Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Post-Christmas Thoughts

I found myself this Christmas being more overwhelmed with the words to the typical Christmas songs that we hear every year. I just wanted to write down the lyrics that stuck out to me the most. I also never noticed how many songs included the word "COME". All in anticipation of Jesus FINALLY coming, and inviting him in.

long lay the world, in sin and error pining till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

the king of kings lay in a lowly manger, in all our trials born to be our friend

trully he taught us to love one another, his law is love & his gospel is peace

silent night, holy night, son of God, love's pure light

JOY to the world, the Lord has COME

let every heart prepare him room

O COME, O COME Emanuel, and ransome captive Israel. That morns in lonely exile here, until the son of God appears

COME thou long expected Jesus

dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart

born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a king

what child is this? this, THIS is Christ the King

O COME to us abide with us, our Lord Emanuel

I also felt the need to figure out the difference in these words that are used so much in Christmas songs...

NOEL = Christmas

EMMANUEL = God with us

MESSIAH = anointed one

HOSANNA = save now

HALLELUJAH = Praise Yahweh, Praise the Lord

I've also decided that Joseph needs a bigger shout out during Christmas time. He is somehow overlooked a lot, or at least not talked about very much. He was a quality man. So sweet, understanding, and willing to risk his own reputation to submit to the fantastical plan that God used to bring Jesus here... even though at first it made NO sense whatsoever. He didn't reject Mary for being pregnant, he listened to God in his dreams and believed the angel when he spoke to him... he didn't have to do that. He also was quick to move Mary & Jesus to Egypt to escape Jesus being killed by Herod after he was born. He LISTENED and ACTED. Joseph was top notch, and I think deserves A LOT more talk time during Christmas because his obedience allowed for Jesus to get here too. So, with that said (and at the risk of sounding like a total dork), I'd like to say A+ Joseph!!! Thanks for being a quality man.

I'm so thankful that Jesus already came and that I will never have to know this life without him being here, unless I just leave him out. Even then, he's still here, despite myself.
Thank you for coming to us and for changing everything. You are our worth.
I hate when I forget this truth.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

From Week to Weak

This week...

i felt like a really good nurse
i kept to my 'budget'
i finally got my first anniversary bonus from duke to help with some loan debt
i got to be with people that also knew and loved my friend drew

i finally got up enough guts to introduce myself to a person that looks just like
my friend drew without crying in front of him
i was able to do a favor for derek webb- a favorite singer/songwriter who's lyrics
have drastically impacted my life
i was able to work out a plot to get my number to the hot sound guy in return for
the favor
i slept in the same room as my best friend- reminding me that highschool was worth
it just to gain her in my life.

This weak...

i didn't keep to my 'budget' when i set foot into ikea
i had multiple situational daggers thrown my direction
i struggled with remembering that God doesn't exist to throw said daggers at my heart
i cried on my dads shoulder, and even at 28 it comforted me just as if i was 8
i am overwhelmed in missing drew and am thankful that people heard his story
i shamefully forgot my worth everyday, and didn't feel wanted or needed very much
i sat myself next to Jesus and slowly began to remember again, only to forget so
i noticed him again when i saw psalm 118:24 printed on the side of my cookout
milkshake cup and when tyler reminded us tonight that we are 'SONS and DAUGHTERS of Christ'
i am a weak daughter of a most loving God whose strong pursuit never stops

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Not So New

I haven't blogged in a while... clearly. What a captain obvious statement to say. I ultimately think blogging is weird, but somehow I appreciate it. I haven't shared any of my thoughts the past few months for a number of reasons... mostly just that I couldn't put into public words what I have been dealing with, but as of a couple of days ago I've been inspired to write.

This week has been hard for me. This week was one of those that I felt that I could just cave underneath all of the thoughts and situations that were pilling up around me. I've had a hard time. It was a perfect storm of emotions, realizations, confirmations, wonderings, longings, and questioning all wrapped into one. This week I didn't feel like I could be alone for long periods of time because I needed to talk it out. Luckily, I have Whitney (see previous post). She was there for me everyday. By phone, at my house, via gchat while at work... she was there. My constant companion and greatest friend. This week has just been a product of this year which has left me spinning at times but always aware that something bigger is going on. This year, since moving to raleigh, I have had plenty of new things that have arisen as well as old things that seem to find their way back into my life. I have met new people, I have let go of people, I have found comfort in new friendships, and I have had to let some go. Somehow, even in the newness of it all, it still feels the same. I moved to Raleigh to start new, to mix it up, to get myself out of the same circle, to give myself a chance to let God do something new and different in my life; however, here lately it has all still felt the same. Heartbreak is still here, adjustment seems like a daily task, and situations that I thought would be far from me this time are still lurking their way back into my life. The similarities are painstakingly erry. My apologies for being so vague, but it's not the details of my life stories that I'm getting at... I am making a point.

