Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year! (12 things I learned in 2012)

Happy New Year, readers! Thank you for everything: every comment, page view, & rating means so much to me...seriously, thank you so much! 

I thought I'd look back, nostalgic as I am, on my post at the end of 2011:

11 things I learned in 2011

1. It doesn't matter how something feels. It can feel right and be wrong...and vice versa.
2. There is never, NEVER a point when He isn't there for me any longer.
3. He will lift the heavy burden and give me rest.
4. Pride is the most addictive drug and the most painful living death.
5. Even when I begin to doubt the most fundamental of my beliefs, there is hope in a single cry, a single prayer.
6. When I find my happiness in something other than God, I become bitter. But in Him, not sin, is pure joy.
7. Emotions just plain stink.
8. I want to fall into the space in between me and God.
9. Worship is a way of living, not being on a stage.
10. You never know whose life you are reaching if you are simply living in love.
11.  Life comes down to the fact that God holds the future and we must trust Him.

And, now...

12 things I learned in 2012

1. Life is not always what you expect.  In school, I've had to realize that there is much more to strive for than what you hoped for--working hard may not always give you what you want, but it's still worth it. Also, I was in a car accident in 2012 that, though minor, had some frustrating and painful effects on me. I learned that God's plan may include very much that is unexpected, and unexpectedly rewarding.

2. My heart is treacherous. However, God is greater than my heart (1 John 3:20) and knows everything.  He's got a plan, and it's not my place to try to rush it.

3. Being a Senior (especially if you still have 5 classes to take) is not all the fun it's chocked up to be (*cough chemistry: it's awful cough*). However, it IS a time to appreciate everything you've learned over the past 12 years.

4.  Family means more than words can express.  It's never about whether they are your favorite people, or whether they are nice to you, or even whether they treat you right.  It's about the unusual and beautiful love that you share with them. It's a gift that I've too long ignored.

5. Dreams are good, but they can't overtake reality.  It's hard to let go of the fairytales and romantic ideals and cloud-9 moments, but real life is down here on planet earth. It's okay, and valuable, to find the strength to have faith when feelings are gone.

6.  It's not about what people think.  I've been a people-pleaser for a long time, but I'm realizing it's about having 1 Corinthians 13 love, not about making everyone like me.

7. Anger, hate, grudges, irritation, and resentment are poisonous.  Love keeps no record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13).  I won't pretend that I haven't argued and fought far too much this past year.  There are many things I regret and I wish I could take back.  But, forgiveness and love can cover many wrongs.

8. Music (like most of life!) is not always going to be fun or easy or feel like playing bagpipes in the park (uh...creativity is leaving me).  In fact, it can be extremely frustrating.  But if you love it, it's worth it to you. 

9. Math really isn't a plague like the Moses and Egypt one. It's actually alright (here's to hoping I don't eat my words...).

10. It's not about winning.  This is something that's hard to cope with for me (very, very, very hard...).  For example, at the state championship show this year, my horse and I placed 11th in one class. We were a couple tenths of a second away from a trophy (and we've never got one).  But the funny thing is, a trophy is nothing but a piece of metal.  What matters is the strength, the courage, the sportsmanship...the things that aren't so visible and won't fade.

11. God is awesome.  I hope you realize the power packed in those 3 words.  This God  created a galaxy beyond what my mind can grasp.  He created me. And He poured out His son's precious life-blood to save the scourge of the  And not only that, He gives me opportunity after opportunity to feel His love and to be changed.    

12. Life is urgent. We are not guaranteed another day.  There's just so much more that I could be doing with my life. So very much that this world needs to know, needs to be shown. I can and will use my abilities to do something about it.

I'm ready to live much bolder, love much louder, and write much stronger in 2013.


Friday, December 28, 2012

The Light

The Light
Tenth Avenue North

I have run into the darkness
I have hidden from Your grace
From the light of Your salvation
To the shadows I embrace

Can You find me in the valley
In this hatred I have loved?
Can the God who sees the future
Still be blind to all I've done?

Sunrise, love invade the night
Bring light, in morning satisfy
Sunrise, Your mercy floods the sky

You are the Light, Father and Savior
Spirit Divine, Truth and the Life
You are the Light, Father and Savior 
Holy Spirit Divine, Giver of life
You are the Light

My sin has left me cold and shaking
At Your throne I am undone
But I can feel Your joy is rising
Underneath bright heaven's sun

Words can't define You
Fail to describe You
You're more than I can say
But the heavens speak
And the skies cry out
In colors of Your grace 

This song is absolutely beautiful. It's so, so difficult for me to comprehend the depth of His grace.  But the answer is always found in His attributes--He is not silent, He is present.  Like the song says, the heavens speak and the skies cry out.  Without Him, we would be living in literal darkness. It's only the truth of love of God that keep the darkness at bay.  Some days it feels like I'm only seeing the dark...but that only reveals more to me that He is the only light.  There's no other true light: this is what I realize when I fall and fail and try to replace Him. When I'm broken, cold, heartless, torn, crushed...He's like a fire that defrosts my hands. He's like a bulb in a dark cave. He's the only answer. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Taylor Swift and Dissatisfaction

Is it bad that I like Taylor but I’m about to do a bit of a rant?

This may be just me, though, so put down the eggs and tomatoes and whatever else you’re about to throw at me.
I’m listening to “Begin Again”, which is my favorite song on Red.
And although this is one of the few songs on her record that has a happy ending, I still feel like the overall message is negative.
I’m breaking for her, and how she’s had to change herself and what she likes (“He always said he didn’t get this song, but I do—I do”) because of this relationship.  She’s been thinking all “love ever does is break, and burn, and end.”  And hear me out, cuz I don’t attribute this feeling to the fact that she was with a jerk.
Tragedy is the only ending of a relationship without the right focus.
Heartbreak is all you will get.
Why is the new cafe-guy going to be any different?
Just to add to the hopeless-ness (for now), I’m not going to lie, the song makes me feel dissatisfied. It makes me want someone to treat me like cafe-guy.  It gives me romantic, impractical ideas.
This is also not a rant on romantic song-writing. Romantic song writing is a wonderful thing.
But, for me personally, “Begin Again” makes me want to know where the cycle ends.
Will it always be a beginning that leads to an end?

I, personally, want a forever love.
And although—someday, despite the fact that I’ve told my friends “I WILL NEVER GET MARRIED. LIKE EVER”—I want someone who will love me for 50+ (God willing) years, I also want a forever forever love. I want a love that won’t end with death. That doesn’t depend on life. I want a real love.

It’s pure insanity. You want romantic—check out the fact that God promises completeness. Eternity. He says love NEVER FAILS. Who else in your life will never fail you?

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part,10but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

Just what I’ve been thinking. Hope you see what I’m getting at here ;)

“In living we die, in dying we live.” 
P.S. I have a tumblr now!! Check it out?