Friday, May 31, 2013


Today I pretty much only listened to rap and I Love It and also Tim McGraw (the song, duh) and All Too Well. All Too Well is a great song when you're bored because a) it tells a story b) has an irregular song structure and c) gives way for a lot of opportunity to be overly dramatic in your singing. I also sort of did a dramatic reading of that song and that was pretty funny. Maybe I will make a video later and post it for ya. I also attempted to sing some more recent Taylor Swift songs with her old country voice. That got weird. I'm feelin' 22 y'all 


Listen to this song

Now, tell me you're not impressed with the fact that after today, I know EVERY WORD


Don't ask me how many times I listened to it (I also listened to Fallin' Down an embarrassing number of times. And still don't know all the words. But as long as you say "Holla mayday!" really enthusiastically at the right point in the song, you're good with that one)

They reference over 40 books and authors! 

I admit that this song is probably only cool if you read a lot of Christian books, but since I do, I think it is basically one of the cleverest raps EVER! 

This is my favorite verse, and also the first one I successfully figured out. 

I'm going to show you where the references to books are in this verse because I know not everyone on my blog roll regularly reads three books a week...

If you start with the inspired text then you'll find
A message divine that'll shape you when it enters your mind
In fact the pleasures of God get better with time
Put amazing back into grace with the letters of John
- whoa - I ain't trying to be all highfalutin
But you'll find prudence reading lectures to my students
Ephesians 4:11 gifts from our Lord and Master
Preaching and preachers will help reform(ed) pastor(s)
Baxter, Richard, I demand Scripture
Cats be like what, son? Godly man's picture
Time is now to think about these topics that'll suit ya
The mystery of providence, the Bible and the future
I'm chosen by God just to put a little Sproul in this
And JC got me riled up about holiness *
The cross of Christ paid the price this tot was owing
And The Glory of Christ is why I'm flowing

*This is the best because the author's name is JC Ryle and he wrote a book called Holiness. Get it?! Ryle/riled

West west west

Today I ate breakfast in Fort Collins with Lauren. We ate a place that's a hundred years old and it was awesome. We also walked around town. I love it! 

That's a breakfast quesadilla with eggs, cheese, onion, spinach, tomato, pepper, and avocado. 

Anyway then I had to leave which was sad but the drive was sooo beautiful. But it was also real windy. There were signs letting me know that it was 40mph! Aka hard to drive a car in. There were also no Starbucks so in protest I got a dr. Pepper with vanilla in it and sour cherry bites and gummy worms. So much for the healthy snacks I packed...

I had wonderful times of worship today. Because I know Who made all of this: 

These pictures do not come close to capturing the beauty of northern Colorado, southern Wyoming, and Utah. I teared up at how stunning it was at some points. Mountains, foothills, blue skies, red rock, and rolling hills. Seriously awesome. 

Utah beer list. Mormon country. 

I am tired and sunburnt and excited that I get to just chill awhile. I'm glad I'm doing this trip, even alone, although I seriously could have used a photographer today. 

Fort Collins and Changes

I love Fort Collins! It is a really cool place to be. I also love seeing Lauren showing me some of her favorite things here. We had a great dinner last night and went to a cool brewery. Lauren said there's just enough of the Beloit feel to make her feel welcome. 

It was fun reconnecting and reflecting. Our friendship had some ups and downs but it's nice right now. We both agreed that everyone should take a big solo trip at some point in their lives. You just figure a lot of things out. 

And since I love it so much, I'm staying for part of the morning. I'd originally planned on driving to Boise this morning but that's just not going to happen. So instead, I'm going to enjoy myself and stay the night in Salt Lake (I LOVE Utah) and the night after in Boise and then arrive to Seattle on June 2nd, which is what I somewhat mistakenly told my future roommates. 

Here's a picture of Lauren and I at dinner. 
Seriously, though, if you get the chance to go to Fort Collins, DO IT! 

