Thursday, February 27, 2014

i am listening to called me higher by all sons & daughters and holding back tears. today has changed me.

Cause You have called me higher
You have called me deeper
And I'll go where You will lead me Lord

until 11 am this morning I had fleas. I think I got them saturday or sunday from the cats and dogs in the house in the city. I'm not sure. but I couldnt even sleep Monday night because my head itched so bad. I wasn't going to tell anyone though because I was too scared. Also, I wasn't sure if it was fleas or lice and I didn't want to gross anyone out. So I stopped washing my hair because I heard that they like clean hair better than dirty hair. Coincidentilly I wanted to stop using shampoo anyway and try to transition to just washing my hair with water so I thought it would work. It didnt. Still itched. Still didnt want to tell anyone my gross secret.

Today I was tossing a ball with some girls and Diana asked if she could wash my hair. I thought this was weird but she was washing everyone else's hair too so I said why not. She cut it a few days ago and if she saw the fleas she didn't say anything about them. So she washed it and told me it was a medicated shampoo for fleas because all the girls had fleas too. I got them in the city though so I guess these things just happen. So she washed my hair and all the girls hairs and then she literally spent the next 30 minutes using a flea comb going through my hair. Let me tell you. Flea city. Sick nasty. I kept apologizing and I was crying because of how dirty I felt and how she didn't even care she just kept singing No more fleas no more fleas no more fleas and telling me it was okay and telling the fleas to get out of my head.At one point she exclaimed that I really did live here now that I had fleas like everyone else. Glad this is what it takes to be considered a local. I watched as the girls all carefully combed through each others hair. No one made anyone feel ashamed, no one laughed at how gross it was, they just accepted that this was life and did what they had to do to get rid of the gross and then we all ate lunch. After Diana was done combing my hair and announced me flea free I immediately picked up the comb and started combing through my young friend Vitoria's hair. After she was declared flea free she asked me to braid her hair and we laughed and she told me to try again so I braided it again. That was it. My head doesnt itch any more.

I am overwhelmed with grace. First off-that God loves me enough to provide for me even in the little things like flea shampoo. It was just random that Diana asked to wash my hair, I didnt tell her it itched and she didn't ask me if I had fleas or not. She just decided to wash it and see. Thank you God. Second off-I have never so evidently seen or been the hands and feet of Jesus as I saw and was today. Utmost the other day talked about the New Testament version of a saint- not one who merely proclaims the gospel but one who becomes the broken bread and poured out wine in the hands of Jesus for the sake of others. This was it. Loving each other-washing each others hair, combing through it, picking out fleas, massaging the flea dirt out of each others hair.

Everything about today reminded me of the gospel. From myself wanting to hide my shame and dirty parts and try to take care of it on my own without medicine, to being offered a hair wash without asking for one, to Diana taking her sweet time to make sure every last flea was gone, to loving me, to then me extending that grace to others because of what had been done for me.

I am so grateful that God loves me enough to remind me of Himself everywhere every day. I am grateful that I have eyes to notice Him. I am grateful that he cares about me--even tiny parts of me like fleas on my head. I am so grateful.

I know this blog was gross. But, I hope you see how amazing this all is. And you can pray that I don't get fleas again. Or maybe that I do if I need to be reminded of God's love some more.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

February is almost over so I can write a blog about relationships and it doesn't have to be another blog written by a girl around valentines day. Those are good though, I read a lot of good articles on relationships and singlehood and love around valentines day and I am grateful for those who wrote. This blog has been inspired by some of those that I read but also inspired by conversations ive had with best friends lately and what God is doing in my heart here in Brasil.

I mostly hate the way that we talk about singlehood. I hate how we encourage those who are single. Chances are this blog is directed at you. Some of my best friends. At myself. We, typically, as girls love to affirm each other when we find ourselves wallowing in the pitfall that is singlehood. I think we are well-meaning. I have never felt hostility or that my friends were telling me lies just to tell me lies. Maybe your friends do that, I don't tend to surround myself with people who lie to me (unless I ask them to in the instance of...please lie to me and tell me july is RIGHT around the corner—then you can lie to me all the live long day). Friends love to say “It'll happen someday!” “I know there is a guy out there who will love all these weird things about you!” “It'll just be SO great when you meet that great guy!” “I just know you'll date again!” I have said those things to my best girl friends. And my heart behind them is sincere. I really do hope and pray that they meet someone and that someone does love them for all the weird things and amazing qualities I see in them. I used to LOVE hearing those things from my friends. I believe that my friends have my best interest in mind and want all the world for me because I want all the world for them. Like I said before, I don't think these friends are lying to me or trying to placate me. I think the encouragement is good and comes from a good place.

