October 7, 2016

Thunderstorms will Continue

I have a nifty weather app on my phone that pushes notification to my lock screen.  Things like, "30% chance of rain at 3pm," "Flash flood warning from until 9pm," and "Mostly Cloudy in the afternoon." Yeah, it's handy for something, I'm sure. :)  I mostly ignore it.  But we'll get back to that.

These past couple days have been interesting.  Listening to friends' joys and troubles.  Teaching and learning skills.  Processing and diagnosing and sleeping.  And then yesterday I heard that after an involved interview process I would not be getting a job that every single person I know thought was a sure-win.  It doesn't hurt not getting the job, but it's confusing.  

I spent the last couple MONTHS praying about applying and finally doing it and mentally preparing to work in this particular field and business for years.  Years.  That's purpose.  That's direction.  That's certainty.  And now it's confusion.  Do I know anything that's certain for the next couple years?

I looked down at my phone and actually read the weather report.  It was simply: "Thunderstorms will continue." No probability or time frame, just the straight truth.  Thunderstorms will continue.  

I looked at the rejection of my application and thought, "thunder."  I looked at my garbage -- the result of days of having a runny nose and sniffled, "thunder."  I looked at my crazy schedule, filled with wonderful friends (and some of their drama) and said, "thunder."  Then I felt the cares and questions of my heart: "thunder."

Yes, the sound and distance of my thunder may change, but it will remain.  In every age there will be things I don't understand; Emotions to feel, fears to be conquered, things to get done, places to go, and trials to grow through, but there will also be the Rock of Ages.  

I've got a fortress named Jesus Christ who remains the same yesterday, today, and forever, so let the storm rage.  This, my friends, is certain -- not just for the next couple years, but into infinity and beyond.

September 28, 2016

Cluttered Heart

It just happened all of a sudden.  I woke up and couldn't get up.

I glanced around my room and saw projects strewn left and right, papers piled high with the mental note "to read" posted on them.  Artifacts from my travels, gifts from and for friends.  Dirty clothes in one pile, clean clothes in another.  The door to my closet broken and propped in the corner.  The clock blinking 10:15 and my phone announcing dozens of emails, texts, and notifications of varying importance.  I finally sit up and see that to get to the door will be an obstacle course of not stepping on cords or shoes or dust bunnies (the ones that aren't under random purses and boxes filled with more junk I need to go through and put away.

It didn't all get here overnight.  A little each day I put things down on top of yesterdays things.  Till I would fall asleep exhausted amid the piles and wake up stressed among the same piles.  All the time knowing full well I couldn't deal with it now because there were places to be. Things to do.

And the piles grew.

Till they swallowed me.  That's when I realized it wasn't my room that was messy, but my heart.

A little each day.  Stacking experiences and posting a note "to process."  Piling texts and emails and notes and somewhere after "reaction" and before "respond."  Replaying conversations over and over till I get the energy to decide how they actually make me feel.  Glancing at the burning pile that says "to cry about" and writing the post-script "later" until the emergency sprinklers decide to go off without my permission.  Having so many people to care about scattered about and having so many good intentions to give them time and energy but always walking past them unfulfilled.  And on my way out the door tripping over disappointment and death and lies and my own failure.

And the piles grow.

Oh Jesus, I've got the room covered. . .I think.  But this heart thing has got me so tired.  I'm completely overwhelmed by my own emotions and troubles and good intentions(a.k.a. failures).
Pleas take it all.  I am defeated.  My hope is in you.  My ONLY hope.

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen."  I Peter 5:6-11

April 28, 2016

Look What God Has Wrought!

It is in the shelter of each other that people live. -Irish Proverb

So, this was a happy time.  This was our Bible study group (not all pictured) coming together to throw a surprise party in celebration of all our friend Sammi has meant to us.  

She's going away for work and school and doing crazy awesome cool adult stuff, but we'll miss her like crazy, so we combined a bunch of her favorite things and surprised her with a party, had a sleep over, did home church together, and then spent the most amazingly relaxing afternoon letting go of our cares and just existing together -- free to be young.  Not sure what that looks like to you, but to us that's having deep conversations on the deck, doing trick shots with a frisbee, riding excitedly down the hill in a wagon, raking up sticks, doing cartwheels, or just laying in the grass and enjoying the sunshine.

Post party weekend, Emma commented that we were not just her best friends, but family.  family.  

We may look confident and put together here (let's be honest -- we look really good ;), but I got to thinking about this group and I was struck by the reality of how crazy it is that this seemingly random group of souls are even friends, let alone family -- children and heirs!  We clean up good, but we've got issues.

We've got work stress.  We've got baggage from past relationships. We've got consequences for past actions.  We've got depression.  We've got eating disorders.  We've got bitterness.  We've got jealousy.  We've got addictions.  We've got masks.  We've got pride.  We've got rebellion.  We've got school stress.  We've got lies.  We believe lies.  We're lazy.  We whine.

But GOD. . .

Somehow, in this miracle that is redemption, we are changing and growing.  Like iron sharpening iron as we bump into each other and make mistakes, God is shaping us all to look more like his son Jesus Christ.  We've still got those issues, but when I look at our group now I see proof of God's love.  I see 1 John 4: 7-12, 18-21(emphasis added)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. . .
 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.  We love because he first loved us.  If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen.  And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
 We're learning to care for and shelter one another.  We're learning to love our brother because we love God, because He first loved us!

Now when I look at this conglomerate of humans from all over the geographical area (and 8 different churches) I see how we're changing and growing.  I see what God is doing -- making a people for himself.  

A people who strives for unity.  A people who forgives.  A people who prays.  A people who builds up.  A people who is honest.  A people who shares God's gospel.  A people who sacrifices.  A people who gives.  A people who serves.  A people who denies the world and lives holy.  A people who asks for help.  A people who discerns.  A people who tries to understand.  A people who rejoices.  A people who does hard things because God. Is. Worth. It.  A people who heals.  A people who shelters.

Our Bible study has always been a living organism, but seeing the growing pains and the work of the Holy Spirit in just the last 4 months has been so encouraging to my personal spiritual walk with God. And it excites me to see how God will work in the next months!

Like Baalam blessed the people of Israel, I want it to be said of us, "Look what God has done!"
"Behold, I received a command to bless: he has blessed, and I cannot revoke it.
He has not beheld misfortune in Jacob, nor has he seen trouble in Israel.
The Lord their God is with them, and the shout of a king is among them. God brings them out of Egypt and is for them like the horns of the wild ox.  For there is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel; now it shall be said of Jacob and Israel, ‘What has God wrought!’"
Numbers 23:20-23

(Not all are pictured, this is just the surprise group)

Blessed beyond measure,
Joanna Kay
3 John 4

January 23, 2016

3 Things

  • "God wants us to be really strong, which is different from the way we might typically desire to be strong. We often want to be strong in a way that reflects well on us. God wants us to be strong in a way that reflects well on him."  This article keeps hitting home.
  • The Dialect of Questions is a tool I have loved being taught with without realizing it. . .I'd love to get better at using it.
  • Because I'm an aspiring linguist, I find this fascinating:

9 Types of Spanish Accents - Joanna Rants
9 Types of Spanish Accents with Joanna Hausmann Comedy
Posted by Flama on Friday, October 2, 2015