Sunday, August 30, 2009

By Now I Thought...

Today I've been contemplating timelines, checklists...probably partially because my best friend turned twenty-five and mentioned to me that she's halfway through her twenties...a place I will follow her to early next year. We both laughed and lightheartedly proclaimed ourselves as "old."

I've also recently begun Marian Jordan's The List, a potent little book about the list we make for ourselves. You know the list she means. It's that list you make when you're a kid around lunch tables or at slumber parties - the checklist of life. That list that states unabashedly what you proclaim you'll have done by the time you're twenty, or twenty-five, or thirty. I thankfully have no written evidence of my own list, but I remember countless conversations with my young friends dreaming about our perfect lives that would follow a strict schedule and in which all our deepest desires were met by the time we were...gasp...twenty-five.

So here I am on the brink of that magical age when everything is supposed to snap neatly into place, and my list is not exactly checking itself off. I'm not where I thought I'd be by now. Haven't done half the things I thought I would. Could it be that I have the wrong things on my list?

Or maybe it's that I'm too focused on the list itself instead of on the One who created the desires I so long for. Jordan's book pointed me to Psalm 33 and a few other psalms and reminded me that if God created my heart and my desires, of course He knows exactly how to best fulfill them in my life. The timing's not's the trusting that's important. The journey. To quote Miley Cyrus (probably the only time I will ever do so)..."It's the climb." It's that step-by-step lifelong relationship of trust that really matters...not the temporary (albeit beautiful and wonderful) things our human hearts long for, the things we want so desperately to check off, the husband, the 2.5 kids, the dog, and the Colonial. Those things are indeed blessings from our Father because all good things do indeed come from above, but they will never, never, never compare to the greatness and beauty that is the Father himself.

This all clicked together for me when I stumbled across this video (entitled "By Now I Thought") for a new Bible study I've just started. I hope as you watch it that you too are encouraged as I was to stop falling victim to the trap of The List and of the demon of "by now I thought..." The song in the background sings "Jesus, save me," and will He ever. He'll save you and me from our dreams that seem out of reach, our futures that seem dim, and our whispers of "by now I thought..." I leave you to ponder this and thank God for His immense, unfailing, unmatched love and the hope we have in Him:

"Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you."
---Psalm 33:20-22 (emphasis mine)

"Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!"
---Psalm 31:24

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Word of the Lord Proves True

This God—his way is perfect;
the word of the LORD proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
"For who is God, but the LORD?

And who is a rock, except our God?
This God is my strong refuge
and has made my way blameless.
---2 Samuel 22:31-33, English Standard Version, emphasis mine

Friday, August 7, 2009

Goodbye, Summer. Hello, Autumn!

Well, another Louisiana summer has come and gone...not that you could tell by the weather. It's still plenty hot here, and I can't wait for the cool snap to come through and bring football with it! Things got pretty busy this summer, so let me give you a quick recap...

I finished two more graduate classes including one graphic novels class in which I read 60 graphic novels in 7 weeks. Yes, 60. And I LOVED it. I have a new-found appreciation for comics. Oh boy, add another nerd sticker to my collection. I can't believe it's flying by this fast. This time last year I was finishing my first semester, and now in a few weeks, I'll begin my final semester of school EVER! Yay for a master's degree! Let the job search begin...prayers very very very much appreciated. :) The plan is to look for a teen services position in a public library somewhere between Virginia and Georgia preferably in the Carolinas. We shall see. I'm trying to think positively despite the fact that this isn't the best time in the world to be looking for a job with the economy as bad as it is. I keep telling myself that there's a public library in nearly every city in America...surely one of them will hire me, right?

And speaking of libraries, ALA in Chicago was incredible! Shame on me for not blogging about it while I was there, but I was a little pre-occupied. ;) I learned so much from the conference, met some amazing librarians, got some free books, met some of my favorite authors (Laurie Halse Anderson, Neil Gaiman, Jennifer & Matt Holm), and generally confirmed that I am absolutely going into the right field. I am beyond excited about beginning my journey as a librarian very soon!

I had also never been to Chicago before, and I fell in love with it. The way it's surrounded by water gives this huge city a quaint, quiet feel. I can't really explain it, but you don't feel like you're in a big city at all, and the way the river winds right through downtown, I felt like I was in Italy or something (not that I've ever been there haha). I crammed in TONS of sightseeing (Sears Tower, Chicago River architecture tour, Navy Pier, Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, University of Chicago, Art Institute, Lake Michigan...and much, much more!), and I took way too many pictures to post here, but I'll include my favorite one. I had dinner one night on the river at this cute little cafe (It felt quite Parisian...never been there either) and snapped this right after dinner on the bridge:

Student ministry events went well this summer too. My girls are growing up so fast, and it's hard to believe they're starting 8th grade this next week. Wow. I saw many of them grow in their relationships with Christ this summer, and one even started her journey with the Lord. Yay, Anne Marie!!! She accepted Christ at Beach Week in Panama City, FL, which was just spectacular. Something about spending a week on the ocean just lets you hear the voice of God a little clearer...maybe it's the crashing waves or the blazing sun. He showed up in a big way, and it was a blessing to see how lives were changed.

And so the summer ends, and a new semester will begin soon...just one of hopefully a few new beginnings in store for me in the next year. New beginnings bring uncertainty and questions, but I'm embracing the change and am thrilled about trusting God to drop me right where He wants me. Here's to new chapters written by the Author and Perfecter of our faith!