But if you can avoid Nebraska, that would be a bonus. Things got a little weird while I was listening to some of my mix CDs. Examples: Why is Boys Like Girls so good? Have they put out any albums lately? I wonder if I could see them. Why aren't they more popular? Do people still listen to them? What happened to Dashboard Confessional? This is basically Summerfest 2008 in my head right now. Wait listen to Taylor Swift's drawl on this song (Tim McGraw). Why doesn't she sing like that anymore? Singing with a country accent is so fun. 

morning worship
When you get grace
Kate and Gabby
Mixed Company 
Kate's mix
Guilty Pleasures

I'll be taking orders for the above assembled CDs ;)

Thursday, May 30, 2013


Accidentally arrived too wary to Fort Collins. I am making great time because I only stop about every 3.5 hours for no more than 15 minutes. Today I drove 11 hours, which more than doubles my personal record of hours driven in a day. 

Iowa should get some more Starbucks closer to the interstate. I had to wait until noon. There was a teenage girl ordering a double chocolate frappaccunio and she thought we were the same age I think. Then I ordered an iced coffee with 2 shots of espresso, no sweetener, no room for cream and I think she thought I was an alien. Or old. 

I am so excited to see Lauren. If I knew where she worked, I'd meet her there. But I don't so I'm eating chips and guac at chipotle in the fresh air. Fort Collins is a pretty nice place so far if you ask me. 

And now here are some pictures my imaginary friend took while I was driving. 

That was the first sign I saw for Fort Collins. It was thrilling! 

See the mountains?! That's the best part of driving to the CO. You really appreciate them after a day of Nebraska. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Road Trip Day 1

Today I packed up this car 

Logan got to ride shotgun 

But she has to share with my backpack and snacks. 

The traveling part was easy. iPhone read me the Bible while also telling me which way to go. I also have 8 CDs of varying genres and mixes. I only had to drive 5 hours before arriving in Grinnell. 

This is Abigail and her dog Shelby. I have also listened to her talk about Dairy Barn for the last 4 years and I finally got to go! 

It was pretty exciting. Tomorrow will be a much longer day. I don't know if I'll blog either because I haven't seen Lauren in over a year. But you never know. 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Packing Choices

I'm staring at my closet and the drawers are waiting for me. It's time. It's time to make those big choices because I'm not just moving halfway across the state; I'm going across the country. 

The really pretty dress I got for a wedding that I just knew I'd wear again hasn't moved in 3 years. 

The pagne is bulky and impractical and fits nowhere within 3500 miles from here. 

The t-shirt signed by Paul and Morgan Hamm, where is that supposed to go? 

And the jeans that are still hanging on after 7 years of being favorites. 

I don't know how long you're allowed to keep stuff with your parents. My mom says if I get famous, she'll start selling it on eBay. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hide and Seek

Today was my graduation party. And also going away party because this is the last time I'm going to see most of these people for a long time.

This is my favorite card, from my aunt. It perfectly expresses my lack of goodbyes. Alissa and I said something like, I'll see you - technology is great. Betsy looked at me with the it's goodbye but we're pretending it's not look. Liztowne and I definitely never said goodbye. My mom keeps saying Seattle will be a nice place to visit. That was a common theme. I like that much better than any alternative. Plus, after doing the whole abroad for a year, graduated friends thing, I know that I stay in excellent touch with people who mean the absolute most to me. And I'm also good at blogging. 

All that being said, today I felt a little bit of eye mist. I looked at my photo board with friends and family and saw the places I've been and the people I've met and the person I've become and it was a little bit emotional. 

But I've had a lot of opportunities to learn a lot about myself. I know I adapt well. I know that wherever I am, I am all there. I know God will make my paths straight, and I've learned to be happy just about anywhere. 

And I've learned a lot from great writers. As a reader, I thought I'd highlight a few: 

Job shows me that the Lord's name is always blessed. 

