Sometimes Words are Just Right

I’m a brand new 20. This is good. Sometimes things are so spot on that you just cry happy tears of “Yes! Someone gets it!” And I’m not even getting married in 44 days. ;P (I think I’m gonna start following her blog.)
“I was divinely designed to be exactly who I am,
& to fit a mold made by anybody besides my creative Father is to rob the world of all the things that make me, me”
“Freedom is for people who trust in the One who made them,
Who want to live lives too big to be ready for.”
I have an internship that starts in four days and I’m definitely not ready.
But I’m getting better at all of this.
It helps not living at home. I don’t have someone to ask if something’s okay.
I have to trust myself more.
Or at least trust that God didn’t make an idiot.
(I have an internship in four days, ren faire in two, and a ton of Vietnam pictures to post on Facebook and stuff to pack and people to thank for their birthday wishes and yet… This armchair by this sunshiney window reading things that warm my heart… That’s where it’s at right now.)
A friend of mine has a tiny newborn… She’s my age. She hasn’t traveled the world, but she’s leading adventures that take just as much courage.
I’ve gotten way better at just kind of accepting the emotions I have, feeling them, and letting the life roll and bounce as it may knowing that God’s got my back and my sides and steps. 🙂
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Sleepy Sunday Thought

So, I think being lucky in the realm of relationships and things is having a best friend (that you’re attracted to, which all legit friends are, to an extent, I guess) who wants the same things out of life (as far as like religion and family ideals) as you… Because you can have a reeeaallly good friend that you just kinda click with but all you do is cuddle and hang out and stuff because you know you wanna get married and they know they don’t or you know you don’t want kids and they know the do or you know you’re a devout Christian and they’re a pastafarian. And that’s just never gonna work. Or you can meet someone who has presumably the same life goals, but you just don’t click in the ways that good friends should, and nobody wants to make a not-friend their priority. The second one is a lot easier to deal with. The first one seems messy and crazy and nice in this time of remembering that being single doesn’t mean being lonely or being a failure or any other negative thing. Ya know?

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Self Confession (Late Night Busy Brain Edition)

Self confession:

I think a lot of theological thoughts, ya know, about God and Jesus and life and stuff and at least 80% of them never get beyond my head and I don’t even really want to say them in prayer… Because who on Earth am I to make any guesses about who Jesus is and what God wants and all that stuff? Like, really. I can look at the church up against my relationship with Christ and I can look at all these people who have been hurt and I can listen to stories of it’s brokenness and sure I can tell myself “well, everything is just way out of perspective and love and vulnerability in Christ got lost somewhere, but that whole love thing reeeeeaaaaaalllly is what’s going to heal things” but… Other people have had those thoughts and everything is still broken. Who am I to say I’m right? Who am I to say I can be part of the healing? Who am I to say that God has called me to help heal this awful, gaping hurt? Who am I to say I have the answer? Who am I to say my answer is better than other answers?

Friends, *I* wrote the words “I can’t handle not accepting that different people are called to live out The Call in different ways.” Yet… I am so bad lately about thinking that my way is the best way. That what I preach to myself about love is better than what others preach about morality and modesty and decency and purity. But then where does the line get drawn? I can’t get away with thinking that someone is deep in Christ with a wholesome faith ready to lead (instead of having faith in its infancy) if they don’t have love of God and others at the forefront. And I guess that’s scripturally founded. So I guess I need to work on accepting that people can show love in different ways than I do. (I’m trying really hard to not sound like a jerk, and I’m only kind of succeeding.) I need to recognize that different people are at different places in their spiritual life and everyone has a different journey and everyone, myself included, goes through phases of saying truly wrong and stupid things in the name of faith. I’m not going to accept the arguments for shame disguised as tough love. But I am going to accept that part of me loving other Christians is loving them where they are and recognizing that I get things wrong, too.

I guess this is what I know and this is what I need to remember and this is what I struggle with: “If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.” And that’s all I’ve got. This is nowhere near comprehensive and I don’t have the energy to fill or even notice any holes that exist. This is just all I’ve got right now at 3 a.m. when I should be sleeping but instead I’m praying and singing and writing.

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Here’s The Problem (NotSoBrainDumpRelated):

1.- I don’t yet own The Fault in Our Stars (the movie). And I’m gonna have to get it with my Christmas money, because sometimes I need things to keep me in that peculiar place of just loving with abandon and believing I’ll just fall in love with some human some time eventually. And I like staying in that place.

2.- People not saying what they mean.

3.- Too many people believing that anything good can only happen after struggle.

