Snippets!

I’m sorry for a rather sub-par week of blogging, BUT hopefully the wonderfulness of these songs will make up for it.  =)  It’s another Snippets!

 

Tidal Wave by Owl City

Favorite Line: The end is uncertain, and I’ve never been so afraid, but I don’t need a telescope to see that there’s hope and that makes me feel brave.

In the Hands of God by The Newsboys

Favorite Line: We’ve stumbled over the trials of life, and we’ve wrestled the unseen, but only One can calm the storm inside our souls.  In the hands of God, we will fall– rest for the restless and the weary, hope for the sinner.

Forget and Not Slow Down by Relient K

Favorite Line: I’ll watch the glint in my eye shine off the spring in my step, and it could blinding, depending on the amount of You that I reflect.

Let That Be Enough by Switchfoot

Favorite Line: All I see, it could never make me happy; and all my sand castles spend their time collapsing.  Let me know that You hear me, let me know Your touch.  Let me know that You love me, and let that be enough.

 

These songs are some of my favorites- and these lines remind me of the fundamentals of my faith and the hope that I have in Christ.  It’s nice to have a musical reminder of these truths when I struggle with different things. =)

Delay

Hello all,

Due to a GRE study party (read: me, my computer, a study book, and some background noise of the TV or music) running much later than planned, today’s post won’t be up until later this evening. But don’t worry- it’s on the way!

Thank Who?

I recently took a trip to visit one of my best friends at his school.  This particular friend had been asking me to come visit the campus for months- he knew I’d love it.  Unfortunately for those plans, I’d been really busy (this blog is actually a good testament to that) and it took a good deal of effort to find time to squeeze in the trip.

I had decided that I was going to get there early because I needed to be back on my own campus to take some photos of an event for an assignment.  This required leaving my house at around 7 a.m.  This turned into 8 a.m. without too much trouble, but it still seemed way too early for a Saturday morning.  I very grumpily got out of bed, tumbled down the steps, and made my way to the car.

He had better appreciate this, grumpy me said.  Deep down, I was very much looking forward to the trip, but exhaustion and sickness clouded that over a bit.  My ear hurts! I had an ear infection that day. My throat hurts! I had a cold. My arm hurts!  Yet another infection.  He had best be aware of how much I care about him.  I’m making this trip all the way down there (it’s really not that far) and I feel terrible.  Not that I don’t want to go.  Because I do.  But he’d best APPRECIATE!

 

Usually when I get these grumplestiltskin murmurs going in my head, they don’t last very long because I realize that I sound very petty, very silly, and/or very incorrect.  That day was no exception.  I thought about it for a minute.  Here we are in our senior year of college, and this was the first time I had ever gone to visit his campus.  He and some of my other best friends from high school had a tradition of visiting my school each year.  Walking around my campus, he has some idea of where I lived each year.  And visiting my campus isn’t really even a pleasurable experience for someone who doesn’t like big schools (perhaps 35,000 of us can be overwhelming) or crime alerts, and who isn’t used to a 20-minute walk being considered a “short trip” across campus.

I remembered more.  The last time he visited, he’d even brought homemade banana bread.  What was I bringing on my trip?  Mmm… a multitude of germs and not a whole lot else.

Then I started to wonder- do I ever treat God this way?  Do I ever reluctantly set aside money to tithe, or make a difficult but godly decision, or go out of my way to do something kind to someone else and then cross my arms and essentially say, “You’re welcome” to my Savior?

I think my personal worst offense would be reluctantly submitting to some part of His will that was not also part of mine and thinking something along the lines of, “Well, fine.  I’ll do this.  This is me sticking my neck out for You.  This is me doing this.  Hope You’re noticing.”

Firstly, what a terrible attitude to have towards anyone, but particularly towards someone who has done so incomprehensibly much for me!!  I’m ashamed of my attitude of demanding appreciation from someone that I should have been appreciating for visits and banana bread.  Those gifts were treasured, but God has given me so much more than that.  He’s given me chance after chance after chance.  He’s forgiven me repeatedly.  He’s loved me when there was absolutely no reason to do so (example: see the selfish attitude discussed above)- and loved to the extent of dying for me.  Dying for me while I was sitting around whining selfishly.

But that’s only one facet of the problem.  Moving the spotlight from myself doesn’t just mean not focusing on what I (wrongly) feel I should be receiving, but it also means focusing on what I should be appreciating.

I’ve shared this before, but the pastor at the church that I attend has a saying that our lives are our way of saying back to God, “I love You, too.”  When I make the hard choice because it’s what I know from God’s word is His will for me, that shouldn’t be me making a move and then waiting for a thank you.  That should be me showing my thank You.