Paul presses on that God is making all things work together for my good. 

Ann Voskamp whispers to me to give thanks for all things at all times, especially the ugly beautiful. 

Lucy Maude Montgomery taught me to keep dreaming and that the world is full of happiness if we look for it. 

Walt Whitman urges me that no matter how much I learn, I need to remember to look up in perfect silence at the stars and lay down in leaves of grass. 

Ralph Waldo Emerson encourages me to live deeply and suck the marrow out of life. 

CS Lewis reminds me not to lose the wonder in the Christian walk. 

John Piper pleads for memory of the pleasures of God. 

Dave Gibbons and Andrew Marin challenge me to love those who are unlike me. 

David Platt dares me to be radical. 

Laura Wilder brings me back to home, if only in my heart. 

Lois Lowry inspires me not to fear the unknown and to be brave in pursuing my gifts. 

The Bronte sisters show me that one day, it might just be ok to be swept up in romance. 

Isabelle Allende demonstrates that life may not turn out how you expect, but that the journey will be wonderful, and better than if you'd planned it yourself. 

Tolstoy teaches about marriage and the gospel and the fallen world. 

Sartre tells me I'm not an existentialist and it's really not worth it to live half empty. 

Dickens gives hope in hard times. 

And David echoes deep in my soul, 

The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed I have a beautiful inheritance. 
Ps. If anyone can name every book I just referenced, I don't know what you'll win, but it will be awesome. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Update Haiku

Party tomorrow
Celebrate graduation
Spent today baking

Played on google maps
Talked with friends I will visit
Road trip excitement

I found a great car 
Can't have it until Tuesday 
Leaving the next day 

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Today, I read about how to get better sleep - both and more and better quality, which are two things I often struggle with.

However, I did not learn anything useful.

The tips that I hadn't heard before were:

- If you find that you are getting colder during the night, wear more clothes to bed.

This is impossible to me. I ALWAYS sleep in shorts. It does not matter if it is winter in the great midwest, I will be sleeping in shorts. Wearing full-length pants truly prevents me from sleeping.

- Sleep on your back. This also helps to reduce wrinkles.

Again, impossible. It does not feel like bedtime unless I am on my stomach. For a good 4-5 years between high school and early college, I had a very specific routine. I had exactly 3 bed time songs in a playlist on my ipod. I listened to the first song on my back, the second on my side and the third on my stomach. As it was ending, I would pull the (one) headphone out of my year and tuck my ipod under the pillow I wasn't using. I have since abandoned the music at bed concept, but I do like to read off of either my phone or my kindle now and I'll do that on my back or side before I get sleepy and lay on my stomach.

- Wear socks. It's allegedly comforting

This is how I lose socks.

So apparently, I will be sleepless wrinkly lady one day.

Or else buy pillow spray forever.

That was kind of an off-subject post. To keep with the spirit of prayerblogging, here are two Bible verses I read today that dealt with sleeping.

I lay down and slept; I wakened again, for the Lord sustains me. Psalm 3:5

In peace I will both lie down and sleep, for You, Lord, alone make me dwell in safety and confident trust. Psalm 4:8

Psalm 5:11

But let all those who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice; let them ever sing and shout for joy, because You make a covering over them and defend them; let those also who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. (Psalm 5:11 AMP)

Last year, I learned this Psalm with a bunch of the kids at the RVC Sunday school. We memorized the Extra Spiritual Version (aka English Standard Version of   ESV) of course. But today I was reading the Amplified and this verse caught my eye. 

I like the security in this. I like the emphasis on joy. God is our refuge, our guarantee of joy. Sealed by the cross and confirmed by the Spirit. I like that we always have a reason to worship. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

You Set Me Free

"The strongest evidence of my growth in grace is my growth in the knowledge of my need for grace"

The above quote is from JD Greear's latest book, Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart. It's an incredibly poignant book about resting in the assurance of your salvation in Christ.

