Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Full of cliches and feelings

Have you ever had a friend who meant so much to you that you would do anything for them? Have you ever had a friend who broke your heart?  And no matter how much you tried to change, and make things okay, they just left the pieces of your broken heart lying there on the floor...

How do you recover from that?

There are a limited number of times the heart can mend itself.  With each breaking, the pieces of your broken heart get smaller and harder to put back together.  And yet, foolish heart, it continues to reach out to the same thing that it knows will only break it again.

But the thing that does the breaking is really just a person with a broken heart of their own, trying to put their pieces back together and somehow managing to shatter you again in their clumsy attempts at reconstruction.

My faith tells me to forgive.  Jesus says seven times seventy -- not a literal 490 times, more like unlimited times -- and I can forgive.  But how many times am I supposed to let myself get walked on and mistreated? My heart, the eternal optimist, rises like helium-filled glass balloon at the faintest glimmer of hope, and is dashed to the ground again before the hopeful glimmer can become a real light.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fall Colors

I don't know what possessed me to go out for a walk on this rainy, gray day.

But I had a few good companions on my journey...

And the colors were beautiful, rain or shine.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Groans too deep for words

Most of my prayers recently - at least the ones with words - have been something along the lines of "What is going ON?!" and "What are you doing?!" Most of the time, though, my soul is crying out with groans too deep for words. Life is hard. Thank God we don't have to do it alone.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Descend upon my heart

The music we sing at my church is hip and cool.  It's at the forefront of the worship music scene.  It's loud, and different, and people respond to it.  I love it!  
I also attend a weekly Bible study (BSF) where we do things a little more traditionally.  Every week we bust out those old red hymnals and sing along with words written hundreds of years ago.  
I love the contrast of the two groups for more than just the differences in music.  Maybe I'll tell you about that sometime.

Tonight at BSF, we sang a song called Spirit of God, Descend Upon My Heart.  It was written by George Croley in 1867.  Here is the fourth verse of that hymn:

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear
To check the rising doubt, the restless sigh
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer

Seriously... Who asks for God to teach them patience through unanswered prayer?  That is crazy talk! But that verse jumped out and smacked me in the face because I've been spending a lot of my time in prayer lately asking God "what the HECK are you doing?!?"  I've been dealing with some hard things lately, and I don't anticipate them going away any time soon.  How might those trials be lifted if I were to learn to bear the struggles of the soul?  And how does one learn to do that?? What does that even mean???  The answer is there in the title / first verse of the song.  Spirit of God, descend upon my heart.  The rational part of my brain can identify when I'm acting like a crazy person.  I know when I'm without the Spirit, and acting on my own self centered fears.  And I've experienced moments - brief though they may be - when I rely on the Spirit and can respond out of that reality instead of my broken self. 
I guess all I can do is keep going, and thank God for those moments when his Spirit is in me, and pray that he continues to descend upon my heart.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Book List 2012

I love to read!  There's no question that I'll read plenty of books in the coming year.  But I thought it would be fun to make a list of titles to ensure I make time for them all, and to provide myself a little balance between genres.  And if you're so inclined, you can check me out on Goodreads.

First up -- I'm desperately trying to finish Douglas Adams' The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.  It's a sci-fi classic, and I really like it, but with all the tiny chapters (some less than a page), it feels like I've been reading forever.

Practicing the Way of Jesus, by Mark Scandrette  I've read some great reviews about this one.

Angry Conversations with God, by Susan E. Isaacs  I heard Susan speak at a conference a few years ago.  Honest and funny, I'm looking forward to this memoir.

All is Grace, by Brennan Manning

Love Wins,  by Rob Bell, and a follow-up,  Christ Alone, by Michael E. Wittmer

Practicing the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence  I've read this book before, but it's small and a classic!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns), by Mindy Kaling   I'm not a huge fan of The Office, but I read some articles that she wrote and I think Kaling is funny and has a great perspective on being a woman in Hollywood.

The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins  I've seen this book all over the place, and hadn't planned on reading it because of some strange resistance to its immense popularity.  But my roommate listened to the audiobook on her work drives and loved it.  Since she so rarely recommends a book to me, I decided to trust her suggestion.

Shane, by Jack Schaefer and My Name is Asher Lev, by Chaim Potok  These two are titles I missed reading in my book club last year, but they were highly recommended, so I'm going to try and swing back and pick them up.

And speaking of the book club, our first book for January is The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  The rest of the Broadened Horizons reading list for 2012 can be found here, if you're interested.

I think that's a good start to my list!  I'm sure I'll add some along the way, and feel free to add your own suggestions :)  Happy Reading!