Thursday, March 26, 2009


When I was in 9th grade, I was dating this guy named Ben. We were dating at the end of the school year, and then the summer came around. All of a sudden, it seemed like everytime I called him, he was busy playing basketball. His parents said they would have him call, but he never called! So I just figured, Ben must not like me anymore. Then last summer, I met a guy at work, and we realized we had a mutual friend in Ben. I learned that this guy was the one playing basketball with Ben! I know this is totally random, but I was thinking about this the other day, and it made me smile. It was kind of a strange emotion because I really just experienced God's goodness when thinking about that memory.
That's weird, right? But on the other hand, why is it so weird to experience God in things like that? Actually, when I reminisce about the past, it is often an outpouring of praise for God's goodness. Sometimes it's a praise that He has taken me so far and taught me so much since that time, but other times it's just His glory made manifest in the innocence and silliness of my teenage years.
You remember me mentioning Cole and Jozay, my middle schoolers who started dating? Well, Jozay broke up with Cole because "he was just so weird... he dances all the time!" That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about. I see God in that so much. God's glory shines in the innocence of middle schoolers. Someday, I pray that Jozay will look back on breaking up with Cole because of his incessant dancing and praise God for the silliness.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Junior Highers

I just got back last night from a junior high retreat with the youth group at my church. It was a really great weekend, and I really enjoyed getting to know the junior highers more. Relating to junior highers is way different than senior highers. In senior high, kids are more set in who they are. I'm closer to that age, so I can really be open with them and give advice that they can understand and relate to. With junior high, the kids are so innocent. I know they aren't as innocent as I like to pretend, but they haven't experienced a lot of things that really define a person.
I had a lot of conversations this weekend with the girls about the boys they like, and it was really sweet to hear the one girl get excited about hugging the guy she just recently started dating. Cole and Jozay started dating on Thursday night after youth group. Sam called Cole and asked him out for Jozay, and he said that Jozay needed to call herself because if they couldn't talk directly, things just wouldn't work out. So Jozay called, with Sam still on the line, and they had a three-way phone conversation that resulted in Jozay and Cole getting together.
Junior high is a really cool age because people are so innocent. I mean how simple of a fact is it that if Jozay can't talk to Cole directly, things won't work out, but it is one of those simple truths that we sometimes forget when we're older. With their fresh minds, they know these things so Cole makes sure that he and Jozay are able to actually talk. What would be the point of dating if you aren't actually going to talk to the person? Now that we're older, things just seem so much more complicated. Granted, there is a lot more stuff to communicate when we're talking about a person we want to spend our lives with or whatever. But sometimes we can't really communicate how we feel to that person. Did we forget how you have to be able to communicate to make a relationship work?
The girls were telling me lots of stories about a missions trip they had all gone on. They had a lot of fun stories like how one girl wouldn't get up off the floor, so another girl sat on her. I feel like it is this kind of conversations that really make you closer to a person because you are seeing their personality. I know it isn't that deep, but those stories are the day-in and day-out occurrences that made that person smile. With stories like that, you could never run out of things to talk about.
In fact, I was just thinking about how my roommate Joy and I have conversations about silly, little things like when you know you're expecting your period, so you're hyper sensitive all the time, thinking that you just got it. Sorry that's kind of gross, but it made me smile when I thought about that conversation because it was just so random and trivial, but it made me feel close to Joy.
There's something about the innocence of a junior higher that strikes me because I love those little stories, and I love getting excited about hugging a boy. That's actually why I told Sam it is okay if she changes her mind about who she likes. If she likes one guy on Friday and changes her mind to like another boy on Saturday, that's okay. They have a lot to learn, that's for sure. But to see the way that Cole can know that if you're dating someone, you need to be able to communicate... well, as simple as it sounds, it's so true. He's going to grow and build on that, and it's cool to see that he has a solid foundation to build on.
That's what impacting junior highers is all about because junior high is the foundation. I know we tend to remember our middle school experience as something we wouldn't want to do again, and we were so silly chasing after boys all the time and whatever... but that innocence that they have is something to be treasured. I really value the opportunity to be a person that the kids can look up to and trust because as much as I can impact them, they are impacting me in ways that no other experience can do. God is really working at PBIC, and it just makes me so excited sometimes that I want to roll around in a field of wildflowers or sing at the top of my lungs so that everyone could hear how amazing God is!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kate and Leo