In the quote, Greear is talking about awareness of sin. He speaks from personal experience to say that after he believed on the gospel, that Jesus died for his sins, he continued to become even more aware of sinful patterns, behaviors, and temptations. He said that it's common to doubt your salvation when you notice how bad you still are.

He could have been talking about me.

Sometimes I look at myself and I wonder how I could possibly belong to Christ, even now.

And then I realize, I need a Savior. I know I need a Savior. I repent and I believe, and that's what we are called to do.

I know I'm growing in grace because I know how much I need it.

Galatians 5:1 has been resonating with me throughout the reading of this book,

For freedom he has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and submit no longer to a yoke of slavery.

Free from sin. From condemnation. From guilt. From shame. From lies. From fear.

Angie Miller finished third on American Idol this season. I don't actually follow that show, but I heard about her. She performed an original song very early on in the competition, which is apparently a risky move, but this song is really good. She performed it this morning on a talk show my mom likes and it's beautiful. It's all about being set free, even in our moments of deep doubt.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Big Day

Today was a big day. I got up this morning - too early for the things I had to do - and waited until banks open.

Step one was Wells Fargo to pay rent. I'd never been to a Wells Fargo, and I'd also never put money into someone else's account like this. The teller was pretty much the nicest person I could have asked for, and she made everything so easy! It was a really great start to my day.

Then I got in the car again, but realized 1) I hadn't had any coffee and 2) There was a coffee shop right in front of my face. So I got out and was purchasing some coconut coffee when it was revealed that I am a recent Beloit College grad. As it turns out, so was the woman working. Coffee on the house. Win!

After that, I went to Waukesha State. I have banked there since I was a child in Friendly's kids club. And then when I was 15, I got a checking account with my own debit card and everything. In all reality, I should have switched banks a long time ago, because it caused me some hassles starting about a year ago, but I sucked it up until now. The teller there was also incredibly nice and she literally handled everything for me. She never asked for my ID, though, which I thought was a bit weird...she also for a second thought Frank was my husband and not my dad. Also weird.

As I walked out of there with too much cash for a person to be carrying, I felt my eyes get a little bit misty. This is the beginning of my understanding of what moving really is. Sure I "moved" to Beloit, but that's an hour away, and I was back for Thanksgiving and Christmas and summer. I still lived in Waukesha almost a third of the year. There are a lot of memories tied up in that bank, so it's a little sad leaving it.

Then I drove on over to Chase, which is conveniently less than a half mile away. Again, there were no lines and everyone made everything so simple! The nice woman who opened my new checking account for me was jealous of my passport card, which I luckily had on me, as you need two forms of ID to open an account (who knew?). She also let me talk about my study abroad experience and set up direct deposit for me, giving me the form that I need to give my new employer. And, to top it off, since my debit card won't arrive immediately, she gave me a few checks just in case I'd need them before it arrives.

So 3 banks in different parts of town and coffee were all accomplished in less than an hour and a half, and absolutely no headaches or stress. I also might have sang very loudly with my windows down, because it is a beautiful day.

Now I actually feel somewhat inspired to reorganize all my belongings! Look at that.

Update: I went through all of the still-packed items in my room, and then sorted. I have a few more receptacles in my parents' room, but my dad is asleep so that will just have to wait for another burst of inspiration. Being a morning person on vacation is ridiculous because I only ever have a couple things I should remotely consider doing, but I get them done so early that I have to keep inventing new things to accomplish. Alissa and I were discussing this problem. Another one of our big questions is, what are we supposed to do with our diplomas? I just unpacked mine, and am I supposed to take that with me everywhere I move for the rest of my life? I guess I shouldn't just leave it with my parents.

Second update: I asked my mom what I'm supposed to do with my diploma and she said it's totally fine if I throw it in a box.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Easily Pleased

"It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased" C.S. Lewis

I recently rediscovered this quote. It's taken from a sermon turned essay entitled The Weight of Glory and always blows my mind a little bit.

