Sunday, October 31, 2010

31 Tweets of October

A Month in Tweets. What’s more Unoriginal than that? I’m at a loss to think of something... I blame Annie, since she was with me for a majority of my October Twitter updates! Here's 1 short update for each day in October:

  1. Ewwwww some guy just sneezed on me. Not cool dude, not cool.
  2. 2 weeks until I get to see Robert! I’m just a little excited : )
  3. Worship teams...thing big “living room”, not “concert” on Sundays. Sunday morning is the un-concert-family time. -Paul Baloche
  4. Family Force 5, a cup of mint tea, and an article to finish... Content.
  5. Anyone want to go to Greek for me this morning? Please? Anyone? Bueller?
  6. Breakfast with Carley! I’m amazed at how loud and dramatic the two of us can be, even early in the morning!
  7. “Is Jesus white or is Jesus black?” “He’s plaid!” [urban classes at #mbi are the best!]
  8. “Guess what!! We have the same worldview: individualism!” - Kelsi
  9. “The enemy likes to take the desires of our heart, turn them into weaknesses, steal our trust in God’s goodness and timing...GUARD your heart.”
  10. Chicago Music Exchange! A guy asked if I needed help...I asked if they had anything purple and sparkly. “Well princess...” was his response.
  11. “There are few hotter things than a boy cooking for you. Very, very few.”
  12. “In the Old Testament it was considered a miracle when God spoke through an ass. Now He does it every Sunday.” I love missions conference.
  13. Random fact of the day: India has more cell phones than toilets. #mbiMC
  14. Technical difficulties could be avoided if we would all use flannel-graph. #mbiMC
  15. Long walk with Robert. Just like normal!
  16. I enjoy being home and out of dress code. Meaning, I love Robert and my ripped jeans : )
  17. Play guitar or sit with Robert during church this morning. Funny how priorities change, cause I won’t be on stage this morning. :)
  18. We’re not just meant to have answers, but also to ask the questions that lead us to them. In order to not only know what, but why we believe.
  19. [searching for joy in the small things]
  20. I love reading my notes in my Bible from a year ago. I see how much God has changed the way I perceive HIm. I used to be a beggar, now I’m a daughter. -Rebecca Barlow
  21. Fever and chills. Lamesauce all the way. I’m currently snuggled into a pile of blankets.
  22. Annie and I are sitting on her couch eating M&M’s and giggling : )
  23. ‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver. ‘Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe, but he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.’ - C.S. Lewis
  24. Greek homework + Metallica = winning combo
  25. Last night I dreamt that I had a tea party with C.S. Lewis, Martin Luther, and Rob Bell. It ended with Bell throwing a scone at Lewis...
  26. Note to self: Don’t talk about cutting class with the professor walking right behind you. It makes ditching a little more guilt inspiring.
  27. It’s windy and I’m cold. #lamegirlfromcali
  28. “I am a loved daughter of God. If you are trying to make me think less of myself, you are wasting your time.”
  29. God loves messy people.
  30. Annie and I made homemade chai tea!
  31. Rockstar and her floozy stage manager, Annie. [Happy birthday, Dawn!! Yay for costume parties!]

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Medicine Cabinet

(written a few summers ago...)

The temptation almost becomes more than she can handle. How easily she could take a handful of random pills and end her life. And, after a day of endless challenges and trials, it seems like the only positive solution. More bad news might just push her over her ever-stretching undefined edge. It’s late at night but she just got home from a friend’s house. The rest of her family is asleep; the house is still. Standing in front of the medicine cabinet, she opens it slowly. All she wants is Tylenol for her headache and some much needed sleep. Staring at the cabinet full of medicine bottles, unhealthy thoughts of suicide are racing through her mind, but she manages to think clearly one more time. Suicide will only help her, but what about her family and friends? Pain and misguided feelings of guilt for them, and she knows firsthand how painful and unfair that is. Eyes shut tight to hold back the never ending supply of tears, she quietly shuts the door and turns around. No, drugs won’t help tonight.

Having a friend attempt suicide sucks. I’m not really sure how else to describe it. Feelings of anger and sorrow intermixed with random surges of guilt are soon followed by exhaustion. A handful of meltdowns are inevitable. The cycle repeats over and over until it finally yet gradually fades away. How could someone be so hopeless? All the unanswered questions seemed to be floating around in midair just waiting to be bumped into. And in the end, no matter how you look at the situation or try to reason it out, it simply doesn’t add up.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, in 2007 (last available data) it is reported that 34,598 people died from suicide. One person takes their life approximately every fifteen minutes in the United States and an attempt is estimated to be made once every minute. Out of the people who survive a suicide attempt, many of them damage their body permanently. A drug overdose can lead to damaged organs, suffocation and drowning can lead to lack of oxygen flow to the brain causing brain damage, and the use of a firearm can also lead to brain damage and horrific scarring. Suicide rates have been rising in the United States in the past 40 years. Why the increase of suicide? Why the decrease in hope? Again with the frustrating unanswered questions.

