Saturday, April 17, 2010

hmm love and free-will

mmmm my life that doesn't happen very often...even at night our "lovely" apartment building isn't exactly sound proof so there are always some sort of noises going on. but right now it's just quiet. Breck has finally settled down in the Wheeler's garage, polly is sleeping at my feet, sweet little E is sound asleep in her bed...the TV is turned off, no music is on, the busy day has come to a nice little halt....and as I thought about turning on the TV or watching something on the computer or listening to music I thought...I am around noise and hustle and bustle all day long, and so many times I wonder to myself why I have such a problem hearing God sometimes....maybe..just maybe..I'm not taking time to listen. Maybe I'm so caught up with HAVING to be busy that even when I have an hour to just sit in silence, I can't. So tonight silence it was. Silence and a WONDERFUL conversation with a dear friend countries away over the internet. Just what I needed to regroup from my weekend pity party and exhaustion...I finally kicked myself in the rear and got back on my feet. ...ok back to why I'm on here....
So...with all that has been going on and with knowing/hearing/seeing other people's stories too this whole "love" subject has sorta been just lingering in the air for some time now. Our pastor happened to touch on it awhile back while going through genesis a little more in depth than I ever had heard. This whole idea of "can we know love without knowing first hurt, pain, loneliness and shame?" Trying to answer that question everyone asks at least at one point in their life of "if God loves us...or if God loves me...then this would not happen, there would be no hunger, innocent people would not go through pain, there would be no trials, or struggles, families would not fall apart, people would not kill other people...etc." Ever since I heard our pastor talk on Genesis that night I have thought a lot about this and it has come up several times in this whole "community" search as well and what it is we need, look for, expect, in community.
I still don't think there is an easy "answer" but I do think there is an answer that can put, at least me, at ease a little.
When God created he created giving us free will. which can be a subject full of debate....personally I see no debate worth having...we are either robots with no feeling or we are free to make our choices and truly live. not sure who would pick robot....
I'm gonna try not to go to in depth cause I could go on for pages....
We are created with free will right? the freedom to make our own choices, right? Well isn't it true that every choice you make influences someone else? (those who say that your choice is your choice and takes no effect on anyone else are completely naive or in total denial). Even down to which brand of cereal you buy at the grocery influences someone. Now take all the hurt in the world....every situation really is due to someone's decision. Corrupt government leaders, criminals, abusive relationships, etc. These peoples' decisions influence those around them...unfortunately the innocent are usually the ones who hurt from the decisions. Well here is the thing...they are free to choose the right thing to do...they don't, but they did have that decision to make. Just like every one of us has a decision to do the right thing every day. God doesn't "make" things happen to inoccent people, He may allow because he created with the freedom to choose...but He also feels. God hurts when His children hurt. He cries right along side you...but there is where the love thing comes in. Can we know love without hurt? Think of it like this...can you really appreciate something, without first having gone without it? Or having seen someone else go without? God loves us so much He gives us opportunities to confess, to come to Him, to choose to accept His love and to choose to love back. Love is a choice, In the garden after Adam and Eve had sinned they covered themselves and hid. Well as we know you can't hide from God...yet God still went along...calling out, saying "where are you"....He gave them a chance to come forward. Just like a parent..even though they know their child has just hit someone...still asks..what did you do? It's a teaching moment..and why do parents do that? Cause they love their kids...why does God do that? cause He loves us...He WANTS us to make the right choice, He gives us that chance. We wonder why God allows bad things to happen to good people...think about your life...have you ever lied to someone? gossiped? said something mean to someone? You hurt someone....You made a choice, the other person didn't yet they paid a price. That is the beautiful messiness of free-will. Without free-will we may not have orphans or hunger, but we also wouldn't have people who love enough to stop their own lives, travel across the world and bring families to those orphans, feed those hungry, touch a hand that no one else will touch....give someone love who had never felt love before...and in doing so share the overwhelming un-changing love of God. Without free-will, pain or hurt...we would have nothing to live for, no purpose, no story, no way of touching lives or being touched by lives. What kind of a life would that be? We can choose to love, we can choose to obey, we can choose to trust, and we can choose to walk in faith when "bad" things happen..knowing that this is not the end..a God who loves us enough to walk through the trials with us, hurting alongside you has a place prepared where there will be no more of the suffering....why? Because He loves us. Who else would be willing to send their perfect son to go through so much pain and suffering so that we may have life? Would you?

Friday, April 9, 2010

just an update...nothing profound :P

So my next post was going to be about the "love" subject along with my last post, but I just need to write a little update on what has been going on the last three weeks of my life......