It's so contrary to how I think most of humanity is inclined to think of God. We think God says no to pleasure, to desire, to fun.

What's if he's actually saying yes?

What if our failure to see the yes is just a continuation of the big lie we've believed from the beginning that God doesn't love us and that he's not good?

We are content because we can't believe that God has more. We sit with what we have defined as good because we don't understand what our father said when he created the world and said, "it is good".

We're clueless.

In our completeness we find complacence...

How true a phrase that is.

It makes me eager for that day when we all, with unveiled faces, will learn what eternal joy is. We will worship with the redeemed and see Jesus face to face.

But until then, let us try to not be so easily pleased.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Pursuing Love

Yesterday, I sat reading. Reading 1 Corinthians. Reading reading reading. Writing. Thinking. Praying.

I read 1 Corinthians 13 right into 14 and I only got two words in and I stopped.

Pursue love

And I sit and I realize that those two words only mean something when you've just read the whole chapter before it. Because how do you pursue love if you don't know what it is?

If you've just read 1 Corinthians 13, you'd know that by pursuing love, you're actually pursuing a whole host of things:

The end of jealousy, arrogance, and rudeness
Sacrificing for others
Not being irritable or resentful
Bearing all
Believing all
Hoping all
Enduring all

I have to give props to my parents right now, because they are being the father in Luke 15 for my sister right now. They are doing this. They are showing us that we can mess up and that we will still have a place to come home to and they will be patient and kind and sacrificial and endure everything we throw at them.

On March 2nd, I christened a new journal. I wrote, "Lord, show me what love is", right under the verse for the season, "Many waters cannot quench love; neither can many floods drown it. If a man offered for love all the wealth of his house, he would be utterly despised" (SOS 8:7).

If only I had known what that would mean, being shown what love is. Being shown what it is to be

Not jealous, arrogant or rude
Free from irritability and resentment
Rejoicing in the truth
Bearing all
Believing all
Hoping all
Enduring all

Because when you pray for something like that, it's not just something that happens automatically. You're put to the test, you learn by experience, and in my case, it's been day after day of one of the hardest things I've ever done. Loving someone who makes my life difficult. Who has hurt me and the people I love. Who doesn't take responsibility for her choices and expects everything from everyone.

Ann Voskamp writes, "Don’t waste a minute of your life on anything less than eternity — and that’s. what. love is. Eternal, without end" And she continues, "it’s never too late to love and there is always time to love and what else is a lifetime for?" 

I think of Christy Nockels' song, "Choose" and am reminded that when I choose in this moment to love God, I must also love his people, his people who were made in his image and knit together by his hands. 

Because many waters cannot quench love. 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Water into Wine

Chris August's second album came out last summer and this was easily my first favorite song off the album. It was on a playlist of mine that I hadn't listened to in awhile, but I remembered how great it is, so here you go

"Water Into Wine"

I've been runnin’ round in circles, but I can't do this on my own
To be so far away from perfect, that’s all I've ever known
It's not like I ain't been tryin’, 'cause I've been trying every door
And when they'd open I'd be lyin’ on the floor 'cause I'm always falling short

I've been lost chasing dreams of yesterday
Found my heart always leading me astray
So take these broken wings and teach them to fly
'Cause You're changing me from water into wine

I guess I thought that it'd be easy 'cause people always speak of peace
And now I'm picking up the pieces left of me
'Cause I can see that it was You breaking me

I've been lost chasing dreams of yesterday
Found my heart always leading me astray
So take these broken wings and teach them to fly
'Cause You're changing me from water into wine
From water into wine

I knew about the story revealing all Your glory
How You can take the nothing and turn it into something
But now I see my own life changing before my eyes
You saw me at my worst and fulfilled my thirst like water into wine