This week I have been fearful. I have been crippled with anxiety and worry that my life will always turn out the same. I have wrestled with trying to get to the root of the longings of my heart that seem to go unanswered as the years go by no matter how many prayers I send up or how many adjustments I try to make in how I handle certain things or people. Throughout this year I have thrown away things and people that would eventually be destructive and I have metaphorically dodged bullets that seem to be flying towards my head at warp speed every time I turn around. It seems like a never-ending process and one that frankly makes me too exhausted to even bother with most of the time. I start to feel like it's all a sick joke.

By Friday of this week I started to feel some peace. Peace is a beautiful thing. I was able to see a singer that I have casually enjoyed for a while, introduced to me by Whitney. His name is Matthew Perryman Jones. It was a small concert and we were able to listen, conversate, and sing along with him just like we were old friends. It was really nice. I caught myself tearing up a couple of times because I could relate to his lyrics, and also because he seemed to be a man of heavy thought and in his eyes I could tell he has been through "some shit", as he said himself. You could see it. He is heavy. I appreciated that.

"in the dark, there's a fear of letting go, and i know it in my heart that i fear what i don't know. and this feels like i'm letting go..."

These are the lyrics that brought me to tears- only because I feel like this is where I am. This is where I am with the Lord, and while I know that he loves me and I can have complete trust in that, the questions of life and what is going on is the dark that makes me fearful of letting go and giving in to that. Couple that with situations that seem to continually repeat themselves in my life are what make me crazy with fear that I'm always going to be lead right back to the same place that leaves me feeling empty, used, and unappreciated.

But I feel like I'm letting go.

I'm letting go of these old fears. I'm letting go of these patterns that keep me down. I'm letting go of my strengths that have become my weakness. I'm letting go of the thoughts and feelings that are lies and are not given to me by my Lord that loves me and made me the way that I am. I'm letting go of allowing myself to care more for people than they care about me, even though that is completely against my nature.

In the past few months I have had the opportunity to be a singer in a band at my church here in Raleigh, Vintage21, http://www.vintage21.com/. It has been such a sweet time for me. In all my life I have only felt good at one thing... music. Singing and playing the piano is the only thing that I felt set me a part when I was growing up. I was super shy as a kid and didn't like to talk much, but if I was able to sing or play my piano I wound come alive. Singing at vintage has been my little way of giving back to a place that I trully believe in and one of the few churches that I feel exists to wholeheartedly and accurately represent Jesus. Today I had the opportunity to play the piano AND sing at vintage. It was a first for me and quite hilarious. I hadn't practiced, I haven't played the piano in months, and I have never played and sang at the same time. In the past if I ever played in front of people, my hands would turn cold and shakey under the pressure of my nerves; however, today my hands were warm and steady. Granted I was only playing 2 notes at a time as opposed to six, and I mostly felt like I was playing like this cool guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuBJLTdr_pQ - but I still give credit to it being something bigger than me that kept my hands warm and steady this time.

Even though in my life, history seems to be repeating itself, it is turning up different this time inside of me. The thickness of the fight and the moment by moment reliance on God to bring peace into my heart is a true miracle and a fight that I am more than willing to fight if it means that I am most at home with him in the end.

When I sing- there he is.
When I have peace- there he is.
When I am sitting alone- there he is.
When I am wrestling- there he is.
When I am done- there he is.

Sometimes the repetition of life shows itself to drive home a point. In my life it looks like a continual and daily act of surrender to trust that he loves me, he cares for me, he is perfect in his timing, he works all things together for my good, and when he is the only HE in my life it's ok.

John 15:9 says, "make yourself at home in my love."
this is what I'm doing... making myself at home.

