Tuesday, November 23, 2010

{Excerpts from my Journal}

This might possibly become a regular section of my blog, I am getting one of my weird-gut-instinct-almost-never-wrong hunches that God is going to start asking me to be a lot more open with... well... everybody. About... well... everything.

I'm not thrilled.

As a matter of fact, if you walked into my room this minute and picked up my journal that is lying besides me and started to read it. ANY of it. I would probably snatch it out of your hands and hide it in the deepest darkest corner of the basement. (We dont have a basement, but that's not the point.) The point is that in my journal I am real. Completely, utterly, 100% genuine and honest.

Frankly, it aint pretty.

Oh parts of it are... there are lots of great little brilliant things God has given me in it (like the one below). But most of it is just me. Me struggling. Me hurting. Me questioning. Me over analyzing.

The thought of someone, ANYONE, seeing that side of me, that fragile, vulnerable little girl I try so hard not to be, terrifies me to my core.

But all masquerades must end, and eventually either we completely reject God, or we allow Him to use someone that is frail and broken.

I'm still looking for a door number three.

But until that time... this was my date with God a couple weeks ago:

God: "Seek peace, and pursue it."

Me: (seriously confused because 5 seconds ago I was talking about photography, truth, and who I was created to be... that was the conversation I THOUGHT we were having)
"Uhh... what?"

God: "Seek peace, and pursue it."

Me: "Peace with what? Peace with me? Peach with You? Peace with people? And how do you pursue it? I dont get it..."

God: "Peace from lies. Peace from fear. Peace from worry and care. Peace that is strong enough to fight every battle and weather every storm. Peace that remains when the world falls apart"

God: "I AM that peace. Seek ME, and PURSUE ME."

Kinda cool, huh? =)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Alaina is love.

{Look at Corinthians 13 by my friend Abigail, check out her thoughts at http://ratherwhimsical.blogspot.com }

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.

Alaina is patient, Alaina is kind, and is not jealous; Alaina does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; she does not seek her own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Alaina never fails.

"Uh yeah or not" That was my first thought when reading this.
Second thought: Fail. Epic fail.
Third thought: That's what it should be.
Fourth thought: That's what it can be.

Yes. Because it's not about me. It's not about what I've done. It's not about what I feel capable of. It's about trying again tomorrow. It's about getting back up after you've fallen. It's about surrender. It's about dying to self, and letting God live through you. Every day.

More thoughts on this later...

"Life will knock us down, but we can choose to get back." [The Karate Kid]

Saturday, October 9, 2010

[ You are More ]

There's a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she's wandered
And the shame she can't hide

She says, "How did I get here?
I'm not who I once was.
And I'm crippled by the fear
That I've fallen too far to love"

But don't you know who you are,
What's been done for you?
Yeah don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she's been given new life
But she can't shake the feeling
That it's not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she's rehearsed all the lines
And so she'll try to do better
But then she's too weak to try

But don't you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

'Cause this is not about what you've done,
But what's been done for you.
This is not about where you've been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You are more than the choices that you've made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You've been remade.

You've been remade
You've been remade.
You've been remade.
You've been remade.

You are More by Tenth Avenue North

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Black eyes... batters boxes... and Dr. Who....

