Saturday, April 30, 2011

Will you ask Him?

Priscilla Ahn's song "Dream" is ethereal.

I especially love the middle verse:

Long walks in the dark through woods grown behind the park, I asked God who I'm supposed to be. 
The stars smiled down on me, God answered in silent reverie. I said a prayer and fell asleep. 

I asked God who I'm supposed to be. 

This is something I'm constantly doing. Something I'm constantly searching after. "God, who do you want me to be? Who do you say I am?" A quick google search of "who God says I am" reveals millions (literally) of results. Magazine blurbs, Wikipedia articles, blog posts, and Bible commentaries all point to who God says we are in the scriptures.

I am the temple of His Holy Spirit.

I am a co-heir with Christ.

I am a child of God.

I am a new creature in Christ.

I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God.

These are all a part of my identity in Christ. But they are also a part of yours. And every other believer on this planet that has come before us, that is here with us now, and that will come after us. These truths are precious, priceless, and essential for us to know. But there's also something else.

"...Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine...." Isaiah 43:1

He has called me by name. It's so much more personal than every person on earth who's ever trusted Christ as their savior being x, y and z. It's God, THE God, the God who created the universe and everything in it, has a specific name for each of his children. Something unique to them and only them. Now, I may be crazy, but it seems like there just wouldn't be enough words to go around. Think of all the people who would need names, then think of all the words there are. I'm pretty sure the people would outnumber the words (the good words anyway). :) So just imagine with me for a moment that God has His own special language that he uses to call each of us by name. Maybe in His language he has one word for each of us, a name, that encompasses all that He has made us to be. Maybe in His language, each word is so different they don't even seem to be from the same language. Because my God is the God of language. He is not limited by it, nor does He need to abide by its rules. So just imagine that your word looks like you. It feels like you. It has the same personality as you and the same quirks as you. Because God named you with that word and every part of you is represented in that word. And God wants you to know that word. No, not necessarily this make-believe language word, but He wants you to know what He thinks of YOU. How He created YOU to live. Who He says YOU are. Why He loves YOU. Not the person sitting next to you at church or the people in your Bible Study... YOU. So, will you ask Him?

Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Things Friday- Things that are Hard

Things that are Hard

1. Learning guitar

2. Making my outfits match

3. Decision making

4. Waiting for my hammock to come in the mail

5. My skull

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Prince and the Dragon

I posted this on my facebook a while back... but I thought it deserved a spot here. A long, but soooo worth it read. Enjoy!

"The Prince and the Dragon - A Parable"

By Melinda  Reinicke

There was once a great and noble King whose land was terrorized by a wicked and crafty dragon. Like a massive bird of prey, the scaly beast delighted in ravaging villages with his fiery breath. Hapless victims ran from their burning homes, only to be snatched into the dragon's jaws or talons. Those devoured instantly were deemed more fortunate than those carried back to the dragon's lair to be devoured at his leisure.

The king led his sons and knights in many valiant battles against the serpent. Riding alone in the forest, one of the King's sons heard his name purred soft and low. Lost in thoughts of restlessness and loneliness in his father's house, the young prince thought for a moment that he was hearing things. He felt a strange hesitation in his heart. Again, his name was called. In the shadows of the ferns and trees, curled among the boulders, lay the dragon.

The heavy-lidded eyes of the creature fastened ablaze on the prince, and the reptilian mouth stretched into a seductive smile. "Don't be alarmed," said the dragon, as gray wisps of smoke rose lazily from his nostrils. "I am not what your father thinks of me." "What are you, then?" demanded the prince, instinctively drawing his sword as he pulled in the reigns to keep his frightened horse from bolting. "I am more than what you've been told, my prince," said the dragon unashamedly. "I am delight; I am pleasure." The prince answered nothing.

He was at once fascinated and somehow afraid of this beautiful creature. Noticing his hesitation, the serpent cried, "Ride on my back and you will experience what few can only imagine. What no King has yet experienced! Come now...believe me, I have no harmful intentions. Truly, I seek only a friend - someone to share my flights with me. I am lonely. You understand loneliness. Have you never dreamed of flying, my prince? Never longed to soar in the clouds? Never longed to take what isn't yours?"

The prince felt intoxicated. Was it the smoke that seemed to curl its way toward him with every word? Or was it the words themselves? Visions of soaring high above the forested hills of his father's kingdom drew the prince hesitantly from his horse. And the dragon was stunning - captivatingly beautiful. The prince had never seen emerald so green as the dragon's coat. As he marveled at its strange beauty, his curiosity brought him closer. Knowingly, the dragon unfurled one great webbed wing brilliantly adorned in gemstones stolen from some kingdom past.