4.- People not leaning into all the life that they have around them. Not feeling pain, but not feeling joy either.

5.- There’s not enough summer right now.

6.- Not enough people taking risks.

7.- I have a friend who is only a friend and could not ever be more but I like Augustus Waters because he is all of the confident (but not cocky or presumptuous)and funny and kind and thoughtful and this friend just happens to be a lot like him. So that’s a weird thing in my brain.

8.- Too many people not realizing that some people are worth the possibility of their heartbreak and their time and their energy and that everyone is worth their love.

9.- Not enough people looking at the people they love and being in awe.

10.- Not enough grown ups being grown ups.

11.- Not enough babies being babies.

12.- Not enough of me leaning into fast and crazy and love and stuff (because I’ve got the calm, slow, cool thing under control).

13.- Not enough people saying “I love you.”

14.- Not enough people trusting love.

15.- Not enough hand holding.

16.- Too many people trying to be islands.

17.- There’s more, I’m sure. But cleaning beckons.

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Being a Woman (BrainDump Expansion Part 1)

In which I talk about my God given womanhood and its beauty and preaching and possibilites of significant others including the fears (like those of finding someone anywhere near as dependable as Jesus in his feminism) and the beauties. (I’ve now written most of it, and it is in fact a lot of me dreaming about one of those husband people… And I want to apologize, but that would be silly. I can have dreams and having a dream of a husband doesn’t make me dependent or submissive to men or society and it doesn’t make me less of a feminist or less of a woman. So, there.)
(Sarah Bessey is the bomb and so eloquently says all the things about marriage that I need to hear and she’s actually a woman and a conscientious person and a Momma to tinies and a wife and all these things and she’s so far in God’s love it kills me. Her beauty knocks me dead. So you’re gonna get a lot of posts. Because we all need role models and she’s one of mine. And she has these fables and I need to hear them because I have Mamaw’s and that’s all the fairy tale love I know. And I need hope.)
We need gentle feminism, friends. We need a love of women and of men that rests in love and hope and freedom. Because cynical harsh (academic?) feminism is rough and painful and it tears my heart in two. In its own way it reduces womanhood and it reduces beauty and complexity and has too many slogans and not enough depth. Feminism within this wonderful love I know in Christ is everything beautiful and everything necessary.
More than that, though, we need love that’s caring and deep and founded on mutual submission and more about all those love things from 1st Corinthians than passion and casual dating and one night stands and drunken whispers. Because passion is good, but it can’t hold anything up. We need more people like myself (man, that sounds cocky, but I’ve spent so much time beating myself up for the quality I’m about to list and I’m only finding through repeated affirmations from prayer and those I love that this IS good) and my Momma and this gorgeous friend of mine who happens to love The Little Mermaid (so that’s what we’ll call her, because I have this issue with putting names on my blog). We need people who emotionally invest themselves and put themselves in a position where, yes, hurt is a very real possibility, in fact a probability, but the love that comes out of it, in whatever way, whether it’s friendship or romance or what have you, is so much deeper and so legit and so trustworthy and so unmistakable by everyone who feels it (we hope).
Because I’m beginning to think that lasting romantic love for me will be stumbling into someone who can keep up with me in depth and intensity of my vulnerability and investment. Because otherwise I’ll be longing and I’ll be lonely ( But give me someone who is real and open and honest with me and I could stay with them forever, details aside. And sometimes I’m so scared that it won’t happen. But if God could make me and Momma and My Little Mermaid, he could make men who can love with the same messy intensity. Because us three amigas need it. I’m vulnerable and I want to know someone I can be safe with forever (and someone who needs the same thing from me). And so I practice patience. And I practice drawing into God and trusting while I experience and even enjoy being perpetually single. Because there’s a lot me and God can do just the two of us, and there’s a lot me and my amigas