Saturday, August 27, 2011

Every Passing Hour

I have a to-do list that is miles and miles long. 
really want to blog about my life lately, but I want it to be good.
Until my to-do list goes from miles to inches, 
I just don't have time to give the post the dedication it deserves.

In lieu of a detailed life-update, I give you this hymn. 
Its lyrics are the words of my heart these days.

Abide With Me
Abide with me; falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers, fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, abide with me.

Thou on my head, in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious, and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence, every passing hour.
What but Thy grace, can foil the tempters power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless
Ills have no weight, tears lose their bitterness
Where is thy sting death? Where grave thy victory?
I triumph still, abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross, before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom, and point me to the skies.
Heavens morning breaks, and earths vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, Lord, abide with me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Into the Light

This morning I woke up with immediate dissatisfaction.

I looked out of the window of the new dorm room that doesn't feel like home yet and over the sliver of a stadium that represents what home was supposed to become a year ago.
And I wished that I was somewhere else and that my life looked differently than it does now. And I was unhappy.

For the first time in about a month, I cracked back open my own, personal version of Pandora's Box. The box I've been sitting on and jumping on and working so hard keep shut.
I cracked it open, and the demons seemed only to have grown in the dark.... 

Their fingers scratched into mine. Tearing skin. Injecting poison. 
This is a bad idea. How am I doing this again?

Close the box. Close the box. Close the box.
I can't.

It was 5:30. Still dark. No dusk. Only hopelessness. 

I can't. I can't close the box. 

Light. Like a secret.
He can. But I'll try.

Then light. In a whisper.
Let go.

I tried before.
Again, then.

Get your fingers out of the way and
let go.

and a sun rise. a promise. a cheesy blog.

And I sang again. After seventeen months, I sang again. 
Because He wanted me to. Because He doesn't leave me while it's dark out. Because His light shines on me, steady as the rising sun.
I sang for the joy of my Redeemer.
Who's shown me this week just how blessed I am. 

He's given me a chapter room full of beautiful girls who care about my heart.
He's given me a family who love me and each other regardlessly.
He's given me the comfort of adaptability while taking away old fears of change.
He's given me two beyond comfortable homes on earth, with the promise of the home of perfection in eternity.
He's given me an incredible testimony of His unfailing, unchanging love.
He's given me forgiveness and redemption.
He's given me a savior.

.... And how I can wake up, look out a window, and come across all this, I don't know. Because His ways are not my own, nor are His thoughts.

I don't know why I worry. I don't know why I choose to be unhappy. I don't know why I don't bask in the abundant blessings that flow out of every corner of my world. 

But I do know that I want to choose joy.
Everyday. From now until forever. I have it. 
I want to live it.
I want to live with joy.

This year will be the best year of my life thus far. 
Like Frank and I always say:
the best is yet to come.
And this year will only bring me closer.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Place I Want to Be

(from left to right:) Megan, Caroline, Lacey (a.k.a. America), me, Shelby, and Anna
Showering in the rain. My newest favorite camp memory.
[Picture courtesy of the Rachel Conry's Facebook]
(This post will be heavy on the cheese. Sorry, I'm not sorry.)

You know, it sounds funny to say, but at the moment this picture was taken, I felt more of God's peace, joy, power, comfort, and redemption than I maybe ever have before.

It all started after free-swim, when Shelby and I went outside with some dish-washing soap to let our super smelly Chacos soak in in the rain. We just kind of stood on the back porch and looked out at the little piece of camp that was before us. The rain felt good and the thunder sounded playful. It was just one of those simple moments when you realize how strange the whole concept of the world really is. We live inside of a sphere that we are so small in comparison to, but that is even smaller in comparison to God. The God who was making thunder crash above us and water fall all around us. The God who thought up the concept of color. The God who is all that actually exists. The God that defeated evil and is wholly and purely good. This is the God who not only made us, but chooses to love us.
This is the God who washes us clean in His grace like rain.

Pretty soon, others came outside to join us and, before we knew it, we were soaking wet and asking a camper to bring us shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.

This was my 15th consecutive summer to go to Camp Briarwood.
When I was thirteen, Uncle Scott (basically Mr. Camp Briarwood) asked me why I thought all the counselors kept coming back? It's definitely not because of good food or fun activities. It's definitely not because YMCA Camp Chandler in Wetumpka, Alabama is beautiful.... So, why did I think they kept coming to work at Camp?

Well, it took me six years of working to really figure it out, but now I know.
There's not many people you can stand on a porch getting soaking wet with while simultaneously growing deeply into the Lord together, but I could do that with anyone at camp--counselor or camper.
And that's why. 
Camp Briarwood. It's the place I want to be.