8.25.2014

From the Beginning

The students are pouring into town this week.

Even though it means I won't be able to eat at Panera for the next nine months because there will be a perpetual line out the door; or I will be surrounded by oversized t-shirts, exercise pants, riding boots, fishing shirts, and very, very loud trucks; or that driving around town on home-game weekends will be an almost nightmare, I love this time of year. For a few reasons.  

First, I love school. Like a lot. I loved the upper floors of Evans Library because I love the smell of old books. I loved class discussion and lectures and even how a blank Blue Book looked waiting to be scribbled over. Written testimonies of minds-in-progress, those Blue Books. A high calling.

So even though I am not in school anymore, I still enjoy being in a largely academic environment when the semester kicks off.

Second, I love freshmen. Every year draws me further away from that time period, but it was a pivotal one for me. I feel a warmth toward each wave of not-quite-adults that invades College Station every fall.

Freshmen, I think, are looking for a few things. They want to be taken seriously, and they want to be part of something bigger.

And by taken seriously I don't mean they want to be serious all the time. I think they just want to be treated like the adults they aren't yet, or more accurately, treated how they always imagined adults are treated, which I think is somewhere in the neighborhood of their lives looking like they are on the set of Gossip Girl, or Friends, or both.

That's how I remember feeling, anyway. I wanted to be so cool and mysterious and work in a coffee shop and listen to records.

I wasn't cool, or mysterious, and I spent a lot of money in coffee shops. I did eventually listen to (my friend's) John Denver records on (my friend's) record player.

I think Jesus answers this desire to be taken seriously in such an incredible way.

One of my favorite things to do is ask a freshman what they are hoping to do with their lives, not because they need an answer to that question, but because they're just beginning to realize that they're the ones that get to answer it. 

I wanted so badly for someone to take my passion seriously, even though it was yet immature and not channeled. Christ did.

I believe He takes our passions and lives more seriously than anyone or anything else ever could. Because He gave them to us. It is an honor to watch college students realize this.

More importantly, He takes us, His pursuit of us, very seriously. Watching college students experience the intimate pursuit of Yeshua of their hearts, souls, and minds is humbling.

Not only does Christ take freshmen seriously, but He invites them to be part of something bigger than anything or anyone else.

Bigger than finding the love of their life.
Bigger than achieving their highest goal.
Bigger than gaining any amount of recognition.
Bigger than whatever temporal measure of success they currently have.

So, while it is true many have begun this process long before they hit college, many are just now starting it. This is why I think freshmen are so cool, they are at the beginning of so many parts of life. They are at the beginning of most major decisions, and Christ is waiting for them.

Waiting to walk with them. To be their Savior & Lord. To give them a serious calling and bring them into a bigger cause than anything they could have dreamed up on their own.

Right there, from the beginning.

7.31.2014

You Are

One of the biggest messages the world is selling women today is that they are not enough.

It's more than just the magazine covers, isn't it?

It's watching the politicians and career women who's names will likely go down in history books while wondering what difference our own lives make.

It's reading the super mommy bloggers who give their children organic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into seasonal-themed shapes and do so without getting a spot of peanut butter and/or jelly on their throw rug that they bought from Pottery Barn while wondering how long the cheerio we just noticed adhered to the carpet has been there.

It's seeing the free-spirits on instagram who travel the world, keep their beauty and mystery, decorate their studio aparments with old bicycles and tribal masks and survive on herbal tea and soy-based products while we fall into bed in tshirts and our husbands' sweatpants and try not to calculate how many hours of sleep we can feasibly get before being woken up by our toddler.

Our filters are overwhelmed with it from every angle, that it seems impossible to realize that these women don't actually exist. The ones we see on the magazines, on the news, online.

We can't do a thing to make the world stop feeding us this message, I'm afraid. Ever. It is not in its best interest to do so. There's too much to sell, too much money to be made in the make-them-feel-like-they're-not-enough business.

The world tries to fill those places of not enough with boxes and bags and how-to books and burdens that are perfectly packaged, incredibly costly, and absolutely empty. They fill you for about as long as it takes to unwrap them.

Yesterday I sat with women who are all looking to Jesus. Coffee cups filled and emptied and low conversation and laughter spread through the room and my own heart filled with peace.

Christ, I believe with absolute certainty, is the only solid foundation in our world.

Because the world is enticing us to focus on everything we don't have, and Christ commands our focus be on what we've been given.

He is a shelter in the storm of Not Enough.

He fills up those places that scream emptiness with His hope and strength, and without changing a single circumstance, we find our heads lifting and our hearts at peace.