I've been lost chasing dreams of yesterday
Found my heart always leading me astray
So take these broken wings and teach them to fly
'Cause You're changing me from water into wine
From water into wine

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Day 3: Psalm 139

I've had a headache for three days and I'm still exhausted. My mom keeps making excuses for me, but it's really my own fault. I remember this as I read JD Greear's Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart, where he writes, "You chose sin because you liked it better than God". What a blowing truth. In this world, I will not be made complete or perfect. It is to come, but has not been manifested yet. And still there is assurance and rest and hope in Christ my Advocate: "Normally an advocate argues for your innocence - or, that you should not be punished based on extenuating circumstances, your general good character demonstrated in other places, etc. Our Advocate does no such thing. He never argues for our goodness. He argues His righteousness in our place". 

I think about sin. I remember the spoken word by P4CM, "Almost Saved",  "In our completeness we find complacence". How true those words are! I get stuck. I find solace in the Word and in fellowship with God and I forget that I am a sinner who actually needs my Jesus to rescue me. When my sins are less obvious I forget they're there, and maybe, just maybe, it takes something big to remind me who I am and who I need. I think of the young revivalist Robert Murray McCheyne, and how he relentlessly looked at his sin, and how when he found it, it made him closer to his Savior. That's not my reaction. I sin and I'm like my mother, Eve. I try to cover myself and hide. I run away, ignoring the promise of 1 Corinthians 3:23, and you are Christ's and Christ is God's and chapter 6, verse 17, But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. Nothing can separate me from him. Nothing. 

And as I think, I have been plugging away on my list. I'm getting ready to switch banks. This is so weird. I've banked at Waukesha State since I had an account opened for me at 6. I went to Goodwill with a pile of stuff (don't worry Betsy, I saved another bin for your sale. Everyone else: if you need small abercrombie and fitch clothes or homecoming dresses hit that up). I secured an apartment (43rd and 7th!) and am just waiting for dear Angela to scan over the lease papers for me to sign so that I can locate a Wells Fargo and get her the first month's rent. I still need to get a car. And deal with my phone situation. And plan my trip. But, it could be worse. 

I've been reading Psalm 139 every day for some time now. 

Lord, you have searched me and known me!
This is scary and wonderful all at once. Scary to know that God has seen all of me, but wonderful in that His knowledge of me results in deep love. 

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
    you discern my thoughts from afar.
He discerns my thoughts. He knows my deepest hopes and fears and desires to be known by me in them. 

 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
Though I move, the Lord is ever before me. He makes my path straight and prepares the way. 

 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.
I can't express how amazing it is to be under His protection, to find my refuge and dwelling place in Him. 
 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
 If I take the wings of the morning
    and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 even there your hand shall lead me,
    and your right hand shall hold me.
For someone who is moving, who is uncertain, who is in many ways starting over, this knowledge is bliss. To be led by the Lord, to be known by Him, to be always in His presence. 

 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
    and the light about me be night,”
 even the darkness is not dark to you;
    the night is bright as the day,
    for darkness is as light with you.
In the darkness of my deepest fears, God is there, shining a light. The light of men, Jesus, that cannot be overcome by darkness. 
 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
Oh my soul, let this knowledge abound!

 My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
The Lord already has my book written. As I begin this next chapter, how comforting to know He is already there. He knows my next step when I do not, and He knows the way the story ends. He knows why each day and each moment had to happen, and how they are all a part of His glorious tale. 
 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you.
Precious are His thoughts toward me. He cares for me, and will always be there in all things, always good and always in control. 
 Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God!
    O men of blood, depart from me!
 They speak against you with malicious intent;
    your enemies take your name in vain.
 Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord?
    And do I not loathe those who rise up against you? I hate them with complete hatred;
    I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting!
Let me be of one mind with You, my Lord and Savior, my friend and Father. Let me be aware of Your leadings; remove my own inclinations and let me be led by You.