I think it is misguided though. Deep down these encouragements are only reinforcing our worldly idea that we will be complete with a relationship or marriage. It probably will be real great IF I meet that great guy who loves that I am weird and laugh a lot and eat peanut butter on everything and hate wearing shoes. But it's also real great now. We are given all that we need in the Lord. Like I blogged about before—we already have the “much more” of life. I digress-- I want us to change our vernacular. I want to affirm and embrace and encourage qualities in my friends that have nothing to do with a relationship. I want to affirm their weird habits, their love of serving, their killer talents, THEM. I want to remind them that they are enough. That they are a crazy rare treasure that deserves the world-and has already been given it in the Lord. That life is really great and that it will never be complete with anyone besides the Lord. I don't want to reinforce their beliefs that they are only half a person or half a life in their singlehood. Even if those encouragements I listed earlier are well-intentioned they are still mis-guided.

Try changing your heart and attitude when encouraging your pal next time she's down about being single and is cursing love. Remind her that she is worthy and valuable as she is. And that the Lord will always see her that way. And that you will too. Leave out the “it'll happen someday” and throw in the “you are an amazing woman...i love _____ about you and want to encourage you to continue doing _____ because it is really great and the world is better for it.” Pray for your friends. Pray for husbands or boyfriends that you hope to arrive some day. I don't know how it all works. Some are called to marriage, some aren't. But know that you are worthy and valuable as you are and you can be that real great amazing person despite a relationship status.  

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

if I were to have titles for my blogs...which i don't because i hate titles and subject lines on emails--it would be this

how to-do lists & praise ruined my life.

i am a hard worker. i have had odd jobs since i was 16, worked all through college, graduated college with a job in my field of study, did an intense year long internship which required much work where much was expected of me and i usually received much praise for my job well done, and august to December of 2013 i held 6 jobs at one time. i have been told over and over and over by multiple bosses how efficient i am, how hard of a worker i am, how intelligent i am, how competent, how effective i am at tasks, and many other praises. i was taught to make to-do lists and enjoyed the satisfaction of crossing things off. i'm the type of person who adds things to my to do lists that are already done just to cross them off. i know how to prioritize, make goals, and use time really efficiently. somewhere along the way those things worked their way into my soul. i didnt know it. i didnt know it until they were taken away. dont really know what you got till its gone ya know.

all those high praises sound like im boasting and tooting my own horn. at some points in life i have been prideful and boastful about those things. but you know what? i'm learning that they dont matter. if we dont use them wisely or unto the Lord as we are instructed to do about 14345 times in the bible they are pointless. i read an article on the gospel coalition today about sin and it talked about natural and un-natural sins. we can fairly easily recognize un-natural sins (killing, lying, stealing...ect) but the natural sin in us is what gets us in the long run. maybe it takes moving to another country to see it. i'm not sure. somewhere along the line when those praises buried themselves in my little heart they turned into an idol i didn't know i was worshiping until it grew real big. then i arrived here. i know i talked about this in a previous post so i wont talk about how i feel inadequate and pointless and wandering aimless in this place because i dont have task lists and am not being praised for holding hands and playing soccer. lets be real i will NEVER be praised for my soccer skills because they dont exist. so, slowly (or not so slowly because i have been here only 5 weeks) insecurities began to fill those holes in my heart that the idol of work had made. i think it works like that. things poke holes in our hearts and then other things seep into those holes. thats why we are commanded to let the fruits grow deep in our hearts-to get rid of all the bad things. thoughts of insecurities, of failure, of worthlessness, of confusion, of comparison crept in. and they are all lies. i have to combat the lies with writing down and praying circles around truth daily. people may already be tired of encouraging me and speaking truth into my life but i am so grateful that they do. most days i believe it. most days are great. but those things still have their thorns in my heart and if i'm not ready to fight them with truth they dig a little deeper as opposed to being a little more removed every day.

this morning as i was listening to the new ellie holcomb cd (go buy it right now) she sings Love never fails and i've heard that plenty, shes not the only person to write a song about it, i've read it in the bible but the lord did a sweet little whisper in my ear and said Love never fails and Love never sees you as a failure. Thats big. He promises to never fail me and never will which I feel good about but knowing that the opposite is true is good too. That He never fails me and that when He looks at me he doesn't see my failures as failures. He doesn't see me sin and judge me accordingly. He is still love and is ready to love me.

so, God is busy wrecking my self perception and my accidental idols of work. It is good. and messy. but really good. I am grateful. some days my journal is covered with the word grata which is the portuguese word for grateful. muito muito muito grata. a lot lot lot lot lot grateful.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

have. want. need.

i learned those words in portuguese in that order. it wasnt until week 3 that i learned how to say need. because by then i started to actually need things. confession: i see cheesy christian metaphors all over the place. i could probably write a blog about the things i see or have learned that i could apply to a neat christian discipline or lesson. i learn them and then never bring them up because-i dont like cheesy christian things. i like honest, real, messy things. i dont have a propensity towards easy sayings, things that rhyme, songs learned in sunday school or youth group, or any other neat tidy things. but, as i read over the book i write down portuguese words in as i learn them i was struck at the progression i have made. when thinking about life i think it can come down to these three words. sometimes in that order, sometimes not. i think it is pretty indicative of my life though.