His Spirit fills us with this truth:

You are not enough. 
But you are mine. 
And that is enough. 

In late October, some women who have been seeking the Lord and working extremely hard will be hosting a conference in College Station. I'm pretty excited about going and asking the Lord to remind me of who I am, and who He is.

This conference, I believe, can be an oasis, or a fill station, depending on how you look at it, of truth in our world that inundates us with lies. Taking the time to back away, look to Jesus, and give Him the opportunity to recalibrate our lives is imperative.

Take the time to watch the video below or check out the website, and I hope to see you in October:




7.14.2014

What I Did this Summer, Instead of Writing

In the past eight weeks, I began about twenty posts that I never finished. We have been traveling non-stop since mid-May and our days have been full of support raising, spending time with family, and bouncing back and forth between Kyle's & my parents' homes.

In spite of the crazy, I feel like I've spent the summer collecting small moments of peace, the ones tucked into the corners of the day that are easy to miss, sometimes. Early mornings with Jesus & coffee, date nights with Kyle, sweet conversations with my parents and in-laws, and a few never-change-out-of-pajamas days with Z & V.

So here, in the form of (we'll call it) a photo essay, is what I've been doing this summer, instead of writing:


I went outside. This has been the first summer in five years that I am 1. in Texas and 2. not pregnant, so I tried to get outside as much as possible. I was, ironically, trying to write when I took this picture but I wound up closing my laptop and soaking in the sunset instead. Sunsets in the Texas hill country are my absolute favorite. I don't want this to sound like a bad country song but, fyi, they are even better when you're drinking a beer. 

***


Playing with V. I have been holding this blue-eyed beauty and soaking in the baby smell and soft skin. Babies change so much during their first year, especially, that sometimes it really does feel negligent to not watch them wiggle & grow in front of you. 

***


Celebrating Z's  second birthday. HOW IS HE ALREADY TWO? We threw a co-birthday party with some of our best friends, who's little boy's birthday is the day after Z's. This didn't really take up a crazy amount of time, but throwing a birthday party for littles was more work than I anticipated. Next year we will probably do something really glamorous like setting up a baby pool and inviting some of Z's friends over for chocolate chip cookies. 

I chose this picture because it has Z and his buddy who was turning one (the bald cutie in the front), and they are both staring at that poor child on the right like they have no time for his problems, and could he please move out of the way and not ruin their party? thankyouverymuch. 

***


Went to a wedding and hung out with good friends, without our kids, aka we had fun. Don't get me wrong, kids are fun, but so is having an uninterrupted, hilarious conversation with good friends, staying up late, and then sleeping without the ambience of the faint hum of a baby monitor. It's a different fun. One that we haven't had in awhile.  Grandparents who babysit little ones overnight are proof that you still do selfless things for your children even when they are almost thirty. This picture was taken at the rehearsal dinner of our friends' wedding. Kyle was the best man, and we had a beautiful time celebrating these two amazing people getting hitched. 

And we did so with the circle of friends that we went through college with. If Boy Meets World would ever get its act together and make a made-for-TV reunion movie, I imagine it would feel a lot like this weekend did. Also, some of our male friends have paired up with ladies that I loved getting to know. Good job, gentlemen, good job. 

***


Kept Z alive without the use of an insane amount of TV. This activity probably took up 80% of my undivided attention this summer. Two-year-olds have this admirable trait of wanting to squeeze every. ounce. of. life. from their day, which also happens to feel, sometimes, like they are squeezing every. ounce. of. life. out of you. 

But then, you catch moments like the one in the photo above and think, "It's a short time in life that you can run around covered in marker, wearing nothing but a lavender headband and a diaper, and experience no social repercussions, so I'll let you enjoy it." 

He is crazy. And amazing. 

And we watched a lot of Curious George. 

***

Yesterday the pastor at my parents' church spoke about thankfulness. At the end of the service he asked people to come up to the front and, on small slips of paper, write out their thanks and place them in jars. In testament to how God has softened my heart, ten years ago this is something I would have rolled my eyes at. Yesterday, though, I saw something holy about the Body giving an offering of thanks in such a tangible way.

A more serious reflection of my summer would show an impatient woman who has been not exactly content with the season I'm in. As I was scribbling on my slip of paper, I realized that God has been incredibly good to me in this season of waiting.

And I'm sure this is the way it works for everyone, but I'm always amazed at how, once I stop dwelling on the idea that I'm not getting what I believe I deserve, I usually find that I'm receiving even more.

Hope your summer has been beautiful.