I had a great time at my friend’s campus.  I loved it, just as expected, and wound up taking 326 pictures over the course of a five-or-so hour long visit.  326!  (Yay for large SD cards and fast cameras!) Most of those photos didn’t even have people in them, and I’m not usually one for nature shots.  It was beautiful and so much fun and I had a great time.  I’ve got some really good friends.  =)

I’ve also got a really good God.  Having Him in my life has changed it completely.  I see beauty where I wouldn’t, find peace where I couldn’t, and am strengthened to do what I’m too weak to do on my own.  I’m so immensely blessed.  The very least I can do is to say thank You, to make myself as a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” as my act of worship.  It’s something that most of the time, I want to do.  But I need to keep an eye on these times of weakness and complaining.

It all leads me to this prayer: Oh, Lord, soften my tired heart.  Please guide me in the way that You would have me go and forgive my stumbling sin and weakness. Thank You so much for You and the many blessings You’ve already given me and those that are still to come.  Please help me to live like I mean that thank You.  May Your perfect will be done.

Amen!

And I’ll just go ahead and say it for my mom:  I need to get more sleep.

Bouncy Boxing

My dear friend Ali and I once took a turn at bouncy boxing (basically boxing on a moonbounce with giant, soft boxing gloves).  From what I observed/experienced, it’s all about getting the upper hand at the beginning.  Ali, though a bit shorter than I, won the thing almost immediately because she knocked me down and no amount of vigorous Sonic-the-Hedgehog rolling and blind punches could get me high enough to use my height advantage.  Alas.

Unfortunately, it seems that the limited number of hours in a day has picked a bouncy boxing fight with me to determine how this semester is going to go.  In the name of graduate school applications, good learning experiences, and sanity, I’m going to need to win.

I’m also trying to ensure, however, that those aren’t my number one priority.  Is sanity important to me?  Yes.  I’ve had enough crazy to wholeheartedly say yes.  How about good learning experiences?  Definitely!  I have a rant about how college is basically composed of things you love (people, subjects, activities, etc.) and I want to enjoy every minute of that!  And graduate school applications?  They are a big deal right now because graduate school is a big deal- it’s what’s going to prepare me to serve clinical populations with knowledge, practice, and evidence-based treatment!  I’m really excited to immerse myself more in the research that fascinates me and learn to apply it.

My first priority needs to be what got me here in the first place: what drew me to this school that I hadn’t even wanted to consider, but which turned out to be just what I needed; what interested me in psychology and journalism to begin with; what led me to my specific areas of interest and the researchers I’ve come to know.  The what is actually a who: God.  So I’m turning to Him again in prayer to help me not only win this bouncy boxing fight, but to use the riches of my victory (time!) wisely.  I’m looking forward to getting to know my Savior more and more and dedicating time to that relationship.

Here’s to winning Round One!

“Heavens Up Above, Way Above”

No chilling winds nor poisonous breath

Can reach that healthful shore.

Sickness, sorrow, pain and death

Are felt and feared no more.

 

I am bound, I am bound, I am bound for promised land.

I sang those lyrics tonight while worshipping with a wonderful campus ministry and shortly afterwards, completely lost it.  I can be very emotional- it doesn’t take much for me to cry.  A few days ago I broke down watching a video of a marriage proposal by a friend’s coworker.  I don’t even know those people!  When I have these (sometimes ridiculous) breakdowns, I try to pinpoint why it is that I’m crying.  Sometimes I have no clue.  Sometimes I’m just really, really happy.  Sometimes I’m just really, really sad.

Sometimes it’s a combination.  In those sorts of times, I need to just sob it out.  I need to think things through and gather myself.

Here’s what I think got me today.

During my freshman year, I was part of a little group of friends that hung out constantly.  We all moved to different places the next year and saw each other significantly less often, but every time one red-headed, Hawaiian shirt-wearing, orange soda-drinking friend from that group saw me  around campus, he would greet me with a huge smile, a large shout of “MA-RISS-A!!!!” and a hug that lifted me off the ground.  On June 29, 2011, he died.

It’s weird mourning someone hilarious.  I would tell someone that a friend of mine had passed away, and then be overheard laughing hysterically ten minutes later as I recollected something he’d said or done.  The only times I cry are when I think about how I’m not going have surprise visits with him, or about all of the good things that he could have gone on to do, or when I think about how he just might be someplace where sickness, sorrow, pain, and death are felt and feared no more.

I cry with joy.

This world is so disgustingly broken.  Death can be painful for both the person who leaves and those who remain.  I can’t definitively speak for anyone else’s relationship with Christ, but if, as I think and hope, he is in heaven now, he’s completely free from that pain.  He’s with God in all of His perfection.  I’m so happy for him, and happy that I have the same to look forward to.