and God can do, too. So I dream with God and I write to a husband I may never have (and there’s a lot of thoughts on this practice from a lot of people, but I do it mostly so I can have a space set aside for my hope so that I can mostly live right now and not in tomorrow’s worries), and all of that is exactly where I need to be and what I need to be doing. The man I marry will be a feminist, and he will be my best friend, and he will support me as I stand behind a pulpit (hell, maybe he’ll be behind a pulpit of his own), and he will match me in vulnerability and intensity. But most of all, he’ll be someone I know loves Christ. He’ll be someone I can submit to and someone who will submit to me and together we’ll submit to this great and grand love that somehow is not just there for us to reach to, but actively WANTS us. He’ll be a feminist because he knows that God chose a woman. Because he knows that it wasn’t just happenstance that the first to preach of Christ and His glory were women. He will be my best friend because I don’t think I could marry someone who’s not. He will support me because being a pastor is hard and scary and I cannot begin to imagine how it’s going to affect me spiritually and emotionally and I’m going to need a person outside of myself who will reassure me that God is good. Because Heaven knows I won’t be able to remember that on my own all the time when I’m standing in the face of pain and suffering and hatred. All the other things about him will be things I find out. They’ll be the things of dreams and details. Whoever I marry will be that one safe person I can always rely on. We’ll try for each other to be like Jesus in out of love… And maybe there will be a couple men I feel this way with and I feel the heartache of letting one or two go while I find the one that’ll stick around… Maybe. Or maybe there’ll just be the one. And maybe I’ll meet him tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll meet him the day before I die. But all this waiting and all this being independent is beautiful in its own right, and I’m doing my best not to hurry it too much. And I’m learning to throw my need for control to the wind sometimes so that I can be authentic and spontaneous with my love. So I can be a woman, not just a girl. So I can share love. So I can be able to lean into and rest with pain and joy and singleness and the hope of sharing life with someone and the desire to have tiny humans of my own to love on. So I can keep on smiling at the people I pass on the sidewalks of campus. So I can freely laugh with friends. So I can be real and legit and not hide or put up walls. Because God made me soft. And I kinda like it. Some people have to work to be soft… I just have to stop fighting the idea that softness is weakness. Which is hard. And I think this got away from womanhood and more into my personhood, but that’s okay. I’m a woman who wants a husband someday, who wants babies in the far flung future, who wants to minister somehow in love as soon as she can, and who wants to be soft and emotional and strong and vulnerable and spontaneous and authentic. Some would argue that I shouldn’t preach until I have a husband who supports it… Because he’s my head or what have you. But that’s a bit outdated, I think. I’m not going to put the wishes of a man ahead of the wishes of God for me… And if a man I fall for doesn’t support my calling, I’m going to leave that heartache behind. Because I am first and foremost a daughter of God. And God has led me to ministry. He’s led me to minister as a woman in all of my crazy complicated emotions and all my ability to hold life and all of my (not necessarily female) vulnerability and all of this “yin energy” that is so good at taking what’s thrown at it and turning the other cheek instead of throwing back. All of these big hips and these curves and these stretch marks. All of this presence I command as a woman with a brain who is super complex and jumbled up. All of this woman who is not so great at having the best or the most correct words, but who is really good at wrestling. This woman who will dance with babies and who likes cooking even though she’s bad at it. This woman who would very much like to someday stay at home with tiny humans and teach them how to read and how to pray. That woman has had the spirit poured out on her as much as any man. Even though she wants a husband and children. Even though she’s a feminist.
I have no idea if that’s the end of this. Or if it makes sense. Or if it’s just a bunch of words I need to write to remind myself. Or if it’s even about being a woman more than being a person. But it’s me and things, I guess. 🙂

