Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Fact. You do lose friends.

Today I read a tweet that said, "You don't lose friends. You just find out who your real ones are."

This is so wrong. So wrong, in fact, that is makes me frustrated and now I am writing about it.

There are only two girls from school that I still talk to regularly. And really, I don't even talk to them regularly. I can tell you though, they weren't my only two friends all throughout school. So, if this tweet is true, that means the five girls who carried me through school from third grade to junior year and all the new, wonderful friends I've met since then aren't real friends. What?

Here is the thing about friends: They come and go.

I firmly believe god allows people to be a part of our lives for different reasons and for different lengths of time. I believe some friends come, help us grow and change, and then are gone. Nothing more to it.

I believe some friends become just that because when we are little we like the same crayons or have the same kind of guinea pig, but as time goes and we grow up, things like guinea pigs don't matter anymore and suddenly it's about drinking and curfews and your lives go in totally different directions. And it's hard. It's really hard and there are tears and fights, and you end up not friends anymore at the end of it all. When you're 17 this doesn't really make sense and it sucks, but when you're older, you can see how those friends helped you become who you are, and you remember all the things they helped you get through, and you realize they are some of your truest friends, even if you don't really know them anymore.

I believe there are friends that God saves for us until later in life. New friends that we meet at college or at work; friends who, at 17, we never would have hung out with, but now they share a world of commonalities. They encourage us and walk with us through similar places in life. Friends who are new, fresh, and real, even though they've only been around for a few months.

I believe there are old friends, too. The kind you don't hang out with anymore; the kind you don't really see except at their wedding or on a random grocery run to the Kroger in their neighborhood. But these friends, these are the ones you still call your sisters. These are the friends you still know better than anyone else. These are the ones you can still call in that moment of tears and upset that still know what to say and exactly what you mean when you are talking about your mom or sister or someone from the past. Kind of like life savers. You don't always need them, but they are always there.

So, yes. Girls, you will lose friends. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it doesn't even really matter. But it happens, and it will happen all throughout life. But that doesn't mean they weren't your real friends. It doesn't mean they didn't impact you, change you, help you become who you are. It doesn't mean you can't laugh about memories and remember all those late nights you had together. It just means God's purpose for them in your life was through. And like everything else in life, your friendship changed.

I hope you love your friends. I hope you spend time with them and reach out to them. I hope you use your friendship to encourage them and minister to them. And I hope, when it's all said and done and they are no longer your friend, that you can smile and be thankful for the time you got together, and appreciate their new life and your new friends.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Isaiah 30:18

The Lord longs to be gracious to you; 
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice. 
Blessed are those who wait for him!
Isaiah 30:18

I love this verse. I love that the words "gracious" and "compassion" are used. I love that it describes God's desire for us as a longing. I love that it says he will "rise up." I love that there is an exclamation point at the end of the last sentence. I love how powerful those words and that exclamation point are. Here is what I mean:

In 18 days (ah!) Andrew will become my husband. It is hard to explain, but there is a longing in my heart to be his wife. I have this incredible desire to walk down the aisle towards him, to celebrate this incredible gift, and to begin my life with him. Some days, this longing in me is so strong that I get overwhelmed with joy, nervousness, excitement, and it consumes me. It consumes my thoughts, my To Do lists, my pins on Pinterest, my conversations, everything. In these moments, I have to set everything else aside and remind myself that in only 18 short days I will be his wife. I have to rest in that. 18 days. Two weeks. Three weekends. This is a longing that I've never felt for any other person. It is a longing I know can only come from a relationship that God has placed in my life.

Because of the longing in my hear to become Andrew's wife, when I read Isaiah 30:18, and I read that God longs to be gracious to ME, I have a minuscule picture of the longing in this verse. I picture the way I long to marry Andrew. I picture the way that we only know love because God first loved us. I picture the King of the universe, the Maker of all creation longing for me; longing to show me grace and compassion. He doesn't just want to. He is longing to. What an incredible feeling of assurance and love it is to know that God is longing for me.

Since I am getting married in 18 days, my thoughts have been rather nostalgic lately. I think of all the things my Mom and Dad have done for me to get me where I am. I think of all the times they had my best interest at heart, even when I did not. I think of all the times I was so ungrateful, so unwilling to help them out or do anything for them, yet they helped me and did anything for me that they could; knowing I would not return their kindness. My parents have always gone above and beyond what would be returned by me. In a way, they have risen up countless times over the past 23 years to see me through.

