Friday, September 30, 2011
Without going into endless amounts of detail, I’ll give you the short and sweet version of my latest adventure...
After much confusion and a few unhelpful phone calls, I headed downtown late this past Wednesday morning to the Federal Building. Someone other than me was using my social security number to gain access to someone else. (Crazy, huh?!) The attempt was unsuccessfully because it was caught fairly quickly, thanks to my daddy and some other awesome people! But, to clear this up, I had to prove that I was me. Which is harder than you’d think. I assumed showing my driver's license would be sufficient, but it most definitely was not.
Thankfully the office wasn’t too busy and my situation was given attention almost immediately. I was ushered to a back room and told to wait. It was at this point that I could feel the tension I’d been feeling all morning quickly turn to anxiety.
I answered what felt like an hour’s worth of questions before getting fingerprinted. And I barely avoided having my finger pricked for a blood test to see if my DNA matched up with a previous blood test done.
So after being told that I indeed was the real Andrea Rose Stimmel, daughter of David and Julie Stimmel, I was given a signed and stamped document as proof to give to the appropriate people.
I got back to campus with just enough time to change out of my wet clothes before going to finish up a few interviews for a newspaper article I was working on. I had a normal morning in my apologetics class, a few totally bizarre hours, and was then dumped back into my normal life.
I temporarily felt like I was in a movie.
Since midsummer, I’ve been working with Moody’s Women’s Ministry group and one of our reoccurring discussion topics has been being “anchored in Christ”. I've been reminded numerous times that my identity and security is found in Christ alone. He is my anchor.
If then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. -Colossians 3:1-4
My life is hidden in Christ. My identity is then in Christ.
My identity is clearly not found in my social security number, my finger prints, or the DNA in my blood. And I'm increasingly grateful that, although my identity on earth can be questioned, my identity in Christ is unshakeable.
Monday, September 26, 2011
On Saturday night I couldn’t fall asleep and decided maybe reading would help.
I was planning on curling up on the couch with my book so I dragged my favorite blanket, stuffed frog, and book out to the living room only to find my sister with an identical pile of stuff. However, her book had been cast aside for the TV remote.
She looked over and said, “couldn’t sleep.”
“Yeah. Me either,” was my pathetic response.
So at 2 in the morning we were both curled up on the couch eating goldfish crackers while watching the Starwars marathon that had been on all day.
We talked sporadically through the movie and giggled about getting each other lightsabers for Christmas. I was excited for the cool family pictures that would most certainly aspire from the gifts! My sister, however, was more excited about kicking my butt while reenacting some of the battles from the movies. In my defense, Larissa’s a nerd and has most, if not all, of the Starwars movies memorized. And I honestly can’t say that I’ve even see all the movies. SO, her knowledge on the subject is far superior to mine and that’s the only reason why my little sister would be able to kick my butt at anything!
I digress... It was around 3:30am when I felt that I had met my Starwars viewing quota for the year and was ready to take another attempt at falling asleep.
I gathered my blanket, stuffed frog, and book and stood up.
My sister’s not the most sympathetic person in the world and we’re not the best of friends, but she knew I was hurting.
“Sis,” she said.
I turned around and smiled at her.
I dropped my pile of stuff and gave her a hug before heading back to bed.
Sisterly bonding at it’s best!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
To keep from suffocating and to counteract the overactive heater turning my room into an oven, I opened a window early this morning to let some cool Chicago air in. The sky is full of puffy gray clouds and the rain is gently falling (although this could change at any moment to a torrential downpour). The usual Saturday traffic is racing by 5 floors below me on LaSalle Boulevard.
I’m staring at my laptop and my slightly cluttered desk. My guitar is comfortably leaning against the dresser just inches out of my reach taunting me with it’s shiny new strings and the promise of reestablishing the rapidly decreasing calluses on my fingers. The clouds are consuming the sky at the moment, but it’s not dark or gloomy outside.
The refreshing chilly breeze is continually blowing my bangs into my eyes. But I don’t mind this morning. I’m grateful for the fresh air and the life it seems to bring into my room.
The light traffic and falling rain rhythmically blending in with the Tenth Avenue North playlist on iTunes creates the perfect soundtrack for my morning.
My coffee is slowly brewing in the purple French Press I just had to have this summer. The familiar smell permeates the air as the wind blows through.
While waiting for my coffee, I’m happily munching away on my gluten, dairy, and soy free apple pie Lara Bar.
Usually a rainy morning of being stuck working would be classified as miserable. But not this particular morning. I’m feeling gracious, weather-wise at least, and am accepting, even enjoying, how new and beautiful today is.
