Eye Contact

Confession: I don’t think that I should be doing “Blog twice a week October”. I thought that it was going to be a good thing for me- a chance to relax. The way it was last year. But instead, it scares me. Because when it’s time to blog, I sit down at my desk with my laptop and tea and I feel plain old empty. Expressionless like I have never felt before. I thought that a full life would result in having lots of things to share- that all this learning and processing would result in inspiration and wisdom. But instead, I just feel tired. The blankness inside worries me.

To be completely honest, I’m afraid to share what I really feel these days. I’m ashamed of the things that I feel and the way that I handle them and I don’t have solutions to them.

I could make a list of things that I am ashamed of.

I won’t though.

I have been exploring my thoughts on prayer further. I shared some baby thoughts in one of my earlier posts- the one about different ways that I approach God.

One that I didn’t discuss there was eye contact. Eye contact with God.

Where I stand and I look at Him right in the face.

It feels bold and almost like I am challenging Him with my this is wrong and I can’t do this and I don’t want to do this. But it is better than the embarrassed hiding that I have resorted to in the past.

I am finding that it is necessary these days- to look right at Him (at my visualization of Him) and feel all of the questions that I have. No words are necessary there.

We just look at each other.

I can’t even describe the feeling.

It’s what makes me feel strong and grounded again. Like whatever happens around us, God’s eyes hold me in a still and protected place.

It’s what reminds me that He suffered more rejection, disregard, and stress than I ever will.

It’s what reminds me that He understands.

It’s His eyes that remind me that I don’t need to understand, because He does. I just need to keep going.

I always look away before He does.

We cry at the same time though.

Then I am red-faced and messy and teary, but He is still beautiful.

It is communion in a new way.

Safe

Verses from Psalm 62:

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God[c];
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

Though your riches increase,
    do not set your heart on them.

Trust in God at all times.

When it feels like you are alone.

When it feels like you are being laughed at.

When it feels like you are in the wrong place.

When it feels like you just make mistake after mistake after mistake.

When it feels like you are afraid to hope that your day will be good because you are pretty sure that hoping will only lead to disappointment.

When it feels like you aren’t sure if you should survive or push to thrive.

These are the times that we need to trust.

But not just in dark times.

Even when your riches increase, trust Him instead.

When you feel full.

When times are good.

When you feel confident.

When you feel capable.

Still choose to trust Him.

He is very safe.

Approach

I like to think of prayer as approaching God.

Sometimes the path to God is golden with sunshine- perfectly lit and warm with golden autumn trees. A path that is made for dancing and skipping and crunching leaves.

Sometimes the path to God is dark and blue and long, but the stars glow above and the moon washes me and I feel close to light even in the darkness. This is a path that is made for discovering and hoping and the contented knowledge of freedom.

Sometimes the path to God is so cloudy, so foggy that nothing is visible. Those are the scary times. The times when I wander and wonder if I still am on the path. Wonder if I have, perhaps, accidentally turned around and am now walking away from Him? The worst is not knowing how close to Him I really am. The reaching out is frightening and disappointing when my hand seems to once again clench nothing when all I need is something strong and firm and still. The mist swirls and I can feel it seeping into me and I don’t want to keep looking.

Panic feels as though it is always just one thought away.

I want to stop.

I want to sit.

But I know that God is there- somewhere- and that pushes me on.

This is the path that is made for wanting and trusting and clinging.

To find Him is such a relief.

When my fingers feel that rock and that refuge becomes real in the mist.

I am so glad to be near Him. So glad that I didn’t sit down and give up.

Coming to God is the first part.

The next part is actually talking to Him.

Talking to Him looks different, depending on what we are talking about.

Sometimes He sits on a throne and I kneel and can hardly look at Him because I have sinned again and He tells me to come closer, but I can’t because I am ugly and so He steps down and comes to me. Sometimes I stand in front of that throne and tell my story with big motions and jumbled words and He smiles to see me so animated. Sometimes I come to His throne shaking and in tears and begging. And he listens and cries. Sometimes I lug burdens along, and He leans forward in that throne, forehead furrowed and chin in his hand and I know that He is listening and caring. Sometimes I come just to sit, because I need to be with Him, and He just watches me and it’s okay to be so continuously watched because He is healing me. Sometimes I come and I am jittery with worries and He reaches out and puts heavy hands on my shoulders and I feel myself growing calm.

And sometimes I come because I need to be valuable and His hands are the only thing that can prove to me that I am.

He is so very real.

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Psalm 66:8-20

Praise our God, all peoples,
let the sound of his praise be heard;
he has preserved our lives
and kept our feet from slipping.
10 For you, God, tested us;
you refined us like silver.
11 You brought us into prison
and laid burdens on our backs.
12 You let people ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but you brought us to a place of abundance.

13 I will come to your temple with burnt offerings
and fulfill my vows to you—
14 vows my lips promised and my mouth spoke
when I was in trouble.
15 I will sacrifice fat animals to you
and an offering of rams;
I will offer bulls and goats.

16 Come and hear, all you who fear God;
let me tell you what he has done for me.
17 I cried out to him with my mouth;
his praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened;
19 but God has surely listened
and has heard my prayer.
20 Praise be to God,
who has not rejected my prayer
or withheld his love from me!