He's up to something new. I can feel it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This past weekend, I watched my best friend get married. From the moment I found out she was engaged, the tears have not stopped- good tears of course. Some tears have come in front of her, but most have come while alone and just thinking on the road I have been blessed to walk with her. It's also been amazing to see how God really will nurture and grow a love between people when they CHOOSE to love each other everyday. You have to understand that Whitney has been life to me. She is the BEST friend I have ever had. I have never felt more understood, more cared for, more loved, or more appreciated by anyone in my life so far. She is the most to me. I have been in many weddings... many... and have been to countless ones including most other close friends and both my sisters... but for some reason, Whitney's was different. It was so great to stand beside my best, knowing all that she's been through, knowing all the talks and cries, knowing all the heartbreak and disappointment, and knowing all the life I have (and will continue) to be able to share with her- and to see her be loved in return by a man who has FINALLY seen all that I have seen in her all these years. Everytime I think of her and this engagement/marriage I just well up with tears. At the same time, I miss her. It's going to be different now. It's almost like a whole chapter of how I've known her so far is over. Now she is a wife, now she is Mrs. Johnson. Up until now, she has been Whitney... my best friend, my most trustworthy person in my life. Now I have to share her, but that's ok.

I always tell people, I hope you have a best friend like I do. It has made all the difference in my life. Whitney has been one of those life landmarks to where I look and absolutely know that the Lord in fact does give us what we need in the time we need it. Whitney came into my life at a most critical point at 16 years old, and she has been by my side ever since. My life would be much different without her. Her friendship has given me courage, esteem, and hope... along with the assurance that God really will provide for me in every way.

I love you Whitney.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tit for Tat, or a string of bad luck?

There have been a string of events that have happened since I've moved to Raleigh and I found myself today reflecting on all of that- specifically with the past couple of weeks, but I'll get to that. It started back in March when I lost my right ovary to 2 cysts the size of a small childs head that had been residing in me since who knows when. Those babies bought me an emergent ticket to the OR without knowing if my ovaries were going to be salvaged or if I was going to come out completely clean of fertility. Thankfully, I came out with just losing one ovary, and still having another ovary to use if I ever get the opportunity to become a mom.

The Tit: In constant pain for a solid month, eventually leading to surgery.
The Tat: Coming out with an ovary, no cancer diagnosis, and surviving anesthesia.

In more recent months, my precious grandfather passed away after battling various cancers (mainly lung cancer) for about 10 years. I miss him everyday. I think about him everyday. I hate cigarettes for taking him and my grandmother. I hate worse that they felt they needed to smoke cigarettes just to be ok with life.

The Tit: My grandfather died.
The Tat: I made it home in time to tell him I love him, and to hear him say it back to me. I got to hold his hand through every one of his last breaths, and then finally the very last one.

On a lighter note, I got rid of my car after weeks of battling the need to have a new one because I couldn't quite justify going more into debt for a "thing" after I just got back from Nicaragua and knowing all the need for more necessary "things" there. I just felt like I could drive around a 'POS' for another few months to feel better about living in excess here in America. I finally snapped out of it and realized I HAVE TO have another car no matter what or else I might blow up in my old Montero before long. Thanks to a good friend, he was able to find me exactly what I was looking for at a VERY good deal that seemed more justifiable to me. He mentioned yesterday that my old car was miles away from the drive shaft falling out. He said "she's a lucky girl".

The Tit: 3 years of carpayment free living came to an end.
The Tat: I didn't die driving my old car, and I really LOVE my new car.

To add to the mix, my wallet was stolen right out from under my nose by a co-worker. My purse was at the nurses station right along with everyone else's belongings. Apparently someone had been watching my purse and stole my wallet at some point when I was in a patient's room. My wallet had nothing great for the theif, but everything important to me such as my license, SS card, health insurance cards, my checkbook, and all that stuff. They walked away with maybe $5, my silver coins, a Target debit card (that was promptly cancelled), and a couple of gift cards. Thankfully, a super nice and HONEST man called me randomly the next day to tell me that he had found my wallet in a dirty linen bag from the hospital. He had found my # on my checks. He is part of the laundry company that cleans all of Duke Hospital's dirty linens. My wallet was mixed in with all the poop, pee, and all other types of body fluid stained linens. Lovely.