I cry with sadness.

I’m still here.  I miss him.  I somehow miss the perfect place where I have never been.

I cry with joy.

My own brokenness- my discontent, my jealousy, my pain, my sorrow- is not all there is.  The brokenness of the world- the famines, the destroyed relationships, the lies, the hatred- is not the end.  We have a hope for something so much greater.  And though I don’t know when I’ll get there, there are so many lights in the dark world around me.  I am blessed by my relationship with Christ, more than I can possibly explain, and by the family, friends, miracles, and joy He has put around me.  I can go from crying with sadness/joy by myself to enjoying time with people I love.  I have a purpose in this life and a goal to press on toward.

I’m still feeling the sickness, sorrow, pain and death.  I just got off an antibiotic for an infection; I just cried today; I’ve been emotionally hurt, and that infection was painful (hence the antibiotics); and this whole discussion is partially because of the death of a friend. I’m working on not fearing them, but I feel them.

Still, praise the Lord,

I am boundI am boundI am bound for the promised land.

On Being a Senior.

Once upon a time, a little girl trudged off somewhat unwillingly to the University of Maryland for her freshman year of college.  Then she blinked.  Now she’s a senior.

Hello, my dear blog followers!  It’s good to have you back!  The little anecdote I just shared is a true story about me.  In reality, there were probably millions of blinks between my first day of freshman year and my first day of senior year.  But it seems like a lot less.  Anyway, I’m excited to pick up blogging again during the school year and thought I’d use today’s post to give a little preview.

Starting senior year means that it’s the beginning of the end.  This means that change is rippling through my life’s newly calm waters.  This means applying for grad school.  That means potentially moving far away.  That means starting completely over at a brand new school.  That means leaving the school that I’ve come to love so ridiculously much.  That means probably a whole lot of things that I can’t even imagine right now.

I’ve decided that I can’t cry every day this year over the very dear friends that I won’t be able to see pretty much every day or the many things that I haven’t had time to do or see at Maryland that I would love to do/see.  I have been blessed with an entire two semesters left!  I want to use my time wisely and make the very most of it.

An interesting thing happened about a week ago.  As many of you probably heard (or even experienced), there was an earthquake along the East Coast.  I was working on-campus, so I was in a basement lab when the ground started shaking.  And then the walls started shaking.  And then the ceiling tiles started bouncing around.

I’d never been in an earthquake before, so I bolted outside as everyone else did and was extremely confused as to what was going on.  When we figured out it was an earthquake, I immediately grew concerned about aftershocks.  Was one coming?  When was it coming?  How big would it be?  Where should I be when it comes?

I realized that all of this time, I’ve been dwelling on how “the future” (mostly July 2012 and after) is mostly a big, black hole to me right now.  I have no idea of what to picture.  With college, I was all nerdy and spent hours looking at schools’ websites and videos and pretty much had some idea of what was going on (though I quickly learned that I was not in control of these goings on).  I have no idea with grad school.  All I really know right now is the following list: how I’m going to apply, where I’m going to apply, what my research interests are, and who I would like to work with.  The list of schools leaves me really no indication of where I might end up when programs are so competitive that hundreds of people will apply and four will be accepted.

But the earthquake moved the big, black hole up to the present.  I have no idea of what’s happening in even the next second.  As James puts it, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’”

I really like how “we will live” is the first thing that we’re hoping the Lord wills.  It’s not, “Lord willing, I’ll go to grad school.”  It’s “Lord willing, I’ll still be on this earth.  And if so, then I’ll go to grad school if it’s His will.”

In summary, I need to take much smaller steps than the bounding ones my brain sometimes tries to take.  I’m not at all saying I shouldn’t prepare (GRE Subject Test studying WOOT WOOOT), but it seems silly to get so worked up sometimes.  “Lord willing” comes first, then being alive to do whatever it is, and then whatever it is.  I’m so glad it’s dependent on what God wants- He has yet to steer me in a direction that’s ended poorly, and I trust His promise that it will all work for good.

Despite this knowledge, I am no perfect creature (I’m still pressing on to take hold of that for which Christ took hold of me), and do not quite handle change with grace.  This mostly means lots of reflection, which hopefully means lots of good blog posts!  I’ve already had a very educational and moving summer that’s given me lots of ideas and grown me up a bit, and I’m so excited to see what God is going to do this fall!  Actually, thinking in this new mindset, I’m so excited to see what God is going to do next- when I close my eyes for bed, when I wake up the next morning, when I go to classes, when I go to RUF… Lord willing.