Tag Archives: reflections

Reflections on Writing

A couple days ago (I think it was when I was finishing an Internet Cafe devotional at 11:55pm), I had this idea. 25 days of blogging. One blog post a day until Christmas. Force myself to blog everyday and do it during the 25 days that will include finals, a roommate moving out, my 21st birthday, and Christmas in a new home. It was quite the late-night idea. Honestly, I didn’t think it would stick. Yet, here we are.

The thing is, I love writing. I’ve always loved writing. I remember being asked to write a short paragraph in third grade and when I came home, I wrote eight more pages. I’ve filled probably fifteen journals over the years. It’s never because anyone made me or even because anyone was telling me that I was good enough for it – I have always written because it’s a part of who I am.

I’m always thinking deeply and I am constantly searching for ways to put what I’m feeling into words. I don’t really write for anything other than my own necessity.

But like with anything in life that is a part what refreshes us, it can become so easily confused and wrapped up in our identity. Half the time my lack of blog posts is not because I don’t have anything to say, but rooted in my own fears. I worry that it’s not good enough. That I haven’t said things eloquently enough. I worry that I’m not good enough. No one probably even cares to read what I write, so what’s the point?

The point is that writing draws me closer to the heart of Jesus. It brings clarity to things that were previously jumbled up in my head. More than that, blogging forces me to connect the pieces of what is happening in my life and what I see Jesus doing with the truth of who He is. For as much as I love journaling, let’s be real – there’s no accountability in it. Granted, that’s part of the beauty of journaling; it’s me and Jesus and all my raw, broken, messy pieces. Yet there’s a fine line between that being beautiful and necessary and very dangerous for my soul. When I make myself write in a way that is grounded in Scripture and celebrates the things Jesus is doing, with authenticity and honesty, I am always refreshed. When I do it on a platform that forces me to fight the lies of insecurity, fear, and the Enemy in my head that say “you aren’t good enough,” I am empowered.

That’s why I’ve decided to do twenty-five days of blogging up to Christmas. Somedays it might be short. Someday it might be long. Some posts may be deep, some not so much. I’ll probably miss a few days and I’ll learn, yet again, what it means to show myself the kind of grace that Christ lavishes on me (and others).

I don’t know that anyone even really read this blog. I don’t know that anyone will think that anything I post in the next 25 days is valuable. That’s ok. I’m not really writing for anything other than the renewal of my soul and the glory of the Lord. The way He chooses to get glory is His prerogative anyway, whether that’s speaking to lots of people or simply choosing to change my heart.

So here’s to 25 blank drafts, 25 days of craziness, unknowns, and endings, and 25 days of pressing into Jesus!

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When I Trust from the Stroller

It was the appropriately coined “solo day” on Wheaton Passage, the transition retreat for incoming Wheaton freshmen. This was our final stop after a day of fasting, prayer, and silence. Another park, this one a little less beautiful than the one before.

As I sat there on the patchy grass, trying to keep my thoughts off my rumbling stomach and lack of new thoughts to journal about, I rested my back against a less-than-comfortable tree. My wandering eyes roamed around the open Bible and journal on my lap and eventually fixed upon a woman with her son a few feet in front of me. I couldn’t help but smile as I watch the young boy chase a squirrel in circles around the tree, his mom resting her arms against the back of the stroller.

And as I sat, content to watch the young boy’s joy and delight in the simple things of life, drawing parallels for my own need for delight in life, the moment was interrupted. Just as my my heart was settling into the sweetness of the moment, the mom came behind the boy, scooped him up, and proceed to strap him into the stroller. He began to kick and scream, protesting the abrupt end to his playtime. I watched as he pulled his shoes off, his patient mother picking them up and pushing the stroller away.

Flashbacks of babysitting flooded my mind. The boy has had his fun and now it’s time to go home. It’s what’s best for him. It’s about dinner time anyways. He’s probably hungry, although he was probably too distracted to realize it. In the young boys mind, nothing could be more wonderful than chasing the squirrel in the park. But he doesn’t know what’s best for him. He doesn’t see that the constraints of the stroller are bringing him to deeper places of care and necessity. He can’t see past his own little boy vision of what he wants and what he’s not getting.

And as I reflected on this reality, I began to write. . .

“Is that really how it is, God? I wander around this world, sometimes it leads me to discover something new about your world and sometimes it leads me to be a little too far away from You. I cry when you put me back in my spiritual stroller. I pitch a fit when I don’t get what I think I want. I feel hurt. I feel frustrated. I throw a temper tantrum at the God of heaven because you let me. But deep down I know it’s for my own good. I just don’t see what you are doing. Your delight is in watching me laugh and explore the world you are showing me. You love it when I delight in You. You correct me – always seeming to me, in the moment, harsher than it actually is. I don’t appreciate how much you love me. I don’t value that all you have is your glory and my good in view. I’m sorry. Increase my view of grace. Teach me what it means to trust you, in the things that make sense and in the things that don’t. Jesus, renew a steadfast spirit in me.” Friday, August 16, 2013

And two years later, I’m as convicted by this truth as I was sitting by the tree that day.