I sat at Starbucks this morning and journaled about things that are finally starting to hit me; how will my relationships change; what will it be like with having apart be the norm instead of together; what new friends will I make; how will I; how will I stay close with the people I love now; what will this all look like in five years, ten, 20. Who will be at my wedding. Who will be my maid of honor. So many questions, no answers. Nothing but the goodness and sovereignty of God, and that must be enough. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

God Knows My Name

God Knows My Name is a book I picked up for free online, and it's by Beth Redman (yes, she is Matt Redman's wife), and it definitely would have been worth paying for. Maybe it's because I've been so personally effected by the fact that God knows me and the word he uses to express that knowledge, yadda, but this book is just rubbing balm into my soul.

I am loving every minute, but am of course drawn to her commentary on the woman at the well in John 4. This woman was a sinner and she knew it. And the fact that Jesus knew her and wanted to spend time with her anyway moved her. I feel like that, too, and that's why I love her story so much. Anyway, Beth writes,

"She had lived a life of sin and shame in the eyes of society, and yet Jesus, the Son of God, chose to come and sit next to her, draw water near to her, and drink with her...Her history did not matter to Jesus, but her future did. The compassion, kindness and love that Jesus showed during their conversation completely captivated her...He took her sin and shame, and left freedom and forgiveness in its place. He knew about her socially disgraceful past, and He met her in the middle of a difficult present to offer her an eternal future"

I read this, and its Scripture, and wonder what happened to the woman after. She was forever changed by the Master, but I can say with good confidence that she sinned until she died. We all do. I think of Paul saying he does not do that which he ought. And I wonder, maybe me keep sinning after we've been saved in order to remind us that we are still being saved, and we still need our Savior to do that.

As Beth relates this to each one of us, she writes,

"Jesus approaches you. He comes to you today, as you sit with your cup of tea or pour your glass of wine. He is there"

I like this a lot. I like the reminder that since I was not the one who approached Jesus, He approached me, I can't hide. He will always come to me where I am. He knows who I am and that's why He comes. I don't have to pretend to be someone I'm not.

Take a Deep Breath, Girl

Senior week was crazy. And exhausting. And wonderful. And it caught up to me right after graduation. I sat in the car with my parents I barely kept my eyes open until we went to lunch. I think I was too tired to eat. I went to bed early and slept in the latest I ever have. I woke up and scrolled through pictures and facebook notes, people missing Beloit and each other already.

I don't feel that yet. Maybe in the fall, when we don't come back. Maybe on a lonely night in Seattle. But right now, it feels so right. This is exactly what was supposed to happen - we work and we play and we live for four years together and then we go and do something else.

For the first time in too long, I don't have a schedule. I don't have class or work or practice or a final or a meeting or a reception or a party. I have both nothing and everything to do.

It may be a bit silly, but I have a lyric from "Fifteen" by Taylor Swift running through my head, "Take a deep breath, girl, it's the morning of your very first day".

Today is my first full day of not being a college student, but a graduate. That's weird. I've been in school for 17 of my 21 years, and now I'm not.

I take that deep breath because I need to. I'm so overwhelmed that it's manifesting itself in being underwhelmed. I have a lot of big things I need to do, and I don't think baby steps are an option at this point. I think I'm trying to jump all in.

My son, do not lose sight of these—
    keep sound wisdom and discretion,
22 and they will be life for your soul
    and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely,
    and your foot will not stumble.
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
    when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror
    or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence
    and will keep your foot from being caught.
Proverbs 3:21-26

I just now opened some of the graduation cards I received, and my grandma had written about Proverbs 3, especially those verses. I especially like that promise, "you will walk on your way securely". 

I take a deep breath and repeat, I will walk securely. 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Going and Coming and Going

This post is in two parts that are loosely related

Part 1

I loved graduating on mother's day. I thought it was really cool to be able to celebrate everything my mom has done to get me here.