The dragon delighted in stolen treasure. "Come, my prince. Come ride with me." In one fateful decision, the prince sheathed his sword and placed his hands and feet on the brilliant stones, climbing atop the emerald staircase to the serpent's back. The dragon rose immediately to its feet. The prince had been deceived of its size, for now it seemed far more powerful and immense than many horses.

The creature snapped its great wings twice launching them both into the sky. The prince's apprehension melted into exhilaration as he felt the awesome rule of the wind beneath him and the fragrant breeze on his face.... From then on, he met the dragon often, but secretly, for how could he tell his father or brothers or the knights that he had befriended the kingdom's greatest enemy? The serpent taught the Prince many wicked things.

At first, he was revolted and ashamed by them. But more and more he found himself obsessed, even captivated by his newfound secret. Quickly, the prince began to feel separate - from everyone. The kingdom's concerns were no longer his. Even when he wasn't stealing away secretly to be with the dragon, he spent less time with those he loved.

More and more, he spent his time alone or with the creature. The skin on the prince's legs began to callous from gripping the dragon's ridged back. His hands grew rough and hardened. He began wearing gloves to hide the malady. After many nights of riding he discovered scales growing on the backs of his hands as well. With dread he realized his fate were he to continue, and so he resolved to return no more to the dragon.

But, after a fortnight, he again sought out the dragon, having been tortured with desire. And so, in this way, it transpired many times over. No matter what the determination, the prince eventually found himself pulled back, as if by the cords of an invisible web. The dragon's charms, so gentle in the beginning, now held the prince more tightly than he had the will to resist. Silently, patiently, the serpent waited...always waited. One cold, moonless night their excursion became a foray against a sleeping village.

Torching the thatched roofs with fiery blasts from his nostrils, the dragon roared with delight when the terrified victims fled from their burning homes. Swooping in, the serpent belched again, and flames engulfed a cluster of screaming villagers. The prince closed his eyes tightly in an attempt to shut out the horror and the carnage, but he could not.

Sometimes, he even allowed himself to feel the old thrill. Then, in bitter remorse, his heart sinking in shame, he tried to hide himself. But the flames of the burning village lighted on his face. In the predawn hours, when the prince crept back from his dragon trysts, the road outside his father's castle usually remained empty. But not tonight. Terrified refugees streamed into the protective walls of the castle.

The prince attempted to slip through the crowd to close himself in his chambers, but some of the survivors stared and pointed toward him. "He was there," one woman cried out, "I saw him on the dragon's back!" Others nodded their heads in riotous agreement. Some only stared in disbelief and growing recognition.

Horrified, the prince saw that his father, the King, was in the courtyard holding a bloodstained and seemingly dead child in his arms; his face mirrored the agony of the child's mother. He looked up at the angry cries, and his eyes found the prince's. The son fled, hoping to escape into the night, but the guards apprehended him as if he were a common thief. They brought him to the great hall where his father sat solemnly on his throne. People on every side railed against the prince.

"Banish him!" he heard one of his own brothers cry out violently. "Burn him alive!" other voices shouted. "Let him burn the way he burned our children and our homes!" As the King arose from his throne, bloodstains shone darkly on his royal robes, and the crowd fell silent in expectation of his decree. The prince, who could not bear to look into his father's face, stared down at the flagstone floor. "Take off your gloves and your tunic," the King commanded.

Was his shame not already enough? The prince had hoped for a quick death without further humiliation. Now, he resigned himself to his fate. He obeyed slowly, agonizingly, dreading to have his metamorphosis uncovered before the kingdom. Sounds of revulsion rippled through the crowd, and parents covered their children's eyes at the sight of the prince's thick, scaled skin and the ridge now growing upward along his spine. Horrible! He was...could it be? The thought was so ghastly many turned away in disgust.

But the King strode toward his son. The prince steeled himself. He fully expected a back-handed blow even though he had never been struck so by his father. Instead, his father pulled him to himself, embraced him, holding him tightly...and wept.

In shocked disbelief, the prince buried his face against his father's shoulder in a way he hadn't done for too long. Tears began to burn down his scorched cheeks. "Do you wish to be freed from the dragon, my son?" The prince answered in despair, "Father, I've wished it so many times! But there remains no hope for me." "Not alone," said the King. "You cannot win against the serpent alone."