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Grown Up Brain Dump: Christmas Edition

Zero structure. Not that that’s unusual in the past year or so of my blog. I do have something structured coming up, though, about the intersection between Christianity and Vulnerability and maybe a bit on Christianity as a Mystical Tradition… But this. This is just all the things on my brain right now. I have two Christmases left (one that’s just the giving of a gift to my roommate {she got me a Christmas tree for my first Christmas away from home}, and the other involving traveling and all that jazz… Again. To the Dad half of family). I’ve had 3 already (Mom, Mom’s family, and Dad). I look at Christmas and I have trouble imagining what it might be with a significant other… Or if either of my parents had significant others. So many Christmases. In a world of broken and mending families, it’s hard to feel less than overwhelmed just by the logistics of Christmas. But we’re managing. I would hasten to say that this is probably the best Christmas since my parent’s divorce, actually… The best Christmas in quite some time. The 4th Christmas where we have had to leave my Momma lonely for a bit, and I just wanna love her. But she’s got people and we’ll be all right. We’ve all got new places to live, so that’s a thing. I live on my own (with my illustrious roommate who is, in fact, one of the coolest people in the entire universe, and I’m beyond blessed that she took this chance on me)… In pseudo-adult land… Where Dad pays for school and my car expenses, and I spend one or two nights at Mom’s a week (because… you know… laundry has to get done sometimes… And I might as well stay. 🙂 ) I’m attempting to do something close to stream of consciousness right now… Because that’s the purpose of a brain dump and whatever… But I’m realizing that I have like five different streams going on. So, yeah, jumpiness. Life is good. There’s weekly dinner with my Dad and we’re learning how to have a father/daughter relationship, I think. He’s getting better. I’m leveling out considerably. So it’s okay. I think it was just too much for me to live with him and it was too fast and too sudden. But I can reflect on that now and know what went wrong. And it’s the type of thing that I file away for when I’m maybe a Christian counselor counseling families who are struggling post-divorce. Also if, heaven forbid, I have a husband and a family and we have those heart wrenching irreconcilable differences from hell and have to deal with this, I’ll be better able to meet the needs of my babies and their relationships with my lost love. (Not that my Mom’s been bad at this, she’s just never been through it as a kid… Which is definitely a good thing. It just meant there was some kind of a disconnect. But she’s been amazing through all of it and I don’t want to understate that.)
So I have a lot of stuff going on in Penguin Land. That’s the living dynamic and it’s really just the backdrop. I have school and work and theological thoughts and school’s effect on my ability to write and read well and a campus ministry and the beginnings of a couple ministries of my own and people calling me a future pastor and a lot of fear but a lot of grace and a lot of mercy and a new amazing friend and a waning best friendship and a guy who is absolutely the bee’s knees (in a just and only never anything more friend way) and that awesome roommate of mine and a Agnostic acquaintance and a wonderful semester of Bible study and new Bibles and new challenges to my faith and new goals (like, reading scripture and finding a church in my new city) and the feeling that sometimes faith and love and all of that is all about choosing to do them even when it’s something you know in your head more than you feel in your heart because sometimes there’s silence and that silence is hard and beautiful and okay and a new and wonderful feeling of peace in regards to the whole “no boyfriend” thing and this man who was like a Dad and who still tells me he loves me and who has a birthday soon and who I’m gonna write a letter to because I just can’t anymore and a God who loves me. A God I’m learning to trust. A faith I’ve had for so many years that’s coming into its own. A faith that’s about learning to trust and learning that being emotionally invested and vulnerable is so much more than okay and trusting that He is the one thing with absolutely no chance of ever letting me down. Oh, and I’m going to Vietnam. And I might be a ministerial apprentice over the summer. And in a perfect world with the opportunity of a sabbatical weekend maybe I would get all of that down to share with you. But life is busy. So busy. I miss the slow days of homeschool sometimes. Life was calmer and slower even if I wasn’t internally calm and slow. I’m there internally now. And sometimes it’s easy to almost lose it because life pushes you HARD. So hard. But there are moments of peace and silence when everything is right and I can soak it all up. And always I pray. And always I rest in God (but shhhhh, that’s getting into that blog post that will be actual writing). I go back to school in a couple weeks. And back to work in a week and a half… But I’ll have a nice solid week of nothing but things I want to do and things that will build me up for the next four months. God set this fire so many years ago and sometimes, because I wanted to be in control of it, or I was attached to what it was “supposed” to be, it was dangerous and it very possibly hurt people. Sometimes it hurt just me, the one closest to it. Sometimes it hurt itself. And now it is this wonderful slow burn that I feel and surrender to God and am so much better for it. And every time someone compliments me or sees how I love, I hope they see God and I hope they see the people God has given me in this life, because I am nothing without that love. I would be empty. I would be scared. I would be cynical. I would be jaded. I probably wouldn’t be around. But I am. And I’m facing life head on with joy or at least balance and peace. Because I have someone to rest into and I have the physical touch of other people who complete me. Because there’s a reason the Garden wasn’t just God and that first human. There’s a reason God made two. Because we need God and we need each other or we’re missing something. We’re incomplete. Luckily, God knows what he’s doing.
So, I think I’ll make smaller posts for all these things as I have the time. In between the reading () and the music () and the family and the love and the knowledge that there was once a tiny human who was everything beautiful and messy and baby like who became this man who conquered death for me so I could find my peace just by letting go. Because Oh, how he loves us. We are his portion and he is our prize. There is a magnanimous grace in his eyes. And it is overwhelming and consuming in that bigger than life gentle way of the ocean.

Merry Christmas! ❤

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I Just Wrote “A Future Minister’s Thoughts…”

Am I really?
Am I admitting it?
Am I accepting it?
I know I want it.
But have I finally decided that I’m worth dreaming that it will happen.
Not because I think I’m a better Christian or a better person…
But because I can’t imagine a bugger freedom than helping others figure out how they’re going to reach towards God.

Speaking of…
I really wish religious dress could be redeemed..
Not like, mandatory “women have to cover their heads” or “men can’t shave…”
But voluntary.
A way for those without the gift of verbal statements of faith to state their faith.
A way for people to understand that the things they see done by me are done with through and with the help of that Jesus dude.