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Casting Nets on an Ordinary Day

Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.” Matthew 4:18-20, MSG

How many times did they cast their nets into that sea? How many days of fishing had weathered their skin? How many conversations, laughs, frustrations had that boat seen?

But something made that day different.

That was the day Jesus stepped into the ordinary.

I’m continually reminded that I don’t know the plans of the Lord. We don’t know His days or His hours. We live these “ordinary” days, casting our nets and pulling up fish (or walking to class and swiping into the dining hall), and yet the Lord is moving all the while.

How many moments had they lived, had led up to the moment of Christ’s call? Moments that seemed monotonous, routine, insignificant. Moments spent waiting, wondering if there was more. Moments of laughter and frustration and tears that brought them to that specific boat, on that specific place in the water, at that specific point in time, where their hearts were in the perfect posture to drop everything for Jesus.

We get into these traps of waiting for that moment. And while the Lord may be preparing us for something in the future, we don’t know that. What He does tell us is that He’s stepping into every moment. His Spirit is always moving around us. Every moment is part of His divine plan, leading us to the specific places that we can’t see or even imagine.

I doubt the men, who would later become the apostles and foundation of Christ’s church, were feeling anything akin to calling or obedience that day on the water. They probably didn’t even realize that by untying their boat that day they were operating squarely in the perfect will of the Lord. But that is the precise place Jesus wanted them.

And when He called into the moment they didn’t realize was even happening, they responded with immediate obedience. And then, the Spirit moves on. The moment passes and other comes. And whether or not you feel like you have just been called out of the boat into new, exciting ministry with Jesus, or you are just throwing over another net, rest in the fact that you are where the Lord wants you. He has things for you right now, right where you are. He’s moving, right where you are sitting, reading this. Are the eyes of your heart being attentive to it? Is there a “yes” in your heart to what He’s doing – whether it’s calling you out of the boat or to throw the nets in again?

Ordinary days. But we get to live them under the banner of God’s love, Jesus’ redemption, and the Holy Spirit’s empowering. We aren’t just fishing, y’all.

Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16, NIV

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Blank Canvases and Loops

According to my plane ticket, I leave for college in exactly one month. What.

I’m really not sure when that happened or when I grew up, but apparently it did and here I am.

My family and I took a trip to visit both Wheaton and Chicago this past week. And on a side note, it was our first family-only vacation since 1999.

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Being in Chicago and on the Wheaton campus was an incredible experience because it was such a different experience. I wasn’t there as a perspective student. I wasn’t judging the campus based on a list of “things I want in a college”-criteria. But I wasn’t quite there as a student. I haven’t been through orientation yet. There was no one there I knew and no one there to meet.

It was like the whole campus was this blank canvas of space.

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I took the strength finder’s test and one of my top five strengths was futuristic (more on the strength finder’s test later. It is seriously cool, though). I saw that strength when the end of my Wheaton experience crossed my mind as I was walking across the campus for the first time. Right now, the campus is blank. There are no memories, no moments, no learning experiences, no laughs, no tears. But in four years, when I get a diploma and drive off the campus, there will be four years of all of that. My mind was doing a sort of dance of questions: “what will I learn in this classroom?,” “what will I laugh about in these dorms?,” “who will I sit with on those benches?,” “what will we talk about on that lawn?” None of the firsts have happened here yet. I was able to see my new home without any of my new friends and “family” there yet. I was given the incredible experience of seeing the first step of my adult life as a blank canvas of time and space.

My heart jumps just thinking about all of that.

Several people have asked recently if there is a way they can keep up with my latest revelations, shenanigans, and future decisions. Apparently my future is exiting for more than just myself. If the goal is to glorify God in everything, it would be selfish to hold back any of that from eager and prayerful people at home and around the world. So I plan on using this blog as my main outlet for mass communications. It has always been a random mixture of thoughts, devotions, and recent happenings. Hopefully now that will prove to be encouraging to others who want to stay connected and “in the loop” with what God is doing, both at Wheaton and beyond. The trick is just going to be remembering to post…

More on the Windy City later (and boy, was it windy!)

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The Blogging Hiatus.

Do you even know what a hiatus is? I didn’t. Or at least, I didn’t when I wrote the title. It means a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process. Synonyms include the words interval, intermission, interlude, lull, respite, suspension. I always have this idea when I get back from big events that I… Read more. . .