The Times

Sidenote: I know that I didn’t blog yesterday. I didn’t forget. I just did other things instead. Okay? (Feeling slightly defensive about this… I really did make the choice to wait until I had figured out what I wanted to say and had the words to say it.)

Basically, you should know that these days, there are two things on my mind and heart.

Those two things are marriage and teaching.

They may be coming up rather frequently in my blogging. Sorry about that.

I often feel pulled between the two. There is a time to prepare to teach and a time to prepare to marry. Just like there is a time to talk about snow days and a time to talk about New France and habitants. And a time to be silly and a time to be serious.

Both require lots of prep work. Both can weigh very heavily on a soul. Not necessarily in an unpleasant way- just a very constantly present and gaining weight as we feed on your time and energy way.

I don’t even know how to talk about anything besides these two things, and the problem is that I don’t feel like I have a lot to say about these things because I feel unqualified for both of them.

So tonight my question is this:

HOW DO PEOPLE EVEN DO LIFE????

Phew. Now that I’ve gotten that out there, I’ll try to carry on.

(And I promise that not all of my October posts will be about my feelings. I promise.)

Engagement is a strange time in that it is a time where nothing is normal. You carry on with a lot of the same activities that you did in your “old life” but they just aren’t the same because everything is tinted with “preparing for the new life” or the knowledge that “this soon WON’T be normal”.

It’s a nice time though.

A time where you feel unbelievably and undeservedly blessed and privileged. Privileged to have such a beautiful future and privileged to have had such a lovely past that leaving it behind feels sad.

I guess that I am just realizing that there really is a time for everything but that it is not quite so neatly divided as the third chapter of Ecclesiastes makes it sound. It seems as though there are even times where the sad and the glad, the wonderful and the hard, overlap and get all swirled together and you feel the pain and the beauty simultaneously- much like looking at a group of vibrant, autumn-coloured trees contrasted with a steel October sky.

20151009_141618

Ecclesiastes 3

For everything there is a season, and time for every matter under heaven:

A time to be born, and time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.

He has made everything beautiful in its time.

The Thief

Sometimes the days that you are dreading the most are the ones that end up being wonderful. Does this happen to anyone else? It happens to me often. It almost seems tempting to assume that the dreaded days will end up being good… but I don’t want to jinx it by being too presumptuous.

Anyways, today was one of those mornings where I woke up and nothing inside me wanted to go to school or do any of the things that I needed to do. One of those mornings where the to-do list hangs so heavily inside you that it feels like it makes your heart flutter fearfully every now and then.

But then, the students came and there was catching up from the weekend and a student voluntarily telling me what the sermon was about on Sunday and lots of stories about deer and a few clever grammar jokes about how the colon is not merely part of your body (made by me).

It made me feel full and alive again.

Teaching is ridiculous in that sometimes it feels like it’s viciously sucking everything out you and you end up feeling like a raisin and other times it feels like it is filling you and you feel like you are the juiciest grape.  (I’m sorry. That wasn’t deep. I am feeling a tad unfocused tonight.)

Today I had to think of the phrase from John 10 in which Jesus tells us that he came to offer abundant life.

Abundant life feels so much better. In my last post I wrote a bit about how it can be easy to get caught up in just doing what we need to. I am learning how important it is to make sure that your days are infused with joy.

We weren’t actually meant to live out our lives merely completing one dreary day after the next.

Jesus came to bring us abundant life. It’s hard to claim it. It can be a whole lot easier to put up with drudgery than it is to choose joy and delight and optimism.

To be honest, everything inside of me just clenched up when I wrote those words because I seem to have become well-accustomed to feeling overwhelmed and like a bad teacher and I don’t want to expect days to be good or try to make them good, because then I will only feel disappointed when it ends up being another bad one.

See? I’m preaching to myself here.

Here is the end for tonight:

Negativity steals. It is a thief that Jesus came to protect us from. Jesus offers protection and freedom and eternal loyalty.

And that is a fact, even on the days when your heart just doesn’t want to do it. It’s still true.

Blog Twice a Week October

Oh, hello, everyone!

Doesn’t it feel kind of like we just had an October, and now another one is here? I have no idea how this happens so quickly! I do not understand.

All I know is that it’s time for “Blog Twice a Week” October!

Some of you may remember “Blog Every Other Day” October. This is this year’s realistic version of the same thing. Meg (https://lifeisforlearning101.wordpress.com/) and I will both be posting each Monday and Thursday in October. I feel rather dry and empty at the moment, but I really am looking forward to this month of producing and expressing and emptying. It will be good. It’s easy to only do the things that you need to do, but so much better when you throw in a few of things that you love to do as well.

Life just keeps going.

“Everywhere around us, things is moving and growing and changing.” –Tuck, Tuck Everlasting
“Everywhere around us, things is moving and growing and changing.” –Tuck, Tuck Everlasting

Blogging regularly is going to be my chance to slow down and be reflective and creative.

Also, it is going to be a chance to be myself again.

Sometimes I can’t believe that this girl with such a wonderful fiancé and notebook of wedding scribbles and strangely large students is actually me.

Parts of it feel natural and wonderful and exciting (like the whole marrying Ricky thing), and others leave me longing for the familiar and the comfortable (like the large students thing). Inside of me is a very busy place these days.

So I try to hold onto that one thing that doesn’t change.

“My times are in Thy hand… Blessed be the Lord: for He hath shewed me his marvelous kindness in a strong city.” –Psalm 31

 

See you on Monday!