I have too many ministry/worship/practice ideas.
Interfaith service group
Random church
Voluntary Visual Statements of Faith
I dunno.

I need to go write a paper on religious diversity. ;P

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Dearest Universe,
I’m bad at boys. I get it.
I don’t know what I’m doing.
I really can’t bear to think about rejection.
No matter how much I try to convince myself that it’s not such a big deal.
But I’m bad at talking.
I’m bad at hugging.
I’m bad at looking them in, ya know, their eyes.
I just don’t know what I’m doing.
And I don’t think I have room in my heart to get close to another guy, be rejected, and rescue our friendship.
I’m tired.
And I’m supposed to feel like everyone else is feeling this way, too.
Most days I’m not pretty enough
Confident enough
Free enough.
And I’m scared.
And I pray.
Oh God do I pray.
And I’ve gotta trust that the plan that has me in mind also has my happiness in mind.
But sometimes that’s hard.
And mostly I’m just self defeating.
I need to get out of my head.
And just kind of live for once.

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All the Feels

Haven’t posted in a while.
This post is going to be another fragmented one.
Too busy with everything to write cohesive paragraphs.
But right now.
I don’t know what’s going on or where I’m at.
I know it will pass.
And I know I’ll be fine.
So that’s a step up from previous seasons like this.

I’ve been journaling a lot for an “Art for Healing and Personal Growth” class.
That’s been pretty interesting.
And I feel like that class, newfound independence, and new faith things are conspiring to make my life super content and driven.
At least until recently.
And I’m also off and on writing letters/prayers to/with my husband.
Who, if he exists, is unknown to me.
And I guess I liked it at first.
But I’m thinking of stopping because it reminds me that I don’t know him and that maybe he isn’t real.

I don’t know why I’m lonely.
I’m pulling away from religion and barely holding God’s hand right now.
And it was all of a sudden.
I just can’t take the “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots.”
And all the “Go, and do. Because you’re a Christian and this is what Christians do.”
I can’t take guilt tripping.
I can’t take shaming in the name of some kind of love.
Love masquerading as Christ.
I can’t handle not accepting that different people are called to live out The Call in different ways.
And I can’t handle evangelism which focuses on the evangelists interpretation rather than the needs of the person who is being evangelized to.
I can’t handle spiritual gaslighting.
And so I find myself not able to handle most other Christians right now.
Which is sad.
And I know, or at least I hope, that it will pass.
I hope I’ll be back on top soon.
But not right now.
I guess Advent is just coming early for me this year.

I’m lonely.
I would like a best friend.
I would like someone to hug and cuddle up with and sleep next to.
I would like someone who I share mutual forehead kissing privileges with.
And, I guess, as a Christian, I’m supposed to be content with Christ.
And I feel so guilty for wanting eyes to look into, lips to kiss, and a physical hand to hold.
But I can’t imagine there is any part of my God which wants me to feel guilty for wanting a partner.

So here I am.
Stuck with wanting someone.
Stuck barely holding the hand of God.
Because being around His children makes me feel inadequate.
And that makes me sad.
And I’m sure it makes Him sad.
And that knowledge is the only thing keeping me from letting go.

It will pass.
It always does.
But until that day comes.
Until I have a hand to hold.
I will be expectantly and eagerly waiting.
Good thing it’s almost Christmas.

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Discerning a Call

I co-deaned a grandparent/child church camp this past Monday…  I co-deaned it with my children’s minister. At lunch and dinner I could hear her talking to her coworkers at the camp who she’s know for decades saying “this is the young lady I brought with me, and she’s in the process of discerning a call for ministry.” And all I could think in my head was “No! Don’t tell them! Now it’s out and what if I’m not cut out for this? I want with all of my heart to serve the church as a minister in… something… But. What if it doesn’t work out?  What if they ask me questions?  What if they hear me read Psalm 19 after one heck of an exhausting four days and realize how much I trip over my words? What if they find out?”

I don’t know what I’m so afraid of. But I’m afraid. I’m also really excited at the possibility of finding a mentor in the next couple of years and being in a group of other people my age who are also in “the process”. But right now. In this very moment. I’m mostly just scared. I’m about to move and whichever church I choose is the church I also choose for my sister… It’s the church she’ll be raised in. My twin and I changed churches around the same age and it’s kind of a big deal. So maybe I’ll work on finding the two of us a good fit and then worry about “the process”. Introduce myself as the scattered girl who stumbles over words and is loving every terrifying step of discernment. I have the time, I think. If there’s anything God has with me, it’s patience.  


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