Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Breakfast After 10

Our new 'season' of the Wednesday morning women's Bible study I attend began this morning.  I love, love, love this group and I'm so thankful that God originally called me to it last year.  It was an enormous factor in my growth in my faith throughout the year last year and I made some awesome new friends, as well as getting to know some previous acquaintances on a deeper level.  There are some new faces this time around and I'm excited to develop new relationships with these women as well.

I always feel so refreshed after leaving the church, so connected and more understood than I ever have felt anywhere else.  The way we are able to open up and discuss the Gospel and Jesus freely with each other, without judgement and reservations is just incredible.  Plus, the food's always good, too.  I struggle with so much sin in my life and I can get really down on myself trying to deal with it on my own.  I start to feel lonely and ugly and scared and depressed.  However, getting these fears and failures off my chest and sharing in the hope and love of Jesus in the company of these women just uplifts me in a way I could never explain.  Having the assurance that I'm not alone in my struggles goes a long way in refreshing my spirit and preparing my heart for another week out there in our broken, sinful world.  

I pray that God will continue to bless our group and His Spirit will dwell among us as this year as we study the Gospel of Mark.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Flavors of Entanglement

It's no secret (at least, I don't think it is) that I've been an Alanis Morissette fan for a very long time. I own all of her albums and they get frequent play time on the ol' iPod. I've struggled with it because I guess I feel like she's kind of a cliche', like angry chic-rock music or something, but the truth is, she is an incredibly talented musician. She writes all of her own music, plays many different instruments and often her albums are surprisingly complex and highly personal accounts of her life that she is not afraid to share with the free world.

Her new album, Flavors of Entanglement, is no exception. At first listen, I wasn't totally sold on it. I was having a hard time getting into the newer style she tries out, which is a little less "raw" and a little more "produced," for lack of better terms. However, after about the fourth full listen, something just kind of clicked, and I understood where she was going with this new sound. Suddenly, it made perfect sense. I had chosen a few songs that I liked and those were the only ones I listened to, but after the epiphany I went back and re-visited the album in its entirety and I heard it in a new way. Since then, I haven't been able to listen to anything else.

It's the perfect break-up music, without being bitter. She's saying, I'm sad it's over, I still think you're great, but we're better this way. She's saying, I've grown, I'm not perfect, but I'm comfortable with me. She's saying, I'm not looking back, but I'm not trying to forget it all, either. I think those of us who have experienced this type of relationship know, it's hard to get that across without seeming like you're just trying to convince yourself and everyone else that you believe it. However, Alanis manages to tell her story honestly, without any irony at all, and it's fun to sing along to.