"I am no longer your son! I am half beast," sobbed the prince bitterly. He began to convulse in such cruel remorse that even the villagers pitied him. But his father replied, "My blood still runs in your veins.

My nobility has always been stamped deep within your soul." With his face still hidden tearfully in his father's embrace, the prince heard the King instruct the crowd, "The dragon is crafty. Some fall victim to his wiles, for he is a great deceiver. Some fall to his violence for he has only wickedness in his heart. There will be mercy for all who wish to be freed! Who else among you has ridden the dragon?"

The prince lifted his head to see someone emerge from the crowd. To his amazement, he recognized an older brother, one who had been lauded throughout the kingdom for his onslaughts against the dragon in battle and for his many good deeds.

Others came. Some came still smelling of the smoke and sweat from the carnage in the village. Some came weeping. Others hung their heads in shame.

The King embraced them all. "This is our most powerful weapon against the dragon," he announced.

"Truth. No more hidden flights. Alone we cannot resist him."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Heather Who?

Why do I keep feeling this? This deep gnawing inside of me... like something is devouring me from the inside out. Like my insides are clenched so tight it's hard to breathe.

I think old Heather is putting up a fight. She doesn't want to leave. She likes rearing her head and making the world know think that she rules. She drowns herself, holding her head under the water, struggling until finally she breaks the water, gasping for breath. It's unsightly. She delights in pity parties and tearing others down. She is overcome with jealousy and pride. She has an iron grip on anger and contempt. She relates to others in a fake way. A way that they won't see the anger, the contempt, the jealousy, the pride. She is ugly. And she is not me.

Let me introduce you to new Heather. New Heather isn't "nice." Because Jesus didn't die to make her nice. Jesus died to forgive her and free her from her old self. He died so that she could live. So that she could be the person God created her to be and live that out how he wants her to live it out. So new Heather doesn't have to live under the power of old Heather anymore. She gets to live in God's power. She gets to see the truth and speak it to others in love. She gets to see her anger, step back, and see the core lies underneath it all. She gets to live in her God-created identity, not her self-created identity. She gets to live without steryotypes. She gets to live in expectancy, rather than expectation.

But DANG, has old Heather been putting up a fight this week. It's been physically painful. Lots of short breaths and fake smiles to those who don't know me and even fake ones to those who do when old Heather gets the best of me. It's been a lumpy throated week with lots of truth-telling. Over and over again in my head, "Heather, this isn't you anymore. You don't have to respond like that. You don't have to take that to heart. You know who you are. You know who God created you to be."

And the tears finally come. And with them more healing. ALWAYS more healing. God is leading my healing journey. GOD is leading my healing journey.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Do I know it?

So this blog post is going to be therapeutic. It's GOING to be! (If I say it twice, once yelling, it has to be, right?)

I'm registering for classes. And it's hard. And my head hurts from putting together so many different combinations of classes. And tonight I will probably be dreaming of Mon/Wed/Fri 2-2:50, GE IV D, and Upper Level requirements.

I kind of put myself in a really bad place with my classes. Long story short, I didn't sign up early enough for them so I am now on three waiting lists, hoping against hope that I get into at least ONE of the three studios that I need to graduate. I REALLY don't want to take all three my last semester of school.

And all this is making me unusually stressed out. I'm worried. What if I don't graduate on time? What if I have to spend extra time and money on summer or winter courses? What if I have to give up my freedom and take classes at really weird hours? What if I don't have time in my schedule to spend time with the precious high schoolers that I've begun to care so much about at Valleybrook?

So here's where trust comes in (and the therapeutic-ness of this post). Because I get to remind myself of my God. And who He is. He is good. He is sovereign. He is the master planner and His ways are higher than mine. Without Him I am not good. I am not sovereign. And I most definitely am not the master planner (in fact, I'm rather bad at decision-making). So, what do I do with this truth? I sit in it. I sit in it real long and good and I know it. I see it as truth and I see all the worries and doubts for what they are... pride. Pride in thinking that my ways are higher than His ways. Pride in thinking He isn't really sovereign or good. Pride reeks. And I don't want it in my life. So do I know the truth? The truth that my God is bigger than all my problems, no matter how big or small. The truth that He's got it covered. That I don't have to hold onto my pride and worry. That He sent His son to free me of that. Do I know it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Possibly the Coolest Poster EVER

This is about the coolest thing I've ever seen... Color coded and everything!
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