He’s been waiting for this moment all season, and all season is eternity when you’re a little league slugger. He’s up to bat and the team is counting on him. Five minutes later, he’s sitting in the dug out, pressing a bag of frozen peas against his swelling eye with blood running down his face. And when the coach asks him if he wants to try again, the best answer he can see is no.
“No problem” he says, “just take care of that eye... you’re gonna have a heck of a shiner.”
“Yeah, no joke”
So there the little guy sits, feeling like a failure, and hurting like the dickens. All the anticipation and excitement that he felt has turned into the most powerful dictator in all of history. Fear. Suddenly, he’s afraid of getting back up to bat. He’s afraid of being hurt, he’s afraid of failing again, and so he begins to think that he’d rather not try then try and fail.
I was watching an episode of Dr. Who the other day. He’s currently traveling without a companion, and when this girl crosses his path they are forced to join forces and defeat evil and save the world. At the end, she wants to go with him. To travel through space and time and share in his adventures. He tells her no. Because everyone that he’s traveled with has left him, and he doesn’t want to be left again.
We all have batters boxes that we’re afraid of, and usually one in particular because it’s the one that’s hurt us the most.
Most of my black eyes have been gotten in the batters box of relationships. And they’ve been black and blue and bloody to be sure. I carry scars I might not ever get rid of. It’s the box I fear more than anything because I know what that box can bring. I know how much it can hurt.
Guess what friends? Life isn’t lived in the dug out... it’s lived out in the field. If you want to truly live, you’re going to have to get back in that batters box. You can’t hide forever on the off chance that you might get another black eye... you are going to have to let go of caution, and take the risk.
Am I living in the batters box right now? Nope. Hardly. In fact, at this moment, I am not only in the dug out, I am cowering under the bench, covering my head with my arms, trying very hard to pretend like I’m not as hurt as I am.
That last black eye was excruciating.
It’s still hurting.
But, am I going to stay here? No. I know that the game is worth it. Sure, it’s going to hurt again, maybe worse next time, but I will not live my life as a spectator because I am afraid. I cannot, and I will not. Because I know better, and when we know better, we have no excuse.
"Those who risk, win."

[The analogy above was mostly taken from Mark Batterson's: Chase the Lion audio series, and his corresponding book In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day. Except the part about Dr. Who, that was from me. And so was the practical application. That's all.]

Friday, April 30, 2010

Life Lessons Learned Flying

Wednesday morning my family and I started on what we have affectionately termed an “expedition” to North Carolina. We had to leave the house at 6:30 in the morning to get the car dropped off, security, ect. By the time we sat down in the plane with our respective Starbucks coffees and carry-on's, we were ready to start off on this adventure.

We were some of the first to board, so Gabriel, Josiah and I sat in the very back row. Mom and Dad and Rebekah sat in the third from the back so there was a row between us. (This was probably planned on Mom and Dad’s part so that when we started singing “Meet me in St. Louis” during landing, they could try to pretend like they didn’t know us.)

So we settled down while everyone else boarded. In front of us sat one guy by the window, and another on the aisle seat. With one empty one between them.

The last people to board were a middle-aged Indian couple. Well since there was one seat left in front of us, and another one a few rows ahead they couldn’t sit together. This seemed to bother them very much and the lady told the guy on the aisle seat to move up to the other seat. He told her that he was sitting where he was sitting. And she huffed off, bringing back her husband, who also told him that he should move so that they could have two seats together. By this time the plane was starting to taxi down the runway, and the flight attendant came up to try to resolve the situation. She told the Indian man (who seemed rather angry by now) that he had to sit in the empty seat and he needed to go now, the aisle seat guy (who we found out was a lawyer) had apparently requested an aisle seat and the flight attendant said it was okay.

All this time Gabe and I are looking at each other with wide-eyes hoping that a fight doesn’t break out and very happy not to be involved. And the window seat dude was just watching the whole thing like the rest of us. So, there we were with this mad Indian lady in between two laid-back guys, taking off, when window seat guy looks over at her and says “Haha! Shoulda gotten here earlier!” in a very matter of fact way.

Gabe and I about busted out laughing because it was just so fitting! Seriously, it was great. He totally told her off, but was rather nice about it too. We cheered him (quietly) the entire rest of the flight, and decided that if we knew his name we would be his fan on facebook.

Oh and shortly thereafter, he fell asleep and slept through St. Louis till Chicago. Gabe and I decided he must be a prophet.

But I got to thinking about that today, and I was wondering: how different would the world be if everyone just told it like it was? If we possessed such an ardent allegiance to the truth? If people we’re afraid to rub someone the wrong way if it was the right thing to do?

What would happen if pastors started telling it like it was?

What about statesmen?

What about you?

And I don’t mean you have to tell off some cranky lady in an airplane, I’m just talking about being will to speak truth.

Maybe it wouldn’t change anything… and on the other hand, maybe it would change the world.

Cheers from North Carolina!

Non Nobis Domine.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

February, Truth, and God

"Enough with the human bashing, okay? Some of my best friends happen to be human!"
- Jack Bruno, Race to Witch Mountain

I tried something... it didn't really work.
I've discovered that I can be a bit of a rule breaker, especially when I was the one that made up the rules in the first place. Ironic, but true.

