As a Christian, I love to worship. No, I’m not talking about just singing a few songs on Sunday morning; I’m talking about trying to find ways to praise my God 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, yesterday during church, I realized something about when I do worship in a larger group setting. We were singing one of my favorite songs (Jesus Paid It All) and I had my eyes closed. This is not uncommon – I love to close my eyes and just focus on singing a song, especially when I know the lyrics! What I find interesting is what happens when I open my eyes. For those few minutes, it was just God and me. No one else. I was not listening to the band, my husband singing next to me, that one person who is always off-key and louder than everyone else in the room. I was singing to God, with my heart wide open, and I was not thinking about a single other thing!
That’s how worship should be. It shouldn’t be about which church has the best praise band, or who can get the most people crammed into their sanctuary. It’s about you and God. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved Monday and Wednesday mornings for the past 3 years at Spring Arbor – chapel was such an uplifting and perfect way to start the week. I do think that we lose track of what it means to be before God and letting all else fade away, and instead sing songs because we’re “supposed” to. Should we not instead constantly have the feeling that we can’t stop singing?
When I was a freshman at Spring Arbor, my dorm had the coolest RA. At the end of the year, she announced to our building that she would not be the RA next year; she, with her husband, decided to go to China to teach ESL. It was sad, but I was excited to follow along on their journey! Today, I saw on their blog that they went to an orphanage. There were a few pictures of the children they played with and loved on there. It was very heartwarming to see what they did!
I have always loved different cultures. A huge part of my heritage comes from Mexico (along with my husband’s), and smaller parts come from Scotland and Germany, so I have been able to learn about those cultures and even experience Mexico while I was on a mission trip. Even just working in a city like Ann Arbor, I have gotten to talk to people from Canada, France, England, Australia, India, China, Germany, and Mexico. And those are just the people I have actually talked to – there are so many more!
The world is huge. I know that’s a really silly thing to say, but it’s something that I think about a lot. I’ve only been able to see parts of the United States (granted, I’ve been to both coasts multiple times and several places in between), but there is still so much to see. While it’s not exactly realistic for me to want to see the whole world, I do! I want to love on orphans in China, I want to see the jungle in Africa, I want to watch a soccer match in Brazil.
Maybe someday. For now, I am content in my small, cozy, albeit chilly, Michigan town.
Every now and then, I’ll have a huge flashback of memories from years ago. My heart will start to race and my stomach turns. My hands even start to shake. All it takes is a few moments to remind myself that what is in the past is staying there, but I can’t help but think – why do memories affect me so?
I’m an emotional person. I’ll admit it. But I am also a very realistic person, and am able to come to terms with forgiving and forgetting. I can move on, and the fact that I have overcome a few specific events that have happened in my life (many that most people do not know about) are proof. Yet, the smallest thing can set me off, usually when I am alone with my never ending thoughts. Some days I just wonder… why? Why can thinking back to a text message from two years ago make me tear up? Why does seeing a picture make my heart stop for a second?
Why can’t I just stop thinking about the things that make me… think?
It’s getting easier. It gets easier all the time.
I don’t deal well with change. Knowing that, I also knew that this semester would be difficult for me. A new campus, new professors, new classmates, no chapel, not going back to my dorm room after class. I have felt sick to my stomach all day and I think I managed to not show it. For the most part, at least.
What I loved about today was that among all the new, there was some old. While I was on my way to buy a book for a class, I ran into a friend I had not seen in almost a year. My friend, Kevin, and I got to sit down and talk for almost an hour before we both had another class to go to. That hour was exactly what I needed to put things into perspective.
It doesn’t matter how much my life changes. Obviously many things have changed in the past (almost) 21 years, but all that turned me into who I am today. Sure, memories from living on Spring Arbor’s campus are fond, although frustrating at times, and I am going to miss the friends I made there, but the growing I had to do there has been done.
It’s time for something different.
Lately, I have been having a hard time with getting enough sleep. I always wake up exhausted, even when I go to bed at a decent hour. Today I do not have to work until noon, so I was hoping to sleep in a tad; however, when my husband left for work at his usual time of 8, I was unable to fall asleep again. So here I am, watching Harry Potter and drinking coffee in an attempt at getting energized for what could possibly be a long 4 hours at work. You wouldn’t think that a cashier job at Kohl’s would be taxing, but I am not used to being on my feet for that long.
On a more positive note, I have been surrounded by the joy and encouragement I have needed for a long time these past few weeks. I have spent time with friends, who have kept me laughing. I have spent time with my husband, who can drive me crazy, but still keeps me sane and looking forward to the future. I have spent time in God’s word, doing Bible studies with a married group and on my own.
While all these things are wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, it’s the small things that have added to and overflown my blessings list. Finding two over-sized mugs for my husband and I to use, printing wedding photos to hang, lighting new scented candles, making plans for matching tattoos with my best friend, a new student schedule, compliments from customers at work, singing praise songs in the car. I could go on and on about the things I have done these past few weeks, but you would still not know the magnitude of joy I am feeling!
God loves to see His children happy. Every time I smile, I can feel Him smiling back. And best of all, this period of joy is not overshadowed by a looming sense that everything is about to go wrong.
Anger and hurt. It’s sometimes impossible to tell the two apart, and though you can feel both at the same time, there are differences. I don’t like to feel either one, but alas, here I am. These two emotions have driven me to writing.
Not a bad thing to resort to, but still. It’s rather an awful reason to start writing again.
I’ve been absent from the blogging world for quite a while. This was probably the biggest break I have taken since I started blogging a few years ago, and it feels great to be back. I know I don’t have a huge audience and I’m obviously not paid to do this, but there’s something completely satisfying about pressing the “publish” button and knowing my words are visible to the entire world.
Since my last post, I have gotten a job (as a cashier at Kohl’s), gotten married, finally been able to take decent pictures with a decent camera, and registered for classes at a different college. Though some of those things are bigger than others, and granted I was more excited about getting married that college classes, all of these have made this summer an exciting one so far.
Sometimes I feel more inspired to write. Sometimes that depends on the people around me. And sometimes, the people around me make me want to write without inspiring me – which is why I’m here, babbling on about my summer.
Hopefully next time I gain something from this.
Ah, what a wonderful feeling this is. To feel dread. To feel lost. To feel like you have made a big mistake.
Really, I do not think that it’s as big a deal as I’m making it sound. Right now, however, it’s a huge deal. I have not screwed my life up – not yet, at least – but rather, I have postponed some major events.
Like graduating college.
One and a half to two extra years is not that big of a deal. But it is. In 30 years, I won’t care. Right now, I do care. I know I shouldn’t care, I know that I can’t really change it now, but I still feel like it’s a bad decision. Of course, I usually feel like I’m making the wrong decision.
Maybe this will be different.