Whoever says that God is boring, the Bible is bland, or church is un-exciting....has not experienced the God that I serve. And whoever says that there is no such thing as God only coincidence has to admit that there are just WAY to many coincidences that go on in my life to actually be coincidence. So anyway about three weeks ago I started having a very strong stirring in my heart that there needed to be some action taken in changing what I was doing in my everyday life. I came here to pursue my passions and dreams and always told myself that I would not just settle and have a job to have a job....I know, I know, I should be thankful to have a job because the economy is in the dumps. Please don't get me wrong here, I have been so beyond blessed to have jobs since coming to Nashville, but it's time to take some action and leap out in faith now.
I have begged God daily to tell me what my purpose is in moving here and what I am supposed to be doing and the answer I have always gotten up until three weeks ago has been...wait. This is just a waiting period, I have blessed you with financial provisions and I want you to wait. In the meantime...when I call you to serve, just to serve not to gain more money...I want you to obey. So this has been my life for the last seven months. Working, babysitting, photography...when called babysitting or photography.
Well....the day after I started opening up to some options not thinking at all that this was when God was going to end my waiting period I had several opportunities dropped out of the sky for me and some part-time job offers that would work with those opportunities. Let's just say these were some stressful two days as I felt my near future being taken completely out of my control (as if it was in my control to begin with HA). So I told my current job about these things and prepared for the unknown road ahead, still unsure of what was happening...well the same day all this happened my roomie, Jenna, had gotten back in contact with this wonderful lady whom we had met back in October randomly at a Chick-Fil-A...long story short...they were thinking of looking for a part-time nanny. Do you see where this is going? So in just a few short (or should I say...verrrryyy loonnnggg) days I had given my notice to my job, began to pursue some options that I felt may be from God, and met with a wonderful wonderful woman of God who wants me to come help with her precious girls....God is a god of mystery and full of the unexpected. He does things when you have no idea they will happen...and it just further gives proof to His exsistence because no worldly thing could bring about these events.
Now this was all slightly stressful, but exciting we add on the OTHER events....
that same weekend Jenna and I somehow out of the blue one weekend night started looking at puppies online (I know, we are so lame and sit on our computers on a weekend). Anyway somehow by the end of the night we had made the very spontaneous decision that we wanted a puppy...we EACH wanted a puppy....that equals two if you didn't quite get that. ;)
So we inquired about some that were super cute but the responses back were a little strange and the next day I came across these two little puppies on some random the pictures of these were these little black and whites and didn't exactly make them look...photogenic...if you know what I mean. So thinking we were really smart we decide it would be a good stress reliever and fun to just go see them and play with puppies. Just a note...never fall for this when you are with me... I am the queen of spontaneous decisions..that are not usually just small decisions. Anyway we each fell in love with a separate one, but it was to late to start the adoption that night. Both of us worked the next day and we weren't even sure we were allowed to have them in our apartment. Then we found out we can't have big dogs so we thought all hope was lost. But with some very smooth talking (something I actually DID learn at St. Olaf) we got our permission from our landlord. Went the next morning to get them..waited in the crazy mob outside till they opened..thinking they wouldn't even be there cause we had already missed a day....ran inside and found our puppies. Wait..did I mention through all this we decided that we would move early from our apartment to a place that we COULD have big dogs? yeah just another spontaneous decision to add to the pile. The next day, picked up our puppies, headed from there to meet with my new amazing future boss and had the BEST time on a rainy evening with our shoes kicked off curled up in starbucks chairs talking about random stories (best interview ever). I feel like I'm in for God teaching me lots of things through this beautiful family.
The whole next week was filled with vet runs everyday, no sleep at night, nursing a very very sick little puppy back to health (apparently it was a really bad shelter), trying to figure out how I was going to make it financially by cutting my salary in half and started to realize we need to find a new place to live ASAP! But again...God has it all planned out and several people offered to work a flexible weekly schedule that goes around this new part-time job to supplement income, my new puppy started gaining weight and looking/acting like a normal puppy, and we found an AMAZING apartment..that we never thought we would get accepted to but we did (move in on May 29 if anyone is bored and wants to help).
Now I had no say in any of this, this all happened just starting one day. I have felt so humbled and overwhelmed with the things God is doing and keep wanting to pinch myself to see if this really is real. I am a BIG dreamer and come up with crazy elaborate ideas but God never ceases to amaze me with how things work's always so much better than what I had dreamed up.
I have learned so much these past seven months and am so excited to see what new things are waiting to be learned and discovered this year.
There is my super elaborate update, Im switching jobs, doing more volunteer/internship work, moving AND raising a puppy. :) Pretty much God is doing amazing things and this post really doesn't describe it to its full extent at all. I tried to limit all the crazy in-between details that went on that all helped make this happen.

Meet Breck (named after my hometown, Breckenridge..jennas is tonka for minnetonka)
This is when we found him at the shelter....look how tiny and sick he looks
Definitely not tiny and sick anymore!!! growing like a weed!