"dream great dreams and find the courage to live them"

-erwin mcmanus

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"help my unbelief"

somehow andrea's words seem to resonate so deeply within me, that i can do nothing but let her speak for herself:

Hope and sorrow, strangely, seem to live together, don’t they? Faith doesn’t eliminate experiences of doubt. But doubt doesn’t eliminate faith, either (or, should I clarify, it doesn't necessarily eliminate faith). We might find ourselves in seasons of life that produce prayers like, “I believe, Lord. But help my unbelief.”

and so it is with me.  there have been so many times the last few months that i have prayed that very prayer:  "I believe, Lord.  But help my unbelief."

i can't say much more, as i'm supposed to be writing my philosophy of education right now.  it's no small feat, i must admit, though knowing that it is merely an ungraded first draft does not inspire me to put all my effort into it.  i know, i know.. it's a crucial piece of who i am as an educator, but i won't finish grad school for almost two years.  i have plenty of time :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

grad school and roommates

and so it begins...
graduate school.

my class this quad is called "curriculum development and instructional strategies."  just looking over the syllabus gets me so excited for it!  it's like everything worrall taught us in "teaching the bible practicum" and in "faith and learning" is suddenly combined with real school curriculum.  i love it.  granted, we have had only one class session so far, and the majority of it was going over the syllabus, talking about our textbook, and doing a little icebreaker activity, i can already tell that it will be fantastic.

i haven't been excited about a class in a long time.  i always lose sight of the practicality of what i'm learning and delve deeply into the theoretical.  this class, on the other hand, is entirely practical and i can already see its value.  i should get my textbook in the mail tomorrow... i'm excited to start reading it!

i'm nearly finished reading the lovely bones right now.  the book is a fascinating look at the story of a girl who has been murdered, watching the aftermath of her death from "her heaven."  she sees the next seven years of life go by without her; sees the pain that her death has caused; sees the pursuit of her killer.  in a way, i feel morbid for reading a book like this.  at the same time, i see so many falsehoods in the book, as this girl longs, more than anything, to be back on earth with her family and her boyfriend.  i think of heaven as a place where i won't want to leave.  i suppose i may want to be given the ability to comfort those who i love on earth, but to come back to it?  i can't imagine having that desire once in the presence of the Lord.

i feel compelled to share about my new roommate, beth.  i still can't quite piece together how we ended up living together.  after having a couple of classes together in the past, we decided we would have made good friends if the timing weren't so poor (she was moving back out to the suburbs and we didn't have any classes together, then we were both going to graduate).  and somehow it turns into this beautiful 2-bedroom apartment that we love.  sure, the apartment has its quirks, but as we sit and talk over empanadas and white zinfandel, it all just... fits.

life is relaxed and we just hang out in the evenings.  make dinner, watch a little tv, work on a puzzle, play a game... it's nice.  there's no rush to get things done, because there are no deadlines.  there's not a list of reading to do, because any reading is purely for pleasure.  life is simple.  and beautiful.  adventures in opening wine bottles, sealing windows, and taming the heater have made us fast friends.  God's goodness shines through in the friendships he gives us.  let me not forget those with whom my heart is woven.

we've been watching season 2 of alias online.  confession:  i had a dream last night that i was a spy and was hiding underground.  i think the show is getting to me :)

Monday, January 11, 2010

"why do you expect to see me when you've turned your face from me?"

i went to grand rapids yesterday to see a play that was written and directed by anna, a friend of mine from moody.  the play was called "crooked line" and portrayed the life of solomon in a way that made it nearly literally come to life.  solomon began his kingship so close to the Lord.  in fact, God appeared to solomon in dreams on two occasions early on in his life, first granting him wisdom, second warning him to stay faithful to the Lord.

solomon went along his merry way, doing whatever pleased him, yet speaking the wisest words any man had uttered.

it doesn't take long to get wrapped up in the common verbiage of popular christianity.  the subculture can become so pervasive in one's life that we forget that we are not actually following God at all.  instead we are merely a church of people who have fun and meet once each week to gossip and call it a prayer meeting.  in a similar way as solomon, we know all the right things to say, but when it comes to following God with our lives and our thoughts, we do what we please.

"why do you expect to see me when you've turned your face from me?"

sometimes i beg to see God's face.  for God to make himself undeniably real to me.  and this phrase from the play resonates perfectly: "why do you expect to see me when you've turned your face from me?"  why do i?

my thoughts have delved so far into my doubts that i hardly know what faith is anymore (though i would be able to describe it eloquently to anyone who asks...).  i've turned my face from God and yet expect him to show himself to me...

Lord, let me turn my face back to you.  i know i need to.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


i am officially an adult.  the kind that doesn't go to school during the day.  the kind that doesn't live with her parents nor in a dorm or campus housing.

instead, i am a full-time nanny with my services divided between two different families.  two very different families.

family number one has three girls, aged 1, 3, and 5.  it is a christian family, parents who care deeply about the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of their children.  this family has a strong sense of responsibility and love, and they have a set way of disciplining their kids.  their tv time is limited to a half hour each day.  they need someone to watch their kids for a day and half each week so that there is another steady christian influence in the lives of their children.  the mom runs a few errands but still spends most of that time at home.

family number two has one 16-month old boy.  a non-religious family with a working dad, and shopping mom.  while the mom cares for her son, she cares more about the idealistic view of having a yuppie family and status than she does about her son himself.  she wants me to come from 8-4 three days/week so that she can go shopping and get out of the house.  no lie.

richard, the dad of family number two, asked me the other day what moody is.  i told him it's an accredited four-year bible institute.  he asked me if it was the same as any other christian college.  i tried to explain that it was different, but how do you even begin to explain the significance of bible college to someone who doesn't believe in the significance of the bible..  ugh.  i knew God had me work for this family for a reason, and i know that i'm one of the only christian influences in their lives.  i just pray that God would use me and that i would be competent enough to be used.

i am chilled to the bone in this barely-insulated apartment.  somehow, our heater runs every five minutes and still barely heats these five little rooms.  oh, and it sounds like a freight train running right through my room every 10 minutes at night.  thank the Lord for the invention of the earplug.  this whole living on your own and making decisions for yourself and paying for everything yourself and problem-solving everything yourself is not quite as easy as i hoped it would be.

one last thing:  i swear, every college's admissions department is seriously flawed.  moody's definitely is (just ask anyone who has ever tried to get in to moody..).  north park's definitely is (they "misplaced" both my northwestern and moody transcripts, thus did not process my grad school application until yesterday.  classes start next week.).  pray that it all works out.

a busy weekend is ahead of me.