I decided that for the entire month of February I wasn't going to say anything negative about myself. Then I took it a step further, when someone else said something positive about me, I wouldn't argue with them. I wouldn't even say "whatever."

Dang! It was hard!

I forgot a lot, some of the rest of the time I ignored it... but I did try not to.

I'll tell you why I attempted this in the first place.

A while back someone got on my case for saying "whatever" when they complimented me. They reminded me that one of our mutual friends does the same thing and they got it enough from her. I couldn't argue that because it's one thing that gets on my last nerve.

To me it says "I don't believe you. I don't care what you think about me. Your opinion doesn't matter."

In short, I knew how she felt.

I think maybe, sometimes, God feels like that too. He says He loves us... no, me, and I ask how He possibly could. He says that I'm perfect, and I say 'yeah right.' He says that I am making a difference in the lives of those around me, and I say 'worthless people don't make a difference.'

Do you suppose that He ever just sighs and wonders when I'm going to get it? When I'm going to get that He loves me as I am, because I could never be good enough? That He can use me as He created me because He doesn't make mistakes?

Lately God has been challenging me with truth. Mostly truth about what He says about me, but then He took it a step further and challenged me to accept the way that other people see me. To believe them when they tell me that I'm beautiful, encouraging, important, and loved.

Instead of shrugging it off and saying "whatever" on the outside, when my heart is breaking with utter worthlessness on the inside.
"They don't really know me..."
"Just wait, they'll change their mind... people always do."
"Someday they'll see me as I do, then they'll know I'm worthless."

God says that I've rested in the security of worthlessness far too long, and it's time to ditch it and hang onto Truth.

Is God challenging you with Truth? Is He challenging you to believe that you are loved not only by Him, but also by people?

Even though I messed up some in my whole "month of February" thing, I do know this. God says that I have to seek Truth, and so seek it I shall.

Because at the end of the day, the only thing truly worth hanging onto with everything you've got is Truth. I promise, it's worth it!

Non Nobis Domine!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What fears hold you back?

Today I did something that I have wanted to do for my entire life, well, at least as long as I can remember.

I never have, and when my mother (who was surprised to learn that I had wanted to do this for so long) asked why I never had, this was my response:

“Because I thought it was silly, and that people would think that it was silly and childish.”

Mom: “I never thought that you cared that much for what people thought.”

Oh if only that were true! I do so wish that it were true…

By now you’re probably wondering what earth-shattering thing that I did today. Well, here it is:
I wore a flower in my hair.

No, I’m really serious.

Now before you call up the nice men in the white jackets, just hear me out. The other day, Tuesday morning to be precise, I had my Tuesday date with God. One of the first things that He said was:

“Have you the slightest idea how much that fear (fear of what people will think) holds you back from the very deepest desires of your heart?”


It’s true, oh it’s so true! I can’t deny one word of it. You see, my entire life has been ruled by expectations (real or imagined) that I had to meet. Decisions were decided based on what so-and-so would have thought or said about it. Even something as stupid as a flower! (Which, for the record, is not one of the deepest desires of my heart... I'm just using it as an example.)

Do you know how pathetic it feels to admit that about 20 years of life?

Um, take my word for it.

So to you, knitting a pink flower and pinning it in my hair might be just a tad bit ridiculous, actually, I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. But my point is this, if I’m not going to do something so meaningless based solely on the fact that I think people will think less of me, how on earth could I possibly do something significant if I thought that someone wouldn’t approve?

And so today, I did something that I’ve never done before, and you know what? I loved it!
Seriously, I did! It was so much fun.

Here’s something else God told me the other day:

“Look foolish, Alaina. Face fears, seize opportunities. Don’t run from it, run to it. Forget what you think about yourself. Forget the self-imposed standards of perfection. Forget what others might think about you. Alaina, live life passionately! Not with someone else’s passion, but with the one that I created within your heart.”

Exciting, isn’t it!?

My question for you is this, what is holding you back from being the incredible, passionate, world-changer that God has created you to be?

(And, on the bright side, the odds are you won’t even have to wear a flower in your hair to fulfill it.)

Non Nobis Domine