The Tit: I was robbed, cancelled my bank account, and made plans to spend the day in the DMV office and SS office to get new cards... the two worst places on the planet.
The Tat: I got my wallet back. A renewed hope of a people really wanting to do right by each other. No trip to the DMV or SS office thank GOD! (oh, and all my pennies, b/c the theif apparently only wanted my silver coins).

Lastly, along with my new car has come a new speeding ticket from an unforgiving state trooper, and an old man that didn't see me in the parking lot and backed into my car leaving a pretty nice dent around the left front wheel rim (that happened today actually). For the speeding ticket, I get to take an 8 hour defensive driving class with the rest of Raleigh's reckless drivers, but for free because I have a friend that works for the company.

The Tit: seriously? Did this really happen? Do I really need a car? I'm OVER cars!
The Tat: I get to take a $100 class for FREE that doesn't make my insurance go up, and I nor the other man involved was injured in the little bump up, and it really is just a dent.

These are the scenario's that raced over my mind this morning after I was a part of the bump up that literally made me look to the sky and say outloud "Seriously! Seriously?". After I got over my little "why me" party I just laughed. This is life. Life sucks sometimes. And as my mom always tells me, "it could be worse". She is certainly right. The events of this year have definitely kept me on my toes, but have also been a nice consistent reminder that I really do have control over NOTHING, and that is ok. That is what hit me today. That feeling of losing control. I've also seen in the bad, the room for the good. With every bad, there is a good- with every Tit there is a Tat. I see that in my situations. That is where God has stepped in I'm convinced.

I don't know if it's been all the things that have been steadily happening in my life, or if they have been things with the people I love the most... I don't know.
Maybe it was my patient I had the other week that had every possible mental disease known to man, and a history of medical conditions that would blow your mind, and a father that threw her against a wall when she was 8 years old that has left her partially blind in her left eye from a ruptured retina. Maybe it was precious Lorenzo that I took care of a couple of weeks ago after someone decided to car jack him and beat him over the head with a bat because he refused to give his car up that he no doubt has worked his fingers to the bone for. He is from Mexico and he is a mechanic. His hands were strong, calloused, and there was not a single crevice that wasn't filled in black dirt. His mouth was wired shut, his right eye sutured shut, and a huge incision with sutures from the surgery stretched from ear to ear to crown his head. Yet he glared at me with thanks and never complained a single time. Maybe it was Tyler (the pastor of the church I attend) talking about a homeless lady he knows that refuses to seek shelter because she has been rapped so many times that her rationale is if she lives in a room she can't get out if someone comes in, but if she lives on the street she can at least run from someone who tries to attack her. Maybe it was the sweet man I just saw in Target that was wheeling himself around in one of those scooters with a basket. He was picking up boxes of Kleenex for himself and he had thick white hair just like my precious grandpa. He immediately brought tears to my eyes and I left to my car crying and thinking over my grandpa and how he spent so many years alone without my grandmother.

My point in all this is not what unfortunate events have happened, but being ever aware that there is no way that I can control everything (if anything) in my life. There are things that are happening around Raleigh and the world that make me want to pass out because I can't handle the heartbreak or the reality of some people's situations. There really is no room for pity. There is only room for compassion and a bleeding heart to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. In that way, we really can't feel sorry for ourselves, but we can have an uncontrolable, God inspired drive to meet people where they are and to be a part of making some justice happen in situations that are beyond unfair and unthinkable.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Throwing It Out There

I've been told I need to start a blog. I've wrestled with this thought for a while.
It's kind of weird, it's sort of cheesy, and who needs to know all your biz?
But then I discovered that I have a lot to say, people have told me they enjoy my writing, and I get some weird energy by writing it all down and sharing it with people. I think that is what is referred to as a "writer". So I figured why not?

I will tell you what this blog is not for me...

This is not a place that I will post every single uneventful second of my life's happenings.
This is not where I will tell stories that bore you to tears.
This is not where I will brag on my life and tell you what I ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

But I will tell you that this blog is a place where...

I will be brutally honest.
I will share some of my deepest thoughts, hurts, joys, and disappointments.
I will share things that bother me, disturb me, excite me, and inspire me.
But mostly I will share my attempt at walking through this life as a woman who loves my Lord, but is a mess, and is trying to take it one day at a time.

If you are here, thanks for reading.