When my friend tried to end her life, many of my other friends were really supportive of what I was going through. Having a close friend get a few inches away from my face and ask how I was doing was a defining moment in this whole ordeal for me. She climbed into the passenger seat of my car and I took off my sunglasses. As if seeing my smeared eye makeup wasn’t enough, she wanted to verbally hear what was going on. “I don’t get it,” were the only words that came out. Instead of giving the all too common answer of, “Wow, I don’t know what to say,” she wrapped her arms around me and cried with me. Although advice or an encouraging word would have helped, a simple hug meant so much more. In the Bible we’re told not only to rejoice with each other, but to grieve together as well. Community is a key step in the healing process; it is important to replace secrets and shame with honesty and trust.

Unlike many suicide stories, this one has a happy ending. My friend is alive with no serious harm done. Her cry for help was acknowledged and she went through counseling to deal with past hurt and to find closure with it. At first she found counseling annoying and a waste of time, but after a few sessions she quickly learned to love it. It was a challenge for her to think back on past injuries and bring them to surface, but with God’s strength, she did it. And eventually the initial injuries won’t remain, just scars to remind her of God’s faithfulness in carrying her through it all. The verses that encouraged her was Psalm 147:3-5.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of stars and calls them each by name. Great is our LORD and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.”

Being the friend on the other side of the attempted suicide, I quickly learned that running on emotion and adrenaline only lasts so long. All the crying, unanswered questions, and doubts that arose were challenging for me. The verses that were continually coming to mind that few weeks were out of Isaiah 40.

“See, the Sovereign LORD comes with power, and his arm rules for him (verse10). “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart,” (verse 11). “Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these things? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing,” (verse 26). “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint,” (verse 31).

The long few days after the suicide attempt finally came to an end. She was out of the hospital, physically well, and emotionally stable. My heart was hurting, but being held and protected by my Savior. Continually turning to God and refocusing on Him made the hellish situation survivable. I spent most of that day with the same friends I had been with since the night she tried to kill herself four days earlier. On my way out the door, I stopped and asked if we could pray once more together before I left. A few more tears, lots of encouraging words, and most of all, the reminder of God’s sovereignty was the positive conclusion to that dreadful nightmare.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

How to NOT Mess Up the Great Commission Too Much.

It's Mission's Conference week at Moody Bible Institute! This video was shown in one of the sessions I went to today and I think it's worth passing on... Enjoy!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Girl with a Guitar

Dear Diary,

Today Josh, Caleb, Heidi and I embarked on an adventure to the Chicago Music Exchange. I think this was the first time I’ve been in a guitar place without my dad. He always accompanies my trips to these places, upon my request. We arrived at the store and walked in with wide-eyed excitement. The four of us quickly scattered and drooled over the hundreds of guitars. I wanted to play a purple sparkly electric guitar or a girly acoustic one. I looked and couldn’t find either. Girls play guitar, so why don’t they make very many purple sparkly ones? One of the guys working asked if I needed help. And I did! I explained what I was looking for and his joking response was, “Well, princess, let me see what I can do. Have you ever played before?” My mind went blank as to a witty response, so I just said yes. I’ve been playing for about 7 years, actually... Oh well.

Anyways, the guy returned with the bulkiest guitar I’ve ever held. But, it had a red-orange hue to it. Oh, and a bird with a flower on the pickguard. So I guess that made it girly? I’m not sure. It was neither sparkly nor purple so it just wouldn’t work. I played a few chords and gently handed it back. I looked at all the other acoustic guitars and played a few of them, but none of them jumped out at me. Heidi and I then went back into the main room and ended up taking pictures of practically everything in the store. We were a little bored waiting for the two guys to be done.

That’s when I found it. It wasn’t perfect, but it was sparkly! It was a silver Fender Telecaster covered in sparkles! I was so excited that I grabbed the guitar, walked away from the group, and sat on the floor next to the orange amps and played it. I didn’t plug it in or anything. A girly electric guitar. Because girls can rock just as awesomely as any guy can.



PS. Thanks to Heidi for the pictures!

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Autumn by Elizabeth Browning (1833)

Go, sit upon the lofty hill,

And turn your eyes around,

Where waving woods and waters wild

Do hymn an autumn sound.

The summer sun is faint on them —

The summer flowers depart —

Sit still — as all transform’d to stone,

Except your musing heart.

How there you sat in summer-time,

May yet be in your mind;

And how you heard the green woods sing

Beneath the freshening wind.

Though the same wind now blows around,

You would its blast recall;

For every breath that stirs the trees,

Doth cause a leaf to fall.

Oh! like that wind, is all the mirth

That flesh and dust impart:

We cannot bear its visitings,

When change is on the heart.

Gay words and jests may make us smile,

When Sorrow is asleep;

But other things must make us smile,

When Sorrow bids us weep!

The dearest hands that clasp our hands, —

Their presence may be o’er;

The dearest voice that meets our ear,

That tone may come no more!

Youth fades; and then, the joys of youth,

Which once refresh’d our mind,

Shall come — as, on those sighing woods,

The chilling autumn wind.

Hear not the wind — view not the woods;

Look out o’er vale and hill —

In spring, the sky encircled them —

The sky is round them still.

Come autumn’s scathe — come winter’s cold —

Come change — and human fate!

Whatever prospect Heaven doth bound,

Can ne’er be desolate.