So I was watching Titanic the other day. I hadn't wanted to watch it since I was in 6th grade or some time around there because I always thought it was cheesy. But it was on TV, so I figured that meant a. it probably shortened it up a bit and b. they wouldn't show the nudity that always made me uncomfortable. So I watched it, and I'm not ashamed to say that I cried... a lot. Of course when you watch a movie like that, you know that, inevitably, the boat is going to sink, and half the people on the ship are going to die. And you know that a love so amazing as that of Kate and Leo was going to end tragically. So why is it that this fake movie love could be so inspiring? It's funny because after watching that movie, I was looking at quotes from the movie Love Actually, and the little kid and the father in that movie say "we need Kate and Leo," and they go watch Titanic. Then later, the father tells the boy that there isn't one person for everyone, and the boy says, "There was for Kate and Leo. There is for me"
The first event in the movie that precipitated my tears was when Kate gets off the lifeboat and goes down to the bottom floor to find Leo. She goes down the elevator, and when she reaches the bottom floor, there is a flood of ocean water that scares the crap out of the elevator operator. But Kate is determined to find Leo. (By the way, I can't think of Kate's movie name, so I have resolved to call them Kate and Leo.) And though I was watching the movie by myself, I said out loud, "That's real love." Love that makes you look past your fear like that to save someone, that is love. I was moved from the gut, to say the least. I was thinking about me in that situation because I have to say, I would be absolutely terrified if I were on a sinking ship (of course, it is mandatory for ships to have enough lifeboats for all passengers so it wouldn't be quite the same situation). But I am so scared of deep water, I almost cried when I watched the end of the ship go down, and you could see the size of the ship and the ocean compared to the individual people. That ocean was so dark and frigid. It would take an extraordinary love that would make me face that kind of fear.
People always insist that life isn't like movies. But I think it's time to clarify what that means. When I say I believe that life isn't like a movie, what I mean is that I'm not going to be in a situation where I have to go to the bottom of a ship to save the man I love in the midst of the ship sinking. I bet most people aren't put in life or death situations where they have to actually take a bullet for the person they love. But I think we are so drawn to movies and the situations because they really heighten the feelings that we already have. Love makes you brave and selfless like that. Maybe you won't have to utilize that courage in such vicarious situations, but I want to live every day as if I am crawling up on that cross and dying for the man I love. And when we women desire a man to rescue us, that's what it comes down to. It doesn't mean that the man you love beats up somebody who made fun of you. It means he is dying to himself and looking at your needs above his. He wakes up every morning and says how can I show love to this woman as Christ would have me do?
I don't know if this sounds lame, but that's what I see when I see Kate and Leo. They loved each other, so they didn't have wishy washy expressions of love. No, they dove in whole-heartedly. I think that's the kind of love that all of us are dreaming that God will bless us with, and that's the kind of love that we want to be able to express ourselves. So even though the situations that movies put people are in not something that normal middle-class Americans will experience, the emotion can be absolutely real. In fact, I think it's almost harder to be a hero to the one you love when you aren't having to actually take a bullet. That means you have to get up on a cross and die every day for that person. You have to figure out what that means in your lives when you aren't slaying dragons or fighting a disease or sinking in the Titanic.
I think before we keep dreaming about falling in love, we need to consider what the implications of real love is. I don't want anything less than what Kate and Leo had. I believe that God desires me to be a woman who will die daily for her husband, and he wants to bless me with a man who will die daily for me. It will be like in this poem that I wrote the day before Ryan and I broke up actually, in December.

So won't you come cover me,
lay down your life,
desire to present me faultless,
and trust that I've already been rescued.
God won't let me fall.
HE won't let me drown.
I'm all in because He has covered me,
but won't you take the honor of being
His hands,
His heart,
His love, His word in the flesh,
And I will do the same for you, my love.