there are things i have. a lot of things actually. too many things. i think i will be shocked when i return to america to a room full of things that i have lived without for 6 months. there has not been a time since moving here where i thought--oh if i only had...i am learning that i have a lot more than i realize i have. also learning that we can live off a lot less than we think we can.

at some point we forgot what we have and we desire more though. or other. i know that i have 10 shirts here that are perfectly fine. i know that i have really great chacos. i know that i have enough snacks in my fridge to last me. but the desire creeps in...and i want more. i want to buy flip flops to fit in. i want to buy that bag of doritos because it'll make me happy this afternoon-i forget all the really great snacks i already have. i want a hot shower because i havent had one in five weeks. i want want want.

and then hopefully...we come back to what we need. and if we stop to think about it-the things we have or even want probably wont fill that need. the need for comfort, happiness, joy, fulfillment.

i have things that fill me. i want more things to fill me. i forget that all i need is the Lord. if only i had learned that word first. all the haves or have nots or wants wouldn't be so big or drastic or dire. because i have and want all i need forever in the Lord. it's hard to learn. hard to reconcile with our hearts who lean so heavily into this world. our hearts learn to have and want things so much easier than we learn to rely on our only need that is filled in Jesus.

Friday, February 14, 2014

this blog isn't worth reading. im just too lazy to write all this in my journal and i can type a lot faster than i can write.

one of my favorite parts of my day is around 8 in the morning. I wake up usually to motorcycle races and dogs barking and children yelling. i go to the bathroom. i crawl back under my mosquito net and listen to my ipod and the fan is usually the perfect temperature and the sun usually comes in through my shutters and life is good and perfect. this morning was more perfect than usual. it was sunny, the kids didn't have school today so they were still in their houses being quiet, Climb by Will Reagan was playing on my ipod and I laid in bed listening to it on repeat for an hour. I also played about 20 games of Solitaire of which I won like 5. but it was so good. i sang at the top of my lungs

i will climb this mountain with my hands wide open.
i am so in love with you--there is no one else for me.
theres nothing i hold on to.

i liked knowing all those were true.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

ad·vent

  [ad-vent]  Show IPA
noun
1.
a coming into place, view, or being; arrival: the advent of the holiday season.

I am in the advent of adventure. I arrived in Brasil about three and a half weeks ago. Nay told me 3 weeks would make all the difference. While approaching week 3 I thought it would never happen. It has though. I have had 5 really good days in a row. Melissa came Tuesday and walked in on me crying in the office and she stayed with me all day and we had normal conversations and she was real encouraging. She reminded me that even if I do tasks in the office when I leave in 6 months it will be my relationships that last, not excel sheets or emails sent. There was more freedom in that sentence than I have heard in anything else since arriving here. 

I have been learning a lot. Christine and I have been reading Ephesians together and I don't think we could be reading a more perfect book right now. The Lord has been romancing me as I've read it like I have never felt before. Promises on promises on promises lavished upon my, treasures, masterpieces, UNENDING HOPE, all for the now. Not for the will be. God pursued the Gentiles even when they were far away and the Jews when they were close by. He is pursuing me, and has been in both seasons. I am so grateful for these truths. I just finished reading The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson and at first I hated it and him but i ended up loving it and learning a lot from it. I have chosen to circle Romans 15:13 in prayer

I pray that God, the source of hope will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 

This has been my fervernt prayer this week. I asked the Crossroads Summer Staff to pray it with me and the BRCC Womens prayer group. I think that is why my week has been radically different and good. People are circling me with that prayer. I am grateful.

Every day I feel like Oswald Chambers and John Piper are speaking to my herat when I read their devotions. The concepts of surrendering to God's call, affliction, suffering, the much more, and worthiness have all been topics lately. I feel all of them. I could talk about all of them. But I have been focusing on the much more.

" The lilies of the field grow where they are planted . Are you growing where you are planted? Are you living in the 'much more' Jesus has promised you? Am I continually separating myself from everything except which I am called to do?" Oswald Chambers

Jesus has promised to clothe, feed, and provide for us MUCH MORE than the lilies and the sparrows. Often I don't feel that I am living in that much more. I am living in need or want or feeling unknown. In Brasil I have felt unknown and uncared for often by the people I am surrounded by. That I'm not really being provided for in terms of communication, work, relationships, ect. But, as I have prayed about and thought about the much more-I am okay with those things. I am known and loved and provided for way more than I can ever know by the Lord and that is enough.

Brasil is good. I dont wake up fearful of my days, I still check every corner of my room for tarantulas when I enter my house but I know I can kill them. I am grateful for gchat, facebook, and viber. I am grateful that God is using this place and this time to show me how loved and cared for I am by him. 

i am 12 days into being a married woman and i am finding more joy and more mourning than i expected. i changed my name last week and cri...