Friday, August 29, 2008

Random thoughts and updates for a Friday afternoon

I've probably read about 40 books in the last month.  Sometimes two or more a day.  Novels, non-fiction, everything.  I guess it's been an escape of sorts for me.  I am reminded of the book Girl Meets God where she gives up reading for Lent.  I found it ridiculous that she would consider reading as something she did in place of -or instead of- connecting with God, but now I kind of get it.  It's an easy escape and, to me, it's better than TV or a movie, but I can easily lose a whole day in a good book.  

I'm officially in my second trimester of pregnancy, and I'm finally feeling better physically.  The morning (um, all day) sickness is dramatically reduced and I'm not so dead tired all of the time.  Although, the new "waking-up-at-4-am-STARVING" is not much fun, either.  I meet with my new midwife on Tuesday, which I'm super excited about because it will be my first actual confirmation of what's going on inside me (is it a baby?  am I sure it's not just gas and I've been confused this whole time?).  I'm slowly rising out of my depression/guilt/fear/unbelief and tiptoeing into acceptance and potential -dare I say it?- excitement, which has only been made possible by the loving grace of God.  For that, I am so thankful.  The thought that God has a plan for this little one is what keeps me going everyday.  Praise Him.

I start school September 14th, which I am extremely excited about.  It will be wonderful to be learning and challenging myself in new ways.  I'm not sure what my goals are yet, as far was what I'm studying... they change frequently.  I am just trying to keep an open mind and an open heart, and look to God to direct me where He will.  I know He'll show me when I'm ready.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Everlasting Friend

Lately, I've begun to realize how truly and utterly God has blessed me with my wonderful family and friends. These are people who have stood beside me through thick and thin: They have tried to help me even when I thought I didn't need it- taking their advice and dropping it on the side of the road where I thought it belonged- and then welcomed me back with open arms when I came to my senses and came crawling back. As a matter of fact, they didn't even let me crawl back, they helped me pick myself up and dust myself off, and then they hugged me.

They have given me food, shelter, and open ears and hearts; they have paid me generously for doing their hair or baby-sitting their children and in doing so helped me rebuild my self-confidence; they have welcomed me into their homes and families in order to remind me that we are all in this thing called Life together.

I have enjoyed so many heartfelt and honest conversations with these wonderful people, and have been enormously humbled by the love and support they have given, and continue to give, me. It feels so good to be home again.

In the past two months, the Lord has worked graciously in my life in so many ways that I cannot begin to count them all. While I've been focusing on the big picture and selfishly wondering what He could possibly have planned for me, I've practically missed the small (small in the sense of daily, not as in insignificant) but amazing ways he's beginning to put the pieces of my life back together and prepare me for what's to come.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Weight of the World

I have been reading a fantastic book called God's Story by Anne Graham Lotz.  It's a really good read for a new Christian, or someone who is interested in Christianity but wants to know more about God and developing a relationship with Him.

There's a section in the prologue where the author discusses the fact that God is not bound by 'time' - that which exists to us on Earth.  She has a very clear and direct way of describing this hard-to-fathom (at least for me) truth that makes it relatively easy to comprehend.  She manages to delve into the subject and break it down without getting lost or overcomplicated about it.  

One of the concepts she brings up is predestination.  I have discussed this with many of my Christian friends, and there seems to be a divide in the belief that God has already determined our life plan.  It's hard for some to believe in both predestination and free will.  However, Ms. Lotz has a profound application of God's existence outside the boundaries of time to predestination.  She states, "He sees all of your life from beginning to end at one time."  In essence, to us, we make a choice and then thirty years later, we might make another choice; to God, He sees those thirty years- in fact, our whole life- happening at one time, because time does not exist to Him.  Therefore, He can choose us, yet at the same time, we have free will to choose.

The most shocking concept she brings up, however, is a seemingly obvious "if...then" theory that somehow has never occurred to me.  I actually gasped aloud as I read it.  It's this:  If Jesus was God, and God is not bound by time, then isn't it possible that when Jesus was crucified, suffering the sins of the world, he literally suffered an eternity of God's wrath in order to save us?  Could it be that those six hours that he hung were actually an ETERNITY to Him?

Take a minute to wrap your mind around that.  For me, it's been a struggle to truly comprehend Jesus' death and just how much love He had for us in order to die so that we could live.  I mean, it was soooo long ago, and it's not like I ever met the Guy when He was here on Earth.  Therefore, I constantly ask Him to fill my heart with His Holy Spirit so that I may get a grasp of the depths of His love, a better understanding of Him.  However, when I read that Jesus may have hung for a timeless eternity on that cross, for some reason it was like a switch flipped on in my brain.  I was immediately flooded with this....awe, this immense gratitude for His sacrifice.  I realized that I will probably never even come close to understanding what a gift He has given us.

If you get a chance to read her book, I highly recommend it.