I have had the privilege to be at four Beloit College commencements, this last one of course being my own. At the first three, I cried. At my own, I did not. I did not say goodbye to friends, but see you later. I laughed and smiled and enjoyed my day a whole lot. I don't think it's caught up to me yet. I will probably cry later, but right now, it is just a great day to be a Beloiter.

I'm sitting at home in Waukesha just about 6 hours after I walked across the stage. I'm wearing sweatpants and watching Harry Potter and not even thinking about unpacking. This week was really busy, really exhausting, and really everything it should have been.

I made a list of all the things I need to do in the next few weeks. It's a lot. A lot a lot a lot. Things I've never done before and am not sure I know how to do, but I'm sure I will figure it out. I didn't know how to apply for college or get an internship or acquire a passport or write a resume or land a job but somehow I did anyway.

I am going to take at least one day off. I need that. But then, I go from one home to another to another.

It's still very unreal that I have left Beloit. That I am leaving Waukesha. And I will be arriving in Seattle. I know I can do this. And I want to, and I'm excited, but Beloit really gave me a whole lot. I am thankful. So so very thankful.

Part 2

For all those who wondered about the ambiguous personal project that I spent so much time working on, its contents may now be revealed.

On January 20th, 2011, I made one of the best decisions of my life when I said yes to friendship with Betsy Wynn. And today, on our 844th day as friends, we graduated.

Back in January of this year, I was watching Betsy crochet at track practice as she supervised our pole vaulting. I thought, "wow, I just love her". And an idea was born: for every day between 1/20/11 and 5/12/13, I would write out 1 thing I loved about her.

I worked for the next four ish months coming up with the list. I wrote on corners of pages and made memos in my phone and type type typed into my computer. I reminisced. I read old journals and blog posts - hers and mine. I scrolled through facebook records. I combed through over two years of history. I looked at the person running by my side and sitting across from me in the library and next to me on the bus and sitting on the floor of my room. I had prints done of pictures. I bought a red leather-bound traveling sketchbook. I did math, perfectly spacing the pictures and loves and pages so that the whole book would be full. I used the "find" function to make sure I hadn't repeated (I had: mattress wrestling, weird things she puts in macaroni and cheese, enthusiasm, and sister love from the top of my head) and replaced them. I glued pictures and wrote loves. On the day of our last final, I wrote the introduction. The morning of graduation, I tucked an extra picture in the back pocket with a final note to close it out.

How I spent a good chunk of time, falling more in love with a beautiful and strong person with every minute

And even though we're going to hang out this week and this isn't really goodbye, I sat and watched her open this gift.

I saw her look at it curiously; the cover simply reads "844". This was on purpose. I wanted to preserve the surprise and the wonder as long as I could.

I saw her light up at the inside cover: "To Betsy. Love Kate. January 20th, 2011 - May 12th, 2013 - ???".

I watched her face change as she read the introduction, featuring a prime quote from Anne of Avonlea: "If we have friends we should look only for the best in them and give them the best that is in us, don't you think? Then friendship would be the most beautiful thing in the world".

I listened to her mom, "Did you really write in that whole book?!"

When she said she was excited to read it, I started flashing through what she was about to read:

18. The way you number lists of random things to tell me.

51. Your honesty

134. "I would hope I'd realize you were dead before death emergency alarm had to go off"

287. Your messy backpack

336. How you check the beds to make sure they're fun to jump on

432. That you daily challenge me to be better

536. The day you got a job!

611. When you ask me if I'm going to the library and you really mean, please come to the library with me

771. That you took human rights to be a more informed person

824. How much my sister likes you

841. Turning breakdowns into breakthroughs

This is easily one of the coolest and most rewarding gifts I have ever given. I love love, and this is definitely evidence of that.

To Betsy, I repeat myself in saying: thank you for being you, with me.

And to Beloit, I say thank you. I can't imagine what my list to you would look like.