To think about my parents rising up to get me through, knowing what's best for me, is one thing, but t think about God rising up for me, rising up to show me compassion is incredible to say the least. The verse doesn't say that God will meet us in the middle and show compassion. It doesn't say if we come to Him asking he will rise up. It says He will rise up to show us compassion. God does not only long to show us grace, He rises up to show us compassion. In the midst of our own selfishness, when we are not aware of a need for compassion, He rises up to us, unconditionally. Wow.

The final sentence in this verse is ended with an exclamation point. As a writer, I know these marks, overused in text messages, are almost outlawed by writers. Exclamations express such strong emotion and excitement, that there is normally not a need for them in writing. Whenever they are used, the reader knows that sentence is something that should not be taken lightly. There are no words strong enough to express the emotion of that point, so an exclamation is used. How cool is that? There were no words powerful enough to translate the magnitude of this final sentence, so an exclamation is used. Incredible.

I hope this verse moves you. I hope you long for something in your life, so that you can at least sort of, kind of begin to barely understand God's longing for us. I hope you've had to rise up to carry something through that others did not do their part in, so you can sort of see how God rises up for us. I hope that you've felt excitement that is indescribable, so you can understand the strength of that last sentence. I hope this verse overwhelms you. I hope it stirs in you a longing for Christ.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Not calling myself a Busy Bee, but maybe....

I want to write about something so wonderful that it inspires you and turns your day right around, but the truth is, I didn't even know Valentine's Day is next Thursday, and I'm on my second Kitchen Sink cookie and it's only 11 a.m. (I've already had two cups of coffee and I'm working on a Diet Coke now, but we won't even go there.) I haven't done my nails since who knows when, and if you know me, this is a huge deal. I wore one of Andrew's old t-shirts to work today and didn't bother to really fix my hair either, but you should see the center pieces for this wedding. (I'll make a list for those who are interested in purchasing them for their own wedding afterwards.) And the bridesmaids gifts... mmm. Wish I was a bridesmaid in my own wedding. And what about those handmade "thank you" cards. I'm going to buy myself a present just so I can give myself a Thank You card.

 But just so you're not alarmed, I have managed to work out every day this week, and there is only one room left to redo in Andrew's... I mean.. our... house.    I'm not going to mention now that I start Grad School TWO days after we get back from our honeymoon because I can already picture the raised eyebrows on your face. So... maybe I've been a little occupied lately.

I guess it's fair to say I have never been so busy in my life, but at the same time, I've also never been so motivated or inspired.. I am flying high on excitement (and maybe caffeine and some nerves), and I honestly think if I had a baby right now and car was falling on top of it, I'd probably stop it with my bare hands (but seriously, praising the Lord that is not the case, both for the baby's sake and mine. and the car's.). I digress.

For sake of you who might actually read this, I will try now and make a point you can get some use out of. My point is this:

Find something that makes you excited. Find something that gives you this crazy insane energy. Find something that makes you want to be about more than just yourself, and not just something that makes you talk about being more than just yourself... something that really steals your attention and your hard work and your mind and fires you up. (As Christians, this should be Jesus on a daily basis, but I believe God allows us to be fired up for other things so that all of our thankfulness and praise goes back to him.)

Allow another person to occupy your mind and give you butterflies and chills and nervous laughs. Let their energy boost yours and make you dream bigger and plan for crazy far-off things. Don't be afraid to stay busy, to stay learning and growing and working hard. Don't be afraid of losing yourself... it's in these moments of passion that you'll find yourself. Don't be afraid of showing who you really are and doing things you really want and allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable. Don't let pressure from the world stress you out and make you forget all the things you want to do. Don't be afraid to make your mind up about something and then just go and do it. Right then. Without thinking or preparing. If you want something, get it. (Like, for instance. I want a third Kitchen Sink cookie. Don't mind if I do.)

Anyway, maybe this is crazy and I can't justify being I'm nbusy and totally stoked about my wedding and my almost-husband in 22 days by telling you to allow yourself to fill up your schedule with things that excite you and make you feel good, but then again, maybe I can. Actually, I can. And I am.

Be extremely passionate about something and nod sweetly when people tell you that you're in over your head, but don't let them dishearten you or dwindle your excitement. Today is the day. Do it.

Now back to the To Do list...