Thursday, February 26, 2009

my best childhood memory

I had a friend tell me that the only reason I help other people is so that I don't have to work on myself. I very, very sincerely hope that's not true. I don't think it is, but I'm going to pray about it and see what comes up. It brought me to this memory, though:

When I was little I lived in a very communal part of the Bronx. Everyone knew everyone. I was maybe four, and my father was taking my cousin Donna and I to the beach. My dad passed a kid on the street and invited him to come along. He ran to ask his mom and get his suit and by the time he came back we were waiting for another kid to do the same. My next memory is being on the floor behind the drivers seat, between someones shoes. There were two kids in the front seat and five or six in the back. But I remember being really sad when we couldn't fit anymore kids, and I know my dad was sad about it too.

That is one of the best examples of Christ I can think of. I want to be like my dad. I want to be generous and loving for no other reason than seeing joy in someone else.

And that is also my best childhood memory. I told that to my father and he sent me this text today.

I have nothing but wonderful memories with you. I know the best is yet to come. The future is so bright I have to wear shades.

Shades like these:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Oh, Mr. Webb

Derek Webb is one of my heroes. His lyrics are so good I want to youtube myself rapping to them. Because it would obviously be a youtube phenomenon spread from laptop to cubicle to sean dey showing it to everyone- thereby embrassing myself and giving Derek Webb free publicity.

I will do none of that, but I do want to post this for you. Derek Webb is one of the few artists I know that consistently refers to and sings to God as he would a lover.

This song is such a gem.

I also would like to talk about the clear difference in my personality before and after reading scripture and speaking to Christ.

I woke up this morning at 6 a.m. I had decided to go to starbucks in the morning to read and pray before braving the new/old job at Westgate. Jenn had, in her lovely acts of service way, volunteered to come with me. My alarm went off and it was dark and freezing and I was very sad to be awake. I heard Jenns alarm alarming her and when I was finished getting ready I stuck my head in her room.

She was tugging on a sweatshirt. "I'm awake, I'm awake."
"You should go back to bed." I advised.
"Because it's freezing and way too early and why should we both be miserable?" My logic was clearly impeccable because Jenn crawled back into bed.

I drove to starbucks in my businessy clothes, shivering. I do not have a businessy jacket, but I do have an awesome fake (I hope to God) fur jacket. So I put it on and stumbled toward Starbucks. Sitting outside was a new, young, male employee. I could tell by the look on his face that I amused him.

"Having a good morning?" He chirped. I glared at him.

"It is freakishly early. Freakishly." I growled, going inside.

Immediately the Jenna on my shoulder told me that my facial expression was horrendous and I was rude. But then she smelled the coffee and all offenses were covered.

It is always kind of alarming at how difficult basic niceties can be for me. I just don't have it in me to small talk strangers or smile a lot or appear interested in someone I am not. But when I think of the fragrance of Christ, I think of a woman walking to a room, smiling at everyone and making everyone feel better for it. Or how Tom Gustafson always makes you feel like you're loved with the smallest of conversation. I would like to look like a Christian. Not by purity of speech or not smoking or something like that. But to just look like I am filled with joy. When my friends spend time with God, sometimes I think their face shines like Moses did when he came down from the mountain. Sometimes I secretly hope that I shine after spending time with Christ. I know there is such a tangible difference. I can go into prayer furious or desperate or apathetic- but seeing the world through Christs eyes- as broken and needy and beautiful, it changes me. Knowing that the people I am upset at have been attacked by the same being attacking me- It puts everything into perspective.

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of Gods wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down.
It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life."
--Phillipians, da message.

That verse sums up perfectly what I have experienced with prayer. Especially about God's wholeness and things coming together for good. Oswald Chambers said that mans greatest fear is that Jesus Christ will be worsted, and the things he stood for -kindness, compassion, justice, mercy- will all fly in the wind. That is a big fear of mine. That my hands bring more bad than good into the world. But Christs hands are perfect, and I want to use his instead of mine. And that means not worrying or doubting but allowing the Holy Spirit to breathe through me. To be kind and tender and forgiving and all the things that seem trite but take a lot of work. I am praying to smile more and often. I can be very honest and say that I would rather come off strong and intelligent than kind and gentle. But I would love to be gentle. So that's my prayer for a bit. Feel free to ask God to give it in abundance to me.

An hour later as I was leaving I smiled at him. Progress!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

new heart, new spirit

My blog is back! And better than ever. I think. I don't think I will post any more of my book- but I would like to start sharing what it is I'm learning. A blog devotional. If only blogspot could give me a layout with christian fishies in the background.

I read Philipians and Thess. today and was really encouraged. Especially the directives- love on another, don't snap at one another when you're angry, help the exhausted, be tenderhearted. just simple, simple stuff that often gets lost in philosophy and self absorption. But this is how Christ wants us to live. Also- in Philipians he says 'there's far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There's also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much as a gift as the trusting."

I love that. and it is so, gloriously true. Right now, when we feel this way, our praise is all the more precious and worthy. An 'i love you' is easy when the person is handsome and things are going along all fine and dandy and they are giving you every reason to love them. But imagine an 'i love you' when you're miserable and cranky and nothing seems right. That love is very true. I want to love God in a very true way- and this time when I feel down is the best and maybe only way to express that and know that I really mean it. In sickness and in health- I want to really love Christ.

the world doesnt fit me 

because it's broken

and it broke me 

i know it 

i see it 

need to confess and admit it 

my heart is too small 

my ego too big 

the skin i was in 

held me together
with lies and insecurity 

my eyes were blinders 

and they blindeded me from everything 

but You ripped it away 

and out came Me. 

not the imposter, the imposed 

the fake girl with the false smile 

hard eyes, bitch pose 

that's not me 

that's not me 

it's an actor it's an act 

a liar and a lie 

it's what I thought I needed 

to convince everyone that this was me 

but that's not me 

so You ripped it away 

and out came Me. 

out came a dancer and a dance 

a singer and a song 

out came a living version of me 

a movement waiting to move 

to breathe and scream 

...once a slave now free. 
...once a slaver now free 

hear this poet, hear this poem 

out of a heart too small 

comes a Lover and a Beloved 

this is freedom this is free 

and out came Me.