had a true attachment to Skylar that I don't think any of us understand. (I'm sure it was the kid's blue eyes, blonde hair, friendly and outgoing personality, and his love to just make people grin.) Every time they said good-bye, Sky would say "Hasta Lavista!" And Anival would pop his head around the corner and say, "baby!" He gave him many hugs. His protection for our entire group was beautiful. He was always watching out for all of us.
When we went house-calling in different towns and villages, many people invited us into their home. And when they didn't have enough chairs to sit on, they would offer us their beds. They'd listen intently, making eye contact, even though the words they were hearing were coming from a translator.
Each person down there that we made contact with was friendly, hospitable, and sincere. Even the ones who didn't know Christ!

My goal for you (and myself) is to be like them.
Shouldn't we, as Christians, be more like them?
Often times, I find myself shutting my eyes to opportunity. I complain because I don't want to do something. I complain because people are just annoying, and I'd rather talk than listen to their pitiful stories. I start to form sentences in my head before they have finished talking, so that what I say is "impressive".
I don't even act like the Honduran people with my closest friends. It has been a common thing for me to begin thinking of myself before anyone else. It's selfish.

The first night we were in Honduras, we went to a nursing home. All of us were tired, but since this was something new and exciting, we mustered up our best attitudes and went down there pleasantly to feed some elderly people.
Before we left, one woman said, "Thank you for remembering us."
This hit home.
This hit close.

I, as a Christian, should remember the forgotten. We all should. God calls us to remember the forgotten.
It is not my job to continually look to myself and ask, "What can I do?" "I want this person to do this, so that I will feel better." "I want this..." "I want that..."
I am nothing. I have FAR more than I need.
I should not begin every sentence with I.
Yes, I need to check my heart frequently. Check my motives, and my intentions.
But above all else, I should be looking out for other people. I am called to look out for other people. Love the unloved. Forgive the unforgiven. Remember the forgotten.
Not because I need to, but because I should want to.
Because my example is Christ. And although I can never live up to that, I would like to do the best I can to do as He has instructed.

Remember the forgotten.
A sentence that was continually in the forefront of my mind.
A challenge, I would say. To go and spread the word of Christ.
He has not forgotten anyone. He loves every person, every heart.
But times in this world-people feel lost, and feel forgotten.
I feel called to show them that Christ remembers them. And not only that-He knows the intricate places of their hearts, their minds, and their souls.
He knows the number of hairs on their head! He molded them in their Mother's womb!

God remembers.
No one is truly forgotten.