The sporadic rain and shifting clouds allowing the dazzling blue sky to make it’s appearance truly is magnificent! I see God’s hand in all of it.
For the moment, I’m content where I am. My room is peaceful and safe and, although it’s a little messy and I have lots to accomplish, I’m unusually calm and genuinely happy to be exactly where I am. Both emotionally and physically.
It’s one of those mornings where I have no problem believing that God is good.
“BroSis event” isn’t the phrase that comes to mind when I think about things that make me happy. But, hanging out with the girls on my floor is important to me. And I guess getting to know the guys on my brother floor is a good thing, too. And I can’t complain about taking a break from homework!
This afternoon a group of us took the Water Taxi to China Town. It was fun, a little chilly, semi-adventurous, and full of laughter.
And I have no desire to elaborate on this event at the moment. But I’ll post pictures soon. :)
This evening finds me in the same physical place this morning did - back in my room working on newspaper stuff and homework. Mentally, however, I’m surviving this evening millions of miles away. I’m distracted by the dream of going to back to Africa this summer, of California sunsets at the coast, of Outer Space, of anywhere but where I am.
I can’t get away from a few memories and the negative thoughts and emotions that follow. These memories that so easily sneak into my mind and inundate my thoughts are underhandedly destroying all attempts at concentration right now. I’m beyond a little annoyed and am frustrated and feel pestered by them without a just cause.
Life is changing. My state of “normal” has dramatically changed in the past month and my brain is scrambling to update to this forced new version.
And through it all, I’m fighting my urge to doubt God’s goodness. The God that seemed so wonderful to me this morning hasn’t changed in the past 12 hours. Thankfully.
I’m begging You, to help me see, You’re all I want, You’re all I need, oh satisfy me Lord. -Satisfied by Tenth Avenue North
Friday, September 16, 2011
I’m in a small group for this school year with two other girls. A month ago, these two girls were complete strangers to me, but now the three of us are on an adventure, of sorts.
Our quest began this morning with:
- Caffeinated tea
- New journals
- Lots of questions
- The desire to learn
- Anticipation of what the Spirit can do
- Longing hearts
- Forgotten God by Francis Chan
If you didn’t figure it out from reading the title of this post, we’re on a search for the Holy Spirit. We all believe that the Holy Spirit is with us, but desire both a greater awareness of him* in our lives and a greater knowledge of him in general.
Francis Chan wrote, “He is infinite and we are finite; there will always be more of His character to discover, more of His love to experience, and more of His power to use for His purposes,” (pg. 21).
I'm ready and excited to see what the Holy Spirit will do through this small group.
*I took Greek and know that the noun is neither male nor female but feel strange writing “it” when referring to the Holy Spirit. But thanks to the little Bible student (punk) that pointed that out to me. :)
Declension - Third Declension
Number - Single
Gender - Neuter
Case - Nominative
Translated - Spirit
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Friday, September 9, 2011
Matthew 6:28-30; 34
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Two years ago today, my Facebook status was:
“...You give and take away. My heart will choose to say ‘Lord blessed be Your Name’.”
It’s easy to sing Matt Redman’s song Blessed be Your Name with good intentions, but when things are actually taken away, it’s a little harder. Ok. A lot harder.
Dr. Hart was the speaker in chapel this morning. His lecture was titled: When God Shuts the Door - Dreams and Desires.
His main points were that:
When God shuts the door...
...He may have other prayers in mind.
...He may have other people in mind.
...He may have other plans in mind.
His conclusion was to:
Trust God in His wise and loving concern. His plan is good.
My heart’s not quite choosing to say, “Lord, blessed be Your Name” at the moment. But another song did come to mind. Bethany Dillon wrote “Hallelujah” a few years ago and the chorus of her song resonates with me.
“Hallelujah, hallelujah, whatever’s in front of me, help me to sing ‘hallelujah’.”
God, help me to sing "hallelujah".
Saturday, September 3, 2011
2 weeks down and 14 to go in this semester.
And I quit.
Well, I temporarily quit.
Starting Tuesday afternoon I’ll begin again. But for this weekend, I gave up and came home. Because there's no place like home when life seems to fall apart.
Without going into detail...
Everything seemed to be on the brink of falling apart for the past month and earlier this week it did. Not literally everything, but enough stuff to shake up my world for a little while.
My brain is refusing to process things at the moment. But thankfully I have a few good friends spending time with me while I’m here in Cali for the weekend to help with that. And when I’m in Chicago, I have a few lovely girls and a few professors that tend to be good at helping me make sense of things.
So that's my not-super-detailed story. BUT, if you think about it, a little extra encouragement and patience would be much appreciated.