Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Path of Peace

           In life, we walk paths. We often think we choose our paths—sometimes we do—but we often have no say in the path our feet tread. There are side paths along the way that lead us this way and that, but there is an overarching path our life is taking. Recently I have been wrestling with God over this idea of the “Path of Peace” my life seems to be on. The life I have led has always been overshadowed by doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, and a thought process that goes a million miles per second and never shuts up—much like the popular device used by Virginia Woolf in her writing: stream of consciousness. I am constantly taking in every detail and thinking ahead and back and in one moment I’m fearful, the next I am questioning, the next I am laughing with my friends. I’m not sure if there’s ever been a waking moment in which I’ve had true rest from this barrage. This is not peace.
            Perhaps you experience this as well. It is exhausting. More often than not, I yearn for a break from everything—the noise, the distractions, the disasters, the crises, the people, myself, but these are still things constantly surrounding my daily basis. The ins and outs of my life are ensconced between constant noise. I also have tinnitus. In my case, this means my ears are ringing and buzzing (sometimes at different frequencies) 24/7. So, even when everything else is silent, I’ve got a constant companion of noise. This is not peace.
            With these distractions, with this noise, it often seems difficult to hear God, or even find Him. However, as a Christian, we are called into peace. The peace that surpasses isn’t a one time offer, or only for special occasions. The peace of God, through Christ Jesus, is a gift we have been given.
            I am learning, through trial and error and a distracted, noise-filled world, to be with Jesus in the moment—in the present. I am learning what it means to be still although chaos ensues, although stress tempts, although anxiety tries to peel my peace away. There is a point in which we, as followers of Jesus Christ, must understand that His peace covers all trial and trouble and heartache and pain. His peace is constant and remains. We can still our souls in His presence at any moment of the day—as we should throughout the day. Because even in the noisy and the busy, when we come before Him, surrounded by happenings on all sides, and step into the peace He has given us, this is where we can hear Him speak ever more clearly than before.
            When I imagine just being still with the Lord, I think of the times Jesus sat around a bonfire with His disciples—with the community—with the little children—and just sitting and soaking in the silence of the moment. There is a beautiful, overwhelming feeling of togetherness that comes from this picture, and, further, seeing Jesus sitting next to me, or walking with me. Sometimes He gets up to play with the children, or He laughs with His friends, or He merely smiles and we cannot help but smile back, because this is what peace looks like. Being. Just being with Christ.
            This is not to say we cannot have peace while we go throughout our day, or while we converse, or while we're in meetings, or during emergencies. I believe we are called to "just be" with Christ in all moments of our life. Meaning, we lay down our defenses and our anxieties, and we are in tune with His love for us and His guidance and will throughout our every day and night. In conversations, in classes, in any situation, we can be present with others and be active in the world, while simultaneously just being with Christ. In Him, we find our peace.

            Will you join me on this path of peace, hand in hand with our Savior and Friend? 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Abba, We Belong To You (a response to Charlottesville)



“Abba, I belong to you.” This lyric, this truth, this proclamation, has been echoing in my mind and heart all day. What a beautiful thing it is to be so wholly loved by God that He came down and died because we cannot save ourselves.

While I resonate with these words, there’s this part of me that wants to sing it with multitudes of voices joining the chorus: “Abba, we belong to you.”

With what has taken place today in Charlottesville Virginia, my heart has been grieved, my mind questions, and I am yearning still to sing this over my brothers and sisters.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Obedience


As the oldest child in my family, it should’ve been my joy and honor to obey everything my parents told me to do and steer miles clear from everything they told me to stay away from.

However, I the only girl of the family (besides my mom); I the only one with a name that doesn’t begin with J; I had to prove myself a force to be reckoned with.

I enjoyed arguing--having the last word was essential because I was obviously right. I had to finish whatever I was doing (probably playing another video game) before completing the task my hardworking parents graciously asked me again and again and again to do. And if I knew there was something I could do to get my brothers in trouble, you can bet I was doing everything in my power to ensure they got what I thought they deserved (sometimes I liken my younger self to Candace Flynn).

Rachel means ewe, or female sheep. Sheep are supposed to follow and obey their shepherd. But disobedience was etched somewhere between the letters of my middle name. A N disobedient N.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Residing in the Faithfulness of God



I liken myself to Gomer, the prostitute wife of Hosea. I relate to Jonah, the prophet called by God who ran away from God. I understand Elijah's depression and desire to die.

So often I cry out to God in silence, wondering where He is, asking Him why I struggle so much with anxiety and fears and unwanted thoughts. What more can I do for you to make me whole again, God? How do I get out of this place of brokenness? I...can't do it--I'm not strong enough.

"I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)

Okay, maybe I'm looking at things wrong. I can't save myself. I can't control my thoughts. I can't just decide to release my anxiety by my own willpower and strength. Only JESUS can. I keep trying to take control, take hold, of my life, expecting everything to be just fine, but I need to submit to the One who has cradled my soul before I ever took a breath.

Why am I so fearful when time and time again God has proved He is Faithful?

It comes down to letting go and trusting God. And my oh my even though our Abba is a GOOD Father and He is LOVE, that is still so hard for us control-freak self-absorbed humans.

We are not faithful beings, but the One Who called us into being, is the epitome of FAITHFULNESS.

"Come to me all you who are weary and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

Oh, Lord Jesus, I am so weary of taking my life into my hands, thinking I can control my thinking, and keep everything going smoothly. Help my unbelief, and tear down the walls I have put up so I may surrender to You. I give you my heart, my mind, my soul, and my life--you've had it in the beginning. Please take me and do what you will. Spirit speak to me again, draw me close into a garden of intimacy once more and let your Love and Light and Life overflow. I trust you, Jesus. Thank you for your faithfulness and that You are God and You are GOOD. Amen.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Looking For Beta Readers (for a novella)



LOOKING FOR: Beta Readers || Water & Pen ||I'm an INFJ. This means I'm a perfectionist and hold myself to high standards nobody should have to reach. This is why when I don't reach those standards I feel like a failure. More often than not I don't reach these standards.

I'm also in college. Lately I haven't written much of anything and, as a result, end up feeling not only empty and unfulfilled but like a failure. I know I'm supposed to be writing but it's so difficult to actually do in college. I've started and stopped story after story and felt very much like I've failed when I can't commit to finishing one work in progress but keep hopping from idea to idea, never making it out of the world building or plotting stage, and give up the idea and characters altogether.

It seems I have a bad case of the 'flitters' (stay tuned to future blog posts to learn what this means ;) and I can't stick with just one thing. This is frustrating not only to myself but to others as well.